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13.03.18

FOR GOD AND COUNTRY

No. 3,023

TUESDAY

NIGERIA’S MOST INFLUENTIAL NEWSPAPER

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L–R: President Muhammadu Buhari; Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom; Senator George Akume and General Lawrence Onoja (rtd) during the president’s visit to Benue State over recent killings in the State, yesterday. PHOTO: BY

I Cannot Overlook Killings In Any Part Of Nigeria – PMB 6 Explains why FG negotiated with B’ Haram

US pledges to assist in rescue of Dapchi schoolgirls

INEC Mulls Burning Of 8m Unclaimed PVCs Urges NASS to pass electoral offences commission bill BY TOPE FAYEHUN, Akure, AHURAKA ISAH AND SOLOMON AYADO, Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) hinted yesterday that it is considering burning about eight million unclaimed permanent voter cards (PVCs) before the 2019 general election in order to have credible and transparent polls. The commission explained that the action is to sanitise the electoral lists and register before the election. The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Ondo State, Mr. Rufus Akeju, who gave the ➔ CONTINUED ON PAGE 7

President Muhammadu Buhari welcoming US Secretary of State, Mr. Rex Tillerson to the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday.

6m Applicants Denied Varsity Admissions In 5yrs

PHOTO BY REMI AKUNLEYAN.

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Zenith Bank Records 32 N157bn Profit

North Not Afraid Of True Federalism – Ganduje 4


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Tuesday, March 13, 2018


LEADERSHIP

our stand

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

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The New Trust At National Pension Commission

T

he National Pension Commission (PenCom), has set for itself a vision to be a world-class organisation that ensures the prompt payment of retirement benefits, promotes a sustainable pension industry and positively impact on the economic development of Nigeria. PenCom has also adapted itself to ways of pursuing its mandate. With its team of highly skilled and motivated staff utilising appropriate technology, it has demonstrated a commitment to be an effective regulator that ensures the safety of pension assets as well as a fair return on investment. Stakeholders interpret the ongoing steps towards internal reforms, increased professionalism and transparency of the whole process, as a welcome development. Consolidating on attained gains, the commission’s drive towards capacity building, strengthening of pension fund administrators and custodians has immensely assisted it in the efforts to receive, investigate and analyse complaints on any issue relating to pension fund management. It is accepted globally that the foremost consideration of most workers is the inexorable guarantee that their pension savings are secure. Nothing will be more nerve-racking for pensioners than to be pushed around when they, in the order of things, decide to take a deserved rest. Pencom, in our opinion, was set up to ensure that senior citizens get the rest they deserve after labouring in their youth to build the nation. The average Nigerian pensioner has only one interest– to see that dependable and trusted management is at the helms of the commission’s affairs. The most essential asset in any pension operation is the element of trust. In its pursuit of this goal, PenCom has recorded some successes which have in

turn earned for it global respect as the supervisory custodian of the life-saving assets of pensioners. It is no surprise therefore that there is an outpouring of confidence on it by its numerous publics based on the competence and honesty of its management. In our opinion, the structures PenCom has set up for the smooth commencement of the

Micro Pension Scheme is highly commendable. The scheme which seeks to encourage people without regular income to establish a culture of savings is intended to ingrain in the mind of those low income earners the consciousness that they do not have to eat the seedlings too. Such small business owners as barbers, taxi drivers and low income market women

CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER Dele Fanimo

POLITICAL DIRECTOR/ STATE HOUSE Jonathan Nda-Isaiah EDITOR Muazu Elazeh

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT Christian Ochiama

DEPUTY EDITOR Raliat Ahmed-Yusuf

ASS. MANAGING EDITOR George Agba COORDINATOR, EDITORIAL BOARD Suleiman Abdullahi

GENERAL EDITOR Silas Ezeugwu

GROUP LTD CHAIRMAN Sam Nda-Isaiah GMD, LEADERSHIP GROUP Abdul Gombe GMD, LEADERSHIP HOLDINGS David Chinda GROUP EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS Dele Fanimo Felicia Ogbonlaiye Geoffrey Essien HR DIRECTOR Solomon Nda-Isaiah CHIEF PROCUREMENT & ASSETS OFFICER Mrs Zipporah Tanko DIRECTOR, HAUSA PUBLICATIONS Mubarak Umar GENERAL MANAGERS Ibrahim Halilu Femi Adekunle Ebriku John

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

and

Country!

will be offered special flexibility facilities that will allow them early withdrawals to meet with exigent needs especially for reinvestments in and expansion of their enterprises. Observers of the operation 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. This will, in our view, bouy the commission as it strives to sustain its determined effort to regenerate trust in its statutory regulatory and supervisory roles and engender for it, as an agency, signs of increased public confidence. This positive attitude on the part of the pension regulator has started manifesting with the heart-warming results it is already registering. Within a short period, between March and December 2017, PenCom recorded an unprecedented growth of about 16 per cent– a leap from N 6.42 trillion to N 7.51 trillion. This positive consequence of the transparent and affirmative fidelity to the best practices of global pension management has additionally enhanced the population of contributors with an approximate 400,000 within a period of six months. 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 to keep the hopes and aspirations, especially of those who depend on the agency for their very survival, alive. We are enamoured by the fact that the commission is abreast with this patriotic duty.


4 NEWS

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Group News Editor: Ekele Peter Agbo L-R: Author, Banking Reform in Nigeria, Dr. Bode Ayorinde; Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu;Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Speaker House of Representative, Yakubu Dogara, Vice Chanchellor, Achivers University, Prof Tunji Ibiyemi and Governor of CBN Godwin Emefiele during the Public resentation and Launching of a Book ‘Banking Reform in Nigeria’ at the International Conference Centre, in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO BY REMI AKUNLEYAN.

North Not Afraid Of True Federalism – Ganduje BY ABDULGAFAR OLADIMEJI, Kano

Kano State governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, yesterday said, there is need for power to be devolved from the federal level to enthrone true federalism, noting that the North is not afraid to discuss true federalism. He disclosed that Kano State government instituted a 30 – man committee to suggest ways to entrench the principles and structure of true federalism. He dismissed insinuation that Northern Nigeria and their leaders are afraid to comment on the call for true federalism

started by leaders from Southern parts of Nigeria. Ganduje said, “ The North is not afraid of discussing or speaking on true federalism started by Southern parts of the country.” Ganduje, who played host to the 30 –man committee headed by Alhaji Sule Yahaya Hamza, noted that no progressive minded Nigerian will fear to discuss issues that will be of immense benefit to the citizenry. “There is no doubt, that the federal government has an element of unitary system, because military itself was a unitary system and as a child that

came out from the military, it would also have some features of unitary system, that is the reason why the federal government became so big in terms of responsibilities and in terms of revenue of the country itself, hence there is need to revisit all these”, he said. Ganduje further said, “I believe that federal government should devolve some of its responsibilities to state governments, while state governments should equally devolve some powers to local governments as I earlier mentioned. “ The issue of true federalism to them is the only way out, be-

cause one part of the country is cheating other parts, and in view of this we found it imperative to bring this issue, so that it can be debated at national level and regional level. We are aware that the Northern Governors Forum also instituted similar committee, which has been working, even at party level and now in our case at state level.” Earlier, chairman of the committee, Alhaji Sule Yahaya Hamza, said prominent stakeholders including traditional rulers and religion leaders as well as academics made presentations to the committee.

sion strategy”. Osinbajo commended Dr. Bode Ayorinde for his activism on Nigeria’s economy, the most recent being the convening of the highly successful legislative economic summit held last November. Ayorinde stated that it is in an attempt to sincerely examine the banking industry that the book was written. “I strongly appeal that innuendoes should not be inscribed to my genuine intentions as I have a very cordial relationship with the vast majority of players in the banking industry, the relationship which I cherish and that I would want to sustain,” he said. Similarly, Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, stated his delight to be part of the book launch and applauded the author for launching the book at a time like this. According to Emefiele, “He has raised

pertinent issues, and we will listen to them. I will take the book home and see how we can make positive impact in the banking sector.” The book reviewer, Professor Ademola Popoola, former dean, Faculty Of Law, Obafemi Awolowo University also applauded the author, saying that the book would chart the way to revamp the banking sector in an ongoing national quest for sustainable economic development. According to Popoola the author has more interest in banking than in law and the book will open a new chapter in the development of banking industry in Nigeria. The book traces the historical development of banking business in Nigeria and critically examines all the laws relating to banking since inception. Posited to be an invaluable guide to the transformation of the bank-

ing industry, the book goes further to chronicle all attempts to reform and rebrand the banking industry in the past, including the most pronounced consolidation exercise of 2004/2005 that shook the industry to its foundations. The book further examines the issue of bank capital requirement, distress management in banks and professionalism in banking business. The meat of the book is the critical examination of legal and institutional framework for regulation and supervision of banks in 23 other countries and it concludes with an admonition for an urgent reform of the Nigeria banking industry offering some suggestions that would make the banking industry conform to the world’s best practices and in line with the policies of the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

FG Will Turn Around Nation’s Financial System– Osinbajo BY STELLAMARIES AMUWA, ABUJA

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has said that the federal government was poised to ensure financial inclusion as it will turn around the financial system that favours only the strong and excludes the weak. Osinbajo made this known yesterday at the public presentation/ launching of the book: “Banking Reform In Nigeria”, authored by Bode Ayorinde. The vice president said the way banking business has been designed; there is room for financial inclusion. “We run an economic system that essentially favours the strong and excludes the weak. It has been our task as government to turn that around, first by social investment programmes, we provided in the budget N500 billion and a more financial inclu-

EFCC Investigates 16 Foreigners Over Oil theft The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has launched investigation of 16 foreigners arrested for alleged oil theft in Rivers State. The suspects, said to be Ukrainians, were apprehended and handed over to the commission by the Nigerian Navy Forward Operation Base in Bonny, Rivers State. EFCC spokesman, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja, yesterday.

He said the foreigners were being investigated alongside a vessel: MT SAN PADRE PIO, with registration number IMO 9610339 NT 2444. He identified the suspects as Vaskov Andriy, Garchev Mykhaylo, Shulga Vladyslav, Orlovkyi Ivan, Skoropupov Andrii, Nadaraia Leonid, Vorohin Andriy and Buriak Maskym. The rest are Skok Sergiy, Yakovenko Sergiy, Boiachuk Roman, Shakov Vladyslav, Sere-

briakov Olehshii, Tsuekanenko Gennadiy, Diachenko Dmytro and Postoiuk Sergii. They were arrested on Jan. 23 by the Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS SAGBAMA’s patrol team deployed for anti-crude oil theft and illegal bunking operations around Odudu terminal, Port Harcourt. “Navy Captain S.W Olorundare, who handed over the suspects to the EFCC, said that they were arrested for alleg-

edly operating illegally in Nigerian waters against the provisions of Nigerian Cabotage Trade Law. “The suspects will be charged to court when investigations are concluded,” he said. The Navy has been a key partner of the EFCC in dealing with illegal oil bunkerers. In January, 2017, the Navy handed over three suspects and four tug boats to the commission in Port-Harcourt.

Sierra Leone Presidential Election: Bio Leads, Runoff Likely By Omonu Nelson, with Agency reports

The National Electoral Commission (NEC) of Sierra Leone has released 75 per cent of the result of the presidential election held in the country on Wednesday, showing the opposition candidate, Julius Maada Bio is now ahead, with a narrow lead over the candidate of the ruling party, Samura Wilson Kamara. Chairman of NEC, Mr Mohammed Conteh, declared the “progressive” result at the commission’s headquarters in Freetown. Conteh said that result representing 75 per cent of the polling stations in each of the 16 districts in the country had been cleared by NEC Tally Centre Information Technology Systems. He said that the detail results are partial and does not represent the complete outcome of the election. According to him, Maada Bio the candidate of the opposition, Sierra Leone People Party (SLPP), has taken the lead with 848,438 (43.33 per cent) votes, followed by candidate of the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC), with 833,519 (representing 42.7 per cent). Kamaraimba Mansaray, candidate of the Alliance Democratic Party (ADP) has secured 20,234 votes; Musa Tarawally of Citizens’ Democratic Party (CDP) 8,740 votes and Samuel Sam-Sumana of Coalition for Change (C4C), 67, 132 votes. “ Chernoh Bah of National Democratic Alliance (NDA), 6, 532 votes; Kolle Yemkulla of National Grand Coalition (NGC) 136,009 votes, John O’Dwyer of National Progressives Democrats (NPD) 3,307 votes. “Patrick Sandy, National Unity and Reconciliation Party (NURP), 1,816 votes and Baba Conteh of Peace and Liberation Party (PLP), 3, 373; Francis Margai, Peoples Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) 7, 521 votes and Victor Williams of Republic National Independent Party (RNIP) 1,976 votes. Jemba Ngobeh of Revolution United Front Party (RUFP) got 9,866 votes ; Mohamed Sowa-Turay, United Democratic Movement, 4,477; Henry Kabuta, United National Peoples Party (UNPP), 2, 369 votes. Olufemi Claudius-Cole of Unity Party (UP), scored 2,891 votes. To be declared winner, according to Sierra Leone’s constitution, a candidate must garner 55 per cent of the votes. No candidate is likely to attain the 55 per cent, thus, a run off is most likely between the two leading contenders. Conteh assured that the full certified result would be announced as soon as possible, under the one-week timeframe stipulated by the country’s electoral law. Conteh also reading a statement issued by the commission said that the commission has continued to tally result at its five regional centres. He said that while the majority of the results have now been entered into presidential election result sheet, NEC had identified some forms that require examination before they could be accepted as genuine results. He added that the processes were built into the system to ensure integrity and accuracy of the final results. “The Public Electoral Act 2012 allows NEC to take any necessary steps in examining these results. These can include the recount of these ballot papers in affected polling stations”, he said. He disclosed that recount were underway now in relevant districts offices. ” NEC will take any necessary step to ensure accuracy of results and to safeguard votes legitimately cast by Sierra Leoneans on 7 March.


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I Cannot Overlook Killings In Any Part Of Nigeria – PMB BY JONATHAN NDA – ISAIAH, Abuja AND HEMBADOON ORSAR, Makurdi

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday replied critics accusing him of apathy towards the wanton killings in the country, saying there is no way he could overlook the carnages in Benue State or any other part of Nigeria. Buhari who spoke while on an official visit to Benue State noted that his government is deeply disturbed about the incessant massacres on rural communities in the state. At a meeting with stakeholders, including farmers, herdsmen and government officials in Makurdi, Buhari vowed to end the menace “very soon”. The president spurned insinuations that he is not interested in what has been happening to the North-central state. “I cannot overlook the killings in Benue or any other part of Nigeria. I cannot do that. I am genuinely worried about the attacks in Benue and we are doing everything to end them,” he declared. He said that the insecurity in some states was a major concern to his government, adding that concerted efforts were being made to restore normalcy to every part of the country. Recalling his Civil War era memories with military officers from Benue State, he noted that his nostalgic experience with such persons would never allow him to do harm to the state. President Buhari said he was shocked at the disclosure that the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, did not spend 24 hours in Benue when he directed him to relocate to the state and remain there till peace was restored. “I am getting to know this in this meeting. I am quite surprised,” he said, adding however that the meeting was not the best place to expose the inefficiency of his appointees. Noting that he is not in the habit of publicly rebuking his appointees as many would desire, Buhari said that he preferred to quietly “read the riot act” as he did to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) when the Benue attacks began. The president disclosed that he even shared the IGP’s security report on the Benue crisis with Senators George Akume and Barnabas Gemade from the state. The president appealed to Benue people to exercise restraint and live in peace with their neighbours. “The governor and I, and others here know that we will leave one day, but the relationship between farmers and herders will continue. I urge you to keep in touch with them and advise them to live peacefully. Nigeria has over 250 ethnic groups with different cultures and nobody can question God for putting us together”, he stated. Imploring the people to pay more attention to farming, especially rice cultivation, he noted that rice importation had dropped by 90 per cent since some states embarked on massive production of the commodity. President Buhari, while thanking God for the good rains, the successful efforts of the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, an indigene of Benue State, whom he described as “a great asset in my government,” said his administration would continue to empower farmers with loans by the Central Bank of Nigeria. Expressing delight that the agricultural policy of his administration has led to 90 per cent reduction in rice importation, he commended Ebonyi, Lagos, Kebbi, Jigawa and Benue States for “doing extremely well.” Reacting to what he called a “shopping list” by some stakeholders, the President enjoined them to pray for the economy to improve, noting that he would not make any promises during this trip. He, however, stressed that, “When coming back on campaign, if coming back on campaign, I may promise.” Earlier, Governor Samuel Ortom appealed

Buhari

to the president to upgrade the ongoing military exercise in the state tagged “Ayem Akpatema”, to a wider operation to effectively curb herdsmen attacks. “If the exercise is upgraded to a wider operation, it will assist greatly in ending the incessant attacks and senseless killings by herdsmen,” he said He urged Benue people to learn to live in peace with other people. The governor reiterated his call for the arrest of the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, alleging that the body is responsible for the killings in Benue. Ortom maintained that ranching remains the best option for cattle breeding in Nigeria, and advised herdsmen to embrace it so as to minimise the clashes caused by open grazing. He also called on the federal government to take over the management of the Benue University Teaching Hospital, College of Education, Katsina-Ala and Benue Polytechnic, Ugbokolo. Malam Shetima Mohammed, a representative of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Benue Chapter, however, denied responsibility for the Benue attacks. “Our association is a peace loving one and the exact opposite of what is being portrayed,” he declared. Also speaking, retired Army General, Atom Opera, who described the president as a man of his words advised him to replicate what he did in other states like Zamfara when cattle were rustled to Benue and faulted the IGP who was earlier deployed to the state for performing below expectations. President of peasant farmers in Nigeria, Chief Terlumun Akputu disclosed that over 160,000 famers were displaced, attributing the inability of farmers to defend themselves during the attack by herdsmen to the amnesty progrmme of the governor. Akputu appealed to the president to compensate and rebuild the homes of the displaced farmers to enable them go back to farming, now that the rain is approaching. Also speaking, the Tor Tiv Ochivirigh, Professor James Ayatse, called for the re-designing of security architecture in the country, such that will involve state and traditional rulers who are more closer to the people. He expressed dismay over responses of

some service chiefs in the country on security issues, saying people in such position should restrain from making statements that can trigger crises, especially as it relates to security. President Explains Why FG Negotiated With B’Haram In another development, President Buhari said yesterday that Nigeria prefers having the schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram from Chibok and Dapchi communities back alive. This, he said, was the reason why the federal government chose negotiation with the sect rather than military option. Speaking when he received the American Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, in audience at the presidential villa, Abuja, President Buhari added that Nigeria is working in concert with international organizations and negotiators to ensure that the girls are released unharmed by their captors. “We are trying to be careful. It is better to get our daughters back alive,” a statement by his special adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, quoted the president as saying. He thanked the United States government for assistance rendered in the fight against insurgency, noting that Nigerian forces are good, “but need assistance in the areas of training and equipment.” President Buhari promised that his administration would continue to do its best to secure the country, adding that he would be in Yobe State, from where Dapchi schoolgirls were abducted later this week “as part of my condolence and sympathy visits to areas where we have had unfortunate events.” The president pledged free and fair polls in 2019, recalling that the then American Secretary of State, John Kerry, had visited before the 2015 polls. “He (Kerry) told the party in government then and those of us in opposition to behave ourselves and we did”, he noted. The visiting Secretary of State commended President Buhari on his strides in the anticorruption war, to which the Nigerian leader responded that moneys recovered are being invested on development of infrastructure. Mr Tillerson said Nigeria was a very important country to the U.S, stressing: “You have our support in your challenges. We will also support opportunities to expand the economy, commercial investments, and peaceful polls in 2019.”

US Pledges To Assist In Rescue Of Dapchi Schoolgirls Also, in a press briefing after meeting the president, the American Secretary of State said his country will assist Nigeria in the rescue of the remaining Dapchi and Chibok girls. He said the United States government will provide assistance in terms of equipment, sharing of intelligence and training of the personnel of special operations. Tillerson said, “First, we respect the responsibilities of the government of Nigeria and the territorial integrity of Nigeria. But the way we support is in providing them capability capacity with equipment and also training of the personnel of special operations and sharing intelligence to ensure that they have all the information available to carry out the recovery effort. “But I think it is also important to put this in a broad regional context as well, Boko Haram is a threat to other region and this has been the subject of my meetings elsewhere and in Africa as well. “In my discussion with President Derby in Chad earlier today, we spoke about the threat of Boko Haram and I think it is important and it’s really been powerful, the collaboration between the joint task force which Nigeria is a part and Chad is a part, to respond to this threat of terrorism which Boko Haram is one of the organizations. There are other threats that the leadership of this country has to deal with. “So, the United States is ready to engage and coordinate efforts as well. But we have been supporting, equipping, training and when we can provide information. I think that is the best way we have been helping the governCONTINUED ON PAGE 7

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


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INEC Mulls Burning Of 8m Unclaimed PVCs FROM COVER

hint during a chat with journalists in Akure, the state capital, said the unclaimed PVCs in Ondo state for instance, might belong to those who only visited the state during the registration and decided to register during the period. According to him, these people may have abandoned the cards since they have moved to another state. Akeju said the visitors might include federal civil servants, graduated students or members of the National Youth Service Corps posted to the state or transiting for just a short period of stay. “These set of people who own these unclaimed PVCs might have moved out of the state to another location, either by transit as students or NYSC members and left them in our offices”, he stated. Noting that the electoral commission had made several attempts to reach out to owners of the unclaimed PVCs through enlightenment and public advocacy, Akeju said all the efforts have not yielded any positive result. He said, “We (INEC) may have to dispose the yet unclaimed Permanent Voters Cards as many of them have been linked to double registration or an attempt by politicians to have their way during the elections “In fact, we might also even decide not to burn them but probably pour chemical on them. All our attempt is to protect the integrity of the elections but we are yet to really decide on it,” he said. The REC further disclosed that a total of 370,464 Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) were yet to be collected in Ondo State. He said that the cards were being kept across the offices of INEC in the 18 local government areas of the state. Akeju added that the state had been able to distribute a total of 1,288,722 cards in preparation for the election. According to the REC, there is no going back on ensuring a very transparent and credible general election in Ondo State in 2019. He also disclosed that the commission had possessed new and improved Data Capturing Machine for the smooth running of the ongoing voters registration. The director of voter education and publicity, Barr Oluwole Osaze Ussi, told LEADERSHIP last night that the number of unclaimed PVCs is put at 8 million. He however added that the number sometimes fluctuates depending on the collection. . . .Urges NASS To Pass Electoral Offences Commission Bill Meanwhile, the chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, yesterday urged the National Assembly to expedite the passage of the bill for the establishment of Electoral Offences Commission. If passed into law, the bill is required to effectively prosecute violators of the country’s electoral laws.

Yakubu

Yakubu stated this at a public hearing on a Bill to establish the National Electoral Offences Commission organised by Senate Committees on INEC and Judiciary. The commission, according to Yakubu, is very necessary in solving the challenges being faced by the electoral body on electoral offences or cases, which he said are about 1080 from the 2015 general election and subsequent byeelections. He further stated that 124 of the cases were filed and 60 convictions secured in various courts across the country. Yakubu expressed dismay that reports of the Electoral Reform Committee (the Uwais Report) 2008 and the Post-election Violence (Lemu Report) 2011 had been left to gather dusts on the shelves. According to the INEC boss, the two reports had recommended the establishment of the Electoral Offences Commission/Tribunal to address all forms of electoral violence and impunity that have continued to undermine the stability of the nation’s electoral democracy. He bemoaned the fact that though it has the powers to prosecute, INEC lack the powers to effect the arrest of electoral offenders, a situation he said has continued to hamper effective prosecution of offenders. His words: “While the Uwais Report was transmitted by the executive to the National Assembly in 2010, the White Paper on recommendations of the Lemu Report directed the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to take steps towards the establishment of the Electoral Offences Tribunal.

“Nearly a decade later, there has been no legislative action on these aspects of the recommendations of the Uwais and Lemu reports, making the present effort by the Senate and the concurrent effort by the House of Representatives a welcome development “The failure to systematically and consistently enforce sanctions has encouraged impunity and the violence that often characterise electoral contest in Nigeria, thereby subverting the will of the people and undermining the nation’s electoral democracy. “At present, INEC is saddled with the responsibility of prosecuting electoral offenders. Section 150(1) and (2) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) empowers INEC to prosecute electoral offenders through its legal officers or any legal practitioner appoint-

ed by it without the powers to arrest and investigate, thus depending on the police for this purpose. “Without the capacity to make arrest and investigate violations, the prosecutorial role is severely hampered. INEC cannot effectively focus on this role given its other variegated responsibilities under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended)”. Yakubu further described the convictions recorded so far as a far cry from the large number of electoral offences that occurred in the period under review. “There are several factors responsible for the inadequate success, ranging from the huge prosecutorial task, dependence on other agencies for arrest and investigation, time and resources against the backdrop of INEC’s extensive responsibilities of conducting elections and managing pre and post election litigations”, he added. INEC and other stakeholders hold the view that if passed into law, the National Electoral Offences Commission will be vested with the powers to arrest, investigate and prosecute all violators of electoral laws. This, according to them, will go a long way in ensuring that perpetrators of electoral offences are punished, even as it will also ensure speedy and effective prosecution of offenders. Chairman of the Senate committee on INEC, Senator Suleiman Nazif, noted that over the years, statistics showed that the various electoral offences and crimes orchestrated by politicians have cast shadows on the nation’s electoral process. He said, “Subsequently, due to human dynamics, crimes and offences of election tend to evolve. Therefore, we must look beyond the usual offences and into new trends of wider social electoral offences and crimes that have evaded justice for too long. “Furthermore, it is expected of us to rekindle our thoughts and cast our vast experiences to forge ways of strengthening this bill, as it bears direct consequential effect on our democracy”.

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I Cannot Overlook Killings In Any Part Of Nigeria FROM PAGE 6

ment of Nigeria secure the release of the girls, which we hope will be done in a peaceful manner. We hope that something can be worked out and they can secure the release of these girls quickly”. On his part, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Goffery Onyeama maintained that as a conventional military threat, Boko Haram has been completely degraded. He also dismissed insinuations that the federal government took a week to acknowledge the abduction of the Dapchi girls. He said, “With regards to the kidnap of the girls in Dapchi, it is incorrect to say we too a week to acknowledge. It was acknowledged immediately everything was being done and we were strategizing. “Other people might have made comments but those comments do not represent any government coming out with the acknowledgment. Fighting terrorism is a new challenge globally. When we talked of having degrading Boko Haram, we were referring specifically to the situation that we were confronted with when the government took over. “That was a situation where you have a classical military confrontation and Boko Haram were capturing territories, holding unto territories and hoisting flags. So, as a conventional military threat, Boko Haram has been completely degraded. “Now, there is a challenge with regards to sporadic suicides and bombings and of course largely, there is kidnapping of the girls. “We don’t by any stretch of imagination minimize those but it’s really a different kind of warfare as it is and the government is sparing no effort in addressing that”.


8 NEWS EXTRA

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

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ICC Presidency: Saraki, Ekweremadu Congratulate Eboe-Osuji BY AHURAKAISAH AND SOLOMON AYADO, Abuja

L-R: Kwara State Governor, Dr. Abdulfatah Ahmed; Olupo of AjaseIpo, Oba Sikiru Atanda Sanni; Chairman, Irepodun LGA Muyiwa Oladipo; HOD/Instructor, Building Dept. International Vocational Training & Entrepreneurship College (IVTEC), Tajudeen Agboola and Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Isiaka Gold, during inspection of IVTEC by the Governor in AjaseIpo, yesterday PHOTO BY KWARA STATE GOVT.

6m Applicants Denied Varsity Admissions In 5 Years – NUC BY AHURAKA ISAH AND SOLOMON AYADO, Abuja

About six million applicants for university admissions within the last five years were denied admission due to shortage of space and capacities by the existing universities in the country, National Universities Commission ( NUC) has disclosed. NUC executive secretary, Prof Abubakar Rasheed stated this yesterday in his office while receiving a team of intellectuals from Kogi West lobbying for upgrade of Federal College of Agriculture, Kabba to a full fledged university. Rasheed said that between

2013 and 2017, out of 7.8million university admission applicants that sat for Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination ( UTME),only 1.9million gained admission , leaving the remaining 5.9 million in the cold. “The surest way out of this problem largely created by yearly increase in population is for government and private individuals or corporate bodies to establish more universities. “As at today, Monday 12-032018, there are 161 universities comprising 41 federally owned, 46 states owned and 74 owned by private individuals or corporate bodies with attendant inadequate space, capacities and facilities for

admission of up to 2million admission seekers “, he said . He however assured the team which has Senator Dino Melaye( APC,Kogi West) and Nigerians that the NUC is currently working with the universities to find solutions to the admission problems. Recommendations to that effect according to him, would be submitted soon to the various authorities including the executive and legislative arm of government. Earlier, Senator Melaye said Okun land, specifically Kabba as its headquarters deserves a university. “The College of Agriculture Kabba is as old as the ABU Zaria but it

Appeal Court To Dispose 656 Cases In 19 Days

BY KUNLEOLASANMI, Abuja

The court of appeal has fixed March 12 to 31 to hold special sitting in three jurisdictions to dispose off 656 pending appeals. The jurisdictions are that of Kano, Jigawa and Katsina. A source told LEADERSHIP that the appeals have been pending before the courtfor quite sometime. The media officer of the court Sa’adatu Musa Kachalla, told our correspondent that the decision to dispose off the appeals is to decongest the court of pending cases.

Kachalla said, “In continuation of the efforts towards decongesting the Court of Appeal of backlog of pending matters, the President of the Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice ZainabAdamuBulkachuwa CFR, has set aside the 12th-30th of March 2018 to hold Special Sittings in Jigawa, Kano and Katsina states that falls under the jurisdiction of the Kaduna Division of the Court”. She said the president of the court would lead the panel that will hear the appeals in the jurisdictions.

“The Hon. President of the Court of Appeal, will be sitting with the Justices of Kaduna Division, Hon. Justice Uwani Abba Aji, Justice Ibrahim ShataBdliya, Justice Obietonbara Daniel-Kalio, Justice O. Adefope-Okojie and Justice Amina Audi Wambai”, she said. She said the deputy chief registrar of the Court of Appeal Kaduna Division, Mrs. Amina Ibrahim revealed that a total number of 656 appeals and motions are to be heard within the 21 days time frame set aside by the president. According to the deputy chief

is yet to become a full fledged university even though it has most of the facilities required to become a university. “We need this university because it’s as important to us Okun people as the breath of air, so we have come to lobby you so that you can lobby the Education Minister, and President Buhari so that a university can be established in Kabba. “ A Bill seeking to establish the university in Kabba is currently at the National Assembly. “We appeal to you that when the Bill gets to the President and your advice is sought, give good words for us the Okun people,” he requested.

registrar, “The Special Sitting will kick off in Dutse the Jigawa State capital on the 12th-16th March 2018, with the Justices disposing of 182 pending appeals and motions. “That of Kano will commence on Monday the 19th to end on the 23rd of March 2018, with the hearing of 285 appeals and motions. “The Court of Appeal Train will then move to Katsina State on the 26th-30th of March 2018 where the Justices will hear 189 appeals and motions”.

Gov Emmanuel Tasks Churches On Moral Values BY BERNARD TOLANI DADA, Uyo

Worried by the spate of moral decadence in the society, a call has been made on parents to partner the church in its task of inculcating sound morals in children. AkwaIbom State governor, MrUdom Emmanuel, made the call while addressing the congregation at Destiny International Missions, Ewet Housing Estate, Uyo. Governor Emmanuel attribut-

ed the prevalence of cultism, robbery, kidnapping and other antisocial behaviour perpetuated by youths to lack of proper upbringing and decline in the value system. He blamed the church for the slow pace of evangelism and failure to entrench Christ- like values in the younger generation and called for prayers and outreach to the youths. The governor however expressed appreciation to the

church for interceding for the state and country, assuring that construction would commence at the ecumenical centre once the construction giant, Julius Berger Plc, is done with the architectural remodeling. The General Overseer of the Church, Bishop Cletus Bassey who preached on the theme “New Dimension of Grace”, advocated the need for Christians to embrace the supernatural and move away from their comfort zones by

exploring new opportunities for attainment of positive impact. The cleric noted that Governor Emmanuel did not hold on to his banking career but ventured into politics to use his wealth of experience to salvage the state during the economic recession. Bishop Bassey also cited the biblical shepherd boy, David, who encountered the supernatural and killed Goliath for attempting to bring the name of God into disrepute.

Senate President, BukolaSaraki and Deputy Senate President,Ike Ekweremadu , have congratulated Mr Chile Eboe-Osuji (a Nigerian), on his election as the President of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, YusuphOlaniyonu, in Abuja, described the development as positive for Nigeria coming a few days after his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, was appointed a Professor by the Southern University, United States of America, USA. He noted that the emergence of Eboe-Osuji during the 10th session of the Assembly of State Parties of the ICC, at the UN Headquarters in New York, was a testimony that Nigeria and Nigerians have what it takes to continue to provide leadership at both the local and global arena. While wishing the eminent jurist a successful tenure, the Senate President said he was sure that the Judge would work to justify the confidence reposed in him by his colleagues who voted to elevate him to the position.

IFAD Programme Contributed $56m To Nigeria’s GDP In 2017 The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) contributed $56 million to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the 2017 production season. IFAD Nigeria country programme officer, Dr Ben Odoemena, said this yesterday,in Abuja at the mid-term review of the programme. Odoemena explained that $9.2 million of the money was injected into Benue through the IFAD programme beneficiaries, thereby saving the country the foreign exchange that would have been expended on rice importation. The officer said that 15,000 tonnes of paddy rice were produced while 10,000 jobs were created during the period under review. ‘‘In Benue alone, more than 3,000 jobs were created and overall, 10,000 jobs has been created, comprising paid jobs of more than 7,000. ‘‘This laudable goal was achieved due to the political will of the participating state governments and this has gone a long way to boost rice and cassava production in the country,’’ he said. He stressed that aside supporting farmers, the programme had resulted in the construction of feeder roads to enable farmers to access their rice and cassava farms. He said the programme also constructed modern rice mills in states to enhance its quality.


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10 NEWS NORTH-EAST, NORTH-WEST

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

NUC Approves Zamfara Varsity The National Universities Commission (NUC) yesterday approved Zamfara State University as the 47th state university and 162 among universities in the country. Prof. Abubakarheed, the Executive Secretary, NUC while giving a letter of approval to the government of Zamfara state in Abuja, called for more dedication toward promoting education development in the state and country. Abubakar also urged the government of Zamfara to take full advantage of the establishment of the university and contribute its quota to advance the course of education. He commended the governor for setting aside N3billion for specific use in staff development, establishment fund and laboratory equipment. According to him, this commitment is a good model that should be emulated by whoever wants to establish a university. “ I write on behalf of NUC that with effect from Monday, March 12, the Zamfara State University is approved as the 47th state university and also 162 universities in Nigeria. “Zamfara is the last state to establish a university. But the establishment is apt when you will have to key into the reform programme the NUC is having now and will be of benefit to you. “The NUC is looking at how we can be more effective in our regulation of all universities in Nigeria.” Rasheed said investment in higher education, educational growth and knowledge was becoming more important than the natural resources. He, however, urged the state to increase its activities that would enable the university achieve its goals as it commenced operations later in the year. He said JAMB, TETFund and NYSC had been notified of the establishment of the university.

Kano: Customs Impounds Rice, Macaroni Worth N7m BY ABDULLAHI YAKUBU, Kano

In a swift move to ensure compliance with the federal government’s directive on the banning of some commodities in to the country, Kano/Jigawa Customs Command, yesterday impounded over 300 bags of smuggled foreign rice and macaroni valued at N7 million. Dropping the hint, the Comptroller of the Command, Yusuf Abba-Kassim, informed newsmen on the seizure, and said two suspects were arrested in connection with the smuggled items. According to him, ten vehicles which conveyed the smuggled items were also impounded by his men at Babura village, a border town between Kano and Jigawa. Kassim said that the rice were loaded in Babura, a border town between Jigawa and Kano, in five Golf Cars with the intention of smuggling it into the country. He said, “I am here to showcase to you the suppression of smugglers in Kano/Jigawa Command; and the arrest of those foreign items were carried out within three days. He added that the two suspects arrested will be prosecuted in the Court of Law.

Wife of the Commandant, Nigerian Army Depot, Zaria, Mrs Aplonia Victor-Ezugwa (middle) dancing with members of Igbo Cultural Group during 2018 West African Social Activities (WASA) at Depot in Zaria, Kaduna State at weekend PHOTO BY NAN

FG Launches School Feeding Programme In Gombe BY CHUWANG DUNGS, Gombe

The federal government yesterday launched the Home Grown School feeding programme for 286, 000 primary schools pupils across Gombe state. Speaking at the launch the Focal Person, Gombe State Social Investment Project, Hajiya Maryam Isah Mele stated that the official flag-off of the programme is part of the N500 billion funded social investment programme announced

by the federal government to tackle poverty and improve the health and education of children in the country. She said that in Gombe State, vendors have been sufficiently trained on health, sanitation and hygiene program before implementation of the programme in the state. According to her, “A total of 197 million naira was paid to 2,809 duly verified vendors to provide services to 286,000 pupils at 70

naira each”. She added that, “The vendors are to cook meals using a timetable agreed by stakeholders in the programme while ensuring that the budget is pocket friendly. An aggregating system will ensure provision of food products at discounted prices to ensure equality, standard and compliance with unnecessary price increase in the market”. Also speaking, wife of the governor, Hajiya Adama Dankwam-

bo commended the federal government for imitating the programme. She said, “It is a known fact that education is the bedrock of any development and to be able to attain the standard of education required, we must be able to surmount all obstacles militating against education. “I believe this historic event is one of such areas where milestone efforts and results will be achieved in our quest for educational development”, the First Lady said.

Northern Group Vows To Domesticate Federal Character In Kano BY ABDULLAHI YAKUBU, Kano

Worried by the high rate of unemployment in Kano State, the Coalition of Northern Groups has vowed to initiate a Bill that would fast track the domestication of federal character principle in the State in order to make all private businesses and financial institutions consider Kano indigenes in their employment drive. Making the disclosure, the national coordinator, Mallam Balarebe Rufai and the state coordinator of the Coalition, Sani Yusuf

Salihu, made this known while briefing the press at the NUJ Press Centre in Kano, yesterday. Rufai, who decried the high rate of youths unemployment among Kano indigenes, said this is a major problem that led Kano state to top the statistics of drug abuse across the country. He lamented that despite the promises made by the Senate during the public hearing in view of addressing the alarming rate of drug abuse through youths employment approach, the situation is degenerating to an alarm-

ing proportion. Noting that, “Months after the Senate hearing, the alarming rate of youths unemployment keeps rising in states of the North, especially in Kano. We are concerned because with the current rise in unemployment commensurate, with the rate of idleness among the youth in the state has become a source of concern to the Government and the Coalition.” The national coordinator, who described as worrisome, the situation whereby non-indigenes dominate banks, private schools

and some other viable businesses in the state, pointed out that the disturbing trend, prompted the Coalition to take the bull by the horn by initiating the domestication of federal character principles in the state so as to address the situation to the barest minimum. According to him, “We shall equally collaborate to sponsor a bill for the enforcement of observance of the federal character principles by all private businesses, financial institutions and Banks located in the State”.

Katsina To Establish Hajj Tribunal BY ANDY ASEMOTA, Katsina

Katsina State governor, Aminu Bello Masari, yesterday said that his administration might establish special court to tackle Hajj related offences. Receiving 2017 Hajj report from the leader of the state delegation who is also the deputy governor, Mannir Yakubu, the governor assured that the call

for Hajj tribunal and other recommendations of the committee would be looked into. “I think I support the idea of Hajj tribunal and it is an issue which Justice Musa Danladi Abubakar had raised about one or two years ago to curb some bad behaviors of pilgrims,” hesaid. The governor, who expressed concern over lack of knowledge

EYN Opens Micro Finance Bank BY HUSSAINI HAMMANGABDO, Yola

The Church of Brethren in Nigeria (EYN) has inaugurated its Microfinance Bank. Known as Brethren Micro Finance Bank (BMFB), the new bank will cater for all manner of businesses in Adamawa state. President of the church , Rev.

Joel Billi while speaking at the occasion, in Yola said the bank was not meant for Christians alone but all members of the public irrespective of tribe and religion. Billi who urged the public particularly small scale entrepreneurs to patronize the various services to be provided by the bank in boosting their businesses said

of Hajj exercise by both urban elite and rural illiterates, said Hajj is still highly subsidized as one of the five pillars of Islam. He maintained that the operation required perseverance and endurance, saying it is neither a tea party nor a picnic as traveling for whatever purpose is not easy. Earlier, the state deputy governor, Mannir Yakubu, in a 30 page report, stressed the need

the bank has hope to expand its branches across the state and nationwide. In his speech, Gov. Muhammadu Bindow of Adamawa represented by the state Head of Service, Mr Louis Mandama lauded the church for setting the pace in opening a bank and urged other religious organization to emulate it.

for among others a review of the provisions in the affidavit of intending pilgrims to ensure that the breach of such provisions would attract penalties. Yakubu noted that despite the success recorded in the operation, the excesses of some pilgrims and officials could tarnish the image of the state and the nation if there were no appropriate sanctions.

In their respective remarks, the Arch Bishop of Lutheran Church of Christ, Bishop Filibus Musa and the Bishop of Yola Catholic Diocese who is also the State chairman of Christian Association Nigeria (CAN), Bishop Stephen Mamza lauded the Church of Brethren for the initiative and prayed for its success.


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Minister Inaugurates Isolation Unit, Others At FMC Keffi BY DANJUMA JOSEPH, Lafia

The minister of state for Health, Dr. EhanireOsagie, has commissioned a new Administrative Complex, Isolation Unit and Electronic Personnel Record, initiated and executed by the Federal Medical Centre(FMC), Keffi, NasarawaState. DrOsagie, while inaugurating the projects yesterday in Keffi, said that the projects have direct bearing on the lives of patients and other Nigerians, for the overall development of the country. The minister also said that the projects executed by the centre, would remain indelible in the annals of health care. He said, “I am honoured and delighted to be here again to commission new Administrative Complex, Isolation Unit and Electronic Personnel Record initiated and executed by the management of this centre. “I am more often in FMC Keffi not because it is near to Abuja but because there are good things to show in order to ensure effective healthcare service delivery which have direct bearing on the lives of the patients and other Nigerians.”

Niger Senator Commissions 14 Projects BY BODE GBADEBO, Abuja

Senator representing Niger South, Mustapha Sani Mohammed, over the weekend commissioned 14 constituency projects and laid foundation for eight new ones. The commissioned projects include motorised boreholes in Bida, Mapa, Sanchiya, Rani, Lapai, Lafiagi, Bokani, Gbako and Gbade towns, while Town Halls were also commissioned in Bida and Busu. Meanwhile, Senator Mohammed has laid the foundations for eight new projects, one in each of the eight local government areas that make up Niger South senatorial district. In Bida LGA, foundation was laid for the construction of an ICT centre by the Governor of Niger State, AbubakarSani Bello and was assisted by the EtsuNupe, AlhajiYahayaAbubakar, who advised the lawmaker to make sure that the contractor completes the project on time. The representative of the Etsu of Lapai, AlhajiAbubakar Umar Bago, laid the foundation for the construction of an ICT centre in Lapaifor LapaiLGA, while Mokwa town will also have an ICT centre soon, as the foundation was laid by the Ndalile of Mokwa, AlhajiMuhammaduAliyu Shaba. For Katcha and Agaie LGAs, foundations were laid for the construction of centres for the acquisition of skills. The Etsu of Agaie, Alhaji Yusuf Nuhu laid the foundation for that of his town while the Chief of Badeggi laid the foundation for Katcha LGA.

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CBN, Niger Partner On Grazing Reserves – Gov Bello BY ABU NMODU, Minna

In view of the recent move by the Niger State government to develop its cattle grazing reserves, the state governor, AlhajiAbubakarSani-Bello said that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is willing to support the state to develop the grazing reserves. The governor who was interacting with the Niger State chapter of the National Sheep and Goat Development of Nigeria,

(NASHGODAN) at the EtsuNupe Palace, Bida at the weekend disclosed that the CBN has written to the state government on their willingness to support the state in developing their grazing reserves. While saying that clashes between farmers and herdsmen were unnecessary, he stated that strategic collaboration like the support from the CBN was needed to check the clashes completely and put an end to them. The governor who did not give details

of the areas of support, however, pointed out that some of the grazing reserves have been encroached adding that “the state government is doing everything possible to salvage them”. Governor Sani-Bello said that out of the 23 grazing reserves in the state only two were gazetted, adding that the state is ready to accommodate genuine cattle rearers in the grazing reserves to check the crisis. The governor commended the body for

its initiatives and directed the members to meet with the Chief of Staff and the Ministry of Livestock for further discussion on the project. The state coordinator, HusseiniAbdulkhadirYero who disclosed that the body was registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria added that NASHGODAN was endorsed by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.

L-R: Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Alhaji Abubakar Bwari and former Minister, Alhaji Sarafadeen Isola, during the inauguration of Board of Agencies under the ministry, in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO BY NAN.

Al-Makura Tasks NASEIC On Free, Fair LG Elections BY DANJUMA JOSEPH, Lafia

Nasarawa State governor, UmaruTanko Al-Makura, has tasked the newly inaugurated Nasarawa State Independent Electoral Commission (NASEIC) chairman and his team to ensure free and fair elections come 26th May, 2018. Governor Al-Makura, gave the charge yesterday while swearing in NASEIC chairman and members

at the Government House, Lafia. Also sworn in was a permanent secretary and, the IMC chairmen of Keana and Keffi local government areas of the state. The governor said, “I charge you to justify the confidence reposed in you, considering the fact that your appointment came at a time the state is preparing to conduct the local government elections in May, 2018. In other words, you must exhibit honesty and integrity

in your conduct. “As you settle down to this onerous task, remember that the first assignment before you is to organise a free, fair and credible election that is in line with the law and best practices. Accordingly, I call on you to ensure a level playing field for all the would-be candidates to be fielded by the registered political parties in the state. “Let me place on record that

government will not interfere with the independence of the state electoral body in the due discharge of its responsibilities. “I, therefore, call on all political parties to participate in the electioneering process without any fear of partisanship. To underscore our commitment in this direction, government is providing the necessary enablement to facilitate the smooth preparation and conduct of the May, 2018 election.”

GovAhmed Decries Youth Unemployment BY ABDULLAHIOLESIN, Ilorin

The Kwara State governor, AlhajiAbdulfatah Ahmed yesterday charged governments at various levels to do more to reduce current levels of youth unemployment and restiveness in the country. Ahmed spoke when the contractors handling the construction

works at the International Vocational Technical and Entrepreneurship College (IVTEC), Ajase-Ipo, Kwara State visited him at the Government House, Ilorin. He equally restated his administration’s commitment to sponsoring 195 students with full scholarship to commence entrepreneurship training at the IVTEC.

The governor, who decried the rate of jobless youths in the country, maintained that youths require to be properly guided and trained to enable them live meaningful lives. He called on contractors, corporate bodies, organisations and individuals to sponsor youths to the college as part of their social responsibilities and as a way of mean-

ingfully engaging the youths. He added that IVTEC was established to provide youths with entrepreneurship skills that will enable them key into the current economic challenges, stating that at the end of their training, they will be supported by government through Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs).

Nigerians Celebrate Corruption – Bishop BY SAM EGWU, Lokoja

The Catholic Bishop of Idah Diocese, Most Rev Anthony Adaji, has said that corruption is a canker worm which has eaten deep into the fabric of Nigerian system and celebrated by Nigerians. The Bishop dropped this bombshell while addressing a gathering of the faithful, weekend in Anyig-

ba, Dekina local government area, Kogi State, at the event marking the 50th birthday of the longest serving religious leader in his diocese, Rev. Sr. John Gab Osiagwu. “Corruption is everywhere in Nigeria because Nigerians celebrate corruption and Nigerians have failed to see the looming danger as the same people who are impoverished go about singing the praises

of the very people who impoverished them”, he said. According to him, many political office holders who steal money meant to develop their areas eventually go about to spray this money in gatherings while the poor scramble for them all to survive on a token and sell their conscience and the future of their children. “In Nigeria those who steal pub-

lic funds and become false benefactors or benefactresses are celebrated. We celebrate corruption in Nigeria. Those who stealgovernment money and refuse to pay their own workers and put the money in their personal accounts, when they move around spreading the money we clap hands for them. God said thou shall not steal; thieves are celebrated in Nigeria.”


12 NATIONAL NEWS

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Police Foil Robbery Attack, Kill 2 In FCT The Police Command in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Monday foiled an armed robbery attack at Sauka Federal Housing Estate, Lugbe Extension of the territory and killed two suspects. The command’s Spokesman, DSP Anjuguri Manzah, in a statement, said that the operation followed a distress call on March 10 that some armed robbers were robbing the residents of the estate. Manzah said that on sighting operatives from the Lugbe Division, the suspects opened fire

on them. He said that the exchange of gunfire resulted in the killing of two suspects by the gallant policemen, while others escaped with gunshot wounds. The spokesman said that the operatives while searching the scene and nearby bush, recovered two locally made pistols, nine flat screen television sets and two laptop computers. Other items recovered are: two cutlasses; one knife; one touch light; one cell phone; wrist watches; jewellery; and shoes, among others.

He said that some victims had shown up at the Lugbe Police Division to identify their property from the recovered items. Manzah said the FCT Commissioner of Police, Mr Sadiq Bello, had assured residents of the territory of the command’s readiness to fight crime. “He also enjoined hospital workers and members of the public to alert the nearest police station once anybody is sighted with gunshot wounds,” he said. The police spokesman also said that the command had arrested six armed robbery sus-

pects along Bannex junction in Abuja on March 10. He said the suspects were arrested during a stop-and-search operation by personnel of the command. Manzah said that during search, Emeka Nwafor and Onwunali Thankgod were arrested with one locally made pistol and two live cartridges. He said the raid that was extended to their hideout in Mabushi led to the arrest of four additional suspects, Oke David, Jim Williams, Emmanuel Okoro and Uchenna Chukwuma.

Institute Trains 100 Kogi Teachers The National Teachers Institute (NTI) on Monday commenced training for 100 Government Secondary Schools teachers in Kogi under the aegis of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) project. The five­-day workshop was organised by the institute in collaboration with the Kogi Government. Prof. Garba Azare, the Director-General of the institute at the opening ceremony of the workshop said that the training would enhance participant’s knowledge in Language Communication Skills. Azare added that the training

would also improve the teachers in Basic Classroom Teaching Methods and Techniques, Effective Management Skills, Information and Communication Technology (ICT). He noted that the participants would be trained in Academic Leadership, Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SENDs), HIV/AIDS Awareness and Digital Literacy. Azare, who was represented by Hajiya Zainab Ibrahim, the Principal Accountant of the institute, said that Nigerian teachers deserved all the encouragement to enable them performed optimally on the job.

He said that the teachers should also be encouraged to undergo regular retraining programmes that would equip them with the current best practices around the globe, as they deserved improved remuneration. According to him, sponsoring teachers to participate in capacity building programmes such as this will enhance their cutting edge as professional classroom teachers. The director-general, however, appealed to relevant stakeholders to ensure timely release of funds meant for the purpose of organising retraining programmes.

Azare also urged the State Governors to help the institute by partnering with NTI at affordable costs to train teachers. The State’s Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mrs Rosemary Osikoya, congratulated the participants for being part of the first 100 teachers that would be trained in Kogi as master trainers. Osikoya urged them to ensure they utilise the golden opportunity to improve their skills and knowledge on the job, stressing the need for the teachers to add professional value to themselves.

Curses On Human Traffickers: Market Women Salute Benin Monarch’s Courage Few hours after the Edo State government formally expressed its alignment with the royal orders and pronouncements of the Benin Monarch, His Royal Majesty, Omo N’ Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, market women in the state have hailed the courage of the Oba, pledging to abide by the orders. Leader of Edo Market Women, Madam Blackie Ogiamien, described the orders of the Benin Monarch as “progressive,” noting that it gives the needed support to Edo State Government’s campaign against human trafficking and illegal migration. She added that with the blessing of the royal father, “the people and government of the day are now in synch and it will only take one who is foolhardy to continue in the despicable practices that have aided and abetted human trafficking for years.” She argued that the charge by the royal father “will bring succour to market women and mothers in general, in the state, most of whom have been yearning for an intervention in the inhuman trade that have claimed the lives of many Edo youths.” Madam Ogiamien said: “We are comforted by the orders of our father, Oba Ewuare II. Edo people know and appreciate the weight of the curses and orders of the King and we are happy about the orders. “A lot of mothers sold houses and gave the proceeds to people who lied that they can take their children abroad through legal means and give them decent jobs on arrival. But the children were abandoned in jungles of death in Libya and in the Sahara Desert, while others died in Mediterranean.


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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

AN APPEAL FOR ASSISTANCE

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

A

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


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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

science

300 million

Nigeria is projected to be the third largest nation in the world by 2050 just behind China and India, with a population of over 300 million people.

F E AT U R E S N E W S R E P O R T S I N T E R V I E W

Techno Expo: Showcasing Nigeria’s Strength In Science And Technology

T

BY NKECHI ISAAC, Abuja

Unmanned tractor

Wooden car

Rafia-weaved Fulani ‘Nono’ seller

Energy generation tricycle

he just concluded S c i e n c e , Technology and Innovation Expo otherwise called Expo 2018 which held from March 5-9, 2018, with the theme “Fast-tracking sustainable development of Nigeria through science and technology”, brought to the fore the great role science and technology can play in the rapid industrialization and socio-economic development of a nation. Organized by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, the expo brought scientists, researchers, inventors, innovators and investors from all parts of the nation and outside to showcase the immense science and technology potentials available in Nigeria. It provided opportunity for innovators and inventors to advertise their breakthroughs with the aim of connecting with relevant stakeholders and investors for the commercialization of such technologies. It also gave the over 297 research institutions, technology entrepreneurs and organisations with a combined figure of 555 projects to present their innovations and inventions to be scrutinized by a committee for creativity and ingenuity, and relevance in providing solution to pressing societal problems. The assessment saw inventors and innovators compete in four categories from which the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) came first under the research institutes category, the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO) Lagos, was second, while Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) got third position. The first position in tertiary institute category went to Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, came second, while third position went to Federal University,

Ndufu Alike Ikwo, Ebonyi State. In the junior engineers, technology and scientists (JETS) category, Government College Science and Technical College, Garki, Abuja, was first, Calvary Arrows College, Gboko, Benue State came second, while Government Secondary School, Bwari got third position. In the technology entrepreneurs category, Bemsbuch International Ltd.; Alpha and Technical Service and Engr. Agada Sunday Ojonimi came first, second and third respectively. The Federal Government recognized and rewarded the winners with N9 million for their various groundbreaking innovations with first position across all categories clinching N1 million each while the second won N750, 000 and third positions got N500, 000 respectively. Addressing participants during the closing ceremony at the Eagles Square, Abuja venue of the expo, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara,stressed the importance of innovations and the need to embrace science and technology, describing it as an avenue for wealth creation. He urged Nigerian scientists to pick up the challenge to develop smart industrial solutions to reduce the nation’s high unemployment rate. Dogara commended the first-class scientists for the direction they have given the nation and pledged his support for the Ministry of Science of Technology in its effort to move Nigeria to a knowledge-based and innovation-driven economy. In his closing remarks, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu expressed optimism that the outcome of the expo would advance commercialisation in the country. He said: “Through the work of your hand and the power of imagination, you have shown that Nigeria is the home of the rising sun. You have shown that we have the brain to dream and think. “You have shown that STI holds the key for our beloved country to become truly great.

You have shown that the future belongs to Nigeria, if we pay more attention to technology and innovation.’’ The minister commended the inventors, innovators, investors, researchers, entrepreneurs among other people that contributed to the success of the expo, assuring them that the APC-led administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will not let them down as it shares their faith in STI as the key that would unlock frontiers of Nigeria’s future greatness. “It shares your dream for a new Nigeria that will in no distant time from now produce Nobel laureates in chemistry, physics and medicine. Indeed, it shares your vision for a new nation where the quality of life of her citizens will not be determined by the size of her population but by the power of the peoples’ imagination and strength of their creativity,” he added. Onu said his ministry would continue to build on the strength of the expo, even as he proposed that the expo should be brought closer to the people by taking it to the six geopolitical zones of the nation. He said: “In this regard, we intend to take the event closer to the people in the six geopolitical zones of our beloved country. It is proposed that beginning from next year, the South East geo-political zone will host the expo at the venue to be determined later. It will then move from one geopolitical zone to another.’’ Speaking to LEADERSHIP, an energy generation tricycle inventor, Friday Michael, commended the government for hosting the techno expo, saying it was an avenue to showcase Nigeria’s ingenuity to the world, adding that it will invariably promote development of more indigenous technologies. The event also saw the presentation of science kits produced by a parastatal under the ministry, the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) to 19 secondary schools from the six geopolitical zones of the nation.


16 SCIENCE/NEWS

Engineer Invents Energy Generation Tricycle An engineer, Friday Michael, has made a ground-breaking invention with the successful design and construction of an energy generation tricycle after 10 years of research. Speaking to journalists at the just concluded Technology and Innovation Expo 2018 in Abuja, the technology entrepreneur described the universal tricycle as a unique piece of technology that generates power while moving from point to point, saying the energy generated could be used to power electronic devices and lighting points. He said: “It’s the solution we’ve all been long looking for world over, we’ve been able to proffer a lasting solution to energy generation, not just energy generation but transportation also. Today we’re showcasing one of our babies which we’ve been working on for over 10 years now and it’s ready to hit the Nigerian and global market also. “It’s a locally designed and built tricycle, its not just a tricycle that can move passengers from one point to another but one that generates its own energy, which means it is not depending on any external source of energy to power itself. “And after your daily routine you return home and use the same tricycle to power your home by hooking up your television, lightening points, refrigerator, standing fan etc, and you enjoy that comfort till day break before you set out again for your daily routine.”

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

NOTAP Presents 20 Patent Certificates To Research Institutes, Others STORIES BY NKECHI ISAAC, Abuja

The National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) has presented 20 patent certificates to inventors and innovators cutting across universities, research establishments and individuals for various research findings. The 20 patents which were processed between January and February 2018, brings the number of patents processed by the parastatal to 70 from 2015 till date. In 2015, there were only six patents for research findings in the country. Barely a year later in 2016, the number increased to 16 and significantly rose to 50 in 2017. Presenting the certificates to some of the inventors and

innovators at the closing ceremony of the 2018 Technology and Innovation Expo in Abuja, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, said the certificates are clear evidence that Nigeria was on the onward march toward a new dawn where research and innovation would stimulate growth in the economy and enhance the nation’s competitiveness in the global arena. Speaking to journalists, the director-general of NOTAP, Dr DanAzumi Ibrahim, said the importance of patent in commercialization of research and development could not be overemphasized, describing it as the first stage towards commercialization. He said: “One of the first stage towards the commercialization

of any research and development is to protect the intellectual property through patenting, it’s like securing a land with the certificate of occupancy to stop encroachment. Patenting any technological development is the first stage to have ownership of that technology which will encourage investors to invest on the invention.” He called on Nigerian innovators and inventors to protect their intellectual properties by applying for patents at the agency, saying apart from increasing their individual intellectual wealth, protecting and promotion of IP would also spur economic development in the country. He said because of lack of patents for their inventions, many Nigerian researchers were being robbed of their inventions by some

foreigners. According to him, 90 per cent of technologies being used in the country are imported, depriving the country of foreign exchange with foreign technology owners making huge profits at the expense of Nigerians. He added that for a country that strives to develop technologically, indigenous capabilities should be developed and encouraged to engage in researches that would have direct impact on the economy. According to the NOTAP boss, what differentiates a developed nation from a developing one is the number of patented products coming out of its knowledge institutions, adding no country develops without strong and viable institutions that power the economy.

PRODA Tackles Unemployment, Youth Restiveness Via Innovative Technologies Projects Development Institute (PRODA) has said its research and development technologies specifically aim to create employment, empower the youth and make them selfsufficient. The director-general of the institute, Engr. Charles Agunlanna made this known at an interactive session with journalists during PRODA day at the just concluded Technology and Innovation Expo, 2018 in Abuja. Agunlanna said such technologies included machines that could be used in cereal, palm oil and fish processing, adding many investment potentials abound in the institution. He pointed out that most of their research and development products were designed for sustainable industrial growth through selfreliance, saying most of the machines had been patented and were ready for commercialization. “The present thrust of National Science and Technology policy is hinged on innovative research and development. The major key performance indicator for innovative research all over the world is in the number of patents generated by R&D institutions,” he said. He declared PRODA’s readiness to collaborate with sister research institutes and the public in general in all areas of engineering and scientific endeavour particularly in the area of agro processing machines for national development.

The director-general of NOTAP, Dr DanAzumi Ibrahim (middle) flanked by patent certificate recipients at the just concluded science and technology expo in Abuja.

NILEST Urges FG To Ban Second-hand Leather Products The Nigerian Institute of Leather and Science Technology (NILEST) has asked the Federal Government to strengthen the development of the leather and leather products sector by enforcing the ban on second-hand leather products and placing high tariffs on imported articles. Speaking during the NILEST Day at the just concluded Technology and Innovation Expo, 2018 in Abuja, the director-general of the institute, Dr. Eucharia Ngozi Oparah, said Nigeria had become a dumping ground for both new and second-hand shoes and other leather products from other countries. She said: “Before the discovery of oil, hides and skins ranked fifth in the list of export products that earned Nigeria foreign exchange and

revenue. This means that before the advent of mechanized leather processing in Nigeria, hides and skins had played a vital role in the growth of the economy as a major source of income through export to Europe and other parts of world. “Leather has long been used as a material in the production of several items and its role in the growth of an economy cannot be overemphasized. It is in this respect that an attempt is made, not only at creating awareness to the Nigerian populace and government, but also to ensure maximum capacity utilization, in the leather and leather products sector of the economy. “However, it is sad to note that Nigeria serves as a dumping ground for both new and second-hand shoes

Leather shoe

and other leather products from other countries. This has led To The closure of some industries like BATA (now FAMAD), Anita shoes, Perfected Shoes Ltd. and Lernard Shoes Ltd, thus, affecting the economy of our dear country adversely. According to her, “To achieve optimum benefit from the leather and leather product sector of the Nigerian economy, much need to be done to address certain issues that have contributed to the low, capacity utilization of this sub-sector. There is need for massive campaign to change the attitude of Nigerians towards homemade

leather goods. It will be necessary for government to enforce the ban on second-hand leather products and place high tariffs on imported articles.” She urged governments at the federal, state and local levels to regulate and encourage large scale livestock production and increased funding for hides and skins’ improvement activities, saying there should be public enlightenment campaign on the utilization of hides and skins as raw materials and the harm done to the economy through consumption of hides and skins as delicacies.


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Checking Indiscriminate Selling Of Cooking Gas In Abuja Following the spate of gas explosions in recent times and government’s decision to regulate sale of cooking gas in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), TARKAA DAVID writes on the need for a proper approach. Recently, cooking gas explosion has become a recurring phenomenon in parts of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The latest of this development occurred in Zuba community in Gwagwalada area council, where a cooking cylinder gas exploded. According to reports, at least three persons were confirmed dead by the explosion, Gas cylinders while two others sustained various levels of injuries in the explosion occurred when one of the community recently. the gas cylinders that were sitting The deceased were the on the top of other ones fell off to gas seller, a customer, the ground. This was countered by who brought the gas for other accounts which claimed that refill and another person, it exploded when an unidentified standing by. An eyewitness passerby dropped a used stick of account said that the cigarette close to one of the gas explosion occurred when cylinders. the customer came to refill Though no life was lost at the Jahi the gas and as they were explosion, not fewer than 10 people trying to refill the gas, they were injured; several buildings in noticed an error in the the vicinity were also burnt down. filling. It was gathered that five cars and But before the seller 15 motorcycles as well as other could figure out the fault, properties that were destroyed by there was an explosion the fire. from the gas cylinder, which Speaking on the incident, the killed both the seller and traditional ruler of the community, the customer, including HRH Salihu Ibrahim, applauded the another person at the shop. rapid responses of the emergency Same incident took place team, which he said helped to save in Jahi 2 village of Abuja the village from more losses. He said Municipal Area Council that eight fire fighters tanker were (AMAC), where residents mobilized to attack the fire. were thrown into mourning “We cannot really say exactly following a gas disaster that what caused the fire. What I was destroyed properties worth told was that there was a big blast millions of naira. These at the shop where they sell gas. residents will not forget in a The explosion came with fire that hurry the pains and anguish started burning houses around that have compounded the the place. No life was lost, but economic hardship of many many people got injured. Many households. The gas shop, people lost their properties to the where residents usually fire. Those who were injured in the refill their gas cylinders is process have been rushed to the located close to the only hospital”, he said. government primary school In his own wisdom, the in the village. It is also traditional ruler had ordered that surrounded by residential nobody should sell gas inside the buildings and shops village. According to him, that is for various commercial one safety measures that is within activities. the reach of the residents, and he Eye witnesses gave shall be committed to enforcing it. different accounts of the Worried by this disaster, the incident; others alleged that chairman of Abuja Municipal Area

Council (AMAC), Hon Abdullahi Adamu Candido said that the council would regulate the sale of domestic gas in the council as part of precautionary measures against incidents of explosion. Candido made this decision when he visited victims of the Jahi 2 fire incident and other stakeholders. To this end, the council has set up a committee to study how gas and its accessories are to be displayed and sold in the area especially suburbs and rural communities. He said that by the time the committee submits its findings and report, the council would come up with the government white paper that would enable it to take a decision to guide against its reoccurrence in the future. “I have already put in place a committee to study how gas and its accessories are being displayed and sold in our locality, so that we guard against what has happened here. There are specific areas that gas and its accessories are supposed to be sold. They must never be within the community. And so at the end of the committee findings and report submitted, we will be able to come up with Government White paper on what the Council will take as a decision to guide against its reoccurrence,” Candido affirmed. In a similar vein, the chairman of Gwagwalada area council, Hon Mustapha Adamu Danze, has banned the indiscriminate display and sales of cooking gas in public places within the area council. Danze, who ordered the ban, while reacting to the recent Zuba gas explosion, said that the council it

would liaise with security agents to stop the sale of the commodity, within the council, to avert future occurrences. The chairman added that the council is taking necessary measures to ensure that cooking gas business is no longer carried out in overcrowded areas to avoid disaster, explaining that the council would also embark on a sensitization campaign on the dangers of gas explosion, just as he warned those involved in cooking gas business to desist from indiscriminate selling of the commodity in public places. A gas retailer, Justice, Obinna told LEADERSHIP that the explosions are caused by people who join the business without proper knowledge and caution. He stated that gas is a dangerous product that should be sold in places that are not populated by people. He disclosed that the location for citting gas plant is not regulated leading to indiscriminate citting of gas plants and gas refilling outlets. According to him, “If Nigeria is to move beyond the cycle of needless deaths and property damage caused by gas explosions, safety regulations must be enforced much more strictly than they have been so far. A comprehensive survey of all gasdispensing installations, stations and shops in the country must be carried out without delay, and those that are found to have breached established safety requirements should be closed down until they meet them. The location of gas businesses in denselypopulated areas must be discouraged. In this regard, the town-planning edicts which are supposed to manage such issues must be strictly enforced. Where disaster occurs as a result of proven negligence, the culprits concerned must be sanctioned to the fullest extent of the law.”

If Nigeria is to move beyond the cycle of needless deaths and property damage caused by gas explosions, safety regulations must be enforced much more strictly than they have been so far


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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

APC Women Leader Canvasses For Gender Equality BY DAVID ADUGE-ANI

National women leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has called for gender equality and empowerment for women in the country. In a message at the ongoing Africa Women Conference in New York, as part of activities marking 2018 International Women’s Day, Aliyu noted that sustainable development is virtually impossible without addressing the marginalization and adversity facing women across the globe. She regretted that successive governments have continue to pay lip service to issues of women empowerment and gender equality, stressing that from politics and governance to the family and economy, the challenges confronting women are as real as they are daunting. A statement signed by the co-host of the conference and President of Helpline Foundation for the Needy,

Abuja, Dr. Jumai Ahmadu which was made available to newsmen yesterday quoted the APC national women leader as saying that the time has come to do something about women empowerment and gender mainstreaming. The women leader therefore called on governments all over the world, especially Africa governments to tap into the vast reservoir of socio-economic and cultural experiences and resources available, to draw up tailormade interventions that would close the gender gap. According to her, “This can Doctors from the Lighthouse Church, Abuja conducting free screening at Angwan Pah 1 village in Karu also be done by urging our local government area of Nasarawa State at the weekend. PHOTO BY DAVID ADUGE-ANI lawmakers to come up with legislations that will guarantee and promote women’s access to decent terms and conditions of employment, including but not limited to good living wage, secure contracts, access BY DAVID ADUGE-ANI in his palace, Auta called on the The monarch reiterated the to social protection, equal minister of the Federal Capital willingness and readiness of people pay for equal work, equal As the Federal Capital Territory Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad living in Jabi Masallachi, to relocate opportunities and of course Administration (FCTA), prepares Musa Bello to ensure that essential to Shere Galuwyi Resettlement, non-discrimination in the to relocate Jabi, Utako and Kpana things like schools, roads, water, adding that the majority of the workplace.” villages in Abuja Municipal markets, hospitals and police people are now eager to move into Area Council (AMAC) to Shere- station are made available in Shere- the new site, because their present Galuwyi Resettlement in Bwari Galuwyi Resettlement. location is choking. area council, the Esu of Jabi 1, “All we believe is that the Recall that the FCTA had Alhaji Yakubu Auta, has called on government should uphold its issued a quit notice on some the administration to ensure that promise of providing essential police personnel, who have been infrastructure is provided in their social services and amenities, which occupying the uncompleted Sherenew settlement. will stop us from wanting to return Galuwyi Resettlement, located In an interview with LEADESHIP to the city centre.” about 15 kilometres from Mpape people to be grateful that the church exists. It is not just about singing clapping and dancing, but let them be BY DAVID ADUGE-ANI Christian Ohaa, the minister said of the Youth Mobile Project, grateful that a representative the next phase of training has adding that the knowledge of Jesus is here.” The Federal Capital Territory been scheduled for Gwagwalada gained would enable Adoga noted that the Administration FCTA) said it has town and would involve 600 participants to contribute building of the society is the committed a total sum of N96.7 participants, from Kuje, Kwali, towards the building of inclusive responsibility of the church million to the United Nations Abaji, and Gwagwalada area knowledge-based society. and not the politicians, Educational, Scientific and councils. In his own remarks, the adding that the mistake Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)/ Bello said beneficiaries have director and representative people make was to look up FCTA YouthMobile Information been given skills required to excel, of UNESCO regional office to the politicians to build the and Communication Technology adding that government and the in Abuja, Yao Yido said the nation. (ICT) project in the Federal Capital larger society expect them to youth stand at the heart of the Also speaking, the head Territory (FCT). translate these skills to increased 2030 Agenda for Sustainable of the medical outreach Speaking during the productivity and employment. Development, adding that team, Dr (Mrs.) Cheshi graduation ceremony for 400 While congratulating the UNESCO is working across the Fatima, explained that the participants of the Project, participants, the minister urged board to support them, not as intervention project was drawn from Abuja Municipal them to justify the investment of beneficiaries but as leaders, informed by the passion of Area Council (AMAC) and Bwari both the global community and playing vital roles at local, members, who believe that area council, FCT minister, Malam the home government towards national and global levels the world we live in is not Muhammad Musa Bello added the realization of their full Yido disclosed that the spirit just for you to pass through, that UNESCO also supported potentials by starting their own of UNESCO was to engage and but to be a blessing to the next the project with the sum of N42 businesses where necessary. partner with young women person. million. He expressed appreciation to and men, in promoting peace, “We realised that we need to Represented by the FCTA the UNESCO for the successful preventing violent extremism move away from dependency permanent secretary, Mr. conclusion of the first segment and engaging them meaningfully. on government and we need to take our own fate in our own hands and think how we could benefit the society we live in. And the Lighthouse as a BY TARKAA DAVID Abdullahi Adamu Candido he was overwhelmed to receive church has come together assumed office as chairman of the opposition leader and his to think of how it can help Chairman of the Peoples AMAC. supporters into the APC. communities around, which Democratic Party (PDP) “The PDP ward chairman has “By the special grace of God, is targeted at people who are in Gwagwa ward of Abuja I will contribute 100 per cent decided to join us to continue less-priviledged, who may not Municipal Area Council (AMAC), to make sure that that positive the good work. He has defected access to health care as we Murtala Mohammed Tanko has change goes forward and after assessing our performance would.” defected to the All Progressives not backward. More than 500 in the council.” A resident of the Congress (APC). Candido said the APC people are decamping today community, Moses Onu, told Tanko, who, along with with me in Gwagwa, which is a large family and very LEADERSHIP that this was the about 500 of his supporters, comprises people from all walks accommodating, adding that first time a faith-based group defected to APC on Sunday, of life. the leader of the group would or any group had brought explained that he left the Receiving the decampees, be assigned a position next such an intervention to the PDP because of the positive chairman of AMAC, Hon. week to give his supporters a community. change he has seen since Hon. Abdullahi Adamu Candido said sense of belonging.

Esu Urges FCTA To Provide Infrastructure In Shere-Galuwyi Resettlement

Lighthouse Church Takes Medical Outreach To Nasarawa State BY DAVID ADUGE-ANI The Lighthouse Church, Abuja at the weekend took a medical outreach to Angwan Pah 1 village, in Karu local government area of Nasarawa State, where it conducted free medical tests and gave out free drugs to members of the community. LEADERSHIP gathered that about 300 members of the community, including children and adults benefitted from this medical intervention, conducted by the medical team of the church. Also, clothing materials of different sizes and shapes were distributed free to both women and children of the community, courtesy of the church. Speaking on the project, the pastor in-charge of the outreach programme of the church, Pastor Gabriel Adoga, explained that the intervention is all about touching lives, particularly those who cannot help themselves. “You know that the ministry of Jesus Christ is all about touching lives, particularly those who cannot help themselves. So we took it from there and said what we can do for our immediate community, to touch mankind. So, it is basically what Jesus Christ did that we are doing, which to touch lives and make

FCTA Commits N96.7m To YouthMobile ICT Project

PDP Ward Chairman, Others Join APC


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Bayelsa: As Jonathan’s Kinsmen Strategise To Succeed Dickson

As the 2019 Governorship race approaches in Bayelsa State and political groups and parties perfect strategies to clinch the ticket, the kinsmen of former President Goodluck Jonathan from Ogbia area of the state are trying all they can to unite in order to secure development plans under Governor Seriake Dickson and grab the coveted seat at Creek Haven. OSA OKHOMINA in Yenagoa examines the strategies and chances of a unified Ogbia kingdom

Jonathan

Now, the indigenes of the great Ogbia kingdom, serving in the cabinet of Governor Seriake Dickson, are out to unite their kinsmen and form a formidable force in the political future of the state

What does a former President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Seriake Dickson have in common with the issue of unity amongst the Ogbia people of Bayelsa State? Technically, they both possess the political will to advance the interest of Ogbia people in the polity of Bayelsa come 2019/20. While Jonathan and the old political order from Ogbia seem to have taken the background seat in the politics of the kingdom, others including political appointees within the cabinet of Dickson have taken it upon themselves to unite and forge ahead for a shot at the Governorship seat after Dickson completes his second tenure in 2020. Ogbia, sometimes referred to as Ogbinya, with a population of over 266,000, according to the 2006 census, and located at the Eastern flank of the state, is home council of many prominent politicians such as Jonathan and the Late Senator Melford Okilo. For the pro-Unity group, within Ogbia kingdom, led by the State Commissioner of Information and Orientation, Hon.Daniel Markson-Iworiso, the time to unite is now. Markson-Iworiso, and many other political office holders, agreed that lack of unity in the polity of Ogbia has led to political losses in positions, develoent and youth empowerment. A check showed that though it was the process of the Ogbia nation in wrestling, in the defunct old Rivers State, that brought the kingdom to promi-

Markson-Iworiso

nence, the successive political achievements under the Late Melford Okolona and Jonathan, positioned Ogbia Nation as a force to reckon with in terms of governance. In the present day Bayelsa, with the loss of Jonathan and the revelations of misapplied development funds meant for Ogbia by known Ogbia indigenes have caused a wide division, hatred and disunity. For some Ogbia indigenes, their loyalty is for Jonathan will earn them future political position despite their known disloyalty to Dickson. Others believed that the rising cordial relationship between Governor Seriake Dickson and Former President GoodLuck Jonathan is needed for the advancement of the Ogbia Nation. The unity amongst the Ogbia people that made them the most cohesive minority groupings in Bayelsa that has produced the highest numbers of political appointees including a Deputy Governor, Governor, Vice President and President, within the 17 years existence of the State. Now, the indigenes of the great Ogbia kingdom, serving in the cabinet of Governor Seriake Dickson, are out to unite their kinsmen and form a formidable force in the political future of the state. This decision has co-opted Dickson into unity plan for proper development of Ogbia land. His inclusion may however be based on his chieftaincy position in Ogbia land. Unknown to many, Dickson’s love

Dickson

for the Ogbia Kingdom, is clearly shown in the political appointments made into his cabinet with Ogbia indigenes occupying the highest in number and position. While many attributed the Dickson’s love to the robust relationship between him and Jonathan, others including members of the opposition parties insisted that the intelligent human materials needed by the Dickson-led administration abound in Ogbia land. Aside from successes achieved by the Dickson’s administration in making the right political appointments, the issue of state government development in the Ogbia axis seems to be slow or falling into the wrong hands. Some political observers, who agreed with the assertion, agreed that this was the same failure noticed during the Jonathan reign as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. So many projects allocated through some indigenes but none implemented and not visibly on ground. This and many other issues have created distrust and disunity among the once united Ogbia brothers. This was confirmed by the National Chairman of Ogbia Brotherhood, Hon. Benson Agadaga. He agreed that most of the cases of disunity in Ogbia were caused by the political class from the area. Putting aside the failures of the past, Governor Seriake Dickson, through his aides such as the State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Hon. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, the member of the State House of Assembly rep-

resenting Ogbia Constituency 2,Hon. Gibspn Munalayefa, the chairman of the Ogbia Restoration Caucus, Chief George Eto Okirinya,the State Commissioner for Special Projects, Fred Obua and that of Chieftaincy and Community Development, Saviour Ibegi, have embarked on campaign for the unity of Ogbia people for proper development. A Youth leader from Ogbia and the Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Youth Development, Hon. Osaanya B. Osaanya organized a massive rally tagged “Ogbia people for Governor Dickson.” The solidarity rally, which was organized for the State Governor, Hon.Seriake Dickson was to appreciate the six years performance of his administration and the N1billion earmarked for infrastructural development in Ogbia kingdom in Ogbia Local Government area of the State. Ogbia Indigenes, numbering over 10,000 and made up of youths under the Ogbia Youth groups, stated that though the people of Ogbia have followed the performance of the Governor Seriake Dickson administration in the area of political appointments, education and infrastructural development, the decision by the administration to set aside N1billion development vote to Ogbia kingdom is welcomed and commendable. The solidarity rally was witnessed by the Secretary to the State Govern➔ CONTINUED ON THE NEXT PAGE

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Local Governments Should Be Autonomous – Lawmaker

Hon. Afe Olowookere is the lawmaker representing Akure North/Akure South Federal Constituency of Ondo state in the House of Representatives. In this interview with TOPE FAYEHUN, he bares his mind on the need for local government autonomy, sequence of elections and other topical issues Could you tell us what’s delaying the passage of the 2018 Appropriation Bill? The National Assembly is seriously working on the document. I am sure before the end of March, we should have passed the appropriation bill into law. It is not as easy as people assume. There are over a thousand ministries, departments and agencies. For us to do a thorough job, we have to invite the leadership of these MDAs to defend the money appropriated to them in the year 2017. If you cannot justify what was given to you last year, you don’t deserve to be given another money. These things take time to attend to. We cannot just pass the bill leaving one or two out. We just have to attend to all of them. We are already doing that. You will agree with me that after the bill was presented to us, we went on recess for Christmas and new year celebration. That took some from the time we were supposed to spend on it. Also, don’t forget that the appropriation law has a life circle of twelve months. It doesn’t matter if we start the implementation of the law in either May or June. Why do you think the third tier of government should be autonomous? My position stems from my experience as a councillor between 1991 and 1993. That period can be referred to as the golden era of the local government system. There is nothing better than for the local governments to be autonomous. State governments are using two things to hold down local governments. These are the State/Local Government Joint Account and the State Independent Electoral Commission. I sponsored bills on the abrogation of the two when we were considering constitutional review. As long as SIEC exists, we will not have local governments that will be autonomous because the state governors will continue to use that instrument to determine the party that wins council elections. You are aware that there has never been any state in the country where opposition parties won council elections. That is always made possible by

Olowookere

the SIEC because who pays the piper dictates the tune. Even in Lagos, when an opposition party won, APC candidate was declared winner and the opposition candidate was asked to go to court. How was the local government system when you served as a councillor? Between 1991 and 1993 that I served as a councillor, local governments were enjoying almost total autonomy. We were receiving allocations directly from the Federation Account. We were responsible for the recruitment of primary school teachers. Local governments were responsible for the recruitment of primary health care workers. Today, no local government can do anything without taking instructions from the state. They only act the script that is written for them. Using caretakers to run local government

is strange to the Nigerian Constitution. It is an amorphous arrangement and we will continue to say it is alien to our constitution. It should not be stopped because those appointed as caretakers are not responsible to the people. They can’t be accountable to the people. They were not voted for and this is why they are only answerable to those who put them there. This has not helped to strengthen and deepen our democracy. What do you think are the benefits of local government autonomy to the nation’s democracy? I was one of the first set of legislators at the local government level. And that has helped me a lot. In fact, the experience I gathered while in the council gave me an edge over and above my colleagues when I was a member of the Ondo State House of Assembly. Also, the experience coupled with the one I had in

the State Assembly gave me an edge over other first timers like me in the House of Representatives. If you are a professor, if you get to the legislative house, there are some things that require technicalities that your professorship will not enable you to do. It may take you two or three years to understand what’s going on there. There are technical ways of writing bills and motions. And by the grace of God, the 16 motions that I have moved so far in the National Assembly were written by me. Also, I was the one that prepared the six bills that I have sponsored. The amorphous arrangement that exists at the local governments today has deprived our people the opportunity of learning at that level. That is why you will have some people in the National Assembly that will not even second a motion in four years. Local government autonomy is the best if we really say we are practicing democracy. If at that level, we can’t practice it, what is the essence of our democracy. Local governments should be run by democratically elected councils. It is there in the constitution. It says people should be allowed to participate in their government. And it is at that level that they can really participate in their own government. Does National Assembly have the constitutional powers to determine the sequence of elections in the country and why did it take the decision? The National Assembly has the constitutional power to determine the order of elections since they have to pass the electoral act. And the arrangement for elections is part of the electoral act. The act is the prerogative of the legislative arm. So, it is the constitutional duty of the legislature to do that. By the special grace of God I read political science in the university. There is a concept that is called majority tyranny. And what does that mean? Majority tyranny means that the majority may be wrong but that since they are in the majority, their decision prevails.

Bayelsa: As Jonathan’s Kinsmen Strategise To Succeed Dickson ➔  FROM THE PREVIOUS PAGE

ment, Barr. Kemela Okara, the State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, the member of the State House of Assembly representing Ogbia Constituency 2,Hon.Gibspn Munalayefa, the chairman of the Ogbia Restoration Caucus, Chief George Eto Okirinya,the State Commissioner for Special Projects, Fred Obua and that of Chieftancy and Community Development, Saviour Ibegi, Leader of the Ogbia Youths and Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Youth Development, Hon. Osaanya B. Osaanya said the solidarity rally was an opportunity to thank Governor Dickson for appointing more of their sons and daughters into key positions in his government. Osaanya added that among other things, the completed model school and the N1 billion recently earmarked for the repair of internal roads in the area‎ and other projects has further demonstrated the governor’s love for them. He assured Gov. Dickson that the youths of the area will continue to support his government and play their part to bring an end to all forms of crime and criminality, stressing that o‎ nly an atmosphere of peace will attract

meaningful development. The youth leader therefore enjoined y‎ ouths of the area to shun kidnapping, pipeline vandalism and other vices but rather avail them of the opportunity by embracing the various empowerment scheme he is set to introduce. “We have come out today to appreciate the governor, His Excellency, Hon. Seriake Dickson for what he has been doing for us. It is clear and evident for us to see. Our resolve to thank him is hinged on the fact that he has done well and will still do more. “Not just in Ogbia, Dickson has in the last six years made Bayelsa a center of attraction, Building significant and legacy projects. We will give him more support and work to maintain peace in Ogbia kingdom” he said. The Secretary to the State Government, Barr. Kemela Okara lauded the youths for organizing themselves in such a peaceful manner‎ and for coming out to show solidarity and support for the governor, adding that the restoration government will do more for them. In their goodwill messages, the Commissioner for Special Projects, Fred Obua and that of Chieftaincy and Community Development, Saviour Ibegi charged the youths not to be distracted as they are the future of Ogbia k‎ ingdom and gave them kudos for organ-

izing the 10,000 mega unity rally. On his part, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Danie‎l IworisoMarkson expressed delight at the way and manner they conducted themselves, noting that the unity of Ogbia people is not negotiable and their support for Gov. Dickson will remain unshakable. Iworoso-Markson said the N1billion earmarked for projects in Ogbia kingdom will become through direct labour and it will involved many sons and daughters of Ogbia kingdom, “ Ogbia people are not ungrateful people. We know how to appreciate those that have done us well. Okolona did well and he became our hero. Governor Dickson is another Okolona. And Gov. Dickson is a good man.” “Ogbia cannot be an island unto itself. We have to come together and attract development. Gov. Dickson is committed to the development of Ogbia kingdom. Those people trying to divide us are not from Ogbia. Ogbia does not have enemies. If the enemies of Ogbia people wants to use you, reject them. “ Also speaking, the Vice Chairman of Ogbia local council, Ebinyo Turner pointed out that better days are ahead for the youths while the member representing Ogbia constituency

two in the state assembly, Munalayefa Gibson described Dickson as a leader per excellence and appealed to him to include the Ayama road to the list of projects that is about to commence in the area. In his message, the member of the State House of Assembly representing Ogbia Constituency 2,Hon. Gibson Munalayefa, noted that though the people of Ogbia Kingdom would have asked the State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson to increased the earmarked N1billioj for development “ we commend and say thank you to the Governor for the various projects he has embarked upon.” As a follow up to the Ogbia unity rally for Governor Dickson, the Commissioner of Information and Orientation, Mr. Daniel Markson-Iworiso, an indigene of Opume in Ogbia, visited the Paramount Ruler for Ogbia Kingdom. Markson-Iworiso, who spent most of his life in Lagos and barely speaks Ogbia, was full of respect for the Ogbia Monarch and expressed concern over the noticeable disunity in Ogbia land contrary to the history handed to him by his father. Earlier in his speech, he told the King of Ogbia Kingdom that his visit was to clamor for unity in Ogbia Kingdom.

State governments are using two things to hold down local governments. These are the State/ Local Government Joint Account and the State Independent Electoral Commission


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

labour matters

Mauritanian Workers Get N92,520 New Minimum Wage BY OLAJIDE FABAMISE With Agency Report

Years of campaigning by trade unions in Mauritius have paid off as the government approves a new minimum wage package totalling 9,000 Mauritian rupees per month (US$257) from next year.‎ The new monthly minimum wage announced in parliament on 8 December is Rs 8,140 (US$232) but various compensation payments by the government or the Mauritius Revenue Authority will mean that all workers will take home Rs 9,000. “I can assure you that for 2019, employees will not be paid less than 9,000 rupees,” declared the Labour Minister for Mauritius, Soodesh Callichurn, about the decision that will benefit around 120,000 workers in the country. It will be a significant increase for many

workers, particularly those in the textile sector, some of whom were averaging only RS 4,000 (US$114) a month, according to unions. Ninety per cent of workers in the Mauritian textile and garment industry are women; conditions are tough and many need to stand all day while they work. Once the new minimum wage comes into effect, these garment workers will be paid RS 9,000 for a 45-hour week. It will mean they will no longer have to work such long hours to scrape a living. However, the figure is still below what trade unions judge to be a living wage, calculated at around RS 14,500 (US$414) in 2014. Reeaz Chuttoo from Industrial Global Union affiliate in Mauritius, the Chemical, Manufacturing and Connected Trades

Employees Union (CMCTEU), said: “It’s a step in the right direction. I also appreciate that the government has decided to include the 20,000 workers in the free trade zone (in Mauritius).” Trade unions have been pushing for the new minimum wage during tripartite negotiations with the government and employers in Mauritius. Industrial’s assistant general secretary, Jenny Holdcroft, said: “This is an important win for trade unions in Mauritius. Years of campaigning have paid dividends and the new minimum wage will make an enormous difference to the lives of thousands of workers, particularly women. We congratulate our affiliates in Mauritius on their success as they continue to push for a living wage.”

The Permanent Secretary, ministry of Labour and Employment, Bolaji Adebiyi welcoming HoS Winifred OyoIta and a team of Permanent Secretaries on Peer Review mechanism to the ministry, recently.

Labour Minister Inaugurates Board Of Parastatals The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, has warned the newly inaugurated boards of parastatals under the ministry against misappropriation of funds. Ngige gave the warning while inaugurating three out of the five boards of parastatals under the ministry on Friday in Abuja. The boards of parastatals that were inaugurated include National Directorate of Employment(NDE), National Productivity Centre (NPC) and Michael Imoudu Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS). The minister said that the warning has become imperative due to the recent misappropriation of N5 billion by the former board chairman and some staff of the Nigeria Insurance Trust Funds (NSITF). According to him, NSITF is one of the causalities of such misappropriation which is why their board is not being inaugurated today. “They are in arrears of about four to five years and between this four to five years there has been massive looting that took place in that organisation. “Reports from the audit balance has revealed that a whooping sum of about five billion was removed in one day in a single voucher. “So therefore, government has decided

that we must know how this financial haemorrhage occurred in this organisation and also several sums that is not being accounted for and running into billions. “So today as we speak, workers in that organisation cannot even get tax clearance certificates as their payee tax deductions, housing allowance deductions and their pension deductions are all taken away, “stolen’’. “Therefore, you can now see why we want you to be guided by the financial rules and regulations and to ensure that you implement it to the latter, ‘’he said. Ngige said that one of the principles of the Financial Regulations in Section 32 of the financial regulations states that “parastatals must rendered financial account of inflow and out flow of funds through their boards to the ministry.” “I charge you to make sure that this is done in the spirit of change as this administration has zero tolerance for corruption. “It will therefore be irregular and indeed unacceptable for you to ask your management to provide fringe benefits that you are not entitled to,” he said. He said the board of parastatals are, therefore, responsible for setting out the parastatal’s economic, financial, operational

and administrative policies, programmes and targets in line with the overall objectives as provided by the government. Ngige also said that the role of governing board was therefore to drive general policy formulation and implementation and not be involved in the day to day running of the agencies. He further charged the board to ensure capacity building, job creation, productivity, promotion, generation of wealth, labour education and sustained development of the country. “It is obvious that the challenge before the board of these establishment is one of reengineering and developing new strategies. “That is suitable modalities for translating the broad objectives of government to tangible improvement in the lives of our citizens, especially the most vulnerable, ‘’he said. Sen. Ezenwa Oyebuchi, House Committee Chairman on Labour, Employment and Productivity called on the newly appointed boards to hit the ground running. According to Oyebuchi, you must justify the trust and confidence repose in you and the only way you can do that is to ensure that the right things are done, and ensuring you move the parastatals forward.

23

LABOUR NEWS

Military Rule Unacceptable – Labour BY OLAJIDE FABAMISE, Lagos

Organised labour under the auspices of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has cautioned those mooting the idea to desist forthwith so as not to throw Nigeria into anarchy. In a press statement issued in Lagos yesterday, the ASCSN National President, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama, and the Secretary-General, Comrade Alade Bashir Lawal, posited that any takeover of government by the military again would take the country 50 years backward. The ASCSN statement came on the heels of reports credited to the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekwueremadu, during a debate on the floor of the Senate in respect of the political killings in parts of the country in which he allegedly stated: “who says that the army cannot take over in Nigeria. It is possible.” According to the Union, it was worrisome that such a statement could be uttered by a highly placed citizen who owed his exalted office to democratic structures in the country.

TUC Calls For End To Incessant Killings BY OLAJIDE FABAMISE, Lagos

The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has tasked the Federal Government and all security bodies in the country to fish out those behind the unabated killings in Benue and other parts of the country. The President of TUC, Bobboi Bala Kaigama and the Secretary General‎, Musa-Lawal Ozigi in a statement c‎ ondemning the act demanded an end to it immediately. “We gathered that some have alleged it is a communal clash while others claim the killings were to protest the anti-grazing law passed by Benue State House of Assembly to protect the people’s source of livelihood, “the statement said. But TUC noted that no matter what the issue, it can be addressed without gruesomely killing innocent people like animals. It added, “Women and children have become victims of greed and wickedness. Sometimes, one is tempted to question our humanity! “Nigeria has become a laughing stock in the comity of nations. In a recent video all over the social media an African leader of thought said “he wants his country to learn from the mistakes of Nigeria and the success of Malaysia”. “It is spite that at a time Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and a few other African countries are making landmark achievements, there is no aspect of our national life that we can manage prudently.” The Congress said it is aggrieved that Nigerians are displaced, dispossessed and treated as destitute, noting that this phenomenon is manmade and ungodly.


24

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018


business

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

NEWS

MONEY

CAPITAL MARKET

INSURANCE

INFLATION RATE (%) 2016

OCTOBER NOVEMBER DECEMBER

18.3 18.48 18.55

INTERVIEW

2017

15.91 15.9 15.37

ANALYSIS

Leadership Newspapers

INTER BANK LENDING RATE (AS AT MARCH 12) RATE CHANGE (%)

ON 1M 3M 6M

12.7500 15.8177 16.6959 18.5692

-1.56 0.19 0.34 0.22

Oil Prices Shoot Up At $65.70 Per Barrel On Falling US Drilling Rigs BY CHIKA IZUORA, Lagos

Oil markets gained yesterday on the back of a drop in the number of US rigs drilling for more production and as the US economy continued to create jobs, which industry hopes will drive higher fuel demand. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $62.22 a barrel up 18 cents, or 0.3 per cent while Brent crude futures were at $65.70 per barrel, up 21 cents, or 0.3 per cent, from their previous close. “A falling rig count and the strong employment data may have helped support prices,” said William O’Loughlin, investment analyst at Rivkin Securities. The US economy added the biggest number of jobs in more than 1-1/2 years in February, with non-farm payrolls jumping by 313,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said on Friday. In oil markets, US energy companies last week cut oil rigs for the first time in almost two months with drillers cutting back four rigs, to 796, Baker Hughes energy services firm said on Friday. Despite the lower rig count, which is an early indicator of future output, activity remains much higher than a year ago when, when just 617 rigs were active, and most analysts expect US crude oil production, which has already risen by over a fifth since mid2016, to 10.37 million barrels per day (bpd), to rise further. That is more than top exporter Saudi Arabia producers and almost as much as Russia pumps out, at nearly 11 million bpd. 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

Founder of FCMB Group Plc, Otunba Olasubomi Balogun and his wife, Olori Abimbola flanked by their children during the celebration of Otunba Balogun’s 84th birthday anniversary in Lagos, recently.

Dogara Condemns Difficulties In Accessing Banks’ Loans In Nigeria BY ADEBIYI ADEDAPO, Abuja

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has decried high lending rates and difficulties in accessing loans in Nigerian banking industry. Dogara also called for action to be taken concerning prevalent banking practices which have adverse effects on business growth and entrepreneurship in Nigeria. The Speaker made this known at the launch of a book on banking reforms, authored by a member of the House of Representatives representing Owo/ Ose federal constituency of Ondo state, Dr. Bode Ayorinde. According to a statement signed by Dogara’s Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Turaki Hassan, the Speaker highlighted issues such as high lending rates and difficulties in accessing loans; and compared prevalent practices in the country with what is obtainable in other climes. “The challenge in the banking industry in Nigeria is such that it is organized in such a way that it creates buoyancy and development in other

jurisdictions, not in Nigeria. I have said this before, that unless you have assets or equipment, there is no way you can take loans or access loans from Nigerian banks to do the business. If you are not careful in taking loans from Nigerian banks, one will just end up in the poverty gap. “I don’t think our citizens are supposed to do their businesses with money they already have in their pockets. Businesses elsewhere are executed by loans by the banking industry in those countries. I don’t know why the interest rate in Nigeria is so high. What is it that we can do to lower the cost of funds in Nigeria, so that our young men, women and entrepreneurs can risk taking money from our financial institutions in order to realize their dreams?” According to the statement, the Speaker queried the likelihood of success of business reforms in the country, in light of the fact that loans remain largely inaccessible to those who most require such financial aids to grow their businesses. “I love the fact that the Vice President is chairing the council on the ease of

doing business in Nigeria but in dealing with most businesses, you are forced to ask what business we are doing. How do we fund these businesses?” Dogara also lamented that the political will to tackle the challenge has been lacking. He however called on all stakeholders to work together to strengthen the various institutions within the country in line with international best practices. “That has been the challenge, from the point of view of the Executive down to the Parliament, the political will to address this has not been there. And the answer has always been that just one opinion cannot solve the issue, all hands need to work at it. We cannot afford to continue having weak institutions in Nigeria, not after so many years of having balance. “So I believe that concerning some of these borrowing voyages such as been embarked upon recently can be avoided by applying the required formulas that work even here in Nigeria. The sharp parallel that is drawn between the practice here in Nigeria and the practices in over 20 other jurisdictions of the world,” the statement read in part.

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Business 101 with MBAKAAN KWEN

Business Etiquettes In the business world, good manners are essential for getting ahead. Proper etiquette can help people land jobs, get promotions and establish excellent relationships with others. The most successful businessmen and women know how to turn on the charm and exhibit their best business etiquette to get the job done professionally and effectively. Kyra Sheahan highlights some important etiquette thus; •LISTENING SKILLS: Communication is the lifeblood of business. For people to get along, work in unison and establish professional relationships with one another, they must communicate with the appropriate etiquette. Listening skills are a main part of communication etiquette. When others are speaking do not interrupt them. Employ active listening techniques, such as making good eye contact and showing the speaker that you are paying attention to them. •ATTIRE: The way you dress impacts whether you have good business etiquette. The business world is professional, and the people who work in it must dress to reflect that level of professionalism. As such, make sure your clothes are clean and pressed, and that you wear suits, blouses, skirts, blazers, ties or other clothing that makes a good impression. •POLITENESS: Remember to always say please and thank you when you interact with others, in person or over written correspondence. Being polite makes you pleasant to work with and shows respect.

QUOTE OF THE DAY If we persevere, I am certain that we will witness uninterrupted power, which is the final destination of our journey.” The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola said.

Fashola


26 NEWS/BUSINESS

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Leadership

STOCK INDEX (AS AT MARCH 12) Gainers

Symbols Unic Multiverse HMarkins Royalex Learnafrca

CP 0.23 0.28 0.42 0.37 1.09

% change 9.52 7.69 7.69 5.71 4.81

Losers

Symbols Regalins Diamondbnk UPL UBA Unitybnk

CP 0.33 2.15 2.19 12.30 1.64

% change -5.71 -4.87 -4.78 -4.65 -4.65

STOCK INDEX (AS AT MARCH 12) ASI DEALS VOLUME VALUE CAP

(Points) (Numbers) (Numbers million) (Nbillion) (Ntrn)

43,056.51 5,651 831.39 10.57 N15.403

Equities Market Begins Week With N105bn Loss BY OLUSHOLA BELLO, Lagos

The Nigerian equities market yesterday began the week in a bearish position with a loss of N105 billion. The All Share Index (ASI) fell by 111.35 points or 0.26 per cent to 42,952.70 points. Accordingly, investors lost N105 billion in value as market capitalisation declined to N15.403 trillion. The downturn was impacted by losses recorded in medium and large capitalised stocks, amongst which are; Unilever,

Nestle, Nascon Allied Industries, Cadbury Nigeria and UBA. Capital market analysts noted that “although the market closed in the red, they expected buying interest driven by earnings.” Similarly, market breadth closed negative, recording 19 gainers against 34 losers. Unic Diversified Holdings recorded the highest price gain of 9.52 per cent, to close at 23 kobo, while Multiverse Mining and Exploration and Consolidated Hallmark Insurance followed

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in its quest to guarantee the availability of forex for customers’ needs in various segments of the market, has injected another sum of $210million into the inter-bank Foreign Exchange Market. The new injection is part of the bank’s weekly intervention in the forex market. Figures obtained from the apex bank yesterday revealed that the CBN offered $100million to authorized dealers in the wholesale segment of the market, while the Small

and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) segment received the sum of $55 million. Customers requiring foreign exchange for invisibles such as tuition fees, medical payments and Basic Travel Allowance (BTA), among others, were also allocated the sum of $55 million. Acting director, Corporate Communications Department of the bank, Mr. Isaac Okorafor said the figures and reassured the public that the Bank would continue to intervene in the interbank foreign exchange market in line with its desire to sustain liquidity in the market and maintain stability.

He added that the steps taken so far by the Bank in the management of forex was paying off, as reflected by reduction in the country’s import bills and accretion to its foreign reserves which stood at $46 billion as at Friday, March 9, 2018. LEADERSHIP recalls that last Friday, the Bank injected the sum of $355.43m into the Retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS). Meanwhile, the naira continued its stability in the FOREX market, exchanging at an average of N360/$1 in the BDC segment of the market on Monday, March 12, 2018.

CBAN Urges Telcos, Discos, Others To Embrace Credit Bureaus BY GODDIE OFOSE, Lagos

Moved by the need to significantly move Nigeria up in the world’s Doing Business Ranking, the Credit Bureau Association of Nigeria (CBAN) has called on telecommunications companies, utility providers and other Non-Financial Institutions that provide services on credit to fully tap into the benefits of using the credit bureaus as enshrined in the recently signed Credit Reporting Act. Chairman of CBAN, Tunde Popoola, made this call in Lagos yesterday in a statement sent to LEADERSHIP. According to him, the Credit Reporting Act provides for

credit information sharing between the Credit Bureaus and lenders such as banks and other financial institutions, and institutions that provide services on credit such as telecommunication companies, electricity distribution companies, water corporations and retailers. He said that while the financial sector has complied with the provision of the Act, by sharing information with the Credit Bureaus and using the credit reports from the credit bureaus to determine the credit worthiness of their customers, most operators in the Non-Financial Sector are yet to fully utilise the services of the credit bureau. Popoola however revealed

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

NSE Raised $760m Through IPOs In 5 Years – PwC BY OLUSHOLA BELLO, Lagos

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) recorded four Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) for private companies raising $670 million capital from 2013 to 2017 according to a report released yesterday by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), an audit and financial services research firm. The research firm in its 2017 Africa Capital Markets Watch said in Nigeria, economic diversification has been a key priority to manage volatility introduced by commodity price fluctuation. According to the report, in the second quarter of 2017, Nigeria’s

economy emerged from a recession after five consecutive quarters of negative growth. “Several key policy actions such as the opening of the investors and exporters foreign exchange window (I&E window) in April 2017 by the Central Bank of Nigeria built some confidence and attracted foreign portfolio investors back into the capital markets. According to FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange, turnover in the I&E window increased from $0.6 billion in April 2017, when it was opened, to $3.3 billion in December 2017. “Total turnover in 2017 hit $25.6 billion as at December 2017. While no IPO capital

has been raised on the Nigerian Stock Exchange or by Nigerian companies abroad since the January 2015 Lagos IPO of Transcorp Hotels, we anticipate the stabilised environment to foster a more active 2018,” the analysts from PwC said. PwC said: “We are optimistic about the pipeline of companies seeking to access the capital markets in 2018, including cross-border IPOs of African companies, given encouraging indicators in large markets such as South Africa, Egypt, and Nigeria, and the continued economic growth in East Africa and the Francophone West African countries.”

with a gain of 7.65 per cent each to close at 28 kobo and 42 kobo, per share respectively. Royal Exchange went up by 5.71 per cent to close at 37 kobo, while Learn Africa appreciated by 4.81 per cent to close at N1.09 per share. On the other hand, Regency Alliance Insurance led the losers’ chart by 5.71 per cent, to close at 33 kobo per share. Diamond Bank shed 4.87 per cent to close at N2.15, while UPL depreciated by 4.78 per cent to close at N2.19 per share.

CBN Offers Fresh $210m Into Forex Market BY MARK ITSIBOR, Abuja

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that CBAN would in the coming months begin a series of sensitisation programmes to enlighten operators in the NonFinancial sector on the Credit Reporting Act, the benefits of complying with the Act and how this would impact on the ease of doing business in Nigeria. According to him, access to credit is critical to economic growth and could be considered to be the motor for driving private sector development adding that more often than not, credit applications get rejected due to insufficient credit history and information for the lender to use to make a reasonable judgement as to whether to extend credit or not.

A cross section of the new inductees of the Dangote Academy in Obajana, Kogi State, yesterday. PHOTO BY DANGOTE

Dangote Academy Trains, Employs 700 Engineers In 7 Years BY OLUSHOLA BELLO, Lagos

With the induction of 100 new students yesterday at Obajana, Kogi State, the Dangote Academy has now trained over 700 engineers and technicians between 2011 and 2018, of which most of them have been employed. This revelation came to fore yesterday when the new students were inducted at an event attended by state functionaries, directors of Dangote Group, community leaders from Obajana and Ibese, staff and the new students. This is coming

as traditional leaders from Obajana, Kogi State and Ibese, Ogun State spoke glowingly of Dangote’s Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) in their various communities. The inauguration of 100 new students under the Junior Technicians Scheme (JTS) Batches three and four, further supports host communities of Obajana and Ibese as 50 of the newly inducted trainees were drawn from the two communities. Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, group executive director, capital projects, strategy and portfolio

of Dangote Group, Mr. Devakumar Edwin said “the Dangote Academy was established in 2010 to serve as the talent pipeline for the Dangote Group while filling the industrial skills gap in Nigeria.” He added that the academy has become necessary in view of the fact that the group and indeed most industries in Nigeria cannot rely solely on universities and colleges of technology to provide the specialised technical and managerial training required running major (modern) industrial factories.

Oando Employees Donate To Gbagada Public Schools BY MARY TITUS

Employees of Oando have donated teaching and learning equipment to three schools that make up the Gbagada Schools Complex. According to a press statement from the company, it has actively encouraged its employees the benefits of giving back not just as a good deed but to ultimately enrich the nation. It also states that the gesture was grounded on its ambition to play a role in enabling the country reach Sustainable Development Goal Four (Quality

Education) by 2020 as well as furthering its Adopt-aSchool initiative. Oando employees recently visited the schools where they donated branded school supplies for the students. The visit was led by both the Corporate Communications and Oando Foundation team with a selection of the Foundations volunteers, all Oando employees in attendance. In addition to donating school supplies, Oando employees visited all the classrooms and actively engaged the pupils via play and talks.

Speaking at the event, Alero Balogun, Head, Corporate Communications said Oando believes “that education is an integral tool in building the right foundation for tomorrow’s innovators, business owners, community leaders, and nation builders”. Responding, the Head Teacher of Idi Odo Primary School, Mrs Ayowole Ajibade lauded Oando Foundation for adopting “our school and financing many of our development projects” stressing that Oando has been the school’s partner for many years.


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Digital Switch Over: The Gains For Nigeria

R-L: Commercial manager, Tractors & Implements, Mr. Damisa Enahoro; chief executive officer, Mr. Antti Ritvonen, and Marketing Communications manager, Mr. Humphrey Otalor all of Dizengoff Nigeria, displaying award won by the company at the CASE IH in Lagos. PHOTO BY KOLAWOLE ALIU.

BY NKECHI ISAAC, Abuja

Meter Manufacturers Seek End To DisCos’ Monopoly BY CHIKA IZUORA, Lagos

The Electricity Meters Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (EMMAN), has advised the federal government to break the monopoly of distribution companies in the sale of meters to electricity consumers. Executive secretary of EMMAN, Muyideen Ibrahim, while speaking in Lagos on Monday explained that it would go a long way in addressing the challenges with estimated billings. According to him, breaking the monopoly would enable electricity consumers procure and own meters directly. He said that it would also address complaints over estimated billing and outrageous billing from the distribution companies.

Ibrahim said that the association had always advocated that government should liberalise the metering arm of the power sector so that everybody could have access to meters. “If every consumer has prepaid meter, it will allow them to manage the electricity consumption, and the Discos will collect revenue maximally without billing outrageously. But now the consumers are short-changed because they are being given estimated bills. It presupposes that the Discos are smiling to the bank while the consumers are suffering. “Unfortunately, some of the Discos are complaining that they don’t have the fund to invest massively in metering, whereas the meters are available in the various warehouses of the manufacturers. If the telecom sector could be liberalised, why

not metering? The only thing is that it will enhance the whole power sector and also add value as well,’’ he said. The association’s scribe stressed the need to convene a metering summit where all stakeholders would come together to discuss challenges facing the Discos and meter manufacturers. He said that manufacturers had invested massively in meters but unfortunately, they did not have enough patronage for them to do more. “It would only be driven by technology. The key thing is the metering code and specification that all the meter manufacturers will comply to. Liberalising metering in the country will enable all the consumers to have easy access to meters and the issue of estimated billings will just be a thing of the past.

Fayemi Inaugurates Boards For Agencies, Parastatals Under Mines Ministry BY ABAH ADAH, Abuja

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, yesterday inaugurated the newly constituted boards of agencies and parastatals under the ministry. The agencies are the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA),the National Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency (NSRMEA), the National Metallurgical Development Centre (NMDC) and the Council of Nigerian Mining Engineers and

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Geoscientists (COMEG). In his keynote address, the minister said, “This event signals another important milestone in our efforts to consolidate on the gains of this administration’s reforms in the Nigerian mining industry as evidenced by data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), that indicate a strong sectoral contribution to our economic renaissance in recent times. He said: “The mining sector remains crucial as one of the frontiers of the

federal government’s recently launched ‘Economic Recovery & Growth Plan (2017-2020),’ in which the minerals and metals sector was duly recognised as one of those to drive Nigeria’s recovery. “The strategic document projected to grow sectoral contribution to GDP from N103 billion (2015) to N141 billion in 2020, at an average annual growth rate of 8.54 per cent . “Consequently, the ministry has been selected as one of the critical players in the ERGP focus labs about to be

launched by Mr. President this week.” Chairmen of the newlyinaugurated boards for the agencies respectively include Rt. Hon. Emma Bassey, Nigerian Geological Survey Agency; Dr. Yomi Finnih, National Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency. Others are Barrister Sebastine Ibezim, National Metallurgical Development Agency and Chief Godspower Okpoi, Council of Nigerian Mining Engineers and Geoscientists (COMEG).

Port Security Agents Raise The Alarm Over Safety Of Egina FPSO BY YUSUF BABALOLA, Lagos

A body of security heads at various port terminals and facilities under the aegis of Port Facility Security Officers (PFSO) have raised the alarm over the safety of multi-billion naira Egina Floating Production Storage Offloading (FPSO) vessel. At a meeting of the body in Lagos last week, the PFSO pointed at rising cases of attack on ships in Lagos and the Niger Delta, and pleaded with the government not to toy with the safety of Egina which was received recently at the facilities of Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics (LADOL). PFSO chairman, Mr. Ignatius Uche,

called for increased security presence around the huge facility. The forum said it was basing the Egina FPSO alert on the state of security of ships and crew on the nation’s coastal and territorial waters. Speaking at the meeting, Uche said that the investment on the Egina was too huge to be left without adequate security arrangement. Even though there had been no recent attacks on ships on Lagos waters, the Niger-Delta region has been the hotbed of armed pirates. Speaking to LEADERSHIP, Uche said Islands around the port environment was another threat to safety of the facility. He however advised the government to

partner with the communities to secure the facilities. “The government should partner with the communities for security. You know Nigerian port is a community port and it was the port that came to meet the community so for intelligence, the government should partner the islands that surrounded the ports.” he said. Recall that armed pirates have attacked two vessels in separate incidents in the last one week off the Coast of Bonny Island in the Niger Delta. Also, the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre, reported that, pirates, armed with guns, boarded a product tanker approaching the Bonny fairway buoy.

The world has witnessed various forms of revolution. The first industrial revolution used water and steam power to mechanize production. The second used electric power to create mass production. The third used electronics and information technology to automate production. Now a fourth industrial revolution is building on the third, the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century. It is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres. It is on record that Nigeria failed to take advantage of the previous first three revolutions but is currently moving with the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) to join, actively participate and fully explore potentials available in the upcoming fourth industrial revolution. Nigeria in its quest to join the digital broadcasting had set a target for digital switch over (DSO) from analogue to digital terrestrial television (DTT) and just like the industrial revolutions experienced serial failure. Recall that the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) had set 2015 as the deadline for full transition to digital broadcast in ultrahigh frequency (UHF) and 2020 for very high frequency (VHF) all over the world. Since ITU set the target, a self-motivated Nigeria had set three targets in 2012, 2015 and 2017, but failed to meet any of the targets. In June 2006, a digital broadcasting plan covering 116 countries (mainly in Africa and Europe) was agreed to for the frequency bands 174–230 MHz and 470–862 MHz at the ITU Regional Radio Communication Conference in Geneva. According to this plan known as the GE06, the analogue switch-off date was June 17, 2012 (on a first trial) and June 17, 2015 (except for some countries in some frequency bands where the deadline is June 17 2020). From June 17, 2012 to June 17, 2017, Nigeria missed five concurrent years of meeting its set target and the opportunities of wealth

creation that comes with it. Speaking recently on the benefits of successful migration, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the nation’s television industry was expected to generate $1billion annually after the completion of the digital switch over, pointing out that industries like the Nigerian film industry, Nollywood, would rake in additional $250million to the economy yearly. The DSO, according to him, was at the dawn of a new era for government, television channels, producers, advertisers and most importantly, the Nigerian TV customer. He explained that television stations would no longer need to worry about signal transmission, thus paying more attention to content. “For content providers, this is boom time, as the demand for content will skyrocket, thus allowing our youth to give vent to their creativity. For viewers, there will be a harvest of channels,” the minister stated. Director-general of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mallam Modibo Kawu, explained why Nigeria missed the third deadline, putting the blame on financial constraint as the major setback. Addressing journalists on the subject, he, however, said Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and Jos the Plateau State capital, have fully attained the DSO status, adding Osun, Kwara, Gombe and Kaduna states would soon join the league. Speaking on the huge financial demand of the project, Kawu stated that though the federal government had licensed 13 companies to establish digital switch-over set-top box manufacturing plants in the country and paid three digital distributors the sum of N600 million each for the project execution, the cost of covering the whole nation of over 191 million people was still humongous, although in recent times, some have called for the adoption of a more strategic approach to the DSO drive such as that of pay TV company, StarTimes in other African countries to be adopted in Nigeria if a rapid success was to be recorded.


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Right Policies, Incentives In Place To Attract Investors – Enelamah NCC Chairman Lauds Firm BY SUSAN NWACHUKWU, Abuja

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, yesterday said right policies and incentives has been put in place to make the economy conducive to investors. Enelamah, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr Edet Akan, said this in Abuja during the Nigerian-Tunisian Business Forum. According to him, the recent climb in ease of doing business proves that the country is on the right path. ‘‘Coincidentally, President Mahammadu Buhari has launched the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, which is an offshoot of the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan. ‘‘The United Nations Sustainable

Development Goals was also launched to galvanise a sustainable growth in key sectors of the economy,’’ Enelamah said. He advised the Tunisian Government to take advantage of the unique opportunity offered by Nigeria in terms of its abundant natural resources and arable land, among others, to invest in the country. “Nigeria is the best place for Tunisian investment as it offers huge investment opportunities in several sectors that are mutually beneficial to both countries,” he said. Enelamah said that the determination of the government to diversify the economy with focus on non-oil sector had created a platform for investment and trade exchange between the two countries. ‘‘The recent giant stride in agriculture, which had seen the ban on import of rice,

is an indication that with the right climate and political will, Nigeria can make a success of any economic activity. ‘‘Nigeria has also been declared as the mining destination of 2019 at the just concluded Mining Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa,’’ he said. Ms Yewande Sadiku, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), said the commission had a One-Stop Investment Centre as a strategy to streamline investment procedures, provide prompt, efficient and transparent services and coordinate investment-facilitating agencies. Iyalode Alaba Lawson, the President, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), commended NIPC for its efforts in attracting investors.

L-R: Managing director Themis Energy, Marc Mandaba; senior director Investments, Africa Finance Corporation, Taiwo Adeniji; chief executive officer, Neo Themis, Tas Anvaripour; chief investment officer, Africa Finance Corporation, Oliver Andrews and Associate Vice President, Africa Finance Corporation, Samson Vese, during the Infrastructure Journal Global Awards in London, recently.

FAAN Generates N38bn From Passenger Service Charges In 2017 BY ANTHONY AWUNOR And AZEEZAT HUSSEIN, Lagos

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has generated ₦38 billion from Passenger Service Charges (PSC) in 2017 collected on its behalf by airlines from air travellers flying in and out of the over 22 airports managed by the agency in the country. PSC is the tariff FAAN charges their passengers for services they offer to them in respect to terminal building, screening equipment, conveniences for travelling passengers and any other which is only N1, 000. From the amount it could be deduced that FAAN recorded 38 million passengers across the airports in the country. FAAN remits about 20 per cent of its internally

generated revenue (IGR) to the federation account, part of which this PSC is involved. Managing director/ chief executive officer of FAAN, Engr. Saleh Dunoma, speaking at the opening of the 59th Airports Council International (ACI) Africa Conference in Lagos yesterday, while giving out the figure said that the agency garnered that figure even though passenger traffic dropped same year. He said as part of its excellence in revenue generation, the automated car park at the General Aviation Terminal of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) also increased FAAN revenue by 68 per cent. On African aviation, Dunoma said noted that the continent saw a nine per cent increase in tourism, the highest increase in any region. The FAAN MD insisted

that African airports must position for increased passenger volume, particularly business travellers and tourists. He further pointed out that the 59th ACI-Africa Board and Committees Meetings & Regional Conference and Exhibition is holding just after 23 African countries signed the Single African Air Travel Market (SAATM) last January in Addis Ababa, adding that SAATM has the potential to transform, revolutionise aviation business in the continent. He said, “A better theme couldn’t have been chosen for the conference: Business Transformation for Sustainable Development of African Airports: A greater focus on Customer Service Guarantees, Improved Profitability, Optimal Use of Infrastructure and Sustainability of the Business.”

For Innovative Practices BY CHIMA AKWAJA, Lagos

Chairman, Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Olabiyi Durojaiye, has commended Channel VAS and its group chief executive officer, Bassim Haidar, for the innovative practices and visionary leadership that have contributed immensely to the growth of the company as a global technology powerhouse. The NCC boss gave the commendation when he visited the Channel VAS stand at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain recently. He noted that technology is an enabler of human progress as it accentuates the overall quest for growth and development. He commended Channel VAS’

vision for the future and said he was looking forward to the company’s continuous effort to support people in improving their everyday lives through its services. In his remark, Bassim Haidar, founder and group CEO of Channel VAS stated that his company was honoured to host the NCC boss at its stand at the Mobile World Congress. He noted that his firm, Channel VAS is a global leader in the fields of fintech, digital banking and big data mining, providing mobile financial and value-added services for subscribers of mobile operators globally. Being also a member of the Amnesty International’s Global Council, Bassim Haidar, pledged to always embark on deeds that would benefit humanity in general and Nigerians in particular.

NIESV Introduces Platform To Tackle Quackery BY GEORGE OKOJIE, Lagos

The Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) through its faculty of estate agency and marketing has unveiled an official multiple listing site for members to have direct contact with buyers of real estate products to checkmate the activities of quacks in the industry. Speaking at the unveiling of the website in Lagos, the chairman of the occasion, Emeka Eleh, an estate surveyor and valuer, described the initiative as worthwhile noting that it was something that members have been expecting for a longtime. He lauded the faculty of estate agency and marketing, a business division of NIESV for berthing the dream which he said would promote credibility in real estate transactions. Dwelling on the initiative,

the chairman, faculty of estate agency and marketing, Pastor Sam Eboigbe, pointed out that the website was for NIESV’s members nationwide to advertise lands, and property in Nigeria and abroad stressing that the scheme would redeem the already bastardised name and promote easy identification of the core professionals who would render truthful service. “We have decided to do things more professionally, efficiently to ensure that we serve our clients all over Nigeria. Here you are dealing with professionals who are regulated by law. If you engage with us directly, you won’t pay us fees. About 400 members are already registered on the platform. It will be beneficial to our clients and our members. We have codes to follow on the platform and if you don’t follow the codes, you will be disqualified,” he stated.

NIPC Kicks Off Investors’ Africa’s Smartphone Shipments Down To 20.3m In Q4 Aftercare Initiative … Nigeria records 19.9% growth BY CHIMA AKWAJA, Lagos

Africa’s smartphone market experienced a quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) decline of 6.4 per cent during Q4 2017. According to the latest insights announced yesterday by International Data Corporation (IDC). The global technology research and consulting firm’s Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker shows smartphone shipments were down to 20.3 million units for the quarter. Year- on- year (YoY), this represents an 18.0 per cent decline, meaning the YoY improvement seen in the previous quarter did not extend to the year’s final and traditionally strongest quarter. In the feature phone space, shipments

totaled 33.4 million units, up 3.1 per cent QoQ after decreasing in the previous quarter. Year- on- year, the feature phone market was up 9.9 per cent. Feature phones continue to account for a majority share (62.2 per cent) of the region’s overall mobile phone market as they adequately address the needs of consumers that have limited purchasing power and require a reliable long-lasting mode of communication, particularly in rural areas. Combining smartphones and feature phones together, the overall Africa mobile phone market saw shipments of 53.7 million units in Q4 2017, which represents downturns of 0.7 per cent QoQ and 2.6 per cent YoY.

The continent’s two biggest markets saw extremely strong growth, with shipments up 19.9 per cent QoQ in Nigeria and 27.0 per cent QoQ in South Africa. North Africa also experienced a slight increase, although there were declines across most other markets, which explains the region’s overall decline. Ramazan Yavuz, a research manager at IDC said, “Major campaigns took place around Black Friday and during the lead up to Christmas, which positively impacted consumer spending in Nigeria and South Africa. While Nigeria continues to recover from recession and consumer spending is on the rise, there are also clear signs of improvement in South Africa.

BY SUZAN NWACHUKWU, Abuja

The executive secretary, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Ms Yewande Sadiku, has said that the commission has kicked off its 100 investors’ aftercare initiative. She disclosed this when she led a team on a visit to CEO of NLNG, Mr Tony Attah in Rivers State over the weekend. Sadiku shared NIPC’s mandate and strategic plans and how it can support NLNG’s current business and expansion plans with its proactive

aftercare service. She said the engagement with top 100 companies in Nigeria in its aftercare and policy advocacy work was to ensure that it better understood their challenges and prospects and can better support them. “NIPC intends to profile a number of these companies in celebration of their contributions to the Nigerian economy. “NLNG is a strategically important company in Nigeria, harnessing Nigeria’s vast natural gas resources and produce Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) for export,” she said.


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Ntel To Sign Roaming Agreement With 9Mobile, MTN STORIES BY CHIMA AKWAJA, Lagos

Ntel, Nigeria’s first 4G LTE broadband operator is set to sign a national roaming agreement with MTN and 9Mobile networks which would allow the new entrant roam its services on the 2G and 3G starting from the second quarter of 2018. Mr. Ernest Akinlola, managing director/chief exec-

utive officer, Ntel in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP in Lagos said the new roaming agreements would provide immediate coverage parity, service backward compatibility (4G to 3G/2G) as well as handset compatibility and speed to scale to Ntel and allow more subscribers to join the LTE Advanced (LTE-A) network. According to Akinlola, the test run of the roaming

agreement was witnessed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and is at the final stage of approval. Speaking on how the deal was stroke, he said, “On my fourth day, I went to see the CEO of 9mobile and I said look, you’ve lost a lot of subscribers on your network, we have the capacity to create national roaming. You have excess capacity. You

get roaming revenue while you are packaging your sale, we get national scale. “This is national roaming which the NCC approves. They have a wide paper on it, they’re encouraging it. So while trying to do, I want you to accelerate that process for us because I’m very keen to launch this quarter. So what we did was, we liaised with NCC fully and said look, let us do a trial in the market

with 9mobile and they came and said well, if you guys agree, as long as we can witness it. So, our head of regulatory services and marketing director worked like bulldogs trying to make this to happen. “And so, we did the preview concept, it worked very well and NCC have reviewed it too. We are now at that stage of waiting for final approval and the growing com-

mercials. As it happens, other members of the ecosystem have woken to this fact and have engaged with us as well, because it is also revenue for them. If you’re flying a plane and you don’t much passengers, what will you do like 10 minutes before? You’re going to cut cost of aviation fee, all the costs, that’s what we’re doing. We currently are at advanced stages of national roaming” Akinlola said.

Nigeria Is Canon’s Top Market Focus In Africa – Adukia Marketing Director B2C, Canon Central and North Africa (CCNA), Mr. Somesh Adukia, in this interview with CHIMA AKWAJA, explains why the Nigeria market is important to Canon. What has been your experience of the Nigerian IT market since you established your office in 2015? I think we are doing quite well because, I came to Nigeria first time at the end of 2015, our distribution was fragmentary. We had some products here and there. The products were not coming from the official sources. There were no officials who could address consumers concerns, there was lack of service centres but now in the last two years, we have local persons, we have service centres and we have distribution networks across the nation. We have expanded into big cities Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt and we have strong plans to enter into other cities like Kano in the near future. I will say that our progress is quite good but still we have a long way to go Since then, how can you describe your performance so far? I will say excellent and actually this is one main reason for our success and also our confidence today, because we have appointed several channel account managers with responsibility to take care of the channels such as an organised market like Computer Village, retailers and among others. Our channel lineup is now becoming quite progressive as far as the country is concerned. We also have channel account managers in Abuja and Port Harcourt. Our relationship with the channel is quite good, we get regular feedback from them, we inform them of our strategies and we design our future plans based on our group discussions and feedback from

to cater to Nollywood through our range of professional video cameras. We are quite excited with these opportunities and then our planning, our strategies you know, we could reach them. It gives us the confidence that we will be able to reach our goals by end of 2020. Can you tell us your top markets in Africa? Right now, we have five focus markets for this year. One of them is Nigeria followed by Ivory Coast, Morocco, Senegal and Kenya. Currently, Nigeria is the top focus for us because out of our total turnover, I mean 30 per cent of our total turnover comes from Nigeria. So, that is why Nigeria becomes a big focus market for us.

Somesh

the channel departments. What is the market share of camera market you control? It has been quite good. On a year-on-year basis, we are growing in Nigerian market by holding 40 per cent. However, we are not happy just with 40 per cent hold because our potential in the Nigerian

market is the best and it is targeted on low base. So, we feel that we will be able to reach what we want to reach only by the ending of 2020 and for that, the purpose of our midterm plans and strategies are ready which is what we discussed with our channel partners and our distributors. We also want to launch new

kinds of product categories. For example, we have seen that Nigerians love photography and you know the DSLR range of cameras is quite popular, we want to launch a new segment called mirror lens cameras which is quite popular in European market and this is my understanding of Nigerian consumers and trained photographers. I

feel that the young generation in Nigeria will be very happy with mid lens camera. We also want to launch professional video cameras because we have seen that there is a big potential of professional video cameras in Nigeria. Nollywood is the third biggest film making industry in the world after Hollywood and Bollywood and we want

Why the My Naija campaign, why embark on a contest? We are not the number one in terms of market shares. This is because our competitors entered before us and they were able to capture the mind of the Nigerian consumers. However, having said that, once we entered, we have got the feedback from Nigerian consumers and we have actions and what we realised is all Nigerian consumers’ especially younger consumers actually await a change which provides him or her with the latest technology and features and Canon would like to tap these young users through the campaign. The nationwide ‘Live for the Story’ campaign is a competition which inspires people to celebrate their stories through imagery, ultimately capturing stories that define Nigeria through its people, culture and passion.


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WEF Report Faults Government’s Handling Of Climate Change

Expert Links 50% Under 5 Deaths To Air Pollution STORIES BY CHIKA OKEKE, Abuja

The director of Climate Change, Ministry of Health, Dr U.M EneObong has disclosed that more than 50 percent premature deaths of children under five years linked to pneumonia are caused by particulate matter (soot) inhaled from household air pollution. This is even as he attributed 3.8 million premature deaths annually from non-communicable diseases like stroke, ischaemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer to exposure on household air pollution. In his report titled “Health Implication of Smoke from Cooking in an Open Fire”, Ene-Obong emphasised that over 4 million people die prematurely from illnesses attributable to household air pollution from cooking with solid fuels.

He said: “Air pollution is a major public health concern and the fourth-largest threat human after high blood pressure, dietary risks and smoking according to World Health Organisation (WHO)”. The expert pointed out that new WHO air quality model showed danger spots saying that 92 percent of world population live in places where limits of air pollution exceeded WHO limits. He said that both indoor and outdoor air pollution cause 6.5 million deaths annually, more than the number killed by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and road injuries combined. ‘‘Around 3 billion people cook and heat their homes using open fires and simple stoves burning biomass (wood, animal dung and crop waste) and coal,” he said. Ene-Obong also confirmed that since 72 per cent of Nigeria’s population depended solely on firewood for cooking as revealed by International Centre for Energy and Envi-

ronmental Development (ICEED) that over 98,000 Nigerian women die annually from use of firewood. He listed the characteristics of cooking in open fire as being associated with smoke dispersion whether indoor or outdoor as well as air pollution. The expert highlighted other characteristics as biomass quality, ignition mode, flame management, cooking space size and ventilation. This is just as he pointed out that cooking with firewood in rural areas is associated with poverty, poor ventilation, under nutrition, overcrowding and low socio-economic status. While encouraging Nigerians to embrace the use of clean cook stoves, he stated that clean cook stove combust fuel or release little or no harmful products “They use far less fuel to achieve the same or produce greater amounts of heat; the less fuel used, the less disease-causing particles

released into the air,’’he said. The expert further revealed that women and children could devote more time doing other beneficial domestic chores while using clean cook stove adding that it saves time and averts soot. Ene-Obong pointed out that federal ministry of health supported the implementation of the UN global strategy for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health likewise the implementation of relevant evidencebased guidelines for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health that would promote their rights. He was hopeful that the ministry would contribute to attaining the goals of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). “We will share best practices and implement innovative approaches to improve medical surveillance/ monitoring and support progress to reduce the burden of non -communicable diseases”, he concluded.

A report released by World Economic Forum (WEF) has indicted that governments and organisations across the countries over what it described as ‘too-little-too-late’ in handling climate change issues. WEF which unveils its global risks report annually noted that hurricane Harvey was a contributory factor to extreme weather and natural disasters This is even as it ranked extreme weather conditions and natural disaster as highest environmental threats and world’s biggest problems. The report was produced based on feedback from businesses, governments and civil society organisations. In the past, economic risks such as capital market collapse mainly dominated WEF activities though the environmental report is considered as a breakaway from its activities. With the recent release, extreme weather conditions has topped the list of environmental threats two years on. It further pointed out that the failure to manage climate change and biodiversity loss is currently threatening humanity globally. Reacting, the group chief risk officer at Zurich Insurance Group, Alison Martin disclosed that extreme weather events were ranked again as a top global risk by likelihood and impact. “Environmental risks, together with a growing vulnerability to other risks, are now seriously threatening the foundation of most of our commons. It’s not yet too late to shape a more resilient tomorrow, but we need to act with a stronger sense of urgency in order to avoid potential system collapse”, she added. Recall that hurricane Harvey devastated some parts of US in 2017 while the other was struck by wildfires, a mishap that was largely linked to climate change. The report’s authors in their executive summary noted that humans have been pushing the planet to the brink adding that the damages is becoming increasingly clear.

NAGGW Seeks Financial Aid From Front Line States STORIES BY CHIKA OKEKE, Abuja

The director-general, National Agency for the Great Green Wall (NAGGW), Mr. Goni Ahmed has pleaded with state governments in the 11 front line states to make financial contributions through budgetary allocation as well as provide land and community mobilization to support the programme. The front line states are Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi. Speaking with newsmen in Abuja,

he noted that majority of Nigerians depended on natural and land resources- based economy for their livelihoods adding that over 80 percent of the nation’s vegetables and livestock are produced in the area. Ahmed emphasised that the economic hub deserved priority attention by all tiers of government and citizenry. The director-general noted that the agency which was established by an Act of the National Assembly has embarked on a number of activities in realization of the mandate of the Great Green Wall programme such

as establishment of shelterbelt/win break and woodlot plantations, promotion of agro-forestry and renewable energy. Ahmed further listed farmers managed natural regeneration, promotion of human livelihood activities, provision of water and rural infrastructure, skill acquisitions and employment generation; support drylands research effort, school outreach programmes, sand dune stabilization, and oases development as other programmes initiated by the agency. He stated that one third of the world’s population said to be living

in drylands faced huge stress such as repetitive droughts and poor soil fertility which is further worsened by climate change. Ahmed pointed out that about 43 percent drylands in Nigeria, covering about 11 states are currently threatened by degradation, leading to food insecurity, abject poverty and forced migration which contributed to insurgency in some areas. He disclosed that drylands in subsaharan Africa cover about 14 million sq km which is home to about 70% of crop land and 82% of livestock holders stressing that productivity

in the areas are seriously challenged by natural and human factors. He added, In recognition of land degradation as a global phenomenon and the limited success of past efforts, the GGW initiative was presented by the Nigerian government to the African Union as a holistic regional approach to combat desertification and improve livelihood of affected communities which led to the signing of the convention on GGW eleven member countries and the creation of Pan African Agency of Great Green Wall (PAGGW) that was adopted by the African Union (AU)”.


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Zenith Bank Records N157bn Profit

…Declares N76.9bn final dividend BY OLUSHOLA BELLO, Lagos

Shareholders of Zenith Bank Plc have reasons to smile as the bank yesterday announced a final dividend of N76.92 billion for the year ended December 31, 2017. The dividend, which translates to N2.45 kobo per share was declared following a profit after tax (PAT) of N157.145 billion reported for the period. The bank has earlier paid an interim dividend of 25 kobo per share, bringing the total dividend for the period under review to N2.70 per share. The audited results of Zenith Bank made available by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), showed that the bank recorded gross earnings of N745.189 billion, up by 46.73 per cent from N507.997 billion posted in the corresponding period of 2016. Net interest income stood at N257.991 billion, as against N240.829 billion in 2016, while impairment loss on financial assets increased from

N32.350 billion to N98.227 billion. Consequently, Zenith Bank Plc ended the period with profit before tax of N203.461 billion, compared with N156.748 billion in 2016. Profit after tax rose from N129.652 billion to N203.461 billion, while earnings per share also rose by 37.38 per cent to N5.66 from N4.12. Also, customers’ deposits went up to N3.45 trillion from N2.98 trillion in 2016, while loan and advances decreased to N2.1 trillion from N2.289 trillion. The group total assets went up to N5.595 trillion as against N4.74 trillion, while its total liabilities increased to N4.774 trillion from N4.035 trillion in 2016. Speaking to shareholders at the last annual general meeting in 2017. The chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Jim Ovia said that in line with its commitment to delivering superior returns to its muchvalued shareholders, the bank ensured that a good chunk of the profit was set aside for

shareholders. According to him, even in the face of a very challenging operating environment, Zenith Bank has maintained its culture of outstanding performance and industry leadership. He said: “As a bank, we are monitoring developments both in the local and global economy and applying pragmatism and dynamism as appropriate. Our strategy and approach to the pursuit of financial inclusion and sustainability gives us a lot of competitive advantage to explore even new frontiers in the market.” Also speaking, group managing director/chief executive officer of Zenith Bank, Mr. Peter Amangbo said as an institution of wellprimed people, the bank relied on its pool of exceptional staff to make sound and timely decision and addressed issues in a manner that anticipated developments and demonstrated excellent understanding of the dynamics of the market and economy.

FG Committed To Increasing Power Supply – Fashola BY FESTUS OKOROMADU, Abuja

Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, yesterday reassured Nigerians of the federal government’s commitment to ensuring that the country makes steady growth in power supply. Speaking at the 25th Monthly Power Sector meeting in Uyo, Fashola said the power sector recovery programme put in place by the ministry and other stakeholders in the power sector was beginning to yield results. “Clearly, our implemental power initiative is well underway, some jobs are manifesting and the promise of steady power is real. If we persevere, I am certain that we will witness uninterrupted power, which is the final destination of our journey.’’ On funding, the Minister disclosed that the federal government had secured the World Bank approval for US$486 million dollars for the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) fund transmission expansion. In the area of rural electrification, Fashola said, “Progress is being made with the same bank for the Rural Electrification and Distribution Expansion Funding. According to him, the Power

Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP), policies, actions and programmes are meant to solve the power sector problems, stressing that they are delivering results. He said: “One of the results is the regulation that will democratise access to meters for power sector customers. We have reached a 7,000 Megawatts (MW) Generation Capacity and have a 5,000 MW Distribution Capacity, what is newsworthy is that in the last month, we have met with Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), DisCos, and GenCos.’’ He stated that arrangements are already at high levels on how to implement the Eligible Customer Policy and increase connectivity to the 2,000 MW. “In many parts of the country connected to the grid, citizens’ feedback is positive, even though all the problems are not solved. Citizens acknowledge more power in dry weather, reduced hours of running their generators and reduction in fuel (diesel and petrol) purchase to power generators,” Fashola said. While describing solar energy as cleaner and more efficient source of power, he noted that in many states, solar power is being accepted and used. The minister said consumers were already embracing the

solar power generation plan, an initiative of the government to boost electricity. The minister also inaugurated the Meter Asset Provider Regulation 2018, and presented a copy of the regulation to Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom. In his remarks, Gov. Emmanuel said his administration was working toward the provision of digitalised meters in the state, adding that by 2019, every household in the state would be using a digitalised meter. Emmanuel said the metering company in the state would solve the four million meters need of the country. The governor, however, called on the Federal Government to take advantage of the metering company existing in the state. He warned against vandalism of power installations, adding that the state government would wage a war on vandals to protect the infrastructure in the sector. “The major cardinal point when we did our five-point agenda that anchored on industrialisation is also the drive that we are doing on electricity generation and distribution,’’ he said. The governor commended Fashola for his drive and efforts in solving the power problem in the country.


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Tuesday March 13, 2018

Inside Story Of Rann Attack While the grieving families of victims and the people of Borno State continue to mourn love ones killed in the tragic Rann terrorist attack, those who survived the onslaught by recount their harrowing experiences even as families of abducted workers plead for the quick release of those taken, FRANCIS OKOYE, reports.

R

Apart from the aid workers and the 10 security operatives’ confirmed dead, there were lots of civilian casualties apart from the aid workers and the 10 security operatives’ confirmed dead, there were lots of civilian casualties

ann, a rural settlement located in Kalabalge local government area of Borno State was first on the news in January 2017 when Nigerian Air Force Fighter Jet locating Boko Haram terrorists erroneously bombed an Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp and killed several persons including humanitarian workers. Even though officials said the bombing was in error, no fewer than 236 souls perished in that disaster which threw the entire country and indeed the world into mourning and blames, as many wondered how the error occurred in the first place bearing in mind that the victims were unarmed. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) providing humanitarian assistance in the Rann camp confirmed that nine aid workers from the Nigerian Red Cross and the International Committee of The Red Cross (ICRC) were among the victims of the January 2017 erroneous disaster. A year after that incident, Rann has again made news with the recent onslaught by Boko Haram terrorists in a Military base where aid workers including a medical doctor and 10 Nigerian security operatives lost their lives alongside unidentified civilians. Sources from the Kalabalge who spoke to LEADERSHIP on the condition of anonymity said the worst aspect of the attack was that the security operatives in the military base were caught unaware by the terrorists as most of them were alleged to have been watching football while others were playing the game when the agents of death stormed the base. Indeed, it was gathered that apart from the aid workers and the 10 security operatives’ confirmed dead, there were lots of civilian casualties as well as soldiers and policemen that sustained serious injuries during the attack. One of those abducted is Hauwa Mohammed, a midwife who was abducted by the terrorists alongside her fellow nurse. Some minutes before her abduction, Hauwa had a telephone conversation with her close friend Fatima whom she intimated about the invasion of their area by the terrorists and asked her to convey to her parents, her predicament. In her telephone conversation which has gone viral in the social media, Hauwa was heard telling her friend with whom she had the conversation, to tell her parents that she has been taken. The most touching aspect of the telephone conversation is the echoes of heavy gunshots in the background suggesting that she made the call while the terrorists were advancing at them, because in between the conversation she said to her friend Fatima “see Boko Haram, they have already invaded us, my God ooh”. With this last statement, the conversation cut, and today the rest is the story of her abduction by the terrorists. Also not dead but unlucky to have been abducted by the terrorists is

Two of the abductees

Alice Loksha, a native of Kwarkusa in Kwarkusa local government area of Borno State and a nurse with UNICEF. According to her brother who choose not to disclose his name for security reasons, Alice is the second child of the family. According to him, Alice abduction has dealt a blow on the whole family as since the news of her abduction broke, the family members have been psychologically traumatised. He pleaded with the authorities concerned to intensify search towards the rescue of Alice and other abductees even as he appealed to government to intensify efforts at finally crushing the terrorists.

One other worrisome aftermath of the Rann attack is the case of a medical doctor with UNICEF, Dr Anthony Onyedikachi who paid the supreme price to the bullets of the terrorists. The late Dr Onyedikachi is said to be the son of a famous professor of Orthopaedic Medicine who owns one of the best Orthopaedic Hospital in the south eastern part of Nigeria. The International Committee of The Red Cross (ICRC) which is one of he agencies hit by the attack confirmed that its two midwives were among the unlucky ones abducted by the terrorists. Weeks after the dastardly attack on Rann by the dare devil terrorists, Ni-

gerians are waiting patiently for the outcome of the committee set up by the federal government, just as they offer endless prayers for the repose of the souls of the murdered victims and seek quick release of those abducted. Speaking on behalf of his congregation, Pastor Allan Shettima urged Nigerians not to relent in praying for an end to the Boko Haram activities even as he asked for international support to victims of the Rann attack. “We pray for quick release of the abductees and ask that God console victims of not just the Rann attack but all other atrocities committed by the Boko Haram. We will live to celebrate their total defeat” Shettima said.


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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

‘There Is Something Wrong With Men’ BY IDANG ALIBI In 1988 this reporter was at the Yugoslavenski Institut Za Novinarstvo (Yugoslav Institute of Journalism) in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. I was nominated by my organisation, the defunct ‘’original’’ Daily Times, for a course in Informed Commentary organised by the UNDP. I was there before that country dissolved into chaos and subsequently broke into seven different living countries today. I was a living witness to the process that led to the split of Yugoslavia which had set in then. One of the cherished memories I have of Yugoslavia was that a small me got a chance to meet and shake hands with Mr. Slobodan Milosevic, the Serbian leader and strong man who later died on March 7, 2006, while facing charges of genocide and war crimes at The Hague. But this story is not about Milosevic or Yugoslavia and what became of it later in the course of history so let us return to our main story. That year, all of Europe was aglow and agog with the salacious love story of former and now late Greek Prime Minister, Andreas Papandreou, and air hostess Dimitra Liani. Papandreou was on a long trip from Athens to Hong Kong. In the course of the flight in Olympic Airways, the Greek national airline, he beheld the impressive looks, charms and carriage of the blonde air hostess, Dimitra Liani. She set his heart aflame and like a pimple- faced teenager falling in love for the very first time, he was in cloud nine and declared that Dimitra was the love of his life and that without her he did not think he will live any meaningful life any more or something to this effect. Papandreou had earlier had a pulmonary by-pass surgery. The superstitious Greek society attributed his quick recovery and general improvement in his health to the Dimitra flame that was burning so brightly in his reconditioned heart! The Greeks are so well known for their gift for satire and humour. At that

time, one Greek cartoonist wondered aloud in his cartoon whether the then 69-year old Papandreou had discovered a new sexual position called ‘’one leg in the grave and another one out of it’’ that he betook himself to a 34-year old girl, a ravishing beauty half his age with blood running riot in her body! As a 20-something year old young adult and avid reader to the bargain, this enthralling love story of a prime minister with an air hostess nearly half his age soon became the love of my own life. There was no internet at that time but the International Tribune Herald and other major newspapers of the world were following every twist and turn of that fascinating story. I licked and lapped up every juicy bit of the story relating to Papandreou and Liani. I used to leave our hostel so early in the morning to be able to pick up a copy of particularly the International Tribune Herald and the New York Times at the newsstands to find out the latest about the story and to read one of my favourite columnists the American Charles Krauthammer who is often described as a conservative Republican columnist. I fancy myself as a progressive, left-leaning person but I loved the writing style of Mr. Krauthammer, an acknowledged conservative. One of the grouses which Mr. Papandreou had against Margaret, his American wife of about 38 years then whom he had met in the USA when he was a student there, was that ‘’Margaret couldn’t cook me an egg’’. Commentators said the Greek society is particularly patriarchal and masculine in nature and Papandreou expected Margaret to be a sweet, indulgent and a lovey-dovey wife who will dot on every whim and caprice of her husband and massage his huge male ego. It is Margaret’s failure in that regard that drove Papandreou into the waiting arms of the scheming Liani. From now on in this story, every reference to the two women in the life of Papandreou shall be Mamandreou and Mistressandreou

for the purpose of clarity of reference and easy following while Papandreou on the other hand shall remain solidly himself. A great lady journalist, whose name I have now forgotten, who used to write for the International Tribune Herald and who was also on the story, did a two-page pull out on this fascinating love tale of the time with the title ‘There is Something Wrong with Men’ which we have borrowed as title of this piece. In it, she wondered how on earth a man of Papandreou’s status and dignity was ready to literally forsake everything by condescending to befriend an air hostess and abandoning his wife of 38 years. She, like most women, cannot understand the animal called man and which is why she concluded that there was something wrong with men. In that fascinating piece of writing, the lady journalist also lamented how unfair life can be as she compared the change in status and fortune of the two women closest to Papandreou the moment he (Papandreou) fell into the soft embrace of Mistressandreou and abandoned Mamandreou. (Mistressandreou later went on to become Mrsandreou and she is still today playing a dominant role in Greek politics). From that moment on, Papandreou used to carry Mistressandreou everywhere he went to as Greek Prime Minister. She was always with him whether he was addressing parliaments, visiting foreign leaders or negotiating difficult business deals while Mamandreou took to the lecture circuit, lamenting the evils of patriarchy and the terrible libidinal instinct in men. She said that when once Papandreou went to address the European Parliament in Brussels and was staying in a 69-dollar a night pent suite, Mamandreou was in a rundown 28 -dollar a night hotel, not far away in the same city, with the human rights crowd addressing a press conference with the topic ‘’Where is the Sisterhood?’’

Time To Return The Mission Schools BY MAIMUNA A. B. SHEHU Before the education sector was regionalized in 1954, the Southern region ran a 7-5-3 system, meaning, seven years in the primary school, five in the secondary, and three years in tertiary institution, while in the North, a 8-6-3 system was ran. These systems were later harmonized and 6-5-2-3 was operational. Before the review to 9-3-4 system, 6-3-3-4 was practiced. One is left to wonder whether these revolutions have helped to achieve the national aspirations and goals. The promulgation of the Public Education Edict by the East Central State Government in 1970 led to the take over of schools from the missionaries and private operators. The take over of these schools eventual spread fast across the states of the country. Some of the reasons for the action was to stabilise the sector, avoid sectionalism, guard against religious conflict, meet the people’s and national basic educational needs and fight disloyalty to the cause of the country. However, the current trend seems to favour the return of such schools to their real owners.

In some states, it is pertinent to note some calm and hazy mood on the situation, but in the SouthWest, like Ogun State, the matter was glaringly straight forward and worthy of emulation, as about 23 public secondary schools were during the tenure of Otunba Gbenga Daniel, handed over to their original owners. This was done through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the state government and the missionaries. The administration of Sen. Ibikunle Amosun however, in 2011 reverted the decision, claiming that the law on the takeover of the mission schools was still in force, as his predecessor did not repeal or amend the law before taking that decision. Sincerely, it was wrong for the state governments in Nigeria to embark on the taking over of mission schools in 1970 and thereabout, as it started shortly after the civil war in the Eastern region. The Ministry of Education of the various states during the military ought to have allowed the mission, public and private schools to operate together, while it ensured standard. For over three decades, when

almost all the mission schools were taken over by the government, some state governments had made roburst investments in some of those schools by giving less attention to the others. It is noteworthy that most state ministries of education ran a policy of free primary and secondary schools, resulting in driving away millions of Nigerian youths off the streets. The return of mission schools in some states has negatively impacted in the sector. This is because, after the handover of such schools in the 70s, the enrollment figure has dropped, as school fees has to be paid. Contrary to government’s free education policy, many parents did not have the money to pay. This dramatic fall in enrolment of pupils and students into schools has posed a serious problem which cannot be addressed by any government committed to the educational advancement of its people. Most of the proponents of the return of the mission schools see the take over as a serious threat to educational development of this nation. In Delta State, 40 schools were returned to missionaries, 27 to the Catholic, eight to the Anglican

Mamandreou cried aloud about why younger, fresher and more alluring women fail to see the pains they inflict on fellow sisters of the same or older age by using their feminine charms to snatch, say, a 69-year old husband from the legitimate wife of his youth. Since I read of former Mrs. Margaret Papandreou’s haunting lamentation of about 30 years ago this year, about the lack of fellow-feeling among women, each time the liaison of a young girl with a man old enough to be her father or grandfather breaks and the wife is humiliated and inflicted with much pains and the man is eventually brought down from the height of his fame and or power, the question I ask silently is ‘’Where is the Sisterhood? Baby, you feel on top of the world now because you have succeeded in grabbing that rich and powerful man for yourself but don’t you realise the pains you are dealing to a fellow sister? You will doubtless say to me that he chased you ceaselessly and swept you off your feet with sweet promises but can’t you say ‘’no’’ and say it firmly enough to dissuade him? Can’t you do a Usain Bolt and sprint away from his presence and avoid every form of temptation to fall to his warm embrace? Women love to portray themselves, or allow themselves to be portrayed, as victims of predatory males. This may be a soothing balm to their searing conscience but some of us don’t buy that crap. Women, I sincerely believe, are their own worst enemies. With whom do men betray their wives or girlfriends? Is it with fellow men? Certainly, no! It must, necessarily, have to be with women. Ninety nine per cent of affairs which girls have with men are with married men, whom they know or have reasonable cause to believe, are other women’s husbands. Why, then, are sexual peccadilloes always blamed on men and why are women not appropriately given their own share of the blame? I sincerely think that if women

develop a sense of sisterhood, a sense of solid solidarity with fellow women out there who may be known or unknown to them, it will be impossible for men to hurt the feelings of so many fellow females. In my own self-admitted old school mentality, I reason that mothers, feminists and women lovers and sympathisers all over the world have a major task on their hands: namely, to bring up girls to realise that when she has an unapproved liaison with a man who is her boss, married man friend, father or brother-in law, she is hurting a fellow sister or woman out there. I think this teaching and training is essential for the girl child now because the kind of righteous sex education which I got from my maternal grandmother of blessed memory still lives with me and guides my conduct even till today. When grand ma Emene Agabi noticed that I had come of age, she called me one day, sat me down and told me, like the real life coach that parents ought to be to their children, that I had now grown into a young handsome lad and that if I needed to make friends with the opposite sex, it should be with widows and girls of my age. In my culture, widows are permitted young men, possibly to provide a learning curve! But married women are a taboo to them. Grandma set boundaries for me and even threw in a delicious bonus but I opted for girls of my age because if you get to know the true meaning of what widows are called in my language, a young, fearful boy will not dare go near them!. They are called unye ufo, which, if translated literally into English, means ‘wife of a ghost’! Somebody’s wife was forbidden me so I was not ready to go near anybody’s wife whether the man was a ghost or a living soul! (Watch out for my next piece to be entitled ‘There is Something Wrong with Women’ which will be a fitting sequel to this one).

Mission, four to the Baptist and one to the African Church Group. This action has attracted comments from the diverse segments of the society, while various stakeholders in the economic sector have aired their views to return the schools to their original proprietors. However, some are of the opinion that the development was in the right direction to keep the schools away from their owners, as it was seen as a plot to extort money from parents and students as exorbitant school fees would be charged by the missionaries to fund the schools and pay teachers’ salaries. Without mincing words, handing over schools to their owners would be of advantage to the educational advancement of the country as the teachers of schools handled by the government lacked the required discipline to lead the students to the right direction. Moreover, when the government took over, without compensation, moral decadence became the order of the day, as government, being a circular agency, was not able to uphold moral uprightness that the missionaries were looking for. Many of the schools’

products became armed robbers while some others took to other crimes, leading to the fall in the standard of education. There was also lukewarm attitude on the part of the teachers who considered government work as no one’s responsibility, and got their salaries even when they don’t do anything. They are not bothered about what becomes of their productivity, who became petty traders or businessmen, while their children suffered. The mission schools will help curb the massive downward drain in the education sector. Some proponents of this agitation opined that, when schools were in the hands of the missionaries, they were properly managed under strict regulations of the proprietors. Therefore, I suggest the repeal or amend of that law that would allow for the return of mission schools, in line with government policy, as anything short of this would be considered null and void.

–Alibi is an Abuja-based journalist

–Shehu is a student of Mass Communication, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University (IBBU), Lapai, Niger State


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BRINGING THE SOUTH-WEST TO YOU

SMARTNEWS Ekiti 2018: APC Aspirants Closing Ranks To Win Guber Poll- Bamidele BY ALO ABIOLA, Ado Ekiti

Former member of House of Representatives, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele, said governorship aspirants on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti state are closing ranks to ensure the success of the party at the July 14, 2018poll. He also described the agitations by governorship aspirants from the southern senatorial district that power must shift to the zone as a legitimate one, which does not preclude other contenders from other zones from exercising their constitutional rights to contest for the governorship seat. Bamidele, an APC gubernatorial aspirant in the state who disclosed that he had an agreement with the former Governor Kayode Fayemi on how the party can win the election said the pact between him and Fayemi was not for personal aggrandizement , but for the corporate benefit to the party. He made the disclosure while declaring his intent to run for governorship election at the party’s secretariat in Ado Ekiti, the state capital. According to him, “Yes, the Minister visited my office in Abuja and the Special Adviser on Political Matters to the President, Mr Babafemi Ojudu also wrote a goodwill message to me as I declare my intention today. To me, this is a sign of good development. “All these shouldn’t give room for speculation that someone was trying to persuade the other to shelve ambition for the other. All the party leaders must work together, so our working together and their visits to my office was not for selfish interest or about our ambitions alone. “I have made it clear at every political gathering I attended that I have settled rift with Fayemi . The two of us are frontline party men and we have to work together to rescue our party. We are doing same with Engr. Segun Oni, all in the interest of our party”, he said.

Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode flanked by government officials and members of civil societies, making remark during the Symbolic Walk Against Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Alausa, Ikeja, yesterday. PHOTO BY KOLAWOLE ALIU.

25-year Jail Term For Rapists Highly Recommended – Ambode Stakeholders BY GEORGE OKOJIE, Lagos

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday threw his weight behind the 25 years jail term recommended for rapist and perpetrators of all forms of domestic violence in the state, saying that the time has come to take aggressive steps to put a stop to the menace. Ambode, who led a symbolic walk against Domestic and

Sexual Violence in Alausa, Ikeja, with top government functionaries including the Deputy Governor, Dr. Oluranti Adebule, Chief Judge of the State, Justice Olufunmilayo Oke, wife of the Governor, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, Commissioner of Police, Imohimi Edgal, among others said it was time to walk the talk and ensure that the rights of every citizen and the most vulnerable in the society.

Backing the 25 year jail term for rapists, the Governor, decked in a red t-shirt with inscriptions including ‘I Say No To Rape’, ‘Stop Domestic Violence’, among others, said it was time to take the fight one step further by amending the Protection against Domestic Violence Law, 2007 and also come up with strict punitive measures that would serve as a deterrent to perpetrators of such act.

FG Tasked On Anti-Corruption War BY FIDELIS UGBOMEH, Lagos

The federal government has been urged to focus its fight against corruption on the civil service, the military and paramilitary. The call is based on the assumption in some quarters that the anti-corruption war of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal government Is selective.

Addressing journalists to herald the 16th Annual Convention of Pentecostal Sanctuary Bible Ministries, Odo Egbo, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State recently the President of the Ministry, Prophet Sunday Dare Iyunade stated the federal government needed to do more to nip corruption in the bud in the country. Iyunade berated the federal government, for failing to

fulfil its promises to Nigerians, wondering why there is still poverty in the land in-spite of the increase in Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), increase in external reserve amongst others. He added that the money collected by the Federal Government from alleged looters of the nation's resources ought to have been used to improve the economy.

Igbos In Lagos Pledges Support For Ambode's Re-election BY ADENIYI ADUNOLA, Lagos

The Igbos who are residents in Lagos State have pledged their support for the re-election bid of Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode for a second tenure in office. Igbos spokesman in Lagos State Dr. Innocent N. Nwankwo, revealed this when he led members of the Igbo community in Lagos state to the Endorsement of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and Inauguration of the Women Forum in the Badagry Division which

is propelled by Seyi Bamigbade, Coordinator General of Itesiwaju Ipinle Eko Vanguard. He said his people supported the move to endorse the governor for the second tenure because of his hard work and love for all Lagosians irrespective of their tribes or religions, noting that the governor has proved himself to be a detribalized Nigerian and highly focused leader who is committed to the growth of the society. “I am calling on all non- indigenes to enroll en masse and be in a position

to vote in credible candidates such as Gov. Ambode. It is our collective civic responsibility. We must return all our votes for him come 2019 to ensure we get five million votes for the tireless Governor. “ he said. He urged residents to take part in the Continuous Voter Registration, (CVR), exercise being conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission( INEC)., adding that their voter’s card remains their weapon with which they can use to support continuity of good government.

Counsel Parents On Children Intellectual Disability

BY CHIKA IZUORA, Lagos

Parents with children suffering from various intellectual disabilities have been urged to continuously ensure such children are supported to actualise their dream regardless of the societal stigma and other challenges they face. Speaking at "Let's Talk Family" a forum organized by the Children's Developmental Center, (CDC), in Lagos at the weekend, Service Director of CDC, Dr. Yinka Akindayomi said parents should strive to identify those abilities in the children and provide the necessary support to make them realise their ambition. He said the center decided to organize the forum to give parents the opportunities to share their experiences having identified agonies they go through. The event she said allows experts to engage parents and offer them hope in their period of emotional stress and difficulties. "I am so sad that these parents are tax payers whose money should have been used to provide facilities to cater for such children. They suffer stigma and confusion and I expect that government pay special attention to executing projects that would help these children develop their abilities and contribute to development of the society.


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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Group Endorses Ayade For Second Term BY NZOR ERNEST, Abuja

Ahead of 2019 general election, a social group under the aegis of Uchu Development Association (UDA), from Cross River State in Abuja, has endorsed the state governor, Professor Ben Ayade for a second term. This was made known in a statement made available to LEADERSHIP yesterday in Abuja. The group said, “We are indeed proud for the achievements of the Governor so far, and would be supporting him all the way for another term in office.He has done well in the areas of infrastructural development and other massive steps recorded in all sectors and sections of the state.” The statement reads in part: “Governor, Professor. Ben Ayade, and Dr. Stephen Odey, the chairman, Cross River State Universal Basic Education Board (CR-

SUBEB), in the last two and a half years in governing the State; because of the things he has done across board, across different sectors, we sat together and we decided without a rebel voice to seek his audience and endorse him for re-election in 2019 as the Governor of Cross River State. “If you look at the pace of development already experienced by the state and the projects being achieved in the state, you will agree with me that the future is indeed bright for every Cross Rivers indigenes. “We wish to join other well-wishers in thanking God for the life of our Governor, Professor Ben Ayade and we will continue to pray for him for perfect health and strength to discharge the onerous leadership responsibility God has bestowed upon him at this critical time of our nationhood,” its statement said.

Abia Lawmaker Appreciates Constituents A member of House of Representatives, Hon Uzoma Nkem Abonta has expressed his appreciation to the people of his constituency by supporting them with some valuable items, houses and farm inputs worth millions of naira. Hon Abonta, who represents Ukwa East and West Federal Constituency of Abia state, said that he will never forget the people of his community who after considering him fit gave their mandates to him. During the programme organised to honour the people of his constituency, Hon. Abonta presented three Sienna cars, a (Bora) Volks-wagon car and two-hundred and fifty [250] wrappers to women in each ward of his constituency as an appreciation for their support for him so far, Considering the fact the people from his village are known to be farmers, Hon. Abonta also presented substantial bags of fertilizers to farmers as well as some cassava sticks to enable his people enhance

the their productivity in this farming season. At the appreciation programme, Hon. Abonta also handed over two bedrooms flat to an aged woman who lived in a hut but lost her home due to heavy downpour last year raining season. Speaking to newsmen after the presentations, the legislator urged the people of the costituency to live peacefully with one another and be law abiding citizens, saying that without peace there will be no development. Hon Abonta, who said he was presenting such gift to his people for the fifth since he became member of the House of Representatives also advised the people of his constituency to obtain their Personal Voters Card, PVC to enable them cast their votes for the people of their choice in the forth coming elections in 2019. The wife of Abia State governor, Deaconess Nkechi Ikpeazu was there at the presentation ceremony alongside many well-wishers and supporters of the lawmaker.

L-R: Imo State Deputy governor, Mr Eze Madumere; Governors Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu; David Umahi of Ebonyi and Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, during Southeast governor’’s meeting in Enugu on Sunday.

Obaseki Inspects Road Project, Assures Devt Across LGAs BY PATRICK OCHOGA, Benin City

Edo State governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki has assured that infrastructure development will get to all local government councils in the state, even as he promised the people of Akoko Edo local government area of accelerated completion of the ongoing construction of a 3.5km-long road project in Ugboshi Afe community. The road, it was learnt, was

tarred by the late Premier of the then Western Nigeria, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, over 60 years ago, but had since been abandoned. Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief Taiwo Akerele, who represented the governor during the site tour, at the weekend, said that the project was being delivered in a fashion that belies the ‘wake and see’ approach to governance championed by Governor Obaseki.

According to him, “I appeal to communities in the state to remain calm as Mr Governor is gradually fulfilling all his promises from one local council to another. “It is regrettable that the people of Ugboshi Afe have had to wait for so long for this road to be constructed. But we assure them that not only will this road be constructed, but it will be delivered in good time.” “The 3.5km-long aban-

doned road is being constructed by EDSG public works programme at an accelerated pace and will be completed before the end of May 2018,” he added. The people of the community said they are delighted that the governor has extended the infrastructural imprints to them, noting that the state is better off with the dogged approach to delivering on the dividends of democracy.

Edo Libya Returnees Hold Govt Officials Hostage BY PATRICK OCHOGA, Benin City

Members and governmemt officials of the Edo State government task force on Human Trafficking and illegal migration were yesterday held hostage for several hours as angry Libya returnees stormed the venue of a scheduled town hall meeting and disrupted an empowerment programme over alleged selective approach by the state task force against Human Trafficking and Illegal

Migration. As tension heightened, some properties including loud speakers, tent, chairs and industrial fans were destroyed while tyres of the official vehicle of a member of the Committee, Solomon Okoduwa was deflated by the angry returnees. The event which took place at the popular King Square was part of a community advocacy program put together by the Edo State government task

force against Human Trafficking and Illegal migration. Normalcy was however restored after some security personnel drafted from the Oba market Police station were invited before the event commenced. Trouble was said to have started early in the morning when one of the returnees, Jude Ikuenobe protested the non-payment of their monthly stipend and selective empowerment alleging that the task

force saddled with the responsibility of returnees had failed. According to Ikuenobe: “They have given some of those that just returned N1million while those of us that came before them have are yet to get anything from the government. “We know Governor Godwin Obaseki is trying but we are sorry to say that the task force he put in place are busy enjoying themselves with what is meant to be for us(returnees).

KidnapperstheAbduct Cleric In A/Ibom church. church are in a state of con- the area on the matter. BY ERNARD TOLANI DADA, Uyo

Suspected members of a kidnap gang yesterday, abducted an Apostolic Church pastor, Mfon Udoneke, at Akoa Idem in Ukanafun Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. The pastor, who is the area superintendent of the church, was said to have been abducted around 5am while preparing for women’s fellowship prayer meeting in

An eyewitness, who pleaded not to be named, said the kidnappers stormed Udoneke’s residence and whisked him away in the presence of his family members. According to him, the whereabouts of the abducted pastor is unknown, as his abductors are yet to establish contacts with Udoneke’s family or the church. “The family and the

fusion right now, because the kidnappers are yet to establish contact with the church or the family,” the source said. The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr. MacDon Oguche, said he had yet to be briefed on the incident in Ukanafun LGA. He promised to get in touch with the Divisional Police Officer in charge of

It was learnt that yesterday’s abduction of the pastor, which preceded many other abductions in the area, occurred barely two days after stakeholders from the area met with the security agencies at the state police headquarters, Ikot-Akpan-Abia, to find a lasting solution to the frequent incidents of killings and kidnappings in Etim Ekpo and Ukanafun LGAs.

40th NCE Meeting Kicks Off In Owerri BY BIDON MIBZAR, Abuja

The 40th meeting of thr National Council on Establishment (NCE), has commenced in Owerri, Imo State capital, yesterday, with a Technical session. A statement signed by As-

sistant Director, Office of the civil service of the federation, Mr. Timothy Akpoili, disclosed that the Technical session was chaired by the Permanent Secretary, Service, Policies and Strategies in the office of the Head of the civil Service of the Federation, Mr. Osuji Ndubui-

si, and attended by the Permanent Secretaries (Establishment) and their Directors in charge of establishment matters in the states of the Federation and FCT. The NCE is a forum where the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Head of Ser-

vice of the 36 states of the Federation and Permanent Secretaries (Establishment) in both the Federal and State Civil Service meet yearly to deliberate on matters affecting the civil service, especially the scheme and conditions of service.


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Iranian Ambassador Champions Leadership Role For Women

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BY JULIANA AGBO, Abuja The Iranian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Morteza Rahimi Zarchi, has called for the involvement of more women in leadership positions saying Islam recognizes the role of great and outstanding women in the Quran. Mr Zarchi stated this at the annual seminar on Hazrat Fatima Az-Zahra (RA) organised by the Cultural Consulate of The Embassy of The Islamic Republic of Iran over the weekend in Abuja. According to him, great women like Fatima (daughter of Prophet Muhammad), Aisha (his wife), Mary (mother of Jesus) and Jochebed (mother of Moses) were mentioned in the Quran for their contributions to Islam and the society at large. Zarchi said Iran places a high premium on women and thus they are saddled with leadership and important positions like the vice presidents, ministers and others. He stated that Iranian women are remarkably higher than men in science, social science and arts where they have been outstanding. The guest lecturer, Professor Muhammad Mahmud, who spoke on the topic, “Rights and Status Of Women From The Islamic Perspective and Prophetic View Point”, said Islam promotes equity where the rights of men and women are clearly spelt out. He stated that Islam regards men and women as being of the same essence created from a single soul while adding that a woman has a complete independence in Islam but needed to be guided properly by men around her. He said, “There is no separation of gender in Islam and as such, there is nothing like women equality in Islam. Islam has already spelt out the role of women in the society. It is the religion of Islam that defines the freedom of women because before the advent of the religion, women are only seen as mere objects and as properties. In Islamic perspective, a woman has an honored position with special respect, love, affection and gentle feeling along with her legal and civil rights.

ILO Should Severe Ties With Tobacco Industry – ERA/FoEN BY MICHAEL OCHE, Abuja

The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has thrown its weight behind global calls for the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to cut ties with Big Tobacco. The group insists that the ILO engagements with Eliminating Child Labour in Tobacco Growing Foundation, a nonprofit organization funded by tobacco companies since 2002, reflects a conflict of interest in the United Nations (UN) system. This call is coming as the governing body of the ILO meets this month to decide whether it would shutter one of the tobacco industry’s last-remaining avenues of interference in the UN, making it harder for it to weaken, delay and block life-saving public health and labour policies. The vote comes two weeks after the Director-General, Michael Moller issued a report calling on the ILO governing body to end its public-partnerships with Big Tobacco. The Director-General’s report comes on the heels of over 150 public health and labour leaders calling on the ILO to cut ties with the deadly industry and as well the Secretariat of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC) is demanding the ILO sever ties. “ILO and Big Tobacco’s split is long pastdue: The ILO must join other U.N. agencies in casting this deadly industry out for good,” said Akinbode Oluwafemi, deputy executive director of Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN). “Big Tobacco has no place in any U.N. space. This month, the ILO has the opportunity to stand on the right side of history and show Big Tobacco the door.”

L-R: Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi; with the President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; during a visit to the minister’s office in Abuja. PHOTO BY OYEDELE OMOKAGBO

Corruption: Pastor Eneche Blasts Looters BY NKECHI ISAAC, Abuja

The Senior Pastor of Dunamis International Gospel Centre (DIGC), Dr. Paul Eneche, has taken a swipe at politicians who stash money in foreign banks while their kindred suffer, saying they lack wisdom. Ministering during the

destiny preservation service on the theme, “Wisdom for finances” from the focal scripture of 1 Kings 10:23, the senior pastor likened them to the rich fool in Luke 12: 16 -21, saying they lack wisdom by laying up treasures which can benefit the society. Pastor Eneche noted that there are many Nigerians

who have been in power for several years but their communities still lack basic infrastructure such as potable water, electricity, road, hospitals, schools, churches and the likes. According to him, such people have the capacity to use their good office to bring development to their

community genuinely, without corruption, or can even bless their community from their personal savings rather they would parade around intimidating and harassing Nigerians and priding themselves as the only people with basic amenities in their community while others wallow in underdevelopment.

Unpaid Allowances: Police Deny Protest In Villa BY EJIKE EJIKE, Abuja

Nigeria Police Force have denied media report that some of its officers posted to Aso Rock Villa protested over unpaid allowances. In a statement signed by the Force PRO, CSP Jimoh Moshood, the Force explained that “no Police personnel serving in the villa has complained officially or otherwise of unpaid allowance since 2015.” “Salaries and allowances of

police personnel across ranks throughout police formations, departments and detachments, including those attached to the presidential villa are being paid as at when due, and on time. “Special and ad-hoc duties allowances are also promptly paid on completion of such duties,” he said. Moshood further stated that “the report was carefully studied and was found out to be outright falsehood, unfounded, mischievous and fake news.

There was no time the policemen in the villa or anywhere else in the country protested over any issue relating to payment of allowances or whatsoever. “Nigeria Police Force are a disciplined organisation and

its personnel are not allowed to engage in any act that can subject the Force to public ridicule or embarrassment.” The statement further noted that police personnel’s emolument includes “salary and other allowances, and in addition

all personnel of the Force enjoy insurance and assurance cover provided for by the Force and the federal government to cater for recognized and some unrecognized risks they are exposed to while carrying out core police duties on daily basis. “Also, no senior police officer in the Villa or anywhere else mismanaged or infringed on payment of allowances meant for the police personnel serving in the Villa.”

UPP Hails Ekweremadu Over Appointment As Professor BY PAUL UWADIMA, Abuja

The leadership and members of the United Progressive Party (UPP) has congratulated the Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekweremadu on his appointment as a Professor and Senior Mentoring Scholar

of E-Governance and Strategic Government Studies, by the Southern University, Baton Rough, Louisiana, United States of America. The party in a statement by its national chairman, Chief Chekwas Okorie, said the appointment is an eloquent

testimony of his hard work, diligence, perseverance, tenacity and sagacity of purpose in discharging his academic, national and international assignments. “It is indeed, a national honour which Nigerians are proud of. It is a welcome

development and another feather in his brilliant academic career. We have no doubt that he will excel in his professorial duties to the university despite his enormous legislative responsibilities in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”, it added.

Beware Of Social Media Danger, Oyo-Ita Warns Parents BY OMOTAYO TAIWO, Abuja

Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, yesterday admonished parents to be mindful of ways and manners their children socialize through the social media noting that the dangers outweigh the benefits. Oyo-Ita who spoke in Lagos at the 2018 Commonwealth Day celebration organised by Queens College, said that social media has turned to tools used in committing different atrocity of which girls are the major victims. She pointed out that parents need to be extra vigilant and diplomatic in guiding their children on the right part, “almost on a daily basis, we heard frighten stories of girls been kidnapped,

raped, drugged, sexually abused, among others. When such acts are investigated, it turned out to be someone they met on social media. “In many occasions they lied to them that once they joined an online club, they will be earning money and few months later they will send an invitation to them to come to Europe for holiday, the little girl will lie to her parents and go. “Slavery has come back to Africa, not all Nigerians you see being brought back from Libya went with their two legs, some of them were young girls who were kidnapped, drugged, put in cargo and send to Europe for prostitution.” Oyo-Ita noted that social media has some good parts, but the

negative has outweighed the good parts, “one of such negative aspect is that it doesn’t really allow people to make intimate friends.” The Head of Civil Service however expressed concerns over promotion of sectionalism in different quarters across the country and noted that such attitude needs to be discouraged. “When we were growing up, there was nothing like sectionalism, we don’t really know the state people comes from, although you can know whether the person is Yoruba, Hausa or Igbo. It is so sad the way Nigeria has gone, in a situation whereby the moment you say anything the first thing people ask is where is he or she from. “In our days Muslims enjoy

Christmas with Christians while we also enjoy Salah celebration with them. Things have changed but we need to bring back the culture of unity. Unity Schools and NYSC is a good initiative and more of such needs to be encouraged. Oyo-Ita who graduated from Queens College in 1979, urged the students to be God fearing, discipline, neat, well domesticated, excellent in their chosen career part. “For the teachers, am here to assure you that your reward is not only in heaven but also on this earth. Reward is not just material and physical cash; reward is in so many dimensions, which includes good health, peace of mind, joy, among other things.


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Akeredolu’s Attitude Polarising Ondo APC – Boroffice BY TOPE FAYEHUN , Akure

The Senator representing Ondo North Senatorial District, Prof. Ajayi Boroffice, yesterday accused the Ondo State governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of polarizing the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state with some of his actions. Boroffice who also revealed that all was not well with the party in the state, further alleged that the Governor had turned the state chapter of the party to his personal property. He said, “rather than embrace the challenges of leadership and reach out to every leader of the party in the state, the Governor prefers to run the government of the state and the party with his trifling followership “. Akeredolu had in a statement issued by the Information Commissioner, Yemi Olowolabi explained that the duo of Senators Tayo Alasoadura and Yele Omogunwa had been the only senators from the state who are working with his government since inception in February 2017. But the chairman Senate Committee on Science and Technology , in a statement issued and made available to LEADERSHIP by his media Aide, Kayode Fakuyi, disagreed with the governor on the statement. Boroffice noted that he had not received any invitation from the state government attending any state events or party meetings in the state.

Support Medical Tourism, Expert Urges Health Practitioners BY STELLAMARIES AMUWA, Abuja

The Guild of Medical Directors(GMD),has reiterated the need to promote global best practices and advance the private health sector to improve the health sector generally. Speaking to journalists at the 21st annual general meeting 2018 themed: The Future of Private Healthcare in Nigeria recently, the President, healthcare federation of Nigeria, Clare Omatseye, urged medical practitioners to support medical tourism in Nigeria by improving healthcare delivery in the country. She said, “Nigeria is losing billions of naira to medical tourism yearly, human resources are scarce in quality and quantity and it is sad that we have more Nigerian doctors in the UK than here in Nigeria because of brain drain.” According Omatseye, patients do not trust Nigerian doctors, as a result of a lack of adequate information on health services by practitioners as it is obtainable in other climes. She therefore, urged practitioners to be more innovative and creativity, noting that the country had lost many good hands to brain drain. She added, ‘’many patients had lost confidence in Nigerian doctors, due to lack of information to access specific healthcare service. Similarly, Dr Chito Nwana, the FCT Chapter Chairman, GMD, in her welcome address, stated that the private health sector provides over 70% of healthcare in Nigeria, lamenting however that they are not seen as relevant. “The private sector, therefore, is the catalyst for institutionalising quality healthcare in the country. Meanwhile, Dr Mamsallah Faal-Omisore, a Lagos based physician and health policy consultant, emphasised the importance of adequate medical data gathering, with the topic ‘Role of the Private Healthcare Provider in Driving Quality Improvement.

L-R: Founder, Endosurvivors International Foundation, Nwankudu Olivia; students of Pholex Success Private School, Vincent Glory; Innocent Divine; Adebayo Adeola and Proprietor of Pholex Schools, Mr. Akomolafe Folusho, during the Menstrual Hygiene & Endometriosis awareness campaign at Pholex Success Private School, organized by the Foundation in Lagos, at the weekend. PHOTO BY KOLAWOLE ALIU

FG’ll Source N8bn To Settle SSANU, NASU, NAAT BY EJIKE EJIKE, Abuja

The federal government has said it will source for eight billion naira within five weeks to pay the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities. Minister of Labour and Employment,Chris Ngige disclosed this at a reconciliation meeting with the Non-Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities in Abuja. The Non-Academic staff Union of Nigerian is made up of the Non Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (NASU), Senior Staff Academic of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and National Association of Academic Technologists, (NAAT). The resolution was jointly signed by Ngige, NAAT President, Mr Sani Suleiman, NASU General Secretary, Mr Peters Adeyemi

, SSANU President Mr Samson Ugwoke and Prof. Anthony Anwukah, Minister of State for Education. Ngige also said that part of the eight billion would also be used to pay members of the Academic Staff Universities (ASUU), University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), and the University of llorin (UNILORIN), who were not paid at the last disbursement. He also said that the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission was to rework theDecember 15 Call Circular on University Staff Schools. “This is taking into consideration the observations of JAC of NAAT, NASU and SSANU with a view to ensuring that it complies with the National Industrial Court (NIC) judgment. Ngige also said that the Federal Ministry of Education reported that the office of the

Accountant-General of the Federation had started payment of salary shortfalls, adding that the process was still ongoing. He said Ministry of Education was to synergise with the concerned institutions to ensure compliance with Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA) requirements to facilitate payments of JAC members in the universities that are yet to comply. The minister, however, said on the issue of the nonimplementation of CONTISS 14 and 15 for technologists, the Ministry of Education has made submissions to the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation. He said that the submission was for onward transmission to the National Council on Establishment (NEC) meeting slated for March 18, in Owerri, adding that the Ministry of

Education is expected to report the outcome in five weeks. Ngige also said the Ministry of Education had put forward an application for the visitation panel to the presidency and that the main thrust of the visitation was to re-energise the institution, unearth corruption, amongst others. He said that it was also agreed that the Ministry of Education would set in motion appropriate machinery for the release of White Paper in respect of the previous visitation panel already with government. He also added that no worker would be victimised on account of the industrial action. Ngige said that government and JAC leadership have agreed that the ongoing strike would be suspended by March 14, after due consultation with their National Executive Councils(NECs).

2019: S/West Strategic To PDP’s Victory, Says Spokesman BY CHIBUZO UKAIBE, Abuja

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the Southwest geo-political zone as particularly strategic to its “inevitable victory” at the 2019 general election. The party said the southwest remains a major support base, adding that this accounts to why it will never treat matters concerning the zone with levity. PDP national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, who stated the party’s position when the leaders of the Federation of South West Professionals in Politics paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja recently, said the value of the zone to the PDP cannot be dismissed. Ologbondiyan said the party

holds the leaders and party members in the zone in very high esteem, just like other zones, for their dedication and sacrifices towards the stability and growth of the PDP not only in their zones but also at the national level. According to him, “the southwest zone is a major support base of the PDP. It is very strategic to our party and we hold our leaders and members in the zone in very high esteem for their untiring efforts in ensuring that the PDP flag continues to fly high in spite of daunting challenges. “Due to their resilience, our party held forth, so much so, that despite the manipulations and intimidations by the All Progressives Congress (APC), in 2015, the difference in votes won

by the APC and our great party in the southwest was very minimal. That shows that PDP commands the genuine followership of voters in the region. “In Lagos state, the home of the national leader of the APC, the PDP won six House of Representatives seats and nine state assembly seats. We have continued to have the majority support of the voting population in Ekiti state and our structure in the southwest in general remains formidable. “In Oyo State, our party is waxing stronger while our victory at the last senatorial election in Osun West has shown that we shall retake the state. “Similarly, in Ogun and Ondo states, our leaders and

members are working very hard in repositioning our party and expanding our support base, for which we are confident of victory in any election. “There is no way the PDP will treat such a zone that is so strategic and known for progressive politics with levity. “It is therefore imperative to emphasize that the PDP holds the southwest in great respect and we will continue to work with the leaders of the zone and those of other zones to ensure a clear victory in 2019”, he said. On the on-going reconciliation in the PDP, Ologbondiyan assured that the effort has been yielding dividends, adding that the party has emerged stronger from its challenges.

NISUGA Hails IGP, Seeks Security On Campuses BY JULIANA AGBO, Abuja

The Nigerian Students Unity Games (NISUGA), has commended the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris Kpotun for his efforts to bring the needed change in the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) even as he called for improved security on campuses.

The national coordinator (NISUGA), Comr. Godwin Erheriene while commending Kpotum’s effort which he described as in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s change mantra, urged for total security in all campuses across Nigeria. He added, “As the first ever Nigeria student unity games

(NISUGA) which is coming up in September, we want to have a secured and magnificent event. He, however, urged Police Service Commission led by former IGP (Rtd), Mike Okiro to consider and officially decorate ACP. Kolo Yusuf with his new rank as DCP. He added that ACP Yusuf who is the head of the IGP Special

Tactical Squad (STS) have been dogged in fighting crime. “His fight against crime in the Abuja-Okene expressway where he showed his expertise by raiding kidnappers and armed robbers along the high way, and also the stride along the Abuja-Kaduna express road, is commendable,” he said.


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Why I Disclosed Senators’ Salaries, Allowances – Sani Senator Shehu Sani, yesterday explained why he exposed the N13.5 million being collected by senators as running cost monthly. Senator Sani in an interview with BBC said the revelation is a ‘moral issue.’ “I decided to burst it open. It was a moral issue,” he

said. He said that the National Assembly is being run with little accountability about how the money is spent. He wants the illegal payment to be scrapped so that the legislative arm of government will be attractive only to people who can con-

tribute ideas. “The National Assembly is one of the most nontransparent organs of government. It pricked my conscience and I decided to burst the bubble and open the National Assembly to public scrutiny. “If the expenses payment

system was ended then parliament would only be attractive to people who contribute ideas,” he told BBC. The revelation has sparked widespread anger among Nigerians who had always criticised the lawmakers for arbitrarily allocating jumbo pay to themselves.

Austen Peters, Semenitari, Olugbodi, Others Headline Verdant Zeal BY TUNDE OGUNTOLA, ABUJA

Bolanle Austen-Peters, Ibim Semenitari and others have been announced as the speakers for the seventh edition of the ‘Innovention’ Series organized by Verdant Zeal Marketing Communications Group. The convener of innovention series, Dr. Tunji Olugbodi, noted that the narrative about Africa has been changing because of the evolution experienced in the creative in-

dustry, which is engendered by technology. According to him, “It is imperative to have a great understanding of how to create content and distribute it to consumers across the globe. This edition of the series will chart a course towards harnessing the power of African content to create new narratives and revenue streams.” The event with the theme: “Building Africa’s Fortune through “Mediatainment” is scheduled to take place at the

Civic Centre, Victoria Island. The innovention series, a brainchild of Verdant Zeal Communications Group, was instituted as a platform to examine the question of Africa’s development, hone in on opportunities for growth while focusing on leveraging inherent strengths. It attracts patrons from both the public and private sectors and has become a strong voice in stimulating pragmatic conversations that challenges the status quo. The distinguished speakers

at the forum include Bolanle Austen-Peters, the founder of Terra Kulture who CNN describes as the woman powering the Nigerian theatre; Ibim Semenitari, the first Nigerian female journalist to win the CNN African Journalist of the Year Award; Dr Ibilola Amao, principal consultant at Lonadek, Ade Adefeko, vice president corporate and government relations, OLAM Nigeria, Yahaya Maikori, Founding Partner, Law Allianz and others.

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Police Confirm 4 Killed In Ebonyi BY OBINNA OGBONNAYA, ABAKALIKI

The Ebonyi State Police Command has confirmed the death of four persons while several others are currently receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital following herdsmen attack on Ebonyi community. The Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Loveth Odah confirmed the incident to our reporter. She said two herdsmen attacked a villager who had gone to feed his cattle in the bush after an altercation with him and chopped off his hands. “As they were attacking him, he managed to raise an alarm and more more villagers came to his rescue”. Odah, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, said the herdsmen also attacked the villagers who came to their brother’s rescue inflicting machete cuts on about three of them before fleeing the scene. The incident took place in Igbeagu Community of Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. The incident according to the police happened yesterday morning in Anyanwuigwe village, Igbeagu community, Ikwo local government area of the state. But the villagers chased and caught up with them and also beat them up before handing them over to the Military men stationed close to the community. The wounded three villagers were rushed to the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki(FETHA), where two of them later died. “Also, one of the herdsmen also later died as he was rushed to the hospital making it four deaths from the incident”, the spokesman said. The spokesman regretted the deaths from the incident and cautioned residents not to confront herdsmen but to report to the Herdmen desk of the Police Command headed by the OC SARS.


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S/Korea’s Financial Watchdog Ask To Resign The chief of South Korea’s financial watchdog, who faces allegations of involvement in hiring irregularities when he was at a major commercial bank, offered to resign yesterday, the regulatory agency said. Korean media reports have alleged that Choe Heung-sik, head of the Financial Supervisory

Services (FSS) since September, in 2013 asked Hana Financial Group to illegally hire the son of a colleague. In a statement yesterday Choe denied any wrongdoing, saying that he was never involved in the bank’s personnel decisions and did not conduct any “illegal acts”.

Gout De France Taste Challenge To Hold March 20 BY JULIANA AGBO, Abuja

Following the success of the Goût de France third edition in 2017, the French embassy has concluded plans to host its fourth edition from March 20 to 23 2018, in Abuja. This was made known in Abuja on Friday during a press briefing organised by the embassy in preparation for the upcoming event. Speaking to newsmen, the Cultural Attache, Aude Urcun noted that four

restaurants in Abuja will participate in the challenge. She stated that top dish according to the judges will receive the gold taste challenge award while the winner will spend one week in the kitchen of the French residence with the head chef, Olivier Perigault. She added, “This challenge will be an opportunity to help validate the Nigerian hospitality industry. Certificate of participation will also be awarded to all four chefs.”

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Death Threat: BBC Accuses Iran Of Intimidation More than 20 BBC Persian service staff or family members have received death threats. The BBC is making an unprecedented appeal to the UN to stop Iran from harassing its Persian service staff in London and their families in Iran. It says Iran has stepped up a campaign of intimidation, including threats, arrests of relatives and travel bans. Iran began targeting the BBC’s Persian service after the disputed 2009 presidential election, when Tehran accused foreign powers of interference. The appeal will be made at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. In October last year BBC Persian journalists gathered at a memorial service for someone most had never met. They were there to support a colleague whose father had just died in Iran. He had received a call a week before to say his father had been taken ill. In usual circumstances he might have jumped on a plane and rushed to the hospital to be with his father. But BBC Persian staff are unable to travel back to Iran for fear of arrest, so the best he could do was to contact his father via the Skype messaging service. A week later his father died. Unable to attend the real memorial service in Iran where people who knew his father could share their grief and memories, our colleague had to make do with the compassion of workmates over pastries in a room in Central London. It is an all too familiar story for BBC Persian, where more than 30 staff

have lost parents and been unable to say goodbye in the past decade. Criminalised by the Iranian government as subversives or foreign spies, BBC Persian journalists live in dread of that phone call - the one that tells them a family member is ill or dying, or that someone they know and love has been called in for questioning. Another BBC Persian journalist received demands via Skype that she stop working for the broadcaster - or at least agree to spy on her colleagues - in return for the freedom of her 27-yearold sister. The sister was taken by security agents during a night raid on her father’s home in Tehran, and was held in Iran’s notorious Evin prison. “When I said no, they kept my sister in solitary confinement for 17 days,” she said. She recorded the conversations with the intelligence agents. I r a n i a n government supporters have protested against BBC news coverage Another young female presenter at BBC Persian television was sent an anonymous

email demanding that she too stop working for the corporation. Those making the demands said they knew which school her 10-year-old son attended. A senior producer’s elderly mother was called in for questioning in Tehran by one of the many intelligence agencies. She was told that her son could have a car accident in London if he continued working for the BBC. She took the threat very seriously - as did the counter-terrorism police in London, who immediately made arrangements for his protection.


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Brazil Pursues Life Without Neymar

Brazilian coach Tite yesterday made the best of injured star Neymar’s forced absence by bringing new names into the national squad for friendlies against Russia and Germany. Those games on March 23 and 27 will be Brazil’s last warm-ups before heading to their base in Sochi, southern Russia, for the World Cup starting June 14. The talent-packed side’s preparations have been sidetracked by the foot injury Neymar suffered playing for Paris Saint-Germain in February. Tite delayed his squad announcement by 10 days so that he could assess the situation. Now with Neymar out, recovering from surgery for as long as three months, Tite has decided on a list of 25 rather than the usual 23 players. Willian Jose, a 26-year-old striker, was rewarded for his good season at Spanish side Real Sociedad with his first call up to the national side. Talisca, who is shining at Turkey’s Besiktas, is recalled, following two friendlies in 2014.

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The Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF)’s board of selectors has picked 24 players for the second phase camping of the national U-19 men cricket team ahead of the International Cricket Council (ICC) U-19 division 2 qualifiers scheduled to hold in August, 2018 The 24 players were picked from 44 players that earlier participated in the first camping exercise which climaxed at the weekend in Lagos. According to a press statement signed by the spokesperson of the NCF, Musa Ehizoje Bodie, the 24 players will be joined by Sylves-

Tuesday March 13, 2018

World Cup: Nigerians Won’t Accept Failure, Wike Warns NFF

BY ANAYO ONUKWUGHA, PORT HARCOURT

Rivers State governor, Chief Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has charged the leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to intensify preparations for the World Cup as Nigerians will not accept failure at the Mundial. Wike, who gave the advice yesterday when NFF president, Amaju Pinnick, paid him a courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt, said exiting the World Cup at the group stage will be unacceptable to Nigerians. “If you fail to advance beyond the group stage, don’t bother to return. Find excuses to stay there in Russia. Nigerians expect the best from the Super Eagles. That is why the NFF must intensify preparations,” he said. The governor urged the management of the NFF to close ranks and work in unity for the development of football in the country. “There must be disagreements, but these disagreements should be platforms for development. Disagreements should not destroy the place, it should make NFF stronger.” The governor stated that the state

He said, “The governor created the right environment that led to the qualification of Super Eagles for the World Cup. This journey started here in Port Harcourt. Today, Port Harcourt has become a destination of choice.” The NFF President formally invited Wike to be part of the country’s delegation to the World Cup, saying that the country will benefit from the sporting experience of the Rivers State Governor.

ter Okpe, Isaac Danladin, Runsewe Sulieman and other players, who have also been invited for the senior men’s camp but still eligible for U-19 team selection. Also expected to join the players in camp are three foreign based players; Dotun Olatunji (Canada), Saheed Akolade (Australia) and Sola Anya (U.K). The statement added that the Nigerian senior men’s team are back in Lagos for the second phase camp in preparation for their ICC Sub-regional qualifiers

government is using football as a source of empowerment for the youths. He said football is a unifying factor in the country, as it douses tension whenever the nation is engaged in international sporting events. Wike commended the NFF for the notable improvements in the country’s league, charging the NFF to develop it to the

level where teams can win on the strength of their capacity. Earlier, the NFF president, Amaju Pinnick stated that the NFF were in the State to thank the governor for providing the foundation for the qualification of Super Eagles for the World Cup. Pinnick said the journey to Russia 2018 started in Port Harcourt after the Super Eagles defeated Swaziland.

‘Emulate Nimrod’s Grassroots Sports Development’

ICC U-19 Division 2: NCF Picks 24 For 2nd Phase Camping BY SALIFU USMAN, ABUJA

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BY ISAIAH BENJAMIN, KADUNA

scheduled to hold at the prestigious Tafawa Balewa Square’s Cricket Oval in Lagos from April 12 to 22, 2018. The players will be camping for two weeks starting from Sunday, March 11 to Friday, March 23, 2018 during which the final list of 15 players will be authorized to represent the country at the regional championship.

The Kaduna State commissioner of Youth, Sports and Culture, Honourable Daniel Danauta has charged corporate organisations and wealthy individuals to emulate the president of Nigeria Volleyball Federation (NVBF), Engineer Musa Nimrod in the development of grassroots sports. Danauta made the appeal, while speaking at the closing ceremony of the second edition of Engineer Musa Nimrod Community Peace and Unity Soccer Competition held at the Kaduna Township Stadium. “I want to implore others to borrow a leaf and emulate Engineer Musa Nimrod in sports sponsorship. “If only I can describe him as a growing Octopus in sports because he has his hands and legs in all sports,” he added. He commended NVBF boss for his commitment, patriotism and love he

has continued to display. “I applaud the commitment, patriotism and the love Engineer Nimrod has continued to display not only sponsorship, but in the continuous survival and growth of sports in Nigeria and especially in Kaduna State,” he said. He also commended the Youth Sports Federation of Nigeria (YSFON) for excellent organisation of the competition. Meanwhile, three late goals from both teams brought the second edition of the Engineer Musa Nimrod Community Peace and Unity Soccer Competition to a dramatic climaxed. Arewa Football Academy, who emerged winners, scored the first goal of the match courtesy of Victor Joseph 85th strike. Abba Tijani doubles the lead a minute later. Abdulrahman Sanusi scored his side’s consolation goal in the last minute of the added time.


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13.03.18

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Guest The Nigerian Youth Columnist And Fruit Of Ignorance

V

Donald Ojeaga

ery recently, I did have a discourse with an entrepreneur friend; we talked about issues bothering around the Nigerian socio-economic and political scene underscoring the role of the youth. In his words, “I want to be one of the builders of Africa”. Now, I have had similar engagements with young people like myself who are passionate about building ‘a continent’. Hence, when he said this, I took a pregnant pause. I rhetorically asked myself in silence, if there are so many energetic, passionate and youthful builders, why are there still no visible configurations for development? Or why are our institutions taking the titanic route from every comparative indicator and global indices? Hypothetically speaking, ‘The youth is a driver of transformational change in a society. But what happens when the youth sleeps? Just to run through statistics, the UN department of economic and social affairs puts our current population slightly under 200 million. With a projected increase in population by 2050 we may likely surpass

the 400 million mark to become the 4th most populated country in the world. In the Nigerian context, the youth constitutes the vast majority of the entire population, which gives them the power to influence by numbers. During the yuletide, I visited a friend’s nightclub one night (personally I think clubs have become like a crusade or concert having the largest gathering of youths who drink and dance away their centuries of problems). This time was different, with a glass in hand I walked around the hall like a seasoned election observer, every interaction and stare was purposeful and then it hit me! . . . We have completely lost the plot and now we live in the greatest denial of ignorance and deceit. Even though we clearly have been abandoned in the corridors of power as we occasionally try to take a small glance through the tiny windows of governance, there have been no clear indicators that we are prepared to lead or be led. They say the fruit does not fall far from the tree; our inability to either identify or support competent leaders is a true reflection of our mediocre standard and incompetency as a group known

Dalung

as ‘the youth’. We are constantly being marginalized and defaced by the ones we call ‘Elders’ because of our continuous will to excuse responsibilities. The baton has been passed to us without knowing and yet we chose to play our parts in ruining the society by our actions and inactions . . . yet we say we need to build. Please what are we building? Is it the bottles of Don Perignon or a couple of Instagram followers or Gucci lifestyle? Sadly, the bulk of the enlightened youths clamouring for a built society do speak with the undertone of an opportunist. Being exposed by our fair sense of perceived development, we wait eagerly to ‘milk the cattle’ forgetting it’s still in its infancy. Again, what are we building? Why have we become too ignorant to know that without a road map, the journey is unknown? Similarly, how do we build when there is no design? Sadly, we have been taught by religion that when faced with a problem, we either wait for Allah or leave it to Jesus. X-raying the performance of certain present leaders who are by age and association somewhat closer to the Youth, their stance and persona in governance considering their influence, clearly is an

expression of flamboyance and statuettes of youthful exorbitance. There is a dire need to change the Nigerian Youth narrative however; there is even a better need to re-act our story. In our bid to replicate the lifestyle of our counterparts in developed countries, let us remember they do not have much building to do. They possess an already designed and built system that takes care of itself, and we are here still arguing on Instablog who rocked a dress better when poverty and underdevelopment is ‘wearing us ‘upandan’ like torn shorts and washed pants. Our problem is like an inherited curse, reality is looking deep into our eyes and posterity will not judge us without even a drop of sentiments. Still, we deflect and distract. As I make this note outside the club, the national anthem is being played! A guy who just got back from Istanbul ordered for some more bottles of Ace! Don’t get me wrong; it is not my intention to critique lifestyles. Personally, I like the bubbling taste of champagne but the truth of the Nigerian Youth is like mixing Alomo and grinded Kola bitter. Our current leaders are sliding down the learning curve; they have failed to learn from the past

and sadly, can’t seem to learn any more. As terrible as it sound, the bulk of the weight falls on the youth who are without any important form of experience. Really there is no time for us anymore to live and learn, we have to find a way to teach even before we learn. We are gradually being faced with same problems as those developed countries when we haven’t even solved our 4th world inherited country issues. The LGBT movement is gaining momentum world-wide, social media is redefining individual and brand interactions, there is a present constant world dialog on equality, women and child rights, we have experienced terrorism first hand, soon more sophisticated problems like negative effect of climatic and environmental changes due to the uncontrolled domestic and industrial activities will join the queue at a crucial time when we lack the capacity to lead. Despite the heavy gains and advancement of technology, I mean the world has moved to renewables (energy, clothing, construction…), yet we still think of manufacturing pencils. Think of gains such as people going to the moon and back, mobile phones being used as maps, sex change, robots completing human tasks. . . Yet, we do not have constant electricity here. We blame the leaders, the leaders blame the past leaders, the leadership recycle continues and there seem not to be an end in sight but you see, it is hard to envision a future when you are in the dark. As youths we need to find the right balance between finding ourselves and our everyday interaction with our environment. I believe the only way to give our situation a face-lift requires a great deal of collective efforts but first, a design. We need to see ourselves as collaborators and not competitors because while we try hard to outdo one another, I’m sorry the next generation is already outdoing us, in

ignorance because we have set the wrong precedence just like those before us. Thank goodness for the not too young to run bill but in all honesty, if as youths we can’t expressively influence change outside the realms of power, do we think we can do much in power? The reality of being in a key position is so overwhelming that one could fall for anything. I have always tried to reach out to prospective youths vying for political positions, and while some are ‘okayish’, the vast majority is not ready. Africa will be built when Nigeria stands firm, Nigeria can be built when our various societies and communities experience a significant transformation brought about by the most important group– the Youth. As products of our environment, the seed of ignorance was long planted and is starting to bear fruits. It is important we reduce our distractions, unlearn that which was taught by the harsh circumstances, develop self by acquiring needed skills, redesign our future and build Africa. Until then, the mass exodus of our young men and women will continue and even our children will be made mental slaves. – Ojeaga is a public affairs commentator

GHANA MUST GO I won’t be manipulated by Okorocha — Nwosu, son-in-law

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LEADERSHIP Newspaper March 13, 2018  

LEADERSHIP Newspaper March 13, 2018

LEADERSHIP Newspaper March 13, 2018  

LEADERSHIP Newspaper March 13, 2018

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