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The Nigerian

PUBLISHED SINCE MAY 29, 1968 ART AND CULTURE Page 19 Olden Days Specialist Hunters of Great Benin


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The Lesbian, the prophet!

• Vol. 38 NO.450• FRIDAY, MARCH 28, 2014 • N100.00

Sanitation: Edo cancels restriction BENIN CITY-Edo State Government has cancelled the order on restriction of movement of persons and vehicles during the regular monthly sanitation exercise for the March

of movement tomorrow

sanitation exercise holding March 29, 2014. Consequently, all persons are advised to ensure adequate

Secretary, Edo State Ministry of Environment and Public Utilities, Major Lawrence Oloye (Rtd) Continues on page 2

Assembly passes University of Science, Tech Bill By KEN ABU

BENIN CITY -Edo State House of Assembly has passed the Bill for a law to make provisions for the establishment of Edo State University of Science and Technology, Uzairue into law. The passage of the bill Clause consideration of followed the Clause –bythe bill at the committee

2015: Lawyer warns election By BETTY IDIALU

WARRI - A conflict resolution expert and Managing Director, Robinson Ariyo & Co, a law firm with operational

Tragedy averted, as 46-yr-old Mast destroys OBSERVER newsroom By FAITH ISIKHUEMEN BENIN CITY- Tragedy was yesterday averted in the premises of the Bendel Newspaper Company Limited (BNCL) publishers of the OBSERVER titles, when a mast collapsed and fell on the roof of the building housing major offices of the editorial department including the newsroom and destroying parts of the newsroom. The collapse of the mast followed the heavy Breeze and rain that occurred in the afternoon yesterday. The rain which started at about 2pm resulted in staff of the company staying in their offices. The mast was said to have been erected in

cleaning of their e n v i r o n m e n t accordingly. A statement endorsed by the Permanent

1968 when the company started production of the Observer Newspaper. As of the time of the incident, staff in the newsroom including the News Editor were busy putting finishing touches to today’s edition. Management and staff of the company who rushed to the scene of the incident in the newsroom expressed gratitude to God as there was no casualty recorded Some of the staff however, called on the state government to come to the aid of the company to effect immediate repairs of the damaged part of the building, as well as give the company a facelift.


“Justice does more than just to vindicate a person, it always comes to prove that its season never fails to come.” - Kinglsey Ogbeide-Ihama

of the whole in which certain sessions of the bill were amended. The clause-by clause consideration provided for the consideration of schedules 1, to 4 in which the schedule 1, 3

and 4 were adopted with amendment and schedule 2 adopted wholly. The title of the bill, enactment clause, citation and commencement clause were also amended during the

clause –by clause consideration The Edo State University of Science and Technology, Uzairue which will operate as Public Private Partnership (PPP)

initiative fee- paying university will be selfsustaining and charge economic fee necessary to sustain competitive international standards with the vice-chancellor serving on a single five year tenure. Clean copies of the bill has been forwarded to the State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole for ascent.


bases in Warri and Abuja, Robinson Ariyo has told political office seekers with the mindset that victory in elections lies only in the power of the ballot boxes to have a rethink. Ariyo, a lawyer and Delta State House of Assembly hopeful said this while fielding questions from news men in Warri at the weekend. According to the legal practitioner, Nigerian democracy has gotten to a level where elections can either be won through the box, or through the court. In his words, “those that think that elections can only be won through the ballot boxes should ask Comrade Adams Oshiomole of Edo State. Continues on page 2

COLLAPSED: 46-Yr-old Mast of Bendel Newspapers Company Limited (BNCL), OBSERVER titles Publishers, which collapsed and destroyed the roof of the Newsroom yesterday, with great damage to the News Editor’s Office.

NJC suspends Rivers Chief Judge

ABUJA The National Judicial Council (NJC) yesterday announced the suspension of the Chief Judge of Rivers, Justice P.N.C. Agumagu. This is contained in a statement issued

yesterday by the office of the Acting Director of Information, NJC, Mr. Soji Oye. It said that the Council took the decision at its emergency meeting on Wednesday.

Agumagu, a former president, Rivers Customary Court of Appeal, was sworn-in as substantive Chief Judge

of the state on March 18. The statement said Agumagu’s appointment did not comply with the provisions of Section 271 of the 1999 Constitution which stipulates that a state governor must appoint a Chief Judge


men and officers of Edo State Traffic Management Agency to be civil in the discharge of their functions, saying” you can do

better than you have done”. Oshiomhole spoke yesterday at the Government House, Benin City, at a meeting

with the men and officers of the state traffic agency. He said “I speak the minds of Edo people Continues on page 2

Be civil, Oshiomhole charges EDSTMA staff

BENIN CITY Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has charged the

“on the recommendations of the NJC’’. According to the statement, the NJC did not recommend Justice Agumagu to the Governor of Rivers for appointment as the State Chief Judge. “The National Judicial Council did not at any time make any recommendation to the Governor of Rivers State that Justice P. N. C. Agumagu, President, Continues on page 2


NJC suspends Rivers Chief Judge

Continued from page 1 Customary Court of Appeal, be appointed the substantive Chief Judge of Rivers State. “That the National Judicial Council does not and will not recognise Justice P.N.C. Agumagu as the Chief Judge of Rivers State. “The general public and all concerned in the matter, particularly the Governor of Rivers, the State Assembly and the Judiciary, be notified and informed that the NJC will not deal with Agumagu as the Chief Judge of Rivers. “In the meantime, Council

in exercise of its powers under paragraph 21 (d) of Part 1 of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution, has suspended Justice P. N. C. Agumagu from office as a

judicial officer with immediate effect,” the statement said. The statement further said the NJC had directed that a query be issued to Agumagu to explain in writing within four days “why he should not be

Logistics Support: Vigilante Commandant

appeals to Gov Oshiomhole

By JOEL CHUKWUAGHONIM BENIN CITY – The Commandant, Iru-Agbede Vigilante group in Orhiomwan Local Government Area, Warrant Officer, (WO) Alfred

Okwebe (retired) has appealed to the Edo State Government for logistics support in the course of its operation. The vigilante commandant who lauded the Comrade Governor, Adams Oshiomhole in his effort to develop the state

Be civil, Oshiomhole charges EDSTMA staff Continued from page 1 when I say not a few appreciate your efforts and how it has made the task of travelling easier, very many people have been victims of your very crude and harsh traffic management methods. “When you misbehave as some of you do, people in anger dismiss you as Oshiomhole police. I am commended for so many things but not so many people have commended me for this particular intervention, even as you have come into existence to help control traffic”, he said. Oshiomhole said the whole vision of this outfit is to ensure that people spend only the amount of time they need to spend to get to where

they want to get to. “I have to remind you that you are agents of civil authority. You are agents of a civilian government. You are not agents of a military government. Your language should not be with immediate effect. Your language must be consistent with the language that is acceptable in a democracy. “You can be firm and yet be smiling. You need to be reminded that we are to provide services. In dealing with our masters, we must mind our language and I also insist we must be firm. “You must not under any circumstances arrest someone who has committed no offence. Let me remind you that you are not primarily

a revenue generating agency. That is not the primary purpose for setting up the agency. When people breach the law, there are prescribed penalties”, he added. He maintained “because you wear uniform, you must give respect to that uniform and not a few have described you as “Oshiomhole Police”. I don’t have a police; even though we are struggling that states should have State Police to enable State Governments contribute more directly to maintenance of security. Oshiomhole cautioned the men and officers to be wary about their conduct with the civil authority as their attitude and behavior has not given the Agency a good name in the eyes of the public.

Destruction of lives, property

EDHA warns Iguomon community By KEN ABU

BENIN CITY- Edo State House of Assembly has adopted a resolution urging the people of Iguomon Community to stop the destruction of lives and property, any such reported case shall be prosecuted henceforth. The adoption of the resolution was sequel to the consideration of the report of the House Standing Committee on Lands Survey and Housing on a petition to the House. The petition is against Messrs. Jolly Agbontaen, Sunday Odiaye, Sunday Agbontaen and Peter Omoregie on threat to life, conduct likely to cause breach of peace and damage to property Parliament, during the deliberations of the report approved the two point recommendations which were based on a 10-point findings. The findings included that

Edo cancels restriction of movement tomorrow

Continued from page 1

indicated that officials of the State Waste Management Board and Local Government Council will be available to collect refuse at designated places.

removed from office as a judicial officer. This, according to the statement, “is due to his failure to abide by his oath of office to uphold the Constitution and Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’’.

boundary dispute between Iguamon and Ikhuenobo communities started in 1987 terminating at the Supreme Court which judgment could not be enforced as a way to avert chaos in both communities. The findings further indicated that though there is no known natural boundary between the two communities, the court ruled in favour of Iguamon which was resisted by Ikhuenobo for over seven years Also included is that in order to avert chaos and protect Benin tradition, the Benin

Monarch opted for in out-ofcourt settlement by passing to judgment which was flouted by the people of Iguamon often demonstrated through destruction of properties and Houses in the guise of taking possession. The resolution of the parliament also through the approved 2-points recommendations of the committee resolved parliament also resolved that the Benin Bye-pass should be the boundary between the two communities in the interest of peace, justice and equity.

Lawyer warns election riggers

Continued from page 1

Oshiomhole did not get to the seat of power through the boxes ,he got there through the court, ask Rivers State Governor, he got to where he is today through the court not through the ballot boxes, Ondo State the same thing”, adding that those who think they can win elections through snatching of ballot boxes are in for a surprise in the forth coming elections. On the National Confab, Ariyo said it failed before it ever began as the composition of delegates was shrouded in injustice, describing it as a mere jamboree, which according to him, is clear demonstration of government wasteful spending; lamenting that in a country where there is alarming level of unemployment, government

is wasting tax payers money on such jamboree. He opined, that some ethnic nationalities were short changed, in that while some ethnic nationalities had more than enough delegates, some ethnic groups were going almost unrepresented. This according to him is injustice. “You cannot use injustice to fight injustice”, he asserted. Barrister Ariyo said given the spiritual significance of the confab (Nigeria attaining a hundred years of forced union), this time is supposed to mark a turning point in the history of Nigeria, the selection of delegates ought to have been done in a more patriotic manner where all the ethnic nationalities are well represented and allowed to choose those to represent them in order to achieve the desired results.

in the area of roads, education and other infrastructure said that the appeal has become imperative to ensure safety of lives and property in the area. He disclosed that about 400 men and women had been trained by the police in the area as members of the vigilante organisation, adding that policing the community had become an ardous task, as some stipend was necessary to motivate and encourage the men and women who had volunteered their services for the community. He explained that all prospective vigilante applicants are screened by the community and the police before being enlisted as members, pointing out that since the inception of the organisation crime had been reduced to the barest minimum. Okwuebe also called on the local government council, individuals and organisations to assist the organisation to enable it carry out its function of peace and security in the area. He said that his men have been trained in the area of combat readiness by the Divisional Police Headquarters in the area, and issued with combatant certificate, saying it is an indication that they have the capacity to join the police in crime fighting. While thanking the Odionwere of the area and the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) for training his men, he commended the local government sole administrator for his effort to ensure peace in the area.

Police AIG assures on Ibadan evil forest discovery By ABIODUN AFOLABI

IBADAN - Following the discovery of an evil forest on Saturday in Soka area of Ibadan, where dying men, women, human skulls and decomposing bodies were found, the Assistant Inspector General (AIG), of police in charge of zone 11, Femi Omolaja on Thursday promised Nigerians that those connected with the evil site will be apprehended in due course. Omojola, who is in charge of Oyo, Osun and Ondo spoke yesterday when he visited the horror site in Soka area of Ibadan, Oyo State capital. The AIG stated that the visit was on the directive of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), promising that all those arrested will be prosecuted immediately at the court of law. “ T h o r o u g h investigation is ongoing and we don’t want to disclosed any identity of those arrested in order not to hinder our investigation” he said Omolaja thanked the people of the state for their corporation and

patience since the incident happened, urging them to be sensitive of their environment and report any suspicious movement to the security agents. The police boss further warned the public from taking laws into their hands when they suspect any one, mad or not, they should report to law enforcement agents. The AIG also described the stoppage of the demolition of the building that haboured the evil men as strategy to allow thorough investigation of the matter, noting that after the forensic experts visits the site, it will be demolished completely. Meanwhile, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Olabisi Ilobanafor disclosed that since the incident occurred, members of the public has been lynching any mad man suspected to be ritualist, adding that ten mad men had been rescued, while two has been lynched to death. She also disclosed that eight people suspected to be connected to the site of horror have been arrested, while investigation is still ongoing.

Civil Service Re-organisation will not lead to job losses - HOSF KADUNA - The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HOCSF), Alhaji Bukar Goni yesterday said current reorganisation in his office will not lead to job losses. Goni gave the assurance in Kaduna when he met with Federal Civil Servants in Kaduna State. Represented by Alhaji Mohammed Abbas, the Permanent Secretary, Career Management office, Goni said the changes were only meant to enhance efficiency and fast track service delivery. “The office of the head of civil service which was made up of six offices with permanent secretaries and 24 departments had been trimmed down to three offices and 12 departments. “I take cognisance that

some might already be thinking that this would lead to loss of job. “ On the contrary personnel are being placed properly to fit into areas where their skills and experience could be better utilised “ I wish to state here that the welfare of the federal civil servants is paramount and the actions are being taken to ensure that this is addressed“. He urged the workers to redouble their efforts towards effective execution of g o v e r n m e n t programmes. “ The purpose of the gathering is to appraise you of the reform initiatives in the federal civil service geared toward repositioning the service for effective public service delivery “I would therefore

encourage you to conduct your affairs in a most dignified manner capable of true representation of the service as disciplined, hard-working, industrious, loyal and excellent staff“. In a goodwill massage, the State Chairman, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, Ibrahim Nda, commended the introduction of the interactive session, saying it would afford civil servants the chance to contribute to policy formulation. “ Consequently this is an opportunity given to us to contribute to the planning, formulation and implementation of the Nigerian Civil Servants“. “ This visit will boost the morale of staffs and reassure the Kaduna state based civil servants that efforts are being made by the government to improve their welfare.“

News Arewa Youths Allege Neglect BENIN CITY – President of Arewa Youths for Good Governance, Jamilu Suleima has alleged continous neglect of Arawa Youths by the Senior Special Adviser (SSA) to Edo State Governor on Arewa matters. In a chat with newsmen in Benin City, Suleiman disclosed that, “the SSA on Arewa matters appointed by the Comrade Governor to represent us in his government has abandoned us”. He disclosed that the people appointed by the governor to represent their interest in government do not see their (Arewa Youths) interest as important. “We have called them for meetings several times, only one turned up, our interest is not properly represented in government,” he said, while calling on Governor Adams Oshiomhole to intervene by calling them to order. Secretary of Arewa Youths for Good Governance, Comrade Yahaya Idris said the Arewa Youths and the entire Arewa Community are disappointed over the development and therefore urged the SSA to give the Arewa Community, a sense of belonging by making the people have a feel of the transformation drive of the state government. “The Comrade Governor

should use his good office to step into the matter and call these people to order so that the Arewa people will be adequately represented and carried along to be able to enjoy the dividends of democracy”. Comrade Idris added that we have a lot of problem confronting us, but because of their neglect, our problems have remained with us. “We however called on the youths of Arewa and the entire Arewa Community in the state to join hands with the state government to make Edo State a better place to live in. As at the time of this report, all efforts made to reach the SSA on Arewa matters were unsuccessful.

Ogbemudia Gives Kudos To Edo Govt Infrastructural Devt By RAYMOND OSOGBE

BENIN CITY- Three persons are currently facing a four count charge of corrupt practices at a Mobile Revenue count sitting in Benin City allegedly defrauding one Godwin Ubiarie of the sum of N10,000 with the intent to reduce his business premises registration levy as prescribed in the Edo State Revenue Administration Law 2012. The three persons Fidelis Anenih, (44), Fidelis Anegbe (36) and Asikiya George are staff of the State Rapid Response Agency attached to the state Ministry of Commerce and Industry. In suit No ERC/2/2014, they were accused on a four count charge bordering on fraud, offences punishable under

sector 53 of the state Revenue Administration law 2012. The Chief Magistrate, Abeko Ihenhen however grated the accused bail in the sum of N50,000 each with a surety in like sum. He said that each surety shall depose to affidavit of means and present two passport photographs each and therefore adjourned the case to April 4, 2014 for hearing. It would be noted that the state government has constantly warned that the present administration would no longer tolerate any situation where some persons in whatever guise should defraud unsuspecting citizens in the name of revenue collections or levy.

L-R: Mr. Lanre Opanobi, Director, National Planning Commission, Abuja Prof.l Julius Ihonvbere, Secretary to Edo State Government and Governor Adams Oshiomhole at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Edo State Government and the European Union Niger Delta Support Programme on Water Supply and Sanitation at the Government House, Benin City yesterday.

Court Adjourns Case On Election Malpractice to April 8


BENIN CITY – An Edo State Magistrate Court sitting in Benin City has adjourned till April 8, 2014, further hearing on a case of alleged election malpractice during the Esan North East Local Government Election preferred against an All Progressive Congress (APC) Chieftain, Prince Joe Okogie by the police. Presiding Magistrate, P.E.

Asemota adjourned the case to enable the representative of the Inspector General (IG) of Police and the State Commissioner of Police, and CSP Patrick Ejedawe decide who to represent the police authority. The IG and the Commissioner of Police are to decide among the Attorney General, their men or private legal practitioner. At the resumed hearing of the case, a state counsel from the Department of Public

Chairman, Esan South East Local Government Council, Hon. Joseph Ikpea (left) examining a patient during the second phase of the Free Mediacl Exercise organised by the Chairperson of the Council, Mrs. Evelyn Ikpea

Prosecution, J.E. Giwa informed the court of an intention by the plaintiff to file an application for fiat to the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice. Fiat is an authority from Attorney General which empowers the court to conduct criminal proceedings in the state. The investigating Police Officer (IPO) CSP Ejedawe however expressed his lack of confidence on the state counsel and therefore prayed the court to allow him hire the services of a private legal practitioner. On his part, Magistrate Asemota expressed dismay over the continous absence of other witness from the police, noting that CSP Ejedawe must not be the principal, the complainer and at the same time, investing police officer? Magistrate Asemota ruled that the IPO and other witnesses of the plaintiff be available at the next adjourned date, while urging the police to facilitate the application for fiat to the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice. Speaking with newsmen, Emmanuel Usoh (Esq), counsel to the defendant, noted that “at

Nat’I Confab Condemns Protest Over Nomination BENIN CITY- A group known as Afenmai mandate has expressed dismay over what it regarded as calculated attempt by a “Faceless body called Kukuruku Youth Network” to mislead members of the public over nomination of members for the ongoing constitutional conference. Specifically, the Afenmai mandate condemns some youths who protested over

the next adjourned date, the issue of who is going to represent Mr. Patrick Ejedawe would be determined, based on the application for fiat by the police.

BENIN CITY – Elder statesman and a former Governor of the defunct Midwest and Bendel States, Dr. Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia has given kudos to Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s infrastructural development across the state. During a visit by the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Edo State Council to his private residence in Benin City, Dr. Ogbemudia noted that, “a man who is doing well should be applauded, regardless of his affiliation”. Dr. Ogbemudia particularly noted that the Oshiomhole’s led government was able to give him (Ogbemudia) greater sense of belonging by tarring the access road to his house. Speaking on the ongoing National Conference, Dr. Ogbemudia expressed optimism that the conference would usher in the nation, a new dawn for better things for the Nigeria nation.

perceived nomination senator of Yisa Braimoh to the exclusion of Chief Mike Ozekhome as delegate to the conference. A release signed by Ogbode Aleakwu and Idonigie Paul, Chairman and Secretary Afenmai mandate respectively indicated that the protest was a product of ignorance and misunderstanding of the process of nominating

delegates for the conference by the actors. While condemning the action of a traditional rulers of Edo North extraction in receiving the protesters and promising to address the perceived abnormally in the nomination of Yisa Braimoh in place of Ozekhome, the release also indicated that Yisa Braimoh was a nominated by federal government to represent

the South-South geo-political zone of the country. Rather than dissipate energy over non existence issues as replacing Chief Ozekhome with Yisa Braimoh, the statement urged people of Afenmai land to close ranks and fashion appropriate agenda for fighting and divisiveness may be quiet enormous to contemplate in this circumstance”, the statement further stated.

3 persons Facing Trial Over Fraud

NAESS Solicits BNCL Support BENIN CITY- The president, National Association of Edo State Students (NAESS), Comrade Igbinovbo Clive has solicited the continuous support of the management of Bendel Newspapers Company Limited, (BNCL) publishers of the Observer titles in publishing the association’s activities. Speaking when he led officials of NAESS on a courtesy call, the General Manager of the company, Pastor Monday Aigbe, the NAESS president acknowledged the positive role of the media outfit

in educating the public. He said it was necessary to identify with BNCL hence the visit. “We realise that a lot cannot be done without involving the media, the media is needed to publicise the activities of the group; we are here to familiarize ourselves with the organisation”, he said. Responding, Pastor Aigbe thanked the NAESS officials for the visit and assured members of BNCL support while maintaining existing relationship.


Club Commiserates With Family Of Late Member


L-R: Professor Anya O. Ayanya, General Alani Akinrinade, Jack Telly Gyado and Senator Ike Nwachukwu at the National Confab. Photo: OMOYE AMINU.

BENIN CITYMembers OF Royal Committee of Friends International have expressed shock and sadness over the demise of one of its members, Mr. Osayande Onabor A.KA. (Longman) whose sad event occurred on February 27, 2014. Aged 53, the late Mr. Osayande Onabor is survived by a wife, Mrs. Nkiruka Osayande Onabor and five children. The President of Royal committee of friends

Mr. Joe Osagiobare, in a condolence message to the Onabor family, enjoined them to take solace

Late Osayande Onabor

Airport Project: FG Made Adequate Provision For Airport time. “This is to enable the air travellers to enjoy the benefit of transformation as obtainable in other states where airports have been remodelled across the country.” The statement said that the contractors were expected to

Projects - FAAN MD

work within the expected specification and standards. The statement, however, expressed Dunoma’s appreciation over the level of commitment and significant

improvement in the ongoing construction towards ensuring the completion of the terminals. “Ms Stella Oduah, former Minister of Aviation, who

started the remodelling project, had said that the nation’s airports will foster Gross Domestic Product as they would stimulate economic activities and

encourage travelling. “She projected that by 2015 total domestic and international passenger movement in Nigeria would rise from the present 12 million to 16 million,” the statement added.

Lagos Closes Hospital Over Non-Remittance Of Tax

LAGOS - The Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) has sealed a hospital and maternity home in Lagos for alleged failure to remit about N2.5 million income taxes of workers

A Correspondent, monitoring the tax enforcement activity of the Service, reports that the hospital, located at Oke-Ira in Ogba area of Lagos, was sealed at about 1.00 pm. The Head of

Enforcement Unit of LIRS, Mrs Folashade CokerAfolayan, said that the hospital management failed to remit income tax deducted from salaries of its workers between 2009 and 2010. “The hospital will not be

Fuel Scarcity: IPMAN To Sanction Erring LAGOS - Following the recurring petrol scarcity in Lagos and its environs, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has vowed to penalise marketers indulging in fuel hoarding in its Western zone. The IPMAN Chairman of the zone, Mr. Olumide Ogunmade, said this in an interview with newsmen in Lagos. Ogunmade said that a joint task force by IPMAN and the NNPC had been set up to monitor fuel retailing in the zone, to ensure that marketers were not hoarding the product. He, however, lauded the efforts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) toward ensuring equitable distribution of petrol across the nocks and crannies of the country. “We will not hesitate to sanction any erring marketer caught hoarding the product. “A joint Task force between NNPC and IPMAN had been set up to monitor filling stations and sanction them accordingly,’’ he said.

Ogunmade said the efforts of the NNPC to address fuel scarcity in the western parts of the country had received a boost with the loading of 197 trucks recently. “With the quantity of petrol pumped into the depots and distributed to stations in the western zone by the NNPC, the corporation has indicated serious commitment to ensuring effective product supply in the zone. “I want to confirm to Nigerians and marketers that with the level of petrol injected into the western zone by NNPC, there is no cause for panic buying and hoarding,” the chairman said. Ogunmade said that the volume of petrol pumped into the market was part of efforts aimed at restoring normalcy to the fuel scarcity situation in the western parts of the country. He insisted that petroleum products supplied to the zone were enough to address fuel challenges in the zone. “We have been assured by NNPC that fuel supply will be sustained in the zone. “I enjoin marketers to join hands with the


NNPC to wet the market with the products and shun hoarding,” he said. Ogunmade lauded the programmes of the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the NNPC, saying that without those programmes, the

sanity in the downstream oil sector would not have been possible. He said the Managing Director of the PPMC, Prince Haruna Momoh, had initiated different types of programmes, which allowed marketers to receive, distribute and market petroleum products with ease.

reopened for business until the tax liability is remitted,” CokerAfolayan said. She said that the government had earlier written to the hospital on the need to remit workers’ tax to the authorities. According to her, LIRS has no alternative than to seal the hospital when the management failed to respond to its request. She reiterated that payment of taxes was a civic responsibility of everyone, explaining that government needed the tax proceeds to provide infrastructure for economic growth and

improved standard of living of citizens. She warned the hospital management not to tamper with the seal on the premises, saying that only LIRS officials had the authority to unseal the place. Coker-Afolayan also stated that it was criminal for people to assault government’s officials on legitimate duties. The Medical Director of the hospital, who pleaded anonymity, denied knowledge of the letters from LIRS on tax remittance and condemned the manner of enforcement of tax laws in the state.

L-R: Vice Chairman of National Conference, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi his Chairman, Justice Legbo Kutigi and Secretary of the Conference, Mrs. Valerie-Janette Azinge conducting their affairs of the delegates during their debate on the rules guiding the conference. Photo: OMOYE AMINU.

Across The Nation No Fuel Scarcity - PPPRA By JOSES SEDE ABUJA - Executive Secretary, Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency, Mr Ahmed Farouk, has dismissed rumors of fuel scarcity in the country and urged Nigerians to stop panic buying of petrol. Speaking when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Mr. Farouk noted that about 200 million litres of the product would soon be released into the market adding that more than nine vessels are currently discharging the product across the country. He, therefore, urged Nigerians to remain calm adding that there was adequate supply of petroleum product at depots across the country. “As it is today, from our report, we have over nine vessels currently engaged in discharging products in various depots across the country; from Calabar to Oghara.

“We have Lissa depot which is discharging for Oando. “We have Atlas Cove vessels discharging for PPMC. We have vessels discharging in Apapa. So, all in all, we have over 200 million litres being discharged by various vessels currently as at today. “So, there is no need for any panic because we have the product there. The general public should be calm and go about their normal businesses. “In addition to the product, that we already have in tanks and the vessels that are also waiting to discharge.” He admitted that the delay in the payment of oil marketers was responsible for the initial fuel crisis but explained all outstanding debts had been settled by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Federal Ministry of Finance. According to him, all pending payments due to oil marketers have been paid as at last week, assuring that Nigerians would not experience scarcity again A member of the Senate Committee on Petroleum

(downstream), Sen. Danjuma Goje, decried the inability of the authorities to resolve the problem surrounding the importation of petroleum products into the country. The development, he said, brought unnecessary suffering on the people. “I will advise the Ministry of Finance or the NNPC or whatever agency is responsible for paying the importers, to do their work promptly so that we don’t experience this kind of fuel scarcity again,” he said. The Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Magnus Abe, said that considering the assurances given by the PPPRA boss, the country had no cause to witness another fuel scarcity again. “So, we can take your word for it that products are available and that there is no need for the public to panic. “We need to confirm from PPMC exactly what is being done to ensure that these products are effectively distributed across the country,” he said.

Pastor and Mrs. Michael Iraya (Groom’s parents) during the wedding ceremony of Olutomi Morolake Abolude and Dickson Eshiogieme Iraya on the 15th of March, 2014.

Police Detonates Bomb In Kaduna

KADUNA- The Police in Kaduna said they had successfully detonated an explosive suspected to be bomb in Kaduna. The Police Public Relation Officer in the command, Aminu Lawan, who announced this to newsmen in Kaduna, said that the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was detonated at about 10,30 a.m. Lawan said that the command was alerted at about 10 am that a young motorcyclists dropped a polythene bag containing IED at Kashim Ibrahim Road, along Sultan Road, Ungwan Sarki, Kaduna North Local Government Area.

He said that the command’s anti-bomb squad acted swiftly and was able to detonate the explosive safely “without causing any harm or injury to any person”. “When we were alerted, we swiftly moved to the scene and condoned off the area. We called our anti bomb disposal experts and they responded promptly and discovered that what was contained in the polythene bag is an IED. “ They were able to demobilised the IED safely without anybody being affected.” Lawan said that calm had returned to the metropolis after the scare, adding that normal

activities had resumed in the area. He said that the assessment of anti-bomb experts of the IED was that it was of “high calibre”. He advised people in the state to remain calm and assured that the command had intensified patrol in all parts of the city to ensure that the suspects were tracked down.

Identify Sponsors Of Boko Haram, Northern Governors Tell FG

ABUJA- The Northern State Governors Forum has stressed the need to identify the culprits and sponsors of the Boko Haram insurgents and other insurgencies in other places in the country. Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger and Chairman of the

NAFDAC Seizes Fake Goods Worth ENUGU- The National escape route for them,’’ he N2.5m Agency for Food and Drug said. Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has confiscated fake imported goods worth N2.5 million in Enugu. Its Deputy Director at the Akanu-Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, Mr John Okwori, told newsmen in Enugu that the goods were imported on Jan. 4 through the Ethiopian Airline. “The importer of the goods ran away on sighting NAFDAC men which made us to seize the goods,’’ he said. The director listed the goods to include 20 packets of Nakhla Tobacco with its pipe, 2,100 Easy White cream, empty containers with crowns and 575 So Mma bright skin formula

cream with crowns. Also in the sealed container are 24 packets of activated Charcoal, and 2,457 stickers for So Mma bright skin formula cream, all worth about N2.5 million, he said. Okwori said the cream container was imported by the suspect with the intention of filling it with fake liquids to sell in place of the original one. He vowed to hunt down any citizen who thought that Akanu Ibiam International Airport was an escape route for fake products into the country. “Those who thought they can pass their fake products or import fake goods into the country through Enugu airport are dreaming because there is no

The solemnization of Holy Matrimony between former Miss Olutomi Morolake Abolude (a banker) and Mr. Dickson Eshiogieme Iraya of the Glo Network took place on Saturday 15th March 2014 at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Upper Room Parish. Amongst those present were Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Honourable Jonny Oghuma, Mr. Obinna Awantu, Citizen Emmanuel Kola Okhakhu, Pastor Desmond Faluyi, Mr. Peter King, Mr. Eko Etete, family members, relations, friends and well wishers. Courtesy: KOLA OKHAKHUS.

He warned the citizens to always look out for the NAFDAC logo and numbers on every product to avoid buying fake ones. In another development, one Titus Chinwike was caught with fake 25,000 labels of Golden Country Sweet Corn from China. Okwori said that Chinwike imported the goods with the intention of using it to produced fake ones in the country. In his reaction, Chinwike told newsmen that he imported the label with the aim of using it to produce grond corn in Aba. “Honestly speaking, I thought it is a genuine business,’’ Chinwike said.

forum, expressed the need at the forum’s emergency meeting in Abuja. The meeting was convened to deliberate on contemporary issues facing the north and the country generally. He said that the general insecurity in the region in particular and the country in general was increasing and becoming a growing concern to all. The insecurity ranges from mayhem being perpetrated by insurgents, characterised by sporadic killings, attacks on schools and communities, leading to several deaths and thousands being displaced. The forum chairman also urged members states to establish a Security Trust Fund in their various states “in view of the insurgency in the region.” Aliyu said such fund had become critical in the face of the current insurgency in the region. He added that “it is necessary we have such a fund so that we

do not run out of fund in fighting the menace.” Meanwhile, he noted, the ongoing National Conference was intended to provide a more inclusive and focused forum for a candid discourse on challenges confronting the nation and its citizens. He said the forum had evolved a common agenda that would put northern delegates to the conference in a better position to tackle the interest and aspirations of the north and the nation at large. The chairman pointed out that the forum had received the report of the symposium organised by the U.S. Institute for Peace (USIP) at Washington DC attended by 12 northern governors. He said the symposium was to provide a platform for meaningful discussion and enhanced cooperation that would elaborately address security, social, economic and governance issues peculiar to


Court Frees 3 Robbery Suspects

IBADAN - An Oyo State High Court in Ibadan has discharged three persons arraigned for alleged conspiracy and robbery. Justice Adegboye Gbolagunte discharged Kehinde Aresa, Seun Olugbodi and Azeez Lamidi for lack of diligent prosecution. The prosecutor, Mrs Fatoki Oyediran, said the three persons had been standing trial for alleged conspiracy and robbery since 2011. Oyediran alleged that the accused on February 11, 2011 at Idi-Obi area of Ibadan conspired and robbed one Taiwo Jamiu of his cell phone, N5,000 and other valuable items. She said the offences contravened sections 516 and 401 of the Criminal Code Cap 38 Vol. II, Laws of Oyo State of Nigeria, 2000. But at the resumed hearing of the case on Tuesday, the defence counsel, Mr Adeniyi Ademilua, urged the court to discharge the accused. Ademilua said that the prosecutor had consistently failed to call any of the 12 witnesses on each trial date. He also said no exhibit was found on the defendants to implicate them in the incident, submitting that justice was for both the state and the accused. The defence counsel urged the court to strike out the case for lack of diligent prosecution. Gbolagunte agreed with Ademilua’s submission and struck out the case.

Oyo Assembly Condemns Soka Killings

L-R: General Manager, Bendel Newspapers Company Limited (BNCL), Pastor Monday Aigbe received a communique from the National President of National Association of Edo State Studentss (NAESS) Comrade Igbinevbo Clive during a courtesy visit to the company recently. Photo: LUCKY AGIE

People taking photographs of a suspected ritualist attacked by a Mob on Ring Road in I b a d a n recently.

Police Warn Against Killing Of Suspects Ritual Killings:

IBADAN - The Oyo State Police Command has warned residents of the state to desist from lynching suspects accused of involvement in ritual killings. The command’s spokesperson, Mrs Olabisi Clet-Ilobanafor, gave the warning in an interview with

newsmen in Ibadan. Reports say that no fewer than three persons accused of involvement in ritual killings were attacked on Tuesday by angry mobs at two different locations in Ibadan metropolis. Clet-Ilobanafor, however, said that those attacked were

Tooth Decay: Dentist Canvasses Regular Check-Up IJEBU-ODE (OGUN) - Dr efficient brushing exercise,” he decay. David Ogunba, the Principal He said brushing of the teeth said. Dental Officer, Ogun Dental Ogunba warned against the use at least twice daily and proper Clinic, Ijebu-Ode, has advised of toothpicks, saying they could oral hygiene could prevent residents to go for regular dental damage the gums and lead to decay. check-up to prevent tooth decay “The effective way to prevent bleeding or broken gums when and mouth odour. tooth decay is to desist from not used properly. Ogunba gave the advice in an taking refined sugars. “The best method of removing interview with newsmen in “Always ensure to use food and dental plaque from the Ijebu-Ode on Monday. teeth is through dental floss. toothpaste which contains According to him, decay often calcium glycel-phosphate and “Flossing, in addition to tooth set in when acid by bacterial fluorides. brushing, can help reduce fermentation of food debris “Change toothbrush once in halitosis, otherwise known as accumulates in the tooth and bad breath, compared to three months, especially when destroys its hard tissues. brushing alone,” Ogunba said. the brush is no longer firm at its Ogunba said refined sugars He advised those experiencing ends. found in confectioneries such as persistent bad breath to go for “Brush vertically instead of candies, chocolates, cakes, icehorizontally and ensure the medical check-up as this could cream, jams and peanut butter tongue is well brushed for an be caused by an underlying were often responsible for tooth infection.

rescued by the police and taken to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) for further investigation. “Forensic test will also help us to prove if the tongues found with them were those of human beings or not. “It is, however, obvious that the Soka incident is the reason behind this upheaval against madmen, but people should stop taking laws into their hands. “While members of the public may apprehend a suspect, they do not have any right to carry out extra judicial killings. “Instead, they should hand over such suspects to the police,” Clet-Ilobanafor said. Reports say that two suspects were attacked at Oni and Sons area of Ibadan between 10.30a.m and 1.30p.m. The third suspect was attacked at New Adeoyo Road at about 11.30 a.m. Items found with the suspects

included a box containing three suspected human tongues, knives, cell phones and a notepad containing a list of names.

IBADAN - The Oyo State House of Assembly has condemned the suspected killings at Soka in Oluyole Local Government Area. The lawmakers condemned the act at plenary presided over by Speaker Monsurat Sunmonu. Reports say that no fewer than 20 decomposed bodies and some emaciated captives were found in an apartment in Soka on Saturday. Hon. Olusegun Olaleye, who drew the attention of the House to the incident, said that it should be addressed and perpetrators brought to book. “I want to say that the incident at Soka was callous, malicious and wicked. I think the development should be condemned by all civilised persons,” he said. He called on Gov. Abiola Ajimobi, who visited the scene of the incident on Monday, to take over the site for developmental purposes. The House also adopted a motion calling on the executive to take appropriate measures to stop the spread of malaria in the state. Hon. Fatai Salami, who moved the motion, said that there was the need to halt the scourge in view of its health implications.. “I want the issue of malaria to be controlled or if possible to be eradicated in Oyo State,” he said. He cited a Federal Ministry of Health research finding which said 60 per cent of out-patient visits to health institutions were for treatment of malaria. The lawmakers also called for the establishment of a Malaria Control Fund to combat the disease. Reports say that the lawmakers also deliberated on a bill for a law to provide for the enumeration of commercial vehicles and transport operators in the state. The bill passed through the second reading before the lawmakers adjourned to Thursday.

Ekiti Guber Poll: Labour Party Elects Governorship Candidate

ADO-EKITI - Mr Opeyemi Bamidele, a member of the House of Representatives, emerged as the Labour Party candidate in the June 21 governorship election in Ekiti. Bamidele, a lawyer and former Commissioner for Information in Lagos State, emerged through voice affirmation at the party’s primaries held in Ado-Ekiti. Delegates from all the 177 wards in the state elected Bamidele through a “yes” vote since no other aspirant contested against him. The primary election was held under tight security, with officials of INEC and other stakeholders in attendance to monitor the exercise.

The Deputy National Chairman of the party, Chief Joseph Akinlaja, led other leaders of the party from Abuja to witness the primary. Speaking while presenting the Labour Party flag to Bamidele, Akinlaja cited Article 27(3) of the party’s constitution as basis for his emergence. He said that the party’s constitution allows for ratification of an aspirant as candidate in a situation where nobody contested against such candidate. In his acceptance speech, Bamidele pledged to win Ekiti for the party, promising to work with other stakeholders to move the state forward.

Lagos Persistent Headache Might Be Sign Of Brain Tumour

Coalition of Nigeria Artistes celebrating 2014 World Theatre Day and Award in Lagos recently.

Private Schools Not Haven For Exam Malpractice - Proprietors

LAGOS - Some school proprietors in Lagos have debunked the claim that private schools had become haven for examination cheats. The proprietors, however, called for stringent measures against the menace in the interest of education development. They spoke to newsmen in Lagos. The Proprietor of Alpha Schools, Omi-Adio, Ibadan, Mr. Tayo Adepegba, said that contrary to speculations, some privately-owned schools had done much to tackle examination malpractice. Reports say some parents and students are alleging that private schools condone examination malpractice and even “buy over’’ invigilators in a bid to record excellent performances and attract more patronage. A civil servant, Mrs. Maryanne Ebubedike, had told newsmen that examination fraud was rampant in private

schools. “Malpractice reduces academic performance of children because there is no more competition. It reduces the zeal of children to study for examinations,” she said. Also, some students told newsmen on condition of anonymity that candidates in private schools were being illegally assisted during examinations. However, Adepegba, a former National President, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), said that the allegation was unfounded. “By the constitution of our association, if any school is caught, the Ministry of Education will blacklist it and the proprietor. He condemned examination fraud and urged students, parents, teachers, examination bodies and other stakeholders in education to join hands to

LAGOS - A 44-year-old driver, Isiaka Oluwa, alleged to have stolen a bus worth N450,000, has appeared before an Ojo Magistrates’ Court in Lagos. Oluwa, of no fixed address, was arraigned on a two-count charge of conspiracy and theft. The Prosecutor, ASP. Godwin Eze, told the court that the accused committed the offences sometimes in 2013 at Ojo area, Lagos. Eze said the accused stole a Volkswagen bus with registration number XR 179 FST valued at N450,000 belonging to one Mrs. Abiola Ogunfemi. “The accused, who was

given the bus to sell, did not do so and also failed to produce the vehicle. “The complainant reported the case to the police when she could no longer entertain further excuses from the accused.” Eze said the offences contravened Sections 285 and 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011. The accused, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge. The Magistrate, Mr. Taslimi Shomade, granted the accused bail in the sum of N450,000 with two sureties each in like sum and adjourned the case till April 28, for mention.

Driver Charged With Stealing

eliminate it in the interest of national development. He said that there was the need for Nigerians to earn and defend any certificates they acquired. The Proprietor of the Golf International Group of Schools, Osogbo, Mr. Gbenga Olowo, told newsmen that said the allegation was misconceived. He said that a school proprietor encouraging cheating

in examination would be jeopardising his or her integrity. “His personality is at stake; any private school proprietor who wants good results will not condone examination malpractice,” he said. Mr. Shakiru Raji, a former President of NAPPS, Lagos State Chapter, said that the allegation resulted from a wrong impression formed by some members of the public.

LAGOS - A Consultant Neurosurgeon, Dr. Omotayo Ojo, has said that persistent headaches might be a sign of a brain tumour. Ojo, who works at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, said this when he spoke to newsmen in Lagos. He defined a brain tumour as any abnormal cell growth that occurs within the brain or in the spinal canal. “Though the symptoms are there, it is not always easy for regular people to distinguish brain tumours from other illnesses. “Any headache that basic painkillers cannot cure should be a warning for the person to see a doctor,” he said. Ojo said that headaches, nausea and vomiting caused by a brain tumour could also be mistaken for signs of malaria. He pointed out that tumour headaches often occurred early in the morning and got better as the day progressed, while regular headaches occurred later on a stressful day. Ojo urged Nigerians to be aware of the subtle differences in the symptoms in order to ensure a quick diagnosis. “The other symptoms of the tumour depend on the location and effect of the tumour on the brain. “If the tumour is pressing on the part of the brain responsible for movement, the person may

Court Remands Cult Leader LAGOS - An Ebute Meta Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos has remanded a suspected cult leader at the Ikoyi Prisons, over the management of a secret cult known as “Eiye Confraternity.” Babatunde Ogunyemi, 42, is to be kept in prison pending legal advice from the Office of the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). Reports state that the accused is facing a two-count charge of conspiracy and belonging to an unlawful society. The court did not take the plea of the accused. The Prosecutor, Insp G.O. Osuyi, had told the court that the offences were committed on March 12 at Festac Town, Lagos. Osuyi told the court that granting the accused bail may jeopardise police efforts at apprehending other fleeing members of the group ‘It took the police six months before the accused could be arrested. “If the accused is granted bail, he may go back and fortify the group to commit more havoc on the people, especially with the rampant cases of

cultism in our society today,” he said. Osuyi said that the offences contravened Sections 41 and 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011. Counsel to the accused, Mr. A. O. Emefieae, urged the court to grant the accused bail in the most liberal terms.

Emiefieae hinged his application on Section 36(5) of the Nigerian Constitution and that he is assumed to be innocent until proven otherwise. He assured the court that the accused would not jump bail, if granted.

Tired cobbler taking a nap at Surulere in Lagos recently.

- Neuro Surgeon

experience twitching, jerking and even seizures. “If the tumour is pressing on the part of the brain where the nerves for sight or hearing are located, the person’s sight or hearing may be hindered or lost,” he said. The neurosurgeon told newsmen that the exact causes of brain tumors were unknown. He said that certain factors increased a person’s risk of getting brain cancer. “For example, many years ago the treatment for ringworm was an x-ray, but we found that 30 years down the line, patients that got that x-ray had developed brain tumours. “Research also shows that brain tumours run in certain families; so those who are most affected need to be at alert,” he said. Ojo said brain tumours could also be either benign or malignant. He said that benign brain tumours rarely spread and seldom grew back when removed, while malignant tumours were resistant to therapy and often grow back after surgery. Ojo said that the commonest form of brain tumour was the kind that started in one location in the body and spread to the brain. According to Ojo, the prospects of recovery from a brain tumour depended on the type of tumour, the patient’s age and his will to live. He said that a 20-year-old had a better chance of recovering than an old man. He said that, if the tumour could be removed without affecting the surrounding brain tissue, then, surgery would be the first treatment, followed by radiotherapy to target anything left behind.

Across The Nation Malaria Control

Man Prays Court To Dissolve Marriage MARARRABA (NASARAWA STATE) - A 38-year-old civil servant, Silas Dodo, has prayed an Upper Area Court in Mararraba, Nasarawa State, to dissolve his marriage with his wife because she is HIVpositive. Dodo, who lives at Masaka, Nasarawa State, told the court that he wanted to divorce his 35-year-old wife, he married

Pregnant Women: 800 Drivers To Offer Free Ride

YOLA - The National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Adamawa has mobilised more than 800 drivers to support efforts at ensuring access to maternal care. Alhaji Bello Adamu, the NURTW Chairman in the state said the drivers would be trained under the Emergency Transport Scheme introduced to aid pregnant women get to hospitals on time. Reports state that the programme was initiated by the Society for Family Health (SFH) and Transaid. Adamu told newsmen in Yola that those trained would operate an emergency transport scheme dedicated to offering free transportation to women in labour. He said the 800 drivers, drawn from 19 local government areas, had volunteered for the programme meant to reduce maternal death in the state. “We are just waiting for SFH and Transaid to commence training of the volunteers so that they would have the requisite training to do the job effectively,” Adamu said. He commended SFH and Transaid for initiating the programme and pledged the union’s resolve to ensure its success. “We will closely monitor our members to ensure that they offer free ride to women in labour to nearest hospital or clinic when called to do so,” the chairman said. Commenting on the programme, an official of SFH, Ms Bolanle Oyebola, said the training of the 800 volunteers would commence in the third week of April. “We are going to start with the training of 26 Master Trainers who will later train the volunteers,” Oyebola said. Oyebola observed that one of the major determinants of maternal death was the delay in conveying women in labour to hospital, adding that programmes like ETS would help to address the problem.

in 2007. He told the court that his wife was found to be HIVpositive following a recent test they had. Dodo also told the court that he met his wife in 2002 at the Federal University of Technology, Yola, and they married in 2007 in a church. He said both he and his wife were screened on the church’s directive for HIV before their wedding, and the result indicated they were HIVnegative. According to him, not too long after their marriage, his sexual relationship with his wife deteriorated as she started denying him of sex. The complainant said his wife was always falling sick, a condition that compelled him to take her to several health centres for test where she was found to be HIVpositive. He said when he found that she was HIV-positive, he instructed his lawyer to write her and his church. Dodo told the court his wife later packed out of their matrimonial home in Masaka and went to live on her own at Auta Balaifi. He tendered the result of the various tests on his wife to buttress his claim. In her response, the woman, who was not represented by a counsel, admitted that the HIV test results tendered by her husband were genuine. Counsel to the complainant, Mr. Elisah Onaji, therefore urged the court to adjourn the case to another date. The presiding officer, Mr. Vincent Gwahemba, adjourned the matter till March 31 for continuation of hearing.

NGO Canvasses 25 Per Cent Budget Allocation

Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa signing into law the 2014 Budget in Dutse on Wednesday. With him is the Commissioner for Finance, Alhaji Umar Roni.

ICAN Encourages Students To Study Accountancy

KANO - The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) has urged secondary school students to study accountancy to make them good managers of resources. Alhaji Kabir Muhammad, ICAN President, made the call in Kano during a programme tagged “Catch Them Young’’. Represented by Alhaji Razak Jaiyeola, an ICAN board member, Muhammad said that the intention was to improve business transactions in the

society. “Anywhere you see an accountant, you see organisation of work, good attitude and transparency in the conduct of affairs. “Management of resources is also an aspect tied to accountancy. “The Institute is not meant for only those that read accountancy. People from other professions can join through the taking of our examinations. ‘’We have engineers, doctors as well as journalists in our midst,’’

he said. In her welcome address, Mrs. Mary Egbuna, ICAN Chairman in Kano and Jigawa States, said the programme was intended for young people to make the right choices at early stage. ‘’We will take our programme to different schools and also to parents to create an awareness,’’ she said. Reports state that 20 senior secondary schools participated in the one-day programme.

KATSINA -The Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria (HERFON), an NGO, has urged the Katsina State Government to dedicate 25 per cent of its annual budget for the health sector to malaria control. Chairman of the foundation in the state, Alhaji Ibrahim Kurfi, made the call in Katsina during an advocacy visit to the State House of Assembly. The chairman said: “Malaria constitute majority of health problems in hospitals in the state, hence the need for allocating 25 per cent of health sector budget to ensure effective malaria control.’’ He urged the lawmakers to support the NGO in its malaria control efforts and always involve health professionals during their oversight visits to health facilities in the state. Kurfi implored the government to deploy more personnel to its health facilities particularly in rural areas to achieve the desired objective. Responding, the Chairman of the House Committee on Health, Alhaji Aliyu Rumah, pledged to mobilise his colleagues and other stakeholders to support 25 per cent allocation of the health sector budget to malaria control programmes. He said that the committee would also ensure that all health programmes were adequately funded by the government in order to enhance healthcare delivery in the state.

Court Discharges Mechanic For Want Of Diligent Ishaya. Prosecution

MARARABA (NASARAWA STATE) - A Grade 1 Area Court in Mararaba, Nasarawa State, has discharged a mechanic, Thankgod Onu, for want of

diligent prosecution. Onu was arraigned on March 17, 2013 for damaging a Volkswagen Sharon bus when he

hit a motorcycle with the car. The police accused Onu of damaging the vehicle belonging to a businessman, Mr David

L-R: Senator Adamu Ibrahim Gumba, Senator Olugbenga Obadara, Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo and Senator Emmauel Aguariavwodo, during a meeting with the Senate Committee on Privatization, at the State House, Abuja recently.

The Presiding Judge, Mr. Albert Maga, discharged the accused after the prosecutor, PC Friday Adaji, again failed to produce witnesses to testify in court. The counsel to the accused, Mr. Isaac Gadzama, told the court that the prosecutor had failed to produce more witnesses one year after his client was arraigned. “My client has been languishing in prison since 2013 while this case has been in court. “It seems the prosecution has abandoned its case. The court should discharge my client,” he prayed. Delivering his ruling, Maga said: “Although the prosecutor brought one witness to court, since then he has failed to bring the other ones as promised. “Besides, the complainant has not shown any seriousness in the prosecution of this case as he hardly appears in court.” He discharged the accused and said the police could return to court if they are serious about prosecuting the matter.

Abuja Give Children Sex Education, Gynaecologist Urges Parents ABUJA - Dr Kayode Obende, a gynaecologist with Garki Hospital, Abuja, has advised parents to give their children sex education to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy. Obende told newsmen in Abuja that a debate was ongoing whether or not to teach children sex education. “Some will say if you teach them, it will encourage promiscuity; if you don’t teach them it will lead to unwanted pregnancy. “We need to have a balance; first of all, the education has to be from the parents who are the closest to the children. “If you are close to your children at least before they

even start menstruating, the first menstruation shouldn’t come to a girl as a surprise. “The girls who have proper sex education will be able to avoid it and then for those who cannot avoid it, there are measures you can take to prevent unwanted pregnancy or prevent sexually transmitted diseases.“ According to Obende, an adolescent centre offers young people the opportunity to access information that would assist them in making better choices. He said that adolescent centres played the important role of preventing unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases with

proper sex education. “In a well-organised sector, you have adolescent centres where you can walk in and get contraceptive advise or education and then if you go there, say you are 13, you will see girls that are within your age range. “But if you have a centre that is meant for just adolescents, you will see girls or boys your age, they will be very free to embrace whatever they get there.“ Obende said that sex education was important as it would help adolescents make informed decisions.

Mr. Godwin Emefiele answering questions during his screening by the Senate for Central Bank Governorship in Abuja recently.

Police Send 16,691 Officers On Course engagement in election security,’’ he said. The Force spokesman said that the course is intended to boost the morale of the officers, adding that it would also aid their performances in field operations. The I-G has assured that the police will continue to adopt the best approaches to ensure security of lives and property and to protect the integrity of elections in the country, he added. It will be recalled that the police sent the first batch of 160,000 personnel on training for the same purpose on February 4.

ABUJA- In preparation for the 2015 elections, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Abubakar, has sent another batch of 16,691 policemen on promotion course. The Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Frank Mba, stated this in a statement in Abuja. Mba said that while on the course, the officers would undergo intensive training on election “protection duties’’, adding that it was a strategy to ensure orderly and violentfree elections. “The course, which is concurrently taking place at various police training institutions nationwide, is specifically designed to equip the men with new skills in standard operational policing practices. “It will also equip them with human rights protections, principles of democratic policing, as well as rules of

ABUJA- Dr Friday Olah, a histopathologist with the National Hospital Abuja, has profered reasons for genetic testing in Abuja and advised members of the public to go for genetic testing for early

detection of hereditary diseases. Olah told newsmen that gene comprised all traits that children inherit from their parents such as complexion, height, colour, behaviours and

Abuja, has advised men with low sperm count to go for treatment to help enhance their fertility. Undie told newsmen in Abuja that the woman should not be made to feel guilty always where the issue of infertility in the family existed, advising couples with fertility problems to seek medical help. “People go from hospital to hospital for in-vitro fertilisation and it costs a lot of money; success rate is just about 30 per cent and sometimes the problem is not even from the woman. “Why should the woman carry the burden for a problem that is

entirely that of the male; why shouldn’t the man also present himself in the hospital to be tested. “When the sperm count is low, why should we leave the treatment of the sperm count and focus completely on the woman who goes to the hospital for repeated injections and she has to have an embryo inserted into her. “Rather than have the man treated and correct the problem which is entirely that of the male. In-vitro fertilisation does not treat infertility it only by-passes the problem.

“Most couples will prefer to conceive their baby in the comfort of their bedrooms and they can choose to have as many babies as they want once the man is treated. “If the man is treated or has had surgery, the chance of pregnancy is higher than a chance doing IVF.” Undie said that it was only after the man with a low sperm count had gone for appropriate surgery and the sperm count returned to normal that the couple could have babies. “If the sperm count returns to normal following appropriate

Mr. Godwin Emefiele answering questions during his screening by the Senate for Central Bank Governorship in Abuja recently.

Expert Proffers Reasons For Genetic Testing even diseases. He explained that some diseases, particularly some types of cancers, were genetic, adding that early detection could lead to better management of such condition.

Treatment Of Low Sperm Count Can Boost surgery in a man, the couple ABUJA- Dr Celsus Undie, a Fertility - Urologist could have as many children as urologist at the National Hospital

they want without having to see a doctor each time. “Men who have issues with their erection or reproduction should see a urologist, while their wives see a gynaecologist after a detailed history of the problem and physical examination. “In most cases, the urologist can say why the sperm count is low and can offer advice.“ According to Undie, apart from living a healthy lifestyle, there is nothing a man who already has low sperm count can do to boost his sperm production until he sees a urologist.

“We have found that there are cancers that run in families, breast cancer, cancer of the ovary, cancer of the colon and rectum as well as of the large intestine. “It is very important that in a family, if there is cancer in any individual the other members of the family should go and get themselves screened. “Because it is possible that the cancer existing in a member of a family may also exist in other members though they are not expressing the traits at that time in question.`` The doctor said that genetic testing was an integral part of pre-marital counselling, adding that test such as genotype and blood group were usually requested from intending couples. Olah also told newsmen that genetic testing could be used to identify an individual and

determine the parentage of a person. He, however, said that DNA paternity testing was gradually becoming popular in Nigeria but added that samples were still sent abroad for testing to be conducted. “Genetic testing is an integral part of pre-marital counselling. “If I have a sickle cell gene in me and the person I propose to marry has a sickle cell gene in her, it is wise not to go on to marry such a person because the likelihood that we will produce a child with a sickle cell trait is higher. “These days before people go on to marry they advise them to do a genotype specific for sickle cell disease. “In cases of crime, genetic testing can be used to identify an individual; in cases of disasters or missing persons, genetic testing can also be used to identify an individual.

Business + Economy Local Content

Ajumogobia Lauds FG LAGOS - Mr Odein Ajumogobia , a former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, has commended Federal Government on its local content implementation bill. He gave the commendation during the First Annual Women In Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) Conference 2014 in Lagos. Ajumogobia said that the government was well intended in seeing that local content was being pursued in the award of contracts. He said that government was also ensuring that jobs were being done by competent hands. He, however, advised that everything must be done to ensure that government agencies were discharging their responsibilities. According to him, Nigeria should focus on developing indigenous capacity instead of looking for assistance. Mr Babatunde Oginni, the Chairman of PENGASSAN, Lagos State Chapter, said that divestment had brought woes to labour in the country. Oginni said that out of 8,300 workers handed over to privatised companies, only 3,100 were working in the mainstream, while majority were casual workers. He said that some companies including were no longer in existence due to privatisation. Mrs Alice Odum, National Chairperson, Women in PENGASSAN, said that the association was set up to create awareness and

encourage women participation in the sector. Odum said the objectives of the association were to ensure a safe and healthy working environment for members. “To safeguard and protect the job of our members and promote legislation in the interests of our members in particular and Nigeria in general. “To ensure we are engaged in ensuring sustainability of the industry,” she said. Odum also said that the association was to encourage mastery in their jobs. Reports say that the theme of the conference is “Current Trend/Event in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry: Impact on Women Workers.’’

The Manager, Public Affairs, Integrated Data Services Limited (IDSL), Mr. Samson Makoji (right), presenting Tomato/ Pepper Grounding Mill to one of the beneficiaries of IDSL’s Community Projects in Benin City yesterday.

Harness Science And Technology, Don Tells FG

LAGOS- Prof. Oyewale Tomori, the President, Nigerian Academy of Science (NAS) has urged the Federal Government to harness the potential of science and technology to create jobs. This was contained in a statement signed by Tomori, which was made available to newsmen in Lagos. He called on government to immediately reassess national priorities and make good use of science and technology in its job creation agenda. Tomori said this reassessment would assure the orderly development of the economy and social enhancement of the average Nigerian. “According to the Bureau of Statistics, the rate of unemployment has increased steadily from 5.8 per cent in 2008 to 23.9 per cent in 2012. “According to the Financial Derivatives Company Ltd

(FDC), this is estimated to rise by two per cent in 2014. ‘This is the deplorable situation that led to about 700,000 Nigerians applying for only 5000 jobs i.e. an average of 140 applicants scrambling for one job position. “This is indicative of the grim and dreadful state of

unemployment in Nigeria,’’ Tomori said. The president noted that unemployment was not the only challenge Nigerians face; Insecurity, corruption, as well as unstable and unreliable power supply were some other challenges. He said that leaders of thought

in and outside the country agreed that science and technology was significant in accelerating human and economic development. “Countries such as China, Brazil, India, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan were counted along with Nigeria as some of the world’s

poorest and undeveloped countries, some years back. “These countries, with the exclusion of Nigeria, have succeeded in achieving significant economic growth through investments in science and technology. Tomori said that in Nigeria, science and technology had yet to take its rightful place as a tool for national development.

Diaspora Bond, Vehicle For Economic Transformation - Expert LAGOS- Dr Osi Itsede, a former Director General, West Africa Institute of Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM), says the 300 million dollars Diaspora Bond is a potent vehicle for national economic transformation. The reports state that Diaspora Bond is a debt instrument to be used by the Federal Government to attract investments from Nigerians

abroad. Itsede, who made the assertion in Lagos on Tuesday, told newsmen that most of the nation’s ailing infrastructure deficits could be addressed with proceeds from such bonds. According to him, Diaspora bond serves as readymade funds for government to execute its projects and programmes.

“It is a faster means for government to access funds with no complexities attached. “The likes of China and Japan have better their economies using this avenue of raising funds,” Itsede said. He said that having such bonds in place would provide an advantage in accessing longterm funds for development

purposes. The former WAIFEM director also said that Diaspora bonds would boost Nigeria’s sovereign credit ratings and deepen the financial market. Itsede said that the Diaspora bond would enhance the patriotic feelings of Nigerians residing abroad.

was to identify the amount of money that was lost from tax avoidance, which was massive and sufficient to develop the country. “ This will enable us to suggest possible ways to addressing leakages in taxation to get Nigeria and Africa out of illicit financial flows. “ We have realised that there is a lot of money missing in Nigeria and Africa from tax avoidance. “ Some multinationals do come here to invest and make billions of money in mining, solid mineral and manufacturing without paying their taxation, “

Ibrahim said. He appealed to the Federal Government to be proactive in the fight against the menace of corruption in the public and private sector. The Executive Director, CDD, Ms Idayat Hassan, said corruption was the major causes of illicit and volatile financial flows in the African continent. “ All conversations around illicit and volatile financial flows focuses on corruption in a manner that narrowly detaches it from deeper-level structural and policy regimes as well as the politics of policies.“

Don Tasks Multinationals On Tax ABUJA- Dr Jibrin Ibrahim, Remmittance Senior Fellow of Centre for

L-R: Commissioner, Operations, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Mr. Abdullahi Mohammed, Chairman, Malam Muhammad Bello, Deputy Chairman House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Rep. Auwalu Saleh and Chairman of the Screening of Air Carriers for 2014 Hajj in Abuja recently.

Democracy and Development (CDD), has urged multinational companies to ensure regular payment of their taxes to prevent illicit financial flows in the country. Ibrahim made the call on Tuesday at a consultative roundtable on illicit financial flows organised by Trust Africa in collaboration with CDD in Abuja. He said Nigeria was losing huge amount of money due to the lack of remittance of taxation by some multinational companies as a result of its weak tax system. Ibrahim, noted that the significance of the roundtable







































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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Close 2073 283.47 65 109.5 16.91 9.12 9.8 45.15 13 6.31

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TERROR groups in Northern Nigeria have, since the inception of the Jonathan administration unleashed mayhem on innocent citizens in most parts of the region with security agencies and the presidency promising almost on a daily basis to deal with the insurgence without any headway till date. LITTLE wonder then that the Chief Executive Officer of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Mr. Peter Voser raised the red flag that security situation in Nigeria had worsened in the last two years. Voser in a speech posted on the company’s website noted “the stealing and sabotage of crude oil intensified during the year under review thereby threatening its multi-billionaire-dollar business” and opined that shell alone cannot tackle the issues. THE Company’s chief executive recommended a multi-stakeholder approach as they have pushed for several years which has gone unheeded by the Nigerian authorities. THE NIGERIAN OBSERVER, is disturbed over the security situation in the country as the United States of America recently raised alarm over escalating insecurity of lives, property and businesses necessitating in its restricting the movement of its citizens within some states in Nigeria. WE are even more worried over the implications of corporate citizens’ perceptions of our security on larger businesses and in particular, growth and development of the country. Unfortunately, efforts by Nigerian security to address the challenge have not yielded the desired results. IT is an incontrovertible fact that there


Going Tougher On Terror Groups could be no meaningful development in any society where security of lives and property is heavily under threat. Shell’s expose reveals of colossal sums of money lost through oil theft by criminals who, in our view act in concert with powerful and well connected Nigerians including even some unscrupulous officials of the nation’s security organisations. THE sad situation the nation finds itself is an attestation of the lack of political will by government over the years to deal decisively with the various security challenges that have arisen with one leading to the other, some of which now have ethnic, and religious colourations. Kidnapping of multinational oil workers in the Niger Delta went on for too long unaddressed until it metamorphosed into kidnap of innocent low income earners, a situation which speaks volumes of our unpreparedness to tackle the menace of kidnappers until the mother of the Finance Minister and Head of the economic team of Mr. President was kidnapped by hoodlums to the utter embarrassment of the whole nation. CLEARLY, the Nigeria Police Force have failed woefully to live up to its

responsibility as from every indications, the police themselves, including the high authorities are either involved in criminal activities or are pre-occupied in shielding perpetrators of criminal offences. THE political class have equally not helped the situation as most of them are involved in arming youth groups to do their political billing who in turn go back to the trenches with such arms to perpetrate criminality against the people and the state. THE NIGERIAN OBSERVER is strongly of the view that if Nigeria must attain its national goals and objectives, the present administration must take proactive steps to fight insecurity in the land and restore hope and confidence amongst all stakeholders. BUT in all, we believe the President needs to exercise the political will to make this happen. Mr. President needs to throw away ethnic, sectional and other sentimental garbs and wear his nationalistic apparel to deal with insecurity in the country. GOING forward, we join shell Petroleum Plc to recommend a well organised, multi-stakeholder approach to dealing with insecurity in the country. The Nigerian Army, Navy, Air force, Department of State Security Service, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, Nigerian Immigration, Nigerian Customs and most importantly, the Nigeria Police Force need urgent overhaul. All outfits need better coordination to arrest the situation and make the country safer for all.

Voice Of


Is Religion Truly The Opium Of The People? (2)

Every Friday With Mallam Abdulfattah Enabulele Chief Imam of Benin Allah is never pleased with those who willingly accept and succumb to injustice. They are rather required to struggle against injustice and rescue the oppressed so that Allah may be satisfied with them. Some people may think that these verses apply to the practice of faith only such as in the case when Muslims live among infidels who force them to disbelieve in Allah or prevent them from performing their Islamic duties as Muslims. Islam does not make any distinction between the performance of religious rites and the improvement of social, economic and political life of the people as they are all based on the basic creed of Islam. It makes no difference whether those who prevent the performance of Islamic rites and the establishment of Islamic system are infidels in name and practice or are Muslims in name but infidels in their practical life. Says the Holy Qur’an. (Those who do not rule in accordance with what was revealed by Allah are unbelievers.) (Qur’an 5: 44) Islam prescribes that wealth should not be confined to the few rich people. It also lays down that the state should ensure, by all possible means, security of employment for its subjects: either by providing honourable jobs for them or by supporting them from the Public Treasury in the event of their incapacity to work. Moreover, the Prophet of Islam orders that certain guarantees that have already been described in the foregoing should be accorded to government employees - the guarantees that also apply to those working in private or public establishments. All this forms an integral part of the religion of Islam. It does not regard anyone a true Muslim unless he is ready to endeavour to enforce divine law on this earth. The above-mentioned verses regarding acceptance of injustice willingly and those who commit injustice towards their own souls apply to those who do not fight for the enforcement of the political, economic and social legislations of Islam. Let us suppose that people will forbear from struggling against social injustice in compliance with the mistaken understanding of the verses (And in now wise (way) covet that by which Allah has bestowed His gifts more freely on some of you than on others). And the verse: (And strain not your eyes towards that which We cause some classes among them to enjoy...) What would be the outcome of forbearing to fight against social injustice? Wealth will be hoarded up in the hands of a particular class of people sharing it among themselves and depriving the majority of it (just as what actually happened under feudalism and capitalism) But this is a monstrous evil, it violates Allah’s express order that wealth should not be confined to the rich. Another consequence of such a forbearance to fight against social injustice would be that the wealthy people will withhold their wealth or they will spend it on their ownselves and indulge in luxury and extravagant pleasures. The former state is an evil one: (...And there: those who hoard gold and silver and

“Should there be in the world any religion that can be termed as an opium of the people? Surely Islam is not that religion, as it disowns all forms of injustice and threatens those who accept it with the most grievous chastisement”

The HOLY KA’ABA: One of the most sacred territory on earth spend it not in the way of Allah: announce to them a most grievous penalty.) (Qur’an 9:34) In the latter case, there are many verses in the Qur’an which explicitly prohibit luxury and dub those who live in luxury as impious disbelievers: (And We sent not to any township a warner but its pampered ones declared: Lo! We are disbelievers in that which you bring to us.) (Qur’an 34: 34) When We decide to destroy a village, We send a definite order to those among them who are given the good things of this life and yet transgress: so that the word is proved true against them: then [it is] that We destroy them utterly.) (Qur’an 17:16) (And those on the left hand: what of those on the left hand? In scorching wind and scalding water and in shadow of black smoke, neither cool nor refreshing. Lo! Heretofore they lived in luxury.) (Qur’an 56:41-45) Nothing but evil will result from people’s forbearing from struggling against social injustice. How can Islam be accused of calling on people to accept evil for the pleasure of Allah, when Allah Himself says: And had they believed in Allah, and in the Prophet (Muhammad) and in what has been revealed to him (Prophet), never would they have taken them (disbelievers) as Awliyaa’ (and helpers); but many of them are the Faasiqoon. Allah treats acceptance of inequity and evil and the forbearance of these as a mark of disbelief that brings forth His wrath, curses and castigation. The Prophet said: “He who sees evil should prevent it” and he also says: the greatest (Jihaad) struggling for the sake of Allah is a word of justice said before an unjust ruler.” The above-mentioned evils can never spread in the society and be acceptable to a ruler unless he is unjust. He, then, should be resisted and fought against for the sake of Allah. No one of sound mind can accuse Islam of enjoining upon people to cringe before injustice or to accept deprivation. Only those who are prejudiced against it or dominated by their lust and passions can dare utter such a falsehood. The above-mentioned verses prohibit idle longings which are not accompanied with productive effort. They also advocate acceptance of situations which cannot be altered by any power on earth: the state, society or any people. They are natural, not an artificial outgrowth. There are many people who have the talents that may bring them fame and popularity. Others long to have a similar fame but they do not have the necessary talents to achieve or deserve it. What can the state do in order to satisfy such idle longings? Can it prevent them from degenerating into morbid malice? Will or can the state “manufacture” a talent for such people? Let us take the example of a beautiful woman who captures attention or admiration and another one who lacks beauty as well as grace but nonetheless, desires to be considered very beautiful so as to attract attention and admiration. What can the state do in Order to establish equality in this case? Or take the case of a married couple living in happiness and love and

begetting children who become a source of happiness for them, and another couple that are far from leading a happy life of love with no children to please them despite all medical treatment. How can all the powers on earth try to make up for what the second couple lack in this respect? There are innumerable examples of such cases in life. Neither economic solutions nor any scheme of social justice can do anything aboutit. The only solution in such cases is the acceptance and contentment with Allah’s provisions that are given out to people in accordance with measures other than the earthly ones, and which recompense this worldly deprivation with the heavenly bliss. Even from the social and economic points of view, who can say that absolute equality is attainable on this earth? Is there a single country in the world where all wages and all

posts are equal? Take for instance life in the Soviet Union, the country that claims to have established absolute equality. Supposing that there is an ambitious workman who longs to become an engineer but his mental ability does not qualify him to become one despite all fair opportunities that are given to him. How can the state help him realize his wish? Similarly, there might be another worker who does not have the physical ability to take up a voluntary work shift for which he can get extra wages, but still be desires to get the extra wages which only the stronger workman can earn. What can the state do in his case? How can such people enjoy a life full of constant worrying, incessant longing and morbid malice? How can such people properly perform the duties of their work without looking up for greater power and expecting swollen salaries there from? Is it better to cure this malady with fire and sword from without or to remedy it willingly and with one’s own initiative from within? In short, the message of Islam is to work actively for the realization of lawful desires and to accept willingly that which cannot be altered. But where there is injustice that can be prevented, Allah will not be pleased with such people unless they rebel against it and do away with it: To him who fights in the cause of Allah-whether he gets killed or gets victorysoon shall We give him a reward of great (value). Qur’an 4:74) Should there be in the world any religion that can be termed as an opium of the people? Surely Islam is not that religion, as it disowns all forms of injustice and threatens those who accept it with the most grievous chastisement.

“In short, the message of Islam is to work actively for the realization of lawful desires and to accept willingly that which cannot be altered. But where there is injustice that can be prevented, Allah will not be pleased with such people unless they rebel against it and do away with it”

Insight AS is common with most politicians, especially heads of government, they are full of promises, but usually the end of the matter is worse than its beginning, and Nigeria has had more than its fair share of broken promises from past administrations. So when President Goodluck Jonathan, repeated the oftannoying promise made by past leaders to create more jobs for the youth, it was taken by many with a trailer load of salt based on past experience. Hear him: “Fellow Nigerians, I have dwelt on some of our a d m i n i s t r a t i o n ’s achievements in 2013 to reassure you that we are working and results are being achieved on the ground. As we enter our Centennial year, there is still much work ahead. We are determined to sustain our strong macroeconomic fundamentals, to strengthen our domestic institutions, and to invest in priority sectors.” “These investments,” he said, “will create more jobs for our youth. Government will at the same time, continue to scale-up investments in safety nets and the M i l l e n n i u m Development Goals (MDGs) to take care of the poor and the vulnerable so that they too can share in our growth and prosperity.” Many doubt Jonathan, not because he had made

such empty promises of job creation in the past, but simply because the job monster he is planning to take on appears beyond his capacity and that of his government. After all, many more organised governments in the civilised world were tackling the monster, and failing; that is if you are not bamboozled by the trail of monthly statistics on BBC World, CNN, and their Eastern ally, Al-Jazeera. However, his spin doctors are quick to point to his YouWin programme which they claim cannot be faulted. They may be right, but is it enough? Last November, as he launched the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWiN), President Jonathan revealed that when his administration came into office in 2011, youth unemployment was at a staggering 35%. He declined to say that the previous administration of Olusegun Obasanjo contributed to the malaise, but discerning watchers read between the lines. He added: “The YouWiN programme is unique in the sense that it depends on Nigerian youths to create jobs for Nigerian youths. The programme supports enterprising young men and women to establish and grow businesses that enable them employ their peers and others. I promised that this programme will create at least 80,000

Jonathan And His Promise Of J jobs. “I am happy to report that, so far, over 26,000 direct jobs have been created across our six geopolitical zones in various sectors of the economy. This includes 22,000 from YouWiN 1 and nearly 5,000 from YouWiN 2 (YouWiN Women) which c o m m e n c e d disbursement just in September.” Jonathan further eulogised the youths profusely, though many think he should sell the idea to state governors and local councils, who though may not need to spend as much as the federal government, and take the same number of beneficiaries. Indeed, everyone is asking the federal government to create jobs, but what about the 36 state governments and 774 local government areas in the country. What are they doing, and where are they doing it? Yet, state government officials, political appointees, and even elected councilors drive the bad roads of their domains in posh SUVs, amid the staggering unemployment. One of them, and incidentally the rabble-rousing one, has challenged political leaders in the country to take decisive steps towards tackling the twin problem of poverty and unemployment, saying they were responsible for the high state of insecurity in the

country. His words: “Until we deal with the issues of poverty, wealth creation and unemployment, then we may not be able to solve the problem of insecurity.” The media that quoted him did not report his own achievements in these directions; neither did they state that because of his battle with Jonathan at the centre, it was better for his state to have loafing youths that can be quickly deployed for special functions like political rallies, rather than find them jobs. Another, but this time, a former Governor, Senator Bukola Saraki, last year urged the federal government to declare a state of emergency on unemployment among youths in the country. If the You Win jobs are not enough, may be others in the offing may fill the huge gap. The abject failure of the state and local governments notwithstanding, just recently, Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had her own tale to tell in a bid to convince Nigerians the federal government was up and doing. Obviously frustrated by the failure of other tiers of government, she warned that the Nigerian economy would get into a precarious situation if the private sector did not cooperate with

government to create jobs and reduce inequality in the country. Speaking at a breakfast dialogue in Lagos last year, tagged: “The State of the Nigerian Economy in


another 431, 000 jobs in the first quarter of 2013. As if responding to concerns raised by Amaechi and Saraki, she said that the quality of growth in the

Th co an ec inc “ do

President Goodluck Jonathan

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Finance Minister

“Many doubt Jonathan, not because he had made such empty promises of job creation in the past, but simply because the job monster he is planning to take on appears beyond his capacity and that of his government.”

2013,” organised by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), she accused the private sector of creating wealth for a few and not jobs, adding that the Jonathan administration had created a total of 1.6 million jobs in 2012 and

economy needed to improve adding: “we are not creating enough jobs. We need to grow faster in job creating sectors at between 10 per cent per annum to create jobs needed to substantially reduce poverty in the country.

eco dan of N mo eco obt Sta als nee reg



Beyond Rhetoric


he inequality in the untry is growing faster nd the growth in the conomy is not clusive. “If the private sector oes not create jobs, the

onomy will be in nger. Only the top 10 Nigerians are enjoying ost of the growth in the onomy unlike what is tainable in the United ates of America. We so very importantly ed to take care of gional disparity and

carry every region of the country along.” On the moves to oil the economy and create jobs, she disclosed that the government in partnership with the KFW of Germany, IMF and the World Bank would create a development bank this year. This bank, according to her, would enable the private sector to borrow money for a 10-year period at

reasonable interest rates. In addition, she said, the federal government would also privatise the Bank of Industry (BoI) and the Bank of Agriculture (BoA) and restructure them to be specialised banks. And while presenting its N4.6 trillion “Budget for Job Creation and Growth” for the 2014 fiscal year to the National Assembly, Okonjo-Iweala

NIS Tragedy: AS a student, I still have the fear of tomorrow after graduation if one could get a job or die while searching for nonexisting vacancy. In fact as many have lately observed, we are now sitting on a timebomb when millions are unemployed. A 2012 survey by the National Bureau of Statistics put Nigeria’s youth unemployment figure at 54 percent. This means one out of every two young people who should be gainfully employed is unemployed. That’s Frustrating and scary. Imagine that over 693,000 applicants all over the nation chasing 4,500 jobs in the Nigeria immigration service, out of which 19 died at the test and hundreds fainted from stampede and exhaustion. They came looking for jobs, in a country that has mastered the art of hoarding jobs. They found death instead of the jobs. Many horrible pictures and videos from the incidents across the federation went viral online. There is therefore a lot of

disclosed that it would kick-start the housing sector for more jobs and support manufacturing because jobs would be created there. But giving details of how jobs will be created by the Federal Government, Chairman of SURE-P, in Edo State, Mr. Lucky Imasuen, said late last year that the number of beneficiaries of the Subsidy Reinvestment

Programme, SURE-P, in the 36 states of the federation will increase from 3,000 to 5,000 this year. For N10, 000 monthly, the beneficiaries acted as traffic controllers, road cleaners, hospital workers, among other chores. He disclosed that each of the 36 states currently engaged 3,000 beneficiaries under the programme, explaining that the beneficiaries of the programme were now being trained to make them self-reliant at

the end of the programme which he said, was expected to end after one year. With the positive picture painted by Jonathan, Okonjo-Iweala, and Imasuen, the silver lining in the sky brightens by the day in 2014, and perhaps it will shut the mouths of opponent and skeptics, and keep the bustling youths busy and away from the terrain of mischief and violence; especially political hooliganism as the electioneering enters top gear this year.

Any Hope For Unemployed Graduates


condemnations over the exercise. There are many questions demanding answers: How will the families of the victims be compensated? what is the future of our unemployed youths? What is government doing to a d d r e s s unemployment in the country? Government needs to recognize the plight of unemployed graduates and not waste time and money on issues that are not important to the development of this country. We are not unmindful of the fact that President Goodluck Jonathan has rolled out a number of programmes to tackle unemployment, like You Win and the SURE-P Scheme

among others which are yet to provide the necessary infrastructure for their tenability. There is also a Nigerian Youth Employment Action Plan (NIYEAP) which was launched under President Y a r ’ A d u a ’ s administration in 2009 but is stillborn. The efforts have been negligible compared to the scale of the problems on the ground. Of course the federal government should not take all the blame for unemployment woes. The states and local governments must also take responsibilities on job creation. Meanwhile the government at all levels should evolve a programme or a system that could be called YOUTHFUND where it can provide grant or

soft loans as capitals to youth to start up an enterprise. With such gestures the beneficiaries would be able to fend for themselves and reduce the rate of crime and other menace caused by idleness of the unemployed youths. There is no big deal working with government as there are innovative schemes which youths could benefit from and become independent and render services to the society at large. The youths should also take advantage of acquisition of skills provided by the government to be self employed and contribute meaningfully to various sectors of the economy. The unemployed graduates shouldn’t be over ambitious in the

sense of wanting to make it ‘big time’ but they could start from any small-scale business to fend for themselves. By the way what is wrong in farming or driving a cab and even street cleaning for legitimate income. For sure, such jobs which some may consider odd are far better than robbery, prostitution and criminal activities. Meanwhile considering the condemnations trailing the immigration recruitment exercise which resulted in the death and injury of some of the applicants, government should provide compensation for the families of the victims as well as reschedule the repeat of the exercise that could be easily done online.

“Government needs to recognize the plight of unemployed graduates and not waste time and money on issues that are not important to the development of this country.”

Art Alive

Artists Push For Environmental Friendliness & Recycling Culture

TURNING waste into wealth – this seemed to be the creative context/framework under which the 16 th Harmattan Workshop in Agbarha-Otor, Delta State, made its impact penultimate weekend. During a press visit by this reporter to the workshop before it ended its first session for 2014 penultimate weekend in Agbarha-Otor, emerging and professional artists alike, including Art students from tertiary institutions as well as foreign artists and other researchers were grossly engaged in creative intercourse, slogging it out in their various sections, only taking breaks per time to attend to crowds of schoolchildren from various primary and secondary schools who were led to the workshop village on educational tours/excursions. The workshop main theme was NIGERIA C E N T E N A R Y CELEBRATION, with workshop sections ranging from painting, sculpture/ installations, metal constructions, textile fabric designs, leather crafts, bead making, to photography, mixed media, drawing, graphic design, etc. Unconsciously or so, everybody had something to say on the state of Nigerian environment and seemed to agree that there is an environmental crisis in Nigeria and that everyone had a duty to do something proactive to arrest the situation. For these artists at the 16th Harmattan workshop in Agbarho-otor, Art can provide the answer to the environment question, and the workshop was a great platform to explore, innovate and share insights that would result in making the best out of the worst situation in our society.

A brief interaction with some of the busy participants at the workshop was all-revealing. Tejuosho Olanrewaju, an environmental artist, was deeply engaged an installation project he titled Centenary Nigeria. The installation in progress comprised mainly of found objects from the immediate environment, including cut-to-size coconut tree branches wrapped in newspapers and magazines; discarded ‘pure water’ sachets; provision wrappers and other waste materials. The artist said, “…we’re talking about centenary Nigeria now, and as an environmental artist, I’m using the materials in my environment to create my work. The materials you’re seeing here are taken from this Agbarho-Otor environment. So, I want to turn them to artworks, I want to discuss the issues of the centenary— Nigeria’s hundred years of amalgamation.” Asked what his motivation was for embarking on the project, Teju said, “I said earlier that I am an environmental artist. I talk about the environment; the materials in the environment are what inspire my work. I want to reduce the problem of our environment…” On how he intends to change public opinion and environmental habits just by exhibiting artworks and ‘wastes’, Teju said, pointing at a heap of tied water sachets and beverage wrappers, etc on the floor, “If you know the number of such water sachets and other materials littering the streets and impacting on our health and the environment everyday… it doesn’t augur well for our health. By this work, I seek to reduce waste problem and use this Art


medium to advocate for environmental protection in Nigeria’s hundred years journey together as one nation.” Midahuen Yves (a.k.a Midy)

an artist from Benin Republic, said “…my first time coming here was 2005. When you come to this place the spirit of inspiration catches you and you cannot leave this place

• Shade Thompson

• Tejuosho Olanrewaju

• Midahuen Yves (Benin Republic)

• Ayeva Medjeva (Togo)

•Mary Young

without thinking of coming back again. Since 2005, this is my 7th time coming”. Midy was busy splattering hues onto a conceptual mixed media work and when asked what he was up to the Beniniose replied, “I am a painter. This is one of my works; I’m still working on it. It’s a mixed media. You can feel that blessing is coming from heaven, so people are ready to keep it in their pocket [pointing to a gummed jean pocket on the canvas]…Don’t let the blessing pass by, keep it!” on why he chose his medium of expression, Midy said “I use jean, wasted jean. It’s like taking wasted things and giving it a life…from waste to something useful.” On his experience with other participants at the Harmattan workshop, Midy said, “…we learn from each other. What I do people like it, I can teach them…what some people do, I fell in love with it, they taught me. So, it’s like shared experiences that can help your art to grow up.” Another interesting conceptual painter at the workshop was Ayeva Medjeva from Togo. A man of ‘few was’ because of poor communication in English language, Ayeva worked on a mixed media entitled CONTRAST, and he defended his work saying, “ I’m working on “Contrast”. Contrast means day and night, good and badness I can say…er…white and black…” Attending the workshop for the third time now, Ayeva admitted, “I enjoy the place and try to create something that is unique and share wit other people their experiences. I am happy to be here.” For Mrs. Mary Young, an art History student from the University of Benin, Benin City, attending the Harmattan workshop was “awesome. When I came, initially I went to painting section, but… I had to come over to leather craft section. If you look at the products displayed on the table I happen to produce one of the bags – the black one…” The facilitator of the leather craft section at the workshop, Shade Thomson, a multitalented professional designer/ artist from Yaba College of Technology, Lagos and the Amadu Bello University, Zaria, respectively, shed some

light on how she succeeds in enthusing her workshop students in innovative hand crafted leather works and imposing jewelry making through a strategic recycling culture. “…this technique is called the Emburse Technique; basically the whole areas we have looked at in this workshop is hand-crafted leather work and we have used lasing, embursing, punching and weaving as various ways of producing leather goods. This applied the emburse technique on it; for this piece we applied the weaving technique, and if you look closely what we have done is to use recycled products and mix them with leather. In between the woven piece you would find aluminum cansaluminum from canned drinks - that has been woven into the leather to create the design that you see.” Displaying the leather works and other items, shade continued, “Also we have used plastic bottles from your usual drinking water bottle to create the jewelry that you find here. So we have recycled products that we have used and discarded, now mixed with leather to make beautiful products that we can use on a daily basis. We also have earrings made from the same things…” On what was the drive for all the efforts, Shade averred “Well, it’s more of recycling culture… encouraging recycling culture. You know, we keep having a lot of wastes…our country becoming a dumping ground for all kinds of second hand goods and all of that. The purpose is to see beyond just producing plenty waste what we can do with the wastes we have to create things that we can use on an everyday basis so that the waste does continue to accumulate.” The annual Harmattan Workshop in Agbarho-Otor is organized by the Bruce Onobrakpeya Foundation (BOF). The second segment of the annual artistic retreat comes up in August every year. According to the new director of the workshop, Mr. Sam Ovraiti, the August retreat is meant for professional artists only and promises greater results. More information about the Harmattan Workshop Agbarho- Otor can be accessed at the BOF website:

Art And Culture

Olden Days Specialist Hunters Of Great Benin IN olden days, the Oba of Benin had band of elephant hunters and elephant hunters are specialists. In Great Benin, there was also a group that had the duty of catching and keeping Leopard, and another group was responsible for providing fisheagles. In the rural areas of Benin , there were also part-time specialists who hunt bush-pigs and various kinds of buck, among the Urhobo and Isoko, specialist hunters shoot and trap wild pigs, buffalo and deer. One day in a wrestling competition, Oriaikhi, the son of Ozede who was a skilled hunter of elephants, came out to defend Ugo from a terrible wrestler. Oriaikhi wrestled bravely and was highly applauded, but Oriaikhi asked for permission from the palace to allow him hunt the elephants that were in abundance at Ugo. The Oba granted him licence to do so, Ovbi Ozede came to Ugo ‘N’ Eki that had lots of elephants in the forest, moreso, some people at Ugo would change to elephants. Ozede the father of Oriakhi had never ran away from elephants and elephants tusks filled his“Ore shrines. To test gbenin the ability of Oriaikhi,

some men changed to elephants for him to hunt. Oriaikhi maintained skilful intelligence of hunting and killed tempters of which he could have not been able to achieve, hence the people hailed him to the duke, thus;- “Tell Ogiugo that Ovbi Ozede killed elephant as Ozede had never ran away from elephants”. On hearing the song, the Duke himself changed to elephant but Ovbiozede would not shoot for he perceived and honoured the Duke hence he sang the elephant that cannot be embraced (Enin-O, Enin-O nei gia dede, enio-o, Enin-o). Nowadays the descendants of Ozede still perform rites and ceremonies to Efae as quality of Ogun in hunting. Efae is performed as god of hunting and war. Hunters and warriors have special Ogun shrines where they perform certain rites before undertaking expeditions. They keep the skulls of all their trophies in the shrine and take all their weapons to the shrine when they perform sacrifice. They sing and dance to the accompaniment at brace, single membrane drums, anima’s bones

are used as stick clappers. The Urhobo and Isoko play Agba drums in their ceremonies, while Ivbiosakon hunters, dance to the sound of Obiza kettle drums. In kettle drums, a pot

and braced through holes in the edge of the skin with laces which are tied to another cord at the bottom of the pot. The Obiza is used specially by ivbiosakon hunters to accompany their dances. It is


are also common among some peoples of central and northern Nigeria. Animal’s bones are used as stick clappers in hunter” music for Efae. Among the Edo stick clappers are frequently used and are usually made of wood as concussion idiophones or clappers consists of similar objects which are struck together. The stick clappers are

the seventeenth century export as Dutch trade record indicate. There was a similar emphasis on Luxury goods. Cowries, the traditional currency were imported in such great quantities that they literally covered the walls of the rich. Oba Akenzua I is said to have constructed a house of money-bank (Owa Igho) and this was

British soldiers pose with the loot from the Oba Palace In February 1897.

or vessel forms the body, among the Edo speaking peoples, this kind of drums is used only by the Ivbiosakon, who call it Obiza. It consists of a clay pot, the opening of which is covered with the skin of viper. The skin is both tied with a circular cord around the pot’s neck

possible that kettle drums were widely used among the Edo. Talbot writes that “in the olden days the Edo people sometimes played on big copper cauldrons covered with skins” Kettle drums similar to Obiza are used by the Igbo, Ijaw, Yoruba and

is the home of the elephant hunter’s guild. In fact one of the struggle between lyase N’ode and Oba Akenzua I was over the control of the Lucrative Ivory trade that began at the end of the seventeenth century export as Dutch trade record indicate. There was a similar emphasis on Luxury goods.”

usually made of wood. One stick, is formed like a small spade, the upper part of which is about twice as wide as the handle the stick is held in the left hand. The other stick which is held in the right hand and struck against the under part of the spade-formed main Istick. Stick clappers of this type are often called Ikpasa. Ore gbenin is the home of the elephant hunter’s guild. In fact one of the struggle between lyase N’ode and Oba Akenzua I was over the control of the Lucrative Ivory trade that began at the end of

emulated in a modified form; by the Ezomo for when the French trader Landolphe visited Benin in 1787 he met the then Ezomo in a large and beautiful room elegantly embedded in which are called cauris”. Ivory is the white substances composing the tusks of elephants. The British invaders of Benin Kingdom 1897 hauled large quantities of Lucrative Ivory and looted treasury of the ancient Benin, the sinews of the Olden day’s specialist hunters of Great Benin culture.

The Lesbian, The Prophet!

WHETHER it’s addressing contentious issues on Facebook, prophesying world calamities or witnessing celebrity ‘deliverances’ in his Lagos-based church, the name of controversial Nigerian Pastor T.B. Joshua can’t seem to leave the news of late. The events of his church service broadcast live via Emmanuel TV on Sunday 23rd March 2014 proved to be no different as The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) witnessed the confession of two lesbians who said ‘demons’ were behind their lifestyle. Maria Terese George from Delta State, Nigeria explained to the congregation that her poverty-stricken background pushed her to seek help from an older lady. However, she had ulterior motives in promising to help the attractive 19 year old. “She took me to a club where we went drinking,” Maria explained while speaking in the packed church. “She took me to her house and started touching me. Because I was drunk, I responded.” The day after this drunken encounter, Maria had an unusual dream. “A halfnaked lady came to me in the dream and fed me with rice, stew and meat.” Upon waking up, Maria’s affection for men disappeared and she began to admire her fellow females. “That was how the spirit of lesbianism entered me. I noticed that whenever I saw a female that was busty and curvy, I would always admire their features... I became a chronic lesbian,” she admitted. The same lady who introduced her to lesbianism brought her into a local prostitution ring, assuring her that the riches she desired could easily be attained. “If I needed money, I would go to meet men who were very rich – politicians and businessmen – but if I wanted to enjoy sex or feel ‘real’ love, I would go for a woman.” Prostitution led Maria to a neighbouring African

country where her immoral lifestyle seemed only to worsen. However, resources disappeared as readily as they arrived. After several years of frustration, she decided it was time to return to Nigeria. “When I came back, I called some of my old partners for connections,” Maria explained. “They started laughing at me and told me they are now married with kids.” Maria was perplexed. She never thought it possible for one to leave lesbianism after tasting it. “I was confused and asked them what they meant. All four of them independently told me they went to T.B. Joshua’s church for deliverance,” much to the delight of the crowd. “Maybe The SCOAN doesn’t know that they have delivered a lot of lesbians,” she added. Making up her mind to visit the church based in Ikotun-Egbe, Lagos, her resolve was immediately followed by a terrible nightmare. “That half-naked woman came to me in the dream and said, ‘Look – you think you can leave me! Go and pick up a knife and kill yourself.’ ” Upon waking, Maria immediately packed her bags and left for The SCOAN that morning. During the church service on Sunday 16th March 2014, one of T.B. Joshua’s ‘Wise Men’ prayed for Maria and she experienced the ‘deliverance’ her friends had spoken of. “I have never experienced that type of thing before! I had gone to other places for ‘deliverance’ but it didn’t go. That is when I found myself even craving more for women.” According to her, when prayed for, she began

FEMINIQUE with Ijeoma Umeh email: Tel: 08182382839

‘manifesting’ and a strange voice spoke through her. After the ‘deliverance’, Maria testified to a total transformation. “I no longer have affection for women. When I see any woman, I

soul.” The story of Nneoma Onyema was not so dissimilar. Running away from home aged 18 and becoming a hair stylist in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, a rich

whatsoever with her family who hadn’t heard from her in three years. However, after being viciously attacked by a girl who claimed she ‘took’ her girlfriend, a friend advised Nneoma, whose life was

don’t feel it again – I see you as a sister or as my mother. I am seeing myself now as a woman that will settle with a man.” Advising people, the former lesbian told the congregation, “This lesbian spirit is a very stubborn spirit – it takes the grace of God for it to leave you.” In his comments, T.B. Joshua said, “Don’t hate the people; hate the act. Jesus loves the sinner but hates the sin. Now you are delivered, it is time to live in the Word,” he warned Maria. “Because of Christ, you are delivered – for the salvation of your

lady approached her in the salon one day. After complimenting her appearance, she gave Nneoma extra money and invited her to a high profile club. Intoxicating the teen with alcohol, she awoke the next morning in bed with the lady carousing her. “She changed my name to Jennifer and took me to a man who put tattoo of love on my back,” she explained to the church. Immediately after this encounter, Nneoma’s affection and attention turned only to females. Dancing in a club to make a living, she had no contact

clearly in a mess, to visit T.B. Joshua’s church in Lagos for help. “When the Wise Man prayed for me, I felt an electric shock pulsating through my entire body” Nneoma recounted her experience. The ‘demon’ that spoke through the young Nigerian said it was ‘a great lesbian’ and had tormented her life. In a remarkable twist of fate, Nneoma’s brother Emmanuel who had not seen her for three years was in The SCOAN congregation that very day. “I always used to put Nneoma’s picture on the

screen of Emmanuel TV when T.B. Joshua prayed. I was so shocked to see her in the church that day,” Emmanuel explained, adding that he was hearing this confession from Nneoma for the very first time. T.B. Joshua pledged to support Nneoma in her education so as to enable her to start a new life. In the wake of Nigeria’s recent anti-gay law, T.B. Joshua courted controversy in January 2014 when he declared that homosexuals should not be condemned. “Judge not, so that you will not be judged. We should talk to people to be saved and not to die. I mean, we should talk salvation, not condemnation. The Bible is my standard,” he said in a Facebook post. “God hates sin, not sinners. When I say, ‘Do not judge so that you will not be judged’, I mean we should hate sin, not the sinner because sinners can change. If you have killed a sinner by judging him, there will be no opportunity for change. Sinners can be delivered. We should hate the act, not the people because our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the ‘spirit beings’ that cause all these acts.” He clearly distanced himself however from the notion that he supported a homosexual lifestyle, saying, “If my parents were one, I would not have been given birth to. Those that are asking this question – if your parents were one, you would not have been given birth to. You that are reading me – if your parents were one, you would not be reading this today. God bless the reader and the hearer.” Ihechukwu Njoku is a freelance Nigerian journalist currently in London, UK.

“When the Wise Man prayed for me, I felt an electric shock pulsating through my entire body” Nneoma recounted her experience. The ‘demon’ that spoke through the young Nigerian said it was ‘a great lesbian’ and had tormented her life.”

Issues Issues

Encouraging Local Vehicle Assembly Plants

IN an effort to boost industrialisation and encourage local manufacturing in the country, the Federal Government established five vehicle assembly plants in the 1970s. The plants were Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Ltd. (PAN), Kaduna; Volkswagen of Nigeria Ltd. (VWoN), Lagos; Anambra Motor Manufacturing C o m p a n y (ANAMMCO), Enugu; Styer Nigeria Ltd., Bauchi; National Truck Manufacturers (NTM), Kano; and Leyland Nigeria Ltd., Ibadan. Less than 20 years after, some of the plants became moribund due largely to the effects of global economic recession of the 1990s and early 2000s, leading to the inability of the plants to cope with the challenges of import substitution. The few surviving ones now operate at far less than their installed capacities. A fresh pronouncement aimed at reviving the automotive industry through private sector participation was made recently by President Goodluck Jonathan. This was during his visit to inaugurate Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited (IVM) plant in Nnewi, Anambra. He noted that Innoson’s strides were in tandem with government’s economic policy of encouraging the development of the private sector. “I am indeed happy that Innoson is not just


assembling parts that are imported from other countries. “From all indications, it is only the engine that is imported; apart from that, every other thing is manufactured in Nigeria,’’ he said. Mr. Innocent Chukwuma, The Chief Executive Officer of Innoson, solicited government’s support through the formulation of enabling policies and creating a favourable investment climate. “Mr. President, with adequate encouragement, we can go beyond our present level of operation; and when we operate fully, the auto plant alone can employ as many as 3,200 workers. “Most of the raw materials were raised in Nigeria and all the car parts are made in Nigeria, except the imported engine blocks,’’ he said. Mr. Aminu Jalal, Director-General, National Automotive Council (NAC), Abuja, appraised Nigeria’s automotive sector, saying that Innoson produced 1,600 units of vehicles in 2012, and called for more patronage for the company. He said that the plant produced different models of vehicles, amounting to about 300 to 400 units per model. He regretted that Nigeria spends about N600 billion annually on vehicle importations, adding that about 50,000 new and 150,000 used vehicles were imported into the

country yearly. “Nigerians spend an average of N400 billion on the importation of passenger cars, and by the

obtainable in India and other countries where it is easier to set up manufacturing plants than to import vehicles. “The easiest way to do it is by putting in place a

manufacturers in the country under its auto development scheme. He said that only five of the 10 companies that applied for the loans had accessed it, noting that PAN got three billion naira; IVM got one billion naira, while Dunlop (Nigeria) Ltd. received N1.2 billion. Jalal said that the

President Goodluck Jonathan

time you add trucks and other vehicles, the amount Nigerians spend on imported vehicles will be running to N600 billion annually. “The market is there; with this market, automotive companies will be willing to invest in the country. But the constraint is the low import duty which made the vehicles cheap. “Our current policy structure encourages importation and discourages production. “That is why we are trying to reverse it to something that is

tariff structure that will discourage importation and encourage production of vehicles,’’ he said. Jalal regretted that Nigeria’s import duty regime was not skewed in favour of local manufacturers in order to further encourage them. “Nigeria’s import duty is 10 per cent for commercial vehicles and 20 per cent for cars; right now complete knock down (CKD) parts is imported at five per cent,’’ he said. He said that NAC had disbursed seven billion naira in loans to vehicle

“Mr. President, with adequate encouragement, we can go beyond our present level of operation; and when we operate fully, the auto plant alone can employ as many as 3,200 workers. Most of the raw materials were raised in Nigeria and all the car parts are made in Nigeria, except the imported engine blocks.’’

remaining amount was allocated to micro-finance banks for disbursement to other small and mediumscale industrialists. He also said that the NAC had concluded arrangements to establish automotive test centres in the country where trained mechanics would effectively handle modern vehicles to ensure their durability. He said that the project would boost the development of local content in the automotive sector. “It will also not only ensure good operation and maintenance of Nigerian vehicles; it will also help to obtain capacity to conduct approval tests in vehicles.’’ Jalal said that the project would be done in two phases, adding that the feasibility and consultancy aspects had been concluded.

He stated that necessary and appropriate approvals from government agencies had been obtained, adding that laboratories would be established in some parts of the country to fully realise the objectives of the project. He said that the laboratories include a component testing laboratory, automotive material laboratory, emission testing laboratory, and a vehicle evaluation laboratory. According to him, the council had trained some highly skilled mechanics on mechatronics programmes to man the centres. Mechatronics is a combined training in mechanics, hydraulics, electrical/electronic and computer applications in modern vehicle operations. Mr. Kolapo Odetoro, NAC’s Director, Industrial and Infrastructural Development, said that the council was collaborating with a Japanese firm to establish an autorecycling company for non-serviceable vehicles in Abuja. “We have reached an advanced stage of negotiations for the establishment of an autorecycling company. “The company which will be sited in Abuja is to serve as a model centre, and will be replicated in other parts of the country,’’ he said. Analysts say more should be done to encourage indigenous auto companies to enable Nigeria join the league of developing countries known as vehicle manufacturing nations. They include Thailand, South Korea, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Bangladesh.(NAN).


The Idolatry In Christianity Part 2

Ye Shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free. DEIFICATION OF PERSONS, INCLUDING BABIES.

T0 DEIFY A PERSON is to make a god of a person, to idolize a person, either dead or alive. Many so-called “ministers” of God to-day have made themselves “gods” and so their members look up to them as “gods”. These members worship them, rather than the True God, either because of their charisma, or because of the miracles, wrought by God through them. Many orchestrated miracles abound in many churches today, to deceive the genuine children of God, who have genuine desire to worship the True God. And so most of their “followers” attend these churches, not because they have come to meet Jesus for salvation but to meet these socalled “miracle workers, for their miracles.” But Jesus warned all Christians, who want to make heaven, to beware of these false “miracleworkers”, who have made themselves “gods,” and I quote “and many false prophets shall arise and shall deceive many”Matthew 24:11.In verse 24 Jesus says, “For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders, in so much that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect”. Many of these preachers, in making themselves ‘gods’ have personalized their ministries, using their own names, such as “Kelly Worldwide ministries” or “Michael John world-wide ministries”. Large crowds are attracted to their crusades, to meet a “deified personality” in the person of Apostle Michael John. Instead of lifting up the name of Jesus, who will draw men unto Himself, they lift up their names as the ‘gods’ that will perform these miracles. Some other colleague ministers even use the ‘names’ of these “miracle-workers”, to draw crowds of people unto their own crusade grounds. It is satan, the “god” of this world, that these ministers are lifting up. Satan will definitely draw large crowds unto such programmes, because it is he that is being lifted up. The common language of these “deified” ministers is the language of their master the devil. What is that language? I AM the bishop of the whole world; I AM the ‘demon-

destroyer. I WILL be there at the crusade, I will bless you with babies. “For thou hast said in thine heart, I WILL ascend into heaven. I WILL exalt my throne above the stars of God, I WILL sit also upon the Mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north. I WILL ascend above the heights of the clouds, I WILL be like the Most High”.Isaiah.14:13-14. So many ministers of God have these days, exalted themselves above measure, being “deified”, by their congregation. In John.10:41, many disciples said of John the Baptist “John did no miracle, but all things that John spake of this man were true”. John the Baptist, referring to Christ, declared “He must increase, but I must decrease”. But many so-called miracle-working ministers have increased to a height of being deified or idolized, making Christ to decrease in their ministries. Jesus said “Verily verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him” – John.13:16. The working of many wonderful works or miracles is no passport to heaven – Matthew.7:22-23 The “deification” of these ministers of God has reached such a peak, that some of them, go about in a convoy of motorcades, and some surround themselves with body-guards, paving the way for them to pass through, like the President of a country, because they love to receive honour from men, and love to be deified. Some, engrave their photographs and those of their wives on billboards in front of their churches, portraying themselves, as the ‘gods’ whom the congregation have come to worship; even though, they preach in the glorious Name of Jesus, it is another Jesus they are preaching. While some church bill-boards bear the portrait of ‘Mother & son, as the ‘gods’ whom the members of the congregation, ignorantly worship. The portrait of Mother and son, on church bill- boards, is the greatest degree of Idolatry in Christianity. It has a very serious spiritual implication, likened to the incestuous marriage relationship between Semiramis, the wife of Cush, the grandson of Noah (Genesis 10:8) and her son, Nimrod whom she married after the death of her husband, Cush. Another idolatrous practice going on amongst Christians

to-day is the ‘deification’ of babies, born of Christian parents. How are these babies deified? They make their babies share the same glory with Jesus, when He was born into this world, as a baby. And

from the account of the birth of Jesus in Matthew.2:1-2, 11, which reads, “ Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to

they had opened their treasuries, they presented unto Him, gifts: gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” These wise men, from the east, in search of baby Jesus were Chaldeans, heathen nations who by occupation were star-gazers. They were able to ‘know’ through stargazing that a special King was born into the world, Jesus the

Rev. Olu George

what is this idolatrous practice? It is the presentation of gifts, either in kind or in cash, to new born babies; it is a wrong practice amongst Christians. It is a glorified form of Idolatry. This practice, probably must have erroneously taken its roots

Jerusalem. Saying, where is He that is born King of the Jews? We have seen His star in the east and are come to worship Him.” And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down, and worshipped him; and when

king of the Jews. In the east, these magicians or astrologers were called wise men. According to the custom and tradition of these heathen nations, from the east, any time they visited any of their kings to worship, or to pay homage to them, they must not go

empty-handed. They must go with “presents” in their treasuries. The presents they brought, to worship Jesus, as the King of all kings, when he was born, were very special presents, in the sense that, the presents were symbolic – the gold, signifying a royal tribute to a Great King, the frankincense, signifying the burning of incense (that is, prayer to God), because Jesus even as a baby, was God incarnate, conceived by the Holy Ghost; and the Myrrh, signifying the fact that, He was soon to die for the sins of the world. The Myrrh was indicative of His burial, as it was the custom amongst the Jews, to use “Myrrh” or ointment for burial.- “ For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial”Matthew.26:12. If you search the scriptures, there is no other record of any baby born, that was presented with “gifts”. It was exclusively for Jesus, the new born King, and it was not even presented to Him by the Jews, but by heathen star gazers from the east, who practice magic and astrology. There was no record of John the Baptist being presented with gifts, when he was born, even though he was the forerunner of Jesus, because he was not born a king. Babies born by Christian parents are no kings neither are they special, to deserve any presents, either in kind or in cash. This kind of presentation of gifts to babies born into the Christian fold is equating them with the child Jesus, the King of all kings. It is deifying them as “kings”, by this singular act of presentation of “gifts”. And we know that God will not share His glory with anyone else. • COURTESY: REV. OLU GEOGE CHRISTIAN GOSPEL CHURCH (The Truth Centre)

“The “deification” of these ministers of God has reached such a peak, that some of them, go about in a convoy of motor-cades, and some surround themselves with body-guards, paving the way for them to pass through, like the President of a country, because they love to receive honour from men, and love to be deified. Some, engrave their photographs and those of their wives on bill-boards in front of their churches, portraying themselves, as the ‘gods’ whom the congregation have come to worship; even though, they preach in the glorious Name of Jesus, it is another Jesus they are preaching.”


The Essence Of Fasting Lenten Reflection:

AT the beginning of this Lenten season we defined the Lent as a period of forty days intensive prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Last week we reflected on the significance of Prayer. This week we shall reflect on the essence of fasting. Hopefully, next week we shall reflect on the importance of almsgiving. With these reflections, especially with its applications in our daily lives, I believe, this year’s Lenten season will be a more fruitful one. So, what is fasting? what is the essence of fasting? Why must we fast? what has fasting to do with our spiritual lives? Why did Jesus spend forty days and forty nights fasting? Since Jesus has fasted and have paid the ultimate prize for us do we still need to fast? What is the relationship between fasting and prayer? Fasting is a spiritual exercise. The word fast is from the Hebrew word sum, which means ‘to cover the mouth”. It is derived from the Greek word nesteuo , meaning “to abstain.” Fasting simply means to go without food and drink as in the book of Esther 4:16. When the Israelites needed God’s intervention in their lives, Queen Esther sent a message to Mordecai to “gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and neither eat or drink for three days.” Fasting in this context literarily means to go without food or drink. The Jews did as Queen Esther instructed them. With this praying and fasting, God delivered the Jews from the hands of their enemies. Fasting is a way of showing repentance and remorse as in the case of the people of Nineveh. When Jonah preached to the people of Nineveh, he told them that if they fail to repent in forty days time the

city of Nineveh will be destroyed. when the news reached the king of Nineveh he arose from his throne, removed his robe, and covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he made proclamation and published it through Nineveh. The proclamation of the king of Nineveh reads, “Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; let them not feed, or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them cry mightily to God... who knows, God may yet repent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we perish not?” (Jonah 3:69). This was exactly what happened. When God saw what they did he changed his mind; he did not destroy their city again. Prayer and fasting can easily change the mind of God. The psalmist even wrote, “A humble and contrite heart, 0 God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). Fasting humbles the human heart. It brings us down to our knees. Fasting helps us realize how fragile and vulnerable we are and how much we depend on things beyond ourselves. The city of Nineveh -is meant to be a lesson to all the nations. I wonder how many nations, kings or leaders have learnt their lesson from what happened to the people of Nineveh. If the king of Nineveh had not declared this prayer and fasting, I’m sure what happened to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah would have happened to them. Our country Nigeria is facing a lot of challenges, especially in the area of insecurity. Almost on a daily basis people are dying in the Northern part of Nigeria due to the so-called Boko Haram. Nigeria has invested a lot of alms and money trying to fight terrorism. The more they are fighting this war carnally the more people are

dying. The day the Nigerian leaders will come back to their senses and recognize God as their Chief Security officer, that day they will declare a national prayer and fasting, which I believe will put an end to all these problem of insecurity in our nation. According to the psalmist, “unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays in vain” (psalm 127:1). We should

fasting the spirit will become as strong as rock. Every religious leader or man of God must not take prayer and fasting for granted. If we must succeed like our Lord Jesus Christ then we must pray and fast. A prayerful child of God is a powerful child of God. With prayer and fasting we can rule the world. Jesus taught his disciples

not underrate the power of prayer and fasting. Our Lord Jesus Christ started his ministry with fasting and prayer. As soon as he was baptized, he was led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry” (Matthew 4:1). It was this fasting that gave him the spiritual authority over Satan. Fasting strengthens our minds and spirit. Each time we fast we are spiritually empowered. The body may appear to be weak but with

how they should fast. For him, fasting is a humble spiritual exercise. He told his followers, “when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, i say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:16-17). Our fasting must not attract

“The body may appear to be weak but with fasting the spirit will become as strong as rock. Every religious leader or man of God must not take prayer and fasting for granted. If we must succeed like our Lord Jesus Christ then we must pray and fast.”


people’s attention or pity. It has to be between us and God. That is why Jesus asks us to anoint our head with oil whenever we are fasting. Fasting is meant to humble us. It is not supposed to make us proud or arrogant. Jesus told his followers a parable of two men who went to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood in front of the temple and prayed to himself, and not to God, “I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortionists, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector, I fast

spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast and a day acceptable to the Lord?” (Isaiah 58:3-5). Certainly this has nothing to do with fasting. As St. James rightly wrote, “Faith without good work is dead” (James 2:26). Not all that glitters is gold. Not all fasting is acceptable by God. Fasting without good work is dead. Having raised these questions the Lord further state what true fasting is all about. “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to

twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get...” (Luke 18:9-12). The prayer of this Pharisee was not answered because he was so arrogant. Even if you fast for forty days and forty nights like in the case of Jesus no one should know about that. It is between you and God. The prophet Isaiah clarified a good number of issues concerning fasting. People often ask God, “Why have we fasted and thou seest it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and thou takest no knowledge of it? In answer to these questions the Lord says, “Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers. Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high. Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a rush, and to

undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard” (Isaiah 58:6-8). Child of God, for your fasting to be acceptable before God it must touch the lives of people around you. Your fasting should put smile on the face of the hungry ones, the homeless ones will find shelter through you. The day you will start doing this your light shall shine forth and your healing shall spring up rapidly and it shall be well with you, in Jesus name Amen!


Now That The National Conference Has Opened

THE decision of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to hold a national conference to give Nigerians an opportunity discuss burning issues and proffer solutions to what some persons have referred to as age long problems was expectedly received by various reactions ranging from joy, optimism pessimism to outright anger and resentment. Everyone irrespective of the side of the gamut they found themselves had reasons for their positions and emotions. Thanks to democracy and a “degaged” Nigerian press people have had their say freely Now for those who opposed the conference they are not to be blamed seeing that they have witnessed similar events which led absolutely nowhere the most recent being that organised by then President Olusegun Obasanjo which dissolved into the third term debacle. That Jonathan who had earlier proposed a tenure elongation in the wake of his ascension to office, brought up the conference issue seemed suspicious Haven said all that, if there is something that all Nigerians understand perfectly, it is the paradox that is Nigeria. It has been said that Nigeria as we know it today is more a geographical expression than a nation. It is made up of various peoples with their unique cultural expressions and identities setting them out as nations in their own right. This is no doubt supported by the very large land mass, especially in comparison to our neighbours. Here lies our paradox, that those things we point at as reasons for our not being a nation are actually what makes us strong and beautiful. In our very

differences and diversities lie our strength, our resilience, our glory as a people. I quite agree with our president that this confab should not be about breaking up Nigeria but strengthening the country. To my mind the problems of Nigeria are glaring as are the solutions to these problems. I may jolly well be wrong but I do not see that the creation of States and Local Government has in any way bettered the ordinary citizens. Of course every such creation throws up a new set of elites who are supported by the system . Across the length and breath of Nigeria poverty walks tall, insecurity is getting fatter by the day, unemployment has pride of place, infrastructure are decaying, fiscal indiscipline is king, corruption has assumed the status of a god. These among other ills are what this confab should focus on redressing. I am also of the opinion that we will benefit from true Federalism, which reflects in revenue generation and sharing. But more importantly the current situation of too much power and money at the centre must be dealt with decisively now. States and Local Governments who are closer to the grassroots must be the custodians of the bulk of these resources with adequate checks in place to safeguard against abuse. The issue of legislation, restructuring of our constitution to make it responsive to the issues raised above as well as ensuring that those issues that have to do with a good quality of life and well being of Nigerians are made justiceable. This conference provides a unique opportunity for legislation to protect the


rights of women and ensure their full participation in all spheres of private and public life without discrimination, violence and abuse, For years Nigerian women have been advocating for the passage into law of the Convention on the

decision making at all levels. Part of the opposition to these documents are the arguments that the Nigerian constitution and existing laws make provisions for women, I make bold to differ very significantly from that

no neutrality. Again any woman married to Nigerian man automatically becomes a citizen of Nigeria while a man who marries a Nigerian woman has to wait, work out his citizenship and apply for it! The Edo State experience where the six person team to the Conference, is actually a six man team; as in six

President Goodluck Jonathan(3rd left) with members of the National Confab

Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW),at the National Assembly, so that States can domesticate. This document which is in Nigeria is now the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill has all that is needed to safeguard women and ensure their participation especially in business and

point of view. Let me state just two examples. To start with the language of that document is sexist and excludes women in all totality. This is buttressed by the fact that where the constitution actually refers to women it is very explicit. For example”...girl who is married is deemed to be an adult”. Here there was

men not even one woman has demonstrated that without adequate legislation and Affirmative action, women will never take their rightful place in the scheme of things. It demonstrates succinctly that equity and fair play will never be brought to bear in appointments and the allocation of resources as it concerns women,

irrespective of entreaties, requests or instructions to that effect. Obviously the power brokers in the few States of Nigeria who have decided to be backward, have forgotten the words of one sage “Those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable” It is highly regrettable that Edo State which is usually in the forefront and a leader of progressive elements has chosen to be numbered among the backward especially given the fact that this State parades an array of highly intelligent, articulate, hardworking women who have made their marks in every field of endeavour, from academics, to business, politics, law and other professions. While the government of this State most act now to correct this grave injustice and disservice to the Edo people, the women question must be addressed now by legislation to prevent them from taking the only other route open to them: Confrontation and Violence POSTSCRIPT Beyond infrastructure and the assessment of teachers the government must look deeply into the sector and work with all stakeholders to find lasting solutions to the problems facing the educational sector in the State.

“This conference provides a unique opportunity for legislation to protect the rights of women and ensure their full participation in all spheres of private and public life without discrimination, violence and abuse, For years Nigerian women have been advocating for the passage into law of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW),at the National Assembly, so that States can domesticate. This document which is in Nigeria is now the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill has all that is needed to safeguard women and ensure their participation especially in business and decision making at all levels.”

International IMF Agrees Bailout For Ukraine KIEV - The International Monetary Fund said yesterday it had agreed a $14-18 billion bailout for Ukraine, a deal that will unlock further credits to reach a total of $27 billion over the next two years. The agreement is intended to help Ukraine meet debt payments looming this year after months of anti-government protests which resulted in the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovich and a standoff with Moscow in which Russia annexed the Crimea region. “The mission has reached a staff-level agreement with the authorities of Ukraine on an economic reform program that can be supported by a two-year Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) with the IMF,” the IMF said in

a statement. “The financial support from the broader international community that the program will unlock amounts to $27 billion over the next two years. Of this, assistance from the IMF will range between $14-18 billion, with the precise amount to be determined once all bilateral and multilateral support is accounted for.” The agreement is subject to approval by IMF Management and the Executive Board, which will consider it in April. “Following the intense economic and political turbulence of recent months, Ukraine has achieved some stability, but faces difficult challenges,” the IMF statement said.

EQUIPMENT inside two nearly indestructible boxes aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines plane recorded critical information that would help investigators reconstruct what went wrong. The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder have beacons that are sending out “pings” which searchers could track back to the main wreckage. But the batteries will run out in about two weeks. Satellite images show debris floating in the southern Indian Ocean, but search crews still have not confirmed it is from the plane. If they can do that, searchers will calculate where the bulk of the plane may have come to rest on the sea floor — and then go to that area and start listening for the pings.

They’re commonly called black boxes, but the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder are actually orange — so they can be more easily seen. The data recorder logs performance and other metrics, including speed, altitude and direction. In all, it can keep 1,000 different measurements, giving investigators a rich cache of information. Those measurements cover the 25 hours prior to a crash. The voice recorder captures two hours of sound from several microphones in the cockpit. It runs on a continuous loop, so audio from the critical moments during which the plane diverted west from its Malaysia-China route — about seven hours before it is believed to have crashed — have been erased.

Missing Plane ‘Black Box’ Chips Gone By Mid-April

Japan Orders Longest-Held Death Row Inmate Freed

President Barack Obama (left), is welcome by Archbishop George Gaenswein, Prefect of the Papal Household, as he arrives at the Vatican to meet Pope France recently.

UN Security Council To Meet On N/Korea Missile Launch UNITED NATIONS - The U.N. Security Council will hold closed-door consultations on Thursday to discuss a possible condemnation of North Korea’s latest ballistic missile launches, U.N. diplomats said. The request for a special session on North Korea came from the United States, council diplomats told Reuters on condition of anonymity on Wednesday. The meeting of the 15-nation council was scheduled for 4:30 p.m. EDT (2030 GMT) on Thursday. The U.N. mission of Luxembourg, which holds the

presidency of the Security Council this month, announced on its Twitter feed that U.N. political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman would brief council members on developments on the Korean peninsula during the session. In what appeared to be a show of defiance, North Korea fired two medium-range Rodong ballistic missiles into the sea at 2:35 a.m. Japan and Korea time, both Tokyo and Seoul said. North Korea’s first firing in four years of mid-range Rodong missiles that can hit Japan followed a series of

Obama Looking For Kindred Spirit In Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY President Barack Obama is holding a historic first meeting with Pope Francis, the pontiff that the president views as a kindred spirit on issues of economic inequality and the poor. Obama arrived at the Vatican Thursday morning amid the pomp and tradition of the Catholic Church, making his way to greet the pope after a long, slow procession. The pontiff and the president shook hands before sitting down with their translators at a wooden table for their meeting. “Wonderful to be here,” Obama said, calling it “a great honor.” As they meet, the six-year president, with his sinking poll numbers, would not be blamed for seeking some reflected glory from a pope who, one year into his pontificate, is viewed as an

agent of change in the Roman Catholic Church. Obama is the ninth president to make an official visit to the Vatican. His audience marks a change of pace for the president, who has devoted the past three days of a weeklong, four-country trip to securing European unity against Russia’s aggressive posture toward Ukraine. The pope whom Obama will sit with this time is a different pontiff than the last one to host him. Obama visited Pope Benedict XVI in 2009, a cordial meeting that nevertheless drew attention to the differences between the church and Obama on abortion. To be sure, the relationship between the Obama administration and the

Catholic Church is a fraught one. And Vatican officials say Obama will not leave without having heard Francis’ views on Obama’s health care law and its mandates for contraception coverage. But in Francis, the White House sees the popular pope and his emphasis on economic disparity as a form of moral validation of the president’s economic agenda. “Given his great moral authority, when the pope speaks it carries enormous weight,” Obama said in an interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera published ahead of his papal visit. “He can cause people around to the world to stop and perhaps rethink old attitudes and begin treating one another with more decency and compassion.”

Several presidents have found allies if not comfort in the pope. President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II famously shared an antipathy for the former Soviet Union, Reagan the Cold War warrior and the pope a Polish priest who fought communism in his country and later in Europe. “Sometimes in these meetings there are compatible personalities,” said Paul Begala, a former aide to President Bill Clinton and a Catholic himself. He recalled being with Clinton when the president met John Paul II in Denver. “They were only supposed to meet alone for five minutes,” he said in an interview earlier this year. “Those two gregarious, charismatic men sat in that room for an hour without another soul in there.”

short-range rocket launches over the past two months. In Seoul, South Korean Defence Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok called the launches “a clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and a grave provocation against South Korea and the international community”. South Korea is a temporary member of the Security Council. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s press office issued a statement condemning the latest missile launch. “Such launches are contrary to building trust in the region. The Secretary-General urges the DPRK (North Korea) to cease its ballistic missile activities and focus, together with other countries concerned, on the dialogue and diplomacy necessary to maintain regional peace and security,” the statement said. China, North Korea’s traditional ally and most significant trading partner, responded in more muted tones on Thursday. “In the present situation, all sides ought to dedicate themselves to maintaining peace and stability on the Korean peninsula,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular briefing. Council diplomats said Washington was expected to propose a Security Council statement that would condemn the missile firings. It was not clear whether China, Pyongyang’s protector on the council, would support such a condemnation, though it has been willing to back rebukes of Pyongyang in the past.

TOKYO — A Japanese court yesterday ordered the release of the world’s longest-serving death row inmate, saying investigators had likely fabricated evidence and ordering a retrial in a murder case that left the man behind bars for nearly half a century. The Shizuoka District Court suspended the death sentence for 78-year-old Iwao Hakamada, a former professional boxer convicted in the 1966 murder of a family. More than 45 of the 48 years he has spent in jail have been on death row, making Hakamada the longest-serving such inmate, according to Guinness World Records. Hakamada was sentenced to death in 1968, but was not executed because of a lengthy appeals process. It took 27 years for the Supreme Court to deny his first appeal for a retrial. He filed a second appeal in 2008, and the court finally ruled in his favour yesterday. The court said DNA analysis obtained by Hakamada’s lawyers suggested that investigators had fabricated evidence. It ordered a retrial in the case, making Hakamada only the six death row inmate to get a retrial in Japan’s history of postwar criminal justice. Four of the previous inmates were acquitted in their retrials, while the fifth case is still pending. Thursday’s ruling underscores Japan’s much-criticized closed interrogations, which rely heavily on self-confession. Hakamada had confessed in a closed interrogation. Hakamada was convicted of killing a company manager and his family and setting fire to their central Japan home, where he was a live-in employee.

Satellite Images Show 300 Objects In Malaysia Jet Search Zone BANGKOK - A Thai satellite has detected 300 floating objects in the southern Indian Ocean where an international search is under way for a missing Malaysian jet liner, Thailand’s Geo Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISDA) said. The objects were spotted around 2,700 km (1,680 miles) southwest of Perth by the satellite “Thaichote” on March 24, the GISDA said in a statement.


GOVERNMENT SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT EDSG/BOI LOAN SCHEME In a bid to promote the development of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, the State government through the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is partnering with the Bank of Industry (BOI) to provide soft loans to existing and potential entrepreneurs in the State. 2. Therefore, the general public with particular reference to members of Co-operative Societies and operators of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the State are by this announcement informed that the EDSG-BOI Micro Credit Scheme is still in progress. 3. Under the Scheme, interested applicants are required to visit the Industry Department, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Secretariat Building, Sapele Road, Benin City to collect copies of the guidelines, BOI forms and other information at no cost. Loan application letters, addressed to the Hon. Commissioner, Ministry of Commerce and Industry and completed BOI forms should be forwarded to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Industry Department, for processing. Signed: Barr. MacDonald Obasuke Hon. Commissioner Ministry of Commerce and Industry

EVERY FRIDAY WEEK 37, 2014 LAST SEASON RESULT Anderson Richwell 1.2. X. Forecast

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Brendan Rodgers Enjoying Title Tilt LIVERPOOL manager Brendan Rodgers has told his players to remain calm and embrace the pressure after they moved within one point of Premier League leaders Chelsea. The Reds, who last won the title in 1990, have emerged as surprise contenders this season and kept their hopes alive with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Sunderland on Wednesday night. Rodgers said his side — who have games against title rivals Chelsea and Manchester City next month — must keep their focus in the remaining seven games

of the season. “It is just reinforcing about calmness,” he said after the victory at Anfield. “We reinforce to the players to dominate the ball. Our idea is to stay calm under pressure and it is important that they can think clearly under pressure. “We have had a wonderful season so far but there is still a way to go. I felt in the second part of this season we would be stronger because of the nature of our game. There were long spells that we were very good at that but, as I said, as the season goes on we will embrace that pressure and enjoy it.”

Despite Liverpool’s impressive position, they could find themselves four points behind City if Manuel Pellegrini’s men win their two games in hand, and Rodgers — like Blues boss Jose Mourinho — acknowledges that it is their title to lose. Rodgers added on BBC Sport: “It’s up to other teams to lose, so we will keep working hard. I’m not playing it down, I don’t play silly mind games. If City win their games, they win. It’s simple maths. “I’m concentrating on my team and Jose Mourinho is saying what I’m saying — Manchester City have games in hand and the squad to win the title and the Champions League, Chelsea likewise, but we are enjoying being up there. We are second. I’m not going to say we are not in it because I’d be lying.”

Birmingham FC Boss Appeals Money-Laundering Conviction BIRMINGHAM City owner Carson Yeung has filed an appeal against a money-laundering conviction that saw him jailed for six years, an official said yesterday.

Carson Yeung

The Court of Appeal has received the filing from lawyers representing the barber-turned-tycoon, a court official said. No hearing date has been set, and the office of Yeung’s barrister declined to comment to AFP. Yeung was jailed on March 7 following a highprofile trial that gripped both Hong Kong and fans of the second-tier English football club, revealing unexplained financial transactions and his links to an alleged triad member. The prosecution showed

that HK$720 million (US$93 million) passed through five accounts in connection with Yeung, involving “unknown parties without any apparent reason”. Yeung resigned as chairman of Birmingham International Holdings, the parent company of the football club, in February. He retains his control over the club through his shares in the firm, although a hearing is scheduled for next Thursday to determine whether any of Yeung’s assets can be seized under the conviction.

that Moyes’ squad are alarmed at the inability of their manager to halt United’s slide, which has seen them lose eight of their 17 games in 2014. Defeat to City was United’s second consecutive home loss in the league after their comprehensive 3-0 drubbing by Liverpool earlier this month. The newspaper claims that the

defeats against the two rivals have raised concerns among United’s squad that Moyes’ cautious approach is not suited to the club’s attacking traditions. The players are said to be disgruntled with the Scot’s focus on sessions centred around team shape and organisation, compared to the ball-related training they did during former manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign with coaches Rene Meulensteen and Mike Phelan, who all departed the club last summer. Following the Liverpool defeat, sources told ESPN FC that key boardroom figures had turned against Moyes, while the prospect of the manager getting sacked had been properly raised for the first time. Ferguson came in for verbal abuse from irate fans near the directors’ box at Old Trafford on Tuesday over his decision to handpick Moyes as the club’s next manager. Stewards were also forced to protect the “Chosen One” banner in the Stretford End that shows United fans’ support for Moyes as Ferguson’s successor. Supporters’ group Stretford End Flags, who created the banner, has insisted it will remain on display at Old Trafford. However, while senior figures at the club are concerned over recent results, the Glazers and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward are said to be determined to judge Moyes at the end of the season rather than act now. United end their campaign at Southampton on May 31 and will finish with their lowest-ever Premier League points total. Robin van Persie publicly questioned Moyes’ tactics after the 2-0 Champions League defeat to Olympiakos last month, claiming his teammates were “occupying the spaces I want to play in.” The club denied reports that Ryan Giggs had had a bust-up with Moyes over his tactics and training methods earlier this month.

David Moyes ‘Facing United Player Revolt’

DAVID Moyes is facing a mutiny among his Manchester United squad with the players increasingly at odds with their manager over his tactics and training methods, according to the Daily Telegraph. United’s sixth league loss at United’s owners, the Glazer home this season and 10th family, have continued to offer overall, and the players are now their backing to Moyes despite said to be running out of patience the dismal 3-0 derby with Moyes’ approach to the job. humiliation at the hands of The Red Devils are seventh in Manchester City at Old the Premier League, 12 points Trafford. adrift of Champions League Tuesday’s defeat was qualification and 18 points off leaders Chelsea. The Daily Telegraph claims

Brendan Rodgers

Southampton, Newcastle Fight For Eighth Spot

SOUTHAMPTON and Newcastle United will clash in a fight for eighth spot when they meet in a Barclays Premier League encounter at St. Mary’s on Saturday afternoon. Kickoff at 17:00 CAT. Newcastle United currently occupy eighth spot on the log, but a win for the Saints will see them leapfrog the Magpies and subsequently pull closer to Manchester United in seventh. Both teams will also be eager to bounce back from defeats. The Saints raced into a 20 lead at White Hart Lane and dominated large portions of the game but ultimately lost 3-2 to Tottenham Hotspur thanks in large to a brace from Christian Eriksen. Newcastle meanwhile lost 3-0 at home to St. James’ Park. Goals from Ross Barkley, Romelu Lukaku and Leon Osman secured a

comfortable win for the Toffees, who still harbour ambitions of a top-four finish. Alan Pardew will return from a three game stadium ban in the game against the Saints, but he will be limited to the stands, with John Carver still controlling proceedings in the dugout. Pardew picked up a sevengame suspension after headbutting Hull City midfielder David Meyler. The Geordies boss expressed that he is happy with his side’s 46 point total, even though chances of qualifying for the Europa League are all but over. “If anyone said after our opening-day defeat at Manchester City that we would have had 46 points on the board heading into the final phase of the season, we would have snapped your hands off,” the former West Ham United boss told The corresponding fixture last season ended in a 2-0 win

for the Saints. Adam Lallana opened the scoring before Gaston Ramirez wrapped things up on the hour mark. The reverse fixture on Tyneside earlier this campaign ended in a 1-1 stalemate. Yoan Gouffran scored for the hosts in the first half before Jay Rodriguez scored the equaliser after the break.

David Moyes

Everton Look To Make It Five On The Spot EVERTON will be eager to continue their charge for Champions League football when they travel to London to take on Fulham in a Barclays Premier League encounter at Craven Cottage on Sunday afternoon. Kick-off at 14:30 CAT. The Toffees head into the encounter on the back of four successive league wins and know that three points at Fulham could see them narrow the gap between themselves and fourth-placed Arsenal to three

points. Goals from Ross Barkley, Romelu Lukaku and Leon Osman secured a comfortable 30 win for the Toffees at Newcastle United in midweek, while Felix Magath’s men slumped to a 5-0 loss at Manchester City last time out. The Cottagers have only won twice since the turn of the year and at this stage of the season look a sure bet to be relegated back to the Championship, as they currently prop the table.

Everton boss Roberto Martinez explained his side are ready to give everything in order to bring Champions League football to the blue half of Merseyside next season. “We have been working really hard for the last 10 months and you can see the team is ready to give everything in every game and make every single Evertonian proud,” Martinez told Everton TV shortly after his sides convincing victory on Tyneside.

Dortmund Aim To Cement Second Spot BORUSSIA Dortmund will be eager to keep hold of second spot when they travel South to the province of Baden Württemberg to clash with relegation-threatened VfB Suttgart at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in a German Bundesliga clash on Saturday afternoon. Kick-off at 16:30 CAT. Dortmund were held to a goalless draw by fierce rivals Schalke on Tuesday. Jurgen Klopp’s men subsequently held on to second spot on the log, but the players were disappointed that they couldn’t cushion their advantage over the Royal Blues, who trail the Black and Yellows by a mere points. “We played really well and were clearly the better side, but unfortunately we failed to find the net. That is a shame, but it is better than putting in a poor performance, as we did against Gladbach. What is important for us is that we finally played again the way we want to play,” centreback Mats Hummels explained following the Revierderby. Stuttgart are embedded in the history of German football, but the five-time Bundesliga champions, who won the league in 2007, are facing possible relegation. The Reds have struggled with a three-game unbeaten run coming to an end at Nürnberg on Wednesday evening. A brace from Josip Drmic either side of the break secured three valuable points for Der Altmeister. The loss sees Nürnberg leapfrog Stuttgart, who subsequently slipped back into the relegation zone. The reverse fixture at the Signal Iduna Park earlier this season ended in an emphatic 6-1 win for Dortmund. Karim Haggui opened the scoring for the visitors, but six unanswered goals by the Black and Yellows, which included a hat-trick for Robert Lewandowski, secured a convincing victory.

Title Still Possible For Beaten Madrid, Says REAL Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti Ancelotti believes his side can still win the La Liga title despite losing for a second time in four days as they slumped to a 2-1 defeat at Sevilla. Two goals from Colombian striker Carlos Bacca was enough to hand Sevilla a sixth consecutive league win after Cristiano Ronaldo had put Madrid in front. Real now trail city rivals Atletico Madrid by three points as they beat Granada 1-0 at home. However, more significantly, Barcelona now have the title back in their own hands as they moved ahead of Real into second, a point behind Atletico, with a 3-0 win over Celta Vigo


Guardiola Is Perfect For Bayern, Says Cruyff PEP Guardiola was the perfect coach to take Bayern Munich to the next level, according to Johan Cruyff. Guardiola succeeded Jupp Heynckes as Bayern boss last summer after the German had led the club to an historic Treble. But while the former Barcelona coach appeared to be taking on an impossible job in trying to improve the Bavarians, he has already succeeded in securing the Bundesliga title earlier than his predecessor managed. And with Bayern still looking good in the Champions League and DFB-Pokal, Guardiola, who has yet to lose a league game, could well land another Treble by the time the season is up. “I know Pep very well and I know how intelligent he is.

It was clear to me that he did not join this club with the intention of completely overhauling it,” Cruyff, who knows Guardiola from their time together at Barcelona, told tz Munich. “He is someone who modifies the processes. “If something is good, he modifies the details. And that is his gift. That is what makes him such a good coach. He just realises how to optimise something that is already good. “There is no perfection in football. That is impossible. There will always be mistakes in this game. But this coach and this club have attuned really well. I think the chemistry between him

and Bayern has something of perfection. It just works out!” That chemistry could of course deliver more success for Bayern, with a DFBPokal semifinal against Kaiserslautern and a Champions League quarterfinal against Manchester United coming up next month. Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer wrote in a column for kicker: “Against Manchester United we want to advance to the semifinals of the Champions League and then by all means we want to reach the final in Lisbon. It would be our third consecutive final. Our goal is to win every possible title, just like in 2013!” Like Neuer, Bayern captain Philipp Lahm believes the Bundesliga title will not be

the last trophy the recordbreaking side get their hands on this season. “We are still hungry, this is not the end. There are other titles to win,” Lahm said. And even in the Bundesliga, Bayern still have more records to break. They have scored 79 goals, and need a further 23 to erase the long-standing record of 101 goals in a season, currently held by Bayern’s 1971-72 side. The Bavarians can also become the firstever team to go undefeated in a full Bundesliga season. “We want to win the remaining Bundesliga games,” Bayern sporting director Matthias Sammer told kicker. “I can only say one thing: We will not wane.”

Champions Bayern Host Hoffenheim CHAMPIONS Bayern Munich welcome mid-table 1899 Hoffenheim to the Allianz Arena in a German Bundesliga encounter on Saturday afternoon. Kick-off at16:30 CAT. The Bavarians clinched their 24th German top flight title with a 3-1 win at Hertha Berlin on Tuesday. Pep Guardiola has yet to lose a league match since taking over last summer, in total they are unbeaten in 52 German Bundesliga games, their phenomenal run started in October 2012. Bayern head into this

weekend’s fixture on a 19game winning streak in the league and will be eager to stretch the record in front of their home fans. Guardiola, who won 14 titles with former club Barcelona, praised his side after their win in midweek which opened up an unassailable 25-point lead over second-placed Borussia Dortmund. “We won the title with hard work and when you see what Jupp Heynckes achieved last season, that was the only way we were going to better that,” the Spanish coach said

shortly after his side wrapped up the title with seven games remaining. “I am delighted that we have retained the title. I want to thank my players and the club, who have helped me achieve this. “We had a lot of injures in recent months and we have not always played well, but my players showed character.” Hoffenheim, meanwhile, have blown hot and cold since the turn of the year. Markus Gisdol’s men registered good wins over Wolfsburg, Leverkusen and Stuttgart, but slumped to big

losses against at Nürnberg and Schalke. Hoffenheim head into the fixture on the back of a 3-1 win over Hannover 96 in midweek to cement 10th spot on the log. Hannover opened the scoring through Leon Andreasen, but goals from Eugen Polanski, Anthony Modeste and Sebastian Rudy secured the three points for Hoffenheim. In the reverse fixture earlier this season Bayern went a goal down but fought back to secure a 2-1 win thanks to goals from Mario Mandzukic and Thomas Müller.

and they host Atletico on the final day of the season. “We need to concentrate on our own games, it is true we have lost two games in a row and that is not good at this point in the season,” said Ancelotti. “We need to believe that we can win it still. We are three points behind Atletico and two behind Barcelona, everything is still possible.” Real captain for the night Marcelo, meanwhile, admitted Madrid had taken a huge psychological blow in the past week having gone 31 games without defeat before Sunday. “We created some chances, but we couldn’t take them. That is football and all I can do is ask the fans for forgiveness and we will keep working,” he told Canal Plus. “Now there are a number of games that are like finals. It is obvious that the players have suffered a bit physiologically, but we can’t give up on working to put Madrid where it deserves to be. “It is difficult to do what we had been doing, continuing to win so many games in a row. We have lost two games that were key, but not the most important because we have many more difficult games coming up.” Despite gaining another three points on Real, it was an evening of mixed emotions for Barcelona as goalkeeper Victor Valdes looks to have played his last game for the club after suffering anterior cruciate ligament damage in his right knee. “It is a big blow, but this team has lived through many in the past few years and we will keep going forward,” said Barca boss Gerardo Martino. Neymar opened the scoring early on for Barca before Lionel Messi registered his eighth goal in four games to make it 2-0 before the break. Celta came into the game in the second-half and substitute goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto had to make a fine double save before Neymar rounded off the scoring with his second of the night. However, Martino was not too critical of his side’s flaccid second-half display given the impact Valdes’ injury had on both the players and the atmosphere at the Camp Nou. “I liked the performance in the first-half. We kept the ball, moved it around well, had penetration and our movement was good. “In the second-half it wasn’t the same, but I don’t want to go into too profound an analysis because of the damage that had been done by the injury.”

UEFA Approves ‘Nations League’ UEFA members have voted to approve the new “Nations League” tournament, which will replace most international friendlies from September 2018. The 54 member countries of European football’s governing body unanimously adopted a fourpoint resolution to create the competition, which is to feed into qualifying playoffs for the 2020 European Championship, and could later be incorporated into qualifying for the 2022 World Cup. UEFA president Michel Platini told the congress in Kazakhstan that it is “a very important decision for the future of football at the level of national teams.” UEFA said the main motivation for the change was “sporting integrity” and a desire to improve the quality of international football, amid a general feeling that the current standard of international friendlies is insufficient. The precise format of the new competition is yet to be finalised, but UEFA outlined its intentions on its official website: “The concept is for the 54 national teams to be divided into four large divisions according to coefficient rankings. “Prior to UEFA Euro 2020, each division will be sub-divided into four pools of three or four teams, so each team plays four to six matches between September and November 2018. The final-four competition, involving the four pool group-winners of group A, will start in 2019, whereas playoffs for the UEFA Euro will then take place in March 2020. “National teams will thus either be competing to become UEFA Nations League champions, or be fighting for promotion and to avoid relegation in their groups, as well as to qualify for Euro playoffs.” The governing body stressed that qualification for the European Championship “remains largely the same” but said qualifiers would begin in March, rather than September, following major tournaments and that “four teams qualify for each final tournament via the UEFA Nations League.” Wolfgang Niersbach, chairman

FIFA Assures On Sao Paulo Stadium

of the National Teams Competition Committee, added: “We accept and respect that all UEFA member associations have agreed to create a new competition. This is a big step for national teams in Europe and we hope that fans will support the new format.” Alex Horne, the Football Association’s general secretary, told Sky Sports News on Thursday morning that it was a “positive” development and he was “excited for both England and the FA.” He added that clubs should welcome the news as “a better quality of games makes for a better quality of players.” Sepp Blatter, FIFA President.

Platini Wants Ban On Third Party Owners

THE practice of players being owned by secretive agents, businessmen or investment companies out to make a quick buck is not only damaging football but is an affront to human dignity and must be halted, UEFA president Michel Platini said on Thursday. Juventus, said he had gone on strike when he was a player, He called on FIFA to outlaw but the issues facing players the practice worldwide and today were far worse than what praised the English FA for he had to endure. being the first to ban what are He told delegates from all 54 called “third party ownership” member associations: “I am transfers. thinking, here, of a problem Platini highlighted what he which particularly worries me, said was one of the greatest that is the third party threats to the game’s integrity ownership of players, or TPO when he opened the 38th as it is sometimes known. UEFA Congress in the “I have been constantly futuristic capital of the Central warning for years that this Asian country of Kazakhstan. practice, which is becoming With FIFA president Sepp increasingly widespread, is a Blatter sitting in the front row danger to our sport. of delegates at the Palace of “It threatens the integrity of Independence, Platini said: “If our competitions, damages FIFA fails to act, we will football’s image, poses a longaddress this issue in our own term threat to clubs’ finances competitions in Europe. and even raises questions “The UEFA Executive about human dignity. Committee has already “When I was a player, I went adopted a position on this issue on strike because players in principle, and we will see belonged to their clubs and this through. therefore failed to enjoy real “I do not want to be freedom. complicit in these practices, “Today, players are certainly and at the moment I have the not the property of their clubs, nasty feeling that I am.” but something worse is Platini, one of the world’s happening instead. greatest all-time players during “Increasingly, players are his glittering career in the owned by opaque companies 1970s and 1980s when he won titles with France and


Africa Championships Kick Off Today In Tunisia AFRICA’S general and Roman wrestling championships, men and women are due to be held from March 28 to March 30 in Tunisia. The Chairman of the Tunisian Wrestling Federation (FTL), Farjani Rahouma, announced this on Tuesday in Tunis. He said at a news conference that the competitions would bring together 186 wrestlers from 19 African countries. The countries are Tunisia, South

World Cup

Africa, Algeria, Egypt, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Morocco and Namibia. Other are Nigeria, Senegal, Chad, Sierra Leone, Comoros, Mauritius, Gambia, Liberia, Congo, DR Congo and Cameroon. While the Roman wrestling will be held on Friday and Saturday, the general wrestling contest is due on Sunday.

based in tax havens and controlled by some unknown agent or investment fund. “Quite simply, some players are no longer in control of their own sporting careers and are transferred each year to generate revenue for anonymous individuals who just want to get their hands on some of the money in football. “The English FA were the first to recognise the dangers of this practice and the moral and ethical problems that it poses. As a result they banned third party ownership. “They acted swiftly and decisively, and I congratulate them on that. However, this is a global problem, and the issue should be regulated at global level.” Turning to the FIFA president, Platini said: “Mr Blatter, you ask things of us, such as solidarity with other continents, and we do as you ask. “This time, we have something to ask of you. I want to take advantage of your presence here today to make a solemn request. Please have the political courage to deal with this problem once and for all.

“There comes a time when you have to stop hiding behind committees, sub-committees, studies by expert groups and academic reports. “The amount of money that vanishes into thin air in a single transfer exceeds the entire annual budget for your global solidarity programme, GOAL. Do you realise what that means? Do you consider that normal? I, for one, do not.”

SAO Paulo’s Corinthians Arena stadium will host the opening match of Brazil’s World Cup as planned after overcoming a series of construction woes, FIFA president Sepp Blatter confirmed Thursday. Blatter said the stadium’s troubles had been “fixed”, telling a UEFA congress in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana that the June 12 opener between Brazil and Croatia would go ahead at the venue. The 68,000-seat stadium in Brazil’s biggest city had been hit by a string of delays and problems, including an accident that killed two construction workers in November. Financial problems have compounded organisers’ woes, although this week brought some relief in the form of a 260 million reais ($113 million, 82 million euro) loan installment from state investment bank BNDES. The stadium, which will host six World Cup games including a semi-final, hosted its first training session earlier this month.

Michel Platini

Li Sets Up Australian Open Rematch With Cibulkova

WORLD number two Li Na powered her way past 11th seed Caroline Wozniacki 7-5 7-5 and into the semi-finals of the Sony Open, setting up another rematch of the Australian Open final against Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova. Li did not play a match until the third round after receiving a first round bye and second round walkover but has since been in sizzling form, reaching the last four without dropping a set. Earlier on a windswept centre court, Cibulkova fought off three match points to claim a 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 upset win

over third seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, propelling her into the top 10 for the first time in her career. The win set up another clash with Asia’s first Grand Slam singles champion, who defeated the Slovakian at Melbourne Park in straight sets and again at the quarter-finals at Indian Wells in three sets two weeks ago. “Another tough match, for sure,” said Li, looking ahead to her semi-final. “I think so many people think about maybe a repeat for the final, but it’s not. “Miami is Miami, because Australia is over. It’s past

already.” Wozniacki, a former-world number one, presented few problems for Li as she raced to a 4-1 lead in the opening set before the Dane hit back with a fourgame spurt to go in front 5-4. But Li recovered to close the set with a three-game run which was followed by a similar fourgame sweep to end the second set and clinch the match. With players struggling in cool, blustery conditions, 10th seed Cibulkova reached the final four for the first time in eight visits to Miami despite being broken 10

times by Radwanska, committing 51 unforced errors and eight double faults. The match was not of the same quality the pair showed in their Australian Open semi-final earlier this year, as Cibulkova waited until the fourth game of the second set before managing to hold serve for the first time. “I have to say I’m really glad, especially about my win today,” said Cibulkova, who took out three-time champion Venus Williams in the fourth round. “It wasn’t easy at all to play today against Aga with the wind and conditions and I had to stay aggressive all the time even if I missed many shots.”

2014 AWC Qualifiers

Super Falcons To Open Camp On Sunday

THE Super Falcons, Nigeria’s senior women football team, will on Sunday, March 30 resume camping in Abuja ahead of the 2014 African Women Championship (AWC) qualifiers, an official has disclosed. The team’s Secretary, Ruth June 8. The invited players include David, disclosed this in an interview with newsmen on Josephine Chukwunonye, Ebubeleye White, Wednesday in Abuja. “All the invited players Onyinyechi Ohadugha, must report at the camp at Gloria Ofoegbu, Ngozi Serob Legacy Hotel on Ebere, Charity John, Evelyn Sunday, March 30 for training Nwabuoku and Stella to start on Monday, March Mbachu, all from Rivers 31,’’ she said. The Super Falcons have qualified for the final round of the qualifiers, after Sierra THE International Leone withdrew from the first Olympic Committee (IOC) round in January. The Nigerian side will now has stressed that a “constant, face Rwanda in the final concerted and integrated qualifying matches, with the effort’’ is needed for Rio 2016 first leg match to be played in to successfully deliver its Rwanda. Olympic Games. The first leg match will be The IOC rang the alarm bell on the weekend of May 23 to following the conclusion of May 25, with the return leg its Coordination on the weekend of June 6 to Commission’s latest visit to

Angels. Others are Maria Nwoko, Ngozi Okobi, Osinachi Ohale, Jane David and Dikachi Uzor, all from Delta Queens. Also, Rachael Apojotor, Chinyere Ogwamalu, Joy Anthony, Precious Dede, Mariam Ibrahim and Kafayat Ajani, all from Nasarawa Amazons, are on the list. The list also has Sunshine

Queens’ Tochi Olehi and Yetunde Aluko, with Pelican Stars’ Esther Sunday and Blessing Edoho. Tawa Ishola, Edith Eduviere, both from Ibom Angels, Elizabeth Zirike from Osun Babes, and the duo of Abosede Toriola and Ayomode Ojo from Police Machine are equally on the list. There are also Adejoke Ejalonibu from Adamawa Queens, Cecilia Nku from Bayelsa Queens and Humble Nelson from Benue Queens.

Tennis: Coach Rues Dearth Of Competitions COACH Boniface Akunne of the Anambra Table Tennis Association on Wednesday blamed the poor performance of players on the dearth of competitions. Akunne told newsmen in Awka that the state did not feature in the ongoing second Toyin Okenla-Ojeaga National U-17 Table Tennis Championship in Lagos. He advised that players should be allowed to feature in age group competitions before graduating to the professional category. Akunne regretted that Oluchi Nnanemerem, who was the fourth best female table tennis player at the National Youth Games in Abuja, was prevented from the

competition by the Anambra Sports Council. “We have lots of talents in this state but generally, we lack competitions in the zone; the equipment are inadequate, and all these are affecting the growth of the game. “Chances are always brighter when you progress in table tennis through the age group. “That way, these young players are encouraged just as we encourage footballers. We need more competitions in the South-East generally,” the coach said. The 2nd Toyin OkenlaOjeaga National U-17 Table Tennis Championship commenced at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, on March 24.

Chief of Staff, Aloizio Mercadante. However, the IOC cited a crucial meeting that would take place in Brasilia on Thursday between the federal authorities and key Games stakeholders. “It is expected that the responsibilities for each Games-related project will be clarified, along with the associated funding, in order to avoid further significant delays in the delivery of the project’’. The IOC said delivery timelines of some of the venues for test events and the Games have faced delays, and now leave “no margin” for any further slippage. Thursday’s meeting will discuss the Responsibility Matrix, the document outlining the funding for each Games-related project. One of Rio 2016’s main concerns is the Deodoro zone, located in the western part of the city – a facility that has suffered from uncertainty over funding.

The zone will host seven Olympic sports in the shape of equestrian, mountain bike and BMX cycling, modern pentathlon, shooting, canoeing - slalom, hockey and fencing, but construction is yet to begin. Deodoro was originally supposed to be funded by the federal government, before being passed to the state government and then to the city of Rio. Speaking after the conclusion of the IOC’s latest visit, Coordination Commission chair, Nawal El Moutawakel, a Moroccan, said: “The Rio 2016 Olympic Games have great potential for being a very exciting event which will leave many legacies. “But, although progress is being made, each decision that is postponed and each subsequent delay will have a negative impact on delivery. “Total focus and dedication are, therefore, required. The Olympic Movement stakeholders will continue to actively and constructively assist the organisers towards their short and long-term objectives,” she added.

Rio 2016: IOC Issues Preparations Warning the city, according to UKbased body, SportsBusiness. The Commission’s recent three-day trip ended with the IOC highlighting progress that has been made since its last visit in September 2013 The progress highlighted by the Olympic Games governors were the finalising

of the overall venue master plan and the validation of Rio 2016’s lifetime budget. There was also progress in the integration of the federal government’s effort, under President Dilma Rousseff’s

Power Liftfing: 5 Tech Official For Training In Dubai THE Power Lifting Federation of Nigeria has said that five of its personnel are to be trained in international refereeing methods in Dubai. The federation’s Technical Director Sam Ekeoma told newsmen in Enugu on Wednesday over the telephone that the training would be organised by the International Power lifting Committee (IPC). He said the training would be bank rolled by the National Sports Commission (NSC) in the buildup to the Dubai Power Lifting World Championship. “The five technical officials will depart Nigeria on March 29 for the course which will run from April 1 to April 4. “They will be trained by the IPC on modern power lifting skills, which will enhance our performance and rating on the world stage,” he said. He stressed that though the training would end a day before the commencement of the championship, there was no guarantee that any of the officials would officiate during the event. “The IPC rule states that referees will not be drawn from countries that are parading athletes in any given

championship for equity and fairness,” he said. Ekeoma also said the training became necessary because power lifting was the major para-sport that had won many medals for Nigeria at the international scene. “Our athletes for the Dubai championship are doing very well in camp. We have 13 of them at the moment. Two were eliminated for medical reasons. “The expectations are high and we trust that they will do us proud in Dubai,” he said. He added that the NSC had provided everything they needed for the ongoing camping. The director said the Commissioner of Sport in Oyo State, Umar Farouk, also visited the camp and promised to make life comfortable for the athletes by providing the necessary logistics. Ekeoma said the camp which opened on March 12 would close on April 1 and that the athletes would depart for Dubai on April 2. The Dubai championship, which commences on April 5, will also serve as qualifying series for the Brazil 2016 Paralympics Games.

Dr Tamuno Danagogo - Sports Minister

Brazil 2014: Chukwu Backs Eagles

FORMER Super Eagles Coach, Christian Chukwu, said on Tuesday that the current Super Eagles have the character and team spirit to break previous World Cup records. Chukwu told newsmen in finals. “The 1994 World Cup Enugu that the team had the achievement has gone, so the opportunity to create for current team should aim to themselves a world record. supersede that. This is the “This is an opportunity for the boys to create records for opportunity to do it. “If not, it means the 1994 themselves and surpass the record will still stand as our records of our previous best outing,” he said. World Cup teams. They have He said the Eagles would the talent and character to do not just be making up the so. “My position is that if the number at the Brazil fiesta, would compete 1994 World Cup team could but favourably with the best. get to the second round, we Chukwu said the coaches expect this current team to get to the quarter or semi- needed free hand to select

To Excel players who would achieve such a feat, instead of the ongoing clamour to force certain players on the team. “Stephen Keshi should be left alone to use the players he feels will get him the needed result because his job will be at stake if the team does not do well. “I don’t want to be part of the people clamouring for certain players to be invited to the team. “This is because only the coach will be held

responsible if the team fails to meet the aspirations of Nigerians. “If he feels that Ikechukwu Uche or any other player is fit and can help the team or that he has other players that can fit into his programmes good and fine. “No player should be forced on the coach,” he said. Chukwu said the coach knew where he had problems in the team and knew the best way to solve such problems. The former international defender said that no football team in the world was perfect, adding that they keep building and changing.


National Conference: Exposing

The Ills Of Partisanship

IF as a nation we cared about cost, time and commitment to corporate responsibilities, we should also be bothered about what prompted the need to commission a National Conference in finding solutions to Nigeria’s myriad problems when the National Assembly is already empowered to do such. Of course one cogent but latent reason necessitating the convoking of a National Conference is not the incapacity of National Assembly members to do the right things, but the seeming difficulty or near impossibility of individually doing the right things, in spite of personal convictions. In Nigeria today, it is practically dangerous to a political ambition to oppose one’s political party hierarchy even when it is obviously taking a wrong stand on a matter. And if in such situations, daring to be right endangers one’s political ambition, which the public so far lacks the power to restore, therefore it is always safer and more convenient to align with the wrong – and this has become an entrenched culture of corporate wrong supported by an established attitude of corporate silence. It is like what happens in the mafia world; the culture of strict adherence to the code of silence or omerta in screening public knowledge of what transpires in ‘Our Thing’ (a mafia terminology, referring to their private activities) It is a way of life pursuant to corporate success or failure. In the mafia perception, it is better for all to go down in Hades than to find a few of theirs as angels in heaven. Trying to suddenly appear as an angel or a turncoat is considered a grievous offence necessitating

death, having profited from the spoils of vendetta. Well, if currently, there is a price being paid by members of the National Assembly for the hegemonic loyalty to their political party instead of the majority of Nigerians who they claim to be representing, it is the lost of the people’s trust for them keep presenting themselves as morally capable to discharge their

majority of members at the National Assembly is tacitly accepting their inability to dispense solutions to the problems after assuring Nigerians of their capacity to do so, it would appear that they too have become weary of the cloak and dagger antics of governance, and the danger it portends. All the same, it is relieving to note that the appointments of the National Conference

those popularly nominated who have always been with us, and are now being perceived as the ‘wise men’ would have forever found it very difficult to contest and win elections conducted in the Nigerian fashion. The elections that have always been sanctioned as freely and fairly conducted by the same persons authorising the convoking of the National

FEED BACK By KINGSLEY OGBEIDE-IHAMA suspicious evidence? And again, how much of the judgement can be trusted if the judges have always been known to be partisan? However, it is good to note that at a time in Nigeria’s history, it came

• President Goodluck Jonathan

constitutional duties outside the bounds of partisanship. Adhering to Party discipline and cohesiveness of members is no doubt a cherished virtue. It is supposed to be the code of ethics or internal matrix of uniformity in guiding all party members to optimum performance. In its strict observance and pursuit of corporate good, it keeps members rigidly focused only on activities leading to the attainment of political promises, and of course the unwavering trust or support of the voting public. If today the political party in power at the federal level and with a

membership are Nigerians. After all, this also means that the case of Nigeria is not yet as futile as aiming to find one righteous person in Sodom and Gomorrah. But it is also very worrisome that these same persons (conferees) particularly

Conference and who would ultimately vet the performance of the conferees as satisfactory or otherwise. This evidently is the part that bothers a lot of Nigerians. Can those calling for equity approach the seat of judgment with very

to the point of assessing the job done by one of its critical organs of government, and accepted that the path of perdition things were cascading with the culture of silence and banality of being wrongly partisan, needed a purgation in the manner of a National

Conference. Yes, it has certainly come to a time to determine the root causes of a set of people springing up in the name of Boko Haram and unleashing mayhem on defenceless sleeping students in their dormitories. The growing religious intolerance, despondency and challenges of maintaining security in a society that is deeply soaked in the mud of unemployment, must be put to rest. Right now is not the time to feast on the opprobrium of members of the National Assembly being tagged as nonperformers. Most Nigerians have not been fortunate to be members of the national or state Assembly, and would probably not understand why the members should be absolved of the blames of failing to adequately solve Nigeria’s problems. But if the current members of the National Conference succeed in their given assignment, they would not only have exposed the ills of partisanship or band wagon effect, it would be very telling on the strength of individual character needed to succeed in a peculiar terrain as Nigeria, and perhaps slightly have deferred towards those calling for the privatisation of governance.

“If today the political party in power at the federal level and with a majority of members at the National Assembly is tacitly accepting their inability to dispense solutions to the problems after assuring Nigerians of their capacity to do so, it would appear that they too have become weary of the cloak and dagger antics of governance, and the danger it portends.”

Printed and published by Bendel Newspapers Company Limited, 24, Airport Road, P.M.B. 1334 Benin City. Telephone; Lagos: 01 4930929, Benin: 052 257492, 257531 Editor. BARR. SOLOMON IMOHIOSEN (KSJI) - (07030699646), Deputy General Manager (Marketing) (08023457566), Assistant General Manager(Advertisement) (08023808856) Lagos Office: 25A Alli Street, Off Tinubu Square, Lagos Island, Lagos. Abuja Office: Floor 1, Edo House, 75 Ralph Shodeinde Street, Central Business District, Abuja. Tel/Fax: 09-5237631. All correspondence to: 24 Airport Road, Benin City. E-mail: (ISSN 0331-2674)

Nigerian observer 28 03 2014  

Nigerian Observer E-Digital Edition

Nigerian observer 28 03 2014  

Nigerian Observer E-Digital Edition