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CPC condemns N5.6bn payment to ex-militants I've not collected a dime –Tompolo

SOLA ADEBAYO AND OBIORA IFOH Jonathan

Vol. 2 N0. 434

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he controversy generated by the alleged payment of N5.6bn yearly to Niger

Delta warlords to safeguard oil facilities continued yesterday with the CONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>

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he Presidency yesterday assured that dialogue with the Boko Haram Islamic sect would yield positive results and put a stop to destruction of properties and killing of innocent citizens by the group. The Federal Government has also confirmed that it had commenced negotiations with the sect through “back room

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FG, Global Fund sign gn N36bn grant pact too fight malaria Operators seek enabling law for NCC, NBC merger P.A4

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We’re in talks with Boko Haram –FG …Presidency adopts back room channel to reach sect

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FG allays fear over Third Mainland Bridge

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UN marks first anniversary of Abuja bomb blast P.6

Dana Air crash: 22 corpses yet to be collected Fear grips FAAN workers over plan to sack 4,500

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Mr. Emmanuel Nkwoukwu, husband of the late Mrs. Felicia Nkwoukwu (former receptionist, UN House), laying the wreath on behalf of bereaved families during the one-year remembrance of UN House bomb blast in Abuja, at the weekend. PHOTO: NAN

NLC, TUC, others fault currency restructuring plan It’s a step in right direction –LCCI

Nigerian sentenced to death for drug trafficking in Malaysia

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FG begins talks with Boko Haram CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

channels”. Hundreds of lives have been lost and valuable properties destroyed in a sustained bombings and gun battles by Boko Haram terrorists, particularly in the Northern parts of the country. Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, in an interview in Abuja said that Nigerians should not worry over the controversy on whether there is an ongoing dialogue between the Federal Government and the group, saying that even though the sect appears to have different factions, there is an ongoing dialogue. According to him, the dialogue is not face to face like some people would think. “Those who think government officials and members of the Boko Haram sect sit on opposite sides of a table miss the point in such a delicate issue.” The Presidential spokesman said that the Federal Government’s focus on tackling terrorism is through back room channels of reaching the members of the group and through multi-level, constructive interventions aimed at addressing “a difficult issue that is multifarious.” Abati explained that President Goodluck Jonathan needs support from Nigerians as he tackles the issue. “When government says it

is already talking to Boko Haram, the form of that dialogue must be properly understood. I think a lot of people are under the impression that the dialogue involves a situation whereby government officials are sitting on one side, Boko Haram persons are sitting on the other side in an air conditioned room and there are negotiations across the table. That is not the form of the dialogue. The form of the dialogue is that back room channels are being used to reach across with the sole objective of understanding what exactly the grievances of these persons are, what exactly can be done to resolve the crises in the overall best interest of ensuring peace and stability in Nigeria and the security of life and property. And all of this is consistent with the position of Mr. President. “So, what is called dialogue is at many levels: through back room channels and through multilevel, constructive interventions to address a difficult issue that is multifarious.” The sect had last week denied engaging in any talks with representatives of the Federal Government, stating that the earlier press statement confirming an ongoing dialogue by one Abu Muhammad, who claimed to be the secondin-command to the sect’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, was not true. But Abati said: “One thing that is noteworthy

is that the Boko Haram spokesperson made it clear that they were prepared to go a step further to ensure that persons who are using the name of Boko Haram for political and criminal purposes are identified and checked. What that original statement indicated was that indeed Boko Haram has many faces. It confirms that this thing called Boko Haram is such a multifaceted phenomenon. “You will recall that in one instance, during a presidential media chat, President Jonathan had made it clear that the Boko Haram phenomenon, the terror phenomenon in Nigeria, is quite a novel phenomenon and that many of the persons involved in the low level insurgency are not known, they have not come forward. However, if such persons should come forward, government will grant them a listening ear to know what it is that they are after. Again, the President is on record as having made it clear that government’s approach to checking the Boko Haram insurgency is at many levels” “The available option, according to Mr. President, is not solely one of military action or police action and it is on the basis of this that he had reached out to leaders of political thought in the parts of the country that are affected. “It is on this basis that President Jonathan held a lot of meetings with politicians from the Northern

that there is a direct relationship between higher bank notes and devaluation, adding that the decision could also trigger expectations for wage increase in the country. Aremu said the CBN should concentrate on stabilising the national currency rather than pursue an unnecessary currency restructuring that would also see the introduction of N5, N10 and N20 coins. “We oppose the proposed introduction of higher banknote of N5,000 next year as announced by the Central Bank of Nigeria under its currency redesign programme tagged ‘Project Cure.’ “Incessant turning out of higher banknotes is an attempt to legitimise the devaluation of the Nigerian

currency. There is a direct relationship between higher banknotes and devaluation of the currency. “The CBN should concentrate on stabilising the value of the naira rather than legitimising the devaluation of the currency. CBN under Sanusi Lamido Sanusi should continue with the good work they are doing with respect to revival of manufacturing sector and management of inflation and interest rates. The double digit inflation rate as we currently have cannot take us out of the economic crisis,” he said. The TUC, also in a statement yesterday, signed by its President, Mr. Peter Esele, and Secretary General, Chief John Kolawole, condemned the proposal, describing it as inconsistent

states in order to find solution to the issue. “There is even a third level of intervention; the economic and social level of intervention. In this regard, President Jonathan has made it clear that many of the efforts being directed towards the affected parts

of the country are meant, in fact to redirect the energies of the youths and this is the whole point of using the agricultural sector to transform lives, to create wealth, to create a value chain, the end of which is to create jobs and to engage young people more effectively.

“Government is taking on the issue frontally and through back room channels, with the assistance of a number of persons who have an understanding of the sociology and the character of the problem and a lot has been achieved in this regard,” Abati said

Resident Coordinator, UN System in Nigeria, Mr. Daouda Toure (right), at the laying of wreath during one-year remembrance of UN House bomb blast in Abuja, at the weekend.

United Nation Peace Keepers performing the solemn ceremony, during one year remembrance of UN house bomb blast in Abuja, at the weekend. PHOTOS: NAN

NLC, TUC, others fault currency restructuring plan AYO OLESIN, AYODELE OJO AND TOLA AKINMUTIMI

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he Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, have faulted the planned restructuring of the national currency by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, especially the introduction of the N5,000 note, saying the action would further devalue of the naira. They also described the move as a mark of policy inconsistencies by the apex bank. Vice President of the NLC and Secretary General of the Textile Workers Union, Comrade Issa Aremu, said in a statement issued yesterday in Kaduna

and a policy somersault by the apex bank. “Nigerians are again witnessing another round of the theatre of the absurd orchestrated by the CBN,” it said. The congress noted that the country had previously been treated to such “shows”, a situation it said, has confirmed the unfortunate characterisation of the CBN as an unserious and insensitive charity organisation run without recourse to statutes and due process. “The congress said earlier this year that the nation was inundated by media campaigns sponsored by the CBN on what it termed cashless economy with Lagos as the starting point. “Despite all the voices that were raised in opposi-

tion and seeking answers as to whether the CBN and other participating agencies including the Nigerian people were ready for such a project, they were drowned out in the din and sheer weight of the media campaign. “We are surprised that the CBN could at this time decide to embark on the mission to make changes to the nation’s currency and to also create a N5,000 denomination. The intention at coining the N5, N10 and N20 denominations does a psychological damage to the value of the naira. “We consider this a deep confirmation of our fears that those managing the different facets of our nation’s economy do not have time to give deep thought to their policies before churn-

ing them out and executing them. This decision shows a continued and persistent inconsistency in policy objectives within the CBN family, which makes it impossible for the nation to reap any benefit whatsoever if any from their previous policy decisions,” the TUC said. According to the congress, “If the objective is truly to pursuit a cashless economy, why would the CBN consider it expedient at this time to also pursue concurrently, the printing of more currencies especially the N5,000 note. “This clearly will put more cash readily into people’s hands with its attendant consequences that have been variously canvassed in the time past. CONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>


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Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Interwiew Former National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin is enraged over the marginalisation of the South-West by the Goodluck Jonathan administration. In this interview with FELIX NWANERI, the human rights activist speaks on the imbalance in the system and sundry issues affecting the Yoruba nation within Nigeria. Excerpts:

Nigeria needs restructuring to avoid collapse – Odumakin ment which gradually began the welding of souls around modernity. His success was not overnight. The 1951 elections in Western Nigeria did not give outright victory to the Action Group which came out of Egbe Omo Oduduwa. It took alliances with Ibadan People’s Party and others to form the government. Even with all the revolutionary achievements of Awo, a great area of Lagos did not come under the influence of AG until Awo came under the persecution of the NPC with the late Alhaji Ganiyu Dawodu providing the springboard from the Lagos City Council. It was not until the Second Republic that Awo took 90 per cent of Yoruba votes, occasioned by the great performance in his years in government and all the persecutions he went through without compromise. In spite of all that the NPN still had a strong presence in Yorubaland and won Oyo State in 1983. Anybody who thinks he can decree a one-party state in Yorubland is wasting his time. The best any tendency can do is to carry majority Yoruba along through performance like Awo did. And once it achieves that, it must continue to justify that by delivering to the people.

What is your assessment of the place of Yoruba in the power structure of Nigeria today? Apart from the fact that Yoruba men are the governors in the South-West, there is virtually an extinction of Yoruba people in all the top positions today. I am so certain that if the governorship positions were by appointment from Abuja, the governors in the Yoruba states today would most probably be Ijaw men or Northerners. But let me quickly add that I don’t accept that the Yoruba are being marginalised by anybody other than their own political leaders. In the words of Williams Shakespeare, the fault is not in our star but in ourselves. There is a saying among the Yoruba that it is the name that the owner of the calabash calls it that others would echo. The late Senator Abraham Adesanya was fond of telling the story of the relationship between the cock and the hawk. That for several years of friendship the hawk thought that the red crown on the head of the cock was a pillar of fire and was afraid to touch it until the day the cock asked him to have a feel of it. From that day on, a new delicacy was added to the hawk’s menu list. There is no doubt that the non-presence of the Yoruba in the top power echelon of Nigeria is a direct fall-out of the self-serving politics of the zone’s politicians. How do you mean? If you check any zone that has ever cried of marginalisation in Nigeria, you will see that it has to do with the quality of its political leaders. Once the calculations of political front men is all about themselves and not the collective interest, there is no way the short end of the stick would not be theirs. You are aware the speakership slot was given to the South-West until it was lost to another zone due to the selfish calculations of the political actors. Only recently, there was a report in the media that a senator from the zone was to be made the Minority Leader but the leadership of the party opposed it and insisted the position must remain in the North Central which also has the Senate President. It cannot be forgotten in a hurry how Jonathan got a landslide victory at the April 2011 polls overnight in the South-West with the presidential candidate of the party that controls five out of the six states in the zone looking like a weather beaten chicken after he was flung under the bus. I have never seen such a cheap capitulation in my life. If that party had voted its candidate in the elections and the polls had gone into a run-off, the zone would have become a beautiful bride to be wooed by the other two leading candidates with concrete items on the table for the zone in exchange for its support. Once it is about a deal by individuals, you are sold cheaply and you live with the consequences. It was a beautiful moment to get a better deal for the zone, but it was frittered. The conservative politicians who had always used the zone to negotiate in Abuja could not have done it worse. And the truth of the matter is that what gave value to the Yoruba conservatives when Chief Obafemi Awolowo was around was the principled politics of the sage. The National Chairman of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), Chief Adisa Akinloye, had to come from Yorubaland while the Chiefs Richard Akinjide, Olu Awotesu and the rest of them were given prominence so as to raise

Odumakin

THAT PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN COULD CARRY ON AS IF THE YORUBA HAVE BEEN EXCISED IS SIMPLY BECAUSE THERE IS NO FORCE TO FEAR IN

YORUBA POLITICS AT THE MOMENT

a counter force against Awolowo whom the conservative elites did not have to guess where he would stand on any issue. Even the Gen. Sani Abacha junta that prosecuted an unofficial war against the Yoruba made Oladipo Diya his deputy with so many characters from Yorubaland being prominent in the regime as a counter-weight to the indefatigable fighters in NADECO. That President Goodluck Jonathan could carry on as if the Yoruba have been excised is simply because there is no force to fear in Yoruba politics at the moment. And that should be a source of concern for those who still stand on the side of principle in Yoruba politics. You recently said there has never been a monolith Yoruba politics which has drawn some flaks from some quarters, do you still stand by your assertion? It is only political simpletons who would argue with a statement of fact. Yoruba are the most contiguous people but very dispersed people in terms of thought. The centuries before the arrival of Awo were marked by internal civic wars among the different groups in Yorubaland. Awolowo, however, brought a new vision of develop-

What is your take on the state of insecurity in Nigeria? It has become so worrisome. I knew it was so bad but it dawned on me that we are fast sinking when I saw Kogi State sovernor wearing full body armour when he went on a visit to the victims of Okenne blasts the other day. If a governor would display body armour on television, what is the fate of ordinary citizens? Even the President told the country the other day that he could not go to certain parts of the country because of security concerns. We keep spending fortunes on physical security (N3 billion a day at the moment) but we are not investing in social security. The monies that should be invested in social security which would ultimately provide us physical security are being stolen left, right and centre. The country is falling apart before our very eyes and nothing tangible is being done to arrest the drift. We need leadership at this moment. There has been centrifugal forces threatening the unity of Nigeria in recent time, how do you think Nigeria can remain one? We have seen the so-called declaration of Independence by a factional leader of MOSOP by the name Goodluck Diigbo with his namesake in Abuja looking the other way. The Bakassi people have also made a secession declaration. And as if to show that these are coordinated events, the Governor of Bayelsa recently signed the law on Bayelsa coat of arms, flag and anthem to, in his words, promote the “identity of Ijaw nation”. When you take all the events taking place against the threat of impeachment coming from the National Assembly, and the deafening silence of the Presidency, it is not too difficult to do the arithmetic of the sabre-rattling. But that does not mean we should dismiss the genuine quest for autonomy by the various constituent units of Nigeria; Nigeria needs a restructuring if the country is not to collapse. But rather than the President finding a way around the issue as his body language currently suggests, he should be bold to let us go for a conference. We should put the question if we still want to live together as one country. If the answer is yes, we must put in place the full infrastructure of federalism, so we can live together in peace. If the consensus is that we should go our separate ways we should part peacefully and stop all the needless bloodshed going on and greater one that may come if the brewing crisis fully matures.


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Photo News

Monday, August 27, 2012

L-R: Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, Minister, Chief Edem Duke, Kwara State Deputy Governor Peter Kishura and Commissioner for Social Development, Culture and Tourism, Hajia Ramat Adeshina Abaya, at the opening ceremony of Council of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, in Ilorin, at the weekend.

L-R: Social critic, Mr. Femi Aborisade; Guest Speaker, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin; Chairman,Campaign for Democracy (CD), Oyo State, Comrade Adewumi Olowoniyi and Chairman of the Occasion, Mr.Segun Adedokun, at the public lecture on ‘’Towards ensuring true practice of democracy in Nigeria: The role of the youth,’’ in ibadan, at the weekend.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

L-R: Gen. Alabi Isama (rtd), Director of the dance drama: “Nigeria the Beautiful,” Felix Okolo and author of the dance drama, Odia Ofeimun, during the presentation of the dance drama in PHOTO: OLUFEMI AJASA Lagos, at the weekend.

L-R: Special Adviser to International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Luis JimenezMcinnis; IFAD Country Programme Manager, Atsuko Toda; Executive Director, Editorial Matters, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr. Dipo Ogbede; IFAD President, Dr. Kanayo Nwanze and Head, Agric and Environment Desk, NAN, Mrs. Nkechi Okoronkwo, during IFAD president’s visit to NAN headquarters in Abuja, at the weekend. PHOTO: NAN

National News

Jonathan denies diverting N11.77trn oil revenue surplus ISE-OLUWA IGE ABUJA

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resident Jonathan Goodluck yesterday dismissed allegation that his government would have, by the end of the year, diverted into private pockets N11.77trn, being surplus revenues generated from sales of crude oil in 2012. Jonathan said the author of the allegation was a mischief-maker. The President, who spoke yesterday in Abuja through his Senior Special Adviser on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, disclosed that arrangements were on by his government to open a call centre whereby some GSM numbers would be made available to Nigerians to call or send text messages for confirmation or clarification of information to stop rumour-mongering in the country. A few hours earlier, a text message purportedly emanating from the Lagos lawyer and member of the inner bar, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), had raised the alarm that N11.77trn was being mismanaged annually. The text message had arrived at the conclusion by saying that though the 2012 annual budget was predi-

cated on $75 per barrels crude oil had consistently being sold for about $113 per barrel, asking where the surplus from the sale had been going. The text message had calculated how much the surplus revenue not captured by the 2012 budget would amount to by the end of the year and wanted Nigerians to wake up and hold government officials accountable. But reacting to the message yesterday, the President said there was no truth in the allegation. He said: “Certain text message has been going round Nigeria in the last 48 hours on the issue of revenue from crude oil sales. It was alleged in the text message that 2.5 million barrels of oil is sold per day at the rate of $113 per barrel and that if you do the calculations based on the quantity of barrels produced and the amount a barrel goes in seven days, a month and in a year, it will give us $101.7bn. The text message concludes that that is what Nigeria earns from sales of crude oil annually. “As a matter of fact, I do not want to take up issues on the number of barrels we produce per day. It is usually calculated on weighted aver-

age. It is not every day you produce a particular quantity. It may go up or come down because there are technical problems and all that. And the prices are not static too. Sometimes, it goes for $97, $100, $110 and $112 per barrel. Without conceding, in any way, the figures quoted here, I’m still ready to use this figure for the purpose of argument. It means therefore that Nigeria earns $101bn dollars a year and when you exchange it for dollars, you get N16.270trn. And that when you deduct the 2012 budget of N4.5trn from the amount arrived at, there is a balance

of N11.772trn and that the question now is: where does this surplus go? “Invariably, what it means is that, by the language of the text message, the government officials are corruptly enriching themselves with the surplus. This is a very scandalous and inciting information. “Let us assume that we have N16trn as revenue from oil sales, what the author of the text message did not say was that the revenue is shared between Nigeria and the oil producing states at the rate of 60/40 per cent. When you take away the 40

per cent of the said sum, you will now have only N9.7trn left. If we use the figure, that N9.7trn is what accrues to the Federation Account. But the money (N9.7trn) is further shared among the Federal, states, local governments and ecological funds. Federal Government only collects 48.5 per cent which is about N4.7trn. You can now see that what is contained in the text message is misinformation. “In any event, the 2012 budget is predicated on $75 per barrel not $113. Even if the crude oil is eventually sold for $200 per bar-

rel, our revenue is going to be based on $75 per barrel. The remaining money goes into Excess Crude Account while the Sovereign Wealth Fund will also be funded from the excess. “I, however, want to use this medium to correct it. It is not true. It is not correct. And I want to say that my office will be willing at anytime, to assist, if you have information to clarify. In a short while, we are going to have call centres that you don’t have to get me personally. You will have certain numbers you can call or send text messages to.”

Cynthia’s alleged murderer not our student –UNILAG MOJEED ALABI

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he University of Lagos, UNILAG, Akoka, has refuted the report linking it with Okwoma Nwabufor, one of the two suspects alleged to have murdered Cynthia Osokogu, a 25-year-old daughter of Major-General Frank Osokogu (rtd), who they met through social media. Media reports had consistently identified Nwabufor as a 300 level Accounting student of the Distance Learning Institute of

UNILAG. However, in its response to the claim, the institution’s Deputy Registrar (Information), Mr. Seth Adebisi Dare, said in a statement that the alleged killer “was not and is not” a student of UNILAG. He said: “After careful evaluation of students’ records, the university authorities have found the suspect, Okwoma Nwabufor’s claim of being a student of UNILAG untrue. No such person is registered as a student in our Department of Accounting or any

other department of the university. We, therefore, wish to urge all media organisations to note this fact and discountenance the claim of the suspect, Mr. Nwabufor, and desist from associating him with the University of Lagos.” According to Dare, UNILAG is committed to its vision statement which is: to be a top class institution for the pursuit of excellence in knowledge through learning and research, as well as in character and service to humanity. The Lagos State Police,

had, last Wednesday, paraded two suspects who allegedly murdered the deceased. The suspects; Ezekiel Eloka, 23, and Nwabufor, 33, had claimed to have strangled the victim and stole her money. Miss Osokogu, a postgraduate student of the Nasarawa State University, was strangled in a hotel room in Festac Town, Lagos, where the accused, who claimed they befriended her on facebook, had lodged her when she arrived in Lagos on July 21, to purchase goods for her boutique in Nasarawa.


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NLC, TUC, others fault currency restructuring plan CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2

We do not understand why those in leadership position will continue shunning the voice of the people especially when the predictions of the people over time have come to be the case eventually in most of the cases,” said the congress. The Obafemi Awolowo Institute of Government

and Public Policy, a Lagos-based think tank, in a report released at the weekend also expressed misgivings about the plan, saying this would have negative effects on inflation and efforts at fighting corruption, drug dealing and terrorism financing. According to the institute, the restructuring

would signify not only a regime of increased and sustained fiscal deficit financing but also inevitably generate further inflation that would “erode the real value of the seigniorage revenue derived” from the higher face-value currency. It also said the move is likely to be perceived as an indication of government’s

failure to effectively control inflation, stressing that “once this perception takes hold, increased inflation expectations can be built up quite rapidly.” The institute argued further that the plan runs counter to the CBN’s cashless policy aimed at promoting the use of e-payment systems, pointing out that

L-R: Third Counsellor, Embassay of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Abbas Faraji; Ambassador Saeed Koozechi and Vice-President Namadi Sambo during a visit to the vice president in Abuja at the weekend.

CPC condemns N5.6bn payment to ex-militants CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, calling on the National Assembly to investigate the allegation. It also wants the lawmakers to investigate plans by the Federal Government to spend further $450m on the amnesty programme for this year. CPC in a statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Rotimi Fashakin, said that the deafening silence from the Federal Government on the matter is a testament of a tacit admission of the correctness of the report. According to the party, a publication last week gave a break-down of the highlyprized militants involved in the super largesse scheme: ‘General’ Government Tompolo Ekpumopolo (N3.6bn); Asari Dokubo (N1.44bn); Ateke Tom (N560m) and ‘General’ Ebikabowei Boyloaf Victor Ben (N560m). The statement further read: “It would be recalled that the Jonathan regime had, earlier in the year, awarded the contract for the Nation’s Maritime security to Global West Vessel Specialist Agency, a private firm owned by Government Ekpumopolo. The reason given by the Federal government for this action, that invariably subordinates the

Nigerian Navy to the private firm, is the inability to ‘source’ the $103m needed to invest over a 10-year period on a project expected to garner N124bn into the nation’s coffers, generate 1,375 direct jobs and 1,620 indirect jobs. “For the contract to have unfettered access, the Jonathan regime had to withdraw a sponsored bill before the National Assembly that would have created Maritime Security Agency (MASECA) expected to carry out the same functions now outsourced to former Warlord Tompolo’s company! The party said that it considered “these actions as grave financial imprudence by a regime that seems not to ‘give a damn’ if the nation totters. What is more, the Wall Street report further asserts that the Federal Government plans to spend $450m on the amnesty programme for this year, despite the increasing theft of crude oil in the Niger Delta. But, Niger Delta militant leader, Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, yesterday denied that he was receiving $22.9m annually from the Federal Government to guard strategic oil installations and pipelines in the oil-rich region. The ex-militant leader described the widely pub-

lished report that he was receiving annual gratification from the central government as a figment of imagination of its authors. Tompolo, in an interview with National Mirror, described the report by the American Wall Street Journal that former militant leaders in the Niger Delta are being paid hundreds of millions of dollars annually by the government to maintain peace in the region as “blatant falsehood and arrant nonsense.” However, Tompolo, in a response to the report yesterday, said that he had never received a dime from the Federal Government as bribes to protect oil installations and maintain peace in the region. The ex-militant kingpin, who operated two outlawed camps in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State, while the Niger Delta crisis lasted, challenged the authors of the report to make public copious evidence to back their claims. Tompolo, who spoke through his Media Adviser, Mr. Paul Bebenimibo, said the report was fabricated by some unscrupulous individuals engaging in criminal operations in the maritime domain to discredit him.

He said: “There is no such payment of $22.9m to Tompolo annually. The story was cooked up by some illegal operators in the maritime domain and I challenge those peddling the report to substantiate it with facts. It is a mere rumour and speculation. Maybe they are paying such money to some impostors masquerading as Tompolo. “I am emphasising that the report is baseless but it is possible that some people are impersonating Tompolo because it has happened before. Some persons have paraded themselves as Tompolo in recent past. The report is in the imagination of those who want corruption to strive in the maritime domain, especially in the Niger Delta. “It is a fact that Tompolo wants this country to earn what it is supposed to earn from oil production and that is why he engages in ceaseless battles with criminals along the waterways and oil industry in the Niger Delta and that is why one is not surprised about this latest calculated attempt to discredit Tompolo. The Federal Government is not paying Tompolo a dime and we challenged anybody who has a contrary information to make such public,” he added.

“by reducing the unit cost of printing and transportation, it actually should promote the use of cash”. However, the Director General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, Mr. Muda Yusuf, described the exercise as a timely response to the current economic dynamics of the country in terms of the effects on the payment system. According to him, despite fears in some quarters that the introduction of the N5,000, may spur inflation and further compound the predicament of the poor, the issue of rising prices in an economy depends on many variables, adding that higher currency denomination has no impact on money supply, neither would it have any negative effect on production cost. He explained: “The new currency restructuring initiative of the CBN is a step in the right direction. It should be seen as a policy response to current economic dynamics. I believe it would enhance the efficiency of the payment system. “Specifically, introduction of higher denomination of N5,000 would reduce the volume of cash needed for transactions in the economy. This, by extension, would reduce the cost of currency management – printing, movement, storage and distribution. For instance, a N1m transaction would normally require 2,000 pieces of N500 notes or 1,000 pieces of N1,000 notes. But with the introduction of N5,000 notes, only 200 pieces would be needed. This is a significant reduction in the volume which offers tremendous convenience for those who have cause to handle large amounts of cash. “In addition, with the currency restructuring initiative, the ATM machines will be able to stock larger value of cash which could last much longer. This is very valuable for bank customers, especially during holidays. Pressure on the machines will be much less as well. It would reduce queues in the banking hall and reduce pressure on currency counting machines. It is faster to dispense higher currency denominations than lower ones.” The LCCI director-general, however, expressed some concern about the irreconcilability of the initiative to

the cash-lite policy of CBN, since it will now become much easier to carry around large amounts of money. The President of the Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce and Industry, PHCCI, Dr. Vincent Furo, in his own reaction said that the introduction of high denomination note will not help the economy, as it could trigger an inflationary spiral. He added that the apex bank should as matter urgency try to boost the value of the naira and reduce the gap between the naira and dollar exchange rate. Also commenting, the Chairman of the Association of Anambra State Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Prince Emeka Ayabazu, said that CBN should forget about the plan for the good of the economy and think of something that will strengthen the naira against the dollar. In its own reaction, the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, cautioned the CBN to have a rethink on the currency restructuring. In a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party warned that while the introduction of the new high denomination may serve the dual purpose of raising revenue for government on the one hand and reducing the cost of transactions on the other hand, the unintended consequences and collateral damage of introducing the N5,000 may far outweigh the benefits of the new measure . It said that the introduction of higher notes had a direct relation with inflation and cited the examples of several South American nations including Argentina, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Peru that experienced hyper-inflation between 1975 and 1990, Poland and Russian in Europe as well as African nations such as Angola, Congo DRC and Zimbabwe, where things went out of control with the introduction of high-value currency notes. According to the ACN, the introduction of the N5,000 currency note “may be a step in the wrong direction, and down a slippery slope towards hyper-inflation and that it is time to abandon failed inflation-control policies and inadequately thought-through experiments.”


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National News

Monday, August 27, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

FG approves five carriers for 2012 Hajj OLUSEGUN KOIKI

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he Federal Government has approved five carriers for this year’s 2012 Hajj to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, which hopes to commence on September 17. The carriers are MedView Airline, Max Airline, Kabo Airline, Meridian Airline and Trade Craft. The carriers have been given a clean bill of health by the coordinator of the exercise for the Federal Government, National Hajj

Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON). No fewer than 15, 000 pilgrims are expected to be airlifted from different zones of the federation. The General Manager of Medview carrier, one of the designated carriers for the exercise, Mr. David Babatunde, in a telephone interview with National Mirror in Lagos at the weekend, said the carrier was ready to commence airlifting of pilgrims to Mecca for the exercise. Babatunde said the carrier was expected to airlifts

UN marks first anniversary of Abuja bomb blast

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he United Nations (UN) said yesterday that the bomb blast that rocked its Abuja House on August 26 last year has not deterred it from rendering its services to Nigeria. This is even as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Martin Uhomoibhi, reiterated Nigeria’s resolve to combat terrorism whenever it raised its head. Twenty-three persons, including 13 UN officials and 10 non-UN workers died and over 120 persons injured in the bomb attack. The UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Daouda Toure, spoke during the first anniversary of the bomb attack in Abuja. In a statement issued by the communication unit of the UN, Toure said that the sacrifices of the victims of the blast would not be in vain. He said: “Although the devastating attack took the lives of our colleagues

and partners and maimed many people, all of whom were in the building in the pursuit of service to humanity; our spirits have not been dampened. “Their death mobilises us more than ever before. Their sacrifice will not be in vain. We will strive to pursue our work for the people of Nigeria for the continuance of peace and stability of this great nation, and the socio-economic development of all. “The UN identifies with the people of all its Member States, which justifies the expression ‘we, the people,’ as prescribed in the UN Charter. The families of our fallen colleagues should be proud of the altruism of their loved ones. “As an illustration, barely 24 hours after the bomb attack, the UN operation was back on stream and helping the flooding victims in some states – a reaffirmation of the UN’s commitment and promise to the great member state, Nigeria.”

• Exercise begins Sept 17 passengers from SouthWest, South-South and South-East of the federation, but could not give the exact figures of pilgrims that would be airlifted by the carrier. He noted that it is when NAHCON comes out with the total figures of expected pilgrims nationwide that the carrier would be able to determine the figures that would be airlifted, adding that it is equally awaiting slot allocation from the

ABUJA

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he Presidency has thrown its weight behind the Ministry of Trade and Investment in its bids to ensure a drastic reduction in the level of substandard products across the country before the end of 2013. Speaking at the weekend during the inauguration of the Consumer Protection Council’s Products and Services Listing and Monitoring Programme (Proserve)

in Abuja, Minister of Trade and Investment Olusegun Aganga said his ministry would intensify the fight against substandard products across the country, in line with its Industrial Revolution Plan and Local Patronage Initiative. He said: “The present administration, led by President Goodluck Jonathan, attaches great importance to the development of our local industries. The main barriers to increased productivity of our local indus-

Jonathan

just concluded lesser Hajj by the carrier, Babatunde described the exercise as a success as the carrier was able to conclude the two phases of the exercise without any major hitches. About 2, 000 pilgrims were airlifted for the exercise by the carrier.

Akinjide rues quality of nation’s lawmakers K AYODE KETEFE AND WALE IGBINTADE

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ormer AttorneyGeneral of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Richard Osuloale Akinjide, has described the quality of the National Assembly members as a far cry from what Nigeria used to have. Akinjide said that the quality of the lawmakers

had dropped significantly. He told National Mirror in an interview that it would be an insult to even compare the present lawmakers with what Nigeria had in the First Republic when the country’s founding fathers were in the legislative houses. The former minister, however, noted that there are few brilliant lawmakers in the National Assembly, saying the brilliant ones are in a minority.

Akinjide said: “There is no basis for comparison at all between the present lawmakers and what we had in the First Republic. Don’t forget that the founding fathers of this country, who got independence for us, were in the House of Assembly, House of Representatives and the Senate in those days and they are the best Nigeria has ever produced. So, it will be insulting to be comparing

them with those who are there today. “Having said that, we still have some Nigerians who are the right caliber there right now, but they are in a minority. The quality of people in the House reflects the quality of deliberation. You cannot get something out of nothing. You cannot be playing your soccer with the third eleven and hope that you will get the result of first eleven.”

Travellers stranded following the monthly sanitation exercise at Berger end of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in Lagos, on Saturday. PHOTO:ADEMOLA AKINLABI

Presidency backs war on sub-standard products OLUFEMI ADEOSUN

commission. Babatunde, however, added that Medview had acquired two aircraft for the exercise. The aircraft are Boeing 747 and Boeing 767. He said: “The stage has been set and we are ready for the exercise and we pray to Allah to grant us a safe journey to and from Saudi Arabia. We are using B747 with the configuration for 517 people and in all the zones that we are

operating; we will be using two aircraft, which have been on ground for some time now. “Talking on the hitchfree exercise, the previous ones we partook in are still very fresh in the memories of our passengers and the officials. Medview is noted for performance and I can assure our intending pilgrims that this year will not be different from the previous years. We will airlift them as scheduled to and from and with good service.” Commenting on the

tries have been identified and we are already working on them. “And one of the areas that have been identified has to do with sub-standard products. In fact, the President has asked for a presentation to be made to him at the Economic Management Team by the Directors General of Standards Organisation of Nigeria and the Consumer Protection Council on substandard products. This shows how seriously the President takes the issue of substandard goods.

Panel on PHCN pension fund to submit report this week UDEME AKPAN

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he panel established by the Federal Government to investigate the alleged mismanagement of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (NHCN) pension fund will submit its report this week. Investigations showed that the panel, which has the former Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Joseph Ajiboye as chairman, will submit its

report to the Federal Government this week. A source in the Ministry of Power, who confirmed the development, said: “The panel has started work. Many stakeholders, including organisations have been invited to make presentations.” He said: “The panel has two weeks to submit report. That is why it has been holding meetings to ensure that the assignment is completed and report submitted to the government.”

The source, who declined to provide details, said: “It is too early to disclose findings now. But what we can say at this stage is that some revelations have emerged which will be reflected in our report to the government.” The Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, set up the panel last week to investigate pension matters in the power sector. The panel was inaugurated at a ceremony held in the conference room of the Federal Ministry of Power.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

News

Monday, August 27, 2012

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Fear grips FAAN workers over plan to sack 4, 500 OLUSEGUN KOIKI

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here is palpable fear of job loss in all the agencies in the Nigerian aviation industry, especially at the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), where no fewer than 4, 500 workers may be disengaged any moment from now. Information gathered by National Mirror over the

weekend indicates that the planned automation of all the revenue points in the agencies and concessioning of most aspects of the agencies by the government are responsible for the latest plan to sack some of the workforce. In FAAN alone, with about 6, 000 workforce nationwide, the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, National Mirror learnt has given the direc-

tive for the retention of only 1,500 workers while the other 4, 500 workers would be eased out through different strategies. But, Special Assistant to Oduah, Mr. Joe Obi, in a telephone interview with our correspondent said he was not aware of any impending sack in any of the agencies including FAAN. His words: “I’m not aware of any impending sack in any of the agencies includ-

ing FAAN and I don’t think the ministry would just embark on any unwarranted sack of the workforce.” But, he confirmed that the ministry was embarking on automation of the revenue points in the agencies and assured that this would not lead to any sack of worker as the machines would still be manned by human beings. However, a source close to the ministry confided

in our correspondent that among the strategies to be adopted by the ministry for sacking of workforce is the retrenchment of general managers who have spent eight years and above in that position while others who have put in 25 years and above may also be affected by the impending sack. According to the source, those to be affected mostly by the sack are staff from

the commercial department, who our correspondent gathered are making frantic efforts to prevent being abruptly retrenched by the government. As at last Friday, now fewer than eight general managers in FAAN had been issued sacked letters by the management. Among them was one Mrs. Ajanaku, who National Mirror learnt had been in that position for eight years.

Dana Air crash: 22 corpses yet to be collected TOBORE OVUORIE

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L-R: Founding Partner, The Future Awards, Mr. Debola Williams; keynote speaker/Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Mr. Tony Elumelu and former Minister of Education and World Bank Vice-President for Africa, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, at the The Future Awards presentation ceremony in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, yesterday. PHOTO: YINKA ADEPARUSI

Six years after, Abuja light rail now 20% completed

OMEIZA AJAYI

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ix years after the commencement of the Abuja light rail project; it is nowhere near completion as the project is only about 20 per cent completed. This disclosure was made at the weekend by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed, at the formal signing of a modified variation of the scope of agreement with the Chinese firm handling the project, the CCECC. Senator Mohammed, who signed on behalf of the FCT Administration, expressed assurances that railway services will be delivered to the residents of the territory within the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. According to him, the project commenced in 2006 with plans to finance it through a $500 million loan from Chinese Nexim Bank as well as funds from the Federal Government and the FCT Administration, but that the project actually started in

2009 due to paucity of funds. The minister revealed that without the $500 million loan envisaged the FCT Administration and the Federal Government kick started the project and have so far expended over N22bn with 20 percent completion. He disclosed that during this period, the project has been reviewed to include flyovers, bridges and under passes, thereby having a vari-

ation of scope which has increased the entire work from 60.67 to 77.78 kilometres. According to him, his administration has been able to fast track the process by getting the Bureau for Public Procurement’s certificate of no objection as well as the nod of the Federal Executive Council. He also revealed that the project has been phased to enable his administration

First Bank holds EGM on group holding structure

Bala Mohammed

practically put the train and coaches on Abuja rail track before May 2015.

Airtel unveils 500% bonus airtime offer

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ne of the leading telecommunications service provider, Airtel Nigeria, is poised to further transform the vibrant Nigerian telecoms market with the introduction of a first-of-its-kind bonus offer tagged “Airtel 5X offer.” The new bonus offer gives all Airtel’s prepaid customers instant 500 percent bonus airtime each day they utilise set thresholds on local call usage. If a prepaid customer’s assigned daily threshold is 100 Naira, utilization of this amount on a daily basis would earn the person a whopping 500

Naira (five times his threshold usage) instantly, every day. The promo comes with a proviso that the bonus airtime offer tagged “Airtel 5X offer”, can only be utilized for Airtel to Airtel calls on the same day it is received as the validity expires every 12 midnight of the same day. Customers would be provided with information on their daily threshold via SMS or by calling the MAMO interactive voice service free of charge on 141. To Check their 500% Bonus balance, customers are to dial *123*4#.

fforts by the Lagos State government to ensure a speedy collection of identified corpses of the victims of the Dana plane crash has so far been successful as evacuation of corpses by relatives have been speedy. But, National Mirror gathered that only 22 bodies were yet to be collected while nine bodies were still unidentified and about 132 had so far been released. The DNA identification process so far has about 94 percent success. An official of the Lekan Ogunsola Memorial Mortuary of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), who did not want his name mentioned, told National Mirror yesterday that it

was just a few corpses that were yet to be collected. According to the source, most relatives collected the bodies of their loved ones quietly and took them for burial with the determination to put the sad event behind them. When asked the exact number of those left and what happens to the ones burnt beyond DNA identification, he said: “I can’t tell you the exact number right away, but take my words, they are quite few. “The ones that are left actually belong to relatives who are not based in Nigeria but they have been communicating with us that they will definitely come very soon for them. I am certain that before the end of next month, the affected families would have come for the bodies of their loved ones.

Speaking on the bonus offer, Airtel’s Chief Marketing Officer, Olu Akanmu, said it is yet another testimony to the commitment of the company to empower, delight and excite its esteemed customers with innovative and exclusive offerings. Stated Akanmu: “We are committed to go the extra mile in giving back to our customers as much incentive as possible to encourage communication with friends, family, loved ones and business associates. Airtel 5X offer is not a lottery. It is not a game of chance unlike others in the market”.

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n a move that signifies a bold step towards consolidating its operations into a group structure, First Bank of Nigeria Plc (FirstBank) will hold a courtordered Extra Ordinary General Meeting (EGM) on September 24, 2012 where shareholders of the bank are expected to ratify the emergence as a holding company from the existing structure. The EGM, a statutory exercise that is central to the realisation of the new structure, will culminate in the submission of an application to delist FirstBank shares from the Nigerian Stock Exchange and listing of FBN Holding shares on October 3, 2012. Commenting on the new ownership structure, FirstBank’s GMD/CEO, Mr. Bisi Onasanya, said the holding company structure is designed to enhance the bank’s competitiveness, streamline

and coordinate various operations across non-bank financial services, and further exploit opportunities for synergies between subsidiaries. The new structure, he said, will also align the ownership and operation of the bank’s subsidiaries and businesses with current CBN regulatory requirements issued under the new CBN regulations in 2010, which require the separation of commercial banking business from other financial services businesses. The overall strategy of this, he said was to create an operating model that will profitably grow the bank’s presence in the market for commercial banking and non-banking financial services in order to achieve the aspiration to be the dominant financial services group in sub-Saharan Africa.


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South-West

Monday, August 27, 2012

‘Lagos security expenditure hits N9bn since 2007’ MURITALA AYINLA

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verall expenditures by the Lagos State government, corporate organisations and individual contribution on security operations in the state has hit over N9bn in the last five years, according to National Mirror investigation. The amount was the aggregate of the state government and private organisation’s contributions to the funding of the state security through the Lagos State Security Trust Fund established in 2007 to complement the Federal Government security efforts .

The state government as part of its cardinal objectives and in its 10-Point Agenda for maintaining security of life and property, spent over N5bn on the State Security Trust Fund through donation of patrol vehicles, Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), marine boats and others. Others are Naval Vessels, motorbikes, helicopters, bullet proof vests, WalkieTalkies and other logistics, including the fuelling of the patrol vehicles and APCs in the state. Part of the contribution also covers the maintenance of the state’s security operatives, especially the Rapid Respond Squad (RRS)

and Operation MESA also known as OP MESA. About 114 patrol vehicles are also expected to be presented to the state security outfit by the 57 Local Government Areas and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) before the end of the year. National Mirror reliably gathered that the state government expended over N2bn on procurement of special equipment items through the state security trust fund between November 2007 and December 2008 while about N2bn was also generated from private organisations, the Nigerian Stock Exchange and individuals during the period to

fund security. In 2009, N1.8bn was also expended on security equipment and gadgets by the state government and the 57 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) as well as private organisations while over N183 million was donated in cash by corporate organizations to improve the performance of security personnel in the state. It was also gathered that the state security trust fund also got over N1bn in 2010 to enhance the operation of the underfunded officers in all the forces in its security outfit to nib crime in the bud.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Alaafin meets committee to end crisis in Yorubaland KEMI OLAITAN IBADAN

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n end may be in sight to the crisis among traditional rulers in Yorubaland as the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, at the weekend, played host to a delegation of Yoruba Conflict Resolution Committee led by Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), in his palace. National Mirror learnt that the delegation, which had in its team, the Olugbo of Ugboland, Oba Obateru Akinruntan; the Ajogbu of Araromi, Ondo State, Oba Aderemi Adelola; the Owa of Ogbagiland, Oba Victor Adetona and Olotu Omooba Leye Ashaye, SecretaryGeneral of the Committee, had for long attempted to meet the Alaafin for his approval without success, until Chief Babalola intervened and made the meeting possible. The meeting also had in attendance the Oyomesi, Baales, Princesses, some Oyo community leaders, among others. It was gathered that the first meeting of the com-

mittee which was held at the residence of the Matriarch of the Awolowo dynasty, Chief (Mrs.) H.I.D. Awolowo at Ikenne, Ogun State, recorded the absence of many prominent Yoruba monarchs, a development that sparked off controversy. In the belief that nothing could be achieved without the support of some prominent Yoruba Obas that include the Alaafin of Oyo, the Awujale of Ijebuland, the Alake of Egbaland, among others, the Olugbo said the committee had to visit the monarchs in order to collate their grievances and proffer lasting solution to the crisis. It was learnt that the committee had earlier visited the Alake of Egbaland, the Awujale of Ijebuland, as well as the Olubadan of Ibadanland. Speaking at the Alaafin’s palace, Chief Babalola said he accepted the chairmanship of the reconciliation committee in order to bring a lasting solution to the lingering disunity among many monarchs and leaders in Yorubaland.

Lawmaker calls for commission on Nigerians in Diaspora WALE FOLARIN OSOGBO

C L-R: Osun State Deputy Governor, Otunba Titilayo Laoye-Tomori; Olori Abeke Oyetunji and Ataoja of Osogboland, Oba. Jimoh Oyetunji, at the Osun Osogbo cultural festival, at the weekend.

Fayemi to sue NULGE over N1bn council loot ABIODUN NEJO ADO EKITI

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kiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has given the Nigeria Union of Local Government (NULGE) in the state seven days to withdraw the allegation of deduction of N1bn monthly from local government funds it levied against him or face legal action. Fayemi said the allegation, which it described as “a calculated attempt to dent the good image of the governor and the good record of his administration, was orchestrated on-line and in a particular print media with the sole aim of causing disaffection among Ekiti workers

and also discrediting the person of the governor.” NULGE had alleged, among others as reported on-line and in a newspaper at the weekend that Fayemi was deducting N1bn monthly from the allocations to the 16 local governments in the state. But, a statement by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Olayinka Oyebode, said yesterday that “a simple breakdown of the monthly allocations to Ekiti State and the 16 councils showed that it is practically impossible to deduct N1bn from the councils’ allocation. “It is quite ridiculous for anyone to claim that N1bn is deducted from the councils’ allocation given

F i Fayemi

the fact that what accrued to the 16 local government areas are usually predistributed at the Federation Account Allocation Committee based on some sharing indices. Oyebode’s words: “Contrary to claims by NULGE leaders, that only N1, 345,649,056.01 was released to the lo-

cal government areas in March, records show that N2, 835,724,325.23 was released. Also for the month of May, where NULGE alleged that only N1, 476,368,871.53 was released, it is on record that the councils got the sum N2, 064,845,343.63. This revelation came as the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) in the state told a press conference in Ado Ekiti yesterday that it was impossible for there to be a surplus of over N1bn after the distribution of Joint Accounts Allocation of Funds Committee (JAAC), saying it was “not in doubt that NULGE was out to make mischief.”

hairman of the House of Representatives Committee on the Diaspora, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has called for the establishment of a commission in charge of Nigerians in the Diaspora. Dabiri-Erewa, who made the call in Osogbo, the Osun State capital while speaking during the 2012 Nigerians in the Diaspora (Europe) Investment Summit hosted by the state government, said the move would go a long way in allowing Nigerians in Diaspora to contribute their quota to the country’s development. Her words: “The commission, when established, will be saddled with the responsibility of taking charge of all affairs relating to Nigerians in the Diaspora, especially on the issue of how to enlist the support of Nigerians outside Nigeria for the development of the country.” According to her, many Nigerian experts in various fields of human endeavour are scattered across the

world developing other peoples’ economies and making lives better while their home country is suffering from lack of expertise in various sectors. She added that Nigerians have contributed immensely to the growth of sectors such as health, finance, agriculture, engineering and other essential services of other countries. “That is why it is time for us as a country to consider this commission which will look at the issue of Nigerians in the Diaspora and how their contributions can be harnessed to save the country from its present predicament. “We have so many of our people doing very well and respected in their chosen fields such as medicine, engineering, service deliveries and all that. “The academia is not left out. Nigerians stand out wherever they are. So, why can’t we look for a way to harness their expertise for the growth of this country? That is why I am making this strong case for the establishment of a commission for it,” she said.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Monday, August 27

South-West

, 2012

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NDLEA seeks stiffer penalty against drug barons ABIODUN NEJO ADO EKITI

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he Nigerian Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has said the fine option given to convicted drug barons by judges are part of the reasons illicit drug business is on the increase in the country. NDLEA Director General, Mr Femi Ajayi, said he expected those found guilty in court of deal-

•Says fine option not enough ing in cocaine, heroin and other hard drugs be jailed without option of fine to serve as deterrent to others and discouragement to the business. Ajayi told journalists at the weekend at OyeEkiti in Ekiti State that stiff punitive measures against illegal drug dealers in court remained the most potent way to

curtail the activities of criminals and safeguard the country’s image before the international community. He said: “I suspect a dangerous situation ahead when judges exercise discretionary powers when discretion does not arise. I have witnessed situations when people dealing in

cocaine and heroines, which are classified as Class A drugs were convicted with option of fine. I plead with our judges to look at this aspect very well in the interest of this country”. According to him, such feeble penalties for the convicted, coupled with restricted presence of NDLEA men in some

critical locations where illicit drug dealers use as hideouts or as escape routes, have been the bane of the agency. The NDLEA boss lamented the shortage of manpower in the agency, despite the abundant human resources in the nation, saying this had created avenue for criminals to escape arrest and justice. Ajayi said: “As I speak

with you, NDLEA men are not everywhere they are supposed to be. We do not have men at all the nation’s borders and this is a loophole for criminals to escape arrest”. He, however, promised that the agency would continue to strengthen its operation and extend its dragnets across the nation to ensure that illicit drug dealers did not have their ways.

Aregbesola tasks FG on security WALE FOLARIN OSOGBO

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sun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola has said that it is high time the Federal Government resolved the security challenges confronting the country. Speaking at the 10th anniversary of the Organisation of African Instituted Churches (OAIC) at the weekend in Osogbo, the state capital, Aregbesola said: “No nation can develop and continue to prosper in an atmosphere of insecurity and breakdown of law L-R: Caretaker Chairman of Ido-Osi Local Government Area of Ekiti State, Hon Gbenga Agbeyo; Caretaker Chairman of Ekiti East and order.” The governor decried the Local Government Area and Chairman, Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Hon Rotimi Ajidara; ALGON Treasurer, Maj Tajudeen Awe (rtd) and the state’s Accountant General, Mr Ayoola Owolabi, during a press conference to debunk allegation increasing spate of violence of illegal deduction by the state government in Ado-Ekiti, yesterday. in the country, adding that the development was posing severe threat to nation’s construction of the second was resolved that an inter- sub-structure recently. “The peace. OLUFEMI ADEOSUN nationally reputed bridge preliminary report of the was completed in 1991. Aregbesola said: “It is unABUJA On the efforts being made consultant be invited to underwater investigation fortunate that the country is he Federal Govern- to ensure that the bridge carry out further inspection though not yet concluded bedeviled with multifarious ment has dismissed is put under continuous of it. revealed that the metal cas- socio-economic challenges rumours that the maintenance, the statement The statement reads: “An ing housing the concrete is Third Mainland Bridge in said: “In 2006, joint inspec- international bridge consul- rotting away as a result of Lagos is on the verge of col- tion on the bridge was first tant was thereafter invited the activities of certain sea LUFEMI ADEOSUN lapsing. carried out by a combined to carry out series of inspec- creatures attracted to that O ABUJA In a statement from the team of engineers from the tions and investigations section of the Lagos Lagoon Ministry of Works and Federal Ministry of Works, along with the contractors due to the discharge of orfter a week of ressigned by the Director High- Julius Berger Nig Plc and and bridge design consul- ganic effluent into the Lacue efforts and asway Designs, Mr. Dominic M/s Borini Prono, a mem- tants. The studies revealed goon. sessment of the Avishigh, the Federal Gov- ber of the consortium that that there was no threat “Following the report, the impact of the devastating ernment asked members of constructed the bridge, fol- of collapse on the Third Minister of Works, Mr. Mike ocean surge at the coastline the public to go about their lowing insinuation that the Mainland Bridge. It was the Onolememen, wrote the of Lagos State, a team from businesses without fear, add- bridge was oscillating. same process that led to the Lagos State Government to the National Emergency ing that rehabilitation work After the inspection, ac- commissioning of under- stop the discharge of organic Management (NEMA) has on the bridge is ongoing. concluded its assignment cording to the statement, it water studies of the bridge effluents into the lagoon. “We wish to use this opwith a report indicating that portunity to call on Nigerithe causes of the surge was in Akure by his Special Ad- the October 20 governorship natural. ans to go about their normal HAKEEM GBADAMOSI viser on Media and Public- election in Ondo State. duty and disregard such AKURE The agency also discov“Nothing will show INEC ered that human-casualty in ity, Mr. Kunle Adebayo. satanic rumours about the he Peoples DemoOke described the devel- seriousness and determina- the incident was man-made. Third Mainland Bridge cratic Party (PDP) opment as a genuine move tion to make the voice of the as the on-going rehabilitaLeading the NEMA team governorship candi- by the commission to con- people count in 2015 elec- after the completion of the tion work is very much on date for the October 20 elec- duct transparent elections tions and beyond than to en- assessment at the weekend, track,” the statement said sure that the technology is the Director of Planning, in the country. The Third Mainland tion in Ondo State, Chief He said: “For us, this is used in the Ondo elections Research and Forecasting Bridge, which y connects Olusola Oke, has hailed the Lagos Island with the Main- decision of the Independent a strong voice from a genu- in October 20.” of the agency, Dr. Charles Oke pointed out that po- Agbo, said the ocean surge land, is said to be the longest National Electoral Commis- inely determined agency for and most important bridge sion (INEC) to introduce transparent elections and litical atmosphere in the was a natural phenomenon. in Nigeria. The bridge was video recording during elec- leadership change. We also state is becoming tense over Apart from that, he said hail suggestions by stake- the October poll, saying that the casualty figure was constructed in two phases. tions Oke stated this in a press holders that the video re- some politicians had started high because people failed The first phase was constatement signed yesterday cording exercise starts with heating the polity. structed in 1981, while the to take precautionary mea-

such as gross insecurity, violence and terrorism as well as corruption in high and low places. “Our country is passing through a particularly difficult time and facing challenges that constitute direct affront to its existence as a nation. Violence and terrorism, corruption, especially the recent revelation of fuel subsidy scam of almost a trillion Naira and pensions running into hundreds of billions, seems to have overwhelmed the government at top.” the top.

FG allays fear over Lagos Third Mainland Bridge

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Aregbesola

Kuramo beach surge natural –NEMA

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Elections: Oke praises INEC’s new technology

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sure, such as not engaging in business activities close to the sea. He said: “Though nine bodies have so far being recovered and confirmed by NEMA officials, while others, as claimed by residents still missing, the ocean surge at Kuramo beach and other areas of Lagos was natural phenomena, while the human casualty could be blamed on carelessness of people living too close to the danger of coastline when early warning alert were raised by appropriate authorities on the effect of climate change and global warming.” The agency said more beaches might be affected by wave tide after the team assessed the impact at the worst affected Kuramo Beach and also visited Oniru Private Beach and some parts of Ojo, Badagry, Tarkwa Bay, Maiyegun and Alpha Beach.


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South East

Monday, August 27, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Cardinal Arinze, others condemn murder of girl for resisting rape NWABUEZE OKONKWO ONITSHA

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ears and condemnations have continued to trail the killing of a 22-year-old girl, Miss Francisca Okoli, by armed robbers for resisting their attempt to rape her during a robbery operation. The former Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of Sacraments in the Vatican City, His Eminence, Francis Cardinal Arinze, and the Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province, His Grace, Most Rev. Valerian Maduka Okeke, have joined other

clerics to condemn the action. A five-man robbery gang had on July 29 invaded the home of Mr. and Mrs. George Okoli, parents of Francisca, about 4.30a.m., robbed them of their cash and other valuables before attempting to rape their daughter. The girl’s resistance to their attempt angered the robbers and they used pistol and cudgels to hit her in every part of her body until she gave up the ghost in the presence of her parents. Condemning the incident in Onitsha at the weekend, Arinze, who is holidaying in the country, said it was a sign of evil

possession. He added that evil deeds must not go unpunished, while praying for the repose of the soul of the deceased. In his own comment, Okeke urged the police to carry out thorough investigations into the dastardly act with a view to unmasking the culprits behind Francisca’s murder. The archbishop disclosed that the church had dispatched a team from his

office to ascertain the circumstances leading to her murder. He, however, said it was the duty of security operatives to fish out the people responsible for the act. Confirming the incident, Francisca’s father, George, had narrated how the gang broke through his premises around 4.30a.m. on that fateful day with shot guns, cutlasses, cudgels and other dangerous weapons.

He said: “My attempts to save my daughter’s life failed when the robbers stabbed me with cutlasses and other weapons and chased me out of the room where I saw them tear the dress and underwear of my daughter in a bid to rape her. “At a stage, she was even beckoning on me and invoking the mercy of God and anybody that could save her, while still posing a strong resistance

to their move.” Dr. Donald Nwasike, who received the body of the deceased at the Our Lady of Fatima Hospital, Awka-Etiti, noted that the lady was badly brutalised with severe head injuries as she also foamed in her mouth. The General Secretary of CYON at the St Joseph Catholic Church, Miss Uzoamaka Okeke, described Francisca as a dedicated member.

Return to APGA’s fold, Umeh tells factions CHRIS NJOKU OWERRI

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he National Chairman of All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Victor Umeh, has advised all factional members to return to the party or be treated as wayward children. Umeh said in an interview in Owerri recently that such factional members should in their own

interest return to the party and join the recognised leadership to pilot the affairs of the party. He said: “My advice is for them to return to APGA even if they are 10 factions in number. Those who said they have removed me as the national chairman and the secretary, where are they now. We are the only people operating in the party now.”

L-R: Rev. B.A. Obiefuna; Dr. Chike Akunyili; Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi; former Information Minister, Prof. Dora Akunyili and Mrs. Uche Ekunife, at the inauguration of the ultra-modern Agulu Town Hall in Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Flood sweeps away home appliances, livestock in Enugu N40m building collapses D A in Onitsha ENNIS ENUGU

GBO

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orrential rains have wreaked havoc on the residents of Amaokwe in Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State. Rainwater from the downpour swept away household appliances and livestock in the area. The rain, which started about 11.30pm on Thursday, did not stop till Friday night. It also forced flights coming to Enugu Airport to

abort mid-air and to return to base. Worst hit is the All Saints Anglican Church, where the Resident Priest, Rev. Eric Ezeagakwu, alleged that the cause of flood was the channelization of water to the area by a construction company undertaking road construction between the 9th Mile and Oji, which distorted the normal flow of flood in the area. He said: “The rain started falling heavily and before you knew what was happening, my bedroom, children’s room, and kitchen have been cov-

ered by flood. My car parked outside was half covered by the flood. “Part of the foundation of this building has started to cave in as a result. I am appealing to the Udi Local Government chairman and the state government to quickly take a corrective measure as the situation is unpalatable given the property worth over N15m that have been destroyed.” The Archdeacon, Amokwe Archdeaconry, Rev. Earnest Aneka, said the relevant authorities should sanction the construction firm handling the project.

Another victim of the flood, Mrs. Gloria Amaefula, narrated how the flood destroyed her shop. She said: “All the clothes I sell and that of my neighbours have been destroyed. I do not know what to do now. I borrowed money to start this business and I am yet to pay back the money. Government should please assist us recover what we have lost.” The South-East zonal office of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, was not opened at the weekend.

PDP lifts Nsukka rainstorm victims with relief materials DENNIS AGBO ENUGU

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uccour came the way of Nru Nsukka rainstorm victims yesterday as the Nru Ward of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, donated relief materials to them. Rainstorm had in June hit the Nru community

in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State, destroying over 40 residential houses, a church as well as educational institutions. In the wake of the disaster, the councillor representing the community in the Nsukka legislative council, Hon. Celestine Ogbu, and the local gov-

ernment had presented the victims with relief materials. The PDP delegation was led by the Administrator of Nsukka Central Development Centre, Hon. Mercy Onah, Ogbu and the ward Chairman, Mr. Christopher Onah. Addressing the victims, Hon. Onah said the par-

ty’s visit to the area was a demonstration of its commitment to the welfare of the people, irrespective of political differences. The administrator, who expressed concern over the suffering of the people since the incident occurred, urged them to take solace in the fact that no life was lost.

NWABUEZE OKONKWO ONITSHA

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n uncompleted four-storey building, which had gulped N40m, collapsed on Saturday in the commercial city of Onitsha, Anambra State. The incident occurred about 12.30am at No. 22 Nnewi Street in Odoakpu area of Onitsha. Although no casualty was recorded, witnesses said the building designed to have 14 flats and three shops, collapsed with a great sound. A resident of Nnewi Street, who identified himself as Mr. Cletus Ezendo, told journalists that the residents of the area rushed out when they heard the sound of the collapsed building. Ezendo, however, thanked God that nobody was living inside the building yet, neither were work-

ers still at work. He added that the building collapsed shortly after the workers who were casting the fourth floor decking had closed on Friday evening and gone home. Others, who spoke on the incident, said it affected a five-storey residential building beside it which now had a crack. They disclosed that some would-be tenants who had already paid for the collapsed building were now bemoaning their fate. At press time, the whereabouts of the owner of the building or his contractor were not known. However, some people said the building collapsed because of a faulty foundation. They added the strength of the foundation and the topology of the land might not have been able to carry the structure located near a waterway.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

South South

Monday, August 27, 2012

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Ex-militant leaders condemn military action in Bakassi

Kidnapped Isoko union leader freed

CHINEDUM EMEANA

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AMOUR UDEMUDE ASABA

PORT HARCOURT

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he Leadership Forum for Peace in the Niger Delta (LFPND), a group comprising former militant leaders, have kicked against military action against the camp of General Lato Marine located in Bakassi area of Cross Rivers State. The military action, according LFPND, started on Saturday. Addressing journalists yesterday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, the group regretted that the military attacks may jeopardize the resolve by General Marine and his men to drop their arms. The group’s leader, Pastor “General” Reuben Wilson, said from the arrangements that had been concluded, Presidential Adviser on Niger Delta Affairs and Chairman of Amnesty Programme, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, was scheduled to visit Cross Rivers State yesterday to disarm General Lato Marine and his men. Wilson said: “As we speak, we have been able to convince many of the Generals and their men to leave the creeks with a promise that they would not be hurt by the government. The latest move was our talks with General Lato Marine, who has a camp in Bakassi. He had finally agreed to come out of the creeks when he got convinced that he would not be harmed. “However, to our shock, we learnt on Saturday that our peace moves and Lato’s subsequent decision to leave the creeks is being threatened, as security operatives have occupied his camp and engaged in sporadic shootings. Whatever may have led to this is what we cannot say.” He, therefore, demanded that the security operatives occupying the camp should be withdrawn immediately since Lato had agreed to drop his arms. Wilson said: “He is fully aware that the official doors of the amnesty programme had been closed, but because of our intermediary moves, and the fact that we had convinced him not to fear, but drop his arms and come out of the creeks, he is ready to accept the amnesty in whatever sense.”

L-R: Mr. Dairo Dickson Ishakwu, Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan and Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, during a two-day power summit with National Assembly members held in Asaba, at the weekend.

Commission sacks 100 Bayelsa Assembly workers EMMA GBEMUDU YENAGOA

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ontroversy may trail the sacking of 100 workers in the Bayelsa State House of Assembly. The 100 workers were employed by the interim administration of former Acting Governor Nestor Binabo. Investigation revealed that the affected worker, who got their appointment letters on February 9, had not received salaries till date. Binabo, a former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, became Acting Governor in January when the Supreme Court ruled against the tenure elongation of former Governor Timipre Sylva. But in an interview with National Mirror yesterday in Yenagoa, the state capital, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson,

Governor Dickson

said that the employment of the 100 workers did not follow due process. He said: “The process of the appointment is being looked into; it did not follow due process. We have to look at that. You are aware that a law has been passed to check payroll fraud and criminalize fraud in the system. Some unscrupulous appointments made did not have proper records. All of these have to be addressed. “People should be very careful when they make

statements, we can’t continue to condone these kinds of things in the civil service that resulted in this state paying the highest wage bill in this country. If their appointments are not addressed, they cannot collect salaries. Who are you paying salaries when you don’t know if the people are in the system? Every appointment translates to salary at the end of the day.” Meanwhile, the state chapter of the National Conscience Party (NCP) yesterday flayed Governor Seriake Dickson’s administration for refusing to honour the employment letters given to the 100 workers. NCP Publicity Secretary, Matthew Oyateide, told National Mirror that the party flayed the rejection of the 100 workers by Governor Dickson. He said: “We, as a party, is querying why Governor Seriake Dickson should not honour the employment

done by the former Acting Governor of the state, Nestor Binabo. The Assembly employed 100 workers and others were also employed in other areas of the civil service during Binabo’s tenure as Acting Governor. Some of the people were working in private places before they left for the civil service because they felt they have gotten better jobs to improve their livings. “The laying off of these workers is creating hardship to them and their families .They were given appointment letters on February 9, but have not started collecting salaries before Binabo left as Acting Governor. Till date, the workers have not received any salary. After all, Binabo, as Acting Governor, supported and funded Dickson’s February 11 governorship poll. It is unfortunate that Binabo should be treated in such manner”.

FG vs PHCN: Uduaghan urges dialogue

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elta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan has appealed to Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) workers to adopt dialogue in resolving their disagreement with the Federal Government, instead of resorting to strike. Uduaghan, who was speaking at a stakeholders meeting on power in Asaba, the state capital, said resorting to threat and strike

was counter-productive and would not do anybody good in the long run. He, therefore, urged the workers support effort by the Federal Government to improve the PHCN’s productivity. “I appeal to PHCN workers to settle the disagreement through dialogue, instead of resorting to strike and disruption of the system,” the governor said. Uduaghan, however,

said his administration was committed to improving electricity supply in the state, adding the state invested in Independent Power Project (IPP) to boost the supply. He said the state government had taken delivery of about 500 transformers and when installed, electricity supply would improve in the state. The governor commended PHCN for upgrading

electricity supply, pointing out that the increase of the Megawatts to about 5000 was impressive. In his remarks, Minister of Power Prof. Barth Nnaji said the Federal Government was focused in ensuring regular power supply. Assuring that the Federal Government would not fail Nigerians, Nnaji praised the Delta State Government for investing in the IPP.

resident General of Isoko Developing Union (IDU), Chief Gregory Akpojene, who was kidnapped last Wednesday at his home town, Otor-Igho, has been released. The Secretary General of IDU, Mr. Julius MallamObi, told journalists yesterday that Akpojene was released on Saturday. Akpojene, was kidnapped last Wednesday at Otor-Igho in Isoko North Local Government Area of Delta State by seven gunmen, who invaded his home and whisked him to unknown destination. Describing the incident as unfortunate and condemnable, The IDU secretary general urged the Delta State Government and security agencies to tackle crimes across the state. Akpojene’s kidnap has, however, been condemned by stakeholders. The stakeholders urged the government to find solutions to the incessant kidnappings the state. Former IDU President General Chief Iduh Amadhe called on the government to do more in protecting lives and property.

Rivers flags off holiday tour for public school pupils CHINEDUM EMEANA PORT HARCOURT

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he Rivers State Government has commenced annual holiday tours for pupils in public schools. The state Commissioner of Education, Dame Alice Lawrence-Nemi, who flagged off the programme at the weekend, explained that the initiative was designed to expose and inspire the pupils for greater heights. “This occasion is another opportunity we are using to flame up the dreams and visions of our pupils. The programme is geared towards fulfilling the ministry’s new focus,” she said. The holiday tour will take place for 17 days. The pupils will visit places like MTN office, House of Assembly, Government House, Media Houses and Rivers State Judiciary, among others. The commissioner said: “As we mark the commencement of the 2012 annual holiday tour, we want to advise our pupils to take good advantage of the opportunity given to them by the Ministry of Education.”


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North

Monday, August 27, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Flood kills four in Niger communities PRISCILLA DENNIS MINNA

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t least four people were swept away at the weekend following the downpour in Bosso in Maikunkele Local Government and Zungeru in Wushishi Local Government Area of Niger State.

On Friday, it rained heavily for over five hours in Minna and other parts of the state. This resulted in the flooding of homes and business premises in the state capital. The flood forced some families out of their homes to seek refuge with friends or relatives. It was gathered that

those who died included two brothers returning from the farm, Abubakar and Abbdullahi Gwaibaita of Gungel, a rural community in Bosso Local Government, while the other two were Fulani herdsmen caught unawares by flood along their usual routes in Zungeru area of

Wushishi Local Government. Sources said that Abubakar and Abdullahi, who had both left for the farm before the rain started, were trapped by the heavy torrents which covered the pathway to their farm. Their bodies were discovered by a search party

about six kilometres from an adjoining village. Sources also said that the two herdsmen were killed on the spot as they were apparently overwhelmed by the force of the flood which lifted and knocked them against a rock. Similarly, many houses,

sugarcane and rice farms in Wuya Kede, Wuya Kanti, Batati and Muregi all in Mokwa Local Government were swept away by floods. The flood in the affected areas, it was also learnt, might not be unconnected with the discharge of excess water from Hydro Electric dams in the state.

NRC launches 177 refurbished wagons, engines PRISCILLA DENNIS MINNA

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L-R: Director of Civil Engineering, Kaduna State, Mr. Ishaya Yemiri; Commissioner for Works, Mr. Suleiman Richiba; Governor Patrick Yakowa and Site Engineer, Diab Arichimi; during the inspection of Jere Krumin Jibrin Kwai and Kafanchan road projects in Kaduna, at the weekend.

Shortfall in federal allocation affects workers’ salaries - Ahmed

PRISCILLA DENNIS

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ILORIN

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overnor Abdulfatah Ahmed said the recent shortfall in federal allocation to Kwara State was responsible for the delay in the payment of workers’ salaries, particularly the local government employees. The governor, who was in Saudi Arabia for the lesser Hajj, when the dispute over the delay in payment of workers came to the fore, disclosed this at the weekend while speaking with journalists at the Government House in Ilorin. Ahmed said the shortfall had been occurring since May, adding that the situation was made worse because the allocation also came late, as against what it used to be. “There had been drops in the allocation to the states, and delays in allocation meetings and allocation of funds to the local governments. These shortfalls since May, June

We won’t support state police, Northern govs insist MINNA

WOLE ADEDEJI

Ahmed

and July this year have not been helpful,” he said. The governor said though the local governments had been charged to look inward for resources to meet their needs, yet, the state could not leave them to the task particularly because of the need to ensure discipline in spending and prioritising their projects. Not only this, he said they were made to form a joint account with the state whereby the councils contributed only N800m while the state government complemented it with N2.5bn.

he Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, said it would soon kick start its passengers and hauling train services from Lagos to Kano. This follows the completion of repairs of 177 engines and wagons. The NRC Managing Director, MD, Mr. Seyi Sijuade, made this known in Minna at the weekend at the lunch of the first batch of the rehabilitated wagons and engines on the daily Minna - Kaduna - Minna train service. He said the train would ply the Lagos - Kano route

twice every week. Sijuade, who spoke through the Director of Operations, Mr. Niyi Alli, explained that the repair of the rolling stock for the Lagos - Kano route was achieved through the efforts of engineers at the corporation’s Ebute-Metta, Apapa, Zaria and Minna workshops. The MD also said that using the NRC technicians helped to save the cost of effecting repairs on the wagons and engines. He said: “Going by such achievements, I feel we are going back to the good old days of the railways where everything was done inhouse.”

iger State Governor and Chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum, NSGF, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, said unless a superior argument was offered to convince the region on the establishment of state police, the stand of governors of the 19 states remained unchanged. Aliyu, who disclosed

this when the Niger State Council of Traditional Rulers paid him Sallah homage, said for now, the governors saw no reason to support the establishment of the state police. “At the moment, we do not see why it should happen because we know even in those days how the regional police were used to stop other people from enjoying their fundamental rights. For now, we will not be intimidated. But if for any rea-

son, a superior argument comes forward, we will be able to change our position,” he said. The NSGF chairman also said that to find a lasting solution to the security challenges and all forms of agitation in the region, the forum had constituted a peace committee to dialogue with those who were aggrieved and advise the governors appropriately. He also regretted that governors of the 19 states

were being blackmailed by a section of the country over their position on the Petroleum Industries Bill, PIB. The governor said that, contrary to what some people thought, the issue had not yet being resolved. Aliyu wondered that if the country could talk about the need to amend the constitution why people would hesitate to discuss the onshore/offshore law.

STF has failed in Plateau, says Rep JAMES ABRAHAM JOS

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member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Simon Mwadkom, has faulted the decision of the Special Task Force, STF, on Jos crisis not to disclose the outcome of its onslaught against terrorists in some communities in Plateau State. The STF Commander, Major General Henry Ag-

boola, had at different fora said the task force would not make public the results of the ongoing military action in five communities in Barki Ladi and Riyom local government areas of the state so as not to jeopardise future operations. But Mwadkom, who spoke with journalists in Jos at the weekend, said it was wrong for the STF to have taken such stance on the crisis when Nigerians and the world were already

waiting for the task force to unravel those behind the killings in the affected areas. The lawmaker representing Barki Ladi/Riyom federal constituency said such decision by the STF portrayed the task force in bad light, adding that it confirmed the fears that the soldiers were not interested in flushing out the terrorists in the first place. He said: “As far as I am concerned, the STF’s military exercise in those com-

munities is a total failure. In the first place, when the United States of America was looking for Osama bin Laden, did they inform him that they were coming on a particular day? You are coming for a military exercise and the aim is to apprehend those that have been carrying out terrorists attacks on innocent people and you now announce to them that I am coming on so, so date, I am giving you so, so number of hours.”


Monday, August 27, 2012

PDP: Tukur and task of reconciliation

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National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Politics

Federalism, Nigeria’s recipe for good governance – Tinubu

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INEC clears 12 candidates for Ondo guber poll HAKEEM GBADAMOSI AKURE.

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L-R: Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; President, Amalgamated Niger Delta Youths for Peace Initiative, Mr. Henry Nwabueze and the Director, Projects and Finance, Mr. Greg Fiberesima, during a courtesy call on the former president in Abeokuta, at the weekend.

Bakassi: FG urges restraint, condemns secession threat • Senate charges Jonathan on Bakassi GEORGE OJI AND EMMANUEL ONANI

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he Federal Government yesterday urged the people of Bakassi to abide by the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) concerning the land and maritime boundaries between Nigeria and Cameroun. Government also condemned the recent threat for secession by the people and appealed to them to seek legal means and established channels to ventilate whatever grievances they may have in a peaceful and orderly manner. In a statement from the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and signed by the ministry’s spokesman, Mr. Ogbole Amadu Ode, government assured that it will continue to take every diplomatic step in its engagements with Cameroun to ensure that the rights of the people of Bakassi are

fully protected. Recently, there have been agitation by some Nigerians for the Federal Government to review and indeed renege or repudiate the ruling of the ICJ of October 2002, which among others ceded Bakassi to Cameroun. To deal with the impasse arising from the implementation of the judgement, the United Nations Secretary General further facilitated the Green Tree Agreement (GTA) between Nigeria and Cameroun, which was signed by both parties on June 12, 2006. The agreement authorised the two countries to implement the decision of the court and to recognise the land and maritime boundary between them as delineated by the court. The Bakassi Self Determination Front, a selfstyled group has been at the forefront for this agitation. The Federal Government said as a responsible,

peace-loving and law-abiding country, Nigeria is guided by the provisions of its constitution, which enjoins the country to respect international laws and treaty obligations and to settle international disputes by negotiation, mediation, conciliation, arbitration and adjudication. It said in line with the principles of rule of law, all Nigerians who are affected by the ICJ ruling must ensure that they live within the laws of their new authority. Government said it welcomed the recent statement by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) condemning the secession threat emanating from Bakassi. Meanwhile, the Senate has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to do all within his power to alleviate the plight of the people of Bakassi as that will go a long way in addressing the perceived injustice meted out to them as well as ad-

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dress the ongoing agitation for self-determination. In a text message to one of our correspondents yesterday, Senate Majority Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba stated that the upper chamber will support any effort made by the executive to pacify the restiveness from the area, even as he pledged the readiness of the legislature to ensure that the present situation is not aggravated. His words: “The Senate will appropriate whatever proposals the executive brings to alleviate the plight of the Bakassi people and ensure through oversight that their situation is not aggravated.” Ndoma-Egba further stated that the National Assembly is not worried that the executive has not forwarded the Green Tree Agreement, which was signed on June 12, 2006, to it for ratification, as required by international law to complete the ceding process.

he Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday cleared 12 governorship candidates from different political parties who have signified their intention to contest the October 20 poll in Ondo State. INEC also informed that three women emerged as deputy governorship candidates just as the state secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the state, Mr. Olutope Adedipe was named as running mate to Rotimi Akeredolu. The list of the candidates include the state governor, Olusegun Mimiko of the Labour Party with Alhaji Ali Olanusi as his running mate, Chief Olusola Oke and Mr. Saka Lawal cleared as candidate and running mate respectively of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu was named as the candidate of the ACN with Adedipe as his running mate. Also in the list are candidate of the Allied Congress Party, Adeuti Taye and To-

lupe Clement as his deputy; All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) has Mr. Adeyemi Bolarinwa as governorship candidate and Ikwuewumi Rotimi listed as his deputy; Mr. Ayodele Olusegun was named as the governorship candidate of the Better Nigeria Progressive Party with Mrs. Ijitola Modupe as deputy. The Change Advocacy Party, which also made the list, has Mr. Omoyele Olorunwa as its candidate and Mr. Babatunde Bidemi as the running mate. The National Conscience Party (NCP) has Mr. Oladipo Lawrence as its candidate while Mrs. Ogbetor Benedicta was his running mate. Others are, Mr. Olusoji Ehinlanwo as the governorship candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) with Mrs Oluyemi Damilola as his running mate; James Olusola and Adefila Olusegun Cornelious as candidate and deputy respectively of the National Solidarity Democratic Party while the duo of Victor Oluwaremi Adetusin and Mr. Moses Iorsheer made the list for the People for Democratic Change.

ACN appraises self as Osun marks anniversary FELIX NWANERI

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he Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Osun State yesterday scored itself high, saying the party had put the state on the path of growth. A statement by Mr. Kunle Oyatomi, the party’s Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy in Osogbo, said that Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s administration has made life meaningful for the people. According to the party, as Osun marks its 21st anniversary on August 27, it has been able to execute meaningful programmes two years after it assumed power. The party said that the

rainy season that used to be a period of grief due to poor drainage network was no longer so. The statement stressed that the ACN had addressed youth unemployment by putting in place the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme. “Within 21 months of being in charge of governance and management of the state’s finances, the ACN government has virtually turned things around,” the statement added. Oyatomi noted that until about 21 months ago, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led the state to the brink of bankruptcy but for the redeeming quality of Aregbesola-led ACN government.


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Politics

Monday, August 27, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

PDP: Tukur and task of reconciliation The National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, is planning to embark on a reconciliation tour of states where his party is in crisis. In this report, SINA FADARE examines some of the daunting challenges he may likely confront.

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he National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, is about embarking on a national reconciliatory tour of all the troubled states that the party is controlling. The team for the tour would be drawn from the Board of Trustees (BOT), the National Working Committee (NWC) and the High Powered Advisory Committee (HPAC) which was inaugurated at the PDP national headquarters, Abuja earlier this year. The tour is essentially to heal the wounds in the party and reconcile aggrieved members. Tukur regretted that the internal wrangling in the party had caused it to lose some of the states which ordinarily the party should be controlling, particularly in the South-West. “That was why we lost election in the entire South-West where the party lost election in Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti states. We also lost in two states in the South-East – Anambra and Imo to All Progressive Grand Alliance,” Tukur noted Virtually all the states which the ruling party is controlling are enmeshed in one controversy or the other because of the poor management of its electoral successes during the pre and post convention of the party. This includes Ogun where the party have four factions. One is headed by a party financier, Kashamu Buruji, another by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former minister of Commerce and Industry Chief Jubril Martins Kuye has his own faction and the immediate past governor of the state, Otunba Gbenga Daniel controlls another. In Edo State, crisis is raging between some members who are asking the Dan Orbih-led party in the state to resign for having led the party to a defeat in the July 14 governorship poll, whereas others said he has done his best but some moles in the party worked against the party success. In Anambra State, an Abuja High Court has sacked the Oguebigo-led state executive and ordered a fresh congress, while in Yobe State a, the court has also directed the party to use its internal machinery to reconcile party members. There is also crisis in the Taraba State chapter of the party where two serving senators are at war with the state governor over the composition of party executive, claiming that there was no election. The National Chairman had assured that, “the PDP umbrella is large enough to accommodate every Nigerian and it is my intention as promised during the national chairmanship election last March that I will upon election ensure that the party return to its cohesive posture in line with the wishes of the founding fathers. “By the time we finish with the recon-

Tukur

Obasanjo

Anenih

ciliation, top party men such as former President Obasanjo, former Ogun State Governor, Daniel and former BOT chairman, Tony Anenih will be dining in one huge political table.” But a critical appraisal of the crisis in the party revealed that Tukur and his team have in their sleeves an herculean task to handle. The question political observers are asking is that what magic wand would Tukur employ to make sure that Anenih who has not been in talking terms with Obasanjo after the palace coup that removed him as the chairman of the party’s Boad of Trustees, BoT in 2007 or Daniel who Obasanjo made sure that he did not land safely as the ex-governor of the state to now eat from in the big family pot again? Perhaps Tukur’s first challenge would be how to plead with some of the party stalwarts to accommodate the returning members. In Plateau State, for instance, Governor Jonah Jang has openly expressed his opposition to the reconciliation exercise and the return of old members who left the party. During his visit to Tukur in Abuja, Jang urged him not to allow former members of the party who contested against the party in the last general election to return in the name of reconciliation. Back at home, Jang while speaking to party faithful declared: “Let me use this opportunity to repeat exactly what I told our party national chairman in Abuja recently; I said politicians who left the party and are interested in coming back should followed the due process by doing so through their ward party offices. “As for those who did not only left the party but contested against PDP, this group of politicians should not be welcomed back, they should be made to remain in the opposition parties and render credible opposition that is required in a democracy.” “I believe all of us cannot be in the ruling party some good politicians too have to be in the opposition to offer needed criticism,” Jang added. The ability of the Tukur team to resolve the crisis in Ogun PDP will be a plus to the party. Already, a faction of the party led by the Chairman and Secretary of the state chapter, Chief Adebayo Dayo and Semiu

Sodipo, respectively, is asking an Abuja High Court to nullify the election of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola as the party’s National Secretary, insisting that he emerged through a kangaroo process. In Edo State, the intra-party crisis which lingered for a very long time is believed to have led to the defeat suffered by the party in the July 14 governorship election. The PDP lost to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) by a wide margin of about 330,000 votes. It was on record that the three chieftains of the party, Chief Tony Anenih, Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia and Chief Gabriel Igbinedion never did anything together in the name of the party for a long time until only about few weeks to the election. Since their coming together was to win the election, it is hard to see why they would not go back to their different trenches to maintain their old positions with a view to controlling the party machinery in the state. Already, Ogbemudia had openly declared that he supported Governor Adams Oshiomhole to win the election. In a letter to the party in the state after the loss of the election to ACN, Tukur challenged Dan Orbih, the state chairman to “reconcile all members of the party as a precursor to rebuilding the PDP... We shall re-strategise and build on your present commitment to reclaim Edo State for PDP.” Tukur’s team will go extra mile to make this dream a reality.

But Tukur seems undeterred by the herculean task he has set for himself. He maintains that the aim of the exercise was to drive his programme of reconciling all aggrieved members of the party in the country. Political pundits say that going by Tukur’s political antecedents in party politics and how he usually bulldozed his way in politics, particularly what happened during the election that trumped him into power, he can spring surprises and go far in this herculean task. Speaking on the reconciliation move, a member of the BoT and former Transport Minister, Chief Ebenezer Babatope told National Mirror that Tukur will succeed in this venture because the party has learnt a lot about what made it lose some of the states that were once in its grip. He said: “Definitely, he will succeed. Now in the South-West we have gone silent and embarked on reconciliation and ready to heal old wounds, so that we can emerge stronger. We are working hard to get unity among us; we know if we do not get it, we will still be disgraced in elections. “When the chairman tours all the states that have one crisis or the other, it will be a sort of healing balm to rob on old wound and we are going back to the drawing board to start all afresh. His visit will end all rancour. “It has happened in the past. In 2005, the PDP sent many delegations to many of the zones to go and make peace. I went in one of the delegation headed by Bode George, we covered the North-West. We were in Kastina, Jigawa, Kano, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi states. If the chairman wants to reactivate what happened at that time, it is going to succeed. The step will be in a right direction towards preparation for 2015.” Perhaps what may work more in favour of Tukur is not just the wealth of experience he has garnered over the years as an administrator and businessman but importantly being a founding member of the party. But Babatope cautioned that as long as the PDP does not allow unity to be their strong weapon, the party may not be able to make appreciable electoral successes come 2015.

WE HAVE GONE SILENT AND EMBARKED ON RECONCILIATION...

WE ARE WORKING

HARD TO GET UNITY

AMONG US; WE KNOW IF WE DO NOT GET IT, WE WILL STILL BE DISGRACED IN ELECTIONS


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Former governor of Lagos State and National Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), on August 24, delivered a speech titled ‘Nigeria and the search for true federalism’, at a town hall meeting in Chicago, Illinois. NATIONAL MIRROR brings the excerpt:

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Politics

Monday, August 27, 2012

ederalism is not some contrived matter the opposition invented to gain headlines. There are enough issues over which we can take the government to task. We have no need to invent one. We raise the topic of federalism because it determines how the national government handles issues such as internal security and economic development. Federalism goes to the heart of how government is structured, thus defining the relationship of the government to the governed. All are familiar with the axiom that power corrupts. No one of honest bearing dare assail this statement. The fight over federalism is a fight between those who take caution in this axiom and those who rather ignore it. The federalism in which we believe requires a system where power is decentralised. It is shared between the central government and the constituent states such that each unit has a sufficient level of autonomy and the federal government is not so effused with power that it can use its preponderance to arrogate more power at the expense of the states. When the executive branch assumes too much power, this assumption never renders the central entity more democratic. Things fall to the contrary. The central government assumes an aristocratic bearing. The relationship between the governed and government inverts in the worst way. A bloated central government begins to believe its primary reason to exist is to perpetuate itself. It no longer works to serve the people but forces the people to serve it. At that point, government no longer functions to feed the people. Instead, the people are coerced into feeding it. When government reaches this point, we no longer talk of democracy. At this point, a nation begins to embrace authoritarianism. Nowhere is the issue of federalism more important to the development of Nigeria than in regard to control of public funds and the conduct of internal public security. The Nigerian constitution requires all public revenue be distributed among the federal, state and local governments. The constitution does not contemplate leftovers. To withhold funds from state and local governments is to operate outside the law. Under the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), the Federal Government unilaterally confiscated billions of dollars due the states and local governments. The Federal Government has taken the money belonging to states without the express or tacit consent of the states. The legislation passed by the National Assembly is a nullity and an ineffective cover for a blatant violation of the constitution. In other words, it is a fiscal brigandage, a daylight robbery. I have no qualms with the Federal Government using its money to establish an SWF. I have no qualms with states volunteering to participate in such a venture like it obtains here in the United States.

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Federalism, Nigeria’s recipe for good governance – Tinubu That is their prerogative. I sharply oppose federal seizure of funds from unwilling states for the seizure amounts to nothing more than an illegal taking. I fear this is a bitter foretaste of fiscal transgressions to come. Should this be allowed to stand, what prevents the Federal Government from concocting other schemes to siphon more monies from states and local governments? This pilfering has substantial real life consequences. Deprivation of funds makes states less able to implement their developmental agendas. Moreover, the Federal Government has acquired an unfair habit of legislating additional responsibilities for states without providing funds to meet the new duties. These unfunded mandates place a grave burden on the states, making them amend their developmental priorities. In furtherance of the attempt to undermine the states, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) entertains a proposed constitutional amendment severing the fiscal relationship between state and local governments. The amendment would transfer the passage of funds to local governments from the states to the national government in Abuja. As such, the amendment would make local government dependent on Abuja causing them to turn their backs on their state capitals. Making local government susceptible to Abuja’s financial control, the Federal Government increases its power at the expense of the states. This change perverts the sequence of power and division of labour natural to a federal system. By making local government more beholden to the Federal Government, this proposal would heighten the danger of local and state government working at cross purposes. This would complicate the already stiff challenge of economic development. The central government has tried to monopolise control of internal security. Because it wants to accrete power and not lose any, the national government has adamantly opposed any decentralisation of internal security. The result has been that Nigeria is becoming one of the most dangerous places on earth. Not only do we

FOR DEMOCRATIC GOOD GOVERNANCE TO EXIST, WE MUST

“DECONCENTRATE” POWER. A SITUATION WHERE THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT CONTROLS ALMOST

EVERYTHING... IS NOT TRUE FEDERALISM. IT IS A VESTIGE OF THE PAST

how government responds to the pressing issues of the day. Nigeria has been run like a closely held private corporation with a revolving ownership. While the leaders have changed, one theme remains constant. Those who run the corporation, do so for their sole benefit. We must replace this selfish dynamic with one of greater public purpose.

The way forward

Tinubu

have Boko Haram, there is growing insecurity and blatant unchecked criminality in other parts of the nation. This centralised structure would be fine if it were not ignorant, reactive and inefficient. The roots of these security challenges have mostly local origins. A centralised structure, however, tends to deploy security officials and units with insufficient knowledge and understanding of local issues. Instead of helping, the security personnel often worsen the situation because of their lack of knowledge. Community policing has proven effective in many different social conditions around the world; it is an idea whose time has come for Nigeria. However, it cannot be applied purposefully under the current security structure. Thus, our security apparatus remains big but uninformed. When it comes to security, ignorance is not bliss. It is arrogant negligence. Because it knows little, this cumbersome structure can anticipate little. It is not built to prevent mishap. It is left to react. Instead of stopping terrorism, it is reduced to mopping up the destruction, counts the numbers of dead and wounded and deploy its troops after the fact when the only people it will scare are the innocent. Last, this structure is ineffective. It is too heavily tilted to the military and law enforcement aspect of the matter. Most security problems have economic dimensions. If the chore of economic development primarily resides with the state government and the task of security with this national structure, the possibility of proper coordination is almost nonexistent. Waste and lost progress are the outcomes of this gap. I could continue to cite other examples of the lack of true federalism but these are sufficient for you to understand my position. The issue of federalism is not some abstract issue for academicians. Nor is it an artificial one invented to keep opposition politicians in the public spotlight. It is a fundamental matter that shapes the structure of government and thus shapes

There is urgent need to review the constitution. The military authored the 1999 constitution, without proper consultation with major stakeholders in Nigeria. This constitution provides so much power to the executive that it allows the executive to further encroach on the power of other governmental institutions. Federal executive power needs to be diminished. In the end, we need a “National Conference” of all stakeholders in the country. This is the only way we can build the proper and needed consensus on precise nature of the political structure and the objectives of what that structure should be. Only in this way can we have a governmental arrangement that enjoys the support of all because all participated in the planning of it. For democratic good governance to exist, we must “deconcentrate” power. A situation where the central government controls almost everything, from the construction of roads, to housing, to secondary education, to the making of automotive license plates and the taxation of hotels and restaurants is not true federalism. It is a vestige of the past. In the Exclusive list, the Federal Government is empowered to legislate on 68 enumerated areas. In the concurrent list, the Federal Government shares jurisdiction with state government over another 30 subject matters. This gives too much power to the Federal Government. Nigeria has waited in the departure lounge to true federalism for too long. The cracks are starting to manifest as agitation grows for a more well-balanced federation. As irony would have it, the connective tissues of the Nigerian union are weak in part because the Federal Government has tried to make itself too strong. Nigeria’s progress is predicated on establishing true federalism so the national government is no longer a powerful yet vindictive Cyclops terrorising those smaller than it. The Federal Government’s mission is not to dictate our lives. Its role is to create an environment where the various constituent parts – states, local government, and the private sector – can get on with the job of defining and developing themselves as they deem fit. Establishing a Nigeria that is fair would mean those who came before us did not labour in vain. It would mean those who come after us will have a valuable thing to protect. It would also mean those of us assembled here did our patriotic duty according to the imperatives of our times. As such, the dreams of our collegiate years would be fulfilled. I can think of no better reality than that.


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Of patriots and villains HeartBeat

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OKE

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he last Wednesday Vanguard’s front page banner headline, NUPENG anti-Nigerians, says Okonjo-Iweala, caught my imagination and set me thinking of the conflicting mindsets of Nigerians on governance, leadership and followership. After a serious introspection, I came to the conclusion that the huge divide between insiders in government and outsider non-state actors like labour unions on who the real protectors of the nation are will be difficult to bridge. NUPENG as an anti-Nigeria organization? I am familiar with the subjectivism of perceptions, I am also quite conversant with the deployment of labels by government officials as a weapon of propaganda, but I do know how a principled position taken by a non-state actor could be antithetical to the interest of the nation. Powerless Nigerians would be treading dangerous terrain if they allow the conquest of the civil society by the political class. Without delving into historicism, it is

A

easy to explain the position of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), and for that matter, the Nigerian labour movement, on the raging crises in the nation’s oil and power sectors. The gaping disequilibrium in the nation’s oil supply side is self inflicted. Our oil behemoth, NNPC, through various acts of commission and omission, has engendered the crisis in the oil sector. Bridging domestic oil supply through oil importation has brought in its wake the current hemorrhage in the purse of the nation. I am talking about the multi-billion naira subsidy payments. If we understand that NUPENG members’ main job is oil lifting from loading points to selling points, and that their employers are thus oil marketers, both independent and majors, we must appreciate on whose side their bread is better buttered. Many of oil marketers are owed subsidy arrears. It is the patriotic duty of NUPENG to join their employers in pressurizing the Federal Government to pay, especially when the union has proofs of selective payment of the subsidy by the Ministry of Finance. The most convincing act of the government will be to make public all payments made so far and why. The current approach of allowing the press to run away with scoops on this subject cannot be taken for full disclosure. And so, what is unpatriotic in the posturing of NUPENG? Is it in asking for the lifeline that would ensure the sustenance of its

IF NUPENG IS ANTI-NIGERIA WHAT ABOUT THE ECONOMIC VAMPIRES AND HUMAN LEECHES IN NNPC,

PPPRA, DPR AND MINISTRY OF PETROLEUM

members? If NUPENG is anti-Nigeria what about the economic vampires and human leeches in NNPC, PPPRA, DPR and Ministry of Petroleum? Those responsible for the prostrate state of our oil industry which led to the unusualness of our oil import dependency should be considered the real enemies of the country. It is too recent to forget NADECO’s clash with the maximum ruler, General Sani Abacha, in the push to deannul the June 12, 1993 presidential election results. It was the oil tanker drivers strike coordinated by the then general secretary of NUPENG, Frank Kokori that put the biggest bite on Abacha. So history is on the side of NUPENG as a patriotic organization. The same forces, same dynamics are at the heart of the current crisis in our power sector. Deficit political leadership has compounded the problem in the sector. Japan’s greatest asset is the high quality of her do-

mestic manpower and this is made possible through huge investment in human capital development. India is has adopted the same approach to development. All you need to do to discern Nigeria’s attitude to human capital development is to look at the annual budgets for education in the last 20 years and the population of Nigerian students in Ghanaian and South African universities. Interestingly, many of these Nigerians in foreign universities are children of top political officeholders, including the bureaucratic mandarins in the Ministry of Education! The nation’s electric power equation is skewed against supply, and this should be considered an aberration in a nation of infinite opportunities for power generation from water, coal, gas and the hi-tech nuclear. The needful is for a creative government to harness these resources to make Nigeria a net exporter of electricity like South Africa is currently doing. The country’s electricity utility company, Eskom, accounts for 95 percent of electricity generated in the country, which currently stands at 41, 000mw. About 77 percent of this comes from coal. Nearer home in Ghana, late President John Evans Atta Mill met on assumption of office in 2009 installed electricity generation capacity of 1800mw. In his first State of the Nation address in 2010, he laid down the medium term blue print to boost generation capacity to 5, 000mw to meet future national requirement. To be continued

Another cabal’s fuel price-hike campaign begins

s fuel price-fixing deceit, masked as deregulation, was in the beginning 30 years ago, so it is today and may remain unchanged world without end. The tactics and strategy of Nigeria’s fuel cabal are predictable. The current artificial scarcity of petroleum products in Abuja may be a prelude to an unholy scheme, which could gradually culminate into cowing the government to approve unjust price hike demand in January 2013. Surely, this would trigger public uproar, and thereafter some deaths and property destruction. Before then, the cabal’s scarcity demons would have successfully toured the nooks and crannies of the federation, provoking public angst. As in the past, government officials and petroleum marketers will engage in vicious blame game, spewing all manner of excuses, mouthing fraudulent deregulation, touting elusive welfare palliatives, but never giving a report of previously promised subsidy palliatives. Last week Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) indicated that fuel price might go up because of current rise in global crude oil price from $100 to $103 per barrel. It said this had shot up current subsidy on petrol from N72 to N75 per litre. I see this as a subtle push for a total removal of questionable subsidy regime under unduly prolonged investigation by government. However, PPPRA was asleep when crude price crashed earlier. Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Ngozi Okonji-Iweala is already indicating weariness of FG, which she

said borrowed N42 billion to pay 2011 subsidy arrears, after exhausting 2012 subsidy budget, without telling the public government’s effort to revive domestic refining that would stop or slash subsidies. Amazing is why bureaucracy is preoccupied with expensive importation and refusing to retool our four idle domestic refineries? The late ex-President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was so angry over the development that in May 12, 2009 he vowed to go after the fuel cartel, which he described as “the greatest institutional corruption in the history of the nation”. “We have an issue with the marketers. They don’t want deregulation. That government is even looking at it, they are not happy. They normally import about 40 per cent and the NNPC imports the balance of 60 per cent. In addition, the stoppage of this importation has produced supply gap….This deregulation is not about bringing hardship on Nigerians. But the subsidy does not reach the people it is intended. A very strong cartel is benefiting. Deregulation will change the greatest institutional corruption we have in the history of the nation,” was how Yar’Adua put the issue in perspective. Three years after Yar’Adua stopped subsidies on kerosene, which was selling then for N140 per litre instead of official price of N50 per litre, the recent House of Representatives’ probe revealed that NNPC, CBN, Presidency, PPPRA, and Auditor General illegally approved and paid N350 billion illegal kerosene subsidy in 2011 alone, in spite of presidential prohibition. To whom? It seems, however, Presijo is trying

SENIOR OIL WORKERS IN PENGASEN HAVE EXPRESSED SHOCK THAT

Roadmap

ALLOWED THE CABAL TO

SONI EHI

SISTER NUPENG MANIPULATE IT

to actualize Yar’Adua’s vow. How far can Presijo effect change when the fuel subsidy cabal in government digs deep? With the help of Hon. Farouk Lawan, the faces of some fuel cabal have been exposed. Unfortunately, Farouk is in vice pit after failing to heed his own self-fulfilling prophesy that the corruption cabal would fight back. Fresh excuse for fuel scarcity is marketers’ protesting nonpayment of dubious subsidy claims, which government is verifying to ensure only genuine importers were paid. NUPENG has irresponsibly aligned with suspected fuel depot owners to threaten wildcat strike that could destroy the union. For now, it seems government is only interested in appeasing greedy fuel cabal by retrieving a few coins of the stolen subsidy money. That is why Anambra State Governor Peter Obi last week gleefully said subsidy rogues are paying back undisclosed stolen money, which he relabeled “wrongly paid” instead of “fraudulently stolen”. Interestingly, fuel depot owners wonder why NNPC and PPPRA are uninvestigated and tried for superintending over N2 trillion subsidy thefts in two years. Why focus on marketers and excuse culpable officials of industry regulators? Senior oil work-

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ers in PENGASEN have expressed shock that sister NUPENG allowed the cabal to manipulate it. None is spared in graft fight back, so vigilance is watchword. Had we patriotic executive and judicial arms of government, would a cabal hold the nation hostage? Merely unmasking some members of the cabal is no feat. Unless the rogue regime of fraudulent subsidies, which encourages marketers to simulate artificial scarcity every year for unjustified price hike, is routed and culprits jailed to deter others, we are only window dressing. To win the war, government must fix our refineries and eliminate corruption in subsidies to determine actual production cost of fuel. What is our daily fuel consumption? Knowing it is crucial to ascertaining production cost and quantity due for subsidy payment? Send your views by mail or sms to PMB 10001, Ikoyi, or our Email: mail@ nationalmirroronline.net mirrorlagos@ yahoo.com or 08164966858 (SMS only). The Editor reserves the right to edit and reject views or photographs. Pseudonyms may be used but must be clearly marked as such.


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Calls on President Jonathan to resign

here have been strident, somber calls for President Goodluck Jonathan’s resignation from office; some ostensibly born out of the frustrating incapacity of the Federal Government to contain the festering campaign of violence by the Boko Haram Muslim sect and others dressed in curious political garments. Notable was the recent call by the leader of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) and former vice presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Pastor Tunde Bakare. Not too long after, the Jamaatu Ahlis Sunnah Lil Daawati wal Jihad, (Boko Haram) made a similar call, asking the president to renounce his Christian faith, embrace the Islamic faith, and/ or resign, if he wanted the sect to put a stop to its violent onslaughts on the populace. Just a few days after the Boko Haram curious demand, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the 19 northern states likewise demanded the immediate resignation of the president for his flip-flop response to the sect’s threat to national security, cohesion, peace and unity as portrayed by the FG’s inability to secure the life and property of Christians, including members of the security forces in his capacity as the Commander-in-Chief of

IN TRUTH, HOWEVER, THE PUBLIC RESPONSE TO THE FG’S CASTRATION BY THE BOKO HARAM

SECURITY TORMENT HAS BEEN THAT OF HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT the Armed Forces. A situation where a nation’s leader can no longer guarantee the security of life and property, including those of his troops, CAN argued, smacked of failure and should be followed by the immediate resignation of such a leader. Some other civilsociety groups and statesmen, including a former governor of Oyo State, Alhaji Lam Adesina, have also added their voices to the agitation. In truth, however, the public response to the FG’s castration by the Boko Haram security torment has been that of huge disappointment. More confounding, perhaps, has been the sect’s consistent boldness and the successes of their attacks, on the one hand, and an FG that appears gravely impotent and always on the defensive, on the other. Likewise expressed is the possible danger of the Boko Haram provoking a national slide into large-scale ethno-

religious strife, the end of which may be impossible to predict. Dogging the slump in security provisioning is also the government’s failure to frontally stem corruption and ensure the welfare of the citizenry. Against this backdrop, therefore, calls for the president to resign born out of genuine concern over identified lapses in guaranteeing the security and welfare of citizens seem well grounded and cannot be easily waved off as in bad faith. The prevailing situation is, indeed, quite frustrating. Nonetheless, the call by the Boko Haram for Jonathan to convert to Islam or resign as condition for the sect to cease hostilities may be rightly interpreted as an affront on a secular Nigerian state with varying political and ethnical contradictions. The twin demands seem not only contradictory but tendentious; and might indeed have political undercurrents; hence our position that Jonathan should not be cowed by the obvious blackmail. Not surprisingly, the president has rejected both options. We had thought the mission of the Boko Haram were strictly to defend Islam and spread the faith by jihad not only in Nigeria but elsewhere in Africa and the world; and that its leadership focused on those objectives. But

that position appears tainted by the group’s vociferous call for Jonathan’s resignation. We recall the several threats made by Jonathan’s opponents to make the country ungovernable should he emerge victorious at the 2011 polls as president, a threat that turned to reality since May last year when he was sworn in. Consequently, there seems to be the great need to further watch the unfolding trend with measured steps; for capturing political power under a multiparty, multi-ethnic and secular democracy can hardly be achieved through the backdoor. Those hungry for power should strive to play the game according to the rules. The Jonathan Presidency has confessed to being distracted by the enormous security challenges on its shoulders, while ordinary Nigerians are bearing the brunt. The nation has also witnessed much of the president’s appeasement gestures, though not commensurately requited by the beneficiaries. The FG should now make haste and live up to its constitutional responsibilities of firmly securing life and property and uplifting the welfare of the populace before the 2015 general elections; as continued failure in these directions could spell doom for the nation come 2015 and beyond.

ON THIS DAY August 27, 2009 The Burmese military junta and ethnic armies began three days of violent clashes in the Kokang Special Region. The series of violent conflicts in Burma’s (or Myanmar) northern Shan State were between the Burmese military junta forces/Myanmar Police Force and ethnic minorities. As a result of the conflict, as many as 30,000 refugees fled to Yunnan province in the neighboring China.

August 27, 2003 The first six-party talks involving South and North Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia, convened to find a peaceful resolution to the security concerns that trailed North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme. North Korea was a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty but withdrew in 2003, citing the failure of the United States to fulfill its end of the Agreed Framework. The country declared in 2009 that it had developed a nuclear weapon.

August 27, 1985 The Nigerian government then headed by Major General Muhammadu Buhari was peacefully overthrown by the then Army Chief of Staff, Major General Ibrahim Babangida. Babangida, IBB (born August 17, 1941), ruled from August 27, 1985 until his departure from office on August 27, 1993 after his annulment of elections held on June 12 that year. There was evidence of a severe lack of human rights under his regime.


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Cover

Sanusi’s new

gamble “Project Cure,” the new Central Bank off Nige Nigeria’s eria’s sive re eview of concept that undertakes a comprehensive review nd lea ads to the the structure of the nation’s currency and leads introduction of higher naira denominations ions effective 2013 sparks intense debate. Critics say y the policy will encourage cash hoarding, create profitable boom for counterfeiters and a windfall to corrupt practices. Is this another of the Sanusi Lamido’s gamble? By Salami Semiu

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anusi Lamido Sanusi, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has a way of getting away with many things. Since he assumed duty in 2009, the Kano-born prince has carried out several policies, under the financial services reform that have attracted vicious criticisms from many people, most of who believes that the actions are either ill-timed or are not properly situated. Last week Thursday, after several months of speculations, the CBN governor stirred a hornet’s nest again, with the unveiling of “Project Cure,” a concept, which has as key element, a comprehensive review of the structure of the nation’s currency that would lead to the introduction of a N5, 000 bill as the highest naira denomination. Briefing journalists in Abuja, the CBN governor said that the currency review, would allow the bank to convert lower denominations of N5, N10 and N20 into coins and thus increase the naira structure from 11 to 12, divided into six coin and six banknote denomina-

tions. Sanusi said that 50 kobo; N1, N2, N5, N10 and N20 would now be in coins, while the banknotes would be N50, N100, N200, N500, N1, 000 and N5, 000. The new N5, 000 notes, he said, would have the portraits of three women who fought for the country’s independence. They are Margaret Ekpo, Funmilayo RansomeKuti and Gambo Sawaba. In addition, Sanusi said the back of the N5, 000 note would have the picture of the National Assembly complex. The exercise, he said, was aimed at upgrading the design of the entire range of currency denominations in order to enhance their quality and integrity, incorporate more effective features for the visually challenged, and introducing new security features on the redesigned banknotes. Others are to achieve an optimal currency structure that will ensure cost effectiveness

and balanced mix and utilisation of all the currency denominations; introduce new series of coins that will be generally acceptable for the purpose of transactions; and reducing the cost of production, distribution and disposal of banknotes by introducing higher bills that will reduce the volume and cost of banknotes in circulation. However, unknown to many, the new currency regime was approved by President Goodluck Jonathan on December 19, 2011, barely a month after the CBN board had ratified the recommendation of the committee that worked on it. The CBN governor said the new currency structure, was in line with international best practices, in which monetary authorities were required to review their nation’s currencies at intervals of between five and eight years. This, he added, was usually done to address the weaknesses and challenges identified in circulating

Business Courage A Publication of GLOBAL MEDIA MIRROR LTD BARRISTER JIMOH IBRAHIM, OFR  PUBLISHER

Lamido Sanusi

SEMIU SALAMI BAMIDELE OBAFEMI ADEJUWON OSUNNUYI FESTUS OKOROMADU TAYO ADELEKE

EDITOR ASSOCIATE EDITOR STAFF WRITER STAFF WRITER SENIOR REPORTER

OLATOYE RAPHAEL SEYI OKUMODI

HEAD, PRODUCTION SENIOR GRAPHIC ARTIST


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Cover banknotes, which usually arose from innovations in technology, aesthetics and security considerations, among others. However, he said in the case of Nigeria, the N100 note was restructured in December 1999 (13 years ago), N200, November 2000 (12 years ago); N500, April 2001 (11 years ago); and N1,000, October 2005 (seven years ago). The governor said the last comprehensive review of the currency was carried out in 2005, which resulted in the introduction of the N20 polymer banknote followed by the varnishing of the N5, N10 and N50 banknotes in 2007. These lower denomination notes were eventually converted into polymer banknotes in 2009. He explained that a survey carried out by the Bank on the existing currency series in 2010 revealed that there was public apathy towards the usage of coins, and the varnished lower denominations failed to adequately meet the expected longevity and tactile feature for the visually impaired. The CBN boss said the need to encourage the usage of coins, curb inflationary pressures, enhance the quality of banknotes as well as promote the cashless policy informed the decision to restructure the currency. “It has been argued that the introduction of a higher denomination banknote could exert inflationary pressures in the economy. Inflation in Nigeria is a monetary phenomenon. Secondly, in some countries such as Singapore, Germany and Japan, the highest denominations are 10,000 SGB, €500 and 10,000 yen, respectively. “These denominations have relatively high dollar equivalent. The levels of inflation are, however, low at 2.8 per cent, 1.1 per cent and -0.7 per cent, respectively as of 2010. Furthermore, we believe that the introduction of a higher bill will complement the bank’s cash-less policy, as it will substantially reduce the volume of currency in circulation, particularly in the long term,” he said. Sanusi said the apex bank would liaise with the relevant ministries, departments and agencies of government, Deposit Money Banks, road transport workers, market operators, small businesses and supermarkets to create avenues for the usage of coins. However, of all the changes made to the naira structure, that which have attracted instant reactions from key stakeholders are the increased coins denomination and the introduction of higher denomination of N5, 000. Analysts posited at the weekend that previous introduction of new denomination notes, have invariably accelerated the disappearance of low

Ekpo

denomination notes and coins and engender an inflationary push. Besides, others believe that, large denomination notes encourage cash hoarding, a profitable boon to counterfeiters and a windfall to corrupt practices. While dismissing Sanusi’s comparism of what the apex bank was trying to do with what applies to nations like Germany, Japan and Singapore with large denomination notes and low inflation rates, analysts insisted that those nations have manufacturing bases unrivalled by Nigeria, which has a weak industrial sector and remains almost entirely dependent on crude oil exports for government spending. Alexander Egom, economist and former consultant at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Lagos, told Business Courage on Friday that what the CBN was trying to do will trigger unprecedented inflation in the country. He stressed that inflation will go “hay-wire because once the valuation of the currency increases, people will need more of the same currency to do the same business. It is a way of hiding the fact that inflation is tearing the country apart,” Egom said in a telephone conversation. According to Egom, once N5, 000 is introduced as the highest denomination, other currencies like the N1, 000, N500 and N200 will become less visible. He expressed surprise that the same CBN that is feverishly pushing the cashless society through the electronic payment platform could still be thinking of introducing a concept that runs contrary to the spirit of electronic payment. “In this age of electronic payment, what do you need higher denomination for? Electronic payment is electronic payment and the concept totally negates the concept of

Ransome Kuti

higher denomination. Sanusi does not understand what he is doing. It is the most stupid and idiotic thing to do,” he fumed. Like Egom, others believe that changing smaller denominations to coins represents a risk as well, as it will put pressure among those in Nigeria’s informal economy to raise prices to avoid accepting the coins. Adeola Adenikinju, an economist at the University of Ibadan is of the opinion that the CBN’s action could mean rising prices on everything from tomatoes in the local market to rides on the motorcycle and taxis that ply the nation’s congested streets. “I think the central bank is trying to indirectly devalue the currency and this will also have an inflationary effect that will affect many Nigerians, particularly those who are in the informal sector and are on fixed salaries,” Adenikinju said. However, Prof. Kayode Familoni, a research Professor and Consultant Economist believes that a higher denomination would reduce the cost of transactions and would enhance transaction efficiency, even as he admits that there were inflationary tendencies in the Nigerian economy. “A high denomination currency is to reduce transaction cost. So the higher the denomination, the lower is the volume of currencies used for transactions and therefore, the lower will be the cost for that transaction. I think the whole idea is to ensure that the cost of transaction is lessened and minimised,” he said. However, he said that the “danger here is that, it could have a tendency to gradually create and add to inflationary pressures in the economy. For example, right now, there are more of inflationary pressures in the Nigerian economy and if you now start a higher denominated currency, the cost of

Sawaba

transactions might be reduced and efficiency in transactions enhanced, but it may compound inflationary pressures. This is because Nigerians seem to be averse to coins and I don’t know how they will actually accept coins.” David Adonri, Managing Director, Lambeth Trust and Investment Limited, holds the views that the plan by the CBN to change the currency denominations was not likely to have any effect on the economy. “The change in the denomination of the notes can purely be referred to as a cosmetic change. It is like motion without movement, I think what the regulator is trying to do is to reduce the burden of carrying large amount of notes, especially with the cash-less economy we are now trying to run. You would notice that presently, a lot of business transactions are being carried out by Nigerians using dollars, because of the fact that they have larger denominations which translates into less cash, and so I believe the CBN is just trying to achieve this in Nigeria. The fact remains that even if the CBN decides to come up with N10, 000 notes, it would not affect our economy.” It will be recalled that the International Monetary Fund had in its July report indicated that the naira was overvalued by as much as 8.5 per cent, an opinion which was rejected by the CBN. Indeed, currency troubles have haunted this oil-rich nation for decades. After independence in 1960, Nigeria pegged its naira currency against the value of the British pound and later the U.S. dollar. High oil prices boosted the naira’s value on par with the dollar and the nation’s largest bill for years remained the N20 note with the image of assassinated military ruler Gen. Murtala Muhammed. However, the collapse of oil pric-

es in the 1980s saw the value of the naira retrenched as officials implemented unpopular monetary reforms that saw the naira begin its drastic drop in value. In 2007, former governor of the CBN, Professor Chukwuma Soludo tinkered with the idea of re-denominating the naira, an obvious response to the ceaseless pummelling the national currency suffered but the effort was frustrated by the regime of the late former President Umaru Yar’ Adua. Though Sanusi Lamido has refused to openly admit that the policy will trigger inflation, his comment to the fact that “inflation in Nigeria is a monetary phenomenon,” is understood by analysts to be a tactical admission that Nigeria may be groaning under inflationary pressures after all. It would be recalled that the CBN had in November last year adopted a policy, interpreted to mean a devaluation of the naira, about ten months after similar suggestion by the IMF was roundly scorned. The IMF had in February 2011, in its 2010 Article IV Consultation with Nigeria noted that the naira was over-valued and advised the CBN to stop its defence to check further depletion of external reserves. The IMF had said then that though it considered the CBN recent increase in policy rates as “appropriate,” it said “further monetary tightening may be needed should inflation pressures continue,” urging the government to immediately take steps to devalue the naira against major world currencies and make it “flexible to prevent one-way bets in the foreign exchange market and cushion external shocks.” The IMF had expressed deep worries then that inflation has been stuck in the low double digits for the past two years and foreign reserves have been falling as the CBN has focused on maintaining exchange rate stability and low interest rates. According to the Fund, there is a greater risk of lower rather than higher oil production for the country and faulted government decision for spending its reserves instead of saving them. It said, “despite world oil prices well in excess of the budget benchmark price, the government spent all current oil revenues and drew on savings in the Excess Crude Account, at a time when stabilization called for a rebuilding of buffers. Despite high inflation, the CBN reduced the rate on its standing deposit facility. In response to pressure on the currency, the CBN sold reserves rather than raise interest rate or let the exchange rate depreciate. The CBN recently raised interest rates, but short-term real interest rates remain negative.” BC


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News institution dedicated to attracting and disbursing resources to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria. The phase-two grant came with the theme: “Contributing to rapid and sustained scale-up of malaria control interventions for impact in Nigeria.”

Nigeria, Iran to partner on security and infrastructure

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Chukwu

FG, Global Fund sign N36bn grant pact to fight malaria

By Marcus Fatunmole (Abuja)

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he Federal Government has signed a grant agreement worth $225 million (about N36 billion) with Global Fund to fight malaria. Signing the Country Coordination Mechanism (CCM) Nigeria-Global Fund Malaria Round Eight Phasetwo agreement in Abuja, at the weekend, Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu said the grant heralded a new way of doing things and a new outcome for Nigeria, stressing that it had brought with it, a fervent desire to chart a new course, produce new output and engender new outcomes which would impact greatly on the lives of all citizens. According to him, $167 million (about N26.7billion), which was the first part of the grant, would be implemented in 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the services would be provided by both public and private sectors. The other component totaling $50 million (about N8 billion), the Minister said, was approved by the Global Fund to provide more long lasting insecticidal nets to Nigerians through the phase two project. This, according to him, was made possible by the $10 million (about N1.6billion) counterpart funding pledged by the Federal Government to

facilitate the process. In her address, Deputy Executive Director of the Global Fund, Dr. Debrework Zewdie remarked that both grants “contribute to achieving nationwide coverage of bed nets through mass campaigns and routine distribution, and increase access to medicine and diagnostic tests that are critical to saving lives at the onset of malaria.” She added that health workers in both public and private sectors would also be trained with the grants, while funds would be reserved to raise awareness among communities. Zewdie, who commended government efforts towards reducing malaria in Nigeria, disclosed that the country “is poised to becoming a global leader in fighting the disease.” She also noted that the partnership between the country and Global Fund had yielded remarkable progress in recent years, helping the country to undertake the largest distribution of bed nets done anywhere, with more than 45 million to date. Principal recipients of the grant are the National Malaria Control Programme of the Federal Ministry of Health and the Society for Family Health. According to Global Fund, a total of $980 million (about N157 billion) grants have been awarded Nigeria to step up its fight against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and malaria since 2005. The Global Fund, established in 2002, is an international financing

ice President Nnamadi Sambo has expressed the nation’s desire for added support that would improve her security situation. The Vice President made this known when he hosted the Iranian Ambassador to Nigeria, Saeed, Koorechi in his office at the State House, Abuja. The Vice President who is billed to represent President Goodluck Jonathan at the 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Nations in Tehran used the occasion to outline the areas of added support and cooperation Nigeria needs from Iran. They include power, transportation, agriculture, science education, oil & gas exploration, fertilizer production, health care delivery and security. Arc. Sambo said that Nigeria is looking forward to the Summit and expressed her desire to add value to the success of the organization to attain lofty heights in championing universal freedom of humanity and improving the socio-economic conditions of member nations. The Vice President said Nigeria was working towards ensuring that outstanding issues as regards the formation of joint commissions are actualized, stating that Nigeria was patronizing made in Iran power components that are being used in the National Independent Power Projects (NIPP) on its 10 new thermal power plants currently being constructed. Arc Sambo used the occasion to state that about 40 per cent of the plants are currently adding power to the national grid. Earlier, the Iranian Ambassador to Nigeria Saeed, Koorechi was elated that Nigeria would not only be participating but would be represented by a high level delegation. He said the Summit is billed to host members that consist of 55 per cent population of the world and 20 per cent of the world’s economies. He stated that of the over 100 countries that indicated interest to participate, over 50 of them will participate at the level of Presidents’, Prime Ministers and Vice Presidents. He therefore called on Nigeria to take advantage offered by the Summit as the country enjoys

Sambo

large potentials which should be untilized for its benefit. The Ambassador noted that Iran was self sufficient and export power and oil to neighbouring countries while it is able to meet 95 per cent of its pharmaceutical demands to 75 million people. He further stated that Iranian companies have contacted their Nigerian counterparts for mutual cooperation while noting that Iran is ready to cooperate with Nigeria to combat insecurity. Iran spiritual leader, Ayatollah Khameini is expected to inaugurate the conference.

Voda Paints showcases decorative products at Archibuilt

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he Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Voda Paints Ltd, has described Archibuilt as a good meeting point for building professionals and practitioners as well as regulatory institutions and potential clients to rub minds. Aluko, who stated this at the opening of this year’s Archibuilt in Abuja, said the conference also serves as a platform for companies to demonstrate to architects that their products are of high standards. According to him, Voda Paint has actively participated in Archibuilt since 2004 not only as a producer of high quality products but as one of the companies whose products meets the requirements of the building industry. The Voda Paints chief executive said this year’s event with the theme ‘viability and sustainability of Africa’s future cities’ provides another opportunity to showcase its irresistible range of decorative products to the world. ‘The company will also use the event to demonstrate the latest ‘innovative and

uncommon’ decorative products to Architectswho have responsibility conceptualizing, designing and supervising projects, building industry professionals and members of the general public’, he added. According to him, the top range decorative paints of the company are the finest and widest range of Plaster Finishes products in the country at the moment. For instance, Plaster finishes offer the combined qualities of leveling, smoothening and sealing wall surfaces to hide maisons’ rendering (plastering) imperfections while protecting and beautifying the walls at the same time. The result is a more perfect-looking wall. In addition, Plaster Paints provide a much better-looking surface finish owing to their more even light reflection consistency which plays a very important role in individual’s eventual colour and sheen level perception/ appreciation. Voda Paints range of Plaster Finishes being showcased are Silk Plaster (Natural Silk Material), Voda Venetian (Stucco) Plaster, VodaSealerPlast, VodaPlasterCoat, VodaBaseCoat a ndVodaTex Trowel. He further explained that Plaster Paints systems provide a much better-looking surface finish owing to their lighter reflection and consistency, which plays a very important role in individual’s eventual colour and sheen level perception/ appreciation. This means that architects and building industry professional now have wider top-end choices beyond the constraints created by limited choices hitherto available. He said the company also has the Hi-Luxury Washable ranges that offer popular scrub-resistant (washable) paint finishes that add a lot of richness and class to buildings internally and externally. The range is available in thousands of colours to satisfy individual preferences ‘Voda Paints also offers three different options in this class defined essentially by High, Medium and Low sheen levels conveyed by each product to suit each clients’ personal preferences.

Operators seek enabling law for NCC, NBC merger Stories by Kunle Azeez

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ollowing the presidential approval-in-principle of the merger of the Nigerian Communications Commission and the National Broadcasting Commission, key pressure


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Monday, August 27, 2012

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News

Ajayi

groups in the nation’s telecommunications industry have called for an enabling law to effect the merger through appropriate legislation. The Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria and other industry bodies, while describing the approval by the Federal Executive Council for the NCC, NBC merger as an action in the right direction, said the lawmakers in the National Assembly should set in motion, the process of enacting a new Act that will facilitate the putting in place of a converged regulator for both broadcasting and the Information and Communication Technology industry. Other industry stakeholders’ bodies, which have commended the move and demanded necessary legislation for the merger, include the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), the Nigeria Internet Group (NIG), and the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers (NATCOMS). Speaking with Business Courage at the weekend, the President of ATCON, Lanre Ajayi, described the development as a welcome development. He said that such a move was long overdue in other for certain spectrum which is being held by the NBC unused, to be deployed for the provision of telecoms services. He said globally, there is growing convergence between telecoms and broadcasting sectors such that having different agencies for each of the sector is ‘no longer fashionable and efficient’, adding that to drive true convergence in technologies, the coming together of the agencies was necessary. According to Ajayi, “Modern day technology has brought about convergence and the world is embracing convergence, so Nigeria cannot be left out in the whole process of convergence. “Once the full approval is given by the President for the merger,

the rest is now a matter of legislation at the national assembly to amend the existing laws that set up NCC and NBC, and when this is done, we will have a converged regulatory body.” Also, the President of ALTON, Gbenga Adebayo, has continually described the need to merge the two agencies as necessary at this point of the nation’s development in ICT. He said the merger would do the economy a lot of good, pointing out that in other developed countries, a single agency of government is established to oversee the regulation of broadcasting and telecommunications. In their reactions, the President of NIG, Bayo Banjo and National President, NATCOMS, Deolu Ogunbanjo also commended the move, saying such a move was long overdue in the nation’s ICT industry. “If technology is converging, it makes sense that the agencies regulating it should converge as well. The evidence of convergence is apparent in the technology devices we carry about today.” Also former President of ATCON, Titi Omo-Ettu, who recently re-echoed the need for a merger of the two agencies in the light of the convergence of technological and communication devices, had said, “The GSM phones, for instance, can do voice calls; browse internet on it, and as well watch television and DStv broadcast on it. What evidence do we need to show that technology has converged and why must we have separate agencies regulating technology that is already converging.” It would be recalled that the Federal Executive Council had last Wednesday endorsed the merger of the NCC and NBC paving way for the collapse of the two federal agencies into one powerful entity. However, the approval was in principle as an enabling law is required to provide a legal backing to the entity expected to emerge from the ‘marriage’ of the two agencies. It was learnt that Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council meeting which was chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan lasted into the night and brushed aside strong objections to the merger by the Ministry of Information.

Google achieves 100 percent mapping target for Nigeria, others

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oogle, the global search engine with innovative technologies for connecting people, said it has achieved 100 percent target in the area

three areas were critical to the mapping exercise and these include comprehensiveness of the information provided, its accuracy and speed of search for users. “Your updates will be reviewed, and once approved, will appear online for people from all over the world to see. You can use Map Maker to make updates and improve the comprehensiveness of the areas you are familiar with in more than 200 countries and regions worldwide,” he said. Arabu

of mapping for Nigeria and the rest of other countries in the African continent. Officials of the Google who disclosed this during Google’s Regional Conference for super mappers across Africa, which kicked off in Lagos on Friday, said 100 per cent of Africa is now available on Google Map Maker. The event was organised to celebrate the contributions of Google Map Maker users from around Africa in their geographic crowd-sourcing efforts. Speaking at the event, Google Africa Lead Africa Community Manager, Evans Arabu, said “Regional Conferences are a chance for volunteer mappers, community leaders, and Google team members to meet each other and discuss how to strengthen the mapping communities in their neighborhood. We’re thrilled to see that the mapping efforts in Africa have been greatly supported by citizen cartographers from many different parts of the country.” Announced at the event was the recent addition of Lesotho as a country open for editing via Google Map Maker, which makes 100 per cent of Africa now available through this community mapping tool. Also announced is the ongoing mapping initiative for all university campuses in SubSaharan Africa. Arabu said a number of universities had already been mapped including University of Lagos, University of Ibadan, Benson Idahosa University (BIU) and Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria as well as many more across Africa. According to him, “Google Map Maker allows you to add and update geographic information for millions of users to see in Google Maps and Google Earth. By sharing information about the places you know, like businesses in your town or building names on your school campus, you can ensure that the map accurately reflects the world around you.” Also speaking, Senior Product manager, Google Map Maker, Jayanth Mysore, said

Banks queue up for Bharti’s $750m telecom mast IPO

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ndia’s Bharti Airtel has shortlisted banks including Standard Chartered and JPMorgan to manage a share flotation for its telecoms masts unit to raise more than $750 million, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said. Reuters reported at the weekend that the biggest Indian mobile phone carrier has also shortlisted Bank of America Merrill Lynch, HSBC, UBS and India’s Kotak Mahindra for the initial public share offer (IPO), the sources said on Friday. Bharti may file a prospectus for the IPO with the Indian market regulator next month, said the sources, declining to be named as they are not authorised to speak to the media. The unit, Bharti Infratel, is eyeing a listing in the first half of 2013, the sources said, though Bharti declined to comment. Bharti Infratel, which has more than 33,000 mobile phone masts, also holds a 42 per cent stake in joint venture Indus Towers, which is the world’s biggest telecoms mast company, with about 110,000 masts. Mast companies get their revenue from leasing infrastructure to network operators but they are going through a tough time in India currently as a Supreme Court order to revoke the regional operating licences of eight mobile phone companies in the 15-player market has weighed on demand for masts. Bharti Airtel owns 86 per cent of the Infratel unit, with the remainder held by investors including Temasek Holdings, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, Goldman Sachs, Macquarie Group, Citigroup, Investment Corporation of Dubai and AIF Capital. Bharti Airtel said this month it was considering a sale of up to 10 percent of Infratel in the IPO. Bharti Airtel, which in 2010 acquired in a $9bn deal

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

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

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

Sunil Mittal, MD, Bharti Airtel

the mobile operations in 15 African countries of Kuwaitbased telecoms group Zain, had net debt of about $12 billion at end of June. The company has reported 10 consecutive quarters of profit decline, hit by fierce competition in its home Indian market and also weighed on by losses in its African business. Its shares are down about 28 per cent so far this year after a slew of brokerage downgrades in August, underperforming the broader market that is up more than 16 percent. BC


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Global News

Hainsworth

East African Breweries targets costs, earnings jump

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ast African Breweries Ltd (EABL), will focus on cutting costs this year by growing raw materials locally and moving production of some brands to the markets where they are sold, its chief executive said at the weekend. Soaring costs of sales are spoiling the party for the Diageo-controlled brewer, which has a commanding lead in one of the world’s fastest growing alcohol markets, outselling rivals in both beer and spirits. EABL, which makes Tusker beer and sells Johnnie Walker whisky, said costs rose 26 per cent during its full year ended June, outpacing a 24 per cent jump in revenue to 55.5 billion shillings. Chief Executive Devlin Hainsworth said the company was already growing sorghum in Tanzania to cut raw material costs, adding that the programme will be rolled out further, along with decentralisation of brewing from Kenya. “We need to be crystal clear what we are making where and therefore, what opportunities are there to be able to save some of the transportation costs so it (costcutting) is very much in focus,” Hainsworth told reporters. The company has already started manufacturing brands like Tusker in Tanzania, which was previously served by its brewery in Nairobi. EABL sells its products in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The markets were buoyant with Uganda and Tanzania recording growth of 38 percent and 76 percent, respectively, while the Great Lakes markets of Rwanda, Burundi and eastern Congo grew by 30 per cent. Pre-tax profit rose 24 per cent to 15.25 billion shillings and the company maintained its dividend for the year at 8.75 shillings per share, meaning a dividend yield of

four per cent against a market average of 5-7 per cent. Analysts said the dividend payout by EABL was still acceptable, citing increased leveraging by the company and the jump in cost of sales. Its finance costs more than doubled to 4.56 billion shillings. “It will take a bit of time to really get that item (costs) under control,” said Eric Musau, an analyst at Standard Investment Bank. Shares of EABL edged down by just less than 1 percent to 228 shillings each after the results was issued. Hainsworth said he expected earnings to grow further as the company targets customers who currently buy alcohol from the illicit and home brews market, which is estimated to be the same size as the established beer market. Global brewers like Heineken and SABMiller have been paying closer attention to Africa, where booming economies are spawning new consumers, to shore up flagging sales in economically troubled markets like Europe.

Githae

Kenyan tyre maker Sameer’s H1 profit jumps 62 pct

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enyan tyre maker, Sameer Africa, posted a 62 per cent jump in pre-tax profit for first half of 2012 to 129.9 million shillings, lifted by growth in sales, the firm said on Friday. Sameer, which manufactures the Yana brand of tyres, said it was optimistic of positive performance for the rest of the year, thanks to price stability of its raw materials for tyre manufacture and international crude oil prices. “The Kenyan shilling has firmed against the U.S. dollar and we do not expect to see any significant volatility for the remainder of the year,” it said in a statement. Weaker currencies in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania last year whittled Sameer’s earnings in the regional

market. Turnover for the six months to June rose 15.5 per cent to 2.1 billion shillings. The company said its basic and diluted earnings rose to 0.32 shillings a share from 0.22 shillings previously, but added it would not pay an interim dividend.

was appointed at the miner’s helm last month. African Minerals said that once its new wet process plant is operational at the site and a current mobile dry crushing plant is converted to a wet screening plant, difficulties in handling materials in the wet season will be removed. “Some of it is due to the rains and some of it is just due to ongoing issues with completing the construction of the (wet process plant) which is over a year late now,” Renaissance Capital analyst Jim Taylor said. The project has faced problems in keeping its construction on schedule, he said.

African Minerals slashes forecast again, shares fall

Ivory Coast ships 10, 000 tonnes of infested Cocoa to Brazil

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Calder

frican Minerals Ltd cut its production forecast for its flagship Tonkolili iron ore mine in Sierra Leone for the second time this year, citing a severe wet season. Shares in the miner fell nearly 17 per cent on the news. The company said it now expects to produce between five million and six million tonnes of iron ore for the full year, down from the 10 million tonnes that it forecast in April. African Minerals had forecast late last year that it would produce and ship up to 15 million tonnes of iron ore this year. The company, which expected to reach a production run rate of 20 million tonnes of ore at the mine by this year, now expects to achieve that target by the second quarter of next year. “While these moves are clearly a negative, we believe that current targets are now significantly more attainable,” Jefferies’ analyst Seth Rosenfeld said. He maintained a “buy” rating on the company’s stock, but cut his price target to 550 pence from 800 pence. African Minerals shares were down 13 per cent at 261 pence at 0835 GMT last Friday and were the top percentage loser on the London Stock Exchange. The miner, the largest of West Africa’s emerging iron ore producers and sitting on one of the continent’s largest iron ore deposits, said the current wet season in Sierra Leone was particularly severe and affected handling of materials and project execution. “I expect us to commence a steady production build-up in the coming weeks,” said Chief Executive Keith Calder, who

vory Coast inspected and certified two shipments of cocoa beans totalling 10,000 tonnes for export to Brazil, where officials say they arrived infested with insects, the West African nation’s cocoa marketing board said on Friday. Brazilian officials said earlier this month that the shipments, exported in July, lacked the usual documents showing they had been fumigated after loading into the ships’ hulls in Ivory Coast. Brazil’s agriculture ministry said last week it had temporarily suspended imports from the world’s top grower pending an Ivorian investigation. “The Coffee and Cocoa Council (CCC) would like to make clear that the offending shipments were definitely inspected and phyto-sanitary certificates were issued,” the marketing board said in a statement. A CCC official, who asked not to be named, confirmed that the documentation for the shipments included fumigation certificates. “All the papers concerning

fumigation exist. We really do not know what happened. Only investigations will allow us to determine who was responsible,” the official said. An inquiry involving the exporting firms, the CCC and Ivorian agriculture ministry as well as Brazilian authorities is currently under way to determine how the shipments became contaminated, the statement said. “The fumigation of cocoa upon exportation is a legal obligation and a commercial necessity for registered coffee and cocoa exporters,” the statement read. “Not doing so would endanger not only the Ivorian export image but also their commercial efforts.” Neither Ivory Coast nor Brazil has released the names of the export and shipping companies involved. Ivory Coast, which exported more than 1.5 million tonnes of cocoa during a record 2010/11 season, has called the infestation of the two shipments an “exceptional case”. Brazilian officials have also said there is no record that any previous shipments imported from Ivory Coast contained insects. The CCC said on Friday that trade relations between the two countries had not been damaged by the incident. Brazil’s cocoa development agency, Ceplac, said there were four or five kinds of insects found in samples from the shipments, all of which were also common in Brazil. None were pests found on cocoa plantations or a threat to Brazil’s own production. The shipments have since been fumigated and were waiting further testing last week to determine whether the level of infestation was below the threshold that restricts the cocoa’s use or requires it to be incinerated. Local media in Brazil reported that Nestle’s Brazilian division was the buyer of 4,000 tonnes of the infested cocoa, while the remaining 6,000 tonnes had been purchased by U.S.-based food processor Cargill. BC

Sangafowa Coulibaly, Minister of Agric, Cote d’Ivoire


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Business Courage

Monday, August 27, 2012

Mr. Cashless

By Adejuwon Osunnuyi

T

Elegbe

here are many people who believe that some degree of luck is essential to be successful in life. There are others, who hold the views that, rather than solely depend on luck, success can only be achieved, when ideas are backed with hard work and adequate preparation. The story of the rise and rise of Mitchell Elegbe, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Interswitch Limited is clearly one of such. Though, Elegbe was not born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, to a large extent, he learnt a lot of family values from his foster father, his uncle. The last child in his family, Mitchell was raised by his uncle, having lost his father long before he was born. Like he puts it, he did not come from a wealthy background. “If you are looking at rich from the terms of material wealth, I won’t say I come from a rich home, but if you are looking at rich in terms of values, yes! While having wealthy folks can help one to succeed in life, it is not a determining factor – I know of people who came from very poor homes who have made it and others from rich home who lost focus, so I think it boils down to the individual. Yes! Money helps, but money not being there is not an excuse not to make it,” that is vintage Elegbe. Largely described as a man with distinct ideas, courage, hard work and determination, Elegbe’s trip into the business world did not really start on a smooth note. As a student, then at the University, while struggling to make ends meet, Elegbe cut his teeth in cassette recording business, through borrowings from some of his friends. Then, he would travel all the way to Onitsha to buy high quality audio tapes and then go

He was not born with the proverbial Silver Spoon, but through determination, vision and doggedness, the idea he envisioned some years back, shortly after his NYSC programme has today become the cornerstone of Nigeria’s financial services industry. This is the story of Mitchell Elegbe, Managing Director, Interswitch Nigeria Limited.

A7 25

back to a recording studio, record on them and sell in school. While the sale of the cassette was fetching him some money, he recalled, “Not too long after wards, other students cashed in but rather than do it well like Elegbe, the new entrants settled for recording on tapes of lower quality, which totally wiped out my profits. Then I switched over to selling shirts. This is how I learnt how to read a market, and also time management, lessons that have become invaluable to me today.” Elegbe is the brain behind the world class integrated payment and transaction processing company, Interswitch, but for him, though the company remains the flagship, through which many have come to appreciate his entrepreneurial spirit, Interswitch was not the first idea. According to him, Interswitch was the idea at the time that made sense. “Prior to that, I’d had a thought of an automated car wash, but now that is fringe, if I was to start that straight from school maybe I would have been satisfied”, he said as he went on to explain that ideas are time bound, “If I was to start something afresh today, Interswitch would be too small; Interswitch today is not just a place I got to overnight, it is a series of ideas which developed over time. Today, what are the opportunities out there? What are the challenges? What are the things that need to be solved that I can solve based on my competencies, my training, my background, my disposition to life. Do something that makes sense to you that you would find enjoyable.” Elegbe said that there were a lot of ideas he picked from school but that the Interswitch concept came at the right time when it was clear that Nigerians needed something in the mould of what Interswitch offers. For Elegbe, the motivation to practically solve problems, rather than just make money and having a can do attitude are virtues that helped him to be trusted with the responsibility of starting Interswitch as a fledgling company, barely five years after he completed his compulsory one year National Youth Service scheme. As a graduate of Electrical Engineering from the University of Benin, Elegbe started his career with Computer Systems Associates (CSA), Lagos as part of a team that implemented the software solutions that enable Nigerian Banks connect to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT). About six months later, he joined TELNET in 1997, where he was assigned the responsibility for business development, corporate sales, Continue on pg A8


Business Courage

solution selling, customer and supplier relationship management, as well as the conceptualization and implementation of new products. He was later recruited by Schlumberger Wire line & Testing (Scotland) as a Field Engineer, but his stay in Scotland did not last more than one year. He returned to Nigeria and was re-absorbed into the Telnet group, this time, as Head, Group Marketing and Business Solutions. While he was still at Telnet, in 2001, he conceived the idea of building a nationwide switching company of world class standard and that company is what is today’s leader in the electronic payment and service industry. The coming of Interswitch was borne out of the desire to change the way payment are done in Nigeria, using the existing channels. To start with, Elegbe said that what he along with few others did was to go to the players, encourage and show them

what they could do. “Of course, at first, they were not forthcoming, but we assured them that the system was going to be built using international best practices to be localised to the expectations of Nigerians.” The name Interswitch, he said, comes from the words, international, interconnect and interactive. The genesis of the story was the creation of the switch. This is how it works, for instance, a few years ago, transferring money from one bank to the order was a painstaking and time consuming process but by creating the switch, Interswicth created an online real time electronic payment system to support other mode of customers’ transaction across several payment channels, such as Automated Teller Machine, Point of Sale terminal, web, mobile, voice and kiosks. With such an amazing success story, with the adoption of Interswitch Pay Direct, little wonder that over 70 per cent of the state g govp ernment, about 90 per cent of major telecommunication companies and numerous organisations t ons across oil and gas, manti ufacturing u acturing and educational uf sector now rely on solutions from Interswitch to drive their revenue collections and payments as part of the business. Besides being the brain behind Interswitch brand, Elegbe, in many ways, largely contributed to the

Monday, August 27, 2012

evolution of transforming Interswitch Limited from an epayment switching company to a Pan-African integrated transaction and payment processing company. Interswitch Limited is owned by four banks, three private organizations, management and staff. These shareholders include First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc and Zenith International Bank Plc, while Helios Investment Partners, Adlevo Capital and Techinvest Limited formed the private corporate ownership. Though he originated the concept, Elegbe insists that Interswitch is not his company. “You should know this that sometimes, the man with the idea is not the one that has the money and sometimes the man with the money does not have the idea. I don’t know why God made it that way. So, the man that has the wealth and the man that has the idea come together to form a p partnership. g p In this particular case, all I had was an idea; I was working in a company called Telnet, a very good organization where they encourage ideas and we knew our limitations – we knew we had the technical know-how to get the job done, so we got in touch with Accenture, one of the top three consulting firms in the world, who then got the banks and the banks basically brought the money. So, Interswitch is a company largely owned by the banks,” he stressed. Elegbe stressed that the problem with young people these days is “ that they tell you I have this idea and before they even finish the idea, they are saying I want 50 per cent; that is not how it is. I know they have heard about the Bill Gates of the world but if you read about people l i k e Bill

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Elegbe said that there were a lot of ideas he picked from school but that the Interswitch concept came at the right time when it was clear that Nigerians needed something in the mould of what Interswitch offers

A8 26

Gates, the focus was not the money, it was a vision, an idea, something they believed in; if you take everything away from them, they would still be pursuing their course,” he said. Working with Accenture and nine leading banks in Nigeria, Elegbe managed the project Ele from design, proving of the concept, cep to the eventual setup of the company responsible for mancom aging the shared infrastructure agi in tthe country. He leads a team of d dedicated Nigerians as the pioneer one Managing Director since inception in December 2002. inc Mitchell believes that the colour lou of one’s skin should not be a fa factor in the quest to succeed. “When I came back from a trip to “W the Bahamas, I found out that most mo people on the Island are black, and one question I kept bla asking myself is, how are these ask people different from us? People peo say there is something wrong with wit the black man but here is Bahamas not too far from the Ba US, US and making things happen, so it has nothing to do with the colour of our skin, my motivacol tion comes from the challenges from the environment, there are problems here and these probpro lems lem need to be solved. That motivates me.” mo Elegbe believes being successful in life is not a matter ces of lluck. “I don’t count on luck; what wh many people don’t know is that, there are many ideas we t have hav in Interswitch that do not come com to light. Some of them we kill ourselves. Someone stays in a room somewhere working on an idea and then after a few hours, we kill it. Was I lucky? I hou lost los my father before I was born. I th think I wasn’t lucky is an explanation that people use to expla plain pla away the reason why they did di not succeed. I had this classmate that was always cl sleeping when we used to go s to read in class. One day, I asked him how come he was always having good grades when he never went to class to read. Do you know what he told me? He said “Mitchell, to go to class, you would have to go to the rooms of two or three of your classmates to call them. Immedi-

ately you leave the room, I wake up and start reading my books; while you are in class, someone may be strolling and because the person is feeling sleepy he calls you for a chat and then when you have just started reading, your classmates call you that it’s time to go back and because you do not want to trek the long distance back, you leave for the hostel. Immediately I hear you guys returning, I close my books and start sleeping again, so you do not disturb me with noise and I will not be able to sleep again. Because of the strategy you guys use, I gain two hours that you guys lose everyday in walking the distance to class and chatting with friends while in class. At the end, he came out with a first class. Was it luck?” Expectedly, Elegbe believes so much in the cashless policy of the Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanus and this is quite understandable. To a large extent, his company, Interswitch, one of the major beneficiaries of the policy, has continued to roll out initiatives to support the cashless policy project as he believes that the full implementation of the policy would grow the electronic payment landscape. Elegbe said Nigeria still lags behind many nations in bank accounts, ATM and PoS deployments despite the fact that about 18 million to 20 million cards of various makes from debit, credit, e-purse and loyalty schemes in circulation which allows consumers and enterprises to pay and collect bills and taxes via many channels such as ATMs, banks, PoS, online, etc. To complement the CBN’s effort on e-payment, the company has released electronic payment products to support the regulatory body’s Cashless policy, aimed at encouraging electronic-based transactions and reducing the amount of physical cash in circulation in the country These products include epayment solutions from Interswitch such as Paydirect, Autopay, Direct Debit, Verve


Business Courage

Monday, August 27, 2012

Elegbe

Card, Quickteller, Webpay and Smartgov and cards such as MasterCard, Visa, Genesis and Freedom Cards, issued by the banks. He said these solutions are in tune with the policy and direction of the CBN and would assist individuals, corporate organizations, government agencies, merchants; manufacturers and suppliers to meet their electronic payment needs under the Cashless Scheme. Interswitch is expanding its scope. Recently, Elegbe led the company to acquire a 60 per cent stake in Uganda’s only company of the kind, amid plans for more African acquisitions. The company has offered to commit the N26 billion ($170 million) injected into it by Helios Investment Partners LLC for expansion on the continent, in a strategy which Elegbe noted is targeted at acquisitions in other countries, and “where we can’t acquire, we will partner with the owners.” The growth plans for Interswitch, which also runs a network of 10,000 automated-teller machines and 11,000 point-ofsale terminals, as the Nigerian central bank seeks to encourage more non-cash transactions in sub-Saharan Africa’s secondbiggest economy. Today, for smooth operation and efficiency, Interswicth is divided into various divisions. Some of the divisions managed and headed by competent young Nigerians include, TouchPoint, Infratrust, Oneview, Transpro, as well as Imagineering, which is further divided into various sections. The Touchpoint division focuses on managing customer payment touch points, like locations where Point of sales terminals are placed; the Touchpoint devices accept multiple cards including Verve, MasterCard etc. Touchpoint not only helps to

manage these locations, it also provides terminals to banks, merchants and scheme owners. Touchpoint also provides acquiring services, and inventory management systems and solutions that can help manage payment collections across multiple outlets or multiple distributors, whilst providing 24 hour global monitoring capabilities. Brainworks is Interswitch’s learning and development academy. The focus of Brainworks is to develop and sustain knowledge, skills and abilities internally required to enable the organization achieve its objectives. Brainworks is also charged with the responsibility of creating external recognition for Interswitch within the industry and beyond by becoming a leading world class learning academy. For Techquest, it is primarily responsible for research and development of new products and services. They are responsible for providing innovative, easy to use, consistent payment solutions and value-added services across multiple consumer touch-points and devices. Techquest also monitors new trends in software technologies and electronic payment processing. Verve Business is responsible for managing “Verve” across Africa. Verve, is a branded payment card (previously referred to as Interswitch Debit card or ATM Card), but which has now been branded, and enhanced with numerous security features including chip and pin security, money guard, customer rewards and access to value added services like Quickteller. Verve provides consulting services to organizations, governments, and financial institutions looking to issue the Verve Card. The Verve card is the new Interswitch debit card now with the Chip and PIN. Verve is the

new name of the more secure and convenient Interswitch card which with the introduction of chip and PIN makes transactions safer and with Quickteller services, adds convenience to everyday life. MySmartCityCard enables state governments automate processes around revenue collections, salary payments for civil servants, contractor payments and more, thereby making government activities transparent and efficient. MySmartCityCard combines identification and payment technology to eliminate leakage and improve accountability in revenue collection, healthcare delivery, education, transportation, social benefit transfer and other government services. MySmartCityCard is a Verve payment card with bio-metric based identity on the chip and it is the future of interactions between Smart governments and their citizens. Paydirect is a secure webbased Interswitch solution that enables corporates and government organizations receive payments made by their distributors, agents and customers into their accounts from all of the banks in Nigeria. It also allows

distributors, agents and customers to make payments into your accounts from not only bank branches, but, from ATMs, Point of Sales (PoS), Web, Mobile Phones and Kiosks. In addition, Paydirect allows you to know who paid, which bank it was paid into and what amount was paid online and in real time. Elegbe believes so much in mentoring, which he says play key role in determining the path to success. For him, a mentor is a person who has no reason to impact positive values to you but they end up doing so, and this is perhaps, why said he will remain indebted to his uncle as well as three of his former bosses. “My uncle was one – but then, that was his responsibility as my father. I talk about three of my bosses, Dr Carew – the founder of the Telnet group, Dr Denloye, also in Telnet, and Ejovi Aror, my first MD at iTECO of the Telnet group.” According to him, “One day I went to Dr. Carew, and told him I had got this idea about security cameras that I would like to do. He looked at me and said “Mitchell that is strange. Our office is in V/Island, all our engineers are graduates, trained and certified, so we need to pay a lot of money to keep them. Mitchell, do you want to compete with people with offices in Igbosere, who don’t pay a lot of people and can use artisans for the same job? This technology is so basic that we should not be thinking about it, if you want to do security, do security at a level that ‘those guys’ can’t even imagine”. I realized that what he was telling me was “who are the people that will compete with you when you stand, can you sustain competition with them?” The answer was No! That was mentoring at its best. All he was saying was up your game. If he had just told me up your game, it wouldn’t have made sense to me: meaning that by virtue of who you are, there are certain things that are beneath you, leave it for others. For Dr Denloye, he recalled that, “I went to her and said, “Dr. I am tired, I am afraid that I will run out of ideas”, because my job at Telnet was to come up with new business ideas, the painful thing was that, I had profit targets like everyone else and since

Elegbe believes being successful in life is not a matter of luck. “I don’t count on luck; what many people don’t know is that, there are many ideas we have in Interswitch that do not come to light

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A9 27

to come up with a new product takes years, I plan many years ahead so I know I must have a new project launched every two years… And just when the idea is getting sweet, someone else is given the job to manage, while I have to create a new one. She told me a man never runs out of ideas. Getting ideas is a process, an attitude, a culture. Immediately she said this, do you know what came to my head, Nokia? Nokia did not start with making phones. This statement affected me; creativity is about your personality, the culture you have, your approach to issues, those things will stay with you till you die. You may not have youth and energy, but you will still have ideas and they will keep getting better and better with the passage of time. The kind of ideas I think of now, the potential impact I can make for the shareholders and the society is so much higher.” Under Ejovi Aroh, he noted that he learnt how to be a Managing Director and still be with the boys. “It is easy to be MD and you don’t know if your boys have emotional, spiritual or financial problems. They come to work wearing suits and their ties and one day you come to work and you learn that your staff has committed suicide because they were going through issues you were unaware of. So, I learnt to be the MD as well as one of the boys. He was the kind of MD that I could walk up to and say “bros my girlfriend wants to leave me, what do you advise I do?” and not be worried that he would think my job will be affected therefore this one that is having emotional problems, lets push him aside from this expensive project, No! He will stay there with you and sort it out. My very first rent that I paid; he gave me the money to pay it. When I spoke to him I said, “look, I am new in Lagos, I just finished serving, the company I was with before retained me and I was staying in their company guest house but I don’t want to remain with them, I am coming to your company for a lesser pay, that pay cannot cover my rent, can I get a loan from the company”. He said you don’t qualify for a loan under the company policy, but I see the genuineness of your problem and challenge, this is a cheque for your rent, pay me back when you can’. How many MD’s will do that? I will do it because it has been done to me”. Elegbe is a recipient of the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellowship scholarship. He has attended several professional and management courses in South Africa, Spain and the United Kingdom, and has a British Computer Society Certificate in IT Service Management. Just few weeks ago, he bagged the Business Leader of the Year award at the All Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLA) - West Africa. BC


A10 28

Business Courage

Monday, August 27, 2012

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ThebuddingEntrepreneurs

An SMEs’ brand

advocate

Oluwaseun Ogunleye, Managing Director of Thots & Works, can be described an entrepreneurs’ entrepreneur because of her passion for helping small businesses stand out. The graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University, who once worked as a copy writer, in an advertising agency now earns her living from making brands out of small and medium businesses. By Bamidele Obafemi

A

s an English Language graduate, Oluwaseun Ogunleye had wanted to make it big in the business of copy writing and indeed, she strived early in life to realise this ambition. Immediately after leaving the university, during the compulsory one year National Youth Service, she launched into her dream career. She served with an Advertising Agency in the copy writing department. Given her passion for the job and the dedication shown during her service year, Seun, as her friends call her, was offered permanent job in the company as a copy writer and in a very short while, she was promoted deputy Copy Manager. Hope rising, she had thought, but she never knew that her dream of building a lofty career in the Advertising industry was about to terminate with a promotion which coincided with her marriage. Immediately after her marriage in 2002, Seun resigned her appointment with the Advertising Agency to live with her husband outside Lagos. “We were newly married and at the same time, he got a job with a telecom company which took him outside of Lagos. I had to relocate with him because of the need to lay a good foundation for our marriage”, She told Business Courage. Incidentally, however, the period she used working to build a lasting home also turned out to be the time of rediscovery for Seun Ogunleye, who after a while, and in a bid to gainfully occupy herself, decided to go into designing and printing of jobs for businesses. “I started out with designing logos as well as printing of materials and making of souvenirs for corporate organisations”, she disclosed. However, the inspiration to broaden the scope of the services rendered by Thots &

Participants at one of the training organized by Thots and Works

Ogunleye

Works, the company she later incorporated came some five years ago. According to Seun; it was the urge to reposition the company as an outfit for Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Brand Development. “What brought us into branding for SMEs is the fact that the trend in the country is shifting to entrepreneurship, unlike in the past when most people were crazy about securing white collar jobs, more people want to do their own things today rather than working to earn salary. Even in schools today, entrepreneurship is being included in the curriculum or syllabus to teach young people how to think for themselves and not to wait for someone else to provide jobs for them”, Seun explained. But as much as Nigeria has witnessed a surge in the number of small businesses in recent times, Seun’s discovery was that the branding needs of these small businesses are not well taken care of, though some of them don’t see the need for branding even up till now. “They believe that branding is for the big companies like the banks, telecoms, which is not true, because regardless of the size of your business, branding is something you should engage in as a way of differentiating your business since you are not the only person in the business, in your industry and even in your vicinity doing that business. And because the SMEs run a slim budget, unable to afford what the big companies will spend to engage the services of the big branding outfits, that is why we are here”, she stated. In reality, the simple goal driving Seun and her Thots & Works is the need to support the growth of SMEs in Nigeria as she believes they are the future of the country. “We believe that if any small business owner can get their branding right, they will move from just being a

business and become a brand whose products can be differentiated anywhere. They get visibility and it can even grow to become a reference point in Nigeria. I have witnessed a lot of business metamorphose to the big stage. That is what informed our decision to focus on the branding needs of small and medium businesses in Nigeria”, she enthused. Since she never had any prior idea about branding concept, even in her days in the advertising industry, the pro-

liferation of brand consultants in the country could also not help her cause as none chose to specialise in rendering services to the SMEs. Worst still, business owners’ attitude and finance remain the immediate impediments to her operations; however, through perseverance and determination, Thots & Works appears to be weathering the storm as Seun admits that she has recorded appreciable success. “As at the time I started, it was a little bit slow, it was a hard sell, and l think

up till now, it is still a bit of hard sell, but comparing what the situation was when we started and now, there has been a big difference. We have made a lot of progress. We have gained a level of visibility and acceptance because people are beginning to recognise us for what we do. Now, they know that if they have a small business and they come to us, we will help them because we understand what they need. We won’t turn them back. Everything should not be about money. We assist them

Management Principles

Principles of

entrepreneurship

W

ho can become an entrepreneur? There is no one definitive profile. Successful entrepreneurs come in various ages, income levels, gender, and race. They differ in education and experience. But research indicates that most successful entrepreneurs share certain personal attributes, including: creativity, dedication, determination, flexibility, leadership, passion, self-confidence, and “smarts.” *Creativity is the spark that drives the development of new products or services or ways to do business. It is the push for innovation and improvement. It is continuous learning, questioning, and thinking outside of prescribed formulas. *Dedication is what motivates the entrepreneur to work hard, 12 hours a day or more, even seven days a week, especially in the beginning, to get the endeavour off the ground. Planning and ideas must be joined by hard work to succeed. Dedication makes it happen. *Determination is the extremely strong desire to achieve success. It includes persistence and the ability to bounce back after rough times. It persuades the entrepreneur to make the 10th phone call, after nine have yielded nothing. For the true entrepreneur, money is not the motivation. Success is the motivator; money is the reward. *Flexibility is the ability to move quickly in response to changing market needs. It is being true to a dream while also being mindful of market realities. A story is told about an entrepreneur who started a fancy shop selling only French pastries. But customers wanted to buy muffins as well. Rather than risking the loss of these customers, the entrepreneur modified her vision to accommodate these needs. *Leadership is the ability to create rules and to set goals. It is the capacity to follow through to see that rules are followed and goals are accomplished. *Passion is what gets entrepreneurs started and keeps them there. It gives entrepreneurs the ability to convince others to believe in their vision. It can’t substitute for planning, but it will help them to stay focused and to get others to look at their plans. *Self-confidence comes from thorough planning, which reduces uncertainty and the level of risk. It also comes from expertise. Self-confidence gives the entrepreneur the ability to listen without being easily swayed or intimidated. *“Smarts” consists of common sense joined with knowledge or experience in a related business or endeavour. The former gives good instincts, the latter, expertise. Many people have smarts they don’t recognize. A person who successfully keeps a household on a budget has organizational and financial skills. Employment, education, and life experiences all contribute to smarts.Every entrepreneur have these qualities in different degrees. But what if a person lacks one or more? Many skills can be learned.


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Business Courage A11 29

Monday, August 27, 2012

ThebuddingEntrepreneurs

because they need visibility, awareness, and we have been able to influence a number of small businesses through the free brand enlightenment workshop that we organise, through the paid workshops, through consultancy and through referrals, we have been able to make some remarkable impact. And even now, people talk on our behalf when we are not there. If we have gotten to this level, it perhaps means we are doing something right,” she said reassuringly.

One of the ways to show that Thots &Works services are gradually being embraced by small business owners is the growing number of clients that it has gained over the years. They include among others Nianto Uniforms, Ideas Services, Broad line Services, FCG Insurance Brokers, Trinity Kraft. Interestingly, getting into the business does not cost a fortune in monetary terms but it requires a lot of brain job. “What we sell is not a visible product but ideas”, she ex-

Or, someone can be hired who has strengths that the entrepreneur lacks. The most important strategy is to be aware of strengths and to build on them. What leads a person to strike out on his own and start a business? Perhaps a person has been laid off once or more. Sometimes a person is frustrated with his or her cur-rent job and doesn’t see any better career prospects on the horizon. Sometimes, a person realizes that his or her job is in jeopardy. A firm may be contemplating cutbacks that could end a job or limit career or salary prospects. Perhaps, a person already has been passed over for promotion. Perhaps, a person sees no opportunities in existing businesses for someone with his or her interests and skills. Some people are actually repulsed by the idea of working for someone else. They object to a system where reward is often based on seniority rather than accomplishment, or where they have to conform to corporate culture. Other people decide to become entrepreneurs be-cause they are disillusioned by the bureaucracy or politics involved in getting ahead in an established business or profession. Some are tired of trying to promote a product, service, or way of doing business that is outside the mainstream operations of a large company. In contrast, some people are attracted to entrepreneurship by the advantages of starting a business. These include: *Entrepreneurs are their own bosses. They make the decisions. They choose whom to do business with and what work they will do. They decide what hours to work, as well as what to pay and whether to take vacations. *Entrepreneurship offers a greater possibility of achieving significant financial rewards than working for someone else. *It provides the ability to be involved in the total operation of the business, from concept to design and creation, from sales to business operations and customer response. *It offers the prestige of being the person in charge. It gives an individual the opportunity to build equity, which can be kept, sold, or passed on to the next generation. * Entrepreneurship creates an opportunity for a person to make a contribution. Most new entrepreneurs help the local economy. Some people evaluate the possibilities for jobs and careers where they live and make a conscious decision to pursue entrepreneurship. No one reason is more valid than another; none guarantee success. However, a strong desire to start a business, combined with a good idea, careful planning, and hard work, can lead to a very engaging and profitable endeavour. BC

plained. Relating her experience, Seun revealed that she started the business from the confines of her home as she did not need to rent an office at the initial stage of the business. “You may not need an office space to consult and get paid. All you need do at that stage is to convince your clients with the quality of job you deliver to them. By the time you start thinking of renting a space for office, it means your clientele base has increased. If it is training, conducting an inhouse training will mean that people will have to pay before you offer your services, but for open training, you need to attract participants that you are sure will pay as you proceed to plan for the event. Though there will be some initial commitments, it will not necessarily task your purse to put a good training together,” she said. With a laptop, internet connection and phone, Seun says “you can chat with your clients, schedule meetings, prepare your proposals and mail it to your clients”. She, however, warned that being able to generate ideas and develop products that meet the needs of clients as and when due is germane to making success in the service industry where she operates. “You must be able to sell ideas; you must be able to come up with things. You must be able to identify the trend in the society now and how you can cash in on current trends. You must be able to find out what the needs of the people are and design the appropriate products to satisfy such needs”, Ogunleye reiterated. For Thots & Works, it has been about walking the talk as it launched last year an encyclopaedia on branding. She-Pink is another product from the stable of the company which Ogunleye says was a complete branding package for women entrepreneurs. She disclosed that Thots & Works was planning to come up with materials on branding for SMEs, which is in scarce supply in the country at the moment. “We are coming up with indigenous branding materials, using successful entrepreneurs in the country as role models “, she disclosed. Notwithstanding the present challenges facing the industry in Nigeria, Seun is optimistic that Thots & Works would be playing a national role in a few years to come. She has a dream, and that is the fact that the history of entrepreneurship in the country would not be complete without her company getting a mention, given the revolutionary role it is expected to have achieved in the field of creating value for small businesses through branding. BC

Personal Finance How to fund start-up businesses

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o matter what the economic situation, someone somewhere, eyes bright with potential, is looking to start a new business. Funds are often the biggest hurdle to what could otherwise be a lucrative opportunity. Here are some ways - traditional and/ or creative - to raise money for your start-up business. Personal savings There’s nothing like having your own money saved, to put into your start-up. You have the satisfaction of having saved it on your own, and the knowledge that you don’t owe anyone. Risk: It’s your money, and if you’re not successful, the money is gone, and with it the opportunity to do anything else with it later. Partner savings Having a partner helps spread out not only the business management but the financial burden. A good partnership is also synergetic, bringing more success than running a business alone. Risk: A fed up partner who wants out; arguments; irresponsible partners who leave you with all the debt; broken friendships. Retirement savings plan Dip into your retirement savings, especially if there’s a government incentive (i.e., qualified tax break). Or take advantage of home ownership programmes from retirement plan funds, and use your original rental funds towards your business. Risk: If you can’t pay back your savings plan, there may be a penalty as well as having to declare the funds as earnings. Blood money Borrow from family, friends, colleagues, or employees. An alternative to this is to have one of the aforementioned co-sign a bank loan for you. Risk: Meddling lenders, constantly reminding you of what they gave you; ruined friendships. Bank loan If you have a solid business plan and the lender agrees, this

can often be the cheapest (interest rate-wise) loan sources available. Risk: Besides the fact that it’s often hard for a start-up to qualify - since there’s little evidence you’ll be profitable - if you do get a loan, it can be like a ticking time bomb if your business isn’t doing well. Investor capital Get angel investments or venture capital. Convert blood money lenders into investors or silent partners. Or find angel investors, who tend to give smaller loans than VCs (Venture Capitalists). Venture capital is less of an option for most start-ups, but might come at a later stage. Note that at a later stage, your customers and suppliers could very well be investors. Risk: Not enough money, or difficult repayment terms. Many investors expect to sell the company at some point in the future and cash out. That means offering an IPO, which locks your payout thanks to SEC rules. You also have to be incredibly careful about not falling into insider trading issues. Private offering Turn your blood money lenders into part owners, so that they have an emotionally vested stake in seeing your business succeed. Risk: You might lose partial control of the business, and if you have to have meetings to make simple decisions, that could hinder your ability to work effectively. Public offering A public offering widens your potential for selling shares and thus getting operating capital when you need it. Risk: Shareholders expect something in return, whether it’s dividend payouts or increase in stock value. There’s also the issue of now being bound by all the Securities and Exchange Commission rules. Dividends If you have mutual funds or stocks in your investment portfolio that pay out regular dividends, this could be a potential source of start-up funds. This way, you do not have to cash in your portfolio, and it can continue to earn for you. Risk: Depending on tax laws in your country, some types of dividends might be taxable at source, if you are not reinvesting them. So your actual “take,” minus any brokerage fees might leave you with very little. BC


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Lottery as telecos’

cash cows By Adejuwon Osunnuyi

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amidele Jacobs, a secretary in a clearing and forwarding firm, appeared passionate and optimistic about becoming a millionaire or better still, a proud owner of an exotic car before the end of the year. Clearly, his current salary does not have the capacity to help him achieve his optimism and he is certainly not interested in involving himself in either a money making rituals or armed robbery. He had placed his hope on the strings of mouth watering promotional campaigns and lotteries by many telecommunication companies. He was particularly enamoured by the just concluded ‘MTN Nigeria Automania Promo,’ which promised to dash out over 100 Hyundai ix35 cars to winners. Pronto, two months ago, when he got an SMS from MTN Nigeria saying, “Simply Text Yes to 1010 now! You are rewarded with an invitation for MTN’s Hyundai ix35 draw today! You could win! You’re fortunate! Subscribe for N100/day,” he did not waste any time registering. For him, the dream became real as soon as he got the first and second reply, telling him he has made a qualified entry and eligible to win a Hyundai car and so on. After getting the third SMS informing him he had got 10 points which allowed his name to enter 10 times in the draw for the Hyundai car, he was subsequently asked to increase his chances by texting GO to 2020 in order to get 50 points. At this point, it costs an additional N10/SMS and looks as cheap as possible to afford. That next phase gave him 50 more points and took him to the MTN speed Zone where every correct answer earns him 50 more points. After the first few weeks, having spent about N20,000 for getting over 600,000 points, he contemplated giving the game a break as he could no longer continue. But to his surprise, he was urged to continue playing, as he was getting nearer to winning the car. At this stage,

Despite repeated accusations of fleecing subscribers through promos and lotteries, more telecom companies continue to dangle mouth-watering offers, even as lottery regulator banks on the promos to rake in about N300 billion yearly Bamidele was persuaded for instance to win 15,000 points for a particular period. Hence, he decided to look out for assistance, even as far as borrowing money from friends and relatives. Surely, while he kept on spending more money and getting more points, his hope of getting close to winning his dream car could not be ascertained as the specific points to get in order to win the car is not stated. As at the last count, his points had grown in leap to over 30 million. “Honestly, I have been playing this game for a while now. Having spent N800,000 so far, I have over 30 million points. Though, I am yet to get anything, but I remain resolutely sure that with God Almighty, all things are possible, including my winning one ix35 Hyundai car. My 30,354,970 points will not be a waste in Jesus name, Amen,” he said reassuringly. But whether Bamidele’s hopes and aspiration of owing a car through the telecoms lotteries could still be achieved before the end of the year can only be left to fate to decide as the ‘MTN Nigeria Automania Promo’ has just been brought to an end. Perhaps, he might be luckier the next time as the telecom giant has again come up with another promo tagged ‘Ultimate Wonder promo.’ Regarded as the mother of

all promos, MTN said it has de- end, no valid outcome benefits cided to give out a new airplane. anyone. Sometimes, the fraudAside MTN, it is almost be- ulent approach is that one is coming a fad for other telecom asked to use certain amount of service providers to bombard credit to qualify to win for exmillions of their subscribers ample, a pencil prize.” nearly on a daily basis with difEmmanuel said that in some ferent messages, announcing other countries, promos subseries of irresistible promos and scribers win millions of dollars lotteries. worth of prizes fairly; as against As competition becomes our environment where you can stiffer in the telecommunication be charged specially in the end industry, it is not unexpected to claim what you have been dethat service providers would clared to have won. consistently devise new ways of Like Emmanuel, some othattracting new customers and ers are of the opinion that while retaining old ones within their networks. Indeed, it is not surprising that promotions and lotteries have become prominent tools used by service providers to delight their teeming subscribers. However, to some subscribers and stakeholders in the industry, such barrage of promos and other games of chance engaged in by operators may just be rip offs that should be stopped and checked by appropriate authorities. Chief Executive Officer of Programos Software, Amos Emmanuel, believes that the conduct of lotteries and promos needed to be checked. “Most times, subscribers are lured to play in some bonanza at exorbitant rates per text when at the Emmanuel

subscribers are made to spend huge sum of money to buy airtime in the anticipation of winning in such promos, most of the time, they say, the outcome appears more like there is always a predetermined winner or the prizes are not redeemed as promised. For instance, Okeke Romanus, like Bamidele, complained bitterly about how much he spent to get him to about one million points and yet “I am yet to receive any gift, not even a N1,000 recharge card. What a

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shame!” Amaka Chukwu told Business Courage that what baffles him was the fact that nobody even knows the average point. “The idea of the more points you get, the more chances you win which they have all been employing is very suspicious. I will want the police or the EFCC to investigate these thoroughly,” he said. Another subscriber who identified herself as Helen in her submission asked rhetorically, “I hope these people are not deceiving us? How can you make us to spend money on a daily basis, yet no winner?” For Idowu Bada, a house wife, the best kind of promos she prefers getting into is the direct bonus ones. “For instance, if one loads N500, then they give N1000 - That is the kind of promo I prefer taking advantage of rather than just lotteries where there are only few winners,” she said. But basically, operators believe the rolling out of such promos and all other game of chance should never be seen as a rip off, but rather a way of rewarding the subscribers for their loyalty. For instance, while speaking on its recently launched “recharge and win” promo in which customers have chance of winning weekly cash prizes as well as a grand prize of a Cessna 182 T aeroplane, the Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, MTN Nigeria, Larry Annetts, noted that as a market leader, MTN continually sought avenues not only to enrich the lives of its customers, but also to appreciate and reward its loyal subscribers for keeping faith with the brand over a long period of time. “MTN is keen to transform the lives of many Nigerians; we recognise reward schemes as one of the best ways to touch and enrich the lives of our subscribers and so we are connecting Nigerians to life-changing initiatives that are not easily replicated by any

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Monday, August 27, 2012

brand in Africa,” he said. Annetts further said that last year, in commemoration of MTN’s 10th anniversary in Nigeria, the company excited and enriched many Nigerians with the much-talked about ‘1 Billion Naira’ reward; where 90 lucky winners went home with cash prizes of N10 million each among other mouth-watering prizes. “This year again, through the MTN Automania game, a subscription-based initiative, the company is giving out 100 xi35 SUVs in a 100-day nationwide promo. But with the inauguration of the MTN Ultimate Wonder Promo, you will agree with me that MTN has taken the customer-reward concept to an unprecedented level where no brand has attempted in Africa.” Apart from the ultimate prize of an airplane, he said subscribers would also have opportunities of winning weekly cash prizes of N150,000 for 100 customers and a weekly star prize of N2 million in the threemonth nationwide promo. To participate in the promo, according to him, new and existing customers are encouraged to recharge with a minimum of N200 to qualify for the weekly draws. While multiple entries are allowed for increased chances of winning, any subscriber who recharged up to a minimum N3, 000 over the duration of the promo would automatically qualify for the draw for the grand prize of an airplane. In the same vein, while Airtel Nigeria through its Free Millionaires promo claimed it is providing platform for 100 customers transform into instant millionaires while 500 others will step up their social status with the latest Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Reloaded tablets complete with free 200MB worth of bundled data. According to the Airtel’s Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director of Airtel Nigeria, Deepak Srivastava, the promo is a credible initiative that seeks to enrich more Nige-

Brett Goschen, MTN CEO

Igho

rians and provide them with more opportunities to realize their financial dreams. “Airtel is committed to rewarding Nigerians. The Free Millionaires’ promo is just another channel for us to say a big thank you to all our customers. We are particularly excited that all the winners emerged through a transparent process certified by Alexander Forbes for authenticity in compliance with global standards,” Srivastava said. Already, Airtel said 21subscribers have emerged star winners of the N1 million each, from the first three draws of the promo. Millionaires that have emerged include Malam Sanni Ibrahim, a farmer; Barnabas Vishigh, a retired teacher; Rita Ekeh, a student; Dzaki Francis Terwase, a medical officer with Command Government Secondary School, Oshongu,

Benue State; Ezekiel Ojoloko and Lawal Musa, both civil servants and others. Just like MTN, to register and participate in the Airtel Free Millionaire promo, customers are required to send any of the three keywords: “FREE”, “BIG” or “WIN” to the short code 3030. Though customers are to enjoy a seven- day free participation period in winning the N1 million, a charge of N100 daily applies thereafter and subscribers will be automatically awarded 10 tickets to increase their chances of winning in the daily draws. Those who do not have N100 in their account will be charged N50 to qualify for the draw but will earn half of the full 10 tickets. Also, subscribers to the promo can further increase their chances of becoming millionaires or owners of Samsung Galaxy 7.0 Reloaded tablets, by engaging in the question and answer trivia game for N10 per SMS by sending the keyword “OK” to the short code 4040. However, despite the hoopla that sometimes attend most of the promos, the National Lottery Regulatory Commission is excited about the prospects of generating about N300 billion through the lottery activities. The Director General, NLRC, Dr. Peter Igho, disclosed this when he led other officials of the commission on a courtesy visit to the office of the Commissioner of Police, Special Fraud Unit, in Ikoyi, Lagos recently. Igho however admitted that, this can only be achieved if industry’s activities can be free of fraud and carried out in line with the laws of the land. Igho, who said that the aim of the visit was to strengthen

partnership with the police towards ensuring that fraudulent activities in lottery business was taken off, said that Nigeria could earn huge revenue for good cause from lottery. He said that unlike gambling, which is illegal and only benefits a few individuals, lottery, all over the world, is legitimate and had been a reliable source of revenue for many countries to implement social projects that benefitted the whole citizens. According to him, “All over the world, lottery has been from time immemorial, used to raise money to promote good causes. For instance, 80 per cent of the money, over £1 billion, used to sponsor this year 2012 Olympics Games came from hotter.” Continuing, he affirmed, “Suffice to say that in Britain alone, over £22 billion has been raised in 14 years for good cause. Lottery has been used to promote education, support religious activities and many more.” Though proceeds from lotteries and other games of chance provide funding to help address societal needs and support good cause in other countries where they are practised, the Nigerian scenario presents a picture of lotteries and promos as a way by which companies fleece subscribers to enrich themselves as there are no clear sign that companies religiously comply with the remitting of the stipulated percentage into the lottery trust fund. Confirming this, the NLRC boss noted that Nigeria is yet to enjoy the full benefits from ongoing lotteries in the country “because many people do it fraudulently and they don’t do it with transparency and honesty.” According to the provision of the NLA 2005, statutorily, in any lottery project, 50 per cent of the money realised should go to those that participate in it, 30 per cent for the company running the lottery and 20 per cent to the NLRC Trust Fund, where such fund can now be given out on request by Nigerians or any other institution to promote good cause. Giving credence to the fact that a survey carried out by the Commission had shown that Nigeria’s telecoms revolutions had opened a new vista of avenue for organisations to engage in lottery without recourse to the provision of the Nigeria Lottery Act, NLA, 2005, which give NLRC the power to regulate transparency in lottery business, Dr. Igho said only people with credible characters should run lottery business. To him, it was amazing how companies had left their primary business to focus on running promos and lotteries to make money for themselves rather than doing so in a mutuallybeneficial arrangement as stipulated by the law. BC


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Etisalat to reward innovation at Africa Com 2012 Awards Stories by Adejuwon Osunnuyi

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igeria’s fourth largest telecoms company, Etisalat has disclosed plan to launch its first edition of the ‘Etisalat Prize for Innovation’ to reward the most innovative existing mobile broadband product or service in Africa. The award will be one of the major attractions at the 15th Annual Africa Com Conference scheduled to take place in Cape Town, South Africa in November 2012. The ‘Etisalat Prize for Innovation’ is aimed at encouraging and celebrating valuable innovation in the African market and will be awarded in two categories; both prizes will be for driving or facilitating mobile broadband use in Africa. The first prize of $25, 000 is for the most innovative product or service launched in the last 12 months and a second prize of $10,000 for the most innovative idea. Speaking in a statement, the Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Steven Evans said, “The importance of Africa as a growth market for mobile broadband is clearly evident, as the continent remains the fastest growing telecommunications market in the world.” According to him, “Over the past few years, Africa has witnessed a dramatic increase in mobile broadband connections mainly due to the surge in mobile broadband connections in Nigeria. At Etisalat, we believe that the next big thing in telecommunications in Nigeria and Africa in general is broadband and we are pushing this agenda very seriously being the first to launch a 3.75G network in Nigeria.” Evans further explained that the ‘Etisalat Prize for Innovation’ Award seeks to reward corporate organisations; small and growing businesses as well as individuals developing advanced mobile broadband solutions and platforms in Africa. “We have launched this

award because we realise the importance of innovative broadband projects, products and services which have improved the way we live and work. Innovation is core to our business strategy at Etisalat and we see ourselves as a young and innovative business setting the pace for others in the Nigerian telecommunications industry,” he added. Entries for the award opened last Thursday, August 16 through September 6, 2012 and the entries must show demonstrable impact on broadband usage, impressive uptake from customers and would have made a visible commercial or social impact in the community. Entries are open to African Mobile Network Operators (MNO) and Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) with innovative Broadband products or services using the GSM network family (2G GPRS & EDGE, 3G, HSPA, LTE), Handset and/or Device manufacturers, App Developers and other Software service providers making use of mobile broadband capability, Radio and Core network Infrastructure suppliers enabling broadband products and content developers,” he said.

More Nigerian women entrepreneurs like valued-added mobile services – Report

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new research conducted by the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, supported by the ExxonMobil Foundation, has shown that 93 per cent of women entrepreneurs in Nigeria are willing to use a valued-added mobile service to address the core challenges they face in their business; The report entitled “Mobile Value Added Services: A Business Growth Opportunity for Women Entrepreneurs” conducted in May 2012”: also revealed that 75 per cent of them felt that addressing these challenges would lead to a significant increase in the value of their business. The report was disclosed during the unveiling of a new Nokia Life service that will provide essential business and entrepreneurship tips to women entrepreneurs in Nigeria. The unveiling of Business Women witnessed the participation of top female entrepreneurs, women’s associations and local students in Nigeria. The service christened: Business Women, as part of its mission to connect the next billion people to relevant information and the internet, Nokia, in partnership with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and MTN Nigeria, was the latest addition to the Nokia

Monday, August 27, 2012

Life service portfolio. Speaking at the forum, the Vice President of Nokia West Africa, James Rutherford, noted that women entrepreneurs are faced with significant barriers to scaling up their businesses, including access to affordable resources, marketing channels and training inputs. He said the Business Women service by Nokia has been designed to address this imbalance, by providing essential business and entrepreneurship tips, delivered via SMS to mobile phones with the Nokia Life service. “Working with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women is a key milestone on our journey to connect the next billion people to relevant information. Nokia Life is by far the world’s largest mobile information services suite helping consumers in emerging markets learn, live, and share information better. The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women invests in women entrepreneurs to build and expand their businesses, and in doing so, benefit not only themselves but also their families and communities. We are delighted to partner with the Foundation to provide Nigerian women with the best information available to help grow their businesses.’’ Rutherford added that by partnering with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women to make the Business Women service a reality, Nokia reaffirmed its commitment to connect people to opportunities, including making women a larger part of the next billion people to be connected. In her remarks, Founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, Cherie Blair, said partnering with Nokia on the Business Women service is a ‘welcome development’. “Giving women the chance to become financially independent and make the most of their talents is the key to higher living standards for them and their families.” Blair with the extensive reach of Business Women through Nokia Life and content tailored especially for Nigerian women entrepreneurs, the new service has the potential to empower thousands of women business owners.

Airtel offers 500 per cent bonus airtime

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n a bid to make its subscribers enjoy unparalleled value for their money, telecommunications service provider, Airtel Nigeria has increased its tempo on customer-centric offering by giving subscribers as much as five times of their daily recharge over a 24-hour period. According to the company, this is the first-of-its-kind

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Rutherford

bonus offer that seeks to reward customers each day they utilise set thresholds on local call usage. For instance, if a prepaid customer’s assigned daily threshold is N100, utilization of this amount on a daily basis would earn him a whopping N500 which is five times the customer’s threshold usage instantly, every day. However, the bonus airtime offer tagged “Airtel 5X offer”, can only be utilized for Airtel to Airtel calls on the same day it is received as the validity expires every 12 pm midnight of the same day. The company said customers would be provided with information on their daily threshold via SMS or by calling the MAMO interactive voice service free of charge on 141. To Check their 500 per cent Bonus balance, customers are to dial *123*4#. Olu Akanmu, Airtel’s chief marketing officer, said the offer is another testimony to the commitment of the company to empower, delight and excite its esteemed customers with innovative and exclusive offerings. “We are committed to go the extra mile in giving back to our customers as much incentive as possible to encourage communication with friends, family, loved ones and business associates. Airtel 5X offer is not a lottery. It is not a game of chance unlike others in the market. Every participant is assured of getting five times their daily usage as long as they participate and meet their advised daily usage requirement. The Airtel 5X offer is unprecedented in its instant and guaranteed airtime reward to customers who participate in the offer. To us, this is also a way of saying thank you to our dear customers who have made us proud by choosing our brand as their network of choice.” Akanmu stated.

district offices nationwide is now 89 down from 106 as the government-owned and operated corporation battled for relevance in the face of the sweeping changes in the information and communications technology space. Ibrahim Muri Baba, the Postmaster General of the Federation on a familiarization tour of Owerri, Imo state said the decision to scale down the districts had taken effect immediately. While urging staff of Nipost to welcome the development, Muri Baba said that the move was aimed at bringing efficiency to the system as he added that the zonal structure of the postal service would be in line with the reduction. Also, from this month, all the staff would be paid their salary from the centralized system of the Accountant General of the Federation office. NIPOST had commissioned the use of E-Wallet billed to enable staff carry less cash, which is in accordance with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) cashless economy policy. The Postmaster General stated that the innovation will enable the agency to have more money in the system, and even obtain loans from financial institutions when desirable. He said: “If we want better pay, we should talk about commercialization.” Muri Baba said he would be remembered for his penchant interest to put in place a functional community hub that would use Information Communication Technology (ICT) in the rural areas of the country to enable their customers’ access service easily. “I want to be remembered with ensuring that all the post offices will become community centres, serving those who do not have opportunity. “We want post offices to serve those that are not being served because we are in the information technology age. Community offices, I call them, will be able to provide the infrastructure in the rural areas. That is what I want to be remembered for,” he added. BC

Nipost closes district offices

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igeria Postal Service (Nipost) has shut down some of its district offices across the country as it moves to reduce cost and improve efficiency. With the shutdown, Nipost

Muri Baba


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Monday, August 27, 2012

Reflections with Semiu Salamii 07043280449 sms only

“Project cure” as an anathema

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ast Thursday, the Central Bank of Nigeria announced what it considered to be its antidote to the ailing national currency, the naira. The antidote or cure, if you like, comes in form of a project which the apex bank code-named “Project Cure.” Under “Project Cure” comes a new currency structure that, effective 2013, redesigns the existing denominations like N50, N100, N200, N500 and N1, 000 and imbued them with added security features. However, what I consider the high point of the Sanusi-Lamido-led CBN’s Project Cure is the widening of the structure of denominations in the coins category and the raising of the bar on the highest denomination in the country from N1, 000 to N5, 000. What this implies is that, lower bank notes like N5, N10 and N20 will now join 50k, N1, N2, N5, N10 and N20 in the coin category. For me, I am yet to be convinced if this project actually comes with any cure for the naira. Rather, I strongly believe that what the apex bank has succeeded in doing is to engender an unprecedented era of inflation in the country, raised the bar on both official and unofficial corruption and above all, further impoverished a larger chunk of Nigerians. Unfortunately, however, the CBN is

carrying on, characteristically like the proverbial “Dog that refuses to heed the whistle of the hunter,” by pre-empting informed opinions that fear that the action would trigger inflation by citing countries like Germany, Singapore and Japan as countries with high currency denomination but with low inflation. I am not an economist, but in all my professional years as business and economy writer, I have come to understand the basic principles of economics and I can conveniently assert that given a historical, behavioural and economic variables, the CBN may just be winking in the dark or simply speaking to itself by assuming that Nigerian would imbibe the coins culture. That the CBN thinks that by converting more of the national currency to coins will increase public acceptability of the coins is like someone either with lost sense of history or that is just embarking on self delusion. Twice in this country, first in 1991 and later in 2007, N1 and N2 coins were introduced respectively but rather than reintegrate the new denomination then, Nigerians simply raised the bar and what was then exchanged for 5 kobo and 10 kobo simply went up without a corresponding increases in the value of the items or services. In fact, not even a policy directive

to deposit money banks that certain portion of over the counter cash payments should be in coins was observed. So, what difference would it make this time? Now, coming down to the argument that introducing a higher denomination of N5, 000 would complement the current campaign for a cashless economy is like standing the truth on its head. Clearly, introducing higher naira denomination is antithetical to the cashless drive. The CBN really needs to put up a convincing argument why Nigerians should rely on Automated Teller Machine cards, Point of Purchase or even bank transfers when in actually fact, a higher naira denomination, indeed reduces the burden of the amount of money that can be carried at a time. By the time the policy becomes operational, two bundles of a N5, 000 denominations would be a whooping N1 million that can be conveniently stuffed in a side pockets. Does it not make theft a lot more lucrative? All said, I stand to be corrected, however that, one of the indices of a growing inflation is the creation of higher local currency bill and I am sure that the CBN and the country’s economy managers know this too well. If we continue this way, what happens in Zimbabwe will be a child’s play.

I have listened to some argument in the last few days that the announcement was made about the call for redenomination of the currency like it was done in Ghana few years ago and the argument of those pushing for this may really not have strong empirical backing but to some extent, it has some meanings with the type of democratic culture that we practice here in Nigeria. If we redenominated, the argument goes that, the political elites, who are milking the country dry will lose the stolen money stashed in foreign banks. They argued that if Nigeria redenominated by cutting down two zeros, N1, 000 will become N10 while N1 million will become N100. In a similar way, one dollar will exchange for N1.55k, therefore, $100 million will be N1.5 million. What this means is that, the naira will become stronger against many currencies and stashing stolen money abroad will become unattractive. Nice analysis, you will agree but this certainly is not the way to go in Nigeria. With the 2015 general election fast approaching, introducing higher naira denomination appears to me like a policy design to oil the political wheel of the gladiators than proffering any meaningful cure for the naira. Is anybody listening? BC

BELIEVABILITY INDEX

Can BOC Gases deliver on its promises? B By Festus Okoromadu

ack in June 2010, the chairman of the board of directors of BOC Gases Nigeria Plc, David Akintola raise an alarm concerning what he considered to be an imminent dangers ahead of the company in the market place. The chairman while addressing the company’s shareholders at the 51st Annual General Meeting (AGM), held at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, had alerted that the company was losing the larger chunk of its market to competitors. Although, Akintola blamed the unethical and unwholesome acts employed by such competitors for BOG Gases’ dwindling market share, he noted that the numbers of such competitors are increasing by the day. While reviewing the market for the 2009 financial year, the chairman said, the gases market continues to witness an influx of new competitors, stressing that, “market intelligence reveals that there are currently 36 (33 in the previous year) gases companies in Nigeria, many of them faceless, engage in unsafe, unethical and unwholesome acts”. According to him, one of the acts which have affected the company negatively was the filling of BOC Gases cylinders by the faceless competitors with substandard gases and passing them off to the market as if they really from the company. Although, he assured the shareholders that the company had embarked on some measures to address the situation, the financial accounts of the company in recent times tend to confirm that BOC Gases Plc indeed, has an uphill task ahead of it. Identifying the strategies to be employed to tackle the challenges then, the chairman told shareholders that the company will continue to deliver very safe, high quality products that conform to international safety standards, backed up by excellent service delivery. He equally informed them that the company will also take advantage

of the growing integration of West Africa countries to launch into new markets and exploit the business opportunities therein. Speaking on the strategies to improve the company’s financial performance in the future, Akintola promised that, the management will continue to focus on reducing overheads, introduce/develop new products, develop new markets and improve the company’s supply chain. However, the audited account of the company for the year ended December 31, 2011 shows that the strategy earlier stated may either not have been applied to the fullest or they are simply not the correct antidote. Analysis of the 2011 profit and loss account shows that, although cost of sales dropped by 0.82 per cent to N1.206 billion from N1.216 billion in 2010, selling, distribution and administrative expenses increased by 9.96 per cent to N675.96 million compared with N614.72 million in the previous year. Profit after tax (PAT) for the period stood at N359.71 million which is 3.76 per cent higher than N346.68 million recorded in the previous year. However, the growth in bottom-line was enhanced by increased returns from other operating and interest income which rose to N42.595 million from N35.22 million in 2010. Nevertheless, some analysts are concerned about the unimpressive growth of turnover, which confirms the fears expressed by the chairman about the future of the gases market in Nigeria back in 2010. The 2011 financials under review saw turnover grew by 2.03 per cent to N2.361 billion from N2.314 billion in 2010. The concern here is based on the fact that, if turnover continues to remain flat and earnings from other sources continue to fall, profitability will decrease. The question then is, how long can BOC Gases continue to record flat sales growth and profitability and still reward investors?

Although BOC Gases has in recent times consistently rewarded shareholders with dividend pay-out, there are worries in some quarters that if the company’s turnover and net profit continue to be flat, the policy may soon hit a brick-wall. And as a sign of confirmation of such fears, the company, while announcing its 2011 financial results in April, proposed a scrip issue of one new Ordinary Share of 50 kobo each for every 17 previously held. Ordinarily, the decision to reward investors through the issuing of bonus shares may not have raised any concern, more so when valuation of the proposed bonus share against current price of the equity which closed at N5.98 on Thursday August 23, 2012 translates to 35 kobo per share. When compared with the 36 kobo per share paid to shareholders in 2011, the concept of bonus issue may appear better as the company will now bear the cost of issueing the new shares as against shareholders paying withholding tax on their dividend. But the issue really is that, the last time BOC Gases issued bonus shares to its shareholders was February 2000. Then, the company issued two new shares for every one held previously (2 for1) and in addition, paid a 65 kobo per share as dividend. Thus, the year 2000 stands out as the year shareholders of the company earned the highest returns on the equity in any single year since the company was listed in 1979. So, the question seeking answer now is, with the current trend, can shareholders still expect the return of the good old days? As things presently stands, especially if the company’s financial forecast for the third quarter ending September 30, 2012 as recently sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) is anything to go by, then the crisis is far from being over for the gas company. The forecast shows that expected turnover for the period is N1.774

billion as against N1.689 billion in similar period of 2011, representing 5.04 per cent growth. However, net profit is expected to be N261.57 million compared with N261.30 million in 2011, representing 0.1 per cent rise. Going by this projection, which according to the financial director, Adeshina Alayaki can be achieved barring unforeseen negative development in the nation’s economy, the company’s bottomline may decline by year end when compared to that of 2011. If this happens, shareholders may still be rewarded but not as much as they may expect. Of course, this picture negates the promises of Akintola in his statement to the company’s shareholders in 2010. Back then, he had assured investors that the future of BOC Gases Nigeria Plc was very bright. The factors he attributed the bright future to includes; the upgrading of the company’s oxygen production facilities which was completed in 2008, tackling of the energy challenges same year, an arrangement with her sister company in the United Kingdom with regards to special gases said to be yielding the desired results, the establishment of a link with a reputable company in one of the ECOWAS countries for the purposes of expanding market activities as well as looking into other business opportunities in its area of core competence. Notwithstanding the current circumstance before BOC Gases, some market analysts are however, optimistic that the equity still has a lot of hidden potentials. Such optimism in most cases is based on the fact that the foreign partners, Linde Group (BOC Holdings UK) which holds 60 per cent of the company will reinvent a new strategy to remain on top of the Nigerian gas market. But until this is actualised, the equity’s share price may not go beyond N5.70 and N6.00 per share range, which it presently hovers. BC


A16 34

Business Courage

Lagos: Inflation to drop to 12.4 percent in August Stories By Tayo Adeleke

I

nflation is expected to ease further to 12.4 percent by the end of August in Lagos State. The preceding month witnessed a drop of 0.32 percent to close at 12.8 percent in the metropolis. The inflation figure computed by Financial Derivatives Company Limited solely on Lagos, said the decline recorded by the Lagos Urban Index for the month of July, was three times more than the national average. “This is a significant departure from the conventional relationship between the urban and national price movements in Nigeria. Typically urban inflation is usually higher than the rural or national average. This is because apart from the higher purchasing power in the cities, the costpush factors like transportation are passed on to urban consumers in form of higher prices’, the report noted. The FDC urban index uses a basket that is different from the official basket and is also confined to certain markets in Lagos Island, i.e. Sangrose, Sura and environs. These markets are in suburbs with consumers and sellers that are sophisticated and haggle a bit more than usual. The major differences between the FDC basket and the national basket are in the Food, Food and Non Alcoholic, Imported Food, Apparels (clothing and footwares), Housing and Health indices, while Transportation is approximately the same. The price movement in July from FDCs’ survey shows a decline in most consumer prices. The prices of major food items such as pepper, yam tubers, cassava and guinea corn declined while bread, and fruits increased from the previous month’s level. In the non-food category, electricity tariff and paints increased while the prices of textiles,

Fashola, Governor of Lagos State

cement and other building materials declined in July. Based on the established relationship between the trends of the headline inflation and FDCs’ survey estimates, “our urban inflation is consistent with the marginal moderation in the headline inflation which eased to 12.8 percent in July from 12.9 percent a month earlier”, FDC disclosed. However, FDC predicted that the release of federal budget funding in the last quarter will stoke inflationary embers. Although, it noted, “the rate of inflation moderated in July, it raises concerns on its sustainability. In our opinion, the ease is only a blip and that the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will maintain its stance until there is a sustained decline in inflation”. In other words, the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) will remain unchanged at 12 percent annually. The Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) will also be kept at 12 percent until the next meeting in late September. BC

T

sector and total turnover for the week, respectively. The NSE All-Share Index (ASI) which opened the week at 23,141.08 appreciated by 1.12 percent to close on Friday at 23,399.58. Similarly, the equities Market Capitalization which opened at N7.37 trillion appreciated also by 1.12 percent to close at N7.45trillion. Four of the six sectorial indices appreciated. The Bloomberg NSE 30 Index rose by 1.01 percent to close at 1,095.59. The Bloomberg NSE Consumer Goods Index rose by 0.67 percent to close at 1,978.34, Bloomberg NSE Banking Index rose by 0.59 percent to close at 362.26, while NSE-Lotus II appreciated by 2.46 percent to close at 1,376.28. However, Bloomberg NSE Insurance Index depreciated by -1.78 percent to close at 122.22 followed by Bloomberg NSE Oil/Gas Index that depreciated also by -0.37 percent to close at 165.09. Looking at the gainers table, thirty (30) equities appreciated in prices during the week, lower than thirty three (33) of the preceding week. Nestle Nigeria Plc led on the gainers’ table by 5.01 percent to gain N25.06 followed by Guinness Nigeria Plc by 2.81 percent to gain N6.80. Thirtyfour (34) stocks depreciated in prices lower than twenty-eight of the preceding week. 7-UP Bottling Company Plc led on the price losers’ table, dropping by -4.04 percent to shed N1.62 followed by Nigerian Breweries Plc with a loss of N1.61 or -1.33 percent. BC

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

A million naira in my pocket

H

NSE market capitalization rises by 1.12 percent in three days

he Nigerian equities market picked up steam on Wednesday as traders returned from the two-day public holiday that marked Eid-ul-Fitri celebrations declared by the Federal Government of Nigeria, closing the week on a bullish note. Market capitalisation surged by 1.12 percent to close the week at N7.45 trillion up from N7.37 billion the preceding week. Meanwhile, a turnover of 878.53 million shares worth N9.907 billion in 11,633 deals were recorded during the week, in contrast to a total of 932.58 million shares valued at N7.277 billion that exchanged hands the preceding week in 17,711 deals. Also traded were 1,200 units of NewGold Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) valued at N3.05 million exchanged in 9 deals in contrast to a total of 5,877 units valued at N14.36 million transacted in 12 deals the penultimate week. The Financial Services sector was the most active during the review week (measured by turnover volume), with 694.02 million shares worth of N4.56 billion that exchanged hands by investors in 6,905 deals. Volume in the sector was largely driven by the Banking subsector led by shares of Zenith Bank Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Plc and Diamond Bank Plc. Trading in the shares of the three banks accounted for 254.87 million shares, representing 48.72 percent, 36.72 percent and 29.01 percent of the turnover recorded by the subsector,

Monday, August 27, 2012

ow nice would it be to stuff N1m cash in the pockets of my jeans and stroll down a busy Lagos street without worrying about any unwanted attention from area boys? That was what crossed my mind immediately the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Lamido Sanusi announced the planned introduction of the N5,000 note next year, as part of a currency restructuring exercise tagged “Project Cure”. Under the proposed new currency structure, the existing denominations of N50, N100, N200, N500 and N1,000 are to be redesigned with added security features while lower banknote denominations of N5, N10 and N20 will be coined. At the end, we will have a 12 currency structure including 50K, N1, N2, N5, N10 and N20 in the coin category, while N50, N100, N200, N500, N1,000 and N5000 will be bank notes. Sanusi said the introduction of a higher bill would support the apex bank’s cashless policy drive as well as lead to the modernisation of the economy as it would lead to a reduction in the volume of currency-in-circulation in the long term. The CBN governor also tried to dampen fears that the new structure would trigger an inflationary spiral, citing Germany, Singapore and Japan as low inflation countries with high currency denominations. However, not everybody shares Sanusi’s enthusiasm over the anticipated benefits of the new currency structure based on historical, behavioural and economic factors, which tend to suggest that the CBN may just be banging its head on the wall in trying to force down the coin culture on Nigerians and could also bring about unwanted outcomes. For one, it will take some convincing that this restructuring will complement the cashless policy as the CBN governor has said. On the contrary, it seems antithetical to the cashless drive. Why should people rely on cards or bank transfers for high volume transactions when they can stuff N10m is a brief case and get it done with pronto, as Nigerians actually prefer? Also, the allusion to Germany, Singapore etc is misleading in that those countries have experienced low inflation for reasons not connected to high currency denominations. It is like saying that if the highest denomination in Nigeria is now N100, inflation would drop to two per cent. Indeed, the introduction of the highest denomination N1,000 in October 2005 had a cost push effect on month-on-month headline inflation. Ghana introduced the 20,000 cedi note with purchasing power parity of less than $2 resulting in an inflationary push that had to be addressed

eventually with the redenomination of the currency by the removal of four zeros. The US has 500, $1000, $5000 and $10,000 introduced in 1934 mostly for bank transfers, but these denomination have been rendered ineffective with the entrenchment of electric money transfer system making the ubiquitous $100 the highest denomination in use, and even then, mostly by tourists. Now, looking at the coinage side of the restructuring, the CBN thinks that converting N20 and N10 to coins will make people accept coins. What happened when the same CBN introduced N1 and N2 coins about in 1991 and 2007 respectively? Nigerians simply priced the cheapest items like candy in sets of N5 to avoid the coins. Same went for bus fares and other highly repetitive transactions that would ordinarily require coins. I am sure that the CBN is aware of its own standing directive that a certain portion of over the counter bank cash payments should be in coins. Is that rule being observed? No. Nigerians don’t like coins and the CBN must accept that it is not going to change that, now or later because of the ease of carriage favours notes over coins. Last year, even the US Federal Reserve Bank had to take back over 40 per cent of the $1 (Presidential) coin introduced in 2007 due to lack of use. Analysts have suggested that the general unacceptability of coins will only result in poor people paying more for goods and services as prices “adjust” automatically towards the smallest naira note. In short, the naira loses potency. I am sure this is not what the CBN intends. What I believe is that efforts should be made to strengthen the naira against the dollar rather than introduce bills with face value close to the $100 bill. I fear that the same argument used in justifying the introduction of the N5,000 will be used in future to introduce the N10,000 or N20,000 without the currency actually appreciating until we now get to a point where the naira will need to be redenominated by removing some zeros just like Ghana did. It all goes back to the core issue of building capacity for massive expansion of the non-oil sector and ensuring that this country actually industrialises and become a net exporter of goods. The CBN has supported this effort with the creation of specialised low interest credit lines for agricultural, industrial and aviation sectors to name a few. It should continue along this line. I don’t want to be drawn into the argument that this exercise is Lamido Sanusi’s signing off move, but I think the apex bank needs not waste time and resources “curing” a problem that BC BC does not exist.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Business Courage A17 35

Monday, August 27, 2012

Flour Mills acquires Thai Farm, earns N70.7bn in Q1 Stories By Tayo Adeleke

F

lour Mills of Nigeria Plc last week announced its acquisition of a controlling interest in Thai Farm International Limited (Thai Farm). Thai Farm is one of the two leading corporate suppliers of High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) to Flour Millers in Apapa for the past two years. By the acquisition therefore, flour Mills would be able to ensure consistency in quality, availability and affordability of HQCF. The projected availability of High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) from this company is expected to boost the implementation of the Cassava Inclusion Policy of the Federal Government. Thai Farm, which began operations in 2010, grows and processes cassava in Ososa, Ogun State. However, Flour Mills believes that additional investment is urgently required to increase Thai Farm’s capacity in order to meet the growing need for HQCF by flour millers in Nigeria. Meanwhile, the unaudited

Ukpabi, MD, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc

first quarter results of Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc for the period ended June 30, 2012, showed a 10.1 percent growth in turnover from the previous period. The company’s revenue stood at N70.7 billion in three months compared with N64.24

billion achieved in the comparable period in 2011. Gross profit increased by 15.4 percent to close at N12.12 billion while investment income recorded 298.4 percent growth, having moved from N341.8 million in 2011 to N1.36 billion in 2012. Both pre-tax profit and net profit increased significantly during the period. Profit before tax grew by 31.7 percent to N5.15 billion while profit after tax stood at N3.96 billion, an increase of 42.3 percent. However, working capital dropped by 60.9 percent to close at N12.58 billion from N32.17 billion while short term borrowing increased by 94.8 percent from N11.08 billion to N21.58 billion. The surge in debt portfolio could be linked to current acquisition of Thai farm. BC

Abbey Building profit soars

A

bbey Building plc has recorded a significant improvement in its second quarter performance report compared to first quarter. Both top line and bottom line performance measuring indices recorded appreciable growth. The mortgage company increased its first quarter turnover by N363.22 million or 83.7 percent to stand at N797.38 million at the end of half year ended June 2012. Interest income as well got additional N120.17 million to move N414.63 achieved in first quarter 2012 to N534.79 million. Similarly, Profit before

tax moved from N118.14 million to N152.68 million in half year 2012 while net profit grew by N26.83 million to close at N121.34 million. The details of the unaudited second quarter result released by the Company showed that fees and commission income stood at N228.5 million, representing 289.4 percent increase while loan and advances to customer closed at N7.119 billion. The company also got N3.71 billion as deposits from customers during the period compare with N3.72 billion in 2011. Total Assets stood at N14.03 billion, up from N13.95 billion in 2011

while Net Assets (Shareholders’ funds) inched up by 2.8 percent to close at N7.37 billion. Abbey Building was incorporated and licensed to carry on business as a primary mortgage institution (PMI) by the Central Bank of Nigeria on January 11, 1992. ABBEY commenced with an initial authorised share capital of N5million which has grown over the years through capital injection and bonus issue to more than N5.5 billion. Our share capital is currently N2.1billion of 50kobo per share plus a share premium bringing the total to N5.6 billion. BC

Resort Savings & Loans loss hits N0.979 bn

R

esort Savings and Loans has recorded an improve performance in its audited result ended December 2011 as its losses dipped to N979 million. The company result indicated that the loss went down by N743.6 million or 43.2 percent when compared to N1.723 billion achieved in the corresponding period of 2010. The audited financial result released by the company further revealed that the gross earnings rose from N1.095 billion recorded in the preceding year to N1.21 billion in the year under review, representing a growth rate of N114 million or 10.4 percent. In-

vestment grew by 73.4 percent to N1.44 billion from N828.22 million in 2010 while cash and cash equivalents increased by 22 percent to N29.66 million from N24.27 in 2010. However, the net Asset Value plunged by 26.6 percent to N2.87 billion compared with N3.92 billion posted at the end of December 2010. Fixed assets drop from N241.6 million to N298.15 million. It would be recalled that the company, for its financial year ended December 31, 2010, also recorded a decline in all its financial indices. Loans and advances dropped from N2.186 billion in the com-

parative period of 2010 to N1.766 billion, indicating a drop of N420 million or 19.2 percent. Further analysis of the company’s result revealed that its total assets grew to N11.49 billion in the period under review, representing a surge of 10.3 percent when compared to N10.423 billion recorded in the preceding year. Customers’ deposit also went up by N165 million or 13.1 percent to N1.421 billion as against N1.26 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2010 while advance under mortgage dropped to N458.9 million from N804.4 million recorded in the preceding year. BC

Market Indicators for Week Ended 24-08-12 All-Share Index 23,399.58 points Market Capitalisation N7,448,253,878,013.97 Stock Updates GAINERS COMPANY

OPENING PRICE

CLOSING PRICE

CHANGE

ROADS

6.61

6.94

INTBREW

8.02

8.42

4.99 4.99

DNMEYER

0.63

0.66

4.76

DANGFLOUR

6.20

6.49

4.68

AGLEVENT

1.14

1.19

4.39

LOSERS COMPANY

OPENING PRICE

CLOSING PRICE

CHANGE

LIVESTOCK

1.40

1.33

-5.00

FIDSON

0.81

0.77

-4.94

ETERNA

2.38

2.28

-4.20

TRANSCORP

0.99

0.95

-4.04

BAGCO

1.59

1.53

-3.77

Inter-Bank Rates TENOR

RATE%(PREV) 16-Aug-2012

RATE%(CURR) 23-Aug-2012

OBB

14.0000 – 20.0000

11.5000 – 15.5000

CALL

12.0000 – 23.5000

11.0000 – 17.0000

Primary Market Auction TENOR

AMOUNT (N’mn)

91-Days

32,057

RATE (%) 14.50

09-Aug-12

DATE

182-Days

50,000

15.30

09-Aug-12

364-Days

90,000

15.38

09-Aug-12

Open Market Operation TENOR

AMOUNT (N’mn)

48-Days

17,315

14.10

RATE (%)

27-July-12

DATE

364-Days

60,000

15.60

26-July-12

182-Days

60,000

14.94

26-July-12

Wholesale Dutch Auction System AMOUNT OFFERED

AMOUNT SOLD

DATE

$120m

MARKET DEMAND $120m

$120m

22-Aug-12

$200m

$127m

$127m

15-Aug-12


A18 36

Business Courage

Monday, August 27, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

STOCKWATCH Stock Exchange weekly equities summary as at Friday, August 24, 2012 SECURITY

PRICE (=N=)

AGRICULTURE/AGRO-ALLIED Crop Production FTN COCOA PROCESSORS PLC NT OKOMU OIL PALM PLC. 30.00 PRESCO PLC 14.89 Fishing/Hunting/Trapping ELLAH LAKES PLC. NT Livestock/Animal Specialties LIVESTOCK FEEDS PLC. 1.33 CONGLOMERATES Diversified Industries A.G. LEVENTIS NIGERIA PLC. 1.19 CHELLARAMS PLC. NT JOHN HOLT PLC. NT S C O A NIG. PLC. NT U A C N PLC. 33.86 CONSTRUCTION/REAL ESTATE Building Construction ARBICO PLC. NT CAPPA & D’ALBERTO PLC. NT Building Structure/Completion/Other COSTAIN (W A) PLC. NT G CAPPA PLC NT Non--Building/Heavy Construction JULIUS BERGER NIG. PLC. 26.25 ROADS NIG PLC. 6.94 Real Estate Development PINNACLE POINT GROUP PLC NT UACN PROPERTY DEV 9.70 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) SKYE SHELTER FUND PLC NT UNION HOMES REAL ESTATE INV NT CONSUMER GOODS Automobiles/Auto Parts DN TYRE & RUBBER PLC 0.50 Beverages--Brewers/Distillers CHAMPION BREW. PLC. 3.28 GOLDEN GUINEA BREW. PLC. NT GUINNESS NIG PLC 249.00 INTERNATIONAL BREWERIES PLC. 8.42 JOS INT. BREWERIES PLC. NT NIGERIAN BREW. PLC. 119.70 PREMIER BREWERIES PLC NT Beverages--Non-Alcoholic 7-UP BOTTLING COMP. PLC. 38.50 Food Products BIG TREAT PLC NT DANGOTE FLOUR MILLS PLC 6.49 DANGOTE SUGAR REFINERY PLC 4.40 FLOUR MILLS NIG. PLC. 52.00 HONEYWELL FLOUR MILL PLC 2.00 MULTI-TREX INTEGRATED FOODS PLC NT N NIG. FLOUR MILLS PLC. 21.48 NATIONAL SALT CO. NIG. PLC 4.90 P S MANDRIDES & CO PLC. 5.94 U T C NIG. PLC. 0.86 UNION DICON SALT PLC. NT Food Products--Diversified CADBURY NIGERIA PLC. 16.65 NESTLE NIGERIA PLC. 525.06 Household Durables BETA GLASS CO PLC. NT NIGERIAN ENAMELWARE PLC. NT VITAFOAM NIG PLC. 3.01 VONO PRODUCTS PLC. 2.88 Personal/Household Products P Z CUSSONS NIGERIA PLC. 23.98 UNILEVER NIGERIA PLC. 35.24 Textiles/Apparel UNITED NIG. TEXTILES PLC. NT FINANCIAL SERVICES Banking ACCESS BANK PLC. 7.70 DIAMOND BANK PLC 2.68 ECOBANK TRANSNATIONAL INC. 10.25 FIDELITY BANK PLC 1.30 FIRST BANK OF NIG. PLC 13.05 FIRST CITY MONUMENT BANK PLC. 3.00 GUARANTY TRUST BANK PLC. 17.53 SKYE BANK PLC 2.65 STANBIC IBTC BANK PLC 6.44 STERLING BANK PLC. 1.01 U B A PLC 4.29 UNION BANK NIG.PLC. 5.00 UNITY BANK PLC 0.50 WEMA BANK PLC. 0.50 ZENITH BANK PLC 15.48 Insurance Carriers, Brokers & Services AFRICAN ALLIANCE INS. COY. PLC NT AIICO INSURANCE PLC. 0.50 CONFIDENCE INSURANCE PLC NT CONSOLIDATED HALLMARK INS. PLC 0.50 CONTINENTAL REINSURANCE PLC 0.58 CORNERSTONE INS. COY. PLC. NT CUSTODIAN AND ALLIED INS. PLC 1.30 EQUITY ASSURANCE PLC. 0.50 GOLDLINK INSURANCE PLC 0.51 GREAT NIGERIAN INSURANCE PLC NT GUINEA INSURANCE PLC. NT INTERCONTINENTAL WAPIC INS. PLC 0.51 INTERNATIONAL ENERGY INS. PLC 0.50 INVESTMENT AND ALLIED ARN. NT LASACO ASSURANCE PLC. NT LAW UNION AND ROCK INS. PLC. NT LINKAGE ASSURANCE PLC 0.50 MANSARD INSURANCE PLC 1.60 MUTUAL BENEFITS ASSURANCE PLC. 0.50 N.E.M INSURANCE CO (NIG) PLC. 0.50 NIGER INSURANCE CO. PLC. NT OASIS INSURANCE PLC NT PRESTIGE ASSURANCE CO. PLC. 0.50 REGENCY ALLIANCE INS. COY PLC NT SOVEREIGN TRUST INSURANCE PLC NT STACO INSURANCE PLC 0.50 STANDARD ALLIANCE INS. PLC. 0.50 UNIC INSURANCE PLC. NT UNITY KAPITAL ASSURANCE PLC 0.50 UNIVERSAL INS. COMPANY PLC NT Micro Finance Banks FORTIS MICROFINANCE BANK PLC 5.75 NPF MICROFINANCE BANK PLC 1.05 Mortgage Carriers, Brokers &Services ABBEY BUILDING SOCIETY PLC NT ASO SAVINGS AND LOANS PLC 0.50 RESORT SAVINGS & LOANS PLC 0.50 UNION HOMES SAVINGS&LOANS PLC NT Other Financial Institutions CRUSADER ( NIG) PLC. NT DEAP CAPITAL MGT & TRUST PLC NT NIG SEW. MACH. MAN. CO. PLC. NT NIGERIA ENERYGY SECTOR FUND NT ROYAL EXCHANGE PLC. 0.50 HEALTHCARE Healthcare Providers EKOCORP PLC. 5.05 Medical Equipment UNION DIAGNOSTIC &CLINICAL PLC NT Medical Supplies MORISON INDUSTRIES PLC. 7.39 Pharmaceuticals EVANS MEDICAL PLC. 1.14 FIDSON HEALTHCARE PLC 0.77 GLAXO SMITHKLINE CONSUMER PLC 30.52 MAY & BAKER NIGERIA PLC. 1.59

NOTE NT=Not Traded on 17-08-12

QUANTITY

52 WK HIGH

52 WK LOW

SHARES OUTSTANDING

EPS

MOV. (%)

Previous

NT 54 770 92 600

0.64 33.00 16.15

0.50 14.53 6.40

2 200 000 000 476 955 000 1 000 000 000

0.00 8.23 1.69

N/A 1.35 0.00

NT 29.60 14.89

NT

4.26

4.26

60 000 000

0.00

N/A

NT

282 478

1.49

0.48

1 199 549 736

0.04

-6.99

1.43

309 910 NT NT NT 650 225

2.54 7.60 8.82 8.28 42.50

0.74 5.81 5.32 5.52 28.70

2 191 895 983 963 900 300 389 151 408 821 666 666 1 600 720 323

0.21 0.30 0.00 0.35 7.03

-5.56 N/A N/A N/A N/A

1.26 5.81 NT NT 33.86

NT NT

26.00 95.49

14.09 95.49

148 500 000 196 876 000

0.00 4.50

N/A N/A

14.09 NT

NT NT

7.97 14.46

2.46 14.46

920 573 765 125 000 000

0.00 0.00

N/A N/A

NT NT

253 191 50 000

62.26 8.69

21.55 3.01

1 200 000 000 20 000 000

4.11 3.66

0.00 N/A

26.25 NT

NT 186 836

7.28 20.15

7.28 8.82

1 375 000 000

0.00 1.66

N/A 0.00

NT 9.70

NT NT

100.00 50.00

97.00 50.00

20 000 000 250 019 781

11.75 0.75

N/A N/A

NT NT

40 000

0.50

0.50

4 772 528 415

0.00

N/A

0.50

10 000 NT 725 276 2 754 013 NT 3 217 325 NT

4.63 0.68 255.00 7.28 3.20 122.30 0.97

2.23 0.68 186.00 5.23 1.61 72.50 0.93

900 000 000 272 160 000 1 474 925 519 2 112 914 681 562 000 000 7 562 562 340 126 000 000

0.00 0.03 12.04 0.07 0.00 5.21 0.00

N/A N/A 2.81 N/A N/A -1.33 N/A

NT NT 242.20 7.28 1.61 121.31 NT

526 652

48.91

38.31

640 590 362

3.15

N/A

40.12

NT 2 808 549 1 217 927 2 150 997 884 500 NT 1 000 940 006 5 000 7 NT

0.50 19.90 16.20 95.00 6.60 2.70 43.96 6.70 5.66 0.88 4.22

0.50 4.15 3.64 52.50 1.91 1.21 21.48 3.86 5.66 0.50 4.22

2 000 000 000 5 000 000 000 12 000 000 000 1 879 210 666 7 930 197 658 3 722 493 620 178 200 000 40 000 000 1 233 375 004 360 000 000

0.00 0.00 0.59 3.60 0.36 0.00 1.20 0.81 0.16 1.13 0.00

N/A 1.41 -2.22 0.00 0.50 N/A N/A 4.93 N/A -4.44 N/A

NT 6.40 4.50 52.00 1.99 NT NT 4.67 NT 0.90 NT

805 896 230 248

29.20 500.00

9.15 367.83

3 129 188 160 792 656 250

1.24 21.21

-0.54 5.01

16.74 500.00

NT NT 227 437 5 000

15.58 42.66 6.75 3.67

10.03 36.19 3.01 2.66

63 360 000 819 000 000 300 000 001

3.90 1.61 0.54 0.00

N/A N/A 0.00 N/A

10.03 NT 3.01 NT

429 960 3 093 030

43.50 36.45

22.07 22.56

3 176 381 636 3 783 296 250

0.51 1.32

-1.88 0.69

24.44 35.00

NT

0.97

0.57

843 284 027

0.00

N/A

NT

21 334 757 17 588 737 4 468 158 8 006 886 34 439 317 2 392 874 6 144 521 18 919 653 437 901 10 194 427 10 705 209 1 072 587 230 000 5 797 888 47 549 396

11.10 9.27 17.05 3.20 16.12 8.30 17.81 10.17 11.38 2.91 4.40 10.07 1.92 1.75 16.70

4.76 2.01 9.97 1.14 8.50 3.04 11.64 2.73 6.40 0.97 1.64 1.96 0.50 0.50 11.70

17 888 251 479 14 475 243 105 9 873 614 567 28 974 797 023 32 632 084 358 16 271 192 202 29 146 482 209 13 219 334 676 18 750 000 000 12 563 091 545 32 334 693 693 13 509 726 273 33 675 576 085 12 821 249 880 31 396 493 790

0.63 0.00 2.61 0.19 1.37 0.60 0.59 0.39 0.54 0.43 0.01 2.20 0.00 1.34 1.41

1.32 1.13 0.39 -0.76 4.40 -1.64 -1.57 -2.93 0.63 -2.88 -0.92 1.01 0.00 0.00 0.58

7.60 2.65 10.21 1.31 12.50 3.05 17.81 2.73 6.40 1.04 4.33 4.95 0.50 0.50 15.39

NT 1 125 158 NT 200 4 073 007 NT 417 623 2 000 37 367 NT NT 140 000 6 482 NT NT NT 700 50 000 30 000 750 000 NT NT 534 031 NT NT 100 300 500 NT 2 000 NT

0.50 1.01 0.64 0.50 1.20 0.50 3.51 0.50 0.69 0.50 0.50 0.80 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.61 0.50 1.93 0.50 0.66 1.11 0.50 2.35 0.50 0.52 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50

0.50 0.50 0.61 0.50 0.61 0.50 1.31 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.95 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50

20 585 000 000 7 809 391 256 211 626 000 6 000 000 000 10 372 624 157 8 820 010 363 5 100 846 808 8 847 298 420 4 549 947 000 3 827 485 380 720 000 000 5 061 804 000 6 420 427 449 28 000 000 000 7 323 313 227 3 437 330 500 4 083 713 569 10 000 000 000 7 998 705 336 5 332 830 881 5 649 693 923 5 003 506 791 2 508 315 436 6 668 750 000 5 203 757 266 6 141 087 609 8 493 173 450 2 581 733 505 13 000 000 000 16 000 000 000

0.00 0.09 0.00 0.06 0.10 0.01 0.27 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.06 0.00 0.02 0.02 0.10 0.00 0.08 0.10 0.25 0.01 0.02 0.11 0.03 0.10 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.01 0.00

N/A 0.00 N/A N/A 0.00 0.00 0.00 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0.00 N/A N/A N/A 0.00 -4.19 N/A 0.00 N/A N/A 0.00 N/A 0.00 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

NT 0.50 NT 0.50 0.60 NT 1.31 NT NT NT 0.50 0.53 0.50 NT NT 0.50 0.50 1.67 0.50 0.50 0.50 NT 0.50 NT 0.50 0.50 NT 0.50 0.50 0.50

2 050 2 500

5.75 5.75

NT 1 000 440 000 NT

1.51 0.50 0.50 0.99

1.33 0.50 0.50 0.50

4 200 000 000 8 679 148 676 13 175 732 404 7 812 500 000

0.03 0.10 0.00 0.00

N/A N/A N/A N/A

NT 0.50 0.50 NT

NT NT NT NT 24 345

0.61 2.02 0.15 552.20 0.66

0.50 2.02 0.15 555.20 0.50

3 778 005 975 1 333 333 333 5 880 000 2 500 000 3 608 657 661

0.00 0.00 0.00 12.68 0.05

N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

NT NT NT NT 0.51

91

5.31

5.05

498 600 908

0.12

N/A

5.05

NT

0.50

0.50

3 553 138 528

0.00

N/A

NT

338

10.54

7.39

152 178 750

0.00

N/A

7.39

150 000 266 362 1 325 558 426 623

N/A=Not Avialable

1.45 3.20 29.65 5.61

0.50 0.76 19.30 1.62

486 473 856 1 500 000 000 956 701 192 980 000 000

0.19 0.27 2.41 0.21

-5.00 -12.50 0.07 -4.79

1.20 0.88 30.50 1.67

SECURITY

PRICE (=N=)

NEIMETH INT PHARM PLC 0.90 NIGERIA-GERMAN CHEMICALS PLC. NT PHARMA-DEKO PLC. NT ICT Computer Based Systems COURTEVILLE BUSINESS SLN PLC NT Computers and Peripherals OMATEK VENTURES PLC 0.50 Electronic Communications Services MTECH COMMUNICATIONS PLC NT IT Services NCR (NIGERIA) PLC. NT TRIPPLE GEE AND COMPANY PLC. NT Processing Systems CHAMS PLC NT E-TRANZACT INTERNATIONAL PLC NT Telecommunications Carriers STARCOMMS PLC NT Telecommunications Services IHS NIGERIA PLC PREF SHARES NT IHS PLC NT MTI PLC NT INDUSTRIAL GOODS Building Materials AFRICAN PAINTS (NIGERIA) PLC. NT ASHAKA CEM PLC 9.50 BERGER PAINTS PLC 7.27 CAP PLC 26.58 CEMENT CO. OF NORTH.NIG. PLC 4.12 DANGOTE CEMENT PLC 113.00 DN MEYER PLC. 0.66 FIRST ALUMINIUM NIGERIA PLC NT IPWA PLC 0.73 LAFARGE WAPCO PLC. 44.00 PAINTS & COATINGS MANFACT.PLC NT PORTLAND PAINTS & PRDT NIG. PLC NT PREMIER PAINTS PLC. NT Electronic and Electrical Products AUSTIN LAZ & COMPANY PLC 2.00 CUTIX PLC. 1.51 NIGERIAN WIRE AND CABLE PLC. NT NIGERIAN WIRE IND. PLC NT Packaging/Containers ABPLAST PRODUCTS PLC. NT AVON CROWNCAPS & CONTAINERS 2.19 GREIF NIGERIA PLC NT NIG. BAGS MANFACT. COY PLC 1.53 POLY PRODUCTS (NIG) PLC. NT W A GLASS IND. PLC. NT Tools and Machinery NIGERIAN ROPES PLC 7.85 STOKVIS NIG PLC. NT NATURAL RESOURCES Chemicals B.O.C. GASES PLC. 5.98 Metals ALUMACO PLC NT ALUMINIUM EXTRUSION IND. PLC. NT Non-Metallic Mineral Mining MULTIVERSE PLC 0.50 Paper/Forest Products HALLMARK PAPER PRODUCTS PLC. NT THOMAS WYATT NIG. PLC. NT OIL AND GAS Energy Equipment and Services JAPAUL OIL & MARITIME SER. PLC 0.61 Integrated Oil and Gas Services OANDO PLC 14.10 Petroleum &Petroleum Products Distributors AFROIL PLC NT BECO PETROLEUM PRODUCT PLC 0.50 CONOIL PLC 20.76 ETERNA PLC. 2.28 FORTE OIL PLC. 10.42 MOBIL OIL NIG PLC. 111.51 MRS OIL NIGERIA PLC. NT TOTAL NIGERIA PLC. 128.01 SERVICES Advertising AFROMEDIA PLC 0.50 Apparel Retailers LENNARDS (NIG) PLC. NT Automobile/Auto Part Retailers R T BRISCOE PLC. 1.61 Courier/Freight/Delivery RED STAR EXPRESS PLC 2.76 TRANS-NATIONWIDE EXPRESS PLC. NT Employment Solutions C & I LEASING PLC. 0.50 Hospitality TANTALIZERS PLC 0.50 Hotels/Lodging CAPITAL HOTEL PLC NT IKEJA HOTEL PLC 1.14 TOURIST COMPANY OF NIGERIA PLC. NT TRANSNATIONAL CORP. OF NIG.PLC 0.95 Media/Entertainment DAAR COMMUNICATIONS PLC 0.50 Printing/Publishing ACADEMY PRESS PLC. 1.64 LEARN AFRICA PLC 2.03 STUDIO PRESS (NIG) PLC. NT UNIVERSITY PRESS PLC. 4.54 Road Transportation ABC TRANSPORT PLCPLC 0.50 Specialty INTERLINKED TECHNOLOGIES PLC NT SECURE ELECTRONIC TECH.PLC NT Transport-Related Services AIRLINE SERVICES AND LOGISTICS PLC 1.74 NIG. AVIATION HANDLING COY PLC 6.00 ASeM CONSTRUCTION/REAL ESTATE Property Management SMART PRODUCTS NIGERIA PLC 1.08 CONSUMER GOODS Food Products MCNICHOLS PLC 1.02 Personal/Household Products ROKANA INDUSTRIES PLC. NT HEALTHCARE Pharmaceuticals AFRIK PHARMACEUTICALS PLC. NT INDUSTRIAL GOODS Electronic and Electrical Products NT ADSWITCH PLC. 1.63 NATURAL RESOURCES Metals W.A. ALUM. PRODUCTS PLC. NT OIL AND GAS Petroleum & Petroleum Products Distributors ANINO INTERNATIONAL PLC. NT CAPITAL OIL PLC 0.50 RAK UNITY PET. COMP. PLC. NT UNION VENTURES & PET. PLC NT SERVICES Apparel Retailers UDEOFSON GARMENT FACT. NIG PLC NT Food/Drug Retailers and Wholesalers NT JULI PLC. 2.76 ETF’s Sector ETF NEWGOLD EXCHANGE TRADED FUND 2 638.00

QUANTITY

52 WK HIGH

52 WK LOW

SHARES OUTSTANDING

EPS

MOV. (%)

Previous

155 000 NT NT

1.96 12.91 4.28

0.76 8.59 3.50

1 925 717 268 153 786 012 100 000 000

0.09 0.00 0.00

8.43 N/A N/A

0.83 NT NT

NT

0.52

0.50

2 960 000 000

0.08

0.00

0.50

500

0.50

0.50

2 941 789 472

0.04

N/A

0.50

NT

0.91

0.91

4 966 666 668

0.00

N/A

NT

NT NT

18.28 3.59

13.12 2.41

108 000 000 492 825 600

1.82 0.00

N/A N/A

13.12 2.41

NT NT

0.50 4.97

0.50 4.04

4 620 600 000 4 200 000 000

0.00 0.00

N/A N/A

0.50 NT

NT

1.47

0.50

6 878 478 096

0.00

N/A

0.50

NT NT NT

2.25 3.50 0.50

0.00 2.46 0.50

4 400 000 000 4 893 594 400

0.00 0.00 0.00

N/A N/A N/A

NT NT NT

NT 778 776 72 350 29 179 161 409 224 079 80 000 NT 254 1 333 538 NT NT NT

3.32 30.00 12.57 43.98 15.49 132.51 3.51 0.75 0.99 48.05 3.36 5.28 13.40

2.86 9.10 7.27 14.50 4.20 95.00 0.93 0.50 0.91 37.00 0.52 2.27 10.93

260 000 000 2 239 453 125 217 367 585 560 000 000 1 241 548 285 15 494 019 668 242 908 200 2 109 928 275 513 696 000 3 001 600 004 792 914 256 400 000 000 75 000 000

0.00 1.60 0.15 1.76 1.83 8.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.74 0.16 0.39 0.00

N/A 0.00 0.00 4.98 -4.19 2.71 N/A N/A N/A 1.73 N/A N/A N/A

NT 9.50 7.27 25.32 4.30 110.02 0.58 NT NT 43.25 2.20 NT NT

1 000 14 600 NT NT

2.00 2.50 0.73 2.58

2.00 1.33 0.50 2.58

510 396 608 2 220 000 000 15 000 000

0.03 0.11 0.00 0.00

N/A -4.43 N/A N/A

NT 1.58 NT NT

NT 250 NT 3 337 942 NT NT

3.98 6.91 15.03 3.60 1.86 0.63

3.98 2.19 13.28 1.60 1.05 0.63

25 000 000 683 974 528 42 640 000 6 215 000 000 240 000 000 199 066 550

0.00 0.15 0.90 0.22 0.30 0.00

N/A N/A N/A -2.55 N/A N/A

NT 2.19 NT 1.57 NT NT

10 000 NT

8.69 0.14

8.26 0.14

265 409 280 2 918 000

0.00 0.00

N/A N/A

NT NT

750

9.20

5.70

393 120 000

0.93

0.00

5.98

NT NT

7.75 12.39

7.75 10.55

75 600 000 100 000 000

0.00 0.13

N/A N/A

NT NT

2 000

0.50

0.50

4 058 989 226

0.00

N/A

0.50

NT NT

3.22 1.38

3.22 1.38

50 000 000 220 000 000

0.04 0.00

N/A N/A

NT NT

3 862 703

1.87

0.54

6 262 701 716

0.16

1.67

0.60

889 510

78.97

13.95

2 262 711 568

7.47

0.71

14.00

NT 200 84 154 168 016 81 483 5 286 NT 11 241

20.71 0.70 41.89 5.59 28.69 163.50 72.00 240.00

20.71 0.50 19.61 2.12 9.12 111.51 32.29 125.00

125 487 475 3 716 976 579 693 952 117 1 249 162 828 1 080 280 628 300 496 051 253 988 672 339 521 837

0.00 0.00 5.98 0.88 0.00 13.06 4.08 11.22

N/A N/A -4.99 -8.80 0.00 0.00 N/A 0.00

NT 0.50 21.85 2.50 10.42 111.51 32.29 128.01

450

0.72

0.50

4 035 497 307

0.00

N/A

0.50

NT

3.48

3.48

0.19

N/A

NT

1 604 063

3.65

1.12

980 294 400

0.22

-6.40

1.72

211 300 NT

3.67 6.40

2.11 3.28

589 496 310 198 819 763

0.63 0.26

4.15 N/A

2.65 NT

132 400

1.64

0.85

865 808 912

0.20

N/A

0.50

300 000

0.75

0.50

3 211 627 907

0.01

N/A

0.50

NT 12 200 NT 15 134 741

8.00 2.59 4.76 1.82

3.00 1.16 4.31 0.50

1 548 780 000 2 078 796 396 1 772 884 297 25 813 998 283

0.18 0.92 0.00 0.22

N/A -6.56 N/A -5.00

NT 1.22 NT 1.00

19 000

0.50

0.50

8 000 000 000

0.00

N/A

0.50

100 30 000 NT 2 232 597

3.68 8.00 2.92 6.82

1.64 1.94 2.78 3.09

403 200 000 771 450 000 425 641 111

0.14 0.29 0.01 0.50

N/A N/A N/A 10.73

1.64 1.94 NT 4.10

8 700

0.80

0.50

1 507 000 000

0.00

N/A

NT

NT NT

5.15 1.88

4.90 0.80

236 699 511 5 631 539 736

0.00 0.03

N/A N/A

NT NT

254 500 206 388

2.78 11.75

1.54 5.15

634 000 000 1 230 468 750

0.38 0.81

N/A 1.69

1.64 5.90

600

1.43

1.04

45 000 000

0.12

N/A

1.08

5 000

1.02

1.02

201 885 335

0.00

N/A

1.02

NT

0.60

0.60

30 000 000

0.00

N/A

NT

NT

0.50

0.50

24 898 850

0.00

N/A

NT

NT 14 000

1.88

1.63

125 005 250

0.00

N/A

NT 1.63

NT

0.50

0.50

6 650 000

0.00

N/A

NT

NT 5 000 NT NT

0.21 0.50 0.31 0.63

0.21 0.50 0.31 0.63

24 200 000 5 857 500 000 15 000 000 98 600 000

0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

N/A N/A N/A N/A

NT 0.50 NT NT

NT NT 16 000

0.50

0.50

20 000 000

0.00

N/A

3.05

2.76

194 700 000

0.00

N/A

NT NT 2.76

100

2 706

2 422

0.00

2 638.00


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Business Courage A19 37

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cornerstone Insurance: When high expenses slow down earnings By Tayo Adeleke

O

rdinarily, one would have expected that the 2010 impressive performance would be sustained and even improved upon by Cornerstone Insurance Plc in the financial year ended December 2011. The insurance company returned in 2010 to profitability with net profit worth N400 million, but rather than raise the bar, reverse has been the case, as the company’s earnings dropped. Cornerstone Insurance’s profit shed 58 percent to close the financial year 2011 at N167 million. The decline was attributable to huge expenses incurred during the period. Both profitability and investment indices of the insurance company pummeled respectively during the review period. Considering the rate at which the company performance dropped, unless an urgent action is taken by the management, it might return to its financial position three years ago when it posted a loss. Cornerstone Insurance was incorporated on July 26, 1991 as a private limited liability company and converted to a public limited company on June 17, 1997. The company has four wholly owned subsidiaries; Halai Takaful Nigeria, Cornerstone Financial services, Cornerstone Asset Management Limited and Cornerstone Leasing and The company’s Investment. authorized and paid up share capital are N5 billion and over N4.4 billion respectively, while the Shareholders’ Funds is N6.17 billion. It has a total assets in excess of N11 billion. Performance Although, Cornerstone Insurance plc has successfully maintained a profitability status, having come out of the woods in the 2010 financial year, it made a profit after tax of N167 million for the financial year ended December 31, 2011. But the performance slumped against the preceding year’s results. The company, which the board and management said has completed its transformation process and now properly positioned to reward investors and shareholders, shed its profit by 58.2 per cent as against N399 million profit after tax it posted in 2010. Its gross premium income rose by seven per cent to close at N3.14 billion from N3.37 billion in 2010, while its net premium rose by 19.8 per cent to close at N2.22 billion from N2.8 billion in the 2010. The drop, however, was not because the company did not grow its turnover but largely as a result of huge operational cost as well as diminution on investment. Turnover grew by 6.2 per cent to N4.27 billion from N4.02 billion in 2010. There was no proposal for a dividend during the review year, having posted

extent of an insurance company’s underwriting expenses and net claims paid in relation to the size of the net premium earned. Therefore, an increasing index indicates decreasing efficiency in risk management as well as cost management and control and vice-versa.

Sulaiman

two kobo earning per share (EPS) compared with five kobo in 2010. Profitability Cornerstone’s profit margin dropped by 6.01 basis points to 3.91 per cent from 9.92 per cent. This can be attributed to growing operating cost, which almost double its previous year’s figure. Gross profit margin fell from 84 per cent in 2010 to 73.4 per cent in 2011 while pretax margin as well dipped by 9.43 basis points to 12.01 per cent. The company recorded a Return on Total Assets (ROTA) of 1.45 per cent and a Return on Equity (ROE) of 2.71 per cent in the 2011 financial year. These are significant drop over 3.83 per cent and 6.65 per cent recorded in the preceding financial year respectively. As seen above, a trend analysis of the growth in the company’s ROTA & ROE is similar to that of profit after tax (PAT). Put

differently, the company is not making an optimum use of its assets as reflected by the ratios. This may be a key area that the management needs to look at. Efficiency Cornerstone’s performances cannot be divorced from its unimpressive cost ratios. The company’s Policy Claim Ratio which expresses the Net Claims incurred from policy holders as a proportion of the Net Premium earned from all policy holders increased from 28.1 per cent in 2003 to 33 per cent in 2011 while the proportion of underwriting expenses to net premium followed a similar pattern, depreciating sharply from 20.2 per cent to 26.1 per cent over same period. Another important cost ratio; Expenses Ratio revealed an efficient cost management strategy, increasing from 87.99 in 2010 to 97.42 percent in the review year. The Expense Ratio examines the

Cornerstone Ins. Plc Data 2011=N=(‘Nm)

2010=N=(‘Nm)

2009=N=(‘Nm)

Gross Premium

4,207

4,022

Cost of sales

1,072

653

3,766 393

Gross Premium

3,135

3,369

3373

Profit Before Taxation

110

483

-489

Profit After Taxation

167

400

-443

Net Premium

2,216

2,764

2,554

Total Income Earned

2,387

2,896

2,672

Underwriting Expenses

-578

-557

-506

Underwriting Profits

1,085

1,562

1,435

Shareholders fund

6,167

6,000

5,876

Total Expenses

-1,540

-2,278

1,237

Total Assets

11,492

10,423

9,224

Trade Debtors

795

676

984

Trade Creditors

900

752

569

Profitability Ratios Return on Equity (%)

2.71

6.67

-7.54

Gross profit Margin (%)

74.52

83.76

-12.98

Profit Margin (%)

3.97

9.95

-11.76

Pretax Profit Margin (%)

2.61

12.01

-12.98

Liquidity The ease with which an insurance company can meet up with payment of claims is a critical success factor to all players in the industry. Cornerstone Insurance recorded a mixed performance on its liquidity indices for the year under review. During the year ended 31 December 2011, Cornerstones’ cash and cash equivalents dropped significantly from the previous year’s figure. It fell from N564.5 million in 2010 to N227 million in 2011, a decline of 59.8 per cent. Both deferred acquisition costs and deferred taxation increased to N140 million and 126 million from N132 million and N29 million respectively. Meanwhile, the company achieved an improvement in both current and quick ratios, though it failed to meet the universally acceptable standard current ratio of 2:1 and 1.5:1 respectively. As a result, current ratio moved to 1.51:1 from 1.32:1 in 2010, while quick ratio stood at 1.41:1 from 1.22:1 posted in 2010. Capital Adequacy The shareholders’ fund of the company hit N6.17 billion in 2011 as against N3.9 billion recorded in 2001. This translates to a 58.2 per cent increase. The extent by which total assets is financed by equity measured by equity to total asset has been declining in the last five years. The figure fell from 73.5 per cent in 2007 to 63.6 per cent in 2008, 59.6 per cent in 2009, 57.6 per cent in 2010 and 53.69 per cent in 2011. Similar trend was exhibited by another metric, the proportion of permanent asset (fixed assets) financed by

equity (Equity to fixed Assets). However, the company’s owner net worth (Equity) was more than sufficient to finance its permanent assets. Assets Quality The company, asset seems improving. Cornerstones’ total assets witnessed a significant improvement from the 2011 figure. It grew to N11.49 billion from N8.9 billion in 2008. Current assets stood at N8.05 billion in 2011, up from N5.82 billion. Trade debtors figure improved compared to previous year’s. The company debtors’ number of days dropped to 47 days from 63 days in 2010. The management has done well in this area. It has worked hard on collection of premium receivables. Future On future outlook, the chairman of the company, Adedotun Sulaiman observed that the board and management remained steadfastly committed to its medium term strategic intent to be among the top three underwriters in the industry, pledging that efforts would be made at ensuring implementation. “While we continue to vigorously pursue our direct marketing strategic initiatives, we will also focus on measures that will strengthen our strategic relationship as well as increase our business patronage with our esteemed brokers” he noted. As part of efforts to ensure all-round excellent service delivery, he said the company has significantly upgraded its Information Technology infrastructure and will continue to invest in and leverage on technology to improve on service delivery and reach-out to customers. “We’ll continue to undertake aggressive development of business through product innovation and new alternative channels, while maintaining world class underwriting and risk management practices” he concluded. BC


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Law & Justice nationalmirrorlaw@yahoo.com

“There is little doubt that, a man who is not under any disability should be the best judge of his own interest.”

JUSTICE KAYODE ESO, RETIRED JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

Abuja 2012: Lawyers list expectations, seek review of slow pace of litigation Fraudulent lawyers should be prosecuted, punished –Akinjide 42

The new NBA President, Wali (SAN)

Clash of Bar titans 44

The 52nd Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) kicks off today in Abuja with high expectations. KAYODE KETEFE, Assistant Head, Judiciary Desk, reports the likely low turn-out of participants due to hike in conference fees.

T NBA presidency: Assessing Daudu’s twoyear tenure 45

he General Conference of the NBA is an annual ritual, but it may be aptly described as a monumental yearly feat as it constitutes the largest gathering of any professional association in Nigeria. Thus, the yearly conference has become an important affair in the calendar of national events as lawyers troop in from almost every part of the globe to deliberate, brainstorm, cerebrate and proffer solution to numerous legal conundrums as well as finding solutions to social and political problems that crave legal solution. This year’s conference billed to be declared open today, August 27, is expected to be rounded off on Friday, August 31, in Abuja. The conference has the theme “Nigeria as an Emerging Market; Redefining our Laws and Politics for Growth” A number

Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN)

of seasoned speakers from both local and international parlances are scheduled to provide learned insight into interesting topics. The renowned Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Reverend Mathew Kukah will deliver the keynote address while other notable speakers at the conference include a number of state governors, lawmakers, political appointees; and jurists. National Mirror reliably gathered that the main issues that will dominate the discussions among the conferees include the future of the legal profession in the country, the hike in the conference fees, the rising cost of litigation and contemporary issues such as the removal of petroleum subsidy by the Federal Government and security challenges in the country. A lawyer, Mr. Johnson Ezesoboo who spoke with National Mirror on his

I EXPECT THE CONFERENCE TO ADDRESS THE ISSUE OF

SLOW PACE OF LITIGATION, PARTICULARLY AT THE

SUPREME COURT AND THE COURT OF APPEAL

expectations said, “I expect the conference to address the issue of slow pace of litigation, hearing of cases, particularly at the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. ‘’The gestation period of cases at the Supreme Court now is between five and seven years. At the Court of Appeal, it is even worse in that you cannot go to oppose any application without paying so much on filing. So, the conference should discuss the high cost of litigation. Secondly, corruption at the registry is getting embarrassing especially at the High Court. For every motion you file, you have to pay from one table to the other. This is a challenge that should be looked into at the conference.’’ Mr. Ikechukwu Ikeji corroborated this claim, saying that the conference should address the plight of lawyers especially on litigation. He said, “The Daudu administration failed to address this issue and the poor structure of the continuing education in the legal profession. I think the conference should deal with these issues among others. A former 2nd National Vice-President of the NBA, Mr. Adekunle Ojo, was more critical of the leadership of the NBA on the issue of fees’ increment. CONTINUED ON PAGE 40


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‘Hike in fees may result in low turn-out of participants’ CONTINUED FROM PAGE 39 He said: “My expectations from the conference are normal just like other NBA conferences. By the standards of the present executive, one should also expect quality conference. The attendance would be understandably low compared to the previous years. But what do you expect with this kind of increment in the fees. What are you saving money for if large number of lawyers could not attend the conference? Well, I think this should be a lesson for the incoming executives to know where to place emphasis. The fees are just too astronomical.” The outgoing President of the NBA, Joseph Bodunrin Daudu, who had earlier promised a hitch-free and successful conference this year, had on March 8, 2012, inaugurated the planning committee for the conference tagged: “NBA Technical Committee on Conference Planning 2012.” The committee was charged with the responsibilities among others to discuss cogent issues like the venue for the conference, activities during the conference and theme for the Conference. The 13-member committee is composed of the Chairman and Secretary, Mr. Augustine Oyarekhua Alegeh SAN and Mr. Oluseun Mobolaji Abimbola respectively. The alternate Chairman is Mr. Olumuyiwa Akinboro. Other members are the NBA President J.B. Daudu, SAN, Mr. C.V.C. Ezeugwu, Mr. Femi Morohundiya, Mr. Murtala Abdulrasheed, Mr. Emeka Obegolu, Mr. Osita Okoro, Mr. Longe Modupe O., Mr. Ibrahim Eddy Mark, Mr. Chike C. Adibuah, and Mrs. Toyin Bolaji. This year’s conference is also remarkable for being one in which the Daudu-led outgoing executives will hand over to the new national officers that were elected at the NBA Delegates Conference in Abuja on July 17, 2012. Among the positions into which elections had been held at the said Delegates’ conference are President, General Secretary, 1st Vice-President, 2nd Vice-President, General Secretary, Treasurer, Publicity Secretary, Welfare Secretary, 2nd Assistant Secretary. Those who vied for the offices of the Legal Adviser, 2nd Vice-President, and 1st Assistant Secretary had been returned unopposed as a result of no legally recognised opposition. The result at a glance is as follows: Okey Wali (SAN) 688 votes; Chief Emeka Ngige (SAN) 449 votes and Mr. Blessing Ukiri, two votes. Mr. Emeka Obegolu emerged the Secretary of the NBA after defeating two other contestants. He polled a total of 527 votes to beat Mr. Haruna and Mr. Olowokure who came second and third with 322 and 292 votes respectively. The post of 1st Vice-President of the NBA poll was clinched by O.J Irabor while Mr. Francis Ekwerre emerged the 3rd Vice-President. Mrs. Joyce Oodua was elected the National Treasurer, while the keenly contested post of Publicity Secretary was won by Mr. Afam Obi who defeated Mr. Gbolahan Gbadamosi. Mr. Kelvin Ezelonu became the Welfare Secretary of the association.

Ikeji

The above elected officers will take over from the outgoing executives at the end of the Abuja 2012 Conference and will steer the affairs of the NBA for the next two years. While the conference may prove qualitative and excellent in many respects, there is at least one area in which it might likely fall below the conferences of the recent period. This is in the area of attendance. The reason for this is the astronomical rise in the fees of the conference. The NBA had justified the increment of the fees on the grounds of necessity stressing that past conferences had been subsidised for the conferees from the funds sourced elsewhere by the association. It therefore added that for the conference to attain required standards and sustainability, the underlying economic realities need to be factored in by making the participant to pay the realistic fee. Not many members of the esteemed association seemed swayed by this logic as many lawyers have said the new schedule of fees for the conference are too high. Thus, it is feared there is going to be very low turnout at the conference. The schedule of fees for the conference is as follows: For lawyers who are from one to five years at the Bar, N20,000; for those who are 6-10 years, N30,000; 11-14 years at the Bar, N40,000; 15-20 years at the Bar, N50,000; for magistrates, N50,000; 20 years and above, N70,000. Senior Advocates of Nigeria and members of the Body of Benchers are required to register with N150,000; the same fees apply to judges while governors, legislators and political appointees are to pay N200, 000. These fees cover provision of conference materials and full access to exhibition and all the conference sessions. A separate fee of N5,000 is also levied on all participants who want to attend the AGC dinner. The unprecedented hike in the conference fees had generated serious furore among lawyers with most of them describing it as excessive. Some lawyers are of the opinion that the “removal of subsidy” should not have been done at once and that it should have been gradual. A member of the TCCP told National Mirror that the figure of those who had registered so far (a few days to the commencement of the conference) had

Odenigbo

Ojo

THE UNPRECEDENTED HIKE IN THE CONFERENCE FEES HAD GENERATED SERIOUS FURORE AMONG LAWYERS been phenomenally small compared to the number recorded at this kind of period in the past 10 years. “We have recorded the lowest number of registered participants ever” said the source. National Mirror spoke with some other lawyers on what their expectations are. A member of the TCCP and former Publicity Secretary of the NBA, Abdulrasheed said: “Going by the amounts of efforts put in the organisational aspects by the members of the TCCP in collaboration with others; the appropriateness of the theme, the quality of the speakers at the conference and the pedigree of the NBA, one can confidently assert that the Abuja 2012 will be a success story although low turnout is expected because of the conference fees” Abdulrasheed also justified the hike in the conference fees, saying “In the past, the fees being paid by the conferees did not cover the cost of accommodation, lunch and conference materials. NBA had been offsetting the deficit from money procured from other sources. The NBA decided it should make the participants pay the appropriate conference fees in order not to be saddled with these avoidable costs. NBA wants to avoid the practice of going to politicians to ask for sponsorship of our AGC. This kind of soliciting could undermine the independence of the NBA. “But actually when you look at it, you cannot say that the fees are excessive. People pay up toN1 million to attend the International Bar Association, (IBA) Conference, yet they don’t complain, there should be no complain especially in the light of quality programme of events scheduled by the NBA, the participants are really going

to enjoy it.’’ In his own view, the Chairman of Lawyers in the Media, a forum of NBA, Mr. Charles Odenigbo, said although the hike in the fees would drastically affect attendance he expects that the conference would nonetheless be an enjoyable and successful one. Odenigbo said: “I am expecting a very exciting, interesting educative, enlightening and successful conference. I expect that it would be very organised and that the participants would not undergo unnecessary stress. The last AGC in Port Harcourt was one of the best organised but I expect this year’s conference to even be better. “I am also however concerned that the attendance would be drastically affected by the conference fees. Not many people can afford it. Take me for example; I have to pay N70, 000 because I am above 20 years at the Bar. It was even N70, 000 because I paid few months ago as early bird; If I have to pay now for late registration it would be more than that. Let us face it, If I am not the Chairman of the Lawyers in the Media who has an important role to play at the conference by virtue of my office, it is doubtful if would have paid N70, 000 to attend the conference.” The incoming Assistant Publicity Secretary of NBA, Mr. Austin Unachukwu, was optimistic that despite the anticipated low turn-out the conference would be a memorable one. A Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Robinson O. Ogundeji, who said he would not attend the conference as a measure of protest said: “Our leaders at the Bar don’t carry people along as they take critical decisions. Whoever advises them to increase the attendance fees to this kind of level does not seem to be practising law in Nigeria. How much does a young lawyer earn in a chamber that you are asking him to cough out N20, 000 for attendance at the conference? Imagine a chamber that has five junior lawyers, that chamber would have to pay N100,000 for the young lawyers alone not to talk of senior lawyers in the firm. The law profession in Nigeria has not got to a stage where you charge exorbitant fees for the annual conference. ‘’


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Australian court affirms logo ban on cigarette packs Australia

Chief Justice of Australia, Robert French

A

ustralia’s highest court has upheld the world’s toughest law on cigarette promotion despite protests from tobacco companies that argued the value of their trade-

marks will be destroyed under new rules that will strip all logos from cigarette packs. According to CBC News, the decision by the High Court means that, starting from December, tobacco companies will no longer be able to display their distinctive colours, brand designs and logos on cigarette packs. The packs will instead come in a uniformly drab shade of olive and feature graphic health warnings and images of cancer-

Foreign

riddled mouths and blinded eyeballs. The government hopes the new packs will make smoking as unglamorous as possible. British American Tobacco, Philip Morris International, Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International are worried that the law will set a global precedent that could slash billions of dollars from the

values of their brands. They challenged the new rules on the grounds that they violate intellectual property rights and devalue their trademarks. The cigarette makers argued that the government would unfairly benefit from the law by using cigarette packs as a platform to promote its own message, without compensating the tobacco companies. Australia’s constitution says the government can only acquire the property of others on “just terms.” British American Tobacco

spokesman Scott McIntyre said the company was disappointed by the court’s decision, but would comply with the law. “Although the [law] passed the constitutional test, it’s still a bad law that will only benefit organised crime groups which sell illegal tobacco on our streets,” McIntyre said in a statement. “The illegal cigarette black market will grow further when all packs look the same and are easier to copy.” The court has withheld its reasons for the judgment.

Kenya politicians meddle in court cases –Law society boss

L

awyers have expressed fears that there is a deliberate move by politicians to scuttle a suit challenging the suitability of presidential candidates facing international crimes, to run for presidency. A report by the Narobi Star quoted the Law Society of Kenya Chairman, Mr. Eric Mutua, as making this allegation. Mutua had said the recent amendments by activists, which sought to have the names of presidential candidates, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi, and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka included in the suit against William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta, was meant to introduce “politics into the judiciary”. Uhuru and Ruto are facing interna-

South Africa

W

hen a leading white supremacist was found bludgeoned to death on his farm outside Johannesburg in April 2010, South Africa shuddered. Guardian News and Media reports that death of Eugene Terre’Blanche, the leader of the militant white separatist group known as the Afrikaner Resistance Movement, seemed an ominous sign that the era of racial harmony that began in 1994 with the end of apartheid and the beginning of non-racial democracy was in peril. But when a farmhand was sentenced on to life in prison for murdering Terre’Blanche, his death seemed a symbol of a problem that may be more intractable than racial disharmony: the stubborn economic inequality of post-apartheid South Africa and the violent rage it engenders. Race had nothing to do with the killing, a court in Ventersdorp, 130 kilometres west of Johannesburg, concluded. Chris Mahlangu, a young black man who worked on Terre’Blanche’s farm, killed him in a dispute over wages. About 100 protesters sang racially charged songs outside the courtroom in Ventersdorp in support of Mahlangu, 30,

Kenya tional crimes at The Hague. “They want to scuttle the suit because now it has become a total mix up. By including the names of the PM and VP, it means the cases might take long to determine,” said Mutua. Mutua confirmed LSK, which has been enjoined in the suit, will challenge the new suit when the case comes up. His recommendation is that the application should be handled separately. “No one wants to speak about integrity since it is a sensitive issue. As lawyers,we must state our position, otherwise we will be failing the public,” said the LSK boss. He said LSK would set up an international arbitration centre to serve the East and Central Africa, as one of the Alterna-

tive Dispute Resolution mechanisms. He said the new developments might scuttle the whole suit, to the extent that by the time it is concluded, Kenyans will already have gone for the elections. “As much as lawyers act under instructions, we have a call of honour. We are surprised over the amendments, and although we know the applicants have a right to make the application, our fear is that the judiciary, which has become more of an ‘activist’ will make rulings that will affect very many issues,” said Mutua. The activists have included the names of Prime Minister Odinga, Deputy Prime Minister Mudavadi and Musyoka in a suit seeking to bar Uhuru and Ruto from contesting the presidency.

How militant leader’s death resulted from wage dispute, court told

Mahlangu

who had pleaded guilty but argued that he acted in self-defence. They were opposed by 20 white protesters who carried a doll representing a black man, with a rope around its neck, and a sign that said, ‘’Hang Mahlangu’’. The judge rejected a defence argument that Mahlangu had been sodomised by Terre’Blanche.

Mahlangu’s lawyer, Kgomotso Tlouane, told the court that Mahlangu was drunk at the time of the murder, that he had been frustrated because he had not been paid and that he had low intellectual capacity. Mahlangu has said that he felt he did no wrong by ridding the world of a man some called a monster. A second man, Patrick Ndlovu, was

Odinga

acquitted of murder but found guilty of breaking and entering with intent to steal. Ndlovu, who was 15 when the killing happened, received a two-year prison sentence, which meant he was freed for having already served the time. Terre’Blanche, a barrel-chested man with a bushy beard and a penchant for Nazi-style salutes, had led the flagrantly racist separatist group, more commonly known by its Afrikaans initials, AWB, for decades. He was famous for his dramatic flair. He liked to arrive at rallies astride a stallion, and his organisation’s emblem looked more than a little like a swastika. But his militant group generated more light than heat. Its attempt to take over the black homeland of Bophuthatswana just before the elections in 1994 that brought Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress to power ended in humiliation. Three AWB members were shot dead in front of TV cameras by a black police officer. Terre’Blanche was later sentenced to six years in prison for assaulting a black worker, and in the years before his death he had sunk into relative obscurity, as has much of the racist right wing in South Africa. His killing raised fears that long-dormant racial tensions would be reignited.


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Fraudulent lawyers should be Chief Richard Akinjide is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1956 and he is also a member of the Bar of England and Wales. He was the president of the Nigerian Bar Association [NBA] from 1970 to 1973. In this interview with WALE IGBINTADE, he speaks on justice administration in Nigeria and the role of legislature among others.Excerpts. What role should lawyers play in creating a better Nigeria? All lawyers must do their work diligently in accordance with the norms of the profession and in accordance with the tradition. They should be honest, they should be truthful and more importantly, when they go to court they should always tell the truth and make sure that they don’t deceive the court. How do you see the appointment of Justice Aloma Mukhtar as the first female CJN? She is brilliant and it was a very good appointment. I have no doubt that her appointment has the support of the Bar and of the general public. If you look at that picture (pointing to the wall), that is Justice Aloma Mukhtar presenting a present to me in Ibadan at a function some years ago when she was in the Court of Appeal, Ibadan. I am extremely happy about her appointment and I wish her goodluck. Akinjide

Do you subscribe to the suggestion that legal education should be a second degree course? Yes, I agree, if you look at the tradition of law in England, a lot of great lawyers have done something before they read law. For instance, look at Lord Denning, one of the greatest lawyers Britain has ever produced. He went to Oxford to read Mathematics and had First Class. Then after that he went back to read law. I am just giving you that as an example. There are many other lawyers too who have read Classics and after they go back and read law. So that is the tradition of the profession. Law should be secondary in many respects. What role should NBA play in administration of justice in Nigeria? In the first place, if you are a lawyer you cannot play very important role in a matter unless you are briefed. You cannot just go and knock somebody else’s door and say ‘’I have come to your house and I want to help you win your case’’. It is never done. As far as I know, the profession has been doing exceptionally well in that respect. When we are instructed of briefs we do our work in accordance with the rules and the norms of the profession to make sure that justice is done. We have never failed in that regard.

IF YOU LOOK AT THE TRADITION OF LAW IN ENGLAND, A LOT OF GREAT LAWYERS HAVE DONE SOMETHING BEFORE THEY READ LAW No, I don’t agree with them. You don’t create special courts for special offences it is dangerous. I am not aware of anywhere in the world where that was done and you get justice. What we are doing now is very good, what we should do now is to have special judges to concentrate on such matters. But, to appoint judges specifically for such matters is wrong.

Sometimes ago, the Body of Senior Advocates in Nigeria nominated two of their members to the Supreme Court Bench, but that nomination was not accepted. Can you tell me why? I don’t know who told you that story. Whatever we did in that respect was extremely confidential and whosoever leaked it out to you should never have done so. It should never be in the public domain until it was made officially public. If we recommend anybody for anything whether High Court, Court of Appeal or Supreme Court, you must know that those persons are qualified for those offices. If they are not we won’t recommend them.

There are about 12 justice reform bills pending before the National Assembly. Do you think the lawmakers have the political will to amend these Bills before the end of Jonathan’s administration? They should be able to pass them into law. They are there for full-time job but whether they are putting full -time on their jobs is what I don’t know. Because, I understand that they don’t sit on Mondays and on Fridays. They sit only Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. I think those days are not enough. They should sit every day of the week, from Monday till Friday and have break only on Saturdays and Sundays. Having said that, I must admit that we have very eminent people there. I am not condemning everybody in the National Assembly because there are those of them who are diligent, dedicated and committed. I think, they should do more than what they are doing now. I was in parliament twice myself. I entered the parliament before independence. I enjoyed it and I liked it and our salary at that time was 840 pounds a year. If you don’t like it, you are not forced to stand for election; you should find other things to do.

Some have suggested that special courts should be established to deal with corruption in the country. Do you share his view?

As a former member of the parliament, how would you assess the quality of deliberation during your time and now?

There is no basis for comparison at all. Don’t forget that the founding fathers of this country, who got independence for us were in the House of Assembly, House of Representatives and in the Senate in those days and they are the best Nigeria has ever produced so I will be insulting them to be comparing them with those who are there today. Having said that, we still have some Nigerians who are the right calibre there right now but they are in a very small minority. The quality of people in the House reflects the quality of deliberation. You cannot get something out of nothing. You cannot be playing your soccer with third eleven and hope that you will get the result of first eleven. A presidential committee recently recommended that EFCC and ICPC should be scrapped. Do you agree with the recommendation? EFCC and ICPC should not be scrapped; they are doing very good jobs and they should be retained. Although, I admit that there are some reforms that should be effected but I don’t believe they should be scraped. As one of the foremost lawyers in the country, what is the secret of a successful law practice? First and foremost, you must be well educated. You must go to very good schools. You must have good training from home by your parents. 60 to 70 per cent of education is from home and the rest from school. Many children today have no time to be educated by their parents and that is causing problems. In our own time, the school was colonial, all my education before I read law were excellent. Today, the quality has gone done down but I still admit that there are still very good teachers. How can we use law as an instrument of change? I am not aware of any other thing you can use except law. Law is the ultimate instrument of justice and it is very critical. That is why we have courts; we have barristers, solicitors, Magistrates and justices up to the Supreme Court. They are doing very good work and they have my support.


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prosecuted, punished –Akinjide

The immediate past CJN suggested that qualification for appointment as a justice of the Supreme Court be raised from 15 years post call experience to 25 years. What is your take on this? It is not how long but how well. You might spend 10 years at the Bar and become High Court judge and perform very well. You may spend 15 to 20 years at the Bar and go to the Bench and not do well. What we should do is to put the right people in the right place and at the right time. There is agitation in some quarters that the powers of the Chief Justice of Nigeria as the Chairman of the NJC are too much and that the powers should be whittled down. Do you support this view? Democracy operates in the National Judicial Council. I was in that body before, that was many years ago and we did excellent job. People are making comments on something they don’t know. Some of these people making comments are ill-informed. We have excellent judges, but even if there are bad ones, they must be very few indeed. What is your reaction on the slow pace of justice delivery in the country? As far as I am concerned, the delay has been reduced to the barest minimum. Things are moving very fast in many parts of the country. Although, I admit that there might be some cases that are delayed but on the whole, I think things are better now and we are generally happy. Many of your colleagues are of the view that the conviction of the former governor of Delta State, James Ibori has exposed the failure Nigerian judiciary. Do you share their view? I don’t accept that analysis. There have been cases in this country where former governors were convicted. So you cannot say there is justice in London and there is no justice in Nigeria. That is an unfair analysis. It is not true.

How do you see the standard of legal practice today when compared with when you started? Well, you cannot compare the olden days with today. I started to practice law during the colonial days, when Britain was still here. We have some expatriates as magistrates, judges and even at the Supreme Court. After that, we recruited to the Bench eminent Nigerians like GB.A Coker, J. I. C Taylor, Sir Adetokunbo Ademola, Fatayi- Williams, Udo Udoma and Dr. Elias and, they are great judges. So, I don’t accept collective condemnation of the Bench. We have eminent Nigerians on the Bench, hence, we should not rush to condemn them. It is wrong to condemn everybody because either one or two of them have done something wrong. I don’t accept that. What provision will you recommend for amendment in the 1999 Constitution? I stand by that, if you look at China the population is 1.3 billion. Go and look at their constitution. Look at India, the population of India is about 1. 2 billion go and look at their constitution. What is wrong with Nigeria is not the quality of the Constitution but the quality of the people operating it. Among the operators we have excellent people, people who are good but we also have a lot of people who are not fit to be there. At the moment, what we have is working perfectly but there might be need for amendment in some areas. Otherwise, we have to be careful; we might take a wrong step and find ourselves in greater mess. How about some lawyers who engage in fraudulent acts? If a lawyer defrauds his client he should be punished according to the law. He should not be pardoned. But I condemn anybody who says a lawyer has done some-

WHAT IS WRONG WITH NIGERIA IS NOT THE QUALITY OF THE

CONSTITUTION BUT THE QUALITY OF THE PEOPLE OPERATING IT thing wrong without reporting him to the Police or to the Attorney-General. How will you react to the Presidential broadcast renaming of University of Lagos as Moshood Abiola University? There is nothing wrong in what the President has done. When I was the Attorney-General, we did that several times. We announced a project which we intend to send to the National Assembly and then we sent it later. Those who are criticising the way it was done in respect of the University of Lagos don’t know what they are talking about. What the President did was right

and now the President has already sent a bill to the National Assembly and it going to be passed into law and the name will be changed. People should find something more serious to discuss and stop wasting their time on frivolities. I support the policy of the government in that respect. What particular cases would you consider most challenging in your legal career? I have handled very many challenging cases in the past. At The Hague, the World Court, at the courts in England, at the Court in the Gambia and courts in Nigeria. I have always enjoyed them and I like them. It is not for me to make a judgment on which one of them is the best. I leave that judgment for other people to do. When I started legal practice in 1956, we were still under Britain then and the Chief Justice of Nigeria then was a European. The standard was extremely high. We even have expatriates as Magistrates, as High Court Judges and in the Supreme Court. We also have Nigerians in the Supreme Court at that time. My view is that the standard was extremely high and even today, the standard is still high. I must concede that today the standard is not as high in some areas as it used to be. But I have no regret at all. We have a solid and good Bench. Do you recall your role in the twelve two third saga? Do you have any regret? No, I have no regret. It was confirmed by the Supreme Court and earlier on, the tribunal of three Justices of the Court of Appeal confirmed it. I argued the case, I didn’t write the judgment and it is the law of the land till today. It has not been reversed by any court. No, I have no regret. I enjoy it. It is my profession and I had been the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, I had been the Attorney-General of the Federation, I had been the Chairman of Body of Benchers and I had served in so many capacities both in Nigeria and abroad. My priority is service, honesty and patriotism. If you have your way, will you still argue the same way? I will argue the same way because the court will say the same thing. The Supreme Court has not changed the law and that is the law.


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F

iery lawyer, late Gani Fawehinmi was always excited during his lifetime to lock horns in legal battle with those who have attained the peak of the legal profession, especially the Senior Advocates of Nigeria. Dating back to 43 years ago when the deceased activist began his legal practice, he had had cause to appear in a number of celebrated cases in the country. He had also exhibited his legal wits during occasional encounters in the courts with many erudite lawyers in the country. One of such epochal cases in which he appeared is known as Gani Fawehinmi .v. NBA (1). In this case, Fawehinmi had dragged the NBA to court in 1984 over the association’s decision directing lawyers to boycott the Special Military Tribunal (SMT) established by the military regime. To the Ondo-born late activist, he had a constitutional duty to his client. As a result, he shunned the NBA’s order and appeared for his client, Col. Peter Obasa (rtd), a former DirectorGeneral of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), then standing trial before the tribunal. Distinctly defiant, the late activist subsequently instituted an action against the NBA, the General Council of the Bar, GCB and three elders of the bar including, late Chief F.R.A Williams. Specifically, Fawehinmi in the suit had asked the court to determine whether his appearance before the SMT Lagos zone was legally and professionally justifiable within the context of the 1979 Constitution as amended by Decree No 1 of 1984, the LPC 1975 and the rules of professional conduct in the legal profession made by the GCB. He also prayed the court to declare that the decision of the NBA taken at its NEC meeting in April 1984 and ratified at an emergency meeting on May 8, 1984 in Lagos that its members must not appear before the SMTs established under Decree No 3 of 1984 was unconstitutional, illegal, null and void. Fawehinmi’s famous bravery was traceable to his paternal forebears, particularly his late grandfather, late Lisa Alujonnu which literarily means invisible spirit, who was said to have been loved by the Ondo people because of his courage, acclaimed bravery and steadfastness. At the hearing of the case, Fawehinmi represented himself while Williams led two other senior advocates, Mr. Kehinde Sofola and Chief E.A Molajo for the NBA and the GCB. Indeed, “Timi the Law” as Williams was fondly called demonstrated an impassioned zeal for the legal profession at the time while Fawehinmi equally exhibited his legal wits and crusading spirit as an activist lawyer. It was usually a dramatic session on each hearing date during the 1984 case. Each time Fawehinmi and Williams appeared against each other and the latter cited foreign authorities, Fawehinmi

Williams

Fawehinmi

Clash of Bar titans The gathering of Nigerian lawyers for this year’s Bar conference in Abuja brings to memory the epic legal battle between four notable legal luminaries in the ‘80s. FRANCIS FAMOROTI, Ag. Head, Judiciary takes a retrospective look at the celebrated case between the late radical lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, the Nigeria Bar Association and three elders of the bar. would urge him to stop the circuitous voyage round the globe when there were enough authorities of the Supreme Court of Nigeria that could be used. To borrow the late activist’s words, which he often said in court, “My Lord, my learned friend has embarked on a voyage of discovery. There is no need going to Australia, India and United Kingdom in search of legal authorities, we have the authorities here that can be cited.” By the time Fawehinmi rounded up his submission, Williams would chip in and seek the judge’s attention that, “We know he is not talking to your Lordship. He is talking to his friends (pointing to the press gallery)”. Williams would often say Fawehinmi was fond of making speeches that might make headlines for tabloids. Sofola too would jokingly align with the foremost lawyer’s position. Interestingly, Fawehinmi at a point had to ask the court to restrain Williams, Sofola and Molajo from representing the NBA on the ground that their appearance for the association was improper, unprofessional, dishonourable and dishonest. The then Chief Judge, Justice Candide Ademola Johnson on July 19, 1985, apparently granted Fawehinmi’s application for an injunction restraining the three SANs from appearing for themselves. The SANs appealed against the ruling to the Court of Appeal and on March 13, 1986 the Appellate court allowed the appeal and

FAWEHINMI ARGUED THAT THE ROLE PLAYED BY

THE THREE SANS WAS AGAINST

FAMOUS CASES set aside the order of injunction. The panel of the appellate court were, Justices Phillip Nnaemeka-Agu, Idris Kutigi and Kolawole. The appeal court affirmed that the NBA was not a juristic person and as such could not be sued legally in its name. It then struck out the action. Being a lawyer, who would not easily give up the legal battle, Fawehinmi headed for the Supreme Court. Waxing truculent, Fawehinmi argued in his appeal that the role played by the three SANs was against the spirit of the Rules of professional conduct in the legal profession. He submitted that Williams could not appear for the NBA while Sofola also could not appear for Williams and Molajo. He further argued that Williams, Sofola and Molajo could not act as legal practitioners for any other party in the appeal and they could not lead any other lawyer adding that “the first respondent, NBA must therefore brief another legal practitioner to argue its case in this appeal.’’ Fawehinmi said the apperance of the three elders of the

THE SPIRIT OF

THE RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION bar if allowed would not be in accord with their professional role and duty to the court as lawyers and would not be in the tradition or standard of the legal profession. Williams, however, submitted that the issues formulated by Fawehinmi were merely academic and “that the legal profession in Nigeria is rooted on the foundation of common law and operates within the statutory framework of the LPA, the Evidence Act, the Constitution and other relevant statutes.’’ Stating that Fawehinmi’s arguments were misconceived, he urged the court to hold that the three leading lawyers were entitled to address the court in their capacities as legal practitioners briefed to represent the respondents. Sofola lent his voice that he saw nothing embarrassing or contrary to all known can-

ons of administering justice for a legal practitioner to address the court on behalf of himself from the bar. Friday, the 14th day of April 1989 was the judgment date before their Lordships of the Supreme Court. The unanimous lead judgment was read by Justice Andrews Otutu Obaseki. Other justices on the panel included, Adolphus KaribiWhyte, Saidu Kawu, Chukwudifu Oputa, and Abdulganiyu Agbaje. According to Obaseki, “ The appellant has failed to point to any rules of professional etiquette that would affect their duty as counsel to the court or bring the appearance of learned SANs from the bar in conflict.” ‘’A litigant who is a legal practitioner conducts his case as a litigant, not as legal practitioner representing himself, the litigant. He merely draws on the fountain of his legal training. I do not consider it inequitable in a civil case for him to remain at the Bar with his robes or even when he is the litigant. I dismiss the appellant’s objection.” Justice Obaseki said it had not been shown that the conduct of Williams and two others would be prejudicial to the interest of justice . He said a legal practitoner could not be deprived of his rights and privileges by a mere allegation that he is a party when there was no claim or cause of action against him of infamous conduct in a professional respect.


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Law & Justice

Monday, August 27, 2012

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NBA presidency: Assessing Daudu’s two-year tenure The outgoing President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Joseph Daudu (SAN), is expected to formally hand over the Bar leadership to his successor, Mr. Okey Wali (SAN), at the ongoing annual Bar conference in Abuja FRANCIS FAMOROTI, Ag.Head, Judiciary highlights how lawyers’ assess the Daudu administration.

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s lawyers drawn from the 91 branches of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) converge in Abuja today for the opening session of this year’s annual General Conference of the association billed to hold from August 27 to 31, some legal practitioners have appraised the tenure of the NBA outgoing President, Mr. Joseph Bodurin Daudu, (SAN) in the last two years. Specifically, some lawyers scored Daudu high while a number of others rated his performance below expectations against the backdrop of his promises shortly before he took over the mantle of leadership from his predecessor, Chief Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) in 2010. Prior to Daudu’s emergence as the NBA leader in June 2010 election, he had promised before the delegates at the conference that took place in Ibadan, Oyo State, that he would take the Bar to greater heights. Among others, the Kogi State-born legal practitioner had listed as his presidency’s mission statement the improvement on the prosperity and financial capabilities of the Nigerian lawyer and the amendment of the Legal Practitioners Act (LPA) of 1975. The essence of this is to reflect current developments in the training, admission, ethics, discipline and matters relevant to the practice of law by legal practitioners. Daudu also promised that his administration was set to codify the stamp and seal project into the proposed amendment of the LPA Cap 207 so that possession of the stamp annually could be an additional determinant of a lawyer’s right of audience, thereby ensuring that the latter had paid all his dues. He also pledged to overhaul the training of lawyers in order to conform to current international standards and to bring efficiency and greater skill in the performance of the new wig. Indeed, Daudu came into office with a promise to revitalise the association and prepare the Nigerian lawyers to show example of good governance to the nation. In his blueprint for reform published on the NBA’s website, he pledged to reform and strengthen NBA institutions by ensuring “the execution of a Code of Conduct and Financial Guidelines by which all elected national officers shall abide.” Interestingly, for a SAN who vowed that he had a mission to serve, it was gathered that a couple of months after he assumed the mantle of leadership, some of his colleagues claim that he seemed to have derailed in his mission. For instance, the treasurer of the NBA, Mrs. Funmi Oluyede was said to have alleged that the outgoing president had

Daudu

disregarded the mandates of the NBA’s constitution in the way he handled the finances of the NBA during his first year in office. A Senior Advocate who is also a member of the NBA National Executive Committee (NEC), who spoke on condition of anonymity also criticised Daudu’s style of leadership during his first year in office. He told the National Mirror in an interview that it was improper for the NBA President to have appointed his spouse, Ranti, to serve on the Human Rights Committee of the association. But Daudu used the forum of the NBA annual conference in Port Harcourt last year to appeal to his colleagues that his leadership would improve on its performance in the following year. It would be recalled that Daudu came into prominence as counsel for the military junta of General Sani Abacha that prosecuted the ex-President of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), the late Ken Saro- Wiwa and eight of his kinsmen. When National Mirror sought the views of some lawyers on Daudu’s performance, mixed reactions on his rating elicited from the Bar. A former member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Mr. ‘Kunle Fadipe said, “initially Daudu retrogressed on the vibrancy of the NBA. But I think he will be remembered for his bold pronouncements on corruption in the judiciary, his dogged fight against the removal and suspension of Justice Ayo Salami as the President, Court of Appeal and for taking side with the people during the anti subsidy removal protest. ‘’I feel however that he should have made the Bar to play more significant role in Otedola –Farouk Lawan matter. He played muted trumpet.’’ A lawyer and director of studies, ADR programme, Salem University, Lokoja,

THE DAUDU ADMINISTRATION FAILED TO ADDRESS THE REAL NEEDS OF

LAWYERS, IT WAS TOO AUTOCRATIC Mr. Olajide Olagunju said “J.B. Daudu, led the bar at very trying times for the our country, especially more recently during the fuel ‘subsidy’ removal crisis: he rose to the occasion by taking the side of the Nigerian people against political elite that is still grappling with basic leadership ethos. Although the people lost that battle to Jonathan, they won the war against unaccountable governance, which the LawanOtedolagate scandal cannot rubbish: the truth has already come out, thanks to the courage of responsive elites like the critical mass of the bar under J.B, . I guess he would have performed better if he had led us under a more stable polity. ‘’ The Chairman, Citizens Rights Watch (CRW), Mr. Gabriel Ojumah said, ‘’some of us initially have reservations about Daudu’s leadership and ability to steer the Bar in the right course when he was elected but so far, so good, he has lived up to expectation’’. For Mr. Steve Adaramoye however, ‘’On the average J.B Daudu is okay. The voice of NBA is very important in the political firmament. On various and diverse occasions Daudu stood up on the platform of NBA to be counted and he made his word count. In my respective view, I think he performed well save for the last election that is alleged by Emeka Ngige to have been marred by irregularities. That particular area is a sour reference point on his record. I think his reaction to national

and political issues is good. At the end, he ended up the way Nigerian leaders will end by way of corrupt succession. ‘’ Mr. Ikechukwu Ikeji said, ‘’The Daudu administration failed to address the needs of lawyers, it was too autocratic, it witnessed a situation where the NBA president scrambled for briefs especially government briefs the same manner as previous presidents scrambled for the position of Attorney- General of the Federation, arbitrary and insensitive increase in Bar practising fees and annual conference fees without caring about the corresponding level of income of lawyers especially young lawyers, failure to fully implement the practising licence provision of the Rules of Professional Conduct, failure to address the poor structure of the continuing education situation and general insensitivity to the plight of lawyers especially in litigation and in terms of preparation of legal documentation. ‘’ Mr. Emeka Nwadioke, Director of Publicity, Emeka Ngige Campaign Organisation on his part berated Daudu’s tenure over the alleged irregularities that plagued the June 2012 NBA elections. A young lawyer, Mr. Olalekan Oduwole, said, “The outgoing NBA President did his best but he has failed to fulfil his promise of empowering young lawyers to acquire laptops and law books. ‘’What about the promise of grating loans to junior lawyers? this has not materialised. Nothing much has been achieved in the area of continuous training.’’ But a former NBA publicity secretary, Mr. Muritala Abdulrasheed however rose in Daudu’s defence that he deserved accolades for having done so much for the Bar. He listed the outgoing NBA leader’s achievements among others to include the provision of database for lawyers saying ‘’this intractable problem was solved by Daudu, all lawyers in Nigeria now have enrolment numbers. ‘’Giving NBA a befitting national secretariat in Abuja. Akeredolu bought the house, Daudu renovated and furnished same. Abdulrasheed said early this year “J.B Daudu called for Jonathan’s impeachment if he failed to bulge during the fuel subsidy protest and NBA stood with the people.’’ He also said Daudu’s administration led the Bar to condemn the suspension of Justice Isa Ayo Salami as President of the Court of Appeal. Significantly, this assessment by the Bar is coming at the dark moment of the country’s judiciary due to the continued suspension of the President, Court of Appeal, Justice Salami by the National Judicial Council (NJC) last year. As the Bench is currently facing its trying times, the Bar, equally had had an unpleasant experience in 1992 when the association went into comatose for five years after the botched Port Harcourt conference. When Daudu formally passes the baton to the new NBA President, Mr. Okey Wali (SAN), this week, the bar leadership with fresh impetus, is expected to assume an enviable task of fostering the challenge of moving the association to greater heights.


Law & Justice

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Issues in effective conflict management resolution

I begged the judge in God’s name –Grace Otor

OLAJIDE OLAGUNJU

I Otor

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y first appearance alone in the court was during my NYSC programme in Oshogbo, Osun State. I was attached to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Our office was then handling the famous case of Frank Efosa and others vs. The State which was a case of some alleged cult members who killed students in Obafemi Awolowo University, IleIfe,Osun State in 1999. I had been going with the

DPP, Mr. A. Folorunso for the matter being handled then by the Acting Chief Judge of Osun State, Justice A. Yusuf, but on this particular day, the DPP told me to go alone as he was very engaged. It was not that the case was entrusted to me; I was just told to go and apply for an adjournment of the matter pending the time the DPP would come himself. But when I got to the court and made the application, the judge said “Young Lady, are you not a lawyer? I am

not inclined to give any adjournment, you have to go on with the case or else I will strike it out” I was scared, a case as important as that would be struck out because of inability to go on, so I said “Please Sir, I beg you in the name of God not to strike out this matter!” The whole audience in the court engaged in laughter, they could see I was a neophyte because that was not the language of the court. Even the judge himself laughed but he later granted the adjournment.

Bar Jokes

The lawyer and effect of surgery

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here was a lawyer and he was just waking up from anesthesia after surgery, and his wife was sitting by his side. His eyes fluttered open and he said: “You’re beautiful!” and then he fell asleep again. His wife had never heard him say that so she stayed by his side. A couple

minutes later his eyes fluttered open and he said: “You’re cute!” Well, the wife was dissapointed because instead of “beautiful” it was “cute.” She said: “What happened to ‘beautiful’?” He replied: “The drugs are wearing off !”

A man and the devil

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man died and was taken to his place of eternal torment by the devil. As he passed sulphurous pits and shrieking sinners, he saw a man he recognized as a lawyer snuggling up to a beautiful woman. “That’s unfair!” he cried. “I have

to roast for all eternity, and that lawyer gets to spend it with a beautiful woman.” “Shut up”, barked the devil, jabbing the man with his pitchfork. “Who are you to question that woman’s punishment?”

Where’ ll you get a lawyer ?

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n engineer dies and reports to the pearly gates. St. Peter checks his dossier and says, “Ah, you’re an engineer. You are in the wrong place.” So, the engineer reports to the gates of hell and is let in. Pretty soon, the engineer gets dissatisfied with the level of comfort in hell, and starts designing and building improvements. After a while, they’ve got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and the engineer is a pretty popular guy. One day, God calls Satan up on the telephone and says with a sneer, “So, how’s it going down there in hell?” Satan replies, “Hey, things are go-

ing great. We’ve got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and there’s no telling what this engineer is going to come up with next.” God replies, “What? You’ve got an engineer? That’s a mistake. He should never have gotten down there; send him up here.” Satan says, “No way.” I like having an engineer on the staff, and I’m keeping him.” God says, “Send him back up here or I’ll sue.” Satan laughs uproariously and answers, “Yeah, right. And just where are you going to get a lawyer?” Culled from Lawyers’jokes.com

attempt in this short work to set out some basic skills for conflict resolution. I call them secrets because they are rarely considered when we engage conflict situations. At the same time, in my opinion, mastery of the seven elements ensures and assures successful conflict resolution. Personal philosophy of conflict In order to make a success of your conflict resolution efforts, it is helpful and indeed crucial to operate from a personal philosophy of conflict, a personal appreciation of what conflict means. This ensures a success at conflict resolution that is not only unique to you but also one that you can always repeat and duplicate in various conflict situations. So, what is your philosophy of conflict? What does ‘conflict’ mean to you? How do you perceive conflict situations? In order to develop a personal philosophy of conflict, I have looked at three words: WHO, why and what. Who are the people that you would see in conflict? Why do these groups of people engage in conflict? What is conflict? I place the last question, what is conflict, last, because I am of the opinion that if you know who engages in conflict and why they engage in conflict, you would better know what conflict means. You would be able to develop a rich perception of conflict; you would have a strong personal philosophy of conflict. Who are the people that you would see in conflict? If I ask you the question, who do you see in conflict, I would very well imagine that you would cite some or all of the following instances as people that could be in conflict: Family members, Couples, Neighbours, Friends and acquaintances, Colleagues, Communities (both ethnic and religious), Nations (intra-national, transnational and international), Employers and employees, Tenants and landlords, Service providers and clients, Businesses and their customers, Students and teachers So, in summary, the answer to the question, who are the people that you would see in conflict, is people in a relationship. The relationship may not be apparent. But for there to be a conflict, there must have been a relationship: we do not disagree if we had not agreed, we do not disengage if had not engaged, we do not separate if we had never met, physically or otherwise. A deep awareness of the fact that parties to a conflict are people in a relationship is the first major step towards developing a philosophy of conflict. And this awareness instantly affects the way we think about conflict. Why do people engage in conflict? Having discovered that parties to a conflict are parties in a relationship, we can now move on to understand why these people engage in conflict. In order to understand why people get into conflict, we must go back to the concept of relationship. To understand why there is a conflict, we must first understand why there was a relationship in the first place because before the conflict the relationship already existed.

CONFLICTS COME WHEN THE NEEDS OF ONE OR MORE OF THE PARTIES IN A RELATIONSHIP ARE NO LONGER BEING MET What was the purpose of the relationship in conflict? Relationships are need-based. That is to say, people get into relationships to meet a need. An easy example is a couple. The woman has needs that only her meeting, engaging and relating with the man can meet? And vice versa. Their mutual and individual needs bring them together. Similarly in every other relationship, you can rightly say that there is a need that the relationship is meeting. Having established that relationships exist to meet the needs of the individual parties to the conflict, we can more easily see the reason for conflict: Conflicts come when the needs of one or more of the parties in a relationship are no longer being met. Conflicts protest unmet needs. A relationship that continues to meet the needs of parties to it cannot run into conflict. What then is conflict? We have determined that parties to a conflict are parties in a relationship. We have also determined that these parties use conflict to protest unmet needs. We can now more easily answer the question, what is conflict, an answer to which will give us both a rich appreciation of what conflict is as well as help us as individuals to develop our own personal philosophy of conflict. From our findings so far, we can now easily define conflict as: A situation in which the needs of parties in a relationship are not being met. From the above analysis, we can see that conflict itself is not evil but merely symptomatic. The parties are, basically, using it to tell one another that “things have fallen apart, the centre is no longer holding”. Conflict is a warning signaling the collapse of the old relationship for being unable to meet the needs for which the relationship existed. Conflict is a cry for a new relationship. Some may want to argue that it could in fact be a cry to end all relationship. But the insurmountable challenge is that no one can exist without relationship, without other people: knowingly or knowingly, there is no human being in the world that is outside of my life, that is not related to me. I am compelled by my humanity to engage everybody else consciously or otherwise, directly or indirectly: people relate with me whether they are near to me or far from me, whether I can see them or not: relationship is the burden of my humanity, of your humanity, of all humanity. And when they are people whom I have known, intimately or loosely, then I must see conflict with them as a need for a conscious rearrangement of the way we relate. To be continued next week Olagunju, a Lawyer and Director, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Studies Programme, Salem University, Lokoja writes from Kogi State.


Monday, August 27, 2012

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Community Mirror Ex-NYSC members get loans

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“If an election were held today, Jonathan would not win. To all Nigerians, his administration has been a disappointment” LEADER OF ACTION CONGRESS OF NIGERIA, ASIWAJU BOLA TINUBU

Kuramo Beach: A tale of sorrow and deaths MURITALA AYINLA

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hey lived, loved and procreated in this relatively peaceful abode, oblivious of dangers lurking around them. They held sway at the waterfront and never needed fans or air-conditioners, given that the environment is naturally regulated. The nights were always cool despite intense heat experienced by other affluent residents in the area. This was the natural order of existence until tragedy struck on August 18, 2012 when the once friendly ocean turned angry and with sudden violent gale winds swept everything in its path, including humans in the early hour of Saturday. All of a sudden, the once quiet Kuramo Beach became a scene of deaths and destruction. The tragedy at Kuramo Beach in Iru-Victoria Island Local Council Development Area of Lagos State struck when the residents were fast asleep, as no one was spared. Kids and their parents all swept away by the violent tidal surge. Men lost their wives and children, as many families were swept away and scores missing. Those who went to rescue their neighbours also perished as they were subdued by the wild waves. One of them was Mr. Joseph, security personnel at the beach. In the morning, rubbles littered the shores including shoes, clothes, utensils and other properties, while 15 people were declared missing. Two days later, 10 corpses were found while five are

still missing. When Community Mirror visited the area, the mood of the survivors was gloomy as the atmosphere was tensed. Relatives of victims, neighbours and sympathisers wailed uncontrollably, even as they intensified search and rescue efforts. Littering the shoreline were make-shift cabins, carcasses of animals and shreds of canopies used by picnickers for leisure. Mr Tunde Kolawole 32, whose two children and wife were among bodies recovered, lamented that his life has lost meaning. Amid sobs and tears, he said his entire family was wiped out by the tidal waves. Before the unfortunate incident, Kolawole and his wife worked and lived on the beach. “I can’t find them, only the corpse of Bisi, a six year old girl was found on the bank of the sea.” For Mrs. Saidat Oke, wife of Mr. Joseph Oke, security officer, who died along with 15 others,the death of her husband is still a dream. Her husband died while trying to save his neighbours at that tragic moment. She described the incidence as a rude shock, even as sympathisers consoled her. “I am yet to come to terms with his death, why should he leave me?” Saidat, who initially declined to speak on the death of her husband, said it would affect the psyche of her little child. Amidst tears, she however spoke in Yoruba, recalling her last moment with him. She said: “ Ile ni mo wa sa dede ni won pe Jo-

A rescue team recovering a corpse at Kuramo Beach.

seph ti ku (I was at home when my phone rang and I was informed on the death of my husband) I cannot explain how I feel at present.” According to Oke, she had earlier urged Joseph to resign from his job at Kuramo Beach and look for better job elsewhere. Joseph who was employed by the company on March 6, 2008, is said to be on a weekly salary of N3, 000. Speaking, the Area Commander, Crime Prevention Campaign of Nigeria, Mr. Gbenga Chibowe, who led the rescue team that recovered the corpse, said he escaped death by the

Inset: Kolawole

whiskers because he refused joining the rescue team that tragic night. He said: “I knew it would happen that night, but I did not know what held me back from joining others in rescuing those trapped in the ocean.” Chibowe added: “Immediately Joseph called me at 3:00 am, I declined to go. However, an hour later, I called the phone numbers of Joseph and his colleague, Olohunwa to know how the rescue operation went, their numbers were switch off.” Another resident, who identified herself as Mrs. Pascal, said such violent waves oc-

curred in the community six years ago, saying the Saturday incident was heavier than last year. “The one of last year was not as violent. We were lucky to escape the waves because the surge became wild when people were asleep. If it had happened in the day time, many would have been rescued”, she lamented. Meanwhile, the state government has begun moves towards finding a lasting solution to the ocean surge at the beach, saying the tragedy was the result of dramatic climate change which the state has been witnessing of late.

Governor commissions water project in Anambra CHARLES OKEKE AWKA

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he Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi has commissioned the N250 million Nibo-Nise water scheme, in Awka South Local Government Area, even as he also commissioned a maternity and classroom at Ezeike High School. The governor also donated N6million to Nibo community for construction of more classroom blocks. Governor Obi also promised

that construction of nursing quarters at the maternity would begin by September, as he stated that it was the first of 20 small water schemes being built by his administration and which are to be inaugurated in due course. He said his administration is investing much in Nibo and other communities as a way of bringing development closer to the people. The Commissioner for Public Utilities, Water Resources and Community Development, Hon. Emeka Nwankwu, said the wa-

ter scheme was a milestone in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs in the state. He said, “the provision of potable water in the state was last heard of in the 90’s and today pipe borne is everywhere and not just only in Nibo, but also in Agulu, Uga, Nimo, Abagana, Enugu-Ukwu, Awkuzu, Dunukofia, Ukpo, Amichi, Azigbo, Ukpor and Nnewi.” He said the water scheme has a capacity to supply water beyond Nibo. “As the governor commissions the water

scheme, the government, in line with international best practices plans to manage it for six months through the contractor and involvement of water consumers association, to stabilise the system before handing it over to the community for ownership, operation, maintenance and management to ensure sustainability”. The commissioner further said that the contractor was awarded the contract on March 2011, and it was completed within the agreed time.

He disclosed that the distribution pipe covers a distance of 12 km with 60 stand posts and service points in 15 locations. President General of Nibo community, Chief Goodluck Okey Nwankwo, recalled the numerous support and projects by the Obi administration, even as he assured him of continued support. He assured that the problem of flood in front of the maternity would be handled by team of engineers as an appreciation of the good things the government is doing in Nibo.


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Community Mirror

Monday, August 27, 2012

Ex-NYSC members get loans EMMANUEL ONANI ABUJA

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he National Youth Service Corps, (NYSC) Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, has given loans worth N9.6 million to 24 former -corps mem-

bers who passed a screening exercise supervised by the Board of Trustees. Each of the successful applicants was given N400,000, at a 5 per cent interest rate. The repayment, which is for a period of 18 months, begins after a three-month morato-

rium. In an address at the ceremony in Abuja, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Mr. Remi Olowude, stated that the initiative is aimed at assisting ex-corps members with soft-loans, to make them become self-reliant. He further revealed

that the only collateral for granting loans to deserving members, after scrutiny, is the National Certificates of Service/ Discharge Certificates. The chairman appealed to former beneficiaries, who have reneged on the repayment terms,

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to endeavour to honour their promise so as to create opportunities for others to benefit from the scheme. Represented by Dr. Abubakar Abdullahi, Olowude pledged to sustain the foundation’s relationship with the

scheme by improving the standard and quality of business proposals by prospective applicants for the revolving loans, through effective collaboration with the newly established Skills Acquisition Department of the NYSC.


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Oddities

Man charged for soliciting for sex through 911 call

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Florida man has been charged with abusing the 911 system by making repeated calls requesting a female deputy to come to his home for sex. The Hillsborough County Sheriff ’s Office said Joshua Basso, 32, made at least seven calls

between Wednesday and Friday. Basso was arrested at his home in Dover, Fla., on Friday morning. “The suspect misused the 911 system to request female deputies to respond to his residence for sexual gratification,” the sheriff ’s office said in a news release.

Man awakes from sleep to find bear

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Minneapolis man says he awoke from a nap in a park in northern Minnesota face-toface with a bear. John Steitz, 26, and his hiking partner, Samuel Roberts, 25, also of Minneapolis, started hiking along the Superior Hiking Trail around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune reported. The pair stopped to rest at a camp site at some point in the afternoon, Steitz said. “I was just on top of my sleeping bag, in the shade by Penn Creek,” Steitz said. “In my dream, I was playing

Cocktail

Monday, August 27, 2012

with a dog. The dog was jumping on me, scratching me, licking my face -- the playful puppy thing.” Steitz said he then woke up from his dream to find a very real black bear on top of him. “I opened my eyes, and there was a bear on top of me with its face in my face,” Steitz said. “I kind of opened my eyes and gave a, ‘Whatthe-expletive?’” Steitz said he sat up and the bear moved back about five feet. He then woke up Roberts and the two began banging on pans with a hatchet and the bear moved further away.

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Hippo dies in South Africa rescue operation

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hippo who wandered into a swimming pool at a South African game lodge three days ago died Friday before a rescue team could pull him out with a crane, a cruel blow to many across this country who hoped the animal would be saved. In a country still reeling from last week’s mine violence leaving dozens of strikers dead, the plight of the hippopotamus called Solly captivated South African media with live TV broadcasts from the game lodge and newspaper headlines like “It’s all systems go for the rescue of Solly the hippo.” His death left several of those involved pointing fingers of blame. Monate Conservation Lodge manager Ruby Ferreira said a game capture team had been waiting for a veterinarian to show up since Thursday before hoisting out the heavy hippo with a crane. Late Thursday, it seemed a rescue for the wayward hippo could be carried off. Someone even set up a Twitter account on behalf

of the hippo and tweeted purported hippo quotes. Then on Friday morning, the TV news carried a scrolling headline announcing Solly’s death. “It started out as a happy story and now it’s a tragic story. It’s devastating,” Ferreira said. The vet didn’t arrive until late Friday morning, and when he did and saw that he had come too

late he tried to blame the media, saying they created pressure for a rescue attempt on Friday instead of waiting for the hippo to gather strength by being fed. But the vet also said he couldn’t have saved the animal anyway because of the aggravated stress experienced ever since the hippo had been fighting for a position in his herd. The hippo, which was

around 4 years old, had plunged into the deep pool on Tuesday after being chased away from his herd by male members seeking dominance, but he could not get out of the pool — which had no steps — on his own. The hippo showed signs of stress early Friday morning, Ferreira said, according to the South Africa Press Association.

The hippo is being lifted from a swimming pool on Friday, at the Monate Conservation Lodge, near Modimolle, South Africa. PHOTO: AP


50

Monday, August 27, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

World News “When humans behave like animals, we destroy not only each other but generations to come” ZIMBABWE’S ZANU-PF PARTY

Togolese women plan sex strike to unseat president PAUL ARHEWE

WITH AGENCY REPORTS

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he female wing of a civil rights group is urging women in Togo to stage a week-long sex strike to demand the resignation of the country’s president, the Associated Press has reported. Women are being asked to start withholding sex from their husbands or partners as of today, said Isabelle Ameganvi, leader of the women’s wing of the group Let’s Save Togo. She said the strike will put pressure on Togo’s men to take action against President Faure Gnassingbe. Ameganvi, a lawyer, told The Associated Press that her group is following the example of Liberia’s women, who used a sex strike in

2003 to campaign for peace. “We have many means to oblige men to understand what women want in Togo,” Ameganvi said. The sex strike was announced at a rally Saturday of several thousand in the capital city, Lome. The demonstration was organised by a coalition that is protesting recent electoral reforms which they say will make it easier for Gnassingbe to win re-election in the polls set for October. Gnassingbe came to power in 2005, following the death of his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled the West African country for 38 years. Gnassingbe has not commented on the sex strike, nor has his wife. Earlier this month, two anti-

Nigerian sentenced to death for drug in Malaysia

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Malaysian court yesterday sentenced a Nigerian man to death after convicting him of trafficking more than 14 kilos (31 pounds) of marijuana over the land border with Thailand, a report said. The court said there was little doubt Moses Chinedu Nwosu, 50, was guilty of the crime — punishable with death by hanging — after the drugs were seized from him on the night of March 25 last year, Bernama news agency said. The man’s lawyer could not be reached for comment. The accused testified the drugs carried in a black bag belonged to another man he was travelling with from the Thai border to the northern Malaysian town of Alor Setar, Bernama said citing the judgment.

“However, according to a witness, Moses was seen carrying the black bag… and its key was found in his pocket,” the judge said. The court decision is the latest in a clampdown by Malaysian authorities on alleged foreign drug traffickers. A Kuala Lumpur court charged 10 Iranians, an Uzbek and a local with trafficking methamphetamine last week. An Australian nurse and Nigerian man were also charged with trafficking drugs last month, a case which has attracted media attention worldwide. Since 1960, more than 440 people have been executed in Malaysia, including two Australians sentenced to death in 1986 for heroin trafficking — the first Westerners to be executed under tough anti-drug laws.

Gnassingbe protests were dispersed by police using tear gas and more than 100 people were arrested. At Saturday’s rally, which ended peacefully, Jean-Pierre Fabre, leader of the National Alliance for Change opposition party, called for Gnassingbe’s resignation. Other opposition leaders called for civil disobedience. But it is the sex strike that has people talking in this small country of 7 million people. “It’s a good thing for us women to observe this sex strike as long as our children are in jail now. I believe that by observing this, we will get them released,” Abla Tamekloe said. “For me, it’s like fasting, and unless you fast, you will not get what you

President Faure Gnassingbe

want from God.” When asked if her husband would agree, Tamekloe said: “It is easy for me to observe it. I am used to it, but I am not sure my husband will accept, but I have to explain to him.” Another Togolese wom-

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

an said she supports the sex strike, but she does not know if she can carry it out for a full week. “I do agree that we women have to observe this sex strike but I know my husband will not let me complete it.

EU demands immediate halt to executions in Gambia

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he European Union yesterday called for an “immediate halt” to executions in Gambia after reports that President Yahya Jammeh had begun carrying out a threat to clear death row by mid-September. “I strongly condemn the executions which have reportedly taken place ... and I demand the immediate halt of executions,” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement. Rights watchdog Amnesty International said Friday it had “received credible reports that nine persons were executed last night in Gambia and that more persons are under threat of imminent executions today and in the coming days.” Jammeh said in an address to mark this year’s

Jammeh

Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr last Sunday: “By the middle of next month, all the death sentences would have been carried out to the letter. “There is no way my government will allow 99 percent of the population to be held to ransom by criminals,” he said. According to Amnesty those executed included a woman and two Senegalese citizens. Death sentences in im-

poverished Gambia, a tiny west African state wedged into Senegal, are carried out by hanging. Jammeh, a former military officer who seized power in a 1994 coup, brooks no dissent in a country often blasted by rights bodies for abuses. Amnesty said the last official execution took place in 1985. However, AFP’s correspondent in Banjul reports that executions have continued unofficially with the most recent taking place in 2007. According to a tally by AFP, 47 people have been sentenced to death since July 2010. Last year eight military top brass, including the former army and intelligence chiefs and the ex-deputy head of the police force, were sentenced to death for treason.

WORLD BULLETIN

Libya’s interior minister quits Interior Minister Fawzi Abdelali resigned yesterday after coming under fire for the performance of security forces during a surge of violence that has rocked Libya, an official from his office told AFP. “He submitted his resignation to protest against congressmen criticising the government and to defend the revolutionaries,” the official said, referring to former rebels who now form part of the country’s security services. Libyan security services have come in for censure following double car bombings that killed two people on the day Muslims celebrated the feast of Eid al-Fitr a week ago in Tripoli and attacks on several Muslim shrines in the past few days. The criticism has been led by the newly elected General National Congress, which on Sunday accused the interior ministry’s High Security Committee of being lax or even implicated in the destruction of shrines, including those of the Sufi sect. Islamist hardliners on Saturday bulldozed part of the mausoleum of Al-Shaab Al-Dahman, close to the centre of the Libyan capital.

Angola deports 37 Chinese gangsters Angola has extradited 37 Chinese nationals, accused of extortion, kidnappings, armed robberies and running prostitution rings. They allegedly targeted other Chinese, kidnapping businessmen for ransom and sometimes burying victims alive. They lured women to Angola, promising wellpaid jobs, but then forced them into prostitution, Chinese police said. Tens of thousands of Chinese live in Angola, and Chinese state-run firms have large interests in the country. China’s Ministry of Public Security said a special police team was sent to Angola in July to help investigate criminal gangs. The ministry said the officers had helped their Angolan counterparts break up 12 gangs and free 14 victims, most of whom were thought to be women forced to work as prostitutes. The 37 suspects arrived at Beijing airport in handcuffs with balaclavas covering their faces. They are due to be tried in China.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

World News

Monday, August 27, 2012

Obama leads tributes to Armstrong

U

S President Barack Obama has led tributes to astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man on the Moon, who died on Saturday at the age of 82. Obama said on his Twitter feed: “Neil Armstrong was a hero not just of his time, but of all time.” Hundreds of millions watched Armstrong land on the Moon on 20 July 1969 and describe it as: “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” The line became one of the most famous quotes of the 20th Century. Armstrong’s family confirmed his death in a statement on Saturday, saying he had died from complications after surgery to relieve four blocked coronary arteries. The family statement praised him as a “reluc-

tant American hero” and urged his fans to honour his example of “service, accomplishment and modesty”. “The next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink,” the family said. Obama thanked Armstrong for showing the world “the power of one small step”. Last November he received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest US civilian award. Many of Armstrong’s colleagues and friends paid tribute to him as a modest, private man who never sought the limelight. Michael Collins, a pilot on the Apollo 11 Moon mission, said: “He was the best, and I will miss him

Commander Neil Armstrong (R) and pilot David Scott preparing to board the Gemini-Titan VIII in March 16, 1966 PHOTO: NASA/ REUTERS

terribly.” Armstrong famously refused most public appearances and interviews.

36 killed as bus collides with tanker in China A double-decker bus rammed into a tanker loaded with highly flammable methanol on a northern Chinese highway yesterday, causing both vehicles to burst into flames and killing 36 people, state media said. The official Xinhua News Agency said 39 people were on the long-distance sleeper bus when it crashed and only three survived. It said the survivors were hospitalized, but didn’t describe their condition. The tanker had just returned to the highway after a rest stop when it was apparently rear-ended by the bus at around 2:40 a.m. close to the city of Yan’an in Shaanxi province, the official China News web-

The burnt wreckage of a double-decker sleeper bus and a tanker loaded with highly-flammable methanol sitting on a highway in northwest China yesterday. PHOTO: AP

site said. The bus had left Hohhot in Inner Mongolia and was headed south to Xi’an city, it said. Xinhua photos showed the charred metal skeleton of the bus rammed up against the back of the tanker. An official with the local Communist Party pro-

paganda bureau in Yan’an confirmed that the crash occurred but was unable to give details and was unsure of the death toll. Road safety is a serious problem in China. According to Xinhua, poorly maintained roads and bad driving habits result in about 70,000 deaths and 300,000 injuries a year.

In a rare interview with Australian TV this year, he reflected on a moment during his three hours on

Saudi foils terror plot, breaks up extremist cells

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audi authorities announced yesterday they had foiled a “terror” plot by elements suspected of links to Al-Qaeda, mostly Yemenis, and busted two extremist cells in Riyadh and Jeddah. The interior ministry said in a statement the suspects were “in contact with the deviant organisation abroad,” a term usually used to refer to the AlQaeda jihadist network. The suspects were working on “recruiting elements to execute criminal attacks targeting security forces, citizens and foreign residents, as well as public installations,” it said in a statement carried by the official SPA news agency. The ministry said two Saudis and six Yemenis were arrested, and it also

Assad vows Syria will defeat foreign conspiracy

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resident Bashar al-Assad said yesterday that Syria would defeat what he described as a foreign plot being waged against the country, according to the official SANA news agency. “The Syrian people will not allow this conspiracy

to achieve its objectives” and will defeat it “at any price,” Assad said. “What is happening now is not only directed at Syria but the whole region. Because Syria is the cornerstone, foreign powers are targeting it so their conspiracy succeeds across the entire region.”

Assad has long characterising the brutal 17-month conflict as a fight against foreign “terrorists” aided by the West and Syria’s Sunni Muslim foes in the region, including Saudi Arabia. “Syria is continuing its strategy of resistance... despite the joint efforts

the Moon when he stopped to commemorate US astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts who had died in action. “It was special and memorable, but it was only instantaneous because there was work to do,” he said. More than 500 million TV viewers around the world watched its touchdown on the lunar surface. Armstrong and fellow astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin collected samples, conducted experiments and took photographs during their moonwalk. Aldrin told the BBC he would remember his colleague as a “very capable commander and leader of a world achievement”. “We’re missing a great spokesman and leader in the space programme,” he said.

by Western and some regional countries to make it change its stance,” he said. Assad was speaking during a meeting with the visiting head of the Iranian parliament’s national security and foreign policy commission, Aladin Borujerdi, in Damascus.

named two nationals as wanted for questioning. “Investigations revealed that those elements were at an advanced stage... including preparing explosives and testing them outside Riyadh,” the ministry said, adding that one suspect accidentally lost a finger during the tests. The first Saudi suspect turned out to be the head of the cell in Riyadh, and he gave “detailed information” that led to the arrest of the six Yemenis, who also confessed to taking part in the plot, it said. Police found “chemicals used for explosives as well as mobile phones wired to detonate explosive devices remotely,” at an annex of a mosque in the capital, the ministry said. Investigations also led to a link with the other cell in the western city of Jeddah, the kingdom’s second largest city. The ministry said that a Saudi member of that cell “who worked on preparing explosive chemicals” was arrested. If any of those plots had succeeded, it would have been the first since the suicide bombing against assistant defence minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef in August 2009.

51

WORLD BULLETIN

UK’s Houses of Parliament could close for five years for repairs The Houses of Parliament may close for up to five years for refurbishment, under plans being discussed by MPs. Parliament could be convened in a replica chamber or a conference centre for the duration of the repair work, which could start in 2015. The Sunday Times has reported the refurbishment could cost about £3bn. A Commons spokesman said a study into the long-term upkeep of the Palace of Westminster is under way. Its findings are to be discussed by the year’s end. The Palace of Westminster - the meeting place of the House of Commons and House of Lords - is a Grade I-listed building much of which dates back to the 1840s and 1850s. In January, the BBC reported that cracks had appeared in palace buildings, and that the Clock Tower housing the Big Ben bell had started to lean, although not to an extent to cause major concern. A statement from the House of Commons Commission, chaired by the Speaker John Bercow, said at the time that the palace was “structurally sound”.

Israeli police arrest suspects in firebomb attack Israeli police say they have arrested three Jewish youths from a West Bank settlement as suspects in firebomb attack that wounded six Palestinians in a taxi. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Sunday the three suspects were minors, aged 12-13. They will appear in a Jerusalem court to face charges. The attack 10 days ago targeted a taxi driving in the West Bank. A firebomb struck the vehicle, injuring the six people inside, one seriously. The military suspected Jewish extremists. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders condemned the firebombing. Extremist Israeli settlers often attack Palestinians and their property as part of a campaign they call the “price tag,” retaliation for either army action against settlers or Palestinian attacks.


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North

Monday, August 27, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

NDLEA destroys 20, 949.411kg of narcotics in Kano OLUSEGUN KOIKI

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he National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), at the weekend, made a public destruction of 20, 949.411kg of narcotics in Kano State. The body also vowed to put an end to the abuse of narcotic drugs and unconventional substances like rubber solution, petrol, lizard dung and pit toilet in the state to “get high.” The anti-narcotic agency said that no female was caught for drug trafficking and abuse in the state in 2011, but that the state still maintains its top position in the annual list of arrested drug suspects in the country. An electronic mail signed by the Head, Public Affairs, NDLEA, Mr. Mitchell Ofoyeju, said unlike in 2010 when 618 males and 20 females were arrested in connection with drug trafficking; all the 1,

281 suspects apprehended in 2011 in the state were males. Ofoyeju said the destroyed drugs jointly seized by Kano State and Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport Commands consist of 20, 248.973kg of cannabis also known as hemp. Next were psychotropic substances with 688.622kg, co-

caine, 11.221kg and heroin, 595.47grammes. He noted that the last public destruction of drug exhibits in Kano State was in 2008 when 5,154.295kg of drugs were burnt. The 20, 949.411kg of drugs destroyed shows that in the last four years, an average of 5, 000kg of drugs was forfeited annually in the state.

The NDLEA head of public affairs, said the organisation’s Chief Executive, Ahmadu Giade, reiterated the determination of the agency to put a final stop to drug abuse not just in Kano, but in the entire country. His words: “We are determined to stop the abuse of narcotics and uncon-

Gombe State Commissioner for Water Resources, Idris Mahdi and Governor Ibrahim Dankwanbo, during the governor’s inspection tour of the state, at the weekend.

Another rainstorm wrecks havoc in Katsina JAMES DANJUMA KATSINA

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ore than 130 houses, farmlands, crops and domestic animals were either destroyed or washed away by rainstorm at Kofa and Fulani villages over the weekend in Kusada local Government Area of Katsina State. The havoc was coming less than three days after a

heavy down pour destroyed more than 1,000 homes, farmlands, crops and 150 domestic animals in Maiadua and Safana council areas of the state. Before now, the Federal Ministry of Environment and the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET) had on separate occasions, warned about heavy rainfall and flooding in 23 states, including Katsina. National Mirror learnt

that eight people, including two women and a child, were said to have sustained varied degrees of injuries as a result of the rainstorm that lasted a little over 20 minutes. Eyewitnesses said some of the injured persons were taken to a general hospital in Kankia council area where they are currently receiving treatment, while other victims with severe injuries were referred to the

Sultan gives cash awards to best students WOLE ADEDEJI ILORIN

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he Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, has declared an annual financial award of half a million naira to the best students in Islamic Studies at the University of Ilorin. The Sultan said this at the opening ceremony of the International Conference on the Life and Works of Sheik Adam Abdullahi El-Ilory at the university, where, as the chairman of the occasion, he admonished Muslim Ummahs to encourage the search for knowledge, particularly the Islamic ones. He extolled the life of the late Sheik Adams El-Ilory, founder of Markaz Islamic

ventional substances such as rubber solution, petrol, lizard dung and pit toilet all in a bid to get high. All hands must be on deck to protect lives from destruction. It is unhygienic, harmful and unacceptable. We will not fold our hands and watch our youths get involved in such unworthy practices.”

College, Agege, who as early as 1955 had established the first campus of the college at Abeokuta before moving to Lagos in 1957. He said the college later became an international centre of knowledge for eminent Nigerians in various spheres of life. Alhaji Abubakar said the late sheikh, a renowned teacher and contemporary writer, a well grounded author, at a point partnered with the late Sardauna of Sokoto and Premier of the old Northern Nigeria to found the World Muslim League (WML). Earlier, Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Ish’aq Oloyede, said the idea of the international conference was to fulfill the tripartite duty of the in-

stitution to the ‘town’, the ‘gown’ and even the ‘crown’ to bring about knowledge, research and learning. Governor of the state, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, who was represented at the occasion by his Commerce Commissioner, Alhaji Mohammed Isa Raji, to declare the occasion open, thanked the institution for hosting the conference and for doing Kwara State proud in the manner that it did. Dignitaries at the occasion included the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu Gambari; the Chief Imam of Ilorin, Alhaji Mohammed Bashir; retired President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Mustapha Akanbi and other eminent Islamic clerics across the country.

Katsina General Hospital. One of the victims, Musa Manir, said his house was destroyed while some of his domestic animals were drowned during the rainstorm; he added that the intensity of the rain was different from any he

had ever witnessed before. Manir, who called on government and other sympathisers for support, lamented that he had “lost virtually everything I have laboured for in the whole of my life but I’m grateful to Allah that no life was lost.”

Nasarawa to partner private firms on waste management IGBAWASE UKUMBA LAFIA

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asarawa State government yesterday said it will enter into Public Private Partnership (PPP) for the management of wastes in the state to harness the economic benefits attach to waste products. The state Commissioner of Environment and Community Development, Mr. Salihu Abdul Ogah, told journalists in Lafia, the state capital, during last month’s environmental sanitation exercise. According to him, “The state government chose to enter into public partnership of waste management because of the immense economic benefits derivable from turning the waste products into gas, electricity and fertilizer, which will in turn boost

the economy of the state.” He said about 20 private companies have since indicated interest in the programme as government is currently studying their proposals for final approval to the best company. Similarly, General Manager of the state environmental sanitation agency, AutaTanko, said by next month the state government would introduce pilot scheme aimed at evacuating waste products from government residential quarters. Auta added that the programme will be extended to private homes and business centres, adding, however, that such private beneficiaries will be charged certain amount which defaulters will be prosecuted as enshrined in the state’s environmental sanitation law.

CBN to set up development centres in six zones PRISCILLA DENNIS MINNA

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etermined to curtail the rate of unemployment among youths in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced plans to set up Entrepreneurial Development Centres across the six geo-political zones of the country. Presenting the certificate of one of the centres to be sited in Minna on behalf of CBN governor, Sanisu Lamido Sanusi, to the Niger State Governor, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, the state CBN Branch Manager, Alhaji Mohammed Kabiru Dan-Gusau, said the state was chosen to head the North-Central states in view of the large skill acquisitions centres in the state. The decision by the government is to encourage the employment of many unemployed youths roaming the streets in large numbers while urging the state government to put more structures in place that will ensure that the proposed centre meet the aspiration of the CBN. Aside that, Dan-Gusau urged the government to ensure the completion of work on its industrial park and business as well as industrialisation centres across the state and afterward, the apex bank will fully equip the centres to enable them train beneficiaries. In his remarks, Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu, said all that is required to ensure speedy commencement of the programme would be provided, while thanking the CBN for picking Niger State to host the North-Central states.

Gov. Shema


Monday, August 27, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

53

Sport

This being my last Olympics, I willll endeavour to help produce moree talents among the youthss

Federer targets New York glory

- ZIMBABWEAN SWIMMER, KIRSTY COVENTRY RY

54

Heartland retains Fed Cup ANDREW EKEJIUBA AND IKENWA NNABUOGOR TESLIM BALOGUN STADIUM

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eartland Football Club of Owerri last night at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, retained the Nigeria Federation Cup they won in 2011 at the same venue. When it seemed the 2012 final was heading to a dramatic lottery of penalties, Heartland’s new boy, Brendan Ogbu, rose above sea of heads to nick the winner in the dead of the encounter and broke the hearts of equally competitive Lobi Stars of Makurdi. It was all the Naze Millionaires needed to keep the shinning new trophy donated by the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, as the game ended 2-1 in favour of the champions. Lobi drew the first blood as early as the 5th minute with left back, Bassey Ezekiel, nodding in delightfully into the Heartland net off a left foot cross. Diminutive Heartland winger, Jolly Osas, drew level in the 30th minute and what a delight it was when the former Zamfara United player got at the end of the a low cross across the six yards from match winner, Ogbu. Chances were even for the finalists who got to the grand finale via the lottery of penalties in the semifinals. Lobi, still in hot contention for the Nigeria Premier League title, were a handful for the champions as the quartet of Anthony Okpotu, Chimaobi Nwogu, Anthony Agbaji and old war horse, David Tyvkase, continued to threaten the Heartland’s defence. It would have been two goals up for Lobi when rampaging Nwogu released a rocket only for Goalkeeper Akpeyi to tip it over the bar. Drama ushered in the second half when; first, the centre referee, noticing he wore the same colours with Heartland’s keeper, Akpeyi, ordered him to wear a bib on his jersey. Heartland’s Ogbu, who was named the MVP with N550, 000 cash prize to go with it, got the better of Lobi’s centre backs, to plant a delightful header off a chip from Osas and it just came at the nick of time in the 90th minute. Ogbu wheeled away in celebration, pulling his shirt and incurring the referee’s wrath, but no matter, the trophy returns to Owerri, Imo State capital. Third Place Prime

3-1

Kano Pillars

(Penalties, after a pulsating 1-1 draw in regulation time)

Super Eagles battle for shirts

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tarting this morning in Abuja, 26 players of the Super Eagles will be literarily up in arms against themselves as they battle to impress Coach Stephen Keshi and his technical crew that they are up for the Nations Cup qualifier against the Lone Star of Liberia. The Eagles’ crew is expected at the end of the week to name an additional 11 or nine players to complement, the 11 foreign-based players already announced for the September 8 encounter, that will hold at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Stadium in the Liberian capital

W/Cup: Falconets thrash Italy, face Mexico in q/finals Falconets al n t celebrating leb ing their fourth fo h goal against ainst Italy yesterday yesterday. t day

EVEREST ONYEWUCHI SPORTS EDITOR

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igeria’s Francisca Ordega yesterday in Kobe, powered the Falconets into the quarter-finals of the ongoing FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan with a superb hat-trick as Nigeria crushed Italy 4-0 in the last Group B match. Nigeria will now face Mexico on Thursday, in Tokyo in the quarter-finals. Italy required victory by at least two goals to progress following their early draw against Brazil and defeat against South Korea, while Nigeria went into the match holding a one-point advantage at the top of the group and knowing victory would assure progression as group winners. Two goals in each half saw the Falconets to a comfortable victory in Kobe with Italy’s fate rarely in doubt once Ordega opened the scoring midway through the first half. Ordega doubled the advantage just prior to the interval, before completing her treble just two minutes into the second stanza. According to FIFA.com, the second goal was perhaps the most notable, with Ordega finishing a neat counter-attack after Esther Sunday played the final pass. Substitute Osarenoma Igbinovia iced the cake with a fourth a few minutes from full time as Nigeria booked a quarter-final berth. “Nothing has changed between 2010 and 2012, except that all the girls who were already there have worked hard and improved,” said Coach Okon Edwin. “We always come to the World Cup to win it. We were close in 2010. We still aim for the final, and this time, we just hope that the result will be different,” he

PHOTO: FIFA

...Minister lauds their form added. Meanwhile, the Minister of Sports/ Chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, has extolled the achievement of the team, while urging the girls to go for the ultimate diadem. Abdullahi who congratulated the Falconets for their decisive 4-0 victory over the Italians yesterday, said he was impressed with the form of the girls. “They were disciplined, tactical and very exciting to watch. I have no doubt that if they maintain their current form, no team can stop them,” the minister

said in a statement issued by his spokesman, Julius Ogunro. GROUP A Team

MP

W

D

L

GF

GA

Pts

Japan

3

2

1

0

10

3

7

Mexico

6

3

2

0

1

7

4

New Zealand 3

1

1

1

4

7

4

Switzerland

3

0

0

3

1

8

0

Team

MP

W

D

L

GF

GA

Pts

Nigeria

3

2

1

0

7

1

7

GROUP B

Korea R.

3

2

0

1

4

2

6

Brazil

3

0

2

1

2

4

2

Italy

3

0

1

2

1

7

1

Victorious U-20 girls depart for Tokyo AFOLABI GAMBARI

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ictorious Falconets will leave Kobe today for Tokyo where they will face Mexico in Thursday’s quarter final match. The Nigerians made easy meat of Italy yesterday, scoring four goals as competition’s leading scorer, Francesca Ordega, netted a hat trick. Spokesperson for the team, Ejiro Femi Babafemi, told National Mirror from Kobe yesterday that the Falconets were in high spirit and ready to go past the Mexicans. “I think the team has improved with every game and the win over Italy has served to lift the spirit further,” Babafemi said, stressing that the absence of injury has kept the camp aglow. “At the moment, every one’s focus has shifted to the quarter finals and I think the players have been made to understand the enormity of the job at

hand. “Of course, we will continue to rely on the support that Nigerians here have given the team. A Nigerian, Stanley Okafor, personally donated 800 dollars to the team yesterday while others have pledged further assistance as the competition progresses.” The spokesperson, however, dispelled speculation that Coach Edwin Okon was under pressure to win the cup, saying such was a mere figment of some people’s imagination. “We are here to achieve something, certainly, but that has not translated to putting the coach under any pressure whatsoever,” she maintained.

Results Switzerland

0-4

Japan

Italy

0-4

Nigeria

South Korea

2-0

Brazil

Mexico

4-0

New Zealand


54

Sport

Monday, August 27, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

US Open 2012…

Federer targets New York glory

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Roger Federer will be top favourite to win the Open

orld number one, Roger Federer, is not resting on his laurels as he seeks to win the US Open for a sixth time. The Swiss ace ended his two-anda-half-year grand slam wait with victory over Andy Murray in the Wimbledon final, whom he then lost to in the Olympics gold match. Federer’s Wimbledon success took the 31-year-old back to number one in the world, a position he had last held in June 2010. He last won the US Open back in 2008 and lost last year at the semifinal stage to Novak Djokovic after he had led by two sets to love and held two match points in the decider only for his opponent to produce a lasso of a forehand return that turned the match on its head. But he beat Djokovic to win the Cincinnati Masters last weekend and he is confident- but not complacent-heading into Monday’s first round clash with America’s Donald Young at Flushing Mead-

Murray banks on ‘hard work’

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ritish number and world number four, Andy Murray, has been working hard to turn his extra confidence into US Open success. Murray begins his campaign at Flushing Meadows today with a first-round match against Russia’s Alex Bogomolov in Arthur Ashe Stadium. It is three weeks since the Scot stood on Wimbledon’s Centre Court and watched the Union Jack flying high after he won Olympic gold with his beating of Roger Federer, whom he had previously lost to in the Wimbledon final. While his summer exploits have given him extra belief, he has also been working hard on the practice courts as he bids to win a first-ever grand slam. “A week in sport can be quite a long time. There has been a number of weeks since Wimbledon and a number of

Andy Murray wants to celebrate another success after the Olympics

weeks since the Olympics as well. The one thing it has given me is a bit more confidence,” the 25-year-old said yesterday as he rounded off training. “But I needed to make sure that afterwards I worked hard. That’s the most important thing. Whether you’re confident or not confident, providing you work hard and you do all the right things in training, then you’ll get a good result. “That was the most important thing, to make sure I kept my feet on the ground and keep working hard and try to improve.” While the gold medal is so fresh that Murray has not yet found a place to keep it, he has already been handed a chastening defeat. After pulling out of the Toronto Masters with a slight knee problem after one match, Murray was then beaten in the third round of the Cincinnati Masters by France’s Jeremy Chardy. Federer and Novak Djokovic met in the final, with the Swiss world number one coming out on top to make himself the man to beat, but Murray does not believe much can be read into those tournaments. “I do not think it’s going to have much bearing at all. I have had enough practice. Going into Toronto and Cincinnati, I had no practice on the hard courts. After Toronto I had to take a few days off as well. In some ways it was good,” Murray further said. “I’ve played some of my best tennis in Australia when I have not gone in there really playing that many competitive matches beforehand. So long as I have trained well and practised well, that’s what gives me the most confidence. “I went into Wimbledon this year having lost in the first round of Queen’s. That was meant to be a horrible preparation, but Wimbledon worked out fine. So there’s no reason why that can’t happen here.”

ows. “This time around I feel like if I’m playing well I can dictate who’s going to win or lose,” Federer said yesterday. “It’s going to take something special from my opponent to win. That’s kind of how it feels right now. Then again, I might walk away on Monday having lost in the first round. “I will never ever underestimate an opponent ever again. I did that enough when I was a teenager. Those times are long gone. “I’m just happy how I’m playing. I already reached my goal for the year becoming world number one and getting Wimbledon again and getting a medal for Switzerland. It’s been incredible. “But I do have this one left for me this year where I really, really want to do well, and I couldn’t be more happy returning here as number one. It’s super exciting.” Federer, Djokovic and Murray share top billing but the absence of

Rafael Nadal is keenly felt in New York. The Spaniard, who won the title in 2010 and reached the final again last year, has not played since Wimbledon because of a knee injury. Federer, however, hopes the extended break will enable Nadal to return to the tour fit and healthy later in the year. “It would be better if he would be here, but then again, it’s good to see him maybe giving it a chance to heal and taking tough decisions like not coming here,” Federer said. “Rafael has had a great run in grand slams as well and playing so many tournaments. Many people thought he was going to break down way earlier, and he has played I think four years longer than people already expected. “People thought the end was very near four years ago. I just hope he’s taking a little rest right now and hopefully coming back strong for the end of the year.”

Wozniacki in fitness race

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ormer world number one, Caroline Wozniacki, is struggling to be fit for the US Open after being forced to retire from her New Haven semi-final against Maria Kirilenko. Wozniacki was the four-time defending champion in New Haven and has not lost a set in the event since 2010. However, shepicked up a knee injury in her quarter-final and it was obviously still bothering her against Kirilenko as she lost the first set 7-5 and then called the trainer onto the court. Wozniacki had never lost in the tournament having won all 20 matches since making her debut as an 18-year-old in 2008, but was forced to retire after the knee became too much

to handle. “I could feel it from the start,” she said yesterday. “But, you know, it just started to get a bit worse. I decided to stop because if you don’t feel a hundred percent, you can’t compete at a hundred percent. It’s better to let it rest. I wasn’t going to win this match anyways if I’m not on a hundred percent fit level.” Wozniacki added she only played after doctors said she would not make the injury any worse-and she was keen to join Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf and Chris Evert as the only players to win the same tournament five consecutive times.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Sport

Monday, August 27, 2012

55

Sahin ‘proud to be a Red’

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Manchester City players jubilating their escape at Liverpool yesterday

Tevez scores 100th at Anfield C arlos Tevez’s century goal in English football came yesterday at Anfield through gift wrapped an errant Martin Skrtel back pass and was enough to earn Manchester City a 2-2 draw with a Liverpool side that will rue losing the vital points at stake. It was hero to zero for Skrtel after the centre-half ’s explosive header from a Steven Gerrard corner gave Liverpool a deserved half-time lead, in a performance that saw the first green shoots of a purported Reds revolution to be overseen by Brendan Rodgers in full bloom. After the interval it was an energised Liverpool that made most of the running, only to be caught out when a handling error on Jose Reina’s part allowed Yaya Toure to tap-in Tevez’s right wing delivery from close range.

This was far from the Liverpool side that was so flat the previous week at West Brom and within three minutes, in the 66th of a nip-and-tuck second period, they were back in the lead when Luis Suarez swept in a sumptuous direct free-kick.

After coming from behind to win their last three games 3-2, a City side which showed five changes had to settle for a draw this time. EPL RESULTS Liverpool

2-2

Man City

Stoke

0-0

Arsenal

Owen sure of club berth

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anchester United misfit, Michael Owen, is confident he will find a new club before the transfer window closes after confirming he has spoken to a few teams. The experienced striker is available on a free transfer after being released by the Red Devils and is keen to remain in the Premier League. Stoke City has expressed an interest in the 32-year-old, while the former Liverpool forward

was recently linked with a move to Everton. “As with a lot of these situations, transfer windows and things like that, a lot of things happen later on in the window when people are refreshing their squads and things like that,” the former England international said yesterday. “I’ve said before I’d prefer that to be in the Premier League and that remains the case. It would be great if I could stay at home but if not then so be it.”

Gunners draw blanks again

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rsenal dominated against Stoke in an edgy clash at the Britannia Stadium but their lack of a cutting edge saw their stuttering start to the season continue in another frustrating goalless draw. The Gunners bossed the game in terms of possession but had limited clear-cut chances as they struggled to open their Barclays Premier League account in the absence of Robin van Persie. Stoke saw a penalty shout turned down in the edgy clash as Arsenal’s three-pronged attack of Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski and Gervinho failed to make a breakthrough. Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger, made two changes, dropping Theo Walcott to the bench to hand a first start to Frenchman Gi-

roud with goalkeeper Vito Mannone replacing the injured Wojciech Szczesny. Stoke boss Tony Pulis made two changes, handing a debut to American summer signing Geoff Cameron with Dean Whitehead suspended while Jermaine Pennant returned to the side after recovering from a thigh injury. There was a distinct edge as the game got under way with Arsenal booed by the home fans and Wenger singled out as both sides looked to settle in an intimidating atmosphere. The animosity dates back to an incident two and a half years ago when Aaron Ramsey’s leg was badly broken in a tackle from Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross.

ew Liverpool signing, Nuri Sahin, says he is proud to have joined the Reds after the midfielder finalized his season-long loan move from Real Madrid. The Turkey international was a target for several Premier League clubs after struggling to make an impact at Real last season following his arrival from Borussia Dortmund. Arsenal had shown an interest in the 23-year-old, but Sahin has tied up a switch to Liverpool after successfully coming through a medical and is looking forward to the challenge of making an impact at Anfield and is hoping he can cap his year on Merseyside by winning a trophy. “I am happy to be here and I am looking forward to playing for Liverpool,” Sahin said yesterday. “It makes me proud to have joined such a big club like Liverpool Football Club. I am looking forward to meeting the fans. I hope it will be a nice year with trophies.” Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is confident that Sahin, who was the Bundesliga’s Player of the Year in 2010/11, will fit into his style

of play. “We are delighted to welcome Nuri to Liverpool and also to say thank you to Real Madrid for loaning us such an exciting talent,” Rodgers said. “Nuri Sahin is a player with great technique and motivation and someone who will fit in smoothly to our playing model,” he added.

Sahin

Rooney blow for United

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anchester United striker, Wayne Rooney, is likely to be out for four weeks after suffering a leg injury during the 3-2 win over Fulham on Saturday. Rooney had been dropped to the bench for the game at Old Trafford, but was introduced in the second half for Shinji Kagawa. However, with United hanging on for the win in injury-time, Rooney suffered a huge cut to his right leg after he had attempted to charge down Hugo Rodallega’s shot. Rodallega’s studs appeared to inadvertently come down on Rooney’s leg and the

England international was stretchered off after the United physio had attempted to close the wound. Speaking after the game, United boss Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed he is likely to be without Rooney for the next month. “It was a very bad one,” Ferguson said yesterday, adding, “He has gone to hospital and it looks like he will be out for a month. Rooney looks sure to miss United’s Champions League clash and England’s opening 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine in September.


WORLD RECORD

Most dangerous motorsport circuit Vol. 02 No. 434

N150

Monday, August 27, 2012

Home to the Isle of Man TT and Manx Grand Prix motorcycle races, the Isle of Man’s Snaefell Mountain Course is the most dangerous circuit in the world. Since racing began there in 1911, the treacherous road course has claimed 229 lives until 2010.

Evaluating Jonathan’s ‘seed planting act’

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egardless of all the reservations or enthusiasm that a voter might have for his government, we are all bound as citizens to observe that the news that President Goodluck Jonathan has signed a performance contract with his ministers is good news. We are to see it as the planting of a good seed necessary for all the desperately needed development and efficiency in the country. As you can imagine, a seed if well planted and nourished, will grow otherwise it will wither and die. The trajectory and eventual outcome of these performance contracts is also therefore, a test for Mr. President’s ability to lead. The signing of these contracts with cabinet ministers took place last week during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting; most members of the Nigerian press corps, probably following the script

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ouble Olympics 2012 gold medalist, Mo Farah, returned to action for the first time yesterday at the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix in the two-mile event. The 29-year-old Briton won with predictable ease, bursting away from the field with 200 metres to go, but was unable to

NOTES FROM CAMBRIDGE Anthony A. Kila

anthonykila@mail.com they were given by the presidency, termed and presented the event as a ceremony to their readers. That in itself is an original perception and expression, but let us leave such analysis for another day. The President is reported to have remarked that “the performance contract system is aimed at upgrading contract performance by improving quality and accelerated delivery of services to the citizenry through enhanced productivity, accountability and effective service delivery”. Yes, that maybe so, in plain pure English. However, the essence of performance contracts are in the transparency, certainty and accountability they bring to any given project. For projects, transactions and operations to work efficiently, a good performance contract will enable all parties and eventual beneficiaries involved to know exactly what needs to be done, why it is required, how it will be done, what instruments and resources are required, how long it will take, who is in charge of each phase of a project, who is in charge of monitoring and what will happen if projects succeed or fail. Consequences or accountability and transparency are as important as ideas and intentions in management, the President and his aides are therefore, wrong when during and after the signing of these performance contracts they seem to be going out of their way to reassure the signees that the contract is not to be perceived

THIS IS THE TIME TO BE BOLD AND

CLEAR, YOU NEED TO BE SO IN THESE

CIRCUMSTANCES… as a means to sack anybody. The President is reported to have immediately declared that “the exercise is not meant to witchhunt anyone”. By Gosh! Wrong move Mr. President; there is no reason at all to make such a statement. With such a declaration you are being a fox (or a tortoise in Nigerian parlance) rather than a lion. This is the time to be bold and clear, you need to be so in these circumstances not just to prove the point that you are tough but primarily for the country’s sake and even for the sake of your ministers. All ministers working with you need to know that their sanction or reward depends on their performance rating. As President, hence their leader, it is your duty to make these things very clear to all. You need to spell out what you consider a good performance, how you will judge it and what people should expect from you when they underperform or over perform. The advantage of this approach is that there will be no surprise or drama for anyone; you will not need to soothe any incom-

petent minister’s pain. By being certain and transparent in terms of expectations, all your ministers will know what will happen to them if they a take a step or another. The only but very important act you owe all members of your team is to be objective in your evaluation and impartial in your judgment. You need to be seen as focused mainly on results and not on people or gossips. One of the possible consequences of such approach is that you might soon discover that the friendliest and conforming ministers are not necessarily the best performing ones. Therein lies your test as a leader, Mr. President. You have to decide if you want performers or conformists in your cabinet. We the citizens and history (your ultimate masters at the end of it all) are waiting and watching to see if you will pass these tests. Rather than say “the exercise is not meant to witch-hunt anyone”, the President needs to let his team know that the stakes are high and that any witch caught will be burnt at stake. The certain and well articulated fear of being punished for underperformance and the joy of being rewarded for achieving are major parts of what will remind your ministers to sit up, implement and seriously monitor these performance contracts in their own departments. Outside the palaces of government, the rest of the citizenry and other stakeholders have a huge interest and duty to emulate, shape, demand and monitor these performance contracts. For all those who use government offices, it means that one can now demand for and expect clear definite timelines from government officials rather than put up with “we are working on it” annoying answer we hear in many offices today. The performance contract is a seed, a good seed that needs to be nurtured with constant care. This simple, relatively cost free exercise is probably the most inspiring act this administration has proposed so far and if well managed it could be the best thing that has ever happened to Nigeria.

Sport Extra

Marathon: Farah clinches Birmingham gold break Steve Ovett’s 34-year-old European outdoor record. Farah, who celebrated the birth of twin girls on Friday, clocked eight minutes 27.24 seconds over the rarely-run distance, well short of Ovett’s

mark of 8mins 13.51secs. But after his winning run, Farah insisted the record was not on his mind. “To be honest with you I’ve had a hard week with my wife Tania giving birth,” he said, his

mind now on Great North Run half-marathon on September 16. “My main aim was just to come out here, win the race and not even think about any time. I’ve felt a bit tired to be honest NFF President, as it’s been hard.” Mo FarahAminu Maigari

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Monday, August 27, 2012  

*We’re in talks with Boko Haram –FG …Presidency adopts back room channel to reach sect *NLC, TUC, others fault currency restructuring plan...