Page 1

Nigerian Chevening Alumni Association Elect New Executives >>Page 3

John Momoh, President

Hadiza S. Sa'eed, Vice President

Kester Osahenye, General Secretary

Dr. Abiodun Adeniyi, Chief Whip

Ms. Folasade Doherty, Legal Adviser

Dan Akpovwa, Publicity Secretary

www.theabujainquirer.com

SOCIAL CIRCLE >>>PAGES 14 First Published March 2004

Vol. 12 No. 14 ISSN: 1597-2895

July 10 - 16, 2017

Price: N100

INVESTIGATION:

HO W FCT A LOSES BILLIONS l…200 buses rot at transport coy By Austine ELEMUE

I

t was billed to be the panacea to the phasing out of mini buses popularly known as “Araba” from the Federal Capital City, but investigation has shown that it is a cesspool of waste and corruption at the Abuja Urban Mass

Transport Company, AUMTCO. With over 300 high capacity buses otherwise known as “El-Rufai’ Buses” in its fleet, the AUMTCO can only boast of less than 100 functional ones at present. A visit by our Continued on page 3

Strike: Students Miss Out On Exams In Nasarawa By Godfrey AKON

T

he 2017 Basic E d u c a t i o n Certificate Examination, BECE, in Nasarawa state has been grounded, following a prolonged industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools, ASUSS. Public secondary

schools across Nasarawa have remained closed since the start of third term in May as teachers joined workers across the state to protest poor working conditions and demand improved welfare packages. The Junior Certificate Examination, also known as Junior WAEC, was Continued on page 3

L-R: President, Electoral National Independent, Cape Verde, Mrs.Maria do Rosario Goncaives, President, Electoral National Independent, Burkina Faso, Ahmed Barry and Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission and President, ECOWAS Network Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, during the inauguration of ECONEC Secretariat in Abuja. Photo: Wale Elekolusi.

FCDA needs N18bn for resettlement I am an artist of two of natives >>PAGE 4 worlds – Allos >>PAGE 14

Transcorp Hilton Abuja: New ambience, same tradition of excellence >>PAGE 19


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July 10 - 16, 2017

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NEWS

How FCTA Loses Billions Continued from page 1 correspondent to the AUMTCO head office along the Abuja-Kubwa Expressway shows that 60 percent of the vehicles wasting away at the premises, while some others are rotting away behind the Karu General Hospital, an outskirt of the city. This development, our correspondent learnt, might not be unconnected with poor management and corruption to the tune of over N2 billion allegedly diverted by the Abuja Investment Company Limited, AICL. As the transportation problem lingers, commuters within the satellite towns find it extremely difficult to get to their various places of work on a daily basis, just as the FCT Administration appears hapless to salvage the situation. The Assistant Director, in charge of Mass Transit in the

Transportation Secretariat of FCT Administration, Mr. Adewale Alebiosu, who confirmed the number of

high capacity buses that are operational, however told our correspondent that more vehicles will be deployed to assuage

the plight of commuters with the reopening of the temporary Nyanya bus terminal. However, in his

reaction, Acting Secretary of Transportation Secretariat, Malam Suleiman Abdulhamid,

L-R: Herbert Wigwe, GMD/CEO, Access Bank Plc; Hon. Segun Olulade, Member, Lagos State House of Assembly; Akinwunmi Ambode, Governor, Lagos State; Chief Fatai Olumegbon, and Oba Kamorudeen Ishola Animashaun, Oloja of Epe, during the official opening of the Access Bank branch in Epe, Lagos... Recently

Strike: Students Miss Out On Exams In Nasarawa Continued from page 1 scheduled to hold in May, but there are no signs that the exercise would be conducted anytime soon as the state government failed to promptly negotiate with the aggrieved teachers and reopen the schools. Our correspondent gathered that private schools across Nasarawa state are also bearing the brunt of the strike action as their JSS3 students are stranded because they cannot write the stateadministered BECE while public schools are shut down. Nasarawa State Chairman of ASUSS, Comrade Gabriel Angbashi, who spoke to our Correspondent on a telephone interview, vowed that the union will not call off the strike until the state government accede to their demands. Angbashi disclosed that since the commencement of the term-long strike action, the Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Almakura, has not negotiated with the striking teachers to return to the classroom.

”The problem started when the state government tried to slash our salaries by 50 per cent without proper consultation and that resulted into three months strike last year. At the end of the day we were able to resolve through an agreement we entered into with the state government. “But the state government has refused to meet up with this agreement. They have violated all the agreement that we entered into and this agreement has to do with our salary arrears that were remaining for four to five months,” he

said. The union leader said ASUSS is demanding staff promotion, salary increment, payment of five months arrears of secondary school teachers and implementation of the agreement the union entered into with the government. “Since the beginning of this administration, the state government has not promoted even a single person to one grade level for seven years now. A worker is entitled to one step of grade level every year. Since he came, he has not given even a single step to any worker in this

state for the past seven years. “More so, in the last year agreement, our August salary arears is still hanging. By the time you bring them together you discover that he is owing us August last year, January, March, May and June. “That makes a total of five months’ salary arears which he has not paid. Speaking further, Angbashi alleged that since the state governor declared free education in the state two years ago, he has not supplied a single chalk to any school, adding that students go to school with chalks from

their homes for teachers to teach them. He also noted that textbooks have not been supplied to the schools and the registers are not available, even as form masters cannot know when a student is in the class or not. Meanwhile, a request by ASUSS for the Nasarawa State Assembly to negotiate with the state government met with a brick wall as the lawmakers labelled the union an illegal organisation which is not registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

Nigerian Chevening Alumni Association Elect New Executives By Alex UKERSHIO

T

he Chevening A l u m n i Association of Nigeria, CAAN, has elected new executives to run its affairs for the next two years. The team is led by John Momoh, an ace broadcaster and Chairman of Channels Media Group, as the new President of the Association. The Chevening

Alumni Association is made up of individuals who have benefited from the Chevening Scholarship, a UK scholarship scheme funded by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Other members of the new Executive Committee are Ms. Hadiza S. Sa’eed, Vice President, Kester Osahenye, General Secretary, Femi Adedipe,

'Femi Adedipe

Amina Ado

Assistant General Secretary, Dan Akpovwa, Publicity Secretary, Ms. Amina Ado, Financial

Secretary, Ms. Folasade Doherty, Legal Adviser Continued on page 22

said the reduction in the number of vehicles in the fleet of the company was not connected to poor management or corruption as alleged in some quarters, stressing that the territory’s environment was not favourable for mass transit. Abdulhamid revealed that until rail transport is put to effective use, residents will continue to face transportation challenges in the FCT. When asked whether the FCT Administration has any plans to refurbish the broken down urban mass buses, the secretary revealed that many private companies have indicated interest to refurbish the vehicles, but lack the capacity to do so. “I must tell in clear terms that the decline in the number of urban mass buses has nothing to do with poor management or corrupt practices as alleged. Recall that two private transport companies were licenced alongside with AUMTCO to operate in other major routes. Within a short period of time they were grounded because the environment is not favourable. We have to put basic infrastructures in place. “However, the good news is that as soon as the Abuja light rail project is completed, it will go a long way in solving some of these transportation c h a l l e n g e s ” , Abdulhamid stated. Recall that members of the House of Representatives had early in the year accused the Abuja Investment Company Limited of allegedly diverting the sum of N2 billion proceeds from 13 subsidiaries of AICL. The subsidiaries include: Abuja property Development Company Ltd, APDC, with 100 percent shareholding, Abuja Urban Mass transport Company Limited, AUMTCO, with 100 percent shareholding, Abuja Market Marketing Limited, AMML, with 95 percent shareholding, Abuja Technology Village Free Zone, ATVFZ, among others.


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FCT REPORT FCDA needs N18bn for resettlement of natives Stories by Austine ELEMUE

F

ederal Capital Development Authority, FCDA, has revealed that the authority needs over N18 billion for the completion of four resettlement schemes of Apo, Galuwyi-Shere, Wasa, and Anagada, just as the authority has already disbursed about N19.8 million for the compensation of 128 individuals. The Executive Secretary of FCDA, Engr. Umar Jibrin, who spoke to journalists on the backdrop of challenges faced by the authority stressed that a total of twelve communities were earmarked for resettlement in the first phase of development. He said: “Consequent upon the challenges faced with adopting the integration policy but with a strategy of a phased relocation of the original inhabitants that are within the FCC. In implementation of the new policy, a total of twelve communities were earmarked for resettlement in the first phase. “Four resettlement schemes were identified for execution and are now at various stages of completion namely; Apo resettlement scheme: The scheme covers a total area of 450 hectares meant for Garki, Apo, and Akpanjanya communities. This is at 97% completion. So far, a total amount of N2.6billion has been paid, while the project still needs a balance of N84.2 million to be completed and rolled out. “Galuwyi-Shere resettlement scheme: the scheme covers a total area of hectares with the first phase implementation meant for Utako, Maje, Mubushi, Jabi Samuel, Jabi Yakubu, Kpadna and Zhilu and is about 75 % completion. To date, the

sum of N9 billion has been spent leaving a balance of N3.2 billion required for its completion. “Wasa resettlement scheme: the scheme covers a total of 700 hectares with the first phase of implementation meant for Chika and Aleita communities. This is at about 67 % completion in the provision of housing. The sum of N1.1 billion will be required to complete

this project. “Anagada (5, 000 hectares) meant for resettlement of 84 communities that make up the present Jiwa/ Gwagwa, Idu and Iddo Sarki Chiefdoms which is yet to commence. The cost implication of this scheme stands at N13.8 billion”. He continued, “It must be noted that the resettlement policy within the FCT requires the authority to provide houses and

infrastructural facilities at the resettlement sites. In the first quarter of 2017, a total of N19.8 million was disbursed to 128 individuals as compensation presently, a lot of valuation of compensation of structures are ongoing, while some that are completed are awaiting confirmation or approval respectively. The valuation for compensation in the acquisition of the

Nyanya/Karshi Traffic: Taskforce commences marking of illegal structures rehabilitation and expansion of the Outer Southern Express way, OSEX, from Villa roundabout” Speaking on the infrastructural development of the city, Jibrin assured that the authority is determined to full development of the nation’s capital, in line with its mandate and aspirations of the founding fathers of Abuja, despite many challenges.

Representative of the DG, NAPTIP, Barr. Julie Okah-Donli, Mrs. Adekunle Sinilade, DG, CEDWIN, Barr. Chinyere Okorie, executives of the group and some widows at the event to mark International Widow's Day, recently in Abuja.

FCT teachers reject LG autonomy

O

ver 700 teachers, under the aegis of Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, stormed the secretariat of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, last week to protest, and demanded to be left out of local government autonomy. Chairman, NUT FCT chapter, Comrade Knabayi Stephen who addressed the protesting teachers, said that the decision to be left out of the local government autonomy was the common position of NUT National Executive Council, NEC, taken at its

meeting held on April 24, 2017, in Kaduna State. According to him, “NEC meeting having reappraised the issue of management and funding of Primary Education and the responsibility for payment of primary school teachers directed all state chapters to sensitize all stakeholders, including the public, lawmakers and other leaders”. Giving reasons for NUT decision not to be part of LG autonomy, Knabayi said: “It would be recalled that between 1990 and 1994 when

Primary Education came under the control of the Local Government, the school system witnessed poor funding and total neglect which led to industrial crises because the LG Councils failed to give primary education the priority of place it deserved”. He went on; “Despite an increase in allocation to the Local Government Councils from the Federation Account by 5 percent to enable the councils play their participation role in assisting the state governments to pay the

salaries of primary school teachers, the teachers were denied salaries for several months, in some cases for over 12 months”. Another propelling factor for opting out of the autonomy, according to Knabayi is the “failure by the LG Councils to contribute their mandatory 15 percent of the teachers’ emolument to the pension fund meant for the payment of the teachers’ pension and gratuities, thereby allowing the school system to deteriorate to the state of dysfunction and near collapse”.

T

he Ministerial T a s k f o r c e Committee on the decongestion of Nyanya, Karu Orozo/Karshi road has commenced the marking of illegal structures constituting obstruction along the route. Leader of the committee, Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Nienge (rtd) told journalists during the exercise that though the marking of illegal structures is belated due to logistics factor, but expressed satisfaction with the level of corporation from various unions operating on the route. Nienge, also revealed that after the marking of illegal structures along the route, the Taskforce will give property owners reasonable time notice to remove such structures causing obstruction on the road shoulders. The chairman who refused to disclose the number of days or weeks the committee will commence removal of illegal structures, however maintained that the committee will complete the assignment within the six months period deadline. According to him, “Though, the marking of illegal structures is coming a little bit late due to some logistics challenges, but I can assure you that with today’s exercise the job will be done within the stipulated time frame. After this notice, we will give them time to remove the affected property on their own, but if they fail, then we have to move into action”. He, however, commended the level of corporation the taskforce has received from different groups along the axis, stressing that the committee has taken note of other interest groups that are not captured in their survey. Nienge, also told journalists that the committee will make a p p r o p r i a t e recommendation to the Federal Capital Territory Administration for the evacuation of refuse dump by St. Mary Catholic church, noting that the refuse overflow to the road after rain.


July 10 - 16, 2017

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FCT REPORT Abuja varsity part-time students frown at non-release of results

Helpline Foundation holds hygiene awareness for students, teachers

By Chuks NZEH

P

Stories by Austine ELEMUE

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n continuation of its public enlightenment programme on personal hygiene for students and teachers of junior secondary schools in the Federal Capital Territory, a nongovernmental organisation has organised personal hygiene programme for students of Junior Secondary School Kpeyegi in Kuje Area Council of the Territory. The NGO, Helpline Foundation for the Needy Abuja, said the project tagged; “Hygiene Promotion in School Through School,” was aimed at addressing the Sustainable Development Goals 3 which seeks to ensure health and wellbeing for all. Senior Project Officer of Helpline Foundation for the Needy, Ms. Omozele Ojeme, said that the project is the first edition in the series of projects the foundation intends to sensitize teachers and students on environmental diseases and personal hygiene. Speaking on the topic: “Basics of personal hygiene and hand washing techniques,” Ojeme noted that unhealthy environmental condition increases the risk of both non-communicable and infectious diseases which is reflected in the strong integrated nature of the SDGs, while stressing the importance of regular hand wash. Ojeme tasked teachers especially at the junior secondary school level to always teach students of basic techniques on personal hygiene and other environmental diseases, while calling on relevant authorities to provide basic amenities in public schools across the Territory. One of the resource persons, Jane Williams in her paper presentation titled; “Environmental hygiene and the link between hygiene and mental health”, told participants that unhealthy environment leads to all manners of behavior, pointing out that it is ungodly to promote untidy environment.

FCT Public Enlightenment Team led by Mrs. Josie Mudasiru on the streets of Gwagwalada Area Council when the team was at the area council. Photo: FCTA.

Bello wants alumni associations’ involvement in school funding

M

inister of the Federal Capital Te r r i t o r y, Malam Muhammad Bello, has said there is need for more active participation of exstudents in the funding of universities in the country in order to improve the overall standard of these schools The minister who made this call while receiving the Alumni Association of the Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria led by the President, Prof. Ahmed Mora, that paid him a courtesy visit, said reliance on federal government funding alone for tertiary institutions is no longer sustainable as there are too many issues competing for the lean resources of

government. Bello said Alumni associations have to take a lot of initiatives and drive as is the case in other intentionally renowned universities around the world, to ensure that universities in the country continue to function and play their roles in the society. According to him, “We do know that many of the internationally renowned universities in the world basically, are now being run by funds from investments and more importantly also, funds from their Alumni associations. Usually, it is these funds that were used to provide the initial investments that keep the universities running. Any country, especially in the western world that you speak of, you will be

able to identify one or two universities where the alumni associations are very strong.” Bello while acknowledging the huge challenge in accomplishing these tasks, said the most important thing is not really the amount raised, but the ability to sustain it on a long term basis, no matter how little it is. Bello who stated that the ABU has the advantage of having most of its alumni in various institutions of the Federal Governmentin the FCT, most notably the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), advised the current exco to reach out to these individuals, including those that are now retired to encourage them

to participate in its activities. Earlier in his remarks, the President, Ahmadu Bello University Alumni Association, Prof. Ahmed Mora, said the ABU is the largest University in Nigeria, West Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, and by extension, the Alumni Association is the largest with over 800,000 students having graduated from the university. Mora said the members of the Association in the FCT and anywhere in Nigeria and the diaspora were ready and would be willing to bring their skills, expertise and competences in the services of the FCT to make it great and most beautiful and safe place to live.

Kwali medical director bags NBA merit award By Ateed YUSUF

T

he Medical Director of Kwali General Hospital, Dr. Halima Bello, has bagged the prestigious merit award of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Gwagwalda branch for her outstanding performance in the healthcare sector. Speaking on the

award, the medical expert, who is also a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, thanked the executive of the association for e n c o u r a g i n g personalities who excel in their various fields and contributions to the growth and development of the society. She told the gathering that the

award would spur her to do more in the service of humanity in enhancing quality healthcare services. In an interview with The Abuja Inquirer, the medical practitioner used the medium to appeal to women to cultivate the habit of visiting healthcare centres to know the status of their health,

even as she tasked pregnant women to attend antenatal and constant medical checkups regularly. The MD also enjoined her colleagues to reciprocate government’s gesture towards showing commitment and dedication to their job, just as she tasked them to redouble their efforts.

art-time students of the University of Abuja have frowned at the non-release of their results several years after they had written their final examinations. One of the affected students, who does want his name in print, said that he finished in 2015 and is yet to get his results, let alone graduate to further his academic pursuit. He said; “I have written my final year examinations 2 years ago but today I cannot tell anybody that I am a graduate, because there is just nothing to show for it, not even our results at least to confirm that we have completed the process.” Another student also affected by the non-release of results, said, “I was admitted in 2010/2011 academic session to study a five year course, and I graduated in October 2016, but I have not seen my results yet. It was a long and slow journey which consumed a lot of time and money. “When we went to make inquiry from the school and there was no tangible reason for the delay and I wonder why the school would intentionally frustrate their students. I can assure you that about 20, 000 students from different years from 2013 till date are affected by this unfortunate development.” He bemoaned that fact that “part-time students are made to take an oath not to be part of any student’s unionism or engaged in any form of protest against the school, as doing so would attract serious punishment. So we are afraid to speak even after graduation. “The student portal which is the official means of conveying information to the students has been left cold with no information since we graduated in October. “Some of our colleagues have been sent out of their homes for defrauding their parents and benefactors, that they did not go to school and collected so much money for that purpose. Some have contemplated suicide in frustration. Government should come to our aid.”


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EDITORIAL

Food security and armyworm infestation A

s Nigerians prepare for this year’s harvest, tensions are high that the 2017 harvest may be in short supply due to the reemergence of the army worm disease in six states including the Federal Capital Territory. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development had a month ago, raised alarm over the return of the dreaded pest in over 700, 000 hectares of farmlands, describing the situation as a major national catastrophe. The pest is currently ravaging farms destroying crops like maize, wheat, millet, cocoa, cotton, etc and threatening food security in the coming year. The African Armyworms attack in Nigeria was first reported in 2016 and is believed to have found its way into the country through agriculture products and destroyed thousands of hectares of farmlands in its initial attack. At a meeting with Commissioners of Agriculture to address this year’s pest invasion, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said an estimated N2.98billion was required to fight the attack. However, the challenge then was that the ministry had no money to fight such an attack considering that the budget had not been signed into law. State governors were therefore asked to urgently step in and help purchase the recommended pesticides for local farmers so as to avert food crisis in the future. In his words, “If they lose

Considering that the federal government is looking to diversify the economy to sectors like agriculture, a reappearance of the armyworm on farmlands is inexcusable considering the warning we had with the attack in 2016. The agric ministry had no business waiting for the budget to be passed into law before an invasion of such magnitude can be countered. Monies should have been set aside for such emergencies and not waiting to take farmers through the possibilities of losing their produce before help is provided.

their farms and they refuse to farm, this country is in trouble. We will write to your governors and make them understand why they should do this while we see how we look out for funds. “We also have huge amount of money to pay poultry farmers as compensation. Now we have no money, with the budget not signed into law.” Situations like this calls to question the level of preparedness of Nigeria in the face of an emergency. The dangers of pest invasion should be well understood and never underestimated by a serious government. Like most moths, armyworms can multiply in hundreds in just two to five days and can destroy an entire farm in weeks. One then wonders why measures are not put in place to not only combat such an attack, but also prevent a reoccurrence as being

experienced since 2016. Considering that the federal government is looking to diversify the economy to sectors like agriculture, a reappearance of the armyworm on farmlands is inexcusable considering the warning we had with the attack in 2016. The agric ministry had no business waiting for the budget to be passed into law before an invasion of such magnitude can be countered. Monies should have been set aside for such emergencies and not waiting to take farmers through the possibilities of losing their produce before help is provided. While appreciating the huge funds needed to contain the latest attack through the provision of pesticides, government must ensure that only organic pesticides are used. Thankfully the ministry of agriculture, in its proposed strategies to control the African

Armyworm infestation, said Nigeria is at a critical stage right now where an organic pesticide has to be used to contain the situation. There is however the need to warn farmers on the hazards of inorganic pesticides, so as to ensure that such chemicals do not leave residues on plant. Moreover, studies have shown a relationship between inorganic pesticide use and cancer when such chemicals are absolved by plants and eventually eaten. However in a rush to stop these pests through the use of all chemicals available, the health and environmental hazards that farmers and even food consumers could face, are being overlooked. Furthermore, Nigeria must embark on aggressive research on the reason for the reemergence of the pest. Farmers need to know what to expect. That is, if the attacks are going to be an annual occurrence. They should be abreast as to the causes and ways of preventing future attacks and farming techniques that will guarantee safer and bountiful yield. Already the country is experiencing high food prices arising from the current economic crisis which is rocking the economy. The prices of food items have more than doubled, with families hardly able to afford the basic necessities. An additional scarcity in any guise will automatically translate to increase in the already exorbitant food prices.

Published by: GAZETTA COMMUNICATIONS LTD Publisher/Editor-in-Chief

Dan Akpovwa Editor Emmanuel Ogbeche Assistant Editor Austine Elemue Ovie Akpovwa Editor, Lagos Bureau Godwin Uzoma Okoro

Snr. Correspondents Sarah Negedu; Onoriode E. Atavwigho; Mfon Udo-Ema Correspondents Ambrose Imobhio (Asaba) Scholastica Joseph (Makurdi) Ayinde Olarewaju (Ilorin) Akon Godfrey Chukwuma Nzeh Ateed yusuf Ere-ebi Agedah Ijeoma Ukazu Ismaila Jimoh Williams Abah

London Correspondent Peculiar Medinus Online Editor Lucky Akpovwa Advert/Marketing Executive Laraba P. Murey

Photo Editor Wale Elekolusi

Admin. Assistant Alex Ukershio Company Secretary Bassey E. Offiong Esq. Legal Adviser Gogo Karibi-Whyte


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July 10 - 16, 2017

Sambo feels the pain without power T

he reticent former Vice President, Nnamdi Sambo, sure now knows what it means to be out of power. The No. 2 man to President Goodluck Jonathan would certainly be ruing what has become of his lot as he comes under intense scrutiny by the anti-graft agencies led by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. Though the raids on his homes have not yielded the kind of media hype that has trailed some officials of the past administration, his revelation last Saturday that his home has come raids, four times in six months, tells of the labour pains Sambo has had to endure. His spokesperson, Umar Sani, who spoke on his

principal’s behalf bemoaned the regularity of the unscheduled searches. It was not out of place for Sani to express the fear that something incriminating could be planted at the former vice-president’s home to incriminate him. “As a law-abiding citizen, the former vice-president did not raise any alarm in the previous invasions in view of the fact that he has nothing to hide,” the statement by Sambo’s aide read. “The recent desperation exhibited by some security agencies in carrying out a raid on an unoccupied residence blocking all entry and exit points, in a commando-style and coming along with a bullion van speaks volumes of the clandestine intention of the

security operatives. “It is therefore worrisome to note that the consistency with which the searches occurred and the intervals between them portrays a desire of a fault-finding mission. We are apprehensive that a repeat of such episode will not be surprising if an incriminating object is planted in his residence in order to wilfully and deliberately incriminate him. “It is against this background that we wish to draw the attention of the unsuspecting members of the public to this phenomenon.” After having enjoyed the luxury of power, Sambo should also bear the burden of being out of office.

Nnamdi Kanu and the tocsin of power W

hen Sir John Dalberg-Acton, the English Catholic historian, politician, and writer penned his famous quote; Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, he did not have the oaf called Nnamdi Kanu in mind. However, the stark reality of this hubris that has led to the fall of many, and no doubt will continue, holds true for the Biafra secessionist leader. Riding on the wave of Igbo irredentism, Kanu seems to overreach himself daily, therein lies the danger he has become not just to the cause he

has undertaken, but also to himself. First, like the emperor that he has become, he issued a ‘decree’ against the Anambra governorship election slated for later November this year. According to him, Ndi Igbo should boycott the poll, thereby automatically disfranchising potential voters. For a man that seeks to exert political mileage, one cannot help but wonder how intends to become the overlord of Biafra if elections are not permitted. If indeed, he and IPOB have the groundswell it claims, will it not be more

expedient for them to test their mettle by backing a candidate in the polls and ensure they win? As if that was not enough, he took on former President Goodluck Jonathan, describing him as a weakling. Since he went that road, he has had more than he bargained for and was compelled to deny ever describing Jonathan as such. Well, his endorsement of people kneeling and cowering before him only shows that his end is nigh except he begins to make a detour because men always seem to repeat history when they should not.

The court jester in Imo State G

overnor Rochas Okorocha is a man that loves the idea of himself as the “sharpest” guy around. His self-adulation is comparable to that of Lucifer, which led to his fall from his exalted position as the Arch Angel. Last week, the voyeur was it his comic best again. According to him, his successor risk being stoned if he under performs owing to his impressive performance as governor. “The only problem I have is that anybody that comes after me and does not perform will be stoned. Because you cannot

come to Imo State now and say you want to abolish free education from primary to university, they will not accept. I have spoilt Imo people believe me.” This is farther from the truth. Okorocha has underperformed woefully on all fronts of the governance index. Only a few weeks ago, the governor came swing against a national newspaper over their rating of his scorecard. Rather than engage the newspaper on what he has delivered, the governor made the lame excuse that it was because the reporter of the newspaper was from a hostile

community to his, therefore was bound to be biased. What one had expected was for him to outline what he has achieved. It is this same Imo that has been privitised into the governor’s private estate with his family members holding all the sensitive and moneygenerating MDAs. It is this same governor that left a mountain of refuse at Douglas Road in the state capital because the citizens were critical of him. Rochas should stop making a mockery of himself and try to redeem what is left of his miserable two years in office.


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July 10 - 16, 2017

NEWS

Seven perish in Cross River after “consuming cucumber” By Godfrey AKON

R

esidents of Amana in Obanliku Local Government of Cross River State were thrown into sadness and confusion as seven members of a family mysteriously died after consuming cucumber. The deceased, who were children, were picked up unconscious by their grandmother, Mrs. Dorothy Agbor, on the morning of July 2 and rushed to a nearby clinic where they eventually passed on. A resident of Amana, Mr. Paul Baji, who narrated the incident to our correspondent, said Dorothy had attended a burial ceremony of one of the villagers, Mr. Emma Kichie, where she spent the night. But her six grandchildren stayed back with their great grandmother who was present at the time they consumed the deadly fruit. It was not however clear who gave the fruit to the deceased children. “Upon her return from the burial the next morning, Dorothy discovered that 6 of her grandchildren were unconscious; she then raised an alarm for help. “Her cry attracted relatives and neighbors who came to her assistance and rushed the victims to a nearby clinic. Few minutes after, one of the female children gave up the ghost; two hours later, 2 boys followed. “As if that was not enough, 4 hours later, another female child died. As I speak with you now one of the victims who was undergoing treatment in the hospital has just died,” Baji said. Upon hearing about the death of the children, their great grandmother who witnessed the children eating the fruit collapsed and died few minutes after. Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police in Cross River State, Hafiz Inuwa, has ordered an immediate investigation into the incident to ascertain what caused the sudden death of the seven

persons. The Divisional Police Headquarters in Sankwala, which confirmed the incident noted that a team of police investigators was being dispatched last Friday to Amana in response to the directive of the commissioner of police. According to a Crime Officer from the division, who pleaded anonymity as

he was not authorized to speak, all the seven persons were buried without the knowledge of the police, stating that police investigators may order bodies of the victims to be exhumed for proper autopsy reports. He said “the signal came from the commissioner of police in Calabar so we have to detail some people to Amana; the Chief is here

with me. “I asked why such an ugly incident happened and he couldn’t inform the police, he said he was away at Gboko where they operated him on one of his eyes. “Right now we are sending somebody to the village so that he will come and give us a detailed information because Calabar said we

should give them the real information; the names and ages of all the people who died,” he said. The Chief of Amana, Sunday Ayawa, who was invited by the police for briefing on the incident told our correspondent on phone that he was away in Gboko where he had an operation on one of his eyes when the incident occurred.

L-R: Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Prof. Oluyemi Dipeolu, immediate past DG Debt Management Office, Dr. Abraham Nwankwo, his wife, Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, Executive Secretary, Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, Sharon Ikeazor, former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, and former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi during the unveiling of the book titled: “Inflation & The Structure of Aggregate Output” by Dr. Nwankwo in Abuja last Thursday.

NUJ raises alarm over rising insecurity, Mambilla killings By Emmanuel OGBECHE

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he Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, has expressed its worry over what it described as the alarming level of insecurity of life and property in the country which are clear signs of danger to Nigeria’s democracy and to National Security. “We are particularly shocked by the killings of citizens, livestock and destruction of property allegedly by the Mambilla Sectarian Militia on the Mambilla Plateau of Sardauna

Local Government of Taraba State from 17-23 June, 2017,” a statement by the National Secretary of the union, Shuaibu Usman Leman, read. The statement was outraged at the, “more shocking was the revelation by the General Officer Commanding the Third Division of the Nigerian Army, Brig Gen Benjamin Ahanotu who was on the Mambilla Plateau that the level of killings targeted at Fulani herdsmen was alarming and that while the mayhem lasted, some traditional and

Community Leaders did nothing to stop the killings and neither did they made any efforts at assisting the wounded get any medical attention.” Leman said, “Nigerians have watched with utmost regret and hopelessness similar killings allegedly by Fulani herdsmen in Plateau, Nasarawa and Benue States, in Southern parts of Kaduna State and elsewhere while those entrusted with the security of life and property of Nigerians watched without being able to bring any of the

alleged perpetrators to account for their crimes. “It is pertinent to caution the Federal Government that allowing the insecurity level to reach this unacceptable dimension is capable of plunging this country into catastrophic irreversibility. “It is therefore imperative that we call on the Federal Government to move fast to avert another mayhem by quickly arresting the perpetrators of the killings in Mambilla and all the killings that took place earlier and bring the culprits to justice.”

Dickson demands “true federalism,” warns against war By Ere-ebi AGEDAH

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overnor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Seriake Dickson, has called for a return to a truly federal state that would ensure fairness and equity. The governor, who spoke when he appeared on a programme on AIT last Friday, tagged, “People , Politics and Power,” argued that the current state of the nation was as a result of distortions in the way the nation was organised. He therefore repeated his call for a “reorganisation” or “restructuring” of the country to minimise the several agitations currently going on all over the nation. Dickson maintained that because of the anxiety raised by the word “restructuring”, a Committee by whatever name could be set up to distil the several reports that had been generated in the past. “That is the very essence of the call for some kind of meeting of minds of Nigerians to reorganise, because a lot of people have issues with the word restructuring and then make it more stable, lasting and prosperous. “That’s the root of the call for restructuring, which by the way is reorganisation. We have to cool the heat because nobody will benefit from war or crisis or violence”, he advised. Drawing examples from the rest of the world, the governor said countries that did not allow for debates and arguments in the past ultimately disintegrated. “Look back at what happened (to Nigeria) in the 60s. Look at Sudan and see where they are. Yugoslavia is now almost seven countries. Every nation is an artificial creation. “So, very often I hear people say Awolowo (Obafemi) referred to Nigeria as a mere geographical location. He was right. Every nation is. What gives essence to nations is shared values, shared views as to what citizens think of themselves and of the country”, he insisted.


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NEWS

Infrastructure: Bello restates faith in PPP model By Austine ELEMUE

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he Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Malam Muhammad Bello, has restated the importance of Public-PrivatePartnership, PPP model, for infrastructural development of a fast growing city like Abuja. Bello made this declaration while receiving the report of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Abandoned Katampe District Infrastructure Project. FCT Minister had set up the committee in March this year to review the N61 billion Katampe district engineering Infrastructure project and make recommendations on the way forward. “Katampe has to be made to work, or else, the future of developing infrastructure in the city is going to be bleak. Again if we allow the city to develop at this rate, with d e m o g r a p h y astronomically o u t s t r i p p i n g infrastructure, eventually, Abuja would be like many other

African cities. Consequently, all the reasons for which it was created 40 years ago as well as the huge investments made into it would have just gone down the drain,” Bello said. The minister said it had become necessary to

revive the project to put the city’s infrastructural development at par with its demographic, economic and geographic expansion. In his remarks during the presentation, the committee chairman, Engr. Zanna, Gana, lamented the slipshod

manner with which the procurement process was undertaken, especially the absence of due diligence in the arrival of the contractual terms. Gana recalled that “the project was to be partially financed through the development

levies the land allottees were charged to pay under a given time-frame of 36 months. It had been expected that the project was to be completed within the period, but as we are reporting to you now, I don’t think up to 30 percent has been collected.”

L-R: Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom, Managing Director, Metropolitan Motors, Mr. Toyin Okeowo, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekeremadu and Senior Vice President, Africa, Bajaj Auto, Mr. Krishna Grihapathy during the inauguration of Bajaj Maxima cargo vehicle in Abuja...Saturday. Photo: Wale Elekolusi.

Why I didn’t resign during my CCT trial —Saraki By Muyideen ALIU, Ilorin

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enate President Bukola Saraki has said that he resisted pressure to resign during his turbulent period at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), among other challenges when he emerged as President of the Senate of the Eight Assembly. Saraki, while speaking last week Friday in Ilorin at his Ile Arogbo Iloffa road residence where he addressed his supporters, youths, women groups among others, vowed to continue to fight to liberate Nigeria, stressing that he was part of the groups that enthroned the ruling All Progressives Congress. He explained that there were pressures

from certain quarters that “I should resign my appointment due to their parochial sentiment that everything must come to them and belong to them forgetting that Nigeria belongs to all of us irrespective of our location in the country.” According to him, “I was part of the struggle to ensure that APC emerged as alternative to the Peoples Democratic Party led Federal government that failed to respect the right of Nigerians to quality living standard.” He, however, thanked Kwarans, Nigerians and his supporters both at home and abroad for their support and prayers which had made him to be more committed, focused and believe in Project Nigeria to enthrone true democratic governance

in the country. The Senate President further called on progressive minded Nigerians to support the ruling APC towards building a strong and

vibrant economy which would make Nigerians to be self-reliant, and be the giant of Africa. Saraki further promised that the Eight National Assembly

under his leadership will continue to ensure that democratic governance is given the pride of place to ensure better living condition for all Nigerians.

69,103 candidates register for BECE in Benue By Scholastica JOSEPH, Makurdi

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enue State Examinations Board has disclosed that a total of 69, 103 candidates registered for this year’s Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE). The Acting Executive Secretary of the board, Mr Alexander Asen, gave this figure while speaking to The Abuja Inquirer in his office in Makurdi, last week. Asen further explained that out of this number 37,900 candidates were boys while 31,203 were girls. While he congratulated all parents in Benue for ensuring the accomplishment of the girl child education campaign, Asen said the 1.2:1 ration of boys to girls is a very standard gender sensitive ratio comparable with any state in Nigeria. Mr. Asen, who had met with principals of post primary schools in the state preparatory to the commencement of the 2017 BECE, called on all stakeholders to support the task of evaluating the Benue child with valid and reliable test items. He said he will work round the clock to ensure that results of the July examinations are released not later than 20th of September, 2017.

One killed in Kwara rival cult rivalry By Muyideen ALIU, Ilorin

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uspected rival cultists launched their hostility in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital last Friday killing one and wounding several others. One man identified simply as Dauda was gruesomely killed at Edun/ Opo-Malu Junction, leading to palpable fear among residents and shop owners in the area. The victim was said to be a dealer in furniture and interior decorations

at a popular fairly used market near Edun Junction. A security source told our correspondent that the deceased hailed from Ijara-Isin in Isin Local Government Area of the state. It was however learnt that the atmosphere became charged immediately members of the rival cult syndicate arrived the shop of the deceased. Dauda was said to have taken to his heels when he sighted the dread group but was given a hot

chase and was caught at the Edun/Opo-Malu Junction. Other shop owners were said to have scampered for safety as men of the underworld reportedly brandished harmful objects including guns, machetes among others it was also gathered that the area was deserted with motorists and other road users plying the area hurriedly opted for safe routes to avoid being caught in the mayhem. The warring cult group was said to have left the

scene of the incident immediately the deceased was confirmed dead. When contacted, Public Relations Officer of the state Police Command, DSP Ajayi Okasanmi, said he was not aware of the incident and promised to find out and call back. Meanwhile, 10 suspected cultists have so far been arrested in a raid carried out by a combined team of security personnel. The suspects were picked up at some dark spots in Agbo-Oba Area of Ilorin, the state capital.


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INTERVIEW

I have evidence Suswam sold Benue shares —Ortom Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom in this interview with journalists in Makurdi stated that he has evidence to show that the immediate past Governor of the state, Gabriel Suswam, sold Benue state shares in Benue Cement Company (BCC) and Julius Berger. Ortom also spoke on the refund of N4.5b from UBA which he alleged was diverted by Suswam’s administration among other issues. Scholastica JOSEPH was there for The Abuja Inquirer. Excerpts:

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here are insinuations that the N4.5billion UBA refund to state government was refunded by the immediate past Governor Gabriel Suswam. Is this true? No no the whole issue is very clear. Like I said the whole process was anchored on falsehood, forgery and lies. As you are aware the funds were meant for specific projects. In the case of Benue state, they were meant for about projects; construction of Daudu/Gbajimba road, Oshigbudu-Obagaji road, Tarka/ Igbor, Zakibiam/Afia, Oju/Obusa Utonkon road, Water projects in Otukpo and Katsina Ala. All together about 13 projects and when this money came, instead of channelling this money to the specific projects that this bond was approved for, It was rather used for serving overdraft of N4.5 billion. That was where we have issues. So we engaged a consultant who approached SEC and wrote a petition and SEC did an investigation and decided that this money should go back to the original use. That is what had been accredited to our account. So we can go ahead and complete these projects that originally these bond was collected for. Now, the issue of overdraft and those documents that were written which was used to access the overdraft was forged by past administration. That is where we are having a case with them because there was no exco on the day purportedly to get the extract given to the bank that they directed that the money should be given to them. There was no exco but minutes were generated. Of course not just minutes but extracts. It was packaged and all those documents written to the bank on this matter were not in the file and all the reference numbers were forged. So this is where we have case. But recalled that the former governor instead of looking at the main issue bought a page in the Nation newspaper of 8th June and denied that he didn’t collect this money. I’m not surprised, he denied that he did not sell Benue state shares in BCC, Julius Berger and they were sold and the evidence is there. So these are the issues. But actually they collected overdraft amounting to N4.5b. This we have verified from the bank. And we agreed that we do not have the resources to talk of paying the overdraft within one month or 60 days as the case may be so we have to restructure. And we have agreed with the bank that we will restructure the

Governor Samuel Ortom overdraft to a period of four years which is about N136m a month. The Benue State University, (BSU) lecturers appear to have ignored the executive order to go back to work. What do we see happening? Nobody ignored my executive orders. I sent it to the council and I’m yet to have a response from them. I understand they are meeting this week. Nobody has ignored my orders to reopen the school. I’m bent on reopening it. You can confirm from other state Universities or even federal universities including the one in Makurdi how they are faring. Check in Kogi, Plateau, Katsina, Ebony and check all over the states that have state Universities whether what I’m doing is not better than those Universities. Recently some Benue youths stormed government house agitating for your return in 2019, but some members of the opposition were highly against it saying for the past two years of your administration you have not done anything to warrant your coming back. Do you think what you have done so far is enough to declare no vacancy in government

house come 2019? Well, I have told you, what do you expect the opposition to do? People who are still dreaming that Ortom is governor. And they will continue to criticize anything I do. When have you heard them praising me, are you not enjoying security in Benue state? Are you not seeing the massive development of our primary schools, have you not seen the construction of rural roads, bridges and all that. Have you not seen agricultural policies? You have seen it all and you are the best person to judge this not me. But the truth of the matter like I told those people, I am a product of divine intervention. In 1992, I told the whole world that God said I was going to be governor. 2012 precisely 20 years, God told me that it is going to be realised in 2015 and by the grace of God, with all the hurdles and challenges that came, I overcame them and I am governor and the same God when that time comes I will go back to him. Now, I don’t want to be distracted I’m doing my work. When that time comes and when the programme is rolled out I will go back to God on my knees and ask God if I should go back

Well, I want to say that I’m optimistic that peace has come. That is giving leadership. That is what we did in Benue state. We have given leadership and we believe that this is the only thing that will restore peace in Benue state and any other state that wants peace in states where herdsmen are terrorising them, that is the way to go because globally, what is being practiced is ranching not this nomad life of moving from one end to the other destroying people’s farms and all that.

and if he says go, I will go and nobody will defeat me that I can assure you. But if God say relax my son, I am ready to go back to my farm and business. It’s as simple as that. Recently you signed into law the anti-open grazing bill and other states are following suit. Will you say peace has finally come to Benue with this law? Well, I want to say that I’m optimistic that peace has come. That is giving leadership. That is what we did in Benue state. We have given leadership and we believe that this is the only thing that will restore peace in Benue state and any other state that wants peace in states where herdsmen are terrorising them, that is the way to go because globally, what is being practiced is ranching not this nomad life of moving from one end to the other destroying people’s farms and all that. But like I keep saying I’m challenging anyone including the herdsmen and Miyetti Allah that if you have a superior policy that can restore peace other than ranching, bring it on the table and let us debate it. But for now, that is the way forward.


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July 10 - 16, 2017

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P A P A R A Z Z I Teeky Hosts Jazz Concert In Lagos Olumide Shobowale, the star performer on the night, with Adewale Ayuba, the Yoruba music superstar who made a special guest appearance.

Doris Akpovwa, CEO of Teeky Group, welcoming guests

L-R: Mrs Angela Adegboyega, Mrs Adejoke Ojelabi and Mrs. Doris Akpovwa

Chiedu Okeleke and his wife Ibiene

Mr. Idowu and his wife, Markie

Penultimate week, Teeky Entertainment Hosted a Jazz concert at the TEEKY Arena and Events Place in Lekki, Lagos. The Star performer was Olumide Shobowale, an award winning Jazz artiste. There were also special guest appearances by Wole Oni, a renowned keyboardist and Adewale Ayuba, the Yoruba music mega star. The event was sponsored by The Abuja Inquirer Newspaper. Here are some faces at the well-attended event.

Mrs Taiye Aluko

Mr. Adesina Salawu, a topshot at Total Petroleum with Doris and Dan Akpovwa


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July 10 - 16, 2017

P A P A R A Z Z I

Dorothy Akpovwa, Godwin F. Lawson and Doris Akpovwa

Folasade Doherty, an accomplished lawyer, and her son

Olumide Shobowale, the star performer on the night with Wole Oni a special guest artiste

R-L: Wole Oni, a renowned keyboardist, a guest, and Jude Chukwuka, a foremost music events organiser

Ruke Amata, a star Producer and Director in Nollywood, and his friend

Pastor Tosin Okojie, Pastor Tolu and Pastor Tayo Ogunbanjo, all from Holy Trinity Lagos church

Dan Akpovwa, Publisher of The Abuja Inquirer congratulates Adewale Ayuba on a good performance

L-R: Olumide Shobowale, Doris Akpovwa, Dan Akpovwa, Adewale Ayuba, Jude Chukwuka and Wole Oni


July 10 - 16, 2017

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Compiled by Ere-ebi Agedah

I am an artist of two worlds —Allos 16 years away from Africa, ANDY ALLO’S “return voyage” to Nigeria was one of excitement, nostalgia and enthusiasm. The Cameroonian born African-America was in Nigeria courtesy of the U.S Embassy through the World Learning Programme. In this interview with our editor, EMMANUEL OGBECHE, the artist whose music genres cut across funk, soul, R N B etc. and has played alongside the iconic Prince, speaks on the World Learning program, her influences, what artists in Nigeria need to do to advance their careers, and her experience in the country. Excerpts: Can our readers meet you? My name is Andy Allo. I am a singer, songwriter and musician originally from Cameroon. I live in the States now, I have been in the U.S for about 16 years. This is my first time back in Africa. What is your experience as an African-American especially one from Africa? Culturally it was the biggest difference because growing up as an African I was surrounded by such great music, and listening to so many great artists, eating amazing food and different customs. When I was growing up in Cameroon there was a sense of community and when I moved to the U.S. just having to get used, you know a lot of my family were still then in Africa, so kind of getting to build a new community and getting to learn the different American customs though my mum is American I had not lived in the U.S. so getting used to even the small things even how they write the date in the U.S is different. So I had to kind of re-train myself to live in the States as an African, and also as an American and having those two sides of myself. Your genres cut across Funk, Soul, R n B, so what are your influences? I have so many influences. I grew up listening to Bob Marley, Miriam Makeba, American influences like James Taylor, Jimi Hendrix. So I grew up listening to a wider array of music. From birth I knew I wanted to entertain. I was the person at family parties dancing in front of everybody, putting on a whole show. How old were you when you realized you had this ‘entertainment thing’ in you? I think maybe six or seven. I knew I wanted to be an entertainer, I wanted to perform. I have family, friends who now say I told them I was going to perform in front of thousands of people; I was going to be a singer. So from very early I just loved performing and making people happy and sharing music and art. Why are you in Nigeria at this time? Well, I am here with this incredible programme through World Learning and the U.S. Embassy which is focused on bringing arts and artists

from around the world together. I was lucky to have been found by Larry Socha online and asked if I will be interested in coming to do music master class and getting to play with local artists, learn and share music. Because I haven’t been back to Africa for such a long time, this is just a dream come true and also as a musician just to be able to listen and play with other African artists is so inspiring. Are you thinking of collaboration with any Nigerian artist? Yes. I am definitely thinking of such collaboration with some Nigerian artists. I have interacted with some and listened to their music- that is what I want to do. So which one do you look forward to collaborating with? All of them! I am open to collaborating with as many as I can. What impact do you think the World Learning programme will make on the African entertainment scene especially in Nigeria? I think World Learning is so great because you get to be exposed to different artists to each other. Music is

so universal and so powerful that anything that creates an environment where artists can come together, especially from different backgrounds, and they get to share their art and what inspires them, I think it makes the world more of a kind place when you have people from all over the world doing something like music which is so universal. It is so just a wonderful thing because everyone connects and we can put aside our differences and say ‘let’s just play music,’ and you create the space where something beautiful can happen. So I think World Learning really makes that possible. Running through your bio, I saw you once had a band, Allo and the Traffic Jam. What happened to it? That was the first band I ever had in the U.S. It is about ten years ago, I was very young and still learning music so I wanted to take time to figure out what my own sound will be like. That was the very beginning of my journey. I have had a lot of bands since then. What advice will you give Nigerian artists to becoming global brands?

I will tell the Nigerian artist to use social media because the internet has made the world very small and because of that you now have access to all these people all around the world who normally wouldn’t hear about you or be exposed to your music. So now because of the social media and internet you can really connect with people. In the master class I have held, I told them on Facebook you can do live stream and start building your audience on a regular basis. That way people always know where to find you and listen to your music. What Nigerian food have you tasted? Gosh, I don’t want to leave. I love it here. The people are incredible, the spirit is just so beautiful and the food is delicious. I have been eating nonstop since I landed. It feels like home here because a lot of the food are similar to that of Cameroon. I have eaten jollof rice, fish stew, moi-moi which in Cameroon is called ‘koki,’ and when I saw that I was in heaven. I ate puff-puff, I nearly didn’t make the interview because I was eating puffpuff. Also I have eaten fried plantain and I am eating as much as I can.


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EDUCATION

World Bank tasks ACE varsities on job creation Stories by Godfrey AKON The World Bank has urged African Centers of Excellence, ACE, located in ten Nigerian Universities, to focus on utilizing their expertise and talents to create e m p l o y m e n t opportunities for more Africans. Speaking during a visit to African University of Science and Technology, AUST, in Abuja, the World Bank Education Director, Dr Jaime Saavedra Chanduvi, noted that a huge responsibility rests on the shoulders of the center graduates as the future of Africa. Chanduvi, who commended the impact made so far by the research findings being churned out by the centres, urged them to ensure a link between their research findings and the productive sector to enhance full utilization. He further charged the ACEs to contribute to high quality education in the continent as they were put in place to provide quality education to youths in Science and Technology and create jobs. “We have universities that participate in African Centers of Excellence which is a great opportunity that we have to foster better research and better quality of instructions in different departments in universities throughout Africa. “We have ten African Centers of Excellence in Nigeria; they are also providing very high quality education in science and technology to young people here in Nigeria and also people from other African countries. “They have a huge responsibility because in their shoulders is going to be the future of Africa because with the research that they are doing soon in the productive sector, they will build a career for themselves. They are

going to be creating job opportunities for other Africans in the future,” he said. Earlier, the President

of AUST, Prof. Kingston Nyamapfene, said the ACE in the University, Pan African Material Institute, PAMI, is

focused on providing solutions to Africa needs in area of electricity, water purification and disease detection, among

others. Nyamapfene noted that PAMI recently graduated scores of PhD and masters students.

Pupils and students of Pacesetters Academy display African flags with the director of the academy, Mrs Kate Imansuangbo, and Chairman, Barr. Kenneth Imansuangbo, during their international parade and cultural day for the year the 2016 /2017 academic session in Abuja...Wednesday. Photo: Wale Elekolusi.

2018 UTME: candidates to register under CCTV cameras A

larmed by the wave of registration errors in the 2017 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, has vowed that all candidates for the 2018 exercise must register under the lenses of the CCTV Camera. JAMB Registar, Prof Ish-aq Oloyede, stated this at a meeting with Computer Based Centre Operators at the board headquarters in Bwari, Abuja, stressing that the exam body has discussed with the telecommunication service providers on details of the required bandwidth and data for the operation. Oloyede said footage of

the registrations would be uploaded to the board headquarters, adding that JAMB is poised to eliminate all forms of errors and also hold people responsible for negligence and mischief. According to him, “these measures are aimed at curtailing the need and demand for corrections. Thus, any centre that makes a mistake during the registration, as will be proven by the uploaded forms and CCTV footage, will be liable for such errors as they will not be paid for the total number of candidates they have committed such errors.” He said despite admonishing centre operators to ensure that facilities work to required standards, the board could not conduct smooth and flawless examination in

some centres during its supplementary exams On July 1. The JAMB boss stated without mincing words that that some centres are derailing from their core mandate of quality service delivery to engaging in unionism, urging CBT owners not to allow themselves to be infiltrated by people who do not mean well for the education system. “On the part of the Board, we have delisted some Centres that indulged in irregularities, malpractices and illegalities. While investigations are still ongoing in some other centres, we have reported those found culpable of crimes to the security agencies for appropriate actions including

prosecution and its attendant consequences. “In order to serve as deterrent to others, we are ready to go the whole hog of the investigation and legal processes and procedures. We are also ready to support the processes with all the necessary logistics. “Every centre involved in any shameful act during registration, conduct of the examination and even after the administration of the examination, including the individuals and entities claiming to have ability to increase scores of candidates or those involved in admission racketeering using the Computer Based Test centres as allies would be fished out and dealt with appropriately,” he said.

New Ogun varsity to tackle science, tech challenges

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gun State Governor, I b i k u n l e Amosun, has said the newly approved Moshood Abiola University of Science and Technology, Abeokuta, will address challenges on t e c h n o l o g i c a l advancement and food security, among others. Amosun, who spoke in Abuja when he led a delegation of the Ogun State government to the National Universities Commission, NUC, to secure the approval, said the state would establish a new polytechnic to be located in Ikpokia area of the State. He note that the new institution would leverage on existing stateof-the-art infrastructures in the school, adding that the new university has all it takes to succeed as the government has made financial provisions for it. Last week, NUC, approved the conversion of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, to Moshood Abiola University of Science and Technology, bringing to three the number of universities owned by Ogun state. Other universities owned by the state include: Olabisi Onanbajo University, Agwo-Iwoye and Tai Solarin University of Education. Executive Secretary of NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, who announced the approval in Abuja, described Ogun state as the capital of education in Africa, adding that Nigeria can only survive when emphasis is laid on knowledge resources instead of mineral resources. “We need to invest more in education, we are particularly happy that Moshood Abiola University is taking off from the current polytechnic, but it will not kill it. The polytechnic will resurrect somewhere and it will come back,” he said. The NUC boss disclosed that the new university brings the number of state-owned universities in the country to 45 and 153 the total number of such institutions in the entire country.


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FEATURE

2016 HIV National Guidelines: Towards Inclusive Test Treatment By Emmanuel OGBECHE

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or two days, June 20 to 21, stakeholders in the health sector – public, non-governmental organisations, donor agencies – gathered in Kaduna at the North-West Zonal Dissemination of the 2016 HIV National Guidelines to assess the document, and to create awareness amongst those in the fight against HIV/ AIDS to take the lead. The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, who was the special guest at the occasion praised the 2016 National Guidelines for HIV Prevention, Treatment and Care, expressing the optimism that it will offer immediate treatment for all persons living with HIV/AIDS, Adewole, who was represented at the event by a director in the Ministry of Health and his special adviser on health, Mr. Araoye Seglola, explained that the Guidelines was the “culmination of an incredibly arduous journey that we embarked on since 2001 in our collective search for a stable and sustainably functional system for the delivery of HIV/AIDS services in Nigeria.” According to him, the ‘2016 Guidelines is by today’s standard, cutting edge. Its recommendations are audacious, unambiguous and unapologetically pro-patient. “From this day hence everyone who tests positive to HIV is automatically eligible for treatment and this applies to everyone with equal emphasis, child, man and woman, pregnant or not. “From today onward we are duty bound to offer antiretroviral drugs as prevention to all persons who are at a high risk of contracting HIV infection. “From today forward all persons on treatment are entitled to at least one viral load test per year. “From today hence we will place greater emphasis on differentiated systems of care that are adjustable to the individual needs of the patient.” Adewole stressed that the Guidelines could not have come at a less critical moment as they will serve as the necessary catalyst for the attainment of the UNAIDS 90-90 initiative. He said the Federal Government was grateful to the United States Group (USG)/PEPFAR, the United Nations, and other implementing partners for the milestones and the Management Sciences for Health (MSH) for hosting the meeting. Speaking earlier, the National Coordinator of the National AIDS and STIs Control Programme, Dr. Sunday Aboje, said the meeting was important

Rep of the Minister of Health, Mr. Arioye Segilola (right), and Dr. Zipporah Kpamor, Country Representative for MSH with other dignitaries displaying the unveiled 2016 National Guidelines on HIV/AIDS in Kaduna State, Nigeria. Photo: MSH. as health professionals and representatives of government to brainstorm on the task ahead. While harping that “we have done remarkably well in achieving this objective with 900, 000 patients on treatment, improved and functional logistical systems for commodities management and highly skilled manpower for the management of HIV/ AIDS,” he said there was the need to begin “to address our deficiencies especially as it relates to increase cases

of treatment failure, loss to follow-up, poor retention of patients in care, poor uptake of paediatric ART services and limited technical capacity to manage HIV in the more peripheral health facilities.” The central theme of the 2016 Guidelines is “Test and Treat,” which emphasis that ART should be initiated for every HIV positive person regardless of age, gender, clinical stage of disease or CD4-cell count. The event which had technical sessions saw experts in the various fields

Police, religious leaders partner in Gwarinpa against crime By Ateed YUSUF

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he police and religious leaders have teamed up in Gwarinpa estate to tackle criminal activities in the area. The Divisional Police Officer, DPO, in charge of the largest estate in the country, CSP Nuraddeen Sabo, disclosed this recently while interacting with some Imams on the need to work with security agents as well as to preach peaceful coexistence to their followers. He enjoined the religious leaders to always provide useful information to the police and provide security

measures to protect their worship centres against insurgent attacks, just as he implored them to report suspicious individuals operating within the premises of Mosques. The DPO stressed the commitment of the force to tackle crime in Gwarinpa and its environs, noting that vigilante members would be empowered to contribute their quota to the protection of lives and property. He equally provided general security tips to residents of Gwarinpa, stressing that they should be on alert to identify one-chance syndicates, young children and criminal pretending to be beggars.

HIV/AIDS explain what is expected those responsible for treatment and care. The first session chaired by Dr. Zipporah Kpamor, Country Director, Management Sciences for Health, MSH, has Prof. William Ogala, Dr. Oche Agbaji and Dr. Ernest Ekong, look at the issue of Antiretroviral Therapy, ART, and when a person diagnosed with HIV should undergo the regime. According to them, ART should not delayed once a person is confirmed to have HIV despite the age, gender etc. The second session dealt with the issue of Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission chaired by Dr. Evelyn Ngige, Director at the Federal Ministry of Health. There were sessions on preventive management of HIV/AIDS, Diagnosis of HIV infection; Opportunistic infections and comorbidities; implementation arrangement for test and treat and 9090-90 policy; recommendations for improved. Speaking to our correspondent after the dissemination exercise, Dr. Kpamor of the MSH said the National Guidelines offers medical personnel in the vanguard of the HIV/AIDS campaign a uniform approach to test and treatment She said that her expectation is that attendees will impart what they have learnt to their colleagues and organize similar events at their local level for a comprehensive approach to HIV test and treatment.


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July 10 - 16, 2017

WORLD TIT-BITS G20 summit: Leaders agree on climate change despite U.S. backtrack

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eaders of 19 nations at the G20 summit in Germany have renewed their pledge to implement the Paris deal on climate change, despite the US withdrawing. Deadlock over the issue had held up the last day of talks in Hamburg but a final agreement was eventually reached. It acknowledges President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement without undermining the commitment of other countries. The compromise comes after violent protests in the host city. The joint summit statement released on Saturday said: “We take note of the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.” However, the leaders of the other G20 members agreed the accord was “irreversible”. Confirming the compromise agreement, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she still deplored Mr Trump’s position on the Paris accord but she was pleased the other 19 nations opposed its renegotiation. She had described the first day of talks on Friday as “very difficult”. Leaders also held separate talks in Hamburg earlier. President Donald Trump met British PM Theresa May, and said a US-UK trade deal would be signed soon. Mr Trump, after his morning meeting with Ms May, said he expected a “very powerful” trade deal between the two countries “very quickly”. The G20 (Group of Twenty) is a summit for 19 countries, both developed and developing, plus the EU.

L-R: President Donald Trump, USA, Indonesia President, Joko Widodo, and IMF President, Ms. Christie Lagarde at the just concluded G-20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany. Photo: White House.

USAID gets new mission director, Haykin By Emmanuel OGBECHE

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he U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, has a new Mission Director for Nigeria, Mr. Stephen M. Haykin. Haykin who was sworn in last Friday in a ceremony at the U.S. Embassy by Ambassador W. Stuart Symington will oversee all aspects of USAID/

Nigeria’s development program, valued at nearly $500 million annually, in agriculture, democracy and governance, economic growth, education, power, and health, as well as USAID’s humanitarian response in Northeast Nigeria. Speaking at the ceremony, Symington said: “The people of Nigeria will immeasurably benefit from Steve’s vast

experience in leadership and management of USAID development activities. “He is championing the Mission at a critical time for Nigeria and for the United States.” A statement by the embassy in Abuja said Haykin has served for about 30 years as a USAID Foreign Service Officer, and has experience in international economics, general

development, and delivery of humanitarian assistance. Before his new posting, he had served as Mission Director in Georgia, where he managed activities in economic growth, democracy building, health, energy, and social development. He has also served as Mission Director in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, and

Madagascar. The statement said Mr. Haykin has a bachelor’s degree from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and master’s degree in economics and Foreign Service from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. In 2002, he was awarded the Distinguished Honor Award by USAID.

EU: Why we withdrew financial support for Nigeria By Emmanuel OGBECHE

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he European Union, EU, has explained that it withdrew financial support for Nigeria as the country has enough resources to meet her developmental needs. The Head of EU delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ambassador Michel Arrion, who made this known on Thursday at an annual lecture organised by IBB Golf Club in collaboration with Foundation for Global Impact and Sustainable Development. He said what the EU would do instead is to help with technical

support and capacitybuilding towards development. While urging the Nigerian government to Begin to look beyond Official Development Assistance, ODA, the envoy suggested the judicious application of taxation.

“We are not offering more financial support, we are proposing more political and policy dialogue, technical assistance, capacity building, training, transfer of technology, more advocacy for more private investments and other innovative sources of

funding. “To finance the development of the country, Nigeria must find alternative funding to ODA. Nigeria must collect much more taxes five times more, to reach an average of 20 per cent of the GDP, and spend better. “It should also attract

much more foreign investment and put in place more and better private/public partnerships. I believe Nigerian authority should work harder to provide good reasons for foreign investors to want to invest in Nigeria,” he said.

Ghana launches its first satellite into space

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hana has successfully launched its first satellite into space. GhanaSat-1, which was developed by students at All Nations University in Koforidua, was sent into orbit from the International Space Centre. Cheers erupted as

400 people, including the engineers, gathered in the southern Ghanaian city to watch live pictures of the launch. The first signal was received shortly afterwards. It is the culmination of a two-year project, costing $50,000 (£40,000). It received support

from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The satellite will be used to monitor Ghana’s coastline for mapping purposes, and to build capacity in space science and technology. Project coordinator Dr Richard Damoah said it marked a new

beginning for the country. “It has opened the door for us to do a lot of activities from space,” he said. He said it would “also help us train the upcoming generation on how to apply satellites in different activities around our region.


July 10 - 16, 2017

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August 12 - 18, 2013

BUSINESS Banks to bar fraudsters from ATMs, PoS Stories by Sarah NEGEDU

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oon, bank customers who have been involved in confirmed fraudulent activities may no longer have access to all nonpersonal transactions through their accounts including the use of their ATM cards. Customers whose names are found on a soon to be collated Watch-list would be prohibited from all making transactions through the POS, internet banking, mobile banking and even issuance of third-party cheques. In a circular to all Deposit Money Banks, Switches, Money Operators and Payment Terminal Providers, the Central Bank of Nigeria also barred watch-listed customers from all echannels (inward and outward), adding that such customers shall not reference accounts, neither access nor guarantee credit facilities. The penalties contained in an Exposure Draft on the Regulatory Framework for Bank Verification Number Operations and Watchlist for Nigerian Financial System, are part of effort by the apex bank to address the increasing incidence of frauds and other unethical practices in the industry as well as engendering public confidence in the financial system. The document signed by the Director, Banking Payment System Department, Dipo Fatokun, states that the draft framework aims at outlining the process/ operations of the watchlist, provide database of watch-listed individuals and also guide financial institutions in their operations. “This framework, without prejudice to existing laws, is a guide for the operations of the Watch-List in the Financial System. The Watch-list is a database of bank customers identified by their BVNs, who have been involved in confirmed fraudulent

activities. The watch-list shall be effective from the inception of the BVN.” The exposure draft classifies fraudulent activities into seven categories ranging from category 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 99 with crimes ranging from forgery, compromise, complicity, fraudulent duplicate enrolment and any

fraudulent infraction without monetary amount involved for category 0. Customers involved in confirmed successful and unsuccessful fraud attempts within the amount range of N250,000 are grouped in category 1, while those with confirmed successful and

unsuccessful fraud attempts within the amount range of N250,001 to N1,000,000 fall in category 2. Others are customers confirmed successful and unsuccessful fraud attempts within the amount range of N1million to N50million and above grouped as category 3 and 4. The

reintroduction of the individual earlier delisted from the watchlisted and individuals who had committed fraud are and are at large are grouped under category 5 and 99 respectively. The Exposure draft also spells penalties for banks that fails to enlist individuals confirmed to

be involved in fraudulent activity, stating that a bank may choose not to continue or establish business relationship with individuals on the watch-list, but in the case that it establishes or continues banking relationship with watchlisted individuals, such bank is liable for any loss suffered by any other party. It further explains that the BVN of individuals, who have committed fraud and are at large, shall be placed in category 99, “Individuals under this category are not allowed to conduct banking transaction in any bank (Post no transaction on all accounts linked to the BVN). “Penalties that applied to watch-listed customers, shall apply to all accounts that he/she is a signatory to. A watchlisted individual shall remain in the watch-list for a period of ten (10) years and in the event of a reoccurrence, the tenure shall begin to count from year one.” All aggrieved individuals listed in the watch-list are expected to go to their bank to L-R: Former Lagos State Deputy Governor and Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development obtain formal request for Goals, Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Executive Director, CSR-in-Action, Bekeme Masade and Executive Secretary, delisting, as only a bank Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Waziri Adio during the National Mining Summit in Abuja. Photo: that placed an individual Wale Elekolusi. on the watch-list can request for delisting.

FG to end farmers, herdsmen clash, inaugurates committee I

n a bid to end the incessant clashes between Farmers and Herdsmen the federal government last week inaugurated a Local Organizing Committee, to check the loss of lives, crops and properties in the affected areas. The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who inaugurated the committee in Abuja, said the committee would also ensure that cattle roaming across the country come to an end. “The need to keep our

cattle in secured colonies will afford us the opportunities to curtail the incessant farmers/ herdsmen clashes as well as embark on systematic cattle breed improvement.” Chief Ogbe, while appreciating the committee members for their commitment toward sustainable development of the livestock subsector, said m a r k e t i n g , infrastructural and value addition improvements will be much easier to achieve. He said transforming

grazing reserves into ranches was as a result of the recommendations of a three-day stakeholders’ policy dialogue that was held in Kaduna in April this year. He howe ver suggested that the recommendations from the dialogue should be presented to a larger audience at a forum where ministers of agriculture from the sub-region would be in attendance. The Minister observe that the need to expand the audience to consider the technical

recommendations of the policy dialogue since similar challenges are being faced in neighboring countries on the continued clashes between farmers and herdsmen. He urged the committee members to professionally organise the conference so as to enable participants to agree on how best to handle cattle grazing issues, as well as livestock development in Nigeria. The Chairman of the committee and Director of Veterinary, at the

ministry, Dr. Gideon Mshebwala, assured the minister that his team would bring their individual and collective skill and experience in preparing the National Conference on Livestock Development as the Minister directed and possibly come out with a draft national blue print for livestock development that will be all encompassing and address issues related to livestock farming. The Committee has four weeks to submit the report.


July 10 - 16, 2017

19

BUSINESS

Transcorp Hilton Abuja:

New ambience, same tradition of excellence Transcorp Hotels Plc’s CEO, Valentine Ozigbo, pays homage to the hotel’s past and raises the bar for the five-star hotel’s future:

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elson Mandela walked through this very corridor; I remember that every time I find myself on the 10th floor at the Transcorp Hilton Abuja. He was just one of over 100 World Leaders and dignitaries to have called our executive floor home over the last 30 years. Queen Elizabeth II looked out of the windows onto what was, truth be told, a city that was merely an idea in the making. The city I, and all who visit us gaze out on today has evolved from idea to the Abuja landmark and institution that today extends a welcome to all our valued visitors. After 30 years as the preferred hotel of global leaders, savvy business travelers and discerning Nigerians, the $100 million upgrade of the Transcorp Hilton Abuja is on course to lead the pack for 30 more. There is a sense of responsibility that comes with being part of the team at Transcorp Hilton Abuja. Amongst other things, we are driven by the need to position ourselves at all times to provide exceptional customer services and lasting positive experience to meet our guests’ ever dynamic needs. That was the challenge we stood up to when we decided it was time to take the hotel to the next level. The project team members from the Hilton and the Transcorp Hotels brand vetted numerous designers before selecting award winning Swedish design firm, Living Designs. Their proposed redesign aligned perfectly with the passion that motivated the project. It was bold, it was daring, it was taking strides into the future and it was iconic. The moment we realized that no detail had been overlooked was the moment we knew we had found the right people to do the job. I will like to pay special tribute to our Group Chairman, Mr. Tony Elumelu, who did not only inspire and push us to the limits, he spent days with us at various design meetings to ensure we settle for no other than the best. It’s interesting how history tends to repeat itself. 30 years ago when plans were in place to build this hotel, a lot of people didn’t believe in the idea. Abuja was empty. People felt like a hotel was being built in the middle of nowhere. Today we commend the team that

Mr. Valentine Ozigbo, Managing Director & CEO, Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja believed in the vision, for their unmatched foresight. It is only right that I follow that up by commending our current board of Directors, shareholders and stakeholders alike for the foresight they have displayed through their support of the Transcorp Hilton renovation at this time. When Transnational Corporation of Nigeria took over ownership of the Hotel in 2005 the agenda was simple. “Upgrade the experience”. It is safe to say we have done a good job of that over the last 12 years as the hotel continues to be the preferred hospitality destination of global leaders, international business travellers and discerning Africans till date. After building on the preexisting reputation for excellent guest relations, validated by multiple awards including World Travel Awards’ Africa’s Leading Business Hotel and Seven Stars’ highest most exclusive seal of excellence award in the industry, the Signum Virtutis, in 2016, we shifted our focus to the hotel’s aesthetics and functional features. Stepping into the future was a strategic decision. The Ambassador and Presidential suites on the executive floors are all

wearing a new and modern look. Decorated with the bold furnishing that will surely provide luxury comforts to our guests along with the fine finishing. The all-new suites have also received an upgrade of their entertainment essentials, including Interactive TV. A lot has been invested towards upgrading the core infrastructures, including the mechanical and electrical components. Guest lifts upgrade is also ongoing, not just for the aesthetics but for additional security and privacy demanded by our guests. This is just the first phase of the hotel’s $100million renovation project. There is still a lot more to come. The external areas, entrance gates, parking management system, food and beverage outlets, luxury spa facility, business club, casino, lobby, and capital bar will all be upgraded in a manner deserving of a five star hotel in 2017 and beyond. It all started with a commitment to excellence when the first building block of the foundation was laid down 30 years ago. Followed by the enterprising spirit that led them to push the envelope on what could be achieved in Abuja, Nigeria, and Africa. The proof of

the quality of their execution still stands tall as an iconic landmark in Maitama. The current Transcorp Hilton Abuja team, hand-in-hand with our shareholders and investors were handed this baton of excellence, enterprise and execution. Together we run with a firm grip on these ideals in anticipation of far more impressive highlights to come. As we improve on the infrastructure, the soft issues are not left behind. As a matter of fact, even greater emphasis continues to be placed by our Board on improving the quality of customer service continuously. We have, over the recent past embarked on a number of service improvement initiatives that cut across our various departments, and these naturally go with enhance training for our team members and making sure they are highly motivated to deliver at all times. I am indeed very proud of our team. They are extremely loyal, committed, always very motivated to deliver. They know that there is no hotel in Nigeria to benchmark against, and to always lead the pack, we have to meet true 5star global standards. It is therefore not surprising that we have team members who have been with us for the past 30 years and yet very energetic and dynamic in their mindset. I truly salute these employees that I call true legends. We will continue to celebrate them and what they have helped us to accomplish in the years gone by. Transcorp Hilton Abuja is indeed the beating heart of the City, and by extension Nigeria. It is more than a hotel, it is Abuja in all its glamour and Nigeria at its finest. It represents the hub of the city, where local affluent, global leaders & travellers converge, indulge and spark the envy of others. While offering a world-class experience, this is the place to make a statement, and is always alive with energy and full of spirit. We’ve got the true essence of Abuja running right through us. With a world of F&B, retail, sports and entertainment concepts for the leisure traveller, plus expansive meeting space and business facilities to meet the evolving needs of today’s corporate guest - we’ve created an extravagant metropolis of our own.


July 10 - 16, 2017

20

METRO

The return of Idu-Karimo slum By Ere-Ebi AGEDAH

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he clanking sounds and imposing size of bulldozers are not entirely strange to most residents of the Federal Capital Territory, as they could be said to be part of the sights and sounds of the nation’s capital in the not too distant past. The El-rufai era was synonymous with demolition, as owners of illegal structure had to watch helplessly as their buildings succumb to rampaging bulldozers. With President Olusegun Obasanjo’s backing, the then Minister of the FCT, Mallam Nasir el-Rufa’i embarked on a daring move to clean up the city and restore the Abuja Master Plan. Massive demolitions took place between 2004 and 2006 during which illegal structures in over 49 settlements were marked for demolition. From Mpape to Karu, Kubwa to Karimo and even up to the city center, all areas hosting illegal structures were visited by what became known as “el-Rufa’I’s bulldozers.” In the process of the determined move to restore the Abuja Masterplan, properties worth billions of naira were lost and many left homeless with the only option of relocating to their states of origin. The notoriety of the former minister seem to have stuck with him, earning him the nick-name ‘Mairusa’ (The demolisher) which came up during the 2015 governorship election in Kaduna state. The demolition of Gwagwa, IduKarimo, remains fresh in the minds of hundreds of FCT residents who lived in the densely populated area were affected by the 2005/2006 demolition, as the FCT minister had dismissed the area unfit and illegal for human habitation. The boisterous community of IduKarimo lies between Life Camp and Die-Die. The community attracts a high number of residents, mostly those at the lower rung, due to its proximity to the city center and its’ relatively low cost of living, especially accommodation. Years after the demolition, it seem the community is back to its slum-like status, howbeit a little better than it was twelve years ago. This time, there is an interface between the shanties and modest building, with bungalows springing up right in the middle of the slum. The number of buildings that now stand in the area may leave one in doubt as to whether a demolition had ever taken place in the community. Our correspondent who visited the area observed that new buildings were also springing up to add to the already congested area. A first timer to the community will require the services of a local guide to meander through the unplanned settlement to avoid walking into people’s homes or ending up at dead-ends. Like in the past, the community still lacks basic amenities like

A typical 'street' in Karmo

motorable roads, portable water or even healthcare centers. Residents have had to make alternative arrangements like drilling boreholes and running chemists, to make life manageable. Despite these inadequacies residents who spoke with METRO say Karimo is the community they have come to love. A number of them, it was observed were people affected by the 2005 demolition who have since returned to pitch their tent in the only community they know. A resident, who simply gave her name as Mrs. Angela, told METRO that she returned back to Karimo because of the high security situation in the area due to large presence of security personnel along the GwaGwa-Karimo road. She told our correspondent that the property where she runs her fashion school was purchased at a very affordable price and that for

over 5 years that she has been occupying the space there has been no harassment from the government. She therefore believes that Idu-Karimo is here to stay. For Mr. Audu, a landlord in the community, life has not been the same since the demolition of his house that lead to a relocation in 2006. Audu lost his 5bedroom apartment he used to rent out to tenants. The widower who also lost his wife during the demolition saga, said he has not has the resources to rebuild his structure to the initial 5 room apartment it was before the demolition. Narrating the incidents that changed his life several years ago, Audu said he was at work when his neighbors’ called him to rush home before his structure was pulled down. According to him, his compound housing 5 rooms was pulled down in the presence of heavily armed

Years after the demolition, it seem the community is back to its slum-like status, howbeit a little better than it was twelve years ago. This time, there is an interface between the shanties and modest building, with bungalows springing up right in the middle of the slum. The number of buildings that now stand in the area may leave one in doubt as to whether a demolition had ever taken place in the community. Our correspondent who visited the area observed that new buildings were also springing up to add to the already congested area.

security personnel. “Though our houses were marked and informed about the demolition, but we were not notified of the particular day the demolition was to take place. I was lucky to have been able to move my properties and salvage my roofing material before everything was pulled down, but others were not that lucky. “It was a painful experience, nowhere to go all around was cries and pain, I felt like a refugee in my own country as I stood by to watch the process. I sent my wife and kids to my village immediately with the little resource I had at the time, thankfully it was the dry season so the rest of us hanged around the environment for some few days before we eventually left.” Bitter like he was twelve years ago, Audu accuses the FCT administration of selective justice. He said some marked houses were never pulled down even after the bulldozers visited the community after the initial demolition. “I noticed that the homes of the indigenes were spared which I believe had been arranged with the government officials but some of them willingly moved out and relocate in to the bush as they are farmers who need a lot of land to survive.” For Audu, all that is now in the past, as he is landlord again, only this time, in a 1 bedroom apartment, where he and his two children lay their heads and wait for the crack of dawn. When METRO visited the Palace of the Hakimi (district head) to find out if there has been any recent notice of another demolition, we were told the community leader was out of town attending to official matters.


July 10 - 16, 2017

21

Healthwise

Family planning has potential to reduce unsafe abortions —NPOPC By Ijeoma UKAZU

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he National Population Commission, NPOPC, has said in order to prevent unintended pregnancies, family planning contraception has the potential to reduce abortion especially unsafe ones. In a statement made available to our correspondent by a nong o v e r n m e n t a l o r g a n i s a t i o n , D e v e l o p m e n t Communications, DEVCOMS, quoted the chairman, National Population Commission, NPOPC, Chief Eze Duruiheoma, as saying: “family planning is a lifesaving intervention. It prevents unintended pregnancies and in turn reduces health risk at child birth and recourse to unsafe abortions. “This type of intervention is critical in not only in normal situation but in humanitarian crises often characterised by sexual violence, intimate partner violence, child marriage and high risk behaviour such as survival, transactional and commercial sex . “Universal access to voluntary family planning can reduce maternal deaths by a

third, and child deaths by as much as 20 percent.” He added that in 2016, contraceptives provided by UNFPA had the potential to prevent 11.7 million unintended pregnancies, close to 3.7 million unsafe abortions and prevent an estimated 29,000 maternal deaths, while some family planning methods such as condom

help prevent the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infection. Duruiheoma further added that, “at the National level, data from the 2013 National Demographic Health Survey, NDHS, reveals that unmet need for family planning is currently 16 percent for married women. Knowledge of

contraception is widespread in Nigeria, 85 percent of women and 95 percent of men report knowing about a contraceptive method. “However, only 15 percent of currently married women use a contraceptive method, an increase of only two percentage point from the 2003 NDHS; 10 percent of currently married women report

using a modern method. Injectables remain the most popular contraceptive used by 3 percent ofýcurrently married women. “Private sector facilities continue to be the chief providers of c o n t r a c e p t i v e method ýin Nigeria; 60 percent of users of modern contraceptives method obtain them from the private sector.”

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo flanked by (left) National Coordinator, White Ribbon Alliance, Mr. Tonte Ibriye; Board Chairperson, White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, Dr. Nana Chidi; and Minister for Health, (Right) Prof. Isaac Adewole during an advocacy visit at the State House, Abuja, last week.

Our faces reveal whether we’re rich or poor —Study P

ut on a happy face, your success may depend on it, suggests a study by psychology researchers at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Arts and Science. In a new twist on first impressions, the study found people can reliably tell if someone is richer or poorer than average just by looking at a “neutral” face, without any expression. People also use those impressions in biased ways, such as judging the rich faces more likely than the poor ones to be hired for a job, says the paper by Associate

Professor Nicholas Rule and PhD candidate Thora Bjornsdottir in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. “It indicates that something as subtle as the signals in your face about your social class can actually then perpetuate it,” says Bjornsdottir. “Those first impressions can become a sort of self-fulfilling prophesy. It’s going to influence your interactions, and the opportunities you have.” Just as interestingly, the researchers found the ability to read a person’s social class only applies

to their neutral face and not when people are smiling or expressing emotions. Their conclusion is that emotions mask lifelong habits of expression that become etched on a person’s face even by their late teens or early adulthood, such as frequent happiness, which is stereotypically associated with being wealthy and satisfied. “Over time, your face comes to permanently reflect and reveal your experiences,” says Rule. “Even when we think we’re not expressing something, relics of those emotions are still there.”

Using an annual median family income of about $75,000 as a benchmark, the researchers grouped student volunteers into those with total family incomes under $60,000 or above $100,000 and then had them pose for photos with neutral faces devoid of expression. They then asked a separate group of participants to look at the photos and, using nothing but their gut instinct, decide which ones were “rich or poor ” just by looking at the faces. They were able to determine which student belonged to the rich or poor group

with about 53 per cent accuracy, a level that exceeds random chance. “What we’re seeing is students who are just 1822 years old have already accumulated enough life experience that it has visibly changed and shaped their face to the point you can tell what their socio-economic standing or social class is,” says Rule. The results were not affected by the race or gender of the face, or how much time people were given to study them. All of which is consistent with what is known about nonverbal behaviour.

FG approves MDCN placement for graduates By Williams ABAH

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he Federal Executive Council, FEC has approved the memoranda from the Federal Ministry of Health seeking approval of central coordination, placement, posting and funding of all medical and dental graduates to Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, MDCN, accredited housemanship and internal training centre. According to the council this is to address the enormous challenges fresh graduates face in securing placement for the one year mandatory program, noting that the constrained in the funding of housemanship and internship training in Nigeria where a large number of fresh graduates have not been able to undertake and complete the training within allotted time limits have prevented them from becoming fully registered medical and dental practitioners ready for service within and outside Nigeria. The council said that the housemanship and the internship training is the last basic training that hub fresh medical and dental graduates from Nigeria, foreign institutions to attain before they are fully registered as practitioners. The council further stated that graduates are required by law to complete their uninterrupted 12 calendar months rotational housemanship and internship training, and obtain the certificate of experience from any of the MDCN accredited training institutions. “It is when they completed their training that they are qualified and eligible to be placed on full medical and practitioner acts which will enable them to practice as medical and dental practitioners”, the council stated. However, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said that with the approval of the coordination centre, the Federal Ministry of Health will work with Ministry of Budget and National Planning in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Finance to implement this laudable program.


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July 10 - 16, 2017

John 5:26 “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The Zoe life is different from the other types of life, which are psuche: natural or human life, bios: manner of life, anastrophy: behaviour, Zoe: eternal or everlasting life. The most precarious thing is to have the Zoe life and not to express it. The Zoe life is not in size but in the understanding of the life, you possess and your ability to express it. John 1:4 “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” The Zoe life which we bear is to shine and dispel darkness wherever, we find ourselves. We are the unquenchable light as believers, wherever, we find ourselves. Our light must shine, otherwise we are under-utilizing the aura and power of God in and upon our lives. The Zoe life not expressed will diminish. Zoe life require some level of positive abnormality to make an indelible mark in the sands of time. Zoe life is an audacious lifestyle that can make and break any kind of challenges you find yourself. Galatians 4: 4-7 “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth

Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”

INSPIRATIONS FROM THE HEART Facebook handle: www.facebook.com/shepherd.fcc

PASTOR FEMI OLUPITAN

08037016337

Zoe: A life for advancement the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” The Zoe life makes you an heir apparent. This comes by revelation. It is not experienced in heaven alone but on earth. John 5:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” How To Activate The Zoe Life 1. Praying always in the Spirit. Ephesians 6:18 “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” 2. Be careful for nothing

Philippians 4:6-7 “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” 3. Let the word of God dwell in you. Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” 4. Let nothing move you Acts 20:24 “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the

5. Constantly see God as your source. Matthew 6:25-34 “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, what shall we eat? Or, what shall we drink? Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Conclusively, you will keep wandering if you do not understand the power that have been bestowed on you, by virtue of Christ birth, death and resurrection. The Zoe life will exonerate you from wandering to a wonder in the affairs of destiny.

NEWS Nigerian Chevening Alumni Association Elect New Executives Continued from page 3 and Dr. Abiodun Adeniyi as Chief whip. John Momoh, an award winning broadcaster of international repute, is the founder and Chairman of Channels Media Group. Both Mr. Momoh and his Channels TV have won many awards for professional distinction. Channels TV was named as the Nigerian Television Station of the Year for over ten years. Mr. Momoh is also the Chairman of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, BON, and in 2005, he was decorated as the Officer of the Order of the Niger, OON, by the President of Nigeria. He was awarded the Chevening Fellowship in 1990 and studied at the Thompson Foundation in Cardiff, Wales. He has been a pillar of the Association for very many years. Ms. Hadiza S. Sa’eed is the Vice President. She is a lawyer that has been very active in Judiciary Reform and currently is the Deputy Director and Head of Judges Performance and Evaluation/Legal at the

National Judicial Council. She studied Law at the University of Jos where she also earned an LL.M in Environmental Law and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2002. She was awarded the Chevening Scholarship in 2013 to study for a Masters in International Law, Security and Terrorism at the University of Nottingham. She graduated with a Distinction. Kester Osahenye is the new General Secretary. He is the Senior Manager, Trade Communications with MTN, the leading telecommunications company. Kester is a Mass Communication graduate and has a Master’s degree in Managerial Psychology from the University of Ibadan. He was awarded the Chevening Scholarship to study for a Master’s degree in Te l e c o m m u n i c a t i o n s Management Strategy from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. He holds an Honorary PhD from the University of Belize in Central America. He is presently a Doctorate student at the University of

Aberdeen, UK. He is also an award winning poet. Mr. Femi Adedipe is the new Assistant Secretary. He is a Multi-skilled professional in the areas of Strategy, Technology and Data Science. He was the Head of Technology and Data Management at SUREP Maternal and Child Health, a 400 million US Dollar special intervention programme established by the Nigerian Government to combat Nigeria’s high maternal mortality rate. He was awarded the Chevening Scholarship to study for a Master’s degree in Strategy and Innovation at the University of Southampton. He graduated with a Distinction. Adedipe is the Founder of the International Center for Enterprise, Strategy and Innovation, a policy think tank. Ms. Amina Ado Kurawa is the new Financial Secretary. Amina, a finance expert, is a Chartered Accountant and Chairperson of the Sana’a da Ilmi Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public schools, training and

mentoring youthe on entrepreneurship. Prior to Sana’a, Amina worked for over two decades in banking (Citi Bank, Nigeria, and Access Bank) and Oil & Gas (Total E & P). Amina has a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Ahmadu Bello University, an MBA from Bayero University, Kano, an MSc in Finance from Lancaster University, UK, an MSc in Strategic Planning from Herriot Watt University and an MA in Development studies from University of Sussex. In the last 6 years, Amina has been a member of the Risk Committee on the Board of Total E & P Closed Pension Fund Nigeria Limited, providing technical expertise in risk and Investment management to the MultiBillion Naira Pension Fund. Dan Akpovwa is the new Publicity Secretary. Dan has had a distinguished career as a Journalist and Public Relations Expert, and has earned in the process, a very deserved reputation as one of the best in his chosen profession. He is the Founder, Publisher and

Editor In Chief of The Abuja Inquirer, the leading weekly Newspaper in Abuja. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts from University Of Uyo, and in September 1999, was awarded the British Chevening Scholarship Award to study for a Master’s Degree in International Journalism at the University Of Westminster in London. Dan graduated with a merit. Ms. Folasade Doherty is the new Legal Adviser. She is a thoroughbred professional Lawyer, accredited Mediator and founding partner of THE LAW FIRM. Before that, she was the Company Secretary/Legal Adviser for SGS Inspection Services. She studied law at the University of Lagos. Ms. Doherty was awarded the Chevening Scholarship in 2002, where she studied International Business Law at Queen Mary, University of London. Dr. Abiodun Adeniyi is the New Chief whip. He is a very cerebral Academic and the Head of Department of Mass

Communication at Baze University, Abuja. Dr. Abiodun was educated at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (First Degree) and earned his Master’s and Doctorate degrees from the University of Leeds, England. He is a Visiting Professor of Communication and MultiMedia Design at the American University of Nigeria, Yola. After a brief teaching stint at Leeds University, he returned to Nigeria as a World Bank Consultant working on a Multi-Million Dollar Media and Communications project at the Bureau of Public Procurement. The project lapsed nearly five years after it started, before birthing in the Ivory Tower. He started his working career as a reporter with The Guardian newspapers in Lagos, from where he was awarded the Chevening Scholarship. Dr. Adeniyi is very cerebral and conversational. The new Members of the Executive committee are expected to be sworn in soon.


July 10 - 16, 2017

23


July 10 - 16, 2017

Nigeria: What and how to restructure By Remi OYEYEMI

T

he issue of restructuring of Nigeria is once again on the front burner. Restructuring remains one of the promises made by the APC and President Mohammadu Buhari that they have refused to fulfill. In fact, at all levels of the APC as an administration and political party, restructuring is being denied. Before then, former President Goodluck Jonathan organized a National Conference to discuss this issue. The recommendations of the Conference, even though not perfect, has been thrown into trash by President Buhari. This ought to have been the starting point to save Nigeria from perdition. However, many of us seem not to have an understanding of what to restructure. The itemised issues below are not exhaustive in any way. The suggestions also are not written in stone. The bodywork could still be tampered with in terms of details. But the highlighted issues must be dealt with, honestly, sincerely and genuinely to build trust, sense of belonging and save Nigeria, if we all think we still need the country. THE POLICE - There is urgent need to give control of police to the localities. The Political Units (PUs) should have their own police side by side with Local Government, City or Township Police Forces. This would make oppression more difficult and reduce abuse of power and usage. It would democratise law enforcement and facilitate citizen involvement. It would also enhance security, effectiveness and efficiency. The argument of abuse no longer holds water since we are all witnesses to the constant abuse of the police by the unitary Federal Government. EDUCATION - The Federal Government has no business in formulating and controlling the educational system. The Elementary Education is absolutely for the control of local people to create a social foundation via curricula for their children. Such curricula shall, as agreed to by the locals, be imbued with their desired philosophical world view. Same goes with secondary, high schools or grammar schools. “Government”, communities and private entities can compete to have universities, colleges, polytechnics and other forms of post-secondary institutions. I put “government” in quote because the FEDERAL government should be totally out of business of owing universities, controlling admissions, appointing Chancellor ’s and Vice Chancellors among others. The Federal Government shall not and must not

have any scintilla of power or responsibility in determining admission policies or criteria for such in all post-secondary institutions. HEALTH - All health policies and infrastructure management shall be an exclusive responsibility of the PUs. The Federal Government shall not have any power to interfere in such matters, no matter how remote. Any arm of Federal Government that has Health issues as its concerns, shall related to the PUs purely on advisory basis and shall have no power whatsoever to compel any PU against its will. AGRICULTURE - The Federal Government shall not have any power directly or indirectly to determine agricultural policies in the PUs. This shall be an exclusive responsibility of the locals and their PUs. There shall be no Federal Ministry of Agriculture under any disguise for that matter. It shall be unconstitutional to use the common purse for agricultural development in any PU to the detriment of other PUs. TRANSPORTATION - There shall no longer be any road within the borders of the PUs designated as FEDERAL ROADS. The PUs shall have the full power to develop its road infrastructures without let or hindrance. Airlines, Rail ways, Water ways, and other forms of transportation shall be the exclusive management and administration of the PUs. The international laws guiding transportation of all genre would be adopted to guide transportation relationship between the PUs. RESOURCE CONTROL - The political units (PUs) should have total control of its resources of all kinds whether on the ground, under the ground or in the sky. Each PU must be free to determine the exploitation or otherwise of such resources. Each PU should and must be free to enter into local and international agreement on

how to manage its resources. Such PUs should determine its taxes and rates of importation to as well as exportation from its territory. All the resources must be deployed to the development and progress of the PUs as determined by its people. All the PUs that are constituent units must agree at a percentage of their resources not lower than 2.5 and not greater than 5.00 percent as contributions to the Federal Government. The percentage, when agreed upon must be uniform and not discriminatory. ECONOMY - The management of the economy of the PUs would follow the same format as in the management of the resources in relation to the Federal Government. Each PU shall determine its own economic policies and have its own CENTRAL BANK to protect it against hostile action by an antagonistic, vindictive, quarrelous and envious Federal Government. Each PU would decide its economic relationship with other PUs or other Nations of the world as well as international bodies. TAXES - The Federal Government shall not and must not have the power to tax any citizen or PU. A situation where VAT or Value Added Tax on liquor for example is taken from Oyo State to support Kano State that hates such is an injustice. The Federal Government shall and must solely depend on the mandatory 5! maximum contribution from the PUs. JUDICIARY - The final arbiter of and for justice shall be within the judicial set up of each PU. Each PU shall design and operate its unique judicial system. At the Federal level, all PUs must agree on the structural set up of the National Court to hear cases of dispute among PUs. The structure shall not have the power to interfere in the internal judicial structure of the PUs. Judges on the Federal Courts shall not be

However, many of us seem not to have an understanding of what to restructure. The itemised issues below are not exhaustive in any way. The suggestions also are not written in stone. The bodywork could still be tampered with in terms of details. But the highlighted issues must be dealt with, honestly, sincerely and genuinely to build trust, sense of belonging and save Nigeria, if we all think we still need the country.

permanent and should be on ad hoc or case by case basis. The judges at Federal level shall not earn any remunerations since they would be representing their PUs at such time. They shall not sit on more than one or two cases at most in a lifetime. In a situation of conflict between two PUs, the Federal Court shall hear such case and determine it. But such case must be subject to appeal to International Court and a clause approving this would be enshrined in the new Constitution. POLITICAL UNITS (PUs) - It is my view that PUs should be determined based on linguistic demarcations and not on artificial regions. There are 376 languages spoken in Nigeria. Some would complain that this would be too many. But it is my view that the distinct characters of all the units be maintained. Where necessary, referendum, under the principle of SELF DETERMINATION could and should be held by any unit to decide which other unit they want to be grouped with for purposes of viability. If a country of just 93,000 (Seychelles) can survive, a constituent unit of same population or less would survive. No PU, no matter how big or small, shall have the right, no matter how infinitesimal, no matter how it is defined, to decide the destiny of others as to how and where they are grouped. To ensure equality of responsibility and opportunity among all constituent units or PUs, the mono - camera National Assembly would have 376 members which would be far fewer than the present size of 469 members in the bi -camera Assembly. This would mean a representative each from all the linguistic units constituting Nigeria, regardless of size in population or land mass. HOW TO RESTRUCTURE - The modality of carrying out the restructuring must be based on equality of all constituent units regardless of population size or land mass. This would mean that a CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY of 376 members representing each ethnic nationalities would meet to discuss matters of common interest in relation to the continued existence of Nigeria. This piece is without any prejudice to my hope, dream and aspiration for the Oòduà Nation. This is because any discussion about a country, Nation State or a Nation is ultimately about a people. The prime motive of and for my agitation for the coming Great Yoruba Nation, is the well-being of my Yoruba people. “In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.” - John F. Kennedy, in his Inaugural Address January 20, 1961

The Abuja Inquirer is published by Gazetta Communications Limited. HEAD OFFICE: Plot 207, Jumai Kwanashie Crescent (Formerly 44 Crescent) CITEC Villas, Gwarimpa 11, ABUJA, NIGERIA. Tel: 0803 302 7995. E-mail: letters@theabujainquirer.com; Website: www.theabujainquirer.com. Publisher/Editor-In-Chief: DAN AKPOVWA

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