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The Nigerian

PUBLISHED SINCE MAY 29, 1968 • Vol. 38 NO.418 •WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2014 . N 100.00 ISSUES Page 15

Prohibition of same sex marriage

Matters arising

Lawyers Practising Fees

Appeal Court upturns Federal High Upturning the verdict, the presiding judge of the Court Decision embarking on the appellate court, Justice Association (NBA) from

LAGOS - The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, yesterday reversed a Federal High Court decision which restrained the Nigerian Bar

collecting practising fees from lawyers. The lower court had restrained the NBA from

collection, pending the determination of a substantive suit on the fees.

Shagbor Ikyegh, said that the NBA would suffer financially if the decision Continues on page 2

BENIN CITY – The membership strength of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the Edo State House of Assembly further suffered a loss with the defection of Hon. Victor Edoror member representing Esan Central Constituency to the All Progressive Congress (APC). Hon. Victor Edoror several kilometers of made the defection at the roads in Esan Central. floor of the House under He further explained that matters of personal he has the support of the explanation and through leaders and people of his a letter addressed to the constituency; hence he leadership of the Edo has decided to officially State House of decamp to All Progressive Assembly. Congress (ACP) in order The lawmaker stated for his people to continue that due to the crisis to benefit from the rocking the People’s development strides of the Democratic Party (PDP) state governor. in the constituents, he The lawmaker who was has decided to pitch tent also accompanied by with the All Progressive some former People’s Congress owing to the Democratic Party (PDP) developmental strides of members from ward one the Comrade Governor to ten in Esan Central Adams Aliyu Local Government Area in Oshiomhole, especially a press briefing stated that the construction of his defection to the APC

with his supporters is an indication that PDP is dead and buried in Esan Central Local Government Area.

In his remark, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Uyi Igbe welcomed the lawmaker to the fold of the

PDP loses lawmaker, supporters to APC


Searching for good fruits

All Progressive Congress (APC) expressing his hope that his membership of the

Professional body seeks dialogue to end strikes LAGOS The Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN)

yesterday urged the Federal Government, universities and polytechnics unions to

adopt dialogue to avoid prolonged closure of higher institutions.

Commissioner sues for peace in Ughoton Community BENIN CITY – Edo State Commissioner for Special Duties, Oil and Gas, Barrister Isimeme Iriogbe has sued for peace between Ovia North East Local Government Area, Dubril Oil Company Limited and members of its host Ughoton Community of the state. The Commissioner gave the advice at a town hall meeting with members of the community and representatives of Dubri Oil Company for the purpose of finding an amicable resolution to

the lingering crisis between them. At the meeting, the Commissioner urged leaders of the community to stop the supremacy tussle between them in order for peace to reign and bring development to the community as a way of attracting other investors to the community. According to the Commissioner, Edo State Government will not allow and support any oil company to oppress its host community. He therefore pleaded with the community leaders and members to

TIT BIT “We may not appreciate God’s effort in making nature to be still for our sake until death and other forms of natural disasters reveal the flip side of nature.” - Kingsley Ogbeide-Ihama

allow Dubri Oil Company to carry out its legitimate business. The commissioner ’s position emanated after the community Lawyer, Barr. Dele Edokpayi and the Production Manager of Dubri Oil Company Mr. Chris Ikorok Spoke on the lingering issues between them. The Commissioner therefore urged Dubri Oil Company to ensure its Corporate Social Responsibilities to the host Community, adding that the oil company should make safety a priority in its operation by preventing oil spillage in the community. Continues on page 2

party will further boost the party and impact positively on the lives of the people of his constituency.

WARM EMBRACE: Rt. Hon. Uyi Igbe, Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly (left) congratulating Hon. Victor Edoror, member, representing Esan Central at the House, shortly after he defected from PDP to All Progressive Congress (APC) at the House plenary session yesterday. Photo: GODWIN ISEGUAN.

Mr. Bala Ka’Oje, the APBN President, made this appeal in an interview with newsmen in Lagos. He said that the association, an umbrella body of professional bodies in Nigeria, was not happy with persistent closure of higher institutions. According to him, the prolonged closure of higher institutions will impact negatively on human capital development in the country. “It is important for the government, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) leadership to show understanding and interact constantly. “Their continuous interaction will help prevent strikes and closure of universities and polytechnics for months. “The idea of students staying at home when they should be attending lectures will add to the already complicated social problems,” he said. Ka’Oje also said that government should live up to expectations after negotiations with the universities and polytechnics Unions. He urged government and the unions to maintain open Continues on page 2

Edo records 632,543 births in 8-yrs BENIN - CITY - Edo State recorded a total of 632,543 births from 2006 to November, 2013, the National Population Commission (NPC) said yesterday. Mr Tunji Sanni, Head of

Vital Registration Department of the NPC, disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in Benin. Sanni said that 21,119 births were recorded in 2006; 44,109 in 2007;

81, 917 in 2008; 84, 868 in 2009; 92, 777 in 2010 and 104,301 births in 2011.

He said that 100, 823 births were recorded in 2012 while 102,629

births were recorded from January to November, 2013. The official said that the commission had put in place measures to ensure accurate data recording, Continues on page 2


Appeal Court upturns Federal High Court Decision Continued from page 1 of the Federal High Court was allowed. Ikyegh ordered that the substantive matter be assigned to another judge and that it should be granted accelerated hearing. Following the NBA’s increase of practising fees in 2012, five lawyers went to court to challenge the hike. On Feb.18, 2013, Seth Amaefule, Amaka Aneke, Celestine Nwankwo, Charles Ola-Oni and Tayo Arojo filed a suit challenging the new fees. The lawyers filed the suit before Justice Rita OfiliAjumogobia of the lower court, seeking an order restraining

the NBA from implementing the new fees, which they described as “too exorbitant”. They listed the NBA President Mr. Okey Wali; the General Council of the Bar, the Attorney General of the Federation, Chairman, Lagos branch of NBA, and Chairman, Ikeja branch of NBA as defendants. Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia had on March 28, 2013, granted an interim order for lawyers to abide by the old fees, pending the determination of the substantive suit. Dissatisfied with the ruling of the court, the defendants filed an appeal at the appellate court, for a reversal of the lower court’s ruling, while the

substantive matter was adjourned indefinitely pending the outcome. In their motion, the plaintiffs had averred that the General Council of the Bar, by a circular dated April 6, 2012, made an upward review of the fees for lawyers in the country. By the review, lawyers who are less than five years at the bar were directed to pay N10, 000 as opposed to the former N2,000. Those above five years at the bar were told to pay N20, 000, up from the previous N4,000. Also, those above 10 years at the bar were directed to pay N35, 000, as opposed to N7,500, while those above 15

years were told to pay N50, 000 as opposed to N10,000. The review also saw the fees for Senior Advocates being raised from N20,000 to N100,000. In their motion, the plaintiffs had argued that a handful of lawyers would suffer hardship if the defendants were allowed to proceed with the collection of the new practising fees. The plaintiffs had, therefore, prayed the court to restrain the defendants from implementing the new scale for payment of practising fees. The plaintiffs have indicated their intention to appeal the decision of the appellate court which upturned the lower court ruling.

More interest Groups condole Oba Erediauwa


BENIN CITY – As the burial rites of Oloi Esther Omoyemwense Erediauwa, wife of the Benin Monarch, HRM, Oba Erediauwa commenced Monday in Benin City, various interest groups and individuals have continued to pay condolence visits to the palace of the Monarch. The groups that visited Monday included members of the Governing Council, and management team, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma led by Professor Gregory Akenzua, the Enogie of Evbanosa/Abudu

Dukedom. Addressing the Oba, Professor Akenzua said they were in the palace to condole the Oba over the demise of Queen Esther Erediauwa, the Eson N’Erie of Benin kingdom. He described the late Eso N’Erie as a great comforter of, not only members of the royal family but the larger society as well. The University Council boss said that though they are saddened by the Eson N’Erie’s demise, but are consoled by the fact that the

late Queen left her footprints in the sands of time. Also, the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. (Mrs.) Cordelia Agbebaku, in a chat with media men, expressed gratitude to Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the official Visitor to the university for what she referred to as his outstanding contributions to the sustenance of the university’s administration. Similarly, members of God’s Historic Church led by the Church Committee Chairman,

Commissioner sues for peace in Ughoton Community The Community Lawyer, Continued from page 1

He requested that copies of their memoranda of understanding (M O U) be made available to the Ministry to enable it vet the issue continued there in. The Commissioner advised Ughoton Community to cooperate with Dubri Oil Company in other to make the environment a peaceful place for the company to operate.

Barr. Dele Edokpayi stated that the Community is peaceful and devoid of Youth restiveness. The Production Manager of Dubri Oil, Chris Ikorok said the Company has been providing them with corporate social responsibilities and is ready to do more in order to make the community happy. Present at the meeting were the Director Overseeing the

office of the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr. Dan Aigbavboa, and other management Staff of the Ministry; Mrs. Amokhai Esohe, the Head of Administration of Dubri Oil Company Limited; Mr. Austin Omoregie, the Community Chairman and Prince Frank Edokiagbe, the Ohunkun of Ughoton Community.

registrars in the catchment areas will go to the schools to issue birth certificates to

Professional body seeks dialogue to end strikes

them,” Sanni said. He added that birth registrars visited palaces of traditional rulers in rural areas to ensure that children in such areas were captured.

Continued from page 1 communication channel on ways to move the education sector forward. The APBN president said that professionals were having problems employing graduates without additional in-house training and the attendant costs. ASUU called off its sixmonth strike on December 16, while ASUP has yet to end its four-month strike.

They however met the brick wall of unruffled presiding Senate President David Mark who relying on Order 53(5) of the Senate Rules refused discussing a matter that is currently in the court of law, ruled every move “out of order”. Not even attempt by the Senate Leader, Victor NdomaEgba to pull through his lead debate on A Bill for an Act to Establish the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants of Nigeria could succeed, as he was stopped with a point of order by Senator Kabiru Gaya (Kano South APC) Citing Order 77(3) that spells out the Procedure on Bills - “A compendium of the background information and financial implications shall accompany every Bill”, Senator Gaya

submitted that the Bill be thrown away on the premise that no compendium or financial implication was attached to it. Before the SP could rule on it, the Senate Leader quickly moved that the matter be stood down for another legislative date, and the SP also reading the mood of the Senate ruled in the affirmative without putting the question. Again, when Senator Andy Uba (Anambra South PDP) was called upon to move the motion for his sponsored Bill for an Act to Repeal and Re-enact the Nigerian Railway Corporation Act, he simply rose up and requested that the Bill be stood down till the next legislative date; and Senator Mark instantly approved the request without putting the question.

Edo records 632,543 births in 8-yrs

Continued from page 1 adding that it was collaborating with stakeholders in that regard. “We have about 109 centres where births, deaths and stillbirths are recorded in the state. “Women who are delivered by traditional births attendants go for routine immunisation; so, it is at this point that their children are captured. “We have a memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the state Ministry of Health so that nurses will fill the forms for mothers who come to deliver at primary health care facilities. “We recently signed an MOU with the Ministry of Basic Education so that headmasters in public primary schools will demand for birth certificates of children entering pre-nursery and nursery classes. “When these children don’t have birth certificates, they are given forms to fill, while

Chief M.E. Nehizena, the Ekhoreguae of Benin kingdom also paid a condolence visit to the Oba. The Chruch’s Pastor, Pastor Chika, told the Monarch that they were in the palace to commiserate with him , while praying God to prolong the Oba’s life as well as give him the fortitude to bear the demise of the Eson N’Erie. The Executive members of the Bible Society of Nigeria (BSN) led by Elder Tes Sorae were also at the palace. The Monarch however, expressed gratitude to all the various groups for finding time amidst their busy schedule to come to visit him at the palace.

Mark overrules defectors By JOSES SEDE

ABUJA - As expected, bottled emotion of suppressed official defection by certain senators of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party extraction to the opposition All Progressive Congress were vented on the Senate of the Federal Republic yesterday, as the defecting senators undermined the Rules and individually announced their defections. This is even as the Plenary was preceded by about 30 minutes closed doors session in which, according to Senate Committee Chairman on Information, Media and Public Affairs, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe afforded the senators to resolve “to maintain the dignity of the senate hence, there was no rancor”.

Empowerment Programme

Edo PCRC tasks community leaders By ROLAND OSAKUE

BENIN CITY – The members of Edo State Peace and Conflict Resolution Committee (PCRC) have urged community leaders across the state to take a cue from the e c o n o m i c empowerment programme put in place by the Executive Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. A release signed by the Chairman of the Committee, the Obasogie of Benin kingdom, Chief Eduwu Ekhator Obasogie also warned the community leaders to desist from fanning the embers of communal clashes in their respective communities. Chief Obasogie stated that the state would no longer tolerate the

indiscipline, barbaric and uncivilized behaviour of some self-styled community leaders, who perpetrate mayhem and wanton destruction of lives and properties and unrest in some communities across the state. He therefore warned perpetrators of such dastardly acts, as well as those igniting communal clashes for their selfish interest and unauthorized acquisition of proceeds from land speculation to beware of the consequences of their action which he described as disservice to the state. The release however, stated that the PCRC would not hesitate to bring to book such miscreants, who are no doubt enemies of the peaceful co-existence, even as he promised that the committee will soon embark on functional dialogue to sensitise the people across the state

Basic Education Permanent Secretary retires BENIN CITY – Edo State Commissioner for Basic Education, Hon. Patrick Aguinede, has attributed the achievements recorded so far by the Ministry to the support and cooperation of the Permanent Secretary, Barr. Usi Osemwowa. The Commissioner made the remarks during a valedictory session in honour of the Permanent Secretary - who retired recently from the public service of Edo State. He noted that he had a cordial working relationship with Barr. Osemwowa, maintaining that the virtues of hard work, diligence, coupled with the Grace of God contributed immensely towards the unblemished record of the Permanent Secretary during his service years. Hon. Aguinede added that the fatherly disposition and wise counsel of Barr. Osemwowa would be greatly missed by those who had close contact with him, while wishing him the very best in his future endeavours. In his response, the

retired Permanent Secretary, Barr. Usi Osemwowa, expressed delight for the honour done him, while dedicating his years of meritorious service to the Almighty God. He admonished those still in service to make dedication, honesty and teamwork their hallmark in order for them to reap the benefits of their career. He stated that he bore no grudges against anybody and asked for forgiveness from those he may have offended in one way or the other during the course of duty, emphasising that his actions and decisions were mostly influenced by the collective interest of Edo people, as exemplified by the Adams Oshiomhole-led administration. The event attracted top management and staff of the Ministry of Basic Education, including the Executive Chairman, State Universal Basic Education Board (EDOSUBEB), Prince Steve Alao with his board members.

Inside Edo Etsako East LG Boss Inspects School Project OKPELLA – The Chairman, Etsako East Local Government Council, Hon. Abdulmalik Suleiman Afegbua has inspected the renovation of six classrooms block in Afegbua Primary School, Awuyemi, Okpella. The council chairman who expressed satisfaction with the speed, quality and level of work done so far said that the massive renovation of schools across Etsako East in a fulfillment of his electoral promises to the people. While calling on the people’s support for the government to continue to deliver democratic dividends to them, he said that government money

must be used to better their lives especially through the provision of social infrastructures. Speaking, the councillor representing the ward 5, Hon. Sunny Igiefamhe Peter, noted that he was part of the campaign team of the council boss whom he described as a man of his words. He expressed pride as an active member of the administration, adding that it is a thing of joy that the school he attended has received government attention. Spokesman for the contractor, Chief Musa Talib said that they have the technical efficiency and expertise to do the work. He said the job will be completed within 30 days.

Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Mrs. Eki Igbinedion, wife of former Governor of Edo State, Chief Lucky Igbinedion at a funeral service for the late Deaconess Rebecca Oviasu in Benin City. Photo: CHARITY OZIGBO-ESERE.

Council Boss Approves Relocation, Construction Of School

Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole signing the condolence register for the late Chief Festus Amen Osayimwen, father of Hon. Patrick Osayimwen (Oredo Constituency) of the State House of Assembly during the governor’s visit to the lawmaker in Benin City. Photo: CHARITY OZIGBO-ESERE.

OKPELLA – The Chairman, Etsako East Local Government Council, Hon. Abdulmalik Suleiman Afegbua has approved the award of the construction of four classroom block and Head Master’s office at Udiogiegie Primary School, Ogute-Oke. The Council Chairman who also approved the relocation of the project from present site following request by the community. According to him, the community had observed that the old location was no longer conducive for the expansion or for learning. He said that he approved the request having seen the new site and consequently directed the new school block be built in the new site. Spokesman for the community, Mr. Amos Okodo who expressed joy over the chairman’s visit said that they were experiencing government presence in the school for the first time, noting that the massive projects across the entire local council will be the

banned last year in Benin City metropolis. After the ban, he was said to have engaged in the business of grinding tomatoes and pepper with machine in one of the markets in Benin City to make ends meet, until the tragedy occurred. The deceased was said to have taken the bitter pill when his “girlfriend” told him point black that they were not compatible hence can not be together as husband and wife.

Sources revealed that the duo hail from Ugboha Community in Esan South East Local Government Area of Edo State. Another version of the tragedy stated that so far no one knows why the deceased took his life as there is record of his sponsoring a girl in higher institution. The source who craved anonymity added that since he died without leaving suicide note, it would be wrong for anyone to infer any reason as to

basis for his second tenure bid. Chief Francis Sanni, a village Head in the community, noted that the school was founded by the community, but however expressed joy over government intervention. Speaking to newsmen, the Senior Special Assistant to the

Flood: NGO Distributes 4,000 Yam homeless and Seedlings people destroyed farmlands in Edo ANEGBETTE (EDO) - A Port Harcourt-based NGO, All Seasons Agricultural Development (ASAAD), said it has distributed 4,000 yam seedlings to farmers affected by the 2012 flooding in Anegbette, Etsako Central Local Government Area of Edo. The organisation also paid WAEC enrolment fees for 23 students of Anegbette Secondary School in the area. The flooding left many

Jilted Lover Commits Suicide


BENIN CITY – A middleaged man alleged to have been jilted by a girl that he sponsored to higher institution has committed suicide in Benin City. The victim identified as Paul was found dangling on a rope tied to the ceiling fan in his apartment at 33, Omoruyi Street, between Sapele and Sokponba Road, Benin City, last Sunday.

The victim’s neighbours claimed that the embattled girl identified as Faith started visiting the deceased lately possibly on completion of her studies. They alleged that she discovered her “boyfriend’s body dangling on a rope when she opened the door about 3pm Sunday, forcing her to raise alarm. It was further alleged that the deceased financed the education of the said girl with the proceeds from his commercial motorcycle riding business which was

Edo State Governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Momoh Ahmed Musa who accompanied the council chairman said that Etsako East Local Government Council is working, stressing that the state government will always give support to the local council.

why he committed suicide. The NIGERIAN OBSERVER learnt that the girl who discovered his lifeless body was taken to the police station for interrogation. Spokesman, Edo State Police Command, DSP Moses Eguavoen stated that no family member or associate of the deceased has shown up for information and identification. He stated that the police authorities have deposited the corpse in a mortuary in Benin City.

North. The president of ASAAD, Mr. Theophilus Sadoh, said the distribution of the yam seedlings was to boost yam farming in the area. Sadoh said that the communities, known for yam cultivation, remains one of the major yam distributors in the country. “We are giving out these yam seedlings to reduce the suffering of the farmers. “Anegbette is one of the communities submerged by flood in 2012 which destroyed the entire farmland. “The destruction done by the flood is one of the reasons we deem it fit to help boost yam farming in the area,’’ he said. Responding the chairman of Anegbette farmers, Mr Aliu Idaro thanked the association for the kind gesture. “We the farmers in Anegbette appreciate your concern towards our plight. “Since flood destroyed our farmland, we have been having difficulties to go back to farm. “With this distribution we can now go back to farming and boost food production in the area,’’ he said.

LG Boss Assures Constituency Of Sustained Dividends Of Democracy AFUZE - The Chairman, Owan East Local Government Council, Chief, Jimoh Ijegbai has assured that his administration will continually ensure that people of the Local Government Area benefit from the dividends of democracy. The Chairman also assured that the tempo of his development agenda will be sustained in order to bring about change to the Local Government and the people, stressing that the All Progressive Congress (APC) is all about change which must be done practically. Chief Ijegbai gave the assurances when he played host to the Landlord Association of Alli Street in Afuze, the Administrative headquarters of Owan East. The council boss said his effort at restoring power supply to Alli Street was done in accordance with what APC stands for and therefore urged everyone to ensure they support the APC in order to bring about total transformation of the association, Barrister Dennis Ejere and a Special Adviser to Governor Adams Oshiomhole, commended the Owan East Council boss for his prompt

response to the plight of residents of Alli street. He disclosed that the street has been experiencing power outage occasioned by a faulty transformer. He noted that when the complaint was brought to the notice of the council chairman, he (chairman) swiftly effected the repairs and power supply was restored to the street. Barrister Ejere urged all Politicians to emulate Chief Ijegbai, whom he said operates an open door policy and with a listening ear to every complaints. The Special Adviser advised the council boos to remain focus in order to actualize his goals and objectives for the people of the Local Government Area.

Inside Edo

Senator (Prof) Oserhiemen Osunbor, former Governor of Edo State, speaking with newsmen during a condolence visit to Benin Monarch, His Royal Majesty, Oba Erediauwa over the death of his eldest wife, Queen Esther Omoye Erediauwa. Photo: LUCKY AGIE.

Oshiomhole Pledges More Youth Empowerment Programmes BENIN CITY – Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has pledged to use his office to ensure more youth

empowerment programmes are initiated in the state. He made the pronouncement at the first

graduation ceremony of Global Exploits Skills Acquisition, an entrepreneurship

Prof. Victor A m e n Uhunmwangho, Provost, College of Education E k i a d o l o r, speaking with newsmen during a condolence visit to Benin Monarch, His Royal Majesty, Oba Erediauwa over the death of his eldest wife, Queen Esther O m o y e Erediauwa. Photo: LUCKY AGIE.

development programme and a subsidiary of Chaplains Fellowship of Nigeria (CFN). Governor Oshiomhole, who was represented by his Executive Director on Youth Affairs, Mr. Marcus Onobun urged the graduands to be focus and translate their acquired skills to other youths in the society. Also speaking at the ceremony, the Senior Special Adviser (SSA) on community and Youth Development to Governor Oshiomhole, Comrade Osaghae Collins Amadin assured the graduands of the state government support as a result of Governor Oshiomhole’s belief in youth empowerment. Chief facilitator of Global Exploits and Assistant Grand

Same Sex Law: Group Commends Jonathan By FAITH ISIKHUEMEN/ RICHARD EWEKA

CITY – President of Women In Agriculture: Commissioner BENIN Jubille Democratic By DOROTHY EGBOBAMWONYI BENIN CITY – Edo State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Hon. Abul Oroh has urged the National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) to help create awareness among Nigerian women on the need to embrace agriculture. Commissioner Oroh gave the charge in Benin City during a visit by the executive officers and members of NAWOJ, Edo State chapter.

He informed the NAWOJ members that the state government has identified 5,000 hectres of land in Edo Central and Edo North Senatorial Districts for the cultivation of dry season paddy rice farm which is expected to bring about 20,000 metric tones of rice. Oroh also informed the journalists of several visits to the ministry in their quest to avail themselves of the investment potentials in the agricultural sector of the state. According to him, the state government is working

Enlists NAWOJ

assiduously to fashion out ways of engaging all and sundry in agriculture with a view to realizing the dream of producing up to 25 percent of what is consumed in the country by 2015. He however commended their good works, adding that as a journalist, he will always support the ideals of the journalism profession. Chairman of the state chapter of NAWOJ, Comrade Amina Ebor had told the commissioner that their visit

was to familiarise themselves with the commissioner. Giving an account of stewardship of NAWOJ in the state, Comrade Ebor also solicited the support of the commissioner in actualizing the “NAWOJ Creche House”, a pet project of the association. Highlight of the visit was the presentation of the NAWOJ magazine to the commissioner.

Commandant-General of CFN, Dr. Victor Edjelekpo admonished the graduands to make good use of their talents. Speaking with The Nigerian OBSERVER, Miss Ufuoma Sagin, a graduand expressed her delight and gratitude to the organizers of the programme, saying that she hardly encountered any challenge(s), during her training. She however stressed the need to be supported in her quest to succeed in her future business. High points of the ceremony were the presentation of Awards of Excellence/Honour to Governor Oshiomhole and Ovie of Ughelli Kingdom in recognition of youth empowerment in Edo State and the abolition of anti-social vices in Ughelli Kingdom respectively, presentation of certificate to the graduands and the exhibition of the commodities produced by the graduands in five areas of specialization.

Emancipation Group, Nigeria, Dr. Dele Oluwatade has commended president Goodluck Jonathan for signing into law, the bill which crimnalises same sex marriages, despite the condemnation from a section of the western world. He gave the commendation while speaking with our reporter in Benin City, Edo State. Dr. Oluwatade applauded the boldness, commitment and determination of the Nigerian people to stand up against same sex marriage while

thanking the president for signing it into law. “All the threat coming from the Western World are empty threat, the president has done the right thing to make us a nation after God’s own heart”. “We are an independent nation, we can survive without the aid from western world. They may be afraid of gay because they have infiltrated international bodies like the United Nations, that is why they approved same sex marriage in some countries”, he said. He however urge all the antigay nations to come together to form a block that will be different from United Nations and us that will fight against the promotion of same sex marriage around the world.

News Governor Wada Signs N2014 Budget Into Law LOKOJA - Governor Idris Wada of Kogi has signed the State’s 2014 Budget of N128 billion into law. This is contained in a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media, Mr. Jacob Edi, and made available to newsmen in Lokoja. It said the brief ceremony was attended by his deputy, Mr.

Construction Of New Roads

Kogi Govt Approves N3bn LOKOJA - The Kogi Government has approved the award of contracts for the construction of four new roads across the state at a cost of N3 billion. The Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Yabaji Bologi, disclosed this at a news briefing in Lokoja. Bologi listed the roads as Otokiti-Ganaja dual carriage in Lokoja metropolis awarded to Ceezahi Construction Company at a cost of N2billion and with a completion period of 18 months. Another is AjegumuOfomu-Oduogboyaga road in Dekina Local Government area awarded to Tech Engineering Construction Company at a cost of N592 million. There is also Lion ClubGeregu road in Ajaokuta Local Government area which was awarded at a cost of N163 million to Zerock Construction Company. He said the fourth, PonyanIrele Kogi/Ekiti boundary road was awarded to Weinbandt Nigeria Ltd. at a cost of N146 million with a completion period of four months. Bologi expressed the hope that the roads would reduce traffic jams in Lokoja and boost transportation at the grassroots when completed. The Commissioner also said that the state executive council approved contract for the purchase of twelve 32 - seater buses at a cost of N110 million. Bologi said the vehicles would be deployed to Lokoja and other major towns in the state to ease movement of goods and passengers.

Yomi Awoniyi, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Jimoh Lawal, and other top government functionaries. The statement quoted the governor as saying it would usher in massive project execution that would uplift the standard of living of the people. The statement said the governor commended the assembly for the quick passage of the budget and solicited continued co-operation between the executive and the legislature. It said the budget was made up of N79billion as recurrent expenditure while the balance of N49 billion was for capital expenditure.

L-R: Commandant, National Defence College (NDC), Rear-Adm. Patrick Agholor; Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta; Deputy Commandant, NDC, Maj-Gen. Adeniyi Oyebade and member, House of representatives, Rep. Ndudi Elumelu at a lecture on leadership and interaction for participants of Course 22 at NDC in Abuja recently.

Nigeria’s Slot For 2014 Hajj Still 76,000 - NAHCON

ABUJA - The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), has said that slots for 2014 pilgrimage remained 76,000, as it was in 2013. This is contained in a statement signed by the Public Relations Officer of the commission, Alhaji Uba Mana, in Abuja. It said the figure was released by Saudi Deputy Minister of Hajj, Dr Sahal Bin Abdallah, while receiving a delegation led by Nigerian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Alhaji Abubakar Bunu. The statement said the Nigerian delegation comprised representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and NAHCON. It said the delegation was in the Kingdom to hold talks with their Saudi Counterparts as part of preparations for the 2014 Hajj. According to Bin Abdallah, the 20 per cent global reduction of last year will continue this year because the planned expansion is yet to be completed. He assured that when the expansion was completed, Nigeria would not only be able to regain its original 95,000 slots, but would surpass it. Responding, Bunu called for a better working relationship between the two countries and thanked Saudi authorities for continuously

making the hajj less cumbersome. Nigeria Consul-General in Jeddah, Ahmed Umar,

decried the habit of arresting Nigeria pilgrims by Saudi authorities and taking them to prison without informing

the Consulate. He also expressed displeasure over denying Nigerian officials the access

to such pilgrims. The commission on its part lauded the 50 per cent of Nigerian pilgrims granted permission to land directly in Madinah last year and prayed for its sustenance.

Course 22 participants at National Defence College (NDC), at a lecture on leadership and interaction in Abuja recently.

Nutritionist Urges Daily Consumption Of Pipeapple

KADUNA - A nutritionist, Mrs. Tabitha Ahmadu, in Kaduna has advised Nigerians to make pineapple a part of their daily diet for improved health. Ahmadu, who works with the Kaduna State Ministry of Science and Technology, told newsmen that pineapple did not have much fats and cholesterol. “Pineapple is rich in vitamin A, minerals - calcium, phosphorus and potassium. These assist the liver in flushing

out toxins from the body,” she said. Ahmadu told newsmen that regular consumption of pineapple would reduce degeneration of the body. “Pineapple contains carotene which is good for our sight. Pineapple is sweet, juicy and delicious; it is highly nutritious. “Pineapple is also popular for its ability to build and maintain

strong bones. “This is because the fruit contains manganese which the body needs to build bones and tissues.’’ She said that daily consumption of pineapple would boost one’s immune system, nourish the hair and cleanse the body. The nutritionist also said that pineapple would help to prevent

cough and cold, increase energy and boost metabolism. “Eat pineapple daily; it is good for the body. It can defend the body against diseases,” she told newsmen. According to her, daily consumption of pineapple also helps to keep gums healthy and protect the body from lung and oral cavity cancers. “Pineapples help to improve blood sugar and reduce constipation,” Ahmadu said.

South West

FG ’ll Not Re-Concession Lagos-Ibadan Expressway - Minister

IBADAN - The Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen, has said that the Federal Government had no intention to reconcession the LagosIbadan expressway project. Onolememen said while

Construction Company to two contractors. Limited, handling Section 11 They are Julius Berger (Shagamu-Ibadan axis). Nigeria Limited handling “The project cost N167 Section 1 (Lagos-Shagamu billion and a completion axis) and Messrs Reynolds benchmark of 48 months. “There has not been any revision; in fact, it has been alleged that the Federal Ministry of Works was considering a new concession this project.” He said there would be no “concession to anybody”. “The Federal Government has taken a decision to ensure that this road is constructed because we took it away from the first contractor and we are determined to deliver it. “The government is just taking advantage of the novel funding mechanism used in developing countries to drive capital intensive projects to completion. “It is a novel funding of the private finance institution Chief J. Ohanuwan and Chief Igunbaro (JP) at the burial ceremony of late Esther Erediauwa, Eson N’Erie of Benin KIngdom yesterday in Benin City. Photo: OSADEBAMWEN SUNDAY. which is the new way of funding as part of the paradigm shift, not just in financing but also in project management to enhance Nigeria’s roads”. Onolememen said that was on inspection tour of the two sections of the project that government had resolved to deliver the road in 48 months.

He said that the N167 billion projects, which included rehabilitation, reconstruction and expansion, were awarded

the reason for the use of polymer asphalt, the most modern form of bitumen, making its debut to the Nigerian construction industry. He added that it afforded a 40 to 50-year life span of road as against the previous 25year life span of roads in the country. The minister expressed satisfaction at the level of work on the road as against speculation that the Federal Government lacked funds to execute the project. He said that it was evident that copious work was being carried out on the site by the two firms with over 14 per cent of work already achieved on the 126kilometre road. The Director, Northwest, of Julius Berger Nigeria Limited, Mario Viduka and Chief Engineer, Reynolds Construction Company Limited, Mr. Nadal Yusuf, gave the assurance that the project would be delivered on time.

Amosun Advocates Establishment Of Appeal Court Division In Ogun

Chief D. A. Ehondon (left) and Emmanuel Osa Uwoghiren during the burial ceremony of the late Oloi Esther Omoye Erediauwa the Eson N’Erie of Benin Kingdom yesterday in Benin City. Photo: OSADEBAMWEN SUNDAY.

Community Appeals ForSecondary School

ABEOKUTA - The people of Ijaiye community in Abeokuta, Ogun, has called on the state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, to establish secondary school in the area. The people, under the aegis of Ijaiye Parapo Association, made the call in Abeokuta at a press conference held to herald the 3rd Ijaiye Day Celebration. The leader of the association, Chief Bunmi Fasola, said if established, it would be the first in the

community. “At present, we have no single secondary school to absorb the graduates of the three primary schools in the area.” “Ijaiye Kunrunmi constitutes a famous homogeneous and distinct community in what is today, Ijaiye quarters in the Egba Ake section of Abeokuta in Ogun,” he said. Fasola expressed concern

that the situation had resulted in the desertion of the area by the youths since there were no institutions to further their education. He, therefore, appealed to the Amosun-led administration to consider the community as a priority in its educational transformation of the state. He said the people were ready to partner the government by providing

large expanse of land in different parts of the area to enhance educational development in the community. Fasola explained that the Ijaiye Day celebration will hold between Feb. 17 and Feb. 23, and was aimed partly at fostering the unity and preservation of the cultural heritage of the people. He gave assurance that benefit accrued from the celebration would be used to develop the community.

ABEOKUTA - The Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun has advocated the establishment of a Court of Appeal Division in the state. Amosun made the call when he received Justices of the Ibadan Division of the Appeal Court led by its Presiding Judge, Justice Monica Mensem, in Abeokuta. Reports state that the judges are in the state on a three-week sitting on appeal court cases. The governor expressed concern that Ogun was not considered when the number of Appeal Court Divisions was recently increased from five to 16. He argued that the rich history of Ogun in the area of judiciary was enough reason to give the state a division of the appellate court. “The first indigenous Chief Justice of the Federation is from Ogun. “What better argument can

we put forward that 68 per cent of cases in Ibadan Division under which we are, emanate from Ogun. “Almost every state in the South-West now has a division of the Appeal Court. “On our part, we will ensure everything is in place and confidently approach the necessary authorities to see that we are given a division,” he said. While appreciating the judges for coming to the state to hear appeal cases, Amosun enjoined them to give priority attention to speedy dispensation of justice. Earlier, Mensem said that the 21-day visit of the judges was adopted to bring justice closer to the people and enlarge the scope of coverage. She said “250 cases are ready for hearing while we work from Monday to Friday.

Across The Nation 14 Northern States To Meet The statement expressed Over Oil Exploiration support for ongoing efforts by the

Former Minister of Police Affairs, Senator Yakubu Lame (left) and representative of Bogoro, Dass and Tafawa Balewa Federal Constituency, Rep. Dogara Yakubu displaying his APC registration card after registering at Bogoro LGA of Bauchi State recently.

MINNA Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger would declare open the meeting of Association of Petroleum Inland Basin States of Northern Nigeria (APIBONN) in Minna. This is contained in a statement signed by Danladi Ndayebo, Press Secretary to Governor Babangida Aliyu, in Minna. The statement said the 14 northern states which fall under the region’s sedimentary basin were set to kick-start oil and gas exploration in the inland basin states. The statement said the relevant commissioners in the affected states would brainstorm on the modalities and action plan that would kick start and sustain

Government Urged To Go Into Commercial Farming IIORIN - Mr. Sangobiyi Adebayo, the General Manager of Shonga Farm in Edu Local Government Area of Kwara, has called on government to go into commercial agriculture Adebayo told newsmen in IIorin that this was the only way the three tiers of government could solve the nation’s food challenge. According to him, the era of subsistence farming is long gone, stressing that it is important for Nigerians to key into modern farming to enhance productivity. Adebayo explained that it was erroneous to see agriculture as a mere way of life, instead of a viable business. He said that the sector, if professionally harnessed, would engender food sufficiency and self-reliance. The general manager said modern intensive farming could be encouraged through

agriculture-based financial banks. He added that modalities were also on ground for the out-grower scheme to support farmers to boost productivity and income. He described Shonga Farm

Holdings as the first commercial farming centre in the country. Adebayo said the farm was collaborating with Malete Integrated Farm Institute under the Kwara Agriculture Master Plan to develop local farmers

from the rudimentary stage to advanced commercial farmers. He said the farm also collaborated with various agricultural research institutes across the country and beyond. Adebayo said this was borne out of the need to develop improved seedlings and planting materials.

oil and gas exploration in the North. “The meeting will fashion out strategies to harness the resources in Sokoto, Chad, Bida and Benue basins, although their hydrocarbon contents are yet to be properly developed and estimated” , it said.

Federal Government to explore oil in the sedimentary basin of Northern Nigeria. The inland basin states are Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Gombe, Kogi, Kebbi, Niger, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kwara, Nasarawa, Taraba, Yobe and Plateau.

Fire Razes 300 Shops In Katako Market SABONGARI (KADUNA) No fewer than 300 shops were destroyed following outbreak of fire at Katako Market, Sabongari area of Zaria in Kaduna State. Reports state that the fire, which lasted for about five hours, started at about 3.30am and was put out at about 8.30a.m. Alhaji Abubakar Bagobiri, Chairman, Sabongari Marketers’ Association, described the incident as pathetic. Bagobiri said security personnel on guard at the market told him that it was caused by electricity problem. “I was told that the fire was caused by electric spark which subsequently engulfed the

market’’, he said. Bagobiri appealed to Kaduna State Government, State Emergency Management Agency and National Emergency Management Agency to come to the aid of the affected traders. “Goods worth millions of naira were lost in this ugly incident, hence the need for government, non-governmental organisations and individuals to come to the aid of the affected traders’’, he said. While praying for God’s protection against recurrence, the chairman appealed to the affected shop owners to accept it as the will of God and look unto Him for assistance.

with President Jonathan’’, he said. Ajiboye added that ASUU was tired of “earmarking of the funds but now needs eye-marking of it with visible projects executed with the funds.’’ He urged the federal government not to delay in the implementation of the MOU as such might breed further

acrimony within the university system. He decried the sack of 90 workers at CRIN and urged all well-meaning Nigerians to rise and defend injustices being meted out to the affected people. He urged the Director General of CRIN Prof. Malachi Akoroda, to tread softly and be democratic in steering the affairs of CRIN.

ASUU Expresses Concern Over MoU With FG

IBADAN - The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has expressed concern over what it called foot-dragging in the implementation of the new Memorandum of Understanding MOU reached between it and the Federal Government. The union also condemned the sack of 90 staff members of the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) Ibadan. It called on the government and the masses to rise against what it called the “intimidation

of the oppressed’’ in the institution. The National Treasurer of ASUU, Dr Ademola Aremu, and Chairman of University of Ibadan branch of the union, Dr Olusegun Ajiboye, made these remarks at ASUU/Press parley in Ibadan. Aremu said it was disturbing

that in spite of signing an MOU and calling off the strike, allocation of funds was yet to be implemented for the needs assessment project of Nigerian universities. “The Federal Government ought to have commenced the process of depositing an additional N55 billion for the first quarter as agreed in the MOU

Release Of Prison Inmates

Comptroller Commends Govt

KADUNA - Alhaji Garba Abubakar, the Comptroller of Prisons in Kaduna State, has commended the Kaduna State government for releasing 118 inmates between January 2 and February 6. Abubakar told newsmen in Kaduna that the ongoing prison decongestion, approved by the Kaduna state government, would encourage speedy dispensation of justice in Nigeria courts. “When I became the comptroller, I told the state governor that our prisons are truly congested, and by the power bestowed on him, he should look into the problem. “Thank God, the governor accepted the suggestion and constituted a committee, under the chairmanship of the state

Attorney General, Justice Shehu Garba. “Garba then assured all the inmates that the committee, would do everything possible to assist them, and truly, something is being done. “These inmates are our brothers. We must therefore ensure that they are protected and encouraged,” he said. The comptroller said that 62 inmates released from the Kaduna Central Prisons, and 56 others from Zaria prisons. He said that in addition, 24 inmates had been recommended for discharge, while legal advice had been sought in respect of cases of 10 other inmates. Abubakar then advised the freed inmates, to repent and be of good behaviour

Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State registering as APC member at the Government House in Maiduguri recently.

Abuja Agency Fines Shell N800bn For ABUJA - The National Oil Bonga Oil Spill Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) has imposed five billion dollar fine (about N800bn) on Shell Petroleum and Development Company (SPDC) for the 2011 Bonga oil spill incident. The Director-General, Mr. Peter Idabor, said this in an interview with newsmen in Abuja. Idabor also said that the agency had started studying the Post-Impact Assessment Report on Bonga oil spill. “Compensation really derives after you have done a post-impact assessment. “After you have done evaluation of the place and mapped out places affected by the spill, then you can now say this one take three naira; this one take N100; it is different from fine. “So, just last week, they formally announced to us that the post-impact assessment report is ready; which we are studying now. “The House of Representatives has asked NOSDRA as the lead agency in oil spill, to contact other stakeholders including the communities, to see how we can study the report. “We will then recommend compensation based on the report of the post-impact assessment.’’ He said that NOSDRA faulted SPDC for not providing immediate relief to the affected communities, whose livelihoods

were affected by the disaster. The director-general said that the fine would serve as a deterrent to other firms that would treat activities which deplete the environment with levity. “The kind of impunity Shell and its allies have demonstrated so far in the Niger Delta area in the past should be addressed if the future and people of Nigeria and the environment are to be protected.’’ He said that the oil spill, which spread over 100 nautical miles from the ocean, deprived fishermen in the affected areas of Bayelsa and Delta of their means of livelihood. “They could not go there to fish; nets that they normally put in water ways were stained and people lost their means of livelihood.

“Even the fishes themselves, because of the chemical, migrated from the crude oil. “The overall impact was for that chemical to have entered the Atlantic Ocean; it must have killed millions of fish and other living organisms. Idabor said that the spill which did not result from sabotage or vandalism would take a long time to get cleared. Meanwhile, Mr. Barrisua Deezim, an Ogoni in Rivers, has urged NOSDRA to extend its efforts and to respond to other communities in the Niger Delta region affected by oil exploration activities. Deezim also called on security authorities to intensify efforts to check the activities of illegal refineries in the area.

Intending members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) registering for the party at Ward 9, West End in Asaba, Delta State recently.

Use Nation’s Resources Equitably,

ABUJA - The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, has urged leaders in government and the private sector to use the nation’s resources equitably for the benefit of all. Onaiyekan gave the advice in a sermon at the thanksgiving service to mark his 70th birthday at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro Cathedral in Abuja. He said God endowed Nigeria

with enormous resources that should be distributed equally amongst Nigerians irrespective of their backgrounds. The cardinal said that equity and justice were part of the solution to Nigeria’s problems of insecurity, corruption and moral decadence. “This is my message to all those who control and manage our resources. They must be

Onaiyekan Urges Leaders shared equally for peace and prosperity in our nation’’, he said. Onaiyekan also said that Nigerians must brace to the challenge of nation building, noting that no contribution was too small or big to make Nigeria

Traders Boycott Market To Register With APC DAMATURU - Livestock traders and milk sellers complied with a directive issued by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association to stay home and register with the All Progressives Congress (APC). Reports say that the Damaturu weekly market was deserted by the traders as a result of the directive. Chairman of the association, Alhaji Mai-Aliyu Usman told newsmen that the association directed Fulani men and women to suspend all activities until they had registered as members of the party. “The association has also directed the men to suspend grazing and migration until they have been registered as members of the party’’, he said. Usman said the association was educating Fulani men and women on politics and democracy to promote active

participation and representation at all levels of government. He added that their members who travelled to other states had also been directed to return home for the registration.

Reports state that as a result of the directive, few cattle, sheep and goats were brought to the market. Consumers of milk and livestock expressed concern over

the inadequate supply of milk and animals to the market. Alhaji Sidi Lawan, a livestock merchant, said some traders who came from far distances left without buying the animals.

great. According to him, “building this nation is the responsibility of all, whether you are big or small, rich or poor, it is little contributions of everyone that will make our country great.’’ He pledged his commitment to the service of the church and to greatness of humanity in the years ahead. Onaiyekan, who was full of gratitude to God and his colleagues in the service of the church, said continued selfless service would preoccupy his activities henceforth. “I look to the future ready for

PDP Decries Constant Condemnation By Opposition Parties

ABUJA - The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on opposition parties to proffer solutions and alternatives to it rather than constantly condemning its policies and programmes. Mr. Olisa Metuh, National Publicity Secretary of the party, made the call in a statement. “While we concede to the inalienable rights of individuals to associate with any political party of their choice, we advise that they should proffer solutions and alternatives rather than engage in constant

condemnation’’, he said. Metuh also said that while the PDP recognised the right of citizens to hold opinions and identify with their choice of political platforms, it found it

difficult to understand the bitterness against it by the opposition. He said that such bitterness became more worrisome when former PDP members spoke

negative things about the party they had greatly benefited from. He wished former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and other PDP members who recently defected to the opposition well and prayed that they would find it in their hearts to accord the PDP due recognition someday.

Varsity Gets 2 Institutions To Serve As Teaching Hospitals DUTSE - The Federal University in Dutse is to use the Federal Medical Centre, BirninKudu and Rasheed Shekoni Specialist Hospital, Dutse, as its teaching hospitals. Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof Jibrila Amin, made this known in an interview with newsmen in. He said this was based on the plan to establish faculty of medical and allied health sciences in the institution in the next two years. He said medicine would be studied in the institution when the proposed faculty was in place. “I have met with the managements of Federal Medical Centre, Birnin-Kudu and

Rasheed Shekoni Specialist Hospital, Dutse, to use their institutions as teaching hospitals. “We have contacted the two major hospitals in our locality to serve as our future teaching hospitals”, he said. According to Amin, faculty of management science and education would also be established the same time with medical science. The VC said the institution had only three faculties of agriculture, arts and social sciences, and science for now. It would be recalled that the university was among the nine established by the Federal Government in February 2011.

A finance house being sealed-up by an official of Securities and Exchange Commission for alleged illegal operation in Ibadan recently.

God’s will, to do my best and to cover lost grounds in the cause of my adventure as priest. “I want to dedicate the rest of my life to doing only those things that will please God because every other thing is vanity, nothing else matters to me now but to please God’’, he said. In his message, Pope Francis extolled the qualities of the cardinal. He said Onaiyekan was a shining star and a worthy son of the church and Africa and should be supported in his apostolic ministry. In the message read by his representative in Nigeria, Archbishop Augustine Kasujja, the pope prayed God to grant the cardinal more years of fruitful work in the vine yard of the Lord. In a goodwill message, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) congratulated the cardinal for attaining the age of 70 in good health. The Vice President of the conference, the Most Rev. Augustine Akabueze, who read the bishops’ message, said Onaiyekan was a worthy servant of the church and a distinguished member of the CBCN. He said Onaiyekan’s role in fostering religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence in Nigeria and beyond was worthy of emulation by all. According to Akabueze, Onaiyekan has carried out his responsibilities with courage and integrity and has made the church proud in all his activities. He said that the catholic bishops were proud to be associated with the cardinal and pledged to support him to reach new grounds in his Episcopal assignment. Reports say that clerics and other catholic faithful in the Abuja archdiocese and in the cardinal’s home parish in Kogi state attended the service. Onaiyekan was born on January 29, 1944, ordained catholic priest on August 3, 1969 and ordained bishop on January 6, 1983 by the late Pope John Paul II.

Business + Economy

Stakeholders Doubt Credibility Of Investors Protection Fund LAGOS - Some shareholders have queried the credibility of the Investor Protection Fund (IPF) of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). The IPF is a pool of fund being established by the NSE to provide compensation to investors caught in capital market scam or have genuine claims of losses against dealing member firms. The claims of losses are expected to revolve around such things as “insolvency, bankruptcy or negligence of a dealing member firm of a securities exchange or capital trade point. The shareholders told newsmen in Lagos that the fund was established to protect rich investors. Mr. Sunny Nwosu, National Coordinator, Independent Shareholders Association, said that retail investors were not

aware of the fund. Nwosu said that the shareholders’ representative on the IPF board was not appointed by the shareholders to represent their interest, but was selected by the NSE. He said that the fund lacked credibility because nobody had benefited from it over the years. Nwosu also said that domestic investors had suffered untold hardship between 2008 and 2010 and needed to be compensated. Alhaji Gbadebo Olatokunbo, member, Nigeria Shareholders Solidarity Association (NSSA), also said that shareholders were not involved in the establishment of the fund. Olatokunbo said that the NSE was not interested in local investors’ protection because they failed to accommodate their inputs in the IPF rules.

“The problem with us in Nigeria is that we always ask initiators of our problems for solutions and close the doors against other stakeholders,” Olatokunbo said. According to him, NSE needs to educate local investors on the operation of the fund and those qualified to benefit from it. “NSE did not seek our opinion before the creation of the fund; we are not their target because we are yet to know how we shall be protected with the fund,” he said. Mr. Boniface Okezie, the President, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, said that besides the constitution of the board, approval of the rules, investor education on the benefits and those eligible were necessary. Okezie said that many investors left the market because

they did not know their rights and needed to be enlightened. He lamented the failure of the regulators to provide information until when there was a problem, adding that investors needed to be carried along by the market regulators. The NSE, on September 21,

2012, inaugurated the new board of the fund with Mr. Gamaliel Onosode as the chairman. Also, the Securities and Exchange Commission, in January 2014, approved the proposed rules to govern the fund. Meanwhile, NSE, Head,

Corporate Communications, Mrs. Nwando Ajene, said that NSE had scheduled an investor enlighten programme to expose stakeholders on the operations of the fund. Ajene said that rules on claims percentage threshold had not been approved by the NSE. She said that the NSE would soon launch a Website where information would be shared with the various stakeholders on the fund.

Microfinance Banking, Potent Tool For Poverty Alleviation - Expert ILORIN - Dr Salaudeen Jubril, The Managing Director of Citiserve, a micro-finance bank, has identified microfinance banks as potent tool for poverty alleviation in the country. Jubril made the observation while delivering a lecture at the trade seminar and annual general meeting of IMAN Trust, a noninterest cooperative society of the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH). The financial expert, who spoke on “Islamic Micro-finance Development: Challenges and Initiatives”, said that microfinance banking was bridging the needs of low-income earners and the poor. According to him, the beneficiaries of micro-finance banking are people whose economic standing excludes them from formal financial systems. He said that micro-financing occurred when “access to services, such as credit, venture capital, savings, insurance, remittance, is provided on a micro-scale.” Jubril also pointed out that studies showed that the exclusion of the poor population from the formal financial system was responsible for their inability to participate in the development process. “In a typical developing economy, the formal financial system serves no more than 20 to 30 per cent of the population,” he said. He also said that the inclusive financial system was the central goal of policy makers and planners across the globe. Jubril said both Microfinance and Islamic finance had a common goal that emphasised ethics, moral, social, and religious factors to promote equality and fairness. The financial expert said that

the Islamic finance approach to poverty alleviation was more inclusive than the conventional finance institutions. He said that Islamic finance provided basic conditions of sustainable and successful microfinance, blending wealth creation with empathy for the poor. Also, in another lecture by Dr Abdulhakeem Mobolaji, a former Head of the Department of Economics, University of Ilorin, said that cooperative societies had vital roles in restoring national economic security.

In the lecture entitled “Rich Nigeria, Poor Nigerians: Role of Islamic Cooperative Societies,” Mobolaji said it was reasonable for the societies to promote financial inclusion. He said that the challenges facing these cooperative societies were numerous, but surmountable. The don said that right attitude and continuous striving were the key driving forces to achieve these desirable objectives of saving the world from imminent and persistent global economic insecurity.

ABAKALIKI - The Federal Government said it would build two transmission stations in

Abakaliki to enhance power delivery in the area. The General Manager

Victims of 2012 flood disaster in Wuro Dulo Community, Akko Local Government Area of Gombe State reconstructing their houses in a new settlement recently.

Association Wants Ban On Cement Importation Lifted ABUJA - The Cement New Entrants now known as Cement Producers Association of Nigeria (CPAN) has appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan to lift suspension on cement import

licences. This is contained in a statement issued in Abuja by the Chairman of CPAN, Chief David Iweta. The statement said that the lifting of the suspension was the

(Transmission), Enugu Transmission Region, Mr. Geoffrey Nwokoye, made this known when he paid a courtesy call on Governor Martin Elechi, in Abakaliki yesterday. Nwokoye said that the 2x 150MVA 330/132KV and 2x 60 MVA 132/33KV power stations would stimulate more economic activities in the state. “When the stations are completed, it will create employment opportunities to the indigenes of the state and improve the overall well being of the Ebonyi people,’’ he said. He said that a stable power supply was pivotal to the socioeconomic development and stability of any nation and people. “At present, Ebonyi with some parts of Cross River states, are supplied electric power via a 132KV transmission line from Enugu and this is prone to interruptions. “A 330KV system at the state capital would definitely guarantee a more stable and

quality power at the state capital, even at the worst level of generation,’’ he said. Nwokoye, therefore, appealed to the governor to allocate the company a suitable portion of land to construct the power stations. He commended the cooperation and assistance of the state government to the company, adding that the company was poised to serve the state creditably. In his response, Elechi said he was elated over the plan to build the power stations in Abakaliki to improve power supply in the state. He, however, said that the state government would give them a plot of cleared land for the project. “I advise speedy completion of the project within the shortest time so as to avert the persistent problem of power supply, distribution and over billings of customers in the state,’’ he said.

FG To Build 2 Power Transmission Stations In Ebonyi

Some fake and expired drugs seized by National Association of Patent Medicine dearler task force from dealers in Gombe recently.

only way to bring down the high price of cement currently being sold at N1, 800 per bag. “It is unacceptable for Nigerians to buy cement at N1, 800 instead of N500 per bag as it is being sold by countries that have attained self sufficiency and net exporter in production.” It alleged that a group of people was deceiving the Federal Government to believe that Nigeria had attained self sufficiency in the cement production. It stressed that the misleading information had resulted to pushing the price from the expected price for locally manufactured cement from about N500 to N1, 800 per bag. “This prompted the Federal Government to push up the duty and levy on cement import to 35 per cent plus other import bills to a total of 45 per cent on imported cement. “It also made the government to suspend all already granted cement import licences such that manufacturers can sell their cement at N1,800,” it stated. It stated that this action had shut the doors to other players into the industry and had blocked competition in the industry. According to the statement, the action had also led to poor quality of the product leading to collapse building and loss of lives. “We urged the president to suspend all licences to bring down the price of cement to N1, 000 as it was selling during the late President Yar’Adua’s regime with duty and VAT at five and 10 per cent, respectively.

International Syrian Chemical Weapons Stalling Tests Limit Of US - Russian Deal

AT a closed door meeting, Western governments led by the United States took Syria to task for failing to surrender its chemical weapons under ambitious deadlines agreed with Russia after a poison gas attack in August. Speaker after speaker stood up to berate Damascus at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), until it came to Russia’s turn and Moscow took a much more lenient view - the international split over Syria writ large. Russia defended President Bashar al-Assad and said his government needed more time to ship the chemicals safely through territory where it is fighting rebels. Syria missed a first deadline to give up the most dangerous toxins on December 31 and another cut-off date passed on Wednesday, when it was due to hand over all the remaining critical chemical materials. The success of the destruction program, now also at risk of missing the final June 30 deadline, is in the interests of both powers, but the confrontation in The Hague on January 30 exposed a deep division between Moscow and Washington over how to respond to Syria’s lack of progress. The U.S.-Russian clash also bodes poorly for a broader MoscowWashington partnership that is seen as critical to resolving other major foreign policy challenges, from Iran’s nuclear program to the Geneva peace talks for Syria, which are set to resume on Monday. Further bad feeling was aroused by a leaked phone conversation about Ukraine between U.S. officials. Even with the latest

setback, the agreement to destroy Syria’s chemical stockpile that averted a U.S.led military strike and led to a Nobel Peace Prize for the OPCW, can still be pulled off, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said. The next major deadline is March 31, by when the most toxic substances are supposed to be destroyed outside Syria on a special U.S. cargo vessel, the Cape Ray, which is on the way from Virginia. “The odds of Syrian compliance increase if Washington and Moscow speak with one voice, but that isn’t happening at present,” Amy Smithson, a chemical weapons expert at the U.S. Monterey Institute, a leading think tank, told Reuters. “These two countries are both key to the potential success of chemical disarmament in Syria, not to mention a settlement to the overall conflict, so hopefully they will rapidly find a way to resolve this impasse,” she said. With Russia opposed to automatic U.N. Security Council action against Syria if it is deemed non-compliant a stage diplomats say has not been reached - Washington finds itself in a similar situation to last September, when it had threatened military action, diplomats said. Western powers fear the program is being stalled intentionally to give Moscow more time to provide military hardware to Damascus and to enable Syria to retain its weapons of mass destruction as a negotiation tool in the Geneva peace talks. It is a process that has faced difficulties from the beginning, with OPCW inspectors held up in Cyprus for weeks before they could

get into Syria to check its chemical arsenal. The August 21 gas attack happened within days of their arrival and inspectors were earlier shot at by snipers while trying to check allegations of chemical weapons use. Even as Moscow supports Assad in public, it is being urged to put pressure on him to meet the targets. On Tuesday Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said Syria was planning a large shipment of chemical substances this

said then “that would be good.” Washington and other Western governments have rejected Syria’s claim that it needs more equipment to transport chemicals securely after it received a long list of hardware to carry out the job. The delay is already having a knock-on effect on the complex logistical task, involving nearly a dozen countries, commercial chemical destruction contracts and multi-million dollar

and surveillance cameras, Belarus gave 13 field kitchens, Russia sent 75 transport vehicles, 25 of them armored. Denmark and Norway donated cargo ships and military patrol boats. Italy offered use of a port. Germany and Britain will make available toxic waste destruction facilities. “While remaining aware of the challenging security situation inside the Syrian Arab Republic, it is the assessment of the Joint

Bashar al-Assad, Syria President month and was ready to complete the process by March 1. Still Western diplomats complained that the Russians were not doing enough to encourage Assad to play ball, while other powers may be reluctant to threaten action for fear of undermining the Geneva talks. “There are signs that the Russians are putting pressure on them (Syria) to do it,” a Western diplomat said. If the Syrians complete the shipments of toxic chemicals by March 1, as the Russians

funding by the international community. The international community has invested heavily in the operation, providing ships, vehicles, personnel and tens of millions of dollars in donations to OPCW and U.N. funds. Washington sent shipping containers, GPS trackers, armored vehicles for inspectors, decontamination equipment and a cargo ship outfitted with $10m in chemical weapons treatment systems. China chipped in ambulances

“It is in Moscow’s interests to ensure that the chemical weapons deal doesn’t fall apart. Russia doesn’t want its reputation as a diplomatic power tarnished, or Assad’s government to face renewed threats of U.S. air strikes at a time when the Syrian army appears to have an edge over the opposition militarily”.

Mission that (Syria) has sufficient material and equipment to carry out multiple ground movements to ensure the expeditious removal of chemical weapons material,” Ban said last week. A senior Western diplomat said the Syrian government is “teasing us” by dragging its heels while doing enough to avoid being declared in noncompliance with its obligation to destroy its chemical weapons program. “Our impression is that they (Assad’s government) are managing this issue in parallel with the Geneva discussion,” he said. “Everything is blocked so they are blocking on the chemical weapons to remind us” of their power on this issue. That sentiment was echoed by the U.S. Ambassador to the OPCW, Robert Mikulak, who called on Damascus at the closed OPCW meeting to

“take immediate action” to resolve the impasse. “Syria has said that its delay in transporting these chemicals has been caused by ‘security concerns’ and insisted on additional equipment - armored jackets for shipping containers, electronic countermeasures, and detectors for improvised explosive devices. These demands are without merit, and display a ‘bargaining mentality’ rather than a security mentality,” he said. On February 6, a day after the deadline to hand over all critical chemicals expired, OPCW/U.N. mission head Sigrid Kaag addressed the U.N. Security Council on the matter. Although she did not believe the Syrians were deliberately stalling, she said cooperation must be speeded up if the June 30 deadline is to be met. A second senior Western diplomat said it was possible that Western powers were overestimating Russia’s leverage with Assad’s government. Still, Western nations are encouraging Moscow to use all its influence on Damascus to resume complying with the timetable agreed in September and October. It is in Moscow’s interests to ensure that the chemical weapons deal doesn’t fall apart. Russia doesn’t want its reputation as a diplomatic power tarnished, or Assad’s government to face renewed threats of U.S. air strikes at a time when the Syrian army appears to have an edge over the opposition militarily. “Of course it is in Russia’s interest to see it go ahead. President (Vladimir) Putin threw a safety belt to President Obama at a very delicate moment,” said Georgy Mirsky, a Middle East expert at the Institute of the World Economy and International Relations in Moscow. The U.S. and Russia have invested political capital in the operation to eliminate Syria’s 1,300 metric ton stockpile, of which just 4.1 percent had been handed over for destruction. “If it appears now that it was all in vain - that chemical weapons will remain in Syria and that Bashar al-Assad is pulling a fast one - it will be President Putin who will be in a very bad situation indeed,” Mirsky said.

OVER the years, it has been contended that there is a drop in the quality of education offered in Nigeria. This situation cuts across all facets of education in the country. Some experts want to believe that the hue and cry over poor education delivery is misplaced but the truth is that the standard of measurement of quality delivery in education cannot only be left for Nigerian assessors to determine but international input in this respect has also gained a measure of ascendancy that is so reputed to be casting aspersions on Nigerian trained students who go overseas for graduate programmes or to find jobs. FOR instance, a recent report from the United Kingdom in the Daily Mail notes that some Nigerians have been delisted from medical practice in that country for incompetence. According to the report three- quarters of the doctors struck off the General Medical Council (GMC) register in the past years are foreign trained and that those trained in Nigeria rank second on the list of those removed from the professional register. THE report, however, cites India trained doctors as topping the list of foreign trained doctors struck off the GMC register in the past five years while Egypt-trained doctors occupy the third spot. Also, out of 285 doctors struck off for misconduct or incompetence in the past five years 194 were foreign –trained and that 29 of the 39 removed from the medical register in the past year received their medical degree overseas. In comparative terms , according to the report Hong Kong has the best record with none of more than 700 doctors working


Nigeria’s Dismal Medical Rating in the U.K struck off or disciplined in the past five years. Besides, New Zealand with 600 doctors also have a clean record. THE above scenario paints a grim picture of the quality of training doctors undergo in Nigeria and the situation calls for concerted effort of all stakeholders to brain storm in order to raise and improve the level of medical training offered in Nigeria. The medical profession is critical to the survival of the health sector and all Nigerians are thus affected by the poor products churned out from our medical institutions across the country. In today’s global economy human resources are the most significant and is the pivot around which the economy runs. IT is high time therefore, that stakeholders in the health sector take the matter as one of utmost concern to X-ray the industry and ascertain where things have gone wrong. It is crucial for instance to look at the accreditation being offered the myriad of universities in Nigeria which offer medicine as a course of study. Before now it was only the federal government and the States government that were allowed to run universities. However, that is no longer the case as individuals and corporate bodies as well as religious bodies have now been licensed to establish universities. The idea behind the liberalization

was to offer admission spaces to teeming number of aspiring graduates who are unable to get admission into either state or federal university. UNFORTUNATELY, the quality of graduates produced by the universities, particularly the private ones have raised eyebrow among some education experts who have called for overhaul of the teaching methodology. No doubt, the problems are legion where students resort to short-cut approach to passing examination otherwise known as blocking. The problem transcends further to inadequate teaching input, equipment, infrastructure among other facilities that are needed for effective teaching and learning. IF we must surmount the poor quality of education not only in the area of medical practice but in all facets of study in the universities, the current system of education in Nigeria must be reappraised to meet global his expectations. In this connection the National Universities Commission as the regulator and accrediting body of universities in the country, the federal ministry of education and the Nigerian Medical Association with respect to doctors have significant input to make. AGAINST this background, The NIGERIAN OBSERVER calls on both Houses of the National Assembly and their Education Committees to set up enquiry as a first step in the goal to overhaul the education industry, because it is only by so doing that the Nigerian State will re-order its priorities for greater achievements in a fast changing world also governed by changing speed in technology.

View Point

Problems Confronting Nigerian Entrepreneur

ENTREPRENEURSHIP is likened to a call to individual uprightness and one’s creative ability to survive as a Nigerian. The capacity of the Nigerian government to provide Jobs to her large population is consistently becoming a major challenge and if nothing is done about it, there will be no place and future for our children and generations yet unborn. Many have ventured into this world, only to come out more hopeless than they initially began. This is not to say that the idea of entrepreneurship is not an effective one but the environment the Nigerian entrepreneur operates in is a harsh and unfriendly one. A lot of graduates have come out expecting a future they could gain access to through their certificates and achievement but it is so sad to say that in a world that is moving so fast and in a country that surviving depends on how good a hustler you are, you need more than just academic achievements and certificates. Entrepreneurship is supposed to be the way forward, it’s supposed to be the light in very dark paths, but its such a shame to say that people now often recline on fast way to success like arm robbery, shoplifting, kidnapping, duping and other illegal and mischievous means of surviving than succumb to the problem confronting the Nigerian entrepreneurs. The problem facing young entrepreneur today

By UDONSI AMARACHI K. bring them to the point of asking why they even started in the first place, while those who cannot bear it close up and join the fast road. Nigerian youths are full of amazing and world changing ideas but can not afford the capital needed to bring their dreams to reality. The little few who have been able to start are helped by their wealthy parents. Others who have summoned courage to start with the little they have, fold up within 5-7 years because they do not have anything to fall back on when something goes wrong in the business. This is one of the major reasons why there are no companies in Nigeria. It is amazing and so shameful to say that in a producing country like Nigeria, things like the basic essentials of life, light, water, good roads, effective transportation, availability of lands etc are still so hard to come by. Take for instance the issue of electricity; one of the major problems young entrepreneurs are facing in this country today is the non availability of a constant supply of light which has caused increase in production cost. Every business; be it a school, church, block, industry, phone repairer, hardware shop, bakery, fast foods, restaurants even little businesses common as a movie rental shop need

electricity to survive. Lack of electricity has been one of the major reasons some establishments cannot

water into the ponds. Gradually even the little profit he makes from the sale of fish is put into buying fuel to pump water into the pond. If he makes

interesting case in the problem confronting Nigerian entrepreneurs. There was a time when the government tried to give out loans to companies but there were a lot of cases of embezzlement and finally the programme was closed

consideration. This way the problem of capital will be on an effective solution patch. Land is the bedrock of every business in this country and any country of the world. If youths of today cannot afford land due to the little capital they have, then how can they even begin? The purchase

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Finance Minister

survive and eventually fold up. How is that? You would ask. Take for instance, one has a fishery and is into the production of catfish. One of the major conditions that increase the survival rate of this fish is clean water. Now if there is no light, water cannot be pumped into the fish ponds and the fish refuse to eat and therefore are exposed to the risk of falling ill. On the other hand, a fish farmer now has to buy fuel every day to enable him pump

a profit of N150, 000 every four months and spends N1,500 buying fuel every day, in a week, he will buy N 10,500 worth of fuel and in one year he would have bought N504, 000 worth of fuel which is even greater than his profit in a year and this can cause him to run at a greater loss that will eventually lead to a fold up in the business, It then makes one begin to reason as why an oil producing country like Nigeria should be selling fuel N97 per liter. Capital is another

“Land is the bedrock of every business in this country and any country of the world. If youths of today cannot afford land due to the little capital they have, then how can they even begin? The purchase rate of land in the country is so high that some people just prefer to die in poverty because they do not know where the money will come from.”

up. Capital is the one thing that brings to life any and every business ideal and without capital, business ideas die and there will be an increase in the decline rate of companies. The Nigerian government should consider the feasibility of assisting young entrepreneurs who have succeeded in establishing business and small companies and who have registered under the CAC (cooperate affairs commission) knowing that it is vague to say the government should give every youth capital for business. Considering the past events where the government was tried to help, I believe it will be a way to steam-line their distribution to avoid cases of embezzlement. Pro- rata basis, the method by which the highest business earns a minimal assistance can also be taken into

rate of land in the country is so high that some people just prefer to die in poverty because they do not know where the money will come from. Transportation is another key face in the events that leads to frustration in the life of a young entrepreneur. One who has a poultry for instance but doesn’t own a car will have to go and purchase feed, antibiotics and other necessary things for the farm, this transportation of goods and services is not made easy due to bad roads and unavailability of cheaper means of transportation. The normal taxi drivers who base their rates on increase in fuel price, will forever increase the rates because fuel price fluctuates. This young poultry farmer who has spent half of the day on the Continues on Pg 14

View Point

Continued from Pg 13

road will still have to pay dearly for these goods and service purchased and cannot enjoy the profit made from the sales of the birds. Another scene is a great restaurant that people come from various places to eat in due to the problems of unavailability of good roads, and great traffic and also increase in transportation rates lose customers because these factors make the location far and people prefer to eat other things than suffer just to eat from a great restaurant.

...Confronting Nigerian Entrepreneur This is not to say the government has not been helpful. Actually they have been more than helpful. The NYSC accommodates every Nigerian graduate into its scheme and the federal government pays them salary for that period of time and in some cases too, the state government this implies that youth who are focused, dedicated and who wants to be able to save majority of the money they acquire during the NYSC year to establish a business they can manage. Also the government

should provide a reserved area for young entrepreneur where they would buy land at a much cheaper rate just as they did for civil servants in those

days. One of the major problems that often lead to increament in the price at fuel in the fact that we import what we already

have. If we use our raw materials wisely as we should and invest in the wealth of our soils we would not be suffering.

“Also the government should provide a reserved area for young entrepreneur where they would buy land at a much cheaper rate just as they did for civil servants in those days.”

Ban On Commercial Motorcycle:

Right Direction

IN the past, motorcycles were used purely for private purposes. However, observers note that nowadays, the situation has changed dramatically, owing to certain factors. They argue that the rising unemployment among youths and the yearning of the general public for a cheaper means of transportation,

in many communities across the country are quite significant. They note that many households eke out a living from commercial motorcycling which has grown to become an accessible and adaptable means of transportation. They, nonetheless, argue that the operations of

Apart from that, concerned citizens of the state insist that accidents, induced by the recklessness of commercial motorcycle operators, are on the increase. Such concerns, perhaps, informed the decision of Gov. Adams Oshiomhole to ban the operations of commercial motorcycles in some local

especially within short distances, have made the use of motorcycles for public transportation more expedient and acceptable across the country. Analysts, however, maintain that the contributions of motorcycles as means of transportation to the socio-economic activities

commercial motorcyclists have, in recent times, been a veritable source of concern to security agencies. In Edo State, for instance, commercial motorcyclists have, on many occasions, been implicated in some criminal activities such as robbery, kidnapping and gangsterism, among others.

government areas of the state In his broadcast on June 17, 2013, the governor said that the decision to outlaw the operations of the commercial motorcyclists was taken after a State Security Council meeting which reviewed the security situation in the state. Commenting on the policy, Mr. Foluso Adebanjo, the

Also since the use of fuel increases the cost of production in every type of business stable electricity should be made available to all and sundry to prevent loss of business gained profit. In summary, the government has done so much and can do more in helping to facilitate the problems confronting young entrepreneurs. I would say that there is no fast road to success, we must all strive to be successful in life.

A Step In The

Commissioner of Police in Edo, lauded the ban, stressing that over 90 per cent of the crimes in the state were perpetrated with the use of motorcycles. Besides, Dr Peter Egbor, a surgeon at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, noted that cases of bone fractures arising from motorcycle accidents were rampant before the ban. Naturally, the prohibition did not go down well with motorcycle operators and

some residents who preferred motorcycles as a means of transportation. Some residents staged a protest against the government decision, arguing that after the ban, transportation fares increased, while the prices of bicycles and motor cars also shot up.

Reacting to the protest, Oshiomhole assured the residents that a committee had been set up to work out various schemes, including vehicles’ purchase plans. He said that the use of tricycles, popularly known as Keke NAPEP, would not be encouraged in the state, describing the tricycle “as a symbol of poverty. The governor, thereafter, inaugurated 100 Suzuki cars, which were procured by Ikpoba Okha Local Government Council, for distribution to some of the former commercial motorcyclists. “The value of these vehicles demonstrates how a local government can complement the efforts of the state government. “I had to take the painful but inevitable decision to ban the use of motorcycles for commercial purposes in the three core local government areas that constitute the heart of Benin City. “I promise that we would try to provide palliative jobs for the operators, while taking long-term decisions to increase the fleet of commercial buses and provide cars for any interested operators. “The ban is just one sacrifice we all have to make to make our state safe; it is a settled issue because investors will not to go to any state with unacceptable crime levels. “We cannot continue like this; I, therefore, reached the painful conclusion that it is time to do something and we cannot postpone it further,’’ he said. Oshiomhole said that even though he was concerned about the level of unemployment in the state, he was, nonetheless, convinced

that tangible efforts should be made to attract potential investors to state, as part the job-creation strategies. Mr Itohan OsahonOgbeide, the Chairman of Ikpoba Okha Local Government Council, said that the cars’ presentation to the ex-commercial motorcyclists would be in two phases. He said that the choice of Suzuki cars was based on their cost effectiveness, ruggedness and the three-year warranty provided by the manufacturers. Speaking, Mr Louis Adaa, a Benin-based traditional bone setter, said: “I like the ban on commercial motorcycles because it has reduced accidents in the state.’’ Adaa recalled that prior to the ban; he usually received a lot of patronage from people, particularly those whose bones were fractured in motorcycle accidents, on a daily basis. Also speaking, Mr Luka Ikpi, the Sector Commander of Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) in Edo, said that accidents, involving motorcycles, significantly dropped from 122 in 2012 to 34 in 2013. Ikpi attributed the reduction to the ban on commercial motorcycles in some parts of the state. All in all, observers commend the state government for outlawing commercial motorcycles in some areas of the state. All the same, they urge the government to alleviate the hardships of the residents, particularly commercial motorcyclists, by creating jobs, purchasing more vehicles and initiating pragmatic youth empowerment schemes.

Issues Prohibition Of Same Sex Marriage

Matters Arising By CHIJIOKE OKORONKWO SUPPORT for President Goodluck Jonathan for signing the Same -Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill into law cuts across religious and ethnic boundaries. Dissenting voices however came from the western countries, the international community and groups in the forefront of protecting gay rights. The act which criminalises same- sex provides inter alia: “Persons who enter into a same-sex marriage contract or civil union commit an offence and are each liable on conviction to a term of 14 years in prison. “Any person, who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organisations or directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offence and shall each be liable on conviction to a term of 10 years in prison.” The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, praised President Jonathan for signing the bill into law in spite of external pressure to withhold assent. “I commend our National Assembly and Mr President for resisting all the pressures and enacting a law against homosexuality. “Signing the bill into law by President Jonathan in spite of pressures from within and outside the country should be commended by all and sundry. “We have every right to order our social life in any way we think it should go. Our social life should not be organised on the basis of what others think. “The church accepts people as they are, we

condemn homosexuality, Nigeria is an independent country and we do not beg for food, he emphasized. The Northern Traditional Rulers’ Council also commended the National Assembly and President Goodluck Jonathan for the passing and signing into law, the bill on same-sex marriage. The traditional rulers, in a communiqué signed by Alhaji Zubair Jibril Maigwari, condemned attempts by the international community to dictate to Nigeria on issues bordering on morality. “The council strongly commend the National Assembly and Mr President for courageously passing the law against same-sex marriage, in spite of international pressure against doing so, which the council considers as a landmark legislation.” The Jama’atu Nasirl Islam (JNI), in a statement signed by its SecretaryGeneral, Dr Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, condemned same-sex marriage and also praised Jonathan for assenting to the bill criminalising the practice in Nigeria. “JNI commends the National Assembly for passing into law the bill banning same-sex marriage in Nigeria and applauds the President for signing the bill into law in spite of pressure from various quarters, particularly the western world.” Mr John-Kennedy Opara, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC), said that promoters of same-sex marriage, are enemies of humanity, noting that the practice if allowed would lead to extinction. “It leads to destruction; how do you intend to

achieve continuity,’’ he queried. According to him, lesbians and homosexuals do not believe in

culture, Nigeria has its culture and own approach to issues. “But we are concerned about the human rights and

procreation and should not be allowed to adopt other people’s children. However the praises for Jonathan and the National Assembly ended in the home front, as the international community was not happy with Nigeria’s posture on same sex marriage. Dr Nicholas Westcott, the European Union Managing Director for Africa, said the union was worried about human rights infringement of people. “We are not trying to impose our morality or our

the freedoms of all Nigerians, as enshrined in Nigeria’s own constitution and as enshrined in international conventions to which Nigeria is a party. “Our concern is that this act contravenes some of those provisions and puts at risk some of the fundamental freedoms that all Nigeria people should enjoy,’’ he said. On his part, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, expressed disappointment over what he called antiLesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual

and Trans-gender ( LGBT) legislation in Nigeria. According to Hague, the UK is a close friend of Nigeria, but it is disappointed that President Jonathan has given his assent to a bill which will further criminalise same-

sex relationships in Nigeria. “The UK opposes any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.’’ The UK foreign secretary said that the British government would continue to lobby at the highest level on the issue. Sharing similar sentiments, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, said the law dangerously restricted “freedom of assembly, association and expression for all Nigerians.’’ He said that the act undermined the democratic

reforms and human rights protections enshrined in Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution’. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navi Pillay, said the new law criminalised same-sex unions, and violated a wide range of human rights. “Even before this act was signed into law, consensual same-sex relationships were already criminalised in Nigeria, violating rights to privacy and to freedom from discrimination,’’ she said. Pillay said that the violated human rights were protected by the Nigerian Constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Nigeria has ratified. “Disapproval of homosexuality by the majority on moral or religious grounds does not justify criminalising or discriminating against LGBT persons. “Indeed, the defence of human rights often requires the State to step in to protect the rights of members of minority communities from the prejudices of the majority,” Pillay said. A Nigerian gay rights activist, Ms Dorothy Aken’Ova, said the legislation would criminalise HIV/AIDS programmes in the gay community. Aken’Ova said that police had drawn up a list of 168 wanted gay men, adding that 38 of them were arrested recently. Even though the world is now a global village, the president acted on the wishes of the people by signing the Same-sex Prohibition Bill into law. The international community should respect the wishes of the people.

“Even though the world is now a global village, the president acted on the wishes of the people by signing the Same-sex Prohibition Bill into law. The international community should respect the wishes of the people.”

Midweek Magazine IF I do not go on heaping praises on our leaders for what they have done for the growth of our democratic enterprise, it is because I believe that the truth can only empower us to do better. The reality in which we live of course tells much of the content and context of governance, leadership and democratic values in our country today. At the end of the day, democracy is about people. It is also about quality leadership, constitutions and constitutionalism, the rule of law, political discipline, the construction and nurturing of democratic values, building strong and viable political institutions and giving hope to the ordinary person that there is indeed a collective future to work for. Democracy is also about human, especially socioeconomic and cultural rights, due process, accountability, fiscal discipline, transparency and the careful but targeted deployment of scarce resources to meeting the basic needs of the majority of the people. Let me add that democracy is about ensuring a steady and qualitative improvement in the lives of the people, in their socioeconomic, political, cultural and spiritual development, the protection of their environment, the decolonisation of their minds, and putting the people in the middle of holistic and sustainable growth and development. The question therefore is: are we moving solidly, visible, seriously, and in a focused manner in these directions? Let me hasten to add that we have witnessed since 1999 some Islands of performance, good leadership and commitment to democratic institutions and ideals. But like in other distorted, disarticulated deformed, underdeveloped social formations, such points of progress are often distracted, disregarded, diverted, confused, and render impotent by their nonperforming colleagues or

structures and by contradictions within the system. This means that we cannot expect sustainable, people-centred, peoplefocused and people-driven development without dealing with the structural challenges of the entire nation. The Realities Saying that our country Nigeria is blessed in every respect is saying the obvious. What is it that we do not have in this country? Well, do not have natural disasters that make some nations around the world feel jinxed or cursed. Imagine, and God forbid it, that we experienced the recent disasters in Chile or Haiti? Maybe this is also why we have tended to take things for granted. We just believe that things will alright if we keep quiet, and don’t rock the boat. It is best to be patient; your time to chop will come. Others have gone as far as drawing up a pseudo-philosophical road map to what they call “you chop I chop”. Yet. others go to the extent of leaving everything in the hands of God; they bother God with everything, while they sit down and do very little or nothing. They do not reflect, organise, think, mobilise, or act on anything. They forget that heaven only helps those that help themselves. But you and I know that no country has ever made progress without discipline, focus, responsible and creative leadership, planning, investment, savings, productivity, stability, and good governance. We cannot continue to hail ex-convicts and criminals and hope that the younger generation will take our preachments seriously. Today, we are all shouting Obama! Obama!! Obama!!!

Nigeria’s Democratic

A Preliminar

We even claim that a black man has taken over the most powerful country in the world. Someone on TV said that visas would now be available to all Nigerians to go to America: what a silly dream. They fail to look who Obama his, his antecedents, networks, investment in the people and community, fund raising strategy, organisational strategy, courage, vision and the environment in which he operated. If Obama were a Nigerian would he win a Councillorship seat? How many godfathers did you notice in his election? How many Ghana must go bags full of dollars did you see? How many thugs did you see? How many political clashes did you see? How many policemen did you see going about with Obama during the campaign? Did you see electoral officers announcing results? Can you tell me the equivalent of their INEC in America? Was there a broadcast by the Police Chief warning people on how to behave? The questions are endless... but let us leave that matter for now. America was not always like this and Nigeria is not America. But, can we draw lessons? We do not need to reinvent the wheel! I recognise that we were colonised before and our neocolonial structural arrangements, institutions and relationship are largely responsible for our present predicaments. But there are countries that were equally colonised and less endowed in human and material resources that have done much better than us. Are we fools? Don’t we have eyes to see how they did it? Why do we always seek excuses for our self-imposed

limitations? Were we the only ones colonised? How long ago did we become politically independent? Why can’t we use political power to restructure the society and become a better society? Is our experience responsible for ethnic and religious massacres? Is it responsible for criminal corruption at all levels? It is the cause of violence, election rigging, lack of internal democracy in parties, the neglect of roads and education, inability to fix the power and health sectors, and general disregard for truth, justice and fair play? Is neo-colonialism responsible for the political rascality amongst the elites, disregard for the constitution, bureaucratic inefficiency, waste, plan indiscipline, the arrogance of power, and the general celebration of corrupt persons in our society? Is our history responsible for the failure of our refineries, high cost of’ living, children hawking on the streets, distorted housing policy, millions of our people living in slums, armed robbery, high infant and maternal mortality rates, the spread of HIV/ AIDS, and lack of a serious policy on the girl-child? Is neo-colonialism the reason why religion has become more of a business and the media finds it impossible to be consistent in their modus operandi? The list of our failings is endless. Even if we inherited certain distortions almost 50 years ago, if by now we have not found viable, consistent and visible ways of dealing with them, then we must declare a failure. As a teacher, I cannot declare a student that has consistently

“If Obama were a Nigerian would he win a Councillorship seat? How many godfathers did you notice in his election? How many Ghana must go bags full of dollars did you see? How many thugs did you see? How many political clashes did you see? How many policemen did you see going about with Obama during the campaign?”

failed to score even 40%; a good or successful student. We continue to experiment indigenisation, privatisation, stabilisation, structural adjustment, war against indiscipline operation feed the nation, new states, new capital, new uniforms for the police, new anthem, new constitution, development plans, rolling plans, reform agenda, new breed politicians, military rule, parliamentary and presidential systems, return to old breed politicians, constitutional reform, and 7Point Agenda just to name a few. No nation makes it with a left, right, right, left, centre, back, forward, roundabout, sit stand, run and stop policy almost at the same time! We deliberately ignored and underdeveloped the Niger Delta while draining its natural resources to feed foreign private bank account and we expected the people to be silent, docile and orderly in their neglect, oppression and poverty. We put our children in the best private schools in and outside the country and ignore public education. We abolished bursaries, loans and scholarships for students while our kids live abroad in luxury with enough money and time to think of terrorist acts. We neglect agriculture and import everything from toothpicks to water. We ignore the broken healthcare system and patronise foreign medical centres even for health checkups. We even neglect the police and rely on private security outfits, thugs, and juju men! Our best holidays are abroad and we cry tourism tourism to the high heavens. We buy the most expensive cars and don’t care about the roads. Our ministries are littered with broken down typewriters, computers and air conditioner. We do not fix. We replace. Everything is contracts; sometimes inflate to unbelievable levels. Abandoned projects are everywhere. Were the contracts awarded by spacemen? Who did? When, why and who is monitoring? We don’t care. Just re-award


the contract! No nation can make progress in this way. We do not invest in human capital development or technology. We are still in the manual era and believe that

w m

T f i

Prof Julius Ihonvbere

the future will take care of itself. We believe in government by panels or committees but have no regard for the report from such committees. Their reports are dumped as soon as they are presented. Everything for us is based on quota, religion, ethnicity, cults, cabals, opportunism and nepotism. We look for excuses and scapegoats everywhere. How come many governors are always in Abuja? Is this no more a federation? Why are those huge government lodges in Abuja? Take a moment to think of all the developmental challenges we identified in the study of economics or social studies in the 1960s and tell me which one we have solved after almost after 50 years of independence, different forms of leadership and governance, massive deployment of public funds, and all sorts of planning methodologies. The truth is that

n p c o g p b W c s a o d u b

Midweek Magazine

c Enterprise Since 1999

ry Assessment


we have not done well. We must tell ourselves the truth. Why have we failed? Simple. The leadership, at all levels, failed us woefully. Again, that s not to say there have been

get out of the jungle. How do we do this? 1. Strengthen the Nigerian State For any nation to move forward, the state must enjoy

no good professors, permanent secretaries, commissioners, military officers, policemen, ministers, governors and presidents or party leaders. But they have been few and lonely at the top. We have managed to contaminate and corrupt the souls and visions of our people and today the entire society is one jungle of people desperately trying to understand where they are. I believe that it is not too late to

a relatively high degree of hegemony to control contending forces, build strong structures, promote accumulation, and create an environment for selfsustained growth and development. The Nigerian state does not control the various pockets of power that challenge its power and authority even if it can use violence in the final instant. Political and other forces, be they politicians, militants,

religious extremists, even students and armed robbers are not necessarily afraid of its pronouncements and institutions. Its failure to improve society and the lot of the majority leaves the state at the mercy of political adventurers. Because its hegemony is weak, its custodians cannot enjoy relative autonomy and cannot build discipline or some degree of harmony within and between social classes. So conflicts and competitions go on formlessly. This condition explains the inconsistency in policy and performance and constrains the ability of institutions to function. Few believe the government, an arm of the state when it says “your security is assured, go about your normal business.” Many see the budget reading or presentation as mere ceremony. Many more believe that all government officials and politicians are nothing but thieves. In short, the Nigerian state has very limited hegemony. This has to be reversed through deliberate growth and nurturing of leadership, purposeful policy making, constitution review, constitutionalism, respect for democratic values, promotion of equity, due process, social justice, and the basic needs of the people. This is much better than a nebulous re-branding project that is like climbing a tree from the top. Build the people, build their communities, promote their interests, build confidence in the state and promote state hegemony and democracy will flourish. 2. Redefine and strengthen leadership at all levels A year of bad leadership can

cost the nation ten good years development. The predicaments of Nigeria are largely the result of bad leadership. Very arrogant and ignorant leadership for that matter. They do not read and are technologically challenged. They waste much time talking, meeting, and inventing or pursuing enemies that they have little or no time to build real leadership qualities. They do not prepare successors and any other rising star is an enemy that must be framed, harassed, crippled financially, and eliminated or chased far away. They build false popularity profiles by paying for and receiving useless honorary degrees, chieftaincy titles, and awards from useless organisations. Awards that have no real meaning in the eyes of the people. No award goes for nothing. They lack the qualities of compassion, vision, education, capacity, capability, dignity, exposure, hard work, consultation, ability to listen, and a clear and real track record of service to the people. They put up billboards, name buildings and roads after themselves, set up youth vanguards, turn the local television and radio into their personal newsletters and appoint opportunists and praise singers into positions to recycle the same culture of mediocrity and eye service. Such a leader cannot build relative autonomy, hegemony, establish lasting institutions, and live in the hearts of the people for ever. Cheap popularity, not anchored on service, honesty, integrity and performance is a waste of money and time. We must build new visions, new voices, new hopes, news

“No matter how we look at it or pretend, politics is still war in Nigeria. It is a business in which you or a sponsor invests and look forward to reaping huge returns within a short time. Campaigns are not necessary, platforms or manifestoes are not necessary and you do not need to have the best profile or qualifications. Just have a godfather, sufficient wild-looking thugs, money- the source is not relevant-, and strategise on how to influence the electoral commission, the police and the media, and pronto you are “elected” into office.”

constituencies and new leaderships at all levels. 3. Build political will, don’t ignore humanity If Nigeria is going to grow and our democracy consolidated, our governments and leaders must build the required political will to take the nation out of underdevelopment. Some governors and federal ministries are doing a lot but unless these efforts are integrated within the larger developmental environment they will precipitate skewed growth. Hence when the police in one state receive support and wage an effective war on criminals, they simply move to the next state to cool off. When one state declares a scholarship programme, indigenes from the next state adjust their names and villages to enjoy the benefits. The will to terminate poverty, pursue justice and equity, provide accountable leadership, build bridges of tolerance and accommodation, and ensue respect for the rule of law must guide our individual and collective determination to move Nigeria onto the path of sustainable, people-centred development. Tough decisions must be taken but built on consultation, dialogue and a smile does not hurt! 4. Reform and Reposition Political Parties for Democracy No matter how we look at it or pretend, politics is still war in Nigeria. It is a business in which you or a sponsor invests and look forward to reaping huge returns within a short time. Campaigns are not necessary, platforms or manifestoes are not necessary and you do not need to have the best profile or qualifications. Just have a godfather, sufficient wildlooking thugs, money- the source is not relevant-, and strategise on how to influence the electoral commission, the police and the media, and pronto you are “elected” into office. Don’t worry about the election monitors. They will not go beyond their reports,

AIT or Channels television and press releases. When did these ever influence the Election Tribunals, Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court? If your opponent appeals, get some good lawyers, preferably Senior Advocates of Nigeria, and some money. If you cannot win the case out right, you can delay it till you finish your term. These are realities. As I once said at another forum, politics in our country “is costly, diabolical, unsteady, uncertain, and announced results hardly ever reflect what took place on election-day. Only in few cases are the best candidates presented for political office and aspirants are almost bankrupted before they get elected. This in itself lays the foundation for the arrogance of power, executive recklessness and unbridled corruption. Until our political parties become truly and fully reformed, Nigeria cannot move forward. Until the parties begin to respect their own rules, Nigeria cannot produce credible, capable, courageous and visionary leaders that will build the political economy and consolidate democratic institutions and practices. The parties must begin to perform some of the basic functions of political parties — identify and train leaders, develop policy platforms, present the best aspirants and candidates for office, regulate office holders, conduct research on party and political development, encourage public discourses, and commit openly to the sustenance of democracy in every regards.” If you pick an unpopular candidate, you must rig the elections for “victory.” That is just the plain truth. As I have said elsewhere, “Office holders that emerge from a dubious and diabolical process cannot be expected to respect the constitution or liberties. They cannot be expected to distinguish between the public and private treasury. That is why we must never tire of the struggle for democratic practice and social justice. Political parties in Nigeria must be bastions of fair-play, justice and freedom. Unless this happens they would be contributing directly to the consolidation and reproduction of poverty, insecurity and underdevelopment in Nigeria.” To be Continued


Tackling The Menace Of Female Genital Mutilation THE World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that there are over 130 circumcised women in the world. The practice, which has no medical benefit, is still prevalent in Nigeria, with the country accounting for a large chunk of the circumcised women. In spite of the campaign against female genital mutilation, WHO estimates that about three million girls are at risk each year? WHO defines Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting (FGM/C) as “all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for nonmedical reasons.” Human Rights Watch describes FGM/C as a practice to control women’s sexuality, which is an abuse of human rights. In order to create awareness on the harmful effects of female genital mutilation, the UN declared Feb.6 of every year as International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation. The UN first officially commemorated the day on Feb. 6, 2003. Dr Tope Oyedeji, a health expert with the Trinity Maternity Home and Health Centre, Osogbo, appealed to parents to stop female circumcision to avoid the health hazard associated with the practice. According to her, the practice can lead to infertility, urinary and vaginal infections, chronic pain, fatal haemorrhaging, complications during childbirth, among others. Oyedeji said that some parents still wrongly

believed that female circumcision would reduce sexual desire. She said that female genital mutilation was usually performed without anaesthesia by traditional circumciser, using a knife, razor or scissors not sterilised, which could cause infection. According to Oyedeji, female genital mutilation has been recognised as harmful and a violation of the fundamental human rights of women. Stakeholders want the government to use the occasion of the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation, to raise serious public awareness on dangers of female circumcision. Dr Grace Offor, a public health specialist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, stressed the need for a strong awareness in the rural areas. Offor said that all stakeholders must join hands to stop the practice as it has no medical benefit. “Female genital mutilation includes procedures that intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons. “It has no health benefits for girls and women and the procedure can cause severe bleeding and potential childbirth complications and newborn deaths,’’ he said. Offor said that immediate complications could include severe pain, shock, haemorrhage, tetanus or sepsis (bacterial infection), urine retention, open sores in the genital region and injury to nearby genital tissue.

“The long term consequences include recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections;

female circumcision and other harmful practices against women. He also advocated the

Osotimehin said that the aim of the conference was to consolidate global political commitment, stimulate further national action, and to build a

cysts and infertility,’’ he said. A gynecologist at Eko Hospital, Dr Gbite Ogunmokun, said that the simplest way to reduce dangers to women’s health and to improve children’s health was to promote women’s selfempowerment. Ogunmokun called for increase in girl-child education, adding that education is key to stopping

enactment of a law to criminalise female genital mutilation in the country. At the global level, the United Nation Population fund (UNFPA) and UNICEF had restated their commitments to stop the practice. How to stop the practice was discussed at an International Conference, held in Rome recently. UNFPA’s Executive Director, Prof. Babatunde

broad-based movement to end FGM/C in the next generation. Osotimehin said that more than 125 million girls and women had been cut in almost 30 countries in Africa and the Middle East. He added that an estimated 86 million young girls worldwide were likely to experience some form of the practice by 2030, if current trends continued. Osotimehin, however,


said that there was hope that these trends could be reversed. “ Estimates released earlier last year show that since 2008, when the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on FGM/C was established, more and more communities have abandoned the practice. “ In 2012 alone, a total

of 1,775 communities across Africa publicly declared their commitment to end FGM/C,’’ he said Stakeholders want the government and other relevant agencies to sustain the campaign on the dangers of female genital cutting. It is an archaic cultural practice, which could be stopped through enlightenment and education.

“Osotimehin said that more than 125 million girls and women had been cut in almost 30 countries in Africa and the Middle East. He added that an estimated 86 million young girls worldwide were likely to experience some form of the practice by 2030, if current trends continued.”

Natural Medicine

With Dr Mao 0803071734

Paradoxically, therefore, you become sick after eating a fruit. Isn’t this funny? See, an unripe a day doesn’t keep a doctor away. Rather, it invites him to your house. For instance, again take ripe water melon. It hydrates the body, contains vitamins A and C, boasts of the anti-cancer red pigment lycopene as well as other nutritional substances. Medical News Today reports: “The sweet red-fleshed fruit appears to be associated with a wide range of benefits. A fullyripened watermelon is typically six per cent sugar and 91 per cent water by weight. So, it is not surprising why a number of people may wonder about its potential health benefits apart from being a sweet thirst quencher of course.”

Searching For Good Fruits SOMETIMES, you will find me at Oba Market, Benin moving around from one fruit shade to another. Do you know what I am searching for? It is good fruits. Physical examination of fruits may suggest to you whether they are good enough for consumption. You can do so with your hand or eyes. Certainly, not every fruit seller would allow you to handle her fruit and then reject buying it on the ground that it is unripe, forced to ripe, is overripe or is already in a bad state. So, the option left for the buyer is to examine the fruit with his eyes from a distance to see if they are buyable. Here are some tips for knowing if a fruit is worth your money. Firstly, the skin of the fruit should not be wrinkled. It should be smooth as well as glowing atleast to show it is relatively fresh. Secondly, the fruit should have a fruity, sweet smell. Its aromatherapy should be breath-taking. Thirdly, the skin of the fruit shouldn’t parade rainbow colours. Fruits with this colour spectrum have been forced to ripe. Or, they were

plucked before they were ripe and allowed to “ripen” unnaturally while awaiting buyers. Fourthly, if the fruit is an avocado pear, for example, you will find the tall-tale sign of the twig of the tree still either hanging to the fruit; or the point of the twig’s disconnection from the fruit isn’t smooth. All these are the signs I look at for when physically examining a fruit from a distance to see if it is buyable. For your information, it is hard to find such a fruit at Oba Market, Benin on several occasions. I have also visited many fruit/vegetable shops in the city. Still, only very few of them sell ripe, nutritious fruits. This is also my discovery with roadside fruit sellers. At this juncture, you may ask why people sell unripe fruits. From my field researches, I found out that these people generally see fruit selling as a business. They are interested in disposing off their fruit wares to customers at a profit without considering whether the fruit is nutritious. Another reason is that fruit sellers realise

that ripe fruits go bad faster than unripe one. Therefore, it is good business to sell unripe ones, because there is the possibility of atleast selling them all off before anyone of them becomes bad over a relatively long period of time. Still, another reason why unripe fruits are commonly sold is because of the scramble for all available fruit trees by buyers. If they wait for the fruits to ripen on the tree before bidding for them, the dealers will end up without finding fruits to buy and sell during a fruit season. Having bought and plucked unripe /ripe fruits together, these sellers then proceed to mix the unripe with ripe fruits

for sale to buyers. Lastly, unripe fruits are sold as a routine because of the ignorance of the buyers. Most people who purchase fruits do so without knowing whether they were naturally ripe on top of the tree. For these buyers, fruits are nutritious irrespective of when they were harvested. It is not surprising that you find “big men and madams” park their cars beside fruit shops and proudly pay N600 for a pawpaw fruit that I wouldn’t even accept if given free of charge. Why? An unripe, green fruit is at worst a poison to the body or is so low on nutrition that that it merely constitutes more of a toxic waste in your body when eaten.

However, be warned! You cannot derive all these health benefits, Medical News Today spoke about, if the watermelon you are eating is unripe. Let me add here that it is true a fruit is nutritious when it ripens on the tree. But, sometimes, the fruit can be plucked when it is only mature and then allowed to ripe naturally while on the ground. Banana fruit can be treated like this. But let me repeat. Allow it to naturally ripen. Don’t use carbide to ripen it because during the process of ripening, some carbide is absorbed into the banana. So when you are eating it, you are also eating some carbide!! I once had a friend now dead called Prosper who

taught Chemistry at Momodu College, Agbede. One day as we sat in front of his house discussing, he informed me that a lot of students were always complaining of stomach pains during cashew season. Again, the season has come and the complaints have started flowing in. I nodded my head with understanding. Thereafter, I suggested the students were suffering from the hyperacidity of the unripe cashew fruits they were scrambling to eat. I requested we carry out a simple test for acid in an unripe cashew fruit to confirm or refute my hunch. Thereafter, we entered the Chemistry laboratory. We collected the raw juice of the fruit in a beaker. Then, we dipped a blue litmus paper in the juice. Behold, the paper tuned very red. Yes, the juice of the unripe fruit was very acidic. That was why it was causing stomatitis and ulcer in the students’ stomach. So, watch it. Unripe fruit is acidic and dangerous. Last word. Don’t think supermarkets are places you can get ripe, fresh fruits. I have visited them. Unfortunately, I didn’t find such fruits there. How about our vegetable/fruits markets. Forget them. What is the way out? I have decided to own a fruit plantation where I hope to get a daily steady supply of fresh, ripe fruits. I need them for myself and my sick patients … Or are you not aware drinking grape fruits juice can be used to cure cancer in some cases? Therefore, never trifle with a ripe, mature fruit.

“Lastly, unripe fruits are sold as a routine because of the ignorance of the buyers. Most people who purchase fruits do so without knowing whether they were naturally ripe on top of the tree. For these buyers, fruits are nutritious irrespective of when they were harvested.”

New Horizon


Great Five Pillars Of Islam “May the peace of Allah be with us”. Thank you. WITH solemn heart, I present the five great pillars of Islam. As the year comes and goes, it is pertinent to remind our sisters and brothers here and there of these spiritual qualities that is expected of not only Islam faithfuls but all human beings including animals also created by Allah. Iman or faith: Every human being is indebted to worship Allah (God). In the Holy Quran, it is stated that “Allah is one, Allah is of all who depend, He is the biggest gift, nor He begotten”. Anyone who knows this phrase above is a true son of Almighty Allah. Nothing else goes beyond this, but I won’t stop there. This saying cuts across class nor creed, the other may belong. We should know that all human beings are created by one supreme FATHER — Allah wa Kubar. Allah loves us so much that he gives his Holy Spirit to dwell in us free of charge and whatever we do with it remains our concern and not of the lord. The lord remains as a witness to our various activities in thought, words and action, anytime, anywhere and anyhow. Faith remains the key word religiously, materially and spiritually. A sane and an insane person have faith in neither someone nor something. Faith in oneself, in a friend, in our parents, in our brothers and sisters, in our wives, in our children, faith in all living entities, faith in creation etc. it is our duty to link up these connections mentioned

above to the supreme lord, because having faith in the supreme is the greatest, been a quintessence of what is expected of all human beings — faith and love of Allah. The Holy Quran captioned the cowIl, part I :28&29 states “How can ye reject the faith in Allah? Seeing that ye were without life, and He gave you life, then will He cause you to die and will again bring you to life, and again to him will ye return. It is he, who hath created for you all things that are on earth, then he turned to the heaven and made them into seven firmaments, and of all things he hath perfect knowledge. Because Allah has perfect knowledge, it is in him that we should establish implicit faith at all, time. The Holy Quran warns us in the caption the cow-ll part 1:34 “to have faith in Allah. And not to reject like iblis who was haughty”. 2. Salah or prayer: A compulsory aspect of all human beings no matter where the other may belong. Prayer cuts across all ethnicity and religious practices. For example, Muslims all over the world prays five times daily. A sincere Muslim never compromise for any reason. At home, in the office, in the shop, anywhere he makes provision for his prayer

period as a daily routine, because there is faith established in Allah. Otherwise one will loose faith. Muslims pray on

their chanting beads and this is done on daily bases as service unto the supreme lord. We can see how prayer cuts across

path. As Isah (Jesus) thought Christians how to’ use the chaplet to call the Holy name of God., so Mohammed thought Muslims how to use the Tessy bead to call on the

their Tessy beads always and anywhere calling, on the Holy name of Allah. On the other hand, Christians pray on their chaplet at least three times daily. Of course all God names are hallowed from sunrise to sun-set- there is no demarcation in between. Once again, the Hare Krishna devotes chant the Holy name of God on their chanting beads, sixteen rounds of

every facet of our belief. Prayer remains a call on the Father to please hear us, forgive us our trespasses and make us worthy servants of Allah of whom all depends. Generally most worshipping houses or churches don’t believe nor have any standard practice of calling on the Holy names of Allah (God). This is the time for transformation on this

Holy name of Allah. Note that to make adequate progress, you must learn to follow the due process recommended. In conclusion to Salah (prayer) we draw this aspiration by asserting that: Allah (God) is great. That none is worthy to worship except Allah (God). That Mohammed is the messager of God. That a call to prayer is a

“Financial fulfillment upon Muslims. It is a very important aspect of Muslim principle which must be honoured according to an individual’s capacity. It is strongly believed that wealth belongs to God.”

call to all and sundry. That as you come to prayer, so also you come to success. That there is none worthy of true worship except Allah (God). 3. ZAKAH OR F I N A N C I A L OBLIGATION

Financial fulfillment upon Muslims. It is a very important aspect of Muslim principle which must be honoured according to an individual’s capacity. It is strongly believed that wealth belongs to God, and therefore held by human beings in trust and should be ploughed back voluntarily into the service of God and mankind. Zakah represents purification and growth of one’s wellbeing and endeavor to serve God. Of course Zakah must be done with proper consciousness and not as a trade by barter because God loves a cheerful giver and givers never lack. Continues on pg 24

Place Of Prayer

Doer Of Righteousness

Marks Of True Sonship: EXAMINE yourselves whether ye be in the faith; prove your own Selves know ye not your own selves, How that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be repobates? 2 Corinthians 13:5. True Sons of God are known by certain marks. Once these marks are there, there is no struggle with the identity of the believer. However, when the marks of true sonship are absent, then the believers identity-as a true son of God is in doubt. Sonship of God should not be by words of mouth alone; you must bear the fruits of sonship of God. Remember that these marks are clear impressions and are revealed by strength and consistency of your intimacy. The sixth mark of true sonship we will be studying in this series is Doer of Righteousness. With reference to personal character, righteousness is used both for uprightness between man and man, and for true religion. Righteousness is defined as strong moral integrity in character or in actions. There are two sides to righteousness: there is the righteousness of faith’ which is called the gift of righteousness imputed to the sinner who believes in Christ. And than there is the second which is the act of righteousness. The gift of righteousness is the one that came with our justification- Justification is not the forgiveness of a man without righteousness, but a declaration that he possesses a righteousness which perfectly and forever satisfies the law, namely, Christ’s righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21 Rom. 4:6-8). The justified man is regarded and treated as if innocent, and is acquitted from the consequences of guilt before the tribunal of God, In Romans 5:17-19, the bible says: For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness atone the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many he made righteous. This righteousness, however, is just one side of the coin. The

other side is just as important as the first side and this second side is the conscious acts of righteousness. Just as much as righteousness is a gift, God expects us to Live righteous before man. In l John 3:74, the bible says: Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. God wants your light as a believer to shine brightly before all men that they may see your good works and glorify by our Father which is in heaven (Matthew5:l 6). These two are two sides of a coin anti together. Just like a bird needs two wings to fly successfully, so you cannot take one and leave the other If you fake the gift of righteousness and leave the act of righteousness, the bible tells us that you are of the devil because he that commits sin is of the devil. The gift of righteousness makes us righteous before God, but we need to also show our righteousness to men. If, on the other hand, you leave the gift of righteousness and take the acts of righteousness alone, you will miss the grace of God and begin to labour for every thing. You cannot impress God with your righteous acts because your righteousness is like filthy rags before Him (Isaiah 64:6), but you must live right for the sake of men, that they may come to the knowledge of your Father by your lifestyle. You must make conscious, deliberate efforts to reflect holiness in your daily dealings will, men because your Father is holy (Matthew 5:48, I Peter 1:15). When you live right before men, the Lord takes glory. He demands your practical righteousness because your good character is important for your promotion to your next level. When David committed sin and later asked God’s forgiveness. God forgave him but still had to punish him because through that sin. David brought ridicule upon the name of God. He made the unbelievers speak

With Pastor Samuel O. Osaghae SMS Only 08030809339

against God. It was an open disgrace to God so God also had to punish him openly. Let’s take a second look at 1 John 3:7-10: Little children, let no man deceive you.’ he that doeth righteousness s righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil,’ for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the

sons. Such people that depend only on the gift of righteousness and take it as an excuse for living in sin will be in for a rude shock on the Day of judgment when the master will say these words to them: “Depart from me ye workers of iniquity, for I know you not”. The righteous man is the man that doeth righteousness, not

convenient). Grace is not an excuse for sin. Even if it was, will we now continue in sin that grace may abound, the Apostle Paul says, “God forbid’ (Romans 6:1-2). How can we that God has made dead to sin now continue ma life style of sin because we feel that righteousness is all

character is what stands you out as a child of God. Working signs and wonders does not qualify you for heaven. Only those that doeth the will of the Father in heaven will go to heaven. In Matthew 1:21-23, Jesus said. Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of

Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. From the scripture above, we see that the man that is born of God does not commit sin. Doing righteousness is therefore a very important mark of true sonship of God. In doing righteousness (practicing righteousness) are the children of God manifested. Doeth means a performance of an activity. It is true that God is pleased with you and does not need you to be holy to have his gifts function in your life for his gift and calling are without repentance. However, not all that manifest His gifts and call upon His name are His true

he that faiths it or receives it. Whenever you dress, talk or behave in a nasty way, God is not happy because you misrepresent Him. It is this misrepresentation that brings His judgment on you. Even Jesus had to consciously practice righteousness in order to please the Father, no wonder the Father was always with Him (John 8:29). He that commits sin is of the devil. Commit means to practice. It means to do something over and over again. He that repeats a sin over and over again is of the devil A true child of God is not comfortable with sin if he falls into sin even once, his heart gets taken ever by sorrow and be quickly seeks a way out. If you repeatedly commit sin and have no sorrow, it is an indication that your name is no longer in the book of life (Romans 1:28And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not

about God and has nothing to do with us? I want to let you know that you have a part to play; God expects you to be a door of righteousness. In Exodus 32:33, the Lord said to Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. Only that which has been written is blotted out. Practicing righteousness is the only thing that can keep your name in the book of life. When you practice sin, your name will be blotted out of the book of life. The works of the devil is sin. This is what the son of God was manifested to destroy (Matthew 1:21. you have not settled the issue of sin, then Jesus is not yet manifested in your life. Sin is the foundation of every other evil. No man that has sin in him will enter into heaven because no unclean thing can enter there in. Be rapture conscious, the signals of the soon return of Christ abounds. We don’t know people by miracle or signs and wonders;

heaven; but he that doeth, the will my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto Thom, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity’. In Psalm 92:12, the bible tells us that the righteous shall flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Taking cue from the characteristics of the palm floe and the Cedar of Lebanon, the implication of this scripture is that all those that take up the two sides of this coin will flourish in all aspects of their lives, they will enjoy unstoppable expansion. Every part of their lives will be productive and useful. They would be imperishable, will continue to increase in the midst of adversity, and will be priceless to God of who is the Master and Owner of their lives.

International US Warns Citizens Against Flights Still, flight BW484 that was From Guyana identified in the threat, has since

WASHINGTON - The United States has warned its nationals, in a rare, highly detailed public alert, not to travel on US-bound Caribbean Airlines flights originating in Guyana Monday through Wednesday. In an unusually specific warning, the US embassy in the capital Georgetown issued the appeal because it had “received unconfirmed threat information” on Caribbean Airlines flights departing Monday. “Out of an abundance of caution, the embassy advises all US citizens in Guyana traveling on Caribbean Airlines (CAL) to the United States from Monday February 10 through Wednesday February 12, to make alternate travel arrangements,” it said on its website. In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters that “when we have something ... that we think is credible and specific, then we take precautions.” Harf did not comment on Guyana’s ability to handle international security. “I wouldn’t make any broad generalization about Guyana’s ability to counter these kind of threats,” she said. Guyana is a small and diverse but poor nation of about 700,000 people. Its largest ethnic group is descended from Indian laborers

brought in during the British colonial era. Caribbean Airlines, based in nearby Trinidad and Tobago, sought to downplay any security concerns, saying additional measures were in place in Guyana. “The airline wishes to assure passengers and the traveling public that specific layers of security have been added at our Guyana Airport operations and we are working closely with all authorities to ensure appropriate security protocols are followed,” it said in a statement. “All Caribbean Airlines flights are operating as scheduled.” The threat against Caribbean Airlines has resulted in 13 percent of cancellations, Guyana Transport Minister Robeson Benn said.

landed safely at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, he told lawmakers. Benn said the Guyanese government wanted Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States to probe the threat that was made last Friday by telephone. He said the call was made to the Barbados operations of Caribbean Airlines by someone with a Trinidadian accent. “We would like to know who made the threat and the specific nature of the threat,” he said. Guyana’s deputy police commissioner, Seelall Persaud, said the “threat of sabotage” has resulted in more police personnel and the deployment of a ballistics sniffer dog to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA). Police and airport officials said searches would continue on all passengers until authorities are satisfied that the threat level no longer exists.

President Barack Obama (right) and French President Francois Hollande, (left) shake hands after talking with the media following their tour of Monticello, President Thomas Jefferson’s estate in Charlottesville.

South Sudan Marks New Foreign Policy Chapter For China

BEIJING - China’s efforts to help resolve a conflict in South Sudan mark a “new chapter” in Beijing’s foreign policy that will seek to engage more in Africa’s security, China’s top envoy to the continent said.

China is the biggest investor in South Sudan’s oil industry, and experts have argued that Beijing’s typically reserved diplomacy will have to keep

their lesson. Before a single drop of freezing rain or snow fell, Deal declared a state of emergency for nearly a third of the state and state employees were told they could stay home if they felt conditions were too dangerous. Schools canceled classes, and Deal urged people who didn’t need to be anywhere to stay off the roads. Tractor-trailer drivers were handed fliers about the weather and a law requiring chains on tires in certain conditions. “We are certainly ahead of the game this time, and that’s

important,” Deal said. “We are trying to be ready, prepared and react as quickly as possible.” That kind of reassurance was a hard sell with some. “I’m not counting on it,” said Terri Herod, who bought a large bag of sand and a shovel at local hardware store. “I’ve been in Georgia on and off for 20 years. It’s usually the same scenario: not enough preparations and not enough equipment.” Memories of the last storm are still painfully fresh. Students were trapped on buses or at schools and

pace with its growing business interests across Africa. Zhong Jianhua, China’s special representative on African Affairs, joined peace talks last month which

Georgia Braces For Second Snowstorm thousands of cars were abandoned ATLANTA, USA — When In 2 Weeks along highways as short commutes snow fell on Atlanta two weeks turned into odysseys. One woman ago, downtown streets of the South’s business hub were jammed with unmoving cars, highway motorists slept overnight in vehicles or abandoned them where they sat, and students were forced to camp out in school gymnasiums when roads turned too treacherous for buses to navigate. Things promised to be different Tuesday, when another round of rain, sleet and freezing rain was expected to begin walloping the area. That’s not necessarily because city and state officials are going to be better prepared — although they promised they would be — but because many people aren’t going to take a chance that they will get trapped again. “Basically, everyone from the office is going to be working from home” on Tuesday, said Dakota Herrera as he left a car park in downtown Atlanta to go to his office Monday. Atlanta has a long and painful history of being ill-equipped to deal with snowy weather. Despite officials’ promises following a crippling ice storm in 2011 that they would be better prepared next time, the storm that hit the area Jan. 28 proved they still had many kinks to work out. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal indicated on Monday that he and other state officials had learned

gave birth on a jammed interstate. Officials reported one accidentrelated death. This storm could be worse this time. A one-two punch of winter weather was expected for Atlanta and northern Georgia. Rain and snow were forecast Tuesday, followed by sleet and freezing rain Wednesday. Downed power lines and icy roads were a major worry. Forecasters predicted at least a quarter of an inch of ice for the metro Atlanta area through Thursday morning. Before dawn Tuesday, light snow began falling in parts of the north Georgia mountains, and the metro Atlanta area saw early rain.

Members of Special Police are seen through a burned shop during a protest on a blocked street in Sarajevo on Monday.

led to a delicate ceasefire between the government of South Sudan President Salva Kiir and rebels loyal to his sacked deputy Riek Machar. “China should be engaging more in peace and security solutions for any conflict there,” Zhong told Reuters in an interview at the Foreign Ministry building in Beijing on Monday. “This is a challenge for China. This is something new for us ... It is a new chapter for Chinese foreign affairs,” said the 63year-old veteran diplomat in fluent English. Thousands of people have been killed and more than half a million driven from their homes since mid-December in the worst violence the world’s newest country has faced since it won its independence from Sudan in 2011. Since the ceasefire was agreed on January 23, both sides have accused each other of violations. Regional and world powers worry about the potential for violence in oil-rich South Sudan to spill over into an already volatile region of Africa. Zhong, who has deep experience with South Sudan, said the conflict was currently his most urgent priority as China’s Africa envoy. Chinese diplomats from embassies in Ethiopia and South Sudan’s capital, Juba, joined early attempts at ceasefire monitoring, Zhong said, a move seen by Western diplomats as both welcome and unexpected. “We promised we will join all the efforts for ceasefire monitoring and mechanisms,” he said. Since 1954, long before China became an economic power with interests around the globe, Beijing has upheld a foreign policy mantra of noninterference in other countries’ internal affairs. But Western diplomats have argued that China’s weight as an

investor in South Sudan gives it extra leverage to defuse tension there, and have criticized what they see as Beijing’s aloof policy doctrine. The need to expand China’s foreign policy footprint and protect its interests are both driving China’s more assertive presence in South Sudan, Zhong said, adding that China would not ignore the interests of South Sudan for the sake of its own. Indeed, Western diplomats have noted a deeper level of engagement by China in international diplomatic efforts to resolve the South Sudan conflict, and even seen some signs of its readiness to put more pressure on Juba to avoid a re-run of fighting after any deal. That, they say, contrasts with Beijing’s usual cautious tendency to keep to the political sidelines. “It’s the first time China has been so proactive in addressing a foreign crisis. China has clearly been driven by a single motive here - its substantial oil interests in the country,” said a Beijing-based Western diplomat who follows China’s relations with Africa. China imported 3.5 million tonnes of crude oil from South Sudan last year, according to Chinese Customs data, making it the new African state’s biggest customer. But Zhong said China would proceed with caution, and he gave few details on how it would expand its role. “We are not the party to propose our own initiative, at least at this stage. So, we urge all parties concerned to respect an African solution proposed by African parties,” he said. It’s that hesitancy that leaves some experts skeptical of how quickly China will transform its status in Africa, where some countries, while grateful for cheap Chinese loans, have grumbled that China has sucked in their raw materials but offered little exchange of skills in return. China has sought to change that perception, highlighted by a trip by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Africa last year in which he spoke of work to transfer technology and offer training to help build industry there.

International China, Taiwan Hold Highest-Level Talks Since 1949 BEIJING - China and Taiwan began their highest-level official talks since 1949 yesterday negotiations that could lead to the two setting up representative offices, though sensitive political issues are not likely to be broached. The talks between Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Minister Wang Yu-chi and China’s Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun, who heads the Taiwan Affairs Office, mark a big step towards expanding cross-strait dialogue beyond economic and trade issues. China’s ruling Communist Party considers Taiwan a renegade province and has never ruled out the use of force to bring the island under its wing after taking control of the mainland in 1949. But economic ties have grown considerably in recent years. Taiwan’s Wang described his meeting with Zhang, in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing, as “an unimaginable occasion in earlier years”, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported.

CHANGE OF NAME OBAGBALU – I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Obagbalu Fehintoluwa Clara now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Aghamioghogho Fehintoluwa Clara. All former documents remain valid. State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) Edo State, Etsako West Local Government Education Authorities (LGEA) and the general public should please take note. CHANGE OF NAME

EZEH – I, formerly known and addressed as Mrs. Siya Doris Ezeh now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Bose Siya Orugani. All former documents remain valid. Concerned authorities and the general public should please take note.

“Being able to sit down and talk is a really valuable opportunity, considering that the two sides were once almost at war,” Wang said. The mainland’s Zhang told Wang that both sides should have “a little more imagination” regarding relations. “We meet under great attention and expectations

and bear great responsibilities,” Zhang said. In October, Chinese President Xi Jinping said a political solution to the standoff between the mainland and the island could not be postponed forever. But Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou later said he saw no urgency to hold political talks and he wanted to focus on trade.



I, Idjerhe Velyn Evwuarere wish to bring for the information of the general public that my son, Ehigbor Onosezena Ese is the same person called Ehigbor Onosezena and that he is now known and called Ehimen Onosezena Nathanael. It is hereby emphasized that he is my biological son therefore my next-of-kin. University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH, Benin City, concerned authorities and the general public should please take note.

I, Miss Omoyemwense Queen Aimiede wish to bring for the information of the general public that I am the same person as Ojoeden Aimiede as appeared in some of my documents. It should be known therefore that I am properly known and addressed as Miss Omoyemwense Queen Aimiede. All former documents remain valid. Unity Bank of Nigeria Plc, concerned auhorities and the general public should please take note.


CHANGE OF NAME The general public is by this notice informed that in line with the requirements of the Corporate Affairs Commission Act (CAC) our Church formerly known and called “Armour of God Church” is now known and called “Believers Faith Family Ministries International” as approved by the Board of Trustees. Concerned authorities, individuals and the general public should please take note. Signed: Rev. Andy Airhunde

AUCTION SALES There will be a public auction sales of accidented abandoned and unclaimed vehicle, motorcycles and household items at Ogida Division, Nigeria Police, Edo State Command. Date of Sales is three weeks from this publication. Items are: Hyundai bus without Reg. No. 3 Suzuki motocycles Reg. Nos. AA717FUG, NOVF217ENG, OD175REE, 4 Daylong Motorcycles Reg. Nos. UG 795 BEN, QC 612URM, 2 without Reg. Nos and 2 other motorcycles. Contact Abu Osodionahon Police Auctioneer 08060382828, 08074007087

Egypt: Militants Blow Up Gas EL-ARISH, Egypt — Egyptian security officials say suspected al-Qaidainspired militants have blown up a natural gas pipeline in the restive Sinai Peninsula. The officials say the explosion took place early Tuesday in a desert area south of el-Arish, the provincial capital of North Sinai. The pipeline carries natural gas to Jordan and

Pipeline In Sinai

feeds heavy industry factories in central Sinai. The officials say pipeline technicians were forced to shut the flow of gas in order to get the fire under control. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to

media. There have been scores of attacks on the pipeline since the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak and the security vacuum that ensued. A Sinai-based militant group, Ansar Beit alMaqdis, has claimed responsibility for several such bombings.

Taiwan and China are also expected to discuss Taiwan’s participation in international bodies and issues on medical care for Taiwan students in China, Wang said last month, though he ruled out talks on “sensitive political issues”. Nanjing was China’s capital during the rule of the Nationalists, until they fled to Taiwan in 1949 upon losing a civil war with the communists. The city is also the burial place of Sun Yat-Sen, the founder of modern China, who is revered by both mainland China and many in Taiwan. Since taking office in 2008, Taiwan’s Ma has signed a series of landmark trade and economic agreements with China, cementing China’s position as Taiwan’s largest trading partner. But booming trade has not brought progress on political reconciliation or reduced military readiness on both sides. Many in democratic Taiwan fear

China’s designs for their freewheeling island. Despite the close economic ties, U.S.-armed and backed Taiwan remains a potential

flashpoint and its recovery is a priority for China’s ruling Communist Party, which is investing billions to modernize its military.

China’s former President Jiang Zemin looks up while President Hu Jintao gives his speech during the opening ceremony of 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

Thai Govt Admits Lack Of Power To Renew Rice Scheme BANGKOK - Thailand’s caretaker government said yesterday it did not have the power to renew a rice subsidy scheme when it expires at the end of the month, risking further alienating farmers angry over late payments for their current crop. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, assailed since November by a largely urban, middle class protest movement bent on driving her from office, is now facing unrest among her Puea Thai Party’s natural supporters in the countryside, where many farmers have gone unpaid for their rice for months. Yingluck has led a caretaker administration since December, when she dissolved parliament and called a snap election in an attempt to end the anti-government street protests. As a result, the government’s spending and borrowing powers are heavily curtailed. “We are just a caretaker government, which has no power to extend any policy.

The rice-buying scheme will end automatically on February 28,” Varathep Rattanakorn, a minister in the prime minister’s office, told Reuters. The rice program was one of the populist policies associated with Yingluck’s brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, a former prime minister central to a stubborn conflict that has divided Thais since he was toppled by the military in 2006. The pledge to pay farmers a price way above world rice benchmarks helped sweep Yingluck to power in 2011, but the scheme has become mired in allegations of corruption and growing losses that are making it increasingly hard to fund. In recent weeks, big banks have refused to extend bridging loans to help fund the programme, unconvinced the government has the authority to seek them, while China has cancelled a government-togovernment rice deal due to a corruption probe. More than 1,000 farmers protested outside the government’s temporary base in northern Bangkok on

Israeli Military Hits Gaza In Response To Rocket JERUSALEM — The Israeli military says it has struck two targets in the Gaza Strip in response to rocket fire coming from the territory. No injuries were reported from Gaza or Israel. The military says its aircraft hit an underground rocket launcher and a “terror site” in separate parts of the coastal area early yesterday. Violence has spiked in recent weeks along the Gaza-Israel

border after a period of relative calm following a 2012 battle between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers. The military says more than 30 rockets have been launched toward Israel since the beginning of the year. Israel this week targeted a militant accused of carrying out numerous rocket attacks on Israel. The man, identified as Abdallah Kharti, was critically wounded in the strike.

Monday and said they would continue their campaign after a meeting between their representatives and ministers broke up without agreement. Finance Minister Kittirat Na Ranong said on Tuesday the farmers would ultimately get paid and appealed for more time to arrange bank financing. “The government believes it could complete the rice loan in a few days’ time,” he told reporters ahead of a cabinet meeting. “We need to reassure financial institutions that the rice loan will not breach the law.” After the meeting, Commerce Minister N i w a t t h a m r o n g Bunsongphaisan said the cabinet had approved taking 712 million baht ($22 million) from the state budget to pay some farmers but that needed Election Commission approval first. “We expect the Election Commission will approve it very soon because it’s a problem for farmers,” he told reporters The farmers have kept their protests separate from the anti-government demonstrations that have been blocking parts of Bangkok for the past three months. Those protesters, mainly drawn from Bangkok and the south, say former telecoms tycoon Thaksin has subverted a fragile democracy with populist policies such as subsidies, cheap loans and healthcare to woo poorer voters in the rural but populous north and northeast and guarantee victory for his parties in every election since 2001.

New Horizon Continued from Pg 20

Zakah can also be done both in cash or kind as declared by Prophet Mohammed that “if you don’t have money, work with your hands and give something out of such earnings. And if one is not in the position to work with his hands, he should encourage others to always do good. And where that is not possible, one should try to do good and avoid doing evil because all these are various stages of Zakah or charity”. Financial obligation and charity cuts’ across other religious practices known as tithe. In many quarters, tithe is seen as compulsory instead of voluntary. Those who have higher realization don’t want to be told. They come on their own to do their Zakah but people with low realization need to be told, reminded and encouraged to take part. Every human being is a part and parcel of this service. Also it should be understood that it is in the good spirit of Zakah that individuals, various arms of government and nong o v e r n m e n t a l organizations establish orphanage home, trust fund, school for the blind and deaf, etc in pursuit of charity activities. Zakah and charity giving is


...Five Pillars Of Islam meant to check our excesses thereby sharing them amongst our places of worship and less privileged ones. It softens our heart not to look down on these people with what we have, knowing that everything comes from God and also belongs to him. Zakah is done as a fulfillment to God’s expectation from mankind and not as a trade by barter or otherwise. 4. SAWN OR FASTING Every year, all Muslims fast in the month of Ramada-n from sunrise to sunset, abstaining from food, drinks, sexual relations with their spouses or visit to unclean places. This period is of restriction and sober reflection on ourselves in order to move closer to Allah. Muslims who perform this obligation will notice that there is a realization during and after this exercise. It uplifts and makes one feel a sense of belonging within and outside of our existence. Within this period, there is no spirit of anger, rancor, fear of negative thoughts and of course this attitude during the fasting should be carried on even after the fasting period. A true Muslim must understand

the differences between him and others and know the way to accommodate them. For one to live a peaceful life, the spirit of tolerance and patience must be imbibed. If one is not peaceful how do we

you that you may learn self restraint. Self restraint is the basic thing, and if you know this fact then you are ready to fast and scale through all the hurdles. It is hereby advised that a Muslim should endeavor

aspiring Muslims all over the world to interact in the pursuit of Quuranic excellence. Lots of activities are performed and one practically sees for him or herself what it takes to be a practicing

round between the hills of Safa and Marwa as did Haijir, Abraham’s wife during her search for water. iii. Congregationally, a day is marked out for all pilgrims to confront the devil with throwing of stones. Seeing these activities on your screen is

call on God in prayer? And so during fasting and after, peace of mind is very practicable. During this period, the sick, elderly, women who are pregnant or menstruating, nursing mothers are exempted including children. As prescribed in the Holy Quran-2:183- “0 you who believe, fasting is prescribed to those before

to be a true Muslim at all time. The difference is there. 5. HAJJ OR PILGRIMAGE The hajj or a holy place is obligatory only to those who are physically and financially able to do so. However, this journey is annually performed in Makkah. It is a meeting point, a central point for

Muslim. This journey is performed in the twelfth month of the Islamic year. Pilgrims wear special and simple clothes signifying oneness in the eyes of God. Hajj is not a place to show affluence but to display humility, simplicity, peace of mind to God and mankind. At Makkah tots of activities takes place but few will be asserted here. (i) Congregationally, there is solemn prayer for forgiveness of our ‘trespasses. At this point, one should think of the present and the’ future in relationship to the Almighty God who out of his causeless mercy forgives us because he is very merciful. (ii) Congregational moving round the Ka’bah seven times and going

not enough. I wish you were there to see everything life. It’s a wonderful lesson and experience. Etc. In conclusion, the close of the Hajj is marked by a festival, which is celebrated with prayers and the exchange of gifts everywhere in Muslims communities known as Id al Fitr, marking the end of Ramada-n with a sumptuous two days holiday for all Muslims and non-muslims. Scripturally, “Allah is one, Allah is of all whom depend. HE is the biggest gift nor HE begotten”. Because Allah is not begotten, Allah transcends the idea of being born of any woman. Allah remains totally complete of himself and his originality.

“Every year, all Muslims fast in the month of Ramada-n from sunrise to sunset, abstaining from food, drinks, sexual relations with their spouses or visit to unclean places. This period is of restriction and sober reflection on ourselves in order to move closer to Allah.”


Role Of NOA In Nation Building By FEMI OGUNSHOLA

IN recent times, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) has engaged in a series of sensitisation programmes for the purpose of promoting acceptable ethos and more in the Nigerian society. With the slogan “Do the Right Thing’’, NOA has organised some public sensitisation workshops with themes such as “Keep to time’’; “Avoid Dirt, be Clean’’; “Exam ethics’’; “Clean and Healthy Lifestyle’’ and “Wash Nigeria’’, among others. Observers note that the public sensitisation campaign is part of measures aimed at changing the attitude of most Nigerians. They concede that pragmatic approaches are required from all stakeholders to check moral decadence and sustain positive values in the society. Mr James Ekweremadu, an Abuja-based businessman, said that moral decadence, violence, mistrust and other social vices were becoming rampant in the Nigerian society. He underscored the need to initiate structured campaigns to promote sound mores and ethos in the country. Dr Florence Akin-Aina, the Executive Director, T.Y Danjuma Foundation, said that that most of the security challenges and crises facing the country stemmed from wrong fundamental orientation of the citizens. Akin-Aina, who spoke in one of the sensitisation workshops organised by NOA in Abuja, stressed that the agency deserved the support of everyone to enable it to succeed in its

mandate to re-orientate Nigerians. In the same vein, Prof. Bem Angwe, the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission, urged the public to support NOA in efforts to educate Nigerians on their rights and how to enforce them. Angwe pledged that the commission would collaborate with NOA in the campaign towards repositioning the psyche of Nigerians as regards human rights. He said that the commission was statutorily empowered to review legislation and administrative policies of government and its agencies, while recommending appropriate amendments where necessary. The Director-General of NOA, Mr Mike Omeri, urged the citizens to promote peace, justice and sustainability of moral values by responding to the public sensitisation programmes. He described people who were calling for Nigeria’s disintegration through violence and pandemonium as enemies of the nation. Omeri, however, vouched for the determination of the country’s security agencies to ensure that such antisocial people were apprehended and bring to justice. “Nigerians must contribute their own quota to entrenching world peace; this can be done by denouncing all those who seek to divide us along ethnic, religious, political and other lines. “Such people do not mean well for this nation; we must shun them and

their evil predictions of bloodshed. “Good citizens of Nigeria should report suspicious persons and activities immediately they are spotted because they do not have another country,’’ he said.

the youth had somewhat denied them access to most of the youth empowerment initiatives introduced by the government. He urged the youth to show more interest in issues relating to national development, insisting that

He said that NOA was working with the National Assembly to make a law that would make the abuse of national symbols an offence. “NOA is seeking the amendment of the Ordinance Act to ensure that anyone caught defacing the national

Mike Omeri, Director General NOA

Omeri said that if the citizens adopted the attitude of doing the right thing at the right time, President Goodluck Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda for the country’s development would be quite successful. Also speaking at the workshop, Chief Edem Duke, the Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, emphasised the need reorientate the youth for effective attitudinal transformation. He noted that the attitudinal deficiencies in

the youth could never benefit from government investments in human capital development without appropriate value orientation. According to the minister, the Federal Government is creating more youth empowerment programmes and platforms for youth development. Duke, nonetheless, called on the youth to have due regard for national symbols, saying that as future leaders, they should also learn how to live exemplary life.

symbols or handling them without respect is punished. “The positive values depicted by the national symbols could evoke certain attitudes and emotions toward the nation. “We believe that our national core values, as enumerated in the 1999 Constitution, are expressed in our national symbols. “This should further find practical expression in the manifestation of those values by Nigerians

through the inspiration they draw from our national symbols,’’ he said. Sharing similar sentiments, Dr Alex Ekwueme, a former VicePresident, observed that the growing disrespect for national symbols was part of the decline in national values. Ekwueme, who made the observation at the Patriots Assembly organised to commemorate the National Symbols Day in Abuja recently, noted that national symbols were carefully chosen to promote unity and peaceful coexistence among Nigerians. “National symbols are cautiously chosen to serve some good purposes in an individual, in particular, and in the society, in general. “For instance, in the national anthem and the pledge; the words — ‘One nation bound in freedom, peace and unity’ and ‘To defend her unity and uphold her honour and glory’ — are carefully selected to strike the conscience of Nigerians,’’ he said. To educate the public on these values, observers insist that NOA, in line with its mandate, should enlighten Nigerians on government policies, while mobilising public support for the policies. They call on all Nigerians to imbibe the culture of celebrating the country’s uniqueness, identity and accomplishments to demonstrate the national desire for a truly developed and united nation.

“Nigerians must contribute their own quota to entrenching world peace; this can be done by denouncing all those who seek to divide us along ethnic, religious, political and other lines.”

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Liverpool Defeat An Accident - Wenger ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger has described Saturday’s 5-1 defeat at Liverpool as “an accident” and challenged his players to bounce back when they welcome Manchester United on Wednesday. The Gunners relinquished top spot in the Premier League to Chelsea following the thrashing at Anfield — a game which saw the home side score four goals in the opening 19 minutes. However, Wenger, who says he will remind his players of just “how good they have been this season” ahead of the United clash, is confident his players will respond to the setback in a positive manner. “It was an accident. Not a welcome one, of course, a very disappointing one. But you have to respond to that,” Wenger’s said of the Liverpool defeat. “Every season has disappointments, it’s always down to the team to respond in a positive way to decide the success. “Yes of course we will respond tomorrow in a very positive way, I’m convinced of that. This is what we have always done since the start of the season. We are in front of a big game and we have to focus on that. A big part of our season will be decided at the Emirates Stadium. That is what we want to do. “We tend always to forget how good we are when we are not successful. It’s important then that we remind them [the critics] that we have done very well until now. We have worked very hard to be in this position. I love this group of players, they deserve success. I am sure they will respond. “We have been a very solid

Robin Van Persie

Allardyce Irked By Malingering Morrison WEST Ham United manager Sam Allardyce has accused midfielder Ravel Morrison of exaggerating the extent of a groin injury that has caused him to miss the club’s last three matches. Morrison, 21, made an impressive start to the season after signing from Manchester United, but his form has since waned, prompting media reports that he is to join secondtier Queens Park Rangers on loan. Although Allardyce refused to answer questions about Morrison’s future at the club, he did express annoyance at his reluctance to play through the pain of his injury. “Listening to our medical staff, there is no problem that he can carry on — not at all,” Allardyce said. “He says he feels it occasionally. Instead of gritting your teeth and getting on with it... he’s not the type.

“Lots and lots of players throughout the country will be playing with a similar type of injury that the medical team say, “You can carry on, it’s not a problem.” QPR manager Harry Redknapp has confirmed his interest in signing Morrison. Speaking after his side’s 10 loss at Derby County on Monday, he told Sky Sports News: “It’s a possibility. I’ve been trying to ring Sam all day. I think he’d like to come and if Sam wants to loan him, we’re here.”

Arsene Wenger

Wenger Quiet On Van Persie Rumours ARSENE Wenger would not be drawn on the possibility of Robin van Persie making a return to Arsenal, ahead of his side’s clash with Manchester United at Emirates Stadium. Media reports suggesting Van Persie is unsettled at United have sparked speculation that the Netherlands striker could make what would be a

remarkable return to the club he left in the summer of 2012. When asked about the rumours at his prematch news conference on Tuesday, Wenger said: “I

don’t think that’s an ideal subject for us to treat today. I think it is best we don’t talk about that at the moment. “Robin van Persie is a great player. We know that. It doesn’t mean he has to score [against Arsenal on Wednesday]. It

Tube Strike Threatens Fulham’s Clash With Liverpool

FULHAM have confirmed Wednesday’s Premier League match against Liverpool could be postponed because of strike action on the London Underground. With staff taking industrial action there will be a reduced service on a number of lines, leaving Fulham concerned about the safety of supporters making their way to the club’s Craven Cottage stadium in west London. In a statement on Monday, Fulham officials said: “The

defensive team, but on the day we were not up to it. Sometimes it is hard to find a reason, but the first goal was offside. Nobody mentioned that, but of course that doesn’t explain our defeat. Overall, we were under shock very early on in the game and we didn’t recover.” Wenger was then asked to respond to the suggestion that his team have not been at their best against the top sides in the Premier League this season, having lost to both Manchester clubs prior to their defeat at Anfield. “Let’s not forget, we played some convincing performances against Tottenham, Liverpool, (Borussia) Dortmund, Napoli,” he said. “Man City, we were not bad. We had a difficult week before then, but we have a chance to show that people who think that are wrong. We have three big games in front of us.” Wenger went on to defend record signing Mesut Ozil’s contribution at Anfield, while suggesting the criticism of the midfielder in some sections of the media has been unjustified. “He has done well,” Wenger said. “He is adapting to the Premier League, we have seen this before. He is conscious of it and he is working hard. I would not like to put too much pressure on him because he is a top-class player and he didn’t give the best of games on Saturday, but he is working hard to adapt to the level of the Premier League. “For me, he is an exceptional football player. When your performance is not good enough you get criticised or questioned, this is normal. When you look at his physical performances, there is no lack of effort there. I want to see the best of him between now and the end of the season.”

club can confirm that it is currently proceeding on the basis that the game will go ahead. “However, the club has concerns over the potential impact that the strike may have on the ability of its safety staff to attend the ground in sufficient time and numbers to ensure that it is able to open the ground and effectively operate it, from the time that the gates are

open to the public until the departure of all supporters. “After consulting with the local authority and the Metropolitan Police, it has been decided that if the proposed action is still undetermined at 3pm (1500GMT) tomorrow (Tuesday), and the club cannot guarantee enough staff are available to attend the ground in sufficient time and numbers, then as a

consequence the club would not be able to comply with the terms of its safety certificate and the fixture would be postponed and rescheduled for a future date. “A further statement will be released at 3pm on Tuesday to confirm whether the game will go ahead or be postponed.” Arsenal are also scheduled to play in the English capital on Wednesday, but the Gunners have already confirmed they expect their match against Manchester United to go ahead as planned.

depends how we defend against him.” Van Persie had won the Premier League in his debut campaign at Old Trafford but has found life tougher since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement. Ferguson’s successor, David Moyes, has come under fire, with United currently nine points behind fourth-placed Liverpool in the Premier League, but Wenger has insisted the former Everton boss is the right man to take the club forwards. “You need time and patience,” he said. “You need to be in a strong club and I think he will be given time to do it. When a person has been at a club for such a long time, there is always a void is created when he goes. I believe that Moyes, if given time, will do that perfectly. They continue the same style of play. “We consider them as a strong side and a team that has quality. Their season is difficult to judge. We consider we play against a

good team and we want to beat them.” Arsenal will be looking for a response to the shock 5-1 defeat to Liverpool on Saturday when they host United, but Wenger maintains his squad has the necessary strength to cope with a testing run of fixtures that will see them face Liverpool again in the FA Cup at the weekend before hosting European champions Bayern Munich in the Champions League next week. “I don’t believe that on Saturday the players we missed in the transfer market would have saved us,” he said. “We would not have bought defenders. What we have to consider is how well we have done until now. We are in a fantastic position with this group of players, so let’s just come back to our normal level.” Wenger reported no fresh injuries worries ahead of the match with United, but Thomas Vermaelen and Aaron Ramsey both remain unavailable.

Sociedad Targeting Barca Upset REAL Sociedad defender Ion Ansotegi believes his side can still pull off an upset when they face Barcelona in their Copa del Rey semi-final second leg on Wednesday. The Erreala have a mountain to club after going down 2-0 at the Camp Nou in the first leg last week. However, Ansotegi is hopeful that they can claw their way back into the tie at home and reach the final at the expense of the Catalans. “For our part, we have great enthusiasm about being just one step from the final,” he told reporters. “We know it’s going to be difficult, but we’ve never had the opportunity to play in a final and maybe this

Boateng Backs Teary Balotelli SCHALKE midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng has jumped to the defence of former Milan teammate and striker Mario Balotelli. The volatile 22-year-old striker was once again cast into the headlines after he was caught on camera weeping on the Rossoneri bench during the 3-1 defeat to Napoli. Much has been made over Balotelli’s immaturity on the occasion which has sparked support from head coach Clarence Seedorf, who claimed the youngster’s tears weren’t ‘abnormal’. And after being hammered by the local press again, Boateng came to his support: “He is so strong that when he eventually takes full awareness of his ability, he will be the best in the world.” Boateng and Balotelli played alongside each other for the final six months of last season, before seeing the Ghanaian make a summer switch to Shalke.

Mario Balotelli.

will be our only opportunity. “The fans will believe, they’ll make sure there’s a great atmosphere at Anoeta, so all that could help to ensure that Barca aren’t the Barca we’re used to seeing. “Right from the start of the game, we’ll have to make an extra effort to get ourselves back in the tie and get the fans behind us. “The Copa del Rey is about putting your heart into it more than your head, although we’ll obviously have to use our heads too, because Barca are a great team. “We’ll have to score quickly, but it’s difficult to think about what we’ll have to do to win 3-0. “We have to set little objectives in the game and achieve them bit by bit. If we do that, I’m sure we can achieve our ultimate aim.”

Sevilla Hoping For Valencia Comeback

Edinson Cavani

Simeone Questions Ronaldo Appeal

ATLETICO Madrid coach Diego Simeone says clubs that complain about refereeing errors can lose focus on more important things like playing games, while making an apparent dig at Real Madrid’s insistence on talking about Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent red card and three-game ban. Madrid’s players and club conference ahead of Tuesday’s officials were strongly critical Copa del Rey semifinal second of referee Miguel Angel Ayza leg against Madrid that Gamez after he sent off focusing on such external Ronaldo during the 1-1 draw controversies did not help the at Athletic Bilbao on Feb. 2, team to win on the pitch. with local media helping whip “I do not believe in excuses up a storm that has led to Ayza from outside,” Simeone said. Gomez being removed from “Focusing on these things just action — and the public eye wastes effort, it does not help — for four weeks. Real are the team win games. Things still reportedly considering happen and will happen again. appealing to the Spanish Look at the game in Bilbao, government’s Sports Council and who is taken out for a to try to get the remaining two month for writing the referee’s games of Ronaldo’s report wrong. We must focus punishment overturned. on improving ourselves. I do Atletico have also suffered not criticise refs for making from some unfortunate mistakes against us. I focus on decisions lately, particularly my own work. These incidents when losing 2-0 at Almeria on are for you [the media].” Saturday, but the Argentine Atletico go into Tuesday’s coach has consistently refused game 3-0 down from last to rise to the bait regularly week’s first leg at Madrid’s thrown to him by reporters Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, after games. He told his news where Simeone’s side were

both out-thought and outfought on the night, with targeting of Diego Costa by Madrid defenders including Alvaro Arbeloa highlighted by TV replays but unseen by the officials. Arda Turan told Atletico’s club site that this scoreline had been harsh on his side, and he was still hopeful of overturning it in the return game. “The result at the Bernabeu was harder than we deserved,” the Turkish playmaker said. “But we are Atletico and we never throw in the towel. We will give our all in the return.” Costa’s suspension, injuries

Monaco Prepare For French Cup FRESH from holding Paris Saint-Germain in the league at the win so I want us to qualify. Derby weekend, Monaco make the short “It will be very difficult in trip to Cote d’Azur rivals Nice in the last 16 of the French Cup on Wednesday. Claudio Ranieri’s side are not yet out of the Ligue 1 title race

Essien Calls For Milan Unity

MICHAEL Essien has called for unity from his new AC Milan teammates after he made his debut in a 3-1 defeat to Napoli on Saturday. The Rossoneri suffered their first league defeat under Clarence Seedorf in which the Ghanaian international made his debut. Milan have been off the pace all season long and have only the UEFA Champions League to contend with for possible silverware when they meet Atletico Madrid in the

knockout stages of the tournament. Essien, who joined the club in January from Chelsea, insists that unity will be key to ensure a good passage to the end of the season. “I’m very happy to have played 90 minutes against Napoli,” he told the Milan Channel. “I hadn’t played a full match for a long time, but unfortunately the result wasn’t positive. We have to keep on

to key players including Thibaut Courtois, David Villa, Filipe Luis and Tiago Mendes, and general wear-and-tear mean Simeone is however likely to put out a belowstrength side for the game. The XI tried by the Colchoneros coach at his last training session before the game contained just three of his first-choice side, with reserves including keeper Dani Aranzubia, defenders Javi Manquillo, Toby Alderweireld and Emiliano Insua and midfielders Jose Sosa and Cebolla Rodriguez all tipped to feature.

SEVILLA captain Ivan Rakitic has urged his side to put Sunday’s loss to Barcelona behind them and win the next game against Valencia. The Andalusians suffered a third straight loss in La Liga when they gave up their early lead to lose 4-1 at home to the defending champions. However, Rakitic believes they deserved something from the game based on the number of opportunities they created. “Barcelona, in the few chances they had, took advantage and scored important goals, but that’s football,” he said. “But we can’t allow ourselves to hang our heads, we played a great game. Against the best, we can’t afford to make mistakes because they are unforgiving.” Unai Emery’s side remain in seventh place on the log standings with 31 points and will now look to return to winning ways when they host Los Che on Sunday night. “It hurts because we did a great job and they looked for whatever error they could find, but that’s football,” Rakitic added. “We need to lift our heads and think about beating Valencia.” “I’m relaxed because we’re doing a great job. There are just a few details that we need to improve. Barcelona deserved the win but we also have to take something from this.”

playing together and then things will only get better. “I think that I improved throughout the course of the game. I kept on feeling better as the match progressed and that was important for me. “The more I play the better it will be. I tried to score but unfortunately it didn’t go in. “This is a very difficult season for Milan, but we have to stay united. We all have to give a little bit extra and help each other out. We are Milan and we have to do better.”

after coming from behind to draw 1-1 with PSG on Sunday, a result which left them five points off top spot. And they are arguably the favourites to lift the Cup for the first time since 1991 following PSG’s surprise exit to Montpellier in the last round. The principality club, who are unbeaten in 2014, will travel along the Mediterranean coast to face Nice at the Allianz Riviera stadium, where they won 3-0 on league duty in December. However, Ranieri will rotate his squad, with Argentine international Sergio Romero again set for a run-out in goal at the expense of Danijel Subasic and numerous other alterations likely, including a possible first start for January signing Dimitar Berbatov. “The French Cup is not our objective,” admitted the Italian. “Our objective is to qualify for the Champions League. But I play to

Nice. We must forget about our 3-0 win there in the league. If we think this game will be identical, then we have already lost.” Opponents Nice, who last won the French Cup in 1997, have already beaten two topflight sides on their way to the last 16 in the shape of Nantes and Marseille, with the latter being defeated 5-4 in a remarkable tie at the Stade Velodrome. Only seven Ligue 1 clubs have made it to this stage, potentially leaving the path open for the likes of 2011 winners Lille and 2012 winners Lyon. OL, who are already through to the final of the League Cup, will entertain second-tier Lens on Thursday, while Lille, third in Ligue 1, are at home to another secondtier side in Caen.

Dauda Vows To Stop Ronaldo At World Cup

Uruguay Not Afraid DIEGO Forlan says Of Anyone Uruguay fear nobody heading into this summer’s World Cup. The South American nation face a challenge in trying to qualify for the second round in Brazil, having been drawn in Group D alongside Italy, England and Costa Rica. However, Forlan, currently at J League side Cerezo Osaka, sees no reason why he and his country need to be fearful. “When I saw the [World Cup] draw, I wasn’t worried,” he told the Telegraph. “We prefer to play tough teams. We went further in the last World Cup than these teams. We’re not intimidated.” Much has been made of the European nations’ ability to handle the heat and humidity in Brazil, especially those playing in Manaus, such as Italy and England. And Forlan feels this is another reason why Uruguay have to fancy their chances when coming up against sides from outside of South America. “No European team has won the World Cup in South America,” he said. “Brazil is hot and can be humid, especially in the north, even in winter. We’re used to playing

Diego Forlan

in these conditions. Are the Europeans?” Despite all of this, however, Uruguay are the smallest country in terms of population participating in Brazil this summer. The former Manchester United forward, though, feels his homeland, who finished fourth at the 2010 World Cup, relish their underdog status. “We’re a nation of three million people, Scotland has five million, Brazil 200 million,” Forlan said. “We’re used to being David against Goliath, the away team in every tournament. Look at the statistics.”

Fatau Dauda

New Charter To Protect WC 2022 Workers

A “workers’ charter” has been drawn up by the organisers of the 2022 World Cup in a bid to protect the rights of migrant employees in Qatar. The Asian nation has come under fire for not doing enough to protect those working on getting the tournament ready in time. Almost 200 Nepalese men reportedly died last year while working on construction projects, and the International Trade Union Confederation says up to 4,000 could die by 2022 if the current laws are not changed. Complaints have also been lodged about the standard of accommodation many workers live in, while Qatar’s “kefala” employment system has been criticised for infringing workers’ human rights.

FIFA had given Qatar’s World Cup Supreme Committee until Feb. 12 to inform the governing body of how it plans to go about reforming working practices, and in response a 50-page charter — entitled “Workers’ Welfare Standards” — has been produced in conjunction with the International Labour Organisation. The charter states the following measures will be put in place: • Health and Safety - foster and actively encourage a world-class health and safety culture • Employment Standards comply with the Supreme Committee’s required

employment standards and all relevant Qatari laws • Equality - treat all workers equally and fairly, irrespective of their origin, nationality, ethnicity, gender or religion • Dignity - ensure that workers’ dignity is protected and preserved throughout their employment and repatriation • Unlawful Practices prohibit child labour, forced labour, and human trafficking practices • Working and Living Conditions - create and maintain safe and healthy working and living conditions

• Wages - ensure that wages are paid to workers on time • Grievances - prohibit retaliation against workers who exercise any rights deriving from the Supreme Committee’s required employment standards or relevant Qatari laws • Access to Information provide access to accurate information in the appropriate language regarding workers’ rights deriving from the Supreme Committee’s required employment standards or relevant Qatari laws • Training - provide workers with training on skills necessary to carry out their tasks, including areas related to health and safety.

GHANA goalkeeper Fatau Dauda has vowed to stop Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo from scoring against the Black Stars when the two sides clash at the World Cup in June. The Orlando Pirates shotstopper says stopping the world best player will make him famous as the world will be concentrating on the global tournament in Brazil. The Real Madrid superstar is the reigning world best player and has been tipped as the dangerman in the Portugal sqaud at the tournament in Brazil. Some Ghanaians fear that their current crop of players are not capable of stopping the former Manchester United player because of his trickery. However, Dauda insists stopping Ronaldo from scoring against the Black Stars on 26 June in Brasilia will boost his place as one of goalkeeping greats. “I am always happy to play against the best in the world, because when I do well against them, I will get the credit,” Dauda told Accra-based Asempa FM. “I am ready to save all his shots when we meet Portugal in Brazil,” the former Ashgold keeper opined. Dauda, who made his move to South Africa in August last year, finally made his official debut for the club on Saturday in the South African top-flight when they lost 1-0 to Sundowns. The 28-year-old, who is for now the Black Stars firstchoice, has been under pressure to play matches before the World Cup with many claiming his period of inactivity could make his rusty for the tournament in Brazil.

Violence Stains Brazil’s Love Affair With Football

BRAZILIANS famously love football. But sometimes fanaticism goes overboard and violence results, as recent outbreaks of hooliganism and a fan attack on players attest. Last December saw one of the worst incidents of hooliganism in years when fans of Atletico Paraense clashed with visitors Vasco da Gama. Television footage showing fans attacking each other flashed round the world, focusing on one bloodied man being mercilessly kicked in the body and head. The December violence was all the more shocking, occurring just six months before Brazil stages the World Cup. President Dilma Rousseff reacted sternly by insisting Brazil would not tolerate such behaviour. But last weekend, Brazilian fans were in the news for all the wrong reasons once again after dozens of Corinthians supporters invaded the club’s training complex and attacked players. They threatened to break the legs of at least two players and grabbed Peruvian striker Paolo Guerrero around the neck. Former AC Milan striker Alexandre Pato, one of those targeted for poor recent form, promptly left the club on Wednesday to join Sao Paulo with Jadson going the other way. Brazilian ‘ultras’ — hardcore fans — may not have the reputation of English hooligans of yesteryear or Argentina’s feared “barrasbravas.”

Yet football violence directly cost a reported 30 lives last year in the giant country and for hardline supporters such incidents come with the territory. “Fighting is a consequence — of having to defend our colours,” says one Corinthians fan, Alan Mateos, 25. Mateos is a veteran member of the club’s “Gavioes da Fiel” (hawks of the faithful) supporters’ group which numbers more than 100,000, one of Brazil’s biggest fan organizations. Alan is easily recognisable with his bare chest and a body covered with tattoed slogans and club badges. On the terraces they make their intimidating, highadrenaline presence felt amid a torrent of drum beating and chanting — insults of rivals to the fore. “Criminal records” “Defending Corinthians is our passion. We are always there, at every match,” says Gavioes’ ‘chairman’ Wagner da Costa. Asked if he expects to see fan violence during the World Cup he told AFP flatly: “We are ‘Corinthians’ before Brazilians.” In seeking to rationalize hooliganism, Wagner da Costa notes there is “a problem in society.

Yet he adds football is just one facet of violence in the country as a whole. “When we go to a disco in the suburbs there are more fights than there are in the stadium,” Da Costa asserts. Eduardo Carlezzo, who sits on a national commission of lawyers on sporting law believes fans will put aside tribal club loyalties at the World Cup and get behind Brazil. At the same time, Carlezzo identifies an evident correlation between football and people with a predisposition to violence. “The groups of supporters comprise many people with a criminal record who come along to cause problems,” indicates Carlezzo. He insists that a supporters statute passed in 2003 providing for hooligans to be fined and slapped with jail terms of up to three years is not enough. “There needs to be better control, (more) information from intelligence services and a tougher law,” he insists. But others say legislation will not provide an answer to the fundamental problem. “Repression alone will not resolve the issue,” says Bernardo Buarque de Hollanda, professor at the Getulio Vargas research foundation and an author of works on football fanaticism. “At first sight, you think this is just about young men from the suburbs struggling to hold down a job with low educational attainment and low social aspirations,” Buarque de Hollanda told AFP.

Mikel Eyes Second EPL Title MIKEL Obi has told he wants to win his second EPL title, but admitted it would be tough as any of the top four

teams could be champions. The Nigeria midfielder’s first EPL crown was achieved in the 2009/10 season, when Chelsea won a league and


2014 NSF:

cup double. For current season, Chelsea are top of the league with 56 points, Arsenal have 55 points while Manchester City are on 54 points as the title race promises to go down to the wire. “The league is tough at this point and the title race is wide open now, any of the top four teams could win it. Chelsea on top of the table is sweet and I wish we stay there till season’s end,” the 26year-old Mikel told “My target is to win the league, and even though we are on top, nothing has been won yet. “The victories against Manchester United and Manchester City were good for us because we took points off our rivals. “We will take the games as they come and go for victory.”

Imoh Ezekiel Gets Nigeria World Cup Chance STANDARD Liege of Belgium hotshot Imoh Ezekiel has been handed his first Nigeria call-up, can report. Ezekiel is one of three uncapped players for the pre-World Cup clash with others being Ramon Azeez of Almeria and Cercle Brugge striker Michael Uchebo. A source close to the 20year-old striker told that the invitation has been sent to the player ahead of a March 5 friendly game against Mexico in the USA. “Imoh Ezekiel has been invited to Super Eagles for the friendly against Mexico in USA. He is happy with this opportunity and will utilise the chance to the fullest,” the source told Ezekiel has scored nine goals in the Belgian top flight this season and last

NSC Inaugurates 4 Sub-C’ttees, Project Mgt Teams

THE National Sports Commission (NSC) on Monday in Abuja inaugurated four subcommittees and eight Project Management Teams for the 19th National Sports Festival (NSF) scheduled for Calabar, Cross River. Gbenga Elegbeleye, the commission’s DirectorGeneral, while inaugurating the sub-committees and teams, charged members to make use of their experience for a successful festival. “As our own equivalent of the

Olympics, we must continue to improve on the standard of the Games. “This now places on us the responsibility of striving to exceed the standard set at the ‘Eko 2012 Games’,’’ he said. The sub-committees are Finance, Technical, Medical, and Media and Publicity, while the teams are Games’ Village Management, Transport, Accommodation, Torch of Unity and Zonal Elimination.

Others are Venues and Facilities Management, Ceremonial and Protocol, as well as Marketing and Sponsorship. Reports however that Elegbeleye did not name any member as Chairman of the Finance sub-committee which has eight members. NSC’s Director, Finance and Accounts was however listed as the sub-committee’s ViceChairman.

... High Performance Task Committee For Commonwealth Games THE National Sports Commission (NSC) on Monday in Abuja inaugurated an 11-man High Performance Task Committee to ensure high performance by sports federations in preparations to the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The committee has Mrs Hauwa-Kulu Akinyemi, NSC’s Director of Planning, as the Chairman, with Dr Esther Aluko, Dr Simeon Ebhojaiye and Chris Aendakin as other members. The rest members are Clement Ojile, Dr Paul Onyeudo, George Ashiru, Daniel Igali, Kenneth Minima, Solomon Ogba and Chibudom Nwuche. The Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, said the committee was inaugurated to ensure high performance at the Games and to bridge the gap between the

commission and the sports federations. Reports say that the Games is scheduled to hold in Glasgow, Scotland from July 23 to Aug. 3. The sports minister said the team would help in improving the performance of athletes, saying it was a system in which the sports federations would be part of decision-making. “We don’t want to run a system where the NSC will decide what to do and pass it down to the federations to implement. “We want to run a system where federations are part of the decisions on what is needed to be done in running the system,” he said. Abdullahi, however, said the federations should channel their reports to the committee and not directly to him, adding that they would also be in charge of their annual budget.

Earlier, the Director-General of the NSC, Gbenga Elegbeleye, had advised the federations to exceed their previous performances at the 2014 Games. He said they should show all necessary seriousness and prepare hard for the Games, assuring that the commission would continue to support them. “The Commonwealth Games is a games of other sports and, this year, bronze is acceptable. But we want more gold. “In the last Games, we heard of 11 gold. This year, we want at least 16 medals which I believe is achievable,” Elegbeleye said. AN reports that eight sports federations were listed as the high performance sports with medals prospect at the forthcoming Commonwealth Games.

The technical sub-committee has Bolaji Ojo-Oba, the commission’s Director, Elite Athletes Development, as its chairman. The medical sub-committee is headed by Dr Abdul-Kadir Mu’azu, while the media and publicity sub-committee is chaired by Paul Bassey, a veteran journalist. Elegbeleye directed the chairmen of the sub-committees and project managers to be proactive in the discharge of their duties. “The activities of the subcommittees will impact positively or negatively on the festival, depending on how they discharge their duties. “Your inauguration today (Monday) signals the effective commencement of our own part of the activities which will ensure a successful delivery of the festival. “Chairmen of sub-committees and project managers should ensure that they submit quarterly report on their activities. “This is for the secretariat of the Main Organising Committee (MOC) to ensure that it is constantly kept abreast of their activities. “I want you to take a cue from the MOC and meet only when it is necessary to do so, and all meetings must be result-driven,’’ Elegbeleye said. A 14-member committee headed by Mr S. Pepple was also inaugurated to man the secretariat of the sub-committees for the festival. The festival tagged “Paradise Games 2014’’ has been scheduled for Nov. 23 to Dec. 7

year he was considered by the Nigeria U20 team, the Flying Eagles. The 36 Lion of Lagos

striker has been in superb form for Standard Liege and has been linked to a change of nationality.

Imoh Ezekiel

Obasi Confident Of Goals FIT-AGAIN Chinedu Obasi has said he hopes to soon be delivering the goals for German Bundesliga side Schalke 04. Obasi has featured in three games since his return from a


long-term injury, starting twice against Wolfsburg, Hanover and was a substitute against Hamburg. He has now said his goal will start coming soon as he is happy with the team’s performance so far. “I am not under any pressure to score goals for Schalke. I know it is just a matter of time before my goals will start pouring in,” Ogbuke told “I will keep working hard and I believe I will get it right in front of goal soon. “My team mates did a great job while I was away injured. They all believe in me and welcomed me back well. “I will keep doing my best to contribute to Schalke’s success and that’s my priority now. I believe consistency will help me a lot.”

Eneramo Lifts Karabukspor Obasi

MICHAEL Eneramo has continued his fine run with Turkish team Karabukspor when he scored and gave an assist as they won 2-1 at Genclerbirligi. Karabukspor are now fifth on the league table with 33 points from 20 games. On-form Eneramo broke the deadlock in the 61st minute to give Karabukspor a 1-0 lead, before he assisted Iihan Parlak for the winner in the 73rd minute. The former Sivasspor striker told he hopes to continue banging in goals for Karabukspor. “I feel good and really happy scoring for my club and have an assist again. I hope to continue with my good performance and

scoring more goals,” Eneramo told He has scored two goals in three games for Karabukspor. He now has three goals in the Super League having scored once for Besiktas.


Nigerian observer 12 02 2014  
Nigerian observer 12 02 2014  

Nigerian Observer E-Digital Edition