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The Nigerian

PUBLISHED SINCE MAY 29, 1968 PERSONALITY

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Pages 16-17 Celebrating Mega Star At 73

• Vol. 38 NO.430• FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2 014 • N100.00

Ensure credible polls in 2015, US urges FG

ABEOKUTA - The U.S government yesterday urged the Federal Government to ensure that the 2015 general elections were credible. The U.S Ambassador to

Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle, made the call in Abeokuta during an official visit to the state. Entwistle, who was

accompanied by the U.S Consul General, Mr. Jeffery Hawkins, said that his country had interest in Nigeria’s 2015

general elections. He expressed the hope that the elections would be transparent, credible and non-violent. The U.S Ambassador Continues on page 2

Centenary

African leaders praise Nigeria

ART ALIVE

Page 18 Art motivation by the school and teachers

ABUJA - President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia yesterday in Abuja commended Nigeria for its role in liberating her country from the clutches of war. development which Johnson-Sirleaf was seeks to make the speaking at the Nigeria’s country a more Centenary International prosperous and Summit with the theme: “Human Security, Peace and Development: An Agenda for Africa”. She also thanked President Goodluck Jonathan for spearheading various peace and reconciliation missions across the African continent. “In achieving goals set out in ‘Liberia rising 2030’, a long term vision of socio-economic transformation and

inclusive State. “A decade of unbroken and sustained peace was made possible through determined domestic efforts and significant

regional support for which Nigeria was key and international support including a United Nations Peace Keeping mission.” Johnson-Sirleaf, who

narrated the efforts of her administration in ensuring peace, reconciliation and sustained economic development in Liberia, said the administration

was encouraging an allinclusive government to enhance political stability. According to her, after about 10 years of peace, Continues on page 2

... As US-based group opposes celebration By ANDY EGBON BENIN CITY – A United States-based human emancipation action movement, Edo United for Homeland Empowerment, has taken a swipe at the federal government over the centenary celebration, describing it “as scornful, offensive, insensitivity and validation of the evil perpetuated against Edo people” by the British imperial powers. According to the body in a statement made available to newsmen in Benin City, the excitement “about the centennial celebration of the amalgamation of Nigeria

is a cruel joke, remmiscent of the humiliation of Edo people and nation during the British foray which preceded the amalgamation of Nigeria. The statement was signed by Messrs Frank Ekhator HRA, Emmanuel Okunmwendia and Yuonne Omolayo Omoruyi, President, Director of Publicity and Secretary General respectively. The group averred that as a people whose forbearers were brutally denied their God-given rights by being disposed of their naturally acquired resources, the Edo Continues on page 2

TIT BIT

“Even before your accusers, a right attitude and kind words are bound to earn you more friends.”. - Kingsley Ogbeide-Ihama

MEETING: L-R:Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, representative of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), President, Comrade Abiola Olu and NUT State Chairman, Comrade Mike Uhangho during a meeting with NUT and ASUSS leaders in Government House, Benin City recently. Photo: CHARITY OZIGBO-ESERE.

Edo distributes breast cancer kits to women

By ADAMS OYIBOKE BENIN CITY – Edo State Government has distributed Breast Cancer Screening kits worth one Hundred and two million naira to women and NonGovernmental Organisations during a breast screening programme held

yesterday at Government House, Benin City.

Speaking at the occasion wife of the state Deputy Governor,

Deaconess (Mrs.) Endurance Odubu represented by the wife

of the speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, Mrs. Continues on page 2

the State. The Commissioner, for Budget, Planning and Econoic Development,

Hon. Lawrence Aghedo gave the assurance in his office while playing host to members of Nigeria Social Continues on page 2

Govt determined to improve citizens’ welfare

BENIN CITY – Edo State Government has assured of its continuous support and determination to partner with

progressive organizations whose intention is geared towards improving the welfare of the people of


News

African leaders praise Nigeria

Continued from page 1

the risk of going back to war in Liberia is less. She called on African countries to continue to promote economic integration for the general progress of the continent. She condoled with the government and people of Nigeria over the recent killing of some students by members of Boko Haram. Also speaking, the President of Malawi, Mrs. Joyce Banda, praised Nigeria for its contributions towards peace and development on the continent. “Nigeria has taken the lead in bringing peace and stability through peaceful negotiation

in neighbouring countries within ECOWAS. “Nigeria was one of the key players in conflict resolution in Cote d’Ivoire, the Darfur and

Mali.” She, therefore, appealed to Nigeria to keep up its leadership role in Africa. President Jammeh Yahyah

disease has become a dreaded problem among women in Edo State. Mrs. Odubu said, “as a major killer disease like Malaria and HIV/Aids, medical research shows that 22.9 per cent of world women are cancerous.” She commended the effort of the state government in fighting cancer disease and therefore called on women to

listen attentatively to the resource personnel in order to be abreast with methods of examination and medical advice. The Deputy Governor wife who was the special guest of honour urged women and young ladies of 18 years and above to always avail themselves of medical examination as early detection is the only weapon

interested because of expected collateral benefits from inflated celebration contracts at the expense of Nigeria masses. “Nobody can deny or dispute the fact that amalgamation was an imperialist machination of an unwholy adventure to perpetuate British interest to the detriment of African tribal natives”, the group stated. The statement which was the resolution from a two day interactive retreat in Boston, Massachusetts, USA noted that if Nigeria’s birth is worth celebrating, why the agitation and need for a National conference scheduled for later part of the

year? It further noted, “that the desire and urgency to have a national dialogue of the proportion is a testament to the birth defects of this Nation, Nigeria”. “Above all, it is distinctively wrong for any Edo elected politician to endorse the celebration of Nigeria amalgamation” as the humiliation of Oba Ovenramen can never be whitewashed. “We are not asking for post morten sympathy from other ethnicities but all we seek in this matter is empathy and understanding”, the group added.

Edo distributes breast cancer kits to Continued from page 1 for prevention. women Jennifer Igbe said, “Cancer In her address, the Senior

... As US-based group opposes centenary celebration

Continued from page 1

people feel “angered, betrayed, aggrieved and inflamed by the centennial celebration”. “Edo people must never be compelled to relieve or celebrate the trauma of 1897 pillage of Benin empire which was sinisterly designed to pave way for the amalgamation of Nigeria. “We recognise amalgamation as a milestone in Nigeria nationhood; not as a glorious one deserving of a celebration by all Nigerian ethnicities, particularly Edo people. “Most of our people supporting amalgamation celebration are only

Ensure credible polls in 2015, US urges FG

Continued from page 1 also lauded the ongoing infrastructural development in Ogun, describing it as “rapid and impressive”. Entwistle was conducted round Abeokuta where he expressed satisfaction at the quality of infrastructure being put in place by the state government. “What I see is impressive and rapid development in Abeokuta. The roads, the bridges, the flyovers are very impressive”, Entwistle said. He lauded the vision and commitment of the governor, adding that Procter and Gamble, one of the leading firms in the U.S, would open a factory in the state in March. In his remarks, Governor Ibikunle Amosun gave an assurance that his administration would continue

to provide an enabling environment for businesses to thrive in the state. He commended what he

Insurance Trust fund (NSITF) who were on a courtesy visit to his ministry. Hon. Aghedo, while commending the effort of the Trust Fund for the various programmes it was carrying out to protect the welfare of the people of Edo State, stated that his ministry would continue to partner with NSITF in formulating and

described as the “positive and encouraging interest of the international community” in Nigeria’s 2015 general elections.

EFCC cannot probe NNPC Until... ABUJA - The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it is waiting for the forensic audit of the NNPC accounts, before it will commence investigation into the alleged unremitted funds. The EFCC Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Lamorde, made this known in Abuja on Thursday at the commission’s 2014 budget defence before the Senate Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes. Lamorde said investigations into the financial position of the NNPC were technical and required

Govt determined to improve citizens’ welfare

Continued from page 1

of Gambia also lauded Nigeria for her numerous contributions to liberation struggles and peace initiatives in Africa.

Executing programmes that would impact positively on the lives of the people of the State. Earlier, in his speech, Mr. Charles Arijaje, Senior Manager of NSITF informed the Budget Commissioner that the visit was to seek the support and assistance of the State Government to enable the body achieve the set goals of the scheme.

- Lamorde

experts to conduct a comprehensive audit to unveil its true financial position. He said that the outcome of the forensic audit of NNPC would provide the EFCC with the materials to conduct criminal investigation into the accounts of the corporation. “When this controversy started we had about three figures. Now we have settled more or less on 20 billion dollars. “The minister of finance said that they want to commission an audit firm to do a forensic auditing of the finances of the NNPC. “You need a professional firm to handle this. This is not a common investigation. These are very technical things. “Let the audit be carried out. Let’s know exactly what we are talking about, understand what the figures are and criminal investigation can follow. “You can’t start an investigation on nothing. You can’t put a super structure without a base. So, we need that base to put our own investigation on it,’’ he said.

Special Adviser to the Governor on Special Duties and Emergency, Hajia Maimuna Momodu, expressed fear over the alarming rate of cancer disease among women in Edo State. According to her, “I shuddered with fear as a chill went down my spine; one is gripped with fear at the mention of the word cancer, which is a killer disease all over the world. “The disease is responsible for the death of so many people, young, old, rich and the poor. Medical research has revealed that polluted environment, excessive intake of alcohol, smoking of tobacco, salt, sugar and absence of physical exercise as major causative factors of cancer,” she stressed. Hajia Maimuna advised women in Edo State to avoid chemicallised food, live a healthy environment and take regular physical exercise. She commended the various chairperson from the eighteen Local Government Area for mobilising the women who turned out in large member for the screening exercise and urged them to always examine their breasts regularly, saying that “prevention is better than c u r e . ” There were various health tips on how to examine the breast delivered by a facilitator from Amen Foundation led by the founder, Mrs. Mabel Oguntunyinbo. Goodwill messages were also delivered by representatives of the commissioner for Health, Dr. Aihanuwn Eregie; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Director, Minister of Health and Dr. Patrick Okundia, Consultant, Ear/Nose and throat, Chairman Medical and Dental Consultants Association, Health Management Board (HMB), Benin City among others. Speaking with “The NIGERIAN OBSERVER some participants interviewed thanked the State Government for organising the Health tips on early identification of breast Cancer/Cervical Cancer and its medical solutions. They, however promised to carry the awareness campaign to their various local government and communities in order to spread the effects of breast cancer/cervical cancer among women. A total of 1,950 screening kits were distributed to each of the eighteen Local Government Areas and the present Non-government Organisation

College of Agric, Agenebode gets Autonomy By QUEENNETH A. OROBEDO BENIN CITY – Secretary to the State Governor, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere says Edo State government has approved an autonomous status for the State College of Agriculture Agenebode. He revealed this yesterday in Government House while playing host to a delegation of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) Edo State Chapter, who came on a courtesy call. Prof. Ihonvbere said having assumed an autonomous status, professionals will be engaged at the college of Agriculture Agenerbode, to ensure that the purpose of the institution is achieved. The SSG noted that having invested heavily on infrastructure, Agriculture is one of the major area of focus of the 2 nd term of Governor Adams Oshiomhole, as well as small and medum scale enterprises. According to him, through increased budget for Agriculture, tractors will be purchased and machineries put in place for the direct farmers to benefit. Prof. Ihonvbere equally remarked that eleven (11)

investors are already indicating interest in agriculture, but that this is not designed to push away small scale farmers. This he says will also help in job creation particularly for Edo people. “We want farmers to feel the impact of government; we want to be sure of the level of job creation, training and retraining opportunities…, community involvement…, by the foreign investor.” The SSG also charged AFAN to engage government at all levels to ensure improved productivity, he also urged them to help restore the teaching of agriculture and operation of school farms back to its former glory. He promised to assist the association in view of his belief that food security is necessary to guarantee any society. Chairman, AFAN Edo State Chapter, Chief Obasiagbon Emmaunel Odigie, said the visit was to formerly introduce the Association’s new executive elected on 6th July, 2013 to the SSG, being their new patron. He intimated the SSG on some of the challenges facing the Association, ranging from equipping their office to mobility.

Unremitted N23bn

Senate Committee queries BPE ABUJA - The Senate Committee on Privatisation yesterday in Abuja frowned at the Bureau of Public Enterprises’ (BPE) non remittance of N23 billion to the Federation Account. The Sen. Gbenga Obadara (APC-Ogun) led committee raised eyebrows over the non remittance of the funds while the Bureau was defending its 2014 budget estimates before the committee. A member of the committee Sen. Barnabas Gemade (PDP-Benue) said that the act was illegal and unacceptable. “It is very disheartening and wrong that N23 billion is still lingering in accounts within the BPE from proceeds of privatised agencies. “This is illegal as the monies are supposed to be remitted as soon as they come in.” The chairman of the committee, Obadara asked the BPE to make available to the committee evidence for any remittance made to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). “We want to see the documentation of the remittances since you have said six point something is ready to be paid. “Give us that one, then

we start looking at the remaining N18 billion,” he said. The committee also asked that proceeds from the sold enterprises which had not been remitted to the CBN should be used to settle the outstanding liabilities owed Nigerians. The committee noted that some of these Nigerians were seriously languishing in poverty just as others had already died. The committee also summoned the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi OkonjoIweala and the Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Jonah Otunla to appear before it on March 13 for further clarifications. In his response, the Director-General of BPE, Mr. Benjamin Dikki told the committee that the N23 billion was in the custody of the Bureau. Dikki added that plans had been concluded to remit about N6 billion to the Federation Account. He thanked the committee for taking the resolution to use the unremitted funds from the sold enterprises be used to pay Nigerians as some of those owed had been picketing the bureau. The newsmen gathered that the total budget estimates for the bureau for 2014 is about N2.2billion.


Communal Crisis: Police By MIKE OSAROGIAGBON

BENIN CITY -The Commissioner of Police, Edo State Mr. Foluso Adebanjo has vowed to arrest and detain any Chairman of Community Development Association (CDA) whose domain engages in intra or intercommumual crisis. Commissioner Adebanjo stated this at an interactive session with Community Development Association (CDA) Chairmen in Ovia

To Hold CDA Chairmen Liable South-West, North-East Local Government Areas and the Police Commissioner at the State Police Headquarters, Benin City. He appealed to them to assist the police in the fight against crime by forming recognized vigilante groups in their communities. Responding, the CDA Chairman, Iyowa Community and the Vice President Association of

CDA Chairman Empowers Community Youths BENIN CITY – The Chairman of Idokpa Community Development Association (CDA) in Uhumwonde Local Government Area of Edo State, Mr. Nosa Obamwonyi, has described youths empowerment as a progressive factor for sustainable development of any society. Mr. Obamwonyi, stated this in his office in the community, while giving scholarship and financial grants to youths in the community. The CDA chairman posited that no society progresses without the impute of the youths and therefore urged the youths to be more proactive in their inspiration so as to

Inside Edo

earn them empowerment. He specially thanked the community youths for coordinating themselves in a manner to attract the gestures and advised them to judiciously utilize the financial grants to more values to the large society. Speaking with The N I G E R I A N OBSERVER, the community leader, thanked the Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole for promoting a policy of youths empowerment in the state, saying it has reduced crimes to it barest minimum. He urged stakeholders to co-operate in the state to empower youths for greater achievements.

Community Chairmen, Ovia North East chapter, Mr. Etinosa Ighodaro expressed satisfaction over the resolutions reached at the meeting. While urging his colleaques to support the police, Mr. Ighodaro advised them to always listen to elders in their domain, as “only those who do not want to be elders would not listen to elders”. He however pledged to take deliberations at the session to members of his community.

Secretary to Edo State Government, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere (right) welcoming Mr. Mike Obaseki (left), leader of the delegation, APC Ward 3, Ihievbe to Government House, while Chief Yakubu Kadiri (middle) looks on during a courtesy visit in Government House, Benin City. Photo: QUEENETH A. OROBEDO.

EDSG Provides Succour To Rainstorm Victims

OKADA – Edo State government has donated relief materials to victims of the last rainstorm disaster in Uhen Community, Ovia North East Local

Government Area of the state. The materials include bundles of roofing sheets, bags of cement, mattresses, mats and bags of rice.

They were distributed to the victims through the local government authorities. Head of the Local Government Social Development Department,

BENIN CITY – The Nigeria Conflict Resolution and Peace Practitioners Association (NICREPPA) has commended the Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole for his decision not to lay-off any worker in the service of Edo State as a result of

the recent screening exercise conducted in the state. In a statement by its National Co-ordinator, Comrade Igbotako Nowinta NICREPPA said the “decision is most timely, wise, matured and altruistic as there has been palpable fear within the

ranks of Edo State Civil Servants whose names appealed as ‘not cleared’ after the last screening exercise. The association therefore advised civil servants in the state to desist from falsification of their age and other document relating to their official records. “As conflict resolution practitioners, we urge Edo State government to organize periodic in-house training exercise for its work force as against the ‘competence test’ which has generated so much tension among the teachers in the state”, the association added.

Association Commends Edo Govt’s Decision Not To Sack Workers

Mr. Jonah Uwagboe distributed the materials on behalf of the council chairman, Barrister (Mrs) Lucy Omagbon. It was gathered that over 10 residents of Uhen Community were displaced in the May, 2013 rainstorm disaster, a development which prompted the State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to pledge state government’s commitment to assist the victims. The recipients thanked the State Governor for redeeming his pledge to assist them, adding that such response to their plight was a demonstration of government’s concern about the welfare of all. They also commended the council boss Barr Omagbon for the safe delivering of the state government’s message them. “We were surprised to receive an invitation to come for these relief materials, we are grateful to Edo State government”, said one of the victims.

Deaconess Okungbowa Remembered

Secretary to Edo State Government, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere (6th left) in a group photograph with members of APC Ward 3, Ihievbe, while Chief Yakubu Kadiri (middle) looks on during a courtesy visit yesterday in Government House, Benin City. Photo: QUEENETH A. OROBEDO.

BENIN CITY – The family of Okungbowa and Ekhator, both of Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State yesterday remembered their late sister and mother, Deaconess Janet Okungbowa (Nee Ekhator Osayamwen) who passed-on 16 years ago.

A statement by her son, James Enoma Okungbowa indicated that the late Deaconess has been greatly missed. She is fondly remembered by her husband, children and grand-children.


News

LG Boss Inspects Project OKPELLA – The Chairman, Etsako East Local Government Council, Hon. Abdulmalik Suleiman Afegbua, has inspected the ongoing construction of four classrooms block at Udiogiegie Primary School, Ogute – Oke.

The Council Chairmna, who said that he ordered the relocation of the school to a new site three weeks ago, said that the contractor was immediately mobilized to site. Expressing satisfaction with the level of job he promised its

Commissioner Urges Oil Firms To Comply With MoU BENIN CITY- Edo State Commissioner for Special Duties, Oil and Gas, Barrister Isememe lriogbe has urged Oil Producing Companies to adhere strictly to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the companies and its host communities. He gave this advice when the executive members of Izon-Ibe Ogbo Oil and Gas Development Forum paid him a courtesy visit in his office. He urged the Izon-Ibe Ogbo Oil and Gas Development Forum to reside in the state in order to ensure that they are stakeholders of these communities and to relate with the traditional rulers and elders of the communities so as to enable them perform their Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) to the communities. According to him, government can learn from them in implementing the developmental tactics used in Delta State while admonishing them to assist the state in infrastructural development. The chairman of the association, Engr. Felix Boyd, informed the commissioner that the body is an association of elite and conscientious indigenes of Edo state from the Ijaw axis, spanning across Ovia North East, Ovia South West and lkpoba-Okha Local Government Areas of the state, which is not only coastal but oil bearing. He said he was quite aware of government determination to

extend governance through the benefit of democracy to all stakeholders. The chairman stated that the areas have vast and rich natural oil and gas potential tapped and unexploited, which has given Edo State a niche as an Oil producing state, but with observed neglect to the people and area. He added that they would want to be carried along with the stakeholders as is obtainable in other sister states in terms of appointment in boards, committees task-forces and job placements amongst other. The chairman stated that they are ready to enhance government revenue especially through the Oil and Gas Commission.

Defection: ABUJA- The National Secretary of Alliance for Democracy (AD), Mr Rafiu Salau, has urged politicians to always consider the ideology and manifesto of any political party before joining it. Salau made the call in Abuja in an interview with newsmen. He said that defection was a normal trend, but politicians should allow ideologies to be their guiding principle when considering to defect. “Defection is normal in a democratic setting, especially a multi-party state like ours, but party ideology should be considered by politicians in deciding to leave or stay in a political party,” he said. He said his party was

early completion. A teacher in the school, Mrs. Mabel Oba who expressed happiness over the project said that it is glaring to the people that there are politicians who can fulfill their electoral promises. Spokesman for the Community, Mr. Amos Okodo also expressed joy over the project. He maintained that since the chairman was there to inspect the new site three weeks ago, work has commenced up to lintel level, stressing that Hon. Afegbua has builds hope in the people of Udiogiegie. It should be recalled that the council chairman ordered the relocation of the school to a more conducive atmosphere three weeks ago in line with the wish of the people.

Hon. Lawrence Aghedo, Commissioner for Budget, Planning and Economic Development (left) in a chat with Mr. Charles Arijaje (Senior Manager), Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) during a visit to the Commissioner

Mass Education Commission Officers Visit the two days visit to the IGARRA – Inspection team from the National Mass Akoko-Edo Centres centres. The centres were are Uneme Education Commission (NMEC) Ibadan, Oyo State have visited the Adult and Non-Formal Education Centres in Akoko Edo Local

Government Area of Edo State. The team led by the programme officer of the

commission, Mr. Adetayo Adejumo was led by the supervisor for Education Hon. Monday Oseh during

AD Urges Politicians To Consider Party Ideology preparing for the forthcoming governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun and was optimistic of winning the elections. According to Salau, all aspirants of AD are qualified to win the governorship election in the two states. “Anyone that emerges as the candidate will be supported by others in the interest of the party.” Salau called for the restoration of government’s funding of political parties. According to him, political parties are like government institutions which also serve the people.

“Since ministries are not funded by the directors and ministers but the government, political parties should also be funded by the government. “Funding of political parties by its leaders make them see the parties as their properties. “Government funding of

political parties will serve the people better than they do presently,’’ he said. The scribe said the political parties would, through the InterParty Advisory Council, initiate a bill to the National Assembly to get legislative backing on funding of political parties.

ERHARUYI/RUTH ATSEGOR

the Bendel Newspapers Company Limited (BNCL), publishers of the Observer Titles, Pastor Monday Aigbe has assured the copyright society of Nigeria (COSON) of the company’s assistance in terms of publicity. He gave the assurance yesterday when he played host to the body during a courtesy visit to the company’s corporate headquarters in Benin City. Pastor Aigbe who observed that the COSON was faced with a huge task, further assured that the company will do all possible to give the body the much desired publicity. Earlier, the coordinator of (COSON), Edo/Delta, Prince Biodum Eguakhide asserted that the purpose of the visit was to intimate the Management of BNCL of

– Osu; Igarra, the local government headquarters and Ibillo. Adejumo expressed satisfaction with the high level of attendance at the various centres visited and therefore encouraged participants to take their studies seriously. While urging them to be steadfast in their learning, Hon. Oseh informed them of the local government efforts to reposition Adult Education in the area, assuring them also that government will provide them with learning materials.

BNCL Mgt Assures COSON Of COSON’s existence, interact BY VICTOR OMOALU/FAITH Publicity with the company on the ISIKHUEMEN/MARTIN

BENIN CITY - THE Acting General Manager of

Hon. Lawrence Aghedo, Commissioner for Budget, Planning and Economic Development (5th right) in a group photograph with Directors of the Ministry and members of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) during a visit to the Commissioner.

activities of COSON and as well as seek the company’s assistance in terms of publicity. Prince Eguakhide who listed some of the COSON’s obligations to include; to identify/have a data base record of copy right owners in the country and licencing users of musical works amongst others, noted that the peoples ignorance of the law has led to many infringing on other peoples works. He disclosed that as part of plans to strengthen its effort, COSON is currently recruiting members that would help carry out COSON’s responsibilities, just as he stated that there will be an astute test for the teaming applicants with a view to determining their efficiency as members of the society.


News DPR Assures Of Availability Of Petroleum Products SOKOTO (SOKOTO STATE)- The Department of Petroleum Resources has said that the Federal Government was doing everything possible to ensure the availability of petroleum products nationwide. The department’s Zonal Controller in charge of Sokoto and Kebbi States, Alhaji Umaru Moriki, said this in an interview with newsmen in Sokoto. Reacting to the current scarcity of petrol in Sokoto, Moriki said government was trying to restore normal supply across Nigeria. The controller said only 34 trucks of petrol were received in Sokoto from February 21 to February 25. “This figure excludes Sunday, February 23 as there was a zero supply of petrol into Sokoto state on that day. “The average daily requirement of petrol in Sokoto state alone is about 33 trucks

and the same goes for Kebbi’’, Morilki added. He said that the supplies covered those made to the NNPC mega stations, the major and independent marketers’ filling stations. “The department is doing all it could to ensure that the limited supply reaches the desired destinations through sustained monitoring of all the filling stations. The controller appealed to the residents to desist from panic buying due to its attendant consequences. “I am also warning the marketers not to engage in sharp practices’’, he said. Reports state that scarcity of petroleum products has hit Sokoto and its environs as none of the major or independent marketers’ filling stations was selling the product as at Tuesday. This had resulted in long

queues of vehicles at filing stations. Alhaji Umaru Danladi, a motorist told newsmen that he abandoned his car for the past 24 hours and just coming to see if there was petrol to buy. He said that black marketers were making brisk business as a litre of petroleum was now selling for N135 instead of N97. Malam Isa Habu of Dange Shuni town said the scarcity had made transporters to increase fares within and outside Sokoto metropolis. “I paid N200 from Dange to Sokoto, a distance of about 22 kilometres instead of the usual N120.

Cross section of some civil society organisations at the Assessment test meeting for teachers in Government House recently. Photo: CHARITY OZIGBO-ESERE.

Sambo, KDSG Donate To Fire Victims

ZARIA-Vice President Namadi Sambo and the Kaduna State Government have donated five million naira, and N10 million naira respectively to the victims of the Sabongari Timber Market in Zaria. The Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Hamza Danmahawayi, presented cheques for the donations to the District Head of Sabongari, Alhaji Bashar Aminu, in his palace in Zaria. Danmahawayi said the gesture was not enough to replace the traders’ losses, but was meant to cushion the hardship being faced by them. In his response, Aminu thanked both the Vice President and the state government for their kind gesture and willingness to render helping hands to the victims. He advised the victims to use the funds judiciously and remain in their businesses, not only for their own good, but also for societal benefit. The traditional ruler said that the gesture was the first of its

kind since the establishment of the market. In his speech, the Chairman of the Timber Market, Alhaji Dan’iya Dandanko, described the gesture as timely. He appealed to the state government to construct the proposed modern market to curb a recurrence of the fire incident in the area. It will be recalled that the fire disaster of Sunday, February 9, destroyed more than 300 shops in the market.

Cross section of traditional rulers at the meeting with NUT and ASUSS leaders in Government House, Benin City recently. Photo: CHARITY OZIGBO-ESERE.

Bauchi Plans Awareness Campaign On Science, Technical Education

BAUCHI- The Bauchi State Government has said it would encourage young school girls in the state to study science and technology like their male counterparts. The state Commissioner for Science and Technology, Alhaji Bala Abdullahi, said this in an interview with newsmen in Bauchi. He added that government was also encouraging the girlchild to study vocational

education courses in schools, preparatory to their future endeavours. Abdullahi said the state government was planning massive awareness campaign as part of its efforts to provide opportunity for young girls to develop their potentials. He said young girls had huge potentials that should not be left untapped for whatever reason.

“Like their male counterparts, they can do even better in the area of science and technology. “As a gender sensitive administration, the state government saw the need to carry out massive sensitisation campaign to encourage our young girls to develop interest in science-related courses to maximise their God’s given

Prisons Chief Wants Quick Dispensation Of Justice

ABA (ABIA)-The Deputy Controller of Prisons in Aba, Abia, Mr Henry Mazi, has urged the judiciary to quicken the administration of justice so that non-convicts could be released when due. Speaking with newsmen Mazi said the call had become necessary following the high ratio of non-convicts when compared with convicts in the

Aba Prison. He said the prison had 459 inmates with convicts numbering only 117 and nonconvicts 342 in number. He said that female convicts were only three out of the 15 females in the prison while male convicts were 114 out of 327. The deputy controller, who regretted the development, added that it was the attitude of

some judicial officers in the handling of cases that resulted in the undue punishment of nonconvicts through long detentions. He suggested that personnel from the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) should be deployed to oversee each court’s

advisory needs to quicken the delivery of justice. “Unnecessary adjournments and delays of cases result in the undue detention of non-convicts in prisons longer than some of their prison terms would have run if convicted. Mazi thanked Governor Theodore Orji of Abia for his assistance to the Aba prisons in the past.

potentials. “We hope to achieve this noble objective through the Nigerian Girls Education Initiative (NGEI) which seeks to improve policies, planning, programme and budgeting for girls’ education ,’’ he said. The commissioner explained that the objective of NGEI was in line with the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative, launched in Senegal in 2000, to achieve gender parity in education and women empowerment. He said the state government launched the initiative in 2008 and had gone further to include married women as one of its target groups. “After a survey conducted in the state, government in 2009 established six secondary schools primarily for married women in six local government areas of the state as pilot

scheme. “The schools were particularly located in the six emirates of the state namely, Bauchi, Katagum, Misau, Jama’are, Ningi and Dass, “ he said. The commissioner said that to achieve best result, government had awarded contracts for the construction of standard laboratories in the schools at N8.8 million. He said N15 million was also approved for the supply of chemicals and equipment for the laboratories. “Another N970,000, was spent on the purchase of home economics equipment which had been distributed to secondary schools in the state to enhance skills acquisition at secondary school level.’’ Abdullahi said Governor Isa Yuguda-led administration was doing a lot to transform the education sector, particularly in the area of science and technology.


South West Ekiti Releases List Of Delegates To National Conference

President Goodluck Jonathan (right), welcoming European Union President, Mr. Josemanuel Barroso in Abuja recently.

ADO-EKITI- Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti has forwarded names of the State’s delegates for the National Conference to President Goodluck Jonathan. The letter was sent to the President through the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim. A copy of the letter made available to the newsmen in Ado-Ekiti, listed Prof Akin Oyebode, expert on international law, as one of the delegates. Others are Prof. (Mrs) Bisi Aina, Most Rev. Felix Ajakaiye the Catholic Bishop of Ekiti Diocese and Chief Oladeji Fasuan, former Chairman of

defunct Movement for the Creation of Ekiti State. Dr Kunle Olajide, Secretary, Yoruba Unity Group and Oba Idowu Babalola, Chairman, Ekiti State Council of traditional rulers also featured on the list. According to the letter, Prof. Oyebode, Prof. Aina and Bishop Ajakaye are to represent Ekiti North, Ekiti Central and

Ekiti South Senatorial Districts respectively. Chief Fasuan, who leads the Ekiti delegation, is a nominee for the elder statesman slot. Dr Olajide and Oba Babalola are the state’s representatives for the two slots allocated to Ekiti out of the 15 slots to represent ethnic nationalities/ groups in the zone.

IBADAN- An Ibadan Chief Magistrates’ Court sitting at Iyaganku has remanded one Sunday Ajayi in Agodi Prisons for allegedly stabbing one Joseph Faminigba to death. The Chief Magistrate, Mrs. Olusola Adetujoye, gave the order pending when the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) will formally arraign the accused. The Prosecutor, Mr Ade Adebusuyi, alleged that Ajayi

stabbed Faminigba, 28, in his stomach with a knife. Adebusuyi said the offence was committed on February 19 at about 11:30 p.m at Owode Estate, Apata, Ibadan. He said the offence contravened Section 316 and Punishable under Section 319 of the Criminal Code Cap.38, Vol. 11, Laws of Oyo State, 2000. The magistrate adjourned the case to March 23 for mention.

Man Remanded For Murder

Ughoton Headship

Community Chair, Elders Hail Oba’s Verdict

Chairman, Ughoton Community, Rev. Osagie Iyonmahan, Odionwere of Urogbogbo community of Ughoton community in Ovia North East LGA of Edo State celebrating after verdict by the Benin monarch, Oba Erediauwa, CFR, upholding Pa Victor Aigbovbiosa as Ohonkon of Ughoton community

Osun Assembly Promises Speedy Passage Of LCDAs Bill

OSOGBO- The Osun House of Assembly has promised speedy passage of the bill seeking the creation of 27 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the state. Mr Wasiu Adebayo, the House Committee Chairman on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, said this during the committee’s tour of headquarters of the proposed new councils.

Reports state that Gov. Rauf Aregbesola had on Dec. 16, 2013 presented a bill for the creation of 27 LCDAs. Adebayo, who noted that the bill was part of government’s efforts at bringing development closer to the people at the grassroots. The Leader of the House, Mr Timothy Owoeye, urged the

people of the concerned communities to continue to maintain the peace. Owoeye, however, urged them not to quarrel over the location of the headquarters of the proposed councils. He appealed to the residents of the communities to continue to support the state government. The communities visited by

the committee are Ilare in Obokun Local Government, Imo in Ilesa East Local Government and Banuso in Ilesa West Local Government. Others are Iwara in Atakumosa East Local Government, Ifewara in Atakumosa West Local Government and Ipetu-Ijesa in Oriade Local Government.

were made up of 23,794 males and 413 females. “We take good care of the inmates in all our prisons in line with the directives of our Comptroller General and we exhibit a high level of professionalism in handling them to prevent jail break. “We have vehicles that take them to court as at when due

- Comptroller

assist the prisons in its efforts at improving the welfare of the inmates. The comptroller also appealed to the state government to grant amnesty to deserving inmates as at when due. He further urged the state’s judiciary to fast track the judicial process in order to decongest prisons.

24,207 Inmates In Ogun Prisons In 2013 ABEOKUTA- The Ogun Comptroller of Prisons, Mr Adams Babatunde-Lawal, has said that no fewer than 24, 207 inmates lived in prisons across the state in 2013. Babatunde-Lawal told newsmen in Abeokuta that the figure represented inmates in all the five prisons in the state. According to him, the inmates

and we also have clinics that look after the sick ones among them. “Although things are not 100 per cent in place but we are doing our best in relations to the welfare of inmates,” he said. Babatunde-Lawal appealed to organisations and individuals to

UGHOTON The lingering crisis bedeviling Ughoton Community in Ovia North/East Local Government Area of Edo State has been laid to rest by the Oba of Benin, Oba Erediauwa (CFR) upholding Pa. Victor Aigbovbiosa as Ohonkun (traditional head) of Ughoton community. The Oba of Benin through the Secretary of Benin Traditional Council (BTC) Frank Irabor made the pronouncement Monday, in Benin City when rivalry groups came to the palace for settlement to asserting the true custodian of Ughoton community headship. “Let this be a warning to all parties involved in this dispute sine-qua-non to other members of the public who in one way or the other wished to flaunt the BTC conclusion in a matter, conformity with the statutory law of the land. “Through this, we are again reaffirming our earlier stand which by custom and statutory laws of the land dating back to 1938 that the Ohonkun (traditional head) of Ughoton Community is hereditary and today as earlier stated that the position is vested on Pa. Victor Aigbovbiosa”, Mr. Irabor stated. Frank Irabor maintained that the stand of the palace is

in conformity with statutory laws of the land dating back 1938 where the traditional headship of Ughoton has come up even to this day being hereditary with the rightful Ohonkun is Pa. Victor Aigbovbiosa. Following this development, the Ughoton community Chairman, Rev. Osagie lyonmahan and Odionwere (head) representative for the 38 community heads of Ughoton in Ovia North/East Local Government Area of Edo state, Pa. Osatohawen Obaisiagbon from Uroghogho community has hailed the Benin Monarch, Oba Erediauwa (CFR) on his verdict upholding Pa. Victor Aigbovbiosa as Ohonkun (traditional head) of Ughoton community. Also, the Gen. Secretary of the community, Charles Omoregie and Patron, Ughoton community, Mr. Idahosa Bazuaye aka (mighty l.D) thanked the Oba, saying that the verdict has laid to rest all trivial issues that had hamped development. Mr.ID Bazuaye expressed that the present Ohonkon (Pa. Victor Aigbovbiosa) and Rev. Osagie lyonmahan mean well, urging all odionweres and members of the community to work for justice and fairness in the interest of development of Ughoton community.


Lagos

Lekki International Airport Project On Course - Fashola

LAGOSGovernor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State has said that the state government had not jettisoned its plan to build an international airport in Lekki area of the state. Fashola told State House correspondents in Lagos that the delay in actual take-off of the project did not mean it had been abandoned. He said that the state government had already done all the preparatory work on the project and was engaging the right investors to translate it to fruition. According to him, what the government plans to build is an international airport that will live to its true name and comply with the best aviation standards. “There are airports and there are airports. What we think Lagos deserves is a truly international airport that can compete globally. And those are not the kinds of airports that government

would build and run. “We have acquired the land for the project, government is fencing the land. We are doing the financial and the technical study of the project. “We already know what it will look like because we have already done the concept design. We have in fact done all the preparatory work. “But there are people whose business it is to build airports. They do it for a living and those are the people we are talking to. “We have done the international bids, seven of these investors have been shortlisted. These are people who have handled similar projects successfully in other parts of the world. “We are seeking the partnership of these people to instal equipment; scanners, data capture machines and others, and run the airport and keep it functional because it is their core business.

Oil Marketer Loses Bid To Quash N4.4b Subsidy Fraud Charge IKEJA- An Ikeja High Court has dismissed an application by an oil marketer, Oluwaseun Ogunbambo, seeking to quash a fuel subsidy fraud charge preferred against him and three others. Reports state that the application was dismissed by Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo for lack of merit. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had charged Ogunbambo with N4.4 billion fuel subsidy fraud. He was charged alongside, Mamman Ali, son of a former the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ahmadu Ali; Christian Taylor, and a firm, Nassaman Oil Services. The accused are facing a 13-count charge bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretences, forgery, uttering and use of forged documents. During Tuesday’s proceedings, Ogunbambo’s Counsel, Mr Raphael Oluyede, apologised for his client’s absence, and informed the court of the application to quash the

charges. Oluyede said that the application was brought pursuant to Section 66 (b) of the 1999 Constitution as amended. He argued that EFCC had no power to prosecute the accused before a state high court. Responding, Counsel to the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, argued that the application was premature and should be dismissed. Oyedepo said that Ogunbambo could not at this stage be questioning the procedural power of the EFCC when plea had been taken and trial commenced. In a ruling, the judge dismissed the application, and adjourned the case till May 6 for continuation of trial. Onigbanjo also directed the EFCC to execute the warrant of arrest he issued against Ogunbambo on Feb.10 for failing to appear in court in another fuel subsidy case. In the other case, Ogunbambo is being prosecuted alongside another oil marketer, Habila Theck, over an alleged N979.6 million fuel subsidy fraud.

“That is the kind of plan we have for the airports because the state is a centre of excellence and it deserves nothing short of the best,” he said. Fashola said he would not promise a completion date of the project, but assured that government would complete the airport at the best time possible. The governor said the project as well as the proposed Lekki Deep Sea

Port would create opportunities as it would stimulate businesses. According to him, the airport is one of the many projects the government is executing simultaneously to better the lives of residents and make the state a megacity. He listed some of the other projects as the Apapa

regeneration project, expansion of Lagos-Badagry Expressway, Ikorodu Road and the light rail project. The governor said he was satisfied with the progress of work on Lagos-Badagry Expressway and would continue to interact closely with the contractors, to ensure accelerated delivery of the project.

British Minister for Africa and Member of the British Parliament, Mr. Mark Simmonds (left), and Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos during his visit to Alausa in Lagos recently.

More Rice Ladden Vessels Arrive ships carrying rice had arrive LAGOS- The Nigeria Ports Lagos Port the port on February 21. Authority (NPA) has said that more vessels carrying rice would arrive at the Lagos ports. This is contained in NPA’s

daily bulletin, “Shipping Position”, made available to newsmen in Lagos. It will be recalled that 12

According to the “Shipping Position”, the ships will berth at ENL, ABTL and GONL terminals all in Apapa quays.

“We are also happy with the progress of work on our light rail project. We have completed essentially Mile 2 to Costain. “The last terminus at the National Theatre is nearing completion as most of the inner fittings at the terminus have been done. “We are heading from there to Marina and things will soon take shape there as soon as the contractors are back from their holidays,” he said. Fashola said the government’s cable cars project was also being pursued to complement other transportation solutions that had been put in place. The governor said he would leave a legacy of impact and enduring projects at the expiration of his tenure in May 2015. On whether he had any fears about what governance would become in the state after his exit, Fashola said he had no fears as government in Lagos was about institutions and not persons. He, however, said he hoped to have a successor that would perform better than him and reduce his achievements to child’s play. “I hope the next governor would do in two years what we have been able to do in four years, and with that happening, it is going to be to the benefit of all,” he said.

Students of Nigerian Army School of Public Relations and Information with the Head of Lagos Office, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr. Dele Bodunde (6th left), Deputy Commandant of the School, Lt. Col. Tukur Gusau (7th left), Deputy Editor-in-Chief (Sports), NAN, Mr. Tony Nezianya (8th left) and others, during the visit of the delegation from the school to NAN Lagos office recently.


Across The Nation Police To Conduct Psychiatric Evaluation On Alleged Killer SOKOTO- The Sokoto State Police Command is to subject one Bello Malami, 25, who allegedly killed his 56-year-old father on Sunday, to psychiatric evaluation. The spokesman of the command, DSP El-Mustapha Sani, who disclosed this to the newsmen, in Sokoto said, “the test is to ascertain his mental health”. “The suspect is said to be mentally deranged as a result of drug addiction and he was also said to have been treated at the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, at Kware, Sokoto state,” he said. Sani also said that the suspect,

currently being detained at the command’s headquarters, reportedly committed the crime under the influence of drugs. The police spokesman added that all other subsequent investigations would be kept on hold, until the result of the medical test is out. “We are however assuring that the state Police command would do all things possible to unravel the mystery behind the murder.” It will be recalled that the suspect, allegedly killed his father, Malami Aliyu, with a machete, and buried him in the early hours of Sunday, February. 23 at the Kofar Marke area of Sokoto city.

FG’s Intervention To Ease Economic Burden Of Rice Farmers GABU (BAUCHI)-Rice farmers in Itas-Gadau Local Government Area, Bauchi State, have said the Federal Government’s N3.6 billion Mechanised Agriculture Intervention Fund would reduce the cost of their activities when disbursed. Malam Auwalu Saidu, the Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigerian (RIFAN), Itas-Gadau Local Government chapter, made the assertion in an interview with newsmen at Gabu. He commended the Federal Government for coming up with the intervention, saying it would boost food production nationwide and make agriculture more lucrative. “With this intervention, tractors and other farm machinery will be provided for hire at affordable prices to the farmers just as seeds; fertiliser and water pumps are being provided. “This will greatly improve

farmers’ earnings,’’ he said. He described tractor as the most efficient and effective means of the getting agricultural work done. “At the moment, it will cost a farmer at least N30, 000 to hire a tractor to plough and harrow his land per day. This is quite expensive. “The Bauchi State Government is already intervening in that area when it provided tractors at a subsidised rate of N10, 000 per day, but the tractors are not sufficient. “This has enabled us to save N20, 000 from the initial N30,000 being the charged per day by private owners of the tractors. “With this intervention, we hope that the Federal Government will make more tractors available to farmers for hire at similar price or even less. “This will encourage more people to venture into agriculture and provide employment opportunities for our teeming youths,” Saidu said.

CAN Cautions Politicians Against Violence BAUCHI- The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Northeast Zone, has appealed to politicians to eschew actions that would trigger the 2011 postelection violence in 2015. The chairman of the association, Rev. Shuaibu Byel, made the call in an interview with newsmen in Bauchi. He blamed politicians for violence associated with elections in the country. “Our politicians, in pursuits of selfish interest, have made election a do-or-die affair. As a result people are being killed and properties destroyed whenever there is an election. “The 2011 post-election violence that led to the destruction of properties and loss of lives is still fresh in our minds. We do not want a repeat of that. “Politicians must desist from instigating violence every time we have an election. This will save the country from self

annihilation. “They must not take the law into their hands and they must stop using youths as thugs to perpetuate their evil scheme. “We need law and order for our society to progress,” he said. He called on politicians to desist from using religion as an excuse to cause violence, adding that “without peace, no one will practice his religion. “There are as much Christians in the north as there are Muslims in the south. We should therefore, shun violence, regionalism and ethnicity in favour of popular candidates. “Nigerians should not be instigated to violence. We should not be instigated to regionalism or ethnicity. “Politicians should exhibit high sense of responsibility while playing politics”.

L-R: General Manager, Kano State Water Board, Mr. Abdullahi Nashe; Assistant General Manager, Quality Assurance, Lagos Water Corporation, Dr. Bola Balogun and Director, Quality Control and Sanitation, Ministry of Water Resources, Mr. Samuel Ome, at the 2nd Technical Committee meeting on Nigerian Standard for drinking water quality in Abuja.

Farmers Demand Support For Sugarcane Production

HADEJIA (JIGAWA) Sugarcane farmers in Hadejia, Jigawa, yesterday called on the Federal Government to extend the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme to sugarcane farmers. A cross section of the farmers made the call while speaking with newsmen in Hadejia. The GES scheme is a critical component of President Goodluck Jonathan’s Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA). The programme is designed to

enhance farmer access to fertilisers, seeds, chemicals and other inputs via an electronic system otherwise known as ewallet. Malam Musa Matsaro, a sugarcane farmer, said that the expansion of the programme would boost sugarcane production. Matsaro observed that

sugarcane farmers were not participating in the programme and other support services, adding that the trend was making sugarcane production less attractive. “We want to be included .in the GES programme. There are about 10,000 hectares of land at Madachi and Kabak sugarcane plantations.

BIDA -The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has appealed to the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, to wade into the lingering dispute between the union and the Federal Government. The Chairman of Bida Polytechnic Chapter of the union, Comrade Mohammed Gbate, made the appeal when he led a delegation to visit the Emir in his palace in Bida. Gbate said that the union was visiting the Emir to seek his intervention in the protracted dispute, which had paralysed

academic activities in the nation’s polytechnics. “It is in recognition of your central role as a respected elder statesman and a major stakeholder in our nation, that ASUP is passionately appealing for your intervention in the impasse. “We want you to use your good office to ensure that this strike is resolved now to save the future of polytechnic education in the country. “We are not so much concerned about the welfare of polytechnics staff, rather it is

about addressing the inequality between the polytechnic sector and the university sector. “It is about addressing the basic inputs needed to make polytechnic education work. “This is a country that wants to advance technologically, yet, it is toying with the same sector that will be the brain and driver of that technological development,” he said. The Etsu Nupe, who was represented by Alhaji Abdullahi Adamu, pledged to take the matter up with the appropriate authorities, toward

“Most farmers are cultivating rice, wheat, maize and vegetbale which are under the programme. Expansion of the programme will encourage sugarcane production.” Another farmer, Mr Habibu Isa, also called for the introduction of improved seedlings to encourage production of industrial sugarcane.

Strike: ASUP Seeks Etsu Nupe’s Intervention

finding a lasting solution to the issues. He urged the union to exercise restraint as it explored every legitimate avenue in ending its dispute with the government. “You have shown maturity in your negotiations with the government; keep up with the patience and be dedicated,” he said. Reports state that ASUP began its strike in October 2013, to press the government to increase funding of polytechnics, among other demands.

L-R: National P r o j e c t C o o r d i n a t o r, WA A P P - N i g e r i a , Prof. Damian C h i k w e n d u ; P r o g r a m m e Manager, Bauchi State Agricultural Programme (ADP), Alhaji Ilyasu AliyoGital and Head of Extension Services, Gombe State ADP, Mr. Yahaya Bojoga, at the meeting of selected state ADPs and WAAPP-Nigeria in Abuja.


Abuja

Reps Querry FAAN Over Remittance ABUJA- The House of Representatives Committee on Finance has queried the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), for remitting only N130 million out of the N36 billion it generated in 2013. The Chairman of the committee, Rep. Abdulmumin Jibril (APC-Kano) asked for the explanation at a meeting with revenue generating agencies of the government. “Why do you expend money that you are supposed to remit to the Government? I believe you are in breach of the laws of our land,” he said. He asked FAAN to furnish the committee with the details

of approval for the agency to spend money before remitting what it liked to the federation account. The legislator asked FAAN to go back and get their explanations, where they got the approval to spend such a huge amount of government money from and provide justification for what they have done. He said that if every agency of government was allowed to spend money generated by them without approval, no money will be remitted back to the Federation Account. “What I ask you to do is to go and write what you have done and where you got your approval from,” he said.

NIMC Extends Enrolment To 305 LGAs ABUJA- The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has extended enrolment to 305 Local Government Areas (LGAs) across the country, Mr Umar Abdulhamid, the commission’s Deputy Director, Corporate Communications, has said. Abdulhamid told newsmen in Abuja that the commission was also currently enrolling people in some LGAs in Niger and Kaduna State. He also said enrolment was currently taking place in all

the area councils of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). “The commission is working at expanding its coverage to more LGAs in order to meet the target set by President Goodluck Jonathan to enrol 100 million Nigerians by the end of December 2014,’’ the NIMC official said. It will be recalled that President Jonathan had on October 17, 2013 inaugurated the National Identity Card Project in Abuja.

He stressed that the Financial policy regulation requires FAAN to remit 25 per cent of its gross earning back to the Federal Government. Jibril also queried the continued absence of the Managing Director of FAAN from committee meetings. Earlier in a remark, the Director, Business Development of the Authority, Mr. Adeniyi Balogun said that in 2013, the FAAN generated N36billion as revenue and remitted N130 million to the Federal Government after its expenditure. According to him, the agency did not receive any Kobo from the National Assembly for their expenditure. He said that FAAN paid its staff salaries, recurrent and capital expenditure from the revenue it generated. Balogun tendered “unreserved apology” on behalf of the FAAN Managing

Director , Mr. George Esezobor Uriesi for being absent from the meeting. He said that FAAN projected to generate N56 billon revenue for 2014 as against the N17

billion projected for it by the Budget Office for the same period. Meanwhile, the committee has ordered the Nigeria National Petroleum

Corporation (NNPC) to appear before it. The NNPC, which was supposed to appear before the committee on Monday, gave no reason for being absent from the meeting

L-R: Deputy Comptroller (Admin), Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Matizumahs Gwani; Comptroller FOU; Nuhu Mahmoud and Deputy Comptroller (Enforcement) FOU, Chianson Anthony briefing newsmen on the activities of FOU in Lagos recently.

FG To Tighten Security Around Federal Colleges ABUJA- Following the killing of some students of the Federal Government College, Buni-Yadi, Yobe, the Federal Government says it will improve security around federal unity colleges. This is contained in a statement by Mr Simeon Nwakaudu, the Special Assistant (Media) to the Supervising Minister of Education, Chief Nyesom Wike on Tuesday. It said Wike, who condemned the attack on the innocent students, said the ministry would continue “to liaise with security agencies and relevant stakeholders to improve security around all federal unity colleges”. According to the statement, the minister, after receiving the news of the terrorist attack, immediately reached out to the management and staff of the school to commiserate with them. Wike also commiserated with

the families of the bereaved and prayed God to grant the bereaved families the strength to bear the unfortunate loss. Insurgents on Monday attacked the college at about 11.30 p.m., killing some students.

L-R: Anti-Corruption Programme Manager, Justice For All, Mr. Emmanuel Uche; Executive Director, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Rev. David Ugolor and Executive Director, Agama Foundation, Mr. Peter Ritchei at a meeting on Advocacy Against Impunity in the Oil Subsidy Regime in Nigeria in Abuja recently.

Jonathan Condemns Killing Of Students ABUJA- President Goodluck Jonathan has condemned the killing of scores of students by suspected terrorists at a college in Yobe in the early hours of Tuesday. The condemnation is contained in a statement issued in Abuja by Dr Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity. Abati said that the President received with immense sadness and anguish, the news of the murder of the students. “On behalf of himself and the Federal Government, President Jonathan extends heartfelt

condolences to the parents and relatives of the murdered students. “The President wholly condemns the heinous killing of

the guiltless students. “He assures the nation that his administration will not relent in its ongoing efforts to end the scourge of terrorism in parts of

the country, which has sadly claimed more innocent lives today.’’ The special adviser said the President had assured that the

2014 Budget

Armed Forces and other security agencies would continue to prosecute the war against terror with full vigour, diligence and determination.

IGP Faults Allocation To Police ABUJA- The InspectorGeneral (IGP) of Police, Mr Mohammed Abubakar says the Nigeria Police may not be able to pay the salaries of its personnel in 2014 due to a shortfall of N14.4 billion in the personnel cost. Speaking in Abuja at the 2014 budget Defence in the

Senate, the IG said the budget office earmarked N279 billion for personnel cost against N293 billion required to pay the police personnel. Abubakar lamented the steady decline in budgetary allocations for overhead to the police inspite of the increasing security challenges it had to contend with.

The IG added that the slight increase in the capital expenditure in the 2013 budget was because of the injection of constituency projects. He, however, noted that out of the N14 billion appropriated for capital expenditure in 2013, only N10.9 billion was released. The Chairman of the Senate

Committee on Police, Sen. Paulinus Igwe ( PDP- Ebonyi) expressed concerns over the reduction in the budgetary allocation for personnel cost particularly at this time of growing insecurity in the country. He said the committee would assist the police in any way it could.


Business + Economy

Nigeria Spends N2.1trn On Steel Importation

ABUJA- Dr Muhammad Sanusi, the Secretary General of African Iron and Steel Association (AISA), says Nigeria spends N2.1 trillion

every year to import iron and steel. Sanusi disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in Abuja. “ There is statistics by the

Bureau of Public Statistics that Nigeria spent N21 trillion on

steel imports in 10 years. “So, we are talking of N2.1 trillion per annum on the average, we are spending N2.1 trillion on the importation of steel ever year,’’ he said. Sanusi appealed to the Federal Government to develop the mineral deposits lying fallow in more than 20 states across in the country. He said this should be done so as to conserve the foreign exchange being spent on the importation of steel, while creating jobs and expanding the

county’s revenue base. Sanusi said that 22 states had iron and steel deposits such as iron ore, coal, dolomite, limestone, marble and clay, among others. He listed the states to include Kogi, Enugu, Kano, Nassarawa, Kebbi, Bauchi, Lagos, Borno, Kaduna, Benue, Anambra, Zamfara, Plateau, Jigawa, Ogun, Cross River, Sokoto, Imo, Edo, Ebonyi, Abia and Katsina. “Now, there are more than 20 states that are endowed with all or some of these raw materials. “At the time Nigeria wanted to go into steel production, the government have the plan to do a survey “The Western world was then

telling us that it would not work; that Nigeria did not have raw materials. “USSR later confirmed that there were large deposits of iron and steel in the country. “Kogi has the largest deposits of good quality iron ore that can be used to produce iron and steel, that is why Itakpe was identified and why Ajaokuta was established next to Itakpe. “If you go to all the neighbouring states, there is one or more of these raw materials. “In Kogi, they have everything there, they have coal, iron ore, limestone, dolomite and refractory clay — all needed for production of iron and steel,’’

was jointly signed by the NASRDA Director-General, Prof. Seidu Mohammed, and the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr Andrew Pocock. Speaking at the ceremony, Mohammed said signing the MoU would boost NASRDA’s capacity in the areas of conducting research which are of importance to Nigeria and the African continent. He said NASRDA’s collaboration in the past years with international partners, including the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), had been beneficial to the development of the country. “Over the years, we have been able to improve the country’s food and health system using space as a tool. We intend to do the same with this MOU. “We hope that we are also moving to the next level on the technology transfer programme in such a way that some space tools can be manufactured locally. “We also believe that we’ll work together with the UK space agency, and we can do more in ensuring that the outer space is used for the benefit of mankind, because space has no boundary,’’ Mohammed said. He said the interest of the agency was to improve its collaboration with other international space agencies to boost the Nigerian health system. The NASRDA directorgeneral said the collaboration would also promote food security and help solve peculiar

issues in the country and on the African continent. He said the agency would work with Nigerian universities to include their areas of interest in NASRDA’s agenda with its international partners for development purposes. Speaking also, Pocock said signing the MoU would enable the UK Space Agency to be more engaged with NASRDA. “This will be in terms of training, technology transfer, the use of outer space for peaceful purposes and broader collaboration,’’ he said. The High Commissioner added that the collaboration would be of mutual benefit and added value to both parties, saying “one of the ways to develop is to use technology available in space. “We have seen it working in many areas. It is a practical thing to do.’’ Pocock, who is also the British Permanent Representative to ECOWAS, said the UK Government had been working with the Federal Government in a wide range of areas and many issues. He said the British government was pleased working with the Federal Government, particularly on the peaceful use of outer space. Pocock expressed his joy that many successes had been recorded via the collaboration, including the successful launch of two Nigerian satellites through Surrey Satellite Technology Limited.

in Lagos in an interview with newsmen. He said there was need for the agency to always carry out impact assessment of projects on the environment. “We must be able to safeguard our environment for our future. “Environmental regulatory agencies in the country should be provided with adequate funds to ensure that they carry out their duties.

“The purpose of assessment is to ensure that decision makers consider the environment when deciding whether or not to proceed with a project. “Environmental monitoring is necessary in the preparation of environmental impact assessment as well as circumstances in which human activities carry the risk of harmful effects on the natural environment,’’ he said.

Nigeria, UK To Co-operate On Space Technology

Vehicles queuing for petrol in Kaduna on Wednesday.

ABUJA- The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) and the Government of UK has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on capacity-building and technology-transfer in space technology. Reports state that the MOU

L-R: Vice President, Publicity, Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA), Lady Claire Asogwa; Representative of ECCIMA President, Dr. Emma Nwakpa; Director, Small and Medium Enterprises, Delta State Commissioner for Commerce, Dr. Kingsley Emu, during a courtesy visit by ECCIMA in Asaba on Wednesday.

Investors In Power Firms To Assume Full Ownership After Payment -BPE

ABUJA- The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) says the new owners of Afam Power Plc and Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company (KEDC) will not assume full ownership till full payment is made. The decision is contained in a statement signed by BPE’s Head of Public Communications, Mr Chigbo Anichebe, in Abuja on Monday. It stated that Mr Benjamin Dikki, the Director-General of BPE, announced the decision at the inauguration of Transitional Committees (TCs) for the two power companies. Dikki said that so far, the core investors in the companies had

only made 25 per cent payment and as such they could only access information and acquaint themselves with the company for now. “The establishment of the TCs is aimed at allowing the investors to interface with the management for smooth transition from a public oriented enterprise to a private sector driven one. “It is also to engage them to understand the challenges and peculiarities of the company, however, they will not assume full ownership of the companies until full payment is made. “They are only allowed access to information and to acquaint

themselves with the workings of the company but not decision making, you should also not engage in any turf war with the management,’’ he said. Dikki said the practice of inaugurating TCs before complete takeover of a privatised company was initiated by the bureau due to the complex nature of the transaction. The director-general noted that the experience from the existing TCs had been rewarding and useful and expressed the hope that the two newly inaugurated committees would also be beneficial to the core investors. Reports state that both

companies were the last out of a number of Federal Government enterprises penciled down in the power sector to be privatised.

Enviornmentalist Urges Adequate Funding For NESREA

LAGOSAn environmentalist, Mr Kayode Ogungbuyi, has urged the Federal Government to adequately fund the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) to ensure effective performance of its duties. Ogunbiyi, the Chief Executive Officer of Sustainability Nigeria Ltd, made the call on Wednesday


Issues

Pepsi/7Up Lorries Rickety Vehicles In Benin City By DAN OMORUAN

THE state of a good cook includes the manner the food is served on the table for the consumer. It includes the presentation of the food in a beautiful and attractive dish, served in a good and neat environment. When this is not the case, then no matter how sweet the food is, no sane man will agree that the food was satisfactory in spite of its taste and aroma. This is the problem I have with Pepsi/7up soft drinks and the manufacturers of the products. If you ask me, I will say that Pepsi is the best soft drink in the world. This is because it is my favourite soft drink. For over ten years now, the only soft drink I had bought with my hard earned money when I am desperately in need to douse my burning taste is Pepsi and you need to see the way I gulp the drink: it so dramatically done that people who see me often react positively about the drink. Over the years, it has come to be my favourite drink, that not even its notable competitor means anything to me; and that is the truth. This shows the power of taste or preference of an individual for a product over the other. That is why I agree with the people that say that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Like I said above, I have been consuming Pepsi for many years without minding of the existence of other brands of soft drink including its own side product Seven Up. I cannot remember how I develop this taste but one thing that has endeared me to the drink over the years is the way they package their advert or promotional packages. It is quite creative, exciting and attractive. Do you remember those spectacular television adverts of the products showcasing great world footballers etc? Do you also remember seeing these players stylishly captured on billboards and other heavy vehicles that carry the product from one place in Benin City to the other? All these are complementary activities that make Pepsi my favourite soft drink. But, have you come to take a close look at the vehicles the company used in transporting or distributing the drink? This is the crux of the matter and their unsightly nature and menace caused on the road is what has prompted this reaction on the newspaper. The case of Pepsi and its allied product is like the case of a good food that is served on a disheveled and unsightly metal or even plastic plate that has seen many years of trauma and tension of falling on the ground repeatedly and becoming twisted, scrapped and unaligned. Such plates when used to serve a well prepared food, makes one to lose appetite or at worst ends up eating the food without candour or really enjoying it. This is the exact condition of Pepsi and

its allied products of soft drink when we consider the gaunty and tattered vehicles with which they are distributed in Benin City; I do not know of other places, and which I have seen, at least on two occasions constituting nuisance and accident on Benin roads.

nature of their distributing vehicles. Sometimes I have come to ask myself why do the ubiquitous Vehicle Inspection officers ( V.I.O’s) allow these vehicles to ply the streets in spite of the fact that they pose a threat to the lives and properties of the people. Have you bothered to look at the area office of the company along First East Circular road? It presents similar images as that of its vehicles that we are talking about. What surprises me about it all is that why does a

The first ugly incident I remember so well involving a Pepsi vehicle used for distributing drinks is one I saw a few years ago whereby one of the company’s vehicles ran into the wall at the Third East Circular road / Ikpoba slope road intersection spilling a huge pile of broken bottles on the road at the spot. I cannot remember clearly whether it collided with another smaller vehicle before ramming into the wall but what I remember is the harrowing experience motorists had having to drive their vehicles through the debris of broken bottles that littered the scene. The vehicle was at the spot for a number of days. What was most perturbing was that it awakened previous memories of seeing these worn out vehicles tugging along the streets of Benin and constituting traffic nuisance. One therefore wonders why the management of such a company that spends millions of dollars on image and publicity compromise all that with the unsightly

company that have such a high regard for its brands allow its image to be rubbished by the kind of vehicles used in conveying them. From the point of view of an observer like me, the company is too rich and stable to have such rickety vehicles in its fleet. What brought about this publication is what happened recently on Tuesday 18 sFebruary 2014, I saw another of its vehicles broke down on such a conspicuous and busy place as the Ring road in Benin City and directly in front of the State’s House of Assembly. From the look of it, the vehicle must have spent close to twenty-four hours there. Haba!, my favourite Pepsi, why are your manufactures giving you such a bad image and making us to lose value; or taste for you? I hope this is not the action of detractors giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it. Let me borrow a word from one of the films of Hubert Ogunde, the ace and late Nigerian film producer…., Pepsi, ‘ronu’. Respect your fans. Dan Omoruan writes from Benin City.

“The first ugly incident I remember so well involving a Pepsi vehicle used for distributing drinks is one I saw a few years ago whereby one of the company’s vehicles ran into the wall at the Third East Circular road / Ikpoba slope road intersection spilling a huge pile of broken bottles on the road at the spot.”


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 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

THE NIGERIAN

Gainful Employment For Nigerians 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 Alhji 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. TO this end, The NIGERIAN OBSERVER applauds the moves by the Federal Government in effectively tackling unemployment problems in Nigeria, by liaising with relevant stakeholders in terms of job creation. COMRADE Governor Adams Oshiomhole unequivocally expressed his concern about the threat to social and economic peace by the scourge of unemployment, noting that “the only way to measure the economic progress of any nation is by the number of jobs created.” He then promised to do everything within his powers to collaborate with the federal government in the area of job creation.

WORTHY of note is the Edo State continues creation of jobs for the unemployed youths in the state. Already, this has taken shape with the employment of many graduates under the Youth Employment Scheme (YES). Against this background, The NIGERIAN OBSERVER admonishes that the proliferation of institutions saddled with the responsibilities of creating jobs like the National Directorate of (NDE) and the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) and other employment agencies be made more functional or if possible, merged into one for proper handling of employment administration in the country. 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 worth mentioning 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. BY and large, it must be Observed that the only way to solve the problem of poverty is to invest in skills acquisition through human capital development so as to make job seekers to become employers of labour.


Voice Of

Islam

Every Friday With Mallam Abdulfattah Enabulele Chief Imam of Benin GOVERNMENTS (especially the secular states) as well as individuals and communities are oblivious to many of these immoralities instead of commanding good and forbidding evil. The consequences are all sorts of calamities such as earthquakes, landslides, heavy rains, destructive floods, and tsunamis. These are unique and devastating natural disasters that have never been seen before. We witness strong winds, tornadoes, droughts, hurricanes, and wildfires that cause wanton destruction. Allah has reminded us about this situation in the glorious Qur’an, that we may take heed: Evil (sins and disobedience of Allah) has appeared on land and sea because of what the hands of men have earned (by oppression and evil deeds), that Allah may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return (by repenting to Allah, and begging His pardon). (Qur‘an 30: 41) To be safe from the calamities listed above, a community must always contain people who. are enjoining good and forbidding evil. Otherwise, when immorality becomes widespread in a society, the punishment of Allah will follow. Thereafter, we will supplicate to Allah to remove the disasters and punishments, but our supplications will not be answered, as we have read in the hadith under discussion. The Qur’an has instructed: Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity. (Qur’an in 3: 104) Commanding good and forbidding evil are conditions for being safe from all kinds of calamities, and they are sure ways to success in this life and the hereafter. On the authority of Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri who said that he heard Allah’s Messenger say: Whosoever of you sees an evil action (taking place), let him change it with his hand, and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart and that is the weakest level of faith. (Muslim and Aba Dâwood) Principles of commanding good and forbidding evil While commanding good and forbidding evil, certain general principles must be followed. Otherwise, those who are trying to enjoin the right and forbid the wrong may end up causing more harm than good. The most important among those general principles are sincerity of intention, wisdom, evidence, striving hard, and patience. I. Sincerity of intention Those who strive to enjoin right and forbid wrong should do so to gain the pleasure of Allah atone. Their act should not be for fame or fortune and certainly not to show off and be seen by others as pious and free from wrongdoing. Allah and His Messenger have said, with regard to this principle: So whoever hopes for the meeting with his Lord let him do deeds of righteousness and associate none as partner in the worship of his Lord. (Qur’an 87:110) On the authority of the Commander of the Faithful, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab that he heard Allah’s Messenger saying: Actions are only by intention, and every man shall get what he intended. Thus, he whose migration was for Allah and His Messenger, his migration was for Allah and His Messenger; and he whose migration was to achieve some worldly benefit or to many some woman, his migration was for whatever he migrated for (Muslim). Those who enjoin right and forbid wrong for reasons other than the sake of Allah should be forewarned that their deeds will not be accepted. In the long run they will have wasted their efforts, energy, and time. Instead of earning rewards that would lead them to paradise, they will earn sins that would lead them to hellfire. What a great loss! This is as Allah, the Exalted has said in the Qur’an: Say (0 Muhammad): Shall we tell you of the greatest losers in respect of (their) deeds? (They are) those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought that they were acquiring good by their deeds, Those are the ones who disbelieve in the verses of their Lord and in [their] meeting Him, so their deeds have become worthless; and We will not assign to them on the Day of

Rejoin What Is Good And Forbidding Evil (1) Resurrection any weight (importance). That is their recompense — hell — for what they denied and [because] they took My signs and My messengers in ridicule) (Qur’an 18: 103-106) Furthermore, the commanding of good and the forbidding of evil has to be done according to the way of Prophet Muhammad. In this respect, ‘A’ishah narrated that the Prophet Muhammad said: Whoever performs a (good) deed that we have not ordered (anyone) to do (or is not done in accordance with our way), then that deed will be rejected and will not be accepted. (Bukhari) 2. Wisdom Commanding right and forbidding wrong must be done with wisdom. Wisdom implies that first, people must be knowledgeable in order to assess the situation of the evil they are trying to stop. Moreover, they should ascertain whether they will be able to stop the evil or whether their actions will lead to a greater harm. If Refraining from enjoining good or forbidding evil they feel that the only way to stop a particular evil in society is by doing something that will lead to a greater harm, they are not al towed to stop that evil. People’s knowledge should help them make the correct

lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge Thus We have made pleasing to every community their deeds. Then to their Lord is their return, and He will inform them about what they used to do. Qur’an 6: 108) Wisdom in this case demands gentleness, humility, and persuasion with polite words and examples of the harm that evil creates in society or the rewards that accule for doiflg good. This was the methodology o all prophets and messengers. Even when Prophet Moses (S) was sent to the Pharaoh the tyrant who had claimed to be God, subjugated the children of Israel to slavery

and do not make them difficult. (Muslim) Wisdom does not mean hiding the truth or lying to convince the people to stop their evil ways Rather, it means speaking the truth and calling a spade a spade with respect, dignity, and conviction. Allah has said that whoever is given wisdom in convincing people to stop committing evil and turn towards righteousness has been given a great deal of good; this indicates the importance of wisdom. He gives wisdom to whom He wills, and whoever has been given wisdom has certainly been given much good. And none will remember except those of understanding. (Qur’an 2:269) Therefore, Allah orders all those who call people towanis good and steer them away from evil to use wisdom

Chief Judge of Edo State, Hon. Justice Cromwell Idahosa (on suit) in a group photo with the League of Imams, Edo State during the League’s courtesy visit to the Chief Judge.

judgement that evil is present and it needs to be removed or stopped. The knowledge will help them remove any suspicion or doubt about the evil. Wisdom also demands that the ones trying to stop the evil do not go beyond what is permissible in the Sharia; they must halt at what is necessary to stop that evil. For example, if they find a person playing a cassette tape with music on it, they may remove the tape and destroy it or record some religious material over it. However, they are not entitled to go further and destroy the cassette player if it can be used for beneficial purposes.’ if they know for sure that taking that action will create a bigger harm, then they should let the small evil goon until they have the ability to stop it without creating a greater harm. If they are not sure, then they should remember that Allah instructs us to ask those who know. Wisdom with respect to commanding good and forbidding evil means saying the right thing, at the right time, to the right person, at the right place, and in the right manner. This means we cannot use harsh or abusive language when persuading people to stop doing what is wrong. Allah has said: And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah,

and killed their male folk, sparing the females — Allah, the Exalted, the Almighty said to Prophet Moses and his brother Aaron (peace be upon them) while sending them to approach the Pharaoh: Go, both of you, to Pharaoh. Indeed, he has transgressed. And speak to him with gentle speech, that perhaps he maybe reminded of the fear [Allah]. (Qur‘an 20: 43-44) Even in the case of Prophet Muhammad (a), Abu Moosâ alAsh’ari reported that: Whenever Allah’s Messenger used to send one of his Companions on a mission, he would say: Give good tidings and do not put people off. Make things easy

in their mission in order to be successful He hag said (Invite all to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is those Knowing of who has strayed from His Way. and life is most Knowing of who is [rightly] guided.)) (Qur an 16. 225) The third important principle of promoting virtue and combating vice is to back up whatever we are saying with authentic evidence. When we call people to change their evil conduct and turn towards good character and morality, we must give them evidence from the parameters of revelation and reason.

“Commanding good and forbidding evil are conditions for being safe from all kinds of calamities, and they are sure ways to success in this life and the hereafter”


Personality

PROFESSOR Victor Efosa Uwaifo will be 73 years tomorrow, having been born on March 1, 1941. He was born in Benin City to Pa Wilfred Uwaifo of the Emezi family and Princess Evbakhavbokun Idusogie Uwaifo of the Benin Royal family, both of blessed family. The late Pa Uwaifo never had the benefit of a secondary or university education, yet he lived an eventful life that made him famous for giving birth to one of the illustrious sons of African descent that has made his country, Nigeria proud. Sir Professor Victor Uwaifo as he is fondly called and members of his family were born into music. It is on record that his father’s gramophone provided the launch pad for him to launch himself into music as a career, then the gramophone was the exclusive preserve of few privileged individuals of the time. At age six, the young Victor was noted for dancing to the sweet melodies from the gramophone, usually Spanish tones. At age 12, Professor Uwaifo cuts his musical teeth when he started playing the box guitar which today serves as one of the heritage in the Revelation Tourist Palazo. Educated at the Western Boys High School, Benin City and the St. Gregory’s College Lagos from 19571961. He later proceded to the Yoba College of Technology, Lagos for a National Diploma from 1961-1963. In 1991, through directed entry, he was admitted into the university of Benin UNIBEN where he graduated in 1994 with a B.A Hon. At first class level in Arts, majoring in sculpture. To him, age was not a barrier to learning, hence, he immediately enrolled for a Masters degree programme in sculpture, a programme, he completed, a year later. Subsequently, he had his Ph. D degree, also from UNIBEN in 2008. In 2009, the America Heritage University, California, United State of America (USA) conferred on him, a Professor of Arts and subsequently became a visiting professor to the university. Outside the academia, having established himself, as a further proof of reaching the height of professionalism in music, Uwaifo came up with diverse genre of music which he calls Ekasa, Sasakosa, Mutamba,

Shadow-Shadow and Akwele dance with entrancing dance steps. In and out of school, he distinguished himself, no doubt, he won many laurels and he is today recipient of several honorary and national awards, including member of the order of the Niger (MON), in 1983 by the then President Shehu Shagari, Justice of Peace (JP), first Gold Disk recipient in Africa. Professor Uwaifo can today boast of not less than 12 of such awards. He is also a winner of the Ever Green Award by Julius Gold International, recipient of Nigerian Music Award, Resourcefulness Productivity Merit Award, Association of Nigerian Authors Award, Benin National Merit Award, UNIBEN Distinguished Alumnus Award and a recipient of a certificate of Honour by the House of Representatives, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. His Herculian accomplishment in the total arts endered him in the hearts of the Actor Guild of Nigeria, and was subsequently made a life patron by the Guild. He has been honoured by several governments all over the world, including the Ghanaian government for his contributions to the building of Ghanaian society. Till date, the name ‘Uwaifo’ is still remembered in Ghana to the extent that there is a material and a dress code called ‘Joromi’. Joromi remains one of the highest selling music albums released by Sir Victor Uwaifo and any other African artist till date. Within three days of its release in 1965, it sold well over 100,000 copies. Subsequently, this number rose dramatically in into millions, indeed, a feet that was unprecedented among black Africans of the time. This culminated in his being the first African recipient and winner of the Gold Disk in 1967. Beyond Africa, Joromis one of the songs that brought fame, wealth and honour to Uwaifo. This is evident in the influence and popularity, the maestro wields in the society, beyond Nigeria. Remarkably, Joromi single was confirmed to be on the 8th position in the European music chart in the late 60s. His greatness was optly captured by the late Professor Emeka Nwabokwu, then of the Department of Fine and Applied Arts, UNIBEN when he declared: “you cannot view Uwaifo from one angle, as any attempt to do so would amount to incomplete job done”.

Celebrating A M

Beyond music, Uwaifo is an academic, sculptor, inventor, writer, author, historian, a philosopher, teacher, ambassador of culture and tourism and a poet. Some of the things he could not express in music, he employed poetic devices to do. An excellent record keeper, he was able to keep records of the photograph taken as far back as 1950 when he was nine years old. He was also able to preserve the bicycle which he rode in his primary school days as far back as 1940s. Most significantly, this is the bicycle he was accustomed to riding from Benin City to Abudu, headquarters of Orhionmwon Local Government Area. He invented the doubleneck guitar. On invention, he took it to London for performance in 1967 where he stole the show with the quality of his performance and became the beautiful bude and envy of all. Today, the double-neck guitar has been replicated in different part of the world, including Britain because he did not immediately claim the patent right. In 1985, he made a follow up by coming up with the pianist guitar. He called this particular one, the wonder of magic guitar (guitar with a key board and a revolving device, cordless when functioning with electricity). He is able to embellish the sound from the guitar with that from the piano without a function. During the 1992 Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) award ceremony, it was the guitar that Uwaifo performed with and he became the centre of attraction at the event. He was at various times in formal employment. Firstly, with the Nigerian Television Service (NTV) (now Nigerian Television Authority — NTA) Lagos, from 1964 — 1965; chairman, Bendel Arts Council (now Edo State Arts Council) from 1984 — 1986; Commissioner for Arts and Culture, Edo State; Ambassador Plenipotentiary of culture by the Cross River State Government 2004 — 2006, Lecturer, Department of Fine and Applied Arts, UNIBEN; Chairman, Committee on Cultural Activities, UNIBEN 2010 — 2011; Chairman, Ceremonials and Awards

Committee, Nigeria University games (NUGA) 2011; Member, Performing Rights Society London; Biographical Centre Cambridge, England and the Advisory Committee, American Heritage University California, USA. He could have been proprietor of the first private broadcasting station in Nigeria in 1985 but for the then federal government policy of limiting operational

By ANDY EGBON

(FESTAC) hosted by Nigeria in that year. Professor Uwaifo performed alongside other world class musicians including Quincy Jones and Steve Wonder both of USA; Mighty Sparrow from Trinidad and Tobago and Marian Makeba from South Africa. He inspired the likes of Nigeria’s King Sunny Ade to play the guitar while

question of what and where is the biggest audience he has entertained, he said: How can you say the biggest? The I would have stopped playing because, I would have reached my best. There is no biggest audience I have entertained. Even if I have to go and play; who is the greatest

Prof Victor Efosa Uwaifom performing during the 1977 FESTAC

licenses to states and federal government, his dream of Joromi Television could not come to fruition. Through several of his songs, he has impacted on his generation and future generation. Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo on February 25, 2002 wrote of the maestro thus: In over three decades, few profoundly gifted artists have taken Nigeria music to the global podium. Victor Uwaifo is one of the very distinguished. We have followed with keen interest over the years, his impressive career as a musician of international repute, businessman of note and more recently, an administrator, it was Obasanjo led federal government that in 1977 appointed Uwaifo to represent Nigeria in the Festival of Arts and Cultural

standing. He brought great revolution to the Nigeria music industry, including the art of playing guitar while standing and the display of showmanship and sportsmanship through acrobatic display, moving and jumping around on stage while performing with the guitar. Till date, the maestro continues to break new grounds in his areas of specialization as he says, breaking new grounds gives him joy. This he said, is because, one achievement leads to another. “It’s a builtup, you can’t say this is inferior; without that first one, you can’t get to the other he said; on his reason for venturing into music, he said was in me, I was in music.,. It is as simple as that. You (Reporter) are thy first that I am telling this to. On the

person. I am doing the person a favour. At this point of time in my age, which means, I am happy that I played there. It is an insult. On somebody stepping into his shoes, he said: its like you are making somebody your slave. Somebody to step into your shoes? That’s selfishness. You don’t want somebody to be great and be better than you. Why can’t he build his own show and make it formidable? He queried. Uwaifo is a many-sided figure whose achievements span so many areas of intellectual effort, that one has to be careful, lest one lays more emphasis on some areas at the spectrum of inspiration that can be drawn from this titan of a man. His achievements speak well of a man who has brought fame, fortune and

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Personality

Mega Star At 73

honour, not only to his immediate and extended family, but his friends, associates, state, the country — Nigeria, Africa and the entire black race. In all his achievements, there is a global dimension to it. A man whose achievements span through many areas of human endevour that one has to be careful, lest one lays much emphasis in one aspect at the expense of others, thereby diminishing the spectrum of

Executive Council. As commissioner, he developed a tourism blue print for the state and initiated a member of projects. He has held several solo exhibitions and taken part in many group exhibitions. His artistic works spread over the country include, but not limited to: the Cenotaph at the parade Ground, Yola, Adamawa State, in Maduguri, Bornu State, Markurdi, Benue State; Isaac Boro Park, Port-

Representatives, Boston, Massachusetts United States of America in 1997; documented in the Groove Dictionary of Music and Musicians volume 8 (the only Nigerian artist in that edition). He is documented in the Men and Women of Distinction in the Commonwealth in 1983. Member, Performing Rights Society of London — 1967 — date; Advisory Board, Biographical Council, Cambridge England — 2001

Harcourt, Rivers State; the Unknown Soldier in Abeokuta, Ogun State; Akwa-Ibon State House Beautification, Uyo; Kinetic Sculpture at Oba Akenzua II Cultural Complex, Benin City. Pilgrimage ground (45 giant statute); station of the cross at Igarra, Edo State; the Grotto Beautification stations in Holy Cross Cathedral, Benin City; Holy Mary at St. Bennedict, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State; Stations of the Cross at the Catholic Church Agenebode, Igiode, Ubiaja, all in Edo State and the Eleganza Giant Eagle at Apapa, lagos. Others are the stained glass at St. Saviour’s Anglican Church, College road, Benin City. He has contributed and enjoyed national and international coverage in both the print and electronic media. His international recognition include certificate of Honour by the House of

and the Advisory Council of the American Heritage University, California — 2006. He has toured many countries of the world, performing and representing Nigeria in many music festivals. As far back as 1969, in Algiers; Expo 70 in Japan; African Commonwealth Festival London in 1973; Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Romania, East and West Germany, Russia Ukrain, Rome, France, Operation Bread Basket in USA, 197. Others are Dallas, Chicago, Houston, philadephia, New York, Ivory-Coast, and Ghana where Joromi song became an anthem. Some of his Presidential Command performances include out not limited to: State House, Lagos — 1984; Government House, Benin

Prof Victor Efosa Uwaifo

spiration hat could be drawn from m; for instance, as a udent of Yaba College of chnology in 1962, he made stinction in Commercial ts and won he Lintas West Africa holarship as the best udent; 1983, he was atched by millions of gerians when the then esident, Alhaji Shehu agari bestowed on him, e National honour of ON, same day such rsonalities as Chief bafemi Awolowo and hief Anthony Enahoro th of blessed memory ere also honoured. In 01, he was appointed oneer Commissioner, inistry of Arts, Culture and urism, Edo State, a sition which qualifies him be a member of the State

City 1986; Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Millenium show 2000; Pan African Festival 2004 and Ghana 2003. Presidential Villa — (Aso Rock), Abuja 2005; The Climax of his outstanding performances was a lifetime award in London, in 2006. On March 1, 2014, Uwaifo will be turned 73. The Occasion offered another opportunity for the maestro to be celebrated with passion. As part of the ceremonies to mark the occasion, different individuals, and organizations sent him messages of felicitations. They have these to say: Goodluck Ebele Jonathan; President, Federal Republic of Nigeria: For over 45 years, your name has remained one of the most recognizable and most revered in the annals of the performing acts in our nation... Even more remarkable is your continued contribution not only to the positive project of the diversity and richness of our cultural heritage to the international community, but also to the growth of the theory and practice of the creative arts in Nigeria through your tireless endeavours as an accomplished academic and administrator. Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State: You are an asset and pride to Africa and Nigeria... You are an illustrious son of Edo, an authentic Edo brand that has brought great respect, recognition and popularity to our state. Deputy Governor of Edo State, Dr. Pius Egberanmwen Odubu: You have remained a shinning example in the field of Fine and Applied Arts as well as cultural and performing Arts. The Benin Monarch, His Royal Majesty, Oba Erediauwa: I have observed with keen interest and delight how he has grown in achievement and reputation as his prodigious talents unfold... My admiration for Sir Uwaifo’s creative talent increased later when I began to see some of his art works as a sculptor. Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo: Employing the universal language of music, you have promoted nationality and social harmony across religious and ethnic barriers... Indeed, you deserve accolades that have been heaped on you over

time which are an eloquent affirmation of your already assured place in the pantheons of the heroes of Nigeria Music Industry. In 2011, the then Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Abubakar Sadiq Mohammed: The most enigmatic cultural icon has since transcended any categorization as he has continued to re-invent himself. Vice Chancellor, University of Benin, Professor 0.G. Oshodin: Every mortal will experience a sence of inadequacy in erecting a precise definition of who Hon. Professor Victor Uwaifo MON, JP is. Vice Chancellor, Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, Nigeria Professor Eghosa Osaghae: I was delighted to see your evergreen Joromi on the entertainment list at page 101 of the inflight magazine, under sounds of Africa. As always, you made us proud... what you have is a maestro whose music has brought joy to the world. Ambassador Vincent Sunny Okobi: As a BBC Broadcaster once described this African Musical Maestro “he could theatrically prance from one musical instrument to the other in melodious sequence with equal perfection in any of his performance...” By any logical standard, he is indeed a genius and a living legend. To many admirers, all that they are familiar with or know about Victor Uwaifo is the music but the flip side of that maestro coin is the array of Academic distinctions, an endless list of National Awards, International Honours and recognitions and Professional Acclamations. The Chief Priest of Benin Kingdom, Chairman and ProChancellor of Governing Council, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State Nigeria, Chief Nosakhare Isekhure: He has a rare gift in the mastery of instruments, particularly, the guitar whose mastery, I believe is incomparable and greater than the lependary Rock Star, Jimi Hendrex, now late. What else can we say of a man who plays the guitar with dexterity using his finger, his jaws, toes, teeth, from behind the neck and back, then spins the guitar 360 degree, suspending in the air with amazing speed. What else can we say of a may who invented the double neck guitar with 18 strings fashioned after the Mammy

Water esoteric encounter in 1967 while looking for inspiration during a late night outing at the BarBeach Lagos, than to say ‘well done our some for doing us proud.’‘ Over the years, like a trail blazer, Uwaifo, more than any one else, brought honour and respect to this country through music. Presently, he has over 100 records to his credit, everyone of which is a product of serious research and commitment. A man full of vision, dreams and accomplishment, Professor Uwaifo is the proprietor, Revelation Tourist Palazo, an excellent tourists site situated in Benin City. A man with an enduring legacy who stands taller than of his contemporaries. His 50 years performance on stage was celebrated by the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) with a Golden Jubilee award in 2006. In 2010, one his daughters, Idusogie won the Edo State Beauty Peagant of that year. She represented the state in the Miss Nigeria Beauty Peagant. His 26 years old marriage to Osaretin is blessed with children. It is instructive to note that till date, he has an unbroken record of not performing at a funeral ceremonies, and has no intention of doing so. HIS QUOTABLE QUOTES • God is the ultimate creator and artist. I am just a tool of implementation. • The graveyard is full of the best brains that ever lived and the world goes on without them. So the world can do without the best and nobody is indispensable. • A man who thinks he knows it all can never grow. • Idle mind breeds evil: to be happy keep busy: if you stay away from evil, you’ll be far from sin, for evil retards progress. • Music is an interpretation of so many vibrations of sound, arranged in harmony, pleasant to the ears and companion to man both in time of joy and distress. • I have something to learn always even from the foolery of a fool. • Time and chance could happen to attain stardom, but not sustenance, sustenance can only be achieved by real talent, hard work and discipline. • Don’t wait for your destiny to wake you up, wake up your destiny. • The secret of success in positive thinking and speed.


Art Alive

With FRANCIS ODUPUTE

Art Motivation By The School And Teachers

IN a previous article, it was discussed that the school Art Week if organized will be of immense benefit to art students. But in addition to school art week and in order to motivate students the more, other measures need to be taken to make sure that the school art week is a success. One major thing that should be done is to set up a committee of few staff in their areas of specialization, with selected students who are also doing well in their various fields. The purpose of this is to plan and work out details for the art week. The programme should be entertaining as well as educative, and the public should be informed some few weeks in advance through posters, handbills, invitation, broadcast etc. they should make plans for alternative actions in care of failure such as electric power failure, non attendance of an important guest speaker etc. A successful and educative art week will make the students to ask for a repeat and anticipate for another sort of event, just like oliver

By MARY YOUNG

Twist, asking for more. But if the “show� was not successful and interesting, the reverse will be the case. Therefore, a sub-

featuring students work as well as that of local craft persons. To make the event

be general opening and cultural dances, (2) lectures and interesting and

committee should also be set up to assist the committee in exploring areas of creative arts, and

more enjoyable and motivating, the following activities can be done on daily basis. There should

motivating symposium, (3) There should be workshop and demonstration of various media by

FRANCODUS ON FRIDAY

discussion groups. I will personally find pleasure in this and it will motivate me to participate. (4) There should be opening

exhibition and fashion show; raffle draws to win art works. This will interest and motivate especially those who are interested in modeling and show casing their talents. (5) Excursion to museum, galleries, art workshops is very essential and motivating. (6) Things like film show and dramatic production can also be a part of the activities for the school art week as this will motivate those are interested in taking part if the activities are divided into morning and evening sessions, it will make the programme not to be boring and if debates and quiz competitions within students in the school or invited guests are included, it will ginger most persons especially if there is an award that is attached as a reward for winners. The

committees to be set up should include protocol committee as this will cater for dissemination of information, invitation of guests, ushers, handbills, barners, sitting of guests, arrangement of venues and things like these. Entertainment committee should also be set up to take care of light refreshment such as snacks and drinks and the people that will serve them. The fundraising committee is very vital since this committee will source for financial aid from within and outside the school. The financial aid can be in cash or kind. The drama committee takes care of the cultural shows like dramatic production, dance, costumes, stage props and the likes. Exhibition committee caters for the selection, collection and mounting and arranging the art works for the exhibition. They also help in organizing raffle draws if that is part of the programme of activities. Seminar and workshop committee will cater for the symposium or workshop organization, debates, quiz competition and other things like these. To assist in making the programme or event run smoothly sales of art works in the exhibition as well as collecting a token fee for access to enjoy events such as dramatic production, dance drama and films show will help to generate funds in preparing for the next school art week. With these various committees in place with competent men and women not the ones that tells us that a ceramist is a ceramicist, playing their different roles in their different or various committees, the school art week will certainly be a successful educational and recreational experience for the students and the school community in general. Who will not like to attend a programme that will be of great benefit to him/her? It is only a fool that will do that. But how can we achieve all of these? We are capable!


Art And Culture

With AMBROSE EKHOSUEHI

Mediaeval Cross Of Ancient Benin MEDIAEVAL Cross is the Cross worn at the time between the fifth and fifteenth centuries, the Middle Ages. The Mediaeval Cross of ancient Benin, according to ancient custom is a holy and religious emblem worn around the neck. Joao de Barros in his accounts wrote of a possible pre-Christian influence in Ancient Benin Kingdom. “Among the many things which the King D. Jodo of Portugal Learnt from the ambassador of the King of Benin and also from Joao Afonso d’ Aveiro, of what they had been told by the inhabitants of these regions was that to the east of Benin Kingdom, at twenty Moons Journey which according to their account and the short journeys they made would be about two hundred and fifty of our leagues, there lived the most powerful Monarch of these parts who was called” Ogane; (Oghene). Among the Pagan Chiefs of the territories of Benin, Ogane was held in as great as veneration as, is the supreme Pontiff with us.” In accordance with very ancient custom, the king of Benin sends ambassadors to Oghene with rich gifts. The Oghene sends the king a staff and a head piece of shining brass fashioned like a Spanish helmet in place of a crown and scepter. He also sends a CROSS of brass to be worn round the neck, a holy and religious emblem similar to that worn by the knights of the order of Saint John.

When the Ambassador is leaving, he is shown a foot below the curtains as a sign that Oghene is within and agrees to the matters that he has raised. This foot they reverence as though it were a sacred relics. “As a kind of reward for the hardships of such a journey, the ambassador

was wearing one of these crosses. I asked him the reason and he gave me an explanation similar to the above”. “In the time of king D.Jodo, whenever Indian was spoke of, references was always made to a very powerful King called

about this prince that his country was in the land above Egypt whence it stretched to the southern sea! ‘The distance of two hundred and fifty Leagues( 5.556 km is a league), to the east where according to the people of Benin, the Country of Prince Oghene

The king of Benin sent as ambassador to king Joao, one of his captain, a negro with Joao Affonso d” Aveiro, who brought the first pepper- from a sea port town called Gwatto Ughoton, because he desired to learn more about Europe, whose people were regarded as an un-

Ague-Oghene called Ododua or ErinmwinOghodua. The contemporary mask is in the Museum of mankind date to the eighteenth century reign of Oba Eresoyen. The Benin craftsmen produced Ivory Salt cellar

receives a small cross, similar to that sent to the king of Benin, which is thrown around the neck, to signify that he is free and exempted from all servitudes and privileged in his native country as the knights are with us” “In the year 1540 A.D certain ambassadors of the King of Benin came to this kingdom- Portugal, among who was a man, about seventy years of age who

‘Prester John’ of the Indies, who was reputed to be a Christian. It seemed therefore to the king that it might be possible to enter India by way of this kingdom, for he had learnt from the Abyssinian Priests who came to these parts of Spain and also from some Friars who had been from this Kingdom to Jerusalem and whom he had ordered to gather information

Lay, concluded that he must be Prester John, for both were hidden behind curtain of Silk and held the emblem of the Cross in great Veneration” The cross the old man brought is still a mystery and the most puzzling faced the Portuguese, but in 1486 Joao de Barros wrote Portuguese Monarch that the Oba of Benin asks for Missionaries.

usual novelty. During lent-Ague, fast and abstinence kept at the palace big chiefs outside the palace, participants have to obtain cross-formUmanague, from the Priest of Holy Aru Osa. worn round the neck, but big Chiefs tie the cross to the waist cloth by means of small strings of fine coral beads. At the actual feast, the new yam must not be touched nor must the pots and plates used at the feast be used for other purposes. The fast and abstinence is said to have been instituted by Oba Esigie in the Sixteenth Century. Three months later, there was another fast called Ague Oghene. There was a masquerade held during

of the Portuguese noble men on the salt cellar wearing the cross of the Military order of Jesus Christ. In 1540 Oba Esigie made a brass crucifix and sent it to the King of Portugal as a present. The king of Portugal then sent valuable presents and a copy of the Roman Catholic Catechism book, to the Oba of Benin. The Church veneration of the CROSS, Saints and Relics are tangible proof that they were persons, not god, which caught the imaginations, of the Pagan —Heathen, people and prove very helpful in the task of teaching Christian doctrine, so much that the Cross is worn like the Mediaeval cross of Ancient Benin Kingdom in Culture

“As a kind of reward for the hardships of such a journey, the ambassador receives a small cross, similar to that sent to the king of Benin, which is thrown around the neck, to signify that he is free and exempted from all servitudes and privileged in his native country as the knights are with us.”


Development THE recent outbreak of cholera in Wadata quarters and some areas of Benue State has elicited the worry of concerned observers about the plight of people facing sustained water supply challenges. Observers have been calling on the state government to make pragmatic efforts to provide potable water for the citizens of the state. They say that it is somewhat ironic that Benue State, which is surrounded by water, cannot provide uninterrupted supply of drinkable water for the people. They note that settlements like Agboghuul and Wadata in Makurdi, the state capital, as well as towns such as Gboko largely depend on rivers and streams for their daily water needs. The observers note that those, who live in places faraway from river banks, resort to buying water from water vendors, adding that the sources of the water could not be verified. A resident of Wadata, Mrs Torkwase Tyowon, says that she has since resorted to drinking well water because of the dearth of pipe-borne water in the neighbourhood. Also speaking, Mr John Terhide, another resident, says that most of the residents of Makurdi, the state capital, do not have access to potable water.

“Most of us do not even see water at all, even though the state government had spent billions of naira on the K a t s i n a - A l a waterworks. “I hope that the government will do something about the situation so that everybody will have access to potable water,’’ he adds. However, Mr David Audu, a resident of Otukpo, observes that even though the water treatment plant is working, the water distribution network conveying water to the residents’ houses is old and defective. “We understand that the new plants in the state distribute water via pipes which are over 38 years’ old and these pipes cannot even cover a quarter of the areas they are supposed to cover. “We are appealing to President Goodluck Jonathan to intervene so that the people of Benue can have safe water to drink. “It is unfortunate that the Benue State Government has been unable to provide potable and adequate water for us after spending so much on this water project,’’ he says. Audu cites a report of the United Nations D e v e l o p m e n t Programme (UNDP), which states that 4,100 children die every day from water-related diseases like diarrhoea globally, adding that it is

Addressing The Challenges Of Water Supply In Benue a reflection of the lack of safe water in several parts of the world. From all indications, however, the Benue State Government is making concerted efforts to address the water supply challenges facing the people. For instance, Gov. Gabriel Suswam recently inaugurated the construction of three water treatment plants at the cost of N11 billion, as a part of government’s efforts to provide safe water for the citizens and eliminate water-borne diseases. Besides, there are other water treatment projects such as the Greater Makurdi Water Works which has the capacity of supplying 50,000 cubic litres of water daily.

By EMMANUAL ANTSWEN

In spite of these efforts, Mrs Janet Igba, a resident of Katsina-Ala, insists that the residents are yet to have access to potable water supply in the area. Reacting to such complaints, Mr Micheal Dzungu, the General Manager, Benue State Water Board, underscores the board’s readiness to provide potable water to the people regularly. Dzungu concedes that due to paucity of funds, the board has been unable to carry out the necessary repairs of its facilities, saying that “our primary aim of giving the residents of Makurdi adequate water supply may not be feasible at the moment’’. He, nonetheless,

“Besides, there are other water treatment projects such as the Greater Makurdi Water Works which has the capacity of supplying 50,000 cubic litres of water daily. In spite of these efforts, Mrs Janet Igba, a resident of Katsina-Ala, insists that the residents are yet to have access to potable water supply in the area.”

blames the acute water shortage facing Makurdi residents on illegal water supply connections by some water vendors and consumers. Dzungu says that the state government recently began negotiations with a water engineering company, as part of efforts to resume water treatment and supply at the Katsina-Ala and Otubi waterworks. Corroborating Dzungu’s claims, the Commissioner for Water Resources, Mr Comrade Wergba, says that there are ongoing consultations between the state government and the company on the project. Wergba appeals to the people in areas without water supply to exercise patience, saying that the government is doing everything possible to provide potable water for them. All the same, Dr Orduen Abunku, the Commissioner for Health and Human

Services, says: “We have so far recorded eight deaths from the cholera outbreak in some parts of the state. “Two hundred and forty people have been diagnosed with cholera since its outbreak; the trend is gradually reducing and we are collaborating with all the necessary agencies to curb the spread of the disease. “The World Health Organisation (WHO), the Federal Ministry of Health and other organisations had visited the affected areas to ascertain the exact state of the health crisis,’’ he says. Abunku, however, urges the people to cultivate the habit of eating hot food and using clean water in everything they do. All in all, analysts underscore the need for the government to give priority attention to water supply programmes, as part of pragmatic efforts to tackle the rising menace of water-borne diseases in Benue State.


Health

Key Symptoms Of Heart Disease THERE are many different types if heart disease, and each can produce it’s own set of symptoms. But there are some key symptoms that are associated with more than one kind of cardiac disease. If you should experience any of these symptoms, you should seek medical help in evaluating them. Chest pain or chest Discomfort – Few symptoms are more alarming than chest pain. In the minds of many people, chest pain equals heart pain. And while many other conditions can cause chest pain, cardiac disease is so common and so dangerous – that the symptoms of chest pain should never be dismissed out of hand as being insignificant. “Chest Pain” is an imprecise term. It is often used to describe any pain, pressure, squeezing, choking, numbness or any other discomfort in the chest, neck or upper abdomen, and is often associated with pain in the jaw, hand, or arms. It can last from less than a second to days or weeks, can occur frequently or rarely, and can occur sporadically or predictably. This kind of variability can make it challenging to determine when chest pain is actually signaling a serious problem which is why you should get help from a medical

By GIFT O. OKELEKE

professional if you have chest pain. Palpitations – Palpitations, an unusual awareness of the heartbeat, is an extremely common symptom. Most people who complain of palpitations describe them either as “skips” in the heart-beat (that is, a pause, often follow by a particularly strong beat), or as periods of rapid and or irregular heartbeats. Most people with palpitations have some cardiac arrhythniaabnormal ryhythms. There are many types of arrhythmias, and almost all can cause palpitations, but the most common causes of palpitations are premature atrial complexes (PACs), premature ventricular complexes (PVCs), episode of arrial fibrillation, and episodes of supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). Unfortunately, on occasion, palpitations can signal a more dangerous heart arrhythmia, such as ventricular tachycardia. Lightheadedness or Dizziness – Episodes of lightheadedness or dizziness can have many causes, including anemia (low blood count) and other blood disorders, dehydration, viral illnesses, prolonged bed rest, diabetes, thyroid disease, gastrointestinal disturbances, liver disease,

kidney disease, vascular disease, neurological disorders, dysautonomias, vas-ovagal episodes, heart failure and cardiac arrhythmias. Because so many different conditions can produce these symptoms, anybody

Syncope (fainting/Lost of consciousness) Syncope is a sudden and temporary loss of consciousness, or fainting. It is a common symptom. Most people pass out at least once in their lives – and often does not indicate a serious medical problem. However,

experiencing episodes of lightheadedness or dizziness ought to have a thorough and complete examination by a physicians. And since disorder of so many organ systems can cause these symptoms, a good general interest or family doctor may be the best place to start.

sometimes syncope indicates a dangerous or even life-threatening condition, so when syncope occurs it is important to figure out the cause. The causes of syncope can be grouped into four major categories: neurologic, metabolic, vasomotor and cardiac. Of

“Palpitations, an unusual awareness of the heartbeat, is an extremely common symptom. Most people who complain of palpitations describe them either as “skips” in the heart-beat (that is, a pause, often follow by a particularly strong beat), or as periods of rapid and or irregular heartbeats.”

course, only cardiac syncope commonly leads to sudden death. Fatigue, lethargy or Daytime sleepiness – fatigue lethargy or somnolence (daytime sleepiness) are very common symptoms. Fatigue or lethargy can be thought of as an inability to continue functioning at one’s normal levels. Somnolence implies in addition, that one either crave sleep – or worse, finds oneself suddenly asleep, a condition known as narcolepsy – during the

these sleep disturbances, however, are more common in patients with heart disease. Shortness of Breath – Shortness of breath is most often a symptom of cardiac or pulmomy (lung) disorders. Heart failure and coronary artery disease frequently produce shortness of breath. Patients with heart failure commonly experience shortness of breath with exertion, or when lying flat on their backs they also can suddenly wake up at night gasping for breath,

daytime. While fatigue and lethargy can be symptoms of heart disease (particularly, of heart failure), these common and non-specific symptoms can also be due to disorders of virtually any other organ system in the body. Similar to lightheadedness and dizziness, individuals with fatigue and lethargy need a good general medical evaluation in order to begin pinning down a specific cause. Somnolence is often caused by nocturnal sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome or insomnia. All

a condition known as paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea. Other cardiac conditions such as valvular heart disease or pericardial disease can produce this symptom, as can cardiac arrhythmias. Numerous lung conditions can produce shortness of breath including asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, pneumonia, or pleural effusion (a fluid accumulation between the lung and chest wall). Shortness of breath is almost always a sign of a significant medical problem, and should always be evaluated by a doctor.


Issues

Is Anti-Same Sex Marriage Law Reasonably Justified?

ACCORDING to (Genesis 2:24) “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” God initiated marriage institution for a man and a woman, this was the reason. He created Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah. However, marriage in its formal meaning: Is a formal union of a man and a woman, typically recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife. Also, Marian Webster, defined marriage as the state of being united to a person of opposite sex as husband and wife in consensual and contractual relationship, recognized by law. The Nigeria Constitution however, has no different support on marriage rather than the above stated ways of legal marriage. It is becoming alarming, as this universally acceptable meaning of marriage or civil union seems to be doubtable in this 21st century, as “same sex marriage” is becoming the reigning marriage in many nations of the world. Similarly, research recently has it that about 15 countries in the world as at 2013, legally supported “same sex union” (marriage); including the world powers like the United State of America (U.S.A). Nigeria is vested with the power to enact and enforce laws to protect, correct and regulate the action and attitude or behaviour of its citizens. Therefore, having considered “same sex marriage (union)” as unlawful, unbiblical, uncultural and immoral, capable of causing hazard in the society, through the National Assembly enacted a bill to stop same sex union practice in Nigeria. The bill titled: Anti Same Sex Marriage prohibition bill, in 2013, became active after the assent of President Goodluck Jonathan in January 7, 2014,

despite the threats from USA and some other developed countries to withdraw their support to Nigeria. Anti same sex marriage law is a law that opposed the act of man and man, woman and woman marriage. One will be tempted to say that Mr. President deserve a round of applauds for his wise and godly decision but the story was not the same as the issue has continued to raise dust in the air, segmented the citizens into various group, causing controversy amongst citizens of Nigeria. Though, some Nigerians

including religious leaders have showed their full support to the law and applauded the President, saying that it is a welcome development, adding that the act is a taboo to God and to the Nigeria values and ethnics of culture. Meanwhile, some Nigerians have condemned the anti same sex marriage law,

By MARTIN ERHAUYI

saying that the prohibition bill has violated their fundamental human right, as stipulated in chapter 4 of the 1999 Nigeria Constitution as amended, adding that the law is draconian, irresponsible and undemocratic capable of criminalizing an innocent section of Nigeria populace since it stands to violate people’s rights. It might sound funny, remember “one man’s food is another man’s poison.” Also, condemning their opinion will be unwise without

The Nigeria Constitution being a standard document, that contains all it takes to regulate citizens moral conduct. Moreso, in its wisest understanding made the fundamental human rights not absolute, then went on to provide in section 45 (1) as quoted “Nothing in section 37, 38, 39, 40 and 41 of this constitution shall invalidate any law that is REASOABLY JUSTIFIED in a democratic society. In the interest of defence, public safety, public

holding your fact to the constitution. Chapter 4, section 39(1) of the 1999 Constitution gave everyone right of freedom of expression; to hold opinions without interference. However, this article shall do justice to the controversy surrounding the law, as it highlight the constitutional view on the bill.

morality or public health. Note: A law is consider “Reasonably Justified” when it is supported by “majority” for the interest of others in the society. However, it is clear that, the constitution having provided the fundamental human right in chapter 4, also ensure that, the protection and enforcement of these rights

“In other words, the “same sex marriage (prohibition) law does not criminalize or prohibit homosexuality in itself,” according to Omojuwa. But the law, only prohibit homosexual “marriage, civil unions, and others, relationship under the amorous public display of such relationship and promoting and engaging in homosexual activities.”

are accountable to the supreme interests and consideration of any law that is “Reasonably Justified” such as “Anti Same Sex Marriage prohibition law.” One can doubtedly ask is the law Reasonably Justified? The answer is simply yes! Because, according to the given interest listed in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section45 of the constitution. As quoted “in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health. Meanwhile, Anti Same Sex prohibition law stands for the interest of public morality, public health and public order. According to Omosuwa on his Articles title: What you must know stated; “There is no gain saying that Nigeria a is very religious country with

chapter 4 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution saying that their sexual relationship with same sex is a matter of choice, which could be consider private.” However, taking a deep look at section 45(1). It is clear, that section 37 was not exempted. In other words, the “same sex marriage (prohibition) law does not criminalize or prohibit homosexuality in itself,” according to Omojuwa. But the law, only prohibit homosexual “marriage, civil unions, and others, relationship under the amorous public display of such relationship and promoting and engaging in homosexual activities. The law also disallows anyone to witness, support the solemnization of same sex marriage.

it population evenly divided between Christians and Muslims together with a sizable number of people who are traditional worshippers.” In addition, Nigeria is a democratic nation, and decision making is mainly done by the approval of the majority against the minority view. The view of the majority in support of the law makes it “Reasonable Justified.” The frown of many Nigerian on same sex marriage practice showed that the act is unafrican and unreligious capable of violating people’s religious and cultural belief. Another claim by the opposers of the law is that, the law in nature has violated their private right” as stipulated in section 37 of

In conclusion, Nigeria having been declared a sovereign state has power and authority to make and enforce law. It is vested on the government, for the primary purpose of the security and welfare of the people. As stated in chapter 2 section 14(1 and 2 and b) respectively of the 1999 constitution as amended. Therefore, Nigerians should learn to “initiate” good moral conduct from the developed nations not the opposite of them, because, “No matter how decorated a casket may look it cannot be given as marriage gift” constant maintenance of God fearing, respect for cultural value and tradition remain the powerful tools for building up morals in any society.


Reflection

With Rev. Fr. John Damian Adizie, OCD Mobile: +2348076635886 Email: johndamianocd@yahoo.co.uk

Marching Forward Into The Month Of March

TODAY marks the end of February. Child of God, you are about to enter into the month of March, the month of motion, the month when all the things that are static in your life will be set on motion. The month of March is a month of transition, a month between dry season and raining season. It is the month that ushers in the raining season. As soon as the first rain drops, all the dead grass will start springing up. The dead grasses will all come back to life. As the grass in the field is coming back to life that is how everything that is dead in your life, in your business, your office, your academics and even in your family will come back to new life. Yes, the dry season has finally come and gone. I thank God for your life; you did not go with the dry season. You are still alive! Remember, where there is life there is hope. During the dry season a lot of leafs dried up and fell off from the trees but thank God, you are still alive because you are attached to Christ. You are one of the branches of the vine that cannot be cut off by the worries of life. God said, through the Prophet Isaiah, “When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall overwhelm you; when you pass through fire you shall not be burned. And the flame shall not consume you” (Isaiah 43:2). Even when you pass through dry season there will be no shaking for you, the dry season will not dry you up. During the dry season a lot of thing happened. Some lakes

dried up. Some people were spiritually and financially dried up. The dry season has come and gone and yet you are still looking fresh. You are still shining in the Lord. The dry season could not dry you up. Instead, you have come out of the dry season more refined and more refreshed. Child of God, if this dry season, with its socalled climatic changes, could not dry you up, nothing can dry you up. Your financial pocket will never go dry. Your anointing will never dry up. Nothing and nobody can dry you up. Our God is ever green. He does not dry up. He cannot faint and He cannot fade away. So He is with those who put their trust in the Lord. The Prophet Isaiah wrote concerning our God and those who wait for the Lord, “The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary, his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31). Our God is inexhaustible. He is unchangeable. He is the same yesterday, today and forevermore. The dry season is a period of

spiritual aridity, a period of emptiness and infertility; it is the night of fruitless labour. In the gospel of Luke, Peter and his companions experienced business dryness. When Jesus told him to put out his nets for a catch he told him, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing!” (Luke 5:5). This particular night when Peter and his companion laboured in vain could be described as a night of dryness. But the moment Jesus entered the boat of their business their story changed. They experienced the greatest breakthrough of their lives. As soon as Jesus enters into the boat of your life this month of March your life will never be the same. Child of God, I may not know the exact dryness of your life. I may not know the challenges you are facing in your family, your office or your business center. I may not even know how many people that are trying to frustrate your life. The day Jesus will enter the boat of your life things will start

turning around for your good. Your dry season is over. Now that you are about to enter the month of March you have to put all those ugly experiences behind you. You just have to march forward: for forward ever backward never! God does not want you to linger in your pass. He wants you to move forward. God said through the Prophet Isaiah, Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19). God is blessing you with a new month. He is doing something new in your life. You really need to perceive what God has done and what He is still doing in your life. Do you know that a lot of transformation has taken place in your life? Try to imagine how you were ten years ago. Think of your height when you were five years old. What of the way you reason? There was a time in your life when you could not even feed yourself.

Your mother was the one breastfeeding you. Others were assisting her to feed you with milk and other liquid food. Do you know that there was a time in your life when you could not read and write? You actually started learning with ‘A, B, C, D’ but look at the tremendous growth that has taken place in your life. There was a time you were not going to farm, you were not receiving any salary, yet God was using people to sustain you. There was a time you were completely dependent on others for your daily bread? But now you have grown up and you are the one feeding yourself. Certainly, a lot of transformation has taken place in your life. You can agree with me, as the song goes, It is the Lord’s doing it is marvelous in our sight. It is the Lord’s doing I will praise him. Yes, it is indeed the Lord’s doing, the transformations that is taking place in your life is the Lord’s doing. That you are still alive today - is the Lord’s doing. Most of your age mates are dead and buried but you are still alive – It is the Lord’s doing. Some of your age mates

even died while they were still in their mother’s womb, but thank God you are still alive – it is the Lord’s doing! Think of your early life. When you were in your mother’s womb and even when you were born your life was strictly in God’s hand. Your destiny also is in God’s hands. Only God knows what you will be in the near future. God told Prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrate you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). Your destiny is in the hands of God. Your breakthrough is in God’s hands. He was the One that created you. He knew the kind of material He used in fashioning you. He knows your strength and your weakness. He knows everything about you. With these facts you don’t even need anyone to tell you that you have to march forward. No amount of complain or worry can solve your problem. Our Lord Jesus Christ advised his followers saying “do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on.” Life, according to him, is more than food, and the body more than clothing. All you need to do, according to him, is to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; every other thing will be added unto you. Child of God, since your destiny is strictly in God’s hands, you cannot even add a cubit to the span of your life (Matthew 6:27); the only way you can make it is to remain connected with God through prayer. God will direct your steps. He will shape your destiny. He will mold you in his own image and likeness. He will help you to achieve your goal in life. If you follow God’s direction you will surely succeed. You will not die prematurely. With God’s direction, you will not even develop unnecessary illness. Heart attack will never be your portion. You will live to see your children’s children. The month of March will be a favourable one for you. It shall be well with you, in Jesus name – Amen!

“Child of God, since your destiny is strictly in God’s hands, you cannot even add a cubit to the span of your life (Matthew 6:27); the only way you can make it is to remain connected with God through prayer. God will direct your steps. He will shape your destiny. He will mold you in his own image and likeness.”


International S/Korean Missionary Jailed In North Seeks Mercy

Kim Jung Wouk, a South Korean Baptist Missionary, bows before he leaves a news conference in Pyongyang.

Blast Hits Qatari Capital Of Doha, Killing 4

DOHA, Qatar — An apparent gas explosion yesterday killed at least four people and wounded a number of others near a shopping mall in the Qatari capital, an emergency official in the energy-rich Gulf nation said. Initial reports suggest a burst gas cylinder was to blame for the blast, which happened shortly after 10 a.m. near the Landmark Mall in the capital, Doha, civil defense director of operations Gen. Hamid alNaimi told state-backed Qatar TV. He did not say how many people were wounded.

The Ministry of Interior, which is responsible for police and emergency operations, said on its official Twitter feed that the blast happened at the Istanbul Restaurant. All roads leading to the scene have been shut down, it said.

Qatar TV aired pictures of damaged cars and smoke rising from near a gas station close to the shopping center. Injured bystanders were seen being wheeled to ambulances on stretchers while police

officers examined the scene. Qatar is a small, wealthy Gulf Arab state with abundant reserves of natural gas that will play host to the 2022 World Cup. The OPEC member state is generally safe, with little violent crime or civil unrest.

German Ex-President Acquitted In Corruption Trial

BERLIN — Germany’s former president, Christian Wulff, was acquitted yesterday of corruption charges in a case that prompted his resignation two years ago. The state court in Hannover

cleared Wulff of illegally accepting favors, news agency dpa reported. Wulff was once a deputy leader of Chancellor Angela

Merkel’s conservative party and was her choice for the largely ceremonial role of president; his resignation less than two years into a five-year

Suicide Car Bomber Kills At Least 10 In MOGADISHU - At Somali Capital - Police least 10 people were killed in an explosion when a suicide bomber drove his car into a tea shop near the national security headquarters in Somalia’s capital, a senior police officer said yesterday. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast, the second in almost a week in the city after Islamist militant group al Shabaab said it was behind an attack on the president’s palace on Friday.

PYONGYANG - In his first public appearance since his arrest, Kim Jung Wook appealed to North Korean authorities to show him mercy by releasing him, and also claimed he had received assistance from South Korea’s intelligence agency. In the past, North Korean authorities have held staged news conferences where detainees are presented before the media to make statements that they later recant. Sometimes, the government presents former defectors who have returned to the country to express contrition for their actions. North Korea has consistently ranked near the bottom of a global index on media freedom produced by Reporters Without Borders. Kim told reporters Thursday that he was arrested on Oct. 8 after crossing into the North from China, while trying to make his way to Pyongyang with Bibles, Christian instructional materials and movies. Kim said he was unsure what punishment he would face. He said he requested the news conference to show his family he is in good health. Kim said he had met numerous times with South Korean intelligence officials before entering the North from the Chinese border town of Dandong, and claimed he had received thousands of dollars from them for his service. He said he wanted to go into North

“A bomber swerved his car bomb into a tea shop where national security men were sitting and blew up. So far we have confirmed 10 people dead including national security forces and civilians. The tea shop was completely destroyed,” Colonel Abdikadir Hussein, a senior police officer, told Reuters. Abdullahi Hassan, the district commissioner of Mogadishu’s Abdiasis district, said the target of the

attack was a national security car passing the tea shop. A Reuters witness counted eight bodies. On Friday, al Shabaab targeted President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s heavily fortified palace in Mogadishu, known as Villa Somalia, in another blast and gunfight. Al Qaeda-allied al Shabaab ruled most of the southern region of Somalia

from 2006 until 2011 when forces from other African nations sent by the African Union drove them out of Mogadishu and then expelled them from most urban centers. The Islamist militants, who want to impose a strict version of Islamic law, still hold swathes of rural territory in southern Somalia and some smaller towns or villages, including the major coastal stronghold of Barawe.

term was an embarrassment to the German leader. He quit when prosecutors asked Parliament to lift his immunity in February 2012 so that they could start a formal investigation. Wulff had faced a barrage of corruption allegations stemming from his time as governor of the state of Lower Saxony before he became president in 2010. The charges that went to trial related specifically to some 720 euros ($990) in hotel and entertainment costs allegedly paid by German film producer David Groenewold for Wulff and his family during a visit to Oktoberfest in Munich in 2008. Prosecutors alleged that Wulff then helped Groenewold try to raise support for a film project. Both men denied corruption.

Korea to establish a series of underground churches to spread Christianity. “I was thinking of turning North Korea into a religious country, and destroying its present government and political system,” Kim said. “I received money from the intelligence services and followed instructions from them, and arranged North Koreans to act as their spies. And I also set up an underground church in China, in Dandong, and got the members to talk and write, for me to collect details about the reality of life in North Korea, and I provided this to the intelligence services.” In November, North Korea’s state media said the country had arrested a South Korean spy. South Korea’s main spy agency, the National Intelligence Service, denied that and that it has any relations with Kim. Later Thursday, South Korea issued a statement urging North Korea to quickly release Kim. “It’s hard to understand calling one of our citizens who engages in pure religious activities an anti-state criminal,” Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Euido told a news conference. Relations between the two countries have eased recently, with Pyongyang making a series of conciliatory gestures such as allowing reunions between relatives who have been separated since the Korean war 60 years ago. Based largely in the border town of Dandong since 2007, Kim helped North Korean defectors get to South Korea via Thailand, Laos and other countries, according to a friend in Seoul, Joo Dongsik, who has shipped shoes, clothing and other items to Kim. Recently, Kim had turned more to providing food and shelter to North Koreans who had received permission to go to China to look for jobs, often unsuccessfully, leaving them with no income and nowhere to go, said Joo, also a Baptist Christian. Over the past three or four years, Kim had told Joo numerous times that he wanted to sneak into North Korea to see how serious the food shortage there was, although Joo tried to dissuade him. In August 2012, a group of 12 North Korean women were caught by Chinese authorities while they were at Kim’s shelter and sent back to North Korea. His desire to find out what had happened to them and learn about the North’s food shortage led him to enter the country last October, Joo said. Kim was born in 1964, Joo said, making him 49 or 50 years old.


International UN Nuclear Agency Opted Against Sensitive Iran Report VIENNA/UNITED NATIONS - The U.N. nuclear watchdog planned a major report on Iran that might have revealed more of its suspected atomic bomb research, but held off as Tehran’s relations with the outside world thawed, sources familiar with the matter said. Such a report - to have been prepared last year - would almost certainly have angered Iran and complicated efforts to settle a decade-old dispute over its atomic aspirations, moves which accelerated after pragmatic President Hassan Rouhani took office in August. According to the sources, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has apparently dropped the idea of a new report, at least for the time being. There was no immediate comment from the IAEA. The sources said there was no way of knowing what information collected by the agency since it issued a landmark report on Iran in 2011 might have been incorporated in the new document, although one said it could have added to worries about Tehran’s activities. As relations rapidly improved, Iran struck an interim nuclear deal with six world powers in November which Israel denounced as an “historic mistake” as it did not require Tehran to dismantle its uranium enrichment sites. One source said probably only Israel, which is believed to be the Middle East’s sole nuclear-armed state, would criticize the IAEA for not issuing a new report in the present circumstances. Iran and the world powers hope to reach a final settlement by July, when the interim accord expires, although they acknowledge this will be an uphill task. A decision not to go ahead with the new document may raise questions about information that the United Nations agency has gathered in the last two years on what it calls the “possible military dimensions” (PMD) to Iran’s nuclear program. Tehran says the program is peaceful and denies Western allegations that it is seeking to develop

the capability to make bombs. The sources, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue, suggested the more recent material concerned extra detail about alleged research and experiments that were covered in the November 2011 report. A new report would probably have included “updated information on PMD” which could have “reinforced the concern” about Iran, one said. The IAEA’s dossier in November 2011 contained a trove of intelligence indicating past activity in Iran which could be used for developing nuclear weapons,

Guzman (middle), is escorted by soldiers during a presentation at the Navy’s airstrip in Mexico City.

Mexico President Sees No Swift Extradition Of Kingpin Guzman

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano reacts as he attends a news conference.

MEXICO CITY - Captured Mexican drug lord Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman faces an outstanding jail term in Mexico and any extradition to the United States is likely to take time, President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Wednesday. In an interview with broadcaster Univision, Pena Nieto suggested that Guzman, who was Mexico’s most wanted man when he was arrested in the northwest of the country on Saturday, was unlikely to be handed over to the United States quickly. “The process of extradition can take time,” he said, noting that Mexico’s attorney general’s office would need to consider a request on the basis

Thai PM Faces Negligence Charges As Protest the recent violence, and this BANGKOK - Thailand’s anti-corruption agency weighed Leader Broaches Talks public talk on television might be his exit strategy. There are charges of negligence against Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday as the leader of protests aimed at forcing her from power suggested a televised debate after weeks of refusing to talk. The charges relate to a disastrous rice subsidy scheme that paid farmers above the market price and has run out of funds, adding to the government’s woes as farmers normally the prime minister’s biggest supporters - demand their money. More than 300 government supporters gathered outside the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) in north Bangkok where the charges were due to be discussed with Yingluck’s lawyers, as riot police stood guard inside the complex. Because of the protest, the

hearing had to be moved to a different location. Yingluck, who has stayed mostly out of Bangkok in recent days, did not attend. The anti-government protesters elsewhere in the city, whose disruption of a general election this month has left Thailand in paralysis, want to topple Yingluck and erase the influence of her brother, ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, seen by many as the real power in the country. Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, known for making dramatic gestures without always following through, said he was willing to appear in a live television debate with Yingluck after weeks of refusing any form of talks. “Just tell me when and where,” he told supporters.

“Give us two chairs and a microphone and transmit it live on television so the people can see.” Yingluck gave a guarded response. “The talks have to have a framework though I am not sure what that framework would look like,” she told reporters in the town of Chiang Mai in the north, a Thaksin stronghold. “But many parties have to be involved because I alone cannot answer on behalf of the Thai people.” Boonyakiat Karavekphan, a political analyst at Ramkamhaeng University, said he did not doubt Suthep’s sincerity in proposing the talks but that he definitely had some objective. “Suthep appears to be thinking of a way down,” he said. “He isn’t oblivious to all

growing calls from the public for some sort of dialogue.” The protesters want to set up a “people’s council” of unspecified worthy people to spearhead political reform before new polls are held, hoping that will stop parties loyal to the self-exiled Thaksin winning. They have been on Bangkok’s streets since November and have blocked main intersections for weeks to press their case. The protests have triggered violence in which 21 people have been killed and more than 700 wounded. Intermittent bursts of gunfire and grenade blasts have become routine at night in the political conflict, which has taken a heavy toll on tourism in the capital, famous for its golden temples and racy bars.

of investigations it was carrying out against Guzman, who escaped from a Mexican prison in 2001. Guzman headed the most powerful drug cartel in Mexico and was responsible for a huge chunk of the cocaine, heroin and other drugs trafficked north to the United States. In view of Mexico’s position, Pena Nieto said, what was important was not only Guzman’s recapture, “and in consequence that he serve out the term for which he had already been sentenced, but also the new cases that will need to follow.” “This does not clash with a possible extradition request,” he added. Top Mexican officials have already said Guzman is likely to remain in Mexico for the time being while he is investigated over the vast criminal empire behind his Sinaloa Cartel. Mexican prosecutors charged Guzman with drug trafficking offences soon after his arrest in the Pacific port of Mazatlan by Mexican marines assisted by U.S. intelligence. Fears that the wily Guzman could again prove too cunning for Mexico’s porous justice system have fed calls that he be extradited to the United States, though several Mexican politicians have called for him to be tried at home. Guzman had served less than half of a 20-year sentence when he broke out of prison 13 years ago, and he has already won a temporary injunction to avoid extradition to the United States.


International Britain To Unveil New Measures To Tackle addiction to drugs. inadequate data and “The right analysis, the “This is such an Child Poverty LONDON - The simplistic analysis drive right data, and the right important issue - it is government was not yet in

coalition government will unveil new measures to address child poverty after scrapping controversial plans to rewrite the official definition which focuses on household income. The Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith and Schools Minister David Laws are expected to unveil a threeyear strategy to reduce the number of poor children as independent forecasts warned that the number of impoverished children could rise to more than three million by the end of the decade. The strategy is expected to include plans to lower water charges, reduce the typical energy bill by £50, extend the warm home discount, lower food bills by providing vouchers and extending the free school meals programme. In a joint Guardian article with Chancellor George Osborne, Duncan Smith said the Conservatives remained “committed to introducing better measures of child poverty — measures that drive the right action to bring about a real change in children’s lives now and in the future”. Under Labour, “the wrong measures based on

misguided and ineffective policy”, the pair added. However, the pair acknowledged the

take into account other a position to propose a aspects such as educational broader definition of child opportunities and parents’ poverty which would also

Israeli Embassy to Japan representative Peleg Lewi, left, shakes hands with Suginami Ward Mayor Ryo Tanaka as he hands over Anne Frankrelated books to public libraries at the Suginami Ward Office in Tokyo yesterday. The Israeli Embassy is donating 300 books after the recent vandalism of a similar number of such books in their collections. More than 300 books related to Anne Frank, including copies of "The Dairy of a Young Girl," have been found damaged in Tokyo libraries. Suginami was particularly hard hit with 121 books vandalized.

measures will allow us to deliver a really meaningful reduction in child poverty.” William Higham, Save the Children’s director of UK poverty policy, said: “With child poverty predicted to rise by a million by 2020, more children will be growing up without the basics we expect, like a warm home and a winter coat. “The proposed government action on energy prices and insurance will make a difference - but we can’t just bail out families, we need to fix the leak. “Work needs to become a route out of poverty and we must intervene early to help the poorest families and make sure their children don’t fall behind at school.”

2 Missing Indian Navy Officers Found Dead In SEVEN sailors were authorized to talk to stripped of his duties, the Submarine overcome by smoke reporters. He did not give Press Trust of India news yesterday during a training exercise in the submarine off Mumbai’s coast, but two officers were unaccounted for following the incident. Rescuers who boarded the submarine after it reached port yesterday found the officers’ bodies, a Defense Ministry official said on condition of anonymity because he was not

any further details. The seven sailors who were overcome by smoke were in stable condition at a Mumbai hospital, said Capt. D.K. Sharma, a navy spokesman. Sharma said investigators were trying to determine what caused the smoke. Navy chief Adm. D.K. Joshi resigned Wednesday to take responsibility for

with 121 books vandalized. The donated books will be divided among Tokyo libraries. The mayor of Suginami expressed hope that the incident could be turned into a lesson for Japanese who are not aware of the Holocaust. “Through this incident, I believe that people also learned about the horrid facts of history and of racism, and with this knowledge, I hope that our people were given an opportunity to reflect on the preciousness of peace,” Mayor Ryo Tanaka said. Peleg Lewi, deputy chief of mission at the Israeli Embassy, said he

believes the vandalism was a single act that does not represent the feelings of the Japanese. “The diary of Anne Frank represents to us a message of tolerance between people,” he said. “We fully trust the Japanese authorities to bring those responsible for these cowardly acts to justice.” Police established a task force this week to investigate the case. Frank wrote her diary during the two years her family hid from the Nazis during World War II. She died in a concentration camp in 1945. Her father survived and published the diary, which has

the accident and other incidents that have plagued the navy in recent years. The government accepted his resignation. Last August, another of the navy’s Russian-made diesel-powered submarines, the INS Sindhurakshak, caught fire after an explosion and sank at its home port in Mumbai, killing all 18 sailors on board.

Israel Donates To Tokyo Libraries TOKYO — The Israeli Embassy has donated 300 Anne Frank-related books to Tokyo public libraries to replace those that have been vandalized. Representatives from the embassy and Japan’s Jewish community handed over the books Thursday to the mayor of Tokyo’s Suginami ward. More than 300 books related to Anne Frank, including copies of “The Diary of a Young Girl,” have been found damaged in Tokyo libraries, according to the latest tally. Suginami was particularly hard hit,

vitally important that we take the time to get it right,” they said.

become the most widely read document to emerge from the Holocaust.

In December, the INS Talwar, a Russian-built stealth frigate, slammed into a trawler off India’s west coast, sinking the boat and tossing 27 fishermen into the sea. All of the fishermen were rescued. Another navy frigate ran aground near the Mumbai naval base in January, damaging some equipment. And earlier this month, the INS Airavat, an amphibious warfare vessel, ran aground and its commanding officer was

agency said. Sameer Patil, a defense analyst with the Mumbaibased think tank Indian Council on Global Relations, said delays in the acquisition of new submarines to replace an inadequate and aging fleet were taking its toll on the operational capabilities of the Indian navy. “This is unfortunate because the Indian navy is spearheading India’s cooperative engagement with the Indian Ocean region, and policy makers need to pay close attention to our naval fleet,” he said.

India’s navy chief Admiral D.K. Joshi watches at a press conference in Mumbai, India. Joshi resigned Wednesday hours after seven sailors were overcome with smoke on an Indian navy submarine, and two other sailors were missing in an accident off Mumbai’s coast.


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Fulham Hoping To Stun Chelsea FULHAM midfielder

Mel Gets Baggies’ Backing WEST Bromwich Albion gave a public declaration of support to coach Pepe Mel on Wednesday following recent speculation over the Spaniard’s future with the Premier League club. The Midlands side have still to win their first match since Mel replaced the sacked Steve Clarke and are currently just a point above the relegation zone. And while meetings have bene held at The Hawthorns, Albion indicated Mel would remain in charge until the end of the season. “At present, we are going through a period of transition, which is natural following the appointment of a new head coach,” West Brom sporting director Richard Garlick said in a statement on the club’s website. “There is also a lot of frustration at our league position and run of form. I would be more concerned if there wasn’t. “Various meetings have been held within the football department over the past few days to discuss our current situation and what needs to be done to improve results in our final 11 games. “The discussions have proved constructive. There has been a lot of soul-searching and it is clear everyone has a real hunger and desire to keep the club in the Premier League. “Pepe, the coaching staff and players will now do everything in their power to achieve this common goal.” Matej Vydra’s late equaliser earned the Baggies a point against Fulham on Saturday, their fourth 1-1 scoreline in Mel’s six games in charge.

Pepe Mel

Galatasaray’s Cameroonian defender Aurelien Chedjou celebrates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 football match between Galatasaray and Chelsea on February 26, 2014 at the TT Arean Stadium in Istanbul

Premier League Still Strong - Wenger ARSENAL Manager Arsene Wenger has insisted the Premier League is not suffering from a slide in standards despite all four E nglish teams failing to record victories in the first legs of their Champions League last-16 ties.

After Manchester City lost 2-0 to Barcelona and Arsenal were beaten by the same scoreline by Bayern Munich last week, Manchester United went down to a surprise 2-0 defeat at Olympiakos on Tuesday before Chelsea were held to a 1-1 draw with Galatasaray on Wednesday. Premier League clubs had featured in all but one of the previous eight Champions League finals up to Chelsea’s triumph in 2012, but last season no English side reached the quarterfinals and this month’s results have raised further questions about their ability to compete at the top level. However, Wenger said at his prematch news conference at Arsenal’s London Colney training base that it would be premature to draw conclusions from the firstleg clashes.

“First of all, you have to remember all four teams came out of the group stage,” he said. “That proves that the level is there. You cannot judge a general trend on one game. “Man City played with 10 men, Arsenal played with 10 men. City played against Barcelona, Arsenal played against Bayern Munich, the European champion. The other two teams are still in position, Chelsea and United, where they can turn the result around. Let’s wait for the second game before we discuss a trend. It is one game and very different opponents.” He added: “Honestly, the Premier League is the most difficult in the world. The level is good from first to 20th. This

Exchange when the market opened but it soon rallied and ended the day 33 cents up at $14.98. The rumours about Moyes seemed to emanate from the financial world with widespread talk an announcement would be made to the NYSE when trading opened. But United were reported to be ‘baffled’ by the comments and have always made it clear Moyes will be

given time to prove he is the right man to replace the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson. A plunge on Moyes becoming the next Premier League manager to leave his post also occurred on Wednesday, the second Wednesday shake-up in that market after earlier rumours that Pepe Mel was about to leave his post at West Brom after only a couple of months.

United Shares Steady Despite MANCHESTER Moyes Rumours United’s share price remained steady despite rumours concerning the future of manager David Moyes. United’s 2-0 defeat by Olympiakos in the Champions League on Tuesday led to plenty of conjecture about Moyes’ future, with one rumour suggesting he had already left Old Trafford after less than one season. There was an initial drop in their share price on the New York Stock

Ashkan Dejagah believes his side can pull off an upset when they host log leaders Chelsea in a Premier League clash at Craven Cottage on Saturday afternoon. The Iran international was on target for the Hammers as they played to a 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion last Saturday and has urged his side to show their fighting spirit. “I thought with a bit of luck we could hold on for the win but it wasn’t to be,” he reflected on the West Brom clash. “Now we have to focus on the next game against Chelsea, which will be tough. We have to work hard all week to be ready.

is the only league that has this. There are 10 other teams in Europe who can beat the Premier League [teams]. This is what we have seen.” Meanwhile, Wenger echoed Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho’s claim that Liverpool are emerging as a major threat to win this season’s Premier League title. Brendan Rodgers’ side did not qualify for Europe this season

and were knocked out of the FA Cup by Arsenal earlier this month, allowing them to focus their efforts solely on the league. Wenger said: “Liverpool is in the race and they have an advantage because it’s the only competition they play. Overall, it will be very tight — I hope until the end, because that means it will be close until the end and, if you are consistent, you will have a good chance to win it.”

“We’ll need a big performance from everyone. It’s a huge game for the players and the fans. “Chelsea have a great team this year and need the points as well. We’ll have to fight for the points and we will see.” Felix Magath’s side are currently at the bottom of the table with 21 points, while the Blues are flying high at the top of the log with 60 points. Chelsea needed an injury-time winner from John Terry to secure a 1-0 win over Everton in their last league outing, before playing to a 1-1 draw against Galatasaray in their midweek Champions League encounter. Jose Mourinho has continued to play down his side’s title credentials, but insists that they will take each game as it comes until the end of the season. “We just want to try to keep our position at the top of the table and not give it up for free to our opponents, we have to fight, we have to play,” Mourinho said. “Every victory keeps us there, every defeat or draw we lose our position.” “To be where we are, with some limitations we have in the team, having only worked together for a few months, I think we are doing well.”

RVP Frustrated By Teammates

MANCHESTER United striker Robin van Persie accused his teammates of getting in his way in the defeat to Olympiacos. Goals from Alejandro Dominguez and Arsenal loanee Joel Campbell put the Greek side in command after the first leg of the last-16 tie. The latest setback in a miserable season has piled the pressure on David Moyes, with the Scot now the favourite with Sky Bet to become the next Premier League manager to lose his job. Moyes was 25/1 to be the next managerial casualty before United’s latest loss, but his odds were repeatedly slashed on Wednesday morning, going from 11/1 to 5/6 in just over an hour. Van Persie wasted a good chance to score a vital away goal when he blazed a shot over the crossbar in the closing stages. It was a frustrating night for the Dutchman as he struggled to make an impact, but he claimed after the match that his cause was not helped by the positioning of some of his teammates. It was quite difficult because my teammates are often in the area where I want to play,” he said. “That’s why I have to change my tactics. Unfortunately, they are often in my area. “It was much too slow and we

only had one shot on target in the whole match against Olympiakos, which is far too little. Everyone is very disappointed.” United have to win by three clear goals in the second leg at Old Trafford to be sure of their passage to the quarter-finals, but Van Persie is refusing to throw in the towel just yet. “It is still possible, because with all due respect to Olympiakos, we should be able to win 3-0 at home,” he added. “It is not that they were fantastic, we just mostly failed.” Manager Moyes concedes that the Red Devils failed to produce the required standard and paid the price - but he is refusing to throw in the towel and believes anything is still possible in the return date at Old Trafford. He said: “It’s the worst we’ve played in Europe, that’s for sure. A really poor performance tonight. We never got going from the start and we didn’t deserve anything because of the way we played tonight. “We just never really got to grips with things. To a man, you could hardly pick anyone out, we just didn’t perform. We came into the game in good form, a good mind set, but we didn’t show that tonight. “I still didn’t think we were

necessarily two goals worse off in the game. We had a shot that gets deflected, but we didn’t offer enough on the night. “I take responsibility, it’s my team and I’ll always front it up. We didn’t play well tonight and we have to play better. We can do. The one good thing is that there is the second game to go. “The players are hurting as well. They know how they performed. But there is a team here, that won’t change, and we’ll stick together. “There is the second game to come and Old Trafford has seen some great nights in the past I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing another one.”

Van Persie


Six star Madrid Demolish Schalke REAL Madrid gave hosts Schalke the UEFA Champions League blues after a 6-1 away last 16, first leg win. Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale put the visitors 2-0 ahead into the break in a first half that was almost all Madrid in a match they both hit a brace together with Cristian Ronaldo. Benzema put the Spanish side ahead in the 13th minute after firing in the ball goal from the edge of the box after Ronaldo’s cheeky back-foot pass. But a minute later, Julian Draxler was unfortunate not to get an equaliser after Iker Casillas denied him with a brilliant save. Bale extended Madrid’s in the 21st minute after beating off two defenders before charging to the box to beat Ralf Fahrmann. Fahrmann was first to the ball three minutes later when Angel di Maria attempted to beat him but it wouldn’t have counted had it gone in after Ronaldo was flagged for off-side. The visitors continued to put the pressure on Schalke and in the 28th minute Cameroon defender Joel Matip cleared a Di Maria corner that wondered near the goal line.

Ronaldo then darted into the box but was unlucky to see his shot come off the post and subsequently saved by Fahrmann who went on to deny the 2013 World Player of The Year two more chances before halftime. Ronaldo broke his deadlock for the day in the 51st minute

beating Matip on the left side of the box before unleashing left footed volley to put Madrid 3-0 up. Five minutes later, Benzema completed his brace from a tight angel as Schalke continued to stagger against the Spaniards. Bale refused to be outdone and on 68th minutes raced into

BARCELONA coach Gerardo Martino has been suspended for one game following his sending-off in last weekend’s 3-1 defeat at Real Sociedad. Martino was sent to the stands at half-time in that match at Anoeta, having reportedly called La Real assistant coach Txema Lumbreras a ‘pelotudo’ [Argentine slang for idiot] during a heated argument between individuals from

both benches. The Blaugrana boss — whose future continues to be the subject of speculation in the Catalan press — will now miss Sunday evening’s Primera Division clash with Almeria at the Camp Nou. Barca confirmed the news in a club statement released Wednesday lunchtime, adding that the decision would not be appealed. “Gerardo Martino will not be allowed to sit on the bench, at the Camp Nou, this Sunday, for the game against Almeria as he has been suspended for one match by the Competition Committee,” the statement said. “It’s worth remembering that the Argentinian coach was sent off at the half-time break in the league match

against Real Sociedad, in Anoeta. FC Barcelona will not appeal the ban to the Appeals Committee.” Martino’s assistant coach Jorge Pautasso will therefore take charge of Sunday’s game, which is to be played just hours after La Liga leaders Real Madrid play at third-placed Atletico Madrid.

they meet at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday in the middle of their bid for a European berth. The Nerazzurri suffered a setback to their aspirations of a third place finish when their run of back to back wins came to an abrupt end by a stern Cagliari side. It was a rather dell affair at the San Siro last weekend when Mauricio Pinilla’s penalty just before the break was the most exciting part of the opening 45 minutes in the match. Inter could only respond with a goal from their towering defender Rolando, who nodded home Yuto Nagatomo’s cross to help save their blushes. It was a result which certainly won’t bode well for their season objectives, but they have been given a confidence boost in the figure of Fredy Guarin, who admitted he wants to pen in a new deal at the club. After what happened with the proposed move, I had to work more, because supporters are expecting a lot from me,” he told Sky Italia. “The recent experience taught me a lot and if the contract is ready, I will sign it. Should Erick Thohir (Inter president) offer me the chance to sign for life with Inter, then I would. “Mr. Thohir has said that I am important and that I must give my heart to the team.” Roma, on the other hand, have suffered just one defeat

all season long and are overwhelming favourites to come out on top against a highly inconsistent Inter side. Sitting nine points off the pace of league leaders Juventus, Rudi Garcia’s side again have the chance to put the pressure on the Bianconeri should they come out victorious and cut the deficit. Ivory Coast international Gervinho has been in sensational form for the Eternal City outfit and he has put his rejuvenation on the field down to his French tutor. “I can confirm I feel more at home at Roma than elsewhere. I was adopted by the club, the staff and the fans. From the first day I sensed this great atmosphere,” he told Il Corriere dello Sport. “Garcia has grown even more since I last worked with him. The title victory at Lille made him even more ambitious. I already knew his qualities and that he’d reach a big European club. He knows he needs to get results straight away and therefore demands the most from everyone.”

• Gerardo Martino

Inter Host Gervinho’s INTER will look to crush Roma Roma’s Scudetto dreams when Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale (L) scores past Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann during their Champions League match in western Germany on February 26, 2014

Wounded Barca Focus On Almeria

BARCELONA midfielder Xavi Hernandez says his side are determined to avoid another upset when they host Almeria in a La Liga encounter at the Camp Nou on Sunday night. The Catalans suffered their third league defeat of the season last weekend, going down 3-1 to Real Sociedad to drop to second place with 60 points. Coach Gerardo Martino accepted the blame for the defeat based on his team selection but Xavi insists that the players were equal disappointed and eager to redeem themselves. “We’re annoyed about what happened last Saturday. It was a step backwards and we lost an opportunity,” Xavi told reporters. “We can’t afford to fail any more, now is the moment of truth. We’re depending on ourselves in all competitions and that means we’re still positive. “Knowing that the two Madrid teams are playing against one another, we can’t let ourselves down this Sunday, because we can recover points. “One of the two could lose points and we’ll be there

Martino Suspended For One Match

waiting.” Almeria on the other hand played to a 0-0 draw against Malaga in their last league encounter and are currently in 16th place with 26 points, four points away from the relegation zone. Midfielder José Antonia Garcia is aware that the

defending champions will be out to prove a point but insists that they will do their best to compete at the Camp Nou. “Barca are favorites and are fighting to win the championship,” he said. “They have stumbled and are three points behind Madrid so they’ll want to make up for that at home. “They want to prove their critics wrong and show that they

are still the same strong team. “We are just a modest team going to play against the best team in the world but we have to be positive and give everything we have because it will be eleven players against eleven.” When the two sides met earlier this season the match ended 2-0 in favour of Barcelona with Lionel Messi and Adriano Correia finding the back of the net.

Ghanaians Missing In Milan-Juve A REVITALIZED Milan “I never get too annoyed if will be without the services of Clash there are any mistakes. I need Sulley Muntari when they host table-toppers Juventus at the San Siro on Sunday evening. For the first time this season both teams will come into an encounter on the back of an assortment of similar circumstances. Milan have been gladly lapping up their 2-0 victory over Sampdoria on the weekend and it is one which evidently underlined that the Rossoneri are on the right track. Adel Taarabt broke the deadlock after just 12 minutes before a dominant display saw

the Moroccan play a role in creating Milan’s second goal for Adil Rami. It was probably the most convincing Clarence Seedorf’s men have looked since his takeover on the bench and it is one which has also seen the team grow in confidence with every touch of the ball. “The players must find the belief in themselves. For this reason I’ve changed the way of the trainings: I want the players to play, laugh and enjoy themselves,” Seedorf told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

to show them that above everything they have done well.” It was Milan’s fourth win out of six matches under the Dutch tactician and they will be itching to make it five when they host a Juventus side undefeated in 2014. Sulley Muntari will, however, be suspended for the clash after picking up his fifth yellow of the season, but a boost has seen the Diavoli welcome the return of Mario Balotelli (shoulder) and Giampaolo Pazzini (nose) for the match.

• Roma’s Gervinho


Birmingham City Boss Faces Money-Laundering Verdict HONG Kong businessman and Birmingham City owner Carson Yeung faces up to 14 years in jail if found guilty at the close of his multi-million dollar money-laundering trial today. For over two years the case has movie stars and been in the courts, with the 53- businessmen. year-old denying five charges He also said he spent “all” totalling $93 million and of his time trading stocks repeatedly trying to have the after the 1998 Asian stock proceedings halted, claiming market crash, accumulating irregularities. a stock portfolio of around Yeung was arrested and HK$300 million by 2007. charged with ill-gotten gains in Yeung told the court he the southern Chinese city in June made up to HK$30 million 2011, throwing the legitimacy of from gambling in Macau his rags-to-riches rise from between 2004 and 2008, hairdresser to top-flight English adding that he gambled as if football club proprietor into he were “running a business”. doubt. Prosecutor John Reading The prosecution claims around that Yeung’s HK$720 million ($93 million) argued accounts showed that before passed through bank accounts 2001 he was a man of connected to Yeung between “modest means”. 2001 and 2007. Between 1997 and 1999 Under Hong Kong law, Yeung earned around anyone found guilty of money HK$335,000 ($43,000) laundering can be sentenced to from his hair salon, while his father made only a tiny profit up to 14 years in prison. Yeung, who acquired the from a vegetable stall he ran the public housing “Blues” in 2009, pleaded not from estate where he lived, guilty to all the charges in April Reading said. last year. He has maintained his Prosecutors also suggested innocence from the start and has a link between Yeung and tried to have the case postponed Cheung Chi-tai, an alleged triad boss. Yeung denied any at least twice. Throughout the trial, Yeung knowledge of Cheung and the prosecution have painted belonging to a triad group. The verdict in the longdiffering pictures of how the delayed trial will be watched businessman’s wealth was closely by Birmingham City amassed. fans, who have protested in Yeung said he accumulated their hundreds against hundreds of millions of dollars Yeung’s ownership. through stock trading, Yeung, who was little hairdressing, business ventures known prior to his in mainland China and a keen emergence in English football, took control of the interest in gambling. He said he made HK$20 club in October 2009 in an million as a hairdresser between 81-million pound ($130 1989 to 1994, when he ran five million) takeover from David Sullivan and David upmarket hair salons in hotels, Gold, now the co-owners of including Hong Kong’s five-star West Ham. Peninsula Hotel. Earlier this month Yeung, Yeung described himself as a resigned as chairman and “very famous” hairdresser, executive director of claiming his salons catered to Birmingham International

Holdings Limited (BIHL), which owns the struggling second-tier club. The Blues won the League Cup in 2011, but their fortunes have gone downhill since they were

Carson Yeong

Adriano

Copa Libertadores game against Velez Sarsfield. Adriano, 32, had been warming up for the entire second half, but went into the match only in the 83rd minute, and after a brief stare at coach Miguel Angel Portugal. The ex-Inter Milan forward opened his arms when he was told to get on, visibly upset he didn’t get an earlier chance. After the match, he sped through reporters without making any comments. Adriano was given a chance to play by Brazilian club Atletico after a series of offthe-field problems and left Achilles surgery kept him sidelined and brought up retirement. Adriano played less than 10 minutes in the club’s 1-0 win over The Strongest of Bolivia two weeks ago, which was his first time on the field since March 2012. He played a total of 10 minutes again against

Hackers Plot World Cup Cyber Attacks those of companies sponsoring the cup.” However, Terra reported earlier this month that hackers are looking to steal data and spread viruses by sending out emails claiming supporters have the opportunity to win tickets. Nelson Barbosa, of computer security corporation Symantec, said: “Threats relating to the World Cup can affect people all around the world. This has been carried out in South Africa, Russia and other European countries.” With hackers viewing the World Cup as an opportunity to attract the attention of a global audience, William Beer, a cyber security expert with consultancy firm Alvarez & Marsal, said online attacks were inevitable. “It’s not a question of whether the cup will be targeted but when, so resilience and response become extremely important,” he said.

Tennis Championship

Djokovic Eases Through But Federer Struggles In Dubai

NOVAK Djokovic eased into the quarterfinals of the Dubai Tennis Championships but Roger Federer was made to sweat for his place in the last eight. World number two Djokovic raced to a 6-1 63 win over Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain in

Adriano Frustrated Over Playing Time

FORMER Brazil striker Adriano is already attracting headlines for the wrong reasons as he tries to come back to football after nearly two years without playing. Just two matches into his high-profile return with Atletico Paranaense, Adriano caused controversy by showing his disappointment at only coming on late as a substitute in a recent

relegated later that year. BIHL chief executive Peter Pannu has said the future of the club is “bright”, saying a new chairman will lead the club “in the right direction”.

HACKERS are planning to launch cyber attacks to disrupt the 2014 World Cup, with one cyber security expert telling Reuters: “It’s not a question of whether the cup will be targeted but when.” Brazil has already endured significant problems in the build-up to this summer’s tournament, with the public launching large-scale protests over the exorbitant cost of hosting. Reuters reports that online activists are now planning to launch attacks ranging from jamming websites to data theft. Brazil has significant problems with internet crime but, despite concerns over a lack of investment in online security, the head of the cyber command for the nation’s army, General Jose Carlos dos Santos, is remaining cautiously optimistic. “It would be reckless for any nation to say it’s 100 percent prepared for a threat, but Brazil is prepared to respond to the most likely cyber threats,” he said. It appears supporters are not the intended targets, with one activist telling Reuters: “The attacks will be directed against official websites and

Velez Sarsfield in Argentina on Tuesday, with his only significant chance being a header that sailed over the crossbar late in the Copa Libertadores match. Atletico Paranaense coach Portugal downplayed Adriano’s disappointment, saying: “We have to take it slowly when it comes to Adriano so eventually he can start doing good things for our team. He played a few minutes in the first match, and now a few more minutes in this second match, and it’s clear that he is happy and has a lot of desire to do well. He did the best he could.” A headline at the Gazeta do Povo newspaper on Wednesday read: “Imperial Dissatisfaction,” referring to the striker ’s “Emperor” nickname from the time he thrived with Inter Milan.

just 57 minutes. The Serbian top seed opened up a 5-0 lead in the opening set before Agut managed to eventually get on the scoreboard. The second set was a similar story and, despite dropping his serve while serving for the match at 5-2 up, Djokovic closed out the set and the match with a break of his own in the next game. ‘’I have done really well today from the first to the last point,’’ Djokovic said. ‘’There was no major ups and downs, especially with the serve that helped me to win comfortably my service games, a lot of free points.’’ Djokovic next plays sixthseeded Mikhail Youzhny, who ended the hopes of British wildcard James Ward 6-1 7-6 (3). Federer meanwhile was made to work hard for a 6-2 6-7(4) 6-3 win over Radek Stepanek as the Swiss maestro’s serve let him down. ‘’I got broken four times which is difficult, but it’s good to win those type of matches,’’ said Federer, who faced eight break points against his serve. ‘’I’m happy to get through. ‘’It didn’t look good there for a while, but I got it done.’’ Federer will now play another Czech, Lukas Rosol,

for a semi-final berth after his 6-4 7-6 (4) upset of Dmitry Tursunov. ‘’Today was quite frustrating,’’ Federer added. ‘’I had momentum on my side at the beginning, but it was tough to keep it going. ‘’After the first set I was under pressure the entire match.’’ Elsewhere, third seed Tomas Berdych romped past Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 6-2 6-1, while fifth seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Novak Djokovic

was handed a walkover in his match with Nikolay Davydenko after the Russian withdrew before a ball was hit with a rib injury. Berdych and Tsonga will now meet in a mouthwatering quarter-final. ‘’I was working a little more on my return stats than on my service stats,’’ Berdych said. ‘’The main focus really for the next days is to get my percentage of the first serve back and really find a nice and sweet rhythm for my serve.’’


Eguavoen Commends NFA On Garba’s Appointment

NN League

Police Machine Seek Fans Support \THE Police Machine FC of Enugu on Wednesday urged its fans to rally round the team by coming out enmass to support it during its matches. Club’s Manager and Public Relation Officer of the Enugu Police Command, Ebere Amaraizu, told newsmen in Enugu that the support would assist in the club’s promotion to the elite premier league. Amaraizu said the club would engage Ambassador FC of Port Harcourt on Friday in its second match of the Nigeria National League. He said the match would be played at the Temporary Stadium of the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus. The manager said that although Police Machine lost its first match away 01 to Abia Comets on Feb. 22, it was battle ready for Ambassador. “The players have made up their mind to come out on top in the Friday match in spite of their poor result away to Abia Comets in the first week of the league. “We have no option than to restore our pride by whitewashing the Port Harcourt team on Friday. “This is our second match of the season; we have no option than to collect the maximum three points with lots of goals to put us in a better position. “Besides, we are still hurt by the offside goal,” he said. Amaraizu urged the team’s fans to make the day a success for the team with their support.

EX-INTERNATIONAL, Austin Eguavoen, on Wednesday commended the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) for elevating former U17 coach, Manu Garba, to coach the U-20, the Flying Eagles. Eguavoen who is also the Sole Administrator, Bendel Insurance FC, told newsmen in Benin that the elevation would ensure continuity. The coach noted that continuity was paramount because Eguavoen’s first assistant coach, Emmanuel Amuneke, also an exinternational, would remain as the Golden Eaglets’ coach. Eguaveon, however, urged Garba to embark on refresher courses as there were huge differences between the U-17,

Austin Eguavoen

Olofinjana Sued For ‘Bad’ Tackle

EX-NIGERIA star Seyi Olofinjana has been sued by Dexter Blackstock for a bad tackle and the striker is seeking a 50,000 Pounds compensation. Nottingham Forest striker Blackstock is seeking damages at the High Court after a tackle resulted in him

being injured for more than a year. He is seeking compensation from Olofinjana and the midfielder ’s former club Cardiff City over a knee injury suffered in a match in November 2010. Blackstock, 27, who scored the winner before being stretchered off, claims the

midfielder was “negligent”. The amount has not been disclosed but exceeds £50,000, according to the writ. Blackstock said Olofinjana challenged him “in a way that caused a reasonably foreseeable risk of injury” in the 88th minute of the game, which Forest won 2-0, at the City of Cardiff Stadium. He has lodged a writ seeking damages for not being able to earn bonuses while he was injured and wants the right to further compensation should

the injury end his career prematurely. Blackstock’s barrister, Jonathan Crystal, said in the writ that Olofinjana, 33, “played Mr Blackstock rather than the ball” and “raised his foot” in the challenge, “forcefully striking” his opponent’s shin and calf and failed “to control his

2014 World Cup

CAF Finances African Teams’ Preparations

THE African Football Confederation (CAF) will cover the costs of training, at the CAF Excellence Centre in Mbankomo, for the African teams to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the continental football governing body said. CAF is also calling on the entire African continent to support the five teams that qualified for Brazil 2014 which kicks off in June. The five countries are Cote d’Ivoire, Algeria,

Seyi Olofinjana

Kickboxing: Coach Tasks Organisers Of CLETUS Okagbe, the early preparations, it will have a Agoma Fiesta National Coach, Kickboxing great effect on their Federation of Nigeria, yesterday advised organisers of the Agoma Open Martial Arts Festival to put adequate measures in place to ensure a hitch-free competition. The tournament is slated to hold in Benin City from May 13 to May 18. Okagbe told newsmen in Lagos that it was vital for officials to be familiar with current rules that would guide their conduct during the competition. “A comprehensive refresher course must be held to update

the officiating officers and basically prepare them to apply the rules during the contest. “Officiating is very significant in competitions and therefore must be given utmost attention so that only athletes who fight according to the principles will be awarded medals,’’ he said. Okagbe urged team officials to inculcate discipline in athletes in the course of their preparation for the competition, so that they would conduct themselves in a good manner. “Athletes must not exhibit any

manner of misbehaviour and must obey the officials because anything contrary will result to setback during the competition’’. Okagbe said that the awareness on the festival had contributed to the increase in the number of kick boxers who turned up for training at the National Stadium, Surulere. “The forthcoming Agoma Festival has motivated kick boxers to be consistent in training. “Since they have commenced

momentum”. “The medical reports detail a significant chance that at some point in the future Mr Blackstock’s knee will deteriorate further or he will suffer further injury as a result of the existing condition of his knee which will impact upon his ability to play professional football.”

the Golden Eaglets and the U20, the Flying Eagles. It would be recalled that Garba won the FIFA U-17 World Cup at the United Arab Emirate in 2013 for a record fourth times. Eguavoen also commended the NFA for using exinternationals as coaches of the various national football teams. “The development will not only lead to further development of football in the country, it will also enable the players to give their best when representing the country in any football tournament. “It is a good development happening to our football and our country and the football administrators deserve some commendation. “The development will encourage the younger players to be committed whenever they are representing the country in any international tournament,’’ he said. On his club’s prospects in the Nigeria National League (NNL), Eguavoen said that his ambition was to guide the Benin-based team to the premiership. Eguavoen said that although, his team lost its first away match to Prime FC of Oshogbo last weekend, Bendel insurance FC remains on course to gain promotion to the elite division, this league season. He promised to correct all lapses in the club’s subsequent matches.

performances’’. According to him, the competitions are among the biggest private martial art events in the country, which promote and bring all the martial art sports under one umbrella. He urged corporate bodies to support the competition by collaborating with the organisers to further improve on its standard. The tournament will feature five martial sports: Taekwondo, Kickboxing, Judo, Wushu KungFu and Karate.

Cameroon, Ghana and Nigeria. In a news dispatch from the CAF headquarters in Cairo, the Confederation said it had decided to make it’s Excellence Centre in Cameroon available to the five teams and it will cover the cost of their stay. This was among the many decisions made at the recent CAF Executive Committee meeting in Cairo. All the information African football fans will be seeking on the five teams will be provided by media experts. Representatives of the five teams thanked CAF President Issa Hayatou for providing the platform for the exchange of information and enhanced preparations for the World Cup. Meanwhile, Hayatou has expressed his sadness at news of the death of the former Mozambique Football Association (MFA) President, Mário Coluna. The former player with Benfica of Portugal, who also served as sports minister in Mozambique, died in Maputo on Tuesday, aged 78.

Coluna represented Portugal 57 times, scoring eight goals and skippered them to third place at the 1966 FIFA World Cup. He also won 10 Portuguese League titles, six Portuguese Cups and the European Cup in 1960/61 and 1961/62. The former player returned to his native Mozambique after he finished his playing career and was involved in football. His death comes less than two months after that of another Benfica and Portugal hero who was also born in Mozambique, the legendary Eusébio.

Isa Hayatou


CMYK

Much Ado About Teachers’ Assessment

THERE have been so much Ado and misgivings amongst some teachers under the employment of the Edo State Government and unscrupulous politicians regarding the planned assessment of teachers which is already scheduled to hold in a fortnight. A few others have asked why an assessment? Why Teachers? Why not all public servants? Good as some of these questions may seem, what we need to also check out is; what is the motive of government and what is the motive of those asking these questions? I would, in this treatise proffer some leeway. In a globalised world of today, many have always recommended capacity building for employees of organizations, be they private or public. In an era of total quality management (TQM) where inputs of every member of an organisation is required to achieve organisational goals and objectives, It is a wrong practice for the managers of any organisation to believe that they, on their own know what the employees of such systems need to be at their competitive best without understanding their employees perspectives, or what areas they need their capacities enhanced for greater efficiency and productivity. Repeatedly, Nigerians have stressed the need for training and re-training of the nation’s workforce. How can training be administered when there is no sort of assessment of the competency of those to be trained? How do you develop the training module as a resource person when you do not have a baseline information of where the trainees are? This is one strong reason why the planned competency test or assessment, if you like, should be embraced by all teachers in Edo State. Even today, no organisation worth its salt can grow and achieve its full potentials without periodic Organisational Capacity Assessment (OCA). Such an assessment would expose to you where you are, what you lack, what have worked well, what hasn’t worked well, what your strengths and weaknesses are and where to channel more resources. Any

organisation that fails to do this, from time to time cannot stand the test of time. In every profession today, there exists all forms of assessment. In the field of medicine, engineering, Law, banking, even sports, there are competency assessment of practitioners put in place by their employers and even their professional associations or both. The teaching profession cannot be an exception given the significance of the teacher to the family and society at large. A recent assessment of medical doctors by a UKbased evaluation firm revealed shocking statistics about decline in the standard of African trained doctors, Nigeria-inclusive . When Nigerian trained doctors and Nurses get to the US for instances, they are subjected to another round of medical training for some years after an assessment before they are absorbed into their system. What this means is that; there is something fundamentally wrong with our educational system. The place to begin correcting such foundation is the primary schools, the basic level. But the problem today is that when the Edo State Government muted the idea for an assessment of teachers, some jobless politicians in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP felt it was an entry point for political profiteering. Someone like Dan Orbi said the assessment was meant to sack teachers! What a delusion. He said so, even when repeatedly, the Edo State Government has assured teachers and other stakeholders that it has no plans whatsoever to use the assessment or competency test to sack any teacher. This assurance has been reechoed over and over yet, some teachers who are working with the disgruntled PDP elements in the state are attempting to frustrate this noble intension. Why is Dan Orbih and his PDP renegades wanting to fan the embers of disunity in Edo State? What does he and his co-travelers want to achieve when they repeatedly feed the public with deliberate falsehood and fake alarm over almost all development efforts of the APC government? One imagines what would

have been the fate of our children if the day Comrade Adams Oshiomhole went to the venue of screening of teachers in Benin that he merely moved round and exchanged pleasantries with officials conducting the screening exercise and moved on without sitting down with one of the Primary school teachers to read her own affidavit. The whole world has seen the shocking revelation from that effort. What would have become of our children in ten years time, if such a teacher who could not read her own affidavit is

By DAN OWEGIE

knowledge on our children. The fact that you are not competent to teach does not mean that you cannot be engaged else how by the government that employed you. Even the Bible is clear on the instruction that “you must not all be teachers.” But the cherry news is that the Edo State Government has the backing of all Edo people and majorly, stakeholders in the education sector to proceed with the test for teachers. They came from all parts of the state. Parents whose children attend public schools,

educational sector of the state for greater productivity and efficiency. there is an emergency in the education sector of Nigeria! There is so much rot and decay in the system, which if not checked would snowball into a catastrophe with the attendant dire consequences for our society as a whole. We must be focused, positive-minded, forward-looking and determined to make the needed change. At the

teachers, traditional rulers, politicians, Civil Society Organisations, Market women and men, Drivers, artisans, religious organisations, students all endorse the plan. This is good for our democracy. It is instructive, therefore, that all primary school teachers who have nothing to hide should cooperate with the government in its efforts at repositioning the

moment, all eyes are on Edo State to set the pace and we are confident that all other states would follow suit. When Comrade Adams Oshiomhole launched the “one-man, one vote”, “onewoman, one vote” campaign, little did we know that all states will imbibe the message and today, the President campaigns for one man, one vote. This is a success story that we are

• Gov. Adams Oshiomhole left to teach our children? No doubt, it would have spelt doom for our children and the future of our state and nation. So, instead of politicising the competency test, Edo people have said the teachers should cooperate with government and finish with the business of the test. We need to be sure of who is molding the character of our children. We need to be sure of who is imparting

determined as a people to reenact in the education sector. We need to return to the era when degrees from Nigeria would be highly priced anywhere in the world. In those days, it was people who could not secure admission in Nigerian universities that travel to America for university education. Some go to India, West Indies and the Nordic countries. Is it not a shame that the same America will now be rejecting degrees from Nigerian universities? It is shameful for Nigeria, as past leaders folded their arms and watched our educational system crumble into the abyss. Special examination centres emerged where parents go and pay money for other people to write examinations for their children and wards! They take these certificates, with beautiful grades on, they can’t measure up. Why did the universities introduce post-UME examinations? It was because, we got it wrong from the foundation. That is what the Edo State Government is in the process of correcting after it has given an unprecedented face-lift to the physical infrastructure in the schools. As it stands, every right thinking man and woman, youth and lovers of good things need to encourage the state government towards realizing its objective of giving our children in public primary schools the best foundational education and posterity will remember all those who make contributions towards this lofty initiative and political jobbers should look elsewhere for their survival. • Mr. Dan Owegie is a Chieftain of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Edo State.

“But the cherry news is that the Edo State Government has the backing of all Edo people and majorly, stakeholders in the education sector to proceed with the test for teachers.”

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Nigerian observer 28 02 2014