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Telecoms capacity hits 219.1m lines

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... amidst declining service delivery KUNLE AZEEZ

Johnson

Vol. 31 N0. 530 115

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igeria’s telecoms subscribers continue to groan under the negative effect of decline in quality of

services in spite of the installed capacity glut which operators currently have on their network. National Mirror gathered yesterday that while only about 138 million telephone lines were connected with only 109.4 million

active, the actual number of telephone lines which telecoms operators had current capacity to accommodate on their networks had increased significantly to 219.1 million.

DAYS TO GO Bafana hope to restore home record P.29

CONTINUED ON PAGE 6>>

Tuesday, Tuesday,June January 7, 2011 8, 2013

Fire guts INEC hqtrs A

N150 N150

OMEIZA AJAYI AND OLUFEMI ADEOSUN

…voter registry section affected

mysterious fire yesterday gutted the voter registry section of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, headquarters in Abuja. The prompt intervention CONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>

MESSI IS PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Taking the honours: Lionel Messi with his Ballon d’Or award yesterday. With him is FIFA President, Sepp Blatter.

NNPC borrows $1.5bn to pay fuel debt –Report P.4 FG ready to unveil new cement policy –Aganga Independent National Electoral Commission Headquarters on fire in Abuja, yesterday.

PHOTOS: ROTIMI OSASONA

One dies, 20 injured in oil thieves, NSCDC shootout Hoodlums set BRT bus ablaze, rob passengers

Army promotes 2,900 soldiers

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P.4

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Anenih set to emerge as PDP BoT chair today P.5


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Labour

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Expectations mount for workers, job seekers in 2013 Hoping for industrial harmony and friendly government’s policies in their sector, Nigerian workers said year 2013 has come for casualisation to be finally eliminated, while the huge army of employment hopeful running into millions can only but keep faith and renewed hopes, writes MESHACK IDEHEN.

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ith the President of the Trade Union Congress, (TUC), Comrade Peter Esele, scoring the Federal Government a paltry 45 per cent in its response to labour matters in the out-gone year, the stage, according to some analysts, is set for a vibrant labour issue dominated economy in the year 2013. This poor assessment of labour related issues for 2012 by the labour leaders aside, other stakeholders in the human resource management and development sector say the situation is even more disconcerting and impacting negatively on all concerned when other critical issues that affect the nation’s workers and job seekers like casualisation, poor working conditions, the refusal to fully implement the new minimum wage are brought into consideration. Consequently, “it becomes imperative”, said Career Development Expert, Mr. Kunle Rotimi, that the expectations of stakeholders in 2013 will be much higher than last year, and the onus of better performance in matters of interests to both sides will put extra pressure on leaders of the labour unions members, its leaders and the government at state and federal levels”. Rotimi, who is also an author of books on human capital management and on industrial relations between management and employees, also predicted that whatever be the outcome of activities in the sector by the end of 2013 will be sure to be an improvement on the completely dashed expectation that has been coming with previous years, as all the stakeholders are now more conscious and ready to “do things and take on each other” if the need arises. Be that as it may, many of the country’s workers told National Mirror that while there is a reasonably high level of expectations from their end as what the year 2013 will offer, that failure to raise the performance level of both the government and union leaders will not only have a negative effect on the economy, but that a precedence would have been set by all on how not to deal with matters that affect the working and productive force of a country. Taken together, it was not surprising that while describing the year 2012 as one labour leaders and indeed all Nigerians would not forget in a hurry, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, said the major expectation of workers for 2013 is focused on how to encourage the government to maintain a consistent policy thrust as it relates to organised labour, unlike last year which was characterised by “surprises, inadequate and inconsistent policy thrust”. Looking forward to a much better developments in the New Year that is characterised with industrial growth and increased productivity, Omar said from the beginning of last year that the entire country was thrown into labour crisis

Esele

Omar

Wogu

GOVERNMENT SHOULD LOOK AT THE OPTION OF PUTTING A SYSTEMATIC AND ENDURING TRANSPORTATION SCHEME ON GROUND following the announcement by President Goodluck Jonathan of deregulation of the petroleum sector, an announcement, he said paved way for petroleum marketers to increase the price of petrol from N65 to between N138 and N145. Nevertheless, the NLC president said further that organised labour was also looking to having a peaceful year, and hoping there would be no reason to go mobilising members into the streets in a showdown with the Federal Government or any establishment, adding also that it was the action of government in its dealing with Nigerian workers and people that would determine the course of action of the congress for the year, despite series of unresolved and pending issues. According to him, one of the reason that is likely to draw Nigeria workers and people to the streets this year, and which is an expectation that the congress is not looking forward to, would be the failure of the Federal Government to prosecute fuel subsidy looters and mete out adequate punishments to them. On his part, while speaking on the expectation of employment hopefuls for 2013, Recruiter and Managing Director of Prot Consulting International, Mr. Sunny Agboju, said firstly that government, considering the high level of unemployment in the country, has failed in most of its promises on job creation, a situation he also attributed in part to inadequate and inconsistent policy thrusts by federal and state governments. Accusing many state governments of contributing to the unemployment situation amongst youths in the country, Agboju said government through the Nigeria Immigration Service, (NIS) was not doing enough to check the excesses of foreigners in the country, and that many foreigners are presently in Nigeria doing lots of jobs meant for Nigerians without them having required papers or certifications. Speaking in the same vein, a fresh graduate, Igiga Allison, told our correspondent that one of her expectations for the year 2013 is for the government to tackle the menace posed to fresh graduates like her by job scammers that have permeated every sector of the economy,

Protesters at the Occupy Nigeria Rally in Lagos, last January

saying also that repeated fallings into the hands of job scammers have made many qualified youths lose interest in pursuing through the process of application for jobs which seem to be non-existent. Specifically noting that year 2013 expectations might be higher for existing workers particularly those in the public service, Labour Activist and President of Progressive Leadership Organisation International, (PLOI),Comrade Emmanuel Ezueme, said though currently swept under the carpet, that the minimum wage policy that is yet to be fully implemented; the new electricity tariff that was increased last year to further pauperise workers, and the huge spending on transportation by workers are issues workers are looking towards the government to address this year. According to him, while last year is a year that no one can forget in this country because since it was the year government choose to give its citizens a new year present in the form of petroleum product price increase, the fact that workers all over the country including the private and public sectors don’t have a good transportation system is terrible. Most workers do end up spending nearly all they earn for basic needs of life. “Government should look at the option of putting a systematic and enduring transportation scheme on ground. Cues from Europe and America where transportation is heavily subsidised by government can be taken, while as a matter of importance, government should immediately commence reviewing the abuse of expatriate quota by foreigners. Speaking on the expectation of workers, unions and its affiliated for 2013, the Assistant General Secretary of NLC, Mr. Denja Yakub, said government’s handling of workers related issues in the out gone year was poor, especially the handling of the minimum wage issue.

He also cited the over seven month’s long crisis in the Plateau due to disagreements over the minimum wage agreement, adding that situation is being replicated in most of the states in the country. Challenging the government to deal with the issue of insecurity in some parts of the country, Registrar and Chief Executive Officers of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria, (CIPM),Mr. Sunday Adeyemi, said it was important for the government to improve on its handling of security challenges, adding workers are the most hit by the situation. He called for an industrialisation policy that can help in fast tracking the industrial development of the country economically, while saying also that the country is presently lacking adequate industrialisation policy that can create or save jobs, and that many companies are folding up day in and out, while jobs are being lost on a daily basis. Calling also for the development of manpower at the grassroots level this year, Adeyemi said government should also look into grassroots development by mandating state government to develop manpower at the grass root level, adding the move would contribute to creation of more jobs in the country. General Secretary of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, Comrade Isaac Aberare, says that the government most equally as a matter of importance check the excesses of employers of labour in the country. Particularly referring to the oil and gas sector, the NUPENG scribe said most of the employers in the petroleum industry engage in anti labour practices, and that 2013 will witness renewed effort from oil workers end to eliminate the trend.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Environment

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

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he environment experienced some of the historically highest levels of devastation witnessed in the year 2012. From the super storm in the United States of America, which left at least 253 dead and caused an estimated $65bn in property damage, to power outage in India where 19 states and 600 million people were thrown into darkness, it a year the world a year the environment shed tears of blood against the unscrupulous activities of man. Nigeria, the most populous black nation also had its own share of climate misfortunes, as flood disaster which occurred in some flash points in the country displaced over 2.2million people with a trail of death, lost of valuable properties and strong threat to agricultural activities with its concomitant effects on food security. The year under review was not entirely replete with a catalogue of woes; it also witnessed a period where the present administration, through the Ministry of Environment under the headship of Mrs. Hadiza Mailafia made some bold attempts to initiate policies and programmes aimed at achieving environmental sustainability. From the international scene, for instance, the year marked the period the country successfully participated in two major conferences in fulfilment of its obligations to the international treaties it entered into in the environment sector. Even though some environmentalists express scepticisms about the willingness of the government to domesticate some of the resolutions reached at these outings, Nigeria had strong delegations to Rio+20 which took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June and Cop 18 toward the end of 2012. For instance, in an interview with the National Coordinator, Nigeria Climate Action Network (NigeriaCAN), Barr. Ishaku Mshelia, shortly before the Rio+20 event, he stated that attending international conferences had never been the problem of Nigeria, but the ability of successive governments to muster the right political will to domesticate some of the resolutions to achieve environment sustainability. He had said,” Nigeria has never been found wanting at international conferences at any level. I think the major challenge has always been how to domesticate some of the far reaching agreements for the good of the people. To my mind what should be our major concern is how to set up good structures and map out good strategies to achieve those things that

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THE DEVASTATING EFFECT OF THE 2012 FLOOD INCIDENCE POINT TO THE FACT THAT THE COUNTRY NEEDS AN INTEGRATED ACTION PLAN TO ADDRESS ISSUES OF ENVIRONMENT UNDER A CHANGING CLIMATE Mailafia

Fashola

Flooded streets in Lokoja, last year.

Proactive measures needed to address environmental issues The year 2012 was not particularly spectacular for the country in the area of environmental sustainability. It was a year the little gains recorded through bold policy frameworks, paled in the face of massive flood disasters. OLUFEMI ADEOSUN captures the views of environment experts in charting the roadmap for the sector in the new year.

we said we would do since Rio 1992. Most of these things we stated after the first Rio to Rio+20 are still manifesting. Poverty has not been reduced. The number of people in the country who are living below poverty level is still increasing. “The recent United Nations report says the number of people that die as a result of indoor pollution has

Houses taken over by flood in Delta State, last year.

increased to about 95,000 every year. Five years ago, it was about 79,000 people, now it is 95,000 people dying every year as a result of indoor pollution just because they do not have access to clean and reliable energy source. “So the major issue should be, “how do we structure a strategy to implement what is going to happen in Rio?” We have the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with the time frame for achieving it slated for 2015 which is four years from now. And Rio+20 is going to set new agenda which is being referred to as Sustainable Development Goals.” Commenting, Prof. Olukayode Oladipo, a Climatologist and University Don, said that apart from attending international meetings, the there was nothing concrete on ground to point to as the gains of the outings. On whether the minister had not done enough

to convince President Goodluck Jonathan to assent to the bill for the establishment of a National Climate Change Commission more than a year after it was passed by the National Assembly, he said,” As a minister her role is to present her programmes, it is now left to the President to determine which is his areas of priorities. He was however philosophical about whether Nigeria’s participation in the Rio+20 summits was a hoax, stressing that Nigeria might have been economical with some of its claims. “Nigeria might have claimed some successes that may not be as successive as it claimed. From all indication of environmental programme indexes, Nigeria is low and the country needs adopt a practical, result oriented approach to environmental issues in order to ensure environmental sustainability and development” he added. The Ahmadu Bello University lecturer also argued that the country needed to evolve a system that would enable it address in a holistic manner, flood-induced disasters. He said,” The devastating effect of the 2012 flood incidence point to the fact that the country needs an integrated action plan to address issues of environment under a changing climate. However, it was as a result of the country’s active participation in international conferences on environment issues that led to the winning of $4million grant from the United Nations Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) for the development of REDD+ Programme in Nigeria. The grant which was given to Nigeria following its full admission as a REDD ready country is to enable it in building capacity, carbon mapping and other activities that will encourage Nigerians to cater for the forest. Apart from that, as part of the country’s commitment to global efforts to combat climate change, the present administration also approved National Policy on Climate Change as well as the National Adaptation Strategy and Plan of Action (NASPAN). The two documents, if well implemented, is expected to facilitate the mainstreaming of climate change activities into the country’s development plans. Other remarkable achievements recorded during the year included the release of N11.5bn for 15 erosion control projects in the South-East of the country, the launch of the Green Wall Sahara Project, establishment of flood alert systems across the country among others.


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Photo News

Tuesday January 8, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

President Goodluck Jonathan (7th left) and other Heads of State, at the inauguration of President PHOTO: STATE HOUSE John Mahama of Ghana in Accra, Ghana, yesterday. L-R: Mr. Wale Edun; Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun; National Leader, Action Congress of Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; former Ogun State governor, Aremo Olusegun Oshoba; Chairman, ACN, Chief Bisi Akande and others, at the inauguration of the new Ghanaian President, Dr Dramani Mahama in Accra, Ghana, yesterday.

Chief Justice of Ghana, Georgina Theodera Wood administering the oath to elected President John Dramani Mahama.

L-R: Rivers State Governor and Chairman Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Rotimi Amaechi; wife of Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, Governor Kayode Fayemi and Secretary General, Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, Mohammed Ibn Chambars, at the inauguration of the new Ghanaian President, Dr. Dramani Mahama in Accra, Ghana, yesterday.

National News

NNPC borrows $1.5bn to pay fuel debt UDEME AKPAN WITH AGENCY REPORT

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he Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, is said to have obtained a $1.5 billion syndicated loan to settle debts to international fuel traders. Reuters quoted a senior banking source as stating that the deal, struck at the end of last year is seen as crucial to easing the burden on big commodity traders. The source said the loan, provided by several Nigerian and international banks and brokered by Standard Chartered, will be paid back over five and half years. The NNPC has put up 15,000 barrels per day of its oil production as collateral. The General Manager, Group Public Affairs of the Corporation, Dr. Omar Faruok said in a telephone interview with National Mirror yesterday that he could

not confirm the development as he was on vacation outside Nigeria. Other NNPC officials contacted also declined to make comment. One of them said the NNPC may not likely be involved in a deal of this nature as the Corpora-

tion does not have the responsibility to pay fuel importers. He said: “It is not the duty of NNPC to pay the traders. The payment is the direct responsibility of the Federal Government through the Ministry of Finance after

verification of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA.” The source said the Corporation is an active participant, who imports fuel into the country. Consequently, she is also being owed like

other firms involved in the importation. As exclusively reported by National Mirror, the payment of the 2012 N161bn fuel subsidy arrears started last week, raising hope for massive importation of petrol and other products this

Army promotes 2,900 soldiers

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he Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Lt.Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, yesterday announced the promotion of 2,900 soldiers. Ihejirika said at the decoration of 14 Colonels with their new ranks of Brigadier-Generals in Abuja, that no fewer than 10,000 soldiers were recommended for promotion. He assured that the army would promote more soldiers before the end of February. The COAS said that as soon as their documents were verified and the processes for promotion completed, they would be promoted. According to him, promotion in the military

does not come as a reward but a demonstration of confidence on the part of the leadership that those officers promoted still have much more to offer. “You have done well but you are being promoted because they think you have much more to offer the system and I believe you are going to put in your best and we are looking forward to seeing your best. “Putting in your best is the only thing required to overcome the challenges confronting the nation and the army in particular. “Let me once again congratulate those just promoted and to tell those

who did not make it now that it is not the end of the road as they continue to work hard, promotion will come sooner or later,” he said. The Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, who spoke at the occasion, said he was impressed with the performance of those promoted. He said the officers were not only well read, properly trained, but were also the pride to the continent of African. Maku urged the officers to bear in mind that every promotion was a call to higher service and a call to higher sacrifices for the country. “I believe that this pro-

motion is coming at a point where it is needed in the years ahead to stablise the internal security and defend the territorial integrity,” he said. Brig. Gen. Nuhu Angbazo, who was among those decorated, told NAN that the promotion required the officers to work hard, to ensure that the vision of the Chief of Army Staff was realised within the President’s Transformation Agenda. In another development, Senator George Sekibo, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Defence and Army, has inaugurated the newly built Army Headquarters Officers’ Transit

year. The payment is targeted at encouraging major and independent marketers to import fuel and end the lingering problems with fuel supply that had enveloped the nation in the past six months.

Camp at the Mogadishu Cantonment. Sekibo commended the army’s efforts at providing the requisite infrastructure and accommodation facilities for troops. He said that the provision of the facilities had brought about a remarkable performance of the troops. “At this time when security challenges are high in the country, provision of accommodation will enable troops settle down and perform their duties. “We at the National Assembly will continue to support you to be a reputable army in West African sub-region,” Sekibo said.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

News

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

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Anenih set to emerge as PDP BoT chair today OBIORA IFOH ABUJA

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ormer Minister of Works, Chief Tony Anenih, is favoured to emerge today as the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Anenih is the preferred candidate of President Goodluck Jonathan while former President Olusegun Obasanjo is believed to support one-time national chairman of the party, Dr. Ahmadu Ali. The BoT, made up of 98 respected personalities, is considered the conscience of the PDP. Already, many politicians have indicated interest in succeeding ex- president Obasanjo, who quit the office late last year. And in a desperate move to achieve the objective of anointing Anenih as the BoT Chairman, President Jonathan last night met with some party leaders who have converged on Abuja since the weekend to lobby for a consensus candidate. Earlier before the meeting with the President, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, had a meeting with the party leaders, including some members of the BoT and National Working Committee, NWC, as well as the BoT Secretary, Sena-

tor Walid Jubrin. Sources said it was to prepare their minds on the later meeting with the President which was scheduled to begin at 9p.m. last night at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa. The meeting with Anyim centred on the unity of the party and on the need to avoid any action that might cause unnecessary rancour within the leadership of the party. A source at the meeting told National Mirror that Anyim insisted that the party’s long known policy of consensus must be adopted in electing the new BoT chairman. He also said that the party leaders must desist from undue pressure to torpedo the rules of the party on election into offices, particularly as it concerns zoning. The source, who is also a member of the BoT, added: “The meeting was at the instance of the SGF and he told us that the meeting was to prepare our minds for the meeting with the President later in the night and that it is the belief of the President that a consensus candidate should emerge at the BoT meeting and that we should vote according to our conscience and not to be swayed by unnecessary emotion. “The President has the interest of the party and would not want any impo-

sition of candidates but the new chairman must have passed through the corridors of power and seen as someone who has the interest of the party at heart. “He must also be such that can work with both the executive and NWC to make the party stronger than it is. While doing so, we must observe the party rules of zoning and that must be respected.” The outcome of the meeting with President Jonathan was being awaited at the press time but the meeting was to firm up the Anenih option as a preferred candidate. It is also believed that former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, has also received sudden attention from the Presidency. National Mirror gathered that the SGF had been working hard to sell Nnamani’s potential to President Jonathan as the alternate candidate should the Anenih option failed to fly. Stakeholders are pushing for the emergence of a consensus candidate instead of going through the election, which has the potential of dividing the advisory body. “We are working towards producing the BoT chairman through consensus. If this is done through election, the conscience of the party will be destroyed. The BoT is the gathering of

elders,” a member, who did not want his name mentioned, told our correspondent. Some other contestants include former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu,

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

ly known, but National Mirror gathered that a surge in electricity supply could have resulted in electrical sparks leading to the fire. INEC’s Director of Information Communication Technology, ICT, Mr. Chidi Nwafor, who spoke to journalists, said that members of staff attempted to put out the fire without success until the Federal Fire Service and NEMA officials came to the rescue. He said: “There was a fire incident this morning (Monday). Between 9:12a.m. and 9:30a.m. we perceived odour like a burnt wire, so what we did was to look for the place. It was in the department they call voter registry. “Most of us around that time tried to use fire extinguishers to stop the fire

and at the same time we called the fire service and NEMA. As I am talking to you now, the fire has been quenched.” He explained that preliminary investigation showed that only documents and equipment in the Voter Registry Director’s office were affected. “As I am talking to you, it is only the documents and equipment in the office that were burnt, but no life was lost. “I can assure you that all the data on voter registration, election items and other related data are intact and were not even within the area of the fire outbreak. There is no cause for alarm,” he said. The director said that the relevant agencies had begun investigation into

of the Presidency became even more obvious when delegates of the zones had formally informed the President of their decision to support a candidate from the South. CONTINUED ON PAGE 6>>

The BRT bus that was set ablaze during a confrontation between oil thieves and officials of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps at Majidun in Ikorodu, Lagos, yesterday. PHOTO: FRANCIS SUBERU

Fire guts INEC headquarters of men of the Federal Fire Service and their counterparts in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, and National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, however, saved the Maitama head office of the electoral commission from being completely razed. The incident, which reportedly began about 10a.m. lasted for 40 minutes. The fire affected the office of INEC’s Director of Voter Registry, Mr. Emmanuel Akem. As the thick dark smoke billowed from the building, members of staff who had earlier reported for duty scampered to safety, even as rescue workers battled to put out the inferno. Although the cause of the fire was not immediate-

Senator Onyeabo Obi, Chief Don Etiebet, Chief Richard Akinjide, Chief Yekini Adeojo, Chief Harry Akande and Senator Bode Olajumoke. Evidence that Ali would not receive the blessing

the cause of the fire. It will be recalled that a similar incident occurred on May 16 last year at the Electoral Institute, Abuja. But another statement issued by the commission in Abuja yesterday said that the fire began about 10:30a.m. Part of the statement signed by INEC’s Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Emmanuel Umengyer, reads: “The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, this morning, January 7, experienced a minor fire incident which affected the office of its Director of Voter Registry, Emmanuel Akem. “The fire incident, which started at about 10:30a.m. was quickly put

out by a combined team of fire fighters from the Federal Fire Service, FCT Fire Service and National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA. “Apart from office equipment and the personal effects of the Voter Registry Director which were lost to the fire incident, the operational capacity of the commission has not in any way been affected. “The cause of the incident, which is being investigated, would be made known in due course.” NEMA spokesman, Mr. Yushau Shuaib, in a statement confirming the fire outbreak also said that the incident affected the annex building of the INEC headquarters. The Head of Abuja Oper-

ations Office of the agency, Ishaya Chonoko, also confirmed the fire incident. He explained that the timely response of rescue officers, especially fire fighters from the Federal and FCT Fire Services saved the situation from affecting other buildings within the premises. Chonoko added that only the office of the director of registry was affected, stressing that there was no casualty because of the swift response to the distress call. The INEC headquarters is behind the NEMA office in Maitama, Abuja. A similar incident had affected the office of the commission’s Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, in May 2011, destroying some documents.


News

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Telecoms capacity hits 219.1m lines amidst declining service delivery

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he latest industry data obtained from the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, revealed that the operators installed capacity jumped from 199.8 million in September 2012 to 219.1 million at the end of October 2012. This means that the telecoms operators increased their network capacity and had created ready space on their networks to accommodate additional 19.3 million lines. Installed capacity is the total number of telephone

lines which telecoms networks have built their network capacity to accommodate at a particular period of time. Massive network expansion embarked upon by telecoms firms in the Global System for Mobile Communications segment led by MTN Nigeria with its $1.3bn network modernisation project, which kicked off in 2012 and network investment by other GSM firms have resulted in increased capacity for the networks. NCC data showed that

from December 2011, when installed capacity in the telecoms industry stood at 173,631,441 telephone lines, it has since increased, especially in the first eight months of 2012 into August. It further increased in February, March, April and May to reach 178,176,150 lines; 176,662,992 lines; 199,639,372 lines; and 201,040,535 lines respectively. In June 2012, it increased to 208,659, 327 telephone lines; while in July and August, telecoms operators invested further on

their network to increase their network capacity to 210,846,910 phone lines and 210,832,940 lines respectively. In September and October 2012, industry installed capacity moved up from 199.8 million lines to 219.1 million lines. Meanwhile, with only 138 million lines currently hooked to telecoms networks which have capacity to accommodate 219.1 million telephone lines, National Mirror gathered that the installed capacity was underutilised as capacity

L-R: National Coordinator, United Action for Democracy, Mr. Jaiye Gaskia; National Secretary, Zero Corruption Coalition, Mr. Babatunde Oluajo and National Coordinator, Socialist Workers League, Mr. Baba Aye, during a press conference on one year anniversary of Occupy Nigeria in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: ROTIMI OSASONA

Anenih set to emerge as PDP BoT chair today CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5

Incidentally, even the South-West leaders have distanced themselves from Ali, who is former President Obasanjo’s candidate for the vacant office. The South-West leaders, including the frontline contestant, Chief Shuaibu Oyedokun, have since thrown their weight behind Anenih. They had reasoned that since Obasanjo’s support for Ali was not in the interest of the South-West, then it serves no use supporting the former chairman who

comes from the same zone with the incumbent Secretary of the BoT, Jubrin. It will be recalled that Jubrin had in a press statement at the weekend said that insinuations were being created in some quarters that he would step down as the secretary of BoT, insisting that there was no truth in that and that it was only used by a contestant to garner cheap popularity in a desperate bid to become the BoT chairman by all means.

He advised the contestants not to make the campaign for the position a do-or-die affair and never to apply the campaign of calumny in a desperate desire to become the BoT chairman. Both Jubrin and Ali are from North Central; Ali is from Kogi while Jubrin is from Nasarawa. He said that the insinuations in some quarters that he would step down was a blatant lie, adding that “I was duly elected in conformity with the provision under the

BoT in the party constitution, Part Nine, Section 32, Subsection 1, under A, B, C, which specifically says that the Board of Trustees shall elect the chairman and the secretary from its members and that when elected, they will serve a period of five years and no more. “That is to say that the position of the secretary was declared vacant after the resignation of Governor Abdulahi Adamu and that vacancy was duly filled by authentic and legitimate election held.”

issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Peter Okhiria, in Benin. The governor spoke at a meeting held with permanent secretaries in the state civil service at the Government House. He explained the retired officer contracted out the Museum Ground at King’s Square at a paltry sum. “The retired permanent

secretary gave out the King’s Square premises in the heart of the city to a multinational company to do business for 31 days at a ridiculous rate of N300,000 throughout the duration,” he said. Oshiomhole described the action as “the height of irresponsibility.” “I have a duty and obligation to explain why we

had to retire the permanent secretary and hope that this will guide you on how you manage your own ministries. “We are all at the mercy of the Edo people and we would have our jobs secured to the extent that we are able to competently manage our various portfolios in a way our people get maximum benefit.”

Oshiomhole justifies retirement of perm sec

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do State Governor Adams Oshiomhole said yesterday that he retired a permanent secretary over what he described as alleged “irresponsible act”. Oshiomhole justified the compulsory retirement of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Mr. Alhassan Ikloha, in a statement

usage only accounts for 62 per cent, leaving 38 per cent space free. However, industry analysts and stakeholders wondered why this did not translate into improved network as the usage level still indicated that there should not be cases of decline in telecoms services received by the subscribers. President, National Association of Telecoms Subscribers, Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, who described the statistics not translating into quality of service for telecoms subscribers, wondered why the subscribers were still facing declining service quality with ample space on telecoms networks to accommodate twice what the subscriber base they currently had on their network. According to him: “Every right-thinking person that looks at the NCC statistics will see that there is an irony in it. “If I have a room that can contain 10 people and only about six people are currently living in that room, do you think there will be suffocation? Indeed, it is an irony of sorts.” Ogunbanjo lamented the unsatisfactory service delivery from telecoms networks, which pervaded 2012 and still continued to linger till present. But the National Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, said while the increased installed capacity in the industry was expected to translate into increased quality of telecoms services, “a number of other factors are actually responsible for poor quality of service provided by most telecoms networks.” He insisted that vandalism, multiple taxation and wanton closure of telecoms infrastructure by some government agencies, federal and local authorities, the 2012 flooding disaster in some parts of the country as well as the recent terrorist attacks on telecoms infrastructure were other factors affecting the current poor quality of service. He recalled that the flooding and terrorist attacks alone affected over 250 telecom sites that lost connection due to primary and secondary impact while “many suffered significant

damage beyond repairs.” Adebayo also fingered the delay which characterised permit approvals often requested for network expansion by telecoms firms as another factor which slowed down improved network. He added that those approvals, especially for right of way should always be given speedy treatment by necessary government agencies. The President, Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria, Mr. Lanre Ajayi, said beyond the increased installed capacity, factors earlier identified by ALTON president were major and needed to be addressed to ensure consistently improved service quality. He noted that some of the environmental challenges facing telecoms infrastructure in their protection could be partly addressed by legally conferring Critical National Infrastructures, CNI, status on telecoms infrastructure. Also, the NATCOMS president, who also called on the Ministry of Communications Technology and the Presidency to impress it on the legislators the imperatives of passing into law the bill seeking to confer CNI status on telecoms infrastructure. He insisted on the need for NCC to also keep the operators on their toes in improving the quality of service on their networks. He said: “However, NCC should now ensure that the operators meet the Key Performance Indicators on Quality of Service already set for them. This should be constantly measured to boost service satisfaction for telecoms consumers. “Communications is essential. Apart from being an essential tool for interpersonal communication and business activities, it is the biggest sector today in terms of employment generation and this can be further improved if we properly protect the telecoms facilities.” While urging NCC to launch a public enlightenment on telecoms infrastructure protection, Ogunbanjo also appealed to telecoms consumers and Nigerians to join hands in protecting communications facilities “given the central role these facilities now occupy in our daily life.”


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NEXIM Bank issues N43.7bn guarantees to firms TOLA AKINMUTIMI ABUJA

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he Nigerian Export Import Bank, NEXIM, said it had issued guarantees valued at $27.3 million (about N43.7bn) to manufacturers some of whom were engaged in Greenfield projects. A statement signed by

the bank’s spokesman, Chinedu Moghalu, quoted the Managing Director, Roberts Orya, as disclosing that about N23.3 billion was also provided to support Nigerian exporters, particularly Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs, between 2009 and August last year. The interventions, ac-

cording to Orya, were in the bank’s target sectors with high growth potentials of manufacturing, agro-processing, solid minerals and services classified under its MASS Agenda. The NEXIM MD said that as a result of these operational interventions, the bank was able to generate and sustain direct jobs of

over 14,358 as at August last year. He commended the shareholders for fresh capital injection as well as other institutional support through supervisory and regulatory oversight and guidance from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and the Federal Ministry of Finance. With the transformation drive that has been consistently pursued by the management, the results have

impacted on the bank’s performance and ensured an appreciable return of the equity investments of the shareholders as a dividend for the 2010 financial year. For instance, Orya said the improved performance led to the declaration of dividends to shareholders for the first time after 2003 when dividend was last paid. He assured that a robust enterprise Risk Management Framework for the

bank had been designed and being rolled out. The MD added that the bank had been able to leverage on its balance sheet to secure lines of credit from institutions like the African Export Import Bank, the Export Import Bank of India while it had collaborated with other export-import banks in other parts of the world, including the United States Export Import Bank, among others.

Ripples as Ohanaeze elects new leaders Jan 12 CHRIS NJOKU OWERRI

A L-R: Manager, Kaduna International Airport, Alhaji Garba Ringim; General Manager, Corporate Communications, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Mr Yakubu Dati and Head of Operations, Kaduna International Airport, Mr. Liman Kutigi, during inspection of the airport project in Kaduna, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Gbagyi/Fulani crisis: Mercenaries almost invaded Abuja –CP OMEIZA AJAYI ABUJA

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ulani mercenaries from Cameroun, Katsina, Edo and some northern states might have volunteered to join forces with their counterparts in Abuja following last month’s deadly clash between Fulani herdsmen and Gbagyi farmers in Gwarko, a village in Gwagwalada Area Council. The indications emerged yesterday when the FCT Commissioner of Police, Adenrele Shinaba, submitted the report of a fact-finding committee set up by the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA. The clash, according to report, left two Fulani herdsmen dead, with over 20 critically injured and more than 1,500 people from both sides displaced in one of the deadliest clashes recorded in the country’s capital. Shinaba disclosed that the Fulani community in the area received a series

of calls from mercenaries who had mobilised their men to join forces with their counterparts in the FCT to unleash mayhem on the Gbagyi. He said: “During our series of meetings by the committee set up by the FCT Minister to look into the remote causes of what led to the bloody clash between the Fulani and the Gbagyi, we received calls from mercenaries from Cameroon, Katsina, Edo and in some northern states who were on standby to join forces with Fulani in FCT and start another round of war. “But for the wise response of the Fulani elders who quickly told them that the administration was on top of the issue, we would have been singing another song. “We were able to avert that mayhem amicably and we hope that both the Fulani and the Gbagyi will continue to live together in peace.” The FCT police boss also disclosed that more than 20 suspects had been arrested

in connection with the fracas. Speaking on the findings of the committee, Shinaba accused the Hakimi and village head of Gwako (the community where the fracas occurred) of not working together. The commissioner added that the youth of the community were lawless and very restive. He said: “The head of Zuba must put his ears to the ground so that he will not be oblivious of what is happening within his domain.” In his remarks, the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, said “this is a crisis that has given us a wake-up call.” He said: “There has been peaceful co-existence between settlers and natives in FCT.” Mohammed promised that his administration would look at the report in a manner that would ensure justice. The minister said effort toward reconciliation was on course in order to avoid any reprisal attacks in the future.

new leadership for the apex Igbo social cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, is now generating ripples across the member states as it prepares to hold its general election on January 12. It was gathered that some of the candidates tipped to replace the President-General, Ambassador Ralph Uwachue, had been rejected.

It was learnt that some highly placed individuals in the zone, including the governors, were trying to interfere in the electoral process to impose their choice candidates. Speaking in Owerri, the Imo State capital, the Chairman of the Electoral Committee, Dr. Chris Asoluka, warned governors of member states to avoid unnecessary interference in the electoral process or imposition of candidates. He added that the committee would strictly com-

ply with the zoning arrangement. In line with the zoning, it was gathered that Ebonyi State would produce the next president-general of the body; Imo State has the slot of the secretary General, while Anambra and River states would jostle for the national vicepresident. Asoluka said the new leadership that would emerge after the election would, review Ohanaeze’s constitution and deepen its spread at the grassroots.


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FG set to unveil new cement policy OLUFEMI ADEOSUN ABUJA

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he Federal Government will review the Backward Integration Policy in the cement sector with a view to consolidating on the tremendous success so far recorded, the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, has said. He said this yesterday during a meeting with stakeholders in the cement industry called to resolve the apparent cold war raging between cement producers led by Dangote Cement and importers led by the Ibeto Group over accusation of dumping of cement into the Nigerian market. The Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Lafarge Cement WAPCO Nigeria Plc, Mr. Joseph

Hudson; Chairman, BUA Group, Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu; Group Managing Director, Flour Mills Plc, Chief Emmanuel Ukpabi ; Chairman Ibeto Group, Chief Cletus Ibeto and Group Representative, Dangote Industries Limited, Mr. Isa Tata Yusuf were present at the meeting in Abuja. The minister said, “Following the tremendous success recorded through the introduction and rigorous implementation of the Backward Integration Policy in the cement industry, we are planning to review the entire policy to consolidate on the gains so far recorded. We have achieved everything we set for ourselves 10 years ago when the Backward Integration Policy was introduced and we want to thank all stakeholders and investors in

the sector for the success story recorded so far. “However, we want to take the next step as part of our strategy on the way forward. We are forming a group of people that will look at the cement policy in details and come up with the policy response that we need to have in place to take that next step that will make us a major exporter and user of cement in terms of consumption.” He added, “In 2002, the major priority of the country’s Backward Integration Policy was about cement production from limestone. I am delighted to say that after 10 years of implementation of BIP, the good news is that we started with two million tons capacity but today we have about 28 million tons capacity of cement, investment of about $6bn; which provides direct

and indirect employment for about 2 million people. And because of what we have done together, we have been able to save the country foreign exchange of about N210billion per year. “For the first time ever, this ministry did not issue any import licence in 2012. This is a remarkable achievement and a major economic success for our country. However, we want to carry out a deeper review of the cement sector to ensure that it is more competitive not just locally but internationally because we are at a point where we should be thinking about exporting some of our products. “This means that we need to look at the overall structure including the current pricing, availability, affordability, in addition to developing an export

strategy for the sector.” Aganga said that the ministry would work with all the stakeholders in the sector to ensure its sustainable growth and development. He said, “At the end of the day, this is one of the sectors that Nigeria should, and will be rightly known for as one of the greatest contributors to the Gross Domestic Product of the country. This is the key

message that I want to pass across in terms of where we are today and what our plans are in terms of where we want to be going forward. I want to carry everyone along in terms of what we are looking at and incorporate your inputs into what we are planning to do so that at the end of the day, it will be a win-win situation for all the manufacturers, consumers and the Nigerian economy at large.

Gunmen kill four in Kano AUGUSTINE MADU-WEST KANO

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nother tragedy was recorded again in Kano yesterday when two gunmen shot dead four persons close to a mosque on Zoo Road, where a Sudanese sells locally brewed tea in the city. An eyewitness account told our Correspondent that the incident occurred at about 6.45 pm on Zoo Road, in the city. Our Correspondent also gathered that the two gunmen, who were riding on a motorbike, stormed the area and opened fire on the four persons, killing them instantly. According to our

source, two of the victims were said to be employees of the Kano State Road Transport Agency, who were said to be on duty at the time of the incident. Prior to the arrival of the Joint Task Force (JTF) operatives to the scene, the gunmen had made good their escape, while the JTF cordoned off the area, as residents within the vicinity scampered for safety. Contacted, the spokesman of the Kano State Police Command, Magaji Musa Majiya, who confirmed the incident, said investigation has begun on the matter and that the police are working to track down the fleeing gunmen.

Police kill 91 kidnappers, robbery suspects in 2012 Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku (4th right), with other dignitaries and newly promoted Brigadier-Generals in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Guber poll: S’Court decides Oshiomhole’s fate Jan 11 EMMANUEL ONANI ABUJA

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he Supreme Court has fixed Friday January 11, to determine whether or not the governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has questions to answer before the state’s election petition tribunal in respect of his basic qualification for election as governor. The apex court adjourned for judgement after entertaining arguments from Oshiomhole’s legal team led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) as well as counsel to his main challenger and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the July 14, 2012 gubernatorial election,

Maj.-Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (rtd), Chief Efe Akpofure, SAN. Oshiomhole’s appeal followed an earlier ruling by the Benin Division of the Court of Appeal, ordering the constitution of a new panel to determine whether the governor had the basic educational requirement(s) to contest for the exalted office of governor. Dissatisfied with the decision, however, he approached the apex court for same to be set aside. In his submission before the justices of the Supreme Court yesterday, Olanipekun maintained that since Airhiavbere did not specifically plead the issue of qualification in his petition before the tribunal, there was no need

for the appellate court to have made an order for a new tribunal to be empanelled. According to the former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), the PDP candidate (respondent) predicated his petition on the ground of corrupt practice and non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2010; not on the issue of Oshiomhole’s non-qualification. He, therefore, reasoned that the Court of Appeal succeeded in making a plea for the respondent which he did not make ab initio. He concluded that the Court of Appeal erred in law, when it held that the tribunal had jurisdiction to adjudicate on the alleged non-qualification of the governor in the petitioner’s

pleadings, even as he described the judgement as based on sentiments and not on law. “By the judgment of the lower court, appellant (Governor Oshiomhole) is being asked to go and defend allegations which have not been made against him,” he stated. Oshiomhole predicated his appeal on six grounds. However, counsel to Airhiavbere, Chief Akpofure urged the court to dismiss the appeal and affirm the judgment of the lower court saying, the tribunal did not say that there was no ground to sustain the allegation to the effect that the governor did not have the qualification to run for governor.

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he Delta State Police Command yesterday said that no fewer than 91 kidnappers and armed robbery suspects were killed by the police between January 2012 and January 5, this year. The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ikechukwu Aduba, released the figure to journalists in Asaba yesterday. He said though the state was a flash point for criminals, the security agencies were ready to combat the criminals. He warned the criminals to turn over a new leaf because there would be no hiding place for them this New Year. According to him, the command arrested 473 suspected robbers and kidnappers, killed 91, injured six and recovered 212 arms and 8, 158 ammunition. “We also recued 82 kid-

napped victims, recovered 76 vehicles and 19 motorcycles in the year under review,” Aduba said. He called for more support from the general public, traditional rulers and parents, adding that the police would need information to serve the people better. The commissioner urged the people to report persons of questionable characters, and attributed the success recorded by the command in the past year to intelligence gathering. “Just last Friday, January 4, the police gunned down three armed kidnappers and arrested three kidnap suspects in Abraka, over the kidnap of one Sir Martins Denedo, an accountant with the Delta State University (DELSU). He assured investors and the entire people of the state of their safety in the New Year.


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Two dead, 27 injured in Ogun road accidents FEMI OYEWESO ABEOKUTA

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t least, two people died, while 27 others were in critical condition following two separate accidents on Lagos – Abeokuta and Lagos – Ibadan expressways yesterday. The first accident occurred at Awowo village on the Lagos – Abeokuta Expressway, while the second, a lone accident, happened at Ogunmakin village on the Lagos – Ibadan Expressway. A yet-to-be-identified person died in the accident involving a passenger bus with registration number (Lagos) XT 788 FKJ which occurred at Awowo village. About 14 other passengers sustained injuries. The Itori Unit Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, Mr. Fatai Bakare, who confirmed the accident at Awowo village, said the passenger bus had a burst tyre and subsequently lost control. Bakare added that the remains of the middleaged woman had been deposited at the mortuary. However, the accident at Ogunmakin village involving a Mazda passenger bus with registration number (Lagos) XW 959 LSR occurred late Sunday night. The Ogere Unit Commander of the FRSC, Godwin Samgbasa, who confirmed the accident, said 16 people, among them a child, were involved in the accident. Samgbasa said that only one person died, adding that 13 others were critically injured in the accident.

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One dies in oil thieves, NSCDC shootout in Lagos Hoodlums set BRT bus ablaze, rob passengers, injure 20

FRANCIS SUBERU AND MURTALA AYINLA

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andemonium broke out at Majidun and Ogolonto areas of Ikorodu in Lagos State yesterday when oil thieves engaged men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, in a shootout. A middle-aged man, identified as Baba Waheed, was killed in the gun duel. The fight, which broke out at 11:30am, left about 20 people on board a BRT bus with registration number KSF 73 XA with various degrees of injuries. The oil thieves, joined by hoodlums in the area,

robbed the passengers of the bus. They also set the bus on fire. It was gathered that the NSCDC men, assisted by a few policemen, were forced to retreat when the oil thieves, gained the upper hand in the shootout. After their retreat, the oil thieves, called bunkerers in local parlance, joined by hoodlums, descended on a passing BRT bus belonging to Adonis Authentic Global Link Limited, marked Bus A02. The bandits claimed that the NSCDC officials killed one of their own unjustly. According to the driver of the bus, Ayeni Rasaq, the hoodlums attacked the bus with dangerous weapons

and vandalised it. He said: “We were held up in traffic. We didn’t know that the NSCDC and the bunkerers were engaged in a gun duel. “Suddenly, they came and started battering the bus. They stood at the entrance of the bus and ordered everybody to come down. “As they were coming down, they were collecting their phones and money. But others jumped through the windows. I also jumped down and ran away but they caught my ‘ticketer’ and collected the money and the tickets she had with her. “There was confusion and stampede inside the

bus because it was fully loaded. About 41 passengers were sitting while about 17 were standing.” A witness, who did not want her name in print, said she was inside the bus but escaped through the window. She said a pregnant woman who jumped through the window after her sustained severe injuries and was rushed to the hospital. According to her, a man inside a commercial bus popularly called Danfo, was shot in the leg by the hoodlums while four other vehicles were damaged. She addeded that more than 20 people in the bus were injured. A resident of Majidun,

L-R: Osun State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Titi Laoye-Tomori; Governor Rauf Aregbesola; Amir-L-Hajj, Osun State, Alhaji Zikrullah Hassan and Head, Hajj Operation/Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Sikiru Ayedun, during the submission of 2012 Hajj report to the governor in Osogbo, yesterday.

who identified himself as Abeeb Ayoade, related the incident to the Area Commander “Area N”, ACP Markus. Ayoade said trouble started about 12 midnight yesterday when NSCDC officials came to Majidun to arrest some suspected oil thieves operating in the area. He said: “There was a fierce battle between them and the oil bunkerers and everybody started running in different directions. “Tear gas was also used to disperse people but in the process, a Civil Defence officer shot at Baba Waheed who had gone to buy food near the firing spot. He died on the spot.” The family of the deceased said Baba Waheed was not an oil thief. Elder sister of the deceased said she gave the deceased N1,000 to buy food. She said: “My brother was never a bunkerer. He went there to buy food. When he was going, he came to me and demanded for money to buy food and I gave him N1,000. He was trapped on Majidun Bridge while coming when the bunkerers and the Civil Defence officials were exchanging gunfire.” The deceased, it was gathered, left a wife and a one-and-a-half years old son. It took persuasion by the police and elders in the community before the family allowed the police to take the corpse away.

Ekiti 2014: Fayemi’s endorsement doesn’t bar aspirants –ACN ABIODUN NEJO ADO EKITI

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kiti State Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Chief Jide Awe, said yesterday that the

endorsement of Governor Kayode Fayemi for a second term in office by leaders of the party did not prevent intending aspirants from seeking the office in next year’s governorship poll.

Stop defaming Ikuforiji, Lagos Assembly warns detractors

he Chairman, Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Information, Strategy, Security and Publicity, Segun Olulade, has warned “misguided elements” to desist from using the media to tarnish the image of the Speaker, Adeyemi Ikuforiji. Olulade also warned those bent on dragging the hard-earned reputation of the speaker in the mud to look for something else to do. Reacting to the fraud

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Tuesday January 8, 2013

allegation against the speaker’s aide, Oyebode Atoyebi, the lawmaker noted that it was disheartening that some people could be using the media to link Ikuforiji with the allegation levelled against his aide. Olulade pointed out that the move was an attempt to distract the speaker from the good work he was doing in the Assembly, state and the country at large. He said: “We are disturbed by the attempt by

some people to drag the name of the speaker in these unnecessary frivolities.” The legislator said the speaker did not have any connection with the case and should not in any way be dragged into an issue which he knew nothing about. Olulade also warned Ikuforiji’s detractors to stop distracting his attention from the core business of legislative stewardship which he had been rendering to the people of Lagos State.

Awe, who advised the intending aspirants to refrain from brickbats over the endorsement, which he described “as mere declaration of support for the governor in view of his achievements in office,” said the ACN office was open for any member eyeing the governorship seat. The chairman told journalists in Ado-Ekiti that all leaders of the party were at Iyin-Ekiti where the declaration of support was made, adding that the declaration needed affirmation of the national body before it could become binding. ACN leaders, including Awe and former Governor Niyi Adebayo had at an event at Iyin-Ekiti on December 30 last year endorsed Fayemi for a second term in office.

But the ACN House of Representatives member, Hon Opeyemi Bamidele, believed to be eyeing the governorship seat, described the endorsement as mere expression of opinion and not binding on intending aspirants. However, Awe said: “I believe anybody having any contrary opinion is on his own. If somebody is not satisfied and wants to come out to contest, he is free. “The declaration was because the governor has done something that interests the party. But it is still going to be affirmed. The affirmation will be done when the party rolls out its calendar.” The ACN chairman ascribed the rumour that Bamidele had defected to the Labour Party and emergence of the lawmakers’

campaign posters in the state to the handiwork of some “misguided and mischievous” elements within the opposition’s camp. Awe, who cautioned politicians, public office holders and civil servants against distracting Fayemi’s attention, said the problem at the local governments in the state was a result of the ongoing innovations at the councils. He said: “The workers should realise there is no gain without pain.”

Fayemi


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My Pikin: NAFDAC re-arraigns three accused persons K AYODE K ETEFE

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he National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) yesterday re-arraigned three accused persons before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos for their alleged involvement in the production and distribution of an alleged killer teething mixture, “My pikin.” The accused persons are Adeyemo Abiodun, Ebele Eromosele and their company, Barewa Pharmaceutical Company Limited. They all pleaded “not guilty” when the charge were read to them before Justice Okechukwu Okeke, on an amended six-count charge bordering on the alleged offence. The re-arraignment of the accused was sequel to the amendment of the charge that was made upon the permission of the court in the aftermath of the death of the first accused, Kola Okunola. At the proceedings yesterday, the prosecu-

tion lawyer, Mr. Aminu Alilu, informed the court that the pharmaceutical company had appointed the second accused, Ebele Eromosele, to replace the deceased first accused person. The judge consequently struck out the former charge featuring the name of the deceased and the remaining accused persons were arraigned on the new amended charge. Justice Okeke also al-

lowed the accused persons to continue with their former bail conditions. In his response, the defence lawyer, Mr. Osaro Eghobamien, prayed the court to ensure an accelerated hearing of the case on the grounds of the ill health of the second accused. The judge eventually granted the prayer for accelerated hearing and adjourned the case till February 25, 26, 27 and 28 for trial.

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Fashola, Onasanya bag Eko Boys’ centenary awards TUNBOSUN OGUNDARE

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agos State Governor, Mr. Babtunde Fashola and Group Managing Director of First Bank Plc, Mr. Bisi Onasanya, both alumni members of Eko Boys High School (EBHS), Mushin, Lagos, will lead the list of awardees at the school’s centenary anniversary celebration holding this week, said National President, Eko Boys High School Old Boys’ Association (EKOBA), Chief Idowu Sofola (SAN). Other alumni of the

school to receive various awards tagged: Centenary Award of Excellence at the event holding at the Nigerian Law School on Victoria Island, Lagos, include the former military administrator of Bauchi and Borno States, Navy. Capt. Rasheed Adisa Raji; a US-based real estate consultant, Mr. Babarinde Thompson; multipleaward winning Mathematician, Prof. Aderemi Kuku; Police Commissioner, Mr. Tunji Caulcrick and a posthumous award to the late socialite and former President of EKOBA, Alhaji Santos Anjorin, among

German experts commence training of Osun youths

An accident scene at the Premier Hotel Junction in Ibadan, yesterday.

PHOTO: NAN

PDP crisis: Ondo factional PDP backs Bada HAKEEM GBADAMOSI AKURE

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he crisis rocking the Ondo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) took another dimension yesterday as a faction of the party led by Prof. Olu Agbi, threw its weight behind the estranged Director-General of the Olusola Oke Campaign Organisation, Dr. Dare Bada, over the outcome of the October 20 governorship election. The faction’s support was contained in a statement issued and signed by the former Majority Leader of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Kunle Agunbiade and Prof. Femi Olaleye, who said Bada was right on his point that the Labour Party (LP), led by Dr Olusegun Mimiko won the election. Agunbiade said the loss of the party in the October 20 governorship election in

others. In a media briefing over the weekend in Lagos, Sofola called on other old students of the school, governments, corporate organisations and wellmeaning Nigerians to join them in reviving the lost glory of the ‘first indigenous private school in the country.’ The centenary celebration will commence tomorrow with a public lecture titled: “Private participation in education: Past, present and future; Lagos State as a case study,” which is to be delivered by Prof. Solomon Fagade, will also feature a foundation stone-laying ceremony for the school’s new site in Ibeju-Lekki, and a visitation to the family of the late founder of the school, Rev. Williams Benjamin Euba on Lagos Island. Sofola also said that there would be a novelty football match between the school and Kings College on Saturday while thanksgiving service and fundraising/award dinner will be held on Sunday.

the state should be attributed to the selfish ambition and the highhandedness of some leaders of the party in the state. The group pointedly condemned former Governor Olusegun Agagu’s style of leadership in the running of the affairs of the party since its inception in 1999, which has relegated the party to the background in the state saying that Bada should not be crucified for being truthful and factual about the outcome of the election. Consequently, the two politicians absolved members of the party on being the brain behind the crisis rocking the party. Agunbiade faulted the Organising Secretary of the PDP, Afolabi Akinbowale, over his statement that the actions of Bada and the faction loyal to Agbi, who hail from Akure are tarnishing the image of the town. His words: “Akinbowale

had completely missed the point when he deduced that Bada’s criticisms of former Governor Agagu is capable of affecting the image of Akure indigenes that are involved in active politics and the younger ones that may

want to join politics in the future.” He said Akinbowale did not have the right to speak on Akure politics as there are high ranking indigenes of the town in academics, bureaucrats and politics

that are eminently qualified to speak on behalf of the town, saying “Bada did not claim to be fighting an Akure battle, neither was he pretending to be speaking the minds of Akure people.

2013, year of reward for Oyo workers –Ajimobi

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yo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, yesterday assured workers in the state of his administration’s readiness to give them handsome rewards and add value to their lives this year for their commitment and dedication to work. He gave this assurance while addressing civil servants at an inter-religious prayer session organised to usher in Year 2013 at the Governor’s Office Car Park, Secretariat, Ibadan. The governor noted that he had, since assumption of office, subjected the workers to series of challenges

and created some stormy sessions, all aimed at getting the best out of them and making them more service-oriented. “For you to have been able to withstand the pressure that we have brought to bear on you; for you to have survived our close-marking approach, shocking treatment and the pyramid of checks and balances, be assured that this year will be a year of reward for you. “We have demanded a lot from you and you have given us; and for those of you who have survived the tsunami of change which was aimed at instilling discipline in the system and make the civil

service service-oriented, you will be adequately compensated,” he told the civil servants who thronged the venue of the programme. While giving glory to God for being with his administration, the civil servants and the people of the state, Governor Ajimobi said but for God, his efforts at transforming and repositioning the state would have paled into insignificance. He stressed the need for the workers to be Godly and to re-dedicate themselves this year, pledging that his administration’s package for them for 2013 would be among the best in the SouthWest zone.

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team of German experts on agriculture from the State of Saxony Anhalt, Germany, yesterday commenced the training of youths of Osun State as part of the comprehensive programme of the Rauf Aregbesola administration to revolutionalise agriculture in the state. This training was as a result of the earlier visitation made by delegates from Osun State in May, 2012 that was followed by the visit of the experts from Germany in November last year. These later crystalised into this segment of collaboration of youth exchange that is going to be in three phases. The development team of experts drawn from farmers, cooperatives, university and private sectors will be involved in the training. The first phase of the training involves language training for 48 youths out of which 40 of them shall be selected. The training is expected to be an intensive exercise aimed at preparing the youth for the task of understanding the latest technology in agricultural practice.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

South East

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

11

Anambra votes N1.4bn for Academic activities resume in Ebonyi schools MDG projects in seven LGs A

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nambra State Government said it would spend about N1.4 billion on Millennium Development Goal, MDG, projects in seven selected local governments in the state. Governor Peter Obi disclosed this in Awka yesterday at a stakeholders’ meeting with council chairmen and community leaders of the selected local governments. The selected councils are Dunukofia, Anyamelum,

Anambra West, Anambra East, Orumba North, Awka North and Nnewi South. “The essence is to involve stakeholders in each of the local government to identify and to decide on projects. “The government will award the contract and take full ownership of the projects in order to achieve the desired goals,” Obi said. The Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Prof. Chinyere

Okunna, said Anambra State had excelled in service delivery and was now a reference point in the practice of participatory government. In her contribution, the Special Adviser to the governor on MDGs, Mrs. Vivian Nwandu, said the adoption of MDG vision in the state had helped in achieving successful completion of projects across the state.

cademic activities resumed in Ebonyi State yesterday as schools reopened for the second term of the 2012/2013 academic session. Teaching and learning promptly commenced at both public and private schools in the state. At Urban Model Secondary School, Abakaliki, Government Technical College, Abakaliki, Presco Secondary School and Holy Ghost Foundation Schools, Abakaliki, among others,

teachers were busy instructing the students. Messrs Innocent Agbo and Stephen Okeh, the principals of Urban Model Secondary School and Government Technical School respectively, said it was a tradition in the Ebonyi State school system for academic activities to resume on the re-opening day. They said their schools recorded 100 per cent attendance by teaching and nonteaching staff members. “There is positive attitudinal change by teaching

and non-teaching staff of our schools and we hope that the second term will be hitch-free. “Again, we appeal to the students of the various schools in the state to return to their classes because the holidays are over,’’ they said. The Commissioner for Education, Mr. Ndubuisi Chibueze-Agbo, commended the turnout of the teachers but warned that dull and unproductive ones would be shown the way out.

Let’s support fallen heroes’ dependants –Ag Gov

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nugu State Government has called on stakeholders to support dependants of the Nigerian Legion to show benevolence to the fallen heroes. Acting Governor Sunday Onyebuchi made the call yesterday during the 34th launch of the Armed Forces Emblem and Appeal in Enugu. The acting governor, who spoke through the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Ameachi Okolo, assured the legion of the commitment of the state government to accomplish its goals. He said: “I call on my fellow compatriots and various organisations to offer whatever assistance that will help lessen the pains of bereavement for the affected children, widows and other dependants. “I want to say that on our part as a government, we shall continue to support our Armed Forces and the Nigerian Legion to accomplish their goals to the best of our ability. “I stand before you to pay my respect to the memories of our fallen heroes and to say that we will forever be grateful for the worthy legacies of your parents and husbands.’’ Onyebuchi commended the legion for the scholarship awards given to some children of their fallen colleagues in the state. On his part, the Chairman of the Nigerian Legion in Enugu State, Mr. George Amalu, appealed to the people to assist the legion to carter for the families of their fallen heroes. He said: “The fundamen-

tal forces that brought forth the legion came together for a more honest purpose. “The ideals that propelled the founding fathers and triggered this national event and obligation should not be punctuated with dishonesty; the genuine dream should live on.’’ In his remarks, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Musa Daura, promised that the command would encourage and support the dependants of the fallen heroes.

L-R: Representative of the GOC, 82 Div. Brig.-Gen. Koko Essien; representative of the Enugu State Government, Mr. Amaechi Okolo; Chairman, Nigerian Legion, Enugu State chapter, Mr. George Amalu and Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Musa Daura, at the launch of 2013 Armed Forces Remembrance Emblems in Enugu, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Protect govt projects, Obi urges communities CHARLES OKEKE AWKA

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overnor Peter Obi has charged the people of Anambra State to take ownership of various projects being undertaken by his administration. Obi gave the charge while inspecting the Eziowelle-Abatete Road under

construction. The governor spoke against the backdrop of the destruction of some public projects executed by the government as well as shoddy jobs done by some contractors. He said: “We cannot be everywhere. I am here today to inspect this road because concerned people posted something on the

Ohanaeze elects new leaders in Anambra CHARLES OKEKE AWKA

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he North Senatorial Zone of Anambra State yesterday took over the leadership of the state chapter of the Ohanaeze Ndi‘Igbo, following the election of Chief Chris Eluemuno as the state president. Eluemuno, who takes over from Dr. Philip Atamuo, was elected at a delegate election held at the Enugwu Ukwu Civic Centre, Njikoka Local Government Area. He promised to offer ef-

fective and result-oriented leadership. Speaking with journalists on the import of his ascension to Ohaneze leadership, Eluemuno said he would protect the people’s interest by repositioning the organisation and cooperating with the government in power. He said: “It is a big project for me and I believe that with my experience, we shall move Ohaneze to greater height.” Eluemuno regretted that before now, the apex Igbo organisation was dead in Anambra and other states.

net. “I urge you all to follow the projects we do in your towns and inform us when anything is going wrong.” The governor said the inspection was not planned, but followed message being circulated in the social media about the damage on the road and its alleged poor quality. Obi said to get first hand

information, he decided to ply the road, from the beginning at Afor Igwe to where construction terminated. He said he was glad the culverts on the road would make it to last and prevent erosion. On some portions of the road that were not satisfactorily done, the governor appealed to the people to be patient, as the asphalting al-

ready done was not the final. He promised that the contractor would complete the road according to specification, otherwise the contract, would be terminated. Obi also called on the people to report any shoddy work by any contractor to him for decisive action, including cancellation of contract.

Enugu labour leader chairs South East Forum DENNIS AGBO ENUGU

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eader of Enugu State Workers Forum, Comrade Osmond Ugwu, has been elected as the chairman of the South East Forum in the state. Ugwu, who recently regained freedom from prison where he was incarcerated by Governor Sullivan Chime for championing implementation of minimum wage in the state civil service, was elected among other functionaries to pilot the affairs of the political group crusading for actualisation of Igbo presidency. Performing the inaugu-

ration in Enugu, National Secretary of South East Forum, Prof. Louis Onuaguluchi, charged the state executive to work towards ensuring that Ndigbo unite to speak with one voice in presenting a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction. Ugwu described his election as a work of destiny which has presented a big challenge to him. He said: “We see ourselves as apostles to liberate our people from shackles of poverty and ignorance. I shall discharge the job courageously, efficiently and passionately. “Our mission is to bring peace, justice and unite

Ndigbo into one family. We now want to create a synergy between the people and other organs of governance.” Ugwu said as a labour leader, he would bring his wealth of experience to bear in his new assignment. According to him, labour movements usually transform to political movements, particularly in Europe. He said: “My agenda for Enugu is to use the platform to conscientise our people as it relates to South East Forum to ensure that polices of governance conform with the desires of the people.”


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South South

Tuesday January 8, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Uduaghan donates special patrol vans to police As new security initiative commences operation D elta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, yesterday in Asaba, handed over 30 Toyota Hilux vans to the state police command even as a new initiative meant to curb criminal activities in the state also commenced operation. The initiative, Delta State Government Special Security Patrol is part of measures to ensure that crimes like kidnapping and armed robbery were reduced to their barest minimum. The 30 Toyota Hilux vans were handed over to the command to give teeth to the resolve to make the state peaceful and secured. The vans were specifically designated for patrol and surveillance of specific routes and high-

ways across the state. Handing over the vehicles yesterday, Governor Uduaghan noted that the rate of kidnapping was coming down in the state and promised to continue to intensify efforts towards providing adequate security in the state. He said he would provide a safe haven for investors and guarantee peace and security so that prospective investors would operate in a conducive atmosphere. The governor said the present effort was to beef up security and sustain the success already recorded in the state, especially the reduction in kidnapping. He said the vehicles have been assigned to dif-

TONY ANICHEBE

ed to Mobil and they came to inspect and collected samples of the oil. “But up till now, they have not responded to clean it up. And the dynamic nature of the tide at this time of the year has not helped matters. “The tide has been flushing the oil to other places and this is worsening the situation,” John Etim, a resident and community leader in Iwuokpom community in Ibeno said. Ikpe Jonathan, who works for an oil services firm at the oil field, told journalists on phone from the offshore crude facility that the December oil spill emanated from the ruptured pipeline that caused the earlier spill of November 9. “The source of the oil came from the same pipeline they claimed to have fixed, the pipeline discharged more oil when the divers tried unsuccessfully to repair the leak, the entire pipeline network lacks integrity and needs total replacement and not patchwork that they are currently doing.”

Oil spill: Mobil suspends clean up of Atlantic coastline UYO

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he cleanup of the Atlantic shoreline in Akwa Ibom State contaminated by an oil spill on December 19, within Qua Iboe oil fields is yet to begin three weeks after the spill was reported. Residents of Ibeno coastal settlement which host the Qua Iboe fields said that the marine environment had been left at the mercy of tidal waves spreading the crude deposits farther along the coastline. Several oil spill incidents had been recorded at the oil field on August 13, August 24, November 9, December 16 and 19, 2012. The oil field from where the spill emanated is operated by the Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN), the Nigerian unit of US oil firm ExxonMobil. MPN presently exports an average 600, 000 barrels of crude daily from its two oil blocks from the Qua Iboe oil export terminal. Residents at the coastal settlements on the Atlantic coastline who reacted on the development and its implications decried the insensitivity of the oil firm in abandoning the spill reported to the MPN officials since the middle of December 2012. “We started seeing fresh oil deposits since December 16 and we report-

Allison-Madueke

ferent routes across the state to ensure that all areas were adequately monitored and secured. “We are doing this to guarantee peace and security and to ensure that the crime rate is drastically reduced. We will increase our effort in the provision of logistics for security operatives to enable them cope with the challenges in crime prevention,” Governor Uduaghan said. He commended local government chairmen in the state for supporting the efforts of the state government, especially for assisting security operatives to maintain peace and security. The governor also commended security operatives for their efforts in reducing crime, especially kidnapping. Receiving the vans on behalf of the command, state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ikechukwu Aduba, warned criminals to turn a new leaf and become law abiding, because his men would get them

if they failed to heed his warning. He commended Governor Uduaghan for providing the vehicles and assured that they would be

properly utilised to combat crime. His words: “We will chase away criminals from the state. I warn criminals to leave the

state because if they fail to heed this warning, we will get them anywhere they are hiding. I restate that there will be no hiding place for them.”

L-R: Rivers State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Aniedi Ikoiwak; his wife, Emem, presenting wheelchairs to the Chairperson, Joint Association of Persons with Disabilities, Eket chapter, Miss Victoria Ekaette, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

FG urged to hasten work on East-West road EMMA GBEMUDU YENAGOA

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he Federal Government has been urged to hasten the pace of work on the ongoing East -West road project in the Niger Delta to attract more investments in the area. Transition Committee Chairman of Patani Local Government Council, Delta State, Dr. Chris Ekiyor, who spoke yesterday with journalists in Yenagoa, said the people of the region are earnestly waiting for the completion of the project started over eight years ago. Despite the huge amount expended on the road project by the Federal Government, it has not reached an appreciable level of completion, thereby creating discontent among the people. Ekiyor, who is also a former president of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), noted that the people were expecting so much from President Goodluck Jonathan, who incidentally is from the Niger Delta. The chairman said the new year would create a new opportunity for the

government to make appropriate budgetary provision for the road, just as he prevailed on the President to tackle the security problems facing the country. His words: “As a government, the President and his cabinet should look inwards to address the state of our national security. Also, the state of infrastructure should be given top priority. Again, the East-West road proj-

ect, every Nigerian and the Niger Delta people feel that if nothing at all is done by this administration, the East-West road should be completed. I am afraid; the slow pace of the job is giving all of us serious concern.” Ekiyor further said that the Federal Government should improve on the power situation across the nation, stressing that the current power generation

level of a little over 4, 000 mega watts could not guarantee new investments and industrialisation. The chairman tasked the Federal Government and the anti-graft agencies to strengthen the prosecution of suspects, no matter how highly placed in the society. According to him, this would enable Nigerians build confidence in the system.

LG poll: PDP disowns candidates’ list in Bayelsa EMMA GBEMUDU YENAGOA

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head of the March 23, council poll in Bayelsa State, the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday dissociated itself from the fake and conflicting list of its flag bearers being paraded in Yenagoa, the state capital. The result of the PDP primaries in the council election held on December 15 was fraught with controversy owing to claims and counter claims by party members. State Publicity Secretary of the party, Osom Mcbere,

said the authentic list of the eight chairmanship candidates that won the primaries has been submitted to the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIÈC). According to Mcbere, the chairmanship candidates are Obed Andi (Brass); Tobiyei Billy (Ekeremor); Gbaranbiri Iselema (Kolokuma/ Opokuma); Eminah Bennett (Nembe); Oyadoghan WillyJerry (Sagbama); Remember Ogbe (Southern Ijaw) and Chubby Ben-Walson (Yenagoa). Macbere said party members parading fake list of candidates were being investigated by the PDP in

the state. Findings by National Mirror revealed that Governor Seriake Dickson had four slots, including his home local government, Sagbama, while the former Managing Director of the NDDC, Timi Alaibe, picked the candidate for his home council of Kolokuma Opokuma. It was gathered that the state Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral John Jonah (Rtd.) was spared his Nembe Local Government where he chose his nephew, while Yenagoa Local Government slot was ceded to the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Deziani Allison-Madueke.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

SUPER TUESDAY SURE-P: I’m comfortable at this age; I don’t need the trouble – Kolade

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Politics

Of speedy passage of bills and legislative competence

14&15

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2015: PDP dreams to ‘capture’ Lagos Against the backdrop of the ‘Operation Capture Lagos in 2015’ project by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), OLAJIDE OMOJOLOMOJU examines the prospects and hindrances on its path, as well as the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN)’s strategies to truncate the project.

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ormer President Olusegun Obasanjo last week spoke about the possibility of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defeating the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the 2015 poll in Lagos State. This pronouncement has elicited admiration from the party faithful but resentment from the ruling ACN, describing such as a mere dream. Indeed, no project has occupied the time and mind of the Lagos State chapter of the PDP like its desire and aspiration to win the Centre of Excellence come 2015. Tagged ‘Operation Capture Lagos in 2015’, it has become the mindset of the party and it seems that nothing else matters to the Lagos PDP but its desire to govern Lagos in 2015. The desire by the PDP to rule Lagos State has remained elusive since the advent of the present democratic experiment. Despite its efforts in 1999, the PDP candidate, Dapo Sarumi, lost to the Alliance for Democracy (AD), which presented Bola Tinubu, who won the poll. It lost to the AD again in 2003, when Tinubu won a second term, defeating the late Funsho Williams. Again in 2007, despite spirited efforts, when it presented former ambassador of Nigeria to Ghana, Musiliu Obanikoro, the PDP lost to the incumbent, Babatunde Fashola, when the AD metamorphosed to the Action Congress (AC). In 2011, when it presented Shamusideen Dosunmu as its candidate, the party again lost to the AC, which had then become the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and gave Fashola a second term in office. In all of these, one major factor responsible for the loss of the PDP has been internal wrangling in the party coupled with personal interest rather than the interest of the party. This much was attested to by the party’s candidate for Alimosho federal constituency in the 2011 National Assembly election, Segun Adewale, when he said that some party chieftains were working against the fortunes of the party for selfish and personal interest. He said: “The rating of the PDP in Lagos State today is low; there are confusions here and there and those who claimed to be fathers of the party are only

Obasanjo

Tukur

IF ONLY THE LEADERS WOULD SINK THEIR EGO AND REGARD THE PARTY’S INTEREST AS

SUPREME AND ABOVE THAT OF INDIVIDUAL, THEN THE PARTY WILL COME OUT STRONG AND ABLE TO WRESTLE POWER FROM THE RULING PARTY Tinubu

working for their own interests, using the name of the party. They have abandoned and neglected the people who are the true members of the party. The PDP had been singing it loud to all who cared to listen that it was ready to claim Lagos and also reclaim lost grounds in the South West, where it held sway between 2003 and 2011. In the process it had charged Lagos voters to chase out the “inept ACN administration” with their votes at the forthcoming polls. All through last year and at every opportunity, a chieftain of the party and former Minister of Transport, Chief Ebenezer Babatope had consistently been singing it out that the PDP is ready to win Lagos State and make a return to the South-West.

He said: “By the special grace of God, PDP will storm the South-West again. I don’t believe that the ACN has got the grip of the zone; they can only have a grip if we in the PDP do not have unity among us. If you look at the states which we lost, you will realise that we paid dearly for lack of unity within our party.” This is not the first time the PDP would be planning to reclaim Lagos State. In the run-up to the 2011 general election, President Goodluck Jonathan said that Lagos State is too important to be left in the hands of rascals. President Jonathan had told party faithful in Ibadan during his campaign tour of the South-West that “Lagos is a commercial centre and the ruling party must control the state. We will

take over Ekiti, Osun and Ondo states. Before 2015, we will take over the South-West. South-West is too educated and civilized to be left in the hands of rascals.” Those the president referred to as ‘rascals’ are the ACN governors, who were then in charge of the South West, with the exception of Ondo, Ogun and Oyo states. Although the governorship poll is more than two years away, Lagos PDP has continued to intensify moves to re-organise its house in preparation for the 2015 polls. One of the major steps the party is taking is to reconcile all its estranged members and reconcile all factions of the party. For the first party, the party’s state executive council was put in place in February last year without rancor and towards the end of last year, the party inaugurated an Elders’ Forum whose main aim is to offer advice and guide the party’s executive council, but without interfering with the actual running of the party. It would also embark on massive enlightenment of its members and the people of the state. The inauguration of the Elders’ Forum, which came up at the residence of the former Deputy National Chairman (South) of the party, Bode George, became an avenue for the party leadership to marshal plans to dislodge the ACN. The PDP said that it was considering a ‘dissect’ of the ruling ACN in a bid to expose its misgovernance and the implication to the well-being and development of the Centre of Excellence and its people. The party was also planning for a rancour-free primary and believed that the time to start to prevent re-occurrence of the past in the party is now, with the believe that an early start would enthrone a process that would throw up a popular and acceptable candidate that would give the ruling party the fight of its life come 2015. George told the party elders that the only possible means of dislodging ACN in the state is to close ranks and work as a team to win the hearts of Lagosians “who are already disenchanted with the Fashola administration.” “If at all we won’t be able to flush ACN out of the South-West like we did in 2003, we can start with Lagos in 2015. We are sure of winning Lagos if there is any election now,” he said. “So for us we are ready, the platform that we will provide is ready, the electorate are ready, they have seen the charade, the lies, the chains of lies, yes absolute lies the present government is telling the people.“ Also, its state chairman, Olatunji Shelle told National Mirror that the PDP is more than ever ready to take over the reins of government and it is in good stead to do so, not only for the popularity it is gaining among the people of Lagos. He said: “Of course, the inept governCONTINUED ON PAGE 41


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Politics

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

SURE-P: I’m comfortable at this age; Dr. Christopher Kolade is the Chairman, Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P). In this encounter with SINA FADARE, he speaks on the challenges and achievements of the committee as an interventionist agency. Excerpts: What was the mandate given to your committee at the inception? If we are like the defunct Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), we would have been the one to decide the projects to embark upon. By this, it could have been better but the President has decided that for us. He simply told us: ‘this is what I want to achieve with the subsidy fund in 2012. Please go and do it.’ That was the mandate which we are implementing to the letter. It is a good intervention and to make sure that the objective is realisable, the projects must be done, they are properly supervised and payments are made in good time. There was a road project where contractors have been mobilised in 2006 and nothing has happened; it has been abandoned. By now, the amount which you will do the contract has gone up. Another contractor has to be remobilised, that means the one you paid in 2006 has gone and you have to pay another. There was one case which we went to the contractor and it was clear he was no longer in that kind of business. What we did was that we let other contractors take over the project. It is better to establish why this contractor suddenly left and the real issue was that they were not paid on time; it is not due to the contractor’s incompetence and nothing to do with the system. The process to get the contractor paid was so cumbersome to the extent that he had to abandon the work.

How do you feel about the negative reports on the SURE-P? One thing about Nigerians is that we have allowed ourselves to be a demoralised people. If this country is going to make progress, some people have to build and re-build it. To re-build the situation like our own, you can only do so, on good principle, good philosophy, honesty and transparency. If you don’t apply those attributes to what we are doing, it would not work. The fact is that the quality of people in our committee is the determining factor for the confidence the people have in what we are doing. Unfortunately, we have come to a situation in which it has become difficult for good people to render service for the country. The questions people would ask are: what is he looking for? What does he expect to gain? The concept that a human being can just say I want to help, they think it is

Kolade

NM

How do you ensure probity and accountability in the projects? Aside from me and Kotangora, the President went out to look for people of outstanding character all over the country to be members of the committee so that probity and accountability would be giving a priority. You find in that committee people of impeccable character with track record of integrity who will not falsify any document because we have reputation to protect. The makeup of that committee is very important. General Kotangora is a man who has had a distinguished career in the army, as Minister of Works and Federal Capital Territory. In all these roles, he had a respectable performance. What will be his reason now to put all that into jeopardy and do something that is not transparent? On my part, only my name and reputation are the only things I have in this world. I only have this house that we are now having this interview. My priority is not in accumulating this or that. What would I use them for? Why would I put all those in jeopardy? Our committee is to reassure the people that this particular intervention is not being handled by people with no stake in the affairs of this nation.

TUESDAY INTERVIEW

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN THE AIM OF THOSE PEDDLING SUCH

A LIE ABOUT THE COMMITTEE?

WHAT THEY ARE TRYING TO DO IS TO DENT THIS KOLADE THAT YOU PEOPLE SAID IS A MAN OF INTEGRITY, AFTER ALL HE IS NOT not possible, unless he is looking for something. We are no longer able to agree that people can make sacrifice for the nation, people do not believe that some people are so passionate about the country and would like to put their lives on the line for its survival. The fact of the matter is that this country is not going to be better unless people do that. Don’t forget that I have been in the public service before; I was the Director-General of the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) and the Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. I am used to criticism.

Anytime you offer yourself to serve in the public service; you must expect to be criticised. It is very difficult for people to praise you when you are doing good work; it is easy to criticise you, because there is no situation in which what you are doing can solve the immediate problem. You can only do your bit to solve part of a problem that exists with the hope that other people are doing their bit to solve same problem. There are people who are expecting result from your little part, people who want to see the result you are going to achieve and because you cannot change things over night, people lose patience. Are you not aware that people are saying that there is nothing we have gained as dividends of democracy since 1999? So, I went into this knowing that people would be criticising me at any point in time. I even heard that some people say to work in SURE-P, only people from my tribe are there. This is a lie, but one expects such. There is no angel in this country. God himself is not going to come down and do this work, He is going to use human beings who have such a limitation to turn things around. As I am talking to you, I cannot be supervising projects in Niger Delta. The courage to tackle our problem is something we need and every time we make a negative comment, especially the one that is damaging, it is painful. We went to the National Assembly and we showed them the document in which we said the total money that came to us in 2012 was N180 billion. Of that amount, N179 billion was to be spent on projects. The President knows that the committee must run its secretariat and travels, they gave us N1 billion. Out of the N1billion that we received, in four months we spent N220 million, which is 22 per cent. But a newspaper published that we have spent N2.2 billion for


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Politics

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

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I don’t need the trouble – Kolade the cost of governance which experts say is too high? The answer is clear: when we examine our situation and think that our present structure is the best we can have, is it appropriate for us to spend as we are spending on the cabinet of each state? We have plenty of room for improvement, if we sit down and look back and ask ourselves why we are in this mess. In the past, we have set up committees and enquiries to look at these issues and proffer solutions, but do we use the recommendations. The Almighty God has put a lot into Nigeria in terms of natural resources; our land is good, the soil is fertile, we do not have too much problem with the climate. Every resource God has given us is faithful to God, except the people who do otherwise. We are the one who find it easy to change God’s agenda by all means. When God created man, he put into us ability to do right or wrong. There is no single human being who did not know what is right or wrong. Take, for instance, our family; you know that it is a must that we should take care of them. When you fail to do that, our kids will leave the family to go and become another thing, whereas if we do the right thing at the right time, the situation would have been salvaged. God gave us the capacity to do what is right. In other words, not getting that thing yesterday does not mean that I am going to die over night

secretariat services. Since the total budget for secretariat is N1 billion, there is no way we could have spent 2.2 billion. The figures are available for anybody to check. For weeks, this wrong information has been in circulation. What could have been the aim of those peddling such a lie about the committee? What they are trying to do is to dent this Kolade that you people said is a man of integrity, after all he is not. Secondly, they want to make sure that even the programme itself comes under heavy pressure because there are some people who will say why give this money to such a committee? Why not the ministries to spend it the way they have been doing in the past? Now contractors are happy and delighted that they don’t have to go to anybody to ask for their payment. Isn’t that a good thing for Nigeria? Only five members of my committee live in Abuja; we have to bring the other 16, in and out of Abuja as their schedule demands. All this cost money from the secretariat fund. When they have to go and visit a site, people have gone as far as Maiduguri to go and look at projects, all this cost money. My focus is to do things efficiently as long as I do not exceed my budget. Are you comfortable with the level of corruption in the country? No. It is because I’m not comfortable with it that I want to help and contribute my quota. We have road projects that are first contracted out eight years ago, but still remain where they are because of corruption. The easiest thing for me is to sit in this house, and say whatever is happening out there let it be. I’m comfortable here and at this age I don’t need the trouble. But the question I will ask is that: Do I know why God give me all what it takes to be a man of integrity? He wants me to use this to benefit my nation. Remember that I do not go out to look for this assignment; it was Mr. President that called me that I am among the people that Nigerians can trust. I could have said that I am too old or say it is too dangerous because people will start criticising me now and the whole reputation I built over the years would be in jeopardy. No, I said if this is what Nigerians need, let me do it. This is not the first time that I have volunteered to serve the nation. In 1999, President Olusegun Obasanjo asked me to come and head a committee on the issue of contracts and what to do with them. I agreed to do it. I volunteered myself for service because I believed that the thing we do that leads to corruption can be done in a better way. I can stay at the corner of my room and criticise this or that, but I decided to go in there and make a difference. That is how to tackle corruption Corruption is practised by people. The system is not in itself corrupt; it is the people that are corrupt. We have a system which says that before you buy anything with the public money, you should follow certain procedure. If somebody comes to fight me physically, I will defend myself. That is the capacity that God has built into me; I will not stand there and say attack me, it is natural for me to defend myself. But suppose it is psychological attack, what do you do? You have to defend yourself and if you know that you do not have the power to do it, then you turn your back and walk away. I am not supposed to succeed in giving you a bribe. Corruption comes because we do not remain faithful to what God has given to us. Each time you give money that you are not supposed to give, your mind will tell you that you are doing the wrong thing. Your conscience will tell you that you have done something wrong, you may ignore your conscience, but it does not fail to tell you that you have done something wrong. If somebody decides to let me do something wrong, I will not do it and heaven will not fall. I will walk away from you and tomorrow you will see that I am still alive. How often does your committee brief the President on your activities? We usually brief him. In addition to that we have internal monitoring and evaluation mechanism where once a month we meet to say this is what we have been able to

THERE IS NO ANGEL IN THIS COUNTRY. GOD HIMSELF IS NOT GOING TO COME DOWN AND DO THIS WORK,

HE IS GOING TO

USE HUMAN BEINGS WHO HAVE SUCH A LIMITATION TO TURN THINGS AROUND

do, a sort of evaluation. Every member of the committee is free to ask question and discuss how things ought to be done better. If you can criticise yourself strongly, any other criticism outside is just a child’s play. In your own view-how best can the government reduce

What are the success story of SURE-P and your projection for 2013? By the time a project begins to produce result; a lot has already gone into it. If you go and study the document, you will see that the projects have been indicated. Looking at maternity and health care, in order for us to produce a result there, we have to recruit health workers of about 4,604. This is made up of 1,168 midwives, 2,118 community health workers, and 1,248 village health workers. We did this because one of the problems of maternal mortality was that there is inadequate of professional health personnel. One of the things which SURE-P is doing is to recruit those people. We have spent N209 million, this includes screening, recruitment, orientation and deployment of these people. We have done this in Bauchi, Benin, Enugu, Ibadan, Kaduna and Niger. The money we have spent was just to get the workers recruited; they are yet to start work. Most of our projects are like that. You must do what we call a preparatory work before you start to produce result. It took us about five months before we could recruit these people. For anything you are doing to be sustainable, it has to have this quality of planning and preparation. We have to buy kits and equipment for these mothers in order to encourage them that it was no longer business as usual. From here you go to vocational education which includes our graduate internship scheme for unemployed graduates. What we have done along this line was that we advertised that any graduates who want to be part of this scheme should apply. There is no basis for recruiting those graduates without a place for them to work. As of today we have about 63, 000 applications for graduates and 163 organisations who have said in writing that they will take these graduates. Linking the graduates with the employers is the next step. There would be a sort of support from us. Part of the money we are going to spend on the project is to support the companies for taking up the graduates. So out of the N135 billion that has accrued to our account, we have committed about N70 billion on all our projects. You will realise that recently there was a flag off of Lagos to Kano railway; it emanated from our projects. We put SURE-P funds to repair the bridge that got spoilt and has hindered the progress of that project for a long time. Some of the projects we have in view are going to be mainly a carryover of the budget we are doing now, because the projects we are doing now could not be completed in one year. If you start anything, you have to continue until you bring it to completion. You find out that most of the items on our budget last year are still ongoing and will be completed this year.


Politics

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Security challenge still an albatross

ASO ROCK FILE

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with

Rotimi FADEYI

Campaign posters as new year surprise package

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ust about the time Nigerians ushered in the New Year, some people were on the streets of Abuja pasting campaign posters of President Goodluck Jonathan at strategic locations for the 2015 Presidential election. This action has generated reactions from many groups, particularly the opposition parties. The Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the Conference of Political Parties (CNPP) have condemned the campaign for Jonathan to run for another term, accusing the President of surreptitiously making his intention known to contest the 2015 presidential election and testing the reactions of Nigerians. The glossy posters, which were strategically pasted in the highbrow areas of the city, did not however indicate the source or the sponsor of the campaign posters. But the Presidency promptly denied that Jonathan was behind the pasting of the posters, saying that he has not launched any campaign and that those behind it were playing games. For Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, there was no reason for Jonathan to engage in any form of scaremongering as campaign strategy.

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He said Nigerians should wait till 2014 when Jonathan promised to make his position known on the 2015 presidential race, saying that those behind it were neither the President’s agents nor acting on his directive. Abati noted that presently the President is focused on delivering on his mandate and the electoral promises he made to Nigerians during the 2011 campaign and would not be distracted by the politics of 2015, adding that those behind the posters should allow the President to concentrate on his job. According to him, “those pasting the posters are trying to express their own view. The president had stated that he will talk about the presidency from 2014. Those doing these do not have the consent of the president.”

ne of the major challenges to the present administration has been insecurity posed by the activities of the Boko Haram Islamic sect which had claimed many lives and destroyed valuable property. The state of insecurity in the country has become an albatross of the government of President Goodluck Jonathan since he assumed office, as many churches in the country as well as public buildings and institutions had been attacked. At a New Year church service held at All Saints’ Church (Anglican Communion) in Abuja, insecurity in the country was still a major issue that received attention from the officiating clergy as well as President Jonathan who was at the service with family members, ministers and aides. Suicide bombings which had resulted in the killing of many people, particularly Christians, security agents and politicians have become rampant in the Northern part of the country and with fear that more attacks could still be launched by the Islamic sect this year, many have fled their homes or relocated to other parts of the

country. But even with the present situation, Jonathan has again said his government was working hard to tackle the security challenges in the country to ensure maximum protection of lives and property. He beats his chest and expressed satisfaction with the performance of security operatives to tackle the problem, saying that they are working very hard. “Most of these people that have been involved in some of these crimes, like the bombing of the Catholic Church in Niger State, the UN building, bombing of the police headquarters, have been arrested, almost all, but people may not know what the men in uniform have been doing,” he said. He noted that while democracy has stabilised in the country with the prayers of religious leaders, the nation has moved into another phase of local terror, kidnapping and robbery. The President, however, stated that the security challenge in the country was just momentary, stressing that with prayers of Nigerians, the country would overcome the challenges.

Presidential Villa’s visitors 1. Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Godsday Orubebe 2. Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Kingsley Kuku 3. Director- General, NISAMA, Patrick Akpobolokemi 4. Chairman, EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde 5. Senator Joy Emordi

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his year would take President Goodluck Jonathan to the end of the second year out of his fouryear term which terminates on May 29, 2015. Just like last year, Jonathan has again raised the hope and expectations of Nigerians for a better life and greater future in his New Year message to the nation, but this time he said he would work harder as there are lot of work to be done even as time is running very fast Last year started on a confrontational note between organised labour and members of the civil society on the one hand and the government on the other hand over the removal of fuel subsidy which shot up pump price of petrol by more than 100 per cent with a litre of fuel selling at N141 per litre, up from N65. The disagreement lingered for over a week with protests in Lagos and some other states by members of the civil society and human rights groups while leaders of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) called out workers for industrial action which paralysed commercial and social activities in the country while insisting that government should revert to N65 per litre.

President Goodluck Jonathan (right) greets children after a church service at the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, Utako District, Abuja.

Another year of promises, hope for Nigerians

The Federal Government and the NLC leaders after series of meetings had to shift ground and Jonathan later pegged the price of petrol at N97 per litre but before then the protests had already turned violent and resulted in the loss of lives in some places. For 2013, Jonathan has told Nigerians that his administration would ensure that more of the programmes and projects that his administration had already embarked upon for the benefit of the people would be given priority attention in order to bring them to fruition. Jonathan said his government was focused and determined to push forward and do more to meet the yearnings of the people and raise the quality of life and would not be discouraged by critics of the administration who find faults with every initiative and effort of his government. He said: “I have already given a clear indication of the Federal Government’s agenda for 2013 in recent pronouncements. Our objective for the year is to ensure by all possible means that more of the programmes and projects envisioned by this administration, and which are

already being embarked upon are further brought on stream within the next 12 months to meet the yearnings of our people, and raise the quality of life.” While promising that 2013 would be a better year, Jonathan explained that his administration achieved a lot last year in terms of the positive transformation of vital sectors particularly in the areas of public infrastructure, power supply, oil and gas, transportation, education, health and agricultural development. “We will continue to work diligently in 2013 to ensure that our efforts in these areas are carried forward to full fruition in fulfilment of our promise of better public services and improved living conditions for all Nigerians,” the President said in his New Year message. According to him, his administration would give priority attention in 2013 to flood and erosion control, the rehabilitation and expansion of existing federal roads, improved power supply as well as the continued rehabilitation, upgrading and reactivation of the national rail network. He also promised that employment

generation and wealth creation would remain a primary objective of the socioeconomic agenda for 2013. “Creating more employment opportunities for our youth and graduates of our universities is an imperative that will continue to underpin our drive for massive economic growth, the rapid expansion of our manufacturing and industrial base, and the productive diversification of our national economy. In this regard, we will continue to provide the necessary enabling environment for the private sector to thrive,” Jonathan said. On security, the President said since peace and security are pre-requisite conditions for the full realisation of the objectives of his administration, his government would do more in 2013 to further empower security agencies who are working in collaborative partnerships with the international community to stem the scourge of terrorism in the country and enhance the security of lives and property in all parts of Nigeria.

MORE POLITICS STORIES ON PAGES 41-43


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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

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Lessons from Adamawa PDP congresses BELLO MOHAMMED JIMETA

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he outcome of the Adamawa State PDP congresses at state and local government levels is a lesson for those who think they can cage democracy and mould it according to their narrow selfish interest. Despite his determination to put all elected officials in his pocket, Governor Murtala Nyako must have been taught a lesson about the limit of power. Despised and distrusted by those who had staked their political capital and good will to bring him from ANPP into the PDP, the governor demonstrated an uncanny skill at destroying friends and former allies. Professor Jibril Aminu fell out with former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar in order to prop up Nyako as governor. Today, however, the two politicians have parted company. Besides, Nyako have fallen out with all the pioneer founders of the PDP that lured him from ANPP. Carried away by a false sense of political security after becoming a governor, Nyako had believed everyone else was at his mercy. In fact, he must have felt that democracy itself was at his feet. Determined to achieve maximum power and control, he ensured that no other stakeholders of Adamawa State PDP had a chance to get elected into any office at all levels. With the state’s Electoral Commission at his beck and call, and the state party executive in his pocket, Governor Nyako

HE NEEDLESSLY UNITED POLITICAL FORCES AGAINST HIMSELF BY UNWISELY TURNING FORMER FRIENDS AND ALLIES INTO ENEMIES blocked any efforts towards reconciliation with aggrieved former PDP members, including Atiku Abubakar. The reconciliation policy was officially adopted by the national headquarters of the PDP, but the Adamawa State governor did everything to make their return impossible. In fact, he was so obstinately committed to frustrating this policy that he left the Adamawa State PDP in perpetual crisis. Worse still, with total power in his hands, he found level playing field a dirty word in his political dictionary. He repeatedly defied the party directive and did everything to incite President Goodluck Jonathan against the national chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, whom his supporters branded an Atiku’s “closet” ally for the 2015 presidential election. He desperately wanted the President’s sympathy by pitting Bamanga and Atiku against Jonathan as part of his effort to maintain power without due process or fair competition. Unfortunately for him, Mr. Presi-

dent himself seemed to have realized that Nyako’s domestic political crisis was selfinflicted and avoidable. For some time, the division among other stakeholders had helped Nyako to maintain his total control on the state PDP. However, that is no longer the case in Adamawa. The convergence of common interests among the PDP stakeholders was the ultimate coup de grace that swept away Nyako’s lackeys from their seemingly unchallenged control of party offices in Adamawa State. The outcome of the state and local government congresses was a revelation to power-drunk leaders that think they can cage democracy in their pockets. With his contempt for reason and wise counsel, nobody could have saved Nyako from ultimate defeat at the polls. Loyalists of the pioneer founding fathers swept the polls because they acted in concert to end Nyako’s despotism. Therefore, blaming Atiku Abubakar for their current political debacle is a diversionary ploy. This was the same Atiku they dismissed as insignificant in Adamawa politics. Rather than branding Atiku as their giant killer, Nyako’s supporters should blame their naivety and myopia instead. In the words of the English statesman, Samuel Goldwin, any leader that created too many enemies at different fronts will end up leading exhausted troops. Clearly, this was the fate that befell Nyako’s oneman democracy. He needlessly united political forces against himself by unwisely turning former friends and allies into en-

emies. And in politics, the enemy of my enemy is my friend! With Professor Aminu, Atiku Abubakar, Wilberforce Juta, Joel Madaki, Bamanga Tukur, Dr. Ardo, Dr. Jonathan Zwingina and others united by a common cause, Nyako’s strategy of divide and rule could no longer work. As a result, the waning of his deadly grip on the state PDP was a matter of time. President Jonathan did everything privately to see the state PDP acted as one family, but Nyako would renege on his commitment to unity and reconciliation once he found himself back to Yola, the citadel of his power. In politics, you should never dismiss your opponents because of your seeming grip on power. Determined termites can ultimately fell the oak. And the outcome of the state and local government congresses was a confirmation of this truism. The saddest aspect of this drama in Adamawa State was Nyako’s decision to appoint a third ranking judicial officer to become the state’s Acting Chief Judge to play his script. Predictably, the Acting Chief Judge declared the state and local government congresses as “illegal”. By dragging the judiciary into his dirty politics, Governor Nyako is undermining the independence and neutrality of the judiciary. Governor Nyako should learn a lesson from George Washington’s immortal words: “No man is good enough to govern another without their consent.” Jimeta, a commentator on politics and democracy, wrote from Kaduna

Evaluating the amnesty programme MICHAEL JEGEDE

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he amnesty programme under the direct supervision of Kingsley Kuku, Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, remains the most successful intervention programme ever run by the federal government in the Niger Delta region since independence. It should be seen as the most profound effort to tackling the agitation for fairness, equity and development in the oil-rich region. Of recent, I have read several articles on unsubstantiated allegations of embezzlement against the leadership of the Niger Delta Amnesty Office. Some have even suggested that the programme should be stopped on the grounds that Kuku and his team are only enriching themselves from the fund meant for the programme while other wrote that there was nothing to show for the allocations they have received since inception. Such an argument is obviously illogical and cannot be supported by facts on ground. The truth is that today, the amnesty programme has made significant impact in the restoration of peace in the Niger Delta region. President Goodluck Jonathan has received commendation and applause for deeming it fit to ensure the sustenance of the programme started by his predecessor, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. Upon completion of their oversight/ inspection visit in September 2012 to the Afrika Union Aviation Academy in

Mafikeng and the Flight Training Services in Midrand, South Africa, where 53 Niger Delta youths are being trained as pilots, members of the Senate and House Committees on Niger Delta commended the Presidential Amnesty Office for what they termed the judicious utilisation of funds. Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta, Senator Nurudeen AbatemiUsman, who led the delegation, expressed satisfaction with the implementation of the programme. Hear him: “We came here to assess how deep the amnesty programme is. We all know what brought about this programme because Nigeria decided to address a fundamental injustice to a section of the country. From what we have seen and experienced during our interaction with the trainees, I can tell Nigerians that the amnesty programme gives us hope and we are very proud of these youths. The funds allocated to the programme are being judiciously used and we will continue to support and expand its scope.” Confirming the position of AbatemiUsman, his House opposite number, Hon. Warman Ogoriba had this to say: “When amnesty was granted, most Nigerians thought nothing good will come out of it. But now the story is different. Our youths are being trained all over the world in critical sectors. We are very impressed and my advice to these young Nigerians is to continue to be good ambassadors of our country.” The national chairman of the Foun-

THE TRUTH IS THAT TODAY, THE AMNESTY PROGRAMME HAS MADE SIGNIFICANT IMPACT IN THE RESTORATION OF PEACE IN THE

NIGER

DELTA REGION

dation for Ethnic Harmony in Nigeria (FEHN), Allen Onyema, while speaking to newsmen on the programme, noted that the programme is celebrated the world over, as the international community seems to be bemused as to how Nigeria was able to get it right from the stage of disarmament, through demobilization to re-integration. According to the FEHN boss, the level of crude oil production prior to the programme was about 700,000 barrels a day, but the post amnesty production level has risen to over 2.6 million barrels per day. He went further to say that the success of the programme should not be measured by the increase in the level of production alone, but also be viewed at the level of lives that are being changed and touched by the programme. In his words: “People who were condemned as useless are now trained as pilots, technicians, lawyers, nurses etc.” Senate Leader, Senator Victor NdomaEgba (SAN), had in an interview noted that it was completely out of place for

some Nigerians to be calling for the cancellation of the programme for now. On the argument that too much money is being spent on the programme, the three-term Senator said: “Let us look at the other side of it. What was the country losing when we have militancy? It is easy to do a cost benefit analysis. If what we were losing is far in excess of what it cost us to get peace then, I think the amnesty programme is justifiable.” We must continue to encourage the Amnesty Office under the dynamic leadership of Kuku to build on the successes recorded so far in the running of the amnesty programme, which involves 30,000 Niger Delta youths. The young man has, no doubt, demonstrated great sterling leadership qualities, as seen in his proper coordination of the affairs of the Amnesty Office, which can be said to be largely responsible for the meaningful inroads made in the amnesty drive. For a programme that has been saving about N34 billion per day for the country, it is only appropriate that we all support it to further stabilize our economy and democracy. Jegede, a media expert, wrote from Abuja Send your views by mail or sms to PMB 10001, Ikoyi, or our Email: mail@ nationalmirroronline.net mirrorlagos@ yahoo.com or 08164966858 (SMS only). The Editor reserves the right to edit and reject views or photographs. Pseudonyms may be used but must be clearly marked as such.


Editorial

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

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Delayed kick-off of domestic league

he nation’s strife-torn domestic league has, according to reports, compelled the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to suspend the convocation of the congress of the Nigerian Professional League (NPL) board, thus delaying the commencement of a new football season in the country. The suspension was hinged on the sack of the NPL board by a group of premier league club owners. The NFF was said to have suspended the congress of the NPL to avert envisaged violence; and because of the non-resolution of several contentious issues concerning the NPL. The clubs are largely owned by state governments who politicize both the game of football and its management. There have been recurring faceoffs between the NFF and the NPL board on the management of funds accruing to the league. The first board of the NPL headed by Oyuki Obaseki had also been at daggers-drawn with the NFF on the management of sourced funds. The NPL board crisis got to a crescendo lately when sixteen clubs met in Abuja, dissolved the incumbent Victor Bariboteled NPL board and appointed a six-man interim board committee to manage its affairs. Such muscle flexing has for long underscored the recurring

crises dogging the management of football in the country. Poor funding, government interference, politicization of football management, the subordination of national to personal interest, inept leadership that lacks the capacity to attract funding to Nigerian football, hollow marketing strategies and very poor mass communication coverage of local league matches are at the heart of the problem. Added to the aforementioned are the poor state of pitches, biased and corrupt officiating, poor crowd management at match venues and poor spectatorship. The impact of globalization and the resultant easy access of local spectators to European leagues and the English Premier League have largely reduced the interest of football fans in the domestic league and diminished its competiveness. The English premiership particularly attracts a very committed followership in Nigeria. The major English clubs; Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United enjoy huge local spectatorship against a corresponding decline in enthusiasm for local football. The crisis in Nigerian football largely explains the heavy reliance on foreign players for the national teams; as well as the latter’s poor outing in various regional and global competitions. The country, for instance,

THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY COMMITTEES ON SPORTS SHOULD RETHINK THE

COUNTRY’S FOOTBALL.

THERE IS THE

ABSOLUTE NEED TO PROFESSIONALIZE AND DE-POLITICIZE ITS MANAGEMENT had relatively poor showings in the Confederation of African Football (CAF)-organized competitions in recent times. The highly prized CAF Champions League had been elusive to Nigeria, while the Maghreb countries and clubs had won the league on several occasions. The last major success the country recorded at the CAF Champions League was in 2003, when the Enyimba Football Club of Aba defeated Ismail of Egypt with a 2–1 win on aggregate in the final match. Nigeria could not qualify for the 2012 Equatorial Guinea/Gabon African Cup of Nations (AFCON) competition, having failed to beat Syli Stars of Guinea in the decisive qualifying match in

Abuja, the nation’s capital. Sadly, too, the crises trailing the local league has made incursions into the management of the nation’s female football league, leading to poor outings of the female teams in regional and global football competitions. Nigeria’s female teams had virtually dominated female football in the African region before their steady decline. It is noteworthy that title sponsorship of the premier league has been a subject of litigation. The lack of title sponsorship, the league’s major source of finance, has left the clubs in dire straits. It costs the premier league over N4 million per week to organize matches nationwide. As it were, the league had gone for sixteen weeks without any form of title sponsorship. There are fears that the league might be heading for an abrupt end owing to accumulated debts of the league management and the anger of officials handling the matches and logistics, who cannot continue to offer their services as gratis. The National Assembly committees on sports should rethink the country’s football. There is the absolute need to professionalize and de-politicize its management; and raise the game to the level that national teams can be raised mainly from the local league.

ON THIS DAY January 8, 2011 An attempted assassination of Arizona congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords; and subsequent shooting in Casas Adobes, Arizona, United States at a Safeway grocery store killed six people and injured 13 others, including Giffords. On January 8, 2011, a week into her third term, Giffords was shot near Tucson, which was reported to be an assassination attempt on her, at a supermarket where she was meeting publicly with constituents.

January 8, 2010 Gunmen from an offshoot of the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda attacked a bus carrying the Togo national football team on its way to the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations, killing three people. The Front is a guerrilla and political movement fighting for the independence of the Angolan province of Cabinda. Formerly under Portuguese administration, the territory later became an exclave province of the newly-independent Angola.

January 8, 2002 President George W. Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act. The No Child Left Behind Act is a United States Act of Congress that is a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which included Title I, the gover nment’s flagship aid programme for disadvantaged students. The NCLB supports standards-based education refor m based on high standards and establishing measurable goals.


Remodelling will provide more comfort for passengers ─MMIA boss

‘No Premium No Cover’ law: Policy renewal suffers setback 37

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Stakeholders set 2013 agenda for aviation

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he Nigerian aviation industry in 2012 commenced with high hopes for the sector. Many industry analysts had expected the ongoing projects embarked upon in 2011 to be completed in 2012 while government moves to implement other impending projects.

Though, the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah was determined to continue from where she stopped in 2011, but the June 3, 2012 accident of Dana Air at IjuIshaga area of Lagos with 153 passengers onboard and 10 on ground that lost their souls in the fatal accident decelerated the expected speed. However, after about three months of lull, the sector gradually returned to its former bobbling self with passengers who had hitherto abandoned the sector for other forms of transportation steadily returned to their preferred form of transportation to get to their destinations, but with inadequate airlines to satisfy their yearnings. After the June 3 air disaster, airlines like Chanchangi, First Nation and Air Nigeria had closed shop for several reasons. Air Nigeria management for instance said it suspended flight operations to re-organise the airline and vowed to return to flight operations after 12 months of reorganisation. However, there are indications that the airline would make a big return very soon

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

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

Nigeria’s aviation industry in 2012 witnessed some ups and downs. But despite the challenges, activities improved in the sector in the last quarter. Stakeholders are calling for the completion of the ongoing remodelling of airports, improved security and bared their minds on the planned national carrier for the country. OLUSEGUN KOIKI writes.

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

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

IRS Lagos-Abuja 7.30 8.30 7.45 8.45 09.30 10.30 10.30 11.30 12.30 13.30 14.30 15.30 16.30 17.30 Lagos-Kano 08.00 09.15 10.30 11.45 14.30 15.40 18.15 19.30 Los-Maid&Yola (Mon-Thur) 09.30 11.30 Fri- Sun 10.30 12.30 Kano-Lagos 07.30 08.45 14.00 15.15 17.30 18.45 Kano-Abj 10.45 11.30 Abj-Lagos 09.00 10.30 11.00 12.00 12.00 13.00 Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja.

as National Mirror learnt that its management is already putting finishing touches to recommence operations. In the absence of the airlines that closed shop, MedView Airline and Skyjet Aviation were issued Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) to commence scheduled operations. While the former com-

FG to clampdown on IOCs over illegal discharge

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menced almost immediately with flights to Owerri, Abuja and Port Harcourt, the latter is yet to commence operations. Out of the 11 airports earmarked for remodelling in 2011 in the first phase, only the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) of the Murtala Mohammed Airport (MMA), Lagos was commissioned in

October, 2012 after 11 months of intense work. The 10 others are at present at different completion stages and are still waiting for commissioning by the ministry while works have also started on the second phase modification of another 11 airports in CONTINUED ON PAGE 20

Labour, civil society to press for improved govt performance

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How Singapore, Malaysia achieved mass housing for citizens -NIOB

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Business & Finance

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Stakeholders set 2013 agenda for aviation CONTINUED FROM 19 the country. Aviation stakeholders and professionals wanted the government to intensify its work and build on the existing infrastructure for the betterment of the industry. The Chief Executive Officer of Scope Centre Limited, Mr. Adebayo Babatunde, for instance wants the government to improve on the security network in the sector in 2013. He said the sector was “lucky with security in 2012” and equally called for the amendment of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Act in 2013 that states clearly the ownership, roles, functions and responsibilities of the airports “such that the private development that we are having now being spearheaded by State Governments and private companies would be adequately covered under the Act. “If you look at what we have today, it is just FAAN and aviation development has gone beyond that. Akwa Ibom State government owns an airport, it doesn’t belong to the Federal Government, Asaba Airport is owned by Delta State, Osubi is owned by Shell, Mobil owns Eket Airstrip and many others. “So, we need a new airport Act that will clearly state the roles of government and private sector in airport ownership. It will also help us to address the situation of airport security. Once you have a new airport Act that states clearly that airports are owned by different segments in the society, you will also need to clearly identify where airport security belongs to.” Also, the President, Aviation Round Table (ART), Capt. Dele Ore explained that 2012 was depressing for the indigenous airlines, but expected improved activities for the airlines in 2013 most especially with the coming onboard of new airlines. Ore also challenged the government to improve the operating environment for the airlines and called for immediate implementation of waivers on customs duties for aircraft acquisition and spare parts for the operators in 2013. Ore commended Oduah for the ongoing remodelling of airports across the country, but wondered what has become of Public, Private Partnership (PPP), which would have limited tax payer’s money in the airports remodelling project or the concession option. On the planned national carrier for the industry in 2013, Ore insisted that the idea is archaic and not in consonance with best practices worldwide, noting that national carriers of most countries collapsed due to global events and lack of resources by their owners. He warned the government not to repeat another costly mistake in 2013 by creating a new national carrier being secretly put together, stressing that the present steps would result into yet more future national debt for

Ore

Oduah

SAFETY IS CONTINUUM; WE WILL CONTINUE TO ENHANCE THE SAFETY OF OUR AIRSPACE THROUGH THE PROVISION OF NECESSARY

NIGERIAN AIRSPACE MANAGEMENT AGENCY (NAMA) LIKE THE AIRFIELD LIGHTING, WHICH HAS ALREADY COMMENCED WITH THE LAGOS AND ENUGU AIRPORTS NAVIGATIONAL AIDS TO THE

the country. The National Secretary of the Nigerian Aviation Professionals Association, Comrade Abdulrazak Saidu lamented the huge debts owed the agencies by various airline operators in the sector, and maintained the government over the years has been shying away from taking a decisive action on them. Besides, Chief Executive Officer, Aviation Safety Consultants, Mr. Chris Amaechi, wants the minister to look in the direction of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria for more improvements. Amaechi emphasised that the absence of lighting on the college’s runway is giving the college sleepless night and explained that the absence of this prevents the institution from embarking on night training for students. Amaechi laments that the college’s VHF omni- directional radio range, which was used in training of students has been cannibalised and used for Abuja Airport, adding that the ILS too was taken to Lagos Airport when the institution was not functioning adequately. “To be very honest with you, this runway lighting has been giving the college problem over the years. You see, what happened to this college was rather unfortunate. It is unfortunate in the sense that the VOR, it used to have it, but because nothing was happening

in this college for so many years, they cannibalised it, they used it to service Abuja. “The ILS the college used to have was also cannibalised and used to service the one in Lagos. The radar used for tracking the students was removed and taken to Lagos. You see those things, they cost a lot of money and replacing them is almost close to impossible. So, you just have to make do with something else.” The President, National Union of Air Transport Employees, Comrade Safianu Mohammed in an interview with National Mirror urged the Government to continue with the popular programmes it embarked upon since 2011. Some of the programmes according to him are the ongoing remodelling of 11 airports by the Government and insistence on fair treatment to all Nigerian passengers especially from the international carriers. However, Oduah said her major focus in 2013 was to consolidate on the gains of 2012 and said the government wants to ensure the completion of the ongoing remodelling of all the 22 airports in the country. Speaking through her Special Assistant, Media, Mr. Joe Obi, Oduah insisted that the major aim of the government was to make sure that by end of 2013; all the airports are fully remodelled and put into use.

Babatunde

He added, “Also, we will commence the construction of five new terminals as stated by the minister in 2012 while another 11 cargo terminals too would be commenced. In terms of infrastructure, that is what we will be doing and also, we will continue with our institutional reforms. We want to ensure that we meet our human power and aviation needs because you can’t build all these structures without able personnel to man them. “Safety is continum; we will continue to enhance the safety of our airspace through the provision of necessary navigational aids to the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) like the Airfield lighting, which has already commenced with the Lagos and Enugu Airports. We will continue with that at other airports in the country and other Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) in all the airports. This will continue to receive adequate attention from the government. Whatever we do, safety is very crucial. “On NCAT, we will continue to strengthen it to produce the required manpower needs for the industry. We will strengthen it and also the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in terms of regulatory oversight. Whatever is needed to strengthen them, the ministry would provide it. Those are the things we will be doing in 2013. We want to provide safe and comfortable environment for users like the airlines and the passengers.” On new national carrier for the country, Oduah assured that the ministry would bestow to the nation a national carrier that all would be proud of within the year. She explained that the ministry still awaits approval from the presidency on the issue, adding that the process of choosing a national carrier for the country involves lots of stages, which would be in the public domain once the approval is received from the presidency.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Business & Finance

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

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FG to clampdown on IOCs over illegal discharge FRANCIS EZEM

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trong indications emerged that the Federal Government is concluding plans to clampdown on some International Oil Companies, who are in the practice of illegally discharging contents of their vessels midstream, which had over the years cost the government of its legitimate revenue. Midstream discharge, which is a legal and accepted shipping practice, arises when a very large vessel because of reason of the depth of the port channel discharges before it approaches a port harbour into smaller vessels that can navigate safely through the shallow channel with the risk of running aground. Over the years many multinational shipping and oil companies have been conniving to discharge their vessel contents midstream illegally without paying the prescribed fees and charges, thus ripping government of billions of dollars that would have accrued to the government or its agencies as revenue. Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on maritime services, Mr. Leke Oyewole, who spoke in a telephone interview, disclosed that the government has put measures in place that would block all revenue leakages in the country. According to him, the government has also adopted fresh measures designed to curb the activities of some multination-

L-R: Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Brett Goschen; General Manager, Customer Care, Ms. Fehinsola Mustapha; Human Resources Executive, Ms Amina Oyagbola and Customer Relations Executive, Mr. Akin Braithwaite, at the launch of MTN Yello City Customer Experience Centre in Lagos recently.

al shipping companies, which are in the habit of under-declaring their vessel tonnage in order to evade payment of prescribed fees and royalties to the government and its agencies. “With the global trends in the petroleum industry with the attendant decline in income, the government will adopt measures to block all possible revenue leakages in the shipping industry, especially under-declaration of tonnage and outright illegal midstream discharge”, Oyewole said. He argued that with the uncertainties in the global crude oil market, the government has no choice than to diversify its revenue base and also block all identifiable leakages. It was also gathered that the government is currently working towards strengthening

Naira weakens for second day on corporate demand UDO ONYEKA WITH AGENY REPORT

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he naira depreciated for a second day as demand for dollars increased after the end of Christmas and New Year festivities. The currency weakened 0.2 percent to 157.04 a dollar by 2:47 p.m. in Lagos, yesterday according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The currency lost 0.4 percent last week. “We expect to see a build-up in demand for foreign exchange as businesses resume” operations, analysts at Lagos-based Cowry Asset Management Ltd., led by Edgar Ebinum, said in an e-mailed note. “We expect to see pressure on the naira.” The Central Bank of Nigeria, which sells dollars to lenders to stabilize the naira, resumed

twice-weekly foreign-currency auctions yesterday after a break since December 19. It sold $150 million, compared with $300 million disbursed at the previous sale, it said in an e-mailed statement. Yields on the nation’s $500 million of Eurobonds due January 2021 slid two basis points, or 0.02 percentage point, to 3.906 percent. The rate on 10-year naira debt fell 15 basis points to 11.52 percent, according to January 4 prices compiled on the Financial Markets Dealers Association website. Central bank policy makers left the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 12 percent last year. Nigeria’s inflation rate rose for a second month in November to 12.3 percent from 11.7 percent, theNational Bureau of Statistics said December 17.

its maritime security surveillance, which would facilitate a 24-hour surveillance of the maritime domain. Sources hinted that this new onslaught against foreign shipping companies and their oil

and gas counterparts informed the decision of the Federal Executive Council to grant an approval to a security concession between the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and Global West Vessel

Specialist Nigeria Limited, a private firm. Under the contract, GWVSNL, will take supply and crew the boats for the policing of the entire stretch of the Nigerian coastline from Lagos to Calabar, Cross River State, with an initial investment of $103.4 million (N16 billion), for 10 years in the first instance under a no cure, no pay basis. The consummation of this contract also precedes an earlier Memorandum of Understanding between NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy, which led to the formation of the Maritime Guard Command. As part of efforts to provide a formidable maritime security force, the Presidency had following a major stakeholders’ retreat at which President Jonathan was physically present directed all the security and other related agencies like the Nigerian Ports Authority to harness all their platforms and other patrol vessels to facilitate a proper policing of the Nigerian waters and beyond.

Expert advocates review of Civil Aviation Policy OLUSEGUN KOIKI

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n a bid to move the Nigerian Aviation industry forward in 2013, the President, Aviation Round Table (ART), Capt. Dele Ore has called for a comprehensive review of the National Civil Aviation Policy. Ore described such move as one of the steps that must be taken not only for the country’s aviation to move forward, but also for it to compete favourably with other countries in the globe. Speaking with National Mirror in Lagos over the weekend, Ore noted that the last time the

National Civil Aviation Policy was reviewed was in 2001, adding that the review was long overdue. He added that since the last review about 12 years ago; there had been several policy somersaults on the appointment of any new ministers of aviation, maintaining that such policy summersaults was not healthy for the country’s aviation industry. Ore insisted that for aviation policy to meet with the current global challenges, it should be reviewed every 10 years, adding that the review should be done with the collaboration and active participation of all stakeholders in the industry.

According to him, the Civil Aviation Act of 2006, Part 1, Section1 put the responsibility of policy formulations and strategies for the promotion and encouragement of Civil Aviation in the country at the door step of the minister and urged the current Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah to carry out the exercise. He said, “A policy should be ideally last for a period of 10 years .The National Civil Aviation Policy and other documents relating to various aspects of operations in the industry should be arrived at with the active involvement and participation of all key stakeholders.

Workers protest non-payment of wages, allowances MESHACK IDEHEN

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orkers of the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T) have said the country may experience food shortages and more brain drain in the coming years, particularly considering the way workers in the sectors are treated. Protesting the non-payment of their allowances and other wages, the workers who were made up of representatives drawn from affiliates in the sector, including supporters from the institute’s chapters of Academic Staff Union (ASUU), and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities and Non-Academic

Staff Union,(SSANU),said they were protesting against the nonpayment of the approved hazard allowance arrears, and the refusal of the institute’s management to pay the transfer allowances of those that were recently moved, as well as entitlements of those newly appointed. Some of the other protesters included members drawn from the Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutions and Associated Institutions as well as the National Association of Academic Technologists. Chairperson of IAR&T chapter, Dr Olufunmilayo Ande, said the funds which were well over N177.5m form

the wages and allowances of workers for some years According to him, the institute does not have students as the bulk of work is research, and that it is very saddening that since 2009, there has been no meaningful research work carried out, especially since June 11, 2012 when the workers here have been on strike. He explained that the strike is centred on the non-payment of arrears of hazard allowances to the tune of N177, 571, 609.50 approved by the council on December 13, 2010, and that the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) had set up separate investigation panels on the issue since September and October 2012.


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Business & Finance

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

NLC gives conditions for industrial peace in 2013 MESHACK IDEHEN

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he Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC), have said the probe, prosecution and meting out of full punishment to fuel subsidy frauds by the Federal government is the only condition for peace in the industrial sector in 2013. The NLC said also that ways and means must be sought out by stakeholders to tackle the ever rising rate of unemployment amongst the country’s youth. According to the NLC, which put the percentage of employable youths without work at 60 per cent of the overall youth population in the country, the crisis of unemployment continues to be the greatest of the major threats that the country is grappling with. NLC President, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, told journalists on Monday, that official statistics which puts the unem-

ployment rate at above 24 per cent may not even be correct, adding however as alarming as that figure sounds, that it actually disguises the enormity of the unemployment problem given the huge pool of disguised unemployment and underemployment. According to the NLC president, the incidence of unemployment among the youth is even more alarming, and that graduates of the country’s universities and polytechnics systems continue to remain unemployed several years after discharge from the mandatory NYSC scheme. He lamented that other categories of less qualified youths have been roaming the streets in millions without gainful employment, which has resulted in many falling into the life of perpetual destitution and despondency in a country blessed with so much resources and potential.’’ Tracing causes of unemployment to corruption in the high places, Omar said the fuel subsidy

scam through which many influential Nigerians had siphoned much money that could have been used in creating jobs, saying the NLC,s calls for the probe and trial of fuel subsidy fraudsters is the only condition for peace in the industrial sector in the new year. Speaking further, Omar said the government will be unfair to the Nigerians if it fails to expeditiously prosecute those that have stolen so much, and caused so much trauma and death to the people, adding the NLC,s views is that no one is above the law in any decent society. “ if our government is committed to the enthronement of good governance and a corruptfree society, it must get the named beneficiaries of the oil subsidy scam to not only refund all the money they have stolen, but also serve appropriate jail terms. This will be the only acceptable condition for continuous industrial harmony by workers and the Nigerians,” Omar said.

L-R: Chief Commercial Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Wael Ammar; Director, PMO & Operational Strategy, Miss Ndidi Okpaluba and Director, Customer Service, Mr. Plato Syrimis, at the Chris Brown concert in Lagos recently.

Experts want CBN to fast-track kick-off of agent banking UDO ONYEKA

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inancial experts have called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to fast track the commencement of agency banking as a measure to deepen financial inclusion that will help drive penetration of banking services to the rural areas. Speaking to our correspondent at the special ACIB Induction for the pioneering graduates of the Chartered Bank MBA by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, the immediate past president of the Institute, Mr. Laoye Jaiyeola said for a successful financial inclusion to be achieved, the Central Bank of Nigeria should come out with appro-

priate modalities for the establishment of agency banking in the country. To facilitate the effective implementation of the proposed regime and achievement of the objective of financial inclusion, he charged CBN to brace up to train those to take up such responsibility and not involving people who are not adequately prepared the financial inclusion. According to him, the CBN has the responsibility to ensure that whoever is going to be incorporated into this must have bank mobilization, be appropriately coordinated and registered as this must be included the guideline. He, however, suggested that like it is done in most countries, those banks will enter

into an agency relationship with competent institutions that will do those works at the local communities and, banks and other financial institutions under CBN’s purview would be made to comply with the system. Also, an apostle to the commencement of the scheme, a former president of CIBN, Mazi Okechukwu Unegbue said agency banking as a means to attain financial inclusion is a vital aspect that CBN must improve on. On the contrarily, he urged that CBN need to focus on micro finance bank because the sector has grass root syndrome unlike the conventional banks. According to him, CBN should have the micro finance bank sector developed, hence, the closing of MBFs were not the best rather the apex bank should have done what they did to the conventional banking by supporting them.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Again, security personnel cause congestion on Lagos Airport OLUSEGUN KOIKI

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or the umpteenth time in less than two weeks, the continuous random frisking of vehicles on the airport road by men of anti-bomb squad (ABS) and anti-terrorism squad (ATS) has continued to create massive vehicular traffic at the Murtala Mohammed Airport (MMA), Lagos. Passengers who have flights to catch and workers at the airport have resulted to trek to the airport because of the gridlock created by the screening. The screening of vehicles entering the airport has been on for over two weeks with attendant high vehicular traffic on the airport road. The vehicular traffic began from Simbiat Abiola Road (former Medical Road), Oba Akran, Mobolaji Bank Anthony, Oba-

femi Awolowo Road and Lagos Abeokuta all within Ikeja axis. On the Lagos /Abeokuta road, the gridlock yesterday morning extended up to the Egbeda Bridge as commuters spent close to three hours to access Oshodi from Iyana-Ipaja. At the Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, our correspondent observed that the gridlock got to the Sheraton Hotels and Towers area of Maryland. Unlike in the past where commuters would have resulted to commercial motorcyclists to beat the traffic, no motorcyclist was in sight to come to their rescue. At Oba Akinjobi Road, the situation was the same as the traffic wardens and men from the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA) had hectic time controlling the vehicular traffic at the roundabout close to Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH).

ITF to establish 37 skill acquisition centres

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he Director General and Chief Executive of Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Prof. Longmas Wapmuk, says the centre will soon establish 37 skill acquisition centres in the six geo-political zones. Wapmuk, who disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos, said that the aim was to assist Nigerian youths to acquire relevant skills. According to him, the Fund has established training centres in Ikeja, Lagos, Kano and Jos. “The centres are to further foster the development of industrialisation in the country and to assist Nigerian youths to acquire relevant skills ``To ensure it goes round, the Fund will soon establish 37 Industrial Skills Training centres in all six the geo-political zones in the country. ``We have estab-

lished a training centre in Ikeja, Lagos, one in Kano and another in Jos. These centres provide the training for young entrants and other skilled workers,’’ Wapmuk said. He said that some challenges facing the ITF included high cost of training and inadequate business development service providers, among others. Wapmuk urged the government, at all levels, to reposition skill development programmes to achieve set objectives. He said that Nigeria urgently needed policies and institutions to foster rapid business development across key priority sectors. He urged non-governmental organisations, professional associations, corporate institutions and individuals to establish such centres to boost industrialisation.

Expert identifies tourism as major economic booster

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he Director, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Mr Ernest Obia said on Monday that tourism was a major economic booster when combined with good infrastructure. Obia told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that most economies of the world were boosted by tourism, adding that various sectors of the economy blossom when built around tourism. “When more and more people fly into the country, the airline industry benefits. “The tourists also looks for their food, lodging and so on and these automatically boost the respective busi-

nesses, as well as the people in it. “With good infrastructure, tourism sites in the country will soar as tourists will travel from one part of the country to the other in search of adventure,” Obia said. The NIHORTOUR Director said that tourism reflects in an economy through employment boosts and foreign exchange, as local arts of the nation would acquire international recognition. ``Different kinds of beautiful things will be bought with foreign currencies in most cases and these things are taken away by tourists to their various countries.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Jobs & Career

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Labour, civil society to press for improved govt performance Not wanting to be caught unawares again, labour and civil society groups say they are gearing up for concrete action with the Federal Government beginning January 2013, particularly if government’s handling of all critical parts of the economy is not improved upon, writes MESHACK IDEHEN.

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ince January 1, 2012, when observers of the economy said the Federal Government sprang a surprise on Nigerians by the removal of its (government’s) subsidy on petroleum products, analysts have said the working relationship between organised labour and civil society groups which led the protests and government’s action on the can be likened to that between the proverbial cat and mouse. While subsequently challenging the policies and proposals of governments (federal and states inclusive) at every turn, even after the subsidy protests when government agreed to peg the price of petrol at N97 per litre, stakeholders say that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), which are the two major workers’ unions in the country have since made it a point to nudge the government into taking or hastening up policies that affects not only the workers, but Nigerians in general. Labour Activist, Comrade Emmanuel Ezeume, told National Mirror that all actions taken on the country’s economy in 2012 by Federal and state governments was subjected to thorough scrutiny by the workers through their various unions and leadership; and that labour and civil society groups are prepared to “act accordingly”, should another surprise be sprung on Nigerians in January 2013. Citing the “stalling privatisations of the country’s assets, weak and never ending reforms and other con-

Minister of Labour, Emeka Wogu

TUC President, Peter Esele

POWERFUL INTERESTS WOULD HAVE SUCCEEDED WITHOUT ANY FORM OF CHALLENGE, IN CORNERING THE ASSETS

NIGERIANS IN THE POWER SECTOR WHICH RUNS INTO BILLIONS OF DOLLARS, IF NOT FOR THE ACTIVE ROLE PLAYED OF

BY WORKERS AND THEIR SUPPORTERS IN THE SECTOR troversial policy measures by Federal and state governments in 2012”, Ezeume said critical stakeholders in the country like labour unions, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society groups will ensure no decision of government on the economy escapes Nigerian workers

in the coming year. Speaking in the same vein, the National Vice President of NLC, and General Secretary of Nigeria Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Mr. Joe Ajaero said the action of electricity workers have gone a long way towards bringing sanity to the power sector reforms pro-

gramme of the Federal Government. According to him, “Powerful interests would have succeeded without any form of challenge, in cornering all the assets of Nigerians in the power sector which runs into billions of dollars, if not for the active role played by workers and their

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supporters in the sector”. He added that NUEE and its sister union, the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Corporations (SSAEAC), would join forces to protest government’s action that is not in favour of the people, be it in January or anytime of the year. While warning categorically that Nigerians are already gearing up for the worst including the actions they will take should President Goodluck Jonathan increases the pump price of PMS in January, NLC President, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, told National Mirror that the January 2012 protests would seem a child’s play compared to what might follow any attempt to deregulate the downstream sector of the oil industry, which in government parlance meant increase in pump price of fuel. Omar explained that with the wave of revelations on monumental corruption in the petroleum industry that it will be unimaginable to contemplate any other thing than focusing on ridding the industry of the endemic corruption that has become pervasive in the industry. According to the NLC president, “Nigerians would love to see President Goodluck Jonathan dissipate energy on fighting corruption in the industry (petroleum) as he promised Nigerians. All those so far indicted in corrupt practices in the fuel subsidy scam have not yet been prosecuted, and more revelations on corruption keep coming out by the day”. Agreeing however that the action of organised labour and its partners will not be limited to the “foibles” of government in the oil and gas industry alone, Omar added that it would be wise for the administration to embrace policies that will not put it in confrontation with workers and the people. To do that, he advocated transparency in government’s activities and in its dealings with the populace, saying also that the workers know when their leaders are sincere with them.

Wema Bank retirees seek govt’s intervention over monthly pension MESHACK IDEHEN

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embers of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Wema Bank Branch, have called on the Federal and state governments as well as regulators in the financial sector to impress it on the management of the bank to review the pension paid to its retirees. The retirees, during a meeting in Lagos said that Section 10 of the Wema Bank Plc Staff

Retirement and Pension Fund handbook stated the condition for the payment of gratuity and pensions was for life. Speaking on behalf the pensioners, the National Chairman, NUP, Wema Bank Branch, Mr. Bayo Shittu, said because they have satisfied the provisions of the handbook that they have been taking monthly pensions regularly without increment in the past nine years. He said the refusal of the bank’s management to review their pensions for the past nine

years clearly negates the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. “It is a pity and quite unfortunate to state here the paltry pension being paid to every category of retirees. Over 80 per cent of our pensioners are receiving a ridiculous amount of N6,000 each monthly. This has resulted in acute malnutrition and untimely death of several of our members and their dependants.” Shittu said all efforts made to ensure that the bank reviewed

upwards the pensions through meetings and several correspondences had not yielded positive results. “Instead of acceding to our persistent requests on increments as promised, the management suddenly made a u-turn by opting for pay-off, a move the pensioners are not against. What the pensioners are against is the bank’s five-year pay-off proposal, which will give every pensioner N360,000 for the rest of his or her life. “We humbly call on well

meaning Nigerians, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the managing director of Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, Minister of Labour and Productivity, governors of the South-West states, the National Assembly; Chairman, Board of Directors, Wema Bank Plc and valuable shareholders to impress it upon the bank’s management to stop maltreating the goose that laid the golden eggs on which the management of the bank is now feeding fat.”


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Jobs & Career

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Stakeholders fault FG’s plans to hire weights measures inspectors MESHACK IDEHEN

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he decision by the Federal Government to hire 1,000 inspectors to monitor its weight and measure policy has come under criticism, with some stakeholders saying government made a wrong decision by planning to hire only 1000 officers and inspectors for the job. According to them, Nigeria with its large and countless markets and business activities, especially on commodity goods needs at least 10,000 inspectors for weight and measuers, if the era of “cheating of buyers by traders and undersupplying by suppliers to public and private projects” is to become a thing of the past. Former assistant director of Weight and Measurement in the Federal Ministry of Commerce, Alhaji Zubairu Mala told National Mirror that a lot of “underhand dealings” goes on when the issues of correct weight and measurement are concerned. According to him, a large mass of the country population are daily subjected to all forms of

French Language Village trains 60,000

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he Director-General, Nigerian French Language Village, Badagry, Lagos State, has said that over 60,000 Nigerians had acquired communication skills in French at the institution. Ajei said the 21-year-old institution had contributed to the cultural and educational development of the country. “So far, the institution has trained over 60,000 Nigerians in acquiring communication skills in French language since its inception,’’ he told the News Agency of Nigeria. The DG called for increased sensitisation to the need for Nigerians to acquire knowledge in French for personal and national socio-economic and political development. According to the professor of French and Applied Linguistics, acquisition of additional foreign language is an advantage. “Ability to communicate in more than one foreign language will expose people to a lot of opportunities internationally,’’ Ajei added. He urged the government at all levels to intensify efforts in encouraging the teaching of French in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. Ajei said, “Our students and other citizens should equip themselves with speaking and writing skills in French Language. “There is the need for us to train Nigerians toward attaining proficiency level in speaking and writing in French in a manner that will not seem difficult. That is what we do here.”

Aganga

manipulations by traders, contractors and suppliers, while adding also that 1000 inspectors alone cannot do the job if government really wants to ensure its citizens get value in quantity for their money. Speaking further, Mala urged the government to increase the number of its planned hiring to a more significant figures, before having them deployed to all the major points, including major markets, ports, construction sites

Jonathan

amongst other assignments. He particularly bemoaned the cheating potentials builders suffer, since adequate measure are not in place to measure critical building essentials like sand, gravel amongst others. It would be recalled that the Federal Government last week said it has concluded plans to hire 1,000 inspectors (field officials) to police its weights and measures policy across the country, a move the government said is meant to

ensure accuracy in weighing and measuring in Nigeria. Acting Director Legal Metrology, Weights and Measures Department of the Federal Ministry of Trade and Industry, Mr. Mohammed Sidi, who disclosed this, said that a thousand inspectors are needed for effective monitoring and compliance to the laws by businesses across all sectors of the economy. According to him, from a consumer’s perspective, a kilogram

of rice must be a kilogram and no less; a motorist needs to trust the volume delivered by a petrol pump; and mobile telephone user need to trust that one minute airtime must be one minute and no less,”, adding the inspectors’ will be guided by metering standards puts in place by the International Organisation of Legal Metrology (OIML) based in Paris. Speaking in the same vein, Mr. Sonny Agboju, said it was important that government increase the number of those it plans to employ in the division, saying also that those type of areas needs to strengthened in order for Nigerians to feel satisfied with what they get in the open market. Agboju added that instead of overpopulating ministries and agencies of government with large number of staff that may not be useful or productive, that government can perform better and earn the trust of its citizens by placing importance in the “little things “that affects them, particularly in being able to get quantified value for the money in markets.

Keys for taking control of your career in the New Year

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ere are keys you need to realise your professional objectives and take control of your career in the New Year. Explore career options-As the year winds down, reflect on your job by asking yourself these questions: Does my current position utilize my professional abilities and talents? Am I maximizing my earning potential? Am I doing what I was born to do or something that I’m passionate about? If the answer is an overwhelming “no,” assess your work style and personal characteristics and discover a career field that highlights them. Brush up on job skill- On the other hand, if your career suits you; take time to better yourself

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ommencing the year on job vacancies is the position for a Senior Accountant (www.jobsvanguardngr. com) in a firm in Lagos. The minimum qualification is a degree and required experience is between 5 and 7 years. Some of the major responsibilities for the post are to provide both operational and financial support to the company Chief Operating Officer on all strategic and tactical matters as they relate to financial projections and budget management, cost benefit ,cash flow analysis , forecasting and strategic planning, asset management , plus if necessary the

at what you do. Stand out from other employees by completing the latest training and updating your industry expertise. With an Internet connection, workforce development is at your fingertips. Meet with your boss-Instead of guessing at your strengths and weaknesses, gain the input you need directly from your boss. Schedule a lunch or sit down over coffee to get their opinion on skills that will boost your advancement possibilities. Meeting regularly to review performance will help you re-evaluate goals and set priorities. Set realistic career goalsIdentify what you want to accomplish professionally in 2008 and write them down in order of priority. Your goals may include

improving current work performance, being promoted to a job that you’re qualified for or making a complete career switch. Just make sure each goal is specific and attainable. Establish a plan of actionThink of the required steps you need to take to get your 2008 career goals underway, and put them down on paper. Give yourself deadlines to follow, but keep them realistic. Start preparing now-What are you waiting for? The downtime of the holiday season is a perfect time for you to get a head start on your career goals. Make a list of career challenges to conquer this week and celebrate your achievements along the way. The small steps today will lead to big

accomplishments in the New Year. Get organised-Take time in the slow holiday weeks to rearrange your files so they are more organized and efficient. Start by archiving anything you haven’t sourced in the last year into a file cabinet further from your desk, leaving the files used daily closer and less cluttered. Analyse your work day for efficiencies-Practice better time management in the coming year. Are you making your phone calls when people are normally at their desk rather than in meetings or at lunch? Are you spending too much time on certain activities? Make a to-do list before you leave the office and dedicate the next day to completing those tasks.

Job vacancies securing of new funding. T The senior accountant will also be responsible for assisting the COO in the overall financial management of a continuously growing multicompany structure by developing appropriate analytic tools to proactively drive business results. Other requirements are must be a qualified accountant, with strong academic with a recognised and reputable accounting qualification, plus and 4-6 years financial management track record at senior accountant level. Background within an African or specifically Nigerian company is de-

sirable amongst others. Also on offer for the week, is the position for a Managing Director (www.findjobafrica.com) to be located in Tanzania The companies recruiting were set up in Tanzania and are engaged in areas such as milk and meat processing, honey production and the processing of energy and water. Some of the qualifications include being a resourceful entrepreneur and an excellent networker, with good communication skills and a well developed political and intercultural perceptiveness, and also having several years relevant work experience

both in a managerial position as well as in commercial areas. The post of a Site Engineer (www.jobsvanguardngr.com) is also available in a firm in Lagos Full-time Minimum qualification is degree and required experience is between 1 and 3 years, while some of the responsibilities includes overseeing the day to day administration and management of site works, alongside managing contractors and sub-contractors on site. A degree in any engineering course is necessary, and candidate must have managed a construction site or/and has passion for construction site works.


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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Real Estate & Environment dayoayeyemi@yahoo.com 08033312578

Units of residential apartments in Malaysia

How Singapore, Malaysia achieved mass housing for citizens –NIOB Singapore and Malaysia are countries with limited land mass and natural resources, but despite these, a tour of the countries by the team of professionals from the Nigerian Institute of Building revealed how these countries were able to achieve 95 per cent and 80 per cent housing for their citizens. DAYO AYEYEMI, writes

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earchlight by professionals under the auspices of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), recently revealed factors responsible for 90 percent mass housing achievement for citizens by Singapore and Malaysia. It was discovered that despite low population, limited land mass and little natural resources, Singapore and Malaysia have been able to provide housing for 95 per cent and 80 per cent of their population respectively. How these countries achieved this feat despite their limited resources formed the main reason building professionals from Nigeria embarked on a study tour of the construction industry in Malaysia and Singapore to appraise new technology in housing and infrastructural development. The purpose of the study, according to the leader of the delegation who is also the President of NIOB, Mr. Chucks Omeife, was to carry out a detailed study of the construction industry’s existing regulatory agencies and their operational framework and other laws that impact on the sector and to see how mass housing is being

THEIR GOVERNMENT IS ALWAYS WILLING AND READY TO FUND AND ENCOURAGE BEST PRACTICE WHILE SUPPORTING EXPORT OF PROFESSIONAL SERVICES BASED ON BUSINESS PROSPECTUS WITH FINANCIAL BACKING ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD handled and executed. On how the governments of Malaysia and Singapore achieved mass housing for their populace, Omeife said professionals in these countries have free hand to operate with government support to put in place various regulations and policies that will continue to sanitize the construction industry to make it vibrant, professionalised and efficient in service delivery. Besides, he said there was unity of purpose amongst the professionals in the built environment in these countries unlike in Nigeria. According to him, their government is always willing and ready to fund and encourage best practice while supporting export of profession-

al services based on business prospectus with financial backing anywhere in the world. Comparatively, Omeife noted that the Nigerian construction industry has more institutional regulation but with inadequate government regulatory agencies to manage the different aspect of the industry. He said, “Obviously, there is the absence of leading government entity with a regulatory and development focus that promotes construction industry delivery capability, as well as promote the transformation of the industry to deliver to global standard of performance. In Malaysia and Singapore, he explained that the Construction Indus-

try Development Board oversees the regulation of all institutional professional associations and their regulatory bodies, the growth of the industry, including the growth of local stakeholders especially the local contractors, encouraging best industry practice, setting benchmark for standard and quality, health and safety, skill requirements and initiating continuous development programme for professionals, artisans and craftsmen. “This is one major aspect missing in the Nigerian set up and much more than anything is the insincerity of purpose and dishonesty by government regulators, professional players and non encouragement of local contractors,” he said. Omeife who led the delegation of over 50 participants, including builders, developers and individuals, described the interaction with professional association and regulatory agencies in both countries visited as “very resourceful.” In both countries visited, he explained that majority of their works were carried out by local contractors whose growth in terms of capacity and capability could be seen to be encouraged through deliberate policies by their government. This policy, he said has a major CONTINUED ON PAGE 26


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‘How Singapore, Malaysia achieved mass housing for citizens’ CONTINUED FROM 25 impact on the construction industry where a technological development and innovation has been driven by the people due to long years of involvement, practice and empowerment. The NIOB boss said, “The unity of purpose and co-operation amongst the built environment professionals and stakeholders in both countries visited was very inspiring and encouraging. “The contingent also visited the umbrella body of major developers in Malaysia and the Housing Development Board of Singapore to understudy the framework for housing delivery.” What was most instructive in the interaction, he said was the distinct and availability of robust mortgage system without which the housing delivery process would have been compromised. According to him, the easy accessibility to mortgage was one big factor for success story in these two countries with well regulated price regime to enhance affordability by all citizens. He stated, “The Federal Ministry of Housing, Local Government and Development of Malaysia is responsible for conception, planning and management of housing delivery, deciding on the best procurement process to be adopted. “Some of the houses are delivered through direct labour process, some, through contracting and some, through labour only contract. “The ministry is also in charge of allocation of available houses with application of uniform criteria to all based on ready mortgage provision.” According to him, the trip was a study in patriotism by the people, innovation and orderliness by the people and commitment by the government to provide enabling environment for the people based on housing and infrastructural provision and welfare as a catalyst for national development. “It is a study on how Singapore and Malaysia with limited natural resources based on determination, innovating spirit and drive for survival have come to set the development benchmark for the rest of the world.” The outcome of the visit, according to the NIOB president included the collaboration in the areas of training and professional development; exchange of ideas and technology that will translate into the development of the Nigerian building and construction industry; collaboration and opportunities for internship and exchange programme for members. Omeife expressed hope that Nigeria, given the abundant natural resources and human capacity is at the brink of developmental explosion with the existing potential. The challenge to him is to have credible Nigerians who can provide transformative leadership based on commitment, transparency and patriotism to the Nigerian project at different levels of the economy, sector and the society. The visit was initiated in line with the NIOB 5 years strategic plan, which set as one of its objective to seek and engage in international collaboration

Residential houses in Singapore

L-R: National President, Nigerian Institute of Building, Mr. Chucks Omeife; President, Singapore Institute of Building, Peter Chua and NIOB Chairman, FCT Chapter, Mr. Musa Yakubu, during the presentation of professional publication to NIOB president in Singapore recently.

Singapore property

so as to bring in best global practice that will impact on the Nigerian construction industry. The trip was jointly packaged by the Nigerian Investment and Promotion Council (NIPC) and the FCT-Abuja Chapter of NIOB. Amongst members of the institute in the contingent was the immediate past President of the Institute Mr. D.D. Jambol, the Chairman of FCT Chapter of the institute, Mr. Musa Yakubu and

his Secretary, Mr. Abalaka and many others Justifying the need for the trip, Omeife reiterated that Nigerian construction sector is part of the global construction industry and as such, there must be cross fertilisation of ideas, technology and knowledge exchange to grow the local industry to meet universal standard. He said, “The issue of mass housing was one of the major objectives

amongst many others why the trip was embarked upon. The two countries visited: Singapore and Malaysia have done very well in this area by providing housing for majority of their citizens by putting in place working regulatory framework that covers construction methodology for fast housing delivery and robust housing mortgage for their people. “Despite the low population and limited land mass, it was instructive that Singapore with no natural resources to their advantage provides housing for 95 per cent of the population and also Malaysia over 80 per cent. “It was in view of the above that the institute felt that a study tour of these countries was necessary to see, study and learn how they have done it, especially their regulatory agencies and operational framework for the construction industry that makes it possible.” Amongst the agencies visited in Malaysia included the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB); Master Builders Association of Malaysia; National Housing Authority, Malaysia; Federal Ministry Housing, Local Government and Development, Malaysia; the WESTPOINT Harbour port- one of the largest sea port in the world; Building Materials Association of Malaysia; Putrajaya Holdings Limited, Developers of Putrajaya- the Administrative capital of Malaysia and International Greentech and Eco Products exhibition The team also visited the Chartered Institute of Building (CIB), Singapore; Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) in Singapore; Singapore Institute of Building (SIB); Institute of Engineers Singapore (IES); Building and Construction Authority (BCA) of Singapore; Construction Industry Joint Committee (CDC); Housing Development Board (HDB); Council for the Built Environment (CBE); Solaris Fusionopolis Science Centre; Marina Bay Sands – the world biggest outstanding project.


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Sport

Ours is a selfless service to the nation and so the club needs necessary assistance to be in South Africa to ensure Super Eagles’ victory –Nigeria Supporters Club president, Rafiu Ladipo

Super 4: Rangers leave out 3 Eagles

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angers will be without three Super Eagles invitees led by Emeka Eze for the pre-season Super 4 Tournament which begins tomorrow in Kano. The others are Chinedu Sunday and Solomon Jabason, who have also been called up by the full international team. Eze, for one, is nursing an ankle injury he suffered while training with the Eagles recently, while Jabason has Malaria. Former Shooting Stars’ goal-

keeper, Emmanuel Daniel, is also ruled out after a back injury he picked up in training with the Coal City Antelopes last week. Rangers, who left for Kano yesterday, have included several new signings for the four-team competition. They include exGombe United goalkeeper, Sanusi Sani, Adamu Mohammed and Uche Oguchi from Dolphin, Pape Sane from Sharks and Emmanuel Ahinze from Ocean Boys.

Ghana excludes Andre Ayew

Super Eagles’ captain, Joseph Yobo (right), in a hot exchange with a Syli Stars of Guinea player during an AFCON qualifier at the Abuja National Stadium, in 2011

Keshi drops 4, releases AFCON list tomorrow EVEREST ONYEWUCHI

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ne day to the release of his 23-man squad list for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in South Africa, Nigeria’s coach, Stephen Keshi, has reduced the number of 31 players in camp by dropping four. On Sunday night at the Super Eagles’ Faro, Portugal camp, Keshi released injured Rizespur of Turkey striker, Uchenna Kalu; Rabiu Ibrahim who recently moved from Celtic in the Scottish Premier League to Kilmanock FC, Enyimba’s Henry Uche and Papa Idris of Kano Pillars. National Mirror was told by the team’s spokesman, Ben Alaiya, that the four players left camp yesterday’s morning for their various clubs and Nigeria. Keshi had during Sunday’s morning training hinted that some players would be asked to go in the evening, admonishing such players to take it in good faith as it did not mean that they were not good, but that the coaching crew could not take everybody to South Africa for the tournament.

It was disclosed that before the players were asked to go, assistant coaches Sylvanus Okpala (MON), Ike Shorunmi and Hyoundonou Valere, counseled the players and assured them that they were still part and parcel of the team and would be recalled once the team returned from the Nations Cup and World Cup qualifiers restarted. The players appreciated the

sincerity and fatherly disposition of the technical crew and promised to keep their heads high at their various clubs to earn future recall to the national team. Kalu said he was personally pained that injury denied him a place in the Eagles’ AFCON team and promised to bounce back in the coming months for the national team.

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hana’s coach, Kwesi Appiah, has dropped Andre ‘Dede’ Ayew from his squad for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations. Ayew failed to report to a training camp in Abu Dhabi for a hamstring injury to be assessed by the Black Stars’ medical team. The midfielder was released by French club, Marseille, so he could travel as requested by the Ghana FA. “I’ve decided to exclude Andre Ayew from the Ghana

...Yobo set to equal Kanu’s record

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uper Eagles’ captain’ Joseph Yobo’ will equal a six-AFCON finals appearance record held by Nwankwo Kanu at the tournament in South Africa. Yobo has already eclipsed Kanu’s record as the most capped Nigerian star with 89 caps and he could add to this tally tomorrow against fellow 2013 Nations Cup finalist, Cape Verde, in a warmup game. “I have been blessed. Words cannot quantify God’s blessings on me. Attending my sixth Nations Cup will be great and we will give it our

best shot,” Yobo told MTNFootball.com. The 32-year-old Fenerbahce defender featured at the 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010 Nations Cups. Yobo managed a thirdplace medal at four of these appearances and now says he wants to go for the top prize in possibly his last tournament. “It’s not going to be easy (to win the trophy). But we will give it our best shot. We therefore urge Nigerians to keep praying for us and believe in this team,” he said.

Andre Ayew

squad for the Africa Cup of Nations,” Appiah said. “Following Andre’s inability to join the Black Stars squad by Monday morning for Ghana’s team doctors to assess the extent of his injury and fitness for the tournament, I have decided to work only with the players currently in camp,” Appiah added. Under FIFA regulations clubs are required to release players two weeks before the Nations Cup kicks off in South Africa.


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Brace excites Dempsey

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ottenham Hotspur forward, Clint Dempsey, has expressed pleasure with his brace in Spurs’ FA Cup win over Coventry City. The former Fulham forward who returned to the team’s first eleven staked his claim with goals either side of Gareth Bale’s close-range volley. “When you get your chanc-

es to play you have to show you deserve to be out there,” Dempsey said yesterday. “Everyone wants to make those moments count and it shows the quality we have and the competition for places. It’s great to be part of this team in this period and it’s about doing something special this year.”

Mikel wins fans’ vote

F Kevin-Prince Boateng (10) leading other players out of the pitch in protest last week

Racist slur: Blatter’s claim angers Milan owner M

ilan President, Silvio Berlusconi, has expressed anger at claims by FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s that Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng was wrong to leave pitch after he was racially abused by fans at a friendly game last week. “I am of the opposite view and in fact, I thanked and congratulated my players for their decision to leave the field during the friendly in Busto Arsizio,” Berlusconi said yesterday. “This is an uncivilised problem that needs to be stopped and people

should not allow these things to happen. “Teams out on the pitch should set an example of civility and the educational role of football should not be underestimated. “It’s not only about the behaviour of players in the game but of the public and everyone needs to avoid giving Italy a negative image.” Blatter, had said last weekend that that players should not leave the field of play if they are faced with racism, sequel to the walk-out staged by AC Milan players during

the controversial friendly. “Walking off is not the solution,” Blatter insisted. “I don’t think you can run away, because eventually you can run away if you lose a match.” “This is a very touchy subject, but there is zero tolerance for racism in the stadium.” The 76-year-old Swiss, who has been the head of world football’s governing body since 1998, said there needed to be tougher punishments brought in, such as points deductions in order to deal with the issue of racism.

ans of Goal.com Nigeria have voted for Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel as the best Nigerian footballer of 2012. Mikel polled 36.82 per cent of votes cast to edge out Chelsea team mate Victor Moses to second place. Moses earned 26.35 per cent of votes that were cast on the Goal.com website during the past weekend. Goal.com is the biggest football website in the world and its Nigerian edition receives more than 28 million hits every month, representing a large size of the Nigerian football fan base. According to Chief Editor, Lolade Adewuyi, the fans selected Mikel based on his achievements in the past year

Klinsmann ignores Donovan

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SA Coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, has left Landon Donovan out of his squad for January’s camp. The LA Galaxy star is arguably his country’s best player but will not be involved with the team in the first camp of 2013 with Klinsmann explaining the reasons why. “Landon has not been invited because obviously he’s taking his break,” Klinsmann, who said the player “is thinking about his future”, said. “We’re as curious as everyone else as to what his decision will be at a future time. But right now he’s not part of our camp,” the former Germany international added.

Jurgen Klinsmann

John Obi Mikel

where he won the UEFA Champions League as well as the English FA Cup with Chelsea. “Mikel was very productive in the past year and crowned it with impressive performances in key matches that ensured he got two winners medals with his club,” Adewuyi said. “We are glad that our fans have participated in this process to select a worthy athlete in our maiden Nigeria player of the year award.” CSKA forward Ahmed Musa came third with 20.28 per cent of votes while Kano Pillars’ Reuben Gabriel finished fourth in the poll as he experienced a break out year with the Nigeria Premier League champions. Gabriel polled 9.73 per cent.


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Bafana hope to restore home record

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he best record for the Bafana Bafana in the Nations Cup was in 1996 when they hosted and won the title before their teeming noisy fans at the FNB Satdium ( now Soccer City), beating Tunisia 2-0 in the final. It’s noteworthy that two years earlier they had been re-admitted into FIFA and CAF after many years in the cooler due to apartheid policy that alienated them from the rest of the world. The team inspired by legendary Doctor Khumalo reached the final two years later at Burkina Faso 1998 before bowing to Egypt who went to claim their fourth Nations Cup title. Finishing third best at Nigeria/Ghana 2000 remains their best effort thereafter. South Africa 2013 will be their eighth Nations Cup appearance having failed to qualify in the last two editions in Angola and Gabon/ Equatorial Guinea.

IKENWA NNABUOGOR takes a cursory look at the Bafana Bafana’s present killer team that looks every inch the one to beat at the 24th AFCON

How They Qualified South Africa qualified for the eighth Nations Cup outing by virtue of being host. Strengths The biggest weapon of the Bafana Bafana lies in the attack but with the unavauilabilty of injured Orlando Pirates striker Benni McCarthy, things could get a bit tight at goal scoring. But Kaizer Chiefs striker Bernard Parker who has netted 12 times in 47 appearances for his country, could shoulder the responsibility and will be supported by Mamelodi Sundowns hit man Katlego Mphela whose Bafana Bafana players posing before a recent match Bafana goal scoring form has been smoking. category in the FIFA awards. Weaknesses South Africa appear to lose faith easily on the coaches which has always resulted in incessant changes in the department, leaving the team adapting to new methods which have always not done them good considering the time frame ahead of major competitions. Current coach Gordon Ingesund is their 20th coach since their re-admission into CAF and FIFA in 1992. Form Guide Vs Malawi (Durban) 3-1 – International friendly Vs Zambia (Johannesburg) 0-1 – International friendly Vs Kenya (Nairobi) 2-1 – International friendly Vs Poland (Warsaw) 0-1 – International friendly Vs Mozambique (Nelspruit) 2-0 – International friendly Vs Brazil (Sao Paolo) 0-1 – International friendly KEY PLAYERS: Bernard Parker – Kaizer Chiefs Bernard Parker had his national team debut against Malawi in 2007, scoring his first goal in 2008 against the same team. On 17 June 2009, he scored both goals in a 2–0 win over New Zealand in the 2009 Confederations Cup, and also received the Man of the Match award. He played in 2010 FIFA World Cup representing South Africa but the team was eliminated after group stage. He’s currently the leading scorer in the South Africa’s Professional Soccer League (PSL) with nine goals in 15 league appearances. Katlego Mphela – Mamelodi Sundowns Mphela scored a brace on his international

debut against Seychelles on 26 February 2005. He has represented South Africa 47 times, scoring 23 goals. He scored South Africa’s only goal in the 3–1 defeat against Tunisia in the 2008 African Nations Cup. Perhaps Mphela’s greatest moment came in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup thirdplace playoff against Spain. Coming in as a substitute Mphela produced arguably the goal of the tournament with a free kick from 30 yards, which turned out to be the last action of the 90 minutes, sending the game into extra time. Siphiwe Tshabalala – Kaizer Chiefs He made his national team debut in a friendly against Egypt on 14 January 2006. Tshabalala was part of the South African squad at 2006 African Nations Cup, 2008 African Nations Cup and the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. On 11 June 2010, gaining his 50th cap for The Nation of South Africa, he scored the first goal of the 2010 FIFA World Cup against Mexico in the 55th minute. The game ended in a 1–1 draw, with his goal getting a nomination in the Goal of the Year

Coach Gordon Igesund Igesund is a record-breaking coach in South Africa, having become the only man to coach four different top-flight teams to the Premier Soccer League championship titles. He first made his name when he led unfashionable coastal team Manning Rangers to the inaugural PSL title in the 1996/97 season. He followed this up in the 2000/01 season with another title, this time at the helm of Soweto giants Orlando Pirates. Despite his success with the Buccaneers, Igesund was not popular with the Pirates faithful, who demanded a more attacking and entertaining brand of football than the efficient and controlled game that Igesund had fostered, leading to his departure. He replaced caretaker coach Steve Komphela in June 30, 2012, signing a two-year contract. Did You Know? Aaron Mokoena, the most capped Bafana Bafana player with 107 caps, was not included in the 23-man squad for 2013 Nations Cup. The Bidvest Wits defender appeared last in his national colours in 2011. Prediction On paper, South Africa look good but they are outside contenders. They could struggle in their group with the likes of giant killers Cape Verde and resurgent Morocco posing huge threats. However, they can get through to the next round and anything can happen from there. Factfile South Africa Football Association (SAFA) joining CAF in 1991 FIFA Ranking (Dec 2012): 84 Colours: Yellow, Green and Brown

Igesund

The Squad Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs/RSA), Wayne Sandilands (Mamelodi Sundowns/RSA), Senzo Meyiwa (Orlando Pirates/RSA) Defenders: Siboniso Gaxa (Kaizer Chiefs/RSA), Tsepo Masilela (Kaizer Chiefs/RSA), Bongani Khumalo (POAK Salonica/GRE), Siyabonga Sangweni (Orlando Pirates/RSA), Morgan Gould (Kaizer Chiefs/RSA), Thabo Nthethel (Bloemfontein Celtic/RSA, Thabo Matlaba (Orlando Pirates/RSA) Midfielders: Siphiwe Tshabalala (Kaizer Chiefs/RSA), Kagisho Dikgacoi (Crystal Palace/ENG), Reneilwe Lesholonyane (Kaizer Chiefs/RSA), Lerato Chabangu (Moroka Swallows/RSA), Oupa Manyisa (Orlando Pirates/RSA), Thulani Serero (Ajax/NED), May Mahlungu (Helsinborgs IF/SWE), Dean Furman (Oldham Athletic/ENG), Thuso Phala ( Platinum Stars/ RSA) Strikers: Katlego Mphela (Mamelodi Sundowns/RSA), Bernard Parker (Kaizer Chiefs/RSA), Tokelo Rantie (Malmo FF/ SWE), Lehlohonolo Majoro (Kaizer Chiefs/ RSA)


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On the track with

YEMI OLUS danyella172003@yahoo.com

‘Ennis to remain in Sheffield’

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Doreen Amata-Ibokwe during a meet in Germany in 2011

oach of Jessica Ennis, Toni Minichiello, says the athlete has no plans to leave Sheffield following the news that the city’s Don Valley Stadium could be demolished. Olympic heptathlon champion Ennis shares her training between the outdoor Don Valley Stadium and the indoor English Institute of Sport nearby. Sheffield City Council said no decisions on the closure had been made. “She’ll stay in Sheffield because that’s where she wants to be,” Minichiello said. “Athletics is a lot about work-life balance and having that normality and family around you is so important for you to be able to perform. “If we don’t have an outdoor track to work on we’ll have to find some other options in other places. You’ve got to have somewhere you can go and switch off and feel comfortable was a miracle.” and do normal things.” The World Athletics ChampionUK Athletics recently anships billed to take place in Moscow, Russia in August is the major event on the International Associations of Athletics Federations (IAAF) calendar for 2013 and Amata-Ibokwe targets a place in the final, same as she did in Daegu, South Korea in 2011 where she finished in eighth position. “I aim to get to the final where anything can happen and it is my hope that something great comes out of it. Nevertheless I hope for greater support administratively this year and just wish every athlete the best.” Jessica Ennis

Amata-Ibokwe set for comeback

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wing to serious injury she picked up last season, Doreen Amata-Ibokwe’s bid to win a medal at the London Olympic Games suffered a huge setback but the high jumper is confident of making an impact when competition proper begins this year. The hopes of the record holder and mother of one were dashed after she failed to achieve her targets last year. “I am fit now and have commenced training and I am hoping for the very best this season,” the athlete said. “I tore my right quadriceps last year and it proved to be a huge setback for me. Every other injury I picked up in the past was minor to this one and for the first time I really knew what it meant to have a serious injury. “I struggled all through and it wasn’t easy for me at all. Before February everyone could testify that I had been in good shape but after that, I was in pains all through. At a point while I was undergoing treatment in Europe I just felt like calling it quits with the season because I felt so discouraged but I kept encouraging myself. I jumped in pain at every competition so much that I started to get afraid.” Amata-Ibokwe barely made it to the Olympics having struggled all season and although she posted a season’s best of 1.90m during the qualifiers, she failed to make the final cut after finishing in 17th position in the final standings. “I got to London before I could actually train without feeling pain and fear. I could have done much more during the games but the major

snag was that I hadn’t participated in many competitions prior to the time. When I saw the list of all the athletes competing at my event, my name was actually the last, it was at the bottom amongst all 32 athletes for the high jump event. “I almost shed tears because it showed that I had the least performance going to the Olympics. That was how bad things had gone but I just smiled to myself. I may not have gotten to the final but at least I jumped a season’s best and was satisfied with that. The fact was that at least I was at the Olympics and my presence there

nounced plans to move towards a single, elite-level base in Loughborough but Minichiello did not think politics was involved in Don Valley’s potential closure. However, he called the suggestion “very sad”, adding the stadium’s closure would be a blow to athletics’ legacy following the London Games. “If you want legacy in Britain, things like the English Schools Championships, the British Transplant Games which Don Valley is hosting in 2013, the county championships and area championships are the sorts of things you should be hosting there. And I don’t think Sheffield has worked hard enough to get a lot of those events in”, he said. After winning gold at the London Olympics, Ennis revealed former UK Athletics Head Coach Charles van Commenee wanted her to move to London before the Games, a suggestion she resisted.

Olowora eyes Rio glory

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Amina Olowora (336) at the recent National Sports Festival in Lagos

ong distance revelation at the 18th National Sports Festival, Amina Olowora, is targeting representing Nigeria at the 2016 Olympics taking place in Brazil. The 18-year-old made her NSF debut in 2011 at the Port Harcourt Games where she won a bronze medal and further blew the minds of athletics watchers last year when she won three gold medals in the 1,500m, 5,000m and 10,000m. She earlier represented the country at the ECOWAS Games last year when she placed second and the World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain where she finished last in the 5,000m. “I plan to move forward, especially in terms of the 2016 Olympic Games. My target is to be a national athlete, to represent the country in the Olympics. That is

my plan because I represented Nigeria at the ECOWAS Games where I broke the national record in 15.59secs. I also represented Nigeria at the World Junior Championships so I believe I can make the country proud in future.” Olowora, who hopes to be a lawyer in future, called for more support from states in order to help young athletes like her achieve their dreams. “It will be very good if the state can help us because we finished this festival if they can help us and encourage us from here just like what Adopt-A-Talent is doing,” she remarked. “The programme helps us athletes to improve. We are given N20, 000 at the moment and I think we will be encouraged if it is continued.”


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Real Estate & Environment

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

31

Ekiti targets 5,000 houses for citizens in 2013 DAYO AYEYEMI

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n order make housing more affordable for the people of the state, Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has declared the intention of his administration to construct 5,000 housing units in 2013. Fayemi in his New Year broadcast said the planned 5,000 new houses was being initiated to save citizens of the state from shylock landlords and dubious property developers cashing in on inadequacy of decent houses in the state. He said the scheme to be known as “Homes Agenda” will coordinate the efforts of various stakeholders in the housing sector. Besides, he said the scheme would also incorporate the engagement of the private sector through a Public-Private Partnership arrangement to meet the target. Fayemi also unfolded the plans of his administration to build two new General Hospitals in Ilawe and Iye while the Oba Adejugbe General Hospital Complex hitherto abandoned will be completed in the first half of the year. The governor added that arrangements have been concluded for the comprehensive renovation of all 20 specialists and General Hospitals as well as 35 basic health centres across the state in 2013. The governor reiterated the commitment of his administration to complete all ongoing capital projects in 2013 that are central to its eight-point agenda. Fayemi pledged to complete all ongoing road projects and initiate new ones in other to make all parts of the state accessible and continue with the urban renewal programme that is beautifying the state. With Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, already undergoing massive transformation, he said government would focus on the construction of township roads in Ikere, Ikole and Ijero which used to be divisional headquarters. A new ministry, according to him, would be created to bring together Community Development, Rural Development, Cooperative Services and Social Mobilisa-

One of the low-income Estates in Abuja.

tion to coordinate anti-poverty strategies. Fayemi revealed that the Ikogost Tourist Resort wouldl officially be opened for business in the first quarter of the year, saying the huge investment in tourism was geared towards making Ekiti the most attractive destination for relaxation and holidays in Nigeria. He pointed out that the revival of two moribund industrial facilities (Ire Burnt Bricks and Odua Enterprise Centre) has expanded state’s resources and provide more job opportunities for its citizens. He promised sustenance of good governance through budget discipline, transparency and probity in the utilisation of public funds. The governor also revealed that newly established Peace Corps will become operational in the New Year to complement the efforts of security agencies in tackling crimes and making the state more secure. Describing 2013 as Ekiti’s year of empowerment and consolidation, Fayemi stated that the year would witness wealth creation through the provision of a condu-

Fayemi

cive environment for job creation, youth and women empowerment, among others. He promised that his administration would continue to support government workers by improving their welfare in 2013 through various incentives to motivate them for greater performance. The establishment of Peace Corps, he

Useful steps before selling your home Before you start making repairs, before selling your home or marking dates on your calendar for an open house, Elizabeth Weintraub @ About.com Guide, says it’s smart to prepare a home selling plan.

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f course, you want top dollar, but you could make costly home selling mistakes along the way if your enthusiasm for quickly selling causes you to run out and stick a for sale sign in the yard before you’re fully prepared to sell. Motivation for selling Explore your reasons for selling. Everybody has a reason to sell. If you aren’t truly motivated or committed to selling -if it just struck you one morning that you should move to the other side of town and you haven’t completely thought through the process -- you could be setting yourself up for disappointment. Buying a new home

Most people who sell do so to buy another home. Put together a list of neighborhoods where you may want to live and drive them. Go to open houses. Check out pricing between newer homes vs. older homes. Weigh your options. You might find you prefer to stay where you are. Call real estate agents Interview real estate agents, talk to at least three neighbourhood specialists. Ask each listing agent to give you a marketing plan that explains what they will do to market your home. In addition, ask the agents to prepare a comparative market analysis for you and ask each for advice about: •Preparing your home for sale

Compare suggestions and consider accepting the most sound advice. Generally, you will want to move out bulky and excess furniture. •Repairs before selling Not all resale repairs will pay off. You don’t want to spend a lot of money making improvements but you do want to repair obvious maintenance issues, if any have been neglected. •Home staging You can hire a professional stager, ask your agent to help stage or stage it yourself. You will get more for your home if it is staged. •Home pricing Do not select an agent based on suggested sales price. Some will overbid each other to get the listing. But do not overprice. Homes that are overpriced often sell for less than market value. •Net profits from selling

said, was borne out of the need to provide the enabling environment for all citizens and residents to pursue their legitimate businesses in an atmosphere of congenial peace. “It is common knowledge for all of us that society thrives more and attracts higher economic growth when there is peace. “Consequently, State Peace Corps will become operational in the New Year to complement the efforts of the regular law enforcement agencies to bring criminal activities to a significant low level,” he said. The Social Security Scheme of his administration for registered elderly persons who are 65 years and above will be extended beyond the scope of 20,000 beneficiaries who are receiving monthly stipends of N5,000. He revealed that the state College of Agriculture will take off in 2013, in addition to the establishment of two rice processing mills and one cassava processing plant in partnership withthe Federal Government in the bid to boost agric business.

I always prepare two net sheets for sellers, each with a low price and a high price. This way, sellers can be prepared for the worst and hope for the best. If the lowest net price will let you buy the home you want, it’s time to find financing. Find a lender First, call your existing lender to find out exactly how much you need to pay off. You should order a beneficiary statement. Then check out new financing offers from your own lending institutions and credit unions. Ask for a Good Faith Estimate GFE. Compare rates and fees. Also, ask for referrals to mortgage brokers from agents. Often, mortgage brokers have more flexibility to discount rates and are more competitive. •Get a loan preapproval letter, so you know how much of a mortgage you will qualify to obtain. •You don’t need to apply for the maximum mortgage, and a lower mortgage payment might make you more comfortable in the long run.


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Real Estate & Environment

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

To make your home more attractive, use contemporary rugs Rugs can certainly make any room come to life. The newer version of rugs has moved away from traditional designs as homes get more innovatively decorated. So, a rug of any kind will add to the richness and warmth to your home.

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any of people choose contemporary rug. Unfortunately, they simply do not know what to look for when shopping for this type of product. Ultimately, the intent of the contemporary rug is to enhance a particular room in the home. This is a relatively simple and inexinex pensive way to change the appe appearance p aran ance of a room without having mawithou ut ha havi ving n to o ma make ke m ajor changes. We c choose contemporary hoos ho ose e co cont ntemporary rug to add

Culled from blogspot.com

the clutter of the room. If there is no clutter, there will appear to be some. You will want to select colours that are soft and potentially warm. This is especially true if you have a dark living area. If you elect to put a rug in the living room area, the best ones to choose are those that th hat have ha ave a border borrde err orr those tho ose os that that are solid sol oliid id coloured. collou ourred. d Iff you you elect yo elec el ct to to choose choo ch oose se one one e that that at is dual dua uall coloured, colo co col lourred, ed be be certain certaiin that tha at the th he colours colou ou urs match match at the the othoth her eleme elements room. ments of the he lliving ivin iv ing g rro oom oom. m

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Real Estate & Environment

33

Lagos has planted 4.2m trees in 5 years, says Fashola DAYO AYEYEMI

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etween 2008 and now, Lagos has planted about 4.2million trees, a figure which is still not enough. Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola has disclosed. Fashola stated this while joining other notable friends of the environment in planting trees to commemorate the 75th birthday of the founder of Fight against Desert Encroachment (FADE), Dr Newton Jibunoh. He pointed out that the environment is the most topical issue of the day as it would determine the economy, health status of the people and the sustenance of businesses. The governor who spoke at the Wahab Iyanda Folawiyo Senior School, First Avenue/Osborne, Ikoyi, venue of the ceremony, said if there is any reason anybody should change his mind if he has never planted a tree before or felt the earth with his hands, he should consider that all those who have fraternised with the Conservation Foundation have lived on to become 90 and beyond. “Somehow, somewhere, I think we have taken a little too much and nature is fighting back. If nature wins, it will be perilous for our planet, but we can begin to tease nature by giving her back some things”, the governor said. He explained that trees would become the first line of defence against flooding, erosion, desertification, adding that if one could not connect desertification with heavy rains, increasing price of food or with lost farmlands, dwindling resources to sustain and nourish the people then it would be difficult for such a person to connect anything. He stated that many parts of the world

L-R: Founder of Fight Against Desert Encroachment (FADE), Dr. Newton Jibunoh; Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola; and General Theophilus Danjuma (rtd); during the 75 Trees Birthday Anniversary in commemoration of Jibunoh’s 75th birthday in Lagos, last week.

are losing their arable land and it would not be out of place to ask that every home in Lagos must ensure that they find a small place to plant at least one tree. Fashola commended the celebrant for dedicating four decades of his life to a cause that he is not the sole beneficiary, expressing the hope that the day will become significant for all of those who witnessed the ceremony. He recalled that some days ago he was at the Lekki area where he saw a cluster of Ekki trees which were the last, adding that for those who are familiar with the tree, it is an invaluable tree that is used to make footwears.

He said the government is trying to regenerate and replant the trees but expressed the fear that the trees have only stayed alive because those who make a business of felling trees have perhaps not found a chain saw strong enough to attack it, adding that it is everybody’s business to protect the cluster. “For our engineers, architects and all of us who impact nature, who build roads, football pitches and all of such structures. We must be sensitive to how we build, how we lay out the plot and how we interfere with the natural cause of water because they have life changing consequences once we make those decisions”, he explained.

UK prices fell 1% in 2012, latest Nationwide data shows

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K house prices saw little change in December, continuing the trend evident throughout 2012, according to the latest index from the Nationwide released last Thursday. The UK lender’s latest figures show that the price of a typical home fell by 0.1% last month and that overall in 2012 price are down by 1%, reversing the 1% increase recorded in 2011. The typical UK home is now worth £162,262 but there are regional variations and the North/South divide in property prices continues to widen. ‘UK house prices were little changed in December, declining by just 0.1% over the month, though this was sufficient to keep the annual rate of price growth in negative territory for the tenth month in succession,’ said Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist. ‘Given that the UK economy was in recession for much of 2012 a 1% decline in house prices may be seen as a relatively resilient performance. However, the fact that prices declined even though employment rose strongly, suggests that conditions remain fragile, especially since other signs of housing market activity, such as the number

London Property

of mortgage approvals, remained subdued, well below their long run averages,’ he explained. ‘The outlook remains uncertain. Continued low interest rates and policy measures such as the Funding for Lending Scheme should provide some support. But, with the economic recovery expected to remain fairly weak, the

housing market is likely to be characterised by low levels of activity again in 2013, with prices remaining flat or modestly lower over the course of the year,’ he added. Overall most regions saw price falls during 2012 with 11 out of 13 UK regions recording annual price falls. England continued to outperform the

Speaking earlier, the chairman of the occasion and former Permanent Secretary in the Federal Public Service, Chief Philip Asiodu, said it was commendable that the occasion was devoted to planting of trees “which is one of the most effective things man can do now to reverse the destructive impact which man has brought upon the earth in the quest for development.” He said trees are the most effective agents for trapping carbon dioxide and reducing its accumulation in the atmosphere where it could only increase global warming and the climate change which threatens the future of the earth as a viable habitat for man.

other home nations, with prices down 0.4% in annual terms. The typical property in Wales recorded a 2.7% fall, while Scotland saw prices dip by 3.3%. London was the best performing region and Northern Ireland continued to see the largest price falls. For the fifth year in succession Northern Ireland registered the largest decline in property values, with prices falling by 8.2%, leaving prices more than 50% below their 2007 highs. This is a significantly larger correction than the national average, where overall UK house prices are around 11% below their peak. ‘Within England, the North/South divide in property prices continued to widen, with the price of a typical home in the South now around £95,000 more than in the North, a new high and around 2% more than at the close of 2011,’ said Gardner. ‘The uncertain outlook for the wider economy is also likely to have kept many potential buyers on the sidelines, unwilling to make such a major financial commitment until they feel more optimistic about the future. Indeed, despite the rise in employment over the past twelve months, consumer confidence has remained well below normal levels,’ he added.


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National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Potential mortgage blow for Dubai property market J ust as it is recovering well from its real estate crash with foreign buyers returning to the market, Dubai has been dealt a potential mortgage blow. The UAE central bank has decided to limit mortgage loans for foreigners buying residential real estate in the country to 50% of the property’s value, it is reported. The restriction, according to report by Property Wire, is contained in a circular issued to commercial banks and it unconfirmed by officials. If true it could put off buyers who cannot come up with enough cash. It is understood that the central bank’s move is part of an effort to ensure that another bubble in UAE real estate does not develop. Property prices plunged by more than 50% between 2008 and 2011, triggering a corporate debt crisis in Dubai that forced the restructuring of billions of dollars of debt. This year, residential prices in parts of Dubai began to recover and property developers laid plans for new high end projects. The central bank may want to head off the wild speculation that characterised the last property boom. However, bankers said they were shocked by the circular, which could hurt confidence in the real estate market’s recovery and hurt the share prices of property developers and banks. They are trying to regulate banks, but are controlling consumers by giving them limited choices. It will lead to less invest-

Property in Dubai

ment by end users, a senior executive at a local bank told Reuters. If implemented, this will impact on the real estate sector. After the property market improved, some banks had started lending up to 85% on some projects, an Abu Dhabi based analyst said. It’s positive when we look at the fi-

UK housing market ended with increase in prices, sales in 2012

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ouse prices in the UK increased by 1.3 per cent in December and activity also improved towards the end of 2012, the latest index from the Halifax shows. House prices in the final quarter of 2012, according to Property Wire’s report were 0.6 per cent higher than in the previous quarter, the first increase in this measure of the underlying trend since May 2012 following six consecutive falls. Prices in the three months to December were slightly lower, down by 0.3 per cent, compared with the last three months of 2011 but the lender pointed out that this marked an improvement over the previous few months and was the smallest annual decline since May 2012 when it was -0.1%. Overall, there were six monthly rises and six decreases during 2012 and activity picked up modestly in recent months, from 75,000 in July to 80,000 in November. Overall, sales in the three months to November were 2% higher than in the same period last year. There was evidence of a firming in the housing market in the final few months of 2012. Prices in the three months from October to December were 0.6 per cent higher than in the preceding three months. This was the first increase in this measure of

the underlying trend for seven months, said Martin Ellis, housing economist at the Halifax. Overall, last year saw an even mix of monthly rises and falls as prices lacked any real direction as both demand and supply pressures remained largely unchanged during 2012. On an annual basis, prices in the final quarter of 2012 were marginally lower than in the last three months of 2011, he explained. The Halifax expects the housing market to remain broadly stable in 2013 with prices likely to end the year at levels close to where they begin. The outlook for the UK economy and house prices, however, remains more unclear than usual. Subdued economic growth, sustained high unemployment and pressures on household finances will constrain housing demand. The relatively low level of mortgage payments in relation to income, however, should provide support for house prices, said Ellis. More people expect house prices to rise than fall over the coming twelve months, according to the latest Halifax Housing Market Confidence tracker. Nearly four in ten, 38% of respondents predict the average UK house price will rise over the next year, whilst less than a fifth of respondents (18%) forecast a decline in prices.

nancial and lending perspective, but the question is whether this lending cap is practical, he added. A real estate industry source said that in addition to the 50% for foreigners, a 70 per cent limit had been introduced on mortgages for UAE citizens. But it is not clear whether the caps are recommenda-

tions or absolutely mandatory, the source added. In Dubai foreigners are currently allowed to buy property in designated areas. The UAE central bank has previously sought to regulate the lending of commercial banks to reduce risk, only to back off after the banks protested.

‘Loans for UK homes from banks increased’

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he number of loan approvals for house purchases in the UK increased in November and was higher than the previous six month average, the latest figures from the Bank of England show. The number of approvals for remortgaging decreased slightly in November but was still above the previous six month average, the data also shows. The mortgage industry welcomed the figures, which also showed that there was almost a billion pounds of extra lending in the first four months of the government’s Funding for Lending Scheme. ‘It is a sure sign that a steady momentum is building in the market. With £6 billion of funding made available for house purchases by the major lenders for the second month running, even at this relatively early stage, supply and demand are both moving in the right direction,’ said Peter Williams, executive director of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association. ‘Given the optimistic tone of the Bank’s Credit Conditions Survey, we anticipate the continuing revival of purchase and remortgage lending in 2013. Brokers will certainly be kept busy in the coming months as lenders compete for business and consider how to address de-

mand for higher loan to value (LTV) products,’ he added. According to Brian Murphy, head of lending at the Mortgage Advice Bureau, there is a positive outlook for the mortgage market in 2013. ‘Cheaper funding is clearly starting to have the desired impact, and as funds continue to be accessed from agreed loans, we can expect to see more of the same as the Funding for Lending Scheme matures,’ he said. MAB’s National Mortgage Index for November showed that borrowers were enjoying extremely attractive rates on both purchase and remortgage applications, making fixed rate deals the obvious choice for the vast majority (90%) of consumers. ‘The fact that lenders are anticipating an increase in maximum loan to value ratios will be a particularly welcome boost for anyone asking how they can gain a foothold on the property ladder in the current climate,’ he added. Meanwhile, figures from the Building Societies Association (BSA) also show that loans are on an upward trend. Building societies and other mutual lenders made £2.7 billion of mortgage loans in November 2012, up 9% compared to November 2011. This means that mutual

lenders accounted for 21% of gross mortgage lending in the UK in November 2012. In the first eleven months of 2012, mutuals lent £28.3 billion of mortgages, accounting for 22% of the whole market. In this period, mutual lenders made over 61,000 loans to first time buyers, up from 36,000 loans in the same period in 2011. Net mortgage lending, gross lending minus repayments, by mutuals was £0.6 billion in November 2012. In the first 11 months of 2012 net lending by mutuals amounted to £6.2 billion, out of £7.2 billion across the market as a whole over this period. Looking ahead to future completions, mutuals approved 24,800 new mortgage loans in November 2012, 19% higher than the 20,800 loans approved in November 2011. ‘Mortgage lending by building societies and other mutuals increased substantially in 2012 based on the data we have published today for the first 11 months of the year. Mutual lenders accounted for a greater share of total gross lending in this period than over the equivalent period in 2011, showing that the sector has stepped up to the plat and supported many of those looking to purchase a home,’ said Paul Broadhead, head of mortgage policy at the BSA.


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Mr. Edward Olarerin is the South West, Regional Manager of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the longest serving one at that. Under his purview are the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, Benin Airport, Akure Airport, Ilorin Airport and Ibadan Airport. In this interview with OLUSEGUN KOIKI, he speaks on the challenges, opportunities and the future of the aviation industry. Excerpts: It has become an annual ritual that during festivities, passengers and cargo traffic increase at the airports, what are you doing to ensure smooth movement of passengers and cargo during yuletide? When you observe the airport as a whole; domestic and international, you will see that you have a lot of capacity being created; that is, expansion being added now and we are already seeing the result. I have given you data for 2011, but what I can do is to start from the October figure for this year in relation to last year. As for passenger movements in October 2012 in relation to last year, we had 640, 845, which happens to be about 11 per cent increase over October 2011. We equally have the cargo figure as follows; 16,016, 542 kg of cargo that entered and left the country in October 2012 and this happens to be about 25 per cent increase over 2011. Unfortunately, we have a decrease in aircraft movement. The aircraft movement for October was 8,527, with eight per cent decrease over 2011; this was as a result of the ban imposed on some of our domestic airlines after the Dana crash because if you can have passenger increasing and cargo increasing then it is logical that aircraft movement would increase. That is why you see a lot of pressure on our airlines. With this total figure, 11 per cent and 25 per cent, this is not small, I expect that in cargo because we now have a new directorate of cargo because we want to focus on and develop cargo in Nigeria. Over the years, when you look at cargo, it has been on the increase you see airlines bringing Boeing 747-800 into the country and with this development that we are increasing facilities, the outside world is aware all the business men and women are aware and what I can tell you is that we are just seeing the beginning. The good thing is that at the international wing, about two weeks ago, we put into use the expansion of the ‘E’ Arrival Hall. The addition to that arrival hall is more than what we have on ground now and that is what we are adding to it, the space we are adding to the two Halls, ‘Echo’ and ‘Delta’, the Echo hall what we have added to it is more than what used to be on ground, this simply means that when we have four flights on ground we are no more diverting any flight. Although, I will not say passengers are comfortable for now, which will soon be in the past, but the handling now is better. So, the influx is there and we expect that when the statistics come out, we will see increase in these areas, cargo and passengers. Even these aircraft movements we are talking about, we also expect to see increase. In the domestic area, the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) you know what it usually is, when people want to transit

Aviation

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

35

Remodelling will provide more comfort for passengers –MMIA boss IF THE DANA AIR ACCIDENT HAD HAPPENED AT THE

AIRPORT, WE WOULD HAVE SAVED SOME LIVES from the international to the hinterlands, Owerri, Akure, but when you go to the GAT now the capacity is unlike before when you see everybody fighting and struggling to use third party to buy tickets, it is no longer there because there is now space and people can spread out unlike what you have during this period every year. What are the plans to connect GAT and international to bypass the traffic moving from these two points in the same airport? Prior to this time, the plan that was on ground, the passengers are supposed to be transported via the airside, but the proposal in the master plan of the aviation ministry now is to have brand new terminal building built at the international here and the intention is to link both international and domestic together, so around this time, you don’t even need to leave the terminal building to cross to domestic. That is the plan the aviation ministry has as a final solution to that.That is the Aerotropolis programme they have and that is the plan, so you don’t need to transport to anywhere all your needs as an air traveller are within the airport. Many passengers and more to come how are you curbing miscreants and undesirable elements around the airports? That is why I said you guys should avail yourself and move around to confirm one or two of the things I have said, the airport has a joint task force standing, and it cuts across all agencies Air Force, police, State Security Service (SSS), Aviation Security (AVSEC) and they jointly patrol from length A-Z so what we have done now is increase the number, get more people to get the taskforce strengthened and we are getting very good result with that. We are trying to make sure these people do not get very close to the airports not to mention coming into the halls. So that one will ensure that we curtail what we experienced in the past and you know the airport is in the ton unlike when it is in a remote area, people will come. So, what you do is to checkmate them so they do not obstruct genuine air travellers. We have a lobby expanded with eateries, retail outlet, so if you see anyone off those is the places you terminate. What is your impression on the fire cover at the airport? My impression is that I’m comfortable with what we have on ground now. That Dana crash, the Airport Emergency Procedure (AEP) at the airport, I was the incident commander, that is if anything happens up to five nautical miles, it is within our purview, but from there National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) takes over. Now, if it has happened all our vehicles were there, we went there before anybody, whereas the fire people from the town must have been there before us, but for us to move from the airport and be re-

Olarerin

plenishing water from there because the Iju waterworks could not supply. We believe if it had happened at the airport, we don’t pray for that, but if it had happened, we would have done very well. We have six functional fire vehicles and the minimum we are supposed to have is three for the category of this airport, but we have six and we have two water tankers one is 15,000 litres the other is 10,000 litres that is good enough. I am not saying we cannot have more but the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) required minimum is three, but we have six. So, if it had happened in the airport we would be on top of it, we would have saved lives. They were saying we overdid it in Qatar case. After Dana, I called the emergency team within and outside the airport to review our programme we call them collaborators, and we reviewed the programme and everyone now understood his or her function. The alert on Qatar that came, it would have been one of those routine things that fire service and control tower would handle, but because people did not know the turnout and Qatar said they were embarrassed, but there was an alert and the turnout was heavy, so to the best of my knowledge, if they said they didn’t turnout, it would have been worse, but they over turned turn out. The procedure is intact we tested it, reviewed it and that is the result you see. What are the emergency plans you have on ground at the airport? We have an emergency response document, which states who will do what at what time, government agencies, airlines, handling companies, collaborators like ambulances, everyone has a copy that states their role in an incident or accident. So, if anything happens, I am supposed to mobilise as many ambulances as possible from these people because it’s like signing an unofficial agreement and if anything happens, you don’t need to call them, they know they have to provide, if any event

happens, we get to the Emergency Operation Coordination (EOC) that is where things are co-ordinate. How have you been able to cope in the last 12 months of the remodeling exercise of the MMIA by the government? It was interesting, see some of us can laugh now just because we have done it. Let me start from the domestic wing, we invited the MD Arik to the security meeting one day when we had an issue to sort out with them and the man said that he had never seen it anywhere in the world that you process such large number of passengers through that tent. He didn’t like it, but he had to praise us, how did we do it moving people through that place? If you have seen the place where we processed them, you will know that for us to move in a short while from there to this place, we should be given a lot of credit. Managing them was not easy. The place was a problem; the terminal manager was virtually sleeping there. Then, we had this people at the international, we tagged them, ‘How may I help you,’ they go to passengers that are stranded, you must be stranded and they help you find your way, they ask you how may I help you? And they guide you. Everybody noticed their efforts and praised them. That is why I say it was interesting, I can say that now because the worse is over. It was difficult because we did not, could not shut down the terminal, we were working around people. It’s very difficult because you tell people, in the next 24 hours you have to leave here, but because they saw what you are doing they complied. Everyone was up and doing. How many passengers can this terminal handle and how many would it handle at a go when the remodelling is eventually over? The airport used to handle over 1, 500 passengers daily, but now, it cannot have anything less than 6,000 passengers and that means with the facility created, the airport can handle 6,000 passengers, that is about 10 wide bodied aircraft if not more.


36

Aviation

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Etihad Airways passengers traffic increased by 22% in 2012

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tihad Airways said it has surpassed its target of carrying 10 million passengers in 2012 and it achieved a record 22 per cent increase on the total of 8.41 million passengers for 2011. The increase in passenger numbers - up to a total of 10.29 million, represents an extra 1.88 million passengers travelling on the carrier’s global network that now covers 87 of its own passenger and cargo destinations, and 245 code-share destinations. An online statement signed by the airline’s media consultant in Nigeria stated that the passenger growth for Etihad Airways is mirrored by its equity partners. By the end of 2012, airberlin carried 33.4 million passengers, Virgin Australia 19.5 million passengers, Aer Lingus nearly 11 million passengers, and Air Seychelles 241,000 passengers. Etihad Airways and its equity partners collectively carried more than 74 million passengers in 2012, with cooperation between the five airlines greatly contributing to passenger growth. An example of the success of this cooperation is the 300,000 passengers’ airberlin and Etihad Airways have delivered onto

Q

Qatar Airways aircraft

Airside shegzzy4live2000@yahoo.co.uk 08186007273

When an operator wants to regulate

A

L-R: Head, Public Affairs, Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Mr. Tunji Oketunbi, Legal Adviser, AIB, Mrs. Maureen Tsenongo and Commissioner, AIB, Capt. Muthtar Usman at a media workshop for Aviation journalists held in Lagos recently.

each other’s networks during the last 12 months. The President, Etihad Airways, James Hogan said, “Etihad Airways has achieved significant expansion in 2012 and therefore it’s very satisfying to pass our target of flying more than 10 million passengers during a year for the first time. “We have launched flights to six new destinations during the last year; Tripoli, Shanghai, Nairobi, Basra, Lagos, and Ahmedabad, which have all contributed to the 22 per cent increase in passenger numbers.” Overall in 2012 Etihad Cargo carried a record 365,000 tonnes, 18 per cent more than in 2011.

Etihad Airways’ busiest route was Bangkok with the airline carrying nearly 691,000 passengers to the Thai capital during the year, a 38 per cent increase on 2011. This was closely followed by Manila, Heathrow and Jeddah. Sydney, Paris, Frankfurt, Manchester, Doha and Dublin complete the list of the 10 most popular routes. In 2012, the airline beat its previous record for the number of passengers carried in a single day with 33,766 passengers flying on Saturday 14 July. The airline took delivery of seven new aircraft in 2012, three Airbus A320s and four Boeing B777s.

Qatar Airways files $600m lawsuit against airport construction company atar Airways confirmed filing a $600million lawsuit against the German Emirati joint venture construction company Lindner Depa Interiors (LDI) engaged to build the new mega airport in Doha. Rumours about such a conflict emerged for some time after the opening dates for the new state-of-the-art Doha International airport in Qatar were moved forward from mid2012 to late 2012 and now estimated for mid-2013. Qatar Airways is desperately banking on the new airport to be open. The current facilities have no room to expand

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

and the airport is operating above capacity. The new $15bn airport will have new super-sized lounges and transit facilities catering to the growing number of travelers now flying through the Doha, Qatar hub. Qatar Airways was the Gulf launch customer for the new B787 Dreamliner, which allowed for new destinations to be launched, all, however, resulting in putting increased pressure on the present airport facilities. It made it difficult for Qatar Airways to translate their five-star airborne experience into a similar top-of-therange standard on the ground.

Qatar Airways is head to head competing with Ethiad, operating from their Abu Dhabi hub, and Emirates using Dubai as their gateway to the world. While business and first class lounges in Doha meet the standards travellers have come to expect, increased congestion for economy class passengers has on a number of occasions been cited as substandard. Qatar Airways Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker, left no doubt over his anger and disappointment when he was quoted in the media release as having said, “We are extremely disappointed by the poor performance of LDI, which has failed to carry out the contract in a timely manner which in turn has forced a delay of the opening of the New Doha International Airport by nearly a year. “We have been badly affected as an airline with the delay impacting Qatar Airways’ expansion plans that include new aircraft deliveries and opening up new routes at the rate we want to and more importantly causing a lot of inconvenience to our passengers in addition to the revenue losses to the airline and its subsidiaries.

irside was amazed last week by an accusation made against one of the leading Chief Executive Officers in one of the airlines in the country. a source close to one of the agencies had confided in National Mirror that the CEO had vowed to deal with the DirectorGeneral of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr. Harold Demuren because of his support for expansion programme. The CEO reportedly threatened to deal with the no nonsense helmsman through his connections in Abuja and allegedly used the Dana Air crash of June to perpetuate his agenda. The CEO in one of the panels set up by government attributed the Dana Air crash to the negligence of the regulatory authority and called for criminal pros-

ecution of Demuren, warning that if not removed, such calamity could befall his own airline, which the National Assembly later recommended. What bothers Airside is the seemingly power of this CEO who wants to corner everything for his organisation without considering the safety aspect and even moved against some of the indigenous airlines. Airside hopes that the Nigerian aviation industry will not degenerate to the current situation in the oil industry where the oil cartels have taken over the sector from the government and now determine what happens in the sector. One should be careful when the regulated wants to become the regulator. Airside thinks there is more to it than meet the eyes.

NAMA should put its house in order

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he Nigerian Airspace Management Agency’s primary responsibility is to safeguard the country’s airspace through the provision of navigational aids to the flying aircraft. Part of the navigational aids is the provision of effective radio to the Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) for communication with pilots in the air. But, in the last couple of weeks, there have been controversies between the management of NAMA and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), the umbrella body of ATC over the poor state of radios.

However, rather than concentrate on solving the problem, the management of NAMA is accusing some of the ATCs of planning to remove it for baseless reasons while the ATCs too are insisting that the poor radio communications has been on for decades and warned of imminent danger in the airspace if not rectified soon. Airside uses this medium to advice the management of NAMA to put its house in order and address all the grey areas raised by ATC which use this equipment daily. Safe air should be the primary concern of all stakeholders and professionals in the sector.

Hurricane Sandy hurts United Continental’s results

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nited Continental Holdings estimated that its fourth-quarter capacity fell 4.2 per cent from a year earlier, with more than a third of the decline resulting from Superstorm Sandy. For the full year, the Chicago-based airline forecast a 1.5 per cent decline in capacity. United, the world’s largest by traffic, also said it expects its fourth-quarter unit revenue—the amount of passenger revenue taken in for each seat flown a mile—to show an increase in the range of 0.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent. And after a tough year marked by mergerintegration glitches, full-year unit revenue is expected to rise by only 1.7 per cent to 1.9 per cent. The carrier, in a Securities and Exchange Commission fil-

ing last week, said it expects its unit cost, excluding profitsharing, fuel and special charges, to rise by 5.6 per cent to 6.6 per cent in the fourth quarter, compared with a year ago. It said weather-related capacity reductions, including from Sandy, were a significant contributor to the gain. United also said due to recent progress in talks on a joint labour contract for its separate groups of employees represented by the International Association of Machinists union, the company “made additional accruals not included in previous” fourth-quarter unit-cost guidance. For the full year, unit costs, excluding profit-sharing, fuel and restructuring expenses, are expected to rise by 3.2 per cent to 3.6 per cent.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Insurance

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

37

A

large volume of insurance businesses in Nigeria are renewable in January. But due to the new directive that stipulates that underwriters cannot issue documents except premium has been paid in advance or the broker notifies the underwriter to the effect that premium has been collected by the broker within 48 hours, most renewals are getting inconclusive as underwriters have refused to issue documents to the brokers except premium payment is made in advance. An insurance renewal is the standard length of time an insurance policy is in effect without the insurance company adjusting the rate. There are exceptions to every rule, and it is possible for the rate to change shortly after purchasing a new policy if the policyholder does not meet underwriting guidelines. The renewal date of an insurance policy is based upon the date the policy took effect. So it could actually take place on any day of the year depending on when the policyholder originally started the policy. Policies usually renew annually or semi-annually. Presently, there is palpable tension in the insurance industry following the directive released by the regulator, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) which comes into effect from last week Tuesday. In the past, underwriters issue documents on motor certificates, Cover notes, Group life Certificates, Marine certificates etc well ahead of the renewal date. Brokers remitted premiums to underwriters when they deem fit while underwriters were afraid to confront any major brokers. There were no sanctions for either late or non- remittance of premium. But both the underwriter and broker are now being cautious not to breach the NAICOM guidelines and be liable to pay heavy fines. The guideline stipulates a penalty of N500,000 or license withdrawal for any insurance company that provides cover without premium. In the guideline, signed by the Commissioner for Insurance, Mr Fola Daniel, all insurance brokers within 48 hours of receiving insurance premium on behalf of insurers, must notify the insurer through writing, adding that all insurance covers shall only be provided on a strict ‘no premium no cover’ basis. He noted that consequently, only cover for which payment has been received directly by the insurer or indirectly through a duly licensed insurance broker, would be recognised as income in the books of the insurer. “Any insurer, who grants cover without having premium in advance or premium receipt notification from the relevant insurance broker would be liable to a penalty of N500,000 in respect of each cover so granted, and in addition, may be a ground for suspension of the licence of the insurer. “Irrespective of period of insurance, insurers shall ensure that at any point, they have received directly or indirectly, through the insurance broker the full premium in advance for cover being granted. “All brokers should within 48 hours of receiving premium on behalf of

Daniel

Osijo

Insurance policy renewals stalled under new rules

Insurance policies are mostly renewable in the nation’s insurance industry in January. OMOBOLA TOLU-KUSIMO writes that the ‘No premium, No cover’ directive which makes it mandatory for insurance to be sold only on a cash and carry basis from 1st January 2013 may suffer hitches even as insurance operators align themselves with the law. any insurer, must notify the insurer in writing in each case, of the receipt of such premium, adding that all such notifications shall be accompanied by the broker’s credit notes, acknowledging indebtedness to the insurer. “Upon the receipt of such credit notes, the insurer shall issue cover and forward the policy documents along with the related debt notes to the broker. Any broker who failed to notify the insurer of any premium received on his behalf shall be liable to a penalty that is not less than N250,000 in each case of failure to notify. He mandated insurers to notify NAICOM, not later than 30 days from the end of every quarter, of all premiums acknowledged as having been received by brokers or lead insurers, but not remitted to them, adding that any insurer who fails to render such return, shall be liable to a penalty of N5,000 for each day of default. Another innovation introduced by the No Premium No Cover directive is to the effect that an external auditor who audits the account of an insurance broking firm “shall at the conclusion of each audit issue a certificate that all premiums collected by the insurance broker have been paid to the insurance companies whom it transacted businesses” with during the period. It is even more difficult for underwriters to breach the policy because NAICOM has mandated that any fine paid to it as a result of an offence must

FOR NOW, WE ARE STILL VIEWING THE DIRECTION THAT THE

LAW WILL TAKE.

MOST

OF THE POLICIES WILL EXPIRE BY THE END

JANUARY AND BY THEN, WE WILL BE

OF

ABLE TO ASCERTAIN FULLY HOW CUSTOMERS RESPOND TO THE

CHANGE.

BEFORE NOW,

CUSTOMERS CAN GET

JANUARY AND PAY IN MARCH COVER IN

BUT THIS WOULD CHANGE NOW be stated in the company report for the knowledge of shareholders and investors. Based on this, most brokers and underwriters are being scared and cautious of breaching the rule. For now, none seems to be ready to come under the wrath of the regulator. Some operators who spoke with Na-

tional Mirror said some companies cannot even conclude the renewal of their company assets insurances because they are required to pay upfront to their insurers. Managing Director, Pinnacle Brokers Ltd, Mr. Dennis Nnorom stated that the directive would have being the right thing for the industry if only adequate time was given by the regulator before implementation and enforcement takes place. He however pointed out that both the broker and underwriter are at the moment observing the situation as customers who have been loyal before may find it difficult to renew their policies. He said, “Although, the directive is the right thing for the industry, implementation would be challenging. “For now, we are still viewing the direction that the law will take. Most of the policies will expire by the end of January and by then, we will be able to ascertain fully how customers respond to the change. Before now, customers can get cover in January and pay in March but this would change now, Nnorom is worried that given the low level of insurance penetration in Nigeria, the no premium, no cover directive will slow down business. Managing Director, Staco Insurance Plc added that the industry premium income may reduce in 2013 when the directive is fully implemented.


38

Insurance

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Insurers to increase funding for staff training STORIES BY OMOBOLA TOLU-KUSIMO

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he President Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) Dr. Wole Adetimehin has said insurers are set to increase funding for training this year. This according to him will enable them to effectively prepare their staff for more productivity. Adetimehin noted that underwriters and brokers have given assurance to improve on their budget on staff training, adding that they have realised that the best assets is their human capital. He noted that the CIIN leadership had engaged the operators on the need to see the institute as theirs, adding that

the institute has continued to find new ways of enhancing the human capital of the industry. Before now, the Director General CIIN Adegboyega Adepegba had said there have been scaling down on budget for training by most companies. He said: “I want to suspect, that the budget for training has being falling, I do not have the figures, but I suspect, that there might been some scaling down of budget for training, this is a major challenge. This is because no matter how good and elaborate a training programme is, if we do not have more of our members attending it would not be well.” He said members of the industry are getting the best on training from the in-

I

According to statistics just released by Munich Re, the bulk of the S65billion losses were in the United States. The USA accounted for a higher proportion of global natural catastrophe losses than usual in 2012, due to a series of severe weather-related catastrophes. The report also showed that some 67% of overall losses and 90% of insured losses were attributable to the USA and the year’s highest insured loss was caused by Hurricane Sandy, with an estimated amount of around US$ 25bn. Hurricane Sandy also accounted for some US$50bn in overall losses. Some 9,500 people lost their lives in natural catastrophes last year compared with the ten-year average of 106,000. The relatively small number of fatalities was due to the fact that, in 2012, few

severe natural catastrophes occurred in emerging and developing countries, where natural catastrophes tend to have far more devastating consequences in terms of human lives. However, it is unlikely that the flood disaster in Nigeria which is the worst in its history was taken into consideration

T

Adetimehin

stitute, stressing that operators are also encouraged to seek knowledge from every reputable sources to develop and redevelop themselves.

in calculating the global uninsured losses. This might have been due to the lack of reliable statistics in Nigeria. The flood disaster which occurred in 2012 in Nigeria affected over 30 states out of 36. Millions of people were displaced; several deaths recorded and unimaginable losses were caused.

Homes destroyed by Hurricane Sandy

How to do a ‘needs analysis’ before you buy life insurance

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hen buying life insurance, don’t choose a policy before you understand the financial needs of your beneficiaries. Damon Bates, a vice president at Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., says most people’s thinking is backwards when it comes to life insurance. They decide on the product they want, whether it’s basic term life insurance, permanent life insurance or a combination before they consider how much protection they need. “You really need to figure out how much life insurance you want and then think about which product, in that distinct order,” Bates says. The best way to determine how much life insurance you should buy is with a needs analysis. A new study by the international insurance consulting group LIMRA finds that people are 1.5 times more likely to buy life insurance if they first do a needs analysis. Analyse current and future expenses A good needs analysis will look at immediate, ongoing and future expens-

es, says Curt Lundquist, a financial consultant with Allstate Financial. Immediate expenses include any outstanding medical bills and the cost of a funeral, he says. Ongoing expenses include your mortgage and any other outstanding debt you have. People typically want their families to be able to pay off their debts when they die. “Debts are a much bigger issue today than they have been in the past,” Lundquist says. “The mortgage is another thing you’ll want to pay off at death because it’s such a big part of the budget,” he notes. Ongoing and future expenses might include sending your children to college. Consider whether your children are likely to seek advanced degrees and spend more time in school. “The more detail you can provide about the cost of college, the better,” he says. What you’re worth to your family Bates says his company looks at your lifetime economic value to help you determine the amount of life insurance to buy. The formula is based on your answers to these questions:

Miss Insurance Hosts Youth Empowerment Day o ensure academic excellence and give students an insight into the insurance profession, the current Insurance Queen, Miss Onyeka Adigwe, has hosted the first Youth Empowerment Day.

Natural catastrophes caused $160bn losses In 2012 –Munich Re n 2012, natural catastrophes caused US$160 billion in overall losses and US$65 billion in insured losses worldwide.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

How old are you? How much do you earn before taxes? What’s the annual value of the things you do for your family, such as chauffeuring kids, cutting the lawn, or whatever your survivors would have to pay else someone to do? How much do you pay in taxes? How much do you receive in employee benefits, such as health insurance and contributions to retirement savings? At what age do you plan to retire? How much do your beneficiaries need for personal necessities such as food, clothing and transportation? A good needs analysis also considers how much the death benefit from the life insurance policy is likely to earn if it’s invested, says Larry Ginsburg of Ginsburg Financial Advisors in Oakland, Calif., a longtime board member of the United Policyholders consumer advocacy group. Be honest when doing a needs analysis, Ginsburg advises. The insurance company selling you a policy isn’t likely to ask for tax returns to verify the information you’ve provided, but the

The programme that targets youths at the secondary school level was held recently at CMS Grammar School, Bariga. It was the grand finale of her pet project titled ‘Youth Empowerment: Functional Education and the Dangers of Drug Abuse.’ In the run-up to the day, the insurance queen organised an inter-schools essay competition on the topic, ‘Benefits of Insurance to a Nigerian Child’, saying the contest was her contribution to the ongoing insurance awareness programmes in the industry. According to her, students that excelled in the contest and their respective schools went home with various prizes and plaques. The winner of the essay-writing competition took a HP laptop while his school took a HP desktop computer. The first runner up took a mini laptop and her school, three-in-one scanner and a white board. The third position won a digital camera and a cash of N20,000 while his school got a water dispenser. Before the contest, Adigwe visited secondary schools with her team made up of representatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), educationists and insurance practitioners. Speaking on her pet project, the insurance queen said it was in furtherance of her resolve to see students focus more on their education without getting distracted by peer pressure and other social vices. She targeted the secondary school students “because they are more prone to negative influences that can jeopardise their future as well as that of the nation; and also to bring about veritable change among the upcoming leaders of tomorrow.” final analysis will be only as good as your answers. Online life insurance calculators You can find free calculators online to do your own needs analysis. Insure. com offers a life insurance calculator. “Some folks are comfortable taking a pass at it themselves before they go and talk to an agent,” Bates says. Others prefer to have an agent do it for them. Lundquist says that while online calculators are a good starting place, everyone’s needs are different, “so one form can’t work for all of us.” A good agent or financial planner will start with a basic form, he says, but customize the questions “and go deeper” to come up with a more accurate figure. Ginsburg recommends asking several agents to do separate analyses. “You should get more than one proposal from more than one life insurance Company so that you can compare life insurance quotes.” He says you should review all your policies including auto, home and disability insurance coverage to be sure they’re meeting your needs. “If your goals and objectives change, so could your insurance needs,” he says.

Problems with Insurance? Send a text: 07080735854


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Capital Market

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Equities rise 1.6% as banking stocks lead gainers JOHNSON OKANLAWON

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rading in equities continued on bullish note on the Nigerian Stock Exchange yesterday, as investors’ appetite on stocks rose further. Specifically, the Al Share Index appreciated by 1.59 per cent to close at 28,986.20 points, compared to the increase of 0.34 per cent recorded on Friday to close at 28,538.06 points. Market capitalisation gained N143bn to close at N9.26trn, higher than the rise of N31bn recorded on Friday to close at N9.12trn.

The Banking Index led the sectorial indices by 3.78 per cent to close at 373.59 points, followed by the Oil and Gas Index with 2.57 per cent to close at 157.82 points, The NSE 30-Index with 1.59 per cent to close at 1,380.70 points, while the Insurance Index increased by 1.15 per cent to close at 124.27 points. The Consumer Goods Index appreciated by 0.70 per cent to close at 851.76 points, while the Lotus Islamic Index rose by 0.12 per cent to close at 1,754.94 points. First City Monument Bank Plc led the gainers’

table with 47 kobo or 10 per cent to close at N5.17 per share, followed by Air Service Plc with 44 kobo or 10 per cent to close at N4.84 per share. Fidelity Bank Plc appreciated by 27 kobo or 9.93 per cent to close at N2.99 per share, while Skye Bank Plc gained 51 kobo or 9.90 per cent to close at N5.66 per share. United Bank for Africa Plc closed at N4.68 per share, up by 42 kobo or 9.86 per cent. On the flip side, Neimeth International Plc lost five kobo or five per cent to close at 95 kobo per share, while Beta Glass Plc shed 52 kobo or

4.95 per cent to close at N9.98 per share. NEM Insurance Plc declined by three kobo or 4.92 per cent to close at 58 kobo per share, while Pharma Deco Plc dropped 12 kobo or 4.86 per cent to close at N2.35 per share. Evans Medicals Plc fell four kobo or 4.60 per cent to close at 84 kobo per share. Transaction volume in equities rose by 95 per cent, as a total of 457.72 million shares worth N3bn were exchanged in 5,825 deals, compared to 289.43 million shares valued at N2.56bn traded in 4,510 deals on Friday.

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investments were tepid. “We have a cautious market entering fourth-quarter earnings season,” said Peter Cardillo, Chief Market Economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York. “I think it’s going to be a disappointing one this time around.” Uneasiness about weak corporate results emerged even as data on Friday showed US employers kept up a steady pace of hiring in December and the vast services sector had expanded. The three major US stock indexes opened lower. The Dow Jones industrial average finance/markets/ indexI was last down 39.87 points, or 0.30 per cent, at 13,395.34 points. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 4.78 points, or 0.33 per cent, at 1,461.69. The Nasdaq Composite Index was

down 4.93 points, or 0.16 per cent, at 3,096.73 points. After touching a 22-month peak last week, the FTSE Eurofirst index of top European shares was down 0.44 per cent at 1,162. MSCI’s broad world equity index fell 0.28 per cent but was still not far from an 18-month peak scaled when investors returned to the market after the immediate US fiscal crisis was averted by a political deal in Washington. The pullback in equities also spurred selling in oil, gold and other risky assets. Brent crude futures slipped 38 cents or 0.31 per cent to $110.93 per barrel after rising 0.6 per cent last week, while US oil futures dipped 8 cents or 0.1 per cent to $93.01. Spot gold was down 0.6 per cent at $1,646.44 an

S

J.C. Penney Company are gaining at the expense of phone companies and utilities, which usually do best when the economy contracts. Market bulls say the capitulation underscores growing confidence in the US recovery, while bears say the rally shows indiscriminate buying as earnings estimates fall close to a one- year low. The change echoes money manager Laszlo Birinyi’s prediction that the four-year bull market will finally attract investors who have stayed away from equities. “Let’s put it this way, I

made more money on my longs than on my shorts,” Gilles Sitbon, who helps oversee $2.1bn at Sycomore Asset Management in Paris, said in a phone interview on January 3. His Sycomore Long-Short Opportunities fund rose 15 per cent in 2012. “It’s not just hard to be short, it is painful.” Equities tend to rally when companies with the most short interest outperform. In March 2009, the least-loved shares beat the S&P 500 by 8.1 percentage points just before American stocks posted the biggest annual increase in six years. Janu-

28,600.00

1,370.00

28,400.00

1,360.00 1,350.00

28,200.00

1,340.00

28,000.00

1,330.00

27,800.00

1,320.00

27,600.00

1,310.00

27,400.00

1,300.00

ASI

NSE-30

Source: NSE

Source: FMDA

All-Share Index 28,986.20 points

ounce, though above Friday’s $1,625.79, its lowest price since August. In the currency market, the euro was little changed against the dollar at $1.3076, erasing early losses. It held above a three-week low of $1.2998 hit on Friday. Analysts predicted it would stay around those levels until after the ECB meeting. Some expect the ECB to point to the prospect of easier rates early this year, contrasting with signals from Federal Reserve policymakers that the U.S. central bank it may pursue less-accommodative policies in the future. The Bank of Japan is also expected to take major steps to stimulate that country’s economy later this month as the new government aims to end deflation and recession.

Hedge funds squeezed with shorts beating S&P 500 peculators are abandoning money- losing bets that stocks with the closest links to the United States economy will fall as America’s most-hated shares stage the best rally in a year relative to the broader market. The 20 stocks with the highest short sales in the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index rose an average of 5.1 per cent in December, compared with 0.7 per cent for the full gauge, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The performance gap is the widest since January 2012. Companies from US Steel Corporation to

The NSE All-share and NSE-30 Indices Week Ended January 04, 2013

Market indicators

Stocks slip before earnings, oil dips lobal stocks’ prices fell yesterday on worries about disappointing company results while world oil prices dipped on profit-taking, but signs of improvement in the global economy capped the losses. The dollar fell against the yen after rallying to a 2-1/2- year high last week, which some traders reckoned was overdone. But it strengthened against the euro on speculation over whether the European Central Bank might signal future interest rate cuts when ECB officials meet on Thursday. After a jolt of confidence from last week’s budget deal in Washington, investors turned their focus to corporate profits in the last three months of 2012, when growth in American holiday spending and corporate

39

ary’s advance came as the benchmark gauge was starting a three-month, 12 per cent advance. The S&P 500 soared 13 per cent in 2012, adding almost $1.9trn to the value of stocks in the best increase since 2009. The measure has risen within 6.7 per cent of its 2007 record as the Federal Reserve tied monetary policy to unemployment and announced a third round of bond purchases, while the European Central Bank pledged to buy as many securities as needed to lower borrowing costs and preserve the euro.

Market capitalisation 9.26 trn

Stock Updates GAINERS COMPANY

OPENING

CLOSING

CHANGE

% CHANGE

FCMB

4.70

5.17

0.47

10.00

AIRSERVICE

4.40

4.84

0.44

10.00

FIDELITYBK

2.72

2.99

0.27

9.93

SKYEBANK

5.15

5.66

0.51

9.90

UBA

4.26

4.68

0.42

9.86

STERLNBANK

1.98

2.17

0.19

9.60

FIDSON

1.09

1.19

0.10

9.17

PRESCO

20.72

22.60

1.88

9.07

BAGCO

2.40

2.60

0.20

8.33

AIICO

0.72

0.78

0.06

8.33

LOSERS COMPANY

OPENING

CHANGE

% CHANGE

NEIMETH

1.00

CLOSING 0.95

0.05

-5.00

BETAGLAS

10.50

9.98

0.52

-4.95

NEM

0.61

0.58

0.03

-4.92

PHARMDEKO

2.47

2.35

0.12

-4.86

EVANSMED

0.87

0.83

0.04

-4.60

MAYBAKER

1.70

1.63

0.07

-4.12

LIVESTOCK

1.46

1.42

0.04

-2.74

RTBRISCOE

1.55

1.51

0.04

-2.58

WAPCO

55.00

54.00

1.00

-1.82

UTC

0.83

0.82

0.01

-1.20

Primary Market Auction TENOR

AMOUNT (N’mn)

RATE (%)

DATE

91-Days

30,159.21

13.00

10-Jan-13

182-Day

57,729.22

15.31

10-Jan-13

-

-

-

-

Open Market Operations TENOR

AMOUNT (N’mn)

RATE (%)

DATE

83-Days

65,750.00

14.05

10-Jan-13

317-Days

16,384.86

15.55

10-Jan-13

315-Days

41,864.32

15.55

10-Jan-13

Wholesale Dutch Auction System AMOUNT OFFERED

MARKET DEMAND

AMOUNT SOLD

DATE

$150m

N/A

$150m

7-Jan-13

$300m

N/A

$300m

19-Dec-12


40

Capital Market

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Stock exchange daily equities summary Equities as at January 7, 2013 1st Tier Securities

1st Tier Securities Sector

Company name

No Of Deals

Quotation(N)

Quantity Traded

Value of Shares(N)

Sector

Company name

No Of Deals

Quotation(N)

Quantity Traded

Value of Shares(N)


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Politics

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

CONTINUED FROM 13 ment of the ACN is on its way out. Lagosians have seen the tissues of lies the government of the day has been feeding them with in the last 14 years. Is it in area of multiple taxation of the people of Lagos? Or is it in the multiple toll gates on the Lekki expressway, where the people are groaning every day? “Unfortunately, the state House of Assembly, which is supposed to be a check on executive lawlessness, has become a rubber stamp, approving everything that the state governor takes to them, approving sundry loans, without actually scrutinising the purpose. I can assure you that this government is on its last lap in the Centre of Excellence. “The millions of commercial motorcycle operators across the state have now realised that the ACN government does not mean well for them. Majority of them are yearning seriously for a change, which the PDP is going to provide.” “We have proved a point during the last council elections that our party is still very relevant and accepted. Whatever the present challenges we will bounce back and claim Lagos.” The party is also riding high on the alleged disenchantment of the people of the state with the state government under Fashola, whom Lagosians believed have stopped performing immediately he won a second term in office. The government’s perceived anti-people policies and laws are also seen as one of the factors that would undo the ACN come 2015 and give the PDP the desired inroad. Events in recent times show that the PDP may be the best alternative to Lagosians. This was manifested in its performance at the October 22, 2011 local government election in the state. Although the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) declared all the ACN chairmanship candidates in the election as winners and declared a few councillorship seats in favour of the PDP, the Local Government Election Petition Tribunal in the state had so far declared three local government chairmanship seats for the PDP, following the petition filed by the state opposition party. The three local governments so far declared in favour of the PDP are: Ikoyi /Obalende Local Council Development Area (LCDA), the home base of the ACN national leader and former governor of the state, Tinubu; Badagry Central Local Government and Ijaye/ Ojokoro LCDA. The fourth LCDA, which may as well be declared for the PDP, Yaba LCDA, had the election nullified. The tribunal ordered a re-run and precluded the ACN candidate and his deputy from running in the re-run election. It also disqualified the ACN from taking part in the re-run election. This development actually excited the party. The PDP, through its state publicity secretary, Taofeek Gani, said: “Of course, it is a very strong signal that Lagos PDP is now ready to control governance in the state come 2015. It must be said that we’re not just coming out basically from the urge to govern; we are actually prepared and are providing Lagosians with alternative government, soon. So, the fact that we even won the local council where the national leader of ACN, resides is a strong signal that PDP is ready to take over the reign of leadership come 2015.” Former President Obasanjo has howev-

2015: PDP dreams to ‘capture’ Lagos I WILL SAY THE TALK IS CHEAP. NOBODY SHOULD TAKE PDP’S EMPTY BOAST SERIOUSLY. WE SHOULD NOT BE TAKING ISSUES WITH THEM.

THE FACT IS THAT PDP CAN NEVER WIN LAGOS

er told the party that the only panacea for it to make any headway in its quest to win Lagos is for members of the party to sink their egos and sacrifice personal interest for the party’s growth. Describing Lagos PDP as a party in the wilderness, the former president said: “If only the leaders would sink their ego and regard the party’s interest as supreme and above that of individual, then the party will come out strong and able to wrestle power from the ruling party.” Also, the party at the national level and the Presidency has also set machinery in motion to actualise ‘Operation capture Lagos in 2015’. Top members of the party have consistently been meeting with the Presidency and the national leadership of the party on which strategies to use to ensure that the dream of winning Lagos is actualised. But as things stand, it is not every analyst and stakeholder that is excited as the PDP with the political happenings in the state. In fact, the ACN has described the PDP project as nothing but a pipe dream. The ACN spoke through its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed and the Lagos State ACN Publicity Secretary, Joe Igbokwe. The ACN advised the PDP to go back to history and look at its dismal performance in elections in the state, an indication that it has “no base, no, hope and no future in Lagos as successive elections have proven the party’s claim as an empty and vain thinking that can never come to pass.” While telling the PDP “to stop fooling itself about its non-existent strength, as Lagos can never afford to get sucked in the ruination that it has visited on the federal level and all the states it controls since 1999,” Mohammed said that George’s boast that the PDP will win Lagos in 2015 is nothing but an empty boast. He noted that the PDP was too disorganised to threaten the ACN. He said: “On the issue of the futile dream of PDP to win Lagos State in 2015, I will say the talk is cheap. Nobody should take PDP’s empty boast seriously. We should not be taking issues with them. The fact is that PDP can never win Lagos. “I really cannot understand the grandstanding of the PDP. This is a party in disarray. Because access to the media is relatively cheap, they can say whatever they want to say. We are very confident that we will win more states in 2015. In fact, from the way things are going, in 2015, there might not be a party called PDP and they know that they are losing ground.”

Fashola

George

Igbokwe added: “Today, Lagos PDP has no state House of Assembly member; it has no House of Representatives’ member in Lagos and no senator in Lagos. Lagos PDP got three out of the 57 LCDAs in Lagos through the State Local Government Election Tribunal on the local council elections organised by LASIEC and even then these cases are still undergoing further litigation, it is mounting a laughable parody that such translates to an imminent take over of Lagos by a party that has excelled in visiting plunder, ruination, looting, stealing, mediocrity on Nigeria since 1999.” Other stakeholders, even in the PDP are of the view that the Lagos PDP is still dreaming. A top notcher of the party who craved anonymity told National Mirror that his party is deluding itself by its ‘Operation Capture Lagos’ project. His reasons: The PDP has not put its house in order and therefore could not present any formidable platform to confront the ACN, contrary to George’s claim that the party knew where it faltered in the last general election and has put its house in order. The party stalwart cited the internal wrangling still bedevilling the party, not only in Lagos, but also in Ogun, Ondo, Oyo and Ekiti states, saying that unless the internal bickering in the party are sorted out, it is practically impossible for a house

41

divided against itself like the PDP to withstand the opposition it is facing in the Centre of Excellence. Adewale also agreed with this stand when he said that PDP’s 2015 project in Lagos could remain unachievable unless party leaders who have continually over the years short-change the party for their own selfish interest have a change of heart. He accused leaders of the party in Lagos of cornering for themselves money meant to prosecute elections, a reason which he said accounted for the party’s woeful performance in elections, especially in Lagos. He added: “Unless something drastic is done urgently to correct this anomaly, 2015 could even be worse for the PDP than 2011. Unless we change the way we do things and handle issues in our party, we would continue to achieve the same results.” Stakeholders also are of the belief that winning a few LCDAs is not a yardstick to measure the acceptance or otherwise or the strength of the PDP in the Centre of Excellence. They believed that the local government election is not the same cup of tea with the governorship election, saying that using that as a parameter to take over the state in 2015 is “a joke carried too far.” Meanwhile, the PDP in Lagos may also be treading a familiar path with the news making the rounds in recent times that the leaders of the party have settled for Obanikoro as its candidate for the 2015 governorship election. Obanikoro’s choice is alleged to be based on his neutrality in all the crises rocking the party. But the party’s state chairman, Shelle, debunked the rumours, saying that the party has not yet decided on its candidate for 2015, saying that picking a candidate is not the priority now. He also said that it was the plan of the ruling ACN to destabilise the PDP. He told National Mirror: “That is nothing but rumours and I can assure you that it is the ploy of our opponents to destabilise the PDP. I can assure you that we have not picked any candidate for the governorship in 2015.” Also reacting to the story, the PDP through its Publicity Secretary, Gani said it was a ploy by the ACN to “to cause disaffection within the party.” He added: “We are saying emphatically that we have not endorsed nor focused on any particular person to be our governorship candidate. Presently, we are occupied with laying the conducive environment for a free and fair primary as may be directed by our national headquarters.” But will this not take the PDP to Golgotha again? Bearing in mind that what has been the bane of the party at election has always been the issues of who flies the party’s governorship flag. How successful ‘Operation Capture Lagos in 2015’ is depends on varieties of factors. Will the PDP eschew bitterness and put to an end the internal bickering that has over the years cost it the plum seat in Lagos? Will the ACN seat back and allow the PDP overthrow it from the Government House it has occupied for over 14 years? Will Lagosians stick with the devil they have known for 14 years or will they give the angel they are just meeting the opportunity for a new lease of life? Questions and questions, but yet with no answer. But surely, time will tell.


42

Politics THE

PARLIAMENT

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Of speedy passage of bills and legislative competence

EMMA GBEMUDU writes on the unending controversy trailing the speedy passage of 22 bills into law by the Bayelsa State House of Assembly last year and the perception of the people of the state about the legislature.

T

he business of lawmaking under the leadership of the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Konbowei Benson, has been a herculean task. Since his emergence as the sixth Speaker of the House on February 20, 2012, Benson and other lawmakers have been saddled with making a mark to surpass the achievements of his predecessors. So far, the House under his leadership has passed a total of 22 bills into law. All the bills emanated from the executive arm of government. Political analysts are disturbed that no public hearing was conducted by the House before the passage of the said bills. The speedy rate at which the bills were passed by the 24-member House of Assembly is even raising doubts among stakeholders in the state, especially on the legislative competence of the House. Notably, no private bill has been passed by the House and this is generating worries and questions being raised as to whether the lawmakers really know what they are doing. Investigation by National Mirror revealed that the House could be described as a stooge of Governor Seriake Dickson. The state chief executive has repeatedly showered encomium on the Assembly members describing the House as the best in the country. But, critics described Dickson’s rating of the lawmakers as a joke taken too far. They branded the Assembly as a ”toothless bulldog” existing at the mercy of the governor. National Mirror gathered that the lawmakers are living at the mercy of the Toru-Orua - born governor. Benson was alleged to be afraid of telling the governor the home truth and this is not going down well with some members of the House. But, an aide to the Speaker, who pleaded anonymity, argued that the Speaker is not expected to join issues with the governor to enable him, be in the good books of the House members. The aide said the Speaker has been able to stabilise the House and insisted that Benson had surpassed the feats of his predecessors in the passage of bills. The 22 passed bills by the House were the Bayelsa State Local Government Amendment (No.6) Bill (BYSHA B. 35), 2012; the Bayelsa State House of Assembly Service Commission Amendment (No. 2) Bill (BYSHA B. 36), 2012; the Bayelsa State Emergency Management Agency Bill, 2012; the Bayelsa State Institute of Tourism, Catering and Hotel Management Bill (BYSHA B. 20), 2012; the Bayelsa State Judiciary Financial Autonomy Bill (BYSHA B. 33), 2012; the Bayelsa State Supplementary Appropriation Bill, 2012; the Bayelsa State Flag, Coat of Arms and Anthem Bill, 2012; the Bayelsa State Development and Investment Corporation Bill 2012; the Bayelsa State Security Trust Fund Bill, 2012; the

Bayelsa State House of Assembly Speaker, Kombowei Benson (left) presenting four bills to the state governor, Seriake Dickson for his assent.

Bayelsa State Security (Electronic Surveillance) Bill, 2012 and the Bayelsa State Motorcycle Operation (Prohibition) Bill, 2012. Others are the Bayelsa State College of Education (Amendment) Bill, 2012; the Bayelsa State Universal Basic Education Board (Amendment) Bill 2011; the Bayelsa State Salary Fraud and Related Offences (Prohibition) Bill, 2012; the Bayelsa State Appropriation Bill, 2011; the Bayelsa State Thanksgiving Day Bill, 2012; the Bayelsa State Fiscal Responsibility (Amendment) Bill, 2012; the Bayelsa State Income and Expenditure Transparency Bill, 2012; the Bayelsa State Secret Cults/Societies and Similar Activities (Prohibition) Bill, 2012; the Bayelsa State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (Establishment) Bill 2012; the Bayelsa State Government and Local Government Compulsory Savings Bill, 2012 and the Bayelsa State College of Arts and Science (Re-Establishment), 2012. The Speaker’s spokesman, Piriye Kiyaramo, in an interview said the passed laws would in no small measure contribute meaningfully to the social, political and economic development of the state, through the institutions they will bring into existence and the attendant procedures that would be expressly put in place. Kiyaramo insisted that the House has performed creditably within its short period in office due to the Speaker’s pragmatic efforts at improving parliamentary transparency, with a view to providing free access to parliamentary proceedings for the citizenry. He added that the Speaker equally ensures that members participate effectively in parliamentary sessions and make qualitative inputs to debates on the floor of the House. His words: “Consequently, punctuality of legislators, which is vital to Assembly sittings, has greatly improved under the new leadership, just as time spent by members in session has drastically increased within the last nine months under review. Members of the House have participated in different forms of parliamentary interventions within the period, leading to the passage of several resolutions, including the invitation of chairmen of the original eight local government areas of the state, culminating in the eventual sack of five of

THE COMMENDATION AND RATING OF THE STATE

ASSEMBLY BY

THE GOVERNOR IS

WRONG AND SELFISH.

THE ASSEMBLY

LACKS THE WILL AND CREATIVE MIND TO INITIATE BILLS,

EXCEPT THE PASSAGE OF EXECUTIVE BILLS the council chairmen that were indicted at the end of the Assembly probe.” But National Mirror’s investigations revealed that the first Assembly inaugurated on June 2, 1999, passed 33 bills in four years, while the second Assembly, constituted on June 2, 2003, passed 39 bills. The third Assembly, which was inaugurated on June 4, 2007, passed 29 bills. A non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, Independent Watch, has faulted Governor Dickson’s repeated excellent rating on the performance of the state legislature, describing it as a shame and insult to the state. The group said the questionable rating by the governor was being done out of pity and was meant to sooth the bruised ego of members of the state House of Assembly. In a statement made available to National Mirror in Yenagoa by its National Coordinator, Boluwarei Benson, the NGO regretted that Dickson had at every forum in the state eulogised the Assembly, describing it as the best in the country, owing to the receipt and speedy passage of executive bills into law by the House. Benson said: “They recently passed 22 executive bills into law in eight months. Though, the peaceful co-existence of the legislature and the executive arms of government in the state is commendable. But, the commendation and repeated claim by the governor that the present Assembly

is the best in the federation is a joke and a soothing balm to the failures and bruised ego of the legislature. The commendation and rating of the state Assembly by the governor is wrong and selfish. The Assembly lacks the will and creative mind to initiate bills, except the passage of executive bills in the state. “Why would he rate the Assembly high? It is regrettable to note that in the last few months of this new administration, they have become an avenue to pass bills into law at top speed without the required public hearing and vetting. Though, we hail them for keeping a very docile and quiet mien in the relationship with the executive, how do you explain the duplication of some functions and provisions of some of the bills passed. “We hope and pray that this timid show of legislature and quick passages of bills is not out of fear. We must say that the open show of deficient creativity by the House members in initiating bills or amending some is a source of concern to their constituents. It might interest them to know that what happened during the last screening out of incumbent chairmen of councils may be waiting for them when they seek re-election. It is not by being a dumping ground for executive bills and not initiating any that will endear them to the powers in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). It is better to leave a mark rather than unnecessary resolutions as achievements.” Miss Dora Ebiwari, a rights activist and public affairs commentator, advised members of the Assembly to improve on their achievements and lay emphasis on private bills, rather than conducting speedy passage of the bills initiated by the executive. She said: “The House should prove themselves as lawmakers and not Dickson’s stooges. I don’t mean that they should fight the governor, but, certain things that are going wrong in government in the state should be told to the governor. After all, he is not a military governor, but, an elected public office holder in the state.” Will the legislators sit up and do that which the electorate elected them to do or will they continue to pander to the whims and caprices of the executive as personified by Dickson?


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Politics

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The House of Representatives had last year, before its adjournment for the Yuletide break, recommended that the Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Harold Demuren, be given the boot for allowing a Dana aircraft crash on his watch. But as the Green Chamber resumes in a few days from the break, would they dredge up and sustain the call like they did in the case of the DirectorGeneral of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms. Aruma Oteh? Asks TORDUE SALEM.

43

Dana Air crash: Can Reps sustain call for Demuren’s sack? THE

PARLIAMENT

L

ast year, on Wednesday December 19, the House of Representatives called for the sack and prosecution of the Director-General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr. Harold Demurren. The lawmakers, hinged the call on the report of a Dana aircraft crash on June 3, 2012 that blamed the air tragedy on Demuren’s alleged “criminal negligence.” A Lagos-bound Dana airplane had on June 3, last year crash-landed in Iju, a suburb of Lagos, claiming 213 lives and leaving in its trail anguish and controversies that have lasted to this day. Dana Airlines owned by Indians, after several investigations by agencies under the Ministry of Aviation, was re-issued its license on a provisional basis, pending when the ministry would round off its ongoing audit of aircraft of airlines in the country. A few days ago, the airline resumed full operations in the country in disregard of the House’ warning that their license be revoked. Besides a damning preamble to the recommendations of the report, the House of Representatives had accused Demuren of criminal negligence, particularly for despatching an allegedly incompetent engineer to do the pre-arrival inspection of the ill-fated aircraft. The House also recommended that the engineer, Suleiman Akwuh, who was sent to carry out the site for pre-arrival investigations, be also dismissed. The report stated in part: “The NCAA inspector, Suleiman Akwuh, who did prearrival inspection on the ill-fated Dana aircraft without prerequisite professional qualification should be dismissed from service. “The Director-General, Demuren, who approved and deployed the officer should also be dismissed from service and prosecuted for criminal negligence,” the report stated. Before the House called for those punitive measures against Demuren, item 14 of the report, compiled by the Nkeiruka Onyejeocha-led committee stated that “Nigeria Airline Operators have problem of accessing money from the bank with stringent collateral conditions and short repayment term.” The committee, according to a part of its report, also found that “the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s N200 billion Avia-

Tambuwal

tion Intervention Fund (AIF) was used to refinance existing facility with banks instead of improving the services and capital needs of airlines. The committee also found out that “there is no functional and well equipped maintenance hangar of international standard in Nigeria,” as “the Airfield Lighting System (ALS) which has been the statutory responsibility of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) as stipulated in Part II Section 3 of its Act in Cap F5 Law of the Federation of Nigeria was transferred to Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) by the Federal Ministry of Aviation in violation of the provision of the existing law. Other damning findings of the committee included that “Ghana Accident Investigation Department has released an interim report on Allied Airline crash blaming it on wet runway, pilot error and aqua planning.” The committee in the course of its enquiry on the crash also found that “the age of the ill-fated Dana aircraft is 22 years.” It, therefore, recommended that, “Dana current AOC should be revoked because it was not issued in compliance with Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Civil Regulations Guideline 2009.” According to the lawmakers, “NCAA, under the leadership of the current Director-General, Demuren, brought in MD83 to operate in Nigeria even when there is no licensed engineer rated on the aircraft.” The Green Chamber stated that: “For the period under review, Dana operated 14 air returns caused by system failure, which is a sufficient indication of imminent danger,” and that “up to the time of this report, NCAA is still without any licensed engineer type-rated on MD83, yet it is going ahead with technical audit on Dana operations with a view to restore its license,” warning that “this constitutes negligence.” The legislators revealed that “the tenure of the current Director General of NCAA has expired three months before the Dana crash occurred on June 3, 2012. So, the Director-General of NCAA, Demuren should

Demuren

be removed from office for professional negligence and incompetence.” The report disclosed that “the staff strength of NCAA should be totally overhauled with the investigation report of Bellview Airlines and other accident investigation reports revisited.” The House also recommended that “the management of NCAA should remain autonomomous,” as it directed NCAA to “compel airlines, involved in accidents to settle all outstanding insurance obligations and ensure that current operating AOCs have reliable insurance cover as required by the Civil Aviation Regulations. They sought that “the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) should be properly equipped with modern laboratory facilities to enable it discharge its responsibilities.” The House suggested that: “The MD83 aircraft should be phased out of Nigeria aviation industry as NCAA has no certified engineer on MD83 in its employment, more so that the aircraft has been decommissioned by its manufacturers. They also recommended that “the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and indeed Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) should be properly equipped with well trained staff and equipment for the purposes of responding promptly and adequately to air accident in the country.

THE DIRECTORGENERAL, DEMUREN, WHO APPROVED AND DEPLOYED THE OFFICER SHOULD ALSO BE DISMISSED FROM SERVICE AND PROSECUTED FOR CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE

“The Federal Government through the Ministry of Aviation should create incentive for indigenous airlines by providing special intervention fund to encourage growth in the aviation industry. The House also advised that “the Federal Government should endeavour to put in place a hangar of international standard to reduce cost of aircraft maintenance by airline operators in Nigeria,” adding that the “Air Field Lighting System should be returned to FAAN without further delay.” They also recommended that an age limit of not more than 15 years should be placed for new acquisition for passenger aircraft and 20 years for cargo aircraft. The House also ordered “NCAA to carry out post accident regulatory oversight duty on Allied Air immediately after the conclusion of investigation and report by Ghana Accident Investigation Department.” Though the tough pronouncements and recommendations reeled out by the hotter arm of the National Assembly, appeared irrefutable, the fact remains that an appointee of the President can only be booted out by him. Demuren, though is yet to respond to his call to Golgotha, it is expected that the Dana Air tragedy is bound to spark some controversy and renewed hostilities between the Presidency and the House of Representatives. And just like the Green Chamber recommended the sack of the SEC DG, Oteh, over what it called incompetence among other reasons, a call which it had consistently maintained, culminating in not appropriating any money for the SEC in the 2013 Appropriation Act until Oteh is out, it also remains to be seen if the House would stick to its guns and insist that Demuren should be relieved of his duties. Whatever happens, another round of Executive/House of Representatives spat, like was witnessed last year is around the corner. Who blinks first this time around? Would the House back down on this one? Would the Presidency insist, like in the case of Oteh, to keep Demuren and dare the lawmakers? Only time would tell.


44

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Community Mirror Nembe residents protest against oil companies

“We have to strive to live in peace in our nation with our differences of tribe, culture, tradition, language and religion.”

46

Traditional ruler in dock for selling land OJO OYEWAMIDE AKURE

A

community leader in Akure, the Ondo State capital, the Olugele of Ugele, Chief Ajayi Falodun, has appeared before a magistrate court for allegedly selling one acre of land belonging to the Federal Government. Ajayi, was arrested by security agents after he allegedly invaded the Federal School of Agriculture, Akure, with 10 armed men suspected to be thugs, causing a breach of peace. Community Mirror gathered that Falodun has been involved in the selling of land belonging to the institution, even as the land was said to have been donated to the Federal Government by a late Deji of Akure kingdom. Eyewitnesses said Ajayi stormed the school with armed men aimed at forcefully taking over portions of the land. His action, however, caused pandemonium, as people ran for safety when thugs brandished cutlasses and other dangerous weapons. The thugs were alleged to have also seized four shovels, four diggers and one cutlass belonging to one Idowu Folorunso.

CARDINAL JOHN ONAIYEKAN

Fire at Ifeleye market in Ibadan KEMI OLAITAN IBADAN

P

roperties worth millions of naira have been destroyed at the Ifeleye market in Ibadan as more than 30 shops were gutted by fire. When Community Mirror visited the scene, many of the traders were seen weeping as they watched their goods consumed

by the inferno. It was gathered that the fire started when a middle aged man, said to be one of the sons of the landlord housing 20 of the shops, suddenly raised the alarm after his cooking stove reportedly exploded in his room. The fire was said to have spread from the room to the shops, causing confusion as traders made spirited efforts to evacu-

ate their wares from the complex. Many of the goods that included electronic cables, machines and other expensive items were completely raged by the blaze which lasted for more than one hour. Following the confusion, security operatives from the Oyo State Police Command and Oyo State Emergency Management Agency, were quickly drafted to prevent

A dusty and pot holed portion on Meiran Road, in the Centre of Excellence, Lagos.

hoodlums from looting items at the shopping complex. The arrival of the Fire Service with two water engines, however, prevented the fire from engulfing the complex. Speaking, the state Director of Fire Service, Mr. Olukunle Gafaru, said detail of the incident was being collated as this can only be given after thorough investigations.

PHOTO: OLUWASEGUN IJABIKEN

Monarch demands review of LG constitution Three arrested for illegal logging DENNIS AGBO ENUGU

T

he traditional ruler of Enugu Urban 1, in Enugu North Local Government Area, HRH Igwe Moses Nnamdi, has asked the Enugu State Government to compel the Ngwo community in Udi Local Government Area, to expunge chapter V of its constitution which tends to suggest that parts of his kingdom is under its jurisdiction. In a-four page statement, Igwe Nnamdi alerted the government that despite the rulings on its white paper issued after a judicial panel of inquiry into the Enugu Ngwo civil disturbances in 2005, Ngwo village has not reviewed its constitution to reflect their autonomy.

45

Chapter V of the constitution claims that some parts of EnuguNgwo community are located in Ajagu/Agangwu community currently in Enugu urban. The monarch maintained that in 2005, the Enugu State Government had on page 10 of its white paper, stated that Igwe I.O.U Ayalogu of Ngwo Assa autonomous community in Udi LGA is not and cannot be the traditional ruler of another autonomous community in Enugu North LGA. The white paper on its page 4, stated that Enugu Ngwo village located in Udi LGA, does not have any of its own components in Enugu North. The white paper also expressly stated that the state government shall set up a committee to re-write the Enugu Ngwo constitution and especially to delete chapter V of

the old constitution that claimed that Ngwo village has some of its geographical locations in Enugu North LGA. Igwe Nnamdi, therefore asked the government to implement recommendations of the 2005 white paper to avoid another civil disturbance. Reacting to a publication that placed disclaimer on him as having ceased to be head of Ajagu/Agangwu (Enugu Urban1), Igwe Moses Nnamdi, stated that he has never held such position; rather, he was duly selected and functioning as the traditional ruler of Enugu urban 1 in Enugu North LGA. He recalled that in 1988, he was initiated and admitted as a member of Ozo Ngwo, and latter member of Ubelenze Ozo Ngwo, the highest titled body in the Ngwo clan.

FEMI OYEWESO ABEOKUTA

T

he Ogun State Government has arrested three persons for illegal tree felling, even as they have been described as notorious kingpins in the illicit trade. It would be recalled that the Ministry of Forestry had last month recorded a similar feat, as it arrested some individuals and seized illegally felled trees worth millions of naira. Speaking, Commissioner in the Ministry, Engr. Ayo Olubori, said the task force on illegal logging activities, in conjunction with the State Quick Rapid Response Squad, impounded two vehicles with registration numbers KTU 386XB and AGL 201XB laden with illegally woods from Omo Forest Reserve of Ijebu East Local

Government. According to him, the culprits led by one Mr. Tutu a.k.a Iron body, and a salon Toyota Camry car with registration number LSD 50B AW, had already been handed to the police for further investigations. “It has been revealed that these three people are leaders of the gang destroying our forestry resources and causing huge economic losses to the state”, Olubori noted. Speaking on the continued closure of the forest reserves, the commissioner remarked that it was a decision taken at a stakeholders meeting, comprising Associations of Timber Contractors, Saw-Millers and Plank Sellers, to address the operations detrimental to the state’s economy, reiterating government’s zero tolerance for illegal logging activities.


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Community Mirror

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Nembe residents protest against oil companies EMMA GBEMUDU YENAGOA

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ore than 500 women, youths and community leaders from Nembe ,Bayelsa State, have staged a peaceful protest against Shell Petroleum Development Company(SPDC) over what they described as the company’s alleged neglect of the area . It was gathered that the oil firm produces 120,000 barrels of crude oil per day and operates four flow stations in the community, even as indications of a fresh dialogue between Shell and the community is scheduled to begin soon. Over the years, there has been a running battle between oil companies and their host communities over the non-implementation of the Global Memorandum of Understanding(GMoU, which is a document detailing development programmes to better the lots of oil producing communities. Sadly, most of the coastal oil communities in Bayelsa State and Niger Delta are not linked with access roads. A break- down of negotiations between the firm and Nembe representatives was followed by a protest march leading to the shutting -down of one of Shell’s flow stations by the youths. The protest which caused panic among some Shell staff and contracting firms paralyzed operations in the area. But the flow station was later re-opened with the aid of security personnel. The community alleged the undermining of the traditional stool of the Paramount ruler of Nembe, King Edmund Dakoru, total collapse of electricity, incessant gas flaring, inadequacy of developmental commitments and unjust marginalization of indigenes. Incidentally, Dakoru was the former Minister of Petroleum and retired SPDC Zonal General Manager. The protest came barely 24 hours after aggrieved Okpoama youths in Brass Local Government, protested against Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) over

non implementation of a Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) signed with the firm some years ago. The storming of the company’s premises was foiled by soldiers and policemen guarding the facility. In an interview with Community Mirror, the Chairman, Oil and Gas Committee, Nengi James, said the communities will resist attempts to cow them until their demands are met. He warned that they could no longer guarantee the safety of Shell staff and properties in the coastal communities. But reacting to Spokesperson of SPDC, Port Harcourt, Precious Okolobo, said it was the company’s policy to resolve grievances through dialogue. He said:”SPDC has enjoyed longstanding cordial relationship with communities in Nembe Area and jointly we have implemented projects that have helped to improve lives and develop infrastructure. Of note is the highly successful GMoU initiative, which has seen the Nembe Cluster Board transform into a foundation.” But, James lamented that SPDC has been exploring oil in Nembe for several years without constructing a road to link the riverine communities coupled with pollution of the creeks and rivers by activities of the oil giant. The chairman alleged that the community has been neglected in the scheme of development strides. He said:”It is unfortunate that the oil company has not reciprocated our peaceful disposition in a manner commensurate with our forbearance. In its open disregard to the stool of the Amanayabo of Nembe Kingdom, the company refused to accord King Edmund Dakoru the privilege of being conveyed in helicopter as has been the practice”. “At the last meeting with representatives of the company, they promised to give us some generators, pending when it builds a gas turbine in the community. It is our demand that the company provide two units of CAT 2000KVA as we are tired of staying in darkness, “James noted

Tangle Royal dancers performing, during the Tangle Cultural Festival in Billiri Town, Gombe State.

In his reaction, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Markson Fefegha,appealed to the people to be patient, as the government is mediating in the matter. He said: “We expect them to be calm as the Commissioner for Environment is aware of the development. It is

sad that an oil company could come to an area to get what they want and give back nothing. All these create disharmony in the local communities. We are working to resolve the issue and to ensure the people are not marginalized any longer”. On government’s plan to site key infrastructure Nembe,

Fefegha said building of projects could not be accomplished in a day, stressing that it would involve a process to achieve the goal. “We will ensure the GMoU signed between Shell and the community is implemented. The aim of government is to open up the state, especially in the three sena-

torial districts. We are planning to open a seaport and construct road to Agge in Ekeremor Local Government”, he said. Fefegha, urged multinational oil companies in the state to complement the efforts of government, as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR.

Ondo to embark on census of persons with disabilities HAKEEM GBADAMOSI AKURE

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lans are underway to collect the census and data of Persons Living With Disabilities,PLWD, in Ondo State. This was disclosed by Executive Secretary of the agency, Mr Joshua Folayemi, at a dinner organised for ladies on wheel chair 2012, by Centre for Rehabilitation of Exceptional Persons,an NGO in Akure. Folayemi, explained that the census is being carried out in conjuction with the state government to empower the handicapped even as he disclosed that the agency

was establised to cater for people with disabilities and to ensure there is provision for interaction and integration for them. He said this was designed by the government to eradicate begging saying, they will set up a task force to arrest beggars in the street.’ “The agency will take the data of the disabled by their sex, age, qualification and educate them on how they can be useful to themselves and immediate environment.” He stressed that the data will enable the agency to know the vocational training to give to them, while some will be fixed on masters training at-

tachment and a working capital and a shop provided for them. He called on commercial drivers and other institutions in the state to give a helping hand to the disable saying, “we need to show them love and care” Also speaking, the executive Director of the NGO, Hon. Olakunle Oyegoke, said the programme is aimed at meeting the needs of the disabled and giving recognition to them. Oyegoke said, there are various virtues in these people which are not seen but because they are kept indoors by their families, they are prevented from making desired impact on society. “But we want to bring

them out of obscurity into seeing what is happening, to overcome the stigma and adjust to the modern society.” Oyegoke condemned the attitude of people giving alms to the disabled as a way to helping them, saying the NGO has organised the end of the year festivity to make them have a sense of belonging. Meanwhile, the Director General of the NGO, Princess Adesola Ebiseni, said it is difficult for the handicapped to move around and called on the Road Transport Worker to help in educating their members on the need to help them and others living with disabilities


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

47

World News

Syrians rebuff Assad speech, fighting continues

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“It will harder to be a friend of Israel if we are out of money. It will be harder to defend Israel if we destroy our country in the process” - United States Senator, Rand Paul WORLD BULLETIN

PAUL ARHEWE

WITH AGENCY REPORTS

Libyan president survives assassination attempt

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hana’s opposition boycotted the inauguration of President John Dramani Mahama yesterday, ignoring his appeals to end a dispute over last month’s election in the West African state seen as a model democracy in the coupprone region, a report from Reuters has disclosed. Mahama, who narrowly defeated his rival Nana Akufo-Addo in a December 7 vote, pledged to focus on development and unite Ghanaians. In his speech the newly inaugurated president told Ghanaians: “I will not let you down,” reported the Citi FM radio station. “The promises that I have made are the promises I intend to keep,” he said. “There is a tremendous amount of work that still needs to be done. More jobs must be created. More roads must be built,” Mahama, dressed all in white, told cheering crowds in the capital Accra. Ghana became Africa’s newest oil exporter in 2010 with the startup of Tullow Oil’s offshore Jubilee field, propelling economic growth to 14.4 percent in 2011. That rise has not been reflected in average incomes in the cocoa and gold exporter. Ajufo-Addo’s opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) accused Mahama - a former vice president who took office in July after the death of President John Atta Mills - of rigging the December 7 poll. The NPP said it was pushing ahead with a legal challenge to the election results.

President Mahama , after taking the oath of office, in Accra, yesterday

Photo: Ghanaweb

Ghana’s opposition boycotts Mahama’s inauguration • I won’t let you down, President tells Ghanaians

“We have filed an action at the Supreme Court seeking to overturn the declaration of results so we don’t want to be part of any event which is based on those results,” said Nana Akomea, the party’s director of communication. International observers said the election was free and fair despite delays and technical problems that forced voting into a second day. Mahama won the ballot with 50.7 percent of the vote to AkufoAddo’s 47.7 percent, just enough to avoid a second round.

Former-president John Kufuor, an NPP member, did attend the ceremony, defying the boycott and a group of young party members who gathered outside his house to persuade him not to go. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and his South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma joined other African leaders at the ceremony in the seafront Independence Square. Earlier, a new parliament dominated by the ruling party took office and elected its speaker and deputies. Ghana is one of Africa’s

fastest growing economies and has maintained three decades of peace, making it a favourite among international investors and an anomaly in a region better known for revolts and civil wars. Former President John Kufuor attended the ceremony, in defiance of the wishes of his party. Ghana’s privately-owned Joy FM radio station reports that about 40 NPP supporters besieged the home of former President Kufuor to prevent him from attending the ceremony.

Coptic Xmas: Egypt’s pope urges members not to be afraid

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gypt’s pope has urged his congregants to “not be afraid” in his Mass to mark Coptic Christmas, trying to reassure a community feeling anxious about the rise of Islamists to power here. Pope Tawadros II led his first Christmas Midnight Mass this year. He was elected in November to replace longtime Pope Shenouda III, who died in March after 40 years as leader of the ancient church. Coptic Christians, who represent about 10 percent of Egypt’s 85 million people, are celebrating their first Christmas yester-

day under an Islamist president. Christians have long complained of discrimination by the state and are feeling even more uneasy after the passage of a new constitution that opens the door for adoption of more strict Islamic law in Egypt. Egypt’s minority Christians were celebrating their first Christmas after the election of an Islamist president and a new pope — and following adoption of a constitution many argue has an Islamist slant. Christians gathered in Cairo’s main cathedral Sunday for Midnight Mass on the eve of Orthodox

Pope Tawadros II, the 118th pope of the Coptic Church of Egypt, leading a midnight Mass on the eve of Orthodox Christmas at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt. Photo: AP

Christmas led by their new pope. Pope Tawadros II was elected in November to replace longtime

Pope Shenouda III, who died in March after 40 years as the leader of the church.

Libya’s interim president says he has survived an assassination attempt in an oasis city in the country’s southern deserts. Mohammed al-Megarif, who is also head of parliament, told state TV late Sunday that he was unharmed in the attack. He says unidentified assailants opened fire on the hotel where he was staying in Sabha overnight on Saturday. He says that three of his bodyguards were wounded in clashes that lasted nearly three hours until dawn. The attack comes less than a month after parliament declared the south a restricted military zone and closed its borders with neighbouring African states to curb illegal migrants and the smuggling of weapons.

CAR leaders, rebels to hold talks Move comes a month after fighters from several groups rose up against government with little control over the north. Delegations representing Central African Republic’s government and the rebels who now control much of the country’s northern region, are meeting in Gabon to hold peace talks. The peace talks, which will begin on Tuesday in Libreville, Gabon, come a month after fighters from several armed groups began their rebellion against a government that has wielded little power over its vast and sparsely populated north. A spokesman of the rebel alliance, collectively known as Seleka, reiterated calls on Monday for the removal of President Francois Bozize, saying he has “lost all credibility” to lead the country.

South Sudan arrests two journalists A journalists group says two reporters working for state TV in South Sudan have been arrested without charge. The Committee to Protect Journalists says the journalists were arrested following protests and ethnic clashes last month in the northwestern town of Wau that killed about a dozen people. Video of one clash showed police opening fire on protesters. The New York-based CPJ says Louis Pasquale and Ashab Khamis are being held in prison. Three other state journalists were arrested and released, it said.


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World News

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Obama to pick Hagel as Pentagon chief

Briefs UK’s coalition to last five years – Cameron, Clegg David Cameron and Nick Clegg have said their coalition will last a full five years, giving Britain “strong, stable and determined leadership”. Mr Cameron promised help on childcare costs, care costs for the elderly and investment in roads as they marked the halfway point of their government. The PM and deputy PM described their agreement as a “Ronseal deal” which “does what it says on the tin”. Labour has dismissed the review as “another relaunch”. Nick Clegg said the coalition had brought about “big, bold reforms” that would stand the test of time. Described by Downing Street as a “stock take”, the 46-page Mid-Term Review lists what the government says it has achieved in meeting its coalition agreement and outlines further reforms to come. The full document was presented to the cabinet for the first time on Monday morning.

Five dead, two missing in Turkish mine accident An official says a gas leak inside a coal mine in northern Turkey has killed five workers and injured one. Two other miners are missing and feared dead. Burhan Inan, head of Turkey’s mining authority, says the leak occurred Monday and that rescuers have recovered the bodies of five miners and rescued a sixth alive from the mine in Zonguldak province. Inan said rescuers are now trying to reach the two missing miners who are believed trapped beneath coal dust from the powerful methane gas leak. The accident comes at a time when Turkey is trying to improve safety in its mines and shutting down dangerous mines or those operating without proper licenses.

Berlusconi teams up with Northern League Former Premier Silvio Berlusconi says he has reached a deal with the Northern League, his onetime coalition partners, to jointly run in elections next month. Berlusconi announced the latenight deal signed at his villa near Milan on Italian radio on Monday. But the billionaire media mogul said it was still unclear whom the center-right coalition would back to run as premier. Berlusconi has for weeks been toying with a run for a fourth term. He has already come out strongly against Premier Mario Monti’s unpopular decision to impose a property tax on first homes. While the Northern League has ruled in coalition with Berlusconi three times, the relationship has been rocky at best — with the League being behind the downfall of previous Berlusconi governments.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

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President Bashar al-Assad waving to his supporters after speaking at the Opera House in Damascus. Photo: Reuters

Syrians rebuff Assad speech, fighting continues

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yrians said yesterday they expected only war after a speech by President Bashar al-Assad that was billed as a peace plan, and fighting resumed in the capital just a few miles from where he spoke. Hours after Assad addressed cheering loyalists at the Damascus Opera House on Sunday, clashes raged just a few miles away near the road to the city’s international airport, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The opposition-linked group said artillery hit the district of Arqaba, 3 miles from the Opera House. Fighting continued all night and into yesterday around the capital, as well as in the northern provinces of Idlib and Aleppo, it said. Damascus residents said

the speech was met with celebratory gunfire in proAssad neighborhoods. But even there, some saw no sign peace was any closer, although the cabinet was due to begin implementing the plan to “solve the crisis in Syria”. A loyalist resident of southern Damascus who gave only her first name, Aliaa, said the speech was eloquent but empty. “It sounded more like gloating than making promises,” she said. “I agree with the ideas but words are really just words until he takes some action. He needs to do something. But even so, everything he suggests now, it is too late, the rebels aren’t going to stop.” In the once-affluent district of Mezzeh, scene of several bomb attacks, an Assad

critic said people had more pressing concerns. “Here, no one cares about this speech. They care about food and electricity.” Another said few people had watched the speech and that Assad’s crackdown would not stop. “Military operations will continue in full swing, and he is staying.” France joined the United States in saying Assad’s speech, his first to an audience since June last year, showed he had lost touch with reality after 21 months of conflict in which the United Nations says 60,000 people have been killed. The plan he described as a new peace initiative offered no concessions, and Assad disparaged the prospect of talks with an opposition he branded puppets of the West.

S President Barack Obama is to pick a maverick former Republican senator as defence secretary later, amid a political backlash over the nomination. Chuck Hagel would replace Leon Panetta at the Pentagon, but Mr Hagel’s fellow Republicans have voiced criticism over the Nebraskan’s views towards Israel. White House officials also say Mr Obama will pick his counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan as director of the CIA. Both appointments must be confirmed by the Senate. The nominations are expected to be formally announced at the White House on Monday afternoon. Along with Senator John Kerry, whom Mr Obama nominated last month to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, Mr Hagel and Mr Brennan would help shape the president’s second-term national security agenda. But analysts say the choice of Mr Hagel, a 66-year-old decorated Vietnam veteran, could prompt a Senate confirmation battle. Opponents say he is hostile to Israel and soft on Iran. Mr Hagel has criticised discussion of a military strike by either the US or Israel against Iran and has advocated including Iran on future peace talks in Afghanistan. Although no Republican lawmakers are threatening to block Mr Hagel’s nomination, two influential senators have attacked him. Mr Hagel made critical remarks against the Israel lobby in the US capital, quoted in a 2008 book by former state department official Aaron David Miller. “The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here,” Mr Hagel was quoted as saying. “I’m a United States senator. I’m not an Israeli senator.” Top Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told CNN on Sunday: “This is an in-your-face nomination of the president to all of us who are supportive of Israel.” US Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell told NBC there would be “a lot of tough questions” for Mr Hagel. But White House officials say Mr Hagel’s positions on these issues have been misrepresented, saying he voted to send billions in military assistance to Israel and has supported the imposition of multilateral sanctions on Tehran.

China to reform controversial forced labour camps

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hina will reform its controversial system of forced labour camps this year, state media reported on Monday, which would mark a first step toward legal reform promised by new Communist Party chief Xi Jinping. China’s “re-education through labour” system, in place since 1957, empowers police to sentence petty criminals to up to four years’ confinement without going through the courts, a system that critics say undermines the rule of law and is used against political activists. The announcement by state news agency Xinhua contradicted earlier media reports that cited domestic security head Meng Jianzhu as saying China would scrap the system. Those reports were removed from media websites with-

China’s Communist Party chief, Xi Jinping

out an explanation. “The Chinese government will this year push the reform of its controversial re-education through labour system, according to a national political and legal work conference on Monday,” Xinhua reported.

State broadcaster CCTV had said earlier on its microblog site, citing the party’s newly appointed Political and Legal Affairs Committee head, Meng, as saying: “Use of the re-education through labour system will end this year, after approval from the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.” The National People’s Congress refers to China’s largely rubberstamp parliament session held annually in March. The Justice Ministry did not respond to a faxed inquiry by Reuters. The labour camp system has come under fire from intellectuals, rights lawyers and activists, and even state media. “If it can be abolished this year, I think it’s an extremely impor-

tant step toward rule of law,” He Weifang, a law professor at Peking University, told Reuters. China has 350 labour camps throughout the country, housing about 160,000 inmates, according to Xinhua, which cited the bureau of “re-education through labour” under the Ministry of Justice. Nicholas Bequelin, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, a New York-based advocacy group, said there has been a precedent for a new leadership to take a symbolic step of reforming problematic systems. “It has been my sense that Xi Jinping means business and that there would be a departure from the caretaking years of Hu and Wen,” he said, referring to outgoing President Hu Jintao and outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

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Cocktail

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

FOR YOUR SUCCESS

WITH DR. DEJI FOLUTILE

Today's Tonic (77) Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb. –Hugh Macleod * * * To live is to dream. Those who live without having a dream to accomplish are merely existing. There is nothing like waking up daily and having a burning passion to accomplish some dreams within. I once read that a man is immortal until his work on earth is done. Life is too short not to do something that matters. Let’s get busy! TEL 08104942999 E-MAIL deji.folutile@gmail.com Follow me @TwitterOWOTIDE

Family reunited with stolen 1938 heirloom telegram

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California detective has reunited a family with a stolen 1938 heirloom telegram. The Western Union telegram is described as the opening page of the love story of nowdeceased Minnie and Fred Ciolino, who sent the message 74 years ago after their Reno wedding on Christmas Eve. The telegram sent to San Francisco area relatives read: “ARRIVED SAFELY, NO SNOW BUT REAL COLD NICE TRIP

BE BACK MONDAY MERRY XMAS TO ALL (equals) MINNIE & FRED.” The San Jose Mercury News (http://bit.ly/ S8TXss ) reports a cousin found the telegram in November and mailed it to one of six Ciolino daughters. But it never arrived. It was found last month by Daly City police detective Joe Bocci, who is investigating a postal worker charged with stealing letters to finance his drug habit.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Oddities

French actor meets Putin, picks up Russian passport

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rench film star Gerard Depardieu received a hug from President Vladimir Putin and a new Russian passport on Sunday after abandoning his homeland to avoid a new tax rate for millionaires. Putin signed a decree on Thursday granting Russian citizenship to Depardieu, who has fumed over French President Francois Hollande’s plan to impose a 75 percent tax rate. The two men were shown on state television shaking hands and hugging in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Sunday during what the Kremlin said was a private visit by the actor to Russia. “A brief meeting between the president and Depardieu took place,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “On the occasion of his visit to Russia, he was handed a Russian passport.” Peskov did not say if Putin personally gave him the passport. Depardieu also told Putin about his career plans, he said. Depardieu’s best known international film is “Green Card”, about a poor French

immigrant who enters a sham marriage so he can stay in the United States. Putin said last month that Depardieu would be welcome in Russia, which has a flat income tax rate of 13 percent, compared to the 75 percent on income over 1 million euros ($1.30 million) that Hollande wants to levy in France. He offered Depardieu the Russian passport saying he had developed warm ties with the actor - even though

they had rarely met. Depardieu is popular in Russia, where he has appeared in many advertising campaigns, including for ketchup. He also worked there in 2011 on a film about the Russian monk Grigory Rasputin, which he discussed with Putin at their meeting. Depardieu waved his new Russian before media cameras when he arrived in Saransk, a provincial town in the Mordoviya Republic,

southeast of Moscow, to celebrate the Orthodox Christmas. He was greeted on the airport tarmac by local officials and women dressed in traditional Russian gowns who offered him bread and salt as well as “blini” pancakes. The governor suggested he settled down in Mordoviya, Itar-Tass reported. Residents also presented him with two kittens.

President Putin (R) greeting French actor Gerard Depardieu during their meeting in Sochi. PHOTO: REUTERS


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

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UNILORIN 49: You can’t get emoluments for sabbatical, says S’Court EMMANUEL ONANI ABUJA

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he Supreme Court yesterday told reinstated lecturers of the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) that its earlier judgement in their favour did not include payments for their sabbatical. The court therefore, advised the lecturers to be reasonable in their demands on the university. It will be recalled that the apex court had on June 12, 2009 overruled the uni-

versity authority’s action sacking the affected lecturers, for taking part in the activities of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on May 15, 2001. Consequently, the court ordered the immediate reinstatement of the 49 lecturers of the university with the payment of their salaries and allowances for the period of their dismissal. Delivering the ruling in an application brought on behalf of the university by Mallam Yusuf Ali, SAN, for interpretation/clarifi-

cation of the judgement of the court delivered in 2009, Justice Mahmud Mohammed expressed concern that the lecturers were making demands that appeared unreasonable, such as receiving payments for sabbatical. Responding to Ali’s complaint that the lecturers had secured an order of garnishee, which attached N302 million belonging to the university, Justice Mahmud said that the judgement of the apex court was unambiguous,

as it was for the payment of the lecturers’ salaries and allowances. Ali’s argument was to the effect that, the aggrieved lecturers had misinterpreted the court’s judgement reinstating them and were now making unreasonable demands on the university. As a way out, the presiding justice advised counsel to both parties to meet with a view to reaching a compromise. Justice Mohammed specifically urged counsel representing the lecturers, Mr.

Toyin Oladipo, to tell his clients that their demand did not form part of the judgment they secured in 2009. According to Justice Mohammed; “Sanity should be brought in here. Put your heads together. Bring sanity into the legal profession. This is indiscipline.” On the claim for sabbatical the court had asked: “Which sabbatical? Which order of this court said you should go on sabbatical? Sabbatical when you were not around for eight years. Is it moral for you to be ask-

ing for all these? “You are embarking on an illegality. It is not your business to ask for money which your clients were not entitled to. “Your clients must abide by the law. You don’t take instructions blindly. I was in the matter. What you are doing is immoral.” Justice Mohammed said it was not necessary for the court to interpret the judgment and called on the lecturers’ counsel not to take step that would embarrass the judiciary.”

FCTA pledges to resettle 8, 000 indigenes OMEIZA AJAYI

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inister of State for the Federal Capital Territory, Olajumoke Akinjide, yesterday said nine communities of over 8, 000 indigenes would be resettled by the FCT Administration by June 2013, marking a major breakthrough in the resettlement scheme. Spokesman for the minister, Oluyinka Akintunde, said the minister spoke in Abuja while reviewing the performance of the resettlement scheme of the administration. He said the three communities of 2, 571 households would be resettled in the first quarter of 2013 in the Apo Resettlement Scheme while six communities of 5, 172 households would be resettled by the second quarter in GaluwyiShere. Of the 8, 000 indigenes, 3, 200 are to be resettled with houses and 4, 800 are to receive plots of land in Apo in Abuja Municipal Area Council and Galuwyi-Shere in Bwari Area Council. She said the three communities to be resettled in the first quarter as Garki, Apo and Akpajenya while Utako, Maje, Jabi Yakubu, Jabi Samuel, Zhilu and Kpaadna communities are to be resettled in the second quarter. “The FCT Administration is committed towards resolving the lingering resettlement crisis. Part of the efforts being made to resolve the crisis was

the inauguration of a ministerial committee on facts finding and the way forward on Apo Resettlement Scheme. This has given the original inhabitants confidence and hope of amicable resolution of the crisis which had lingered over the years. “The committee has made some useful recommendations to the administration towards the peaceful resolution of the issues militating against the resettlement scheme. Consequently, about 2, 571 households are to move from Garki, Apo and Akpajenya to Apo Resettlement Town in the first quarter of 2013,” Akinjide said. The minister disclosed that engineering infrastructure works are ongoing in Phase 2 of Apo Resettlement Scheme and Galuwyi-Shere. It will be recalled that the ministerial committee on facts finding and the way forward on Apo Resettlement Scheme had recommended the capturing of resettlement and compensation of the original inhabitants of the FCT in the national priority budget of the Federal Government.

Traffic gridlock from a security check-point on Song-Yola Road yesterday, following last week’s attack on Song town by gunmen who burnt a police station and Song Local Government Secretariat complex. PHOTO: NAN

Boko Haram kingpin trailed to Benue HENRY IYORKASE MAKURDI

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ell was yesterday let loose in Gboko, the traditional capital of the Tiv people in Benue State, following the raid by security operatives on an apartment allegedly belonging to a suspected leader of the dreaded Islamic sect, the Boko haram. The incident caused panic amongst residents behind the Islamic Primary School in the town. The security men, National Mirror gathered were drafted from Abuja with a

combined military and police team to trail and arrest the suspected Boko Haram member, whose identity was unknown. It was, however, speculated in other circles that the suspected sect member’s identity must have been revealed from Abuja, prompting the search and possible arrest of the wanted Boko Haram member. National Mirror also gathered from a resident in the area, one Pastor Tarnongu, that the residents were afraid when they saw the team of gun-wielding security operatives, running all over the settlement

and people were scared and had to scamper to safety, more so as they were shooting sporadically into the air to scare onlookers and get their target. Another eyewitness, who did not want his name mentioned, also lamented that the noise accompanying the arrival of the security men had sent everybody in the vicinity shivering and running to seek refuge elsewhere. “Frankly, the scenario was quite unhealthy as people in the area have never witnessed such siege before. So it was very dramatic and it engendered fear in

the people, especially with the recent insecurity plaguing the country.” In his reaction, the Benue State Police Command’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Daniel Ezeala, confirmed the development, but said the Joint Task Force (JTF) were not from the state. Not quite long ago, Governor Gabriel Suswam, had raised the alarm during a church communion service about alleged threats to his life and the state at large by the sect. He urged the congregation to offer prayers that would safeguard and protect him with a view to averting any calamity.

NSCDC seals 131 private guard firms in two years

T Jumoke Akinjide

he Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) said it has sealed 131 private guard companies between January 2011 and December 2012. This was contained in an NSCDC document made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yester-

day in Abuja. Reacting to sealing, NSCDC Head of Public Relations, Mr. Emmanuel Okeh, told NAN that the companies were sealed up for not conforming with laid down rules and regulations guiding their operations. He said some of the

companies were sealed for possessing invalid licences while others were not duly registered. The document further showed that the companies were penalised after an inspection of 325 companies across the country. It also showed that 25 of such private guard compa-

nies that made efforts to meet the guidelines were later re-opened by the corps. It further said that 120 new companies were licensed between January 2011 and December 2012, while 344 others renewed their licences in the period under review.


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National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

64 died during ‘ember’ months’ crashes in Zamfara –FRSC

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ixty-four people died in 102 road accidents involving 121 vehicles in Zamfara State during the “ember” months of 2012. The state Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, Alhaji Ibrahim Abubakar, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Gusau yesterday. Abubakar pointed out that this was in spite of the intensive safe driving public awareness campaign by FRSC. He said 302 persons sustained various degrees of

injuries in the accidents and attributed the high death toll to reckless driving by commercial vehicle drivers. Abubakar decried the

reckless attitude of some drivers and recalled how a driver of Gulf car loaded 10 passengers and killed all of them in an accident with a bus carrying 18 passengers,

who also died on the spot. He urged motorists to strictly observe traffic regulations to reduce the number of accidents. The sector commander

said the FRSC had embarked on aggressive awareness campaigns for a change of attitude by commercial vehicle drivers to instil traffic discipline in them.

Nasarawa moves to upgrade printing press IGBAWASE UKUMBA LAFIA

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Policewoman dies after refusing blood transfusion

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police corporal assigned to the Wuse Zone 3 Police Division, Abuja, died yesterday at the National Hospital after rejecting blood transfusion. The husband of the deceased, Emmanuel Timothy, said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, that his wife, Grace, who was a member of the Jehovah Witness, died because her family refused to consent to her having a blood transfusion. He said: “She lost her pregnancy at seven months, which resulted in a surgery to get the baby out. After the surgery, she had complications. “When she complained of serious stomach ache, we rushed her to the National Hospital where the doctor said her stomach had to be flushed. “But, before the flushing, they said she needed blood transfusion because she had already lost so much blood. “However, she did not get the blood transfusion because her religion and family forbid blood transfusion.” When asked if he would press charges against the parents of his late wife, Timothy said he might consider doing so. He said: “I have to press charges because they prevented my wife from receiving blood transfusion. ‘Over our dead body; it is better she dies than for her to take another person’s blood,’ they said to me.” Timothy was at the police station to report his wife’s death.

He urged motorists to cooperate with officials of FRSC in their current efforts to ensure safe driving and security of lives and property on the highways.

The newly renovated campaign office of President Goodluck Jonathan and his deputy, Namadi Sambo, in preparation for 2015 general elections, near NEPA roundabout in Kaduna.

Boko Haram: Stray bullet hits UNIMAID student INUSA NDAHI MAIDUGURI

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400 level student of the Department of Adult Education, University of Maiduguri, UNIMAID, Mr. Abdulmuminu Abubakar, was hit by a stray bullet during an exchange od gunfire between suspected terrorists and men of the Joint Task Force, JTF, in Gwange Ward of Maiduguri. It was gathered that the student, who came to Maiduguri, the Gombe State capital, at the weekend, was preparing to resume school after spending the Christmas and New Year break

with his parents in Abuja. He got to the motor park late in the night and decided to sleep at the park because of the 6am to 9pm curfew. But about 5am the following day, Abubakar boarded a taxi to school. He was hit by stray bullet inside the taxi. A witness, who does not want his name in print, told our correspondent that the JTF men opened fire on the taxi, thinking it was carrying terrorists. He added that Abubakar shouted for help when he was hit by bullet, which attracted the attention of the JTF men.

After thorough search, the source said, the JTF men discovered that Abubakar was a student and not a terrorist. He said: “When the JTF discovered that the student was shot and was unconscious, they removed him from the taxi and quickly moved him to an undisclosed hospital for treatment.” Confirming the incident in a statement, the JTF spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa, said the student was hit by a stray bullet from either the JTF troops or the terrorists. He said: “Information at the disposal of the Joint

Task Force Operation Restore Order revealed that at about 5:50am on Friday 4 January, 2013, a JTF location was attacked by Boko Haram terrorists at Gwange in Maiduguri metropolis. “During an exchange of fire, a taxi was caught in the cross fire; unfortunately a stray bullet hit one of the passengers who is alleged to be a student of the University of Maiduguri.” Musa added that the injured student was taken to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital where he was receiving medical attention and responding to treatment.

We’ll form merger to defeat PDP in Kwara –CPC WOLE ADEDEJI ILORIN

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he Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, yesterday disclosed a merger plan by the opposition parties to wrest power from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Kwara State. Speaking with members of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, in Ilorin, the state CPC Chairman, Alhaji Suleiman Buhari and the Public Relations Officer, Mr. Obasanjo Alashi, said the planned merger was a response to the failure of

PDP in Kwara State. They said that the PDP might depend on the power of incumbency at the poll, opposition parties had concluded arrangements to end what they described as the anti-people policies of the government which, according to them, started under former Governor Bukola Saraki. The CPC chiefs said that come October, the opposition would win at least 12 local government areas during the council polls. Buhari and Alashi listed the anti-people policies and programmes of

the state government to include the Aviation College, the multi-million naira Metropolitan Square, the Shonga Farm and the Joint Account System “put in place to corner local government fund”. They said it amounted to insensitivity on the part of the government to collect allocations from the federation account on behalf of the people only to use such on white elephant projects that had no bearing on the masses. Buhari said the people of Kwara State had respect for Dr. Olusola Saraki while alive because of his contributions to the

state and not his son, Bukola. He said: “Bukola can never be a leader here. We are aware of his smokescreen and deceptive projects but now that his father is dead we will reduce him to size, at the right time. “We will embark on credible agricultural revolution with their products physically available in markets here in Kwara and not in Zimbabwe that we cannot see. “We will also ensure the provision of standard physical infrastructure to the advantage of the common man.”

asarawa State Government has partnered with a United Kingdom-based firm, Lawrence Press Services, to upgrade facilities at the state-owned printing press. Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura yesterday received the Chief Executive Officer of Lawrence Press Services, Mr. Lawrence Martins, at his private residence in Lafia, the state capital. Al-Makura and Martins latter undertook an inspection of the state printing press complex. The governor explained to the CEO the desire of his administration to collaborate with the firm to revive the printing press. He said: “We discovered that the printing aspect of the printing press has a lot of problems. My visits to the place on several occasions show that the facilities were obsolete. Hence, I am worried that the task that such a machine could be able to handle may not meet our expectations in the 21 century.” Al-Makura said the government also wanted to upgrade the machines in line with international best practices of printing. He said the printing press should not be limited to printing government documents and information papers, but also to go into commercial printing and publishing. Responding, Martins told the governor that he was in the state to assess the printing and publishing outlet with a view to collaborating with the government to boost the capacity of the edifice to meet global standard.

Al-Makura


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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

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Features

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Lagos residents thirst for potable water

Lagos has always reminded residents of the Ancient Mariner’s Tale of “water everywhere, but none to drink.” Recent investigations by OKAY OSUJI, reveal that in spite of concerted efforts to provide enough of this resource, more than 60 percent of the state still live without potable water.

Ikorodu Mini Water Works

Children fetching water from a commercial water tank

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t has been established that only 40 percent of the estimated 18 million residents of Lagos State have access to potable drinking water, even as the Lagos State Water Corporation said it is making efforts to build more than 20 mini water works in the state. A survey, reveal that most people depend on water from shallow wells for domestic and other household chores, even as many turn to private boreholes or street vendors to meet drinking water needs, as this has created a thriving business for commercially purified water packaged in polyethylene pouches, known as “sachet water”. For example, residents of Awodiora Town and Achakpo in Ajeromi Ifelodun, said they do not have access to pipe- borne water but only from dug wells and boreholes. According to them, water from such sources is unsuitable for human consumption, as they are usually yellowish and have pungent odours. Residents of Ikotun, a Lagos suburb, lamented the lack of potable water in the area, saying they depend on boreholes and wells for water, even as they are scared that it might be polluted. A resident, Martin Ochei, said: “Majority of people in the area still depends on water from boreholes and dug wells. The danger is that the water may be contaminated. They are not subjected to technical specifications, and could be sources of pollution of the ground water. Moreover, they have attendant health hazard such as typhoid, diarrhoea, gastroenteritis and other related water-borne diseases.” At Ilasamaja in Oshiodi/Isolo Local Council Development Area, the picture is the same, as residents depend on water vendors for their daily needs, given the lack of pipe borne water. A resident, Mrs. Janet Adewale, said “Government has not supplied us with potable water, as we make personal arrangements to get it. Every day, we queue at a borehole to buy water. When there is power, we pay N10 for a 25-litre can and N20 for the same quantity when there is no electricity”. Mr. James Okoye, whole lives on Amusu Street, said they have a borehole sunk by a

NOT EVEN GOVERNMENT -OWNED HOSPITALS ARE

SPARED THE SCARCITY.

THIS HAS LED TO A

THRIVING BUSINESS IN WATER VENDING BY THE

“MAI RUWA”

pharmaceutical company. “At times we go to other places to buy from water vendors, especially when there are long queues of people waiting to get water. Incidentally, the water from the dug wells is usually polluted, as it is not good for drinking or other domestic uses.” The situation in Ikorodu is no better either, as many residents, especially at OwutuAgric, lamented the lack of drinking water. Mr. Hamzat Ishola, a bricklayer, said “I live on Sultan Bello Street, and in the past seven years, I have not seen pipe borne water. In fact, our children do not know how it all looks like. Owutu is highly populated, yet people have no access to pipe borne water. We depend on boreholes and dug wells. We are even lucky that some owners of these boreholes allow us access to them. But the fear is that the water may not be pure. Government should provide us with clean drinking water.” A survey of places such as Festac Town, Ajegunle, Amukoko, Itire, Lawanson, Aguda, Meiran-Ijaye, Abule-Egba, revealed that residents have little or no access to potable water. Not even government -owned hospitals are spared the scarcity. This has led to a thriving business in water vending by the “mai ruwa” The ubiquitous commercial water vendors who sell untreated water in every nook in the areas. Mrs. Atinuke Robbinson, who lives on Arolawun Street, Ilupeju, said the water pipes on her street have become rusty as water has not flowed through them for a long

time. Now that the water is running, it is usually dirty and with offensive odour. A water vendor at Olodi-Apapa, Mrs. Mary Ekaobong, said she gets her supply from the Lagos State Water Corporation. According to her, she buys 2000 litres for N2, 500 and resells at N60 per 20 litres and N1, 500 for a drum. A resident of Achakpo, Mr. Frank Akubueze, said he buys water in drums, as he does not patronize water vendors. ‘’Many people patronise them, as they have no choice. I spend more than N1, 000 to fill a drum, but won’t patronize water vendors because their cans are usually dirty. The water has colour and capable of carrying water borne diseases like typhoid and cholera. Not long ago, the General Manager of Lagos Water Corporation, Mr. Holloway, said that majority of boreholes and wells in the state are shallow, which means that they are not up to 150 metres deep or not subjected to technical and engineering specifications. According to him, “water from this aquifer is prone to pollution with attendant health hazards, such as typhoid, gastroenteritis, diarrhea and other related water-borne diseases.” He further noted that proliferation of boreholes has adverse environmental impact over medium or long term period with salt water intrusion from the ocean and land subsidence. Holloway described boreholes and wells as sources of pollution of the ground water, thereby causing its rapid depletion. But observers note that, the major challenge facing the water sector in Lagos State is the rapidly expanding population which is growing at a rate of 3.4 per cent per annum, as this has been responsible for the enormous pressure being exerted on this important resource. For example, the first treatment plant with a capacity of 11,000m3/d (2.42 mgd), was installed in 1910 at Iju village, abstracting raw water from spring water trenches within the Iju hills. The scheme was then designed and executed to serve the residential reservation of the colonial administrators living in Ikoyi when the first cast iron trunk main “A” of nominal diameter 28” (700 mm) was laid. Subsequent expansion was made to the plant in 1943, by increasing its capacity to 27,000m3/d (6 mgd), accompanied by the laying of another cast iron trunk main “B” of

nominal diameter 24” (600mm). The plant capacity was again increased in 1954 to 50,000m3/d (11mgd). Additional abstraction investments were developed at Akute, contiguous to the River Ogun, which is the most bountiful source of surface raw water available to the Lagos metropolis. With the increasing demand of the residents and the growth of the industrial sector, the production and distribution potential became overstretched. Over the years, therefore, the supply from Iju was no longer enough to meet the demands of Lagos residents and a second waterworks had to be constructed at Ishasi, deriving its source from River Owo. Seven of the mini-waterworks in metropolitan Lagos have a combined design output of 82,000m3/d (18 mgd) while the remaining three in the semi-urban areas have a combined capacity of 38,000m 3/d (8.4 mgd). The mini-waterworks was designed to feed directly into the networks laid in their various locations to give immediate effect in these areas. Along with the installations of the mini-waterworks, additional tertiary distribution networks have been laid on a continuing basis, to improve access to consumers. In 1985, a firm of consulting engineers was commissioned to update the studies due to the various alterations, due to several alterations in the metropolis after 1979, which included the construction of mini-waterworks and other physical changes. The report shows that in 1985, only 47% of the people living in the metropolis were served with potable water at reduced level of service. The plan is to supply 733million gallons of water per day by 2020. The first phase will include the building of 15 new mini waterworks with combined capacity of 30million gallons per day and the rehabilitation of existing water plants. Some of the mini water works are located in Ajangbadi, Ajegunle, Ikorodu, Isheri-Oshun, Epe, Meiran, Magodo, Mende, Badore, Ojokoro, Mosan-Okunola, Ikate, Abule-Egba, Imeke-Iworo and Oshodi. Already, 14 other mini water works are operational which include, Eredo, Otta-Ikosi, Agege, Epe, Isolo,Apapa, Surulere, AmuwoOdofin, Saka Tinubu, Shomolu, Ikorodu, Shasha and Badagry. All efforts to get the authorities of Lagos Water Corporation to comment on the issue proved abortive, as the General Manger was always said to be very busy.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Features

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

55

Katsina: Battling to combat menace of kidnappings

Some hooded kidnappers

The issue of kidnappings has been making unsavoury news in the country as the authorities battle to stem the tide. In this report, JAMES DANJUMA states that Katsina State has also joined the infamous league of where expatriates have been abducted and how security agencies are making efforts to curb the menace.

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hat was question observers are now asking in Katsina State after the recent abduction of a French national, Mr. Francis Colump, by some 30 number gunmen in Rimi Local Government Area. The incident which led to the killing of two men at Mr. Colump’s residence, also saw a mobile policeman shot and critically injured; he is however receiving treatment at a Kano State-based hospital. The gunmen also bombed a police station by reportedly using an improvised explosive device (IED), while suspects locked up in the police station’s cells were allegedly freed by the abductors. Mr. Colump, said to be in his late 60s, worked as an engineer for a French firm, AS Vergnet, at the 10 megawatts wind power project site in Rimi town, some 25km away from the state capital. While some analysts suspect abduction to be similar to those experienced in some states in the south, particularly the Niger-Delta region; others however suspect it to be activities of religious extremists. The French President, Francoise Hollande had reportedly said that the attackers were probably linked to AQIM (Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) or an allied group in Mali. This theory has raised speculation that the abductors may have moved the Frenchman to Mali, being that the AQIM has strong presence there. But Mr. Hollande, has however said that his government would do everything it could to find the abducted engineer. Reacting on the incident, the state’s police commissioner Abdullahi Magaji, dismissed the notion that the attack may have been masterminded by religious insurgents. Magaji ,said the gunmen attacked the police station to divert attention, as their main target was abduction of the Frenchman, and that a “gun belonging to the hoodlums was recovered”. He said abduction may have been carried out by past or present employees of the firm the Frenchman worked for, adding “In looking at the way the operation was carried out, in terms of coordination, speed and expertise, all indications are it was an inside job.” He said it was clear the attackers knew the area well, and that it was therefore unlikely that foreigners were involved. The incident is just one of several others that have occurred in the northern part of the country in recent months. On January 26, 2012, a German engineer, Edger Fritz Raupach, was kidnapped in Kano by unknown gunmen who claimed they were affiliated to Al-Qaeda.

Kidnapped expatriates

The gunmen reportedly handcuffed and forced Raupach into the trunk of a car before driving away to an unknown destination. Before his abduction, the German national had worked for Dantata & Sowe Construction Co. Ltd. Unfortunately, in March of the same year, Raupach was killed near the vicinity of Bayero University, during a failed attempt by security officials to rescue him from his abductors. Then on Saturday, May 12, 2012 two engineers, Briton Chris Macnamus and Italian Franco Lamolinera, were taken hostage by a group of armed men in Kebbi State. The duo had worked for Stabilini Visinoni Construction Company and was building a branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, before being abducted and held in a house in neighboring Sokoto State. But the two men also lost their lives as they were killed by their captors, during a joint raid by UK and Nigerian security personnel, in an operation to free them from their captors at the Mabera area of the state. Again, on Monday, May 28, 2012, an Italian engineer, Mr. Modeesto di Girolamo, who worked with Borini Prono Construction Company, was kidnapped in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital. Girolamo, was said to have gone on an inspection of a road construction, but he did not come back to his residence as he was abducted by kidnapers. Fortunately, the abducted Italian was released some weeks later, with the police issuing a statement on June 3, 2012 on success of his release by his captors. Usually, motive for such kidnappings are for ransom payments, though other abductors of expatriates may have reasons different from the money demanded before abductees were freed. This is exemplified in the first major kidnapping case in the country in late 2005, in which expatiates oil workers were abducted by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND) group. The abduction, according to reports, was aimed at alerting the world of the many years of marginalization, exploitation and underdevelopment of the region by oil companies. By implication, the abduction of the Frenchman in Katsina may lead to the suspension of work at the wind farm project, while security would have to be beefed around expatriates within and outside the state. Being the first abduction of its kind, the state would have to put in place measures, security and otherwise, that would

AN ASI GLOBAL REPORT MAINTAINS THAT NO LESS THAN

140 FOREIGNERS HAVE BEEN KIDNAPPED IN NIGERIA SINCE 2009, BUT SUGGESTS THAT THE PHENOMENON HAD CONTINUED TO DECLINE DUE TO IMPROVED SECURITY

forestall such from happening in the future. But the abduction has to date, raised by one person the number of foreigners so far kidnapped across the country in recent years. An ASI Global report maintains that no less than 140 foreigners have been kidnapped in Nigeria since 2009, but suggests that the phenomenon had continued to decline due to improved security around expatriate workers in last 12 months. According to the report, “Only 13 foreigners were reportedly to have been kidnapped in Nigeria last year: two Americans, two Russians, a German, an Italian, a Spaniard, an Emirati, an Indian, a Filipino and three Lebanese.” Another report however shows that Nigeria witnessed more than 512 kidnappings in the early part of 2012, with the country being among the world’s top kidnapping hotspots. According to the African Insurance Organization, AIO, Nigeria accounted for 25 percent of kidnap for ransom cases in the world in the last one year, earning her the grim name of ‘kidnap-for-ransom capital of the world’. Disclosing this in its newsletter at the 18th African Reinsurance Forum in Mauritius recently, the AIO said Nigeria has been designated such due to huge yearly record of kidnap cases in the country. On a positive side however, the National Assembly is considering an anti-kidnapping bill, which could go long way in addressing the abduction of persons, including expatriates in the country. The bill, if passed, would mean life sentences for kidnappers and their assistants. According to Amnesty International, six states have adopted the death penalty for those found guilty of kidnapping, with more considering it in coming months.


WORLD RECORD

Most expensive computer keyboard Vol. 03 No. 530

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

N150

Retailing at $4,240 (£2,190), the Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional HP Japan, produced by an affiliate of Fujitsu, is the world’s most expensive computer keyboard. Its extreme price is due in part to the fact that its keys are hand coated in Urushi lacquer and then dusted with gold.

The 2015 poster controversy

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t may have appeared very trivial, inconsequential and unimportant to an ordinary observer of events, but to the gladiators in the race for 2015, the events which led to the controversies generated by the campaign posters of President Goodluck Jonathan which appeared suddenly in Abuja speak volumes about issues driving politicians. The action portends serious implications. But after days of politicking over what should have been regarded as harmless posters, the message and the purpose for the controversies may have been achieved, depending on what those behind the action wanted. Meanwhile, that development has raised some tough questions about the relevance of this to our political institutions. A visitor, during the period the debate lasted, would have laughed at us as a people, par-

B

arcelona and Argentina forward, Lionel Messi, has been awarded the Ballon d’Or for the fourth season in a row. Messi, 25, hit 91 goals during 2012 and beat club team-mate Andres Iniesta and Real Madrid’s Ronaldo to the award. Despite his goals, the Catalan

TALKINGPOINT Seyi Fasugba

seyifasugba@yahoo.com 08053069514 (sms only)

ticularly at the politicians who, at every opportunity, want to make a mountain out of a molehill. While some may erroneously think that the politicians are not serious minded individuals, it is the other way round. The posters, which the Presidency stoutly denied, however, sent a clear message to Nigerians, particularly those who had been nursing the ambition of contesting for the State House. The message in this regard is very clear to those in office now, that you not only wish to remain in office, but also strive to strategise for the next phase of the political dispensation. If the essence of politics as it has so far manifested among the Nigerian elite, is the struggle for power, the gladiators would do anything to outwit one another in the battle ahead. The voters, who ordinarily should be happy about this development, are not. And it is doubtful if they will ever be, given the trauma of going through another round of electoral process while still groaning under the burden of the previous one which has failed to deliver their expectations of a secured future for them and their children. There are enough reasons to worry since those seeking power hardly understand that the purpose is for the benefit of the people who willingly gave the mandate in expectation that this democracy will deliver the dividends that will meet their yearnings collectively and individually. Drawing lessons from recent elections with particular reference to the United States, there was no pretence about the readi-

IT IS BETTER FOR THE PRESIDENT TO INDICATE INTEREST IN

2015 EARLY

ENOUGH FOR THE PEOPLE TO EXAMINE THE CONSISTENCIES OR OTHERWISE OF HIS POLICIES AND PROGRAMMES ness of President Barack Obama to seek another term, having creditably discharged his assignment in the first term. Even within his own party, he was sure of the nomination ticket which gave him time to prepare against the opposition parties. In denying the controversial posters, the Presidency, however, did not say categorically that President Jonathan will not stand for reelection in 2015. This is also consistent with the cases in court on the same matter where the Presidency has continued to emphasise the eligibility of Mr. President to stand for the next election if he so decides. This should cause no distractions for the polity. In fact, it is better for the President to indicate interest in 2015 early enough for the people to examine

the consistencies or otherwise of his policies and programmes as the basis for assessing the administration and to guide our choice of candidates in the next round of polls. This approach will even work better for incumbents of political offices. The fact that you know you are being assessed makes the candidate work harder to convince voters. To be persuaded to contest is abnormal and should be discouraged. The implication of this, over the years, has been the emergence of candidates ill prepared for the tasks expected since there was no adequate planning on how to make impact before the next elections. If this practice has survived, it is due to the absence of vibrant opposition parties that can provide the electorate better alternatives. Rather than dissipate energy on posters and lose focus, the electorate would prefer a productive engagement on the policies and programme that have benefitted the people and what must be done for everyone to enjoy government. On the other hand, opposition parties should demonstrate the willingness and the ability to do better by showcasing what they had done as proof of their seriousness of intentions. But from the state and local government administrations, the parties have showed that they are birds of the same feather flocking together. In assessment, they are yet to live up to expectation. Individual candidates want to impress the electorate by embarking on projects with lasting benefits to the society or complement the efforts of the government at the state or at the centre. Very shortly, constituency projects may soon be reduced to the provision of loaves of bread and food items to woo voters when majority actually lacked the basic amenities such as water and electricity, particularly uninterrupted power supply which should be the major concern. It is a common trend now for states to neglect federal roads no matter how dilapidated, ditto for the Federal Government, yet they want taxes paid by responsible citizens. So, beyond the controversies should be the yardstick to measure the suitability of those to be entrusted with responsibility again in the future.

Sport Extra Ballon d’Or: Messi makes history, scoops fourth award giant failed to win either the Spanish league title or Champions League last year. He was part of a three-man shortlist for the prize, which is voted for by journalists, and national coaches and captains, alongside midfielder Iniesta and

forward Ronaldo. He becomes the first player to win four consecutive Ballons d’Or, breaking the record he jointly held with former France international and current UEFA president, Michel Platini. Messi was favourite to win

the gong after surpassing Bayern Munich and Germany striker Gerd Mueller’s record of 85 goals in a calendar year, set in 1972. He netted 79 goals for Barcelona, plus another 12 for Argentina, in 69 games for club and country.

Lionel Messi

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013