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NDIC Investigates Banks As Insider Fraud Rises By 38% BY BUKOLA IDOWU, ZAKA KHALIQ, Lagos AND MBAKAAN KWEN, Abuja

With fraud cases perpetrated by bankers increasing by 38 per cent, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has said it will start investigating some banks for the inadequate rendition of returns to the Cor-

poration on insider fraud. The NDIC, in a statement issued yesterday, said some banks had under reported instances of fraud, forgeries and cases involving members of their staff who were either dismissed or had

their appointments terminated on grounds of fraudulent activities. It noted that an off-site supervision of the deposit money banks in the country revealed that the number of fraud cases attributed to internal abuse by staff of banks

increased by 38.53 per cent from 231 in 2016, to 320 in 2017, much above the figure reported for the previous year. on 35 and 36 of the NDIC Act No. 16 of 2006 (as amended) requires all deposit money banks to

Saudi Govt To Explore Investment Opportunities In Kogi Pg. 11

submit monthly information/returns on fraud and forgeries to the Corporation. According to the NDIC report, the supervision relied on a total of 286 responses received from 26 banks during the period. It noted: “There were 22 nil monthly responses from the banks as at ➔ CONTINUED ON PAGE 6

End Killings Or Face Court Martial, Army Tells Field Commanders 6 As PMB visits Benue today

INEC Engages Whistleblowers To Check Underage Registration BY SUNDAY ISUWA, Abuja

Chief Imam of Doma Central Mosque, Hassan Jibril leading the funeral prayers for the late former governor of Nasarawa State, Aliyu Akwe Doma who was laid to rest in Doma town, Doma local government area of the state, yesterday.

Nigerian Elected President Of ICC 7

Former Adamawa Gov, Saleh Michika, Dies At 77 10

Ahead of the 2019 general election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has engaged whistle blowers to monitor the activities of underage registration across the country. Other establishments, including the electoral body, are now adopting the whistle-blowing policy of the federal government, which has recorded significant success in the fight against corruption. LEADERSHIP gathered that INEC has invited stakeholders to blow the whistle on any suspected case of ineligible voters in the country. The whistle blowing policy, according to the commission, is to rid the voter register of unqualified voters. INEC spokesman, Mr Rotimi Lawrence Oyekanmi, said en➔ CONTINUED ON PAGE 7

$11bn Dangote Refinery Raises Hope For Nigerian Shipowners 27


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Monday, March 12, 2018


our stand

Monday, March 12, 2018


Lobbying Culture In The Judiciary


n a recent public outing, a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar, sated that the rising culture of lobbying to influence appointments in the judiciary is capable of destroying the integrity of the judiciary if steps were not taken to curb it. Justice Mukhtar described as sad the negative impact of lobbying, favouritism and god-fatherism in the appointment of judicial officers. Before one begins to wonder if there are no set rules guiding appointments of officers in the judiciary, it is instructive to note that in June 1998, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the Commonwealth Legal Education Association, the Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges’ Association and the Commonwealth Lawyers’ Association held a conference at Latimer House, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom. The conference drew a set of guidelines governing relations between the executive, legislature and the judiciary in the promotion of good governance, the rule of law and human rights. At the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting held in Abuja in December 2003, the heads of government fully endorsed the recommendations of their Law Ministers on the Latimer Guidelines, which specify the Commonwealth principles on the accountability of and relationship between the three branches of government. In Nigeria, the judiciary has assured in several fora that it has made significant progress by not only complying with the Latimer House Principles but also with the Bangalore Principles as well. It insisted that these have formed an important part of the ethical character that underpins the operation of the Nigerian courts. The commitment to higher ideals of impartiality, propriety, diligence and competence, among others, the judiciary boasted, are no longer mere watchwords but actual standards that the nation’s Judges have to attain.

The Latimer House Principles insist that an independent, impartial, honest and competent judiciary is integral to upholding the rule of law, engendering public confidence and dispensing justice. Indeed, Value 6 of the Bangalore Principles states that competence and diligence are prerequisites to the due performance of any judicial office. To secure these aims, judicial appointments should be made on the basis of clearly defined criteria and by a

publicly declared process. The process should ensure equality of opportunity for all who are eligible for judicial offices and appointments on merit. Judges should be subjected to suspension or removal only for reasons of incapacity or misbehaviour that clearly renders them unfit to discharge their duties. These are what member countries are expected to imbibe. The National Judicial Council (NJC), the apex body of the




DEPUTY EDITOR Raliat Ahmed-Yusuf




LEADERSHIP is a national paper symbolically embedded in the nation’s capital. We shall stand up for good governance. We shall defend the interest of Nigerian people even against their rulers, and we shall raise our pen at all times in defence of what is right. These are the values by which we intend to be assessed. We shall never, ever for any reason forget the noble reason of our coming into being:

For God



nation’s judiciary, is one of the Federal Executive Bodies created by Section 153 of the 1999 Constitution as amended. The Council is vested with enormous powers and functions, which no such institution in the 1979 Constitution or any other previous Constitution had. By the provision of Paragraph 21 of Part One of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution, NJC is empowered to recommend to the president or governors from among the list of persons submitted to it by the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC), Judicial Service Committee of the FCT and State Judicial Service Commissions, for appointment as Justices, Judges or Kadis of all the superior courts of record in the country. According to the NJC new guidelines on appointments, the council however interviews all candidates, Kadis, Judges, Justices for appointment to all superior courts of record to allow for competition among candidates and transparency in the selection mechanism for judicial appointments. It is sad that despite all these rules and guidelines, lobbying, favouritism and god-fatherism still play major roles in the appointment of judicial officers in the country. This has been argued to be a norm in pluralistic, ethno-religious and democratic society like Nigeria. This is particularly so because unlike the Executive and Legislature that, in most cases, appoint their personnel and officers solely by themselves, all judicial officers’ appointment involve all the three arms of government. We agree with Justice Mukhtar that if what held sway in the past must be revived, which is maintaining a strong and competent judiciary, then merit should be the watchword. We share the view for a change in the criteria for the appointment of judicial officers in Nigeria and therefore urge the NJC to begin to implement the 2014 Revised NJC Guidelines and Procedural Rules for the Appointment of Judicial Officers of all Superior Courts of Record in Nigeria. It is worthy of note that part of the reform of the current CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, who doubles as the chairman of NJC is to ensure that the overall appointment procedure maintains the institutional integrity of the judicial appointment process so that only the most competent persons are elevated.


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Monday, March 12, 2018

Group News Editor: Ekele Peter Agbo Mo, Chimamanda, Omotola Great Ambassadors – FG BY TUNDE OGUNTOLA, Abuja

L-R: Kano State governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje; Oyo State Governor, Ajimobi; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Osun State governor Rauf Aregbesola, and minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, at the reception of the wedding of Idris Ajimobi and Fatima Ganduje, at Agodi Gardens in Oyo state, at the weekend.

Herdsmen/Farmers Clashes: 145 Suspects Arrested By Police – FG BY JONATHAN NDA-ISAIAH At least 145 suspects have since been arrested by the Nigeria Police following recent herdsmen/farmers clashes in some parts of the country, including Benue, Plateau and Nasarawa states. President Muhammadu Buhari who had given instructions to security agencies to fish out perpetrators of the violence, has been visiting some of the troubled spots and is expected in Benue State today. LEADERSHIP gathered that out of this number, 124 have been charged to court, while 21 suspects are under investigation and waiting to be charged to court. About 106 suspects were arrested for criminal conspiracy and inciting

disturbance of public peace in Wadata, Makurdi, Benue State. It would be recalled that recently, on March 5, at least 24 persons were killed and 20 others feared missing in two communities in Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State following fresh attacks by suspected herdsmen. It was also gathered that early in the year, three suspects with Ak-47 rifles were also apprehended by the Police Intelligence Team in Benue, nine members of untrained Civilian JTF/Livestock guards with prohibited firearms were arrested by the military in Arufa, a boundary town between Benue and Taraba with five AK-47 rifles who confessed that they were employed as Livestock guards

by a state government on a N150,000 monthly salary. Similarly, 16 suspects were arrested in Gboko LGA and investigations are ongoing, while several members of armed militia and unknown gunmen were killed or apprehended by the police. Other arrests made include that of 6 suspects on January 1, 2018 following the police response to the killings in Akor Village in Guma LGA on December 31, 2017. “Exhibits recovered from the suspect include 3 cutlasses, charms and other items. All the suspects were charged to court for culpable homicide. Concerted efforts are being made by the police to apprehend all culprits in the conflict,” a police source said.

The Nigerian Police have had their fair share of attacks while trying to fish out the culprits. On January 25 this year, two visiting Police Mobile Force (PMF) from 20 and 32 led by their respective unit commanders were ambushed by a group suspected to be pastoralists while they were on patrol at Sati village in Guma LGA of Benue State. During the ambush, one inspector Abdullahi Isiaka was shot and wounded, while one Sergeant Solomon Dung was reported missing. “We are doing our job diligently to ensure safety of lives and property in these flashpoint areas. So it is unfair when some people say we are being partial in how we are handling the conflict,” another police source said.

FG Didn’t Abandon Ex-militants Studying Abroad – Presidency BY JONATHAN NDA - ISAIAH

The Presidency has described as untrue reports that some of the ex-agitators studying abroad had been abandoned following the failure of the amnesty office to pay their school fees and allowances. The special adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brigadier-General Paul Tarela Boroh (retd) disclosed this to State House Correspondents during the weekend. Noting that 96 per cent of those on off-shore scholarship have graduated and returned home, Boroh stated that

ex-agitators who refused to graduate and are trying to make life unbearable for them are on their own. He said “I will never allow any of my children schooling outside this country under government (sponsorship) to suffer. “As we speak 96 per cent of those on off-shore scholarship have graduated and returned home. “I have only a few, in fact not more than 10,000 of them left in the entire globe where they have been schooling in the US, UK, Asian countries and South Africa – they have graduated and have come home. “The ones that refused to graduate and are trying to make life unbear-

able for them is their own cup of tea. “The federal government is not responsible for them anymore,” He also disclosed that no date has been fixed for the collapse of the amnesty programme. He added that his office was in the process of achieving sustainable reintegration of the ex-agitators in the programme noting that his task is to continue to ensure peace and stability in the Niger Delta region. “We have achieved 96 per cent. We have only few left, from the 30,000, we have a balance of about 10,000 left that need to be reintegrated and we are looking at Mr. President’s vision of alternatives to our oil in rein-

tegrating our youths, that has to do with agriculture and that is the focus of the programme now. We are focusing on agriculture as a way of life for the youth in the Niger Delta region. “We have gone so far that most of the youths have also bought into the idea and initiative; as a way of creating job opportunities, as a way to ensure food security in the region and, again, to develop their financial positions as they sell their farm products,” Boroh explained. Boroh stated also said those calling for his sack are those no longer benefiting from the system to the detriment of those the programme is meant for.

US Secretary Of State, Tillerson, Arrives Nigeria Today BY OMONU NELSON, Abuja

The US Secretary of state Rex Tillerson will today arrive Abuja. Mr Tillerson will become the highest ranking official in the Trump administration to

visit Nigeria. A statement by Press Advisory from the US embassy says Mr Tillerson will hold talks with President Muhammadu Buhari tomorrow. Mr Tillerson has been on a weeklong

tour of Africa. He has visited the horn of Africa just days after he announced a new five hundred and thirty three million dollars aid package for Africa. Mr Tillerson’s trip to Nigeria is coming weeks, after the recent mass kid-

napping of schoolgirls in Nigeria. When Mr Tillerson meets President Muhammadu Buhari, both men are expected to discuss counter terrorism efforts and humanitarian issues in the North East and Lake Chad Basin.

The federal government has congratulated Mo Abudu, Chimamanda Adichie and Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, over the honours recently bestowed on them on the global stage, calling them great ambassadors of Nigeria. In a statement issued in Abuja yesterday, the minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the three honorees are iconic women in the creative industry who have brought great honour not only to themselves, their families and their industry, but also to the country. He described as well-deserved the listing of Mo Abudu, the chief executive officer (CEO) of EbonyLife TV, and Nollywood star Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde among the top 50 women ‘’who are doing extraordinary things on the worldwide stage’’ by Variety magazine, a weekly American entertainment magazine. Alhaji Mohammed also said the already well-adorned cap of Chimamanda Adichie has been further festooned after her novel, Americanah, was listed in the New York Times’ list of 15 remarkable books by women that are ‘’shaping the way we read and write fiction in the 21st century’’.

Saraki Lauds Ekweremadu’s Appointment As Professor


Senate President, Bukola Saraki yesterday congratulated his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, on his appointment as a Professor and Senior Mentoring Scholar of E-Governance and Strategic Government Studies, by the Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States of America. Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, described the appointment as well deserved in view of Ekweremadu’s academic bent, notwithstanding his crowded legislative and political responsibilities. “Your appointment did not come to me as a surprise. I am only surprised that it did not come much earlier,” Saraki said. “Southern University could not have made a better choice. I am confident that your performance on this role will surpass the expectations of the university council.” He further commended Ekweremadu for not only blazing an enviable academic trail but for being a good example to his contemporaries and up coming generations. “I am happy that this recognition has again proved that with the right education, one can break any ceiling in life. I want to urge Nigerians to continue to advance their educational career in other to acquire the necessary knowledge to drive governance and development both in the country and beyond,” Saraki stated.

Monday, March 12, 2018

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Monday, March 12, 2018

End Killings Or Face Court Martial, Army Tells Field Commanders BY SUNDAY ISUWA, Abuja HEMBADOON ORSAR, Makurdi

In a bid to saturate the pressure mounted on it by the commander-in-chief, President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian Army has given marching orders to its field commanders to immediately bring to an end the wanton killings in Benue, Taraba and Adamawa and other trouble states or face court martial. The Army also warned arsonists and killers in the volatile states to desist from their acts or face decisive action by troops. This is coming just as Makurdi, the Benue State capital, has been beefed up with heavy security ahead of President Buhari’s visit to the state today. A statement by the director of Army Public Relations, Brig-Gen Texas Chukwu, yesterday noted that the Army and other security agencies are already working assiduously to identify and arrest all those involved in acts killings “regardless of their disposition in the society, including government functionaries. “We have warned our commanders on the ground to take decisive actions or face court martial,” the Army spokesman threatened. Chukwu said the attention of the Army had been drawn to the continued disturbing, senseless killings and wanton destruction of properties in the three states and that accordingly, the Army authority “strongly warns the perpetrators of these crimes to desist forthwith”. He further stated: “We would like to unequivocally reiterate that the Army Headquarters warns the arsonists and the killers to stop or face decisive action by troops. Our Rules of Engagement (ROE) are clear on arson and murder. “Therefore, no such criminal acts would be allowed in any of the aforementioned states. The public is please reminded that when troops are called out for internal security operations, they are not to joke or persuade anyone”. Meanwhile security has been beefed up in Makurdi, the Benue state capital, ahead of President Buhari’s visit to the trouble state today. LEADERSHIP gathered that there had been heavy security presence in the state capital since yesterday, with armed security operatives stationed at strategic areas. In addition, security helicopters have been hovering around the state capital since yesterday to keep the place under surveillance because of the president’s visit today. When contacted on the number of security personnel deployed to the state for the president’s visit, the state Police commissioner, Fatai Owoseni, simply said, “the president is coming, so he needs every protection. “No need of asking for the number of


personnel deployed. The president is coming and he must be protected and so security men are deployed. That’s all”, he added. Besides, the state capital is said to be wearing a new look, as the state government has renovated some of the major roads, which were hitherto dead traps. Governor Samuel Ortom, in announcing the visit of the president, stated that during the visit, the president will pay a courtesy call on the Tor Tiv and chairman of the Benue State Council of Chiefs, Professor James Ayatse. According to the governor, the president will hold a meeting with major stakeholders at the Benue Peoples’ House, Makurdi, after which he will also visit one of the eight displaced person’s camps. On his part, the president of Tiv Youths Organisation (TYO), Timothy Hembaor, insisted that President Buhari’s visit to Benue State is so much belated and of no significance to the people of the state. He queried: “Why is he coming now, after he refused to heed all the calls from Gov Ortom on the threat by Miyetti Alhah to occupy Benue valley and carry out mass eviction? He told us to go and learn how to live peacefully with our killers. Now that the threats

have been fully implemented, of what importance is his visit to us? Is he coming to see whether the plan has been executed? “The only thing we are expecting from the president is to recognise the Anti-open Grazing Law and order for its full enforcement. That is the position of the Tiv Youth Organisation. The APC government at the federal level is yet to make us feel the impact of the beauty of this government, as no federal project is reflected in Benue since the inception of this administration. The Benue populace is in a moody state because of neglect by a government they believed in so much in.” But faulting critics of Buhari’s visit to the state in a telephone chat with LEADERSHIP yesterday, the chief press secretary to the governor, Terver Akase, said, “Benue is part of Nigeria and so the president can visit the state at any given time he wants. Even if other people are saying his visit is belated, for us, we are welcoming him with the hope that his coming will bring and end to the killings in the state. “We are also hoping that the visit will give displaced persons the assurance of going back to their ancestral homes, as well as the support to the full enforcement of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Es-

NDIC Investigates Banks As Insider Fraud Rises By 38% FROM COVER

year ended 31st December, 2017. “The 286 responses received from banks in 2017 cited 26,182 cases of fraud and forgeries which is 56.30 per cent higher compared to 16,751 cases reported in 2016. Similarly, the amount involved in the fraudulent activities documented increased by N3.33 billion from the N8.68 billion reported in 2016 to N12.01 billion in 2017 or 38 per cent. “However, the Expected/Actual loss slightly-decreased by N24.42 million or 1.03 per cent from N2.39 billion in 2016 to N2.37 billion in 2017. Internet/Onlinebanking and ATM/Card-related fraud-types reported constituted 24,266 or 92.68 per cent of all the reported cases, resulting in N1.51 billion or 63.66 per cent of losses in

the Industry in 2017”. The report also documented other miscellaneous crimes such as fraudulent transfers/withdrawals, cash suppression, unauthorized credits, fraudulent conversion of cheques, diversion of customer deposits, diversion of bank charges, presentation of forged or stolen-cheques, among others. The 22 Licensed Commercial Banks and 4 Merchant banks rendered 286 Returns on Dismissed/Terminated staff as a result of fraud and forgeries during the year under review. Out of the 26,182 fraud cases reported by the 26 Licensed Banks, 320 cases were attributable to internal collaboration by bank staff. A total of 320 bank employees had their appointments either terminated or were summarily dismissed in 2017, as against 231 in 2016. The report further stated, “That repre-

sented an increase of 38.53 per cent in the total number of fraud cases reported in 2017. However, the losses arising from the reported cases decreased from N760 million in 2016 to N682 million or about 11.43 per cent in 2017. “The Corporation attributes the improvement to additional internal control measures adopted by the banks in the wake of the proactive corrective measures taken to ensure their compliance with good corporate governance principles. “However, despite the Fidelity Insurance Cover taken by banks to address fraud perpetrated by staff, there is still need for the banks to further enhance their internal control and security measures, as the rising trend of E-Channels (Online banking & Card-related) fraud and forgeries in the Industry remains a serious cause for concern to the Corporation”.

tablishment law. “As the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, we are happy that he will come and see things for himself- the level of destruction, the untold hardship suffered by the IDPs as well as the orphans and widows”. President Buhari’s visit to Benue State today is part of his tour of trouble states, including Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara and Rivers as announced by the presidency last week. The special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, had in a statement noted that the president decided to undertake an on-the-spot assessment of the various occurrences and to meet and console the communities affected. According to the presidential spokesman, the president called on all Nigerians, especially those in the affected areas, to cooperate fully with the security agencies to enable them curb the spate of crimes, bring those responsible to justice and prevent further occurrences Adesina said, “In view of recent terrorist attacks, criminal activities and communal clashes in some states leading to tragic loss of lives and kidnapping of 110 schoolgirls, President Muhammadu Buhari immediately tasked the Armed Forces and other Security agencies to compile comprehensive reports on the various incidents. “Having received and studied the reports, the President has decided to undertake an on the spot assessment of the various occurrences and to meet and console the communities affected. “From today, March 5, he will visit Taraba, and subsequently Benue, Yobe, Zamfara and Rivers States. President Buhari has been receiving daily briefings, and has been in constant touch with the Governors and has been updated with situation reports” Adesina had said.

DO YOGA More energy, better posture, greater flexibility, improved mood, and less stress are just some of the rewards of this mind-body workout. “Yoga means ‘union’ in Sanskrit,” says Cyndi Lee, founder of New York City’s Om Yoga and a FITNESS advisory board member. “Through conscious yoga breathing, you become aware of the connection between mind and body.” That translates into major antiaging advantages. Yogic breathing has been shown to oxygenate the cells, ridding them of toxins, helping prevent illness, and making skin radiant. Unlike other exercises, says Lee, yoga poses are designed to work the inside of your body as well as the outside, which helps rejuvenate the digestive system, the reproductive system, even the immune system. “Yoga is like wringing your body out like a washcloth,” she says. “It’s one of the best ways to keep things moving.” Try it! Practice yoga or other mind-body activities at least twice a week, says Lee, to give yourself an energy boost, help build bone mass, and de-stress. – Culled from 100 Best Ways To Stay Young

Monday, March 12, 2018

INEC Engages Whistleblowers To Check Underage Registration FROM COVER

gaging stakeholders to report any shoddy registration process in the country was part of the commission’s process to rid the voter register of unqualified voters, including the underage. He said the recent discovery of unqualified voters in Taraba State was part of the laid process to vet the voter register. Oyekanmi appealed to all stakeholders, including political parties and the electorates, to promptly inform the commission of any suspected case of unqualified voters. He said, “If you see anything, say something. We want Nigerians to interrogate the voter register and if they find anything there, they should let us know and we will take action. “We are just determined to make sure that we clean the register as much as possible. That is why we took the action in Taraba State. We are desirous of a credible voter register because it is crucial for a credible election.” The Taraba State office of INEC had last Tuesday issued a statement revealing the discovery of ineligible voters in the ongoing continuous voters registration exercise. It said it had flagged the illegal registration for removal from the voter register, adding that its officials involved in the offence have been queried and referred to security agencies for further investigation and possible prosecution. LEADERSHIP had earlier reported that the commission has


taken steps to delist 299 foreign voters from its register in 26 states of the federation. On a recent video of alleged underage voters in Kano State local government election, Oyekanmi said, “No single name has been added to the voter register in Kano State since 2016. “We have not issued any new PVC apart from that one used in 2015 general election. We have conducted elections using the same register in several places and there has been no complaint until now.

“Even all the political parties involved in said election were given the voter register to interrogate and scrutinize before the election, but none of them complained to INEC of any suspected underage voter in it. “And as we approach Osun State governorship election, it also means we are going to print the voter register and give it to them for possible objections”. He called on all citizens to blow the whistle on the ongoing registration, including any compromised by INEC officials.

FG Warns Against Diversion Of IDPs’ Relief Materials The federal government has warned against the diversion of relief materials meant for Internally Displaced Persons of Bakassi in Cross River and other parts of the country. The Federal Commissioner of the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants, and Internally Displaced Persons, Mrs Sadiya Umar-Farouq, gave the warning yesterday at the IDPs camp in Akpabuyo local government area of the state. Umar-Farouq visited the camp to flag-off the commencement of Emblematic Distribution of CareMaintenance and Empowerment items to Persons of Concerns in Cross River. Hundreds of Bakassi refugees, including women and children gathered to receive food items such as rice, beans, maize and non-food items, as well as sewing machines, mattresses and cooking stoves that were brought by the commission. Umar-Farouq said that the federal government was determined to step up efforts of rehabilitation and reintegration of IDPs and returnees in the country, adding that the diversion of distributed items would not be condoned. She called on state governments to place premium on improving their support to IDPs and returnees in their localities. Her words: “We gather here to-

day to flag-off the distribution of these items to target beneficiaries. This further demonstrates Federal Government’s commitment to promote the interest of the vulnerable. “It is anticipated that these items will go a long way in ameliorating the pains and heal the wounds of the victims. While we look forward to a stronger collaboration, there is need for state governments to consider improving support to IDPs and returnees as a first responder. “We will not tolerate any diversion of these items because the federal government is determined to step up efforts of rehabilitation and re-integration of IDPs and returnees in the country. The items are distributed to provide respite, succour, hope, relief, assurance and to demonstrate government’s commitment to the plights of the IDPs and returnees’’. In his remarks, Governor Ben Ayade who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Tina Agbor, said the state had recently witnessed several challenges as a result of the unprecedented influx of refugees from Southern Cameroon. He said, “Our border communities presently accommodate thousands of Southern Cameroonian refugees that have placed challenges on us.

“We have ultimately provided relief materials to them. It is hoped that your visit will ginger more commitment to the plight of the people to address the challenges’’. Mr Etim Okon-Ene, the IDPs camp leader, thanked the federal government for the relief materials, even as he appealed to the state and federal governments for the provision of a security post and a healthcare centre for the IDPs.

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Nigerian Elected President Of ICC BY AHURAKA ISAH, Abuja

Judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) sitting in a plenary session yesterday elected a Nigerian judge, Chile Eboe-Osuji, as president of the court for a three-year term with immediate effect. The judges also elected Judge Robert Fremr from Czech Republic as first vice-president and Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut from France as second vicepresident. After the elections, Osuji said, “I am deeply honoured to have been elected by my peers as President of the International Criminal Court. As I take up my duties, I feel encouraged that I am able to rely on the wide experience of the two Vice-Presidents, Judge Robert Fremr and Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, both of whom I have closely worked with previously. “I look forward to working together with them as well as with all the judges, all the Officials and the staff of the Court in a spirit of collegiality. “I also look forward to collaborating with the Assembly of States Parties, civil society and the international community at large, acting together to strengthen and re-

inforce the Rome Statute system, the 20th anniversary of the adoption of which we celebrate this year. “I am also grateful to the previous President, Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, and Vice-Presidents, Judges Joyce Aluoch and Kuniko Ozaki, for their work and leadership.” The law establishing the ICC stipulates that the presidency – consisting of the president and the two vice-presidents – play a key role in providing strategic leadership to the ICC as a whole. The presidency coordinates with the other organs and seeks the concurrence of the prosecutor on matters of mutual concern. In accordance with the Rome Statute, the ICC’s governing treaty, the presidency is responsible for the proper administration of the court, with the exception of the office of the prosecutor. The presidency oversees the activities of the registry and provides input into a broad range of administrative policies affecting the court’s overall functioning. Furthermore, it conducts judicial review of certain decisions of the Registrar and concludes courtwide cooperation agreements with states and international organizations.


The Senate yesterday confirmed the N13.1 million monthly allowances paid to each Senator aside the statutory salary of N750,000 per Senator. In a press statement signed by its spokesman, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, the Red Chamber said the figures Senator Shehu Sani mentioned were correct. Senator Sani had said that he, like any other senator, takes N13.1 million home every month aside his actual salary of N750,000, just as he added that every Senator is entitled to N200 million constituency project fund on annual basis. To this, Senator Sabi Abdullah said the statement made by his colleague from Kaduna State, Senator Shehu Sani, on the salaries and funds for running of of-

fices of Senators did not disclose anything new as the figure he gave out about running cost of the offices of Senators are contained in various line items and expenditure heads of the budget of the National Assembly, which has been made public. Abdullahi dismissed any insinuations that Sani's colleague were unhappy with him and said if people had looked critically at the budget of the National Assembly which has since been made public, they would have seen that various line items like traveling, medicals, consultancy and the rest were captured in the budget, which are the funds divided for each Senator's use. "Almost all holders of elective and appointive offices have running costs allocated to their offices and that cannot be said to be part of their salaries", Abdullahi stated.


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Monday, March 12, 2018

Kogi Gov Makes U-Turn On Sack Of Cabinet BY SAM EGWU, Lokoja

L-R: Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun; Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation, Ms. Nonny Ugboma; and Founder, Olive Blooms Orphanage, Mrs Ngozi Ken-Ugochukwu, during the handover of food and household items by the minister and MTN Foundation to Olive Blooms Orphanage in Lagos, yesterday. PHOTO BY NAN.

South East Govs Meet In Enugu BY NNAMDI MBAWIKE, Enugu

South East Governors have undertaken to construct a ring road that will cover a total area of four hundred and thirty kilometers. Addressing journalists at the end of one-day meeting of the Governors in Enugu, chairman of the forum and governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, said the ring road would connect all the states of the South East with a view to promoting

economic development of the South East states and for ease of transportation system in the region. Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, his counterpart in Ebonyi and Abia States, Dave Umahi and Okezie Ikpeazu were present at the meeting while Imo State Governor, Rocha’s Okorocha was represented by his deputy Prince Eze Madumere. Umahia further hinted that they took presentation for gas Pipelines

in the South East and advised the consultants to follow up details of implementation especially as it relates to right of way. The Ebonyi State governor further told newsmen that the meeting which lasted for several hours commended presentation on Aba Independent Power Project by Prof Bart Nnaji and asked him to liaise with the Secretariat for further implementation with the presidency. According to him, the forum

directed the five South East States Chairmen of traditional Rulers Council to be invited for amicable resolution of their crisis in their next meeting. On the burial of the former Vice President of the country, Dr Alex Ekwueme, Umahi said they expressed deep appreciation to the governors and people of the South East for the able way they worked together to give the icon a befitting burial.

2019: Imo APC Disowns Okorocha Over Son In-law’s Endorsement BY EMMANUEL MGBEAHURUIKE,


The All Progressives Congress (APC) Imo State Chapter has distanced the Party from the endorsement of Uche Nwosu by the Governor, Rochas Okorocha, and other groups. Nwosu is the son in law of the governor and Chief of Staff Government House. His open endorsement by Governor Okorocha has generated serious criticism. Speaking to LEADERSHIP, APC chairman, Dr. Hillary Eke said the has no annointed candidate.

Eke said the Party has promised to provide a level playing ground and the enabling environment for all aspirants during primaries. He stressed that only candidate that emerged victorious will be supported by the Party and there will be no room for imposition of candidates at any level. He cautioned those who are trying to do otherwise to have a rethink assuring that the Party will not condone imposition. “We have promised all aspirants a level playing ground in the primaries, only those that emerged from the primaries will

be supported by the Party. There will be no room for imposition of candidates those trying to do same are on their own”. Dr. Eke Submitted that for now, the Party has not conducted its primaries and highlighted that it is only when such exercise is carried out; nobody has the right to claim candidacy of the Party. Indicating that there is no room for automatic ticket everybody will have to prove their mettle on the field. “We have not conducted our primaries and in politics anybody has the right to adopt any aspirant of his choice and this

is personal to that individual. This is strictly personal and has nothing to do with the Party as we have no candidate as I speak.’’ Dr Eke, however, explained that Okorocha’s endorsement of his son in law as possible successor was private and has nothing to do with the Party. Stressing that the Governor was speaking for himself and this has no bearing to the hope and aspiration of the Party. While indicating that the Governor can decide to support any aspirant of his choice and stated that this is strictly private and not the Party’s position.

PMB Condoles Family Of Former Adamawa Gov, Saleh Michika BY JONATHAN NDA- ISAIAH, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has sent condolences to the government and people of Adamawa State on the passing away of its first civilian governor, Alhaji Abubakar Saleh Michika, on Saturday. President Buhari in a statement by his special

adviser media, Femi Adesina commiserated with the family, friends and professional colleagues of the astute administrator, political strategist and community developer, who worked variously with reputable international organisations before bringing his experience and skills to contribute to the development of Nigeria. The President commended

Alhaji Michika’s strong sense of patriotism and commitment to national development which prompted him to alter his career path from the private sector, and take up public office by contesting and winning the gubernatorial elections in 1992. President Buhari believes the country will sorely miss the wise counsels, visionary leadership and disciplined lifestyle of

the former Adamawa State governor. The President, who has sent a Federal Government delegation led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha to commiserate with the family, prays that the almighty God will grant the soul of the departed eternal rest, and comfort his family.

It was a drama yesterday when the Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello dissolved his cabinet and less than 30 minutes later, reversed the decision. The governor, who arrived at Lokoja yesterday from Abuja, sacked his 15 commissioners and the 21 Local Government Administrators during a meeting. He directed all affected officials to summit keys of their oficial vehicles to the, Mrs Folashade Arike. However, less than 30 minutes, the governor reversed his decision to sack both the cabinet and the 21 local government administrators. Rather, he directed that all members should continue to work with him and ordered that the status quo be maintained. The governor was said to have demanded better performance and better relationship between the appointees and the masses. Director General Media and Publicity to the governor Mr. Kingsly Fanwo in a chat with newsmen said “The Governor has reversed himself on the direction on dissolution.”

Forum Urges States To Focus On Farming BY FRANCIS OKOYE Maiduguri

The Nigeria Zero Hunger Forum has emphasized the need for states to focus on crops, Livestocks farming where they have comparative advantage. States were equally encouraged to at most, select 3 crops and one livestock for which they should give priority. This was contained in a communique issued at the weekend which was signed by the Chairman ,Nigeria Zero Hunger Forum ( NZHF) and Former President , Olusegun Obasanjo PHD , with Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno being the outcome of the Forum’s third meeting held from 8-9th March this year in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital. According to the communique , the Forum held its third meeting to monitor the implementation of the priority actions of the State, and the progress made by the other Pilot States since the last meeting in Ebonyi State last year.

PUBLIC APOLOGY AND RETRACTION Our attention has been drawn to Page 16 of LEADERHIP publication of 26th February, 2018, captioned: National Pension Commission: A Clarion Call ‘Before Things Fall Apart.’ We, hereby, apologise to Mrs Grace Usoro whom we did not intend to malign nor bring to disrepute by virtue of the said publication. We, accordingly, hereby retract the contents thereof in its entirety. EDITOR

Monday, March 12, 2018

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Monday, March 12, 2018

Saraki Mourns ex-Adamawa Gov. Michika BY AHURAKA ISAH AND SOLOMON AYADO, Abuja

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has expressed sadness over the death of the first civilian governor of Adamawa State, Alhaji Abubakar Saleh Michika. Saraki in a statement by his special adviser (Media and Publicity), Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, described the late governor as a hardworking and patriotic Nigerian who served his country both in the public and private sectors with merit during his lifetime. “Alhaji Michika’s contribution to democratic governance and national development remains legendary. He will be missed,” Saraki said. He commiserated with the immediate family of the deceased, the people and government of Adamawa State over the irreparable loss. Saraki also prayed God to count the soul of the departed among the righteous ones in Aljannah Firdaus and grant his loved ones the fortitude to bear the loss.

Former Lawmaker, 100,000 Others Defect To SDP In Adamawa BY HUSSAINI HAMMANGABDO, Yola

Former Member of the House of Representatives, Chief Emmanuel Bello, and his supporters have defected to the Social Democratic Party (SDP), to contest gubernatorial election in Adamawa State. Emmanuel, who led 100,000 of his supporters, over the weekend, defected to his new party in Yola, said his former party APC, lacks cohesion and unity required to forge a common front for the people of the state. He explained that, the ideals and fundamentals of the ruling APC has been thwarted away by some dominant forces adding that, growing unemployment, insecurity and breakdown of health system as major concern in the state. “I have decided to move away from the confusion in the APC and graciously join the Social Democratic Party (SDP), after due consultations with my supporters across the 21 local government areas in the state. “Since I became member of APC in Adamawa State, I have never been invited for a meeting of any structure of the party in the state. “The party is dead in Adamawa State, lacks cohesion and unity required to present a common front for the people of the state. The lawmaker who resigned his membership from APC and joined SDP in his ward in Garkida Gombi local government area added he has found great relief working with people of like minds who belief in moving the state and country forwards.

Minister of Power, Works & Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola,SAN(middle), Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Arc. Bala Bantex (right) and Federal Controller Housing, Mr Isiki Bams (left), during the inspection of the National Housing programme site in Rigachikun, Kaduna State recently

Former Adamawa Gov, Saleh Michika, Dies At 77 BY HUSSAINI HAMMANGABDO, Yola

Adamawa State first democratically elected governor who won gubernatorial seat under the platform of defunct National Republican Convention (NRC), Alhaji Saleh Michika is death. Michika died Saturday at the Federal Medical Centre, Yola, af-

ter a protracted illness. Born in 1941, Michika was governor of the state from January 2, 1992 to November 17, 1993, following the creation of the state out of the defunct Gongola State. Confirming the death of the former governor to newsmen, Mr Macaulay Hunohashi, the special adviser on Media to Governor Ji-

brilla said the deceased died in Yola. He said Governor Bindow had visited late governor at the hospital on Saturday, and subsequently informed of his passing away. The deceased contested under NRC party while strongest opposition Bala Takaya contested under the Social Democratic Par-

ty (SDP), a race political, pundits believe was one of the toughest in the history of the state. Funeral prayers for the late Governor Michika, would be conducted according to the Islamic rites at the palace of Lamido of Adamawa, Alhaji Muhammadu Barkindo Mustpaha by 2:00 o’clock today according to family sources.

Peace Must Return To Taraba –Nguroje BY ERNEST NZOR, Abuja The former deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and chairman, Governing Council of Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Hon. Babangida Nguroje, has commiserated with the families of all those who lost their loved ones in the communal clashes in some parts of Taraba and urged the team set up by the Taraba State government headed by the state deputy governor to engage the people in such a way that would not only douse the tension but will also birth both short and long term peace solutions.

He also called on the team to make efforts in unravelling the remote and immediate causes of the crisis amongst the people, stressing that violence is not a solution but constructive dialogue that would avail all stakeholders the opportunity to voice their grievances should be paramount in the search for an enduring peace in Taraba State and Nigeria in general. In a statement issued in Abuja, the NIPC board chairman who is also the Garkuwan Sardauna , pointed out that loss of lives in the crisis ridden areas of Taraba has unfortunately reached a disturbing state, adding that one way of

addressing it will be to ascertain the real reasons that triggered the unrest and decisively apply the solutions and provide ways of forestalling further violence. He further assured foreign and local investors that despite the skirmishes in some parts of the country and Taraba in particular, Nigeria remains one of the investment countries in the region and urged every prospective investor not to be discouraged. He reiterated his call on the traditional institutions and religious leaders as well as governments at all levels to strive to do things that would foster unity amongst the

people and the language of unity and love for one another. “I urge the team headed by the Taraba State deputy governor to meet and engage all state holders with the view to unravel the immediate and remote causes of this crisis and to proffer solutions that would bring about a lasting peace in the affected areas. “What we want in the country at this time is peace and not violence, what men and women of conscience should do is to preach peace because without peace we would not be able to meet up with other nations in terms of development.”

2019: Youths Call On Philanthropist To Join Yobe Guber Race A youth group in Yobe State, Yobe Youths Forum for Good Governance (YYFGG) has called on businessman and philanthropist, Mallam Umar Ali, to throw his hat into the ring for the Yobe governorship seat. In a news release by the coordinator of the Forum, Adamu Ahmed, the group said Ali is deserving of the position due to his many years of community services in the state. Ali, who is a renowned businessman and farmer is well known in the state for his philanthropy in pro-

vision of potable water, education sponsorship, among others. According to the socio-political group, “the transition for Yobe in 2019 should be of interest to all. We should not allow our state to be derailed from the current path of progress”. The youths noted that based on his experience as an astute businessman, Ali could translate his business acumen into public administration to take the state to greater heights. “As a passionate man of the peo-

ple, Mallam Umar Ali has also demonstrated his love for the common man and his concern over plight of the people.” The Forum, while pledging to mobilise support for Ali’s candidacy urged “all citizens of goodwill in Yobe State to rally around a credible person that is Mallam Umar Ali”. The group commended governor Ibrahim Geidam “for his patriotic statement that he will not hand over Yobe to drinkers, smokers and gamblers. We agree with the governor

that Yobe deserves a better deal”. Meanwhile, the businessman has paid a sympathy visit to Dapchi to console parents of the abducted schoolgirls in the town. Speaking in the town, Ali urged parents to intensify prayers and take solace in the fact that God almighty will not forsake them in their time of grief. He said the Buhari administration is doing its best in rescuing the girls, and urged residents to help security agents with useful leads.

Adamawa LG Disburses Scholarship To 100 Students BY HUSSAINI HAMMANGABDO, Yola Fufore local government council of Adamawa State has disbursed scholarship to 100 students of tertiary institution from the area. Presenting the cash to the students at a ceremony in Fufore, the

council chairman, Alhaji Aliyu Wakili Boya said the gesture was to encourage qualified students in the area to further their education. Boya who was represented by the chairman of the Boya Scholarship Programme, Alhaji Saidu Sali, said 50 of the students undergoing diploma programme were giv-

en N10,000 each while the other 50 undergoing degree programme were given N20, 000 each. Speaking at the occasion, the District Head of Fufore, Alhaji Abubakar Mahmud, lauded the initiative and urged other elected officials to emulate it. Mahmud also urged beneficia-

ries to reciprocate the gesture by being more dedicated to their studies. Some of the beneficiaries, Suleiman Man-Petel and Hussaini Lawur, who spoke to LEADERSHIP, thanked the council chairman for the support which they said was timely.

Monday, March 12, 2018

‘Perpetrators Of Disturbances In Bida Will Face Justice’ BY Abu Nmodu, Minna

The commissioner of Information and strategy, Niger State Alhaji Danjuma Salau, has stated that the state government will investigate, fish out and deal with those behind the last week’s disturbances that culminated into pelting of the convoy of the governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani-Bello in Bida when the governor was in the town to commiserate with the victims of the market fire disaster, some youths alleged to have been induced financially created a scene, but the commissioner in a statement yesterday stated that despite the sponsored skirmishes the governor appreciate the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar and the people of Bida Emirate for the warm reception accorded him during his visit to the area to commiserate with the victims. “The present administration under the leadership of governor Abubakar Sani-Bello remain focus on the delivery of good governance to Nigerlites irrespective of political, ethnic or religious differences. Government remain determine to ensuring peace, law and order in every nook and crannies of the state,” he posited.

Lapai Emirate Foundation Targets 4000 For Hepatitis Treatment BY Abu Nmodu, Minna

Four thousand persons are to benefit from Lapai Emirate free screening and treatment for viral hepatitis for people across Lapai local government area of Niger State. The Etsu Lapai Etsu, Umaru Bago III, who Flagged off the exercise at the Comprehensive Health Centre, Lapai at the weekend, which is in conjunction with Shamras Health Diagnostic Centre said the disease has been a silent killer. He therefore lauded the Foundation for prioritising its activities around critical sectors such as education, agriculture healthcare and security, He reiterated that the choice of hepatitis which he said has become a “silent killer” as one of its intervention areas was commendable and will go a long way in helping the people. He urged public spirited individuals, cooperate organisations and governments to collaborate with the Foundation in achieving its objectives of economic empowerment, poverty reduction and social transformation in the emirate and the state in general. The chairman of the Foundation’s working committee, Malam Mahmud Ndatsu said the first phase of the free hepatitis screening targets seven communities of Lapai, Gulu Emiko, Gulu Vatsa, Muye, Gupa, Saminaka and Shaku.

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PMB’s Visit To Benue Sign Of Hope –Ortom


Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, has expressed the hope that President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Benue State would contribute to permanently solving the security challenges in the state. Ortom expressed the hope during the handover of the Abagana Internally Displaced Persons Camp at Agan, by the Presidential Committee on Flood and Rehabilitation to the state government. Governor Ortom said the sending of two delegations to assess extent of damage caused in the state as a re-

sult of herdsmen and farmers conflict ahead of the President’s visit was a sign of hope that the IDPs would return to their homes. He stated that the visit might also signal a complete end to the violent attacks on Benue Communities by marauding herdsmen. The governor thanked the Presidential Committee on Flood and Rehabilitation for making the camp available for the state government to house victims of herdsmen attacks, stating that to complement efforts of the federal government, the state sunk three boreholes

in the camp in order to address the water need. He also expressed appreciation to public spirited individuals and organisations who have donated relief materials for the up keep of the IDPs and prayed that God should reward them abundantly. Responding, representative of the chairman of the Presidential Committee on Flood and Rehabilitation, Mr John Owoicho, commended the state government for effectively managing disasters, as he disclosed that by the Committee’s rating, Benue was leading in that direction.

Mr Owoicho maintained that the cordial working relationship between the Presidential Committee and the state government had brought about a synergy whereby facilities had been provided to guarantee the welfare of the IDPs, and expressed the Committee’s sympathy to the state over the situation. Also speaking, executive secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) Mr Emmanuel Shior, said the camp which had over 34, 000 with children comprising the highest number, had additional facilities provided by the state government.

L-R: Chairman House Committee on Healthcare Services, Hon. Chike John Okafor receiving the award of most dedicated chairman from the representative of the Clerk National Assembly, Alhaji Abdulkadir Adamu during the House of Representatives Press Corps maiden annual dinner/Award at the International conference center, Abuja, at the weekend PHOTO BY OYEDELE OMOKAGBO

Saudi Govt To Explore Investment Opportunities In Kogi BY Sam Egwu, Lokoja

The leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has declared its firm interest to invest in Kogi State in the areas of agriculture, mining and power. The Nigerian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Justice Isa Muhmmado Dodo, who disclosed this while he paid a courtesy call on the governor of the State, Yahaya Bello at his Abuja residence at the weekend, said the visit was a follow up to the earlier let-

ter sent to the state by Saudi Arabia government to invest in Kogi State. Governor Bello, commended the Ambassador for being the bearer of good tidings and assured him that the state government will provide the enabling environment for the country’s investment to thrive. According to him “Kogi has all the resources required for whatever scale of project the Saudi government wish to invest in, and that explains the timely response to the

official letter.” The state commissioner for Finance, Idris Asiru, said the visit by the Ambassador was to reiterate the Saudi government’s interest in doing business in the state and to ensure that the state had all resources and technical support needed to actualise the ventures, explaining that the Saudi government’s letter was responded to six days after it was received. According to him, “The visit of

ly members, political associates as well as those who were touched by his demise. Governor Umaru Tanko AlMakura, of Nasarawa State, who spoke shortly after the burial in Doma, described the death of Akwe Doma, as a personal loss. “He was the second civilian governor of Nasarawa State who worked tirelessly for four years to galvanise the people towards self reliance, progress and peaceful coex-

istence. I consider this a very huge personal loss given my relationship, affinity with him.

Ambassador Isa Dodo is most timely and very much welcome, It is further proof that Kogi State is headed in the right direction. To have an ambassador to the most oil rich country in the world visit us shows the big player Kogi has become on the global stage. “This visit is another in a series that has seen high profile investors heading to take advantage of the safety in the land and favourable policies of the government of Kogi State.

Ex-Nasarawa Gov, Doma, Buried Amid Tears, Eulogies BY DANJUMA JOSEPH, LAFIA

Remains of the former Nasarawa State governor, Alhaji Aliyu Akwe Doma, was finally laid to rest in his country home, Doma, yesterday afternoon amidst tears and eulogies. The deceased’s body was interred at about 12 noon, according to Islamic rites, in his personal residence along Saint John Bosco College road, in Doma. The burial was carried out amidst tears from sympathisers, friends, fami-

“Despite standing an election against him, our relationship became stronger and more intimate. He has always been around to counsel, advice on the way forward with regards to Nasarawa State,” he said. Also speaking, with our Correspondent, the Andoma of Doma, Alhaji Ahmadu Aliyu Ogah, Hassan

Liman-SAN, Mohammed Ogoshi Onawo, Member representing Doma, Awe and Keana federal constituency at the National Assembly, also eulogised the good virtues of the former governor. LEADERSHIP noticed the presence of several dignitaries and a mammoth crowd that attended the burial ceremony of the former governor who died on March 6 at an Israeli Hospital.

Kwara Guber: Family, Associates Hold Special Prayer BY Abdullahi Olesin, Ilorin

Associates, friends and supporters of a former Member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Mashood Mustspha, yestetday held a special prayer for the gubernatorial ambition of the politician to become a reality. Though the prayer was specifically

organised to mark the 55th birthday of Mustapha, the clerics were requested to beseech God to grant Mustapha’s desire of becoming the next governor of Kwara State. The anchor of the brief prayer session, Alfa AbdulGaniyu Asileke, repeatedly asked the clerics and dignitaries in attendance to focus prayer

on the celebrant’s gubernatorial ambition. Mustapha, a close aide and ally of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki is yet to make his ambition public, but his supporters have begun subtle moves to ensure that he clinches the state governorship seat come 2019. An aide to Mustapha, Suleiman Ya-

haya corroborated Asileke, saying that yesterday’s prayer session was at the instance of the entire people of Isale Aluko where Mustapha hails from. He said, “Both the Mustapha’s family and the entire people of Isale Aluko are desirous of seeing Mustapha succeeding governor Abdulfatah Ahmed come 2019.”


Monday, March 12, 2018

NITDA To Establish Digital Job Centre in A/ Ibom

Ndigbo’ll Be Among Major Beneficiaries Of PMB’s 2nd Term – Okechukwu



As part of measures to reduce restiveness and create jobs for the Nigerian teeming youths, the National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) said it has concluded plans to establish a Digital Job Centre in Akwa Ibom. The director general, of the Agency, Dr. Isa Pantami, who disclosed this at the weekend at the 9th Edition of Startup for Nigerian youths held at Emerald event center in Uyo said that the Digital Job Centre will be established at the Government Secondary School, Afaha Eket, Eket local government, to encourage and boost the ICT in Akwa-Ibom,. He said that the digital centre will motivate and encourage Nigeria youths to exchange ideas and come up with ICT solutions to the nation’s challenges. ‘’The aim of the programme is to spark up the entire spirit of the youth and understand various issues such as the legal side of startups, digital marketing, startups business models, funding opportunities for startups, regional ecosystem integration, motivational speech and the business side of startups.”

The director general of Voice of Nigeria (VON) and stalwart of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Mr. Osita Okechukwu, yesterday reassured Ndigbo that they would be one of the major beneficiaries of President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2nd Term in office. He gave the reassurance at the weekend while entertaining questions from journalists at his hometown in Eke, Udi Local government of Enugu State.

A’Ibom: Immigration Trains 130 Officers On Migration Techniques, Others BY BERNARD TOLANI DADA, Uyo

In its resolve to boost the capacity of its workforce, Nigeria Immigration Service, Akwa Ibom command, has trained a total of 130 officers and men on effective and efficient service delivery. The NIS State Comptroller, CIS Livingstone Amadi, disclosed this over weekend in Uyo while speaking with newsmen at a leadership training session for 30 officers of the command. Amadi said that the command had earlier trained 100 officers and men on the best practices of border security and management. He said: “The essence of the training is to inculcate in the officers the need to update their knowledge of migration management. “Between now and the end of year, there will be constant training sessions to keep officers abreast of the global trend on how to receive travelers at the airport, seaport and border posts. “The officers and men of the Immigration Service need training on modern day migration technique because they are the gatekeepers of the country’s borders.” He said that leadership training programme was organised for the officers and men of the command in collaboration with the Eunice Thomas Leadership Academy, an Uyo-based leadership training academy. Amadi said that the command was keying into the vision of the NIS Comptroller-General (CGI), Muhammad Babandede, with the aim of empowering officers through training to make them efficient and proactive.

Speaking Buhari’s second term, vis a vis restructuring of federation, he said “Restructuring is not a one day event, but the golden opportunity of Buhari being the only northerner, going by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the zoning convention, with only four years that ends in 2023 is a matter of fact. Voting for any other northerner, means postponement of the golden opportunity which Mr President reelection offers Ndigbo. “Restructuring is already in the cards of our great party, the

APC. Definitely some items will be restructured before 2019 general elections, going by Malam Nasir Elrufai’s committee recommendations. “Secondly, Ndigbo stand to benefit immensely from Buhari’s massive critical infrastructure - Roads, Rails, Agriculture and Power (RRAP) projects, which is first of its kind in Nigeria. As one of the hard working and entrepreneurial people in Nigeria, we stand no doubt to gain from the RRAP - 5,000 kilometers of federal roads, 5,000 kilometers of standard gauge rail lines, agrarian revolution

and additional 5,000 megawatts of electricity, with completion cycle of 3-5 years.” On how he was sure that Buhari will back an Igbo candidate to succeed him, Okechukwu stated “it is not only about Buhari’s backing; albeit more about paradigm shift of voting pattern of Ndigbo, in 2019, which signposts realignment of political forces. Let’s the truth be told, my people since 1999 had religiously been voting for PDP, without commensurate result, common sense dictates paradigm shift in our voting pattern.

Enugu State Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (4th right);Chief Judge of the state, Hon. Justice Priscilla Emehelu (3rd right); President, state Customary Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice George Nnamani (4th left); his wife and children, during Nnamani’s thanksgiving mass at Holy Trinity Parish, Iheaka, IgboEze Local Government Area, yesterday. PHOTO BY ENUGU STATE GOVT.

S/South Group Endorses PMB For 2nd Term BY TORDUE SALEM, Abuja

A South-south group of professionals under the auspices of Buhari Mobilisation and Endorsement Group(B-ME) has thrown its weight behind the second term ambition of President Muhammadu Buhari. The group gave its support in Abuja yesterday, while it received a gift of a thousand books titled “Education and Sustainable

Development in 21st Century Nigeria”, written and donated by Prof. Benedicta Egbo, an Educationist and academic based in Canada, through her representative, Alhaji Inuwa Bantam. The National Leader of the Buhari support group, Dr. Prince Charles Edet who commended the government of President Buhari for his efforts in education and security sectors, also

encouraged him to consider working with “thorough-going professionals” like Prof. Egbo and other Nigerian professionals in the Diaspora, to deepen Nigeria’s economy through quality education. He said the ocassion was not only to “endorse the President for a well-deserved second term come 2019”, but to also identify with resourceful people like Egbo. He also recommended

her for a deserving partnership with the government in the area of education. Edet commended the President for his efforts against corruption, insecurity, agriculture and power sectors. He however said the president would require more years of service in order to consolidate on his accomplishments in several sectors of the country.

Ugwuanyi Orders Rehabilitation Of 233 Bus-stop Shelters, Road Hand Rails BY NNAMDI MBAWIKE, Enugu

In furtherance of its Urban Renewal drive and upgrade of infrastructure in Enugu State, the administration of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has approved the immediate rehabilitation of 233 bus-stop shelters and road hand rails in Enugu metropolis, starting from

the dual carriageway along 82 Division, Nigerian Army, Enugu to Akwata Pedestrian Bridge by Ogbete Main Market. Addressing newsmen after the meeting of the State Executive Council (EXCO), the Commissioner for Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority, Barr. Chidi Aroh stated the government

also approved the construction of new bus-stop shelters in all the newly constructed roads in the state capital and the relocation of five “critical” bus-stops that usually cause obstruction of traffic, such as the one located at the popular Agric Bank junction, Independence Layout, Enugu. Aroh added that the decisions

were reached after the Council considered the recommendations of the team of technical experts constituted to review the state of infrastructure in the state and how they can be enhanced and beautified to improve the status of Enugu as the historical capital of the South-east geo-political zone.

Benin Industrial Park: Edo Govt Warns Trespassers BY PATRICK OCHOGA, Benin City

The Edo State government has warned trespassers encroaching on the land marked out for the Benin Industrial Park, to immediately desist from any development work on the land, noting that activities are gearing up for the commencement of work on the park. The warning, contained in a statement signed by the Secretary

to the State Government (SSG), Osarodion Ogie Esq., in Benin City, Edo State, noted that relevant Geographic Information System (GIS) data have been gathered to ensure that the perimeter of the land is properly delineated. The statement said, “Individuals and groups encroaching on the land acquired by the State Government for the development of the Benin Industrial Park are warned to

desist forthwith.” It added, “The state government had on September 28, 2017, put out a notice informing the public of the acquisition of the property, after which it ascertained the level of development on the land, to guard against activities of land grabbers and other miscreants. “To establish the level of development on the land at the time, the state government had

earlier carried out an aerial survey of the property through the Geographic Information System (GIS) Agency. The survey revealed little development on the land.” He said government has observed that some persons are illegally moving into the land to develop private properties, warning that such people will be considered criminals and the full wrath of the law will be unleashed on them.

Monday, March 12, 2018

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Monday, March 12, 2018


Monday, March 12, 2018

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SMARTNEWS Interconnect Clearinghouse, Madueke Get LEADS Africa Award BY ADENIYI ADUNOLA, Lagos

The League of African Development Students (LEADS Africa), a youth development group with the core aim of sensitizing young people on democratic and development in Africa, has honoured Interconnect Clearinghouse Nigeria Ltd (ICN), a telecom company with the Corporate Mandate Delivery Merit Award, for its contribution to the business sector. It also presented Admiral Alison Madueke (Rtd), executive chairman, ICN with the Africa’s Patriotic Statesman of the Year Award. A statement from LEADS Africa said the two awards in leadership and corporate assignment were presented to ICN at its head office in Lagos. ICN is the pioneer Clearinghouse in Nigeria, with its ability to empower youth through job creation, embracing diversity and creating an environment that is hundred percent staff friendly. It provides direction and leadership ethos in its niche sector, thereby contributing to Africa’s development. ICN is the sole Number Portability Clearinghouse (NPC), licensed by NCC to operate and manage the Mobile Number Portability Services in Nigeria. According to them, “Admiral Alison Madueke, the executive chairman of ICN has proven to be sagacious, and ingenious, possessing a rare and exquisite skill of leadership, especially with prior assignments as military governor of two states in Nigeria. “He has exhibited exemplary leadership to the youth, and this has endeared many youths particularly from LEADS Africa to honour him with the award.”

A woman with one of her kids sleeping on ground while expecting gift from people at Ikotun area of Lagos, yesterday.


FG's Response To Lassa Fever Cases Prompt–Minister Group BY ODIRI UCHENUNU-IBEH, Lagos

Contrary to reports that the nation's prohibitive cost of Lassa fever treatment is engendering high mortality, the Minister of Health Professor Isaac Adewole has said the federal government has continued to lead the response to the Lassa fever outbreak across the country. In a statement signed by the

Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu made available to journalists, Adewole said government's response has been timely and effective. He pointed out that the headline recently carried by a national newspaper that the prohibitive cost of treatment is engendering high mortality from Lassa fever was far from the true picture

of Lassa fever treatment in the country. “While the Nigerian Government has welcomed the support of NonGovernmental Organisations such as the Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA), they have come to support existing efforts by the Federal Government and State Governments who continue to lead the response to the Lassa fever outbreak" he said.

Civil Societies Tackle NBA Over Ultimatum To LASG On Land Use Charge BY GEORGE OKOJIE, LAGOS

Civil society group operating under the aegis of Centre for Public Accountability (CPA) as well other civil allies in Lagos State have expressed concerns over ultimatum given by Nigeria Bar Association,(NBA), Ikeja branch to Lagos State Government over Land Use Charge. The Executive Director, Centre for Public Accountability, Comrade Olufemi Lawson noted that the Nigerian Bar Association Ikeja Branch seemed to have thrown

professional etiquettes to the winds, abandon its well-cherished traditions as the defender of the less privileged and socially alienated to become the mercenary megaphone of some over pampered, higher middle class perpetual public tax evaders. They argued the Land Use Charge was never a product of arbitrary proclamation of the state governor saying they wondered why ,”learned men of the legal profession cannot simply take the civilised means of rectifying of perceived social injustice by approaching the competent court

of law to seek judicial pronouncement on the law but rather gentlemen of the legal profession are threatening fire and brimstone to take laws into their own hands by disrupting law and other in the state. “We unequivocally condemn the plan of Ikeja NBA to cause public riot in the state if the law is not reversed. Need we remind the NBA Ikeja branch that other well-meaning Lagos civil society organisations like ours are at liberty to rally round our members to equally protest the attempt of the Bar to instigate chaos in our state.

Firm Plans Children TV In Nigeria BY SAMUEL ABULUDE, Lagos

Mango Television and Production Company Limited has said plans are in the offing to float a children television in Nigeria. The firm’s media representative Nkong Victoria Remi said the concept is driven by a special purpose vehicle founded by highly experienced Business, Media Management, Production and Marketing experts. According to her, “the administrative arm of the company will launch out of Nigeria from a management and

content creation standpoint, which will be known as Mango Media, while the channel will be known as Mango TV.” Nkong explained that the company directors are Francis Ogboro, Biola Alabi, Ali Safieddine, Hadi Safieddine and Carl Raccah, saying Mango TV will be the first dedicated Children’s Television Channel on the African Continent. She said,” Our programming is aimed at children between the ages of four to 16 years of age and Mum and Dad. Mango TV will be a safe

place for families to watch television. Mango TV will see the emergence of a carefully created African Children’s TV Channel that will not only entertain African Children, but also educate the African Child using examples, characters and stories that they can relate to. “It is vital that the African Child is exposed to ‘Afro-Centric’ programs which entertain and educate, the result of which will manifest in a more informed, educated, aware, openminded, confident and empowered adult.

Ruminates On Nigeria E-waste Crisis


Nigeria's first Non Governmental Organization focused on tackling the electronic-waste (e-waste) crisis within the country and the West African region has vowed to proffer solutions the problems. The President of the NGO Mr. Ifeanyi Ochonogor in his speech at the inaugural meeting of its board of trustees, said the NGO also known as the E-waste Relief Foundation (ERF) is driven by the passion to aid, in solving the e-waste problems within the country and beyond. He stated that the ERF is charged with the task of educating people on the dangers of improper e-waste management, as well as enlightening them on the right solutions that are available to stop the crisis at hand. "It is in making people understand the threats we face, that they see reasons to join in the process of putting an end to the e-waste challenges that beset us". Ochonogor pointed out. Harping on the mandate of the ERF, Ochonogor stressed that the founding of the institution has ushered in a new era, one filled with hope and an assurance that the e-waste crisis within Nigeria and even around West Africa will be tackled headlong, with the best of technology and to the utmost of international environmental standards.


Leadership Newspapers


Monday, March 12, 2018

Monday, March 12, 2018

Leadership Newspapers




Leadership Newspapers


Monday, March 12, 2018


11-year-old Jamila Needs N5m For Stem Cell Transplant


t the tender age of 11, pretty Jamila Umar Mohammed is battling with sickle cell anaemia and more than ever before needs the assistance of kind hearted members of the public. Born with sickle cell anemia and her parents getting to know about it when she was about six months old, Jamila suffers severe body pains and organs disorder anytime the ailment begins. This entails that she has to be admitted to the hospital a couple of times in a year to be treated for hand-foot syndrome occasioned by swollen hands and feet. Miss Jamila who is currently undergoing treatment at Celltek Healtcare Limited in Benin City, needs N5 million as hospital bills for transplantation and one year drugs post transplantation. According to her father, Umar Mohammed, while Jamila needs N10 million to be treated, he has been able to raise the sum of N5 million through the benevolence of some members of the public, with which she has successfully undergone stem cell transplant at Celltek Healtcare Limited in Benin City while the results are awaited from Basel University, technical partners to Celltek Healthcare. “We are seeking the help of public spirited individuals to help us raise the balance of N5 million to cover for the cost of transplantation and one year drugs post transplantation”, Mohammed noted in a letter he sent to LEADERSHIP. He further noted that the family has expended all its funds; hence, the appeal to the public to further assist. He said willing donors could support by contributing their widow’s mite.

Donations could be sent to the following bank account: Account name: Umar Mohammed. Bank: Zenith Account number: 1003926359 For further enquiries, please contact Mohammed on: 08035888894

Monday, March 12, 2018

Leadership Newspapers




As Govs, Senators Wrangle Over Democratic Tenets

In this report, AHURAKA YUSUF ISAH compares and contrasts actions of some state governors and some senators against the backdrop of democratic tenets in the country

Ekweremadu described the situation as worrisome, warning that with the present state of affairs in the country where political violence was going on unchecked, there was a possibility of military takeover and a total destruction of the hard-earned democracy

The Senate on March 7 this year warned Nigerians not to rule out military takeover in the country if the ugly trend of incessant political brigandage, intimidation, victimization and killings being promoted witnessed in the country were not promptly tackled by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration. The remark followed a motion moved by Senator Ahmad Ogembe (Kogi Central, PDP) on the disruption of his empowerment programme on Saturday March 3, 2018 in Okene, Kogi State. Concomitantly, Senators took turns to recall their experiences or discuss similar incidences in some states. Ogembe had, in his motion, told the upper chamber that on Saturday, March 3, he organised an empowerment programme for his constituents, but lamented that the event was disrupted by hoodlums and miscreants, who unleashed violence on his constituents. He also told the Senate that the Nigerian Police Force Area Commander, Okene and the Divisional Police Officer of Okene, Okehi and Adavi Local Government Areas within his senatorial district were aware of the empowerment programme and the political violence unleashed on beneficiaries and supporters who gathered to witness the event, but did nothing. The lawmaker lamented that the political violence, kidnappings, killings, assassinations of people in his constituency and political supporters in Kogi Central Senatorial District had become the order of the day, accusing the police of turning a blind eye. Ogembe expressed concern that as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he could not go to his senatorial district to carry out a peaceful empowerment programme without being harassed and intimidated. Contributing to the motion, Ekweremadu described the situation as worrisome, warning that with the present state of affairs in the country where political violence was going on unchecked, there was a possibility of military takeover and a total destruction of the hard-earned democracy. His words: “The problem in Nigeria now is that our democracy is receding and the international community needs to know this. Who says that the Army cannot take over in Nigeria? It is possible. So let us not joke with our democracy, especially with the way they are going. “Last two weeks, we were talking about the house of a senator, which was destroyed in Kaduna State. We


were talking about how security people laid siege to Dino Melaye; we are talking of Rabiu Kwankwaso, who was stopped from going to his state, Kano State, which he ruled for eight years. “In Kaduna, Shehu Sani cannot organise a meeting and we are talking of democracy. And somebody says this democracy is going to continue this way, it is not going to continue. People are holding meetings everyday on how to deal with each and every one of us here. “So, there is need for the international community to know this, because they helped us to restore democracy to Nigeria. And some gangs of people are trying to truncate the entire democracy. In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who presided over part of the plenary, said that the incidents in Kogi, Kano and Kaduna were great threats to democracy and insisted that the National Assembly must rise to the occasion and ensure that democracy was not truncated. One anonymous watcher with sarcasm retorted that it appears the senators hardly listen to themselves when discussing actions or ‘’shortcomings’’ of other people. ‘’Do these people have conscience at all? He mockingly asked his neigbour sitting together at the senate gallery. Of course, conduct of our senators sometimes reminds one of an item in William Penn’s collection; ‘’Some Fruits of Solitude in Reflections and Maxims (1682)’’: “If thou hast not conquer’d thy self in that which is thy

own particular Weakness, thou hast no Title to Virtue, tho’ thou art free of other Men’s. For a Covetous Man to inveigh against Prodigality, an Atheist against Idolatry, a Tyrant against Rebellion, or a Lyer against Forgery, and a Drunkard against Intemperance, is for the Pot to call the Kettle black’’ Earlier, Thomas Shelton’s 1620 translation of the Spanish novel Don Quixote. The protagonist is growing increasingly restive under the criticisms of his servant Sancho Panza, of which one is that “You are like what is said that the frying-pan said to the kettle, Avant, black-browes’ ‘’we are dirtied in common by contact with the cooking fire’’. In Matthew 7:3-5, it is criticism of a less significant failing by those who are worse that is the target of the Sermon on the Mount: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? A clear example for this common behavior amongst men was aptly demonstrated at the senate plenary on February 20, 2018 when the senate directed its committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to investigate the veracity or otherwise of the allegation that the amendment of the Electoral Act to put the election of the President at the rear was targeted at the President. Led by the then Chairman of Northern Senators Caucus and former governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, the 10 senators were peeved that their argument against the

bill to amend Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) was truncated at the plenary by Senate President Saraki stormed out of the plenary to address the press on February 14, 2018. The aggrieved APC senators included Binta Garba (Adamawa); Ali Wakili (Bauchi); Kurfi Umaru (Katsina); Andrew Uchendu (Rivers); Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (APC Delta Central); Abdullahi Danbaba (Sokoto); Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi); Abu Ibrahim (Katsina); and Benjamin Uwajumogu (Imo). They declared in their separate submissions that the passed electoral act will not see the light of the day since according to them, it was targeted against President Muhammadu Buhari. “ Section 25(1) of the act reordering the sequence of elections from the one earlier released by INEC last year , is a law targeted at an individual which to us is totally in bad faith and will not be allowed to stand”, Senator Adamu specifically said . But citing Senate Order 14, Senator Dino Melaye drew the attention of his colleagues to the fact that his privilege as a Senator as well as the collective privileges of Senators have been breached by the allegation that the amendment effected on the Electoral Act by the Senate was targeted at the President. Melaye said:”I cannot be part of any group of persons that will target people in discharging official responsibilities. If decisions in this Senate is now being teleguided and targeted at any particular person, then that is no longer democracy. That statement to me is weighty. “Today, to say that the decision of the Senate, the integrity of the Senate put together, that it was tailored towards targeting a particular person, it is unheard of, it is in bad taste. And I do not want to be part of that” Seeking the nod of the Senate for an investigation into the allegation, Melaye said: “I want to add that this statement was made by Omo-Agege among other statements, that the Committee on Ethics and Privileges need to investigate this matter and find out if truly our decision was made and targeted at Mr President among other issues raised by him. The Senate committee which has been asked to conclude its investigation and submit report for Senate consideration within two weeks was the same committee which investigated another allegation against Ali Ndume and eventually led to his suspension. Senator Melaye also moved the motion that ➔ CONTINUED ON THE NEXT PAGE



Leadership Newspapers


Monday, March 12, 2018

As Govs, Senators Wrangle Over Democratic Tenets ➔ FROM PREVIOUS PAGE




led to the suspension of Senator Ndume. Curiously, in the same plenary of that February 20, 2018, the Senate condemned the demolition of the secretariat of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Kaduna State. This followed a motion sponsored by Senator Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna State) in which he drew the attention of his colleagues to what he called an open attack on democratic pillars by the Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai. He stated that the governor led a team of soldiers and policemen to 11 Sambo Road, Kaduna to demolish a house belonging to Senator Hunkuyi. Sani noted that it has become obvious that members of APC in Kaduna State “cannot accommodate somebody who has the tendencies of Adolf Hitler, Mobutu Sese Seko and Nebuchadnezzar. This is coming one year after the same governor demolished a house belonging to the vice chairman of APC in North West, Abdulkadir. This is a series of brigandage and tyranny carried out by the governor against opposition voices. “I will say it very clear, in the last two and a half years, we have been faced with open tyranny. My constituency office has been attacked by thugs 11 times. The governor has been using security men to harass people in the state. “How can an elected governor demolish a house without notice, simply because we opened an office different from the one he has personalized. This action by the governor has been done in the name of President Buhari who is a father to El-Rufai. Governor El-Rufai is an affliction to the Kaduna State. He is a curse to us. We want to call on Buhari to caution his son. If this crisis is not nipped in the bud, it will grow into something bigger. Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu who presided, said, “This is not open to debate. We need to condemn this action. I send my sympathies to Hukunyi. This democracy has no place for tyranny and impunity. If we decide to go on the road of democracy, we must accept some of the things that come with it. One is the rule of law. If we have any grievances, we should use the courts. As Ekweremadu has mentioned, democracy in the true words of it has no room for ‘’tyranny’’. But according to Plato and Aristotle a tyrant is a person who rules without law, using extreme and cruel methods against both his own people and others. It is defined further in the Encyclopédie as a usurper of sovereign power who makes his subjects the victims of his passions and unjust desires, which he substitutes for laws. “The Oxford English Dictionary offers alternative definitions: a ruler, an illegitimate ruler (a usurper), an absolute ruler (despot) or an oppressive, unjust or cruel ruler. The term is usually applied to vicious dictators who achieve bad results for the governed’’. On March 29, 2017, Senate suspended Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume (Borno South, APC), for six months for raising a motion on the floor of the senate, to demand for an investigation into media reports alleging that the Senate President, Bukola Saraki imported a bullet proof range rover with fake documents; while Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi west) forged Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria first degree certificate. The House of Representatives had earlier on September 28, 2016 suspended Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin representing Kano for 180 legislative days for accusing the Speaker Dogara, his deputy Yusuf Lasun, House Whip, Alhassan Dogu-

wa, Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, and nine others for fraudulently padding the 2016 budget. Jibrin is still serving the illicit punishment meted on him by his colleagues. In attempt to whip the senators along the line and obedient to leadership of the upper legislative chamber, the Northern Senators Caucus (Forum) on February 21, 2018 announced the removal of Senator Abdullahi Adamu as its chairman saying he allegedly misappropriated forum’s funds. In a similar development, another arrow heads of the Senators that protested against the passage of the Independent National Electoral Act (INEC) amendment Senator Ovie Omo Agege same day backtracked and apologized to the Senate for fear of victimization. Senate refused to accept his apology, insisting he should proceed to respond to his charges before its committee. This is even when senate spokesman, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi refered to him openly in the plenary as a ‘’culprit’’ the following day. This is just as senate on March 8, 2018 directed its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition to investigate the allegation of insurrection or coup plot against leadership of the senate and plot to destabilize the upper legislative chamber as a whole by a group of senators allegedly led by Senator Adamu Abdullahi. The senate resolution followed the alarm raised by Senator Obinna Ogba (PDP Ebonyi Central) through order 43 of the Senate standing rules, saying documentary evidence on the alleged plot was already in his possession for the Senate to nip it in the bud. This may be reminiscence of a coup det’at allegedly sponsored by the late General Sani Abacha through his the then Chief of Staff, General Bamayii in order to get rid of some opposition elements within and outside his government including his the then second in command, General Diya. There is nowhere in the constitution or in the senate handbook, which makes it an offence or act of sedition for a senator aspiring to become a senate president, or rallying other senators to impeach senate president in order to assume office of the senate president. This is just as it is not even an offence for legislators to attempt to impeach the President of the country talk less of the senate president. But Senator Adamu Abdullahi is about to be suspended for trump up charge of attempting to overthrow Saraki as senate president. All these actions were being meted by the senators against fellow senators who were elected by various or 109 senatorial districts making up the country with equal jurisdiction. This is more so, that several courts in the country have declared acts of suspension of senators by senators as illegal, unconstitutional, null and void. What then is more unjust, defining act of tyranny by senators suspending fellow senators; thereby denying some senatorial districts of representatives in the upper legislative chambers? And such punishments were awarded against the senator simply because he or she opposed a bill the senate president is interested in its passage, or that the senator air his opinion contrary to the position of the senate president. This is why some stakeholders are questioning the quality of the bills passed by the 8th senate, saying it is devoid of opposing views, highly sentimental, not issue based but rather targeted at some personalities and a moment in time instead to greatly address the future. By the way, passage of the national budget have been suffering from effect

of senate-presidency cold war. The budget passage has become a political instrument to get back to the executive with little or no consideration for the Nigerians the budget is expected to serve. According to Barr Alasa Ismail, there is nothing more than this that threaten the democracy than the ripple effect of yearly delay to pass the budget by the legislature. Barr Ismail further observed that the senate ought to circumspect at the theatrical reports being tabled by some senators at the senate plenary, saying many of the so-called treatments they said their state governors meted on them were selfinflicted. Those reports were just meant to whip sentiments, curry favour of their constituents, and spotlight their state governors in grotesque manners. “Senator Dino Melaye had reported that some assailants attacked his home in Ayetoro-Gbede, Ijumu local government area of Kogi State on April 15 with attempt to assassinate him. He said not less than 200 bullet holes were marked in his house, even though no rat was killed at the end of it all. “Melaye who is now standing trial for raising false alarm staged another drama that the FCT High Court in Maitama was surrounded by SARS with attempt to arrest him for an offence he’s yet to disclose weeks after, except the narration of how he played ‘’James Bond’’ to escape. Nigeria Police are trying him for his Ayetoro-Gbede home attack hoax stories. “Senator Ogembe said his state governor sent people to disrupt his “empowerment programme’’ at Okene. How are we sure he actually wanted to empower anybody. How about the 20 bags of rice he donated in the National Assembly for Kogi people? Where is his own and that of his ‘’drama-theater- senators? “Come to think of it, is it the Kwara state governor that organized people to stone the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, at a prayer ground in Ilorin on September 24, 2015 shortly after he and other political as well as religious dignitaries arrived for festive Eid Barak prayers? This is just as on Senator Isah Misau (Bauchi Central, APC) was allegedly attacked by irate youths on Saturday April 16, 2016 in the Ningi area of his constituency while attending a social function. Senator Abu Ibrahim and Amiru Tukur, the member representing Bakori/Danja Federal constituency in the House of Representatives narrowly escaped mob action at a political event organized by the Katsina State chapter of APC on April 16, 2017 in Funtua. Senate Majority Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan, was ordered back by angry youth in his constituency, making it impossible for him to attend a wedding ceremony at the Emir of Bade’s palace on Saturday May 20, 2017. And on November 3, 2017, Senate’s spokesman, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi was assaulted and stoned in Kontagora, head quarter of his constituency. He received a serious insults, disgrace and stoning by the Executives of the party in Kontagora. Yet, on November 18, 2017, photos emerged claiming youths in Kwara State have allegedly set the house of Senator Mohammed Shaba Lafiagi who represents Kwara North, ablaze in the state for allegedly ordering soldiers to shoot three people who were among those protesting his misrepresentation in the state. All these senators are in good relationships with their state governors, yet their constituents were revolting against them. Ogembe should rather take steps to find out why his constituents are revolting against him too.

For a Covetous Man to inveigh against Prodigality, an Atheist against Idolatry, a Tyrant against Rebellion, or a Lyer against Forgery, and a Drunkard against Intemperance, is for the Pot to call the Kettle black

Monday, March 12, 2018

Leadership Newspapers






Buratai Tasks Parents On Indigenous Cultures

Minister Directs AMMC To Refurbish Abandoned Vehicles BY DAVID ADUGE-ANI Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has directed the management of the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC) to rehabilitate about 25 vehicles abandoned in their premises. Bello, who gave the directive when he inspected nine vehicles refurbished by the council, at the sum of N6.3million, observed that most of the vehicles and machines in the yard still had lives in them, but were abandoned on very flimsy repair excuses. The minister stated that the administration would refund AMMC the amount it spent in undertaking the refurbishment of the nine vehicles, adding the revolving fund should be use for rehabilitating the remaining 25 abandoned vehicles. He however commended the management of the council for restoring to life the agency’s broken-down vehicles and machinery rather than procurement of new ones, adding that the initiative has saved the administration the more than N225 million. According to him, “This is judicious utilization of funds and I must commend the management of the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC) for this initiative.”


National president, ABU alumni Prof Ahmed Tijani Mora flanked by deputy national president Zainab Sheriff (left) and chairman local organising committee, Mr Sam Agbi during a press briefing in Abuja at the weekend.

Unemployment: FCTA Begins Youths Empowerment Programme BY DAVID ADUGE-ANI Worried by the rate of youths unemployment in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat (ARDS) of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has organised an empowerment workshop on agro entrepreneur for youths living in the territory. The first batch of the workshop, which was organised in Gwagwalada, at the weekend, attracted about 600 youths, drawn from all the six area councils of the territory. Flagging-off the empowerment workshop, the secretary, ARDS, Hon.

Stanley Ifeanyichukwu Nzekwe, explained that the initiative was aimed at equipping the youths with useful agroentrepreneurial skills to enable them become self-employed and generate income for themselves and their families. Nzekwe lamented that many youths over rely on white collar jobs, just as he urged them to embrace the various opportunities abound in the agricultural sector. According to him, “This workshop will not have come at a better time, especially now that our dear country is grappling with the challenges of youth restiveness and high poverty rates. This is worsened by lack of vocational skills that will

provide youth viable options to earn sustainable livelihood.” He reiterated that the minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, has approved the participation of the administration in the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS), to improve the socio-economic conditions of youths. The secretary reassured FCT farmers of the preparedness of the secretariat to deploy extension workers to rural communities to assist in enhancing good agronomic practices to increase their agricultural yields and meet up with global standards.

... Holds Science, Technology Expo BY DAVID ADUGE-ANI The department of science and technology in the Education Secretariat of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has concluded arrangement to hold the 4th edition of “FCT Science and Technology Expo” from Tuesday 13th to Thursday 15th March, 2018 in Abuja. The expo tagged, ‘FASTECH

2018’, is expected to attract various personalities, such as the minister of the Federal Capital Territory(FCT), Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, the minister of science and technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, and various heads of agencies and departments, as well as inventors, entrepreneurs, artisans and students, who will be showcasing their products and inventions. Speakers at the event will also

include Professor Michael Umale Adikwu, vice chancellor, University of Abuja, who would deliver the keynote address, the chief executive officer, Biocrop Biotechnology Ltd, Dr Shola Odusanya, who would deliver a paper titled, ‘Science and Technology in Agricultural Value Chain for Economic Development’, while Dr Ndagi Abdulmalik of the National Board for Technological Incubation, will deliver a paper titled “Building

Trust in Indigenous Products/Goods.” A statement signed by the assistant director (Information) Education Secretariat, Anthony Ogunleye, which was made available to LEADERSHIP yesterday, explained that FASTECH is a platform designed to identify and bring together all stakeholders, including public and private scientists, inventors, artisans and entrepreneurs to showcase their products and services.

He explained that the topic was selected based on the fact that the development of any nation is interconnected with the quality of education it delivers.”We believe that the development of any nation is intertwined with the university education and the quality of graduates from the university,” he said. Prof Ahmed further stated that the committee has completed a tour of all

the zones in order to reactivate those branches that are inactive, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari would be the special guest of honour at the lecture. Speaking on the incessant strike actions by university workers, he urged the university unions to approach the national assembly to present their cases for legislation for the interest of the education sector.

ABU Alumni To Honour Members


The Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), alumni has concluded arrangements to honour distinguished members for outstanding performances and contributions to national development. National president of the alumni, Prof Ahmed Tijani Mora, in a press conference in Abuja at the weekend,

said the 2018 annual lecture and recognition award aims to reward distinguished colleagues for their contributions in promoting tertiary education. Mora said the 2018 annual lecture, which is scheduled to hold on the 14th of April, with the topic ‘Relevance of Tertiary Education in Contemporary Nigeria’ would be delivered by Professor Iya Abubakar.

Wife of the Chief of Army Staff, Mrs. Umma-Kalsum Buratai, has urged parents to teach their children indigenous cultures, such as ways of talking, eating, dressing and how to cultivate best behavioural patterns. Buratai, who is the national president, Nigerian Army Officers’ Wives Association (NAOWA), made the call during the maiden Cultural Day ceremony of NAOWA Model Nursery and Primary School, Kurudu-Abuja. She advised parents against allowing foreign cultures to dominate their respective indigenous cultures, adding that great indigenous cultural heritage should be maintained and kept alive. Represented by Mrs. Aruk Isoni, the NAOWA president noted that the moral decadence in the society today is because parents do not have time to inculcate good cultural values into their children. “The moral decadence in our society today is because we don’t have time to inculcate these cultural values into our children. Parents prefer the western cultures, which have brought about a great menace in our behaviour and the way we showcase ourselves.” Earlier in her opening remarks, the school head, Mrs. Abimbola Oshakuade, described the Cultural Day as a celebration of cultural diversity of children, parents and teachers in the school and the society at large. Also speaking, the chairman, Parents, Teachers Association (PTA), Mr. Ben Adoga commended the school management for the decision to start an annual cultural day, which he noted would help foster unity.




US Warns Syria Against Weaponized Gas US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned Syria yesterday would be “very unwise” for government forces to use weaponized gas, as he cited unconfirmed reports of chlorine attacks in eastern Ghouta and slammed Russian support for Damascus. Mattis stopped short of threatening to retaliate against Syrian forces if a chlorine attack were confirmed. But he noted America’s cruise missile strike on April 6, 2017, on a Syrian air base over a sarin gas attack and said President Donald Trump had “full political maneuver room” to take whatever decision he believed was appropriate. “It would be very unwise for them to use weaponized gas. And I think President Trump made that very clear early in his administration,” Mattis said, speaking with a small group of reporters before landing in Oman. Mattis said he did not currently have clear evidence of any recent chlorine gas attacks but noted numerous media reports about chlorine use.

Rescue workers and opposition activists in eastern Ghouta have accused the government of using chlorine gas during the campaign. The government firmly denies this. Damascus and Moscow have accused rebels of planning to orchestrate poison gas attacks in order to draw blame onto the Syrian government. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has vowed to continue the offensive in eastern Ghouta, one of the deadliest in the war. With the conflict entering its eighth year, capturing eastern Ghouta would be a major victory for Assad, who has steadily regained control of rebel areas with Russian and Iranian support. Mattis chided Moscow for partnering with Assad, suggesting it might even be a partner in the Syrian government’s strikes on civilians. “Either Russia is incompetent or in cahoots with Assad. There’s an awful lot of reports about chlorine gas use or about symptoms that could be resulting from chlorine gas,” Mattis said.

S/Africa Gold Miners’ Await Lawsuit Settlement South African gold producers will likely reach a settlement within six weeks in a lawsuit over a fatal lung disease that companies have set aside 5 billion rand ($420 million) in provisions for, a lawyer and industry group said yesterday. “I am confident we will finalize the settlement within six weeks,” Richard Spoor, the human rights lawyer who has spearheaded the class action suit over the disease silicosis, which gold miners contract while working underground, told Reporters A spokesman for the working group on Occupational Lung Disease (OLD), a group put together by the six companies involved, said it was is “hopeful” the settlement can be reached in that timeframe. The settlement would still need

to be approved by a High Court before it was implemented. In February, Graham Briggs, the chair of the working group, said the settlement was seen within “months”. On top of the 5 billion rand that companies have made in provisions, there is 4 billion rand available from a compensation fund to which the industry has been contributing for years. The suit was launched around six years ago on behalf of miners suffering from silicosis, contracted by inhaling silica dust in gold mines. Almost all of the claimants are black miners from South Africa and neighboring countries such as Lesotho, whom critics say were not provided with adequate protection during and even after apartheid rule ended in 1994.

Canada Provincial Party Elects New Leader Months Before Polls The main opposition party of Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, elected a new leader yesterday three months before provincial elections, ending turmoil in the party following the sudden resignation of the previous chief The center-right Progressive Conservatives, which have been leading in polls to unseat the ruling Liberals, elected Doug Ford after a chaotic day of vote counting which saw the result delayed by several hours. Fifty-three year old Ford is the

brother of late Rob Ford, the former mayor of Toronto who gained global notoriety for admitting to smoking crack cocaine while in office. The party was thrown into chaos in January after party leader Patrick Brown resigned following accusations of sexual misconduct. Brown has denied the allegations. Ford, a former Toronto city councillor, will have to unify the party and spearhead a campaign to oust Ontario’s 14-year-old Liberal government, led by Premier Kathleen Wynne.

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Monday, March 12, 2018

Queen Pledges Support For Commonwealth Blessing Bature, Abuja

The Commonwealth head of government Queen Elizabeth yesterday plegues to collaborate with Commonwealth Through exchanging ideas, and seeing life from other perspectives, saying we grow in understanding and work more collaboratively towards a common future This was contained in a statement made available to LEADERSHIP yesterday. According to the statement,

the Queen’s message to the 53 Commonwealth member nations will feature in a service, at Westminster Abbey to mark Commonwealth Day, tagged ‘ toward a common future’ and is expected to be attended by the Prime Minister, senior members of the royal family and Meghan Markle - her first official event with the Queen. “We all have reason to give thanks for the numerous ways in which our lives are enriched when we learn from others. Through exchanging ideas, and seeing life from other perspectives, we grow in understanding and work more

Queen Elizbeth

collaboratively towards a common future. There is a very special value in the insights we gain through the Commonwealth connection; shared inheritances help us overcome difference so that diversity is a cause for celebration rather than division. We shall see this in action at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which takes place in the United Kingdom next month, bringing together young people, business and civil society from across the Commonwealth. She added These gatherings are themselves fine examples of how consensus and commitment can help to create a future that is fairer, more secure, more prosperous and sustainable. Having enjoyed the warm hospitality of so many Commonwealth countries over the years, I look forward to the pleasure of welcoming the leaders of our family of 53 nations to my homes in London and Windsor. Sport also contributes to building peace and development. The excitement and positive potential of friendly rivalry will be on display next month as we enjoy the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia. Contributing to the success of the Games, alongside athletes and officials, will be thousands of volunteers.

Syrian Rebels Engage In Fierce Battle At Ghouta The Syrian army and rebel groups engaged in fierce battles early yesterday on a critical front in eastern Ghouta where government advances have in effect splintered the insurgent enclave into three, a war monitor said. More than 1,100 civilians have been killed in the onslaught on the biggest rebel stronghold near Damascus since it began three weeks ago with a withering bombardment, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. It said there was intense fighting on several fronts accompanied by a government artillery barrage, continuous air raids and attacks by helicopters. The major towns of Douma and Harasta all but cut off.

Rebels said the towns had not been entirely cut off from each other, or from the larger rebel area to their south, but the Observatory said army fire on the roads linking those three places meant the enclave had been split. Failaq al-Rahman and Jaish alIslam, the two largest rebel groups in eastern Ghouta, have vowed to resist the army’s offensive, but they have lost more than half the enclave’s area in two weeks of ground fighting. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his ally Russia see the rebels as terrorist groups, and say their offensive is needed to end the rebels’ rule over eastern Ghouta’s large population. But the violence of their assault

has prompted condemnation from Western countries and repeated calls by United Nations aid agencies for a humanitarian ceasefire. While the government and Russia say they have set up safe routes into government-held territory, no civilians are known to have crossed through them yet. Damascus and Moscow accuse rebels of firing on anybody who tries to leave, something the insurgents deny though a Reuters witness said there was shelling and gunfire near one exit route on Friday. Rebels and some eastern Ghouta residents contacted by Reuters have said people there do not want to come back under Assad’s rule for fear of persecution, an idea the government says is groundless.

PM Abe Faces Presure Over Suspected Cronyism Scandal Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his ally, Finance Minister Taro Aso, face mounting pressure over a suspected cronyism scandal as the finance ministry prepares to report on Monday that documents in the case were doctored. Abe, now in his sixth year in office, had hoped to put the issue of the sale of state-owned land at a huge discount to a school operator with ties to his wife, Akie, behind him. But it has gathered steam with a series of

fresh revelations. A source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Saturday the finance ministry planned to report to parliament on Monday that it had found instances where content was deleted from documents submitted to lawmakers. The source spoke on condition of anonymity. “If this is true, isn’t political responsibility unavoidable?” Akira Nagatsuma, a senior lawmaker in the opposition Constitutional

Democratic Party of Japan, told reporters on Sunday. Abe has repeatedly denied he or his wife did favors for school operator Moritomo Gakuen, which bought the land, and has said he would resign if evidence were found that they had. The issue last year sharply eroded Abe’s popularity. Former Moritomo Gakuen head Yasunori Kagoike and his wife were arrested in July on suspicion of illegally receiving subsidies.

China Allows Xi To Remain President Indefinitely China’s largely rubber stamp parliament yesterday passed a series of constitutional amendments, including one that removes presidential term limits, allowing President Xi Jinping to remain in office indefinitely. The announcement of the vote, witnessed by reporters in the Great Hall of the People, passed with two “no” votes and three abstentions

among almost 3,000 delegates. China’s ruling Communist Party proposed the amendment last month and there was never any doubt it would pass as parliament is packed with loyal party members who would not have opposed the proposal. In the run up to the vote, critics on social media attacked the move and drew parallels to North Korea or suggested a Mao Zedong-type

cult of personality was forming. But the government quickly mounted a propaganda push, blocking some articles and publishing pieces praising the party. The party loyalists who attend the annual session of parliament have said the decision is popular with ordinary Chinese people and asserted that China was lucky to have a leader of President Xi’s caliber.

Monday, March 12, 2018

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Nigeria - Ghana: The Imperative Of Unity BY ABUBAKAR BUKOLA SARAKI

It is 59 years since Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s historic visit to Nigeria –in 1959 – in those heady days after the first All African People’s Conference, which Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe hailed as the beginning of a Federation of Independent West African States. Noting that Ghana and Nigeria’s struggles were identical in many respects, Dr. Azikiwe had declared that, “The very diversity of our peoples, and customs and languages, means that we have much to contribute to each other.” He looked forward to our two countries becoming “models of honest and democratic government” capable of giving hope to all of Africa. Typically, when we hear of a ‘special relationship’ between nations, it is with regard to Britain and America; and as the Reagan and Thatcher era showed forth, these are relationships that outlive governments. Ours, too, is a special relationship, which should outlive us and be a reference point in Africa. The onus and leadership rests on us. What we do now, lays the basis for the continent’s future. Here then is the imperative of unity between our two nations and in the region. With unity and democracy as standard, we can lay the groundwork for good governance and development. We are thus presented with the opportunity to work for democracy, using the instrumentality of parliament.

If Africa is to be fully integrated into the global economy, its constituent nations must be governed by the rule of law, and we have to commit to making the required adjustment now. The strength of democracy starts with the strength of parliament. It is our responsibility to instill in the body politic the time-honoured principles of participation, transparency and accountability, and to fight corruption, always making the space for stakeholder participation.This is the modern model of governance. Parliaments are a stabilising force in democracy, especially with regard to oversight responsibility. We must be courageous; even when some of our initiatives fly in the face of special interest, ours is to do what is right for our people. To do this, we must defend democracy. We have seen for ourselves the beauty of democracy in its infancy. That should give us the inspiration to steer it to a level where it can compete favourably with older democracies in the developed world. As a community of democratic West African States, ECOWAS makes it that much easier to build consensus; and the organisation can serve this purpose very effectively on security and the economy. As many regional challenges indicate, our people suffer when the needed policies are not in place. In Nigeria, Boko Haram insurgency and herdsmen-and-

farmers conflicts come with regional dimensions – further aggravated by porous borders that advertise the weakness in trans-national security, while facilitating irregular migration and human trafficking. There is a need to strengthen our security apparatus so that together, we can fight terrorism. It is a threat to government, education and economic development. We have much to build upon. Trading relations between Nigeria and Ghana have begun to peak. Collaboration between the Nigerian film industry - Nollywood - and Ghanaian actors, directors and producers, remind us that ageold competition in football and even music – for who can forget the glorious days of E.T. Mensah and his co-travellers in Highlife? – all of that, can be channelled in truly great and creative directions. We are the richest continent in resources and yet we are the poorest, because we have allowed ourselves to be pigeon-holed as the supplier of raw materials to the world. The leaders of our two countries are clear in their stance on the raw materials pivot of our economies. President Muhammadu Buhari has said that,“Our vision is for a Nigeria in which we grow what we eat.” And President AkufoAddo is unequivocal: “We must add value to [our] resources,we must industrialise and we must enhance agricultural productivity.” The two leaders have identified this flaw in our economies,

and we in parliament must support them with appropriate legislation in order to realise their vision. African parliaments have to come together to crosspollinate ideas about how to move the continent forward. It is unacceptable that Africa’s trade with Europe far outstrips that between African nations. British foreign investment in Africa totalled $54.1 billion in 2014. China had an estimated 2,650 projects ongoing on our continent in 2015. Meanwhile, Africa’s share of the global trade stands at 3 per cent,inter-Africa trade is 11 per cent. We must devise an economic model that produces and manufactures primarily for the African market, and then use that as a basis upon which to engage with the wider world. I strongly believe that our people’s talent for innovation and enterprise makes them our most valuable resources – it is our role therefore, to give them opportunities to translate these into going concerns. This will create wealth and enable us to compete globally. Africa cannot afford to lag behind. We must work to make the sub-region a place of investment. We must generate wealth for the people of Africa. It is incumbent on us to make clear promises and to deliver on them. Our two nations can forge ahead by sharing experiences, building upon valued discourses about the way the world works, and how to make our

people beneficiaries as well as contributors to the great leaps of this century. We must invest in primary, secondary and tertiary education – up to the 26 percent of the national budget recommended by the United Nations. It must be mandatory for every child to go to school; we should ensure that there are incentives for those that send their children to school, and penalties for those that do not.We have to pull every one of our citizens out of the cycle of poverty and ignorance, and education is the means by which to do so.My vision for Africa is an optimistic one. I am very upbeat about the continent, I am very upbeat about the future. Greater educational, scientific and technological interaction can lay a basis for our part of the world to match the rest of the world. Democracy is not just about elections; it is about putting knowledge at the disposal of a people determined to take their future into their own hands. If the African continent is to be a success story – or even the African Union (AU) for that matter, ECOWAS must play a key role. And for ECOWAS to lead the charge, Ghana and Nigeria must step up to the plate, and fulfil their leadership role on the continent. –Excerpt of speech delivered by the President of the Senate, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, to the Parliament of Ghana on March 5, 2018.

Re-investment Of Trust In National Pension Commission BY CHUKWU IBIAM Far beyond and above the orchestrated political drama surrounding the National Pension Commission (Pen Com), there seems to be an absence of focus on what is quintessential for the industry-there’s a woeful deficit of public discussion and awareness on the trust building initiatives that the commission has recently engendered. Very little is discussed about the on going steps for internal reforms, increased professionalism and transparency at the commission. Rather much energy of public dialogue is being squandered on such matters as to what should be the tribal pedigree and geo political origin of the occupant of DG’s position at PenCom. Despite the allure of such issue and other diversionary and emotional subjects regarding PenCom, they do not bear any significance on the vital obligations of the regulatory agency. It should be clear that the foremost consideration for the Nigerian worker who has toiled into old age and dependent on their pensions is the indissoluble guarantee that their savings are secured. While the elites who have appropriated huge personal wealth may be advancing other interests or even maneuvering around the potential 8-trillion

naira fund under the fiduciary supervision of Pen Com, the average Nigerian pensioner has only one interest-to see that dependable and trusted management is at the helms of the commission’s affairs. Unfortunately, the voices of those who bear the greatest risk if the Pension Commission fails in its obligation, those voices are regrettably suffocated by jingoists with dubious motives in the industry. As a long time monitor of issues relating to workers pension worldwide, I can affirm that the most essential asset in any such operation is the element of trust. If PenCom is to gain global respect as the supervisory custodian of the life saving assets of pensioners, then the most crucial and vulnerable stakeholders must have confidence in the competence and honesty of the commissions’ management. For instance, irrespective of her tribe, it would always be questionable as to why a former chief executive of PenCom expended the asset of the commission for the establishment of a television station for the agency. The station on which about 2 billion naira was allegedly spent is literally of no value to either the commission or the stakeholders whose interest PenCom was supposed to advance and protect. The same kind of unbiased scrutiny should be extended to the annual fiesta called,

World Africa Pension Summit, that was staged by Pen Com for three consecutive years (2014), 2015 and 2016). How can it be defended or explained that a sum of 1 billion naira of the commissions’ resources was spent on this event every year. While the prestigious event could have been of considerable social and self enhancing benefits for some leaders of PenCom, the event was denounced by respectable stakeholders in the industry to be absolutely valueless to the statutory mission of the commission. Are the stakeholders and contributors of PenCom not entitled to have answers from those involved in these kind of questionable projects in the aforementioned years? Additionally, there’s need to also unearth the facts relating to the lawsuit in which PenCom is now defending the agency as a garnishee following the obtainment of a 400miilion naira private loan by a top executive of the regulatory agency. With such a troubling history, PenCom needed new transparent hands and strategic minds to guide its affairs. Since her appointment as acting director general being the most senior staff in PenCom’s hierarchy to fill the vacancy left in 2017, Acting DG, Aisha Dahir- Umar, has engaged in various internal reforms to cleanse and strengthen the image of PenCom. A widely respected

management scholar and seasoned administrator, Dahir-Umar made thoughtful executive review of the pending programmes by her predecessor while she scrapped those with questionable public benefits. Despite intense pressure from those ingrained in the sickening sociology of PenCom, the Acting DG took the courageous decision not to resume what was obviously a 1 billion naira annual shenanigan in the guise of a global pension summit. Dahir-Umar has equally acted with speed in catalyzing the progressive projects established by the founding DGs of Pencom. She has been tireless in setting up the structures for the smooth commencement of the Micro Pension Scheme. Dahir-Umar’s enthusiasm in this project is understandable as the scheme would encourage people without regular income to establish a culture of savings. Such small business owners as barbers, taxi drivers and low income market women will be offered special flexibility which will allow them early withdrawals to meet up with exigent needs especially for reinvestments in and expansion of their enterprises. Informed watchers of the industry are keenly watching PenCom’s comprehensive preparation and campaign to ensure widespread registration and collections as well as attractive structured payments

of benefits as envisaged under the scheme. One incontrovertible fact is the determined effort of the new director general to regenerate trust in the supervisory agency and the commitment is yielding desired results. There are signs of increased confidence in PenCom as the new management did not lose time in sending signals of new orientation internally and to concerned contributors and participants in the industry. From every informed projection, the future of the pension industry under PenCom is formidably encouraging. It seems that the new management is prepared to usher in a new era of greater participation and understanding of the affairs of the regulatory agency as a way of building confidence and trust. The fiduciary duty of regulation, supervision and ensuring the effective administration of pension matters in Nigeria are too vital to the lives of millions of pensioners and the nation’s economy. The new management of PenCom must therefore embrace the historic obligation of its assignment with a sense of sacred patriotism and professionalism so as not to betray the hopes and aspirations especially of those who depend on the agency for their very survival. –Ibiam, an economic analyst, wrote in from Enugu


Monday, March 12, 2018






August September October

17.61 17.85 18.33



16.01 15.98 15.91


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ON 1M 3M 6M

12.7500 15.8177 16.6959 18.5692

-1.56 0.19 0.34 0.22

Group Seeks Stakeholders’ Agreement On Port Charges BY KEHINDE SALLAH, Lagos

The Shipping Correspondents Association of Nigeria (SCAN) is set to bring stakeholders in the Nigerian maritime industry to a roundtable to deliberate and come to a consensus on the volatile port charges charged by agencies at the seaports. According to a statement signed by the president, SCAN, Mr. Yusuf Babalola, the one-day forum, which will hold at the Rockview Hotel, Apapa, tagged: ‘Port charges, how Plausible?’ will discuss how port charges causes cargo diversion to neighbouring countries. According to the statement, a financial expert and research analyst, Johnson Chukwu will deliver the keynote speech. “The summit will not be a buck or blame passing event, it will find solution to the cost of doing business that is fuelling cargo diversion,” the statement read in part. The summit also will also find lasting solutions to the myriad of challenges confronting Nigerian shippers, terminal operators, clearing agents, importers, port regulators and other stakeholders operating in the nation’s maritime sector. According to SCAN, series of complaints by operators, regulators, and shippers, clearing agents and other stakeholders in the shipping industry over exorbitant charges that they say is fuelling diversion motivated the need to organize the summit. “Stakeholders are regretting that Group Business Editor Bayo Amodu 08118672002 Business Editor (Lagos) Chima Akwaja Assistant Business Editors Kingsley Alu Tony Awunor Correspondent Chika Izuora Reporters Ruth Tene Natsa Bukola Idowu Olushola Bello Suzan Nwachukwu Abah Adah George Okojie Chika Okeke

L- R: Governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo; group managing director, Access Bank Plc, Dr Herbert Wigwe; Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II and the Emir of Gombe, Abubakar Shehu-Abubakar at the conferment of Honorary Doctorate Degree of Business (Honoris Causa) on Wigwe by Gombe State University, at the weekend.

Dangote $11bn Refinery Raises Fresh Hope For Indigenous Shipowners BY YUSUF BABALOLA, Lagos

Indigenous shipowners have expressed optimism in the much expected $11 billion Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Plant in IbejuLekki, Lagos, which they say raises fresh hope of survival for them as they expect freights from the refinery to other parts of the country and abroad would be handled by Nigerian vessels in line with local content policy of the federal government. The refinery will produce 650,000 barrels per day of refined petroleum products to meet Nigeria’s refined petroleum products needs as well as export to other countries. Experts however said when the refinery comes on stream in 2019 as projected, it will provide businesses for indigenous shipowners who would be engaged in the movement of crude and refined products locally and internationally. LEADERSHIP recall that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) recently released the Nigeria’s Maritime Industry Forecast 2018–2019, which projected that oil tanker fleet size will increase by 1.7 percent in 2019. Speaking exclusively with LEADERSHIP yesterday, president, Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA), Alhaji Aminu Umar, said the refinery would create businesses opportunities for indigenous carriers. He said: “When it eventually comes on stream, it will be positive because

it will help our local shipowners. “If you look at it, Dangote refinery production has a capacity of about 650,000 barrels a day and when it comes on stream, it will cover about 50 percent of the demand for oil in Nigeria. If that covers up to 50 percent of the product demand or supply in this country, then, it will be very good for local shipowners because the cargoes will not be transported or removed from the refinery with trucks but by ships to the various depots all over the country.” He also explained that when it comes on stream, local shipowners will see lots of cargoes moving and coming from Dangote refinery to other oil depots or to NNPC designated depots that may be buying from Dangote on behalf of Nigerians marketers. He expressed optimism that Nigerian flagged vessels will be employed to move export cargoes out of the refinery. In Addition to that, Umar said there will be movement of crude. “We don’t know what Dangote plans are whether he will be using p‎ ipelines to move cargoes or be using Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) from the crude terminal to his refinery. However, in addition to the crude, there are other intermediate products that are there in the refinery apart from petrol, diesel and kerosene. “There are other products to be exported out of the refinery and since

it is a Nigeria refinery, most likely, vessels will be taken from here to freight the other products out of the refinery abroad, so, you will see Nigeria shipowners getting business to deliver cargoes to other countries in the world wherever Dangote is selling its export products. Nigeria shipowners will have the advantage to deliver those cargoes.’’ When asked whether indigenous shipowners have the capacity to move cargoes abroad, Umar said, “the capacity is there. You will be surprised that Dangote himself will buy ship and be a shipowner. We know he has the capacity to buy all kinds of ships he wants to buy, so, he might likely be investing in shipping and buy ships that will be transporting his crude.’’ Umar, who is the managing director of Seatransport Services Nigeria Limited, an indigenous shipping company, said indigenous shipowners operating in the downstream oil sector have been operating in West Africa, but with the coming of Dangote Refinery in 2019, it would open a new route for them beyond the West African coast. “Today, the tanker owners are doing West Africa to Nigeria, that is, the vessels are chartered to load cargo from a West Africa offshore vessel into a Nigerian seaport and no Nigerian Shipowners have a ship that has the capacity to load from the refinery in Europe or Arabian Gulf to Nigeria.


Business 101 with MBAKAAN KWEN

Low Budget Marketting Ideas For Small Businesses You don’t have much money to spend on your business? There are plenty of marketing tactics you can make use of that won’t blow your small marketing budget as outlined by Megan Marrs thus; •GET AD PROMO CREDITS: While massive ad campaigns may be out of your budget, there are often discounts and coupons floating around for paid Facebook ads or Google ads. Some web hosting services offer advertising discount codes as part of their membership offerings. •BE A SAVVY SOCIAL NETWORKER: Create business accounts and participate in the big social media sites – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest. Add Instagram in there too if your business is image-oriented. Also, check out this list of easy facebook marketing ideas for any type of business. •INFOGRAPHICS: Infographics are powerful marketing tools. They are visual eye candy, easy to digest, and people love to share them. Therefore, they are a great way to drive up referral traffic and links. Hiring a designer to make you an A+ infographic can hit your wallet hard, but you can make your own on the cheap if you do not mind a bit of a challenge. •LOUNGE ABOUT ON LINKEDIN: LinkedIn is a major social media site that is often under-utilized. Do not just add network connections and sign out – join groups, enter into dialogue with connections, and share your blog posts. There is a ton happening on LinkedIn, and it can be a great place to promote your content, share ideas, and build your brand.

QUOTE OF THE DAY For Alcoholic Beverages, the current advalorem rate will be replaced with specific rates and spread over three years to moderate the impact on prices.” Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun said.




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Overvaluation Affecting Sale Of Assets – AMCON


The Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has said it is having difficulty in selling off the assets it took over from debtors due to inappropriate valuations alleging that obligors are teaming up with valuers to influence the value of properties in the process of forfeiture. It said the stockpile of assets worth several billions of naira cut across critical sectors of the economy such as real estate, energy, transportation and aviation, maritime, agriculture and manufacturing amongst others. To this end, the managing director and chief executive of AMCON, Mr. Ahmed

Kuru, has called for the creation of AMCON Market to enable it dispose several billions of naira worth of assets that are tied down in its book due to inappropriate valuation which it could not sell in the regular open market. Represented by an executive director with AMCON, Dr. Eberechukwu Uneze, at a one-day sensitisation forum for AMCON’s Valuers and Receiver Managers in Lagos, Kuru said the AMCON Market would involve key players in valuation, insurance, legal, among other strategic stakeholders. At the forum themed: “Valuation of AMCON assets: The Imperatives of Competence, diligence and commitment”, he said the

creation of the proposed AMCON market would help address a lot of irregularities that affect the outcome of valuation in the country. The conference is part of AMCON’s renewed strategy to continually engage different professionals whose practice directly impact on its recovery activities. “We are using this opportunity to appeal to the conscience of valuers to the realities and the negative implication of wrong valuation to the recovery effort of AMCON. When you carry out this assignment as valuers especially when it relates to AMCON assets, please make use of the appropriate methodology. “When you are appointed as valuers for AMCON,

please don’t just look at it as a business; kindly consider it as a national assignment because we owe it a duty to Nigerians to recover these debts as quickly as possible because AMCON is not here in perpetuity. Your contribution would help strengthen the hands of AMCON to enable the corporation realise its mandate,”‎ Kuru said. The AMCON boss said the call had become necessary because of the feedback the corporation gets from key stakeholders. He said there were allegations of unprofessional behaviour by some valuers who unnecessarily overvalue some assets, which in turn makes it impossible for AMCON to dispose such assets. He said: “The feedback

we get from some of our key stakeholders is not palatable. Some of them have come to us with the allegation that some obligors go to the extent of trying to influence the decision of some valuers. That is very wrong. Such sharp practice would not help our recovery mandate. It is also not good because the money AMCON is recovering belongs to Nigeria. That is why we are calling for the creation of an AMCON market because the implication of the outcome of your valuation has very huge impact on our mandate.” He informed the participants that the assets that are with AMCON belong mostly to companies and organisations whose loans were taken over by AMCON.

Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika (middle) flanked by chief financial officer, Patrick Iyamabo; (1st left) group executive, International Banking, Bashirat Odunewu, (2nd left); director, FBN Holdings Plc.,Cecelia Akintomide (3rd right); chief risk officer, FirstBank, Segun Alebiosu (2nd right) and company secretary, Irene Netimah, during the FirstBank Female Staff Interactive Session held in commemoration of the International Women’s Day, recently.

Liquidity Sustains As Forex Inflow Drops Liquidity at the Nigerian money market continued to remain robust despite a mop up of N460.64 billion from the market through the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Open Market Operations as foreign exchange inflows through the Investors and Exporters window declined. Total turnover in the I&E forex window dropped sharply by 60.97 per cent to $539.90 million, with bulk of trades still within the N360 and N369 to the dollar band.

While the value of the naira to the dollar at the parallel market appreciated at the parallel market, it weakened at the I&E window selling at N360.32 to the dollar by the close of business last week Friday. This is despite an injection of into the market by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) during the week. The apex bank had sold $565.43 million during the week. It injected $210 million comprising $100 million, $55 million, and

$55 million disbursements to the wholesale, SMEs, and invisibles windows, respectively. On Friday, it also injected $355.43 million into the interbank foreign exchange market to meet requests in the agricultural, airlines, petroleum products and raw materials and machinery sectors. Meanwhile, the CBN mopped up N460.63 billion from the money market in four of the five trading days of the week. It had mopped up N150 billion and N152.93 bil-

lion on Tuesday, cutting back on the mop up on Wednesday and Thursday to N67.77 billion and N89.93 billion respectively. Banks’ deposit with the CBN through the Standing Deposit Facility stood at N345.05 billion with the highest inflow coming in on Friday. SDF on Friday was N106.51 billion while it was N56.41 billion, N58.05 billion, N57.47 billion and N66.61 billion from Monday to Thursday. SDF last week

was lower compared with N525.14 billion that was recorded the previous week. Lending through the Standing Lending Facility continued to decline for the third consecutive week dropping to N156.83 billion last week compared to N161.17 billion recorded the previous week. Banks had borrowed N27.63 billion, N25.88 billion, N33.42 billion, 32.51 billion and 31.37 billion through the SLF in the course of last week.

Retail Activities Pick Up As PoS Transactions Rise Retail activities in the country picked up in February after a decline in January as the volume of transactions done via Point of Sale terminals (PoS) picked up, although the value was down by 4.7 per cent according to data released by the Nigeria Inter Bank Settlement System (NIBSS). PoS transaction volume picked up from 16.1 million in January to 16.713 million in February showing a 3.9 per cent improvement in volume while the transaction value dropped to N144.87 billion in February from N152.1 billion the previous month. In January, the PoS transaction value had dropped by 9.24 per cent N152.1 billion from N167.57 billion in December while the transaction volume declined by 5.6 per cent from 17.05 million. Purchasing Managers Index which measures the level of business activities in the country had shown a decline from 59 index points in December to 57 in January and 56 in February. The volume of transaction that were done through the NIBSS Instant Payment (NIP) also picked up although the value of transactions done in February was lower than what was recorded in January. From 41.02million transactions done in January, volume rose to 43.86 million, while value dropped slightly to N5.6 trillion in February from N5.7 trillion. The volume and value of transactions done via the mobile interscheme transfer on the other hand rose in February by 9.6 and 6.9 per cents respectively. The volume of transactions had risen from 470,442 to 515,692 while the value rose to N22.39 billion form 20.95 billion. Interest in cheques usage continued to wane as transaction done via cheques dropped in volume to 78,659 in February from 885,166 while the value declined to N426.91 billion from N449.25 billion recorded in January.


Monday, March 12, 2018

Leadership Newspapers


CP % change 0.44 10.00 18.40 9.52 0.97 8.99 0.26 8.33 0.42 7.69


Symbols FTNCocoa Unitykap Regalins Eterna Wapic

CP % change 0.32 -5.88 0.33 -5.71 0.35 -5.41 6.07 -4.86 0.60 -4.76




Symbols Lasaco Cadbury Japauloil Multiverse ABCTrans


ASI (Points)...........................................................................43,167.86 DEALS (Numbers)................................................................4,599 VOLUME (Numbers billion)................................................1.54 VALUE (Nbillion)..................................................................19.71 CAP (Ntrn).............................................................................N15.508

Vitafoam Targets Subsidiaries For Increased Shareholder Value

Earnings Expectation To Drive Market Direction ...As NSE ASI gains 0.68%


The Nigerian equities market sustained its positive performance for the second consecutive week on the back of positive macro-economic fundamentals and expected positive corporate earnings. The All Share Index (ASI) rose 291.63 points or 0.68 per cent week-on-week to 43,167.86 points while the year-to-date return improved to 12.88 per cent. Consequently, market capitalization increased by N105 billion to settle at N15.508 trillion. Stocks market analysts attributed this largely positive performance to buying interest in medium cap stocks in anticipation of the release of earnings scorecards. Across sectors, perfor-

mance was largely mixed as three of five indices closed in the green. The Oil and Gas appreciated the most, up 5.6 percent largely driven by rally in Seplat. The Consumer and Industrial Goods indices followed suit, rising 1.7 per cent apiece following gains in Unilever, Flourmill Nigeria, Wapco and Beta Glass On the flipside, price depreciation in Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Wapic Insurance and Aiico Insurance dragged the Banking and Insurance indices 1.1 per cent and 0.7 per cent lower last week. Investor sentiment measured by market breadth as 42 stocks advanced relative to 38 socks that declined. Japaul Oil recorded the highest weekly price gain of 54 per cent, Consolidate Hallmark

Insurance followed with a gain of 34.5 per cent and Lasaco Assurance appreciated by 25.7 per cent. On the losers’ chart, Regency Alliance Insurance declined by 27.1 per cent, African Alliance Insurance shed 13.9 per cent, while FTN Cocoa Processors depreciated by 13.5 per cent. In the same vein, activity level strengthened as average volume and value traded rose 27.6 per cent and 1.9 per cent to 553.7 million units and N7.9 billion respectively. Chemical and Allied Products traded 309 million shares, Zenith Bank transacted 131 million share and Sterling Bank traded 123.7 million were the top traded stocks by volume while Guaranty Trust Bank transacted N4.6 billion, Zenith Bank traded N4 billion and Dangote Cement sold

N2.1 billion to be the top traded by value. Outlook For This Week This week, capital market analysts said 2017 corporate earnings expectation to drive market direction in the nearterm. Analysts at Afrinvest said that “Earnings of companies that have published results have been largely positive and we expect market performance to remain upbeat as investors take position in fundamentally sound stocks in anticipation of more corporate scorecard releases.” Cordros Capital also said “as investor sentiment remains buoyed by optimism around positive macro-economic fundamentals, and expected positive fourth quarter, 2017 corporate releases, our outlook for the equities market remains positive.”

Vetiva Lists Additional 104m Units Of ETF On NSE Vetiva Fund Managers Limited (Vetiva) has listed an additional total of 103.51 million units of ETF on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). According to the notice on the NSE, additional volume of 83.7 million units of Vetiva Banking ETF (VETBANK), 14.28 million units of Vetiva Consumer Goods ETF (VETGOODS) and 5.53 units of Vetiva Industrial Goods ETF (VETINDETF) were added to their respective outstanding shares on the March 9, 2018.

By this action, the outstanding volume of these ETPs now stand at 154.41 million, 26.36 million and 10.05 million respectively. An exchange-traded fund (ETF) is an investment fund traded on stock exchanges, much like stocks that tracks an index, a commodity, bonds, or a basket of assets like an index fund. Vetiva listed the first equity Exchange Traded Fund, the Vetiva Griffin 30 ETF, which tracks the perfor-

mance of the NSE 30 Index in March 2014. Vetiva also listed the first set of Sectoral Exchange Traded Funds, the Vetiva Banking ETF, Vetiva Consumer Goods ETF and Vetiva Industrial Goods ETF in October 2015. They are open-ended equity-based exchange traded funds which have been designed to individually track the NSE Banking Index, NSE Consumer Goods Index and NSE Industrial Index respectively and to replicate the

price and yield performance of the relevant Index. Vetiva Fund Managers Limited is registered with the Securities & Exchange Commission to carry on business as Fund/Portfolio Manager. The Company is primarily engaged in Fund and Asset Management through sponsoring and issuance of Mutual Funds, Exchange Traded Funds and other Collective Investment Schemes as well as Private Wealth Management.

Vitafoam Nigeria Plc has announced the plan to increase its shareholder value with expected strong earnings from its subsidiaries. Besides, the company has assured the elated shareholders that the board and management shall look into the popular demand for floating Rights Issue to strengthen its working capital. By the company’s performance last year, most of its subsidiaries are already operating profitably while others have strong potential to enhance its profitability. Addressing the shareholders at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos, recently, the chairman, Dr. Bamidele Makanjuola explained that a strategic review of the company’s business units to ascertain continued alignment with broader transformation objectives was undertaken to position it for accelerated profitability. According to him, the company had completed its expansion project and has begun to consolidate for optimal performance as reflected in the current status of some subsidiaries. “Vitapur Nigeria Limited has become a source of hope and inspiration. It has posted profit for the second year running. Our moulded foam products, Vitavisco Nigeria Limited has continued to operate profitably. It is growing slowly but steadily. Vitafoam Nigeria Limited has maintained its profit-making streak, although this was attenuated during the year by the adverse economic conditions in the country,” said Makanjuola He assured the shareholders that the company would revamp Vono Furniture Products, Vitagreen Nigeria Limited while strategic decision would be tak-

en on Vitafoam Sierra Leone Limited and Vitafoam Ghana Limited respectively in view of the negative impacts of foreign exchange on their operations. Makanjuola further stated that shareholder value would always be at the focal point of the company’s consolidation phase. The shareholders commended the company’s board and management on its long tradition of stability and regularity of dividends despite the tough operating environment. A shareholder, Alhaji Gbadebo Adetokunbo commended the company’s foresight in diversification into pre-fabricated buildings and leather products that could be exported to earn foreign exchange and canvased for floating of rights issue to generate revenue internally in addition to prudent management of the N2.1 billion loan from the bank of industry (BoI). Commenting on the rights issue, the group managing director of the company, Mr. Taiwo Adeniyi explained that the company would look into the capital injection option and take the most professional decision on it at the appropriate time. Reviewing the operating environment, Adeniyi said, “on the forex issue, unfavorable monetary policy of the federal government led to high interest rates, devaluation of the naira and hyperinflation which all combined to increase our production costs. With the economic recession experienced during the greater part of last financial year under review, management was mindful of price increases but as a good corporate citizen, the company could not completely pass the costs to consumers through products’ prices increases.”


Leadership Newspapers


Monday, March 12, 2018

Nascon Allied Remains Investors’Toast With Impressive 2017 Performance



According to the results, profit growth was double digits, following which the directors offered an equally double digit increase in dividend

The board of Nascon Allied Products, a member of the Dangote Group, presented its financial result for the year ended December 31, 2017 with a good returns for investors. The results which was released on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) at the weekend showed that despite a 133 per cent rise in tax expense and a 47.95 per cent growth in sales revenue. According to the results, profit growth was double digits, following which the directors offered an equally double digit increase in dividend. The company has recommended a dividend of N1.50 per share, up from the previous 70 kobo per share from Earnings Per Share (EPS) of N2.02 and 91 kobo respectively for the period under review. Revenue for the period rose by 47.95 per cent to N27.06 billion from N18.29 billion, of which N23.21 billion, up from N15.86 billion was realised from the sale of edible refined, bulk, industrial salt, seasoning and vegetable oil. A further breakdown showed that salt remained the biggest contributor to revenue and sales costs, amounting N22.25 billion and N11.62 billion. Cost of sales increased to N17.07 billion from N12.37 billion in prior year, representing an increase of N4.696bn or 37.95 per cent. Other income dropped to N11.3 million from N18.48 million; distribution costs slowed down to N604.72 million from N638.19 million; while administrative expenses rose to N1.77 billion from N1.48 billion, resulting

in operating profit of N7.63 billion, compared to N3.82 billion in 2016. Investment income for the year jumped to N354.75 million from N55.33 million, an increase of about 541.16 per cent, the bulk of which was from fixed deposit of N309.78 million, as against N54.99 million in 2016; treasury bills, N44.298 million. Profit before tax for the period therefore grew by 124.93 per cent to N7.91 billion, up from N3.52 billion; while net profit also jumped by 121.24 per cent from N2.42 billion in the preceding year, to N5.34 billion. The company’s share price has recorded 29.2 per cent year-to-date growth to close at N24.55 on March 9, 2018. Meanwhile, the company has continued to post significant growths in sales and profitability in its quarterly results, putting the company in good stead to increase dividend payout for the year. For example, in its third quarter for the ended September 30, 2017 showed that gross earnings rose by 62 per cent while profit before tax jumped by 130 per cent. Net earnings per share doubled by 129 per cent from 89 kobo in third quarter 2016 to N2.04 in third quarter 2017. Chairman, board of directors of Nascon, Mrs. Yemisi Ayeni, recently said that the company is investing in backward integration projects as a strategy to diversify and add more value to both its shareholders and the Nigerian economy. Addressing stockbrokers on the trading floor of the Exchange, she said that adhering to best corporate governance has yielded the desired results as the company performed

strongly despite the harsh operating environment, delivering good returns to all stakeholders. She said: “We are committed to best corporate governance requirements as all our board members have passed the fiduciary test.” She told the stockbrokers that Nascon Allied Industries is the company to watch out for in the future in terms of performance as it is breaking new grounds while embarking on projects that will enable it to remain a reference point in the food industry. It would be recalled that executive director, Commercial, Fatima Aliko Dangote recently assured the shareholders of good returns on their investments, noting that the company is doing so much to enhance their stakes on a consistent basis. Also, managing director/chief executive of Nascon, Mr. Paul Farrer said the company is planning fresh investments that would enable it boost efficiency in its operations. He added that the company had taken some key decisions in the area of retail pricing and convenience, which have resulted in immediate and long-term gains, including a focus on optimization of the route to market to ensure product availability. “We remain confident that our long term strategy for vegetable oil and tomato paste businesses will yield results in the near future,” Farrer said. Nascon had suspended the vegetable oil and tomato paste businesses in 2016 due to paucity of raw materials. The president of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote Dangote stat-

ed that new investments in Nascon Allied Industries would boost efficiency and enhance better returns, saying “we are producing edible salt in several packages. We are also choice producers of industrial salts and planning to venture into the production of vegetable oil and tomatoes. He pointed out that the Group’s push for backward integration in providing its own raw materials on a massive scale has led to the planned investment of $4.6 billion over the next three years in sugar, rice and dairy production alone, noting that this will eliminate the country’s reliance on imported materials, and the foreign exchange headaches that comes with it. Managing director/chief executive of NSE, Mr. Oscar Onyema, commended the board and management of Nascon for their efforts in ensuring that the company is run efficiently. He asked for the partnership of the company to enable the NSE discharge fully its corporate social responsibility projects. Nascon Allied Industries former National Salt Company of Nigeria was incorporated in Nigeria as a limited liability company on April 30, 1973.It was fully privatised in April, 1982 and became listed on the NSE on October, 1992. The company is engaged in the refining and marketing of salt of different grades; Kitchen, table and industrial as well as the importation and sale of Petti tomato paste. They are also the leading salt manufacturer in Nigeria controling more than 60 per cent of the market.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Leadership Newspapers



‘STI Will Persuade Nigerians On Insurance Adoption’ L-R: Former managing director/ chief executive offficer, Premium Pension Limited, Mr. Wilson Ideva, receiving a gift from chairman, Arc. Yunusa Yakubu, at the sent-forth dinner organised for the immediate past management of Premium Pension Limited in Abuja, last week.

Controversy Trails Commencement Of Pension Transfer Window STORIES BY ZAKA KHALIQ, Lagos

There are strong indications that the pension transfer window will not commence any time soon, 14 years after it ought to have commenced as prescribed in the Pension Reforms Act 2004 and 2014. To this end, aggrieved contributors, who wish to change their Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) because of poor services could not do so, as they have to stick with their current PFAs. The PRA 2004 as repealed by PRA 2014 stipulates that a contributor will be allowed to move his or her Retirement Savings Accounts (RSAs) account from one PFA to another in not more than once in a year. But the law is yet to be implemented by the National Pension Commission (PenCom) 14 years after the enact-

ment of the PRA 2004. Industry sources revealed that the Pension Application System (PASS) that is meant to digitalise the pension industry and allow the transfer window to kickoff has been put aside by the regulatory body. A source in PenCom disclosed that the transfer window was billed to commence on June 1, this year but all the processes put in place to ensure that the window is opened has been put away, especially, by the current administration in the regulatory agency. The source revealed that the new management is considering starting the process all over again rather than continue with the processes that were on ground. When contacted by LEADERSHIP for clarification, head, corporate communi-

cation, PenCom, Mr.Peter Aghahowa, said infrastructure challenge and Data Clean-up are issues stalling the commencement of the transfer window and that until these issues are addressed, the transfer window would not kickoff. Stating that the commission is working to resolve the issues, he said, PenCom will take its time before it starts the window to ensure that it is hitch free by the time it commences. Meanwhile, pension contributors and retirees are unhappy about the delay in the commencement of the transfer window, urging the federal government to intervene and relieve them of what they describe as being in bondage of some PFAs. A contributor, Mr. Amadi lamented that his PFA, (name withheld) has contin-

ued to serve him poorly. He said he wants to change but he is trapped with the PFA as they told him that he can neither collect his contributions nor change to another PFA. Similarly, a retiree, Mrs. Oladipo said her PFA refused to send her statement account with them and failed to transfer her on time to her chosen insurer for the annuity plan she opted for after every retirement. She believes that if retirees and contributors are allowed to change their PFA to another, the PFAs will improve on their services, bearing in mind that there are competitors ready to accept aggrieved contributors. The Director General, Lagos State Pension Commission(LASPEC), Mrs. Folashade Onanuga, had said, since the contributors have the right to open their choice

Leadway Assurance Staff Wins 2018 Miss Insurance A staff of Leadway Assurance Company Limited, Ms. Oyewole Abigail Inioluwa, has won the 2018 Miss Insurance, thus, becoming the latest queen of the insurance industry. She won in a keenly contested competition among nine contestants from different insurance outfits across the country, thereby, going home with the star prize, which is the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) branded car. She also won the prize for the contestant with the Best Traditional Attire. Ms. Chukwuedo Vivian Awele from Zenith General

Insurance came second while the third prize award went to Ukegbu Onyedika Elizabeth from AIICO Insurance Plc with both going home with consolation prizes. To this end, she took over the crown from Miss Precious Ezekiel, who was the 2017 Miss Insurance. While giving her farewell address, Ms. Precious Ezekiel, thanked individuals and companies that supported her during the one year tenure to realise her aim and objectives of promoting and raising insurance awareness, stating that she left the crown fulfilled. She implored the new Miss

Insurance to continue from where she left it. On her part, the President, Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), Mrs. Funmi Babington-Ashaye, said the motive of organising the yearly Miss Insurance Dance, was to increase insurance awareness through pet projects being carried out by the winner of this contest, imploring the new queen to embark on initiatives aimed at raising insurance education, adoption and deepen insurance penetration in the country. She promised that her institute will the necessary support to whoever becomes Miss Insurance in a bid

to collectively grow the insurance industry. Speaking earlier, the Commissioner, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye, thanked the institute to have kept this tradition for so long, urging the institute to continue to improve on the competition every year. She said, in a country with low insurance penetration and acceptance, initiative such as this could be instrumental to the growth and development of the insurance industry such that it can contribute enough to the nation’s economy.

PFAs, they also have the right to move away when they are not satisfied with their current PFAs. She said LASPEC had, in the past, engaged the commission severally on this matter and according to them, they are trying to get it right because they noticed that a lot of things took place during the registration process.

The managing director/CEO, Sovereign Trust Insurance (STI) Plc, Mr. Olaotan Soyinka said the organisation will continue in its stride to stay focused on all its aspirations especially in the area of ensuring that Nigerians embrace insurance without any form of compulsion or coercion. Through this, he said, people will procure insurance products by choice and the delivery of excellent service in all areas of its operations. Reacting to the sixth edition of its eponymous Open Golf Tournament sponsored by the insurance firm in conjunction with Ibadan Golf Club, he reiterated the fact that insurance remains an inevitable service in sustaining wealth creation. He further stated that the company has identified Sports as a formidable platform to preach such gospel which explains why the company has remained at the vanguard of promoting this novel initiative. According to him, “Giving back to the society in whatever measure is an indication of true appreciation of what customers, business stakeholders and the general public mean to any organization; an indication that the brand is alive and responsive to its operating environment”.


Leadership Newspapers


Monday, March 12, 2018

Nigeria Ranks 62% In Mastercard Index Of Women Entrepreneurs BY OLUSHOLA BELLO, Lagos

Minister of Power, Works & Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN speaking with journalists shortly after inspecting the first phase of 500 Electrified Shops under the federal government’s Energizing Economies Initiative at the Sabon Gari Market, Kano State at the weekend.

Nigeria’s External Reserves Rise By $3.2bn … Now $46bn BY BUKOLA IDOWU, Lagos And MARK ITSIBOR, Abuja

Nigeria’s External Reserves are steadily heading towards the $50 billion mark, berthing at $46 billion as at the close of business on Friday, March 9. Figures obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at the weekend indicate that the reserves grew by $3.2 billion between February and March 2018. The reserves at the beginning of 2018 stood at $39.3 billion, then rose to $42.8 in February before hitting the new high of $46 billion. The CBN’s acting director, Corporate Communications Department, Isaac Okorafor attributed the continued accretion to the country to the Bank’s effort at vigorously discouraging unnecessary importation and reducing the nation’s import Bill; inflow from oil and non-oil exports, as well as the huge inflows through the investors and exporters window of the foreign exchange market, which he said had attracted over $33 billion since April 2017, when it was created. At the close of commodities trading on Friday, March 9, 2018, Brent Crude, sold at $65.49 a barrel up by 2.54 per cent. According to Okorafor, the Bank’s interventions in the foreign exchange window had also helped to moderate

the pressure on the FOREX reserves by sustaining liquidity in the market and boosting production and trade. Okorafor also noted that the CBN policy restricting access to FOREX from Nigeria’s foreign exchange market to importers of some 41 items had made a huge impact on the status of Nigeria’s reserves and boosted the supply of local substitutes for imported goods, created jobs at home and enhanced the incomes of farmers and local manufacturers. The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, at the Annual Bankers’ Dinner of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) held in Lagos in November 2017, had projected that Nigeria’s external reserves would hit the $40 billion mark in 2018. That conservative projection has since been surpassed. The managing director and chief executive of Cowry Assets Management Limited, Johnson Chukwu while noting that the increased buffer will result in increased confidence of foreign investors in the Nigerian economy, urged that it is not a reason for the government and the CBN to become bullish in their foreign exchange spending. According to him, the increased buffer will ensure that when investors start pulling back on their investments as political activities swings into full

gear, the country’s currency and economy will be able to endure. “The increased reserves means that we are building reserves that will be able to withstand any political activity. As we move close to the elections, inflows will slow but we now have a relatively stable reserves that should give investors confidence,” Chukwu stated. On his part, Barrister Chukwuemeka Eze, a lecturer at the Nasarrawa State University, noted that while the increase in external reserves is a good news for the country, it cannot be taken in isolation to measure the progress in the economic advancement of the country. “The increase in reserves alone is not sufficient to show that the economy is healthy, we need to look at other indices. However, it is good news for Nigeria because those who do trade deals with us will know that we have sufficient foreign exchange to pay, ” he said. He stated that the country still needs to work on inflation and bring it down to single digit and also work on the Economic Recovery Growth Plan and ensure that the goals are achieved. He also called on the CBN to work towards rates convergence referring to a World Bank report that cautioned on the gap between the official exchange rate and the rate at the parallel market.

NERC Rolls Out Meter Regulation BY ABAH ADAH, Abuja

The much awaited electricity meter regulation has been released by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Agency (NERC). Presenting it at the weekend before members of the administrative cadre in the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing on the second and last day of their 2018 retreat titled, “Planning For Team Work Delivery”, chaired by the Minister, Babatunde Fashola in Kano, the Vice-Chairman of NERC, Engr Sanusi Garba said the regulation has come to plug the huge metering gap and fast-track metering of all electricity customers with a view to putting an end to issues arising from

estimated billing. According to him, the introduction of the regulation now means that private investors, apart from the distribution companies (DisCos), can procure meters in understanding with the concerned DisCos to recoup their monies with time through specified charges incorporated into electricity bills. He said under the regulation the N39 billion recently approved by the Federal executive council (FEC) for the purpose will be loaned to certified investors on application as a measure to encourage investment. According to him, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), World Bank and other development partners have

keyed into the regulation, ready to finance meter procurement. He said with the regulation, “anybody given the meter, going forward will pay Meter Service Charge”, adding that the commission will be setting electricity tariff in 2018. Some DisCos were said to have keyed into the new arrangement. Clarifying further, the Minister stressed, “Meter procurement is not the core business of the DisCos. Their major focus is to provide key distribution facilities like transformers, poles, cables, etc. where they are needed, and distribute power.” According to him, DisCos will now advertise for Meter Access Providers (MAP).

Following the release of the Mastercard Index of Women’s Entrepreneurship (MIWE), Nigeria emerged as the African country with the highest score in the Women’s Advancement Outcomes category with 62.4 percent. A press statement sent to LEADERSHIP at the weekend showed that other Africa countries that also ranked high in the same category are Botswana, Ghana, Uganda and South Africa with 61 percent, 59.1 percent, 55.7 percent and 54.6 percent respectively. The Women’s Advancement Outcomes adjudged countries based on women’s progress and degree of marginalisation economically and professionally as business leaders, professionals, entrepreneur and labour force participants. The MIWE is a weighted index

that helps to better understand and identify factors and conditions that are most conducive to closing the gender gap among business owners in any given economy. The three factors include Women’s Advancement Outcomes, Access to Knowledge and Financial Services, and Supporting Entrepreneurial Factors. The Index examined 57 different economies around the globe, including Botswana, Ethiopia, South Africa and Uganda; with Ghana, Nigeria and Malawi as new additions. According to the report, it was revealed that 46.4 percent of businesses in Ghana are owned by women, making it one of the top performing African countries highlighted in the index. African countries also scored highly in women labour force participation with Malawi at 100 percent, Ghana at 96.1 percent, and Ethiopia at 86.6 percent.

Terminal Operator Celebrates International Women’s Day BY YUSUF BABALOLA, Lagos

APM Terminals Apapa Limited has expressed its commitment to driving a diverse organization with regards to gender, as female employees of the company joined other women across the world to mark the 2018 International Women’s Day. The International Women’s Day is observed globally to recognize the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day, which is celebrated every March 8, also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. The 2018 International Women’s Day celebration, which has the theme “Press for Progress”, was celebrated by APM Terminals with female students of the Randle Senior Secondary School, Apapa, where career talks were also presented by female staff of APM Terminals.

Managing director of APM Terminals Apapa, Mr Martin Jacob, while speaking at the event, said the company wants more women to join the organization. He said: “The workplace is continuously changing; we need both men and women to create a motivating and performance-driven place to work which we believe is essential to our success. We also believe that diversity and inclusion are key levers to strengthen business results in the market we operate in and a necessary action for access to future and wider talent pools. “Our ultimate goal is to build an organizational culture where everyone; women and men can reach their full potential,” Mr Jacob, who was represented by the Head of Government, Stakeholder Relations and Communications of APM Terminals Apapa, Mr Austin Fischer said.

Sterling Bank Empowers Female Entrepreneurs BY BUKOLA IDOWU, Lagos

In a bid to empower women operating in the Micro, Small Medium Enterprises (MSME) sectors of the Nigerian economy, Sterling Bank Plc, has organised a capacity building to equip them with competencies required to run better businesses. Commenting on the capacity building programme, head of retail sales, Sterling Bank Plc, Cosmas Uwaezuoke, said “the bank is committed to equipping female entrepreneurs with business skills and financial management competencies required to run better businesses. We are doing this because research shows that women own 41 percent of businesses in Nigeria. “However, just about two percent of

women entrepreneurs have access to finance, that is bank loans. To change this trend, we are teaching female entrepreneurs to enhance profitability through effective cash flow and working capital management.” According to him, a research conducted by Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA) indicates that women constitute about 47.5 per cent of Nigeria’s population. However, just 30 per cent of women have bank accounts even though it is estimated that there are more women doing businesses than men in the country. “Research shows that women want convenient banking services, safety of funds, access to finance and capacity development as well as savings opportunities for their children.”

Monday, March 12, 2018

Leadership Newspapers



FG Raises Excise Duty On Acoholic Drinks, Tobacco Nigerians Cut Down BY MARK ITSIBOR, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved an amendment to the excise duty rates for alcoholic beverages and tobacco with effect from Monday, 4th June, 2018, the ministry of finance said in a statement. The President has also granted a grace period of 90 days (three months) to all manufacturers before the commencement of the new excise duty regime. There is however no increase in excise duty of other locally excisable products, the ministry said in a statement issued by special Adviser, Media & Communications to the Minister of Finance, Oluyinka Akintunde. The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who made this known on Sunday in Abuja, stated that the new excise duty rates were spread over a threeyear period from 2018 to 2020 in order to moderate the impact on prices of the products. The Minister disclosed that the new excise duty regimes followed all-inclusive stakeholder engagements by the Tariff Technical Committee of the Federal Ministry of Finance with key industry stakeholders. According to her, the upward review of the excise duty rates for alcoholic beverages and tobacco was to achieve a dual benefit of raising the Government’s fiscal revenues and reducing the health

hazards associated with tobacco-related diseases and alcohol abuse. She said: “The Tariff Technical Committee (TCC) recommended the slight adjustment in the excise duty charges after cautious considerations of the Government’s Fiscal Policy Measures for 2018 and the reports of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund Technical Assistance Mission on Nigeria’s Fiscal Policy. “The effect of the excise duty rates adjustment on trade and investment was also assessed by the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment and it adopted the recommendations of the TTC. “Furthermore, peer country comparisons were also carried out showing Nigeria as being behind the curve in the review of excise duty rates on alcoholic beverages and tobacco.” Following the President’s approval, Adeosun disclosed that the new excise duty rate on tobacco was now a combination of the existing ad-valorem base rate and specific rate while the advalorem rate was replaced with a specific rate for alcoholic beverages. The Minister added, “For Alcoholic Beverages, the current ad-valorem rate will be replaced with specific rates and spread over three years to moderate the impact on prices. This will curb the discretion in the Unit Cost Analysis (UCA) for determining the ad-valorem

rate and prevent revenue leakages. “For Tobacco, the Government will maintain the current ad-valorem rate of 20 per cent and introduce additional specific rates with the implementation to be spread over a three-year period to also reasonably reduce the impact on prices.” Under the newly approved excise duty rates for tobacco in addition to the 20 per cent ad-valorem rate, each stick of cigarette will attract a N1 specific rate per stick (N20 per pack of 20 sticks) in 2018, N2 specific rate per stick (N40 per pack of 20 sticks) in 2019 and N2.90k specific rate per stick (N58 per pack of 20 sticks) in 2020. The Minister explained that Nigeria’s cumulative specific excise duty rate for tobacco was 23.2 per cent of the price of the most sold brand, as against 38.14 per cent in Algeria, 36.52 per cent in South Africa and 30 per cent in Gambia. The new specific excise duty rate for alcoholic beverages cuts across Beer & Stout, Wines and Spirits for the three years 2018 to 2020. Under the new regime, Beer & Stout would attract N0.30k per centiliter (Cl) in 2018 and N0.35k per Cl each in 2019 and 2020. Wines would attract N1.25k per Cl in 2018 and N1.50k per Cl each in 2019 and 2020, while N1.50k per Cl was approved for Spirits in 2018, N1.75k per Cl in 2019 and N2.00k per Cl in 2020.

L-R: Member, National Organising Committee, 2018 Africa Forum, Mr Babayo Adamu; group head, Strategy and New Business, Sterling Bank Plc, Shina Atilola; managing director, Nigerails Limited, Mazi Jetson Nwankwo; chief human resources officer, Sterling Bank Plc, Temi Dalley, and acting National Executive director, Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), Mr. Paul Ndibe during a working visit to Sterling Bank Plc by the Institute on Friday.

FG Establishes IT StartUp Hub In Uyo BY NKECHI ISAAC, Abuja

The federal government at the weekend set up a digital job centre in Uyo to boost the states ICT ecosystem, encourage and support entrepreneurship, and promote it as an attractive career option for the teeming youth. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the ninth edition NITDA’s Startup on Friday for the South South region, the director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA), Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, said the project, an initiative of the agency, executed by its subsidiary office, the Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIIE) aimed at identifying and developing indigenous

talent in the sector, was the first of its kind in the south-south region. Pantami noted the enormous potentials available in the IT sector, saying the project aims to spark up the entire spirit of the youth and create employment in the sector. He said: “ICT is the global driver of all aspects of the economy. Additionally, we are aware of the harsh conditions in securing white collar jobs in the country so it has become apparent for the government to focus more in building technology entrepreneurs. A developed indigenous ICT ecosystem will help the country to diversify its economy from oil. Like I have always said, data is the new oil. With the two local content related Presidential Orders, we need to focus on locally

produced innovations for our local market. NITDA intends to encourage and support ICT entrepreneurship and promote it as an attractive career option for the teeming youth.” Earlier in his address, Governor Gabriel Emmanuel Udom who was ably represented by the commissioner of Science and Technology Professor Nse Essien expressed delight over the choice of the state as the beneficiary of a developmental event of its magnitude. In her remarks, the national coordinator of OIIE, Dr Amina Sambo Magaji, thanked the government and people of Akwa Ibom State for the massive turnout and support, and reiterated the agency’s commitment to the development of indigenous technologies.

Investment On Bitcoin BY BUKOLA IDOWU, Lagos

With more calls for regulations by governments on cryptocurrencies across the globe rising and the value of Bitcoin still hovering around $7,500, Nigerians are cutting back on their investment in the digital currency. From N1.476 billion average weekly trade on Bitcoin in the country in early February, trades have dropped to N1.33 billion by the end of last month according to data provided by Coin Dance, an online digital currency monitoring platform. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) along with the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) had issued out statements warning Nigerians against investing in cryptocurrencies. They cautioned Nigerians to be wary of investments in cryptocurrency, stressing that virtual currencies are not legal tender in Nigeria.

The CBN reiterated that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ripples, Monero, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Onecoin, etc and Exchanges such as NairaEx were not licensed or regulated by the CBN. The statement signed by the CBN’s acting director in charge of corporate communications, Isaac Okorafor, emphasized that dealers and investors in any kind of crypto currency in Nigeria were not protected by law, thus may be unable to seek legal redress in event of failure of the exchangers or collapse of the business. The CBN therefore warned Nigerians against investing in cryptocurrency as doing so would be at their own risk. It will be recalled that the CBN on January 12, 2017, issued a circular to Banks and other financial institutions on virtual currency operations in Nigeria.

Adeosun, MTNF Donate Food, Others To Orphanage BY KEHINDE SALLAH, Lagos

The MTN Foundation has donated food and household items under its Orphanage Support Initiative to Olive Blooms Orphanage Home in Lagos. The minister of finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, handed over the goods on Friday in Lagos to the Founder of Olive Blooms Orphanage Home, Mrs. Ngozi Ken Ugochukwu. The Minister commended the MTN Foundation for upholding its tradition of providing support to the less privileged residents of orphanages and hospices spread across the country by donating household items to them. She said, “This is a worthy cause by the MTN Foundation and will go a long way in providing succor to the

vulnerable and less privileged children in the orphanage homes. “I will also like to commend the Founder of Olive Blooms Orphanage Home for the great work and her genuine passion for the less privileged children. I am very proud of this great project by the orphanage home” Adeosun said. The Executive Secretary of MTN Foundation, Ms. Nonny Ugboma, explained that the Orphanage Support Initiative was established as part of the organisation’s expression of love to orphaned and vulnerable children. She added that food and household items would be delivered to orphanages across the country under the MTN Foundation Orphanage Support Initiative.

OGP Commends Budget Ministry BY MBAKAAN KWEN, Abuja

The Open Government Partnership (OGP), has commended the ministry of budget and national planning for its commitment in leading its Fiscal Transparency and Accountability (FTA) Working Group. The national coordinator of the group, Barrister Juliet Ibekeku-Nwagu, made this commendation during the meeting of the FTA working group hosted by the ministry of budget and national planning. In a statement, the Minister of state, Budget and National

Planning Mrs Zainab Ahmed, who was represented by Dr Ann Nzegwu reminded the stakeholders on the urgent need to pay more attention to milestones and challenges in the fiscal transparency and accountability ahead of the meeting of the national steering committee scheduled for this march 2018 One of the cardinal commitment of the OGP, is to promote citizen’s participation in budget circle, enhancing transparency in the extractive sector and improving efficiency and effectiveness of the tax system.


Leadership Newspapers


Monday, March 12, 2018

Declining Access To Forex Killing Our Business – BDCs Heritage Bank Deploys BY SAM DIALA, Lagos

Despite sustained stability in the foreign exchange (forex) market brought about by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) aggressive weekly intervention for about a year now, the Bureau De Change (BDC) operators in the country are lamenting gradual erosion of their businesses. The BDC operators, under the aegis of Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) blamed their plight on what they called divided forex policy introduced by the apex bank. The association said the policy excludes its members from accessing critical category of forex – diaspora remittances. In an exclusive chat with LEADERSHIP over the weekend, ABCON president, Alhaji Muhammed El-Amin Gbadebe, said a significant number of the association’s members were on their way

out of business because of limited and declining access to forex. According to Gwadebe, the most critical is the diaspora fund which BDCs are excluded from direct access unlike the deposit money banks. He said the possible rate convergence in the forex market did not pose a challenge to the BDCs because, according to him, it was the target of BDC operators in order to achieve stability in the forex market. He argued that excluding the BDCs from certain forex windows or introducing policies that prevent them from the privileges enjoyed by others was inimical to their activities. “The major concern and threat to the BDC operators is the divide in exchange rates of banks and BDCs. While the banks access the same diaspora remittances window at N357/$, the BDCs access

the same window @ N360/$, and not direct from IMTOs, Gbadabe told LEADERSHIP by phone. Checks by LEADERSHIP in Lagos confirmed that some BDC operators have been experiencing tough times. Those who spoke to LEADERSHIP at the Muritala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja declined to have their names disclosed as their president is the one authorised to speak authoritatively to the media. However, LEADERSHIP could not reach the CBN spokesman, Isaac Okoroafor, on this development through phone calls and sms, however, the apex bank has maintained that it would ensure adequate forex supply in the market through regular intervention that would meet the need of genuine users in order to sustain the post-recession tempo of the economy.

Octopus Digital Banking Platform BY KEHINDE SALLAH, Lagos

Heritage Bank Plc has taken a bold step to revolutionalise the banking sector with the introduction of an advanced intelligent digital experience known as Octopus. The solution which is fullfledged digital bank, has been described by financial technology experts as a gamechanging innovation that is poised to connect all your bank accounts with your Debit Card details or account holder information. Octopus by Heritage Bank represents an omnichannel multi-platform experience squarely targeted at the customers of tomorrow; young, smart, professional,

tech savvy pioneers of the new digital economy. Bank agnostic, Octopus will provide all customers of any Nigerian Bank the opportunity to access a platform that consolidates and connects all their Bank accounts delivering convenience and ease of access on an innovative platform and digital community It is designed to deliver omnichannel user experience across multiple devices; where most of customer’s daily city activities (banking, cinemas, stock markets, social interactions, churches, universities, meetings, restaurants, utility [e.g. DSTV, PHCN], fans clubs, associations and any other communities) have been digitized and consolidated.

Arik Air Relocates PH Operations To MMA2 March 17 BY ANTHONY AWUNOR And AZEEZAT HUSSEIN, Lagos

L-R: Big Brother evicted housemate, Kelvin Broulette (K-brule); Princess Onyekwe (Princess); Bitto Arunum (Bitto); group head, Corporate Communications, Heritage Bank, Fela Ibidapo; Abiri Oluwabusayo (Khloe); Vanessa Williams (Vandora) and Martin Aderombi (Dee One), during their visit to the corporate head office of Heritage Bank in Lagos at the weekend.

Lagos Govt, OPS Disagree On Land Use Charge Law BY TAIWO OMILANI

The Lagos state government and the Organised Private Sector (OPS) have disagreed on the newly introduced Land Use Charge (LUC) law in the state, with the private sector players calling for a review of the value used to compute the new charge. The OPS comprises the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA),

National Association of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (NASME) and National Association of Small Scale Industries (NASSI). The members of the OPS who met yesterday at a stakeholders forum organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) in Lagos, insisted that the assessed value of Land Use Charge is generally on the high side and difficult to justify. President of LCCI, Mr. Babatunde Ruwase, explained that there is need for government to look at the

gray areas in the law, noting that concerns have been expressed about the value used for the computation of the law. For those that have been served the new charge, the rate of increase is exorbitant and major cause for concern, Ruwase said, requesting that the implementation of the new land use charge law be put on hold while the grey areas are being sorted out. Earlier, Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akinyemi Ashade explained the need for the review of the law, emphasised that there is infrastructural deficit which

the state want to address. “We need to keep pace with the degradation of our infrastructure, because the problem in the North also caused influx in Lagos. The money we are generating is not enough to sustain mega city with the population of over 24 million”, he noted. Despite the commissioner’s explanation to convince the stakeholders on the law, they insisted that the law must be reviewed. Similarly, the OPS said implementation of the new charge would further strangulate businesses in the state.

Eko Disco Threatens To Drag Energy Thieves To Court BY CHIKA IZUORA, Lagos

The management of Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) Plc has resolved to commence prosecution of illegal connection of energy by customers within its network. The chief executive officer of the company, Mr Adeoye Fadeyibi, said this while

deliberating on how the company could improve its service delivery at a town hall meeting in Victoria Island in Lagos. Fadebiyi, represented by Mr. Joseph Esenwa, the chief finance officer of the company said there had been high rate of energy theft and non-payment of bills by customers within its network. He condemned the act while saying that the essence

of the customer forum was to inform the customers about the company’s service as well as the huge amount loss to energy theft. Fadebiyi warned all customers to desist from energy theft, adding that the company would not hesitate to prosecute and jail those caught in the act. The EKEDC boss said that the forum was to

enlighten customers on the negative implication of energy theft while listening to their problems and complaints. “People go to our substations and vandalise cables, damage transformers, looking for transformer oil. In some cases, those illiterate ones think there is mercury in the transformer and destroy it, and we are losing a lot of money.

Arik Air will from March 17, 2018 move all its Port Harcourt flights to Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal 2 (MMA2) Lagos. From that date, all daily flights to Port Harcourt International will cease to operate from the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) and will depart and arrive at MMA2. The decision to move all outbound and inbound Lagos-Port Harcourt flights to MMA2 LEADERSHIP gathered is informed by the need to enhance passenger flying experience. According to Arik Air, MMA2 offers spacious ticketing and departure experience, modern

and functional escalators and lifts. The terminal also has automated check-in, generous waiting space, lounges, restaurants and shops. Commenting on the development, Arik Air’s chief executive officer, Captain Roy Ilegbodu said: “We are daily reviewing our operations in order to give customers value for their money and enhance their travel experience. By moving some of our operations to MMA2, we are delighting customers with seamless travel. “In addition to the four daily flights from Lagos to Port Harcourt International, Arik Air also operates one premium daily flight from MMA 2 Lagos to Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Base Port Harcourt.

Lafarge Africa Embraces Gender Equality – CEO BY OLUSHOLA BELLO, Lagos

Chief executive officer of Lafarge Africa, Mr. Michel Puchercos, has said there is no reason why a woman cannot succeed him after his tenure as the company’s CEO, saying Lafarge Africa embraces gender equality. The CEO made the comment while rousing support for women at the 2018 edition of the International Women’s Day event held in Abeokuta, Ogun State. Delivering the welcome address at the event, Purchercos urged everyone to join forces with women, saying the time is right to raise the bar to achieve

more and do more. “This year, the theme: ‘Press For Progress’ encompasses the push that every woman needs to enable her succeed. It is a strong call to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and communities to think, act and be gender inclusive,” Puchercos said. He noted that Lafarge Africa is already taking the lead to close the gender gap with its commitment to gender inclusion and parity. “Lafarge Africa has over 33 percent women representation in the executive management and board. While this is impressive, I believe strongly that we could do better,” he said.

Monday March 12, 2018

Leadership Newspapers


As FOCAC Beijing Summit Draws Near (2) BY ZHOU PINGJIAN As President Mahammadu Buhari recently said in his felicitation message to President Xi Jinping on the occasion of the Chinese lunar new year, “I am looking forward to China hosting the Forum on ChinaAfrica Cooperation (FOCAC) summit in Beijing in September this year, and have every reason to believe that the Year of Dog will bring us more success stories and mutual benefits for China-Africa cooperation.” The Chinese Government is working hard to ensure the success of the Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, according to Premier Li Keqiang while delivering the government work report to the ongoing first session of China’s 13th National People’s Congress on March 5. This year marks the 18th anniversary of FOCAC. The past 18 years have seen fruitful progress in ChinaAfrica practical cooperation across the board. Two-way trade and China’s total nonfinancial investment in Africa in 2017 were 17 times and around 100 times that of 2000 respectively, which shows China’s contribution to Africa’s economic development has risen significantly. FOCAC has become a pacesetter in ChinaAfrica cooperation, a champion for greater international attention to and input in Africa, and the largest and most effective South-South cooperation platform in the world. The FOCAC Johannesburg Summit held in December 2015 was a great success, and

it is now China’s turn to hold a new FOCAC. China decides to upgrade the forum to a summit in response to the positive and urgent wishes of the African members of FOCAC. President Xi Jinping and President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, the FOCAC co-chair, will jointly invite all the leaders of the forum members to attend the summit. Building on the success of Johannesburg Summit, we are willing to strengthen communication and consultation with our African friends to elevate the FOCAC Beijing Summit to a new level. We hope to, through the joint construction of the “Belt and Road” between China and Africa, inject fresh and strong impetus into China-Africa mutually beneficial cooperation and elevate it to a new level. China-Africa cooperation has always been open and transparent. China welcomes the concerted efforts made by the international community to support Africa in achieving peace, stability and development. Some allegations by some people in the international community however, are biased and not fact-based, and we frankly don’t agree. Take the concessionary loan provided by China to African countries. Has it increased the debt burden of countries concerned? Are there any political considerations behind it? The answers are definitely negative, contrary to the claim. That kind of claim, I should say, is full of groundless words with an attempt out of ulterior motives. In recent years China has indeed increased its financing

support to African countries including Nigeria, with ChinaAfrica cooperation having been increasingly expanded and deepened. However, as Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi made it very clear during his visit to Africa early this year, it needs to be stressed that China has always adhered to the following principles in this process: First, the response made to the development demand of Africa itself. Any country has huge capital demand at the initial stage of economic takeoff and industrialization and Africa is of no exception. Based on the wishes put forward by the African countries, China provides financing support within its due capacity and offers timely assistance to the economic and social development of the African countries, which has been unanimously recognized and welcomed by all countries. Second, never attach any political conditions. Like African countries, China had a painful experience of having its economy under the control of the foreign countries and then suffering unfair treatment and even being exploited and oppressed. Therefore, China will never do what the western countries have done or impose its will on others no matter in assistance or cooperation, but will always respect and work together with Africa, considering both righteousness and benefit with the former as the top priority. Third, stick to the principle of mutual benefit and win-win results. The nature of ChinaAfrica cooperation is SouthSouth cooperation, one of whose major characteristics

is equal treatment, mutual benefit and win-win results. Only by doing in this way can sustainable and long-term cooperation be achieved and common development of both sides realized. To this end, the financing support provided by China to Africa must undergo serious feasibility studies and market-oriented arguments to ensure that each cooperation project can achieve the desired economic and social effects. The current debt owned by some African countries was accumulated over a long period of time instead of occurring in recent years. China is not a main creditor of African countries. The solution to debt issues is to achieve diversified economic development by taking the path of sustainable development. China firmly supports this solution. China’s financing support to Africa is mainly invested in infrastructure construction and the productive field. The Chinese companies have built a large number of infrastructure projects such as highways, railways, ports, airports and communications facilities in Africa, which greatly improved the environment for Africa’s economic development, added to its appeal to foreign investment and enhanced its capability to achieve selfdriven development. In addition to loans, the Chinese government is more inclined to encourage and guide Chinese enterprises to increase their direct investment in Africa and has offered support in this regard, and actively explores new investment cooperation model such as the Public-


Private Partnership (PPP). China always attaches high importance to Africa’s debt sustainability. We are committed to intensive development. The large infrastructure projects are planned and moved forward along with promoting Africa’s industrial development. While pursuing the economic and social benefits of the relevant projects, we have also laid emphasis on enhancing African countries’ capability for independent and sustainable development so as to avoid adding to African countries’ debt burden. There is a saying in China that “Only your feet can tell whether your shoes are suitable or not”. Africa has the best say on China’s cooperation with Africa. There is another saying in China that “Justice naturally inhabits man’s heart”. African people will have their own judgment and naturally come to the fair conclusion that who helps Africa sincerely and who is the most reliable partner of Africa. We hope that relevant countries can contribute more to Africa’s development and view China-Africa cooperation in a fair and objective way. As the FOCAC Beijing Summit draws near, we believe we will surely be able to open up broader prospects for China-Africa comprehensive strategic partnership irrespective of detractors and distractions, as long as we adhere to the principle of shared growth through consultation and collaboration. –Dr. Pingjian is Ambassador of China to Nigeria CONCLUDED

Correcting Misconceptions About Government Borrowing BY PATIENCE ONIHA

In what appears to be inadequate understanding of public debt and its dynamics, opinions of debt management have included negative assertions about the public debt which can only be described as misrepresentations. Information about public debt and the debt management strategy are among the most publicised in Nigeria. The same applies to new borrowing and the purpose for the borrowing, since these go through the rigors of the approvals of the Federal Executive Council and the National Assembly. Notwithstanding these, there seems to be a lack of understanding of the role of debt in economic development, therefore, some analysis of issues relating to public debt, expectedly arrive at the wrong conclusions. This Opinion seeks to clarify some of the misrepresentations contained in the editorial of a local newspaper on March 6, 2018, in the interest of several stakeholders in the domestic and international capital

markets, and, indeed the general public. For the avoidance of doubt all borrowings by the Debt Management Office on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, irrespective of the type of security issued to raise the funds, are approved by the Federal Executive Council and the National Assembly before they are issued. In addition to these statutory approvals, the securities are issued in accordance with regulations in the domestic financial markets in the case of Federal Government of Nigeria Bonds, Federal Government of Nigeria Savings Bond, Sukuk, Green Bonds and in the International Capital Market, for Eurobonds and Diaspora Bond. Each of these securities is a direct obligation of, and backed by the full faith and credit of the Federal Government of Nigeria. The Interest Rate on securities issued in the domestic market is determined by the forces of demand and supply, which is consistent with the theory of efficient markets. The same applies to the Eurobonds and Diaspora Bond issued in the

International Capital Market where Nigeria is benchmarked with countries with similar profiles, such as Sovereign Rating. Again, inspite of the fact that advertorials were published by the DMO in two (2) national newspapers February 12, 2018 to dispel false claims in the media that the USD300 million Diaspora Bond issued in June 2017 was not approved by the National Assembly prior to issuance, a newspaper in a recent editorial still reported to the contrary. DMO wishes to reconfirm that the approval of the National Assembly was secured before June 17, 2017 when the Diaspora Bond was issued. Still on the Diaspora Bond, it is common knowledge that remittances by Nigerians in the Diaspora are not monies given to the Government. They are personal funds sent by Nigerians in the Diaspora to family, friends or business associates back home usually through Western Union and MoneyGram. Any argument that suggests that the issuance of the Diaspora Bond was not necessary because of

remittances by the Nigerian Diaspora displays a weak understanding of Remittances and Bonds. Nigeria is one of the only few countries with a well-established DMO and its achievements, amongst which are the existence of accurate debt database, prompt settlement of debt service (read as zero default on payment of interest and principal), and funding of the budget deficits have more than justified its establishment. A key component of the functions of the DMO is to formulate and implement a Debt Management Strategy for Nigeria. One of the objectives of the subsisting debt management strategy is to replace some high cost domestic debt with low cost external capital in order to reduce Debt Service Costs. Using external funds sourced at Interest Rates of 6.50% to 7.875% p.a. to replace domestic debt sourced at 16.5% to 18% p.a. is great savings for the citizenry. Prior to the refinancing of domestic debt with external debt which started in December 2017, Nigerian Treasury Bills whose tenors are not more than 12

months accounted for about 30% of the Domestic Debt Stock. Replacing these short term domestic debt with longer tenored external funds, has the additional benefit of stabilising the Public Debt Stock. Most analysts agree that a country’s Budget represents the Government’s plan for each year. Budgets are a potent tool for achieving economic targets including GDP Growth, Inflation and employment levels. The Government of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR has effectively used the Budgets to stimulate the economy. The outcome of which is a GDP Growth Rate of 1.4% in 2017. It is worthy of note that Nigeria’s Budgets include deficits which have been financed largely by borrowing. Herein lies the link between borrowing and development. The economic management strategy however doesn’t end here, the Revenue Strategy now being implemented by the Government is yet another tool that will complement the debt management strategy –Oniha wrote in from Abuja

One of the objectives of the subsisting debt management strategy is to replace some high cost domestic debt with low cost external capital in order to reduce Debt Service Costs.


Leadership Newspapers


Monday, March 12, 2018

Senate To Make Law On 35% Affirmation For Women BY AHURAKA ISAH, Abuja

Former Aviation Minister and current senator representing Anambra North Senatorial District, Stella Oduah has said that Senate will soon reintroduce the bill for 35% affirmative action for women as ministers as well as 20% for women as commissioners in states. Oduah disclosed this when she addressed a press conference as part of activities commemorating this year’s International Women’s Day. The Senate Committee on Integration and Cooperation Chairman, Oduah pointed out that the Bill which was rejected by the Senate in July 2017 in the constitution amendment exercise, would be reintroduced and forwarded to the 36 state assemblies for endorsement. Last year, the proposal failed at the upper legislative chamber as it received only the votes of 49 senators, instead of the 73 required to ensure the success of the bill. But speaking on the matter, Oduah who is also the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Women Affairs, said: “The President of the Senate has made that promise and all senators are in agreement, they have concurred to that. It is the right thing to do, and it is way overdue. The United Nations has made it very clear that when progress and empowerment is anchored on women, then there would be a more progressive society.

NCC Warns Network Operators Against Cheating Consumers BY BERNARD TOLANI DADA Uyo The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has again warned Network Operators in the country against cheating of telecom consumers through unwholesome charges. The Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, Mr. Abdullahi Maikano, gave the warning weekend at the 92nd edition of the Consumer Outreach Programme held in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State for stakeholders. Maikano who was represented by Alhaji Ismail Adedigba insisted that NCC is determined to protect the telecom consumers in ensuring that they get good quality of service, value for money spent, timely and fair redress of complaints and protection from unwholesome practices of some Service Providers. The NCC, he stressed would continue to ensure “the protection of telecom consumers from market exploitation and empowering them to make rational and informed decision when making choices of services”. The Consumer Outreach Programme, he said was identified as one of the most cost-effective mechanism that provided and guaranteed consumer protection.

L-R: Gender and Development Specialist, Mrs. Mufiliat Fijabi; National Chairman, Labour Party, Dr. Mke Omotosho and Women’s Rights Advocate, Mrs. Omowumi Asubiaro Dada, during the women participation in politics and governance meeting in Abuja, at the weekend.

Mother’s Day: Obaseki Assures Of Mother-friendly Policies BY PATRICK OCHOGA, Benin City

Edo State governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has hailed mothers for their sacrifices to society in the face of a challenging work culture that places less premium on work-life balance, promising to do more for mothers through government policies and initiatives. Obaseki, who made the pledge in commemoration of Mother’s Day, marked in Nigeria on March 11, applauded the organisations that are drumming support for the acknowledgement of the roles of mothers in the society and calling for adequate reward for their contributions to

nation building. According to him, “On this day, it is important to celebrate mothers who have contributed so much in moulding society. They are expected to be many things at once and have held these responsibilities in these very challenging times. “But it is also important to stress that the mothers can be given a much fairer deal by pushing for reforms in workplaces to afford mothers better opportunity to work and also take care of the other roles they play.” He used the opportunity to celebrate mothers in Edo State, who appreciate the wisdom in speaking out against the ugly

trend of human trafficking after learning of the horrors their children pass through on the dangerous journeys abroad. He added, “Mothers are germane to societal advancement and one cannot deny the sacrifices they have made. At the same time, we also know that they are change agents, and to a large extent wield immense influence in homes. That is why we are happy that a number of them are now speaking against the ills of human trafficking and illegal migration. We know that with their support, we will make tremendous progress.” He said his administration was committed to creating the enabling work and

business environments for mothers to attain their heights in society. “Our commitment to placing the issues of mothers and women on the front burner informed my recent appointment of 19 female aides on gender to mainstream women issues in governance,” Obaseki said. He explained that his administration’s resolve to bring human trafficking to an end, was due partly, to the conviction that if Edo women are empowered through skills acquisition programmes and education, they will do more for themselves and the society and will not fall prey to human traffickers.

‘Stop Using Latrite Base In Constructing Our Roads’ BY ABAH ADAH, Abuja The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has directed that contractors handling road projects in the country use stone base instead of latrite base. The minister who handed down the directive yesterday, in Kano while inspecting works on the Dualisation of the Kano-Kastina Road project phase I said it is more economical to use the stone base to avoid short time repairs or reconstruction, saying that is cheaper in the long run. “Put the stone base once and for

all. Stop construction on latrite base; it becomes more expensive overtime. If you do the stone base now for the remaining section, know that in future when the wearing course slacks, you just lay and relay, and that is cheaper in the long run. When the latrite base begins to fail, that is the beginning of the failure of the new alignment which you are doing now will start; so lets do it well, not to give room for patching in the short run. “Of importance is that it has been discovered that existing lane to be rehabilitated has latrite base, and that calls for recouping and replacing it

with stone base as used for the new lane so that they are substantially of the same material that will endure,” the Minister said. Contract for dualisation of the 74km Kano-Kastina road which used to be single lane was awarded to Messrs CCECC Nig. Ltd to the tune of N14 billion on the 24th December, 2015 after which work commenced 30th January, 2015 with an initial completion date of 29th June, 2016 which was later extended to 31st December, 2018. It is now at about 26% completion with a time lapse of 68%.

Before that the Minster, with his entourage, inspected Kano Western Bypass whose contractor is Messrs Dantata and Sawoe Ltd whose completion has been long overdue. According to the contractor, it was lack of funding that caused the long delay. Works on the contract which was awarded at an initial sum of N13 billion (later reviewed twice to N22 billion) in 2006 commenced in on the 20th May, 2007 with an initial completion date of 19th May, 2010 and later extended several times to 7th October, 2017, now at an overall completion stage of 43% with a time lapse of 115%.

FG Tasks Kano Govt, Emir On Sand Mining Around Tamburawa Bridge BY ABAH ADAH, Abuja The Federal government has appealed to the Kano State government and the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II to assist it in protecting the Tamburawa Bridge along the KadunaKano Highway whose rehabilitation is almost completed against another bout of wash-off and possible breakdown by

ensuring that the sand mining activities that go on around the bridge are halted. The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola who made the appeal in Kano when he paid separate courtesy visits to the Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje and the Emir noted that for the commitment of federal government to infrastructure development around the country

to succeed, hands at all levels of government ought to be on deck in ensuring that the facilities are protected. Briefing the State Deputy Governor, Prof. Hafizu Abubakar who received him on behalf of the Governor who was said to have been out of the State about all the projects he has inspected while in the state, Fashola who informed the Governor of a 2-day Top Management

2019: Edo Rep Member Gets Nod To Return BY PATRICK OCHOGA, Benin City

Ahead of the 2019 elections, youths from Etsako federal Constituency of Edo State weekend have drummed support towards the return bid of House of Representative member, Hon Johnson Oghuma, back to the house to continue what they described as his robust representation of the people

of the constituency. The youth body under the aegis of Etsako Youth Forum, (EYF), said they decided to throw their weight behind the lawmaker owing to his commitment to ensure that Auchi Polytechnic is upgraded to University status thereby increasing the educational standard of not only Etsako youths but that of the state as a whole.

President of the group, Yakubu Abu, told newsmen that for the first time a lawmaker is sponsoring a bill which directly affect the lives of thousands of his constituents is worthy of support and encouragement adding that as a lawmaker Oghuma has remain consistent and focus in delivery dividend of democracy to his people.

Retreat he would be holding in the state to end at the Weekend said it is one thing to build infrastructure as another is to maintain and protect it. “We need the state government to assist in ensuring that the sand mining that goes on around Tamburawa Bridge is stopped within about 3km from the bridge on both sides in order to protect it,” the minister said.

He said: “We have continued to watch Hon Johnson Oghuma right from when he was at the State House of assembly and have come to the conclusion that he deserves our support. The bill to upgrade Auchi Polytechnic to University of status is one that is pertinent to us and we understand that it has passed second reading at the House of Representatives.

Monday, March 12, 2018

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Access Bank Offers Employment To 51 Gombe Varsity Graduates


BY CHUWANG DUNGS, Gombe. Hope of getting employment among the 51 first class graduates, of Gombe State University, (GSU) rose after Access Bank PLC disclosed its readiness to offer them automatic employment at its 6th, 7th 8th and 9th combined convocation which held over the weekend in Gombe. The managing director (MD)/chief executive officer of Access Bank Nigeria PLC, Mr Herbert Wigwe, while addressing the audience disclosed that all the 51 first class graduands will be offered automatic employment by the bank if they are willing to accept the offer. Wigwe who was conferred with Honorary Doctorate Degree of Administration, by the university made the disclosure while responding on behalf of three other eminent Nigerians who were also conferred with the honorary doctorate degrees According to him, “the Bank will be willing to offer them appointment if they will accept the offer”. While thanking the university community for finding them worthy of the honour bestowed on them, Dr. Wigwe commended the university for the remarkable achievement amidst security challenges in the region. He said, “In spite of the security challenges in the region I must commend the management and the State Government for putting up remarkable infrastructure in the institution despite having little resources.” He also congratulated the gradaunds for the feat they achieved in their academic pursuit and assured them that with perseverance, they will have a great future ahead of them.

‘Agriculture Our Ticket Out Of Poverty’ BY GBENGA ADEBOYE, Abeokuta

The chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, Oladipupo Adebutu, has bemoaned the poverty level amongst Nigerians, saying only Agriculture can salvage the situation. Besides, the lawmaker, who is representing Reno Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, said one of the panacea to solving what he termed “a national embarrassment “lies in the embrace of Agriculture. Addressing “the true face of Ogun Central”, an assemblage of opinion moulders in Egbaland, on Sunday, in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, the lawmaker, who is aspiring to become the governor of the state come 2019, added that government should facilitate improved spending in infrastructure. He said, “One of the ways by which we can drastically reduce the national embarrassment which begging and the menace of area boy syndrome has brought upon our nation is to invest massively in Agriculture and the value-chain. “It is also germane for government to consider private sector participation in the upgrade of infrastructure and other business architecture; the idea of putting billions of naira, which could be freed for social service provision, into building roads is unacceptable to rational minds,”. The lawmaker, who is eyeing the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to becoming Governor, listed multiple taxation as one of the killers of Small and Medium scale businesses, just as he asked government agencies to harmonise their levies to inflate the economy.

NOTICE The earlier advertised LEADERSHIP Brand pages scheduled to debut today will be delayed till next Monday due to operational reasons. We regret any inconvinence. EDITOR

R-L: Kwara State Governor, Dr. Abdulfatah Ahmed; Legal Adviser, Igbaja Peoples Forum, (IPF) Olatunji Baale and Elder Oyin Zubair during courtesy visit by IPF to the Governor at Government House, Ilorin, recently. PHOTO BY KWARA STATE GOVT.

NCDMB Boss Wins Juris Law Award BY KUNLE OLASANMI, Abuja

The executive secretary of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engineer Simbi Kesiye Wabote, has won the maiden edition of Juris Law Award. The Juris Law Award is to honour leaders who are taking significant steps towards promoting Rule of Law and economic growth in Nigeria. The award was presented to Engr. Wabote by the chairman of the occasion and a former

Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Alfa Belgore, who is also the Chairman, Advisory Board of Juris Law Office. Engineer Wabote, after receiving the award pledged his total commitment to pursuing the rule of law in the local content of the oil and gas industry stating that henceforth, oil and gas companies who fail to comply with the provisions of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act will be dragged before the law courts.

International Institute for Petroleum, Energy Law and Policy (IIPELP), Niyi AyoolaDaniels, applauded the noble efforts and outstanding achievements of Wabote in driving positive change in the enforcement of local content in the oil and gas industry. Daniels, a visiting Professor of Energy Law and Policy, commended the award recipient for using the instrumentality of the rule of law and the institution of the judiciary to ensure compliance to the law by the oil and gas companies.

According to him, “ NCDMB is changing gear from writing letters of non-compliance on infractions to actual prosecution of offenders who think they can trample on the law of the land on local content and get away with it “ He further said, “ If we don’t enforce the provisions of the Local Content Law, we will not be able to create employment opportunities for Nigerians from the activities in the oil and gas industry.” Founder of Juris Law Office and President of the

Treatment For Lassa Fever Is Free – FG PATIENCE IHEJIRIKA, Abuja

The federal government has debunked a media report which revealed that the high cost of treating Lassa Fever was responsible for the high mortality rate recorded so far in the country. A statement issued by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and signed by its chief executive officer, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, stated that federal government has ensured that Ribavirin, the major drug used for the treatment of Lassa Fever, has been provided free-of-charge to patients, ‘for every single case of

Lassa fever reported in Nigeria.’ The statement said “We read with surprise the headline in the Nigerian Guardian newspaper on Sunday March 11 2018 stating that the prohibitive cost of treatment is engendering high mortality from Lassa fever. While we acknowledge the high cost of treating Lassa fever cases in Nigeria, especially the cost of the drug Ribavirin, we want to state unequivocally that the Federal Government of Nigeria has ensured that Ribavirin has been provided free-of-charge to patients, for every single case of Lassa fever reported in Nigeria in 2018.

“Despite the significant costs, there has not been a single day of stock-out of Ribavirin in any of the treatment centres in Nigeria. In addition to this, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has ensured that every state in Nigeria has an emergency stock of Ribavirin available to manage cases, ‘he stated. The statement added “In addition to Ribavirin, the treatment centres have been provided with other essential commodities required for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of Lassa Fever cases. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has had

rapid response teams, supporting the state governments of Edo, Ondo and Ebonyi for six weeks supporting all aspects of the response. “The state governments of the Edo, Ondo and Ebonyi States, with the highest burden of Lassa fever have also contributed significantly to the management of cases, ensuring that every single patient received the best treatment possible. All three state governments have supported treatment centres with dialysis machines and other equipment necessary for the treatment of Lassa fever patients.

Prof Hagher Steps Down As APPUN Chairman BY TUNDE OGUNTOLA, Abuja

The founding chairman, Association of Pro-chancellors of Private Universities of Nigeria, (APPUN), representing 68 private universities in Nigeria, Prof. Iyorwuese Hagher, has stepped down as leader of the association. He willfully resigned as the chairman during the seventh

meeting of the association in Abuja. Speaking to LEADERSHIP, Prof. Hagher said he chose to step down on his own volition, and for the love he has for the organization and Nigeria. He said after tremendous pressure, he decided to join the race for the Nigeria presidential election in 2019. The Professor said, “After

tremendous pressure from my friends, political leaders, spiritual fathers and mothers, traditional leaders, youth organizations, human rights advocacy groups, Nigeria diplomats, Nigerians in Diaspora, my past and present university students and relatives of the voiceless masses, I have decided to join the race for the Nigeria presidential election in 2019. “I have bowed to the pressure for

the love of this country. In taking this decision I have also consulted widely. “I leave the association that I founded in the hands of capable Pro-chancellor and chairman, Caleb University, Lagos, Prof. Fola Tayo. “The association also lost its secretary Prof. Dogara Gwamna, who is being replaced by the Prochancellor of Nile University, Mehmet Basturk,” he said.

Rijana Attack: Railway Corporation Assures Of Safety BY EJIKE EJIKE, Abuja

The Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) has assured passengers travelling on Abuja-Kaduna train services of uncompromised safety while onboard the trains and at rail stations. The assurance was contained in a signed statement by the deputy director, Public Relations

of the corporation, Yakub Mahmood and made available to the media over the weekend. Mahmood said it has become expedient to allay the fears of its teeming passengers because of the fear being experienced especially by travellers on the roads and highways in the zone. According to the statement, “NRC management, in order to allay the unfounded fears

of our esteemed passengers after the reported incidence of miscreants along Abuja-kaduna railway corridor, engaged in an unwholesome act of stoning our passengers trains, as against the unsubstantiated and purported media report of attack by gun men.” While this does not constitute security threat to the operation of the train service which the

Abuja-Kaduna-Abuja route, he said it is a deliberate attempt by unpatriotic individuals to damage federal government asset and property which is provided to alleviate the transportation problems faced by Nigerians across the country, besides being a source of employment to the people residing in the environment.


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Monday, March 12, 2018

Osinbajo, Lawmakers For Book Launch On Banking Reform

Edo Govt Lauds Benin Monarch’s Pronouncement On Human Trafficking


By Patrick Ochoga, Benin City

The Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, leaders in Parliament, ministers, governors, banking professionals and stakeholders in the Nation’s economy will on Monday, March 12, 2018, converge at the International Conference Centre, Abuja to unveil a book meant to chart the way out to revamp the banking sector. The launch of the book is coming on the heels of an ongoing national quest for sustainable economic development, which has been a highly topical issue and engagement of the current dispensation in Nigeria. This gathering will take place at the public presentation and launch of the book, “Banking Reform in Nigeria: The law, The Prospects and The Challenges,” written by eminent scholar, lawyer, chartered banker and influential member of House of Representatives, Hon. Dr. ‘Bode Ayorinde. The guests that are expected to brainstorm at the occasion, reflecting a convergence of the powerbase and decision making assemblage of the nation’s economy will be led by the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara and the National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

Edo State governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has said his administration has aligned with the Benin Monarch’s far-reaching decisions and royal pronouncements on human trafficking, cultism and other crimes. At a well-attended meeting of chiefs, dukes, native doctors, priests and priestesses with the Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty, Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, on Friday, the Benin Monarch placed curses on

the people perpetrating human trafficking in the state. The Benin Monarch also extended the curses to killer gangs and cult groups, armed robbers who have been unleashing terror on innocent people in the state and causing mayhem in the name of cult activities. He nullified all oaths administered by human traffickers through their collaborators; native doctors and priests, on victims of the inhuman trade, with a directive that victims of human trafficking are now free from any

spiritual oath. He directed the trafficked persons to speak out and name their slave masters and mistresses and seek help if need be. Obaseki, who hailed the directives of Oba Ewuare II, noted that “the royal intervention would check the menace of human trafficking.” He urged the priests, priestesses and native doctors who have been aiding human trafficking in any way, to desist forthwith. “As a government, we have tremendous respect for all Edo people

and residents in the state as well as their religious convictions. But we will not accept the perpetration of crime and evil in the name of religion and will not condone any form of support for inhuman practices such as human trafficking.” He added, “With Oba Ewuare II’s pronouncements, we expect that those people who have been aiding these traffickers would, in their own interest, withdraw their support and focus on their calling. We will not spare anyone irrespective of their religious convictions, when caught.

SERAP Seeks Suspension Of Cameroon From AU BY AHURAKA ISAH, ABUJA

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the African Union to suspend the rights of membership of Cameroon from the AU to put pressure on the government to end alleged torture and ill-treatment of 47 political activists forcibly returned to Cameroon by the Nigerian authorities. In the letter SERAP addressed to AU chairperson and President of Rwanda Paul Kagame it urged him to “urgently call an Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) to address the matter with the aim to stop disappearances, politically motivated trials, and gross and systematic violations of citi-

zens’ human rights in the country.” The organisation also urged the AU to “maintain targeted travel sanctions and asset freezes against the authorities until they meet specific human rights and good governance benchmarks.” In letter dated 9 March 2018 and signed by SERAP deputy director Timothy Adewale the organization said: “Despite the massive violations of citizens’ human rights, and the continued absence of accountability in Cameroon, the AU has largely remained on the side-lines. “Failure to act in the face of the gross and systematic violations by the authorities would seriously undermine the credibility of the AU

and the legitimacy of its Constitutive Act, including its commitment to fight impunity as expressed in Articles 4(h) and (o) of the Act.” The organization said, “The AU Constitutive Act identifies respect for human rights, and the rule of law as universal values and requires all member states to promote and adhere to them. “By taking punitive action against the government of Cameroon for disregarding the fundamental principles of the AU, African leaders will be helping to achieve a positive resolution of the lingering human rights and humanitarian crisis in that country.” According to the organization, “The

AU now must recognize and openly acknowledge that the situation in Cameroon threatens the entire region. AU leaders cannot continue to ignore the violations of human rights inflicted on the people of Cameroon by their own government, and now must take serious steps to help alleviate their suffering and end continuing abuses. The letter read in part: “SERAP urges the AU to intervene effectively to end Cameroon’s longstanding human rights and humanitarian crisis. Only strong and concerted pressure on the government can end the country’s human rights and humanitarian emergency.”

Monday, March 12, 2018

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Monday, March 12, 2018

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Monday, March 12, 2018

Monday, March 12, 2018

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Enyeama Escapes Fans Attack

Former Super Eagles captain, Vincent Enyeama escaped being attacked by Lille supporters in the wake of their 1-1 draw with Montpellier in the French Ligue 1 during the weekend. The goalkeeper was presumably not with the team for the game at Stade Pierre-Mauroy (Villeneuve d’Ascq) as he was not named to Lille’s provisional squad. About a hundred Lille fans ran to the field and went to the players of their team after the final whistle, they began to insult the players and threatened them because of the bad results of the team this season. One of the fans hit Lille striker Nicolas Pepe in the leg, defender Adam Sumarao was also struck and the president of the club Gerard Lopez was insulted. Reacting to the incident, Enyeama posted on social media : ‘’How did we get here.the last time losc had fans on the pitch was for celebration.the real fan/supporter will always stay behind the team no matter what.good or bad times.tousense mble#onestlelosc#ilfautpasoublie.’’ After 29 rounds of matches in the French Ligue 1, Lille are sitting second bottom with 28 points. Enyeama has a contract with the club until the end of the 2018-2019 season.

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Monday March 12, 2018

We Want To Win 2018 World Cup, Says Eagles Handler Super Eagles handler, Gernot Rohr has made it clear that his team are eyeing the 2018 FIFA World Cup title. The Super Eagles have never won the global competition having participated in five tournaments. They made it out of the group stage in the 1994, 1998 and 2014 editions, but they have never progressed beyond the Round of 16. Rohr spoke to reporters when the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour arrived in Lagos according to All Nigeria Soccer. ‘’Every team going to the World Cup in Russia has a dream of win-

ning it,” the German tactician said. “But to be realistic, we believe in our dream and we are working so hard to achieve it.” Rohr’s side will face Poland, Serbia, Democratic Republic of Congo, England and Czech Republic in friendlies as part of their preparations for the tournament. Nigeria coach hopes his team of youngsters can have a good start at the 2018 FIFA World Cup as they were drawn against Argentina, Croatia and Iceland in Group D. While the Eagles would meet

Argentina for a fifth time in their six showings at the Mundial, they will open their campaign against Croatia in Kaliningrad on June 16. It’s a very important game that could determine how far the Nigerian side goes in the tournament. Afterwards, they would meet debutants Iceland in Volgograd before playing the last group game against Argentina. “We have a group that is very young, what we have to do is to play more friendly games against teams that play similar football like Croatia and Iceland.”

CAF Champions League: We’re Coming For Victory, MFM Warns MC Alger Fidelis Ilechukwu, head coach of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) side, Mountain of Fire and Miracles (MFM) FC has made it clear that his side will be targeting a victory in Algeria. The Nigerian flag-bearer will take on Mouloudia Club d’Alger (MC Alger) in the 2018 CAF Champions League first round

second-leg clash in Algeria next weekend. MFM are leading 2-1 on aggregate having defeated Algerian side MC Alger 2-1 at the Agege Stadium in Lagos, on Wednesday. Akuneto Chijioke and Monsuru Bashiru netted for the hosts, while Amachi Aziovez scored for the visitors.

Fuchs, Ndidi Laud Iheanacho’s Performance

“We have a lot of work to do in Algeria and the only thing we can do is to go out for a win; we would take that risk,” Ilechukwu said. “I know it would be difficult but anything is possible in football. “We have all it takes to win and qualify (for the mini-league) and that is my belief,” he continued.

Nigeria Amputee Football League Underway ABU NMODU, MINNA

Christian Fuchs and Wilfred Ndidi applauded Kelechi Iheanacho for his impressive outing against West Bromwich Albion. The Nigeria international replaced Shinji Okazaki in the encounter and gave a good account getting an assist plus a goal as the Foxes triumphed 4-1 at the Hawthorns. Significantly, Iheanacho’s 76thminute header was his first English Premier League strike after two years. And that has attracted his teammates’ applause on social media. “Happy for my man Kelechi for

his performance and a great goal. You’re a beast in the air. Great result today for us,” Fuchs tweeted. In the same vein, Ndidi who was on parade for the entire duration with 76 touches, five tackles and 58 total passes also commended his compatriot.

“Back to winning ways and congrats to my guy on his goal and assist. Thanks to the fans for their great support,” he wrote Twitter.

“We had the weather advantage here but we did not use it, we will prepare for the weather too in Algeria.” The winner on aggregate between MFM and MC Alger will advance to the group stage, while the loser will play in the CAF Confederation Cup playoff round.

The Nigeria Amputee Football Federation is to introduce Amputee Football League in the country, president of the federation, Alhaji Sulaiman Isah disclosed in Minna at the weekend. Isah who was exchanging views with sportswriters, said the federation had already set up a committee to reach out to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on how to fashion out the amputee league so that it will takeoff smoothly. “We have a committee that will interface with the NFF to take a cue from the English FA which made it mandatory for all premier league clubs to have amputee football club sides.

“By so doing the amputee league in the country will start on a very sound footing,” Isah said. According to him, his federation would soon offset its outstanding affiliation fees to the international body, adding that affiliation fee that had been outstanding for five years made it impossible for the country to participate in amputee international competitions. “We owe huge sums of money for five years and all things being equal we should be able to pay the debt next week. “It is a pity that this money was not paid for a very long time and our players have been training without going for competition.”

Monday, March 12, 2018

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— Richard Le Gallienne



No. 3,022

Mariam Mohammed


renowned psychologist and best known for proposing the “hierarchy of needs” to be met so that an individual can achieve “self-actualization.” It is in this regard that one gets to appreciate his insightful commentary on the place of intellectuals not just as individuals but as servants in government. Without a doubt, there is hardly any Nigerian that is not in agreement that Osinbajo is deeply imbued with intellect. And this he has brought to bear in his role as vice president. Nothing best illustrates his place in this administration and Nigeria as a whole as in the months that President Buhari was unavoidably away from the country on medical vacation. To demonstrate that government was not just a one-man show and there was no vacuum, the vice president criss-crossed the country meeting with critical stakeholders to reassure them of the administration’s goodwill towards all segment of the country.



Osinbajo: The Happy Warrior

The Monday Column n March 8, 2018, the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinabjo, clocked three scores and one. Expectedly, there have been plenty of birthday wishes. In writing this piece, I was faced with the dilemma of how to capture the essence of a man that has continued to wow many Nigerians with his loyalty to his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari; his unalloyed faith to his God as a pastor; his profound intellectual profundity and commitment in service to country. It was in this reflection that Abraham Maslow came to mind. Maslow, a migrant Russian Jew to America, was recorded to have said; “We need not take refuge in supernatural gods to explain our saints and sages and heroes and statesmen, as if to explain our disbelief that mere unaided human beings could be that good or wise.” Maslow was not your typical run-of-the-mill individual. He was a


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At that time of holding sway for his boss, Osinbajo shuttled to the restive Niger Delta to calm frayed nerves and bring the aggrieved people and their leaders to the table. His foray in the Niger Delta yielded the adoption of the 16-point demand presented by Niger Delta leaders represented by the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), as a working document to resolve the crisis in the oilrich region. That singularly move stemmed the looming threat to the nation’s oil and gas production and has since then ensured that our country has maintained its OPEC oil production quota. Besides this, Osinbajo has remained a key ally of President Buhari in articulating most of the economic and development agenda of the Change administration. As head of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, it was easy to tell his desire to re-booth the economy and get things working again.

Long before coming into government, Osinbajo has demonstrated his loyalty to the Nigerian people as exemplified in the Pfizer Trovan and Ceftriaxone drug scandal that claimed 11 children in the ancient city of Kano. The vice president’s law firm was able to secure a rewarding deal amounting to $175 million (N63 billion in prevailing exchange rate) for the victims. One can only appreciate the depth of his loyalty when weighed against the relationships of some past deputies with their principal. No wonder that President Buhari tweeted early on the vice president’s birthday: “Happy 61st Birthday, @ProfOsinbajo. Thank you for being a loyal and dependable partner on this journey. I join millions of your friends and wellwishers around the world to wish you many more years of service to God, to Nigeria, and to humanity.” It is on record that joint

tickets deteriorate in the end, “undone by divergent politics, festering policy disputes—or simply human fatigue amid the strains of trying to turn what is inevitably a shotgun marriage into a love match.” But with Osinbajo, the reverse has been the case- perhaps, as a matter of providence or basically his appreciation of the transient ego of power. Whichever, it serves him well. It is also instructive to note that no one best illustrates how power has not eroded the humanness of the Vice President than the man he first served as Attorney General, former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Tinubu in his birthday message said to wit: “This day presents an opportunity for us to thank God for the years he has given you and to pray that He provides you with many more birthdays. Your birthday also gives me the chance to tell you that the respect and affection I have for you as a brother and friend are deep and abiding. Your life has been one of commitment to the principles of justice, honesty, fairness, and equality of all people under God. You plied your knowledge of the law to advance the welfare of the common man and, thus, protect those ideals and beliefs integral to the exercise of our collective humanity. You vitally contributed to most of the landmark cases and laws passed in the state, which paved the way for the ongoing development of the state. Those same rare talents and traits you continue to live by today. You did not allow the high

office to change you or dilute your humanity. Your performance and service to the nation is a source of pride to those who know you. Along with President Buhari, you have helped to show that assumption of high office does not have to lower one’s sense of morality or lessen their humanity.” Having worked closely with the vice president, I can proudly say that his passion and optimism for Nigeria getting it right despite the present socioeconomic problems do not show signs of diminishing. One could, perhaps, put this down to his avowed faith in God. As Osinbajo marks his 61st birthday and as Nigeria continues to seek for ways and means to create a country that is for all Nigerians, it will be something of cheer to expect that the good working relations between him and the president will continue to flourish. As they engage themselves in the daunting task of building a prosperous country, those futuristic ideas needed to make Nigeria achieve its full potentials will not be lacking.

GHANA MUST GO Obasanjo in Benue, visits gravesite of 73 herdsmen victims

— News

Did he start from Zaki Biam?

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LEADERSHIP Newspaper March 12, 2018  

LEADERSHIP Newspaper March 12, 2018

LEADERSHIP Newspaper March 12, 2018  

LEADERSHIP Newspaper March 12, 2018