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Naira falls as oil prices, foreign reserves dwindle JOHNSON OKANLAWON WITH AGENCY REPORT

Sanusi

Vol. 31 N0. 670 115

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he Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN will probably lower its

targeted trading range for the naira, as dwindling foreign-exchange reserves and falling oil prices undermine its ability to halt the currency’s slide.

FG recovers N34bn from MDAs revenue agencies’ illegal accounts

The naira traded above the band for the first time on a closing basis on June 7 on the interbank market and has ended trading above the CONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>

Okonjo-Iweala

Electricity workers issue ultimatum P.4,8

Tuesday, Tuesday,June July 7, 23,2011 2013

N150 N150

Democracy in danger, govs tell IBB, Abdulsalami Tukur, Gana reconcile over PDP convention Oshiomhole says leaders privatising power

PRISCILLA DENNIS AND SEBASTINE EBHUOMHAN

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isturbed by the state of the nation and the crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, four Northern governors yesterday met with two former Heads of State - Generals Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar in Minna, Niger State. At the closed door meeting, Governors Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Aliyu Wammako (Sokoto) and Sule Lamido (Jigawa) told Babangida and Abubakar that Nigerian democracy is in danger ahead of the 2015 general elections. Also, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State yesterday raised the alarm CONTINUED ON PAGE 2>>

It’s a baby boy for Duchess of Cambridge

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Match fixing: NFF bans referees, players for life L-R: FRONT ROW, Governor Aliyu Wammako (Sokoto); former President Ibrahim Babangida, Governor Babangida Aliyu (Niger). BACK ROW: Former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano) and Governor Sule Lamido (Jigawa), after a meeting at the Presidential Lodge, in Minna, Niger State yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Senate denies endorsing underage marriage

...as senator weeps, says ‘I voted in error’

24 die in multiple auto crashes

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...clubs suspended for 10 years P.27

DAY 14

‘Muslims must be role models always’ P.53


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News

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Senate denies endorsing underage marriage GEORGE OJI, KAYODE KETEFE, HAKEEM GBADAMOSI, OJO OYEWAMIDE AND ABIODUN NEJO,

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enators Atiku Bagudu and Akin Odunsi yesterday denied that the upper legislative house had endorsed child marriage, insisting that what they voted for was the process of renouncing Nigerian citizenship. But another senator, representing Ondo Central Senatorial district, Ayo Akinyelure yesterday wept publicly over his role in voting in favour of child marriage just as he explained that he voted in error. Reacting to the controversy generated by the voting on some of the proposals contained in the draft amendment bill of the 1999 Constitution last week, the senators said that the matter had been blown out of proportion. “What the Senate voted for was not child marriage but renunciation of Nigerian citizenship,” they said. Answering questions from newsmen at the National Assembly, Bagudu, who is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Interior regretted that the ongoing debate were devoid of the facts. According to him, by the reaction of Nigerians, the Senate has been wrongly drawn into a debate that the lawmakers were not allowed to express their opinion on. He said: “The essential element of the voting was on Section 29, clause 4(b), which deals with the renunciation of Nigerian citizenship. There was an attempt to remove the element, which allows marriageable women to have the right to decide to renounce their citizenship and define the age of marriageable women as those who have attained the age of 18 years.” He stated that marriage in Nigeria is regulated by the Marriage Act, Matrimonial Act, communal laws etc, and that none of these statutes contains any definitive age for marriage. The lawmaker stressed that at no time did the Senate try to lower the age threshold of people wishing to marry. He observed that in most countries of the world,

marriage below the age of 18 years is allowed but with parental consent. Senator Odunsi, in his own reaction, also expressed disappointment that the debate was uncalled for since it was never the issue the Senate voted for. “What the Senate voted for was on citizenship,” he said. According to him, the said section 29, clause 4, which is generating the outrage merely defines the persons that can renounce their citizenship and that was where the issue of women and marriage was mentioned. He said the section states that any woman that is married in Nigeria is of full age. “Section 29 of the 1999 Constitution is still the extant or existing law and what the Senate attempted to do that day was to expunge that clause but could not do so due to the shortage of 13 votes because 60 senators voted for its removal as against the constitutionally required 73 votes, while 35 voted for its retention,” Odunsi said. According to the lawmaker, from what happened last Tuesday, the Senate merely attempted to expunge the somewhat archaic clause and not in any way created the law as now wrongly portrayed by Nigerians. But, Senator Akinyelure, while speaking to his community leaders and the people of his constituency in Akure, the Ondo State capital, yesterday said there was a misinterpretation of voting on his part. The senator, who was the only lawmaker from the South-West that voted in favour of the child marriage, was summoned by the people and the leaders of the Labour Party, LP, in the state over his role in the matter. He burst into tears when he realised how angry the people were about his action. Prior to the commencement of the meeting, youths, who were aggrieved by the position of the senator barricaded the venue of the meeting, displaying placards with various inscriptions and clashed with the senator’s supporters, who also mobilised to the venue. It took the timely intervention of policemen to

save the situation from degenerating into a free-for-all as the belligerents hauled stones at each other. The senator however explained that what the Senate considered was the provision of the Constitution for renunciation of citizenship contained in section 29 (4b) which provides that any woman who is married shall be deemed to be of full age. He, however, said what he voted in favour was whether a married woman is deemed to be of full age to renounce her Nigerian citizenship and not whether a woman can marry before attaining the age of 18 years.

Akinyelure said he cannot vote in support of the child marriage, saying “I cannot vote in support of child marriage, I cannot support an underage to go and marry; it is against our culture and customs. “My voting NO was in error of misrepresentation and I had no opportunity to correct what is deemed to be my error now, because voting was done electronically. “If voting were to be done by show of hands, I would have been able to correct my error before the voting was concluded by the Senate,” he said. He, however, apologised to the leaders of the party

in the state and the people of his constituency for the error, saying he regretted his action. Women leaders across the six council areas representing the Ondo Central Senatorial District disowned the lawmaker and asked him to renounce his position. The women leaders, including Mrs. Ade Ajiboye from Akure North, Mrs. Iyabo Ojo from Ifedore, Fadoju Bunmi of Ondo East, Bimbo Bakare from Ondo West, Kikelomo Adeniyi from Idanre unanimously described the amendment on child marriage as inhuman. “We say no to child mar-

riage, it is worst than child abuse. We wonder why he would support the action. Can 10-year-old girl face the challenges of marriage,” the women leaders said. In a related development, the wife of the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, who is also the Chairperson of a Kanobased non-governmental organisation, Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative, Mrs. Maryam Uwais, has criticised the report credited to the former Governor of Zamfara State, Senator Ahmed Yerima that Sharia supports giving out underage girls in CONTINUED ON PAGE 46>>

L-R: Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio; former National Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party, Dr. Haliru Mohammed; Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and Chairman, PDP National Convention Planning Committee, Prof. Jerry Gana, during a meeting of the committee and the party’s national leadership in Abuja, yesterday.

Democracy in danger, govs tell IBB, Abdulsalami CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

that Nigeria is “treading the ground that might threaten the foundation of our existence.” The Minna meeting started shortly after the arrival of the two former military rulers at the Presidential Lodge in Minna, 12:30p.m. and lasted till 2:10p.m. The deputy governor of Niger State, Ahmed Ibeto was also in attendance. Impeccable sources at the meeting told National Mirror that the governors expressed dismay at the way President Goodluck Jonathan is muscling in on the opposition within the PDP, saying this is a clear signal of imminent danger ahead. The source said: “The governors regard Babangida and Abubakar as statesmen who should not watch Nigeria descending into anarchy. They expressed discomfort about the crisis,

the divisions in the PDP and the plot against them. “Also, the governors spoke about the future of the North in the 2015 elections. The general consensus is that the North should not be relegated to the background. As such, they are planning an alternative platform in case they are forced out of the PDP. “In the course of the discussion, all the governors complained about the way the Presidency is muscling governors seen as being in the opposition even within the PDP. They expressed worry that some of the actions of President Jonathan and the leadership of the PDP are overheating the polity. To them, this is not good for the sustenance of democracy. “The summation of the governors’ position is that the nation’s democracy is in danger, which needs rescue by patriotic statesmen.”

National Mirror also learnt that the governors perceived that the Presidency may soon come after them. “Don’t forget that the North is volatile. If any untoward action is being taken against any of the governors, it may precipitate crisis,” a source said. Speaking shortly after the meeting, the chairman, Northern States Governors’ Forum, NSGF, Aliyu said the meeting was part of efforts in finding lasting solution to some of the problems confronting the nation at present. Asked if the crisis rocking the Rivers State and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, were part of their discussion, Aliyu stated that the closed-door meeting focused on larger issues. He however added that there was no way discus-

sion would not border on Rivers State and even on the problem facing the NGF. Aliyu said: “There is no way the issue of Rivers State will not come up now in Nigeria in any meeting. But, it is larger than those of Rivers State and the Governors’ Forum. We are consulting with people over some of the problems some of us have perceived in the nation. “We are consulting so that we will all understand the issues and we will also carry the people as we go along.” He said the four governors were determined to create an understanding of the issues and carry their people along. “The governors held a closed door meeting with the former leaders, lasting more than two hours, the governors had met with former President Olusegun CONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

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PhotoNews

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

L-R: Community Relations Manager, British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATNF), Mr. Solomon Ogundele; Executive Director, Mrs. Oluwasoromidayo George and Oyo State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Peter Odetomi, during a courtesy visit to the commissioner, yesterday.

L-R: Scouting Manager, Africa’s Next Top Model, Maria Arrington; supermodel and host, Oluchi Orlandi and Line Producer, Dirk Dewaal, at a press conference on the auditioning of the 2013 Nigeria’s edition of Model PHOTO: OLUFEMI AJASA Reality Search in Lagos, yesterday.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

L-R: Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Prof. Modupe Adelabu; celebrant, retired Bishop of Remo Diocese, Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev. Elijah Oluremi Ogundana, and his wife, Olamide, during the 80th birthday service in honour of Ogundana at Iluomoba-Ekiti, at the weekend.

L-R: Director, Consumer Protection Department, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mrs. Umma Dutse; President, Nigeria Market Women Association, Mrs. Felicia Sanni, and Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission, PHOTO: ROTIMI OSASONA SEC, Ms. Arunma Oteh, during the SEC Wealth and Health Day in Abuja, yesterday.

National News

N34bn recovered from MDAs’ illegal accounts 235 agencies now on IPPIS –HOS TOLA AKINMUTIMI AND OMEIZA AJAYI

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he Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, yesterday disclosed that N34 billion had been recovered so far through the ongoing probe of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs. The probe by the Ministry of Finance into financial abuses by the MDAs had earlier uncovered the siphoning of N58 billion to illegal accounts. Okonjo-Iweala’s disclosure came barely 24 hours after the National Mirror exclusively reported the pervasive shady financial deals in most MDAs, characterised by illegal bank accounts as well as unauthorised disbursements of deducted taxes on paid contract sums to fund their activities. The funds were expected to have been remitted into the Federal Government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund, CRF, Account. Updating the media on the success recorded so far through the probe, the co-

ordinating minister for the economy said government was doing everything possible to ensure that such illegally diverted revenues were recovered from the affected MDAs as well as some of their collaborating revenue generation agencies and banks. She said: “We had to act fast as agencies that are revenue generating refused to comply with the provision of remitting 25 per cent of such funds to the treasury. “We pleaded with them, tried to dialogue with them, but it was not working. So we had to take some drastic measures. “We have so far recovered N34 billion of such monies and have factored it into cash backing for second quarter release for budget 2013.” The issue of non-remittance of revenues into the CRF came to the fore after the National Assembly had also raised the alarm over the financial abuses in the MDAs and the revenue agencies, after which it called on the executive to thoroughly investigate its findings. In what appeared to be

an immediate response to the directive, the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, engaged 53 consultants to verify and reconcile revenue collection and remittances by collecting banks engaged by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, and the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, between January 2008 and June 2012. Apparently uncomfortable with the ugly development, particularly in the face of shrinking revenues at government’s disposal, the finance minister had last month threatened to close the affected revenue agencies bank accounts by June 17 if they failed to remit the revenues to the CRF. Okonjo-Iweala regretted that the unwholesome practice persisted despite efforts to encourage the agencies and the affected banks to do the right thing. She said: “Rather than comply, the agencies and banks, through their lawyers, have engaged in all manner of legal subterfuges to ensure that monies which are due to the Federal Government are not remitted.

“The objective of this conspiracy against the national interest is clear: to keep government monies indefinitely in accounts earning interest for individuals at the expense of the Federal Government and the Nigerian people. “This is totally unacceptable and the Federal Ministry of Finance is determined that this practice must end forthwith.” Meanwhile, the Head of the Service, HOS, of the Federation, Bukar Goni Aji, has disclosed that about 235 MDAs had been captured in the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System, IPPIS. This, he said, had reduced the incidence of “ghost workers” in such organisations. Aji said with the development, 85 per cent of the IPPIS modules on payroll emolument was now operational while less than 15 per cent of the Human Resources component was functional. He spoke yesterday at the opening of a four-day workshop on Gap Analysis for Human Resources module for the IPPIS Role Players

Service-Wide in Abuja. The head of service said the event was not only designed to institutionalise the specific Human Resources Business Processes but to also to provide institutional and personnel capacity to create synergy among stakeholders, for acceptability and full implementation of the IPPIS scheme service-wide. Aji, who noted that the scheme was not aimed at witch-hunting a section of the public service, described it as part of government’s concerted effort towards reducing wastage and financial leakages in personnel cost management. Urging civil servants to take ownership of the full implementation of the scheme to ensure accurate and proper repositioning of the emolument system for the public service, Aji said the essence of the workshop was to ensure the full implementation of the IPPIS by all MDAs. He said: “In 2006, the Federal Government conceived that there is dire need for sustainable reforms in the public sector and so a diagnostic review was carried out to gen-

erate possible solutions. “The key strategy identified to carry out the desired reforms was the development and deployment of software of an Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System for the Public Service emolument of the workforce. “This was expected to address the issue of availability and reliability of management information needed for decision making as well as other systemic deficiencies of the public service that resulted in financial waste and leakages.” Aji also reiterated the presidential directive ordering all agencies funded through the budgetary provisions to enrol on the IPPIS project before December 2013. The head of service said after critical assessment and consultation with all stakeholders especially universities, teaching hospitals, polytechnics and colleges of education, the President had noted the concern and peculiarities of such operations which, he said, would be addressed through proper configuration and customisation of the software.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

News

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

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Democracy in danger, govs tell IBB, Abdulsalami CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2

Obasanjo. We are also expected to meet with retired Gen. T.Y. Danjuma, a former Chief of Army Staff,” he said. Asked why Governor Murtala Nyako was not at the meeting, the NSGF chairman explained that the governor had earlier called to apologise over his inability to come as he was expecting a delegation from Cameroon on power in his state. Aliyu said there was position taken by those at the meeting, adding that they met to consult with the former heads of state on the political issues confronting the nation that are still ongoing.

Also speaking, former Head of State, General Babangida commended the five governors and their colleagues for the decision to embark on the consultation with stakeholders in the country on the state of the nation. “I am very impressed that they see the problem of the country as their problems. They had taken the right steps to make sure that they had consulted widely, while trying to find solutions to some of nagging problems; but they are real patriots,” Babangida said. However, a close source at the meeting, who did not want his name in print,

said the talks may not be unconnected with the 2015 election. “Though I wasn’t part of the meeting, but I believe the issue of the 2015 election featured prominently among many other issues that were discussed,” the source said. National Mirror learnt that the governors are billed to meet with former Defence Minister, Gen. T. Y. Danjuma later this week. The governors, except Aliyu, met with former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, where they also expressed their frustration with the PDP

and the state of the nation. Meanwhile, Governor Adams Oshiomhole has charged Christians and other citizens to take a stand on the 2015 general election and pray seriously for a peaceful poll. The governor made the appeal when the National Executive Committee members of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, led by the General-Secretary, Rev. Musa Asake, paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House in Benin City. “For me, Nigeria is treading the ground that might threaten the foundation of our existence. So, having shown courage, having spo-

Members of the Urhobo Progressive Union, during their visit to President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

ken out even in the days of military dictatorship, now in a democracy, we need more of that courage from CAN. “Things happening around, for me, represent very dangerous signals. There are people who do not wish the country well and unfortunately there are men and women who cannot claim to have a future and are messing up the future for everybody else. It is the lot of the Christian community to speak out where it matters, so that those who are deaf can listen and those who are blind may have their sight restored so that together we will build a nation that is God-fearing and where the people will benefit from the resources that God so generously endowed us with” Oshiomhole said The governor added: “We need a lot of activism as we approach 2015, that a nation is not like a private enterprise, that only the people are permanent, leaders will necessary come and go and that is the promise of democracy. We need you to help all of us. “Right now many of us are worried about the goings on in the country, I cannot carry protest now because I will be misunderstood and my heart is in the mood of protesting, so that my own children will not inherit the iniquities of the

evil we see every day.” Oshiomhole urged Christians to continue to pray for the continued existence of the nation, saying, “It is the prayers of our Christian brothers and Muslim brothers that have kept Nigeria going. We are in very challenging times and we are buffeted with a good number of elite entrusted with state powers at various levels privatising those powers and behaving as if they are gods and dealing ruthlessly with those who are powerless and applying the resources in a manner that is offensive to the poor.” Earlier, Asake, who formally represented CAN President, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, expressed joy at the achievements of the governor in meeting the most basic needs of the people of Edo State. “We in the CAN are happy with what you are doing in Edo State, our men and women have continued to give us pleasant reports of your great support for the church and your delivery of democracy dividends and people-oriented projects in education, health, youth empowerment and infrastructural development. We have come to thank you and pray for you for the good work you are doing. God who brought you here will never let you down,” Asake added.

Naira falls as oil prices, foreign reserves dwindle CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

peg each day since June 25. An analyst at FBN Capital, Mr. Gregory Kronsten, said yesterday that the CBN may adjust the exchange rate to within a three percentage-point band of 160 per dollar from N155 over the next six to nine months. According to him, lower crude prices are making it more difficult for the CBN to hold the line on the naira exchange rate. The situation is compounded by the loss of about 400,000 barrels of crude oil equivalent to over N7bn per day to oil theft and illegal bunkering, which has put pressure on government finances with the CBN having to sell more dollars directly to banks at the twice weekly Wholesale Dutch Auctions, WDAS, to support the naira value amid high demand. It sold $700m last week, compared with $600m the previous week, at

N155.76 to N155.79 per dollar. Lower exchange rate would mean higher cost of imported goods including fuel and a rise in operational cost for several sectors including aviation, hospitality and manufacturers which rely on high proportion of imported inputs. Chief Executive Officer, Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Mr. Bismarck Rewane had said that dwindling oil receipts implied that a decline in the federal allocation was a possibility, which according to him, posed a downside risk to the naira and a depletion of external reserves He added that the naira depreciation is expected to result in increased fuel prices and lease payments by domestic operators will go up significantly, as they purchase forex, consequently increasing the cost of air travel to Nigerians. Data from the CBN yes-

terday showed that foreign reserves dropped 3.2 per cent or $1.54bn month-on month, from $48.5bn in June 19 to $46.9bn in July 19, this year. The $46.9bn reserves represent about 28.1 per cent increase over the $36.6bn recorded on July 2, 2012. The nation’s external reserves had risen steadily since last year due to high oil prices and stability in the foreign exchange market. The Federal Government had targeted $50bn reserves by the end of 2012. The reserves, however, closed the year at $44.26bn on December 24, 2012, finishing $6bn below the government’s target. The CBN Governor, Mr. Lamido Sanusi, said in May that the outlook for the country’s foreign reserves this year was mixed. He said that the foreigncurrency reserves would probably keep expanding,

while facing risks from lower-than-projected oil output and falling prices. Sanusi had in November 2011 devalued the midpoint of the bank’s exchange-rate range at its twice-weekly auctions from N150. The naira strengthened less than 0.1 per cent to N161.18 per dollar on Monday. The currency has weakened three per cent this year compared with a 0.5 per cent decrease in the currency of Angola, which vies with Nigeria as Africa’s top oil producer. Bonny Light crude, the country’s main export, rose 0.1 per cent to $109.98 per barrel last week. The grade climbed to as high as $120.54 on February 8 and fell as low as $100.31. The oil output slid for a third month in June, dropping by 70,000 barrels a day to 1.88m barrels amid theft and damage to infrastructure.

An emerging-markets Strategist with Standard Bank Group Limited, Mr. Samir Gadio, noted that in the absence of capital inflows over the past two months, the CBN has had to step up its foreign currency auction and direct sales to banks to address the dollar demand-supply mismatch. Another analyst at Sterling Capital Limited, Sewa Wusu, pointed out that the CBN may increase its exchange-rate band to N160 per dollar to increase costs for importers. The Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had recently pointed out that with just $3.6bn left in the excess crude account after withdrawals to augment monthly allocations to the three tiers of government, “should the price of oil drop, we have no cushion.” “The $3.6bn in the ex-

cess crude account is not enough to sustain the country for any period of time,” she said. The minister recalled that “it was difficult getting governors to agree to $1bn savings for the Sovereign Wealth Fund, SWF.” “Now that the price of oil is high, we should be happy but because the quantity we produce as a country has dropped, we are not selling expected quantities. So, not much money is coming in. We are selling below budgeted quantities,” she said. Okonjo-Iweala said: “The Federal Government is not dipping hands in anything. I can tell you how much is in every account. We must save for the future because soon Ghana and Angola will join the league of countries that have savings, whereas Nigeria is fast depleting the little she has.”


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National News

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Nigeria records N2.086trn drop in trade value in Q1 TOLA AKINMUTIMI ABUJA

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ndications that Nigeria may suffer major decline in foreign exchange earnings in the financial year emerged yesterday with the country’s earnings from external trade dropping by about N2.08 trillion, from about N7.19 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2012 to about N5.098 trillion at the end of first quarter this year. This represented 29 per cent decrease in the value of trade. The ugly development reinforces the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s recent lamentation over the worrisome state of Nigeria’s revenue incomes and the increasing need for fiscal retrenchment in order to avert the potential threats the dwindling earning could pose to the nation’s macroeconomic stability. According to the Foreign Trade Statistics Report for the first quarter of the year published by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, the decrease in the external merchandise trade was attributed to declining earnings from value of exports as well as increased impor-

•Suffers 60.8 % trade imbalance tation of goods during the quarter under review. For instance, while the value of exports declined sharply by 29 per cent, the value of imports also increased by about the same margin, rising by 27 per cent from the total imports value recorded in the preceding month. A further analysis of the merchandise trade which totalled N5, 098.8 billion for the quarter under review indicated that on year-onyear basis, the value of the nation’s total merchandise trade decreased by N1, 523.1billion or 23.0 per cent as a result of decreasing imports and exports. The difference showed a decline in the trade balance by 45.6 per cent during the period. The NBS reported that: “Nigeria’s external merchandise trade totalled N5, 098.9billion in the first quarter of 2013, a decrease of N2, 086.9 billion or 29 per cent from the N7, 185.8billion recorded in the previous quarter. The decrease emanated mainly from the fall in the value of exports from N5, 892.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012 to N3, 452.1billion in the first quarter of 2013, a 41.4 per cent decline.

“Furthermore, a 27.4 per cent increase in imports from N1, 292.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012 to N1, 646.7billion in the first quarter of 2013 in combination with a decrease in exports, created a decline in the trade balance by N2, 794.7 or 60.8 per cent during the period. Year-on-year, the value of the nation’s total merchandise trade decreased by N1, 523.1billion or 23.0 per cent as a result of decreasing imports and exports,” the NBS added. On the export trade trend, the statistical agency disclosed further that the value of Nigeria’s exports stood at N3, 452.1billion in the first quarter of 2013, representing a decrease of N1, 517.6 billion or 30.5 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2012, adding that a further comparison with the fourth quarter of 2012 trade value indicated that Nigeria’s exports declined by N2, 440.8 or 41.4 per cent. Analysis on exports by sections showed that that Mineral products contributed N3, 034.2billion or 87.9 per cent of total exports during the quarter, followed by Plastic, Rubber and Associated Articles with N168.1billion or 4.9 per cent, and Prepared

Foodstuffs, Beverages, Spirit, Vinegar and Tobacco with N115.2billion or 3.3 per cent. Contrarily, the report showed that the country’s total imports value from January to March this year stood at N1, 646.7 billion, representing a marginal decline of 0.3 per cent year-onyear, but higher by 27.4 per cent or N353.9 billion from the N1, 292.8 billion recorded in the previous quarter. The NBS attributed the increase in imports to substantial rises in the value of major products classified by SITC such as; Crude Inedible Materials, Mineral fuels, and Commodities not elsewhere classified with N125.6 billion, N1.2 billion and 482.6 billion respectively. A further breakdown of the imports classified by sections showed that Mineral products accounted for the largest share of imports with N639.2billion or 38.8 per cent of total imports. Other imports during the period include Boilers, Machinery and Appliances and Associated parts, Plastic, Rubber and Associated articles, and Vehicles Aircraft and Parts, with N236.3 billion or 14.4 per cent, N185.9 billion or 11.3 per cent and N143.8 billion or 8.7 per cent.

L-R: Commissioner, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mrs. Nwafor Gladys; Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega; Commissioner, Chris Iyimoga and Director-General, National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Prof. Seidu Mohammed, during INEC chairman's visit to NASRDA in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

UDEME AKPAN

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he distribution of petroleum products in Lagos and its environs may be affected as the Pipeline Products Marketing Company, PPMC, a subsidiary of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has experienced a major pipeline explosion in Lagos.

PPMC records pipeline explosion in Lagos

The explosion which took place yesterday in Iyalodo, Idimu, in the Lagos area, was attributed to vandals attempt at stealing petroleum product from the pipeline. Spokesman of the PPMC, Mr. Nasir Imodagbe, who confirmed the development, said there was no causality as at the time they got

to the place around 2.30 pm. He said: “The explosion was caused due to vandals trying to siphon petroleum product from the pipeline.” Imodagbe added: “Our officials quickly rushed down to the incident place to curb the fire from escalating to household and ascertain the level of damage. He said the line had been shut down to allow officials

carry out repairs, he, however, assured that the line will be back by tomorrow. Imodagbe urged residents in the area not to panic, adding that everything is under control. The News agency of Nigeria, NAN said such vandalism had occurred about 10 times in the last two years in various locations in Lagos.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

New anti-trafficking law seeks stricter punishment, others •Proposes 10-year jail term for offenders he proposed Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration (Repeal and Reenactment) Bill, 2013 will introduce stricter punishment regime as well as witness protection measures. This was also as the proposed bill seeks a ten-year punishment for would-be offenders. The purpose of this is to ensure deterrence and to enhance investigation and admissibility of evidence in court as it relates to trafficking offenders and victims. This was disclosed yesterday at a joint public hearing organised by the National Assembly Committees on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Youths and Women Affairs as well as the Committee on Narcotics. Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Umaru Dahiru, in his welcome address expressed concern at the rate at which human trafficking had affected the image of the country. While urging concerted efforts at addressing the problem, he regretted that the issue of trafficking in persons has become a serious threat to national security. “While opinion may be divided on the nature and extent of this evil trade in human beings and its attendant anti-social impact, the rule of law remains a potent instrument and a rallying point for building consensus aimed at countering the exploitation of the vulnerability of fellow human beings,” the lawmaker said. Chairman, House of

Representatives Committee on Human Right, Hon. Beny Lar, said the bill, if passed into law, would not only provide stricter penalty for offenders, it would also help to strengthen the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP. According to her, NAPTIP would no longer have to rely solely on the government for funding as contained in Part V, Section 26 (2) of the bill. The bill also provides for greater integration of counter-trafficking strategies by including a wider range of state security agencies and chief security officers as well as broadens the definition of trafficking by including activities such as the procurement or recruitment of any person for organ harvesting. The lawmaker also decried NAPTIP’s report that over eight million Nigerian children are engaged in exploitative child labour. “In the light of these pressing realities, the importance of this bill cannot be overemphasised,” she said. The Senate President, David Mark and House of Representatives Speaker, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, in his remark at the public hearing, assured that the National Assembly will do everything within its capabilities to fast-track the new anti-trafficking legislation. Mark in particular, described human trafficking as modern day slavery and urged NAPTIP to focus more on awareness, education, and prevention and restoration campaign to combat the menace. He also denounced a situation where human beings are stripped of their dignities and forced into accepting menial pay for the same job.

The explosion may have much impact on the operations of PPMC as it receives crude oil from the National Petroleum Investments Management Services, NAPIMS, a subsidiary of NNPC. It supplies the crude oil to the NNPC local refineries for local refining while additional products are imported from the global market. PPMC stated that: “Pe-

troleum products are either imported or refined locally and are received by the PPMC through import jetties and pipelines and distributed through pipelines to depots strategically located all over, called bridging to designated retail outlets.” Investigations showed that many cases of vandalism have been recorded in Lagos and its environs in the past few months.

GEORGE OJI ABUJA

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Electricity outage looms as workers plan protest UDEME AKPAN

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lectricity generation, transmission and distribution may be disrupted in the nation as electricity workers have concluded plans to embark on strike. The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), which issued the threat yesterday in Lagos, said that the union was set to protest if the payment of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN workers’ severance package was not implemented by the Federal Government. Chairman of the Lagos chapter of NUEE, Mr. Adeleke Ibrahim, said the union had already issued a nine-day ultimatum that would expire on July 31, 2013. Ibrahim said the payment had suffered setbacks due to the inability of the Federal Ministry of Power to put its records straight.

The chairman urged the committees and government agencies saddled with the computation of the workers’ severance package to expedite action and ensure they were paid on time. Ibrahim said the union would resist any further delay in payment of the severance package as from the end of this month. He said: “At the end of this month, if nothing is done, we will come out as usual and Nigerians will now know who is who. We are not pretending over that.” Ibrahim said that the workers had waited long enough since last year for the severance package to be paid. He urged the Federal Government to fulfill its pledge to pay the workers by the end of July as members of the union were tired of waiting for promises. The National President of the Senior Staff Associa-

tion of Electricity and Allied Workers, Mr. Bede Okpara, said he was optimistic that benefits would be paid as a lot of work had already been done. Okpara said: “We have been working together to resolve problems. The government has granted permanent employment to about 20,000 casual workers of the PHCN which should give hope that we are getting there gradually.” The payment of workers has witnessed a lot of promises in the past few months. For instance, the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, announced in Lagos that the workers would be paid on June 17, 2013. The minister, who raised

hope for the payment, last week told workers of Egbin power plant that: “For several months, the technical and implementation committee on payment of severance benefits has been meeting on the issue and we thought by now we would have gone far with the payment “Your leadership has signed documents and no one is going to give the workers less than what is stipulated in the condition of service. Very soon, the money will start hitting your accounts.” However, with the recent planned protest, there are indications that the rescheduled handover of power plants to preferred bidders in August this year

may not take place. The prefered bidders included 4Power Consortium that bided for PortHarcourt Distribution Company, Interstate Electrics Limited that bided for Enugu Distribution Company, North-South Power Company which bided for Shiroro Power Plc. They included Amperion Power Company Limited, the preferred bidder for Geregu Power Plc, Integrated Energy Distribution & Marketing Company, which bided for Ibadan and Yola Discos respectively; NEDC/ KEPCO, the preferred bidder for Ikeja Distribution Company and West Power & Gas, the preferred bidder for Eko Distribution Company.

LASEMA asks NEMA to respect emergency response structure MURITALA AYINLA

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he lingering cold war between the Lagos emergency management outfits was yesterday re-enacted as the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) called on the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to respect the laid down emergency response structure in the country. The NEMA spokespersons, Ibrahim Farinloye, had complained that the state emergency agencies had been molested and detained at the scene of disaster through the state Rapid Respond Squad (RRS), saying he was practically told to leave the scene of the two recent collapse buildings at Ebute-Metta and Surulere respectively. But addressing journalist yesterday on the development, the General Manager of LASEMA, Dr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, described emergency structure as a food chain that moves from the primary, secondary and to the tertiary levels. He said: “NEMA is a Federal Government agency. And because it is an agency of the central government, it is a second responder to

disaster cases. And it is expected to be called to a disaster scene by the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA).” The General Manager accused the NEMA of usurping its responsibility, stressing that Lagos has all it takes to manage emergency and could only call for assistance from NEMA when the arises. He said: “It is when we are overwhelmed that we can then called NEMA, who is our secondary responder. For instance, in a state where State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) is absent, then NEMA can function as both the primary and secondary responder. But the case is different in Lagos because we have LASEMA, which respond to emergency cases in the state. “When they discover any disaster, they should alert the LASEMA, which is the primary responder. With this, we will have effective management of disaster in the state.” He reiterated that the NEMA and LASEMA are working in synergy to save life, but the existing emergency structure must be obeyed and respected by the agency.

L-R: Secretary to Lagos State Government, Dr. Oluranti Adebule; member, Senate Committee on Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Hajiya Aisha Alhassan; Committee Chairman, Senator Abba Ibrahim; Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola; Vice-Chairman of the committee, Senator Gbenga Ashafa and member, Senator Simeon Ajibola, during the committee’s visit to Fashola in Lagos, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Ex-LG boss attacked, hospitalised in Ibadan KEMI OLAITAN IBADAN

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uspected armed robbers have beaten up former chairman of Iwajowa Local Government Area of Oyo State, Otunba Adebayo Raji, and snatched his Toyota Camry car marked Lagos MF 875 AAA. The incident occurred at the Airport Alakia area of Ibadan about 8.30pm on Sunday. The robbers used guns and axes to scare away passers-by. Items such as Galaxy and blackberry handsets and ATM cards were stolen from the former council boss. The former chairman was rushed to the Police Clinic, Testing Ground, Iwo Road, where he is recuperating. Raji, who was chairman of Oyo State Tourism Board, told journalists that the robbers wanted to kill him because of the threats they issued during the attack. Raji served as the state tourism board chairman in the administration of former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala, but later defected to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

Sylva accuses Dickson of incompetence •Asks governor to resign EMMA GBEMUDU YENAGOA

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ormer Bayelsa State Governor Timipre Sylva yesterday told the incumbent, Seriake Dickson, to resign over what he described as severe governance deficit. Sylva, who spoke through his Media Adviser, Doifie Ola, in a statement made available to National Mirror in Yenagoa, was reacting to a report credited to Dickson for seeking probe of Sylva’s administration for alleged failure to pay N4 billon gratuities of retirees in the state civil service from 2007 to 2012. Sylva described Dickson’s claim for not paying pensions and gratuities of pensioners for five years as petty, irresponsible and scandal-

ous, adding that the governor was always blaming him for his alleged incompetence and failure. Part of the statement read: “We are sick and tired of Dickson’s governance style of always blaming Chief Timipre Sylva for his incompetence and failure. “We call upon Dickson to resign now since he has shown that the job for which he was imposed on the people of Bayelsa State is bigger than him. Failing which the people of Bayelsa State should exercise their civic duty to remove him from office using all available constitutional options.” The former governor recalled that his administration inherited outstanding pension and gratuity arrears from his predecessor, Dr.

Goodluck Jonathan, stressing that and no noise was made about it. He claimed that his administration paid an average of N216 million of pensions monthly and about N2.6 billion per annum to retirees. The statement added: “When Sylva took over as governor of Bayelsa State from Dr Goodluck Jonathan, there were outstanding pension and gratuity arrears and no noise was made about it. “As a leader, Sylva took responsibility on the conviction that government is a continuum. Pensioners were paid with people still in service, promptly and monthly. “Those who retired from service at the time also received their gratuity once the appropriate documentations were done. Not even Sylva’s opponents could accuse him of non-payment

of salaries and pensions. By our records, the state government paid an average of N216 million monthly and about N2.6 billion per annum on pensions. “If nobody protested over non-payment of pension for five years, it means pensioners as well as labour in Bayelsa were satisfied with the Sylva administration. “Why is Dickson restricting his pension probe to the period from 2007 to 2012? Why not commence from the beginning of civilian rule in the state in 1999? Why the obsession with Sylva? Dickson has been in office since February 2012. In April 2012, he set up a kangaroo 11-man Financial Management Review Committee headed by Mr. Ndutimi Alaibe to probe Sylva. Yet, Dickson is only just realising - in July 2013 that pension funds were mismanaged from 2007 to 2012.”


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We’ll kick out Ajimobi in 2015 –Ladoja KEMI OLAITAN IBADAN

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ational Leader of the Accord Party, AP, Senator Rasheed Ladoja, yesterday said a team which he christened “Third force” would wrest power from Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, in 2015. The former governor, who spoke on a private radio station programme in Ibadan, the state capital, said discussions were ongoing among people-oriented politicians who would ensure Ajimobi’s removal from office. Ajimobi said over the weekend that the progressives would rule the state for the next 50 years, while asking those he called re-

actionary elements to bury their ambitions. But responding, Ladoja said: “If the party says I should contest I will not refuse it. God has not yet given me the certificate that I will be alive by 2015, so I can’t talk about contesting now. “The party shall decide who to contest the next election some months to the election. If the party decides I should contest I will not refuse.” Ladoja, who said he was not in any personal battle with his cousin (Ajimobi), said the differences were on political issues on how the interest of the masses should be uppermost and form the core of any government policy. The former governor

Ekiti will soon open EarlyChild-Care centres –Fayemi

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overnor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State yesterday said his administration would soon inaugurate the three mega Early-Child-Care Centres being developed in the three senatorial districts to ensure solid educational foundation for the children. The facilities are located in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital (Central), Ikole-Ekiti (North) and Ikere-Ekiti (South). Fayemi made the disclosure at the inauguration of a block of six classrooms built by the Nigerian Breweries Plc at St. Barnabas CAC Nursery and Primary School, Ajilosun, Ado-Ekiti. The governor, who spoke through his deputy, Prof. Modupe Adelabu, listed efficient and effective teaching force, a conducive teaching and learning environment, provision of essential instructional materials, among others as essential ingredients for a meaningful primary education. Fayemi said the ingredients were additions to the implementation of an approved curriculum. He said: “The present administration had built up a dedicated and highly contented teaching force with the recent approval of promotion for 1,994 teachers and payment of Teachers Peculiar Allowance, TPA, while primary school staff vehicle/housing loans and rural teachers’ allowance of 10 per cent had been passed into law for implementation to boost the morale of teachers.” The governor described the donation of a block of six classrooms by the company as a fruitful collabo-

ration between the private and public sectors. He said the gesture was an indication that efforts of the administration in the education sector were already catching the attention of corporate bodies. Commending the company for considering the state for such project, Fayemi charged the teachers and pupils of the school to make good use of the building and the furniture.

also described the newly built Neighbourhood Market by Ajimobi’s administration as medicine after death. He also asked the state government to make public the true amount spent on the construction of the recently inaugurated Mokola flyover bridge. The former governor wondered why more money should be paid for something of lesser width, length and quality when compared with the one constructed by the administration of Governor Ibikunle Amosun in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

He said: “What was the traffic volume 35 years ago when Jemibewon bridge was constructed and what is it today? The Jemibewon bridge did not envisage that trucks will be articulated. Today you have 33,000 litres fuel trucks passing the bridge. “Of course the bridge built by Ajimobi is not strong enough. Why should you build one lane on each side and restrict vehicular use of it to small cars when you claim you want to decongest traffic? “Accord Party never circulated any leaflet against the government but I think

the government owes the people of the state the truth. “He (Ajimobi) should tell them how much it cost and why the same contractor that built the Ogun State bridge collected more in Oyo State for less job? “Do you need to be an engineer to be able to say it is fragile? How many bridges that have barriers in Lagos? “I ask again, why have they not put any barrier on Jemibewon bridge? It shows that the Jemibewon regime had foresight and the bridge is still strong till date.

“The government should address issues and not digress. The information at my disposal is that the bridge cost N3 billion while the Ogun State own cost N1.5 billion. Why should the one in Oyo State be narrower? Let them come out and refute it. It is either a case of negligence or corruption.” Ladoja said talks between the Accord Party and former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala were still ongoing, adding that nobody should underrate the strength of the Accord Party as it had spread across the state.

Amosun inaugurates consultants on LG administration FEMI OYEWESO ABEOKUTA

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gun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, yesterday inaugurated 20 Consultants on Local Government Affairs with a charge to serve as mechanisms for feedback to enable his administration meet the yearnings of the people. Amosun said appointment of the consultants, one for each of the 20 local governments in the state, was part of efforts to deepen government’s presence at the grass-

roots. Speaking at the event held at the June 12 Cultural Centre at Kuto, Abeokuta, the state capital, the governor warned the consultants not to equate their position with that of elected council chairmen and councillors, but rather serve to re-invigorate the state policy formulation and implementation towards achieving optimal result for the state.

Amosun explained that appointment of the consultants was to address critical emerging challenges in the actualisation of the mandate of his administration to rebuild the state and not to duplicate the job of the council chairmen or to “create job for the boys”. The governor also said his administration had put in place machinery to replicate in the rural areas the same quality of

developmental projects and service delivery seen in big towns. He said that if this was successfully done, the concept of “Ogun standard” would have been properly implanted. Amosun added that the consultants would help to relay feedback to the people at the grassroots and also intimate them of government programmes which could be beneficial to them.


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Lagos spends N4bn in lighting federal roads in three years

Ondo youths protest alleged marginalisation

MURITALA AYINLA

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he Lagos State Government has spent N4 billion to provide light on 12 federal roads between May 2007 and December 2010, according to National Mirror investigations. The decision is part of the moves to upgrade public infrastructure and enhance the security of lives and properties. The state government has also spent over N575 million on the maintenance of street lights on 11 major highways. The amount, it was learnt, was the cost of annual diesel consumption analysis and preventive maintenance schedule. The breakdown shows

that the state government spent N300 million annually on diesel to power the street light while N275.5 million was spent on preventive maintenance schedule. Some of the beneficiary infrastructure include: Adeola Odeku Road, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi Road, TejuoshoItire Road, Agege Motor Road, Marina-Osbourne Road, Kingsway Road, Oshodi and Apongbon-Alaka Road, among others. According to the investigation, the cost of maintenance of the street lights was N262 million, while the Value Added Tax (VAT) is N13 million. The installation of street lights along Apongbon-Alaka Road, which cuts across Eko Bridge, Ijora Causeway and Costain,

cost about N857 million, while the maintenance gulped about N37 million. Meanwhile, the state government said that it is yet to be refunded the N51 billion it spent on the rehabilitation of federal roads in the state. The Commissioner for Works, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, said the non-payment of the money is hampering execution of other projects. But the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Adetokunbo Abiru, said the state is making move to ensure the money spent on the federal roads is refunded. Investigations showed that list of federal roads rehabilitated by the Lagos State Government include Broad Street Phase I&II, Martins Street (Part I and

II), Nnamdi Azikwe Road, Ereko Street, Balogun Street, Brook Street, Campus Street, Tinubu Square, Kakawa Street, Breadfruit Street, Alli Balogun Street, Bamgbose Street, Bamgbose Road, Odunlami Road, Custom Street. Others are Adeniji Adele Road, Idunmagbo Avenue; dualisation of Bourdillon/ Alexander Road, Ikoyi; upgrading of Murtala Muhammed Road and Oyingbo Iddo Road, rehabilitation of Funsho Williams avenue (Phase I&II), upgrading of Apapa Central Business District (phase I&II). The roads in Apapa consist Aerodrome Road, Calacuta Crescent, Duala Road, Kofo Abayomi Street, Itapeju Avenue and Warehouse Road.

HAKEEM GBADAMOSI AKURE

bout 500 youths from Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State yesterday staged a peaceful protest at the Governor’s Office in Alagbaka, Akure, calling on the state government to address what they described as marginalisation of their people by Ugboland. The protesters, who are mainly from Mahin, Aheri and Etikan, stormed the Governor Office at about 9:0am to register their grievances against the stand of the people of Ugboland on the planned merger of the oil associations in the local government. The placard-carrying protesters arrived at the venue in buses, singing and calling on the governor to look into merger of all as-

sociations in the axis. They called the state government’s attention to the alleged domination of Ugbo people over other communities in the area in the administration of oil matters. In a statement presented to the governor and signed by seven of their leaders, including Chief Olu Malumi, Chief Ebenezer Ogungbure and Chief Zeblon Orisamugbehin among others, the protesters described a demonstration by the Ugbo people as uncalled for and not in the interest of the majority of Ilaje people. They said that the rejection of the purported merger done in Ugbo by Chevron attested to the fact that it was done in error and unacceptable to the oil giant and the people of Ilaje, following which government had set up a technical committee to work on a pan Ilaje merger.

Lagos One Day Governor wants 75 % pass in SSSCE TUNBOSUN OGUNDARE

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Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Prof. Modupe Adelabu, (right) and General Manager, Nigerian Breweries Plc. Ibadan, Mr. Goke Adeyemi, unveiling the plague of the new classrooms block at St. Barnabas CAC Nursery and Primary School at Ajilosun, AdoEkiti, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Consensus: Protesters storm Ekiti PDP secretariat, hold exco hostage ABIODUN NEJO ADO EKITI

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here was palpable tension yesterday at the Ekiti State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) secretariat as placard-carrying protesters held the exco hostage for hours. The protesters said they were at the secretariat to express their opposition to the State Working Committee (SWC) on consensus option for the selection of the party’s candidate among the numerous aspirants for the 2014 governorship election.

Members of the SWC were held hostage at the party secretariat. PDP Deputy Chairman, Hon Femi Bamisile, listed other SWC members held hostage to include the Legal Adviser, Hon Kola Adefemi, and four other members of the executive. Bamisile told journalists on telephone that the six SWC members were in a meeting when the protesters stormed the secretariat, adding that it was difficult for them to move out for fear of possible attack. The protesters’ spokesman, Hon Sunday Akinniyi, said they wanted

credible primary election conducted against the consensus option, adding that the youth wing of the party and elders also rejected the arrangement. Akinniyi, former Secretary of Ikere Local Government, said the consensus option could not produce a credible candidate capable of dislodging the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) from office. It will be recalled that an 11-man consensus screening committee set up a fortnight ago by the PDP leadership led to the violent attack on the party’s secretariat last week by

some hoodlums and in the process injured some supporters of the consensus arrangement. A section of the SWC members last week announced suspension of the state PDP chairman over the consensus arrangement and ordered Bamisile, the deputy chairman, to take over the affairs of the party. But Bamisile, who said Ogundipe remained the chairman of the party, described the purported suspension as a huge joke, just as the PDP chairman said erring SWC members would be sanctioned.

15-year-old pupil of Omole Senior Grammar School, Ojodu, Lagos, Master Boadley Juwon Afolarin, who yesterday served as One Day Governor of Lagos State, has said that he would have loved that a minimum of 75 per cent of candidates for the West African Examination Council (WAEC) obtain at least credit pass in five subjects, including English Language and Mathematics at a sitting. He said with the level of the state government’s investment in public education, coupled with the improved performance of students and teachers, the target is achievable in no distant time. Afolarin is the winner of this year’s Spelling Bee Quiz competition organised among secondary school

pupils in the state. Early yesterday, Afolarin, accompanied by his camouflage cabinet members, toured some interesting places, such as the State House, Marina; Etisalat office, Victoria Island; Dufil Prima Foods office, Surulere; Lagos Television (LTV), Agidingbi before he later presided over the weekly State Executive Council meeting at Alausa, Ikeja, where he was received by Governor Babatunde Fashola and members of his executive. Addressing the meeting, Afolarin praised the state government and the Ministry of Education in particular for organising the Spelling Bee Quiz competition and other educative programmes for pupils. He, however, urged Fashola and his team to uphold the good work the administration was known for since inception.

Three docked for murder KENNY ODUNUKAN

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he Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) yesterday arraigned three persons before an Ikeja High Court for alleged killing of one Segun Oyelabi on March 15, 2012 in Ikotun area of the state. The defendants -Yekini Omoniyi and Abu Aminu (both males) and Bola Ipaye - were arraigned before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo on a two-count charge of con-

spiracy and murder. DPP counsel, Mr. Olakulehin Oke, alleged that the accused persons tortured the deceased to death after he failed to pay his debt owed Ipaye, a beer parlour owner. Oke said the offences contravened Sections 221 and 231 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011. The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge. Justice Onigbanjo remanded the defendants in Kirikiri maximum prison. The matter was, however, adjourned till October 3.


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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

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Check high fees in private varsities, ASUU tells FG

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n official of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Dr Uzochukwu Onyebinama, yesterday urged the Federal Government to check the high fees being charged in the country’s private universities. Onyebinama, the ASUU chairman of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Umuahia. He said charging exorbitant fees negated the core

principle of education and that such would have negative effect on the overall development of knowledge. The ASUU chairman described education as a social service and said; “A situation where most private universities collect N500, 000 to N1.2 million as fees per session is wrong. “The core motive for the establishment of an educational institution is to provide social service and not for commercial reasons. “ASUU is, therefore, seeking for government’s timely

intervention in private, federal and state-owned universities because of the understanding that education is a social service and not a commercial venture. “Government should ensure that every Nigerian child has access to basic and quality education irrespective of the financial status of his/her parents.” Commenting on the strike by ASUU, Onyebinama said the union embarked on an indefinite strike because of the level of decay in the universities.

He advised government to set aside funds to improve on poor infrastructure and grant financial autonomy to the universities. The ASUU chairman stressed the need to revitalise the higher education sector in order for it to compete favourably with others in the world. “There is the urgent need by government to tackle the problem of emigration of Nigerian students and brain drain to other countries. “These can only be achieved if financial autono-

my and poor infrastructure facing the tertiary education sector are addressed. “As our people leave to study outside, there is capital flight and that capital is used to develop the facilities elsewhere,’’ Onyebinama said. He said the strike was a continuation of the one of February 2012 over the unsigned agreement between the leadership of the union and the Federal Government. “There are several issues, including, funding, federal assistance to state universities, issue of amendment of

the Act establishing JAMB and NUC,” Onyebinama said. He said other issues involved in the strike are the “establishment of the National Universities Pension Commission, end allowances, among others.” Onyebinama advised government to address the issues to reposition the Nigerian university system. The ASUU chairman advised students to enroll for ICT training and vacation jobs rather than idle away during the period of the strike.

400 awaiting trial inmates languish in Awka prison CHARLES OKEKE AWKA

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he Deputy Controller of Awka Prison, Anambra State, Mr. E.O. Oguejiofor, yesterday said about 400 awaiting trial inmates, many of who are accused of involvement in serious offenses of murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, arson and rape are now languishing in prison in the state. The list of inmates of the Awka prison include, John Ezeukwu and Chukwuma Okeke, detained for over seven years; Ebele Umeaduagu, Cletus Agwu, Obioma Okanu and one Moses Nwana Aforcha, that has been in detention for upward of nine years, three months, since he was brought to the prison on April 29, 2004. This was disclosed yesterday in a document showing details of all the suspects being detained in the prison that was signed by the Deputy Prison Controller, copies

of which were made available to lawyers and journalists during the special court session held in the prison premises yesterday by the state Chief Judge, Justice Peter N. C. Umeadi. According to the document, the 400 awaiting trial inmates include eight very sick suspects/defendants, two juveniles and eight very old suspects, some of who were granted bail by Justice Umeadi during the special court session held to decongest the prison that has only 17 convicted inmates. One of those very old suspects granted bail by the court was one Benedict Onyilofor, 61. He was granted bail in the sum of N100, 000 and two sureties in like sum; Samuel Anikpe, a kidnap suspect, was also granted bail in the sum of N100, 000 and one surety in like sum, also granted bail was one Samuel Ezekude,71; he was accused of kidnapping and detained for four months.

Youth Assembly donates N500, 000 to female LG aspirants ALIUNA GODWIN EBONYI

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bonyi Youth Assembly yesterday in Abakaliki donated N500, 000 to two women local government chairmanship aspirants of Ivo and Ohaukwu Local Government Areas to complement the effort of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to implement the 35 percent affirmative action for women in the area. Speaking to journalists, the National President, Ebonyi Youth Assembly, Comrade Chinudu Ogah, said the purpose of assisting the women is to complement the works of the wife of the state

governor, Chief Mrs. Josephine Elechi, in her quest to providing a conducive environment for women in the state to contest for political positions/ appointments. “Whatever we know we can do to assist our women running for political positions, we will do without wasting time. We have seen what the wife of the governor is doing and we did this to complement her efforts to give 35 percent affirmative action for women in the state. “So far women in Ebonyi State are aspiring very high, we have to support them. Women in the state are getting more than 35 percent affirmative action for women.

L-R: Speaker, Abia State House of Assembly, Hon. Ude Okochukwu; Minister for Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu; Governor Theodore Orji; Bishop Ikechi Nwosu and Deputy Governor, Sir Emeka Ananaba, at the official opening of the Abia State Specialist Hospital and Diagnostic Centre in Umuahia, yesterday.

Obi calls for more revenue allocation to states CHARLES OKEKE AWKA

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nambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, yesterday called for more revenue to be allocated to states in the country. Obi made the call for a change in the revenue sharing formula to favour the states when a team from the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC,

paid him a courtesy visit at the Governor’s Lodge, Awka, the state capital. He said states have the bulk of responsibilities that drive the federation and should therefore be entitled to receive more revenue from the Federation Account. The governor suggested that 40 percent of the allocation should go to the Federal Government and 40 percent to states, while local government councils should receive 20 percent.

He called on RMAFC to specify a bench-mark that will regulate the least amount states should receive while the present imbalance in states creation among the geo-political zones should also be considered in the review being advocated. The leader of the team, Chief Nnamdi Ekweogwu, said they were in the state to sensitise the people on the on-going review of the allocation formula to en-

able them make useful input that would help fashion out credible and acceptable formula. Ekweogwu recalled that the allocation formula has not been reviewed since 1992 and is no longer in tune with the times as more states have been created since the last review. He said the commission has taken various measures to ensure that the exercise is successful and meet the expectations of the people.

Okorocha reappoints three ex-commissioners, aides CHRIS NJOKU OWERRI

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mo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, yesterday re-appointed only three of his former commissioners and aides earlier relieved of their positions in the state, saying those reappointed have distinguished themselves in their stewardship in the last two years. The action of governor was said to have shocked majority of the former commissioners and special advisers who were expect-

ing to be reinstated by the governor in the new dispensation. Among those reappointed were Uche Nwose, the former Commissioner for Lands, Housing and Urban Development; Mr. Chinedu Offor, former Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism and Ichie Best Mbanaso, who was former Commissioner for Commerce. While presenting awards to the ex-commissioners the during an appreciation and award ceremony organised for

political appointees at the Ahajioku Centre, Governor Okorocha said to the amazement of the former commissioners and aides that the award meant automatic reappointment for the recipients. “The award is a confirmation that they have been reappointed into their former offices.” While congratulating the awardees, the governor enthused that political appointment is not about compensation for involvement in campaign, but rather for service to the

people. He assured that those who will make his new cabinet will be those who have the passion to deliver while calling on those who will be reappointed to reinforce their efforts for greater service to the Imo people. However, shortly after the governor announced the reappointment of the recipients, some visibly disappointed former commissioners and special advisers stormed out of the hall in apparent disapproval of the modalities for the nomination of the award.


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South South

SEBASTINE EBHUOMHAN AND KEMI OLAITAN

A

t least 24 people were feared dead in multiple auto crashes that occurred yesterday on the Benin-Ore-Sagamu Expressway and the LagosIbadan Expressway. The 18 people that died in the crash that occurred on the Benin-Ore-Sagamu Expressway were said to have been burnt beyond recognition after their vehicle, a fully loaded 18-seater Toyota Hiace bus and an articulated, long-cabin truck were involved in a head-on collision around Okada Junction, Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State. An eyewitness, who was travelling through the road, told our correspondent in Benin City that the two vehicles as well as all their occupants were burnt beyond recognition. Our source added that as at the time he was sending the report, road safety and police officials were still battling to remove the charred remains of the victims.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

24 die in multiple auto crashes

Speaking on the particulars of the vehicles, Edo State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, Mr. Kenneth Nwaegbe, who disclosed that his Ondo/Edo Toll Gate Commander, Mr. Adewale Ameen, was personally supervising the situation, also told our correspondent on his cell phone that the bus belonged to Peace Mass Transit, a private commercial transport company that was heading to Lagos. National Mirror reliably gathered from the FRSC boss that the trailer, which was carrying stones and gravel and heading towards Benin City, reportedly lost one of its tyres before ramming into the bus that was travelling on the opposite lane. He specifically explained that 16 males and two females died in the accident. However, eyewitnesses, who confirmed the casualties, said the accident resulted in the total disruption of human and vehicular traffic which formed long queues as people helplessly watched the burning vehi-

cles whose equally helpless passengers and occupants were shouting for help that was not forthcoming as they were being burnt beyond recognition. In the second accident that occurred on the LagosIbadan Expressway, six people were killed in a crash involving a commercial bus with registration number: OYO XE 675 LUY and a Mack truck with registra-

tion number: LAGOS XX 455 GGE, on Kilometre114, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, close to a private quarry company, RATCON. National Mirror learnt that the 14-passenger bus veered off the road to hit the stationary truck parked by the roadside, leading to the death of six people, four males and two female in the vehicle. While confirming the in-

cident, the Assistant Corps Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, Oluyole Unit 1, Mr. Sanya Adeoye, said the unit in conjunction with the rescue team of the state ambulance service and team of ‘Operation Burst’ were at hand to rescue some of the victims while the remains of the dead victims have been deposited at the Adeoyo State Hospital morgue,

Ring Road, Ibadan. He said the cause of the crash could not be immediately ascertained but, however, stated that they believed the Mazda bus had a mechanical fault. He said, “The bus veered off the road to hit the stationery truck by the side of the road. We could not ascertain the cause of the crash, but we strongly suspected a mechanical deficiency that made the driver of the bus to veer off the road.

L-R: Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole; General Secretary, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Musa Asake and Rt. Rev. Peter Imasuen, during a courtesy visit of the National Executive Members of CAN to the governor in Benin City, yesterday.

We’ll apply diplomacy in Jonathan’s re-election bid –Ijaw elders ROTIMI FADEYI AND EMMA GBEMUDU

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espite the attacks on President Goodluck Jonathan by members of the opposition political parties, elders of the Ijaw National Congress, INC, last Sunday said they would not engage in violence or namecalling with any group or persons to achieve Jonathan’s re-election in 2015. Rather, the body said it would opt for dialogue and diplomacy to actualise the President’s re-election bid. The elders, however,

frowned at the abusive and derogatory words being used against the President by the opposition, describing such as provocative. The INC elders, who disclosed this in Yenagoa during an interactive session with the Central Zone chapter of the body organised by the state government, said it would lead a delegation that would dialogue with and make peace with the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF; Ohaneze Ndigbo and the Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, over President Jonathan’s second term re-election bid.

The Ijaw leaders said such meetings would ensure a safer and more acceptable approach towards the reelection of the President. Among dignitaries that attended the crucial meeting was Chief Francis Doukpola; Chief Thompson Okorotie; Mr. J.M Aseh; Prof. Ebiegberi Alagoa; Prof. Nelson Brambaifa; Prof. Francis Sikoki; Sir Patrick Erasmus; Chief Tam Mitin and Vice-President of the INC, Charles Ambambaowi. They noted that the INC leadership would network with other regions to ensure a safe course for Jonathan in the

2015 presidential elections.” Okorotie and Doukpola, who spoke separately at the meeting said the laudable performance of President Jonathan were noticeable in spite of the attacks on his person and administration. According to them, the struggle for Jonathan’s reelection should start with the Ijaw leaders reaching out to friends in the North and the South-West regions of the country. Doukpola said: “The Ijaw nation is not going to war with any region over 2015.We will get the second term for the President by not fighting, but

Hard times await truant teachers in Bayelsa EMMA GBEMUDU YENAGOA

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ayelsa State government has threatened to deal decisively with truant teachers in the state, warning that it will not hesitate to wield the big stick in dealing with culprits found to be unserious with their jobs. Against this background, the state government has implored indigenes of the state with evidence of teachers in public schools that absent themselves from duty to report such erring teach-

ers with two designated mobile phone numbers made available for such purpose. This was contained in a statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, yesterday. The statement said the measure was part of efforts by government to ensure the implementation and proper delivery of its “restoration” programme in the educational sector. Over the years, truancy among school teachers, especially those working in the rural communities have been a source of worry to

government and concerned citizens. It was gathered that truancy among teachers was plaguing the standard of education in public schools in the state. The statement reads in part: “The Bayelsa State government is to take steps to enforce discipline and improved service delivery amongst classroom teachers in public schools across the state.” It reaffirmed government’s desire to improve on the educational fortunes of the state and urged parents,

guardians, teachers and the general public to support government’s effort at achieving its goals in the sector. Investigation by National Mirror revealed that the emergency declared by the state government in the education sector has been fraught with poor implementation given the lack of furniture, teaching aides and lack of standard buildings in the schools. To worsen matters, heads of schools and teachers are still extorting illegal levies from pupils and students in public schools.

by dialogue and diplomacy.” The group said it would collaborate with the security agencies and governors of the South-South to step up security against the increasing rate of crude oil theft and sea piracy activities in the creeks and waterways of the Niger Delta. “As we have agreed, the INC would collaborate in the fight against illicit crude oil theft and sea piracy along the waters and creeks. We also asked the governors and President to prevail on the National Assembly to review and repeal obsolete laws militating against the demands contained in the Ogoni Bill of Rights and the Kaiama Declaration,” the elders said. Earlier, Governor Seriake Dickson, who was represented by the Commissioner for Culture and Ijaw National Affairs, Dr. Felix Tuodolor, condemned the criticisms by the opposition parties on the President, saying that the Ijaws must rise up to protect him. “That is why we must not allow our son to stand alone in the rain so that his reign of power may not go down on the wrong side of history. And very importantly, we must press home for him to serve our country beyond one term so that he will consolidate on the gains of

his rule which far exceeds that of any administration,” Dickson said. Following the meeting of President Goodluck Jonathan with former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta last Saturday over issues relating to the 2015 election, elders of Urhobo Progressive Union, UPU, has said that Jonathan is eligible and free to seek a second term in office. The members of the union led by its PresidentGeneral, Major-General Patrick Aziza (rtd), were at the Presidential Villa yesterday where they met with Jonathan behind closed doors and requested for a fair share of projects and appointments into the federal level as well as better life for the Uhrobo people. At the meeting which lasted for some hours, Jonathan said his administration attached the highest possible value to the contributions of the Urhobo to national development and would do all within its powers to address issues that are of concern to the ethnic group. The President promised that all the concerns raised by the union would be referred to the relevant Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies for prompt attention.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

SUPER TUESDAY I registered PDP with N.1m but was outsmarted by friends –Unongo

44

LG autonomy: Still long walk to freedom

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he local administration is the closest tier of government to the people in Nigeria, yet the resident population in the 774 councils across the country is denied the benefits of their existence, especially in the area of service delivery, which in turn, has made the citizens to lose trust in the institution. This dereliction of duty explains the crave by many Nigerians for change in the local government system as presently constituted in order to bring it in conformity with present day realities and make it live up to the expectations of the people, who have continued to yearn for grassroots development. The change, stakeholders, however agreed, will require a constitutional amendment, as the joint account run by the various states and councils is to be blamed for the latter’s inability to meet the two primary objectives spelled out in the Local Governments’ Reform of 1976, which are: to promote participatory democracy, and ensure rapid socio-economic development at the local level. Section 7(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) guarantees a system of local government by democratically elected government councils. However, the second component of the section makes the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of the local governments dependent on state laws. Besides the guarantee, the constitution however, inadvertently makes it possible for state governments to “cripple” the local governments financially by routing funds standing to their credit in the Federation Account through the States/Local Governments’ Joint Accounts rather than directly to them. Whereas the Federal Government argued then that the operation of the joint account was meant to bring even development to all parts of the country as well as forestall a situation where no single government official at the state or local level corruptly enriches himself from the commonwealth, the arrangement has over time, adversely affected the financial viability of the councils as some state governments have continued to make inexplicable deductions from the accounts. Section 162 (8) of the constitution, which explains how the amount standing in the

Politics

2013 Budget and a curious volte-face

14,15

The States/Local Governments’ Joint Accounts have been blamed by many for the inability of the councils to meet their primary objectives. FELIX NWANERI, in this report, examines the Senate’s rejection of the proposal, which would have amended relevant sections of the 1999 Constitution to grant autonomy to the third tier of government.

13

Mark

IBB

TOP STORY joint account should be distributed to the local governments, states: “The amount standing to the credit of local government councils of a state shall be distributed among the local government councils of that state on such terms and in such manner as may be prescribed by the House of Assembly of the state.” But rather than ensure fiscal responsibility, the law has provided a window for state governments which are constitutionally required to fund local government councils, to instead hold them (the local governments) hostage and make them their appendages. In practice, the operation of the joint account has denied the local governments their financial autonomy. It should be noted that the state governments were not meant to be beneficiaries of the account but trustees. They were required to maintain the accounts for the benefit of the local governments by ensuring that the amount allocated for this third tier of government is equitably and fairly shared among the councils, adhering strictly to constitutionally stipulated criteria. However, reports across the country indicate that most state governments implement the joint account contrary to its intention. Instances abound where some governors hand out only wage bills to the various council chairmen in their respective domains, a development which have prompted calls by some analysts and stakeholders for the Federal Government to either review the local government system or

IT IS SAD TO NOTE THAT MOST GOVERNORS ARE VERY HAPPY OVER THEIR PERSISTENT HIJACK OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT FUNDS IN THE PAST

YEARS...

THE BULK

OF THE MONEY THEY SPEND IS LOCAL

GOVERNMENT FUND.

I AM SAD WITH THE DECISION

scrap it. National President of the National Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, Ibrahim Khaleel, said the account had been the main problem of local government system because state governments have continued to abuse it. His words: “There are illegal and sundry deductions from local government fund through the joint account by the state governments. And also imposition of undemocratic structures (caretaker committees) to run the affairs of local governments contrary to Section 7 of the 1999 Constitution by state governments.” He added that the section has helped shield and create escape routes for many state governments to manipulate local

government affairs. “It has been the antidevelopment instruments used to frustrate every progressive and patriotic action to make the local government work since the return of democracy in 1999,” Khaleel said. The Abia State chapter chairman of the union, Eze Idima, described the joint account arrangement as a rip-off. He alleged that local governments’ chairmen, by the arrangement are in the dark over how much their councils received monthly from the federation account. “Today, local governments in the state do not know how much they receive as monthly allocation from the federation account. Here, what happens is that council chairmen submit wage bill to the AuditorGeneral for onward submission to the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs who tinker their budgets and release funds to them after deductions by the Joint Account Committee through the Local Government AuditorGeneral’s Office. “The remnants are given to them to pay salaries and as running cost and this are usually between N4 million and N5 million monthly. In the state, allocations to the local governments are not made public unlike in the past when it was usually available on the internet,” Idima lamented. It was against this backdrop that most Nigerians who submitted memoranda during the public hearings conducted across the country by the Senate and House of Representatives, as regards the amendment to the 1999 Constitution, were of the consensus that financial autonomy should be granted to the local governments. For instance, the House of Representatives report on public sessions held simultaneously in the country’s 360 federal constituencies in April showed that the people voted overwhelmingly for financial autonomy for the councils; their proper recognition as a third-tier of government and rejected the allocation of funds to caretaker executives of local governments. This position, which raised the hope of freedom for the councils, was however dashed last week when the Senate voted against the proposal to make the local governments autonomous through the abolition of the Joint States/Local Government Account. At the sitting that witnessed a record of 101 members, the upper legislative chamber voted 59 in support and 38 against, with two abstinences to shot down the proposal. For any of the new proposals in the draft constitutional bill to scale through, the Constitution requires a two-thirds majorCONTINUED ON PAGE 41


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Politics

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

I registered PDP with N.1m but was Wantaregh Paul Unongo is a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Second Republic Minister of Steel. The deputy leader and spokesman of the Northern Elders’ Forum, reputed for his frankness, in this interview with HENRY IYORKASE, speaks on sundry national issues, including the Nigerian style of democracy. Excerpts: What lessons do you think we have learnt from the June 12, 1993 presidential election adjudged as the freest and fairest in the annals of Nigerian politics and its consequent annulment by the military? I think the people who said M.K.O. Abiola won the freest election in the history of this country are either just talking with their tongues in cheek or are secessionists or have vested interest, because I don’t know what was free about an election that was held under the military. And while we slept and deceived ourselves that we had a system that was democratic, I knew and I wrote about it and I’ve written about it again in a book: Tiv Heritage that the military had given us some kind of aphrodisiac; we fell asleep while they were implementing a programmed, deliberate institutionalisation of a political system in Nigeria. They were testing it out; it has worked up till today. It is the same system that we are implementing, called democratic system, which is very exciting to some people. This is the system the military imposed on Nigeria; to their surrogates, the young men, the old men, the military apologists that they wanted to impose on the country so that they would practice the same system, consolidate it as they watched from behind the scene. Those who see any serious value, different from that to what we have today in our so-called 14-year democratic system, are just jokers because there was not a single difference, it’s the same military system we are practicing today. So, as far I am concerned, Nigerians slept while the military perfected a system which they wanted to impose on Nigeria. And that military system had the simple theory of protecting the interests of the moneyed men of Nigeria, beginning with the military who made a lot of money and wealth. And they allowed a few civilians to make similarly. And they formed themselves in the most formidable political alliance, pretending and deceiving us that they have formed political parties aimed only at protecting the perceived interest of this most powerful that continues to waste our energy and resources and ruin Nigeria up till today. They deceived people, they wasted their resources, they went into election, and they were so excited. They mobilised their supporters, they voted for the person they wanted. They sat down on this system and said this is the person we wanted and they announced his name. And they told you, this was democracy. If you are not satisfied, go to the courts and fight for

your democratic rights. And when you go to the courts, the court will show you what democracy is. And the democracy will return the person that is dogged, very oiled that created the system and runs it. And the person who won the election never gets to taking over power. So, I, for once, was never fooled; I’m still not fooled. No difference, nothing has changed. The same military dictatorship, collaborators of the military, they produced a system that suits them and their apologists and they have imposed this system on Nigerians and Nigerians are so scared of embarking on a revolution. So, these people have imposed this system. Some of us were shouting. You are thinking this was going to be temporary but it is a well thought out political system. So, I don’t see anything excitingly different between Abiola’s election, Goodluck Jonathan’s election and Olusegun Obasanjo’s election. Nigerians have done nothing about what has been imposed on them. By your estimation, when can we have real democracy in the country? When Nigerians want, we will have real democracy. What is the meaning of true democracy? True democracy implies transparency, respect for human dignity, proper election when one vote is one vote, two votes are two votes, when a person defeats you with one, it’s one. Is that what is obtained in our country today? I mean, it’s so ridiculous you would see big people that run states as chief executives with fat constitution, they just converted it; nobody has written as many constitutions within a short time as Nigeria. And they deceive themselves that writing constitutions and changing constitutions would solve their problems because they are cowards, it will not. Look at the system we have. When I used to go to school in this country called Nigeria 60 years back, as an small elementary kid, 65 years ago, to us, one plus three always make four and four was lower than five. But today, what do we have? Only 35 human beings run the fate of this country and allowed camera to record the thing they called an election. They were voting and they were talking friendly. And then, the man who was the returning officer, who was supposed to count, so that they can show us transparency and fools like me, we

Unongo

watched. These are the votes for Jonah Jang, put them on this side, these are the votes Rotimi Amaechi got. Everybody was watching. These are the chief executives that are supposed to drive and institutionalise and solidify the democratic process. Amaechi got 19 votes, Jang got 16. Not a single person complained, no fight, nothing. Everyone was happy. They then said, well, by the conduct and rules of democracy, somebody has scored 16 votes, he’s called Jang. Somebody scored 19, he’s called Amaechi. So, the one who has more; 19 have always been more than 16 in the Nigerian democracy. But they tried to say 16 is greater than 19 and they wanted us to stand behind them. Our state governors, 35 of them ruling Nigeria could not believe and count that 16 has always been lower than 19. They are jokers. You think this will not fall back on you and your country? What are you teaching our children? So, I don’t see any difference to what has happened to Abiola and what has happened now. Abiola claimed he won, Abacha who produced the system together with his friends said no, you didn’t win. Okay, Amaechi felt 19 is greater than 16,

WHEN I FORMED THE PDP, I HAD IDEOLOGICAL ORIENTATION IN MY HEAD. I STATE AND I REPEAT IT, QUOTE ME CORRECTLY, WHEN I FORMED THE PDP, IT WAS A LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY. PDP WAS PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY; IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE BASED ON THE PRINCIPLES OF

LIBERAL DEMOCRACY. I REGISTERED THAT PARTY

WITH N100,000. I DEFINED THE PHILOSOPHY FOR ANYBODY IN NIGERIA

he claimed that he won. They said we sack you; we want to show you that 16 is greater than 19. What is this kind of nonsense in this country? We became independent on October 1, 1960. My God, we have been a country for 100 years now, we cannot even count? And we said we are democratic and we cannot say somebody who has three votes out of 35 higher than a man who has 16 votes, that that man with three voted above 16 is the winner. What is wrong with us? What is wrong with the African? What is wrong with the Nigerian? Kenya had an election, because of the past history of Kenya, we expected people to fight and kill themselves. They declared that Odinga didn’t win that Jomo Kenyatta’s son won. People didn’t like him, the white people were afraid, they expected people to complain, and they said no, the electorate expressed their wish. If you have any problem with this young man, that’s your business, but in the election, the person with higher votes they declared him president. And a country that’s older than Kenya cannot conduct an election of 35 people. They will allow us to watch the voting, after watching the voting, somebody has 19, somebody has 16, they want me, Paul Unongo at 77, to sit down and watch the debate that 77 can sometimes be lower than one year old. So, if I have a child today he’s older than me. This is my problem. And you people, you go round asking about democracy, there’s no democracy here. How can we find a solution to the impasse between Governors Amaechi and Jang? They don’t believe in party politics in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. When I formed the PDP, I had ideological orientation in my head. I state and I repeat it, quote me correctly, when I formed the PDP, it was a liberal democratic party. PDP


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Politics

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

15

outsmarted by friends –Unongo was Peoples Democratic Party; it was supposed to be based on the principles of liberal democracy. I registered the party with N100,000. I defined the philosophy for anybody in Nigeria. Then I saw most of my friends and I called some people, I showed them the idea I was developing. I told them I had developed this system and I was going to push it to Nigeria. If we can, we should work to push Nigeria’s political system, not by military might to take advantage of the military interregnum in the political process where they decreed two political parties. Let’s have two parties that are big, a little to the left, a little to the right and stop canvassing for votes from Nigerians on the basis of our tribes. We should start canvassing on the basis of principles of governance. If we form the government, we will use liberal democracy as our philosophy. We will use the interest of the majority as our principle of our action. We will provide for the ordinary people that are not powerful, we will fight poverty not with mouth but doing physical things like empowering them, making facilities like health, water, electricity available to them without taxing them. They had nothing to be taxed anyway. So, I was excited, so I felt I am a philosopher. After all, I’ve been writing constitutions in Nigeria since 1957, now I will put it in practice. And I called two young men and showed them and even told them that I have already submitted it to INEC and have been holding meetings with INEC for three months. I don’t know whether they panicked, they are still alive. They took my ideas; they took two copies of what I had already presented to INEC. That night, one of them produced a car and they put one person, unfortunately for them that person was my cousin. They gave a brand new station wagon. He drove all the way to Kano and gave a copy of this thing to Abubakar Rimi, begging Rimi that he should run to Abuja to go and register their own thing also called the PDP because this madman, that is me, he doesn’t know politics, he’s not even interested in winning election, he can’t even win election, he just talks. So, this is a good idea, this is a good thing, let’s do it, let’s take it. And when they took it, then we had a crisis and INEC said this thing has already been registered by Paul Unongo, he has attended three meetings in the last three months. So, some of them said well, look at us, we are the greatest people, we are biggest men in Nigeria, the Solomon Lars, the Abubakar Rimis, the Ochaigwus, that man has no money. They didn’t know what to do. I said don’t worry, look at the name of registration and tell this big men that are all my cousins and friends and former political allies that what is the quarrel, can we have a dialogue and agree on a philosophy. The easiest thing is, since you are all the heavyweights and I saw my former president and Vice President in that formation, who am I to go and fight them. I want the politics of, not consensus but democratic politics. If you and I agree on the principles of PDP which I have already formed, I’m prepared to surrender the name. I wanted to be not even a candidate, I told them that what I wanted to be was the chairman of the party, so that I can direct it ideologically.

THE STABILITY OF NIGERIA IS NORTHERN NIGERIA BECAUSE IT IS A HUGE LAND MASS. IF THERE IS PEACE IN THE NORTH, IF THERE IS STABILITY IN THE

NORTH WHICH IS TWOTHIRDS OF NIGERIA, THERE WILL BE PEACE AND STABILITY IN THE REST OF NIGERIA

I now went and talked to the chairman of INEC then, you know who he was. And I told him, all my masters, employers, friends are in the formation Abubakar Rimi has brought called PDP. Refund my N100,000, this is history, it is factual. I was disappointed in the two people that I revealed this thing to because they are my cousins from Benue. And the way they treated me, they consolidated the fact that they didn’t want me in the formation but assured me that when we get to conference, they will make me chairman. Do you know what? Benue people decided that the philosopher who produced PDP, who produced governance in ANPP, including Solomon Lar that his people didn’t want him. I wrote the constitution of the ANPP in a manner that the secretary of the NPP was like the secretary of the communist party, was the chief executive of the party, I said Solomon was with us in UMBC. And I put Solomon as governor. Because I was a Benue citizen, Benue citizens felt I was inferior to Solomon Lar. They didn’t even tell me that the meeting was going to take place at such and such a time. They lied to me; told me a time, I packed 10 vehicles, parked Benue citizens, went with them to Abuja. They will now dance because their son was going to be the chairman of PDP. They went and held the meeting, I was sitting in my hotel, one of them kept assuring me as soon as the meeting starts we’ll tell you and you can come. It is true, he never told me until the elections were held. Then somebody came to us and said, Oga sir, we have been sitting here to go and attend PDP convention, the convention is there taking place and is on television, can you turn this television on. The television was turned on. I called this man, but he said, sorry sir, we’ll come and explain to you. So, I left PDP and we founded ANPP. So, when Olusegun Obasanjo and my master, Ahmadu Ali came and were begging me, I knew they were deceiving me. The emerging APC has severally boasted to wrest power from the ruling PDP come 2015. Do you see this threat possible? I don’t think that is possible because I have no confidence. Are they different from the people in the PDP? They are the same people, going round and round trying to

make formation to wrest power from these people but the question is: if they wrest this power, are they likely going to be committed to the ordinary people? Are they going to be committed to ideological orientation to allow properties to develop? Are they going to give us freedom or will they do the same thing that our party is doing, muzzling everybody now?

There are clamours in some quarters for President Goodluck Jonathan to re-contest in 2015, do you subscribe to these agitations. No, I don’t just support people. I have a programme. The question you should have asked is: Is Mr. President implementing my programme and would I help him to improve? Has Mr. President himself said he wants to re-contest? They want the President to hear that I support him so that he sends money to me. I cannot sell my conscience by telling him in advance that I’m going to support him when I don’t know his programme. I like some of the things he’s doing; I don’t like some of the things he’s doing, I’m not a kid. I belong to an organisation known as Northern Elders’ Forum, we are a political organisation, and we want peace, stability and the progress of Nigeria, particularly, Northern Nigeria because the stability of Nigeria is Northern Nigeria because it is a huge land mass. If there is peace in the North, if there is stability in the North which is two-thirds of Nigeria, there will be peace and stability in the rest of Nigeria. So, I am loyal to the Northern Elders’ Forum, I am the deputy leader, I’m the spokesman, what decision is taken by the Northern Elders’ Forum as to whom we should support as the president of Nigeria, we know that person will win. We feel the North has not been treated well and we have statistics right from the time Obasanjo became president of Nigeria. We are talking about structural allocations. Perhaps, when you see them and abstract them and put them at the time of the various presidents, perhaps you will feel angrier during Obasanjo’s time. Perhaps, you will say Jonathan has tried, I don’t know. But we will do that exercise when it comes to supporting anybody.

But we are predisposed, that I must tell you, because I don’t want to be misquoted in having a president come from the North after so many years. Few weeks ago you met the President alongside other prominent Northern leaders on security. Can you share with us the deliberations reached with the Presidency on the matter? As I’m sitting here, I am a member of the NEF and we’ve been advising the President. Everything is secret; they don’t take Nigerians into confidence. We of the NEF were very worried that security of Nigeria was so threatened that living in this country became too precarious and people who were too scared were taking off from Nigeria. We understood that. We have taken steps to bring this situation back to normal. Together we believe if we contribute our quota we will solve the problem. So, we stayed and wrote copious suggestions to Mr. President. In fairness to Mr. President, he granted us audience when the thing became too much and he saw us face to face and discovered that what his paid hirelings that always hang around power corridors, who were telling him that Northerners who are floating Boko Haram don’t want him as a Christian, that they don’t like a president that is a Christian and I particularly told him to be very far away from them. Whether the security challenge was created by his political opponents is completely immaterial. The thing was threatening finance as almost everywhere running out of control. We told Mr. President, this is a very serious situation, don’t look at Boko Haram as a multi-faceted problem you have at hand, approaches should be multi-faceted. He agreed. Our position is that Mr. President swore by the constitution to protect us and give us security in our country and proceeded to swear to defend the territorial integrity of Nigeria. If anybody comes and starts appropriating some parts of Nigeria and planning and telling people I’m going to declare this part of Nigeria, part of Chad, part of Niger and part of Mali, he should blast that person to hell. So, we are not opposed to Mr. President declaring state of emergency.


16

Politics

‘No going back on death penalty, same sex marriage’

ASO ROCK FILE with

Rotimi FADEYI

FG begins war against crude oil thieves F or any government in the world, losing money to economic saboteurs on a daily basis means imminent collapse of the economy of such nation as it would be starved of funds needed for the progress and development. With Nigeria losing an estimated over N7 billion daily to crude oil thieves, it was just a matter of time before the nation’s economy crumble, as revenue from oil forms the major bulk of the government’s income. As the rate at which crude oil was being stolen in the country and sold at very high price to other countries by unpatriotic citizens and their foreign collaborators became very alarming, the threat which the illegal oil business posed to the economy became a great source of concern to the government both at the federal and state levels. Last week, the Federal Government together with state governors took urgent decisive steps at tackling crude oil theft to save the nation’s economy from total collapse. The decision to battle the oil thieves with all available weapons under the law of the land was taken at the National Economic Council meeting at the State House which was presided over by Vice-President Namadi Sambo with most of the governors of the 36 states of the Federation present. Oil thieves now risk a maximum jail term of 21 years without an option of fine as they would be prosecuted under the existing Miscellaneous Offences Act while a legal task force headed by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mohammed Adoke, has been floated with the mandate to commence prosecution of about 500 suspects held in custody over proven cases of oil theft. Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan stated that the legal task force would be made up of representatives from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, the

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Armed Forces, Civil Defence, Police, the State Security Service, SSS, and other related agencies. Uduaghan said that the decision to set up the legal task force headed by the Attorney General was taken in order to put an end to the daily theft of about 400,000 barrels of oil which account for N7. 35 billion daily loss to the country at international market price of $117 per barrel of oil and which has led to a drastic reduction in the revenue accruing to the government. The governor stated that a committee headed Governor Godswill Akpabio with Secretary to National Planning Commission, the NEITI chief executive and a representative of the Inspector-General of Police as members has been mandated to meet with the Attorney-General of the Federation towards strengthening the extant deterrence policy by ensuring more arrests and convictions of the oil thieves.

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ven at the level of the United Nations Human Rights Council, UNHRC, Nigeria is going to present her opposition to the legalisation of same sex marriage and its position that death penalty would still continue to be part of the judicial pronouncement until the laws are changed or amended to abolish capital punishment. At the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting last week, the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, said the two areas Nigeria has continued to differ with the UNHRC has to do with the abolition of death penalty as well as the clamour by some nations for the enforcement of samesex marriage. Maku said: “On these two, substantial progress is being made in terms of the death penalty issues within our statutes that we need to resolve, and it is not only Nigeria, but even the United States and several other countries have not yet abolished death penalty. It is something to be pursued and it is also something that we need time, change in attitude, change in perceptions, and change in laws for these to become reality. “There are still philosophical, fundamental differences of opinion on the mat-

ter of the death penalty. It is not something that we have a national consensus on now for Nigeria to make a definite decision on this one. “But in relation to same-sex marriage, also we still have fundamental differences within our country and so we are trying to look into it and see what position Nigeria will take.” Maku however said it would be difficult for any nation to enforce a value that was strange to its society. He also disclosed that a committee headed by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke has been set up to come up with a draft report. The minister noted that substantial progress has been made in terms of the position of the government on death penalty, stressing that there are still philosophical and fundamental differences of opinion on the matter “In relation to the same sex marriages we still have very fundamental differences within our country and so we are trying to look into it to see the position Nigeria will take. The problem with same sex marriage as at now is that both sections to the Nigerian society, tradition society, the Muslim community, the Christian community, virtually that make up nearly 100 per cent of the Nigerian population are still diametrically opposed to the concept of same sex marriage. It is not easy to enforce a value that is strange our society,” Maku said.

Presidential Villa’s visitors

President Goodluck Jonathan (right) with his Kenyan counterpart, President Uhuru Kenyatta during his visit to the State House.

1.

President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya

2.

President Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone

3.

United States outgoing Ambassador to a Nigeria, Mr. Terrance McCulley

4.

Governor Murtala Nyako

5.

Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan

6.

Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo

7.

Governor Kayode Fayemi

8.

Director General of Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Benjamn Dikki

9.

Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Sa’aad Ibrahim

10.

Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba

11.

Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh

Finding peace between First Lady and ‘son’ Nigeria, Kenya float commission for cooperation

I

n recent times, Rivers State has witnessed political crisis as members of the House of Assembly engaged each other in bloody fight over clash of loyalty to Governor Rotimi Amaechi and his former Chief of Staff and Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike. The Assembly was thrown into pandemonium following the fracas which disrupted proceedings and left many of the lawmakers seriously injured penultimate week. The First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, who is an indigene of the state and had been linked to the political turmoil spoke out last week on her relationship with Amaechi while calling for the peaceful resolution of the matter. For her, Amaechi is her son and she cannot fight him or kill him and should not be used against his own people in the state. “Amaechi is my son, I cannot fight him and I cannot kill him. He shouldn’t be used

by outsiders against his own blood because this seat is vanity,” she said. The First Lady said she had always mediated between Governor Amaechi and other parties in a crisis that began four years ago. “This matter started as far back as four years ago at Anyugubiri in Okrika when I begged him not to demolish a part of Okrika but (that he should) dialogue first with the people. “After that incident, he called the chairman of Okrika Local Government and sacked him for holding a reception in our honour; that boy was the first victim. “He also put my people on curfew for nine months. I called him and pleaded with him but he refused. Then I began to hear all sort of propaganda in the media against me; this is not the way. “I appeal to Amaechi to sheathe his sword so that we can defend our state and this country with love, unity, patriotism and truth at all time,” she said.

N

igeria and Kenya last week signed an agreement for the establishment of a Joint Commission for Cooperation. Speaking at bilateral talks between the two countries, President Goodluck Jonathan said that key countries in Africa such as Nigeria and Kenya must collaborate more to achieve success in implementing the continent’s agenda of greater economic integration. “The key countries in Africa must work together to create larger markets for our products and boost our national economies. We must cooperate more, boost crossborder investments and encourage our private sectors to participate in economic development across the continent,” the President said. He expressed the hope that the NigeriaKenya Joint Commission for Cooperation will quickly develop a blueprint for greater trade and economic relations between the

two countries for the benefit of their citizens. A protocol on consultations between Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade was also signed after the talks between the two Presidents and their delegations. In furtherance of the agreement to strengthen bilateral cooperation between Nigeria and Kenya, both Presidents Jonathan and Kenyatta accepted to undertake a state visits to Kenya and Nigeria at their earliest conveniences. President Kenyatta also urged Jonathan to come to Nairobi with Nigerian, promising to organise a forum for them to meet notable Kenyan businessmen with a view to establishing profitable joint ventures for the benefit of the Nigerian and Kenyan economies.

MORE POLITICS STORIES ON PAGES 41-43


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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

17

Of CSOs, business and the burden of CSR CHIDOZIE CHUKWUEMEKA

WHAT IS OF CONCERN

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IS THAT THIS GROUP OF

ations have now acquired the status of an enterprise. So, such things as dividends of democracy have become commonplace. Political (democracy) dividends are what people get as stakeholders in the polity. The dividends are their inalienable right. And where they are not given or are partially given, the people put their feet down to ask for what they know is their right. From the business of state let us progress to the state of business. Citizens are beginning to ask for dividends in ordinary businesses, particularly if the businesses happen to reside in their neighbourhood. Businesses are citizens, and instead of the stronger stifling the weaker, a sense of community must prevail between them. So, from he that has much, must be taken to be given to he that has less. An effort to strike at equilibrium sounds right and logical. Social responsibility, mostly at corporate level, has become an integral part of business. Thriving enterprises are now required to support the environment, host communities, and other stakeholders in the ecosystem. CSR has become central to business. Stakeholders demand it, often in bizarre and forceful manner. This demand has given rise to advocacy groups in several shades. The burden of CSR has given rise to a peculiar kind of non-profit business that has evolved in the bid to enforce the rights of the weaker segments of the society and help

‘CIVILISED PEOPLE’ ALSO TENDS TO BE FEEDING FAT FROM WHAT THEY OBTAIN FROM THE STRONGEST them obtain some concessions from their more successful neighbours. Several issues come to mind here. What manner of business can survive year on year without profit? What kind of business can make it its business to compel the strongest to take care of the weakest by letting go a part of what it has legally earned? Yet these nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) try to make people believe they exist solely for others. Curiously, this branch of business would not have existed without the callous posturing of successful businesses that resist giving back to society. This stance has opened an avenue for musketeers to parade themselves in different shades for the purpose of obtaining from the successful for the less successful. Of concern is ‘what portion of what is obtained is passed on to the weakest of the society for whom it is meant?’ Often proponents of these rights groups traverse every aspect of business, including government. In government circles, they are often referred to as civil society or-

ganizations (CSOs). These pressure groups are making some impact. Observers note that the CSOs played a leading role in the struggle that returned Nigeria to democracy in 1999. What is of concern is that this group of ‘civilised people’ also tends to be feeding fat from what they obtain from the strongest. Being enlightened in their trade, they mount sophisticated campaigns, bringing a feeling of guilt on businesses in the process, and compelling them to meet their demand because ‘it is for common good.’ Survival is important to all businesses. It becomes imperative to seek the place of these CSOs as they appear to quickly play the role of social parasites, ever keen at obtaining from businesses in what is commonly referred to as grants. What is the place of ethics in this segment of business? Given the skillful operation of advocacy groups, often with international networks, government and businesses can no longer ignore them. With their experience at advocacy, these NGOs are the preferred candidates for social or community mobilisation. Conscious therefore, that they have this endowment, some of them now tend to commercialise it by trading loyalty from the weakest to the strongest. Perhaps, it is imperative to point out that those who hand out grants might be right in considering that what they hand out is an investment for which they expect yields. The expected yields can only be gotten if they keep an eye on the investment by keeping close alliance with the advo-

cacy groups that seek the grants. Could the knowledge that more grants are endangered except the givers are satisfied that the usage influence what comes out of the mouths of the advocates? This is a tough call. However, the mere thought of it tends to paint a gloomy picture for the future of citizens’ rights as the resonating effect of the commercialisation of civil advocacy is the weakening of citizens’ voices and the strengthening of an already repressive hold of businesses on the environment and other stakeholders. Granted that commercialisation of advocacy has the capacity to dilute and distract from a commitment to balance the influence wielded by businesses that are by their very nature collective as against common citizens whose individual voices can easily be drowned, questions must be asked. The grave danger in this trend is that without advocacy, collective stand at grassroots level could be easily taken away with individual liberty severely curtailed, giving rise to an unchallenged reign by mindless profiteers in business. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe is credited with the saying that “conscience and history are the best judges of human action.” So, as civil advocacy tends to go commercial in Nigeria, it is pertinent to point out that the promoters are businessmen, irrespective of their being branded as NGOs. History and conscience will have the duty of assessing their actions over time. Chukwuemeka is a Lagos-based public affairs analyst

Nigerians reaping from NAFDAC’s drug war MARTINS F.O. IKHILAE

A

holistic overview of the achievements of the Dr. Goodluck Ebelle Jonathan-led administration will remove the steam from the opposition’s much vaunted non-performance label pinned on it. This is because in assessing the administration, the stellar performance of the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in successfully fighting drug counterfeiting and faking, is usually discounted. Yet the agency’s efforts cannot be separated from the administration’s overall performance scorecard. It is an undeniable fact that the agency is doing much in the nation’s health sector; what it has so far achieved under the leadership of Dr. Paul B. Orhii, forms part of the Jonathan administration’s dividends of democracy. Just as the emergence of Dr. Jonathan drew a lot of criticisms, a development attributed mainly to his Ijaw minority origin within the context of the larger national geopolitical power calculus , so also was the appointment of Dr. Orhii, a minority of the Tiv extraction in the Middle Belt. He was considered an unsuitable replacement for the then out-going NAFDAC’s Chief Executive, Professor Dora Akunyili. However, it became evident that those at the fore front of these calumnious campaigns were unpatriotic, self-centred ethnic jingoists. These disgruntled individuals were undeterred in their nefarious acts as they engage both local and foreign media, as well as even the nation’s judicial institutions, in

their negative campaigns. In spite of this, Mr. President refused to yield his ground. Today, the nation is better for it. Had Dr. Jonathan balked, Nigerians would have been denied the dividends which they now enjoy in form of reliable and better healthcare delivery services. Unsurprisingly, the NAFDAC helmsman has true to his promise, refused to betray the confidence reposed in him both by the president and Nigerians as demonstrated by his fearless, documentable and stellar achievements at the agency. Today he is the “cynosure of all eyes”, locally and internationally. His anti-pharmaceuticals counterfeiting war being fought with cutting edge technology has recorded series of pro-life elongating achievements. The agency’s recent court conviction against a local pharmaceutical company that produced My Pikin, the killer teething mixture, which killed 89 Nigerian children, is another feather added to his cap. This, of course, is in addition to other several court convictions it has also recorded in drugcounterfeited offences since 2009. For all this and more, Dr. Orhii has earned the status of NAFDAC’s premier chief executive. Interestingly, efforts are underway to ensuring that a sizeable part of the assets forfeited by convicted drug counterfeiters are channeled towards compensating victims of the heinous crime. Already, the agency, under its current leadership, has shown that it has adopted iron cast determination to leave no stone unturned in sustaining its ‘zero’ percent tolerance towards drug counterfeiting in Nigeria. Recently, it started the engagement of non-governmental organi-

THE AGENCY’S SUSTAINED BATTLE AGAINST DIEHARD COUNTERFEITERS OF PHARMACEUTICAL PRODUCTS HAS BEEN LOCALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY ACKNOWLEDGED zations (NGOs) nationwide in this drive. The agency’s sustained battle against die-hard counterfeiters of pharmaceutical products has been locally and internationally acknowledged and rewarded as the domestic pharmaceutical industry is winning back its lost glory. Like before, it is once again becoming West African drug business hub. This is unarguably another democracy dividend on its own. The machinery is also already in place to unveil more novel back up strategies and solutions to those already in existence. Dr. Orhii is not a prophet without honour at home. Last year President Jonathan honoured him with the award of Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON). There have been other local appreciation and awards. Also on June 24, 2013, he bagged the Award of Special Congressional Recognition in the United States of America. It was an endorsement orchestrated by a notable American Congress woman, Janice Hahn. The presentation was made at a well attended reception held in the James Madison Hall, Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. As Nigeria pharmaceutical industry is

bouncing back to life, bountiful employment opportunities abound for the teeming unemployed young Nigerians. Public confidence in our indigenous healthcare services is also being restored and made in Nigerian drugs getting patronage across Africa, while imported ones that are well tested and certified by the agency are enjoying the confidence of our people. Indeed local pharmaceutical industry is contributing to the nation’s GDP growth. One of the intrinsic dividends of all these efforts and initiatives is a leap in the status and reputation of Nigeria in the comity of nations as a serious country committed to the cause of ensuring that only standardized and genuine pharmaceuticals are provided for the people. Through standardization of healthcare provisioning, the brain drain syndrome that has remained a big worry in the sector has been seriously checked, while the right and proper health services are within the reach of all Nigerians irrespective of their financial and societal status. For Dr. Paul Bortwev Orhii, Nigerians are yet to see his best! Ikhilae, martinsikhilae@ymail.com, is a Lagos-based public affairs analyst Send your views by mail or sms to PMB 10001, Ikoyi, or our Email: mail@ nationalmirroronline.net mirrorlagos@ yahoo.com or 08164966858 (SMS only). The Editor reserves the right to edit and reject views or photographs. Pseudonyms may be used but must be clearly marked as such.


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Furore on Al-Bashir’s visit to Nigeria

he presence of Sudanese President, Omar Al-Bashir in Nigeria to attend the African Health Summit has drawn critical local and global attention. Indeed, the outrage that trailed Al-Bashir’s Abuja trip eclipsed the substantive health concerns of the summit. In March 2009 and 2010, the International Criminal Court (ICC) judges issued arrest warrants against the Sudanese leader for crimes he allegedly committed in the country’s Dafur region, where an estimated 300, 000 people have died since 2003 as a result of fighting between rebel groups and government forces and their allies, the Janjaweed militia. Following Al-BAshir’s visit to Nigeria, the ICC had requested the host country to arrest the Sudanese leader who is wanted for alleged war crimes against humanity and genocide; and surrender him to the court. The ICC is an independent permanent court that tries persons accused of heinous crimes of international concern, such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, etc.; especially when national authorities with jurisdiction are unwilling or unable to genuinely do so. The ICC’s request to Nigeria was hinged on the Rome Statute, which she was signatory to. Nigeria, therefore, has the obligation to execute the orders of the ICC. Since the court issued the arrest warrants on Al-Bashir, the latter

has travelled to Chad and Djibouti. On the contrary, the Republic of South Africa, Malawi, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia and the Central African Republic had stated without equivocation that Al-Bashir would be arrested once sighted in their land. Not surprisingly, the visit of the Sudanese President has drawn caustic reactions from civil society groups in Nigeria. The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), for example, had implored the Federal Government to arrest him. The group’s Executive Secretary, Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni, observed that “the government risks sanctions by the United Nations’ Security Council if it fails to arrest President Al-Bashir and surrender him to the ICC at The Hague”. He noted that “President Jonathan now has a rare opportunity to assist the ICC and support the demand by the international community for justice for the victims of genocide and war crimes in the Darfur region…”. Similarly, the Nigerian Coalition for International Criminal Court (NCICC), led by its Chair, Steering Committee, Mr. Chino Obiagwu warned that failure by Nigeria to arrest the wanted leader would amount to a brazen disregard of its territorial treaty obligations under Article 89 of the Rome Statute of the ICC, which it ratified in 2001. The NCICC stated, in addition, that “such failure

AFRICAN ENTHUSIASM FOR THE ICC HAS WANED OVER THE YEARS PARTLY DUE TO THE PERCEPTION THAT ITS PROSECUTORS DISPROPORTIONATELY TARGET AFRICAN LEADERS also undermines the pursuit of international peace and security which are the objectives of the ICC”. European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Catherine Ashton likewise asked Nigeria to respect its obligations under international law by arresting and surrendering those subject to arrest warrants from the ICC; while the United States Embassy in Nigeria, in its response to the rather embarrassing visit, stated it, “regrets Nigeria’s decision to welcome an indicted criminal”. In its reaction, the Nigerian government, through presidential spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, argued that Al-Bashir visited to attend the African Union Summit and not at Nigeria’s invitation. He said the country allowed him into its territory in line with AU’s instructions. Former Secretary-General of the

Commonwealth, Dr. Emeka Anyaoku, last weekend, arguing along the same line said, “Nigeria was hosting AU summit, there is no way that Nigeria should have said a member of the AU should not attend”. The AU itself has severally criticized the ICC’s warrants with threats of not respecting the decision of the court. We recall that in 2010, the AU had called on the UN Security Council to delay war crimes proceedings against the Sudanese President, with emphasis on its “commitment to justice and its total rejection of impunity”. Not to be denied is the fact that African enthusiasm for the ICC has waned over the years partly due to the perception that its prosecutors disproportionately target African leaders. Critics cite the court’s failure to charge President George Bush for war crimes in Iraq. It has thus become necessary for the ICC to dust its image and clear all doubts and suspicion about its impartiality, fairness and sense of justice. Nevertheless, it is regrettable that Nigeria failed to honor the Rome Statute to which it is a signatory. To the international community, this may mean that the Nigerian leadership condoned the alleged atrocities of the Sudanese President. It may only be hoped that the inauspicious visit will not put Nigeria at daggers-drawn with the UN, particularly in respect of Nigeria’s quest for a permanent seat at the Security Council.

ON THIS DAY July 23, 2012 At least 116 people were killed and more than 299 others wounded in a string of bombings and attacks in Iraq. The July 23, 2012 Iraq attacks were a series of simultaneous, coordinated bombings and shootings that struck the Iraqi security force and Shi’ite Muslim communities. The attacks were described as the deadliest in the country since May 2010. The Islamic State of Iraq claimed responsibility for the attacks.

July 23, 1999 An All Nippon Airways (ANA) Flight 61 was hijacked in Tokyo, Japan by Yuji Nishizawa. ANA Boeing 747-481D with 503 passengers, including 14 children and 14 crew members on board, took off from the Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) in Ota, Tokyo, Japan and was en route to New Chitose Airport in Chitose, Japan, near Sapporo when it was hijacked by Yuji Nishizawa, who used a kitchen knife to force himself into the cockpit.

July 23, 1984 Vanessa Williams became the first Miss America to resign when she surrendered her crown after nude photos of her appeared in Penthouse magazine. Vanessa Lynn Williams (born March 18, 1963) is an American pop-R&B recording artist, producer, dancer, model and actress. In 1983, she became the first woman of African-American descent to be crowned Miss America, but a scandal arose when Penthouse magazine published her nude photographs.


Proposed national carrier tears aviation professionals apart

Stakeholders task PFAs on pension management 37

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NIS: ISO 26000: Standardising corporate social responsibility practices A fter one year of intensive consultations among representatives of corporate organisations, government ministries, parastatals and agencies, the Standard Organisation of Nigeria, SON and stakeholders across the public-private sector divide have reached a common ground on the standardisation of CRS practices by corporate organisations. The new standard came after series of the adoption process sponsored by Etisalat Nigeria, Nigeria Breweries Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Plc, and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), SON to ensure that the launch of the much awaited NIS: ISO 26000, which was domesticated from International Standards Organisation, ISO 26000. The new standards would, nevertheless, declassify philanthropic activities of many corporate organisations and charity as CSR so far they are not in line with NIS: ISO 26000 benchmark. Facilitated by SON in partnership with ThistlePraxis Consulting, NIS: ISO 26000 provides organizations with a holistic guide to producing sustainability reports in line with global best practices, hence, making it mandatory for all corporate organisations to use in their sustainability reporting as the basis for providing better CSR for host communities. With this development, Nigeria has joined other African countries such as Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, South Africa, Sen-

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In an attempt to standardise CSR and sustainability practice in Nigeria, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON in collaboration with other stakeholders, recently issued a standard guide for social responsibility practices. Tagged: NIS: ISO 26000, the new local ISO standards will serve as a tool to help businesses in Nigeria streamline CRS initiatives along globally-acceptable standards. ADEDEJI ADEMIGBUJI reports.

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IRS Children at a motherless babies home in Lagos.

egal, Malawi, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Ghana who have adopted the standard and in effect, the ISO26000: NAP Secretariat will be open for the next 12 months to any Nigerian company interested in using the standard which was a result of the adoption process facilitated by Lead Expert, Martin Neureiter, CEO, The CSR Company, Austria. The NIS: ISO 26000 is expected to serve as a consensus guidance document that provides support or reference for all kinds of organisations in both private and public sectors on how they can operate in a socially responsible, ethical and transparent manner and by also contributing to the health and welfare of society as against the current practice

15% of telephone users reside in Lagos, says NCC 21

where communities suffer effects of environmental pollution, abject poverty whereas many of the companies declare huge profits without giving back to the society. During the official launching of the new CSR standards last week in Lagos, the Director General of SON, Dr. Joseph Odumodu explained that the new NIS standard is a framework for Nigeria to implement and apply daily origination procedures and practices. According to him, “The new standard will ensure that businesses have standards that one can look up to in terms of engaging the people that operate in their environment and also monitor impact assessment. “The standard is about how you do your business, and not

about how much money you give; it is about top management’s commitment on how business operations are done in a way that prevents negative impact on the environment; it is about aligning business strategies in conformity with the ISO standards.” Odumodu said further that ISO 26000 Guidance Standard is being promoted by ISO and to be enforced in Nigeria through SON as a means of introducing standards that would ensure global best practices and ensure competitive advantage of exports. According to him, “It has become more imperative as more and more organisations decide that they must address the prin-

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

CONTINUED ON PAGE 20

Non-remittance of statutory contributions stifling ITF’s operations 23

Owu, Agbowa come alive with 4,000home CHOIS City

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

NIS: ISO 26000: Standardising corporate social responsibility practices CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19 ciple of social responsibility. The aim of ISO 26000 therefore, as a guidance standard is to show the path to be followed by providing the core subjects. This will enable an organisation willing to follow the standard seek to achieve social responsibility from its own internal mobilisation. In Nigeria, where challenges regarding social justice, respect for the environment and economic development are still immense, the import of the application of this standard can never be overstretched,” adding that the SO 26000’ would be useful as a more objective reference of what was expected from companies and organisations regarding their social responsibility performance. The Lead Consultant/Chief Executive Officer, ThistlePraxis Consulting Ltd , who spear-headed the adoption of ISO 26000 in Nigeria working with SON, Mrs. Ini Onuk, told National Mirror that over the years most companies were engaging in charity and philanthropy as against CSR, which they often put in their reporting as against global standards. “I have not complained but simply advocated that sponsorships, cause marketing and philanthropy be clearly identified and not presented as CSR. We also advocate that business leaders pay more attention to these issues and make sustainability a priority. What we encourage is that more activities and initiatives are impact-driven and that CSR is integrated into corporate strategy in order to yield multiple returns on investment.” She noted that in the cause of engaging on social responsibility projects, most companies are not honest hence the need for the standards. “Most companies are not sincere to be honest; nevertheless we have observed that insincerity is most of the time not deliberate. In a society where mediocrity is the benchmark and there are no regulations or minimum standards to adhere to, the push to constantly improve strategy is uncommon. Hence, tokenism is masqueraded as CSR for host communities and this continues until there is a crisis or loss of social license to operate. It is imperative for companies to adopt these standards which could help them measure the impact of their investment,” she said. While the Federal Government has not been able to ensure that some Foreign Direct Investors comply with CSR practice, Onuk said measures are also in place to ensure they have human face and adhere to CSR and Sustainability policies when coming to operate in Nigeria. She said the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment is also involved in helping SON drive the new NIS: IS0 26000 standards on the FDI’s. According to her, this will ensure that the investments have tangible social impact devoid of periodic ``green washing or philanthropic tokenism often masqueraded as CSR. In the light of these, she said the FDI should be able to impact on the society through investment in the host communities. “Even many public offices and officials do not understand that it is not enough to clamour for Foreign Direct Investment. The big question should be ‘FDI at what cost?’ Local content is not about employing brown collar staff or allotting menial jobs

Aganga

Onuk

IN A SOCIETY WHERE MEDIOCRITY IS THE BENCHMARK AND THERE ARE NO REGULATIONS OR

MINIMUM STANDARDS TO ADHERE TO, THE PUSH TO CONSTANTLY IMPROVE STRATEGY IS UNCOMMON.

HENCE, TOKENISM IS MASQUERADED AS CSR FOR HOST COMMUNITIES AND THIS CONTINUES UNTIL THERE IS A CRISIS OR LOSS OF SOCIAL LICENSE TO OPERATE to host communities. The quest for Sustainable Development will not be attained by FDIs only. The local economies must prepare to maximize these investments – through a productive and skill-aligned workforce, support business eco-systems and tested MSMEs to provide needed services and ensure a workable supply chain amongst others.” Onuk said her organisation in preparation through partnership with The CSR Company International is bringing an ISO 26000 Toolkit, a groundbreaking software for the implementation of ISO 26000 and a CSR Label, a social responsibility product label and audit service in Africa. She advised that organisations should not only talk about social responsibility, but integrate it into business strategies and operations. Meanwhile, the Honourable Minister for Industry, Trade & Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, who was represented by the CEO, Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, Mr. Jim Obazee, instructed SON to liaise with all relevant agencies of Government to create the necessary awareness and ensure widespread application of the international standard on social responsibility, NIS: ISO 26000. Describing the new standards as milestones in Nigeria, Aganga also directed SON to ensure that copies of the Standard are made readily available to the broad spectrum of stakeholders for implementation as required. While stakeholders have continually declassify most activities and projects by corporate organisation as CSR, Nigeria CSR Report states that the volume of news stories reported as CSR in the year 2012 was impressively much more than 2011. “Whilst this should signify progress, a

significant percentage of the stories cannot be classified as CSR. Many sponsorship initiatives, Cause Marketing Campaigns, philanthropic activities amongst others were still reported as CSR across various print and digital media platforms.” The report stated that “desperate linkage to CSR has greatly increased to alarming rates and this is reflected in the promotion of many activities as CSR as well as the reportage of same without classification by media professionals. This trend is inimical to the growth of the practice and concept and further confuses stakeholders on the real essence and value of CSR.” While stakeholders now yearn for standards, multinational companies are beginning to complain about the challenges of sustainability in emerging markets. During a one-day forum of 30 CEOs recently, the Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Steven Evans said businesses were often associated with a single-minded focus on profits, returns and self-interest. “They are sometimes seen to sacrifice the needs of their stakeholders, on the altar of profit-making. However there is an increasing requirement for accountability in today’s world. Individuals, and now governments and corporations are accountable for their actions or lack of action. Organisations are ultimately responsible for their decisions regarding investments, processes, values, business practices and their interactions; and global pressures now promote more enduring business practices, which take into account what are now settled as key factors such as the social and environmental contributions of a company, in addition to its economic performance”, he said. Evans stated further, “Sustainability

Odumodu

for corporate organizations represents the giving of equal consideration to economic, environmental and social aspects in our dealings. One way we can contribute to sustainable development is through CSR, especially when there is a deliberately planned strategy driven from the top of the organization”. In the gathering, the forum which had in attendance the CEO of Nigerian Breweries, Mr. Nicolaas Vervelde; CEO of Promisador Nigeria, Mr. Keith Richards; Managing Director of Julius Berger, Mr. Wolfgang Goetsch, and CEO of Sahara Energy Nigeria, Mr. Tonye Cole, among others identified corporate leadership, energy/resource costs viz a viz funds available for operations, irregular sustainability reporting, selfish exclusivity by companies hoarding projects and then neglecting them not too long after implementation, sustainable government policies and overwhelming environmental concerns as bane of CSR in Nigeria. The forum, however, stated that to put an end to the challenges of implementing CSR in Nigeria, more companies should embrace sound corporate governance practices, carry out their business responsibly, align their corporate strategy with social responsibility-infused programmes, contribute to sustainable development by including CSR in their annual budgets, and enter into partnerships with relevant MDAs and NGOs, who should also in turn up-skill to ensure that they are able to enter such partnerships with corporate organizations. While the plight of the companies remains a potent danger, the CEO of TruContact and organiser of the annual CSR award, Mr. Ken Egbas, believes the standard is still high considering that the concept is still new in Nigeria. “The standards are high enough for the stage that the average number of companies in Nigeria. Don’t forget that most of them have just begun the CSR and sustainability journeys. In some cases we have monitored through the submissions made to the Nigeria CSR Awards which we independently verify, the progress made has been heartwarming.” He, however, said currently, most of the companies are beginning to up their CSR budgets “and I think this has also seen to the increased budget dedicated to CSR.”


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Business & Finance

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

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15% of telephone users reside in Lagos, says NCC KUNLE A ZEEZ

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he Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has declared that 15 per cent of the total 119 million active telephone users in the country are in Lagos State. The telecoms regulator disclosed this during a courtesy visit to the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola recently. According to the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, who led the Commission’s management, having the largest portion of subscribers in Lagos indicated a need to increase telecoms infrastructures deployment to ensure that Lagos residents enjoy quality of service. He said; “As at the end of April 2013, the nation has about 119 million active subscribers while teledensity reached more than 85 per cent from some 0.4 per cent in 2001. Of significance today is that this sector currently contributes more than 7 .8 per cent to the national Gross Domestic Product. “Our reference to this figures

Deputy Director, Highway Planning, Federal Ministry of Works, Mr. Umunna Ekenna and Director, Solicitors Department, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Olusola Moore, at the meeting of ECOWAS Ministers of Road Infrastructure, Finance and Justice in Abuja recently. PHOTO: NAN

stem from the fact that Lagos constitutes a major subscriber population to telecommunications services. In fact, Lagos State commands more than 15 per cent of active subscriptions in the country. “The number of Internet subscriptions, corporate and premium mobile and Internet subscriptions could also be imagined. It is predictable that availability of these services in Lagos may have contributed to the current success of the mobile banking pilot programme

Minister seeks private sector investments in NIIMP TOLA AKINMUTIMI ABUJA

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ational Planning Minister, Dr Shamsuddeen Usman, has urged the private sector to take advantage of the huge capital outlay of the proposed National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (NIIMP) to invest in the project in order to enjoy positive returns that the project all investors. Usman, who stated this in his address at a dinner organised by the Business Support Group (BSG), for the handover to the Minister of the input of the private sector to the NIIMP in Lagos at the weekend, pointed out that the private sector would be expected to play a more significant role in financing infrastructure development in the country, especially as the draft NIIMP expects 48 per cent of the required funding to come from the sector. A statement by the Head of Information/Chief Press Secretary to the Commission, Mallam Salisu B. Haiba, quoted the Minister as noting that the NIIMP, which is being developed by the Commission is designed to raise Nigeria’s stock of infrastructure from the current 35-40 per cent of GDP to 70 per cent of GDP by 2043.

According to the Minister, the plan “will require huge investment of over $2.9 trillion. It also implies that infrastructure spend would have to increase reasonably quickly, from the current 3-5 per cent of GDP to an average of 9 per cent over the 30 year period with an estimated two per cent of the GDP spent on maintenance of infrastructure.” Describing the NIIMP as a 30year master plan for accelerating infrastructure development in the country, the minister explained that “the main objective of setting up the Business Support Group (BSG) of the NIMP was, in fact to harvest from the private sector; it’s perception of the required enabling environment as well as the specific actions required to achieve it.” Usman stated: “There is no gain saying the fact that, the current infrastructure stock in the country is grossly inadequate to meet the demands of the economy. It is clear that we cannot grow the economy at the desired rate, reduce poverty to an appreciable level and create jobs in sufficient quantity for our teeming youths, given the current state of our infrastructure. “More directly, inadequate infrastructure is one of the main reasons responsible for Nigeria’s inability to compete effectively, in a highly competitive global economy.

being implemented by the monetary authorities. In other words, telecommunications is impacting very positively in Lagos State.” “It is important to reiterate at this point that the quality of services in Lagos, and indeed, other parts of the country, is not desirable. Some of the challenges contributing to this are enormous but are gradually being surmounted.” He, however, noted that some

of the challenges were beyond the scope of the regulator, “but we are assiduously, tackling those within our regulatory powers and hope that in the near future, with the networks investing more heavily, we will overcome the challenges.” Speaking further, Juwah said, “As we speak about more investments as a critical success factor in improving the quality of telecom service in the country, we

need to share some of the impediments that have negatively impacted on them as we believe that you have the influence and capacity to resolve some of them.” While noting that the most critical of the challenges facing the operators was the issue of Right of Way, the NCC boss said, “We are already aware that you are involved with other governors in the National Economic Council in discussing and finding solutions to the issue of RoW in the country as currently being championed by Vice President Namadi Sambo, GCON. We only need to urge you to continue to support these patriotic efforts so that the objectives of providing easy passage for telecommunications infrastructure, to accelerate and encourage more investments in the country, are realized.” Another challenge, he said, stems from ignorance, even at decision making levels. Many people do not understand that telecommunications can only be better with more infrastructures.

Cashless: CWG, others move to deepen ATM density KUNLE A ZEEZ

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igeria’s leading Information and Communication Technology solutions provider and local partner to Wincor Nixdorf is to set the pace in further improving automated teller machines, ATMs, density in the country, as parts of measure to drive the ongoing cashless economy scheme in the country. Other local partners to Wincor Nixdorf, one of the world’s leading providers of Information Technology solutions for financial services sector, include SoftWorks Limited and Cyberspace Network Limited. Disclosing this during a workshop orgainsed for its local part-

ners and key stakeholders from the banking sector in Lagos recently, the President and Chief Executive Officer, Wincor Nixdorf, Mr. Echard Heidloff, said working with its local partners, the company would fast-track the number of ATMs currently in the country. The forum was orgainsed to also mark the opening of a new representative office of the company in Lagos. Measured in the number of delivered ATM units, Heidloff said Wincor Nixdor was already the clear market leader having deployed 50 per cent of over 11, 000 ATMs currently in Nigeria and second largest in Africa. He stated that among Wincor Nixdor’s customers are nine of the 10 largest Nigerian banks, adding that the potential is immense.

He noted that the Central bank of Nigeria had set a fresh target of additional 70,000 ATMs to be deployed by the banks over the next 10 years. He, however, stated that the country’s installed base in 2011 amounted to only approximately 9, 600 systems according to a study conducted by the British Market research company Retail Banking Research, which estimated a current total of 11, 000 ATMs on the basis of statements by CBN. Against this backdrop, Heidloff said Wincor Nixdorf was optimistic about its prospect for business in this important market. In addition to Nigeria’s economic growth, an increased in prosperity is the primary reason for the growing demand for ATMs.

FG to commission Owerri-Airport soon –FAAN OLUSEGUN KOIKI

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he Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, over the weekend said that the Federal Government will soon commission the newly remodelled Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri, just as it denied that the airport has been abandoned by the Ministry of Aviation. Speaking with our correspondent in his office, the General Manager, Corporate Communications, FAAN, Mr. Yakubu Dati denied a report that the agency in collaboration with the ministry of aviation intentionally

neglected the facilities at the airport to rot away, saying that plans are underway to commission the airport by the Government in a couple of weeks. He explained that in a bid to increase passengers’ comfort around the airport, the government has increased and modernised the departure lounges, the VIP lounges, new air conditions in the halls, spaces for commercial offerings while modern chairs put in different locations at the airport. Dati maintained that it would be hard to fault government’s commitment to the development of the aviation sector, or its drive towards exploring new areas of

economic growth nationwide, stressing that government cannot afford to neglect any section of the country in its developmental plan towards becoming a truly powerful player in the global economy. He said, “For the records, Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri was one of the airports to benefit from the ongoing remodelling project on the nation’s airports. The remodelling work was not done selectively and the high quality expended was replicated all over, it is worthy of note that work on this airport has been completed for quite some time and is expected to be commissioned any time soon.


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Business & Finance

We have grown terminal capacity by over 180% –SIFAX FRANCIS EZEM

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orts & Cargo Handling Services Limited, the concessionaire in charge of terminal C of the Tin Can Island Ports Complex says it has grown its terminal capacity by over 180 percent, about seven years after the takeover of the terminal. Ports & Cargo, which is a member of the SIFAX Group, a fully indigenous conglomerate, which is into aviation services, oil and gas as well as shipping, took over the terminal in 2006 following the completion of the Federal Government’s port concession programme. Managing Director of the company, Mr. John Jenkings, who spoke with the media at the weekend, disclosed that the company had over the years invested heavily in the development of the terminal, which has led to expanding its capacity to take containers by

over 180 per cent. According to him, at the takeover of the terminal in 2006, the container storage capacity was about 5,000 Twenty Equivalent Units, which it has increased to over 14,000 TEUs, representing over 180 per cent increase. In addition to this, he also disclosed that the company has a total of 2,400 TEUs of empty containers and between 250-300 TEUs for container scanning on a daily basis. In terms of plants and equipment, he disclosed that in addition to what it already has on its fleet, some forklifts are expected to arrive at the terminal this week, adding that it is also expecting the arrival of one harbour crane to add to the existing six. It was also gathered that the company, which has a total of 35 trucks on its fleet, 10 rubber tyred gantry cranes, is expecting the arrival of another unit while out of a total of 26 reach stackers it only

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 uses one for now The company also has Liebherr Harbour cranes, Kone RTGs and Kalmer Reach Stackers, among others, which has enhanced smooth cargo operations. “We have also greatly improved the security situation at the port and as a result, loss or vandalisation of cargo through the activities of ‘wharf rats’ has been reduced to the barest minimum”, Jenkings said. He also said that a new terminal operating system has been acquired by the company, which is currently operational, which is designed to track all container movement within the terminal, and has also made the loss of containers a thing of the past. The company had also erected an administrative building, which houses operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service as well as other security agencies in addition to the installation of Close Circuit Television cameras in the terminal to enhance and security, which is currently being upgraded.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Cross River, MTN sign N1.1bn infrastrcutre deal RICHARD NDOMA CALABAR

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he government of Cross River State has signed a concession agreement with MTN Nigeria Communication Limited for the provision of 115km of telecommunication cable duct infrastructure for the city of Calabar spanning from Tinapa business and leisure resort to Anatiagha Council headquarters of Calabar South local government of Cross River State. National Mirror learnt that the system when completed in six to nine months would provide complete access to broadband infrastructure for all residents of Calabar making Calabar the most wired city in Nigeria in terms of coverage. Apart from access to broadband the system is expected to significantly improve the quality of

Accion Microfinance Bank rewards customers in promo DAMILOLA AJAYI

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L-R: General Manager, GOtv, Mrs. Elizabeth Amkpa; General Manager, Operations, MultiChoice Nigeria, Ms. Kapa Kaumba and Super Dealer, MultiChoice Nigeria, Mr. Jacob Awona, during the GOtv launch in Asaba yesterday.

AfDB’s Africa50 Fund to support infrastructure financing UDO ONYEKA

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frican Development Bank (AfDB)’s has said it intends to use the innovative Africa50 Fund as Africa’s vehicle to facilitate large-scale mobilization of resources and to unlock international private financing with a view to addressing Africa’s infrastructure gap. During the meeting the heads of key African political, economic and finance institutions last week in Tunis, Tunisia, they pledged to work together towards building Africa50Fund, according to a statement. “We, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Dr. Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Dr Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB),

the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), regional Development Financial Institutions (DFIs) and NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA), take forward our cooperation in search of new and innovative ways for substantially scalingup investments in regional and continental infrastructure to support Africa’s transformation,” the statement said. The group said the Africa50Fund is new, credible and innovative vehicle for infrastructure financing in Africa. Commending AfDB’s initiative, “which is essential vehicle for ensuring that the vision and goals of the Africa Agenda 2063 on the delivery of regional transformational infrastructure projects is achieved, the group said the Africa50 Fund will be innovative in its design and structure, le-

veraging infrastructure financing resources from sources as diverse as African central bank reserves, African pension funds, African sovereign wealth funds, the African Diaspora, and high net worth individuals on the continent. “It was endorsed in May 2013 by the Finance ministers at AfDB’s Annual Meetings in Marrakech, it is a new initiative that will partner with regional institutions for transformational projects. The focus will be trans continental infrastructure, including priority projects under the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa.” AfDB’s President, Dr Donald Kaberuka, underscored the critical role of infrastructure in Africa’s development. “The one thing which can really slow down the recent performance in its tracks is infrastructure. No country in the world has been able to maintain 7 per cent GPD growth and above sustainably unless the infrastructure bottleneck is overcome,” he said.

voice services in Calabar as well as make video services a reality over wired and wireless channels. This project which is completely privately funded and will cost approximately N1.1 billion to implement. The infrastructure to be installed includes three telecommunication cable ducts and 96 core fibre optic cables for each partner and managed by both the Cross River State Government and MTN Communications Nigeria Limited. The infrastructure would enable other service providers and network / broadband users to approach either party to lease infrastructure or services. In addition to this infrastructure, MTN would site an additional 99 Base Stations to improve wireless services in the State in 2013 and similar numbers in 2014 and 2015.

ustomers of Accion Microfinance Bank were rewarded with various prizes at the Accion Brighta save promo. Speaking at the launch of the promo recently in Lagos, the managing director of the bank, Mrs. Bunmi Lawson, said they intend to create branches in all local governments in Lagos State. “Accion Microfinance Bank is stable and strong, you can be rest assured in us. We are working together with you as partners to make Nigeria a better place and with Accion the future is really bright”, she said The star prize winner, Mr Rafiu Fadipe went home smiling with a brand new Kia Picanto, while the second prize winner, Mrs. Olowosile Abike won a tricycle.

“I got to know about the bank through a friend and I saved the profit I got from my business, I believe I got the prize by luck and I advise other businessmen to save any profit they get from their business too”, Fadipe said.. Customers from different branches also went home with various consolation prizes ranging from toasters to standing fans. An eight years old girl, Miss Shoyemi Subomi also went home with a toaster. Lawson said building savings culture for micro entrepreneurs and low income earners is important, as it provides security in time of emergencies and safety nets for the future. According to him, through savings, they are able to accumulate capital and invest in capital asset as opposed to consumption and depletion of wealth.

Diamond Bank partners Rivers on wealth creation, poverty reduction UDO ONYEKA

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iamond Bank Plc has said it partnered the Rivers State Government on Wealth Creation and Poverty Reduction (WCPR) summit 2013 with the theme “Developing an Effective Comprehensive Framework for Wealth Creation and Poverty Reduction in Rivers State.” In a statement the bank the event which was held recently in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital is an initiative of the state government, through the Rivers State Office of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the Rivers State Sustainable Devel-

opment Agency (RSSDA). It said the event was facilitated by notable speakers among who were H.E. Jose Maria Figueres, Former President, Republic of Costa Rica, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, Speaker, House of Representatives, Dr. Mostaq Ahmed, Founder ICMSE and Mrs. Shimite Katung, President, NQBWA. Other facilitators, the statement said included Dr. Alex Otti, GMD/CEO of Diamond Bank, Prof. Patrick Utomi, Founder/ CEO, Centre for Values in Leadership, Dr. Patrick Kormawa, Country Representative, UNIDO and Prof Kevin Urama, Director, ATPS while Governor Rotimi Amaechi, was the special guest of honour.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Jobs & Career

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

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Non-remittance of statutory contributions stifling ITF’s operations Poor funding by government and refusal of industrialists to meet statutory obligations to interventionist agency, the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), is stifling effort to eradicate unemployment, MESHACK IDEHEN reports.

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n order to bridge the unemployment gap in Nigeria through the provision of vocational training opportunities and produce skilled manpower for the nation’s industrial sector, the Federal Government decided in 1971 to establish the Industrial Training Fund (ITF). According to stakeholders, the ITF stands out amongst all the interventionist agencies of the Federal and state governments that have been created to tackle the problem of acute unemployment in Nigeria, due to the proactive and sustainable result oriented methods it keeps adopting to grapple with the unemployment scourge. Two graduate of the ITF’s Industrial Skills Training Center (ISTC) in Ikeja, Lagos, Mr. Ifeoluwa Adepitan, and Mr. Godbless Akpan, told National Mirror that apart from the provision of skilled manpower for the nation’s industrial sector, that the ITF also goes the extra mile of ensuring that global standards are brought to bear in its training curriculum. Analysts said this development was made possible through the Fund’s understudying and engagement in partnership with major technical and vocational training institutions around the world. However, in trying to do the most it could to provide practical solutions to the challenges of youth unemployment, the ITF, observers noted, is continuously grappling with the problem of nonremittance of statutory contributions by its “partners”, particularly operators in the industrial and organised private sector. According to experts, it was in recognition of the problem of financing of the ITF’s unemployment eradication programmes, due mainly to the uncooperative posture of private sector players, that the Federal Government went to great length to see to it that the legislation setting up the Fund was reviewed in 2011. Part of the reviewed laws mandates companies, industrialists, organised private sector operators and enterprises that have above a certain numbers of employees to pay a three per cent of their annual training budgets to the fund, with most of it (training contributions) usually paid back to the remitting companies and industries at the end of every quarter. Decrying the attitude of industrialists and business organisations that have refused or failed to remit their training contributions to the ITF, the Chairman of the Governing Council of ITF, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, said it was important for industrialists and enterprises to meet their fi-

Wapmuk

Obanikoro

THE PROPER IMPLEMENTATION OR OPERATION OF THE ITF ACT 2011 AS AMENDED HOLDS IMMENSE BENEFIT FOR OVERALL SOCIO-ECONOMIC WELL BEING AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE NATION, BECAUSE POVERTY ERADICATION IS A VITAL TOOL

IN THE WAR AGAINST INSECURITY, UNEMPLOYMENT AND HUNGER nancial responsibilities to the Fund, so that the it can continue to effectively carry out its activities. Acknowledging that businesses and industries were set up for the purpose of making profit, the ITF Board chairman urged those in the OPS, particularly the ones that are still outside the Fund’s programmes, either through lack of awareness or by deliberately distancing themselves from its activities to have a rethink and start contributing. Insisting that a change of attitude by stakeholders is indeed needed in order to keep the ITF’s sustainably funded, Training Expert and Human Resource Professional, Mr. Kunle Rotimi, said the ITF remains one of the few organisations in the public sector that is clearly fulfilling its mandate. Explaining that the ITF’s initiative to establish industrial skills training centres in each state of the federation, alongside plans to set up an advanced skills training centres in six geo political zones in the country may never be realised if partners fail to live up to their responsibilities, Rotimi said the review ITF Act spells out proper and adequate sanctions for defaulting companies. He, however, admitted that the sanctions may be hard to apply, since they are barely stiff enough, and also that the ITF may be reluctant to apply sanctions to partners it intends to

work with to address a major national challenge, unemployment. Emphasising the place of vocational training and skills in the eradication of youth unemployment in particular, Former President of the Nigeria Institute of Training and Development, Barrister Femi Kilajo, said all types of vocational training, including plumbing, industrial welding, iron work and fabrications, including computer skills were being imparted on trainees by the ITF at their training centres. Pointing out that it was technical and vocational skills adopted by China, Brazil, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia and Canada amongst other developed nations that has made them strong in terms of economic and industrial output, Kilajo said technicians, welders amongst other numerous trade and crafts have been trained by the Fund, with all of them contributing their parts towards developing the economy. Director-General of the ITF, Professor Longmas Sambo Wapmuk, told journalist recently that the fund struggles with implementing its mandate, due largely to the challenges of financing, saying the Fund is targeting a revenue flow of about N150 billion annually in order to meet its major short and medium term human capacity development targets. Loss of jobs to Asians and other nationals due to lack of technical skills, according to the ITF DG, will become

history, because the Fund is committed to bridging huge gap in the availability of skilled technical manpower in the industrial and the service sectors of the economy. “The wholesome and proper implementation or operation of the ITF Act 2011 as amended holds immense benefit for overall socio-economic well being and development of the nation, because poverty eradication is a vital tool in the war against insecurity, unemployment and hunger,” Wapmuk said. According to him, with proper funding in place, ITF will expand skill training centres across the country ensuring that there are 37 of them across the country to cover 3,725 trade areas which will train 25 students; each amounting to a total of 23,125 highly skilled technicians turned out yearly, adding the six centres for Advanced Skills Training for Employment (CASTE) across the six geopolitical zones will turn out 6,750 highly-qualified graduates annually. According to him, so much research has focused on the performance of manpower training institutions and manpower needs in Africa, using the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), a key manpower training institution in Nigeria, as a case study. Sources within OPS and the industrial sector however say part of the new Act which states that any supplier or contractor or consultant biding or soliciting contracts, businesses, goods and services from any federal government ministry, department and agency (MDAs) as well as commercial, industrial and private entities must fulfill statutory obligations of its employees with respect to payment of its training contributions has discouraged contributions. National Mirror also gathered that the minimum threshold for an employer to become liable under scheme which has been reduced from 25 employees to a minimum of five or annual turnover of N50 million did not go down well with many employers and industrialists. According to them, the changes introduced appear to focus more on generating more revenue for the fund rather than ensuring that the objectives for which the fund was established are met. “The reduction of refund to 50 per cent is discouraging, one would have expected that with growing number of employers now required to contribute, the total fund available to the ITF should increase and therefore no justification for a reduction in refund. Also, making employers with five employees or N50 million turnover liable under the Act is putting unnecessary burden on micro businesses. The punitive section which imposes a penalty of fiveper cent for each month or part of a month on outstanding contribution should have been amended to be moderate and in line with best practice”, an angry small scale entrepreneur retorted when asked.


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Jobs & Career

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tips for career change success

A job seekers queue

Thinking about a career change or already in a job transition? Or are you probably too busy to read a 300-page book on career development. These tips will set you on the fast track to career change success. See the big picture-To get somewhere new, start by mapping out where you are right now. Make a quick list of what you have been up to over the past year, including professional projects, accomplishments, and challenges. Think like a journalist and ask yourself: Why does this matter? What are the trends here?” Your goal: quickly pinpoint what’s working and what isn’t, so you can make the smartest plan for your next step. Budget for good and bad days--Debt is a dream killer. So before you begin a major transition, figure out if you can afford it. Start by calculating how much money you’ll need to survive time off for retraining and job hunting. If you can’t afford a career change right now, determine if you can reroute or expand your current income to save up 6-12 months of living expenses. Remember, a few hours spent doing the math right now will save you loads of time and stress later on. Start with a fresh mind--It’s easy to beat yourself up and use your failures as an excuse for not picking yourself up and moving on. But as long as you live in the past, you’re denying yourself the future that could be yours.” If you can stop lingering over mistake and could-have-been, you’ll find a new reservoir of energy that can help make your career transition a faster—and happier—project. Learn to love SMART goals-To stay on schedule during a career change, break your work into SMART goals. “SMART is an acronym for the five steps of specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based goals. It’s a simple tool to go beyond the realm of fuzzy goal-setting into an actionable plan for results.” Lend a helping hand--A recent University of Chicago study revealed that the happiest workers are in careers that involve helping

other people. Even if you’re not switching into a job that’s specifically about service—like education or nursing—you can incorporate helping others into your day-to-day life. Whether you share tips with other career changers or use the “how can I help you?” mindset to strengthen your network, challenge yourself to give back. You may be rewarded with a fast-acting attitude boost. Balance the two P’s--Pursuing a passion can be an invigorating reason to change careers—but you can also waste a lot of time (and money!) searching for your one true calling. Just do something that caters to your strengths. One the other hand, if you have no fire in your belly for your new career area, you won’t be willing to put in the effort to make a strong start. Bottom line: find a way to balance passion and practicality. Get your hands dirty--Handson experience is a quick teacher. Even if you’re crunched for time, there are stills ways to test the waters of a new career: find someone you admire and ask to shadow them for a day, do a short-term volunteer stint, or schedule a halfhour informational interview. Research your training-Most career changes require

some new training—ranging from a single class at your local community college to a whole new degree. And the key to success (a.k.a. avoiding huge student loan debt) is research. What education do you really need for your new career field? Will your anticipated salary be enough to cover student loan payments?don’t borrow more money than you can pay back in 10 years. Find your measure of success-- Money. Fame. Power. These are the traditional measures of success in the world of work. While there’s nothing wrong with any of those metrics, they don’t capture the whole picture. Figure out your personal definition of success and then go after a career—and a lifestyle—that lets you get what you want. Take a time out--Career transitions take a huge amount of energy and focus—but running yourself ragged is a bad move in the long term. Yes, you’ve got to hustle, but be sure to carve out time to truly switch off. Focus on the other parts of your life (like family, friendship, health, and hobbies) that make you feel happy, well rested, and ready to take on the next challenge. Source: blog.simplyhired.com

CCESSA accuses Chinese companies of stealing local jobs MESHACK IDEHEN

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onstruction and Civil Engineering Senior Staff Association (CCESSA) said while lauding Federal Government’s initiatives to partner China on infrastructural development in the country, that it is worried over massive job loss by members. CCESSA said the Chinese construction companies failure to inform the Nigerian public that there are 1000 Chinese expatriates as against only 35 Nigerian senior staff in all their formation in Nigeria is indefensible. National President of the association, Dr. Augustine Etafo, told

National Mirror it is unbelievable that among the 20,000 Nigerians employed in the operations of Chinese construction companies in Nigeria that only 35 are senior staff. Etafo said this development has serious complication for Nigerian graduates, saying it seems convenient for the Chinese multinational corporation to employ 1000 expatriates, and only 35 Nigerians. He wondered what then happens to Nigerian professionals that are supposed to work in the establishment, adding that it means other professional like engineers, accountants, and human resource personnel are not needed by the company.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Job vacancies Trade market coordinators, travel consultants needed Employment hopefuls must at all times be aware that their quest for getting jobs does not begin or end with applying through conventional methods. According to human resource experts, recruiters are constantly offering jobs to qualified candidates that are bold enough to walk into companies; make enquiries about available vacancies, and show proof they are willing and capable of being given responsibilities. In that regards, job seekers are advised to always take the first step by doing the leg work associated with job search, instead of waiting for firms or recruiters to make such vacancies public; a wait that may never end. On available vacancies this week, the position of Trade Marketing Coordinators (www. findjobafrica.com) who are to be based in Ibadan, Aba and Makurdi are on offer. Description for the job includes working very closely with the Operations Director, and will be responsible for all aspects of coordination and collaboration with the distributor on the sales and distribution operation, including on the trade marketing field force deployment and monitoring. They are also to ensure that distribution and merchandising strategy agreed upon with the distributors are being met, alongside the execution of trade and consumer activation programs as well as monitor implementation and competitive activity. Other areas of responsibility are to contribute to planning and execution of all marketing related activities in order to achieve sustainable volume growth, working in liaison with the distributor staff and effectively managing the sales and marketing activities in the region in order to ensure the attainment of set objectives for our brands as set by management. Qualifications required are a university degree, 5-7 years’ experience in sales and distribution / channel management. Fluency in English, while a master’s degree would be an added advantage. Also on offer this week from www.findjobafrica.com is a vacancy for a Travel Consultants who is expected to be based in Dubai, United Arab Emirate. The job description includes dealing directly with clients and potential clients, providing superior and consistent quality of travel services to sell airline tickets, travel relat-

ed products and leisure travel products, handle complex transactions and advise clients on the finer points of difficult itineraries, as well as provide them with efficient travel solutions and up to date information. Qualifications needed are an A’ level education with a minimum of 2 years front line travel experience as a reservation/Ticketing/Sales agent. Knowledge and skills of standard fares and ticketing certificate from IATA or experience in an IATA certified environment. Knowledge of world geography and major carrier networks to facilitate quick itinerary planning, proficiency in MS Office applications i.e. word and excel spoken Arabic or any other foreign language would be an advantage. Strong verbal and written English skills, Interpersonal ability, telephone and customer service skills are also required. From (www.jobberman. com) are full-time vacancies for Marketing Executives who are expected to be based in Lagos. Responsibilities for the positions amongst other duties are to manage and control the relationship between products and target audience, promote whatever products or services that are on offer and developing new marketing strategies which is an important part of the role. Others are to generate, follow up on leads and prospect, and manage customer relationship. Qualifications and requirements are a minimum of OND in marketing or a relevant field, 1-3 years’ experience, ability to meet and excel. There are also vacant positions for an International Trade Officers that is expected to work full time in a firm in Lagos. Amongst other responsibilities, the person will handle international relationship, purely on inventory, particularly when to order, what to order, and everything about stock order. The international officer would also promote business development and alliances in foreign countries and should be able to provide information to business clients and partners related to business and expansion opportunities available around the world. Qualifications and requirements are a minimum of a degree in a relevant field, knowledge and experience in inventory and preferably a female candidate.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

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Real Estate & Environment dayoayeyemi@yahoo.com 08033312578

Units of flats at CHOIS City, Owu, Agbowa-Ikosi, Lagos State.

A Public-Private Partnership between Messrs First World Community Limited and the Lagos State Government under the Co-operative Home Ownership Incentive Scheme (CHOIS) to provide 4,000 housing units for low and medium income households in the quiet communities of Owu and Agbowa-Ikosi axis of the state is yielding the desired results. DAYO AYEYEMI, who was on tour of the estate at the weekend, reports.

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revolution that is redefining initiative geared towards provision of cheap houses for low and medium income earners in the country is ongoing in Owu, Agbowa-Ikosi Area of Lagos State. By the time the scheme is completed, no fewer than 4,000 families will have a roof each over their head, thanks to the initiative by Messrs First World Communities Limited to bring people closer to nature. The estate, christened “CHOIS City” is located between Agbowa-Ikosi and Itoikin, north of the Lagos Lagoon. It is a new home garden community developed in partnership with the Lagos State Government under the Lagos Cooperative Home Ownership Incentive Scheme (CHOIS). The massive estate, which sits on 468 acres, has further opened up Agbowa, making the whole community a point of attraction for different people who want to tap the opportunities inherent in the proposed relocation of Oko Baba Sawmill in Ebute Meta to the region.

Owu, Agbowa come alive with 4,000-home CHOIS City Already, most of the completed housing units in the estate have been fully subscribed by home seekers, while flexible payment plans have been put in place to enhance accessibility for would-be subscribers. The expansive gated estate encompasses three bedroom semi-detached bungalows; 2 bedroom semi-detached bungalows; two bedroom terrace bungalows (4 units per block) and three bedroom private access maisonettes. The estate comes with infrastructural and social amenities such as electricity with dedicated transformers, schools, medical centre and hospital; shopping centre, BRT services, ferry services, public toilets, street lights, water supply, security, landscaping and gardens. Speaking to would-be subscribers during the launch of CHOIS Club at Agbowa site at the weekend, the Business Development Manager of the company, Mr. Ayo Yusuf, disclosed that the two bedroom terrace houses cost N3million each, while the three bedroom semi-detached flat and two bedroom semi-detached bungalow cost N4.5million and N3.7million respectively.

He stated that the company has launched a “Lease to Buy” scheme under CHOIS Club to bridge the affordability gap between the cost of the housing units and the cost. To become a member of CHOIS Club, he explained that the would-be beneficiary would need to contribute 10 per cent initial deposit of the cost of the house, which is N300,000 to book a space if it is a two bedroom terrace bungalow, and contribute additional 40 per cent over a maximum period of 3 years. According to him, club members would be able to take possession of a property once 50 per cent contribution is made over a 2 to 3 year period. He said, “Allocation shall be done after two years and handing over of the property shall be done at the completion of 50 per cent payment. The balance of 50 per cent shall be paid over a period of 5 years at 6 per cent per annum.” Besides, he explained that the houses could be acquired outright by paying 100 per cent of the property price without any instalment payment. “Customers can also purchase with a

ALLOCATION SHALL BE DONE AFTER TWO YEARS AND HANDING OVER OF THE PROPERTY SHALL BE DONE AT THE COMPLETION OF

PAYMENT.

50 PER CENT

THE BALANCE OF 50 PER CENT SHALL BE PAID OVER A PERIOD OF 5 YEARS AT 6 PER CENT PER ANNUM

mortgage from any financial institutions. An application is required to make a minimum of 30 per cent deposit as equity to qualify,” he said. Expressing joy over the housing initiative, the Oluwo of Owu-Ikosi, Chief Olumide Osinlaja, said he would go back and let people in his community to know more about the project so that they could benefit as well. Before now, he explained that the thinking of many people in the community was that the houses were meant for the rich, assuring that he would go back to inform them that an easy plan to pay for the housing units on instalment basis has being introduced. President and Chief Executive Officer of the company, Brig. General Patrick Reis (rtd), implored everybody to subscribe to the houses, saying they are being built for the low and medium income earners. The Lisa of Agbowa, Chief N.K. Oduyebo, also expressed gratitude to First World Limited and Lagos State Government for considering the community for the project, promising that his people would buy into it. Other speakers lauded the initiative. CHOIS is a Public-Private Partnership between First World Community Limited and Lagos State Government to deliver 10,000 homes for low and medium income households in safe and attractive communities in the state. The company under CHOIS is also developing 2,000 luxury houses in Abijo GRA and 4,000 dwelling units at Mile 2, Lagos.


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Real Estate & Environment

STORIES: DAYO AYEYEMI

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n order to improve the standard of living of police officers in the country, President Goodluck Jonathan, at the weekend, inaugurated a multi-million naira housing estate for them in Lagos. To be known as “Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Police Housing Estate”, the dwelling units are located at Idimun area of the state. Powered by Aso Savings and Loans and developed by Remax Developers, the estate comprises 200 units of three-bedroom flats built under a Public-Private Partnership scheme. Speaking at the elaborate ceremony, President Jonathan said that PPP initiative remained the only way the government could achieve many of its goals of providing the much needed infrastructural amenities in the country, adding that it was the first time the Nigerian Police would achieve such a laudable feat in its entire history. He pointed out that the Federal Government is committed to improving the standard of living of all police officers in the country irrespective of their ranks or status. He commended the leadership of the Nigerian Police for exploring PPP scheme to provide housing units for its members. The president subsequently charged other government agencies to take a cue

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

200 housing units for police officers launched in Lagos

Police Housing Estate, Idimu, Lagos.

from what the Nigerian Police had done from a PPP arrangement. He said, “I really want to commend the Nigerian Police for taking the initiative to develop an estate for its members. Not only is this commendable, it is remarkable because it goes a long way in complementing the efforts of the Federal Government

in providing low-cost housing for the citizenry.” He emphasised that his government put more efforts on housing, saying the sector has the potential of increasing the productivity of every person. “A viable housing sector creates jobs and enhances employment opportuni-

ties,” the president said. The president said his government is committed to improving the standard of police officers, hence the massive rehabilitation of all barracks in the country. The Inspector General of Police (IGP), M.D. Abubakar, hinted that the housing units were completed over a period of eight months. According to him, the housing units would be made available for cadres of police officers, stating that each flat would be given out to interested police officers at the rate of N8million. He added that each buyer would be expected to repay through a mortgage scheme made available by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN). He disclosed further that similar estates are currently being built in other parts of the country including Abuja, Kaduna and Kano. When admitting that lack of housing is one of the challenges faced by police officers and their families all over the country, Abubakar urged the Federal Government to help construct more barracks across the country and help rehabilitate the existing ones.

3Invest forum seeks ways to promote real estate for economic growth DAYO AYEYEMI

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y the time stakeholders comprising developers, builder, investors and policymakers and lawyers shall gather between October 17 and 18 this year at the Civic Centre, Lagos, many posers as regarding how to advance the real estate for economic growth, how the tackle the problem with the Land use Act and infrastructure challenge confronting real estate development will be provided answers to. The event, tagged “Real Estate Unite”, which is the second edition, being put together by 3Invest Limited will serve as a meeting points for experts to brainstorm and rub minds together on ways to promote real estate growth. The event will serve as the Africa’s largest congregation of real estate professionals as Real Estate Unite Conference, Exhibition and Awards Justifying the essence of this year’s summit while briefing newsmen in Lagos as the weekend, Chief Executive Officer of 3Invest Limited, Ms. Ruth Obih, stated that in order to help unlock Nigeria’s real estate potential for economic prosperity, her firm is set to focus more on infrastructure, noting that the potential of real estate, especially commercial, hospitality and residential cannot be harnessed without it. She said, “In order to help unlock Nigeria’s real estate potential for economic prosperity, 3Invest Limited is set to focus more on infrastructure, sustainability and the economic possibilities of a thriving infrastructure market in terms of employment, crime reduction and economic development.” This singular vision, she said has ex-

L-R: Regional Manager (VI), Diamond Bank Plc, Mr Anya Duroha; Managing Director, 3Invest Limited, Ms. Ruth Obih; Chief Executive Officer, Pison Housing, Mr Roland Igbinoba; and Principal Partner, Akin Olawore and Co., Mr Akin Olawore; during a press briefing on 2013 Real Estate Unite in Lagos at the weekend

plained the theme of the second edition of Real Estate Unite which is: “Advancing Nigeria’s Real Estate for Economic Growth”. She stated that beyond the global perspective of last year’s event, the firm has zoomed in and decided to view real estate industry from a domestic point of view. The awards segment of the programme, Obih explained that it was conceived to elevate standards, while the conference would offer practical solutions through the experience and expertise of carefully profiled speakers within and outside the shores of Africa. The international perspective of the forum, she state would be projected through the exhibition “as we have noticed increased activities from international exhibitors.” The summit, she added has been designed to give the industry a great leap.

She said, “Last year, we highlighted some major issues at our conference and our research shows increased activities in the real estate industry since the inception of Real Estate Unite in 2012. It may sound coincidental but the government is recognising and putting real estate at the forefront of the nation’s activities and recognising that unlocking the potentials in the real estate industry is integral to economic development of the country; especially the Mortgage Refinance Company movement been driven by the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.” “At this year’s edition we seek to answer the following questions: How do we advance our real estate for economic growth? Does our land use allow this growth? Would increased tourism and hospitality do the trick? What is the state of our airports as the first sight of an investor or

visitor? What happened to our railways? What is the cost of maintenance?” Having highlighted these major issues preventing the nation’s real estate sector from reaching its economic potential, the 3Invest boss said the organisation has realised that infrastructure and urbanisation is a major driver of emerging markets, while reformation of the laws is the key to unlocking our housing finance sector, adding that lack of skill set training is the answer to the dilapidated state of the built sector. Also speaking, the Regional Manager of Diamond Bank Plc on Victoria Island, Mr. Anya Duroha, said his firm is partnering with 3Invest Limited for the conference because the latter strategies are in line with the vision of the bank. He stated his bank is partnering the firm in order to see how to fill the long gap in the provision of mortgage for home ownership. He pointed out that real estate developers and home seekers would need long-term and cheap funds to build and access homes, saying his bank has put in place different mortgage products to meet their needs. President and Chief Executive Officer of Pison Housing, Mr. Roland Igbinoba, said the conference would provide information to both local and foreign investors on major challenges and the need to understand the nation’s real estate to build capacity. Principal Partner of Akin Olawore and Company, Mr Akin Olawore, said the idea of this year’s conference is to move the real estate sector to the next level by bringing investors and telling them what to do to avoid mistakes.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I can fire France to Brazil –Nasri

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

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Sport

We have since moved on, with lots of lessons from the FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil –Spain Coach, Vicent Del Bosque

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Match-fixing: Refs, players get life ban

…NFF suspends clubs for 10 years JOEL AJAYI ABUJA

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he Nigeria Football Federation (NFF’s) big hammer yesterday fell on the four amateur clubs, players, referees and officials involved in a recent play-offs match fixing that produced outrageous results. Plateau United’s Feeder team “defeated” Akurba FC of Nasarawa 79-0, while Police Machine “beat” Bubayaro FC of Gombe 67-0 in a Nationwide League play-offs games that that have continued to generate reactions globally. After a panel set up by the NFF to probe the results of the matches had submitted its report, the NFF yesterday handed out sanctions to the clubs and officials found guilty in the despicable saga. First Vice President of the NFF and Chairman of the Federation’s Organising Committee, Chief Mike Umeh, read out the verdicts at a press briefing at the Glass House in Abuja. The two centre referees, Umar Garba who handled the Police Machine vs Bubayaro match; and Mohammed Mohammed, who officiated the game between Plateau Feeders and Akurba, were banned for life. Also banned for life, are players of the teams and the match commissioners, Olu Okuneye and M. Bakare. The assistant referees, S. Ciroma, A. Shina and H. Muritala were not spared as they were also put in the cooler for life. Umeh announced that the four amateur clubs have been banned for 10 years from getting involved in the round leather game. But even before the bans, Bubayaro FC had been disbanded by its owner, Ahmed Shuaibu Gara-Gombe. He said all the four teams involved in the match-fixing

scandal were invited by the probe panel but only Plateau United Feeders and Akurba FC attended. The match commissioners and centre referees also appeared before the panel. The coordinator of the zone and captains of the teams also testified. Umeh said, “The desperate and fraudulent means taken by Plateau United Feeders and Police Machine FC of Adamawa to win was not in doubt and the cancellation of the whole competition after the matches was not disputed by the teams. “Conversely, the intentional loss by Bubayaro FC to Police Machine of Adamawa and also the loss of Akurba FC of Nasarawa to Plateau United Feeders were also not disputed by the teams. “It was therefore clear to the Committee that the question of who tops the table at the Bauchi Centre to qualify for the Nationwide Division 3 League was responsible for the match fixing. While the winners were desperate to win, the losers were too willing to lose. “Even though the Committee could not establish any exchange of money or material as inducement, circumstantial evidence was overwhelmingly high and points to only one conclusion of match -fixing of an unprecedented nature, which has brought global embarrassment to the Nigeria Football Federation, in particular, and the nation in general.” “Also all players and officials of the four clubs were ban for life while the Centre’s Coordinator, Alhaji Tanko Bawa, who is a board member of the Nigeria Nationwide League (NNWL) was referred to NNWL for appropriate action,” Umeh concluded.

Man Utd make revised £30m bid for Fabregas

Fabregas

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anchester United have made a second bid for Barcelona and Spain midfielder, Cesc Fabregas. United confirmed a £25million offer for the 26-year-old last week and have increased that to £30m plus add-ons, with executive vicechairman, Ed Woodward, leading negotiations. “As I understand it, Ed had a response (to the first bid),” said Moyes at a news conference in Yokohama. “We have made a second offer, but Ed is dealing with it rather than me.” The Scot added, “When you’re interested in good players, you want to give it every opportunity

to materialise - and I’ll do that. I hope things can continue and move forward. At this moment in time, I can only tell you that Ed is working hard trying to make the deals happen. We can only hope that some of them fall into place shortly.” Two days after United’s initial offer was confirmed, Woodward returned from the Australia leg of their pre-season tour to attend to urgent transfer business. Barcelona have not made any official comment, but the situation has reportedly been complicated by the managerial vacancy created at the Nou Camp by Tito Vilanova’s decision to step down because of ill health. The Spaniard came through

Barcelona’s La Masia academy before Arsenal signed him as a 16-year-old in 2003. He developed as one of the London club’s key players under manager Arsene Wenger before becoming Arsenal captain in November 2008. Fabregas spent eight years with the Gunners, playing 303 games and scoring 57 goals, but returned to Barcelona in a five-year deal worth £25.4m in 2011 and has helped them win the Copa del Rey in 2011-12 and La Liga in 2012-13. In addition to Fabregas, United have a reported interest in Real Madrid forward, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Tottenham attacker, Gareth Bale.

‘I didn’t undergo heart surgery’

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igeria international, Michael Eneramo, has dismissed reports that he has undergone a heart surgery at his new Turkish club, Besiktas. Eneramo clarified yesterday that he only went under the surgeon’s knife for a knee problem.

“I only had a successful minor meniscus surgery and didn’t undergo a heart surgery as reported back in Nigeria,” he told BBC Sport. “It didn’t affect my move to Besiktas and I’m happy everything went well, hopefully I’ll join my teammates at the pre-

season training in three weeks. “I have no clue where the story of heart operation came from. It has spread widely in Nigeria but that’s not true.” The striker has made 11 appearances for Nigeria but has not played for since September 2010. Eneramo


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Sport

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Tit bits...

Szczesny Wojciech Szczesny insists he is confident in his abilities and is unfazed by reports Arsene Wenger is looking to sign a new goalkeeper for Arsenal. Arsenal held preliminary talks with QPR about signing Julio Cesar but stopped short of making a formal bid and it is now understood the Gunners have cooled their interest in the Brazilian. Szczesny re-established himself as Arsenal’s first-choice goalkeeper last season and says any new competition for the number one shirt will only push him to improve further.

Honda CSKA Moscow striker, Keisuke Honda, says he’s working hard on a transfer to AC Milan. The Japan international has made it clear he hopes to sign for Milan this summer. “I am proud of Milan, but for the negotiations and the possibility of arriving at San Siro straight away you’d have to ask my brother. He is working on it,” Honda said yesterday.

Jelavic

Oliver Kreuzer has admitted that Hamburg is keen on Everton striker Nikica Jelavic. Kreuzer is sporting director at the Bundesliga outfit and claims the Toffees have expressed a willingness to do business. He admits to having being an admirer of Jelavic for some time, but also concedes that his current employers may have to move players on before the club can afford to put a deal in place.

C Kwambe

Transfer: River makes Kwambe enquiries T op Argentine club River Plate has made inquiries about Super Eagles right back, Solomon Kwambe, according to MTNFootball.com. African representatives of the agent Ramone Remmie said the 19-year-old who has won four full caps for Nigeria and his club Sunshine Stars have been contacted on this interest. “River Plate are keen to sign Solomon Kwambe this summer and the discussions are going on,” Ramone disclosed. “The player is aware and his club Sunshine stars gave us go ahead to go on with the deal. After an agreement is reached,

Puyol rues coach’s departure

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Benteke

Christian Benteke could be thrown into action later this week as Aston Villa’s preseason plans have been hit by a string of injuries to their frontline forwards. The big Belgium international only returned to training last week after being given an extended leave of absence following his transfer request. Benteke has since signed a new deal and may play a part in Paul Lambert’s side this Friday.

Schurrle Andre Schurrle hopes to feature often enough at Chelsea to earn a place in Germany’s squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. The 22-year-old joined the Blues from Bayer Leverkusen this summer, becoming Jose Mourinho’s first signing of his second spell. Although the warning was interpreted as a ruse to sign Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, it could equally apply to the Chelsea players bidding to impress their manager.

which I believe will happen soon, he will travel to Argentina for his medical and proper signing. It is going to be a big-money move, but I can’t disclose the financial aspects now.” The former Plateau United player also confirmed he is aware of the interest from South America. “I am aware of the interest by River Plate. Their representative called me and I asked him to go ahead, but I don’t have the full details now,” Kwambe said. Kwambe broke into the Eagles squad last year, but he failed to make the cut to 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.

De Bruyne detours to London

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helsea midfielder, Kevin de Bruyne, has made an early exit from the club’s tour of Asia due to injury. De Bruyne suffered blows to his knee and ankle while scoring in Chelsea’s 4-1 win over a Malaysia XI in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday night. The Belgian, who was taken off on a stretcher before undergoing assessment, has returned to London after being ruled out of Thursday’s final tour match in Jakarta. “Kevin De Bruyne will return to London overnight for an MRI, after which we’ll have a clearer picture of his injury,” a club statement said yesterday. Following Thursday’s fixture with BNI Indonesia All Stars, Chelsea will travel to the United States to play Inter Milan in Indianapolis on August 1.

arcelona captain, Carles Puyol, has expressed sadness over coach Tito Vilanova’s sudden departure after just one season due to ill health. Vilanova’s departure was confirmed on Friday when he informed the club that his ongoing treatment for cancer of a saliva gland was no longer compatible with the day-to-day responsibilities of managing the Catalans. “It was a very hard blow,” Puyol said yesterday. “Nobody expected it. The team has been left very affected. The news we have received is very difficult, but this is an illness and the person is the most important. “Tito is very much in the thoughts of those in the dressing room. He spoke to us and calmed us. He asked us to continue to fight as he would do.” President Sandro Rosell said on Friday he

expected to make an announcement on a new boss this week and local media yesterday reported the club’s shortlist had been reduced to just former player and youth team coach Luis Enrique and the Argentinian Gerardo Martino. Despite his own personal friendship with Enrique, however, Puyol said he had no preference on who takes over. “All the names that are coming out are capable of training this team and I am sure they will look for who is best for Barca,” the captain submitted.

Puyol

RVP hunts success

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anchester United striker, Robin van Persie, insists the club is hungrier than ever heading into another season of trophy chasing. The Red Devils reclaimed the Premier League title in 2012/13, Van Persie’s first season at Old Trafford following a big-money switch from Arsenal. “I still have more years left and it’s not like I’m saying, ‘Yes, we won the league so that’s me done’. I want more now. It makes me hungrier,” Van Persie said yesterday. “We have a great bunch of players so we can win more and do better. “Of course, we must improve to stay ahead of them as over the last few years the Premier League has become better. Every team has got harder to beat. When going away you must perform 100 per cent or you may lose. “Trust me, we’ll work hard. It’s a huge challenge to all of us and it’s one we are looking forward to.”

Thiago bids fond farewell to Barca fans

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ayern Munich midfielder, Thiago Alcantara, has written to Barcelona fans to thank them for their support. “I didn’t want to end my time at Barca without saying goodbye to you, those who have always been there,” the 22-year-old said yesterday. “Leaving the club that took me under its wings as a 14-year-old and it was a difficult decision that I gave a lot of thought to,” he added. “Barca and everyone involved with the club have given me everything. They have helped me grow, mature and learn from the good and bad times. “I thank those who were at my side during the most difficult times.”

helsea Manager Mourinho, insis Madrid’s Cristian aldo will continue to trade in Spain. “I know Ronaldo lov United and I know he lo Premier League, but I he is going to stay in Mourinho said yesterda “It’s just a feeling, n tact, nothing, just a f What I know is that Re

Kagawa drea Dortmund re

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anchester Unit maker Shinji says he wou to return to Bundeslig Borussia Dortmund late career. Kagawa, 24, struggled juries in his debut seaso Trafford, scoring six goa appearances across all c tions. The Japan internatio outstanding for Dortm the 2011-12 campaign, them to a league and cup but largely failed to repl form after his move for a ed transfer fee of £13mil “One day I will return mund if Dortmund are f it,” he said. The talented player r with the impending c tion at Old Trafford unde Moyes. “I know I’m at a plac you can’t play if yo achieve results. I’m dete to do it, also because th be World Cup. It’s really portant year for me,” he ted.

Kagawa


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Sport

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

‘Ronaldo ’ll I can fire France to stay in Spain’ Brazil –Nasri

r, Jose ts Real no Ronply his

ves Man oves the I think Spain,” ay. no confeeling. eal Ma-

Criticisms and poor form for club and country have trailed 25-year-old Samir Nasri in recent months. But he tells FIFA.com that he is determined to come clean, and soon

drid is such a rich club they don’t need to sell. It is such a rich club I think they can beat any offer a club can have on Ronaldo,” the gaffer added. Real Coach, Carlo Ancelotti, backed up Mourinho’s thoughts following his side’s win at Bournemouth on Sunday. “Cristiano’s future is at Real Madrid, there is no question about this,” Ancelotti said.

ams eturn

Are you referring to the incident involving a journalist at EURO 2012? Yes, but not just that. As far as that incident goes, I made a mistake by reacting to the provocation of a journalist. I shouldn’t have said what I said. That episode made me think a lot and the fact that I found myself under fire from critics weighed heavily on me. I possibly took too long before making my apologies, but that’s done now. It’s one thing less to worry about, and that’s done me a lot of good.

ted playKagawa uld love ga outfit er in his

d with inon at Old als in 26 competi-

onal was mund in helping p double, icate his a reportllion. n to Dortfine with

reckoned competier David

How do you feel after recently finishing the most testing season of your career? I feel good at the moment. I’m feeling more relaxed, but the last few months were very trying for me. Emotionally, I went through several moments of doubt and reassessment. Some of the criticism I got hurt me, and lots of bad things were said. I accept criticism as long as it’s justified, but there were lots of lies about me. I made mistakes, I know, but I’m not the ugly duckling that some people seem to think.

Sacchi

Sacchi fears for Neymar

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ormer AC Milan coach, ce where Arrigo Sacchi, feels Barou don’t celona signing Neymar ermined could face a similar fate as here will Zlatan Ibrahimovic and strugy an imgle at the Spanish club. e submit“I don’t know how Neymar will do at Barcelona because at Barca, the style of play is more important than anything else,” Sacchi said. “We will have to wait and see if Neymar fits in. All I’m saying is that you don’t know how something will pan out. Ibrahimovic had all the talent to play at Barca, yet in the end he did not fit in with the rest of the players.” The giant Swede eventually left Barcelona for AC Milan, before joining his current club Paris Saint-Germain in 2012.

Do you think you have gained maturity in dealing with these challenges? Yes, for sure. I’ve learnt from my mistakes and I feel more mature now. I’m still young and I know I have a lot to learn. These last few months have made me grow as a man. What do you make of Manchester City’s season? I t w a s certainly a very disappointing season and losing our title of English champions was a failure that was difficult for the whole squad to swallow. We didn’t manage to win a single trophy, and that’s disappointing for a club with the standing of Manchester City. We had a very testing year but

we’ll learn from our mistakes to have an excellent season next year. Do you think you are on the verge of the Les Bleus return? One of my priorities is to get back in the France team as quickly as possible. Wearing that blue shirt is very important to me and I’ll do everything to win back my place in the squad. I know I can help the team, but I’m also perfectly aware that I must prove to the coach that I’m up to the task. I’ve been given another chance and it’s up to me to give my all. What do you think of France’s chances of qualifying for the next FIFA World Cup? Honestly, I’m confident, even if the road to the end of the qualifiers is still long. The team has put in good performances up until now, like getting a draw in Spain, and I think this squad of players is one of the most talented in Europe. Between the experienced senior players and the youngsters coming through like Raphael Varane and Paul Pogba, we’ve got what it takes to have a very competitive team. We’re just one point behind Spain and we can still take first place in the group, which would allow us to avoid the play-offs. That would it mean to you to be in the squad and play in a FIFA World Cup in Brazil… I don’t think there’s a single footballer who wouldn’t want to play such an important competition in a country like Brazil. It’s a leg-

e n d a r y place–you think about their spectacular play, Pele, Ronaldo, the yellow shirt and the festive atmosphere in the stands. Every footballer or fan of this sport has magical memories linked to the Brazil team.

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Deaflympics: Minister charges team to excel YEMI OLUS

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ports Minister, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, has tasked the nation’s deaf and dumb athletes who are currently preparing for Sofia 2013 Deaflympics Games in Bulgaria to go for gold. The minister, who gave the charge during a visit to the team in Abuja yesterday, expressed hope that the team would do well at the event. “Nigerians are relying on you for success,” Abdullahi said. Director General of the ministry, Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye, who accompanied the minister on the visit, also tasked the team to make Nigeria proud. “I enjoin you to comport

Abdullahi

yourselves and be of good character as you are the country’s great ambassadors,” Elegbeleye said. Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi, had on Saturday visited the team and donated set of boots and shin guards to the players. The team will compete in table tennis, football and athletics.

PDP floats football tourney OBIORA IFOH ABUJA

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he Acting National Secretary of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Remi Akintoye, has expressed total support and commitment of the party towards the success of the PDP National Youth Football Championship. Akintoye stated this when the National Coordinator for the championship and former Nigeria international, Christian Chukwu, paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Abuja yesterday. The party official said the choice of Chukwu owed to the latter’s pedigree, as well as the capacity to achieve the party’s expectations for the competition. “PDP places high premium on youth affairs and that is why the project was designed to promote the well being of the youths,” Akintoye said.

Chukwu said his visit was to update the party secretariat on the progress made in the preparation for the championship. “I wish to commend the PDP for the opportunity to serve as national coordinator for the championship,” the former Super Eagles coach said. “The championship will help to curb the incessant youth restiveness, as well as become a veritable platform to discover and nurture hidden football talents in the country,” he added. The competition, scheduled to hold later in the year, will involve teams representing PDP chapters from the 774 local government areas in the 36 states and Abuja. Meanwhile, the inauguration of the National Organising Committee (NOC) for the competition will be performed by national Chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur on July 30 in Abuja.

S/West set for Awo competition

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regional Under-19 football competition in memory of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, will soon kick off among states that formed the bulk of the Old Western Region. Organisers said yesterday that the event would draw young football players from Delta, Edo, Ekiti, Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Osun and Ogun states in the bid to re-enact the spirit of unity among people in what used to be one political and cultural bloc. Special Adviser on Regional Integration in Lagos State, Rev Adetunji Adebiyi and the

Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs in Ekiti State, Mr. Adewale Adeoye, said the football tournament would further unite people of the South West, rekindle the spirit of brotherhood and constructively engage the huge population of young often idle children. “There will be a total of 48 matches, home and away with a grand finale,” Adeoye explained. Meanwhile, former Nigeria international, Chief Segun Odegbami, has been appointed as Head of the Technical Committee for the competition.


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Sport

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

On the track with

YEMI OLUS danyella172003@yahoo.com

I don’t want to be a local P champion –Olowora

IAAF counts doping costs resident of the All-Russian Athletics Federation, Valentin Balakhnichev, believes that the positive doping test results for two of the world’s fastest men, 100m runner Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell, add more problems on the already struggling IAAF World Championships, set for Moscow, Russia, August from 10 to18. Former world champion Gay, of the United States of America, and Jamaica’s former world record holder Powell will both miss the championships as will another Jamaican sprinter, Sherone Simpson. Powell and Simpson both tested positive after last month’s Jamaican championships. Powell said in a statement he has never ‘knowingly” doped and is not ‘a cheat’. Gay’s positive result dates back to out-of-competition test in May. He had reportedly accused unnamed third parties of betraying his trust. Third-fastest man Yohan Blake has also withdrawn from the championships due to injury. “The non-arrival of Gay, Powell and Simpson makes the World Championships in Moscow less attractive from a sporting point of view. The whole situation, as a whole, is completely unattractive for athletics,” Balakhnichev, who is one of the organisers of next month’s competition, said. Last month, organisers of the

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riple gold medallist at the last National Sports Festival, Aminat Olowora, says she is focused on extending her domination to the global stage and wouldn’t want to be regarded as a local champion. The 18-year-old who won the 1,500m, 5,000m and 10,000m at the Eko 2012 Games made this observation against the backdrop of her colleagues’ performance at the recently concluded IAAF World Youth Championships in Ukraine where Nigeria didn’t win a single medal. “I learnt a lot from our team that just returned from the World Youth Championships, especially that a champion in your country does not mean that you are champion of the world,” the teenager said. “Most of the athletes who represented Nigeria did very well at the African Youth Athletics Championships (AYAC) but I don’t know what happened when they got to Ukraine, but I think it means we are still lacking in some areas. “We perform very well in our country but can’t reproduce the same form outside. I don’t want my story to be like that.” The footballer turned athlete, who represented Nigeria at the World Junior Championships last year, said the exposure helped to shape her athletics career. “When I went to Spain last year, I was running with my bare feet because that was what I did in Nigeria and even at the ECOWAS Games in Ghana where I broke the national record. However when I tried the same in Spain, I couldn’t keep up with my opponents; it even seemed as if I was running backwards so since that day, I learnt my lesson. “I had to start learning how to use spikes and I’m now used to it. I will use all these lessons to help myself because I’m looking beyond the African Juniors. My target is the Olympics and I’m working towards it,” she said. The rescheduling of the 11th African Junior Championships disrupted the plans of various athletics federations on the continent but the Lagos

Powell

Coach raps NSC on preparation

Olowora

State athlete views the development from a positive angle. The competition was earlier slated to hold in South Africa last month but will now be hosted by Mauritius, from August 29 to September 1. Olowora believes that the new date will give her and her colleagues enough time to put their house in order and work on lapses and make amendments were necessary. “The postponement didn’t affect my morale because while in camp, I participated in two competitions namely the Warri Relays/ CAA Grand Prix and the All-Nigeria Athletics Championships in Calabar. My participation helped me assess my level of preparedness because we had been in camp for almost two months without taking part in competitions. “It was then I realised that I was lacking in some areas and needed to make adjustments. I ran the 5, 000m and 1, 500m in

IAAF World Championships announced that fewer than 45, 000 tickets had been sold for the entire nine-day track and field competition, less than a tenth of the capacity. “It’s actually more accurate not to talk about spectator interest, but about its absences. For us, it’s a problem and a serious challenge to fill the stadium. It’s not a matter of big names or the disqualification of Gay, Powell and Simpson. The issue is the interest the people of Moscow have for athletics,” the head of the All-Russia Athletics Federation added.

Calabar. In the 1, 500m I was leading until someone blocked me so I eventually lost the race. However I learnt that I need to work on my start and finish.” The long distance queen who is currently organising a football, table tennis and athletics competition in Lagos, appealed to the government and individuals to come to the aid of athletes who need support to birth their dreams. “As athletes, we need help because once we’re through with training, having access to good food is very difficult, I won’t lie to you. We are managing with the little money we have even though we are being given food and well taken care of whilst in camp. Outside of that however, we are on our own. The prize monies I was given after the National Sports Festival have been exhausted because I need to take care of myself, transportation and other logistics,” she further said.

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audi Arabia-based Nigerian coach, Taiwo Ariyo, has blamed the National Sports Commission (NSC) for Team Nigeria’s under par performance at the IAAF World Youth Games. Ariyo said the athletes did not enjoy enough funding from the body hence the athletes should not be blamed for the results achieved. “The Nigerian team did well considering the fact that the Federal Government of Nigeria gave them little or nothing to prepare with and participate in the championship,” the coach said. “It’s sad that we do not understand what sports could do to our image as a country. If we are poorly represented, it’s showcasing our image in a bad way. The Nigerian team got to four finals; this means we are among the best in the world. “To win a medal we need to do more. If the NSC does not take athletics and athletes seriously as regards to sponsoring the sport, then the blame of ill performance will go to them and to those who fail

to realise the big picture of representing our country.” With less than a week to the deadline for qualification for the forthcoming IAAF World Championships, Ariyo also commented on the inability of Nigeria’s 4x100m men’s relay team to qualify for the event. “It takes four well coordinated athletes to run the 4x100m, so it means they have to train and work together to achieve the standard,” Ariyo submitted.

NSC DG, Elegbeleye


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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Real Estate & Environment

31

Experts renew call for mortgage sector repositioning One of the housing estates in Abuja.

DAYO AYEYEMI

CURRENTLY, THE

W

PRIVATE SECTOR

ith grim statistics emanating from the National Bureau of Statistics which suggest that about 112 million Nigerians live below the poverty line, real estate experts have unanimously concluded that the country would require more complex housing solutions as existing market terms are not directly affordable for the underclass. They made this known in a communiqué issued at the end of deliberations during the 9th International Housing Finance Workshop in Abuja, which had its major theme as “Structural and Institutional Reforms in Housing and Housing Finance in Nigeria”. The forum brought together some of the foremost and most enterprising of minds in real estate, construction and housing finance within and outside Nigeria to deliberate on various challenges affecting the housing and housing finance sectors and how these challenges could be tackled to ensure development in the sector. The experts, who argued that government solutions at the current scale of the housing crisis are difficult, suggested that a large-scale market solution is required to roll out viable and profitable models to serve lower income groups of the nation’s workforce. Apart from the development finance and efficient land administration required for low-cost housing, they maintained that sound governance, professional standards and norms, transparency, and good consumer protection would help the industry. They pointed out that despite the unprecedented rise in property prices and its apparent negative impact on affordability, construction quality and standards are important to sustain the mortgage sector. Blaming lack of secondary housing market infrastructure and weak foreclosure enforcement for the sluggish nature of the market, the experts bemoaned the high cost of land and construction materials, rising demand, urbanisation, high economic growth, limited supply of land, speculative trade in real estate are presently affecting the sector, describing mortgage products as inflexible, unaffordable, geared towards high-income customers.

HOUSING MARKET CATERS FOR THE UPPER-MIDDLE

INCOME AND HIGHINCOME GROUPS,

LEAVING THE LOWER MIDDLE AND LOW-

INCOME UNATTENDED Besides, they decried the difficulty to make precise estimates of the growth potential of the housing and housing finance sectors in Nigeria because of lack of a proper database on real estate statistics. Suggesting growth potential for mortgage sector, the experts said within the next two decades, more than 80 per cent of Nigerians would reside in urban areas; a situation that would shrink household size considerably. By implication, they noted that a significant middle class would emerge, mostly

composed of young people who are eager to have their own modest homes, adding that as private sector lending for housing increases and access to middle/lower-income groups expands, scarce government resources would be freed for other social and economic needs. This move, the experts said would develop a sound and accessible mortgage market. While taking a closer look at primary mortgage market innovations and their role for housing supply, Mr. A. M. Adewole, the Director of Business Development and Operations for the Kenya-based Shelter Afrique, which was established by African governments, the African Development Bank, African Reinsurance Corporation and United Kingdom’s Development Finance Institution with the mandate of mobilizing resources for housing development in Africa, said that most African governments did not seem to take housing as seriously as they should, and have failed to provide meaningful incentives for those investing in low-income housing. “But we (Shelter Afrique) are committed to financing housing initiatives across the various housing market segments and that includes social housing which had come to fore in the last couple of years. We have two platforms for intervention. The first is

through lines of credit to financial institution particularly financial institutions for on lending to people on very low income to build or improve their own homes,” he said. Describing the low-income groups as the most forgotten of Nigeria’s population, Adewole said that currently, the private sector housing market caters for the upper-middle income and high-income groups, leaving the lower middle and low-income unattended. He said, “The middle and low-income earners in Nigeria represent over 85 per cent of the overall population; these are part of the target group which I strongly encourage investors to turn their attention to, and engage with all manner of decent, stylish and affordable housing concepts.” The Shelter Afrique boss said that Nigeria was still far from offering affordable lowcost housing because the cost of constructing a house was still prohibitive. He said, “Single minded large scale housing programme is required as current approaches while well intended are not sufficient and if we must build at an unprecedented scale, the challenges of technology, economic viability, and capacity must be overcome to succeed,” he said adding that “a decisive shift towards manufacturing based housing solutions offer the best chance of meeting the challenges.”

Minister reads Riot Act to road contractors OLUFEMI ADEOSUN

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he Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen at the weekend came down hard on the contractors handling Federal Government road projects, stressing that he would no longer tolerate any act capable of subverting the resolve of government to bequeath to the nation good motorable roads. Onolememen stated this while briefing Adamawa State Governor, Murtala Nyako on why the contract for the Maiha-Sorau road project was terminated. Nyako had visited the minister to thank him for the Federal Government’s presence in the state in the area of infrastructure development and to further solicit support for the construction of other

critical roads. Why updating the governor on the state of the Maiha-Sorau road project, the minister stated that the road contract was awarded about six years ago, but the project could not continue because of the alleged incompetence of the contractor. He however explained that efforts are on the top gear to ensure that the project is awarded to another contractor who has the competence to deliver to standard, stressing that the project had reached procurement stage. The minister said, “In Adamawa state, unfortunately when we came in, we had a few projects which had become intractable and one of them is the Maiha-Sorau road, which the ministry awarded six years ago and the project was not going well. On settling down, I started looking into the proj-

ects file to see the reason, and I discovered that the advance that was supposed to be paid to the contractor was not fully amortised.

Omolomemen


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Real Estate & Environment

Consider style, quality when buying leather sofa When choosing furniture, you would like to know that what you are buying will last and be quality made. Leather furniture comes in different varieties, styles, and qualities. Many imitations, or faux leather, are also made. Depending on your budget and lifestyle, you can determine what type of leather furniture is best for your home. Below, experts at www.freshome.com roll out tips for buying the right leather furniture for your home. •What is your family lifestyle: The beauty of authentic leather is that it’s a natural material that will get better with age. It will develop a ‘patina’ or a rich colour and luster over years. If you have pets, kids, and a busy household, leather furniture can take normal wear and tear. Although, pet claws and certain markers and pens will ruin leather. For families that aren’t as busy, faux leather furniture is a good option for cost, and wear and tear may not be as big of a concern. •Choose a style: Leather furniture comes in a variety of styles to match your décor. Slim lined, minimalistic leather furniture fits a modern décor while large pillowed sectionals lend themselves to

more traditional home décor. Leather furniture will last for years into the future, so choose a style that will reflect your home’s decorative touch and tone. •Understand leather qualities: Leather has natural imperfections, such as discoloration, veins and uneven surface pattern. When buying leather furniture keep this in mind that it is not a defect and rather a quality of the leather. When buying pieces of furniture try to buy them all at one time. If you order at different times they can have drastic colour variations and won’t look good when paired together. •Know how to care for leather: Leather needs to have moisture and care on a routine basis. If leather isn’t cared for correctly it

can lead to cracking, peeling and lead to a breakdown of the leather. When buying leather furniture, moisturizer usually is given with it along with care and clean instructions are also given. Before purchasing, decide if you will be able to keep up with the care.

Courtesy: www.bringbackthecouch.com

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net


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Real Estate & Environment

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

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Lagos imports new species of trees from India ..Nigerian Breweries partners LASEPA on industrial tree planting DAYO AYEYEMI AND MURITALA AYINLA

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s part of efforts to combat climate change and global warming, the 2013 Tree Planting campaign took another dimension as private firms and agencies across the state joined the Lagos State Government to mark the day at different locations in the metropolis. One of such originations is the Nigerian Breweries Plc, who partnered the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) to embark on industrial tree

planting in the community. Speaking, the Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola, said the state government has imported new species of trees from India for this year campaign. He disclosed that the state had planted more than 4 million trees in the last six years. The governor revealed this at the 2013 Tree Planting Campaign held at the Total Filling Station, Mangoro, Agege Lagos. He said the state had exceeded ‘the one million trees target for 10 years’ it set in 2008 the first two years. Fashola said the result of the

trees planted so far was evident last year as the state was spared the heavy flooding which ravaged many states last year. He said: “It was not by coincidence, it was a result of our collective efforts at preserving nature to prevent her wrath”. To sustain the campaign, he had gone a step further to import new species of trees from India to plant in the state, in addition to the ones he brought from Borno State. Harping on the importance of tree planting exercise, he said the event was designed with the sole aim of “awakening the conscious-

ness of every Nigerian on the unique role trees and other plant communities play in making our environment conducive for human habitation and to encourage everyone to plant and protect trees”. He said this year’s theme tagged, “Green Is Peace” was in recognition of the fact that the absence of enough green, especially trees, “is a threat to the survival of all creatures that depend on oxygen”. “We need trees to absorb the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to prevent us from suffocating”, he added.

LAWMA MD, Mr. Ola Oresanya (middle), planting a tree in Lagos

How change in funding can impact urban poverty – Expert DAYO AYEYEMI

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ne little change to how donors provide development aid could unlock the power of poor people in urban centres to address their problems, senior fellow in the International Institute for Environment and Development’s Human Settlements Group, Dr David Satterthwaite, has said. In a new TEDx Talk, which he gave last month in Germany, Satterthwaite told the story of two innovative funds that have enabled low-income communities in more than 200 African and Asian cities to build and upgrade houses and improve water, sanitation and other important services. They are exceptional cases of success, which could be replicated and scale-up massively

if donors changed the way they operate. Today, aid agencies and international development banks provide $125 billion a year in aid for national governments in Africa, Asia and Latin America. But Satterthwaite explained that while donors justified their aid with images of poor communities, they rarely consult those communities about the aid they wanted to provide, nor were the projects they funded accountable to the urban poor, saying the result has always been bad projects that fail to meet local needs. H e said, “The other problem is that aid agencies were not set up to work at the local scale at which problems exist. To save staff costs, donors prefer to fund fewer large-scale projects than many smaller ones.´

Satterthwaite showed that another way is possible, describing how Urban Poor Fund International and the Asian Coalition for Community Action were set up to support slum or shack dwellers to drive their own development, with the funding and its use accountable to them. The Urban Poor Fund International is managed by Slum/ Shack Dwellers International, a network of more than 30 national slum/shack dweller federations. It has supported over 200,000 households to build or improve their homes and to get tenure of their house plot and hundreds of other initiatives. The Asian Coalition for Community Action (ACCA) has funded more than 1,000 community initiatives in 168 cities. Both funds are affecting the way city governments work, em-

powering low-income communities to raise more funds and work in partnership with authorities to develop their settlements and improve living standards. There are now over 100 formal memorandums of understanding between federations and local governments. Thanks to ACCA there are now a hundred city-based funds that groups of savers from informal settlement co-manage with municipal governments. Satterthwaite pointed out that the funds have achieved all of this with just US$35 million, a tiny sum when shared across so many countries, cities and communities. “Imagine if just one per cent of aid, which is $1 billion was spent this way,” he said, adding, “We would truly transform our cities.”

“We did not do it alone, this achievement was made possible because the people of the state embraced the tree planting initiative. Today, I want to let you know that we will not relent; we will continue till our environment, our heritage and collective property is restored to its glorious state. “The loss of arable land compels herdsmen to search for greener pastures and this creates conflict between them and farmers because their animals invariably graze on cultivated farmlands”, the governor said. Also speaking at another event held at Oba Ogunji Road, Agege, the Managing Director, Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), Mr. Ola Oresanya, who represented Governor Fashola , said that the tone for this year’s event was informed by the need to preserve lives in the face of the recurrent situation of global warming and climate change. The Industrial Tree Planting Day was also hosted by the Nigerian Breweries Plc in partnership with the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) at Iganmu, Lagos. Stating the importance of the day, Governor Fashola described the initiative as a way to give back to the environment in one of the few ways the government can, thanking Lagosians for keeping faith with his administration since the state began the crusade to regenerate the environment by planting trees six years ago. Listing the benefits of trees to mankind, the governor said, “Trees are germane to human existence; they are a direct and indirect source of food for man and animal. The absence of green results in vegetal degradation, impoverished ecosystem, and decrease biological productivity that lead to food shortage, ill health, and low per capital income; situations we want to avoid in Lagos State.” “We can see the negative effects of desert encroachment on northern Nigeria already; it is ravaging 11 out of 19 northern states and rendering land bare. The lack of graze on cultivated farmlands.” The governor informed the audience that trees planting initiative has been institutionalised in the state through the setting up of Lagos Parks and Gardens Agency, which is already running. Managing Director of Nigerian Breweries Plc, Mr Nicolas Vervelde, said the gathering was to support effort towards a sustainable environment, adding that the partnership was not just to demonstrate global concern but “a way of making our own little contribution to the cause of environmental protection.”


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Real Estate & Environment

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Buoyant mortgage lending figures signal recovery in UK –Data

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otal gross mortgage lending in the UK in June increased to £15 billion, the highest monthly estimate since October 2008, according to the latest data report from the Council of Mortgage Lenders. In a report by Property Wire, it is a rise of 2 per cent from £14.7 billion in May and 26 per cent higher than the total of £11.9 billion in June 2012. And gross lending for the second quarter of 2013 was an estimated £42 billion, a 24 per cent increase from the previous three months and is the highest quarterly estimate since the end of 2008. ‘Improvements in the cost and availability of mortgage credit are underpinning a meaningful recovery in the housing market. In recent months, we have seen the strongest performance for mortgage lending since 2008,’ said CML chief economist Bob Pannell. ‘However, although the pace of first time buyer activity is approaching a quarter of a million per annum, it is worth bearing in mind that this is still barely half of activity rates a decade earlier, and so far below what might be considered normal levels,’ he added. But it is slow progress, according to

David Brown, commercial director of LSL Property Services. ‘A whole year of months like June would be needed to bring gross mortgage lending to half its 2007 peak. But by any measure, 26 per cent annual growth is definitely a positive sign,’ he pointed out. ‘What’s especially encouraging are the lower rates that are slowly trickling through to borrowers with less equity. More first time buyers are very gradually emerging into the world of home ownership,’ he said. ‘Of course it’s still very early days, and the number of people renting is still rising too. Wage growth is only creeping slowly towards buoyant inflation, and measly savings rates are a serious obstacle to raising a deposit. But so long as this isn’t a false dawn, mortgage availability is going in the right direction,’ he added. Duncan Kreeger, director of secured peer to peer lender West One Loans, explained that comparisons with October 2008 do nothing to hide the fact that mortgage lending in the UK still has a long way to go. ‘In October 2008 the global economy was in free fall. The financial crisis had just hit its very peak. In the US emergency

measures were agreed by Congress to prevent economic collapse. In the UK stock markets were tumbling and millions of people saw their financial future melt in front of their eyes,’ he said. He believes that unwieldy high street banks might never recover the levels of business they saw before the collapse and the largest lenders are still losing market share to new forms of finance. ‘We expect that to continue and we believe it’s a positive trend. New financial models will be better for consumers, better for business, and a better way to prevent economic disasters like October 2008,’ he added. Paul Hunt, managing director of Phoebus Software, a specialist in banking technology, said that although a lot of new buyers are still struggling to overcome the deposit hurdle, lenders are offering great rates and attractive mortgage packages. The increasing confidence of the banks is shining through. The mortgage market is gaining strength. The government has boosted first time buyer activity successfully and there’s been a vast improvement in the availability of good mortgage deals for high LTV borrowers,’ he explained. ‘There is more competition amongst

lenders and that’s delivering better value products to borrowers and boosting opportunities for first time buyers. And with lending up, rays of light have entered the economic picture. But the government’s role is crucial if mortgage lending targets are to be met and the market is to maintain its forward momentum,’ he added. David Newnes, director of LSL Property Services, owners of Your Move and Reeds Rains, believes that the improving economic climate is boosting the confidence of banks and that’s translating into more lending and that increased supply of mortgages is being eagerly consumed by potential buyers with a strong appetite for borrowing. ‘Lenders’ efforts to bolster first time buyer activity are clearly having a positive effect, with more competitive mortgage rates and higher loan to values leading to a conspicuous jump in first time buyers loans. The spotlight is focused on the Help to Buy scheme and whether it will feed through into a noteworthy jump in lending figures this year. Hopefully these efforts will be bolstered further by the Government’s Funding for Lending programme,’ he explained.

Some distressed buildings on Oloto Street, Ebute Meta, Lagos

Restrictions in Asia Pacific on foreigners buying property unlikely to change, say experts

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estrictions for international buyers looking to purchase property in the Asia-Pacific region are unlikely to be lifted in the near future, according to Knight Frank’s latest review of property markets in the area. Although cross border residential property purchases have increased over the last few years, the rapid rise in residential house prices has resulted in policymakers in the region taking more protectionist stances as domestic affordability becomes an issue. It also shows that mainstream property prices in Hong Kong, China and Malaysia have increased by 28%, 23.8% and 6% respectively over the last year to the end of the first quarter of 2013. But policies make it difficult for overseas buyers and land in a number of countries is seen as sacred and not something that can be given over to foreign owners. Also additional buyers stamp duties in Hong Kong and Singapore are good examples, as are the proposed ad-

ditional taxes for foreign buyers in the Johor Bahru state of Malaysia. However, it is worth noting that while certain countries have not been open to foreign ownership of property, overseas buyers in Japan, South Korea and New Zealand should face no significant barriers to home ownership in the region. ‘Other countries try to strike a balance between giving domestic citizens an affordable stake in their country, while offering the possibility of property ownership to attract foreign talent who make an economic contribution to the country,’ said Nicholas Holt, Knight Frank’s Asia Pacific research director. ‘Indeed, many countries allow foreign residents permission to buy property that would not be accorded them if they lived overseas. This is the case in the two giants of the region, China and India whose respective ownership regulations allow resident foreign purchasers the possibility to buy property,’ he explained.

UK home buyers income over £40,000 for first time in five years

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ome buyers’ income in the UK exceeds £40,000 on average for the first time in almost five years, according to the National Mortgage Index from the Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB). This is the first time that purchasers’ income has averaged more than £40,000 since January 2009 when MAB first began collecting this data. June’s average of £40,510 was 2 per cent higher than in May when it was £39,648 and 9 per cent higher than June last year when it was £37,164. Using data from more than 500 brokers and 800 estate agents, the National Mortgage Index also shows that purchase prices grew by 1.4 per cent in the month and by 4.5 per cent since June 2012 to £224,450. The MAB said that affordability has improved gradually over the last year as a result of prices growing at a slower rate than incomes. However, home buyers’ average income has grown significant more, by 9 per cent, than annual inflation at 2.7 per cent or average weekly earnings at 3.7 per cent, suggesting that more affluent borrowers are driving up the average

as they take advantage of the housing market recovery. This trend has been especially visible across Greater London, the South West, the Midlands and the North where home buyers’ typical incomes have risen by 10 per cent or more since June 2012. Only three regions, the South East, East Anglia and Wales, saw average incomes fall. Growing interest in the property market contributed to a 31 per cent increase in the volume of purchase applications between the first and second quarters of 2013. Despite a 2 per cent drop between May and June, quarterly purchase applications were up by 58 per cent compared with the second quarter of 2012. June also witnessed the highest volume of remortgage applications since the financial crisis, some 6 per cent more than in May and 83 per cent up on June 2012. Remortgage loan to values (LTVs) have shifted noticeably in the last year with the typical application now involving 5 per ent less equity at 59.6 per cent LTV in June 2013 compared with 54.6 per cent LTV in June 2012.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Aviation

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

35

Proposed national carrier tears aviation professionals apart The September deadline for the commencement of new national carrier for Nigeria is around the corner, but the modalities for its establishment is still not clear to stakeholders and professionals in the sector. However, stakeholders and professionals are already divided over the success or otherwise of the carrier. OLUSEGUN KOIKI writes.

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igeria Airways was a pride for Nigeria. It flew to virtually all major countries of the world. It was a way Nigeria as a country defined itself, along with its national flag painted on the tail end of every aircraft. The airline was a perfect symbol of statehood. Today, Nigeria Airways doesn’t exist. It was plagued with safety and reliability issues, and finally shut down in 2003 after the government refused to rescue it from staggering debts and mismanagement. At the time, most people didn’t realise that national airlines often have spotty track records. But it’s a common problem all over the world as they are usually dwarfed with overregulation, overstaffing, excessive debt, political interference and poor management. But now, the Federal Government through the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah is determined to bestow to Nigeria again, a national carrier that will serve as a driver in the aviation industry, boost the image of this country in the global aviation sector and return the glorious days of the defunct, Nigeria Airways, which Nigerians patronised with pride. Although, the date for the take-off of the new national carrier has suffered several postponements since the Oduah administration came onboard in July 2011, but more than ever before, Oduah is determined to give the nation another national carrier by September this year. Before the minister made public government’s plans on the new carrier, she had sometime in 2012 set up a committee, which included the joint trade union forum to shop around the world for a recognised, viable and interested international carrier to partner with the government on the project with a December 2012 deadline for the new carrier to take off. The committee, according to in formation gathered had made contacts with foreign carriers like Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa Airways, Air France-KLM and a couple of others, but without success while the December 2012 date elapsed. But, speaking at a forum recently in Abuja, Oduah disclosed that all the necessary framework and legal requirements for the smooth roll out of the carrier are already in place and assured that all the country needed for the carrier to take off is in place. She further informed that unlike the former national carrier that was wholly governmental, the new carrier would be private sector-driven. She added, “We are just waiting for the approval from Presidency and the Federal

Oduah

Kyari

NIGERIA HAS NOT RECIPROCATED NUMEROUS BILATERAL AGREEMENTS ENTERED INTO WITH

MANY COUNTRIES.

WE ARE, THEREFORE, LEFT WITH NUMEROUS ONE-SIDED BASA AGREEMENTS AND THIS HAS ENCOURAGED CAPITAL FLIGHT AND LACK OF INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT Executive Council, FEC, to take off, so give or take, the new national carrier will take off before the end of the third quarter. “This one will be private sector-driven, will be managed by professionals who managed other carriers elsewhere in the world, and don’t forget that since it is going to be private sector-driven with private sector funds, there is no private sector corporate entity that will put in so much money in setting up a capital intensive business like aero plane business and will now leave it to mediocre to manage.” However, as the Federal Government plans to roll-out the new national carrier by September with no fewer than 50 aircraft, stakeholders and professionals in the sector are divided about the success of the carrier. The antagonists of the project insisted that no developed aviation industry in the globe today has a national carrier, rather, what they have are national flag carriers, which are owned by the public while the governments create enabling environment for them to strive and operate profitably without external interference while the protagonists say it would earn the country more respect in the international community. Speaking on the issue, the Executive Director, Centre for Aviation Safety and Research, CAS-R, Engr. Sheri Kyari, described the reformation of national carrier as a step in the right direction and commended the government for the initiative. Kyari explained that the failure of the country to have a national carrier over the years led to its inability to reciprocate the Bilateral Air Services Agreements, BASA, it has with several countries, saying that this has led to capital flight out of the country by the foreign carriers. He however challenged the Government to make the modalities of the proposed

carrier public in a bid for private investors in the country to contribute to its growth, adding that the new national carrier would provide employment, enhance training, start a maintenance facility with added advantage of increasing chances of aircraft or components production in Nigeria. He said, “We hail the government for this giant stride to give the nation a standard airline to stem the current tide of capital flight occasioned by the absence of a strong airline in the country. Nigeria has not reciprocated numerous bilateral agreements entered into with many countries. We are therefore left with numerous one-sided BASA agreements and this has encouraged capital flight and lack of industry development. “This absence is impeding development especially employment, maintenance, cargo and other allied activities in aviation. The modalities of the carrier should be made public for Nigerians to have the opportunity to invest into. On the whole, the minister is commended for seeing the urgent and dire need to give the country a befitting airline to compete in the global aviation world. The subtle search for a good airline model has given room to a lot of misgivings. Also, a member of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, NAAPE, Engr. Adekunle Babafemi, described the proposed national carrier for Nigeria as a misadventure by the government. Babafemi insisted that national carrier was not the solution to the problem of traditional aviation in the country, recalling that Nigeria once had a national carrier, which was allegedly destroyed by the government and its appointees. He said what Nigeria requires are designated carriers while the government pro-

vides enabling environment for them and called for cancellation of multiple entries for foreign carriers. He said, “Are we moving forward or backward? Tell me one developed country in the world with a national carrier. British Airways started as a government airline, and along the line, government separated itself from the running of the airline, so, it’s not a national carrier. Government should sit down and get whatever it is supposed to do right. “I am not in support of any national carrier; rather, we should have designated carriers and empower them to carry the image of this country to wherever they are flying into. Give them the platform on which they can compete successfully with other established carriers in the world. “There should be guidelines for the airlines to operate while government will be more or less like a grandfather to the airlines so that they will be able to enjoy the privileges in which you are giving them. That is the way I see it. National carrier is not just a question of funding alone. There should be something for the designated carriers that would motivate them to match the onslaught of foreign carriers.” He also identified policy summersaults as the bane of the country, stressing that the idea of another government might be different from reestablishing a national carrier for the country. Besides, the President, Sabre Travel Network, Mr. Gbenga Olowo recently cautioned the Federal Government over the proposed re-establishment of a national carrier for the country. Speaking with journalists in Lagos, Olowo cautioned the Federal Government to be wary of any future attempt to favour the proposed new carrier at the detriment of the existing flag carriers, wondering the usefulness of the new carrier to the Nigerian aviation industry. Olowo argued that rather than reestablish a national carrier for the country, the Government should encourage the existing flag carriers to merge for competitive advantage. He insisted that the concept of national carrier is old, opaque and has been long replaced with flag carriers in similar large economies such as United States, Brazil, India, and United Kingdom.


36

Aviation

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Overland Airways slashes Asaba, Abuja, Lagos route fares to N18, 000

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ne of the fast developing indigenous airlines in the country, Overland Airways earlier in the week introduced a special fare on its Asaba - Lagos and Asaba – Abuja routes to reward its clients for their patronage over the years. Effective from last Thursday, the airline had slashed its Asaba to Abuja and Lagos to N18,000 only. The flights operate every Monday to Friday. Speaking on the new airfares, the Chief Operating Officer of Overland Airways, Mrs. Aanu Benson, said that the purpose of the introduction of the special fare offer on Asaba route was to appreciate and reward customers for their patronage since the airline commenced flight operations to the airport about two years ago.

Capt Boyo

Benson added that Overland Airways is determined to continue offering excellent and satisfactory services to her customers and vowed that it would

not compromise in the delivery of effective, safety and comfortable services at all times to its clients. Besides, the airline equally announced the adjustments of its flight times on the Asaba – Abuja and Asaba – Lagos routes. The airline said it will now depart Abuja to Asaba at 10.00am, while Asaba to Abuja flight will depart at 2.15pm. Flight from Asaba to Lagos will depart at 11.30am, while return flight from Lagos to Asaba will depart at 1.00pm every Monday to Friday. “Overland Airways’ overriding business philosophy is to deliver safe and standard flight services that meet and exceed the expectations of our customers with a high degree of professionalism,” the statement added.

Peacock initiates new tour packages for clients in Southern Africa

L-R: Human Resources Manager, Peacock Travels; Mr. Aderemi Awolaiye, senior Accountant; Mr. Abiodun Orebajo, Executive Tour Guide; Themba Modjaji, Executive Chairman; Aare Segun Philips, Business Development Manager, South Africa, Patrick Konzolo and Assistant Manager; Mr. Tunde Sotunde during last week’s launch of a new fleet of modern cars and buses by the company in South Africa.

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ne of the leading travel and tour packages companies in Africa, Peacock Travels last week launched a new fleet of modern cars and buses for its esteemed clients in South Africa and other Southern African countries. The company said the packages will further aid its efforts of delivering world class travel and tour packages for its customers all over the world including the region. The inauguration ceremony, which was held at Peacock’s office in Johannesburg, was performed by the Group Executive Chairman, Peacock Travels and Tours Group, Aare Segun Philips. Philips speaking in a statement stated that the passion to satisfy its global passengers had informed the company’s decision to go for modern and pricey cars, stressing that there is a need to let its customers from all parts of Africa, Europe, America, and Middle East know that the company was poised to

deliver superior travel experience with best standard practices. Philips further revealed that the company was launching a special inroad to some tourist attractions in South Africa and the Southern African region, said the company was ready to take passengers to the destinations in comfort and style. He said, “We are always striving for excellence in everything we do. This is why for us at Peacock Travels and Tours, no price is too high to satisfy our teeming passengers. We pride ourselves in delivering quality and value for money. Others may say these state-of-the-art cars and buses are expensive, but for us, we will not give anything less to what will make our customers happy and fulfilled.” Besides, the Business Development Manager, Peacock Travel, South Africa, Mr. Patrick Konzolo listed some of the new packages in the company to include, Jozi-Amand’la Tour, ‘City of Gold’ Half Day Johan-

nesburg City Tour, Full Day Sun City & Pilanesberg Nature Reserve Tour. Others are Full Day Sun City & Pilanesberg, Nature Reserve Tour, Kwazulu-Natal – Durban, Cape Town, Full Day Pretoria City Tour, Full Day Pretoria City Tour, Gold Reef City, Half Day Soweto Tour, Garden Route, and Table Mountain and Robben Island among others. He disclosed that the company also offers special tour packages to tourist attractions in Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and all the countries in the Southern African region. Some of the tourist centres in some of the countries, according to the company are; Mpumalanga, Kruger National Park, Port Elizabeth, Fish River Crayon and Victoria Falls. Listing some of the benefits travellers will enjoy in its new fleet, the company said the 14 seater quantum and other salon cars are kept in excellent roadworthy conditions at all times and that all drivers have valid Public Driver Permit (PDP). He urged all the drivers in the company to abide by the company’s code of conduct, adding that mechanism for passengers’ complaints has been adopted while vehicles are covered through passenger Liability insurance; client feedback meetings are held on a regular basis; back-up vehicles are at all times on standby to assist in the event of an unforeseen breakdown; vehicles have legal Road Carrier Permits as required by National and Provincial legislation; contract clients are protected through a driver punctuality check sheet

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Airside shegzzy4live2000@yahoo.co.uk 08186007273

The Abiku called AON

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recisely on June 28, 2013, the executive of the Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON, led by Dr. Steve Mahinwu was hounded out of office by another faction of the association who felt the executive had overstayed their term. Despite the accusations and counter-accusations that pervaded the air, the Capt. Edward Boyo’s led faction had their way and promised to conduct election to usher in new excos exactly two weeks later, Friday, July 12, 2013. Unfortunately, despite the dissolution of the old excos, it seems the electoral committee put in place to conduct elec-

tions into different positions is yet to make up its mind as the association is bedeviled with several challenges ranging from faulty constitution and distrust among members. Airside thinks if the antiMahonwu team had done their home work properly before the show of power in June, they would have seen the challenges before hand and work on how to tackle them, rather than being in a dilemma at the moment. Airside and other stakeholders expect the electoral team to work on the association’s constitution to usher in new executive for AON. Hope AON is not turning into an Abiku

Official touts at MMA2

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he Murtala Mohammed Airport Two, MMA2, Lagos is arguably the most decent terminal in Nigeria today as its officials, especially its in-house security officers ensure that touting is reduced to the barest minimum. But recent activities by some security officers to drag the image of the terminal and its operators into the mud must be mentioned here and checked by the management. Airside in the last couple of weeks has observed the unholy practices spearheaded by the security agencies both police and in-house security officials attached to the terminal. Just about two weeks ago, a protocol officer with one of the multi-national companies in the country was harassed and arrested by the security officers for refusing to play ball. The

protocol officer in question had stayed at the meeters and greaters of the terminal to welcome a VIP before he was approached by the officer and asked him to grease his palm. Also, a protocol officer of one of the agencies too was harassed recently by the security officers at the terminal. The protocol officer tried vigorously to explain his mission to the security personnel, but all fell on deaf ear and within a few minutes, he was accused of a non-existing crime. Although, the issue was later resolved after the intervention from the top, but Airside feels it is pertinent for the security officers posted to the terminal and other terminals in the country to carry out their duties diligently as touts they are supposed to apprehend actually work with and for various security agencies in the sector.

British Airways commences measures to enhance passengers with children

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he giant British carrier, British Airways says it has put in place new measures to improve the comfort and travelling experience of passengers travelling with children, as well as kids travelling alone. The airline stated that its clients from Lagos to Istanbul, Cape Town to Hong Kong, Cairo to London and other routes it flies into, have expressed satisfaction with the new measures, which seek to ensure passengers’ comfort and satisfaction onboard. An online statement sent by the airline’s media consultant in Nigeria mentioned some of the carrier’s passengers who have benefitted immensely with the new measures. According to the statement, one of its passengers who is

based in United Kingdom and a parent, Lolade Bamidele impressed satisfaction for the care and dedication of British Airways’ cabin crew to her threeyear old daughter during flights between Lagos and London. Bamidele who has been travelling on British Airways with her daughter since she was two months old, recalled a particular flight when she was really tired, and her baby couldn’t stop crying. One of the cabin crew took the baby from her to give her some well-deserved break. Also, another customer, the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Lifestyle Collectibles, Mrs. Tolu Pinheiro, spoke in the same vein, and commended BA’s crew assigned to its World Traveller Plus cabin, describing them as ‘fantastic.’


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Insurance

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

37

Stakeholders tasks PFAs on pension management Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs), have been consistently accused of mismanaging pensioners and retirees funds. With close to N4 trillion in its kitty, analysts say PFAs must be made more accountable, especially to senior citizens. MESHACK IDEHEN reports.

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ritical observers of the nation’s financial service sector said there is a silent migration of core banking professionals towards the Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs). The reasons for this development, according to them, may not be farfetched, considering that the various reforms the banking and financial service sector have been made to undergo in recent years, has to a large extent, weeded out rouge elements, criminal bankers and financial manipulators from the system. Those visible positives notwithstanding, some analysts who spoke with National Mirror said the gradual, though silent migration of core professional financial service experts like bankers, investment specialists and financial analysts to the pension fund administration sector is directly linked to the “huge and unprecedented payouts to experts” that the PFAs sector is currently experiencing. “As things presently stands, it is boom time for everyone with any experience involved with PFA”, said Information Technology Professional and former banker with Afribank, now Mainstreet Bank, Mr. Cletus Uroboghara. According to him, PFAs are at a loss on what to do with the trillions of naira they have accumulated in their various kitties. He said PFAs are getting involved in mega but frivolous projects, while others are having the time of their lives, as far as payouts and welfare packages are concerned. Making reference to the description of PFAs as rookies in their management of more than N3.9 trillion pension fund by Senate President, David Mark, Financial Analyst, Mr. Nosa Igbinoba, said many pension managers and administrators are indeed rookies, and fuelling deep-rooted corruption that have bedevilled pension fund administration in the country. Igbinoba told National Mirror that the extant pension laws were rife with inadequacies; evident according to him, in the recent details of pension fraud uncovered by several probes, pointing out that those high level frauds in the pension industry would not have been possible without the full and active connivance of the PFAs. For Nigeria Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) pensioner, Mr. Alfred Owolabi Adesegan, PFAs are the only problem NITEL pensioners currently have, because all sorts of stumbling blocks are placed on the path of beneficiaries in their quest to get and enjoy their pensions. Adesegan lamented that the days when pension matters were handled directly by employing companies

D-G, PenCom, Chinelo Amazu

PFAS ARE ALL UP THERE DOING THEIR THING, WITHOUT KNOWING THAT IT IS NOT ALL PENSIONERS AND RETIREES THAT CAN COPE WITH AND UNDERSTAND THE COUNTLESS PROCESSES THEY HAVE BROUGHT INTO MANAGING OUR MONEY were much better, compared to now, when understanding the process, including filling numerous forms are placed side by side. According to him, “PFAs are all up there doing their thing, without knowing that it is not all pensioners and retirees that can cope with and understand the countless processes they have brought into managing our money. To me, all these obstacles are deliberate, so that the operators can continue to live well and feed fat on the money that has been given up on”. Directly accusing his PFA, of default, neglect and mismanagement, Lagos Based Federal Civil Servant, Mrs. Caroline Nnebue, said investing retirees and pensioners funds without creating necessary awareness, or informing contributors is an indication that the PFAs may be up to some mischief. She said the National Pensions Commission (PENCOM), moves to expand investment options for the PFAs was an afterthought by the commission, adding that PENCOM’s recent release of the draft on new guidelines for investment of pension funds was coming

Uduanu

a little too late, considering that the PFAs have been on a spending spree for the last couple of years. Laying part of the blame on the doorsteps of the commission, she said PFAs not previously allowed to invest directly in commercial papers without deposit money bank guarantees was deliberate, in order to allow the administrators do what they wanted with depositors funds. According to her, the new guidelines that now allows PFA’s to invest directly to a maximum of 10 per cent in commercial papers of corporate entities would not do the industry any good, because the sector is already saturated with mismanagement of no little proportion. Disagreeing however that PFAs are lavishly spending and mismanaging depositor’s funds, the Chairman, Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp), Mr. Dave Uduanu, said he believes that the current pension scheme holds the ace in enthroning the regime of long-term funding, especially for real sector and infrastructure. Explaining that the body, which is essentially an advocacy group for the pension industry, was set up to serve as a common voice for all operators in the sector, Uduanu said PenOp strives to ensure that policies guiding operators in the industry are not inimical to the objectives of the new pension regime, adding that operators interface regularly with regulator and other relevant stakeholders, including contributors to advance the fortunes of the scheme. According to him, what is more worrisome is the virtual lack of funding of the pension scheme by some state governments, thereby compromising the quality of life of their respective civil servants after retirement.

AIICO repackages policy offerings to enhance savings culture MESHACK IDEHEN

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IICO Insurance Plc said it has repackaged its corporate savings plans in order to ensure that holders of the policy enjoy more benefits. The insurance company said the initiative is also to ensure that majority of Nigerians embrace the savings culture that can guarantee their financial future. Managing Director of the firm, Mr. David Sobanjo, told journalists in Lagos that policy holders will also enjoy the benefits of the policy since it provides a return on the holders’ investment, while additional life

assurance benefit is payable to the dependents of the policyholder in the unfortunate event of death within the policy term. Sobanjo explained that the savings plan is suitable for individuals, members of social clubs, cooperatives societies and employees of organisations that are eager to save through payroll deduction. According to him, rural population and other individuals with seasonal incomes are also eligible to subscribe to the plan as long as they are determined to invest part of their earnings to yield good returns and secure their financial future. The AIICO managing director said the minimum

policy term is one year, adding that to make the product affordable to majority of the populace in the country, people can contribute as low as N5000 per month to participate in the plan. “Should the policyholder die while the policy is in force, his dependents will be entitled to a life assurance benefit of three times the annual contribution subject to a maximum of N2 million. “The plan has been so designed to cater for exigencies as the policyholder has the option of partial withdrawal for emergency cases. Holders of AIICO Corporate Savings Plan can equally pledge the policy as collateral security for loan,” he said.


38

Insurance

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

LASPEC advises workers on retirement options STORIES: MESHACK IDEHEN

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he Director-General, Lagos State Pension Commission, Mr. Adekunle Hussain, has said people who are about to retire from active service must enlighten themselves about the two retirement options available for them under the Contributory Pension Scheme. According to him, retirees should understand the procedures for processing their benefits at the end of service, and ensure that their Retirement Savings Account is up to date with payment of contributions. Speaking during the fourth retirement seminar organised by the commission in conjunction with the state approved Pension Fund Administrators in Lagos, he said the two retirement options include programmed withdrawal, which is provided by the PFAs, and the annuity by insurance companies. The director-general said the

Hussain

commission decided to regularly organise the bi-annual seminar because many workers were still finding it difficult to comprehend the operations of the CPS, saying that since LASPEC commenced operations, it had put in place a highly automated pension administration system. Hussain said the commission had also trained its workers to

attend to employees and retirees on pension matters in the most courteous manner, explaining LASPEC was committed to the standard it had set in the best interest of the workers in the state. Also speaking in the same vein, Executive Director, Technical of LASPEC, Mrs. Folashade Onanuga, identified three main objectives of the Contributory Pension Scheme as ensuring that retirement benefits were paid as and when due; assisting employees to save towards their retirement; and establishing uniform set of rules for pension administration in the country. She said it is expected that potential retirees commence the process of their retirement six months before exit with a notice of impending retirement to their employer. According to her, if documentations are received four months before retirement, it was certain that by the time the worker retired, all accrued rights would have been credited into the RSA.

Law Union and Rock adopts sector operational model

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aw Union and Rock Insurance Plc said the company has adopted a sector operational model, which will enable it create different departments to provide efficient services for different sectors and individuals in the economy. The company said this strategy became imperative in order to ensure that it offered efficient services to its clients, and that the move will also ensure that the company offered unique insurance solutions along the sector’s value chain. Managing Director of the company, Mrs. Toyin Ogunseye, told journalists that the model will also enable the organisation align its offerings with the unique needs of the different sectors of the economy, saying these departments are well equipped to make insurance more accessible and bring innovative prod-

ucts to the insuring public. She said the departments were equipped with professionals that can offer the best services to the clients, adding the company was interested in satisfying the insuring public through good products offering and efficient services. Ogunseye said that the sector model was also adopted in the business development and technical divisions of the firm, pointing out that this would ensure smooth and seamless operations in the company’s daily activities. According to her, “The company is taking all these steps because we are interested in delivering quality insurance solutions to the doorsteps of our clients”. She explained also that the move was part of the company’s ongoing reorganisation and restructuring process, as well as the implementation of its strategic initiative, noting that the or-

Ogunseye

ganisation will be able to align its offerings to the unique needs of different sectors of the economy as a result of the adoption of the sectoral model.

ARM Pension’s portfolio now N285bn, says chairman

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he Chairman, ARM Pension Managers, Mr. Chris Okeke, said the company is currently managing about N285bn pension funds. Speaking during the company’s Annual General Meeting in Lagos, he said with over N285bn under management as of June 30, 2013, that ARM Pension Managers is one of the leading Pension Fund Administrators in Nigeria. Okeke also said the firm recorded N3.02bn revenue during the financial year ended February 28, 2013, saying this represents 33 per cent growth from

the figure that was recorded in the previous financial year. He also said that profit before tax and profit after tax for the year stood at N1.43bn and N1.04bn, respectively, representing growth rates of 51.2 per cent and 78.4 per cent respectively over the previous year’s figures. To create wealth for its shareholders, Okeke said the company would pay a dividend per share of 60k, which is a 20 per cent increase from the 50k paid the previous year, adding the strong performance was driven by the combined effects of new inflow of pension funds and

strong investment performance. According to him, overall, pension funds under management grew by 45.9 per cent to N264.6bn as of February 28, 2013, from N181.3bn the previous year. The chairman said this translated into earnings per share of 88k compared to 49k in the previous year. He noted that the investment returns achieved by the ARM Pension Managers’ RSA Fund and Retiree Fund were among the best in the industry for the 2012 calendar year, with figures of 15.51 per cent and 14.42 per cent net growth, respectively.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

How to cut your car insurance bill Apart from zeroing down on the best car loan deal, it is equally important to choose an appropriate auto insurance policy. Auto insurance is a mandatory legal requirement when you purchase your car. But there are several ways by which you can lower the premium rates offered by your insurers. Provide correct information-- By providing your insurer the correct information, you can reduce your premiums by 10-30 per cent. Model and make of your car-- The decision regarding how much premium needs to be charged depends upon the make and model of your car. If your car’s make/model is more prone to accidents, as in the books of the insurer, you are likely to be entitled to higher discounts than those make/models of cars which are less prone to accidents. Gender and profession of the driver-- The practice of dividing premium considerations on the basis of gender is commonly followed in the West, which is yet to catch up in India. However, some insurers consider female drivers better than male drivers, making the female drivers entitled to higher discounts than their counterparts. The driver’s profession too affects the insurance premium. If an office goer uses a car, it is obvious he uses it to commute between his home and office, rather than a sales person, who will use to commute in various cities on a wider basis. Locality where the vehicle will be driven-Apart from the locality, the place where the vehicle is piled or registered is taken into consideration these days. Insurance companies calculate the claims depending upon the location. In congested cities, where bumper to bumper traffic is observed, claims for scratches and dents are more, whereas location highways carry a huge claim amount because they are prone to major accidents. No claim bonus-- No claim bonus is a discount allowed as a percentage on the ‘own damage premium’ and the same is increased every year to the next slab if a claim for damage to the vehicle is not preferred and it is discounted if there was no claim preferred during

the currency of the expiring policy. The discount may go up to 50 per cent and it is up to the insured to decide if he wants to transfer the same on another vehicle. If the customer sells his old vehicle, he can also be kept in abeyance and utilize it on a car bought at a later date. Voluntary deductibles-A voluntary deductible discount is offered and the discounts can go up to 35% of the premium for vehicle damage, an option that can be considered by a customer if he wants to opt out of small claims for minor damages and the insurance company will pay a claim only for the damages in excess of this limit of voluntary deductible. Your premium can be way reduced by this move. Safety features-- In order to attract two to five per cent discount on your premiums, it is necessary to install antitheft or other safety features from an approved make by your insurer. Therefore, you should provide full and exact details about your vehicle along with safety measures adopted by you in order to avail discounts. Automobile association member-- If you are a member of any designated automobile association, then you can avail discounts on own damage premium, which is applicable for private car and motorized two-wheeler policies. A discount of five per cent is given on the own damage premium. Concession on your vehicle-- If your vehicle was lying in the garage or was not in use for a minimum period of two months then upon notifying your insurance company the customer can avail a concession during renewal of the policy either by way of extending the period after expiry or a credit to the renewal premium. Online purchase-- When you buy or renew private car insurance online, some insurers offer a higher discount. The insurance company has a considerable saving on processing and distribution costs when the transaction is carried out online. Since these parameters are constantly changing, it always advisable for car owners to get in touch with their insurance company for the latest benefits available. Source: www.insure.net


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Capital Market

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

39

GSK drops scheme to raise stake in Nigerian unit JOHNSON OKANLAWON

G

laxoSmithKline yesterday said it has dropped a scheme to increase its stake in GSK Consumer Nigeria, its consumer healthcare business in the country, following opposition from minority shareholders. The decision to abandon a scheme of arrangement that would have increased its indirect ownership in the unit to 75 per cent is a fresh setback for Britain’s biggest drugmaker, which is battling a corruption scandal in China. The company said yesterday it had agreed to consult shareholders and the Securities and Exchange Commission about the proposal, including whether it should be implemented by way of a tender offer. International and local

investors have objected to a scheme by GlaxoSmithKline to purchase a larger holding in its Nigerian consumer healthcare business. The move, which is expected to cost up to $100m, follows similar recent deals in India by GSK and Unilever, as the multinationals look to raise their exposure to high-growth emerging markets. The shareholders at the court-ordered meeting today are expected to approve of the scheme. If approved, the existing shareholders will be expected to surrender 273,460,351 ordinary shares of 50 kobo in exchange for N48 per share, value that directors considered to be a fair deal. According to the company, the consummation of the scheme will create the environment for GSK Plc to provide the support

required for GSK Nigeria’s expansion and capital improvement plans, develop its product portfolio, reinforce the company’s long term commitment to GSK Nigeria as one of the leading manufacturing companies in the country, as well as achieve smaller and more manageable share capital base and thereby ensure improvement in investment ratings, including earnings per share. However, institutional investors with stakes in GSK Nigeria, including Coronation Fund Managers of South Africa and Development Capital Partners of New York, claimed the scheme of arrangement approved by the local board is highly prejudicial to minority shareholders, both in terms of price and execution. Under the scheme, shareholders have to de-

cide whether to accept GSK’s offer of N48 a share. A 75 per cent majority is required for the deal to go through. “In developed markets, related parties are precluded from voting in this type of transaction, to ensure minority investors do not get steamrollered by the majority shareholder”, said Coronation, which has a $7m holding in GSK Nigeria. But under Nigerian rules, GSK is allowed to vote its own shares and given the wide shareholder base will probably be able to force the proposal through, said Peter Townshend, Coronation’s co-portfolio manager for Africa. “It will be a bitter pill for minority shareholders to swallow if this is the case,” he added.

DAMILOLA AJAYI

T

he benchmark index of equities continued on a bearish note on the Nigerian Stock Exchange yesterday, as more investors took profit from the gains recorded last week. Specifically, the All Share index dropped by 0.62 per cent to close at 38,090.75 points, compared to the decrease of 0.02 per cent recorded the preceding day to close at 38,328.29 points. Market capitalisation depreciated by N75bn to close at N12.063trn, higher than

The Industry Goods index dipped 0.11 per cent to close at 2,265.55 points. The Alternative market securities index remained flat. Conoil Plc led the gainers’ table with N2.53 or ten per cent to close at N27.83 per share, followed by Forte Oil Plc with N2.97 or 9.98 per cent to close at N32.73 per share. Beta Glass Plc rose by 90 kobo or 9.00 per cent to close at N10.90 per share, while Continsure Plc declined by 11 kobo or 8.73 per cent to close at N1.37 per share. May and Baker Plc appreciated by 20 kobo or 7.41 per cent to close at N2.90 per

U

nited Bank for Africa is making summer travel as hassle-free as possible for its customers with its rich bouquet of card products by ensuring that customers who go on summer trips, carrying any of the bank’s prepaid or debit cards find it easy, convenient and less burdensome. The bank’s card range for summer travel includes UBA Prepaid Card, UBA Debit Mastercard, UBA Gold Debit Mastercard and UBA Visa Dual

Currency Debit Card. The bank recently introduced the UBA ‘All About U’ Debit Card which allows customers put their favourite picture on their debit card. The bank’s Divisional Head, e-Banking, Dr. Yinka Adedeji said, “With UBA Card, our customers don’t need to carry cash while going on summer holidays because they have different options to choose from.” According to him, the bank’s PTA/BTA customers can get the prepaid card for free and are able to spend up to $40,000 per annum on their card. The

card is not tied to any bank account and is internationally accepted at all Visa acceptance points (ATMs, POS and Web). He said that the bank’s debit mastercard is accepted at over 1 million ATMs across the world and over 210 countries worldwide. “The card can be used at over 32 million Merchant locations with spending limit of up to $40 000 per annum on international transactions. “However, UBA Gold Debit Mastercard and Visa Dual Currency Debit Card offer customers no restrictions to how much they

Market indicators All-Share Index 36,790.14 points Market capitalisation 11.66 trillion

GAINERS share. On the flip side, IHS Plc lost 37 kobo or 9.76 per cent to close at N3.42 per share, while Constain Plc fell by 14 kobo or 9.66 per cent to close at N1.31 per share. Trans- nationwide Express Plc dipped by 19 kobo or 9.55 per cent to close at N1.80 per share, while IPWA Plc declined by 12 kobo or 9.30 per cent to close at N1.17 per share. Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc depreciated by 52 kobo or 7.17 per cent to close at N6.73 per share. A total of 314.1 million shares valued at N2.69bn were exchanged 5,763 deals.

UBA unveils card products for summer travellers JOHNSON OKANLAWON

Source: Afrinvest

Stock Updates

Bears sustain hold as index drops 0.6% the depreciation of N2bn recorded the preceding day to close at N12.138trn. The Oil and Gas index led the sectorial indices with 3.27 per cent to close at 199.52 points, followed by the Insurance index with 2.45 per cent to close at 144.30 points. The Lotus Islamic index rose by 0.06 per cent to close at 2,666.36 points, while the Consumer Goods index shed 1.46 per cent to close at 1,079.98 points. The NSE 30- index fell by 0.70 per cent to close at 1799.85 points, while the Banking index shed 0.58 per cent to close at 423.33 points.

Source: NSE

can spend on international transactions. The cards are also accepted internationally on PoS, ATMs and online,” he added. Adedeji maintained that all the bank cards are secure and convenient adding that customers can rest assured, knowing that their transactions are protected when they use any of the bank’s prepaid or debit cards on the ATM, PoS or Web. “We have deployed advanced intelligence tools to monitor our Customers’ transaction behaviours and will quickly alert them of anything suspicious.”

COMPANY

OPENING

CLOSING

CHANGE

% CHANGE

CONOIL

25.30

27.83

2.53

10.00

FO

29.76

32.73

2.97

9.98

BETAGLAS

10.00

10.90

0.90

9.00

CONTINSURE

1.26

1.37

0.11

8.73

MAYBAKER

2.70

2.90

0.20

7.41

CORNERST

0.54

0.58

0.04

7.41

PORTPAINT

5.78

6.20

0.42

7.27

NEIMETH

1.38

1.48

0.10

7.25

CAP

45.15

48.30

3.15

6.98

7UP

65.00

69.50

4.50

6.92

CHANGE

% CHANGE

LOSERS COMPANY

OPENING

CLOSING

IHS

3.79

3.42

0.37

-9.76

COSTAIN

1.45

1.31

0.14

-9.66

TRANSEXPR

1.99

1.80

0.19

-9.55

IPWA

1.29

1.17

0.12

-9.30

NAHCO

7.25

6.73

0.52

-7.17

UPL

4.80

4.50

0.30

-6.25

ABCTRANS

1.29

1.21

0.08

-6.20

STERLNBANK

2.73

2.60

0.13

-4.76

HONYFLOUR

3.36

3.20

0.16

-4.76

ASHAKACEM

26.65

25.50

1.15

-4.32

Primary Market Auction TENOR

AMOUNT (N’mn)

RATE (%)

DATE

91-Days

24,888.90

10.35

25-July-13

182-Days

30,000.00

11.00

25-July-13

364-Days

60,000.00

14.97

25-July-13

Open Market Operations TENOR

AMOUNT (N’mn)

RATE (%)

DATE

139-Days

56,216.36

10.49

25-July-13

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Wholesale Dutch Auction System AMOUNT OFFERED

MARKET DEMAND

AMOUNT SOLD

DATE

$300m

N/A

$300m

22-Jul-13

$400m

N/A

$400m

17-Jul-13


40

Capital Market

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Stock exchange daily equities summary Equities as at July 22, 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, July 23, 2013

LG autonomy: Still long walk to freedom CONTINUED FROM PAGE 13 ity, which translates to 73, in a Senate that has 109 members. The Senate President David Mark, who spoke at the session, thanked the senators for what he described as the historic decisions they made through their votes and the efforts of the constitution review committee in completing its assignment in good time and coming up with very far-reaching recommendations. He said: “Today is a historic day in the history of democracy in this country. We have voted in what we believed in and we voted for those issues that we think will ensure that democracy continues to mature and take a firm root in this country. “I want to thank you because I believe that the committee worked very hard to be able to get us where we are now. Whatever emotions or sentiments people had to express we put them in practical terms.” While Mark commended his colleagues for a job well done, angry reactions have trailed some of the decisions of the Senate, particularly as it affects the local councils. Some analysts, who commented on the issue, queried how the lawmakers arrived at the position, given the stand of Nigerians during the public hearings. “If the Senate did not reflect the collective views expressed by Nigerians during the public hearings, whose views did they convey during the debate?” an analysts asked. NULGE, in its reaction, described the rejection as a move against the voice of the common man. The National Publicity Secretary of the union, Malam Abdulrahman Mutawalli, who stated this, however said it will not deter the group from fighting for the masses. Similarly, the immediate past Imo State chairman of the All Nigeria People’s Party, ANPP, Chief Vitalis Ajumbe, described the decision of the lawmakers as most unfortunate. He said: “It is sad to note that most governors are very happy over their persistent hijack of local government funds in the past years. It is sad that they are happy over the hijack of the third tier administration in Nigeria. The bulk of the money they spend is local government fund. I am sad with the decision.” Ajumbe alleged that most of the sitting governors sponsored some of the lawmakers and would have ultimately used their point men in the Senate to bulldoze their way. The arm twisting theory may not be far from the truth as the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, it would be recalled, had persistently insisted that governors would not give up in their campaign against local governments autonomy. Amaechi said the governors were opposed to autonomy because they believe that the councils should not be designated as federating units. He also argued that countries all over the world maintain two tiers of government and Nigeria should not be an exception, adding that the NGF as a pressure group will continue to push its opposition against local governments’ autonomy through the constitution amendment process. His views were shared by his Osun State counterpart, Rauf Aregbesola and constitutional lawyer, Prof Itse Sagay (SAN).

Sagay

Aregbesola, who was the keynote speaker at a recent forum in Lagos, noted that local government autonomy will remain impracticable except there is a fundamental restructuring of the federal system of government. According to him, Nigeria is the only country with a federal system of government that still runs a three-tier of government. His words: “There is no provision for the local government system in a federal structure. It is only the government at the centre and the state government that exist in a federal system of government. Local government should not be seen to be outside the state government. I don’t believe in the current structure in Nigeria. Allocation going direct to local governments defeats the principle of federalism but that doesn’t mean that the councils should not enjoy some level of freedom. “The local governments must be the creation of the states and supervised by them, including their structures.” Aregbesola drew inference from the federal systems in the United States, Switzerland, Austria and Germany to buttress his position, noting that “autonomy only makes sense in the relationship between the states and the centre.” Sagay, on his part, maintained that the listing of local governments in the constitution negated the principle of true federalism. Noting that autonomy for the councils means “kissing federalism goodbye,” the legal luminary described as “error of madness,” the proposal by the National Assembly that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, should be responsible for the conduct of local government elections. His words: “A local government is part and parcel of a state and therefore should not have any relationship with the Federal Government. So, the listing of local governments in the constitution is an aberration. “Ordinarily, the councils should be agencies of the states for development. So, the question of having autonomous local governments is out of it. Listing of local governments in the constitution is peculiarly a Nigerian problem. The involvement of the National Assembly in local government creation is wrong.” He cited Section 7 of the 1999 Constitution to buttress his point, saying that

Aregbesola

THERE IS NO PROVISION FOR THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT SYSTEM IN A

FEDERAL STRUCTURE.

IT IS ONLY THE

GOVERNMENT AT THE CENTRE AND THE STATE GOVERNMENT THAT EXIST IN A FEDERAL SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT issues of local government creation and maintenance is a responsibility of the state and that where this is altered, it is no longer a federal system. “Every state should decide how many local governments it wants to create and fund them. The councils should not be mentioned in the constitution. The idea of a federation account is a problem. Why do we have to share from one account and still say we are a federation?” He blamed the anomalies in the system on Nigerian lawmakers, whom he said have some form of “insecurity in their thinking,” arguing that in a true federal system, the states are free to create and use the local government as it wishes. Despite the Senate’s position, hope for autonomy for the councils is not completely lost, as the House of Representatives is yet to begin its debate on the report submitted by its committee on the constitution amendment. The debate, scheduled to commence last week failed to hold due to indecision on a method to adopt and complaints by over 20 lawmakers that they were yet to be served copies of the document. Indication that the House may not toe the position of the Senate hinges on the fact that the green chamber had even before the constitution amendment process, initiated a bill for an act to amend not only the provisions of Sections 7 of the Constitution, but also Section 162 in order to provide for independence and financial autonomy of the local government councils. The bill was sponsored by the member

41

representing Anaocha/Njikoka/Dunukofia federal constituency of Anambra State, Hon. Uche Ekwunife. The lawmaker had in her presentation of the bill lamented the level of underdevelopment at the local governments’ level across the country owing to neglect by the various state governments. According to her, the impact of governance has not been felt at the councils in terms of changing the lives of the people as funds meant for them are usually withheld by the states. She maintained that until the constitution is amended, the councils would continue to be under the apron strings of the state governors. Her words: “The only way to liberate the people at the grassroots is to reposition the administration of the councils to provide essential services to the people.” Her view was shared by some eminent Nigerians including former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, former Senate President Ken Nnamani and the Shehu of Borno, Abubakar Ibn Garbai, who argued that financial autonomy for local governments remains the only way out for the nation’s poor state of development, especially at the grassroots level. Babangida noted that development will be even and sustained if allocations meant for the various local government councils are released to them directly. He, however, remarked that while the money is released to them directly, they should be made to account for how it is spent by way of monitoring the various projects initiated and executed to maintain quality. The former military ruler pointed out that his agitation for financial autonomy for the third tier of government was borne out of the starvation of some local government councils in the past, especially during the first democratically-elected local governments when they were starved of legitimate funds for belonging to a different political party than the party at the federal level. Abubakar on his part said the joint account regime had reduced the third tier to nothing, while Nnamani, was of the opinion that autonomy should be granted to the local governments, so that they could carry out their responsibilities. To the Borno monarch, “the councils, as the closest tier of government at the grassroots, should be allowed to have financial autonomy. Their services should include health care, education and poverty eradication at the grassroots level. The local governments are supposed to help in eradicating both rural and urban poverty as well as enhance the quality of life of the people.” While the Senate may not have the final say on the issue, as there will be a conference of both houses of the National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives) should the House disagree with its (Senate) position, Nigerians are anxiously waiting for how the seeming ambiguities and contradictions in the constitution which have aided the state governments in diverting funds meant for the councils would be tackled. However, whichever way it goes, a sure bet is that the amendment to the 1999 Constitution would not be said to be effective if the peoples’ views as expressed during the public hearings are jettisoned in the process.


42

Politics

THE

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Eulogies, as Senate honours Ewherido

PARLIAMENT The Senate, last week, held a special session in honour of late Pius Akpor Ewherido, who died at the National Hospital on June 30, GEORGE OJI reports.

I

f death were to visit the senators according to age, Pius Akpor Ewherido probably would have fallen among the last 10 category of persons to die. Yet at 50, when life is truly about to begin, Ewherido still found favour in the eyes of the Lord to be taken away at the prime of his life. Who then are we to question God? The late Ewherido was the only senator who was elected to the 7th Senate on the platform of the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP). A lawyer by education, he spent the greater part of his life as a politician. The first shot he had at politics, he aimed at becoming a local government chairman. Fate played trick on him. That project failed. Still convinced that his destiny lied in politics, he tried his hands again in parliament. This resulted in his being elected into the Delta State House of Assembly where he was later elected as the Deputy Speaker of that House. He was later to act for a while as the Speaker following some political turmoil, which eventually consumed the Speaker at the time. While in the Senate, he was the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport. He belonged to four other committees. But clearly, where he committed most of his services was in the Senate Committee on Education because of his love for the sector and the passion to right the many years of wrongs suffered by the sector. Even though he was the only senator on the platform of the DPP, he extended his hands of love and friendship to all while at the Senate, as clearly attested to by his colleagues. No wonder last week when the Senate held a valedictory service on his behalf, the Senate plenary was nearly full to brim as an unprecedented 95 senators attended the session. The Senate on that day also hosted the Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, who was reported to have done everything within human capability to ensure that Ewherido survived the battle of death. The rest other persons who enjoyed the special privilege of the red chamber that day were members of the House of Representatives from Delta State, members of the Delta State Executive Council, some traditional rulers from the state, family members and friends of the deceased lawmaker. As a mark of respect for Ewherido by his colleagues, the valedictory session was the only item on the order paper of the upper chamber that day. This was as a minute silence was observed in his honour. As senators took turns to testify about the late lawmaker, a number of them, including Senators Olugbenga Ashafa, Olubunmi Adetunmbi and the former governor of Plateau State, Joshua Dariye could not conceal their emotions as they busted in uncontrollable tears. At the end of the special session, which lasted for close to two hours, the senators filed out to pay their last respect to Ewherido. As

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Ewherido

HE WAS PASSIONATE ABOUT THE NIGERIAN PROJECT. HE MAY HAVE SURVIVED IF OUR HOSPITALS WERE NOT MADE MERE CONSULTING CLINICS they filed past the casket bearing the remains of the late lawmaker, which was draped in the national colours of green-white-green, more tears and sobbing took place. In his tribute to Ewherido, Leader of the Senate, Victor Ndoma-Egba, described the late lawmaker as a quintessential, cerebral, erudite, clear in thought and language legislator. He said when Ewherido brought his Corporate Manslaughter bill in the chamber, many were wont to dismiss it as legislative over indulgence or a gimmick. However, by the time he was done with his lead debate, it was clear that that bill was one of the most intellectually challenging bills ever brought on the floor of the Senate. That bill, according to him, challenged conventional thinking and even challenged jurisprudence. “He was unequivocal of the positions he took and conditionality was not a justification for any position or view he held. His death, coming when his family is still so young, when the Senate should have benefited from his remarkable insights into the debate we have just had on constitutional review, when his constituency was celebrating his robustness and versatility, when Nigerians yearning for the elevation of governance, a virile legislature, he died at the age of 50 when life is truly about to begin, is an unspeakable tragedy,” NdomaEgba said. For the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, “Ewherido was a quintessential parliamentarian who served his community and country creditably. He was the deputy speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly and brought his experience to the Senate. He also came with his training as a lawyer. He was intellectual in

his approach to the business of parliament, he was fearless and of course he had bills to show that he was here.” Ekweremadu said the good thing about him was that Ewherido was born into a Christian family, with strong faith to their creator, his brother a reverend gentleman, his wife a very devout Christian. Senator Ganiyu Solomon said he first noticed the late lawmaker during his contributions to one of the debates in the Senate. He said Ewherido’s delivery was very powerful and brilliant. His words: “I also noticed the force and depth of his arguments and the persuasiveness of his submissions. His voice was a reassurance that our parliament has come of age. I noted that he was one of our hopefuls, one of our rising stars, whose limits will go beyond this hallowed chamber. Unfortunately, death came and short-changed us prematurely and his star dimmed prematurely and our hopes shattered.” Senator Sola Adeyeye, who said he became intimate with the late lawmaker during their work as members of the Senate Committee on Education, recalled that Ewherido was a very tough man, a magnificently brilliant man, with uncommon courage and striking diligence, with gently wisdom. He said when Ewherido came to the Committee on Education, it was obvious he had done his home work to conduct any oversight function. He recalled that the deceased parliamentarian asked questions that had clinical dexterity and precision, stressing that he had mastered the finest nuances of senatorial interrogations. Ewherido, Adeyeye said, was one who sought the progress of this republic and always a partner in progress. For Senator Zainab Abdulkadir Kure, the late senator was an intelligent and hard-working colleague of ours. Recalling that Ewherido was the Vice Chairman of the Marine Transport, Kure said she had to snatch him from the education committee and this was because he (Ewherido) was so passionate about the transformation of the education sector of this country. Commenting on his death, she said, “It was his time and there was nothing anybody could do. The last thing he said to

me before he left my office the last time we met was that I want to go and look at you people’s submissions, he meant the Committee on Constitution Review. He said as a constitutional lawyer I want to go and shred those clauses into pieces before putting them together. He shook hands with every of my aides before he said goodbye to all of them and I did not know that Pius was going forever.” Senator Ifeanyi Okowa simply said: “We mourn a colleague and a friend but he was more than a colleague to me, he was truly my brother. He was a strong pillar in the Delta State House of Assembly. He was obviously one of the finest politicians of our time. He was so peaceful and at the same time very courageous. He was truly distinguished. He had integrity and character. He was as resourceful as he was friendly. Despite the fact that he was the only DPP senator, he was a friend to all. He loved his people and his people also loved him a lot. “He cared so much about Nigeria, but he care much more about his people. He was the light with which so many people saw political light. To the people of Delta Central, the Urohbo land, they have lost a true son and a great mobiliser and a star in the politics of Delta State. In life, we loved him and in death, we miss him but we shall continue to cherish him. Senator Ayogu Eze said “Pius was one whose presence looms very large even from a distance. When he was here, he had a very large presence and a strong character. In terms of danger, Ewherido was always there commanding the crowd. He exhibited that kind of courage here. He was a man who was armed with a lot of intellect and courage. “We are pained by his departure, he has left his footprints on the sand of time and no amount of mourning can wipe away those footprints. He was also an exceptional person because in spite of the fact that he was in DPP, the relationship between him and Delta State remained cordial.” Senator Ehigie Uzamere said: “He was not always afraid of death. He had a dream. He was passionate about his people; he was passionate about the Nigerian project. He may have survived if our hospitals were not made mere consulting clinics, he may have survived if our health sector has been well funded.” Senator Abdul Ningi was of the view that, “as we mourn like this, we need to go back to our creator. The first day he spoke in this chamber we all turned to look at him. Because we were experienced parliamentarians, we knew that we have gotten a parliamentarian of character, we had seen somebody with focus, somebody with energy and desire. He was never frivolous, he just doesn’t speak anyhow. He was never a pretender. “Ewherido in any issue was never neutral. As part of his legislative character, he is always seated on his seat and consulting his legislative order and as a constitutional lawyer, he raised a number of constitutional orders to guide our proceedings here. Pius being a DPP member remained historical because he was the only person that was elected on the platform of DPP and he died as a DPP member. Pius will not take issues on regional issues, he would not take issues on religious sentiments. Pius remained what he is with a lot of vision, he was always focused.”


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

43


44

Politics

THE

PARLIAMENT

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

2013 Budget and a curious volte-face

Before its adjournment this week, the House of Representatives would have passed the President’s amendments to the 2013 Budget Law to the Senate for harmonisation, contrary to its earlier posturing that doing so would amount to unconstitutionality, TORDUE SALEM reports.

A

fter brickbats, buck-passing and muscle-flexing between the Presidency and the National Assembly, the House of Representatives caved in last week Thursday and took President Goodluck Jonathan’s proposed amendments to the 2013 Appropriation Act, through second reading. The amendments that came in three volumes to the Senate and the House were referred by the Green Chamber to its committees on Finance and Appropriation for “further work”. The House is expected to treat the proposed adjustments to the money law, before its adjournment by the end of the month for a recess that would drag till the second week of September. The House, like its Senate counterpart, enjoys a statutory prerogative on legislative procedure, but has over the years shown that it can only bark over money legislations and fail to bite, when the push gets the shove. The National Assembly had on December 20, 2012 passed the sum of N4.987 trillion as the national budget for the 2013 fiscal year. President Jonathan had proposed N4.924 trillion but the legislators increased it by N63 billion. Not comfortable with some of the allocations made to various sectors of the economy and projects, President Jonathan brought an amendment bill to the National Assembly in March. The House in its wisdom, shelved consideration on the bill for two months citing constitutional reasons. At a press briefing in April, the spokesman of the House, Hon. Zakari Muhammed hinted journalists that the House may dump the proposals, because they were a complete reworking of the budget as passed earlier by lawmakers and not a proposed supplement as required by the constitution. As hinted by the House spokesman, on May 24, the House declined consideration of the proposals from the Presidency. The proposals were also dumped by the Senate. A motion to reject the proposals was brought on the floor by Hon. Yakubu Dogara (PDP-Bauchi). The lawmaker had prevailed on the House to jettison the proposals, because according to him they contravened section 80(4) of the 1999 Constitution, which gives the National Assembly powers over the purse. Hon. Kehinde Odeneye (ACN-Ogun) had disclosed in an exclusive interview with National Mirror that the decision of the House came after spirited efforts were made to have the Presidency narrow down

Tambuwal

Okonjo-Iweala

to the specifics. Odeneye said: “It is very unfortunate that we are still at this stage on the budget. I wonder why people call this a Supplementary Budget in the first place, because it appears we have a new budget before us. “What they brought back as supplementary budget is not specific and they should not call it amendment, rather, it is a new budget. That’s not what we were expecting from the Presidency. ” The President had, however, insisted that without amendment it would be difficult to implement the budget. The House was not willing to consider the amendment because it argued that the constitution provided for supplementary budget and not an amendment. But with the pressure from the executive, and explanations made to the House Joint Committee on Finance and Appropriation last Tuesday by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on the need for the amendment to be done, the House decided to jettison its grievances on the budget and pass it. Okonjo-Iweala had in a television programme told Nigerians that the Federal Government might not be able to pay workers salaries beginning from September if the amendment to the 2013 Budget was not passed as soon as possible by the lawmakers. Speaking when she appeared before the committee, the minister said that the 2013 budget had so far been implemented to the tune of 67 per cent. According to her, a total of N600 billion has been released to Ministries, Agencies and Departments, MDAs, for capital projects. She appealed to the lawmakers to pass the amended budget to enable MDAs pay salaries and execute capital projects. Asked why the Federal Government was insisting on the amended budget instead of sending a supplementary budget to the National Assembly, Okonjo-Iweala explained that the government could not send a supplementary budget because such would have been necessary if it had extra revenue and was seeking approval to spend the money. She said the situation prevalent had to do with government’s request that the N32 billion the National Assembly took from

some sectors and allocated to other sectors should be re-allocated to their previous subheads to enable the government implement the projects as proposed in the initial budget, without much difficulties. She insisted that apart from the action of the National Assembly going to affect payment of salaries, it would also impede the execution of some road projects and other capital projects. Lawmakers also raised questions on why the Presidency was not interested in the implementation of capital projects. But in her response, Okonjo-Iweala stated that the Federal Ministry of Finance on the directive of President Jonathan has opened a special account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for constituency projects. She said N50 billion has so far been deposited into the account. According to her, the Minister for Special Duties, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, was assigned to oversee the implementation of all constituency projects in the country and will henceforth certify all contracts. The minister explained that all monies appropriated for constituency projects would be kept in the account pending the preparedness of MDAs to execute the projects. Apparently to please the lawmakers, she added that the President has directed that constituency projects be given priority. Leading the debate on the general principles of the bill, the Leader of the House, Hon. Mulikat Akande-Adeola (PDP-Oyo) appealed to her colleagues to pass the bill to enable the executive realise its Transformation Agenda for the year 2013.

THE HOUSE IS YET TO EXPLAIN WHY IT DUMPED WELL MEANING

NIGERIANS

WHO TOOK SIDES WITH IT IN ITS BATTLE FOR ORDER AND SUDDENLY EMBRACE AMENDMENTS TO THE

APPROPRIATION ACT

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Contributing, the Minority Whip of the House, Hon. Samson Osagie (ACN-Edo) tasked the Committees on Finance, Appropriation and other relevant committees to take the MDAs to task to thoroughly defend their personnel costs before the amendment. He argued that the budget amendment bill was not responsible for the nonimplementation of the budget, insisting, “we must establish that the claims in the amendment proposal are true before the final passage.” However, the Speaker of the House, Aminu Tambuwal who noticed that some members were spoiling for another fight against the amendment, pleaded with his colleagues to allow the bill pass through second reading, so that a thorough work could be done on the document at the committee level to resolve all the issues in the proposed amendments. But some members kicked right in the chambers, as the decision to sheathe swords progressed. Some legislators, who spoke with National Mirror were worried that the House would go back on its earlier decision to throw out what was clearly a breach of the constitution. The war may have been won by the Presidency for the budget, but issues of implementation still hang on. For example, the recurring complaint from the Finance Minister is that because of rampant oil theft and the resulting shortfalls in oil production, the full implementation of the budget would likely suffer. CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, also painted a bleak picture on the finances available to the federation at the present. He told the House that both the external reserves of the Federation and the Excess Crude Account, ECA, had depleted in the course of months. Later on, the Speaker of the House, Tambuwal at a forum of West African Development Partners and the European Union called for help from the country’s development partners in arresting the oil theft pandemic. Fights over budgets are pathetically recurrent in Nigeria since 1999. It is either ministries or agencies are not remitting to the consolidated revenue fund (the purse of the Federal Government) or the remittances frittered off by government on white elephant projects that end up abandoned. The 2012 Budget alone, according to the House Committee on Finance, accounted for over 2,000 abandoned projects, which have been supplanted by new projects in the 2013 Budget. The National Assembly in general and the House of Representatives in particular has led the fight against the prioritisation of the recurrent budget by government and the unaccountability of agencies of government like the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and the Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, but the battle never gets won against these agencies, primarily because the leakages in the revenue generated by these agencies make way into the purses of highly placed people. The House of Representatives was right in insisting that a proposed amendment to the 2013 Budget is alien to the constitution, not withstanding the arguments about constituency projects. But the House is yet to explain why it dumped well meaning Nigerians who took sides with it in its battle for order and suddenly embrace amendments to the Appropriation Act as proposed by Jonathan.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

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Community Mirror It is a clear fact that Igbo have been relegated to sixth position in the political equation of Nigeria.

Man reminded in prison for fraud

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IMO STATE GOVERNOR; ROCHAS OKOROCHA

How I was arrested for kidnapping a Briton – Suspect FRANCIS SUBERU

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he Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Umar Manko said his Command has rescued a Briton kidnapped last Tuesday, while one of the suspected kidnappers was arrested with arms. The suspect, Benson Chukwuemeka is currently detained at the State Intelligence Bureau, SIB, of the Command over his alleged role in the abduction of the British national, Dickson Lee, on July 16, 2013 at Mafoluku area along the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road, Lagos. The 27-year-old suspect told Community Mirror that he was arrested while trying to collect a $1 million ransom at Satellite

Town Estate on Badagry/Seme Road, from officials of the British High Commission. He, however, received a shocker when the supposed officials turned out to be a combined team of detectives from the SIB and Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS. While being paraded at the command headquarters, Ikeja by Mr. Umar Manko, Benson disclosed that he was grabbed by his right arm as he attempted to collect the ransom from one of the occupants in the car, at a spot he had been told to wait. He said: “Ugoh and I drove on a motorcycle to collect the money on Sunday. Ugoh drove the bike, while I sat behind him. Ugoh was introduced to me by a friend, Nonye, who was at the camp, but

Dickson

asked me to accompany him to collect the ransom. “Ugoh sat on the motorcycle, as he pointed towards a car parked by the roadside, even as I thought, he knew the occupants. Before we got to the spot he was always communicating with the “officials”. It was one of the occupants who beckoned at me to come closer as he wound down the door glass. “As I tried to collect the money in a bag, he held onto my hand. That was how I was arrested. It was only Ugoh who escaped with gunshots fired at him by the detectives”, said the Abia stateborn suspect. According to him, he took the detectives to their camp in a swampy area of Okota in Isolo, Lagos.

Narrating his involvement, he said “It was Nonye, who invited me to Lagos when my business collapsed. I deal in second-hand clothing and based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State but operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service confiscated my goods. “When I narrated my plight to Nonye, he asked me to come to Lagos last Friday. He promised to lend me N200, 000. On July 19, 2013, I went to the camp at Okota and there met the Briton who he kept in a private room. That was all I knew of the victim”, Benson said. However, Manko said Lee Dickson, who was rescued, did not sustain any injuries, except a gunshot fired at one of his legs when the gang members attacked him and his friend, one

Kodjo who had gone to pick him at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, while arriving from the United Kingdom aboard a KLM Airline. He said: “The victim was said to have boarded a KLM Airline from Amsterdam to Lagos and landed at Muritala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja. While being driven in a black jeep, he was attacked and kidnapped by unknown gunmen on July 16 along Airport road, Mafoluku and taken to an unknown destination. The driver sustained gun injury during the process. On receiving the news, a team of operatives were detailed to investigate the case. The victim’s relatives were advised to negotiate ransom with the kidnappers. ``The GSM number used by the suspects was sent to the service provider. After long negotiations, the kidnappers accepted to collect a ransom of N7.5 million. On July 21, at 12.30pm, a team of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad cordoned and arrested the suspect, who had come to collect the ransom along the LagosBadagry Expressway,’’ Manko said. The Commissioner said the suspect, on interrogation, confessed to the crime, stressing that he led the operatives to their hideout at Ago-Okota, Lagos, where the victim was rescued unhurt, while other gang members escaped with bullet wounds. He said efforts are on to arrest those now at large, even as he allayed fears of foreigners against travelling to Nigeria, and Lagos in particular to engage in genuine business, assuring that the police would protect them. He, however, warned against payment of ransom by victim’s families, adding that such encouraged kidnappings.

Benson

Driver, suspected ritualists escape lynching WOLE ADEDEJI

ILORIN

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taxi driver and two other persons narrowly escaped being lynched, at the Ilorin Muslim Cemetery, Osere, following their attempt to smuggle and bury a corpse with missing organs. An eye-witness said the trio drove into the cemetery through the cemetery gates, without permission, an action that drew suspicion and ire of the security

guards, as this attracted passing commercial motorcyclists and others who quickly converged on the place, thereby preventing the suspects’ from fleeing. It was gathered that after they were quizzed for failing to observe the normal procedure, they were forced to open the car boot where a female corpse was discovered. Witnesses say upon that on further inspection of the corpse, it was discovered that the two eyes, breasts and private parts had been removed.

Following this, one of the guards was said to have alerted the police who promptly responded. Reports say the men were about to be lynched, but for the timely response of the security personnel and a renowned Islamic scholar and radio preacher, Dr.Abubakar Aliagan who arrived at the scene. Aliagan, who is responsible for overseeing the Muslim cemetery, was said to have later left with the suspects and police personnel. However, Dr. Aliagan was quoted to have remarked that the issue

was not as serious as portrayed. “The problem is that the suspects were from the rural areas. They saw the cemetery gate open and drove in without enquiring on the procedure for burial therein,” he was reported to have said. The corpse was said to have plasters over its eyes, and when removed, they were found intact. The men were said to have come to Ilorin to seek medical attention for the deceased at a hospital in Oloje. The scholar said he followed

them to the hospital, where he confirmed that the victim was involved in an accident and died at the hospital. According to Aliagan, the suspects were cleared after thorough investigations, but were not allowed to bury their dead in the cemetery. “To burry a corpse in the Muslim cemetery, an Imam and 10 other people are required. But since they did not fulfill that, they had to take the corpse to their village”, he was quoted to have said.


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Community Mirror

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Man reminded in prison for fraud NWABUEZE OKONKWO ONITSHA

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n Onitsha Chief Magistrate Court presided by Chief Magistrate Okonkwo has sentenced a 34-year old man, Anayo Okafor in the prison custody for allegedly defrauding a sales girl of N2.3 million at Bridge-Head Drug Market, Onitsha, Anambra state. In his ruling after hearing from the prosecuting police

Flood sacks Anambra village

counsel, Mr. Vincent Ogbu and defence counsel, J. S. Ekezie, Chief Magistrate Okonkwo rejected an oral application for bail pleaded by Ekezie and adjourned the case to August 26, for further hearing. Earlier, the police prosecutor, Ogbu had told the court that the accused, Okafor had on March 20, this year, deceitfully received N2.3 million from one Miss Nkechi Onyemachi, a sales girl of Mr. Festus Okorie, at the Bridge-head Market, Onitsha as well as hypnotizing other Onyemachi to abscond from her

master’s shop. When the charge was read, the accused person admitted that he operated from ObibiOchasi community in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State, adding that he had swindled three other sales girls on different occasions of N2.3 million and N800,000 respectively inside the market, while duping an Nnewi-based banker of N1 million. Okafor, however, pleaded not guilty to the two count charge brought against him. One of the victims and a com-

plainant, Onyemachi, narrated her ordeal and how she was hypnotized by Okafor and one other accomplice, still at large. The defence counsel, Ekezie, appealed to the court to consider his bail application since the offence was bail-able, adding, “My Lord, this alleged offence inputted against my client is bail-able and I see no reason why the prosecutor should oppose it”. Earlier, Police Prosecutor, Ogbu had opposed the bail application because according to him, Okafor had been a repeat offender, who had a case at the

state High Court, in which he jumped bail and was re-arrested on July 8 when he duped a female banker. “I am opposed to the bail application since he is a repeat offender and had jumped bail previously until similar case was reported against him at Fegge Police Station on July 8 and he was re-arrested, adding, the addresses and phone numbers he gave were not genuine after police investigations and verifications. So, my Lord, I vehemently oppose his bail for public safety”, Ogbu pleaded.

NWABUEZE OKONKWO ONITSHA

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he residents of Umusiome village, Nkpor in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, are now counting their losses following a flood that ravaged residential homes and destroyed properties worth N50 million. According to witnesses, the flood occurred following a torrential rainfall. Some of the houses were submerged in flood waters, leading to some of the inhabitants fleeing, while others were seen evacuating their household properties. Some of the victims included a retired Deputy Superintendent of Police, DSP, Lawrence Ebem, the former chairman of Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Idemili branch, Barrister Chike Nonyelu, Boniface Anene, Patrick Obiogbolu, Ebele Onyebuchi, among others.

A mother with her child run across the expressway on Agege Motor Road, Oshodi,Lagos.

PHOTO:ADEMOLA AKINLABI

Senate denies endorsing underage marriage CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2

marriage. Uwais, who made his position known via an online resource, Sahara Reporters, insisted that there is nothing under the Islamic law that stipulates or recognises child marriage or that says that any girl that is married shall be deemed an adult. Uwais said: “Once again, Senator Yerima is in the news, claiming Islam as the basis for his argument that a girl automatically transforms into an adult of ‘full age’ once she is married, with the attendant responsibilities that relate to the renunciation of citizenship, irrespective of her age or mental capacity. Because the Senator from Zamfara State has gone public with his personal comprehension of the Shari’a, it has become necessary to respond publicly to his utterances. “It should be pointed out, however, that several media reports on the constitutional re-

view debate at the Senate give the impression that underage marriage has been endorsed by the Senate Chambers. Facts are that S.29 of the 1979 Constitution permits a Nigerian citizen of ‘full age’ to renounce his or her citizenship by declaration in a prescribed manner, for which purpose ‘full age’ was stated to be 18 years and above. The subsection also provides that, ‘any woman who is married shall be deemed to be of full age’. In its current efforts to review the Constitution, the Senate Committee had determined that the particular subsection should be deleted, basically because citizenship has no bearing on gender, as for example, voting, the right to drive a car, possess a weapon or such similar social interactions that are evolving or are germane to a democratic nation. “Senator Yerima, however, vehemently argued (and lob-

bied) against the removal of the clause, on the grounds that deleting that clause was against (his understanding of) Islam. In his understanding, a girl, once married, automatically assumes the full mental capacity and responsibility to consciously make the prescribed declaration of renouncing her citizenship. “This position needs to scrutinise carefully, against the backdrop of similar positions that obtain under the Shari’a and in our context, as a nation? “Contrary to the position conveyed by the Senator from Zamfara, there is certainly no unanimity of positions on such contemporary matters of social interaction, within Islamic jurists or the various Schools of Thought. “Surely where there is ‘silence in the texts’ (i.e primary sources) or lack of unanimity as regards a particular practice, that opening allows for a society

to determine for itself what is in its best interest (maslaha), in its own context.” Meanwhile, Nigerian students have condemned the move to legalise underage marriage, describing it as a step to debase womanhood. The students, under the aegis of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, who urged the Senate to reverse the move, also sought the prosecution of Yerima at the International Court of Justice, ICJ, Hague, for alleged child abuse, having married a 13-year-old Egyptian girl. In a statement in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, yesterday, NANS Chairman, Ekiti Axis, Comrade OluwadamilareBewaji, described as sad and unprogressive, the annulment of constitutionally recognised age for adulthood by the Senate. The students said the step by the Senate had brought serious

ignominy to the nation in the eyes of the international community, adding that the action must be challenged by all rightthinking Nigerians. The students called for the immediate reversal of the action, saying: “We hereby pass a vote of no confidence in the upper chamber of the National Assembly over this un-progressive action and dishonour they had brought to our culture. “How can the Senate of the most populous nation in Africa debated and passed such action? We want to say that children under age 18 and below must be constitutionally protected and accommodated in our constitution. “We also believe that Senator Ahmed Yerima must be tried at ICJ. We believe the distinguished senator must be tried for child abuse having taken a 13-year old Egyptian as a wife”, they said


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

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World News

Two powerful earthquakes hit China, at least 75 killed

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Millions of sim cards are vulnerable to hack attack -Expert

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flaw with mobile phones’ Sim card technology is putting millions of people at risk of being spied on and robbed, according to a leading security expert. Karsten Nohl has said he has found a way to discover some Sims’ digital keys by sending them a special text message. He warned criminals could potentially use the technique to listen in on calls or steal cash. Industry organisation - the GSMA - said it was looking into the findings. “Karsten’s early disclosure to the GSMA has given us an opportunity for preliminary analysis,” said a spokeswoman for the association, which represents global network operators, “We have been able to consider the implications and provide guidance to those network operators and Sim vendors that may be impacted. “It would appear that a minority of Sims produced against older standards could be vulnerable.” Mr Nohl has posted preliminary details of the vulnerability on the website of his company, Berlin-based Security Research Labs. Sim (subscriber identity module) cards effectively act as a security token, authenticating a user’s identity with their network operator. They also store a limited amount of data such as text messages, contacts’ telephone numbers and details used for some applications - including a number of payment and banking services.

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outh Africa’s first democratically elected President Nelson Mandela, 95, is showing “sustained improvement” in hospital, a government statement said, yesterday. However, he remains in a critical condition, said the statement from President Jacob Zuma’s office. Mandela was admitted to a private hospital in the capital, Pretoria, on 8 June with a recurring lung infection. Revered as the father of the nation, he celebrated his 95th birthday in hospital last week. Zuma visited Mr Mandela on Monday and assured him of “the

“I am now glad that there is a well-organized and planned withdrawal (by Ethiopian soldiers) and the space is already being occupied by Somali forces.” – Ethiopian Foreign Minister, Tedros Adhanom

Family accuses Egypt’s military of kidnapping Morsi PAUL ARHEWE

WITH AGENCY REPORTS

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he family of Egypt’s ousted president lashed out at the military yesterday, accusing the generals of kidnapping Mohammed Morsi, who has been detained incommunicado in an unknown location for nearly three weeks. The statement by Morsi’s family at a Cairo press conference underlined the unknown fate of Egypt’s first freely elected president. Morsi has not been seen and has had no known contact with lawyers, family or supporters since the military ousted him on July 3 after mass protests nationwide demanding his removal. During that time, the Islamist leader has become a tool for both sides. The new military-backed government has used Morsi to put pressure on his Muslim Brotherhood, launching criminal investigations without actually bringing charges against him. Government officials have said only that he is safe, is well cared for and is being held for his own protection. The Brotherhood, in turn, has sought to drum up sympathy by saying Morsi’s detention shows the military’s coup is taking the country into dictatorship, as it tries to expand street protests demanding he be reinstated as president. European Union foreign ministers on Monday called for the release of Morsi and “all political detainees,” saying it was among their key priorities for Egypt’s

Morsi holding a rally in Cairo Egypt, recently before his ouster.

new leadership. The United States has also urged Morsi’s release. Along with Morsi, at least five other senior Brotherhood figures are in detention. At yesterday’s press conference, Morsi’s daughter Shaimaa read out a statement by the family, saying, “We hold the leaders of the bloody military coup fully responsible for the safety and security of the president.” One of Morsi’s sons, Osama, described his father’s detention as the “embodiment of the abduction of popular will and a whole nation,” and said the

Photo: AP

family will “take all legal actions” to end his detention. “What happened is a crime of kidnapping,” said Osama, who is a lawyer. “I can’t find any legal means to have access to him.” He said that the family met with Morsi for the last time on July 3, shortly before military chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi announced the president’s ouster. Since then, they have had no contact with him. The son warned el-Sissi “and his coup leaders against harming the life, health or safety of the legitimate president, our father.”

Mandela showing sustained improvement –Govt

A man holding a ruling party poster of Mandela’s face outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where he is being treated in Pretoria, South Africa, last week. Photo: AP

love and support of all South Africans”, the statement said. Mandela became South Africa’s

president in 1994 after white minority rule ended. He spent 27 years in prison after

taking up arms to fight for democracy. Mandela’s grandson Mandla, who went to see him on Sunday, said the former president was getting “stronger and stronger every day”. Hs grandfather’s recovery “flies in the face of those who have been busy spreading lies that Madiba [Mr Mandela’s clan name] is in a vegetative state and just waiting for his support machines to be switched off,” he said in a statement, Reuters news agency reports.

WORLD BULLETIN

Ugandan police arrest opposition leader to prevent rallies Police arrested Uganda’s leading opposition figure yesterday saying he was about to stage illegal rallies, in what will be seen as the latest crackdown on dissent in the oil-rich African country. Kizza Besigye has been detained several times since he championed opposition demonstrations that rocked parts of the capital and other cities during 2011 elections. A security crackdown on those protests left at least nine people dead and tarnished the image of veteran President Yoweri Museveni. Opposition activists last week said they were planning more rallies against what they saw as unfair taxes on piped water and kerosene. “The law allows us to carry out preventive arrest,” deputy police spokesman Patrick Onyango told Reuters. “We had information that Besigye was leaving his home to commit crimes by staging illegal assemblies and we arrested him,” he added. One of Besigye’s aides, Francis Mwijukye, told Reuters the opposition leader had been taken to a prison in Mukono district, about 40 km (25 miles) east of the capital Kampala.

Pirates release oil tanker hijacked off West Africa Pirates have released an oil products tanker and its 24 Indian crew after it was hijacked off the Gabon coast last week, the vessel’s operator said yesterday, in the most southerly attack yet off the coast of West Africa. A surge in piracy in the Gulf of Guinea region including waters off Nigeria, Africa’s No. 1 oil producer and a significant source of cocoa and metals for world markets, is jacking up costs for shipping firms. Pirates seized the Malteseflagged Cotton tanker on July 15 near Gabon’s Port Gentil in the first reported attack in that area in the past five years. Cotton’s Turkish operator, Geden Lines, said on Monday the pirates had left the vessel in the early hours of the morning and its captain had resumed command. “The master has confirmed that all 24 Indian crew members are safe and in good condition,” Geden Lines said. “The vessel is now on her way to a secure port.” Unlike waters off the coast of East Africa, where ships can move past at high speed with armed guards on board, many vessels have to anchor off West African coastal nations, with little protection, making them a soft target for criminals.


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World News

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Mass al-Qaeda jailbreak in Iraq

WORLD BULLETIN

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France stands by veil ban after riots

France’s interior minister yesterday defended a ban on wearing full-face veils in public after a police check on a Muslim woman caused two nights of rioting near Paris, exposing tensions in immigrantheavy suburbs. The 2010 law was brought in by conservative former president Nicolas Sarkozy and targets burqa and niqab garments that conceal the face, rather than the headscarf that is more common among French Muslim women. A police check on a couple in the southwest suburb of Trappes provoked an angry confrontation that led overnight on Friday to a police station being surrounded by several hundred people, some hurling rocks. Another building was torched in several hours of street violence that led to six arrests.

EU adds Hezbollah’s military wing to terrorism list

The European Union agreed yesterday to put the armed wing of Hezbollah on its terrorism blacklist, a move driven by concerns over the Lebanese militant group’s roles in a bus bombing in Bulgaria and the Syrian war. The powerful Lebanese Shi’ite movement, an ally of Iran, has attracted concern in Europe and around the world in recent months for its role sending thousands of fighters to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government, an intervention that turned the tide of a two-year-old civil war. Britain and the Netherlands have long pressed their EU peers to impose sanctions on the Shi’ite Muslim group, citing evidence it was behind an attack in the coastal Bulgarian city of Burgas a year ago, which killed five Israelis and their driver. Until now, many EU governments had resisted lobbying from Washington and Israel to blacklist the group, warning such a move could fuel instability in Lebanon and add to tensions in the Middle East.

Insecurity: Afghan lawmakers vote to sack minister

The Afghan parliament has voted to replace Interior Minister Mujtaba Patang, accusing him of failing to tackle insecurity. MPs voted by 136-60 to ask President Hamid Karzai to find a replacement. However, President Karzai has said Patang will stay while the Supreme Court considers whether parliament had legal grounds for dismissing him. Patang said the vote was the result of a plot against him by those with ties to organised crime. His predecessor Bismillah Khan was voted out by MPs last year, who also accused him of not doing enough to improve security. Patang, then deputy interior minister, was promoted to replace him. One of the criticisms levelled at Patang by MPs was that he has been unable to protect the vital Kandahar-to-Kabul road from attacks by Taliban militants.

More than 500 soldiers have been deployed to help with the rescue efforts.

Photo: Getty Images

Two powerful earthquakes hit China, at least 75 killed T

wo powerful earthquakes have struck China’s northwest Gansu province, killing at least 75 people and leaving more than 400 others injured. The first earthquake near Dingxi city had a magnitude of 5.98 and was shallow, with a depth of just 9.8 km (6 miles), the US Geological Survey said. Just over an hour later, a magnitude 5.6 quake hit the same area, it added. In 2008, an earthquake in Sichuan province left up to 90,000 people dead and millions homeless. A factory worker in Minxian county told AFP that he felt “violent shaking” and “ran to the yard of the [factory] plant immediately”. “Our factory is only one floor. When I came to the yard, I saw an 18-storey building, the tallest in our county, shaking ferociously, especially the 18th floor,” he said. The area has been hit by 371 aftershocks, according to the Earthquake Administration of Gansu province. Tremors were felt in the provincial capital, Lanzhou, and as far away

as Xian, 400km (250 miles) to the east. At least 5,600 houses in the province’s Zhangxian county are seriously damaged and 380 have collapsed, while some areas suffered from power cuts or mobile communications being disrupted, the earthquake administration added. “Many have been injured by collapsed houses,” a doctor based in Minxian county was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying. “Many villagers have gone to local hospitals along the roads.” The earthquake has caused a direct economic loss of 198 million yuan ($32m; £21m), the Dingxi government said on its microblog. Both the Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang had called Gansu province to express their concern for the victims and stress the importance of the rescue operations being conducted well, the Dingxi government added. Crews of fire fighters and rescue dogs have already arrived at the scene, the BBC’s Celia Hatton in Beijing reports.

The closer to the surface an earthquake strikes, the more damage it can cause, our correspondent adds. The earthquake reportedly triggered a series of mudslides and landslides, making it difficult for rescuers to access some areas hit by the quake. The Gansu military police have deployed 500 soldiers, including 120 specialist rescuers, while 500 emergency tents and 2,000 quilts are also being transported to affected areas, Xinhua added. Officials from the civil affairs, transportation and earthquake departments were also visiting local towns to assess the damage, a statement on the Dingxi party website said. Rain is expected in the region later, leading to fears that this will make rescue efforts more difficult, or cause more landslides. “Showery weather is expected tomorrow, and lighter rain the day after that. The rain may have an adverse effect on rescue efforts - please pay attention and be on guard!” the Dingxi government wrote on its microblog.

undreds of inmates have escaped from two Iraqi prisons after gunmen stormed two jails near Baghdad. Fighting raged for several hours after the jails Abu Ghraib to the west of the capital and Taji to the north - came under attack. Mortar fire and suicide bombs were used to gain access to the jails, whose inmates include al-Qaeda prisoners. At least 20 members of the security forces were killed as they struggled to regain control. A senior Iraqi MP, Hakim Al-Zamili, said that about 500 prisoners had escaped from the notorious Abu Ghraib prison. The Iraqi authorities initially said that the attackers had failed to free the prisoners in Taji and Abu Ghraib. They said security forces reacted quickly enough to seal the area and cut off any escape route. But it quickly emerged that they were wrong, as reports came out that at least 500 prisoners had indeed managed to escape. The government had to admit that “some” prisoners had escaped, without saying how many. In the past, several attacks on prisons have resulted in dozens of inmates being freed, as well as records and precious information about them being destroyed or stolen. In Mosul, too, the army took a painful hit, another reminder that the northern city remains one of the most dangerous for security forces in Iraq.

Cameron initiates move to curb online pornography

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ost households in the UK will have pornography blocked by their internet provider unless they choose to receive it, David Cameron has announced. In addition, the prime minister said possessing online pornography depicting rape would become illegal in England and Wales - in line with Scotland. Cameron warned in a speech that access to online pornography was “corroding childhood”. The new measures will apply to both existing and new customers. Seven years ago David Cameron told a Google conference that politicians should encourage companies to change, not overregulate them.

Today, he announced he had reached agreement with the four biggest ISPs on pornography filters, after some behind the scenes tussling. But he hinted that if search engines like Google didn’t agree to a blacklist of search terms, he would legislate. From Downing St, he can supplement the art of persuasion with the smack of firm government. Back in his opposition days, Cameron made waves presenting himself as a man on the side of parents against firms that sold chocolates at checkouts and children’s bikinis. If he can mould a similar image in Downing St, as a PM doing

Cameron

battle with big business on behalf of fellow parents, he will be more than happy. Cameron also called for some “horrific” internet search terms to be “blacklisted”, meaning they

would automatically bring up no results on websites such as Google or Bing. He told the BBC he expected a “row” with service providers who, he said in his speech, were “not doing enough to take responsibility” despite having a “moral duty” to do so. He also warned he could have to “force action” by changing the law and that, if there were “technical obstacles”, firms should use their “greatest brains” to overcome them. In his speech, Mr Cameron said family-friendly filters would be automatically selected for all new customers by the end of the year - although they could choose to switch them off.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

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n overjoyed United Kingdom’s Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are the proud parents of a healthy baby boy, and the nation celebrates the birth of a future king, yesterday. The couple’s son weighed 8lb 6oz and was delivered at 4.24pm today at the private Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington with his proud father, Prince William, looking on. Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well and will remain in hospital overnight, said a spokesman for the palace. The long-awaited baby will be given the title His Royal Highness and be known as Prince of Cambridge, after the Queen moved earlier this year to change almost a century of royal tradition. She issued a formal proclamation in January to end a convention brought in by George V which meant that a royal title was restricted to the children of the sovereign and the children of the sovereign’s sons. The new baby is third in the line of succession, relegating his proud uncle, Prince Harry to fourth, and great-uncle, Prince Andrew, to sixth – although he may not become sovereign for half a century or more. Recent legislation allowing female heirs to automatically accede to the throne if they are first born will clearly not affect the Cambridge’s son, but will have a bearing on any of his children. Although a cause for national celebration, the baby’s arrival is, more importantly, a time of overwhelming personal joy for William and Kate, who made no secret of their desire to start a family when they married two years ago. The Queen was, according to protocol, the first to be informed of the newest addition to her family when William personally telephoned her from his wife’s delivery suite, followed by proud grandfather Prince Charles and Kate’s parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, who are now linked by blood to the British throne. The birth was announced to the world’s media by a press release from the Palace. With family – including the entire Middleton clan and new uncle Prince Harry - set to arrive at the hospital with hours, it is understood that the couple do not intend to introduce the Queen to her new great grandson until the Duchess returns home. Despite having eight grandchildren and two great granddaughters already, it will be a momentous event for the 87-year-old sovereign. The last time a still-serving

World News

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The waiting is over, British future King born A

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Dubai’s rape case woman freed

Crowds of tourists and well-wishers gathering on the steps of the Queen Victoria Memorial Statue and at the gates outside Buckingham Palace yesterday as they wait for the royal baby to be born. Photo: Getty Images

Baker: Teba Diatta holds a cake outside the Lindo Wing, which says ‘Come on Kate, we can’t wait, give us something to celebrate’ Photo: PA

Royal fans: A small crowd gathering outside the hospital waiting for Kate’s baby.

Getting a better view: These excited children climb the gates of the Palace and are among the hundreds getting swept away in the excitement of the royal baby’s impending arrival

monarch got to meet a great grandchild born in direct succession to the crown was nearly 120 years ago. Queen Victoria, who reigned until 1901, was still sovereign when her great grandchild Edward VIII, who later abdicated, was born third in line in 1894. William and Kate’s baby will be the great great great great great grandchild of Queen Victoria and the present Queen’s third great grandchild. It is also likely to have huge resonance for her personally, marking the emergence of a reinvigorated British Royal Family after decades dominated by bitter marital strife. William and Kate are per-

sonally determined that their son be allowed to enjoy as ‘normal’ an upbringing as possible while being taught to respect and accept his destiny as a future King, head of the armed forces, supreme governor of the Church of England and head of the Commonwealth, which covers 54 nations across the world. The present Queen is still head of state of 16 countries across the globe but it is likely that by the time her great grand-son accedes to the throne, which could be more than fifty or more years from now, precious little of those will remain. In an interview to mark their engagement in 2010, Kate stressed that her own family

– parents Michael and Carole and siblings Pippa and James – were the lynchpin of her existence. Asked about her family she said: ‘Yes. It’s very important to me. And I hope we will be able to have a happy family ourselves.’ When asked about his future plans in the military, William added in an interview last year : ‘More importantly, I’d rather like to have children. So that’s the key thing really.’ He also revealed that he would like two children – while his wife subsequently divulged that while she wanted a boy, William liked the idea of a girl.

Norwegian woman at the centre of a Dubai rape case dispute has been pardoned and is free to leave Dubai, she has said. Interior designer Marte Deborah Dalelv, 24, was on a business trip in Dubai when she says she was raped in March. She reported the attack to the police, but was charged with perjury, having extramarital sex and drinking alcohol, receiving a 16-month prison sentence. The case has angered rights groups and the Norwegian authorities. Dalelv has had her passport returned and was free to leave the country, a Norwegian official told the BBC. She was not being deported, and was expected to return to Norway in the next few days. The designer, who has been staying at the Norwegian Seamen’s Centre in Dubai since she was sentenced last week, told the BBC she found out she was to be freed earlier yesterday during a meeting with public prosecutors. “We came in and we sat down and they told us ‘You’ve been pardoned’. It’s from the ruler of Dubai. It’s from him personally so that’s - it just feels unbelievable it’s a very, very good day.” Her travel documents had now been returned to her and she was preparing to leave Dubai as soon as possible, Dalelv said. In Norway, Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide tweeted: “Marte is released! Thanks to everyone who signed up to help.” The Norwegian government said it had been in daily contact with the Dubai authorities through diplomatic and official channels since Dalelv was sentenced - arguing the jail term represented a human rights violation. Dalelv went public about the sentence last week in a series of interviews. Dalelv says she was on a night out with colleagues on 6 March when the rape took place. She reported it to the police, who proceeded to confiscate her passport and seize her money. She was charged four days later on three counts, including having sex outside marriage. Her alleged attacker, she said, received a 13-month sentence for extramarital sex and alcohol consumption. The man she accused of raping her - a colleague - has also been pardoned, a Norwegian official has said. Despite developing fast as a cosmopolitan tourism destination in recent years, Dubai remains deeply conservative, and its strict laws have caught out foreigners in the past. Public displays of affection and drunkenness are frowned upon.


Cocktail

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

FOR YOUR SUCCESS

WITH DR. DEJI FOLUTILE

Today's Tonic (183)

“Many people dream of success. To me success can only be achieved through repeated failure and introspection. In fact, success represents the 1 percent of your work which results only from the 99 percent that is called failure.” –Soichiro Honda Founder, Honda Motor. * * * Reject The Fear Of Failures! Great super achievers are known for ONE THING: they are not afraid to fail. They are not afraid to try, try and try before they taste the grapes of success. Fear of failure has crippled many destinies. The truth is that if we don’t fail, we cannot succeed. Great inventors of all ages failed woefully many times before the universe rewarded their unceasing labours. Let’s reject the fear of failures and move into the arena of winners by pressing forward in spite of repeated failures in doing what we know we are gifted to do in life. SUCCESS WILL COME! TEL 08104942999 E-MAIL deji.folutile@gmail.com Follow me @TwitterOWOTIDE

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Oddities

Man wins beer drinking contest, then dies

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oaquín Alcaraz Gracia won a beer-drinking contest at a festival in Spain, and died shortly after. Joaquín Alcaraz Gracia entered a beer drinking contest in Spain Wednesday, and after reportedly drinking six liters (about 12.5 pints) in 20 minutes, won the annual drinking festival’s top prize. But then Gracia began vomiting -- and didn’t stop. Witnesses believed he was suffering alcohol poisoning and contacted emergency

services. By the time medical personnel arrived, Gracia was reportedly in cardiac arrest. The 45-year-old passed away shortly after his arrival at the hospital. Murcia Mayor José Manuel Gracia told local newspaper La Verdad that the winner had only

consumed two to three liters during the contest, much less than previously reported. Although it appears Gracia’s alcohol consumption was a factor in his death, officials have not yet released a specific cause. The annual drinking

festival, held in the Geay Truyols district of Murcia, has been held for more than 15 years. For the competition, contestants drink as much beer as possible in 20 minutes. In light of the tragedy, organizers say future festival plans have been suspended.

Man punched self, tried to blame neighbour --Police

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olice in Alaska said they arrested a man accused of punching himself in the face and attempting to blame it on his neighbour. The Fairbanks Department of Public Safety said troopers responded around 11:30

p.m. July 14 to a Fairbanks address when Tony Gesin, 50, called 911 and accused his neighbour of assaulting him, the Fairbanks News-Miner reported Friday. Gesin told troopers the same story he had told the 911 dispatcher, but

he soon admitted he had hit himself in the face because he wanted to have his neighbour arrested. Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Megan Peters said Gesin and the neighbour have been engaged in a civil dispute about property.

Gracia after winning the drinking competition before he died. Inset: Friends carrying his coffin


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

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Boko Haram: Jonathan meets security chiefs ROTIMI FADEYI ABUJA

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resident Goodluck Jonathan yesterday met with security chiefs behind closed doors to review the security situation in the country. The meeting at the Presidential Villa, which lasted for some hours, was attended by Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim; the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika; Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Alex Badeh and the Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba. Jonathan had on June 10 met with the security chiefs to discuss the issues which border on national security. After yesterday’s meeting, the security chiefs declined to speak with State House Correspondents on their decision, but it was gathered that the meet-

ing was to review efforts and progress made so far in curtailing the menace of the deadly Boko Haram sect. The Federal Government had recently said it struck a peace deal with the Boko Haram sect to hold fire, particularly during this Ramadan period. The Minister of Special Duties and Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North, Alhaji Tanimu Turaki, had on July 10 disclosed that with the discussion held with the members of Boko Haram, there was no basis for the sect to back out of the ceasefire agreement. But the leader of the sect, Abubakar Shekau, came out to deny that there was any peace deal with the Federal Government, saying that the sect would not stop killing.

Borno CAN seeks inter-religious forum INUSA NDAHI MAIDUGURI

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he Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has called on Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State to immediately constitute an Inter-Religious Forum where Islamic scholars and Christian leaders would periodically meet to discuss matters that would ensure peace. The state CAN Chairman, Rev. Titus Pona, made the call yesterday when he led other Christian leaders in the state and Northern Christian Elders Forum on a visit to the governor at the Government House, Maiduguri. Pona said the inter-religious forum would assist in the restoration of peace disrupted by Boko Haram, adding that leaders of the two religious faiths would use the opportunity to create awareness on peace and harmony among youths in the state. The CAN chairman also thanked Shettima for his support to Christian community in the state and for increasing the number of Christians sponsored by the state on pilgrimage to

Jerusalem, assisting widows and orphans and victims of Boko Haram crisis in the state. Also speaking on behalf of Northern Christian Elders Forum, Bishop Emmanuel Kanamani thanked the governor for carrying everybody along, irrespective of religious differences. Kanamani also appealed to Shettima to provide new transformer to replace the one which got spoilt over five years ago at Post Office area. According to him, the transformer supplies power to three churches around the area and the Musa Usman Secretariat. Responding, Shettima thanked CAN members for the visit and promised that his administration would continue to support the Christian community in the state. He said: “God in His infinite mercy has a reason for creating us to stay in Borno State and worship Him in different faiths and I see no reason why one religion will be favoured over the other. “We must come to the aide of both Muslim and Christian communities as government in the state.”

Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima (left), receiving gifts on behalf of victims of Boko Haram insurgents from the Chairman, Gaiz PHOTO: NAN Bank, Alhaji Umar Abdulmutalab, in Maiduguri, yesterday.

Youths, JTF kill 7 terror suspects, arrest 6

INUSA NDAHI MAIDUGURI

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even terrorists were yesterday killed while another six suspects were arrested by a combine team of the Military Joint Task Force, JTF, and Borno Vigilante Youths Group, BVYG, in Bama, Borno State. The joint operation followed intelligence reports from some Maiduguri residents, according to a source. Following the intelligence reports, a two-hour house-to-house search was conducted in two wards of the township by 4pm. Bama, an epicenter of

terrorists’ activities, is a border town with Cameroon and 78 kilometres east of Maiduguri. It had witnessed a series of attacks and killings, including the death of over 40 policemen, 13 prison officers and civilians in the last two and half months. The arrested suspects, according to a witness, were picked up by the youths that stormed the hideouts of the fleeing sect members. He said: “We were sitting under the shade of a tree, when we saw some youths with sticks, knives and cutlasses in two buses and five tricycles, heading towards

N1.5bn tax dispute: FIRS, insurance firms embrace out-of-court settlement

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he Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, and NICON Insurance Company Plc as well as 43 others have agreed on an out-of-court settlement of their N1.5 billion tax dispute. The insurance companies had earlier taken the FIRS to the Tax Appeal Tribunal in Abuja over the non-refund of about N1.5 billion overpaid stamp duties. The appellants include Continental Re-Insurance Plc, Industrial and General Insurance Plc, Royal Exchange Assurance Nigeria Plc, International Energy Insurance Plc, Lasaco Assurance Plc, ADIC Insurance Limited and Standard Alliance Assurance Company Limited. In an appeal filed through their counsel, Prof. Taiwo Osipitan (SAN), the insurance

companies said they paid the excess stamp duties to the Federal Government through FIRS between 2002 and 2006. At the resumed sitting in Abuja yesterday, Mr. Sunday Oghayei, who stood in for Osipitan, said the parties had resolved to settle the matter outof-court, and had written a letter to the office of the chairman of the FIRS on the resolution. Bright Igbinosa, counsel to FIRS, confirmed the development, acknowledging that the office of the FIRS chairman had received a letter to that effect from the insurance companies. He said a meeting would be scheduled with all parties to agree on the terms of settlement, the report of which would be filed in the court at the next adjourned date.

Tandari Ward. “Five minutes later, soldiers in their patrol vehicles also arrived to give the youths a helping hand.” According to him, seven of the terrorists were gunned down while attempting to escape from the town. Another witness, Aisami Modu, told our correspondent that the sect members must have fled from the destroyed Sambisa Games Reserves Forest, while others could have infiltrated the town from Maiduguri or Konduga. A hospital attendant at the Specialists Hospital,

Maiduguri also said that seven bodies were brought in a JTF patrol vehicle from Bama at 5.35pm for deposition. Confirming the incident, spokesman of the JTF, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa, said soldiers assisted the youths in the arrest of the six terror suspects at Bama, while seven were feared dead in an exchange of gunfire in one of the suspects’ hideouts. The youths, according to him, were escorted by men of JTF and returned safely to Maiduguri, noting that no member of the team was injured.

Police firm up security in Sokoto

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he Commissioner of Police in Sokoto State, Alhaji Shuaibu Gambo, has said that proactive security measures had been put in place to ensure peaceful conduct of the Ramadan fast. Gambo told the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Sokoto that plain clothes security personnel had been deployed to all the mosques and venues for sermons (Tafsir). According to him, the action is to ensure the safety of lives and property of the people during and after the Ramadan fast period. The commissioner said the command would continue to do its best to sustain the peaceful atmosphere which Sokoto State was known for. He said: “All we need from the members of the public is for them to come

out with intelligence reports on suspected characters for prompt action. “We are ready to discharge our constitutional responsibility to the best of our ability and knowledge, not minding whose ox is gored.” Gambo solicited the support of traditional and religious leaders to sensitise the people to what the society would benefit if relevant information on dubious people was given to the security agencies. He added: “This is the time that our Imams and preachers can complement our efforts to mobilise the people to be security conscious so that we can contain any security threats.” Gambo also called on the officers and men of the command to continue to put in their best, noting that “all those who work hard would be rewarded”.


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National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Katsina gets security intervention team to tackle banditry JAMES DANJUMA KATSINA

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special intervention team comprising of the police, military and State Security Service (SSS) personnel has been set up to address cases of banditry in Katsina State. The development followed reported cases of cattle thefts and killing of herdsmen by suspected bandits in local government areas sharing borders with Zamfara State. Zamfara State has of recent been confronted with security challenges in which armed men raid villages, kill, maim and cart away belongings of residents. The security situation spilled to Katsina State where armed men raided some communities in Faskari Local Government Area in which they reportedly killed five people as well as displaced over 2,000 others. Relevant agencies at the federal and state levels have given out grains, blankets and other necessities to the displaced persons who were, at the time, staying in a school compound. Addressing journalists yesterday, Katsina State Commissioner of Police, Muhammadu Hurdim, said: “The prevailing circumstances have led the state government and security agencies to meet and form the intervention team.” Hurdi said banditry cases were being reported in local government areas sharing borders with Zamfara, including the Rugu forest area where herdsmen often take

their cattle to feed. He said: "We know we have had cases of cattle thefts here and there, but that decision was taken to form the team to ensure that we bring the issues of banditry to an end." He said Zamfara and Kaduna states have been up and doing in ensuring that related security challenges were nipped in the bud, adding that Katsina would not be left behind in the effort. The police boss, however, called on traditional rulers and members of the public to assist with information that would help capture perpetrators and bring the problem to an end. Meanwhile, the state will soon get a state-of-the-art Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Institute and business school. The effort, according to the government, was aimed at laying solid foundation for technological and entrepreneurial transformation of the state. Already, a committee set up to come up with modalities on setting up the ICT institute and business school had presented its report to the state governor. Speaking yesterday after receiving the report, Governor Ibrahim Shema directed the committee to prepare a bill on take-off of the school for submission to the state House of Assembly. The governor asked the committee to recruit competent hands and people of good character to man the school. He also called for ways to fund the school in other to effectively sustain and keep same afloat.

Transition Committee Chairman, Faskari Local Government, Katsina State, Alhaji Isiyaku Faskari-Ahmad (right) and his wife, Hajia Sa’adatu, presenting relief materials to Malama Raliya Unguwar Doka (left), during the distribution of relief materials to 677 displaced armed robbery victims at Faskari Model Primary School, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

One killed, 500 cattle rustled in Plateau •Stakeholders meet, seek peace

JAMES ABRAHAM JOS

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outhern Senatorial Zone of Plateau State stakeholders yesterday met to deliberate on how to end the recurring violence in the area. The Southern senatorial zone consists of Wase, Langtang South, Langtang North, Quanpan, Mikang and Shendam local government areas. The meeting was called at the instance of the Special Task Force (STF) on Jos crisis following recurring attacks by gunmen on the six local government areas. Shortly after the STF Commander, Maj-Gen. Henry Ayoola, rose to speak, there was report that over 500 cattle were

rustled in Longvel community in Shendam Local Government Area of the state. It was learnt that about 100 armed men allegedly stormed the community, killing one person as they made away with 500 cattle. An eye witness, who did not want his name mentioned, told journalists that the armed rustlers shot sporadically into the air in order to scare people away before carrying out their nefarious act. The incident created tension at Shendam township stadium, venue of the meeting, as most of the Fulani seated were seen moving up and down apparently to sympathise with their colleagues. Representatives of

NEMA initiates measures to prevent disaster, terrorism D ANJUMA WILLIAMS GOMBE

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he National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) office in charge of Gombe, Bauchi and Taraba states has initiated proactive

NEMA DG - Sani Sidi

measures in preventing, responding and mitigating the impact of natural disasters as well as incidents perpetrated by terrorists’ activities. According to NEMA Head of Operations, Mr. Jediel Appoloos, the agency had embarked on the sensitisation and awareness campaign of major stakeholders in disaster management due to the increasing bomb scare, threats and incessant fire outbreaks that have resulted in the loss of lives and destruction of properties worth several millions of naira.

Appoloos spoke yesterday during the workshop held at the Gombe State Secretariat. The workshop was attended by the police, Fire Service, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Federal Roads Safety Corps (FRSC) and volunteer organisations, such as the Red Cross. Appoloos stressed the need for stakeholders as well as victims in a disaster or emergency situation to know their responsibilities so that a confused situation would not be created and which could result

to more destruction rather than salvaging the situation. He elaborated the duties of various disaster management agencies and stated that if adhered to safety steps, fewer casualties would be recorded during emergencies. An exercise displaying responsibilities of all the agencies present on the occasion was demonstrated at the building of the secretariat where the responsibilities of the police, FRSC, Civil Defense, Fire Service and the Red Cross were highlighted.

youth from the six local government areas, who spoke at the meeting, said cattle rustling, destruction of farm land and burning of house, as well as killing of innocent people, have become the order of the day in the Southern Senatorial zone The state Chairman of Meyatti Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Alhaji Boro Usaini, urged urgent solution to what he described as persistent cattle rustling. He said: “If the people want peace to reign, then they should stop rustling the cattle belonging to the Fulani in the area. “The people know those rustling these cattle and those hiding these stolen cattle. If this development

does not stop, then, peace will continue to elude the area.” STF Commander, MajGen. Ayoola, said cattle ownership cut across all tribes, while cattle rustlers too cut across all tribe and religion. According to him, over 10 cattle rustlers were arrested and charged to court, adding that four of them were convicted. The commander said cattle rustlers did not have a definite route and that 10 cases of different cattle rustling kingpin were being investigated. The lawmaker representing Plateau Southern District, Senator Victor Lar, however, appealed to the Fulani to forgive whatever wrong done to them.

Robbers raid NTA office, cart away money, laptop JAMES DANJUMA KATSINA

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ome suspected armed robbers yesterday morning raided the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) office in Katsina State and carted away money and a laptop. National Mirror learnt that the N15, 000 carted away belonged to one of the drivers, while the laptop was stolen from the General Manager’s office. Eye witnesses said that the armed men broke into NTA premises along Jibiya Road at about 3:0am and ordered the security men on duty to lie down before ran-

sacking the premises. One of the witnesses, who did not want his name mentioned, said: “The armed men came with weapons and asked our security men to lie down after tying some of them before raiding the place. “The robbers must have thought there was huge amount of cash lying somewhere in the NTA office which they came to steal. “Apart from the little money which they stole and the laptop that was stolen from the GM’s office, nothing else is missing.” Efforts to speak with the General Manager failed as she could not be reached at time of filing this report.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Ramadan Special

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

53

Ramadan 14th, 1434 AH

Blame US for world unrest –Momoh

‘Muslims must be role models always’

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AISHA TITILAYO

SEKINAT LAWAL

he United States of America has been blamed for causing many of the crises all over the world. Making this allegation was the Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Lagos State University, Prof. Abubakar Momoh, in his lecture titled: “In search of Global Peace: An overview of the Muslim Approach”, at the 21st Ramadan lecture organised by the AbdulAzeez Islamic Foundation in Lagos on Sunday.

Prof. Momoh, went down memory lane regarding the crisis in the world and concluded that it was America who was behind them saying that Muslims in Palestine and other parts of the world were being attacked because America fear that the spread of Islam would affect her position and interest as world super power. For peace to reign in the world, the university don said world media had to change their attitude towards reporting by being balanced, rather than just attacking the Muslims and Islam.

Also speaking, the governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola called on Muslims to be role models to others, lamenting that Muslims have abandoned these virtues known to good Muslims. Areghbesola, who identified patience, truth and cleanliness as those things that Muslims have lost in the course of the religion, said that it was only when these return that Islam could be placed on its right perspective. The Chief Imam of Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, Prof. Hamid

Sanni called on the government to ensure the teaching of Islamic Religious Knowledge in primary and post-primary schools in the country. In his lecture titled: ‘Increases in Anti-Islamic Sentiments: Mind set or reality”, the Chief Imam of Daar Na’imCentral Mosque, Lagos, Sheikh Imran Abdul Mojeed Eleha, disclosed that Islam was not strange as all Prophets sent by God practised the religion. On the way forward, he said that everything should be based on Quran and Hadith.

Former Chairman, Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission, Barr. Musbaudeen Oyefeso; a guest; MD, STACO Insurance, Alhaji Shakiru Oyefeso; MD/CEO, BOLAMARK, Alhaji Fatah Azeez and CEO, Yoyo Bitters, Dr Sulaiman Ayoola Abdul Azeez Foundation at the 21st Ramadan lecture organised by the AbdulAzeez Islamic Foundation in Lagos on Sunday.

Special Advicer to Lagos State Governor on Political matter, Hon. Folami Olohuntele (left), and Justice Ibrahim Olohunimbe (rtd), at the Ramadan lecture organised by FCF recently.

Hajia Sekinat Yusuf and Hajia Hamidah Ibrahim, at the Ramadan lecture organised by FCF recently.

Cross section of other members of the Fatimah Charity Foundation at the Ramadan lecture organised by FCF recently.

A guest and Managing Director, Arabel Group of Companies, Alhaja Sherifat Abiola Andu

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uslims have been called upon to be role models whether in Ramadan or outside it. Making this known recently was the Deputy Amir of the Companion, Lagos District and the Executive Director, Taurus Oil and Gas Ltd; Alhaji Nojeem Jimoh, at the maiden edition of Ramadan lecture of the Alimosho Group of the Companion in Lagos. He urged them to be patient at all times. “Reasons why people exhibit bad manners include ignorance, pride and anger. When you are angry, you tend to say or do things you will regret. Allah says; “Those who suppress their anger and forgive other people, assuredly, Allah loves those who do good.”(Q 3:134) Islam is based on three standards; faith (Iman), practices (Ibadah) and good conducts and character (Ihisan). The third being the accessories with which you adorn your Islam. “The believers with the most perfect faith are those with the most perfect conducts and manners...”(AtTirmidhi). “The most beloved servants of Allah to Him are those who have the best manners.”(Al-Hakim) He advised that Muslims should always exhibit excellent character because good manners were exemplified by the Prophet (SAW) as Allah Himself describes him as one of highest standard of moral character. Again, Mus-

lims should always let their character show that they are Muslims as they have been described by Allah as the best of nations because they enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong.(Q3:110). Wellmeaning individuals have also been urged to be kind to people as Allah has been kind to them because He singled them out to be where they are today. Speaking on; “The purpose of Creation”, the National Missioner of the AONU Mu’in Society of Nigeria; Sheikh Abdul- Ganiyy Ashiru Oriyomi stated that this life is just a place of deceit. He noted that Allah created man and Jinns only for them to worship Him. He also included that man will be able to know Allah more, realise His might, and thank Him when we ponder on what goes on around us; Allah’s creatures; plants, animals and other humans. He advised that Muslims should run away from pride as it is very destructive as seen in the case of the accursed Shaytan, greed as seen in the first man on earth, Adam and envy. The Coordinator of the Group, Alhaji Kamorudeen Ogunfowora also added that the topic has been chosen because there is the need for peaceful co-existence among us. As Muslims emulate the prophet as he lived and accommodated others. He urged that Muslims should not be associated with Boko Haram because Muslim doesn’t kill and that Boko Haram is politically inclined.

L-R: Mallam Ma’aruf Ahmad the Operations Manager, Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation presenting bags of rice for Iftar Saaim (feeding of fasting Muslims) to the Chief Imam of Zumratu Islamiyyah Society of Nigeria.


54

Features

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

When a policy brings relief and comfort to air travelers

Passengers in an airport hall

Foreign and domestic airlines operating in the country will now pay fines and compensations for flight delays, cancellations, lost baggage and other related anomalies which are covered in the Passengers’ Bill of Rights. OKAY OSUJI writes that both aviation experts and passengers have hailed the policy.

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rom Friday this week, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) will begin the implementation of the Passengers’ Bill of Rights. In recent past, passengers flying across Nigeria’s airports dare not be sure of when they will arrive at their destination or whether their luggage will arrive with them. And when that happens there is usually no one to provide any information from the carrier they are flying with. But now, all that will change. From Friday July 26 when the federal government is expected to commence the implementation of the Passengers’ Bill of Rights, erring airlines will no longer go scot- free as passengers flying from Nigeria will be able to enforce their rights through the law. The Federal Government, through the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is set to implement the Passengers’ Bill of Rights, which seeks massive compensations for passengers whose rights are unnecessarily trampled upon by the airlines especially the domestic operators. For instance, if you’re bumped from a flight involuntarily, or you arrive at your destination and your luggage is delayed, you’re entitled to a refund, not just vouchers or a discount on a future flight often offer by airlines. The Bill of Rights says: “If you are involuntarily denied boarding, the airline must explain your rights in a written document, which must state how the airline decides who gets to stay on an oversold flight. You may keep your ticket and use it on another flight. If you choose to make alternative arrangements, you can request an “involuntary refund” for the ticket. You have a right to choose between quiet and entertainment in-flight.” The Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Dr. Fola Akinkuotu, insists it was high time airline operators stopped maltreating their passengers, adding that the implementation of the bill of rights would help put an end to unfair practices by airlines. “It is not good for passengers to get raw deals from the airlines. What is sauce for the

geese is also sauce for the gander. We have a responsibility to ensure that the bill of rights works. “We need to make sure passengers get good deals and value for their money. We need to let them know that air transport is the best way to go, and that they will get good deals and value for money.” According to NCAA the new set of rights would apply to passengers departing from an airport located within the Nigerian territory to another airport within the country; passengers departing from an airport located in another country to an airport situated within Nigeria; and to foreign air transportation with respect to non-stop flight segments originating at a point within the country. However those passengers travelling freeof-charge or at reduced fares not available directly or indirectly to the general public will not benefit from the rule. For flight delays, the Bill of Rights adds: “Flight delays are a usual occurrence in air travel. When they occur, they come with inconveniences to passengers. That is why the new NCAA Bill of Rights provides that whenever an airline anticipates a delay of its flight beyond its scheduled time affected passengers are entitled to the following rights, if domestic flight: For a delay beyond one hour, carrier shall provide refreshment, telephone call, SMS or e-mail; in the case of a delay for two hours and beyond, carrier shall reimburse passengers the full value of their tickets. When an international flight delays between two and four hours passenger shall be entitled to refreshment and two telephone calls, SMS or E-mail. A delay of four hours or more shall entitle a passenger to a meal, two telephone calls, SMS or E-mail and when the reasonably expected time of departure is at least six hours after the time of departure previously announced, a passenger shall be entitled to hotel accommodation and transportation between the airport and place of accommodation. Now if your suitcase arrives smashed or torn, the airline will pay for its repairs. If it cannot be repaired, it will negotiate a settlement to pay its depreciated value. The same applies for clothing packed inside according to the Bill of Rights. So passengers are encouraged to report external damage and/or pilferage of content before they leave the airport by filling out a Passenger Irregularity Report (PIR) form. In some instance the bill says airlines may decline to pay for damage of fragile items when there is no damage to the suitcase. They are however, liable for fragile merchandise packaged in its original factory sealed carton, or other container designed for ship-

Departure hall of Lagos airport, INSET: Captain Fola Akinkuotu

Anxious passengers waiting for flights

NOW IF YOUR SUITCASE ARRIVES SMASHED OR

TORN, THE AIRLINE WILL PAY FOR ITS REPAIRS. IF

IT CANNOT BE REPAIRED, IT WILL NEGOTIATE A SETTLEMENT TO PAY ITS DEPRECIATED VALUE ping. As regards upgrading of ticket, If any airline on its own places a passenger in a higher class than the class of the ticket he is booked (such as from economy to business class), it may not request additional make-up payment from the passenger. But If a passenger is placed in a class lower than that for which he/she purchased his/ her ticket, the airline shall immediately reimburse the passenger the difference in accordance with the mode of payment and in addition, pay 30 per cent of the price of ticket for all the domestic flights immediately in cash and 50 per cent of price of the ticket if an international flight within 14 days either by cash, electronic transfer, bank cheques, or other mode of payment available in the country. Also, apart from the airlines, passengers too have some responsibilities to the airlines, among which is the prompt arrival to the airline’s counter despite the purchase of ticket. “Even if you have already checked in for your flight, an airline can cancel your reservation if you are not at the departure gate on time. If you do not check your baggage in sufficient time for it to be loaded on your flight, the airline will not be responsible for any delay in the delivery of your baggage to your destination. “Passengers have a duty to be courteous to staff and agents of airlines. All adults are required to present photo identification

upon check-in and at boarding”, the Bill stipulated. The Bill, which seeks to put power in the hands of the passengers whenever their rights are unnecessarily violated by the airlines, will ensure that passengers get adequate compensations when they are maltreated by the airlines. But analysts say as good as the passengers’ bill of rights appears, efforts must be made to ensure airlines respect the rules. An Aviation expert, Mercel Okoro, believes it’s a new dawn in the aviation industry, where passengers will become king. “I think this is laudable. It will take away the pains and fears people have when arriving at our airports, because it is painful to arrive without your luggage or sit forever at the airport because of cancellation without help from anywhere. It will also improve customer service,” he says. “I think this is laudable. It will take away the pains and fears people have when arriving at our airports, because it is painful to arrive without your luggage or sit forever at the airport because of cancellation without help from anywhere. It will also improve customer service,” said Ibrahim Danladi. And though the full enforcement of the Passengers’ Bill of Rights will begin in August, it has started to yield fruits because authorities have been taken proactive steps ahead of time to help Nigerians get justice. For instance some passengers were denied boarding due O/S on FLT BA082/14 JUL ABV-LHR and denied boarding compensation was issued at GBP250 to each of the 9 passengers. They are: Atsiangba H, Apollo A, Apollo J, Apollo D, Esinkuma F, Disu M, Egole A, Okogwu C and Odeka C. Also a passenger, Salihu Abdul Buba who flew on Ethiopian airline in Feb 2012 was refunded the sum of N126, 106 which he paid for oxygen that was not utilized and the airline was not willing to refund till the intervention of the Consumer Protection Department of the NCAA. He was paid on the 29th of June 2013.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Features

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

55

Kogi: The anguish and lamentation caused by flood disaster The effect of last year’s flood disaster is still being felt in many states. Incidentally, the devastation caused by the ravaging waters left many residents and communities in Kogi State in state of destitution. WALE IBRAHIM writes that in spite of efforts by the federal and state governments, more remains to be done to resettle the victims.

A building threatened by flood

Refugees in a flood relief camp

MANY OF THE VICTIMS IN THE NINE AFFECTED LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS OF THE STATE ARE YET TO AGREE ON THE TERMS FOR PAYMENT OF LOSSES FOR HOUSES,

A flooded community in Kogi

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ith the devastating effects of climate change across the globe and with particular reference to the2013 flood disasters that ravaged 18 states including Kogi, thereby causing extensive flooding in eight local governments and displacing more than 630,000 people. As most of the affected victims were settling down and putting behind their sad experiences yet came another prediction by the Nigeria Metrological Agency (NIMET), that there will be heavy rains this year that could surpass that of 2012. With such prediction and persistent warning by NIMET, the Kogi State Government has urged those people living on flood plains to relocate to avoid the ugly experience of last year experience. This is coming shortly after it had disbursed a total sum of N144million to flood victims and closing the 87 relief camps created it quickly established at the height of the flood crisis. In line with the determination to guard against unforeseen circumstances, the government said it has also identified some high plains where relief camps will be constructed to relocate victims whenever there is flood so as not to close schools which normally affects students and pupils since their classrooms are usually converted to refugee camps during flood disasters. Moreover, the government will soon take delivery the first 272 housing units built at the cost of N665 million at the ‘Post Flood Housing Estate’, Lokoja to be given to flood victims while the government also pledged to replicate the same in all the affected local government areas of the state , While inspecting the housing estate recently, the Governor, Captain Idris Wada stated that the state government is committed to the welfare of the victims having shared in the pains and agony during the three months in which the flood disaster lasted. Only recently the United Nation under Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs and Relief Emergency Coordinator, Baroness Valerie Amos, who visited the state pledged that the UN is willing to give technical expertise both the federal and state government s in disaster management .Baroness Amos who gave this assurance, stated that her team was in the country and to find out how to it can partner with the affected states. She explained that team is expected to visit the four flood ravaged states of Kogi, Delta, Anambra and Bayelsa to assess the post flood era and see how possible best the organisation can assist these state to prevent future occurrence. She said that one of major ways to avert future disasters is by heeding strictly to the early warning and for those who are likely to be af-

FARM LANDS AND OTHER PROPERTIES fected to relocate to safer plains. The UN official disclosed that the organisation is willing to assist in technical capacity building and expertise as to tackle emergency situations, stressing that the UN will also assist the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to be able to live up to future challenges. She advocated for better ways to improve early warnings and response to future flood disasters. Baroness Amos assured of partnership with all tiers of government to bring succour to those whose livelihood were adversely affected by the flood. The technical expertise to be provided will include building and managing displaced persons camp, even as she commended the federal and Kogi State government for their quick response to the disaster. Capt Idris Wada described last year’s flood in the state as devastating, as it affected farmlands, infrastructures and destroyed houses and businesses. Represented by the Deputy Governor, Yomi Awoniyi ,he disclosed that several intervention measures has been made to mitigate the effect of the flood on the people and in the rebuilding of infrastructures, as he appealed for support from the UN as the destruction was overwhelming. As 2013 rainy season gathers momentum and predictions by the NIMET that there will be more rains than last year, last year flood victims are already panicking following their inability to relocate from the flood plains. Incidentally, many of the victims in the nine affected local government areas of the state are yet to agree on the terms for payment of losses for houses, farm lands and other properties, as well as those who lost relations to the flood. Following the hardship being faced by the affected victims the state, ,the communities in riverine areas which houses and farm lands were submerged during the last flood disaster have once again appealed to the state and local governments for more assistance as survival has become a herculean task. The traditional heads of and their subject in Iganuma, Adabode and Edegaki villages are unanimous in their appeal ,while receiving the Programme Officer of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and newsmen who were on post flood assessment in the affected local government areas. They also lauded the state government for the recent assistance, even as they stressed that it was not enough as they have continued to live in abject poverty as result of the 2012 flood on their homes and farmlands. The traditional ruler of Iganuma, Chief Musa Garuba, expressed worries over the paltry sum given to the victims in the village, stating that life is becoming increasingly difficult for them.

He pointed out that many houses have been washed away while the owners are unable to rebuild them due to lack of money, as he said that while people are still battling to survive after the flood, another rainstorm wrecked havoc on the community by removing many roofing sheets. Secretary of the community, Momoh Shaibu revealed that the sum of N250,000 given to affected flood victims and was not shared proportionally, as some elders got N4,500, while others got N2,500, N1,000 and N500 respectively which are not enough for purchase of building materials. Shuaibu, quoted the state Commissioner for Environment, Alhaji Abdulrahman Wuya as saying that there was no money anywhere to be shared among the victims. He lamented that that the sum of N250, 000 given to the community was not enough for a single victim who lost his house and farmland to the flood. At Adabode Village, the Duty Chief, Mallam Shuaibu Usman, lamented that following the extent of damage in the village a total of 251 residents are still in relief camps. Usman explained that the sum of N260, 000 was received and shared to all victims at N3, 000 each, stressing that life has become difficult as all their farmlands were washed away. He bemoaned the inability of the state and local governments to allocate a new piece of land to flood victims so they could to relocate, which is why many of them have refused to return to the village fearing there may be flood that could bring another disaster. Also speaking, the Arika of Edegaki, Alhaji Abdulkareem Musa who was represented by Mallam Ibrahim Ahmed, stated that life has not been same since last year’s flood disaster, even as he commended the federal and state governments for the little assistance and urged them to help rebuild the houses washed away by the flood. Ahmed also admitted that a sum of N260, 000 was given to victims in the village which was shared to all at N3, 000 each. He however noted that no member of the community was willing to relocate, even if the state and local governments provided alternative land, stressing that they cannot leave their ancestral home to become strangers in another land. The sad story is not different in Lokoja and other seven local government areas where the victims are already contemplating how to share the money disbursed to them. One of the victims whose residence was destroyed at the Bank of the River Niger at Adankolo and Camp leader at St. Luke Primary school, Dan Musa Bashir, stated that his hope to relocate to another place has become now a mirage.


WORLD RECORD

Largest parade of food trucks Vol. 03 No. 670

N150

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The largest parade of food trucks included 62 vehicles and was achieved by Magic City Casino (USA) in Miami, Florida, USA, on 20 April 2013.

Al-Mustapha’s new status

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ot until penultimate Friday when the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos upheld his appeal against the judgement of a lower court, which sentenced him to death by hanging, the former chief security officer to the former military ruler, General Sanni Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha was not sure whether he would live. With death penalty hanging on his head at a time state governors were told not to delay death warrants, surely the man would have had only the Supreme Court as his last hope had the appeal failed.

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orld governing body FIFA yesterday announced the lift of the suspension of the Camerounian Football Association. FIFA had suspended FECAFOOT through his Emergency Committee on July 4, on account of government interference, until a normalisation committee could be nominated and

TALKINGPOINT Seyi Fasugba

seyifasugba@yahoo.com 08053069514 (sms only)

Having regained freedom from the hangman’s noose may not have guaranteed an all-round status of a free man for the former strongman of the Abacha regime. As expected, the decision of the court has been subjected to various analyses from different segments of the society depending, of course, on which side of the divide one belongs to. His acquittal came after 14 years of legal battle to prove his innocence in the murder of the wife of the acclaimed winner of the June 12 1993 elections, Kudirat Abiola. Prior to his struggle to free himself from the complex legal trial, Major Al-Mustapha had been implicated by the main culprit in the crime, Sergeant Barnabas Rogers, who had told the story of how the state sponsored the murder in order to kill the June 12 spirit which the woman was championing in the absence of her husband who was then in detention of the Abacha regime. There is no doubting the fact that the regime was, indeed, the tormentor- in- chief of the Abiolas given the fact that whatever the regime decided on the acclaimed winner, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, was within the control of the CSO, given his powerful position in the government.

THE FORMER STRONGMAN WILL SOON DISCOVER THAT HE HAS PLENTY OF BATTLES,

THOUGH NOT PHYSICAL, TO CONTEND WITH IN MOVING AHEAD Apart from the death of his wife, Chief Abiola himself never returned alive from that detention, even after the unexpected death of Gen Abacha on June 8, 1998 under mysterious circumstances. Shortly afterwards, the fears expressed over Abiola’s safety in detention came to light as he too eventually died on July 8, 1998 mysteriously too, thus compounding the already complex situation of resolving the issues of moving the polity forward from the confusion and the logjam occasioned by the annulment of the elections, adjudged the most free and fair polls ever conducted in the country. While in office and as the de facto number two, albeit unofficially, if anyone had told the CSO that he was going to ride a rough tide similar to what he had just gone through, it

Sport Extra FIFA lifts ban on Cameroun federation allowed by the Camerounian authorities to carry out Federation’s duties. Nominated this weekend, this normalisation committee took office on Monday in Yaoundé, leading to the ban lift.

“As requested by the FIFA Emergency Committee, the normalisation committee that was appointed on July 20 2013 was able to take up its duties this Monday, July 22 2013, at the FECAFOOT headquarters, with FIFA and CAF observers present,”

would have been difficult for him to comprehend the circumstances that could have made that possible with the enormous powers and resources at his disposal then. But alas, it is now history that he also had a taste of what others passed through under the regime of the maximum ruler and military dictator in which he was a major player. It was under that regime too that then number two-man, General Oladipupo Diya, General Tajudeen Olanrewaju, Abdulkareem Adisa some journalists and others were implicated in a coup and sentenced to death also. Just the same way no one could have imagined the death of Abacha, nobody could have imagined the fate that befell Al-Mustapha, but this time around under a democratically-elected government and at a time that the country has tasted 14 years of democracy and civility in governance. From being a detainee before the start of his trial, until he was pronounced guilty and sentenced to death before his recent acquittal and discharge, Major Al-Mustapha’s battles will continue to remain a reference point, no matter what he decides to do with his life. Though the Nigerian Army has acknowledged that he is still in service after 14 years of incarceration, even if he quits now, he will still have to engage many stakeholders. As he settles down to reorganize his life after the prison experience, the former strongman will soon discover that he has plenty of battles, though not physical, to contend with in moving ahead. He has been told to forgive just as others may have also been advised to forgive him too, but the bottom-line is that such experiences are usually too difficult to forget.

FIFA stated on its official website. “The lifting of the suspension means that FECAFOOT’s clubs, officials and other representatives can immediately resume their activities, which had been interrupted. The same applies for the resumption of the courses and various programmes provided by FIFA, CAF and other member associations.”

Blatter

Printed and Published by Global Media Mirror Ltd: Head Office: Mirror House, 155/161 Broad Street, Lagos Tel: 07027107407, Abuja Office: NICON Insurance House, Second Floor, Central Business District Area, Abuja Tel: 08070428249, Advert hotline: 01-8446073, Email: mail@nationalmirroronline.net. Editor: SEYI FASUGBA. All correspondence to PMB 10001, Marina, Lagos. Printed simultaneously in Lagos, Abuja and Ondo State. ISSN 0794-232X.


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