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Abuja to be fully developed in 480 years -FCDA By Austine ELEMUE


ederal Capital Development Authority, FCDA, has revealed that it will take a minimum of 480 years to fully develop the city if alternative funding is not explored by the

FCT Administration. The authority also said that the Federal Capital City, FCC, was planned to be develop within 25 years, but 45 years after its creation, only about 8 districts representing 30 percent of infrastructure had been provided due to

paucity of funds. The Executive Secretary of FCDA, Engr. Umar Jibrin, said there was the need for an alternative to the development of Abuja, which he said will act as a stimulus for economic growth of the city. To this end, Jibrin

said the FCDA in collaboration with Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, ICRC, has adopted Public Private Partnership, PPP, option as an alternative in p r o v i d i n g infrastructure in the FCT.

At a workshop held in Abuja last week, both agencies emphasised the need for government to ensure full private sector participation to accelerate development of efficient delivery of infrastructure to bridge the gap in funding the city development.

Jibrin explained that as at 2006, only 8 districts of Abuja had been fully completed with infrastructure, while a few others are at various stages of completion. According to him, Continued on page 3

KIDDIES CORNER >>> PAGE 14 First Published March 2004

Vol. 13 No. 16 ISSN: 1597-2895

April 8 - 14, 2019

Price: 100

Finally, succor for Zamfara lFG orders foreigners out lBuhari slams protestors lLaunches Operation Puff-Adder lCoalition blames defence minister By Emmanuel OGBECHE


ollowing public outcry over the continued killings in Zamfara state, the federal government, Sunday, moved to address the armed insurgency and banditry by banning all mining activities in the state. Also, it has ordered foreigners within mining sites to vacate such areas immediately as a special operation to stop bandits in the state has been launched. Acting Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, disclosed this after a security meeting at the presidential villa in Abuja on Sunday. Continued on page 3

President Muhammadu Buhari being received in Dubai, UAE for the Annual Investment Meeting, which commences Monday

Lagos fire service director, five others kidnapped >>PAGE 3

AfDB worry over Nigeria’s What FCT elected officials should do – Residents >>PAGE 23 agric growth >>PAGE 19


April 8 - 14, 2019

April 8 - 14, 2019



Finally, succor for Zamfara Continued from page 1 The police boss warned that any foreigner or company that violates the quit order will have their licences revoked. “Consequently, any mining operator who engages in mining activities in the affected locations henceforth will have his licence revoke. All foreigners operating in the mining fields should close and leave within 48 hours,” he said. According to him, the police in collaboration with the military and other security services had commenced “Operation PUFFADDER”, a full scale security offensive against the bandits. “The operation is aimed at reclaiming every public space under the control of the bandits, arrest and bring to book all perpetrators of violence in the area and their collaborators, achieve a total destruction of all criminal camps and hideouts, mop up all illicit weapons fueling the violence and attain a full restoration of law and order in the affected communities,” he said. “Our commitment at protecting the sanctity of life and property is irrevocable, and we will not scale-down the pressure on the armed bandits until they are totally flushed-out.” Speaker of the House of Assembly, Sanusi Rikiji, raised the alarm last Thursday of a further killing of at least 50 persons, including members of the civilian joint task force, CJTF, by suspected bandits. Also, President Muhammadu Buhari has slammed protestors who rallied against the poor situation in the state, describing their as “ridiculous”, while adding that it was “unfair ” for them to suggest that he is not concerned about the killings in Zamfara state. Buhari on his verified Twitter handle on Sunday, reiterated his commitment to ensuring the protection of lives of Nigerians. “It is ridiculous and unfair to suggest that I

am not concerned about the situation in Zamfara, or doing anything about it. Ensuring the protection of the people of Nigeria is one of my primary responsibilities and functions. No other issue dominates my attention as much,” he wrote. “We are fully determined to tackle this challenge ferociously until these remorseless killers are crushed and

utterly defeated. We have deployed security agents to all the areas currently under attack, and we are constantly fine-tuning and escalating our security strategy. “I am constantly in touch with the security chiefs, and receive regular briefings on the situation in Zamfara and across the country. Let me assure that we will continue to do everything to motivate

and equip them to respond effectively to all our security challenges. “I want to appeal to Nigerians that we should not politicize this tragic situation in Zamfara. How can I be indifferent to the senseless killings and kidnapping of my fellow citizens by bandits, and the deep trauma and impoverishment that these attacks inflict on

them?” Furthermore, a coalition of civil society groups have put the blame of the insecurity in Zamfara state on the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, rather than on Governor Abdulazzi Yari. The coalition made up of the Peoples Alliance for Indigenous Rights, PAIR, Society for Gender Equity, SGE, Network for Onward Nigeria, NeON), and The Peoples

Collective, TPC, accused the defence chief of doing little or nothing to stem the tide According to the coalition, Governor Yari has done what the constitution permits by providing logistics, communication gadgets, housing and special allowances for police and the military posted to the state without commensurate support from the Ministry of Defence.

President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, (middle first row) visited the Embassy of Nigeria in Doha, Qatar. There, he was received by the Charge D’Affaires, Auwalu Namadina (right) and other Nigerian Foreign Service Officers.

Abuja to be fully developed in 480 years -FCDA Continued from page 1 there are also plans for preparation of outline business case for other projects in like manner such as the provision for design and construction of by-pass road project through PPP (Onex-

Mpape-Panda-Abuja/ Keffi road) and Osex, Wasa junction to Gwagwalada. On his part, the Director General of Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission, ICRC, Engr. Chidi Izuwah,

identified other alternatives that would assist in speeding up the FCDA’s initiative in developing the nation’s capital. He welcomed the idea of PPP as an alternative in providing infrastructure in the

territory. Izuwah identified PPP focus areas for FCDA to include street lighting, agriculture, healthcare, co-location-in hospital services (imaging/ Radiology, diagnostic hematology and markets/ bus terminals”.

Lagos fire service director, five others kidnapped


he Director of the Lagos State Fire Service, Rasaki Musibau, and six others have been kidnapped. They were abducted by unknown gunmen on Saturday at about 8 p.m. on Iwoye Bridge, along the Itoikin-Epe Road, Ikorodu. The Lagos State Police Command’s spokesman, Bala Elkana, confirmed the incident in a statement on

Sunday. He said the police were on the trail of the abductors. Mr Elkana said that the State Commissioner of Police, Zubairu Muazu, had tasked the command’s antikidnapping unit to ensure that they rescue the seven persons abducted by the hoodlums. “Those abducted include Rasaki Musibau

(Director of Fire Service in Lagos State), Mufutau Adams (a management staff of the Fire Service), Mrs Funmilayo Adelumo and Asiogu Martha. “Others are Lasisi Muka and two others. “Vehicles recovered from the scene include a Toyota Sienna, a Toyota Corolla and an Opel Jeep. “The CP in company with Tactical Units

Commanders visited the crime scene in the early hours of Sunday. “He assured the family of the victims that the command would be leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that the victims are rescued unhurt,” Mr Elkana said. The spokesman also assured Lagosians of their safety at all times.

He said there was the need for the authority to work closely with the commission in order to execute its plans on developing Abuja. According to him, “if the stakeholders look at challenges there would not be progress, rather the available opportunities should be explore to boost infrastructural development. “When we look at challenge there won’t be progress, we should look at the opportunities and develop them. The lack of infrastructure is an opportunities for us to work with FCDA and develop them into b a n k a b l e opportunities.”


April 8 - 14, 2019

FCT REPORT Bello commits to completion of ongoing projects By Austine ELEMUE


inister of the FCT, Malam Muhammad Bello, has re-emphasised his commitment to the completion of ongoing infrastructural projects aimed at adding value to the lives of residents. The minister stated this when he presented the National Priority Budget of N30.704 billion to the House of Representatives Committee on the FCT. In the minister ’s words “It is better to complete a project and take it off the budget than to poorly budget for a project and not be able to complete it and have to budget for it again. Our priority is to complete ongoing projects”. Speaking further, he said “it is also always better to complete ongoing projects because if you don’t do so, no matter how much you spend, as long as the project is not fully completed, the city and by extension, the residents of the FCT will not fully be able to get real value for g o v e r n m e n t intervention in infrastructural projects”. He revealed that a total of 30 projects which include the provision of primary

infrastructure (road, water, sewage and power supply) to mass housing districts, provision of engineering infrastructure to several districts, payment of counterpart funds, construction of the Abuja rail mass transit (LOT1B), Abuja Rail Mass transit (LOT 1and 3), completion of the International Technical and Vocational Institute Utako and four comprehensive science and technical colleges in

Abaji, Kuje, Gwagwalada and Karshi amongst others are contained in the 2019 budget proposal. On the performance analysis of various projects under the 2018 FCT national budget, the minister revealed that while a total of N298 billion was appropriated, only N9 billion representing about 30 percent was actually released. He, however, expressed optimism

that further releases will be made considering that the FCT budget commenced late and is still running. Responding to comments and questions from the committee members, the minister expressed the appreciation of the FCT Administration to the Gurara community in Niger state for the inter-basin transfer of water which he said commenced in February and also promised to

look into other matters including the LEA school in Wuye which currently shares the same premises with the Federal Government Boys College. Speaking earlier, the chairman of the committee, Hon. Emmanuel Orker-Jev lamented the nonrelease of funds to the FCT and promised to engage relevant committees of the House to increase budgetary allocation of the FCT.

L-R: FCT Perm Sec, Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa, FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello during the deliberation of the 2019 FCT budget at the National Assembly, Abuja, last week.

NYSC unveils medical facility, new hostel in Abuja camp I

By Ere-ebi AGEDAH

n a bid to alleviate the plight of corps members as well as cater for their medical needs during the compulsory three weeks orientation course, the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC in collaboration with the National Hospital, has unveiled a befitting clinic at its permanent orientation camp in Kubwa, Abuja. While receiving the keys to the wellfurnished clinic from the Chief Medical Director of National Hospital, Abuja, Dr. Jafaru Momoh,

the Director General of NYSC, General Sulieman Kazaure, expressed appreciation to the hospital for the kind gesture and pledged the scheme’s commitment to ensure that the facility is well managed to serve its purpose. The NYSC DG in his remarks, said that the scheme will work with relevant agencies to ensure that the clinic not only serve the camp which is basically 3weeks due to its capacity and facility but also be extended to cover its environs as he disclosed plans to upgrade it to a

health care centre. Addressing the corps members, General Kazaure urged them to see the service year as an opportunity to serve their fatherland and at all times strive to ensure that the unity and development of Nigeria is never compromised with. On his part, the CMD of National Hospital, Abuja, revealed that the camp clinic was an initiative of a corps member, Dr. Ijeoma Nwaejike with state code FC/16B/0019, who on her quest to see that corps members receive

the best medical services while in camp embarked on the project before the National Hospital came in with financial and manpower support to make the dream come true. In a similar development, no fewer than 3,022 corps members were swornin to mark the official opening of the 2019 Batch ‘A’ orientation camp in Abuja. In his welcome speech, the FCT Coordinator, Mr Bello Ballama, while describing the corps

members as level headed and cooperative he noted that all collaborative agencies are fully on ground, relatively focused with synergy to ensure a successful exercise. “We have received in stock all the critical resources to sustain the programme and have fully mobilized same towards a seamless exercise. Therefore, I charge you to be openminded with SAED lectures in order to align your intuitions with relevant skills to effectively drive your callings,” he Said.

Firm donates accommodation to Abuja displaced orphans By Austine ELEMUE


n investment company based in Abuja has made a donation of four units of three bedroom accommodation to shelter over 200 orphans recently displaced by the Department of Development Control as part of its corporate social responsible. Making the donation, the Chief Executive Officer of Cosgrove Investment Limited, Mr. Umar Abdullahi, said the donation was in line with the company’s policy of caring for the less privileged in the society. He revealed that since the news broke a couple of weeks ago, the firm has been making arrangements to see that the displaced children are accommodated in a decent environment for a reasonable period of time, stressing that the children will be sheltered for a period of one year by the company. According to him, “this is not the first time Cosgrove has embarked on humanitarian service as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). We have provided educational service to the less privileged in the society and just recently we constructed 1.5 kilometers road in Katampe district in Abuja to ease movement for residents of the area. “So, when this happen, we felt we should come to their aids to cushion the effect of these affected children. And we will continue to render such humanitarian services whenever the need arises”. Responding, the FCT Permanent Secretary, Sir Christian Ohaa, commended the firm for coming to the aid of the FCT Administration in time of need. Ohaa called on other firms operating in the Federal Capital Territory to emulate Cosgrove Investment Limited in assisting the less privileged in the society.

April 8 - 14, 2019


FCT REPORT Education secretary tasks principals on quality education

FCTA to monitor progress of children in Kubwa orphanage

By Austine ELEMUE


By Austine ELEMUE


he Federal Capital T e r r i t o r y Administration has said the Social D e v e l o p m e n t Secretariat will monitor the activities at the Divine Wounds of Jesus orphanage in Kubwa to ensure that the children are happy and well looked after. FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, who spoke while receiving the children in his office in Abuja said the children will now remain at another facility in Kubwa, in custody of the proprietress of the home where they will be monitored daily by the Social Development Secretariat. The minister said the plan in the first instance was to relocate them to an FCTA managed orphanage in Gwako near Gwagwalada, but noted that the children insisted that they would rather stay together at a newly acquired home in Kubwa. Bello further said that the FCT Administration will work closely with and monitor the proprietress of the orphanage and the children because their welfare was paramount. He said that even if the children were put in the most expensive environment and they were unhappy, such an action will ultimately be counter productive. He however said that the FCTA will intervene if it feels that the new home is not safe and conducive for the children. Bello reiterated that the FCTA will not hesitate to ensure that all the necessary bylaws and procedures for setting up an orphanage home in the FCT are adhered to at all times.

Groups under National Tobacco Alliance during a rally to demand the passage of tobacco control regulations at the entrance to the National Assembly in Abuja...Wednesday. Photo: Wale Elekolusi.

Down Syndrome: Expert advocates inclusiveness By Austine ELEMUE


ducational therapist and founder of the Royal School of Educational Therapy Foundation based in Federal Capital Territory Abuja, Dr. Badewa Adejugbe-Williams, has called on parents and guardians not to see Down Syndrome as a disease, stressing that people living with it are just like everyone else. Adejugbe-Williams also stressed that children with Down Syndrome are capable of independent functions and participation in society, just as she advocated for acceptance and inclusion for those with the condition, learning disorders, and other disabilities including autism, cerebral palsy among others. She made the call while speaking to a section of the media on the International Day of Down Syndrome, regretting that awareness is very low in Nigeria. The educational therapist assured that the Royal School of Educational Therapy Foundation is poised to raise awareness about the most common genetic condition known as Down Syndrome, just as she called for support from all stakeholders. According to her, “the Royal School of Educational Therapy Foundation in Abuja

commemorated the World Down Syndrome day with various fun filled activities in which our students and staff participated. “To start the event, students engaged in a brief Q&A session and recitations on Down

Syndrome. After the informative session they continued with thrilling games, swimming, tasty snacks, and lots of dancing, photo shoots with posters and placards and colorful socks, and many more fun activities. “The commemoration

ended with the screening of a movie “Where Hope Grows” about a man living with Down Syndrome. The idea is to give our students a sense of inclusiveness in the society. All that is needed is support from all stakeholders”.

Chairman-elect set agenda for Abaji development By Ateed YUSUF


hairman-elect of Abaji area council, Hon. Abdulrahman Ajiya, has unveiled his agenda for bringing rapid socio economic development to the area. Ajiya, who is the incumbent chairman of the council, disclosed this in a chat with The Abuja Inquirer after he received his certificate of return and assured youths that his government would introduce good

programmmes and policies that would address some of their basic needs to include employment opportunities. The chairman said that priority would be given to feeder roads, agricultural activities, basic education and establishment of additional health centres. He applauded electorate for coming out in masse to exercise their franchise peacefully, just as he appreciated the role played by youths to ensure he win his second term bid.

The Abaji chair equally lauded security agents for ensuring no violence and chaos occurred during and after the elections. Ajiya revealed that he would operate all inclusive government for the benefits of all residents of the area devoid of religious and ethnic sentiment, while calling on residents of the area to give his government necessary support and cooperation, even as he tasked politicians in Abaji and environs to bear in mind that electioneering period is over.

Residents, police partner against crime in Suleja By Ateed YUSUF esidents of Suleja local government area of Niger state have vowed to team up with the police to bring crime rate to stand still in the area. A cross section of residents made this known while on a courtesy visit to the newly posted Suleja area commander, ACP Isah Rambo. They reiterated commitment to support the police in the area of


logistics, noting that security is a collective responsibility that required the contributions of all and sundary. Spokesperson of the group, the PCRC chairman of Madalla, Rev. Taiwo Olamofe, commended the police for posting the new area commander, just as he reiterated commitment to work hand in hand with the police to ensure crime rate is reduced to the barest minimum. Contributing, the

patron of Kwankwashe community, Alh. Raji Salihat, tasked the residents to cultivate the culture of providing useful information to the police to enable them nib crime in the bud. Responding, ACP Rambo thanked residents of the area for identifying with the police, even as he assured them that the command under his watch would be encouraging them to fully participate in community policing.

n order to have holistic change and sustain quality education among students, the FCT Secretary for Education, Dr. Bala Liman, has charged all the principals in the Federal Capital Territory on quality education. The secretary, who gave this charge during his meeting with the principals, said things can no longer be done in the same way as before, adding that there should be attitudinal and institutional change. He stated that the principals must work within the stipulated rules and regulations to avoid creating bad image for the FCT Administration. He explained that the education sector is a key sector in the development of the territory hence it should not be toyed with. Liman warned against any act of indiscipline in the day to day school administration with emphasis on absenteeism, lateness, laziness and unnecessary excuses which according to him do not add values to the system. According to him, school heads must first and foremost impact knowledge, be role models and bring up students as responsible individuals for a brighter future, insisting that everyone in the education sector must carry out his or her duty with high sense of responsibility and desist from conduct that are capable of jeopardizing the image of the administration. He expressed his displeasure at the low pace of infrastructural development in schools, adding that the boards, agencies and department under the education secretariat should be proactive and prioritize the needs of the various schools in order to ensure improved academic performance of students and create a conducive learning and safe school environment.


April 8 - 14, 2019


JAMB’s far-reaching reforms



n March 18, 2019, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, announced at a critical stakeholders meeting in Abuja that it has put certain innovations in place for the successful conduct of the 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME. JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede, said “a robust item bank with appropriate safeguards had been developed by moving toward open examination with one million questions per subject,” while “a separate indicator had been created for the deaf to differentiate them for special attention at the examination centre.” Oloyede’s announcement elicits confidence in the process and draws the attention of many observers to the reforms JAMB has initiated in recent years to bolster the credibility of the UTME exercise. Since 2015, the Board has devoted huge resources and energy towards perfecting its test administration and restoring its credibility, integrity, and public trust. Just over six years, efforts to reduce the cost of governance and refocus government agencies had prompted the constitution of a 7man committee led by Former Head of Service, Mr Steve Oronsaye. After painstakingly reviewing the roles of government agencies, the Oronsaye committee, in its 800-page white paper later released in 2014, recommended the continuous existence of JAMB as a central examination body for admissions into Nigerian universities. But the committee insisted that the Board must improve on its

While incidents of malpractice are not completely eliminated in the UTME exercise, it is noteworthy that JAMB’s effort at enthroning transparency, accountability and prudent management of funds, as well as tackling unwholesome practices, has transmuted it into a symbol of integrity under the current administration. Its recent feat in administering credible examination won the patronage of agencies such as the police and other paramilitary agencies to administer their recruitment exams.

standards and address the issue of integrity of its results, while drawing the attention of the Ministry of Education and the National Universities Commission, NUC, to allegations of exorbitant fees charged candidates by universities for Post-UTME. JAMB’s inadequacies were palpable. The process of conducting the UTME was fraught with irregularities and the integrity of its admission process was greatly challenged. Some candidates and parents pandered to the official corruption in the agency and merit was gradually relegated. For a fact, the Senate openly queried the awful state of affairs and advocated outright scrapping of the Board. While the public picked on JAMB’s failures, the Board got busy with its various units and embraced reforms which have metamorphosed it into one of the most credible government agencies in recent years. When it introduced fullblown Computer Based Test, CBT, in 2015, JAMB took a bold step towards self-restoration. Although CBT initially came

with challenges of malfunctioning computers and in some cases, interruptive power supply, among others, it has proven to be the most effective way of reducing cost and removal of cumbersome logistic problems that characterised the Paper Pencil Test, PPT. While its insistence on biometric verification, practically eliminates incidents of identity fraud that were rife with manual clearance, and ensures that only registered candidates participate in the UTME exercise, the CBT has greatly helped in minimising examination malpractice and other forms of irregularities. A real determination to eliminate fraud and criminalities has been observed since Oloyede was appointed Registrar in 2016. One of his first steps at tackling entrenched corruption in the system was the elimination of the scratch card regime and the introduction of the pin vending, a process that ensures all funds generated flow directly to the government coffers. Much to the credit of the agency, JAMB has continued to

evolve ways of tackling new trends in examination malpractice with a broad base of monitoring technology in examination centres nationwide. Its ability to monitor individual candidates was recently accentuated by the registrar; “we now have live reports on centres that registered every candidates. The time of registration, the officers who registered the candidate, the computer system used, the location of registration, among others, are now connected and linked to the central data bank, to ensure that we regulate the registration exercise.” While incidents of malpractice are not completely eliminated in the UTME exercise, it is noteworthy that JAMB’s effort at enthroning transparency, accountability and prudent management of funds, as well as tackling unwholesome practices, has transmuted it into a symbol of integrity under the current administration. Its recent feat in administering credible examination won the patronage of agencies such as the police and other paramilitary agencies to administer their recruitment exams. Going forward however, the board must take seriously the plight of candidates by ensuring its policies do not displace them on examination day as cases of candidates roving in search of their examination centres had been reported in the past. JAMB must also continue to keep an eye on activities of CBT centres and ensure they conform to laid-down rules and sanction erring centres which have developed a penchant for multiplying the suffering of candidates with exorbitant fees and other forms of fraud.

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

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

Snr. Correspondents Sarah Negedu; Onoriode E. Atavwigho;; Mfon Udo-Ema David Lawani London Correspondent Peculia Medinus Online Editor Lucky Akpovwa Advert/Marketing Executive Laraba P. Murey

Correspondents Ambrose Imobhio (Asaba) Scholastica Joseph (Makurdi) Ayinde Olarewaju (Ilorin) Akon Godfrey Chukwuma Nzeh Ateed Yusuf Ere-ebi Agedah jeoma Ukazu Williams Abah Edrina Emmanuel Elizabeth Offiong

Photo Editor Wale Elekolusi Admin Assistant Alex Ukershio Company Secretary Bassey E. Offiong Esq. Legal Adviser Gogo Karibi-Whyte Production Consultant Daniel Soetan

April 8 - 14, 2019


For Onnogehen, the end too soon T

he suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, last Thursday, March 4, 2019, threw in the towel after a tempestuous few weeks which has seen him docked, the first in Nigeria’s history for a CJN, over allegations of false assets’ declaration. The ouster of the 16th CJN has given fodder to conspiracy theorists to validate their conclusion that Onnoghen is a victim of bad politics. For those who hold this view, the controversial road to the confirmation of the resigned CJN was enough pointer. Before his confirmation as acting CJN on November 10, 2016 following the retirement of Justice Mahmud Mohammed, it was evident that a cabal had their own thinking of who should occupy the position notwithstanding the constitutional guarantee of how the process works. So it was that the Onnoghen story became a convoluted one by the time he was confirmed by the Senate on March 1, 2017, and eventually

sworn in by then Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on March 7, 2017. His traducers could not wait for him to leave in 2020 when he was supposed to retire, rather procured a certain Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative, ARDI, which made the allegation that the jurist operated multiple accounts used for the transfer of foreign currencies, including U.S. dollars, Euros and pounds. An allegation that has fallen flat! But given the insidious intent of those that want him disgraced, a man that gave a dissenting judgment in favour of President Buhari during the 2007 presidential election challenge, saw no other way out than to throw in the towel. Will history be fair to him? Will the correct perspective and the back room plotting that saw to the capitulation of one of Nigeria’s finest CJN ever come to light? Will those who played the Ostrich in this macabre drama have found their fulfillment? Time, as ever, will tell.

The not-so comedy of Babachir Lawal


ack “King” Kirby, the American comic book artist, writer, and editor, considered as one of the medium’s major innovators, argues that “The average politician was crooked. That was my ambition, to be a crooked politician.” It is not too far to say that the disgraced Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, who is facing trial for stealing funds of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, is one such crooked politician and whose ambition is to remain crooked. Lawal, last week, stirred the hornet’s nest about 2023 when he left Nigerians aghast and reeling with laughter that he qualifies to be president of the country. Perhaps, the former SGF who famously piqued “who is the federal government? Thins himself Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the inexperienced 41-year-old comic television actor that is poised to become Ukraine’s president in the coming

days. The good news is that Lawal is no Zelenskiy and will ordinarily be in jail if he were in a system that works. But because this is Nigeria, apologies to Falz, politicians, crooked ones at that, like Lawal can always find a way to scam the system and return to relevance. There is little doubt that the former SGF knows the limited memory span of Nigerians and by this time next year, Nigerians, if they have not, forgotten his thieving pedigree and reckon with him as one of the elite that can rescue a ship adrift. If anything, those close to Babachir Lawal should inform him that there is a movement of new Nigerians that is emerging who have institutional memory and are committed to ensuring that those who have conspired to the mess we find ourselves, never come near to power again.

Ndume: When the hero becomes the gadfly I

ndeed, there is always a time and season for everything under the Heavens. For the All Progressives Congress, APC, it is about time they drink from the Chalice of Hemlock. As the race for the President of the Senate gets febrile, the party is faced with internal insurrection with those they helped groomed to be anti-discipline and respectful. Though the party has adopted Senator Ahmed Lawan as its anointed for the Office of the Senate Presidency, Lawan’s kinsman, Senator Ali Ndume, the one his opponents call ‘Boko Haram Senator’ has thrown his hat into the ring. Since his insistence to run for the Red Chamber top position, the APC has shown symptoms of dengue fever; feverish, sore and irritable. For long, the party enabled Ndume to show near-absolute disrespect to the leadership of Bukola Saraki as Senate President which ultimately earned the lawmaker a 180-day suspension.

Rather than school the lawmaker on parliamentary ethics and institutional supremacy, the APC choose to look the other way and even backed his intransigence. Now, the chickens have come home to roost and the party is scurrying about like a headless chicken given Ndume’s headstrong avowal to remain in the race. How is it that the APC hero is now its gadfly? How come the party that touts itself as disciplined cannot even railroad its member to follow the party’s line? If it were to the contrary, the meeting of the leadership of the party and some influential senators met last week with Ndume, would have yielded the desired result by seeing him drop his ambition. But the party came out empty handed and now faces the prospect of allowing the PDP decide who gets what in the 9th Senate except there is last minute change of mind by the tormentor-in-chief of the APC in June.


April 8 - 14, 2019


NERC to begin mass metering May 1 T he Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) says it will begin mass metering for electricity consumers by May 1. Usman Arabi, NERC General Manager for Public Affairs, said in a statement that the metering will be executed under the Meter Asset Providers (MAP) programme of the federal government. “The commission issued permits to MAPs on April 5, in accordance with section 4(3) of the MAP Regulations 2018, to MAPs that were successful in the procurements,” he said. “The procurement was conducted by Abuja Electricity Distribution Company Plc AEDC and Jos Electricity Distribution Company Plc (JEDC). “Section 4(3) of the MAP Regulation 2018 requires all electricity distribution licensees to engage MAPs that would assist, as investors, in closing the metering gap. “AEDC has appointed Mojec International Limited, Meron Consortium and Turbo Engineering

Limited to provide 487,000, 213,000 and 200,000 meters,while JEDC has appointed Triple 7 and Mojec International Limited consortium to provide 500,000 meters.’’ Mr Arabi said customers of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) and

Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JEDC) should expect meters to be installed in their premises within 10 working days of making payment to MAPs. He said the payment and installation of the meters within the time frame was in accordance with section

18 (3) of the MAP Regulations 2018. “MAPs shall charge a maximum of N36,991.50 for single phase meters and N67,055.85 for three phase meters. “These costs are inclusive of supply, i n s t a l l a t i o n , maintenance and replacement of meters

over its technical life,’’ Mr Arabi said. He said NERC shall monitor closely the rollout plan of distribution licensees and overall compliance with the regulation and various service agreements by the MAP and electricity distribution licensees.

L-R: Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Mr. Segun Awolowo, Deputy Director, NEPC, Mr. Lawal Dalhat and Director, Integrated Mechfarms Limited, Ms. Lynsey Elston during a stakeholders' forum on implementation frameworks for the issuance of promissory notes held in Abuja...Thursday. Photo: Wale Elekolusi.

Gender activist makes case for female Reps speaker By Laraba MUREY


s the race for the speakership of the 9th House of Representatives intensifies by the day, a pro-gender activist, Bar. Esther Uzoma, has made a case for a female speaker. Uzoma at a press briefing in Abuja, weekend, said there was need for gender equity, competence and balance if Nigeria desires to be seen as a progressive democracy. “After 20 years of democracy, it has become imperative that a female, a competent and experienced one at that heads one of the major organs of government, in this instance the House of Reps. “Nigeria is in dire need of gender equity if the country is to be seen as a progressive democracy. As things are, we have a competent, experienced

and broad view lawmaker in the person of Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha that fits all the requirements for speakership,” Uzoma said. The activist lawyer, who is also the founder and national coordinator of Proactive Gender Initiative, PGI, stressed that the APC is not in want of a

qualified legislator from the south east, therefore, should micro-zone the position to the zone. “Nigeria is too lopsided in terms of distribution of political power. Given that the APC as a party has zoned the speakership of the House to the south, it should mirco-zone it to the south east for inclusion and parity,”

the lawyer said. According to her, Onyejeocha is one of the few ranking lawmakers coming back for the fourth term, “she has all the experience you need. She has held important committee positions and will be bringing a rich legislative pedigree to the position.” Early in the week, Onyejeocha, declared her

intention to run for the speakership, promising to improve lawmaking and to help advance the party’s developmental policies. O n y e j e o c h a represents Isiukwuato/ Umunneochi Federal Constituency of Abia and would be returning to the house for the fourth time in the 9th Assembly.

USAID to promote private investment in agric

By Emmanuel OGBECHE he U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, has launched a new scheme; Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity aimed at helping Nigeria develop and strengthen a more business-enabling environment through promotion of privatesector investment in agriculture. Under a new contract with Cultivating New


Frontiers in Agriculture, CNFA, an international agricultural development organization, USAID will work to improve the ease of doing business in the agricultural sector, broaden access to finance by mitigating the credit risks of agribusinesses, and promote investment opportunities for agribusinesses to expand and scale up operations. It is expected that the goal will broaden Nigeria’s economy, increase the quality, quantity, market

access and diversification of Nigeria’s agribusiness sector. “This activity will pursue a unique, robust business-centered strategy to implement this Feed the Future initiative in Nigeria,” said Chief of Party Adam Saffer. “Under this approach, the activity will partner with domestic and multinational companies in order to more effectively bridge the gap between government and the private sector – and to distribute the

economic benefits of the project more broadly across Nigeria’s agribusiness sector,” he added. The Agribusiness Investment Activity aims to collaborate with the Nigerians agribusiness sector to integrate and upgrade thousands of micro, small and medium enterprises, MSMEs, and producer organizations as high-performing commercial actors in the rice, maize, soy, cowpea, and aquaculture value Continued on page 9

Zamfara Banditry: Defence chief, not Yari responsible –CSOs By Chuks NZEH


coalition of civil society groups has put the blame of the insecurity in Zamfara state on the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, rather than on Governor Abdulazzi Yari. The coalition made up of the Peoples Alliance for Indigenous Rights, PAIR, Society for Gender Equity, SGE, Network for Onward Nigeria, NeO, and The Peoples Collective, TPC, accused the defence chief of doing little or nothing to stem the tide According to the coalition, Governor Yari has done what the constitution permits by providing logistics, communication gadgets, housing and special allowances for police and the military posted to the state without commensurate support from the Ministry of Defence. In a statement signed by Isa Yaro, national publicity officer of the group, on Sunday in Abuja, they said it was tragic and unfortunate that the federal government has failed to arrest the security challenge in Zamfara for over two years now, stressing that President Buhari ought to have sacked the Minister of Defence long ago. “What we find happening in Zamfara state is not only unfortunate but tragic. It is inconceivable that two years on, the federal government has failed to address the orgy of killings in Zamfara state,” Yaro said. “All the blame trading and trying to put Governor Yari as the main culprit is reprehensible. We all know that governors are merely chief security officers by name without inherent powers. For long the governor of Zamfara state has raised alarm over the buildup of a vicious militia with those responsible at the centre doing little or nothing about it.

April 8 - 14, 2019



50 million children to lead healthier lives by 2030 -Nestle By Ijeoma Ukazu


o lead a healthy life, adequate nutrition consisting of all classes of food is needed for optimal growth and development especially children. For children to achieve their full potential and thrive in a c o m p e t i t i v e environment, experts say, nutrition should not be compromised. To ensure that children is adequately nourished, Nestlé Nutrition has targeted to reach globally, 50 million children in ensuring that they lead healthier lives by 2030. To achieve this, it launched Nestlé Healthier Kids, a global initiative to bring together the company’s efforts to support and educate parents and caregivers on the best way to inspire children to eat better, drink more water embrace exercise and develop hygienic habits. Recently at a media parley in Lagos, Nestle’s C o r p o r a t e Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Mrs Victoria Uwadoka, said that the Federal Ministry of Health and Federal Ministry of Education have endorsed Nestlé for Healthier Kids, N4HK, which aims to inculcate healthy lifestyle habits in Nigerian school children to ensure they grow to be healthy adults. She said “N4HK achieves its objectives by teaching and promoting healthy nutrition, healthy hydration, hygiene and an active lifestyle. The training and coaching is implemented in collaboration with State and Universal Basic Education Board in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The programme which is currently ongoing is reaching 17,000 children and 350 teachers in 30 primary schools in Ogun State and the FCT respectively. “It would be difficult for children to imbibe healthy nutrition and hygiene practices if the environment is not conducive for putting what they learn into practice. It was also

important to ensure that the children and teachers have access to good class rooms, safe clean water, toilets and hand washing facilities. “We also ensure that anyone who live close to our factory have access to clean safe water to drink,” She added. While responding to questions from journalists on Nestle’s

commitment to food fortification, Uwadoka said Nestlé is committed to continue fortifying its foods and beverages to help children and families around the world, particularly in Nigeria, get the micronutrients they need. According to her, Nestlé Nutrition Institute Africa also facilitates the implementation of other

programmes aimed at improving the outlook of child healthcare in the country. She said the programmes includes, the Post Graduate Programme for Pediatric Nutrition, PGPN, a global programme developed and facilitated by Medinscribe in association with Boston University School of

Medicine, a leader in medical education and supported by Nestlé Nutrition Institute. She explained that the aim of PGPN is to help keep healthcare professionals up-to-date on the evolving science of pediatric nutrition, adding that this programme has reached over 700 HCPs since 2016.

L-R: Chairman, Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria,Sir Godfrey Ohuabunwa, Zonal Chairman, BON, Dr Ahmed Tijani Ramalan and Chief Executive Officer, FreeTV Platform and Chairman, Atar Communications during the Digital Switchover stakeholders meeting in Abuja, recently. Photo: Wale Elekolusi.

Police arrest 28 suspected cultists in Otukpo By Williams ABAH


n its bid to enforce law and order and to ensure that peace is restored in the troubled city of Otukpo, in Benue state, and its environs, the police announced the arrest of 28 suspects, including a female. According to the DPO,

Otukpo Police Division, Mr. Obo Obo, a total of 28 persons were arrested at different locations and hideouts in Otukpo and transferred to the state CID, Makurdi for various offences which bother on violent secret cult membership; armed robbery; culpable homicide amongst others. Investigation revealed

that in recent times resurgent secret cult activities and inter-gang violence, armed robbery, raping of women, girls and arson have left many residents terrified. The police move comes on the heels of appeal by the chairman of the local government area, Hon. George Alli.

Delta pensioners want 99 months arrears paid By Ambrose IMOBHIO, Asaba


ensioners in Delta State have called on the state government to clear their 99 months pension arrears, while advocating for adherence to the 33% pension increase award. The new chairman of the Delta State Council of Nigerian Union of Pensioners, Chief S.M Savbede, stated this at the state council congress held in Asaba. He stated that pension increase

awarded since July 2010 has not been uniformly implemented by the state government as those who retired before year 2000 were paid 33%, while those who retired after year 2000 were paid 20%/ 15% for those who retired on level 1-6 and 7-16 even when the Federal Government gave 33% increase award across board. The council equally complained that the Pension Traditional A r r a n g e m e n t Directorate, PTAD, is yet

to pay the pensioners six months arrears of the 33% pension award since July 2010. According to the pensioners after the last nationwide civilian pensioners verification exercise, many pensioners’ names were unduly removed from PTAD pay roll as many have their salaries slashed and many yet to be paid their gratuities. Savbede called on its national body to assist in addressing the above pains.

Before the sweep, our correspondent learnt that the chairman in the past held several meetings with security operatives which included the Nigerian Police Force, NSCDC, DSS, local vigilante groups in collaboration with traditional rulers, stressing that his effort did not yield the desired result. Those arrested include: Nwefuru Wisdom, Unogwu Odache, Oche Ojila Gabriel, John Oche, Inalegwu Onyilo, Vincent Ochigbo, Adikwu David, Owoicho Ododo, John Idu, Owoicho Okoh, Johnson Ekoja, Emmanuel Ogbu, Anthony Ojele and Idoko Oche. Others include Godwin Agwu, Joel John, Ocheme Benard, Agnes Emmanuel, Ocheme David, Monday Rotomi Moses, John Abbah, Blessing Omaje (F), Godwin Raphael, John Abutu, Simon Samson Otache, Isaac Adebayo, Ngbede John and Solomon Ochai Okpe.

Stay clear of Delta, AG warns traffickers By Ambrose IMOBHIO, Asaba


arents in Delta state have been advised to keep watch over their children and wards to avoid falling into the hands of human traffickers. The Delta State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Mr. Peter Mrakpor, stated this when he and members of the State Taskforce on Anti Human Trafficking/ Illegal Migration briefed journalists in Asaba. The Attorney General, who is the chairman of the taskforce, warned the youth to shun the habit of going outside the country to seek greener pastures which do not really exist. He stated that most of them who are being lured away and deceived into going in such ventures see themselves facing grueling times in such countries. The AG expressed the pain of seeing young ones having their future ruined in the name of non-existent greener pastures. Mrakpor advised journalists to assist in sensitizing those who are nursing the idea of human trafficking as well as victims on the inherent dangers associated with such and desist from such acts, as the state government will be very tough at the culprits.

USAID to promote private investment in agric Continued from page 8 chains. Through advocacy for streamlined regulations, more effective policies, improved production and processing practices, and significantly increased finance and investment flows, the activity will help Nigerian entrepreneurs increase the competitiveness and returns of both large and small agricultural enterprises in Nigeria. Over the course of the five-year award, the Agribusiness Investment Activity aims to facilitate $200 million in new lending and $100 million in new investment across the five crops in the following seven designated Nigerian States: Kaduna, Niger, Kebbi, Benue, Delta, Ebonyi, and Cross River.


April 8 - 14, 2019


Magu lists challenges, achievements, defends 2019 budget By Emmanuel OGBECHE


he Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, last Thursday, defended the commission’s 2019 budget proposal of N22, billion before the House Committee on Anticorruption and Financial Crimes. In his presentation, Magu lamented that incomplete releases of both approved overhead and capital estimates, have in no small measure, negatively impacted the ability of the commission to meet its pressing needs and obligations. He noted that only 54.17% was released in 2018 while only 40.06% of capital has been released so far with only two and half months to go to the end of extended 2018 capital budget year. This year ’s figure represents a 16.38% decrease from the 2018 budget of N26 billion, and a rise of 14% in the personnel cost proposal from 12.717 billion in 2018 to 14.491billion this year. The increase in personnel cost, according to Magu, accommodates the salaries and allowances of 970 additional staff, who are expected to be fully enrolled on the personnel cost platform in 2019. The additional staff, he said comprised 332 Assistant Detective Superintendents, 293 Assistant Detective Inspectors and 95 support staff that recently joined the commission. Magu expressed grief that the EFCC’s overhead cost which the Budget Office reduced from N7.3billion to N3.6billion was grossly inadequate for the commission in view of the increased running cost, occasioned by developments such as the opening of three additional zonal offices, planned introduction of group staff life insurance of N650million, huge outlays on generator fuel cost, increase in airfares, proposed 60% increase in the rates of duty tour

allowance (DTA) payable to staff on official assignment. Magu disclosed that in the course of the 2018 financial year, the EFCC obtained 315 convictions, and has within the first three months of this year, obtained 192 convictions. In the area of recoveries, he said N11.5billion was recorded in final f o r f e i t u r e , N133.8billion in non-

forfeiture recoveries, N8.92billion in direct deposits, N38.12billion in tax recoveries, N1.82billion in subsidy recoveries, and N42billion from banks (Third Party), totalling N236billion. These, according to Magu, “are in addition to recoveries of various sums in other currencies, other assets, jewelleries (gold) and recoveries for major government agencies

including NNPC and AMCON.” He disclosed that the commission was challenged in the areas of huge maintenance cost of the new head office building; inadequate resources to manage a huge and growing fixed asset forfeiture base and inadequate ICT infrastructure. In his response, the Chairman, House Committee on Anticorruption and

Financial Crimes, Hon. Kayode Oladele, described the 2018 budget performance of the commission as a huge success. Kayode and other committee members promised that the committee will support the anti-graft agency in any area it needs parliamentary intervention in its drive to achieve a better performance and outcomes.

Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu (middle), flanked by the commission's secretary, Ola Olukoyede (right) and director, Finance and Accounts, Jibril Manigi (left)during the 2019 budget defence in the House of Representatives, last week. Photo: EFCC.

Police parade 15 suspects, recovers arms in Benue


By Scholastica JOSEPH, Makurdi

n its resolve to rid Benue state of criminal elements, the police command has smashed six robbery gangs, arresting 15 suspects for alleged armed robbery, cultism and culpable homicide while recovering arms. State Commissioner of Police, Omololu Bishi, disclosed this last week while briefing journalists on some of the successes recorded by the command between March 22 and 29. Parading the 15 suspects at the c o m m a n d ’ s headquarters in

Makurdi, the commissioner said a total of 12 arms, five live cartridges, two expended cartridges and 11 live ammunition were recovered from the suspects. He explained that five armed robbery suspects; Kumater Orduen, Terhemen Dev, Terna Atama, Terdoo Abata and Felix Iungwuze were arrested along Abakpa in Buruku local government at about 2330hrs on the 22nd March, following a tip off that some robbers were carrying out robbery on the road. According to him, while on the raid, “the Police recovered from them, three locally made

pistols, two single barrel guns, two live ammunition, two live cartridges, one knife, assorted phones and other items they could not account for. Suspects have confessed to the crime and will soon be charged to Court.” Similarly, the police on a raid on the March 28 and 29, arrested five and three other robbery gang and cultists suspected to be terrorizing Otukpo town and recovered several items. “In one of the armed robbery cases, the robbers engaged the Police in a shoot-out along Otukpo-Ado road. They were arrested and searched at the spot. The

following exhibits were recovered from them, two (2) locally made pistols, two (2) expended cartridges, one (1) AK 47 Bayonet and one (1) Camouflage T-shit,” CP said. The CP appreciated the people of the state for their support in fighting crime and solicited for more information to enable the command combat crime and other criminal acts. The police boss also warned all criminals and intending criminals to desist from crime or face the full wrath of the law saying the commands shall leave no stone unturned in its bid to flush out criminal elements from the State.

NICO advocates increased maintenance culture By Ere-ebi AGEDAH


he National Institute for C u l t u r a l Orientation, NICO, a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, has advocated for increased maintenance culture, adding that Nigeria ranks among the worst in public property maintenance. Speaking during NICOs Quarterly lecture, with the theme, Maintenance Culture: A Panacea for Sustainable Infrastructural Development in Nigeria, the acting Executive Secretary, Mr Louis Eriomala, noted that the present infrastructure decay and dilapidation of government property within the country, is as a result of poor maintenance culture of Nigerians. According to Eriomala, the negative public attitude some Nigerians put up towards government properties can be attributed to ignorance of some people who see governments’ property as nobody’s business. He stated that NICO has a mandate to serve as the capacity building organ of the culture sector in Nigeria, hence the need to re-orientate Nigerians on the need to begin to protect and maintain public infrastructure. Disclosing some factors responsible for the poor state of roads and infrastructure in the country, Eriomala called on government at all levels to begin to invest more into timely and appropriate maintenance to avoid total breakdown. “It is worthy to note that governments at all levels of the federation spend billions of naira every year in the provision of roads, buildings, railway tracks, power etc. In order to sustain these developmental projects, there is need to protect them. ‘‘In order to promote maintenance culture in Nigeria, we suggest that Nigerians imbibe a positive attitude towards the Nations’ infrastructure by owning them, ensuring their protection and maintenance.”

April 8 - 14, 2019



April 8 - 14, 2019

Singer Jennif er Lopez Jennifer sued ffor or $6.5m


merican singer, Jennifer Lopez, has been sued for $6.5million by Alvin Gray-El, for allegedly stealing his idea of ‘World of Dance’ TV show. Lopez, who is the judge and executive producer on NBC’s “World of Dance,” is being sued by Gray-El, who claimed he came up with the idea for the TV show. Gray-El reportedly filed a Federal lawsuit this week against the singer and a famed choreographer Debbie Allen. According to GrayEl, the ‘World of Dance’ was a total rip of his idea for a show called “Let’s Start the Dance’ in 2009, which he first pitched to renowned choreographer Debbie Allen. He also claimed to have faxed a letter to Debbie Allen and her

production company in an effort to see if she was interested in producing the show. In 2010, Gray-El said he had the show registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. According to him, some years later, he discovered that the “World of Dance” was in the works at NBC in 2017. He added that he tried to contact NBC to notify them of the copyright infringement but he did not get a reply. Gray-El is asking for $5 million in actual damages and $1.5 million in punitive damages. In December 2018, Lopez starred in the comedy film ‘Second Act’ directed by Peter Segal she also produced the film, and recorded the single “Limitless’ for its soundtrack.

Tonto Dike, ex-hubby fight dir ty on social media M

r Olakunle Churchill, the estranged husband of Tonto Dikeh, has petitioned the Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammad Adamu, against the controversial actress. Churchill accused his former wife of document forgery and illegal sale of his Toyota Prado SUV vehicle worth N22 million. He submitted the letter through his lawyer, Ace Solicitors, to the office of the IGP and made the acknowledged copy, dated April 4, available on social media. The petitioner alleged that he acquired the said vehicle through his organisation, Big Church Group. He alleged that after their divorce, he left the white Prado SUV with Tonto Dikeh, and she thereafter forged


featuring Oluwatoba Oyewale, Oluwaseun Odukoya, Israel Isaac and Ezra Boboi. ANGST, the play revolves around accountability and good governance; it takes a look at our society, highlighting our culpability in the type of governance we get among other universal issues, served in a fast paced, entertaining nature

Tonto Dikeh or any third party, but for record and documentation purposes. “It is to absolve our client and Big Church Group Limited of any liability in the event of the said vehicle being used for any illegal purpose, as our client is not aware of who the

vehicle was sold to.” In a swift reaction, however, the actress said on her IG page: “Little by little the truth is coming out, and we all come out. Please keep shooting yourself on the leg, I am here for it.” Both got married in 2015 and they have a son from the union.

Tiwa Savage acquires ‘customised’ exotic car


ward-winning music sensation, Tiwa Savage, has entered the second quarter of the year in grand style, as she got for herself a customised exotic car. The ‘Tiwa’s Vibes’ crooner took to her Instagram stories to share a photo and series of videos of the latest addition to her

Stage Play ‘ANGST’ thrills Abuja theatergoers buja theatergoers were thrilled and captivated as Arojah Royal Theatre presented the Abuja Premier of Austin Awulonu’s play, ANGST, at the popular The Porch, Omega event centre. The play, which was supported by MacArthur Foundation, produced by Mr Jerry Adesewo,

ownership documents of the car and eventually sold it. The petition read in part: “The car was bought for domestic use of the family, particularly in view of the fact that Ms Tonto Dikeh-Churchill (as she then was) had just put to bed. “The car was bought in the name of our client’s company as a result of the partnership our client’s company had with Toyota at the material time. “When the marriage broke down irretrievably, Miss Tonto Dikeh made away with the said vehicle and sold the vehicle to an unknown person(s). “This is without the consent of our client or the company, and without proper paperwork and change of ownership. “Sir, this complaint has become imperative not for the purpose of recovering the said vehicle from

that gets you reeling with laughter even as the messages sink in, with the sanity of the media taking centre stage. Speaking, the Producer Jerry Adesewo started that the play has a theme dedicated to the State of Affairs of the Nigerian nation, attached to accountability and good governance.

garage. Although she was not explicit on the brand of automobile, it has “Tiwa Savage” clearly inscribed on the seats which suggest how expensive the yetto –be- identified ride would cost. Savage, the mother of one, who got separated from her hubby, Tee Bilz, in 2018, came to limelight

with the signing of a recording contract with Mavin Records in 2012. She also signed a management and publishing deal with Jay Z’s Roc Nation in 2016, which she later confirmed via Instagram. She cowrote the track “Collard Greens & Cornbread” off Fantasia Barrino’s Grammy-

nominated album, ‘Bact to Me.’ Savage was featured on Solar Plexus, a compilation album released by Mavin Records. Her debut studio album, `Once Upon a Time,’ was released on July 3, 2013. It was supported by the singles “Kele Kele Love’’, “Love Me (3x)”, “Without My Heart”, “Ife Wa Gbona”, “Folarin”, “Olorun Mi” and “Eminado’’. Savage’s second studio album, ‘R. E. D’, was released on Dec. 19, 2015. It produced the singles “My Darlin”, “African Waist” and “If I Start To Talk.” She is a recipient of many awards including, MTV Africa Music Award, The Headies Awards, Channel O Music Award, Nigeria Music Video Award, and City People Entertainment Awards, among others.

April 8 - 14, 2019



Abuja pedestrian bridge traders T


he growing trend of petty trading on pedestrian bridges across the Federal Capital Territory has become a source of concern to most residents of the city. Ideally, pedestrian bridges are constructed to ensure safe and smooth movement of road users from one side of a major road to the other. This is however not the case of most pedestrian bridges in Abuja, as a number of them have been over taken by traders, destitute and even criminals. Its subjections to abuse of varying kinds calls for serious questioning. It has become avenue for many things. Traders, mostly petty ones, have made the bride their trading stand. Some even erect shanties, mobile tents, canopies etc. It is even more worrisome that authorities under whose supervision they are built in the first instance don’t care if their use is in compliance. No maintenance. No adequate check to know their level of sustainability apart from when it collapses and people get to injure then we know they are due for check. It is a sad attitude. Our correspondent gathered from reliable sources that the city council officials are aware of the menace these unlicensed trading poses daily to good life and smooth transportation of good and services. They have become serious threat to conducive environment and constitute unwholesome nuisance with their unauthorized conversion of the use of the bridges to markets place of strange kind. Most times these bridges become a rendezvous for criminal gangs, who harass pedestrians and dispose them of their possessions. Covered bridges like the ones at Wuye junction, Area 1 and other places have become dangerous spots. There have been reported cases of criminals taking advantage of the enclosure of the bridges to rob unsuspecting users of the bridge. They are being reduce to avenue of drugs marketing, consumption and pick pockets now hold sway there because of these unguarded behaviors. It is a terrifying thing when no one comes handy during the attacks it can be a field day for the underworld to succeed in their wicked acts. Also, human traffic on these bridges tend to build up during rush hour, as road users compete with traders for space on the bride. Most times the traders obstruct free flow of movement, as they haggle prizes with customers or even drag pedestrian to convince them to patronize them. Some pedestrian bridge users who spoke to this newspaper in different locations had divergent opinions. While some expressed worry over the trading, others were of the view that it offers handy opportunity to pick essentials as

A typical pedestrain bridge activity in Abuja. they move. Adams Emeka, a businessman from Delta state but resident of Nasarrawa state expressed concern for the wrong use of pedestrian bridges in Abuja. He said, “This issue has been on. We are most times prevented by these petty traders from using the bridge. Some of the area boys now live on the bridge and you know how dangerous that can be. Does it meant there are no people from the authority to monitor these bridges? I don’t want to believe it. “Why should people be allowed to trade on the pedestrian bridges? It shows we are not serious as a people. Go round, this bridges are meant to facilitate the movement of people trying to find their way to the other side of the road. Why should they be subjected to this pains and anguish? I view the continuation of the stay by this traders as serious threat to our wellbeing. Daily at night people are attacked. Pick pockets can afford to stay on the bridges to forcefully fully collect items from innocent passersby. “I will advise that those concern body to look after the bridges should expedite action to put an end to the menace posed by this risky and unhealthy form of trading by this uncultured sets. It is a setback on civility and public decorum when traders have to be allowed to trade

or display their wares on the bridges. It doesn’t show sign of serious by the people saddled with the operation and supervisions. It is a maddening situation. Government should have imposed penalty on anyone found contravening the law establishing the. They are meant to serve everyone.” Cecilia Olunfunke an apprentice in Wuye district said if those who erected it chose to ignore the wrong use of the bridges, then traders can convert them to their stalls. “It is not only petty traders that use or misuse the bridge. At night, you find young boys openly defecating on the bridge at Area 1 and Wuye. No arrest are ever made. People should not be seen violating city law and go scot-free. What could they have attributed as the reason for turning the place to their trading forte? To me, no reason is convincing enough. I will support or suggest that committee should be put in place to secure that place. “Traders display all kinds of wares here, sometimes they even hang their cloths on the railings like they are in their homes. They are not bothered. They don’t fear that their goods can be seized or confiscated by the authority. “People should be alive to their duties. This act has been going on for too long. The bridges should contribute to the scenery beauty of

the city and not converted to markets. I will advise that urgent steps should be taken to put an end to the use of that place as trading opportunity by these petty traders. Ocho Gabriel, who lives in New Nyanya and makes use of the Gwarimpa bridge every day to and from work, said he is surprised at how people deface the bridge even at a highbrow area of Gwarimpa. “I feel terribly sad each day that I pass through the bridge and I see what it has been converted into. Why can’t we see the importance of this bridge to our usefulness? Trading there make mockery of our civility as a people. This attitude or act should be discouraged by wellmeaning Nigerians. “The FCT authorities can’t keep folding their hands while street traders and urchins abuse facilities like this.” Some of the traders said it offers them opportunity for quick sales. Abubakar, a GSM phone accessory seller, said, “This bridge gives me the opportunity to make quick sells. I am here as early as 7am and people who want phone charger, earphones, electrical extensions buy as the go to work. And I pack off around 12pm and return at 4pm when workers are returning and stay till 8:30pm. I know it is risky, but where do you want me to sell? I can’t afford a shop.”


April 8 - 14, 2019


Dinosaur Dig us?” asked Sonia. “Well, the game is over! But I’ve got three lives left. How many have you got?” “Only one!” “ROAR!” the dinosaur was there! “Look!” shouted Sonia. There was the same icon that she saw on her computer. Sonia touched the icon. FLASH! Sonia was at home, sitting at her computer. She looked at the game. “Bye, bye, dino,” she said. “Hmmm. Maybe I’ll play a different game. From http:// learnenglishkids.britis

RIDDLES 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

I start with ‘P’ and end with ‘E’, but I have thousands of letters. Who am I? What is the word that is spelled incorrectly in all dictionaries? Everyone in the world needs it. People generously give it. But some never take it. What is it? What on earth does the poor have, the rich need it, and if you eat it you’ll die? What did the rib cage say to the heart? The more of them you take, the more you leave behind. What are they? It lives without a body, hears without ears, speaks without a mouth, and is born in air. What is it?

Post Office 2. Incorrectly 3. Advice 4. Nothing 5. I got you covered 6. Footsteps 7. An echo

golden bone that was hidden under a bush. “No!” shouted the boy. “You mustn’t pick the golden ones up! Now watch out for the dinosaur!” Suddenly they heard a noise behind them. The ground began to shake. They heard a dinosaur roar. “RUN!” Sonia and the boy ran fast through the bushes, but the dinosaur was getting closer. Sonia and the boy hid behind a bush. “What will happen if the dinosaur catches



t was Sonia’s birthday. She had a new game. “Dinosaur Dig!” said Sonia. “Fantastic! This is just what I wanted!” Sonia decided to try her new game. She switched on the computer, put the game in and looked at the screen. A strange icon appeared. Sonia clicked on the icon. FLASH! “Where am I?” said Sonia. “You’re in Dinosaur Dig,” said the boy next to her. “We have to find old dinosaur bones.” “Here’s one!” said Sonia. She picked up a



Road rules for bike safety


f you’re allowed to ride on the street, follow these road rules: • Always ride with your hands on the handlebars. • Always stop and check for traffic in both directions when leaving your driveway, an alley, or a curb. • Cross at intersections. When you pull out between parked cars, drivers can’t see you coming. • Walk your bike across busy intersections using the crosswalk and following traffic signals. • Ride on the right-hand side of

the street, so you travel in the same direction as cars do. Never ride against traffic. • Don’t ride too close to parked cars. Doors can open suddenly. • Stop at all stop signs and obey traffic (red) lights just as cars do. • Ride single-file on the street with friends. • When passing other bikers or people on the street, always pass to their left side, and call out “On your left!” so they know that you are coming. From

Taking Care of Pierced Ears Quiz

1. Another name for your voice box is the? 2. The two holes in your nose are called? 3. The flow of blood through your heart and around your body is called? 4. The bones that make up your spine are called what? 5. How many lungs does the human body have?


Did You Know?

l Did you know your heart beats around 100000 times a day, 36500000 times a year and over a billion times if you live beyond 30? l Did you know the brain uses over a quarter of the oxygen used by the human body? l Did you know an average person breathes in around 11,000 litres of air every day? l Did you know on average, women have shorter tongues than men? From http://

ierced ears may look pretty, but you need to take good care of them or things can get ugly! When you first get your ears pierced, leave the earrings in until your ears are completely healed. If you don’t, your holes could close up. You’ll also want to prevent infections in your newly pierced ears. Wash your hands before touching your pierced ears. Applying rubbing alcohol also can help keep germs away. With an adult’s help, soak a

cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and apply it to both sides of the hole (with the earring still in your ear). Then twirl the earring several times to make sure the alcohol gets in and around the earring post. If you think one of your pierced ears may be infected, tell your mom or dad. An infected earlobe may be swollen, red, warm, and painful, and it may ooze a fluid called pus. Don’t wait for it to get better by itself. From http://

1. Larynx 2. Nostrils 3. Circulation 4. Vertebrae 5. 2


April 8 - 14, 2019



JAMB to commence 2019 UTME Thursday -FG Stories by Godfrey AKON


he Federal government has said the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, is prepared to commence the conduct of the 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME, slated to start on April 11, 2019. Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, who sated this in Abuja while monitoring the mock UTME last Monday, expressed satisfaction with the orderliness of the conduct of the exercise adding that from the reports he received across the country, everything was orderly. Earlier, the JAMB registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede, told reporters that two officials of the Board deployed to conduct the mock UTME narrowly escaped death at Lagos State Polytechnic, LASPOL. Oloyede said the assailants had drenched the officials in petrol and were just moments away from setting them ablaze when they were rescued. The JAMB boss said all officials of the Board deployed to the centre were evacuated, while those on whose lives an attempt was made are being treated in an undisclosed hospital. He expressed confidence that law enforcement agencies will not to allow such an assault on innocent officials of government who are going about their normal businesses to go unpunished. “The very first sad thing that we noticed was that two of our staff were almost murdered in Lagos; there was an attempt on their lives at LASPOL, somewhere they call Lagos State Polytechnic. “For whatever reason, they were wet with petrol and they were to be set ablaze, we have sent a rescue team to take them to the hospital. “We are still looking into what happened in the place. We have evacuated our staff from the place and we hope that whoever has

attempted that, we believe that the law enforcement agencies will not allow such an assault on innocent officials of government who are going about their normal business,” he said. Speaking further, Oloyede noted that the only offense of the officials was that they were doing their job, adding that “they said those people felt that maybe they quarrelled with their authorities

and they felt that why should some people be working in their place not that they offended them. “I don’t think they know them. From the look of things, they only went there, met them working in the place and decided on their own to coldly murder them. He said over 157 thousand candidates participated in the mock exercise which was conducted in 698

centre across the country, adding that so far, all the centres are doing very well. “Of the 712, we have had to disaccredit 14 this morning for one infraction or the other; technical and some deceit whereby some of them will go and borrow some computers and thinking that we will not know. “Now we have about 698 centres left in the operation, but we have redistributed the

students; we are also to let people know that the mock examination is free in JAMB-owned centres; we have been emphasising it because we are testing our system so do we not need to ask candidates to pay. “But centres owned by other private people they have the right to their N700 from every candidate, which we believe is the most meaningful amount,” he said.

Some pupils of Tender Care International Academy, FHA Lugbe, Abuja, performing during their Culture Day, recently.

TRCN integrates teachers’ professional standards in NCE curriculum


he Teachers Registration Council, TRCN, has included the “professional standards for Nigerian Teachers” in the curriculum of colleges of education as a course of study at the NCE level. TRCN, in a statement by its spokesperson, Mr. Ojewuyi Olumuyiwa, said the Registrar and Chief Executive of the agency, Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, disclosed this recently at the review of Professional Standards for Nigeria Teachers in Abuja. Ajiboye stated that the review of the document as part of the implementation of the National Teacher Policy

and the Target 4 of the S u s t a i n a b l e Development Goals was aimed at achieving a sustainable quality education system nationwide. According to him, the Professional Standards for Nigerian Teachers encapsulate what a professional must know and put into practice as well as the core values, ideals and conduct of that the professional teacher must exhibit. “The Professional Standards covered four major themes which include Professional Knowledge, Professional skills, Professional values, attitudes and conduct; and the P r o f e s s i o n a l

membership obligation,” he said. The four themes, he added, had been broken down into 36 sub-themes and then into 84 standards for review. Ajiboye informed participants that the teachers’ standards as one of the key dimensions that are considered crucial to any education policy, and considering the fact that since 2010/ 2011 the document was developed and presented to the public, emerging issues may have arisen were the basic factors that compelled the review. “It is in view of this as a national benchmark document that TRCN has selected

distinguished experts from the education agencies; critical stakeholders, teacher education institutions and International Development Partners to carry out the review,” he said. Also speaking, Prof Adamu Baikei, the Chairman, TRCN Governing Council, encouraged the TRCN boss never to ‘relent on his oars as more grounds are to be covered, while stating that the decision to review the Professional Standards for Nigerian Teachers was a move in the right direction because it was coming after 10 years of the first edition of the document.

World Bank to support Nigeria on TVET


orld Bank Education Specialist, Dr Tunde Adekola, has assured Nigeria of the readiness of the global bank to support the revival of Technical Vocational Education and Training, TVET, in the country. Adekola spoke in Abuja at inauguration of the National Steering Committee of I n n o v a t i o n Development and Effectiveness in the Acquisition of Skills, IDEAS, a project aimed at reviving TVET. Speaking on the project, he stated that its aim was promote and strengthen the skills development system and tackle unemployment, adding that the project would bring accountability to the education sector. Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr Sonny Echono, explained that the ministry initiated the IDEAS project to create a group of persons with requisite entrepreneurial skills to embark on selfemployment. Represented by the Director of Procurement in the ministry, Mr Gambo Muazu, Echono noted that most industries today are increasingly using advanced technologies and production techniques which require a workforce with increasing level of knowledge and skills. He said one of the major challenges currently facing the education sector was the high rate of g r a d u a t e unemployment, while expressing confidence that the project will impact on graduate unemployment.


April 8 - 14, 2019

April 8 - 14, 2019



April 8 - 14, 2019



2019 budget: FG to shore up revenue via TSA, others I

Stories by Sarah NEGEDU

n order to meet its financial obligations and significantly reduce deficit in this year ’s budget, the federal government said it is taking a number of steps to shore up revenue to fund the 2019 budget. Among the initiatives aimed at expanding the fiscal space, includes plans to improve public financial management through the comprehensive implementation of the Treasury Single Account. Explaining why the Federal Government could not achieve its 2018 revenue target, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, said some oneoff items listed for implementation in the fiscal year could not be actualised. He gave the one-off items to include the N710billion from Oil Joint Venture Asset Restructuring and N320billion from the revision of the Oil Production Sharing Contract Legislation. The one-off financing items has already been rolled over to the 2019 budget. Udoma disclosed this during a meeting with the House of Representatives Joint Committee on Finance, Appropriation, Planning and Economic Development on the 2019 revenue and expenditure projections. Already the Department of Petroleum Resources had been directed to, within three months, complete the collection of past dues on oil license and royalty charges, including those due from the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company which it had agreed to pay since 2017. Udoma also said the Ministry of Finance, working with all the relevant agencies, had been authorised to take action to liquidate all r e c o v e r e d ,

unencumbered assets within six months. Among other revenue generating initiatives, he said the President had directed that work should be immediately concluded on the deployment of the National Trade Window and other technologies to enhance customs collections efficiency from the current 64percent to up to 90percent over the next few years. In spite the challenges that militated against the realisation of targeted revenues, Udoma noted that revenues generated in 2018 showed a significant improvement over that of 2017. The minister said he expected further improvement this year with the sustained

implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. He explained that the ERGP guided allocations in the Federal Government budget because it sets out the key execution priorities of the government for the growth and development of the economy. The government, he added, was encouraged by the results so far attained after implementing the plan for about two years. The 2018 budget, had total spending of N9.1trillion, with capital expenditure projected to gulp 31.5percent of the total expenditure at N2.87 trillion, while recurrent non-debt spending was put at N3.51trillion in

2018. There was also a provision of N2.01trillion for debt servicing, which is 21 percent of the total budget while a provision of N 177 billion to retire maturing bond to local contractors was made by the government. The N9.1trillion budget was expected to be financed from N2.99trillion to be generated from oil revenue, N31.25billion from Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas dividend while N1.17billion was expected to be realized through revenue from minerals and mining. To fund the budget, the Federal Government had planned to generate N658 .55billion from Companies Income Tax

and N207 .51billion from Value Added Tax and N324.86billion from Customs while N57 .87billion was expected to come from federation account levies. Government was also expected to raise N847.95billion through independent revenue from its agencies, while tax amnesty income, signature bonus and unspent balance from previous years were to provide N87.84billion, N114.3billion and N250billion. However, details of the fiscal operations as contained in the CBN’s economic report for the fourth quarter of 2018 showed that the government had not been able to generate adequate revenue to meet its expenditure.

L-R: Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Muhammed Bukar, Minister of State of the ministry, Mustapha Bala Shehu and deputy director, Budget, Hajiya Hapsatu Mormoni, during the 2019 budget defence of the ministry at the National Assembly, Abuja, last week.

CBN plans liquidity management for 2019


he Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, said it is devising new means of managing liquidity in order to reduce expenses on liquidity management in 2019. Governor of the Central Bank, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, gave the assurance when he

submitted the bank’s 2019 budget proposal to the House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Currency. Emefiele, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, Mr. Edward Adamu, explained that the bank remained committed

to sustaining stability in the financial system. He said the CBN is pushing policies that would continue to engender growth in the Nigerian economy. Adamu gave a summary of all the vote heads and commitments of the bank for 2019. Responding, the

Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Currency, Jones Onyereri, acknowledged the effort of the CBN at managing liquidity. He urged the bank to do more by further enlightening members on the dynamics of liquidity management.

FIRS recovers N24bn from 500 tax defaulters


xecutive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Mr. Tunde Fowler said the service recovered N24billion from 500 rich tax defaulters. He said FIRS currently has its sight on 55,000 defaulting taxpayers from whom it hopes to recover at least N750billion before the end of the first half of 2019. Fowler stated this during a meeting with the House of Representatives joint committee on Finance, Appropriation, Aids, Loans and Debt M a n a g e m e n t , Legislative Budget and Research and National Planning and Economic Development on the 2019/2021 Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, and Fiscal Strategy Paper, FSP, a statement by the service indicated. He said the service is broadening its VAT collection scope with the adoption of state Accountants General, SAG, collection platform, VAT AutoCollect, integration of the GIFMIS platform with Ministries, Departments and Agencies and through eservice payment options. Fowler who noted that the substitution led to the recovery of N23.25billion, said the 85percent of VAT collected by the service went to state governments. He said the service used bank information from the bank accounts substitution to bring non-compliant taxpayers with N1billion and above turnover to comply. “It has so far resulted in the recovery of N23.35billion. The exercise has been extended to cover those with turnover of N100million and above. “To date, about 500 of them have come forward and they have paid and we have collected in the region of about N24billion.”

April 8 - 14, 2019



AfDB worry over Nigeria’s agric growth Stories by Sarah NEGEDU


he African Development Bank, AfDB, has described growths recorded in Nigeria’s agriculture sector in 2018 as lack luster and uninspiring. AfDB, in its latest African Economic Outlook 2019 and West Africa Economic Outlook 2019 report, attributed the situation to clashes between farmers and herdsmen, flooding and activities of the Islamist terror group, Boko Haram. The bank also described Nigeria as an economy with a moderate risk of debt distress. According to AfDB by June 2018, “the stock of public debt stood at $73.2billion, up from N71billion in 2017, r e p r e s e n t i n g 17.5percent of Gross Domestic Product. “Despite the increase, Nigeria remained at moderate risk of debt distress. In November 2018, the government issued a Eurobond of $2.9billion which reflects its new debt management strategy of prioritising foreign debt to mitigate the high financing costs of domestic borrowing. “Furthermore, relatively strong oil receipts solidified the current account surplus to an estimated

3.7percent and bolstered improvements in the terms of trade by about 13percent in 2018 alone.” The report added, “The growing importance of services has bolstered growth in the economy. The sector accounts for about half of GDP, dwarfing the 10 percent from oil and 22percent from agriculture. “Real GDP growth was an estimated 1.9percent in 2018, reflecting a recovery in services and industry –

particularly mining, quarrying and manufacturing. The recovery benefited from greater availability of foreign exchange. “Growth in agriculture was lacklustre; due partly to clashes between farmers and herders coupled with flooding in key middle - belt regions and continued insurgency in the North -East.” The continental body also expressed worry over the rising external debt profile of African countries as it is

increasing the burden of debt servicing. Speaking during the launching of the reports Mr. Ebrima Faal, Senior Director, AfDB noted that “the issue of external debt is back on the radar in many countries. Average external debt is rising in the region and has nearly doubled over the past six years to 23.6 percent of GDP at end February 2019 compared with 13.5 percent in 2013. This has increased the burden of servicing external debt.”

AfDB thus advised African countries to watch their debts commitments going forward. Faal also expressed worry over rising insecurity across Africa and the impact on unemployment as investments in the region dwindle. “The delicate security situation in some parts of the region also continues to impede economic performance and social stability in the West African region,” he said.

L-R: Commissioner for Trade, Commerce, Markets and Wealth Creation, Anambra State, Dr. Christian Madubuko, Chairman/CEO, Dozzy Group, Dr. Dan Chukuwdozie, his wife Ada and Team Leader, International Finance Corporation, World Bank, Mr. Ibrahim Adamu, during the World Bank’s leaders visit to Dozzy Group in Anambra State...Thursday. Photo: Cityvoix.

Nigeria’s debt profile rises by 12% N

igeria’s total debt profile as of December 31, 2018, rose by 12.25percent to hit N24.387trillion from the N21.725trillion recorded in 2017. Presenting the public debt data in Abuja, Director General of Debt Management Office, DMO, Ms. Patience Oniha, said the debt rose by N2.66trillion from December 31, 2017, to December 31, 2018. The DMO boss said that the Federal Government’s domestic debt stock included N331. 12 billion Promissory Notes issued to oil marketing companies and state governments in December 2018. According to her, some

targets that had been set in the country’s Debt Management Strategy had been achieved or nearly achieved. These include the plan to achieve a tenor of 75: 25 ratio in favour of long tenor debts. Oniha said the target had been surpassed as the country now had a 78:22 ratio in favour of long term debts. She said, “The share of domestic debt dropped to 68 .18 per cent from 73.36 per cent as of December 31, 2017, thereby achieving a mix of 68.18percent and 31 .82 per cent in the debt stock.” According to the DMO, the strategy of using relatively cheaper and longer tenured external

funds is achieving the expected objectives. Some of the objectives were to create more space for other borrowers in the domestic market, extend the average tenor of the debt stock in order to reduce refinancing risk and increase external reserves. “The implementation of the strategy led to an injection of N 855billion through the redemption of Nigerian Treasury Bills in 2018 and a general drop in the FGN ’s borrowing rate in the domestic market from over 18percent per annum in 2017 to 14 to15 per cent per annum in 2018,” Oniha said. Oniha said that

borrowing for 2019 would be 50 - 50 split between domestic and external in striving to be consistent with the Debt Management Strategy 2013 -2019 aimed at achieving a 60:40 ratio between domestic debt and external debt. She said, “Relatively low - interest rates mean the government can issue longer- dated bonds to continue to fund infrastructure projects.” The DMO boss also revealed that Nigeria will issue its first 30-year naira bond in the second quarter of 2019 to attract long-term investors and extend the maturity profile of its debt. The new 30-year Federal Government bond,

she hopes will attract longterm investors and contribute to the development of the domestic capital market and reduce the refinancing risk of government. She also said the issuance of the bond would meet the needs of annuity funds and the area of focus will be the management of risks associated with the debt stock to mitigate debt service costs. The funds raised would create jobs and build infrastructure, a debt office presentation said, adding that the debt would be raised via Federal Government bonds, Islamic Sukuk and green bonds to fund projects to reduce carbon emissions.

NZESCO’s budget not fraudulent –FG


he Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, has said N42billion budget proposed for the Nigeria Special Economic Zone Company, was done in good fate. He said the move was to enable the Federal Government’s convert its capital budget appropriations for SEZs into long term valuecreating investments. The minister was reacting to the rejection by the Senate Committee on Trade and Investment of the 2019 budgetary proposal of the ministry for voting N42billion to a ‘private’ company. Enelamah, in a statement issued by his Adviser on Strategy and Communications, Mr. Bisi Daniels, acknowledged that the company he voted N42billion in the ministry’s 2019 budget has incomplete investors’ diligence, documentation and approvals. The minister said the company, Nigeria SEZ Investment Company Limited, NSEZCO, also known as Nigeria Special Economic Zones Company Limited, was incorporated, with the Federal Government having 25 percent shares, while the balance of 75 percent is currently held in trust on behalf of other prospective shareholders. He said the shares are held in trust “pending completion of investors’ diligence and documentation and approval procedures.” Chairman of the Senate Committee expressed worry over why the minister would introduce a N42billion line in the budget for a ‘private’ company which is not part of the 17 agencies under the trade ministry. The panel claimed that the firm was a private company, against the claims by the ministry that it was a government firm. The chairman said documents from the Corporate Affairs Commission showed that the directors of the company with 75 percent shares included Dr. Bakari Wadinga, Mr. Olufemi Edun and Ms Oluwadara Owoyemi, while the remaining 25 was allocated to the Federal Government.


April 8 - 14, 2019

Proverbs 8:15-21 “By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth. I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver. I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.” There is no limit or peak to seeking God, as God is a Spirit, it takes continuous and persistent spirituality to harness the innumerable benefits of seeking God. Honour, Prosperity and blessings of all sorts are an offspring of seeking God. Habits are formed overtime and when they become our lifestyle, it’s hard to break off or amend, be it positive or negative. Seeking God should be done as early as possible: procrastination if not careful will end up not seeking God at all for that day. Seeking God should not be stereotyped but be dynamic, if you would acquire dynamic inheritances from God. When we seek God, our live for God grows deeper, stronger and better. You cannot seek God and be sick in any area of your life, this is not to

with my song will I praise him.”

Seeking God early say, there will not be challenges but when we seek God to a certain level, our inner being and spirit man is activated not to quit but to vehemently and aggressively win. You cannot sick God and keep failing or falling. Rewards for seeking God 1. Peace: This is from the Hebrew word “Shalom”. Peace is not a commodity bought in any superstore but we come into the maximum peace of God that garrisons our heart, when we have dwelt and contacted grace from the presence of God. When you have the peace of God, nothing you have no trepidation! John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let

not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” 2. God becomes your strength and helper: God is the source of all physical and spiritual empowerment. Strength is for the weak and help is for the helpless, you cannot be smarter than God, hence God will aid those who desire and own up to be energized and helped by him. Psalm 28:7 “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and

3. God will put his name and his word above everything that will come your way: God will react and act to our prayers according to the application of spiritual principles. He will not answer you according to the tears or amount of words, rather he will respond to you in accordance with your faith and the use of the words of God. God’s word is effective when activated, it cannot return void. Psalm 138:2 “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy loving-kindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” 4. It gives eternal life: Seeking God facilitates our pruning and assist us in a better understanding and a deeper knowledge with God. Our fellowship and communication with God enables our relationship with mortals. Our daily lifestyle and activities on earth is a roadmap to our eternity. 1 John 5:11-12 And this is the record that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. We must seek God, if we must get to our places of destination and place of harvest.


NGO to fish out orphanages abusing children By Godfrey AKON


larmed by the growing outcry over incessant abuse of children in orphanage homes across the country, the Association of Vulnerable Children, Widows and Elderly Home Operators in Africa, AVCWEHOA, has indicated plans to fish out bad orphanage homes. Speaking at a ceremony to inaugurate the African Headquarters of the association in Kurudu, Abuja, African President of the association, Mrs Chioma Ononiwu, said a lot of homes were engaged in violation of government rules. “A lot of homes are doing what the government says we should not do. We know those who are doing the right things and we know those who have no passion but only make money through baby

factory homes. “The association is trying to make sure we go into the field and fish out the homes giving

orphanage homes a bad name especially whereby a boy will be assigned to impregnate innocent girls so that they

will be able to have babies for sale,” Ononiwu said. She disclosed that the purpose of setting up the association was to

monitor and report to government any unwholesome activity in orphanage homes, adding that the

FG commits to tackling TB burden By Williams ABAH


inister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has reaffirmed federal g o v e r n m e n t ’s commitment towards reducing the cases of tuberculosis and its burden in Nigeria. The minister, who was represented by the director, General Services, Mr. Felix Ogenyi, made this statement during the 2019 World Tuberculosis Day commemoration and launch of document on the road map to translate the United Nations’ high level meeting commitments into action, held in Abuja. Adewole noted that Nigeria are among the 30

high TB burden countries and the 14th country in the world on all three World Health Organisation lists for TB. He pointed out that Nigerians aged 15 – 44 years the working age group, are mostly affected by TB. He emphasised that the Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with its partners will not relent in their fight against the disease and reducing its burden. He added that the launched document outlined how Nigeria intended to achieve the “End TB” pledge, made by President Muhammadu Buhari at the United Nations High-level meeting in New York last year. The minister

informed that the government had established a National Domestic Resource Mobilisation Committee to assist in mobilising more resources for TB Control. He also said that the government had been expanding TB services under the Directly Observed Therapy DOT centres across the country, adding that they were being extended to private health facilities. He revealed ‘’We were able to increase the number of health facilities providing free treatment services by 30 percent within one year from 7,389 in 2017 to 9,625 in 2018. Our target within the next few years is to scale up TB services to all health facilities within the

package for Universal Health Coverage,” He stressed that the government had also procured more GeneExpert machines, increasing the number from 32 in 2012, to 397 in 2018. In her welcome address, the Director, Public Health, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Evelyn Ngige, represented by Dr. Imabong Umoh, said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration with the support of health sector development partners had made remarkable progress in scaling up TB diagnostic and treatment services across the country in line with the Universal Health Coverage UHC agenda of the federal government.

association will make sure such homes violating government regulations do not exist. While threatening to sanction any home not registered with the association, she said AVCWEHOA has been established in 22 African countries among which are in Ghana, Cameroon, South Africa, Mali, Lesotho and Zimbabwe. In her remarks, President of the Nigerian Chapter of the association, Hon. Chris Nwaokoye, stressed the need for collaboration with government agencies to bring those involved in the abuse of children to book. “Whenever we find out abuse in the homes, we report to the government and the police will be involved to make arrest and prosecution. So far in the last one year, we have two cases in Lagos and Delta facing one form of prosecution or the other,” Nwaokoye said.

April 8 - 14, 2019



Not too young to run law, opportunity for youth in governance –Youngest lawmaker The just concluded gubernatorial and House of Assembly election of March 23 2019 in Benue state produced one of the youngest members soon to occupy his place in the hallowed chambers. Hon. Cephas Dyako-Ashwa, member-elect from Konshisha State Constituency at just 27 years will start his political journey on the platform of the African Democratic Congress, ADC as the representative of his people to help make laws that will enhance policy and development of Benue state. In this interview with The Abuja Inquirer’s SCHOLASTICA JOSEPH, Cephas Dyako-Ashwa said the Not-Too-Young-To-Run bill has given young people a chance and a sense of belonging in the country’s political field. He spoke on his victory and challenges. Excerpts: What is your assessment of the 2019 general elections? To a large extent, the 2019 election was free, fair and credible. Coming from an opposition that was almost not on ground and winning on that platform is a testimony that the wishes of the wishes of the people was allowed to prevail and that the votes also counted. So it was very fair. The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, did a very good job even in places where they had challenges, they worked hard to rectify it. Even the politicians, we all did well in the last elections. Now that you have been elected to represent the people of Konshisha state constituency, what should the people expect from you? My people should expect much because I know the challenges of my people. I went to the villages to campaign and I saw with my eyes what my people are going through. I made promises so I owe my people because they believed so much in me to have elected me among the big names and rich people out there. So, they should be expecting from me. Among the numerous things I will be doing, is to tackle the challenge of land crisis. My ward in particular is a case study. I want to as much as possible sponsor a bill that will find a lasting solution to this problem and I believe that it won’t be restricted to my constituency alone but the entire state. I hope that other parts of the country will learn from us when that happens. How do you hope to achieve peace in your area especially with the land dispute? I think the best solution to land dispute has always being dialogue. So, I will gather my people to dialogue and come to certain compromises that will help us achieve peace; a lasting one at that. Can you assess the performance of youth in the last election? I think it is better this time compared to the last ones. I had a lot of my friends coming home to vote and most of them followed me for campaigns round the villages. It was better this time compared to the 2015 elections where I had most of my friends staying back in town and in school because that time they

believed they had nothing at stake. I campaigned and some other young people triggered a lot of men and women to go back home to participate and vote for their friends. Did the Not Too Young To Run law make any impact in your ambition to vie for this position? Before now, there were age limits that were not favourable to a lot of us but the bill has changed the age limit and made provisions on how old you can be before you run for certain posts. I’m 27years, if that bill was not signed, I was going to lose out completely on just age ground. I think it did and has done so much. It has given young people a sense of belonging and now, we feel more included, we feel accepted in the system and I think by 2023, we, the youths will give them more run. What challenges did you face in the course of your campaigns? Basically, it was finance. The big guys had so much and they never gave us a chance. It was the N1000, N500 from friends and donations around, support from my mothers, and well-wishers. It was small money against the big money bags. So, finance was the major challenge. We had every other thing; the message was good, we know the terrain, we went into the villages, went house to house and the acceptance was huge and it paid off. If you had issue of finance, what was the magic wand that gave you and edge over the money bags? It was basically the message. The message was clear, concise and precise. I was able to tell them in clear terms what I wanted to do and how I was going to do it. I didn’t tell them I was going to give them the whole world, I just told them how I was going to bring that whole world to them. For instance, I believe that one basic thing that will make us prosper in Benue is agriculture and I have told the young people that you don’t need to stay here in Makurdi to make that money. I have been in agric business since I graduated from the university. I never had a white collar job, I had to start with the little I had. I had been into poultry, fish farming and farm management. So, I hope to rally young people in clusters and help them with finances to start farms for

Hon. Cephas Dyako-Ashwa

themselves and grow it into big businesses. What will you suggest to young people aspiring to hold political positions? As at December 2017 when this idea came, I never had enough money, not even enough for the purchase of forms, but I was convinced that if given a chance, I want to do something for my people. The basic thing is deciding what you want and go for it. When I started, I was just with my few friends and we just started with the little finance we had and then we started consulting with the big guys. They never gave us a chance but we continued. At some point when we had problems, God or nature will just make a way and somebody will just pop up with some little money. So, I advise the young people to decide on what they want to and just start no matter how small, if it is meant to be, you will scale through. How did your party support your ambition? In these few years that I have been on this journey of going to the assembly, I have been into three political parties. I started with the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, later APGA and then ADC. It was a tough fight for me and the truth is that the few people in charge of political parties; the big names and the

money bags, they don’t give you a chance as a young man. They feel you just want to try it like the student union thing. So, the challenge was there; ticket problem, nomination problem and I had to switch and switch and finally, I got to ADC. So, I won’t say my party did much for me. No. I will say my friends and my people did all the work. What were you doing before now, did you hold any leadership position? Basically while I was in the student union thing, I served for two tenures as Vice President of National Association of Konshisha Students, University of Maiduguri Chapter and before I got into politics, I was as a director of programs and administration Shengeit Global. That has been my little experience about leadership but I know that I’m a first born so I have always been a potential leader. My father is a polygamist and he has about six wives, my mum is the third and I’m the second born that’s from my mum but of course a boy so I took responsibility as the head of the family. With all that you went through, do you think politics is a dirty game? No, politics is not a dirty game. I believe that it is some politicians that are dirty but I played it clean.


April 8 - 14, 2019


Reducing neonatal deaths: The Oyo Initiative By Ijeoma UKAZU


he birth of a newborn comes with the feeling of joy and happiness to both parents, family members as well as the community. But when there is a sad news of the newborn death, the effects mostly rests on the woman who is emotionally devastated and sometimes takes a while to get back to her usual self. Sadly, most newborn deaths are preventable. To ensure no child dies from these preventable causes, the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, and the Oyo State Primary Health Care Development Agency came up with Accelerated Action for Impact, AAI, intervention. This intervention is geared towards ensuring that the estimated 334.073 newborns and 1,670,366 under five children in the State reach their full potential in health and well-being. So far, the six month old AAI intervention has produced tremendous achievements when compared with previous health records in the State. Within this period, Oyo has reduced the number of unimmunized children in three Local Government Areas, Ibadan North-East, Ibarapa North and Saki West from over 2000 to 510 through the AAI intervention. According to National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, Nigeria’s Neo-natal Mortality Rate, NMR, contributes nine percent (almost 1 million) to the global number of newborn deaths annually (these are children who die within the first 28 days or 4 weeks of life). While in South Western region of Nigeria, Oyo State, is among the 15 States contributing to nearly 50 percent newborn deaths in Nigeria and the third contributor of Neonatal Mortality Rate in absolute numbers. Similarly, the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, MICS, 2016/2017, Oyo bears 42 percent of newborn mortality rate. To stem the tide and improve the health outcomes of neonates, there is full community involvement through partnership with the State Primary Health Care Board. Speaking on newborn deaths, the Immunization Officer, Primary Health Care Board, Oyo State, Mrs. Eunice Nihinlola said that newborn death was common place due to low immunization coverage, hence the introduction of different intervention designed to save newborns and increase immunization by UNICEF. According to her, “we started with training of health workers because we had problems with their data documentation and data analysis. We also have issues of how they were addressing mothers, and the kind of attention they were given these mothers then which made many of them stayed away from the

Some pregnant women who came to access ante natal care at Iwo Road PHC, Ibadan

facilities.” She said the training has yield positive results as it has helped in having more mothers coming to the facilities to have their children immunized properly against killer diseases, adding that it has reduced the number of unimmunised children from over 2,000 to 510 in the three LGAs. According to Nihinlola, “to address the issue of handling vaccines to hard -to-reach areas, the Chairman, Saki West LGA provided motorcycles to enable us move down to those areas.” She said, “from the Local government to get to Korete, it took us 10 hours going there and back,” as she revealed that religious beliefs and ignorance were major factors affecting immunization coverage. She said that meetings with religious and traditional leaders have paved way for smooth immunization processes in the State. The state immunization officer, primary healthcare board said, “during these meetings, we address them on the importance of vaccination and the need for children to get all the immunizations including; BCG to prevent tuberculosis, oral polio. “Hepatitis vaccines, pentavelant vaccines, pneumococcal vaccines and measles vaccination. Today cultural and religious barriers are history. The Imams help us when we have issues.” Speaking further on immunization, Senior Community Health Extension Worker, CHEW, at primary healthcare centre, Iwo Road, Ibadan North-East, Oyo State, Mrs Jolasinmi Adebola said the number of women who usually bring their newborn for immunization has increased, from 56 to 78 on a monthly basis. On storage of the vaccines, Adebola said a solar system and cold boxes was part of the intervention to preserve the vaccines before

distribution to other PHCs in the area. The Assistant Immunisation Coaching Officer for Ibadan North East Local Government Area, Mr Ayobami Akinola, said the vaccines provided ranges from BCG, Oral Polio Vaccine, Pneumococcal Conjugate, Hepatitis B, Inactivated polio vaccine, measles, yellow fever, Vitamin A, amongst others. Due to high rate of neo-natal and infant deaths in Ibadan North East, the post natal services for Iwo Road PHC was re-established, Akinola said, that has provided room for mothers to bring in their children for health education. The re-established post- natal services, he said, has given rise to a tremendous increase to the practice of Exclusive Breastfeeding, EBF, in the centre from 103 to 189 as at February this year, adding that women were being taught on the benefits of EBF to the child as well as the importance of immunization, post-natal services, amongst others. On exclusive breastfeeding, a community health extension worker, at Iwo Road PHC, Mrs Akinyomi Oluwatosin, told journalists during a field trip organized by UNICEF to the facility that women are embracing EBF. Oluwatosin said the CHEW’S ensures that these women breastfeed their newborn exclusively and as well keep to immunization appointment. She said “prior to the AAI intervention, neonatal deaths in the PHC was high but with the intervention, there is no record of newborn deaths.” At the community level, the Chairman, Community Development Council, CDC, Ibadan North East, Alhaji Dauda Abimbola Odelade said, “the State National Orientation Agency came to us last year, orientate us that we need to talk to the women in our community to access the health facilities in their

area and also vaccinate their children against childhood killer diseases. “We went from house-to-house to educate our people. And that has yielded a great result.” Speaking further on UNICEF engagement in various intervention programmes to assist Oyo State in minimising the high prevalence of death of newborns at a two- day media dialogue on “Improving Health Outcomes for Children in Oyo State through Accelerated Action for Impact,” the Health Specialist, UNICEF, Akure Field Office, Dr Adebola Hassan said the trend are changing. Newborn health, according to Dr Hassan, is a conglomerate of many factors, pointing that “some neonates die from ill health after birth due to, probably the mother was not breastfeeding or the umbilical cord care was poor. There are so many things that could kill that newborn in the first 28 days of life.” Hassan added that poor nutrition, improper breastfeeding, lack of immunization and poor delivery system, were amongst newborn mortality in the Oyo State. She said, Ibadan North-East, Ibarapa North and Saki West LGAs were among the six local government in the State with highest neonatal and infant mortality. With UNICEF and Oyo State collaboration, through various interventions, Hassan said, there has been an improvement. Health experts say it is important to note that investing in the first 1,000 days of a child is key to boosting the immune system in which helps fight against childhood diseases. Global health put breastfeeding as one of the best investments for a child, as every $1 invested in breastfeeding generates $35 in economic returns.

April 8 - 14, 2019



What our elected officials must do -FCT residents After the tensed atmosphere that characterised the 2019 general elections and the victories and defeats that followed, as elected political office holders await smooth transition on May 29, 2019, the expectations of the electorate remain high. Some Abuja residents, who spoke with Ere-Ebi AGEDAH and Williams ABAH, outlined their expectations. Excerpts: REUBEN UGBEDEJO: For me, I will focus on President Buhari. What happens at the federal level affects the states. So I expect the president to entirely change his cabinet as he assumes office for the next four years and work with new people, people who will come fresh ideas. The last four years of his tenure was not encouraging. It was really hard for a lot of Nigerians. What many Nigerians expected from him was not fulfilled at all. Specifically, I want him to focus on security and unemployment. He should make budgetary provision and proper implementation in such areas. We hope for the best in this second tenure. DAVID IHEKWEME: I am not even aware of who was elected during the council elections in Abuja but I am aware that President Buhari was re-elected during the presidential election. So, what I expect from him on his return is to get into action by reshuffling his cabinet because he talked about the next level and we really want to experience the positive effects of the next level. Also, he should focus on how to do away with the hunger in the land. Hunger is a challenge the average Nigerian faces every day. He should get into action and alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians, and also try to fine tune his economic policies so that businesses can thrive in the country. He should communicate with Nigerians and should not be so distant from us. In that way he can know our problems and how to tackle them. MAMOOD HASSAN: It’s a new dawn in Nigeria’s political history. Newly-elected leaders should see their responsibility as a call to serve humanity. In the past, we saw how some of them abandoned their constituencies after the election. This has been the barrier that hindered any meaningful interface between them and their constituents. When we voted them

Reuben Ugbedejo

Mamood Hassan

David Ihekweme

Enemaku Audu

in, we expected they should deliver on their mandate and get closer to the people. They should be accessible to the masses so that can bare their minds on how they can embark on people-centred projects. Again, this attitude of leaders disregarding their campaign promises by refusing to fulfil them and trading on blame has negated the principle of reformation. When you are taking a position of leadership, it is expected that you design a good template that can transform the situation better than the way you met it. But in our clime, leaders take the blame of their poor performance to their

predecessors. Our elected officials should focus on delivering the dividends of democracy to the people so that at the end of their tenure, their legacy will speak for them. ENEMAKU AUDU: Nigerians are in high hopes. If you look at the present administration for close to four years, you will discover that nothing much was achieved. That explains why during the just-concluded general elections, there was a lot of harassment here and there just for them to retain their seats. When you impose yourself to lead people there is every tendency

for poor performance because you are not the right choice of the people. That has been my fear. I expect a lot from them, but since some of them rode into power through violence, I doubt whether they can meet up with the demands of the electorates. Some of them as we speak, are not even drafting any agenda for the good of the masses, but interested in how to siphon public fund to recover what they spent during the election. I think there is need for Nigerian masses to change the narrative by holding leaders accountable for poor performance in office. It is our right to confront them to do what is needed. It is only when they realise that the offices they occupy are meant to serve the people and not their personal interests, that the expectations of Nigerian for good governance can be achieved. CHIKA EZEME: Year in Year out, we continue to lament over poor performance of our leaders. This is because democracy in Nigeria does not reflect the true spirit of inclusive participation. We expect dividends of democracy from our leaders. But how can we get this done when we as the electorate do not even have that collective spirit to say this is what we want and it must be done for us? What pains me most is that when the issue of good governance is raised some Nigerians are divided along religious and ethnic lines to the extent that they protest against what would have bring us good governance. They feel that so long as their persons are in power, whether such persons do well or not they must be re-elected. I think leaders should not use this avenue to displease the electorate. We look forwards to the new elected leaders to heal the wounds sustained by Nigerians for close to four years as a result of poor performance. They should focus on how to get our economy working, and develop the power sector for small scale businesses to thrive.

April 8 - 14, 2019

Arsenal’s top four bid suffer setback A

rsenal’s bid to finish in the Premier League’s top four was dented on Sunday as Phil Jagielka’s early goal gave Everton a deserved 1-0 home win. Unai Emery’s men could have leapfrogged Tottenham into third with a draw but will now slide back to fifth if Chelsea secure a point or more at home to West Ham on Monday. The defeat, their first in seven league games, was no less than deserved after a timid display that was punished when an unmarked Jagielka, in as a late replacement for the unwell Michael Keane, seized on a loose ball in the 10th minute,

the 36-year-old tucking home as Arsenal’s defenders appealed in vain for offside.

The arrival of Aaron Ramsey at half-time led to an improved secondhalf showing but the

Toffees capably dealt with rare defensive concerns in rising to ninth.

Arsenal’s Ozil in the capitulation with Everton

Jagielka learned of his elevation to the XI shortly before kick-off and was soon celebrating his first goal in two years, Lucas Digne’s long throw having broken kindly to him in the box. Sub-par performances away from home became a theme in the latter stages of Arsene Wenger’s long reign and new Gunners boss Emery has had little success in rectifying the situation. His team have now won just once in their past nine Premier League road trips, a record they will come to rue if Champions League qualification eludes them.

Guardiola says quadruple will be almost impossible


t will be “almost impossible” for Manchester City to win the quadruple this season, Pep Guardiola has said. His City side beat Brighton 1-0 on Saturday to reach the

FA Cup final. They have already won the Carabao Cup, are in the Champions League quarter-finals and are currently second in the Premier League as they attempt to become the

first English club to win all four trophies in one campaign. “Surviving is a miracle. It’s nice to be there,” the City manager said. “Nobody has done it [won the

quadruple], so why can we do it? It is almost impossible to achieve everything that is the truth.” City were below their best against Brighton, but Gabriel Jesus’ early goal saw

Messi sets new Liga landmark in Atletico win


ionel Messi has surpassed Iker Casillas as the Liga star with most wins in the competition as he helped Barcelona take a huge step towards the title on

Saturday. The Catalans were made to sweat for the three points by Atletico Madrid, despite the visitors losing Diego Costa early in Camp Nou due to a red card

Record breaking Messi jostling for the ball with Athletico player.

for dissent. It was not until the 84th minutes that Barca made the breakthrough, having seen Jan Oblak frustrate the likes of Messi and Luis Suarez with a string of brilliant saves. Suarez converted with a stunning strike from the edge of the area that flew into the net beyond the goalkeeper’s grasp to break the deadlock against the 10-man Colchoneros. Messi then stepped up just two minutes later with an outrageous no-look finish that left Oblak rooted to the spot, assuring a hard-fought 2-0 victory for the league leaders. It also marked a

moment of individual distinction for the Argentina, as he sent another long-standing Liga record tumbling. Messi has now racked up 335 wins in the Spanish top flight, a number higher than any other player in the history of the division. The previous holder of the milestone was Iker Casillas, who had managed 334 during his long, distinguished spell between the posts for Real Madrid. Leo, moreover, needed just 447 games to reach the new record compared to Casillas’ 510 outings meaning a total win rate of just under 75 per cent when on the pitch for Barca.

them reach the FA Cup final for the first time during Guardiola’s reign. The closest any English club has come to winning all four trophies in a season was Manchester United when they won the Treble - the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup - in 1998-99. They remain the only side to have achieved that feat, but Sir Alex Ferguson’s team went out of the League Cup in December 1998 and so missed out on a shot at the quadruple. “Do you believe we can play 60 games and give a fantastic performance every time? No team can do that,” Guardiola said. “Sir Alex Ferguson won the Treble and not every game was like that. It doesn’t work in that way.” City’s attention now turns to the Champions League on Tuesday, when they play Tottenham in their quarter-final first leg at Spurs’ new stadium.

Azarenka beats Angelique Kerber to reach first final for three years

Azarenka in her win over Kerber


ormer world number one Victoria Azarenka reached her first singles final in three years by defeating top seed Angelique Kerber at the Monterrey Open. The Belarusian beat Kerber - another former world number one - 6-4 46 6-1. She now faces Spain’s Garbine Muguruza in Sunday’s final in Mexico. “I haven’t won many of those in the last couple years so it’s good that I’m able to turn it around and pick up my level,” Azarenka said. The 29-year-old last contested a singles final in April 2016, winning both Indian Wells and Miami within two weeks before announcing her pregnancy later that year and giving birth to son Leo in December. She returned to the sport competitively the following summer but has been involved in a custody battle with the child’s father which has impacted on her tennis. “I’m getting back used to playing, and I’m trying to make better decisions, better choices under pressure,” Azarenka said after her win against the German. “It’s all about taking one step at a time. To put it all together is always more tricky, so I’m glad that I’m able to put little pieces together in the important moments.

The Abuja Inquirer is published by Gazetta Communications Limited. HEAD OFFICE: Plot 207, Jumai Kwanashie Crescent (Formerly 44 Crescent) CITEC Villas, Gwarimpa II, ABUJA, NIGERIA. Tel: 08033027995 E-mail: Website: Publisher-Editor-in-Chief: DAN AKPOVWA

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