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The Nigerian


• Vol . 38 NO. 459• FRIDAY, APRIL 11, 2014 • N 100.00

Rescheduled E/South Ward Congresses

INSIGHT Pages 16 - 17 Ague: Lenten

season in ancient Benin


The holy week celebrations

APC bars pol leaders from monitoring exercise

BENIN CITY – The Congress Committee of the All Progressive Congress (APC) has said that monitoring of

tomorrow’s rescheduled party ward congresses in Edo South Senatorial district tomorrow by party leaders, senators

and members of the state and National Assemblies is strictly prohibited. Accordingly every

one has been directed to restrict his/her movements to his/her ward congress venue Continues on page 2

Oshiomhole explains cancellation of APC Ward Congresses in E/South By ADAMS OYIBOKE

BENIN CITY- Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has thrown more light on the cancellation of the Edo South All Progressive Congress (APC) ward congresses held last Tuesday. have received showed Speaking with that there was a huge journalists in his office in turnout of members and Benin City, Oshiomhole that was encouraging. said there was “However, in most incontrovertible evidence cases the officials who that the congresses were were appointed by the not transparently election coordinating conducted. committee to conduct He said, “the reports we this election in most

cases did not show up on time. “And where they showed up, they did not carry along with them all the materials

they would have needed to be used namely: the register and the result sheets. “Without the register, you cannot carry out

registration and for any election to be meaningful, particularly, an election that is not open to all voters, but one that is open to

members of the party, it is absolutely essential that all those who queue to vote are accredited and authenticated. Continues on page 2

... As APC announces cancellation

BENIN CITY- The All Progressives Congress (APC) has canceled its ward congresses held throughout all seven local government areas of Edo South Senatorial District on Tuesday and rescheduled same for tomorrow, Saturday, April 12. A statement signed by APC Interim State Publicity Secretary, Comrade Godwin Erhahon indicated that a meeting of Stakeholders of APC in the Senatorial District presided over by Comrade Governor Adams Oshiomhole with National Leaders, Chief Tom Ikimi and Chief John Oyegun resolved to cancel the exercise last night after considering all

complaints by the various contending factions. According to the statement, the painful decision was taken in the interest of peace, fair-play and above all, in the spirit of democracy to which APC is committed:, adding however that “APC is aware of attempts by PDP to infiltrate its ranks through the congress”. “APC is particularly monitoring PDP bargain with one of its faction in Edo South whose leader, (the) PDP has promised Senatorial ticket for himself, the position of UBTH Chief Medical Director for his wife and lucrative role in Jonathan/


“Sycophancy is the greatest obstacle to the concentration which any government needs to solve all problems.” - Kinglsey Ogbeide-Ihama

Sambo Campaign Organization under which some of his supporters have been shortlisted for different assignments, if the outcome of the congress does not favour his governorship ambition in APC. “All the premature press statements by some of the protesters to Continues on page 2

BIRTHDAY ANNIVERSARY: Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, National leader of All Progressive Congress (APC), Chief Tom Ikimi, State Deputy Governor, Dr. Pius Egberanmwen Odubu and Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Uyi Igbe at an early morning mass held in Benin City yesterday to mark the 70th birthday anniversary of Chief Ikimi. Photo: MOSES OBOH.

FG to stop use of candles, kerosene lamps in 2015 By JOSES SEDE

ABUJA - Come 2015, the use of domestic candles and kerosene lanterns in most Nigerian homes will be replaced with clean solar energy lamps. Minister for Environment, Mrs. Laurentia Mallam who disclosed this in Abuja when senior officials of the Total Group paid her a courtesy visit in her office said that the old

household beams would be replaced in 12 month’s with clean solar energy lamps that are more environmental and ozone friendly.

She noted that the federal government was informed that solar lamps offers a credible solution to clean and renewable energy that

are favourable to global requirements for positive actions against climate change. The minister however assured that the candles

and lamp phase out process would not come by way of legislation but through the introduction of a superior product,


National Leader of All Progressive Congress (APC), Chief Tom Ikimi, took place in Benin City, yesterday. In his homily, Rev. Fr. Daniel Ewah of St

Joseph parish, Igueben, Edo State urged Nigerians to always express gratitude to God for the gift of life. Rev Ewah who centred his message on

thanksgiving, noted that chief Ikimi has cause to appreciate God for attaining the biblical three scores and ten. The cleric attributed the Continues on page 2

Continues on page 2

Ikimi thanks God at 70

BENIN CITY- An early morning mass to mark the 70 th birthday anniversary of the


FG to stop use of candles, kerosene initiative. Vice President of Total lamps in 2015 Group Allen Schapeaux

Continued from page 1 and that the new solar energy lamp technology

would be distributed by the Total Group at affordable price especially to the rural poor. The minister expressed concern on environmental hazards and avoidable deaths from fire outbreaks caused by the use of

Stop felling trees, lawmaker advises By SURAJI RAJI LAGOS - The chairman, Lagos Assembly committee on Environment, Hon Abiodun Tobun, has appealed to Lagos residents to stop felling trees but plant more in their neighborhood. Tobun who represents Epe Constituency I at Lagos Assembly, made the appeal in his office in an exclusive interview with The NIGERIAN OBSERVER. He explained that climate change is a national and global problem. adding that there was need to educate people on the effect of climate change. He stressed that Lagos state is intensifying tree planting campaign and explained that the state has embarked on establishing garden and parks in nooks and crannies of the state. He disclosed the parks are equipped with trees which provide cool environment. Hon Tobun remarked that trees are barriers, absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen which we inhale. He therefore warned ‘‘If trees are cut there will be reduction in supply of oxygen’’.

candles and kerosene lanterns. She explained that the switch would slash the price of kerosene and possibly eliminate the use of candles in the country, thereby improving the position of the country on the list of ozone

friendly nations in line with the transformation agenda of President Jonathan. The minister said collaboration with other ministries including Trade and Investment, Finance, Health and Education would ensure success of the solar

said the solar alternative had been introduced to other developing countries including Kenya, Indonesia, and Pakistan, adding that the organization intends to establish a production plant soon in Nigeria for the entire West African market.

leader to continue to be the advocate of peace and unity in the society. The morning mass to commemorate the birthday anniversary was attended by Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams

Oshiomhole, his Deputy, Dr. Pius Egberanmwen Odubu, Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Uyi Igbe, state Head of Service, Mr. Jerry Obasele, former Edo State Governor, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, among others.

Ikimi thanks God at 70

Continued from page 1 septuagenarian’s achievements to God’s grace and enjoined him to allow God’s wisdom reign in his life. He described Ikimi as an instrument for achieving peace and unity and encouraged the APC national

Oshiomhole explains cancellation of APC Ward Congresses in responsibility are unable to Continued from page 1 E/South produce convincingly the list “Therefore, in the absence of only was accreditation not

any formal accreditation, to proceed to conduct an election, it will undermine a very important rule of the game which cannot be cured by any subsequent action. “So, that fundamental defect of conducting election without accreditation will make the exercise a complete nullity. “We are all able to vouch for the authenticity of those who queue up to vote; for the purpose of clarity, I have no doubt whatsoever that majority of those who troop out to vote were members of the party. “However, it is impossible to say that some of those who have voted were actually members of the party because accreditation was not carried out. “In some other instances, not

carried out, those who were empowered to conduct the election were not available and therefore many decided to resort to self-help. “That is, people who turned up now appointed themselves from among individuals to conduct elections. And because those who turned out were to vote for one candidate or the other, they cannot be said to be neutral. “Therefore, their findings cannot be reliable. Consequently, you will find that in a typical voting centre, you will find two people declaring themselves as winners. “And to compound the matter those who were entrusted with this

As APC announces cancellation

Continued from page 1

disparage and blackmail the party even before they complained formally to the authority are part of this plot to bring down APC for PDP. “The allegation that the State Congress Committee from Abuja appointed ward Congress committees from supporters of one faction only is equally part of this destabilization agenda because all APC

stakeholders, including those who are now complaining unanimously mandated the committee to pick names randomly from list of ad-hoc staff who performed APC membership registration exercise in February. “APC shall therefore do all it can to fulfill all righteousness and leave all traitors to expose themselves”, according to the statement.

It noted that “the leadership apologizes to all APC members in Edo South for the inconveniencies caused them by this painful decision and appealed to them to come back with their membership registration slips to their various ward collating centres peacefully”, tomorrow, Saturday April 12, 2014 This is a bitter pill we have to swallow to put our detractors to shame”, the statement added.

N979.6m Subsidy Fraud

Oil Marketer escapes to Canada, EFCC alleges By JOSES SEDE ABUJA - The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission yesterday told an Ikeja High Court that an oil marketer, Oluwaseun Ogunbambo, charged with N979.6 million subsidy fraud, has fled to Canada. The EFCC disclosed this in its response to an application filed by Ogunbambo’s counsel, Mr Raphael Oluyede, before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo. Ogunbambo is being prosecuted alongside another oil marketer, Habila Theck and their company — Fargo Energy Ltd. The judge had on Feb. 10 issued a bench warrant against him for failing to appear before the court for continuation of his trial. Moving the application, Oluyede urged the court to stay execution of the bench warrant

and restrain the EFCC from arresting Ogunbambo pending the hearing and determination of Ogunbambo’s appeal. He had appealed the bench warrant at the Court of Appeal, Lagos. “Whether or not the bench warrant was validly made or not is a question presently before the court of appeal. “The prosecution (EFCC) has rushed to take steps to ensure that the result of the appeal will be nugatory,” Oluyede said. The defence counsel said that Ogunbambo was absent in court because he was recently attacked by some unknown gunmen, who had wanted to abduct him. Opposing the application, the prosecutor, Mr. Emmanuel Jackson, said the EFCC had not been able to execute the bench warrant as ordered by the court.

Jackson said: “we have deposed in our affidavit that intelligence available to the EFCC is that the defendant (Ogunbambo) has left the country for Canada. “The commission is concerned because of the number of cases we have filed against him. “He has abused the liberty of being granted bail and his action is making the criminal law to look like a toothless bulldog.” He debunked the claim that Ogunbambo was recently attacked by some unknown gunmen, adding that it was evident that he was no longer in Nigeria. “This particular application is an application that ought to be dismissed because it is an abuse of court process.” The judge adjourned the case till April 28 for ruling on the application.

of those who won or the list of those who lost and the margin by which they won or lost. “All of these led to serious doubt on the integrity of the entire process. “Also, in few areas within Benin City, reports showed that there were few areas some people used unfair tactics to scare people who came to vote. “And because these voting involved people having to queue physically to be counted, anyone who led anything that led to the stampede such as using knockout, let alone shooting gun automatically violates one of the fundamental laws of the system. “So, you would find in many parts of Oredo this kind of thing happened. “ Now, we have listened to reports from all the local governments in Edo South and it was clear that what happened was generally not satisfactory and therefore we have decided that rather than live with this shaky foundation, we would rather in line with democratic principles and in ensuring that our members have a party that is founded on popular participation, one that is not driven by godfathers’, imposition and that the only way to cure this serious fundamental breaches of the guidelines of the election is to completely cancel them”, he said. While appealing to the protesters, Oshiomhole said, “I will like to appeal to all to accept what has been done as it was done in good faith and they have another chance to exercise their right. “This cancellation is not as a result of the behavior of the members. It is better to have the confidence of everyone. “We also decided that those who conducted the exercise on Tuesday would not take part in the Saturday’s exercise. “For 2015, Edo people are determined that one man one vote would prevail. They should make sure that the exercise is peaceful”, he advised.

Loan Disbursement EDSG-BOI senitize applicants BENIN CITY Edo State Government in collaboration with the Bank of Industry has held an interactive forum to sensitize applicants for the EDSG-BOl Loan on modalities and easy way to access the loan facility. The stakeholders forum tagged Town Hall Meeting, drew participants from the nooks and crannies of the State, particularly operators of Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises as well as Cooperative Societies. Addressing the gathering, the State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Barr. MacDonald Obasuke, stated that considering the insinuations from certain quarters concerning the EDSG-BOI loan, the Government decided to call for the forum to highlight issues surrounding the Scheme with a view to ensuring reasonable numbers of persons benefit from the goodwill. He emphasized the need for those seeking to access the loan facility to be honest, determined

and to have a good business intention in order for the gesture occasioned by the loan to be sustained. Commissioner Obasuke enjoined participants to feel free at asking questions on grey areas and make useful suggestions where necessary. The Commerce and Industry Commissioner who spoke through the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Ms. Osayuware Idahosa reiterated the resolve of the State Government led by Governor Adams Oshiomhole to better the lots of the business sector with a view to taking the State to enviable height. Speaking, a representative of the Zonal Manager, Asaba Zonal Office of BOI, Mr. Frank Oyana expressed gratitude to the State Government for pulling the Town Hall Meeting together; adding that the forum was timely, as the EDSG and BOI institutions were already working on plans to ensure more beneficiaries of the loan facility emerge. The Town Hall Meeting featured questions and answers session, as well as briefs by some Directors in the Ministry.

Immigration deports 80 illegal alliens By JOSES SEDE

JALINGO - The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) yesterday deported 80 foreigners who were illegally residing in Taraba. Alhaji Habibu Haruna, the Controller of the service in Taraba, made the disclosure at the commencement of the exercise in Jalingo. Haruna said the service arrested 170 illegal immigrants, out of which, 80 were screened and ascertained that they had no genuine permits to live in Nigeria. He noted that most of them were from Niger Republic, who got into the country through Katsina State, while few were from the Republic of Cameroon. “We got information

that there was an influx of foreigners into Taraba, perhaps due to crisis in neighbouring states. “We sought logistic support from the Acting Governor of Taraba, Alhaji Garba Umar, to patrol the state and he supported us promptly. “The ComptrollerGeneral of NIS, Mr David Parradang, also gave us the go ahead to arrest, screen and deport those who do not have relevant and genuine permits to live in Nigeria.’’ Haruna disclosed that the service was targeting no fewer than 500 illegal immigrants in the state, stressing that the 170 persons arrested so far followed a two-day exercise. “We are targeting 500 of them across the 16 local government areas of the state,” he said.

APC bars pol leaders from monitoring exercise Continued from page 1

as violators will be sanctioned appropriately. A statement by the committee of the party indicated that accreditation for the congress will be from 8am till 10am, using

the original membership slip bearing each holders photograph and name. The statement added that mutilated or photocopies will not be accepted as only accredited member shall be allowed to voted

News Chief Obadiaru Pays Tribute To Late Mother BENIN CITY – The Obadiaru of Benin Kingdom and Head of the Obadiaru family, Chief (Elder) Nosakhare Obadiaru has paid glowing tribute to his late mother, Madam Christiana Ovenseri Ohonbamu (Nee Obadiaru). In a tribute, Chief Obadiaru described Madam Ohonbamu as the oldest and most celebrated patriot of the Obadiaru dynasty who lived a good life. He saluted the courage, benevolence, discipline, motherless, saying she truly committed herself to the progress, peace and unity of everyone. Chief Obadiaru also saluted the same of the great ancestors including Chief Osagie Obadiaru his father, Chief Igbinogan Obadiaru who established the Obadiaru legacy in 1947.


Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole (left), congratulating a National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Tom Ikimi who turned 70 years old yesterday during an early Mass held to mark the anniversary in Benin City yesterday. With them is the State Deputy Governor, Dr. Pius Odubu. Photo: MOSES OBOH.

UBIAJA - The rescheduled congress of the All Progressive Congress (A P C) was held successful across the ten words in Esan South East Local Government Area of Edo State, cheers and satisfaction from party members. At Ubiaja in ward six, the congress kicked off at 11 am with virtually all former executive members under the defunct Action congress of Nigeria (A C N) unanimously retuned unopposed but with the exception of the Vice Chairmanship position which is now occupied by a former ward chairman of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). The position of the assistance auditor is now occupied by a former member of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (C P C), Mr. Pritlove Udae Obitto. However, a new woman leader in the person of Rita Omongbale, was voted in to replace Madam Theresa Atagamhe, who has vacated her position to contest for a position at the local government level. Presenting the candidates to the enthusiastic party faithful at the ward secretariat, a leader of the party and member of Edo State Law Review Commission, Barrister Cyril Odiboh, noted that the day marks a new beginning in the party, while assuring them of conducting the congress according to the party’s constitution. He added that, “some leaders of the party were earlier directed to put in all necessary

UGBOGUI – Ovia South West Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigerian (CAN) has inaugurated a seven member Executive Committee to pilot the affairs of the Association for the next three years. Members of the committee included Evangelist Samuel Shegun of OAIC (Chairman), Rev. Udoh of CCN (Vice Chairman), and Pastor Ade Adeoye CPFN/PFN (Secretary). Also elected were Pastor Matthew Osayande (Public Relations Officer), Evangelist Oslaki P.A. (Financial Secretary) and Mrs. E.O. Ilade

Addressing members of the Association, former Ovia South West CAN Chairman, Prophet Gese Oju, admonished them to work towards the progress of the Christian faith in the locality while urging them to shun sin and other activities that would not glorify God. The new CAN Chairman commended the efforts of the former CAN Chairman, Prophet Oju for making this inauguration a success. He promised to surpassed the achievement of his predecessor and therefore called for the cooperation of members towards total Evangelism of the Local Government Area.

2015: Lawyer Charges Uduaghan To Stop Inflamatory By BETTY IDIALU

WARRI -A Warri based legal practitioner and peace building consultant, Ariyo Robinson, (Esq.) has reacted to incessant

Esan S/East APC Holds Successful Congress By OKO INNOCENT

Ovia South West CAN Gets New Exco (Treasury).

machinery for a consensus position in order to reduce the perceived tension. According to him, we the leader at home met and came up with a position to ensure the success of today Tuesday, upon which some persons in the defunct A.C.N exco, signified their interest to run for the vacant seats at the world level’’. In a remark, a leader of the party, Hon. Prince Miracle Ogbebor, appreciated all for the peaceful manner at which they comported themselves. “He assured party members the authenticity of the executive members at meeting their needs at the ward level, while urged them to shun all forms of factionalisation in the party Meanwhile, Barruster Cyril Odiboh has accused the Deputy Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, Hon. Festus Ebea, of dividing the party at the ward level there by forming a group claimed to be loyal to Barr. Cyril Odiboh, a party chieftain in the state. At a press immediately after the congress, Odiboh said the deputy speaker defied the layed down constitutional process of the party to organize a secret night congress at his residence. Responding to the claim, the deputy speaker denied the accusation describing it as, “a mischief”. He disclosed that he actually called for a meeting but it was never a congress and that congress was actually held on the scheduled day under the watchful eyes of the officials of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

comments in the media credited to the Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan and some chieftains of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the effect that PDP is only one political party in Delta State.Ariyo said this portends great danger for the State ahead of the 2015 general elections He advised Governor Uduaghan to know that his constitutional obligation is not towards the PDP but towards the State. “It is a constitutional right of the citizens of this great country to hold opinions and associate with political ideologies towards which they feel inclined. Lamenting the trend Uduaghan by his associates, Ariyo said; “It is sad that we are gradually becoming unable to differentiate between democratic rule and military rule in this State, as citizens are no longer free to express and/ or hold different political views from that of the State Governor and his associates.” “If this report of what the Governor and his associates have said and continue to say is anything to go by, then, we are being led into the state of anarchy piloted by the very person who ought to be the

Comments guardian of peace and Rule of Law. Such a comment is misguided, most unfortunate and a colossal disservice to the Governor’s Oath of office.” Robinson Ariyo then advised the Governor and his associates to act with maturity by retracting such comments and tendering unreserved apology to the people of Delta State, especially those that are not

members of the PDP. According to Ariyo, “even if there is only one person in Delta State who does not belong to PDP, but belongs to any other party, by virtue of the relevant provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the African Charter on Human and People’s Right, United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, such a person is entitled to some level of respect hence it is said that even if majority will

have their way, minorities must have their say”. Speaking further, the legal practitioner refers to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as “a refined Gentleman who will never approve of this kind of misguided statements, while he urged them not to damage the image of the President by purporting to act in his favour. “This is a case of representing oneself to be more catholic than the Pope” He said.

Illegal crude oil dump discovered by Naval officers in Oteghele Forest, Warri yesterday.

Edo Police Boss Warns Criminals By MIKE OSAROGIAGBON

BENIN CITY – The Commissioner of Police, Edo State Mr. Foluso Adebanjo has warned criminals to steer off the state or be made to face the full wrath of the law. The commissioner enjoined members of the public to step up their partnership with the police as they cannot do it alone.

Mr. Adebanjo who spoke when he paraded 33 suspected criminals before journalists in Benin City, Wednesday. He disclosed that proactive security measures have been put in place to ensure that law-abiding residents of Edo State sleep with their eyes closed. “We will continue to go after them, until they either

repent or relocate. “Criminals in whatever or any guise, we shall hunt them; I enjoin members of the public to continue to support as; we cannot do it alone.” Mr. Adebanjo stated. According to the police boss, the 33 suspects were arrested for various criminal offenses ranging from murder, defilement, rape, cultism, fraud, armed

robbery, kidnapping to unlawful possession of firearms. He stated further that the suspects were apprehended at different spots across the state by operatives of the police command. He however stated that the suspects would be charged to court upon completion of investigation.

News Network Canvasses Open Budgeting by Govt

Oba Erediauwa Donates Land To NAPTIP By RAYMOND OSOGBE

BENIN CITY – The Benin Monarch, His Royal Majesty, Oba Erediauwa has donated a parcel of land to the National Agency for The Prohibition of Traffic In Persons, Benin Zonal Command. The gesture was disclosed by the Oba when officials of the agency visited him at the palace in Benin City. The NAPTIP officials led by the Zonal Commander, Mrs. Ebinga Cordilia had appealed to the Oba for a parcel of land to establish the zonal headquarters made up of Edo and Delta States. Ebiringa disclosed that, the federal government has decided to establish a Multi million Naira Vocational Skills Acquisition Centre in Benin City to cater for victims of human trafficking. She applauded the monarch for his remarkable contributions to NAPTIP, disclosing that the agency has so far rescued more than 7,000 victims of human trafficking nationwide with several human traffickers prosecuted.

President Goodluck Jonathan (2nd left), cutting the tape to inaugurate the Phase 3 and 4 Lower Usuman Dam Water Treatment Plants in Abuja yesterday. With him are L-R: Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Sen. Philip Aduda; FCT Minister, Sen. Bala Mohammed and FCT Minister of State, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide.

ITU Tasks Youth On Acquisition Of Digital Literacy Skills LAGOS - The SecretaryGeneral of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Dr Hamadoun Toure, has urged youths around the world to acquire digital literacy skills. Toure said in a statement in Lagos that digital literacy skills would qualify the youth for the growing Information and Communications Technology (ICT) jobs. He said that digital solutions had an important role to play in national strategies to overcome youth unemployment, across the globe. “This includes ensuring that youths around the world obtain digital literacy skills to qualify

for the growing number of jobs that demand ICT skills. “Governments should promote youth entrepreneurs by supporting innovation hubs, mobile app competitions, coworking spaces for digital entrepreneurs, online mentoring networks and a host of other innovative ICTenabled resources,’’ Toure said. He said that according to the International Labour Organisation, 73 million young people are today unemployed worldwide, and three times as many are underemployed. The official attributed one of the causes of youth

Expert Spotlights Relevance Of Pathology In Health Care Delivery By FRIDAY OBANOR BENIN CITY – The relevance of Pathology in Health Care delivery in Paediatric was the focus of yesterday’s monthly lecture series organised by the Institute of Child’s Health, University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Benin City, Edo State. In his lecture, the resource person, Dr. Ezekiel Ugiagbe, a Consultant Histopathologist in the department of Pathology, UBTH said only two per cent of all Cancer cases occur in childhood. Dr. Ugiagbe who encouraged parents to always do all outlined investigation on any mass they do not understand in their children wards however noted that early detection and diagnosis would go a long way in reducing the spread of cancer amongst children. Speaking on the relevance of autopsy in healthcare

BENIN CITY – The Niger Delta Anti-Corruption Network (NIDAN), a Coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSO) in collaboration with African Network for Environmental and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) has canvassed for an open budgeting to be accepted in Edo State and Nigeria at large. This position was made known by the CSOs at a strategic planning meeting/ launching of NIDAN, Edo State chapter in Benin City yesterday. Welcoming participant to the event, the communication officer, ANEEJ who doubles as Co-ordinator NIDAN, Edo State chapter, Kelly Ovie Umukor said the purpose of the forum was to raise awareness on the fight against corruption in

delivery system, the Histopathologist warned that without autopsy, health institutions should not issue death certificate to any bereaved persons. He advised that there should be a compulsory autopsy on any death that occur within 24 hours so as for medical personnel to know the actual ailment that led to the dead of the deceased person. According to him, “The issue of autopsy cannot be over-emphasised because it stands to correct some misconception about what is actually responsible for some deaths”. Besides, he said it “helps to properly prepare mothers for subsequent pregnancies if the case is that of a child”. Advising that religious or cultural concerns should be addressed while contemplating autopsy, Dr. Ugiagbe opted that assurance

that funeral arrangement would not be distorted by the autopsy should be clearly spelt out to the bereaved family. The Director of the Institute, Professor Osawaru Oviawe said the monthly seminar is in fulfillment of one of the mandate of the Institute in its area of information dissemination to the public on health education and its related matters. Professor Oviawe further stated that the monthly seminar series is of immense benefit to many health personnel who are not able to attend long distant training workshops and lectures of this nature on health matters. He therefore called on the general public, particularly health personnel both public and private establishments to take advantage of the monthly training programme to update their knowledge on health issues.

unemployment to skills mismatch between what the market was demanding and what institutions of learning both formal and informal were providing. According to him, in particular, many youth are not learning the digital skills that have become essential in virtually every market segment. “The good news is that there is an explosion of new online learning opportunities for the youth to get the skills they need. “The ongoing information and communication technology revolution is transforming existing sectors and fuelling new business creation such as the apps economy that didn’t exist a few years ago. “The demand for both basic and more advanced ICT skills cuts across all sectors, from

agriculture and construction to education and service industries, to ICT jobs themselves, in both developing and developed countries. “Equipping young people with digital skills open doors to a range of jobs and business opportunities,’’ he said. The Director of ITU’s Te l e c o m m u n i c a t i o n Development Bureau, Mr Brahima Sanou, said that youth could be connected to the new opportunities in ICT by being aware of the forces and innovations shaping and reshaping employment and entrepreneurship. “It is a dynamic environment where governments and other stakeholders need to adept at developing and launching initiatives in real time. “This is a challenging task, yet it is something that can, and must, be done. “It is imperative that we act quickly to improve the workforce prospects of the next generation,’’ Sanou added.

Nigeria. According to him, “The purpose is to make sure that the people are more informed on how to handle corruption which has become a bane in our developmental process as a nation. “Since little is done to fight the issue, ANEEJ has decided to pilot NIDAN in Edo State to check corruption”, he added. Speaking further, Kelly said the lunch of NIDAN is important and necessary to adequately spread the information that would enable the people fight corruption to a stand still. “The body has vision and mission which we are prepared to pursue to ensure corruption is a thing of the past in the state”. ANEEJ policy officer, Innocent Edemhanria said the launch of NIDAN is an attempt to expand membership of the group, adding that the Network has a focus which is centered on open budget and its level of transparency and accountability in budget processes as well as the level of information available to the public in terms of pre-budget preparation and budget statement quarterly. “What the open budget system is saying is that government need to provide sufficient information for the ordinary person such that the information will assist ordinary citizen. Individual should be able to have access to budget information as well as monitoring how its been implemented. “The individual should be able to follow up and give his/ her opinion on the budget”. Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Edo State governor on civil society, Comrade Kayode Iyasere commended the organizers of the forum, saying that it was timely especially now that 2015 is near.

The Phase 3 and 4 Lower Usuma Dam Water Treatment Plants inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja yesterday.

News APC’s Ward Congress Peaceful

Probe Killing Of Herdsmen Association Urges FG LAFIA- The Hausa-Fulani Students Association of Nigeria (HAFSAN), Nasarawa State University, Keffi chapter, has called on the Federal Government to probe the recent killing of herdsmen in Nasarawa State. The President of the association, Mr Muhammed Lawal, made the call at a news conference in Lafia. The call followed the alleged killing of herdsmen by military personnel during a burial in Keana Local Government Area of the state on April 3. Lawal said “I feel deeply moved to address these immense number of delegates assembled here. “It is unfortunate and uncalled for, that Fulani herdsmen performing a burial ceremony in Keana last week Thursday were innocently killed by soldiers deployed for counter insurgency in the state, Benue and others. “These herdsmen killed were mourning the death of an elderly person in Keana and before they realise what was


UI Alumni Tasks FG IBADAN- The University of Ibadan Alumni Association (UIAA) has called on the Federal Government to provide quality education in the country. The call was contained in a communique signed by Chief Solomon Egwuenu, National Publicity Secretary of the association, at the end of the 159th National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held at the University of Ibadan. The communiqué was made available to newsmen in Ibadan. The association stated that having good policies on education in place would help eradicate poverty and socio- political enslavement. “This is to make a clarion on the political and academic leadership of this country to give Nigerians policies on qualitative education that can liberate Nigeria,’’ the communique said. It commended Prof. Goodie Darah for his “ thought provoking and highly educative’’ alumni lecture entitled: “Education for all and Liberation of Nigeria.’’

happening, most of them were gunned down by soldiers; it is sympathetic and barbaric. “This association is more concerned, not only because we are Hausa-Fulani association students, but we believe that if there is no peace in the society, none of us will be here today to attend this press conference.’’ He urged the Federal Government to probe the alleged killing of the herdsmen and bring the culprits to book. He said “this is necessary in the interest of peace, justice, fairness and the development of the country. “The perpetrators of such acts must be punished, to serve as deterrent to others.’’ The president of the association also urged the Federal Government to review the security operations in the state. He appealed to the HausaFulani and other Nigerians to live in peace and tolerate one another, irrespective of ethnic or religious differences, for the overall development of the country. He commended Governor Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa and other well meaning Nigerians “for visiting the scene of the massacre’’ and for sympathising with the relatives of the victims and the people of Keana.

- Coordinator

Illegal refineries being destroyed by Naval officers in Warri recently.

Locally refined diesel in Oteghele Forest, Warri recently.

UMUAHIA- The All Progressives Congress’ (APC) ward congress in Abia on Tuesday was peaceful with large turnout of party members in the 184 wards of the State. The Coordinator of the congress, Mr Sunsday Akare, told newsmen in Umuahia that the exercise was not only peaceful but orderly and successful. Akare, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy in Osun, commended the party members for their turnout. He explained that ward executives would emerge at the end of the exercise, while five delegates would be elected from each ward for Saturday’s local government congress. Chief Donatus Nwankpa, the Interim State Chairman of the party, said the people demonstrated enthusiasm and zeal for the exercise. He said that the large turnout showed the desire and commitment of the people to take over government at all levels in the 2015 general elections. He said the peaceful and orderly conduct of the ward congress would be replicated during the local government congress. He said results of the congress were being awaited.

NGO Decries Endless Killings KADUNA The Coordinator of Gaskiya Youths and Elders’ International Foundation, an NGO, Mr Danladi Makoshi, has decried the continuous killing of innocent Nigerians across the country. He accused politicians of failing to take action, saying they were only busy in using the killings as “mere political tool to advance their cause”. Makoshi said this during an interview with newsmen in Kaduna. He expressed worry over the killings in the Northern part of the country, kidnappings in the South and other criminal activities across the country. Makoshi called on all Nigerians to rise up in one voice and condemn the evil trend as well as explore measures to bring the bloodshed to an end. “People are rather politicising the killings and scoring cheap points with it, while innocent lives are daily

being wasted, even as the wanton killings threaten our corporate existence as a nation. “We condemn in strong terms the attitude of some of our fellow countrymen who are only waiting for killings to happen to express dishonest concern. “It is unfortunate that some people only use the situation to make themselves heard without any genuine intention to see to the end of the bloodshed,” he said. He urged politicians and “other attention seekers” who had turned the killings to mere political tool, to desist from such act. Makoshi attributed the killings and other atrocities in the nation to idleness, unemployment and wickedness. He advised Nigerians to be steadfast in love and unity in order to contribute toward making the country a better place for all. “The growing hatred among the people is not

necessary,” he said, adding that people should come together in oneness irrespective of ethnic and religious differences for the purpose of peace. He noted that only peace would bring about the needed development to every region

in the country. Makoshi called on Nigerian youth to be self-reliant by acquiring skills, and to eschew all forms of violence. He advised the government to revitalise the shutdown industries in the country and

to give significant attention to job creation. He also said more attention should be given to the education sector as it will be an effective way of tackling the security challenges in the country.

Boko Haram

N/East Governors Appeal To INEC

MAIDUGURI - Governors of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, facing the challenges of Boko Haram insurgency have urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to postpone the 2015 general elections in the states. The call was contained in a statement jointly issued in Maiduguri by their spokespersons. The statement urged INEC to disregard calls by some politicians for the postponement of the elections due to the security situation in the states.

It urged INEC to take a cue from war-ravaged Afghanistan where elections were recently held, in spite of threat of attacks by the Taliban terrorist group. “INEC should take a cue from Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission which courageously held the country’s presidential and provincial election last Saturday despite strong threats issued by the Taliban. “Afghanistan was celebrated worldwide for

liberating herself from the scourge of fear, thereby sending a strong signal that no threat would prevent them from choosing their leaders through democratic processes,” it said. The statement further pointed out that the Afghan government provided adequate security for the conduct of the polls, urging the Federal Government to do same. “INEC should as a matter of counter insurgency approach, ensure that no part of Nigeria is excluded from the election.

South West Institute Tasks FG


IBADAN - Worried by the unprecedented high rate of youth unemployment in the country, the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), Ibadan, rose from its monthly seminar series calling on the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, carry out a comprehensive audit of job creation agencies across the Federation just as it canvassed for value and attitudinal reorientation of job applicants, as short-term options to address job creation in Nigeria. Participants at the seminar also re-echoed the need for the authorities to ensure, without further delay, that the environment is conducive with desirable infrastructure in place. A senior researcher at the Economic Policy Research Department of the Institute, Dr. Foluso Adeyinka had earlier presented a paper at the seminar entitled “Job Creation in Nigeria: Short and Long Term Options” during which she submitted that there cannot be a smooth transformation from an agrarian economy to an industrial one that will make more jobs available without reliable and affordable infrastructure especially power. While insisting that the creation of employment opportunities in Nigeria had become imperative to achieve poverty reduction and sustainable economic and social

development in the nation, he advocated long term options that spanned refocusing of school curriculum from secondary school level; establishment of creativity centres; linkage between training institute and industry and a scale-up in funds for job creation activities. She said: “The challenges facing job creation in Nigeria vary considerably. These challenges , he said , include inadequacy of funds; low demand for output/services; inappropriate technology, inadequate infrastructural support and high cost of inputs.

Expert Wants Herdsmen/ Farmers Clashes Resolved

he instead gave her a love charm. “She said the charm made her to pack out of her matrimonial home to live with Asabari while still pregnant.

OSOGBO- Dr Goke Adesiyan, an expert on peace and conflict studies, has advised government to constitute a conflict resolution panel to end the incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers. Adesiyan, a lecturer at the Osun State University, gave the advice in an interview with newsmen while reacting to the latest killings in Zamfara. He said clashes between herdsmen and farmers were assuming a dangerous trend which needed to be tackled in order not to heat up the polity. According to him, a conflict resolution panel is necessary for the purpose of aggregating the diverse interests of the warring factions. ‘’It is so disheartening that this is happening now when the level of insurgency in the country is becoming more worrisome and unbearable. ‘’I believe a very robust strategy needs to be designed to tackle this ugly trend headlong for us to avert a major crisis that will worsen the security situation in the country. ‘’A conflict resolution panel needs to be constituted as a matter of exigency to aggregate the contradicting interests of the parties and make them to meet one another half way. “ Also, the warring parties must first and foremost cultivate a patriotic mindset for peace to reign and for the sustainability of our democracy,’’ he said. Adesiyan urged law enforcement agencies in the country to be more proactive in checking the menace of illegal immigrants who might be taking advantage of the porous borders to wreak havoc.

He said the action was being reviewed because “doctors are known to be respecters of law’’, adding that the association would do nothing to undermine the nation’s constitution and its laws. According to him, the suspension will affect the total strike that would have followed. The state government had in a suit number NICN/AD.01/ 2014 urged the court to order the NMA and the state government

to maintain status-quo in the matter. The suit was filed on behalf of the government by the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Wale Fapohunda, at the Abuja Judicial Division of the NIC. The President of the Court, Justice B.A. Adejumo, granted an interim injunction restraining the doctors from going on strike pending the determination of the substantive suit.

Vehicle damaged by rainstorm on Ajase Ipo Road in Ilorin yesterday.

A bus turned by rainstorm in Ajase Ipo Road in Ilorin yesterday.

Civil Servant Docked For Defrauding Applicants

AKURE- A civil servant, Olusegun Adebayo,43, was arraigned in a Magistrates’ Court in Akure for allegedly defrauding 67 applicants of N2.4 million. Adebayo, a staff of the Ondo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) was arraigned for alleged conspiracy, fraud and forgery. The prosecutor, ASP Isah Atanegbe, told the court that the accused and others at large committed the offence between June 2013 and November 2013 at the SUBEB office in Ore. Atanegbe said that the accused conspired and obtained N2.4 million from 67 unemployed youths in the pretence of securing teaching appointments for them with the SUBEB office in Akure. The prosecutor said the accused also issued forged appointment letters with intent to defraud the unsuspecting victims. Atanegbe said the offence contravened the provisions of sections 516, 419 and 473(1) of the Criminal Code Cap 37 Vol. 1, Laws of Ondo State of

Nigeria, 2006. The accused, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges. The prosecutor prayed the court for an adjournment to enable him present his witnesses in court.

The defence counsel, Mr Phillips Batife, who did not object to the application, prayed the court to admit his client to

bail on liberal terms. The Magistrate, Mr Akin Akintoye, admitted the accused to bail in the sum of N250,000

with two sureties in like sum. Akintoye ordered that one of the sureties must be a government official while the other must have landed property and be gainfully employed or have a recognisable business.

Woman, 25, Rejects Paternity

ISEYIN (OYO STATE)- A 25-year-old woman, Adijat Waheed, yesterday rejected the paternity of her father, Mr Jimoh Asabari, at a Grade ‘C’ Customary Court sitting in Iseyin, Oyo State. Adijat told the court that she instituted the case against Asabari because many people in the area had told her that he was not her biological father. “I grew up in Abeokuta where I lived with Asabari’s sister; she maltreated me a lot and I ran out of the house to Saki to some of her relatives. “Until last year, I did not know any member of my family except the sister who claimed she was my father’s younger sister.

“When I got to Saki, I told them what has been going on and insisted on knowing my parents, so they took me to Iseyin and said Asabari was my father. “I was happy to meet him, but that happiness was short-lived as so many people in the neighborhood kept telling me the man was not my real father. “I then confronted him on the matter, but he said he was my biological father. I, however, insisted he takes me to my mother and he did. “Then, my mother told me that my real father is Waheed; that’s why I instituted this case with the name Adijat Waheed. “My mother told me that when she was three months

pregnant, she had a minor disagreement with my father. “ She said she went to Asabari, who is a herbalist, for a charm to persuade my father so that he could forgive her, but

NMA Suspends Warning Strike ADO-EKITI-Members of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in Ekiti have announced the suspension of their three-day warning strike. The suspension followed a court injunction secured by the state government at the National Industrial Court (NIC) in Abuja which declared the strike illegal. Dr Obitade Obimakinde, the Chairman of Ekiti chapter of the NMA, confirmed the development in Ado-Ekiti.

Lagos Suit Against Dangote Fixed For May 5

Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge Toll

Hearing Fixed For April 14

LAGOS - A Federal High Court in Lagos, has fixed April 14 to hear a motion for stay of its judgment on the Lekki-Ikoyi bridge toll. The motion was filed by the Attorney General of Lagos State, Mr. Ade Ipaye. It would be recalled that a Human Rights Activist, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, had filed a suit on November 26, 2012, against the Lagos State Government (LASG). He challenged the collection of toll on the Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge by the state government. Joined as first and second respondents are the AttorneyGeneral of the Federation (AGF) and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA). Ipaye, and the LASG were listed as third and fourth respondents, respectively. The suit, which was slated for hearing of a motion for stay of execution of the court’s judgment delivered on March 27, was adjourned to April 14 for hearing. Justice Saliu Saidu had observed that there was no proof of service of the motion on the AGF and NIWA, who were parties to the suit. He, therefore, urged Ipaye to ensure service of the motion on the parties, adding that he could not hear the motion unless the parties were duly served. He adjourned the case to April 14, for hearing. It recalls that Adegboruwa had sought a determination of court as to whether there existed any law in Nigeria, authorising the collection of such tolls, tax or fee, from citizens. He had, therefore, sought a court order declaring that the imposition of such tariff on road users was an illegal form of taxation and was inconsistent with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Saidu had in his judgment,

declared that the imposition of such toll was unlawful, since there was no law in existence authorising its collection. He also held that there was nothing before the court to show that the construction of the bridge was as a result of any Public Private Partnership Law. The judge said that the bridge was built with the funds of the LASG. He, therefore, held that the LASG could only validly collect toll on the bridge, if a law was enacted to back such tolling.

Representative of Lagos State Governor, Mrs. Oluranti Adebule and Rector, Lagos State Polytechnic, Dr. Abdulazeez Lawal at the 22nd Convocation of the Polytechnic in Lagos yesterday.

Graduands at the 22nd Convocation of Lagos State Polytechnic in Lagos yesterday.

Drilling Firms Vs NPA

Parties Get Trial Date LAGOS- The Federal High Court, Lagos, has fixed June 25 for trial in a suit by three oil firms against the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) over an alleged imposition of drilling charges. The plaintiffs are: Transocean Sedco Forex, Noble Drilling Ltd, and Pacific International Drilling Ltd.

They are challenging the charges imposed on them by the NPA for their drilling activities within the Exclusive Economic Zone. When the case was mentioned yesterday, counsel to the plaintiff, Mr Chris Ache, informed the court of a pending

23,287 offenders for 26,076 offences in the first quarter of this year. “We will not cease enlightening motorists and enforcing traffic regulations to reduce losses on our roads. “All actions that are injurious to road safety will be checked on our roads and we will be further committed to restore the road safety culture on all road users,” Nkwonta said. Statistics made available to newsmen showed that the command arrested 7,710 offenders for 8,606 offences in

January and 8,112 offenders for 9,126 offences in February. The statistics also indicate that 7,465 traffic offenders were arrested for 8,344 offences in March. Nkwonta urged motorists to consider their safety and that of their passengers above all the reasons they may have to disregard rules. “Life does not have any duplicate, obedience to traffic laws should be considered as a civic obligation by all motor drivers, cyclists and tricycle riders,” he said.

FRSC Arrests 23,287 Traffic Offenders LAGOS - The Lagos State Command of Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) said that it has arrested 23,287 traffic offenders in the state in the first quarter of the year. The state’s Sector Commander, Mr Chidi Nkwonta, told newsmen in Lagos that the offenders were involved in 26,076 traffic offences. Nkwonta said that lack of caution signs, defective windscreens and non-usage of seat belts topped the list of the offences. “We were able to arrest

motion for substitution of witness. He told the court that the plaintiff intended to substitute its original witness with a new witness, and prayed the court for an order, deeming the witness as duly substituted. Defence counsel, Mr Ame Ogie, did not oppose the application for substitution, but prayed the court for a trial date. In his ruling, Justice James Tsoho, granted the plaintiff’s application, and adjourned the case to June 25 for trial. In their statement of claim, the plaintiffs contended that the NPA had imposed on them charges running into millions of dollars for drilling within the EEZ. They averred that four oil companies, Shell, Mobil, Chevron and Total, had engaged their services to prospect for oil within the EEZ. They argued that as drilling companies, they take their rigs directly from location at the EEZ because they did not fall within

the definition of cargo which must be discharged at the conventional ports. They also argued that since the Minister of Transport did not declare the EEZ as a compulsory pilotage districts, they were not under any obligation to pay pilotage dues.

LAGOS- A Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed May 5 for the continuation of trial in a suit filed by Oba Otudeko against Alhaji Aliko Dangote, over a land dispute.? Otudeko, Chairman of the Honeywell Group, had filed the suit, claiming the sum of 48 million dollars as damages for breach of contract. In the suit, number FHC/L/ CS/329/06, the NPA, Bureau of Public Enterprises (PBE), Dangote Industries Ltd, Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Greenview Development Nig. Ltd, are listed as first, second, third, fourth and fifth defendants, respectively. When the case was called on Wednesday, counsel to the plaintiff, Dr Joseph Nwobike (SAN), told the court that his witness was indisposed. He had, therefore, prayed the court for an adjournment, to enable his witness attend court. The defence counsel did not object to the prayer for adjournment. Justice Okon Abang consequently adjourned the case till May 5, for continuation of trial. The plaintiff is claiming the damage sum, for breach of contract over 10.8 square metres of land within the Lagos Ports Complex, known as the 5th Apapa Wharf Extension. Otudeko said, in his statement of facts, that by an agreement, NPA leased the said land to him for five years at a consideration of N2.2 million yearly. He said that the land was for the purpose of setting up a bulk food handling facility, adding that in keeping with the agreement, it paid the aforesaid amount and an additional N290, 000 for survey. According to the plaintiff, the BPE suddenly suspended his pre-existing rights, and granted the concession to Greenview Development. Ltd, belonging to Dangote.

Apple Worlds’ Most Nutritious Fruit - Expert IBADAN - Mr Tunde Ajobo, the Head of Department, Dietetics, at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, has described apple as the world’s most nutritious fruit. Ajobo told newsmen in Ibadan that virtually every component in the apple has immense health benefit. “Apple fruit is one of the most popular fruits and the favourite of health conscious as well as fitness lovers across the world.

“The antioxidants in apple are health promoting and have disease prevention properties. “Everything in the apple is good for the body. Arteries carrying blood cannot be clogged or blocked and this helps in the protection of the heart. “An apple contains 60 per cent of water which is easily retained in the heart. Apart from this, the apple is very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. “ It is also a good source of dietary fibre and Vitamin C,’’ he said.

Across The Nation Nigeria Assumes AU Security Chair

Chief Press Secretary to Bauchi State Governor, Mr. Ishola Michael (middle), with members of Bauchi Correspondent Chapel, on media tour to government projects yesterday.

ADDIS ABABA - Mr. Lolo Bulus, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the AU and Ambassador to Ethiopia, has assumed the one-month rotational Chair of the 15members African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) for April. The development coincides with a similar development at the UN, where Prof. Joy Ogwu, assumed the one-month Rotational Presidency of the UN Security Council. Nigeria during the one month AUPSC chairmanship, will preside at deliberations on matters of security in some parts of Africa, namely, situations in Central African Republic (CAR), Mali and Sahel as well as in South Sudan.

Under Nigeria’s chairmanship, the AUPSC will hold an open session on unconstitutional changes of government and popular uprising in Africa with the lessons and challenges. The council’s programme of activities for the month of April shows that AUPSC will hold an open session on “Silencing the

Guns“: Pre-requisites for achieving conflict-free in Africa by 2020’’. Meanwhile, the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs and Nigeria’s Dr Aisha Abdullahi is expected to brief the council on the political crises in CAR and development in Mali and the Sahel during the period.

Jonathan Condoles Sultan Over Brother’s Death SOKOTO - President Goodluck Jonathan has condoled with the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, over the death of his brother, Alhaji Bello Maiwurno. Reports state that VicePresident Namadi Sambo delivered the condolence message on behalf of the President. Jonathan said the death of Maiwurno was a great loss to the Sultanate Council of Sokoto, his family, the people of Sokoto State and the country. Speaking earlier, Abubakar thanked the president for sending a high-powered delegation to Sokoto to commiserate with his family. He called for fervent prayers among Nigerians for peace, stability, progress and

economic development of the country. He stated that the time had come for Nigerians, irrespective of religious differences, to pray for God’s intervention in the socioeconomic and political activities of the country. Sambo was accompanied by the Minister of National Planning, Alhaji Tanimu Turaki, Sen. Mamman Magoro, the Emir of Lafia, Alhaji Isa Mustapha, and the Emir of Birnin Gwari, Alhaji Zubairu Jibril. Special prayers were conducted for the repose of the soul of Maiwurno, who died at the age of 76 years. He is survived by a wife and 13 children.

ABUJA - The House of Representatives, has summoned the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar and the National Security Adviser, retired Col. Sambo Dasuki to brief it on the security situation in the country. The House also summoned the Minister of Defence, retired Lt.-Gen. Aliyu Gusau. It urged security agencies to fish out the suspected Fulani herdsmen that attacked some communities in Zamfara and Nasarawa States. According to the house, there is the need to bring the perpetrators of the dastardly act to book to serve as deterrent to others. The resolution followed a motion moved by Rep. Ibrahim Gusau (PDP-Zamfara), which was unanimously adopted without debate. According to Gusau the gunmen, in hundreds, operated freely for about four hours shooting children, traders and community leaders. He noted that similar incidents had happened in Benue and Nasarawa where several people were killed by Fulani herdsmen. Gusau said that the residents of many of the affected villages were living in persistent fear of being attacked while many had fled their homes. He said that the Fulani

herdsmen had become organised and daring that no small unit of security personnel could repel their attack. “These groups of attackers are becoming more coordinated and if not checked, they can turn into yet another organised terror group.’’ It will be recalls that 230 people were killed in two villages in Zamfara on April 3 and 5. Meanwhile, the House has mandated its Committees on Works and Army to investigate the circumstances behind the delay in constructing military barracks in Doma, Nasarawa State. The resolution emanated from a motion moved by Rep. Mohammed Onawo (PDPNasarawa) which was adopted. According to Onawo, N100 million has been appropriated in the 2014 Budget for the construction of Doma military barracks. He expressed surprise why the contract for the project had not been awarded. The legislator noted that the essence of the project was to boost security in the area and other neighbouring towns of Guma, Gwer West and Agatu in Benue. Onawo stated that the essence of the project may be defeated if urgent measure was not taken to hasten its execution.

Security: Reps Summon IGP, NSA, Minister

Concerned Nigerian women in a rally in Abuja yesterday.

Maku Decries Lackadaisical Attitude Of Information Officers ABUJA - The Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, has expressed concern over the lackadaisical attitude of some Resident Information Officers (RIOs) posted to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). Maku, who made the statement at a meeting with the officers in Abuja, noted that some officers had developed a nonchalant attitude towards their jobs. The minister stated that the attitude of the officers had put their competence as information managers in their postings to test. According to him, the ministry is developing an operational manual for the officers to assist them to improve their productivity in their various areas of jurisdiction. Maku stated that the ministry would soon take

measures to punish as well as reward officers appropriately. “The purpose of this meeting is to refresh our memories on what we are doing and the ones we are not doing as RIOs. “Things are happening faster today; if you don’t sit up, you will lose relevance because in this industry, everyone is required to defend his or her grounds. “Henceforth, there will be queries issued to erring officers on a monthly basis and after every three months, we will reward those that are performing,’’ he said. Maku, who was reacting to the performance report on the RIOs, said a lot of progresses made by the various MDAs were either under-reported or not reported at all by the RIOs. He urged the officers to ‘wake up’ and evolve better ways of giving publicity to the

programmes and activities of government, noting that most RIOs had not justified their postings to MDAs. On the deployment of RIOs to MDAs, the minister said that the ministry would soon start a rotation policy to ensure that no officer stayed longer than necessary on a particular posting. Maku said that the posting of officers to MDAs would be reviewed regularly, to reflect fairness and equity in their deployment. Earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs Folasade Esan, said that it was sad to note that some RIOs had not filed any report about their MDAs in 2013. She added that reports sent to her office about the conduct of some RIOs were also not palatable and had dented the image of the ministry. Esan tasked the information

officers to brace up to the challenges or lose their positions to consultants hired by some MDAs to take charge of their image. The permanent secretary said that subsequent postings and redeployment of information officers would be done on the basis of competence in previous tasks and through other variables to be determined by the ministry. According to him, the inputs from the meeting will form part of a working document to be developed by the ministry and sent to all heads of MDAs to boost publicity drive of government programmes. Report stated that the meeting, which was the first in 2014, was attended by more than 100 information officers from MDAs and directors in the ministry.


Senators Celebrate Mark At 66 By JOSES SEDE

ABUJA - Members of the Senate showered praises on the Senate President, Sen. David Mark as he clocked 66 years on Tuesday. This followed a motion brought by the Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu reminding the senators on the need for them to celebrate Mark by wishing him a happy birthday. Ekweremadu in his motion said that the Senate President has contributed to the stability and progress of the Nigerian nation. He described Mark as a “dogged political fighter, who has fought tough battles at various political war fronts and came out victorious. “His life has profited the nation greatly. He is one of the

few Nigerians who have played very active roles in the nation’s political life, both under the military and democracy. “The distinguished Senate President has made his mark as a soldier of democracy, even suffering persecution and going into exile at a time in defence of democracy. “Today, he is a preacher and ardent promoter of democratic values. He is a practising democrat per excellence.” “I want to thank and commend the Distinguished Senate President for the team spirit, conviviality, legislative due process and independence, and decorum he has cultivated in the Senate. “He has not only led the Senate, and indeed the National Assembly on the path of stability, but has also earned the Senate a reputation as the

stabiliser of the polity. While wishing Mark a happy birthday, the Deputy Senate President prayed God to grant him the grace, to continue to excel in the service to God, fatherland and the entire humanity.

no religion preaches violence. All religions preaches peace and peaceful co-existence”. Senator Mark reminded Nigerians of the sanctity of living together as one people under one nation, pointing out that “We have more to gain by being together than otherwise.”. He specifically told the clergy not to rest on their oars praying for the peace, security and unity of Nigeria. Senator Mark thanked his colleagues; Senators and members of the House of Representatives for the trust and confidence reposed in him to lead the National Assembly promising, “I will not fail you”. He urged that all hands must be on deck to make Nigeria a better place. In his remarks, the Leader of the Senate, Senator Victor Ndoma- Egba , SAN,

L-R: Former Governor of Borno, Alhaji Goni; Hassan Bala Usman; former Chairman of PDP, Senator Ahmadu Ali and former Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa at the public presentation of Alhaji Balarabe Musa’s biography in Abuja yesterday.

Members took their turns at plenary showering encomium on the President of the Senate, Senator David Mark on his 66th birthday. Senator Ehigie Uzamere (APC-Edo) described the Senate President as “a trailblazer, team

player and stabilising factor”, who has excelled in all areas of human endeavour. On her part, Senator Nenadi Usman (PDP-Kaduna) hailed Mark as an excellent family man who remained just and fair to his

colleagues, despite the fact that he was “first among equals”. Senator Aisha Alhassan (PDP-Taraba) prayed that Mark should be given higher political responsibilities to continue his good works for the country.

Mark Pledges Commitment To Nigeria’s Unity By JOSES SEDE

ABUJA - President of the Senate, Senator David Mark has promised to remain a panNigerian in spite of all the challenges stressing, “I will remain a pan-Nigerian and work for a nation where peace, love , development and unity reigns as a binding principle”. To achieve these , Senator Mark added: “I will dedicate the rest of my life to the service of God and humanity”. Speaking at a church service to mark his 66th Birthday at St. Mulumba Catholic Chaplaincy , Apo, Abuja he said he was not celebrating the birthday with any fun- fare because the mood of the nation (security challenges) is unhealthy for any celebration. “For me , any celebration, any gift you can give is to pray to God for all these violence and insurgency to pass away as quickly as possible”, Senator Mark stressed. Senator Mark again bemoaned the unabating insecurity in the land which have claimed thousands of lives and opined that, “ we can all cooperate to halt these needless killings of our people . “There are many channels to address any grievance . Violence is not one of the ways. It is inhuman to take another man’s life just because you are unhappy with a situation . Let us reason together as one people and end these needless wars “. He cautioned against anybody accepting the temptation of attributing the growing insurgency to religious war saying, “as far as I know,

Extra Judicial Killings

DHQ Denies Allegation By JOSES SEDE

ABUJA - The Defence Headquarters has denied allegations by the Secretary General of Jama’atul Nasril Islam, Dr Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, that the military was hiding under the cover of the ongoing counter terrorism campaign to commit extra judicial killings against Muslims and Fulani People. The Director of Defence Information, In an electronic mail yesterday, Maj.-Gen Chris

Olukolade, described the claim of the JNI scribe as both inflammatory and spurious. He noted that no faith or ethnic group was target of the Special Forces in the ongoing operation in the North East and other parts of the country. The Defence spokesman further noted although the military was reluctant to join issues with religious organizations it was inevitable to address the grave allegations by the JNI in order to set the records straight.

Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku (left), who represented President Goodluck Jonathan and Chairman of the occasion, Chief Olusegun Osoba at the public presentation of Alhaji Balarabe Musa’s biography in Abuja yesterday.

He further submitted that the motive behind the allegation was already defeated as the military operations were not fashioned along ethno-religious lines. General Olukolade regretted that the allegation coming from a respected religious body like the JNI was unfortunate. He explained that the Nigerian Armed Forces comprised Nigerians from all the religions in the country and

could not be used against people of any particular religion. Olukolade however sounded that the military would not be distracted “by unfair imputations from any quarter”. “The statement issued by the Secretary General of Jama’atul Nasril Islam, Dr Khalid Abubakar Aliyu alleging extrajudicial killing of Muslims and people of Fulani ethnic group by the Nigerian military is spurious and inflammatory.

Reps Approve $1bn Loan Facility For NNPC

ABUJA- The House of Representatives, has approved the 1.56 billion dollars loan facility proposed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The resolution followed the adoption of the report on the proposed loan by the Committees on Petroleum Resources, Upstream and Downstream, Loans and Debts, and Justice. The House also urged the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and NNPC to forward details of the composition and structure of the Petroleum Support Fund (PSF) to the appropriate committees of the National Assembly. The House also urged the NNPC to be cautious and to

always follow laid down procedures in dealing with assets of the Federation, especially when contingent liabilities may arise from the dealing. It urged the NNPC to exploit alternative means of boosting its revenue and should formally brief appropriate committees of the National Assembly, before concluding the second tranche of the sale agreement being contemplated. According to the house, the NNPC should streamline its operations to eliminate waste and increase operational efficiencies and more degree of transparency. It called on the NNPC to collaborate with stakeholders to develop a road map for offsetting its huge indebtedness.

Business + Economy Senate Passes Pension ABUJA- The Senate has Reform Bill passed the Pension Reform Bill

First Executive Governor of Lagos State, Chief Lateef Jakande; Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce, Mrs. Olusola Oworu; co-Chairman, Lagos Economic Summit Group, Mrs. Bola Adesola; Lagos Deputy Governor, Mrs. Adejoke OrelopeAdefulire; Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos and former President of Cape Verde, Mr. Pedro Pires at the closing ceremony of Lagos Economic Summit “EHINGBETI 2014” in Lagos yesterday.

which prescribes a minimum of 10 years imprisonment for any person found guilty of stealing pension funds. The bill also prescribes that any Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) or Pension Fund Custodian (PFC) who misappropriates pension fund will be liable to refunding three times the value of the amount diverted. The passage of the bill followed the conclusion of clause-by-clause consideration of the report of the Senate’s Committee on Establishment and Public Service. The bill, if signed into law, would automatically repeal the Pension Reform Act, 2004, thereby making it possible for

FG To Transform Cooperative Societies

ABUJA- The Director of Cooperatives, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Dickson Okoro, has assured that the Federal Government was committed to transforming co-operative societies in the country. Okoro who said this at a threeday Co-operatives Summit and Leadership Forum said the Federal Government would review the present co-operatives policy. He said this would be part of efforts to address the challenges being faced by the sector. “I can assure that every support the co-operatives will need in order to grow and take their rightful position in dealing with micro financial challenges and performances will be provided by the ministry,’’ the director said. Okoro said government was aware of the various challenges facing the co-operative societies

and expressed optimism that solutions would be proffered before the end of the summit. “We are aware of some of the challenges of the co-operatives and, as part of the commitment of the ministry, a new revised co-operatives scheme is being done. “This will certainly address some of the challenges of cooperatives in the country. The job is almost completed and stakeholders will be carried

CAP C20 and CAP T14 Cooperatives Law. “We discovered that the cooperatives law is not comprehensive and so many things have been left out and, if we must reform, those things must be handled. “We want organisational structures to be put in place as

Budget: Confab Delegate Wants Radical

ABUJA - Mr Abdullahi Ohoimah, an elder statesman at the National Conference, has called for ‘radical legislation’ that will ensure timely passage and implementation of national budget. Ohoimah made the call when he contributed to President Goodluck Jonathan’s address at

Confab Delegate Decries Activities Of Oil Coy

ABUJA - Dr Georgiana Ngrieri-Waga, delegate representing Bayelsa, has urged delegates at the ongoing National Conference to come up with resolutions to compel oil companies to re-mediate their operation areas and restore them to their original conditions. Ngrieri made the call during plenary of the conference in Abuja. She said though there were existing laws that required oil companies to re-mediate, such companies were carrying out their businesses as usual, while polluting and devastating the economy with impunity. “There are adverse effects of the environmental degradation in the oil producing communities of the Niger Delta. “The very existence, livelihood of the people of the oil producing area are being threatened as their lands and water are highly polluted and contaminated and they can no longer engage in their traditional occupations of fishing

along when the final document is being prepared. “By the time it finally comes out, it will be a document that every stakeholder will be pleased with,’’ he said. The director said there had been challenges in the preparation of the document, especially in the amendment of

we reform and transform the sector. We are also working on institutions which are meant to provide services. “We are looking at their curriculum to see how they can get closer to the grassroots and not just remain in those locations where they are not touching the financial cooperatives,’’ he said. Okoro said the Federal Government was also in the

and farming. “Women and children are particularly affected, leading to numerous social and health problem. “Due to lack of livelihood, females in the oil producing areas, mostly young girls, are exposed to sexual exploitation from oil workers. “I plead with the conference to come up with resolutions that will hold oil companies accountable and compel them to effect remediation of the operation areas as is done in other parts of the world,” she said. She further said the rising population of the country without commensurate development was inimical to rapid development. “Our exploding population is inimical to our rapid development. I am aware that our huge population is regarded as an asset and a mark of our greatness.


the inauguration of the conference. He said that delay in the passage of budget by the National Assembly and poor implementation by the executive had led to abandonment of projects worth

trillions of naira. “The implication of this is that the national budget that is supposed to deliver realisable projects, now delivers abandoned project all over the country. “How can a country develop

when the capital component of its national budget is abandoned? “I will want to see recommendation from this conference that will provide for radical legislation that will make it an impeachable offence for the executive not to lay budget on time,’’ Ohoimah said.

every person who worked either in the public and or private sector, to receive pension as at and when due. It states that all monies received as penalty by the Pension Commission shall be paid into the Pension Protection Fund expected to be established under section 82 of the Act. Apart from payment of fines and serving the required jail terms, the bill also provides sanction of forfeiture of property, asset or fund to the Federal Government on anyone found to have misappropriated pension funds. It prescribes a fine of N10 million on any PFA which failed to meet the obligations of pension contributors while each of the directors of the firm would pay N5 million as penalty. It further stipulated that a PFA which failed to comply with any provision of the Act “shall be liable to a penalty of not less than N500,000 for each day that the non-compliance continues.” In addition, according to the bill, the PFA will forfeit the profit from that investment to the beneficiaries of the Retirement Savings Accounts while it is also to make up in the case of any loss. It also provides that for anyone to be qualified for appointment as Director General of PENCOM such person must have 15 years post qualification experience, inaddition to other requirements. Briefing journalists after the passage of the bill, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service, Sen. Aloysius Etok, said that the bill has fixed 10 years of cognate experience out of the 15 years provided.

L-R: President, Plateau State Traders Marketing Association, Mr. Danjuma Yerse; Deputy Chief Whip, Plateau House of Assembly, Mr. Audu Ado-Adere and Speaker, Mr. Titus Alams, during the first Plateau State Legislative Business Forum in Jos yesterday.


RE-RUN OF WARD CONGRESSES The State Congress Committee hereby announces Re-run

Ward Congresses as follows:

DATE: SATURDAY 12TH APRIL, 2014. TIME: 8.00a.m. VENUE: as tabulated below: NOTES: 1.












1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.



IKPOBA OKHA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, IDOGBO S/NO 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.



OREDO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, BENIN CITY S/NO 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.













3. The Prophet is Poisoned Since the instrument of the threats of death and exile did not work against the Prophet, the enemies decided to launch a different kind of warfare. They conspired to kill the Prophet. Through the wife of Sallam ibn Mishkam, they presented a roasted goat to the Prophet. Knowing that the Prophet relished the shoulder, she peppered that portion liberally with poison. One morsel was enough to warn the Prophet, who quickly spat it out saying, “This is poisoned.” Upon being summoned by the Prophet who wished to ascertain the facts, the Jews and the women confessed their crime and said, “We thought that if you were a pretender, we would get rid of you, but if you were truly a prophet, the poison would be ineffective.” At that the Prophet forgave them. This is another high level of tolerance exhibited by the Holy Prophet. 4. How the Prophet tolerated the young man who came and urinated in the Prophet Mosque in Medinah. 5. The Prophet’s encountered with the people of Ta’if Soon the Prophet felt that it was time to take the message of Islam to neighbouring tribes. He made his way on foot to Ta’if, about thirty miles east of Makkah, traveling with his former slave, Zayd bin Haritha. Along the way to Ta’if, the Prophet invited each tribe he encountered to embrace Islam. Finally, he reached Ta’if and met three brothers, all chieftains of the Thaqif tribe. He invited them to Islam and asked them to help him spread his message, but they responded with hostility. The Prophet left the chieftains and looked for others to talk with about Islam. For the next few days he continued his search to find anyone who would open his heart to Allah’s word, but no one was interested. Each chieftain he met proved arrogant and unfriendly when he explained his mission and requested help. Instead of accepting his call to Islam, they asked him to leave Ta’if and return from whence he came. They even stirred up children, slaves and the rabble against him. As the Prophet made his way out of the township, a rag tag band ran after him, abusing him and throwing stones at him until even his feet dripped blood. Zayd tried to protect the Prophet from their blows, and in doing so suffered several cuts on his head. The Prophet and Zayd escaped and sought refuge three miles away in an orchard belonging to Utbah and Sheba, the sons of Rabi’a. The sons of Rabi’a, who saw the Prophet taking refuge in their orchard, were moved by the sight of a weary traveler with a long road ahead of him, and sent their slave Addas to him with a bunch of grapes. The Prophet took the grapes, and only after saying Bismillah (in the name of Allah) did he begin to eat. Addas was surprised to hear the Prophet invoke Allah’s name before eating. “The people around this area never utter such phrases,” he told the Prophet. The Prophet asked Addas, “Where are you from, and what is your religion?” “I am a Christian and belong to Ninevah,” replied Addas.

Voice Of


Every Friday With Mallam Abdulfattah Enabulele Chief Imam of Benin

We must show the spirit of tolerance towards each others

The Spirit Of Tolerance (2) “Are you from the village of the pious man, Yunus bin Mati?” the Prophet asked. “He is my brother,” the Prophet responded. “He was a prophet and so am I.” The Prophet then recited some verses from the Qur’an referring to the Prophet Yunus (Jonah). Addas was so impressed that he accepted the Prophet’s call to Islam. The Prophet resumed his journey back to Makkah, and dejection set in. At Qarn Al-Manazil, a cloud bearing the angel Jibreel appeared before the Prophet. With him was another angel. “Allah has sent to you the angel of the mountains,” Jibreel said. “He is at your command.” The angel of the mountains said, “O Muhammad, I am here to do as you say. The choice is yours: I can crush the people of Ta’if between two hills, if that is your wish.” The Prophet, however, was not looking for revenge. “No. I hope Allah will bring forth from their loins people who will worship Allah alone without associating any partners with Him.” 6. The Truce of Hudaibiya: The high level of tolerance exhibited by the Prophet during the negotiation between the Muslims and the Quraysh is another example worthy of narration. The Muslims resolve to shed the last drop of their blood in the defence of their faith, brought the Quraish to their senses. Their past experience stood them in good stead. They could now realize what such a resolve on the part of the Muslims meant. Unarmed though they were, and numerically weak besides, the Quraish could foresee what disaster was in store for them, should the worst come to the worst. Thus chastened in spirits, they deputed one Suhail-ibn-Amr to resume the peace negotiations. A truce was drawn up restoring the state of peace between the two parties for a period of ten years. The main clauses of the treaty were as follows: 1. The Muslims shall this year return without performing the pilgrimage. 2. Next year they may come, but shall not stay at Mecca longer than three days. 3. They shall not take with them any of the Muslims already living in Mecca, and, on the other hand, they shall not stand in the way of any one from among themselves, should be wish to remain behind at Mecca. 4. Should any of the Meccans go over to Medina, the Muslims shall hand him over to the Meccans; but if any of the Medinite Muslims should rejoin the Meccans, the latter shall not restore him to the Muslims. 5. The Arab tribes shall be at liberty to enter into alliance with whichever party they chose. When putting the agreement in writing, ‘Ali, who acted as a scribe, began with the words, Bism-illah-irrahman-irrahim, i.e., in the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. (just like the way Pastor Bakare challenged Hon. Justice Idris Kutigi, Chairman National Conference started his speech with Bism-illah-irrahman-irrahim) Suhail objected to the adoption of this form of Muslim opening to the document, insisting that he must have the traditional form that had all along been in vogue in Arabia viz., Bism-i-kallahumma, i.e., in Thy name, O God. To this the Prophet agreed. Further on, he again took exception to the words: This is an agreement between Muhammad, the Apostle of Allah, and the Quraish.” “If we were to admit,” he remonstrated, “that you are the Apostle of God, why all this bloodshed?” But Ali said he would not expunge the words “The Apostle of Allah,” with his own hand. The Prophet, has never, attached no importance to such an insignificant detail. He asked to be shown where the words in dispute were. The spot being pointed out to

him, he blotted out the words with his own hand, and dictated the words “Muhammad son of Abdullah” instead. As a truthful and sincere Muslims, every one of us must imbibe the moral virtue of tolerance exhibited and practiced by the Prophet of Islam especially when dealing with every human being whether Muslim or not. The only people who can correct the wrong impression about Islam are the Muslims through sincere actions and good conduct. Demonstrating earnest leniency, tolerance and benevolence is the best way for the beauty of Islam to be seen in our own lives with our non-Muslim family members, neighbours, colleagues, workmates, schoolmates and all our fellow human beings that we interact with. Benevolence in whatever actions we undertake is the best form of da’wah that we can give to another person. This is because our actions speak louder than our words: no matter how much we try to convince people that Muslims are generous, peaceful, tolerant, kind, emicable, charitable and so on, words alone are not convincing enough. If our moral values and compassion are not reflected in our actions, the words become meaningless. One of the major issues causing problems of insecurity and tension in Nigeria today is lack of tolerance among the Nigerian people, particularly between the followers of the two major religions – Christianity and Islam. The leadership of both religion, must come together and understand, tolerate and respect their differences for the interest of peace, stability, progress, development and unity of this great nation called Nigeria. Expression of irresponsible utterances by religious leaders cannot help anyone. There is deep rooted hatred and mistrust among the adherents of the two major religions. It is the suspicion that is presently playing out in the National Conference. The Islamization of Nigeria For the avoidance of doubt, Almighty Allah has clearly stated in His Glorious Book, chapter 2 v 256, that there is no compulsion in religion. Surely, the right way has become distinct from error; so whosoever refuses to be led by those who transgress, and believe in Allah, has surely grasped a strong handle which knows no breaking. And Allah is AllHearing and All-knowing. The fear being expressed in some quarters by some individuals that the activities of Boko Haram and the Fulani herdsmen is another grand design to Islamize the nation. This accusation is another calculated attempt to paint Islam negatively in the eye of the non-Muslims. It is totally misleading, mischievous, fallacious and purely a cheap blackmail that cannot be substantiated with facts and figurative analysis. Every right thinking human being knows that the Islamization of Nigeria is not just possible and practicable. Muslims has no business in imposing Islam on other Nigerians because, we know that there is no compulsion in religion (2:256). Nigeria is a multireligious society, so shall it remain so.

Insight THIS is the period in Benin when the whole Benin Nation go into abstinence and abstention. The Oba of Benin in particular performed the ceremony critically for the whole nation of Benin. It was purely a religions ceremony brought by the Portuguese missionary during the reign of Oba Esigie (1504-1578). Oba Esigie himself was baptized by the Catholic Reverend fathers, a Christian Missionary. Since then, till the reign of Oba Ovonramwe (1888-19 14) all Oba’s of Benin had been involved in Ague or the Lenten Ceremony. It is time for prayers and abstinence from eating food, drinking wine and other non intervention involvement in any action capable of disturbing one from prayers to God the ultimate reason for Ague Ceremony. It is time to keep off, not to go near, play no part or by keeping one’s distance from certain habits or practices we have so long been involved in life. It is a time for self denial, restrain from, or enunciate, prohibit and a total abstention from meetings and social life activities, such as dances clubs meeting, eating and drinking excessively. Ague in Benin, was

regarded as a time for chastity, starvation, not eating one’s food at regular times (thrice or twice) daily. But during Ague in Benin one can only eat once a day. It could be at 5a.m or 6p.m till the next day. It was a Lenten fare, a hunger strike and starvation. It was a time to keep abeyance, withdraw and absten from life of frugalism. During Ague or Lenten period in Benin, the Oba usually selects those who are strong and capable enough to keep within the bounds of the rules. For example the food they eat is cooked without oil (Okhuankhuan) at times no salt, no flesh, meat or blooded animals, except snails, fish and vegetables. The chiefs performing Ague with the Oba remain in the palace for the period of three months or 90 days. The 90 days is divided into two parts. The first 45 days, they ate from evening till evening. The second 45 days, they ate from morning till morning. There is a break on every nine days where participants could discuss spiritual devotional materials as companions and complements for the 90 days affecting their personal penance. They can also change their dresses to white, red, black or green in every 9 days break. Their prayers were also


focused on a selected vital issues affecting the kingdom. They prayed day and night to God Almighty and to the ancestors for what they wanted for themselves and the Benin nation to acquire for the whole year (January to December) such as food supply, good health, wealth, and to over power all the opposing forces of darkness, on the path of all glorious destiny of the Oba, and the Benins wherever they are and in whatever they might be involved throughout the year. They also prayed with the Oba of Benin to have good health and obtain the mercies of ‘Osanobua’ God the creator of Heaven and earth and the good spirits that are the servants and messengers of the supreme God. Ague is fasting. It is Lenten fare, a time to refrain from all things on earth that is capable of making us to deviate from having access to the platform of the holy spirits. Ague according to Benin knowledge is a religious discipline that empowers one taking part in it with the Oba to have an extraordinary vantage among other chiefs who did not participate with the Oba. Ague puts the

participants at a spiritual refinement by rededicating one’s self to God the creator of the

that are fundamental to the nation, the Oba and his family the people and their families, the

prayers for the Edionwere to rule, prayers to win wars and to conquer the enemies of the Oba, the Benin nation and prayers for

cou pra Em pra T Em

warriors, men, women, children, our loved ones the ancestors, our guardian angels (Ehi), people who are sick, who are poor, the widows particularly whose husbands died in war in defence of Benin nation, young boys, young girls, prayers to drive out evil spirits Esu) and resist the evil doers in the land. Prayers for food, good harvest, for rain, and sun to make our crops grow in the farm. Prayers for pregnant women, prayers for orphanages, prayers for the Oba to have wisdom to rule,

chiefs and their families. Through a highly composed abstinence and abstention, a prayer timed, and focused on vital issues deliberately agreed upon that there will be a spiritual reward of what one seeks. There could be revelations and other spiritual breakthrough the participants may notice during their 90 days prayers with the Oba in the Palace. They were not allowed to go home to see their families, neither were they allowed to have meetings or discussions with their Palace chiefs

fro Ma the eng in wi per “Eg -A It all som priv chi No and cou wa som per wh dur

Oba palace

universe, and to be in such position spiritually, one needs to refrain, suspend, restrain, have no hand or play no part in certain unholy things that might jeopardize the overall intention of the Ague or lent being performed. Some contacts of Point Prayers SOME vital issues

“Ague in Benin, was regarded as a time for chastity, starvation, not eating one’s food at regular times (thrice or twice) daily. But during Ague in Benin one can only eat once a day. It could be at 5a.m or 6p.m till the next day.”


n In Ancient Benin

unterparts unless at ayer session at ‘Eguae maton’ evening ayers council hail. The word “Eguae maton” was derived

who were performing the Ague Ceremony. There was purification ceremonies performed almost every day to ward off evil spirit in the

om the word “Evening ass” Emasi Ason in e ancient time. It still gaged the Oba today the palace privately th some chiefs rforming some rites at guae Ematon” Emasi Ason Evening Mass. t was the Oba that was owed to attend to me pressing issues vately with some high iefs from Eghaevbo ore, Eghaevbo Nogbe d the Ewaise palace uncil of state. This as when there were me sacrifices to be rformed immediately hich were revealed ring prayers by those

nation. The purification ceremonies were the burning of Oziya (incense) burnt palm fronds (one) ashes, (Afo) leaves and egg shells which were said to drive out evil spirits from the vicinity. During Ague season in Benin, purification rites were performed by all chiefs in Benin in their various houses at every nine days. The burning of Oziya incens was very important in the Ague season or ceremony. It was also forbidden to allow those who had eaten new yarn to take

part in Ague ceremony. One must be in a state of good health, purity and physically strong enough to take part in Ague Lenten ceremony. It was not an easy task to absten, keep off from, not to go near, keep one’s distance, keep aloof, or abeyance from certain inculcated habits or activities, or pleasures that we have been used to since our birth. During Ague ceremony in the Oba Palace, participants were not allowed to eat any food cooked by women nor to involve in love affairs with women. It was time to renown all earthly pleasures and be in a state of spiritual chastity. It was a period of self denial, self restriction prohibition and renunciation from all pleasurable habits. It was a time of seclusion and isolation of oneself from all social activities whatsoever. This was why some palace people were selected exclusively to remain in the Oba palace for prayers as long as the Ague continues. During Ague ceremony, some Dukes (Enigie) and some chiefs in the Empire could also perform theirs in their various dukedoms, towns and villages. These were not as

intensive as that performed by the Oba in the palace which was a total abstention. The Enigie or chiefs could break theirs, because they can go to farm, attend to some important visitors and other traditional activities in the society. Though those performing with the Oba do not come out but their children, wives slaves, servants worked in (their farms otherwise they would be in hunger when they return from Ague ceremony. The period of Ague ceremony in ancient Benin fell on January to March, a period when farmers clear their bush, fell the trees, burnt them and plant crops. Any one participating in Ague Ceremony without people, sons, wives servants or slaves would definitely miss farming period. This was why those attending the Holy Mission must be prepared for it and worthy for it. Award of Medals (Umanague At the end of Ague ceremony in ancient Benin there was joy and happiness that they have completed the Lenten ceremony successfully. The Oba was praised by the Benin nation — wine and gifts of food are brought to the palace

from all parts of the kingdom. Before the participants depart to their various homes, they were honoured and awarded by given them medals known as ‘UMANAGUE’. It was a national call to duty and honour in Benin to be decorated by the Oba with the Umanague medal after the completion of Ague ceremony. The participants could then go home with their Umanague medals. They were highly welcomed to their societies. There were some chiefs who may perform Ague ceremony more than once in their life time. They wore the Umanague’ medals on some important occasions in Benin. It was a national honour in the ancient Benin when chiefs were decorated with Umanague medals. It was an identification that symbolized a call to prayer, an emblem of indication for celebration of heroism. Umanague was a badge or medal of merit and rank in Benin because most chiefs or people, who had it, were promoted to the next rank of chieftaincy title by the Oba. It was an honour well deserved and earned. Apart from Umanague, some chiefs were given wives, slaves, servants and

other gifts as a reward for meritorious service. The Umanague medals were made by the Igun eronmwon bronze casters on the order of the Oba of Benin. Wearing Umanageue in the ancient Benin till the reign of Oba Ovonramwç was a significant and an embodiment of impressive show of good record worthy of emulation. It was this Lenten or Ague ceremony that Oba Ovonramwç was involved that he could not come out to attend to Phillips Party in January 1897 that sparked off the Benin Massacre when some white men were killed at Ugbine. This led to Benin Punitive expediting and Benin Empire was sacked by the British and exiled Oba Ovonramwe to Calabar. There he lived for seventeen years and died in 1914. The British conquest of Benin kingdom ended the great spiritual annual celebration of Ague which lasted for 400 years started by Oba Esigie 1504 and ended by Ovonramwe in 1897.. Its performance today by the Oba is not as serious as it was done in the ancient times. It is still performed by the Oba in a low key. After the low key Ague Ceremony before new yam is eaten in the palace.

“It was this Lenten or Ague ceremony that Oba Ovonramwç was involved that he could not come out to attend to Phillips Party in January 1897 that sparked off the Benin Massacre when some white men were killed at Ugbine.”

Art Alive

With Francis U. Odupute

Govt Should Give Subvention For Art Promotion -Bruce Onobrakpeya Iconical and quintisential Nigerian contemporary Art master, Dr. Bruce Onobrakpeya, on February 22, 2014, received The Sun Lifetime Achievement Award 2013, for his numerous contributions to Art and creativity in Nigeria. Our Arts Editor, Francis Odupute, met with him recently at the 16th Harmattan Workshop in Agbarho-Otor, Delta State, where the famous Artist harped on the need for government’s financial support of Visual Art Promotion in Nigeria. Excerpts:

*May we meet you sir? Well, I’m Bruce Onobrakpeya. I am the chairman of Bruce Onobrakpeya Foundation (BOF). What you see here is a dream, a vision I had many years ago, because I have attended similar institutions, both in Nigeria and abroad, and going back to sixteen to seventeen years now, we have been coming here, sometimes once or twice a year, some times several times a year, just to practice Art in order to make sure that both professionals and beginners in the Art grew and that the Art of the country takes preeminence, takes a very, very noble place that our Art in the past has put Nigeria. So, what you see now is just an afternoon when someone from outside, from a tertiary institution, has come to interact with us who are an informal education system. So that is we and that is where we are.

started on the 23rd of February and we’re ending on the 7th of March.

*We learnt that the workshop is ending tomorrow. It has been on for how many days now and how has it been? Well, it’s usually two weeks workshop; when we have money, we can do several sessions but this session is divided into two, two weeks. We

* On publicity... Well, you see, what is happening is that we had some help from the Ford Foundation two years after we started. But Ford Foundation later changed their policy and right now we don’t have any financial partner. We have people who give us

*So far what do you think is the response of people and their reactions to this workshop? Oh well, people have been very enthusiastic, I mean very enthusiastic people; they like what they see here very much...what they do here very much. What is interesting is that we have people who have been coming here within the last eight, nine years. They have been coming here every time we have this workshop. And then we have even new people. And when you move round the entire structure here you see people working and working with all zeal, they are very much interested, and in fact when it is time for us to go, people don’t want to go, because they still want to work. So, that is this place.


Bruce Onobrakpeya advice, who encourage us, but real financial partners we don’t have now. And so if we take more than we have now, it’s not possible for us to carter for because the fees they pay is heavily subsidized by BOF, and so the more people come in here the more money we have to find to subsidize them, so for us it becomes economical to keep the number down as it is now until we find partners who will be supporting us financially. *This kind of initiative is complimenting Government’s effort in empowering the youths economically. In what

way do you think the government can be of help to this project? Well, in plenty ways. …the government should give us outright subventions. Subventions; give us money to help run the place—that’s the primary thing. And then give us money also to develop the structures. For instance, you are here, this make-shift library, you will see what we called hall, but you will see the main building there and we have chalets where the people stay. Now we have acquired land on the other side; we need money to build it, to put proper workshop, to build a

conference hall, to build a library and to build chalets so that we can make sure that this place as it is, can be operational for all year round. But at least, six months of the year, it’s active. If we get the money this place will be operational all the year round in artistic learning, artistic production and so on. Although right now, this premise is open all year round. Because we have works there in the gallery that people come to see; they draw people into this town. Tourists come to see those works, schoolchildren come in when we’re not here, to see these works and other people; filmmakers, musicians and so no use our premises, Church groups, young people and so on they use the premises for picnic. So the place is useful all year round, but we want the workshop situation itself to be active all the year round. *Assuming other like minds, NGOs or artist bodies want to partner with you on mutually benefiting terms, in what ways can they do that? Well, they come and then we share the responsibilities, they help financially and now and again they help us in our developments and their names will be amplified and… *Recently you were given a national award. Many people

said it was a well-deserved award. What is your feeling about it all? First of all, I thank God, His work in my life; He’s given me talent which he has helped me to develop. And then I thank my colleagues, other artists, for whom I earned the award. I thank members of my family who have stood before me all along, helping me to work and don’t grudge me if the money we should use for family is put here [BOF]. I thank them. Also I thank the Nigerian environment, particularly the Lagos environment where I’m staying for very, very many years; and the Lagos environment has been very, very good in putting me in… not distracting me from the direction of artistic creativity. I thank the media people who have amplified what I have created and made a lot of people know about Art and have brought in new value into the Art. *Sir, how can this award spur you up to greater heights in promoting Art? Well, the spurring is what you see now. I have a new director. The director has been working for two years and I can safely stay away now and let that director work without my coming here. But because of this award and because of the interest that I have for Art promotion in Nigeria, I still come around to make one input or the other.

Art And Culture

GREAT Benin and its treasures gobbled up with eye for glory and for natural resources and markets, but the quests for domination and control by the European world led to the agony when Benin no Longer held the prominence in the public eye that was before. The history of Benin, its art and culture had attracted the attention of anthropologist and historian; and the art of Benin ceased to be regarded as primitive and became important item after its treasures had been looted by the British invaders; especially in 1897. Almost all the objects of Benin art were produced in Benin City. The fame of Benin rests on the works of traditional art produced by the guilds of master craftsmen who lived in Benin City, though some works of art were made in the county of the Benin Kingdom, the Edo speaking people. Benin City has always been the focal point of the kingdom and of the domination of its provinces or county. The European discovered Benin in 1485 A.D by John Affonso d Aveiro who first came to Benin City and introduce coconut (Ivin-ebo). Another Portuguese traveler, Ruy de Sequeira brought Benin in contact with the Europe and for the effects these contacts produced. The Portuguese seemed to have arrived on the scene, just at the time when Benin power was at its greatest. Their coming is said to have acted as a catalyst, leading to the period when the finest of all the many works of Benin art were produced. The fame of Benin art rests with the great works of bronze casting, which the Portuguese have done so much to stimulate by providing quantity of Brass for Benin Artists. The carvers too were greatly affected by


Great Benin Guilds Of Master Craftmen

Portuguese contact by the few Ivory of great beauty and skill which survive and are probably for the traditional stream of Benin culture. The Portuguese found that each craft has its own section of the town — all the leather workers in one group, all the weavers in another, the drum-makers in another, the brass smiths and ivory carvers in others and so on. There were forty such guilds quarters in the town, each with its trade association with its chiefs and lesser ranks. The Europeans found that the Centre of Benin Life is the Oba Palace. Many of the Master Craftsmen, such as the Bronze casters or the carvers of wood, Ivory, could only be in the service. Trade with people from outside Benin only went on with the Oba permission and under the control of palace officials. The Ivory, Leopard Skins, peppers, palm Kernels and coral beads were supervised by the town Chiefs who had their palaces outside the wallsmoats of Benin City. The outside world became aware of the art in Great Benin. The Europeans studied at and sought to take part in its growth by supplying raw materials, the people would accept in exchange for the craftsmanship. Iron and brass were the main metals that were known in Great Benin. Iron developed first. When this source became exhausted, the people depended on exchange of raw materials for finished goods. There was a traditional account that Ilah people of the Niger, now in Delta State became prominent trading Centre, because it

was a supply depot for Iron, thus Iron working took two stages, first the making of the iron pieces

came, they were supplying iron slag as exchange commodities for spices, such the Benin Pepper.

methods. Some Iron smiths grained experience in Brass-Casting industry. Brass Casting was tied to

role in influencing the affairs of the living have been part of Benin belief and was symbolized in the making of the memorial heads to the sequence of Benin bronze heads. The technology of Bronze-working was introduced in Oba Oguola’s reign.

from the Ore-Iron smelting, then the manufacturing of tools and weapons from the piecesIron smith or Blacksmithing. The brittle Iron was unsuitable for tools and weapons. The malleable iron was soft and pliable, useful for making decorative articles, strong and malleable tools and weapons. The flexible was useful for twist tools and weapons. When the Portuguese

Iron working, smiting was significantly developed at Ugboha, Eyaennugie, Adaha and Uselu. These were very prominent in Iron working development and setting up of the Iron working Guilds of master Craftsmen. Some varieties of Metallic elements came to Great Benin. The most prominent were Zinc or tin Ore-Oze and brassEronmwon and took root through the lost-wax

the Fortune of Ughoron, and therefore limited to the decoration of the ancestral shrines, (Oze i keke, eronmwon I guehun) Tin never rot, Brass never decay. It is to Ogiso Ere reign that the foundation of the guilds of Carvers, and carpenters were credited, recognized as artists working in wood and Ivory, later as Craftsmen Producing Utensils of every day use. Recognition of Ancestral

Brass casting was one of the way in which a people who did not have the skills of reading and writing in olden days, keep a record of their past. A whole industry of bronze workers and Ivory carvers worked for centuries as master craftsmen who had some parts to play in the religious ceremonies of Great Benin Guilds of Master Craftsmen, in Culture.

“There were forty such guilds quarters in the town, each with its trade association with its chiefs and lesser ranks. The Europeans found that the Centre of Benin Life is the Oba Palace. Many of the Master Craftsmen, such as the Bronze casters or the carvers of wood, Ivory, could only be in the service.”

FEMINIQUE When Love Nest Becomes Death Trap

With IJEOMA UMEH email: Tel: 08182382839

*Beware! Men Are Likely To Die In Bed! I WAS a teenager, quite attractive to behold, and churning the irresistible endowments of a freshly budding flower when an ‘old soldier’, our high-rung neighbour whose high-rise home stood on the mouth of Vandyke Street in Makurdi, Benue State where I grew up, approached my guardians and in the characteristic heady and domineering manner of old soldiers, asked to add me to his harem (as at that time, we were counting four sit-athome wives and three serious concubines who had kids for him more than the legal wives did. His maneuvres had gone beyond the usual playful mannerisms of the men in the neighbourhood who, right from when we were still kids, teased little girls and referred to every beautiful one of us as ‘my wife’. Old soldier was in charge of virtually all the contracts that flowed from the government house, so they said he was a major shareholder in several companies and he had money to throw around! All the women in his life drove big cars and whenever the concubines stormed the street, everyone came out to peep at them and see how they were decked in the latest fashion accessories. A philanthropist, old soldier warmed his way into the hearts of his neighbours by his ‘good deeds’, even if he did them while jealously shielding his motives, which according to ‘well-meaning’ adults, were for him to either gain the needed trust from his beneficiaries, or to make them relax and then he swooped on them like a hawk, taking their young wives, innocent daughters or trespassing on a long coveted property and claiming ownership. There was a major incident

I remembered vividly: old soldier installed two transformers in an area and the following week his name was announced as the city electrification director in a government parastatal; one month later, the two transformers were removed and mounted elsewhere, leaving the area in darkness! We later learnt he wanted a public field in the area to build carwash on, and thought he would get it by mounting the transformers in the area and winning the hearts of the elders, when it failed, he felt cheated and used his ‘good offices’ as director of electrification to remove the transformers. Old soldier was that kind of man. His vast and sprawling estates were garages of sort; he would give one woman or in-laws cars today, the following week he had retrieved them because the documents were in his possession and he was a retired soldier, with all the force of arms and foot soldiers still under his command. He would send his boys to beat up anyone who messed up with him, and good enough, he would take the victim to the military base hospital. We had heard about several casualties, but no one could verify them. The old man also had private cells in his expansive home and those who hazarded a guess swore that he kept his offenders the same place where he kept his domestic creatures, snakes and baboons inclusive! That is speaking mildly of what I could remember about old solider. He was the first major suitor I had after the ‘boys’. And he was damned serious! He began by extending his usual good hands of fellowship to my guardians – and my unsuspecting guardians though elitist themselves, felt it was okay having the

protection that old soldier’s friendship offered, not until I blew the lid open: I told them that old soldier had me

beautiful as Cinderella! Old soldier saw the royal potentials in me and desired to tap it before the younger

soldier one cool evening, part of it read: “… thank you for everything you have done for me and my family, under the sun. God sees everything and he alone would reward you. I

cornered to and from school, bought me gifts which I showed them; sent a customized desk and chair to my class with my name embossed on it and gave me more money than I could afford to spend all within one week! I recall my brother-in-law’s ringing, ironical laughter that was laced with the pain of reality. I recall my elder sister looking like, “why didn’t I think about that?” It wasn’t their fault; they didn’t have teen daughters; being a ‘churcheous’ woman herself, old soldier knew that my elder sister was not to be coveted whether as a wife or as concubine; and it was unusual for him to play second fiddle; that is going for a girl that was more or less a maid, but… Cinderella was a maid before she became a princess, wasn’t she? I was as

hawks, the boys, had a chance! Well, I knew my guardians were in a dilemma. If, considering the gestures they had received before I even knew it, and old soldier did not succeed in having me; events could record fatalities. The old man was that brutish! He scared those who knew him! I never knew my guardians were alreading benefiting from his grace the way it eventually appeared, benefits that I thought were mutual until the bubbles burst. So, what did I do? I wrote a small note and sent it to old

know I will never marry you, because the day I do, you will surely die, after all the kindness you have shown to me and my family and the lives of others you have touched everywhere and those still awaiting your graces. Please, don’t think about marrying me or keeping me as your concubine, or any young girl my age for that matter. Most of them I know are special children. If you relate with them sexually, you will surely die. Thank you old soldier”. That same evening old soldier knocked on our door and I heard him in warm low-

“It wasn’t their fault; they didn’t have teen daughters; being a ‘churcheous’ woman herself, old soldier knew that my elder sister was unconvertible whether as a wife or as concubine; and it was unusual for him to play second fiddle; that is going for a girl that was more or less a maid, but… Cinderella was a maid before she became a princess, wasn’t she?”

tonned conversation with my brother-in-law. I heard him say, “No problem at all. All correct, sir! Just remain my family friend, my good friend. Everything is okay.

No problem at all”, and while he passed by me, I saw the fear in his eyes. The following morning there were uproars in his home as he sent two of his live-in concubines and his youngest wife away. He said they were too young for him. I wish our Nigerian lover men; those old men in their 70s would learn from old soldier and stop flexing muscles with girls young enough to be their grand and great grand daughters. Our ladies should also let old things pass away! This is the time of revival. We should all catch the bug!

Words On Marble Quote me! It is time, when a man approaches a lady for a sex romp, she should demand to see his medical certificate of fitness whether she be a free woman or on the trade stable - Grace Ijeoma Umeh A 70-year-old man dies after a sex romp! That is no news; even younger men with defective hearts have equally died on round one! - Grace Ijeoma Umeh I have realized that the better life is the life of abstinence or censorship to the one man whom even if he dies in your bed, it won’t make headline news! - Grace Ijeoma Umeh

View Point

Why Itulah Opposed Alteration Of Nigeria Motto

A Bill for an Act to Alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) by changing the motto of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from “Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress” to “Justice and Equity, Peace and Progress was raised on the floor of the house by Hon Chris Azubogu representing Nnewi North/ Nnewi South/Ekwusigo constituency of Anambra State. In his argument Hon Azubogu said Changing the Motto to read Justice and Equity, Peace and Progress will create a strong political will which will lead to achieving political objectives in Nigeria and for Other Related Matters. Hon Friday Obomezele Itulah (Esan North East Constituency, Edo State) was among the Lawmakers that spoke against the changing of the motto which eventually led to the stepping down of the Bill by the speaker of the House Rt Hon Aminu Tambuwal Waziri who presided over the plenary section. Speaking with The NIGERIAN OBSERVER Nass correspondent, Hon Itulah said that he didn’t support the propose amendment to the Constitution because to him, at independence, the national pursuit was captured in the words of “Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress and that at 53 years, after independence Nigeria cannot beat it’s chest and say it has achieved this laudable objective. “We cannot say for example that we have completely attained Unity and Faith and all our actions not in any way suggest faith in this entity call Nigeria and this is what has led to the National Conference that is in place. It is out to bring various diverse areas of interest you can imagine to come together so that we can talk and agree on how we can live together as a nation”. “Today you find insurgent fighting in every part of the North saying that they want

some part of the country to be under Sharia Law. This has shown a lot of things, that the Amalgamation of 1914 did not go down well with everybody. So that lofty idea of Unity and Faith, I there dare it has not been achieved and what that Bill was proposed to do was to remove this one, in its place substitute it with Justice and Equity and that to me is not acceptable, and I say capital NO to that because if we are unable to obtain that and someone has come to say that there is no need for this again, it can be understandable, but that is not the case here. What he is suggesting which is Justice and equity to me are necessary ingredients to attainment of peace. Without justice you do not have peace, without equity you cannot have peace, so ability to make peace to me will mean that the ingredients of justice and equity are already attained.” There was need for the motto to remain as since the country is yet to attain Unity and Faith. This he said as he compared Nigeria to United States of America whose citizens have faith in their country, as every American sees another America man, as a brother and they are united likewise the man from New York also sees his counterpart in California as the same American, as well as having same Passport and living in harmony without fighting each other. “There is no country that does not have problem, even the America we are talking about which democracy is more than 200 years old, fought the American civil war to be able to come together as a nation. But what differentiates America from us is that most people that make up American nation are people who suffered oppression in their previous places and moved towards the free land where they later came together. They found a common denominator that now lives

the head and the right limb belongs to the man who owns the dog because he was the one who scared the animal out before it was shot. While the hunter

of justice and equity. So one does not need to put up a motion that had already said its national pursuit is Peace, justice and equity, it amount to repeating oneself in different tone and as long as the nation is unable to attain this laudable objective,

therefore gets the ribs and the neck of the animal. Then the rest people who were part of the game share the rest and everybody goes home satisfied. That is the local way of explaining what justice is and when you talk about equity, it is you doing the right thing as well as doing it to one another. He further explained that when this was done, that Peace will naturally come in the aftermath of the pursuit

Nigeria cannot do away with it. “We cannot beat our chest and say we are united as a nation. Now you have in northern political zone in the country where people are fighting and killing everybody and they say the purpose of their fighting is to force government to declare Sharia law in the 14 Northern states of the country. That goes to show that we are not united in a purpose

By EDITH IMOISILI among them. “Lets move away from far away America to our neighbor here in Ghana, you will be surprise that in Ghana you have about 50%

Hon. Friday Itulah

Muslims as we have over 50% Christian and yet the issue of religion is never a problem. There in their election they use who so ever they want, not based on religion, or political party. That is our pursuit that we are able to have Unity and Faith and we have Peace and Progress. When you ask me what is my hobby, I will tell you that it is cooking and hunting. So when you go hunting and you are able to kill a game,

because Nigeria is a secular state and we are not supposed to be led by any particular religion. Nigeria was not like this, we have people who were living separately, who have different cultures and the Europeans came after the Berlin Conference and apportioned Africa. They said you take this, you take one and they began to administer the area. Their main interest was to find products for their own industries during the industrial revolution until later they said why don’t we just take over these people, so that when colonialism came to be. Today we have imperialism. We have people who didn’t really have common ancestral background, there was really nothing common among us, we were just brought together in one entity called a nation and then you found out you cannot pretend for ever. You have people under dominion, with time they came to realize this and start to say why am I not free, why should I live like this and then, this agitation started. I will agree that the civilian leadership had their challenges, but what have they not done after independence, the military took over and the soldiers did not let the civilians continue, they said the leaders were corrupt and that they were coming to check the corruption. But what happened? Did they not come out worse than the leaders they accused of being corrupt? Check the intervention by the military, will you say that the military has been better than civilian regime? It is a common knowledge that we have some differences, but we must learn to live together as one indivisible nation.

“We cannot beat our chest and say we are united as a nation. Now you have in northern political zone in the country where people are fighting and killing everybody and they say the purpose of their fighting is to force government to declare Sharia law in the 14 Northern states of the country.”


Idolatrous Celebrations In Christianity


WHAT you are about to read in this publication is inspired by the Spirit of Truth, to correct all the erroneous idolatrous celebrations prevalent in some churches and amongst some Christians, to reprove the church of wrong doctrines, wherever they exist, and to instruct Churches to do the right thing, so that the Church can be made ready for the rapture. Some of these erroneous and idolatrous celebrations include amongst others, the observance of days, months, times and years, which Apostle Paul referred to as the weak and beggarly elements, which have plunged most Christians and some churches into bondage. In Galatians.4:9-10, Paul lamented, “But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage. YE OBSERVE DAYS AND MONTHS, AND TIMES, AND YEARS.” These aforementioned seasons of the year, are often accompanied by worldly celebrations, revellings, banquettings, drunkenness, and all sorts of immoral practices. Christmas celebrations, Easter celebrations, New Year celebrations, Jubilee celebration, Yearly (Annual) thanksgiving celebrations, birth-day celebrations, Valentine day celebrations, are some of these beggarly elements. These days, months, times, and years, are not to be observed by heaven- bound Christians. Jesus Christ never in His life time observed the day of His birth, talkless of celebrating it: neither did any of His followers, disciples or apostles observe the day or month, or year of their birth. God, in His wisdom kept the exact day of the birth of Jesus, from mankind, because God knew the hearts of all men, that men would have idolized the day. Even as at that, the devil, that deceiveth the whole world, yet, set aside a fictitious date that has no biblical proof under the guise of “Christmas”, which is widely celebrated to-day. Christmas celebration is the worship of the devil himself. “Christmas” has nothing to do with Jesus Christ. This is what Apostle Paul, called another Jesus, another spirit, the spirit of Xmas season as written in 2 Corinthians.11:3-4. The devil that deceives the whole world has deceived and corrupted the minds of Christians, all over the world to believe in the ‘Jesus’ of “Christmas” season. There is nowhere in the bible where Jesus Christ commanded Christians to remember Him, by observing the “date” of His birth, which of course is unknown. The only thing Jesus commanded all Christians to do in remembrance of Him is the Institution of the LORD’S SUPPER, in 1 Corinthians.11:24-26. This also applies to individual birth-day celebrations prevalent amongst Christians. It is not a “Day” to be remembered and observed by Christians who have known the Truth and are heaven-conscious. It is the day, we were conceived in sin in our mothers’ wombs which can be found written in Psalm.51:5, “BEHOLD I WAS SHAPEN IN INIQUITY, AND IN SIN DID MY MOTHER CONCEIVE ME.” This explains why Job and prophet Jeremiah regretted the day of their birth, and even cursed it – “CURSED BE THE DAY wherein I WAS BORN: LET NOT THE DAY WHEREIN MY MOTHER BARE ME BE BLESSED” – Jeremiah.20:14. In Ecclesiastes.7:1, the Preacher, summarized it all by saying, “A good name is better than precious ointment; and THE DAY OF DEATH THAN THE DAY OF ONE’S BIRTH. It is not a day to be remembered, or to be observed by Christians. If any day is to be remembered at all, it is the day we were born again, even then it should not be with feasting. The two Kings in the bible, who observed the days of their birth, were pagan kings and the devil used them to commit murder. These two pagan kings, king Pharaoh of Egypt, who killed his chief baker, by hanging, and king Herod, who ordered the killing of John the Baptist, during these “birth-day” celebrations. The devil

who is a murderer, was the master of ceremonies in these two birth-day celebrations, and he will always be the master of ceremonies in any birth-day celebration, to kill the souls of careless Christians, who observe and celebrate the days of their birth. You can read the stories of these pagan kings in Genesis.40:20-22, and Mark.6:21-28. Another variation of idolatrous celebrations amongst Christians, is observing the day, known as Valentine’s Day. This is one of the pagan holidays that have their origin from Ancient Babylon. The Queen of Heaven (the Moon-goddess of sexual passion) is the brain behind this celebration. The devil, through the Queen of heaven, plays on man’s basic desire to be loved, to lure man into this bondage. Those who are in search of erotic love, and affection become “victims” of this Queen of heaven during this celebration which has nothing to do with Christianity at all. It is a “pagan” holiday and celebration, bedeviled with all sorts of sinful sexual lusts and sexual perversions especially amongst youths. And so, ministers of

God or churches, or Christians, who partake in the celebration of this day, are under God’s wrath. They are in bondage to satan, through this idolatrous festive season. They are possessed of another spirit – the spirit of the ‘Queen of Heaven’, and of Cupid (Nimrod), the spirit of lustful desire. Easter season is another “beggarly” element to which Christians all over the world, have been deceived by satan into believing that it is the celebration of the day of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is an erroneous belief and a doctrine of the devil. First and foremost, the word ‘Easter’ is a pagan name of Chaldean origin. It is usually pronounced “Astarte or Ishtar”. It is one of the titles of the Queen of Heaven, the moon-goddess, worshipped in Ancient

“Our Lord Jesus Christ demonstrated his generosity by feeding the hungry crowd. At first, the disciples of Jesus taught the best way to handle a hungry crowd was by sending them away. Instead of sending the hungry crowd away with empty stomach Jesus ordered his disciples, saying, “You give them something to eat.” The disciples could not believe it. For them it was impossible to feed such number of people in such a lonely place. They expressed their surprise saying, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish – unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” Jesus told his disciples “Make them sit down in companies, about fifty each.”


REV. OLU GEORGE Babylon. It has nothing to do with Christianity. Easter, Christmas, Lady day, Lent, and other Babylonian festivals were all borrowed from the Mystery Babylon, a religious system, established by satan, himself. And they were all observed in Ancient Babylon, centuries before Christ. None of them has anything to do with Christ, or Christianity. Astarte, or Ishtar is also called Ashtoreth in the Old Testament. The worship of this woman, this idol goddess, by Israel, incurred the wrath of God, as can be found in Judges.2:1314, “And they forsook the Lord and served BAAL AND ASHTAROTH. And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.” The characteristic feature of this pagan celebration, in Ancient Babylon was the pouring out of libations and the making of “CAKES”, to Ishtar, the Queen of Heaven. These ‘cakes’ were small, round engraved with the sign of the cross which indicated the sign of life, according to Ancient Babylonian mysteries. Contrary to the pagan Babylonian

teaching, this practice, invites the anger of God as we find in Jeremiah.7:18, which reads “The children gather wood and the fathers kindle the fire and the women knead their dough, to make CAKES to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings to other ‘gods’, that they may provoke me to anger.” In Acts.12:1 – 25, where the word Easter (Ishtar ) featured, it was not the early Church, that was observing this day. The Christians were being persecuted by the pagan king Herod, who had already killed James, but detained Peter in the prison intending to kill him, after he, (king Herod) and all the pagans in his domain, had finished their “Ishtar” celebration. The disciples were scattered, while others were gathered praying in the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark. This persecution of Christians, happened in the days of unleavened bread, observed amongst the Jews, some of whom were even pleased that the Christians in the early church, were being persecuted, and killed by Herod.EASTER (ISHTAR) celebration which is of Ancient pagan Babylon now inherited by Modern Babylon has nothing to do with the death and the glorious Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The voice of Jesus is the voice of the Holy Spirit otherwise known as the Spirit of Truth, who inspired the whole of the scriptures from Genesis to Revelation. In 2 Timothy.3:16, it is written “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” “EVERY ONE THAT is of THE TRUTH HEARETH MY VOICE.” As spoken by Jesus Christ in John 18:37. COURTESY:REV. OLU GEORGE CHRISTIAN GOSPEL CHURCH (The Truth Centre) BENIN CITY. Edo State


With Rev. Fr. John Damian Adizie, OCD Mobile: +2348076635886 Email:

The Holy Week Celebrations

YOU must have heard about the Christian idea of Holy Week, a week before Easter Sunday. Have you ever asked yourself ‘What makes this week holy?’ what is special about holy week? Is this week the same as every other week of the year? If it is a special week, as most Christians claim, what makes this week special and different from every other weeks of the year? These are some of the issues we shall consider in today’s Lenten reflection as the Christians all over the world prepares to celebrate the 2014 holy week. Holy Week is a week when Christians, especially the Orthodox Christians, remember the last week of Jesus’ life here on earth. It is the most important time in the Christian calendar. Holy Week marks the end of the Lenten season. It ushers in the Easter season. During Holy Week there are many church services, liturgical readings and processions. It was during this period of Holy Week that our Lord Jesus Christ instituted the essential sacraments in the Church: for instance the sacrament of Holy Orders will be celebrated on Holy Thursday during the Chrism Mass; the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist was instituted on the same day during the Mass of the Last Supper. Whereas the sacrament of baptism will be celebrated and renewed on Holy Saturday night, during the Easter Vigil. Each blessed day of the holy week is special and has something unique to offer. The holy week begins with the Passion Sunday or what is generally referred to as Palm Sunday. The last three days of the holy week is the peak of the Holy Week and is popularly known as the Triduum which comprises of Holy Thursday, also known as Mundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. These were actually the three most important days in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. On Holy Thursday Jesus ate his last supper with his disciples, on Good Friday he was crucified and on Holy

Saturday that is the Easter Vigil he rose triumphantly from the dead. Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday marks the beginning of the Holy Week. It is a day set aside to commemorate the entrance of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, where he accomplished his paschal mystery. This Sunday is called palm Sunday because it is on this day that Christians commemorates what happened when Jesus entered Jerusalem. He was received with palm leaves or other branches such as the olive branches. The passage that depicts this celebration is the story of the triumphant entry into Jerusalem taken from the Gospel of Matthew 21:1-11. according to this passage when Jesus drew near to Jerusalem, to the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples to Go into the village, there they will find an ass tied, and a colt with her; “untie them and bring them to me.” He instructed them. The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed. They brought the ass and the colt, and put their garments on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowd that followed him shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest! And when he entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee. This is exactly what the Christians commemorate every Palm Sunday. The palm braches were used to usher Jesus into Jerusalem. At the beginning of the Mass the palm branches are blessed. This blessing of palm ceremony are preferably held outside the church includes the reading of the above Gospel account of how Jesus rode into Jerusalem humbly on a donkey. This reminds us of a Davidic victory procession, and how people placed palms on the ground

in front of him. After this blessing the palms, the faithful are encouraged to go home with the blessed palm branches. Just as Jesus was received with palm branches it is our belief that as we take this palm into our various homes we are receiving Jesus into our families. This palm branches will remain in the Christian home until next year Ash Wednesday

Jesus Christ into Jerusalem were he accomplished his Pascal mystery. With this solemn entrance of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, he begins his journey to the cross. There are two major celebrations on Holy Thursday: The chrism mass and the Lord’s Supper. It is at the Chrism Mass that priests, in union with their

Christ to his disciples is the highest expression of love. Jesus told his followers, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay his life for his friends” (John 15:12,13). Even before the Passover meal Jesus expressed his love for his disciples in a

when they will all be submitted back to Church. The ashes from this palm branches is what Christians usually receive on Ash Wednesday. What a rich tradition! After the blessing of the palm, there is usually a procession or solemn entrance into the church, with the participants holding the blessed branches in their hands. The Mass itself includes a reading of the Passion, the narrative of Jesus’ capture, sufferings and death, as recounted in one of the Synoptic Gospels. This Palm Sunday celebration ushers our Lord

Bishop, renew their priestly vows. The Chrism Mass is concelebrated by the Bishop and his priests. This concelebration is a sign of the communion between the priests and their bishop. It is also at the Chrism Mass that the various oil which are used for Sacraments, especially the oil of catechumens and the oil of chrism are blessed by the Bishop. The Mass of the Lord’s Supper is usually celebrated in the evening of Holy Thursday. At this Mass Jesus gave himself to his disciples under the form of Bread and Wine. This self-giving of

more concrete way. He did what masters could not do. He took water in a bow and washed the feet of his disciples. After washing their feet, he asked them, “Do you know what I have done for you? You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you” (John 13:1-15). This is indeed the highest expression of love. No one in the history of humanity has ever done this. Under

normal circumstance, no one has ever and will ever wash the feet of his disciples. Jesus did it to prove his love for us. The night after the Last Supper is a solemn night. It is a night of keeping watch with Christ Jesus. This was the very night Jesus took with him Peter, James and John and they went to a place which is called Gethsemane. It was there he told his disciples, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch” (Mark 14:32-34). This night is therefore a night of watch keeping. Jesus prayed three times asking God to remove the cup of suffering, if possible; but also added, “…yet not what I will, but what thou wilt” (Mark 14:36). That same Thursday night immediately after the prayer, Judas came with crowds who came with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders and they got Jesus arrested. Judas, one of his disciples actually use kiss to betray Jesus. He told the crowd, “The one I shall kiss is the man; seize him and lead him away under guard” (Mark 14:44). That was exactly what he did. He came to Jesus and said, “Master!” and he kissed him.” Jesus was then taken away to be crucified. The next day, which is Good Friday, was the day Jesus was crucified. It is a day of sober reflection; a day of fasting and abstinence. It is a day to reflect on the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. This reflection is done with the fourteen Stations of the Cross and the Passion narration. Next week Friday, we shall examine critically why this very day that Jesus was crucified was referred to as Good Friday: What is even good about ‘Good Friday’? For now, I invite you my dear reader to avail yourself for this Holy Week celebration. You have a lot to gain just as St. Paul wrote, As you participate fully in this year’s Pascal Mystery celebration God will richly bless you and it shall be well with you in Jesus name - Amen!



With deep sorrow, the Governing Council, Management, Staff and Students of Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi regret to announce the untimely death of their colleague and friend, Late MR. IRIASE ABIODUN JAMES, who died on Wednesday, 26th March, 2014. He was until his death, a Principal Technical Officer I in the Works and Maintenance Department, Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon gives a press conference at the Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv recently.

Al-Jazeera Journalists Back In Court

CAIRO - Three AlJazeera journalists were back in court yesterday over their alleged links with the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood, with Amnesty International denouncing their detention of more than 100 days. The hearing is the fifth in a trial which has sparked an international outcry and fuelled fears of a media crackdown by the militaryinstalled authorities since the army deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July. The authorities have been incensed by Qatar-based AlJazeera’s coverage of their

crackdown on Morsi supporters which, according to Amnesty, has seen more than 1,400 people killed and thousands jailed. In the last hearing on March 31, the court rejected a bail plea by Australian journalist Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, the Cairo bureau chief of Al-Jazeera English, and producer Baher Mohamed. The three men, who stand accused along with 17 other defendants, have been detained for more than 100 days. Amnesty International in a Wednesday statement said the three journalists were “prisoners of conscience” and called for their immediate and

unconditional release. “What the Egyptian authorities are doing is vindicative persecution of journalists for merely doing their jobs,” the statement said, In the trial, 16 Egyptian defendants have been charged with belonging to a “terrorist organisation” and four foreigners are accused of “collaborating with the Egyptians by providing them with money, equipment, information... and airing false news aimed at informing the outside world that the country was witnessing a civil war.” Of the 20 defendants, eight are in detention and the others are being sought.

PRETORIA - The chief prosecutor in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius yesterday accused the Olympic athlete of egotistical behavior in his relationship with Reeva Steenkamp before he killed her, and described Pistorius’ courtroom apology to his girlfriend’s family as an insincere “spectacle” that ignored the feelings of her relatives. “Your life is just about you,” prosecutor Gerrie Nel said on a second day of cross-examination of Pistorius, who fatally shot Steenkamp through a closed toilet cubicle of his home in the early hours of February 14, 2013. Pistorius says he shot Steenkamp by accident, mistaking her for a dangerous intruder. The prosecution says he intentionally killed her after an argument. Nel asserted that Pistorius was sometimes mean to Steenkamp, pressing him about her objection to him playing a song by American rapper Kendrick Lamar on a car stereo. Pistorius referred to the song in a cellular telephone message to Steenkamp that acknowledged her objections and has been included as evidence in the trial. The prosecutor asked if

the name of the song was “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe,” but Pistorius said he couldn’t remember the specific song. Nel responded that Steenkamp would have been right to take offense. A phone message from Steenkamp to Pistorius that was shown in court includes the line: “You make me happy 90% of the time and I think we are amazing together but I am not some other bitch you may know trying to kill your vibe.” Nel’s tough questioning was designed to counter earlier testimony in which Pistorius said he loved Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, and was trying to protect her when he shot her without realizing, according to his account, that she was in the toilet cubicle. Two contrasting images of the double-amputee runner have emerged in court: the defense-led image of Pistorius as a contrite man who had been worried about crime and made a terrible mistake on the night he killed Steenkamp, and the prosecution’s depiction of him as an overbearing egotist who was obsessed with firearms. Nel referred to a shooting incident at Tashas restaurant in Johannesburg in which a

shot went off after a friend of the runner passed him a loaded gun under the table. Pistorius, who faces a separate charge of firing a gun in a public place because of that episode as well as two other firearms charges, said he didn’t have his finger on the trigger when the gun fired. This happened about a month before Pistorius killed Steenkamp. The prosecutor noted that a police expert had testified that the gun could not be fired without pulling the trigger, and sarcastically described the discharge as a “miracle.” “We have you in possession of the gun, a shot went off, but you didn’t discharge the gun,” Nel said incredulously of the athlete’s account. Turning to the relationship between Pistorious and Steenkamp, Nel said he had checked all of her text messages on her cellular telephone and that the phrase “I love you” appeared only twice in those missives. On both occasions, he said, they were written by Steenkamp to her mother. “Never to you and you never to her,” Nel said, addressing Pistorius. “I never got the


He is survived by Deaconess Lilian Iriase - Wife, Miss Peace Iriase Daughter, Master Blessed Iriase - Son, Brothers, Cousins, Nephews and Nieces.


4pm - 7pm


Service of songs at his residence, Water Board Road, Auchi. SATURDAY 12TH APRIL, 2014 8.00 a.m Corpse leaves Sancta Maria Hospital Mortuary, Jattu to his home town Afuze Emai in Owan East Local Government Area of Edo State. 10.00 a.m Interment service by Omega Fire Ministries May his gentle soul rest in the bosom of the Lord, Amen. Signed: DR. (MRS.) M. I. AASHIKPELOKHAI, REGISTRAR

Pistorious Is Untruthful, Egotist - Prosecutor opportunity to tell Reeva that I loved her,” Pistorius said in a soft voice. He did not look at Nel while replying to the prosecutor ’s questions, instead directing his gaze to Judge Thokozile Masipa on the dais. Masipa will deliver a verdict because there is no jury system in South Africa. Pistorius faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted on a premeditated murder charge. Nel also accused Pistorius of ignoring the concerns of Steenkamp’s family by apologizing to them at the beginning of his testimony this week, rather than seeking

to express his condolences in private. Steenkamp’s mother, June, has attended court sessions this week. “Why would you create a spectacle in court, in the public domain, in the public eye,” Nel said. “Why did you put them through this?” Pistorius said his lawyers had been in touch with representatives of Steenkamp’s family, and that he had believed the family of his girlfriend was not ready to meet him. “I completely understand where they’re coming from,” he said. “It’s not that I haven’t thought about them.”

New Israeli Spy Satellite Enters Orbit JERUSALEM - A new Israeli spy satellite entered orbit early yesterday, the defence ministry said, boosting the Jewish state’s ability to monitor arch-foe Iran. The observation remotesensing Ofek 10 satellite, launched into space on a Shavit rocket late Wednesday, outdoes earlier models with its ability to “skip” from one target to another rather than simply “sweep” areas, ministry officials told reporters. Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon noted Ofek 10 would “enable the security establishment to better deal with threats near and far, at all hours of the day and in any weather.”

June Steenkamp (left), Reeva Steenkamp’s mother, sits in the trial of Oscar Pistorius for her daughter Reeva’s murder in Pretoria yesterday.

International Pistorius Has Gone From Hero To Devil - Reeva’s Mother

LONDON - South African star sprinter Oscar Pistorius has gone from being a hero to a devil, Reeva Steenkamp’s mother June said in a British newspaper interview published yesterday. She told the Daily Mirror she is obsessed with watching Pistorius’s every move in the Pretoria courtroom where he is being tried for the killing of her daughter, a law graduate, model and aspiring actress, on Valentine’s Day in 2013. Prosecutors say the 27-yearold Paralympian and Olympian deliberately shot Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine’s Day after the couple had a fight. He says he shot her by accident through a locked bathroom door after mistaking her for an intruder. “I look at Oscar the whole time, to see how he is coping, how he is behaving. I’m obsessed with looking at him, it’s just instinctive, I can’t explain it,” June Steenkamp told the British tabloid. “I keep thinking: ‘let me see how he’s taking this’. He has been very dramatic, the vomiting and crying. “I think he’s just about keeping himself together. I don’t know whether he’s acting.” June Steenkamp has never met Pistorius. The double amputee did not acknowledge her on the first day of the trial but did eventually look at her and say good morning. “My presence unnerves him, I’m sure of it. He’s answerable to me,” she said. “He must see me there in the court, he must feel my eyes boring into him, I think it makes a lot of difference. “I do look at him too much, maybe. I like to see how he is reacting. I can see him very clearly, even without my glasses — he’s the only one I can see, he’s right in front of me. “He has an aggressive persona, he’s used to having people adore him, so it must be pretty different for him now. “He’s been spoilt by other people, that’s why he struts around and looks superior. “He’s gone from hero to devil.” June Steenkamp, who has remained stoney-faced throughout much of the testimony during the trial, said she does not want to cry in court but when she returns to her hotel room each day “I start crying out, crying all the tears and pain I’ve held inside.” She said that particular images seen during the trial would remain with her until her dying day. The 67-year-old said attending the trial was “hell” but she was “compelled to be there”. Her husband Barry is also determined to attend but has been too ill so far after suffering a stroke. She said she did not care whether the Paralympics multiple gold medallist was convicted or not. “He has to stand up to what he’s done and — if he has to — pay for it,” she told the Mirror. “What difference is it going to make to me if he goes to prison for 25 years or is allowed to walk free? “I’m not a person who wants to punish him. I want my

daughter back, but it’s never going to happen. “She was the most wonderful, beautiful person, inside and out, and she was everything to Barry and me — our lives are destroyed.”

TOKYO - Big gaps remain between the United States and Japan after two days of top-level talks on a bilateral trade deal that is vital for a broader regional pact, negotiators on both sides said yesterday. Japan and the United States are seeking a twoway trade deal, regarded as a key part of the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership

Trade Talks: Big Gaps Remain Between US traditionally been closed,” And Japan Froman said. “These (TPP)

(TPP), before U.S. President Barack Obama travels to Japan for an April 24-25 state visit. The TPP, a 12-nation grouping that would stretch from Asia to Latin America, is a centerpiece of Obama’s push to expand the U.S. presence in Asia. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has touted it as a main element of his economic growth strategy. “Our teams arrived expecting

Japan’s Economics Minister Akira Amari (centre) speaks as he is surrounded by media after meetings with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman (not in picture) in Tokyo yesterday.

that the talks will be tough. And our expectations have been met,” U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman told reporters after talks with Japanese Economics Minister Akira Amari. “We made some progress over the last two days, but there are still considerable differences on our positions in key issues.” Amari said progress had been made in some areas but significant differences persisted and it was not possible to say whether a basic deal could be reached by the summit. “The U.S.-Japan summit is one important juncture, but it’s not a pre-set goal. We will continue the talks. It’s the content of negotiations that’s important,” he told reporters. Without substantive progress toward a deal in time for Obama’s trip, the summit with Abe could end up more symbolism than substance, experts said. The United States wants Japan to open its rice, beef and pork, dairy and sugar sectors politically powerful sectors that Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has vowed to defend. “We understand the challenges. These negotiations relate to fundamental reforms and the market opening of sectors in Japan that have

opportunities are aligned with Japan’s own economic reform agenda.” A Japanese government official told Reuters this week that lowering farm tariffs was possible but scrapping them entirely - the goal of the TPP framework - was not. Japan also wants a timetable on U.S. promises to drop tariffs of 2.5 percent on imports of passenger cars and 25 percent on light trucks. The Nikkei business daily reported earlier that Japan was considering slashing tariffs on U.S. beef imports to less than 10 percent from the current 38.5 percent. That proposed cut would be much deeper than one negotiated with Australia, which on Monday agreed to a trade deal with Tokyo including a halving of the levy on frozen beef to 19.5 percent. A spokesman for Australia’s foreign affairs and trade department said if Japan gave another country a better deal, a review would automatically be triggered with the aim of giving Australia equal market access. As part of its proposal, Japan is also looking to impose restrictions if U.S. beef imports soar as a result of a lowering of the levy, the Nikkei said, without citing any sources.

TAIPEI - Students who have occupied Taiwan’s Parliament for 24 days to protest a trade pact with China planned to leave yesterday after receiving assurances the deal they see as imperiling the island’s autonomy would undergo legislative review. The pact would allow Chinese and Taiwanese service companies, including banking, telecommunication and tourism firms, to operate in each other’s territory, and opponents say it will lead to job losses and pose a threat to the island’s security, democracy and autonomy. President Ma Ying-jeou’s ruling party, on March 17, attempted to skip a promised detailed legislative review of the

trade deal ahead of its ratification. A day later, hundreds of student protesters stormed Parliament, marking the start of an unprecedented siege, followed by a short occupation of Cabinet offices and a rally drawing more than 200,000 protesters. The protesters at first demanded that the trade deal be withdrawn, but later agreed to end their siege when parliamentary speaker Wang Jinpyng promised Sunday to first enact legislation requiring more public consultation, including public hearings, for trade deals, and to apply the measure to the current trade pact before it is ratified. The students then announced they would end their siege yesterday evening after cleaning up the Parliament. They plan speeches and ceremonies outside the building to mark the end of their protest. Supporters gathered outside the building yesterday to welcome the students behind a tight security cordon of police officers and barricades. Many of them were wearing black T-shirts and carrying yellow sunflowers, which the students have adopted as symbols of transparency. “It’s not an end, it’s a beginning,” said Hung SyuanWei, an 18-year-old high school student who spent 20 of the past 24 days at the protest site helping to collect trash and organize events. “There will be many more actions from now on, thanks to the student leaders who were willing to stand up, more people are aware of what’s going on now.” Taku Hsu, 31, who works at a TV station, said she saw the protests as an expression of the public’s long-suppressed anger against the government for mishandling of social issues.

Students To End 24-Day Siege Of Taiwan Parliament

Lin Fei-Fan, left and Chen Wei-Ting, leaders of the student protests against a trade pact with China, speak to the media during a press conference on the occupied legislature floor in Taipei, Taiwan recently.

Malaysia Plane Hunt Resumes Amidst Optimism

SYDNEY/PERTH, Australia - The search for a missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner resumed yesterday with a renewed sense of optimism, after Australian officials said they had detected two new “ping” signals that may have come from the plane’s black box recorders. The mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which disappeared more than a month ago, has sparked the most expensive search and rescue operation in aviation history, but concrete information has proven frustratingly illusive. The announcement on Wednesday that two new “ping” signals had been detected, bringing to four the number heard by a U.S. Navy “Towed Pinger Locator”(TPL), led officials to say they were confident that they were homing in on the remains of the plane. “We are still a long way to go, but things are more positive than

they were some time ago,” Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Board, which is involved in the search mission, told Reuters yesterday. The black boxes record cockpit data and may provide answers about what happened to the plane, which was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew when it vanished on March 8 and flew thousands of kilometers off its Kuala Lumpur-to-Beijing route. But the batteries in the black boxes have already reached the end of their 30-day expected life, making efforts to swiftly locate them on the murky ocean floor all the more critical. Up to 10 military aircraft, four civil aircraft and 13 ships are expected to be involved yesterday with a massive search effort that has so far proven fruitless in identifying any physical evidence of wreckage from the flight. Efforts are now focused on two areas - a larger one for aircraft and

ships about 2,240 kms (1,392 miles) northwest of Perth and a smaller area about 600 kms (373 miles) closer to that city. Based on data from the four signals detected, a modified Royal Australian Air Force P-3 Orion surveillance plane is deploying sonobuoys in the smaller search area to assist the U.S. Navy listening device that detected the signals. Each of the 84 sonobuoys is equipped with a listening device called a hydrophone, which is dangled about 1,000 ft below the surface and is capable of transmitting data to search aircraft via radio signals. “That does provide a lot of sensors in the vicinity of the Ocean Shield without

having a ship there to produce the background noise,” said Australian Navy Commodore Peter Leavy, operational head of the Australian search, referring to the ship carrying the U.S. listening device. But experts say that the process of teasing out the signals from the cacophony of background noise in the sea is a slow and exhausting process. Operators must separate a ping lasting just 9.3 milliseconds - a tenth of the blink of a human eye - and repeated every 1.08 seconds from natural ocean sounds, as well as disturbances from search vessels. An autonomous underwater vehicle named Bluefin-21 is also onboard the Ocean Shield, and it could be deployed to look for wreckage on the sea floor once the final search area has been positively identified. As with so many things in this unprecedented search effort, experts say that will not be an easy task.

International Afghan Probe Begins In Attack On Journalists KABUL - Afghan central government authorities on Wednesday began questioning the police commander who killed an Associated Press photographer and wounded an AP reporter, a day after he was transferred by helicopter to the capital - a rare case in which an Afghan officer or soldier who shot a foreigner was captured alive. Local security officials who spoke with the suspect after he was first detained said he seemed a calm, pious man who may have come under the influence of Islamic extremists calling for vengeance against foreigners over drone strikes. Witness and official accounts so far have suggested the shooting was not planned. But the Afghan Interior Ministry, which is overseeing the investigation, told the AP it won’t speculate about a motive so early in its probe into the attack, which killed AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus and seriously wounded senior correspondent Kathy Gannon. The suspect, identified as a unit commander named Naqibullah, surrendered immediately after the attack Friday in front of dozens of security forces and election workers on a heavily guarded government compound in eastern Afghanistan. The shooting was the first known case of a security insider attacking journalists in Afghanistan, part of a surge in violence targeting foreigners. Niedringhaus and Gannon were traveling in their own car with an AP freelancer and a translator in a convoy of workers transporting election materials from Khost, the capital of the province of the same name on the border with Pakistan, to the outlying district of Tani. The convoy went first to the district government’s headquarters. The two foreign correspondents spoke to and photographed Afghan policemen and soldiers in the area, witnesses said, but it started to rain and they were worried about their equipment so they got back into the backseat of their car to wait for the convoy to move to deliver ballots to a nearby village. The shooter, who was wearing his police uniform, approached the car and stuck the barrel of the AK-47 in the backseat window, shouted “God is great!” and started firing, according to the witnesses and officials. “The good thing is that he is alive in this case because usually in these kinds of incidents the shooter either is killed or he escapes from the scene,” Interior Ministry

spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said Wednesday in an interview, referring to attacks by Afghan police or soldiers on foreigners. “But this time our police acted professionally and he was immediately arrested.” Gul Zahir, the Tani district police chief, said he was one of the first people to see Naqibullah, who was tackled by security forces after the shooting. “I took custody of him. I asked him, ‘Why did you do this thing?’” he said in a telephone interview with AP. “Naqibullah said, ‘I don’t know.’” However, the suspect gave different explanations to provincial officials who questioned him in the days he was in custody in Khost. Gul Mohammad, the counterterrorism director in Khost who participated in the initial questioning, said Naqibullah at first claimed the attack was in revenge for a Jan. 15 airstrike in the Ghorband district of Parwan province, a bombing which prompted a wave of anger against foreigners.

The Afghans claimed 12 civilians and four Taliban fighters were killed in the airstrike. The U.S.-led coalition said the Afghan government had requested the operation ahead of the country’s April 5 presidential elections because the area had fallen under Taliban control. But the Interior Ministry said Naqibullah was from an area in Parwan that was not connected in any way with the airstrike. “There was no record of any drone strike in the whole area where he lived, where his family is living,” Sediqqi said. “The initial statement does not really indicate anything so far. We do not have still any clarity on the motives.” The Khost counterterrorism director said Naqibullah also claimed he was inspired by a lawmaker and a cleric who encouraged holy war against Americans and other foreigners. “He said, ‘Thank God I didn’t kill any Muslims.’” Sediqqi, the Interior Ministry spokesman, said he had seen reports from local authorities

describing Naqibullah as a calm person who prayed five times a day, had been stationed in Khost for a year and a half, had no criminal background and was not known to use drugs. “His (previous) behavior was quite normal,” Sediqqi said. Zahir, the district police chief, agreed, though he noted that Naqibullah prayed five times a day as is Muslim tradition and constantly read the Quran, Islam’s holy book. He said Naqibullah had asked for his own room on the base so he could have privacy to read but that there was not enough space so he had to share with a roommate. He said the suspect, who is in his late 20s, was married three months ago and had no children. “I knew this guy,” Zahir said. “He didn’t cause headaches, wasn’t smoking hashish. ... He was a very religious person.” Naqibullah was armed with only a pistol on Friday but demanded a subordinate give him an AK-47 automatic rifle, which he used to open fire on the journalists, according to regional officials.

Communications and Information Systems Able Seaman Andrew Baily (left), Communications and Information Systems Seaman Georgina Brooks (middle) and Gunner Richard Brown aboard the Australian Navy ship HMAS Perth look towards the HMAS Success during the manoeuvres as they continue to search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.

Past insider killings have raised concern about the infiltration of the Taliban and allied militants in the government security forces, although other motives have ranged from personal disputes to traumatic stress. Still, the shootings of

Niedringhaus, a German photographer who had covered conflict zones from the Balkans in the 1990s to Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, and Gannon, a Canadian who has reported from Afghanistan since the 1980s, were the latest in a spike of attacks targeting foreigners.

Hunt For Lost Jet: New Possible Sound Detected PERTH, Australia - An Australian aircraft hunting for the missing Malaysian jet picked up a new possible underwater signal yesterday in the same area search crews previously detected sounds that were consistent with an aircraft’s black boxes. The Australian navy P-3 Orion, which has been dropping sound-locating buoys into the water near where the original sounds were heard, picked up a “possible signal” that may be from a man-made source, said Angus Houston, who is coordinating the search off Australia’s west coast. “The acoustic data will require further analysis overnight,” Houston said in a statement. If confirmed, this would be the fifth underwater signal detected in the hunt for Flight 370, which vanished on March 8 while flying from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing, with 239 people aboard. On Tuesday, the Australian vessel Ocean Shield picked up two underwater sounds, and an analysis of two other sounds detected in the same general area on Saturday showed they were consistent with a plane’s flight recorders, or “black boxes.” The Australian navy has been dropping buoys from planes in a pattern near where the Ocean Shield’s signals were heard. Royal Australian Navy Commodore Peter Leavy said each buoy is dangling a

Egyptian lawyer Khaled Abou Bakr (R) talks to the judge during the trial of Al-Jazeera journalists charged with supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, at Cairo’s Tora prison recently.

hydrophone listening device about 300 meters (1,000 feet) below the surface. The hope, he said, is that the buoys will help better pinpoint the signals, along with the Ocean Shield, which is slowly dragging a U.S. navy pinger locator through the water. Zeroing in on the source of the sounds is critical to narrowing down the underwater search zone, which is currently a 1,300 square kilometer (500 square mile) patch of the ocean floor. Once the exact location is pinpointed, crews can send an unmanned submarine into the ocean’s depths to create a sonar map of a potential debris field on the seabed. The Bluefin 21 sub takes six times longer to cover the same area as the pinger locator, and it would take the vehicle about six weeks to two months to canvass the underwater search zone, which is about the size of Los Angeles. That’s why the acoustic equipment is still being used to hone in on a more precise location, U.S. Navy Capt. Mark Matthews said. Meanwhile, a hunt for debris on the ocean surface intensified Thursday, with the search zone narrowed to its smallest size yet — 57,900 square kilometers (22,300 square miles), or about one-quarter the size it was a few days ago. Fourteen planes and 13 ships were taking part in the hunt for floating debris, about 2,300 kilometers (1,400 miles) northwest of Perth. A “large number of objects” had been spotted by crews combing the area for floating debris on Wednesday, but the few that had been retrieved by search vessels were not believed to be related to the missing plane, the search coordination center said. Crews hunting for debris on the surface have already looked in the area they were crisscrossing yesterday, but were moving in tighter patterns, now that the search zone has been narrowed to about a quarter the size it was a few days ago, Houston said. Houston has expressed optimism about the sounds detected earlier in the week, saying on Wednesday that he was hopeful crews would find the aircraft — or what’s left of it — in the “not-too-distant future.”

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Wenger Bemoans Injuries To Key Players

ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger has laid the blame for his side’s failure to sustain a push for the Premier League title on an injury crisis that derailed their season. The Gunners have gone from title contenders to a side fighting to cling on to their position in the Premier League’s top four after last Sunday’s heavy 3-0 defeat against Everton. Injuries to Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil have disrupted Arsenal’s plans in recent weeks, and Wenger has lamented losing his star names at crucial times. “I feel this season we lost key players at a big important moment of the season,” Wenger said, ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal against Wigan. “At the moment we have too many players out and it’s important we get them back. We know that at this period of the season to have this number of players out is too many. “Our main task [next summer] will be to keep the team together and think ‘where did we go wrong?’ There are a lot of positives in our season as well, but we have dropped off when we lost our players at an important moment of the season. That is what we don’t want to repeat.” This week, Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla said the club need to spend big in the next transfer window if they are to compete with the best for the top honours, yet Wenger insisted his squad

does not need a complete overhaul this summer. “You can always improve in our game,” said Wenger in response to Cazorla’s comments. “When results are not as well, you always think you can improve. There is no perfect team. We’ll always try to improve our squad and our team. “We just have to focus on finishing as well as we can. We are in a position to do well until the end of the season. It is not about next season, it’s about this season.” Wenger went on to admit confidence has dipped among

his players after recent heavy defeats at Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton, but he is convinced they will respond in the right manner against Wigan at Wembley. “We know that we didn’t turn up with the performance we wanted [at Everton],” he added. “After the huge disappointment, we analysed what didn’t go right and where we want to improve. “I said after the game, we want to go back to basics. First of all the team has to defend better and of course that was not right in the Everton game.”

Mourinho Fined And Warned Over Conduct

Jose Mourinho - Chelsea boss

Evra’s Flash In The Pan Sums Up United’s Season FOR two minutes after Patrice Evra’s spectacular goal at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday, Manchester United fans were allowed to dream that their Champions League campaign would not end in a tame quarter-final exit at the hands of holders Bayern Munich. Bayern’s response, But any lineup or though, was typically ruthless, formation at the disposal of hitting back instantly and then Moyes would probably have delivered two more killer been insufficient to match blows which had United out Bayern’s tactical and for the count - 3-1 on the technical prowess, which night, 4-2 on aggregate - long left United’s midfield before the final whistle. chasing shadows and the While the German back four defending with champions once again showed last-gasp tackles and blocks. menacing consistency in With next term’s grinding down their rivals Champions League football even under the greatest almost certainly out of pressure, United’s collapse United’s reach, the focus at after the Frenchman’s Old Trafford in the last few thunderbolt illustrated all their weeks of the season will be weaknesses in their first on the big decisions set to season under David Moyes. be made when it finally The Scot’s gamble on comes to an end. Wayne Rooney and his Under fire from some of injured toe backfired with the the fans and looking largely England striker a pale shadow uncomfortable, Moyes is of his usual self. Javier still likely to be given more Hernandez, who had scoring time to settle in the two goals in United’s last two uncharted territory of games, was introduced only as steering a club with the a late substitute. highest ambitions.

David Moyes - Coach of Manchester United

Whether he will be given a massive war-chest to spend on whatever transfer targets he picks is another matter. The club has already dished out a total of around £65 million on misfit Marouane Fellaini and Chelsea reject Juan Mata, who was ineligible for United in the Champions league this season after his January move from Stamford Bridge. Mata may yet turn out to be an asset but if the outgoing English champions are to avoid a long-term fall from grace, Moyes will quickly have to develop the instinct of getting the best value for money out of his purchases. He will not need reminding of the kind of business his predecessor Alex Ferguson did down the years with the likes of Eric Cantona

and Cristiano Ronaldo. United’s declining squad leaves very little room for error in the transfer market and, having endured a baptism of fire in his maiden season, Moyes knows a return to Champions League football for 2015 is likely to be the bare minimum goal. Evra’s moment of magic at the Allianz Arena turned out to be just another false start under Moyes, producing only a brief moment of the gloss United enjoyed so consistently with Ferguson at the helm. The 72-year-old Glaswegian for his part, can only hope that he the man he hand-picked enjoys a rapid change of fortune at a level as unforgiving as it is still unfamiliar.

be able to attract high-profile signings despite the club looking set to be unable to offer Champions League football. United exited the competition at the quarterfinal stage on Wednesday night after suffering a 3-1 loss at Bayern Munich, having drawn the first leg 1-1 at Old Trafford last week. While not mathematically impossible, it would take a remarkable series of results for United to finish in the top four of the Premier League, as they currently sit seven points behind fourth-placed Arsenal with five matches remaining. The Scot is optimistic about United’s future despite the probable setback, and is sure they will bolster in the summer and come back stronger for the 2014-15

season. “We’ve not got Champions League football, that’s the way it looks, but hopefully it won’t be far away,” he said on Sky Sports. “Hopefully it will be just one year the way we are going to rebuild. “Our focus now is getting a team that makes sure we are back in this competition because it’s a great competition, we have really enjoyed it. There is no shame in going out of the quarterfinals to Bayern Munich because they are a good side. It shows the qualities we have got. “We will regroup and start building towards being back in the competition again. My job is just to get on and do the job. I’ve found everyone at the club very good. Again, my focus is

CHELSEA boss Jose Mourinho has been fined £8,000 and warned over his conduct following his sending off against Aston Villa last month. The Blues boss was sent to the stands after leaving his technical area and joining the field of play following Ramires’ red card during the 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa. Mourinho approached referee Chris Foy after the official dismissed his player for a two-footed lunge on Villa’s Karim El Ahmadi, before being critical of Foy in a post-match interview. “I don’t know why I was sent off. I asked, but the referee refused to speak to me,” the Portuguese said after the match. An FA statement read: “Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has been fined £8,000 and warned as to his future conduct following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing. “Mourinho denied a breach of FA Rule E3 in that his behaviour in re-entering the field of play and approaching the Match Referee in an attempt to speak to him, in or around the 90th minute of the game against Aston Villa on 15 March 2014, amounted to improper conduct. “However, the charge was found proven at a personal hearing on Wednesday 9 April.”

Moyes To Rebuild United For UCL DAVID Moyes is sure having a side that gets us back Return Manchester United will still into the Champions League. That is my focus now. “The club are looking to spend the right money on the right players if they are available and it has nothing to do with Champions League football. “Any player we have quietly discussed with are more than happy to join Manchester United. I think the ones who someone might have quietly had a word in their ears, they have all been keen to come. They know this is a short thing, not a long thing and they are all happy to join such a great club.” The Mirror reports that United’s executive vicechairman, Ed Woodward, will remain in Germany in an attempt to reach a deal for Bayern’s Toni Kroos — although on Tuesday the player’s agent insisted he will be remaining at the Allianz Arena.

Madrid Media Hail Atletico Progress

THE Madrid media revelled in the glory of a famous win on the morning after Atletico Madrid had beaten La Liga rivals Barcelona 1-0 to progress 21 on aggregate to the Champions League last four. The cover of AS featured Koke wildly celebrating his winning goal with teammate David Villa, with the headline “Totally Spent — Courage and Heart: because they fight like brothers defending their colours.” Marca used the same photo with a headline of “Magnificent: a formidable lesson of faith and conviction from the Atletico fans.” In Catalonia, Mundo Deportivo focused on what was a flat performance from

Barcelona, with its cover stating “Goodbye: Barca were not at the level required by Europe’s top competition.” Sport admitted that its side could have no excuses with a front page which showed a disappointed Lionel Messi and read “Although it hurts to say it, Atletico were better” and “Barca fall before the Atletico whirlwind.” Inside the Madrid-based papers there were stirring words about a special night by the banks of the river Manzanares. “An Atletico for eternity,” was the headline on AS’ match report by Inako Diaz Guerra, who wrote that “There are moments which are worth a lifetime. This was

contest and their failure to reach the Champions League semi-finals for a recordextending seventh consecutive season was always going to set alarm bells ringing.

Italy and remains so as a coach. It appears to have rubbed off on his players. Their commitment and sheer guts in holding out against waves of Barca attacks near the end of Wednesday’s game at the Calderon was typical of a season which has seen them humble some of Europe’s biggest clubs. They thumped seventimes winners AC Milan 5-1 on aggregate in the Champions League last 16, beat Real 1-0 at the Bernabeu in September in La Liga and have drawn five and won one of six meetings with Barca this term in all competitions. From top scorer Diego

Costa, to playmaker Koke, through centre backs Miranda and Diego Godin to goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, Simeone has got the very best out of players who had achieved little before he took the helm at the end of 2011. Barca beaten by Atletico in quarter-final Reaction to Barcelona’s shock Champions League exit to Atletico Madrid. Atletico’s adventures this term may still have an unhappy ending but few of the supporters who have experienced the electric atmosphere at the Calderon in recent months will forget the Simeone effect in a hurry.

LIONEL Messi, so often a match-winner for Barcelona in the past, was a peripheral figure as his side crashed out of the Champions League to Atletico Madrid on Wednesday at the Estadio Vicente Calderon. Atletico won 1-0 on the night, to progress 2-1 on aggregate, and afterwards UEFA’s official game statistics showed Messi ran just 6.8 kilometres in the almost 95 minutes of play. This was only 1.4 km more than Barca keeper Jose Manuel Pinto (5.4 km), and

just over half of the 12.2 km ran by Atletico’s matchwinner Koke. Messi’s average for previous Barca games in the competition this season is 8.2 km. According to UEFA, his pass completion figure against Atletico was also surprisingly low, just 60 percent, compared to 77 percent over his seven Champions League games this term. The numbers backed up a feeling watching the game, especially in the second half, that the Argentine looked forlorn as

he wandered on the edge of the action. Blaugrana coach Gerardo Martino appeared to suggest after the game that playing the four-time Ballon d’Or winner out on the wing, away from Atletico’s hard running and tackling midfield, had actually been part of his tactical plan for the game. “We were looking for a lot of participation from him, but more one-on-ones on the right wing,” Martino told his postmatch press conference. “For that we had Cesc [Fabregas] as a false nine. [Messi] had two chances due to diagonal balls and him coming inside to meet the ball. He was not so involved in the second half, that is true. “It did not seem a good idea to us for him to participate a lot in the game which Atletico play. We do not base everything on Leo, also on Cesc coming deeper, on Neymar and Andres [Iniesta] on the left, on the full-backs.” Neymar ran nine kilometres in total, and Iniesta managed 7.7km in his

Diego Simeone Coach of Atletico Madrid

Simeone’s Atletico Closing On Greatest Season

A key player in the Atletico Madrid team that won a La Liga and Copa del Rey double in 1996 and now the club’s inspirational coach, Diego Simeone has led his unfancied team to the brink of an even greater achievement. Atletico’s stunning 1-0 Europe’s elite club home win over Barcelona in competition for the first time Wednesday’s Champions in 40 years. League quarter-final, second In La Liga, they are a leg, which sealed a 2-1 point clear of Barca with six aggregate success against games left and three ahead of their La Liga rivals, secured neighbours Real Madrid, their place in the last four of closing in on what would be

an incredible title for a club whose long-suffering fans have grown used to the dominance of Spain’s vastly wealthier big two. Simeone was an intense, never-say-die character as a player for Argentina and various clubs in Spain and

Wounded Barca Can Still Rescue Season

AFTER being knocked out of the Champions League, Barcelona can still save their season by winning La Liga and Copa del Rey. Barca retain a realistic chance of avenging the 2-1 aggregate defeat to Atletico in their Champions League quarter-final by overhauling the league leaders and claiming a fifth domestic title in six years. Atletico have a one-point lead over second-placed Barca with six games left and the Catalan giants host their rivals from the capital in the final game of the campaign next month. Barca can also exact revenge for their 2011 King’s Cup final defeat to Real Madrid when they play their arch rivals in the showpiece match of the latest edition at the same Mestalla stadium in Valencia next Wednesday. Together with the seasonopening Spanish Super Cup, which Barca won in August by defeating Atletico over two legs, the two trophies would not be a bad haul for Barca coach Gerardo Martino in his first season in charge at the Nou Camp. That said, Martino can expect some sharp criticism after his team were undone over two legs by an Atletico side few expected would be challenging Europe’s wealthy elite at this stage of the Champions League campaign. There have already been suggestions he should have

made changes earlier in last week’s first leg in Barcelona when the home side were dominating and the Atletico players were running out of steam. His decision to withdraw playmaker Andres Iniesta in the 72nd minute of Wednesday’s second leg and replace him with Pedro was questioned by the player himself in a post-match television interview. Iniesta is exactly the kind of player who can unlock a tiring defence with a killer pass and it was his brilliant assist that released Neymar to score in the 1-1 draw in the first leg. “I was surprised by the change but it’s the coach’s decision,” the Spain international told Canal Plus. Martino now needs to lift his troops for Saturday’s La Liga game at Granada and make sure they are ready for the Cup final four days later. “The team right now is in bad shape,” he told a news conference after the defeat at the Calderon. “But we are still alive in the league and the Cup,” added the Argentine. “The most important thing is to keep competing. We have a decisive game in Granada and next Wednesday a great final.” Like arch rivals Real Madrid, Barca expect to win every competition they

one of those for Atleticos. “Two legendary hours of commitment, of attitude, of intelligence, of talent, of football.. Of life… Atleti, without Diego Costa or Arda, rode right over the top of Barca … while I write, quite a while after the final whistle, the Manzanares seems prepared for the final to start now. “Not one empty seat, the stands clamouring, alternating the club anthem with ovations for Luis Aragones. Scarves in the wind, happiness gone wild. It is emotional.” On radio show El Larguero, Kiko, a former teammate of Atletico coach Diego Simeone turned media pundit, also seemed to be fighting back the tears. “I am so happy,” Kiko said. “[Simeone], and the players of course, has given us quality of life. And we must enjoy it and take advantage of it. The way they work, it makes you happy to see your team, the emotion it has inside, the way it achieves things. Atletico Madrid has again shown that, above all, it is a team. This is one of the nights we will never forget.” The mood inside the pages of Mundo Deportivo was more downbeat, with Roger Torello writing: “The history books will show that Martino’s Barcelona resigned en bloc in the 2014 quarterfinals. This time not tactical genius, not talent, not superstars. An anxious Barca, faded and, above all, unable. Not even Messi, on other occasions a professional at saving such situations, showed up.”

Statistics Show Messi’s Lack Of Influence

Lione Messi

500th Barca appearance before being surprisingly withdrawn by Martino with 20 minutes remaining. It was first assumed that the midfielder must have had an injury problem, however he told Canal Plus afterwards of his surprise when he saw the No. 8 being held up on the sideline. “Yes [it was a surprise],” Iniesta said shortly. “But the decision is for the coach to make.” The 29-year-old said being knocked out of Europe was painful, but pointed out that Barca still had next Wednesday’s Copa del Rey final against Real Madrid and the La Liga title race to focus on. “This should not affect us,” Iniesta said. “The Champions League is a very nice competition, but now we have La Liga and the Copa final. The pain is for today and tomorrow. We must thank our fans who came here, and also congratulate Atletico. But we are going to continue and go for everything we have left.”

FA Cup: Holders Wigan Not Ready To Hand Trophy Back Yet

FA Cup holders Wigan Athletic will aim to cause another seismic upset after last season’s triumph over Manchester City when they face Arsenal in the first of two intriguing semi-finals at Wembley on Saturday. Sheffield Wednesday’s Hull City, who have never Both matches will mark ground. reached the final and whose only the 25th anniversary of the That match was semi-final appearance came 85 Hillsborough disaster, abandoned after six years ago, take on once- when 96 fans were killed at minutes and the weekend powerful Sheffield United in the the 1989 semi-final games will start at seven second match on Sunday. between Liverpool and minutes past the hour United, FA Cup winners four Nottingham Forest at following a minute’s times between 1899 and 1925, are bidding to become the first club from the third tier to reach the final. While their Premier League status means Arsenal, the 10times FA Cup winners, and Hull start as favourites, neither Wigan or United are likely to be easy fodder. Wigan are challenging for promotion after last season’s unwanted double when they became the first club to win the FA Cup and suffer relegation from the top-flight in the same season, while United’s form has improved after a slow start. The Sheffield club beat Premier League Fulham and Aston Villa and second-tier Nottingham Forest and Charlton Athletic on their way to the Wigan Manager - Uwe Rosler semi-final.

silence before the kickoffs. If Wigan and Sheffield United progress, the FA Cup final would be the first since the introduction of the Football League’s second division 122 years ago not to feature a top tier club.

McCoist Must Be Backed - Dailly

FORMER Rangers defender Christian Dailly has urged the Ibrox club to stick with Ally McCoist “through thick and thin” and accept there will be blows along their journey back to the top of Scottish football. McCoist has come under increased pressure over his barren cup record following his team’s Ramsdens Cup final defeat by Raith Rovers on Sunday. But he has a chance to reach the William Hill Scottish Cup final when Rangers host Dundee United on Saturday, and Dailly feels McCoist should be given full backing after guiding the club through the most difficult times in their history. Responding to criticism of McCoist, Dailly said: “It’s going to hurt him, he is Rangers through and through, but he will do anything for the team to do well. “There is absolutely no way

Ally McCoist

that job was going to be plain sailing. “He was brought under the wing of Walter Smith. Look at what he has done in his career and look what he has won. “The way he has conducted in every press conference and every time he speaks, who else are you going to get that’s going to do that? Who it means that much to?”

Dailly, speaking on behalf of TSB, who sponsor the Scotland Under-18 Schoolboys team, added: “I just think that, through thick and thin, you go with Coisty all the way. He would be a huge loss if they decide not to have him as manager. “Rangers are going to have to take some hits along the way, no doubt about it. “One thing you don’t

want is that, as soon as they get beat in a game, you think that’s your whole world caving in. “They are trying to get up the leagues. That might take a number of years and a little bit of heartache along the way, but it might make the club really strong again in the long term. “And it’s how you deal with those little setbacks, that’s the key to how they will end up.”

Ireland Move Up Three Places In Latest FIFA Rankings IRELAND have moved up three places in their loss to Serbia last month. However, Martin O’Neill’s side are still below teams such as Burkina Faso, Jordan and Uzbekistan as they sit in

65th position. Meanwhile, England are up one place to 11th, Ireland’s future European Championship qualifying opponents Scotland have jumped 15 places to 22nd, Wales are also up two

places to 47th and Northern Ireland have gone from 86th to 84th. Elsewhere, Portugal, without even playing, moved into third spot, as Argentina slipped to sixth. It means Europe now occupies the top three places in the rankings, with Portugal sitting behind leaders Spain and Germany. They are followed by four South American sides in Colombia (4th, up 1), Uruguay (5th, up 1), and arch-rivals Argentina (down 3) and Brazil (up 3), who share sixth position. Only six matches were played over the past month, and FIFA said the majority of changes “can be attributed to the devaluation of matches from previous years, most of which were FIFA World Cup qualifiers and now have a greatly reduced weighting”.

The romance of the occasion was not lost on Hull manager Steve Bruce, an FA Cup winner with Manchester United in 1990 and 1994, who told Talksport Radio on Wednesday that form counts for nothing at this stage of the competition. “Sheffield United have had a remarkable run. They have beaten two Premier League teams along the way,” he said. “A semi-final is something to look forward to but you have to perform on the day and form goes out of the window. “But a little bit of the glamour has come back to the FA Cup with teams like Hull, Sheffield United, Wigan and the mighty Arsenal still there. “The FA Cup has been flailing over the last few years but these semi-finals bring the romance back to the whole thing.” Hull lost their previous semifinal appearance in 1930 to eventual-winners Arsenal after a replay. Arsenal’s last trophy was the 2005 FA Cup and manager Arsene Wenger, a four-time winner, will be desperate to end that drought and rebuild the fragile confidence of his side. The Gunners have won only twice in their last nine league matches, dropping to fourth after having led for much of the season, and they are even in danger of missing out on the Champions League next season for the first time under Wenger. The Frenchman will hope fitagain Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who was on top form earlier in the season, can provide the spark they lacked in a 3-0 mauling at Everton on Sunday. However, Wigan will not be overawed by Arsenal’s reputation and, although in a lower division, are probably in better shape than last May when they beat hot favourites City 1-0 after Ben Watson’s late goal produced the biggest final shock for years. Wigan have blossomed under new manager Uwe Rosler and provided a suckerpunch against City for the second time in March when they beat them 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium in the quarterfinals. Wigan lost for the second time in 13 league matches in 1-0 home reverse by Millwall in the Championship on Tuesday, although Rosler made eight changes to his starting lineup ahead of Saturday’s clash. Hull have had a good season back in the Premier League after a three-year absence and will fancy their chances of a

first final appearance when they play United. The Blades were one of the dominant forces in England in the late 19th and early 20th centuries but their last FA Cup final appearance was the 1936 defeat to Arsenal. After being relegated from the Premier League in 2007, the Sheffield club have been in the third tier for three seasons where they currently sit 11th in the table.

Deschamps To Keep Lloris As Captain FRANCE coach Didier Deschamps has clearly stated his intention to keep Hugo Lloris as his captain for the 2014 World Cup. Lloris, 27, was installed as Les Bleus’ leader by Deschamps’ predecessor Laurent Blanc and has kept the armband under the new regime. However, the Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper was seen as a default choice with no suitable outfield candidate available. ESPN FC expert picks & analysis - all you need to become an authority on the games. Pre-order now until April 15 and we’ll ship it before it hits the newsstand. Despite questions over Lloris’ suitability for the role, Deschamps told Nice Matin he remains convinced the former Nice and Lyon goalkeeper is the ideal man to lead his country onto the pitch in Brazil. “I don’t have any reason to change today. He was captain under Laurent Blanc. He is also with me. Hugo is captain because he is exemplary,” he said. “He takes on the role well, even if his position means that his preparation is different on matchday. Hugo is admired and respected within the squad. He has his character, he doesn’t say much, I’ll give you that. But when he has something to say or a message to get across, he does it.”

Hago Iloris

Cowrie FC Vows To Retain Title

Don’t Judge My Eaglets Based On 2013 Eaglets - Amuneke


DEFENDING champions of the South-West Rugby League, Cowrie Rugby Football Club (RFC) of Lagos, on Wednesday vowed to retain its title in the ongoing competition. The league which is holding at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, began on April 5 and will end on Sept. 27. The club’s Captain, Azeez Ladipo, told newsmen in Lagos that having won the 2013 edition of the competition, they were still capable of retaining the title. “We still remain the unbeatable champions of the league and we will ensure we do everything possible to keep the trophy. “We are a strong team and have been training consistently for a very long time and this has led to the perfection of coordination in team’s efforts. “We instinctively know what to do when we are with Dr. Tamuno Danagogo, Sports Minister. the ball because we all have a vivid idea of where everybody is at every point in time,” Ladipo said. The captain said that Cowrie’s victory was assured because the club was working hard and attending competitions since the beginning of 2014. GBENGA Elegbeleye, the Director-General of the Ladipo said the team reached the semi-final of the National Sports Commission (NSC), says the commission’s 2014 Cape Town Rugby 10s focus for the 2014 Commonwealth Games is for Team tournament in South Africa in Nigeria to surpass its 2010 Games’ performance. February. Elegbeleye told newsmen am not going to say we will He said the team’s participation in the on Wednesday in Abuja that win a particular number of tournament exposed their the commission was weaknesses, adding that they preparing its athletes medals. “But all I will say is that would improve in other adequately to meet the target while we won 11 gold medals tournaments. Reports state that eight of improving on the 11 gold at New Delhi in India in teams, Police, Lagos, Hawk medals won in 2010. 2010, we won’t go below that Star, Athletics, Racing, Eco II, “For the 2014 or just achieve same this time Gosar and Royal Stallion are Commonwealth Games, I around. Rather, we want to participating in the league.

surpass that in Glasgow. “Our target is to go beyond what we won in New Delhi. That is success. We must improve on our previous performance and not be on the same level or go below,’’ he said. Reports state that reports that the 2014 Commonwealth Games will be held from July 23 to August 3 at Glasgow in Scotland. Elegbeleye said the country’s athletes in parapowerlifting, boxing, weightlifting, table tennis and wrestling have been participating in various

international competitions to help prepare them adequately for the Games. The NSC director-general said preparations were ongoing to ensure that athletes acquired the necessary exposure internationally before the Games. “We are not just leaving our athletes for the Games, without preparing them. We believe in competition, the more you compete with others outside your environment, the more you have the confidence to go out for international competition,” he said.

present at WAFU, the tournament would give the players confidence. “We are still building and the most important thing is (that) we have the opportunity to continue to build to improve and look at the areas where we can always improve (on) because I believe football is a continuous issue. “It (the WAFU tournament) will give the boys a lot of confidence and it will expose them more. “But if we look at it the other way that we don’t have time, it will reduce our time to do more screening and see a lot of people. “But notwithstanding, hopefully, Togo will be a good place for us to build confidence and when we come back home, we will give other people the opportunity to express themselves. He said the technical crew was not yet sure of any player in any of the departments of the team as they would want to have a pool of players to select from. “By July, we will be playing the winners between Burundi and Congo. But, right now, we are not sure of any player in any of the departments, we are still searching. “You cannot build your team only on 11 players. So, if we can have 50 good players, it is good for us because we can always pick whoever we feel can give us something at that particular time,’’ Amuneke said. Reports state that Nigeria has been pooled in Group B with Niger and Mali for the U-17 WAFU tournament scheduled for Togo from April 17 to April 29. The Golden Eaglets will take on the winners of the first round tie between Burundi and Congo DR in their African Youths Championship qualifiers. The first leg match is scheduled to hold between July 18 and July 20, while the second leg match is between Aug. 1 and Aug. 3.

“fundamentally important” meeting which was promised to address key issues by the government about the 2016 Rio Olympics had been delayed on two occasions. It also stated that two prominent officials associated with the Games, State Governor Sérgio Cabral and Municipal Olympic Company President Maria Marquez had stepped down from their posts. It has now been confirmed the meeting is being held today, although the outcome is unlikely to be known for

several more days. Andrew Ryan, the Secretary-General of ASOIF also claimed there were growing concerns related to transport, accommodation, funding, public support and financial commitments by state, municipal and federal levels of the government. In particular, concerns over the construction of venues in the Deodoro Complex, where nine disciplines, encompassing eight International Federations are due to be held during the Games. In the same vein,

Christophe Dubi, an International Olympic Committee (IOC) official, insisted that the IOC had to take special measures to speed up preparations in Rio. “We have just come off the extreme success of Sochi (2014) and to get to that position was a constant battle and it was extremely tight. “In spite of the delays we have very clear timelines for each of the venues. “We need to fulfill every milestone to ensure delays are offset and close integration is needed between all parties,’’ Dubi said. (NAN)

GOLDEN Eaglets’ coach, Emmanuel Amuneke, on Wednesday called on Nigerians not to rate the present national under-17 team with the team that won the last FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2013. Amuneke told newsmen in Abuja that a team like the one that won the World Cup in the United Arab Emirates was hard to come by. “Hopefully, we will get good players, but a lot of people will be looking at the team with the eyes of the past Golden Eaglets; but in football, it is not that way. “Those kinds of players only come once and we are glad that all of them are now in under-20. Hopefully, the new ones that are coming up can also meet up to the task. The former Super Eagles’ winger added that the present Golden Eaglets are still under building process. Amuneke noted that although the team did not have a winning squad yet to

2014 Commonwealth Games

NSC Plans To Surpass 2010 Performance

Former Amputee Football Scribe Seeks Popularisation of Sport

A former Secretary of the Nigeria Amputee Football Federation (NAFF), Pius Asaba, on Wednesday charged NAFF to organise awareness programmes that would attract public interest to amputee football. Asaba told newsmen in Lagos that such programmes should aim at showcasing amputee footballers at the grassroots. “When we are talking of a programme for developing amputee football, going to search for amputees, so that we can have more population going to develop from one state to another. “Seminar, so that at least the sport will be well introduced to states. “Presently some people only hear of amputee football; they’ve not seen where they play amputee football for once. “We are still waiting for government intervention and government intervention should not just come from the top.

“Those people representing the government should do the normal thing, telling them our needs so that they will be able to carry out the normal thing they are

supposed to do for the sport.” He said that it was only when awareness had been created about the sport across the country that it would thrive.

Olympic Federation Criticises Brazil Over Preparations For 2016 Games

THE General Assembly of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), on Wednesday expressed concern over the slow preparations for the Rio 2016 Olympics. According to the “Inside the Games”, a weekly publication of major upcoming Games, the position was taken by the authorities during the general meeting of the Assembly on April 8 in Belek, Turkey. ASOIF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said that the problems were not the fault of the Organising Committee but of the various

levels of the Brazilian Government. “I have to share with you a lot of concerns as a member of the Coordination Commission for Rio 2016. “We are satisfied with our relations with the Organising Committee but the support of the Government is late and not sufficient. “The cash flow is not positive and the support is late and not coming, this is a concern of the Olympic Movement and we have to take action,’’ Bitti said. It also noted that a

Nigerian observer 11 04 2014  

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