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The Nigerian

PUBLISHED SINCE MAY 29, 1968 • Vol . 38 NO.396• MONDAY, JANUARY 13, 2014 • N 100.00

ARCHIVAL MATTERS Pg 21

cmyk

Sound Tracks For 2014

ECONOMY Pg. 15

Nigeria’s Dismal Rating In Good Governance

Papal Nuncio emphasises Baptism in Christ

ABUJA - The Papal Nuncio to Nigeria, Archbishop Augustine Kasujja, on Sunday advised Christians to proclaim Jesus Christ through their baptism.

Kasujja gave the advice in his sermon at Apostolic Nunciature of Holy See Chapel, Vatican Embassy, Maitama, Abuja. The Papal Nuncio said

at the mass to celebrate the “Feast of the Baptism of Jesus Christ”, that Christians should dedicate their

lives to preaching the gospel. He said baptised Christians should not be ashamed to proclaim Jesus Christ at all times. Continues on page 2

100 Nigerians languish in Moroccan prisons

SOKOTO - Senator Abdallah Wali, Nigeria’s ambassador to Morocco, yesterday said no fewer than 100 Nigerians were currently languishing in Moroccan Prisons. offences relating to Wali told newsmen in illegal migration, drugs Sokoto that most of and petty crimes. them were being held for

According to him, “there is no existing protocol between Nigeria and Morocco regarding repatriation of Nigerian prisoners or

- Ambassador

Moroccan prisoners to their respective

countries. “What we do is that the

embassy frequently visits Nigerian prisoners in various prisons spread across the country,” he said. Continues on page 2

EDHA resumes today By KEN ABU

BENIN CITY – The Edo State House of Assembly will resume plenary today after a

OKHUOROMI COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION. IYEKOGBA, BENIN CITY, EDO STATE. 14, Edosomwan (Benoni) Road, G.R.A., Benin City 08056411503, 08033990222, 08033577539, 08055319154, 08023404447

PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT The general public is hereby notified that the ban on the existence of Okhuoromi Youth Association headed by Mr. Peter Osama Erese in our notice of 2nd November, 2013 still stands. It has no authority to represent the Okhuoromi Community in ANY TRANSACTION. Anybody who transacts any community business with the banned Okhuoromi Youth Association does so at his or her own risk. Okhuoromi Community has now set up a Peace, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Committee under the Chairmanship of Mr. James Igbinovia which has been empowered to represent Okhuoromi Community in all its transactions and to which the public can now deal. JOHN EDOSOMWAN THE ODIONWERE OF OKHUOROMI COMMUNITY

recess which ended the second quarter, third session of the fifth Assembly. The House went on recess on December 18, 2013. The commencement of plenary today signals the beginning of the third quarter, third session of the fifth Assembly. The House is expected to consider and give priority attention to the two pending bills which are at different stages of consideration. The two bills are, A Bill for a Law to make provisions for the Continues on page 2

AUCHI DAY CELEBRATION: L-R: HRH Gen. (Dr.) Muhammed Sani Sami Gomo II, Emir of Zulu, Kebbi State, Chief Host, HRH Aliru H. Momoh Ikelebe III, Otaru of Auchi and Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, Secretary to Edo State Government who represented the State Governor during the 17th Edition of Auchi Day celebration held at the Otaru Palace Ground, Auchi, Edo State.

Local Content: FG employs 500 engineers

ABUJA -The Federal Government has employed 500 indigenous engineers in the construction sector to boost local content and lay quality foundation for infrastructural

development. President Goodluck Jonathan, represented by the Minister of State for Works, Mr. Bashir Yuguda, made this

known at the inauguration ceremony of the 29th President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE)

weekend in Abuja. He said the recruitment of the engineers was in fulfillment of g o v e r n m e n t ’ s

5000 benefit from FG assisted dry season farming in Edo BENIN - No fewer than 5,000 rice farmers are to benefit from this year’s Federal Governmentassisted dry season

farming in Edo, under the Growth

Enhancement Support (GES) Scheme.

The Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture Continues on page 2

commitment to professional excellence and local content drive in the country. The president said the gesture was also in response to the request of the works ministry in line with his administration’s resolve to bring professionalism into governance. He said government was reforming all sectors of the economy, especially the road Continues on page 2


Papal Nuncio Continued from page 1 “Once you are baptised, Jesus has sent you out without fear to proclaim the good news of salvation to all. “Jesus Christ through His baptism made sure that God’s will was not put to shame by preaching the good news and setting the captives free. “So, you are called to be soldiers and apostles of Christ in your words, deeds and actions,” he said. The Baptism of Christ is the feast day commemorating the baptism of Jesus Christ in River Jordan by John the Baptist. The Nuncio said the feast offered Christians the opportunity to reflect on their baptism whether they were keeping to their baptismal promises. Reflecting on Jesus

baptism at Jordan, he said, it was the first time Jesus Christ revealed Himself as the Messiah, adding that it was with the baptism that He started His public ministry. He, however, urged Christians to be faithful to their baptismal promises of rejecting Satan and his evil works. “There is no baptism that gives license for anybody to do bad things, even if you are baptised by the Pope, you are not licenced to live a sinful life. “Whenever you do not follow Christ, a voice within (conscience) reminds you to be faithful to your calling as Christians,” he said. “You should not preserve your baptism in museum; if you remember God only when you are in problems

News

that means your baptism is treated like an object that can be preserved in the museum. “I will encourage you not to isolate yourself from God because the Spirit of God has sent you to proclaim good news of love to all,” he said. According to Kasujja, the celebration of the feast of

baptism of the Lord should challenge Christians to evangelise and win souls for God. The feast of Baptism of the Lord, celebrated on the Sunday after January 6, marks the last day of the Christmas Season in the Catholic Church’s Calendar.

Continued from page 1 The envoy also said that during such visits, the embassy officials listened to the prisoners and collated their requests for onward transmission to the authorities. “So that they get attention, whether it is medical, sometimes even on the food they eat. “Sometimes they also need

access to some things that are not provided in the prisons,” Wali said. According to the Ambassador, sometimes, the King of Morocco pardons prisoners, including Nigerians. He also said that there were currently about 100 Nigerians legally resident in the North African country. “But, we have a couple of thousands of Nigerians illegally resident too inside Morocco,” he said. Wali said that the mission was partnering with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja to stem the tide of illegal migration of Nigerians to Morocco. He said that the mission had conducted some series of workshops to sensitise Nigerians to that “especially Nigerians who come from areas that are prone to visiting Morocco illegally. “The whole idea of visiting Morocco illegally is because of its proximity to Europe. “It takes only 15 kilometres to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Spain,” he said. Wali expressed regret that many Nigerians were often stranded in Morocco, as such, became illegal migrants. He stated that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja had tried to sensitise Nigerians against illegal migration through the Moroccan route. “This is because of the risk involved in travelling, the risk involved in staying as illegal residents in Morocco and the risk involved in crossing over to Europe. “So, we hope that with time the number will continue to decline,” Wali said. The Envoy noted that Nigeria was a robust nation and one of the emerging economies in the world. He also maintained that Nigeria would be one of the leading emerging economies

100 Nigerians

FG employs 500 engineers

Continued from page 1

sector to enhance the achievement of Vision 20:20:20. “In line with the transformation agenda of this administration, the government promotes professionalism and that is why 500 engineers have been employed. “ The National Planning Commission is responsible for the development of a 30 year National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan from 2014 to 2043. “The commission is working closely with all the relevant stakeholders, including development partners to ensure that it meets the deadline. “This is to avoid the gap that we have in delivering infrastructure to the nation and we will appreciate the effort of the NSE,’’ he said. The president commended NSE’s monitoring and evaluation exercise, saying “it is a welcome development as it will help to enhance infrastructure development.’’ Jonathan urged the body to continue to strive to bring up young engineers, especially those involved in industrial training. Earlier, the former president, Mr. Mustafa Shehu, said that the NSE had a lot of achievements during

his tenure. He said that during his tenure, the society upgraded the network of its ICT infrastructure to meet global standards. Shehu said that the NSE partnered with NIGCOMSAT for the provision of the evoting software which was solely developed by Nigerian engineers and used for its elections. “The technology has been tried for two years now and the outcome has been splendid ;it is indeed an achievement the nation can learn from in elections in Nigeria,’’ he said. He urged Nigerian engineers to continue to strive to uphold professionalism and engineering ethics while developing the country’s construction sector. Mr. Ademola Olorunfemi, the new president of the body, said his administration would focus on providing quality and inspirational leadership through the display of the ingenuity of Nigerian engineers. Olorunfemi said that an NSE monitoring Action Group (NMAGs) to monitor policies and programmes affecting critical sectors of the economy would be established. He also said that NSE would initiate policy reforms

and practical action to mitigate growing youth unemployment and create technological development for sustainable development in the country. Olorunfemi added that the Nigerian Content Development Law 2010 was a scheme with the potential to create over 30,000 jobs in the next five years, adding that this could only be achieved by encouraging local production. He further urged government to continue to create avenues to promote local content, saying this would lead to sustainable development.

EDHA Continued from page 1 construction and maintenance of roads, community facilities and infrastructures through public private partnership arrangement of state and local government and The Year 2014 Appropriation Bill. Parliament would also seek to conclude work on some pending motions and reports presently at different stages of committee work, some of which include a motion calling on the local government councils in Edo State to ensure that all construction work meet with state standards.

5000 benefit from FG Continued from page 1 and Rural Development in the state, Mr. Wellington Omorgbon, said this to Journalists in Benin. Omorghon said that the initiative was to ensure the nation’s self-sufficiency in food, especially rice, at all times. He said that the 5,000 farmers were selected from Edo North and Edo Central where dry season rice cultivation could be done in

the state. According to him, each of the farmers is expected to cultivate one hectare of rice, amounting to 5,000 hectares. Omorgbon said that the farmers were expected to harvest 20,000 metric tonnes of rice at the end of the season. The director told newsmen that the farmers were supplied with free rice seeds and agro-chemicals at 50 per cent subsidised cost.

“In addition, one threshing machine and a reaper have been allocated to the farmers at a 25 per cent subsidised cost,” he said. The director said that the idea was to encourage farmers to work together as a group. “The essence of all these is to make the nation selfsufficient in food production and eradicate poverty,” he said.

FG assures on implementing universal health coverage ABUJA - The Federal Government has assured that it would ensure a stronger focus on the provision of universal health coverage in the country in 2014. This is contained in a document analysing the 2014 budget, and released by the Federal Ministry of Finance in Abuja. It said the 2014 budget would continue the implementation of the “Saving one million lives’’ initiative to strengthen primary health care services. The document stated that the Federal Government would equally scale up interventions in reproductive, maternal, child health, nutrition, routine immunisation, HIV/AIDs and malaria elimination. It listed other areas to include tuberculosis, neglected tropical diseases and non-communicable diseases. The document further showed that government would also focus on new initiatives such as President Goodluck Jonathan’s

comprehensive response plan for HIV/AIDS. According to the document, Nigeria will co-chair the fourth replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and other world leaders. In the education sector, the document disclosed that the focus in 2014 would be on revitalising the tertiary institutions by increasing investments in infrastructure to upgrade laboratories, classrooms and halls. “As the 2015 deadline for Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) approaches, there will be expanded access to basic education for all Nigerian children,’’ it said. The document further revealed that the Federal Government would continue to work with state governments to tackle the problem of the large number of out-of-school children in the country. It also said there would be more investment in technical and vocational education to promote skills development for youths across the country.

AEPB raids popular Zone 4 area to eject currency dealers, hawkers ABUJA - Officials of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) weekend in Abuja raided an area where street traders had taken over all available space. Some officials of the board stormed the popular Ladi Kwali junction, which leads to the Sheraton Hotel at Wuse Zone 4. They removed several kiosks and make-shift shops being used by food vendors and hawkers, including those involved in the business of foreign currency exchange. The AEPB officials sent them all parking, with strict instructions that they should restrict their activities to the garden within the area. Newsmen reports that the foreign currency exchange dealers were more in the number of those who populated the area, which is popular for currency exchange activities day and night. The food vendors and hawkers were however only there to provide the

complementary services of supplying the dealers’ other needs, such as food and other logistics. AEPB’s Media Liaison Officer, Mr. Samuel Musa, told newsmen however that the exercise was in line with the board’s drive towards achieving a clean and habitable FCT. He said the task of ensuring the immediate removal of people and property considered to be nuisances within the federal capital city was a continuous one. Musa said the board had been receiving an encouraging feedback on this from FCT residents. “Modern cities are well planned and maintained for proper habitation, and they do not give room for indiscriminate hawking of wares. “This exercise is in line with our resolve to ensure that nuisances within the FCT are seriously taken care of to maintain the hygiene and serenity of the city. “The feedback we get from

Youth Fracas in Lagos claims middle-aged challenged them from By RAHEEM IBRAHIM man perpetrating the bad act. LAGOS - A middle-aged man, Yakubu Davids popularly known as ‘Ologbo’ was on Friday night murdered in cold blood by a notorious and robbery youth gang called ‘O Strong’, of the popular ‘Oju-ina’ based in Agarawu area of Lagos Island, for trying to debar the bandits’ activities. Also, several people were seriously wounded and unaccountable millions of naira cash and property were

lost during a reprisal bloody attack by the colleagues of the deceased from Obadina area on the notorious youths who were allegedly based in a Masquerade compound called ‘Agbole-Oya’ in the metropolis. It was reliably gathered that the notorious gang three weeks ago attended a social gathering on the Island and were threatening other people at the party with broken bottle, when an elderly man called ‘Erebe’

Source said that the notorious boys (O Strong) who were of the age between 13 and 17years vowed to eliminate Erebe for daring them at the party and later went to attack him at Oju-ina, but mistakenly stabbed his friend in the stomach. According to source, this attack was condemned by people in the community, including the deceased who threatened to report them to the police for arrest and prosecution.


News APC Begins Mass Mobilisation In CPC and some PDP YOLA - All Progressives transforming into APC in the Adamawa Congress (APC) in Adamawa said it had embarked on mass mobilisation campaign ahead of its nationwide membership registration. Some APC chieftains, led by retired Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa, and Chief Marcus Gundiri, have just concluded tour of senatorial zones in the state. Marwa, former governorship candidate of the defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC), urged supporters of the party to come out in large number to register with APC. Similarly, Governor

Murtala Nyako, who along with four other governors, defected to APC, had directed his supporters to ensure they were not left out in APC registration. The governor, who recently received the 27 local government chairmen and their councillors along with 37 state development area administrators into APC, urged them to mobilise their people for the exercise. Reports say that the situation has led to all former offices of the ACN, ANPP,

… As factional chairman in Anambra describes suspension as joke AWKA - The Chairman of a faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Anambra, Mr Chuks Chinwuba, has described his suspension from the party as a charade. Chinwuba told newsmen in Awka that the decision was not approved or adopted by the national leadership of the party. He described the suspension as a “New Year joke,” insisting that it had no approval. The chairman claimed that Senator Chris Ngige was behind the alleged suspension, saying he had no powers to do so. He wondered how a governorship candidate could suspend the deputy national chairman of a party and its state chairman. “APC is not Ngige’s party; how can a man who claims to know it all not know that he does not have the powers he seeks to invoke. “This is political rascality, impunity and indiscipline and it will be dealt with accordingly,” he added. Chinwuba said it was at a New Year get-together of Ngige’s defunct campaign organisation to placate the tirades and invectives vented against him for leading them to fiasco that the decision to suspend him was taken. “His attempt at transforming his campaign organisation into the state executive committee has failed. The people of Anambra have rejected Ngige and that is it,’’ he added. He said the party was guided by rules encoded in its constitution which must be applied to the letter in any dealing. The interim state executive committee of the party led by Chief Amaechi Obidike had in a communiqué suspended Chinwuba and the Interim

Deputy National Chairman (South), Senator Annie Okonkwo. Obidike, whose faction is loyal to Senator Chris Ngige, alleged that the suspension was sequel to anti-party activities by the duo.

state. Speaking on the situation, the North East Protem National Vice Chairman of APC, Alhaji Umar Duhu, told newsmen that it was a good development and “a big plus for the party”. Duhu said the registration was expected to begin later this month. Duhu enjoined all the stakeholders to close ranks by working for the success of the exercise. According to him, registration of members is a prelude for the victory of the party at all levels in 2015 general elections.

L-R: Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Nurudeen Mohammed, President Goodluck Jonathan, Ivorian Minister of African Integration and Ivorians Abroad, Mr. Ali Coulibaly and Nigerian Ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire, Amb. Jacinta Akabuogu at the Felid Houphuet Boigny International Airport during the arrival of the President for the meeting of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government in Abidjan weekend.

Dermatologist Urges Use Of Moisturiser ABUJA A dermatologist, Dr Olanrewaju Falodun, advised Nigerians to use emollients on the skin during the harmattan season to prevent it from cracking. Falodun , who works with the National Hospital

Abuja, told newsmen in Abuja that emollients were also referred to as moisturisers. He said emollients helped to keep the skin softer and moist. “Harmattan carries a lot of

Minister of Agriculture, Akinwumi Adesina (middle), during a meeting with women farmers in Auyo, Jigawa weekend.

dry weather and dry wind, so the important thing is make sure you keep your skin as moist as possible. “Apply a lot of emollients; and you need to do that more frequently than you used to when there was no harmattan. “Avoid things that will degrease your skin and really that is why I have some issues with antiseptic soaps. “They do a lot of degreasing of the skin. So it is better to use some other preparations, other soaps that have an oil base. “Around this time, people have a lot of cracking of the soles of the feet. “So, when they are robbing their creams and emollients they should not forget to apply these preparations on their feet and even the palm of their hands.’’

Immunisation: Most Effective Treatment encouraged to immunise their ABUJA - Mr Augustine children. Ebisike, Registrar, For Measles – Experts “I know that our Environmental Health Officers However, Immunisation Registration Council of Nigeria, advised Nigerians to immunise their children against measles as prevention was better than treatment. Ebisike told newsmen in Abuja that measles was a viral infection caused by virus, spread by inhalation and which could be prevented by immunisation. Measles is a highly infectious immunisable disease with potential for eradication but is still responsible for high mortality among children, particularly in developing nations such as Nigeria. “ Measles is a viral infection caused by measles virus.

against measles is the number one treatment and it is spread by inhalation. “If a child is suffering from measles, most of the time he/ she will have cough. “You see them coughing and things like that, if the format is not well managed the thing comes out; it becomes airborne and any other person can inhale it especially children. “In this dry season, anything that is wet comes out before you know it is dry, it becomes blown by the wind and it can travel as far as possible. “So, what we advise is: let where you keep children be

well ventilated because ventilation is important in managing measles. “If a child is immunised he will likely not get measles; but in some cases, very rare cases you still have children who are immunised coming down with measles but the attack is mild. Ebisike said that since this was the season, the epidemiology and disease control divisions of the states and local governments of the agency were enlightening the public about the virus. According to him, the sensitisation usually takes place at schools, market places among others, as people are

environmental health officers, especially those who are working in epidemiology and disease control divisions of the states and local governments know that this is the season. “They go out to enlighten people and some of them go with the team. They go bringing people out, go to schools, vaccinate or immunise children, come to the market, attract attention and ask people to queue up and be immunised.’’ He said it could also be prevented by proper ventilation especially where children lived and therefore asked mothers to immunise their children.

The online medical Journal, Patient.co.uk, says emollients are often called moisturisers. They are lotions, creams, ointments and bath/shower additives, which oil the skin to keep it supple and moist. Falodun, however, said that antiseptic soaps could be used to treat infections but should be used for a short duration. The dermatologist said that people who had sensitive skin were prone to having allergic reactions during the harmattan season. He, therefore, advised them to avoid scratching the skin but pat or rob it gently to avoid infections. “People itch a lot around this period; try not to scratch too much. “ If your skin becomes itchy, you may pat it instead of scratching and itching because it can introduce wounds to the skin and that can lead to some form of infection.’’ He also advised people to drink a lot of water this season, which he said helped to hydrate the skin. “Drink a lot of water this period, drinking a lot of fluids help to hydrate the stratum column, which is the uppermost and outermost layer of the skin. “So, generally avoid things that will remove oil in your skin, make sure your skin is not dry. “Apply a lot of emollients, drink a lot of water, be careful about the preparations you use.’’


South South Drug Trafficking NDLEA Nabs 68-Yr-Old Man

PORT HARCOURT - The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) said it arrested a 68-year old man for allegedly attempting to smuggle substance suspected to be cocaine through the Port Harcourt International Airport. The airport Commander of the agency, Mr Olutekunbi Davies, told newsmen in Port Harcourt that the suspect was arrested on December 31, 2013 while attempting to board an Air France flight to Dublin, through Paris. He alleged that the suspect ingested 115 wraps of cocaine weighing 1.493 kilogrammes.

Davies said the suspect hailed from Okene in Kogi. The commander appealed to the Federal Government to complete the remodelling of the airport and provide an office for the agency to do its work. The suspect, however, told newsmen that he got into the business to raise money for surgery to remove bullets from his legs. He said bullets were lodged into his legs during an armed robbery attack in 2009. He said he was married with children and urged people planning to smuggle narcotic substance to desist from it.

Omokhodion Wins Nursing Excellence Award By RICHARD EWEKA BENIN CITY – Josephine Omokhodion of labour ward has emerge the best nurse of the Central Hospital, Benin City after defeating 19 other contestant to the first position in an examination conducted by the academic unit to pick the best nurse for the year 2013. Omokhodion came first scoring 70.5 percent in the examination followed by Lilian Lawan with 70 per cent while the third position went to Omozusi Racheal with 65 percent. Addressing nurses at the Nursing Excellence Award ceremony, a programme organised to honour those who excelled in the examination, chairman of the occasion and the Director of Nursing Services, Hospital Management Board, Benin City, Mr. Samuel Akhenebiri commended the nurses for a great job done in 2013. Mr. Akhenebiri encouraged

them to sustain the programme and thank God for their lives as well as making the profession a noble one while praying God to sustain the lives of the nurses. Appreciating the nurses for a job well done during the period, Assistant Director, Nursing Services, O.J. Idada thanked them all for their cooperation over the years. She commended them for their hard work despite the shortfall in the number of nurses in the state government hospital. Responding on behalf of other winners, Omokhodion dedicated his award to God almighty saying that “when I was nominated to enter for the exam, at first, I was reluctant because I was not prepared for any examination. “I am very proud of all my other colleagues from other units that sat for the examination, we all did our best and the examination was free from examination malpractices, I commend the academic unit for a job well done” she concluded.

President Goodluck Jonathan (right), being received by the Ivorian Minister of African Integration and Ivorians Abroad, Mr. Ali Coulibaly at the Felid Houphuet Boigny International Airport during the arrival of the President for the meeting of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government in Abidjan weekend.

Implementation, Bane Of Petroleum Industry Bill - Senate C’ttee By ELIZABETH AGBOEGBULEM

BORI (RIVERS) - The Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Senator Magnus Abe said the challenge facing the Petroleum Industry Bill is not the passage but implementation by relevant government agencies. He disclosed this while addressing youths of the Rivers South-East Senatorial District at his office in Bori, headquarters of Khana Local Government Area. “We are working on the PIB. Everybody is saying if the National Assembly passes the PIB, it will solve all the problems in the petroleum sector. It will not, because our laws are not being implemented impartially and courageously without politics”.

“That is why people can drive on any side of the road; people can do anything in this country. It is not that the laws are not there; the laws are there. It is not the place of any senator to go and enforce the law. There are agencies of government being paid to execute the laws but they are not doing so. When you call

their attention to it, you become an enemy of the system,” he said. Abe, who represents the Rivers South-East Senatorial District in the Upper Chambers of the National Assembly, said the country has refused to move forward more than 53 years after independence because its foundation was laid on lies and

deceit. “All over, we lie, we deceive ourselves, and the country is stagnant. We must change that. It is either we move Nigeria as one country or let us abandon this ship. 53 years after independence, Nigeria is more divided than ever. For us to be a successful nation we must be united”.

Delta Teaching Hospital To Perform First Kidney Transplant By BETTY IDIALU WARRI - Delta State Governor, Dr Emmanuel, said that the first kidney transplant is to take place next week at the Delta State Teaching Hospital Oghara in Delta State.

Rev’d Dr. Osaheni Emwanta presenting a Gold Cup to the Woman of year 2013 Nursing Excellent Award, Mrs. Josephine Omokhodion at the Central Hospital, Benin City. Photo: SOLOMON ENAIGBE.

The governor said this during a parley with journalists at the Government House Asaba. While scoring his administration high in 2013 on the provision of healthcare, the state chief executive said that dialysis at the state teaching hospital remains the cheapest in the country, adding that the free maternal medicare, free under-5 as well as rural health schemes were going on steadily across the state. Dr Uduaghan, while reeling out the achievements of his administration in 2013, ruled out complacency despite the many successes recorded adding that year 2014 will witness consolidation on existing projects as well as birthing of new ones. He reiterated the determination of his administration to redouble its efforts in order to “finish strong” and establish a solid base for the overall development of the state. On peace and security,the governor told the press that the year 2013 was more peaceful than the previous years as

many criminals were arrested, prosecuted while some died in the process. He was however quick to drop a note of warning to criminals that “2013 was indeed tough for criminals but 2014 will definitely be tougher and advised criminals to turn a new leaf or relocate from the state as there will be no hiding place for them. On the Ugborodo imbroglio, Governor Uduaghan maintained that the Navy was not involved in any shoot out as reported in some national dailies, adding that a meeting between warring factions of Ugborodo community was on going in Abuja at the instance of the National Security Adviser,Inspector General of Police as well as the State Security Service. On “Delta Beyond Oil”, the Governor reiterated his administration’s commitment to the policy, adding that more jobs would be created for the unemployed through the Delta State Government micro-credit loan scheme, assuring Deltans that his administration is finishing strong.


South West Unpaid Gratuities: Pensioners LAGOS - The Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) Lagos State chapter, has urged the Lagos State Government to address the problem of unpaid gratuities and allowances to its members. The Chairman of the union, Mr Nojeemdeen Ibrahim, told newsmen in Lagos that “the issues should be given immediate attention.’’ “There are pensioners that retired since 2006 from the local government councils and primary schools, they have not been paid their gratuities or allowances,’’ he said. Ibrahim called on the Lagos State government to effect various increments in pensions that had not been implemented by the government. “There was an increase of 142 per cent by former President Olusegun

Task Govt

Obasanjo’s administration in 2000. The Lagos State Government refused to pay the money until the union went to court and won the case. “The court ordered the government to pay us the arrears which was then six years in arrears. “We were then paid three years. We are still waiting for the outstanding of three years which, we pray will be paid very soon,’’ he said. The chairman said that the administrations’ of Obasanjo and late Alhaji Musa Yar’ Adua also made increases of six per cent and 15 per cent, respectively on pension. He told newsmen that these adjustments were yet to be implemented by the Lagos State Government. “Many of our pensioners are suffering. They are living

Man Docked For Impersonation, Fraud ADO-EKITI - A 33-year-old man, Micheal Olagoke, has appeared before an Ado-Ekiti Magistrates’ Court charged with impersonation and fraud. The prosecutor, Sgt. Ebenezer Ewuola, told the court that the accused committed the offence in December at Oke-Igbara Street in Igbara-Odo, Ekiti. He said that the accused presented himself as the police officer in charge of an auction being coordinated by the command. He added that the accused fraudulently obtained N26,000 from one Deborah Akingbade and Bose Otitigbe under the pretext of purchasing auctioned motorcycles for them. Ewuola said the offence contravened Section 419 of the Criminal Code, Cap 16, Laws of Ekiti State 2012. The accused, who was not represented by any counsel, pleaded not guilty to the charge. The Magistrate, Doyin Akosile,

granted him N100,000 bail with two sureties in like sum. She adjourned the case to February 5 for further hearing.

below poverty level. Many of them are very sick and they don’t have money to go to hospital for treatment. Many others have died. This is the problem we are facing in Lagos state. “ As the chairman, I know that many states in the SouthWest have implemented these increments. I wondered why our state should be any different. “I know it is not a crime to have served our fatherland,’’ he said.

Outgoing President, Church of Christ In Nation (COCIN), Rev. Soja bewarang inducting the new President elect of COCIN, Rev. Dachollom Datiri in Jos yesterday.

Mariner Calls for Maritime Constitution LAGOS - A maritime at the ports. among ports in the sub-region consultant, Capt. Solomon PMAWCA was established in on the attraction of more ships. Review Omoteso, has called for the October 1972 under the The mariner said that activities review of constitutions of maritime organisations in West and Central Africa. Omoteso told newsmen in Lagos that the aim was to elevate the standards of ports in the sub-regions. He particularly called for the review of the constitutions of Port Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA) and the Maritime Organisation for West and Central Africa (MOWCA). The mariner said that the review would tremendously pave way for more efficiency

auspices of the Economic Commission for Africa and covers activities of ports from Mauritania to Angola. The association’s membership has grown from just nine at inception to about 30 members in 2013 and its headquarters is in Lagos. MOWCA was established in May 1975 as the Ministerial Conference of West and Central African States on Maritime Transport (MINCONMAR). Its name was changed to MOWCA as part of reforms

were low at the Warri and Calabar ports in Nigeria because cargoes had not been attracted to the ports. He said the non-review of the constitutions had made it difficult for shipping companies to source for cargoes due to the abolition of the cargo sharing policy by Nigeria. Omoteso said that it was not enough for MOWCA to attend the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) meetings without a seat at the IMO. “There are many things that countries are doing individually to sustain their maritime administration, but they must speak with one voice. “By 2015, the IMO says no single hull tanker would be allowed anywhere. “But most of the tankers plying the West and Central Africa sub-region are still single hull that cannot meet international requirements,’’ he told newsmen. The mariner, however, said Nigerian ports were doing well. According to Omoteso, every port has a room for expansion. We might be okay now, what of the future generation?

Contribute To Dev, Dep Gov Tells Workers OSOGBO - The Deputy

The Chief Host, the Otaru of Auchi Ikelebe III presenting his speech from the Governor of Osun, Mrs Titilayo throne. Laoye-Tomori, has charged civil

Clerics Seek Peaceful Co-existence

LAGOS - Catholic clerics have urged Nigerians to shun ethnic and religious intolerance to promote peace in 2014 The clerics told newsmen in separate interviews in Lagos that Nigeria needed peace and unity for facilitated development. The immediate past Youth Chaplain of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Rev. Fr.

adopted by the General Assembly of Ministers of Transport at an extraordinary session of the organisation in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire, in August 1999. According to Omoteso, the constitutions of the regional maritime organisations have to be amended to meet the realities of the port industry and the requirements of maritime administration. The mariner described the constitutions of both bodies as obsolete, adding that the legal documents should be reviewed to meet international requirements. Omoteso said that the review should also be done to facilitate cooperation among the managements of ports in the sub-regions. The consultant suggested that a committee should be inaugurated without delay by the maritime organisations to review the constitutions. He described the privatisation of many ports in the subregion as fine, but said that the next thing would be planning how the ports would perform efficiently to generate more funds. Omoteso said that there was noticeable keen competition

Andrew Ogidan, said that Nigerians should be determined to avoid violence that afflicted the country in 2013. “Unity should be our focus in the New Year; crisis of 2013 can be overcome if we put aside religious and ethnic differences,” he said. A lecturer at the All Saints Major Seminary, Ekpoma, Rev. Fr.

Tony Afariogun, said that the lessons of Christmas should be a guiding principle for the citizens. “The manifestation of God at Christmas is the greatest expression of love and unity; He came for the old and young, black and white, and not for a particular race or tribe,” he said.

Rev. Fr. Jude Abulu, the Parish Priest of Saints Timothy and Titus Catholic Church, Isheri Osun, Lagos, said “ God does not belong to a particular race or tribe. “God is universal and cannot be monopolised by a particular tribe or group; He cannot be localised.”

servants to make positive contribution to the development of the state. Laoye-Tomori gave the charge during a prayer session she organised for political office holders and civil servants to herald the official activities of the New Year. She expressed gratitude to God for divine mercies and protection of all categories of workers in the state. The deputy governor, however, called on residents to embrace peace while loving

one another in order to move the state forward. Laoye-Tomori also advised civil servants to depend only on God in all their undertakings, adding that they should be dutiful, dedicated and honest. She further enjoined residents to pray for the success of Gov. Rauf Aregbesola’s administration in its bid to promote and enhance peace, progress and security of lives and property. Present at the prayer session were top government functionaries in the office of the deputy governor as well as other civil servants.


Lagos Gang Rape: Domestic Staff, 22, Docked

L-R: NSE President and Chairman in Council, Mr. Ademola Olorunfemi, Ondo State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Ali Adelusi and his wife Bejide during the inauguration of the 29th National President of Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE) in Abuja recently.

LAGOS - A Tinubu Magistrates’ Court in Lagos remanded a former domestic staff, Lawal Ibrahim, 22, at the Ikoyi Prisons, over the alleged gang rape of his former employer. Ibrahim and others now at large, were also alleged to have robbed their victim of valuables worth N140, 000 while armed with lethal weapons. The Magistrate, Mrs Y.R. Pinheiro, consequently ordered the remand of the accused pending completion of police investigation and legal advice from the Office of the State Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). Pinherio, however, adjourned the case till January 14 for mention. Ibrahim was remanded at the Ikoyi Prisons, pending further

Menopause: Nutritionists Advise Women LAGOS - The President, Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Dr Ignatius Onimawo, has advised women approaching menopause to consult physicians and dieticians for suitable lifestyles. He gave the advice in an interview with newsmen in Lagos. Reports say that menopause refers to the time of cessation of a woman’s reproductive ability. It means the end of monthly menstrual cycle and mostly occurs in women between

ages 45 and 50. Onimawo said that menopause was concurrent with a drop in oestrogen production which affected other hormones. He said that the resultant hormonal imbalance manifested differently in women. The expert listed hot flashes, weight gain, dry skin, anxiety and bone density depletion as some of the common symptoms of menopause. According to him, taking or

avoiding certain foods can make menopause more bearable. “It is different for each woman. “Some experience prolonged bleeding. Such women must first consult a doctor to ensure that it is a symptom of menopause and not something else. “If the bleeding is menopause-induced, then, the woman is losing iron and needs to incorporate foods rich in iron such as meat and fish into her diet,” he said.

Onimawo urged women in the age of menopause to take enough fruits and vegetables and maintain a balanced diet. Another nutritionist, Miss Nike Oshinowo, who works at the Gbagada General Hospital, Lagos, advised that women should not wait for menopause to begin before adopting “beneficial eating habits”. She urged that woman should eat soya beans, legumes and nuts - peanuts, cashew nuts and almonds which, she said, were rich in

Tourism Practitioner Attributes Poor Cultural LAGOS - Mr Taiwo Values To Social Vices Sogbesan, the President, initiating developmental Twins Holding Company, a Lagos tourism firm, has attributed rising social vices in Nigeria to declining cultural values. Sogbesan told newsmen in Lagos that “our rich cultural heritage can provide better opportunities to achieve national unity’’. “The decline of cultural values in the country is a major factor aiding social vices such as fraud, bribery and corruption in public places. “Western cultural imperialism is a major factor threatening our socio economic development, ‘’ he said. Sogbesan said that culture was also part of the process for preserving history and heritage that could protect future generation’s posterity. “Culture, if well harnessed,

could be used as veritable tool for foreign exchange earning and development, “ he said. Sogbesan called on the government, religious groups and institutions to transmit cultural values in the lives of the youths and their followers. “Culture plays vital roles in

activities in a society. “We need to place greater emphasis on the promotion of traditional festivals and other cultural activities in the country, “ he said. Sogbesan urged the Federal Government to involve

private investors and practitioners in festival and cultural projects planning. “The action will fast track the development of the country’s national festivals and for Africans and foreigners to appreciate the nation’s rich cultural heritage.

Vitamin E. Oshinowo said, “ Vitamin E is anti-aging. ” She also encouraged women to consume more milk which contained calcium and essential amino acids. The nutritionist said that calcium would reduce the risk of bone diseases that occurred more as women aged. Oshinowo said that seafood was also highly beneficial full of beneficial fats and Omega 3. She said that these were beneficial to the heart and could prevent breast cancer and hypertension. She, however, advised women not to abuse the diet options, saying that taking an option in excess was not beneficial. “For best results, people should not only eat well, they should also live well by shunning a sedentary lifestyle and engaging in exercise. “Women should avoid loneliness,’’ she added.

investigation and the DPP’s advice on the alleged rape, armed robbery and theft of valuables worth N140, 000. The accused, whose address was given as No. 174, Oniru Estate, Victoria Island, is facing a four-count charge of conspiracy, rape, unlawful possession of arms and stealing. The Prosecutor, Insp Austin Okeke, had told the court that the accused and others at large, committed the offences on December 21, 2013, at about 3.00 a.m., at House 16, Oniru Private Estate, Victoria Island. Okeke said that the accused had worked with the complainant as a domestic staff some months back. “She later solicited his assistance to help dispose some of her properties because she was moving out of the estate. “Ibrahim was given the key to the apartment to enable him have access to the property, but he seized the opportunity to duplicate the keys before handing them back. “He conspired with his friends, who are now at large, and on the said day, broke into the apartment, threatened the occupant with a knife and gang raped her before dispossessing her of valuables,” Okeke said. He said that the complainant, however, recognised the voice of one of her assailants as her former employee and alerted the police the next day. Okeke said that when the apartment of the accused was searched, duplicate keys to the complainant’s apartment and other valuables were recovered. The prosecutor said that among the items recovered included her Zenith Bank and UBA ATM cards, Samsung Galaxy tab and HTC phone. Okeke said that the offences contravened Sections 297, 258(1), 310(a) and 295(b) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011. Ibrahim, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

18,000 Farmers Benefitted From GES In Lagos In 2013 - Coordinator LAGOS - Mr Kayode Ashafa, Lagos State Coordinator, Growth Enhancement Support (GES) Scheme, said that about 18,000 farmers benefitted from the scheme in 2013. The GES is one of the many critical components of the Federal Government’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA). It is designed to provide affordable agricultural input like fertilizers and hybrid seeds to farmers to increase their yields

per hectare and make it comparable to world standard. Ashafa told newsmen in Lagos that the figure was a great leap from the 3,000 beneficiaries recorded in 2012. He said the increase was as a result of a more organised approach in the activities of the scheme. The coordinator said that more value chains were included in the scheme which

also contributed to its smooth operations in the year under review. “In 2013, the aquaculture subsector was included in the scheme as well as sheep and goats,’’ Ashafa said. He also told newsmen that some of the successes recorded by the scheme in 2013 were that phone calls in the e-wallets got through to farmers better than in 2012.

On the registration and data base of farmers in 2013, Ashafa said that 100,000 farmers registered in the state during the nationwide registration exercise. He advised that seedlings and input should be distributed before the planting season in 2014. Ashafa said that input and seedlings arrived late in 2013 and posed a challenge because farmers had to purchase seeds through open market sources so

as not to miss planting. “We know that every programme has its teething periods and the e-wallet is not an exception, however, I am happy to note that we are surmounting the challenges. “I will also advise that input come at the right time so that farmers will take advantage of the planting opportunities. “For example, rice seeds arrived late in 2013 and farmers had to buy their seeds so that they will not miss the planting season,” he said.


Inside Edo BNCL Charges Organisers Of Edo Kiddies Carnival On Promotion Culture

BY FRIDAY OBANOR

BENIN CITY – The Acting General Manager of Bendel Newspapers Company Limited, (BNCL), Publishers of The NIGERIAN OBSERVER titles, Pastor Monday Aigbe has charged organizers of Edo kiddies and Youth Carnival to use the event to promote fast eroding cultural heritage of the people. Speaking while receiving the organizers and winners of the 2013 Beauty Pageant/ Carnival in his office, Pastor Aigbe said language is a factor in tracing ones’ root all

over the world. Represented by the Editor Daily, Barrister Solomon

Imohiosen, the General Manager however lamented the gradual extinction of our society’s cultural heritage.

Assuring the organizers of the BNCL continuous support of its programmes and activities in the area of

publicity, Pastor Aigbe thanked the organizers for going to the grassroots to hunt for talents so that it “can

A statement endorsed by the elders of the community indicated, that Mr. Ofenmu is to replace Mr. Alex Obazu who occupied the positon prior to this new development.

Obazu, according to the statement, is alleged to have committed offences against members of the community. Such offences listed included non-challant attitude in the course of his duties, lack of progress in the

community and lack of consultations with the community elders. Besides, the release quoted the elders as saying that Obazu is not an indigene of Uhiere community, a development which renders him unqualified to annual rites in the community. He was also alleged to have conspired with the community secretary to deprive Uhiere community of its deserved. Prior to the dethronement of Obazu, the release stated that the community had on August 18, 2013 suspended him in line with the tradition of the community while Ofenmu, who was his assistant, was endorsed as substantive Odionwere on September 30, 2013.

Community Dethrones Odionwere, Appoints Successor

UHIERE (OVIA NORTH EAST) – The people and elders of Uhiere Community in Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State have endorsed Mr. Ephraim Onigbe Ofenmu as the new ‘Odionwere’ of the community.

catch them young. He advised that subsequent event be given a wider coverage in terms of participation and not be restricted to the children of the elites. In her brief remarks, leader of the organizers, Valerie Opia-Agu said their visit was to formally thank BNCL management for its support towards the successful hosting of the year 2013 carnival which took place last month. Mrs. Opia-Agu noted that the essence of the carnival was to promote interest and development of talents at the grassroots level, and therefore appealed for more sponsorship through publicity. She introduced the winners at the Beauty Pageant to include, little Miss. Tourism (EKYC) Benedicta Orolakin, Miss Arts/Culture, Festina Afe Igbinosa, Miss Edo Kiddies, Ogbonna Gift while Master Edo Kiddies winner was Berthin J. Kala-kala (Jnr).

Development Edo To Patronise Chattered Accountants

L-R: Wife of the former Vice-President, Mrs Titi Atiku Abubakar; First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan; Mr. and Mrs. Ade Samuel and Mrs. Helen Mark conducting the cutting of the cake during the wedding of the daughter of Mrs. Moji Makanjuola in Abuja recently.

Edo Records 10.8% Crime Reduction BY MIKE operation and support. OSAROGIAGBON DSP Eguavoen stated that In 2013 - Police henceforth, members of the

BENIN CITY – The Edo State Police Command recorded 10.8% per cent reduction in crime in 2013. This, the Police Command said it would improve upon in the year 2014. It also expressed its readiness to improve on its proactive measures and review all its existing security strategies with a view to making the state more peaceful to live in and transact business. This was contained in a comparative crime statistics of 2012 and 2013 released by the command’s Public Relations Office in Benin City.

The document endorsed by the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Moses Eguavoen stated that 1,055 and 849 crime cases signalling 55.4 and 44.6 per cent were recorded in 2012 and 2013 respectively. It further disclosed that 797 and 647 cases which translated to 55.2 and 44.8 per cent of the cases recorded in the years under review were charged to court. Of these number 49 and 70 representing 41.2 and 58.8 per cent of them were convicted; while 258 cases were under investigation in 2012 while 202 cases were

under review in 2013. Apart from kidnapping which was said to have recorded 88 in 2012 and 104 in 2013, the Police Command said there was a drastic reduction in other major crimes during the period under focus. DSP Moses Eguavoen thanked Edo State Government, and members of the public for their immeasurable support which he noted facilitated the success story. The police image maker assured members of the public of modern and improved policing just as he appealed for more co-

public would experience robust daily vehicular and foot patrols, aggressive stop and search on highways across the state and coordinated raids of criminal hide-outs in the state. It would be recalled that the Assistant Inspector-General (AIG) of Police in charge of Zone ‘5’, comprising Edo, Delta and Bayelsa States, Mr. Hashimu Salihu Argungu had last Tuesday in Benin announced that the police in his domain have recorded 36 per cent reduction in kidnapping while the year 2013 witnessed “a drastic reduction in crime and criminalities.”

BENIN CITY – Edo State blood into the Civil Service, Government has assured the by ensuring that institute of Chartered appointments are made to fill Accountant of Nigeria existing vacancies in all (ICAN) of its continuous cadres. patronage, in a determined Mr. Obazele assured that effort to develop the state. after a study of the documents The State Head of Service, before him, he would ensure Mr. Jerry Igbaekemen that chattered Accountants Obazele who stated this when are well placed in the State members of the institute paid Civil Service. him a courtesy call in Benin The Chairman of the City noted that the Institute of Bankers, Edo contributions of the institute State Chapter, Aljaji Razag in the past is part of the Olaowo said they were in the success story of the state. office of the Head of Service Mr. Obazele urged members to congratulate one of their of the institute to come up own. with new innovations and Alhaji Olaowo appealed to ideas that would enable the the Head of Service to use his state government beef up its position to ensure that more internally revenue generation. accountants are recruited into He opined that the various the state public service. segments of the economy is competing for the lean resources available to the state, pointing out that the state Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole though eager to develop the state is however hampered by lean resources. On training of accountants in the Civil Service, Mr. Jerry Obazele reiterated the earlier pledge made by the governor that he will ensure that Civil Servants are adequately trained to meet up with modern day challenges. He reiterated the desire of Jerry Obazele, Edo State government to inject new Head of Service


Abuja FG Repositioning Open Varsity governing operations of their ABUJA - The Federal - Wike respective institutions and not Government said it has begun the process of repositioning the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) to enable it to deliver more effectively on its mandate. The Supervising Minister of Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, made this known at the inauguration of Governing Councils of four parastatals under the ministry in Abuja. He said NOUN was the country’s largest institution that conveniently delivered tertiary education to ordinary Nigerians. According to the minister, NOUN is Nigeria’s flagship tertiary institution in open and distance learning with more than 50 centres across Nigeria and an active student’s population of over 80,000. “NOUN reckons as Nigeria’s largest institution that takes tertiary education to the doorsteps of ordinary Nigerians. “Just two years ago, NOUN was given the European Quality Award at Oxford, UK, in recognition of its commitment to international best practices. “Thus, NOUN represents the veritable hope for thousands of ordinary Nigerians to have access to qualitative tertiary education.’’ The boards inaugurated were

for the National Institute of Education Planners & Administrators (NIEPA), the National Business and Technical Examinations Board (NABTEB), the National Committee of the West African Examinations Council (Nigeria) (WAEC) and NOUN. NIEPA’s mandate, he said, was to develop a critical mass of education-sector planners and managers for the effective and efficient planning and management of the educational system. NABTEB, he added, had the mandate of ensuring that Nigeria became the centre of technological excellence in Africa through advancement in technical and vocational education. “To the board of WAEC, you must continue to ensure that the integrity of WAEC and its examinations is not compromised under any circumstances.’’ Wike told those inaugurated to be on the drivers’ seat of the transformation process to take the institutions to the next level of sustainable development and achievements. He urged them to study laws

exhibit overbearing tendencies beyond legal powers and responsibilities. The minister reiterated government’s commitment to the Four-Year-Strategic Plan to ensure that structures for good governance were put in place for higher institutions and the parastatals. Chairmen of the boards are Alhaji Garba Nadama (NABTEB), Elder Bolaji Anani (NIEPA), Senator Ameh Ebute (NOUN) and the Director Basic and Secondary Education in the ministry, Mr Daniel Uwaezeoke (WAEC). Responding on their behalf, Ebute, former President of the Senate, pledged their collective and individual efforts to develop education.

National Chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Umeh, being accredited at Aguluezigbo Civic Centre Polling Unit during the Local Council Election in Anambra State weekend.

Law Reform Commission Decries Poor Implementation Of Proposals

ABUJA - The Chairman of Nigerian Law Reform Commission, Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor, in Abuja decried low rate of implementation of proposals from the commission. Osunbor, who spoke at the inauguration of the newly constituted commission,

Security men at a check point in Enugu-Ukwu in Njikoka Local Council during the Local Council Election in Anambra State weekend.

commended the Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, for the speedy enactment of the Evidence Act 2011. The chairman called for speedy implementation of all drafted bills emanating from the commission. “We commend the AttorneyGeneral for speedily seeing to the enactment of the Evidence Act 2011 which emanated from the Nigerian Law Reform Commission and the draft bill to provide for and regulate the practice of Plea Bargaining in Nigeria. “The draft bill has been incorporated into the Administration of Criminal Justice bill recently passed by the House of Representatives and awaiting concurrence by the Senate. “The commission shall, however, appreciate further ideas, approaches and cooperation for expediting the implementation rate,’’ he said. The chairman also called for enhanced budgetary allocation and a befitting office complex

to enable the commission to deliver on its mandate. “While we are not unmindful of the competing needs and limited funds available to government, we shall deeply appreciate enhanced budgetary allocation to the commission. “Also, it is regrettable that even though the commission is about 34 years old, it still does not have its own office building or a well-stocked law library. “ Instead, we are cramped up in two floors as squatters in the Federal Ministry of Health building. “We would, therefore, request that government consider as a matter of priority the acquisition or better still, building of a befitting office complex for the Nigerian Law Reform Commission comparable to what obtains in some other countries,’’ he said. He said law reform was crucial to any democratic society, adding that law was a key instrument for attaining government’s development objectives. Osunbor pledged to play the

from what we do.’’ He urged fish farmers to cooperate with the society “so that we can better share knowledge to solve problems and increase production’’. In a separate interview, the President, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Mr Abubakar Wodi, confirmed the readiness of rice farmers to key into the UN declaration. Wodi noted that farmers were always ready to do their jobs, if the government and the sponsors of the programme would play their role.

He, however, accused government officials of initiating programmes without following up to ensure proper execution and the media for also publishing the take-off of agricultural programmes without monitoring their execution. Wodi also alleged that publications by the media were not often a true reflection of the situation on the farms. “Farmers are ever ready to do their jobs, but are the government and sponsors of such programmes committed?

Family Farming: FISON, RIFAN Task FG ABUJA - The Fishery Society of Nigeria (FISON) has urged the Federal Government to facilitate the creation of fish markets across the country to boost production and income of farmers as well as ensure adequate protein intake. The National President of the society, Dr Abba Abdullahi, made the call in an interview with newsmen in Abuja. Abdullahi spoke against the background of the declaration of 2014 by the UN General Assembly as the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF)

in a bid to prioritise agriculture in various countries. It will be recalled that the International Year of Family Farming 2014 is an initiative promoted by the World Rural Forum and supported by over 360 civil society, farmers’ organisations and the 37th Food and Agriculture (FAO) Conference. This worldwide celebration, declared by the United Nations General Assembly, aims to become a tool to stimulate active policies for sustainable development of agricultural

systems-based farmer families, communal units, indigenous groups, cooperatives and fishing families. The work is being done from the perspective of effectively combating poverty and hunger and the search for a rural development based on the respect for environment and biodiversity. The FISON President said:“We have gone ahead already as far as fish farming is concerned in this country. “What we really want now is markets for our products so we can sell and make a better living

needed role in advancing and deepening democracy as well as contributing to lawmaking process in Nigeria. “We will deploy, in the execution of our statutory mandate, new approaches to law reform garnered through international exposure and shared experiences from other countries on successful law reform methods,’’ he said. In his address, Adoke pledged his personal support as well as government’s commitment to address the challenges faced by the commission. “I am aware of some of the teething problems of the commission, especially the need for a befitting office complex to cater for the peculiar research needs of the commission and adequate funding for its activities. “Let me assure you of my personal support as well as governments’ commitment to address these challenges within the limits of available resources. He congratulated the commission, saying it marked a high point in the effort to reposition the commission for efficient discharge of its statutory mandate. “Your appointment as members of the commission is coming at a time when the country is grappling with the task of constitutional amendment and upsurge in legislative activities in the National Assembly. “The commission has an important role to play in these processes. “It must make suitable recommendations to government on the constitutional provisions and laws that require review/ amendment in line with its statutory mandate,’’ he said.


Business & Economy Nigeria LNG Exports 3000th Cargo To Turkey LAGOS - The Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) said it exported its 3000th cargo of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from the Bonny Island Terminal in Rivers to Turkey. This is contained in a statement issued by Mr Kudo Eresia-Eke, the General Manager, External Relations of the company. The statement said that the cargo’s destination was Marmara LNG Terminal for Botas Petroleum Pipelines Corporation in Turkey. It said that the cargo would be shipped onboard one of the NLNG’s vessels, LNG Lokoja. “This milestone transaction highlights NLNG’s longstanding contribution to the sustainable reduction of gas flaring in Nigeria, monetisation of the nation’s gas resources and revenue generation “All are in fulfilment of ocompany’s vision to help build a better Nigeria,” the statement said. It also quoted the company’s Chief Executive and Managing Director, Babs Omotowa, as saying that the company had attained a laudable feat. Omotowa said, “It demonstrates what is possible as

a result of a shared vision within our company. “ NLNG currently processes for export and domestic use, more than four trillion cubic feet of associated gas which was previously flared, thereby helping to preserve our environment and support Nigeria’s economic growth. “From the export of its first LNG cargo on October 9, 1999, delivered to Montoir LNG Terminal, France, Nigeria LNG has grown to be Africa’s largest single private sector industrial investment.” It said that the company was safely and reliably supplying about seven per cent of total world LNG demands. “Before the commencement of operations, 75 per cent of the 2.6 billion cubic feet of associated gas produced by oil companies operating in Nigeria was being flared. “This trend has changed. Nigeria LNG Limited currently converts over four trillion cubic feet of associated gas to liquefied natural gas (LNG) and natural gas liquids (NGLs) for both export and domestic uses. “In doing this, the company has positively impacted on the country’s gas flaring status,

thereby helping to improve the environment whilst converting a previously wasted resource into wealth for the nation. “From initial investment of some 2.5 billion dollars, the Federal Government has earned over 25 billion dollars in dividend, feed gas purchase revenues, taxes and duties,’’ the statement said. It said that the company also contributed significantly to national wealth and the economies of states in which it operates, through payment of 30 per cent Company Income Tax and other applicable taxes and tariffs. “It brings Nigeria’s total share of NLNG’s profit to about 70 per cent.

Outgoing Commander of the Joint Taskforce (JTF) in the Niger Delta, Man.-Gen. Batta Debiro (left), handing over to his successor, Maj.-Gen. Ilyasu Abbah at JTF’s Headquarters in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State weekend.

New Capital Requirement ’Dampen Market Growth - Stakeholder

LAGOS - Mr Okechukwu Unegbu, the Managing Director, Maxifund Investment and Securities Ltd., has said that the new minimum capital requirement for capital market operators would dampen the growth of the market. Unegbu made the assertion in an interview with newsmen

L-R: Chairman, Federal Road Maintenance Agency, Prince Jide Adeniyi, covener of the meeting, Chief Richard Akinjide and former Education Minister, Prof. Tunde Adeniran during the PDP South West Leaders and Elders meeting in Ibadan weekend.

in Lagos. He said that the new minimum capital requirements for market operators would affect market growth in the first quarter. He said that the announcement of the new capital base would affect market expectations and investors’ confidence in the nation’s bourse. “But unfortunately, the announcement has ruined the enthusiasm of market operators to do business,” Unegbu said. He described the new capital requirement as diversionary and an obstacle to market recovery. According to him, market operators are now challenged to concentrate more on ways to meet the regulatory requirements than their businesses. Unegbu, a former President, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), said that

the SEC failed to consider the peculiarity of the Nigerian environment before making the pronouncement. “Leaders and regulators do things with impunity in this country without considering the impact and reactions,” he said. He urged SEC to be careful with some of its policies to avoid investors and operators’ apathy that could affect the success recorded by the Asset Management Cooperation of Nigeria (AMCON). “AMCON has done a lot in helping the market to stabilise and we should not dampen the stability with unfriendly policies,” Unegbu said. He said that the timing of the policy was wrong as the market was just recovering from the financial meltdown of 2008. The market operator said that SEC should learn from the mistakes of the past consolidation in the banking

Marketer Blames NLNG For High Cost Of Cooking Gas LAGOS - Mr Duru Francis, an independent liquefied natural gas marketer, has blamed the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) for high price of cooking gas in the market. Francis, who is also the Managing Director, Premium Gas Ltd., made the observation in an interview with newsmen in Lagos. He said that the NLNG was supplying cooking gas meant for domestic consumption to marketers at international price. He said that NLNG held the ace in the ongoing move by government to popularise the

use of cooking gas and its affordability. “NLNG supplies 250, 000 metric tonnes cooking gas to the Nigerian market which represents over 90 per cent of market share “We also urged the Federal Government to assist in reducing tariff and duties on imported accessories for cooking gas like the cylinder and others. “Cooking gas can be affordable at N2, 300 per 12.5 kilogramme cylinder if you consider the number of months you will use to consume it when

compared with kerosene. “But the initial cost of setting up the cylinder and gas cooker is what scares the masses from embracing it. “Cooking gas is safer, cheaper and environmentally friendly,’’ Francis added. Mr Emmanuel Nnabuife, NLNG Head of Gas Supply, also blamed the marketers for the high price of cooking gas in Nigeria. According to him, the marketers determine at what price they sell the product because NLNG does not control the entire value chain.

“Inefficiencies at the market place may be connected to the relative high price of LPG. “We don’t control the entire value-chain, but on our part we do our best to supply the domestic market with dedicated supplies,’’ he said. Nnabuife said that Nigeria was the seventh largest crude oil exporter in the world with proven gas reserves of 184 trillion Standard Cubic Feet (TSCF). He said that as a leading exporter of crude oil and natural gas, cooking gas should be affordable to the Nigerians.

“If marketers decide to purchase from the international market, they will incur much cost because of the associated cost will lead to higher cost,” he said. A 12.5 kilogramme cylinder of cooking is currently selling at between N3, 000 and N3, 600. The NLNG was conceived in 1989 to address the issue of gas flaring in Nigeria, but it commenced operation in 1999. Before the commencement of operations, 75 per cent of the 2.6 billion standard cubic feet of associated gas produced by oil companies operating in Nigeria were flared.

industry, insurance sector and microfinance banks. Unegbu, who is also the Legal Adviser, Association of Stockbroking Houses of Nigeria (ASHON), said the brokers who acted as intermediaries under the new capital base required more capital than issuing houses that carried more risks. SEC, had on December 19, issued a new minimum capital requirements for capital market operators with December 31, 2014 as deadline for operators to recapitalise. A breakdown of the new capital requirement obtained by newsmen showed that broker/dealer now requires a minimum capital of N300 million, an increase of 328.57 per cent over the current capital of N70 million. Broker is now required to increase its capital to a minimum of N200 million from N40 million, while a dealer’s minimum capital now stands at N100 million from N30 million. Issuing house operational capital requirement also rose to N200 million from N150 million, underwriters are now expected to have N200 million as working capital from N100 million. A registrar’s operational capital has been reviewed up to N150 million from N50 million. Trustees capital requirement also improved to N300 million from N40 million, while the rating agency from N20 million to N150 million.


MORE than any other issue in Nigeria today, the greatest concern has been the security condition of the country. ALMOST on a daily basis, there are accounts of several security threats arising from armed robberies, assassinations, armed militancy and banditry, kidnapping, bombings and of recent, the blood-let from a religious sect called the Jaamatus Alhus Sunnah Lid Daawatis Wal Jiliad (otherwise called Boko Harm) who say they are opposed to Western education and are ready to attack every vestige of western civilization. INDEED, the rate of crime and criminality, as exemplified in the high incidence of kidnapping, bombings and other organised crimes has sadly moved from the realm of security threat to an area of real and present danger. THE frightening security condition in Nigeria has not only been a source of worry, it has also dented Nigeria’s International status. FOR instance, on August 26, 2011 the terrorist group, Boko Haram bombed the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in Abuja, the nation’s Federal capital city. The consequences of that attack, as of today, are yet to abate. IN the wake of the UN building attack, Nigeria, lost her hosting right of the global food security meeting of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAQ) which was moved from Abuja, to Senegal. The meeting was an assemblage of experts and food administrators all over the globe. ASIDE the UN building bombing on August 26, 2011 that claimed 23 lives including 11 UN personnel, local Islamic fundamentalist sect, Boko Haram, had until late, been orchestrating series of isolated attacks predominantly in Northern Nigeria.

THE NIGERIAN

Security And Intelligence Sharing The sect is believed to be targeting centres of international attraction, especially in the Federal Capital Territory. CURIOUSLY, the presidential committee on security challenges in the North East Zone has identified security lapses, inter-service rivalry and lack of collaboration as factors that have encouraged the proliferation of security crises in the Northern part of the country. It also blamed the security breaches on high level of poverty, unemployment and other social ills. THE NIGERIAN OBSERVER is however of the considered opinion that serious security collaboration and intelligence sharing must be urgently evolved to arrest security breaches and this needs to go beyond the shores of the nation. The federal government must build inter-agency cooperation through diplomatic channels/pacts, and international intelligence to ensure that crime of whatever scale is nipped in the bud. MOST importantly, there is the overriding need to promptly move to demilitarize the Nigerian society and reduce the heavy influx of arms and ammunition in the country which have unfortunately gone into the wrong hands. TO this extent, the Customs and Immigration Services, in tandem with the Ministry of Interior should work round the

clock to protect the porous Nigerian borders. SOMETHING fundamental equally needs to be done to reduce, if not totally eliminate the existence of private militias that were established, funded and used by politicians and individuals who later dumped them after having been trained to handle arms. ALSO, the various security agencies, beside the need to be technologically equipped and funded to carry out their assigned tasks, would need to be restructured. The structure and duties of our security agencies must be revisited so as to ensure that each organ very well knows its specific roles and function, while the laws establishing these agencies must be made clear on who does what. THE government at all levels, particularly the federal government, urgently needs to carry out reforms in the security sub-sector to eliminate inertia created by inter-agency rivalry and react decisively to security threats with dispatch. ON their part, the citizens must cooperate with the security agencies by supplying them with prompt, useful and relevant information on likely security breaches. This can be facilitated by the existence of a wellcoordinated biometric database of Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike indicating where people live, their nature of jobs and background. This will assist in fishing out the bad eggs in the society. DECISIVE steps should be taken to cripple Boko Haram Sect and their operations as well as end their menacing reign. If anything, a safe, secure and peaceful environment is what the present democracy needs to be strengthened and sustained, as such the government and people of Nigeria cannot afford to leave this to the whims and caprices of miscreants.


World History

World War ll: Fragile Peace And Hitler’s

NAZI Germany’s attempt to win absolute power within Europe was the mainspring of the Second World War. It was, however, on a grander scale, the continuation of that process by which the national socialist had won power in Germany itself. Hitler took office on 30th January 1993 not as a dictator of Germany but as a head of a coalition government in which the Nazi’s held only three out of eleven ministerial posts. He very soon showed that it was the facade of legality, not the revolutionary character of the Nazi movement which was the sham. The first step was the decree suspending all guarantees of individual liberty on the excuse that the Reichstag fire on 27th February 1933 was in fact the sign for a communist rising. Goring placed in control of the Prussian police enrolled 40,000 of the Nazi’s strongarm hands, the SA and the SS, as police auxiliaries. This gave them a legal immunity which they used to the full to arrest and beat up political opponents and Jews. The election on 5th March failed to produce the majority the Nazis had hoped for but by eliminating the communist deputies (most of who were already in concentration camps) and pressuring the other parties, they obtained a clear vote for the so called enabling law (23th March 1993) which set aside the constitution and for four years empowered the chancellor, Hitler, to enact laws without parliamentary approval. In the next few months the Nazis proceeded to carry out a political ‘take over’ of Germany for which they coined the phrase Gleichschaltung, ‘co ordination’. Hitler’s own wish, however, to halt the revolution, at least for the time being, encountered opposition in the Nazi movement, particularly in the brown shirt SA. The SA was a genuine mass movement with strong radical and anticapitalist learning’s, attracted to all it all those dissatisfied elements in the party who felt they had been left out in the cold and who wanted no end to the revolution until they too had been provided for. Its chief of staff Ernest Rotim, was the most independent of the Nazi leaders, a man who, having started Hitler on his career in politics in Munich, was not at all afraid to speak his mind. Hitler, as his subsequent behavior showed, was distrustful of the generals and contemptuous of their conservatism as Rotim, but

in 1933 and 1934 he needed their support if he was to rebuild Germany’s military strength and more immediately if he was to secure the succession to Hindenburg as head of state as well as head of the government. On their side, the generals were determined to resist any attempt by Rotim to incorporates the SA in the army and take it over. The crisis reached it climax at the end of June 1934 when

Hitler suddenly ordered the liquidation of the SA leadership on the pretext that they were planning to putsch. The generals however were satisfied to see the threat from the SA removed and when President Hindenburg died on 2nd August, there was no delay in announcing Hitler’s succession as head of state, with the new tithe of Fuhre (leader) and Reich chancellor. The same day the officers and men of the German army took the oath of their new commander-in-chief, swearing allegiance not to the constitution or to the fatherland, but to Hitler personally. Hitler repudiated the so-called second revolution but he did so in such a radical way as to give no comfort at all to those who wanted to see the rule of law restored and a return to the conservative traditions of the German state. In contrast to the tumultuous days of 1932 and 1933 and the crisis atmosphere of the summer of 1934, the next three and a half years, 1934 through 1937, saw peace in Germany; no more elections no more purges. Due to this, the Nazis got field days to remodel the

Germany

German society. There were concentration camps in Germany from the beginning of the Nazi period, but the total number of prisoners at the beginning of the war was roughly 25,000 compared with ten times that number a few years later. Germany was very much opened to foreign correspondents and visitors.

nuns, the closing of churches,, the imprisonment of pastors and priests) but still stopping short of the sweeping measure which some of the party leaders wu1d have liked. After the summer of 1934, Hitler became lord and then to retain his desire for

Churches that made derogatory comments was attacked by the Nazis. This was an issue on which Hitler several times intervened personally to curb the zeal of those in the party who wished to push their hostility to the churches to the limit. Accordingly, Nazi practice towards the church was confused and inconsistent, marked by fundamental hostility in outlook and much petty local persecution (such as the expulsion of marks and

arbitrary rule he set confusion in motion to distor governance. Hence he had the chance to do as he willed. Before the Second World War the Naziss tried to establish a totalitarian system of government. In a speech on 6th November 1993, Hitler declared: “when an opponent says”, “I will not come over to your side”, I calmly say, “Your child belongs to us already. You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In

short time, they will know nothing else but this new community”. To make sure, a start was at once made on the nazification of the schools and universities. All teachers, from kindergarten to university, were compelled to join the national socialist teachers’ league and to teach what they were told to. German universities, once famous for their scientific research, now became the homes of racist science. Outside the schools. independent youth organizations (including those of the churches) were banned and all German boys and girls from the age of six were required to join the Hitler youth. To make Nazi propaganda doubly effective and a1low no independent voice to be heard, Goebbels was made minister of culture as well as propaganda. This gave him control over all the arts, literature and the cinemas, as well as the press. Nothing could be published without the consent of the propaganda ministry. A particular object for attack was anybody or anything Jewish. In 1935 the Nuremberg laws prohibited marriage or any form of sexual intercourse between Jews and German nationals. To this extent, a young polish Jew, the then German legation secretary in Paris, Ernst Vom Rath on the night of 9-10th November 1938. No Jew had any hope of protection by courts. The orders and actions of the Gestapo (Gehime staatspolizwei secret state police) were in any case not subject to the law. One of the significant dates was 17th June 1936, when the police was merged with the SS. Hitler could now control everything. Hitler repudiated the military restrictions of the treaty of Versailles, conscription and announced that the German army would be raised to peace-time strength of over half a million men. A year later (March

1936) German troops reoccupied the demilitarized Rhineland. It must be said that in abolishing the multiplicity of political parties, which had produced only a series of weak coalitions, and replacing them by a single strong government proclaiming national unity in contrast to sectional interests, the Nazis successfully appealed to the most deeply rooted political tradition in Germany, that of authoritarian government. Hitler attention was on foreign policy and rearmament. From the summer of 1936 the political balance in Europe moved shapely in Germany’s favor. The out break of the Spanish civil war gave Hitler the opportunity to proclaim with redoubled effect Germany’s role as the bulwark of Europe against Bolshevism. Italy quarrelling with the western powers over Abyssinia was drawn into the Berlin Rome axis. France, divided by the popular front and the Spanish civil war, no longer had the will to maintain the system of alliances built up to contain Germany. Great Britain was reluctant to face the possibility of another war. It has often been said that Hitler was an opportunist in foreign policy. This is perfectly true, so far as tactics were concerned: he did not proceed by any timetable or ‘blueprint of aggression’, but kept options open until the very last moments Hitler, however, was able to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the mistakes of others because he alone among the European leaders of the 1930’s knew what he wanted to achieve: the others only knew what they wanted to avoid. Hitler heralded the Nazi agenda in Mein Kampf: not simply the restoration of Germany’s 1914 frontiers but the conquest of living space (Lebensraum) in Eastern Europe from which the existing populations would he clear by force.

“Hitler attention was on foreign policy and rearmament. From the summer of 1936 the political balance in Europe moved shapely in Germany’s favor. The out break of the Spanish civil war gave Hitler the opportunity to proclaim with redoubled effect Germany’s role as the bulwark of Europe against Bolshevism. Italy quarrelling with the western powers over Abyssinia was drawn into the Berlin Rome axis. France, divided by the popular front and the Spanish civil war, no longer had the will to maintain the system of alliances built up to contain Germany. Great Britain was reluctant to face the possibility of another war.”


Labour Issues

Any Hope For The Future?

Incessant Labour Unrest: UNARGUABLY, 2013 has witnessed quite a number of industrial disputes, involving warnings and strikes by several labour unions. The five-monthold strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), which was recently called off, perhaps, represented the climax of industrial disputes during the year. Analysts opine that most industrial actions are often due to unresolved labour matters, which ought not to have been allowed to degenerate to a level that would disrupt the scheme of things. Specifically, the analysts note that some labour agitations also involve allegations regarding the refusal of one of the parties involved to stick to the terms of the agreement reached by the parties. They also observe that at times, workers threaten to go on strike to press for the payment of their entitlements such as allowances, which have been approved by the government. For instance, the Senior Staff Association of N i g e r i a n Universities (SSANU) once threatened to go on strike if the 2013

budget did not capture its members’ allowances. Mr. Chike Omeje, the National VicePresident of SSANU in the South East geopolitical zone, said that the allowances were part of the agreement which the union had with the Federal Government in 2009. Prior to that, the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) went on strike in a show of solidarity with ASUU, which had been on strike. Also in early 2013, the Joint Research and Allied Institutions Sector Unions (JORAISU) went on strike for four months. Other unions that embarked on strike in the outgoing year include the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), the NonAcademic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA). Besides, the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of N i g e r i a (PENGASSAN) and the National Union of E l e c t r i c i t y Employees (NUEE), among others, also

went on strike during the year. Mr. Dele Hunsu, the National President of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Union,

workers go on strike before they are given their right?’’ she asked. Nevertheless, Mr. Abdulwaheed Omar, the President of the

Chief Emeka Wogu, Hon. Minister of Labour & Productivity

stressed that the major industrial disputes in 2013 were fallout of the workers’ agreements with the government, which the government failed to honour. Sharing similar sentiments, Mrs. Ladi Illiya, the National President of NASU, underscored the need for the government to implement all the agreements it reached with workers so as to avoid industrial disputes. “You earn respect when you sign something and honour it; why must

Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), said that irrespective of the causes of i n d u s t r i a l disharmony, dialogue should be the ultimate method of resolving industrial crises.

He, nonetheless, said as long as the government failed to appreciate the dialogue option, strikes would always remain an alternative tool for pressing for the workers’ rights.

with labour leaders whenever issues regarding workers’ welfare arose, adding that the government should not wait until workers threatened to go on strike before deciding to act.

Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, President, Nigeria Labour Congress

Omar, however, underscored the need for the government to adopt pragmatic conflict-resolution mechanisms to avert workers’ strikes. He stressed that the government ought to be in constant touch

Mr. Ayuba Wabba, the National President of the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), attributed the lack of industrial harmony, particularly in the health sector, to the government’s apathy towards agreements.

“Analysts opine that most industrial actions are often due to unresolved labour matters, which ought not to have been allowed to degenerate to a level that would disrupt the scheme of things. Specifically, the analysts note that some labour agitations also involve allegations regarding the refusal of one of the parties involved to stick to the terms of the agreement reached by the parties.”


Economy

AFTER what could be described as a dispassionate appraisal of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, led federal government’s performance based on governance, the MO Ibrahim Index of African Governance delivered another damning verdict on Nigeria’s leadership recently. Using the principles of Safety and Rule of Law, Participation and Human Right, Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development as a paradigm, the MO Ibrahim Index for African Governance, IIAG, confirmed the country’s decline in governance. As a matter of fact, with a poverty rate of 62.6 percent (World Bank 2012) report in a population estimated at 160 million, unbridled corruption, absence of viable institutions, shambolic elections, Boko Haram’s insurgency, youth unemployment and failed leadership, IIAG said out of the fifty-two African countries rated, Nigeria occupied the forty-first position. Another proof of Nigerians dismal performance, according to the foundation, was that Nigeria was ranked thirteen out of sixteen countries in Africa. While stating that “Nigerian’s overall governance score has improved since 2000’, it declared that of more serious concern is the fact that the country’s ‘ranking has fallen by eight places”. For a country with rich human and natural resources, the verdict is a setback. More so, this is the second year in a row that the five million dollars leadership prize has gone unclaimed by Nigeria due to failed leadership. Invariably, Nigeria’s ranking is a manifestation

of misgovernance, poverty, pervasive corruption, economic mismanagement, human rights abuse, insecurity of lives and property and social injustice being perpetuated by the political elite against the less privileged. The IIAG Report, coming three months after the Transparency International, TI, had rated Nigeria the tenth most corrupt nation in the world, is a major setback for the transformation agenda for President Goodluck Jonathan. But the president had objected to the rating during a recent media chat. He said the level of corruption in Nigeria has been exaggerated by the media. Critics have, however, argued that defense cannot adequately make up for the obvious dismal performance of government in critical sectors of economy. Unfortunately, each time the government got a knock for a poor performance in any sector, its spin doctors and agents are quick to dispel it by presenting boisterous data of improved economy. Piqued at the conflicting signals emanating from Nigeria’s leadership failure, a Former Minister of Education and World Bank Vice-President, Dr. (Mrs.) Oby Ezekwesili decried a situation where as the sixth largest producer of oil in the world, Nigeria is unable to translate the huge earnings from oil to the improvement of her citizens, due to the poor governance by our political elite over the many decades since its discovery. According to her, “the poor governance or its more virulent manifestation, public

Nigeria’s Dismal Rating In Good Governance corruption, is of course the fundamental reason for Nigeria’s poor economic performance despite our globally acknowledge economic potentials to have become, not just one of the largest economies of the world, but in fact, one of the most prosperous of those countries”.

BY AKPESIRI OGHENERHABOKE Stella Oduah’s role in the financial scandal which rocked the aviation industry recently. It was discovered that the incumbent aviation minister allegedly has two bulletproof BMW cars for official use purchased at

Dr (Mrs.) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Minister of Finance The same trend has gradually crept into the judiciary where some judges and magistrates have become so shamelessly corrupt and obscenely compromised to the ridiculous extent that justice is now for the highest bidder. By the end of the year, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had initiated the prosecution of thirty cases related to the controversial subsidy scam. A situation made worse by the Presidency’s alleged bogging down of

the cost of one point six million dollars (about 225 million naira), yet for over six months running, public university lecturers were on strike nationwide over a pay and funding dispute. As corruption gets worse in Nigeria, the other statistics on the President Goodluck Jonathan administrations performance in health, the economy and security are equally depressing. According to the T r a n s p a r e n c y International, TI, Nigeria ranked 139 out of 176

countries in its 2012 Corruption Perception Index, CPI. A public affairs analyst, Mr. Bernard Briggs lamented that although the law provides criminal penalties for official corruption, government has failed to prosecute oil marketers who stole about two trillion naira of subsidy funds in 2011. He averred that the Jonathan administration lacks the will to tackle corruption while “there is wide spread perception that judges were easily bribed and litigants can no longer rely on the courts to render impartial judgments. Nigerians encounter long delays and bribe demands by judicial officials to expedite trials or obtain favourable rulings. Briggs also recalled the 32.8 billion naira Police Pension Fund Scam. Six people were arraigned, including a director at the Police Pension Office, Atiku Kigo, who later became Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Niger Delta. Other corruption cases, which are dragging in the court for lack of diligence prosecution, involves many highly placed citizens Similarly, good governance cannot be achieved where a leader refuses to follow the due process and uphold the rule of law in his dealings within his immediate family, community, political party and the nation at large. Nigerian leaders have continued to violate human rights with

“Piqued at the conflicting signals emanating from Nigeria’s leadership failure, a Former Minister of Education and World Bank Vice-President, Dr. (Mrs.) Oby Ezekwesili decried a situation where as the sixth largest producer of oil in the world, Nigeria is unable to translate the huge earnings from oil to the improvement of her citizens, due to the poor governance by our political elite over the many decades since its discovery”.

impunity, believing that the world is not monitoring their actions. A human right activist, Comrade Harry Odogwu cited the ordeal of governor Rotimi Amaechi in the hands of President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife. He said the First Family is bent on removing the governor of Rivers state from office to pave the way for their surrogates to take over power in the state. What is more! The Boko Haram insurgents killing innocent Nigerians sensessly in the North on religious grouse, the unwholesome activities of kidnappers and other felons wreaking havoc on oil installations in the Niger Delta and in other southern states, are signals that Nigeria is currently at sea. As the Fund for Peace, an NGO, reported, Nigeria is worse than Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen and Zimbabwe, and is the fourteenth nation most likely to fail out of 177 countries ranked in the 2012 Failed States Index. With a defining general election imminent in 2015, the warning by a United States think tank that Nigeria could break up that year cannot be far wide of the mark. Sadly, the country’s ruling political elite has refused to fundamentally correct these anomalies in the system. But more than all this, the Nigerian people have a great role to play by holding the political class accountable. The people must jettison their docile attitude to governance. This is what the political class is exploiting to perpetuate corrupt practices. The people must queue behind the civil society groups in pressurizing government and demanding performance and accountability from public office holder.


Focus

THE proposed national conference is needful if it is purpose-driven, to get us out of the wood irrevocably. The nation has huge potential but lamentably, unrealized potential negligent drain of collosal fortune which is in the offing, can be averted by re-engineering a common destiny, collective aspiration and best practice in neighborkeeping social obligation, engaging the conference as the needed tool. Marriage thrives and blossoms where there is unhindered flow of communication. Communication provides a vent to diffuse bottled up mutual hostility and antagonism that culminates often in vengeance. If the mutual suspicion that is nursed against one another is not deliberately deflated, it will eventually burst to expose unpleasant consequences. Dialoging is a potent natural mechanism for selfrepositioning to maximize inherent potentials. A pre-condition for development and growth is the disrobing of self of inhibitions and odd practices that shackles destiny to poverty and pain, shame and reproach, ignorance and squalor and indeed to anything that is antagonistic to dignity and welfare. Attitude is a chief destiny postmaster and where we are now was bargained for by our content of attitude and whichever height we aspire to attain is achievable if attitude

endorsement is secured. Also it is important that we refrain from coloring the imminent confab with verbal venoms. Is it not ironic that while some countries are aggressively promoting artificial diversity with alluring packages to massively woo immigrant in- flow with their diversities of culture, we with a natural assemblage of multiplicity of ethnicity and associated plurality of cultural colors, uncommon natural mix, see diversity as an ill fate? It is perception that is colored with negatives that is a bad omen. Our perception and therefore approach to the confab will determine if it will yield the harvest of fortune as it ought to be or otherwise. Our major problem is rooted to the painful absence of positive mental attitude. It cripples perception, deform thought life, imbue woods with venom and make mischievous, inter personal relation to demobilize progress to our destiny place. High capacity of lying, for instance is a foremost odd mechanic tool that radically turn the wheel of program retrogressively. As we approach the conference, evolving a positive perception and cultivating a perfect distaste for lying are the twin tool that will fabricate a common destiny and restore hope. We have dashed hope negligently in the past

Success Approac

and as we attempt now to recreate our hope, sincerity, integrity and best neighbor keeping practice should command our appeal. If the confab can guarantee reinventing the hope and quality life that have eluded us this one hundred years as a nation, then the drums should be rolled out glamorously in an African way. Ordinarily, there is no reason whatsoever to celebrate the centenary. Celebrating failure is an odd practice that will continue to chain a people to unending harvest of failure. Are we celebrating the failure to repel in one hundred years, mosquitoes invasion that inflicts casualties of infant and material deaths in the magnitude of a war time record with adult-led and adult –focused society delightsomely watching as spectators? What are we celebrating? Are we celebrating the failure in stopping mother to child transmission of AIDS/ HIV that ranks us as the highest worldwide or is it failure to provide shelter that the figure of per room occupancy is one of the highest congesting worldwide? Are we celebrating the failure of welfare upgrade that place over sixty percent of Nigerians on poverty income of one dollar per day though rich in oil, mineral and climate? Are we celebrating the failure to guarantee

when monetized will keep the entire world wailing and lamenting waste culture, utter disregard for human life and man’s inhumanity to self. A

pursuit has brought us to this mess. If the driving force of the confab is genuinely to rescue us from destiny shipwreck than we should roll out the drums to entertain our self for assured destiny security.

the cen pro par bor on suc inv

cosmetic approach to solving our national problem will not take us off failure pathway. Here again, we are refusing to tell the truth even as vital as its rewards are. If for instance we enforce lying reduction techniques we will be sowing our national problems by more than fifty percent by this singular effort alone. Our solutions can be discovered on a dialogue table that is approached not with ethnic chauvinism or ethnocentrism but with all-inclusive disposition to fashion out a common destiny. Ethnic champion

If the past was made ugly by perverted value system, the out going generation should bequeath to the in-coming generation best practices in neighbour-keeping social obligation otherwise their destiny will similarly be shackled to the foot of the mountain. Entangling the next generation to ill-fate is not joy-eliciting. The emerging purposecenteredness and communality will facilitate the hasty realization of vision 2020 and Millennium Development Goals. They should disband

con inv nei ob eno par pal en des T eve han unr of eco by tim de De fro for pro

By ALBERT IGIEBOR freedom of choice in an electoral process, the power of democracy that has been usurped by very few to misdirect the destinies of the majority for pecuniary gains, a portrayal of adult delinquency? Are we celebrating the failure to beef up energy supply that makes our per capital consumption of electricity kilowatt ridiculously low? Are we celebrating lamentable high lying prevalent rate, the sole tool that is employed to prosecute mutual destiny cannibalization or corruption particularly the destiny of the led by the leader? Are we celebrating the failure to engineer cohesion and collective aspiration that now give allowance for mutual distrust and mutual hostility despite our hundred years as a nation or we are celebrating the failure to match our quality of life with the quality of life that our natural resources have promised us? It is a failure mentality to hastily score yourself handsomely without doing input and output analysis. Every person is getting result but it is not every person that is a success in leadership because some results are not commensurate with resources in-flow. The inexhaustible catalogue of failure,

“Marriage thrives and blossoms where there is unhindered flow of communication. Communication provides a vent to diffuse bottled up mutual hostility and antagonism that culminates often in vengeance. If the mutual suspicion that is nursed against one another is not deliberately deflated, it will eventually burst to expose unpleasant consequences. Dialoging is a potent natural mechanism for self-repositioning to maximize inherent potentials.”


Focus

ch To National Dialogue

e intent to celebrate the ntenary, a very ovocative attempt rticularly to the new rn that are victim of e hundred years of ccessful mosquitoes vasion except the

nfab will be used to vent best practices in ighbor –keeping social ligation. Our hope is ormous but our fingers rticular in political laces should be safe ough for neighbor’s stiny security. The United Nation is not en lending a helping nd by its continued and redefined classification nation not only by onomic status but also their aspirations. It is me for United Nations to lineate Refused to evelop Nation (RDC) om developing nations r deliberate refusal to ovide destiny security

service to her people inspite of enormous potentials. This relegation will obviously be motivational as against dressing a nation in borrowed robes that is detrimental. Truth sets free.

It is self deceit to pretend or assume that a dialogue is not necessary and urgent when cracks are evident in a family tie. Converging provides a rare opportunity to empty the rot inward for one another to examine though it may be putrefying. If we again fall to cleanse the mess inward, it will haunt us intermittently as fire spewed from a volcano perhaps with amplified severity. We must stoop, tarry at the family table to conquer mutual animosity. It is not wrong to be angry but it is wrong not to forgive and

reconcile. This is not the age of brawn but of brain, of reasoning together with conscious empathy, imagining if you where the one receiving the hurting impact being generated. This is the

time for leaders to cease to cheat the led, elders to cease to cheat the youth, male to cease to cheat female, able to cease to cheat the disable and majority tribes cease to cheat minority tribes. Neighbor-keeping is a self-help lifestyle and

“Mr. President, His Excellency, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has perisciped into tomorrow to right –size the joy that is set ahead of us. He is providing the dialogue workshop to repair the wrong and fabricate a purpose-ruled and all-participatory nation. We should agree with Mr. President that our choice also is to smoke the pipe of peace, of progress and of opportunities together”. discussion should be woven around it if we have truly resolved to reconstruct a new nation. The usurpation of political power at whatever level of governance to oppress the people is a barbaric practice that we should cease to import into information age from primitive age. This age thrives on information, shared information on a dialogue table for mutual destiny development. Giving liberty to our mind to roam arrogantly in the distant past with intent to import contraband products and values while we are here, physically in I n f o r m a t i o n Communication Technology age, robs us of competitive thinking, innovation, role play, selfreliance and inventiveness. Think out. Poor thinking makes us consumption keen, a handicap in inventiveness and solution discovery. We have the capacity to think out solution that will

amaze our world if only we can beef up neighborkeeping practices. It is only when we stop looking backward that we will stop going backward but rather go on talent or potential-assigned destiny lane where harvest of fortune and fame await us as our inheritance. However, this luxurious bargain must be attitudeendorsed. Mr. President, His Excellency, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has perisciped into tomorrow to right –size the joy that is set ahead of us. He is providing the dialogue workshop to repair the wrong and fabricate a purpose-ruled and allparticipatory nation. We should agree with Mr. President that our choice also is to smoke the pipe of peace, of progress and of opportunities together. Every temptation of conference delegates to contemplate the engagement of the bicep in place of mental wealth application, compromised and camaraderie should

be caged out of influence. Also ethnocentricism, the projection of own tribe as superior to any other tribe should give way for common interests to have their right of way. Abhor the urge to transfer undue pursuits of ethnic interests in national discourse. This will make way for the emergence of the longelusive common hero culture that will promote patriotism. The confab is the last step in our wilderness experience as a nation. The door to a land of o v e r f l o w i n g opportunities, a land of milk to fatten our destinies and of honey to sweeten our appetite has been opened ajar by Mr. President. Let us as conference delegates, and citizenry sustain the open door to usher us into the land of hope, a brand New Nigeria. Let us endorse at the confab our potentialassigned abundance and quality living. Team up as we take the bold step into the other side of the wilderness, a fruitful land.

“It is self deceit to pretend or assume that a dialogue is not necessary and urgent when cracks are evident in a family tie. Converging provides a rare opportunity to empty the rot inward for one another to examine though it may be putrefying. If we again fall to cleanse the mess inward, it will haunt us intermittently as fire spewed from a volcano perhaps with amplified severity. We must stoop, tarry at the family table to conquer mutual animosity.”


Viewpoint

PEOPLE all over the universe have great expectation of one thing or the other. For this primary reason, an individual work without ceasing for the fulfillment of this dream. It is believed that the fulfillment of one’s aspiration is the vista to joy which every human being desires as an ultimate goal. Human dreams are numerous and their expectations are uncountable. The desire to acquire money to educate one’s siblings, or to better the living standard of one’s family. Very often, man puts all his talents and energy in the drive for this laudable set goals with undaunted optimism that in the nearest future, his dreams would became a reality. So, in order to eke out a living, it is not a surprise these days to see some of our follow Nigerians in their own fatherland becoming

Lebanese Slave Labour slaves to Lebanese. HlTES Road Construction Companies, plastic cups and plastics etc. On the 24th April, 2012, there was picketing by workers of HI-TEC labourers in Benin whose grouse was to bring to the fore the nonchalant attitude of their employers in implementing the policies of construction workers across the country. Their argument was that, construction companies policies stipulates that labourers who have put in at least three months of service should be given appointment letters and not to remain as permanent casual workers. Some of these casual workers have put in at least one year in service and not treated like their colleagues imported from

By EKAIWE IGINUA OSEMWEKHA.

Lebanon. In about half a decade back, I wrote a similar article about Lebanese slave labour concerning the maltreatment molted out on our fellow Nigerians at a plastic cups and plates manufacturing company in Benin. Their reaction then was to run around the Nigerian Observer company to desist from further publication of the article. But I thought they would change their attitude for the better. In this article, 1 work about the story of a young man who complained that some unqualified Lebanese who were imported from Lebanon for training by the company staff as

technicians in various fields ranging from mechanical, electrical to welding and plumbing, etc. and no sooner they had acquired the basic skills than they would be made to boss the different sections of the industry to the detriment of those Nigerians who trained them. A Nigerian worker for instance who is absent for one day due to illhealth will not be paid for two days. A faulty machine could also result in non payment of salaries. A low production down to NEPA could also result in no payment of salaries for Nigerians for that day. It is like flogging a dead horse if a Nigerian worker demand for salary advance for genuine reason. Conversely, Lebanese workers are treated as primus enterprise and therefore are entitled to all the above mentioned benefits and flight tickets are made available for them to visit Lebanon during holidays. Their oppression had come to a climax when they now publicly insult Nigerian workers and their parents for any flimsy mistakes on the job. Mr. Lawrence Odigie who said that he was neatly hacked to death because of a malfunctioning in a machine in a plastic industry in Benin City is allying witness.. This Lebanon chief could not be said to be frustrated but rather hostile and mismanaging the human and material resources at his disposal which are not

easy to come by in his country. This type of inhuman treatment molted out on our follow Nigerians by those Lebanese illegal immigrants have reached an unprecedented proportion in the light of rising unemployment for indigenous road construction companies. Another staff, Mr. Okpara who was a victim of the plastic industrial accident said that whenever there was cases of industrial accident involving Nigerians, the management usually treat them with levity. As long as it does not affect a Lebanese national there is nothing to loose. Some of the victims of industrial accidents whose fingers were completely removed by machines were seeking redress by court to press home for their right to be compensated. But with the Nigerians factor of dog cat dog society. Justice might not be in their favour because they lack the funds to vigorously pursue their cases. Some other group of workers who will like to remain anonymous for fear of being sacked said that the industry had very poor ventilation and therefore is creating an unconducive atmosphere for workers. As a result, the atmosphere which is about the times higher than the normal body temperature of about 98.46 creates body reaches and the management did not make any provision for the health hazards occasioned by this obvious challenges. Mr. Odo who visit home

from London said that for thirty years he lived in Britain, Lebanese and Asians are not regarded as white people. They are coloured people just like Africans. Even the way they comport themselves will attest to a great disparity between the white men and Lebanese. Odo stated that in England any director of a company who treats his workers like slaves will be severely sanctioned by workers’ union in the court of law. Human right activists will also take their turn to deal ruthlessly with such culprits. So, no director whether whites or Lebanese tries to do any such funny things in civilians society and get away with it. He added that those behind those unscrupulous elements in our society are some unpatriotic Nigerians who do cover up for those Asians to manipulate the aggregate demand for equity and accountability. During my course of study in the U.K. in the 1980s, I discovered that about 99% of butchers were Lebanese because of their strong appetite for goat meat. So, “goat trip” intestines that were supposed to be buried will be sold secretly to Nigerians. So, I was passing by Brixion market, one of them called me into the room and said; “Do you want goat trip”? take all for 50 pones. I told him that if he insisted on my buying goat intestine, I will call the police. So, he quickly withdrew his demand. Against the inhuman treatment on our follow Nigerians, they should be deported to their country of origin.

“This type of inhuman treatment molted out on our follow Nigerians by those Lebanese illegal immigrants have reached an unprecedented proportion in the light of rising unemployment for indigenous road construction companies.”


Opinion

IT is increasingly becoming disturbing the way people who by all standard and ramification stand for the truth suddenly find themselves six feet below the soil. It is equally more shocking and embarrassing as people too take “solace” in God, leaving the questions they supposed to ask and take corresponding actions against such people who take delight in taking innocent lives - just for any God damned sake, or Godforsaken reason. This is because, nobody has that right except the almighty who gives and takes life at his will for reasons best known to him. That nobody born of a woman on this planet could ask him why! This Festus Iyayi’s death and others that one has witnessed or heard about can be very disgusting and unreasonable. The intractable, prolonged imbroglio between ASUU and FG which eventually led to the death of the late professor and Head of business Administration, UNIBEN can be regarded as a death too much and too many in the annals of unfortunate losses of innocent souls by people believed to be government apparatus. It has become a normal issue for people who stand up for their rights and the rights of other people, equality, justice and egalitarian society to suddenly embark on a journey of no return! It has become equally pathetic too for we Nigerians to be looking like dunces leaving everything for God and

quickly preparing for the burials of these heroes. We know all of us cannot be the same. The blood that runs in the veins of every individual is quite different from each other. But that is not to say that whenever and for whatever reasons terrible incidents happen in this way, we turn our eyes the other way and be looking for an easy way. The reason that made this

What Is The Cause Of Festus Iyayi’s Death? BY ABAYOMI SHOYOMBO

death of a single person we might say but it’s like a program in the war, a colossal loss that cannot be replaced. I am equally

wards to go to school proper; and the need to enjoy good infrastructures on their campuses, teachers changing their

embittered about a phenomenon of some people whether in government or as an individual or group of individual, to be snuffing lives out of our patriot either directly or indirectly. The late Festus Iyayi died as a “sacrificial Lamb” for peace to reign, for me and your own

attitudes and orientations in the teaching of these children and eventually raising the standard of education high in the country. We were made to understand that the brain waved drivers who serve as convoys to Kogi State Governor in person of Dr. Idris Ichalla Wada went out of the way or lane to

Late Prof. Festus Iyayi writer to be agitative is that we cannot continue to parry dirty things under our rug. One day, those who made positive change impossible would eventually settles for a negative change when the time comes. I consider the death of late Professor Festus Iyayi as uncalled for though a

“The mysterious circumstances and the signs and marks on the late professor revealed to a greater extent how far the state apparatus went to make sure that Iyayi remains no more.”

have an head-on collision with the vehicle late Professor Festus Iyayi was inside. In a dramatic turn of event it was feigned to be an accident even though things that showed glaringly on the body of Festus Iyayi surpassed the injuries sustained by others with him in the vehicle. He died for the struggle. If he had an inkling of what befell him, he wouldn’t have been in the fore front of seeing that ASUU and FG reach a conclusive agreement. The mysterious circumstances and the signs and marks on the late professor revealed to a greater extent how far the state apparatus went to make sure that Iyayi remains no more. The questions now are: if the story is anything to go by, what happened to the other two or three persons that were with him on that fateful day? Did the other woman said to be with him in the vehicle sustained on her bodies injuries especially big holes as it was on late Festus Iyayi’s body before she gave up the ghost? What account had been given and investigated by the authority concerning the other man about what he experienced during the accident to justify the kind of injuries he saw on the body of the late professor. All these pertinent question are begging for answers. Though there have been cases of state ki1ling’ as something else just like the letter bomb sent to former national concord and NEWS WATCH C O M M U N I C AT I O N , Late Mr. Dele Giwa supposedly addressed to him front “C-in-C” as it is being written on the envelope given to him while having breakfast that morning. This happened during the ‘evil genius” era of former head of state, General

Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, what of the alleged killing of the wife of the late business mogul, sport enthusiast philanthropist, chief M.K.O. Abiola by an Army officer called sergeant Rogers purported to have been sent by the military officer Major AlMustapha who was just special Assistant but who by his works deeds and action then was a general’s general. Like General Oladipo Diya, General Olanrewaju, etc to mention a few just as if he was the second in command to Late General Sani Abacha, who had a taste of some retired generals. His larger than life attitude as if there was no tomorrow believing that his Oga then would remain in that position permanently. The circumstances that led to the death of chief M.K.O. Abiola readily comes to mind here too. He was said to have taken tea at the Aso Rock Villa prepared for him in the presence of late Mike Akhigbe, General Abdusalam Abubakar and U.S. Secretary of state, Miss Constantance Rice and former U.S Military hence man and defence and security officer, Collins Powell as foreign Observers mediating so to say, in order to find a way to resolve the political logjam. Alliance for democracy and front liner of NADECO chief Alfred Rewane was assassinated in his bedroom by unknown gunmen in which up till today no mention has been made of suspected murderers. What of the apo 6 killings? The murder of the personal secretary to the present government of Edo State, under Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who was also killed by assassins, the incident yet, to be unraveled up till now!

Continued on pg. 20


Continued from pg. 19 We can go on and on mentioning the incidences of these dastardly acts of curse and unfortunately too, the hotter the news immediately it occurs the cooler it becomes immediately after wards. These are cases of murders too many! The security apparatus who are expected to do the investigation to the last and met out punishment to these criminals would be making propaganda out of the issue. Eventually you will see that the case would be swept under the carpet and nobody dare refers to it or make reference as to who and who on the government circle committed the offence. Where do we go from here? State apparatus of the government and security agencies especially the police carry out investigation thoroughly to the core when they really want to or committed or determined or government person or one of their own is killed or affected. We can to some extent attribute this hypocrisy and lack of truth on the bedrock of inconsistency.

Opinion ..... Cause Of Festus Iyayi’s Death? The constant raising its ugly head, the hydra headed virus called Boko Haram can be adduced to this inconsistency on their part. The raison de’tre why Boko Haram is what it is today. Instead of being proactive they tend to relax and deem it unfit or unnecessary to always change their strategies at every given opportunity. We can’t afford to be losing our great men and brains to the great beyond because of any unscrupulous and misguided cocoon or yam heads who knows next to nothing than trigger happy or derive joy in shedding the blood of innocent souls or potential material in every form of human capital and resources just by a slip of hand. It is worrisome that in this part of the world we have come to accept or imbibe with abandon recklessness, careless deaths either through plane crash, insurgency, kidnapping, assassination, armed robbery, and road mishaps etc. Like I have mentioned

and continue to say, one life lost is equal to thousands or millions lost in a program. Times without number, innocent blood has been shed, and this is against the law of our Almighty God. If really as a religious

country, we truly believe in God, people who take or derive joy seeing others cry, suffer or die should not only remember the day of reckoning when everybody would appear before the lord but also have to give account of

Late Prof. Festus Iyayi

what they did and equal punishment meted on such persons. Even some schools of thought believe that it is from this earth that the consequence of sin begins from the first generation to the last generation if they

refused to seek the good eyes of the lord. Though late professor Festus Iyayi is dead, his works, legacies, struggles lingers on. I pray any ask that God in his infinite mercies and benevolence will see his family through all vicissitudes for them to have the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss. The missing factor of professor Festus, Iyayi cannot be over emphasized. Now that the impasse between ASUU and FG has come to an end, it should be a case of no victor, no vanquished. No lecturer should be victimized for the action taken and not taken. All the stakeholders must come together and make sure that our educational standard is rescued beyond the expectation or wild imagination of the onlookers.

“It is worrisome that in this part of the world we have come to accept or imbibe with abandon recklessness, careless deaths either through plane crash, insurgency, kidnapping, assassination, armed robbery, and road mishaps etc.”

Paliative Measures For ASUU Strike I am neither a politician nor a journalist but a mere concerned citizen. The recently called off strike by ASSU is one too many. The incessant strike by ASUU is becoming very worrisome for me and other well meaning Nigerians. This is not the time to blame government or ASUU for the strike but time to find a lasting solution to the problems. Nigerians must be educated to develop the ability of nostrike action resolution. There is no problem without a solution unless the solution has not been found. The solution to ASUU Strike is nothing but continuous dialogue between the stakeholders until a compromise is reached. Government and ASUU must never ever allow whatever situation to degenerate into strike action. It is a well known adage “When two elephants fight the grass suffers”. The students bear the brunt whenever there is an ASUU strike. The incessant strike by ASUU could lead to a fall in education standards. The importance of education can not be over emphasized. In our time said Earl Warren ‘Education is perhaps the most important function of state and local government. Compulsory school attendance laws and the great expenditure for education both demonstrate our recognition of the importance of education to our democratic society. It is required in the performance of our basic public responsibility even in the armed forces. It is the very foundation of good citizenship. ‘Undoubtedly he said, the opportunity for education is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms” A scientist without literary education is no scientist. Education makes people easy to lead but difficult to drive, easy to govern but impossible to enslave - Henry Peter Brougham.

By FOSTER A. OSAGIEDE OGBORO

The ASUU strike, resulted in the indefinite closure of our tertiary institutions which should not be. The tertiary institution is like the hen that lays the golden egg and should therefore never be left unattended to. As a palliative for the incessant ASUU strike, it would be ideal for the ministry

Comrade Issa Fagee, Chairman of ASUU

of education to establish an education funding lotto to augment the national budget allocation for education. This proposition if approved and implemented will go a long way to solving the financial problems which had plagued our universities over the years. In order to establish the lotto, the relevant authority (ministry of education) must first get registered with the Lotto Regulatory Body of Nigeria. The lotto shall be christened “Novelty Lotto”. Here is the mathematical calculations of the lotto based on assumption Population of Nigeria = 5O million 75m lotto tickets at N200 each = NI5,000,000,000.00 Disbursement of the lotto sale Education funding = 14,000,000,000.00 Lotto expenses = 250,000,000.00 Savings from ticket sales = 650,000,000.00 1st prize = 20,000,00000 2nd prize = 12,000,000.00 3rd prize = 8,000,000.00 60,000 consolation prizes N1,000.00 each = 60,000,000.00 Total = 15,000,000,000.00 The resultant benefits From the lotto are: I. It will provide funds to augment university education funding. 2. It will create jobs 3. It will produce millionaire and millionaires. 4. It will generate savings. The commencement and draw dates of the lotto shall be determined by the organizers.


Archival Matters

Sound Tracks For 2014

WHAT is the outlook for 2014? Methinks, it won’t be rosy at all. Nigeria will face more crossover social, religious, economic, energy, medical, transport and cultural crises. Just name the problem, it would rear its head with more consummate ugliness. Don’t forget, too, 2015, is around the corner. There will be more politricking, hence, more crises for Nigeria. Well, we can still roll back our crises if we seek God’s wisdom in musicians with which to move in the appropriate direction. This explains why, today, I want Nigerians to listen to some sound tracks of our musicians. They contain a lot of messianic messages for those of us who are not deaf and are still willing to listen to good advice. Bongus Ikwue: In his lyrics, he informs us of the need to seek out solitude in nature whenever you have a crisis in your hand because you need some quietitude to solve it. if possible, go out there to sit on the beach. Then, start mediating on what the future holds in stock for you or else the crisis in your life may it asunder. While on the beach, continue to search for a way out of the crisis. Never get tired of still searching for a solution until it comes. Furthermore, Bongus Ikwue cautions that in searching for a crisis breaker, be realistic. He gave this advice because life has taught him that man loves to chase shadows in his thinking. That is why man often searches for a virgin in a maternity ward and will tell you he has seen a river that never flows! Finally, Bongus Ikwue tells us to work hard and pray well. Thereafter, we should allow providence to do the rest for us. After all,

times. Hear General Bolivia: “Let us all stop the monetisation of life which has led to pricing commodities out of the reach of the common man. Imagine only a few can afford to be sick since medical bills have gone through the roof”.

tomorrow and the support walking sticks of parents at old age. Yes, General Bolivia gives musical elucidation to the biblical message that we should teach our children the way to go so that they grow up to be assets, not liabilities to us later in life. Lest I forget, General Bolivia also lambasted fraudsters for their evil

General Bolivia is not done yet. Still, he advises us to know that in life there are always red lines and no-go areas in all unions of friendship, communalism and nationalism. Therefore, he states: “Never search a native doctor’s pockets no matter how close is your relationship with him”. Also, he pleads with the world to take care of their children because they are the futuristic gains of

ways. He warns them: “Repent now. Because fraud won’t take you anywhere. See, a house built with fraud is a paper house. It will come tumbling down sooner than you expect. Fraudsters have a short lifespan”. Still, General Bolivia tells us to be wary of jumping into life projects without proper assessment of their challenges. King Benjy Igbadumhe is a pioneer product of General

By MICHAEL ODIGBE

he sings: “what gonna be, gonna be”. True talk. What goes up, must come down!! Chief sally Young/Jim Reeves/St. Augustine: Do you want to own a bank alone, acquire all the houses in Lekki in Lagos or buy off all the exotic cars in the world? Yes, do you have a crooked mindset and fingers with which you are looting our public or moral treasury? Here are somber advice from the sound tracks of Chief Sally Young, Jim Reeves and St. Augustine for you. First, enter Sally Young. He educates that we are mere passengers on an earthly journey through life. So, why do we lust after trite, material things that are mortal. To illustrate his point, he asks: “Despite all the wealth Abubakar Tafawa Balewa….Chief Okotie-Oboh paraded, didn’t they die? And when they died, did they take the world and their wealth along with them? “No, of course. Jim Reeves, on his part, collaborates Sally Young’s musical testimony. Reeves tells us this world, which we gloat after, is not our home. God owns it and He has decreed that the earth is a mere transit point for us to another world in the hereafter, maybe hell or heaven, take your pick. How about St. Augustine? In one of his hit sound track, he croons: “ASHAWO NO BE WORK-OO. Na Managey Mento”. Abi nawork? If it is, then, go and fill a tax form. General Bolivia/Benji Igbadumhe/Stephen Osadebe: These are three greats in music. Although, General Bolivia is dead, his Ekhue music lives on. In it, you find a lot of counsel all of us need in these dreary

“ General Bolivia is not done yet. Still, he advises us to know that in life there are always red lines and no-go areas in all unions of friendship, communalism and nationalism. Therefore, he states: “Never search a native doctor’s pockets no matter how close is your relationship with him”. Also, he pleads with the world to take care of their children because they are the futuristic gains of tomorrow and the support walking sticks of parents at old age. Yes, General Bolivia gives musical elucidation to the biblical message that we should teach our children the way to go so that they grow up to be assets, not liabilities to us later in life.”

Bolivia’s University of Music, Ogbona. In one of his several sweet lyrics, Benjy Igbadumhe calls on us to learn to harness the “Little sense” God has given us to achieve greatness. It is no use seeking delusive fetish powers from our so-called native doctors who have now joined some pastors

and mallams to mock God. Infact, he counsels: “Let us fear God”. In addition, Benjy Igbadumhe enjoins us to learn to be empathic about our neighbour ’s social conditions. Listen to him: “Imagine. I am not carrying a stone; yet a heavy weight is crushing my head. Later, I have a pad on my head. Yet, the stone I am now carrying in inflicting serious pain on my pate. If this is so, then the man out there carrying a stone on his bare head must be in agony”. What a parabolic statement”. Are our politicians, local government chairmen, governors, lawmakers, president, private employers of labour and bourgeoisies listening? Are they aware the masses are suffering, eh? Chief Osita Osadebey!! Great high life maestro. He

released so many hit tracks before he passed on to glory. In one of them, he criticizes people for forgetting their poor roots. He does so by recounting the anecdote of a big man who refuses to greet people or answer the greetings of others anymore after making it to the top. Yet not too long ago, he drank mouldy gari once a day and to borrow Dolly Parton’s phraseology, he used to wear “coats of many colours”. Much more, Chief Osita Osadebey instructs us with his track OSUNDI OWENDI to avoid the dictatorship of opinion, culture, politics and religion because what you like is not what I cherish. He never read sociology, but he lectured all of us well on the relativism theory of life’s sustainability. Miscellaneous Messages: Eric Donaldson, the Jamaican musician, disagrees with Samuel Johnson (April 1775) that “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”. So, Eric Donaldson signs that he is pleased to be a Jamaican. He celebrates Jamaica the land of his birth, vowing that he will never leave its shores for another country’s nationality. Remember the musician Onyeka Onwenu too she preaches a message of ONE LOVE in togetherness. Then, Andy Shurman cries himself out on the political imperative of saving the masses in one of his musical tracks. He wonders aloud: “See the masses crying and gnashing their teeth….Dying without food to eat…Isn’t it wrong to leave them to die, oh Jah people, in the midst of all our several millionaires and billionaires….?” Last Card: Behold, these are some of the sound tracks of great musicians all of us need for healing our ailing souls, minds and bodies today as 2014 stares at us with blood-shot eyes. The sound tracks are my free gifts for the year. Because like Gilbert Holland, I and am yet to find messiahs in Nigeria who don’t lust after office; who have honourand don’t lie, who live above the fog, and who can stand before our demagogues damn their treacherous flatteries without winking. A word is enough for the wise!


Education

Using Language As Instrument Of National Identity

BEATRICE Ejiogu is a 400 level university student. She had her primary and secondary education in South Africa before she returned to Nigeria for her university education. Both of her parents are of the Igbo stock, but Beatrice is unable to speak the language. It was always a problem for her to interact with her grand-parents each time she visits her home town. Beatrice’s inability to speak Igbo is due to her parents’adoption of English as the language of communication for her and her siblings. Her return to Nigeria did not help matters, as her daily interaction with her peers and fellow students is in English. Beatrice’s case is a common finding among many Nigerians, especially the youth, who find it difficult to communicate in their mother tongues. Language experts opine that while the “old brigade Nigerian” are fluent in their mother tongues as well as in their adopted languages including English, the younger generation of Nigerians seem not to be interested in their indigenous languages. The declining interest in indigenous languages among the youth, experts say, is a global concern that is becoming worrisome. Former South African President Nelson Mandela underscores the importance of indigenous language when he said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart”. UNESCO, the global cultural organisation, is

By OBIKE UKOH

also making serious efforts to check the declining interest in mother tongue as it has set aside February 21 of every year as the International Mother Language Day. Ms. Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO, in a recent message stresses the need for mother tongue in the face of multilingualism. “Use of the mother tongue at school is a powerful remedy against illiteracy. The challenge remains, however, to ensure this truth is actually acted on in the classroom. Excluded population groups, such as indigenous people, are often those whose mother tongues are ignored by education systems. Allowing them to learn from a very early age in their mother tongue, and then national, official or other languages, promotes equality and social inclusion.’’ Bokova notes that linguistic diversity is man’s common heritage, but lamented that nearly half of the 6,000 languages spoken in the world could “die out” by the end of the century. She says that the development is a sad one, as ‘‘language loss impoverishes humanity. Each language conveys cultural heritage in ways that increase our creative diversity. Cultural

diversity is as important as biological in nature, and they are closely linked.’’ The UNESCO chief executive stresses that linguistic potential is an asset for sustainable development and must be shared for the benefit of all. Dr. Barclays Ayakoronia, Executive Secretary,

National Institute of Cultural Orientation (NICO) also expresses worry about the declining interest in mother tongue by vast majority of Nigerians. Ayakoroma, who was speaking at the 4th Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme, says Nigeria’s estimated 400 languages risked

extinction. “Our languages are dying. Many of our country’s estimated 400 languages are moribund as they are no longer being learned by our children and are in danger of becoming extinct in the few decades when they will have no speakers 1eft.” According to him, the challenge facing Nigerians

Language Arts, University of Ibadan, colonial rule is to be blamed for the misfortune of indigenous languages. ‘One of the evils that came with colonialism, which has lived with us today, is the derision with which we hold our culture and cultural practices.” Ojebode, who is a researcher in indigenous communication systems, says it is of interest because “communication was the major weapon of colonial warfare”. While not blaming colonialism entirely for the cultural woes, the communication expert quried: “English is the world language, who

is to ensure that this does not happen.” We have to constantly speak our native languages so that the languages can endure, to always be around to nurture our children, to reinforce their identities and to perpetuate our cultures.” For Dr. Ayo Ojebode, Head of Department of Communications and

made it so?” He adds that our policy insist that if you want to study engineering or even mathematics in the university you must have a credit in English”, and questioned the rationale behind the policy. Ojebode says that it is an irreparable loss if a language dies. ‘What is lost is more than a set of

“Former South African President Nelson Mandela underscores the importance of indigenous language when he said: If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart”.

meaningfully sounds. What is lost includes life, meaning, knowledge, science and technology. What is lost indeed is a significant part of humanity — so significant that the living is incomplete.” For Mr. Ukegbukazi, the Principal of Mgboko Umuanunu Community Secondary School, Obingwa Local Government Ayea of Abia, blames parents for contributing to the woes of mother tongue. He wonders why parents of the same language group should always speak English to their children. “I and my wife are teachers, and we speak Igbo Language to our children at home. Although I did not study Igbo in the university, I can write letters to my mother in Igbo because she writes and speaks Igbo language.” Kazi says that many Nigerian children are facing crisis of identity as they cannot write nor speak any indigenous languages. According to him, the situation is made worse when parents belong to different language groups, adding that children of such marriages are often lost as they cannot communicate in either of their parents’ mother tongue. He advises parents in this category to always speak their indigenous languages to their children, adding that a person is greatly disadvantaged if he cannot speak any indigenous language in the land of his birth. As experts say one of the challenges facing Nigerians is ensuring the survival of their numerous indigenous languages Which: by extension, means Nigeria’s survival as a Sovereign nation. They warn that Nigerians should not see their mother tongues as old fashioned, and which must be discarded.


Environment

Dumping Of Refuse Into Kubwa Streams

INDISCRIMINATE disposal of refuse into streams in Kubwa, a satellite town of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has continued unabated. It is common sight to see refuse collectors popularly known as babanbolas stand on top of bridges and brazenly empty stacks of waste into streams. The worst affected area is the PW Bridge where a menacing heap of refuse emit choking stench. Besides PW Bridge, areas around phase 3 and phase 4 bridges are dotted with heaps of refuse. The ready response of these babanbolas, who scavenge for refuse in the neighbourhoods in exchange for money, is that they do not have designated dump sites to dispose their refuse. Musa Audu, a refuse collector said that he has no other business to do and must survive on refuse collection and disposal. I do not know of any other site where I can empty these things, and this stream does not belong to anybody. “They keep saying there is a dump site for us but they have not shown us the place, besides, there is no way we can push a truck laden with refuse over a long distance,” he said. However, the Bwari Area Council has said it has

By CHIJIOKE OKORONKO

designated dump sites in and around Kubwa. Mr. Haruna Labaran, Head of the Department of Environmental Health, explained that plans were underway to introduce a waste-to-wealth programme in the area council. He said that the waste recycling programme would cover Ushafa, Dutse, Kubwa, DeiDei, Dawaki and Mpape satellite towns. Labaran said that the area council had designated some areas as dumpsites for waste collectors, warning that those who flouted environmental laws would be prosecuted. “We held a meeting with babanbolas and informed them that we have provided some places for them to dump their refuse. “We took them to the dumpsites; one is near the expressway and another is by Lagos Street. “We have recruited eight babanbolas who we pay N10,000 monthly to guard the illegal dumpsites at PW Bridge and Phase 3 Bridge. “If they do not comply with the regulation, we invite the police and get them out completely.

“We will then engage contractors who will go from house to house to collect refuse and dispose them in an organised manner,” he said. Labaran, however, said that a contractor had been engaged to evacuate the refuse heaps at Phase 3 and PW bridges. Despite the threat and incentives by the Bwari Area Council, indiscriminate dumping of refuse into streams had continued. “The heaps of refuse by the bridges are still there; the babanbolas still discharge their collections into streams with impunity. “You see them doing this silly act in broad daylight and in the night and nobody challenges them. “They almost attacked me the day I queried them on why they should throw refuse into the stream,” Mr. Emeka Okoye, a resident of PW, Kubwa, lamented. Deserving no less attention is the health and environmental implications of disposing refuse into streams. A Kubwa-based medical practitioner, Dr. Victor Imade, said that improperly

disposed waste can pose serious threat to human health and the environment. According to him, human beings and the environment should not be exposed to poisonous substances contained in wastes. “Therefore, conscious efforts should be made to evacuate wastes to designated dumpsites which should be far from residential areas,” he said. Imade said that diseases such as gastroenteritis, diarrhoea and cholera could be spread if wastes were not disposed appropriately. On its part, the Satellite

Town Development Agency (STDA), appealed to residents of Kubwa and other towns to desist from patronising the babanbolas. Mr. Olusegun Olusa, the Deputy Director, Environment, said that the agency had engaged licenced refuse collectors to evacuate waste from all parts of Kubwa. Olusa said there was need for effective sensitization of residents on the existence and activities of licenced refuse collectors. “It is a relatively new development which we started in August last year; so many people may not know

about it. “We are embarking on serious public awareness campaigns through the media and other means so that residents of every neighbourhood will know the operators in their area. “Note, we bill every household for the job because it is a public private partnership venture”, Olusa said. According to him, dump sites are located far from town, hence scavengers cannot access them. The deputy director said that the agency was working with leaders of the babanbolas in order to number them as well as monitor their activities. On refuse heaps at some bridges, he said that the agency would engage excavators to evacuate them. He appealed to residents to pack their refuse inside black cellophane bags and leave for licenced operators to pick them up. Olusa said that the Minister of state for FCT, Mrs. Olajumoke Akinjide, had inaugurated the ministerial committee on clean and Green Greater Abuja Initiative in 2012 to ensure clean environment in the satellite towns. According to him, the agency is working with the ministerial initiative to ensure that the satellite towns are in good sanitary condition. “We started our programmes,þ then the minister of state came up with a programme that is community-participatory; what we call ‘Cleaner and Green Greater Abuja. She promised to clean all the satellite towns and reasonably, we have achieved to a reasonable extent above 70 percent in the 14 satellite towns”, Olusa noted. Stakeholders want Nigeria to take urgent steps to establish waste recycling plants in major cities and towns so as to end the search for where and where not to dump refuse and ensure that wastes are recycled into useful products.

“A Kubwa-based medical practitioner, Dr. Victor Imade, said that improperly disposed waste can pose serious threat to human health and the environment. According to him, human beings and the environment should not be exposed to poisonous substances contained in wastes. “Therefore, conscious efforts should be made to evacuate wastes to designated dumpsites which should be far from residential areas,” he said.”


International Features Insight: War Turns Syria Into Major Amphetamines BEIRUT - Syria has become a major amphetamines exporter and consumer as the trauma of the country’s brutal civil war fuels demand and the breakdown in order creates opportunity for producers. Drugs experts, traders and local activists say Syrian production of the most popular of the stimulants, known by its former brand name Captagon, accelerated in 2013, outpacing production in other countries in the region such as Lebanon. Reports of seizures and interviews with people connected to the trade suggest it generates hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenues in Syria, potentially providing funding for weapons, while the drug itself helps combatants dig in for long, grueling battles. Most other economic activity in Syria has ground to a halt in the past two years due to the violence, shortages and international sanctions. Consumption of Captagon outside the Middle East is negligible, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), but it is a significant drug in the Arab Gulf, and nascent markets were detected in North Africa last year. Sitting at a crossroads in the Middle East, Syria has long been a transit point for drugs coming from Europe, Turkey and Lebanon and destined for Jordan, Iraq and the Gulf. The breakdown of state infrastructure, weakening of borders and proliferation of armed groups during the nearly three-year battle for control of Syria has transformed the country from a stopover into a major production site. Even before the conflict, Saudi Arabia received about seven metric tons of Captagon in 2010, a third of world supply, according to UNODC figures. A member of a prominent drug trading family in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, where much of that country’s drug production and smuggling takes place, told Reuters that demand from the Gulf kingdom had increased since then, and Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates were also big consumers. The trader said production in Lebanon fell 90 percent in 2013 from two years earlier, and wholly attributed the drop to a shift in production to Syria. He said some production might also have

moved to Syria from Turkey during the past year. Khabib Ammar, a Damascus-based media activist, said Syrian fighters involved with the drugs trade were buying weapons with the money they made, though Reuters could not independently verify claims that Captagon profits were being used to fund either side of the conflict. Syrian government forces and rebel groups each say the other uses Captagon to endure protracted engagements without sleep, while clinicians say ordinary Syrians are increasingly experimenting with the pills, which sell for between $5 and $20. The drug was first produced in the West in the 1960s to treat hyperactivity, narcolepsy and depression, but by the 1980s was banned in most countries because of its addictive properties and no longer has a legitimate medical use. Its active ingredient, fenethylline, is metabolized by the body into the stimulants amphetamine and theophylline. Lebanese psychiatrist Ramzi Haddad said the drug had the typical effects of a stimulant. “It gives you a kind of euphoria. You’re talkative, you don’t sleep, you don’t eat, you’re energetic,” he said. Production is cheap and simple, requiring “only basic knowledge of chemistry and a few scales”, he added. Syrian and Lebanese authorities regularly seize homemade laboratories used to make the pills. National drug control offices in the region also report Syria’s increasing role in the trade. Colonel Ghassan Chamseddine, head of Lebanon’s drug enforcement unit, told Reuters the pills are hidden in trucks passing from Syria to Lebanese ports where they are then shipped to the Gulf. “It comes from Syria. Most of the Captagon production is there, according to our information,” he said. Official figures show Lebanon seized more than 12.3 million Captagon pills in 2013. Chamseddine said most of that came from a few large busts in the Bekaa Valley, which borders Syria. One seizure of 5.3 million pills implicated a Syrian family that he said has been smuggling drugs for 10 years. The Lebanese trader said the main players in Lebanon’s Captagon trade are established families in the Bekaa who started off smuggling hashish and cocaine decades ago. They either produce the pills

Producer, Consumer

themselves or provide the materials and equipment to partners inside Syria and then help smuggle the pills out of

the country, he said. Turkish authorities have also identified a rise in Captagon production in

Syria. In May, they seized 7 million pills en route to Saudi Arabia, according to Saudi media. The head of Turkey’s

Rebel fighters and inhabitants of Aleppo demonstrate with a pre-Baath Syrian flag, now used by the Syrian opposition

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina speaks during a press conference after the national election in dhaka.

Japan’s Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera (middle) reviews troops from the Japanese ground Self Defence Force 1st Airborn Brigade during an annual new year Military exercise at Narsashino field in Fun-abashi, East of Tokyo yesterday.

anti-drug-trafficking directorate said the pills were made in Syria with materials from Lebanon, but he couldn’t confirm a connection to rebels there. Dubai police also reported making a seizure of a record 4.6 million Captagon pills in December. Syrian state media regularly mention Captagon pills as one of the items government forces seize alongside weapons when they capture rebel fighters or raid their bases. A drug control officer in the central city of Homs told Reuters he had observed the effects of Captagon on protesters and fighters held for questioning. “We would beat them, and they wouldn’t feel the pain. Many of them would laugh while we were dealing them heavy blows,” he said. “We would leave the prisoners for about 48 hours without questioning them while the effects of Captagon wore off, and then interrogation would become easier.” The opposition retorts that the government is aiming to sully its reputation and say it is the pro-government ‘shabiha’ gunmen that run the Captagon trade. Opposition activist Ammar said consumption was limited to government supporters and fighters who use the cover of the revolution to pursue lucrative criminal activities. “These days, the criminals and addicts do whatever they want,” he said. “They’ve increased because of hunger, poverty and lack of work.” A psychiatrist named George said he treated Captagon users at his clinic in the government stronghold of Latakia. “The use of Captagon and other pills increased after the revolution even among civilians because of psychological and economic pressures,” he said. He said the government exaggerated the drug’s prevalence among opponents, but added that it was likely both the shabiha and rebel Free Syrian Army were users, “especially when they are assigned night duty or other long missions”. A resident of the central city of Homs said the use of Captagon and hashish had become widespread and open in the past year in his neighborhood, an area populated mostly by Alawites, the same Muslim sect that President Bashar alAssad belongs to. “It’s young people in general, and most of them are in the National Defence Force and shabiha organizations,” he said.


International Analysis

International News

Would Sharon Have Brought Peace To Israel?

South Korea To Contribute $867 For US Military Forces In 2014

WHAT if Ariel Sharon had not suffered a stroke and sunk into a coma eight years ago this month? For Israelis who believe only Sharon could have confronted Jewish settlers in the West Bank and drawn the country’s final borders, the question surfaced again with his death on Saturday in a Jerusalem hospital of multiple organ failure. He was also more open to territorial compromises than at any time in his long military and political career. Sharon had dismantled all 21 Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip and another three in the West Bank as part of a “disengagement” from Palestinians several months earlier. He had begun referring to Israel’s rule in the West Bank as an occupation – the term invoked by Israel’s critics and abhorred by Jewish settlers. With the same hardcharging gusto that characterized his military campaigns, Sharon seemed determined to bring to some resolution the broad uncertainties that loomed since Israel’s conquests in the 1967 war, specifically: Would Israel maintain a large and disenfranchised minority in its borders or opt for a smaller and more democratic state? “There’s no question that Gaza was just the first step,” says Dov Weisglass, a lawyer who served as Sharon’s chief of staff. “We already planned in principle some further steps in the West Bank,” he told me this week. But what kind of resolution would it have been? Sharon was not a fuzzy peacenik. His previous legacy had been the disastrous invasion of Lebanon in 1982, a war that got him sacked as defense minister and earned him a moniker that would stick for years: The Butcher of Beirut. In the first two decades of Israel’s occupation in the West Bank and Gaza, Sharon did more than any other Israeli leader to encourage settlement building, an enterprise that stands now as one of the biggest obstacles to a negotiated agreement with the Palestinians. Israelis elected Sharon to put down a bloody

Palestinian insurrection that he himself helped ignite with a provocative trip to the Temple Mount in September, 2000 — an event I covered as a correspondent for Newsweek magazine. The walkabout on what Arabs refer to as Haram al-Sharif, Islam’s third holiest shrine, set off riots that spread across the West Bank and Gaza and later waves of suicide bombings in what became known as the second intifada. A few months after that incident, with Sharon on the verge of an election victory, I interviewed him at his ranch in southern Israel. The

would not succumb quietly to ongoing Israeli rule. The warning by four former intelligence chiefs about the dire consequences of diplomatic deadlock was also said to have an impact on Sharon. Some analysts believe his legal trouble over campaign financing accelerated the political shift. Whatever it was, Sharon seemed poised to carry out a broad realignment of Israeli policy after his reelection. It would likely have involved dismantling more settlements in the West Bank, possibly large numbers of them in outlying

Korean parliament’s approval, comes after Washington’s decision to send more soldiers and tanks to South Korea next month as part of a military rebalance to Asia after more than a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. “The U.S. side had demanded a large-scale hike, considering U.S. Forces Korea’s strengthened readiness due to serious security situation in the

Korean peninsula and its budget situation, but the government put the utmost efforts and drew agreement to an extent to minimize our burden,” South Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement. Still technically at war with North Korea, Seoul has shouldered part of Washington’s cost for stationing its troops since 1991, currently paying for about 40 percent of the cost.

Body Of Israel’s Ariel Sharon To JERUSALEM - The body Lie In State helping turn the tide of the 1973 Mideast war when Arab of Ariel Sharon, Israel’s hardcharging former prime minister and general arrived at Israel’s parliament building in Jerusalem on Sunday, where it will lie in state a day after he died aged 85. “The public will be able to pay its respects until 18:00 (1600 GMT),” the prime minister’s office said in a statement. Thousands of Israelis are expected to pay tribute at the Knesset, police said. A state memorial is planned for Monday with the participation of Israeli and world leaders, the prime minister’s office said. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Czech Prime Minister Jiri Rusnok, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and others will attend, it added.

Afterward Sharon’s body will be taken by military convey for burial at his ranch. One of Israel’s most iconic and controversial figures, Sharon had been in a coma for eight years after a devastating stroke incapacitated him at the peak of his political power. News of his passing and tales of his exploits dominated Israel’s newspapers and TV stations Sunday. Sharon’s career stretched across Israel’s 65-year existence and his life was closely intertwined with the country’s history. As one of Israel’s most famous generals, Sharon was known for bold tactics and an occasional refusal to obey orders. Historians credit him with

armies launched a surprise attack on Israel on the solemn fasting day of Yom Kippur, causing large Israeli casualties. As a politician, he became known as “the bulldozer” — a man contemptuous of his critics while also capable of getting things done. He was elected prime minister in 2001. In 2005, he directed a unilateral withdrawal of Israeli troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip. It was a shocking turnaround for a man who had been a leading player in building Jewish settlements. He later bolted from his hard-line Likud Party and established the centrist Kadima Party. It seemed he was on his way to an easy reelection when he suffered the stroke in January 2006.

carrying tarpaulins, tents and other emergency supplies left Tongatapu to bring help to victims who were cut off in the Ha’apai islands. Aho said authorities have been unable to make telephone contact with 23 islands, which account for most of the inhabited islands in the Ha’apai group. “The patrol boats are still out there, going from island to island to scout for information,” Aho said. Ha’apai islands are home to 8,000 people, most of whom live on the devastated islands of Lifuka, where one person died, and Foa. Aho estimated that hundreds of people on the two islands were taking shelter in church buildings that were being used as evacuation centers. A New Zealand air force P3 Orion plane made a surveillance flight over the disaster area on Sunday, taking pictures showing the extend of the damage that surprised officials. Aho said up to 70 percent

flattened. “There is much more damage on the ground that we anticipated before,” he said. “At this point, there’s only one fatality. There are some injured, but that is still manageable with the existing medical facilities there,” he added. He said there were no reports of survivors with lifethreatening injuries. Tongan authorities would further assess the damage before they would consider asking for international help, Aho said. Aho said that storm damage to the Tongatapu and Vava’u island groups was slight. Weather was fine Sunday, but rough seas were hampering the patrol boats’ relief mission, he said. Tonga is an archipelago of 176 islands, 36 of which are inhabited by more than 100,000 people. Its economy relies on fish export, tourism and remittances from Tongan communities overseas, with about 40 percent of the population living in poverty.

Strong Cyclone Hits Tonga, the homes and buildings in Killing At Least One ofsome areas had been

Late Ariel Sharon thousand-acre plot included a goat shed and a dairy farm, herds of cows and sheep, greenhouses and citrus groves. Sharon, who liked showing journalists around the premises on a small utility vehicle, was more avuncular than the truculent image he projected. But he was not conciliatory on the question of a Palestinian state. “This is a very very dangerous plan,” he said, referring to then-President Clinton’s proposal for a Palestinian state to rise on more than 90 percent of the West Bank and Gaza. “I’d say, without exaggerating, that it would be suicide for Israel.” His five years as prime minister softened Sharon. But it’s difficult to know what combinations of factors prompted his move to the center. Certainly, the violence of the second intifada made it clear that Palestinians

SEOUL - South Korea said on Sunday it had agreed to pay 920 billion won ($866.86 million) in 2014 towards the cost of the U.S. military presence in the country, a rise of 5.8 percent from a year ago. U.S. and South Korean officials have struck a fiveyear cost sharing plan for 28,500 U.S. troops in the country after a series of negotiations since early last year. The deal, subject to South

areas. And it’s reasonable to assume it would have been carried out according to the model of his Gaza withdrawal – unilaterally. Sharon felt more comfortable determining Israel’s borders on his own than engaging in drawn out negotiations with the Palestinians. A pullback in the West Bank would surely have dealt a blow to the settlement movement and perhaps allowed more room for Palestinian self rule. But in withdrawing unilaterally from Gaza, Israel missed an opportunity to shore up the standing of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Unwittingly, it empowered the Islamic Hamas group. Unless Sharon intended to negotiate his plan with the Palestinians, it’s difficult to imagine him pushing the two sides significantly closer to a conflict-ending agreement.

NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga Authorities were searching remote islands for cyclone victims on Sunday after the most powerful storm to hit Tonga in decades cut a swathe of destruction through this South Pacific archipelago, leaving at least one person dead and several injured. Relief efforts following Saturday’s storm were concentrating on the Ha’apai islands — one of Tonga’s three island groups between the main island of Tongatapu in the south and the Vava’u islands to the north, Tonga’s Director of Emergencies Leveni Aho said. Cyclone Ian hit Tonga with gusts up to 287 kilometers (178 miles) per hour. The storm was later downgraded from the top of five-scale destructive cyclones to category four, with gusts of up to 250 kph (155 mph). On Sunday, the cyclone was tracking southeast away from Tonga. Two navy patrol boats


International News Bangladesh To Swear In PM And Cabinet After Deadly Poll DHAKA - Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her new cabinet were set to be sworn in yesterday after a deadly election boycotted by the opposition amid a worsening political crisis. Hasina and her team will officially form a government during a ceremony performed by the country’s president in the capital Dhaka, his press secretary told AFP, a week after the controversial polls. “President Abdul Hamid will administer the swearing-in to the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her cabinet members at 3:30 pm (0930 GMT),” Ihsanul Karim said. Hasina has insisted her walkover win in the parliamentary polls was legitimate, despite the vote being boycotted by the opposition and its allies in the deadliest election violence in the country’s history. Hasina’s Awami League party won nearly 80 percent of the seats, which should allow her to rule for another five years. But analysts say the new government could be short-lived since Hasina faces a deepening political crisis and mounting calls for new polls from the international community and the opposition. The opposition, led by twotimes former prime minister Khaleda Zia, has since Wednesday called for a blockade of roads, rail and waterways to try to topple the government. Zia, who has been under de facto house arrest, was allowed to

leave her home in Dhaka late Saturday for the first time in more than two weeks. She was permitted to attend a meeting at her office, but it is unclear if her house arrest has been completely lifted. Sunday’s ceremony comes after Bangladesh’s newly elected lawmakers were sworn in on Thursday. There was no confirmation on the size of the new cabinet, but leading newspaper Prothom Alo put the number of ministers at up to 50. Cabinet Secretary Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said all preparations for the swearing-in have been completed. Hasina, who first came to power in 1996 and then thrashed Zia in a 2008 comeback, has vowed to take a hardline stand to bring stability. Crippling opposition protests

have left around 180 dead since October and cost an estimated $4 billion in lost production. “We will take a hardline stand as it is required to ensure the safety of public and properties,” Hasina said on Friday during a rally in Dhaka. At least 26 people were killed during the election, making it the bloodiest vote in Bangladesh’s history, while hundreds of opposition supporters torched or trashed polling stations. Zia has called the polls a “scandalous farce” and demanded new elections be held under a neutral government headed by a caretaker leader, fearing poll rigging. The United States has led international pressure for a swift re-run of the January 5 elections to include all of the major parties, brushing aside Hasina’s insistence that her victory was legitimate.

Car Bomb Against Army Recruits Kills 8 In Baghdad BAGHDAD - A car bomb targeting army recruits killed at least eight people and wounded 12 in Baghdad yesterday, security and medical officials said. The bombing occurred near a taxi and bus station where men who had submitted applications to join the army were preparing to return to their homes. The blast followed another against army recruits in the capital on Thursday, when a suicide bomber detonated an

explosives belt, killing 23 people. Militants opposed to the Iraqi government frequently target security forces with bombings and shootings. Violence in Iraq has reached a level not seen since 2008, when the country was emerging from a period of brutal sectarian killings. More than 400 people have been killed in fighting and attacks so far this month, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.

US, Regional Mediators Meet Rebel Leader, Machar In S/Sudan ADDIS ABABA - US and regional mediators in the South Sudan conflict met with Riek Machar, who heads the rebel forces that have been fighting government troops for the past month, the rebel delegation said. “The American Special envoy to South Sudan and Sudan, Donald Booth together with (regional) mediators travelled to an undisclosed location in South Sudan to meet Dr. Riek Machar,” said a statement, received yesterday and signed by

Machar’s former press officer Miyong G. Kuon. The meeting with Machar comes as talks in the Ethiopian capital, aimed at reaching a ceasefire agreement, appear to be treading water. Regional mediators have been trying to incorporate the proposals of both sides into a draft ceasefire document. Fighting erupted in South Sudan on December 15. President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of

attempting a coup. Machar accused Kiir of using the coup accusation as an excuse to carry out a purge. The biggest stumbling block in peace talks here still appears to be the issue of 11 Machar sympathisers who were arrested by forces loyal to Kiir shortly after the fighting began. Machar’s side has insisted the 11 should be released to they can take part in the talks, while Kiir’s side is equally adamant they should face justice.

TRIPOLI - Gunmen assassinated Libya’s deputy industry minister as he drove home from shopping in the coastal city of Sirte late on Saturday in an attack security officials blamed on hardline Islamist militants. Libyan is still plagued by widespread violence and targeted killings two years after the civil war ousted Muammar Gaddafi, with militants, militia gunmen and former rebels often resort to force to impose demands on the fragile government. The minister, Hassan al-Drowi, was shot several times, a senior security official said, asking not to be identified.

“They opened fire from another car while he was driving, he was shot multiple times,” the official said. “Later, they found explosives attached to his car. The theory is, the bomb failed, so they shot him instead.” The official blamed Islamist militants who have been trying to extend their influence in Sirte, which has been more stable recently than the coastal capital of Tripoli, about 460 km (290 miles) to the west, or the eastern city of Benghazi. Sirte was the last bastion of Gaddafi loyalists in the war, and the strongman ruler was killed there on October 20, 2011. Prime Minister Ali Zeidan’s

central government, weakened by political infighting and with only nascent armed forces, is struggling to wrest control back from areas where militias are still dominant. For six months, armed protesters have controlled key oil terminal ports in the east of the country to demand more political autonomy and a greater share of the OPEC country’s petroleum wealth. In Benghazi, the armed forces have been fighting to control the influence of Ansar al-Sharia, a hardline Islamist group Washington last week designated a terrorist organization.

Gunmen Assasinate Libyan Deputy Industry Minister


Sports Features

Gains of the U-17 National Youth Games FCT participated in the 11-day tournament which featured 14 sports. The sports are football, badminton, basketball, boxing, handball, powerlifting, squash, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, track and field, v o l l e y b a l l , weightlifting and wrestling. According to Malam Al-hassan Yakmut, the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), the 14 sports are where Nigeria has c o m p a r a t i v e advantage. However, Edo, Ekiti, Jigawa, Lagos and Zamfara states did not participate in the sports tournament. Yakmut described the non-participation of the five states as a huge setback to sports development efforts in those states. He said that the five state governments owed their youths an apology for denying them the opportunity to showcase their talents. At the end of the competition, 370 talents were discovered for grooming at the High Performance Centre of the National Sports Commission (NSC) in Abuja One of the major upsets at the games was the defeat of Nigeria’s Under-18 Lawn Tennis champion, Sarah Adegoke, who is from Oyo State. Adegoke was defeated in two straight sets of 6-2, 7-5 by Lizzy Pam, an

England-based secondary school student, who represented Plateau in the female singles tennis event. Pam, 15, a student of Culford Secondary School, Bury Saint Edmund, England, told newsmen that she was inspired to win the final match by the American tennis sisters, Venus and Serena Williams. She said that her target was to become a professional tennis player like Serena Williams or Victoria Azarenka of Belarus. To the organisers of the games, Pam’s discovery was one of the biggest things that happened in the sports tournament, as it was a good development in efforts to discover quality tennis players for the country. A 13-year-old girl, Nkiruka Iroha, was also discovered in the girls’ 800 metres final. However, Iroha, who represented Cross River, did not win the event but it was remarkable that she placed second. She was able to achieve the feat after she broke her personal best record by six seconds. Dr Bruce Ijirgho, a sports consultant to the Cross River Government, said that he discovered Iroha at the age of nine. He said that with little effort, Iroha could surpass the achievements of former Nigerian athletes like Mary Onyali-Omagbemi and

By Emmanuel Afonne

current Africa sprint queen, Blessing Okagbare. The sports minister, who spoke during the closing ceremony, stressed that states had crucial roles to play in the early discovery of

not have been discovered. He urged the states to take due advantage of the games, saying that it was part of President Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda for the sports

Ekiti State, which did not participate in the maiden edition, has given an assurance that it would take part in the second edition. Mr. Kayode Olaosebikan, the state Commissioner for Youth and Sports, told newsmen in Ado-Ekiti

talents. Abdullahi noted that early discovery of talents was one of the idiosyncratic features of sports administration in advanced countries, adding that if not for the local sports talent hunt, the likes of Nkiruka Iroha would

sector. Besides, Abdullahi said that the employment of two Performance Directors from the U.S. would strengthen efforts to provide the missing links in Nigeria’s sports administration. Ahead of the 2014 edition of the NYG,

that paucity of funds prevented the state from participating in the first edition of the games. Olaosebikan pledged that in 2014, the state government would sponsor the participation of athletes in local and international sports

competitions. He also underscored the determination of the state government to take sports to the next level this year. Observers note that the successes of the maiden edition of the NYG may have prompted Ekiti to

express its readiness to participate in the 2014 edition of the games. They, nonetheless, urge the National Sports Commission to ensure the sustenance of the tournament, while making participation in the games compulsory for all the states.

“The sports minister, who spoke during the closing ceremony, stressed that states had crucial roles to play in the early discovery of talents. Abdullahi noted that early discovery of talents was one of the idiosyncratic features of sports administration in advanced countries, adding that if not for the local sports talent hunt, the likes of Nkiruka Iroha would not have been discovered”.


Poyet Building On Johnson Form HAT-trick hero Adam Johnson has “no more excuses” not to reach his potential and drag Sunderland to Barclays Premier League safety, according to manager Gus Poyet. Johnson’s first professional hat-trick lifted Sunderland off the foot of the league table as the Black Cats thumped Fulham 4-1 at Craven Cottage. Poyet admitted he will push Johnson’s England case as a potential World Cup replacement for injured Arsenal winger Theo Walcott. Uruguayan Poyet said 11-cap

Adam Johnson

Johnson must guide his side to Premier League safety to force his way back into the England reckoning. “I will help him and I will try to help him to put him there,” said Poyet. “And I will tell you why. If Johnno makes the World Cup we are in the Premier League for sure. “Normally when you reach 26 there are no more excuses. “You’re experienced enough, but you’re not old yet, so you still have the pace and the ability, so that’s when you have to be at your best. “You understand the game better, you have played against everybody everywhere so there is no pressure you can’t handle. “So I hope that his form now will give us a big opportunity to stay up.” Johnson left Manchester City in the summer of 2012 in a bid for regular first-team football. After a long fight for form, Poyet now believes the 26-yearold is hitting his peak again. “Johnno today, he would make the difference at any level,” said Poyet. “He’s been like that for the last few weeks. “I always believe there’s a responsibility on the player, he needs to take responsibility for playing well or badly. “But certain players need a team to perform one way or play one kind of football.

Fergie Should Go To Games FORMER Manchester United assistant manager Carlos Queiroz insists that Sir Alex Ferguson should be allowed to go to games at Old Trafford and said claims it was hurting his successor David Moyes were ‘pure fantasy.’ After Ferguson’s retirement Saturday. Indeed, the watching this summer, United have been Ferguson has attracted attention poor and sit seventh in the table for his constant presence at having halted a run of three United games, with suggestions defeats in all competitions with that Moyes was struggling to a 2-0 win at home to Swansea on remove himself from his shadow.

Despite Fergie’s absence on Saturday returning a win, current Iran head coach Queiroz does not feel having the former manager in attendance makes a difference to results and reckons Ferguson will always want to be on hand to witness any further success United achieve. “What do you expect? That

Kinnear Rules Out “Knee-jerk’ Deals DIRECTOR of football Joe Kinnear has warned Newcastle fans the club may not do any business in the January transfer window. The Magpies have been linked with a series of potential targets in recent weeks, and manager Alan Pardew has spoken of his hopes of adding to his squad with another striker a particular focus. However, Kinnear has confirmed that the club will stick to its policy of only doing business if the player and the deal are right, and that could mean no new signings. Writing in his programme notes ahead of Sunday afternoon’s Barclays Premier League clash with Manchester City, Kinnear said: “Given the business we did last January and with the addition of Loic [Remy] in the summer, it is our belief that we now have a squad that, in terms of quality and quantity, is stronger than we had in the season we finished fifth, and should enable the manager to deal with every reasonable eventuality. “For obvious reasons, in

January 2013 we did significant business, but this year we can afford to take a more calculated and considered approach - if the right player becomes available for the right price and we are sure he can improve on what we have in the squad, then we may do business. “If not, then we won’t. That’s how it should be. We will not be rushed or forced into making knee-jerk decisions, which experience tells us more often than not turn out to be costly mistakes.” Indeed, Kinnear revealed that Newcastle’s intention is to limit signings to “one or two” a year as they attempt to build upon the pool of players they already have. He added: “Now that we have strength and depth in most areas, as well as players within our ideal age range in most positions, our intention for the first team going forward is to sign one or two players per year to improve the squad. “This will be done within strict financial parameters - the club will only spend what it can afford.”

EVERTON boss Roberto Martinez hailed his side’s “electrifying” football after a comfortable 2-0 win over Norwich. Gareth Barry and Kevin Mirallas struck either side of half-time as the Toffees lifted themselves back into the top four of the Barclays Premier League with a dominant display. Martinez said: “I thought it was going to be a very difficult game and it proved to be. “I thought Norwich were very brave, playing with two strikers to try to hit us on the counter, so I thought we balanced that really

well. “The amount of opportunities we had, the clinical touch in front of goal was probably missing. “But when Norwich had a proper go in the second half, we defended well and we kept an important clean sheet. “I thought we controlled the game really well and we got three important, and well deserved, points. “Some phases of our game were fantastic and some of the play we had was electrifying.” The result ended a positive day for the Toffees after they

Sir Alex Ferguson

We Can Build From Here

DAVID Moyes believes Manchester United have laid a platform from which to attack the second half of the season but insists he still expects plenty of improvement from his side following their 2-0 win over Swansea. Second-half goals from Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck ensured the nightmare scenario of four successive defeats for the first time since 1961 did not materialise for the Old Trafford outfit. Indeed, had Chris Smalling and Shinji Kagawa taken giltedged chances later in the game, they could have been looking back on a handsome triumph. As it is, that depressing start to 2014 has been halted, even if Moyes accepts there is still plenty of work to do. “From the start of the second

- Moyes

half I thought we played very well,” said Moyes. “I hope it is going to improve an awful lot on that but you have to start somewhere and that was more like it. “We scored two goals, should have had a few more and I can’t remember Swansea having a chance hardly.” Although United started brightly, their failure to score led to them becoming anxious. It took Moyes’ half-time decision to switch Adnan Januzaj, who had started in a central position, with Kagawa, who began on the left, to change the course of the game. Januzaj was outstanding and

Martinez Savours Stylish Win completed the signing of former Celtic star Aiden McGeady. Martinez’s men were also back above neighbours Liverpool - at least for one night - in the Champions League places. The Spaniard, however, insists he is not yet looking at the league table. He said: “In the league I like to work towards the last third of the season and when you go into the last nine games of the campaign that is when you get the significance of every point, of where you are in the table and how the results affect your position.

David Moyes

the 18-year-old provided the cross from which Valencia eventually scored after Kagawa’s header had been saved. And he was also involved in the move that ended with Welbeck flicking in his sixth goal in nine games.

- Queroz

Sir Alex Ferguson doesn’t watch the games? That is pure, pure fantasy,’’ he told BBC’s Sportsweek programme. “Do you expect that Sir Bobby Charlton doesn’t see Manchester United or Carlos Queiroz doesn’t see Manchester United? We love the club, we should be there all the time. “I hope that, given good health, he will be there for years and years to see the club he has been building for his entire life — the club he loves. I’m sure all the coaches, the manager and players love to see him in the stands.’’ Queiroz, who has also had spells in charge of Real Madrid and Portugal, admitted Ferguson would not be happy with recent form but has backed Moyes to turn things around sooner rather than later. “Of course he [Ferguson] is not happy,’’ said Queiroz. “But I’m sure he knows better than any other person in the world what happens in that kind of situation. He knows that time, confidence and trust will put the team on the right track. “Nobody in this football world is happy or satisfied when the team is not winning or the results are not according to the expectations. That is the present situation, the fans, David and the players are not happy. I know how much the players have a strong wish and determination to come back and I’m sure in a short period of time they will find the right track and it is just a matter of time. “It is my strong belief, because I know the club and it is very strong, when the board make a decision they trust the people they chose. And I’m sure with the qualities and experience David has, plus the wonderful work he did at Everton and the support of the entire board, soon the results will come out and everything will be all right.’’

City To Break World Record To Land Shaw

MANCHESTER City are reportedly ready to pay a world record £30m to sign Southampton full-back Luke Shaw. Man City to pay world record fee for full-back – The Mail on Sunday carries a blockbuster

story with the news that Manchester City are prepared to pay a staggering £30m to sign Southampton left-back Luke Shaw, a figure which would top the £29.5m paid by Barcelona for Dani Alves and make the 18year-old the most expensive full-back in the history of football. The paper reports: “City have made it clear to Saints chairman Nicola Cortese they will pay the fee immediately to blow away rivals Chelsea and Manchester United, who also hold a longstanding interest in the leftback.” Paper Round’s view: Leftback is one of the few positions where City could obviously improve and Shaw is the best young defender on the market. Though £30m seems an outlandish fee, Shaw could conceivably be England’s leftback for the next 15 years and the deal would represent value for money.


Atletico, Barca Still Tied After Stalemate ATLETICO Madrid and Barcelona remain locked together on 50 points at the top of La Liga after a 0-0 draw at the Vicente Calderon on Saturday. Barca boss Gerardo Martino had named Lionel Messi and Neymar only on the substitutes bench on their respective returns from injury and illness.

Dortmund Targeting Second - Bender

BORUSSIA Dortmund midfielder Sven Bender says that his side have their eyes set on reclaiming second spot in the Bundesliga. European champions Bayern Munich are favourites for the title and are already 12 points ahead of Juergen Klopp’s men after a terrible run of form prior to the winter break that saw them win just one of six league matches. Now in fourth place, Dortmund are one point behind Borussia Monchengladbach and five behind second-placed Bayer Leverkusen. “We will give everything to reclaim second spot,” Bender told the club’s official website. “We will have to focus again on what has made us a strong team: effective transitional play, aggressive defending, counter pressing. “We will need to be 100 percent physical and have the desire to go, for instance, from 2-0 to 3-0.” Dortmund host the eighthplaced Augsburg in their first Bundesliga match of 2014 on January 25.

However, after a first period devoid of clear-cut chances, Martino introduced Messi at half-time in place of the injured Andres Iniesta. And the four-time World Player of the Year nearly proved decisive as only a fine save from Thibaut Courtois denied him from grabbing the winner nine minutes from time. Both sides now lie six points clear of Real Madrid, but Los Blancos can reduce that gap with a win away to Espanyol on Sunday. Encouraged by a raucous home support, Atletico started the brighter and were unlucky not to be ahead after five minutes when Gerard Pique nearly turned Arda Turan’s cross into his own net following a wonderful solo run by the Turkish international. Thereafter, though, chances were hard to come by in the first 45 minutes as Diego Costa and Pedro Rodriguez saw low efforts comfortably saved at either end. As expected, Barcelona enjoyed the majority of possession, but without their star strike duo they lacked the spark necessary to create anything of note. Indeed, it was the hosts who

had the best opening of the first half on 28 minutes when Miranda flicked on Koke’s corner and Costa just couldn’t turn the ball home on the stretch at the back post. Martino unsurprisingly

LEGA Serie A president Maurizio Beretta is “studying the possibility of reducing the top flight to 18 teams.” Many people, including club Presidents and directors, have suggested the step up from 18

Gerardo Martino

sides to 20 in 2004-05 damaged Serie A by packing the fixture list and reducing competitiveness. From 1967 to 1988, the Italian top flight had only 16 clubs. “It is a matter we need to discuss in a much deeper way,” Beretta told the Gazzetta dello Sport. “Clearly if we were to reduce the number of teams, as a consequence we’d also have to revise the mechanism of promotion and relegation. “With just one relegation spot we’d get closer to the NBA

system with more guarantees of revenue and a longer perspective in commercialising the League. “However, Serie A is already an attractive League. Just look at Juventus-Roma, a wonderful game in a modern stadium bought by 52 licensed companies to air in 200 countries. “There is a consolidation in pay-per-view television, as every round 9m people watch on the various platforms. “There’s also a growth in ticket sales with an average of 24,000 spectators, almost 3 per cent more than in 2012-13.”

own as he went in search of the three points with the in-form Raul Garcia replacing David Villa. And Garcia nearly made an instant impact as his knockdown found Turan free inside the area, but his low shot was easily handled by Victor Valdes. Messi then forced Courtois into his most strenuous save of the evening with a driven leftfooted effort that the Belgian got to well to parry. However, just like when the sides last met in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup in August, there was to be no goals as both teams emerged with their title hopes intact.

GIOVANNI Trapattoni has emerged as a surprise candidate if Livorno sack Davide Nicola. The Amaranto are expected to wield the axe on their coach after

picking up one point from the last eight rounds, and they were beaten 3-0 at home by Parma on Saturday. Domenico Di Carlo is the front-runner with former Perugia boss Serse Cosmi also in the chase.

PARMA climbed to seventh and added to Livorno’s woes with a 3-0 Serie A win while Saturday’s late game between Bologna and Lazio ended goalless. The loss at their Armando Picchi stadium kept Livorno second from bottom. It was Livorno’s seventh reverse in eight games and while coach Davide Nicola tried to revive his troops with a postmatch discussion on the pitch the hosts only had themselves to blame. Parma had never won at Livorno but, despite having striker Antonio Cassano starting on the bench for the second successive week, opened their account after just two minutes. Jonathan Biabiany harried down the right flank to send over a deep cross which Raffaele Palladino, unmarked 10 metres out, first-timed past Francesco Bardi in the Livorno net. Both sides created a series of half-chances but Parma put the match beyond reach in the space

of seven minutes at the death when Amauri hit a brace. Amauri’s first came largely thanks to Massimo Gobbi, whose angled drive came off Bardi’s post and into the the path of the Italian striker Amauri who stroked the ball home. Amauri had his second goal, and third in two games, when he stepped up to beat Bardi from the spot after Pedro Mendes was tripped by Emerson. In the late game Bologna came closest to scoring in a stale first half at the Renato dell’Ara stadium, where Lazio were looking to claim their second successive win under new coach Edoardo Reja following the recent sacking of Vladimir Petkovic. However after an impressive build-up through the Lazio midfield and defence Bologna striker Rolando Bianchi saw his attempted backheel flick from less than 10 metres out was kept out by the leg of Lazio ‘keeper Etrit Berisha. Bologna are hovering two points above the relegation zone.

Trapattoni “In Line For Livorno Job’

Juve To Go For Benzema

Benzema

his first appearance in two months as he scored twice against Getafe in the Copa del Rey in midweek. However, his arrival didn’t signal an immediate turnaround in Barca’s fortunes as Atletico again started the half on the front foot and Costa drilled just wide after more good work from Turan. Neymar was then introduced with 25 minutes remaining for the ineffective Alexis Sanchez. But it was Messi who was to have the next opening moments later as he nodded just wide from Pedro’s cross. Atletico boss Diego Simeone made an offensive change of his

Parma Win Deepens Livorno’s Woes

Italian Top Flight ‘Could Be Reduced To 18 Teams’

Sven Bender

JUVENTUS will try to buy Karim Benzema from Real Madrid this summer if they sell Paul Pogba, reports in Italy have claimed. AS cites a report from Gazzetta dello Sport that says

responded at half-time by introducing Messi for the injured Iniesta, who had to be replaced after receiving a knock on his left knee. The Argentine had made an instant impact as a substitute in

Madrid will sign Luis Suarez from Liverpool, leaving Benzema out of favour at the Santiago Bernabeu. Juve hope to exploit the potential arrival of Suarez by swooping for Benzema, but only

if in-demand midfielder Pogba is sold first. Pogba has attracted attention from the likes of Paris SaintGermain and while the Serie A champions want to hold on to the France international, a bigmoney offer would force their hand. But Juve would use the Pogba money to beef up their strike force, which already contains Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente. Should Suarez move to Madrid then Benzema could be made available, although Juve are also considering Diego Costa, as well as a move of their own for Suarez. Mirko Vucinic will be made available by Juventus, who could alternatively approach Mario Mandzukic or Robin van Persie.

Giovanni Trapattoni

An intriguing option has been floated, as it’s reported Livorno President Aldo Spinelli asked Trapattoni to take over. Trap is currently looking for work after he terminated his contract with the Republic of Ireland by mutual consent.

Although he will be 75 in March, he has no intention of retiring and this would be his first Serie A job since leaving Fiorentina in 2000. Since then he has worked as Italy coach, then Benfica, Stuttgart, Salzburg and Ireland.


Australian Open...Australian Open...Australian Open... Monday’s Order Of Play

Champion Azarenka Coy On Williams Rivalry VICTORIA Azarenka is relishing her return to Melbourne Park as double defending champion and while Serena Williams is a hot favourite to deny her a hat-trick of titles, the Belarusian says she will not focus solely on the challenge from the world number one. Azarenka’s two grand slam titles have both been achieved without facing the American, who was eliminated in both those tournaments after being hobbled by foot injuries. As second seed on the lower half of the draw, Azarenka would not meet Williams until the final but the 24-year-old was reluctant to talk up their grand slam rivalry, which has her on the wrong side of an 8-0 head-tohead record. When asked by reporters on Sunday if Williams was the player to beat in Melbourne, Azarenka responded: “Well, if you meet her, yes. “But I think everybody is the one to beat here. We have such a high competition right now. “You always have to look for every opponent you play. You cannot look past anybody because everybody is prepared, everybody wants it badly. “(Regarding) her last season, of course, everybody will be motivated to beat her.” Azarenka controversially avoided Williams in the leadup to last year’s tournament when she pulled out of their match at the Brisbane International citing an infected toenail from a bad pedicure. She was beaten in straight sets for this year’s Brisbane title by Williams, however, the American landing a psychological blow before the year’s first grand slam. Azarenka said that defeat had no impact on her confidence. “I think it was a great preparation, the whole week in Brisbane, to play actually so many different types of players,” she said. “That’s what you want to get in the beginning of the season and in preparation for the event like this.” Azarenka faces 90th-ranked Swede Johanna Larsson in her first round match on Tuesday, a player she beat comfortably in straight sets in the opening round of the 2011 U.S. Open, their sole meeting. An intriguing matchup looms against 13th seed Sloane Stephens in the fourth round. The pair played in a semi-final last year, a match plunged into controversy when Azarenka took a prolonged medical time-out after blowing five match points against the young American. Former players and pundits accused Azarenka of gamesmanship and the Belarusian displayed commendable grit in the face of one of the most hostile crowds in memory at Melbourne Park when she beat sentimental favourite Li Na for the title.

Rod Laver Arena 9-Angelique Kerber (Germany) v Jarmila Gajdosova (Australia) Alejandro Gonzalez (Colombia) v 3-David Ferrer (Spain) 17-Samantha Stosur (Australia) v Klara Zakopalova (Czech Republic) From 0800 Lukas Lacko (Slovakia) v 2-Novak Djokovic (Serbia) 1-Serena Williams (U.S) v Ashleigh Barty (Australia) Hisense Arena 8-Stanislas Wawrinka (Switzerland) v Andrey Golubev (Kazakhstan) 4-Li Na (China) v Ana Konjuh (Croatia) Kiki Bertens (Netherlands) v 14-Ana Ivanovic (Serbia) Not before 0600 Jordan Thompson (Australia) v 20-Jerzy Janowicz (Poland) Margaret Court Arena 22-Ekaterina Makarova (Russia) v Venus Williams (U.S.) 7-Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic) v Aleksandr Nedovyesov (Kazakhstan) Julia Goerges (Germany) v 7-Sara Errani (Italy) Luksika Kumkhum (Thailand) v 6-Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic) From 0800 Marcos Baghdatis (Cyprus) v Denis Istomin (Uzbekistan)

Victoria Azarenka

Djokovic Looks To Boris Boost For fifth Aussie Title

NOVAK Djokovic admits he has taken a gamble by making changes to his coaching team but is hoping for great things from his partnership with former grand slam champion Boris Becker. The Serbian will be without time on preparation. the support of Marian Vijda, his “They have a great coach for the last eight years, communication. All I see is when he begins his bid for a fifth positive results, and hope for Australian Open title against that obviously.” Lukas Lacko on Monday. Djokovic admitted that tennis Djokovic was quick to had changed radically since emphasise, though, that bringing Becker won six grand slam titles Becker on board had been in the 1980s and 1990s but still instigated by Vijda, who wanted thought there was plenty he to spend more time with his could learn from the 46-year-old family after 35 years travelling German from the “mental point around the world. of view”. “Whenever you make a “Now the game is based on change in life, it’s a potential the baseline, longer rallies and risk, right? How is it going to so forth,” he said. affect you?,” Djokovic told “I believe with his great reporters at Melbourne Park. volleys, that aggressive kind of “But I don’t want to think mindset also, from that point of from that perspective. I’m really view he can help me.” excited about this cooperation. Djokovic said the success I’m excited about this Wimbledon champion Andy partnership that I have with Murray has enjoyed since Boris that also has been adding Ivan Lendl to his team approved and supported by had not inspired the decision to Marian, who is still in the team. work with Becker. “He’s still going to travel with With Roger Federer having me on certain tournaments that brought Stefan Edberg into his Boris is not going to be there. camp, Japan’s Kei Nishikori We’re going to spend a lot of working with Michael Chang

Novak Djokovic

and Goran Ivanisevic guiding Marin Cilic, employing former grand slam champions as coaches has become something of a trend. “It’s really positive for the sport,” Djokovic added. “Obviously, they have won so many grand slams between themselves, they’ve all been world number one, they’ve been champions, they know what we all go through in particular moments, especially in the grand slams. “They can identify themselves through us.” Djokovic, seeded second in Melbourne behind Rafa Nadal,

has not looked in much need of coaching since he lost the U.S. Open final to the Spaniard last September. The 26-year-old won 20 straight matches through to the end of the season to claim four successive titles, including a resounding 6-3 6-4 victory over Nadal in the final of the ATP World Tour Finals. If such a rich vein of form was not enough to make him a favourite to win a fourth successive Australian Open title over the next two weeks, Friday’s draw added another reason for punters to back the Serbian.

While Nadal, Federer and Murray are all placed in the same half of the draw, Djokovic’s first major challenge should come from Stan Wawrinka in the last eight, with David Ferrer his scheduled opponent in the semifinals. Djokovic said he was even ready for the high temperatures forecast for Melbourne. “Last couple of years, everything has been very all right with my health, with my physical state,” he said. “I’ve been working a lot with my team, making sure I’m fit and ready to play best-of-five (sets) in extreme conditions.”

AUSTRALIA’S Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter has enjoyed smiting foes in the senior’s tour since his retirement, but fears he may have bitten off more than he can chew by agreeing to partner Lleyton Hewitt in the Australian Open doubles. The partnership with Hewitt, the most recent of Australia’s grand slam winners, may leave sentimental locals misty-eyed as it hearkens back to the days when Australian men walked tall on the tour at the turn of the century. For twice U.S. Open champion Rafter, who will return to the A-grade at the age of 41, the feelings are rather different. Rafter bowed out of tennis after his last match-up with Hewitt, a doubles rubber defeat against France, effectively lost Australia the 2001 Davis Cup. “Under pressure, I’ll probably choke,” the former world number one joked to reporters. “Expect that to happen.” Rafter’s Davis Cup tie with Hewitt is in Australian folklore as one of the most calamitous collaborations in the country’s

sporting history. The pair were thrown together for the doubles in a surprise move, with an injured Rafter swapping with doubles specialist Wayne Arthurs. They lost to Cedric Pioline and Fabrice Santoro in four sets and, amid worries that Rafter’s shoulder would not survive another best-of-five singles, Arthurs was thrown to the wolves and lost the rubber and the Cup to France. “It was shocking, horrible,” the straight-talking Rafter recalled ruefully. “I was really bad. So my mates are sending me texts saying, ‘Can you please work on your returns?’ I’ll be definitely the worst player in the competition out there. “But I’ll have fun. I’m playing with one of the best players in the competition. Figure it’s like eating chocolate or having broccoli, sort of equals it out.” The match-up may be shortlived, however, with 32-year-old Hewitt a chance to pull the pin at any time depending on his preparations for the singles draw. Australia have waited 35 years for a homebred singles champion

at Melbourne Park and battlescarred Hewitt, in his recordequalling 18th Australian Open, could well go the deepest of the local contenders. WAKE-UP CALL Hewitt has enjoyed a renaissance in the lead-up, upsetting Roger Federer in the final of the Brisbane International and edging fourth seed Andy Murray in an exhibition match at the Kooyong Classic on Friday. “Eighteen in a row, and in the singles main draw as well,” Hewitt, who won the second of his two grand slam titles at Wimbledon in 2002, told reporters. “I wouldn’t have dreamt of that as my first one in ’97 as a 15-year-old, that’s for sure. With Hewitt eclipsed by the likes of Federer and Rafa Nadal and struck down by injuries for much of the past decade, Australia has long looked in hope to the next generation. A promising band of young talents are in the action in Melbourne, but the draw has done its best to ensure fans have just a fleeting glimpse of their potential.

Nervy Rafter Could “Choke” In Doubles Return With Hewitt


Ex-NOC Scribe Rues Lack Of Competent Coaches ELIAS Gora, a former Secretary-General of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), on Saturday said lack of competent coaches was the bane of sports development in Nigeria. The former secretary general, who was also Nigeria’s Chef de Mission to Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games, spoke with newsmen in Lagos. Gora, who is also an instructor with the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), said: “The country lacks coaches that can help athletes to move from lower to higher levels of sports development. “We don’t have coaches that can help athletes to proceed through all the developmental stages in sports in general. “We have foundational coaches who can go to the grassroots and identify athletes and train them. “The coaches that can put athletes through the critical level of development and performance are totally lacking in the country.’’ Gora said that there was need for training of all the budding athletes discovered at the grassroots. He urged sports administrators to organise regular training programmes for the coaches to be knowledgeable in their areas of specialisation. Gora said that it would take the efforts of only seasoned coaches to understand the psychology of athletes under their tutelage. “It takes scientific knowledge for a coach with the knowledge of sports psychology to understand the thinking pattern of an athlete. “It will enable him to develop an athlete from the grassroots to foundational, and to performance level,’’ he said. He also said that Nigerian coaches were limited in their knowledge of “man

management.’’ “Our coaches are limited in their knowledge as to how and what it takes to groom an athlete. “An athlete has to be properly stabilised and motivated by a coach to regard other athletes across the world as his equal without an iota of inferiority complex,’’ he said.

Bolaji Abdullahi, Hon. Minister of Sports

AMMC Demolishes Recreation Spots In Abuja

THE Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC), Department of Development Control, yesterday demolished two recreation spots, FESCO Security Gardens and Deos Gardens in Imo Crescent Area 1, Garki, Abuja. Both spots also Deos Gardens accommodated Churches at accommodated the the time of the demolition. Redeemed Christian Church of God’s Sunday service, while FESCO Gardens accommodated the Illumination Gospel Assembly. Coordinator of AMMC, Mr Rueban Okoya, said that the spots were removed because they engaged in illegal activities, adding that even the Churches were illegal. “A lot of illegal activities go on here; they converted a green area into a Church, a recreational garden and a residential area all in one; this is unacceptable. “These Churches are not legal churches because they organise their services in an illegal environment,’ he said. Okoya said that it was not abnormal for the Department of Development Control to carry out demolition of structures on Sunday because it worked round the clock. “‘Development Control works 24 hours and the fact that some people are holding

Keshi Submits 40-Man World Cup List THE Nigeria Football Federation have demanded a 40-man list from coach Stephen Keshi preparatory to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. MTNFootball.com has learnt that the NFF technical committee have asked Keshi to make available a list of players from which he will pick his final 23-man squad for the World Cup in June. “We expect the coach to send through this list at the latest after the CHAN,” a member of the committee informed MTNFootball.com

It is expected that the core of this 40-man squad will come from the bulk of the players who featured at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and also qualified the country to a fifth World Cup. It is left to be seen if Keshi will recall skipper Joseph Yobo, who has seen limited action at Turkish club Fenerbache after he fell down the pecking order, and England-based striker Osaze Odemwingie. Osaze has had a major fallout with Keshi after he was sensationally overlooked for the 2013 AFCON. It would also be interesting to see some of the other players

CHAN:

Coach Stephen Keshi

Keshi is now considering for the tournament. Ukraine-based midfielder Lukman Haruna, Chinedu Obasi, Raheem Lawal and Joel Obi are believed to be among those to be given a chance to fight for a place on the flight to Brazil. Nigeria’s World Cup training camp will open on May 25 most likely in Keshi’s preferred choice of Miami in the United States of America. They take on Mexico on March 5 in a warm-up match in the United States of America. The Eagles are drawn against Argentina, BosniaHerzegovina and Iran in the first round of the World Cup.

church service on Sunday should not prevent us from doing our work. “Human beings, if not checked, will constitute themselves into nuisance in the society; if we allow this kind of development in the FCT, the city will become rough and inhabitable,’’ he said. He said that AMMC was increasing its monitoring activities to ensure that such illegal structures, when demolished, were not rebuilt by the owners. Mr Innocent Esiagu, an official of the Parks and Recreation Department of AMMC said that the demolished gardens were illegal because they did not have approved plans. “They are not befitting to the FCT and they constitute security risk to inhabitants.

Canada 2014 Elegbeleye Confident Of Falconets’ Qualification GBENGA Elegbeleye, the Director-General of the National Sports Commission (NSC), says he is confident the Nigerian under-20 women’s football team has already qualified for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. Elegbeleye told newsmen on Saturday in Abuja after the team defeated their South African counterparts 6-0 that there was no room for any fears at all. The match played at the Abuja National Stadium was the first leg tie in the final round of the competition’s African qualifiers. The winners of the Nigeria/ South Africa pairing will join another African side to qualify for the competition scheduled for Canada in August. “South Africa is out of the

Nigeria Down, Not Out

DEFIANT Egwuekwe Azubuike has said Nigeria should not be written off at CHAN despite a losing start to Mali on Saturday. Aboulaye Sissoko and Adama Traore’s goals were enough to give the Malians a good start in the biennial tournament on Saturday night at the Cape Town Stadium with Gbolahan Salami pulling a goal back for the Super Eagles. Nigeria are now second from bottom of Group A without a point after hosts South Africa beat Mozambique 3-1 in the opening game. But Azubuike told

MTNFootball.com that although they are very disappointed as a team, this defeat will drive them to even work harder in their other Group A matches. “No one should write us off because there are some teams that start badly and win all remaining games in the tournament, and we are capable of doing that,” said the confident defender. The big Warri Wolves central defender admitted the Nigeria backline struggled against a sure-footed Mali attack. “As defenders we lost communication several

“Although the lands used are legal because they are green areas reserved for recreation, the structures are illegal because they lack the necessary approval by the department. “They need to come to our office to obtain approval before they can construct parks; this is to ensure that recommended building plan is adhered to,’’ he said. Mr William Ikpi, a deacon of one of the Churches, whose service was disrupted by the exercise, complained that the faithful were not notified of the demolition plan. “We came here to worship this morning only for bulldozers to appear and start destroying our things. “The management of this garden should have notified us of the receipt of the demolition notice; we don’t know where to go from here,’’ he said.

times when the Mali strikers came at us and it’s something we must correct,” he said. Egwuekwe, who claims he is set to move to Italy after CHAN, said Nigeria have no option now but to go all out and beat Mozambique in their next game on Wednesday. He restated their determination to repeat the country’s 2013 AFCON triumph at CHAN. “We know what this tournament means to us as players and a country and this will make us work even harder since we even lost the first game,” said the defender.

game already. Nigeria will go to Canada to represent Africa, because I cannot see them beating us in the return leg. “I am certain that we will go to South Africa to beat them,’’ Elegbeleye said. He hinged his optimism on the fact that Nigeria had qualified for the previous six editions of the FIFA U-20 Women’s world Cup. “Nigeria’s under-20 girls have always been qualifying for the World Cup,’’ he said. The NSC director-general assured that the team would also do better than before at the competition. “This time around, we will play better,’’ he said, contending that the team had always tried its best at the world competition. “We cannot say they are not doing well at the World Cup. We have to remember that countries like the U.S., Japan, and Mexico, among others, are also good in women football. “But all we have to do is to prepare well for the World Cup, and I believe this year will be different.’’ Also, Sanusi Mohammed, the Director of Competitions, Nigeria Football Association (NFA), said he was impressed with the Falconets’ performance against South Africa. While saying the match was qualitative, he however advised the team to forget about the first leg performance and begin to focus on the return leg. “I am however optimistic that the Falconets will make the country proud at the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada,’’ Mohammed said. The return match will take place on January 25 in South Africa. The seventh edition of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup will hold from August 5 to August 24.


CMYK

Friends Of Nelson Mandela “FRIENDS of Nelson Mandela Initiative seek to harness the leadership virtues of Nelson Mandela, tap lessons from his leadership virtue and raise leaders with his virtues and leadership qualities thereby transforming the attitude of present and future leaders which research has shown is greatest challenges of leadership in Nigeria.” - Rev. David Ugolor of ANEEJ First of all I sincerely wish my numerous readers on this column a great and fulfilling new year 2014! Really, there are so many things to write about as events are occurring in quick succession. Most especially at this crucial period of the year when stocks are being taken here and there, both locally nationally and internationally. Late last year, members of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) rose from a national Executive Meeting and reminded the presidency of the urgent need to do something drastic and comprehensively about the health sector or risk a nationwide strike anytime from now. I think NMA has a big point in their present demands. Simply, the health sector in our country is faced with mountains of challenges, like mass exodus of Medical Doctors out of this country going outside our shores for greener pastures, because things are still not done properly here. I am not holding brief for the Medical Doctors but as a patriot, the Federal Government should look positively at their demands, so as not to experience something like the recent crisis that engulfed the educational sector. Come to think of it, must we embark on threats and actual strikes before the authorities will listen or try to do something about the neglect, rot

and wastages that dotted almost all sectors of the country? As I pen this article, the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and

was certainly not the promise handed down to the new buyers of our electricity sector: that of not retrenching any workers not due for retirement or sack. Regrettably, here in our country things are done recklessly and ruthlessly without recourse to official promise, procedures or modus operandi attached to certain situation. Today,

still going on in that sector. What I am trying to state here in essence is the fact that impunity is being institutionalized in our dear nation today. There is lack, of budget transparency in Nigeria, necessitating leakages and huge fraud; corruption in the aviation sector; N255m car scandal as House of Representatives indict

protest in Abuja on November 21 2013 e.t.c. This numerous cases of impunity in Nigeria has finally brought me to the friends of Nelson Mandela Initiative, (FONMI), which was launched on December 19th, 2013 in Benin City.

Late Nelson Mandela, former South Africa President

Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) have indicated their readiness to combat the federal Government over the planned sales of Nigerian refineries. Now, why would the federal government want to embark on the sales of our gigantic refineries without seeing to be adequately carrying NUPENG along in this sensitive national exercise? Today a chunk of the electricity workers are being victimized brow beaten and outrightly retrenched since the dissolution of Power Holdings Company of Nigeria (PHCN). And this

electricity workers are groaning and writing in pains, now tell me why NUPENG will not shout their voices hoarse so that they will not fall into a precarious situation if the federal government goes ahead with the planned sales of our refineries? Even, as we have made it to 2014, numerous issues of national importance are begging to be attended to. The Governor of the Central Bank has told all of us that a chunk of proceeds from oil sales is unaccounted for in year 2013. that is to say that mind boggling stealing is

Stella Odua and NCAA, yet Odua remains Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation; huge investment by the Nigerian Government in turn around maintenance of our refineries, yet such refineries are still comatose, with those involved in such fraudulent activities are still celebrating in town. There is procurement corruption across government agencies; large scale fuel subsidy fraud, till today no marketer has been convicted; killing of antisubsidy protesters in January 2012; police disrupted anti-corruption

If we have leaders like Nelson Mandela, who died on December 5th 2013 at the age of 95, all over Africa, especially in our country, such heinous cases of impunity that we experience would have been brought to a very low margin? Rev. David Ugolor, the convener of friends of Nelson Mandela Initiative (FONMI) said at the historic occasion that: the virtues that Mandela displayed throughout his life were Justice, Restraint (Temperance), Faith and Hope. It is these virtues that first Edge Book Café intend to

study, explore and inculcate into younger generations and generations yet unborn to promote true and healthy leadership in Nigeria and Africa as a continent. Candidly, if we get it right at the centre that is if we allow cerebral and dynamic statesmen to wear the mantle of leadership, everything will change? Everything will change because people oriented leaders such as we have seen in Julius Nyerere, Fidel Castro, Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, Mao Tse-tung, Obafemi Awolowo etc will always try to live by example and make sure that the system is not b a s t a r d i z e d , traumatized and abandoned to faith. If we get it right in 2015, things will actually take a drastic turn for the better? If our electoral Act is revisited by inserting digital voting system the level of election rigging will come to barest minimum? And if that is done, honest, brilliant and visionary personalities will be attracted to the political stage to slug it out with bandits, drug barons and common criminals calling themselves our leaders today. And that is why we must encourage the likes of Rev. David Ugolor, the convener of friends of Nelson Mandela Initiative (FONMI) not to rest on his magnificent idea. Every lover of justice, greatness and responsibility should join this noble initiative. A Nelson Mandela is absolutely possible in Nigeria.

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