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The Nigerian


Europeans trade with Great Benin

• Vol. 38 NO.468• FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 2014 • N100.00

Group seeks UN intervention

Abducted School Girls: LAGOS - A nong o v e r n m e n t a l organisation, SocioEconomic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has urged the United Nations to intervene and secure the

release of abducted students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno. It would be recalled

that more than 100 girls were abducted on April 15 by members of the Boko Haram Islamic sect. The civil society group

made the plea in a statement issued yesterday in Lagos by its Executive Director, Mr Adetokunbo Mumuni. The group said the continued detention of Continues on page 2

World Economic Forum


Nigeria must surely rise again!

Jonathan assures on safety By JOSES SEDE

ABUJA - President Goodluck Jonathan has reassured the global community of the safety of all participants in next month’s World Economic Forum on Africa billed for Abuja. on the safety of forum. He gave the participants at the He commended assurance yesterday while receiving the new China’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Gu Xiaojie, who presented his letters of credence to him at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. According to him, the security challenges being experienced in parts of the country will have no adverse effect

China for confirming participation of its delegation at the Forum, to be led by Premier Li Keqiang. The Forum, he

said, will bring together regional and global leaders to discuss innovative structural reforms and investments that can

Ebola Virus

Health Ministry puts Edo on Red Alert

BENIN CITY- The Federal Ministry of Health has alerted Edo State on the recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease in the West Africa sub-region. State Commissioner for Health, Dr. (Mrs.) Arhanuwa Eregie disclosed this yesterday in a statement broadcast. Consequently, the State Commissioner for Health, has alerted the people of the state, urging them to be conscious of the outbreak of the virus in the State and Nigeria at large.

According to her, though no case of this deadly disease has been found in Edo State and Nigeria at large, there is the urgent need for everyone to be extra vigilant in order to prevent the disease which is highly contagious. The Commissioner disclosed that Ebola virus is a deadly infectious virus Continues on page 2

CONDOLENCE VISIT: Edo State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Hon. Louis Odion (left) presenting a letter of condolence to Mrs. Angelina Uwanserumen, the mother of the late OBSERVER Circulation Officer killed in the Abuja Bomb Blast, Mrs. Marcelina Omonye Iyogun. Right is the Acting General Manager of BNCL, Publishers of OBSERVER titles, Pastor Monday Aigbe. Photo: BRIGHT IMHAMZETO.

Nyanya Bomb Blast

sustain the continent’s current growth trajectory and create jobs. “I am quite pleased that the Premier of the People’s Republic of China has confirmed that he is coming. “We will be addressing the World Economic Forum on Africa together. We will also sit down together to discuss shared national interests. “We will give all participants a good reception in Abuja. We have faced challenges in the area of security, but we will overcome the situation so that our economy can move forward faster. “Participants will not have a problem with security during the summit”, he stated.

Oshiomhole commiserates with victim’s family

BENIN CITY- Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has commiserated with the


“Evil gets sweater when the doomsday is nearer”.” - Kinglsey Ogbeide-Ihama

family of late Mrs. Omonye Macelina Iyogun, the Circulation officer of The N I G E R I A N OBSERVER in Abuja, who lost her life in the Nyanya bomb blast on April 14, 2014. Louis Odion, Hon. Commissioner for Information and Orientation who spoke on behalf of the Comrade Governor, during a condolence visit to the mother and

other family members of Mrs. Omonye Iyogun,

said he was pained by the present state of insecurity

in the country which has resulted in the death of

innocent Nigerian citizens. While praying God to grant the family of the late observer staff, the Continues on page 2

IMF forecasts faster growth for Nigeria By JOSES SEDE

ABUJA - As oil production picks up after recent supply disruptions, the International Monetary Fund yesterday,

predicted quickened growth in Nigeria – Africa’s biggest economy. It stated that South Africa, now ranked

second largest and which suffered anemic private sector investments in 2013 and mining strikes which

persist, will post modest growth this year as demand picks up in its main advanced economy trading partners. In its latest Continues on page 2


Group seeks UN intervention

Continued from page 1 the girls had negative impact on their well-being and long-term education. It urged the UN, through its various agencies, to provide international assistance and support to the Nigerian authorities to secure the release of the girls. “We are urging these bodies to move swiftly to support efforts to protect schools, teachers, and students from deliberate attacks in the North-East of the country. “In particular, we urge the UN Security Council’s Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) on Children and Armed Conflicts to take strong action by referring members of the Boko Haram and their backers to the International Criminal Court. “Accountability for attacks on school children and education, including prosecuting perpetrators, is critical to deterring perpetration of crimes under international law,” the group said. SERAP said the International Criminal Court had explicit jurisdiction over intentional attacks against school children and buildings dedicated to education in both

international and internal armed conflicts. It said that the abduction of the girls was also an attack on their right to education which calls for a strong international effort. “The attack against children is leading to dramatic decrease in school

attendance rates. “When attendance remains low over a long time, there are negative knock-on effects on the economy and on key development indices such as measures of maternal and child health,” the group said. According to SERAP, the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and its two additional

protocols and customary international law is also binding on parties to the conflict in the North-East Nigeria. It urged the Federal Government to specifically criminalise attacks on students and teachers, and prohibit the use of schools for military purposes.

the illness, she added, included sudden onset of fever, weakness, muscle, pains, headache and sore throat, followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash and impaired kidney and liver functions. Dr. Eregie explained that prevention of the disease was by avoiding contact with possible infected persons and wild animals (dead or alive) as

well as keeping the environment clean at all times, washing of hands regularly and washing of fruits and vegetables before consumption. She advised everyone to report any suspicious case to the nearest health facility and the ministry of Health, adding that there is no cure for Ebola virus disease and there is no vaccine to prevent it.

Health Ministry puts Edo on Red Alert

Continued from page 1

hemorrhagic disease that affects humans, saying it is usually transmitted from animals to humans and from one infected person to another by direct close contact through body fluids and secretions. Such animals, she said included fruit bats, monkeys, chimpanzees and gorillas. The symptoms and signs of

Oshiomhole commiserates

Continued from page 1

fortitude to bear the sad loss, comrade Oshiomhole said all Nigerians, irrespective of positions must learn to work for only those things that will bring peace and make Nigeria an egalitarian society where peace and justice reign.

with victim’s family Hon. Odion said government would assist to see how the effect of the sad loss could be cushioned. On the Commissioner entourage were the Acting General Manager, BNCL (Observer) Pastor Monday

IMF forecasts faster growth for more abruptly than currently Continued from page 1 Nigeria envisaged,” the IMF said in Regional Economic Outlook released yesterday, the IMF also affirmed that inflation will remain contained in most countries. Africa, the world’s poorest continent, needed to ensure growth was more inclusive, the IMF stated, citing Mozambique where although the economy has expanded at the same pace as Vietnam, but poverty has declined far more slowly. Inflation in the region will accelerate to an estimated 6.2 percent in 2014 from 5.9 percent last year, before easing slightly in 2015,

the report.

though currency depreciations may lead to renewed upward price pressures, the body said. It noted that investment in infrastructure and natural resources will continue to underpin economic activity in sub-Saharan Africa, although capital outflows sparked by tighter global financial conditions pose a risk to growth. “The main downside risk to this generally positive baseline scenario is the risk that growth in emerging markets might slow much

“As advanced economies tighten their monetary policies, frontier market economies will also face higher funding costs and a heightened risk of reversal of capital flows,” it stated. The IMF forecasts economic growth of 5.5 percent for Sub-Saharan Africa this year, up from 4.9 percent last year. That is slightly more optimistic than the World Bank, which projects SubSaharan Africa’s output will grow 5.2 percent this year, partly driven by rising household spending.

LG Election Appeal Tribunal dismisses application against 2 Judges By ROLAND OSAKUE BENIN CITY – The Local Government Election Appeal Tribunal sitting in Benin City yesterday dismissed the application to disqualify two judges from adjudicating in the Appeal Case brought before it for lack of merit. In the case with Appeal No. ED/ LG/APP/TRI/15/14, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and the 1st Cross respondent, John E. Yakubu through their Counsel, Chief Ighodalo Imadegbelo (SAN) and Chief Fred Orbih (SAN) had argued that two judges in the Appeal Tribunal, Justice J.I. Acha and Justice E.A. Edigin should disqualify themselves from the Tribunal having been alleged of prejudice and animousity against PDP in the past. The submission of the Counsel was however, objected by Ken Mozia (SAN) in the last adjourned date for ruling. Ruling on the matter yesterday, the three-man panel headed by Justice Esther Ikponmwen stated that the issue of lack of probity

raised against the judges did not aver them the opportunity for them to reply as it borders on the latin maxim of “nemo judex in susua sua” that they cannot be judge in their own matter. This, he said undermine the issue of natural justice and four hearing as enshrined in Section 36 of the constitution. The ruling read by Justice E.A. Edigin on behalf of the panel also reflected that the application was rooted in bias which was insufficient to disqualify a judge, citing the case of “Womilayo vs Anibire” supra, where he stated that the likelihood of bias or prejudice must be real. While referring to the application as a game of chance and blackmail, Justice Edigin said no major decision had been taken by any of the two judges in the instant case or where the cross

appellant showed that the judges were bias, even as the letters from Nigeria Judicial Council (NJC) did not find them wanting. He also noted in the ruling that it will further portend danger for any judge who makes trial against PDP to continue to disqualify themselves when saddled with such adjudication. Justice Edigin therefore advised against counsel, destroying the entity they belong through a mere bias against judges by their clients. The case was then struck out for lack of merit. In his remarks, the Chairman of the Panel, Justice Ikponmwen appealed to counsel to allow the Tribunal do its work judiciously, citing the submission of “Justice Oputa, Lord Denning and William Watson” saying “Let justice be done even when heaven falls”. The appeal cases were further consolidated and the court finally adjourned to Wednesday May 7, 2014.

Aigbe, General Manager, Edo Broadcasting Service (EBS) Rev’d Tunde Ebozoje, and the Director, Documentation and publication, Mr. Lucky Wasa. Meanwhile, the burial ceremony of the Late Abuja Circulation Officer of The NIGERIAN OBSERVER Newspapers, Mrs Marcelina Omonye Iyogun (Nee Aigbirior), one of the victims of the April 14, 2014 Nyanya Motor Park, Abuja bomb blast commences today in Abuja. A statement by the Management of Bendel Newspapers Company Limited (BNCL), Publishers of The OBSERVER titles indicates that there will be a Service of Songs at Plot 02, Aura Primary School, Chief Palace Road, Karchi, Abuja today, beginning at 4p.m. Tomorrow, Saturday April 26, 2014 at 8a.m, her corpse would be taken from the Garki General Hospital, Abuja for Uhiele, Ekpoma, followed by graveside ceremonies by Redeemed Christian Church and interment thereafter. The Late Marcelina is survived by her mother, husband, two children and siblings. Husband, Cephas Stone Iyogun; children, Oghenekhogie Seam OkhifoIyogun and Omennameh Elsy Okhifor Iyogun.

Monthly Sanitation

Edo Govt relaxes restriction of movement

BENIN CITY – The Edo State Government has cancelled the restriction of human and vehicular movement in tomorrow’s statewide monthly sanitation exercise. This was contained in a Government Special announcement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Public Utilities, Major Lawrence Loye (Rtd). The notice of the announcement directs the general public to clean up

their premises, desilt drains in front of their houses as well as collect refuse together for easy disposal by the State Waste Management Board. The notice also directed all the 18 local government councils to adequately finance their Environmental Health Departments to embark on intensive evacuation of refuse in their respective local government area. According to the notice, every household must have bins with cover for their refuse storage in order to avoid littering of waste.

Transport, Ambassador Orobosa Omo-Ojo (JP) yesterday led all the Zonal Heads of Operation of the State Traffic Management Agency (EDSTMA) to continue the enforcement of new terminals for commercial vehicles plying all the routes linking Oba Ovonranmwen Square, in Benin City. The Commissioner and his team were at the park behind Oredo Local Government Council Secretariat and the Oba Market to ensure that commercial buses operating from the location comply with the ministry’s directive on the use of

vehicle terminals. During the exercise, which was extended to Airport Road, Sapele Road and Mission Road, Hon. OmoOjo educated drivers of commercial vehicles on the need to comply with the traffic directive and utilize the various bus terminals. He explained that the Ovonranmwen Square is devoid of chaotic vehicular traffic. At Sapele Road, the road opposite the High court was converted to an extension of a private construction site following which the Commissioner ordered the sealing up of the building site.

ABUJA - The National Conference Standing Committee on Law, Judiciary and Human Rights yesterday, resolved that all election petitions should be concluded before elected officials take their oaths of office. The Committee also recommended the establishment of a Constitutional Court by the Federal Government to minimise the delay in the dispensation of cases bordering on the constitution. Deputy Chairman of the Committee, Prof. Auwalu Yadudu, told newsmen that there was a critical need for

the country to get its electoral matters right. “There are a few things that we have come to a decision or a resolution which we recommend to the main Committee. “Especially for today, there are ways, means and measures that will help minimise delays in the administration of justice. “Some of the ways and measures we have recommended to minimise delays in electoral matters is the adoption of the Justice Uwais Committee, which urges that all election petitions be resolved before an elected official takes office.

Transport Commissioner enforces use of vehicle BENIN CITY- Edo State terminals Commissioner for

Confab adopts disposal of election petitions before By JOSES SEDE swearing-in

PENGASSAN blames dwindling Power Supply on Sabotage

LAGOS- The present epileptic power supply is mostly due to sabotage, an official of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), said yesterday. PENGASSAN’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Seyi Gambo, said in an interview with the newsmen in Lagos that the Federal Government must act fast to stop it. Gambo told newsmen that there was need for the Federal Government to do more in the protection of gas pipelines to improve power supply in the country. He blamed sabotage for the worsening electricity supply across Nigeria. According to him, host communities and security agencies saddled to protect the

gas pipeline network must play an objective role in fishing out the vandals. “We have lost some quantum of energy to pipeline vandalism which had resulted to a drop of about 4,000 megawatts of power supply. “The consequence is that electricity consumers pay more out of their meagre salaries to power generating sets. “Many companies, which can no longer couple with such drain on capital have relocated from Nigeria. These companies ought to provide jobs for our youths,’’ he said. Gambo advised government to exploit other means of alternative energy to boost power supply.

He added that the nation could generate more than 10,000 megawatts now but the challenges of pipeline vandalism had restrained the government from achieving the target. He stressed that the vandals were bent on sabotaging the transformation of the power sector. Gambo urged the government to expedite action on the completion of the ongoing10 Independent Power Projects across the country. He suggested that the Federal Government should impose stiff penalty on pipeline vandals to check the menace. It would be recalled that the Federal Government recently approved over one billion dollars to fight oil theft and pipeline vandalism.

Royal Father Sues For Peace In Community

IHIEVBE - A royal father, HRH, Alhaji Jimoh Awudu, the Ukor (Otare) of Ihievbe Clan, has enjoined the people of the community to maintain the peace in the community and with their neighbours. He made the appeal at the opening ceremony of the Ihievbe 2014 Annual Conference held recently in the town. He assured the people that as the custodians of the traditions of the people, he is open to peace initiatives, aimed at resolving all the issues arising from indiscriminate encroachment on Ihievbe land by individuals and neighbouring communities. The Royal father noted that the maintenance of peace and protection of lives and property was a joint responsibility of people in the society and cannot be left to the government alone. He called on the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Funso Adebanjo to consider the re-opening of the Ihievbe police station, while commending members of the Vigilante Group in the area for living up to expectation of ensuring security

in the Community since the closure of Ihievbe police station. The Ukor of Ihievbe Clan commended the State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole for the various people-oriented development projects across the three Senatorial Districts of Edo State, and congratulated the Chairman of Owan East Local Government Council, Hon. Jimoh Ijegbai for delivering the dividends of democracy to the people of the locality within one year in office. The Royal Father tasked other well meaning sons and daughters of Ihievbe community at home and in the Diaspora to use their vantage positions to


attract meaningful development to the Clan. He also appealed to politicians to play the game according to the rule and devoid of acrimony in order for peace to reign in the community and in the State. The conference was attended by prominent dignitaries, amongst whom were former President of the Edo State Customary Court of Appeal, Justice M. O. Raje (Rtd), former Executive Chairman, Owan East Local Government Council, Hon. Kashetu Ohiwere and Alh. Yakubu Kadiri, the Ejemai of Ihievbe.

Dr. Pius Odubu, Deputy Governor Edo State, presenting sourvenir to Chairman, Joint Tax Board, Kabir Muhammed Mashi during courtesy visit to Government House by Joint Tax Board.

Disengaged Workers Protest Over Non-payment Of Entitlements benefits. The workers who converged under the aegis of Disengaged Workers of Defunct Risonpalm (DWDR) said they were on a peaceful protest to formally register their grievances to the government. The protesters insisted there will be a war between the disengaged workers and SIAT Company if nothing happened after the two weeks ultimatum

given to their old employer. Chief Jude Woka , leader of the protesters who led the group to Government House, Port Harcourt stated that they had run out of patient, as all avenues for dialogue initiated with their former employer had failed to yield desired result. Chief Jude disclosed that out of N5billion which the

government owed the disengaged workers, only N165 million was paid by the Commissioner for Agriculture, the SIAT sole administrator. He lamented that “We have informed the company of our plight, having made several efforts to ensure that the entitlement owed us is paid. “The non-payment of our

Edo State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Louis Odion (right) and the General Manager, Edo Broadcasting Service (EBS), Barrister Tunde Ebozojie, when the commissioner led government officials on a condolence visit to the Benin City residence of one of the victims of the April 14 Nyanya Motor Park, Abuja bomb blast and the Abuja Circulation Officer of the Nigerian OBSERVER, Mrs. Marcelina Omonye Iyogun (nee Aigbirior)

said yesterday that age falsification had created the need for birth certificates to be part of requirements for the issuance of the new national driver’s licence. The Lagos State Sector Commander of the FRSC, Mr Chidi Nkwonta, told newsmen in Lagos that the development was part of the corps’ effort at ensuring that licences were issued only to qualified applicants. “The requirement of birth certificate as part of the criteria for the issuance of

driver’s licence has always been there, it is not a new requirement. “We are now enforcing it because we discovered that applicants are abusing the column for the birth information, they just sit down and write any date. “You will see a 70-year-old woman writing 40 years as her age, which is an obvious lie. This can defeat the essence of the project,’’ Nkwonta said. The commander said that age was pertinent to the new driver’s licence project, so as to prevent underage and old people from driving. “Of course, there are issues relating to age qualification for driving: you must be up to a certain age before you can drive, it is 18 years. “Now, it is not sufficient for you to tell us verbally that you are 18 years old, we need to see the birth certificate to authenticate the age you are claiming. “Also, there is a terminal age for driving, which is 70. But we see aged people of 75 or 80 coming for drivers’ licence; we need the birth certificate for entering into driving and to terminate the


PORT HARCOURT - Most of the workers that were disengaged from the defunct Risonpalm Nigerian Limited which was sold to SIAT Nigeria Limited, a palm oil producing company in Rivers State yesterday protested over unpaid entitlements and other unpaid

FRSC Requires Birth Certificates LAGOS - The Federal For Drivers’ Licence Road Safety Corps (FRSC)

Destruction Of Crops: Court Says Cocoa Farmers Have Cause To Institute Suit By ROLAND OSAKUE OKADA – An Edo State High Court sitting at Okada, Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State, presided over by Justice U.I Erameh has ruled that the Cocoa farmers in Area BC 10 in Okomu Forest Reserve have implicit cause of action against Okomu Oil Company Plc over the destruction of their economic crops. In the case with Suit No. HIGU/1/2012, the Claimants, Hassan Tajudeen, Fatai Oyelaji, Alhaji Ganiyu Eniola, Pastor C.O. Osunlakin on behalf of themselves and Yoruba Cocoa

Farmers in Area BC 10, Okomu Forest Reserve, through their Counsel, O.A. Otamere (Esq) instituted cause of action against Okomu Oil Palm Company Plc and the Managing Director, Dr. Graham Hefer as defendants, for allegedly bulldozing crops in their farmland. The Court had on February 6, 2014 granted the Claimants an order to serve the 2nd defendant (Dr.Graham Hefer) defendant notice of consequences of disobedience to order of court and other processes relating to contempt proceedings by substituted means or deliver same to the

Chambers of Chief Charles Adogah (SAN). Such service, when effected shall be deemed as proper in the circumstance. In their argument, counsel to the defendants, Chief Adogah (SAN) contended that the claimants must maintain a distinct cause of action, as well as, file and prove their case separately since they are not a co-operative body. He submitted that it was impossible for the claimants to maintain an action against the rightful holder of a certificate of occupancy, describing them as squatters of the 1st defendant.

outstanding retirement benefits has brought untold hardship to the disengaged workers of defunct Risonpalm. “We have agreed that SIAT must pay the balance owed the disengaged workers or the company’s operations will be disrupted by our endless protest which will be carried at the expiration of the ultimatum”, he said.

However, Counsel to the Claimants, O.A. Otamere Esq in his reply, submitted that the instant case was not the claimants’ issue of declaration of title to land but on the interference of their lawful possessory right by the defendants and order of perpetual injunction against the defendants. He further averred that the claimants were joint farmers, who had also been paying their rents jointly to Edo State government since 2004 in respect of the said Area BC 10 of the Okomu Forest Reserve allegedly bulldozed by the defendants.

exercise,’’ he said. On age falsification, Nkwonta said: “We take for granted that the applicant is swearing to an oath and if it is falsified, it is a chargeable offence of perjury.’’

Mrs Amaechi Advocates Legislation To Protect Families Of Late Officers By ELIZABETH AGBOEGBULEM

PORT HARCOURT Wife of the Rivers State Governor, Dame Judith Amaechi has advocated a proper legislation that will protect and enhance adequate welfare policy of families of security personnel who lost their lives while on national assignment. Dame Amaechi stated this recently while playing host to the Chairperson, Police Officers Wives Association (POWA) and wife of the Rivers State Commissioner of Police Mrs. Chinyere Ogunsakin who paid her a courtesy visit at Government House. She stated that a proper legislative welfare policy was imperative due to the security challenges in the country at the moment.

News Forum Pays Solidarity Visit To LG Boss

ABUDU -Youths of Orhionmwon Local Government Area, Edo State, have pledged their unflinching support for the administration of Chief Rowland Ibierutomwen, the Eweka-Guosadoba of Benin kingdom, as the executive chairman of the Local Government Council. Making the promise, Comrade Aifuwa Barholomew, President Orhionmwon Youths Forum (OYF) who led other members of the forum on a solidarity visit on the chairman in his office, described his return to office as a welcome development. While assuring that members of OYF would continue to support the chairman throughout the reaming part of his tenure. Comrade Aifuwa maintained that the youths of Orhionmwon were not comfortable throughout the period that the chairman was not in the office, but expressed joy over the return of democratic structure to the local government administration at last. Responding, Chief Ibierutomwen described the solidarity visit by OYF as shocking as he never expected it, even as he prayed the Almighty God to bless them with more wisdom in piloting the affairs of the forum. The chairman told his visitors that he runs an open door policy and therefore encouraged them to feel free and visit his office to clarity every bit of rumour that might be peddled around his office and his person. Chief Ibierutomwen who promised to bring accountability and transparency on board, with his government assured that he would do everything humanly possible to take the entire Orhionmwon local government area to the next level in terms of development within the remaining two years of his tenure in office. Also on Tuesday, various groups, which included the Hausa community in Abudu

paid a solidarity visit on the chairman in his office, where they offered prayers to Alah for making it possible for chief Ibierutomwen to return to his office. Meanwhile praise and worship session was earlier held at the council pavilion after the chairman and members of his entourage arrived the council premises to seek the face and blessing of God towards the smooth running of the local government machinery of government. The praise and worship session which was attended by some All Peoples Congress (APC) leaders in Orhionmwon, council workers and other supporters and well wishers of the chairman, was officiated by Rev. Robert Edugaen.


Chairperson, Ovia North East Local Government Council, Hon. Lucy Omagbon (left) presenting a cash of N150,000 to the President, College of Education Students Union Government, Miss Linda Igwe at a ceremony in Okada, the headquarters of the Local Government Area.

Award: FG Congratulates Okonjo-Iweala soon organise Economic

ABUJA - The Federal Executive Council (FEC) congratulated the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, for winning the Rockefeller Foundation’s Leadership Award. The Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, said the council congratulated the minister at its weekly meeting in Abuja. “Council, led by Mr President, congratulated the CME (Coordinating Minister of the Economy) for the leadership award that she received from the Rockefeller Foundation. “We believe that these continued laurels being won by Nigerians, including high level government officials, is a clear indication that this country has the talents that is required to transform

and to place our country on a higher pedestal of economic growth and prosperity. “The president and all of us congratulated her and urged her to see this opportunity to do even

better work for this country.“ Maku stated that the award was an indication of global confidence in the management of the nation’s economy. He said the last three years

of her management of the economy had improved Nigeria’s economic standing, saying the economy had witnessed growth in all sectors. He announced that South Korean investors would

Forum to attract additional investments into Nigeria. The minister said the investors would be investing in the railway and aviation sub-sectors to boost the nation’s transportation system.

Mark Begs Captors To Free Abducted School Girls

ABUJA - The Senate President, David Mark, has appealed to the captors of female students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok in Borno, to heed the voice of reason and free the girls. The appeal is contained in a statement issued in Abuja by the Chief Press Secretary to the Senate President, Mr Paul Mumeh. The statement said Mark described the abduction of the school girls as “embarrassingly sacrilegious.’’ It stressed the need for wise counsel to prevail on the captors to release the girls, so as to end the mental and psychological torture the girls, their parents and guardians were going through. According to the statement,

there is no justification for the abduction of the girls whose only offence is their quest for education in order to better their lot and contribute to national development. “The situation is fast degrading and devaluing us as against the age long cherished love for younger persons. It is a sad commentary and a terrible assault on our psyche as a people. “In the good old days of Nigeria, this was a taboo and unarguably unheard of’’, Mark said in the statement. It, however, called for synergy between and among security agencies to do all that was needed to urgently rescue the girls from their captors.

Chief Rowland Ibierutomwen, Executive Chairman, Orhionmwon Local Government (2nd right), his wife, Victoria (1st right) and some members of Executive and Legislative arms of the Local Government at the resumption of work, Tuesday, at the Council Secretariat, Abudu.

The statement said there were extant, lawful channels to addressing grievances. “This unabating show of rascality and disregard for rule of law by the insurgents is an affront to Nigerians. “We should all know that there

is the Almighty God above all. This lack of human feelings and display of impunity is certainly not a way of life. “The perpetrators should rethink and give peace a chance. “Let us go back to the basics and live true Africans where brother hood is held sacrosanct’’, it said.

ABUJA - The National Conference Committee on Political Restructuring and Form of Government, has disapproved the option of regionalism as a form of government for the country. The committee, at its resumed sitting, deliberated on three options of federalism to be adopted in order to meet the peculiarity of the country. The options are: a central government with states as federating units; a central government with zones as federating units; and a central government with three regions as federating units. The reports state that the session became heated with regional and geo-political interests resurfacing in canvassing for or against each option. While some delegates favoured a central government with either regions or zones as federating units, others favoured a central government with states as federating units. Mr Yinka Odumakin and Sen. Femi Okunrounmu, representing South West argued that some states were not viable and the centre was too powerful as it was currently constituted. They, therefore, called for the devolution of more powers to the federating units as zones or regions so as to make the centre less attractive.

They also said that zonal or regional governments would ensure socio-politico-economic integration in the zones and fasttrack development as it was obtained in the first republic. However, Dr Siddique Abubakar, Sen. Mohammed Aruwa, Sen. Adamu Maina and Brig- Gen. Jeremiah Temlong (rtd), said the problem with Nigeria was not about states or regions. They argued that every state in the country was viable but identified corruption as the major challenge that had not allowed states and local government areas to function effectively. Former Governor of Enugu State, Sam Egwu, however, stressed the need for equity in whatever option was adopted, particularly, the creation of another state in South East. Egwu argued that the country, as currently constituted, placed the south east at a disadvantaged position and called for balance among the geo-political zones. Reports state that all members of the committee agreed that state creation should be accommodated in the constitution based on merit and viability. They also agreed that there should be compromises for all the interests to give and take in a way that would be in the best interest of the country.

Confab Committee Disapproves Regionalism


Delta Contributes N16b To New Pension Scheme By BETTY IDIALU

WARRI - Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan said his administration has contributed over N16 billion as counterpart funding to the new pension scheme since its inception in 2007. He also disclosed that the state spends over 800 million naira monthly for the payment of pension to retirees under the old

and new pension scheme. Dr. Uduaghan, inaugurating the Chairmen and Secretaries of the State and Local Government Pension Bureaus in Asaba said: “The state government was committed to the wellbeing of its pensioners” stressing that “it has cleared up the backlog of payment for retirees caught between the old and new pension schemes till 2013”. Mrs. Christiana Siakpere was sworn in as the chairman, Delta

Rivers Promises Free Education For Chibok’s Female Students PORT HARCOURT – Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers has said that his administration was ready to enroll the female students who escaped from abductors in Chibok in Borno last week into its free education scheme. Amaechi made the pledge in Port Harcourt at the opening ceremony of the Port Harcourt World Book Capital 2014. He said the government had completed seven new model secondary schools in the state built with N4.5million each where students learn free of charge. Amaechi said there were free laptops, food and uniforms for students who were paired in a room, virtual classrooms with no blackboards and managed by Indians. “It costs N800,000 to fund the child per year. “And as Rivers State Governor, I’m willing to take any of the rescued children as many as we can negotiate into our schools free of charge“, he said. Amaechi said his administration appreciated the challenges posed by out of school children and that the state was working hard to reduce the number. He said 300 out of 500 primary schools with libraries had been completed, adding that the government also completed some of the libraries being constructed in each of the state’s 23 local government areas. Amaechi said work had started in five out of seven new libraries and one book centre where writers would be hosted in Port Harcourt. Former Minister of Education, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, said that reading books had the capability of effecting an enduring change in the Nigerian society. Ezekwesili, who is also the

Director, Rainbow Book Club, called for reading culture in the family, adding that for the aged, “reading books will assist their brains a lot. “Reading the book can deaccelerate your age and the speed at which you begin to get into the diseases of the old. “Because reading the book will stimulate your brain and reverse some of the things

State Bureau of Pensions, Mrs. Patience Ikomi was made to head the Delta State Local Government Bureau of Pensions and Mr. Chuks Aguonye and Mr. Patrick Okoh are to serve as their secretaries respectively. The governor explained that a committee under the State Head of Service was looking into the difference in the amount paid to state and local government pensioners, assuring that it would be rectified soon. He commended the state pensioners for their patience and understanding especially during the early period of the implementation of the new scheme, stressing that the state government was determined to clear the backlog of payments and other issues affecting the scheme. Dr. Uduaghan said that Delta State, which is one of the few states to have implemented the new pension scheme initially was contributing 16 per cent to the fund as against the approved 7.5 per cent, adding that it has been reviewed downward to 10 per cent.

According to him, even with 10 per cent, the state government was still paying above what it is required to pay, hinting that he has directed the state attorney general and the head of service to look at the enabling law with a view to determining the actual percentage.

The governor commended the Chairmen and Secretaries of the state and local government pensions Bureaus who were being sworn in for their second terms an office, for their excellent performance during their first terms. He observed that while pension funds in the country

have been characterized with fraud and emblements, the story has been different in Delta State. He said that hard work, transparency, integrity and honesty have characterized the officials of the bureaus in their first terms in office, accounting for their reappointment for a second term.

R-L: Mrs. Kate Igiede, widow of the Director, Software Department, Edo State Information and Communication Agency; Children, Osakpolor, Esosa and Nosagieagbon during a requiem Mass at the St. Peters Catholic church, Ugbor GRA, Benin City. Photo: SOLOMON ENAIGBE

Akuku-Toru LGA To Partner Amaechi By ELIZABETH AGBOEGULEM

PORT HARCOURT - The people and chiefs of Abonnema

Town in the Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State have pledged their unalloyed support to join the Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon.

Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi to recover all oil wells ceded to Bayelsa State. Amanyanabo of Abonnema, King Disrael Gbobo Bob-

Mrs. Kate Igiede, widow of Hon. Donald Igiede performing the dust-to-dust ceremony for her husband. Photo: SOLOMON ENAIGBE

Manuel, Owukori IX disclosed this when Governor Amaechi visited the area to commission numerous projects such as 15KVA electricity project, Ultra Modern Market and the Owukori Memorial Hall put in place by the Akuku-Toru Local Government Council Chairman, Hon. Theodore Georgewill and the Lawmaker representing Akuku-Toru Constituency II in

Akpabio Removes 2 Commissioners

UYO - Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom has relieved two commissioners of their appointment. This is contained in a statement by the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Aniekan Umanah, in Uyo yesterday. It stated that the minor

Tradomedical Practitioner Extols Govt BY JOEL CHUKWUAGHONIM

AGBOR-OKI – A tradomedical doctor Chief (Dr.) Usifoh Okoin, has expressed satisfaction with the State Government for recognizing the tradomedical profession. Chief (Dr) Okoin who claimed to have spiritual endowment said that the tradomedical doctors had done researches and had found out that some ailments which had defined herbal drugs could be taken care of spiritually. Dr. Usifoh therefore appealed

to the government to build tradomedical centres in urban areas where tradomedical doctors would practice, adding that diseases like stroke, poisons, pile, hypertension, weak-erection, bareness could be taken care of with herbs. He appealed to the three tiers of government to provide loans for tradomedical practitioners to help them in turning herbs to tablets, capsules, syrups just as he advised his colleagues to be truthful to their clients, and as well take any illness that they cannot handle to their colleagues who specializes

more in that field. He also advised the government to open up

Chief (Dr.) Usifoh Okoin

the State House of Assembly, Barrsiter Benibo Anambraba in Abonnema, headquarters of Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of the state. King Bob-Manuel also commended the efforts of Governor Amaechi for resisting the federal government from ceding the Soku oil wells and indicated the support of the chiefs and the people of

tradomedical schools where people can study acupuncture stressing that, Nigeria herbalists are bench-mark when compared to their counterparts elsewhere. He expressed his gratitude to Chief (Dr.) Philip Onyekpe, the Obasogie, the chairman, national Association of Nigeria Traditional Medicine Practitioners, Delta Chapter, Dr. Augustine Alizor, the Chairman, National Association of Nigerian Traditional Medicine Practitioners (NANTMP), Alishime Chapel for their good governance towards the association.

reshuffle was to reinvigorate the machinery of government and drive further the Uncommon Transformation Programme of the state. The commissioners, who were directed to hand over to the permanent secretaries, were Mr. Bassey Akpan, Finance; and Mr. Effiong Abia, Rural Development. The statement also announced the removal of the chairmen of six state-owned parastatals and agencies. The chairmen are: Mr. Sunny Udom, Akwa Ibom Property and Investment Company Limited; Mr. Patrick Ifon, Akwa Ibom Water Company Limited; and Mr. Dan Akai, Akwa Ibom Newspapers Corporation. The others are: Mr. Alex Nyong, Akwa Ibom Broadcasting Corporation; Mr. John Asikpo, Akwa Ibom State Environmental Protection and Management Board; Mr. Tony Esu, Akwa Ibom State Agency for Community and Social Development.

Across The Nation Governor’s Wife Pledges To Promote Girl Child Education

Niger Earmarks N3.2bn For Christian, Islamic Centres MINNA Governor. Babangida Aliyu of Niger, has said the state government would establish a Christian and an Islamic centre in Minna to ensure peaceful co-existence among the people. The governor made the disclosure in Minna when he inaugurated the Christian and Muslim centres’ boards of trustees. He said that the centres would gulp N3.2 billion, noting that “the Christian centre will cost N1.5 billion, while the Islamic centre will cost N1.7 billion. “The centres will be of international standard with modern facilities, libraries, staff quarters and commercial centres, among others. “The state government will contribute 50 per cent of the cost of building each centre, while the board of trustees will partner with members of their faith and other private investors to raise the 50 per cent balance.’’ According to Aliyu, the centres, which will be established at the three arms zone in Minna, have 4.5 hectares of land for the Christian centre and 5.7 hectares for the Islamic centre. He said work on the sites would commence as soon as government redeemed its pledge of 50 per cent of the total amount to the two boards. He stressed the need for people of the country to live together and co-exist peacefully. He added that “if you think your religion is better than the other one, then continue and do not disturb others. However, we

need to come together to create peace, love and unity amongst us. The governor said that part of the problems of Christians and Muslims in the country was that they have refused to study the religion properly, adding that “most people claim they know the religion because they were born in it and their parents practice it.’’ Responding, Mr. Abraham Yisa, the Chairman of the Christian Centre Board of Trustees, promised the board’s commitment to do everything possible to ensure its success. He commended the government for initiating the

Rape: Expert

ILE-IFE (OSUN) - To check rape, Dr Ibrahim Bada, the Director of Drug Demands and Reduction Unit in NDLEA, has advised parents to discourage their grown-up children of opposite sex from sleeping together in the same room. Bada gave the advice in Ile-Ife, Osun, while speaking at the annual enlightenment programme of the Drug Free Club of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife Chapter. The director said a research conducted on the causes of rape revealed that it was common in

Jigawa: PDP Rejects Automatic Ticket

DUTSE -The Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Jigawa, Alhaji Salisu Mahmuda, said that no contestant seeking elective position would be given automatic ticket. Mahmuda said this while speaking with newsmen in Dutse. He said that there was no provision in the party’s constitution that recognised automatic ticket for anyone to emerge as the party’s candidate. The Chairman said that the PDP had a working constitution, therefore, members, irrespective of their status in the party, must abide by it. “The PDP’s constitution stipulates how a candidate should emerge,” he said. Mahmuda debunked the speculation that the governor and his supporters would quit the party. According to him, these

L-R: Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu; Minister of State II Foreign Affairs, Dr. Nurudeen Muhammad and Minister of State for Health, Dr. Khaliru Alhassan at the Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja recently.

people have used their time and resources to build the party and have never contemplated leaving. “How can we leave the house we built for years, to go to where and leave it for who,” he asked.

Counsels Parents

households where parents allowed children of opposite sex to sleep together in the same room. Bada said this was a dangerous trend which must be discouraged by parents. He also said that many rape victims were afraid to report cases of rape because of stigmatisation. This under reportage of rape cases, he said,

accounted for the non availability of an accurate data of the development in Africa. Bada also claimed that rape cases were more rampant in the rural areas due to ignorance of the rural dwellers and misuse of drugs. Also speaking, the President of the Drug Free Club, Mr Bolaji Oluseesin,

said that the lecture was organised to enlighten students on the negative effects of drug abuse and rape. “ The club, an affiliate of the NDLEA, has visited some selected secondary schools in Ile-Ife to enlighten the students on the topic and how to prevent it,’’ he said.

Empowerment Project

BIRNIN KEBBI - The Wife of the Kebbi State Governor, Hajiya Asama’u Dakingari pledged to work towards the improvement of girl-child education to enhance rapid development of the state. This is contained in a statement signed by Alhaji Abubakar Mua’zu, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, in Birnin Kebbi. The statement quoted the governor’s wife as promising to work closely with parents, traditional and religious leaders to encourage enrolment of girls in schools. It urged parents and guardians to enrol their children in school to enable them benefit from both Islamic and western education. The statement commended the Commissioner for Education, Alhaji Samaila Kamba, for renaming the Girls Secondary School in Kamba after the governor’s wife. It said the decision to rename the school to ‘Nana Asama’u Government Secondary School’ was in recognition of the role played by the governor’s wife to the development of girl-child education in the state.

No Fewer Than 10,000 Persons Apply ASABA - No fewer than 10,000 people in Delta have applied for the State Employment and Expenditure for Result (SEEFOR) project, newsmen report. Mr Benson Ojoko, the state Coordinator of the project, told newsmen in Asaba that SEEFOR was being assisted by the World Bank and European Union. Ojoko explained that the project focuses on employment opportunities

and access to socioeconomic services, including youth employment through small public work contracts. Others are grants to public technical and vocational training centres for youth training and grants for community-driven development initiatives, among others.. He said that in 2013 when the programme was launched in the state, a total of 400 persons were engaged in Asaba, while more than

Cross section of Ministers chatting at the Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja recently.

1,300 persons were also engaged in Warri. Ojoko explained that the number was increased from 400 to 1,345 persons, to enable more persons to participate in the programme. He said that the maximum duration of the programme was 12 months, adding that the essence was to encourage other applicants to participate. The coordinator explained that each participant was entitled to a monthly salary of N20,000, adding that out of the amount, 80 per cent of the money would be paid directly to the beneficiary’s bank account. Ojoko said that 15 per cent would be kept in a compulsory savings account, while the remaining five per cent would be part of the vocational training being packaged for the beneficiaries. He said that the programme was aimed at helping people to acquire new skills in different vocations, to enable them to gain employment or become self-employed.

“We are creating job opportunities through small public works and community-driven development initiatives,’’ he said. On the impact of the SEEFOR programme in the lives of the people of the state, Ojoko said that it would help to provide employment for youths and support them to acquire the requisite skill that could make them employable. According to him, selected roads and drains currently in bad shape will be rehabilitated, thereby providing motorable roads for vehicle owners and reduce the risk for pedestrians. On the objectives of the programme, Ojoko said it would help to enhance opportunities for employment and access to socio-economic services as well as improve public expenditure management systems of the state. He gave an assurance that more persons would be engaged in the five-year programme.

Lagos Security Guard Docked Over Theft

L-R: Prof. IK Omoruyi, lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Benin, Barr. Christian Omatsone, Barr. Osayande Aiwerioghene and Mr. Aboyowa Okotie with son and his wife, Mrs. Okotie at the wedding ceremony of Ese Gift Aikhuomogbe and Dr. Osagie David Aiwerioghene at Bishop Kelly Pastoral Centre, Benin City recently.

Group Enrols 1093 Out Of School Children

LAGOS A NonGovernmental Organisation, “Out of School Children Empowerment Foundation,’’ has said it enrolled 1,093 children taken off Lagos streets in primary schools in the last four years. The Coordinator of the group, Mr Oliver Onyibe, told newsmen in Lagos that the children were between the ages of six and 11. He said that they were taken off the streets and enrolled in schools under the 20 Local Government Education Authorities in the state. Giving a breakdown, he said that 253 children were picked in Ikorodu, 69 in Kosofe, 72 in Agege, 28 in Surulere, 96 in Ojo and 103 in Alimosho. He gave other areas and the number of children found as Somolu - 43, Amuwo Odofin 11, Ifako-Ijaye - 30, Eti-Osa 79, Oshodi-Isolo – 72 and Apapa – 8. The rest are Mushin - 89, Ikeja - 101 and Lagos Mainland - 36. Onyibe said that the NGO was set up to address the problem of school drop-outs and develop strategies to get the children back to school. He said that the group was working in partnership with community leaders to identify slums in their areas and vulnerable children that were not in school. “We have been able to enrol many children found roaming the streets during school hours in public primary schools in Lagos. “We received calls from members of the communities and in synergy with State Universal Basic Education Board, enrolled the children in the schools closest to their homes. “We discovered that many of the children were not in school because they did not have uniforms, school bags, shoes and feeding, which have been identified as basic needs that the children are lacking,’’ he said. According to Onyibe, there is, however, a challenge of keeping some of the children in school

after their enrolment. “Out of the 1093 children, we have been able to retain 400 in schools through the foundation. “It is not easy to retain all these children in schools without the help of their parents; some of the children find it difficult to cope and they return to the streets. “The population of out-ofschool children is alarming and everyone must join hands with government to reduce the number,’’ he said. The coordinator said that some parents needed empowerment to be able to keep their children in school. “We need to empower the parents so that they can keep their children in school. Some parents have nonchalant attitude to education so we are working with the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture to empower them. “When the parents are empowered, they will cater for the children and will be able to sustain them in school. “We carry out impact assessment quarterly to determine the number of pupils retained in school through the programme and the completion date of their courses,’’ he said. The coordinator appealed to the Federal Government to partner with the NGO to reduce the number of out-of-school children in the country. He also urged state governments to also support the NGO through partnership, training and funding, to sustain the programme.

LAGOS - A security guard, Jimoh Adeku, who allegedly stole 17 mobile phones valued at N308,000, has appeared before an Oshodi Magistrates’ Court in Lagos. Adeku, who resides at No. 2, Ogo-Oluwa St., Pakuro, Mowe, Ogun, is charged with stealing and conspiracy. The prosecutor, Cpl. Kehinde Olatunde, said the accused committed the offences on April 17, at No. 28, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Lagos. He said the accused and one other at large, conspired to steal 17 pieces of Infinix phones, valued at N308, 000, property of Redington Nigeria Plc. “The complainant

discovered that the door lock to his office had been damaged when he came the day after the theft. “He also noticed that the carton that contained the 17 phones was missing from where it was kept in the office,” the prosecutor said. Olatunde said the complainant was the last person who left the office the previous day, so, he suspected the security guards on duty. “The security guards were interrogated; they denied knowing anything about the theft. “When a search was conducted, the carton of the phones was discovered at the

apartment of the accused,” he said. According to the prosecutor, the accused confessed to the crime and also mentioned the name of his accomplice, with whom he carried out the theft. Olatunde said the offences contravened Sections 285 and 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011. Section 285 prescribes a three-year jail term as penalty for an offender. The accused, however, pleaded not guilty and was granted bail in the sum of N100, 000, with one surety in like sum. The Magistrate, Mr. Akeem Fashola, adjourned the case till May 5 for mention.

Former Miss Ese Gift Aikhuomogbe and Dr. Osagie David Aiwerioghene at the wedding reception at the Bishop Kelly Pastoral Centre, Benin City. It was attended by eminent dignitaries from across the country. Congratulations from Barr. Solomon Imohiosen, Editor, Nigerian OBSERVER.

Rice Farmers Decry Slow Distribution Of Fertilizer LAGOS - The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), South-West Zone, has decried the slow manner of distribution of fertiliser from the Federal Government to its members. The association’s president, Mr Olusegun Atho, told newsmen in Lagos that farmers in some local government areas in the region had yet to receive the item.

“We have a number of rice farmers that are yet to receive phone alerts and without the alerts, farmers cannot access the fertiliser. “The alert confirms farmers whose data were captured during the registration exercise which grants them access to government’s incentives.

“Most of these farmers did the appropriate registration, but are still waiting for alerts. This is a poor outcome of the initial registration process,” Atho said. He urged the Federal Government to ensure that the service providers are able to find ways of resolving the issue, noting that the planting season was running out. The president also appealed

to the state governments to assist in the federal government’s initiative, saying that such support would enable the farmers to have adequate access to the incentives. Atho advised that farm inputs should be made available to farmers between March and April, to ensure that they meet the needs of the farmers.

positive start for the bank “and a reflection of the bank’s improving efficiency and robust credit risk management”. Adeola said that in spite of a marginal decline in deposit to N540 billion, the bank recorded a 30-basis points reduction in cost of funds to 5.6 per cent that reflected the management’s focus on balance sheet efficiency. He said that loans and

advances grew to N337 billion while asset quality remained strong with a non-performing loan ratio of 1.8 per cent. “Over the next few quarters, we will continue the upgrade our physical infrastructure and roll out conventional and alternative channels. “This is to deepen market penetration of our products and grow retail deposit market share.

Sterling Bank Grows First Quarter Profit By 17.2 Percent LAGOS - Sterling Bank Plc has said that its gross earnings rose to N24.6 billion in first quarter of 2014 from the N19.84 billion it recorded in the corresponding period of 2013. The bank said in a statement in Lagos that the earnings showed a growth of 24.1 per cent. It also said the profit before tax rose to N3.54 billion during

the period from N3.02 billion in the same period in the preceding year, representing an increase of 17.2 per cent. Its profit after tax, according to the statement, also rose from N2.72 billion in the first quarter of 2013 to N3.14 billion in the same period in 2014, showing a 15.4 per cent growth. The bank said its net interest income rose by 58 per cent during the period, adding that its

operating income rose by 35 per cent to N16.2 billion and 20 per cent in return on average equity. It said the development was in line with its medium term strategic objectives. The statement quoted the bank’s Managing Director, Mr Yemi Adeola, as saying that the first quarter performance was a

Across The Nation Plateau Generates N2.18bn In JOS The Plateau corporate organisations 3 Months various Government realised N2.18 including banks, federal billion internally generated revenue in the first quarter of the year, the Chairman, Plateau State Internal Revenue Service, Mr Samuel Pam, has said. Pam stated this in an interview with newsmens in Jos. Pam, who said the amount was “not so encouraging“, added that the staff of the agency would be encouraged to show more commitment to duty. A breakdown of the amount showed that the highest amount, N801.99 million, was realised in January, while the lowest amounted collected, N683.09 million, was recorded in February. “Our desire and hope is to maintain the one billion naira monthly collection mark recorded in December 2013, and anything below that is not encouraging at all,’’ he said. Pam, who said that the agency was aiming higher, said it initiated measures to block all revenue leakages to enable the state government meet its obligations to the people.

Kebbi Trains Sharia Court Judges

He warned corporate organisations and institutions against tax evasion, saying it was “criminal and destructive’’. He said that the agency would continue to negotiate with

institutions, industries, hotels and other business outfits to remit their taxes to the government. “If all these institutions, firms and bodies, especially schools and private hospitals and clinics,

should remit all Pay-As-YouEarn (PAYE) deductions from staff salaries to us, our revenue base will improve, ” he said. Pam called on the people not to relent in paying their taxes, adding that the agency would not hesitate to prosecute any individual or corporate organisation that failed to do so.

L-R: Members of the National Conference Committee on Land Tenure and National Boundaries, Dr. Ihechukwu Madubuike, Oba Michael Adedeji and Alhaji Kashim Njidda, during the meeting of the Committee in Abuja on Wednesday.

Improve Political Climate, NUJ Charges Members KANO - The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has charged its members to improve the political and economic transformation of the country through good professional conduct. Mr. Mohammad Garba, the NUJ National President, gave the task in Kano at the opening of the Kano NUJ Council 2014 Press Week. Represented by Alhaji Abdulkadir Ahmed, a former national official of the union, Garba also advised them to set development agenda for policy makers and the general public. He said the union was conducting some training and retraining of its members towards achieving optimum professional ethics. The president said the political climate in the country deserved the professional guidance of journalists through proper conduct. Speaking earlier, Alhaji Abduljalal Haruna, the Kano

BIRNIN KEBBI- The Kebbi Government has commenced the training of 150 Sharia Courts Judges on advanced Sharia

Legal System to enhance dispensation of Islamic Justice in the state. Addressing the participants in Birnin Kebbi, the Chief Registrar, Sharia Court of Appeal, Alhaji Muhammad Sani, said the training would improve Judges’ practical knowledge and enhance their understanding and memory on Sharia legal system. “The Sharia Court Judges would be trained on inheritance, marital complex, divorce, debt and land utilisation strictly in line with the Islamic jurisprudence,” he said. Sani advised the Judges to shun selfishness, considering their vast knowledge in the Qur’an, Sunnah and Islamic jurisprudence. “We expect the Judges to be aligned and more conscious with the responsibilities shouldered on them in dealing with both Muslims and Christians in the state,” he said. The Chief Judge of the state, Malam Bala Mairiga, represented by Justice Adamu Gulma, urged the participants to make good use of the knowledge acquired. He said the training would be sustained and advised the Sharia Court to embark on monthly publication of past rulings. “Past rulings will serve as references and improve knowledge of Judges,” Mairiga said. In his remarks, the state Grand Kadi, Malam Mukhtar Jega, urged the Judges to use the training to correct their past mistakes.

L-R: Members of the National Conference Committee on Land Tenure and National Boundaries, Asiwaju Bisi Adegbuiyi, Lamido of Adamawa, Alhaji Barkindo Mustapha, Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Zulu-Gambari, Owaooye of OkemesiEkiti, Oba Michael Adedeji, Oshinowo-Bashorun Olufemi and Secretary-General, Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, Dr. Joe Nwaorgu, at the meeting of the Committee in Abuja Wednesday.

UITH To Commence Open Heart Surgery August

ILORIN Prof. Abdulwaheed Olatinwo, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), has said the hospital would commence open heart surgery in August. Olatinwo made the disclosure in Ilorin at the sectoral council meeting of the Senior Staff Association of University Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAL). He said that there was tremendous transformation in the teaching hospital ahead of the commencement of open heart surgery. Olatinwo also noted that the hospital had recorded success in renal transplant

and delivery of test tube babies. UITH, he said, had been faced with various challenges, adding that it had now been transformed in line with the Federal Government’s transformation agenda. Olatinwo charged all health care providers to ensure effective service delivery, describing ownership of the health sector as a collective responsibility of all citizens. He said that the SSUATHRIAL meeting was an avenue to discuss issues bordering on promotion of members’ welfare. “Members of the union should ensure they follow the ethics and rules; unionism

does not support laziness and staff must inculcate the habit of promptness in their duties. “There must be attitudinal re-orientation as government work must never be done with levity. It is important to have a mindset to collectively work hard,” he said. Earlier in his speech, Mr Olawale Ogundipe, the Chairman, Teaching/ Specialist Sector of SSAUTHRAIL, called on government to address the critical issues concerning the welfare of members. He said such issues included promotion of workers as well as adjustment of salaries and allowances. According to him, workers

in the sector are still encountering problems with the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS). Ogundipe, however, commended the Federal Government over the upward review of salaries of workers in the sector and increasing retiring age from 60 to 65 years. Also speaking, the Acting President of SSAUTHRAIL, Dr Bayo Akintola, urged the chief medical director to address the transportation problem facing workers at UITH. Akintola also charged all staff of teaching hospitals across the country to ensure best practices in their places of work.

State NUJ Council Chairman, said that his administration was keen in promoting members’ welfare, capacity building and establishing cordial relationship with the government and nongovernmental organisations.

Anambra Inaugurates Tenders Board

AWKA - The Anambra government has inaugurated a six-man tenders board headed by the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Gregory Obi, to ensure transparency in governance. The state’s Commissioner for Information, Chief Tony Onyima, announced the inauguration in Awka after a meeting of the state executive council. Onyima named other members of the board as Prof. Kate Omenugha, the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Solomon Chukwudobelu, the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget and Mr. Callistus Ilozumba, the Commissioner for Works. Also on the board are Mrs. Vikky Chukwukelu, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and the Senior Special Adviser to the Governor on Project Monitoring, who will serve as its secretary. The governor also swore-in three officials who were absent at their inauguration two weeks ago. They are Chief Joe Martins Uzodike, the Senior Special Adviser on Political Matters, Chief Okey Morka, the Chairman of the Board of Internal Revenue and Chief Chika Anarah, the Special Adviser on Security. Onyima said that time had gone when Anambra was in the news for the wrong reasons, adding that the new administration was determined to maintain good news coming out from the state. The commissioner said the ministry of information would collaborate with the media in the task of reporting the state, but would not tolerate gossips. He said that Governor. Willie Obiano had demonstrated his resolve to work for the state, adding that all he needed was the support of the people. “The governor emphasised team work and efficiency while also urging the members of the executive to key into his vision for the state,” the commissioner said. He said the council deliberated on the key components of Obiano’s administration which included the need to clean up the state, especially the major cities of Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi.

Abuja FG Pledges To Nurture Creative Talents

Traffic Gridlock

DHQ Seeks Public Understanding

ABUJA - The Federal Government has pledged to nurture the abundant creative talents among youths through the provision of specialised education and training. Chief Edem Duke, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation made the pledge in Abuja at the 2014 National Creativity Week titled: “Creativity: A panacea for Transforming Nigeria’s Economy and Job Creation”. According to him, “for Nigeria to take its pride of place in the creative world, we need to nurture the abundant talents of

the younger generation.’’ “This we will do through the provision of specialised education and training, mentoring and the right platforms to experiment and expose their talents. “We will also provide opportunity for interaction with the established and successful practitioners in the creative sector,’’ he said. Duke said that the importance of the week was underscored by the assertion of the UN Conference on Trade and Development that creativity if adequately nurtured fuels culture.

ABUJA - The FCT Police Command has appealed to residents spreading rumour of bomb blasts in the territory to desist from such habit. The spokesperson of the command, DSP Altine Daniel, made the appeal while reacting to another purported bomb scare at the Federal Secretariat. Daniel advised anyone with useful information on suspected persons, movement or objects, to call the police instead of spreading rumour, thereby causing panic. “Don’t spread rumour, anyone with useful information on suspected explosive object should call the police. “Those spreading rumour of bombs do not have experience to handle explosive devices; they only cause panic. “It is the police and other security agencies that are trained to handle suspected bombs. If there is any, please call the police and stop spreading rumour,’’ she appealed. The reports state that the appeal followed a bomb scare at the Federal Secretariat at

about noon on Wednesday. Daniel, however, said that the rumour was about a car allegedly laden with explosive devices and parked at a section of the Federal Secretariat. It was learnt that following the rumour, personnel from the antibomb squad, supported by sniffer dogs, were immediately deployed to comb all nooks and crannies of the secretariat. However, they did not find any object. Some workers at the secretariat, who spoke to newsmen, claimed ignorance of the rumour. It was however, reported that normal official activities had resumed at the secretariat. However, a security officer, who pleaded anonymity, said personnel from the police bomb disposal unit had been visiting the secretariat on daily basis. The source said that during the visit, they combed everywhere for suspected explosive devices, adding that this was one of the proactive measures adopted recently to forestall any eventuality.

ABUJA - The National Conference Committee on Land Tenure and Boundary, called for the cooperation between Nigeria and neighbouring countries to check insecurity at the borders. The Chairman of the committee, Gen. Bagudu Mamman, made the call while addressing newsmen shortly after the committee’s meeting in Abuja. He said cooperation between Nigeria and neighbouring countries on boundary issue was vital in the face of rising security challenges. Mamman, who is at the conference as an elder statesman, said such cooperation would help to stem the rising case of insecurity and ensure a peaceful co-existence. “We are here to look at the issue of land use, then boundary adjustment. We cannot at the committee’s level tell you that we can influence decisions on boundary adjustment internationally. “But if we are discussing

national boundary, inevitably, we are also touching on international boundary, for instance the issue of insecurity. “If you share boundary with Cameroun, Chad, Niger, it is necessary that you discuss your insecurity problems with your neighbours. “It is inter-boundary cooperation that is required,

which to our mind has not been effectively tackled”, he said. The chairman said the committee would equally examine the land tenure system in its entirety to find out factors militating against its effectiveness in the country. He said if the committee discovered that the problem was with the Act itself, it would

ABUJA - The Minister of State for the FCT, Ms Olajumoke Akinjide, has said that the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) would henceforth prosecute residents found guilty of infanticide in the territory. Akinjide made the announcement in Abuja during the presentation of reports by the committee on the investigation of the alleged practice of infanticide in the FCT. “The FCTA will make sure it brings to an end such an evil act. We will ensure the practice

comes to an end in the FCT and Nigeria,’’ she said. The minister said the FCTA would no longer condone the crime as its core mandate included the delivery of maternal and child care. Akinjide said all recommendations by the committee would be implemented immediately, to ensure that such practice was erased completely. She commended the media for exposing such acts and called for more synergy between the FCTA

Stop Spreading Rumour, Police Warn FCT Residents

Traffic Gridlock caused by Security checkpoint at the Nyanya/Karu Axis of Keffi-Abuja Road, Kugbo on Wednesday.

People trekking across the Security checkpoint at Keffi-Abuja Road, Kugbo in Abuja on Wednesday.

ABUJA - The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has appealed for public understanding over the traffic on Nyanya-Abuja highway, saying it was not meant to inconvenience road users. This appeal is contained in a statement in Abuja, signed by Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade, Director of Defence Information. Olukolade said that the traffic gridlock on the highway was due to the ongoing checking of vehicles coming into the city centre from that route. He said that this had expectedly generated reactions and complaints from road users and the general public. “The public is assured that the measures are not punitive or deliberately meant to inconvenience road users. “The actions are necessitated by the emerging security threats facing the nation which calls for support and understanding of the populace. “The security measures will be reviewed as more equipment and additional support are introduced to ease the gridlock.” Olukolade appealed to members of the public to bear with the temporary measure which was in the overall best interest of the public.

Confab Committees Begin Deliberations


advise the main conference accordingly. He added that if the problem stemmed from the implementation, the committee would proffer solutions for better implementation. The Chairperson, Economy, Trade and Investment Committee, Hajiya Bola Shagaya, said it had commenced

deliberations. She said the committee was determined to seriously deliberate on issues that would chart a new course for the country’s economy. “Today, it’s been wonderful; all the committee members are ready to work. There was no rancour and everybody has been very supportive”, she said.

Similarly, the Committee on Public Finance and Revenue said the committee would concentrate on revenue generation. The Chairman of the committee, Sen. Adamu Aliero, said the committee would put in its best in finding solutions that would help boost the country’s revenue generation.

and other organisations to bring such evil acts to an end. Earlier in his report, the Chairman of the committee, Mr. Shaban Isiaku, said the committee’s investigation showed infanticide was being carried out in some communities. “In the course of the committees’ interaction with the targeted communities, it was revealed that indeed the crime was being practised. “The harmful practice has however ceased to exist in most

communities of the FCT,’’ he said. The state reports that the 30man committee formed in September 2013 revealed that infanticide was being practised in 22 communities in four of FCT’s Area Councils. The committee listed the Area Councils as Abaji, Gwagwalada, Kuje and Kwali. Reports state that the practice of infanticide in the territory was first reported by the media in 2013. Ishaku said the committee’s

other findings include the absence of basic social amenities such as potable water and healthcare facilities in the communities. “In some scenarios, some pregnant women, without access to prenatal care, do sometimes give birth to malformed babies. “The wide use of herbs not prescribed for pregnant mothers, killing and abandoning of twins and other babies due to lack of proper medication or due to religious beliefs have all contributed to the practice of infanticide.

FCTA To Prosecute Residents

Business + Economy Imports Agent Blames Customs For Inappropriate Valuations LAGOS - A licenced customs agent, Mr. Uchu Block, has blamed the Nigeria Customs Service (NSC) for inappropriate duty valuation on imported goods. Block made this known in an interview with newsmen in Lagos. He said that the inappropriate duty valuation on imported goods was as a result of deploying inexperienced officers to handle valuation issues across the ports. He said that most young information technology experts lack the knowledge and skill required for international trade. Block described as unfortunate NCS inability to deploy established officers that understood the principles of valuation to handle such sensitive revenue assignments. “The customs just employ new graduates that have no experience of the valuation principles and have no professional knowledge of this international trade. “These officers are computer wizards; they can manipulate the computer well. But they don’t even know anything about values. “For the same document and the same consignment within two months, they issued different values. That is the problem we are now facing. “If they had taken officers that have between 15 and 20 years experience, who have passed through the rank and file and have the requisite knowledge, it could have been a lot better,” Block said. He also complained of the non-availability of a dispute resolution unit where they could make their reports. According to him, the channelling of complaints through their bankers, a third party, make trade dispute resolution difficult and almost impossible. Responding, Customs Area Controller at Apapa, Eporwei Edike, told newsmen that the NCS duty valuations were carried out by both experienced and young officers.

WAPCO Renews Prices Of Stocks By RAHEEN IBRAHIM

L-R: Chief Executive Officer, Peace Mass Transit (PMT), Mr. Sam Onyishi, Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics, UNN, Prof. Polycarp Chigbo and Most Rev. Godfrey Onah, during a courtesy visit by PMT to UNN, Enugu State on Wednesday.

LAGOS - The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has announced Lafarge Cement WAPCO Nigeria Plc in its review of the prices of stocks, as part of the stock plans to improve liquidity and deepen the market. With the announcement, Lafarge Cement WAPCO Nigeria Plc is a new security that will be joining the league of High Priced Stocks. The Head, Market Operations of The NSE, Mr. Ade Ewuosho confirmed that it was a way back to move the price of any stock upwards or downwards, which the brokers needed to have a volume of 50,000 shares and above. However in September 2012, NSE introduced a pilot programme for its new market

Ovia North East LG Donates To Indigenes


OKADA - As part of her contributions towards ameliorating the sufferings of the needy in the society, the Chairman, Ovia North East Local Government Council, Hon. (Barrister) Lucy Omagbon has donated the sum of N850,000 as assistance to some people in the locality. Including the students Union Government of College of Education, Ekiadolor (COLBEN. The beneficiaries included one Mr. Oseki Osaro, a staff of Ovia Local Government Council, whose house was razed by fire recently received N500,000 cash while Master Favour Odubu, the little boy with hole in his heart received N200,000 cash as the council’s financial support towards

his planned trip abroad for medication. The COLBEN SUG led by Comrade Igwe Linda who received N150,000 cash donation had earlier in the month paid the council boss a courtesy visit at the council

secretariat during which she sought the local government assistance towards procuring a public address system and writing. The recipients who expressed joy in different ways, thanked the council

LAFIA - Nasarawa State Government has handed out drugs worth N35 million to its Primary Heath Care Development Agency (NSPHCDA) for distribution to health centres in the state. Presenting the drugs to the NSPHCDA chairman, Dr Janet Angbazo, the Senior Special Assistant to Gov. Umaru AlMakura on Millienium Development Goals (MDGs), Dr Salisu Raji, said the state’s MDGs office collaborated with the government on the project.

Raji said that the drugs were procured under the government’s drug revolving fund scheme, adding that 39 health centres would benefit from it. He said that the initiative was to ensure that people in rural areas had access to quality and affordable drugs in primary healthcare facilities. He said that making drugs available at the centres would help to check the circulation of fake and unwholesome drugs in the state. Raji said that the drugs were

boss for the kind gesture. Speaking after the cash presentation to the beneficiaries, Mrs. Omagbon said that her administration, apart from being very committed to infrastructural development, is also very well interest in human capital development.

structure with the rollout of market making, where stockbrokers could move prices of some high priced stocks with 10,000 shares. These High Priced Stocks are securities that have traded an average of N100 or more per share in four out of the last six months period. Justifying the inclusion of Lafarge Cement WAPCO Nigeria Plc in the High Priced Stocks Head, Market Surveillance of The NSE, Mr. Abimbola Babalola said a review of trading activities of the company in the last six months shows that the company met the criteria set by the Exchange. “The Exchange commenced the pilot programme with nine stocks-Dangote Cement, Guinness Plc, Nestle Plc, Nigerian Breweries, SIM Capital Fund, Skye Shelter Fund,Nigerian Energy Sector Fund (NESF) and Total Plc. The Programme became permanent in 2013 and the nine initial pilot stocks remained. Lafarge Cement WAPCO Nigeria Plc will become the 10th stock on the programme”, he said. Babalola remarked, “We have observed that the prices of these High Priced Stocks have been rather stable with none falling below the N100 mark which is currently the benchmark”. Stockbrokers would be able to move the prices of Lafarge Cement WAPCO Nigeria Plc, in addition to the existing High Priced Stocks, with 10,000 units with effect from April 22, 2014”.

Nasarawa Distributes Drugs To Health Centres

Deputy Vice C h a n c e l l o r Academics, UNN, Prof. Polycarp Chigbo (Middle) with officials of Peace Mass Transit (PMT) during their courtesy call on the Vice C h a n c e l l o r, University of Nigeria, Nsukka on Wednesday.

purchased directly from the manufacturers, adding that they were of the best quality. He charged the benefiting communities and health centres to be prudent in the use of the drugs and ensure that the scheme was sustainable. Receiving the drugs, Angbazo expressed gratitude to the state government for the gesture, adding that the era of “out of stock’’ drugs at health centre in

the state was over. She said that most people in rural areas were not attending primary healthcare facilities due to non-availability of drugs. She appealed to the government to scale up the scheme to enable other health centres to benefit, saying there were more than 900 primary health centres in the state. Angbazo assured that the drugs would be effectively utilised in line with MDGs guidelines.

Anambra Records 80 Percent Of MDGs Targets -Official ABUJA - Chief Nzemeka Olisa, the Chairman, Anambra Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), has said that the state had achieved more than 80 per cent target of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Olisa told newsmen in Abuja that the success was recorded in the areas of education and others. “Making reference to my state, Anambra I know we may not have 100 per cent achievement, but I know we have already over 80 percent achievements of the MDGs. “With what is on ground now, with the way the implementation of projects are moving in my state, by the time we do a final push, predominantly the state will achieve the goal, especially with respect to the access to schools.

“A lot of work has been done there and it is still on-going. There is improvement in education; a lot has been on ground. “So I want to believe that there are hopes, apart from my state; Nigeria as a whole will achieve the goal. “It may not be 100 per cent, but a good percentage is already on ground and any additional effort will improve the projects,’’ he said. Olisa said that the state government was closely working with the MDGs office to ensure that projects were executed graciously. He said that local governments were also implementing the programme positively, explaining that “a lot of renovations of schools are ongoing’’.







































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































TOP 10 GAINERS Close 43 47.15 13.21 23.5 13.6 4.47 3.08 3.6 1.26 1.14



1 0.65 0.62 0.5 0.3 0.21 0.13 0.09 0.06 0.05


Close 39011.9 597.01 1990 2746.01 2534.57 161.2 2784.75 969.08 1767.3 1916.9

Loss -182.19 -29.99 -21 -13.59 -13.48 -6.7 -4.83 -4.75 -4.45 -4.36

THE menace of unemployment and its negative impact on the socio-economic development of Nigeria played out recently, when about 18 job seekers died at the recruitment exercise of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) which held nationwide. THE need for gainful employment of citizens in any society cannot be over emphasised, as it provides the key to a chain of other stabilising socio economic as well as political activities in any given society. MANY a country or society with employment problems have had their social, political and economic structures dislocated as the scourge of unemployment has a spiraling effect on all other sectors of the economy. This among other reasons explains why countries of the world, make frantic efforts to ensure that unemployment as a problem, is tackled headlong so as to keep it in check DIFFERENT countries of the world, adopt various means of checking the scourge especially youth unemployment The advanced democracies for example, have some cushioning measures like welfare scheme in which the unemployed are given some stipends to keep body and soul together before they are finally fixed up with jobs. COUPLED with this scheme, are also Employment Agencies which serve dual purposes of acting as data bank and “middle men” for the employers as well as jobs seekers; providing useful information for employers of labour as to the availability of qualified applicants who register with them with details of their curriculum vitae, and to the applicants, who are well fed with vital information of available jobs with details about such job specification, qualification required, remuneration and all other such information as may be required. HERE in Nigeria, spirited efforts have been made over the years to also address the issue of unemployment, especially among youths who have created social, economic and


Unemployment Dilemma in Nigeria political problems for governments at all levels. IT will be recalled that as a way of redirecting the attention of unemployed Nigerian youths, the then military government of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo floated a youth employment scheme which it tagged. “Operation Feed the Nation’ (OFN), the aim of which was to have our youths go back to the land and farm for the benefit of all. PHILOSOPHICALLY, the scheme was to serve the dual purpose of directing the energies of the teeming unemployed youths into productive venture and also to reduce the army of the unemployed even as Nigerians were to have abundant food to eat. REALISING the unending scourge of unemployment, the then Alhaji Shehu Shagari’s administration also made effort to contain it by floating the ‘Green Revolution” programme to achieve a zero unemployment status. AFTER these, the then IBB administration created a body called the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) to try and collate and coordinate the task of registering and giving employment to the unemployed. The OBJ’s second coming, saw the creation of the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP), all aimed at tackling unemployment. IT is imperative to note at this point that all these strategies have not been effective due mainly to policy summersaults and inconsistencies on the part of every succeeding government. THIS is where the recent tragedy recorded at the recruitment exercise of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) wherein 18 job seekers died from stampede, calls for serious

concern. OVER 500,000 job seekers nationwide trooped out for the recruitment exercise for vacancies available for only 4,556. The stampede that characterised the exercise was not only due to the logistic problem, but essentially because of the huge unemployment bug. TO effectively tackle the menace of unemployment in the country there is the need to conduct a survey on job creation in Nigeria. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) needs to create a data base on the true state of unemployment in terms of both the skilled and unskilled. BESIDES, we need to constantly Improve on available information and data on the Nation’s labour market through appropriate statistical methodology for tracking variability in the number of jobs created or lost every quarter. This is where the readiness of NBS to conduct such a survey is heart-warming. SINCE accurate, timely and reliable data are major pre-requisites for strategic planning and development, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and National Planning Commission (NPC) should collaborate to boost job creation in the country. ALSO worthy of mention is the federal government’s resolve to develop people without skills to make them employable, through the establishment of Skills Acquisition Centres nation-wide. This is in tandem with Edo State’s maintenance of its already established Skills Acquisition Centres wherein the unemployed and other victims of human trafficking have been getting rehabilitation over the years. TO avert a re-occurence of the Immigration recruitment saga, the federal government must begin to seriously consider a hamonisation of its policies with a view to making unemployment less crushing in Nigeria.

Allah warns His believing servants of a Fitnah, trial and test, that encompasses the wicked and those around them. Therefore such Fitnah, will not be restricted to the sinners and evildoers. Rather, it will reach the others if the sins are not stopped and prevented. And fear the Fitnah (affliction and trial) which affects not in particular only those of you who do wrong, and know that Allah is severe in punishment. (Qur’an Al-Anfal 8:25). The Holy Prophet said in addition to the Fitnah: “By He in Whose Hand is my soul! You will enjoin righteousness and forbid evil, or Allah will send a punishment upon you from Him; you will supplicate then to Him, but He will not answer your supplication.” “Allah commanded the believers to stop evil from flourishing among them, so that Allah does not encompass them all in the torment (Fitnah).” “Every people among whom sins are being committed, while they are mightier and more numerous than those who do wrong, yet they did nothing to stop them, then Allah will surround them all with punishment.” CHALLENGES OF SECURITY Any Community where people refuses to allow the laws and commandments of Almighty Allah to be their guarding principles, such community will continue to dwell in darkness and will continue to witness calamity upon calamity until they offer sincere repentance to Almighty Allah and follow His laws and commandments to the letter. Any society that condole and encourage corruption in any form will never witness peace and progress. Any Society that refuses to encourage and uphold the moral virtue of justice, equity and fair play amongst its people will continue to witness crisis upon crisis. And society that encourages and apply double standard in dealing with issues involving people particularly between the rich and poor ones, such society will continue to witness uprising. A society that allows and encourage oppressive and suppressive policies to be its guiding principle will continue to witness revolt and rebellious action from the poor ones who are the main targets of the oppressive and suppressive tendencies. A society where the strong refuses to protect the weak ones; and the rich refuses to help the poor ones financially; and the knowledgeable ones refuses to educate the ignoramous and illiterate ones such society can never make any meaningful progress. A society where the level of impunity is very high where no one

Voice Of


Every Friday With Mallam Abdulfattah Enabulele Chief Imam of Benin

Warning Against An Encompassing Fitnah

Protection of lives and properties is the primary duty and responsibility of government.

can get justice, such situation can lead to anger and frustration. Killing and assassination will be the order of the day. A society where the problem of poverty and unemployment are very high and the authority does not create job opportunity for the youth to be gainfully employed, armed robbery, kidnapping and 419 will be the order of the day. A society where the leadership is so materialist, extravagant and ostentatious in nature and character, corruption will be on the increase. A society where human life is not valued and regarded as sacred, the dirty game of cultism and ritualism will be very rampant. A society where the politicians give arms and ammunition to the youths to help them rig election in their favour, armed robbery, kidnapping and Boko Haram will be the end result because

the politicians will not be able to retrieve the arms from their foot soldiers after the election. A society where the politicians regards elections as a do or die affairs and believes that only the winning party can form the government is directly inviting chaos, rancour and acrimony in the community. A government that fails to address the fundamental issues that predispose our people to crime and violence cannot be regarded as the government of the people. A government that fails to initiate political and structural changes that will address agitations for equitable and just political arrangements is inviting trouble. A government that fails to successfully implement development policies that will meet the aspiration of the citizenry has failed in his responsibility.

“Nigerians deserve good governance, basic infrastructure, means of livelihood and effective policing of Nigeria’s porous borders were questionable elements move into the country without checks and balances. And given our abundant natural resources and human capacity, Nigeria has no business with poverty, insecurity and massive unemployment”

NIGERIA DESERVES BETTER Every society contains three groups of people: the good, the bad and the evil minded ones. It is the duties and responsibilities of government monitor the activities of the three groups effectively and protect the law abiding members of the society through its security agencies. The protection of lives and properties in a society is the primary duties and responsibilities of government. A government that cannot carry out these responsibilities is not fit to precise over the affairs of the people. Nigerians deserve good governance, basic infrastructure, means of livelihood and effective policing of Nigeria’s porous borders were questionable elements move into the country without check and balances. And given our abundant natural resources and human capacity, Nigeria has no business with poverty, insecurity and massive unemployment. We must all pray that GOD will provide Nigeria with a God fearing leaders with the vision and will power to embark on the kind of changes the country needs. Nigerians have suffered enough. Our rulers must overlook political differences to find a way out to cooperate and make the country a safer, more secure for all. SOLUTIONS Government must show the sincerity, honesty and display the political will that they want to put an end to the problem of insecurity. Security agencies must be motivated and be well funded with specialist equipment and tracking devices which will help in the identification of criminal locations. These devices will help and lead to easy arrest of criminals and other questionable characters in the society. The general conception of the society, especially the youths, is that of amassing wealth by any means and in the shortest possible time. This is partly due to the open display of opulence by the rich in the society. A systematic sensitization and reorientation of the populace towards attitudinal changes is recommended . Government should have the political will to initiate legislature to adequately punish crime in such a way as to serve as deterrent to any criminal. Provision of communication facilities- it is common knowledge that security is everybody’s responsibility. The security agencies rely heavily on information from citizens in the fight against crime. Security agencies must be seen to earn the confidence of the populace which will eventually stand them in good stead to be given the desired information to fight crime successfully.


OIL spill has become a major environmental concern in the Niger Delta region, as it adversely affects the people and their entire ecosystem. Oil spills in populated neighbourhoods often spread out over wide areas, destroying crops and aquacultures via the contamination of groundwater and soils. Experts say that the intake of dissolved oxygen by the bacteria feeding on the spilled hydrocarbons also contributes to the death of fish, while affecting food supply due to the instantaneous destruction of crops. Observers note that the rising menace of oil spills in the Niger Delta area has somewhat made the environment to become increasingly uninhabitable. The comment appears plausible, as some residents of affected areas have often complained about health issues such as breathing problems and skin lesions; while others now lack access to food and clean water. In short, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) estimated that 1.89 million barrels of crude oil spilled in the Niger Delta area between 1976 and 1996, out of a total of 2.4 million barrels, spilled in 4,835 incidents. On the other hand, a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report stated that a total of 6,817 oil spills occurred in Nigeria between 1976 and 2001, accounting for the loss of three million barrels of crude oil, of which more than 70 per cent was not recovered. The report added that 69 per cent of these spills occurred off-shore, a quarter took place in

swamps, while six per cent of the spills occurred on land. The report noted that some of the spills were caused by sabotage and thieves, while most of them were due to the poor maintenance of oil production facilities. In recent times, an oil spill occurred at the Bonga oil field and it was estimated that over 40,000 barrels of crude spilled into the sea. The spill, which occurred on December 20, 2011, resulted in an oil slick, 185 km long off the country’s coast, and it was adjudged to be the worst spill in the area for a decade. Such incidents, perhaps, compelled Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa to advocate the enactment stringent laws to protect the environment in the Niger Delta area against the menace of oil pollution and other oil exploration activities. He underscored the need for oil companies operating in the Niger Delta to protect the environment, while refraining from activities that were capable of degrading the environment. Similarly, Mr Patrick Ukura, a consultant on environmental issues, urged the Federal Government to adopt technical measures aimed at addressing oil spills in Niger Delta. He argued that the government had always adopted political and financial approaches in handling oil spills, instead of involving environmental specialists in efforts to bring lasting solutions to the problem However, Dr Joe OkeiOdumakin, President of Women Arise for Change

Curbing Menace Of Oil Initiative, called on Shell Petroleum and Development Company to immediately clean up the oil spills that occurred at Ikarama community in Bayelsa State in line with the highest acceptable international standards. She stressed that the community had suffered a lot from repeated oil spills and toxic fumes. Okei-Odumakin said that the community recorded a spill from a Shell facility some months ago, adding that the spill left the area polluted. “Relevant government agencies, including National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), should also probe the immediate and remote causes of the burning of crude oil in the community,’’ she added. The problem appears frightening, as the report of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on its two-year study on the Niger Delta said that contamination from oil spills in the area had been widespread and severe. “This report proves that Shell has had a terrible impact on Nigeria but has got away with denying it for decades, falsely claiming they work in line with best international standards, as established by Mr. Audrey Gaughran, Director, International Global Issues of UNEP. Gaughran, who conducted the research on the human rights impacts of pollution in the Niger Delta, provided unassailable evidence on the devastating impact of oil pollution on the people’s lives in the area.

The study examined the damage to agriculture and fisheries, which culminated in the destruction of the people’s livelihoods and food sources. One of the most serious facts to come to light was the scale of contamination of drinking water, which had exposed the affected communities to serious

actor on the scene, is certainly not desirable. “There is no solution to oil pollution in Niger Delta as long as Shell continues to focus on protecting its corporate image, at the expense of the truth and at the expense of justice,’’ the report said. The report’s findings also indicted the Federal Government for failing to


officials during oil spill emergencies. Mr Peter Idabor, the agency’s DirectorGeneral, said that the mechanism would enhance quick response to emergencies. He said that the agency was collaborating with oil-

s f a

producing communities and major oil companies to design programmes on how to monitor oil spillage and quickly report to appropriate authorities. Idabor said that NOSDRA had imposed a fine of 5 billion dollars (about N800 billion) on Shell Petroleum and Development Company for the 2011 Bonga oil spill in the Niger Delta. He pointed out that the fine would serve as a deterrent to other oil production firms which treated environmental concerns in oil production with levity. Idabor said that NOSDRA also criticised Shell for not providing immediate relief to the affected communities, insisting that the company ought to have provided

e m

t w u N e e r

Oil Spill

health risks. The report revealed a systemic failure of Shell to address oil spills for several years and described how the sites, which Shell purportedly cleaned up, were found by UNEP experts to be still polluted. “Shell must put its hands up and face the fact that it has to deal with the damage it has caused. “Trying to hide behind the actions of others, when Shell is the most powerful

“Shell must put its hands up and face the fact that it has to deal with the damage it has caused. “Trying to hide behind the actions of others, when Shell is the most powerful actor on the scene, is certainly not desirable.”

regulate and control the activities of oil companies like Shell. “UNEP found that Nigeria’s regulators are weak and Nigeria’s oil spill investigation agency is often totally reliant on the oil companies to do its work. “The oil and gas sector represents 97 per cent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange revenues and it contributes 79.5 per cent of government revenues. Oil has generated an estimated 600 U.S. dollars billion since the 1960s. “Under Nigerian regulations, oil companies must clean up all oil spills but these regulations are not enforced,’’ the report stated. Nevertheless, NOSDRA says that it will launch an oil spill monitoring programme nationwide to alert its

s M D F p a t s

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succour for those whose fishing activities were affected by the spill. He, nonetheless, stressed hat the NOSDRA Act, which was currently undergoing a review by the National Assembly, would empower the agency to enforce laws aimed at reducing oil spill

emergencies to the barest minimum. Sharing similar sentiments, Mr. Tolu Makinde, the Deputy Director (Press), Ecological Fund Office, urged oil producing companies to always endeavour to protect the environment from oil spillage. He stressed that incessant oil spills constituted a threat to the entire ecosystem, particularly in the oil producing region. Makinde said that oil spills had a myriad of negative socio-economic and environmental effects, adding that cleaning up the polluted environment was a statutory issue which involved experts. “It is NOSDRA that has the professional capacity to supervise the clean up of oil spills whenever they occur;

so as to ensure that the oil and gas producing environment is safe and clean for habitation. “The agency has the

mandate to regulate oil production and its effects on the environment; it should also ensure that

communities to also police their environment by calling their youths, who engage in oil pipeline vandalism, to order because the impact of oil spill is more pronounced in those communities,’’

polluters undertake their responsibility too. “Nevertheless, I advise the oil-producing

Makinde added. All the same, the consensus of opinion among experts is that concerted efforts should be made to put an end to the menace of oil spills in the country.

Just Before Nigerians Join Cameroun AT the national conference, it was week two and the drama continued, from where it stopped in the first week. We had been treated to the dramatics of language of debate and women had protested marginalization, so with the ball rolling, the week was in no way going to disappoint, it continued with the ‘sleep elite’ and the sad passing away of one of the delegates. The debate as to how consensus would be formed was dragging on for too long, but with the consensus group formed, a solution was in sight… Then, the Lamido of Adamawa, Alhaji Muhammadu Barkindo Mustapha, served it up, “The president delivered an address and laid down what we are supposed to discuss and what not to discuss. But many people here, some of them elder statesmen who claim to be strong loyalists of the president…these people are in the forefront to contradict what the president has said. In the long run, if we are not careful, this conference will flop. God forbid. If it flops, the effect will not be imaginable. If anything happens and the country disintegrates, God forbid, many of us who are shouting their heads off may not have anywhere to go. My people and the people of Adamawa have got somewhere to go. I am the Lamido of Adamawa and my kingdom extends to Cameroon. The larger part of my kingdom is in Cameroon. Part of that kingdom is today called Adamawa State in Cameroun. You see, if I run to that place, I will

easily assimilate.” Former FCT Minister, Lt General Jeremiah Useni, reacted that since the Lamido Adamawa is the head of Fulanis across borders that may be responsible why he said his kingdom extended to Cameroun. “He is a traditional ruler and a traditional ruler can even be three years. I remember when I was governor of Bendel State; the traditional ruler of Obior or so was three years old. So, not every elder statesman is a traditional ruler and not every traditional ruler is an elder statesman.” Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, Otunba Gani Adams, in his own reply, said he was disappointed that such statement could come from a royal father like Lamido. He noted that unlike the north, the Yoruba nation don’t depend on the government for survival, adding that the region could survive without the government. “It is the North that depends on the government, they don’t need Nigeria more than us, but we all need Nigeria because we have inter-married, done businesses together and Abuja solidifies us”


There is depth in all the comments made so far in the very infantile confab, and my admonition is this, by all means if joining Cameroun, Chad, Niger, Sudan, Benin Republic, Togo or Ghana would solve the Nigerian quagmire, please let everybody join. I am aware that some would even prefer to join the United States or far flogged off places like New Zealand. Z i m b a b w e , Madagascar, and Belize are a few places too, But first I hope these countries would allow us join them. And hopefully they would allow us join them with our troubles, baggage, and add a twist to theirs. It all looks easier said than done, plenty talk about the Southwest is ready to be on its own and the Biafran tales by moonlight, even the Middle belt ahs its belt well sized out. Roman writer Publilius Syrus offers insights that I believe should help us in thinking straight, “in a heated argument we apt to lose sight of the truth.” Nigerians are loosing it; everyone is vexing including the Lamido of Adamawa, the vexation is religious, it is regional, it is ethnic, it is political, it all ramifications, everyone is right from his

point of view. The ordinary woman on the street, has her everyday fear, and doesn’t understand all the threats, the killings and why we cannot get it right. We are not the most diverse nation in the world, yet our elite plays deepseethed bitterness laced with intrigues aimed at outsmarting each other, while the populace fights each other. Who will bail out the cat, who will be that leader, how can we stop the circle, just in case we don’t get it, I will share this little puzzle and allow us ruminate thoughtfully. Boss says to secretary, “We are traveling abroad for the week, so make arrangements.” Secretary makes a call to her husband, “My boss and I will be traveling abroad for the week, so look after kids.” Husband makes call to secret lover, “My wife is going abroad for the week, so let’s spend the week together.” Secret lover makes a call to a little boy whom she is giving private lessons, “I’m going to be busy throughout the week, so you need not come for classes.” Little boy makes call to his grandfather, “Grandpa, I don’t have classes for the week, because my teacher is going to be busy. Let’s

spend the week together.” Grandpa makes a call to his Secretary, “I’m afraid we won’t be traveling again. My grandson and I are going to spend the week together.” Secretary makes a call to her husband, “My boss has some personal matters to attend to, so our trip is cancelled.” Husband makes a call to secret lover, “We cannot spend the week together, my wife has cancelled her trip.” Secret lover makes a call to little boy, “We will still have classes as usual this week.” Little boy makes a call to his grandfather, “Grandpa! I’m sorry we won’t be able to spend the week together. My teacher called and said that I have to attend classes.” Grandpa makes a call to his secretary, “Change of plans! My grandson is no more coming. So we are still traveling this week. Make arrangements.” Let the Lamido threaten, to Gambia for all I care, there is a nation in turmoil, lives and property have no value, ritual killings, Fulani raids, unknown gunmen, cattle rustlers, Boko Haram, government haram, we are just not getting it right, the question is, how will the chain be broken, when will it be broken–only time will tell. Yours In High Regards

“The ordinary woman on the street, has her everyday fear, and doesn’t understand all the threats, the killings and why we cannot get it right. We are not the most diverse nation in the world, yet our elite plays deep-seethed bitterness laced with intrigues aimed at outsmarting each other, while the populace fights each other.”

EDO STATE RAPID RESPONSE AGENCY (PHASE II) REQUEST FOR QUOTATIONS CREDIT NO: 5022 RFQ NO: ED/SEEFOR/NS/PW/2014-01/LOT 9-17 1. The Federal Government of Nigeria has received approval from the Board of the International Development Association (IDA) to access credit towards the cost of State Employment and Expenditure for Results (SEEFOR) Project. Edo State is one of the beneficiary States and now intends to apply part of the proceeds of this credit to payments under the contract for road Maintenance in Benin City, Ekpoma, Ubiaja, Ewohimi, Jattu, Sabongida-Ora, Auchi and environs. 2. The SEEFOR Project now invites sealed quotation from eligible and qualified bidders for the maintenance of roads (Road cleaning/ sweeping, cleaning / disiltation of drains, spot improvement and lawns maintenance, vegetation control and earth road maintenance) in Benin City, Ekpoma, Ubiaja, Ewohimi Jattu, Auchi and environs. LOT NO






Spot improvement, road/sweeping, desilting, clearing of drains, vegetation control along Plymouth Road and Ehaekpen Streets in Benin City.



Edo South


Spot improvement, road/sweeping, desilting, clearing of drains, vegetation control along Ekenwan Road (Siluko Road Junction to Wood Treatment), Akhionbare Street, GRA in Benin City



Edo South


Spot improvement, road/sweeping, desilting, clearing of drains, vegetation control along Omoruyi/Central/Ogbelaka Streets, Ehondor/Iyekemosa and Wire Road in Benin City



Edo South


Spot improvement, road/sweeping, desilting, clearing of drains, vegetation control along Stella Obasanjo Hospital Road off Sapele Road in Benin City



Edo South


Maintenance of kerbs, repairs/replacement and painting of damaged fence and fence rails, repair/replacement of security /beautification lights, and clearing of grass/vegetation control in Ramat Park, Benin City



Edo South


Spot improvement, road/sweeping, desilting, clearing of drains, vegetation control along Agbado Market Ewohimi, Freedom Street Ubiaja, Ojeromom/Idumu-Ebor Street Ubiaja, Osimen Street, Ekpoma, Ali Street Ekpoma, Iyare Street Ekpoma



Edo Central


Spot improvement, road/sweeping, desilting, clearing of drains, vegetation control along Market Road, Sabongida Ora and Warrake Road in Auchi



Edo North


Spot improvement, road/sweeping, desilting, clearing of drains, vegetation control along Jattu-Ikabigbo Road and Ogieneni Road in Jattu-Uzairue



Edo North


Sweeping, desilting, vegetation control along Momodu Ajayi Road and drainage construction along Ashipa Street in Igarra.



Edo North

1. Bidding will be conducted through the shopping procedures specified in the World Bank Guidelines: Procurement under IBRD Loans and IDA Credits, and is open to only bidders resident in Edo State. 2. Interested eligible bidders may obtain further information from the Project Coordinator, State Employment and Expenditure for Results (SEEFOR) Project, 8th Floor, Palm House, Sapele Road, Benin City, Edo State. E-mail address: and inspect and obtain the bid document at the address given from 9.00am to 4.00pm, Mondays to Fridays. Bidders are to pay a non-refundable fee of N5, 000(Five Thousand Naira) only payable to State Employment and Expenditure for Results (SEEFOR) Project Account before obtaining the bid document. 3. Qualification requirement include: Evidence of business registration (CAC), current Tax clearance certificate, Evidence of experience in execution of similar projects, registration with the Edo State Rapid Response Agency (EDRRA) and evidence of financial resources to execute the job. Kindly find additional details as provided in the Quotation Solicitation Document 4. There shall be a pre - bid conference which will hold by 12.00noon on Monday the 5th of May 2014 which is four days to closing date at the address below. 5. Quotation must be delivered in a sealed envelope at the address below before 2.00pm Friday, May 9, 2014. Late quotation will be rejected. Quotation will be opened in the presence of bidders’ representatives, who choose to attend in person at the address below immediately after the deadline for submission i.e. 2.00pm Friday, May 9, 2014. The Project Coordinator, State Employment and Expenditure for Results (SEEFOR) Project Ministry of Budget and Planning and Economic Development, 8th Floor, Palm House, Sapele Road, Benin City, Edo State. E-mail address:

Art And Culture

Europeans Trade With Great Benin THE Europeans found Great Benin, a highly developed kingdom in the process of territorial conquest. The fifteenth and the sixteenth centuries marked the direct contact with the European world and were able to establish diplomatic, and trade relations with Great Benin. The Portuguese were the first to arrive. Their impact was many sided; in Christianity, Military, economics, cultural, artistic and linguistic. Portuguese Christian soldiers provided support against Benin enemies, while traders supplied important Luxury items Benin so desired; coral beads, cloth for ceremonial attire and great quantities of brass manilas which could be melted down for brass casting. Benin provided the portuieese with pepper, cloth, Ivory and carvings. Benin craftsmen were busy carving Ivory objects ranging from spoons, laddles, with handles. Also carved in animal or bird form that are sold at modest, moderate prices to sailors, to the more elaborate salt-cellars and hunting horns, destined for the Portuguese nobility. The Benin-Portuguese Ivories are blending of status imagery from two cultures from Europe, there are Portuguese Coats of arms, armillary spheres and scenes of nobility.

Benin guilds design reserved for royalty and views of nobles on horsebacks, accompanied by retainers and equipped with swords, elaborate costumes, Feathers and other Benin marks of rank and wealth. The Portuguese also had impact on the traditional art of Benin. Europeans coming across the seas, bringing with them wealth and Luxury items. The European travelers were readily incorporated into the complex of ideas associated with the ruler of the seas and provider of earthly wealth –Neptune – Olokun. Cast or carved images of the portieguese sailors in the sixteenth century attire appeared in a wide variety of contexts, on plaques, masks, bells, pendants, tusks etc. The Portuguese impact was strong in Great Benin but brief in trade because they were soon surpassed in trade by the Dutch, French and English. Visitors throughout the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries had provided Europeans with vivid picture of the size and complexity of Benin City, of the customs, ceremonies, costumes and art forms associated with Great Benin life, both at palace and at large. Indeed a Spanish capuchin letter of 16511652 tells the very first description – “ Every man, whether great or small and

according to his means has within his house, an altar or shrine well adorned with hideous idols…… and other vile things. They also have some heads like those of wooden rams, each of which holds a very

export as Dutch trade records indicate. On Benin side, there was a similar emphasis on Luxury good. Cowries, the traditional currency were imported in such great quantities that they


Shrine of the Hand. The shrine of the hand is the ultimate selfcongratulation of the individual who has achieved great material success. Two elaborate brass Ikega Obo are attributed to the seventeenth century. One of which in British Museum. Brass stool identified as the one commissioned by Oba Eresoyen is in Berlin Museum.

sour relationship between Great Benin and Holland. The Ezomo sat in his palace in Uzebu, monitoring civilizing and prospering traffic from Ughoton and ensuring that no harm passed through to disturb the tranquility of Benin City. The overseas visitor’s feet were ritually washed with water from a Large brass basin to which some fresh leaves had been added before the visitor was allowed to

The Benin chiefs, to whom the Dutch company had offered credit were owing the Ughoton station, a great deal of money in unsupplied goods. The trading monopoly in Ivory which Holand desired of Benin had been refused by the Oba. Benin was offering this valued commodity for sale to British and Portuguese ships which also called at Ughoton (Gvatton). The traders of those countries were offering better prices for the commodity. One Herr van marken of the Dutch West Indian company on instructions from Elmina castle visited Benin City and smoothened out the

proceed further into the inner city of Benin. This was to ensure that no danger accompanied the

Oba Palace large elephant tusk and there are some holes in front of which are carved the devils and various other things according to the devotion of each person.” There was the Lucrative trade that began at the end of the seventeenth century; the increased trade with the Dutch ushered in an era of great prosperity. Ivory was particularly important

literally covered the walls of the rich. In addition to cowries a variety of cloth including damask, French silk, linen and a vast number of copper, brass or pans were also imported. A portion of the brass was melted down to cast the numerous brass objects said to date record from that time. One of the art forms per excellence of the century was the brass Ikega Obo-

“Two great British explore, Sir Richard Burton and Giovanni Belzoni Visited Benin and from them , and others accounts; provided England with the picture of Benin royal sculpture and invaluable documents on Great Benin art and culture.”

visiting feet into the city. Increased commerce in palm oil and slaves with the British developed in place of Ivory trade with the Dutch. One result of the relationship with England was that Great Benin became an object of the Queen Victoria of Great Britain interest in palm oil exploration. Two great British explorers, Sir Richard Burton and Giovanni Belzoni Visited Benin and from them , and others accounts; provided England with the picture of Benin royal sculpture and invaluable documents on Great Benin art and culture.


Let God Arise?

IT is now obvious that rather than the over 100 young school girls reported to have been abducted in Chibok, Bornu State by the dare-devil mercenaries, Boko Haram, it is over 200 that were actually taken away into uncertain fate. So over 200 family units and scores of others, including relatives, neighbours, colleagues, friends and well wishers, and the rest well-meaning Nigerians are still in mourning over this unhealthy disappearing act, over this mind-boggling nightmare… in the daytime! Now, the issue is not actually about the number; it could have been one or two school girls for the sake of taking count; the average American will tell you that the American security and safety system values the life of a single American citizen as equally as it does 200, and would deplore an equal amount of resources, even ready to nearly deplete her armoury, of course an arsenal of technocratic men, women and machineries, to ensure the safety of one as much as it would the 200 others; the issue, really, is about the awe that the entire security system in Nigeria inspires in the minds of everyone, the idea that you are actually on your own, except of course, you have found favour in the sight of the God who neither slumbers nor sleeps! It is actually between you and the good Lord! Again, there is a whole lot about numbers, without meaning to sound contradictory, that makes the whole affair even more horrific. Over 200 young girls cannot be in anyway likened with a band of soldier ants marching across a footpath, yet, while growing up this writer noticed that hardly were such sights unnoticed, both by children and adults, except someone was ready for a militant insect attack! Over 200, close to 250 young schools girls aged be between 11 and 15 are stock piled in trucks and are taken through motorable road networks, driven past a security checkpoint and diverted into a bush path and no one noticed the unusual excursion. That leaves an unsavoury taste in the bud. They could have cat walked past manned checkpoints, chaperoned by Boko Haram, for all anyone cared. With due apologies to good, dedicated and committed officers and men of the nation’s various security agencies, it is not enough to announce that terrorism has infiltrated the rank and file of Nigeria’s security personnel list, it is high-time to start sifting the chaff from the wheat. There shouldn’t be any politicking in this particular one. It is either there is a security mechanism or there is not, in which case Nigerians could, under the covering of relevant legislation, be free to take up arms and do this watch-night properly with God as

a perfect ally. The announcement, two days back, that some of the arrested armed men in Chibok had confessed to being members of terrorist groups, is, to say the least, stating the obvious; it is a belated form of damage control because the very moment some of the girls who escaped mentioned that armed ‘security operatives’ were on the same path where the trucks trode, then the fear factor gasps couldn’t be contained any longer. Uptil this moment, the sighs, hisses, gasps, moans and out cries continue endlessly. Hundreds of innocent daughters are still

FEMINIQUE With IJEOMA UMEH email: Tel: 08182382839 As at yesterday women have also mobilized, God help them, to storm the forest in search of their daughters; we pray for their safety, and implore government to watch their back, if that is a good idea. Agreed, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has in manner that suggests confession and anticipated penance, declared that there are terrorists even in the Federal Cabinet, however, cleansing follows a good penance. It is time to cleanse the system from inside out, and if any government agency needs to be sent to purgatory, it’s the nation’s security agencies, the whole of them. Jonathan should keep politics aside and work! Our good friend, the Inspector General of Police,

President Goodluck Jonathan

missing. It was gathered that over 200 fathers had, in a self-help bid, mobilized and stormed the Sambisa forest regions in that area of Chibok where some of the girls had escaped through crooked paths, but the search party couldn’t see the end of the search terrain from the beginning. They returned, to seemingly endless uncertainty. We also hear of search and rescue operations from various security agencies which apparently did more aimless searching than worthwhile rescuing. Nothing seems to be working.

“It is our hope that as he mobilizes action to meet action, his score card would read that for the first time in the nation’s history, the police was not only on top of crime and criminality situations, but unraveling the mysteries surrounding them, even the uncertain aura around terrorism. It is also our hope that his score card would bear the credit for the safe rescue of over 200 young school girls.”

M.D. Abubakar wore a somber look, infact, he looked as if he was pelted by fragments of the Nyanya Park explosives during the on-the-spot assessment with the President that fateful day; the look got at us, but our prayer however is that he should translate the pain and bitterness on his face that his heart alone couldn’t contain into concrete action on squaring up with the security dilemma in Nigeria. It is our hope that as he mobilizes action to meet action, his score card would read that for the first time in the nation’s history, the police was not only on top of crime and criminality situations, but unraveling the mysteries surrounding them, even the uncertain aura around terrorism. It is also our hope that his score card would bear the credit for the safe rescue of over 200 young school girls. While we await action to be expedited on that very important issue, even in baited breaths, let us come before the Lord our Maker whose mercies are sure, and in broken and contrite heart ask Him to Arise and help us. By now, our backs should be broken enough for our knees to bend before Him! Let’s Pray!

Issues Opinion Oshiomhole Will Produce Next Governor Of Edo State -Prince Shaka Momodu

PRINCE Udo Shaka Momodu is the Chairman of the Edo State Taskforce on Illegal Structures in the present administration led by Comrade Adams Aliu Oshiomhole. He is the president of Lookwell Truth Organisation and the former Director of Operation Clean Edo state. He is an activist to the core and believes in good governance which is the ingredient to the development of any society He has won awards from notable Nigerians and Institutions. In this chat with The Nigerian OBSERVER, Prince Udo Shaka Momodu bares his mind on the need and essence of pulling down illegal structures obstructing the right of way or structures built under high tension cables that can be dangerous to the life of people and also to maintain the master plan and sustain the beautification and development being witnessed in the state. He spoke on the challenges facing the Taskforce, the need for Edo Central to produce the next governor of the state because of their high intellectual capability which is a requirement for purposeful leadership. These and many more other interesting issues are here for your reading delight as anchored by Friday Obanor and Richard Eweka. Excerpts:As Chairman of Taskforce on Illegal Structures, what has been your impact on the state since you assumed office? We have worked tremendously in line with the goals to maintain the master plan, sustain the beautification and enhance developmental achievements of the present government led by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. We have been working very hard to ensure that all illegal structures built on the right of way as well as those built under high tension cables which pose a risk for citizens of the state are removed to sustain the master plan of the state. This act will go a long way to help the state and keep her citizens safe from electrocution. We also advise those building or want to build to go to the urban development to get the necessary guidance. Are people complying and cooperating with your committee when they are asked to remove their structures? Yes they do. They have no choice but to comply and cooperate with us when their buildings have been marked for remover. We give them time to remove their structures and at the expiration of the deadline, we move in ourselves to remove the structures which they will be asked to pay for since they refused to remove them before the expiration of the deadline. Is there any political consideration on your line of duty? No, there is no political

consideration in the course of doing our job and doing what is right. We do our job as it is expected of us. We do not take into consideration political affiliation, once your building violates the laid down rules and needs to be removed we will follow the procedure of removal and we eventually remove such structures without fear or favour. The governor gave us a serious warning never to use this body for witch hunting or vengeance but rather follow the purpose of establishment. We favour no one; we do to one what we do to the other. Those houses whose owners need compensation are adequately compensated before their houses are destroyed especially those that need to be remove for road expansion. We don’t just go to destroy other people’s property, we are humans and have feelings and don’t take delight in inflicting pains on people. We know what it is to build a house so we take time and caution to do what we do to ensure justice and equity prevail in all our dealings in carrying out our job. We are aware that you are now in the Ugbiyoko axis, what is going on there? Yes, we are there now to do our job, nothing more, nothing less. Any house on the right of way or under high tension wires must go. Those obstructing the on-going construction must also give way for the construction to continue for the benefit of the people of the state. In all, we put the people in mind and don’t just go indiscriminately destroying people’s homes. Is this body set up to generate revenue? No, it is not. We are not set up to generate revenue for the government. We are there for the good of the people and ensure that illegality does not thrive in the state. As Taskforce established by government, we are there to put things right for a better and a well organised society, We can not live in a state where houses are built on the right of way, built on the moat or flood channels. All these are what we are out there to correct and ensure we have a well organised society where life is worth living. Flood water must flow freely to its destination unobstructed by illegal buildings. Some people build on the right of way and they are pardoned, why? That is not true. Whoever is saying that is peddling wrong information. There is no preferential treatment on this matter; if your house is located in the wrong place and violates the laid down procedures, such structures will go no matter who owns it. You must build according to specification and there are no two ways about it. The state has a master plan and it is important to follow it while erecting your structure. Do you give enough notice before houses are destroyed?

Yes we do. Like I said before, we don’t just go about destroying people’s property even if you have violated the rules. We give enough notice to owners of buildings before we come to remove them. Before destroying, we let the people know what they have done wrong and why the buildings need to give way. In all, we follow the legal procedure to do what we do. We will do this across the state, we are now in the Edo South, and we will go

are you handling this situation? I don’t like criticising those that are ahead of me, I don’t and will not criticise them. We are handling all criticisms with wisdom, doing everything to carry the people along. We are not perfect but we are doing our best to avoid litigations. When it comes, we are equal to the task, it must come but we will handle it wisely and ensure justice is done and due process is followed.

etc. Comrade Oshiomhole has moved the state forward and as such, I decided to join him to move the state to a greater height. Six years gone and two more years to go for the present administration should we ask for a third term for the governor? No. we can’t ask for a third term for the governor because constitutionally it is wrong. The governor has done well in six years. He has transformed the

Are you satisfied with a job of this nature? Yes I’m very satisfied. When you are called upon to do a job like this, you should be happy because out of the multitude you were chosen. When you are doing a job right and following the procedures, you will not feel pain but be happy doing that job. The job is satisfying because I’m doing the right thing and not inflicting pain on people. You are a critic of this administration, why then work for this government? When you see something good you have no choice than to support it. The present administration has done so much for the people of the state. I’m a progressive and love to join the progressive. The governor has transformed the state and has developed all the sectors of the economy in the state. He has built schools, constructed roads; drainages

state and brought the dividend of democracy to the people of the state. I must tell you, Oshiomhole will produce the next governor of the state come the 2016 gubernatorial election in the state who will continue with his developmental projects. He has done well, he has built a vibrant and strong economy for the state and it is important to bring in someone with a vision to continue with the good work of the governor. Looking at the situation in the state, is the party APC still popular? I must tell you this; in a family you don’t expect everybody to be satisfied; same applies to the party. Not everybody in the party is happy or satisfied with the party but the governor is capable of handling the party. The party is still in charge and will continue to be on top even winning the 2016 election. The governor has done well for the state and people don’t know that

Prince Udo Shaka Momodu

to Edo Central, likewise Edo North. We must visit all illegal structures in the state and right the wrong. Is there enough awareness campaign against illegal structures in the state? Yes of course. Our jingles are right now on air. We are embarking on massive campaign through the radio, television, newspaper and fliers. We are going to also embark on house to house campaign to ensure that they get our message on illegal structures. It is important to enlighten the people. The governor has taken this very seriously, Edo state must be kept clean of illegal structures, to achieve this we must spread the message. The message must get to all areas in the state and the Taskforce will equally visit all areas in the state to correct the defect in the state. Before you came in, there were lots of litigations against the former chairman. How

now until he leaves the office before they will know the worth of the Comrade Governor. If PDP is voted in, they will do more damage to the state and be pushing it backward instead of forward. Looking at the fall out from the just concluded congress, don’t you think the party has lost its balance in the state? The party is still in control and the party has not and will not lose its balance in the state. This happens in other parties, the crux of the matter is the ability to handle the situation and the governor is doing just that meeting with leaders in the party to ensure that the party maintains the legacy it has built over the years. This will only make the party stronger than it is now. The governor will produce the next governor that will take over from him and the seat will go to Edo Central because it is the turn of Edo Central to produce the governor of the state. John Oyegun ruled for two years and eight months and Lucky Igbenedion ruled for eight years making it ten years and eight months. Oshiomhole will rule for just eight years while Osareihmen Osunbor ruled for just a year. You see why I said it is still the turn of Edo Central. How will you describe the Nyanyan bomb blast in Abuja? What happened in Abuja is barbaric, inhuman treatment against other fellow citizens. It was very shocking and really unbelievable that we now witness killings everyday in Nigeria. This act has continued for too long and I expect the president and the leaders of this nation to act fast before we are all killed. This is guerrilla warfare that requires lots of concentration to win and the earlier we know this, the better for the nation. These people are not spirits but live with us, it is high time we moved to deal with the situation before they turn Nigeria to a land flowing with tears and blood Can the National conference address the nation’s problem? The national conference can always address our problem as a nation. I once had a family problem and was told that problems will always be with men and will only be over when a man dies. National conference will come and go but we should learn to live as one and in peace and unity. The problem with Nigerians is that we are too greedy. People have big houses that they don’t need, they build houses they have not visited in the past 20 years, what kind of wealth is that? People don’t have shelter yet some people have houses they don’t need. The problem facing us is caused by us. We don’t love ourselves but when we do; Nigeria will be a better place to live in.


What Is Truth? Part 1

AND YE SHALL KNOW THE TRUTH, AND THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE – JOHN.8:32. WHEN Jesus was Himself, because Jesus brought into the judgment says, “I AM THE WAY, hall before Pilate, one of THE TRUTH, AND THE the many questions that LIFE; NO MAN Pilate put to Jesus was this COMETH TO THE question from John18:38; FATHER, EXCEPT BY and I quote “Pilate saith ME” John 14:6. unto Him, What is truth?” Knowing this Truth, is to Many Christians to-day, be made free from may be wondering in their “FALSEHOOD” which is hearts like Pilate, what this ONE WORD for all the Truth is all about. Why did lies of satan, whom Jesus Jesus Christ say we shall Christ calls the father of all know the truth and it shall lies; further more Jesus make us free? And that is Christ tells us emphatically exactly the subject-matter that anyone who does not of this publication; the abide in this truth is a child Holy Spirit, the Spirit of of the devil, and will Truth, will help us to always do the lusts of his understand what this Truth father, the devil as in John actually means. The 8:44; “Ye are of your natural man, like Pilate father the devil, and the will understand this Truth lusts of your father ye will to mean “NOT TO do. He was a murderer DENY” any allegation of from the beginning, and any particular crime or abode not in the truth, offence committed. But because there is no truth in this is not the kind of truth him. When he speaketh a Jesus was talking about. lie, he speaketh of his own: Jesus is talking about the for he is a liar, and the Truth, without which, no father of it.” Christian can enter Now, to answer the heaven. He is talking question – What is Truth? about the Truth, which Jesus Himself has points the way to eternal provided the answer for all life. The Truth He is Christians, and so there is talking about is actually no cloak for their sin any

more. And the answer is found in the book of John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy WORD is TRUTH”. To sanctify means to free one from sin or evil, to make sacred or holy, or to setapart for a sacred use. And whatever will make one holy or pure, must first be pure and clean, without dirt and without any pollution. By this definition given by Jesus Christ, the Truth, therefore, is the clean, pure, and undiluted word of God that makes us free from sin and evil, and which makes us holy. Jesus also calls it clean water in Ezekiel 36:25 and I quote; “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.” The Truth is the clean water, that cleanses Christians of all their filthiness and from their idols, because no filthy or unclean person, or a Christian whose heart is full of idols, can enter the kingdom of heaven. Apostle Paul also refers

“The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, will help us to understand what this Truth actually means. The natural man, like Pilate will understand this Truth to mean “NOT TO DENY” any allegation of any particular crime or offence committed.”



“And so the devil deceives many ministers and children of God to add or to subtract from the Truth, giving birth to falsehood. Many of the religious practices and teachings that go on in some Churches to-day are either additions to or subtractions from the word of the prophecy of the Book of Life, where this truth is found.” to the Truth as clean water in Ephesians 5:26, “That He (Jesus) might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word”. This means that FALSEHOOD, (the lies of satan) is the UNCLEAN WATER that makes the soul and spirit of Christians dirty, polluted and unfit for heaven. And what the devil does to the pure word of God to make it falsehood is to either subtract from or add to the truth; for example, in Matthew 4:6, I quote; “ And he (satan) said unto Him (Jesus), if thou be the son of God cast thyself down, for it is written, He shall give His angels charge over thee … LEST AT ANY TIME, thou dash thy foot against a stone”. The devil quoted Psalm91:11-12, but he added the words ‘at any time’ which are not in Psalm 91:11-12, and therefore distorted the spiritual application of the message. It is only the Truth that exposes the lies of the devil. It is the Truth that enables the heavenbound child of God to try

all spirits, to know if they are of God, because the children of God are warned not to believe every spirit 1John 4:1. And so the devil deceives many ministers and children of God to add or to subtract from the Truth, giving birth to falsehood. Many of the religious practices and teachings that go on in some Churches to-day are either additions to or subtractions from the word of the prophecy of the Book of Life, where this truth is found. It brings the congregation under God’s judgment and makes them lose eternal life as written in Revelation 22:18-19; “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this Book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this Book. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy

City, and from the things which are written in this Book.” Any addition or subtraction from the words of the prophecy of this Book, which is the Truth, leads to wrong teachings as well as wrong practices in the church. Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 13:11; and I quote “Because it is given unto you to know the Mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given” Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 13:11; and I quote “Because it is given unto you to know the Mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given”. And this is the Truth. It is only given to a privileged few, who have found grace in the sight of God to understand through the Holy Spirit these deep things hidden inside the Bible. TO BE CONTINUED. COURTESY: REV. OLU GEORGE CHRISTIAN GOSPEL CHURCH (The Truth Centre)

Economy Strengthening MSMEs Via National Enterprises Development Programme By IBRAHIM MAMMAGA

BY most accounts, the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) and the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP) are aimed at spurring the growth of the Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) sector. The two programmes were launched by President Goodluck Jonathan on Feb. 11 in Abuja. Jonathan said at the inauguration that the programmes, particularly the NIRP, would provide a comprehensive roadmap for transforming the nation’s industrial landscape, boosting skills’ development and enhancing job creation, among others. According to him, NEDEP alone is capable of creating 3.5 million jobs across the country by reinforcing the activities of MSMEs. Besides, Jonathan observed that NIRP would boost the revenue of Nigerian manufacturers, while fast-tracking the country’s economic and industrial growth. “ NIRP and NEDEP are targeted at transforming Nigerian businesses and changing the lives of the ordinary people. “The programmes will accelerate inclusive growth and job creation, while stemming the drain on our foreign reserves caused by importing what we can produce locally. “NEDEP has placed micro, small and medium enterprises at the centre of our national economic policy; our vision is to take this new model for national enterprise development to all the 774 local

governments in our country,’’ he said. Pledging the Federal Government’s commitment to the programmes, Jonathan said that his administration would set up a council, comprising the federal, state and local governments, to regulate the activities of small and medium enterprises across the country. “We will not only sustain the momentum of the NIRP and NEDEP programmes but we will also expand their impacts and reach,’’ he added. Judging by economists’ assessment, the MSMEs sector is one of the most important sectors of Nigerian economy. Analysts argue that the sector comprises a greater percentage of businesses in Nigeria and contributes 75 per cent of the country’s employment. Available data from the National Bureau of Statistic also indicate that out of the 17.2 million MSMEs in the country, over 17 million of them are micro enterprises. Observers insist that in spite of challenges facing the growth of MSMEs in the country, the sector contributes about 75 per cent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and provides jobs for many Nigerians. Analysts, therefore, agree that a nurtured and well-structured MSMEs sector can contribute more significantly to employment generation, wealth creation, poverty reduction and sustainable economic growth

in the country. They, nonetheless, call for the introduction of pragmatic measures to address some of the challenges hindering the growth of MSMEs in the country. However, Alhaji Bature Masari, the Director-General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), says that NEDEP was initiated to address some of the challenges. According to him, NEDEP is planning to generate about five million direct and indirect jobs between 2013 and 2015. “The entrepreneurship training/business development service component is being implemented on the platform of ‘One Local Government; One Product’. “The access to finance component is overseen by the Bank of Industry (BOI), while the skills acquisition programme is handled by the Industrial Training Fund (ITF). “The ‘One Local Government; One Product’ programme is guided by research that is based on the experiences of successful similar enterprise development initiatives in Africa and Asia and pilot projects in Kano State and Niger,’’ he says. Masari says that SMEDAN recently conducted sensitisation/ needs’ assessment programme in 22 states, adding that agro-allied products were selected in each of the local government areas of the selected states, based on their comparative and competitive advantages.


Nigeria Must Surely Rise Again!

NIGERIA is facing a lot of challenges such as the Boko Harram attack, kidnapping, robbery attacks, insecurity of all kinds and now, bomb blast. With these challenges one may ask, is there any hope for Nigeria? Who says Nigeria will rise again? When will Nigeria rise again? Who will bring Nigeria back to its lost glory? What is the sign that will make one believe that one day Nigeria will rise? The death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is the best and only answer to the problem of Nigeria. If Jesus could rise again then Nigeria will one day rise again. I may not know when or how but with my faith in the resurrection, I have no doubt whatsoever that this nation will arise and live out its purpose of existence. No one ever believed that Jesus will rise again. Those who crucified him were not crucifying him for him to rise again. They wanted him to remain in the grave forever. In fact, after death, the chief priest and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ Therefore, order the sepulcher to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” Pilate permitted them saying, “You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went and made the sepulcher secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard (Matthew 27:62-66). So, for them they were not expecting Jesus to rise again. They did everything humanly possible to keep Jesus in the grave. For Jesus, his death and resurrection was not by chance. He knew quite well that one day he will be crucified and on the third day he will rise again. Before his death he told his

disciples, “The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised” (Luke 9:22). Jesus was hundred percent certain of his resurrection. For him whether the devil like it or not, no matter what the enemies are planning or doing against him he knew that he will not remain in the grave forever. He will surely rise again. That was exactly what happened. Even before his resurrection, his executioners started confessing that Jesus was the Son of God. “When the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that he thus breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39). Imagine, Jesus performed so many miracles in the bible but none of them convinced his opponents, not even when he raised Lazarus, a man who died and was buried after four days, from the dead. The miracles of Jesus did not convince his opponent that he was God. What actually convinced them was his manner of death. The death of Christ on the cross brought reconciliation between heaven and earth; between God and humanity. Just before his death, Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed his last and the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom (Mark 15:38). This was the veil covering the sanctuary; it was also the veil covering divinity and humanity. It was this veil that separated human beings from paradise after the sin of Adam and Evil. Symbolically, this veil represents the wall that separates God from human beings. It was never the intention of God to separate himself from humanity. It was actually the sin of Adam and Eve that created this barrier. The moment

they ate the forbidden fruits they were driven out of paradise (Gen 3:22-24). The death of Jesus Christ on the cross brought total reconciliation between God and human beings. Man is no longer separated from paradise.

showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. (John 20:20). Jesus predicted this joy while he was still with them; he told them, “A little while, you will see me no more; again a little while, and you will see me… Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice;


Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. But God raised him up, having loosed the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it” (Acts 2:22-24). For Peter, it was simply impossible for Jesus to remain in the grave forever. God must surely raise up. Which He did; Alleluia! Child of God, do you now see the reason why I said at

remain in the grave forever. It is also impossible for Nigeria to remain in distress forever. God must surely deliver Nigeria from bondage. God must surely answer the prayer of the Holy Father. Yes, whether the devil like it or not, Nigeria must surely rise again!

the beginning of this reflection that our nation Nigeria must surely rise again? No matter what the enemies are doing? No matter what the politicians are doing and saying. when the appointed time comes what God said will must surely be. God has already decreed that our nation, Nigeria must surely rise again. Nigeria was one of the few countries that the Holy Father Pope Francis prayed for last Sunday during his Easter massage. He noted Nigeria as one of the countries that are facing terrorists’ attacks. This observation of the Holy Father is correct. Any time you torn on your television Nigeria must appear on the headline, if it is not terrorist attack it is kidnappers who are holding students hostage. Even with all these calamities, I still believe there is still hope for Nigeria. As Peter the head of the Apostles said, it was impossible for Jesus to

Is it barrenness? Is it poverty? Are you among those suffering because of unemployment? Are you facing one sickness or another? What exactly is causing fear and worry in your life? Is your family suffering as a result of broken home? Then don’t worry! Jesus has come to console you. He has come to deliver you from bondage. His resurrection is enough consolation and assurance for you. If Jesus could rise again, my dear, you will surely rise again! With the resurrection of Christ, your battle is over! Your sickness is over! Even your death is over! You will not die prematurely. You will surely live to testify the goodness of the Lord. And when the Lord says yes no one can say no. Jesus said it is finished! And it is truly over! No more sorrow, no more weeping. Child of God, cry no more; your redeemer liveth! I wish you a very happy, happy Easter celebration – From Rev. Fr. John Damian Adizie of the Holy Spirit, OCD.

Child of God, what are your own personal challenges in life? What are those things that are causing sleepless nights in your life?

Scene of Nyanya bomb blast Apart from this reconciliation the next thing the death of Jesus did for humanity was the restoration of hope. After the death of Jesus the disciples lost hope. They thought Jesus was the one that would have saved them but with the death of Christ it was as though all hope was lost. They did not even know what to do with themselves. The death of Jesus brought fear into their lives. All they could do was to lock themselves up in a room for fear of the Jews (John 20:19). On the evening of the day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” when he said this, he

you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.” (John 16:20). That was exactly what happened after the resurrection of Christ. As soon as the disciples saw the risen Christ they were filled with gladness. They started singing Alleluia. They were no longer afraid of the Jews. The resurrection of Christ gave them extraordinary confidence. Peter, an ordinary fisher stood up and started preaching to the learned one in Jerusalem. He told them, “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs which God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know – this

“The death of Christ on the cross brought reconciliation between heaven and earth; between God and humanity. Just before his death, Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed his last and the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom (Mark 15:38). This was the veil covering the sanctuary; it was also the veil covering divinity and humanity. It was this veil that separated human beings from paradise after the sin of Adam and Evil..”

International Features 3 Americans Killed In Kabul Hospital Attack KABUL - Three Americans were killed yesterday when a security guard opened fire at an international hospital in the Afghan capital Kabul, the U.S. embassy said, in the latest of a series of attacks against foreign civilians in

the country. “We can confirm three Americans were killed,” said an embassy official, without providing further details. An interior ministry official said at least one other person, a female nurse, was wounded.

Airstrikes Kill Police Officer


French President Fancois Hollande (left), shakes hands with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk prior to meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris yesterday.

Earthquake Shakes British Columbia

VANCOUVER (Canada) An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.6 rattled the coast of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island on Wednesday evening and was felt by hundreds of people in dozens of cities in Canada and the United States, the U.S.

Geological Survey said. There were no reports of injuries or damage and no tsunami warning was in effect, the National Tsunami Warning

Center said. The quake, at a depth of 7.1 miles, struck at 8:10 p.m. local time (0310 GMT). It was 58.4 miles south of Port Hardy,

Canada, which is about 300 miles northwest of Seattle. The U.S. Geological Survey said nearly 800 people reported feeling the quake in dozens of cities, including Vancouver and Seattle. It was followed by aftershocks with magnitudes of 5.0 and 4.2.

Sudan Seeks Probe Into Killing Of dimension, Nationals pitting President UN statement said. KHARTOUM - Sudan In Khartoum, Sudan’s foreign In S/Sudan Salva Kiir ’s Dinka people called yesterday for an against militia forces from ministry spokesman Abubakr alinvestigation into the battling rebels loyal to sacked “assassination” of its nationals in a South Sudan oil town, where the UN has accused rebels of killing hundreds of civilians. “The foreign ministry condemns assassination of the Sudanese nationals in Bentiu and calls for urgent investigation”, the official SUNA news agency said in an SMS alert. The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said on Monday that both South Sudanese and Sudanese — some from Sudan’s Darfur region — were killed in “targeted killings” after rebels took Bentiu, the capital of South Sudan’s oil-rich Unity state, from government forces last week. In the main mosque alone, “more than 200 civilians were reportedly killed and over 400 wounded,” UNMISS said. Civilians including children were also massacred at a church, hospital and an abandoned UN World Food Programme compound, it said. “They (the rebels) searched a number of places where hundreds of South Sudanese and foreign civilians had taken refuge, and killed hundreds of the civilians after determining their ethnicity or nationality,” a

Siddiq told AFP it was not yet clear how many of the victims were Sudanese. “Let us say dozens,” he said, adding Khartoum is in contact with the UN over the incident. The UN called for an investigation into one of the worst reported atrocities since fighting erupted in South Sudan last December. Government forces are

vice president Riek Machar, who launched a renewed offensive this month targeting oil fields. The rebels have dismissed as “cheap propaganda” accusations that, after seizing Bentiu, the gunmen spent two days hunting down those they believed opposed them. The conflict has an ethnic

Machar’s Nuer. South Sudan became independent from Khartoum less than three years ago. Western governments have commended Sudan’s role in supporting regional efforts to bring peace to the South. Kiir visited Khartoum in early April for talks with his counterpart President Omar alBashir.

KARACHI, Pakistan - A bombing in southern Pakistan killed a police officer known for his anti-militant campaigns and three other people yesterday while army officials said the Pakistani air force carried out airstrikes against insurgents in a northwestern tribal region, killing 16 militants. The airstrikes pounded two militant hideouts in a remote area of Tirah Valley in the Khyber tribal region near the Afghan border, three military officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media. Two officials said the military acted on intelligence that militants responsible for some of the latest terror attacks in Islamabad and elsewhere were hiding there. They said that apart from the airstrikes, ground troops were also taking part in the operation, which was still underway in Tirah Valley. On April 9, a bomb had ripped through an outdoor fruit and vegetable market on the outskirts of Islamabad, killing 22 people and wounding dozens others. An army officer said the

An Iraqi Policeman stands guard at a checkpoint in Baghdad, Iraq recently. There have been a surge of attacks around the country as Iraq gears up for crucial parliamentary elections April 30.

strikes carried out after confirmation that terrorists involved the recent bombing in Islamabad and attacks on police and security officers in the northwest were hiding there. In the attack in the south, a bomb aimed at officer Shafiq Tanoli exploded in downtown Karachi, said police official Pir Mohammad Shah. The explosion in the port city appeared to be a suicide bombing, Shah said. It killed Tanoli and three other people — the officer’s uncle and two friends — while two other people were wounded, Shah added. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but Shah said Tanoli, who survived several attempts on his life in the past, was targeted for his active campaigning against terrorists. He was advised to take stringent security measures for his own safety. Tanoli was meeting friends and relatives at a shop close to his home when the bomb went off, said another police officer, Nasir Lodhi. He added that police suspected a teenage boy had detonated the explosives tied to his body. Pakistani government has been trying to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban in efforts to end years of fighting that has killed thousands of people. The militants have been fighting to overthrow the government in a bid to install their harsh brand of Islamic Shariah. The Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, announced a one-month ceasefire on March 1 and then extended it for another 10 days. But last week, they said they will not renew the ceasefire though they will still continue the talks with the government. On Wednesday, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan again met clerics representing the Taliban in a bid to resume the dialogue process.

International Obama Reaffirms Commitment To Japan US President Barack Obama assured ally Japan yesterday that Washington was committed to its defense, including of tiny isles at the heart of a row with China, but denied he had drawn any new “red line” and urged peaceful dialogue over the islands. His comments drew a swift response from China, which said the disputed islets were Chinese territory. Obama also urged Japan to take “bold steps” to clinch a two-way trade pact seen as crucial to a broad regional agreement that is a central part of the U.S. leader’s “pivot” of military, diplomatic and economic resources towards Asia and the Pacific. U.S. and Japanese trade negotiators failed to resolve differences in time for Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to shake hands on a deal at the summit. The leaders reported progress, but Japan’s economics minister, Akira Amari, said later that remaining sticking points could not be resolved quickly. Obama, on the start of a fournation tour, is being treated to a display of pomp and ceremony meant to show that the U.S.-Japan alliance, the main pillar of America’s security strategy in Asia, is solid at a time of rising tensions over growing Chinese assertiveness and North Korean nuclear threats. “We don’t take a position on final sovereignty determinations with respect to Senkaku, but historically they have been administered by Japan and we do not believe that they should be subject to change unilaterally and what is a consistent part of the alliance is that the treaty covers all territories administered by Japan,” Obama said. “This is not a new position, this is a consistent one,” he told

a joint news conference after his summit with Abe, using the Japanese name for the islands that China, which also claims sovereignty over them, calls the Diaoyu. “In our discussions, I emphasized with Prime Minister Abe the importance of resolving this issue peacefully,” Obama added. Whilst his comments amounted to a restatement of longstanding U.S. policy, there was symbolism in the commitment being stated explicitly by a U.S. president in Japan. Responding to Obama’s remarks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a daily press briefing in Beijing that the islands belonged to China. “The so-called U.S.-Japan security treaty is a product of the Cold War era and it cannot be aimed at a third party and ought not to harm China’s territorial sovereignty,” he said. “No matter what anyone says or does, it cannot change the basic reality that the Diaoyu Islands are China’s inherent territory and cannot shake the resolve and determination of the Chinese government and people to protect (our) sovereignty and maritime rights.” Obama also said there were opportunities to work with China - which complains that his real aim is to contain its rise - but called on the Asian power to stick to international rules. “What we’ve also emphasized, and I will continue to emphasize throughout this trip, is that all of us have responsibilities to help maintain basic rules of the world and international order, so that large countries, small countries, all have to abide by what is considered just and fair,” he said. Some of China’s neighbors

with territorial disputes with Beijing worry that Obama’s apparent inability to rein in Russia, which annexed Crimea last month, could send a message of weakness to China. Obama told the news conference that additional sanctions were “teed up” against Russia if it does not deliver on promises in an agreement reached in Geneva last week to ease tensions in Ukraine. Obama and Abe also agreed that their top trade aides, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Amari, would keep trying to narrow gaps in their trade talks. “This is not something we can reach a conclusion (on) in a short period of time,” Amari told reporters after meeting Froman again after the leaders’ summit. Abe has touted the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) as key to the “Third Arrow” of his economic program to reinvigorate the world’s thirdbiggest economy, along with hyper-easy monetary policy and fiscal spending. Both sides have also stressed that the TPP would have strategic implications by creating a framework for business that could entice China to play by global rules. But the talks have been stymied by Japan’s efforts to protect politically powerful agriculture sectors such as beef, and disputes over both countries’ auto markets. Pointing to restrictions on access to Japan’s farm and auto sectors, Obama said: “Those are all issues that people are all familiar with and at some point have to be resolved. I believe that point is now.” Experts had said failure to reach a final deal could cast doubts on Abe’s commitment to economic reform and take the wind out of the sails of a drive for a broader TPP agreement.

US President Barack Obama (centre) reviews an honour guard during a welcoming ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo yesterday.

International Ferry Disaster: Divers Continue to Recover Corpses SEOUL - A boy and girl trapped in a sinking South Korean ferry with hundreds of other high school students tied their life jacket cords together, a diver who recovered their bodies said, presumably so they wouldn’t float apart. The diver said he had to separate the two because he could not carry two corpses up to the surface at the same time. “I started to cry thinking that they didn’t want to leave each other,” he told the Kyunghyang Shinmun newspaper on the island of Jindo yesterday, near where the overloaded ferry went down last week. The parents of the boy whose shaking voice first raised the alarm that an overloaded ferry was sinking believe his body has also been found, the coastguard said. The parents had seen his body and clothes and concluded he was their son, but he has not been formally identified. More than 300 people, most of them students and teachers from the Danwon High School, are dead or missing presumed dead after the April 16 disaster. The confirmed death toll on Thursday was 171. The Sewol ferry, weighing almost 7,000 tons, sank on a routine trip from the port of Incheon, near Seoul, to the

southern holiday island of Jeju. Investigations are focused on human error and mechanical failure. Prosecutors said yesterday that they had raided two shipping watchdogs, the Korea Shipping Association and the Korea Register of Shipping, as part of their expanded investigation into the disaster. Yonhap news agency said they would investigate whether ship safety certificates were in order. “The objective was to investigate malpractices and corruption in the entire shipping

industry,” Song In-taek, head deputy chief prosecutor at Incheon District Prosecution Service, told reporters. Prosecutors have also raided the home of Yoo Byung-un, the head of a family that owns the Chonghaejin Marine Co. Ltd, the company that operated the Sewol. They had also seized another ferry run by the company to check for safety. Of the 476 passengers and crew on board the Sewol, 339 were children and teachers from the school in Ansan, a gritty suburb on the outskirts of Seoul, who were on an outing to Jeju.

As the ferry began sinking, the crew told the children to stay in their cabins. Most of those who obeyed died. Many of those who flouted or did not hear the instructions and went out on deck were rescued. Some of the bodies had their hands held tightly like foetuses to try to keep warm, a newspaper said. Classes at the school resumed yesterday with banks of floral tributes surrounding photos of each of the victims, dressed in their school uniforms. Almost 250 teenagers and teachers at

the school have died or are presumed dead. Fellow students filed past, offering white chrysanthemums in somber tributes. Yellow ribbons, with names and messages inscribed, were tied around a chain-link fence. In the classrooms of the missing, friends posted messages on desks, blackboards and windows, in the days after disaster struck, asking for the safe return of their friends. “If I see you again, I’ll tell you I love you, because I haven’t said it to you enough,” read one. The school provided therapy

sessions for the children as they returned. The first distress call from the sinking vessel was made by a boy with a shaking voice, three minutes after the vessel made its fateful last turn, a fire service officer told Reuters. The boy called the emergency 119 number which put him through to the fire service, which in turn forwarded him to the coastguard two minutes later. That was followed by about 20 other calls from children on board the ship to the emergency number.

boom is attracting new scrutiny at a time of severe cuts in U.S. defense budgets that have some questioning Washington’s commitments to its Asian allies, including some who have lingering disputes with China. Beijing’s newfound military clout is one of many issues confronting President Barack Obama as he visits the region this week. Washington is faced

with the daunting task of fulfilling its treaty obligations to allies such as Japan and the Philippines, while also maintaining cordial relation with key economic partner and rising regional power China. China’s boosted defense spending this year grew 12.2 percent to $132 billion, continuing more than two decades of nearly unbroken double-digit percentage

increases that have afforded Beijing the means to potentially alter the balance of power in the Asia-Pacific. Outside observers put China’s actual defense spending significantly higher, although estimates vary widely. Increases in spending signal “strength and resolve to China’s neighbors,” requiring other countries to pay close attention to where Beijing is assigning its resources, said China defense

expert Abraham Denmark, vice president for political and security affairs at the U.S-based National Bureau of Asian Research. At the same time, the U.S. military is seeking to redirect resources to the Asia-Pacific as it draws down its defense commitment in Afghanistan, although officers warn that budget cuts could potentially threaten plans to base 60 percent of U.S. naval assets to the region. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert recently warned that U.S. capabilities to project power “would not stay ahead” of those of potential adversaries, given the fiscal restraints. Meanwhile, China’s navy is rapidly developing into a force to contend with the U.S., long the dominant military player in the Asia-Pacific region. China commissioned its first aircraft carrier — a refurbished Ukrainian hull — in 2012, and another two indigenous carriers are expected to enter service by 2025, significantly increasing Beijing’s ability to project power into the South China Sea that it claims virtually in its entirety. Analysts say China will have as many as 78 submarines by 2020, part of an expansion that has seen it leap past the U.S. and Russia in numbers of warships delivered annually, according to experts and available figures.

China Splurging On Military As US Pulls Back QINGDAO, (China) China’s navy commissioned 17 new warships last year, the most of any nation. In a little more than a decade, it’s expected to have three aircraft carriers, giving it more clout than ever in a region of contested seas and festering territorial disputes. Those numbers testify to huge increases in defense spending that have endowed China with the largest military budget behind the United States and fueled an increasingly large and sophisticated defense industry. While Beijing still lags far behind the U.S. in both funding and technology, its spending

Obama Threatens Russia With More Sanctions

TOKYO - Accusing Russia of failing to live up to its commitments, President Barack Obama warned Moscow yesterday that the United States has another round of economic sanctions “teed up” — even as he acknowledged those penalties may do little to influence Vladimir Putin’s handling of the crisis in Ukraine. Obama’s frank pessimism underscored the limits of Washington’s ability to prevent Russia from stirring up instability in Ukraine’s east and exerting influence over elections scheduled for next month in the former Soviet republic. A diplomatic accord that offered a glimmer of hope for a resolution to the tense dispute is crumbling, and Russia has warned of a firm response if the country’s citizens or interests in Ukraine are attacked. With no appetite in the U.S. for a military response, Obama is largely banking on Putin, the Russian president, caving under a cascade of economic sanctions targeting his closest associates. But the success of that strategy also

depends on European nations with closer financial ties to Moscow taking similar action despite their concern about a boomerang effect on their own economies. “I understand that additional sanctions may not change Mr. Putin’s calculus,” Obama said during a joint news conference in Tokyo with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “How well they change his calculus in part depends on not only us applying sanctions but also the cooperation of other countries.”

Deputy Secretary of State William Burns arrives at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva.

US Considering Sanctions Over South Sudan Massacre

NAIROBI - The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday viewed “horrific pictures of corpses” from the scene of last week’s massacre in South Sudan and discussed taking actions that could include sanctions, diplomats said. The U.N. has said hundreds of civilians were killed in the massacre last week in Bentiu, the capital of oil-producing Unity state. The top U.N. aid official in South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, has said “piles and piles” of bodies were left

behind. Security Council members watched a video showing bodies lining a street and the interior of a mosque where civilians had sought shelter from rebel forces taking control from government troops amid ethnic tensions in the world’s newest country. “Horrific pictures of corpses,” France’s ambassador to the U.N., Gerard Araud, tweeted from the meeting. “No

place safe for refugees.” U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous said the “cycle of violence must stop immediately” and warned that a “humanitarian catastrophe will become even more a certainty” if it doesn’t. Because of the months of fighting, more than 1 million people have fled their homes. With few residents tending crops, U.N. officials say the country faces a severe risk of

famine in the months ahead. Araud told reporters, “I think we are ready to go down the road of sanctions.” In a tweet after the meeting, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power called for sanctions on “political spoilers and those who target civilians.” President Barack Obama earlier this month warned that the United States may levy sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes, on

individuals and entities involved in stoking violence in South Sudan. The massacre has left diplomats and the U.N. mission in South Sudan questioning what to do next. “We have also to face the fact that maybe we can’t cooperate with this government anymore,” Araud told reporters. “Because atrocities are committed by both sides. So I do think we have to have some soulsearching about what should the U.N. do.”

EVERY FRIDAY WEEK 41, 2014 LAST SEASON RESULT Anderson Richwell 1.2. X. Forecast

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Premier League... Premier League...

Moyes Thanks Man Utd Fans

Liverpool Owners Chart Next Season Course

LIVERPOOL boss Brendan Rodgers says the club’s owners are already making plans to build on this season’s success. The Anfield outfit are on course to win their first English title since 1990, holding a five-point advantage over secondplaced Chelsea with three matches to play. Owners Fenway Sports Group recently visited Merseyside to take in a 32 home triumph over Manchester City – a game that has potentially decided the title. And Rodgers says the owners are delighted with the development at Liverpool before stating long-term success was their aim. Rodgers told the Liverpool Echo: “It was great to have the owners over. “It was nice for them because it was such a huge game and obviously it was an emotional time around the Hillsborough anniversary. “I think they saw the development of the club and of the team and they were very complimentary. It’s important for them to see that progress across the football club. “They are absolutely delighted with what they’ve seen over the past 20 months and we talked about how we can keep the club moving forward because that’s vitally important. “It’s been an ongoing process since I arrived here. We don’t want it to be just for this season, we want to sustain it over a longer period. “That’s something that

was pretty clear for us all in the discussions we had when I came in. We wanted to establish something that would be in place for a long time.” Rodgers also hinted at a busy close-season in the transfer market as Liverpool prepare for a return to the Champions League. Liverpool’s campaign has been aided by a lack of European football and Rodgers knows additions are necessary to cope with the demands it will bring next term. “If you want to be challenging on all fronts then you need depth in all departments,” he added.

Title Race Will Go To The Wire - Pellegrini

MANCHESTER City boss Manuel Pellegrini does not feel the Premier League title will be decided by Liverpool’s clash with Chelsea. other two games will be Pellegrini is still holding out very difficult for them. “In the end, if you have a hope his side can win the league, a prospect that has mathematical chance to become increasingly unlikely win, football will never say it is final. They are two in recent weeks. City – six points behind important games on Sunday, table-toppers Liverpool and but both teams have to win with a game in hand – need their other games as well.” Pellegrini feels the club Chelsea to win at Anfield on Sunday but will be anxious have been hard done by with after manager Jose Mourinho their fixture list, with runs hinted at fielding a weakened in the League Cup - which side to help the Blues’ they won – and FA Cup as well as inclement weather Champions League push. If Chelsea do beat Liverpool, giving them multiple games and City succeed in all their in hand. “For us all season it has remaining games, they can win the Premier League and been very difficult to get to Pellegrini told the Manchester the top of the league,” he Evening News: “I don’t think added. “If you look at the 34 Sunday will be decisive. “There are a lot of examples games we have played, only in football to say not. If you once or twice were we top remember the last title City of the table. “With three games being won, against United, in the last few minutes, football is never postponed, you don’t have nine points, you still have to finished. “Liverpool could win on win them, so it has been Sunday and then maybe the

Bolton To Rename THE home of Bolton Stadium will be renamed the Macron Stadium in July as part of a it opened as the Reebok new sponsorship deal between the Championship club and the Italian sportswear company. Wanderers announced yesterday morning that Macron had agreed to become their stadium naming rights partners and kit providers as part of an initial four-year agreement. It means that the club’s home ground will change its name for the first time since

Brendan Rodgers

Stadium in 1997. “This is an extremely exciting and beneficial deal for our club,” chairman Phil Gartside told the official website. “We will be proud to carry the Macron brand on our stadium and official merchandise for the coming seasons. We have been very impressed with their passion for football and their ideas to grow our partnership.”

very difficult for our team in motivation, to think we were at the top of the table. “Since we lost against

Liverpool, our future hasn’t depended on what we do, but have a duty to try and win our games.”

Manuel Pellegrini

DAVID Moyes has thanked the Manchester United fans following his sacking on Tuesday and says he is proud to have managed the club in a statement made to the League Managers Association. The Scot said: “To have been appointed as manager of Manchester United, one of the biggest football clubs in the world, was and remains something of which I will always be incredibly proud. “Taking charge after such a long period of continuous stability and success at the club was inevitably going to be a significant challenge, but it was one which I relished and never had a second thought about taking it on. “The scale of the manager’s job at United is immense, but I have never stepped away from hard work and the same applies to my coaching staff. I thank them for their dedication and loyalty throughout the last season. “We were fully focused and committed to the process of the fundamental rebuilding that is required for the senior squad. “This had to be achieved whilst delivering positive results in the Barclays Premier League and the Champions League. “However, during this period of transition, performances and results have not been what Manchester United and its fans are used to or expect, and I both understand and share their frustration. “In my short time at the club I have learnt what special places Old Trafford and Carrington are. I would like to thank the United staff for making me feel so welcome and part of the United family from my first day. And of course thank you to those fans who have supported me throughout the season. I wish you and the club all the best for the future. “I have always believed that a manager never stops learning during his career and I know I will take invaluable experience from my time as United’s manager. I remain proud to have led the team to the quarter finals of this year’s Champions League and I remain grateful to Sir Alex Ferguson for believing in my ability and giving me the chance to manage Manch

Mourinho, Ramires And Faria Charged

CHELSEA manager Jose Mourinho, his assistant Rui Faria and midfielder Ramires have been charged by the Football Association for their actions in last Saturday’s controversial loss to Sunderland. The relegationthreatened Black Cats won the Premier League contest 2-1, ending Mourinho’s 77match unbeaten home league run with the Blues. Mourinho could not hide his anger afterwards behind a sarcastic appraisal of the officials and will now face an improper conduct

charge. The FA confirmed in a statement: “It is alleged that Mourinho’s comments constitute improper conduct, in that they call into question the integrity of the referee appointed to the above fixture and/or the integrity of Mr Mike Riley, General Manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited, and/ or the comments bring the game into disrepute.” Meanwhile, Ramires avoided punishment at the time of his flailing arm striking Sebastian Larsson but now faces a retrospective punishment which could

prematurely end his domestic season and Faria, who was dismissed for angrily confronting the match officials, has two counts of misconduct to answer. The FA statement continued: “In the Premier League, if an incident has not been seen by the match officials, a three-man panel of former elite referees will be asked by The FA to review it and advise what, if any, action they believe the match referee should have taken had it been witnessed at the time. “In this case the panel were unanimous that it was

an act of violent conduct. Further to that, assistant manager Rui Faria has been charged with two counts of misconduct. “It is alleged that in the 83rd minute of the fixture, Faria used abusive and/or insulting words towards the Fourth Official. It also alleged that Faria’s behaviour following the match referee’s request that he leave the technical area amounted to improper conduct. “The FA has designated this as a non-standard case due to the aggressive and/or threatening and/or serious nature of the reported behaviour.”

Juve Europa Win ‘Key For Italian Football THE Italian top flight could fall down the pecking order unless Juve can reach the final, which will be held in their own stadium on May 14. The Portuguese league sits one place behind Serie A in fifth in the current rankings, which is why victory over Liga winners Benfica would be so rewarding. “It is an important game,” Tuttosport reports Italian FA (FIGC) president Giancarlo Abete saying at an event in Rome. “Not only does this tie give [Juve] the chance to reach the final, but our fourth place in the UEFA rankings is at stake. “It’s doubly important not only for Juve, but for the whole of Italian football.” Napoli, Fiorentina or Inter Milan fans are unlikely to admit it, but they too should be rooting for their league rivals on Thursday night.

Had Italian clubs paid a little more attention to Europe’s secondary club competition in recent years, two of them and not just one would be entering the Champions League next season. Serie A lost its fourth starting berth in Europe’s elite club competition two seasons ago, when it was overtaken by the German Bundesliga. While dropping to fifth would have no other consequences than a dent to pride, victory in Europe for Juve would be a timely lift as Italy looks to lift itself out of a rut. “Overall, our clubs have not done all that badly in Europe this season, in that we’ve gained a lot of points for our UEFA ranking, but we’ve lacked that edge which could have permitted us to participate in the final stages of a competition,” added Abete. “Milan’s elimination ensured we did not have

We Won’t Pretend We Respect BVB Says Rummenigge BAYERN Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has stressed that the Bavarians have had enough of the ongoing war of words with Borussia Dortmund and are no longer interested in maintaining a good relationship with their domestic rivals. The relationship between both Bundesliga giants has turned sour in recent weeks following a dispute over Bayern’s +2 million loan to Dortmund when they were being plagued by financial trouble earlier this century, with BVB CEO Hans-

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge

Jaochim Watzke stressing that Bayern did not play a role in the re-emergence of Dortmund as they charged eight per cent interest, while also hitting out at Uli Hoeness. Bayern president Karl Hopfner quickly dismissed Watzke’s claims and the German champions have now had enough altogether. “Bayern Munich are not interested in peace talks and there will be no more dinner meetings,” Rummenigge told Sport Bild. “That means that there will no longer be a dinner with Dortmund directors ahead of our Bundesliga games. “This approach is probably more genuine than meet and act as if you respect each other. “If that means we have a frosty relationship with Dortmund, then so be it. We have been in similar situations in the past with Koln and Werder Bremen. We are not here just to cuddle each other.” Bayern and Dortmund will meet in the DFB Pokal final on May 17.

one Italian club in the quarterfinals of the Champions League. “Evidently we have a big problem being competitive and you can see this most in the Champions League.” Lega Serie A president Maurizio Beretta echoed Abete’s call for the entire country to get behind Antonio Conte’s men in Lisbon. “We all need to support the Italian sides because we’re one step away from winning a major trophy,” he said. “Italian football is behind them because we have the chance to see an Italian club lift a European cup, and I sincerely hope they will.”

FRANZ Beckenbauer has again criticised Bayern Munich’s style of play under Pep Guardiola. Bayern were beaten last night by Real Madrid in the first-leg of their Champions League semi-final despite having the overwhelming majority of possession. But Mundo Deportivo reports that Beckenbauer said

Beckenbauer Lays In To Guardiola on German television that possession is pointless when you can’t break down your opponent - echoing a comment made only a few months earlier. “Bayern played as

expected - with a lot of possession but no bite,” he said. “We can’t win with possession if the opponent creates chances. We can be happy that Madrid only scored once. “They created more danger than Bayern with the most possession. Bayern’s play wasn’t as dynamic as usual and they didn’t press as normal. “It might have surprised Madrid, who were able to change the pace as they wanted. “Madrid have played one of the best games I have ever seen. They were very good tactically and exceeded Bayern with a couple of moments. “Madrid were superior, better, had more spark, and could economise their effort in the League so they were better physically. “The win is deserved for Madrid but we still have the second-leg. It will be difficult but not impossible.”

Franz Beckenbaur

Fast-Breaking Real Home To Elusive 10th European Crown

REAL Madrid took a step closer to an elusive 10th European Cup with a 1-0 home win over Bayern Munich on Wednesday and the Spanish side will hope to finish off the job in Germany having shown how effective they are on the counter-attack. Ronaldo and Gareth Bale Before the match, Bayern were only half-fit, they coach Pep Guardiola had terrorised the German warned that Real were the champions’ backline with world’s best side on the break their surging runs. and even though Cristiano

Cristiano Ronaldo

The duo should be in prime condition for next week’s return Champions League semi-final leg at the Allianz Arena, where Real will hope to enjoy more success on the counter-attack and book a first final appearance for 12 years. “It wasn’t a case of him (Ronaldo) holding back but he wasn’t 100 percent. He did few full-out sprints but for us the most important thing was that he played. He worked hard to be there and we are happy,” Real coach Carlo Ancelotti told reporters after the win at the Bernabeu. Ronaldo had not played since the beginning of April due to knee and hamstring problems and the Italian took him off for the final 20 minutes, replacing him with Bale, who had been suffering from a heavy cold all week. “The substitution was a decision that we took before

I Feel Good - Ronaldo

CRISTIANO Ronaldo has dismissed suggestions he has returned too early from his muscle injury after helping Real Madrid beat Bayern Munich. Ronaldo played just over an hour of the 1-0 win having missed the last three weeks, and Marca reports Ronaldo as saying postmatch that he hadn’t come back too soon. “I didn’t force anything.

I feel good,” the Portuguese insisted. “Some people didn’t want me to play but I did and nothing happened. “I was a little bit worried because it was my first match after three weeks but I didn’t feel any discomfort. I’ll be in perfect condition for the next games.” Ronaldo added that he was pleased with both the

result and the team’s display after Karim Benzema’s goal gave Madrid a first-leg lead. “1-0 in the semi-final of the Champions League is good and we also played well,” the forward said. “If we score a goal there it will make it very complicated for them to go through, so I think we will score and go on to the final.”

the game as the injury risk was higher after an hour of the game because the muscles would be tired,” Ancelotti added. “It worked out fine and it was normal that after 20 days out that you are not 100 percent but he gave his all and will be better next Tuesday as will Bale.” Bayern’s early domination had looked ominous for the hosts but with the German side unable to fashion clear-cut chances, Real’s quick breaks posed a far bigger threat to visiting fullbacks David Alaba and Rafinha pushing up the pitch. By contrast, Real’s own fullbacks Daniel Carvajal and Fabio Coentrao were regularly able to cause problems, getting forward frequently with the latter setting up Karim Benzema for the only goal of the match in the 19th minute. “We had clear chances because this team is formidable on the break. It is normal that against Bayern you counterattack more and to do that you have to defend well,” Ancelotti said. “The higher up the pitch that you defend the better, and in the second half the pressure on us was less,” he added. “I don’t like the other team having the ball but obviously you can’t have it all the time and Bayern have a clear philosophy. “Now the second leg will be difficult. We have to play with confidence and be motivated. Anything can still happen in Munich.”

Roberto Carlos Lauds Neymar ‘Genius’

• Roberto Carlos

BRAZIL legend Roberto Carlos has lauded the “genius” of Neymar and revealed his desire to one day take charge of the Selecao. The hopes of the national side will rest on the shoulders of the Barcelona star at this summer’s World Cup, as Brazil look to lift the trophy on home soil. Carlos, 41, was part of the Selecao side who were crowned world champions back in 2002 after losing the 1998 final to France, and says he is confident the current national side can go

all the way with Neymar in their ranks. He told Bild: “(I think we will win) not only because of the advantage of playing at home, but because Luiz Felipe Scolari changed the way we play football in the Confederations Cup last summer. “Neymar is a genius. He will be a key player at the World Cup. What is most striking about him is his character. Players with good judgement and confidence are needed.” The former Real Madrid

champions’ freshly-signed contract with the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), which brings PSG some 200 million euros a year and allows them to squeeze inside the FFP threshold. Platini suggested PSG may be one of the clubs sanctioned under the new measures, but stopped short of accusing the Ligue 1 leaders of bending the rules in an attempt to swerve sanctions.

“We can’t say that. I’ve spoken to Nasser Al Khelaifi and Jean-Claude Blanc and that isn’t their attitude. They have simply chosen a way to finance their investments and balance their books. But are PSG respecting financial fair play for all that? Not sure. It’s even not sure at all,” the UEFA head explained, adding he felt the measures had already begun to have the desired effect.

defender is now in charge of Turkish Super Lig outfit Sivasspor but revealed he harbours lofty ambitions in his new life as a coach. “The Bundesliga is incredibly sexy, or do you

think Pep Guardiola went over there because Germany has the best beer?! Maybe I will be the first Brazilian to manage a Bundesliga club. He added: “One day I want to manage Brazil.”

Michel Platini Warns Of FFP Sanctions

UEFA president Michel Platini has told Le Parisien the imminent announcement of financial fair play punishments will contain “significant sanctions” for “big clubs” but added there would be no “blood and tears.” UEFA will hand down the first FFP rulings at the beginning of May having held talks with a number of clubs to clarify their financial status, including Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City who have said they are relaxed about the prospect. A major force behind the introduction of the regulations, which seek to improve the perilous economic climate within European clubs, Platini warned certain big-name clubs will find themselves falling foul of the new guidelines. “You’ll see, but I think that significant sanctions are going to hit big clubs. We’re going to see it through,” Platini explained. “The first decisions will be announced at the start of May, but if you are expecting blood and tears, you’ll be disappointed. There will be some hard things, but no exclusions from European competition.” While being kicked out of

• Michel Platini

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has encouraged fans to be optimistic that the World Cup in Brazil will be a success, amid growing concerns over security and public unrest as workers scramble to finish stadiums on time. The Swiss said similar public scepticism had accompanied preparations for previous World Cups and yet the tournaments had proved to be successes, despite not all the work being finished. “It is my 10th World Cup... and I can tell you I have never seen a World Cup that everything is ready, completely ready before the

kick-off,” Blatter told reporters in Hong Kong on Thursday. “Football, with more than 300 million active participants, more than one billion fans, they are now waiting for this World Cup. It is in Brazil, it is a country where football has been, let’s say the best footballers of the world are from. “It will be a great tournament. Be optimistic as we are optimistic, football is optimistic. Football is giving emotions to the world today in this perturbed world we are living in.” Earlier this month, a local

UEFA competition is the ultimate sanction, clubs could be hit by a range of disciplinary measures, such as a fine or a ban on them using new signings in next season’s competitions. The latter eventuality has been evoked for Paris Saint-Germain, whose representatives have been to UEFA HQ to explain their own finances this season. The major question mark hangs over the French

• Neymar

CAF, Morocco Sign Pact For 2015 Cup Of Nations

AFRICAN football’s governing body CAF and the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) have signed the Framework Agreement for the organisation of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, to be hosted by Morocco. According to a CAF statement, the pact was signed in Rabat on Monday by CAF’s 2nd Vice-President Almamy Kabele Camara and the Moroccan Federation by its President, Fouzi Lekjaa. The 78-page document lays

out the legal framework for collaboration between CAF and FRMF. It also defines the responsibilities of each stakeholder and actions to be executed in areas such as marketing, media, transportation, lodging, ticketing, accreditation, security and finances. The signing was the culmination of CAF’s April 14 to April 21 inspection visit, led by Camara, to the host cities of Rabat, Marrakech, Agadir and

Tangier. After the inspection, Camara said CAF was satisfied with the quality of the facilities - stadiums, hotels, roads, and telecommunications. Meanwhile, the Moroccan government, represented by the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Karim Aqary, has reaffirmed the commitment of the authorities to ensuring that the 2015 tournament is a success.

airports are not ready while other promised infrastructure has been shelved. Earlier this month, a twoday police strike led to a surge in violent crime in Salvador, one of 12 cities that will host games in the 32 team tournament. Riots also broke out this week in the tourist hotspot of Copacabana, with gunshots fired, trash and at least one car burned and widespread vandalism reported after residents learned of the death of someone from their community. Blatter dismissed concerns and said similar security

issues were voiced before the last World Cup in South Africa in 2010. “Security is the matter of the government and the state. FIFA can not ensure security. This is part of the commitment of the organising government, in this case the government of Brazil when they have received the World Cup,” the 78-year-old said. “The same time, just four years ago, people were saying that nobody shall go to South Africa. We shall go with bullet-proof jackets because it’s no security. “Please believe me, football, football is stronger

than anybody else, anybody and any other movement in the world.” While Blatter was attending the Hong Kong Football Association’s ceremony to mark their 100th anniversary, about 10 protesters shouted slogans against alleged labour exploitation in the manufacture of World Cuprelated products in developing countries. Asked if he would run for re-election for a fifth term in office next year, the Swiss said “you’ll know more about that” after the FIFA Congress in Sao Paolo on June 11.

World Cup: Blatter Urges Fans To Be Optimistic poll said less than half of Brazilians were in favour of still hosting the June 12-July 13 tournament, believing it would do more harm than good. That opinion in the footballobsessed nation has come after last year’s widespread street protests during the Confederations Cup, with public anger at money being spent on building stadiums rather than improving health care and education. Blatter had said earlier this month that the 2014 World Cup would “be the most successful of all time”, though three stadiums and several


Protecting The Rights Of Nigerian Women

“TOADS for supper” is the title of a book written by Chukwuemeka Ike. The very first time I saw that title, I was repulsed. What is this business of eating toads at super? How disgusting! For me, my reaction was not strange considering that toads are slimy; decidedly ugly squat creatures founded around creeks, ponds and other bodies of water especially the stagnant, smelly ones. I have never found anything attractive, tempting or inviting about toads and I am positive I never will. But these sentiments of mine does not erase the fact that toads for certain people are delicious and very good for food. For some others they are beautiful. I will not be surprised to come across people who go into rhapsodies over toads as the most intelligent animals in the world! Talk about one man’s meat being another’s poison. By the time I finished reading the book, my understanding was: “Toads for supper,” refers to any situation of debasement, indignity, injustice, name it. The negatives are either self-inflicted or othersinflicted. But the good news is that it is a reversible situation based on facts and choices made. Women’s rights issues fall squarely into this. Yes, it is indeed a very big “toads for supper” issues, depending on what side of the divide you are. Women’s rights issues elicit strong responses. For one group there is absolutely nothing wrong with women and

their treatment in our society. For this group the issue of women’s rights is a scandalous piece of frivolity, which the world, and especially Africans, particularly Nigerians can, should and must do without to ensure “even development and progress.” To those on the other side of the divide, the most burning issue in human progress right now is the women question. Until properly addressed, real progress cannot be made in any area. This second school of thought has been vocal and persistent enough to bring gender to the fore of discuss around the globe. Now the two schools of thought have reasons for their positions. The most common of which are: School One: God in his infinite wisdom created the man to be the head and have dominion over the woman. That is why she is the helpmate and “weaker vessel.” Culture, knowing the mind of God has through the socialization process defined the role and positions for the woman beyond which she should not venture. The survival of the family is dependent on the maintenance of this status quo. Any deviation amounts to a departure from the divine will and subsequently a destruction of the family unit. Since the family is the cell of the society, automatically a collapse society is being called for. School two: God made all of us equal.

God is sex-blind and that is why the universal declaration of human rights are just those; human rights, not man’s rights. But overtime, the interpretation and enforcement of these rights have tended towards “ men” not “human.” So comes the

society. Change is constant in human existence. Change, we know does not come easy. It is never wholly acceptable to everyone at the same time because whatever the existing situation, it is beneficial to somebody. Change

By SABINA IDOWU-OSEHOBO hearing? What reasons are behind the voices? What purpose do these voices seek to achieve? How will the dominant voice contribute to building or destroying the fabrics of our society?

• Hajia Zainab Maina, Women Affairs Minister

need to re-orient, interpret and establish women’s rights within the context of women’s humanity. The argument is that not only can this be done without harm to the fabric of society but is essential to ensure the continuation of

again should never be indulged in just for its own sake. The best option is change for the positive. This is the only acceptable change. In the YES to change and NO to change in women’s rights issues, which voice is louder? Whose voice are we

It has been well demonstrated that women’s empowerment and contributions to decision making guarantees progress, development and peace in societies. The reverse of this is the case when women are prohibited from full participation in

all spheres of life of any society. The current situation in Nigeria where women and girls have their rights to bodily dignity and integrity violated routinely as they have become the target of blind, brutal violence alongside the discrimination and injustice which has been their lot will no doubt produce a harvest of greater sorrow for this country. A situation where young girls are abducted from their schools and no doubt abused or even killed, women are raped maimed and nothing seems to happen, no culprits are apprehended not to talk of justice being served is to say the least appalling. What we are seeing now across Nigeria where women and girls are bearing the brunt of the physical, mental and psychological violence of terrorists, insurgents and “normal” males we should not forget that discrimination, and marginalization are also acts of violence against women. Public outcry must be great and government must move beyond “empathy and sympathy” to take concrete action that will protect women and girls and promote their rights.

“To those on the other side of the divide, the most burning issue in human progress right now is the women question. Until properly addressed, real progress cannot be made in any area.”

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Nigerian observer 25 04 2014  
Nigerian observer 25 04 2014  

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