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Fidelity Bank records 34% profit in Q1 results By Sarah NEGEDU


idelity Bank Plc r e c o r d e d impressive turnover in the first quarter of 2019, as the banks profit margin is said to have surged by

34.0percent for the period ended March 31, 2019. Details of the lender’s first quarter results released at the Nigerian Stock Exchange shows the bank’s profits rising from N5.0billion in Q1

2018 to N6.7 billion in 2019. The full year results for 2018 released recently also shows appreciable growth in the bank’s gross earnings which rose by 11.8percent to hit

N48.4billion, from the N43.3 billion recorded in 2018. Similarly, the bank recorded growth in deposits, loans and other performance indices during the period.

Speaking on the financial results, the Fidelity Bank CEO, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, said the double digit growth in earnings and profits further demonstrates a positive start for the new financial year.

”We remain focused on the execution of our medium-term strategic objectives and targets for the 2019FY while we look forward to sustaining the based Continued on page 3

SOCIAL CIRCLE >>> PAGE 12 First Published March 2004

Vol. 13 No. 18 ISSN: 1597-2895

April 29 - May 5, 2019

Price: 100

L-R: Deputy Managing Director, Mohammed Balarabe; Chairman, Board of Directors, Ernest Ebi; Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Nnamdi Okonkwo, all of Fidelity Bank Plc at the 31st Annual General Meeting of Fidelity Bank Plc which was held at the Civic Center, Lagos recently


Outsiders can’t decide House rules –Lawmakers By Emmanuel OGBECHE s the race for the election of principal officers of the 9th National Assembly gathers steam, some lawmakers have warned that any attempt to change the House rules will be resisted. Last week, a group, Advocates for Good Governance, AGG, stormed the National Assembly in protest against perceived plans to elect leaders of the 9th Assembly via secret ballot.


A former member of the House of Reps, Mr.ý Duro Meseko, who led the protesters, also alleged that the leadership of the 8th Assembly had perfected plans to select leaders who would constitute legislative cog in the wheel of progress of President Muhammadu Buhari. “We demand open ballot or voice vote during the election of new leadership of the National Assembly to give confidence and trust to all Nigerians,” Continued on page 3

L-R: Herbert Wigwe, GMD/CEO, Access Bank Plc; Ajoritsedere Awosika, Ag. Chairman, and Sunday Ekwochi, Company Secretary, during the Bank's 30th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos, last week

Unity Schools: 75,635 jostle for 25,000 admission -Page 3


April 29 - May 5, 2019

April 29 - May 5, 2019



Outsiders can’t decide House rules –Lawmakers Continued from page 1 the protesters demanded. But speaking on Sunday, two lawmakers, Rimamnde Shawulu (PDP-Taraba) and Kehinde Agboola (PDP-Ekiti), said any made attempt to amend the rules surreptitiously will be disastrous. Shawulu, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, on Sunday in Abuja, said any attempt to change the House of Representatives’ Standing Orders in the 9th Assembly election without following the due process will be an aberration to the practice. “Let them come from outside and amend the rules now. President Muhammadu Buhari said he could not assent to the Electoral Act because it was too close to the 2019 general elections. “Now, we have some weeks to the election and you want to amend how leadership is elected. That is double standard; it doesn’t make sense,’’ Shawulu said. The lawmaker, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Army, however, said the rules would have to be amended at the lower chamber before anyone could talk about open ballot. “The rules are already set; any member, who wants the rules amended, can bring the motion to the floor of the House. “And if it is passed, it becomes law but now, the rules of the House have been there since 2011. “The same rules that led to the emergence of Aminu Tambuwal are the same rules that led to the emergence of Yakubu Dogara. “So, there has been no reason to change it, but if anyone thinks it should be changed, he can bring the proposed amendment,’’ said the lawmaker representing Ta k u m / S o n s / U s s a / Special Area Federal Constituency. He pointed out that the rule, which was clearly written out, “is about secret ballot.’’ In the same vein, Agboola said adopting

open ballot “will amount to shifting a goal post at the middle of a football match.’’ “We have never voted in the house on open ballot. So we will not take that; they can’t dictate to us. Unfortunately, some of the new members too do not even know how it works. “When we were coming in, the standing order had already been produced for the 8th National Assembly. “We have produced

the one they will use. Anytime it is produced, there is no tension; so it is not bias. “So, you cannot just change the rules because you want a particular candidate at all cost. “If you are popular why are you afraid? Why didn’t they opt for Option A4 for the 2019 election? “That means that you want to victimise the members; it means you want to impose a candidate on us. It

cannot work,’’ he said. Explaining further, Agboola said if the number of contestants were more than two people, “and nobody is stepping down, the election will be conducted until the contestants are reduced to two so that the winner will emerge by 51 per cent.’’ He said the election was not won by simple majority where the number of contestants was more than two

people. Agboola, who represents Ikole/Oye Federal Constituency, stated that “the order paper of the house incidentally takes effect from the day of the inauguration. “And on the first day of the parliament, the Order 2 stipulates people that can vote. “When it is time for the election of the presiding officers, it is stated there that before any member-elect can

take an oath, he will first of all vote after the accreditation,’’ he said. According to him, the Clerk will first read out the proclamation letter from President Buhari for the inauguration of the 9th assembly. “Everybody will sit down with his certificate of return. When everything has been certified, members-elect will be arranged in alphabetical order of states. “And after the roll call, before the swearing-in, the Clark will preside over the election of the speaker and the deputy speaker. “It is after you have finished with the election, before members-elect can be sworn in. “So, if you have not been sworn in, you cannot even talk because no other motion shall be taken except after this,’’ he explained.

Fidelity Bank records 34% profit in Q1 results President Muhammadu Buhari with Governor of Borno State Kashim Shettima, the governor-elect Prof. Babagana Zulum, Senator Abubakar Kyari and other dignitaries during commissioning of 8.5M Bolori Township road during his visit to Borno State to commission projects, last week.

Unity Schools: 75,635 jostle for 25,000 admission By Godfrey AKON


o fewer than 75, 635 candidates sat for the 2019 Common Entrance Examination into the 104 Federal Unity Colleges on Saturday. The examination which was conducted by the National Examinations Council, NECO, is expected to fill only 25,000 admission spaces in all 104 unity schools across the country. Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, while monitoring the exercise in Abuja, said President Muhammdu Buhari has given directives to expand the facilities in the colleges to provide more admission spaces. Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Arc. Sonny Echono, Adamu said the federal government has

begun the renovation and rehabilitation of the colleges across the country. According to him, the rehabilitation exercise include replacement of broken toilets, ceilings, creation of additional classrooms and the renovation of existing ones. The minister disclosed that the government had already begun recruitment of teachers to carter for the new intake in the next term which begins in September. “We are pleased that Mr. President graciously approved that we should begin to rehabilitate many of these unity colleges. Besides the security infrastructure, we are now providing both new classrooms and as well as rehabilitating the dilapidated ones and we are also dealing with the libraries, laboratories and so on. “We are recruiting additional teachers for the

unity schools as we speak. Both the regularisation of PTA teachers and new recruitment are ongoing at the Federal Civil Service Commission as we speak and they will come in early enough for them to be inducted, trained, given some kind of preparation ahead of the opening of the schools next term,” he said. Earlier, the Acting Registrar of NECO, Mr Abubakar Gana, said the examination was written in 457 centres nationwide, including one centre in Port Novo, Benin Republic, adding that the results of the examination will be released on Wednesday. Gana said Zamfara was the state with the least number of candidates as the state registered only 59 candidates while Lagos was the highest with23, 459 number of candidates. Also speaking, the Chairman of the Governing Board of NECO, Mr. Abubakar

Muhammed, said the federal government was serious about ensuring that the 104 unity schools function as supposed and was providing facilities and making sure students are well catered for. Mohammed said the government was not considering selling the colleges as rumoured, describing the idea that everything should be privatized as madness. He added that if there was anything wrong with the schools it was the job of the ministry of education to ensure they are corrected and the schools strengthened instead of abandoning them. “Is there anything wrong with the government investing in the future of their children? I am happy that this government has said no to the privatization of the colleges; unity schools have come to stay,” he said.

Continued from page 1 income. “We recorded double digit growth across key income lines: FX income (334.4%), digital banking income (34.6%), account maintenance charge (25.5%) and interest income on liquid assets (10.1%)” he disclosed. According to Okonkwo, digitalization and the bank’s retail strategy continues to positively impact on its fortunes with “43 percent of customers are now enrolled on the mobile/internet banking products and more than 81 percent of total transactions done on digital platforms, resulting in 25 percent in fee-based income, coming from digital banking”. Savings deposits which now accounts for 24 percent of total deposits in the period increased by 6.2 percent to N242.1billion indicating a steady march to achieving the 6th consecutive year of double-digit savings growth by Fidelity Bank.


April 29 - May 5, 2019

FCT REPORT Bello takes steps to tackle poverty in Abuja By Austine ELEMUE


ederal Capital Territory minister, M a l a m Muhammad Bello, has reiterated the administration’s resolve to reduce poverty through widening the scope of sustainable economic activities especially among youth in the nation’s capital. Bello assured that the FCT Administration will continue to implement policies and programmes that will improve employment through training and empowerment of youth and women, thereby exposing them to multiple streams of income in the territory. The minister gave the assurance last week at the graduation ceremony of 28 trainees on carpentry business facilitated by the Abuja Entreprise Agency, AEA. Bello, who was represented by FCT Education Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Liman, said the administration has been promoting the activities of training and empowering the youth to reduce unemployment in Federal Capital Territory. He observed that “although the issue of poverty is complex, as it is multi-dimensional, but AEA is trying to ensure that those youth that do not have jobs get something to do. “And once they set up their businesses, they will begin to employ more people, and fewer people will be on the unemployment scale, that means poverty will be gradually reduced. “Tackling poverty is such a huge and herculean task, and it’s not something that the FCT Administration can do in one or two years. It is a process whereby you put down policies and programmes, to ensure that in the long term poverty is drastically reduced. “That’s why AEA as the flagship of the FCT Administration has always been receiving total support from the

administration in trying to develop the youth in FCT.” Earlier, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of AEA, Muhammad Arabi,

disclosed that the agency within three months successfully trained 28 aspiring entrepreneurs in carpentry, which was fully funded by the FCT Administration.

He therefore urged relevant stakeholders to join hands with AEA to ensure that the trainees are adequately supported to succeed in the entrepreneurial

world. He however reiterated the commitment of the agency to intensify measures toward reducing unemployment in the FCT.

Heavy traffic on the Nyanya-Mararaba road in Abuja...Wednesday. Photo: Cityvoix.

Uniabuja NASU elects new officials


By Ateed YUSUF

t was a happy moment for the staff of University of Abuja who voted massively for Comrade Nasiru Okolo to emerge as the new chapter chairman of the NonAcademic Staff Union of Universities, NASU Speaking to journalists after winning

the keenly contested election, Okolo assured members of the union that his leadership would be based on the constitution of NASU aimed at giving every member sense of belonging. The chairman promised to work with the management of the university with a view to tackling the challenges

facing non-academics more specially security officers. The chairman thanked all members of the union for voting him into the exalted office, just as he promised that he would never betrayed the trust reposed on him. Okolo tasked those who lost the elections to give necessary support

to the new executives, noting that doors would be opened for members to give constructive criticism for the growth and progress of the union. Other members of the exco include Comrade Daniel Emmanuel and Hajia Safiya Hassan, who won the positions of secretary and treasurer, respectively.

5,000 SDP defectors get PDP membership cards in Gwagwalada By Ateed YUSUF


o fewer than five t h o u s a n d members of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, in Gwagwalada have received membership card of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, after denouncing their membership. Receiving the defectors, the FCT chairman of PDP,

Alh. Ibrahim Biko, tasked the members in the area to unite and work for the progress of PDP, just as he appealed to them not to engage in anti-party activities. Speaking to The Abuja Inquirer, a stalwart and candidate of SPD in the just concluded elections, Alh. Abubakar Giri, said he decided to join PDP early enough to begin

preparation ahead of the 2022 FCT area council elections, adding that PDP had structures in Gwagwalada to win the last election, but lost due to lack of credible candidate. Giri thanked leadership of the party and Senator Philip Aduda for welcoming him and supporters into the PDP family, just as he

described PDP as his former house where he won Gwako ward councillorship election and became the former speaker of Gwagwalada area council. He called on his supporters in Gwagwalada and environs to be law abiding citizens shun political thuggery and other immoral acts.

2019 HAJJ: FCT MPWB holds pre-hajj workshop for officials By Austine ELEMUE


he Federal Capital Territory Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Abuja is to organize a one day workshop for its staff as well as stakeholders for the success of this year’s hajj exercise. Director of the board, Malam Muhammad Bashir disclosed this to members of staff of the board on the strategies introduced to enhance productivity. Bashir disclosed that the workshop that is scheduled to take place on Saturday April 27, 2019 would enable all stakeholders on hajj affairs in the FCT rub minds on the new strategies to enhance successful operation. He said the workshop would examine the challenges and modalities used in various operations and recommend additional strategies to record more successes in the subsequent hajj exercises. The director disclosed that the board had concluded arrangements for the conduct of second phase of its education and orientation exercise for intending pilgrims for this year’s hajj. Bashir said the exercise would also take place on Saturday April 27, 2019 and Islamic scholars have already been mobilized for the exercise at the permanent hajj camp located at Basan Jiwa close to the Nnamdi Azikwe Internatinal Airport, Abuja. He explained that the exercise is part of strategies to enable the intending pilgrims get enlightened on the hajj rites as well as new policies introduced for this year’s hajj by relevant authorities, warning intending pilgrims who are yet to submit their international passport to do so to enable the board commence the process of their travel documents.

April 29 - May 5, 2019


FCT REPORT 2 traffic wardens dismissed for killing NSCDC officer

Helpline rolls out free interest loan scheme for widows


elpline Foundation for the Needy, a not-forprofit organization, has disclosed that it has concluded plans to roll-out free interest revolving loan scheme for widows in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. Speaking at an event in Abuja, the president and founder of Helpline Foundation, Dr. Jumai Ahmadu, said that the aim of the reach-out scheme was to assist vulnerable widows who were facing extreme poverty in the society. Ahmadu explained that the revolving free interest loan scheme is part of effort by the foundation to empower widows to be self-reliance and selfsustaining in a male dominated economy. The president also used the occasion to call on the widows to form a cluster of 20 out of which 10 would be empowered with soft loans. She also disclosed that the foundation had also embarked on training of widows and some vulnerable youths in fish farming and other skills acquisitions that will enable them become employers of labour. The foundation also used the occasion to dole out assorted food items to over 100 widows to assist them feed their families. The food items include rice, bean, yam, groundnut oil among others. She revealed that beneficiaries of the assorted food items were drawn from the six Area Councils of the FCT, irrespective of tribe or religious background. According to Ahmadu, “today’s event is part of our social corporate responsibility to reach-out to the needy in the society and to commemorate this year’s Easter celebration. We have over 1,500 registered widows, and any widow interested can come to our office at Efab Mall, Abuja for free registration. “From our experience in dealing with these women; we discovered that what they need is support in the area of capacity building and available start off packages for them to contribute to the local economy and be self-reliant.

By Williams ABAH


Members of Advocate for Good Governance Protesting against secret voting for the election of the 9th Assembly leadership at the National Assembly, Abuja. Photo

FCDA expresses determination to deliver world class buildings By Austine ELEMUE


he Federal Capital Development Authority, FCDA, has said that it would continue to ensure the delivery of world class public and private buildings with exquisite interior and exterior ambiance expected for healthy living. Executive Secretary, FCDA, Engr. Umar Jibrin, gave this assurance while declaring open a seminar organised in conjunction with Creative House at the authority’s conference hall, last week in Abuja. He said: “This exhibition is the authority’s modest contribution towards the promotion of optimum standards and international best practices in all aspects of the building industry. Much more, it serves as a forum where participants can offer innovative solutions and options to knotty interior challenges being faced in various building types. “The theme will provide a suitable platform for one-on-one interactive between and among stakeholders in the building and also sensitize on the need and benefits of defining interior spaces with accent pieces and treatment through p r a c t i c a l demonstrations.” Explaining what space definition meant, the FCDA boss said: “Space definition is all about taking responsibility for the

spaces we occupy by expressing ourselves with the things that mean most to us personally, professionally and socioculturally. This is natural instinct. “This exhibition is apt and timely as we all live, work and play in spaces. When we take responsibility for these spaces, we derive a psychological settlement and calmness that is subtle yet profound enough to affect our wellbeing and productivity.” The ES, who was represented by the director, Mass Housing Department, Engr. Emmanuel Oluwadamisi, while defining the word ‘accent’ explained that the word “does not stop with phonetics and languages. Within the built environment, accents are

found and used both in the exterior and interior spaces. “Externally, they could be colours, columns and fixtures like doors or other forms that embellish and give character to both the structure and cityscape, silently speaking volumes about the individual, establishment or community.” Jibrin therefore called on all relevant departments and agencies to also carry out similar trainings so as to add value, richness, little colour, painting and artwork, noting that it will deepen the knowledge of space definition and aesthetics of Abuja beauty. Director, Department of Public Buildings, Anthony Odigie, while speaking earlier said that the seminar was the 30th

in the series, adding that it transformed into an exhibition in 2016 and has continued to make improvements and innovations. He underscored the importance of space definition in designing and called on the stakeholders to always come together and work for the progress of all. On his part, chairman of the Capacity Building Committee, Adebowale Ademo, in his welcome address said that the objective of the programme is to bequeath a capital city comparable to the best in the world in line with the dreams of its founding fathers. Ademo pledged they would remain open to new relevant technologies to achieve the best for the FCT and the country.

Bello charges FCT residents to pray for smooth transition


inister of the Federal Capital Te r r i t o r y, Malam Muhammad Bello has called on the Christian faithful and other residents of the territory to use the occasion of Easter celebrations to pray for peace and smooth transition. The minister said the need to pray for unity is especially significant for the FCT which is the center and symbol of Nigeria’s unity, just as he reminded residents that they have an obligation to demonstrate that unity especially during the Easter

celebrations. He therefore called on them to use the joyous occasion to exhibit harmony amongst Nigerians by embracing and promoting all those virtues that bring Nigerians together. Bello also used the occasion to remind residents of the upcoming inauguration of Mr President on May 29, 2019. He urged them to pray for a smooth transition into the next political dispensation and informed them that as residents of the host city,

they were obliged to play their roles for the successful hosting of what will be a major international event. He therefore called on them to be hospitable to guests who will be visiting Abuja, keep the environment clean and obey all extant rules and regulations especially traffic laws. The minister emphasized that there is a need to promote Abuja as a hospitable and tourism friendly destination. This, he said will further boost the economy of the FCT and generate employment.

he Nigeria Police has dismissed Idoko Sunday and Katdel Dabit, for allegedly involved in the death of an Assistant Superintendent of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps NSCDC, ASC Ogar Jumbo Ochigbo, on March 20, 2019. In a statement by Force Public Relations Officers, DCP Frank Mba, said the former traffic wardens had earlier been subjected to the internal disciplinary procedures of the Force, tried in an Orderly Room, and dismissed before the arraignment. Mba added that the arraignment of the traffic wardens was born out of the outcome of the investigation into the case of alleged misconduct and unlawful exercise of authority reported against them on March 29, 2019. Police investigations revealed and indicted them for assault and excessive use of force on the deceased after his arrest. “Forensic analysis by a pathologist, as seen in the autopsy report, clearly traced the cause of death to injuries inflicted on the deceased during his encounter with the traffic wardens. The two erstwhile traffic wardens have been remanded in Kuje prisons pending the next adjournment of the case,” the statement revealed. According to Mba, “in keeping with the assurances by the Inspector General of Police to ensure a transparent, accountable, comprehensive and speedy investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of the late ASC Ogar Jumbo, an Assistant Superintendent of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, the Nigeria Police have today arraigned in court the two Traffic Wardens for complicity in the unfortunate death of the NSCDC Officer.


April 29 - May 5, 2019


Questioning Atiku’s citizenship



he citizenship of former Vice President, Abubakar Atiku as being contested by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, is not a new low in politics but a dangerous one. The APC in reaction to a petition by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its presidential candidate, Abubakar Atiku, praying the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to declare Atiku as the lawful winner of the presidential election, has weaponised the birther allegation. The APC’s lead counsel, Lateef Fagbemi, faulted the candidacy of Mr Abubakar in the election, claiming that the PDP candidate was a Cameroonian and not a Nigerian citizen, adding that his petition against President Muhammadu Buhari should be dismissed for lack of merit. The party averred that Atiku was born on November 25, 1946 in Jada, Adamawa, in Northern Cameroon and was therefore a citizen of Cameroon and not a Nigerian by birth, therefore has no right to be voted for as a candidate in the election to the office of president of Nigeria. Atiku’s citizenship had earlier been questioned by separatist leader, Nnamdi Kanu. Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, had in February released broadcast in which he claimed Atiku was a Cameroonian. Section 131(a) of the Constitution stipulates that a person must be a citizen of Nigeria by birth to be qualified to contest for the office of the President.

The constitution is very clear on who a citizen is. Political parties must therefore thread carefully in tackling their differences and avoid putting to question the nationality of a whole group while going for an individual. Reports show that Atiku Abubakar was indeed born in a territory that was then not part of Nigeria, however the territory and its people are all Nigerians now. It is therefore reckless of the APC to unconsciously allot the territory to Cameroun. Though relinquishing of territory goes beyond speechmaking, the claims against Atiku may make indigenes of Jada feel disconnected from Nigeria.

The former vice president has vowed not to respond to the allegation. A statement by his media adviser, Paul Ibe, stated that such “ridiculous defence” from the APC to his statistical claims “shows to Nigerians the type of characters we have in the APC and its government, whose legitimacy runs out on May 29, 2019”. Atiku further added that, “The fact that the APC chose to base its defence on the ridiculous assertion that the Waziri Adamawa is not a Nigerian should show to Nigerians the type of characters we have in the APC and its government, whose legitimacy runs out on May 29, 2019.” Nigerian nationality laws confer citizenship on every person born in Nigeria after the date of independence, October 1, 1960, whose parents or grandparents were born in Nigeria and who were legally residing in Nigeria at the time. The constitution also grants citizenship on every person born outside Nigeria either of

whose parents is a citizen of Nigeria. Apart from citizenship by birth, section 26. (1) of the constitution allows for citizenship by registration and by naturalisation. To qualify for naturalisation, a person must be of full age (17) and expected to have resided in Nigeria for a continuous period of fifteen years; is of good character, plans to remain in Nigeria, is familiar with Nigerian language and customs, has a viable means of support, and has renounced previous citizenship. While most countries are seeking to highlight their borderlines to avoid systemic incursion by neighbours, the political class in Nigeria are shamelessly blurring our boundaries for political gains. The constitution is very clear on who a citizen is. Political parties must therefore thread carefully in tackling their differences and avoid putting to question the nationality of a whole group while going for an individual.

Reports show that Atiku Abubakar was indeed born in a territory that was then not part of Nigeria, however the territory and its people are all Nigerians now. It is therefore reckless of the APC to unconsciously allot the territory to Cameroun. Though relinquishing of territory goes beyond speechmaking, the claims against Atiku may make indigenes of Jada feel disconnected from Nigeria. Already the country is divided along ethnic lines we must be careful not to further divide the people for political gains by questioning the Nigerianess of a people over others. We must remind the APC that Abubakar Atiku did not only serve as a former Vice President of Nigeria between 1999 and 2007, but that he was also elected as the governor of Adamawa in 1999 before he was picked by President Olusegun Obasanjo to be his running mate. The Wazirin Adamawa also served in various capacities in the civil service, where he rose to the top of his career. It is rather appalling that a man who has exceeded the 15 years required in attaining citizenship and with businesses scattered across the country will be so renounced all in the name of politics. If eventually the tribunal upholds the APC prayers and disqualifies Atiku on the bases of his citizenship, then INEC, and indeed the Buhari led government must explain to Nigerians how a foreigner is allowed to contest elections in Nigeria.

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

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April 29 - May 5, 2019



Surrogacy: Why the world needs rules for ‘selling’ babies S

By Claire Fenton-Glynn

urrogacy is not a new phenomenon. For thousands of years, women have nominated others to give birth on their behalf. However, technological advances such as IVF, softening of cultural attitudes and the trend for having children later have fuelled a recent boom in surrogacy. In the past two decades, it has become a global phenomenon. There are no precise figures on how many children are involved but as far back as 2012 the industry around surrogacy was worth an estimated $6bn (£4.7bn) a year. In the UK alone, the number of parental orders made following a surrogate birth has tripled from 121 in 2011 to 368 in 2018. The true number of surrogacy arrangements may be even higher, as there is no obligation to seek such an order. Hitting the headlines Surrogacy comes in two forms gestational, where the surrogate mother is implanted with an egg and sperm; and traditional surrogacy, where the surrogate’s own egg is used. The procedure can bring with it great advantages, especially for those who can’t have children naturally, by allowing individuals and couples to have their “own” child, without going through a long and restrictive adoption process. In the majority of cases, these procedures go smoothly. But surrogacy’s soaring popularity has come at a human cost and stories of potential mistreatment have hit the headlines several times in recent years. For example, the case of baby Gammy shocked the world, when it was alleged the commissioning parents had intentionally left Gammy, who has Down’s syndrome, in Thailand, while taking his non-disabled twin sister Pipah home to Australia. A court later ruled he had not been abandoned, although it emerged the commissioning father had previous convictions for child sex offences, playing into wider concerns regarding the welfare of surrogate children. Targeting the vulnerable On top of child welfare concerns, there are also examples of surrogate mothers being exploited by agents and kept in inhumane conditions. Financially and socially vulnerable women can be targets for surrogacy recruitment, attracted by the sums of money on offer. A surrogate in Ukraine, for example, can earn up to $20,000 (£15,507) - more than eight times the average yearly income. However, there have been reports of poor treatment of surrogate mothers, with some agencies refusing to pay surrogates if they do not obey strict requirements or if they miscarry. Exploitation concerns have led to

many countries shutting down their previously booming surrogacy industries, while last year the UN warned that “commercial surrogacy... usually amounts to the sale of children”. The rise of ‘health tourism’ One problem is that legislation around surrogacy varies hugely from country to country, shaped by history, culture and social values. In some places, like Germany and France, surrogacy is seen as violating the dignity of women, using them as the means to someone else’s end. Therefore, the practice is completely forbidden. Others, like the UK, view surrogacy as a gift from one woman to another, and allow it on an “altruistic”, expenses-only basis. Others still, such as California, Russia and Ukraine, permit commercial surrogacy, viewing it as an expression of a woman’s autonomy to engage in surrogacy of their own free will. Worryingly, some international surrogacy destinations remain unregulated - for example, Kenya and Nigeria. These huge inconsistencies have led to surrogacy becoming a popular form of “health tourism”. If their own country does not allow surrogacy, or places restrictions on it, prospective parents can simply travel to somewhere with more relaxed laws, or more problematically, a country where the practice is completely unregulated. Recent years have seen would-be parents flocking in large numbers to countries like India, Thailand, Cambodia and Nepal, only for these

countries to shut their clinics to foreigners following concerns about exploitation of their citizens. But as one surrogacy hotspot gets shut down, another pops up in its place. Legal headaches There are clearly serious ethical issues stemming from the potential exploitation of women in poorer countries, and the dangers of treating children like commodities. On top of this, health tourism can also create significant legal dilemmas. While some countries recognise the surrogate as the legal parent, others allocate parenthood to the commissioning parents from the moment of birth - a clash of laws meaning children can be left stateless, with neither country recognising them as citizens. For example, in the 2008 landmark baby Manji case, a child born to an Indian surrogate was left in limbo after the Japanese commissioning parents divorced before birth. Neither the surrogate nor the intended mother wanted custody of the baby. The commissioning father, who did want the child, was not allowed to adopt as a single person under Indian law. As a result, it was unclear who the legal parents were, and what the child’s nationality was. If the child does return home with the commissioning parents, the authorities in that home country must decide whether to give effect to the agreement that took place overseas and allow them to become the legal parents in their home jurisdiction.

In most countries, the wellbeing of the child comes first. This means that authorities are often forced to accept the results of the arrangement, turning a blind eye to exploitative practices that may have taken place abroad. Is an international agreement possible? Intergovernmental body the Hague Conference on Private International Law is currently looking into the possibility of forming internationally agreed rules for authorities to recognise the parenthood of children born abroad through surrogacy, and set out consistent rules. However, it may be difficult to reach international agreement, due to the widely differing attitudes towards surrogacy. Countries that ban or restrict the practice would be unlikely to sign up to something that allows commercial surrogacy, and vice versa. This means authorities are left in a very difficult situation: the global surrogacy market has sprung up due to the inconsistency of laws around the world, but it is precisely because of these differences that they are unable to regulate the practice effectively. Surrogacy can provide the joy of a longed-for child, but at the same time it opens the door for the exploitation of the most vulnerable. As surrogacy gains in popularity, these legal and ethical dilemmas will only become more pressing. Pandora’s Box has been opened and the law has failed to respond. Fenton-Glynn is of University of Cambridge


April 29 - May 5, 2019


NGF plan induction for new, returning governors By Emmanuel OGBECHE


he Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, has said it will be organizing an induction programme for newly-elected and returning governors. The initiative is aimed at supporting incoming governors to develop key governance and management skills that will enable them transition from campaigning to managing the processes of governance. A statement by the NGF said the objectives of this induction include the following: “ P r e p a r i n g governors to make the most of their transition from campaigning to governing and building bridges for effective leadership. “Deepening the knowledge and skills of governors on the principles of governance and shaping their disposition and outlook to align with their work and motivation levels. “Creating a platform that will enable governors to fully understand the p h i l o s o p h i e s , responsibilities, organization, and cultural values, along with key processes of governance. “Creating an opportunity for peer learning, promotion of global best practices and networking with national and global leaders. “Exposing governors to relevant contemporary national priorities in critical sectors of the economy and driving consensus on opportunities to achieve desired outcomes.” According to the statement, the programme will hold between 28th April – 1st May 2019 and it will be multilayered and interactive. Expected at the occasion are critical stakeholders, including current and past governors of Nigeria and the United States, to provide the opportunity for Nigerian governors to, not only network with national and global leaders, but also to gather useful

information that will help them transition into their new roles as chief executives of States. “It is expected that all the Governors will, at the end of their induction, have their knowledge and skills honed on the nuances of governance to better equip them to hit the

ground running,” the statement said. “All governors would have established relationships with national and global leaders and have a better understanding of the tools and opportunities available to achieve their vision and their priorities. “The NGF finds it

imperative to highlight the task before Governors and support them to create a workable framework that will aid them to achieve a smooth transition into their new administrations. A similar induction took place in 2011. “A new addition to the program is the

Governors’ Spouses’ Summit which is designed to be an introduction to public life for the spouses of newly elected and existing Governors.” The event is scheduled to hold at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Aso Rock Abuja, the NGF said.

Chairman, House Committee on Industry, Hon Sylvester Ogbaga, members of the committee, Muthari Chiroma and Solomon Maren, during the 2019 budget defence of the ministry at the National Assembly in Abuja, Friday.

2019 UTME results out this week -JAMB


he Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, has assured candidates of the 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME, that results would be ready from April 29. The Board’s Head of Media and Publicity, Fabian Benjamin, disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Bwari. Mr Benjamin said that screening of the results would soon be over and the result released. “We are still screening but hopefully, anytime next week, the results will be ready,” he said. Speaking also on the board’s readiness to screen results of UTME candidates from 2009 to 2018, Mr Benjamin said this would begin after the release of the 2019 results. He said this was part of the board’s effort to

address the issues of malpractice in the system. The board had stated that it would only release the 2019 UTME results after undergoing thorough screening to identify and apprehend examination cheats. The process would identify those involved in multiple registration through biometric capturing and also address group registration by some elite schools, who end up mixing candidate’s data. The board said: “Normally, results are expected to be out within 24 to 48 hours as obtained in previous examinations held in 2017 and 2018. “However, the board does not want this to be business as usual. “Hence the programmed delay, which is part of its deliberate effort to properly scrutinize, identify and address all forms of examination malpractice.

“The board will continue to act decisively with regards to any irregularity discovered even after results are released. “However, the board has made it a point of duty to screen all activities at all centres via CCTV recordings, to ensure that it does not release results of

c o m p r o m i s e d examinations.” JAMB said that effective from when it would officially release the results, all candidates can simply send RESULT, via SMS, to 55019 using the same number that was used for registration. The result, it said, would be replied as an SMS shortly after.

No new salary scale for Armed Forces –Defence Hqtrs By Laraba MUREY


he Defence Headquarters, DHQ, has said that a new salary structure had not been approved for the members of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, AFN. DHQ was reacting to a “fictitious document” being circulated on some social media platforms in that regard. “The DHQ therefore, wishes to reiterate that the purported new salary scale for members of the AFN being circulated, is nothing but a false and malicious publication intended to cause disaffection among members of the AFN, as no such salary scale exists, Onyema Nwachukwu, a colonel, said in a statement. Nwachukwu said the DHQ was dismayed by the circulation of the fictitious document which had gone viral on social media, purportedly showing a new upgraded AFN salary structure with effect from May 2019. “The DHQ wishes to clarify that the said document does not exist; neither does it reflect the true salary structure of personnel of the Armed Forces of Nigeria. “It would be recalled that that the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Muhammadu Buhari, signed a new minimum wage of N30, 000 on April 18. “It is also very pertinent for the general public to note that the AFN does not approve salaries for its personnel,” Nwachukwu said.

Embassy of China host media tour on Belt and Road initiative By Ere-ebi AGEDAH


s part of activities to increase to increase awareness on the forthcoming Belt & Road Initiative in Beijing, the Embassy of China hosted a media tour for journalists in the FCT. The journalists visited the AbujaKaduna Train Service as well as the Abuja rail mass transit project, which showcases the bilateral cooperation between both countries. In order to create

more awareness among Nigerians on the achievements of the Belt and Road Initiative ahead of this year’s forum in April, the Chinese embassy in Nigeria, portrayed the opening ceremony through a Photographic Exhibition of the Belt and Road. The exhibition is said to comprise of not only photos selected from more than 8000 works by 330 photographers around the world, but also photos from over 200 works by Nigerian

photographers and Chinese people living and working in Nigeria. The Charge d’Affaire & Minister, Counsellor of Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, Mr. Zhao Yong, stated that photos capture the natural beauty and tell stories about the Silk Road around 8 topics. He also said that the Belt and Road Initiative aims at creating new opportunities for global growth and providing a new platform for fostering closer ties between countries.

April 29 - May 5, 2019



I will not surrender govt to criminals -Ortom By Scholastica JOSEPH, Makurdi


enue State Governor Samuel Ortom has vowed to deal with anyone caught fomenting trouble in that state or at the border communities as his government would not give room for criminal elements to overrun the state. Ortom read the riot act, last week, at the Benue Peoples House in Makurdi, while briefing the press on his plans to tackle insecurity in the state. The governor appealed to the people of Taraba and Ebonyi, who are currently at loggerheads with their Benue counterparts, to remain calm and allow for peace to reign. According to him, a joint committee comprising of five stakeholders from each state has already been inaugurated to find lasting solutions to the Benue/Taraba border clashes. He said his government is in agreement with Ebonyi and Taraba states and would do everything to resolve the issues and bring lasting peace between the states. The governments of Taraba and Benue had

given directives that persons involved in there crisis, (whether from Benue or Taraba) should be apprehended and sanctioned accordingly. “We are not joking about this. We will continue to monitor things to ensure that peace returns to our states,” he said. The governor said there was need for collaboration with all stakeholders; traditional

rulers, the press and the general public, to end criminality in the land saying anyone with useful information should avail it to the security agencies. Speaking on the internal crisis in Katsina Ala, Gboko, Kwande, Agatu and other places, Governor Ortom announced that after a critical meeting with security stakeholders, it was discovered that

criminal elements are taking advantage of the security situation to cause more mayhem in the state. “The case of Katsina Ala was purely a criminal matter. We have discovered that a lot of criminals were taking advantage to aggravate the situation and we have been able to nip this in the bud and hopefully, there will be no more hostilities.

“As at today, there is no form of economic activity going on in that axis. Businesses, schools and even farming activities which is our main source of sustenance are all shut down. We will ensure our people have their peace.” He further states that those who neglected their responsibilities leading to the crisis will be sanctioned.

The new USAID AENN activity will benefit 200,000 primary school boys and girls in Adamawa and Gombe states in partnership with the American University of Nigeria.

NNPC tasks petroleum engineers on energy security By Godfrey AKON


he Nigerian N a t i o n a l P e t r o l e u m Corporation, NNPC, has challenged members of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, SPE, to come up with a blueprint for energy security and sustainability in Nigeria. Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, gave the charge at the 2019 annual SPE Oloibiri Lecture Series and Energy Forum in Abuja last Thursday, a statement from the corporation said. While presenting a paper on “Energy Security and Sustainable Development in Nigeria: The Way Forward,” Baru recounted the huge national energy deficit in the country, stressing that as the second largest economy in Africa,

demand for energy was growing at a very rapid rate. “Despite abundant Oil and Gas reserves, Nigeria experiences shortages in electric power. Based on Nigeria’s Energy consumption current and forecast, available statistics showed an increase from 6 GW in

2015 to 30 GW by 2025 with the primary source of the current power supply being from hydro and gas. “The future consumption which is expected to drive growth by 2025 would need aggressive development of gas and renewables projects to meet the

exponential demand”, he stated. The GMD listed efforts by the corporation to bridge the energy supplydemand gap to include accelerated development of gas resources and facilities, rehabilitation of existing refineries, investments in renewable energy

Filling stations warned against off-loading fuel at noon By Ambrose IMOBHIO, Asaba illing stations owners and operators have been warned not to off load fuel products at noon in any part of the state due to safety concerns. Mr. Eugene Oziwele, the Delta state director, Fire Service, gave the warning while speaking with journalists in Asaba.


He maintained that the warning has become imperative to enlighten the owners of such stations on the inherent dangers associated with afternoon off-loading. The director maintained that owing to the heat and emission associated with noon, any contact of fuel with sensitive materials could cause explosion. He stated that the level of fire incidence in

the state has reduced drastically with the education the service has been given to residents. Oziwele maintained that with the state of art facilities provided by the state government, the fire service is able to respond to distress calls and avert fire incidence. He commended Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for the support to the Service for efficient delivery.

projects, and focus on exploration of the frontier basins to boost reserves. He noted that Nigeria was facing a new challenge in the form of competition from new oil production centres across the globe, particularly Africa, adding that there was need to “unlock new barrels as quickly as possible to stay relevant in the new emerging world”. He therefore called on the SPE and its member to “proffer an industry road map to guarantee energy security and sustainability for the nation”. The Oloibiri lecture series which is organized by the Society of Petroleum Engineers Nigerian Council, is an annual event focused on contributing to oil and gas policy development for Nigeria.

ILO task governments, stakeholders on e-waste management By Chuks NZEH


he International L a b o u r Organisation, ILO, has tasked governments and stakeholders on proper management of electronic waste, especially as it relates to creating jobs for the youth. This was made known recently in Abuja, by the ILO government vicechairperson, Aniefiok Etim Essah. “In my own country, Nigeria, and in several other African countries, e-waste is littering our landscape; yet, our youth possesses the creativity and potential for learning skills to manage e-waste, giving us the opportunity to increase youth employment,” he observed. ILO, worker vicechairperson, James Towers, on his part said workers handling ewaste have no voice, no bargaining power and they are breaking hazardous materials by their hands. Towers further stressed that majority of these workers are unaware of the many risks associated with handling e-waste. According to him, only 20 per cent of ewaste is formally recycled, even though it is valued at •55 billion. ILO, employer vicechairperson, Patrick Van den Bossche also said there is great business opportunity in the ewaste sector. “We need to step up our efforts in creating decent and sustainable jobs, fostering an enabling environment for sustainable enterprises, offering new products and new services, and adding value through enhancing the circular economy”. He further said that the world produces as much as 50 million tons of e-waste annually.


April 29 - May 5, 2019

NEWS Group decries adverse effect of GMO foods

USAID, AUN partner on $13m project to boost education in Northeast A T

By Ere-ebi AGEDAH

By Emmanuel OGBECHE he U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, and the American University of Nigeria, AUN, are partnering to re-establish basic education in the conflictravaged areas in northeastern Adamawa and Gombe states. Under a three-year, $13.3 million agreement, AUN will collaborate with Columbia and Kent State universities in the U.S. as well as local government and community leaders to implement ‘Addressing Education in Northeast Nigeria’, AENN. The aim according to a statement by the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria is to improve the ability of education managers to plan and deliver basic services in-line with the states’ education sector strategy with special emphasis on training female leaders. AENN will also address the social and emotional challenges that both educators and learners face from the disruptions caused by extremist insurgency. “This new activity focuses on some of the most vulnerable areas of

Nigeria, where insurgents have made eradication of education a specific tenet of their policy,” said Denise O’Toole, the USAID Education Office Director. “Our support helps a major institute of higher learning in the northeast re-establish the basics of primary education for thousands of students.”

AENN will address the daunting challenges facing the education systems in Adamawa and Gombe by training 100 education managers, improving the instructional skills of 5,000 teachers, and focusing specific training for female teachers in 200 primary schools. These efforts are expected to improve the

learning outcomes for 200,000 primary school boys and girls. Access to education in the northeast has severely declined since the Boko Haram and Islamic State-West Africa insurgencies began displacing families and communities a decade ago. It is hoped that AENN will address the resulting

acute educational needs while laying a foundation to rebuild and transform the education system, help provide educational continuity, stabilize institutional capacity, improve the quality of teaching and learning, increase equitable access, and integrate peace building and safety considerations into school communities.

L-R: Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, Ambassador of India to Nigeria, Mr. Abhay Thakur, his wife, Surabbi and Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture, Chief Olusegun Runsewe during the celebration of Bride of India in Abuja...Saturday. Photo: Wale Elekolusi.

Next Level is consolidation of Buhari’s achievements –Mohammed By Ere-ebi AGEDAH


he Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has stated that the ‘Next Level’ agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari is a consolidation of the recorded successes of the administration in the first four years in office. Mohammed said this while featuring on the political segment of the Network Service of Radio Nigeria, recently, in Abuja. He said that the agenda was to ensure that the promises made by the president in 2015 to fight corruption, insecurity and revamp the economy were fully achieved during his second term. ”What will happen in the next four years is the consolidation on those successes of those four years with sincere focus on

fighting corruption, fighting insecurity and revamping the economy because they are related. “There can be no development where there is insecurity; there is a correlation between p o v e r t y , underdevelopment and insecurity. “Nigerians and the entire world must be informed of what we have done in the last four years and I will just take agricultural, social investment programme and insecurity,” he said. In agriculture, Mohammed said that Nigeria was importing about half a million metric tons of rice annually from Thailand before the current administration came on board, adding that the country was almost selfsufficient in rice production currently. He added that the

Anchor Borrowers Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN has been very successful. According to him, we have been able to grow the rice farmers numbers from five million to 11 million according to the figure from the rice farmers association. “CBN has disbursed over N5 billion to 250,000 farmers just between 2017 and 2018 and what

we have today is a thriving agriculture and we are nearing selfsufficiency. “In the area of social investments programme, the NPower, school feeding, home grown feeding a n d t r a d e r moni programme are programmes we are going to consolidate on in the second term,” he said. In the area of security, the minister said that the

present administration had achieved a great feat in the war against insurgency in the North East with the liberation of all territories from Boko Haram by the military. He also explained that serious effort had been made to contain the activities of the bandits in Zamfara, kidnappers and herdsmen-farmer clashes in every part of the country.

Praise for Okowa over mechanic village By Ambrose IMOBHIO, Asaba elta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has been commended for his foresight in building an ultra-modern mechanic village in Asaba. Chief Boniface Ezeigwe, state chairman, Auto Spare Parts Dealers Association, gave the commendation


while interacting with journalists in Asaba. According to him, the ultra-modern mechanic village has come to provide succour, relief and hope for mechanics and sister professionals. The state chairman, who stated that the functions performed by mechanics, electricians, auto spare parts dealers,

and upholstery are concomitant, interwoven, added the mechanic village will assist them immensely. Ezeigwe stated that the greatest relief the mechanic village will give to the users is the freedom from congestion the mechanics and sister professionals are facing in their various places of operation.

non-governm e n t a l organization, The Health of Mother Earth Foundation, HOMEF, has reiterated the adverse effect of Genetically Modified Organisms, GMOs stating that it present risks to health, environment and communities. In a communiqué after a workshop on biosafety and seed conference in Abuja recently, participants resolved to continue the demand for ecological justice and the preservation of the rights of farmers and communities with regards to food. According to the group, Nigeria should not be turned to a testing ground, where all forms of ‘unsafe’ and rejected technologies are welcomed and used. The participants, who noted that GMOs do not necessarily yield higher than natural varieties, added that government through its regulatory agencies must ensure that the markets stay safe from GM foods. ‘‘Our current regulatory frameworks are poor and in the absence of strong regulation, abuse is inevitable. It is important to prioritize the precautionary principle over the discretionary powers of NBMA because our human rights are the most important rights to be preserved. We must tighten the loose ends of the Biosafety Act to ensure that power is not abused. ‘‘It is the responsibility of NBMA maintain the lane of regulation and not to promote the use of GMOs in Nigeria or issue permits to GMO c o m p a n i e s indiscriminately, without doing any due diligence’’ Also a medical/ m o l e c u l a r microbiologist, Dr. Casmir Ifeanyi, of the University of Abuja, argued that the research around GMOs was conflicting. He added that virtually all the studies, which claim to be safe, are funded by biotechnology corporations in order to make profits from GMO sales.

April 29 - May 5, 2019



April 29 - May 5, 2019

BBNaija: FFans ans ‘im patient’ as ne w ‘impatient’ new season dela ys delays


ome fans of the Big Brother Naija, BBNAIJA reality show have advised show runners to start the new season or risk losing money from audience votes. The appeal sprung up across social media after a viral twitter post by @Bidemi_brooke noting that fans were spending money on cars for old housemates might exhaust funds before voting for the new season begins. Her tweet was a direct reaction to fans buying a car for Bamike Omawunmi aka BamBam, one of the housemates of the ‘Double Wahala’ 2018 season. This made her the second ex-housemate to get a car after Alex Unusual. ‘She is’ Bidemi_Brooke said, “Hello sir @BBNaija see people are using the money they are supposed to use to vote for the new housemates, to buy cars for the former housemates. “The earlier you start this new season, the better for you. Else, you won’t see enough money this year. Just a piece of advice sir,” she said.

Other fans agreed with her, with some trying to find reasons why the new season has not started despite being two months later than usual. @Mandychisom said, “it is the truth, the more they delay, the more people lose interest.” @Officialjoysia said, “the only time they decided to do it in Nigeria, it’s like waiting on the rapture.” @Dharmih_ wrote, “We are tired of waiting.” @Viktoriaisland said, “they have not found the right housemates yet.” @Bunni_elle wrote, “I think they are waiting for Game of Thrones to be over because that is taking a lot of social media attention. “ However, Multichoice Nigeria had announced in January that the show will return for a fourth season to be held in Nigeria. Auditions were held on Feb. 1 and Feb. 2 across Nigeria with at least 4,000 people showing up per state. In March, a reunion was held for the season 3 housemates and fans were given the chance to vote one intending housemate into season 4.

Actor, Jim Iyke shows of f son V

eteran Nigerian actor, James Ikechukwu popularly known as Jim Iyke has welcomed a baby boy. The 42-year-old, who started his acting career in 2001, is one of the highest paid actors in Nollywood. Popularly known for playing “lover boy” roles, the actor took to Instagram to announce the arrival of his son. He wrote: “I’m ultra-private with my family but this is the rarest of moments. “Back to 2hours sleep nightly. Back to cat naps with my subconscious peaked for the slightest movement. Back to


aria, now ex-wife of Tanzanian singer, Diamond Plantnumz, has disclosed that His marriage crashed because Mr P was sleeping with this wife,

Zaria, has debunked claims that she was sleeping with Mr P and her trainer. Reacting to the allegation, Zaria said anybody that believes his allegation is “as

award-winning actor runs a charity foundation, Jim Iyke

foundation, for children living with special disabilities.

‘Avengers: Endgame’ smashes records in global launch


he Avengers have assembled for the last time, and they are destroying the competition — even before hitting US movie theatres. “Avengers: Endgame,” the last in a 22-film arc featuring the beloved Marvel Universe superheroes,

Diamond Plantnumz’s eex-wif x-wif e, x-wife, Zaria, denies infidelity allegation

Zaria with ex-hubby Diamond

groggy mornings and big unknowing smiles. “Welcome home king. I can’t find the right words now. Every being in me is pulsating with raw primordial energy. “A lion beget a lion, welcome to my pride dear son. He went on to thank God for yet another blessing added to his life. “I don’t know what I’m doing right to deserve it all. It takes a man to bring a child home, it takes a community to raise him,” he wrote. Iyke has appeared in over 150 films including ‘Last Flight to Abuja’ which he featured in alongside Omotola Jalade. The

stupid as him.” Zaria stated on Instagram that “I was about to sleep and people started sending me these voice notes about how Nasibo (Diamond Plantnumz) went to his radio tarnishing me, how I had a relationship with P-square, my personal trainer and all those things. “And I’m just here thinking if you guys are gonna believe any words that come from a man like him, the same man who denied his own blood. “If you all are gonna believe anything he says, then you all are just stupid just like him.”

shattered records upon its release in Asia, specifically in China, Disney — which owns Marvel Studios — announced Thursday. The movie raked in $169 million on Wednesday, its first day of release in 25 markets including China, Australia and several countries in Europe. It set single-day box office records in China, Australia, New Zealand and other countries, said Disney, which bought Marvel Studios in 2009. The film’s performance in China was impressive — $107.5 million. In France, “Endgame” scored the biggest opening day for a Marvel film. It set an overall opening day record in the Netherlands, Greece and Egypt. The figures indicate that “Endgame”

will surpass the receipts generated by the previous episode in the “Avengers” saga — “Infinity War” — which came out last year, it added. The film will go into wide release in the United States and Canada on Friday, with showings in select cities from Thursday. Experts predict the well-reviewed “Avengers” finale — featuring Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson and a raft of other stars — could make $200-260 million in its opening weekend in North America.

The film clocks run just about three hours, leading US movie chain powerhouse AMC to schedule showings around the clock in several dozen cinemas to satisfy demand from moviegoing fans. Pundits are predicting a debut weekend that could break records with the first billion-dollar worldwide opening in history. The 21 preceding films — featuring many of the comic book heroes created by the late legend Stan Lee — have earned about $19 billion globally.

April 29 - May 5, 2019



Is Abuja secured but not safe? A

By Chuks NZEH

peaceful society is critical for infrastructural and human development, as such environment allows for strategic planning and execution to meet set targets. The Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, is home to the political class in Nigeria as it hosts the office and residence of the president and headquarters to several government institutions include all security outfits. Ordinarily this position would require the FCT to be properly secured and be the safest city to live in in Nigeria, yet the pace of insecurity in Abuja, leaves much to be desired. Most times, men of the underworld seem to be a step ahead of the security arrangements on ground, thereby instilling fear on the citizens. The vigilante and intelligence gathering groups set up by traditional rulers with the directives of the FCT administration seems not to be doing enough to curtail most of the crimes at the hinterlands. Even though some communities in the FCT are benefiting from the activities of the security group. Last year during a meeting with district and village heads, the Chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, Abdullahi Candido, cautioned the village Head of Tudun Fulani in Jiwa district. The community leader was alleged to have been supporting criminals in his community. Confirming the allegation, the district head of Filin Dabo, confirmed that the activities of the Village head of Tudun Fulani, Jiwa, has crippled several efforts at maintaining peace and security in the community. “I supervised the composition of members of the local vigilante group in the community following the increase in cases of burglary, harassment, bag and phone snatching, and other social vices. “While the efforts were being made to strengthen the security system in the community, Gwadabe neither supported the plans nor made any contribution to the effort. “But within the first week of the vigilante exercise, we successfully apprehended eight known faces in the community who were caught in burglary. After interrogation by the vigilante, they were taken to the police for further investigation and punishment. But to my greatest surprise, these criminals were released few minutes after I left the police station. “I was later informed that their bail was facilitated by the village head of Tudun Fulani on the ground that the woman who buys the stolen items from criminals is related to village head. “Several times has he shielded criminals arrested by the vigilante from facing justice and that has increased the confidence of the criminals in the society to continue to visit the community and other neighbouring communities with terror. “The worst was that he embezzled the community money in his custody. The money was supposed to be used to pay the vigilante officials and solve other sundry problems. These actions led to the end of vigilante services in the community

City gate of Abuja.

thus paving the way for crime.” Cases of ‘one chance’ experiences in commercial vehicle has also been on the rise and so most commuters are now weary of the vehicles they board to their destination. Passengers now take their time to thoroughly assess vehicles and their occupants before boarding cabs because of gory experience some have had in the hands of criminals who disguise as taxi drivers to prey on unsuspecting residents. Earlier in the year a young lady simply identified as Ify, who fell victim to the dreaded one chance, along Kubuwa express road, recounted how she was disposed of her bag containing cash, 2 smart phones and 3 ATM, Cards before she was thrown out of the moving vehicle. The state of insecurity in the FCT has been an issue for some time now and yet to be substantially addressed. One can recall easily that in June 2011, the Boko Haram terrorists took their war to the Louis Edet house of the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters, in Abuja, where a suicide bomber, detonated a bomb killing at least 6 people and several others injured. In August 2011, the security agencies in the FCT and United Nations Building in Abuja were out smarted by Boko Haram terrorists who detonated an explosive that left close to 30 people dead and several others injured. Also in April 2014, at about 6:45am the dreaded the sect beat the security arrangements and a suicide bomber detonated a bomb at the popular Nyanya bus terminal killing close to a 100 commuters, leaving several others maimed with permanent disability. Aside terrorist attacks, security outfits have also been attacked by robbers who kill and dispose officers of their ammunitions. Just last July 2018 The FCT Police Command confirmed the brutal

attack on some officers who were stationed at the Police Post at Galadimawa roundabout, killing seven of them and a civilian, by Unknown gunmen. Recently, the House of Representatives charged the Minister of FCT, Mallam Mohammed Bello, to urgently provide street lights in all major roads, streets under the bridges and roundabouts with the FCT. The House also urged the Inspector General of Police to hastily deploy more police officers and men to patrol major roads and strategic areas in the FCT. The house was prompted by increasing cases of insecurity and activities of men of the underworld who are perpetrating evil and making the city less receptive and attractive to residents and visitors. As cases of suicide bombings seem to have been checked, the police in the FCT may be facing other forms of crimes. In recent times kidnapping for ransom has been the most lucrative for the men of the underworld. There have been several cases of arm robbery and kidnapping along the Abuja-Kaduna Highway, a staff of Daily Trust Newspaper, recount his ordeal with the daredevil kidnapper on his way to Kaduna after work. The journalist recounted how the driver of the vehicle he boarded was killed on the spot, all passengers of a full bus were kidnapped and made to trek about 50 kilometers to the kidnappers’ den. Their families were contacted and given 3 days for ransom to be paid or the victims be killed. Though he has been released from captivity, not much is known of the fate of other passengers he left behind. Only recently in March, Friday Okeregbe, a staff of Channels Television was kidnapped from Lugbe. Investigations have revealed that he was not the original target but only

stepped into the scene and was kidnapped as a consolation prize for the criminals who came for that mission but missed their target. The recent directive by President Muhammadu Buhari to the security chiefs to deal decisively with the situation, has yielded some positive results. Although Friday and some other luck kidnap victims have been released and some of the suspects arrested, others might not have been lucky enough to have made it out alive. The spate of kidnapping, armed robbery, one chance, petty stealing in the FCT and environs, calls for concern and concerted effort by the authorities to be proactive, especially by enhancing community policing and intelligence gathering. The federal government should ensure that they plan incentives for agricultural programs that can take millions of young people out of the streets. The high level of youth unemployment is the major fuel for these crimes and it should be urgently addressed holistically. Security agencies should as a matter of urgency build structures that would enhance intelligence sharing amongst them and properly coordinate their action plan to harmonize their response to this obvious brutality. The police should also know that they cannot gather intelligence from a society where they are not friendly with the people. The public must have some level of trust and confidence in them before they can volunteer information that can nip some of these crimes in the bud. It is import for the security agencies to device ways of endearing themselves to the populace to access information that would ultimately mitigate some of these heinous crimes being committed randomly.


April 29 - May 5, 2019


The miser and his gold

easier to access the money when you had to buy something!” “Buy?” said the miser. “I never used the gold to buy anything. I was never going to spend it.” On hearing this, the neighbor threw a stone into the pit and said, “If that is the case, save the stone. It is as worthless as the gold you have lost”. Moral: A possession is just as worthy of what it is used for.

The four students T

here were four friends who hated studying. They partied all night before their exams and planned to skip the test by lying to the professor. So they went to the dean and told him that they had been to a wedding the previous night and on their way back, they had a flat tire. They continued to say that they had to push the car all the

way back, as they didn’t have a spare tire and hence, were not in a position to write the exam. The dean listened and agreed to let them take the test on a later date. Happy that they got a second chance, the four friends studied hard and were ready for the exam. On exam day, the dean asked the students to sit in separate classrooms,



What is used for tasting food?


When you move with your legs at a speed faster than walking, you are?


The area in an aircraft where the pilot sits is called?


A room where doctors attend to visiting patients is called?


A hospital that treats bones and muscles is called?

which the students agreed to. The examination paper had only two questions, for a total of 100 marks. The questions were thus: 1. Your name: 2. Which tire of the car burst: a) Front left b) Front right c) Rear left d) Rear right Moral You may be smart, but there are people smarter than you in the world.

Did You Know? l Did you know dreamt is the only word that ends in mt? l Did you know the first letters of the months July through to November spell JASON? l Did you know a cat has 32 muscles in each ear? l Did you know the smallest bones in the human body are found in your ear? l Did you know cats spend 66% of their life asleep?

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

The more you take, the more you leave behind. What am I? What has a head, a tail, but has no legs? David’s father has three sons: Snap, Crackle and _____? When can you add two to eleven and get one as the correct answer? If you have me, you want to share me. If you share me, you haven’t got me. What am I? I’m tall when I’m young and I’m short when I’m old. What am I?


old man to go back into his house. After it was dark, the thief went to the hiding place and took the gold. The next day, the old miser found that his treasure was missing and started crying loudly. His neighbor heard the miser’s cries and inquired about what happened. On learning what happened, the neighbor asked, “Why didn’t you save the money inside the house? It would’ve been

1. Footprints 2. A coin 3. David 4. When you add two hours to eleven o’clock, you get one o’clock. 5. A secret 6. A candle or pencil


n old miser lived in a house with a garden. The miser hid his gold coins in a pit under some stones in the garden. Every day, before going to bed, the miser went to the stones where he hid the gold and counted the coins. He continued this routine every day, but not once did he spend the gold he saved. One day, a thief who knew the old miser’s routine, waited for the


What is Meningitis?


eningitis is a rare infection that affects the delicate membranes — called meninges — that cover the brain and spinal cord. You or your children can catch it. There are several types of this disease, including bacterial, viral, and fungal. Bacterial meningitis can be life-threatening and spreads between people in close contact with each other. Viral meningitis tends to be less severe, and most people recover completely without treatment. Fungal meningitis is a rare form of the disease. It usually only happens in people who have a weakened immune system — the body’s defense against germs. What Causes Meningitis? Meningitis is almost always caused by a bacterial or viral infection that begins somewhere else in the body besides the brain, like your ears, sinuses, or throat. Less common causes of meningitis include: Fungal infection · Syphilis · Tuberculosis · Autoimmune disorders · Cancer medications Bacterial Meningitis It’s an extremely serious illness. You or your child will need to get medical help right away. It can be life-threatening

or lead to brain damage without quick treatment. Bacterial meningitis is caused by several different bacteria. The most common ones that bring on the disease in the U.S. are: · Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) · Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcus) · Listeria monocytogenes (in older people, pregnant women, or those with immune system problems) A bacteria called Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) was a common cause of meningitis in babies and young children until the Hib vaccine became available for infants. There are also vaccines for Neisseria meningitidis and Streptococcus pneumoniae. They’re recommended for all children as well as adults who are at a higher risk for the disease. In many cases, bacterial meningitis starts when bacteria get into the bloodstream from the sinuses, ears, or throat. The bacteria then travel through the bloodstream to the brain. The bacteria that cause meningitis can spread when people who are infected cough or sneeze. If you or your child has been around someone who has bacterial meningitis, ask your doctor what steps you should take to avoid catching it. From

1. The tongue 2. Running 3. Cockpit 4. Consulting room 5. An orthopaedic hospital


April 29 - May 5, 2019



NUC, NESG, TETFund partner to boost research in varsities Stories by Godfrey AKON


he National Universities Commission, NUC, is combining efforts with the Nigeria Economic Summit Group, NESG, and the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, to boost problem-solving research in the country’s universities. Speaking at a one-day Interactive Session with Directors of Research from selected Nigerian Universities in Abuja, the Executive Secretary of NUC, Prof Abubakar Rasheed, lamented that in many Nigerian universities, research culture was almost at a zero level. Rasheed noted that the interactive session was aimed at reviving a credible culture of relevant and rigorous research in the country’s universities to contribute to national development. He said Nigerian universities must reposition themselves to take advantage of the large pool of research grants available globally and get back to relevance. The NUC boss maintained that in today’s highly competitive globalised world, no university can win any significant research grant without first demonstrating the existence of a robust research management system supervising the entire research value chain from grant proposal writing to research accounting, project management, among others. “Nigeria must begin the process of consciously turning some of our universities into research intensive universities,” he said. Also speaking, the Head, Human Capital Commission, Nigeria Economic Summit Group, Mr Tope Toogun, stressed the crucial nature of research and innovation, stating that knowledge has become the currency of transaction. Toogun pledged that the Group will organise the private sector to enter into collaboration with the Nigerian University System, adding that it has the target of moving research and development from 0.2 per cent to 50 per cent. In a keynote address, a

Former Executive Secretary of NUC, Prof Peter Okebukola, disclosed that Nigerian universities grew their research activities by 14 per cent from 2016 with impact on local, national and global problems. Okebukola said about 150 universities in the country embarked on various research during the period while some

centres of excellence researched on Lassa fever, Ebola and renewable energy. He however decried challenges facing research activities in the country, adding that the forum was to discuss creative ways of tackling them. “There is an African Centre of Excellence in Redeemer’s University that carried out Lassa fever

research and Ebola research; you know, this has national, regional and global impact. “When we measured our output through publications in other journals, the Nigerian university system recorded 14% improvement over the 2016 figures; NUC will soon commence the collation of data for 2018 to be able to

know how we have improved from 2017,” he said. While noting that there was no other valid and reliable resource like university education in the country, he called for collaboration between Nigerian universities and other institutions abroad to effectively carry out problem-solving research with global impact.

L-R: Air Commodore, Nnamdi Ananaba, Air Vice Marshal Kingsley Lar welcoming the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar to the 2019 Airforce lecture in Abuja...Saturday. Photo: Wale Elekolusi.

TETFund: varsities, others get N10m for research training T he Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, has allocated N10 million to each public university, polytechnic and college of education to organise trainings for lecturers on how to write research proposals. Executive secretary of TETFund, Prof Suleiman Bogoro, who disclosed this at an Interactive Session with Directors of Research of Nigerian Universities in Abuja, said the move became necessary following the inability of majority of Nigerian lecturers to write grant-wining proposals. Bogoro expressed worry at the low capacity of Nigerian researchers to even write fundable research proposals, adding that 7080 per cent of research proposals submitted to TETFund were dropped

at first sight as they lacked the basic ingredients of research. “At TETFund, for the first time this year, in our 2019 budget, I created N10 million available for all beneficiary institutions for capacity building training for research proposal writing. It has never happened before; and I am insisting that N10 million will be made available. “The vice chancellors, rectors and provosts will give a weeklong capacity building training or workshop annually to improve the capacity of our researchers in proposal writing so that we can win grants,” he said. The TETFund boss advocated for a National Assembly legislation that appreciates research and development, warning that whatever was achieved at the

interactive session could be only at the surface if the university system does not get the buy-in of the legislature by way of bills or other legislations. He pledged to collaborate with the National Universities Commission, NUC, to advance research and development in the country, while calling on other agencies with similar mandates to come together and complement the effort of each other. “In Nigeria, agencies that have similar mandates but arguably with a collective call of changing Nigeria want to operate as islands; they are mutually exclusive in their operations; so even in the complementary areas of their mandates that they ought to work together we lose it all. “We should reflect over the role of research

in the agenda of development. Most of our universities are missing that purpose. “We celebrate publications, not research that solve economic technological and societal problems. That is where we missed it all. “Many of the times we make the mistake of patronising charlatans instead of experts; we cannot move forward with that attitude; we just have to correct it,” he said. He disclosed that with the approval of the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, TETFund has made allocations in its 2019 budget for a Research and development Standing Committee which will draw some of Nigeria’s best researchers within Nigeria and from the diaspora to come and sit and look very deeply at issues.

Why we cancelled results of 2 centres in Abia


he Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, has said it cancelled the results of two Computer Based, CBT, centres in Abia State because of “widespread irregularities” during the conduct of the 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME. JAMB, in its Weekly Bulletin released by its Spokesperson, Dr Fabian Benjamin, said all the results of the examination sessions conducted by the Board in the two centres from April 11 to 18, 2019 were null and void. The Board gave the names of the CBT centres as Heritage and Infinity CBT centre and Okwyzil Computer Institute Comprehensive School Ugwunabo, Aba, Abia State. According to the exam body, the drastic action was necessitated by the visual evidence obtained from a careful review of the CCTV recordings by a panel of experts engaged by the Board. “However, in order not to unduly punish honest and hardworking candidates who found themselves attached to these two centres, the Board magnanimously relocated all the candidates who had taken or were scheduled to take their examination in the two centres to other centres where they had subsequently taken their examinations,” it said. JAMB apologised to innocent candidates involved in the relocation for inconveniencies they may have suffered and reaffirmed its avowed commitment to providing equal opportunity to all candidates to articulate their hopes and aspirations. Meanwhile, no fewer than 100 examination cheats were arrested by security operatives across the country. JAMB said the fraudsters were engaged in multiple registration to facilitate impersonation during the examination, a problem that it noted was inflating annual registration of the UTME exercise for up to 30 per cent.


April 29 - May 5, 2019


The global nutrition crisis I

By Ijeoma UKAZU

nvestment in nutrition, according to experts would prevent nearly half of child mortalities, boost the economy by 50 percent and increase school attendance. For every dollar invested in reducing stunting among children, there is a return on investment of $16 dollars. Children are also likely to escape poverty by 33 percent in adulthood if adequate investment on nutrition is made. Studies suggests that adequate nutrition, healthy and regular physical activity can increase feelings of well-being and decrease feelings of anxiety and depression, hence, poor diet, inadequate or excessive physical activity or a combination of these, can lead to serious health problems. Nutrition experts said it is important to note that various nutritional situation gives rise to health consequences and outcomes. These nutritional situations ranges from; optimum nutrition where there is food security for individuals with balanced, adequate and prudent diet and the health consequences for this situation is normal development and high quality of life. The reverse is the case for undernutrition which is associated with hunger; over-nutrition also linked to obesity, cardiovascular disease and malnutrition known to be associated with double burden of infectious diseases. Poor nutrition is a direct cause of deficiency diseases such as scurvy and pellagra. Poor nutrition can have a more subtle effect on our health as it can contribute to the development of osteoporosis and the progression of some form of cancer. In the United States of America, poor nutrition has been associated with three chronic diseases that are among the ten causes of death namely; heart diseases, stroke and diabetes. In Nigeria, poor nutrition has been linked to child malnutrition and contributing to the death of children under five years. According to a 2014 National Bureau of Statistics Survey, NBS, maternal nutrition, mother’s educational level as well as poor exclusive breast feeding habits put at 40 percent were major contributors to children’s nutritional status. The NBS Survey also revealed that there was significant variation in number of live births by women who took Vitamin A, Iron, Iodine, and Zinc supplements, while uneducated women of 15 to 19 years were less likely than women in age 20 to 49 years to have taken iron supplements during pregnancy. These micro nutrients derived from adequate dietary intake is responsible for the health, growth and development of children, while the lack of it is accountable for the death of more than three million children each year globally. Child malnutrition is prevalent in six geo-political zones of the country,

but experts say in Nigeria, children in the North Eastern States of Adamawa, Yobe and Borno are the worst hit. According to latest data by United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, about 50 percent of children in 12 Northern States of Nigeria are stunted while only 20 percent of their age mates across the country have the same condition. To address global crisis of poor nutrition as well as improving the skills of journalists in the area of nutrition reportage, Nestlé Nigeria in collaboration with Lagos Business School, Pan Atlantic University organised a four-day workshop entitled: “Advancing Nutrition, Health and Wellness through the Media” in Lagos recently. Making her presentation, Dr. Ijeoma Nwagwu, Department of Strategy, Sustainability and Entrepreneurship, Lagos Business School sited a United Nations report of September 2018 on the state of food security and nutrition which says over 821 million individuals in 2017 are malnourished and 150 million children are stunted globally. Nwagwu said, that a UNICEF report also states that, Nigeria has the second highest burden of malnutrition globally while 25 million under five children are wasted, stressing that the first 1000 days of life is key and adequate nutrition is needed. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, three which is ‘Good Health and Wellbeing’, Dr. Nwagwu said, there is need for strong media institution to drive better nutrition, health and wellbeing of people. Worried on the global effect of poor nutrition, the President, Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Dr. Bartholomew Brai said every year, malnutrition costs the global economy millions of

dollars in lost productivity and health care cost. He said better nutrition means stronger immune system, less illness and better health. A World Health Organisation, WHO, report says better nutrition is an entry point to ending poverty and a mile stone to achieving better quality of life. The world body also in its 2018 report said, freedom from hunger and malnutrition is a basic human right and their alleviation is a fundamental prerequisite for Human and National development. Dr. Brai who is also a lecturer at the Department of Biochemistry, Federal University Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State, however raised concerns about food safety as a public health issues as incidence of food-borne diseases are reportedly increasing worldwide and posing potential risk to consumers than the nutritional aspect of the diet. To create a robust strategy to address looming food crisis, a food production expert, Mr Ayodeji Balogun said there is need for robust strategies such as quality standards, education and financial incentives to address global crisis of poor health and economic loss. Balogun, who is also the Regional Country Manager, West Africa, AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited, said “how and what we eat plays a major role in our health, culture as well as our happiness; but we rarely consider the tremendous economic impact of our food choice.” He added that Sub-optimal nutrition is the leading cause of poor health globally as nutrition is at the heart of many of the most important psychological, emotional and economic issues in our lives. Balogun said that about 60 percent of the workforce came from

agriculture, while almost five million people in the North-East were malnourished according to a 2018 Global Food Crisis report. According to him, while agriculture is a good opportunity, there is also a huge gap in terms of access to food, nutrition and wellbeing. He said “in 2018, 113 million people, across 53 countries in the world, experienced acute hunger, requiring urgent food, nutrition and livelihoods assistance. “Over the next 20 years, chronic diseases are predicted to cause more than 30 billion dollars of cumulative economic losses worldwide, owing to excess healthcare spending, reduced productivity and loss of capital investments. A lot of these diseases are already attributable to lifestyle changes.” Sharing the Nestlé experience with the food market and Creating Shared Value, Mrs Victoria Uwadoka, Corporate Communication Affairs Manager said, Nestlé is creating shared value by enhancing the competitive position of its company while at the same time advancing the society in which it operates. Though with challenges of high rejection rate at factory gate due to poor grain quality, Uwadoka said, Nestlé have been able to create social impact to its farmers as 30,000 farmers were trained on good farming practices, 18 small holder farmers grew to become Agri-Business Coaches and the farmer household income improved by 27 percent over 18 months. Uwadoka said on the business impact, there has been improved grain quality, reduction in factory gate rejection as for instance, maize reduced from 15 percent to four percent in one year.

April 29 - May 5, 2019


WORLD TIT-BITS Spain election: Polls open in contest marked by far-right resurgence


olls have opened across Spain for the country’s third general election in four years. The election is marked by the rise of the far right movement Vox, which opposes multiculturalism and has threatened to end self-rule for regions like Catalonia. Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has presented himself as a bulwark against the advance of the hard right. Polls suggest his party will lead the vote but no single group will win an overall majority. The final opinion poll in El Pais newspaper last Monday put the Socialists (PSOE) at about 30%, the conservative People’s Party (PP) at around 20%, the centre-right Ciudadanos and leftleaning Podemos both near 14% and the far right Vox party at about 11%. However, the poll also showed that up to four in 10 voters had yet to make up their minds. Emotive issues dominated a highly polarised election campaign, particularly the future of Catalonia. The semiautonomous region held an independence referendum in October 2017 and declared its independence from Spain weeks later. A dozen of its leaders have since gone on trial in Madrid, facing charges including rebellion and sedition. Analysts say support for Vox has been boosted by widespread anger at the independence drive. The party fervently opposes any concessions to the secessionists. Women’s rights have also been a key campaigning topic. Gender-based violence has provoked debate and street protests across Spain for years and more politicians than ever are courting women’s votes.

Families have been left displaced by the cyclones

U.S synagogue hit by deadly shooting A gunman opened fire at a synagogue in California on Saturday, killing one woman and wounding three other people, police said. A 19-year-old man named as John Earnest was arrested after the attack, in Poway, north of the city of San Diego. The synagogue had been hosting a Passover celebration when the gunman burst in, reports said.

Police did not suggest a motive but US President Donald Trump said the attack appeared to be “a hate crime”. The attack comes exactly six months after a shooting in Pittsburgh in which 11 people were killed, thought to be the worst anti-Semitic attack in recent US history. San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore told reporters that

investigators were reviewing the suspect’s social media activity and examining a virulently anti-Semitic “open letter” published online. In the letter, which appeared on the online forum 8chan hours before the attack, the author - who identified himself as John Earnest - said he was inspired by the attack on two Christchurch mosques last month, as well as

the Pittsburgh shooting. Authorities later said Mr Earnest was under investigation in connection with a fire at a mosque last month. “During the shooting, four individuals were wounded and transported to Palomar hospital,” Sheriff Gore said. “One succumbed to their wounds. The other three are in stable condition.”

Cyclone wipes out entire villages in Mozambique, says UN


powerful cyclone has “entirely wiped out” villages in Mozambique, according to a UN official. Gemma Connell, the head of the regional Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha), said it looked from the air like areas had been “run over by a bulldozer”. Cyclone Kenneth struck on Thursday with winds of 220km/h (140mph). It came barely a month after Cyclone Idai killed more than 900 people across three countries. In a video posted on Twitter after flying

over the affected area, Ms Connell pledged to work with local authorities “to get people the supplies they need”. Almost 20,000 people have taken shelter in makeshift displacement

centres, including schools and churches, our correspondent adds. A UN spokesman said a total of five people have now died, quoting Mozambique’s government, according to reports.

One person was earlier reported to have been killed when Cyclone Kenneth struck after being crushed by a falling tree. The storm also killed three people on the island nation of Comoros.

Egypt Coptic monks sentenced to death for killing bishop


wo former Coptic Christian monks have been sentenced to death in Egypt over the murder of a bishop last year, officials have confirmed. Bishop Epiphanius, 64, was found dead in a pool of blood in July 2018 at a desert monastery north-west of Cairo. Authorities blamed

the killing on unspecified “differences” between the monks and the bishop. The punishment was originally handed down in February, before being passed down to Egypt’s grand mufti for review. On Wednesday, the Damanhur Criminal Court confirmed the men’s death sentences.

One of the monks, Wael Saad, reportedly told Egyptian prosecutors he had used an iron pole to bludgeon the bishop to death. Another, named Remon Rasmi, was accused of helping him. Saad and Rasmi, who are also known by their monastic names of Ashiah and Faltaous, can appeal against their sentencing.

Mayor Steve Vaus said the rabbi had been shot in the hand. “For this to happen only a week later at the end of the Passover, only a week after Easter is horrific,” Mr Vaus told MSNBC. Sheriff Gore said officers were called to the Chabad synagogue just before 11:30 (18:30 GMT) after the man opened fire with an “AR-15 type” assault rifle. He said an off-duty border patrol officer fired at the suspect as he fled the scene in a vehicle, but did not hit him. The suspect was later arrested by another officer, said San Diego chief of police David Nisleit. “He clearly saw the suspect’s vehicle, the suspect jumped out with his hands up and was immediately taken into custody,” Mr Nisleit said. “As the officer was placing this 19-year-old male into custody, he clearly saw a rifle on the front passenger seat of the suspect vehicle.” On Saturday evening a vigil for the victims was held at the Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church in San Diego.


April 29 - May 5, 2019



Loopholes in tax system limits revenue collections -FG Stories by Sarah NEGEDU


resident Muhammadu Buhari said government is aware of some of the loopholes in the Nigerian tax system, as reflected in the low revenue being generated from the sector. He said the federal government is taking steps to change the narrative by ensuring that the level of commercial activities in the country is reflected in its tax system. The President who was speaking at the opening session of the 21st annual tax conference of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, said the federal government would deploy dynamic initiatives towards boosting the country’s revenue from taxation. Represented at the event by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mahmoud Dutse, the President insisted that, “Our tax system must reflect the nature of our commercial activity levels. Oil is just above 10 percent of our GDP but it represents a disproportionate share of our tax revenue. “We will, therefore, develop a framework that mobilises revenue from the non - oil sector. Our tax system must be dynamic in order to respond to an ever evolving commercial landscape and to increasing technology driven business models. “As part of our drive to increase non -oil revenue, we have set an aggressive target for increasing tax collection. This is a reflection of the fact that the current level of compliance is low and in some cases, the effective tax rate paid by those that are compliant is lower than expected.” Buhari said his administration had been instrumental to critical reforms in the Nigerian tax system, through the introduction of the

Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme and the Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularisation Scheme. He said, “On the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme, for instance, 5,122 applications were received, at the end of July 2018, when the

Scheme had gone through a 12 -month cycle and entered sunset. “Out of these applications, 1, 006 made full payment, 1, 613 had outstanding payments to make and 2, 503 fell under those who did not furnish adequate information on their tax status. “Arising from these a p p l i c a t i o n s ,

N92.67bIllion tax liability was declared. N34.67billion had been paid out of declared liability. The outstanding liability of N56.81billion will be paid in instalments. “In all, 16,906 assets were declared under VAIDS. Of these, 3, 317 are immovable assets, 13, 771 are moveable assets,

while 205 represented intangible assets and Investments.” He called for a change of attitude by Nigerians towards the payment of taxes, adding that situations where people deliberately refused to pay their taxes were inimical to the objectives of the government to grow the economy.

L-R: President, Smith Graham, Ms Donna Sims Wilson, CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele and Director General, Debt Management Office, Ms. Patience Oniha during an evening with the CBN Governor at the just concluded Spring Joint Meeting of the IMF/World Bank in Washington DC. Photo: Wale Elekolusi.

SIM registration: 95mn cards valid, undergoing verification


he Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has cleared the air on the supposed invalidation of over 95million Subscriber Identity Module, SIM, cards, explaining that the affected cards are merely undergoing some form of verification. The regulator claims that the 95.7million affected SIM cards reported in sections of the media were figures from initial scrubbing exercise, adding that subsequent process enhancements by the NCC and operators however led to better quality submissions. Some media had reported the NCC to have declared 95.7million SIM cards invalid due to improper registration, with a call to affected SIM cards owners to go back to registration centres for proper capturing. However, NCC said in

a statement said that improperly registered SIM cards are valid but only undergoing scrubbing and verifications. “The attention of the Nigerian Communications Comm-ission has been drawn to media reports to the effect that 95.7million subscriber registrations are invalid. Understandably, this needs further clarification for the benefit of subscribers and other critical stakeholders who rely on subscriber registration data. “The Commission therefore wishes to clarify that the process of scrubbing registration data submitted by operators is an ongoing one and that so far, over 60million records have been “scrubbed” successfully. ‘Scrubbing’ in telecoms parlance refers to the screening process of

verifying biometric and personal information submitted by all operators in respect of each of their subscribers. The regulator explained that although the figures quoted in the news reports were disclosed at a Sensitization Workshop to illustrate the quality of initial data s u b m i s s i o n s , subsequent process enhancements by the NCC and operators have led to better quality submissions. “The process is ongoing, and is constantly being reviewed for higher efficiency. NCC disclosed the outcome of its initial scrubbing exercise at the Sensitization Workshop in order to underscore the need for subscriber registration agents and operators to ensure strict adherence to the Subscriber Registration

Regulations of 2011 as well as the technical specifications for subscriber registration. Executive Commissioner, Stake-holder Management of NCC, Mr. Sunday Dare, was reported to have said 95million subscribers have had their SIM data improperly captured by the telecoms operators, fuelling crimes like kidnapping in the country. Dare was quoted at the South South regional sensitisation workshop on the dangers of fraudulently activated SIM cards organised by the commission in Port Harcourt, to have said, “A total of 151,449,837 registration data of subscribers have been processed, with only 55,749,652 records valid, making 63.2 per cent of the total records invalid based on invalid face capturing and fingerprints.”

No plan to remove fuel subsidy yet –Minister


espite the allege increase on the landing cost of petroleum and the IMF recommendation to end the fuel subsidy regime in Nigeria, the federal government maintains that there is no plan to remove fuel subsidy at this time. The International Monetary Fund, IMF, had advised Nigeria at the just concluded Spring Meetings in Washington DC, USA, to end the subsidy regime and free up more resources for educational projects. The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, has assured that the current subsidy arrangement which was in the form of under recovery by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, was far better than what was obtainable when oil marketers were paid directly for fuel subsidy. Ahmed, in a statement by her Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Paul Ella Abechi, said, “NNPC is the sole importer of petroleum products, and so when they import it is the cost of business and they deduct that cost before they remit the little money to the federation account. So that is completely different. “It is more cost effective, it is cheaper and what is being done now is easier to monitor what transpired. “We are not there yet and we discuss this periodically under the Economic Management Team. But we have not found a formula that works for Nigeria and you know Nigeria is unique because what works in Ghana may not work in here. “So, it is still work in progress and so there is no intention to remove fuel subsidy at this time.” On borrowing, the Minister said Nigeria’s debt which currently stands at about N24.3trillion is still within sustainable limit.

April 29 - May 5, 2019



TCN completes 60MVA Ekim substation …NERC issues permits to 11 meter providers Stories by Sarah NEGEDU


he Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, said it has completed and energised a 60MVA 132/ 33kV power transformer and three outgoing 33kV feeder bays in the first phase of the transmission substation in Ekim, Akwa Ibom State. The spokesperson of TCN, Mrs. Ndidi Mbah, said the transformer was energised early in April and had been operational since then. TCN said although the first phase had been completed and energised, the 2x60MVA capacity substation would be completed with the installation of another 60MVA transformer and three feeder bays. The Ekim Transmission Substation project is being executed in collaboration with the Akwa Ibom State Government. While TCN provides and installs the transformers, switchgears and gantries using its inhouse engineers, the Akwa Ibom State Government is providing all the civil works associated with the execution of the project. With this, TCN said it now has available additional 48MW of bulk power supply for PHEDC to offtake through the three feeders to its customers such as the Akwa Ibon State University, Coconut Oil Refinery and Meter Manufacturing. Meanwhile, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has issued permits to Meter Asset Providers to supply meters to customers who receive electricity supply from four power distribution companies. The permits were issued to meter providers that are to supply meters to customers in the franchise areas of Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Plc, Yola Electricity Distribution Company Plc, Enugu Electricity Distribution Company Plc and Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company Plc. NERC said the permits were issued in accordance with its Meter Asset Provider Regulations, adding that the meter

providers were successful in the procurement processes that were done by the Discos. According to the power sector regulator, “issued permits to PHED, YEDC, EEDC and IBEDC Meter Asset Providers in accordance with section 4 (3) of the MAP Regulations – NERC - R112 of 2018, to MAPs that were successful in the p r o c u r e m e n t s conducted by PHED, YEDC, EEDC and IBEDC.”

The regulation requires all electricity distribution licensees to engage meter providers that would assist, as investors, in closing the metering gap in the country. The commission further stated that the fours discos appointed 11 companies to provide meters within their respective franchise under MAP. While PHED had appointed two, YEDC and EEDC each appointed a

company, IBEDC appointed seven companies with the mandate of supplying meters to customers within their coverage areas. Rollout of meters will commence not later than the 1st of May 2019, even as NERC ask customers of the Discos to expect meters to be installed in their premises within 10 working days of making payment to MAPs in accordance with section

18(3) of the MAP Regulations 2018. It said the meter providers shall charge an upfront amount of N36,991.50 for single phase meters and N67,055.85 for three phase meters respectively. “These costs of meters are inclusive of supply, installation, maintenance and replacement of meters over its technical life,” the regulator stated.

L-R: Senior Special Assistant to the President on Social Investment, Mr Isamil Ahmed, Country Director, Actionaid Nigeria, Ms. Ene Obi, representative of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Mrs. Maryam Uwais and Program Officer, Ford Foundation, Mrs Eva Kouka during the launch of the Third Party Monitoring Programme Report on the National Investment Programme in Abuja, last Wednesday. Photo: Wale Elekolusi.

AfDB’s investment to Nigeria hits $4.5bn in March


he African Development Bank, AfDB, says its investment in Nigeria now stands at $4.5 billion as at March 2019. According to the Media Relations Officer of the bank, Mr Emeka Anuforo, AfDB’s active portfolio in the country comprised 60 operations which included 28 public sector operations. He said, “At the end of March 2019, the bank’s active portfolio in Nigeria comprises 60 operations with total commitments of US$4.5 billion. “These include 28 public sector operations with total commitments

of US$1.7 billion (21 national and seven regional); 34 nonsovereign operations with total commitments of US$2.8 billion.” Meanwhile, Anuforo said the AfDB’s President, Akinwumi Adesina, while on a recent visit to President Muhammadu Buhari, thanked him for his support to the bank and pledged the AfDB’s commitment to fast tracking Africa’s development. Adesina also highlighted several reforms at the bank and strategic efforts to moving the bank’s operations closer to countries. The Media Officer

quoted Adesina as saying that, “the bank’s robust operations in Nigeria have had significant results and impacts on the ground, and continued to accelerate the country’s e c o n o m i c transformation as well as improved the lives of millions.” Following Nigeria’s request to the bank, Adesina reported that the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, had accepted to co-chair a multi-billion fundraising session to revive the Lake Chad, a strategic effort that had major climate, economic, agricultural and e m p l o y m e n t

implications for the region. Responding, President Buhari commended the AfDB for its successes and pledged Nigeria’s continuous support for the institution: “I want to recognize the support that the African Development Bank has given Nigeria in recent times. “I remember the bank’s critical gesture in 2016 during the difficult period of economic recession through a US$600 million budget support facility. “We appreciate this and assure you that we will continue to work towards a diversified Nigeria.”

FG 30-yr bond records 400% oversubscription on debut


nvestors showed keen interest for the N20billion 30-year Federal Government of Nigeria Bonds, as the Debt Management Office, DMO, recorded over 400percent oversubscription for the asset. Financiers were said to have staked N80.41billion on the N20billion Bonds issued by the debt office at the April 2019 FGN Bond Auction. According to the DMO, the bulk of the subscriptions came from asset managers and insurance companies who have been looking for long - term, good quality assets to buy in order to match their liabilities. “For the first time, the DMO introduced the 30 year FGN Bond into the market at the April 2019 FGN Bond Auction which held on Wednesday. “A total subscription of N80.41billion was received from investors for the N20billion offered by the DMO for the 30 -year bond, representing a 400 percent subscription rate. “With the success of the 30 -year bond offering, the DMO has reinforced its pioneering role in the domestic capital market by introducing another l o n g e r - d a t e d instrument which for the government, represents appropriate funding for infrastructure and an effective tool for spreading out its liabilities, while for the private sector, it provides an avenue for other issuers, such as corporates, to access longer- term funding for their projects.” The DMO offered a total of N100billion in tenors of five, 10 and 30 years at the auction and received total subscriptions of N149.30billion, representing a total subscription level of about 150percent. Consequently, it allotted a total of N97.40billion to successful bidders at 14.50percent for the five -year, 14 .55 percent for the 10 - year and 14 .80 percent for the 30 – year FGN Bond.


April 29 - May 5, 2019

James 3:7-8 “For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” The mouth contains the teeth, passages to the throat and tongue. The tongue is a part of the body which is vital for human beings to swallow, talk or taste. A human being who cannot make use of his tongue is termed deaf. The creation of everything seen is as a result of the potency of maximizing the mouth. Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” The mouth is the It takes the Holy Spirit to tame the tongue: An average woman speaks about 20,000 words and a man speaks 7,000 words per day. The more the words, the prevalence of lies, deceits, hypocrisy and bad habits. Proverbs 10:19 “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.” Deadly poisons of the tongue 1. The Poison of lie: This is the commonest of all sins. There is no small or big lie: Lie is lie. No person wants to be disgraced or embarrassed and so they lie to cover a secret or an act. This is not to advocate for lie but to understand that, lie will keep begatting lies, hence, cultivate the habit of speaking the truth: Truth will be truth and it stands the test of time forever. When your conscience is deadened, lies

neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the Lord.”

Taming your tongue come without hesitation. Let your conscience guide you. 1 Timothy 4:2 “Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;” Proverbs 6:16-17 “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,” 2. The Poison of Flattery: This is praising someone insincerely in order to gain favour for yourself. Flatterers are everywhere and when you lose touch with God, flatteries become your aim to achieve significance. Let’s not worship humans, especially in giving accolades or encomiums more than God. Isaiah 42:8 “I am the Lord: that is my name:

and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” 3. Profane Language: This is immoral, indecent, unwholesome and unruly talks. Some of us will not talk but will keep quiet when they are being said around us: both the passive and active users of the words are guilty. If you don’t act when those words are spoken around you, they will dwell in your heart and start ministering negatively to your spirit man. Profanity is poisonous. Revelation 21:27 “And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, nor maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Leviticus 18:21 “And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech,

4. Tale bearing: Tale bearing is spreading gossip and rumours: It is the ability out of jealousy and envy to separate friends. This is the principal cause of division and rancour in churches. Talebearers are highly poisonous and always want to recruit followers to demystify or jeopardize your personality/friends/ marriages. Talebearers are crafty and cunning people always causing troubles. Be wary of tale bearing and always examine yourself to be sure, you are not a talebearer. Leviticus 19:16 “Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the Lord.” Proverbs 26:20 “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.” 1 Timothy 5:13 “And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.” Romans 16:17 “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” Proverbs 11:13 “A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.” TO BE CONTINUED


What we can do to end malaria By W. Stuart SYMINGTON


n World Malaria Day, the United States is proud to recognize our partnership with Nigeria and support your fight to beat this deadly disease. We salute all Nigeria’s health champions—from health workers to mothers, pharmacists to drivers, journalists to researchers, teachers to warehouse managers— and all those working to end malaria. As a global community, we have achieved remarkable success. Together, we’ve cut malaria mortality by half in sub-Saharan Africa, and saved over 7 million lives since 2000. In Nigeria, the United States has contributed $495 million for malaria control since the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) began in 2011, distributing more than 26 million long

lasting insecticidal bed nets, 23 million malaria rapid diagnostic test kits, 52 million treatment courses, and 14 million doses of medication to prevent malaria in pregnancy. As we commemorate World Malaria Day on April 25, we celebrate this success. As the world’s leading donor in global health, the United States is committed to working with our partners to intensify efforts to end malaria for good. We know fighting malaria is a smart investment to protect health, create opportunity, and foster growth and security worldwide. And we know fighting malaria together makes us more e?ective and achieves greater impact than any of us could alone. Countries are best positioned to beat malaria with strong partnerships behind them. American

partnership—including technical and financial commitments through the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) as well as the U.S. contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria—remains a cornerstone for continued global progress. Since 2011, PMI, led by the U.S. Agency for I n t e r n a t i o n a l Development and implemented together with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has partnered with Nigeria to support their fight against malaria. PMI’s transformative programs in Nigeria leverage and strengthen national leadership, resources, and systems to deliver lifesaving interventions more effectively and promote enduring malaria control gains. PMI walks alongside

partner countries on their journey to end malaria as an evolving, but enduring partner— promoting and building their self-reliance. PMI empowers every person, every community, and every country to fight malaria as an equal, valued, and essential partner. This year ’s World Malaria Day theme – Zero Malaria Starts with Me – recognizes this role we all play in ending malaria. So today we call on everyone – national governments, donors, communities, families, faith leaders, the private sector, and many others – to fight this deadly disease alongside us. Together we can scale proven interventions to close coverage gaps. We can share research, best practices, and data to stay ahead. We can welcome new products, players, and processes to advance our fight. This World Malaria Day, we are proud to

Ambassdor Symington

reaffirm the commitment of the United States to continuing this global progress and ending malaria in Nigeria. And I extend our hand in partnership to all of those who will join us.

Zero malaria starts with me, you, and everyone working together for a more prosperous and healthy future for all. Symington is the United States Ambassador to Nigeria.

April 29 - May 5, 2019



Between Estimated Billing and Estimated Vote Counting Systems in Nigeria N

igeria has largely experienced one system of doing things: estimation, and this is based on the fact that as an African society it is mostly a traditional rather than a scientific culture. One major property of scientific cultures is exactitude, which is parallel to a major ingredient of traditional societies, approximation, according to Odera Oruka. Exactitude runs through scientific cultures in many ways. For example while a Nigerian may guess where you are going even if you mispronounce it, it is quite difficult for an Englishman or an American to do the same. Also a Nigerian mechanic generally works by approximation whereas most technicians in scientific cultures work with precision tools. Approximation may have its value in the sense that it gets things done anyway even if not exactly; as G.K. Chesterton would say, “what is worth doing is worth doing badly.” The danger however is the imposition of human sentiment and will. We witness this a lot through the estimated electricity billing system. I once had a strong argument with a National Electricity Power Authority (NEPA) official when he visited our offices in Calabar and the next month our bill was tripled! On the other hand friends could get their bills slashed. We all remember what it was with Nigerian Telecommunications and their billing system! The success of the GSM telecommunication in Nigeria has mainly been due to the fact of the exactitude of its billing system. When carriers began with per minute billing which was a form of approximation, it was an indigenous company, GLO that caused a turn around with per second billing which was more precise. Since then all the providers have turned to per second billing and the prepaid model has worked for the ordinary Nigerian. The success of the GSM system shows that industrial peace and harmony could be achieved between users and operators because of the neutrality of technology. We know that technology could be manipulated but generally the introduction of technology apart from facilitating processes helps African cultures which are more prone to gratification and prebendalism to downplay the human factor. See what technology has done in the banking system with the introduction of the Bank Verification Number (BVN) and the introduction of automation in personnel pay systems, saving millions for government, millions which were being routed to private pockets of civil servants. Technology has been a

friend of the ordinary Nigerian, saving him from official corruption, as the average Nigerian has a tendency to apply undue discretion as the rule rather than the exception. Undue discretion led to the collapse of Nigeria Airways and many industries. Technology has been a principal means of restoring confidence in public and private business systems which were rather seen as dysfunctional or corrupt. Before the 2019 presidential election, INEC- the electoral umpire, of the President Obasanjo days was the most corrupt. The level of collusion between officials of state and officials of INEC was unprecedented. Rigging in the form of massive finger printing and stuffing of ballot papers, ballot box snatching, polling unit violence, were the order of the day. Nigerians came to accept rigging as part of the electoral process especially knowing that parties could only rig where they were the strongest. Goodluck Jonathan’s first election in 2011 was seen as credible even though parties still rigged largely because the umpire was seen as neutral and also because there seemed to be a distance between the president and the principal electoral umpire Atahiru Jega. The fresh air mantra, the ordinariness and humility of Jonathan thus won him the election. By 2015 Nigerians’ faith in the electoral system was heightened because of the hope of technology. Jonathan’s apparent ineptitude was not going to be carried forward. What with the smart card reader! The idea that every adult would have a permanent voter’s card which would be recognized by a smart card reader for accreditation meant that a major headache of electoral fraud would be overcome and number of votes would match number of accredited voters. But it did appear that in the 2015 elections those in the north had intel earlier than their counterparts in the south that the smart card readers might not count if there were any challenges associated with accreditation. This seemed to be responsible for early round up of elections in many southern states with the result that by the time INEC announced that smart card readers could be put aside, it was already too late for many Southern states to reap the kind of humungous figures their northern counterparts had safe for a few states. The victory at the Supreme Court of Peoples’ Democratic Party controlled states of Rivers and AKWA Ibom on the basis of electronic systems not recognized in the electoral act spurred INEC to seek the revision of the Electoral Act to include electronic facilities. The assurance by INEC that all accreditation would be through the card reader galvanized the civil


By Rev. Fr. Evaristus Bassey

The current issue concerning INEC server is really a question of legality versus morality. While the electoral law did not provide for electronic transmission, INEC’s actual operations did factor in such technological provisions, although on a pilot basis. Indeed immediately after the elections a politician friend of mine confessed that he didn’t know that the role of the Assistant Polling Officer (APO) was crucial.

society to have confidence in the electoral system especially since voters for the first time had been able to push out an incumbent in 2015. Again it was quite disillusioning to realize that despite the assurances some states especially in the north voted without use of card readers for accreditation in the 2019 elections. Again the ruling party apparently intended to cash in on the judgment of the Supreme Court which validated Wike and Udom’s elections in 2015 and benefited the opposition so President Buhari downplayed the role of electronic facilities in the electoral process by not signing the revised electoral bill into law! It seemed then that one could do anything and get away with it despite technological evidences so long as the electoral act did not capture electronic facilitation. Whereas the Obasanjo government, the Y’Ardua, and especially Jonathan’s did not impede the advancements in the electoral act as could enhance a free and fair poll, the APC government under Buhari has not done anything tangible to improve electoral credibility and has rather given the impression that it took advance steps to secure controversial electoral wins. The current issue concerning INEC server is really a question of legality versus morality. While the electoral law did not provide for electronic transmission, INEC’s actual operations did factor in such technological provisions, although on a pilot basis. Indeed immediately after the elections a politician friend of mine confessed that he didn’t know that the role of the Assistant Polling Officer (APO) was crucial. Apparently he had ignored the APO even when he was advised to extend courtesies by the PO. It wasn’t until later in the day that he came to understand that the APO was the electronic collation officer and the one that would transmit the result to the INEC server after the parties had signed off. I dare say that not many politicians knew that this aspect was part of INEC processes otherwise they would have been more careful to ‘work’ on the APOs. What the APOs did therefore may have been the equivalent of entries in a bank account’s profile which are extremely difficult to go back and

manipulate. Even if INEC did not intend it for the purpose of announcing results, there is an INEC server and it is public knowledge that results were transmitted electronically from every ward directly into the server and such a result would have suffered less manual manipulation. The reality is that even if evidence is brought forward at the end of the day that results were truly transmitted electronically, the hurdle would be proving its legality as there is already a precedent established by the Supreme Court, although no law also specifically says it is illegal to have done so. Unfortunately the Nigerian judiciary has had its dirty linens so washed publicly that the Supreme Court is not expected to muster such courage as to make a moral judgment and ruling. The opposition candidate Abubakar Atiku could therefore win the moral argument in the court of public opinion supported by hard data in the INEC server if he ever gets access to it but there appears to be no more court in the land that would move past legality to morality. The tragic effect of all this is that except for party affiliates, the nonpartisan Nigerian may already have lost appetite for anything electoral, knowing that his vote matters only if and when the authorities want it to matter, as happened mostly with the governorship elections; and not because there is any independent umpire that would rake in authentic results irrespective of the disposition of those in authority. Now that Nigeria is in this cul de sac, the least PMB should do is to sign off on the electoral act so we officially consign estimated vote count to the past, the way we are trying to do away with estimated billing systems. Removing the barriers obstructing the true will of the people could be the greatest anticorruption fight and a springboard to rapid development for then elected officials would be accountable, knowing that they were bound to perform well or be voted out. As at now it doesn’t really matter whether they perform well or not, they would win anyway. Bassey, a Catholic priest, writes from the U.K.


April 29 - May 5, 2019


Engineers make injectable tissues a reality


simple injection that can help regrow damaged tissue has long been the dream of physicians and patients alike. A new study from researchers at UBC Okanagan moves that dream closer to reality with a device that makes encapsulating cells much faster, cheaper and more effective. “The idea of injecting different kinds of tissue cells is not a new one,” says Keekyoung Kim, assistant professor of engineering at UBC Okanagan and study co-author. “It’s an enticing concept because by introducing cells into damaged tissue, we can supercharge the body’s own processes to regrow and repair an injury.” Kim says everything from broken bones to torn

ligaments could benefit from this kind of approach and suggests even whole organs could be repaired as the technology improves. The problem, he says, is that cells on

their own are delicate and tend not to survive when injected directly into the body. “It turns out that to ensure cell survival, they need to be encased in a coating

that protects them from physical damage and from the body’s own immune system,” says Mohamed Gamal, doctoral student in biomedical engineering and study

lead author. “But it has been extremely difficult to do that kind of cell encapsulation, which has until now been done in a very costly, time consuming and

L-R: Marketing Director, Hygiene and Home Reckitt Benckiser, Ms. Leferink Aliza, Chairman, World Malaria Day Committee, Dr. Uzodinma Adirieje, Mission Director, United States Agency for International Development, Mr. Stephen Haykin and Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, during the World Malaria Day celebration in Abuja...Thursday. Photo: Wale Elekolusi.

wasteful process.” Kim and Gamal have solved that problem by developing an automated encapsulation device that encases many cells in a microgel using a specialized blue laser and purifies them to produce a clean useable sample in just a few minutes. The advantage of their system is that over 85 per cent of the cells survive and the process can be easily scaled up. “Research in this area has been hampered by the cost and lack of availability of mass-produced cell encapsulated microgels,” says Kim. “We’ve solved that problem and our system could provide thousands or even tens of thousands of cellencapsulated microgels rapidly, supercharging this field of bioengineering.”

Rotary Intl. donates $5.7m for polio in Nigeria T Ngige under fire over comment on doctors By Williams ABAH

he Rotary International has donated the sum of $5 million to continue the fight against polio in Nigeria. The donation was handed over to UNICEF Country Representative Nigeria, Dr. Pernille Ironside. Speaking at the event held in Abuja, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, commended Rotary International for the donation and called on other partners to support Nigeria on its efforts to become polio-free country. Adewole said Nigeria is on its last lap to end polio in the next couple of months, adding that Nigeria would be certified polio free in no distance time, just as he said that the Federal Ministry of Health has put all measures in place to end polio in the country. He, however, said that the most important thing is for all children that are previously inaccessible in the North-East to have access and get vaccinations before the

certification. The minister commended the National Primary Health Care

Development Agency, NPHCDA, for routine immunization in the country, noting that there

is great improvement on the coverage of immunization. “There is tremendous

improvement on the routine immunization, but we are not there yet, we need to work hard to ensure

By Williams ABAH

Nigeria’s health system. They further stated that while other countries are keeping their best brains, a minister is happy that Nigerians best brains are being exported just because he can afford to travel abroad for medical treatment. One of the r e s p o n d e n t s interviewed, Mr. Ajuro Asouk, said “how did we get here, how can one be so learned and yet so ignorant, Chris Ngige is a real disappointment, he would have gone into serious research to enables him knows what it takes to build a health system in a country” Dr. Amos Diya, of Nyanya General Hospital Abuja, described the statement as negligence and an attempt by leader to run away from their core mandate and responsibility.

“I was surprised when I heard this statement credited to Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and who is also a stakeholder in the health sector. We are very far from a defined templates to build our health system in the country. “If such statement is coming from a person who is to canvass for better welfare package for Nigeria’s doctors in order to accommodate their service, it then means that Nigeria has nothing at hands in addressing medical tourism,” Diya stated. They also said that the comment by Ngige, has pointed to the fact that the APC led government has fails in their campaign promises of ending medical tourism in the country. Dr. Paul Odey, medical practitioner with Aja hospital Abuja, lamented the decay in

Nigeria health system, adding that the statement by Dr.Chris Ngige, will further discourage medical doctors, who are willing to stay and work in the country to leave the country as the statement by Ngige has not in any way addressing the plight of Nigeria’s medical doctors. “Ngige got it wrong. This is too bad at a time when we are gradually seen an increase in the number of medical practitioners in the country. We are not given special interest, in terms of good salary structure and allowances, like our counterparts in other countries, yet some of us sacrifice our service in order to save life”, Odey affirmed. He further stated that Ngige should withdraw the statement and apologize to Nigerians, especially his colleagues in the medical profession.


eactions have continued to trail the comment credited to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, that medical doctors are free to leave Nigeria because the country has enough hands. The comment has attracted wide condemnation from members of the public. Many Nigerians have slammed him for being ‘insensitive’ to the Nigerian health system A cross of Abuja residents who spoke to our correspondent described the statement as uncharitable, careless and unreasonable comment. They also argued Nigerians are disappointed to hear such negative comment from somebody who is a medical doctor and knows the challenges of

that we reach every child so that we can beat our chest and say yes we are there,” Adewole said. In his remarks, the chairman, Polio Plus Committee, Rotary International, Dr. Tunji Funsho, said that polio eradication is an expensive venture that requires everybody to be on board. According to him, “This donation would inspire other partners to come on board and support the Nigeria government, we in polio plus committee were reaching more and more children, more and more areas that are hitherto not accessible particularly with the support of the military”. Also speaking at the event, UNICEF Deputy Country Representatives Nigeria, Dr. Pernille Ironside said that the donation was to complement government effort on polio eradication in Nigeria. She said they are so interested to ensure that Nigeria is certified as polio free country, being the most populous country in Africa. “If Nigeria succeed other African Countries would succeed”, she said.

April 29 - May 5, 2019



Five years after, Nigerians ask, ‘where’re 112 Chibok Girls?’ On the night of April 14, 2014, Nigeria witnessed one of the most scandalous abductions in its history when 276 girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram from their hostels in Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State. While the incident sparked local and international protest championed by the “Bring Back our Girls” Foundation, which pressured government to rescue a number of them, five years after, at least, 112 of the girls are still under the captivity of terrorists. In this issue, Williams ABAH and Elizabeth OFFIONG encountered Nigerians who have not lost hope of the return of the girls. Excerpts: CYNTHIA OBIAH: It is rather sad and unfortunate that there is little hope to rescue the 112 Chibok girls, including the brave Leah, who are still in the hands of Boko Haram. How do we even know most of them are still alive? We are only left to wonder their current living conditions, as well as their mental and physical state. As to whether there is any brink of hope for them, I believe that is all we have. Hope! We pray for their safe return every day. OROK EKPO: As long as they are alive, I believe there is great hope for their safe return. However, there are a number of things I am deeply bothered about. For instance, some of these girls have been married off to these bandits; what is the guarantee that they have not developed Stockholm syndrome? What is their current mental state, even their physical wellbeing, are they healthy or their lifespan keeps reducing due to their living conditions? Our Nigerian army is doing the best they can to dissolve these rebels who have existed for too long in our nation. We need our girls back! OLUMIDE ADEDEJI: Five years! That is too much time to be held captive. Surely, a lot of the ladies would have given up hope of returning to their various families. Some of them who had been married off to members of the Boko Haram must have had children by now. It must be traumatizing for the ladies and their families. Hope! That is all they have left. It is now in the hands of the government to use the best strategy to get the remaining ladies released. The Bring Back Our Girls campaign has been silent for a while now. We can only hope the girls return safely. I pray they do not give up. And I urge the Nigerian Government not to give up on our daughters, sisters, and friends that are still in the hands of the terrorists. It will be a massive achievement if Boko Haram is flushed out of this nation completely, with our ladies released to us safely.

Cynthia Obiah

Haruna Awodi

Innocent Ogwu

Orok Ekpo

INNOCENT OGWU: For me, the hope of their release is not in sight. If you recall, prior to the 2015 general elections, the present APC-led government used the Chibok Girls’ abduction as one of their campaign strategies to win the sympathy of Nigerians. But when they came into power, nothing much was done to rescue the innocent girls from their abductors. Nigerians and indeed the parents of those abducted girls were in high hopes that the girls would be released from the Boko haram captivity. Unfortunately, the reverse

is the case. Since after the release of the last batch in 2017, nobody has heard anything about the possibility of rescuing the remaining ones. If actually the government is putting measures in place for the release of the remaining 112 girls in captivity, then they should be able to tell Nigerians what they have done so far in order to strengthen the confidence of their parents. I think the relevant authorities need to remobilise and ensure that the girls are released from their abductors. IFEKO JUDE: Anytime I hear

about the Chibok girls’ abduction and the Killings by Boko haram in the North-East, I feel pains. If not because activities of Boko Haram in the North East are politicized, Boko haram would have been history by now. How can a government which has all the security apparatus, fail to flush out these dreaded monsters from our land? Who knows if the remaining Chibok girls in Boko haram den are still alive? In my opinion, government has lost the fight against insurgents in the North-East. Even when they deceived us that Boko haram has been technically defeated, Nigerians are yet to see the reality of this assertion as explosions continue to occur almost on daily basis in the North-East and other parts of the country. HARUNA AWODI: Well, I do not think the remaining 112 Chibok girls will still be released. Though I don’t know the strategies in place by the government towards their release, my brother this is making five years, that these children have been in captivity, yet there has been no persistent effort by the government to free them from their abductors. If you take a critical look at the activities of the insurgents in the North-East, and the lackadaisical attitude of our leaders towards the whole scenario, you will discover that something obvious is fishing underground. The Boko haram are not living in the moon, they are living within the affected communities across the states in the North-East. When the Chibok girls, were abducted in 2014, series of Videos, were out displaying the location of the abducted girls in the Sambisa forest. That would have been an opportunity for the security agencies to track them down and get the innocent girls from their abductors. But what we heard then was Boko haram are more sophisticated in arms than Nigeria Solders. I will advise that government partner external security outside the country to carry out thorough investigation that would lead to the release of the remaining Chibok girls from Boko haram.

April 29 - May 5, 2019

Emilano Sala: Police investigate online photo said to be of plane crash victim A

photo said to be of the body of Premier League footballer Emiliano Sala, who was killed in a plane crash earlier this year, has been posted online, prompting a police inquiry. The 28-year-old’s body was found in the wreckage of a light aircraft in the English Channel two weeks after the plane vanished near Guernsey. A Dorset Police spokesman said: “We are aware that a picture reported to be of Mr Sala’s body has been shared on social media channels and are disgusted that somebody did this.” He added: “It is clearly a very difficult

time for Mr Sala’s family and they should not have to

endure additional pain that this shameful act will

undoubtedly cause. “We are investigating this


incident and are working together with a number of agencies to establish how the picture was taken and who is responsible.” The Argentine striker had been travelling in a Piper Malibu plane to his first training session at Cardiff City, after completing a £15m club record move from Nantes FC, when it crashed on 21 January. The body of the pilot, David Ibbotson, from Crowle, North Lincolnshire, has not been found. A Cardiff spokesman said: “Cardiff City FC expresses its disgust and outrage at the individual/individuals who thoughtlessly took and shared the image.”

Messi secures 10th La Liga title with Barca


arcelona wrapped up their 26th La Liga title with a sluggish victory over Levante thanks to a goal from second-half substitute Lionel Messi. Ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final first leg with Liverpool, Messi began the game on the bench. The Argentina forward came on at the


interval following a goalless first half and scored just after the hour. He latched on to Arturo Vidal’s header and beat two defenders before stroking the ball past Aitor Fernandez. Barcelona did not have everything their own way and Levante almost spoiled the party when they twice went close to equalising

in the second half. Jose Luis Morales broke clear on the left edge on the edge of the box only to fire into the stands. Then at the death Enis Bardhi’s shot hit the woodwork and it bounced into the hands of Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen on the line. Such has been Barcelona’s recent La

Liga dominance - this is their fourth Spanish title in five years and Messi’s 10th overall that determining whether this season

will be heralded as a glorious one, or simply a good one, will depend on their performance in other competitions.

Neymar criticises young PSG team-mates


eymar urged his younger team-mates to listen to the experienced members of the Paris SaintGermain squad as the superstar voiced his displeasure after a forgettable night in the Coupe de France final. Rennes won the Coupe de France 6-5 on penalties following a 22 draw on Saturday – Ligue 1 champions PSG squandering a two-goal lead in Paris. Neymar made his first start since January after a serious foot injury and doubled PSG’s lead in the 21st minute, adding to Dani Alves’ opener.

But PSG capitulated – just like they did in the Champions League last 16 against Manchester United – as Rennes left the French capital with the trophy. And Neymar, who cut a frustrated figure post-match having appeared to strike a fan as PSG went to collect their runners-up medal, hit out at some of his team-mates. “We need to be more like men in the dressing room, we must be more united,” Neymar told reporters in the mixed zone. “I see a lot of young players who are, not lost exactly, but they lack more ear than mouth.

Klopp said he might sign me if I score against Man City! –Barnes



shley Barnes has revealed that Jurgen Klopp sent him a well-wishing text message ahead of Burnley’s clash with Manchester City on Sunday, with the Liverpool boss joking that he might sign the striker if he can help swing the title race in the Reds’ favour. Liverpool currently sit two points ahead of their main title rivals at the top of the Premier League, but City still hold the advantage in terms of points they can achieve and will retake the summit if they can overcome the Clarets on Sunday. Any kind of positive result for Burnley would hand the initiative back to Liverpool, however, and Barnes claims that Klopp has been in touch as the Merseyside outfit look to lift their first topflight title in nearly three decades. “I’ve had a few messages yesterday from Liverpool fans making a joke of it but it’s all good,” the 29year-old told the Burnley Express. “It would mean everything [to win against City]. “Klopp has even given me a sly text to say that if I score he might sign me for next season – so I might be on the move!

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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