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Power reforms: Telcos may save N178bn annually EXCLUSIVE

KUNLE AZEEZ

Johnson

Vol. 1 2 N0. 115 445 OUR CORRESPONDENTS

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ixed reactions yesterday trailed this year’s national honours award list released by the Federal Government on Sunday. While some notable Nigerians and leading opposition figures decried what they termed “abuse of process in the nominaCONTINUED ON PAGE 2>>

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igeria’s telecommunications companies are pro-

jected to save an estimated N178bn in overhead costs being incurred annually on the purchase of diesel to run generators installed to power their base transceiver stations, BTS,

nationwide if the ongoing power reforms by the Federal Government is successful. According to investigations, telecoms companies CONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>

Oil subsidy:

Jonathan incompetent to prosecute fraudsters –Buhari P.6

Tuesday, September June 7, 2011 11, 2012

N150 N150

Knocks, kudos greet national honours list ACN, CPC, Musa reject it, Yakassai, Gulak support THE OBAMA STYLE OF PRESIDENCY

Pizza shop owner Scott Van Duzer, lifting United States President Barack Obama during his bus tour in Florida on Sunday.

Olympic wrestler Elena Pirozhkova of United States carrying First Lady Michelle Obama during a meet and greet with Team USA Olympic athletes that competed in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

Robberies:

Wake up from slumber, Fashola, IG tell policemen L-R: Lagos State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Joke Orelope-Adefulire; Chairman of Chairmen, LCDAs, Mr. Suleimon Akeem; Governor Babatunde Fashola; IG, Mohammed Abubakar; Chairman of Coscharis Motors, Mr. Cosmas Maduka and Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Ademorin Kuye, at the inauguation of 114 security vehicles for the PHOTO: NAN police in Lagos, yesterday.

We lost over N55m, say Bureau de change operators

11 die in Lagos-Benin Expressway auto crashes

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National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Wake up from slumber, Fashola, IG tell policemen FRANCIS SUBERU MURITALA AYINLA

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eeved by the robbery operations in Lagos on Sunday, Governor Babatunde Fashola and the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Muhammed Abubakar, yesterday charged the police in the state to design new strategies and methodologies to stem the tide of crimes. Abubakar particularly warned the policemen to wake up from slumber and confront the challenge.

The IG also warned the state police command not to allow such level of robbery to repeat itself. He said: “I want to sound a note of warning to all officers in the state police command that no more a tea party; you are greatly challenged now and you must wake up from your slumber. “There is no doubt that some of you are sleeping. The story of yesterday should not repeat itself again. “We cannot fold our arms and allow criminals

terrorising citizens of this state. It will no longer be tolerated anymore. “I have directed the AIG and the commissioner for police to sit down and restrategise. We cannot fold our arms anymore when the governor has given us everything that we need in terms of mobility, in terms of technology, in terms of support and allow the people of Lagos to be terrorised by common charlatan criminals. It cannot be accepted anymore.” This came just as operators of bureau de change

at Oke Koto, Agege, Lagos where seven dare- devil armed robbers operated for about one hour on Sunday said they lost over N55m to the attack. Speaking during the official presentation of 144 security vehicles donated by the 57 local governments and Local Council Development Areas, LCDA, at Alausa, Ikeja, Fashola and Abubakar charged the police to wake up from their inertia and stop the activities of the robbery syndicate terrorising the state. Fashola and Abubakar

L-R: President Goodluck Jonathan; his Malawian counterpart, President Joyce Banda and the service chiefs during Jonathan’s arrival for PHOTO: STATE HOUSE the launching of National Cassava Project in Lilongwe, Malawi, yesterday.

called on the Assistant Inspector-General of police, AIG, in charge of Zone II, Mr. Abubakar Tsafe; the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Umar Manko and other police officers in the state to ensure that the robbers were apprehended. Abubakar, however, insisted that the road blocks would never be resuscitated as part of strategies for combating crime in the country. Fashola explained that the government could not pretend all was well with the Sunday’s robbery attack. He said: “We need to be bold, audacious and show we understand what the people feel. “Innovation, perseverance and industry will lead us. “Our achievements on security has been challenged, our responsibilities have been heightened. “We are worried that those who are threatening security of our state are running faster and challenging our capability. I assure you that we will win.” He said that the state government would compensate three policemen who lost their lives during the robbery operations. “They would be taken care of under our insurance package compensation. We will also support

them outside the insurance package.” Fashola also challenged the police to go after the armed robbery gang that lay siege to the state at the weekend. He said: “This is your task. The area commanders, the DCOs and the commissioner. You need to fish out the gang and bring them to justice so that your colleagues will not die in vain. We must be prepared to ensure this doesn’t happen again.” The governor appealed to the residents to remain calm and urged them to utilise the 767 and 112 emergency toll free lines to alert security personnel on any robbery incident in the state. Other items received by the police yesterday included 40 motorcycles, bulletproof vests, mobile ambulance and walkie-talkies. The items were provided under the auspices of Lagos State Security Trust Fund to the State Police Command, while the local governments and the LCDAs donated 114 security patrol vans. Speaking on behalf of the victims, Alhaji Muktaru Yaya, who is also the head of bureau de change operators at Oke Koto area of Agege, told our correCONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>

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tions for the awards,” others commended the Federal Government for recognising personalities who had contributed immensely to nation-building. The Federal Government had in a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Special Duties Office, Dr. Henry Akpan, said that 149 distinguished personalities had been selected for this year’s national honours’ award. Top on the list is the Chairman of Globacom, Dr. Mike Adenuga, who will receive the second highest honour of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger, GCON. Eleven persons are to be conferred with the Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR) while 25 Nigerians bag the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON).

Also, 24 are awarded Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR); 38 persons get the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON); 38 individuals receive the Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) while 12 people will be conferred with the Member of the Order of the Niger (MON). Among eminent Nigerians who spoke on the issue were the former governor of old Kaduna State and Chairman of the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties, CNPP, Alhaji Balarabe Musa; Second Republic presidential adviser, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai; social critic and commentator, Dr. Junaidu Mohammed; the Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Political Matters, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak and notable lawyers. Yakassai praised the

President’s decision, especially to confer the award of GCON on business mogul, Adenuga. The elder statesman told our correspondent that the offer would spur other Nigerians to work harder in their chosen fields in order to be recognised. He said: “The names on the list are prominent Nigerians who have been nominated by their various states and screened. “Most of them deserve to be honoured. If any of them have been indicted by one committee or the other, I think the courts are in the best position to decide their fate and I hope the recognition will spur them to greater accomplishments. “I also hope it will encourage others to work harder to attain such heights.” Gulak explained that award on Adenuga was in-

formed by his contribution to the growth of the nation’s economy. “You will remember that only last year, Alhaji Aliko Dangote was awarded the second highest honour, the GCON, because of his contribution towards industrialisation of the nation. “He provided job opportunities to numerous unemployed Nigerians and has helped in the nation’s industrial growth. “Today, Mr. President has found it necessary to also appreciate with the same honour another Nigerian who has shown serious interest in the growth of industries in Nigeria and making sure that most unemployed Nigerians are employed. “We know what Globacom brought to Nigerians; we know his investment in banking, petroleum, shipping and a lot more. This is to show that

Mr. President appreciates entrepreneurs and will do everything to encourage them,” Gulak added. But Musa said though some awardees deserved to be honoured, others were mere government associates, noting that the process had been bastardised by the government. He said: “The national honours award has been bastardised on political lines, friends and business associates not for the interest it was meant for. Although some merited the national honour but some are purely a political reward for friends. “People will no longer accept the award again because of the misuse of the honour. Many Nigerians will no longer value the award again due to its lost glory. “With the present suffering and hardship, Nigeri-

ans no longer see anything good from the side of government. “People who excel in their chosen careers or profession should embark on things that will affect Nigerians positively. “The honour should not be based on political patronage but on how people make positive changes on the lives of the people or the country.” The Lagos State chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, also slammed the Federal Government for the way and manner it was awarding national honours to Nigerians with questionable integrity. The party, in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, said that with the latest list of awardees, “it is certain that the present administration is not listening to CONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>


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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

L-R: Emir of Shonga, Dr. Halliru Yahaya; Executive Director, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Ado Muhammad; Chairman, Expert Review Committee, Nigeria, Prof. Oyewale Tomori and Chairman, National Agency for the Control of AIDS, Prof. Umaru Shehu, at the 24th meeting of the Expert Review Committee on Polio Eradication and Routine Immunisation in Nigeria, in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: ROTIMI OSASONA

Nigerian Ambassador to Czech Republic, Amb. Catherine Okon presenting her letters of credence to President Vaclav Klaus, at the Presidential Castle in Prague.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

L-R: General Manager, Business Development, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Richard Iweanoge; Sales and Distribution Executive, Mr. Omatsola Barrow and General Manager, Mobile Money, Mr. Usoro Usoro, at the launch of the MTN Mobile Money Trade in Lagos, yesterday.

L-R: Director, Corporate Relations, Guinness Nigeria Plc; Mr. Sesan Sobowale; Managing Director; Mr. Seni Adetu; Chief Economic Adviser to the President, Dr. Nwanze Okidegbe and Special Assistant to Chief Economic Adviser, Dr. Ogho Okiti, during Sobowale’s courtesy visit to the Economic Adviser in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

National News

FG votes N1bn to revitalise adult, youth literacy T he Federal Government has set aside N1bn self-benefitting funds-in-trust to be domiciled with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, to revitalise adult and youth literacy in the country. The Resident Coordinator, United Nations System in Nigeria, Daouda Toure, said this in Abuja yesterday at a roundtable on cultivating peace to mark the 2012 International Literacy celebration with the theme: “Literacy for Peace.” Toure said the project aimed to accelerate national efforts to achieve Education For All, EFA, goals three and four with emphasis on skills development to empower individuals and communities to reduce poverty. He said: “One of the strategic priorities of the project revitalising adult and youth literacy in Nigeria is the creation of multi-sectoral committees for literacy at federal, state and local government levels.

“Non-Gover nmental Organisations, NGOs, UN, and other international development partners are to participate in the provision of quality literacy and non-formal education.” Toure urged the Federal Government to work with other stakeholders in the implementation of literacy project whose success would reinforce a collective effort in support of the transformation agenda. This, according to him, will be a prelude to the creation of a prosperous and peaceful Nigeria consisting of people that respect diversity, value human rights, recognise injustice and respond to conflict with methods other than violence. Toure said this would restore and deepen peace and advance development in the country. The Deputy Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, Mr. Rashid Aderinoye, urged education authorities to create machineries that would

integrate peace education in schools curriculum. Aderinoye said the integration of peace education in schools curriculum would help to reduce violence in the country.

He said: “If we are to reduce the spate of violence, conflicts as murdering of innocent children, youths as well as adults, peace education is a necessity.” Aderinoye called on

teachers to be exposed to orientation that would empower them to promote peaceful relationship in schools as well as outside the school. He said that all hands

must be on deck to ensure a greater reduction of illiteracy among Nigeria’s population through effective peace education.

FRSC suspends traffic rules’ enforcement, begins public enlightenment

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he Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, yesterday in Abuja organised a “motorcade road show” to begin its nationwide oneweek intensive public enlightenment on good driving habits. The commission restated its appeal to motorists to cultivate positive driving habits by obeying all traffic rules. The Public Education Officer of the FRSC, Mr. Jonas Agwu, made the appeal while speaking with newsmen shortly after addressing some motorists at Berger bus stop in Wuse Zone 6, Abuja. Agwu stressed that positive attitude was needed to reduce road crashes in the country. He said: “We need to change our bad driving habit and imbibe a posi-

tive driving habit that obeys all traffic rules and respects other road users. “One thing we want to achieve with the one-week intensive campaign is to raise the level of awareness and re-enforce safety consciousness. “We want to see how we can use the tool of public enlightenment as an avenue to pass the message that can help in reducing road accidents and deaths in the country.” The FRSC spokesman described the suspension of enforcement of rules for one week to enlighten the public on safety standards as the first of its kind in the history of the commission. He said: “We are not suspending the enforcement for motorists to break the rules and do what they like.

“We want to do something different from what we have been doing in the last 24 years and hope to use it to achieve our objective.’’ The road show, which began from the commission’s headquarters in Wuse Zone 3, according to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, passed through the popular Wuse bus stop to the Federal Secretariat in the Central Area District. Some of the motorists described the exercise as a good development and urged the FRSC not to relent in its efforts at reducing road accidents and deaths to the barest minimum. A taxi driver, Abel Adams, said regular public enlightenment on safety standards was “necessary” and pledged to continue to abide by the traffic rules.

Another motorist, Mrs. Theresa Okonkwo, said “the one-week suspension of enforcement of traffic rules is a good development but the commission should thereafter intensify its patrol”. Also, Mr. Kayode Olaifa, a member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, at Jabi motor park, described the enlightenment as “fantastic.” Olaifa, who commended the FRSC for the initiative, said the union would reciprocate the gesture by taking the message of safety to its members and prevail on them not to abuse the “period of grace”. “On our own side, we will surely appreciate the FRSC for the period of grace by talking to our men to obey traffic rules,” he said.


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Knocks, kudos greet national honours list CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2

the opinion of Nigerians on how to redeem a process that has been so seriously abused that Nigerians do not attach any value to it again.” The party said: “Going through the names of the newest awardees of various categories of national honours, one notices that those that compiled the names see the honour as reward for their friends, associates, business fronts, party men and nothing more. “We see the awards still as a whimsical ritual that further erodes the entire concept when Nigerians

desire an enrichment of the nation’s moral codes. “It is clearly regrettable that the government did not take into consideration recent expressions of disappointment of Nigerians with the award and make necessary amends in the current list. “Rather, what we see is a mix of names of people whom Nigerians cannot place in the events that has shaped this country for good. “We are shocked that the same tardy way and manner this regime has been known to handle critical issues was on display in

this latest list as there is no binding code of honour that unites these latest lists of awardees, as it should be. “We would have expected that the massive public outcry against the list of awardees last year would have forced this regime to ensure the adoption of strict guidelines in arriving at subsequent list of awardees but our hope for improvement has been dashed again by the current list.” The spokesman of the presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, in the 2011 elections, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Mr.

Yinka Odumakin said: “The Nigerian honours’ list today is not what it used to be. It is a list of dishonoured people and it shows that we are a society where anything goes. It is definitely a list of dishonourable people. “In other climes, when they roll out their honours lists, one discovers that they are made up of heroes, icons and honourable men and women who have impacted positively on their societies and worthy of celebration. CPC National Publicity Secretary, Rotimi Fashaki, also decried the honours’ list.

Human rights activists protesting the proposed introduction of N5000 note in Lagos, yesterday.

Power reforms: Telcos may save N178bn annually CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

currently spend an average of N178bn annually as cost of purchasing diesel to power their over 22, 000 BTS in the country due to the poor electricity supply in the country. The Federal Government said on Sunday that Nigerian would enjoy uninterrupted power supply by December when power generation would have been increased to 5,400 megawatts when 10 Independent Power Projects fully come on stream. Meanwhile, the operators have expressed optimism that in spite of the recent resignation of the Power Minister, Prof. Bart Nnaji, the reforms are still on course. They added that successful privatisation of the sector was expected to make electricity more available and would have positive impact on telecoms service delivery.

Speaking with National Mirror on the development, the President, Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria, Mr. Lanre Ajayi, said with constant power supply, there was hope for the operators to offset their overheads being incurred through generators fuelling maintenance. He said: “I think the power reforms process is still in progress. I can’t see any damage to the reform process because the vital part of the process has been concluded. “There has been bid for the privatisation and the only thing remaining is to know the winners of the bid. “To me, the investors have made commitment by bidding and I am sure that the fact that the power minister has honourably resigned has stretched the process rather casting aspersion on it.” Ajayi said: “The hope of

getting electricity is still alive and when the electricity is available regularly, everybody will benefit from it, including the telecoms sector”. “So, the possibility of telecoms operators switching from using generators to run their base stations and offsetting the attendant cost of purchasing diesel to run the base stations, for constant electricity supply is still very bright and this will impact on the quality of service and tariff,” he said. The Chief Operating Officer, Airtel, Mr. Deepark Srivastava, attributed 70 per cent of downtimes on telecoms networks to the poor electricity supply in the country. This, he said, had forced the telecoms operators to spend a lot of money in purchasing power generating equipment and hiring of more staff to support telecoms equipment. “This has increased our

overheads as companies and with the reforms gradually taking shape, we hope to reduce our expenditure on diesel, though at Airtel, we are deploying hybrid approach to powering our base stations,” he said. President, National Association of Telecoms Subscribers, Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, contended that operators commit a large chunk of their revenue to purchasing and maintaining the generating sets to power their base stations. He said the development had not benefitted telecoms consumers in terms of reduced tariff relative to what obtained in other countries where electricity supply was stable. According to him, “In Nigeria, the expenditure incurred by telecoms operators in purchasing diesel to keep their base stations is passed over to the subscribers in form of increased tariff.”

Fashakin said: “It is very unfortunate that the nation is being driven so precipitously. There is virtually no method to the madness. “The national honors scheme has become bastardised. Little wonder, great Nigerians that have impacted positively on the nation’s image internationally, are shunning these awards.” Dr. Junaidu Mohammed dismissed the awards, saying “it is unnecessary and irresponsible.” He particularly said the timing was wrong, given the rising state of insecurity in the country. Mohammed said: “This is not the time for such irresponsible indulgence,” adding that government’s priority should be how to end the crises threatening the country’s corporate existence. “We should first get the country out of the situation it finds itself before such a jamboree. There is nothing wrong in honouring people but now, is definitely not the time. It makes us look like fools, which we are not. A civil rights advocate and coordinator of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, berated President Goodluck Jonathan for doling out the awards to those he said had not contributed much to the development of the nation. He also described the award as patronage to those who had supported the antimasses policy of the Federal Government.

He said: “If you look at the list, you hardly find people who are contributing to the development of the nation. “For example, you would hardly find human rights and anti-corruption activists on that list. It is a patronage list. It is meant to “settle” the boys. You can hardly find any pro-development person on that list.” Meanwhile, some Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) claimed ignorance of the list. Chief Chris Uche (SAN) said he just heard of it for the first time and so could not make any comment. When reminded that his colleagues, Chiefs Wole Olanipekun (SAN) and Alex Izinyon (SAN) made the list of awardees for the Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR) category, Uche said: “Honestly, I am hearing it from you for the first time; I have been in court since morning.” Also, Chief Solo Akuma (SAN) insisted that he would not make any comment on the matter, saying: “I do not have the details yet.” Another lawyer, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama (SAN), however, expressed delight with the development, though he promised to speak on it in due course. Reports by: Augustine Madu-West, Obiora Ifoh, Jide Olomolomoju, Felix Nwaneri, Emmanuel Onani, Omeiza Ajayi and Aza Msue

Wake up from slumber, Fashola, IG tell policemen CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2

spondent that the operators lost about N25m in local currencies and another N39m in foreign currencies to the robbery. He said the robbers came in two SUV jeeps, shooting sporadically into the air. Narrating his ordeal, Yaya said the robbers dragged him inside his main office and demanded the money he was trading with. He added: “They pointed their guns at me. Two of them also with guns ransacked my shop. They saw the two ‘Ghana must go’ bags where we kept the monies and carted them away.

“They confidently went into the next shop where they shot Muktaru Jubrila and Abdullahi Gaddo on the legs. Both are presently undergoing treatment at the hospital. “They operated in our area without any hindrance for about one hour. I have lost all that I laboured for. I have three wives and 10 children. How will I survive now?” Other operators expressed fears that the robbers might stage a comeback mission, pleading with the Lagos State police command and other security operatives to help secure the environment.


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Uneasy calm at SEC over staff promotion, re-deployment TOLA AKINMUTIMI ABUJA

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here was an uneasy calm at the headquarters of the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday as labour union leaders were reported to have reacted to the promotion and redeployment exercise being carried out by the management with some misgivings. However, National Mirror authoritatively gathered that despite the union leaders’ ill-feelings, normal official activities went on smoothly as such ill-feelings were expressed only in subdued whispers. It was reliably gathered that the management had last week approved the redeployment of its staff in an attempt to deepen the oversight and regulatory functions of SEC as the regulator of the capital market. The exercise, it was learnt, was aimed at broadening staff knowledge on all aspect of capital market operations, affected mostly staff that had spent close to five years in a department. However, some labour leaders, particularly those that had resisted the re-instatement of Ms. Arunma Oteh, were said to be unhappy with the exercise which they reportedly viewed as a ploy targeted at them for

their roles in the crisis that recently engulfed the commission. A source told our correspondent yesterday that the grouse of the labour leaders had to do with their feelings that the list of all outstanding promotions approved by the immediate past SEC board chaired by Senator Udo Udoma, was modified by the management. Besides, they were also said to be irked by the Ms. Oteh-led management’s insistence that examinations would now be used as assessment parameters for staff promotion. A member of staff, who does not want his name in print said examination had never been the basis for staff promotion at SEC. However, the Special Adviser (Media) to SEC’s Director General, Mr. Obi Adindu, said internal postings and transfer to units was a statutory mandate of the management headed by the director-general and that there was nothing wrong in doing that at SEC. He said like in other organizations, promotion and re-deployment of employees are normal exercises and that the ongoing restructuring exercise in SEC would help in efficient and effective regulation of the capital market.

Jonathan incompetent to prosecute oil subsidy fraudsters –Buhari AZA MSUE KADUNA

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ormer Head of State and presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the 2011 general elections, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday declared that President Goodluck Jonathan is incompetent to prosecute pension and oil subsidy fraud suspects. Buhari, who decried Federal Government’s inability to prosecute persons indicted in the pension and oil

subsidy scandals as well as other frauds, said many of the retirees who worked for 35 years were sent to their early grave while trying to collect their benefits and entitlements stolen by government officials. The former Head of State stated this at his residence in Kaduna while playing host to CPC candidate for the October 20, governorship election in Ondo State, Prince Soji Ehinlanwo and other party officials. His words: “It is only in Nigeria that fraud of this

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he cashless economy policy and the introduction of higher denomination will increase the velocity of money in Nigeria’s economy and increase people fortunes, Central Bank of Nigeria Deputy Governor, Operations, Mr. Tunde Lemo, has said. Speaking at 17th edition of Association of African Banknotes and Security Documents Printers conference in Lagos yesterday, he said the bank is attacking efficiency in the country’s economy with the introduction of the policies. His words: “We must be more efficient with the use of cash because it will not go away from empirical evidence and from all the research work on the introduction of the notes,

the volume of electronic activities will grow. So, we are attacking efficiency from both ends and the two are not contradictory, rather they are complementary.” According to him, the existing policy actually means that if you must carry high volume of cash, you must pay charges, saying that the charges on electronic banking will continue to go down as banks are now reducing cost of electronic banking as they continue to have a lot of transaction along that part. “We want Nigerians to carry less cash. As you can see all over the world, the volume of electronic activities is growing. What we are saying is that the distribution/structure of cash in the country is inefficient, we spend a lot of money printing notes and currencies and we can be

magnitude takes place and this incompetent government is doing nothing about it.” Buhari further described some South-South leaders as jokers for endorsing President Jonathan as he said Nigerians would see whether Jonathan will win 2015 presidential election or not. “I know they are members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), let them vote for him in a free and fair election; let us see if they can give him the ticket against other geo-political

zones. Let them give him the primary ticket first, let them vote for him when 2015 comes and let us see if he would win,” he said. He challenged the political elite in the country to participate and ensure that elections are conducted free and fair, without rigging. “They know how to participate, they should not sit and look, they can go to their constituencies to identify and enlighten their people on the need to entrench free and fair election to stabilise the country,” he added.

L-R: Chairman, Committee Report on Alleged Abuse of PHCN Pension Fund, Mr. Joseph Ajiboye; Minister of State for Power, Mr. Darius Ishaku and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Dr. Dere Awosika, during the submission of the committee’s report in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: ROTIMI OSASONA

‘Cashless economy, new currency to lift Nigerians’ fortunes’ JOHNSON OKANLAWON

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more efficient with the introduction of N5, 000 notes. “We are having higher denomination coins. You can buy newspaper with coins. We will not immediately take away N5, N10 and N20 notes; they will still circulate side by side with the naira. So we give Nigeria the option and you can decide not to collect N5, 000 notes from banks,” Lemo said. He debunked insinuation that the introduction of N5, 000 notes will cause inflation, noting that with the introduction of N5, 000 notes, the CBN is not increasing money volume, but only redistributing the percentage that will be in different denomination. Meanwhile, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), has pitched its tent with the CBN, saying that the proposed introduction of

higher currency note will not cause inflation. The chamber noted that there is no economic theory or empirical evidence suggesting a causal relationship between higher currency denomination, inflation and devaluation. A statement from the chamber yesterday said from the monetary stand point, inflation can only be induced by increasing money supply, or the stock of money in an economy. According to the statement signed by its President, Mr. Goodie Ibru, a new currency structure has no link with monetary expansion or contraction. “We are persuaded that the new currency restructuring initiative of the CBN should be given a chance. The policy should be seen as a policy response to current economic dynamics.

Peace keeping: IG seeks compensation for injured policemen OMEIZA AJAYI

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he Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, yesterday said the force has begun talks with the United Nations/ African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) to get adequate compensation for some Nigerian police personnel who are part of the contingent and who were recently injured in a windstorm that swept across Darfur, Sudan. Known in local parlance as “Haboob”, the wind storm had on June 5, 2012, struck the camp of the Nigeria Formed Police Unit located in Zalingei, Darfur, where the unit is deployed as part of UNAMID. Deputy Force Public

Relations Officer, Frank Mba, recalled that the incident, which occurred in the middle of the night “blew off the female living quarters, as a result of which many of the officers sustained varying degrees of injury.” He said, while some of the officers who were slightly injured were treated and discharged at various hospitals in Darfur, Sudan; five of them sustained serious neck and chest injuries, as well as multiple fractures, necessitating their medical repatriation back to Nigeria, on August 1, 2012, under referral arrangement to the Military Hospital, Yaba. He said among affected policemen are an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) and four rank and file.


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Pension fund: £2m traced to PHCN London account –Committee OBIORA IFOH ABUJA

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he eight-man committee headed by a former AuditorGeneral of the Federation, Mr. Joseph Ajiboye, which investigated the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) pension scheme, has said that over £2m unutilised fund was traced to a London account of the company. The committee said that

PHCN ceded a 12-storey building to Inland Revenue because of its inability to repay debts owed the latter. The committee, which has the Managing Director of the Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO), Dr. Sam Agbogun, as its secretary with members drawn from the Auditor-General of the Federation’s Office, Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, National Pension Scheme,

as well as the ministries of works, labour and power, said the panel found it difficult to secure financial statements of the company, but was forced to rely on press cuttings to arrive at some of its findings. The committee Chairman, Ajiboye, said the total amount paid for gratuity and pension between 2000 and 2010 amounts to N51bn, while N53bn was paid between 1999 and 2000. Electricity workers un-

L-R: Executive Secretary of Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission, Mr. John Kennedy Opara; Chairman, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh; representatives of Atlasjet Airline, Mr. Serkan Yazicioglu and Mr. Godwin Acheme, at the signing of air carriers agreement in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Imo awards N3bn contract for two stadia construction CHRIS NJOKU OWERRI

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he Imo State Government has awarded N3bn contract for the construction of two additional stadia. The Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Hon Kenneth Emelu, who disclosed this yesterday in Owerri, the state capital, told journalists that the construction of the new stadia had begun. Emelu said that the new stadia would reduce the pressure on the 30,000 capacity Dan Anyiam Stadium. He said that the two stadia to be sited at Orlu and Okigwe with 15,000 capacities each would be contracted to Aaron Construction Limited and Reformer Global Limited. The commissioner said the construction of the stadia would be completed before the commencement of CAF competition.

der the aegis of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) had alleged that N300bn accumulated in their pension fund from the contribution of their 25 per cent salary over the years. But the Ministry of Power said N3bn was found in the fund, adding that from the reports available, “it is either the PHCN workers did not contribute 25per cent of their salary or that some unscrupulous offi-

•Inaugurates Kano reconciliation committee ABUJA

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he National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, has decried the increasing defection of the party’s members to other parties. Tukur, therefore, stressed the need to reconcile aggrieved members in order to strengthen the party. Towards this, he has inaugurated an eightman committee headed by Alabo Tonye GrahamDouglas to reconcile aggrieved members of the party in Kano State. Members of the committee include former Borno State Governor Mohammed Goni, Yerima Abdulahi, Victor Oyofo, Yaro Makama Rigachuku, Abike Maina, Mo-

hammed Wakil and Amb. Aminu Abdulahi. Tukur, who spoke yesterday at the inauguration of the committee at the national headquarters of PDP in Abuja, recalled his election pledge to pursue a policy of Reconciliation, Reformation and Rebuilding (3Rs) and also ensure justice and equity among members. He said: “For the party leadership to work seamlessly, “we’ve got to reduce disagreement to the barest minimum. There are people who feel aggrieved. So, reconciliation is paramount. “Our party is losing membership. When we started in 1979 up till date, we have seen many people gone. We can’t allow it to continue like that. These people are still there. They are

It is also expected to review the pension matters in the Agary Committee’s report and identify officers involved in any act of misconduct in the management of PHCN pension. There was also an allegation that the missing Superannuation Fund of PHCN, formerly National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), might have been diverted to NEPA Superannuation Fund Limited, an apparently illegal entity.

L-R:UNESCO Country Representative, Dr. Joseph Ngu; representative of the Minister of Education, Mrs. Magdalene Anene-Maidoh and the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Dr. Daouda Toure, during a roundtable on cultivating peace in celebration of 2012 International Literary Day in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: ROTIMI OSASONA

Tukur worried over PDP members’ defection OBIORA IFOH

cials made away with over N300bn which was over the years deducted from their pay”. The Ajiboye-led committee was inaugurated on July 18, 2012 to investigate the operation of the PHCN pension scheme and unravel all alleged fraudulent deals within one month. The committee was mandated to conduct an investigation on the status of pension in the power sector in relation to the Pension Act.

members of our party. They are still there. It means that they like the party.” Tukur said PDP lost the recent governorship election in Edo State because of the infighting within in the party. He said: “In Edo State, we lost election because of factions arising from misunderstanding. It is like big dogs fighting and the lead one came to take the bone away. It is important for me to reconcile our people, to rebuild our party and you cannot rebuild the party unless you reconcile.” He added that the PDP would constitute similar committees in all the zones of the country to talk to the people,” adding: “We want to give our people good governance without imposition, without injustice.”

Police arrest 17 truck-load of stolen fuel in Kogi OMEIZA AJAYI

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special police taskforce has smashed an oil bunkering syndicate in the Ajaokuta area of Kogi State, recovering no fewer than 17 trucks laden with stolen petroleum products. The operation, led by an Assistant Commissioner of Police, F.T Ibadin, at the weekend in Agayin area of Ajaokuta also led the arrest of one Stephen Amana of Adogo village, who owns one of the trucks. National Mirror learnt that the feat was recorded by the newly constituted

Special Taskforce on AntiPipeline Vandalisation. Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, confirmed the incident yesterday. Mba said the vandals, having being over-powered by the police, took to their heels, abandoning the trucks, majority of them already loaded with stolen petroleum products. He said: “A Honda car, a Volkswagen Golf car, some offensive weapons and other equipment used by the suspects to siphon petroleum products from vandalised NNPC pipelines were also recovered.”

Panic at Finance Ministry as elevator sparks

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here was pandemonium yesterday morning as the Federal Ministry of Finance workers ran for their lives following a fire spark in one of the elevators conveying them to their offices. Eye witnesses said the incident, which occurred at about 7.15 am due to electri-

cal fault at the Phase 11 building, caused some stampede. One of those who witnessed the incident said the fire was put out by combined efforts of private security posted to the ministry - Kings Guard Security Limited, Civil Defence Corps officials and men of the fire service.


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National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Amosun tasks military over nation’s crisis KEMI OLAITAN IBADAN

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gun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, yesterday charged the military to work with other security agencies in the country in the sharing of intelligence and joint operations to tackle difficult insurrections that are beyond the capacity of the police. Amosun, who spoke while delivering a lecture with the theme; “Role of

Military in Strengthening Democracy” as part of activities marking the Nigeria Union Journalists’ week, in Ibadan, said such interagency relationship would help to avoid violent clashes witnessed between military men and other security agencies in the past. The governor, represented by the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, said for the military to serve as agent of strengthening democracy in the country, its leadership

should take stern measures to deter some of its men who are fond of using their vantage positions to terrorise and harass innocent citizens. Governor Amosun said in a democracy, the military could serve as a vital agent of development by engaging in activities that will bring progress to the society. According to him, “The military can invest its energy in research and development which can introduce new ways of doing things in

the society. “He said the engineering corps, if well organised is better placed to help rebuild our infrastructure at a cheaper and more sophisticated level than some of the commercially-oriented construction firms.” The governor said further that the military could fund or engage its scientists in research efforts meant to introduce progressive inventions and innovations. His words: “These are normal practices in ad-

vanced democracies and our military need to go along with global trend to make it relevant and indispensable in our growing democracy.” The country, he noted, needed to invest in developing the military as part of the overall leadership process as practiced in the United States and other advanced democracies. Governor Amosun while sounding a note of warning that the government should refrain from frequent deployment of the military to

assignments that are police duties, said the military should be the last resort in quelling disturbances. His words again: “The civil authorities should not use the military in situations where it will be obvious they are being abused or that the aim is merely to suppress political opponents or to perpetrate illegalities, that is not the best way to positively engage the military and make them agents for strengthening democracy in our country.”

Lagos to teach Chinese language in public schools

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L-R: Representative of the Oyo State Governor, Mr. Bosun Oladele; Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, Jumoke Sunmonu; Representative of Ogun State Governor, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, at the opening of Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Oyo State Council’s Press Week in Ibadan, yesterday.

11 die in Lagos-Benin Expressway auto crashes SEBASTINE EBHUOMHAN BENIN

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t least 11 people lost their lives on the busy LagosBenin Expressway when their vehicles were involved in two separate accidents at the weekend. The accidents, which occurred barely one week after four lecturers of Igbinedion University in Okada, lost their lives in an accident when their car plunged into the Ovia River in a bid to escape a head-on collision with a truck, also resulted in severe injuries to others. It was reliably learnt that the first accident, which occurred on Saturday around Ore axis of the expressway, was said to have involved a Delta Line bus in which eight people lost their lives on the spot. But, an unconfirmed report also said all the 16 passengers in the transport company’s bus died on the spot with the driver. The second accident in

which about three people were killed occurred on Sunday also around Ore and was said to involve a commercial passenger bus operated by Edegbe Line, a Benin-based transport company. The driver of the bus, whose name could not be ascertained as at press time, alleged that the driver of the other vehicle was the one that lost control and rammed into his own vehicle in a head-on collision. It was further gathered that the casualties of the two accidents have been deposited at an undisclosed hospitals even as survivors have been taken to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) for treatment. Sources at the hospital, however, told our correspondent that the survivors were being kept on the floor of the Accident and Emergency Unit of the teaching hospital because the beds in the unit have been filled up. Confirming the ac-

cidents, the National Coordinator of the Save Accident Victims of Nigeria (SAVAN), Dr. Eddy Ehikhamenor, decried the frequency of accidents on the Benin-Lagos Expressway. He calling on the Federal Government to hasten the repair work on the expressway while urging drivers plying the road to exercise caution, especially as the road was always

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er of the team and Director of UNILAG’s Chinese Confucius Institute, Prof. Caleb Oladele Orimoogunje, said the institute was available to assist the state by putting in place the necessary logistics to kick-start the project. Corroborating him, the Co-director of the institute, Prof. Lirong Jiang, who is also billed to oversee the programme, said the institute as a representative of the Chinese culture in Nigeria was set up to satisfy people’s need as regards Chinese culture and education. While she said China was now known as the world’s new destination for economic growth and technology development, she disclosed that the institute was available to provide instructors to teach the language and culture in schools the moment the memorandum of understanding is sealed between the two parties.

Aregbesola vows to boost trade in Osun WALE FOLARIN OSOGBO

Minister of Works Mike Onolememen

busy in the ember months.

Cassava stakeholders’ conference holds on Saturday

assava Stakeholders Association of Nigeria will on Saturday, September 15, hold its conference and inaugurate its Ogun State chapter. A statement from the South-West Coordinator of the association, Otunba Femi Oke, said the event will attract members of the association from all the six states in the SouthWest geo-political zone. Also expected at the

agos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye, has disclosed the intention of the state government to introduce Maldarine - Chinese language - in the state schools’ timetable with effect from the 2013/2014 academic session. The commissioner stated this when delegates from the Confucius Institute at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) visited her office in Ikeja yesterday. According to her, the learning of Maldarine in the state’s public schools will be an opportunity for students at least in the state public schools to speak the language, study in China and also adapt easily to the Chinese culture. She asked the visitors to help the state incorporate the project into the institute’s programme. Speaking earlier, the lead-

conference, which will hold at Beverlys Hotel, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, are the National Coordinator, Chief B. S. B. Adebayo, farmers, professionals, non-government organisations and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector. The statement added that the conference would discuss the association’s preparation for the Cassava World Congress coming up soon in the country.

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sun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, has vowed to make the state the commercial hub of the South-West part of the country by promoting trade and investment in the state. The governor made the declaration yesterday in Osogbo, the state capital, while speaking during the turning of the sod of Aje International Market. He said his administration would always execute economic policies and take measures that would boost the economic power of the people and the state in general. According to Governor Aregbesola, any government that is worth its name

must ensure that the people are gainfully employed. The governor also promised to always give priority to projects that will empower the people and boost their standard of living. According to him, when completed, the Aje International Market would have various warehouses, clinic, police post, multi-purpose hall and fire station, among other facilities. Speaking on the occasion, Chairman of Lopin Plastic Industry, Chief Amuda Obelawo, commended the governor for his interest in the economic growth and development of the state. He admonished the governor to ensure that shops at the market are given to genuine traders and industrialists in the interest of the state.


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South West

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Road crashes: Outlaw sale of liquor at parks, FRSC tells NASS ABIODUN NEJO ADO EKITI

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he Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, has called on the National Assembly to consider the enactment of a law against sale of alcohol and other intoxicants at motor parks across the country. The FRSC Sector Commander in Ekiti State, Mr. Random Kumven, said with the law, the agency would be able to win the war against the sale of

those items at the parks and by implication, ensure sanity on the roads. Kumven told journalists at the start of a weeklong enlightenment campaign tagged: “Towards Actualising Safer Roads, Fuller Lives,” in Ado-Ekiti yesterday, that such law would give legal teeth to FRSC to stop the sale of alcohol and other intoxicants at motor parks. According to him, the agency has devised a way of detecting drunk drivers when subjected to a test

with breathalyser. He said: “We have a way of detecting any driver that consumes alcohol above the 0.25 per cent recommended level with the use of breathalyser.” Kumven, who attributed over 90 per cent of road crashes across the country to human error, said the FRSC had embarked on enlightenment, education and enforcement to reduce accidents. He said the one-week enlightenment programme was to sensitise the public to

how to ensure safe driving. Although Kumven disclosed that no road offender would be booked during the week, he said that should not be an excuse to commit traffic offence which might result in loss of lives. Also speaking at the event, the Ekiti State Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr. Wole Olugbuji, said government had embarked on aggressive road construction and rehabilitation with a view to making all roads in the state motorable, thereby reducing road crashes.

L-R: Speaker, Osun State House of Assembly, Hon. Najeem Salam; Deputy Governor, Mrs. Titi Laoye-Tomori; Governor Rauf Aregbesola; Group Managing Director, Odu’a Investment, Mr. Adebayo Jimoh and Chairman, Odu’a Investment, Alhaji Sarafadeen Abiodun Alli, during the turning of the sod of the Aje International Market in Ido-Osun, Osogbo, Osun State, yesterday.

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Fake drugs: NAFDAC seeks life imprisonment for manufacturers WALE IGBINTADE

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he National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, is seeking amendment to the Act setting it up to make counterfeiting of drug punishable by life imprisonment. The agency is already working on a draft bill that would be sent to the National Assembly, seeking stiffer penalty for offenders and make importation and manufacturing of fake drugs unattractive. The NAFDAC DirectorGeneral, Dr. Paul Orhii, who disclosed this in Lagos, said it would enable the agency carry out its mandate of safeguarding public health by ensuring that only quality drugs, food and other regulated products were manufactured and imported into the country. Speaking through the Deputy Director in charge of Public Relations and Protocol, Abubakar Jimoh, the DG said there was need for stiffer punishment for those engaged in counterfeiting of drugs. Orhii said the draft bill, which had the backing of the Presidency, would be presented before the National Economic Council before it was sent to the National Assembly to be passed into law. He said: “The agency

is working on a bill that will make counterfeiting of drug punishable by life imprisonment. The bill will also make it impossible for those that engage in importation of fake drugs from getting bail from the courts. We are asking that counterfeiting of drugs should not be a bailable offence. “So that once you are caught, the issue of the suspects using part of the proceeds to scuttle trial would no longer be there. The only option left for offenders would be to speed up the case. Because once they are remanded in prison awaiting trial and they know they cannot secure bail, they will not spend so much money in trying to stop the trial but rather they would want to speed it up.” The DG noted that internationally, the only yardstick used to measure if a country was serious in fighting counterfeiting of drug was the number of convictions in court. He said NAFDAC had 108 cases pending in court, adding that recently a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos sentenced an offender to three years imprisonment for illegal importation of fake drug. He commended the judge for the pronouncement, saying it was the first time a court came out vehemently against fake drug traffickers.

Electorate need new orientation –INEC chief I’ve no hand in Akume’s ouster plot –Ganiyu Solomon HAKEEM GBADAMOSI AKURE

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he Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in Ondo State, Akin Orebiyi, has said there was need to change the attitude of an average voter in the country to the electoral process. Orebiyi said this yesterday in Akure at a two-day training workshop for electoral officers in all the local government areas of the state. The workshop was organised by the International Foundation for Electoral System, IFES. The REC disclosed that less than 30 per cent of eligible voters usually exercise their voting right during election, adding that a considerable number of people did not believe in the umpire and would rather sit at home. He said: “Most people do

not have faith in the electoral system and the electoral umpire, believing that most elections are usually concluded on a round table even before the exercise.” According to him, the warlike attitude of politicians also contributes to reasons why some eligible voters stay away from voting exercise. He therefore urged politicians not to see election as a do or die affair. Orebiyi, however, stressed the need for public enlightenment for proper education to change people’s orientation towards electoral process. He said: “Nigeria is the eighth educationally backward nation in the world. The literacy level accounts for why people seem not have proper orientation on electoral process in this country. This will go a long way to

change voters’ orientation and to enlighten them.” Speaking earlier, the Deputy Country Director of IFES, Mrs. Uloma Uzuala, said the enlightenment programme was organised to ensure a free and fair election in the state. Mrs. Uzuala said the foundation had been a major partner of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, since 1998, promoting electorate system in the country. She said: “This voters’ education was designed to enlighten electorate on the electoral process and also to see how best to make the next election in the state a success. “We want a credible election in Ondo State. A free and fair election will hold here on October 20 and the process would be praised by the whole world.”

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he Senate Minority Whip, Senator Ganiyu Olanrewaju Solomon, has lambasted the Benue State Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Comrade Abba Yaro, for naming him in the alleged plan to remove Senator George Akume as the Senate minority leader. Solomon yesterday denied having a hand in the alleged plot to remove Akume as minority leader. Yaro had in an interview with a national newspaper accused Solomon and Senator Chris Ngige from Anambra State of being the brains behind the plot on the instructions of the Senate President, David Mark. Yaro was quoted as saying that “these people forget that Senate minority leader’s position is not meant for Mushin boys like Senator Gani Solo-

mon or men like Senator Chris Ngige.” In his reaction, Solomon said: “I am not surprised that an irresponsible statement is coming from Yaro and his paymaster because they are habitually deviant, both in utterances and action. “Yaro was not wrong to have described Mushin people as common, yet uncommon people, what he forgot to add is that it is through our rascally ways that we had kept the party together for over 12 years before their non-value adding lot came to reap where they did not sow... “Let us admit that there is an element of truth in the orchestrated moves to remove Akume, but to whose advantage? It is true that I fought the battle for what naturally was mine the way anyone who is worth his salt would do, but

the moment our party took a position, it was no longer a subject of debate - we all fell in line and everybody moved on. “So, why would I be linked to such idle tales that were lacking in substance and truth? It is the more reason I had refrained from commenting when this wolf-crying first started. “Yaro and whoever was behind his very poor mannerism should come out and tell the whole world at least, one meeting that they were privy to where such motive was mooted. Does it not suggest to every discerning mind that his statement was a needless distraction aimed at stirring unnecessary ill-feeling in our peaceful and well-coordinated party? We don’t backbite in our party and we don’t indulge in clandestine and sinister plots to pull others down.”


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South East

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

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Elders’ council lauds Obi’s new anti-kidnapping strategy CHARLES OKEKE AWKA

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hairman of Anambra State Elders Council and Statesman, Dr Dozie Ikedife, has commended Governor Peter Obi for his new antikidnapping strategy. Ikedife particularly praised the governor for demolishing and confiscating houses and property of suspected kidnappers. Dr Ikedife said the new

anti-kidnapping initiative, if fully applied and sustained, would drastically reduce armed robbery and other criminal activities in Anambra State. Speaking to National Mirror on the import of demolishing property acquired with the proceeds of crime, Dr. Ikedife, a former President General of Ohaneze Ndi Igbo and Second Republic Presidential Liaison Officer, said the governor should be con-

gratulated on the initiative, as the trend has restored people’s confidence in government. He said: “Well, I think anything that will help to reduce kidnapping, armed robbery and terrorism is welcome because in all areas, kidnapping portends nothing good, as it scares away investors and anything that will help change the image of Anambra State as den of kidnappers is welcome”.

He also praised those who confided the information that recently assisted the police in tracking down some suspected kidnappers for their patriotism. Ikedife said: “There was a time when you reported a criminal to police, your life will be on the line, but now the situation has changed, it used to be an unpopular thing to be a police informant, but with government using the information and acting properly, I have the

belief that more informants will come up”. He, however, suggested that the new anti-kidnapping approach should be applied on those who embezzle public funds. Ikedife said property acquired with the proceeds of fraud should be demolished, adding: “After the demolition, government should go ahead and do what the law prescribes. The law should take its proper and full course”.

PDP commends Imo judiciary on rule of law GEORGE OPARA ABIA

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he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Vi c e - C h a i r m a n in the South-East, Chief Austin Akobundu, has praised the Imo State judiciary for upholding the rule of law and cause of justice. Akobundu spoke while reacting to the strikingout of an application seeking to restrain the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr. Ben Uwajidgmogu, from swearing-in Chief Eugene Dibiagwu, the PDP member-elect for Oguta constituency. The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate for the August 11, 2012 fresh election in Oguta constituency, Mr. Walter Uzonwunne, had gone to court for an injunction to restrain Uwajimogu from swearing-in Dibiagwu. But Imo High Court in Orlu, presided over by Justice A.K. Orjiako, on September 7, 2012 struckout the application for lack of jurisdiction. In a statement made available to journalist yesterday in Umuahia, the state capital, Akobundu said the ruling had not only vindicated PDP as a law-abiding party, but confirmed the belief of Nigerians that its judiciary can entrench democracy.

Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha

Anambra State Governor Peter Obi (left), receiving a N5m cheque from the Union Bank Deputy General Manager, Sir Peter Aliogo, for supporting the governor’s efforts on security in Awka, yesterday.

Six convicted MASSOB members regain freedom

•Five others granted bail on stringent condition NWABUEZE OKONKWO ONITSHA

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ix members of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) sentenced to six months imprisonment four months ago were at the weekend accorded a rousing reception by their fellow members in Onitsha, Anambra State, following their release from Benin prison on presidential pardon. The convicts - Ifeanyi Igbozuruike, Francis Onuigbo, Chidi Okafor, Sabastine Nwoye, Emmanuel Nwafor and Sunday Okoro - were sentenced to six months imprisonment each in May 8, this year, by a Delta Chief Magistrate’s Court sitting in Asaba. The court, presided over by Mr. S. C. Ehikwe, sentenced them after finding them guilty of treason and waging war against the state. Confirming their release in a telephone chat yester-

day, MASSOB’s National Director of Information, Mr. Uchenna Madu, praised President Goodluck Jonathan for granting the presidential pardon to the convicts. The presidential order might not be unconnected with a petition written by MASSOB leadership to the Presidency. In the petition jointly signed on August 2, 2012 by MASSOB’s National Director of Information, Uchenna Madu and the Regional Administrator for Idemili South, Chief Innocent Odonwankwo, the group alleged that all its efforts to take the appeal against the magistrate’s court ruling to a higher court were frustrated by officials of the Delta State judiciary, even as it insisted that the court ruling was based on sentiment and ethnic bias. MASSOB said the decision to write the petition was informed by the fact that the health condition of the convicted members had deteriorated so much that

if they were not released soonest, they might die in no distant time. In another development, five members of MASSOB, including the Administrator for Onitsha Region Four, Chief Arinze Igbani, were on Friday arraigned at Onitsha Magistrate’s Court on two count charge of conspiracy and possession of MASSOB flags. However, the presiding Magistrate, C.I. Udedike, granted them bail with stringent condition as requested by the prosecuting counsel. In the charge, the MASSOB members were alleged to have, on September 4, 2012, at Ndukwe Akunne Street, Onitsha, conspired among themselves to commit felony by belonging to an unlawful society, which is an offence punishable under section 495(a) of the Criminal Code Cap 36, volume II, revised law of Anambra State of Nigeria 1991 as amended. They were equally

charged for having paraded themselves, while in possession of MASSOB flags, registers, sign posts and letter headed papers during an Assembly at Ndukwe Street Onitsha, which is an offence punishable under section 100(a) of the criminal code, Cap 36, volume II, revised laws of Anambra State of Nigeria 1991 as amended. The defence counsel, C.O. Ugo, urged the court to dismiss the matter as the accused did not breach any known law. He said Igbani, who had been hospitalised for weeks now after sustaining compound fracture, could not have posed any threat to the peace of the state and citizens. Ugo urged the court to grant the accused liberal bail as they are not criminals. But the prosecuting counsel said he was not opposing bail since they were entitled to it, but urged the court to grant them bail on stringent conditions.

Anambra to benefit from MTN security trust fund CHARLES OKEKE AWKA

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nambra State has been selected as one of the beneficiaries of MTN Security Trust Fund being administered by the MTN Nigeria Foundation. The security scheme, which will be executed under the MTNF Security Support Project, will involve the supply of security support vehicles to the government of Anambra State. Announcing this development in a statement sent to journalists in Awka, the state would receive the security patrol vehicles at a ceremony to be held on Friday at the Government House, Awka. The statement, signed by the Director of the Foundation, Mr. Akinwale Goodluck and Executive Secretary, Nonny Ugboma, stated that that the security initiative was designed to assist the government in improving security in the state.

400 soldiers converge on Enugu for convention DENNIS AGBO ENUGU

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ver 400 soldiers drawn from different Army formations yesterday commenced five days convention of the Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) at the 82 Division of Nigeria Army in Enugu. The convention is expected to rehearse the roles of RSM in restoration of core values of the Army to meet modern challenges and also aimed at establishing a platform for cross fertilisation of ideas from participants comprising of academic, traditional rulers and activists. Addressing the gathering, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Azubuike Ihejirika, represented by the Chief of Administration, Army Headquarters, Maj-Gen. E. Bassey, said that the convention was fashioned towards inculcating the core values of loyalty, selfless service, courage, discipline, integrity and respect for others in the Nigerian Army. He said such ingredients were relevant to transforming the Nigerian Army into a better force so as to meet contemporary challenges.


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South South

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Onshore-offshore: No-go-area, Uduaghan, Akpabio insist AMOUR UDEMUDE ASABA

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gain, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State and his Akwa Ibom State counterpart, Godswill Akpabio, have said that the issue of onshore/offshore dichotomy had long been settled by the National Assembly and the judiciary. The governors said this yesterday at the Zonal Advocacy Workshop on Economic Diversification and Enhanced Revenue Generation (South-South Zone) in Asaba. Saying that it was unfortunate for the issue to still be on the national discourse, the governors enjoined Nigerians to lay it to rest. Uduaghan said: “I appeal to Nigerians to leave the issue of onshore and offshore alone. This matter has long been settled and it should now be a no-go-area. Indeed, I beg Nigerians to

leave this matter for now.’’ Describing the workshop as timely, the governor said his administration had mapped out strategies to build a state beyond oil even as he called on the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, to design ways of addressing the

YENAGOA

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ear of sack has gripped more than 2,000 basic education teachers attending a five-day training workshop in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, because of the competency test which would be administered at the end of the programme. It was learnt that teachers who fail the compulsory assessment may be sacked to give room for new entrants into the profession. Sources said that 50 per cent of the teachers attending the workshop were not qualified to be able to impact knowledge on pupils, adding that this had adversely affected the standard of education in public schools over the years. The teachers drawn from primary and junior secondary schools across the state would be tutored on Mathematics and Basic Science to enhance capacity building in the education sector. The programme is expected to last from September 10 to 14. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the workshop tagged: “Bayelsa SUBEB Professional Development Programme,” Governor

wounds inflicted on the environment of the Niger Delta region. Harping on the dwindling revenue allocation, the governor said the time was ripe for the diversification of the economy so that in the future, states could survive beyond oil. On his part, Akpabio

explained that 20 states of the federation took the onshore/offshore issue to the Supreme Court after the National Assembly had addressed the matter. He said that at the Supreme Court, the issue was settled and laid to rest but wondered why it became an issue now.

L-R: Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio; Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta); Chairman, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Mr. Elias Mbam; Delta State Deputy Governor, Prof. Amos Utuama and Edo State Deputy Governor, Mr. Pius Odubu, at the Zonal Advocacy Workshop on Economic Diversification and Enhanced Revenue Generation, South-South Zone, in Asaba, yesterday.

Competency test: Fear grips Bayelsa teachers EMMA GBEMUDU

problems of oil producing states. He said the impact of oil exploration was heavy on states in the South-South zone and as a result they deserved a better treatment. Uduaghan specifically demanded 50 per cent oil derivation revenue which would be used to heal the

Seriake Dickson said the teachers would sit for an examination and test as part of their assessment at the end of the workshop. Urging them not to panic over the examination, Dickson said teachers were used to giving their pupils assessment to test their true knowledge. He said: “Our teachers must be prepared to change and work hard. You have to be prepared for a paradigm shift. Government will support you. You have to return to the good old days. Where you have problem, please let us know. This training will be a continuous exercise.” The governor said new teachers, who specialised in Information Communication Technology, ICT, would be employed in the teaching service to raise the standard of education in the state. Dickson said teachers’ welfare, well-being, training and equipment would remain the priority of his administration. He promised that government would provide free school uniforms, textbooks and notebooks to pupils, adding that furniture in all the public schools would be replaced with new ones.

Crisis brews in Uselu Psychiatric Hospital over workers’ union SEBASTINE EBHUOMHAN BENIN

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mergence of parallel executives of workers’ union at the Psychiatric Hospital in Uselu, Edo State, is threatening to break the fragile peaceful at the Federal Government-owned institution. Investigation by our correspondent at the hospital yesterday showed that the hospital’s branch of the Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions, SSAUTHRIAI, has

been polarised with the inauguration of a new executive council of the union. Members of the new executive allegedly beat up the representative of the Trade Union Congress, TUC, sent to resolve the differences last week. Sources said the new executive council was enjoying the support of the hospital’s Medical Director, MD, Dr. Sunday Olotu. The sources added that the formation of the faction was an attempt by management to weaken the resolve that the union. The union and other cadres of workers are still in

court challenging the process which led to the emergence of Olotu as the MD. But Olotu said his administration was committed and focused on creating an enabling environment “better than the preceding protests and counterprotests that we had in the past.” Confirming the development, the state TUC Chairman, Comrade Joe Aligbe, said his union still recognised the leadership of the SSAUTHRIAI led by Mr. Uyi Oriakhi although the factional union invited the state leadership to attend its inauguration.

Stella Obasanjo Hospital issues ultimatum over unclaimed bodies SEBASTINE EBHUOMHAN BENIN

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he management of Stella Obasanjo Hospital in Benin City, Edo State, has given an ultimatum to those who deposited bodies of their relatives in the hospital’s mortuary to collect such corpses. This is contained in a statement signed on behalf of the medical director of the hospital.

It was learnt that the management issued the ultimatum to the public to decongest the hospital’s morgue and also reduce odour in the hospital environment. It was gathered that the ultimatum would end this week but it was not known what the management intends to do with the corpses after the expiration of the ultimatum. The morgue, according to

sources, is congested by bodies of those who died in the hospital and those brought with promises by family members to claim the bodies as soon as burial arrangements were concluded. Apart from the University of Benin Teaching Hospital and the Central Hospital, the other major public health institution in Benin City with functional mortuary is the Stella Obasanjo Hospital located off Sapele Road.

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A’Ibom to partner NNDC, Mobil on Eket-Ibeno Road project TONY ANICHEBE UYO

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kwa Ibom State Government has restated its willingness to partner the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, and Mobil Producing Nigeria, MPN, to extend the Eket-Ibeno Road to a dual carriageway soon. The Deputy Governor, Mr. Nsima Ekere, said this at the send forth for the former Executive Director and General Manager, Public and Governmental Affairs of MPN, Mrs. Gloria EssienDanner, at Le Meridien Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort at the weekend. He recalled how Governor Godswill Akpabio had indicated the government’s willingness to partner on the project during a tripartite meeting with the NDDC and MPN at Qua Iboe Terminal, Ibeno, a few months ago. The deputy governor said the government wanted the expansion of the scope of the NDDC contract from a single lane road to a dual carriageway and was ready to send in consultants and bear part of the cost, if necessary. Ekere congratulated Mrs. Essien-Danner for successfully completing a meritorious and colourful career and urged the people of the state to cultivate the habit of celebrating the very best among them, instead of pulling such people down. He said that Mrs. EssienDanner and Mr. Udom Inoyo had blazed the trail for Akwa Ibom by rising to the positions of executive directors. “They wiped away the tears of Akwa Ibom people. Before, it was very difficult to get Akwa Ibom engineers employed in Mobil... The excuse was that Akwa Ibom did not have qualified persons. Today, I make bold to say that Akwa Ibom can boast of the very best professionals all over. Today, we have Akwa Ibom people who are there not on quota but on merit and competence.” The Executive Director of Human Resources in MPN, Mr. Udom Inoyo, lauded the government’s landmark achievements and promised that the company would continue to do its best to increase the revenue base of the state to enable more development.


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North

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Flood: Niger, Kogi, Delta, others under threat, NEMA alerts

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he National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has ordered an immediate evacuation of those residing along the River Niger plains. A statement by the agency said the decision became necessary in view of the fact that the dams had attained their highest water levels in 29 years, unprecedented in the history of Jebba and Kainji

hydroelectric power dams. It said that the states at risk of the flood are Niger, Kogi, Kwara, Kebbi, Anambra and Delta. The threat, according to the statement, had created a high risk of imminent flooding in the downstream of the river. In order to avoid imminent danger, NEMA urged the residents to move to higher grounds for safety. The statement reads in

part: “Already, the agency has notified the affected states to take the necessary precautionary measures by relocating people from the flood prone areas and activated the National Contingency Plan as well as alerted all stakeholders to take necessary actions in line with their various mandates. “The states are to ensure compliance with the threat in order to avert imminent

loss of lives and property that would certainly arise in the event of flooding. “Information available indicates that the gauge for monitoring the flow of water in the river has already exceeded the maximum height by over one meter. “A rapid assessment team comprising officers of NEMA and the stakeholders has left for Jebba and Kainji to further inspect the situation.”

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Gaidam condemns Damaturu attacks

•Says they were sponsored INUSA NDAHI DAMATURU

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obe State Governor Ibrahim Gaidam has condemned the recent attacks perpetrated by suspected terrorists in Damaturu, the state capital. “These attacks are barbaric, evil-minded and counter-productive and we condemn them in totality,” Gaidam said. The governor spoke during a sympathy visit to the offices of the State Pilgrims Commission and Ministry of Religious Affairs in Damaturu. The offices were burnt by the terrorists. Gaidam said the attackers were “sponsored by enemies within and outside who are bent on scuttling the progress the state is making.” He said: “These boys perpetrating these atrocities have sponsors. They are not doing it in the name of religion or

for religion. But they stand to gain nothing from their actions. I can assure them that we will not be distracted from our efforts and goal of serving the people effectively and efficiently.” The governor recalled that in June this year, primary and Islamiyyah schools as well as churches in some parts of Damaturu were attacked by miscreants and hoodlums. Gaidam said the government would reconstruct all the public offices destroyed by the attackers. He said: “We are still going to reconstruct these burnt offices. We could have used these funds to provide other services that our people need. Therefore, the ultimate victims of these attacks are the common people.” The attacks on the Yobe Pilgrims Commission, however, left 14 vehicles and a mosque burnt.

Kogi poll: Supreme Court dismisses Audu’s appeal EMMANUEL ONANI ABUJA L-R: Emir of Jema’a, Alhaji Isa Mohammed; Kaduna State Governor Patrick Yakowa and Chief of Kagoro, Mr. Ufai Bonet, at the commissioning of a health centre in Kafanchan, yesterday.

15 Customs officers arrested for aiding smuggling JAMES DANJUMA KATSINA

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o fewer than 15 Customs officers are being investigated for allegedly aiding a trailer load of contraband goods to sneak into the country from Niger Republic through Katsina State. Sources said the Customs officers looked the other way when the contraband goods were transported into the country. Their action, however, backfired when the vehicle was arrested by a police team in Katsina. The sources told National Mirror that the 15 Customs officers were later arrested and taken to Abuja after it was learnt that the contraband goods came into the country with their connivance. A source, who did not want his name mentioned, said that the affected of-

ficers “are now answering questions and may be dismissed from service for aiding corruption.” The source said “the contraband, which belongs to a business man, was impounded by a combined team of Soldiers and policemen in Katsina metropolis.” According to the source, the 15 arrested officers were alleged to have been involved in aiding smuggling through Katsina State’s borders. When National Mirror visited the Customs command office in Katsina State yesterday, the vehicle was seen parked within the premises. Speaking on the issue, the Customs spokesman for command, Mr. Muhammad Giade, said: “Some officers have been invited to Abuja in connection with the interception and that investigation on the matter is on.”

Industrialist rues shortfall in nation’s steel production JAMES ABRAHAM JOS

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he Chairman of ETA–Zuma Group (W.A) Ltd, Dr. Innocent Ezuma, yesterday decried what he called a shortfall in the nation’s steel production. He said a situation whereby Nigeria consumes more than five million tonnes of steel annually, with only 10 per cent of it produced locally was not healthy for national development. Ezuma, who spoke with journalists in Jos, the Plateau State capital, urged the Federal Government to take more proactive measures to bridge the shortfall so as to save the situation from further degeneration He lamented that billions of dollars were being spent on steel importation that could be produced locally with a little commitment by the government.

Ezuma said: “Because of our massive steel requirement, it has become necessary for the Federal Government to take more decisive measures to ensure that we become a bit more selfreliant in that sector of the economy so as to minimise capital flight. “Generally, no nation can record any meaningful development without steel, hence the need by the government to work toward activating the Ajaokuta Steel Company.” Ezuma, however, said the Jos Steel Mill would be fully revived to contribute to steel production and development. He commended the Federal Government’s effort in creating a better environment for indigenous steel companies, but noted that “much is still needed to be done, as the sector is getting more and more endangered.”

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he Supreme Court yesterday dismissed an appeal filed by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) governorship candidate in Kogi State, Prince Abubakar Audu, in which he challenging the judgment of the Court of Appeal which upheld the December 3, 2011 election of Capt Idris Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In a unanimous decision by a full panel of the apex court led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloma Mukhtar, the court held that the appellants filed the appeal outside the mandatory period stipulated by the constitution for an appeal. Consequent upon this, the court held that it lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit. In a brief ruling delivered by Justice Mahammed Mahmud, the court saidthat upon the consideration of the Practice Directions of 2011, it was crystal clear that it lacked the power to extend time, which naturally rubs

it off of jurisdiction. Earlier, counsel to Audu, Charles Edomsomwan (SAN), urged the court to allow the appeal in the interest of justice. He pleaded with the court to hear the appeal in its merit, saying the court had the discretion to do so in the circumstance. But counsel to the PDP, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), raised an objection to extension of time in a counter-affidavit. He submitted that in the circumstance that the appeal was brought outside the 14 days required by the constitution, the apex court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain it, hence it should be dismissed in accordance with Section 285 (7) of the 1999 Constitution. This position was canvassed by both counsel to Wada, Chris Uche (SAN) and that of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Yusuf Ali (SAN), who stressed that the appeal was incompetent. Specifically, Ali said: “The court has no jurisdiction to extend the time for filing of an appeal.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

13

Politics

SUPER TUESDAY

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

2 2015: Jonathan’s endorsement b by Igbo leaders too hasty – Umeh

14&15

5000 note: Will National Assembly halt CBN’s naira restructuring policy?

42&43

CONSTITUTION REVIEW

Echoes from presidential retreat • The Jonathan’s six-year single term connection On Thursday, September 6, President Goodluck Jonathan met with civil society groups at the Aso Villa to discuss the ongoing efforts at reviewing the 1999 Constitution. ROTIMI FADEYI, who covered the event, reports

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hen President Goodluck Jonathan, last year, proposed a sixyear single term for president and governors as amendment to the 1999 Constitution, there was a wave of opposition to the proposal particularly from the opposition who viewed the proposal as a ploy to elongate his tenure. They also cried foul while knocking the wind out of the proposal, canvassing argument that with the proposal, the President was also planning to ensure that he benefits from the amendment by going for a fresh term of six straight years in addition to his four-year term which began on May 29, 2011. But just like there was opposition to the proposal, there were also supporters of the idea who commended and gave kudos to the President for his initiative. The issue came up again last week Thursday at the maiden edition of the Presidential retreat for civil society organisations and professional associations at the State House in Abuja, organised by the Presidency through the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation as part of the 52nd independence anniversary of the country and its contribution to the ongoing effort at amending the 1999 Constitution. At the event, the participants adopted by vote, a two-term of four years for elected president and governors as against the sixyear single term as proposed by Jonathan. Even, since the President made his intention known last year on the tenure of president and state governors, he is yet to package his proposal into a bill to be presented to the National Assembly for consideration as amendment to the constitution. In his remarks at the occasion, Jonathan said that his administration was determined to give the country a people-oriented constitution that will ensure development, progress and prosperity of the nation. Jonathan declared that his government believe in the rule of law and that the constitution should be amended according to its provisions, saying that the Federal Gov-

L-R: Vice-President Namadi Sambo, President Goodluck Jonathan; Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Alfa Belgore

TOP STORY CONSTITUTIONMAKING OR REVIEW IN A DEMOCRACY SHOULD NOT BE AN ELITIST UNDERTAKING. IT

MUST BE PROCESSED THROUGH A STRATEGIC AND FAR-REACHING

CONSULTATION WITH THE PEOPLE ernment would soon send to the National Assembly the proposed bill for the amendment of the constitution along with the report of the Presidential Committee on the Review of the Constitution. He said: “Our collective aspiration must be realised in our time. In a democracy, sovereignty lies with the people and it is the people that can create the constitution that governs their daily existence. We must consolidate the virtues of our common heritage, reaffirm our common destiny and indeed, collectively resolve to guarantee the

greatness of our dream country. “These cannot be realised without creating understanding and securing consensus through dialogue, and commitment to the cause of our nationhood. One instrument that has served as the ligament that holds the nation together is our national constitution. It would be important therefore that the constitution must be the people’s construction,” he said. The President stressed that his government is engaging the civil society in the constitution review process because of the tremendous knowledge of constitutional review borne out of many years of consistent effort to craft a people’s constitution for the country. He noted that, “constitution-making or review in a democracy should not be an elitist undertaking. It must be processed through a strategic and far-reaching consultation with the people. That is the spirit of democracy. “A constitution that can guarantee true democracy must flow from the ideas and experiences of the people, not just the people in the corridors of power, but also the people in the market places and the public squares,” the President added. Jonathan told members of the civil society groups why they were invited to the retreat. His words: “You were invited because you are close to the people and understand their fears and desires. There is a compelling need for us to work together in this historic enterprise of the constitutionmaking. We cannot complete the constitu-

tional review process until we hear all the voices of the people of Nigeria. “You have been invited to this retreat because I believe that you share with me a passion for a Nigeria that is built on justice, equal opportunity, responsibility and a deep sense of community. I truly believe that together we can achieve this vision for today and for tomorrow.

Political instability For the chairman of the occasion and former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Alfa Belgore, the greatest problem with the country was the constant internal instability in governance. He said: “What this country had suffered from is not economic mismanagement but political instability. Our poverty level is caused by instability. We must have a constitution to allow for stability. If there is stability, there is enough on the ground for the happiness and unity of Nigerians wherever they are and we shall be more stable, united and be able to make the country great. “The constitution is the mother of all the laws and there is enough for everybody on the ground. There will be no excuse for any Nigerian to be poor.”

Will Nigeria break up? The former CJN noted that in spite of the instability, Nigeria cannot break up as some people have predicted, saying that an attempt to do so can only bring blood-shed. CONTINUED ON PAGE 41


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Politics

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

2015: Jonathan’s endorsement by National Chairman of the All Progressives Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh, has been in the eye of the storm for a while over the control of his party structure. In this interview with DENNIS AGBO in Enugu, he speaks on why some people are after his seat, the purported endorsement of President Goodluck Jonathan by Igbo leaders for the 2015 election, as well as other issues. Excerpts: Do you think the Imo State High Court was right in rejecting the appeal for extension of tenure by the council chairmen in the state? There is nothing anybody can do in a democracy that would be justified if it falls outside the ambit of the law. Initially, we had asked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to submit itself to the courts since it was the first to go to court. There was nothing it could have done to usurp the powers of the court in trying to ventilate whatever grievances it had. Imo State government, despite the provocation did not do anything that would have escalated the matter. Imo State is calm now and development will continue. Governor Rochas Okorocha is performing marvellously. Without atmosphere of friendship and cordiality, you would retard development. Because of that simple matter, there have been unnecessary problem in the state.

With the reality on ground, how feasible is the Igbo Presidency in 2015? The Igbo are in best position to win the presidency in Nigeria. They have the great spread in Nigeria today even in the past, they reside in all parts of Nigeria and because of that they‘ve been meeting all ethnic nationalities in Nigeria. If a competent Igboman that is credible comes to fight for presidential election, he will win it. If there is united purpose for that election, he will be more accepted nationally. There is no where you go in all parts of the country, Igbos reside in those communities, invest there; and so they are the most detribalised Nigerians. They believe in Nigeria because they can fend for themselves anywhere in the country. That will be the best candidate, if we have that

Umeh

NM

What is your comment on the recent endorsement of President Goodluck Jonathan for 2015 election by Governor Peter Obi and some other Igbo leaders that gathered in Anambra State? I was not present when the endorsement was made. People are entitled to their individual opinion in a democracy. The only thing that is important is that statements being made on behalf of any group of persons must be discussed. We are not against anybody being president, but our people must distil the issues before arriving at any decision. There is no need to be hasty. Parties have their own decisions to make. When people go about discussing issues that concern political parties, they must also know that those parties also have opportunities of taking decisions about the electorate. It is the party that would come up with decisions concerning candidates before the electorate would be allowed to make choice. I know that the yearning of our people is for them to produce the president of the country but if there is any reason that producing the president by 2015 would be difficult, it is not by jumping the gun or making endorsements. If we have the opportunity in 2015, we shall take it. As APGA chairman, I’ve said it repeatedly that any political party should always aspire to produce candidates at the highest level. If any party is existing just to contest local government election, or governorship election, then the future of such party is very bleak. It is our desire that we shall contest all the elections in Nigeria in 2015 from presidency to councillorship at the councils. Once elections are called for, it is our desire to contest those elections. We are there to contest election. It is our desire to give Nigeria the change they have been yearning for and so help us God.

TUESDAY INTERVIEW

type of candidate emerging in 20 15. One of reasons Igbo supported Jonathan in 2011 was because they saw him as their brother. If the President is therefore interested in second term, what will happen? I don’t think that was the reason; the reason was that there was no Igboman that was psychologically prepared to run then. If somebody with requisite courage, had gone ahead to mobilise Nigerians for that election the people of South-East would have supported that candidate, but there was absence of candidates in various political parties from the South-East. Even APGA had no presidential candidate

STATEMENTS BEING MADE ON BEHALF OF ANY GROUP OF

PERSONS MUST BE DISCUSSED.

WE ARE NOT AGAINST

ANYBODY BEING PRESIDENT, BUT OUR PEOPLE MUST DISTIL THE ISSUES BEFORE ARRIVING AT ANY DECISION

and that’s why it was easy for Jonathan to receive the support of Igbo. President Jonathan recently announced that the construction of second Niger Bridge will commence by March next year. What’s your take on that? It is cheering news that construction work at the Second Niger Bridge will commence in March 2013 but I was very worried that the Second Niger Bridge will be concessioned to an international development consulting firm that will construct it and what this means is that that the company will bring the fund and it will be expected to recover its funds. What that means is that the Federal Government is not part of the financing plan for the construction and that is why I am worried. It means that after the construction, toll gates will be mounted in Onitsha-Asaba Onitsha-Owerri roads and maybe Ontisha-Enugu road ends and our people will be paying for it. If our people will pay the cost of these services, it means that we have not got anything from the Federal Government. One would have expected to get a clear commitment from the Federal Government to undertake this Second Niger Bridge and finance by itself. We don’t have money in the South-East because of the paltry money we get from the federal allocation. Who will be saddled with the responsibility of paying for these services? It means that our people will continue to suffer. Just this year alone, the Federal Government has released N50 billion for construction of bridges in Benue State and that is the type of thing I want to hear the Federal Government is doing in the South-East. Let the president talk in very concrete manner; the Enugu-Onishta road has failed, Enugu-Port Harcourt road is no longer a road, we expect concrete actions being taken towards solving some of these problems. We must have ba-


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Politics

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

15

Igbo leaders too hasty – Umeh sis for talking about anything. I feel that our people should have proper sense of measurement of issues. Endorsement for presidential election of 2015 is too early for people to talk about. No doubt we gave him absolute support in 2011 and we are not regretting it because it was a consensus decision by all the stakeholders in South-East including APGA. One would have expected that less than two years into the endorsement, we shouldn’t be talking about endorsement because it’s too early. Let’s behave like people who have sense of measurement. Nobody would deny that Igbo made it possible for him to become president in 2011 and if he wants to run in 2015, I don’t think Igbo should be talking about endorsement in 2012. When we get there, we’ll see how things have fared and we must have to take stock; the interest of the Igbo would not be reduced to personal interest of individuals. If there is anything, this should be a period of harvest for the support we have given and when the time comes we will check our harvest. If in 2015, APGA has a good presidential candidate, we will give it a shot. We are very hopeful that APGA has something to offer Nigeria and if we have a presidential candidate that will win that election, that will be the best thing to do and that candidate will be good to compete with presidential candidate of other political parties. If at the end of the day, the party does not win, we will be better off in a coalition government where we will be part of the decision making process in governance. Did APGA or Ndigbo in general entered into any pact with Jonathan before supporting him for the 2011election? The Ohanaeze secretary, Nduka Eya, said there was no agreement with Jonathan. In our party, there was no agreement too even though I wished there was such an agreement as chairman of the party but circumstances at that time could not allow us push for that agreement. We supported him and that is why I am saying that things of this nature should not be left to discretion because if you do and you do not get what you are entitled to, you do not complain. In 2011, there was negotiation between the South-West and the president before the election and when you say let me leave your fate to a discretion, if it is not exercised to your favour, you lose right of complain. Those who are key players in Igboland today must know that they constitute less than one per cent of Igbo population and they are carrying the faith of about 60 million people in Nigeria and you allow their faith to be determined by discretion, it is a failure of leadership. I am not in support of any ad hoc endorsement on issues concerning presidential election in Nigeria in 2015 because it is very critical. I have done that arithmetic: in 2011 President Jonathan got 22 million votes to win and Buhari 12 million votes to come second. In that election, the South-East gave five million votes. If through negotiation, that had given that five million votes to Buhari, he would have gotten over 17 million votes and Jonathan would have got about the same 17 million votes. So, who would have won? It would have been uncertain so you see how the Igbo used their votes to swing an emphatic victory for the President. So, those who are talking today must realise that the support we have given, our people are expecting so much from it. As the chairman of APGA, you know I am being hunted by this statement I made early in the year that we shall produce a presidential candidate. Despite what those who are attacking me have said today, it is now open and that is what I am suffering today. Let them come and fix our infrastructure. I don’t know who will construct Enugu-Port Harcourt road that is now impassable. The Igbo is not saying we must win in 2015 but we want to contest. Will APGA engage in alliance discussions with other political parties as being talked about now by some opposition parties? Contrary to what some members of my party accused me of early in the year, APGA has not been in any discussion with any political party with the view to galvanising alliance or merger ahead of the 2015 election. What will concern APGA primarily now is to build and strengthen the party ahead of 2015. Let us do anything to build the

strength of our party across the country. It is only after that that we will know how to do it in 2015. Presently, we are not involved in any discussion. If any alliance discussion is necessary in the 2015, APGA will pursue it. In 2015 it is expected that APGA will produce a presidential candidate but for now the dust is yet to settle in our party and the primary concern will be to build our strength before we get involved in any process. What is your take on the security challenge confronting Nigeria? The security challenge in Nigeria was actually foretold. Prior to the run-up to the 2011 elections, some elements in the PDP threatened that if President Jonathan went ahead to get the mandate of the PDP and goes ahead to win the election, they would make the country ungovernable. So, it was anticipated and when Jonathan, against the wish of those Northern elements won the election, the instability started. People should go back to archives to crosscheck who said what and what they said ahead of the time. It didn’t just come from the blues. So, if we continue to search for reasons for this intractable insecurity in the country then we will be playing the ostrich. The important thing is for the government to be serious with the insecurity challenge so that the country will remain intact before that election. I believe the security has to do with 2015. Anybody can disagree with me but let’s see how it plays out. How about the option of dialogue with Boko Haram to arrest the situation? You know when Boko Haram started, I critically analysed the situation and I was among the earliest people to call for dialogue. But some people thought it is something you can crush. I knew it was actually a protest but some chose to localise it as problem of Borno State. The scourge of Boko Haram is such that it has overwhelmed the

country and that’s why I still believe that dialogue is the solution to the problem so that the country does not break up. Do you foresee the insecurity leading to a break-up of the country? It depends on how these things are managed. I have continued to call for a national conference but the people in charge of the affairs of the country do not want to listen. National conference is the only way for pockets of agitations in this country. If you don’t come to a round table where all the nationalities will come together, make demands for the Nigeria nation on basis of equity and fairness and give concessions to each other, there won’t be peace. If they manage Boko Haram through dialogue, there is no guarantee that another fierce group will not come up in other parts of the country and so it is something you continue to go round in a cycle without getting the solution. All the imbalances in the Nigerian federation will need to be addressed. Constitution amendment will not even achieve that. So, first of all you hold a national conference, agree on the basis of unity as a nation because we can no longer continue to shy away from our differences. Should the revenue sharing formula be equally reviewed? I advise that we explore other sources of making income and that whatever you generate you take which I believe is possible to do but for laziness and bad policies this has become an issue. Everybody is waiting for the oil revenue but the oil producing states have continued to ask for adjustments. The major chunk of the money is actually going back to the Niger Delta where the money is coming from. Anambra State receives about a little over N3 billion a month whereas a state like Akwa Ibom gets about N19 to N20 billion, sometimes they share special funds where they get devastating mind-bogging funds to the detriment of the other people. So, other states should be talking of other fields of endeavour that can make them viable. Revenue formula today is no longer an issue. What potent amendments do you suggest should be made in the constitution review? I am the wrong person to be asked such a question because I don’t subscribe to constitution amendment. I do not believe in this constitution because it is not a democratic constitution but one handed over from the military to civilian administration. It has imbalances. The PDP that inherited the constitution after reading it said it will rule the country for 60 years and if they continue to exploit the constitution they may be here for 100 years. For it to be upstaged, we need to do a lot of fight. Even the requirements for creation of additional states by that constitution is very herculean, so the promise of creating state in the SouthEast is only lip service.

SOME ELEMENTS IN THE

PDP THREATENED THAT IF PRESIDENT JONATHAN WENT AHEAD TO GET THE MANDATE

PDP AND GOES AHEAD TO WIN THE ELECTION, THEY

OF THE

WOULD MAKE THE COUNTRY UNGOVERNABLE

What is the situation now on the APGA crisis? APGA is not the only political party that has problem in Nigeria and so to an extent, the crisis is a way of strengthening democracy arising from conflicts of interests but what is important is that people should subject themselves to the provisions of the party constitution in whatever they want to do. If you go outside the constitution to purse anything, you are on a wild goose chase. So it is difficult for everybody to agree on the choice of candidates in every election but when people begin to assert themselves that they must anoint, they must appoint, they must do this; you have dropped democracy in the cooler. That is the problem and when such thing happens in any organisation there will be conflict. It is normal but with time it will be resolved. It could be resolved by returning to senses by those who lost their senses. There are cases in court and the court will resolve those issues. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as a regulatory agency that monitor political parties have come with a statement that APGA has a constitution and that those who want to change APGA are toeing unconstitutional procedures and is not acceptable to INEC. APGA has recognisable leadership in INEC and no matter how they attack the leadership, INEC still recognises it and so they should learn to give peace a chance.


Politics

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Rotimi ASO ROCK FILE

FG committees and power sector reform

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with

Rotimi FADEYI

Ogoni self-rule and denial of secession plan

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ecently, the report that spread like wild fire was that the Ogoni people in Rivers State declared self rule and even hoisted a flag to signify their political autonomy as a nation while a newly established radio station: “Voice of Ogoni” was already in operation. In a live broadcast on the newly established radio station, the President/spokesman of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Dr. Goodluck Diigbo said the declaration of self rule would finally end internal colonialism and excise them from the rest of Nigeria. The declaration of self rule by the Ogoni people on August 2, came about 17 years after the hanging of environmentalist and rights activist, Ken Saro Wiwa and eight other members of MOSOP on November 10, 1995 by the military government of late General Sani Abacha in Port Harcourt. The execution of the activists who are referred to as “Ogoni 9” was because of their struggle for the rights of the Ogoni people in the face of Nigeria’s lucrative and ecologically destructive Niger Delta oil trade. While declaring political autonomy for the Ogoni people, Diigbo vowed that “by the declaration, the Ogoni people are determined to enforce the United Nations (UN) Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples, without fear or retreat.” But barely a month after this declaration, leaders of the Ogoni community in Rivers State stormed the Presidential Villa to debunk the report of declaration of self rule, pledging support for the unity of the country The Ogoni leaders led by Senator Magnus Abe (PDP Rivers South) and the paramount ruler of Ogoniland, His Royal Highness, Godwin Gininwa, during a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan demanded for the creation of Bori State. While pledging support for the unity of the country, Abe said, “even though, Ogoni has always support the call for devolution of powers to local entities to reflect true federalism upon which the Nigerian nationhood is anchored, we wish to assure you Mr. President and indeed, assure the

Presidential Villa’s visitors 1. President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana 2. Paramount Ruler of Ogoniland, HRM Godwin Gininwa 3. Dr. Aliko Dangote 4. Justice Alfa Belgore 5. Senator Magnus Abe 6. Group Managing Director of Access Bank, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede 7. Chairman of IBTC Bank, Atedo Peterside 8. Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu 9. Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha 10. President, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Mr. Peter Esele 11. Coordinator, Human Rights writers’ Association, Mr. Emmanuel Onwubiko 12. Governor Godswill Akpabio 13. Mr. Olisa Agbakoba 14. Mr. Femi Falana

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Nigerian people that Ogoni remains committed to the unity of the Nigerian state and that we are with Nigeria.” They also asked the Federal Government and oil giant, Shell Petroleum Company for compensation as a result of the irreversible degradation of its environment over the years.

he provision of stable power supply in the country remains one of the major tasks of the present government, even far more than any other issue considering the fact that all other sectors are dependent on electricity supply to function effectively and efficiently. With the resignation of the Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji last month, the power sector seemed to have lost steam but in a move to give renewed impetus to his administration’s drive to significantly improve power supply across the nation, President Goodluck Jonathan reconstituted the Presidential

Chairman of Forte Oil, Mr. Femi Otedola; Group Managing Director, Access Bank, Aigboje AigImoukhuede; Anambra State governor, Peter Obi and Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala during the Economic Management Team meeting at the State House.

Action Committee on Power (PACP) and the Presidential Task Force on Power, the two bodies charged with responsibility for overseeing the implementation of Federal Government’s agenda for power sector reforms. Jonathan retained the chairmanship of the reconstituted PACP which was established in June 2010 to provide leadership and guidance for the rapid development of Nigeria’s power sector and determine the general policy direction and strategic focus of reforms in the sector. Vice-President Mohammed Namadi Sambo is the deputy chairman of the committee while members include the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, key ministers, Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HOCSF), Ali Sali; the Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Ogiadomen among others. Eng. Renox Dagogo Jack is the Chairman, Presidential Task Force on Power, while the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Power would provide the Secretariat for the committee While re-constituting the committees, Jonathan made it clear that he has not taken over the power ministry as the Minister of State for Power would be in charge until there is a substantive minister for the ministry. The re-constituted committees are to meet regularly to brainstorm on the progress made in the power sector and also fashion out strategies of sustaining the success recorded in the sector in the pursuit of the transformation agenda of the present administration.

President’s endorsement and opposition to N5,000 note

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or many Nigerians who think that the Federal Government would go back on its decision to introduce the N5,000 note into the financial system, they had better think about something else as the highest economic decision-making body in the country, the Economic Management Team (EMT) headed by President Goodluck Jonathan gave blessings to the decision of governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Lamido Sanusi to introduce the bank note The blessings of the EMT also gave Sanusi the power to go ahead with the restructuring of N5, N10 and N20 notes as coins.

There has been reactions against this decision from many Nigerians including former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former member of the House of Representatives, Dino Melaye who organised a protest at the CBN headquarters in Abuja to press home the demand that the introduction of the N5,000 be rescinded. Their argument was based on the fact that the introduction of N5,000 note would further pauperise Nigerians an also encourage looting by politicians and aid massive corruption by dubious businessmen. Opponents of the N5,000 note expressed fear that the policy would also lead to in-

Jonathan, civil societies and constitution review

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s they gathered in the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, they all have one thing in mind, an amendment of the constitution that would guarantee justice, fairness, equity as well as progress and development of the country. The gathering include civil society groups, organisations, professional associations, the labour union, the academia, the leadership and members of the National Assembly and top government functionaries. They all expressed diverse views about what changes they want in the constitution and how best it could be put into use for the benefit of the citizens of the country. President Goodluck Jonathan who sat through the deliberations said his admin-

istration would not fold its arms in the process of amending the constitution, but rather make meaningful contributions and also ensure that popular opinions and views of the majority of the people are reflected in the new constitution. For him, his government, which derives its powers and authority from the constitution was determined to give the country a people-oriented constitution that would ensure true democracy, development, progress and prosperity of the nation. Already, Jonathan said his government is putting together some issues that would soon be forwarded to the National Assembly as proposed bill for the amendment of the constitution along with the report of the Presidential Committee on the Review of the Constitution.

flation as traders and businessmen would increase prices of goods and services. Coincidentally, while the protest was in full swing at the CBN office, members of the EMT were at the Council Chambers of the State House putting the seal of authority and approval to the introduction of the N5,000 note. While the deputy governor of the CBN, Tunde Lemo was speaking to the protesters and appealing to them to see reasons behind the policy, Minister of National Planning, Shamsudden Usman was also speaking with journalists on the decision of the EMT to endorse the introduction of the N5,000 Usman said: “The discussion was basically to endorse. Mr. President had already approved. That is the only requirement by law. The CBN is to propose and Mr. President is to approve. And since Mr. President has approved, really what is important is to just explain.” Though Usman said that he had some reservations about the introduction of coins into the economy, he stated that the explanation from the CBN governor has clarified all the concerns about the issue relating to the coins. Usman stressed that the introduction of the N,5000 note was not at variance with the cashless policy of the Federal Government. he also stated that the new N5,000 note would not increase the level of corruption.

MORE POLITICS STORIES ON PAGES 41-44


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Lagos new traffic law: Seven vital things to know CHARLES OMOLE

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he new Lagos traffic law has generated a lot of news footprints over the past few weeks. I have also commented on it in a previous article. Let me unequivocally say I am a fan of Lagos State governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), and I believe he is well intentioned. However, I also feel he is either misinformed on this issue or disinterested as to the level of atrocities daily committed by his henchmen and officials of the various agencies he has set up over the years. For instance, LASTMA is an agency many Lagosians will agree is needed, but majority will also disapprove of the way it is currently managed and the manner in which its operatives constitute themselves as terror to many law abiding Lagosians. So to be more constructive and to help Lagos motorists; I decided to put on my Legal hat and read in full the new traffic law of Lagos. Here are the seven main areas and issues people need to be aware of about the new traffic law in practice. 1. The new law allows you to make and receive calls while driving; despite the erroneous information to the contrary and misinformation by some gov-

AS LONG AS YOU

ARE USING A HANDSFREE KIT AND YOU USE VOICE ACTIVATED

CALLING SYSTEM, YOU ARE WITHIN THE LAW ernment officials. Item 39 of Schedule 1 of the new law makes it an offence the “making or receiving phone calls when driving without hands free”. So as long as you are using a hands-free kit and you use voice activated calling system, you are within the law and have not committed any offence. 2. There is danger of double jeopardy prosecution. This is contrary to natural justice in this jurisdiction. Section 20, sub section 1 and 2 creates the danger of prosecuting motorist more than once for the same offence. This is either bad legal drafting or an intentional invasion of citizens’ rights. Section 20 implies that if a person is charged with careless or inconsiderate driving, and the court is of the opinion that the offence is not proven, then the court can entertain the same charge again immediately after the

first case. Although the law gives a small get-out-clause for the courts by stating: “…the Court shall, if it considers that he is prejudiced in his defence by reason of the new charge being so preferred, adjourn the hearing”. This section needs to be redrafted for clarity, and motorists need to be aware of this provision. 3. The law criminalizes driving while drunk, but there is no objective measurement of what being drunk is. Section 21, (1) and (2) of the new law, refers to driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs as being criminally liable. The problem is there is no reference to how to objectively determine these things. The law simply stated that: “Any person who when driving or attempting to drive, or when in charge of a motor vehicle on a highway is under the influence of alcoholic drink or a drug to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of such vehicle, shall be liable on conviction…”. This is a highly subjective provision. How do you determine the level of impairment necessary to be liable? There is no mention of a drink drive limit or the use of any breathalyzer. So as a motorist you will have to go by the judgment of LASTMA and other officials; many of whom are drunk and drugged up themselves while on duty. This is a license for official abuse; hence

the Lagos State government should be more precise on its provisions here to avoid uneven application of the law and subjective harassment of Lagosians. 4. LASTMA or state officials can now arrest a motorist if you do not produce your Drivers Licence on demand. Section 28 of the new law gives state officials power to arrest without warrant anyone who is suspected of having committed an offence, who fails to produce a drivers’ licence on demand. So it is now illegal to drive in Lagos without having your drivers licence physically with you. This is the hallmark of a police state. I am sure the state government will refer to section 22 of the law, which refers to proof of identity when arrested. That section refers to “any other evidence of identity acceptable to the officer”. So what exactly is that? What is acceptable to one officer may not be to another. This is quite alarming. So be aware; you are better advised to hold your drivers licence in your wallet anytime you drive in Lagos to avoid undue harassment; unless this provision is amended. To be continued Omole, Charles@prodelinternational.com, a strategic consultant and businessman, operates from Lagos, the UK and USA

Who needs the 5,000 Naira note? MORGAN NWANGUMA

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ecently, I began to wonder at that popular joke on Nigeria: “When jealousy arose among the nations of the world, they grumbled saying, ‘Why does God play partiality by blessing Nigeria above all others?’” God quipped with this response: “Wait till you see the kind of leaders I will give to them”. It is ironic that this has become the startling reality of our time. This irony has continued to play itself out over and over again. Our leaders have continued to re-enact the script of self infliction by their brazen propensity for avarice, callousness and utter impunity. Avarice, I will let you know, personifies a deadly sin. My current bewilderment is over the move by Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi), CBN governor, to impose a new N5, 000 bill on Nigerians. I can say categorically that Nigerians do not need it for the same reasons some of us opposed the introduction of the N1, 000 bill when it was to be introduced. It has not helped matters in the real sense of the word, and can never help matters in this current dispensation of low national productivity. A N5, 000 bill now is simply ill timed as well as ill intentioned, especially coming on the heels of a struggling economy. Our leaders’ concern now should rather be on how to grow the economy, raise GDP, and lower

the current runaway inflation, as well as lending rates. It grieves me that our leaders are out again to convenience themselves and ingratiate their favourite past time of perpetuating the stagnation and emasculation of the already conquered and marooned hoi polloi. ‘Let them eat religion, take away education from them’, has become their mantra! While this is going on, they are looking for ways of sinking their fangs on the national coffer. A N5, 000 note will definitely make money laundry easier to accomplish. Discerning Nigerians should know that rather than look for convenient ways of siphoning money out, the CBN governor and political leaders should rather be thinking of how to bring back the coins and make them effective as a medium of exchange. We all should be concerned more with how the naira can appreciate in value. You do not need the knowledge of rocket science to know that once productivity increases, the naira will begin to stabilize and consequently appreciate in value. When that happens we will have no need to carry a million naira in our pockets. Our leaders should take a cue from the late President John Evans Atta Mills of Ghana. By sheer dint of financial discipline and sound economic engineering over a few years, the Cedi now dwarfs the American Dollar in weight. In contrast, our leaders are conceited and selfish; our current security challenge has become intractable, and

OUR LEADERS’ CONCERN NOW SHOULD RATHER BE ON HOW TO GROW THE ECONOMY, RAISE

GDP, AND

LOWER THE CURRENT RUNAWAY INFLATION rapacious looting of the treasury is going on without let. Sanusi should drop the idea of his pet project and face some more pressing projects. I know they want to make cash carrying less burdensome by this proposed project, but whatever happens to the much touted cashless policy. Somebody should please tell Sanusi and the federal government that we do not need bogus cash, but rather plenty of value to the cash in our pockets! Did I overheard a gullible Nigerian say, ‘Oh yes, this policy will make Nigerians begin to respect the Naira more, the smaller five and ten naira bills are mishandled just because they carry small value. The N5, 000 bill will be accorded much respect’. I disagree. On the contrary, the N5, 000 bill, if eventually introduced, will also be treated like trash in the hands of Nigerians if one day it could not afford them more than a loaf of bread!

All our leaders need to do is drive the economy. They should ensure strong infrastructure provisioning, implement employment oriented policies and confront the hydra headed corruption monster. If our senators continue to earn more than their American counterparts and our President better remunerated than his American counterpart, I wonder why we are still looking for solutions to our economic woes. If you have seen the oil subsidy cabal, even as we have discovered to our utmost chagrin that there was never a subsidy; if you know that members of Boko Haram are even in our cabinet and in the National Assembly, as we have been told and yet we are still folding our arms in helplessness, the question is why are we running around in circles? A people certainly deserve the kind of leaders they get. Surely, God did not give us these leaders, we picked them ourselves. As my people say, ‘If you agree, your God will also agree’.

Nwanguma, artist, writer and social commentator, wrote from Lagos 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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Goodluck Jonathan on his critics

resident Goodluck Jonathan complained recently, while speaking at the opening ceremony of the 52nd Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Abuja, penultimate Monday, that his administration was being unduly and unfairly criticized. According to him, all the problems of collapsed road and rail infrastructure, epileptic electricity supply, and abject poverty often cited as the root causes of the Boko Haram insurgence and terrorism, are being uncharitably heaped on the doorsteps of his government as if the problems never existed before his assumption of office; and as if he had deliberately orchestrated and exacerbated them. He nevertheless reiterated the commitment of his administration to dealing decisively with the daunting problems of poverty, infrastructure deficit, and insecurity and repositioning the country to attain its potentialities and emerge as a developed nation. The president, however, indicated that his administration had benefitted so far from the criticisms, stressing that they enabled the government to refocus and re-strategize in order to deliver his transformation agenda. By implication, Jonathan, in spite of his complaints, accepted that the criticisms against him and members of his team were

not entirely without merit. In truth, some of the criticisms of the Jonathan government are misplaced, often calculated as a distraction; such as the accusation that he is drunk most of the time, that he is slow to action and is not able to deal squarely with the nation’s security challenges, that his administration is slow in delivering service to Nigerians, or that his regime is not transforming anything at all. Whereas opposition political parties and members of the public should criticize responsibly and constructively, it is, however, not the place of President Jonathan to turn a habitual complainant against his critics. The job of constructive political opposition and social criticism is to ensure that the state and its actors are eternally conscious of their deeds or misdeeds; and to compel better performance. As the president has, perhaps, inadvertently acknowledged, the criticism of his administration has helped him reshape governance and justify his current mandate and, possibly, his continued stay in office. Without criticisms, leaders are often goaded by sycophants and political jobbers to complacency; and to erroneously believe that all is well; while the social structure, the economy and infrastructure rot in grave decay. Once elected, leaders should expect all manner of criticisms.

DEMOCRACY CAN ONLY BE DESCRIBED AS ROBUST WHEN...

THE GOVERNMENT, AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE,

ACCEPTS CRITICISMS IN GOOD FAITH,

ESPECIALLY WHEN CONSTRUCTIVE The job of the leader is to deliver quality service to the people and prove his critics wrong. It is not unlikely that some of the president’s critics want his efforts in the power sector, agriculture, rail and road infrastructure, etc., to fail; so they could take advantage of the failure to sack him and his party in the next general elections. It is thus incumbent on the President and his entire team to work hard and convince Nigerians that they committed no error of judgement in entrusting them with power; and that government’s efforts in such critical sectors as earlier mentioned are in the right direction. Democracy can only be described as robust when in addition to delivering free and fair processes of voting leaders into office, the people are allowed unfettered freedom to express themselves, while the

government, as much as possible, accepts criticisms in good faith, especially when constructive, to assist it in getting its bearing right. Experts, for instance, have consensually posited that constructive criticism helps in identifying those who truly loves a leader and assists in drawing the leader closer to the true ‘world’ of ordinary citizens as against the false impressions of sycophants. Such criticisms open new perspectives to the leader, make a better person of him and trigger positive actions to the mutual benefit of the leader and the people. Classical socialist criticisms of the capitalist state structure and its mode of social production, for instance, have aided the consolidation of capitalism. In response to classical socialist criticisms, capitalist governments evolved tax regimes that target the profits of large corporations which they redistribute in the form of welfare packages to assuage the destitution and anger of the working class and the underprivileged. That way, well organized capitalist societies have seriously eroded the capacity of the socialist parties to capture political power. Jonathan may mean well for the country and Nigerians, yet we think he needs a great quantum of criticism to remain on track and perform.

ON THIS DAY September 11, 2007 Russia tested the largest conventional weapon ever, the Father of all bombs. Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power (ATBIP), nicknamed “Father of All Bombs” (FOAB) is a Russian-made air-delivered/ land-activated thermobaric weapon. The bomb was reportedly four times more powerful than the US military’s GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb (whose official military acronym “MOAB” is often colloquially said as the “Mother of All Bombs”).

September 11, 2001 In the United States of America, three hijacked aircraft were deliberately crashed into the twin World Trade Center towers (which collapsed) in New York City and the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, in a co-ordinated attack which became known as “9/11”. Another hijacked airliner in the same attack crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 people were killed. The hijackers intentionally piloted two of those planes.

September 11, 1998 Opening ceremony for the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Malaysia is the first Asian country to host the games. The 1998 XVI Commonwealth Games were held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from September 11 to September 21, 1998, making it the first Asian country to act as host the last Commonwealth Games for the 20th century. A record 70 nations (34 of which collected medals) supplied 3,638 athletes. The other bid came from Adelaide, Australia.


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Ripples over planned NCC/NBC merger

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he Federal Government during a recent Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja gave an approval-in-principle for what can, at best, be termed a unification of regulation in the Nigeria’s Information and Communication Technology industry. The development has, however, sparked off mixed reactions among stakeholders with some commending the move while others express doubt as to the ability of the Federal Government to implement a successful merger devoid of possible disruption in the industry. The merger, which is going to feature the coming together of the telecoms industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC) and its counterpart in the broadcasting sector, the National Broadcasting Commission, (NBC), is expected to culminate in the emergence of a converged regulator that will oversee the two sectors to underscore the convergence of technologies in the two sectors. Although it was learnt that there were objections raised against the move, especially by the Ministry of Information, for the government not to merge the agencies. The Ministry of Communication Technology headed by Mrs. Omobola Johnson, ar-

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The recent approval-in-principle given by the Federal Government for a planned merger between the Nigerian Communications Commission and the National Broadcasting Commission, have led to mixed reactions among stakeholders. While some say the move is a welcome development, calling for enabling laws to effect the merger, others call for caution in merging the two agencies to avoid likely disruption in the economy. KUNLE AZEEZ reports

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gued in favour of the merger, brushing aside objections to the merger by the Ministry of Information. According to the sources at the executive meeting, the Ministry of Communications Technology put forward profound argument for the merger which impressed the President. “The Ministry of Communications Technology pointed to digitilisation pro-

gramme and insisted that streamlining the regulators would be a requisite to achieving the country’s target of fully migrating to digital broadcast by 2015,” the sources said. The sources noted that the Communication Technology Ministry argued that opening up frequencies locked away by broadcasting stations would widen telecom operators offering of voice

and data services and, consequently, increase penetration, especially in the country’s rural areas. Though the President was said to have given his nod for the merger, he said he would have to look at the procedures closely to guard against the problems the process is seeking to eliminate. NCC is an independent CONTINUED ON PAGE 20

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Ripples over planned NCC/NBC merger CONTINUED FROM 19 national regulatory authority for the telecommunications industry, charged with the responsibility of creating an enabling environment for healthy competition among operators in the telecoms industry, while the NBC is empowered to regulate the broadcasting industry, charged with the responsibility of cable licensing, as well as advising government on issues of broadcasting. However, with the approval, stakeholders opined that sustained call by relevant industry stakeholders on government to exploit the advantages of Internet Protocol, IP, technology in manners that make communication businesses easier to conduct, cheaper to transact, faster to administer and ultimately cheaper and stress-free for the consumer may have been laid to rest. The calls for the merger have been topical issue for debate among stakeholders in the nation’s telecoms sector in line with the reality of convergence being experienced in the technologies being used in the broadband and telecoms sectors and for efficient utilisation of the available frequency spectrum in the country. In retrospect, the debate on the need for NCC and NBC merger started some years back, during Mr. Ernest Ndukwe-led NCC team, who believed that there was certain spectrum allocated to the NBC by the National Frequency Management Commission (NFMC). Ndukwe said reallocating such spectrum to telecoms operators should be considered to deploy broadband services in the telecoms services while suggesting a merger of two agencies. Since then, stakeholders in the ICT industry have carried on with the discussion centering on the need to reallocate the spectrum being held by the NBC to the NCC for onward licensing to telecoms players to deploy broadband internet services. Their argument has been that since NCC regulates telecommunications and NBC regulates broadcasting, there was need to collapse the two agencies into a single regulator since a subscriber could carry out both communications and broadcasting functions from a single mobile device. Consequently, the stakeholders have also, always been accord on the need for merger of the agencies to eschew current obvious overlapping of function in their regulator mandates and for efficient utilisation of available spectrum management in the country to drive growth in an emerging converges society in the country being driven by ICT. Meanwhile, it was gathered that the planned merger came about following the approval of the new harmonised national ICT policy spearheaded by Johnson. On assumption of duty as the Min-

Ajayi

Johnson

THE MERGER COULD DISMANTLE THE SUCCESSFUL STRUCTURES AND FRAMEWORKS OF THE TWO AGENCIES THAT WERE BUILT OVER THE YEARS, IF NOT HANDLED WITH CAUTION ister of Communications Technology, Johnson had on August 25, 2011 set up an ad-hoc committee to harmonise all existing policies for the different sectors in ICT including telecommunications, Information Technology, broadcasting and postal services. Before coming up with the new national ICT policy, the committee reviewed the National Telecommunication Policy 2000, Draft Communications Policy 2011, the Nigerian Postal Service Act 2004, the National Broadcasting Commission Act 1992 (as amended), the National Information Technology Development Agency Act 2007, and the National Outsourcing and Institutional Framework for Nigeria (Jan. 2007). Other such policies reviewed include the National Policy for Information Technology, the Report of the Presidential Committee on Master Plan and Roadmap for the Implementation of Information and Communication Technology for National Development (Sept. 2010) and Nigerian Communications Act 2003, among other documents. It was gathered that a key highlight of the new policy thrust is the pursuit of true convergence based on the proposed merger of NCC and the NBC, in line with convergence. In his reactions, President, Joint Action Committee on Information and Communications Technology and Development, (JACITAD), Mr. Shina Badaru, said the planned merger reflects growing industry advocacy for

Nigeria to pursue strategic policy thrust reflecting convergence of regulatory functions, roles and responsibilities to promote the Nigerian ICT sector. On the regulatory implication of the merger, Badaru said, “Under the plan, the infrastructure and frequency held by NBC will now be merged with NCC which is envisioned to become a converged regulator for the sector. NBC will subsequently be saddled with the responsibility of regulating broadcast content.” Also speaking with National Mirror, the President, Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria, Mr. Lanre Ajayi, described the development as a welcome development but noted that an enabling law to effect the merger should be put in place without further delay According to him, such a move was long overdue in other for certain spectrum which is being held by the NBC unused, can be deployed for the provision of telecoms services. He said globally, there is growing convergence between telecoms and broadcasting sectors such that having different agencies for each of the sector is ‘no longer fashionable and efficient’, adding that to drive true convergence in technologies, the coming together of the agencies was necessary. “Modern day technology has brought about convergence and the world is embracing convergence, so Nigeria cannot be left out in the whole

process of convergence. Once the full approval is given by the President for the merger, the rest is now a matter of legislation at the national assembly to amend the existing laws that set up NCC and NBC, and when this is done, we will have a converged regulatory body,” he said. On the economic implications, Ajayi said the merger would do the economy a lot of good in boosting ICT contribution to the economic development, while pointing out that in other developed countries, a single agency of government is established to oversee the regulation of broadcasting and telecommunications. In the same vein, the Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Nigeria, Mr. Rajan Swaroo and Corporate Services Executive of MTN Nigeria, Mr. Wale Goodluck, have expressed satisfaction at the move by the government saying the “future is converged which also requires a converged regulator.” However, the President of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, who has continually described the need to merge the agencies as necessary at this point of the nation’s development in ICT, has cautioned the government to thread with care over the planned merger. Adebayo said the merger could dismantle the successful structures and frameworks of the two agencies that were built over the years, if not handled with caution. He believes that the agencies had been successful in their philosophies and agendas as government regulatory bodies and that any attempt by government to collapse the two bodies would disrupt their structures and ideologies that have proved to be successful over the years. “It is true that technologies are converging and that technology regulatory bodies should also converge, but my worry is on how government will address the issue without bringing sentiments and politics, because there had never been any known successful merger carried out by government in the past,” he said. His fear is on the role of the Ministry of Communications Technology that is directly supervising NCC and the role of the Ministry of Information that is supervising NBC after the merger. Expressing similar view with as Adebayo, the Managing Partner, One Network, Mr. Sola Bickersteth, does not see any reason for the merger but stressed that interest should be on the performance of the agencies. According to him, “For me, I don’t think a merger between the agencies is the important thing. If there are areas of overlap of functions, these can be streamlined. As long as the two agencies are successful in performance, I don’t think there is need to disrupt them. They can still work in a converged environment as regulators without being merged.”


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Business & Finance

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

21

Banks’ unethical practices hamper fight against crime – EFCC OLUFEMI ADEOSUN ABUJA

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he Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday said that unethical practices by some banks in the country is hampering the fight against economic and financial crimes including the commission’s investigative activities. It also noted that such activities, if not urgently nipped in the bud, were capable of undermining the Nigerian economy. The commission’s Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, said this in Abuja when a delegation of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, (CIBN) led by its President and Chairman of Council, Mr. Segun Aina, paid him a visit ahead of the institutes Annual Banking and Finance Conference which opens today. According to Lamorde, such unethical practices include the secrecy surrounding private banking, doctoring or non disclosure of true position of

L-R: Retail Customer Marketing Manager, Nokia West Africa, Mr. Olajide Adeyemi; Product Manager, Ms. Linda Yeo and Marketing Manager, Mr. Kesiena Ogbemi, during the inauguration of Nokia Asha Smartphones in Lagos at the weekend.

statement of accounts of suspicious account holders and noncompliance with Know-YourCustomer (KYC) principle.

The anti-crime czar described as unfortunate, a situation where banks fail to disclose the identities of some people

under investigation by the Commission, stressing that, “If you send letter to the bank to avail you the details of such account,

the reply you will get is that such account does not exist. If you insist, then you will be told that such records are not on the front desk that it is only the managing director or the deputy managing director that manages the account; this is not a healthy banking development.” The EFCC chairman explained that though the commission recognised the fundamental role of banks in protecting their customers, he warned that such should not be done at the expense of the economy and the society at large. “We want our society to be better. Nobody would want to be treated in an unfair manner outside the shores of this country just because he/she is carrying a green passport”, he said. Earlier, Aina commended the EFCC chairman for the professional manner with which the commission under his leadership handle matters, adding that the institute believes that the commission could do better.

Manufacturers want upward review of tariff on wheat flour

African Bankers Institute plans common curricular for bank workers

MESHACK IDEHEN

TOLA AKINMUTIMI

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head of the 2013/2017 implementation of the Common External Tariff regimes, manufacturers in the country have called on the Federal Government to review upwards, the existing 15 per cent duty on imported wheat flour. Speaking through a statement on Monday after the Consultative Forum on the review of Common External Tariff 2008-2012 which will expire in December this year, the President of the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria, (MAN), Chief Kola Jamodu, said that the introduction of 10 percent composite cassava flour in bread has necessitated the need for upward review of duty imposed on wheat flour. The MAN president said the association believes that increasing the tariff on wheat flour will accelerate the manufacturing of composite flour locally, which in turn will stimulate growth for the economy, through more jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities that will be created. According to him, MAN is aware that duty is a veritable instrument for generating revenue for the government, and that to this end; the association is recommending tariff rates worthy of retention and adoption. Making further recommen-

dations, Jamodu said industrial machinery should attract zero per cent duty; raw materials not locally available five percent duty, while raw materials that are sufficiently and adequately produced locally should attract a 10 per cent duty. The MAN president added that intermediate products could attract a 10 per cent duty; finished goods locally available in adequate and consistent supply a 20 per cent duty plus levy; while finished goods with excess local capacity should attract a 35 percent duty plus levy. Speaking in the same vein, Director General of the Federal Institute of Industrial Research (FIIRO), Dr. Gloria Elemo, said the consumption of cassava bread will save the country’s economy N318bn annually. The FIIRO DG explained that the figure of is half of the about N635billion ($3. bn) being spent annually to import wheat flour into Nigeria by flour millers for bread making and other confectioneries. She added that wheat is not produced in Nigeria and has to be imported, and since bread is produced from 100 percent wheat flour, huge amount of hard earned foreign exchange is used every year for its importation, adding that such unfavourable trade and business was not in the country’s interests.

ABUJA

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he Alliance of African Institute of Bankers has unveiled plans to introduce common curricular that will be used to develop the skills of bankers in the continent. The proposed capacitybuilding template for bankers is slated for introduction next year. Giving the hint yesterday during the association’s 2012 Annual General Meeting, the Chairman of the institute, Mr Uju Ogunbunka, the body had worked hard to ensure that training of bank workers in the continent conformed to best global standards in view of the strategic roles financial institutions will continue to play in the global economic order.

He said, “We have worked very hard to set up a global education standards for the training of bankers. Globally, bankers play major roles in every economy because of the nature of their job and so we are looking at a situation where you have throughout the whole world a structure of training that will make all bankers pass through that training processes and you can take your skills to any part of the world and you will be recognised to be a banker. “We started the process in Bahamas and thereafter, we went to Malaysia where we had meetings and since then, we have been holding series of meeting internationally to put together what the framework looks like”, Ogunbunka added.

The industry chief, who is also the Registrar/Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, explained that said the new curricular, said the curricular which would be launched in Kenya next year would help to reposition the banking sector globally. Specifically, he pointed out that a prospectus for that boar had been put in place, adding that come next year when we are going to have world conference of bankers, we will then launch these standards and that will be in Kenya in June next year and once this is done, we will begin to set standards on how a typical banker will be trained in Nigeria and everywhere in the world and this will be a plus for the banking industry globally.

Naira falls N157.8 on strong dollar demand

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aira eased against the dollar on the interbank market yesterday after a surge in demand by one lender buying the greenback for his customers, dealers said. The local currency closed at N157.80 to the dollar, weaker than Friday’s close of N157.55 The naira had firmed to N157 level last week from

N158 to the dollar after NNPC sold around $480million to some banks. “The dollar inflow from the NNPC is gradually thinning out because of a surge in demand, driven by importers who were taking advantage of cheaper dollars to bring forward their obligations,” one dealer said. Dealers said the naira

should be back at N158 level this week as dollar demand continues to reduce market liquidity, unless a major inflow from oil companies comes in. At the bi-weekly auction, the central bank sold $180million at N155.78 to the dollar, compared with the $200million it sold at N155.80 at last Wednesday’s auction.


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Business & Finance

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

ERA tells NNPC to clarify clause on wellhead metering in PIB ADEDEJI ADEMIGBUJI

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he Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/ FoEN), has demanded that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) make public the clause in the current draft of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which recommended wellhead metering to enable Nigerians know how much oil is pumped from the ground daily. ERA/FoEN in a statement yesterday reacted to a media report last week which quoted the NNPC acting spokesman, Mr. Fidel Pepple as saying there was a provision in the current version of the PIB before the National Assembly which states that daily extraction of crude oil will be measured at the wellheads and not distribution points as is currently the practice. ERA/FoEN said that while it

hopes the NNPC may be considering the need for such a monitoring system, it is very much interested in the particular clause in the PIB that the NNPC spokesman was referring to “because there is no such clause on monitoring crude oil extraction in the current version of the bill”. “While we totally agree with the NNPC that wellhead metering as we have consistently recommended is the way to guarantee transparency and verify how much oil Nigeria pumps daily, we are at a loss as to which clause the NNPC was referring to and hope this is not a mere media spin,” said ERA/ FoEN Executive Director, Mr. Nnimmo Bassey. Bassey explained that the wellhead metering idea is the core of ERA/FoEN publish what you pump campaign, even as he added that Nigerians must know exactly how much crude oil is coming out from the Wells

to be able to compare it with what the nation is exporting to arrive at what is missing inbetween. “Like we have said time and again, government cannot be crying over how much crude oil is being stolen daily when we do not even know how much oil is extracted daily. What is all this talk about transparency if we do not have basic information such as this?” He pointed out that the demand for explanation is hinged on ERA/FoEN findings which indicate that the only section of the PIB that can be construed to mean metering at source pertains to gas being flared which is found in Section 279 subsections 1 & 2. He revealed that even the provision for metering gas is related to distribution points and gas flare points. However, gas is not flared at wellheads but at flow stations which are points of collection of crude/ gas from a number of wells.

L-R: Head, Public Relations, Yaba College of Technology, Mr. Adekunle Adams; Head, Youth Segment, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Elvis Daniel; winner of the Cliqfest star prize, Mr. Aderoju Babatunde and Dean, Student Affairs, Yaba College of Technology, Mr. Omobayo Taofeek, at the Yabatech 2012 Cliqfest in Lagos at the weekend.

Accounting, finance professionals tasked on financial crimes TOLA AKINMUTIMI ABUJA

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ccounting and finance professionals at national and continental levels have been urged to find lasting solutions to the increasing spate of financial crimes in order to continue to justify public confidence in their roles in national development. Specifically, the professionals were advised to do everything possible in enhancing the integrity of their financial reporting standards through transparent reflection of the true and fair reporting of en-

tities and also by sanctioning fraudulent members whose acts of professional irresponsibility had led to the collapse of otherwise viable enterprises. Giving the advice at the 2nd Accounting and Finance Association Conference held in Abuja, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Jos, Professor Hayward Babale Mafuyai, noted that lack of commitment of professionals to take due diligence in preventing avoidable frauds had contributed to collapse of even multinational corporations and canvassed a paradigm shift in their approach to transpar-

ency of financial reporting. He explained: “As you deliberate on issues affecting both professional and academic accounting and finance, may I subtly remind you of the ever declining confidence in users of financial reports not just within the continent but across the globe. The reasons for such behaviours on the part of the investors are not farfetched following the collapse of multinational corporations and failures of so called “industry giants” “The paraphernalia for economic driver is in the confidence reposed on their ombudsman. Thus, accounting and finance professionals today have very tall responsibility as it pertains transparent financial reporting. Beyond the presentation of information for mere records and performance measures, financial reports should show true and fair position of entities as requisite instruments on which laymen hinge their decisions.”

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

UBA introduces MasterCard for global services JOHNSON OKANLAWON

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he United Bank for Africa Plc is set to dominate the electronic card segment of Nigeria’s financial industry as it introduced the UBA MasterCard for banking convenience of its customers across the globe. With the card, customers of the bank can now carry out their electronic financial transactions, through the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Point of Sales (PoS) and on the internet, anywhere in the world, in a seamless manner even as they benefit from the bank’s range of cost saving e-banking products and services A statement from the bank yesterday quoted, the bank’s Head Cards, Mr. Adedeji Olowe, as saying that MasterCard is partnering with the bank to ac-

cept and issue payment cards across 19 African countries. She said, “UBA is offering customers world-class products to roam their money in Naira and three other currencies, Dollar, Pounds and Euro. UBA represents the biggest potential for MasterCard in Nigeria today and across Africa.” MasterCard is the second largest financial network in the world and is accepted in 210 countries, over one million ATMs and 32 million merchant locations. MasterCard has witnessed massive growth in Nigeria in the last five years According to him, part of the benefits to cardholders is the usage of the card in other currencies, adding that the bank has concluded plans to provide full bouquet of payment cards across debit, prepaid and corporate cards.

FirstBank’s promo produces 184 winners JOHNSON OKANLAWON

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o fewer than 184 winners have emerged from the monthly draw of the ongoing ‘FirstBank Save and Excel promo’. A statement from the bank yesterday said the promo is designed to enhance a savings culture in the nation and encourage the unbanked to embrace the financial services system. According to the statement, the draw which held in PortHarcourt, Rivers State was monitored and endorsed by representatives from the National Lottery Regulatory Commission and KPMG Advisory Services. The breakdown of the winners include 46 winners of N50,000 cash, 46 winners of LCD televi-

sion sets, 46 winners of home theatre sets and 46 winners of chest freezers. Three brand new Peugeot 307 cars are up for grabs in addition to other prizes at the quarterly draw which comes up next month.The promo runs till December 2012. According to the bank’s Group Head, Retail Banking, South South, Mrs. Rosemary Asiegbu, the promo represents the bank’s commitment to celebrating its customers in addition to its continuing drive for enhancing service delivery across all touchpoints. “At FirstBank, we value the relationship we have with our customers and will stop at nothing to delight them through innovative products, financial solutions and reward initiatives,” she said.

FCMB commences second phase of Evergreen project JOHNSON OKANLAWON

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irst City Monument Bank Plc (FCMB) in collaboration with Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) and the Service to Humanity Foundation (STHF) has commenced the second phase of its Evergreen Project in 10 communities in Katsina State which aims at fighting desertification in the state. A statement from the bank yesterday said the project integrates economic empowerment with genuine environmental sustainability drive, engineering a behavioral change through sensitization, advocacy and training on sustainable alternative. It explained that the project

reduces the demand for firewood as well as reduce carbon emission with the introduction of the Save80 Stove and the briquettes made from combustible waste. According to the statement, this year’s exercise will involve the training of 200 beneficiaries from Mai’Adua and Kaita local government areas in the making of briquettes and the use of save80 stoves and distribution of 250 Save80 Stoves. “This is to ensure the adoption of environmentally friendly lifestyle changes and emission reduction, and supporting the governor’s skills acquisition drive by empowering 10 selected youths from the craft village to be awarded seed capital,” it added.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Jobs & Career

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

23

Job seekers, employers must embrace e-recruitiment, say experts

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n various occasions during recruitment exercises by organisations, observers said situations have occurred whereby many a job seeker slumped or fainted during attempts to submit documents or secure appointments. Other analysts disclosed that results of tests and interviews maybe subject to manipulations, due to the non scientific methods of assessing candidates. These challenges once for med part of the process of conducting recruitment exercise for employment hopefuls in the country, and which experts said constituted a stumbling block for job seekers. Specifically, the case of a financial institution in Lagos that had to call off plans to recruit fresh graduates and experienced professionals into its fold, due to the massive tur n out of all manner of applicants, coupled with the accompanying anarchy that followed the process is still fresh in the minds of some stakeholders. Recruiter, Sunny Agboju,said many organistaions that are not operating in the financial sector have also had justifiable reasons to reschedule recruitment exercises that have been organised to recruit workers, due to the near chaos usually accompany such ventures. He said the situation was not limited to the private sector alone, adding that public sector agencies at both state and federal levels have allowed several vacant positions, especially at middle and levels within their organisations remain fallow, despite the high unemployment situation in the country because of the financial and logistics implications of putting together the exercise According to him, “those looking from the outside, particularly the job seekers may not know the effort and cost the organisation has to bear to conduct recruitment exercise. It is even worse now that companies and agencies are trying to cut cost by any means”. Taken together, professionals, including human resource experts explained that embracing e-recruitment and taking advantage of the benefits inherent in the application of technology will not only address present challenges associated with the recruitment of workers, but that it will also go a long way towards addressing the ever rising level of unemployment in the country. Admitting though that there is already a reasonably high level of technological application in recruitment process in the country, Chief Executive Officer of Tom Associates, Ms. Alice Osibogun, said that e-recruitment process has to be “stepped up” in order to explore the job creation aspect of the process, instead of focusing only on the “applying for jobs” part of the e-recruitment.

Recruitment experts are of the view that unemployment in the country will be highly reduced, when graduates and non graduate job seekers become more familiar with how to find jobs using information technology, writes MESHACK IDEHEN

Agboju

Explaining that e-recruitment, (also known as online recruitment), is the use of technology to attract candidates and aid the recruitment process, Osibogun said the use of technology within human resource management has grown considerably in recent years, and that a survey conducted a few years ago showed that 77 percent of organisations in the country used some form of human resources information system. On their part, Nigeria’s leading computer-based testing and talent management firm, Dragnet Solutions Limited, said electronic based solutions intervention in the country’s recruitment system has brought a new level of sophistication and revolution that is also cutting cost for organisations. Managing Director of the firm, Mr. Robert Ikazoboh, told National Mirror that the introduction and deployment of online recruitment portal has helped various clients to overcome the challenges of manual recruitment process. According to him, firms that specialise in the design, development and implementation of people screening solutions that can be deployed in a variety of uses will be in the forefront of creating real value to business environment, since business cannot be run without people. He said graduate recruitment process, including the era of placing vacancy advertisement wherein thousands of applicants would send their curriculum vitae by post, and recruiters spend weeks or months sifting through the pile of applications have given way to a more accepted approach

Rotimi

Olugbodi

SOME OF THE CHALLENGES THAT

E-RECRUITMENT HAS SOLVED INCLUDE

MALPRACTICES, LONG LEAD TIME, HUGE COST OF THE EXERCISE, RECYCLING OF CANDIDATES AND

INADEQUACY OF TESTING TOOLS, AMONG OTHERS that is also capable of stimulating the economy in its own ways. “E –recruitment process is very objective and transparent. Through the use of technology, companies and organisations have eliminated the human factor that could give rise to end result manipulation. Job seekers are now assured of results that match their efforts and input,” he explained. Speaking in the same vein, Human Resource Management Expert, Mr. Kunle Rotimi, said some of the challenges that e-recruitment has solved include malpractices, long lead time, huge cost of the exercise, recycling of candidates and inadequacy of testing tools, among others. He advocated that players in related sectors of the economy should collaborate on their recruitment and application processes, saying processes can be standardised in such a way that instead of applicants sitting for multiple examinations, a uniform examination system that caters for the recruitment of all the players in specific industry is instituted. Rotimi added that different organisations in the country now use e-recruitment as a cost-effective method of recruiting new staff, adding that the phenomenon is also popular

among job-seekers, with latest figures show that using the internet is the favoured job-hunting method for one in six Nigeria job seekers. Managing Director, Team Building Nigeria Limited, Mr. Yinka Olugbodi, said using the internet to apply for jobs is the most basic form of using technology to advance in professional aspirations. According to him, other advantages of e-recruitment is the fact that it has the potential to speed up the recruitment cycle and streamline administration, while also allowing organisations to make use of IT systems to manage vacancies more effectively and co-ordinate recruitment processes. “Those advantages are even outside its ability to reduce recruitment costs, reach a wide and niche pool of applicants and making internal vacancies widely known across multiple sites and separate divisions. It also provides the image of an up-to-date organisation, reinforcing employer branding and giving an indication of organisation culture”, he said. Olugbodi added that e-recruitment also offer access to vacancies 24 hours a day, seven days a week, reaching a global audience in a cost effective way to build a talent bank for future vacancies.


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Jobs & Career

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

PHCN management siphoned N331bn pension fund –Unions MESHACK IDEHEN

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lectricity sector workers under the umbrella of the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Company (SSAEAC) and National Union of Electricity (NUEE) have accused the management of Power Holding Company of Nigeria of siphoning the N331billion. meant for their pension payment. President General of SSAEAC, Mr. Bede Opara and the NUEE General Secretary, Joe Ajaero, further said at the weekend that the management of PHCN sabotaged the superannuation fund of over N331billion which was to be used for payment of staff retirement entitlements. Reacting to National Mirror’s enquiries on the negotiation process with the government, the union leaders said they have been receiving only 75 per cent of their salaries since they started working with PHCN, and that the remaining 25 per cent was to go to the superannuation. They explained that what the workers are want is for government to pay them their terminal

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here is probably an endless list of opinions as to what toady’s employees want. Here however are tips that are important as you consider building an employee relations program for your business organisation. Employees want to be comfortable with what their employer stands for- The chances of success are much greater for your organisation if you have a clearly defined vision that all your people can follow. In some organisations, this is also referred to as a mission statement. Does your organisation, department or division have one?

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he position of a Principal Offshore Structural Engineer (www. jobberman.com) in Arcadia Access Services Limited, Lagos leads on job vacancies for the week, with the minimum qualification of a university and experience of between 10 – and 15 years required. The position requires working closely with both the offshore Asset Engineering and other disciplines in the floating systems and subsea organisations and to visit the FPSOs and facilities, alongside participating in the provision of offshore structures support to Bonga North. For qualifications and ex-

benefits because electricity workers don’t know or recognise the National Pension Commission (PENCOM). According to the electricity workers leaders, the pensionable agreement stated that on workers’ welfare and benefits must be negotiated to a conclusion before privatisation, and it is obvious that the government is trying to sweep that part of the matter under the carpet. “PHCN workers have been enjoying the in-house pension policy whereby any retiree is paid immediately he or she is going. Those who retired two to three months ago got their own, but now, we have been hearing another thing that money is not there. The management should tell Nigerians what went wrong with the 25 per cent that we have been contributing since”. Condemning the statement, credited to the former Minister of Power, Professor Barth Nnaji, and Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), the union leaders stressed that they were surprised to hear that the former minister and the BPE were not aware of the system on ground,

Opara

thereby scuttling electricity workers in-house system and, preventing them from collecting what they laboured for. “The media propaganda by the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) claimed that even when they are paying the staff salary, they did not set aside any 25 per cent, which shows the level of ignorance which the former minister and the BPE have in civil service rules of engagement.

Ahmad

“The moment you are made a staff of PHCN, 25 per cent is set aside for your pension, gratuity and welfare, why 10 per cent is set aside for pension, 10 per cent for gratuity and 5 per cent for welfare, because what we are receiving is a consolidated salary of 75 per cent and it was on that basis that all this while, those that have been retiring are paid, without government having to bring in money to pay for the pension because it is be-

ing picked from our superannuation fund. “As at 2010, the superannuation fund has been vandalised to the tune of over N331billion. So, what we are saying now is refund that money and we will use that money to settle the terminal benefits of our members and whoever wants to remain with the new company, according to a new agreement with the new company can continue to work for them on clean slate.”

Tips on knowing what employees want Employees want to identify with corporate principles- Today’s employees are very opinionated about the moral and ethical issues in business these days. They care about such things as employee privacy and employee rights. Employees want to know their employer cares about their opinions and concerns- If you are going to create a good employee relations program, you need to have a mechanism for finding out what your employees care about, what they are con-

cerned about, what they think of you as an employer. Employees want to be productive and involved- Create employee participation teams. The more the employee interacts with other members of the team, the greater the employee will be linked with the organisation. Employees want to be appreciated and recognised for a job well done- Link performance with rewards. There are all different kinds of strategies that can be used to link performance with rewards.

Linking performance with rewards also promotes the entrepreneurial spirit and encourages people to work as a team. Employees want to be paid competitively- A principle element of a sound employee relations program is to value the knowledge, skills, and abilities of your staff. One way of doing this is to ensure that your salaries remain competitive. Employees want to have challenging work- People like to be challenged, particularly when they feel that they are supported in taking on new

challenges. Presenting an organisational challenge to your employees stimulates thinking and creates excitement within the organisation. Employees want to receive assistance in balancing their work and family needs- This element of establishing a good employee relations program has to do with understanding that your people have lives outside of your business. Courtesy: nals.com

www.bizjour-

Job vacancies perience, a B.Sc./B.Eng in civil, structural engineering and marine engineering with a minimum of 12 years’ offshore structural engineering experience is incorporating a good understanding of Industry standards with the ability to challenge standards and current engineering practices. Proven ability to work in a multi-disciplinary team as well and to work independently with a minimum of supervision. On offer also on job vacancy for the week is the position Head, Fund Raising and Marketing,(www.g ridconsulting.net), based in Abuja. The employing organisa-

tion, Save the Children is a leading International Organisation helping children in need around the world. The organisation offering the job, said the description for the post include sharing the responsibility for the direction and coordination of the Country Office, and also to be fully responsible for development and implementation of Save the Children in Nigeria fundraising and marketing strategies. Qualification required are a Masters degree in Social Development, Marketing or any related course alongside a minimum of 8 years work experience in similar role in

a corporate or NGO environment, while proven network with corporate and marketing/ advertising related agencies in Nigeria is mandatory for this role. Finally, up for grab is the post of Human Resource Analyst /Recruitment and HR Support (www.find jobs Africa.com), to be based in Lagos. The general duties of the incoming amongst other functions are performing a wide variety of professional human resource services which include benefits administration, recruitment/selection, performance reviews, employee relations, training management.

The incoming is also expected to conduct and coordinate the recruitment/selection process including advertising position openings, screening applications, short listing candidates, preparing assessments (tests and interviews), scheduling assessments. Qualifications of a minimum of Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources, Psychology, Public/Business administration, Industrial and Personnel Relations, and a minimum of 2 years experience in human resource related position, alongside necessary knowledge, skills and ability are required for the position.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

25

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Real Estate & Environment dayoayeyemi@yahoo.com 08033312578

Goshen Beach Estate threatened by ocean surge

Help! Residents of Goshen Beach Estate at the mercy of the ocean

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n the face of imminent danger, how do you sleep tonight and the next night and the next....? “Pay your N1million ocean surge protection fund today. If we act together, we can still save Goshen Estate”. The above words were boldly inscribed on a banner at the entrance gate of Goshen Beach Estate, a modern waterfront residential units located on the Lekki-Epe Expressway, Lagos. Comprising more than 200 families, the estate and its residents have, in the last three years, been threatened by ocean surge which has become more prevalent on Lagos shoreline. While many people, especially residents of Okun, Alfa and Lekki Beach whose neighbourhoods are at the brink of extinction due to the rampaging ocean surge have not stopped to attribute their calamities to the ongoing dredging and sand-filling activities taking place on the shoreline for the development of Eko Atlantic City project, Goshen Estate’s residents said the former argument may not be far from the truth. “We hardly sleep with our two eyes closed. The surge is gradually gaining ground at an alarming rate. The experience has not been pleasant. It is very traumatic for us. We have not taken into consideration the Eko Atlantic City project since we do not have enough information,” Chairman of Goshen Estate’s Ocean Surge Committee, Mr. Olugbenga Okunsanya, an engineer, lamented while narrating residents’ harrowing experiences to National Mirror. He said the ocean surge, which before now, used to come once in two years has become prevalent in recent time, saying there has been drastic changes within the last

By its location on the waterfront, Goshen Beach Estate is one of the most sought-after private residential housing units in Lagos, no thanks to its serene environment and quality infrastructure, But all these are fast eroding in the minds of residents, who have been engaged in the battle of their lives with persistent ocean surge, which now threatens their investments. DAYO AYEYEMI, reports.

Goshen Beach Estate-2

three to four years. Narrating how the problem started, he said there used to be a drainage between the estate and the ocean, which normally conveyed water from the neighbouring estates to the treatment plant which was never be in place. The drainage, before it collapsed, used to be “residents’ protection” within the three and four years, and that the bat-

tles they had with the ocean then was that it used to bring too much sand and fill up the drainage after surge. To ensure proper maintenance of the drainage, he stated that residents put resources together to purchase an escavator to always free the drainage of ocean sand. To residents’ dismay, he said they suddenly discovered a gradual reduction in the level

of sand as the ocean swept the it away while the surge started banging on the estate’s wall. Okunsanya said, “ Two days later, ocean that was full of sand was completely swept away. The ocean took the sand away. So, we realised that there was a problem and there are two sides to it. Now, this experience is happening frequently like three to four times in a year. The sand on the beach is being depleted, so the correlation between Eko Atlantic City and the sand that is being depleted, I don’t know yet.” To make the matter worse, the drainage, he said finally collapsed, leaving the estate and residents to the mercy of ocean surge. “ The surge started by moving the sand up to one foot from our wall and up to 20 metres feet below where our wall extents. In some areas, we have less than 24 hours to act, so we came together and started with sand bags and we made more that 1000 sand bags to to protect the ocean from eroding our estate,” he narrated. When the canal collapsed, he said residents were threatened and they thought of putting boulders (stones) but were advised against it. “We now found that the canal provided us a base to put boulders on to protect the estate against ocean surge,” he said. Okunsanya warned that if something urgent is not done, the ocean will sweep the whole Lekki expressway away, saying the ocean surge has already cut the boulders protect the estate. He stated that Goshen Estate’s residents have spent more than N50 million to buy sandbags and boulders to protect the estate, CONTINUED ON PAGE 26


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Real Estate & Environment

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Stakeholders task state governments on ecological projects OLUFEMI ADEOSUN

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takeholders at the just concluded Ecofair have urged the various states where Federal Government’s ecological interventionist projects are being undertaken to show active interests in the projects to enhance their successful implementation. This is even as environment experts also admonished state governments to enact a legislation which would make provision for special funds to tackle ecological disasters in their domains. The Eco-forum, which is being organised by the National Committee on Ecological Problems (NCEP) and the Ecological Fund Office, is designed as a veritable platform through which stakeholders can brainstorm on major ecological problems confronting the different zones of the country. It would be recalled that Federal Government had, early this year, committed over N11.5billion to urgently address ecological disaster in some South-Eastern states of the country. Speaking at the 2nd Ecofair which took place in Katsina State recently, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Anyim Pius Anyim, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Special Duties, said for the ecological projects being undertaken by the Federal Government in some states to be effective, state governments must be directly involved. On this, he said, “I want the state governments to show active interest in those projects situated in their domains and take ownership for sustainability. Community involvement and ownership are ingredients that enhance successful implementation of projects.

A scene of coastal erosion in Lagos

“This is the only way to ensure that desertification, drought and other ecological challenges peculiar to the Northern part of the country are effectively addressed. Issues of prevention should also receive adequate attention in tackling ecological challenges, priority must be given to public awareness campaigns and other veritable strategies that have in many ways contributed to intervention efforts globally.” He urged multinational organisations in the country to partner with the Federal Government by investing in environment, stressing that, “in nurturing and investing in the sustainable management of the environment which has huge potential for wealth creation, poverty alleviation and employment generation for our teeming youths and rural dweller,” humanity would be better.” In her own submission, Environment Minister, Mrs. Hadiza Mailafia, who is also the chairperson of NCEP, said the present

administration is concerned by the spate of drought and desertification, especially in some part of Northern states, and had put in place strategies to stem the tide. One of the strategies, which according to the minister, has been yielding positive results, was the tree planting programme aimed at halting desert encroachment and mitigate the effects of climate change. She explained that the first phase of the tree planting programme had led to raising of one million seedlings in most states of the federation, urging state governments to take possession of the seedling with a view to commencing planting in earnest. Mailafia added that her ministry would always carry along state governments, including relevant stakeholders in all government ecological projects. She said, “Accordingly, premium is being placed on ensuring that state government and other relevant stakeholders are consulted and involved right from the conception and planting of

Maintain highest moral standard, untainted integrity, NIS urges new fellows ...wants Coordination Act amended to conform to modern realities DAYO AYEYEMI, CHINEDUM EMEANA PORT HARCOURT

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he Nigerian Institution of Surveyors, has elevated 17 of its members to the position of fellow, charging them on the need to maintain highest moral standard and integrity. The new fellows were administered with their oaths at an investiture ceremony at the weekend in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. President of the NIS, Mr. Bode Adeaga, in a remark, said the members newly admitted to the board of fellows were found worthy of the honour. He charged the fellows to maintain the “highest moral standard and untainted integrity”, as well as “uphold a strict code of personal and professional conduct at all times”. In a message, Oyo State, Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, challenged the surveyors to contribute efforts that will make a difference in the economy and also “play by the rules”. Speaking on the theme, “Explaining the Security Challenges in Contemporary Nigeria,” the guest speaker, Prof. Isaac Olawale Albert, said surveyors have a key role in the overall security of

Ajimobi

the country. The professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Ibadan charged them to contribute to efforts to bring lasting peace to the polity, as the professionals cannot practice in an atmosphere of crisis. On the rising campaign of violence by the Boko Haram sect, Albert recommended the need for government to dialogue with the extremist sect, saying the use of

force would not solve the lingering crisis. Aside from those admitted as fellows of the NIS, the professional body also bestowed its Presidential Awards of “distinguished fellows” on 27 deserving members for their passion, commitment and contribution to uplifting the institution. In the same vein, surveyors in the country have stressed the need for a review of the Coordination Act of 1962 (as amended) which regulates the practice of the profession so that it can accommodate modern realities and developments in the world. They pointed out that since the Act was last amended in 1973, it apparently could not have envisaged the technological and political developments that have taken place in the country and all over the world. The call was contained in a communiqué at the end of a four-day Survey Co-ordination and Advisory Board on Survey Training Conference in Port Harcourt which ended at the weekend. They noted that the act, first amended in 1968 and later 1973, was still relevant to the practice of the profession. However, they stressed that a review of the law has become imperative to take care of present circumstances.

ecological projects to the implementation stage to enhance their success.” The Governor of Katsina State, Dr. Ibrahim Shema, highlighted some of the giant strides the state had made in the area forest conservation, explaining that the state currently has 99 forest reserves and 33 nurseries scattered across the state with an annual production yield of 5million seedlings. Apart from that, the governor who was represented by his deputy, Mr. Abdullahi Faskari, also noted that the state has 512 hectares of woodlots and 193 shelterbelts of 1.518 hectares in the different locations in the state. Speaking further, he said, “Currently, a pilot programme that entails the planting of rows of trees on the road sides of the old local government headquarters have commenced. This programme in addition to its soil and environmental management potentials has 168 number of youths employed, altogether a total number of 528 jobs is expected to be created within the two years span of the programme.” Meanwhile, a communiqué issued at the end the two-day event, recommended a number of measures to ensure the implementation of ecological projects. One of such recommendations is a bi-annual review of all ecological disaster control projects with a view to catering for unforeseen emerging occurrences. Apart from that, it was also resolved that implementation of projects funded by Ecological Fund Office must be preceded by setting up of a project implementation committee at the state level. It also recommended that all the states that benefitted from ecological projects must be involved at all the stages of planning and implementation to enable them prepare and fulfil their obligations.

Residents of Goshen Beach Estate at the mercy of the ocean CONTINUED FROM 25 warning that the activities of the ocean within the last three years has changed as it is more violent. On what residents have been doing to bring government’s attention to bear on the problem, the chairman of Goshen estate’s ocean surge committee said they have reached out to the Lagos State government, High-Tech Engineering and Southern Energyx on possible solution to the tidal movement but yet to receive concrete response. According to him, government only promised that it would do something, while the Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure Development in the state, Prince Segun Oniru came back to inform residents that government is going to seek a permanent solution to the surge. On steps forward, Okunsanya, said said the residents want to continue the exercise of putting sand bags and boulders in front of their estate to reduce the power of the ocean surge and protect their estate, saying records by the Institute of Oceanography showed that there are three more turbulent from the ocean before the end of the year.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My plans for Arsenal, Les Bleus –Giroud 28

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Sport

I will be patient to wait for my time and will hope not to disappoint when the time comes - Southampton striker, Emmanuel Mayuka

NPL kings, Pillars, get rousing reception

‘I rejected $30,000 to lose W/Cup game’

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Kano State Governor, Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso, lifting the NPL trophy won by Pillars at the Kano Airport on Sunday. Below: Pillars’ players celebrating

AUGUSTINE MADU-WEST KANO

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overnor, Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso of Kano State delayed his Abuja trip by 30 minutes on Sunday to welcome home Kano Pillars FC team who won the 2011/2012 Nigeria Premier League (NPL) title. As soon as the IRS airliner conveying the victorious players with the Kano State Deputy Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, touched down at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), from Abuja at 6.30 pm, an elated Kwankwaso came out of the VIP Lounge and officially received the champions. His deputy, Ganduje, handed over the league cup to Kwankwaso, who raised it high to the admiration of over 10,000 fans and supporters and top government officials who thronged the airport to welcome Pillars. The governor said: “Kwankwassiya has given birth to a new baby,” apparently referring to the league trophy won by Kano Pillars FC. Thereafter, Kwankwaso re-crowned the coveted cup with a red cap, raised it up for the second time, turning left and right wards, which was greeted with a thunderous ovation from football fans and supporters, who waited at the airport for over five hours for the arrival of their darling team. Kwankwaso assured them of government’s total support at all times. This will be Pillars second league conquest after they first won the championship in 2008. They topped the 20-team NPL with

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hana goalkeeper, Richard Kingson, claims he turned down a staggering US$ 30,000 to fix a match at the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals. Kingson, who was Ghana’s first choice goalkeeper at the finals in Germany, made the shocking revelation at the Synagogue Church in Nigeria which is led by famous Prophet T.B Joshua. The 34-year-old had visited the church to deny allegations that his wife was a witch and has made him impotent. The former Wigan Athletic keeper said he was approached by a betting company before Ghana’s second Group match against Czech Republic. “This woman over here (referring to his wife) is a woman who onetime took a shame that was coming to Ghanaians,” Kingson said. “This is a top secret I have hidden under my pillow and today I just want to reveal it to the Ghanaians

especially to the media. “In 2006 World Cup in Germany we were about to play Czech Republic. By then they were the second best in the World and they had lost one game already. “So a Ghanaian led me to some people to take a bribe and it was this woman (referring to his wife) who delivered me and delivered Ghanaians. “I was very confused and I didn’t know what to do but very luckily she was there with me so I called her and told her: ‘my wife, this is what has happened, I don’t know what to do.’ “And the money was US$ 300,000. And if we won the game, we were going to receive 3000 or 10,000, but if we lost the game by 2-0, I was going to take US$ 30,000. “So before the game I was confused and I called this beautiful lady, my wife and asked her what do I do? “And she told me she loved me not because of my money but for who I am and that I should reject that money. “So I don’t know why people are now calling her a witch after saving me from such shame. She is not a witch and I love her.”

SA 2013: Lone Star tests Black Stars for Eagles’ final clash

F 61 points from 36 matches, three points ahead of closest rivals, Enugu Rangers, after Ocean Boys were thrown out of the league for failing to honour two straight games. “It was a tumultuous reception for the team by the fans, numbering over 10,000 who came out to receive the team on arrival from Lagos,” Pillars’ spokesman, Idris Malikawa, informed MTNFootball.com. “It was massive victory party by the fans all for Pillars.” Police worked overtime to ensure the safety of the team as passionate fans tried to get closer to their heroes. Earlier in an interview, the General Manager of the Club, Alhaji Abba Galadima, was full of praises for his boys, adding that they would take a

few days holidays before commencing preparations for the Champions competition. He disclosed that he would scout for some fresh legs, with which to fortify the club for the challenges ahead. Euro W/Cup qualifiers Serbia

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Wales

N/ Ireland

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Scotland

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Macedonia

Cyprus

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Iceland

Israel

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Russia

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Andorra

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Latvia

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Estonia

resh from their Saturday’s 2-2 impressive draw against the Super Eagles in Monrovia, the Lone Star will today in Accra, take on the Black Stars of Ghana as Liberia further prepares for the ‘winner takes all’ Nations Cup qualifier rematch in Calabar. Ghana who succeeded in beating the Flames of Malawi 2-0 is also using today’s friendly to try and improve on the Black Stars’ lukewarm performance displayed in Accra. Liberia on the other hand will seek to enhance its midfield that gained ever increasing momentum in Saturday’s match and ended up suffocating the Nigerians. Eagles’ right wing was especially leaky and Warri

Wolves’ centre back, Azubuike Egwueke, had to repeatedly come to the rescue of Godfrey Oboabona who was totally outmatched. The game saw both teams suffering from poor finishing. For Nigeria’s Ikechukwu Uche and Emmanuel Emenike in spite of the Lone Star’s superb goal keeper, Nathaniel Shermna, could have easily won it for the Super Eagles early on. Nigeria will now have to host a confident in-form Lone Star come October the 12th in in Calabar, another big game, leaving Coach Stephen Keshi just weeks to find a way not just to score, but also stop the ever dangerous Sekou Oliseh who has already beaten Enyeama once.


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Sport

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifiers... Spain players applaud victory during their friendly with Saudi Arabia last week

Other games

La Furia Roja leads European battles R eigning world champion Spain will be one of the main attractions of Match Day 2 of the European qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil,

making its campaign entrance in Georgia. Today’s 24 matches also feature early top-of-the table tussles between Belgium and Croatia in

Group A, Hungary and the Netherlands in Group D and Switzerland and Albania in Group E, in addition to a neighbourly meeting between Germany and Austria in Group C.

THE BIG GAME

Group A: Serbia vs Wales Serbia has lost only three times in 20 years at their Marakana fortress in Belgrade and will start as firm favourite against Wales, despite Saturday’s goalless stalemate away to Scotland. Group B: Italy vs Malta Italy coach Cesare Prandelli dubbed his side’s performance in Friday’s 2-2 draw with Bulgaria as “not good enough” and has demanded that they reassert themselves for the visit of Malta. The Italians will have to do so without Daniele de Rossi, who picked up an injury in Sofia. Group C: Austria vs Germany Though shorn of several first-choice players, Germany will not be lacking in confidence when the Machine travels to Austria, who is making its group debut. Of the 37 previous meetings between the two sides, the Germans have won 23, drawn six and lost only seven. Group D: Hungary vs Netherlands After grinding out a 2-0 win over Turkey, the Dutch will now put themselves to the test away to Hungary, who eased to a 5-1 victory in Andorra in its group opener and boasts no less than 14 foreign-based players in its 23-man squad. Having kicked off with a 2-0 defeat of Estonia, Group E: Switzerland vs Albania In charge of Switzerland since July 2008, Ottmar Hitzfeld could be about to reap the dividends of all his hard work. Having started off with an impressive 2-0 win in Slovenia, the Swiss have the chance to open up a lead at the top against an Albania side that sprang something of a surprise by beating Cyprus 3-1. Group F: Portugal vs Azerbaijan After scraping past Luxembourg on Friday, Portugal will be intent on raising its game against unfancied Azerbaijan as the Cristiano Ronaldo-captained side stays wary of Russian threat in the group.

Modric

Belgium vs Croatia

Hazard

This match pits together the top two in Group A, with an ambitious and gifted Belgium side hosting the experienced and no less talented Croatians. Marc Wilmots’ men made their intentions clear in their opening game by earning a 2-0 win in Wales. Absent from the last two world finals, Les Diables Rouges have designs on winning the group and have the firepower to do just that, with many of their players appearing in Europe’s top leagues, among them star man Eden Hazard. For their part, the Croatians-who kicked off their Group A campaign with an uninspiring 1-0 defeat of Macedonia-are anxious to erase memories of UEFA Euro 2012, when they came within an ace of knocking out eventual champion Spain in their final group game only to be eliminated themselves. Deservedly featuring in the top ten of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, Croatia has no shortage of skilled performers to call on, among them captain Darijo Srna and striker Eduardo.

Group G: Bosnia-Herzegovina vs Latvia Greece v Lithuania Winners on the road in their opening encounters, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Greece will be eyeing three more points when they entertain Latvia and Lithuania respectively. Group H: England vs Ukraine Three months after defeating them 1-0 to advance to the quarter-finals of EURO 2012, England take on Ukraine again, this time at Wembley. Home coach Roy Hodgson faces a defensive reshuffle however, having lost both John Terry and Ashley Cole to injury. Group I: France vs Belarus France will continue its rebuilding process in the centre of defence and midfield when Les Bleus host bogey team Belarus, having opened up with a fine 1-0 win in Finland.

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National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

My plans for Arsenal, Les N Bleus –Giroud

st two years in the French top flight, Olivier Giroud signed for Arsenal from ellier over the summer. Although the top scorer in Ligue 1 last season has found the net for his new employers, he intends to establish himself in the h Premier League and in the French national side. He spoke to FIFA.com day

ene Wenger a key factor in your decision? because he knows me and has confidence Generally speaking, the French guys here u to settle in pretty quickly–there are actute a lot of French-speaking players overall. re lots of people you can count on if you lp with something. But you can’t let that u back in terms of mixing with the others, t suits me fine as I really want to improve lish and speak fluently, without having to bout what I’m about to say. Being at Arsehelp me with my development, and with a r like Arsene Wenger in charge, I’m defin good hands.

utation and style of the Premier League are ecognised, but have you been surprised by ial experiences on English pitches? tmosphere in the stadiums is pretty much was expecting; the support from the fans is g! In terms of the quality of play, the Preague is, in my eyes, the best league in the t’s very intense and demanding, and remuch more focus. I’ve I ve not been prised by that, to be fair, as I watch English matches on e often, but you just have to hat out of your mind and go play.

w all you need is o break your

hat’s true. been g

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Olympiad: NCF boss hails Team Nigeria

playing for Arsenal (above), France (below) Olivier Giroud believes he is one and same scorer

dream come true for you to pull on an top, and if so, why? as a young boy, I dreamed of playing in the r League. Remember, there were several e French players doing well at Arsenal at , guys like Patrick Vieira, Sylvain Wiltord, Pires, Thierry Henry, among others, and de an impression on me. I’m very proud to n the footsteps of all those ‘Frenchies’, and o make my mark at the club as well. I really sed with my decision to come here.

Sport

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

a little bit just when I’ve been about to pull the trigger, and that’s exactly what happened in my first few matches for France. I’m not too worried about it, because I’ve been scoring in training and I feel pretty comfortable being a part of this team. I just need to not think about things too much, so that I feel as relaxed as possible when the time comes to stick the ball in the net. Have you known any periods in your career where you ever doubted yourself? You can’t ever give up, and even if I sometimes show my disappointment when I miss a chance, I try to keep my head up and get on with it. When I arrived at Tours, it took me seven or eight matches to score my first goal, while at Montpellier it was four matches. I’ve only started two games for Arsenal so far. It’s definitely a step up, but I just have to remain patient and confident.

igeria Chess Federation (NCF) President, DCP Sani Mohammed, has commended Team Nigeria players for their performance at the Chess Olympiad which ended in Istanbul, Turkey on Sunday. Mohammed, who spoke to the team after the closing ceremony, described the players’ feat as remarkable, saying they made Nigeria proud. “Many did not give this team a chance because most of the payers are attending the competition for the first time,” the NCF boss said yesterday. “But we have fate in them and the technical crew and the result we garnered here has shown that we have abundant chess talents in Nigeria,” he added. The male team of Nigeria set a new record as the first country’s representative to win a team laurel at any international chess competition after it emerged top in Category E of the 40th World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey on Sunday. National Mirror learnt yesterday that the feat was the country’s best performance at the biennial event since 1998 when International Master Odion Aikhoje won gold medal on board two. It was also the first time that Nigeria came top at any team event in chess as loud ovation rent the air when team captain Lekan Adeyemi led the team to mount the podium at the closing ceremony. Although the male team sustained its lead in the category till the end of the competition, the female team slipped into the second position after a disappointing 1.5-2.5 loss to South Africa and it was Chinese Taipei that emerged top with 10 points as against Nigeria with nine alongside Thailand but Nigeria’s representative was ahead on tie break.

Imoke commits to mountain race

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ross River State Governor, Mr. Liyel Imoke, says his administration will organise a world mountain running championships that will be benchmark for future events. According to the state’s Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Patrick Ugbe, Imoke made the pledge following the award of the hosting right to Obudu Ranch Resort for the 30th World Mountain Running Association Championship scheduled for 2014. “His Excellency expressed his total commitment to the project and assured that whatever is required to make the championships a success will be done,” Ugbe said yesterday, adding that Cross River got the nod owing to the success recorded at the annual Obudu International Mountain Race since its inaugural edition in 2005. “The continued hosting of the African Mountain Championship at the resort owes to Governor Imoke’s unalloyed support and commitment without which the competition would not have been sustained,” the commissioner further said.

How have things changed for you since the arrival of Didier Deschamps at the helm in Les Bleus? I was brought into the French set-up a few months before Euro 2012, and Laurent Blanc never really had the time to try Karim Benzema and me together in a 4-4-2, as he’d talked about doing. Didier Deschamps tested out that option right from the outset, against Uruguay, but they play in a very compact style with five at the back, and I’d only seen 45 minutes of play with Arsenal the previous weekend. That’s why I want to quickly regain my form with France so that we can give that formation another shot. Do you think France can finish top of Group I? Spain is the best team in the world, so it’s going to be difficult, but not impossible. We have to show h some ambition. If we can win every one of our other matches, anything can happen in the two tw games we play against them. We’re going to try our utmost to qualify automatically and avoid avo the playoffs, because those are always dangerous to be involved in. The fact that Brazil is hosting the next World Cup obviously gives give everyone a little bit of o extra motivation. It’s an tiva event that nobody wants to miss.

The Nigeria’s female U-20 has performed brilliantly, according to FIFA President, Sepp Blatter

Blatter wants Falconets intact STORIES: AFOLABI GAMBARI

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IFA President, Sepp Blatter, has advised the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to keep the bulk of the Falconets who lost the bronze medal to host Japan at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup on Saturday. Blatter, who gave this advice in Tokyo on Sunday during a meeting with NFF Executive Committee member, Chief Effiong

Johnson, described the Falconets as a team that played with creativity and strength, saying, “It would be good to keep them together so they can take the steps to the next grade.” The FIFA boss insisted that the Nigerians were not disgraced, even as they failed to achieve their target to lift the cup. “They are a great credit to the women’s game,” he said. The Nigerian contingent arrived in Lagos yesterday aboard an Emirates airline.


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Sport

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hail Serena, most consistent Williams on court!

The champion holding aloft her prize after a hard fought battle

Surprising even herself, Serena Williams rallies to the US Open 2012 title on Sunday. Not surprisingly, however, she has vowed to smash on

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his time there were no tantrums, no rows with officials, no penalties. Serena Williams, whose last two US Opens had ended in defeat and controversy, kept her nerve to win her home Grand Slam tournament for the first time in four years, beating Belarusian Victoria Azarenka, the world number one, 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 to claim the 15th Grand Slam singles title of her career. It was the first time that a US Open women’s singles final had gone to three sets in 17 years. Women’s Grand Slam finals have regularly disappointed over the years, but this was a match full of drama, swings of momentum and top-quality ballstriking, even if there were also plenty of mistakes as both players–and Williams in particular–sometimes let the occasion get the better of them. Williams’ victory, which followed her fifth Wimbledon triumph earlier in the summer, ended a run of seven successive Grand Slam tournaments won by different players. Her fourth title here came a full 13 years after her first. In the Open era no other woman has won Grand Slam tournaments over such a length of time. After a set, a fourth United States Open title for Serena Williams looked like a foregone conclusion as she ripped serves and ground strokes Sunday at Arthur Ashe with the same intimidating blend of power and precision that has defined her summer. Who could have imagined then that by the end of this fine, tornado-free evening, victory would come as a surprise, leaving Williams with her eyes wide and her hands to her head? “I was preparing my runners-up speech,” Williams said after her triumph. She would have been obliged to deliver it if Azarenka had seized her opportunity when serving for the match at 5-4 in the third set. Although Azarenka

Loser Victoria Azarenka of Belarus wiping her tears after the defeat on Sunday.

had done an often-admirable job of coping with Williams’s first-strike pressure in this big-swinging final, she could not quite handle the chance to win her first United States Open. She lost the first three points, two with unforced backhand errors, and then soon lost the game with a forehand in the tape. Williams, whose form and body language had fluctuated wildly after the opening set, would not lose her way again, putting an exclamation point on the feelgood story of her summer of tennis by closing out a 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 victory that will rank among her most memorable. In May, Williams made personal history of a more painful sort when she lost in the first round of a Grand Slam tournament in singles for the first time, losing her nerve and her rhythm against Virginie Razzano of France on clay at the French Open. “I have never been so miserable after a loss,” Williams, who responded by training in Paris under a new coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, said. “Sometimes they say it’s good to lose. I still would have preferred to win, but, you know, that was forever ago,” she

Serena battling on court enroute Flushing Meadows glory

EVEN THOUGH I’M 30, I FEEL SO YOUNG AND I’VE NEVER FELT AS FIT AND MORE EXCITED AND MORE HUNGRY added. So it must seem. Since Paris, Williams, 30, has won the singles and women’s doubles at Wimbledon, won the singles and doubles gold medals at the Summer Olympics and now changed her luck at the United States Open, the tournament where she won her first Grand Slam singles title in 1999 at age 17 but where she has lost her temper and the big matches in recent years. “Now she’s starting to really play up to her potential, which is really great to see,” Billie Jean King, the former American women’s star who has counseled Williams, said. “I think she’s very appreciative of her good health now with what she went through and also what her sister is going though. She is maturing as a person, and you start to appreciate things in a different way as you grow.” There was much to savor Sunday by

the 30-year-old Serena whose victory over Azarenka, the 23-year-old from Belarus, gave her a 15th Grand Slam singles title. Although Azarenka remained number one and Williams number four yesterday, the latter’s victory made her the clear player of the year as the only woman to win two major singles titles (three, if the Olympics is considered a major). “Even though I’m 30, I feel so young and I’ve never felt as fit and more excited and more hungry,” Williams said. She prevailed despite a significant dip in form in a final in which she hit 44 winners but also made 45 unforced errors. In her first six matches in New York, Williams often looked unbeatable, never coming close to dropping a set. She had not dropped a set in her three previous matches against Azarenka this year, taking a 9-1 lead in their series. •

Culled from www.ESPN.com


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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Real Estate & Environment

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Lagos set to deliver Ikoyi, Ikeja, Gbagada estates DAYO AYEYEMI

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fforts by the Lagos State Government to provide decent housing units for the teeming population in line with its policy direction is already yielding positive results no thanks to the new housing projects which are due for delivery any moment from now. The three new housing projects, which encompass a block of luxury flats at Parkview Ikoyi, Massionatte duplex at Ikeja and Gbagada Housing Schemes will be handed over to subscribers immediately after they are completed. Speaking during an inspection tour of the projects, the Lagos State Commissioner for Housing, Mr. Bosun Jeje , expressed satisfaction with the stage of completion of the projects. He expressed delight that the Ikeja and Gbagada projects were being completed on time after the delay occasioned by structural remodel in line with modern architectural design. According to him, Governor Babatunde Fashola is desirous at commissioning the estates and hand over the keys to their owners in the shortest possible time. He assured that the lessons learnt during the implementation of the projects have become useful in the execution of the new housing projects. He commended the contractors handling the three storey of one of the block of six units of three bedroom flats in Parkview, Ikoyi for a job well done, and for the effort to deliver the project within the time frame. The property sits on 2,100.24 square metre of land in the highbrow area with modern facilities which include swimming pool, lawn tennis court, adequate parking space, water treatment plant, and security post among others. At Gbagada, the 11 blocks of 88 units of three and four bedroom maisonettes duplex have transformed the landscape of the environment. The estate, which occupies 3.262 hectares of land, is being given finishing touches with painting of the buildings almost completed. Also, the contractors handling the 76 units of four bedroom maisonettes duplex

Gbagada Housing Estate

Ikeja Housing Estate

located in Ikeja GRA are putting finishing touches to the elegantly built houses. The horticulturist has commenced the landscaping of the estate which has paved roads with complimenting parking lots, mini-water works and electricity supply. According to him, the Lagos State Government under the present administration is poised to make good her campaign

promises as it relates to the provision of decent housing and creating enabling environment for the private sector to participate in providing housing which he opined has tremendous impact on the economy. Jeje noted that the house construction embarked upon by the state government have created job opportunities for both

professionals and artisans while dealers in building materials are also benefiting from the massive purchase which the mass construction brings about. He added that apart from the multiplier effect housing provision has on the economy and the people, the regulation of transactions in the real estate sector in the state will have positive impact on all.

UK govt relaxes planning rules for homes, businesses

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he United Kingdom property industry has broadly welcomed a relaxation of planning rules announced by the Prime Minister David Cameron aimed at resurrecting the building industry and kick starting the economy. According to the report from Property Wire, home owners will be able to build big extensions and add on large conservatories without planning permission as part of a raft of measures for tackling the current housing crisis. They are part of a set of temporary rules that will come into play next month and last until 2015. The government hopes that the temporary change in rules will encourage home owners to bring forward plans to spend money on improvements.

Currently single storey rear extensions and conservatories can be constructed without planning permission as long as they do not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by a set distance. For semi detached properties the limit is three metres and for detached homes it is four meters but these will now be doubled. It means that many extensions currently requiring permission could go ahead immediately but they will only apply to single storey extensions and not to loft extensions. Also, under the new legislation, the Treasury will underwrite up to £10 billion of borrowing by property developers and housing associations, in an attempt to bring new finance to the sector and businesses will be allowed to expand

their premises significantly without planning permission. Shops will be free to add another 1,076 square feet of working space, and industrial units twice as much. It takes on board the recommendations by Sir Adrian Montague set out only two weeks ago in his review of the private rented sector to kick start a viable build to rent market and releasing public sector land for build to rent developments. ‘This government means business in delivering plans to help people, build new homes and kick start the economy. We’re determined to cut through the bureaucracy that holds us back. That starts with getting the planners off our backs,’ said Cameron at the launch of the changes. He wanted to help the people in their

30s living at home with mum and dad desperate for that starter flat or house and the package of measures would mean an extra 70,000 houses and 140,000 jobs being created. Executive Property Director of Grainger and a member of Sir Adrian Montague’s review group, Nick Jopling, described the announcement as good news for the future of the UK housing market and better news for the millions of individuals that will be renting. ‘With the support announced today, we can help lead the way to creating a viable built to rent sector, attracting institutional investment. Building quality homes for long term rent will be a game changer for the UK housing market, and it will address the huge, and growing, demand for privately renting,’ he explained.


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Give your interior a beautiful effect with wood flooring

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he variety of different flooring surfaces available today is vast, catering for all price ranges and styles. Wood flooring is becoming increasingly popular and fashionable, and many people are getting rid of their existing floors in favour of the wood that can be found underneath. Different types of wood flooring Hardwood flooring is still the most popular type of wood flooring, but the price, maintenance and installation process has meant that people are starting to look to other types of flooring which will create the wood effect. •Laminate flooring: This is a good alternative to hardwood as it can create a similar effect, yet is inexpensive and durable. It has become very common in many houses. The laminate is not attached to the sub floor, which means that levelling is key to its installation to make sure that the result is high quality. •Engineered flooring: This type of flooring is pre-finished and comes in long strips or planks. It is made from a number of layers of criss-crossed laminated wood which are finally topped with a real wood surface. Engineered

flooring can be used in situations where normal wood flooring cannot as it has restricted normal expansion and greater dimensional stability. The thickness of this type of floor is about ¼ inch, whereas the thickness of solid wood flooring is about ¾ inch. It can be stapled, glued or “floated” down. •Pre-finished flooring: This type of floor comes with a factory finish already applied. It can be glued or stapled to the sub floor, and does not require any sanding or finishing to be done in the home thus is a cleaner floor to lay. The simplicity has made it a popular type of flooring, supported by the fact the layer time is also much shorter. Why you should choose wood flooring? •Wood flooring provides a naturally beautiful effect which gives the house a warm feeling. •Pure wood flooring is environmentally friendly, and is hypoallergenic. •Wood floors can often resist wear and tear much better than other types of flooring, such as carpets. They can often last well over 100 years with only a small amount of maintenance.


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Real Estate & Environment

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

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BCPG mobilises surveyors for building collapse prevention DAYO AYEYEMI

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non-governmental organisation in the construction industry, Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG), is not leaving any stone unturned in its drive to mobilise professionals in the built environment toward putting an end to cases of building collapse in the sector. Just last week, the group took its membership and sensitisation campaigns to the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), Lagos Chapter, to mobilise its members on the need to jointly combat the collapse of buildings which has eaten deep into the fabrics of housing/construction industry in Nigeria. Speaking at the forum, Chairman of BCPG, Mr. Kunle Awobodu, a builder, said the essence of the visitation was to allow NIQS mobilise its members in Lagos in the crusade to stop collapse of buildings. He added that there is need for them to visit construction sites and enlighten the workers on the need to follow due process. He said, “It is to let people know the purpose of following due process,” pointing out that in 2010, investigation revealed that there were 42,000 construction sites in Lagos and that government agency in charge of monitoring has just 200 number of staff, appealing to professionals to monitor and enlighten construction workers on the need for them to do things right.

Metropolitan Lagos

Former chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Lagos Chapter, Mrs. Kehinde George, said the time has come for people to do things right, adding that this has necessitated calls for a unifying voice among professionals to fight collapse of buildings. George, who is the first female town planner in Nigeria, urged members of

each professional bodies in the built environment to do what they were trained to do and stop encroaching on jobs of other professionals. Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Lagos Chapter, Mr. Jelili Akinpelu, spoke on the need to allow BCPG exist as a non-governmental organisation to serve as watchdog in the housing /construction industry.

Lecturer at the University of Lagos, Mr. David Adio Moses, an architect, said it is imperative for each state and local government to adopt and implement the National Building Code, saying that major problems of shoddy jobs in the housing and construction industry have been traced to non-implementation of laid-down procedures as stipulated in the building code.

Oforiokuma is new managing director LAWMA warns residents over indiscriminate dumping of refuse of ARM Infrastructure Fund

Oresanya

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esidents of Ajah communities have been warned to desist from indiscriminate dumping of refuse within the metropolis, especially on the road medians. In a statement made available to National Mirror, the authority decried the indecent attitude of dumping refuse on road setback and medians, pointing out that they seemed not to be supporting efforts to ensure that every community in the state is clean. It stated, “Ajah residents, especially

those of Thomas, Ilasan and Abraham Adesanya Estates are not paying for services rendered by PSP operators.” “Waste management is not free anywhere in the world. Those who avoid patronising or paying for services rendered by the PSP operators and who would rather dump their refuse under the cover of darkness in unauthorised places are hereby warned to stop the unwholesome practices.” While stressing that the government would remain committed to effective waste management, the authority warned that anyone caught violating the environmental sanitation laws and dumping indiscriminately in unauthorised places, will face appropriate sanctions. In addition, the authority reiterated the earlier call on property owners, especially those on the highways to have covered containers or waste bags, to complement the efforts of the government. The statement urged everyone to bag their waste properly and place them in containers for easy evacuation by PSP operators, adding, “in the case of delay, residents are to call LAWMA’s Toll-Free lines on 5577/07080601020 for back-up services”. LAWMA also appealed for co-operation and enjoined residents across all ages, genders and nationalities in the state to strive for environmental sustainability and work with government to achieve a healthier Lagos.

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sset & Resource Management Company Limited (ARM) has announced the appointment of current Chief Executive Officer of Lekki Concession Company (LCC), Mr Opuiyo Oforiokuma, as the new Managing Director of ARM Infrastructure Fund with effect from October 1, 2012. According to the statement by the organisation, while recruitment of LCC’s next substantive managing director is ongoing, Mr Mike Edington, currently Head of Asset Management at African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), and a Board Director of LCC, has been asked to take on responsibility for the day-to-day running of LCC in the capacity of acting managing director/ chief executive officer. Further changes that are being implemented at LCC include the appointment of Mr Benson Ajayi and Mr Jobalo Oshikanlu, currently LCC Head of Finance and Head of Legal respectively, and both of whom have been members of LCC’s senior management team for the last 6 years, as acting Executive Directors on the Board of LCC. Oforiokuma was appointed by ARM as LCC’s first Managing Director/CEO, in 2006, and has led the company from inception to the present time, steering it along its pioneering journey as Nigeria’s first-ever Public-Private-Partnership

(PPP) Toll Road Concession. This journey has included the achievement of financial close of LCC’s N50billion longterm financing package. ARM Infrastructure is set up to manage the new $250million specialist infrastructure equity fund established by ARM, with a focus on developing and managing a broader portfolio of infrastructure assets throughout Nigeria and West Africa, including power, transport, and water. ARM is LCC’s founding shareholder and co-sponsor of the pioneering Lekki Toll Road concession, currently being implemented by LCC under a 30-year mandate from Lagos State Government.

Oforiokuma


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863m people estimated to be living in slums -UN-Habitat ... As global slum upgrading programme moves into high gear

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espite a reduction in the percentage of urban populations living in slums, the total number of slum dwellers has continued to grow, latest UN-Habitat research carried in the 2012 Millennium Development Goals Report has shown. Fed by an accelerating pace of urbanisation, the report stated that 863 million people are now estimated to be living in slums compared to 650 million in 1990 and 760 million in 2000. Officials insist that the achievement of the Millennium target does not lessen the need to improve the lives of the urban poor and to curb the increase in numbers of slum dwellers. According to the latest UN-Habitat research carried in the 2012 Millennium Development Goals Report of the Secretary-General, the share of urban slum residents in the developing world declined from 39 per cent in 2000 to 33 per cent in 2012. More than 200 million of these people gained access to improved water sources, improved sanitation facilities, or durable or less crowded housing, thereby exceeding the Millennium slum target. This achievement comes well ahead of the 2020 deadline. Meanwhile, UN-Habitat has announced the implementation of its Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme in member countries of the Brusselsbased Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group (ACP) thanks to the support of the European Commission. The announcement was made at a meeting of the sixth session of the World Urban Forum attended by slum upgrading teams from 21 countries, local and

A team of United Nations playing against a Naples team from Scampia during the just concluded World Urban Froum 6, held in Naples, Italy.

national government, civil society, academic institutions and private sector. “In view of the current situation, it is obvious that the launch of the implementation of the Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme comes at a time when the world is demanding more action to prevent slum proliferation,” UN-Habitat’s Deputy Executive Director Dr. Aisa Kacyira told the gathering. “When we speak of slum upgrading, we are talking about ensuring that families have access to basic social amenities and infrastructure that include decent shelter, water, sanitation, schools and health facilities,” she said.

Seventh session of World Urban Forum heads to Medellin DAYO AYEYEMI

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edellin, the Colombian city was last Wednesday named the host of the seventh session of the World Urban Forum to be held in 2014. Information has it that immediately UN-Habitat Staff member, Mr. Andre Dzikus, made the announcement, the conference room bursted into loud cheers as the hitherto tensed officials and supporters of the Colombian city backslapped and high-fived one another. According to Dzikus, the choice was made after a gruelling exercise that pitted the Colombia’s second city againstother contestants from around the world. “After a rigorous exercise we settled on Medellin,” Dzikus who was the search committee’s coordinator said. Medellin, which Wikipedia said has a population of 2.7 million, is Colombia’s second largest city. In his acceptance speech, the Mayor of Medellin, Mr. Anibal Gaviria Correa,

said the choice of his city was a great honour and promised to deliver a good show when delegates gather there in two years’ time. The same sentiments were expressed by Colombia’s Housing Minister, Mr. German Vergas Lleras. A Medellin resident, Ms. Laura Cuerbo could not hide her joy. “This is a great honour for us. The city authorities had put in a lot of work and we were confident of the bid but still, just to hear the name of our city being announced is overwhelming,” she gushed.

Lleras

Ms. Raymond Dominique Michelle, the ACP Assistant-Secretary-General said: “We are working with cities and countries to ensure that citizens have access to basic services and infrastructure, “she said. Six ministers from participating African countries lauded the launch and noted that it paved the way for practical solutions to urbanisation challenges affecting their citizens. “My country is in the process of making policy and practical interventions that help our people. The programme is helping to improve service delivery. Already, since last year, 15 districts are in the process of upgrading interventions

which include provision of infrastructure and basic services. Every district will eventually have eight health centres, amongst other minimum services provided,” said Ms. Emerine Kabanshi the Minister for Local Government and Housing in Zambia. The Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme is one of UN- Habitat’s key interventions aimed at mobilising partners and resources to contribute to poverty reduction. The programme is being implemented with funding from the European Commission and partnership with the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States.

‘Place forests under local control to increase incomes and sustainability’

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o increase the incomes of many of the billion forest-dependent people worldwide, the current model for investment in forests must be turned on its head. An initiative of unprecedented scale, led by The Forests Dialogue (TFD), IUCN and the Growing Forests Partnerships (GFP), has found that optimising the benefits and productivity of forests requires moving from a ‘resource-led’ model to a ‘rights-based’ system of ‘locally controlled forestry’, that places local control of forests at the heart of the investment process. Over the last three years, The Forests Dialogue (TFD), partnering with IUCN, organised a series of country level dialogues engaging over 400 forest owners, investors, NGOs, governments and intergovernmental agencies. The resulting report, “Investing in Locally Controlled Forestry”, launched at the weekend at IUCN’s World Conservation Congress, showed that with the right processes in place,

and under the right conditions, almost any individual or group can build a successful forest enterprise. “A first step is to recognize that many forests and landscapes are inhabited by people with some form of land rights,” says Chris Buss, Senior Programme Officer for IUCN’s Global Forest and Climate change Programme “Investors are increasingly aware they must respect these rights through recognized processes, although the practical implications of such processes have until now received less attention.” The learning from this initiative demonstrates that these processes often result simply in compensation for loss of access to land or resources, rather than a genuine shared enterprise. In contrast, a “rights-based” system places local control at the heart of the process. Under this system, the people who own or have rights over the forest are the ones who seek investors and partnerships for managing their natural resource assets.


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Aviation

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

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High price of aviation fuel killing airlines – BA Regional Commercial Manager, Africa What is your impression of the Nigerian team managing British Airways in the country since they took over? I think they are doing extremely well. We didn’t appoint Mr. Kola Olayinka as the Head of British Airways in Nigeria because he was a Nigerian, but he was appointed because he was the best man for the job and he had experiences with British Airways in Kenya, Nigeria and London. He later worked with one of our competitors and we later recruited him as the commercial manager for Nigeria and he has since been doing the job well. So, we are very pleased with him. Also other managers like Mrs. Adetutu Otuyalu, Mr. Ademola and others are doing well for the airline in Nigeria. What is your assessment of BA’s commercial activities in Africa, most especially in Nigeria? We are constantly monitoring our performance on the continent. Everybody has a target they have to reach and if they reach the target, we are all happy and if they don’t reach the target, we know we have to find ways to help them reach it. Sometime last year, BA had a friction with the Nigerian government on over-pricing of its clients in the country, is the airline exploiting its Nigerian clients? Nigeria is a very important market for BA, just like any other markets in the continent and in the world. Our biggest market in Africa is Nigeria and South Africa. So, Nigeria is extremely important for us. On the issue of pricing, I can tell you that we give competitive rates between London and the two Nigerian cities and we charge rates that the market would take and we believe at BA that it’s value for money. It is not more expensive than any other airline. In actual fact, fares out of the UK to Nigeria is more expensive than the fares out of Nigeria to UK. If you took a fare from London to New York it would be more expensive than fares from Lagos to New York. Still on over-pricing, at the thick of the crisis, both Nigerian and UK governments set up a panel to review the issue, which was supposed to be ready last May, how far with that report? The report was made available and they found out that there was no colluding in the fares. The Civil Aviation in UK said they would do a study and they did, but they found out that all the fares were in order. That was point one. On the second one, when the allegation was made against BA, court hearing was held in Lagos and BA was found innocent of colluding on airfares. Then, why is there so much fare disparity between Nigeria and its neighbouring African countries that are farther than Nigeria to UK? In actual fact, the economy airfare out of Lagos is cheaper than the economy airfare out of Ghana. On the business class, it is supply and demand. We have a far higher demand in Lagos than we do in Accra. Having said that, airfares have gone up also in Ghana by another five or 10 per cent.

The Regional Commercial Manager, Africa, British Airways, Mr. Ian Petrie speaks on various plans by the airline to develop the African routes, challenges facing the global airlines and inadequate infrastructure in the African aviation industry. OLUSEGUN KOIKI was there.

The problem with ageing aircraft is that they become more expensive to maintain as they get older. So, all our aircraft pass all safety standards. The Civil Aviation Authorities of all countries including that of the UK oversee our aircraft. On the other side, the Boeing 777 that we operate to Nigeria (Abuja) is relatively new, but I do emphasis that it is not the age that determines its safety level. You can have a year old aircraft that is in the worse condition if not properly maintained. So, it is the maintenance of the facility that matters. I don’t see that as an issue at all. What percentage of your revenues goes into purchase of aviation fuel?

Petrie

Recently, some foreign carriers with multiple destinations to Nigeria quit one of their destinations because of low load factor and high price of aviation fuel, is BA thinking of quitting any of the two airports it flies into because of operational reason soon? We are not thinking of quitting any of the destinations we are presently flying into in Nigeria at all. If anything, we will like to increase our frequencies to Nigeria, but we are constrained by the bilateral agreement between the two countries. As a company, we believe in free trade. The more competition you have, the more qualitative services you offer to the travelling public, the economics are better and generally, the airfares come down. No intention of leaving Nigeria at all. We want to increase our frequencies to Port Harcourt and other cities and if we can increase our frequencies to Lagos and Abuja, if the government will allow us to do so, we will be more than willing to do so. Some foreign carriers are investing in aviation industries in Africa, why has BA refused to invest in Nigeria aviation sector despite its operations, which has spanned over 75 years? Well, I think the only way to answer that question is that whenever our aeroplane lands, it is an investment in itself because we take catering on board, there is ground handling from Lagos and other countries. Through that, they are creating employment and the passengers travel in taxis from the airports, hotel accommodation too. A lot of questions have been asked on this. Should we be building hospitals and so on? That is not part of our portfolio. We employ indigenous engineers to work with us and are trained by the

THE PROBLEM WITH AGEING AIRCRAFT IS THAT THEY BECOME MORE EXPENSIVE TO MAINTAIN AS THEY GET OLDER airline. Also, all our staff are trained in UK. What has been your revenue generation in Africa in the last 12 months? The revenue generated by the continent of Africa has remained reasonably stable for the last 12 months. Some markets on point to point are down. The South African market is about 23 per cent down on point to point traffic, Nigeria market is probably on 10 per cent down last year. What were the causes of this downward trend in revenue generation in the continent? I think it was due to poor economics, global recession, recession in the banking sector and the petroleum industry have slowed down. The Nigerian government is reviewing the age of aircraft allowed to operate from 22 to 15 years, what are the age ranges of your aircraft flying into Nigeria? The question can be answered in two ways. It is not the age of an aircraft that makes it unsafe. It is the maintenance of the aeroplane that makes it safe or not and BA’s maintenances are top class. Our aeroplanes are maintained to the highest standards, we have the checks of different categories coming up all the time to the D-Check, which comes out as new.

I don’t have the exact percent with me now, but it must be around 35 to 40 per cent of our cost. This is huge and the high cost of fuel is a concern to everybody. Some airlines have closed shop due to the skyrocketing cost aviation fuel. With the increase in fuel cost, you will find out that a lot of the weaker carriers will unfortunately find it difficult to operate in this condition. This goes back to why you have seen more mergers and acquisitions in recent time. Unfortunately, we can’t collude or talk to other people about fuel in this country because of the rules and regulations of this country and that of the United States. We can try to put pressure on the oil companies, but again, it goes to supply and demand and that is why we are introducing more fuel efficient aeroplanes in our fleet. Towards the end of this year or the beginning of next year, we will start to take the delivery of the Airbus 380, which is more efficient on fuel. Also, Boeing 787 and others that are fuel efficient and burn less than the jumbo are being acquired by the company. It is not only the Nigerian carriers that are affected by the high price of fuel, it is all airlines in the globe, but is really a thing of concern to us. What is your impression on airport infrastructure in Nigeria? I think the Lagos Airport infrastructure are getting old, the Abuja airport are still better. So many investments is required in the area of infrastructure in the country generally. Facilities from the safety point of issue, we don’t have any issues, but on the building and the Customs and Immigration areas, they need to be updated. Some other countries like Kenya are building a new airports, South Africa spent a lot of money on updating the terminal buildings in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and the rest of it. It’s time I believed Nigeria increased its facilities.


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AFRAA, Sabre partner to ease Africa’s flight woes Qatar Airways announces Chicago as newest USA route

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STORIES: OLUSEGUN KOIKI

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n a bid to bring an end to the limited frequency of flights within the African continent, the African Airlines Association (AFRAA), is collaborating with Sabre Network Solutions, a United-States-based airline global distribution system company. The partnership, AFRAA said is aimed at increasing intra-African flight frequencies, improving connectivity and offering flexibility to travellers. Speaking through its Secretary General, Dr. Elijah Chingosho, said that travelling in Africa today is much easier and more convenient than it was a few years ago, but that there was need for improvement. Chingosho in an interaction with journalists late last week explained that many of the continent’s airlines do not align their schedules with each other, resulting in missed connections, long layovers at airports and sometimes extra costs incurred in accommodating passengers in hotels. He said that the ancillary services provided by global firm like Sabre, are seen as a critical part of airlines future business model for profitability, adding that the travel marketplace is a global arena where millions of buyers work together to exchange travel services. He said, “These systems have become electronic supermarkets linking buyers to sellers and allowing reservations to be made

Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria {FAAN}, Mr. George Uriesi addressing the staffers of FAAN during their Town hall meeting at the corporate headquarters, Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja recently.

quickly and easily. Nowadays, more travel is sold over the Internet than any other consumer product.” The secretary general said that many African carriers currently optimise their own network, but have limited coordination with other African carriers. The airline body, however, said that changing this trend to a more cooperative, results-driven approach through schedule optimisation and code-share would deliver significant incremental revenue and benefits for airlines. Chingosho said that through tapping into the expertise of Sabre Airline Solutions, it hoped to ensure that the African airlines route networks were integrated and aligned to allow operators to generate both incremental traffic and revenue at minimal costs. “Sabre Airline Solutions will act as the independent third party consultant for the airlines, ensur-

ing that the project is fully implemented and the benefit realised. The consulting firm has experience in implementing similar network cooperation projects for airlines in the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean.” He stated that the team from Sabre Airlines Solutions overseeing the implementation of this project include the Head of Sales, MiddleEast and Africa, Anick Leger; Consulting Delivery Manager, Mark Hess; and Solution Partner, Middle-East and Africa. Chingosho listed some of the benefits to include growing flights connectivity between African cities and between Africa and other regions by coordinating each carrier frequencies, day of operation, and departure time; developing the airline schedule on markets where the carriers have small or limited exposure; adding new destinations under the airline own code without operating the route.

SAHCOL emerges best company in passenger, ramp, hajj handling services

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kyway Aviation Handling Company Limited (SAHCOL), said it has won an award as the best company in ramp, passenger and hajj handling services in Nigeria. A statement signed by the company’s Head, Communication, Mr. Basil Agboarumi stated that the award was presented to it by the Institute for Government Research and Lead-

One of the ground handling equipments

ership Technology, at its Ben Nwabueze Constitutional Law Public Lecture Series, and African Governance and Corporate Leadership Awards 2012, Abuja. According to Agboarumi, SAHCOL was selected for the award due to various parameters and performance indicators, amongst, which includes “expertise in the provision of first rate ramp handling, out-

standing provision of first class passenger handling services, unequal standards in the provision of hajj and Christian pilgrimage services, as well as great improvement in the maintenance of best practices in cargo handling services. He stated further that SAHCOL was picked for the award from the aviation sector based on its “track records and value creation, high quality customer services, corporate performance and operational excellence, compliance with professional codes and ethical standards, and compliance with government regulatory laws and guidelines.” SAHCOL since its privatisation and hand over to the Sifax Group in December 2009, has developed business modules geared towards ushering in efficient and speedy service delivery, while also investing in personnel development, stateof-the-art equipment, fleet replacement, and massive infrastructural development.

atar Airways last week announced an expansion of its United States route network with the introduction of daily passenger flights to Chicago from April 10 next year. The non-stop service from Doha, capital of the State of Qatar, will be the carrier’s fourth USA gateway, following already successful daily operations to New York (JFK), Washington (IAD) and Houston (IAH). The carrier, which already operates twice-weekly cargo flights to Chicago O’Hare, will use its flagship long-haul Boeing 777-300 Extended Range passenger aircraft on the Doha – Chicago route with an approximate flying time of 15 hours. The announcement follows this summer’s fifth anniversary launch celebrations of both the New York and Washington, D.C., services. Qatar Airways’ expansion to Chicago O’Hare, the world’s second busiest airport handling 70 million passengers a year, has long been earmarked by the airline as a key traf-

fic route that would appeal to travellers from across its passenger network. Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said, “As Qatar Airways continues its aggressive expansion, we are pleased to finally offer another gateway in the United States, this time to the ‘The Windy City’ of Chicago, five years after we began operations to North America. “Chicago is a key route for business and leisure travellers alike, connecting them from destinations across India, Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific with a one-stop service via Doha to the Midwest. “For the people of Chicago and the Midwest, we look forward to offering a great travel experience on the world’s best airline to cities across our network with one-stop convenience through our Doha hub. “Our onboard experience is distinct and provides an unparalleled commitment to service quality, reinforced by the recent accolade from Skytrax, naming Qatar Airways the world’s best airline for the second consecutive year,” added Al Baker.

Qatar Airways

South African Airways increases baggage capacity for Nigerian passengers, others

I

n its commitment to positively influence the way customers feel about flying, South African Airways has introduced innovative changes to the airline’s baggage policy. A statement signed by the airline’s media consultant in Lagos, Nigeria stated that following trends and developments within the aviation industry, SAA last week moved away from its previous weight baggage policy to a new piece baggage concept arrangement across its entire route network. According to the airline’s Country Manager in Nigeria, Miss. Thobi Duma, the move to piece baggage concept will benefit passengers through simplicity, transparency, convenience and competitiveness. Under the new concept, baggage rules are clearer, easier to understand and enforce, enabling passengers to easily iden-

tify which charges, if any, will apply to their baggage. She said, “The move will also provide easier connection for passengers into Star Alliance or other carriers as SAA promises excess baggage charges will become far more competitive.” Citing an example under this new policy, Duma stated that a routing of Lagos to Johannesburg will afford a Business Class passenger three piece of luggage at a maximum of 32kg each, while affording the Economy Class passenger three piece of luggage at a maximum of 23kg each. With regards to size, the airline has made known maximum dimensions in the volume of 158 centimeter cubed, as excess baggage charge will apply for each piece of baggage that exceeds this maximum dimensions as stipulated in SAA’s baggage policy.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Insurance

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

37

Making insurance work through microinsurance initiative The Federal Government plans to develop the insurance sector and eradicate poverty through microinsurance products designed to bring financial inclusiob to the grassroots. OMOBOLA TOLU-KUSIMO writes on how government hopes to unlock the potentials of micro insurance and end poverty in Nigeria.

P

oor people face many risks that are beyond their control. They are often unable to cope with the financial implications of the death of a family member, illness or loss of income or property, and this perpetuates poverty and undermines asset formation. The concern about the situation of less fortunate people is nowadays a global trend, not only due to humanitarian issues involved, but due to the social, economical, political and ecological consequences created by the dissimilarity and misery. This issue is aggravated when considering the effects of climate change by virtue of global warming, where the impacts on needy people are likely to be more devastating. It is on this premise that Microinsurance (Mi) as an element of financial inclusion was brought to the front burner by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM). The commission believes that Mi holds great potential for developing the insurance sector and can eradicate poverty among the populace. Microinsurance is a low premium approach to insurance for those at the bottom of the pyramid. One school of thought describes it as a conventional insurance sold with small premium amounts per risk. The innovative part of microinsurance is that it reaches an area of the population that is still deemed ‘unbankable’ or physically unreachable to the normal banking sector. Looking at market for microinsurance in the country, Nigeria has a population of about 15million and 75 percent of the population lives in the semi-urban and rural areas. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, 112 million which represent 67 percent of the population live below the poverty line in 2010. However, NAICOM wants to make an evidence–based decision on Mi in Nigeria and a team of foreign and local consultants were assembled and studies were carried out. They distributed letters to 63 organisations and communities across Nigeria, appointed coordinators in nine states, slated 207 households for 20 FGD in five geo-political zones. NAICOM Consultant and Managing Director of RiskGuard Africa, Chief Yemi Soladoye in a Diagnostic Study of Microinsurance and Takaful insurance in Nigeria recently in calabar stated that focus of the diagnostic study was to determine the state of the market, the opportunities, challenges and barriers, perception of the market

Daniel

Soladoye

INSURERS HAVE NEVER SPENT TIME AND MONEY TO DO A COMPREHENSIVE RESEARCH INTO WHO

THE CUSTOMERS ARE, WHAT THEY REALLY WANT AND HOW THEY CAN BE SERVED BETTER on insurance, how change of mindset can be achievable, among others. He explained that this was done to know the true state of affairs of Mi in Nigeria, to identify the incentives and ability to extend Insurance to the low income group, identify the drivers of market development for Mi, etc. According to him, a meeting led by the new Director General of FSS2020, Mr. Toyin Jokose was held with seven members of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) while another meeting has been proposed to be held between the OFIS, NAICOM and FSS2020 on how to communicate the Microinsurance strategy to the larger society. He said collaboration between the OFIS department of the CBN and NAICOM is essential for downscaling Mi through the MFBs adding that collaborating with the FSS2020 can help on Insurance Education and Public enlightenment programmes. Soladoye pointed out that the National Health Insurance started in 1999 for organisations with 10 employees and above at premium rate of 10 and 15 per cent of basic salary noting that NHIS has achieved a lot on which NAICOM can leverage for microinsurance. “The commission need to see microinsurance as a new name for old practice in Nigeria, set up Industry Technical Advisory Group and Coordinator to handle Mi, break up the channels to include a lot of players, create multiple routes for the suppliers to reach the market, make maximum use of group policies to reduce cost – cooperators, retailers and create familiar acronyms to name the products. “Microinsurance cannot be delivered under the existing products, process and procedure of the commercial underwriters. The products must be seen to address the needs of the urban

and rural poor separately and also the peculiarities of aggregators like the micro finance banks and the farmers groups. He, however, advised the commission to ensure that the market regulation does not increase the cost of selling while all the intellectual work must be completed before the ceremonial ones start “There is need for massive insurance education through handbills, radio and TV programmes as indicated in MDRI to include Mi and Takaful. “They must also break up the distribution channels to include a lot of players in the labour movement, coops, Esusu to reduce cost”. He further stated that low income people place low value on future benefits hence, the need for common products, citing a country like Thailand where health insurance is put inside Motorcycle policy. Commenting on insurer’s disposition towards Mi, he said, “Insurers have never spent time and money to do a comprehensive research into who the customers are, what they really want and how they can be served better. “The microfinance account underwriting is not attractive to the underwriters not because of high cost or of the small size of the premium but because the insurers in Nigeria are not selling solutions. For instance, the National Cooperative Society has assumed the power to register and license operators and has 103 primary underwriters under its supervision, collects 20% “legal” cession and mobilizes about N40.m premium per annum from over 70,000 insured members out of over N3.0m members. He urged NAICOM to remove one per cent supervision levy on Mi, re-

move stamp duty on Micro Life, remove product approval fees of N50,000, accept approval of bundled products and fight for exemption of the Insurers from the cash light policy. “Government must be ready to subsidise where loss exceeds a certain level on micro insurance”. He disclosed that meetings were held with insurance companies like UnityKapital Insurance, Unic Insurance Plc, Mutual benefits, Leadway Insurance, AIICO Insurance, Soveriegn Trust, Niger and Cornerstone Insurance. For UnityKapital, the NAICOM consultant observed that the company has staffs that are ready to go into anything that is beneficial to the industry but there is not much on ground for microinsurance and takaful insurance. He said the meeting which had the Managing Director, Mr. Kins Ekebuike in attendance with four other top management staff provided change of mindset and generated interest in Mi. He stated that AIICO and Mutual Benefits Assurance are the two companies in the fore front of retail Insurance in Nigeria. Deputy Director on Authorisation and Policy, NAICOM, Mr. Leo Akah in a paper presented on Microinsurance as a potential business at the 2012, Insurance Correspondents Seminar in Calabar stated that the availability of large population in most Sub-Saharan countries including Nigeria indicate that less than two percent of the poor and vulnerable have access to Mi According to him, in consideration of the fact that the insurance gap in Nigeria is about 96 percent, one can say that there is abundant opportunity in Nigeria for insurance growth, particularly Mi. The greatest challenge facing Mi he said is how to ensure that the global standard which is often referred to as CAT is met. CAT is an acronym for fair Charges, easy access and decent terms. It is however believed that partnership between insurers and social organisations like NGO would be desirable in promoting microinsurance by drawing on their mutual strengths. Meanwhile, Commissioner for Insurance, Mr. Fola Daniel while speaking on potentials of microinsurance stated that the commission has put in place a draft guideline for microinsurance business and that the draft is being exposed to the industry, experts and other stakeholders for the inputs and contributions before the final draft is released to the industry. He further disclosed that the commission recently conducted a nationwide diagnostic study of micro insurance in collaboration with GIZ, a German agency for sustainable development and Access to Insurance Initiatives (AII) and its local consultants. The NAICOM boss added that the group was divided into smaller teams and each team assigned to a specific region of the country. The reports turned in by the teams have been received by NAICOM and are being reviewed and so that the commission can do the needful, he noted.


38

Insurance

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

ILAN pushes Charter Bill at National Assembly OMOBOLA TOLU-KUSIMO

T

he Institute of Loss Adjusters of Nigeria (ILAN), has said it is dedicated to ensuring its Charter Bill before the House of Representatives is passed during the present regime. President of the Institute, Chief Lebi Omoboyowa who disclosed this during the institute’s 30th Annual General Meeting held recently in Lagos said the bill if passed into law, will boost loss adjusting profession in the country. According to him, the Charter Bill No 344 with the House of Representatives passed through Public Hearing in July 2011. Unfortunately, he said the Charter was not granted before the end of the legislative year of the then House of Reps. He stated that the council has viewed the development as a challenge and concerted efforts are being put in place to make sure that the bill is passed this legislative year. “In the course of doing this, great caution is taken to avoid fi-

nancial loss while we also get value for our money”, he said. “The governing council requires the full support of members ncluding financial commitments, as already communicated to member-firms, towards the realisation of this goal”. Omoboyowa explained that ILAN is a corporate body and one of the three major arms of the insurance industry in Nigeria. “Our members provide the necessary technical services to the insurance market in the areas of claim investigations and settlement, as well as pre-insurance risk surveys and valuations arising from all aspects of insurance business as may be deemed necessary by the underwriters to demonstrate to the insured and other interested parties that they have acted in accordance with the insurance policy conditions. “The contributions of ILAN to the industry in Nigeria have been so remarkable that it has greatly improved public image of insurers, as the adjusters continue to enlighten the public on the limitations of their polices at the times of claim settlement and to give them further advices for better

Mansard Insurance’s profit rises 63% in half year

F

or the half-year ended June 30, 2012, Mansard Insurance Plc, formerly known as Guaranty Trust Assurance Plc, has announced profit after tax of N902million, a 63 per cent growth when compared to illion recorded within same period last year. According to the board, Insurance Premium Written also increased by 29 per cent N7.89billion as against N6.10billion attained in the previous year. The company stated that as at June 2012 net Insurance Premium Revenue grew by 26 per cent to N2.39billion. Investment income and other operating income within the period went up by 127 per cent to N888million compared with N391million in 2011. Chief Client Officer, Tosin Runsewe, in a press statement said they began the year with the strategic intent of completing our transition to a leading independent insurance company in Nigeria. “We also set out to sustain our growth by focusing on key products and certain market segments while expanding retail distribution points. “These impressive numbers are a testament to the success of our strategy. With 63 per cent growth in profitability achieved against a backdrop of improvement in our underwriting performance, impressive & sustainable growth in Investment Income and greater cost optimization, Mansard Insurance

has continued its development as a leading independent Underwriter in Nigeria. Given the positive outlook for the rest of the year, we hope to meet our profit forecast for 2012”. He added: “We will strive to maintain this momentum till the end of the year, by leveraging on the gains made in our investment portfolio and in the expansion of our retail distribution network.” The Chief Financial Officer, Rashidat Adebisi, said: “We are proud to announce that we are the first Insurance Company operating in Nigeria to have a complete set of financials audited and published in line with the dictates of the International Financial and Reporting Standards (IFRS); this is another milestone in our history and a validation of our leadership position within the industry”.

MD, Mansard Insurane Plc, Mrs. Yetunde Ilori

Omoboyowa

policy cover, thereby reducing the number of insurance litigations arising from Claim disputes in the country. He added that the institute’s aims and objectives is to establish and sustain a professional body of practicing adjusters in Nigeria and engage in activities that will

ensure the general welfare and public well-being of Loss Adjusters in Nigeria. “In particular but without limiting the scope of the foregoing, to take necessary actions for the advancement of education in the field of loss adjusting. “To pursue this goal, we are

establishing and maintaining institutions, libraries, schools and recreation centres for the succour, assistance or education of our members, and the public in Nigeria of loss adjusters and also apply the funds of the institute in the purchase of property or other interests and the establishment or projects, the proceeds of which shall be appropriated wholly and entirely for the development of loss adjusting profession in Nigeria”, he said. ILAN was founded in June 1981 because of the need to give the required professional training and to have a unified code of conduct for its members. Membership are of two categories. The first is the association of all corporate loss adjusting firms in Nigeria that have been duly registered by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM). These are corporate members of the Institute while the second class of membership is divided into Life, Fellows, Associates, Licentiates and Student members. Presently, the Institute has 13 Fellows, 31 Associates, 72 Students and 33 Corporate members.

Long-term care insurance options are dwindling

Y

ou have to wonder if you’will be able to buy decent long-term care insurance in 10 years. If you are putting off a decision about buying long-term care insurance (LTC), be aware that buyers are facing higher costs and diminished choices as more insurers leave the market. The market is changing fast because of concerns over profitability, says Mike Skiens, chairman of the National Long-Term Care Network trade group. It’s getting harder to find LTC policies that offer lifetime benefits, leaving policies that offer only several years of protection. LTC policies are designed to help people who no longer are able to perform the day-to-day activities necessary to live independently. Their problems may be due to aging, illness or disabilities. LTC has strong appeal to people who are trying to protect their heirs and estate from the draining costs of a long and serious illness. Care covered by LTC policies generally isn’t covered by Medicare, which focuses on rehabilitation and short-term services. Medicaid doesn’t kick in until you’ve used most of your assets. Here’s more about long-term care insurance basics. “You were really blessed to have one of those lifetime duration policies,” Skiens says. “Now the carriers are saying there is too much risk associated with them. When you look at the increasing incidents of dementia claims, you can see why [some] carriers are no longer offering those, but they are still offering two-year, three-year, five-year, seven-year plans.” Rising health insurance costs

have made it difficult to price LTC policies correctly to guarantee a profit for insurers. By offering policies of shorter duration, insurers limit payouts to policyholders who could live many years with an illness that requires expensive care. While the policies are relatively expensive, not having LTC coverage can be even more costly. The average annual private pay cost of nursing home care this year is about $88,000 and exceeds $100,000 in 10 states, according to AARP’s Long-Term Care Insurance: 2012 Update. The base price for assisted living facilities averages $41,000 annually. Adult day services, which allow people to remain in their homes, average $66 per day. Companies that provide licensed home health aides not certified by Medicare charge an average of $20 hourly, according to the AARP report. Can you afford long-term care insurance? Over time, LTC may become unaffordable to middle-wage earners, says Brian Gordon, president of MAGA, an LTC insurance agency in Illinois. Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTC), compares having an LTC policy with benefits that last more than a few years to owning a high-performance luxury car. Many people want them, he says, but they lack the income to make a purchase. In its 2012 National Long-Term Care Insurance Price Index, the AALTC says prices for LTC policies today are between 6 and 17 percent higher than comparable coverage of only a year ago. Prices

rose, in part, because of historically low interest rates and low yields on investments, says Slome. Investment returns provide between 40 and 60 percent of the money insurers accumulate to pay future claims. A changing business environment Over the last three years, Allianz, Guardian, MetLife and Unum Group have joined insurance companies that are leaving the LTC business, CBS News recently reported. After putting a halt to selling new individual LTC policies in March, Prudential announced in July that it would stop selling group LTC policies in all states except Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, and South Dakota, where it must continue offering policies for periods required by state law. When Genworth Financial, a dominant LTC carrier recently announced it was reducing LTC operations, the action sent a shock through the industry, says Gordon. “They are the big boys on the block. They have a really good track record. They have a good claims history. They are pulling back. Another company or two could get out of the business before the end of the year.” None of the companies that leave the market will stop honoring the LTC policies they already have sold, Gordon notes. Part of the reason for LTC’s lack of profitability is that insurers had comparatively little actuarial data to go on for establishing rates when the product began gaining in popularity in the 1990s. Insurers didn’t fully understand the risks they were taking on, says Gordon. Tips by insure.com


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Capital Market

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

39

Index sheds 0.7% on profit taking JOHNSON OKANLAWON

T

he value of equities dropped on the Nigerian Stock Exchange yesterday, as some investors took profits from the gains recorded the preceding week. Specificaly, the All Share index lost 0.67 per cent to close at 24,671.47 points, compared to the increase by 1.12 per cent recorded on Friday to close at 24,838.70 points. Market capitalisation dropped by N54bn to close at N7.85trn, as against the appreciation by N89bn recorded on Friday to close at N7.91trn. Analysts at Financial Dealers Market Asso-

ciation had forecast that investment in equities may receive more boosts this week, as investors are likey to seek value in the capital market due to the dwindling yields in the fixed income market. But the firm noted that there would be pockets of profit taking during week and urged investors to investment in companies with good fundamentals that can generate good returns in the medium to longterm. The banking index lled the loser’s table with 1.64 per cent to close at 388.31 points, followed by the oil and gas index with 1.17 per cent to close at 164.56 points. The NSE-30 index depreciated by 0.70 per

cent to close at 1,157.68 points, while consumer goods index gained 0.64 per cent to close at 2,116.88 points. Lotus Islamic index rose by 1.6 per cent to close at 1,466.84 points, while the insurance index appreciated by 0.28 points to close at 124.45 points. Nestle Nigeria Plc led the gainers’ table with N27.50 or five per cent to close at N577.50 per share, followed by BAGCO Plc with nine kobo or five per cent to close at N1.89 per share. Berger Paints Plc gained 38 kobo or 4.98 per cent to close at N8.01 per share, while Roads Nigeria Plc appreciated by 38 kobo or 4.97 per cent to close at N8.02 per

Mansard forecasts N1.4bn profit in 2012 JOHNSON OKANLAWON

M

ansard Insurance Plc has forecast N1.38bn profit after tax for financial year ending December 31, 2012 and gross premium of N11.6bn. In a notice to the Nigerian Stock Exchange yesterday, the company said its operating cash flow before working capital will stand at N1.80bn and net generated from operating activities to hit N585.2bn. The company said that it expects insurance premium revenue of N8.57bn and taxation of N370bn. Cash flow from financing activities to hit N2.48bn,

while cash and balance at the end of the year will be N3.48bn. Analysis of the company’s half year result for the period ended June 30, 2012 showed a profit after tax of N902m, from N555m recorded in the same period of 2011. The company, which was formerly Guaranty Trust Assurance Plc, recorded a 26 per cent increase in its net insurance premium revenue to N2.39bn, while investment income and other operating income within the period went up by 127 per cent to N888m compared with N391m in June 2011. Its results also showed that insurance premium

written also increased by 29 per cent, N7.89bn, as against N6.10bn attained in the previous year. The company’s Chief Client Officer, Mr. Tosin Runsewe, had said that the company began the year with the strategic intent of completing our transition to a leading independent insurance company in Nigeria. He said, “We also set out to sustain our growth by focusing on key products and certain market segments while expanding retail distribution points. “These impressive numbers are a testament to the success of our strategy. With 63 per cent

US stocks little changed on Greece debt

U

nited States stocks were little changed, after the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index rose to the highest level since 2008, as concern over Greece’s debt crisis overshadowed speculation central banks will take action to spur the economy. Intel Corporation lost 3.1 per cent after Morgan Stanley cut its earnings forecasts and Nomura Holdings Incorporation said estimates for the largest chipmaker’s profit next year may fall further. International Paper Company slid 2.9 per cent

after Deutsche Bank AG cut its rating to hold from buy, saying expected price increases may not be likely. Alpha Natural Resources Incorporation rose 3.5 per cent as commodity producers gained. The S&P 500 retreated 0.1 per cent to 1,437.21 points. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 8.69 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 13,315.33 on Monday. Trading in S&P 500 companies was up 6.9 per cent from the 30-day average. “Europe will continue kicking the can down the road and there’s no quick solution,” Walter “Bucky”

Hellwig, who helps manage $17bn at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama, said in a telephone interview. “Macro numbers have been very unimpressive, but there’s this aspect of expansionary monetary policy decisions that have been driving prices higher.” He said, “The market will turn on what the Federal Reserve does this week.” The S&P 500 last week rose 2.2 per cent to a fouryear high after the European Central Bank approved a bond-buying plan and investors bet Fed Chairman

share. Julius Berger Plc increased by N1.42 or 4.97 per cent to close at N29.97 per share. On the flip side, Cadbury Nigeria Plc dropped N1.10 or five per cent to close at N20.90 per share, while UTC Plc dipped by three kobo or five per cent to close at 57 kobo per share. WAPIC Insurance Plc fell three kobo or five per cent to close at 57 kobo per share, while Forte Oil Plc declined by 57 kobo or five per cent to close at N10.83 per share. Morison Plc shed 30 kobo or 4.97 per cent to close at N5.74 per share. Investors traded a total of 266.7 million shares worth N2.16bn in 4,432 deal growth in profitability achieved against a backdrop of improvement in our underwriting performance, impressive and sustainable growth in investment income and greater cost optimiSation, Mansard Insurance has continued its development as a leading independent underwriter in Nigeria.” He added that given the positive outlook for the rest of the year, the company hoped to meet its profit forecast for 2012. “We will strive to maintain this momentum till the end of the year, by leveraging on the gains made in our investment portfolio and in the expansion of our retail distribution network,” he stated.

Ben S. Bernanke will continue to support economic growth. The equities index is less than 10 percent away from its record closing high after climbing 14 per cent this year. Bets on further stimulus measures have increased as data last week showed payrolls rose less than projected and the unemployment rate was unexpectedly driven down by Americans leaving the labor force. On August 31, Bernanke cited his concern about the jobless rate and said the central bank will provide additional stimulus as needed to promote a stronger recovery.

Source: NSE NIBOR QUOTES 7 SEPTEMBER & 10 SEPTEMBER 2012 25.00 24.00 23.00 22.00 21.00 20.00 19.00 18.00 17.00 16.00 15.00 14.00 13.00 12.00 11.00 10.00

7-Sep-12

10-Sep-12

Source: FMDA

Market indicators Market indicators

All-Share Index 7,853,874,916 points All-Share Index 22,191.14 points Market capitalisation 24,671.47 trillion Market capitalisation 7,084 trillion

Stock Updates GAINERS COMPANY

OPENING

CLOSING

CHANGE

% CHANGE

NESTLE

550.00

577.50

27.50

5.00

BAGCO

1.80

1.89

0.09

5.00

BERGER

7.63

8.01

0.38

4.98

ROADS

7.64

8.02

0.38

4.97

JBERGER

28.55

29.97

1.42

4.97

INTBREW

10.68

11.21

0.53

4.96

NCR

13.12

13.77

0.65

4.95

CONTINSURE

0.61

0.64

0.03

4.92

CCNN

4.75

4.97

0.22

4.63

NASCON

4.98

5.21

0.23

4.62

CHANGE

% CHANGE

LOSERS COMPANY

OPENING

CLOSING

CADBURY

22.00

20.90

1.10

-5.00

UTC

0.60

0.57

0.03

-5.00

WAPIC

0.60

0.57

0.03

-5.00

FO

11.40

10.83

0.57

-5.00

MORISON

6.04

5.74

0.30

-4.97

UBA

4.65

4.42

0.23

-4.95

DANGSUGAR

4.99

4.75

0.24

-4.81

PAINTCOM

1.90

1.81

0.09

-4.74

ETERNA

2.36

2.26

0.10

-4.24

ETI

10.99

10.58

0.41

-3.73

Primary Market Auction TENOR

AMOUNT (N’mn)

RATE (%)

DATE

91-Day

32,970.71

14.10

6-Sep-12

182-Day

50,000.00

15.40

6-Sep-12

364 -Day

60,000.00

9.05

6-Sep-12

Open Market Operations TENOR

AMOUNT (N’mn)

RATE (%)

DATE

48Days

7,302.20

14.39

13-Sep-12

118-Day

50,282.86

14.08

30-Aug-12

Wholesale Dutch Auction System AMOUNT OFFERED

MARKET DEMAND

AMOUNT SOLD

DATE

$190m

N/A

$180m

10-Sep-12

$200m

N/A

$200m

5-Sep-12


40

Capital Market

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Stock exchange daily equities summary Equities as at September 10, 2012 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, September 11, 2012

41

Constitution review: Echoes from presidential retreat CONTINUED FROM 13 “Many Nigerians cry foul and sometimes predict the break-up of the country. I assure you Nigeria cannot break- up. Attempt to do so can only bring unfortunate bloodshed. “Pessimists have been predicting the break-up of Nigeria. Some even say in 2015, Nigeria will disappear. I can understand their fear. At little under 200 million people, certainly, Nigeria is a great country but those envious of what future Nigeria can be, always try to destabilise us. They have succeeded to a certain extent,” he added. Belgore stressed that “what we want is a viable, politically and economically great and stable country that will always remain a pride to Africa and for all human beings wherever they are.”

ism and issues of fiscal federalism while others are indigeneship and residency, justice sector reform, the status quo of legislature, whether to maintain bi-cameral or unicameral system and principle of states policy. Ihedioha said: “We await your inputs and indeed the draft bills from the President as promised. However, in the interim, the process will continue to move on in the National Assembly as we cannot afford to wait for the promised bills indefinitely. We have set for ourselves, the target period of second quarter of 2013 as the terminal date for this process. The reason is that partisan and electioneering politics should not get in the way of the amendment process. It should be concluded before elections begin.”

Ekweremadu calls for statesmanship

Labour leaders, activists speak

Also speaking, Deputy President of the Senate and Chairman, Senate Committee on Constitution Review, Senator Ike Ekweremadu called on Nigerians and the current leadership at all levels of government to show statesmanship and exhibit the highest level of patriotism in the ongoing efforts at evolving what he described as a people’s constitution. The lawmaker was of the view that Nigerians should not trivialise the constitution review presently being carried out by the National Assembly, saying that attempt to reduce any matter up for amendment, to regional or ethnic rhetoric, rather than looking at it on its merits and how it would further enhance the political and economic growth of the country, would certainly not be in the interest of the country. In his presentation titled, “Strategies for Evolving the People’s Constitution”, Ekweremadu said it was unfortunate that some people are making insinuations in some quarters that to contemplate fiscal federalism as proposed by Nigerians in their submissions to the National Assembly, was to further impoverish some parts of the country. He noted that such insinuation was not only false, but a “wrong and an unfortunate imputation of motive.” He noted that since members of the legislature are representatives of the people, they would do everything to ensure that the ongoing efforts produced a constitution that will reflect the views and aspirations of all Nigerians, stressing that both Nigerian leaders and the followers, must be ready to abide by the spirit and letters of the constitution, even as he insisted that there was nothing like a perfect constitution, anywhere in the world. Ekweremadu said: “Like heavens, constitution and democracy help those who help themselves,” noting that even the best constitution in the world cannot yield the best of democracy dividend or drive the lofty dreams of a nation unless there is a general commitment by the leaders and citizens to live by the principles and letters of that constitution. The Deputy Senate President further pointed out that every state in the country had no reason to be poor, with graphical details of solid minerals deposits in each of the states waiting to be harnessed and argued that besides the fact that fiscal federalism was proposed by memoranda submitted by Nigerians, it is also an inalienable feature of federalism.

Lagos lawyer and human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana; Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku and Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) Vice President, Comrade Issa Aremu

“More also, the decline of the nation’s economy and development recorded at the time of the nation’s agro-based economy can be directly traced to the replacement of fiscal federalism which engendered hard work and healthy competition with a ‘feeding bottle’ federalism which has continued to churn out indolence, poverty, and underdevelopment,” he said. He added that “importantly, every part of this country is too richly endowed to be poor.” The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitution Review further noted that the constitution of the United States of America was written by a few of their statesmen but has remained about the shortest constitution in the world, noting that nevertheless, it has survived all the trials and triumphs of that nation’s history, including a civil war to steer the United States to the number one global force, and a politically, economically, and socially virile and viable nation and above all, a reference point in democratic governance. Ekweremadu noted: “So, we must learn to uphold our constitution. If we chose which court rulings to obey or not to obey, that is not the fault of the constitution. If local governments are run by brazenly undemocratic caretaker committees, that is not the fault of Section 7 of the constitution. “While the fiscal woes of most of the local government areas across the country could be attributed to the loophole created by Section 162 (6) of the constitution, it cannot rightly be inferred that it is the spirit or intendment of the constitution to incapacitate the local councils in the discharge of the responsibilities which the same constitution has prescribed for them.” He, however, told Nigerians not to entertain any fear on the constitutional amendment as the National Assembly will make certain that only the views of majority of Nigerians counted in the whole process and final outcome as the National Assembly will drive the constitution review with a view to entrenching national unity, good governance, and prosperity in the country. He said: “We have no position on any issues except those taken by the Nigerian people through their inputs, whether through their memoranda, contributions at public hearings, and their elected rep-

THE DECLINE OF THE NATION’S ECONOMY AND DEVELOPMENT RECORDED AT THE TIME OF THE

NATION’S AGRO-BASED ECONOMY CAN BE DIRECTLY TRACED TO THE REPLACEMENT OF FISCAL FEDERALISM resentatives at both the National and State Assemblies. “We bear no allegiance to any, except that which we owe to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We have no interest to protect, except that of the generality of the Nigerian people and posterity. We will be driven by the force of superior argument and public will. What the National Assembly owes Nigerians are leadership, legislative due process, transparency, inclusivity, and popular participation.” Deputy Speaker and Chairman, House of Representatives’ Committee on Constitution Review, Emeka Ihedioha, said that the National Assembly will conclude the process of amending the 1999 Constitution in June 2013. He said they set the target of the second quarter of 2013 to ensure that the process was completed and the Constitution put in practice before the general elections of 2015. He, however, called on President Jonathan to fast-track the process of concluding the draft Executive Bills on the review and forward same to the National Assembly in good time. Ihedioha said his committee had received over 124 memoranda from the public as inputs to the amendment process and identified eight critical and dominant issues that needed urgent attention and fresh zonal and central public hearing to arrive at a consensus. The issues, according to him, include security and the status of the Nigeria Police devolution of powers; structure of federal-

The President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Peter Esele, in his own submission, said that government must create a constitution that will last for posterity as most times when those in government leaves office they try to join the unions in a guise as the constitution no longer favours them. For human rights activist, Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), the constitution is the legal feeder of true federalism. According to him, it is good to talk about fiscal federalism but difficult to operate, stressing that power is more abused at the state level. Lagos lawyer and human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) said since 1914 there has been no constitution, saying that what is presently operating in the country is a legal but not legitimate document. While commending Jonathan for the noticeable improvement in electricity, he was of the opinion that foreign investors who are interested in investing in the power sector in the country should not buy up the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) but should come over and compete with the power company. Falana opposed assigning traditional rulers prominent roles in the constitution unless such institution could be made to be democratic. Veteran labour leader and former President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Secior Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Chief Frank Kokori, noted that if the level of corruption in the police and the judiciary could be eliminated, the nation would move forward and the common man will have hope for a better society. Kokori said: “We have two sectors in the government that if they work hard, the country will move forward; the judiciary and the police force. If they are corruptionfree, the nation will move forward and the poor man can have hope for a better society.” On the six-year single term which the participants at the retreat voted against and opted for a two-term of four years for elected president and governors, it is not clear whether Jonathan has dropped the idea as he has not packaged his proposal into a bill to be presented to the National Assembly for consideration as amendment to the constitution. But while making his intention known last year and defending the proposal CONTINUED ON PAGE 44


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PARLIAMENT

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

5000 note: Will National Assembly

Despite the babel of opposition trailing the proposed currency regime by the Central Bank of Nigerian (CBN), particularly the introduction of the N5,000 note, the apex bank appears to be irrevocably committed to the full implementation of the new policy, even as Nigerians now look up to the National Assembly as the only saving institution that can challenge the bank on this new initiative. But the lawmakers must muster the necessary political will and legislative instrument to be on the side of the people, writes GEORGE OJI .

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he race to halt the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi from commencing the new currency regime, which involves the introduction of the N5000 note and the redesigning of the other currencies is from all indications a race against time. Sanusi appears to be stubbornly committed to implementing the new currency regime without any backward glance. Already, he has received all the necessary backings from all the people that matter as far as the policy is concerned. This is despite the fact that if put on the scale of public opinion, the odds heavily weighs against it. From available records, so far, President Goodluck Jonathan has already approved the new policy. Expectedly, the Federal Executive Council has also adopted the policy too. Majority of the governors as represented by the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) have also given their own nod to it. Even some professional bodies like the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) has given its blessings too but with little reservations. In addition, many known professional individuals and financial consultants are on the same page with Sanusi on this matter. The new currency policy, according to Sanusi, seeks a holistic restructuring of the nation’s currencies, with a plan to introduce for the first time in the nation’s history N5,000 banknote, N5, N10 and N20 coins while other denominations will experience significant changes in their features. The new banknotes, coins and redesigned currencies are proposed for circulation into the economy gradually with effect from the first quarter of 2013. Giving the hint at a media briefing in Abuja a fortnight ago, the governor of the CBN, said the introduction of the higher denomination banknote would complement the bank’s cashless policy by reducing the volume of currency in circulation in the long term, just as the redesigning of other old notes and redenomination of others into coins would enhance their security and other transactional features.

Sanusi

According to the apex bank’s boss, the restructuring exercise, which has been code-named ‘Project Cure’, will ultimately change the Naira currency structure to 12, comprising of six coins and six banknote denominations. He explained that the N5,000 banknote will have pictures of three Nigerian heroine and nationalists, namely Mrs. Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Mrs Margaret Ekpo and Alhaja Sawaba Gambo on the front while the National Assembly pictures would be the illustrations at its back. Obviously conscious of the argument that the higher denomination of the currency will lead to inflation, Sanusi said rather the exercise would translate to immeasurable gains for the country based on the cost-saving and other benefits to the economy in the long run. His words: “On November 28, 2011, the CBN Board considered and approved the new currency series and subsequently sought and on December 19, 2011 obtained the approval of His Excellency, the President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR. “Under the structure, the existing denominations of N50, N100, N200, N500 and N1,000 will be designed with added security features. It is our pleasure to inform you that a new high currency denomination will also be introduced. It is the N5,000 note. In the same vein, the lower banknote denominations of N5, N10 and N20 will be coined. Consequently, the Naira currency structure will now be 12; these are six coins and six banknote denominations.” He listed the objectives of the exercise to include, upgrading the design of the entire range of currency denominations in order to enhance the quality and integrity of the banknotes; incorporating a more effective feature for the visually challenged; and introduction of new security features on the redesigned banknotes to enable the bank take ownership and control of the new fea-

THE CBN WILL HAVE TO PROVE THAT THE POLICY IS NOT A CLEAR CONTRADICTION OR AT VARIANCE WITH

CASHLESS SOCIETY, WHICH IT IS EVEN YET TO JUSTIFY AND WHETHER THIS IS THE POPULAR ECONOMIC WAY TO GO tures on the series and eliminate payment of royalties on patented security features. Other benefits of the restructuring process, the governor said were, achieving an optimal currency structure that will ensure cost effectiveness and balanced mix and utilisation of all the currency denominations; introducing new series of coins that would be generally acceptable for purposes of transaction; and reducing the cost of production, distribution and disposal of banknotes. Sanusi said the apex bank, in collaboration with other stakeholders, had carried out extensive researches before coming out with the restructuring exercise, adding that in order to ensure hitch-free, userfriendly implementation, the phasing out of the existing old denominations would be gradual with a view to ensuring that the overall interest of Nigerians is not undermined in the process. He explained further that the exercise was also in conformity with international best practices which require monetary au-

thorities to review their nation’s currencies at intervals of between five and eight years, pointing out that the last comprehensive review of the nation’s currency was carried out in 2005. Hardly had Sanusi finished his presentations than knocks began to trail the proposed policy from many Nigerians across the divide. Indeed, some of the professional bodies, including the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) rose up in strong opposition to the policy. Following on this trail, the National Assembly added its voice of opposition to the policy as well. The Senate, for instance, immediately announced that it would write the CBN governor to put a hold on the proposed policy until such a time the apex bank explained convincingly to Nigerians the propriety of the new currency regime. Senator Bassey Otu, Senate Committee Chairman on Banking, Currency and other Financial Institutions, said the Senate believed that a project of this nature requires parliamentary approval because it has numerous fiscal implications on the entire economy. He added that the Senate believes that at a time that the new cashless policy of the CBN was yet to be fully implemented, it would be preposterous to introduce the new currency policy at this point in time. “The CBN will have to prove that the policy is not a clear contradiction or at variance with cashless society, which it is even yet to justify and whether this is the popular economic way to go. We are asking and we are sending a letter to it to stop all further actions on this until the Senate of the Federal Republic is properly briefed,” Otu said. The lawmaker stated that such a proposed monetary policy can only be contemplated where there is a major crisis in an economy. He cautioned the CBN to be very careful in order not to send a wrong signal or message to Nigerian households, the domestic sector and even the foreign countries that the Nigerian currency is valueless, which he believed was definitely untrue. Asked if the directive to the CBN stopping the implementation of the new naira currency by the Senate would not amount to encroaching on the independence of the apex bank, the lawmaker said, the red chamber was concerned more with the CBN doing the right thing and not on the issue of legality as it were. “Well, actually, we are not really going to rely on laws per se; what we are trying to do here is what is best for the Nigerian people. The Senate is not really against the independence of the CBN, but what we want in place is proper check and that there should be checks and balances in all these things that we do. “So, I believe that at some points we will be able to sit down together and look at the merits and demerits, but till date we do not know anything about it and we do not know what the people stand to gain and until that is properly put through, we say everything about it must stop,” he said. On its part, the House of Representatives promptly announced that it would in-


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Politics

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

43

halt CBN’s naira restructuring policy?

Jonathan

Mark

Tambuwal

vite the CBN governor to defend the policy before it. Otu’s counterpart in the House, Hon. James Onyereri, who announced this measure at a press conference also disclosed that Sanusi would be required to brief the House on the progress of the cashless policy of the apex bank, which was introduced last year. Onyereri said: “The House Committee will invite the management of the Central Bank in an effort to know whether the Bank is still pursuing the cashless policy, and if it is, how does this higher currency note compliment the cashless policy or if it contradicts the cashless policy what are the next steps. We believe that the Nigerian people deserve to know whether there is a short, mid-term and long-term strategy that will bring any benefits to the system as a result of this introduction. “We understand that the cashless policy encourages payment with a credit card, debit card or mobile money, which means a citizen will avoid the high risk of travelling with currency for large ticket transactions. This is the direction the Central Bank has been following. The understanding is that carrying less cash is in every body’s interest as it reduces the risk, it reduces the money spent on printing currency and it reduces the money spent on movement of currency as well as on security and safe guards for large consignments of currency.” He said the intervention of the House is to ensure that due process is followed and rule of law adhered to. “We assure you that we will also be mindful of the effect of this or any other banking policy on the ordinary Nigerian,” he said. The NBA registered its opposition in a statement issued by its immediate past president: Joseph Daudu (SAN) who said: “CBN is not the fourth arm of government for there is no fourth arm of government. CBN is advised to submit the measure for legislative approval which the National Assembly is expected to consider in line with the wishes of majority of Nigerians. “In this regard, NBA commends the Senate for its stay order on the scam and hereby asserts that if the CBN persists in its reckless plan to negatively alter the face

of the Nigerian economy, it will go to court to seek redress. Rather than distract Nigerians from the pressing national dilemma of insecurity and corruption, government should invest the billions that will be expended on this unnecessary currency manipulation on revamping the security apparatus and on strong and effective anticorruption battles.” The NBA also rejected the argument of the CBN that the introduction of N5000 note will not promote inflation, on the ground that the realities of the Nigerian economic situation cannot be found in the western business models and that the CBN officials are familiar with. NBA insisted that “this measure will bring and mete unimaginable hardship to Nigerians as the measure is a cunning strategy aimed at devaluing the Naira wholesale. We may well see a N10,000 or N20,000 note soon.” According to Daudu, “that such measure will affect the lives of Nigerians in many ways is not a mere fiscal measure that the CBN can claim exclusive jurisdiction over, on the contrary, it is a legislative matter, with ramifications on the lives on all Nigerians that is within the sole legislative province of the National Assembly. Such far-reaching fiscal or currency measures are beyond the competence or purview of the CBN.” Last week, a civil society organisation, the “Anti-Corruption Network,” stormed the headquarters of the CBN, protesting the proposed currency restructuring exercise, particularly the introduction of the N5,000 note, and asked the Federal Govern-

ment and the regulatory banking institution to stop forthwith arrangements on the exercise in view of what it termed its likely negative socio-economic impact on ordinary Nigerians. Leading about 300 youths on the protest, which was being closely monitored by the security agencies in the front of the CBN Headquarters, Abuja, a former legislator and Executive Secretary of the Network, Dino Melaye, described the proposed measure as a proof of government’s insensitivity to the plight of millions of poor Nigerians who, he said, were already over-burdened economically as a result of the partial withdrawal of fuel subsidy in January this year. Melaye, who spoke with the media on why the protest was organised, said it was to show to the CBN authorities and government that sovereignty resides with the people and that it was regrettable that despite the National Assembly’s directive that the apex bank should suspend the plan, the governor of the CBN, Sanusi, was hell-bent at carrying out the plan in furtherance of his Islamisation agenda for the country. He said that the planned introduction of the N5,000 note contradicts clearly the policy stance of the apex bank on cashless and electronic banking, pointing out that the N5,000 notes would further devaluate the national currency with the attendant negative implications for ongoing efforts targeted at making the economy’s growth more inclusive and competitive globally. While describing the restructuring agenda as satanic in intents and purposes, he advised Nigerians to join forces with the group in its ongoing war against the measure, querying that: “We graduated from N20 to N50, from N50 to N100, from N100 to N200, from N200 to N500 and from N500 to N1,000. What has that done to inflation? What has that done to the economy? What has that done to unemployment? What has that done to the provision of pipe borne water? What has that done to the provision of electricity? Has that one given us good roads or good hospitals?” There is no doubt that the management of the nation’s currency and the stability of the currency is one of the core functions

UNKNOWN TO MANY

NIGERIANS, THE

LAWMAKERS HAD ENTERED INTO SOME EARLIER DISCUSSIONS WITH OFFICIALS OF THE

CBN ON THE MATTER

of the CBN. Most of the people who are opposing the new monetary policy are not doing so because the apex bank is trying to exceed its statutory functions. They are doing so because of some of the perceived negative impact it would have on the economy that is already stifling the poor. As the matter stands now, it is only the National Assembly that can call the CBN to order and stalemate the process (even though temporarily). One way the National Assembly can act on the matter and demonstrate that it is truly on the side of the people is to pass a resolution condemning the policy and calling on the apex bank to put an immediate halt to it. Although such a measure may lack full implementation force, but it enjoys the support of moral persuasion. Secondly, if the lawmakers feel convinced that the proposed policy would ultimately not serve the interest of the public well, they can seize the current opportunity of the review of the CBN Act, now before the National Assembly to strip the apex bank of the powers to undertake the review of the currency without legislative approval. This approach may face a drawback because such a law so passed by the National Assembly will most likely be vetoed by the president, who is seen to be on the same page with Sanusi on this matter. The only way out here for a determined National Assembly will be to deploy its power to override the presidential veto. Alternatively, the National Assembly can call for an all inclusive public debate on the matter, where all the stakeholders, including the professional bodies, members of the civil society organisations, students, market women, organised labour, government representatives etc. will come and argued their positions. At the end of the day, reason would be allowed to prevail on the matter. Unfortunately, it is difficult to determine right now which side of the divide the lawmakers have pitched their tent on this matter. While members of the National Assembly came smoking hot following the disclosure by the CBN that it was going to embark on the currency restructuring, unknown to many Nigerians, the lawmakers had entered into some earlier discussions with officials of the CBN on the matter. CBN’s Director of Corporate Communications, Mr. Ugochukwu Okoroafor, last week revealed that the bank was discussing with the National Assembly on the proposed currency restructuring plan and expressed the hope that at the end of the ongoing parley, the legislators would understand why the exercise had become imperative for the country. Okoroafor said: “We have met formally with the National Assembly on this matter before we went ahead to announce this new move and idea, but presently the National Assembly is on recess, as soon as they come back to session, we shall meet with them. “It is important to know that the laws establishing the CBN are very clear, this has given clear mandate for the bank to take such measures and steps which are in line with its statutory functions as prescribed by the Act establishing it, and this is one of such mandates.”


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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

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Amaechi calls for review of Nigeria’s federalism

R

ivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi has said that there was need to review the Nigerian federal system of government to lessen the burden of governance on the Federal Government. He made the observation in an interview with the

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the weekend in Berlin, the German capital at the end of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum study tour of the country. Amaechi led governors of Enugu, Niger, Plateau, Borno and Katsina states on the study tour of the

German federal system of government with a view to replicate best practises in their respective states. “Having looked at the operation of the German system, it is my view that the next thing that we need to look at would be the kind of federalism they

practice and what benefits they derive from it. Having observed at first hand, I think the problem with our federalism is the lack of federal implementation of our laws to support development in the states. His words: “The kind of federalism they practice

L-R: The deputy governor of Borno State, Zanna Mustapha; Governor Kashim Shettima; Secretary to the State Government, Baba Jidda and Chairman, Technical Committee on the Borno State University, Prof. Nur Alkali, during the signing into law the bill establishing the state university in Maiduguri, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

is one where the Federal Government assist states to grow. In our own kind of federalism it’s almost like a competition not among states but between states and federal government. “Here the Federal Government supports states to grow, fund the states to grow, Federal Government is less visible, and the Federal Government is not everything. Here the police is in the hands of the states, economic development is in the hands of the states, states are allowed to have their own banks and you see education in the hands of the states. “In the case of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, everything is in the hands of the Federal Government, so you have a heavily burdened federal establishment that cannot relate with the states to develop the country.” He added that the present structure of the Nigeria federation inhibits development at the states level, say that there was a need for

the Federal Government to partner with states to ensure true development at that level of government. This, he said, was critical to ensuring the growth and development of the people at the state level. Amaechi said: “If the states do not develop, people do not develop. Nobody leaves in the federation, people leave in the different states. So, there is the need for the Federal Government to partner with the states to ensure that the states grow. If it is to be looked at by National Assembly level I concur, or by way of a conference, the bottom line is there is need for us to look at our federation again.” The governors during the tour paid special attention to Germany’s administrative system, fiscal policy and the establishment and sustenance of small and medium scale enterprises. They also met prospective European investors in different sectors with a view to wooing them to their respective states.

dashed the hopes of Nigerians on the fuel subsidy scandal.” Eradiri noted that AigImoukhuede’s younger brother, Aigbovbioise AigImoukhuede is a co-owner of Ice Energy Petroleum Trading Company Ltd., which had earlier been indicted by the House of Representatives, a development; he maintained raises conflict of interest about the role of the chairman of the presidential committee in carrying out his mandate.

He also alleged that some firms, whose funds were processed by Access Bank Plc, managed by AigImoukhuede, were inadvertently left out of the hook while others processed by other banks were indicted. He also pointed out that of the 400 cargoes of petrol imported into Nigerian in 2011, 160 of them were financed by Access Bank. He therefore called on the Federal Government to suspend the report and set-up of a fresh panel to review the committee’s work.

ACN alleges plot to starve Subsidy: Expert faults Aig-Imoukhuede’s panel report F N states of funds ELIX

FELIX NWANERI

T

he Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has said that it has uncovered plot by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to manipulate banks, including the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN), the capital market, financial institutions and regulatory authorities to withdraw financial support to all ACN states. The party in a statement issued yesterday in Lagos by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, alleged that the first phase of the plot is for the PDP to make available to the ministers of Finance and National Planning as well as the Director General of the Debt Management Office, false representation of the debt profiles of the ACN states, accompanied by wild and unsubstantiated allegations of financial recklessness and improprieties for deliberation at the next meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC). According to the party, the Federal Government will then enlist the support of the CBN governor,

who will table the contrived damning indictment before the Bankers’ Committee, who will in turn, unsuspectingly withdraw their financial support from the ACN states. “The PDP-led Federal Government will not stop at this. It will thereafter manipulate its appointees at the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other relevant regulatory authorities to block the ACN states access to the capital market even as the same Federal Government itself had resorted to the same capital market to fund its own deficit budget,” the party said. ACN recalled that the PDP employed the same tactics under the administration of the former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and would have succeeded in arresting the phenomenal success of the administration but for the financial ingenuity and resourcefulness of the former governor. The ACN therefore advised the PDP-led Federal Government to immediately retrace its steps to avoid facing a people’s revolt.

T

WANERI

he recent report of the Aigboje AigImoukhuede-led Technical Committee on Payment of Fuel Subsidies, set up by the Minister of Finance, to verify the 2011 fuel subsidy payments to oil marketers has continued to raise eyebrows among stakeholders in the oil sector. The Chief Executive Officer of Radnitz Integrated Services Ltd, Udengs

Eradiri, who spoke with National Mirror on the issue, described the report that indicted 88 firms as “mischievous,” and called on the Federal Government to set up an independent committee to review it as Aig-Imoukhuede, being an interested party cannot be a judge in his own case. His words: “Anyone expecting any justice from the panel is deceiving himself. He will never indict himself or his colleagues. With that committee, the Federal Government has

Echoes from presidential retreat

CONTINUED FROM 41 through a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, the President said his initiative was borne out of a patriotic zeal, after a painstaking study and belief that the constitutionally guaranteed two terms for president and governors was not helping the focus of governance and institutionalization of democracy at the stage of the nation’s development. Jonathan also said that that if passed into law, his tenure would not be affected as the amendment would only take effect from 2015, stressing that he would not be a beneficiary. The President explained that he was concerned about the acrimony which the issue of re-election every four years generates both at federal

and state levels. The proposal was, however, greeted with mixed reaction as many politicians tore it into shreds while others expressed commendation and salute the courage and patriotic zeal of the President. Many politicians, particularly from the opposition parties took Jonathan’s defence with a pinch of salt, saying that it was difficult to believe him and urged members of the National Assembly to reject the bill if it was eventually brought before them. It is not clear if and when President Jonathan would eventually put his proposal into a bill to be forwarded to the National Assembly for the sixyear single term for president and governors as an amendment to the 1999 Constitution particularly when

the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ihedioha has declared that the amended constitution would be ready by June next year. However, while argument for and against the desirability of a six-year single term for president and governors still continues, many Nigerians believe that whatever the tenure of elected officers may be, what they deserve is good governance, accountability, transparency, free and fair elections, prudent management of funds and end to corruption and financial embezzlement. They believe that it is only then that a nation that is focused on peace, progress and development can emerge; a country where there would not be acrimony, violence and mistrust among its people.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

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Community Mirror Niger to regulate traditional medicine

45

“The moral value was very high in the country in the not so distant past.”

46

FORMER PRESIDENT OLUSEGUN OBASANJO

Residents petition IGP over forced ejection WALE IGBINTADE

M

ore than 76 residents of No-4A Bristol Road, Apapa, Lagos have petitioned the Inspector General of Police,IGP, for alleged forceful and brutal removal of their property from the building. In a petition dated August 31, 2012, written by their lawyer, Mr. J H Bashir, the residents alleged that some armed policemen in connivance with one James Baldwin, forcefully ejected them from the premises while throwing their property into the street. According to them, armed policemen, led by one ACP Mohammed Ali and CSP Usman Ndababo, allegedly carried out the action without regard to law and order. They added that in the process of ejecting them, married women and children were allegedly assaulted, intimidated and thrown out by one Sheriff Adebiyi who claimed to be carrying out his official duty. “We are constrained to report the lawlessness, rascality, impunity and reckless use of police officers, whose conduct is inconsistent with their oath of office. We wish to inform you that our clients suffered irreparable damage’’, the petitioner added. They urged the IGP to probe the circumstances that led to the permanent posting of more than 28 police officers to keep watch over the building, even as they

claimed to be living under excruciating agony under siege of police occupation of their apartments. The action of the police officers was said to be in line with a consent judgment delivered by the Rent Control and Recovery of Residential Premises Tribunal in suit No RT/AP/291/2006, filed by one James Baldwin against Hamid Hussain and Musa Abubakar. According to the ‘Terms of Settlement’ which was adopted by Chairman of the Tribunal, Mrs. A O Soladoye, the defendants in the suit agreed to move out of the building. The Terms of Settlement, dated February 28, 2006, further stated that the defendants agreed to maintain peace and move out of the disputed premises within 28 days and where they failed to vacate the property, the plaintiff (Balwin) could then use court bailiff to throw them out. But, the petitioners, in a Motion on Notice brought pursuant to Section 38, 40, 41 and Section 44 (4)(A)& (C) of the Tenancy Law of Lagos State as well as Section 36 of the Constitution, prayed the court to set aside the consent judgement delivered by the tribunal. They are also asking the court to stay execution of the consent judgement pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice as they were not parties to the suit filed before the rent tribunal. In a 25-paragraph affidavit

in support of the motion, deposed to by one Mustapha Isa, he claimed to have been living in the building for over 21 years without knowing the plaintiff (James Patrick Baldwin) who now claims ownership. He stated that none of the occupants of No- 4A/B, Bristol Road, Apapa, Lagos are parties to the consent judgement, adding that neither the plaintiff nor the defendants in the consent judgement ever lived in the building to qualify them entry into the ‘Term of Settlement’. He noted that the judgement was delivered in 2006 and won-

dered why the plaintiff waited for six years before carrying out the said judgement of the court. He said, “the plaintiff obtained the judgement in 2006 and I have been living in No- 4A/B, Bristol Road, Apapa for past 21 years unaware of the said judgement until June 5, 2012, when the plaintiff procured the services of the police to force the occupants out of the building.’’ According to him, the defendant whose photographs were fixed on the right side of the ‘Term of Settlement’ has never lived in the disput-

ed building, hence the said judgement was obtained by fraud and entered on wrong defendants. The residents argued that they were not given opportunity to know of the existence of the suit, as well as the opportunity to be heard, as no service of court process was served on them. They further argued that non service of court process on them was a violation of their rights to fair hearing, adding that all they wanted was an opportunity to be heard in court.

Children playing in the midst of evictees property at No-4A Bristol Road, Apapa, Lagos.

Man arraigned for stabbing wife’s lover CAROLINE CHUKWUKA

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22 year old man, Afeez Oyewole has been arraigned before a Lagos Magistrate’s Court sitting at Tinubu, for stabbing one Taiwo Adeyemi whom he claimed was having affairs with his wife. Police prosecutor, Superintendent of Police, Augustine Orji, informed the court that the defendant (Oyewole) alleged that Adeyemi(complainant) had been pestering his wife for an affair. However, when the defendant heard of it, he confronted the complainant which resulted in a

fight. In the process, the victim was stabbed in the face with a broken bottle by the defendant leading to loss of one eye. The defendant was said to have committed the offence on September 9, 2012 at No.92 Old Aroloya Street on Lagos Island. The prosecutor argued that the offence is punishable under section 171 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of Nigeria 2011. When the charge was read to him, the defendant pleaded not guilty and was granted bail by Magistrate Martins Owumi in the sum of N200,000 with two sureties. The case has been adjourned till September 26, 2012.

Meanwhile, one Chike Agumadu, 19, has been arraigned before the Tinubu Magistrate’s Court for allegedly stealing N200,000 and hair ribbon valued at N127,0000, property of his master, Joseph Ozor. The defendant was said to have committed the offence on August 15, 2012 at No. 5, Ashadu Street, Balogun on Lagos Island. Prosecutor Augustine Orji, argued that the offence is punishable under section 285 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria 2011. When the charge was read to him, the defendant pleaded not guilty and was granted bail in

the sum of N50,000, with two sureties in like sum with verification of residence and two year tax clearance. In a related development, a native of a Benin Republic, Julius Dotou, 35, was arraigned in court for allegedly threatening to kill one Domigo Bukky, by sending her text message through his GSM number-08136335270 without justification. According to the allegation, the accused was said to be a cook to the complainant and left the house due to his unbearable character on September 5.

He sent a text message to the complainant, threatening to cause the loss of her two eyes and legs if she refuses to pay his salary for August, even as he gave an ultimatum of seven days to comply. Prosecutor Okeke argued that the offence is punishable under section 300 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria 2011. When the charge was read to the defendant, he pleaded not guilty and was granted bail by Magistrate O.A Adegbite, in the sum of N50, 000 with two sureties in like sum. The case has been adjourned till September 25, 2012


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Community Mirror

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Niger to regulate traditional medicine PRISCILLA DENNIS MINNA

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n a bid to regulate activities of traditional medicine practitioners in Niger State, the government has sent an executive bill to the House of Assembly.

Speaker of the Assembly, Alhaji Adamu Usman, who made the disclosure at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Pharmacy day of the Niger state chapter of Nigeria Society of Pharmacy, said as soon as the law becomes effective, all traditional medicine

practitioners will be made to conform to certain standards to ensure proper dispensation of their products. He explained that the government has also forwarded three other bills to the house and when passed, into law would ensure that

patients have easy access to medicine and other medical needs at low rate. The bills are on the IBB Specialist Hospital, public health and the hospital consumables, to ensure protection of lives of the people. The state Acting Gov-

ernor Ahmed Musa Ibeto, in his remark stressed the need for the state ministry of health and hospital services to have a charter for the health sector, adding that it renders core values, vision and goals which should be well publicized so that service users will

know what government is doing in the state. He said, “I believe health care delivery in the 21st century should be about patient satisfaction and user involvement in the delivery process. Our healthcare professionals must therefore have a positive change of attitude to enhance the realisation of our aspiration in the health sector.

Governor’s wife calls for skills training JAMES DANJUMA KATSINA

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ife of the Katsina State Governor, Mrs. Fatima Shema, has called for the training of youths and women in various skills to enable them become self reliant as well as reduce high unemployment in the country. Mrs. Shema made the call while inspecting a modern grinding machine fabricated by trained youths under the Local Government Youth and Women Empowerment Scheme in Kaita Council Area. She said the initiative has proved the commitment of the council’s management team to empower the youth and women in the area to become independent. The governor’s wife, who expressed happiness at the technological expertise, said the state is blessed with intelligent and purposeful youths who could excel if given the opportunity. She commended the foresight and vision of the council’s leadership for such initiative, as she called on the others council area chairmen to borrow a leaf and improve the lot of youths in their areas. Mrs. Shema observed that with such an initiative, the rate of unemployment among the youth would be reduced. Earlier, the council caretaker committee chairman, Ibrahim Dankaba, said the council conceived the initiative to compliment the government’s efforts at arresting youth restiveness, even as he said the programme is being organized in collaboration with a Chinese firm on local fabrication of grinding machines.

A collapsed portion of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway at Mile 2, Lagos.

PHOTO: FRANCIS SUBERU

Oyerinde: My son asks when his father will be back —Wife SEBASTINE EBHUOMHAN BENIN

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ife of the late Principal Private Secretary to Edo State Governor, Mrs. Funmi Oyerinde, said she is always at a loss of what to tell her son any time he asks about his father. Mrs. Oyerinde who spoke to Community Mirror just 124 days after the murder of her husband in cold blood, said she missed him, given that “he was a

great father, husband and family man”. She said she has been coping with the death of the family’s breadwinner. “I am coping very well. The state government has been very supportive and by God’s grace, we are fine.” Mrs. Oyerinde said, “My husband was a great man. We lived happily and had no problems. He cared for his children. Since we married, he never raised his voice against anyone.”

On how her children have been missing their late father, Mrs. Oyerinde said the older ones are coping well, unlike the youngest and only male child, Adams. “The children are all missing him especially, Adams. I always feel very bad anytime he asks after his father, as he keeps asking when he will be back”. Oyerinde was shot in his home on May 4, 2012 by unknown assailants. The Edo State Governor,

Adams Oshiomhole, had accused the opposition of complicity in the murder, stating that it was intended to derail his re-election bid. Police officials investigating the murder arrested his friend, Ugolor on July 27 and detained him. Ugolor later approached the court to enforce his fundamental human rights, resulting in a ruling for his bail on August 16. But the police detained him till August 31, before

he was arraigned with nine others on eightcount charge of the murder of Oyerinde. Aside the 10 accused persons, the police authorities have also arrested six other suspects in respect of the murder. Meanwhile, an Edo State High Court has entered judgment in the N500m instituted by Ugolor against the police for aggravated damages from his unlawful detention and alleged frame up.

Ogun to activate community viewing centres FEMI OYEWESO ABEOKUTA

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he resuscitation of moribund community viewing centers and prompt activation of a second Frequency Modulated (FM) band for the Ogun State Broadcasting Corporation (OGBC) are part of priorities of the Ministry of Information and Strategy in the coming fiscal year. The Commissioner for

Information and Strategy, Alhaji Yusuph Olaniyonu, made this disclosure while briefing members of the state House of Assembly Committee on Information and Strategy, Culture and Tourism. According to Olaniyonu, the new radio band would transmit only in Yoruba language, noting that efforts had been intensified towards the reactivation of moribund community viewing

centres in the state in order to keep the populace adequately informed of various government activities. He maintained that his ministry deals more with recurrent expenditure, as an appreciable percentage of its allocation were expended on staff salaries and maintenance of equipments at the radio and television broadcasting stations. “We have purposely

utilised all funds allocated to this agency in the 2012 budget, most of which had been on revitalising equipments in OGTV and OGBC, coupled with the payment of staff salaries,” he stated. Olaniyonu commended the lawmakers for being proactive in the discharge of their oversight function, pledging that the ministry would not relent in propagating governments activities at all

times. Earlier in his address, the chairman of the House Committee, Hon. Olayiwola Ojodu, said that the members were on a fact-finding mission to ascertain the level of performance of its 2012 budget,even as he expressed satisfaction on the performance, charging the management to always keep the committee abreast of their plans and programmes.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

47

World News

Obama raises $114m, as he courts voters

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“We haven’t been given any demands, but the pattern is the same as KDC East. It is intimidation.” - Gold Fields spokesman, Sven Lunsche

Kenya Tana River renewed ethnic clashes kill 30

WORLD BULLETIN

Army kills 16 at checkpoint in Mali

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t least 30 people have been killed in renewed ethnic clashes in southeast Kenya. Children and policemen were among those killed in an attack on a village by hundreds of people. Nearly 100 people have now been killed in the clashes in the eastern Tana River district since last month. Rival ethnic groups have been involved in tit-for-tat violence over cattle-grazing rights in the region, one of the poorest in Kenya. The Red Cross said that in this latest violence, Kilelengwani village was attacked on Monday by more than 300 people, who set fire to 167 houses. The Tana Delta has a deceiving allure of peace, with mango trees dotting the river banks and a calm wind blowing from the nearby Indian Ocean. The village of Chamwanamuma, which was attacked by members of the pastoral Orma community last week was almost deserted on Sunday, except for with young men armed with bows and arrows. Women and children were fleeing the area and seeking refuge in a nearby school. I met a 15-year-old boy who told me he was leaving for Mombasa. His parents had died in the clashes. ‘’I’m selling my chicken so that I can raise my fare,’’ he said. It was clear from the utterances of some of the Pokomo villagers that a revenge attack was imminent - and this now seems to have happened. “The bodies have not been removed from the ground... The situation is getting dangerous, something needs to be done urgently,” Kenya Red Cross chief Abbas Gullet said in a statement. Mr Gullet put the death toll at 39, saying eight children were among the dead. A police spokesman told the BBC that 30 people had been killed, including eight policemen. Last month more than 50 people were killed in the fighting and a further 12 died last week.

Suspected al-Shabab members rounded up by Somali troops.

PHOTO: AFP

Defections put militant al-Shabab on the run in Somalia

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he Islamist al-Shabab group that controls much of southern Somalia has recently suffered several significant defeats. The BBC’s Gabriel Gatehouse has been travelling with Ugandan soldiers in the African Union force that has been fighting the al-Qaeda-allied militants and reports from Afgoye, until last month one their key strongholds. “We were standing in the shade of some trees, sheltering from the vicious midday sun, when the unmistakable strains of Grieg’s Peer Gynt began emanating from the pocket of a young man in camouflage fatigues. “The young man reached for his mobile and squinted at the screen. “I don’t recog-

nise the number,” he said, letting it ring. “If they catch me, they will slaughter me with their own hands, they will cut off my hands and legs” As the tune continued, my curiosity was piqued. “Perhaps it is one of your old friends?” The young man nodded. His name was Absher Ali Mohammed, nom de guerre “Abu Khalit”. He was a defector from al-Shabab. The call was from Abu Khalit’s former commander. The two spoke in Somali, I could not understand the conversation, but I could hear it - the discussion was lively and punctuated by bursts of laughter. “What did he say?” I asked.

“He accused me of being an apostate,” Abu Khalit said. Al-Shabab is being pushed out of towns and villages in southern and central Somalia by Ugandan and other African Union forces. The soldiers are by and large Christians. Abu Khalit brushed away the suggestion that he had abandoned his Muslim faith. “One day, you too will join us,” he told his former commander. It was that last remark that had prompted the loudest laugh at the other end of the line. “If they catch me, they will slaughter me with their own hands, they will cut off my hands and legs,” said Abu Khalit.

Clashes break out in Libya over Sufi shrine attack

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hree people have been killed in clashes in Libya between local residents and Islamic extremists trying to destroy a Sufi shrine, the Interior Ministry says. Officials said residents in the eastern town of Rajma clashed with Salafist Islamists who were trying to destroy the Sidi al-Lafi mausoleum. It is the latest in a series of attacks on shrines belonging to the mystical Sufi branch of Islam in Libya. Many Islamists view Sufis as

heretics. In Rajma, 50km (31 miles) south-east of the city of Benghazi, witnesses said armed local residents fought off Salafist extremists who were trying to destroy the mausoleum. “The clashes left three people dead and several more wounded on both sides,” Deputy Interior Minister Wanis al-Sharif told AFP news agency. He said Libyan security forces had brought the situation under control and dispersed the crowd with help from local

tribal chiefs. Earlier this month, two Sufi shrines in Zlitan and the capital Tripoli were destroyed in attacks also blamed on ultra-conservative Islamists. Such attacks have increased since the end of the eightmonth civil war that toppled Col Muammar Gaddafi, as the authorities struggle to control lawlessness. Last week, Libyan Interior Minister Fawzi Abdelali resigned after Congress criticised Libyans protests against the recent attacks on Sufi his handling of the violence. PHOTOS: REUTERS. shrines

The army in Mali says it has shot dead 16 people after their vehicle failed to stop at a checkpoint in the town of Diabali in the central Segou region. At least some of the dead are believed to be Islamic preachers from the conservative Dawa sect and included Mauritanians as well as Malians. They were travelling to a conference in the capital, Bamako. Northern Mali is now controlled by Islamist militants, following a military coup in March. Correspondents say the army may have mistaken the preachers for Islamist fighters. The government said it was launching an investigation into the incident. The Dawa sect originated in Pakistan and first spread to Mali in the 1990s.

Ethiopia pardons two jailed Swedish journalists Ethiopia has pardoned two Swedish journalists jailed for assisting an outlawed rebel group and the pair are set for release alongside nearly 2,000 other prisoners, a government source said on Monday. Reporter Martin Schibbye and photographer Johan Persson were arrested in July, 2011, after entering the country from neighbouring Somalia with fighters from the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) rebel group. ``Some 1,900 prisoners have been pardoned and are scheduled to be released in the coming days. The Swedish journalists are part of the group,’’ the source told Reuters. The government source said the pardon was approved before the death of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who died on August. 20 after a long illness. The release of the journalists and others, Swedish lawyer Thomas Olsson said, ``are all signals aimed at raising hopes. But I don’t want to speculate about what will happen in the coming days. ``I want to await any decisions and relate to these when we know what is happening,’’ Olsson said. Schibbye’s wife Linnea Schibbye said she was awaiting confirmation from Sweden about her husband’s pardon. The Swedish government has not made any comments. Schibbye and Persson were sentenced to 11 years in jail by an Ethiopian court in December for helping and promoting the ONLF, and following the development some of Ethiopia’s key Western allies, including the European Union and U.S., said they were concerned over the verdict.


48

World News

Briefs

Car bomb kills 10 in northwest Pakistan-officials A car bomb exploded at a market in northwest Pakistan on Monday, killing at least 10 people and wounding 45, officials said. The officials said the death toll was likely to climb because many people had been walking along a narrow road beside the market in the town of Parachinar in the Kurram tribal area,when the incident occured. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, but the Pakistani Taliban, which is close to al Qaeda, has staged similar attacks in its bid to topple the U. S. backed government. Pakistan’s military, one of the world’s biggest, has failed to break the back of militant groups in spite of launching several offensives against their strongholds in the northwest. Suicide bombings have eased over the last year but it’s not clear if that was due to pressure from the army or a shift in Taliban tactics.

Wakefield Prison nurse ‘wrote love letter to rapist’ A prison nurse wrote a love letter to a convicted rapist, telling him “you are my knight in shining armour”, a jury has been told. Karen Cosford, 47, is accused of having sex with inmate Brian McBride at Wakefield Prison in West Yorkshire. Leeds Crown Court heard the letter was found in a bag of sugar during a search of the prison medical centre. Mrs Cosford, of Normanton, denies misconduct. She claims McBride raped her and bribed her not to report it. Richard Wright, prosecuting, told the jury the letter said: “You are my world, now and in the future together. Through good and bad times and, hopefully, more good times than bad. “You understand me more than anyone. We can have a wonderful future together. Everything we talked about will happen but just give it time.” The letter also referred to McBride being the “most understanding, patient, manly, kind” man she knew. It finished: “I’m committed to this 100%, don’t ever forget that. I love you dearly with all my heart.” Mr Wright said the letter ended with kisses but no signature. The court has already heard Mrs Cosford’s alleged relationship with McBride was exposed when his cell was searched and he told her husband Darrie, a prison officer, he had been having an affair with his wife. Following the discovery of the letter, Mrs Cosford rang in to work sick, then claimed she was raped, the jury was told. McBride worked as a cleaner at the medical centre, where he was also an in-patient.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Obama raises $114m, as he courts voters

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resident Barack Obama raised $114 million for his re-election bid last month, his campaign announced Monday, after the president wrapped up his two-day trip across Florida in a bid to woo undecided voters. Campaign officials said 1.1 million Americans contributed to Obama’s operation during the month to make up the total, which was easily the most lucrative fundraising period for Obama of the 2012 campaign. “The key to fighting back against the special interests writing limitless checks to support Mitt Romney is growing our donor base, and we did substantially in the month of August,” said Obama campaign manager Jim Messina. “That is a critical downpayment on the organization we are building across the country — the largest grassroots campaign in history.” The Hill newspaper reported that Romney had raised $111 million in August, meaning that Obama bested his rival in the fundraising stakes after trailing badly in previous months. August fundraising was especially significant as it reflected the public response to Romney’s naming of conservative favorite Paul Ryan as his vice presidential pick and the two party conventions. During the weekend trip to Florida, Obama courted retirees by lambasting Romney’s plans to reform the Medicare health care system for the elderly. He also picked apart interviews in which the two Republicans declined to name any of the tax loopholes they plan to close to make their promise to cut taxes, while also trimming the deficit, add up. “I guess my opponent has a plan but there is one thing

Barack Obama

missing from it — arithmetic!” Obama said. “It was like two plus one equals five. They couldn’t answer questions about how they’d pay for $5 trillion in new tax cuts and $2 trillion in new defence spending without raising taxes on the middle class. – ‘Not bold leadership’ – “That’s not bold leadership — that’s bad math. That gets a failing grade,” said Obama, who had warned in an earlier interview with CBS News that the rich would have to pay more in taxes to alleviate the burden of the middle class. In television appearances, Romney and Ryan declined to specify how exactly they would cut loopholes in the tax code to pay for rate reductions. The Republican nominee, a multi-millionaire, also denied he planned to cut taxes for the rich. “I want to make sure people understand, despite what the Democrats said at their convention, I am not reducing taxes on high-income taxpayers,” Romney said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

As his armored bus trundled from west to east through Florida, Obama plunged into restaurants, diners and bars, shaking hands and talking to voters. Florida is a perennial swing state and has the most electoral votes — 29 — of all the most contested battlegrounds in the election. Recent polls have shown

the president with a narrow lead over Romney. Large weekend crowds that greeted the president have aides optimistic that Obama can repeat his 2008 victory here. Should he win Florida, the president would severely undermine Romney’s hopes of snatching the White House.

Afghan Taliban threaten to kidnap, kill Prince Harry

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he Afghan Taliban said on Monday they were doing everything in their power to try to kidnap or assassinate Britain’s Prince Harry, who arrived in Afghanistan last week to fly attack helicopters. Queen Elizabeth’s grandson is in Afghanistan on a fourmonth tour, based out of Camp Bastion in volatile Helmand province, where he will be on the front line in the NATO-led war against Taliban insurgents. ``We are using all our strength to get rid of him, ei-

ther by killing or kidnapping,’’ Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location. ``We have informed our commanders in Helmand to do whatever they can to eliminate him,’’ Mujahid added, declining to go into detail on what he dubbed the ``Harry operations’’. The 27-year-old prince, who is third in line to the throne, took up his new role two weeks after he was photographed frolicking naked in Las Vegas.

Yemen says key al-Qaeda chief Said al-Shihri killed

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aid al-Shihri, described as the second-in-command of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), has been killed in an operation in southern Yemen, government officials say. Al-Shihri was reportedly killed with six others in the Hadramawt area. Some reports say Yemeni troops were involved, others said that it was an air strike, possibly a US drone attack. Al-Shihri, a Saudi national, was released by the US from detention in Guantanamo Bay in 2007. Yemen has previously announced it had killed al-Shihri and his death this time has not been confirmed. The Yemeni army has been fighting Islamist militants in the

Said al-Shihri

south of the country for months. The Yemeni ministry of defence website said al-Shihri was killed along with six other militants in an operation, but gave few details. Official sources in Yemen told the BBC the death occurred in an

PHOTO: AP

air raid in the Wadi Ain area of Hadramawt. Military sources, however, said they had no information on the death and refused to confirm it. But the sources did confirm the area was subject to air raids. It is not the first time that

Said al-Shihri has been reported killed, but if confirmed it would be an important scalp for the Yemeni government in its USbacked campaign against al-Qaeda. Since Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi became president in February, that fight has intensified with major gains made in driving al-Qaeda and Islamic extremists linked to the group out of towns they had seized in southern Yemen. Al-Shihri himself is a wellknown figure. He was detained in Guantanamo Bay for many years after being captured in fighting in Afghanistan. But he was released back to his native Saudi Arabia in 2007. He went through a Saudi rehabilitation programme for Islamic militants.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

World in pix

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People running for cover from a burning fireworks factory at Sivakasi, South West of Chennai, India.

Readers examining a public bulletin board in China predicting short fall In its foreign exports.

An Indian worker cleans his teeth with a twig in Calcutta, India

Algerian supporters celebrate their team’s first goal during the African Cup of Nations qualification match against Libya

The Closing ceremony of the 2012 Paralympic games in London.

Serena Williams of USA, celebrates after defeating Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in the US open.

Queen playing with a dog while visiting Roman site of Vindolanda.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez waves to supporters during a campaign rally for his re election in Charallave.


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Cocktail

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Oddities

Boy travels quarter mile in drainage pipe

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US teen travelled more than a quarter of a mile through flooded sewer pipes after falling into a river An overflowing river in a US town suburb has sent a 14-year-old boy on the ride of his life this week. Authorities said Jeffrey LaPorta of Parma, Ohio, travelled more than a quarter of a mile through

multiple sewer pipes, at times completely submerged in water, before he found enough breathing room to await rescue. Parma Fire Department spokesman Doug Turner says the teenager was riding his bike on Tuesday through puddles created by the rising creek. He then fell into the overflowing water and was forced into a drain pipe.

Woman arrested for shoving puppy down her pants

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olice in Longmont, Colorado have arrested a woman on suspicion of animal cruelty, after she allegedly stuffed a Chihuahua puppy down her pants during a domestic dispute. Denver’s NBC-affiliate KUSA reported that police found Johna Turner arguing with a man at a home. She reportedly agreed to leave the premises, but wanted to take her dogs with her. She was intoxicated, KUSA reported.

When officers arrived, a witness told them to check Turner’s pants, KUSA reported. When Turner shook her leg, a Chihuahua fell out. The puppy was reportedly not hurt. Turner pleaded not guilty to one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty and remained in jail Thursday on a $2,500 bond, according to The Longmont Times-Call. The puppy was born on Aug. 31, the Times-Call reported.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Plane’s landing gear door falls off while in motion

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itnesses said a panel hit the ground and skipped about 30 feet after falling from a plane above Washington State

The US Federal Aviation Administration has confirmed that a piece of metal that fell to the ground in a Kent, Washington,

neighbourhood was part of a Boeing 767’s landing gear door. Witnesses said the refrigerator-size panel hit the ground and skipped

about 30 feet before stopping in a street. No one in the neighbourhood about 15 miles south of Seattle was hurt.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

North

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

51

Kwara’s N70bn rice project commences soon K wara State has moved closer to establishing itself as a hub for agriculture in the West African subregion as its joint venture partner in the N70bn rice cultivation and processing project, Valsolar S.L. 2006 of Spain, says the project will commence by December this year. This follows Valsolar S.L. 2006’s acquisition of funds

for the project that has an initial life span of four years. Conveying the news to the Kwara State government via a letter last week, Valsolar S. L. 2006 said following its board’s earlier approval of the project and subsequent acquisition of funds for the project, it is ready to commence operations within 90 days. Reacting to the news, Kwara State Governor, Al-

haji Abdulfatah Ahmed, welcomed the development as the project is key to his administration’s efforts at providing food for the people, jobs for the teeming youths and inputs for agro-allied industries while at the same time growing the state’s economy through agriculture. “I am particularly pleased that this project will be generating over 12,

000 jobs across the value chain as well as substantially growing the state’s economy. Our farmers will also benefit from the technology transfer component of the project. “No doubt, this project is one of the several envisaged under the Kwara State Agricultural Modernisation Plan (KAMP), the implementation of which will soon com-

mence”, he said. Speaking on the project details, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Investment, Policy and Strategy, Mr. Abayomi Ogunsola, said under the terms of the joint venture Memorandum of Agreement signed by the state government and Valsolar S.L. last February in Ilorin, the company is to invest N70bn in the project over the next four years. The state government will also provide 20, 000 hectares of land as well as infrastructural support for the project which will operate under a registered

joint venture company, Valsolar-Kwara Limited. According to Ogunsola, each annual module of the project will see the company cultivate 5, 000 hectares of land and produce 40, 000 tonnes of rice for local and international consumption. Following the satellite and laboratory soil analyses conducted earlier in the year, Valsolar-Kwara has decided to site the projects in communities along the River Niger in Kwara North area of the state, namely Tsonga, Pategi, Bacita and Lafiagi, he said.

Borno commissioner to build houses for flood victims INUSA NDAHI MAIDUGURI

B National Hajj Commissioner for North-Central Zone, Sheik Isa Musa (left), in a handshake with Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-Makura, during his visit to the governor in Lafia, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Plateau workers abandon offices as verification exercise ends JAMES ABRAHAM JOS

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ome civil servants in Plateau State yesterday abandoned their offices to participate in the ongoing workers’ verification exercise by the government. It will be recalled that the state government had last month commenced a biometric verification exercise on its workers to determine the actual number of civil servants in the state. As at yesterday, when the exercise was expected to end, many of the workers were yet to have their data captured by the committee set up for the exercise, a development which forced many to abandon their duty posts to enable them beat the deadline. At some of the registration centres in the Jos South and Jos North Local Government secretariats, many of the workers, including top government officials were seen on queue, struggling to have their data captured by those involved in

the registration exercise. “I have to leave my office so as to have my data captured before they will end the exercise today because I don’t want to lose my job,” one of the workers on queue told National Mirror yesterday. Leader of the committee set up by the government on the exercise, Hon. Ayuba Pam, told National Mirror in Jos yesterday

that any worker on the pay roll of the state government, who fails to have his data captured at the close of work yesterday, will have himself to blame. Ayuba who is also the Special Adviser to Governor Jonah Jang on Media and Publicity, said government considers the exercise very crucial and will not hesitate to deal with individuals or groups, who may

want to sabotage it. According to him, the verification exercise involves 34 steps and would be done step by step until the exercise is concluded, adding that the first step which involves the imputation of data of the workers was concluded yesterday while another step that will follow involves the analysis of the information supplied to determine their authenticity.

Shettima signs state varsity bill into law INUSA NDAHI MAIDUGURI

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orno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, yesterday signed the bill for the creation of the state university into law. Shettima while signing the bill, which was recently passed into law by the state House of Assembly, said the need to expedite action on the university is borne out of his administration’s desire to establish an institution that will stand the test of time.

“The need to expedite action on the university was necessitated by the desire of the government to establish an institution that will stand the test of time for generation of students to benefit from and reposition Borno State as a citadel of knowledge,” the governor said during the signing ceremony. He said the university, when fully established, will be a world-class institution that will not only serve the educational needs of candidates from the state, but all parts of the country and

beyond. Governor Shettima immediately set up an executive committee headed by the deputy governor, Alhaji Zanna Umar Mustapha, to work on the university’s take off. Chairman of the technical committee for the establishment of the university, Prof. Nur Alkali, in his remark, said the institution will take off with four faculties that include: Art and Humanities, Social and Management Sciences, Education and Sciences.

orno State Commissioner for Home Affairs, Information and Culture, Mr. Inuwa Bwala, has embarked on the construction of twobedroom houses for each of the 50 households and two mosques that were destroyed last week by flood in Tashan-Alade community of Hawul Local Government Area of the state. Bwala, who paid a visit to the riverine community yesterday to sympathise with the flood victims described government as ‘service to the people.’ He said he personally decided to pay them the visit to identify with them over the disaster that befell the community. The commissioner while directing his engineers to

mobilise to site, said the project would cost about N9.2 million. He added that the gesture was his personal donation to the community, as according to him, shelter is life, and he will not fold his arms while some of his people have been displaced by a natural disaster. It will be recalled that some top government officials which include the Commissioner for Religious Affairs, Alhaji Usman Durkwa, a member of the House of Representatives from Hawul and Askira-Uba Federal Constituency, Hon. Abdul Msheliza and the House of Assembly member, Hon. Ayuba Wakawa, had before Bwala’s intervention, visited the affected community where they collectively donated some food items worth N1 million.

2012 Hajj: Al-Makura assures pilgrims of decent accommodation IGBAWASE UKUMBA LAFIA

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asarawa State Governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, has assured intending Muslim pilgrims from the state to this year’s holy pilgrimage of decent accommodation while in the holy land. The governor stated this yesterday in Lafia, the state capital, when a delegation from the National Hajj Commission (NHC) paid him a courtesy call.” According to Al-Makura; “To achieve this goal, I had to visit the holy city of Mecca twice and arranged with the authori-

ties concerned to ensure that conducive and comfortable accommodations are reserved for intending pilgrims from Nasarawa State.” He told members of the National Hajj Commission that accommodation for Nasarawa State pilgrims in this year’s hajj would be one of the best they had seen in many years. He appealed to intending pilgrims from the state to maintain decorum which he said the state was known for in the holy land as his administration is up to curtail all bottlenecks that could work against a hitch-free exercise this year.


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Features

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Katsina: Battling with the fury The incessant flooding of cities and towns in Nigeria has been attributed to severe climate change in recent times. But increasingly, most disasters are said to be man-made, due to the penchant for building on flood plains and blocking of water ways. In this report, JAMES DANJUMA writes that Katsina State is battling to solve the problem associated with this phenomenon.

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eptuagenarian Hafsat Haruna was playing with her grandchildren while the other grown up ones with her at the Makara Huta Quarters in Daura Local Government Area of Katsina State, were busy with household chores. The August clouds began to gather while wind blew dust. Then, without any warning, the rains began to fall, as Hasfat ordered everyone indoors while firmly shutting the doors to keep the rains away. Suddenly, a part of the house wall shook and collapsed, and before they could recover from the shock, the entire building began collapsing in every direction. Though, Hafsat and everybody managed to escape with minor injuries, the flooding that followed the downpour however swept the house and all their property away. In the aftermath, two people were confirmed dead after being swept away by flood, with more than 500 houses destroyed, while farmlands and crops as well as properties worth millions of Naira were destroyed. Sadik Abdullahi, 45, a native of Shirgi village in Batsari Llocal Government Area, has every reason to lament what he described as an unprecedented flood disaster ever witnessed in his lifetime. According to him, “I lost my animals, crops and all that I ever labored for in life. The magnitude of the disaster and losses are better imagined than said. This is one rain, I experienced for the first time in my over 40 years of existence.” He said he lost items worth thousands of naira and that that houses, farm produce and several animals were destroyed in the flood,even as he appealed to the state government and other stakeholders to come to their assistance. According to report, the flooding also affected three villages of Shirgi, Dadin Kowa and Sabawa, where more than 500 houses were destroyed and several farmlands washed away. Eyewitnesses said that, some houses

were partly damaged, as others were completely washed away including food crops, farmlands and animals. A victim of the flood that affected Sabawa village, Danjuma Sabawa, said the incident occurred at 1.am and that many people all they had labored for to the disaster. In Mani Council Area, two people lost their lives on August 24, 2012 following a flood that swept through five villages, including Randawa, Tabkin, Kunu, Maika and Tafarki, with hundreds of houses destroyed, while domestic animals and household items worth millions were washed away. A victim of the disaster, Musa Malik, lamented that he witnessed the worst disaster in his life as he was lucky to live and tell the stories of his close shave with death. In Mai’adua Council Area, heavy flooding on August 22 rendered many families homeless and destroyed more than 1,400 houses, due to heavy downpour that lasted for more than four hours. An aged woman lost her life at Dankindi village, even as a middle aged man popularly known by residents as Audu Sorry, died in Mai’adua town when the walls of his house collapsed after sustained rainfall. Apart from destroying houses, farmlands and crops worth millions, the flood also killed more than 150 domestic animals, while victims took refuge in their neighbours’ houses. One of the victims, Sani Mai’adua, whose house collapsed during the incident, said he had moved his family to a friend’s house and solicited for state and local government aid for those affected. Another victim, Zaharadeen Ibrahim, who lost his home and property worth thousands of naira, lamented that it would be difficult to ascertain the extent of losses incurred because several houses were washed away. Other victims described the flood as devastating, and appealed to the state

Rubbles of a damaged building in Shirgi village of Batsari Local Government Area.

Sympathisers at the site of a collaped building in Gojogojo Village.

THE FLOODING

IS IN CONTRAST TO THE DESERT WINDS WITNESSED DURING THE DRY SEASONS government to construct a drainage system in the affected areas to prevent future reoccurrence. The council area chairman, Abba Yusuf, said the Mai’adua headquarters of the local government and Gwajo-Gwajo village were most affected, with appeal to government and donor agencies to help those affected. Also in Kusada Council Area, heavy rainfall and consequent flooding destroyed more than 100 houses and washed away 30 farmlands with food crops worth millions of naira destroyed in Kofa and Tulani villages. Though no life was lost, eight people however sustained various degrees of injuries in the two villages, with some taken to hospital for treatment. The Federal Ministry of Environment had announced before now that 23 states, including Katsina, would experience downpour and serious flooding, with the state capital, Katsina; Daura, Kankara, among other areas to be affected. The flooding is in contrast to the desert winds witnessed during the dry seasons as well as general low rainfalls that are often recorded in the rainy seasons; the state, like Kebbi, Sokoto, Borno, among others, is a frontline state. Last year, seven people, including three school children, lost their lives

after days of torrential rains and consequent flooding that affected more than eight council areas of the state. As way of checking the flooding this year, the state Ministry of Environment embarked on the de-silting of 20 major drainages across flood-prone areas, with dedicated phone numbers issued for emergency calls in the event of flooding. The state also intensified sensitisation programmes for people to desist from blocking drainages and constructing houses on or close to waterways. Despite these measures, the state experienced heavy flooding, and this time in 15 local government areas, with no less than 49 communities affected, while an average of 500 houses were destroyed in each of the council areas. Official figures indicate that eight people died due to the flood, but recent information from some of the affected areas put the figure of those killed at 10 people. An estimate of 130 people were said to have been injured or hospitalised following the flood, while conservative figure of N500 million or N33 million for each of the affected council areas was said to have been lost. By way of assessment, the havoc caused by flooding in Daura Council Area was put at more than N27 million, after a committee set up to assess the extent of damage came up with its findings and recommendations. Chairman of the committee, Tukur Jafaru Gurjiya, while presenting the committee’s report to the Daura Council chairman, said that more than 500 houses were destroyed while farmlands were washed away by the flood. Gurjiya, said that based on investigations by the committee, two people lost their lives resulting from the flood, and that the yearly flood in the area could be linked to the construction of houses on


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Features

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

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of flood and natural disasters

waterways. He recommended the government relocate the victims to other safe areas and make concerted efforts at mitigating future occurence. He called on the council area to urgently provide relief materials to victims to alleviate their suffering, while urging full implementation of the recommendations of the committee. Responding, chairman of Daura Council, Kabir Musa, said he would forward the committee’s report to the state government and that soon, government would commence distribution of relief materials to affected persons. While the government has partially commenced assistance to victims, some the affected council areas have provided some relief materials and temporary shelters in school buildings. Abdulkadir Moh’d, who is head of information unit in Maiadua Council Area, said two trailer loads of cement

Part of a building destroyed by flood

RAPID URBANIZATION AND RURAL URBAN MIGRATION, HAVE GIVEN RISE TO WEAK ADHERENCE TO PHYSICAL PLANNING REGULATION had been donated, one by Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Yau Umar Gojo-gojo and r by the council area, for distribution to victims. Moh’d, said that the local government also bought 300 bags of maize, textiles, mats and other relief materials for dis-

tribution and that the council’s chairman, Babangida Abba Yusuf, had directed the immediate distribution of the materials. Also, Kabir Abba Umar, who is the Batsari Local Government Council Information Officer, stated that the council provided 100 bags of cement, 20 bundles of roofing sheets, 100 large size rubber mats and blankets for distribution, as emergency measures to cushion the effect of the disaster. On his part, the minority whip in the state House of Assembly, Hon Shehu Dalhatu Tafoki, whose constituency was also affected by the flood, sympathized with the victims, even as he urged the state government and relevant stakeholders to assist the victims. Speaking earlier on the havoc of the flood, , the Executive Director of the state Rehabilitation and Emergency Relief Agency (RERA), Hassan Rawayau, said that more than seven persons have died while thousands of houses and 146 farmlands were destroyed in the process. Rawayau, said two persons died in Safana, Mani and Daura local governments respectively, while one person was killed in Kurfi Council Area and 15 of the 34 local government areas of the state were worst-affected. He gave the names of affected areas to include Mai’adua, Kusada, Kurfi, Batsari, Safana, Jibia, Katsina, Bindawa, Kankia, Ingawa, Dutsi, Daura, Sandamu, Matazu and Mani. The director said the agency had resettled victims in Randawa village of Mani Local Government in a primary school, adding that efforts were ongoing to send relief materials to victims. He also said that millions of naira worth of relief materials donated to the state by the National Emergency Relief Agency (NEMA) would soon be distributed to the victims. Speaking on the issue, the Head of Operation, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in charge of North-West Zone, Aliyu Kafindangi, lamented what he described as the “terrible state of flooding in Katsina State,” and that the “prediction by NIMET had come to pass.” Kafindangi, however, said that officials of NEMA in collaboration with the State

Emergency Committee on Disaster have visited the affected areas and that assessment of damages is being taken with a view to addressing same. He observed that in some parts of the state they visited, it was the same “story of devastation with homes, domestic animals and farm lands ravaged, even as he assured that the agency would work to ensure relief materials reached those affected in good time. He added that “NEMA’s team has undertaken on the spot assessment of the situation and when completed, we will recommend what relief materials should be given to the victims.” Relief however came few days ago, when NEMA donated aid materials worth millions of naira to the state government for onward distribution to victims. Some of the items donated include bundles of zinc, nails, and other building materials, as well as hundreds of mattresses, buckets, mats, and food grains. Presenting the materials, Director General of NEMA, Moh’d Sani Sidi, observed that the state was one of those most affected by flooding in the country, but the Federal Government would soon give additional assistance to affected victims. Sidi however said that additional assistance would be given once the extent of damage was determined, and the distributed materials will help cushion any hardship being faced by the victims. The director general who visited some of the flood affected areas, assured of the agency’s willingness to sustain collaboration with the government to find solution to natural and manmade disasters. He however linked the yearly flooding in some states of the country, to failure to stop erecting buildings on waterways, as well as blocking drainages with refuse or other materials. He observed that rapid urbanization and rural urban migration, have given rise to weak adherence to physical planning regulation in many towns and cities as they have contributed to the flooding problem. Sidi enjoined Nigerians, especially those living in flood-prone areas, to eschew the habit of dumping refuse on water ways while ensuring they always clear their drainages.

Government officials inspecting some flood affected areas.


WORLD RECORD

Largest spider family Vol. 02 No. 445

N150

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The largest zoological family of spiders is Salticidae, which contains the jumping spiders. Over 4400 species are currently known to science, and most live in the tropics. Uncharacteristically for spiders, jumping spiders hardly ever spin webs, catching their prey not by entrapment but by actively leaping at them.

When Paralympians raised the stake

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here is indeed ability in any form of disability as recently demonstrated by the Nigerian contingent to the just-concluded Paralympics games with a performance that easily erased the mess of the able-bodied athletes who failed woefully even to inspire themselves. The challenged athletes either physically or otherwise have eventually proved a point that the resources expended on them were not a waste after all when compared to their outstanding performance which was a far cry from the London 2012 Olympics. As expected after the games, the other athletes left for their various stations without waiting for any official reception from the Federal Government. Indeed, to convey the mood of the moment to the contingent and their officials,

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ritish racer, Lewis Hamilton, yesterday offered suggestion that he will extend his contract with McLaren by hailing the team as “incredible” in the wake of his victory at Monza and describing himself as “looking forward to the future”. Hamilton’s future remains clouded in uncertainty in the wake of

TALKINGPOINT Seyi Fasugba

seyifasugba@yahoo.com 08053069514 (sms only)

what the government called for was a probe of the outing given the billions of naira expended on their preparations for the games. This is not only a show of disapproval, but also to say that the performance did not justify the money which the ministry claimed to have been spent on presenting the athletes for the Olympics games. The outing was not just a disappointment, but also lowered the country’s influence among the comity of nations even on the African continent when the overall performances of other countries from the continent are considered. The effort was not anything close to the Beijing games exploits of four years ago which ordinarily should have been improved upon, at least. Meanwhile, the achievements of the Paralympians should not be lost even while we celebrate individual efforts of the athletes who, without any doubt put in their best to do the country proud on the world stage. They not only emerged as the third best in Africa, they also have individual world record set to show their rugged determination to make the difference. Nigerians not only heaved a sigh of relief the moment the games started, but were once again reassured that all hopes were not lost after the London Olympics which questioned our ability as a people to be counted as reliable and fighters in

EVERYONE SEEMS TO HAVE LOST INTEREST IN

THE GAMES, NO THANKS TO THE UNINSPIRING PERFORMANCE OF THE ABLE-BODIED, BUT

MENTALLY CHALLENGED AND UNBALANCED ATHLETES sports. With 13 medals to show for their participation, the physically challenged athletes, as true sports ambassadors, have not only raised the stakes in the country’s participation in international competitions but also in the Olympics. Winning six gold, five silver and two bronze medals is not a mean achievement for a contingent that was not even reckoned with at home before departure at a time when everyone seems to have lost interest in the games, no thanks to the uninspiring performance of the able-bodied, but mentally challenged and unbalanced athletes who could not withstand competion with their counterparts from other parts of the world. There is, however, serious implica-

tions for the larger society where contemporaries of these world-class athletes have refused to acknowledge the ability in their disability and embrace the opportunity to become a reference in the world while profiting from their God-given talents. With $7500, about N1.2m for a gold medalist, there is no amount of sympathy donation or financial assistance that would have come the way of the individual athletes with the dignity and honour which accompanied their achievements in London while the world watches. The Paralympians, have again, challenged government to, once again, look into the plight of the physically challenged in our midst with a different mindset. Rather than see them as a burden, this should be a clarion call to governments of the third world to begin to tap the potentials loaded into this class of special people in our midst. If without modern sport facilities, these special class of Nigerians could compete with the world and emerged as champions in their various categories, it then means that given the necessary support and the right environment to develop their potential, they will no longer be a burden to the society, but a blessing. The world has given us enough reason to jettison our cultural perception of the physically challenged as those to be pitied, going by their exploits while enjoying what they love to do in sports. Woeful outing of the able-bodied has turned out to be a blessing in disguise for them and the best is yet to come until they are encouraged to take full advantage of their talents which will eventually translate to wealth for them individually. Having raised the stakes, both the government and the society must ensure that the talents in them are effectively tapped for the advancement of this nation, particularly in sports.

Sport Extra

F1: Hamilton makes McLaren U-turn

claims that a transfer to Mercedes was imminent, although the reports had been dismissed as untrue. The star’s relationship with the McLaren team which has nurtured him throughout his motor-racing career has appeared strained of

late, but the crisis appeared to be quashed on Sunday as Hamilton warmly embraced Martin Whitmarsh during the team’s traditional post-victory photo call before enthusiastically endorsing McLaren’s title-winning credentials.

“The guys have delivered a great package. I think I’m trying to take this team to the top. I’m trying to help them, as they’re trying to help me, win both championships,” Hamilton said, as observers dared to believe the “storm” had ended.

Lewis Hamilton

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012