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Nigerians spent 22.3 billion minutes making phone calls in 2012 –Report

Obasanjo appears at Aso Villa Chapel SMS volume increases EXCLUSIVE


Vol. 3 N0. 549


igerian mobile phone subscribers spent a total of 22.3 billion minutes, an equivalent of 42,427 years, talk-

ing on the phone last year alone, National Mirror has gathered. Nigeria currently has

...worships with Jonathan


Monday, February 4, 2013




Super Eagles celebrating Emmanuel Emenike’s goal against Cote d’Ivoire during their quarter-finals match yesterday. Nigeria won 2-1. Story and more photos on page 55.



Politicians rush for police protection Anxiety over attacks on lawmaker, PDP national vice-chairman Jesus tweet: CAN issues fresh warning to El-Rufai P.4 BUSINESS SECTION Nigeria-Indonesia sia trade volume hits $2bn THE

Infrastructure Master Plan, key to national development P.6,A5 –Usman

Ex-militant leader, Boyloaf, arrested, released


Free e iinside nside nsi ide de


ollowing the growing wave of kidnappings and the general state of insecurity across the country, there has been an increasing demand for special police protection by top politicians and businessmen. However, the police said they would not kowtow to demands that were unjustifiable due to the stringent procedures introduced by the present Police Management Team National Mirror findings showed that the deCONTINUED ON PAGE 2>>

Dana crash: Ground victims deny compensation claim Oduah

Another underground ritualists’ den uncovered

P.4 P.47



Monday, February 4, 2013

National Mirror

Ex-militant leader, Boyloaf, arrested, released SOLA ADEBAYO WARRI


ension reigned in the Ijaw area of the Niger Delta yesterday following the arrest in Lagos of a prominent ex-militant commander, Mr. Ebikabowei Victor Ben, alias Boyloaf, by the police. However, our correspondent learnt that Boyloaf was released few hours after his arrest. Boyloaf was detained at an undisclosed police station in Lagos before his release also yesterday. The arrest was due to threat to public peace as the militants engaged one another on their arrival in Lagos for the meeting. It was reliably gathered that Boyloaf was released after an undertaking to ensure that peace reigned and that his boys were called to order and cautioned. The group threatened to boycott a meeting scheduled to hold yesterday called by Ijaw elders in Lagos unless Boyloaf was released by the police. The associates of Boyloaf, who converged on Ajah Lagos residence of Tom, sent a message to the Ijaw leaders at the Eko Hotel and Suites venue of the meeting on the fate of their colleague. One of Boyloaf ’s associates, who did not want his name mentioned, said: “Our leader was arrested by the police in Lagos this (yesterday) morning. “We have decided not to attend the meeting conveyed by the Ijaw leaders at Eko Hotel and Suites until Boyloaf is released and our position has been conveyed to the conveners of the meeting, including Chief Edwin Clark.” In a related development, Ijaw leaders and ex-militant commanders in the Niger Delta met in Lagos yesterday ostensibly to work out strategies for the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015. The meeting was ongoing as at press time yesterday. Some key players of Ijaw extraction in the Jonathan administration were also invited to the meeting convened by Clark; the former Gov-

ernor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and former ministers - Chief Alabo Graham-Douglas and Dr. Abiye Sekibo. It was also gathered that the forum was designed to reconcile the feuding Ijaw ex-militant leaders, who had been polarised into two factions. Findings by National Mirror yesterday revealed that the leaders of the two factions, under the aegis of Oporoza House and Izon Ikemi, were invited to the meeting. The Oporoza House, led by Chief Government Ekpemukpolo, alias Tompolo, also has Shootat-Sight as one of its key members. Other militant leaders, including Tom, Boyloaf and Asari-Dokubo, founded Izon Ikemi. The two groups had been at daggers’ drawn over the attention and patronage by President Jonathan, with the leaders of Izon Ikemi accusing the President of favouring Tompolo with juicy appointments and contracts. The anti-Tompolo elements in Izon Ikemi have been threatening to withdraw support for Jonathan’s re-election in 2015. Reliable sources told National Mirror that yesterday’s meeting was initiated to unite the exmilitants and form a common front for the realisation of the second term aspiration of President Jonathan. A source said: “The Ijaw leaders invited the youths (ex-militants) to a crucial meeting at Eko Hotel and Suites to foster a common understanding for the second term bid of our kinsman, President Goodluck Jonathan, in 2015. “The elders are not comfortable with the division among the ex-militants and the attacks on the President by some of them. “We want all Ijaw people, be they elders or youths to speak in one voice in favour of the reelection of Jonathan, otherwise discordant tunes would send dangerous signals about Jonathan’s reelection to the other parts of the country.” Meanwhile, the operations of

the American oil giant, Chevron Nigeria Limited, CNL, suffered a setback on Saturday as protesting Ugborodo youths in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State, seized one of the company’s platforms in the area. Consequently, the management of the company had reported the incident to the authorities of the Joint Task Force in the

Niger Delta, JTF, Operation Pulo Shield. It was gathered that the oil firm told the JTF that a prominent Niger Delta activist and top Itsekiri traditional title holder. Following this, Emami was picked up from his residence in Warri by the JTF troops yesterday. He was subsequently detained at David Ejoor Barracks, (3rd Battalion), Ef-

furun. National Mirror learnt that the detention of Emami, who is also the Chairman of Itsekiri Regional Development Council, IRDC, a peace initiative of Chevron with its Itsekiri host communities, was ordered by the Commander of JTF, Maj.-Gen. Bata Debiro. Efforts to secure the release of Emami by stake-

holders in the state were rebuffed by the Delta Sector Commander of JTF, Lt. Ifeanyi Otu. Otu insisted that only Debiro could order the release of the activist. He, however, told National Mirror that Emami was not arrested, adding that he was only invited to “clear the air on certain issues.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo (middle), President Goodluck Jonathan (right) and other worshippers during the Sunday service at Aso Villa Chapel, Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: STATE HOUSE.

Politicians rush for police protection CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

mand for bodyguards was prominent in Anambra, Imo and Abia states. There is also a growing demand in Kogi, Nasarawa and Benue states ostensibly because of the wave of communal clashes in some parts of the three North-Central states. It was gathered that some of the politicians staying outside their states usually visit home with a security detail of about five mobile policemen for fear of being attacked or kidnapped. The rise in applications has also been in tandem with the increasing purchases of special armored vehicles by wealthy Nigerians. The vehicles of choice include Mercedes Benz SUVs, Range Rovers and Toyota Land Cruiser which has entered the upscale special security vehicles market in Nigeria. Several prominent Nigerians including politicians, government officials, movie stars, judges, university dons and their relatives have become vic-

tims of kidnappers in recent months. Last December, Prof Kanene Okonjo, the mother of the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi OkonjoIweala, was kidnapped from her home in Delta State. An aide of Imo State governor, Nkiru Sylvanus, was kidnapped by a nine-man armed gang in the state last month. At the same time, the wife of Brig. Oluwole Rotimi was kidnapped. A few weeks later, mother of the Speaker, Bayelsa State House of Assembly was also kidnapped. Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, said yesterday that while many applications have been received by the police from some moneybags, the force had declined to approve the applications in the interest of Nigerians. Mba added that the IGP had continued to come under attack for refusing entreaties by some individuals to grant them special police protection. “That there is an increase in the number of applications does not

mean there has been a corresponding increase in the number of approvals. “The Inspector-General of Police has made a lot of enemies because of the stringent procedures before obtaining the approval. “The Force Headquarters has made a lot of enemies as a result. The IGP has incurred the wrath of his friends too because some of those who are making the applications used to be his friends, but if you do not have any justification for making such an application, he (IGP) will not agree. “There have always been requests but the question is: What is the rate of approval? You will find out that out of all the applications that comes into the Force Headquarters, not more than 10 per cent would have been approved. “There are people who are entitled to these things either because of their offices, businesses, contribution to GDP or the risk they are exposed to, but in all, he has been

very strict and “stingy” in making such approvals. “As a result, the IG has lost friends but the loss is based on principle. The IG believes that he is the Inspector General of Police for all Nigerians and not for a special class. He believes he has to provide safety for all Nigerians irrespective of class, religion, tribe or education.” The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, had on assumption of office reiterated the position of the force on special protection when he stated, like his predecessor, Hafiz Ringim, that police escorts had been withdrawn from businessmen and politicians who were not entitled to have them. Mba had however told journalists in Abuja last week that the payment of ransom had continued to serve as an incentive for the kidnappers. “If Nigerians would cooperate with the security agents and refuse to pay ransom, then we can reduce the rate of kidnapCONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>

National Mirror

Monday, February 4, 2013



Photo News

Monday, February 4, 2013

L-R: Former Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Alfa Belgore (rtd); Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio and another guest, at the wedding ceremony of Belgore’s daughter in Lagos, at the weekend.

L-R: Minister of Trade, Mr. Olusegun Aganga; President and Chief Executive Officer for Africa, General Electric, Mr. Jay Ireland; Global Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Jeff Immelt, at the General Electric Ground Breaking Launch in Abuja, at the weekend.

National Mirror

L-R: British Council Project Officer, Maria Kuforiji; Programmes Director, Brian Wilson and Project Manager, Adetomi Soyinka, at a media parley to announce the 2013 UK Education Exhibition in Lagos, at the weekend.

L-R: Registrar, University of Ibadan, Prince Olujimi Olukoya; Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Isaac Adewole; a lecturer, Prof. Innocent Modo and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academics, Prof. Idowu Olayinka, at the matriculation ceremony of the University, at the weekend. PHOTO: NAN

National News

Dana crash: Ground victim denies compensation payment claim OLUSEGUN KOIKI


he claim by the insurers of Dana Air that it has commenced payment of compensation to IjuIshaga residents, whose property were destroyed when a Dana aircraft, MD83, crashed into the area on June 3, 2012, has been refuted by one of the victims, Pastor Daniel Omowunmi. Omowunmi, who said he lost over N500 million in the Dana crash, said what the airline has paid is not compensation but money for him to get a new accommodation and that he would take the embattled airline to court despite paying $30, 000. However, Corporate Communications Manager, Dana Air, Tony Usidamen, said payment to the ground victims was on going. According to him, “We can confirm that payment of compensation to affected Iju-Ishaga residents has commenced. The process is still on-going and

our insurers are committed to ensuring that all claimants are compensated to the extent of their losses.” Though, Usidamen did not name the ground victims that have been paid and the amount involved, National Mirror learnt that Omowunmi was one of the victims that received initial compensation of $30, 000. On why it took this long for compensation to be paid to the ground victims, Usidamen explained that; “In order to ensure that just and fair compensation is paid to the affected families, several processes have be followed by law and settlement reached by all parties concerned. “These processes usually take time but our insurers are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the matters are resolved.” He added that the airline’s insurers have also continued to deal with claims by families of passengers and crew onboard the ill-fated flight. According to Usidamen; “Over 84 families have re-

ceived advance payments of $30, 000 and payment of final settlement to families who have produced the requisite Letters of Administration (and Letter of Guardianship in the case of minors), has since commenced.” The Dana spokesman commended the Lagos State government for the cooperation and assis-

tance it had rendered to the airline so far. “With the waiver of statutory fees and fasttrack system, families will have the requisite documents expeditiously. This will enable the insurers settle all claims within the shortest possible time and in accordance with the law,” Usidamen said. Reacting, Omowunmi

said what Dana paid is not compensation but that the money is for him to get a new accommodation, wondering why the airline should be paying for accommodation now for a crash that happened in June 3, 2012. Omowunmi, who has been one of the most vocal ground victims, said that he has instructed his

lawyers to drag the airline to court. “If they are paying initial $30, 000 as accommodation now, I wonder when they will pay the actual claim. As far as I am concerned, this is not compensation because I lost over N500 million in that crash. I am still taking them to court,” he vowed.

Jesus tweet: El-Rufai must be brought to justice –CAN OLUFEMI ADEOSUN ABUJA


he Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, yesterday issued a fresh warning to a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, over his unrepentant comments on the Christian faith. The organisation said the ex-FCT minister should be brought “to justice on account of his incitement and insult against the Christian faith.” CAN, which said that

the former minister had declared war against millions of Christians in Nigeria, warned that it may not be able to guarantee further restraint the next time El-Rufai makes any derogatory comment against Jesus Christ. A statement by the General-Secretary of CAN, Dr. Musa Asake, said barely 24 hours after its reaction to “his damningly insulting comment” about Jesus Christ, he never showed remorse, but retweeted as follows: “To those who see clearly, whose minds are not clouded by sheer religiosity, there is nothing in-

sulting about the tweet.” The statement reads in part, “CAN noted with serious concern the unrepentant and unremorseful conduct of the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, in respect of the inflammatory and utterly disgraceful comment he made about the Christian faith and the person of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. “Inspite of our warning that he should stop such comments that carry chains of implications, El-Rufai has gone ahead to post another response

which is insulting to the Christian faith. “Last Thursday, a day after our reaction to his damningly insulting comment, he retweeted as follows: “To those who see clearly, whose minds are not clouded by sheer religiosity, there is nothing insulting about the tweet. “With this retweet, CAN believes that ElRufai is set on a war path with the millions of Christians in Nigeria. We must state that unlike others, Christians do not shed blood, take life, kill or maim others at the slightest provocation.”

National Mirror


Monday, February 4, 2013


Nigerians spent 22.3 billion minutes making phone calls in 2012 –Report CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

over 110 million active telecoms subscribers on GSM and CDMA networks Data provided by PriceWaterHouseCooper, a global consulting firm, seen by our correspondent shows that Nigeria’s outgoing and incoming on-net and offnet calls totaled 22.3 billion minutes in 2012, while 1.8 billion text, SMS, messages were set within the same period.

It was gathered that while the total call times recorded in Nigeria increased by over five billion minutes from 17 billion in 2011 to 22.3 billion at the end of 2012, SMS volumes also increased by three billion, rising from 1.5 to 1.8 billion during the same period. With telecoms operators running different disparate tariffs for on-net calls, ranging from N9 to N12, industry analysts said average

tariff charge per minute of call could be conservatively pegged at N15. At such, by multiplying 22.3 billion minutes of calls made in 2012 by N10, the calls volume is conservatively valued at N223bn. A breakdown of the data from PwC revealed that in 2011, minutes of calls for outgoing on-net; outgoing of-net to mobile; outgoing off-net to fixed networks; outgoing off-net to interna-

tional networks; outgoing calls to voicemail; outgoing inbound roaming calls hit 7.3 billion; four billion; 288 million; 315 million; 29 million and three million respectively. Correspondingly, these figures, in 2012, increased to 10.2 billion; 4.7 billion; 352 million; 403 million; 10 million and three million. On the incoming calls during the period, minutes of incoming calls from

Director-General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, Alhaji Umar Mohammed (left) and DirectorGeneral, Small and Medium Industries Directorate of Indonesia, Mrs. Euis Saedah, during the exchange of memorandum of understanding on technical cooperation for development of MSME in Nigeria, in Abuja at the weekend. PHOTO: NAN

Ex-militant leader, Boyloaf, arrested, released CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2

This development generated tension in Warri and its environs yesterday as youths besieged

the Army formation to demand his immediate release. They threatened a showdown with Chevron if the security agency failed to heed their re-

quest. It will be recalled that Ugborodo youths seized the oil location following the failure to implement a memorandum of un-

derstanding signed with the community over the provision of some basic amenities, especially foreshore walls and electrification.

Politicians rush for police protection CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2

ping, but where people even refuse to cooperate with us and then go behind to pay ransom to secure the release of their relations without even carrying us along, then kidnapping will continue to happen in this country”, he said. Meanwhile, anxiety heightens in Delta State yesterday over Saturday’s attack on the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Health, Mr. Ndudi Elumelu, and the National ViceChairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, South/South, Dr. Steve Oru, by unidentified gunmen. Elumelu, a former chairman of the disbanded power probe committee of the House, was attacked by gunmen at Eku,

Ethiope East Local Government. The gunmen defied his heavily fortified sirenblaring convoy as they launched sporadic gunshots, which led to the death of one of the policemen in the team. The escort driver and another policeman were injured in the encounter. They were rushed to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH, Benin-City, for medical attention. Police sources told our correspondent that Elumelu, who represents Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency in the House, escaped unhurt because he was driven in a bullet-proof vehicle. Oru, who was injured, was on danger list at the Delta State University Teaching Hospital, Ogha-

ra. The PDP chieftain, who was also a former National Deputy Secretary of the ruling party, encountered the same gunmen along the East/ West Road at Agbarho in Ughelli North council. His police orderly was disarmed and killed in the encounter. The hoodlums escaped with the service rifle of the fallen policeman. Reliable police sources disclosed that the state police command was trying to establish the motive behind the attacks on the prominent politicians. In a telephone interview with our correspondent yesterday, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ikechukwu Aduba, described the security situation in the state as

“deplorable.” Aduba raised the alarm that some faceless persons were bent on making the state ungovernable, adding that recent developments in the state were strange to him. He said: “Some unknown persons are desperate to make the state ungovernable otherwise how do you explain why they are shooting everybody? They have an agenda. What is happening in this state is very strange. “We are trying our best and we will continue to do our best to contain them. We will return fire for fire but security is the responsibility of everybody. Members of the public must support us by giving us useful information to enable us achieve results.”

other mobile operators increased from 3.9 billion to 4.6 billion; calls from fixed operators increased from 472 million to 537 million; calls from International operators into the country moved up from 745 million to 877 million; while inbound roaming increased slightly from two million to three million. Speaking on the SMS volume, Quality Assurance Partner at PriceWaterHouseCooper, Mr. Alastair Macpherson, stated that while outgoing SMS on-net increased from 911 million from 2011 to 958 million in 2012; outgoing SMS to other mobile operators moved from 316 million to 449 million, while SMS from other mobile operators also increased from 327 million to 421 million during the same period. Though, 2012 recorded increase in minutes of successful calls between 2011 and 2012, which might be as result of improved services, National Mirror learnt that the minutes of calls had also fallen on an annual basis. Giving reasons for the decline, the Managing Director, Backup Network Limited, Mr. Monday Ogbe, said the decline was as a result of other available channels available to telecoms subscribers to communicate with ease. “The volume of successful minutes of telephone calls made by Nigeria’s telecoms subscribers on all networks decreased by seven billion to 41 billion by December 2009 and the drop was because of alternative ways of communication such as SMS and email,” he said. He, however, said that the volume of minutes of calls in 2008 stood at 48 billion. Other industry experts agreed that the use of social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter and others), which afford people the opportunity to communicate without necessarily making calls are also contributory factors to the declining minutes of calls recorded annually. Meanwhile, Bharti Airtel Limited has announced a consolidated revenue of N20.2bn (20.239 crore) for the nine months ended December 31, 2012, a rise of 9.5 per cent over the corresponding period of 2011.

The increase was led by strong growth of 70 per cent in mobile internet in India, 29 per cent in Digital Television, 20 per cent in Airtel business (B2B) and 15 per cent in Africa. A statement from the company yesterday said that the new activation processes and improved retention strategies in India had helped reduce the company’s monthly churn to 5.9 per cent, from 8.5 per cent recorded in the previous quarter. The statement added that average revenue per user had improved to 185, a sequential improvement of 8 in this quarter. Further analysis of the result showed that revenues generated from Africa rose by 15 per cent year-on-year, supported by customer base growth of 21 per cent, voice traffic increase of 42 per cent and non-voice revenue growth of 85 per cent. The annual voice usage per customer has grown by 15 per cent from 125 minutes to 144 minutes, while consolidated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation margin are at 30.6 per cent. The statement explained that the second quarter (Q2) margin at 31.3 per cent benefitted from a favourable judicial outcome in respect of certain inter-connect agreements. It stressed that the overall customer base stood at 262.3 million across 20 countries in the nine months, while total minutes on network stood at 284.0 billion, up by 12.3 per cent year-onyear. The Managing Director, Mr. Sunil Bharti Mittal, said that market conditions had been challenging in recent quarters due to pricing pressures and rising input costs, which had put enormous pressure on the sector and consequently the margins. “However, the worst seems to be getting over with corrections taking place in customer acquisition practices and the tariffs, which are driving quality of acquisitions and improving efficiencies. “Moreover, on the data front, it is heartening to see strong growth quarter-onquarter and across geographies,” Bharti Mittal said The company had over 262 million customers across its operations at the end of December 2012.


National News

Monday, February 4, 2013

Obasanjo appears at Aso Villa Chapel ROTIMI FADEYI ABUJA


he seeming rift between President Goodluck Jonathan and former President Olusegun Obasanjo may have been settled with the surprise visit by the former President to the Presidential Villa in Abuja yesterday. Obasanjo made surprise appearance at the Aso Villa Chapel where Jonathan regularly worships with his family. The former President was accompanied to the Chapel yesterday morning by two of his daugh-

•Worships with Jonathan ters and Chairman of Zenon Oil, Mr. Femi Otedola. Obasanjo worshipped with Jonathan and his wife, Patience, and even read the second lesson at the service. After the service, Obasanjo was also said to have visited the children’s section of the Chapel in company of Jonathan where he also offered prayers for the children. The former President thereafter followed Jonathan to his official residence where they had lunch together before leaving the Villa in the af-

ternoon. Recently, Obasanjo has been critical of the administration of Jonathan, particularly the way he said he handled the Boko Haram Islamic sect issue, stressing that Jonathan was too soft on the matter. The former President was of the view that Jonathan administration should have employed the use of force to counter the Islamic sect which has unleashed terror on innocent citizens, killing many people and destroying valuable property

through suicide bombing, especially in the North. But Jonathan, while making veiled reference to Obasanjo’s criticism in one of his Presidential media chats, said he believed that dialogue was a better option to tackle the security challenge posed by Boko Haram, saying that the use of force by the former President in the Odi case never achieved much. Rather, Jonathan noted that the use of force on the militants in Odi, Rivers State, led to the death of innocent people, including women and children.

National Mirror

Switzerland rejects 2,700 Nigerian asylum seekers GEORGE OJI ABUJA

The Swiss Government has said that of the 2,700 Nigerians who sought asylum in 2012, none was granted refugee status because of lack of convincing reasons. The Swiss Justice and Police Minister, Simonetta Sommaruga, who disclosed this at the weekend in Abuja, revealed that as part of incentives by her country to encourage illegal Nigerian migrants to return home, $1,500 was offered to migrants who volunteered to return home.” “About 2,700 asylum seekers came into our country last year and almost none of them got asylum because they have not got enough reasons to become refugees in our country,” Sommaruga said. Sommaruga spoke during a visit to Nigeria’s Min-

ister of State for Foreign Affairs, Prof. (Mrs.) Viola Onwulari, in Abuja. This was as Mrs. Onwulari expressed the Federal Government’s concern at the frequency of death of Nigerian immigrants under police custody in Switzerland. Onwulari urged Sommaruga to prevail on the appropriate Swiss authorities to conduct full investigations into the human rights issues involving Nigerians. Onwulari said that in addition to legal assistance to the migrant Nigerians willing to return home, the Federal Government and the Swiss Government would establish skills acquisition centers in Nigeria under the Disapora skills transfer in automobile mechanic so that when the migrants return home, they would be trained so as to be useful to themselves and the society.

Nigeria/Indonesia’s trade volume hits $2bn OLUFEMI ADEOSUN ABUJA

N L-R: Minister of State for Works, Mr. Bashir Yuguda; Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolomemen and Senator Bashir Lado, representing Kano Central Senatorial District during his visit to the Ministry of Works on the construction of Kundila flyover in Kano in Abuja, at the weekend

Group faults FCT’s N5bn allocation for prostitutes’ rehabilitation TOLA AKINMUTIMI ABUJA


group, the Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has faulted the N5 billion proposed allocation in the Federal Capital Territory Administration’s 2013 budget for prostitutes’ rehabilitation programmes, describing it as indefensible and a ploy to further create room for embezzlement of public funds. The group, in a statement signed yesterday in Abuja by its National Coordinator, Mr. Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Officer, Miss. Zainab Yusuf, said the allocation was insulting to sensibility of right thinking

Nigerians. The group, therefore, challenged the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr. Bala Mohammed, to account for how much was voted for the same purpose last year, how many of such commercial sex workers have so far benefitted. The group’s statement reads: “We completely condemn the officials of the Federal Capital Territory Administration for abusing our sensibility as rational human beings by presenting a budget proposal which contained some of the most atrocious components including the unexplained and obscene budget proposal to spend N5 billion to rehabilitate commercial

sex workers in Abuja in the year 2013. “The ministry lacks the professional statistical competence and efficiency to determine the precise population of commercial sex workers who voluntarily wish to be rehabilitated and in fact the same ministry has gone on wild goose chase in the past year pretending to be rehabilitating prostitutes. “What the FCT Administration is doing is that most of its officials, including armed police operatives, arbitrarily arrest innocent women, girls and other passers-by and label them as prostitutes and blackmail them to bail themselves after paying through their noses or even rape them.

“We believe that this N5 billion budget proposal is only a scientific subterfuge to embezzle public fund entrusted in the custody of officials paid with tax payers’ money to deliver good governance.” The group urged the National Assembly to reject the proposed allocation and ask the Federal Capital Territory Administration to partner with the Ministry of Women Affairs to conduct survey on the number of commercial sex workers in Abuja who have voluntarily given up the trade and identify how the government and other stakeholders in the private sector would actively partner to rehabilitate these repentant commercial sex workers.

igeria and Indonesia are making headway in their relation as both countries now record about $2 billion trade volume, the Indonesian Minister of Trade, Mr. Gita Wirjawan, has said. He spoke at the weekend during the Nigeria –Indonesia bilateral trade meeting and business luncheon held in Abuja. The meeting was attended by the Nigerian Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr.Olusegun Aganga; Indonesian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Sudirman Haseng; representatives of over 20 Indonesian companies, Presidents of both Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, well as other captains of industry. Wirjawan said: “Indonesia is currently a trillion dollar economy, with trade volume with Nigeria at about $2 billion.” His Nigeria counterpart, Aganga, said that both countries would work together to double the trade volume by 2015. He explained that Nigeria and Indonesia would come up with strategic and implementable action plans to ensure that both countries leverage the cordial

bilateral trade relationship to boost trade and increase Foreign Direct Investment. Aganga said: “It is good to have country-to country discussions and bilateral agreements, but at the end of the day, most of these things come down to the people and how they put discussions and agreements into action. “The Indonesian Minister of Trade and I have agreed that our technical teams will come together and put together a strategic plan for Nigeria and Indonesian which we will implement going forward. “In terms of trade, we have already set targets for ourselves in terms where we want to be and what we want to achieve. One of our major objectives is to double the bilateral trade between the two countries by 2015, particularly, when we have met and had bilateral discussions and agreements. We will work together to make sure that this happens.” The minister said that was working together to create a vehicle that would make it easier for the private sectors of both countries to flourish and co-invest in different sectors of the economy. “I see this meeting as symbiotic relationship between the two countries. Indonesia is about a trillion dollar economy.

National Mirror


Monday, February 4, 2013


Research funding for varsities inadequate -UNILORIN VC WOLE ADEDEJI ILORIN


Representative of Ogun State governor, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Olaokun Soyinka, administering oral polio vaccine during the flag-off of 2013 1st round of National Immunisation Plus Days in Itori, Ewekoro Local Government Area of the state, at the weekend.

Be honest with Nigerians, CAN tells Jonathan KEMI OLAITAN IBADAN


he Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to be more sincere and honest to Nigerians for him to be able to take the country to the promised land. The Vice-President of CAN, Most Rev. Rufus Okikiola Ositelu, made the call in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, over the weekend, while briefing journalists at the end of a three-day Open Air Re-

vival Crusade organised by the South-West Ecclesiastical Province of his church at the Amphitheatre of Lekan Salami Sports Complex. Ositelu, who is the Primate of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) and executive member of the World Council of Churches, expressed grave concern over the high level of corruption in Nigeria, stressing that “corruption may consume the country if it is not effectively handled.” The cleric bemoaned the state of insecurity in

the country coupled with poverty and corruption in high places. He said: “What is required is sincere, honest and competent administration that treats all with fairness. “Promoting any religion above the others by government is neither economically nor constitutionally justified, and sends wrong signals to the citizenry. “In a country where over 90 per cent live in abject poverty and where less than one per cent lives in luxury on public

Oyo hospitals, health centres get N200m drugs


yo State Government said it had distributed over N200 million worth of essential drugs procured in support of its free health programme to hospitals and primary healthcare facilities. Governor Abiola Ajimobi disclosed this while flagging off the first round of the National Immunisation Plus Days, NIPDs’ campaign for this year at the headquarters of Ibadan North-East Local Government, Ibadan. Ajimobi, who said this was in fulfilment of his earlier promise to flock state-owned hospitals and health centres with essential drugs, appealed to the

sick to avail themselves the opportunity. The last time such an exercise was held in the state was in March 2012 and the immunisation campaign was flagged off by Ajimobi in company of his wife, Florence, at Ibadan North Local Government headquarters. The governor said this year’s occasion was another opportunity to re-affirm his government’s commitment to transforming the healthcare service delivery system to further improve the wellbeing of the citizenry, especially the vulnerable groups. The goal, Ajimobi said, was to revamp the health sector as encapsulated in

governance reform, infrastructural renewal, personnel and training and service delivery. He said: “Our resolve is for Oyo State to remain polio-free and equally protect our children against other vaccine preventable diseases. “Hence, government will continue to mobilise resources for effective, efficient and accessible immunisation services across the state. “This is a declaration that this administration is already looking beyond the campaign strategy to strengthen the routine immunisation service as the mainstay of reducing child morbidity and mortality.’’

fund, one has to wonder about the political leadership of such a country.” Urging Jonathan to make urgent amends in his approach to the national polity, Ositelu appealed to all other tiers of government to “strive at leaving a legacy of good governance, transparent accountability and allow the fear of God to guide their thoughts and actions.” The cleric also urged Nigerians to continue to support the country in prayers so that peace could reign supreme.

he Vice-Chancellor of University of Ilorin, UNILORIN, Prof. Abdulganiy Ambali, has said that funding of universities for researches in Nigeria was inadequate. Fielding questions from newsmen in Ilorin, Ambali said though funds available to the system could cope with overhead needs, it was not enough to take care of researches and other sundry needs. The VC said like any other organisation, there would always be need for more and more funding. He said: “There is no level of funding that will ever be enough for any

organisation. You always need funds if ideas keep evolving. “Even the United States of America is still coming out with research, as well still looking for money to advance their current state of science and technology achievements. “The demand for funds will always be needed by various universities in the country. As far as funds for overhead is concerned, the Federal Government is trying to meet staff entitlements. “In terms of funding research, we have various avenues opened up by the Federal Government for us to equip our laboratories so that researchers can improve themselves.

Nigeria’s innovative tourist products excite ICTP


he International Coalition of Tourism Partners, ICTP, has applauded Nigeria’s decision to introduce tourist visa card to ease the burden of tourists carrying cash while in Nigeria and a biometric registration system for the tourism industry workers. This follows a meeting at FITUR between the Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, and the Minister of Tourism and Culture of Seychelles, Alain St.Ange. In a statement issued

in Madrid, Spain by the organisation, a co-founder of the internationally acclaimed body, St.Ange, also commended Nigeria for its efforts at curbing fraudulent tendencies in the industry. St.Ange lauded these efforts at repositioning the tourism industry in Nigeria with international standards and best practices. He said: “We in ICTP are very pleased with these development and innovations in Nigeria. We believe these new products are good for tourism growth on the continent.”

This Day in African American History

February 4: On this day in 1913—Civil Rights Activist Rosa Parks was Born! On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks became famous for refusing to obey bus driver James Blake’s order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. This action of civil disobedience started the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which is one of the largest movements against racial segregation. In addition, this launched Martin Luther King, Jr., who was involved with the boycott, to prominence in the civil rights movement. She has had a lasting legacy worldwide.


South West

Monday, February 4, 2013

National Mirror

Nigerian judiciary is refuge of crooks –Bakare SINA FADARE


he General Overseer of the Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, has decried the rot in the nation’s judiciary, saying that if urgent action is not taken to check the anomaly, the judiciary would plunge the nation into “irredeemable abyss.” Speaking yesterday at a press conference held in his church in Lagos, Pastor Bakare lamented that Nigeria’s judiciary is no longer the last hope

of the common man, but an altar of injustice, cruelty and place for the highest bidder. He said: “The judiciary has ceased to be the last hope of the common man; it has become the last refuge of crooks. It is not surprising to see our young people carrying arms against the state via one terrorist group or the other.” The cleric said that it is odd to see treasury looters and day light robbers, who occupied the leadership positions and reduce average Nigerians into a mere walking corpse due to poverty and penury, constitute

FRSC, NGO to partner on manpower development


he Lagos State Sector Command of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has initiated move to train and re-orientate its operatives for effective service delivery. To this end, the FRSC has concluded plan with a NonGovernmental Organisation (NGO), Trauma Care International Foundation, to carry out integrated retraining programme on trauma care and emergency response skills for operatives. This indication was given the FRSC Sector Commander, Mr Nseobong Akpabio, when he received team of Trauma Care International Foundation in his office in Lagos. The team was led by Dr Olajumoke Akinsanya, the NGO’s Executive Director. Members of the team included Dr Eyitayo Oladapo, Dr. Amaka Odita and Mr Samuel Chukwu. In their brief the visit, the team hinted that Trauma Care International Foundation was a registered NGO

FRSC Corps Marshall, Osita Chidoka

with the mandate to improve the state of trauma care and emergency response services in Nigeria through health education, advocacy and community-based programmes. The team said that its partnership with FRSC Lagos State Command was in recognition of the need to contribute to the improvement of the organisation’s service delivery. In his reaction, the FRSC Sector Commander appreciated the team for the visit, saying that one of the strategies adopted by the Corps in achieving safer road in the country is constant training of its personnel. He said that the training programme will be extended to majority of all Unit Commanders and staff from the FRSC formations in Lagos State viz Lagos State Command Headquarters, Ojodu and its 15 unit commands at Badagry, Epe, Apapa, Lagos Island, Yaba, Surulere, Ojota, Oshodi, Ikotun, Surulere, Wharf, Isolo, Ikeja, Iba and Aiport respectively. The retraining programme is aimed at rejuvenating the staff performance in other to meet up with the corporate strategic goals for the Corps in 2013 which include, reduction of road traffic crashes nationwide by 20 percent and reduction of road traffic crash related fatalities by 30 percent; improve service delivery; improve data collection and analysis; improve staff performance as well as empowering the field command operatives among others.

themselves into a cabal on the nation’s collective heritage. According to him, the time is now ripe for Nigerians to ensure that all the forces of darkness that have pervaded the country and make it a hell on earth for the peo-

ple are sent to where they belong. Bakare, who condemned the recent comments by government officials on the issue raised by the former Minister of Education, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, on how $45 billion foreign reserves

giving a lucid reason and mature response to Ezekwesili’s statement, the Federal Government, through its spokespersons, went into all manner of tirades against her person, virulently attacking the messenger while ignoring the message.”

was squandered by the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, pointed out that it was a shame of a nation, saying that instead of addressing the issue, the government began chasing shadow. He said: “Rather than

29-year-old robbery suspect held in Ibadan KEMI OLAITAN IBADAN


29-year-old suspect, Ganiyu Salawu, alias Tombolo Genegene, who was accused of using charms to terrorise residents of Omi-Adio, the outskirts of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital in the last five months, was at the weekend arrested by members of the Odua Peoples Congress

(OPC) in Ido Local Government Area. National Mirror learnt that Ganiyu possessed charms that made him to appear and disappear after committing criminal offences, such as armed robbery and rape. But the people at the weekend heaved a sigh of relief as the Mr. Muritala Adekola Ifawale-led OPC in the local government nabbed

the suspect during one of his operations and handed him over to the police. Hundreds of the residents trooped out to watch with surprise as the suspected criminal confessed to all the operations he had carried out in Omi-Adio and its environs in the last five months. The OPC boss told journalists that he mobilized his men to the scene the suspect

was carrying out his criminal activities after receiving distressed calls from residents. He said: “When I received the calls, I called two of my men - Abiodun Oyan and Kelesu Moshood. These men stormed the scene immediately and I joined them. On sighting us, the criminal used his metaphysical power to disappear. But later I was able to see him.

L-R: Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi; Permanent Secretary, Primary Health Care Development Agency, Mrs. Folake Falore and Permanent Secretary, Hospital Management Board, Dr. Kolawole Aina, during the flag-off of the first round of 2013 Immunization Plus Days (NIPDs) in Ado-Ekiti, at the weekend.

Killings: Group urges Ekiti to prosecute Fayose ABIODUN NEJO ADO EKITI


he Omoluabi Empowerment Initiative, a group in Ekiti State, has urged the state government to probe and prosecute former Governor Ayodele Fayose for alleged killings while in office. The group said the prosecution of the crimes allegedly committed during the administration of former Governor Fayose would deepen democracy. The group spoke in at a press conference addressed at the weekend in Ado-Ekiti by its National Coordinator, Mr. Larry Toluwa and General Secretary, Mr. Olanre-

waju Adewusi. The group listed the murders allegedly committed while Fayose was the governor to include the killing in 2006 of Dr Ayodeji Daramola in his Ijan-Ekiti country home, the 2005 killing of Mr Tunde Omojola in Ifaki-Ekiti and the killing of five College of Education students over a peaceful protest against the state government. Other criminal activities committed during Fayose’s administration, according to the group, included the killing of 10 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members during a supremacy battle over the party’s executive in 2003, acid attack on a member of the defunct Alliance for De-

mocracy (AD) identified as Mrs Thatcher in Ado-Ekiti in 2003 and the destruction and maiming of AD members at a meeting in Mugbagba Area in 2004. The group urged Governor Kayode Fayemi “not to fold his arms and allow perpetrators of the crimes go unpunished,” saying: “It will amount to injustice and calculated attempt to encourage politically motivated killings if the present administration fails to probe all these ugly incidences”. But the Ayodele Fayose Campaign Organisation (AFCO) said the call for an enquiry coming at this time when 2014 governorship election in the state was around

the corner was suspect and “mere political exigency”. AFCO Director General, Mr Gboyega Oguntase, who described the allegations as flimsy and unwarranted, said whoever had proofs that the former governor committed those offences should approach the police for necessary actions. Oguntuase said: “Ekiti people will like to know if those calling for Fayose’s probe have better information than they had before. If they have the proofs, they should go to the police and let them do their proper job. If they are not doing that, it means their knowledge of the law is pedestrian, jaundiced and archaic.”

National Mirror


Monday, February 4, 2013










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South West

Monday, February 4, 2013

National Mirror

Ogun restates commitment to local contractors FEMI OYEWESO ABEOKUTA


L-R: Osun State Commissioner for Regional Integration and Special Duties, Mr. Ajibola Basiru, his counterpart in Finance, Economic Planning and Budget, Dr. Wale Bolorunduro and Director, Bureau of Communications and Strategy, Office of the Governor, Alhaji Semiu Okanlawon, during a media interactive session on the 2013 Budget tagged Budget of Freedom, in Lagos, yesterday

Lagos to train 1, 000 on pension administration MURITALA AYINLA


t least 1, 000 workers who will retire from the Lagos State public service between January and June this year will undergo training on the end of service benefits process just as they will also receive guidance on coping with life after retirement. The state government also said the seminar, which is the third of its kind, would be organised by the Lagos State Pension Commission, LSPC, in conjunction with the state

approved Pension Fund Administrators, PFAs. In a statement by the Director-General of the LSPC, Mr. Rotimi Adekunle Hussain, the seminar is expected to come up at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium of the Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja on Thursday, February 7, 2013. The director-general said the seminar is designed to help the would-be retirees to adequately prepare for their physical, emotional and financial well-being in retirement, stressing that the seminar would explain the procedure for processing of their accrued pen-

sion rights for the past service under the Pay-AsYou-Go Scheme, which was discontinued on March 31, 2007. He added that the training would afford the prospective retirees the opportunity to know steps towards ensuring that their Retirement Savings Account, RSA, is up to date with the payment of their contributions, as well as highlighting the exit options under the Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS. Hussain added that the seminar will also cover tips on healthy living at retirement and how they can make

good investment decisions. While appreciating the PFAs for sponsoring the seminar, he promised that the LSPC will continue to collaborate with all the stakeholders in the pension industry with a view to achieving higher standards of service for workers in the Lagos State public service. The PFAs that sponsors the seminar include; Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers, Crusader Sterling Pension Plc; Leadway Pensure; ARM Pensions; NLPC Pension Fund Administrators Ltd and Trustfund Pensions Plc.

NSCDC’s armed squad targeted at vandals –Abolurin ABIODUN NEJO AND MURITALA AYINLA


he CommandantGeneral of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, Dr Ade Abolurin, has said that the armed squad initiative of the corps was targeted at combating vandalism and other social vices in the country with the cooperation of other security agencies. Abolurin spoke during the end of a two-week training programme for 114 NSCDC officers in the art of handling light weapons at the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, Orientation Camp in Ise-Orun Ekiti. The NSCDC boss, who

was represented by the Oyo State Commandant, Mr. Clement Adesuyi, thanked the state government for the sponsorship of the programme and also appreciated the 32 Artillery Brigade, Nigeria Army, Akure, for conducting the training for his men. He expressed hope that the military would always be at hand in terms of training and other relevant assistance to the corps. Fayemi, who was represented by Secretary to State Government, SSG, Dr Ganiyu Owolabi, assured of continuous support and assistance of the state to the training and re-training of officers to enhance better performance.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Commandant of the NSCDC, Mr. Obafaiye Shem, has said that the agency is working on strategies to uncover and curtail more oil theft. Speaking with National Mirror, the NSCDC boss, who bemoaned the increased activities of vandals in Lagos State and other suburbs in Arepo and Akute, Ogun State, expressed displeasure with the rate more Nigerians are engaging in the life threatening business. He also said the civil defence corps had arrested 62 suspected vandals in Majidun area of Ikorodu, and another seven in January alone. His words: “It has been very horrible and terrible. I have never seen a stream

of PMS in my life. I was shivering at the point in Akute, where we discovered a stream of PMS flowing like water. Apart from stream of PMS, a well of PMS and other places where siphoned fuel are kept were also discovered.” Shem said the NSCDC is ready to stem the tide of vandalism, especially with the support of the Federal Government. “Before we were permitted to carry ammunition, we had been doing a lot. Since the discovery is made, we are going to do everything possible to abate the problem. The top management of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps are not sleeping; they are up to the task to tackle the problem.”

he Ogun State government yesterday restated its commitment towards ensuring that every sector of the economy in the state patronises local contractors in its efforts at rebuilding the state. With reference to ongoing developmental projects across the state, the Ibikunle Amosun administration also assured that technicians as well as other competently relevant artisans would be given first consideration in the execution of capital projects so as to create wealth among the people of the state. State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Alhaji Yusuf Olaniyonu, said this while speaking with journalists in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, over the weekend. His position was coming against the backdrop of an alleged complaint by some artisans under the auspices of the Association of Terrazo, Marbles and Tiles Workers that the state government was fond of patronising foreign companies

rather than their members. The artisans were said to have threatened a showdown with the state government by not paying their taxes should it continue patronising foreign companies at the expense of local ones. Speaking through its state Chairman, Badmus Wasiu, during its 14th annual national conference held in Abeokuta over the weekend, the association accused the government of attempting to cripple their businesses by not allowing their members benefit from capital projects going on across the state despite their regular payment of taxes to the covers of the state government. But Olaniyonu challenged the association to prove whether those artisans engaged by the expatriate companies in the execution of those projects were not their members. He, however, appealed to those artisans who are yet to benefit from those projects to exercise patience, stressing that they would soon be considered in the award of on-going developmental projects in the state.

Radio Nigeria in Ekiti on generator 10 years on ABIODUN NEJO ADO EKITI


he Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, Ado Ekiti, has lamented that the non-connection of the media establishment to the national grid 10 years after its establishment, saying it is costing the organisation a fortune. It’s General Manager, Pastor Dare Olorunfemi, who said a huge chunk of the organisation’s revenue is being expended on fuel and maintenance of generators, appealed to concerned authorities to come to their aid by getting the situation redressed. Olorunfemi said this at the weekend at a press conference heralding the 10th anniversary of the organization. He said efforts of the corporation to solve the problem was hindered initially by activities of vandals and later the present poor state of the transformer at Ilokun village, the base of the FRCN. His words: “The management of the station took steps to fix cables, did the

necessary wiring and kept the transformer running. When the quality of the power supply improved and we were to connect, we discovered that some people had removed all the cables and wires and we started all over again. “When we were to connect the transformer last December, we also found out that the transformer had gone bad and we do not have the capacity to buy another one now,” he said. The FRCN boss, who said Ekiti State, Governor Kayode Fayemi, recently promised the FRCN management to replace the transformer, however, appealed to corporate bodies and individuals to redeem their promises to the radio station. According to him, eminent Nigerians, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo and some state governors are expected at the anniversary lecture entitled: “To Keep Nigeria One: Still a Centenary Task” billed to be delivered by Niger State Governor, Dr Aliyu Babangida Muazu, on Wednesday.

National Mirror

South East

Monday, February 4, 2013

MASSOB introduces ‘Biafran income tax’ •Predicts disintegration of Nigeria



he Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, yesterday said it will start collecting Biafran Income Tax from Ndigbo, beginning from February 16, 2013. The new move by MASSOB was contained in a statement sent to National Mirror by its Director of Information, Comrade Uchenna Madu. This development was coming at a time when MASSOB is predicting

that Nigeria will disintegrate and cease to be a country at the end of 2014. In the said statement, Madu said the introduction of 2013 Biafran income tax by their leader, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, was part of the ongoing consolidation of MASSOB’s government structures and diplomatic relations. Shedding light on the extent they will go in collecting the tax, Madu said; “The collection of 2013 Biafran income tax will commence on February

16, throughout Biafra and Nigeria, where Biafrans reside, it is a mandatory tax, it is a mark of respect and honour to Biafra, a mandatory obligation for all Biafrans.” He said for now, MASSOB as a genuine organisation has been busy establishing Biafran government, through the creation of regional structures and consolidation of diplomatic relations. The director of information, who said that consistency is always their watchword, assured that

as Biafrans that they shall never relent in their struggle or be discouraged by the waves of distraction around them. Speaking to National Mirror on the issue of who will collect the tax on their behalf, Madu said; “Our security will go out to collect it, they will go to the markets and streets, in public places and other relevant places to collect the tax, our people are willing to pay, very willing, we have been announcing it and the response from people have been encouraging.” The MASSOB spokesman urged the people to lend their support to the group,

because Biafra is around the corner. He predicted that Biafra will bring the comfort and consolation seriously needed by every Igbo man. Madu, who was full of optimism when he spoke to our Correspondent, said they don’t for see a clampdown from security agents, because what they are doing now does not concern them, stressing that they will not be deterred if the government starts to harass MASSOB agents again. Sounding optimistic, Comrade Madu continued, “Government will never interfere, they won’t, this is about the people, government can never stop Ndigbo



Why CPC, ACN is merging against PDP –Okechukwu DENNIS AGBO ENUGU


he merger discussions going on between the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, and the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, is aimed at forming a stronger national political party that will serious challenge and subsequently vote out the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. The merger talk is also being pursed as a bail out for the country so as to fix back her collapsed infrastructure if the mobilised Nigerians vote out the PDP in the 2015 election. Gubernatorial candidate of the CPC in the 2011 general election in Enugu State and member of the CPC merger committee, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, said this at the weekend in Enugu while briefing members of the party in the state on the on-

going merger talks between the two parties. He said the concept of the merger was born out of the patriotic zeal of the leadership and members of ACN, CPC and other progressives in the country to save the nation, her fledgling democracy and the constitution from the ineptitude and failure of the ruling PDP. “We are witnesses of how in the last 13 years the PDP has squandered our unprecedented oil revenue, subverted our constitution, impoverished our citizenry by adopting the philosophy of Food is Ready and the motto of Share the Money, anchored on a nebulous economic policy that government has no business in business,” he said. Okechukwu noted that Ndigbo had been voting for the PDP since 1998 without anything to show for it. He expressed regrets that the

party had serially failed to fulfill its promises. According to him, the PDP’s “philosophy of Food is Ready and motto of Share the Money had led to decayed infrastructure, dilapidated social services, gross unemployment and monumental corruption; consequently sliding Nigeria dangerously into a failed state.” He stated that their goal was to provide welfare and security to the good people of the country, adding that the business of their government come 2015 would be investment of public resources. His words: “We reasoned that the only way to bail out the country and fix back the collapsed infrastructure is to form a united national political platform with the capacity and certainty to mobilise Nigerians to vote out the PDP come 2015.

“Indeed the merger concept enjoys national consensus and collective rationality from members and supporters nationwide; even from the multitude of members of the PDP who are tired of the failed party, but has no other alternative platform to run to. “Shall we allow those who have no regard for their oath of office, those who convert our collective patrimony to personal estate and those who mortgage the prosperity of present and future generation of Nigerians to prevail in 2015 elections? No! No! No! “They will tell you that Ndigbo are not in the merger, tell them that not only are credible Ndigbos like Senator Chris Ngige in the top echelons of the merger parties; that we are for good governance, transparency and accountability.”

from paying Biafran tax, this is purely an income.” He said they have now introduced the income tax, since the struggle is reaching its climax, when the organisation is putting in place government structures. Speaking on when they hope to achieve their major objective of an independent and free Biafran state, Madu, who contended that they have no fixed time-frame for the realisation of their goal, however, maintained that Nigeria can break up any moment from now. “That CIA prediction is certain, anything beyond 2014, Nigeria is living on expired ground, because, there will be no more anchor to hold Nigeria,” Madu said.

Group flays Ihedioha over alleged presidential ambition


L-R: Parish Priest of St. Philip Anglican Church, Trans-Ekulu, Enugu, Ven. Simon Emelumadu; Rev. Canon Isaac Ezeaputa and group leader, Dr. Chinyere Emele, during a special spiritual breakthrough service in Enugu, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN


he Igbo Democratic Conscience, IDC, a political pressure group, has criticised the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha’s alleged presidential ambition in the 2015 general elections, saying the deputy speaker’s ambition would impair the chances of the South-East of contesting for the presidency. This is against the backdrop of the fact that the deputy speaker was keen of contesting the governorship election of the Imo State in 2015. Speaking in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Uche Ezeoma, and

made available to National Mirror, the group alleged that the deputy speaker is plotting to run as vice-president with Namadi Sambo if the vice-president bows to pressure to contest for the presidential election. The statement further alleged that Ihedioha has been having secret meetings with notable northern political leaders “to push his ambition of becoming the vice-president thereby mounting pressure on Sambo’s aides to convince their boss to contest the 2015 presidency.” The group argued that the ambition of the deputy speaker has polarised the south which now has serious effect on President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election bid.

Amansea indigenes decry politicisation of Ezucians River tragedy have visited Amansea,



he indigenes of Amansea, Awka North Local Government, have decried the politicisation of the tragedy that befell them when unknown persons dumped dead bodies in Ezu River, their only source of water for domestic use. They have therefore called on all the politicians who indulge in the act of playing politics with their problem to desist from such as it is unwarranted and despicable. It will be recalled that since the January 19, 2013, when decomposing bodies were found floating in Ezu River, hordes of individuals and groups, including politi-

where they donated money and relief items, like water to the affected people. Expressing his concern on how they feel about the alleged politicisation of the Ezu River crisis, a community leader in the town, who gave his name as Chief Ibekwe condemned the trend. Speaking when Governor Peter Obi visited the community yesterday, Chief Ibekwe said what happened to their town had given him enough opportunity to see how Anambra politicians behave. He regretted that some of the politicians that had not made any significant contribution to the development of the state, have turned the tragedy in to a big enterprise, as if the governor was not doing anything.


South South

Monday, February 4, 2013

National Mirror



he leadership of oil Nigeria’s workers union have vowed to shut down activities at the Onne Free Trade Zone because of the enslavement, victimisation and other antiworkers’ policies of companies operating at the zone. Leaders of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, and Nigeria

Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, said this after a meeting in Port Harcourt at the weekend. The NUPENG President, Babatunde Ogun, told journalists that they decided to toe this path after the expiration of the ultimatum given the Federal Government on the issue had expired and also owing to the continued refusal of the companies operating at the free trade zone to obey the laws of the coun-

try on labour unions. The Zonal Chairman of NUPENG, Godwin Eruba, who spoke with our correspondent, explained that the management of the free trade zone had, in its bid to woo companies to the Onne facilities, promised 10 years of non-union and protestfree operations as well as other incentives. Eruba said the companies, now more than 150, moved to Onne en-masse to avoid unionism, taxes and

certain royalties. The zonal chairman, however, said that though the laws setting up the Free Trade Zones in the country allowed for non-protests for 10 years, it did not preclude the workers from joining or forming unions among themselves. He said: “The problem is that the Free Trade Zone Authority in Onne, using extant labour laws, gave the companies certain incentives and waivers. The law says that for 10 years after location,

workers of the companies operating in the area shall not embark on strikes. The law did not say there will be no unionism. “There is need to have unions, without them there will be no strike of course, we all know that. All the companies in Rivers State have moved to Onne en-masse to avoid unionism while those who have unions before have sacked or paid them off. “There are some companies like Pressure Control,

an oil servicing company whose management sacked all their workers when they moved to Onne, we are still on that case now. “We have written to the Federal Ministry of Labour to wade into the matter and they have written expressly to the management of the FTZ authority affirming our contentions that they should discontinue the practice of encouraging companies not to allow unionism among the workers.

PDP, Nigeria’s biggest problem, says Kio-Briggs SAM OLUWALANA PORT HARCOURT


L-R: Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and Guest Speaker, Godsday Orubebe (left) and Vice Chancellor, University of Benin, UNIBEN, Prof. Godwin Oshodin, at the UNIBEN Faculty of Social Sciences’ Public Lecture Series: “The challenge of regional development in Nigeria: Case of the Niger Delta,” hold in Benin, at the weekend.

Check oil theft in Bayelsa, ex-militants tell JTF, Navy EMMA GBEMUDU YENAGOA


ormer militant leaders, under the aegis of Opuaforo Ware, at the weekend raised the alarm over the activities of oil thieves along deep offshore and terminal located at Oloibiri, Agbami and Bonga oil field areas in Bayelsa State. Incidentally, Agbami and Bonga oil fields are offshore oil and gas facilities operated by Shell Petroleum Development Com-

pany, SPDC. The group therefore prevailed on security agencies such as the Joint Military Task Force and the Nigerian Navy to improve on their surveillance activities in the area to curb the excesses of the oil thieves. This is contained in a statement signed by the Coordinator of the group, Gen. Keithy Sese alias Nomukeme, and nine others. The statement was made available to journalists shortly after the former

militants’ meeting off the coast of Middleton Island in Southern Ijaw Local Government. The former militant leaders asked the operatives of the Marine Police in the state to ensure a regular and effective patrol along the water ways to stem the activities of sea pirates and kidnappers. Sese said the group threw its weight behind the death sentence prescribed by Governor Seriake Dickson on kidnappers, stressing that this would serve as

Delta revenue board begins audit of councils AMOUR UDEMUDE ASABA


elta State Board of Internal Revenue said it would today begin a comprehensive audit of the 25 local government areas in the state to determine level of compliance to revenue generation and remittance. Its Chairman, Hon. JoelOnowakpo Thomas, who disclosed this known at

the weekend shortly after the board’s meeting with the Auditor General (Local Government) and Local Government Service Commission in Asaba, said the measure was aimed at ensuring effective revenue generation at the local government level. He said: “The only way to address the fundamental issue was to bring the three critical government agencies together to audit the

25 councils with a view to determining their level of compliance with the provision of tax law. A lot is hidden in the council. “With the N61 billion revenue target for the 2013 fiscal year, the board had taken a holistic assessment of its operations and measures to block all the observed loopholes and with the calibre of staff at the board and their commitment, the state government

a deterrent to other criminally-minded persons. The statement reads in part: “We decry the insensitivity on the part of the Nigerian government towards the plight of the coastal communities that also have huge contributions to the earnings of the Federal Government. “We strongly want these coastal communities to be connected to the rest of the country through road networks, including the provision of electricity, seaports, among others.”

revenue target for this year would be attained.” Joel-Onowakpo said the collaboration among the three state government agencies was geared towards finding a common ground to address the issue of revenue generation and remittance to the appropriate quarter, particularly at the various councils in the state that had not done well in terms of remittance.

iger Delta woman activist, Ann KioBriggs, has identified the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as the main hindrance to Nigeria’s development. Briggs, who spoke with our correspondent in Port Harcourt, also took a swipe at the Niger Delta governors for not justifying the huge resources they have been entrusted with over the years. She said: “PDP is the worst thing that has happened to Nigeria. PDP sees itself as the owner of Nigeria, but Nigeria owns PDP, not the other way round. You and I, the electorate, the people, have allowed PDP to get away with what they have gotten away with. The day Nigerians wake up and say to themselves, PDP will no longer be the problem of

Nigeria, PDP will no longer hold power that it holds. “How can a political party say that it will rule, not serve, or govern, but that it will rule Nigeria for 50 years? I am speaking for myself and I want to believe that there are others that will share my sentiments and my belief. PDP will not rule me for 50 years as far as I am concerned. I will say what I want to say about PDP and I am saying that PDP is the problem of Nigeria. I also went further to say that Nigeria is the problem of the Niger Delta.” The 60-year-old activist also said the governors of the South-South states had not justified the huge funds committed to their trust. However, Briggs contended that the states from the region should be collecting more than the 13 per cent derivation funds been allocated to them at the moment.

Akpabio thanks Jonathan for East Way road construction


overnor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State has commended President Goodluck Jonathan for ensuring the commencement of work on the deplorable East Way Road in the South-South suspended sometime ago because of lack of funds. Answering questions from Government House correspondents in Uyo at the weekend, Akpabio commended the Ministry of Niger Delta and the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, for keeping faith with the road by making a yearly budgetary allocation for its construction. The governor acknowledged the economic importance of the road not only to the South-South but the entire country and assured

that with the sub-contracting of the road to different companies, the job would be completed soon. He said: “How much was budgeted for the road by the National Assembly? I thank the ministry for always budgeting for the road on a yearly basis. At the moment, there is increased tempo of work on the road. I urge NDDC and contractors to continue with the space of work.” Akpabio, who just returned to the country, said while in London, he attended several meetings aimed at bringing investors to establish a fertiliser plant and develop Ibaka Deep Seaport, among others in Akwa Ibom State, and expressed the hope that soon the result would show.

Monday, February 4, 2013

National Mirror



Wada’s storming one year in office, critics score his administration low


Abuse of SURE-P violates constitution, impeachable offence –ACN warns S/W PDP asks ACN to account for N10bn SURE-P fund



he Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has warned the Federal Government that its current abuse of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P), set up in the wake of last year’s partial removal of fuel subsidy, amounts to a gross violation of the country’s constitution and constitutes an impeachable offence. In a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the ACN said that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)controlled Federal Government is now using part of the funds accruing to the programme to empower the party’s cronies ahead of the 2015 general elections, instead of using it for the

benefit of all Nigerians. Warning SURE-P’s head, Christopher Kolade, a respectable citizen known for his transparency and integrity, not to allow the skewed and partisan implementation of the programme by the Federal Government to tarnish his hard-earned reputation, the ACN said: “Ordinarily, SURE-P seems laudable as it is aimed at the empowerment of the citizens through job creation and infrastructure development, but in reality, PDP apparatchiks have hijacked it for the purpose of empowering only the party’s members. “They have created State Implementation Committees (SICs) to handle the disbursement of SURE-P cash to party members as a strategy to arm them with a war chest ahead of the 2015 elections. ‘’To make matters worse,

the PDP is denigrating the traditional institution by using traditional rulers in some states as the conduit to distribute SURE-P funds, ostensibly to empower Nigerians but in reality to put money in the pockets of PDP supporters.” The ACN reminded the Federal Government that only bodies created by law can disburse funds accruing to the Federation Account, warning that since the SICs are not recognised by law, it is an illegal body and its operations violate

the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. ACN also warned that the abuse of SURE-P will simply create a monument to corruption, since accountability and transparency are being sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. But the South West PDP has slammed the ACN, describing its claims that the SURE-P has been hijacked by the PDP to empower party members as mischievous and laughable, saying: “it is politics taken to

a bizarre level and we hope these characters in the ACN won’t criticise God for creating human being in His own image one day.” The PDP rather accused the ACN controlled states of “siphoning their own share of the subsidy fund, adding: “Instead of making noise on the implementation of the Federal Government’s SUREP, the party should rather account for over N10 billion Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti and Edo states share of the subsidy fund.” Speaking through its zonal Publicity Secretary, Kayode Babade, the PDP

said that having read a statement from ACN “loudmouth”, Mohammed, it wanted to ask whether beneficiaries of the programme are not Nigerians. It asked: “Who are the beneficiaries of the ACN controlled states’ share of the subsidy fund because the fund is shared among the Federal Government, states and local councils? “If the PDP-controlled Federal Government is empowering Nigerians with its own share, to whose pocket has the over N10 billion received by the ACNcontrolled states gone?”

FCT 2013 budget, spectacle of outrageous impudence –CPC OLAJIDE OMOJOLOMOJU


he Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) has described as spectacle of outrageous impudence the N253 billion budget proposal by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Mr Bala Muhammed, which the President had given his executive approval. It said that as expected of the profligate regime of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the budget contained items that are not only absurd but utterly outrageous. The items according to the party include the N4 billion for the construction of the First Lady’s mission building; the N5 billion to rehabilitate commercial sex workers; N7 billion for construction of two city gates and N150 million for the renovation of Vice Presidential guest houses in Asokoro. The CPC, speaking

through its National Publicity Secretary, Rotimi Fasakin, said: “It is appalling to see budgetary allocation as much as N4 billion for the office of the First Lady that is not recognised by the constitution. A cursory view of these budgetary items easily reveals that this PDP-led regime is never in short supply of nauseous financial recklessness and indescribable superfluity of indiscretion. Fasakin said that at a time many Nigerians have been rendered homeless by the anti-people stance of the PDP-led FCT administration, “it is ludicrous to imagine that, rather than embarking on projects in alleviating the afflictions, this clueless regime has again shown its undisguised self-centeredness. Indeed, it beggars belief that a supposed democratic government can revel in such thoughtless insensitivity!”

L-R: Ebonyi State Deputy Governor Dave Umahi; Governor Martin Elechi and Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, during a visit to the state on Good Government tour at the weekend. PHOTO: NAN

C21 set to mobilise Igbo nation for mega party alliance talks OLAJIDE OMOJOLOMOJU


n what appears a definite strategic move, the South-East foremost political action platform, the Committee 21 (C21), is set to lead ranking democratic politicians of Igbo stock to the ongoing popularly acceptable alliance talks between major political parties, that may culminate in the formation of a mega opposition party before the 2015 general elections. A clear indication to this direction was made known by the president of the group, Senator An-

nie Okonkwo, in a special release by his media aide, Collins Steve Ugwu. Okonkwo stated that “the flourishing momentum of alliance discussions between major opposition political parties in Nigeria to meet the yearnings of Nigerians for a government that truly governs in 2015, has a welcome window for the broad republican convictions that drives the Igbo nations political and economic pursuits.” He further added that “the sensitivity of all Igbo committed democrats to actualise our dream for a Nigerian president of

Igbo extraction, necessitates that every avenue for the articulation of this constitutional imperative be explored creatively and pursued vigorously.” He emphasised that after over 13 years of stifling political dominance of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with litters of disasters as accomplishments in every aspect of our lives, it is time to compel the chicken to roost by the mighty will of the people through a beautifully consummated alliances and coalitions. Insisting that the presidency of this country is “our collective political

patrimony and therefore, the privileged access to its cockpit should be by worthy political pilots only. Okonkwo said that regrettably, in this dreary 13 years of rape and plunder, “our deserved democratic adventure have had no smooth flights at all, cancelled flights most times, and frightening crash landings at every attempt for real take-off. “Surely, these jarring gyrations without movement cannot be the rhythm Nigerians invested on, because our dividends have remained dangerously on the red almost permanently.”



OYEWALE IBRAHIM writes on the one year anniversary of the Idris Wada administration in Kogi State amidst controversies.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Wada’s storming one year in office, critics score his administration low


he last Sunday of January precisely marked the first anniversary of the present administration in Kogi State and January 27 was marked with fanfare and interdenominational prayers by both Muslims and Christians faithful at the Government House in Lokoja. However the celebration of the 365 days in office of the Idris Wada/Yomi Awoniyi administration has been trailed with mixed reactions as critics of the government as well as opposition parties have described the year as a monumental failure. While the government has continued to drum it to the hearing of every citizens of the state that Wada administration is on course and has completed over 169 projects in the last one year, stressing that all the uncompleted projects left behind by the immediate past administration of Ibrahim Idris have been taken care of in the last one year. The government also admitted that the last one year was indeed tortuous and very challenging in terms of natural flood disaster and other security challenges that ravaged the state. However as the government rolled out the drums in celebration, a Lokoja based human rights group, Centre for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR) and concerned stakeholders and individuals have scored the Wada administration low, urging it to wake up from its slumber and be on the side of positive history by engaging indevelopmental activities and programmes. In a statement signed by the Executive Director of CHRCR, Idris Miliki Abdul and made available to journalists, the human rights group stated that it was worrisome and disappointing that the government cannot boast of any meaningful achievement in the last one year. CHRCR lamented that it is unfortunate that despite the claim of the Think Tank report, the state government has kept to its chest, and which the government still continues to expend colossal state fund on, the people of the state are yet to know the contents of the report. The group noted: “A review of the 2012 budget performance as presented by the governor to Kogi State House of Assembly on December 4 last year indicated that the recurrent revenue was N85,893,457,061. The government claimed capital expenditure of N9, 693,499,676 that was not actually expended on capital projects and programmes in 2012, which represented 15 percent performance.” It also berated the state government for claiming to have spent N248.2 million on rural electrification scheme, N21.9 million for street lighting which does not exist anywhere in the state, stressing that more disappointing was that in the budget speech as presented by the governor, he lied against himself, when he claimed to have spent N158.9 million on the reconstruction and modernisation of the Confluence Beach Hotel without any commensurable income from the hotel. The group also berated the government for failure to disburse, more than four months after the flood that ravaged parts of the state, the over N2 billion which

National Mirror


THE GOVERNOR, WHO CAME IN THROUGH ILLEGALITY, HAS CONTINUED TO PERPETRATE ILLEGALITY IN THE LAST ONE YEAR, ADDING THAT THERE WAS NEITHER AN IMPROVEMENT NOR CONCRETE ACHIEVEMENT ON GROUND IN THE LAST the government acknowledged to have received both in cash and kind, to the victims of the flood. It said: “We call on the citizen of the state to wake up, monitor, participate and cry out where necessary as one year in an office is too much for planning for administration that is expected to stay for four years and could not point at any meaningful achievement within the first year.” Similarly, a chieftain of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and governorship aspirant in the 2011 election in the state, Yakubu Rotimi Obadofin, has described the one year administration of Governor Wada as a disaster to the state. Obadofin explained that the governor, who came in through illegality, has continued to perpetrate illegality in the last one year, adding that there was neither an improvement nor concrete achievement on ground in the last 365 days. He said: “He has successfully disorganised the legislators and has disorganised the state as well. He has lost the key to the transformation agenda.” But in a swift reaction, the Special Adviser on Media and Strategy to Governor Wada, Jacob Edi explained that the allegation of non-performance has become a sing-song and thereby lacks relevance. He explained that for an administration that took off, amidst deliberate and orchestrated booby traps for it to die on arrival and without its own budget as it were at the time, to

365 DAYS

execute a total of 169 projects is not only commendable but amazing. “I like to say for the umpteenth time that the flood money has not been squandered as is being insinuated but it’s been put into building homes for the flood victims. The government of Kogi State will not debase her citizens by giving them very lean money that cannot give them even a meal neither will the government play to the gallery and accept to be stampeded into taking a decision that will not guarantee the future of our people,” he pointed out But Abubakar Ibrahim Najigiri, a Lokoja based legal practitioner and a politician who contested the Lokoja1 state constituency seat on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP)in the 2011 general election described Wada’s administration as the replica and continuation of former Governor Idris administration. His words: “To me, the administration of former Governor Idris was a monumental failure. Therefore, we need someone who will move the state forward. That was why we were clamouring for the return of Abubakar Audu who had laid solid foundation for the state. For now there was no development. Idris only succeeded in developing thugs. What we had in almost nine years was breeding of thugs.” To the Wada administration for stamping out thuggery, saying: “When he came on board last year he told the youths that his administration will not tolerate acts of hooliganism and

urged them to bring their certificates for employment opportunities. “No development, no structures. The only candidate who could have done better was Audu, we knew that anybody who succeeds Idris will definitely be his surrogate and that is exactly what is happening now.” Meanwhile, Wada has described the first year of his administration as tortuous and very challenging, assuring that his administration is highly committed and focused on the implementation of the transformation agenda, pointing out that his administration has started out on a solid foundation by establishing a think-tank, which produced a blueprint with a clear vision and mission for the transformation of the state. The governor, who disclosed this in a state broadcast to the people of the state to mark the first year anniversary, stated that the judgment of performance of his administration belongs to the people of the state. Wada who highlighted some serious challenges that confronted the state in quick succession, however expressed gratitude and appreciation on behalf of Kogi State government and people to President Goodluck Jonathan, the Federal Government and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other well meaning Nigerians for their support and generous financial and material donations towards the flood relief effort. He recalled the security challenges and the unfortunate incident that led to the killings of 20 innocent worshipers at the Deeper Life Bible Church by unknown assailants in Okehi Local Government area of state, a development which almost threw the state into anarchy and expressed sincere condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the incident. “The maturity and high level of tolerance demonstrated by the people of the state and the coordinated efforts of government officials and the security agencies helped to frustrate the perpetrators of this dastardly act. My administration has continued to work closely with the security agencies to ensure a safe and secure environment for all the people of Kogi State. “One major benefit of the synergy between the state government and the various security agencies is the elimination of the ugly incidence of thuggery throughout the state. We have also achieved a clear reduction in the number of armed robbery and bank robbery incidences throughout the state. I commend the security agencies for their professionalism and commitment to the security of the state,” he stated Wada noted that people of the state would not forget also, the unprecedented flood disaster which devastated nine local government areas of the state, displacing close to a million people and destroying their houses, farms, possessions and livelihood. The governor added that the past one year had been a watershed in the annals of the state, saying that he remained undaunted by the challenges facing the state. He told the people that his administration has tried in the face of these challenges and limited financial resources, to record some modest achievements within one year through the programmes that have been initiated or inherited and executed.

National Mirror


Monday, February 4, 2013


Nigeria’s axis of hope THE MUCH I CAN HeartBeat






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e Nigerians are unlucky lot; we have no destiny with poverty given the enormous natural endowment spread across the country. Unforunately, we are an underperforming country because those saddled with the responsibility of converting our nature’s free gifts into welfare boosting capital have not lived up to expectations. The raging controversy over how N10.6 trillion left in the coffer in 2007 by the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo administration was squandered by the two succeeding administrations underscores the depth of deficit governance in the country. Imagine how the efficient deployment of N10.6 trillion ($67bn) would have lifted our objective material position. However, let us be comforted with the fact that when we have many leaders, some would be good, some others bad. In spite of our gloom, we still have oases of positive governance we can point at in the country. I have had occasions to traverse Ogun and Osun states in recent time; I maintain regular touch with Edo (my state), under Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, I domicile in Lagos and so I have first hand touch with the good work Governor

AND MISERISATION THAT STARE HIM EVERYWHERE HE GOES Babatunde Fashola is doing; and I was in Anambra in 2009 for Nigerian Guild of Editors assignment. Governor Peter Obi is unarguably a blessing to that state. In a country where political imbecility, crass opportunism and gaping void between the people’s expectations and reality on ground underline the gaping poverty of the nation’s ruling political class, the governors of these states offer a flint of hope for us. Let me say also there are cheering developments from Rivers and Ekiti states. These governors are contemporary Nigeria’s political greats, given their uncanny ability to translate intellectual and practical wisdom into positive actions on behalf of the public good. I am silent on other states because informed commentaries are based on facts. And so, what you do not know or see, you do not write about. So, forgive me for this selective perception. My focus in this piece is the ongoing silent revolution in Osun State. In just

two years, Governor Aregbesola has proved how disciplined thought could produce quality actions. He has put in place policies and programmes that are producing startling results. The governor has tremendously invested in social infrastructure provisioning as well as human capital development. He has built strong goodwill with the people so much that the political aura in the state connects well with the strategic enforcement frame works for implementing the policies and programmes of his government. The ensuing result is an enduring and deeply rooted development. Studies have shown that good political leadership requires a combination of charisma and integrity. In such polity, what is required is a statesman leader as opposed to a politician leader. A dynamic political leader would galvanise the people into dynamic followership, a proper mix for achieving uncommon results. This is the secret of the success of the transformation going on in Osun. On November 30, I was in Osogbo for the second anniversary of Aregbesola’s enthronement. There I witnessed the empathy that flowed between him and his people. He danced like them and among them, ate what they ate and shared their anxieties. The symmetry of the political currents that flowed between him and his people, he has always maintained, is the very reason why he could walk freely among them in the monthly walk for healthy living (my own phrase) without entertaining any security fears.

Ogbeni Aragbesola has simplified governance, removing its esoteric. If there is a people’s government in Nigeria, Osun qualifies for one. Recognising the nexus between the state’s substructure and its superstructure, he has reordered the socio-political values of the state, using the Omoluabi concept, a concept which emphasizes honesty, decency, hard work, contentment, integrity and selflessness – Yorubaland’s traditional core values. The cultural renaissance in Osun has been the fertilizer needed to blossom this home grown development paradigm. Many see him as an enigma, others fear him for what they perceive as his extreme Islamism; some refer to him as a Marxist. For the last label, the much I can tell about him is that his politics and policies are driven by the pervasive poverty and miserisation that stare him everywhere he goes. And for this reason, all his policies and programmes are peoplecentred. For Aregbesola, the big picture is a Nigeria of equal opportunities, which is why he is advocating for a Federal Government funded Marshal Plan to combat the poverty ravaging the North. A poverty stricken North, he always says, would forever remain one of the nation’s fault lines. However, he finds it an aberration that most women in the North, about half of the region’s population, should be rendered idle on account of religion, while more than half of the male population is shockingly unprepared for the challenges of life. How is this conviction for a fanatic Muslim!

Of grace, power and pride ABDUL-WAREES SOALANKE


ach of us all has something to be proud of. It is our grace. Our grace is in our individual nature and worth, our skills and talents, our intellect and accomplishments, our positions or stations in life, the beauty of our spouses and the bounties of children that are our blessings. But there is a saying that if you have it, you flaunt it. That is, there is nothing bad in showing off what we have, according to that saying. We should rejoice or revel in our blessings. Unfortunately, the more we celebrate our endowments, the more we are considered to be proud or arrogant by other persons outside our frame. Pride or arrogance, however, might not be deliberate on the part of the endowed. It might not even be innate in the one we see as proud. But because the one seeing him in that prism lacks that grace, he considers him proud, out of envy or jealousy. From this dialectics, it seems to me that the one that shows off will always be a victim of some sort. Or, if what or how we celebrate or exalt ourselves denigrates the other that is not as fortunate who therefore, reacts to our attitude in disproportionate and negative mea-

sures that can clip wings or cut to size. Could this be the reason for the saying: “Pride goes before a fall?” So, when we are blessed or opportune, what should be the right attitude? Is it by exuding an arrogance of superiority? Is it by partying in owambe way, making nonsense of naira and dollars in the way some rain it on musicians as they shower them with superlative praises? Is it by publicity or promotion and undue exultation on the newspaper pages? Is it by multiplying in the symbols of success amassing all sorts of jeeps and limousines or erecting jawdropping mansions that no one will be able to maintain after their death, to the amazement of others? Is it by stupefying indulgences and revelries at seven star hotels, casinos and clubs? Is it by imposition of unattainable standards on others to prove worth? Or, is it by supercilious attitude to humiliate the disadvantaged? Is it by power show, power dressing? Of course, without adopting some of these ways, we are not likely to be recognized for who we are, what we have and where we are. We are not likely to be seen as powerful. Unfortunately, there is just a thin divide between pride and power. Therefore, if pride is synonymous with power, there are other realities of power, taken from the apho-


SKILLS AND TALENTS, OUR INTELLECT AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS rism, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The first of these realities is that power accentuates ambition as man is almost always insatiable in his quests. The second reality is power tends to disconnect because the more we grow in power, the more we are likely to look down on others. Another reality is that power, as wine, has intoxicating potentials if we are soaked in it or we are unnecessarily showered adoration for it. Similarly, it has the potentials to enslave the one who wields it if it is so much and he dreads losing it. In all these, we do everything to multiply our grace if we revel in the accolades that it brings us and fashion all weapons to retain our power if we dread losing it. But the tragedy of this is that in multiplying our grace or protecting our power and prestige, we may not know when we cross the bounds of reason to crush the pride of others. Sometimes, we consciously or deliberately

suffocate and even annihilate our perceived enemies and real competitors. We scheme and dribble. We deploy all forms of arsenals: intimidation and coercion and with sleight of hand. We are blind to the interest, survival and pride of others. The end justifies the means, we are likely to say. In this immersion in intoxicating show of eminence, we are, however, likely to forget that man does not really have absolute power, nor is he immune from dangers that deflate pride, daggers that stab dreams or calamities that incinerate wealth. Many who are not conscious of this reality actually play God! They are almost always beyond reproach and are also unapproachable. They are too tall to stoop low for others. To them, humility is a human frailty. Meekness is a weakness. Modesty isn’t a virtue. Patience is a feminine attribute. Compassion is a vice. Brashness is a beauty. There is the need therefore, to recognize that everlasting grace comes from the Most High, to whom the grace should be dedicated through gratitude, praise and service. Solanke,, is Head, Voice of Nigeria Training Centre, Ikorodu, Lagos



Monday, February 4, 2013

National Mirror

All the Facts, All the Sides All the Facts, All the Sides




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Henry Okah’s conviction and MEND’s threats

ollowing the Monday, January 21, 2013 conviction of the leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) and prime suspect of the October 1, 2010 Eagle Square, Abuja bomb blasts, Mr. Henry Okah, by a South African court in Johannesburg, and a similar judgment earned by another suspect of the attack, Mr. Edmund Ebiware, from an Abuja Federal High Court last Friday, MEND has been threatening the nation with fire and brimstone. In a January 23 statement credited to one Comrade Azizi, the group reportedly said the Nigerian government had seen nothing, and that the disintegration of the country would start with MEND’s retaliatory violence. The militant group also threatened to deal with government officials and their family members. It told South Africans to leave Nigeria and barred top government officials from the Niger Delta region. Included among the top government functionaries barred from the region is the Minister of Niger Delta Ministry, Godsday Orubebe. In its response, Monday, the Federal Government, through the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, stated that it expected more of a remorseful and patriotic MEND than outlandish threats. The Public




Relations Officer of the Joint Task Force (JTF), Lt. Col. Onyeama Nwachukwu, had earlier dismissed the threats as coming from pockets of persons who had sympathy for Okah. He said the JTF “had done its operational appreciation ready for moments like this”. Still fresh in the nation’s memory, however, were the embarrassing bomb attacks few metres away from the main bowl of the Eagle Square, venue of the country’s 50th Independence Anniversary activities on October 1, 2010. Two car bombs exploded near the new complex of the Federal High Court on Shehu Shagari Way, Abuja, leading to the death of about 12 people, with many others injured. MEND had earlier warned in a statement of its intention to bomb the venue of the event and claimed responsibility after

the attack. Until Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja broke the jinx on Friday, January 25 with the conviction of Ebiware, the trial of other suspects held for the bombing in Nigeria had been crawling at snail speed. Many of them are yet to be convicted, and that is if they ever will, despite the grave security breach and the destruction of lives and property involved. Taking cognisance of the nation’s impotent criminal justice system, it is not surprising that Okah’s men are, perhaps, puzzled by the quick dispensation of justice against Okah by the South African judiciary, which unlike Nigeria’s, takes the punishment of criminals seriously. Yet, MEND’s current threats and effrontery seem a vindication of the public outrage that trailed President Goodluck Jonathan’s precipitate remark shortly after the bombing, that MEND was not responsible for the attack. And while the JTF has dismissed the threats as coming from a fake and disgruntled group, the nation’s experience on the FG’s handling of the Boko Haram insurgence portrays us as a nation where security can be breached in grave proportions without any let or hindrance. Therefore, the FG should gird its loins to decisively deal with any

security threat that MEND might pose. The foremost duty of any government is the protection of life and property. But the FG has lived up to this responsibility in the breach since 2009 when the Boko Haram commenced its campaign of violence. Besides, it is sickening that the convictions of former Delta State governor, James Ibori and now, Okah, are recorded in foreign countries. This seems a rankling indication that such countries are more committed to bringing Nigerians involved in high profile crimes against their country to justice than Nigerian courts. Like the Nigerian Bar Association once pointed out, a sound criminal justice system in any nation is a precursor to economic growth, political stability and social equilibrium, while the reverse heralds a pariah state avoided by both foreign and domestic investors. The Jonathan government should get the nation’s law enforcement, judicial and reformatory institutions to be at their best. The FG should muster the political will to deliver a modern criminal justice system that can make Nigerian judges bold, courageous and irrevocably committed to the cause of justice. For its part, the National Assembly should make the right laws that can sustain a vibrant criminal justice system.

ON THIS DAY February 4, 2010 The Federal Court of Australia’s ruling in Roadshow Films v iiNet ruled that Internet service providers (ISPs) are not responsible for what their users do with the services the ISPs provide them. Roadshow Films Pty Ltd & others v iiNet Ltd was a case between members of the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) and other movie and television studios and iiNet, Australia’s second-largest Internet service provider (ISP).

February 4, 2006 A stampede occurred in the ULTRA Stadium near Manila killing 71 people. The Philippine Institute of Sports Arena or PhilSports Arena is an indoor sporting arena located inside the PhilSports Complex in Pasig, Philippines. It was formerly known as the University of Life Training and Recreational Arena or the ULTRA. The arena and its surrounding sports complex are maintained by the Philippine Sports Commission.

February 4, 2004 Facebook, a mainstream online social networking site, was founded by Mark Zuckerberg. As of September 2012, Facebook had over one billion active users, more than half of them using Facebook on a mobile device. Users must register before using the site, after which they may create a personal profile, add other users as friends, and exchange messages, including automatic notifications when they update their profile.

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Business Courage

Monday, February 4, 2013

National Mirror


A clog in the

wheel Stakeholders in the maritime business insist that the failure of the Federal Government to institutionalise the appropriate legal framework into the ports operations in the country has posed a major stumbling block to the realisation of the objectives of the port reform By Francis Ezem


ore than eight years after the completion of port reforms, industry stakeholders have continued to blame the persistent inefficiency in Nigerian ports on the failure of the Federal Government to put in place adequate legal framework. Last week, the Ports Consultative Council (PCC), re-echoed the frustrations of the industry stakeholders when it said though the Federal Government may have meant well with the port reform exercise, the fact that the required legal framework that would make it work has not been put in place has continued to cast strong doubt on the genuineness of the government’s action. The Bureau of Public Enterprises had forwarded a draft Port and Harbour Bill designed to give a legal backing to the port concession programme and also spell out functions and duties of the concessionaires that emerged in the course of the programme including the issue of cargo claims Vice chairman of PCC, Abiola Ajetunmobi, while speaking during a joint visit by the Cargo Defence Fund (CDF), Nigeria Insur-

ers Association (NIA) and Guild of Marine Surveyors, said the absence of a legal frame work would continue to mar efficient cargo handling at the ports. The visit was at the instance of secretary of the CDF, Azuka Ogo in collaboration with NIA in reaction to series of complains to its secretariat by importers and exporters on mishandling of their cargo at the port. The Fund had requested for terminal operators to set up as a matter of urgency claims desks or designation of claims officers at all terminals as well as calling for agreement on procedures for joint survey in event of cargo loss or damage. Ajetunmobi, who spoke against the background of a request by the CDF on the urgent need for a total system change at the ports especially in terms of cargo handling, said that one major flaw of the port concession exercise has been the inadequacy of legal backing on issues like cargo handling. “It is a problem, though we have been able to do a lot at the House of Representatives, we believe the National Assembly should address this issue as a matter of urgency,” he said. The PCC vice chairman disclosed that before the reform, Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) was

in full charge of commercial activities regarding cargo handling and that there were set out procedures of settling any mishap or problem that arises in the cause of cargo handling. “When NPA was in charge of cargo handling, there were spelt out procedures on cargo loss or damage as stipulated in the NPA Act but this is totally lacking with the new port reform,” he said. According to him, if there were adequate legal framework, it would have been easier to establish where liability lies when there is a case of cargo loss or damage. He insisted that terminal operators should be compelled to set up claims desk, which he noted would address this challenge in the short run while the passage of the Ports and Harbour Bill will solve the problem permanently. He argued that shipping lines operating in the country have help desks and so it will not be out of place to ask the terminal operators to set up such desks so that the officers in charge would manage such problems associated with such challenges. “Exporters and importers should also be well educated on mari-

time matters and should work with educated agents to minimise risks, while the CDF is expected to continue to sensitise exporters and importers as well as other cargo interests”, he further argued. A maritime surveyor, Monday Ogadina, also said that the current system has become difficult in terms of cargo loss and damage more than five years after the port concession. “There are no clear cut approaches to such issues and things in the current system have been made difficult for marine surveyors whenever there is need for their services over cargo that is under dispute”, he said. “We find it difficult to operate because the entire system is now

made so be difficult. You are not allowed to take photos. Where there is a dispute, the terminal operators hide their registers and everybody keeps claiming that he or her is not responsible but no proof will ever be produced and when you force your way further to extricate details, you now face serious frustrations” Ogadina further lamented. Chairman of the PCC, Kunle Folarin, who reacted to these issues, stated that the port reform only took place five years ago and so the terminal operators who according to him have very few years to cover their investments should be allowed to flow, believing that all these challenges would be addressed in the course of time.





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Senator Idris Umar, Transport minister

Habibu Abdullahi, MD, Nigerian Ports Plc

“The terminal operators have between 10 and 15 years for their concession agreements to end so they are still new in the system given that this is first of its kind in Nigeria but I share

with you that things are actually not perfect but we have to think of total system change”, Folarin argued In the same vein, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council also believes

that most of the problems and challenges facing the Nigerian port industry today are due to the hurried nature in which the reform was carried out without any form of preparation. The council said that its position was informed by the myriads of problems facing the industry like excessive and multiple charges, slow cargo clearance process, high cargo dwell time, congestion, which it said, informed the decision of importers to divert Nigeria-bound cargoes to neighbouring seaports in search of efficiency, conducive business environment and lower charges. This development, it says, should have been done away with five years after the exercise. The director of commercial shipping of the council, Dabney Shall-Holma, said that though concessioning of the nation’s seaports was good, as it is the best way of enhancing port efficiency globally thereby reducing cost, she however regretted that the government merely placed the cart before the horse, as no extensive research was made, which she said is the main source of problems plaguing the system. She noted that the standard for port reform anywhere in the world is that the enabling legislation would be put in place first, followed by the creation of the regulator, which functions would be carefully spelt out and made known to every prospective stakeholder in the emerging system. “You must determine the punitive measures, the models must be clearly spelt out, the bidders must know the terms and conditions and what is going to be their roles if they win the bids, among others”, she argued. What the government succeeded in doing, according to her, was to remove a public monopoly (NPA) and created private monopolies, a development she argued leads to cartels, which

does not make for competition and so cost of services would not be determined by the interplay of the forces of demand and supply. Shall-Holma also disclosed that there is an avalanche of port charges numbering over 39 comprising shipping company charges, terminal handling charges, container deposit, container cleaning charges, demurrage charges Cost –on-Turnover charges, transfer and tally clerk charges, among several others. She argued that these inadequacies make it expedient for the government to create a commercial regulator with power of sanctions in order to save the industry from crisis. Shipping experts also argued that while the indigenous cargo owners (shippers) are weak and fragmented, the foreign shipping service providers are organised and formidable and so more often than not, the determine both the freight and other conditions for the carriage of the cargo, which ought to be done by the shipper being the pivotal partner in the deal. Industry sources hinted Business Courage last week that the Federal Government was not well aware of the challenges which industry stakeholders have repeatedly insisted to be holding back the success of the port reform. In fact, an inside source said last week that, a former minister of transport had in a memo to President Goodluck Jonathan dated April 26, 2010 with reference number FMOT/HM/ COR.SH/234 analyzed the problems of the maritime sector. The source insisted that one of the most genuine steps ever taken on ports reform was the maritime security conference convened by President Jonathan recently where issues hampering smooth ports operations in the country were discussed. The minister’s memo to the

president tagged “accelerating the completion of transport industry reform programme” stated that there was an urgent need to review the current operational problems being experienced particularly with the on-going Nigeria sea ports and railways sector reform programs. “Prior to the ongoing reform, activities at the ports authority were characterized by inefficiency and unattractive port services. The ports were generally characterized by long turnaround time for cargo and vessels, insecurity of cargo, multiple government agencies which discourage shippers and international maritime operators. “As a result of the above, the Federal Government undertook the reform and restructuring of NPA in November 2001 when the ports modernization project study was commissioned. This study was undertaken by a consortium of consultants led by the Royal Hasconing BV of Netherlands. The aim of the reform was to achieve an increased efficiency of the ports operations, decrease the costs for port services to port users, boost economic activities and accelerate economic development in the country. On the legality of the activities of the concessionaires at the seaports, the minister had stated in the memo that the NPA Act did not envisage the current landlord port models since the act only allows for a five-year lease under section 8(j), (i), (x) of the Act as against the current 10, 20 and 25 years concession period granted to the concessionaires. “It is therefore imperative for Your Excellency to give approval to the ministry of transport to carry out an evaluation of the terminal operators in order to measure their performances and the need to renew their leases or otherwise. In the absence of a new port reform bill being passed into law and providing for long term leases, there may be justifications after the evaluation report to re-open negotiations with some of the terminal operators that might have performed below expectations or new participants to be invited as the case may be. “Despite the modest achievements recorded as a result of the port reforms and concession, NPA is in transition and must be nurtured rapidly to stand as a big landlord that can develop its own seaports master plan and execute it with third party collaboration,” the memo read. The memo also frowned at the absence of a comprehensive legal framework for the ports adding that the legal framework for the ports reform and concession was predicated on the port and harbour authority Bill. “Since the concession exercise was undertaken over 14 years ago, the Bill is yet to be passed by the National Assembly,” it said. BC

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Broadband: Bridge to the digital gap? There is a spirited effort by the government to increase broadband penetration in the country as a way of deepening internet penetration and bridge the digital gap. How far can we go? By Florence Onuegbu


hen the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) was introduced in Nigeria in 2001, many people then believed that the country has finally closed the digital gap. As a result of the excitement, many Nigerians bought the Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards for their handsets at the cost of over N15, 000 per one. With time, people began to realise that the GSM technology alone cannot bridge the digital divide between Nigeria and the developed economies. With this realisation, analysts say there is an urgent need for the broadband, a system designed for high-speed transmission of huge volume of electronic data, while also incorporating voice. To achieve this, Omobola Johnson, the Minister of Communications Technology, set up a committee on Aug. 25, 2011 to harmonise all existing policies governing the telecommunications industry into a single National ICT Policy. The minister underscored the need to address the issue of the ``Right-of-Way’’ if Nigeria truly wanted to attain the ``broadband revolution.’’ Even as she conceded that the procurement of a ``Right-of-Way’’ was very expensive. ``Right-ofWay’’ entails obtaining of approval by telecommunication companies from relevant government agencies for the erection of base stations The minister, however, noted that the 50 per cent cost, which the issuance of ``Rightof-Way’’ attracted in infrastructure deployment in the country, was the highest in the world today. According to her, the maintenance of the infrastructure is also high due to vandalism, power problems and wanton theft after the infrastructure’s deployment. ``No right thinking infrastructure provider will invest in the deployment of infrastructure if this situation prevails and we will continue to have tremendous underutilised capacity of international bandwidth,’’ she said. Johnson noted that in some states, the providers of broadband infrastructure had to


contend with as many as seven Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and local government councils to get permission to erect base stations or lay fibre-optic cables. ``Further work has to be done to remove the obstacles and constraints which state governments put in the way of the deployment of these infrastructure,’’ she added. She, nonetheless, stressed that the ``speed of broadband service is bringing about innovations that were impossible at narrow and medium band speeds. ``Nigeria’s path to a broadband policy takes into cognisance our local realities and context. Broadband connectivity for accelerated communication is now a sine qua non for any country that wants


to remain globally competitive,’’ she, however, added. Nevertheless, Dr Eugene Juwah, the Executive ViceChairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), said that in the past two years, broadband had dominated global discussions in the telecommunications industry. He noted that the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) championed the broadband issue by setting up the Broadband Commission for Digital Development in 2010. He, nonetheless, stressed that Nigeria was not left out in the quest for broadband as the NCC was working very hard to take advantage of existing broadband technologies and services. Juwah said that the NCC

had adopted the ``Open Access Model’’ to accelerate broadband development in the country. He said that the model would unbundle the broadband infrastructure market structure into three layers, which comprised the passive, the active and the retail layers. ``This structure will ensure vibrancy in the market and prevent dominance, as no company taking part in the programme will be allowed to operate in more than two of the service layers. Implementation of this model will bridge existing gaps in broadband deployment, eliminate barriers in long-haul transmission, address last-mile issues. The model will reduce the price of bandwidth for end users, resuscitate fixed telephony and unlock the market for massive

broadband usage in Nigeria,’’ he said. All the same, Lanre Ajayi, the President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), said that the sector had performed well, using the yardstick of voice telephony penetration. He said that in the last one year, the number of Nigerians being activated on voice telephony had continued to increase. However, Emmanuel Ekwuem, Chief Executive Officer of Teledom Group, said that what was witnessed in the telecommunications industry in the last one year was a continuation of what had been on ground. ``Nothing spectacular, nothing outstanding has happened in the last one year. But we are hoping that with the ICT policy, 2013 will usher in an era of vibrancy, an era of excitement, an era of enthusiasm, an era of patronage for `assembled-in-Nigeria’ ICT products,’’ he said. Ekwuem said that Nigerians had yet to get the full benefits of broadband, attributing the development to insufficient public awareness of what broadband was. ``Broadband revolution is a much bigger revolution, it is an extensive revolution but we have not even scratched the surface because of insufficient public awareness,’’ he added. Ekwuem stressed that broadband would facilitate e-government, e-learning, ehealthcare services, e-commerce, among others. Sharing similar sentiments, Deolu Ogunbanjo, President of the National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS), said that data services, voice and other telecommunications services would be much better with broadband. All the same, telecomm experts urge the government to harness the vast potential of broadband, saying it would help to reduce unemployment in the country, while boosting the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). While they welcome the harmonised National ICT Policy, they, nonetheless, appeal to the government to sustain efforts to develop the ICT sector. BC Onuegbu works with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN

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(L-R)Lazarus Angbazo - President and CEO GE Nigeria, Jay Ireland – President and CEO GE Africa, Jeff Immelt – Global Chairman and CEO GE, Aliko Dangote – President Dangote Group at a meeting in Lagos where a strategic agreement was signed between Dangote Group and General Electric

GE partners Dangote Group on power, transportation, others


s part of efforts to address infrastructural gaps in Nigeria, Dangote Industries Limited (DIL),last week in Lagos signed a strategic agreement with General Electric (GE) to collaborate on power, transportation and oil and gas projects. GE is a global leader in the design, manufacture, supply, installation and maintenance of technology and services for the power sector. The strategic co-operation agreement was signed during a meeting between the President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote and GE Global Chairman, Jeffrey Immelt. At the meeting, both parties agreed to explore opportunities for investment in infrastructural projects. The agreement covers projects for the design, production and sales of GE aero-derivative gas turbine power generation packages in Nigeria and other selected countries in Sub Saharan Africa, strategic cooperation in the independent power production sector in Nigeria with GE serving as a technical partner/potential investor and Dangote Group as financial investors. Dangote Group and GE are to jointly invest in the upgrading and development of modern railway infrastructure for Nigeria. They also agreed to collaborate on projects in the oil and gas sector. Aliko Dangote and Jeffrey Immelt expressed happiness at the collaboration between the two leading conglomerates for the purpose of infrastructural development in Nigeria and the rest of Africa. The two executives are hopeful that the two companies would put expertise together to provide world class services in the provision of the

infrastructures which African countries are in dire need of. Sounding upbeat about the ability of the two firms to change the face of infrastructure in Africa, Dangote and Immelt pointed out that with Dangote Group as one of the largest diversified conglomerates in Africa in the area of cement, foodstuffs manufacturing, logistics and real estate and GE, a global leader in the design manufacture, supply and installation of technologies and services, the partnership would no doubt be capable of addressing not only Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit but the rest of Africa.


Infrastructure Master Plan is key to national devt- Usman By Tola Akinmutimi (Abuja)


he Minister of National Planning, NPC, Dr Shamsuddeen Usman, has identified a coordinated approach to physical infrastructure capacity building as key to ongoing efforts aimed at achieving a broad-based sustainable development of the country.

The Minister, who made the submission at the inauguration of the National Steering Committee, Business Support Group, National Technical Working Group and the Technical Working Groups for the Development of the National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (NIIMP) for Nigeria at the weekend in Abuja, pointed out that it had become imperative for stakeholders involved in infrastructure building to adopt the approach in their projects implementation for improved result-based investments. Dr Usman highlighted the background for the development of the project when he informed the Steering Committee members that President Jonathan had last September directed the NPC to coordinate the development of the framework, and that following the successful completion of the draft framework, the Federal Executive Council adopted it at its November 21, 2012. He explained that the NIIMP was designed as a policy framework for strengthening linkages between infrastructure sectors and the national economy, harmonisation and integration of various infrastructure plans, prioritisation of projects and programmes, and promotion of private sector participation. Justifying the need for the plan, the Minister also revealed that, even in Africa, Nigeria’s ranking is law, and the country experiences, such as seen in India and Malaysia, underscored the need for the NIIMP in Nigeria, pointing out further that, the infrastructure stock in Nigeria was inadequate and as such, an enhanced planning is required for us to compete in the modern world. As part of the methodology for the development of the NIIMP, the minister spoke

further on the participatory approach with broad spectrum of stakeholders and the direct technical inputs and interfaces to be provided by the Technical Working Groups. “The NIIMP would be finalised by April 2013, and Implementation commences in 2014. The Master Plan Implementation period is 30 years, with three numbers 10year Strategic Plans and six numbers five-year Operational Plans” he added. Usman listed enhanced economic growth, employment generation and wealth creation’ prioritised projects and programmes, robust framework for infrastructure development, enabling environment for investment, and efficient allocation of resources, amongst the key benefits of the Master Plan. The inauguration of the Committee was performed by the Vice President and Chairman of NPC, Architect Mohammed Namadi Sambo, last Thursday at the Presidential Villa.

would continue to focus on improving the quality of life of the people in the state. The governor urged leaders of the association to ensure transparency in the distribution of the money to the victims. He also promised members of the community that government would improve the infrastructure such as hospitals, roads, schools, as well as provide security to ensure the safety of lives and property. Emir of Tsafe, Habib Yandoto, commended the state government for its intervention to alleviate the sufferings of the victims. Yandoto said that the kind gesture would go a long way in cushioning the effect of the disaster. One of the beneficiaries, Abubakar Muhammad, commended the state government, and assured that the money would be judiciously utilised. The money was received by leaders of Danjibga Community Development Association on behalf of the victims.

ICAN institutes grant for Abia poly lecturers



Zamfara donates N11m to windstorm victims


he Zamfara Government has donated N11 million to victims affected by windstorm at Danjibga village, Tsafe Local Government Area of the state. It would be recalled that torrential windstorm had devastated the village late in 2012, destroying property worth millions of naira. Governor Abdulazeez Yari said that the state government was determined to assist victims of all kinds of disasters to ease their sufferings. Yari, who was represented by his deputy, Ibrahim Wakkala, said that it was the responsibility of the government to assist its people while in need. ``Prophet Muhammad enjoins all Muslim leaders to assist his people.’’ He said that government recently awarded contract for the construction of Wanke-danjibga road at the cost of about N10 billion as part of efforts to improve socioeconomic activities in the area. Yari said that government

he Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) has instituted a N500,000 grant to any accountancy lecturer from the Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, who wishes to pursue a doctorate degree. Adedoyin Owolabi, the President of ICAN announced the plan last Friday when he paid a courtesy visit to the rector of the institution. He said the gesture was ICAN’s way to encourage lecturers of tertiary institutions to update their knowledge in accounting. The president expressed the determination of ICAN to partner with the polytechnic in manpower development and other areas. He said the institute would also train two lecturers of the polytechnic who would in turn train others in modern accounting methods to enable the polytechnic to produce quality accountants.


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Louisa Olaloku, an Executive Director with Enterprise Bank Limited, who represented the chief host and the bank’s Managing Director/ CEO, Ahmed Kuru, addressing members and participants at the last meeting of the Committee of Chief Compliant Officers of Banks in Nigeria (CCCOBN), which held in Lagos recently. She is flanked by the committee’s executive members: Olusiji Adeyinka of Standard Chartered Bank Limited (right) and Pattison Boleigha of Access Bank Plc

He said the ICAN would also donate computers, books and other educational materials to the polytechnic to enhance the learning process in its accountancy department. Addressing the students of the accountancy department later, the ICAN president said the institute had also instituted a scholarship scheme for indigent but brilliant students. Owolabi promised that any student who made distinction in the final examination and wished to enrol with ICAN, but had no money, would be trained free of charge by the institute. He, however, said such student must maintain high academic standards while at the institute, stressing that that failure would lead to withdrawal of the scholarship. The ICAN boss stressed the need for students to enrol in ICAN programmes to engage their spare times in reading instead of indulging in vices. Responding, the Rector of the polytechnic, Allwell Onukaogu, said it had bright students who would meet any standards required by ICAN for the scholarship programme. He assured the students that the institution would give them the opportunity to compete with others for academic excellence. Onukaogu promised to ensure that the partnership between ICAN and the polytechnic grew from strength to strength.

improve upon the 530,000 tonnes it currently produced. He said that the state government had resolved to increase the land under cultivation and improve the output per unit area. ``If these two factors are taken care of, definitely, we will increase our production to over one million tonnes. We have keyed into the Agricultural Transformation programme of the Federal Government. We are so happy that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture has identified Niger State as having a major potential in rice production in this country,’’ he said. The commissioner said that the Federal Government had identified the listed the state for the rice value chain intervention development under the support of African Development Bank (AfDB). Other states pencilled down under the same intervention programme are Anambra, Kogi and Enugu. Abdullahi recalled that the government had put in place the Niger State Rice Investment Consortium (NSRIC) to help farmers increase production. He added that the government had deployed 25 tractors to the rice farms for the farmers’ use. The commissioner explained that following the procurement of the machinery, youths in the state had shown interest in agriculture. He told NAN that the state

Niger committed to boosting rice production –Commissioner


he Niger Government has reiterated its commitment to boosting rice production in the country. Muhammad Abdullahi, the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the state was determined to

Babangida Aliyu, governor, Niger State

government had also moved ahead to rehabilitate the BidaBadeggi Rice mill, which had the capacity to produce 30,000 tonnes per annum. He said that the government was also encouraging the numerous small-scale rice processors in the State. ``The paddy we produce in Niger, we do not even process half of it. So, we want to brand now because majority of the rice you see around comes from our state. We want to ensure that what we produce is being milled in our environment; we add value and we brand it,’’ Abdullahi said.

refineries to boost supply of petroleum products. Omoweh suggested that NNPC should operate like a commercial entity and for the National Assembly to urgently pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), to bring professionalism to the sector. He expressed support for the proposed Petroleum Host Communities Fund in the bill. The professor said that the 13 per cent derivation for the oil producing communities could not adequately address the environmental effects of oil exploration. He said that the environmental effects of the oil exploration in oil producing communities had devastating effects on the environment resulting in hostilities in the affected communities. Omoweh was in Abuja to deliver a lecture entitled: ``Deepening the Understanding of Operations in the Oil and Gas Sector’’ at advocacy training on transparency and accountability. The training was organised by the African Centre for Leadership Strategy and Development.

Mining sector to contribute five per cent to GDP by 2015



Don calls for unbundling of NNPC


rofessor Daniel Omoweh, a Political Scientist, at the Covenant University, Ota in Ogun has stressed the need for the unbundling of NNPC to ensure transparency and accountability in its operations. Omoweh also advised the Federal Government to ensure the commercialisation of NNPC and privatisation of its organs, such as PPPRA. The political scientist said corruption in the petroleum sector was a clarion call on the stakeholders in the industry to restore sanity in to the sector. He advocated a comprehensive reform of the downstream sector, overhauling of domestic

annually by 2015. It also projected that steel production would rise by 12.2 million by 2020. The report projected that global and regional aluminum and steel products would be 100,000 tonnes per year of primary aluminum and three million tonnes per annum by 2020. It quoted President Goodluck Jonathan as saying that the road map would enhance capacity to supply 50 per cent of the skilled manpower required for all segments of the minerals and metals sector. The roadmap was unveiled by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, last Thursday in Abuja.

he mining sector will contribute five per cent growth to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2015. The figure will be an improvement over the current 0.4 per cent contributed to the GDP by the sector as at 2012. The projection is contained in the 2012 Road map on Solid Minerals Development made made available at the weekend. The report also stated that the GDP will also increase by 10 per cent by 2020. It projected the creation of three million indirect jobs by 2015 and the production of coal to power plants that would contribute 30 per cent of electricity generation by 2020. The report said that revitalising the steel sector for operation and production, would produce three million tones of liquid steel



UK students plans youth entrepreneurial round-table in Abuja


igerian students studying in the United Kingdom (UK) are planning a youth entrepreneurial round-table in Abuja to develop the potentials of youths in the country. Olalekan Oshunkoya, the President of the Nigerian Students Association in the Diaspora, UK chapter, who disclosed this in an interview, said that the conference would hold in July. He said that essence of the round-table conference was to sensitise young people to the ways of developing their potentials. Oshunkoya noted that lack of employment for young people after graduation retarded progress and hampered the process of nation building. He, however, decried crave by the youth to travel abroad in their quest to make quick money, adding that such attitude was inimical to the ability of the youth to explore their potentials. He expressed optimism that the planned round-table conference would help to promote entrepreneurial skills development and boost the

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News youth participation in nation building process. “We are actually looking at the potential of young people; we know Nigeria has been dependent on oil for a very long time, but what is the future of Nigeria? What are other things we can do; where are the potentials, what are the entrepreneurial opportunities in those areas? We are bringing stakeholders in government; in private sector to look at it, everybody visiting Nigeria what they see is just oil, there are other things that you cannot see. We are going to expose those things in a global round-table and debate it, and expose young people to career opportunities outside the traditional oil industry,” he said. Oshunkoya said the fact that we are outside the country doesn’t mean they are no longer part of the government anymore. “Another thing we are doing in July, taking place in Abuja is Nigerian students’ enterprise conference. We are going to be having the Nigerian students’ enterprise conference, to let young Nigerians and students know, that there is a potential for Nigeria beyond oil,” he said. He advised youth interested in pursuing education abroad to garner experience in choice field of study to enable them actualise their aspiration. Oshunkoya, a law student at Coventry University UK, said that there was nothing wrong with wanting to school abroad to get exposed to superior knowledge and expertise. According to him, there are 40, 000 Nigerian students in across the UK, adding that the problem lies in the failure by young people to observe necessary protocols that would prepare them to face the challenges of studying abroad. “It is never easy anywhere; every nation of the world have their own problem, but if we can remain focused and go about things the right way in this country, there will be development,” he said.

ICT, Computers

Experts harp on importance of early knowledge


oniface Okonkwo, Managing Director, Information System Limited, has said that Information and Communication Technology

(ICT) knowledge in primary and secondary schools should be intensified. Okonkwo who spoke in Lagos bemoaned the low level of ICT knowledge at the primary and post-primary levels when compared with what obtained in other developing nations. According to him, many pupils in Nigerian schools cannot compete with their foreign counterparts due to poor background on ICT knowledge. He said that boosting ICT knowledge in pupils and students would raise the standard of education in the country. “Stakeholders, such as Ministry of Education, educationists and school managements, must ensure teachers are fully-trained and re-trained in acquiring ICT skills. “The pupils, especially in the public schools, cannot acquire basic ICT skills when their teachers have little or no knowledge in ICT,” he said. Okonkwo urged the Federal Government to also invest more in ICT infrastructure for the empowerment of the youths. Tunde Awoseni, Chief Executive of Global ICT Ltd, spoke in similar vein, advising that ICT should be made a compulsory subject in schools at all levels. Awoseni said that students should have good understanding of ICT by the time they left secondary school so that they would have a good foundation for the future. “What the schools need to do is to encourage the youth to channel the opportunities presented by ICT positively in order to help them in improving on their knowledge on it. A deliberate and systemic empowerment of the youths will ensure that the country participates gainfully in the unfolding knowledge economy through the ICT,” he said. He said that all hands must be on deck in ensuring that Nigerian schools competed favourably with their foreign counterparts.

(L-R) John Akingbade, Group Head, Liability Products/Bancassurance; Kikelomo Kuponiyi, Head Retail Loans; Abubakar Suleiman, Chief Finance Officer; Peju Ibekwe, Brand Management & Communications; Clement Agetu, Head, Brand Management & Communications and Justina Lewa, Company Secretary & Legal Adviser, all of Sterling Bank Plc at the clean-the-environment initiative embarked upon by the bank as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program held at Obalende, Lagos at the weekend.

inaugural lecture of the institution. The title of the lecture was ‘’Housing and Food Security: Now and in the Future Lesson from the Termites’’. According to him, more than 800 million people globally, including 300 million children go to bed hungry daily due to food insecurity. He advised the Federal Government to ensure that Nigerians had physical, economic and social access to food, if Vision 20:2020 is to be accomplished. ``The three tiers of government in the country must go beyond paying lip service to food security by ensuring that the people have physical, economic and social access to food, if Vision 20:2020 is to be accomplished.’’ He blamed the food shortages in the country on inadequate storage facilities, a development which, he said, had continued to affect the country’s economy and posed a threat to its national security. Alabadan then advised the three tiers of government in the country to embark on mass construction of silos, especially for small-scale farmers, to reduce food losses

40 per cent of Nigerians lack access to food – Don


orty per cent of Nigerians lack adequate access to food, in spite of the Federal Government’s investment in agriculture, a don said on Friday. Prof. Babatope Alabadan of the Agriculture Department of the Federal University of Technology, Minna, said this on Friday at the 25th

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, Minister of Agriculture

and increase local supplies. The silos, he said, would ensure food availability, accessibility, stability and utilization. They would also improve market resilience to external shocks; reduce losses and increases supplies to local market at affordable prices. According to the academic, food losses represent a significant cost to the economy and greatly impacts on the nation’s ability to feed the world. ``Losses affect food quality and safety, economic development and the environment,’’ he said.

Lagos, Ropeways sign deal on Cable Car Mass Transit By Adejuwon Osunnuyi


cable car company, Ropeways Transport Limited, is set to launch a cable car mass urban transit system in the nation’s commercial capital, Lagos. This followed the signing of a 30-year Franchise Agreement between Ropeways Transport Limited, the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) and the Lagos State Government recently. Under the terms of the Agreement, Ropeways Transport will in November begin the construction of towers, stations and connecting network cables along various routes covered in the first phase of the project, namely, Ijora – Iddo, Iddo – Adeniji, Apapa – Oluwole, Oluwole – Adeniji, Adeniji – Obalende, Obalende – Falomo, and Falomo – Victoria Island. The project is expected

to be fully completed and commissioned by early 2015. Speaking on this development, the Chief Executive Officer of Ropeways Transport Limited, Capt. Dapo Olumide expressed his belief that the Lagos cable car transit system would provide an alternative means of mass transportation in the city as it will help ease the current transportation hassles in Lagos and help restore dignity to commuting because the current situation hampers economic development within the city and negatively impacts the quality of life of its residents. “By complementing existing transport modes, the Lagos Cable Car Transit System will play its part in reducing the traffic congestion in the city” he said. According to him, studies show that Lagos will become the world’s 3rd largest city with 25million inhabitants by 2015, with approximately 12 million daily passenger movements and trips in the Lagos Metropolitan Area, set to increase at a rate of six per cent per annum. “The existing metropolitan highway infrastructure is severely constrained, with journeys to and from work within the city regularly exceeding three hours. BC

Babatunde Fashola, Lagos State governor

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Global News


China manufacturing growth in slowdown


hina has reported a small slowdown in manufacturing growth, underlining the challenges its new leaders face in spurring economic growth. China’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which surveys big firms, fell to 50.4 in January from 50.6 in December. However, HSBC said its PMI for China, which surveys smaller firms, rose to 52.3 in January, from 51.5. Analysts said volatility in the two measures was normal and the underlying trend was that of a recovery. The PMI is a key indicator of activity in the sector and a reading above 50 shows expansion. “The economy is in the midst of mid-cycle upswing... there is sufficient economic momentum and political impetus to ensure a continuation of the current expansionary phase,” said Alistair Thornton, senior China economist at IHS Global Insight. He added that manufacturing activity usually slowed around the Chinese New Year, while a colder-thannormal winter had caused problems for some firms. “Businesses may be taking a wait-and-see attitude prior to the government transition in March. It is important not to rush to the conclusion that the economy is taking a nose-dive again.” China’s manufacturing sector has been one of the biggest drivers of its growth over the past few decades. A key role in the sector’s success has been played by the availability of a large pool of low-cost labour, which has seen China become the destination of choice for many global firms looking to make goods cheaply. However, researchers at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have said that China’s pool of low cost labour is likely to decline in the next few years. “China is on the eve of a demographic shift that will have profound consequences on its economic and social landscape,” Mitali Das and Papa N’Diaye, IMF’s

researchers, said in a working paper released earlier last week. “Within a few years the working age population will reach a historical peak, and then begin a precipitous decline.” They added that the core of the working age population, those aged 20-39 years, has already begun to shrink and that China’s labour supply will cross a threshold between 2020 and 2025. They said that as the labour pool declines it will have “potentially far-reaching implications domestically and externally”. Such a shift will require China to rebalance its growth model from one fuelled by investment to one that is let by private consumption, they argue. In a separate release last month, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said that the number of people between the age of 15 and 59 decreased by 3.45 million to 937.27 million in 2012. Ma Jiantang, a director at the bureau was quoted by the China Daily as saying that it was the first such drop in “a considerable period of time”


Samsung gains tablet market share as Apple lead narrows


amsung doubled its share of the tablet PC market in the last three months of 2012, research firm IDC has said. Samsung, which makes the Galaxy range of tablets, sold 7.9 million units, up from 2.2 million a year ago, taking its market share to 15.1 per cent. Market-leader and iPadmaker Apple saw its share slide to 43.6 per cent from 51.7 per cent, despite also seeing a jump in sales. The two have been competing to get a greater share of the tablet PC market, seen as key to their overall growth. Global shipments of tablet PCs surged 75 per cent in the final quarter of 2012 to a record 52.5 million units. “We expected a very strong fourth quarter, and the market didn’t disappoint,” said Tom Mainelli, research director of tablets at IDC. “New product launches from the category’s top vendors, as well as new entrant Microsoft, led to a surge in consumer interest and very robust

shipments totals during the holiday season.” The numbers are in sharp contrast with the traditional personal computer market, which saw shipments decline during the quarter for the first time in more than five years. The tablet PC market is expected to grow further in the coming years. A number of firms have launched tablets in an attempt to cash in on the booming sector. Among the latest entrants has been Microsoft, which launched its Surface tablets, powered by the Windows 8 system, late last year. However, IDC said that the response to the firm’s tablets was “muted at best”. Microsoft shipped nearly 900,000 units in the three months to end of December.

economic motor of Frenchspeaking West Africa. Its economy grew by more than 8.5 per cent last year from a 4.7 per cent contraction in 2011 when a dispute over a presidential election result deteriorated into a brief civil war. Ivorian authorities are projecting sustained doubledigit growth beginning in 2013. Last year, the agriculture ministry announced plans to invest around $3.9 billion through 2015 to improve crop yields for its cocoa sector and become a rice exporter within four year.

Ivory Coast seeks to quadruple rice output


vory Coast will seek to quadruple its annual rice production to around 400,000 tonnes through a partnership agreed late last week with agricultural goods processor Louis Dreyfus Commodities, the company’s CEO said. The West African nation is a leading producer of agricultural commodities and is the world’s top cocoa grower. It was also a rice exporter until the 1970s but now imports around 1 million tonnes of its national staple food each year. “This is a project that aims to increase paddy (unmilled rice) production from around 100,000 tonnes to 400,000 tonnes,” Serge Schoen said following the announcement of the public-private partnership in the economic capital Abidjan. Schoen said the project planned to double both the amount of land used to grow rice and the output from existing farmland. It will also invest in irrigation infrastructure and build a processing factory. “We’re talking about an investment of 20 to 30 billion CFA francs ($41 million to $62 million) together with the Ivorian state,” he said. Following more than a decade of political turmoil that saw growth stagnate, Ivory Coast is in the midst of an economic revival and is seeking to regain its position as the



Eurozone manufacturing ‘on course’ for return to growth

zone is on course to return to growth by mid-2013,” he said. In Spain, the index rose from 44.6 in December to 46.1 last month. In Italy the index rose for the second month to 47.8 in January from 46.7 last month. However, in France the downturn deepened, with the manufacturing PMI for the bloc’s second-largest economy sinking to a four-month low of 42.9. “Confidence [in France] seems to have evaporated in the face of an increasingly uncertain economic environment, leading manufacturers to make sharper cuts to employment, purchasing and input stocks,” said Jack Kennedy, senior economist at Markit. Despite the better manufacturing news for the eurozone as a whole, the bloc’s continuing problems were underlined in the latest unemployment figures for December. Unemployment in the region remained at a euro-era high of 11.7 per cent, according to figures from the European Commission’s statistics agency, Eurostat. Although the figure was slightly lower than the 11.9 per cent forecast by many economists, it was still higher than the Commission’s yearend 11.3 per cent prediction.


he contraction of manufacturing across the eurozone slowed in January amid signs that the worst may be over, according to a survey. The Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 47.9, from 46.1 in December. The index has been below the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction since August 2011. But Markit’s chief economist Chris Williamson said the January data pointed to the eurozone returning to growth in mid-2013. In Germany, the PMI figure rose to 49.8 in January from 46.0 the previous month, coming in just below the 50 threshold. Although it was the 11th straight month of decline, it was easily the slowest rate of contraction in that time. “The improvement was led by Germany, which saw the strongest gain in output of all eurozone states, but rising exports are also helping to revive the manufacturing sectors of other countries, most notably Spain and Italy,” Williamson said. “While the industrial sector looks likely to have acted as a drag on the eurozone economy in the final quarter of last year, deepening the double-dip downturn, the PMI provides hope that the first quarter could mark the start of a turnaround. “Providing there are no further setbacks to the region’s debt crisis, these data add to the expectation that the euro

Obama, US President

US economy adds 157,000 new jobs


he US economy added 157,000 jobs last month, which was slightly below forecasts, but the number of new jobs at the end of 2012 was revised up significantly, official data has shown. In November and December, the Labour Department’s revised figures showed an additional 127,000 jobs were created than initially thought. The unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9 per cent in January, from 7.8 per cent in December. The US economy unexpectedly shrank at the end of 2012. Last Wednesday, government data indicated that the economy contracted at an annualised rate of 0.1 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2012. BC

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Business Courage

Monday, February 4, 2013

The broadband

Amazon Through sheer display of courage and determination, she treads the path many believe is an exclusive preserve of the men-folk and in less than two years, her name and impact have continued to resonate in the broadband technology in Nigeria. This is the story of Funke Opeke, Managing Director, Main Street Technologies By Adejuwon Osunnuyi


t is not unlikely that Funke Opeke’s name may not ring bell to many Nigerians, particularly those outside the information and communication technology sector. Yet, this is one woman, whose endeavor at least, in the past four years since the establishment of Main Street Technologies, owners of the MainOne Cable has and will remain a solid anchor on which Nigeria’s quest for broadband technology would rest for a long time. Opeke, a 1981 Electronic and Electrical Engineering graduate of the ObafemiAwolowo University, Ile-Ife is a classical example of an astute entrepreneur with unequalled courage, determination and vision to excel in an endeavour many of her peers would rather leave for the men-folks. With over 20 years experience in the ICT sector outside the shores of Nigeria, mostly in America,Opeke, is undeniably one of Nigeria’s most visible examples of a reverse ‘brain drain’. A highly accomplished and result-oriented engineer, Opeke had worked in several major telecommunications companies in the United States before she returned to Nigeria in

2005 to join the MTN Nigeria as the chief technical officer. Prior to that time, she had worked at Verizon Communications, America’s leading mobile telecoms company, rising through the ranks to become an executive director. Between 2001 and 2005, she managed different portfolios including the business architecture and implementation of Verizon’s global backbone network; global managed network services, and performance assurance for the wholesale services line of business. Aside from Verizon Wireless, Opeke was also at Telcordia Technologies (Bellcore), Piscataway; Allied Signal Corporation, Morristown; PA Consulting Group, Highstown; and RCA American Communications where she held various senior positions. Back home at MTN Nigeria, she was the company’s Chief Technical Officer, with responsibilities for planning and management of the entire MTN Nigeria network. However, for a woman who had spent a greater part of her career in advance economies, with all the perks and attractions that came with her job, Opeke was to later find discomforting, MTN’s terms and condiContinue on pg A10


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tions of service, particularly as it affects a league of engineers which Business Courage gathered worked with her and on whose behalf, she had negotiated favourable terms of engagement. So, when it became obvious that the communication giant was not going to honour the agreement, Opeke pulled out to, as a source said, to protect her integrity. Based on the unresolved differences and perhaps, based on the urge to make a more meaningful impact in the ICT sector in Nigeria, Opeke opted out of MTN barely three months after she took up the job. She later moved on to Transcorp Plc where she started off on advisory role preparatory to the acquisition of NITEL and later as the interim chief operating officer, in the post acquisition era. Like her MTN experience, Opeke’s did Ope e s stay at Transcorp a sco p d d not last for too long resigned her appointment, following the withdrawal of British Telecoms as technical partners in the N I -

TEL/Transcorp acquisition deal. From there, Opeke offered to explore the vast opportunities provided by the various communication challenges and by February 2008, Opeke and a handful of Nigerian investors including FolaAdeola, founding chief executive officer, GTBank Plc founded Main Street Technologies, a holding company launched to build and operate the Main One submarine cable system linking countries in West and Central Africa with each other and connecting in Europe with other existing cable systems linking the Americas and Asia. She however, stirred the hornets’ nest when she almost immediately announced plans to build a $300million undersea fibre optic cable system connecting 12 African countries. Opeke admitted that her job experience in Nigeria, particularly with MTN exposed her to tthe e vast ast oppo opportunities tu t es a available a ab e in the country. Working under

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Monday, February 4, 2013

So, I felt that with the country of our size and challenges we face in education and business, it was really critical for the country to have this type of infrastructure at lower cost

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those organisations at that time, she said, showed lack of international telecommunication infrastructure, especially data infrastructure, or broadband infrastructure.”So, I felt y of our that with the country size and challenges we face in education and business, it was really critical for the country to have this type of infrastructure at lower cost,” she told a recent gathering. For her, given the explosion worldwide in Internet use and the fact that Nigeria is yet to connect to that, she felt that if it could be done over there, it should be very much possible for us in Nigeria to do. Besides, she wanted “to do something for the region and I see that this cable makes good sense both in commercial and development terms,” she said. Her choice of fibre optic was largely informed by her operational experiences. “When I graduated with my Master’s Degree in the United States, I did work as site communications engineer. Within the few years thereafter, telephone companies in the U.S. started deploying a lot of fibre and by the time I was returning to Nigeria, all the networks that were operating were deploying fibre too. It is a transition that is taking place in all other parts of world as regard long communications over long-distances, the shift from satelliteto-copper and to fibre-options, just because fibre is more ca-

pable in terms of how much capacity it is able to deliver. So, that was the motivation to work with the fibre. That was the beginning of the Main One sub marine cable, the p optical fibre cable which went liv live for commercial purpose on Ju July 1, 2010. It has a potential ca capacity of 4.96 terabit which me means that it can carry out up to 76 million voice calls per secon ond simultaneously or up to 1.2 1.24 million MP3 downloads per sec second. This allows Main One to off offer reliable world class broadba band access within West Africa to telecom operators, internet ser service providers, government an and large enterprises. This initiative took three yea years of dedication, team work an and the highest level of professio sionalism to come through. Wh When the company was officia cially established in February 20 2008, a completion date of June 20 2010 was set. It obtained its opera erational permits in November 20 2008, the same time desktop stu study was completed. The marin rine survey was completed in Ju June 2009, a $120 million equity funding was obtained in July 20 2009 and by November 2009, equ equipment manufacture was com completed. The cable installatio tion and the final splice were do done in May 2010 and in June 20 2010, the project was completed an and the cable went live on July 1, 2010 making it the first of its kin kind in Nigeria. The main one cable runs 7,0 7,000 kilometer under water fro from the west coast of West Afric rica to Portugal, and from Portug tugal connecting to England, it con connects to the rest of the world. To ensure the optimum qu quality and reliability of its system tem, it contracted Subcom, an ind industry pioneer in undersea tel telecommunication technology an and marine services to design bu build and commission the main on one network. With this feat, Main One, under Opeke has apart from un laying a technology that would lay bring about high speed Interbri net browsing and accessibility ne becomes the first private subbe marine cable landing licenses ma in Nigeria and Ghana, first wholly African owned, priw

vately funded and open access submarine cable in Africa. Main One Cable, a $250 million investment is financed by a crop of high net worth Nigerian investors, African Finance Corporation; First Bank Capital, Skye Bank Plc; South Africa’s Pan African Infrastructure Development Funds; African Development Bank and the German Development Bank. Though Opeke is an engineer by training, she also combines the attribute of a shrewd business person. For her, taking the cable from the shores to the end users was the least of her problem. Instead of looking at serving the end users directly, what MainOne did from onset was to sign up the large operation in this market and Ghana to our network. So, “clearly, we have the MTN Nigeria, Etisalat, Airtel, Starcoms, Galaxy backbones, IPN Net, among others. So, all these companies already had a distribution network across most parts of the country. Therefore, people who subscribe to their services are able to get access to MainOne. So, that is a big distributor channel for us,” Opeke stressed. Aside the service providers within Nigeria, MainOne also have offshore subscriptions as international operators who are developing traffic to Nigeria are also part of its customer base. However, like most startup businesses, the evolution of Main Street technology and by extension, MainOne Cable was no less challenging. “When I started, I was told that other cables were being built and as an independent operator, we didn’t stand a chance,” she recalls. But then, been the first to go into service, and the attendant infrastructure and funding challenges, Opeke says she almost gave up the idea but for her determination that West Africa needed the sort of connections that most other parts of the world have come to expect in the last decade or so. “Like every business idea with an entrepreneur, you write up a plan, you do your homework, you put what resources you have on the line and you look for other similarly inspired people to help you along. You gain traction and you approach more people and you get bolder because you have some success. That’s how we started,” she said. The seed money, according to her “came from a group of Nigerians”, the founding shareholders “who wrote the cheques for the first few million dollars to keep the company going”. The initial set of investors, she admits then put themselves on the line to raise some more private money before the company started getting any sort of institutional commitment. At long last, “all African equity investors”, including Africa Finance Corporation, Skye Bank of Nigeria, Pan African Infrastruc-

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have in the time frame that we promised, within the budget that we planned, we’ve achieved our business objectives we set out to accomplish. So it’s a different story raising money for phase two.” Main One Cable Company Limited (‘Main One’) is the first submarine cable company offering open access, wholesale broadband capacity in West Africa. It is wholly Africanowned with a vision to expand the much needed capacity on the African continent ensuring reduced costs of broadband communications across Africa. This vision has been realized in a submarine cable system that commenced operations in July 2010 with initial landing stations in Nigeria, Ghana and Portugal – connecting West Africa to the rest of the world via Portugal and the United Kingdom. Today, majority of the telecommunication operators and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Nigeria and Ghana are subscribing to broadband capacity on the Main One network. Main One’s high capacity fibre network provides reliable and first class service delivery that can be measured against international standards ensuring broadband capacity is easily available and accessible to all within West Africa for regional and international operators as well as service providers. while it is seen that the communication challenges that limit African businesses from being truly global player, with the Main One, opportunities are said to now exist to showcase Africa’s technical and innovative prowess by employing Main One to providing the infrastructure platform that will help make your businesses grow and be successful by enabling your business to be always available and reachable from anywhere in the world. The present feat notwith-

We are not pleased with the progress we have made in bringing broadband services to the overall population in Nigeria because we hear feedback from consumers daily that they are not feeling the impact of our network. Nigerian consumers tell us in very clear terms that they want faster speeds, lower prices and improved quality from their retail Internet service providers

ture Development Fund and First Bank of Nigeria with loans sourced from ADB and DEG. With the first phase done with, Phase two, which will result in an optical fibre ring round Africa via a partnership with Seacom, is already in the works and is expected to come on stream towards the end of 2011. “We’re not taking much of a pause because there’s a lot of work to do before the actual installation. We have not yet started installation of phase two but we have started working on phase two,” says Opeke. Now, one year of successful operation and proving its ability to deliver what it promised during this first year connecting the majority of the large telecom operators and internet service providers in Nigeria and Ghana to the Main One network should serve as inspiration to do more rather than rest on their oars. “We are not pleased with the progress we have made in bringing broadband services to the overall population in Nigeria because we hear feedback from consumers daily that they are not feeling the impact of our network. Nigerian consumers tell us in very clear terms that they want faster speeds, lower prices and improved quality from their retail Internet service providers. Recently, a senior official of a National institution described how he experienced faster access to the institutions’ web page from outside Nigeria, than from within Nigeria and how disappointed he was that critical web sites of national significance are currently hosted offshore. This is the opportunity that we are here to address today. Main One as a pioneer in this area has removed the bottleneck of limited international bandwidth, high cost, and unreliable connectivity, and Nigerians and the Nigerian economy need to feel more impact from what we have done,” she stressed. While the first phase was installed by Tyco Electronics Submarine Communications, the second phase is working on the Nigeria to South Africa cable with Seacom and a South African investment group, eFive Telecoms. Seacom has a close relationship with Tata Communications, which controls South Africa’s second national operator, Neotel. But then, just like the fun challenge it faced during the first phase of the project, the second phase too is also faced with similar challenge. But unlike the phase one, “having a going business and revenue coming into the company in a few months, I think that changes the dynamics in terms of raising the money.” She admitted that two years ago when “we were raising the money for phase one, we were a Greenfield company with no track record and there was doubt whether we could get this done. Having achieved what we

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standing, Opeke says Main Street is not resting on its oars as it hope to within a few years, hope to upgrade the terminal equipment so that the capacity of the cable will exceed 1.92 terabits that it’s capable of delivering presently. “We are confident that the technology will continue to evolve and we will be able to get more capacity on the cable as we fill it up,” she said. Before then, she hopes to connect other places in between Portugal and Nigeria, including Senegal, Ivory Coast, Morocco and the Spanish Atlantic islands of the Canaries. “We’ve done the survey work already. They should take less time and less money than phase two. We are looking to see how we can put landing stations in place and connect to those countries,” she said in a recent interview. Opeke carries dual national-

ity, that of Nigeria, her native country and America, the land where she spent larger part of her career life. Yet, her passion for Nigeria, especially in the area of fast deployment of broadband technology is legendary. She is worried that Nigeria’s broadband penetration rates of less than three percent, a figure she says is of no significant measure, and asking for the stakeholders and government to develop and implement a National Broadband policy under the auspices of the new ICT ministry. The policy, according to her, needs to create demand and drive promotion strategies by allowing government intervene in market creation and facilitation, by promoting broadband adoption and use; make broadband access and services more attractive and accessible to potential subscribers and users by

helping to lower prices, putting public services online, and encouraging the diffusion of access devices such as computers. It is also her opinion that the policy should establish an enabling environment for competition and investment by removing market entry barriers with supply-side policies that enable the development of access to broadband—enabling network operators and service providers to enter the market easily, operate on a level playing field, and, where necessary, provide financial support to reach highcost areas. Opeke believes that the situation where calls from Lagos to London cost less than even calls within localities in the country, starting from Lagos must stop. Bulk capacity, she insists, has no valid economic reason to cost more from Lagos to Abuja than Lagos to London. Based on global best practices, Opeke says that the policies that facilitate competition are the most typical and important and have been implemented consistently and compellingly from the initial to maturity stages of market development to drive growth. Such government policy support allows new market entrants to compete effectively with dominant incumbents such that economies of scale and network externalities do not play significant roles in determining the success of communications providers. She strongly believes that the broadband policy is imperative for Nigeria, stressing that it must first start with visionary leadership setting ambitious goals for broadband penetration and devise and actively implement strategies to achieve e.g. 40 percent penetration nationwide, Access to all geo-political zones and indeed all local government areas and interconnection of educational institutions, especially from secondary to university level. Next, according to her, is for competition policies to promote market growth by facilitating shared access and fair pricing of terrestrial backbone networks which dominant operators leverage to block new competitors. Opeke argued that the collapse of Multilinks shows that building a national backbone is no assurance of commercial success, though lack of access proves a high barrier presented by existing facilities based operators to block out new players. Above all, however, she insists that the government must facilitate demand through the funding of initiatives in ICT adoption, e government and e commerce in order to create local content and jobs. Opeke is however optimistic that in 2020, when ten years of Main One cable’s operations will be celebrated, the implementation of these policy initiatives will have reshaped the history of broadband in Nigeria. BC

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National Mirror

10 Questions

Why Nigerian entrepreneurs don’ Idowu Obasa, a chartered accountant and financial consultant is a founding director of Independent Communications Network Limited and former local government chairman in Lagos. He also has interests in many sectors of the Nigerian economy including pharmaceuticals and lottery business. In this engaging interview, Obasa, who is currently the chairman of Golden Chance Lotto spoke with SEMIU SALAMI about succession planning management and why most businesses don’t outlive their owners. He also bared his mind on the problems associated with corruption and others. Excerpts.


ou have traversed both the public and private sector, first as a business person before you move into politics and now back to business, how has the transition been like? From businessman to politician, that is from Independent Communications to being chairman of a local government, first on a personal level, I would say that it demanded more of my time in a very disorganised manner in the sense that when you are in public office, you don’t really have working hours. That does not mean you work as high as when you are in private sector, which to me is more organised than as a public officer. As a business person, you organise your work hours and achieve much more even in short period, whereas in politics, you waste so much time. In politics, you can be in a meeting scheduled for two but won’t really start till about seven and when you look at the quantum of what you have discussed, if it were actually a business meeting, with an hour or two, you would have achieved a lot more. In politics, you spend so much time on immaterial things to the extent that the real time you spend on actual governance is less. However, in my own case, the kind of organisational skills I acquired in business were brought to bear in the administration of the government and I think quite frankly, it stood me in good stead in a lot of ways. Challenges are challenges, whether private or public sector. Also, a lot of things that private practice inculcate do not allow one to get things ratified after they have been done. In theory, there is an elaborate control, checks and balances but in reality, they are sabotaged, this is why implementation that is supposed to take three months sometimes takes 30 months. In a private sector organisation, if you borrow an interest paying money, you would not allow a three-month project to drag to 30 months. If you talk about white elephant projects, you find a lot more in public sector than private sector. So in terms of transition, it was really worthwhile because I learnt a lot of things while in government for the eight years I had the opportunity to serve and I am really very impressed with what I was able to do within that period. Now that you are back in the private sector, has anything changed now compared to what it used to be before you went into

politics? Well, what one has found out now is that the economy keeps sliding down in a very consistent manner and it is increasingly becoming difficult to do business in Nigeria. The level of corruption has reached an alarming point. For instance, when you go to Turkey, you will be surprised that some of the doors that you buy in Nigeria for a certain amount, you can get the same door for about 10 percent there and the same people that sell in Turkey also have their outlets in Lagos and when you challenge them on why they sell at higher price in Lagos, they just smile and say, well, that is Nigeria for you. In fact, it is like saying that since we accommodate higher prices in Nigeria, they cannot do otherwise, yet they are ready to sell at a far lesser price. There is too much corruption in the land. In fact, the system is made to encourage corruption and that makes it difficult for you to plan properly and ensure that your expectations would be met because sometimes, it could throw spanners in the works. So, there is a lot of bewilderment. Industries are closing down, it is not supposed to be, but they are closing down because it is inevitable under the circumstance and it does not appear as if the government is really concerned about the economy as such. A lot of manufacturing companies are closing down as we speak because of import problems, because of raw materials, power and all what not. There is a cousin of mine that owns a hospital and anytime I go there, the giant generators in the hospital are always on. So I begin to ask my cousin, how do they make profit? It is easy for somebody living there to say okay I will open my windows and use small generator you know, but for a hospital that has to use a very big generator, and those generators are always on, which may mean that, they have more than one. It is only in Nigeria that you start a business and you have a transformer of your own. You have two to three generators which are handing over to one another. There is a problem of purchasing power too. The purchasing power of our people has fallen so seriously. And if there is no purchasing power, how are they going to patronize the local industries. If you look at the average, it will look like it has been always rosy because there is a lot that is already concentrated in the hands

of the very tiny minority. So it makes nonsense of everything. Of course, that is the very nature of statistics. Statistics makes nonsense of reality. Statistics will tell you that the average income is so and so amount. But it does not tell you that the average is that high, because tremendous wealth is concentrated in the hands of the very tiny minority and that majority of people are wallowing in abject poverty. Statistics does not tell you that. Then you have to put aside the statistics, remove the veil and you will find out that the majority of people are sadder today, more miserable today than they were eight years ago. They are unhappy than they were eight years ago. That is the tragedy of the Nigerian nation. In talking about the issue of corruption, my opinion is that there is greater corruption more in the private sector than in the government. You see, it is like saying there is no corruption in the United States of America. You are not just being sincere. Corruption in the private sector is more sophisticated, very frantically and cowed in many things. For instance, they talk about PR, business development expenses, what do you think that those things mean? They mean bribery. There is also a lot of boardroom corruption…., a lot of insider trading. Take for example, Oceanic Bank, under Ibru, was it a private sector organization or a public sector organization? Do you know of any governor that could have stolen what Ibru stole? Tell me, do you know? Of course, no one. Is that not a private sector organization? I mean, we make a lot of noise about governors, senators stealing money and stuff like that, but just one woman, …I read

it in the papers, I read about five pages of her personal assets and I said, what a covetousness. Of course, that was a private sector. So, definitely, there is far greater corruption in the private sector than in the public sector. There seems to be a marked shift from the real sector to the service sector of the economy, is it that the service sector is more profitable? No. I don’t think so. But service is more profitable in a country like Nigeria, agreed, because the nature of the third world is that we are heavily dependent on other countries that have found ways of producing products at cheaper rates than us. Even in a free economy, their governments have ways of regulating economic activities in those countries so that at the end of the day, they come to us with better products that are also cheaper. So, you find out that if you are a pharmaceutical company, it would make more sense for you to import drugs and sell in Nigeria than for you to manufacture them here. Why would you not be a merchandize pharmaceutical company when you can fare better than for you to be a manufacturing company? We have a pharmaceutical company which we run under franchise and you will notice that the cost of manufacturing increases due to problems of electricity supply, breakdowns and others, some which are even environmental in nature and we are beginning to consider if it won’t be better for us to go to India, produce and bring the drugs into the country because, after all, you are in business to

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Monday, February 4, 2013

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t plan for succession – Obasa this so and what do you think can be done to reverse this trend? It is difficult to say why this is happening. Yes, it is true that many companies really die after the exit of their owners and there could be many reasons for this. One of such is that, there is no succession plan. Let me tell you, there are many successful lawyers that we know who have prepared wills for people over their career and they did not prepare their own will. I don’t want to mention names but you ask yourself why? It is essentially the same with business owners. As an owner founder, there is always the tendency that you will always be there forever and you don’t see the reason to plan for succession and when they are compelled to either as a result of death of disability, the company goes under. Even for those with heirs, a lot of private situations may lead to all sorts of disagreements even among the heirs especially if they are from different mothers, so at the end of the day, the company collapses. So many business owners don’t plan for succession and if you fail to do this, and something happens and someone has to take over, because the succession was not properly planned, such circumstances induced succession are usually costlier than when succession is carefully planned. make profit and if you know you will make profit producing from say, Cotonou, why would you stay in Nigeria? So, people will go to the service sector and abandon manufacturing because our macro-economic situation is such that the government simply does not care. We are still suffering from the vestiges of colonial occupation where we think we are tied to the apron string of the West. Look, do you know how difficult it is to produce anything in this country? Is it raw material you want to talk about? Even when you import raw material, you will discover that several charges would make it very difficult for you to make anything out of it. Now, if you decide to use local raw materials, they will supply you with substandard raw materials that will eventually affect the quality of your final product. Look at what happened to the textile industry. Years ago, there were companies like Aswani, Afprint, Five Star and so on, today, we are going to Ghana to import Ankara from Akosombo textiles. Ghana here, what is responsible for this People make so much money in the service sector and government such that manufacturing is no longer attractive. That is why you will see the chief executive officer of a big conglomerate taking up appointment in a public enterprise. If you are heading a very successful business and you decide to take appointment in government, you then begin to wonder what is the attraction? There is this major problem among most Nigerian entrepreneurs where most businesses don’t outlast their owners. Why is

What does it take to plan for succession? A lot of work. First, you have to organise the company in such a way that you would be able to determine what form you want the succession to take. For instance, you can set up a committee. You are the owner founder, no problem; you can set up a board committee and provide them with the qualities you expect for your successor. That committee can also do a search. In Europe and America, there search firms that specialises in providing this type of service. They would help you search for candidates that qualify as your successor. You don’t even have to leave at that time, you may leave months or even years after a successor is found, it doesn’t matter but they will establish the template that would guide in choosing the right candidate even if you want an internal candidate. If it is external, they will head hunt. Succession does not start when you step aside for one reason or the other but prior to that time. Succession planning is something most Nigerian businesses rarely go for. Are there any cultural reasons for this? There are cultural reasons. Let’s start with a man with about 15 wives and he is a very successful business man, how is he going to decide from among the children of the 15 wives? Secondly, there are many people that don’t want to give it a thought at all. They know they want to die but wont dare think about that. The same cultural reason why people die intestate is the same reason why many successful business owners don’t consider succession. Sometimes too, there are those who

wish to get their children to succeed them but such children would simply not want to work in their father’s company. I know of a very successful banker who really wanted his son, a very brilliant chap at that to succeed him but the son simply doesn’t want to work in his father’s bank, he simply wants to be a musician and he is a very successful musician. There are also the problem of ability because to pass on a vision to another takes a lot of planning and God’s support because it is really very difficult to pass on a vision. Even if you pass on hard work and other concrete qualities, how do you pass on vision? You have to coach the person, you have to convince the person, lobby the person, recruit and make the person agree with you in terms of how you see the world and the future of the company. That takes time and painstaking efforts. Can we be a bit personal now, what is your own succession plan like? Indeed, the problem we are talking about, I am as guilty as all other entrepreneurs. The issue of succession has being a big issue on my mind in recent times and now that you’ve raised it, it is even more urgent. I don’t have a succession plan in place. I must confess. Although it would be assumed that the next person in line will take over but I am not in the position to tell whether the person in line will follow suit in exact manner which I am running my organisation here. I can only hope that that is so, but now that the issue has come up, I think I will have to give it serious thought now. Lottery business which is your line, people say it is very profitable and very risky too. What is your take? In basic economics, the higher the risk, the higher the returns. So, that answers the question because if it very profitable, it means it has to be risky as well. But speaking quite seriously, it is not as profitable as people think though am not denying the fact that it is profitable. When people talk about profitability of lottery or lotto, they are thinking far in excess of the reality and the reason is quite simple. In the case of lotto, your turnover is not your profit like in most businesses but after you have paid your winnings, you cannot afford to call the leftover your own money because there would always have to be a strategic reserve to pay winnings that are more than sales. In our own type of lottery, winnings can exceed sales. Generally in the world, winnings cannot exceed sales; there is usually a portion of sales that is kept aside, which is traditional lottery. In this type, winnings are always a small portion of total sales so no matter what happens; the promoter will always have something to take home. But that is why many people are not staking it that is why it is not succeeding in places like Nigeria or Ghana. When lotto was introduced by the late Ghanaian president Dr Kwame Nkrumah in 1964, people realised that they can actually win huge sum of money and there

is no limit to the amount that could be won. That uncertainty leads to excitement and subsequently to anticipation, which in turn, leads to high staking that if you put N10, 000 in a game and you score two numbers out of five, you get N2.4 million, which is a very high return. What kind of business would you invest N10, 000 and get this type of return? But then, the man who put in N10, 000 everyday, how many N10, 000 is he going to put before he wins? That is the other side of the coin. So, it is a very interesting game. It is a game of risk from those who stakes and the promoters. So, if there is actually a high return, it is because there is high risk as well. But more importantly, i think it is all about sound financial management. If you are not a prudent financial manager, you will face the kind of fate that a lot of lotto companies have faced in the past. There are many of them, if they are in business for say six months, when they have hot winnings, they just fizzle out because they are not business oriented. Have you at any point since you started this business found yourself in a kind of cliff-hanger? Very much so. In fact, that was an understatement. In fact, the 28 of December 2011 was a day I will never forget. We entered the New Year on a very sad note because there was over winnings of about N336 million. Cliff hanger? We were already over and above the cliff. We were gone. It was a very terrible time. What really helped us at that time was the fuel subsidy strike of January, 2012. You recall that because of that, many people couldn’t go out and that help us to pull ourselves together because the rule of the game is that all winnings must be paid within 24 hours. We have so many times found ourselves in such dire straits with over winnings of N70 million, N80 million and so much more. At that point, what went through your mind? I went to the toilet. It was horrible i must tell you. I was not even in the country, I was not scheduled to come back that morning but I had to quickly buy a ticket and return to the country. You know it was towards the end of the year, even my MD was also out of the country and he had to return. It is regular in this business to have over winnings and it is one of the things that must happen in the industry to encourage staking but I think it all bothers on sound financial management. However, let me state that the banks have been very wonderful. There are two categories of banks in this country, those that are willing to take risk and that are not. There is a particular bank where have a lot of money and whenever we need their assistance they come to our aid. In that instance, however, there was a particular bank that was not ready to help, so what we did was just to simply close our account with them and do more business with those that supported us. BC

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Monday, February 4, 2013

National Mirror

The booming

bulk SMS business Seen as a telecom cash cow, many Nigerians and corporate organizations have continued to embrace the bulk short message service (SMS), the relatively cheap electronic device, to reach thousands of people By Adejuwon Osunnuyi


or a long time, Bayo Akinloye, a 38 year-old teacher with one of the private secondary schools in Lagos would ever remain grateful to the technology savvy in town. Having dreamed of having a big wedding ceremony last month, Bayo had everything going for him except how to reach hundreds of people he had wanted to be at the ceremony. Apparently, part of the problem he had was that, apart from the fact that he could only print few invitation cards, reaching out to the different guests who were at different parts of the country was a herculean task. The first option for him was to send SMS otherwise known as text message but when he considered the challenge involved in sending the SMS to almost a thousand contacts from his mobile phone, he quickly dismissed the option as too cumbersome and expensive. However, the advice given to him by his friends to make use of bulk SMS seemed to have done the magic. As he found out, not only was it cheap, faster and convenient, it also afforded him the opportunity of customizing the message. Instead of the usual number of the senders number showing, what the receivers of the message saw was Bola weds Bayo. To his delight, the SMS did the magic as hundreds of people he had thought he couldn’t have reached with his few printed invitation cards attended his wedding. It has indeed been an exciting experience for me, Bayo recalled. Today, aside Bayo, there are thousands of people rang-

ing from businesses, schools, churches, professional organizations, banks, estate agencies, marketing companies and others that now see the need in using bulk SMS services as the quickest way of getting messages across to their target audience. Often used in SMS marketing, as a matter of fact, Bulk SMS can be said to be the delivery of high SMS volumes from a server. It is best used by clients who need to deliver messages to large groups of people either on a one-off or continuous basis. It is also effective where clients need to send instantaneous messages such as sports, community news or local information. It can also be used to deliver contents such as marketing messages. Commonly used for alerts, reminders, marketing and also for information and communication between both staff and customers, people who are into the business of providing these services admit it is a lucrative one. According to Muyiwa Ake, CEO of Zamar, while it is a common knowledge that today over 90 million Nigerians have access to phone facilities especially the GSM, many who are into the bulk SMS business are making over N300,000 monthly just sending text messages. Ake revealed that one of the reasons people now use the SMS frequently is the fact that while over 90 percent of mobile SMS marketing messages are read by recipients, generating average response rates of 1530 percent or more, more corporate organisations are opting for the SMS as a way of breaking through advertising clutter especially for their promotions

and marketing. As he puts it, this technique creates immediate results via SMS text message marketing to your target audience. Catch your clients at their cell phones. It reaches customers on the go, allowing them to get information, buy your product, enter contests or receive coupons instantaneously . Michael Udeme, an SMS retailer at Otigba in Computer Village, Ikeja Lagos said one of the people or organisations that make the business more lucrative these days based on their large patronage are churches. According to him, quite a large number of churches patronize the business more often to send regular messages to their large number of congregation on a regular basis. These churches have messages sent out to their members weekly, bi- weekly or monthly to remind them of services or special programmes. Based on this, I make a lot of money weekly providing them these services. Udeme told Business Courage. However, getting into the business could be as simple as ABC, as it doesnt require much capital. Samuel Isa, CEO, Imax Communications explained that all one needs to do is to register and become a reseller. Becoming a reseller, he said, one gets his own Bulk SMS messaging application. Isa told Business Courage that a reseller needs to get registered with a vending company and get some marketing strategy that will help him win in the game of bulk SMS reseller’s business in Nigeria. According to him, while GSM service providers whole-

sale bulk SMSs to Content and Service Providers, who are connected to their networks, they in turn then offer this functionality to their clients to use. Some of the Content and Service Providers that offer bulk SMS services independent of the GSM operators include Cellulant Nigeria Limited, MobileXcetera Limited, Mtech Communications,SMSLive247. com, iTouch Global Concepts Nigeria Limited, GTS-Infotel Nigeria Limited among others. To become a Bulk SMS reseller, - It’s as simple as: sign up with a Bulk SMS Service Provider of your choice, have your portal configured for you (which they’ ll do within minutes), add SMS Credit, and you’re good to go! Prices charged for sending bulk SMS actually varies. Minimum start up SMS Units is 10,000 units at the rate of #1.50k. But in all cases, the more messages sent the cheaper. For instance, in some cases, depending on the service provider, SMS between the range of 1000-9999 goes for N2 per SMS while 10,000-49,999 costs N1.80, 50,000-99,999 at N1.60, 100,000-999,999 at N1.50 and 1000000 and above costs N1.40. For the Bulk SMS business, essentially, software is required for sending and receiving bulk messages and various software packages are provided by the Bulk SMS Vendors. These software packages are integrated into their system and provide users with the opportunity to add as many phone numbers as required as these phone numbers can be managed in a variety of ways. In most cases, most SMS software applications allow users to upload lists of mobile phone

numbers using a TXT or CSV file. Some sophisticated systems can automatically remove any duplicated numbers or the mobile numbers are validated prior to sending the messages. With enhanced software features, messages can be scheduled to be sent at specific times and or days and bulk messages can be sent on national and international mobile networks as long as the bulk messaging software provider sends internationally of which most Nigerian Bulk SMS Vendor’s system allows. Alternatively, If you have your own application and just looking for a simple SMS API connection, then you can set up an SMS API with an SMS services provider that allows you to send bulk SMS messages through a number of different API interfaces, HTTP, SMPP, SMTP or SOAP. This will require more capital and more technical knowledge. For instance, setting up your own SMS website right away goes for between N15,000 and N20,000. Steps to be taken when registering include first going to the website then click on the Sign up button to register. Subsequently, you go to your email to verify your registration and log on to your account with your email and password. The second step is to click on reseller button and send them 1000 SMS credit which is the cost of setting up your own website. An expert, Adeola Aberuagba noted that there are price rules one must have in mind. According to him, while as a Gold reseller, you make sure you are buying from a company that is selling nothing

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more than N1, you also avoid seller who sells for higher price above N1.20 for silver and 1.30 for bronze packages as they are called by some of the users. Aberuagaba advised that the bulk SMS Website any user is getting must be APIs enabled as according to him, creating bulk sms website without API Swap option would only make you become a slave never having the option to swap to better service providers. How and where can one buy sms credits? Once you determine how much SMS credits you need, you can purchase SMS credits either by paying with your interswitch ATM card, or by paying cash or cheque directly into the vendors bank account.

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Monday, February 4, 2013

ATM Card payment, experts note, is the fastest because it is instant as your account would be credited immediately ATM payment is made. However, you must login to your account and click the Buy Now link to make ATM Payment. While bank payments is said to roughly take 30 minutes if you paid in cash, Cheque payments are usually not credited until the cheque clears. In the bulk SMS business, as there are no fix prices, there are also no form of rigid service which one might get across board. Different providers set out with different plans so as to attract resellers. For instance, SMS Grace designs site like theirs for N10,000, exclusive of SMS UNITS and gives customers the complete freedom to send sms messages from anywhere in the world where you have access to a Web browser and Internet connection. At, the pricing system is such that offers customers the advantage to get more SMS units for as long as they buy more. Besides, there is no maximum limit or expiry date for units while the minimum number of units that can be purchased at anytime is 100 units. For Explorer SMS, their Bulk SMS Reseller’s Package include getting your own branded Bulk SMS Application which gives you admin access and thus allowing you to manage your users, and credit SMS to your clients and so on. While users can proceed to make payment via any payment option he has configured in the admin end, it offers them services such as Compose SMS which is a standard sms composer. With this, resellers users can choose a Customized sender ID, send to multiple recipients and it comes with an sms length counter. It also offers advance SMS, a facility which allows users send bulk messages, each to specific

c mobile contacts with a single click. With voice broadcast, your users can send bulk voice calls/ robocalls while a transfer unit allows users transfer units to one another. With the schedule option, reseller’s users can schedule e sms/voice calls for future delivery as the message will be sent on the exact day and time, whether they are online or not. Meanwhile, the bulk SMS business is however, not without its own shortcomings especially for senders and receivers of messages. While in most cases, recipients do not have access to the phone number of the sender, what this means is that it does not give room for interaction in form of feedback. But today, many have now devised a means of adding their numbers as part of the messages sent. Many recipients of bulk SMS messages are sometimes at a loss as to where the sender might have got his or her number as in most cases, he or she might not have had any contact with the sender. Adeoye Faseyi, a journalist, is a victim of bulk SMS messages with a harrowing experience. Apart from the fact that he keeps on getting regular unsolicited bulk text messages, a particular one he gets from one of the private cab operators in Lagos has almost ruined his marriage as his wife has been accusing him of infidelity. According to Adeoye, There is this particular regular bulk SMS I get from Metro Taxi always thanking me for riding in the cab and ultimately urging me to take them for a ride again. Whereas I have not even gone near the taxi before, my wife has been accusing me of using the taxi to take my supposedly girlfriends out. It is very embarrassing to me because I don t know where they got my number from. BC


New and interesting features of Office 2013


icrosoft’s New Office 2013 will feature a lot of innovations and great specs that will give users the required impetus in the new digital surrounding. Both business models and consumers will reap the benefits as the Microsoft Office 2013 is designed to deliver awesome flexibility and productivity due to inclusion of cloud service and pairing facility with new Windows 8. Excellent features of Office 2013 are discussed below –

Applications – There will be Windows 8 styles apps in Office 2013 such as Lync and OneNote which will provide you with amazing touch-first experiences on the favorite tablets. Accessing the features with finger has been made simple due to radial menu. Connectivity – You can do a lot of things in SharePoint such embedding and viewing Office contents, videos and pictures. You are also free to follow sites, documents, teams and people. Meetings – The fresh Presenter View will offer you quality information about the speaker notes, presentation time, upcoming and current slides in the PowerPoint. Presentations and meetings will be much easier for you with zooming, marking playing HD videos and navigating slides with stylus and touch. Inking – Email responses can be handwritten and converted into text. You can also create contents, access features and take notes with the help of stylus. Markup and reading – Get an enriched reading experience in Word through Read Mode. The consumer can further turn pages by touching, see the revision marks and stream new videos even in Word. SkyDrive – Your documents will be saved in SkyDrive which makes them accessible anywhere via tablet, PC and phones. Syncing facility is also there and you can further access those documents in offline mode. Skype – Every month, the customer will get 60 world minutes on Skype which is now incorporated in Office 2013. Contacts can be easily synced with Lync. Digital Note-taking – It will allow you to access all the documents and files with OneNote through multiple devices. You can easily take notes with the help of keyboard, pen or touch. Subscription – If you are interested in getting elegant cloud services to avail extra storage in SkyDrive and extra minutes in Skype; you can easily enroll yourself in the new subscription service. It is in fact, cloud-based and you will get all the future upgrades. Touch feature – The fresh Office 2013 offers you a great response to touching just like mouse and keyboard. Touching and swiping fingers will be easier for you to zoom and read documents and presentations. BC

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Business Courage


Dell unveils new partner tool Stories by Adejuwon Osunnuyi


n its bid to further enhance its online solutions, Dell, a global information technology company, which designs, develops, manufactures and distributes computer systems, has announced a new online tool, configurator known as PartnerDirect, which will give partners the resources to close deals more easily and quickly than in the past by allowing them to price complex enterprise solutions. The Online Solutions, Configurator, is currently being put on trial in the UK and Ireland, while it will be rolled out to the rest of the Europe, Middle-East and Africa (EMEA) region in the coming months. Speaking on the partner tool, Ahmed Mouldaia, EMEA Enterprise Sales Executive Director, Dell said, “This will be the year of the Dell Online Solutions Configurator further easing business with Dell.” Mouldaia added that the online configurator will help its partners win in the datacentre, empowering them to become autonomous by easily configuring end-to-end Dell enterprise solutions, guided by validation rules, and accessed directly through the PartnerDirect portal. The new tool, he said, is another example of Dell responding to requests to further enable its partners. “The Dell Online Solutions Configurator means our partners can collaborate online with colleagues and Dell channel sales representatives facilitating a greater level of accuracy and reducing quoting lead-time,” he said. In a related development, Dell’s new General Manager EMEA Channel Sales, Laurent Binetti noted, “Our consistent focus in driving transformational strategy and building our solutions portfolio means we start 2013 with the most compelling and powerful offering

that we have ever been able to provide to our partners,” According to him, “To support our growth strategy, we will continue to make consistent investment in both our PartnerDirect program and our innovative technology and solutions. Working closely with our partners, we have built the strongest capabilities to date, and we look forward to continuing this close collaboration in future.” Binetti, who was recently announced as the new General Manager EMEA Channel Sales served as General Manager for the Dell Commercial Business in the Southern Europe Region. Laurent Binetti joined Dell in 1996 and has since held senior roles in Eastern Europe and the emerging markets. In these positions he set up regional offices across Eastern Europe, created a new management division for 26 countries including Russia, Turkey and Israel and developed an entirely channelfocused go-to-market strategy. He replaces Emmanuel Mouquet, who is now General Manager of Dell France with effect from 1st February 2013. Mouquet has overseen sales in the PartnerDirect program since its creation and helped it grow to the point where channel now accounts for 50 per cent of sales in EMEA. Dell will celebrate the fifth anniversary of PartnerDirect in EMEA in February 2013. In the lead up to this milestone, partners have had the opportunity to benefit from a $10 million fund to support an additional five per cent discount on enterprise deals, which was introduced as a further way for Dell to recognise and reward those partners who have invested in the program. The discount has proved extremely popular with partners since it was introduced in November.

ATCON releases draft code of ethics


Monday, February 4, 2013

Council of the association has recognized the need for a voluntary industry self-regulatory process that will guide the activities of its member companies in their dealings with customers and fellow member organizations. ATCON, had in a circular sent to all member-companies requested that members make their comments or input to enable the body conclude work on the document for official adoption. A review of the documents shows that it has been designed to ensure that member companies conduct their businesses with a high degree of professionalism and in a fair and ethical manner amongst others. Also, while it is expected to ensure that member companies conduct their businesses with a high degree of professionalism and in a fair and ethical manner; it intends to protect consumers of telecommunications goods and services from quacks, by ensuring that member companies are bound by certain rules of professional and ethical conduct as specified in ATCON’S Code of Ethics. Others include ensuring that all received complaints of unethical and unprofessional behaviours and practices by member companies are properly investigated and defaulting companies are appropriately sanctioned, to ensure that any identified infraction by a member company is as much as possible remedied to the satisfaction of the customer or complainant. It also seeks to promote ATCON’s image as a responsible industry association which organizations can safely do business with its member companies and to encourage consumers of telecommunications services, both in public and private sectors, engage the services of member companies of ATCON. The preamble of the document reads; “ATCON, in order to ensure that member companies conduct their businesses with a high degree of professionalism and in a fair

he Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), has released the draft code of ethics designed to guide its members as the association pushes for industry self-regulation. In a statement made available to Business Courage, ATCON said the National Lanre Ajayi, ATCON president Executive

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and ethical manner, hereby sets forth the basic ethical principles and practices which member companies of the Association shall adhere to in the conduct of their businesses. Every member company shall abide by the provisions of the Code of Ethics as a condition of admission and continued membership of ATCON.”

MTN berates multiple fibre cuts in the East


TN Nigeria has condemned what it called serious fibre cuts in the Eastern part of the country which has led to service outage in the area. It is reported that the fibre cuts have been as a result of ongoing road construction of various routes around Aba, Enugu, Owerri, Port Harcourt, Eket, IkotAbasi, Ete, Uyo and Calabar. According to Akinwale Goodluck, MTN’s corporate services executive, “In recent times, multiple cuts on our Eastern Fibre Network has impeded the delivery of consistently good quality of service in the East. These particular cuts are as a result of road construction activities, which has impacted many of our sites. However, we suffer over 70 fibre cuts monthly nationwide due to vandalization, sabotage and other criminal activities.” He said that the company has doubled surveillance on the affected routes to track the activities of the construction companies. “In addition, our fibre maintenance engineers are working round the clock to repair damage as soon as it is detected. We are working towards an improved experience on the network very soon.” ...reiterates readiness for Mobile Number Portability MTN Nigeria has said that it is ready for the implementation of the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) which the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has charged all telecoms operators to commence the before the end of the first quarter in 2013. Chief Executive Officer of MTN, Brett Goschen, who gave the assurance at a recent stakeholders’ forum organised by the company, said MTN had made efforts to make MNP a reality for mobile phone users in Nigeria who are eager to join the country’s most expansive network. “We have made necessary investment in infrastructure and manpower and we are now finalising the process of making this project a reality, and we are confident that when the NCC is ready to blow the whistle for the kick-off of this project, we will be ready,” Goschen said. He explained that a series


of tests had been carried out on the company’s systems and infrastructure, adding that more tests would be carried out in the days ahead to ensure that the project takes off without any hitch. “We are excited that customers who wish to join the network with the most coverage of Nigeria will now be able to do so without worrying about losing their mobile numbers. As you know, we have made far more investment in our network than any other operator in Nigeria has done, with the result that we are today the clear leader with effective network coverage of more than 85 per cent of Nigeria’s land mass and population,” he said, adding “We have nearly 100 per cent coverage of most major highways in Nigeria and we are gradually moving towards the final laps of a massive, nationwide network modernisation and swap-out exercise that is bound to give the network unequaled capacity and much improved quality of service. We have no doubt in our minds that mobile phone users on other networks in Nigeria will be eager to port into MTN to avail themselves of these and other benefits they can only find on the MTN network.” According to him, apart from its massive investment in core services, MTN remained the only operator that created a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) vehicle, MTN Foundation, to implement life-impacting social projects across the length and breadth of Nigeria. He added that the company, through MTNF, had invested over N5 billion in such social projects which have directly and indirectly impacted millions of lives in the areas of health, education and economic empowerment. He affirmed the company’s commitment to continue to seek for ways of adding value to the lives of Nigerians both through the company’s core services and corporate social investment initiatives. BC

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Monday, February 4, 2013

SEC set to introduce Securitization on the Nigerian Stock Exchange By Johnson Okanlawon


n a bid to support government at all levels to address the many infrastructural deficits bedeviling the country, especially in the areas of housing, agriculture and roads, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has concluded a three-day capacity building workshop on securitization for some of its workforce. The workshop was also intended to spadework the imminent introduction of Securitization in the basket of products available in the Nigerian capital market in line with the product diversification objective of the ongoing reform agenda which the current leadership of the SEC is leading in the Nigerian capital markets. The product diversification objective intends to give breadth and depth by widening the choices available to the investor on the Nigerian bourse. The Commission seized the opportunity of the workshop to unveil plans to leverage the depth of market capitalisation and available funds for medium to long term financing for the benefit of key sectors of the economy through the proposed asset – backed securities which will be introduced soon. Addressing the media during a post – workshop parley in Abuja, DirectorGeneral of the apex regulatory body of the Nigerian capital market, Arunma Oteh said the workshop would enable the Federal Government to come up with a framework on securitization, which would not only deepen the capital market, but also form a critical aspect of the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan. Securitization is essentially premised on the idea of asset-based funding. Asset-based funding, according to lead facilitator of the workshop, Professor


Graham Penn of the University College, London implies an investor taking primarily an exposure on an asset, not on the total value of the originator of the asset. Penn said securitization has been adopted by many countries as a more efficient means of financing infrastructure. Specifically, securitization is the financial practice of pooling various types of contractual debt such as mortgages, commercial mortgages, car purchase loans or credit card debt obligations and selling the consolidated debt as bonds, pass -through securities, or collateralized mortgage

obligations, to various investors. The principal and interest on the debt, underlying the securities, are paid back to the various investors regularly. Securities backed by mortgage receivables are called mortgage backed securities, while those backed by other types of receivables are assetbacked securities Professor Penn explained that the driving force of securitization is ability to have access to medium and long term fund while resources are made available for government to fund other social programmes. He noted that Nigeria has a framework with which to commence Securitization. The Director General of the SEC said that “…there is a great recognition in the country that the Nigerian capital market is important for sourcing long term finance. We must therefore have a market that engenders confidence, and we believe it is critical to bridge the availability gaps in medium to long term financing for housing, infrastructure and agriculture, and that is why we are doing this” (holding the workshop). Oteh disclosed that there were only a negligible 20,000 mortgages in the books of banks in Nigeria, adding that this figure was too low when considered from the standpoint of the importance of mortgages to mass housing. Apart from Securitization products, Oteh said a Nigerian Mortgage Facility being coordinated by the Honourable Minister of Finance/ Coordinating Minister for the Economy (HMF/CME) would be unveiled before the end of the year. This facility, according to her, would assist the country to increase the number of Nigerians who hold mortgage significantly. The facility, she

maintained, would also help to reduce the interest rate on housing financing. On a different note, Oteh informed that the SEC would continue to strengthen its enforcement mechanism, adding that a framework that would enable it address investor complaints effectively and within a minimum time frame had been presented by the Commission to the market for stakeholder input. In addition, she posited that investor confidence was key to any market and indeed was not unlike trust in a relationship which, once broken, takes a long time to restore because people would like to see what was being done before returning to the market. It was for this reason that that the SEC had ramped up its investor education activities in order to grow investors’ knowledge of the market in which they are invested. She reiterated the Commission’s advocacy that investors explore collective investment schemes (CIS) in order to minimize and diversify their risk. She further explained that a lot was being done to attract more investors, particularly retail investors, to the market. These include the revamp of the Investor Protection Fund of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), a decision by the Board of the SEC to set up and operationalize the National Investor Protection Fund, NIPF as well as complaint management mechanisms that will speedily resolve issues. The DG emphasized that enforcement was critical for the commission: “If people know that there will be severe consequences for misconduct, not just a slap on the wrist, they would be very careful. That is why the SEC has zero tolerance for anything improper” BC

cal Government Bonds and Corporate Bonds/Debentures sectors.

Summary of Price Changes A review of the equity price movements indicated that 50 equities gained while 27 equities recorded price declines and 100 and 15 equities remained constant. When compared with the preceding week, 49 equities gained while 31 equities recorded price declines and 117 equities remained constant. BC

The Stock Market last week


turnover of 2.813 billion shares worth N22.188 billion in 33,123 deals were transacted this week on the floor of The Exchange in contrast to a total of 2.612 billion shares valued at N19.152 billion that exchanged hands last week in 27,186 deals. The Financial Services sector was the most active during the week, contributing 79.64 per cent to the total equity turnover volume with 2.240 billion shares valued at N14.761 billion exchanged hands by investors in 19,656 deals. Similarly, the Banking subsector of the Financial Services sector was the most active during the week (measured by turnover volume); with 1.583 billion shares worth N12.581 billion traded in 13,629 deals. Volume in the Banking

subsector was largely driven by activities in the shares of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated Plc, Unity Bank Plc and UBA Plc. Trading in the shares of the three banks accounted for 844.849 million shares, representing 53.37 per cent, 37.71 per cent and 30.03 per cent of the turnover recorded by the subsector, sector and total turnover for the week, respectively. Also traded during the week were 234 units of NewGold Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) valued at N595, 491 exchanged hands in 5 deals in contrast to a total of 196 units valued at N504,481 transacted last week in four deals. In addition, 610 units of FGN bonds valued at N76,432 were traded during the week in 14 deals. However, there were no transactions in the State/LoTOP TEN PRICE LOSERS


Index Movement The NSE All-Share Index appreciated by 828.37 points or 2.62 per cent to close on Friday at 32,411.86. Also, the market capitalization of the listed equities appreciated by 2.65 per cent to close at N10.370 trillion. All the NSE sectorial indices appreciated: Bloomberg NSE 30, Bloomberg NSE Consumer Goods, Bloomberg NSE Banking, Bloomberg NSE Insurance, Bloomberg NSE Oil/Gas and NSE Lotus II appreciated by 3.25 per cent, 5.94 per cent, 1.81 per cent, 6.38 per cent, 1.40 per cent and 3.33 per cent respectively. The table below summarizes the movements in the NSE indices:

Open 753.00 51.52 153.60 73.49 285.00 31.50 13.79 65.01 12.40 23.70

Close 819.99 66.00 165.00 80.91 292.03 35.63 17.54 68.00 13.70 24.88

Gain (N ) 66.99 14.48 11.40 7.42 7.03 4.13 3.75 2.99 1.30 1.18

% Change 8.90 28.11 7.42 10.10 2.47 13.11 27.19 4.60 10.48 4.98


Open 52.00 33.56 147.00 23.89 14.00 10.00 8.79 2.06 44.91 4.97

Close 47.10 30.61 144.87 22.71 13.00 9.17 8.16 1.62 44.50 4.62

Loss (N) -4.90 -2.95 -2.13 -1.18 -1.00 -0.83 -0.63 -0.44 -0.41 -0.35

% Change -9.42 -9.42 -9.42 -9.42 -9.42 -9.42 -9.42 -9.42 -9.42 -9.42

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Business Courage

Monday, February 4, 2013

National Mirror

Behind d Wheels This page is open to sponsorship

The 2013 013

Honda Pilot W

hile the vast majority of utility vehicles have grown smooth, rakish, and overtly aerodynamic on the outside, the Honda Pilot stands apart. It’s one of relatively few models on the market today that preserves the old two-box design that once separated SUVs from sedans and vans. And while the Pilot might look from a distance like one of those vehicles that’s slid so far out of favour, inside and behind the wheel the Pilot redeems itself, as a standout package for family practicality. Especially if you’re a household that eschews minivans yet needs a roomy interior, and three rows of seating, the 2013 Pilot remains one of the best picks. The overtly boxy body yields an especially roomy interior, as well as great versatility for busy weekendhauling needs. Yet with a carlike unibody design, bolstered structurally with some of the benefits of an SUV, the Pilot is able to draw from the best of both worlds. Ride quality is on the firm side, but the optional four-wheel-drive (actually allwheel drive) system has a Lock mode and is a champ in deep snow or mud. Four-wheeldrive models can tow up to 4,500 pounds. A five-speed automatic transmission is paired with the familiar 250-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 in the Pilot, and it altogether keeps with Honda’s smooth, responsive, and sweet-sounding reputation for these powertrains. EPA highway ratings are now up to 25 mpg, making it one of the most fuel-efficient three-row vehicles. Once you get past the initial surprise of the tall driving position, you’ll find handling to be reasonably crisp, with good manoeuvrability.

The Pilot has for years been a top safety achiever, and it includes side-curtain bags cover all three rows, along with the usual roster of security items. For 2013, a rear-view camera system is standard on all models and helps with visibility, which can be an issue in the blocky, tall Pilot. Features The 2013 Honda Pilot remains offered in four different trim levels: LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring. All four are offered in 2WD or 4WD, but beyond that you need to ante up to one of the top two trims in order to get a lot of the more desirable options and convenience features. Leather upholstery, a bluetooth hands-free interface, USB/iPod connectivity, a power tailgate, and a navigation system all remain only available on the EX-L and Touring. And the way that infotainment is configured in the Pilot, to get a USB input you need to select the navigation system--and likely buy one of the more expensive Pilots on the lot. Last year, Honda brought to the Pilot the i-MID, which includes a colour LCD screen at the top of the instrument panel, showing trip computer and audio functions. A set of enhanced steering-wheel controls were also included, and for 2013 a rear-view camera system is also included. If you can do without some of those extras, the base Honda Pilot LX models are wellenough equipped to make comfortable family vehicles for most; they include rear air conditioning, keyless entry, cruise control, and a seven-speaker sound system. At the top of the line-up, the Pilot Touring includes a host of tech fea-

tures, such as a nav system, a rear-view camera, a Bluetooth hands-free interface, a USB audio plug, backup sensors, and available rear DVD entertainment. There’s 15 GB of media storage included with the navigation system. Performance The Honda Pilot comes with a single powertrain combination: a 250-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 and a five-speed automatic. But you can choose between front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. The Pilot’s V-6 is no longer the standout for power and torque that it once was, but it remains one of the smoothest, most pleasant, and sweetsounding powertrains in this class. The five-speed automatic transmission in the Pilot feels a little indecisive under lighter loads, but it smoothes out and shifts quickly when you need to move rapidly. With a rather tall driving position, you might expect the Pilot to be a little clumsy compared to those lower, more wagon-like utility vehicles. But it’s not at all; handling is quite responsive, and the straightforward exterior is easy to manoeuvre in parking garages or on tighter city streets. The Pilot does have quite a bit more durability built in than the typical car, though, and it is a good choice for those looking to get to a trailhead on the weekends. The four-wheel drive system (actually all-wheel drive) does include a Lock mode for mud or deep snow. Structurally, the Pilot’s structure borrows some of the benefits of a body-onframe SUV but has a modern unibody design. And that contributes to its good ride quality and crisp response.

Interior While the vast majority of utility vehicles have grown smooth, rakish, and overtly aerodynamic on the outside, the Honda Pilot stands apart. It’s one of relatively few models on the market today that preserves the old two-box design that once separated SUVs from sedans and vans. And while the Pilot might look from a distance like one of those vehicles that’s slid so far out of favour, inside and behind the wheel the Pilot redeems itself, as a standout package for family practicality. Especially if you’re a household that eschews minivans

yet needs a roomy interior, and three rows of seating, the 2013 Pilot remains one of the best picks. The overtly boxy body yields an especially roomy interior, as well as great versatility for busy weekendhauling needs. Yet with a carlike unibody design, bolstered structurally with some of the benefits of an SUV, the Pilot is able to draw from the best of both worlds. Ride quality is on the firm Safety The 2013 Honda Pilot has been one of the best picks in this class for safety for years; and it remains near the top,

National Mirror

Business Courage A19 35

Monday, February 4, 2013

Behind d Wheels This page is open to sponsorship

Autocare Carburettor vs. fuel Injection: Understanding the pros and cons


etermining which offers the best performance between carburettor and fuel injection is a highly debateable question among car enthusiasts. Many believe that performance is best with a carburettor while others insist that the only way to go is with fuel injection gasoline. To determine which is best for your vehicle, it’s important to first understand how both components work. we have is that the hard-plastic surfaces and trims that you’ll find throughout the dash and door trim and centre console, while they might be easy for families to wipe clean, also can feel a bit low-rent. Refinement in the Pilot is really top-notch, with engine and road noise well-damped and surprisingly little wind noise.

although it doesn’t quite have straight-A grades if you consider all U.S. crash tests. Last year’s version of the Pilot was given top ‘good’ ratings by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in all categories--even in the crucial (for tall utility vehicles) roof-strength category--and it was named a Top Safety Pick. But in the tighter federal NCAP crash-test program, the Pilot earns a fourstar score (out fo five) overall, with four stars for frontal impact and five stars for the new side pole test. Despite its boxy body, tall seating, and rather low beltline, the Honda Pilot doesn’t offer great outward visibility--mainly because of the thick rear pillars, which may make it hard for some shorter drivers to see when changing lanes or backing up. That’s at least partially remedied for 2013, as the Pilot gets a rear-view camera system as a standard feature across all of its trims. Front side airbags, side-curtain bags that cover all three rows, and active head restraints all remain included, plus electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes. Quality Size the 2013 Pilot up on the

outside, and you’d expect it to be exceptionally roomy and cargo-friendly inside. As such, you won’t be disappointed in any way; the Pilot has seating for up to eight, split among three rows of seating that’s quite comfortable--although getting in and out of the Pilot’s thirdrow seats might be best left to those young and limber. With an upright theme that carries through to most of the interior, the cabin is roomy and functional, and it’s one of few vehicles this size to have a third row that’s spacious enough for adults. About the only thing that keeps the third row from being able to accommodate all adults--getting in and out aside--is headroom, which is tighter at the far back. The Pilot’s front seats are generously sized and supportive for long highway hauls, and the second-row seats do slide fore and aft to help get the right balance of legroom between the second and third rows; they also aid access to the rearmost row--a bit. Both the second and third rows fold forward and are split 60/40. Practicality remains one of the standpoints from which the Pilot excels; it’s brimming with cubbies, holders, and bins for smaller items. The only issue

Contrast with others While the 2013 Honda Pilot looks tough and trail-ready from the outside, you can’t read it too literally as that’s not what it is on the inside. It’s really more of a direct rival to the Toyota Highlander; like the Pilot, the Highlander has a more traditional look, though it’s less overt. The Highlander has a nice, soft ride, but it’s not nearly as responsive of a performer on the road; however it also has interior trims and materials that are a bit disappointing. Several Ford models are rivals to the Pilot. The Ford Flex for instance, has excellent interior comfort and distinctive, boxy styling that’s more urbanhip than rugged. The Flex also performs much better than the Pilot with its EcoBoost V-6 option. The other Ford model that’s an alternative to the Pilot is the Explorer, which has more of the traditional trail look though the Explorer has also gone modern and more comfort-oriented-with advanced MyFord Touch infotainment inside. The Chevrolet Traverse is larger than the Flex, with a higher seating position closer to that of traditional SUVs, yet it handles and performs well and has a very well-appointed interior. One other worthwhile alternative is the Kia Sorento, which like the Highlander offers a more fuel-efficient four-cylinder choice but feels somewhat smaller than the Pilot, probably due to its more curvaceous body. BC

Engine Performance The carburettor and fuel injection performance is mainly due to the amount of air and gasoline that can enter into the engine cylinders. The cylinders contain the pistons and combustion chambers where energy is released from the combustion of gasoline. The carburettor and fuel injection system will both feed fuel and air into the engine. The Carburettor The carburettor contains jets that will push the gas into the combustion chambers. The amount of fuel that can flow through these jets depends completely on the amount of air that can be pulled into the carburettor venture. The main issue with obtaining the best performance using a carburettor is that it can’t monitor the air to fuel ratio for each individual cylinder. If there was a carburettor for each cylinder, then this would not be an issue. So with a carburettor, the best fuel to air ratio for each cylinder is approximated for the best performance. However, carburettors do last longer than fuel injection systems and are favoured in motor sports. Carburettors are also much simpler to install than fuel injection systems, because there are no electrical components or return lines to the fuel tank. The carburettor is currently much less expensive than the electronic fuel injection systems. Fuel Injection Systems Fuel injection systems are becoming more popular for those wanting the best performance from their engines. There are two different versions of fuel injection - port fuel injection and direct injection. Port fuel injection is the most commonly used and direct fuel injection is the latest developed fuel injection system. This system was designed specifically for four or two stoke engines. The main benefits to using direct injection is that the amount of fuel and air can be perfectly released and then injected into the cylinder according to the engine load conditions. The electronics used in the system will calculate this information and constantly adjust. This type of controlled fuel injection results in a higher power output, greater fuel efficiency and much lower emission. One of the main issues is that, these systems are sophisticated and will cost much more than a carburettor. Installation is more complicated as it uses an electrical component and custom cylinder head configuration. Which is best? It is fairly obvious that most automobiles will be changing to fuel injection systems due to the lower emissions. However, unless the cost of these systems decreases significantly, then there will still be a massive following that will stick to carburettors. When looking at pure horsepower, the fuel injection system only delivers about 10 extra horsepower at peak. It is the ability to constantly be tuning the fuel and air intake for each cylinder that benefits the performance. The fuel injection systems are the best as they will decrease vibration and help to overcome steep grades that are traditional terrain for off-roading. Again, which one is best completely depends on where and how you’re driving. BC

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Business Courage

Monday, February 4, 2013

Aig-Imoukhuede, three others join Stock Exchange Council



he Group Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, Aigboje AigImoukhuede and three others have joined the council of The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Others are Managing Director, Shell Nigeria Closed Pension Fund Administrator Ltd. Yemisi Ayeni; Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, Partner, Dikko and Mahmoud and Abimbola Ogunbanjo, Partner, Chris Ogunbanjo & Co., Barristers and Solicitors. According to the Secretary to the Council and Head, Legal and Regulation Division of The Exchange, Tinuade Awe, the appointment which was made at the end of the Council meeting held in Lagos brings the number of Council members to 13. Awe noted that the Management of the Exchange was very pleased to have them join the Council and bring their wealth of experience to bear on the Exchange. “We look forward to working with them and other Council members to further The Exchange’s transformation agenda,” she said. Aig-Imoukhuede’s visionary leadership has inspired Access Bank’s rapid and unprecedented growth over the years, which has seen the bank rank amongst the top four banks in Nigeria. He is also the Chairman of the Group’s UK Banking Subsidiary Access Bank UK Limited. Under his leadership, Access Bank has become a globally recognised institution, receiving awards both locally and internationally for its contribution towards the growth of the Nigerian Banking Industry. Prior to this appointment, AigImoukhuede was an Executive Director at Guaranty Trust Bank Plc. He is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Nigeria’s Financial Market Dealers Association and also a foundation Board member of the African Finance Corporation. He is a member of the National Economic Management Team and currently serves as the Chairman of the Bankers’ committee Sub-committee on Economic Development and Sustainability. Aig-Imoukhuede holds LLB and BL degrees from the University of Benin and the Nigeria Law School respectively and was one of the youngest Nigerians to be conferred with the Honorary Fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Ayeni

Nigeria. In 2011, he was awarded the national honour of the Commander of the Order of the Niger, CON. Ayeni is the Managing Director, Shell Nig.Closed Pension Fund Administrator Ltd. She is an honors graduate of Accounting and Business Finance from the prestigious University of Manchester, UK and is a Chartered Accountant - a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. She joined Shell Nigeria in 1994 and has held a variety of roles in various Shell companies over the years. In November 2004, Ayeni was appointed Finance Director, SNEPCo, earning her the distinction of being the first Nigerian woman ever to be appointed to the Board of a Shell Company in Nigeria. Ayeni is the Vice Chair of the Pension Fund Operators’ Association of Nigeria and the current Chair of the Board of LEAP Africa. Mahmoud, SAN, is the managing partner at Dikko and Mahmoud, a law firm that prides itself as offering legal services to public and private sector clients in line with best international practice. He has acted as counsel in many important arbitrations and also acted as arbitrator in several proceedings. He was elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2001. Mahmoud is a member of the Body of Bencher’s, Nigeria’s highest body for regulating the legal profession. He chaired the National Committee on the review of the Nigeria’s Code of Corporate Governance for Public Companies and is a member of the Vision 2020, Business Support Group. He chairs the NBA Ethics Committee as well as its Capacity Building Committee and sits on its Arbitration Working Group. In 2006, he was awarded the national honour of the Officer of the Order of Nigeria, OON. He was a recipient of the ‘We are Future of Our Nation’ role model award for 2008. Ogunbanjo is the Managing Partner at Chris Ogunbanjo & Co. a leading international law firm. He has vast knowledge and experience in the areas of Corporate Commercial and Admiralty Law. He has garnered considerable corporate finance experience over the years, with a brilliant understanding of legal issues in his preferred areas of practice. He is a member of the International Bar Association; the Institute of Petroleum (UK); Member, the International Trademark Association; he is a Governing Council Member and Legal Adviser of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, Vice Chairman of the Commercial Law and Taxation Committee of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry among other institutions. Ogunbanjo was actively involved in establishing Brass LNG Limited and putting in place all legal and corporate structures for the company preparatory to its full operations. He is a director of several multinational companies with a broad Industry focus including ConocoPhillips, ABB Powerlines, Beta Glass Plc and Investment Securities Limited. BC

National Mirror

Return of crazy bills


n the past couple of month or more, different categories of electricity consumers have seen their bills rising without explanation. It has been a case of adding insult to injury as people and companies having to pay for services not rendered which has been the bane of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria and it is one of the key reasons why that Octopus is being privatised. Let me quickly clarify that these tariff increases were expected and had actually taken effect since June last year when the Multi-Year Tariff Order 2 came into force. Under the new regime, computed by the National Electricity Regulatory Commission, electricity tariff moved North by between 50 per cent and 100 per cent with the highest-paying electricity consumers, who paid N15.60 per kilowatt hour (Kw/hr), now paying between N23.40 and N31.20. The Residential Two category of customers - residential customers with single-phase metres - where majority of electricity consumers belong, now pay between N10.85 and N14.60 per kw/hr as against N7.30 per Kw/h; Residential Three category of customers, now pay between N16.50 and N22 instead of N11 per Kw/h, while the Residential One category - the lowest-paying customers, pay between N3.30 and N4.40, up from N2.20 per Kwh. The tariff hike is a critical part of the on-going reforms in the power sector and is aimed at reflecting cost indices such as changes in gas price, inflation and exchange rates, while emplacing a commercially viable regime that will guarantee adequate returns of investments under the MYTO framework in order to attract private sector entities to participate in that sector with ultimate aim of ending decades of crippling power shortages that has effectively stultified the growth of real sector activity and concomitant job creation. However, it had been argued before in this column that before the MYTO takes effect, there must be accurate metering to ensure fairness on the part of both the consumer the seller of electricity. This means there must be meters, but a study commissioned last year by NERC itself had suggested that only 8.42 per cent of the total households in Nigeria are being billed correctly by all Electricity Distribution Companies. The report had also noted added that only 2.9 million or 55.94 per cent of households have meters out of the 5.17 million customers captured in the records of operators of the Nigerian electricity system. This figure amounts to 18.65 percent of Nigeria’s total households put at 28,900,492 according to the National Bureau of Statistics in 2006. However, the figure excludes that consume electricity illegally and are not registered by the Discos. The report also showed that out of the number of households with meters, 701,385 or 22 per cent have meters that are not working.

Indeed, the committee that drafted the report found that chief executive officers of the Discos have thousands of meters in their possession but deliberately refuse to distribute to consumers who are then billed indiscriminately under the so-called estimated billing system. These same CEOs, the committee found have also failed to account for the N2.9bn released by the Federal Government for meter procurement. Now it is easy to guess, why we are in this mess. At present, Electricity consumers who live in two bedroom flats that used to pay about N5,000 monthly tariff now pay between N12,000 and N15,000.Consumers who live in three bedroom flats and duplexes pay between N16 000 and N20, 000 per month against about N7,000 they used to pay in the past. These bills include Value Added Tax and “meter maintenance charge” even though most consumers don’t have meters. Fine, the current PHCN successor companies are going to be handed over to private investors in less than six months according to the privatisation timetable, but one wonder if it would be possible to continue with the odious estimated billing regime. Will consumers be handed over from a public monopoly to a private monopoly? Why has the sector regulator, NERC been unable to enforce the provision of accurate metering system till date. What is the magic in meter procurement, when these devices are even manufactured locally? The current crazy billing system has already generated street protest in Kwara State by youths who could no longer tolerate these excesses. To make matters worse, many of the PHCN District offices in Lagos, for example, have entered into a backdoor partnership with a private firm, to get consumers to pay bills via a card system, under so-called cashless initiative. For the consumer this means parting with N100 per payment and in many cases such payment are not even reflected in the subsequent bills. The explanation offered by NERC chairman that the bills were rising because Discos appeared not to have been well acquainted with the MYTO 2 billing regime is rather embarrassing and no justification for the guesswork and arbitrariness that has characterised the billing system Already, the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, has sounded the alarm about the implications of the huge additional cost the fixed charge regime for businesses already saddled with myriad problem which we are familiar with. Even the authorities acknowledge that consumers are prepared to pay electricity bills, which invariably are lower than the cost of running private generators for home of commercial use, but every consumer has a right to be billed for what he has actually consumed. NERC must end this estimated billing regime. It is unjust, exploitative and downright illegal. BC

National Mirror

Business Courage

Monday, February 4, 2013

A21 37

Paga processes N9.8bn transactions in 2012 Stories by Kunle Azeez


aga, Nigeria’s leading money transfer service, said it has processed over 918,000 transactions worth over N9.8 billion. Since receiving its operating licence from the Central Bank of Nigeria in November 2011; the home-grown money transfer company and its in-house developed technology platform, is focused on fulfilling its mission towards transforming lives by delivering innovative and universal access to financial services. Its offerings are for all consumers whether they are banked or un-banked. After Paga’s first full year of operating as a CBN licensed mobile payments company in 2012, the opeartor’s user base grew from 40,363 to 382,063 users, representing 847 per cent growth in one year! The company currently boasts over 300 businesses registered to use the platform to collect payments and over 1,600 agents in 23 cities nationwide. Meanwhile, Paga has been nominated by Financial Times and ArcelorMittal for its “Boldness in Business” Awards 2013 in the Technology category. The “Technology” category of the awards specifically focuses on companies who are leading the push into new areas or applying existing technologies to transform existing business models and deliver outstanding economic and social impact.

In Nigeria’s new but rapidly developing mobile payments landscape, Paga is the leading player with over 60 per cent market share. The FT-ArcelorMittal “Boldness in Business” Awards committee is recognising Paga for “leading the push towards harnessing and continually developing technology to deliver outstanding economic and social impact.” According to the Editor of the Financial Times, Lionel Barber, “Against a backdrop of an exciting but tough year for the global economy in 2012, it is clear to us that winning businesses are those that make the boldest decisions to change, grow, launch, acquire, merge or simply do something different.” He noted that the shortlist for this year’s awards encapsulates that attitude to aspire to be bold and stand out, bringing positive impact on the way business is being carried out. Reacting to the shortlisting of Paga for the awards, Paga’s founder and Chief Executive Officer, Tayo Oviosu, said, “This is a great honour for our company and it is quite humbling to be selected from so many who we know to be doing amazing things in terms of utilising technology to address economic and social issues around the world.” According to him, “Our selection is a testament to the hard work and

dedication of our 120 person strong team and our investors who are committed to the success of Paga and mobile payments in Nigeria. We are in fantastic company in our category and we’re really excited to see how things turn out on the day. Innovation is at the core of our company. “The entire Paga team is extremely passionate about our mission and we are constantly striving to develop “appropriate technology” suited for the local markets where we operate. We also work hard to ensure our services are low cost and accessible via our agent network, in doing so we can strive towards universal access.” After closing 2012 by winning “Best Use of IT in Mobile Payment (Independent)” at the fifth Nigerian Financial Technology Awards 2012; 2013 is already promising to be interesting year for Paga. This is already their second award nomination for the year, having been nominated by Mobile Money Africa in the Best Independent Mobile Money (Nigeria category) at The Kalahari Awards 2013, scheduled to hold on the 7th of February. The winners of the 2013 FT ArcelorMittal Boldness in Business Awards will be announced on March 20, at a ceremony in London hosted by Barber and the Chairman, ArcelorMittal, Lakshmi Mittal where the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, will be the guest speaker. BC

Inlaks repositions for better service delivery


nlaks Computers Limited, the foremost Information and Communication Technology and infrastructure services and solutions provider, is currently repositioning its operations with a view to deliver a more effective services to its customers both in Nigeria and the West African region. The company said it was based on this that it recently engaged two top management Dare personnel to join in the company’s renewed vigour to take its pride of place in its African operations. The new personnel are Tope Dare as Director, Sales and Strategy for Infrastructure Business and e-Banking Solutions and Morenike Olanipekun, Programme/Project Manager, IT implementation & Customer Service. Tope was the Sales and Marketing Manager at NCR (Nigeria) where he was ultimately responsible for all direct and indirect sales of NCR’s solution portfolio products in Nigeria between June 2010 and December, 2012. At NCR (Nigeria), he remarkably grew the ATM business in his two successive years in the organization. He took into NCR a lot of experience gained from the financial customer side as a skilled and expert IT resource having previously worked for Oceanic Bank (now EcoBank) for 10 years in several functions of the Information Technology Group of the bank, where he successfully designed, delivered and supported numerous IT, e-business and ATM projects. Until his resignation at Oceanic Bank, he was the Technical Manager of the ATM Estate of the bank. Tope has a First Degree in

Olanipekun Electronics & Electrical Engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University and on-going Action Learning MBA at Business School Netherlands. He is a Certified Information System Auditor (CISA), Certified e-Business Consultant (CEC), Postilion Trained and Certified, ITIL professional and Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP). He also has several offshore training exposures on ATMs and e-business and is a world-class conference speaker with vast exposures in the global ATM and Payment industry. He has attended and actively participated in several ATM and Payments seminars, conferences, fora and trainings in America, Europe, Asia, Middle East and across Africa. On the other hand, Morenike, has been a management consultant for 12 years which includes four years in the banking industry as a full time banking staff and 4 years with the Nigerian practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers. A thoroughbred professional, she has deep experience and insight in business process re-engineering, risk identification & management (including attendant controls & policies). Morenike has also acquired and demonstrated expertise in business

strategy development and implementation, performance improvement and business technology solutions. While at Afribank/ Mainstreet Bank, she headed and managed the bank’s Enterprise Programme Management Office (EPMO). Her duties were to ensure that all the initiatives/ projects emanating from the bank’s strategic plans were delivered according to properly defined and agreed criteria. In this wise, she provided practical implementation support to key strategy projects bankwide ensuring successful delivery and providing advice in relation to strategic developments and best practice. Prior to her stint in banking, Morenike worked with the Nigerian practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers where she garnered invaluable exposure to best-in-class working practices. In 2008, Morenike was involved in a multi-million dollar strategy implementation project for one of the largest financial services groups in Nigeria (Intercontinental Bank Plc). Working as part of a larger team comprising counterpart staff as well as PricewaterhouseCoopers consultants from the Lagos & London offices, Morenike was responsible for improvements in the performance of the bank’s operations department. This development is also part of the top management’s decisions to take the company into its next phase of evolution and implement its strategies to take advantage of current and future market opportunities. BC

Market Indicators for Week Ended 01-02-13 All-Share Index 32,411.86points Market Capitalisation N10,370,061,845,032.16 Stock Updates GAINERS COMPANY














































Inter-Bank Rates TENOR

RATE%(PREV) 25-Jan-2013

RATE%(CURR) 01-Feb-2013


11.5000 – 12.7500

10.0000 – 11.0000


11.5000 – 12.5000

09.5000 – 12.5000

Primary Market Auction TENOR


RATE (%)














Open Market Operation TENOR 139-Days

AMOUNT (N’mn) 59,530

RATE (%) 13.32

DATE 23-Jan-13









Wholesale Dutch Auction System AMOUNT OFFERED











A22 38

Business Courage

Monday, February 4, 2013

National Mirror

C&I Leasing: Sustaining operation on borrowed funds By Tayo Adeleke


t is increasingly becoming obvious that C&I Leasing Plc (CIL) is not doing well in its bottom line indices, particularly as a result of huge operating expenses and liquidity challenges. Its working capital currently stands at a negative figure, a condition that forced the management to rely heavily on borrowed funds to run its operations. CIL’s working capital stood at a deficit of –N9.81 billion within nine months of 2012/13 financial year, thus, raising its bank loans and overdrafts to N3.64 billion from N1.41 billion in 2011. C&I Leasing Plc was incorporated in December 1990 to provide both structured operating and finance leases and other ancillary services to the oil and gas, telecommunications, manufacturing and other sectors of the economy. The company has also recently expanded its service base to cover provision of logistic support services as well as consumer leases to employees of blue chip companies. In 1998, C&I Leasing completed a major share-holding restructuring and diversification exercise which saw it converted into a Public Company and its shares listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The company is presently the only Leasing and Rental Services Company listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Strategic decision C&I Leasing has announced that it has set up a new arm which will be dedicated to procurement and joint

Q3 Performance The financial analysis of unaudited third quarter results of CIL for the period ended October 31, 2012 show an improved performance from the previous year ended October 2011. Apart from sustaining the profitability achieved in the previous year, majority of its top line indices recorded commendable growth from the previous period results. Gross earnings had 24 per cent increase to close at N9.17 billion from N7.41 billion in 2011 while gross profit had 18 per cent increase to close at N2.64 billion. However, both pretax profit and profit after tax followed downward trend in the review period. Pretax profit dropped from N424.15 million

C & I Leasing Financial Data








Cost of sales




Gross Profit








Profit Before Taxation Profit After Taxation

242,147 170,787

By implication, short term borrowing was 1.24 times the shareholders fund, an indication that the company has not been able to handle its medium term debt efficiently. However, when the current asset is compared with the company’s current liabilities (current ratio), it shows that in 2012, a current asset was 1.27 times the current liabilities and 1.63 times the current liabilities in 2011. Therefore, it can be said that the company is not liquid enough to pay its debt as when due.

ventures. The management said it embarked on this as a result of the need to meet the growing need of companies wanting to do large scale procurement. “If a company wants to buy equipment, or drilling tools in large scale, particularly equipment used for drilling in the oil and gas sector, they come to us, because we are well versed in that area, coupled with the fact that we have the expertise in determining best suited equipments for that sector” the board revealed. At the moment, the company is running a Joint Venture (JV) business with Anbe for the provision of vehicles for Total Nigeria. CIL also deals in heavy land equipment. At the moment, the company runs a contract for 60 ton cranes and it is also involved in outsourcing and manpower management.

Total Assets




Operating Expenses




Shareholders fund




Interest Expenses




Current Asset




Current Liabilities



72.61 480.08

Current Assets-stocks



Trade Debtors




Trade Creditors




Profitability Ratios Return on Equity (%)



Gross profit Margin (%)



Profit Margin (%)



Pre -tax Profit Margin (%)



Current Ratio



Quick Ratio


Liquidity Ratios 0.17

Debtors(No of days)



Creditors(No of days)



Emeka Ndu, C&I Leasing md

in 2011 to N242.15 million in 2012 while net profit dropped by 48 per cent to close at N171 million. The decline could be easily traced to increase in operating expenses having moved from N1.62 billion in 2011 to N2.3 billion in the review period. Cost Management Costs incurred by CIL during the period under review reveals that its direct cost of sales grew from N5.18 billion in third quarters 2011 to N6.53 billion in third quarters 2012, representing a growth of 26.16 per cent. A point worthy of note here is the similarity in growth trend between the direct cost of sales and the gross income earned by the company. The variance between its growth rates was marginal. The implication of this is that, the top line growth does not translate to the after tax earnings, because the company has not been efficient in its cost control. Going by the nature of CIL business,

the company makes provision for loans against losses by default or nonpayment of lease payments. An analysis of the provisions for loan reveals an improvement as the company provided N94.36 million in third quarter of 2012 against N194.2 million recorded in the same period of 2011, representing 51 per cent decrease. This seems to be fair considering the growth trend in its leased asset which has a growth of 26 per cent. Capital Structure The capital structure of CIL shows the company has a higher proportion of its funding from borrowing than equity. Analysis of the relationship between its shareholders fund and short term borrowing shows a medium term debt to equity ratio of 174 per cent in third quarter 2012 compared with 73 per cent in third quarters 2011, giving an average proportion of 124 per cent of CILs shareholders fund in the last one year.

Operating Performance Operating performance ratios have differing inputs and measure different segments of a company’s overall operational performance. These ratios look at how well a company turns its assets into revenue as well as how efficiently a company converts its sales into cash. The Fixed Assets Turnover of CIL stood at N13.59 in third quarters 2012 against N10.54 in third quarter 2011. This shows a significant increase and evidence that the company is doing a good job of generating revenue from its investment in fixed assets. Profitability The profitability ratios adopted in reviewing the performance of CIL such as the gross profit margin (GPM), net profit margin (NPM) and ROE (return on equity) measure how much return the management have been able to deliver on the resources used in running the business. The GPM stood at 28.77 per cent in 2012, a decline from 30.13 per cent achieved in 2011. This implies that over the last nine months, gross profit has accounted for 71 per cent of the company’s turnover. The net profit margin (NPM) dropped to 1.86 per cent from 4.4 per cent in 2011 while earning per share (EPS) also dropped from 17.01 percent in 2011 to 8.17 per cent in 2012. Prospects Obviously, the company’s bottom line indices are not improving and the management needs to wake up and do something to save the situation. There is also the need for awareness as a number of entrepreneurs and companies are not fully aware of leasing as an alternative to bank loans with regards to asset acquisition whether in the long or short term. Finally, there is the need for the management to practice cost effective management in order to increase its net profit margin (NPM). BC

National Mirror

Business Courage A23 39

Monday, February 4, 2013

STOCKWATCH Stock Exchange weekly equities summary as at Friday, Feb 01, 2013 SECURITY



NOTE NT=Not Traded on 01-02-13






MOV. (%)


166 000 68 546 494 972

0.64 34.01 16.15

0.50 14.53 6.40

2 200 000 000 476 955 000 1 000 000 000

0.10 6.73 2.75

N/A 4.14 16.84

0.50 51.47 22.50




60 000 000




7 573 983



1 199 549 736




33 783 50 805 000 NT 458 184

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

0.08 0.24 0.00 0.35 6.89

8.84 N/A N/A N/A N/A

1.47 NT 2.28 NT 47.30


26.00 95.49

14.09 95.49

148 500 000 196 876 000

0.00 4.50




7.97 14.46

2.46 14.46

920 573 765 125 000 000

0.00 0.00



1 110 915 49

62.26 8.69

21.55 3.01

1 200 000 000 20 000 000

4.93 4.73

70.45 N/A

38.72 NT

NT 237 434

7.28 20.15

7.28 8.82

1 375 000 000

0.00 1.66

N/A -0.31

NT 16.00


100.00 50.00

97.00 50.00

20 000 000 250 019 781

11.75 0.75



2 100



4 772 528 415




25 000 NT 321 182 403 074 NT 1 260 860 NT

4.63 0.68 265.00 12.83 3.20 138.85 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 9.46 0.25 0.00 5.08 0.00

N/A N/A 0.35 N/A N/A 4.10 N/A

NT NT 291.00 18.00 NT 158.50 NT

193 913



640 590 362




NT 870 412 10 248 843 2 211 757 6 354 690 NT 3 000 462 973 NT 3 500 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 1.00 20.41 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

0.00 0.00 0.91 3.79 0.51 0.00 2.50 1.07 0.08 1.13 0.00

N/A 2.39 2.43 15.59 14.68 N/A N/A -3.09 N/A 2.50 N/A

NT 8.79 7.42 70.00 2.52 NT 18.38 9.70 NT 0.80 NT

40 000 000 1 233 375 004 360 000 000

525 301 400 318

29.20 684.00

9.15 367.83

3 129 188 160 792 656 250

1.35 25.43

1.82 10.81

33.00 740.00

NT NT 837 088 NT

15.58 42.66 6.75 3.67

10.03 34.39 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 3.13 N/A

NT NT 4.15 NT

1 272 110 2 806 555

43.50 41.60

22.07 22.56

3 176 381 636 3 783 296 250

0.70 1.44

15.20 1.16

30.93 43.99




843 284 027




4 600 046 17 646 192 1 069 172 25 746 657 11 015 499 11 331 718 5 856 262 10 673 586 32 946 653 1 193 029 31 447 041 37 184 940 16 324 549

11.10 9.27 17.05 3.20 8.30 20.30 10.17 2.91 5.21 10.07 1.92 1.75 18.20

4.76 2.01 9.97 1.14 3.04 11.64 2.73 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 16 271 192 202 29 146 482 209 13 219 334 676 12 563 091 545 32 334 693 693 13 509 726 273 33 675 576 085 12 821 249 880 31 396 493 790

1.42 0.90 2.81 0.43 0.60 2.10 0.71 0.54 0.67 0.00 0.00 0.00 2.09

6.23 9.20 5.69 -4.64 0.60 0.48 4.42 1.06 #VALUE! 6.19 0.00 55.93 1.60

10.75 6.41 12.30 3.45 5.00 24.87 5.65 2.82 NT 7.91 0.52 0.59 20.66

NT 4 674 061 NT NT 2 429 650 2 107 456 645 703 NT NT NT NT 3 441 421 154 000 NT 27 809 NT NT 729 000 NT 11 942 400 NT NT 37 748 630 NT 250 000 NT 600 150 NT 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 0.05 0.00 0.05 0.14 0.02 0.28 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.02 0.00 0.00 0.03 0.16 0.01 0.37 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.04 0.09 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.02 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 -1.96 N/A 14.06 N/A N/A 41.18 N/A 0.00 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

NT 0.80 NT NT NT 0.50 1.57 NT NT NT NT 0.73 0.50 NT 0.50 NT NT 2.04 NT 0.64 NT NT 0.51 NT NT NT 0.50 0.50 NT NT

NT 1 834 212

6.00 1.15

0.00 1.00

111 700 900 850 10 000 000 1

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 0.02 0.00 0.00


NT 0.50 0.50 NT

NT 5 000 000 12 536 958 NT NT 3 096 064 163 124

0.61 2.02 17.01 0.15 552.20 0.66 11.38

0.50 2.02 8.50 0.15 555.20 0.50 6.40

3 778 005 975 1 333 333 333 32 632 084 358 5 880 000 2 500 000 3 608 657 661 18 750 000 000

0.00 0.00 3.03 0.00 12.65 0.00 0.87

N/A N/A 4.00 N/A N/A N/A 9.51

NT 2.02 17.99 NT NT NT 12.51




498 600 908




386 456



3 553 138 528




58 100



152 178 750




50 702 1 813 000 89 095 515 072

1.45 3.20 39.00 5.61

0.50 0.76 19.30 1.62

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

0.00 0.44 2.62 0.20

18.60 2.42 0.71 1.55

0.86 1.24 46.68 1.94

N/A=Not Avialable

0.01 0.07










MOV. (%)


7 400 NT 4 000

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

-4.04 N/A N/A

0.99 NT NT

5 002 000



2 960 000 000




15 000



2 941 789 472







4 966 666 668




2 700 NT

18.28 3.59

13.12 2.41

108 000 000 492 825 600

0.00 0.01


15.20 NT

800 NT

0.50 4.97

0.50 4.04

4 620 600 000 4 200 000 000

0.00 0.04


0.50 NT




6 878 478 096





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



NT 386 259 205 100 370 148 1 737 334 1 271 632 NT NT 27 834 718 27 172 768 NT 5 000 NT

3.32 30.00 12.57 43.98 15.49 132.51 3.51 0.75 0.99 56.50 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 2.14 1.09 2.28 1.47 8.33 0.00 0.00 0.00 4.10 0.26 0.23 0.00

N/A -5.00 -7.37 0.53 20.92 3.48 N/A N/A N/A 11.48 N/A N/A N/A

NT 21.79 9.90 30.45 8.03 140.00 NT NT 0.50 61.00 NT 4.30 NT

1 000 000 1 196 115 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 -3.95 N/A N/A

NT 1.52 NT NT

NT NT 147 604 NT 1 245 204 NT NT

3.98 6.91 12.71 15.03 3.60 1.86 0.63

3.98 2.19 9.53 13.28 1.60 1.05 0.63


42 640 000 6 215 000 000 240 000 000 199 066 550

0.00 0.05 0.05 0.90 0.24 0.22 0.00

N/A 13.33 N/A N/A

NT NT 10.50 NT 2.40 NT NT


8.69 0.14

8.26 0.14

265 409 280 2 918 000

0.00 0.00



25 000 000 683 974 528

19 919



393 120 000





7.75 12.39

7.75 10.55

75 600 000 100 000 000

0.00 0.43



1 510 000



4 058 989 226





3.22 1.38

3.22 1.38

50 000 000 220 000 000

0.04 0.00



3 643 705



6 262 701 716




6 244 396



2 262 711 568




NT 109 803 106 196 10 032 473 671 162 46 868 59 380 114 783

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 0.47 0.61 0.00 6.11 3.62 14.63

N/A N/A 0.00 39.88 54.27 0.00 N/A 1.91

NT 0.50 22.00 3.31 11.37 120.44 22.58 136.40




4 035 497 307










558 665



980 294 400




160 000 100

3.67 6.40

2.11 3.28

589 496 310 198 819 763

0.58 0.25

2.72 N/A

3.31 NT

254 000



865 808 912




70 000



3 211 627 907




NT 1 161 733 NT 30 702 332

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 20.88 N/A 0.00

NT 0.91 NT 1.16

4 000



8 000 000 000




52 966 26 533 NT 58 016

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 -1.65

2.55 2.10 NT 4.85

248 500



1 507 000 000





5.15 1.88

4.90 0.80

236 699 511 5 631 539 736

0.00 0.03



593 656 686 759

2.78 11.75

1.54 5.15

634 000 000 1 230 468 750

0.38 0.81

N/A 11.02

5.50 7.35




45 000 000




11 000



201 885 335







30 000 000







24 898 850




NT 500



125 005 250



NT 1.63




6 650 000




NT 20 000 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


NT 0.50 NT NT

NT NT 16 000



20 000 000





194 700 000



NT NT 2.76


2 706

2 422


2 638.00


Monday, February 4, 2013

National Mirror

On your next visit to the land of peace...


We’re there for your financial interest


...supporting your aspirations +HDG2IĂ€FH GNAT Heights, 30, Independence Avenue, Accra Contacts: +233302234033-4, +233302234309

Monday, February 4, 2013

National Mirror


Law & Justice

“Corruption is not a disease which attacts public officers alone, but the society as a whole. if it is therefore to be eradicated effectively, the solution to it covers every segment of the society.”


Plea bargaining: One legal system, two classes of citizens CJN should warn judges against mockery of our judicial system –Ojo 42

Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, EFCC boss.

Justice Aloma Mukhtar, Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).

Bali drugs: UK govt accused of breaching Sandiford’s rights 45

How ‘12 kid robbers’ escaped hangman’s noose 46

Despite the merits of plea bargaining, which is gradually creeping into the country’s criminal justice system, the application of this concept by an Abuja High Court recently appears to have created two classes of citizens liable to criminal charges in the country. KAYODE KETEFE, Assistant Head, Judiciary desk reports.


ike a ghost which has refused to be exorcised, the issue of plea bargaining has, once again, come to the fore in Nigeria. Since last Monday, when judgement was delivered in the case of a former Deputy Director in the Police Pension Office, Yakubu Yusuf, the issue of plea bargaining has dominated public discourse. Justice Abubakar Talba of an Abuja High Court had, last Monday, convicted John Yusufu, of a three -count charge of stealing N32.8 billion pension funds. The Judge sentenced the convict to a cumulative term of two years imprisonment with an option of fine totaling N750, 000 only. The judge also ruled that the accused should forfeit 32 choice properties and N325 million in cash. Yusuf is one of the six accused persons standing trial in the police pension scam. This judgement drew widespread condemnation from a lot of people who believed it was an aberration of common sense to order somebody who stole N32.8 billion to pay a paltry sum of N750, 000 and go home scot free. Even many lawyers and jurists faulted the application of the doctrine of plea bargaining in this instance on the grounds that it was a bargain favourable only to the convict and not to the Nigerian society and criminal justice system. This, at least, is in a country where the underprivileged do not only have it very difficult having access to justice, but where they are equally denied the luxury of plea




bargaining. Even the prosecuting agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC), lamented that the judgement was a letdown and ran contrary to the essence of the bargain it had. EFCC said, “The option of fine runs contrary to the understanding between the prosecution and the defence wherein the convict consented to a custodial sentence with the forfeiture of all assets and money that are proceed of the crime.” The commission, however, re-arrested Yusuf the following day on the grounds that he had fresh charges to answer. By way of brief recall, the high profile cases

which have been resolved through the instrumentality of plea bargaining where the EFCC secured convictions, (with some of them being controversial) included those of Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, the former governor of Edo State, Mr. Lucky Igbinedion, the former Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun, and Emmanuel Nwude, who was reputed to have pulled the single biggest scam in the world- a whopping $242 million siphoned fraudulently from a Brazilian Bank. Cecilia Ibru was first arraigned on a 23-count charge of stealing and corrupt practices on August 31, 2009, (which charge was later amended to 25-counts in February 2010) She was remanded in EFCC custody till September 14, 2009 when she was granted bail by the court. Her offences were essentially criminal manipulation of bank records and diversion of depositors’ funds. The EFCC had, in December 2009, obtained an interim forfeiture order on the assets of Mrs. Ibru from a Federal High Court, Lagos. However, just before her full trial resumed on Tuesday, October 5, 2009, Ibru went into plea bargaining where she agreed to forfeit a sizeable number of assets. The EFCC promptly reduced her offence counts from 25 to three! And the judge sentenced her to six months imprisonment on each of the counts. She would, however, spend six months altogether since the terms were made to run concurrently. The assets confiscated from Ibru ran into 199 assets and funds worth over N190 billion. Igbinedion was charged with stealing up to N4.4 billion. But he managed to employ plea bargaining to get his liability drastically reduced. In the ruling delivered by a Federal High Court in Enugu, Igbinedion was fined only a paltry N3.5 million, with no option of jail. In addition to the CONTINUED ON PAGE 44


Law & Justice

Monday, February 4, 2013

National Mirror

CJN should warn judges against Adekunle Ojo is a renowned Bar activist and former Second Vice-President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). In this interview with KENNY ODUNUKAN, he speaks on criminal justice administration and corruption in the polity among other issues Excerpts.


Less than 24 hours after an Abuja High Court sentenced Yakubu Yusuf , to two years imprisonment for stealing N32 billion, an Ikare Magistrate’s Court in Ondo State sentenced another man to three years jail term for the theft of a handset worth N17, 000.What is your opinion on this? My sincere comment will start from what I considered as the harsh conclusion. But then, it is the truth and it is that any Judge outside Lagos State that accede to the principle of plea bargaining in our criminal justice system should be relieved of his appointment as a Judge because it is not governed by any law and I can say with all emphasis at my disposal. There is no provision for plea bargain in our criminal jurisprudence, other than in Lagos. And even in Lagos State where you have it, the law says that it must be with the consent of the Attorney-General of the state. So it cannot be adopted at the whims and caprices of a Judge or the prosecution. I think basically, it is an abuse of discretion. If I were to be the Chief Justice of Nigeria, I will call Judges to order and ensure that this practice that has mocked our criminal judiciary system and administration of criminal justice be brought to an end. Addressing the issue of pension scam convict, John Yakubu Yusufu , it has not changed what had always be the opinion of some of us. Yes you might say we are skeptical or pessimistic, but then, that is the reality. Nigeria’s current system cannot work and that is the truth because we know what has eaten so deep into our system, which is corruption, even in countries where plea bargaining is adopted, in some of the countries specifically Pakistan or India. Specifically, some

I SEE PLEA BARGAINING AS COMPENSATORY, IT IS LIKE YOU ARE COMPENSATING THE CRIMINAL offences were excluded from the system .One of the offences that was excluded from plea bargaining is anything that has to do with corrupt practices. So, if corruption is involved, there is no way you can is a compromise of integrity. In some countries where it worked, it worked better most and efficiently in tax-evasion cases. Somebody has evaded tax. So, basically, it is much easier to bring someone who has evaded tax to be convinced of his crime that he has cheated the government, it is not that you stole the government money, but have defaulted in paying certain of money as tax and in order to avoid the rigours of the court trial, how much will he be ready to pay? So, it has worked in such cases and some countries whereby they say there can be plea bargaining, that does not debar the Judge from still using the dictates of the law as regard the number of years he is going to sentence the criminal, it is most unfortunate that this kind of thing is happening in our justice system. So my position is that it is a mockery of our judicial system. How do you mean? If somebody was accused of having taken billions of Naira and at the end of the day, you asked him to pay N3.5 million, that is in the case of former Governor of Edo state, Lucky Igbinedion and in this case

you asked him to pay N720,000,it makes mockery of Nigeria judiciary. And if you now come around and say we have been able to take over his 18 houses ,what is the value of those 18 houses? To me, I see plea bargaining as compensatory, it is like you are compensating the criminal. Oh, you have taken so much, okay we take some from you and you keep the rest. And, meanwhile, if someone agreed with you, saying I am wrong I took your money wrongly, then it means that you will take the money and use him as scapegoat for others who still want to steal. So by and large, it is a total aberration, it is a promotion of injustice, it is a promotion of criminality for any Judge to accede to the plea bargaining procedure, it has never worked in our system . Somebody was canvassing the other time that all these people who have stolen our money ,we should encourage them to come and invest in Nigeria, what sort of a system is that? Wherever you choose to invest your loot does not take the away the fact that you are a thief.A thief is a thief, the man is a thief. Yusuf is a thief, every other person that has done similar thing is a rogue, but because we have a country that does not have a way of compensating those that have done well and rewarding those that have done bad things by punishing them effectively, that is why we as a nation are where we are. you can imagine someone that stole so much from the country, where is Tafa Balogun now? I would not be surprised in nearest future if Balogun bounces back appropriately like he said and becomes the governor of Osun State .I would not be surprised if, by tomorrow, Igbinedion again will be a godfather sponsoring people to become Edo State Governor and eventually becomes the President of Nigeria because someone will come and say we have the parole, we have written off his offences, we have written off his conviction. If somebody like Chief Olabode George can still talk in a society, then you should know we are still not serious in our country .Somebody was talking about Penal Code, It is

National Mirror

Monday, February 4, 2013

Law & Justice


mockery of our judicial system –Ojo

I THINK WE SHOULD HAVE A GOOD SUPERVISORY BODY THAT GO AROUND SUPERVISING AND MONITORING THE JUDICIAL OFFICERS not about Penal Code. Then, what is the real issue? The EFCC Act was specifically established to combat the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in Nigeria, It was specifically pulled out by virtue of schedule 62 of the constitution by former President, Chief Olusegun Obansanjo for legislative adoption and, eventually, they approved it. There is a part in the constitution that says it is the duty of the President to fight corruption in the country, it is the duty of the President to ensure that corruption is kicked out of the system, you might, however, say that it is embedded in all those areas that you can take to court, it cannot be subjected to Judicial interpretation, but Obasanjo pulled it out and said that this aspect, let us utilise it and that was how we came about the idea of ICPC and EFCC. The truth is how one can be an Attorney-General of a nation and someone steals that huge amount of money and then there will now be a system that compromised his judgement. It is even unfortunate that he has to come from home. It is mere sheer misdirection of our Judicial system, it means that we don’t really have clear guidelines of our Justice system .We should have a template, particularly in corruption cases, we don’t need a classified court for it, we should have formulas for Judgement.For somebody who stole a goat, you jailed him for 10 years and someone stole billions of naira and you asked him to pay N720,000 and say part of your loot ,just give this and leave the rest and go. It is most unfortunate. Can you compare the South African Judiciary and ours, particularly, as regard the recent judgement by a South African court that sentenced Henry

Okah, the MEND leader for Jail act of terrorism? My position on that is clear, a lot of people accused lawyers of delay in trial, but I disagree completely. The lawyer is not in charge of the court, The Judge is in his court, that means the Judge is in charge of the court and the administration of justice. So, it is not about the lawyers, people say lawyers bring in frivolous applications, interlocutory applications. But I tell you the truth there is nothing you can do with lawyers bringing in applications; but if the Judge decides that we are settling that, bring all the applications you want to bring because there is a limit to the application you can present before the court to the extent that

the man bringing the applications will feel somehow bringing further applications. Another aspect is how investigation was carried out, it is done in a wishy-washy manner ,so lackadaisical that you can rarely pick anything from it and when you look at some of the prosecutorial ability of the so called Department of Public Prosecutions, EFCC, Attorney-General, when you look at the way they use their prosecutorial discretion,when you have almost 50 charges just on one person, can’t you just classify, summarise and make it in such a way that it is manageable level, they just want conviction at all cost. You must be able to look at the ones that are relevant and the one that are not.Look at the cases against Bode George, he was not convicted on all of them ,it was two or three of the count charges that he was convicted on. Also, you see judges adjourning a matter for three, four and six months because criminal cases should be taken with utmost priority,If a lawyer asked for an adjournment ,well it should be given, but it should be a reasonable adjournment. I know a judge in the Federal High court that tells counsel to assemble all his witnesses in one day, meaning that all witnesses must be in court the day you are opening your case, if you can come with all the witnesses on the day, then bring all the other witnesses on the subsequently date. We have one problem in criminal justice system, and this is because we have two offices that ought to be combined together and it has affected a lot of things,that is the office of the Attorney-General and the Minister of Justice.When we have these two offices combined, you have the office of a politician combined with the office of a technocrat, because a lawyer is a technocrat. I remember that in the United States, an Attorney-General has to sue the government, can any Attorney-General sue the government in Nigeria? No, can a Solicitor-General sue the Governor of a state? It is not possible because he was brought in there by political expediency, he dares not challenge the man that pays his bills. The office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice needs not be combined. some of the big corruption cases we have had in the past, we found out that the Attorney-General will go and meet the man in charge and say the man accused of crime is a member of their political party and have been of great use to their political parties, so tread softly and those who are not members of the ruling political party and not loyal to should be held unto at all cost. What is your view on the efficiency of judicial officers on the Bench? The Judiciary still remains the last hope of the common man, I say that because I am a stakeholder in what happens, I am a lawyer and I know it. The Judiciary has an oversight supervisory on the other two arms; we realised that even when the military comes in, the judiciary still remains. The Judiciary as it is now, is drowning. It needs to be salvaged at every cadre, magistracy, High court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court, customary court and others . The workers’ morale is at the lowest ebb, a good number of the judicial officers are non-challant and they are not doing their job. That is not to say some others are doing very fine, there are some that are doing impeccably well. I think we should have a good supervisory body that go around supervising and monitoring the works of judicial officers .You swore to be the Judge, you must be seen to be doing the job. If a judge will come to the court and say I am sorry my daughter just put to bed in America and I had gone to babysit, what is our business with that? How does that affect the administration of justice? you are having a grandchild, must that have a negative effect on the job that you sworn to do?


Law & Justice

Monday, February 4, 2013

National Mirror

‘Judiciary weak, soft in fighting corruption’


CONTINUED FROM PAGE 41 fine, Igbinedion would lose three properties to the Federal Government. He paid the fine and walked out a free man. He had ruled Edo State for eight years. A former governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, who also faced a corruption charge had his own plea bargain after he was arrested for prosecution, at last he was sentenced to two years in prison in July 2007, but spent only a few months in jail since his sentence was made to run from 2005 when he had been in detention. Nigeria’s former police Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun, was also a beneficiary of plea bargaining. In the charge preferred against him in 2005 by the EFCC under the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, Balogun was said to have incorporated some companies to loot the police treasury through bribes and kickbacks on contracts. He was further alleged to have withdrawn billions of naira fraudulently from the police account and transferred the money to the companies to buy shares and landed properties and foreign currency. After some negotiations of plea bargaining, the numerous counts of offences against him were reduced to eight counts and Balogun got a mere six- months terms of imprisonment. The court, however, ordered Balogun to forfeit ‘all ‘his assets, shares and landed property acquired with the stolen fund. The assets totalled 150 million US dollars, included money stashed in banks, shares in blue chip companies and 14 luxury buildings. Also plea bargaining was employed in the case of Nwude and his two cohorts, Mrs. Amaka Anajemba and Mr. Nzeribe Okoli. The three persons were convicted and sentenced to varying terms of imprisonment by Justice Joseph Oyewole of an Ikeja High Court, between April and November 2005 for defrauding a Brazilian Banker, Mr. Nelson Sakaguchi, and his bank, Banquo Noreste, Sau Paulo, Brazil, to the tune of approximately US$242 million. After plea bargaining with the EFCC, Nwude’s maximum imprisonment terms was 5 years imprisonment handed to him on November 18, 2005. The court also ordered him and his two companies, Emrus Nigeria Ltd and African Shelter Nigeria Ltd to make a restitution of 110 million US dollars to the victim of the crime “as restitution”. In spite of all the above, there are plethora of cases where ordinary folks have been subjected to the full wrath of the law for ap-


parently less weightier or even minor offences. Ironically, just 24 hours after Yusufu was freed on payment of fine, An Ibadan High Court Judge, Justice Mashood Abass, last Tuesday, sentenced the Provost and Bursar of the Federal Cooperative College, Eleyele, Mrs. Ruth Adehwe Aweto and Mr. Adekanye Komolafe, to four year imprisonment without option of fine for misappropriating over N3 million. The two principal officers of the college, were found guilty of four-count charge of the eight-count charge of corrupt practices levelled against them by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC). The officials were sentenced to one year imprisonment on each of the counts, though the sentences were made to run concurrently. No issue of plea bargaining arose. There are other examples of where alleged minor offenders were crushed by the full weight of the law. For instances, a roadside mechanic who was sentenced to “death by hanging” by an Oleh High Court in Delta State, last year for stealing a car stereo. Also, last year, a 33-year old man, Opeyemi Ayomide, was remanded in prison by an Ojokoro Magistrate’s Court in Lagos, for allegedly stealing a N20 worth of onion and a moderate-sized tuber of yam! In all the cases of smaller misdemeanours, like the above cases, the prosecution never allows the accused to resort to plea-bargaining. This is the reason why many Nigerians are saying there are two justice systems existing in the Nigerian polity, one for the rich and the other for the poor. National Mirror sought the views of a number of lawyers on the issue. The Executive Director of a Lagos-based non-governmental organisation, Access to Justice, Mr. Joseph Otteh, said “The sentence passed on Yakubu Yusufu is a blatant travesty and parody of justice; the sentence, passed on a defendant, who confessed stealing pension monies meant for retired officers of the Police Force to the extent he did is so grossly disproportionate to the gravity of the harm the defendant has caused hundreds of thousands of people who look to their meager pensions as their sustenance after many years of toil and service. “Given the measure of sentence the defendant received, the court literarily gave him a warm handshake and sent a strong message that the Judiciary will always be weak and soft in fighting corruption.


THE SENTENCE PASSED ON YAKUBU YUSUFU IS A BLATANT TRAVESTY AND PARODY OF JUSTICE “The court helped Nigerians see that the Judiciary will also side with looters of the common wealth than with victims of corruption. He added “Long, rough road still lies ahead to get critical role players commit to the vision of stamping out corruption from public life.” Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN) said, ‘Where I will agree with those who are criticising plea bargaining is when you are allowed to keep the bulk of what you have fraudulently taken out of public resources. Then it defeats idea of plea bargaining, the whole idea is to thoroughly strip the person of what he has taken and leave with just something to be able to go on. So I would advise the Ministry of Justice to be harder in that area. “The first thing is to trace the resources that have been stolen and have a very good idea of the quantum of the properties and where they are stashed so that it becomes easy to bargain. They would be able to say ‘We know you have

N1.5 billion worth of public property stashed away. By the time you do that, it weakens the person to plead. If it is done that way, plea bargaining is a productive and beneficial way of conducting prosecution” However, in his view on application of plea bargaining in Nigeria, former Attorney General of Abia State, Awa Kalu,(SAN) said, “The sole discretion of who to prosecute, what offence to charge him for or charge him with, lies with the Attorney-General. So, once it is conceded that that discretion is there, why is it not then within the contemplation of the law that the Attorney-General can say, alright, if you don’t want to waste my time, if you agree that you embezzled N100 million belonging to the Federal Government of Nigeria, we can allow you to have a slap on the wrist. Why would an Attorney- General choose to go the whole hog? A lawyer with commercial practice in Nigeria and abroad, Debo Adeleke, said “Plea bargaining is like the ADR. Just that it bothers on fraud and corruption. It is not a bad concept, but Nigerians are always looking for loopholes. You can make use of plea bargaining if the accused is transparent enough to declare how much he has stolen. So if you have stolen N100 million, and you decide to return N50 million, it is an abuse of the plea bargaining process.”

Application of Plea bargaining in Nigeria EX-CONVICTS LUCKY IGBINEDION
























N190M TO FG.







National Mirror

Law & Justice

Monday, February 4, 2013


Bali drugs: UK govt accused of breaching Sandiford’s rights United Kingdom



he government’s failure to provide an “adequate” lawyer to represent a British woman sentenced to death in Indonesia for drug smuggling is a breach of her rights, the high court has been told. Lindsay Sandiford, 56, from Cheltenham, will face execution by firing squad unless she is successful in appealing against the sentence. She has no money for a lawyer, the court heard, and under two weeks to file a complicated defence document in Indonesian, a language she does not speak. According to the Guardian reports in UK , Lawyers from the firm Leigh Day working with the charity Reprieve, which supports those on death

row, are seeking judicial review of the Foreign Office’s decision not to pay out the estimated £2,500 needed to hire legal representation in Bali. The application is being heard by Mrs Justice Gloster and Mrs Justice Nicola Davies. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has said the government does not fund legal representation for British nationals abroad but added that Sandiford’s case was being raised through diplomatic channels. A spokesperson said: “We strongly object to the death penalty and continue to provide consular assistance to Lindsay and her family during this difficult time. It was through consular staff ’s efforts in Indonesia that we were able to identify a lawyer who is prepared to assist Sandiford with her appeal on a pro bono basis (although he requires costs of approximately


£2,500 in order to travel to Bali in order to assist). “It is disappointing that at this time, when the FCO should be focusing on assisting Lindsay as best we can, we are having to divert considerable resources to contesting this legal challenge.” Sandiford was sentenced to death by

I’ve not lost faith in S’African justice system, says Okah South Africa


espite his current travails in a foreign land, the embattled leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Henry Okah, who has been convicted on 13 counts of terrorist activities, on Thursday, reaffirmed his faith in the South African justice system. “I do not think anything funny has happened…. I just believe that the judge arrived at his conclusion based on the information that was placed before him,” he said. “I still haven’t lost faith in the South African justice system, so I will continue to test it.” Okah was speaking to journalists in the High Court in Johannesburg before the start of sentencing procedures. It will be recalled that on January 21, Judge Neels Claassen, found Mr Okah guilty of engaging in terrorist activities, conspiracy to engage in terrorist activity, and delivering, placing, and detonating an explosive device – offences that


n Investigation by The Flintshire has revealed the Class A drug cocaine is being snorted in the halls of power and justice. The Chronicle reports that traces of the potentially deadly substance were discovered at both Flintshire County Council’s Mold HQ and the town’s law courts. And tests at Asda in Queensferry and Tesco at Broughton Shopping Park also showed positive results – meaning the drug has been taken in two of the county’s biggest supermarkets. The swabs can be ordered on the internet from Oldham-based Crackdown Drug Testing Ltd, which also markets its kits to law enforcement agencies.


attract a life sentence. Meanwhile, a beggar in Bulawayo has been sentenced to five years in prison for beating up a would-be “Good Samaritan” and leaving him for the dead. Bulawayo 24 News report that Manford Sibanda (38) approached Mbuso Sibanda (36), of Plot Number Lucy Road, Montgomery and employed as a security guard at Eastview High School and

asked for money. Whenr Sibanda told him that he did not have money, Manford picked an axe and struck him twice on the head. Manford pleaded not guilty but was convicted of attempted murder by Western Region senior magistrate Mr Owen Tagu sitting at the Bulawayo regional court. He will, however, serve an effective four years after the magistrate suspended one year on condition of good behaviour for five years. Sentencing Manford, Mr Tagu said he deserved a deterrent sentence because he was the aggressor and had not shown remorse in court despite having used a dangerous weapon to attack Mr Sibanda. The State’s case presented by Mr Admire Chikwayi was that on a day unknown to the prosecutor, Manford met Mr Sibanda at Woodville shops at about 7pm and he followed him into a shop where he begged for money. They started arguing after Mr Sibanda had told him that he had no money and Manford immediately bolted out of the shop and returned with an axe in hand.

a court on the Indonesian island two weeks ago for carrying 4.8kg (10.6lb) of cocaine, sewn into the lining of her suitcase, into Bali. She has been told she will face a firing squad. She was accused by the court of damaging the image of Bali and received the sentence despite prosecutors only asking for a 15-year jail term. The high court was told that a notice of appeal was filed with Indonesian officials earlier last week. She has now been given a 14-day deadline to file more detailed grounds of appeal. Aidan O’Neill QC, for Reprieve, said Sandiford was urgently in need of funding because she is currently without legal assistance and her family has exhausted all of their available resources. Richard Stein, a partner in Leigh Day’s human rights team, said: “The government has a duty to ensure that the human rights of British citizens are protected and that those sentenced to death, or suspected of or charged with a crime for which capital punishment may be imposed, have adequate legal assistance at all stages of the proceedings. “This judicial review will challenge the government’s refusal to fund the £2,500 in expenses it would cost for a qualified Indonesian lawyer to represent Lindsay in her appeal against execution by firing squad which will take place on the beach in Bali if the government do not act.” Sandiford’s sister, Hilary Parsons, said: “We desperately need the help of the British Foreign Office to ensure that Lindsay has a lawyer. ‘’

Cocaine found in Flintshire council HQ, court, supermarkets United Kingdom Dave Rigg, the owner of the company, was a Greater Manchester Police officer for 18 years. He said the pink swabs are regularly used by British police forces to detect whether cocaine – possession of which can get you up to seven years in prison for – is present in pubs and clubs. “They will go blue if there’s either cocaine there or cutting agents used in cocaine,” said Mr Rigg. “There’s nothing else that will make it

go blue – it can’t be cleaning fluids or anything like that. “There needs to be a certain amount present to make it go blue, so if it does there has definitely been cocaine on that surface.” The Chronicle tested the men’s toilets by the main reception area at County Hall and the downstairs loos at the courthouse. After wiping the swabs over cisterns, toilet roll holders and loo seats, the cobalt-blue blotches appeared – indicating cocaine was present. Flintshire County Council chief executive Colin Everett said: “It is of serious

concern that evidence of a Class A drug is alleged to have been found in public toilets used mainly by visitors. “The council has an alcohol and substance misuse policy which states that we do not allow on our premises at any time the use or possession of, or the dealing in drugs. “However, it would be impossible and inappropriate to police all toilets in council buildings, particularly those which are used by visitors.” A spokesman for Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) said: “HMCTS takes the issue of security within courts extremely seriously.


Law & Justice

Monday, February 4, 2013

National Mirror

How ‘12 kid robbers’escaped hangman’s noose Twelve under aged boys were arrested and convicted for armed robbery by the Lagos Robbery and Firearms Robbery Tribunal in 1990 during the military regime. They were quickly placed on death row but for the intervention of former Governor, Sir. Michael Otedola, who pardoned them in 1993. FRANCIS FAMOROTI reports.


rmed robbery is criminalised in Nigeria under three laws namely, the Criminal Code (CC), the Penal Code (PC) and Robbery and Firearms (Special provisions) Act. Indeed, one of the features of the military regime till the early 1990s was the arraignment and trial of armed robbery suspects before the Armed Robbery and Firearms Tribunal set up at the time to try the offences. Notable among the cases that came up then was the trial of 12 boys for armed robbery in Lagos. The criminal charge listed as ‘The State-v-Mohammed Garuba and 11 others’ was brought before the Chairman of the state Armed Robbery and Firearms Tribunal, Justice Moshood Olugbani, then judge of the state judiciary. Besides, Garuba, others charged included Francis Kiki and Mohammed Ibrahim, the later died on Christmas Eve, 1990 of chronic pulmonary tuberculosis, an illness that runs rampant in Kirikiri prison. Kiki was said to be 14 years old when he was arrested in 1984 allegedly for armed robbery. The evidence before the tribunal against the ‘12 kid robbers’ as they were fondly called at the time was thin. They had been picked up in a police swoop after a wealthy woman in the Ikorodu market area reported a robbery. According to Kiki, ‘’the woman accused her two houseboys of involvement, and they, in turn, rode around with the plainclothes police pointing out neighbourhoods of immigrants from the republic of Benin and the Nigerian border town of Badagry. The houseboys of the woman had said the other robbers spoke Egun, the native language in Badagry. The bulk of these immigrants are fishermen living along the lagoons that divide Lagos into three islands set off from the mainland. ‘’ This situation led to the arraignment of the kid robbers. But despite pleading their innocence, the tribunal found them guilty of armed robbery and sentenced them to death by firing squad. After the tribunal’s judgement on June 8, 1998, the kid robbers were marched to the Kirikiri Maximum Security Prisons in Lagos and placed on death row. This verdict generated controversy unparallel in the annals of armed robbery trials in the country for reasons that are uniquely peculiar to the case. For one, the military decree under which the kid robbers were convicted barred the right of appeal, second, the defence

Justice Olugbani

FAMOUS CASES alleged that most of the convicts were statutorily children who could neither be tried nor convicted under the Armed Robbery and Firearms’ (Special Provisions) Decree. Moreover, it was learnt that, subsequent to the conviction of the boys, the then state Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mr. Bayo Manuwa, in a critical review of the trial observed that: ‘’the whole trial was full of procedural irregularities and overt bias against the convicts. I have no doubt in my mind that if this case was to come before an appellate court, it would succeed, the conviction would be overturned and a verdict of acquittal substituted. It is therefore my considered recommendation that the Military Governor of Lagos State be asked to disallow this conviction and order the immediate release of the convicts from custody. ‘’ Interestingly too, section 5(1) of the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act No 84 of 1966 (applicable only in Lagos State) prohibits the passing of a death sentence on a person who was under 17 years at the time the offence was committed. The Armed Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Decree contains nothing on age of criminal responsibility but Rule 18 of the Armed Robbery and Firearms Tribunal Rules (made under section 7 of the Decree) provides that : ‘’where these rules contain no provision in respect of any matter relating to or connected with the trial of offences under this


Decree, the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code, or depending on the venue, the Criminal Procedure Act, shall with such modifications as circumstances may require, apply in respect to such matter to the same extent as they apply to trial of offences generally. ‘’ Hence, this provision is generally relied upon as providing a legal basis for extending the general law on criminal responsibility in the country. While the under aged boys were be tried, a Lagos Lawyer, Leke Sanusi, felt alarmed to test the legality of the trial of the teenagers in a law court. He filed a suit that was struck out by Justice Victor Famakinwa of the Lagos High Court, on ground of lack of jurisdiction. Section 10(3) of the Firearms’ Decree of 1984 expressly ousted the competence of the court to enquire into the acts done under the military enactment. Sanusi appealed against the ruling to the Court of Appeal. While the appeal was still pending in October 1990, news filtered through that the state government had concluded plans for the execution of the boys on October 6, 1990. Consequently, the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) and Campaign for Democracy (CD) on behalf of the convicted boys jointly filed a fundamental rights enforcement suit under the 1979 Rules seeking among others, a declaration that the decision of the then state Military Governor, Col. Raji Rasaki, directing the Kirikiri Prison authorities to execute the boys by firing squad on Saturday, October 6, 1990, was illegal, unconstitutional, null and void as it offends sections


30, 33 and 39 of the 1979 Constitution. The group also sought a perpetual injunction restraining the state government and its agents from executing the convicts by firing squad or by any other means. The matter came before Justice Eniola Longe of the Lagos High Court on October 5, 1990. The judge after hearing the ex-parte application granted the convicts leave to enforce their rights and accordingly restrained the state government from executing the applicant pending the determination of the case. Thereafter, the parties canvassed their arguments and the judge eventually gave his ruling on October 16, 1990, which bothered on locus standi and jurisdiction. Another suit was brought to the Lagos State High Court by the convicts praying it to stop the state government from executing them. The matter came before Justice Afolabi Balogun, and this time, arguments were advanced that, most of the convicts were below 17 years at the time the offence was allegedly committed and also when they were convicted. The government however maintained that the ‘kid robbers’ could be executed because 11 of the 12 boys were over the age of 17 when they allegedly committed the crime. The Nigerian legal system regards anyone below the age of 17 as a minor and should not upon conviction be liable to execution. Human rights groups, such as the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), the CLO and CD, argued that the authorities had never permitted a medical examination to determine their true ages. Justice Balogun, in his verdict, restrained the state government from killing the convicts by firing squad. Scores of NonGovernmental Organisations (NGO) and some activists applauded the verdict as they continued to campaign that the under-aged convicts be saved from the hangman’s noose. This appeal paid off at last. The boys who had been on death row eventually remained in prison for years until former state Governor, Sir Michael Otedola, in exercise of his power of prerogative of, mercy magnanimously pardoned them in 1993.

Monday, February 4, 2013

National Mirror


Community Mirror Fayemi’s achievements spurred me - LG boss



2015 is still far away, we should be talking about how to employ many Nigerian; we should be talking about how to develop the country. PROMINENT IJAW LEADER, EDWIN CLARK

Police uncover ritualists’ den

he Ogun State Police Command have uncovered another underground ritualists’ cell at Idode - Imomo in Ijebu North East Local Government Area of the state. The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Ogun State Command, Muyiwa Adejobi who made the disclosure in Abeokuta, the state capital, said the command has arrested three suspected ritualists in connection with the underground cell. According to the police spokesperson, items recovered from the underground cell included a pot containing human hand with the five fingers and phalanges, tongue as well as water suspected to have been drained from dead bodies known as “omi oku” in Yoruba language. The PPRO gave names of the suspects as Kehinde Rufai, Debo Awonaya and one David. The suspects are presently assisting the command in its investigations. Community Mirror gathered that the underground cell is located somewhere between IjebuOde and Atan, close to the border areas of three Way to the underground cell South West states of Oyo, Ogun and Ondo. It was further gathered that the secret activities of the ritualists were uncovered by youths in Idode – Imomo Ijebu who launched a manhunt for a missing 70-year-old herbalist, Kehinde Rabiu. It was in the process of combing the area that they discovered the underground cell, located deep in the forest. The underground cell had stairs underneath. It was gathered that the ritualists built a house beside the underground cell and planted Indian hemp around it. Chairman of the Community Development Association (CDA) in the area, Kola Ologbode described the three suspects as criminals whom he said have penchants for heinous activities. He also claimed to have overheard them discussing their desperate need for an aged man for a business. Meanwhile, the head of the village, Durojaye Olugbode has called on the state government to urgently come to assistance of the community Arms and ammunitions recovered from the suspected ritualists to rid the area of kidnappers.

Lawmaker deplores attack on constituents OKAY OSUJI


ember representing Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency in National Assembly Rt. Hon Bassey Ewa has decried what he described as unwarranted killings of his constituents from Adadama community in Abi by the people of Amugo in Ikwo, Ebonyi State over a land tussle. Hon. Bassey Ewa has accordingly tasked the Federal Government, particularly Security Agencies on the Security of the people of Adadama while calling on the House of Representatives to investigate the matter with a view to finding the immediate and remote causes of the gruesome attacks on innocent constituents. The legislator, had invoked Order 8, Rule 46 of the Standing Rules of the House of

Representatives which deals with matters of urgent importance to draw the attention of the House and the Federal Government to the attack by the Amugo people of Ebonyi State,even as he gave a gory account of how on January 19th 2013, a group of heavily armed men attacked the people of Adadama. He observed that the armed men took advantage of the peace move by governments of both states to unleash terror on innocent citizens, lamenting what he described as hypocritical posture of the Ebonyi State Government at bringing lasting peace to the feuding communities. The representative maintained that perpetrators of the attack must be fished out and made to face the consequences of their actions, even as he called for urgent and amicable end to the communal rift between both communities.

A hut at the den

The missing herbalist, Rabiu

Residents laud rehabilitation of borehole KEMI OLAITAN IBADAN


esidents of Folarin Village in Akinyele Local Government Area of Oyo State, have lauded the repair of the solar powered borehole in their community, describing it as a worthy initiative that would alleviate the problem of water shortage in the area. The borehole serves residents of Ayantokun, Oloyin and Folarin villagea. Speaking on behalf of the residents at the presentation of a power generating set and solar powered

borehole by Dr. Fola Akinosun , Chief Isiaka Asiwaju, said repair of the facility came as a great relief. Community Mirror learnt the borehole, inaugurated by the Federal Ministry of Science, Energy Commission of Nigeria in 2009 had become inoperative for more than one year. Akinosun, an educationist and member of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN, said the decision to rehabilitate the borehole was to solve the problem of water scarcity in the community. He said, “That a com-

munity is far from the centre of power should not mean being far from development. I was challenged by my background to ensure that I give back to society what I am materially endowed with. I know this is an effort that I know will outlive me.” Another community leader, Alhaji Sanni Opadeji, said, “We are happy that the people now have water which is the most valuable asset. This is not the first time he is intervening in the course of humanity. He had been involved in awarding scholarships to students since 2010.”


Community Mirror

Monday, February 4, 2013

National Mirror

Fayemi’s achievements spurred me –LG boss ABIODUN NEJO ADO EKITI


he chairman of Ekiti West Local Government, Barrister Tajudeen Akingbolu, has said the unprecedented performance of Governor Kayode Fayemi, including the council spurred him to meet the people’s yearnings and aspirations. Akingbolu, said the eightpoint of the administration influenced his achievements in the last past one year, through touching the lives of the people positively and as well developing all parts of the council area. The council boss, who spoke with Community Mirror at Aramoko Ekiti, said the ability to deliver was based on persuasion and participatory governance which are necessary enough to know the people’s needs with a view to working on meeting them. He said: “On assumption of office, I held town hall meetings with the people, traditional rulers, workers, artisans, youth, drivers’ unions and community leaders in the various communities to know where the shoe pinches. “The result of this was the knowledge of the specific needs of the different communities and this enables us to meet the people’s yearnings, meeting their specific needs and involvement of the people in decision making,” Akingbolu said. The barrister at law, who was the chairmanship candidate of the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) for the local government in the botched February 5, 2012 council elections in the state, ascribed his appointment as caretaker committee chairman on February 8, 2012 to the governor’s ingenuity. Although Akingbolu

agreed that one year was so short a time, he said his administration had, within the period, made substantial difference in the lives of the people through execution of projects, programmes and policies that have direct bearing on their lives in all sectors of the economy. The ACN leader, who said he was ever persuaded that education, as a weapon of transformation of society, “is light with which humans can attain any level in life and a means of actualization of dreams”, explained that he gave education the desired attention since assumption of office through implementation of programmes in the sector. According to him, among his programmes in the sector are distribution of first aid boxes to the 66 primary schools the local government and training of a teacher per school on how to apply the medications in the first aid boxes; purchase of Joint Admission and Matriculations Board (JAMB) forms for 125 indigent but brilliant students in the council to ensure they further in their studies and renovation of schools in the council area in conjunction with the state government through the Operation Renovate all Schools (ORASE) programme of the government. Akingbolu, who described health as wealth, said that he, on assumption of office, took the health of the people as priority and attended to their needs with dispatch through programmes in the health sector. He listed the programmes and projects he had implemented in the health sector to include free health programme for the elderly in the council area. He said that no fewer than 2000 aged persons in the council area benefitted from the free health programme


where prescribed drugs were distributed to them free of charge in addition to distribution of customized blood tonic to the elderly to ensure they spent their old age in good health. The council boss said his administration also constructed a Maternity Health Centre at Ipole Iloro and as well rehabilitated a Health Centre at Ikogosi Ekiti. These, the council boss said, were in addition to increased coverage of the immunization programmes following the release of sufficient funds for training and execution of the scheme on regular basis. Akingbolu, who said availability of infrastructures was synonymous to development, said his sights on development had propelled him to execute programmes and projects to cover sectors including roads, electricity, water, public buildings and security. According to the barrister, who said good roads were necessary for the movement of goods and property and particularly in rural and agrarian areas, construction

work on the five-kilometre road mandated by the governor across seven communities in the local government had reached over 70 per cent completion. He added that roads to benefit in the five kilometer road project for 2013 financial year had been compiled, while Ijelu – Akindan Road at Aramoko Ekiti had been graded. In the area of provision of access to electricity and boosting power supply to the communities, the council boss said his administration had installed transformers at Aramoko Ekiti and Erijiyan Ekiti and as well extended electricity to Glory Area at Aramoko Ekiti. He said that as part of efforts to stem the water problem in some parts of the council area, he had begun moves to ensure potable water. This, he said, he had kickstarted with the ongoing motorized borehole project at Ikogosi Ekiti. According to him, the police station that his administration constructed at Okemesi Ekit was among his many initiatives to ensure

security of lives and property in the council area. His programmes and projects in the infrastructures segment, he said, had paved way for the process of industrial and business development of the council area, which the council boss said he was working round the clock to improve on. According to him, his administration had entered into partnership with FET Favour Executive Transport Company under which arrangement 10 buses are operating, thus boosting the revenue of the local government. Akingbolu told National Mirror that in a bid to boost the yield of farmers in the council area, he had taken measures to ensure farmers’ convenience through distribution of farm implement such as herbicide, cutlasses, treated maize, spraying pump to farmers; nursing of 20,000 cocoa seedlings to be distributed to farmers; and establishment of poultry which had been boosting food production and revenue. In the area of women development and gender equality, Akingbolu said his administration had renovated the Women Development Centre at Erinjiyan Ekiti in addition to doling out N5,000

each to over 100 widows in the council in addition to distribution of food items to widows. The stance, the council boss said, was to complement the mutual understanding between the government and youth in the council area as well as workers whose salaries, bonuses and other emoluments were paid as at when due. . He praised the governor for especial interest in the local government through execution of unprecedented projects in all sectors including tourism which culminated in the development of Ikogosi Spring to world-class tourist site and the attention given to Arinta waterfalls at Ipole Iloro in the local government. Akingbolu said the above state government projects in his domain spurred him to perform, added that his achievements in office culminated in his being selected by the House of Representatives as the Best Performing Local Government Chairman in Ekiti State 2012 and Second Best Performing Local Government Chairman in the South West GeoPolitical Zone 2012 in view of the fact that his projects have direct impact on the lives of the people.

Monday, February 4, 2013

National Mirror


World News

“There are some people who are planning to transfer the battle from Syria to Iraq, whether they are locals, the al-Qaida organization and (Saddam’s) Baath party” –Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki




rench troops launched airstrikes on Islamic militant sites around Kidal and Tessalit in Mali’s far north, just a few hours after a triumphant visit by France’s president, defence officials said yesterday. French planes pounded extremist training camps as well as arms and fuel depots from Saturday night into the early hours of Sunday, according to French army Col. Thierry Burkhard. “It was an important aerial operation to the north of the town Kidal and in the Tessalit region where we targeted logistical depots and Islamist training camps ... some 20 sites,” said Burkhard. “Here, there’s still various Islamist groups like the MUJAO, and Ansar Dine,” he said. The Islamic extremist group the Movement for Unity and Oneness of the Jihad, is known as MUJAO. The aerial assaults come three weeks after France unilaterally launched a military intervention to stem the advance of the al-Qaida-linked fighters in Mali. Since then French troops have succeeded in ousting the rebels from the three main northern cities they occupied, including the fabled city of Timbuktu. The continued attacks also came hours after French President Francois Hollande left Mali. On Saturday, he visited Timbuktu to a liberator’s welcome. Thousands of people

French army launches more strikes in northern Mali ...after President Hollande’s visit to Timbuktu


The Benin Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. Jonas Gbian, has urged citizens of the country to embrace various programmes embarked upon by ECOWAS and the UEMOA Commissions to facilitate regional integration and improve the lives of the population. In an address to a gathering as part of the 8th Edition of the National Integration Week in Bohicon, some 10-km east of the nation’s economic capital Cotonou, on Thursday 31st January 2013, the Minister said the citizens should also make meaningful contributions to ensure that Benin took its rightly place among the comity of nations. Minister Gbian, represented by the Director-General, Economic Affairs in the Ministry, Mr. Houenou Appolinaire, called on the population to take full advantage of the activities of the integration week to educate themselves on the programmes of the two Commissions.

Suicide bomber kills 33 at police HQ in Iraq French President Francois Hollande, center, visiting Timbuktu, Mali

stood elbow-to-elbow behind a perimeter line in downtown Timbuktu, hoisting the homemade French flags they had prepared for Hollande’s arrival to the northern desert city that French troops liberated last week after 10 months of control by al-Qaida-linked groups. He then flew to Bamako, the capital, where he spoke before boarding a plane back to Paris. He stressed the successes of

the French intervention, but warned that threats of extremism will continue. “Terrorism has been rejected. It has been chased, but not yet beaten,” Hollande said. France has said that it eventually wants to hand over responsibility for the mission to the Malian army and other African counterparts. In an interview with the Sunday’s French weekly Le Journal

du Dimanche, Malian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hubert Tieman Coulibaly, expressed the government’s hope that the French military operation carry on until the Islamists have no more weapons left. “Faced with seasoned fighters whose arsenal must be destroyed, we wish the mission to continue,” Coulibaly said. “Especially given how important the aerial dimension is.”

Somali government to tackle rape cases eaders of the five-monthold government in Somalia have said that authorities will do more to protect victims of rape in the Horn of African nation. Yesterday’s comments by the newly-appointed prime minister and president, come after foreign donors and human rights groups criticised the arrests of a woman allegedly gang-raped by soldiers and the journalist who conducted an interview with her about the sexual abuse. Speaking to Al Jazeera from London, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the president, said though his government “is the only government that has proven” it is dedicated to improving the lives

WORLD BULLETIN Minister urges Benin’s citizens to embrace regional programmes

of women in the nation, he will not directly interfere in the ongoing court case. The trial of an unidentified 27-year-old woman, her husband, and the freelance journalist on charges of insulting a government body, making false accusations, and seeking to profit from the allegations, has sparked international concerns over sexual violence and press freedom in the country. “I don’t have the right to interfere in the judicary system ... My interference into the judiciary system, will never help the rule of law in Somalia”, Mohamud told Al Jazeera. Human rights groups say the trial is politically motivated, de-

signed to cover up rampant sexual abuse of women by Somali security forces. The United Nations and the US, who recently acknowledged Mogadishu’s new government, have also voiced concerns about the treatment of rape victims. Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid, prime minister, promised to reform Somali armed forces and the judiciary once the trial has concluded, acknowledging “deep-seated problems” with both institutions. “We recognise the concerns of our international partners and we are only too aware of the enormous challenges our nation faces,” Saaid said in a statement.

At least 33 people were killed in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk yesterday when a suicide bomber detonated a truck packed with explosives outside a police headquarters and gunmen disguised as officers tried to storm the compound. The blast was the third major attack in weeks in or near the multiethnic city of Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen, at the heart of a dispute between Iraq’s central government and the autonomous Kurdistan region. Police said the bomber triggered the huge blast near a side entrance to the police building, demolishing part of a government office nearby. “A suicide bomber driving a vehicle packed with explosives hit the entrance of the headquarters and after the blast gunmen in explosive vests attacked with AK47s and grenades, but the guards killed them,” a police official said.

Girl shot by Taliban undergoes two operations in UK

President Mohamud

A Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot in the head by the Taliban is in stable condition after undergoing two successful operations to reconstruct her skull and restore her hearing, the British hospital treating her said Sunday. Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital said doctors for 15-year-old Malala Yousufzai, who was targeted for advocating girls’ education, were “very pleased” with her progress after five hours of skull reconstruction and ear surgery on Saturday. “She is awake and talking to staff and members of her family,” the hospital said in a statement, adding that she would continue to recover in the hospital until she is well enough to be discharged.


Monday, February 4, 2013

National Mirror

National Mirror


Monday, February 4, 2013


Road construction gulps N55bn in Plateau –Commissioner JAMES ABRAHAM JOS


lateau State Government said it had spent N55 billion on road construction across the state since 2007. The Commissioner for Information, Pastor Yiljap Abraham, disclosed this while on inspection tour of ongoing road projects in Southern and Central zones of the state. He said: “In terms of capital investment on roads, the government has so far spent over N55 billion on roads. Majority of the roads, which spread across the three senatorial zones, have been commissioned and are already put to use by benefiting communities. “Initially, the sum of N30 billion was spent on the first phase during the first term of Governor Jonah Jang’s administration. So far in this second term, N25 billion has been disbursed for road projects which include the ongoing road projects across the three senatorial zones of the state. “The reason for these massive urban and rural road projects covers eco-

nomic, social, political and security factors, particularly as many communities have been suffering the lack of these basic social amenities for a very long time now and the overall need to link these rural communities to one another. “Governor Jang through these road projects has connected communities together, connected local governments. He has also connected one senatorial zone to the other and as well connected Plateau State to other states. “There are about N25 billion worth ongoing road projects across the state which expected to be completed in April and we have 12 other roads to award, including two flyovers after the completion of the ongoing ones. “These investments as massive as they are, government is simply working within its own resources. The government is being careful not to take any bank facility that will be problematic for the state eventually. “So, for now, government is managing its meagre resources prudently for the benefit of people of the state.”

Riders, Kaduna agree on Okada ban AZA MSUE KADUNA


he Association of Commercial Motorcycle Operators at the weekend accepted plans by the Kaduna State Government to replace motorcycles popularly called Okada with tricycles otherwise known as Keke NAPEP to tackle insecurity. The resolution by the executive of the commercial motorcyclists came after a series of meetings with the government representatives led by the DirectorGeneral, Media and Publicity to the governor, Malam Ahmed Maiyaki. Speaking after the meeting, the Chairman of the commercial motorcyclists, Comrade Auwal Muhammad, said his association had agreed to collaborate with government in ensuring that the ban on Okada did not render his members unemployed. Leaders of the commercial motorcyclists in Kaduna, Zaria and Kafanchan who attended the meeting, however, requested the gov-

ernment to allocate to their members some tricycles to cushion effects of the lost of their means of livelihood. Government on its part agreed to the request and offered to reserve 30 per cent of the tricycles it imported to members of the association. A list of those to benefit has also been compiled and submitted to government by the executive of the commercial motorcyclists. Also speaking during the meeting, the leader of Commercial Motorcycle Operators in Zaria, Mallam Ibrahim Isa Kagoron, appealed to the government to incorporate his members in the proposed transportation sector regulation and modernisation scheme. Kagoro explained that the association was collaborating with security agencies across the state to ensure sanity in the business of commercial motorcycles operators in the face of the current security challenges and the use of motorcycles to commit crime.

Vice-President Namadi Sambo inaugurating the 3.5 kilometre Maduganari Township Road in Maiduguri, Borno State, at the weekend. PHOTO: NAN

FG votes $100m for oil search in Lake Chad –VP


he Federal Government budgeted $100 million for oil search in the Lake Chad basin this year, Vice-President Namadi Sambo said on Saturday. Sambo said this during a visit to the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Aubakar Ibn Garbai, in Maiduguri. The vice-president said the action was aimed at preparing ground for the commencement of full commercial oil exploration in the basin. He said: “I want to inform you that government is committed to the oil and gas search in the Lake Chad basin.

“Last year, about $75 million was spent on the project and this year President Goodluck Jonathan has approved $100 million for the project.” Sambo added that three blocks had been identified in the area after a series of research for further action. He said: “So far, we have identified three blocks, one of which is located in Maiduguri. “These blocks have great potentials for oil and gas exploration.’’ Sambo said that government believed that commercial oil exploration would begin in the area at the beginning of 2014.

“Our plan is that by the fourth quarter of 2013, or first quarter of 2014, commercial oil and gas exploration will commence in the basin,’’ he added. Sambo said government was also working towards rejuvenating the Lake Chad, to reactivate agricultural activities in the area. He said: “We are working on plans to rejuvenate the Lake Chad through an interbasin water transfer from Congo Democratic Republic. “President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the release of $5 million for the consultancy work on the project.” Earlier in his speech, Ibn

Garbai appealed to the Federal Government to hasten oil exploration activities in the Lake Chad basin. He said: “I want to appeal to government to pursue oil exploration in the Lake Chad basin with vigour because commercial oil exploration will provide jobs for our teeming unemployed youths. “I believe the place contains large quantity of oil because of a similar discovery by our neighbours on the other side of the basin.” Ibn Garbai also urged government to relax the current 9p.m. to 6a.m. curfew in the state, following the improved security situation in the city.

Ilorin elders sue Kwara, Saraki over sale of communal land


he face-off over alleged sale of some ancestral land in Ilorin has taken a legal twist as some senior citizens have filed a suit in Ilorin High Court. The elders are praying the court to restrain the Kwara State Government from transferring public ownership of such land to private business owners. The suit centres on the alleged sale or intention to sell what the claimants called the communal-owned Old Yidi Praying Ground, otherwise known as the Ilorin Amusement Park. The disputed land is also

home to the statue of the ‘Unknown Soldier’. Apart from the Kwara State Government and some of its agents, joined in the suit as defendants are the alleged buyer of the land, Artee Industry Limited – owners of ‘Park and Shop’ – and Mrs. Toyin Saraki, wife of former Governor Bukola Saraki whom the plaintiffs accused of using her position as then governor’s wife to facilitate the sale of the land to Artee. The litigants are Dr. Ajibola Saliu Ajia, Dr. Saad Omoiya and Alhaji Saleh Duro Garba, all of them elder statesmen with deep

family roots in Ilorin. They claimed that the land was dedicated to communal use as Ilorin Muslim community praying ground in 1904 until 1977 during the regime of Brigadier George Innih as the Military Governor of Kwara State when, owing to increased population, the Ilorin Eid (Yidi) praying ground was moved to the present Eid praying ground situated at the Adinimonle (now Irewolede) area of Ilorin. The elders said the old Yidi was then converted to a public-owned amusement park, a project that was meant to serve the interests

of the public. They said: “The land was never at any time acquired by any government but was part of the Ilorin community’s decisions and contributions to the Islamic religious rites, practices and festivals of the community and later for the beautification of the Ilorin town and to serve as tourism, recreational, relaxation and event centre for the people of Ilorin in particular and the citizens of the state in general.” They claimed in the writ of summon filed before the court that 80 per cent of the proceeds from the sale had gone to Mrs. Saraki.



Monday, February 4, 2013

National Mirror

Police arrest 10 suspected armed robbers in Kogi OYEWALE IBRAHIM LOKOJA


he Kogi State Police Command has arrested a 10-man gang of armed robbers. The armed robbers, according to the police, had been terrorising residents of Okene, Adavi and Lokoja local government areas before the long arm of law caught up with them. The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mohammed

Musa Katsina, told journalists while parading the suspected armed robbers at the weekend in Lokoja, the state capital, that the gang specialised in using sledge hammers to create holes in the walls of shops through which they robbed unsuspecting owners. The police boss explained that the command’s Special Ambush Squad had been trailing the gang for some times following reports by the vic-

tims at the police stations. He said that after careful investigations, the ambush squad tracked members of the gang down one after the other. The commissioner of police said that all the suspects are bricklayers and block molders, adding that they usually came out with their working tools in search of victims who would invite them for genuine work. He said that the armed

robbers jointly committed conspiracy, armed robbery, shop breaking, theft and criminal trespass together. The police commissioner said: “Members of the gang, in the last one year, have dispossessed their victims of their valuable property and millions of naira. “They broke into one Paul and Kingsway at Total Filling Station by passing through the air condition hole and carted away all the wares and N1.8 mil-

lion.” The suspected criminals are Sulaiman Jamiu, a youth leader of Living faith Church, Okene; Emmanuel Israel, who claimed to be a security guard, Michael Joseph, Mohammed Salihu, Lateef Jimoh, popularly called Anini. Others are Mohammed Ejimah, Okehi Yusuf, Haruna Isah, Adams Suberu and Abu Jimoh . Also paraded are two OND students of the De-

Lawmaker rues Plateau’s 2012 budget performance

Al-Makura donates 16 Hilux vans to soldiers






member of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Hon. Ponmak Rindap, has expressed concern over what he called “the poor implementation of the state’s budget last year.” Rindap, who represents Langtang North Central Constituency, spoke with journalists at the weekend in Jos, the state capital, expressing the fear that if efforts were not made to correct the lapses recorded last year, it may affect the implementation of the 2013 budget when passed into law. He said: ‘From what we know, the 2012 budget performance was unsatisfactory. For instance, in the Ministry of Works which I supervised, you will discover that since we came in 2011, there have been a lot of ongoing projects without completion. And I don’t think there is any new project that has been awarded since then except until recently. So why should we have passed the 2012 budget and nothing is been done; it means something is wrong somewhere and this is not good for the development of the state’’ The lawmaker attributed the problem to the negligence of the House to monitor effectively the progress of the budget implementation. “As a House, we have resolved to monitor the implementation of the 2013 budget when passed into law. A situation whereby some lawmakers abandon their oversight functions to the detriment of the budget implementation will no longer be tolerated,” Rindap said.

partment of Architecture of Kogi State Polytechnic, David Enimola Opeyemi and Joel Oluwaseun, who were arrested for allegedly terrorizing their mates on campus with toy gun. David Enimola Opeyemi, who confessed that he bought the toy gun in order to raise money to pay his school fees, added that e decided to intimidate his victims when his parents stopped sending money to him.


L-R: Bauchi State Cooperative Finance Agency Deputy General Manager, Alhaji Danladi Adamu; Malam Ahmed Musa and Talban Bauchi, Alhaji Tahir Ibrahim-Tahir, during the presentation of award to Adamu in Bauchi, at the weekend. PHOTO: NAN

Cleric urges leaders to prioritise national interest WOLE ADEDEJI ILORIN


igerian leaders were at the weekend in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, called upon to accord national interests a priority in their dealings to attract God’s favour for the country. A lawyer and founder of the Save Way Prayer Ministry International, Mr Sam Aduragbemi, made the call at a special prayer session organised by his church in Ilorin. Aduragbemi said: “Nigeria’s flag no longer has meaning in the hearts of

her citizens unlike what obtains in the United States, Republic of China, Italy, United Kingdom and other western nations where their nationals are ready to die for their countries. “Our prayers are directed and will continually be directed towards Christ arresting the minds of Nigerian leaders, let them always see God whenever they want to take decision so that their decision shall be divine and Godly. “How can Nigeria talk of moving forward and enjoy peace while self-esteemed and greedy leaders hold sway, sponsoring sec-

tional acrimony to foist on the nation insecurity, poverty and hardships.” “God will bless Nigeria and her peace-loving people.” The cleric said that it would require time, sacrifice, training, energy, devotion and fervent prayers to get to the country’s green and blue terminus, adding: “The Lord is raising an altar of prayer in this nation, Kwara is privileged to be its Jerusalem whereby the people of this nation, Nigeria, will be delivered from destruction that the enemies of God has master minded.”

Quoting Nehemiah Chapter 4, verse 14 from the Bible, he said: “And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, be not ye afraid of them, remember the Lord which is great and terrible and fight for your brethren, your sons and daughters.” Aduragbemi prayed and expressed confidence that “Our national leaders shall be courageous enough to look unto the Holy hill of God for help to take right decisions that will make the people rejoice.”

National grazing reserve bill threat to security –Group A ZA MSUE KADUNA


group under the auspices of Southern Kaduna in the Diaspora (SOKAD) has urged members of the National Assembly to reject the bill seeking to create national grazing reserves and routes throughout Nigeria for

Fulani herdsmen. In an emailed statement signed by its President, Dr. Likita Aminu and Secretary-General, Dr. Freeman Kamuru, SOKAD said the bill, if passed into law, would accord the nomadic Fulani special status against other ethnic nationalities. SOKAD said that re-

serves and routes would not solve the incessant communal violence between the Fulani herdsmen and their host communities; rather it would escalate the dispute. The group added that 80 per cent of Nigerians depend on land for livelihood and will not give up their land easily. It, however, suggested

that “the unproductive semi-arid northern land should be turned into fertile grazing land to modernize cattle rearing.” SOKAD called on other ethnic groups to reject the bill, saying that the reserve routes would not only breed immigrants from other parts of Africa, but would pose security threat.

overnor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State yesterday donated 16 Hilux vans to soldiers to enable them tackle the incessant communal clashes bedeviling the state. Addressing the soldiers at the Government House in Lafia, the state capital, Governor Al-Makura directed the soldiers to handle every situation professionally “so that the majority of the people in the state who want peace will have a sigh of relief.” He called on community leaders to prevail on their subjects, especially youths to conduct themselves in a most civil and responsible manner, warning that any community that tries to take laws into its hands would live to regret. The governor said: “My government and the people of Nasarawa State are grateful, encouraged by your professionalism, tenacity and sense of patriotism in containing challenges of skirmishes in different stages in the state.” Al-Makura promised that his administration would not relent in its efforts to assist security operatives in protecting lives and property. He said: “The problem the state is facing today is a challenge that requires deliberate and induce efforts in our minds as a people to live in peace with one another by being our brother’s keeper that we are known with from our forefathers.” The governor, however, regretted that the amicability of living together as one is no longer there, adding that his administration was not pessimistic, but optimistic that the people of Nasarawa State want to live peacefully together.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Nigeria silences Ivory Coast, cruises into s/ finals

National Mirror



I am very pleased that we have used our performance to send home a strong message for peace - MALI CAPTAIN, SEYDOU KEITA


Injury: Traore bids SA farewell


njured Burkina Faso striker, Alain Traore, has left South Africa to continue treatment for the thigh injury he sustained during the Group C final game against Zambia last Tuesday where he lasted only seven minutes as team medics battled in vain to restore him. Doctors have ruled the inspirational forward out the remainder of the competition, although he remains the leading scorer with three goals. He will be out for at least three weeks. “First of all I am very disappointed to leave the team but I am happy for the three games I played and the scored goals for the team,” Traore said yesterday as he departed Johannesburg for Paris. “It is very painful for me to leave the team but it is better to leave to get treatment. I am wishing the team good luck in the game against Togo.” Supporters of the Black Stars have played a major role in Ghana’s cruise in South Africa

Black Stars equal AFCON semis record G


hana has equalled the Africa Cup of Nations record of consecutive semi final spots after a 2-0 victory over Cape Verde on Saturday in Port Elizabeth. A second half brace by midfielder Mubarak Wakaso ensured the Black Stars join Nigeria as the most successful team in the history of the prestigious competition to make the last four on four consecutive occasions. This is a repeat of what Ghana did in the 1963, 1965, 1968 and 1970 tournaments. Egypt holds three consecutive

qualifications to the semi finals during its dominant era where the North African country won three Nations Cup titles on the bounce between 2006 and 2010. The Black Stars could go further in achieving another milestone by ending a staggering 31-year trophy drought by winning the tournament in South Africa. Meanwhile, Ghana captain, Asamoah Gyan, has said that the team’s rich experience helped the side to eliminate Cape Verde at the quarter finals. “The first half was a bit frustrat-

Igesund sings Bafana’s praise


afana Bafana Coach, Gordon Igesund, says he is proud of his wards, but admits he is disappointed after South Africa’s quarter-final loss to Mali on penalties on Saturday night. The match was drawn 1-1 after extra time, and Bafana put in a woeful display in the shoot-out, with Siphiwe Tshabalala the only player out of four to convert his penalty. “I’m shattered. Absolutely shattered, especially for the players,”

Igesund said yesterday. “We played a very good game, especially in the first half and should have maybe gone 2-0 or 3-0 up. But it came down to penalties, and it’s always hard to lose like that. “The guys showed big heart, pride and commitment once again, and I’m very proud of them, but I’m also hurting for them.” The coach said the nation should take heart from the fact that Bafana kept pace with one of the best teams on the continent.

ing,” Gyan said yesterday. “We couldn’t go through their defence. But what made the difference in our victory, was the penalty. When we scored, the game became opened. “Although in the second half they dominated, we stood firm. We have experience and we kept our composure and in the late stages, we scored our second goal,” the forward said, even as the Black Stars Coach, Kwesi Appiah, believes his side’s lethargic second half performance against Cape Verde took the shine out

of the team’s progression to the semi-final. “The second half was not one of our best games but I think we’ve got more room for improvement,” Appiah said. “We were playing so well until when we had the first goal. That was when we had some deficiencies in our midfield. On a whole our mental attitude was really good. Cape Verde dominated the second half, but we stood up and the most important thing was that we got the win at the end of the day.’’

…Keeper downplays performance


hana goalkeeper, Fatau Dauda, has played down his heroics against Cape Verde which sent the Black Stars through to the semi-final of the Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday. Dauda was named Man-ofthe-Match in the quarter-final win in Port Elizabeth with his breathtaking saves. The Ashanti Gold goalkeeper, who is making his second Nations Cup appearance, has conceded two goals-all in one

match-after four matches. The 27-year-old has justified why he deserves to be Ghana’s number one but he wants to be modest with his tournament form. “I will say praise be to God,” Dauda said yesterday when asked whether he had secured the number one position. “It was a difficult one. You know we have very three good goalkeepers in the team and we have a lot of goalkeepers in the country both foreign and

local. “That is why we have the technical team. They chose me to start the game of this tournament. “Not that I am better than the other two goalkeepers but in football, everything is about selection and so I have to do my best to pay back the faith of the coach.” Interestingly, Dauda was an unused goalkeeper in Ghana’s squad at the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations on home soil.



Monday, February 4, 2013

National Mirro Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.n

Friendly: Hodgson faces selection headache


ngland Manager, Roy Hodgson, has admitted that he is spoilt for choices as the Three Lions face Brazil in a friendly on Wednesday. Hodgson made his selection last week with Scott Parker and Gareth Barry not making the cut, leaving Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Jack Wilshere and Michael Carrick, as well Tom Cleverley, Leon Osman and James Milner in the midfield section. Hodgson has not fancied the decision of former England manager Fabio Capello to shift Gerrard into a wider role, where he formed a productive link with Wayne Rooney. “The mistake can be to try and include them all. But I’m not going to ask Jack Wilshere, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard or Michael Carrick to play on the right wing,” Hodgson said yesterday as he previewed the big game. He, however, said he would be unfazed by media criticism of his selection. “You know it’s got to be done and you are making the right decision but on the other hand you are hurting someone who has done a fantastic job for you,” the 66-year-old explained. “The fact is they are all stars in their own right. Frank Lampard is to Chelsea what Gerrard is to Liverpool, what Wilshere could become for Arsenal and what Carrick is to Manchester United. “When you have two players of great ability, who understand the game well and have good tactical awareness, you should be able to use them together.”

AJC: Ubale confident of good outing Adegoke



head of the 36th African Junior Championships (14, 16 and Under) holding in Kenya from March 18 to 23, national junior tennis coach, Mohammed Ubale, believes his wards will excel at the event. Six players qualified for the event following the regional qualifiers which took place in Togo last month where ten countries competed for the West and Central African team trophy. Ghana emerged winners while Nigeria and Benin came second and third respectively. Elizabeth Kapari played a part in Ghana’s team victory when she beat Sarah Adegoke 6-1, 6-1 in the girls’ 16 and under

final. Emmanuel Idoko helped with Nigeria’s team points tally after Ghanaian Isaac Nortey retired at 75 67(5) 50 in the boys’ 16 and under event. Idoko’s teammate, Joseph Ubon, finished in third place. In the girls’ 12 and Under category, Nigeria’s Barakat Quadri took silver while Michael Osewa finished in third place in the boys’ category. Other players that will participate in the AJC along with Adegoke and Idoko are Joseph Imeh, Aderotimi Adetunji, Adetayo Adetunji and Zainab Oladimeji. “We have a few events coming up before the championship proper and that should go a long way in helping the players prepare,” Ubale disclosed. The AJC warm-up event (14 and 16 and Under) will take place in Kenya from March 13 to 17.

Lagos set for YSFON tourney IFEANYI EDUZOR


total of 16 teams will participate in the Lagos YSFON Zonal U-16 Ramat Cup Competition beginning today at Opebi Primary School, Ikeja. According to a statement in Lagos yesterday, the round robin tournament which will end on Friday will be used to select the team that will represent the state at the national championship slated for February 13 in Kano. Jokers Stars, Panpansa, Goddey, Young Strikers, J.P. Young Stars, Emirate FC, Dia-

mond Stars, Winner FC, Rahab, Bravo G, Future Talent, Ayinde FC, AJK FC, Sky Rocket, Amoroso FC and Olhan FC are among the clubs that will participate in the tourney. Meanwhile, Chairman of Lagos State chapter of Youth Sports Federation of Nigeria, Taiwo Afinni, has said that the federation will ensure full compliance with rules and regulations guiding the game even as he assures that players above the stipulated age will not be allowed to participate. “YSFON over the years has been known for talent discovery and we want to maintain that tradition,” the former Lagos FA chairman said.

Johnson upbraids Balotelli


iverpool fullback, Glen Johnson, yesterday took a swipe at former Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli as the Reds prepared to face City in their EPL game. “I don’t think City will miss Balotelli. I’m not being disrespectful to the guy but everyone knows what he’s like,” Johnson said. “On his day, he can be a great player but City have got great players who do it a lot more often and score more goals than him.” Johnson, 28, also faced Balotelli in England’s Euro 2012 quarter-final against Italy. “We all have our faults but Mario let his side down a lot with silly red cards and stuff like that,” he added. “Mario’s a great player but we didn’t

see that enough. Personally, I won’t miss him. He was probably more famous for things he did off the pitch than what he did on it.”


‘Gazza’s life in danger’

he agent of former England international, Paul Gascoigne, Terry Baker, has said that Gascoigne’s life is in danger after he started drinking again. The 45 year old broke down on stage at a charity event on Thursday. Gascoigne, who openly admits to having problems with alcoholism, has spent time in rehab and was sectioned twice in 2008 under the Mental Health Act. “He won’t thank me for saying it but he immediately needs to get help,” Baker said yesterday. “Whatever’s happened to him in the five or six weeks since I saw him before Christmas he is not as well as he has been. “His life is always in danger because

he is an alcoholic. Maybe no one can save him-I don’t know. I really don’t know.” Gascoigne’s drinking problems started during his playing days. In 1998, shortly after his divorce from his wife Sheryl, he was admitted to the Marchwood Priory hospital to receive treatment for stress and drink problems.


National Mirror net


Monday, February 4, 2013



What the coaches say…


igeria’s Super Eagles defied all odds yesterday to beat the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire 2-1 at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg, to book place in the semi-finals of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa. Nigeria will now play Mali in yet another all West African derby at the Moses Mabida Stadium, Durban on Wednesday. Emmanuel Emenike put Nigeria in front in the 42nd minute, for his third goal of the AFCON 2013, hitting a blinder off an indirect free kick that beat Ivorian goal keeper, Boubacar Barry. Cheick Tioté equalised five minutes after the break off an assist from Didier Drogba, leaving Eagles’ goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama stranded. But Enugu Rangers’ midfielder, Sunday Mba, who was the Man of the Match, made the game safe for Eagles, getting at the end of his impressive solo effort that took a slight deflection to sail into the net and catapult Nigeria into the semi-finals. Coach Stephen Keshi had appealed to millions of Nigerian fans to have faith in his wards before the quarter-final games. Fans back home had written their team off, giving the Eagles no chance against the Elephants, complete with Didier Drogba and company but Keshi kept faith with his boys. Keshi’s faith in his boys seemed to have worked wonders with his team showing they were in for business right from the blast of the referee’s whistle. When Emenike tangoed with Ivorian defender, Soulyemane Bamba, off a through pass from Victor Moses just a minute into the game, the Eagles were just beginning to show a glimpse of what they had in stock for their more illustrious West African arch rivals. Emenike, who was the most fouled player of the afternoon, was felled by Tiote in the 10th minute and Ideye headed just wide from the resultant Moses’ free kick as the Eagles continued to push for an earlier goal. It was still Eagles all the way moments later when Moses’25 yarder was acrobatically parried by Barry for an Eagles’ corner. Cote d’Ivoire continued to look a shadow of themselves, upsetting the bookmakers who predicted Elephants’ total domination as they almost surrendered play to


“I Ivorian midfielder Yaya Toure (l) contesting the ball with Nigeria’s Obi Mikel during yesterday’s AFCON quarterfinal clash which Nigeria won 2-1

Nigeria silences Ivory Coast, cruises into s/finals

Nigeria to the disbelief of pockets of fans at the Moses Mabida Stadium. It was never a dull moment for the Super Eagles’ attacking trio as Moses stylishly back heeled the ball to Emenike in one of their admirable attacking forays but Bamba quickly picked up the pace to clear for safety. Emenike would have put his country ahead in the 25th minute but decided to shoot wide after accepting a delightful pass from Brown Ideye, however woke up later. Romaric Elephants’ N’Dri had fouled Mba just few yards away from their vital area for an Eagles’ free kick. Chelsea star, John Obi Mikel, who won the highly publicised midfield battle against Manchester City midfielder, Yaya Toure, rolled the ball onto the path of Emenike, who hit a powerful shot that took a slight deflection to sail into the Elephants’ net as Eagles deservedly went ahead in the 42nd minute. Just two minutes later, Elephants almost levelled up when N’Dri’s free kick missed target by inches. Their coach, Sabri Lamou-

Eagles’ line-up: Vincent Enyeama, Efe Ambrose, Kenneth Omeruo, Godfrey Oboabana, Elderson Echiejile, Ogenyi Onazi, Sunday Mba, John Obi Mikel, Brown Ideye, Emmanuel Emenike, Victor Moses (Joseph Yobo 90’)

chi’s half time pep talk gingered the disappointing Elephants into action as they came out stronger. Salomon Kalou, who was anonymous in the first, thought he had curried a favour from the referee after receiving a pass from Didier Zokora in the Elephants’ first attack after the break, was booked for diving. But it was Tiote who levelled things up just five minutes after the recess when he connected home a Drogba free kick with his head as Nigeria’s defence momentarily went to sleep. With Toure dropping deep into the Elephants’ midfield just in front of Bamba and Zokora, the Elephants appeared to have taken over the midfield from

Mikel and company for a moment, stretching the Eagles to their limits. But the Eagles refused to go down without a fight as they continued to have the lion’s share of chances. Toure surged forward to have a feel of a rare chance this time, but Enyeama was at his best, punching to safety. But it took the ingenuity of Mba in the 78th minute to settle the scores and the game in the highly explosive encounter. The Rangers’ midfielder raced with ball from the centre circle, kept shrugging off challenges from Zokora and mates before hitting a powerful shot that took a slight deflection to sail into the net and send the doubting Nigerian fans into delirium. Lamouchi brought on Anzhi Makhachkala beanpole striker, Lacina Traore, as they searched for a late minute equalizer. The substitution almost paid off in the 85th minute but back tracking Eagles’ midfielder, Mikel, was quick to nick the ball away from the foot of Traore who cursed his luck for a rare chance to level up.


know the mentality of my players, their level of concentration, and I knew they could do it. My players were disciplined. Nobody gave us a chance, but we showed character. “When I made the team, I knew we would have to fight. We started the game well and were tactically disciplined. It came with determination and mental toughness. I have a lot of respect for the Ivorien team, but we fought hard.”

SABRI LAMOUCHI (Cote d’Ivoire)


e had only one goal and that was to win the Africa Cup of Nations. For some of us, it might be a last chance. For me, it is my first Africa Cup of Nations and I had the same objective. “We did our best but could not succeed. It’s an obvious disappointment and you can imagine the state of the players. “For me, it is a huge sadness. I have seen players work for a month, make efforts and I thought we were on the right path, doing good work, but it was not enough. On resignation, I do not even think about resigning after six months knowing the job done. It certainly was not enough to win the tournament.”


Most people popping party poppers Vol. 03 No. 549

Monday, February 4, 2013

The most people popping party poppers were 347 employees of Mercedes Benz South Africa at an event organized by Blue Platinum Events (South Africa) in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 9 September 2011.


Delusions of today’s men of power


read Dr. Reuben Abati’s article titled ‘The Hypocrisy Of Yesterday’s Men’, published in virtually every newspaper in the country on February 3, 2013 with amusement. He sought to ridicule and demean those of us that served President Olusegun Obasanjo’s government, concluding that we are not very impressed with the performance of his boss. The fact that we asked President Goodluck Jonathan to account for the $67 billion he squandered from our foreign reserves has clearly upset him. We dared to ask about the money and so we were singled out and targetted for tongue-lashing and a long lecture from the Presidency. Yet we remain undeterred. This is how weak governments that have nothing to offer and something to hide always behave. They come after their perceived enemies with full force;

and they are petty and oversensitive. This

Guest Columnist

The facts are as follows.


Fani-Kayode de

is all the more so when they lack experienced hands, and when they do not have anyone with deep insight about the art of governance or politics within their ranks. In his response instead of answering our questions, addressing the issues or making any pertinent and sensible points about the numerous allegations against his principal, Abati chose to go on a delusional and self-serving joy ride. He simply refused to address any of our numerous concerns, but instead indulged vainly in what can only be described as an utterly vulgar and distasteful form of intellectual, spiritual and psychological masturbation by telling us that he and his master were ”today’s men” who needed no lessons from the ”men of yesterday”. The essay was nothing but the usual smear campaign and a crude attempt to intimidate. I will not dignify most of the insulting and childish submissions that Abati indulged in with a response other than to say that he told a shameless and pernicious lie when he wrote that as Minister of Aviation I ”shut down Port Harcourt Airport for two years” and ”allowed grass to grow all over it”. This is false. It is a classic case of disinformation. It is clear that Abati, who is a journalist, has forgotten the most important tenet of his profession, which is that ”facts are sacred and opinion cheap”. Ordinarily one would have ignored his bitter rant but it is important that I set the record straight for the sake of posterity.





The Port Harcourt International Airport was closed on December 10, 2005 after the Sossolisso Air crash in which 100 people were killed. The crash affected the runway of the airport very badly and consequently the then Minister of Aviation, Professor Babalola Borishade closed it. I was redeployed from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to the Ministry of Aviation in November 2006. This was 11 months after the Sossolisso crash took place and Port Harcourt Airport had been closed. It is clear from the foregoing that I was not the one that shut down Port Harcourt Airport. When I took over at Aviation, my priority was to carry out all the necessary repairs at Port Harcourt Airport and to open it as quickly as possible. I was saddened to discover that in the previous 11 months before I got there

nothing had been done and the contract to repair the runway had not even been awarded. Consequently within a month of my being appointed Minister of Aviation, we set to work and awarded the contract to Julius Berger at the cost of N3 billion. Fifty percent of the money was paid up front and Julius Berger set to work immediately. The runway was fully completed and the airport in pristine condition before I left office on May 29th 2007, just six months after I awarded the contract. However, despite this the airport could not be opened before we left because the runway lighting system was still in the process of being installed. The Yar’adua government went ahead and opened the airport a few months after we left office even though the runway lights had still not been installed. The record shows that from the day that I was appointed Minister of Aviation and the time our mandate ran out seven months later, my staff at the Ministry and Julius Berger worked night and day on the runway project at the airport in order to ensure that we finished it in record time. And this we managed to do. I repeat that it was under my watch that work commenced on the airport, it was completed and fully restored to be utilised. Given these facts, how Abati can peddle the lie that I was the one that not only closed the airport, but that I also kept it shut for two years, did nothing there, caused it to remain idle and allowed ”grass to grow all over it?”. I was Minister of Aviation for only seven months and not two years; and within those seven months, from scratch I did all the work that needed to be done in order to make the airport functional again. I am proud of the fact that we succeeded in meeting our target. To be continued Fani-Kayode is a former Presidential spokesperson and Aviation Minister during the Obasanjo administration

Sport Extra


cotland’s Stephen Gallacher yesterday claimed his second European Tour title with a three-shot victory at the Dubai Desert Classic. The 38-year-old nephew of exRyder Cup captain Bernard led South African Richard Sterne by a solitary shot when he holed his second at the par-four 16th-

Golf: Gallacher wins Tour in Dubai his fifth eagle of the week-before wrapping up the win. Gallacher, who finished joint runner-up in this event last year and led by three overnight after a Saturday 62, carded a closing 71, has played 404 events in 20

years on Tour, but his last win was back in 2004 at the Dunhill Links on home soil at St Andrews. After a see-saw battle with five-time winner Sterne, the key to his victory was sinking that

110-yard wedge from the rough at the 16th. Sterne had twice grabbed the lead on holes eight and 10, but then fell apart on the back nine with four bogeys in his final NFF President, Aminu Maigari eight holes. Khan

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Monday, February 4, 2013  
Monday, February 4, 2013  

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