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Military vs FCT natives: ‘Even in death, you can’t have our land’ By Austine ELEMUE

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atives of Abuja have vowed to resist, even in death, the purported quit notice issued by the Nigerian Army to residents of Tungan

Maje and Giri in Gwagwalada Area Council of the territory. The natives under the aegis of Coalition of FCT Indigenous Associations also described the move by the Nigerian Army as

laughable and ridiculous, stressing that the natives are prepared to explore any means possible to resist the military incursion into their ancestral land. A d d r e s s i n g journalists in Tungan

Maje, spokesman of the group, Comrade Yunusa Yusuf, said the Abuja natives have sought the intervention of the National Assembly before the expiration of the quit notice on August 3, 2019.

“We invited you to this very important press conference because of the disturbing and laughable quit notice to Abuja natives by the Nigerian Army. It is laughable because it is a

case of a tenant giving a quit notice to his landlord. “However, we are not treating the matter with levity because they have access to Continued on page 7

SOCIAL CIRCLE >>> PAGE 12 First Published March 2004

Vol. 13 No. 28 ISSN: 1597-2895

July 22 - 28, 2019

Price: 100

RAPE OF BLIND STUDENTS:

FCT A bares f angs lPlaces teachers on watch list lReads riot act to school heads By Laraba MUREY

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s more reports of sexual assault of minors in schools owned by the Federal Capital T e r r i t o r y Administration, FCTA, pours in, indications emerged last week that the authorities have placed some teachers on their watch list. The new measure is

following the indefinite suspension slammed on two teachers of the FCT School for the Blind, Jabi, over allegations of sexual molesting of some visually impaired female students of the school. Before the school of the blind incident, seven teachers of Junior Secondary School, Gwarinpa Estate, are Continued on page 3

You’re a disgrace, Oyegun tells Oshiomhole By David LAWANI

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From right: Alhaji Mohammed Usman, representing Gombe state, Alh.Ahmed Gumel, (Jigawa), Alhaji Kabir Mashi, Kaigaman Katsina, (Katsina), Barr.Umar Abdullahi, (Kano), Alh.Rilwan Abarshi, (Kebbi) and Hon. Sulaiman Abdul, (Kogi), all Commissioners representing their states during the swearing in of the Chairman and Commissioners of Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, by President Mohammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja recently.

Anti-graft groups demand NASS action on ‘army stolen millions’ >>PAGE 8

he ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, has said its national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has no hands in the crises that in the Edo and Bauchi states Houses of Assembly, urging

Nigerians to, instead focus on the “improper” inauguration of the assemblies. Blaming the media for not focusing on the issues at the heart of the crisis, the APC insisted on a fresh proclamation for the inauguration of Continued on page 3

Men contribute significantly Time for President Buhari to show inclusion –Cleric >>PAGE 9 to infertility –Ajayi >>PAGE 16


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July 22 - 28, 2019

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NEWS

Rape of blind students: FCTA bares fangs Continued from page 1 facing a disciplinary committee over alleged sexual assault of some junior students of the school. Also, in April, the FCT School of the Deaf was in the news for the wrong reasons as a seven-year old child alleged that he was being sexual abused, which led to the setting up of a committee by the Ministry of Education which dismissed the allegation. However, a medical report by the National Hospital Abuja showed that the boy was repeatedly penetrated through the anus. The main suspect is 18year-old Filo Sani, the boy’s school father, who is also physically challenged. Matter came to a head, penultimate week, when the permanent secretary of the FCTA, Sir Christian Ohaa, made an unscheduled visit to the school following reports of incidences of molestations of some female students by teachers. After over two hours meeting and interrogation of the principal suspects, Ohaa directed the immediate suspension of Mr. Ilo Chukwuma and Ebenezer Olateju pending the conclusion of investigations on the matter. Ohaa also directed that Chukwuma, who was accommodated in the school quarters, vacate the school within the week, stressing that both teachers should stay clear of the school premises as investigations continue. “While we are working round the clock to give every physically challenged student the best of education, we cannot have incidences as this to mar our progress and achievements”, he added. On why the teachers were suspended instead of being dismissed immediately, Ohaa said “we want to be fair and follow due process. So, we will allow the committee do its work and report by next week. “But let me assure parents that, anyone found culpable in any of these incidences, not only in this school, will be dismissed and prosecuted. Our teachers, like Caesars’ wife must be above board.” Owing to the

unfortunate development and with the Social Development Secretariat of the FCTA inundated with tales of sexual abuse, The Abuja Inquirer learnt from an administration source that a widespread investigation was underway to fish out those

abusing under-aged children especially in schools for the challenged. “I can tell you that the perm sec has ordered wide ranging investigations into case of sexual abuse in schools owned by the FCTA. “And like you heard

him at the Jabi school, this is a serious matter and anybody found culpable would have him or herself to blame,” the source, who asked not to be named because he was not permitted to speak, said. Buttressing the point,

the chairman, FCT Universal basic Education Board, UBEB, Dr. Kabir Matazu, sounded a note of warning to all school heads that such behaviour will not be condoned and they will henceforth also be held liable if such incidences occurred.

President Muhammadu Buhari in a handshake with Amb. Smail Chergui, African Union Commissioner for Peace & Security at the State House, last Friday, July 19, 2019.

Military vs FCT natives: ‘Even in death, you can’t have our land’ Continued from page 1 heavy weapons of mass destruction purchased by taxpayer’s money. We will do anything constitutionally to reclaim our ancestral land. “We consider this a wonderful opportunity to re-state our plight on the incessant harassment, brutality, intimidation and forceful acquisition of our ancestral land by the Nigerian Army. “As you may recall, we staged a protest and also presented a petition to the National Assembly on April 17, 2019, against the invasion and killing of Hamza Usman by the Nigerian Army. The Senate immediately constituted an Ad-hoc committee on the matter who in turned called for a public investigative hearing on the April 29, 2019 where all stakeholders namely; The FCT Minister, the Nigerian Armed Forces, office of the NSA, Inspector General of Police, DG SSS, Human Rights Commission and the natives of FCT. “At the public investigative hearing, vital presentations were made

by all stakeholders invited and the FCT minister through the permanent secretary, reaffirmed to the committee that the said land was never allocated to the Nigerian Army nor is their proposed facilities captured in the Abuja master plan and that there is no document in the FCTA archives bearing same. “At the end of the public investigative hearing, the Senate ad-hoc committee on Defence chaired by Senator Abubakar Kyari came up with the resolutions as thus; That the Nigerian Army should keep off activities from the said land and that FCT natives put a hold on their protests pending on the committee’ final outcome on the said matter,” he stated. The group however expressed shock that despite move by the natives for amicable resolution of the disputed land portion, ‘the Nigerian Army has the audacity to issue a quit notice to Abuja natives without recourse to National Assembly resolutions.’ Yusuf further said; “while the natives obeyed

and keep to the resolutions of the committee as stated above, the Nigerian Army went ahead with a ground breaking ceremony to continue their activities on the said disputed land against the resolutions of the committee which prompted our protest and the encounter with the Vice President on his way to the airport where he alighted from his vehicle and pleaded with us to down our placards and clear the highway as our cry has been heard and that necessary steps will be taken to resolve the issue”. He continues: “Unfortunately, after the meeting on May 13, 2019, we have waited patiently for a response from the office of the Vice President even though the Nigerian Army have continued to forcefully develop the disputed land and harassment of the Abuja original inhabitants on the said land unabated. “We have waited patiently but running out of patience and our silence and respect for the office of the Vice President,

National Assembly and other constituted authorities should not be perceived as fear to defend our lives and property in our own way”. The group therefore called on the House of Representatives being the House of Assembly for the people of FCT to prevail on the Nigerian Army to steer clear from land and obey the resolutions of the National Assembly, presidential committee and the intervention of the Vice President on this matter, warning that FCT natives will never fold their hands and watch the army eject them forcefully from their legitimate ancestral land. Recall that on July 12, 2019, the Nigerian Army issued a quit notice dated July 3, 2019, to all the FCT original inhabitants on the land to deliver up possession of the land on or before August 3, 2019, and that in any event of refusal to comply with the quit notice within the stated timeline, the Nigerian Army will do everything within its power to take possession of the land.

You’re a disgrace, Oyegun tells Oshiomhole Continued from page 1 the assemblies in the two states. Addressing journalists on Sunday at the APC national secretariat in Abuja, National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, said the APC would not be distracted from the main issue. “The issues here have nothing to do with the National Chairman of the APC, Oshiomhole, Do you mean he (Oshiomhole) went to Bauchi as well because what is happening in Edo is also happening in Bauchi? Can we just address the issues without allowing the people who are looking for a way to take us away from the issue? “You can blame anybody, but the issue is that there was supposed to be a proper proclamation of the Houses of Assembly in Edo and Bauchi and in both cases, what happened in both cases have fallen short of expectations and so, do the right thing and thereafter you can deal with whoever you think is your problem. “Our only concern is the rule of law must guide us in whatever we do. We must end the rule of impunity in this country. “As to what should happen, the National Assembly is clearly empowered in a situation were it is clear that a particular House of Assembly is not able to conduct its business, the law is clear on what should be done. The issues of godfather, godson and the rest, is irrelevant in this issue”, he stated. On the heels of the APC’s claim is the caution by a former national chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, who has urged his successor, Oshiomhole, to desist from interfering in the administration of Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State. Odigie-Oyegun gave the advice in a statement signed by his Public Affairs Adviser, Ray Morphy, on Sunday in Abuja. “I appeal to him (Oshiomhole) to stop disgracing the governing party APC and Edo State. Continued on page 10


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July 22 - 28, 2019

FCT REPORT Violence against women: Ohaa reiterates commitment to zero tolerance By Austine ELEMUE

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he Federal Capital T e r r i t o r y Administration, FCTA, has reiterated its commitment to zero tolerance for all forms of violence against women and girls, especially in the territory. FCTA permanent secretary, Sir, Christian Ohaa, who stated this while declaring open the two-day inception workshop to launch the EU-UN joint spotlight initiative in the FCT, said the worst form of violence is against the vulnerable in the society, mostly women and girls. “It is about time that we all woke up and not only speak against this unconscionable evil but also take concrete action against it. Keeping silent only emboldens the aggressors and perpetrates the circle of violence and repression”. He further said, “negative social norms which condone or support violence against women and girls and harmful practices remain pervasive. These are characterized by child marriages, female genital mutilation and reproductive organ ailments such as VVF”. Ohaa described the spotlight initiative as a new global multi -year initiative focused on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls, explaining that it was so named because “it brings focused attention to this issue and efforts to achieve gender equality and women empowerment”. He also said the initiative was timely, apt and in line with the S u s t a i n a b l e Development Goals, SDGs, adding that the six pilot states identified for the take-off of the programme in the six geopolitical zone and the FCT, is a welcome spread that would achieve a balanced intervention

across the zones and thereafter replicated in all states of the

federation. The EU-UN Joint Spotlight Initiative,

Ohaa stated will also, amongst other things, build on and scale up its

efforts to eliminate violence against women and girls.

L-R: Presiding Archbishop John Praise Daniel presenting Staff of Office (Crozier) to the new bishop, (Dr) Mrs. Hope John Praise at the consecration service held at the Dominion Chapel International Churches, Abuja…Friday. Photo: Wale Elekolusi.

2019 Hajj: FCTA pledges to maintain leading position T By Austine ELEMUE

he Federal Capital T e r r i t o r y Administration, FCTA, has pledged to redouble its efforts to maintain its leading position as the best Hajj operators both home and in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia amongst all the thirty six states of the federation. FCT permanent secretary, Sir Christian Ohaa, gave the assurance during the farewell ceremony held on Friday to mark the departure of the first batch of the 2019 intending pilgrims from the FCT in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. It could be recalled that the FCT Administration was voted twice as the best in hajj operations from 2 0 1 7 - 2 0 1 8 consecutively by the National Hajj

Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, a body saddle with the responsibility of organizing and coordinating Hajj affairs in the country. Speaking while flagging off this year’s exercise, the permanent secretary said the administration has always displayed an utmost commitment to doing everything possible to ensure that the FCT contingent gets the best treatment while in the holy land. Ohaa stated that to achieve this feat, the administration has successfully conducted all necessary arrangements for the welfare of the contingent to the holy land. He added that the early preparations of this year’s hajj by the board and the formation of various committees and sub-committees to

handle all aspects of hajj operation attest to the seriousness of the administration towards recording more successes in this year’s exercise. Earlier, the Director FCT Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Malam Muhammad Bashir, explained that in an effort to ensure hitch free and sucessful hajj operation, the board has conducted series of activities for the benefits of the intending pilgrims. The director noted that the activities include four phases of education and orientation exercises which include the practical aspects of hajj at the permanent hajj camp. Bashir added that the board has also embarked on medical screening for all intending pilgrims, pregnancy test for female intending

pilgrims as well as immunization exercise, in line with the Saudi Arabia authorities’ directive. He further said that the board had fully mobilized it staff to ensure optimum service delivery. Bashir further stated that the board has also held a one day interactive session with officials appointed for the operations to ensure that intending pilgrims attain an acceptable hajj. He warned the officials that the board would not tolerate any act of indiscipline, noting that any body found wanting during the exercise shall have himself or herself to be blamed. He then enjoined all the intending pilgrims to be law abiding by respecting all policies of the Saudi Arabia authorities.

Police clamp down “one chance” syndicates in Utako By Ateed YUSUF

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ommuters and residents of Utako, a satellite town in Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, have heaved a sigh of relief as the police continue to clamp down on ‘one chance’ syndicates around the popular Berger bus stop. Speaking to The Abuja Inquirer, some commuters advised members of the public to exercise caution while boarding unpainted taxis around Berger Round-about to Area 1, Kubwa, Suleja and life Camp. A passenger, Comrade Anthony Okafor, called on the patrol team of the Utako division to sustain the successes recorded in curbing criminal activities along the major high-ways more especially “One chance”, hand-set and bags snatchings. He said the present of patrol officers stationed in some locations combined with constant patrol moving round Utako and environs brought crime rate to the barest minimum in the area. Also contributing, a resident named Ms. Juan Okoro, applauded the police for recovering stolen vehicles during stop and search points, just as she encouraged them to sustain the tempo. She implored residents of the area to give maximum support to the police to enable them succeed in the fight against crime prevention and control. When contacted, the DPO in charge of the division, CSP Jibril Sani, reiterated commitment to comply with the directives of the FCT Commissioner of Police to rid the territory from all forms of criminal activities.


July 22 - 28, 2019

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FCT REPORT FRSC moves to address gridlock in city center

How FCTA outdoor advert agency lost N18bn in 6yrs- Director

By Ateed YUSUF

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By Austine ELEMUE

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ollowing rift between the authorities of the Federal Capital T e r r i t o r y Administration and Area Councils, the Department of Outdoor Advertisement and Signage, DOAS, lost over N18 billion in six years. The director, DOAS, Dr. Babagana Adam, made this known in an interview with journalists immediately after a meeting with the chairman, Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, Abdullahi Candido, on how to synergize to stop the leakages by centralizing and controlling signage activities in Abuja. “We have lost about N3 billion each year and when you multiply it by six years, it amounts to N18 billion that we have lost. “Imagine how many schools, roads, poultry and livestock farms and ICT centres that would have been built with this money. So we have lost quite a lot of money. “With this new development now, I don’t want to look at what we are losing, I will rather love that we strategize and synergize to put a stop to any leakages,” Adam said. Earlier, the AMAC chairman, Hon. Abdullahi Candido, said the collaboration is overdue by the two organs of government, in order to use the available resources to provide services to the people. Candido said: “In the last three years it has not been too good, because we all lost out. There is need for us to collaborate and have a new beginning to cement the relationship. We must also harmonize to stop double payment by clients.” He also noted that the constitution guarantees local government to generate revenue, but noted that “if you don’t have the capacity, you contract it out and collect your share so that services can be provided.

FCTA Permanent Secretary, Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa, third from right and other officials during the flag-off of the 2019 Flood Risk Assessment in Area Councils.

FCTA urged to reactivate Servicom units

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s part of measures to ensure service delivery, managers of Service Compact, ServiCom, have called for the reactivation of the units in FCT workplaces. Servicom also called for standard training for health workers in the territory, noting that it was a sector where majority of residents required its services. Deputy Director and Nodal officer, FCT Ministerial Servicom, Mrs. Bunmi Olowookere, made this assertion when she led the team on an advocacy visit to the FCT Health and Human Services Secretary, HHSS. Olowookere stressed that in order to boost confidence in government’s ability to provide basic services to citizens, officials of the FCT Administration should adhere to best practices for effective service delivery in the territory. In particular, she reminded the FCTA workforce that provision of services mean going extra mile for the people, in order to make the public feel the impact of the government. “We exist as government officials to provide services, if the people do not enjoy

services; that means we have failed. Provision of services mean going extra mile for the people. “If we fail in service delivery, we have failed in many indices; service delivery is about ensuring efficiency and effectiveness. “FCT Ministerial Servicom is responsible for spearheading service delivery in the FCTA, we also manage complaints; and Nigerians these days are enlightened and know their rights. And

we want to build a system that will make people happy,” she stressed. Furthermore, the servicom scribe also called for openness in all sectors of the FCT workforce, particularly the health sector, adding that servicom did not condone hidden charges. While responding, Director, Administration and Finance, FCT HHSS, Malam Musa Abdulraheem, who together with other heads

he unit commander in charge of Federal Secretariat, Mr. Wasiu Adejumobi, has said that his leadership has put on adequate measures to clear gridlock during the peak hours in the central business district. He disclosed this in a chat with our correspondent in his office, noting that the command would intensify patrol to reduce carnages that might occur as a result of high volume of traffic in the area. Adejumobi, who is an Assistant Corps Commander, noted that public enlightenment campaign would be sustained in strategic locations such as Area 1 and Wuse market to sensitive motorists to desist from commuting route violation. The FRSC officer appealed to motoring public more especially the elite to abide by the traffic rules and regulations, adding that accident has no regard for personalities. He enjoined motoring public to shun dangerous driving and overtaking, just as he implored motorists to exercise caution while driving in the city centres.

of departments and agencies under the secretariat received the Servicom team, pledged to tackle all the issues raised by the team. Abdulraheem commended the servicom for the visit, charged them on leaving a solid legacy. “Our leaders in the past left legacies that we all aspire to emulate. We as public servants should ensure effective service delivery in our workplaces,’’ he said.

Why Kuje is prone to insecurity – Council boss

vigilante members that the executive arm of the council would provide logistic support to enable them compliment the efforts of the police in crime fighting and control. Earlier, the Ona of Abaji, HRH. Adamu Yunusa, expressed his sadness over the menace of kidnapping in Abaji and environs, just as he tasked his subjects to cooperate with security agencies. Also contributing, the Divisional Police Office, DPO, Umar Musa, tasked residents of Abaji on patriotism, while emphasising the need for providing useful information that could expose criminal elements.

he chairman of Kuje Area Council, Abdullahi Suleiman Sabo, has said the council’s large land mass bordering Niger, Kogi, and Nasarawa state and its proximity to the city centre makes it prone to insecurity. Sabo, who made the assertion when he received the FCT police commissioner, Bala Ciroma, at the council secretariat yesterday, expressed concern over rising cases of kidnapping and other criminal activities in the council. He stressed the need for residents of the council to see the issue of security as everybody’s business and not the responsibility of the security agencies alone. According to him, his administration was committed to working with all security agencies in combating crime and other civil unrest for the people of Kuje.

Council scribe condemns T kidnapping in Abaji T By Ateed YUSUF

he council secretary of Abaji Area Council, Hon. Kamal Adamu, has condemned in strong terms the raising cases of kidnapping in the area. The Abaji scribe made the condemnation during security stakeholders meeting held at Ona’s palace involving traditional and religious leaders, security chiefs and vigilante members. He applauded the role monarch is playing to ensure that the area is free from all forms of crime especially the recent menace of

kidnapping that bedeviled the council. The secretary tasked community leaders in Abaji and environs to give priority attention to security matters in their domains, just as he told parents that they should not approach either the chairman of the council or the Ona for assistance to release any child who participated in the act of kidnapping. He enjoined the community leaders to be submitting weekly report to the Ona, while calling on the DPO of the area to make available his phone numbers in the event of distress calls. Adamu assured


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EDITORIAL

As the nation awaits Buhari’s cabinet

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s Nigerians anxiously wait for President Muhammadu Buhari to make public the composition of his cabinet for his second term in office, many are hopeful that the president will use the opportunity to further unite the country that is fast disintegrating along ethnic, religious and political lines. The president has been accused of favouring the north in most of his appointments, especially in his selection of service chiefs. The Southsouth and South-east regions claim to be most neglected during the president’s first tenure. In July 2015 while addressing issue of inclusive development at the US Institute of Peace, President Buhari had asked the moderator, Johnnie Carson, if he had copies of the election results. He stated that, “the constituents, for example, gave me 97percent (of the votes) cannot in all honesty be treated on some issues with constituencies that gave me five percent. I think these are political realities.” Buhari’s brazen utterance about treating a region differently because of the scanty votes he got from them, speaks volume about his understanding of governance in a democracy. A case in point was the removal of Matthew Seiyefa as the Director General of the Department of State Services in September 2018, replacing him with Yusuf Bich. Shortly after that, the president picked the former Minister of State Budget and National Planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed from Kaduna state, to replace Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, a minister from the south west who resigned over certificate forgery scandal. These appointments and several others reinforced speculations about the president’s insensitivity to the principles of Federal Character in his appointments. Section 8 of the 1999 constitution empowers the Federal Character Commission to “work out equitable formula subject to the approval of the National Assembly for the distribution of all cadre of post in the public service of the federation and of state, the armed forces of the

Many have clamoured for the scrapping of the principle of Federal Character as they believe the idea is retrogressive and promotes mediocrity over meritocracy. This may not be entirely true, seeing that the principle was formulated in the interest of peace and unity and all regions permitted to present their best candidates for appointments.

federation, the Nigerian police and, other government security agencies and government owned companies and parastatals of the state.” The principle of Federal Character, as contained in Act No. 34 of 1996, which established the Federal Character Commission, is an attempt to entrench fairness and equity in the distribution of public posts and socioeconomic infrastructure among the various federating units of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Similarly, Section 14 (3) of the 1999 constitution stipulates that the composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few States or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or any of its agencies. Many have clamoured for the scrapping of the principle of Federal Character as they believe the idea is retrogressive and promotes mediocrity over meritocracy. This may not be entirely true, seeing that the principle was formulated in the interest of peace and unity and all regions permitted to present their best candidates for appointments. Though the president had at his inauguration in 2015, told Nigerians that ‘I belong to everybody, belong to nobody.’ His appointment in the last four years has not been satisfactory to

some parts of the country. Results of the last general election shows that the ruling All Progressives Party is yet to be fully accepted in the south-south and south-east. The political leaning of the south-east seem to have cost the region major appointments during President Buhari’s first tenure, as such positions are usually used to settle political favours in Nigeria. Currently the south east is not represented in the political hierarchy of the country. While the president and the senate president are both from the north-west and north eastern part of the country, the vice president and speaker of the House of Representatives are from the southwest. The Vice President of the Senate is from the south-south, Deputy Speaker from the north. Interestingly, the Chief Justice of Nigeria is also from the north. The Youth Council of the Ohaneze Ndigbo are currently clamouring for the position of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to be zoned to the south east to correct the perceived marginalisation of the region. The Presidency had severally denied marginalising any part of the country, insisting that the south has been in charge of key ministries like petroleum, trade and investment, labour and productivity, science and technology, budget and planning. In November 2017, the Presidency released a full list of Buhari’s appointees to disprove allegations of lopsided

appointments. The president’s adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, was reacting to a publication by BusinessDay, which accused Buhari of appointing 81 of his 100 political appointments from his native northern region. Adeshina’s list included agencies and parastatals headed by Nigerians from the south-south and south east. Some of the agencies include Von, CAC, BPE, NPC, SERVICOM, NIMASA, Auditor General of the Federation, Head of Service, among several others. Of the 159 appointments made at the time, Ogun state had the highest number of appointments with 21, followed by Imo and Kano states with 15 each, and Edo and Katsina with 14 each. Abuja had no appointee, while Ebonyi and Abia have two each. Kebbi had three, while Zamfara, Sokoto, Oyo, Enugu, Ekiti and Akwa Ibom had four each. Though there is nothing wrong in the president appointing people he is most comfortable to work with, his habitual appointment of persons from a certain region raises the issues of trust and the place of federal character in those appointments. The violation of the principle of federal character is not only a bad precedent, but also a demonstration of a government’s indifference about a group of people. Neglecting a whole region based on their voting pattern sends wrong signals that can trigger disaffection in the polity. While we understand that government appointments should be based on competence and expertise ethnic consideration should be given to every group to present their best brains for government appointments. President Buhari must take advantage of his second tenure to redeem his image by recognizing the diversity and multi-ethnicity that makes up Nigeria and make appointments that is all inclusive. Honest and experienced Nigerians can be found in every part of the country. It is therefore up to the states to present their best brains and the president to be willing to work with all Nigerians irrespective of their tribes and regions.

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

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

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

Correspondents Ambrose Imobhio (Asaba) Scholastica Joseph (Makurdi) Akon Godfrey Chukwuma Nzeh Ateed Yusuf Ere-ebi Agedah jeoma Ukazu Williams Abah Elizabeth Offiong Nengi S. Green

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


July 22 - 28, 2019

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FEATURE

Lokogoma demolition: Counting the loss As the two weeks ultimatum to demolish structures along waterways in Lokogoma Estate expired, last week, our FCT correspondent, Austine ELEMUE, examines the lessons of the ongoing demolition exercise.

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ast week, the Federal Capital Territory Administration carried out its threat of pulling down structures along waterways within Lokogoma estate. No doubt, Lokogoma is one of the popular estates in the Federal Capital Territory with numerous infrastructural challenges ranging from poor road network, electricity, water, among others. Despite these challenges, Lokogoma village, popularly called Dogon-Gada, is few minutes’ drive from Garki and is reputed as one of the fastest growing urban slums closest to the city centre, and has an estimated 5,000 residents. Historically, the present day Lokogoma was a thick forest. A youth leader, Mr. Irimiya Kanpani, told our correspondent how the name Lokogoma was coined. “This place was a forest when my grandfather first settled here. There were many iroko trees in this area. At any turn, you will see more than 10 iroko trees, so they started saying iroko goma. “Iroko is the name of a large, hardwood tree from the West Coast of tropical Africa. It is called iroko in Yoruba language and uko in Igbo. So from Iroko Goma, which means 10 iroko trees, Lokogoma was coined”, he said. He said then the only road to Kabusa was through the community across River Kabusa. According to him, “so our fore fathers constructed the bridge with wood. It was the longest bridge within this area then”. He described indiscriminate land allocation to developers who paid little cognizance to the residents’ plights as a clog in the wheel of the community’s development. He said the estates had blocked all access roads within the district. Today, Lokogoma has metamorphosed from forest to a residential area of Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria. It is located just 30 minutes from the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport and is about 10 minutes’ drive from the city centre and it is still under development. Lokogoma started when a former FCT minister, Sen. Adamu Aliero, created more land for people seeking land outside the city centre. However, the district, which is gradually

One of the 121 structures being demolished in Lokogoma by the FCTA for breaching building regulations.

becoming Abuja’s hub of real estates is under serious threat of demolition by the authorities of the administration following series of flood incidents in the area. Since 2017 flood that claimed the life of a father and two children, Lokogoma has attracted the attention of relevant authorities on how to right the wrongs of previous administrations and estate developers. Precisely two weeks ago, the FCTA gave a two-week ultimatum to residents of IPET-5 Estate in Lokogoma district, whose buildings are along waterways and road corridors, to vacate the areas. FCT Permanent Secretary, Sir Christian Ohaa, who gave the ultimatum during an unscheduled visit to the estate, also stated that after the two weeks ultimatum, the FCT administration would move in and demolish all structures along water corridors. He disclosed that the buildings were built without approval from the administration, adding that the owners of the buildings were given allocations by the administration on where to build, but frowned that they have left the original allocations to build on waterways and on road corridors. The permanent secretary also advised residents to always conduct necessary due diligence before agreeing to buy any property to avoid paying for wrong things or wrong places. Speaking to our correspondent at the scene, Director of Engineering Services of the Federal Capital Development Authority, Engr. Ahmed Hadi, confirmed the death of a 17 year old who was drown after the heavy downpour in middle of June 2019. Hadi revealed that the issue of flooding has not been solved in Lokogoma district, stressing that the whole waterway have been blocked with buildings, retaining walls and undersized convert.

He confirmed that most of the structures on waterways are built without approval from relevant authorities, even as he threatened that most of the structures must be pulled down to ease the flow of water. According to him, “In August 2017, the whole of Lokogoma was flooded in three locations and a family of three lost their lives. We were called upon as the authority to intervene so we did some palliative works which some of them are still standing. “The issue of flooding has not yet been solved. At the first location where we entered from, we were able to solve it because we did some emergency work there, but the other two locations which this one is part of it, we just did some palliative work to curtain it. “Incidentally, what is causing this flooding is the issue of the construction ways, right in front of me here is the alignment of River Kabusa, but if you look at what is happening here the whole place has been occupied with buildings, retaining walls and undersized convert. The only thing the people have to know is that Lokogoma is a ticking time bomb. “And when you do that to the waterways it will be narrowed and the result will be erosion because the speed will increase and start eroding whatever it meet on the way. Presently, the government is procuring a contract that will solve the problem permanently. The contract is under procurement and before the year runs out, they will be able to complete it”. He further said, “There are various agencies, the Development Control Department is here, a committee has been set up, we have been able to identify the structures involved. The major cause of this problem is that residents have built on the waterways. We have to interface with them and from there we take it up. “But definitely, these structures have to give way. I cannot give you the figure,

but there are so many houses that will give way. In this location, if you just watch, look back, you will be able to pick some, down there you will be able to pick some. But when we do the actual survey, the way it is and from the original master plan of this area and place it, you will be able to pick out the exact structures that are involved”. Despite the justification by the administration to demolish the area, residents especially the off-takers have expressed different views towards the planned demolition. The chairman of Lokogoma District Residents Association, Dr. Joseph Nnorom, said the authorities of FCT Administration should be blamed for whatever that has happened in Lokogoma district, warning that before demolition of any structure, the issue of compensation should be put in the front burner. “It is unfortunate to see the tragic loss of lives and property in this area due to flooding. However, I want to stress here that no developer in this area is a squatter or off-shooter. Somebody somewhere gave them approval to develop these property that blocked the waterways. The issue that we must address therefore is that of compensation before the relevant authorities will pull down any structure the. People must be made to pay for their mistakes,” he stressed. Another resident who is also the chairman of I Pent 5 Estate, Mr. Dauda Kewa, said; “When this incident happened in 2017 that led to the death of three residents we visited the former Federal Capital Territory minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, in his office. He gave an order that the road should be rehabilitated immediately. The Lokogoma junction and our own road. We have seen that the Lokogoma junction is completed after one year now, but we don’t know what is happening to this our own road”. Kewa, claimed that residents of the estate have contributed over N6 million to create alternative route to the city center, adding that each household contributed N150,000. Lamenting on the hardship they have faced as a result of the road, Kewa said “Whenever it rains, we have to stay back in our homes for about 4 to 5 hours before going out or if you are outside you remain there too. That is our fate in this estate”. Also speaking, chairman of Lokogoma 11 Residents Association, Stanley Ugwu, revealed that most of the affected buildings were bought from the developers, adding that the owners of the buildings never believed that due diligence were not conducted before the building were sold to them. Ugwu, therefore appealed to the FCT Administration to assist the affected owners of the property to get compensation from the developers, adding that it is only the administration that could enforce such action. For now, it is blame game, while many face their fates owing to poor diligence before buying such property, while the FCTA demonstrated indolence by not averting the huge loss now.


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July 22 - 28, 2019

NEWS

Anti-graft groups demand NASS action on ‘army stolen millions’ By Williams ABAH

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s the Nigerian Army keeps mum on the theft of a large amount of cash by soldiers on escort duty from Sokoto to Abuja, a coalition of anticorruption groups have called on the National Assembly to probe the issue. In a joint statement by anti-graft networks, Human and Environmental Development Agenda, HEDA, and Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre/Transparency International Nigeria, CISLAC, they said Nigerians deserve to know the story behind the scandal that has caused so much embarrassment to the nation. “We call on the National Assembly to probe this incidence. The House Committee on Defense needs to provide the necessary clue. There is no doubt that the action of these soldiers will have a serious impact on the campaign against terrorism. “The Senate should get to the root of this matter before it is too late. If nothing is done, other soldiers on the frontline may be encouraged to embark of stealing of national assets,” Olanrewaju Suraju of HEDA and Anwalu Rafsanjani of CISLAC stated. The organisations said the stealing of the money by soldiers who should represent a qualitative moral fabric of the country has raised serious questions about Nigeria’s commitment to the fight against corruption. They said that the theft indicated that the soldiers have no iota of discipline, adding that they have no respect for the president. “They dared the consequences of the crime probably because they knew it was a trend in the armed forces. There is a major problem if security operatives have no respect for the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces,” the campaigners said. The five soldiers accused of stealing the large cash have since been internally declared wanted by the Nigerian Army following the theft

on July 11. Anti-corruption experts said the d e v e l o p m e n t strengthens suspicions that Nigerian military chiefs were lining their pockets with funds meant to combat violent

crimes, especially armed banditry and the Boko Haram insurgency, which has now entered its 10th year. Both HEDA and CISLAC said getting to the roots of the huge cash transport and theft

would be key to combating Nigeria’s multi-dimensional security challenges. “We call on the National Assembly to treat this issue as a top priority. Who are these soldiers? How much was

the money involved? Who owns the money? Is the money owned by an individual or by the country? Is the money the proceeds of crime? There are many questions waiting to be answered,” they said.

President Muhammadu Buhari, seated, while from left, Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. T.Y. Buratai, Senate President Ahmed Lawan, Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai, Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar and Commandant AFCSC AVM LS Alao, watch as the president signs the visitor’s register during the graduation ceremony of Senior Course 41 of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, AFCSC, in Kaduna last Thursday.

NGOs partner to ensure delivery of PHC services in Nigeria C By Ere-ebi AGEDAH

oncerned by the poor service delivery of Primary Healthcare Centres in Nigeria, two non-governmental organisations, Nigeria Health Watch and C o n n e c t e d Development, CODE, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MOU to advocate for improved service delivery in primary healthcare centres across the country. The partnership which was signed in Abuja is aimed at monitoring healthcare service delivery as well as ensures accountability in the delivery of primary healthcare services especially in Kano state. It is hoped to focus on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, MNCH services, and will include other services such as family planning, immunization and antenatal services. Although, Nigeria has many PHC across the country, the performance of the healthcare centres

is hindered by poor infrastructure and maintenance, insufficient drugs &vaccines and sub-standard equipment and limited health workers, factors that are hinged on financing and governance. On the objective of the project, Director of Programmes at Nigeria Health Watch, Vivienne Ihekweazu, said; “The foundation of healthcare delivery should be through our primary health centres and this project will focus on monitoring the effective delivery of basic

healthcare services, with a view to driving positive change in the quality of healthcare Nigerians have access to”. According to CODE’s Chief Executive, Hamzat Lawal, “this partnership comes at a time when sustainable measures must be put in place to strengthen Nigeria’s healthcare system. He added that access to healthcare is one of the basic human rights and providing basic health services to people, especially at the grassroots, through

standard primary healthcare system is key to stabilizing the Nation’s medical care challenges. “Strengthening healthcare service delivery is crucial to achieving the S u s t a i n a b l e Development Goal 3; to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages, including the delivery of interventions to reduce child mortality, maternal mortality and the burden of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.”

ECOWAS to staff: Don’t allow yourelf to be kidnapped By Laraba MUREY

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ollowing security challenges, the E c o n o m i c Community of West Africa, ECOWAS, has warned its staff to take the issue of security serious in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. In the security advisory dated July 12, 2019 and signed by the director, general administration, Dr. Daniel Eklu, seven ‘crime flash points’ were

identified in the FCT; Berger Roundabout, Minister’s Hill Maitama, Gwarinpa, Area 1 and 3, Mabushi Pedestrian Bridge, Galadimawa Roundabout and Kubwa Expressway. If further noted that ‘local information also indicates that some hoodlums in Church Gate Central Area are now using massive building block stones (interlocking) to target car windscreen. In case you

come across these criminals, Do not stop! Do not stop! “Keep moving ignore all the blocks on the road. By no means should you allow yourself to be caught.” Eklu further advised staff of the ECOWAS to be careful from falling victim to “one chance” a parlance used locally to describe criminals who rob passengers in commercial unpainted taxis.

U.S. pens 5-yr partnership on food security in Nigeria By Emmanuel OGBECHE

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he United States has signed partnership with the Nigerian government to launch a five-year Feed the Future Nigeria Country Plan to increase investments in food security, build greater resilience, and improve household nutrition in the country. The partnership, Feed the Future is a U.S. government initiative coordinated by the U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, to sustainably reduce global poverty, hunger and malnutrition. “This Plan will connect farmers with suppliers, improve agricultural extension services and inputs, and stimulate market growth to present new opportunities for millions of households to improve their standard of living and quality of life” said U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Kathleen FitzGibbon, who delivered a keynote address for the American government at the ceremony. The Nigerian g o v e r n m e n t representative at the event, Mr. Ernest A. Umakhihe, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Budget & National Planning, said, “It is our belief that this initiative will reduce hunger, malnutrition and poverty among the Nigerian people.” The Feed the Future Country Plan focuses on Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Kebbi, and Niger states, as well as the four northeastern states of Adamawa, Borno, Gombe, and Yobe. It will develop five of the government’s prioritized agricultural value chains with the strongest potential for increased productivity and enhanced market linkages. These are aquaculture, cowpeas, maize, rice, and soybeans. A statement by the US embassy in Abuja said the Feed the Future Country Plan will build on the successes of Feed the Future’s $165 million investment in Nigeria since 2015.


July 22 - 28, 2019

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NEWS

Time for President Buhari to show inclusion –Cleric By Laraba MUREY

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he founder and leader, Living Christ Mission, Daddy Hezekiah, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to demonstrate inclusive politics by not appointing only members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, for ministerial positions. Hezekiah, Sunday, who is the proprietor of Hezekiah University, Umudi, Imo State, said the president should consider those who had capacity as his ministers, irrespective of their political parties. According to the Christian cleric, prosperity, development and well-being of the country should be far more important to the president than party afflictions. He noted that Buhari as the father of the nation should go for Nigerians who have the capacity and intellectual depth to advance the fortunes of the country. “I am not in support of President Muhammadu Buhari considering only members of his party, the APC, as his ministers. As the father of the nation, he should look beyond party lines in choosing his ministers,” The Punch reported. “The President should remember that no political party is bigger than this country. As he assembles his ministers, he should look inwards and choose the best hands that will help him to move our country forward.” Hezekiah urged the Federal Government to improve the country’s education system for the good of the future generation. He specifically advised the government to massively invest in infrastructure in the education system. He urged the

Group urges FG to emulate Cuba development plan By Chuks NZEH

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group of Nigerians under Fulani their kinsman is the president to discourage a vigilante group in the advised the aegis of the herdsmen to stop being president of the Nigeria Movement of Fulani herdsmen from South-East states. demanding to establish The prelate also lawless simply because country. Solidarity with Cuba, has called on the Nigerian government to emulate the development plans of Cuba, which has ensured free, qualitative education and health care for Cubans. The call is contained in a communique signed by Comrade Owei Lakemfa, issued at the end of the event which held under the theme: “The Challenge of AfroCuba Relations in Building A New Humanity” which held recently at the Nasarawa State University to mark the 45th anniversary of Nigeria- Cuba relations. “The Cuban people have the fundamental right to decide its political U.S. Chargé d'affaires Kathleen FitzGibbon (right) signs a Declaration of Partnership for the U.S. Feed the Future system without Nigeria Country Plan with Mr. Ernest A. Umakhihe, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and National Planning interference. (left) and witnessed by Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, deputy governors and other officials. The “The 56-year Plan will boost agri-business, resilience, and nutrition in 11 states of Nigeria. economic embargo which stops Cuba from freely accessing the international market and trading with other MHSS product, which stated. performance in Nigeria. By Ere-ebi AGEDAH is Receiving the award, provides our customers Speaking further was, countries, ccess Bank has Omobolanle Victor- with the support they Ayodele Oloyede, Head, c o u n t e r p r o d u c t i v e , Head, need for special medical Emerging Businesses, unhelpful and should be been announced Laniyan, Access Bank who said, lifted without further as the Sustainability at Access procedures. ‘‘We have also formed “Our bank is notable for delay. ‘Outstanding Healthcare Bank noted that the bank “It is in Africa’s SME-Friendly Bank of the is committed to customer strategic partnerships being at the forefront of Year ’ at the Nigerian satisfaction and solving with institutions such as sustainable partnerships interest to follow the Healthcare Excellence problems. Medical Credit Fund, for reforms and development path of Award, NHEA 2019 held “Access Bank has an MCF, Hygeia and other development of Nigeria. Cuba which guarantees recently in Lagos. unwavering commitment medical organisations SMEs are one of the key free and qualitative This represents a to significantly improve which have enabled us to drivers of economic health and education for fourth consecutive win at the health sector in Nigeria. provide financing to a growth by virtue of their all its citizens, gender to equality as well as its the event, after winning Therefore, as a Bank, we larger base of health contribution the same award in 2016, have studied the health practitioners that our employment and wealth ability to locally produce 2017, and also emerged sector and identified customers can benefit creation, and we also medicine and vaccines for winner of the inadequate financing as a from as well. We are know that good its people. “If Nigeria appoints ‘Outstanding CSR Health causal factor for the poor extremely honoured to be healthcare is important Project of the Year’ in healthcare system in receiving this award, and to productivity. This is competent persons into on behalf of Access Bank, why Nigeria.” Access Bank positions of authority like 2018. Cuba does, rather than ”An example is our we say thank you,” she supports Micro. The annual Nigerian base appointments on Health Excellence Award ethno-religious and is an initiative of the regional considerations, Global Health Project and Resources,in partnership By Ateed YUSUF would soon mobilise continue to lobby his the country will be on the with Anadach Group, contractors handling the colleagues to give the path of development. he senator project to site. “The future of Africa United States. necessary support to the representing The awards recognise Abubakar, who was executive arm to ensure lies in the Cuban model Taraba Central the immediate past Vice effective take off of the of a people united under and commend institutions that have under the platform of the Chairman Senate project during dry a patriotic and clear Progressives Committee on Science season. leadership which puts its made laudable All contributions towards Congress, APC, Yusuf and Technology, thanked He assured the people people first in all matters. “Participants pledged the growth of the Abubakar, has hinted President Muhammadu of the state of quality healthcare sector in that the multi-billion Buhari, for signing the representation in the total solidarity with the Nigeria, and focus on naira Mambila hydro- contract, just as he added senate, noting that at Cuban, Venezuelan, and improving policy power project would take that when completed present two bills were in Saharawi framework for achieving off this year. power supply would the offing for the Palestinian peoples in The lawmaker, who improve in the north east establishment of Federal their struggles for global standards of healthcare while disclosed this in a chat and some parts of the College of Education sovereignty, a right to encouraging market with The Abuja Inquirer country. Mutum Biyu and Tea and their homelands and a leadership and in his office, noted that The senator also Coffee in the Mambila right to decide their own government noted that he would Plateau. future.” i n s p i r a t i o n a l federal

Access Bank wins 2019 Nigerian Healthcare Excellence Award

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Mabila hydro power project to take off this year

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July 22 - 28, 2019

NEWS

Nigeria to supply 10% of India’s crude oil demand By Godfrey AKON

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he Nigerian Government through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has expressed readiness to supply 10 per cent of India’s crude oil demand in the face of competing demand for the product from other countries. Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, stated this during a visit by the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Abhay Thakur, a statement by the corporation’s spokesperson, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, said. Kyari said Nigeria, through the corporation, would continue to support India’s energy security, adding that the recent Memorandum of Understanding in the area of energy between Nigeria and India would be consummated to further strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries. He stated that NNPC was desirous of growing the energy cooperation with India and that it was time to progress from just talking to walking the talk. The GMD noted that India was a very important market and that NNPC would ensure that the current volume of crude oil supply from Nigeria to India is secured for the collective interest of both countries. “We are ready to have a robust engagement with the Indian trade team to provide a win-win energy scenario between us. Every trade opportunity that is available will be fully explored,” he said. Kyari said there were lots of untapped investment opportunities in the nation’s Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG, and expressed the willingness of NNPC to aggressively improve LPG infrastructure and consumption in the country. Earlier, the Indian High

Commissioner to Nigeria, Thakur, thanked the management of the corporation for the recent renewal of the crude oil term contracts for three Indian companies and sued for increment in the crude oil

supply in view of the increasing energy needs of India. He disclosed that India was ready to provide credit line mechanisms and expertise to help NNPC revamp its massive

“He should give the governor a breathing space to concentrate in doing the job of serving the people of Edo. “I wonder how he could easily forget that I never interfered or

construction, security, surveillance and anything possible. Our expertise in Information Technology is available as well. We are ready to cooperate with NNPC to boost our bilateral relations,” Thakur noted.

L-R: Member of the Justice Reform Project, JRP, Dr Adewale Olawoyin (SAN) and the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu during JRP’s Public Discourse on Justice Delivery in Nigeria; A Framework for Reform, in Abuja...last Friday.

FG receives Nigerian varsity don dismissed by Ghana By Ere-ebi AGEDAH

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he Federal government has received the embattled Nigerian professor who was expelled from Ghana over alleged unpleasant comments disclosing that the FG will demand respect and decent treatment of Nigerians in diaspora. While receiving the varsity don in her office, chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission NIDCOM, Hon Abike Erewa- Diabiri, stressed that the federal government will keep engaging with the Ghanaian authorities to promote unity within the continent. Lamenting on the general stigmatization of Nigerians in the Diaspora, Erewa-Diabiri stressed that international countries

must begin to deal with persons who commit crime individually and stop generalising one person’s crime over a whole nation. She noted that over 509 Nigerians have been deported from Ghana within the last year which was disheartening. ‘‘Welcome home prof, we are proud of you, you are one of our own and we are proud of what you represent, in Nigeria you are one of our best brains and we are happy to have you back into the Nigerian educational institution. ‘‘At this point we have to work as Africans to promote unity in the continent, from official information available between January and now about 509 Nigerians have been deported from Ghana

Edo House crisis: Stop disgracing APC, Oyegun tells Oshiomhole Continued from page 3

infrastructure across the country. “India is prepared to offer Nigeria and particularly the NNPC a credit line mechanism to help her in the areas of refinery maintenance,

bothered about how he ran the government as the then governor of Edo, all the while I occupied the position of the party’s National chairman. “I am yet to come to terms with why it has become difficult for

Oshiomhole to realise that Obaseki is the only APC governor in the entire South-south. “And he should be allowed to concentrate in giving the people of Edo the dividends of democracy,’’ OdigieOyegun said.

and in 2018 527 Nigerians have been deported within a period of 6 months. As a country we will continue to encourage dialogue as the solution for peace because we do not want Nigerians to be pushed to the wall. ‘‘Prof your country loves you we are happy to have you back home and we are ready to work with you and share in your intellectual wealth of experience.’’ she said. Responding, Prof Augustine Uzoma Nwagbara stated that the video that went viral was doctored to promote xenophobia as it was edited to appear like one narrative. According to Prof Nwagbara, a meeting was held in an open place with over 30 Nigerians present and contributions was made by different individuals but he was shocked that

a lot of context had been excluded from the narrative making it appear inciting. He noted that the video caused fear among Nigerians in Ghana and if not for the timely intervention of the Nigerian commission in Ghana he might have not survived the misconception. He however demanded that the university should withdraw the dismissal because it was unethical as he was just a visiting lecturer to the university and till date he was yet to receive an official letter from the university. Prof. Nwagbara was arrested in Ghana but later granted bail for allegedly inciting the Nigerian community in Ghana to devise strategies to destroy Ghana’s image internationally.

CHANGE OF NAME

CHANGE OF NAME

I formerly known as Fatima Sadiq Ramalan now wish to be known as Mohammed Fatima Kolo. All former documents remain valid. GTBank and The general public should please note.

I formerly known as Asawaezra Nunaya now wish to be known as Asawa Dazi Nunaya. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please note.

Netherlands to partner Nigeria on capacity building By Chuks NZEH

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he leader of a delegation from the Education and Consular Affairs of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Nigeria, David Van Kampen, has expressed their willingness to building the capacity of Nigerians in the labour sector. He made this known recently when he led the team to a visit to the Ministry of Labour and Employment. K a m p e n acknowledged the existence of a bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the Netherlands in the education sector, and the provision of scholarships to Nigerians over the years. He said the purpose of their visit was to find out what Nigeria needed in the area of capacity-building in the labour sector, the scope of the collaboration in relation to education, and to facilitate training between universities, noting that some Dutch universities with expertise in specific areas have been identified. He disclosed the N e t h e r l a n d s ’ willingness to assist in training Nigerians on entrepreneurial soft skills and enhancing collaboration between interested partners. The team which was received by the director, Special Duties/Projects, Dr. Martina Nwordu, noted that “The ministry is currently discussing with the private sector and the National U n i v e r s i t i e s Commission, NUC, on the need to upgrade the curricula of the school systems, so that we can compete favourably in the labour market, not just at national or regional level, but also globally. “There is also need for a functional database that would help in alleviating the unemployment situation in the country,’’ she said.


July 22 - 28, 2019

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July 22 - 28, 2019

Nigerians react as Femi Ot edola, Otedola, family visit Italy to buy ice-cream

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here is obviously a big difference between being a millionaire and a billionaire. Just recently, one of Nigeria’s billionaire families, the Otedola’s went on vacation. The billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola and his three daughters, Tolani, Temi and Ifeoluwa (DJ Cuppy), shared snaps from their fun holiday as they visited Monaco. However, the very influential family took a break from Monaco as they visited Italy just for an hour to buy ice cream. DJ Cuppy took to her social media pages to share a cute video of herself with her dad on

the street of Italy as they revealed that they only visited for an hour so have some gelato. Well, a very large number of Nigerians are not used to this type of luxury and they expressed as much in the comment section. Many people prayed to God to bless them and punish poverty while others made jokes from the situation. @aprilgains-The only quick stop we do have when we travel is to stop, PEE, buy groundnut and plantain chips for people in my area. @adesquare7-when you have money, you can go to Canada to even urinate and come back.

14-yr old Benue gospel music minister, Sena, set for album launch

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14-year old gospel music minister, Sena Gold Abwa, better known as Sena, is set to launch her debut music album titled “Too Good to be True.” The six-track album, which is already enjoying massive airtime on radio stations, includes a track titled “Leah Sharibu.” The album is billed to be launched in Abuja, this July. Sena is the last of 4 children. Born on December 16, 2004, the young music minister hails from Vandeikya Local Government Area of Benue State. She is a graduate of the Faithway Bible

Beyonce’s new album: Tiwa Savage pens down emotional message S

ocial media is currently buzzing with the release of Beyonce’s anticipated ‘The Gift’ album last Friday. The hit album featured several Nigerian musical stars like Tiwa Savage, Wizkid, Mr

BBNaija 2019: Don Jazzy, others slam housemates as boring

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n a poll recently conducted by Legit.ng on Twitter and Facebook, Nigerians have said what they think about the current BBNaija 2019 housemates. The poll organisers set out to determine whether Nigerians thought the housemates were boring or interesting, and based on the results, it appears that many think the contestants are boring. On Twitter, 55 percent of Nigerians

said that the housemates were boring, and on Facebook, 85 percent were of the same opinion. How would you describe the current BBNaija housemates? 55%-They are boring, 7%-They are interesting, 19%pretending 19%-Can do better. On Facebook, some Nigerians gave the reasons why they thought the housemates were boring some said It

College School of Ministry. She started her musical career at a very young age of 8 with the Faithway Church choir in Gboko. Sena is an SS1 Student and is the current music director of her school, Olive Tree Redemeer’s High School Makurdi. She has written and composed many songs and over ten of those have been produced. Her 2nd single “Carry all dey go” was released on 15th December, 2018. Sena, who is passionate about leading young people to Christ, is also the president and founder of Praise Marathon International, a teens’ ministry.

doesn’t had anything to the economy of the nation, it a waste of time and a program of the kingdom of darkness. Another said, ‘‘In fact I don’t have anyone I like up till now, what do I expect when all of them are from rich home and there’s no entertainers among them. Sorry for the organizers cause this 2019 BBN is a failure. Furthermore, ‘They got no talent at all. I de shame for the organisers.

Eazi, Shatta Wale, Tekno, Burna Boy and Yemi Alade. Feeling overwhelmed by being part of the album, Tiwa took to social media to express her emotions. The elated mother of one took to her Instagram page to share write: “Where do I start with this album. I’ve never been more proud to be a brown skin girl just like I am so honored to be a mother to a king. “My baby Jamil will be 4 in a few days and I realized that I gave birth to a KING. Mufassa had to remind Simba that he is the son of a king, that’s the message of this beautiful song. It is dedicated to African men and all men of African descent. Our kings are being killed and some jailed without justice. “Yes I know this is a movie that shaped a lot of our childhood and we didn’t really

see the true message behind it but I believe this soundtrack is a celebration and reminder of who we are. I pray you are blessed while you listen to this song. You’ve been hurt too long and we appreciate you

African kings. You are royalty. Omo oba ma gba gbe, run ti oruko Baba re (Son of a king, don’t you EVER forget) You are the key to your kingdom d’þAfrica the time is NOW #LionKing #TheGift”


July 22 - 28, 2019

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METRO

Flood, filth threatens to sack Jabi Motor Park T

By Ere-ebi AGEDAH

ransport business owners operating in the Jabi motor park fear their days in the motor park may have been numbered, as conducting business in the park is no longer profitable. The transporters say the once boisterous motor park is now a shadow of its self as only a few travellers now pass through the park. They ascribe this low patronage to the squalid environment in and around the park which is constantly overtaken by dirt. Located in the heart of the city, the Jabi motor park is described as the biggest bus terminal in Abuja where most passengers to any part of the country can access comfortable, secure and affordable vehicles. However travellers and transporters who run business in the park say the years of neglect has left facilities like toilets, plumbing and even drainages blocked, and thereby allowing sewages to ooze out freely from broken pipes and clogged drainages. The situation is worst in the rainy season where the entire park is most times flooded due to bad drainages. After every down pour, the park is often overtaken by dirt, puddle and muck, making access difficulty for visitors. Travellers have had to find their way to private motor parks concentrated around the Utako/Jabi axis to make alternative travel arrangements. When METRO visited the motor park it was just recovering from the effect of another down pour as water patches could be seen at different points within the park, obstructing movement and access to the park. This reporter also discovered refuse littered across the garage which was an eye sore, as the main entrance leading into the park was also in a state of disrepair and has been taken over by mechanics using it as their workshop. METRO however spoke with Mr Richard Siso, the state chairman Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria RTEAN, who stated that the dilapidated state of the motor park has become a source of concern to most of them who run their daily business at the motor park. He noted that the state of the park might have discouraged passengers from patronizing it, which in turn has forced motorists to prefer picking up passengers by the roadsides. “We pay tax, for every vehicle that leaves the park, we expect the park to be tilled because that is the

Front view of the Jabi/Utako Motorpark

agreement between Ekeson and federal government, but the contractor Ekeson has not tilled the park for us. That is why when you come to the park when it rains it is very muddy and inaccessible for us and our passengers,” he said. He noted that a lot of passengers complain when they are forced to walk on mud while accessing the park. He however called on Ekeson the contractor in charge of the park and the Federal Government to make the environment conducive by renovating the park and turning it into world standard. Two members of the National Union of Road and Transport Workers, NURTW, said that the facility had been abandoned by AMAC despite the levies paid by every user of the park on daily basics. One of them who pleaded to remain anonymous noted that he has been in the park for the last 15 years during which nothing has been done to improve the Jabi motor park. “This park very muddy and dirty, it is not good for a government park to be in such state, we have a developer of this park who is not doing anything all he does is to collect levies and there is nothing to

show for all the monies paid. “Every day our passengers are complaining, when it rains they cannot alight from their vehicles to board ours. The park is not good for us, we want the park to be tilled so that when it rains people will not notice that there was a down pour.” A traveller, Khadija Mohammed, who spoke with METRO shortly after arriving the Jabi motor park from Ilorin, Kwara state, said the park was too dirty and smelly and does not befit the status of the capital city. She added that the state of the park discourages commuters from going there to board vehicles to their destinations, especially when they have other alternatives. “If I’m travelling to Lagos, I wouldn’t come here to board a bus. There are fleet companies that have better terminus. For instance, if you have boarded a bus to Ibadan and your vehicle is yet to be filled up and you have to wait, where will you sit apart from inside the bus? So the situation in this park is not ideal,” she said. Mohammed called on the FCT administration to live up to its responsibility and bring up the park to the standard expected of a publicly run facility. Another passenger at the Jabi

Park, Jimoh Abdulrasheed, lamented that there were no lounges or sitting areas at the park, which should be the biggest in the capital city, a situation he said discourages a lot of travellers from patronizing the park. He said he had been patronizing the park for the past three years but every time he was going there, he felt apprehensive. “I have been coming to this park for years now and I really don’t like the way it is. When I have an alternative, I would board a vehicle elsewhere because the environment here is not conducive. I am surprised that the biggest motor terminal in Abuja has been left in this state. What happens to the taxes the government collects here?” he asked. The Jabi Motor Park is the central park in the nation’s capital city and must not be left in such a sorry state. A well-developed transportation infrastructure provides adequate access to local communities, which in turn is a necessary condition for the efficient operation of manufacturing, retail, labour and housing markets. Transportation is a wealth creating industry on its own as well as the life-line of an economy. By “lifeline”, it means that transportation is extremely important for the survival of the economy.


14

July 22 - 28, 2019

SHORT STORIES

Foolish imitation

RIDDLES 1.

If I drink, I die, but if I eat, I am fine. What am I?

2.

Throw away the outside and cook the inside, then eat the outside and throw away the inside. What is it?

3.

What word becomes shorter when you add two letters to it?

4.

What travels around the world but stays in one spot?

5.

What occurs once in a minute, twice in a moment and never in one thousand years?

6.

What has 4 eyes but can’t see?

7.

If I have it, I don’t share it. If I share it, I don’t have it. What is it?

Answers

crow, angrily. Next moment he spotted a big fat mouse coming out of a hole. Without wasting time, the crow swooped down. Like the hawk he tried to catch the mouse in his claws. But the mouse saw the crow and moved away, the crow crashed against the hill. “Eeeaaa!” cried the crow in pain. Just then the hawk came flying down. “I hope, now you know it is not easy to hunt and it is not easy to imitate, either,” said the hawk and flew away. Thereafter, the crow never imitated any one in its life. It lived happily with the godgiven abilities.

A fire 2. Corn 3. Short 4. A stamp 5. The letter M 6. Mississippi 7. A secret

“Hunh! If the hawk can do that, I too can. What does he think? One day, I will show the hawk that I can do the same thing.” A few days later, as the hawk was circling in the air, the crow decided to do the same. Suddenly a baby rabbit came out of the bushes. The hawk saw it and the crow too saw the rabbit. Before the crow could move, the hawk swooped down, caught hold of the rabbit in his strong sharp talons and flew away. “Swoosh!” was all the crow heard as the hawk disappeared in the sky with his prey. “Hmmph! That is no great skill,” thought the

1.

L

ong ago, a hawk lived on top of a hill. At the foot of the hill there was a banyan tree on which a crow used to perch every day. The crow was very foolish. He would imitate everyone. The hawk atop the hill would fly down every day in search of food. The crow watched the hawk circling in the air for long hours and swooping down when he saw his prey. The hawk gifted with eyes that could see long distances would spot his prey from the hill top and then fly down to pounce upon the prey. The crow watched the hawk thinking,

KIDS AND HEALTH

What happens when you’re scared? H Quiz

1. A watch maker is known as? 2. Who is a stenographer? 3. Automobile engineers are to cars what aeronautic engineers are to?

Did You Know?

l Did you know in Moscow weathermen can be fined for inaccurate weather forecasting? l Did you know 85% of plant life is found in the ocean?

4. Whose services are employed to repair a leaking roof?

l Did you know fire usually moves faster uphill than downhill?

5. A children doctor is known as?

l Did you know if you get water flowing fast enough, it can cut metal? l Did you know strawberries are the only fruits whose seeds grow on the outside?

ave you ever wondered why being scared makes your heart beat faster and makes you breathe quicker? The body’s reaction to fear is called the “fight or flight” response. And people have had it since the beginning of time. Here’s how it works. Imagine you’re a caveman or cavewoman living 100,000 years ago — and you come face to face with a hungry saber-toothed tiger. You have two choices: 1) Run for it (that’s flight), or 2) pick up your club and battle the tiger (that’s fight). A final choice (be eaten) doesn’t seem like such a good one! Today, you can apply fight or flight to that bully who confronts you and won’t listen to reason. You have two choices: 1) Turn and walk away (flight), or 2) fight, even though you know fighting won’t solve the problem. To prepare for fight or flight, your body does a number of things automatically so it’s ready for quick action or a quick escape. Your

heart rate increases to pump more blood to your muscles and brain. Your lungs take in air faster to supply your body with oxygen. The pupils in your eyes get larger to see better. And your digestive and urinary systems slow down for the moment so you can concentrate on more important things. From m.kidshealth.org.

1. A horologist 2. A person specialized in short hand writing 3. Airplanes 4. A carpenter’s 5. A Paediatrician

Answers


July 22 - 28, 2019

15

EDUCATION

TETFund to disburse N208b to tertiary institutions Stories by Godfrey AKON

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he Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, has allocated N208 billion for 2019 annual direct disbursements to public universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in the country. Executive Secretary of TETFund, Prof Suleiman Bogoro, disclosed this at an annual meeting with heads of beneficiary institutions in Abuja. Bogoro said N826,684,392 million was allocated to each public university, while each polytechnic was allocated N566,701,842 and each public college of education was voted N542,226,346. The TETFund boss also announced a high impact intervention of the fund to 18 public tertiary institutions in the six geopolitical zones, comprising 6 universities, 6 polytechnics and 6 colleges of education. He said each of the six universities would have N3 billion in high impact intervention, while selected polytechnics and colleges of education would get N1 billion each. According to him, between January and June 2019, the fund had disbursed N19.7 billion to beneficiary institutions. While explaining government’s focus on intervening in only public tertiary institutions, he said 94 per cent of the total university population in the country was in public universities which explains why government insisted that the money should be applied only to public universities. He however expressed worry over the increase in the number of stateowned institutions just for the purpose of enrolling them to benefit from TETFund, stating that a decision would soon be taken by the fund’s board of trustees to address the issue and ensure that the interventions do not whittle down. On the issue of stranded Nigerian scholars on TETFund sponsorship to

institutions abroad, he said the scandal which has caused a lot of embarrassment to the country was being addressed and further steps taken to forestall any future lapses in the scheme. Bogoro disclosed that TETFund has commenced pro rata payments to about 400 scholars since it started monitoring the development three months ago. He further frowned at the sluggish execution of projects by some institutions and also expressed worry over the quality of projects implementation, stating that TETFund does not allow more than four years of accumulation of projects. He said five erring institutions were being investigated over delay in project execution, warning that appropriate sanctions

would be meted out when the investigations are concluded, while also appealing to the board of trustees to allow an independent monitoring and evaluation of the projects as the high number of defaulters was unacceptable. Speaking on the corruption in some institutions, he said the fund would soon drag some desk officers to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over demands that they were making from some scholars while sitting on their funds. While commending the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, for ensuring that the 2 per cent education tax was collected and remitted to the fund through the Central Bank, despite dwindling oil prices, he said TETFund has always

ensured that the funds were judiciously applied. Speaking on research, Bogoro warned that if Nigeria does not deepen research, it would be pretending it can compete with the rest of the world, adding that the fund would focus on the content component of its intervention which is research and development. He further noted that research and development was the only way the country can overcome its economic and technological challenges. Earlier, the Executive Secretary of the National U n i v e r s i t i e s Commission, NUC, and Acting Chairman, Board of Trustees of TETFund, Prof Abubakar Rasheed, said TETFund was emerging as one of the most improved

government agency in the country. Rasheed urged beneficiary institutions to promptly access their 2019 allocations as there was no time on their side. He however noted the many challenges facing TETFund, one of which is the rising number of beneficiary institutions, adding that Nigeria needs more institutions to provide access to its population but the growing number of institutions were reducing the volume of intervention by the fund. The NUC boss said in 2019, the number of beneficiary institutions was higher than other years because the increase in the number of tertiary institutions, calling on government top protect TETFund in order not to whittle down its interventions.

L-R: Director, Nigeria-Ghana Business Council, Mr. Taofiq Tijani, director of the council, Mrs. Abiola Ogunbiyi, President, NGBC, Mr. Bambo Ademiluyi, Minister in charge of Culture and Education, Ghana, Mrs. Kokui Tamaklde and Minister for Trade and Investment Ghana High Commission, Lagos, Mr. Sintim Barimal during the African Universities Fair in Abuja... Saturday. Photo: Wale Elekolusi.

Netherlands seeks Nigeria’s partnership on education

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he Dutch Government has expressed desire to collaborate with Nigeria’s Ministry of Education on specific areas of manpower needs which the country may identify. Speaking during a visit to the ministry of education in Abuja, Team Leader, Partnership and Programme Development of the Netherlands Ministry of Education, Mr. David Van Kampan, said scholarships were also in the options to offer more Nigerians opportunity to study in the Netherlands. Van Kampan said when the partnership is forged, the Dutch education

officials could visit the country to provide specific capacity building to Nigerians on the country’s areas of needs. According to him, collaboration between Nigeria and the Netherlands was necessary for the two countries to share knowledge, and foster mutual relationship. He said the efforts were driven by NUFFIC Netherlands, a Dutch organisation for the Netherlands education, which plays an important role in fostering international cooperation in education between the

Netherlands and other countries. Responding, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. Sonny Echono, expressed the ministry’s readiness to partner with the Dutch organization to share best practices and ideas. Echono noted that Nigeria was in need of the collaboration for massive training of teachers and human development that would in turn be geared toward the advancement of the sector. He highlighted other aspect of the collaboration to include exchange of

students in long and shortterm programme, education management information, exchange visit, and study and lecture tour of universities’ professors. Others are awards of full scholarship to students and graduates, to study in each other’s institutions; and encourage sponsored students to study in each other’s country. He however noted that Nigeria was yet to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Netherland on educational cooperation even though the document has been drafted already.

NGOs sign MOU to tackle out-of-school children menace UBEC introduces cluster learning centers for girls Nigeria’s Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, is continuing its diversification of approach to education delivery as the commission has announced it would soon set up Cluster Learning Centers for Girls. Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr. Hamid Bobboyi, said the new intervention targeting girls was also necessary to reduce the large population of out-ofschool children especially in the northern states. Bobboyi spoke in Kaduna at a roundtable to develop a framework for the proposed Cluster Learning Centers for Girls, a statement by the Spokesperson of UBEC, Mr. Osom Osom said. These efforts are coming on the heels of renewed calls for strategic focus on the education of girls who are believed to account for 60 per cent of all outof-school children in Nigeria. Represented by UBEC director of teacher development, Mallam Unwaha Ismaila, the UBEC boss stressed the importance of developing a framework as an additional incentive towards tackling challenges associated with the outof-school children problem. He pledged government’s readiness to continue to implement programmes that will increase access and ensure equity, especially for the girls, while urging states to take ownership of existing UBE facilities set up by UBEC to ensure their girls are not denied access to quality UBE. He expressed optimism that the various scholars and resource persons invited to the roundtable will develop a workable document that can be readily implemented at all levels towards improving girls‘


16

July 22 - 28, 2019

INTERVIEW

Men contribute significantly to infertility -Ajayi The issue of infertility remains a major issue in most communities in Nigeria with the woman taking the full brunt of it. In this interview, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi of premier fertility centre, Abuja, Nordica Fertility Centre, throws light on male infertility, the place of IVF and how it can be made affordable so that hundreds of couples seeking for children of their own can benefit. He spoke with CHUKS NZEH. Excerpts:

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ow do we break the myth surrounding male infertility which says that men can’t be infertile, that infertility is a thing of the women alone? Well, I agree it’s a myth, but I agree it’s already been broken because about 20 or 25 years ago, I saw a man hold up to a doctor’s collar and said “You said I’m not fertile.” So like you said, it is believed that infertility is a woman’s problem, but I believe that the populace are now getting aware that men can also have problems, and we know scientifically that men contribute equally to infertility with women, but the figures we are even seeing now shows that men might even be contributing more to infertility than women, and we did a recent study in my centre and we saw that about 12 percent of men that come for fertility screening don’t have sperm at all, not that they have low sperm count. So we did another in which we compared sperm count in 2003 to sperm count in 2013, and we saw that there was a drop of about 30 percent. Why we can’t shout about it is that these are not community-based studies, so there will be some screw because it is people that come to the fertility clinic that we are looking at. So we cannot say that that’s what obtains in the society, so what we are saying is that that is not only in Nigeria, it’s a global picture that male infertility is becoming more rampant. There was an article that somebody wrote and said that men might soon become extinct if care is not taken because sperm count seems to be dropping. So it’s not a Nigerian thing, it’s a global affair, but there is no doubt that men are contributing significantly to infertility in marriages. What is responsible for the drop in male fertility? If we knew that, we would have been able to reverse it. But there is no singular factor but so many factors have been incriminated. Initially, there was a belief that the problem starts from when the boy is in the mother, but now everything has shifted to saying that it is the environment that causes it. There is now more environmental factor than being born with infertility, and some of the products that they incriminated are even some of the ones that you can’t do without such as toothpaste. So, so many things have been looked at that could contribute to male infertility. Of course, there are studies that shown that men who work in where they sell petrol, that’s gas station, over a prolonged period of time. So, your vocation is one thing that might also be incriminated. Some say that even the global warming stuff might be responsible, but the truth about it is that we cannot pin-point one particular thing, but the thing that we are saying is these are factors that seem to be in our control, which are the lifestyle factors, and that’s why now, we are talking a lot about

culture that says we shouldn’t do IVF; maybe religion, because there are some religions that say don’t do IVF, whether that holds water or not. Will you advocate for sperm test among prospective fathers, and how regular do you advice that young men should go for sperm test? Well, I don’t advocate for anybody doing sperm count or not, maybe before you get married, at least for you to know, so that it would guard your decision making. But what I say most of the time is that infertility involves two people. Even if I have a pass mark, my sperm is 200 million, and I marry, and I’m not able to impregnate my wife, as a couple, we have infertility. The thing is not for me to say ‘Oh yeah, my sperm count is good.’ So, you should only do sperm count when it is necessary, it is not something that a young man goes every year to be repeating. What are you doing it for? Dr. Abayomi Ajayi

lifestyle because that’s within our control. You can control your weight as much as possible. It is difficult, but it can be done. You can control what you eat. You can control that you don’t drink excessively, you can control that you don’t smoke, you can control that you don’t use drugs, I’m talking about recreational drugs. You can control the kind of sports you do. Lifestyle factors are the things that we think can contribute to male infertility that are within our control, and those are the things that we are laying a lot of emphasis on. How can IVF be used to help infertile males? Nice question. IVF was first done successfully in 1978. Between 1978 and 1990, this question was answered because like you said, we sperm together with the egg, but we saw that there was some sperm when you mix them together with the egg, they don’t just do nothing. So, these are people whose sperm parameters are not good, the male factor. Don’t forget that the conventional IVF itself was done for female factor, tubes blocked. So, so many methods were tried to see how these sperm samples that were not good could fertilize the eggs, not until a gentleman in Belgium was able to do what we now call ICSI (Inter-cytosplasmic Sperm Injection). So, that was the first time that the idea was imported, and since 1990, we’ve had babies from that ICSI procedure. So, ICSI is what we do when the sperm count is bad. Many IVFs now are doing from 80 percent ICSI, some are even doing a hundred percent ICSI for their treatment to show you the kind of sperm that we are having now. Also, we saw that from ICSI, that we are injecting sperms that normally will not be able to fertilize eggs because ICSI involves you injecting one sperm into the egg. What the sperm that is not good could

not do was to penetrate the barrier that was shielding the egg, so we started injecting this sperm into the egg, so in essence, we were injecting sperm which normally could not fertilize the egg into the egg, and what we noticed over time was that the miscarriage rate was very high because we did not understand fully what we were seeing, but what we saw was that the miscarriage rate was higher. We would fertilize the egg alright, we would create embryos alright, some of the women will get pregnant alright, but the miscarriage rate was much higher because we were creating embryos that were not fit, but nature does not reject them until at the advanced stage, later on. So, we would have transferred, we would have said ‘we are pregnant’ and stuff like that before nature will now reject them because there is a quality control system in the body. So, when people started seeing that, there was a need for us to be able to choose sperms, to be able to see that we filter the ones that are not good from the ones that are good. Have Nigerians been able to embrace this advancement in medical practice and take full advantage of it? When you are talking of these advanced methods, are we not talking about access? Because the services are available, but are people accessing them? And one of the barriers to access would be culture, like you said, which education is the main thing to that. Also, one of the things that are affecting access would be cost, can people afford it? You know, there’s no amount of grammar that you will speak, and I know IVF works, if I cannot pay for it, it is still not accessible to me. So, when we talk about culture, I think culture is neutral about IVF. It’s not really a cultural issue, it is an awareness issue, it’s an educational issue, and it’s a cost issue. So, there’s no

So at what point is the sperm count test necessary? Either if you want to get married, so that if your sperm count is not good, you know that your wife is not getting pregnant, so that you don’t start going from one prayer house to another. It’s not witches and wizard because you already know what the problem is, and you face it squarely. So, should we now take it that there’s no cure for low or no sperm count? If you use the word cure, there is none, but if it is whether it can be managed, then it is yes. In the country today, how can we rate the successes of IVF? I guess it’s a centre specific thing because right now, we still do not have national statistics, so it’s a centre-specific thing, and the problem with centrespecific data is that there is nobody who eats with the knife that’s lost, so most times, people claim what is not. I’m not saying it’s everybody, but sometimes people even claim what is ridiculous. So what I tell patients is that ‘you need to know that the technology was not invented in Nigeria.’ So if the owner of the technology says my technology can deliver 40 percent, and I sit down in my village and say I’m getting 70 percent, it’s either I’m wrong, I’m lying or I’m a witch. So you can decide whichever it is. Looking at the cost implication, are there centres offering free IVF services? Yeah! There are centres, there must be. We are also doing free services, but it’s just a drop in the ocean. How many free IVFs can you render in a year, or do you want to run bankrupt yourself? So it’s just a drop in the ocean. Anything that you want to be sustainable should be institutionalized. So, it’s either there’s an insurance agency or there must be a way to pay for it. There is no free lunch in Freetown.


July 22 - 28, 2019

17

BUSINESS

FCT REPORT DBN to drive GDP growth via small businesses

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he Development Bank of Nigeria, DBN, said it will continue to focus on providing sustainable financing for legitimate small businesses across all sectors of the economy, in order to allow them contribute effectively to the Gross Domestic Product of the country. Managing Director of DBN, Tony Okpanachi, said unlike other lending institutions, the bank was established to provide funds for different legitimate businesses in all the sectors of the economy. He said as a wholesale Development Finance Institution, DBN is committed to driving funds to micro, small, medium enterprises across all sectors. According to him, “MSMEs in any clime are the backbone for inclusive economic growth. In advanced economies, small businesses have been seen to be the driving force in achieving growth in all sectors of the economy they operate.” Explaining the differences between the bank and other industry lenders Okpanachi said, while most of the institutions focus on specific sectors or areas, DBN focuses on the whole gamut of the MSMEs space. With a lot of financial hitches facing MSMEs in Nigeria despite the growing number of lenders in the country, he said that the DBN tried to bridge the gap by opening its loan range to cover businesses in all sectors. He explained that the bank’s funding model was to do all its financing through retail financial institutions that had existing relationships with the MSMEs. The DBN boss noted that bank’s loans came at lower interest rates compared to other commercial lenders, with an 18 - month moratorium before the end borrowers could begin to service the loan, and a longer loan repayment period of up to 10 years.

FG spends N610bn servicing domestic debts in Q1 I

Stories by Sarah NEGEDU

n the first quarter of this year alone, the federal government said it has spent a total of N610.2billion servicing its domestic debts. The Debt Management Office, DMO, had earlier reported that Nigeria’s total debt rose by 2.30percent in the first quarter, to hit 24.9trillion, with domestic debt accounting for 68.41percent of the total debt portfolio. However the National Bureau of Statistics in a report on the nation’s debt, said government has spent the sum of N610.2billion between January and March this year, paying interest on domestic debts. Nigeria’s domestic debt, according to the report, stood at N13.11trillion as at the first quarter of this year. The domestic debt was incurred through the issuance of seven financial instruments. They were Federal Government savings bonds where a total debt of N9.72trillion had been raised, Federal Government savings bonds with N9.7billion, Sukuk bond with N200billion and Green bond with N10.69billion. Other instruments used by the Federal Government in raising its domestic debt were Nigerian Treasury bills with N2.65trillion, Nigerian Treasury bonds N150.98billion and Promissory notes with N366.85billion. Further analysis of the document showed that during the three months period, the Federal Government spent N120.91billion on interest payment on Nigerian Treasury bills. A breakdown of the N120.91billion showed that the sum of N74.14billion was spent in January while February and March had N29.68billion and N 1 7 . 0 9 b i l l i o n

respectively. For the Federal Government bonds, the report stated that N480.84billion was spent servicing this debt component during the three months period. A breakdown of the amount showed that N183.62billion was spent in January,

N125.65billion in February while March had N171.57billion. Similarly, the report explained that for the Savings bond component, the sum of N347.91million was spent on interest on this debt instrument. The interest was paid in this manner, N100.5million

in January, N92.51million in February while March had N154.89million. Experts have continuously cautioned the Nigerian government against further borrowing, stressing that this was unsustainable considering the revenue

challenges facing the country. They said rather than borrowing to finance its activities, the country should adopt other sources of funding such as concessioning, privatisation, and Public Private P a r t n e r s h i p arrangement.

L-R: General Manager, Nigeria Content Development Monitoring Board, Mr.Abdumalik Halilu, Vice Chancellor, Niger Delta University, Prof. Samuel Edoumiekumo, Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Mr. Patric Obah and Managing Director, Danvic Petroleum International, Dr. Mayowa Afe during a training for University geoscience lecturers in Abuja...Thursday. Photo: Wale Elekolusi.

SEC tackles unregistered capital market operators A total of 4,160 u n p a i d investors of the illegal investment scheme organised by Dantata Success and Profitable Company were last week cleared to get refunds of their investment in the firm. The Securities and Exchange Commission had in February sealed off the premises of a company for engaging in illegal capital market activities without registration with the commission. The verification exercise which ended over the weekend was sequel to the appointment of joint administrators/trustees for Dantata Success and Profitable Company and in pursuant to section 13 and 173 of the Investment and Securities Act, and consequent to an Ex parte Order granted by the Federal High Court, Kano.

It said the company’s investment operations fell within fund management without registration with the commission, and was using a strategy to solicit funds from unsuspecting members of the public by enticing them with returns of monthly interest on investment of between 25 to 50 percent, depending on the nature and type of the investment. Meanwhile, SEC and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU, recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate in combating crime in the Nigerian capital market. The MoU is to also ensure that suspicious transactions are eradicated from the capital market, SEC said. The acting DG of the SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk who spoke in Abuja during the signing of the MoU with the

NFIU, said the collaboration was necessary in order to close ranks in the face of insider dealings, re-awakening of Ponzi schemes, cybercrime and other fraudulent activities that have engulfed the market in the last few years. Uduk said the commission was paying close attention to digital transactions and was in the process of amending its rules to capture such transactions. She added that the commission already has regulations that prohibits shell companies from operating in the capital market and implored the NFIU to assist with solutions to track suspicious transactions as they occur. On the rising spate of Ponzi schemes in the country, Uduk stressed the need for more

collaborations between both organisations and further sensitisation to ensure that unsuspecting Nigerians did not continue to lose their hard -earned money. On his part, Director of NFIU, Mr. Modibbo Tukur, disclosed that the NFIU is making efforts to ensure that the financial system is rid of shell companies adding that for companies to exist, they should have physical addresses. “If anyone establishes a company, it has to be a company indeed and we have to be firm on this. This has become more important now given the roll out of the Economic Community of West African States single currency, because with that, we know that capital and investments will move across borders and it is a single currency.


18

July 22 - 28, 2019

BUSINESS

NCC remits N51.3bn into CFR in three months Stories by Sarah NEGEDU

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total of N51.3billion was remitted by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, into Federal Government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund, CRF, in the first quarter of 2019. The remittance, according to the Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, is in compliance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act

of 2007 (FRA 2007). A statement by NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Dr Henry Nkemadu, the payment represented operating surplus of N44billion and spectrum assignment fee of N7.3billion collected. According to Nkemadu, both payments were due to the Federal Government as of April 30. The FRA 2007 requires such payments to be made every year after preparation of audited accounts of the concerned MDAs. Specifically, Section

22, Sub-section 1 of the Act states that, “Notwithstanding the provisions of any written law governing the corporation, each corporation shall establish a general reserve fund and shall allocate thereto at the end of each financial year, one fifth of its operating surplus for the year.” Section 22, Subsection 2 of the Act states further that, “The balance of the operating surplus shall be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Federal

Government not later than one month following the statutory deadline for publishing each corporation’s account.” Aside from remitting the operating surplus, Section 17, Sub-section 3 of the Nigerian Communication Act (NCA, 2003) also stipulates that spectrum assignment fees generated shall be remitted 100 per cent to the Federal Government. The section states that, “the commission shall pay all monies accruing from the sales of

L-R: Barr Emeka Okoroafor, Vice President, Federation of Construction Industry, FOCI; Engr. M. O. Williams, Chairman, Board of Trustees, FOCI, Chief Vincent Barrah, Deputy President, FOCI, President of FOCI, Engr. Nasiru A. Dantata, DG of FOCI, Engr. Olubunmi Adekoje, Mr Abubakar Ndakpayi, Treasurer, FOCI, and Mr Kiitan OlateruOlagbegi, Legal Adviser, at the 65th anniversary and 63rd AGM of FOCI in Abuja, last Wednesday.

Patronise locally made fabrics, CBN tells military, police, others T he Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has charged all uniformed services in the country to patronise local manufacturers for their textiles and uniforms in compliance with the Executive Order 003. Governor of the apex bank, Godwin Emefiele, regretted that most ministries, departments and agencies are flouting local contents prescription by refusing to patronize locally made textile products. Speaking at a meeting with service chiefs and chief executives of uniformed services in Nigeria, Emefiele noted that the government efforts at resuscitating the textiles and garments industries will not actualize if it is not

supported through local patronage and other incentives. The meeting was one of CBN’s ongoing efforts towards reviving the textile industry through enforcement of Executive Order 003, which supports local content in procurement by MDAs. Institutions represented at the meeting included the Army, Air Force, Navy, Police, Customs, Civil Defense and Immigration Service, among others. Also present where representatives of textile and garment companies. He said, “Crucial to this resolve is the call for patriotism and the need to support local manufacturers of textile, through patronage by MDAs as entrenched in

Executive Order 003. “Mr. President has directed full compliance with this order as it will help in addressing the pressure on our foreign reserves, through demands for forex for the importation of textile and clothing materials. “Our interactions with stakeholders revealed that MDAs have not made any significant order for uniforms or clothing materials from our Nigerian textile manufacturers and garment companies, and the governments’ efforts at resuscitating the textile industry will not be actualised if they are not supported through local patronage, among other incentives,” he said. Emefiele also noted that, “if we patronize

locally made textile products; If we revive the textiles and garment industries, we will improve the rural economy, create over 2 million jobs, improve internal revenues of the three tiers of government, reduce the over $4billion import bill incurred annually on textile imports and accelerate industrial development by making Nigeria a global player in the textile and apparel sector.” He mentioned that the CTG sector was faced with some systemic challenges, which had hampered and diminished its role as the leading employer of labour, thereby preventing its contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product.

spectrum under Part 1 of Chapter VIII into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).” Commenting further, the EVC said the commission had taken the initiative to be making payments into the account as it generates revenue. He said the latest data released by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that the telecoms industry contributed 10.11 percent to Nigeria’s GDP in the first quarter of 2018. This represents a 0.92 percent increase from the first quarter of the year. This year’s first quarter contribution is 0.26 per cent more than the figure (9.85 percent) recorded in the last quarter of 2018. “From 2001 till date, telecoms investment has increased tremendously from $500 million to over $70 billion, just as the commission intensifies measures aimed to further facilitate investment growth in telecoms infrastructure to drive the economy, especially through the licensed Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos). “We are also working with necessary stakeholders across all levels of government to address identified impediments to investment drive in the sector,” Danbatta said. He explained further: “The commission has since placed greater emphasis on broadband development as the next frontier for economic growth by driving efficiency and innovations in Nigeria. “ C o n s e q u e n t l y, through painstaking implementation of our 8point agenda, with the need to facilitate b r o a d b a n d development topping the agenda, we have been able to increase broadband penetration to 33.13 percent as at end of May, 2019.” A c c o r d i n g l y, Danbatta as at May this year, there were over 173.6 million active mobile lines across mobile networks, corresponding to a teledensity of 90.98 per cent. Internet subscriptions during the month stood at 122.6 million up from 119 million in April.

FG to use border markets in fight against crime, diversify economy

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he federal government is optimistic that the five transnational border markets and one regional market currently under construction in border communities in Nigeria will further help diversify the economy while reducing crimes in those areas. According to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Edet Akpan, the special markets to be cited at border communities in each of the geopolitical zones in the country are a strategy of the Nigerian government to stem border conflicts and crimes in the country. Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting on the state of development of one of such proposed transnational markets located in Babanna, Niger State, Akpan said the initiative would create jobs and allow trade between Nigeria and neighbouring countries. The ministry’s director of trade, Evelyn Nwachukwu, said the government has begun moves to establish transnational markets in Gamboru Ngala for North East, Kamba for North West, Babanna for North Central, Okerete for North West, Mfun for South South and a regional market at Lokpanta for South East. She said the aim was to coordinate, document and formalise trading at border communities and also curb smuggling across borders. She said some of the facilities to be provided in the markets included warehouses, financial institutions, Bureau de Change, hotels, restaurants, parking lots, motor parks, mechanic workshops, security posts, customs and immigration, as well as petrol service stations and administrative blocks. The Emir of Borgu, in whose jurisdiction Babanna Transnational Market falls in Niger State, Mohammed Sani Kitoro, urged the government to fully fund the project.


July 15 - 21, 2019

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July 15 - 21, 2019


July 22 - 28, 2019

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FOCUS

“Consider salient truths in Obasanjo’s letter” Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is famous for employing letter-writing techniques to vent his concerns on salient national issues. Last week, the elder statesman penned a fiery piece to President Muhammadu Buhari over growing insecurity in the country, warning of looming escalations, genocide, among others, if urgent steps are not taken to arrest the situation. David LAWANI and Williams ABAH encountered a cross section of Nigerians who bared their minds on the issue. Excerpts: AJAKAYI ABIODUN: We all know Obasanjo is one leader who does not hide his feelings when issues of national interest are on the table. He had written many letters to President Muhammadu Buhari. Some people may not like him for coming heavily on the president, but I think Nigerians should take a critical look at the letter side-by-side the current challenges facing our corporate existence as a nation. I have come across a lot of writeups on social media, saying that Obasanjo is not happy that Buhari was re-elected. This sentiment is not good for us as a nation. He is obviously not writing this letter for his own sake but for us. He is old and has achieved what anyone may be dreaming of. I pray the APC-led government listens to him. Just imagine if Buhari could listens to constructive criticism and fix Nigeria. Who will take the accolades? Is it Buhari or the critics?” There is need for us to add our voices to national issues with a view of strengthening our diversity as a nation. EDET BASSEY: When I read OBJ’s letter to Buhari, I discovered our country is in a state of disarray. You see, the problem of this country cannot be easily addressed until we all imbibe the spirit of patriotism. Democracy is open to criticism. That is why it is called ‘popular consultation and majority rule.’ So I do not see why some people painted the message in Obasanjo’s letter in bad light. The message is bitter to those who are APC’s diehard supporters. For how long are we going to continue in this crude way of doing things? Even when it is obvious bandits, terrorists and criminal gangs have taken over the entire country, some people and the government do not see anything wrong. One takeaway from Obasanjo’s criticism was his recommendations or solutions for all he criticized. If he was writing for personal interest, would he had recommended for a dialogue among relevant stakeholders to address the security issues on ground? Obviously, he wouldn’t have done that. While some people are abusing him and calling him names, one would say that Obasanjo, though not perfect, is one of the greatest and most intelligent persons to have ruled Nigeria. ALUKO VICTOR: I must say, the letter captured our present security challenges in the country and their potentials of escalating to a genocide.

elder statesmen like him to speak concerning issues affecting Nigeria. RUGA settlement issue is part of the challenges addressed in the letter as it affects farmers and herders. Nigerians have said no to it. And so shall it be. I believed the letter reveals the state of the nation especially the danger posed by security challenges. I want the President to read it carefully and take OBJ’s advice, if Nigeria must exist. Let the president through his economic policies create gainful employment for Nigerians. Once he is able to deal with the issue of unemployment, poverty will reduce. Let him create jobs for Nigerians. RUGA settlement is not job creation by the Federal Government. He should focus on fixing the economy first. Samuel Ezeh

Edet Bassey

Chidoze Anthony

John Atta

Let me remind Nigerians that we can only make suggestions in the hope that God provides Mr President with the right frame of mind to tackle the challenges. Politics aside, security is a menace to all, rich and poor, young and old. No need for sentiments. Obasanjo hasn’t realized that Buhari doesn’t even care he exists. I overheard people discussing in a bus I boarded from Kubwa that the conflict between Obasanjo and Buhari, started the day Obasanjo started writing open letters to Buhari, and Buhari in response, asked where is the power after spending $16 billion? We are always getting it wrong when we share ideas on national issues because of sentiments. Buhari has all the power to probe Obasanjo for any illegal transaction carried out during his tenure. Nigerians should rise up to defend the image of this

country no matter who is involved. JOHN ATTA: As an elder statesman, if Obasanjo sees something wrong he is supposed to speak up. Buhari is not right for his policy to allow Fulani people to populate every state in Nigeria. He doesn’t mean well. Nigeria has many tribes. Why focus on one tribe rather than do what will favour everybody in Nigeria? I appreciate former President Obasanjo very well. What he wrote in that letter is what I expected of him to say. As it is now, the country’s image is going down. As the giant of Africa, Nigeria is supposed to be a country that other neighbouring countries would look up to. CHIDOZE ANTHONY EZEMERE: The letter is a welcome development. We have been expecting

SAMUEL EZEH: There is no way Buhari can rule properly without the input of statesmen. Obasanjo is an elder statesman. Like the saying goes ‘what an elder sits seeing even though a child climbs a tree he cannot see it.’ That is what OBJ is like to Nigeria. He is seeing more than every other person in this country. He is like a soothsayer. What he said is actually what is going on. The killing in the country is alarming and that is not what it is supposed to be. As a president, we are not pointing finger on anybody. But, he is supposed to do what is right. His duty there is to protect the life and property of Nigerians. We are not supposed to be mourning. Every day we come out here we hear the number of killings. When will it stop? Nigeria is now being tagged a nation of mourning which is not expected to be. We need him as president to sit up and confront these issues. If the Service Chiefs are not doing well, he should relieve them or reshuffle them for efficiency. He should constitute some watchdogs to monitor their performance so as to make sure everything is going on normally. At least if nothing is coming to Nigeria let him tackle these killings because one soul lost means thousand. Nobody hates the Fulani people but there is no way you can associate with somebody who values animals more than humans. If your brother gets killed, how will you feel? You will be destabilized. Let him look into the letter. He should read it and correct the loopholes highlighted in it. Let him act on it speedily. Let him forget opponent or no opponent, PDP or APC. Let him work for the good and wellbeing of all Nigerians.


July 22 - 28, 2019

Pacquiao beats Thurman to take WBA Super welterweight title

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anny Pacquiao said he had “fun” as he became the oldest welterweight champion in history by beating WBA Super champion Keith Thurman in a split decision in Las Vegas. Thurman previously undefeated had promised to send

The 30-year-old had been looking for his 30th straight win. Two judges scored it 115-112 to Pacquiao, while the other gave it 114-113 to Thurman. Pacquiao - a world champion at eight weights - was fighting for the 71st time in a stellar career that has seen seven defeats, but

Iwobi

I’ll leave Arsenal if they sign Zaha –Iwobi A

rsenal wide-man Alex Iwobi claims he may be forced to quit the club if they fulfill their ambition of signing Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace. The Gunners have made no secret of their desire to sign the 26-yearold Ivory Coast international and have already had a bid of around £40 million ($50m) rejected for a player the Eagles value at closer to £80 million. The presence of Zaha would limit Iwobi’s minutes at the Emirates and he says sitting on the sidelines would force him to consider his position. “I am not one to chicken out,” the 23-year-old told

The Sun. “I have had it all over the years, being told I’m not good enough. “So whenever the chance comes I always try and prove I should be

starting. But it’s going to be difficult if Zaha comes. He will add more stress. “Obviously my joy is to play football and not just sit out.

“If it comes to that I would have no choice but to leave. But I would always put up a fight to play – that is what I’ve done all my life.”

Bale ‘very close’ to exit –Zidane

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eal Madrid forward Gareth Bale is “very close to leaving” the Spanish club, says boss Zinedine Zidane. The Wales international, 30, was left out of Real’s 3-1 pre-season defeat by Bayern Munich in Houston, USA. Speaking after the game, Zidane said: “We hope he leaves soon. It would be best for everyone. We are working on his transfer to a new team.

“I have nothing personal against him, but there comes a time where things are done because they must be done.” Bale, who has three years left on his Real contract, has won the Champions League four times since his £85m move to Madrid from Tottenham in 2013 - a world record deal at the time. He has been linked with Premier League sides

Manchester United and Spurs, German champions Bayern and also a move to the Chinese Super League. “I have to make decisions. We have to change,” Zidane added. “The exit is the coach’s decision, and also of the player, who knows the situation. “The situation will change, I do not know if in 24 or 48 hours, but it will and it’s a good thing for everyone.”

Manny the 40-year-old Fillipino into retirement, but was knocked down in the first round before a thrilling fight went the distance. “I knew it was too close,” said American Thurman. “He got the knockdown so he had momentum in round one. This was a beautiful night of boxing.”

with four of those losses coming in his past 11 fights before the meeting with Thurman. Afterwards, Pacquiao said he felt “blessed” and he will return to the Philippines to resume his work as a senator before deciding his next move. “I think I will fight next year,” he added.

Africa should trust local coaches –Xavier

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Senegal’s coach Aliou Cisse

ormer AFC L e o p a r d s midfielder Francis Xavier has drummed up support for local coaches in Africa. Xavier has reminded readers of the fact Aliou Cisse of Senegal and Djamel Belmadi of Algeria led their respective teams to the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals. “It is high time we start trusting our local

coaches because they understand the players more than maybe a foreign one. They also gel with the players with ease and that ensures there is fast progress in the growth of the teams,” Xavier told Goal. Xavier believes there is no shortage of capable leaders in the continent who can qualify their teams to major tournaments.

“You could also feel how (Aliou) Cisse encouraged his players after the loss (Afcon final defeat to Algeria) and the players appreciated that from my observations. We have several coaches who could have done better but were never given enough chances and trust to showcase what they had up their sleeves,” he added. He also pointed out

what African football associations have to provide for local tacticians to succeed. “Trust is key, the moment you hand somebody a job and see he can do it well, let him handle it for a reasonable length of time. Take him out for refresher courses so he can come back with some new ideas to help him perform the duties at hand,” he concluded.

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: letters@theabujainquirer.com: Website: www.theabujainquirer.com. Publisher-Editor-in-Chief: DAN AKPOVWA

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