Page 1

Buhari, Joanthan: The $1bn presidents By Emmanuel OGBECHE


n July 15, 2014, f o r m e r President Goodluck Jonathan wrote the National Assembly requesting a loan of $1 billion to

tackle the increased security challenge posed by Boko Haram. Three years after Jonathan made that request, governors gathered in Abuja on December 14 to give approval to President

Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw the same $1bn from the controversial Excess Crude Account to fund the war against Boko Haram. The balance in the ECA stands at $2.3bn. “We are pleased with

the federal government achievements in the insurgency war and in that vein state governors have approved that the sum of $1 billion be taken from the excess crude account by the federal government to

fight the insurgency war to its conclusion,” said Godwin Obaseki, Edo state governor. “The money will cover the whole array of needs which includes purchase of equipment, training for military

personnel and logistics,” he said after a meeting of the National Economic Council. Jonathan in writing to the NASS then said; Continued on page 3


First Published March 2004

Vol. 12 No. 23 ISSN: 1597-2895

December 18 - 24, 2017

Price: 100


Nigerians Fear Bleak Yuletide By Our Correspondents


igerians are in the throes of a bleak Yuletide as prices of goods and services continue to soar, even as fuel scarcity enters the third week with no respite in sight. Except something happens later this week, Nigerians with plans of

travelling for the Christmas and New Year festivities will have to face steep rise in transportation cost as the powerful Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, gave indication weekend that it was Continued on page 3

FCT area councils get N3.9bn in 2 months By Austine ELEMUE


he Federal Capital T e r r i t o r y Administration, FCTA, has disbursed a total sum of N3, 936, 088, 596.26 billion to the six area councils being monies accruing to the councils for the months

of September and October, 2017. The figure represents about 58 percent increase when compared to N1.2 billion the Federal Capital Territory Administration Continued on page 3

President Muhammadu Buhari, middle, chats with Ivory Coast President Dr. Alassane Ouattara left, while President Of Togo Mr. Faure Eyadéma looks on during the 52nd ECOWAS Heads of State Summit held at the Transcorps Hilton Abuja, weekend. Photo: Sunday Aghaeze/State House, Abuja

“Nigerian degrees only good for Your promotion is in your hands, admissions abroad” >>PAGE 8 NUC tells lecturers >>PAGE 15

World Bank, governors, hail Delta’s job creation scheme >>PAGE 17


December 18 - 24, 2017

December 18 - 24, 2017



Buhari, Joanthan: The $1bn presidents Continued from page 1 “You are no doubt cognizant of the ongoing serious security challenges, which the nation is facing as typified by the Boko Haram terrorists threat. This is an issue that we have discussed at various times. “I would like to bring to your attention the urgent need to upgrade the equipment, training and logistics of our Armed Forces and security services to enable them be more forceful to confront this serious threat. “For this reason, I seek the concurrence of the National Assembly for external borrowing of not more than $1 billion, including government to g o v e r n m e n t arrangements for this upgrade.” The APC wasted no time in slamming the president for the request in a statement by its then National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, now Minister of Information and Culture. “The only reason the schoolgirls have remained in captivity is the sheer cluelessness and incompetence on the part of the Jonathan administration, which waited for over 19 days before even admitting that the girls were kidnapped in the first instance. Therefore, putting more money in the hands of an incompetent and massively corrupt administration can only encourage more incompetence and corruption. That is why we are asking the National Assembly to put national interest above all other considerations by taking a dispassionate, nonpartisan look at the President’s request. The National Assembly must summon security and military chiefs to explain how the huge funds allocated to

the security sector in the past has been spent before more funds can be pumped into the sector,” the statement read. Like then like now, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have axe to grind with the latest approval. In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party said it was alarmed by the manipulative plot by

the APC administration to secure approvals without recourse to due process, and for purposes of fighting the same insurgency, it claimed to have since defeated. “The PDP supports the fight against the insurgency. We hold our officers and men confronting the terrorists and securing our territorial integrity in high esteem, but we are concerned about the

manipulative tendencies connected with the approvals as well as the veracity of claimed purpose of the fund. “Nigerians would recall that the APC-led Federal Government had claimed that it has since defeated the insurgent. “If it would take a billion dollar from a nation’s savings to kill what they long claimed dead, then we challenge APC government come clean and tell Nigerians

the whole truth. “The era of lies and propaganda is long gone and Nigerians now know the truth. The Federal Government must be held accountable and stopped from any move to fritter away our national savings. “We, therefore, call on the National Assembly to interrogate this proposed disbursement and subject it to a thorough but rapid interrogation.”

L- R: Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara and CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, during the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, PEBEC, Impact Award Ceremony at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, last week.

FCT area councils get N3.9bn in 2 months Continued from page 1 disbursed to the area councils for the month of August, 2017 At the end of FCT Area Councils Joint Account Allocation Committee, JAAC, the sum of N1, 942, 579, 416.12 billion was disbursed to the councils for the month of September, while the total sum of N1, 993, 509, 180.14 billion was disbursed to the councils for the month of October, totaling N3, 936, 088, 596.26 billion. The breakdown of the figures show that the Abuja Municipal Area Council got the highest allocation of N921, 873, 498.41 for a period of two months, followed by Bwari area council with N656, 002, 906.79, while Gwagwalada area council got the sum of N610, 987, 889.51 for the same period of September and October 2017. Others include Kwali with the total sum of N597, 095, 156.82, while Kuje area council received the total sum of N592, 601, 495.57 and Abaji area council got the lowest allocation of N557, 527, 649.41 for the same period of September and October. Details of the breakdown of the FCT Area Councils Joint Account Allocation Committee, JAAC for the months of September and October are on pages...

Nigerians Fear Bleak Yuletide Continued from page 1 embarking on strike by today, Monday. This is coming on the heels of the biting scarcity occasioned by the strike embarked upon by theIndependent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN. Last Friday, the PENGASSAN had issued a 72-hour ultimatum to the federal government over allegations of anti-workers practices perpetrated against some of its members in Neconde Energy Limited, an indigenous oil company. It seems the

intervention of the FG failed as the association’s spokesperson, Fortune Obi, said the strike will still commence on December 18, 2018, being today, Monday. “Following the failure of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, to settle the rift between this body (PENGASSAN) and Neconde, the management of PENGASSAN has agreed to start the strike on Monday night (December 18th, 2017),” Obi said in the statement. Already, most major transport companies operating in the FCT have

hiked their fares. Those mostly hit are travellers to the Eastern part of the country. A passenger at one of the bus terminals in Utako told one of our correspondents that he did not bargain with as much as 50% hike, and feared that most people would have to shelve their travelling plans. “The situation here is not funny. I had to pay extra N200 to get to this park and they are now asking me to pay N6, 500 to Enugu. This is outside the not-so-large bag I have with me. I doubt if most people can make it home this year,” he

lamented. Also, at the Nyanya bus terminal, a holiday maker to Calabar, Mr. Patrick Ita, bemoaned the hiked transport fare. “Imagine paying N8, 000 from N5, 500 to go to Calabar. What sort of country is this? Why can’t there be fuel at this time of the year? It is indeed a shame,” Ita said. Similarly, the prices of food stuff are on the rise with rice, chicken, vegetables and other household commodities mostly hit. In November, National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress,

APC, Aiswaju BolaTinubu, as a keynote speaker at the presentation of a book “Making steady, Sustainable Progress for Nigeria’s Peace and Prosperity: A Mid-term Scorecard on the Muhammadu Buhari Administration”, at the State House conference centre, Abuja, echoed what majority of Nigerians are facing. He also said “It is time to lead our people to a place where poverty and hunger become infrequent and where prosperity and hope are the daily fare of the common man”.


December 18 - 24, 2017

FCT REPORT Bello unveils first low carbon biogas plant in Karu abattoir Stories by Austine ELEMUE


he Federal Capital T e r r i t o r y Administration has flagged off the construction of the first modern low carbon biogas plant in an abattoir, to help reduce the degradation of the environment and generate energy in the locality. The administration launched the initiative at the Karu abattoir in collaboration with African Environment Action Network, EANetAfrica, a nong o v e r n m e n t a l organization. Speaking at the flagoff ceremony, secretary, FCT Agricultural and Rural Development Secretariat, Mr. Stanley Nzekwe, said the facility was overdue, given the escalating human activities impacting negatively on the environment. Nzekwe reiterated that the FCTA had resolved to pursue the stoppage of the use of burnt tyres in processing meat in the territory, while assuring that in the next six months, the facility will be commissioned for use. He stressed that the concept is very visible, given the advancement in technology and scientific innovation, adding that the FCTA will not relent on partnership with development partners, by providing the enabling environment for agribusiness development. Also speaking, cofounder, EANet-Africa, Victor Ayodeji, disclosed that the project was envisioned and funded with the assistance of international partners. He added that the concept is designed to build a gas plant that would generate electricity for no fewer than 150 households in

the area. Ayodeji said it will take six months to complete the setting up of the plant in the facility, adding that small scale of conversion of degradable waste in the facility

would help reduce the pressure on the environment. Earlier, in her welcome address, head, animal services, ARDS, Dr. Regina Adulugba, said the initiative is a

demonstration of the commitment of the government in promoting sustainable development in the society. On his part, the Chairman of the Karu

Cattle Dealers Association, Isah Malami, who described the initiative as a welcome development, assured the stakeholders of their cooperation and support.

Cross section of widows dancing at the end-of-year outreach of Mrs. Jumai Ahmadu's Helpline Foundation for the Needy last Saturday in Abuja. Photo: Austine Elemue.

Yuletide: Helpline foundation fetes 250 widows, orphans A By Austine ELEMUE

head of the Christmas celebrations, an Abuja based nongovernmental organisation, Helpline Foundation for the Needy, has feted over 250 widows and orphans in Abuja as part of its reach-out programme to the vulnerable in the society. In her o remarks, founder of the foundation, Mrs. Jumai Ahmadu, stressed that the beneficiaries of the programme were drawn from the six

area councils of the FCT. "We are gathered here today (Saturday) to celebrate the 17th edition of our reachout programme to widows and the vulnerable in the society. The foundation is conscious of the fact that Christmas is around the corner and in the midst of abundance, many, especially widows and orphans are denied the basic necessities of life. "It is on this premise that the foundation organises out-reach

programmes at every festivities as a way of putting smiles on the faces of those who might not have the means to provide for their families,� she said. She used the occasion to thank partners of the foundation especially National Association of Women Journalists, NAWOJ, Abuja council, FCT Department of Information and Communications, and Federal Capital Development Authority, FCDA for their support. Earlier,

chairperson of FCT NAWOJ, Comrade Stella Okoh-Esene, said the women journalists in the nation's capital have resolved to partner with Helpline Foundation to achieve one of its objectives of empowering women and vulnerable in the society. Okoh-Esene, however, called on widows not to look dejected, but should remain focus in pursuit of their daily activities saying, "the death of one's spouse is not the end of life".

FCTA bemoans report of poor infrastructure in Utako village By Austine ELEMUE


he Federal Capital T e r r i t o r y Administration, has said that reports in some quarters alleging poor infrastructure in the Utako village are misleading as the village is actually benefitting from essential services provided in Utako district. Director of Engineering Services, Engr. Shehu Hadi, who was responding to reports in some section of the media that the Utako village in the FCT lacks access to portable water, electricity and primary healthcare centre, said that in contrast to these reports, the Utako village is actually serviced with standby portable water on a temporary basis as well as permanent access roads. Hadi said the Utako village also has access to a general hospital being constructed near the village which they can benefit, pending their eventual relocation. The director however noted that the village has no planned routes for other services like electricity supply as it is envisaged that they will eventually be relocated to Galuwyi/Shere Resettlement Site in Bwari Area Council. He said the area the village is occupying was designed to be plots of land, adding that these plots have been fully allocated, but are yet to be serviced with infrastructure due to the activities in the area. According to him, “The FCDA has provided engineering infrastructure facilities to Utako District under the contract for provision of engineering infrastructure. The area covered by Utako village was not provided with infrastructure as the village was planned to be relocated to Galwuyi/Shere Resettlement site in Bwari Area Council.� Hadi, however, appealed for understanding of the villagers, saying that government was working to ensure the completion of their resettlement site.

December 18 - 24, 2017


FCT REPORT Minister assures of speedy completion of infrastructures

Quit playing religion, be godly, cleric implores Nigerians





inister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Malam Muhammad Bello, has assured that the current administration is working assiduously to complete ongoing infrastructure projects in the territory. Bello disclosed this during the commemoration 26 years of the movement of the seat of government of the federation from Lagos to Abuja, organised by the FCT Archives and History Bureau. According to him, the current administration is working assiduously to complete ongoing infrastructure projects which will enhance the livability of the city. The minister stated that it is important that the public work together to safeguard the collective heritage by joining hands to protect all public utilities and infrastructures which have been procured at great cost. “We are poised to ensure the navigability of the city, economic vibrancy as well as improved service delivery across the board”, he assured. Speaking at the event, director, FCT Archives and History Bureau, Ms. Cerie Jogai, stated that the edition has created an ample opportunity for the territory to reflect on the journey so far in the Abuja project and also to recognize the great patriots for their visionary leadership and commitment to the attainment of the impressive initiative. According to her, without good and effective record management in the public and private sector lives, the organizations will continue to suffer tremendous set back. “We would officially present the FCT Records Management policy to guide the various SDAs on the appropriate ways to manage records”, she assured.

Some pro-reform SARS citizens rallied in Abuja against the #ENDSARS protest last Monday. Photo: Wale Elekolusi.

N2.7bn debt: Cooperative give seven days ultimatum to debtors By Austine ELEMUE


25-man recovery committee of V i s c o u n t M u l t i p u r p o s e Cooperative Society Limited has given a sevenday ultimatum to debtors or face the law. Chairman of Recovery and Repayment Committee, Mr.Austen Okumo, who dropped the hint in a media chat with our correspondent, stressed that the decision to tackle all debtors was arrived at the end of its general meeting held on September. Okumo, also noted that the seven -day ultimatum has become necessary in view of the financial burden the huge debt is having on the cooperative, warning that by the expiration of the ultimatum, debtors would be compelled to vacate the property they pledged in-lieu of payments. According to him, “These concerned debtors are to take this as a final notice, as all arrangements have been concluded to have their names, pictures, and businesses on all electronic, print and social media platforms to draw awareness to the fraudulent activities of these persons who are

using all instruments within their power to frustrate, delay and evade repayment of loans granted to them by the cooperative. “It is our hope and belief that this seven days ultimatum will be

honoured by all persons who were granted loan facilities by Viscount M u l t i p u r p o s e Cooperative Society Limited, as whatever damage the aftermath of pending actions will bring on these debtors

will be due to their refusal to pay the helpless members of the cooperative or their refusal to vacate property used as collaterals to enable the cooperative auction them and pay its members”.

Be good ambassadors, Bello tells pilgrims By Austine ELEMUE


inister of the Federal Capital Te r r i t o r y, Malam Muhammad Bello, has charged the 2017 FCT Christian pilgrims to shun any act that will draw negative attention to the country or make life more difficult for other Nigerians. The minister, who gave this charge in Abuja, advised them to be good ambassadors of the country and to also abide by all the rules and regulations that have been put in place to ensure a successful exercise. He expressed his close connection with the pilgrims reflecting that nearly 10 years of his public service years were spent as a pilgrims’ officer.

Bello, who lamented the absconding of 8 out of 300 members of the 2016 contingent, said such act have the potential to worsen the experiences of the country’s pilgrims as stiffer procedures could be introduced to limit their freedom while in the Holy Land. The minister said, “Each time a pilgrim goes and refuses to come back either by deciding to abscond or to stay there, as long as it is done illegally, it robs on us as a nation and as a people because it makes the process difficult for those that are coming subsequently.” The Minister equally harped on the necessity for patience among the pilgrims, saying, “you have to be very patient with your roommates, very patient with the

arrangements, very patient with the officials and also very patient with those that you meet. As a matter of fact, in many of the places, you must have to be very patient with the food you eat. It is not that the food is not good; but for some of us that are used to Nigerian dishes, it might become a huge challenge. But it is all a matter of a few days and you will be back home”. Earlier in his address, the director, FCT Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Mr. Dabara Zingo, disclosed that about 150 pilgrims were present for departure and represent the first of the three batches of FCT pilgrims bound for Israel, adding that the exercise will continue till December 25, 2017.

enior pastor, Evangelical Church Winning All, ECWA, Wuse II, Abuja, Rev. Dr. Barje Maigadi, has implored Nigerians, particularly Christians, to stop playing religion to avoid a fatal ending in life. Instead, he advised them to allow themselves to be revitalized by the Holy Spirit for the good of mankind and advancement of the kingdom of God. The cleric, who gave the charge while delivering a sermon on the topic: “A fatal ending”, anchored his message on the Book of Judges, Chapters 20 and 21, respectively. According to him, the manifestations of fatal ending are: spiritual and moral anarchy in the land; death of the spirit of hospitality; prevalence of homosexuality; prevalence of rape and murder. “When the people of God abandon or reject God, these things happen to them. It is difficult for us to be hospitable, because of death of moral and spiritual uprightness. “It is common knowledge that today, we have churches that are divided among tribes, creed and social status. We are good in religion but very bad in spiritual living, we speak spiritually but our lives show carnality,” he opined. He further said: “Nigeria would have changed significantly if we match our lifestyles with the degree of church activities. We are too religious but spiritually handicapped in the country. Let’s stop playing religion, and let our lives be revitalized by the Holy Spirit for the good of mankind and advancement of the kingdom of God.” He therefore called for Christians to regularly test their spiritual life, to ascertain the spiritual level their lives.


December 18 - 24, 2017


In this season of Christmas



n about seven days, Christmas will be upon us after a year of mixed bags. It is only fitting to retrospectively look at a year that has shaped Nigeria in many ways and count the blessings. There is no better time to take stock at a time when Jesus Christ, God’s Gift of Love to humanity was born; a period of family, sharing and giving without the expectation of reward. To say the least, 2017 has been a very difficult year; scandals, rising poverty, government corruption, scathing herdsmen attacks on farming communities and with Nigerians sold like chickens in Libya, with hundred others dead at sea and desert. All these while the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari appears helpless and demanding a princely $1 billion to tackle

entirely out of place if the administration lashes out sometimes in its effort to make things better for all. Aware of this, the government needs to build consensus, demonstrate with clarity its priorities and run an open and inclusive government. The people should as well give commitment of their readiness, Boko Haram, it claimed from its self-induced especially at this lethargy to clean the it had defeated over a Christmas season, that Aegean stable; while year ago. it is ready to yield to However, some say all citizens need to the demands of this the nation is going give him their administration for a through necessary but support. difficult pangs of The president needs better Nigeria. The country maybe rebirth. It is in this that to rekindle hope in the struggling with the essence of Christ millions of those that unemployment, but it coming should be gave him their has a fighting chance appreciated. Jesus mandate in 2015 by Christ came in rough ensuring that poverty of a better future if we surroundings as a is addressed, officials keep the light of discipline and means to teach like the former SGF, patriotism burning in humility, endurance Babachir Lawal are our actions. and hard work. brought before the So as we reflect in What should we as law, while the rule of Nigerians, Christians law is held sacrosanct. this season, we should and non-Christians Jesus Christ came to eschew corruption, draw from this? It make the wrong, right bend down to work, and even had to wield and remember; “there teaches us that the is no easy walk to the whip at a certain Muhammadu Buhari presidency must wake stage, so, it will not be freedom anywhere.”

Aware of this, the government needs to build consensus, demonstrate with clarity its priorities and run an open and inclusive government. The people should as well give commitment of their readiness, especially at this Christmas season, that it is ready to yield to the demands of this administration for a better Nigeria.

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

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

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

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

Photo Editor Wale Elekolusi

Admin Assistant Alex Ukershio Company Secretary Bassey E. Offiong Esq. Legal Adviser Gogo Karibi-Whyte Production Consultant Daniel Soetan Circulation Assistant Peter Enor

December 18 - 24, 2017


Dolapo Osinbajo: the grace of courtesy T

here is always something compelling and delightful when one sees Oludolapo Osinbajo, the wife of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

As a scion of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, it is manifestly clear that her upbringing stands as sure as the Cedars of Lebanon; unbowed, unfazed and untainted by the vagaries of power. Time and time again, Mrs. Osinbajo, has wowed even those with angst at her husband and this administration has upended the lives of millions of Nigerians. Mostly with simple fashion accessories, but no doubt worth rubies and all, the second most powerful woman in the Villa has stayed away from the klieg lights except when occasion demands. Last week, Mrs. Osinbajo was at her graceful best at the Aso Rock Villa Christmas Carol which had in attendance two former Heads of State; Gen. Yakubu Gowon, and Ernest Shoneken. In what seems to have become her appropriation, madam in one graceful sweep, her left hand on her knee, the

right leg genuflected as she stretched out her well-trimmed right hand to greet Gowon, all these with a charming smile and eyes glistening and looking at the man she was greeting. This is not the first time one would see such civility that radiates from the inside from Mrs. Osinbajo. They are those who would say it is Yoruba culture. Have we not seen Yoruba women, even as mere councilors that have lost the grace of courtesy? For madam, it is not just about the matter of culture, but something grand and noble that would not yield to the transient ego of power. It is in this regard that I toast to her gallantry and continued reminder that there is hope with this quote from Bryant McGill, author of: Simple Reminders: Inspiration for Living Your Best Life. “Courtesy is a silver lining around the dark clouds of civilization; it is the best part of refinement and in many ways, an art of heroic beauty in the vast gallery of man’s cruelty and baseness,” McGill wrote.

Kola Ologbondiyan struts his stuff


day to the PDP National Convention, the eventual winner for the office of National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, had prophetically said: “I am psychologically prepared for the assignment ahead. I have consulted and campaigned widely among party faithful across the length and breadth of Nigeria. I have received overwhelming support. I am convinced that delegates will make a right choice in me”. Indeed, as the darkness enveloped Eagle Square on December 9, 2017, it was evident that the delegates had settled for this former politics editor of ThisDay Newspapers and spokesperson of former

Senate President, David Mark. Without a doubt, the new NPS did not wait a moment before releasing his first salvo at the All Progressives Congress for the claim that the main opposition was marginalizing the Yoruba for not voting the party in 2015. Having been in the newsroom and serving as spokesperson, Kola is not new to the job. But in such a position, there are always landmines and undercurrents that require clear headedness, facts on the fingertips and presence of mind. Would these qualities be found in ample supply as the race towards 2019 gets hotter? Time, as they always say, would tell!

For Dan Johnson, now the wrath of God “24/7 16 years is a sickness that will take my life, I cannot handle it any longer. IT Has Won This Life. BUT HEAVEN IS MY HOME.” “I LOVE GOD and I LOVE MY WIFE, who is the best WIFE in the world, My Love Forever! My Mom and Dad my FAMILY and all five of my kids and nine grandchildren—two in tummies and many more to come, each of you or a total gift from GOD, stay strong,” with these words on his Facebook page last Tuesday, December 12, 2017, Dan Johnson, a state lawmaker in Kentucky, sealed his fate. Johnson committed suicide after report emerged that he sexually assaulted a woman when she was 17. The woman had claimed that she attended a party at Johnson’s home on the night of the incident, fell asleep on a sofa

and woke up to Johnson kneeling over her, before she claimed he assaulted her. But Johnson told reporters that Tuesday before taking his life on Wednesday that the accusations were “totally false.” For a preacher that he was, why did he take his case to God? Who would now really tell if he never assaulted the alleged accuser? Was he so filled with guilt that he took the easy way out? As the questions blow in the wind begging for answers, what would Johnson, who claims heaven is his home, tell the gatekeepers at the Celestial City? Will he tell them he became heaven sick and had to hasten his call home? Can he say he has left something worthy for those he pastored? Oh Johnson, now the wrath of God is your gift, if ever it is one.


December 18 - 24, 2017


‘Nigerian degrees only good for admissions abroad’ By Godfrey AKON


United Kingdom-based N i g e r i a n database analyst, Dr. Kingsley Oguoru, has decried the perception of Nigerian certificates abroad, stating that the much you can do with qualifications from the country is to gain admission abroad and not employment. Aguoru, who stated this at a sensitization workshop for provosts, chairmen committee of deans and ICTDirectors of NCEawarding institutions, in Abuja, said certificates from tertiary institutions in Nigeria lacked credibility. According to him, the poor perception was the consequence of poor academic integrity caused by factors such as plagiarism, lack of access to resources by students and lack of educational technologists among others. “Even though our students go through a very rigorous academic process and work very hard to earn their certificates, they are not respected abroad; they are only admitted so they can be taught again,” he said. He noted that part of the problem was limited resources available to students, adding that the tertiary educational system in Nigeria lacked a central information system and does not have a good way of preserving records. He lamented that parents were not given opportunity to pay their ward’s school fees directly from any part of the world or areas of resident to Nigerian tertiary institutions as the system lacked facilities to do so. Speaking on plagiarism, he said the problem has assumed alarming levels in Nigeria and does not allow the country’s educational system to contribute to knowledge as the system only continues to recycle what others have said without adding value to it. He therefore recommended that students bootlegging

other people’s works should be given outright dismissal as it is done in other parts of the world, stressing that plagiarism was a jail-able offense. “There is supposed to be information that the students can access from

their smart phones,” he said. Aguoru noted that the partnership of his company, Sixgold Technology with the National Commission for Colleges of Education will lead to the

establishment of a Tertiary Education Central Academic Repository, TICAR. He said the academic repository system will provide e-check for plagiarised content in long essays and

academic writings in the institutions as well as archive their academic works. “The mission of TICAR is to accelerate the integrity of tertiary institutions in Nigeria,” he said.

L-R: President and founder, Consumer Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria, Mrs. Sola Salako, Director General, Consumer Protection Council, Mr. Babatunde Irukera, president, Life International Foundation, Dr. Olu Usim-Wilson and National President, National Association of Telecomms Subscribers, Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, during a forum on increasing consumer awareness in Abuja, recently. Photo: Cityvoix.

Majek Fashek slams Buhari, others, says, they’ve failed V By Williams ABAH

eteran reggae music maestro, Majekodunmi Fasheke, popularly known as ‘Majek Fashek’, has slammed the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari, insisting that he has failed. He also boasted that he would make a better president come 2019 when he vies for the presidency. “I will do better than our current people in government; the Nigerian situation is very bad, the people are suffering, companies are folding up; people are living like slaves in Nigeria because the government has failed us. “Nigerian children should be taken care of, not just by their parents but by the government because they are the leaders of tomorrow. Education, healthcare and food should be a priority.

If government will concentrate on that within a year or six months, there will be transformation”, he said. The music great who spoke with Vanguard Newspapers, lamented the deplorable socioeconomic condition of the nation.”Nigerians are dying of hunger, our girls are on the streets hustling, most girls are turning to prostitution,

and this is no joke. If your family member is not a senator, house of reps member, governor or president then you are facing the music.”People are suffering, including musicians and it is not good. So, if the current people there don’t know what they are doing I will be there soonest and put the youth and right

people in place to handle situations because no Nigerian should be dying in Libya.”For those who may be quick to say he is not fit to steer the presidential ship of the nation, he has answers for them.”Some may want to say I’m not mentally okay, but I’m very okay and medically fit, with a good message for Nigerians both in my music and intentions.”

ALGON chair admonishes Nigerians on corruption By Muyideen ALIU, Ilorin


he new chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria, ALGON, Kwara state chapter, Mr. Joshua Omokanye, has enjoined well-meaning Nigerians to support government in the eradication of poverty and fight against corruption. Omokanye, chairman, Oyun local government area, canvassed for the support during the inauguration of the new ALGON executives in Ilorin. A statement by ALGON public relations officer, Abdullmumeen Lar, quoted the new ALGON chair as assuring that he would rally his colleagues to ensure development at the grassroots level. ‘‘He promised to advance strengthening of various local government areas along their economic lines and galvanized support for genuine local government reforms.” Omokanye enjoined well-meaning Nigerians to support government in eradication of poverty by partnering governments, empowerment the youths and fight against corruption holistically’’, the statement read. Other executives members elected according to the statement are; Hon. Saka Mumini Eleyele (Moro), Vice Chairman, Alhaji Abdulllahi Bata ( Kaiama,) Secretary, Alhaja Risikat Opankunle (Asa), Treasurer, Hon. Muyiwa Oladipo (Irepodun), Financial Secretary and Eng. Lar Abdulmumeen (Ilorin East), Public Relations Officer.

SARS has been bastardised, but can’t be scrapped –Okiro By Ere-ebi AGEDAH


he chairman of the Police Service Commission, PSC, Sir Mike Okiro, has ruled out the scrapping of the special anti-robbery squad, SARS, while agreeing that it has been bastardised. According to Okiro, SARS started around 1991 when Shina Rambo, a notorious armed robber, held sway in the criminal underworld. “There was no way to

stop him. So, I and the then commissioner, Ademola, came up with the special anti-robbery squad,” he said in an interview with Daily Trust. Okiro said at its inception, SARS was saddled with the responsibility of tackling robbery attacks and notorious criminals but along the line, its operatives deviated and took up investigative duties. He said: “The initial

idea of the operatives wearing mufti, like I said, is for the element of surprise. So I’d say the original idea of SARS has been bastardised. The squad was feared before, and I mean by criminals. When there was a robbery in a bank, SARS would move there because they were trained. They also knew themselves because there was nothing like crossfiring. Every command had

SARS standing by. “But by the time it spread to other states, it seemed like anyone would be carrying arms, dressed in mufti, with a T-shirt with SARS emblazoned on it. Anybody can wear such an outfit. They even go into cases of bounced cheques and shady business transactions. SARS business is not to investigate, but to hit. It’s a special anti-robbery squad, not an investigative one.”

December 18 - 24, 2017



Catholic priests demand emergency on kidnapping By Emmanuel OGBECHE


atholic priests in Nigeria have expressed concern over the rampant cases of insecurity in the country and demanded that a state of emergency be declared on kidnaping by the Federal Government. The menace, the priests said, has reached a dangerous dimension that their colleagues and religious sisters, have now become endangered species and targets of kidnappers. The priests also condemned cases of sexual harassment of victims of violence in Internally Displaced Persons camps, with a call on government to check the trend and punish perpetrators. The priests under the aegis of Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria and Justice Development and Peace Commission, two agencies of the Catholic Church, raised these issues in a communique issued at the end of their 2017 Annual General Meeting of Nigerian coordinators and provincial chairmen/secretaries and program managers in Abuja. The communique was signed by the Internat-ional Director of CCFN, Rev. Fr. Evaristus Bassey, who is

also Executi-ve Secretary of JDPC. The priests said, “The JDPC/CARITA S representatives note with great sadness the re-emergence of kidnapping across the country. An unfortunate twist is the kidnapping of priests and religious sisters, who are gradually turning into endangered species. “Unfortunately, even the poor among us are no

longer safe. This has brought tension as no one is safe on our roads and at home. We therefore call on the government whose primary responsibility it is to secure lives and property to declare a state of emergency on this very critical security issue. “We have observed with utmost dismay the reports on the incessant sexual harassments and

other unholy practices at IDP camps. These have led to loss of confidence on IDP camps. “Consequently, many people affected by this, have once again, become displaced and moving into new spaces seeking refuge, thereby causing internal conflicts in places like Nassarawa State between the host communities and the internal migrants. We call on government to

ensure that this problem is handled properly.” The clerics also added their voices to the #EndSars campaign, urging for a thorough probe of the squad. “The incessant and unlawful detention of people and the brutality meted out to them by the police is hereby strongly condemned. We join our voices in advocating for the probe of SARS and its review or eventual ban.”

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and SGF, Mr. Boss Mustapha, during the NEC Meeting at the Council Chambers, State House in Abuja. Photo: Sunday Aghaeze/State House.

Sev-Av Foundation trains 140 women, youths in Benue By Scholastica JOSEPH, Makurdi


ev-Av Foundation, a pet project of the wife of immediate past Governor of Benue State, Arch. Yemisi Dooshima Suswam has graduated 140 women and youths in different skills. Speaking at the 14th graduation ceremony of the foundation, Mrs Suswam expressed satisfaction that the NGO had positively impacted the lives of the people and helped in reducing poverty in the state. She said that the sixmonth course attracted no fee or cost to the trainees who were taken through various skills

and trainings in ICT, fashion designing, catering, welding, fabrication and in beauty department which was introduced in the just concluded training. Mrs Suswam said the programme was designed to provide

opportunities for those living below the poverty line to realise their full potential and become entrepreneurs and employers of labour. According to her, aside the 140 new graduates, the centres in Vandeikya, Gboko and

Makurdi have produced over 5,000 skilled and qualified technicians in various fields of craft technology. Suswam appealed to rich individuals across the state to take advantage of the centres and sponsor jobless youths and

women in their localities to acquire skills. Also speaking at the event, former Governor Gabriel Suswam advised the graduands to take advantage of the platform given to them to add value to their lives and also employ others.

Islamic cleric charges Nigerians to seek face of God By Muyideen ALIU Ilorin


n Ilorin based Islamic cleric, Dr. Shuaib Agaka, has admonished Nigerians to seek the face of God in whatever situation they find themselves towards building a future for our youth. Agaka cautioned

Nigerians, particularly Muslims, against inordinate ambition and quest to become rich, saying no man can attain a status not destined for him by God except with fervent prayers. He spoke in Ilorin during an Islamic programme designed to underscore the need for Nigerians to live by truth in order not to erode

family values. The cleric reminded Nigerians that whatever was destined for man in life would come to pass and that no matter what an individual does, he cannot change the situation from bad to good except with prayers. He urged Nigerians to always celebrate God every day, adding that every reasonable human

being needs to always appreciate God in whatever position they find themselves. The cleric further enjoined Nigerian leaders to remember the people they are elected to govern as one day they would give account of their stewardship where no lawyer or SAN, however competent, would stand to defend them.

Uniabuja alumni executives take oath of office By Ateed YUSUF


xecutives of the A l u m n i Association University of Abuja chapter have taken oath of office to run the affairs of the union for the next three years. In his inaugural speech, the National President of the Association, Hon. Musa Thomas pledged to partner with the management of the institution with a view to exploring avenues to transform the university to standard. He told the gathering that the Association had overcome its past challenges of disharmony, noting that after the elections, members were able to reconcile and forge ahead to work together under one umbrella for the progress and development of the Alumni. Thomas appealed to the management of the University to expedite action to tackle the challenges of delay in issuance of certificate to the graduands, just as he pointed out that the Association is set to launch its website for the benefit of members. Earlier, the ViceChancellor of the University, Prof. Michael Adikwu who was represented by the Deputy VC Academics, Prof. Edmund Nwana reminded the exco on the task ahead of them, even as he implored them to exhibit quality leadership to project the good image of the University to the outside world. The VC revealed that the successful conduct of the Alumni elections in the July this year brought a respite to the management, explaining that the University would continue to encourage them to use their expertise knowledge for the benefit of the University community. Also lending her voice, the Registrar Mrs. Rifkatu Swanta tasked members of the Alumni to use the media towards rebranding the University, just as she called on the exco to desist from acts capable of causing disunity among them.


December 18 - 24, 2017

NEWS U.S. donates 2.9 million insecticidetreated mosquito bed nets to Sokoto state

Nigerians charged on respect for constitution By Ambrose IMOBHIO, Asaba


legal luminary, Dr. Akpor Odje, has canvassed that for Nigeria to attain the desired goal of enthroning a decent society there must be t r a n s p a r e n c y, accountability and respect for the nation’s constitution. Odje stated this at Asaba at the international conference of civil societies titled; The Role of Civil Societies in Enhancing Good Governance. He maintained that the fight against corruption and other vices plaguing the nation should not be seen as governments business alone, but a task all Nigerians must partner the government to address. According to him, if Nigerians have respect for the constitution, the commonwealth of the nation cannot be squandered by those who are privileged to hold public offices. He admonished Nigerians to always exhibit love and respect for the country, saying that those who are privileged to hold positions of trust should not abuse them. The anchor of the program and Special Assistant to the Delta State Governor on Civic Engagement, Comrade Rex Anigboro, stated that the international civil societies conference was held to enable participants make their contributions on how good governance can be enhanced in the state.


L-R: Director General, National Council for Arts and Culture, Mr. Olusegun Rusewe, Director General, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism, Mrs. Chika Balogun and Director General, National Theater and Troupe, Mr. Tar Ukor, during their budgets defense at the National Assembly...Wednesday. Photo: Wale Elekolusi.

Ortom presents N178.377bn 2018 budget By Scholastica JOSEPH, Makurdi


enue State Governor Samuel Ortom has presented a budget estimate of N178, 377,811,608.00 to the Benue State House of Assembly. Making the presentation, last Thursday, Ortom announced that the economic sector has the highest allocation of N87.5 billion followed by the social sector with N62 billion. The governor stated that assumptions for the budget include improved revenue sharing, strengthening of Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, collection

and blockage of leakages, financial management reforms as well as political and economic stability in 2018. “The budget which is christened “Budget of Rural Transformation and Consolidation” is to be financed through Statutory Allocation from the Federation Account, Value Added Tax (VAT), Independent Revenue Investment, Excess Crude Oil, Budget Augmentation, Foreign Exchange Gains and Internally Generated Revenue. “Although we were only able to realise 32.68% of the total approved revenue for 2017 as at September, 2017, we have proposed this figure for 2018

bearing in mind the compelling need to make adequate provisions for the productive sector of the economy and consolidate the on-going rural transformation agenda of the state government.” He stated that the challenges of the budget include adequate revenue inflow, sustainable payment of wages to all legitimate workers and pensioners, payment of cost of running government, funding capital projects and contractual obligations as well as payment of debts. The governor announced that a strategy committee on Revenue, Development

Cooperation and Agriculture Value Chain will be set up at the beginning in 2018 to address policy issues regarding generation and remittance of revenue, agriculture value chain and d e v e l o p m e n t cooperation. According to him, existing consultancy services for revenue generation will be reviewed to ensure more value for money. Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, Mr. Terkimbi Ikyange, commended the governor for the timely presentation of the budget proposal and promised that the lawmakers would give it accelerated hearing.

Atiku endorses campaign group for 2019 By Austine ELEMUE


ormer Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has thrown his weight behind thousands of supporters under the aegis of Atiku Rescue Nigeria Team drawn from the six geopolitical zones of the country. The endorsement of the group took place at the national secretariat of

By Emmanuel OGBECHE he U.S. Government through the President’s Malaria Initiative, PMI, has donated 2.9 million bed nets for distribution in Sokoto State. The bed nets, valued at $8.1 million, will be distributed in all 23 local government areas of the State. In a statement by the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria on Friday in Abuja, an additional $1.5 million was also earmarked for logistics, including transportation of the bed nets, community mobilization, and training of workers to distribute the bed nets. “These nets and support for the distribution are a gift from the American People to the People of Sokoto State,” the statement read. According to the statement, “increasing access to health services – especially for the poor – is a sound and sustainable investment that can command great economic returns. “This bed net distribution is significant in order to scale up access to malaria prevention within every household in Sokoto State. Malaria is one of the leading killers of children and a leading cause of illnesses in Nigeria, particularly during the rainy season when the mosquito population increases.” Sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net every night is the best way to prevent malaria. Since 2011, the U.S. Government has spent more than $420 million to control malaria in Nigeria. Over 50 percent of U.S. Government funding for malaria goes into procuring and distributing insecticide treated bed nets, malaria diagnostic kits, and malaria medicines.

the group in Abuja, during the inauguration of the state executive council of Atiku Rescue Nigeria Team, aimed at addressing the lingering economic depression and lack of direction of the present government. Speaking to journalists at the end of the inauguration, the national coordinator of the group, Asiwaju Oladokun Babafemi, revealed that

membership of the organisation comprises all eligible Nigerian voters who believe in the political aspiration and ideologies of the Wazirin Adamawa, irrespective of religious or ethnic background. According to him, “membership of this group has gone beyond tribal, religious and party sentiments. As our name implies, we must come together to save this

country from total collapse.” “Atiku Abubakar has been a consistent ideologist and politician. He is a detribalized Nigerian, someone that is accepted in every parts of the country. President Buhari has done his bit, age and health are not on his side. In 2019, we want Atiku,” he affirmed. Also speaking at the occasion, the National

Publicity Secretary, Prince Rapheal Clem, said Atiku cannot be intimidated, stating that 2019 is the appointed time and no one can stop that. “We as a people are determined to use everything at our disposal, in collaboration with other well-meaning people across Nigeria to make the Atiku presidency a reality,” he stated.

December 18 - 24, 2017



December 18 - 24, 2017


The foolish monkeys

The Owl told them again to stop their foolish act. ‘You are struggling so much, go take your shelter in a nearby cave. You can save yourself from the freezing cold! You won’t get fire!’ One monkey shouted at the owl and the owl left the place. The monkeys were simply doing the foolish activity for several hours and it was almost midnight. They were very tired and realized that the words of the owl were correct and they were trying to blow a fly. They sheltered themselves at the cave and escaped from the cold. We may go wrong many times and should seek and accept the advice / suggestions provided by others. From

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

What is as light as a feather, but even the world’s strongest man couldn’t hold it for more than a minute? What starts with the letter “t”, is filled with “t” and ends in “t”? What is so delicate that saying its name breaks it? You walk into a room with a match, a kerosene lamp, a candle, and a fireplace. Which do you light first? A man was driving his truck. His lights were not on. The moon was not out. Up ahead, a woman was crossing the street. How did he see her? What kind of tree can you carry in your hand? If an electric train is travelling south, which way is the smoke going?


the fireflies in a hole dug in the land and tried to blow the flies. They blew the flies very hard without knowing the fact that they were flies! An owl was watching the activities of the monkeys. The owl reached the monkeys and told them, ‘Hey those are not fire! They are flies. You won’t be able to make fire from it!’ The monkeys laughed at the owl. One monkey replied the owl, ‘Hey old owl you don’t know anything about how to make fire. Don’t disturb us!’ The Owl warned the monkeys again and asked them to stop their foolish act. ‘Monkeys, you cannot make fire from the flies! Please hear my words.’ The monkeys tried to make fire from the flies.

1. Breath 2. Teapot 3. Silence 4. A match 5. It was a bright and sunny daylight 6. A palm 7. There’s no smoke


efore several centuries, there was a very large, dense and dark forest. A group of monkeys arrived at the forest. It was winter season, and the monkeys struggled hard to survive the freezing cold nights. They were hunting for fire to get warm. One night, they saw a firefly and considered it a dab of fire. All the monkeys in the group shouted ‘Fire, Fire, Fire, Yeah we got fire!’ A couple of monkeys tried to catch the firefly and it escaped. They were sad as they could not catch the fire. They were talking to themselves that they couldn’t live in the cold if they didn’t get the fire. The next night, again they saw many fireflies. After several attempts, the monkeys caught a few fireflies. They put


What are glands? W

hen people talk about glands, what do they mean? The answer is many different things. Glands are important organs, you have a variety of them all over your body, and though many of them are small, each produces something important. Some glands make something that is released from the body — like saliva, sweat, or tears. And if you’re a girl, the mammary glands in your breasts could someday make breast milk to feed a baby. Other glands release hormones (say: HOR-mones), which are


Did You Know?


Which animal is the largest creature on earth?


Did you know in 5,000 years of human history, only one disease has been eradicated: smallpox?


What do dragonflies prefer to eat?



What is called a fish with a snake-like body?

Did you know our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing?


Did you know the fingernails on the longest fingers grow faster than the fingernails on the shortest fingers?


Did you know during a typical human life span, the human heart will beat approximately 2.5 billion times?


Did you know from the age of thirty, humans gradually begin to shrink in size?


In which city is the oldest zoo in the world?


After which animals are the Canary Islands named?

substances inside your body that tell it how to work and how to grow. Glands that do this are part of the endocrine (say: EN-doh-krin) system. Puberty — body changes that turn a kid into an adult — depend on the endocrine system. Still other things that we call “glands” are part of your immune (say: ih-MYOON) system. They release substances that help you fight off illnesses and, if you are sick, help you get better. When you have a bad cold and your neck glands are swollen, that is your immune system in action. From

1. Whale 2. Mosquitoes 3. Eel fish 4. Vienna, Austria 5. Dogs


December 18 - 24, 2017


Lepacious Bose opens up on her past L

epacious Bose in startling revelation on her Instagram page blamed the devil for her weight issue. She blamed the devil for her predicament, saying “the devil stole 25 years of my life due to weight and hypothyroidism. I suffered in silence because no one understood my issues, I didn’t even understand myself.” According to Lepacious Bose, her work as a comedian did little to help her situation, although she successfully

made people laugh while performing on stage most times, she drove home in tears and sorrow. Lepacious Bose also revealed that she almost resorted to suicide due to the unending pain until her life changed five years ago. “I love to take pictures and talk about my weight loss experience but that took over 25 years of my life. I hated myself and was constantly suicidal yet I made people laugh (what an irony). I cracked jokes about my

Car oline Danjuma Caroline wants her e exx back…w oos him back…woos with sw ee or ds swee eett w wor ords

weight because it was the only way I knew to look like I didn’t care. Yet I cared!!! Countless times, I would have a great performance but drive home in tears, it was a crazy, rollercoaster feeling. It was not just the weight it was much more but I could not explain it. “I was scared. I would be on stage and have a brain fog and forget a joke right in the middle of delivery, just go blank, and have to come up with stuff on the spur of the moment to cover for

the lapse, I started to dread performing. “It’s hard enough to lose weight but to lose weight while having hypothyroidism is almost like fighting demons, I just wanted to sleep and not wake up,” she recounted on her Instagram page. The comedienne’s weight loss journey which started about four years ago has yielded substantial results that earned her a roaring applause from her male colleagues and fans.

Why government must learn from Fela -Wife


s it a case of when the desirable is not available? Former model cum actress, Caroline Ekanem-Danjuma, is in the headlines gain barely two months after her lover, Tagbo, passed. The estrange wife of billionaire, Musa Danjuma, younger brother of Gen. Theophilus Danjuma’s, is in the hunt to have her husband back. Last Friday, Caroline took to her Instagram page to put up a post with her husband’s photo and captioned it: “Today I will take out time to celebrate this man right here...I choose to see the beautiful in everything, the positive in negative. To the best father in the world, my closest friend and our backbone for 11 years...thank you for giving the kids the best of life, for always being there, I will always appreciate you and respect you. May God keep you safe from harm and give you long life. No one is perfect but I choose to see the beautiful….on behalf of the kids we appreciate you unconditionally…you are the best dad in the world #family #neverburnbridges. All hail the man who goes an extra mile for his children. #nothisbirthday #appreciationday” (sic) Caroline was married to Musa Danjuma for 11 years and they had three kids together.


peaking at the official launch of ‘Fela and the Kalakuta Queens’, a stage play scheduled to hold between December

17, 2017 and January 7, 2018, at the Terra Kulture Arena, Victoria Island, Lagos, Mrs. Olaide said; “All Fela said in his music is still

happening now; there are lots of people suffering on the roads, poverty is hitting everybody hard. “The government should listen to Fela’s music and learn from it to rearrange the present and the future of this country.” Founder, Terra Kulture Arena and the producer/director of ‘Fela and the Kalakuta Queens’, Mrs Bolanle AustenPeters, eulogized the late afro-beat maestro and human rights activist, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, for his courage and doggedness in using music to fight for human rights and social transformation. According to

Austen-Peters, the life of Fela and his wives have never been told to depict the historical lives, fashion and dance of Fela’s women. “Fela’s women were fearless, courageous, loyal, each stunningly beautiful in their own way. They were his shelter and queens. These women play a significant role in making him and his music a matter of public interest. This made a profound impact on the society and culture that can still be felt today but sadly, these women simply are not recognised by the society anymore”, she said.


December 18 - 24, 2017


PDP Convention: “There is hope for robust opposition” The December 9, 2017 Elective Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, remains a turning point for the opposition party, despite the controversies, allegations of irregularities, and naysaying that trailed the event which saw the emergence of Prince Uche Secondus as the National Chairman of the Party. While the party’s burden of reconciling aggrieved members remains, some Nigerians who spoke to Williams ABAH and Edrina Emmanuel, expressed confidence in the country having a robust opposition. ALHAJI ALAGA: Well, the buildup to the PDP national convention was orderly. The convention planning committee did a very good job at the initial stage. However, all efforts made to ensure a hitch free and fair election was later thwarted by the PDP governors. Governors in this country have hijacked the electoral process in states under their control. Look at local government elections, only the ruling parties in the states win. PDP governors did all they could to ensure that their choice candidates emerged in this convention. The controversy emanated from the unity list, against which contestants lodged series of complaints, thus throwing up the issue of impunity and imposition of candidates, which we thought has been stopped. Whether Prince Uche Secondus will have the leadership quality to pilot the affairs of the party for PDP to take over power in 2019, depends on the reconciliation ongoing in the party. Secondus may have the leadership quality to lead the party for PDP to restore her lost glory; but the fact remains that in any contest where a candidate is imposed on the people, there will be problem at the end except proper reconciliation has been made to bring all aggrieved members on board. OKPEH UGWU: For me, the emergence of Uche Secondus as the National Chairman of PDP has restored the party to limelight. Nigerians are yet to see the better side of Secondus. He led the party as second in command during the internal crises in PDP and has the wealth of experience to lead the largest party in Africa. Speculations before the election were that the national convention would bring an end to PDP. Ironically the election was conducted successfully. The successful conduct of this election is an indication that PDP still remains the main

the confidence of Nigerians on the party. The successful conduct of the election is an opportunity for them to put their house in order and take over power in 2019. The country is in serious hardship. Hence, the need for all of us to join hands together and vote the right candidate into power in 2019, irrespective of religious and political affiliation.

Alhaji Alaga

Okpeh Ugwu

Lazarus Carson

Dele Bakare

opposition party which is ready to take over power from APC in 2019. Series of complaints raised by contestants over the election are a normal thing in every electoral process. Even the United States of America with a standard electoral process, people still complain when elections are conducted. The process cannot be 100 per cent perfect. At least, in this very elective convention, it was 95 per cent successful. Even some contestants who were aggrieved have congratulated the national chairman.

People should not take serious the criticism against PDP as it comes from the ruling party. APC should stop all this blame game and focus on the issues of governance, instead of poking its nose into issues of PDP. NWEZE CHIZOBA: Prince Uche Secondus has leadership qualities to lead the PDP. But beyond that, the issue is not only about the ability of the new executive to pilot the affairs of the party, we expect PDP to come up with a better ideology to restore

LAZARUS CARSON: electing a new PDP chairman is a good development for the opposition. However, the election came with a lot of controversies. People said the PDP should have zoned the chairmanship to the North. Others said it should have been zoned to the Southwest. That notwithstanding, I think where somebody comes from shouldn’t be the yardstick for seeking elective position. Rather, somebody who can deliver should be given a chance. And I think PDP has confidence in Secondus. If they can put their act together, I think we are going to have quality opposition that will push APC to the cliff. People are complaining about the government that things are not moving the way they were going before APC took Power in 2015. So I think Secondus coming is encouraging and will make all parties to sit up and governance will go the way it is supposed. DELE BAKARE: Secondus is going to bring the party back to limelight; the party which everybody knows. I am very sure he is ready to bring the party back to its former glory and I believe PDP will give APC a good run for their money in 2019 elections. Secondus has been in the party, he knows the in and out of the party. His election came as a surprise to everyone. We had a lot of candidates but most of them had issues that could further sink the party because people may not like them and refuse to support the party.

December 18 - 24, 2017



FG to fast-track approval of transportation varsity Stories by Godfrey AKON


university of transportation proposed by the Central South University of China would be given accelerated approval, once details of the proposals are received from the transport ministry, the Federal Government has said. Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, gave the assurance in Abuja while receiving a highpowered Chinese delegation from the Central South University in China and the China Civil E n g i n e e r i n g C o n s t r u c t i o n Corporation, CCECC. Adamu lauded the Peoples Republic of China for its remarkable presence in Nigeria’s real sector through the construction of roads, bridges and other l a n d m a r k infrastructural facilities. Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Arc. Sonny Echono, the minister recalled that the CCECC is involved in such high profile projects in Nigeria like the Kano-Lagos railway and the Abuja lightrail

projects, amongst others. According to him, the company is quite integrated in Nigeria and the establishment of the University of Transportation as proposed, is only a logical maturity of the enormous diplomatic, cultural and commercial relations that have long existed

between both countries for their mutual benefits. Earlier, the President of the Central South University, Ms Tian Hongqi, who led the delegation for the proposed University of Transportation in Nigeria, said when established, the institution would focus on manpower

developments of the transport sector. Hongqi stated that CSU which is ranked as one of the best and biggest in China with over 58,000 students, contributes about 20 per cent of the staff of CCECC, adding that the institution has more than 100 years’ experience in training experts in the areas of

construction, mining, metallurgy, as well as undertaking research projects in many countries. “We are exploring the possibility of collaborating with the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria to include Nigeria among the over 200 countries we are involved with”, she said.

Members of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center during a protest on 'No to NGO Bill' at the National Assembly in Abuja, last Wednesday. Photo. Cityvoix.

UNIABUJA loses former VC


one-time Acting Vice Chancellor of the University of Abuja, Prof. Joseph Nwafor Nwabueze, is dead. Nwabueze’s death was announced by the university in a statement signed by the spokesperson of the institution, Mr. Waziri Garba. The university said Nwabueze was a professor of Inorganic Chemistry with the Department of Chemistry. He joined the service of University of Abuja from Ogun State University, Ago Iwoye, as Lecturer 1 in 1990 and rose to the rank of Professor in 2001. The late Nwabueze was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academics, in 2009, and acted as the ViceChancellor of the University of Abuja briefly in 2009 during a leadership transition period at the institution. Meanwhile, the University of Abuja Alumni Association has condoled with the ViceChancellor, Prof. Michael U. Adikwu on the demise of the Late Professor Nwabueze. National President of the association, Mr. Musa Thomas, said in a statement that the death of Professor Nwabueze had created a void in the academic community which would be difficult to fill.

Your promotion is in your hands, NUC tells lecturers


he National Universities Commission has challenged lecturers of Nigerian universities to take advantage of opportunities in research to advance their careers. A d d r e s s i n g participants at a workshop on academic publishing for junior and mid-career lecturers in Abuja, NUC’s Director of Research, Innovation and Information Technology, Dr. Suleiman RamonYusuf, said the promotion of the lecturers was in their own hands.

R a m o n - Yu s u f explained that in academia, promotion is based on the quantum and quality of work a lecturer does, and the quality of his work is indicated by the type of journal that accepts it. “If our people work hard and publish in high impact journals there is no way that such works would not be cited by scientists and other researchers in other parts of the world. “In academia, your promotion is in your own hand based on the quantum and quality of

work that you do, and the indication of the quality of your work is what journal has accepted it. ”Is it volume 1 number 1 journal that is not known beyond your campus? If you publish that way, certainly you will end up be a local champion and globalisation does not allow anyone to be a local champion,” he said. Speaking on the workshop, he said the workshop, which jointly organised by the Commission and the United Kingdom-based

Enago Academy, is part of the measures taken by the commission to improve the global ranking of the Nigerian universities. According to him, the low ranking of universities in the country might not be unconnected with the poor visibility of researches carried out by the nation’s academics. “Many people asked why are Nigerian universities not doing well? It may not necessarily be that our academics do not work or do not research on

interesting and important topics. Part of the issue may be when you work and you publish in journals that are not wellranked, your work is very unlikely to be ranked. “Knowing where to publish is as important as to know where to research on. The whole idea of the workshop is to propagate knowledge about how to improve research publication with a view to improving the visibility of Nigerian universities in the global committee of

universities. Earlier, the Executive Secretary of NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, who was represented by Prof. Chiedu Mafiana, said NUC was committed to build the capacity of Nigerian academics which would have a multiplier effect on the quality of university education in the country. He called on participants to take advantage of the exercise by channeling more energy to the publication of research in well-known journals.


December 18 - 24, 2017


Yuletide and the challenge of local rice in Abuja By Chuks NZEH


s the year gradually wounds down, preparations for the Christmas celebrations are expected to be in top gear. However, many have wondered if indeed this year’s yuletide will be well celebrated with the usual pomp and pageantry considering the economic situation in the country and the high prices of items in the market. Like most Nigerians, Abuja resident are disturbed about the affordability of essential commodities, especially rice. This fear is born out of a policy of the Federal Government’s policy on the restriction to the importation of rice along land boarders except through selected sea ports. This move, government says is to encourage the consumption of locally produced rice, so as to ensure food security, encourage local farmers and by so doing create more jobs. But since the reintroduction of the ban of rice importation through land borders, the prices of the product has been on the increase, including local rice. The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, recently at the ministry’s headquarter in Abuja, met with stakeholders including farmers, processors, importers, exporters, and regulators, where he noted that, “Over 1 million metric tonnes of rice is waiting to hit Nigeria from Benin Republic, and the rice is not meant for Benin Republic because people of Benin Republic don’t eat parboiled rice” He said “If big hotels in the country patronize locally produced rice, poultry products and fish, they will save a lot of lives and create more jobs.” A resident of Lugbe, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Mr. Eke Maduabuchi, said, “I have been hearing in the news about government saying they are increasing production of locally grown and processed rice, which can compete favorably with the best brands in the world, but unfortunately when you go to the markets, what we still see are more of the foreign rice and they are very expensive.” He said if indeed government is serious about what they are saying they should create special distributors who do not sell foreign rice in every local government area, so that at every point in time anybody who wants to buy the product can access them there and

those locations would be used to assess the availability of the product from time to time. Remilekun Adesanya, a resident of Garki, said local rice is highly available but it is unfortunate that, some Nigerians conspire to produce foreign bags and use them to re-bag our local rice because of the high quality, and sell them at the cost of foreign rice. It is most unfortunate because it is sabotaging efforts of government to bring down the cost of agricultural produce in Nigeria, so that the common man can have access to good food. She called on government to check the activities of these saboteurs who are robbing the people consistently, if you go round the markets you would find out that most of the rice in the markets are foreign rice and you would wonder where all the local rice produced are going, because what is grown and processed in Nigeria, is not commensurate with what is available at the local markets and it is really

unfortunate and government should do something quickly about it. A resident of Karu another suburb of the FCT, Magaji Ibrahim, who also cultivates local rice in his home state of Kebbi state, said rice production has increased in Nigeria, especially in Kebbi state where he has now joined several farmers who hitherto grew onion ginger and other cash crops to grow rice. He said, “I have about one hectare of land where we I now grow only rice and ahead of Christmas we harvested the of unprocessed rice which I sold to those who would process, sell and the proceeds are used to compliment want I earn as a level 9 Civil Servant, and I assure you the profit is worth the troubles. “Some the rice processed in Kebbi are transported to Abuja to meet the market demands. I also connect some retailers in some markets here in Abuja like Karu and Wuse markets to wholesalers, in Kebbi, and I know last week they took supply of

a trailer load of rice in anticipation of Christmas here they are selling from N14, 500.” It would be recalled that the Lagos and Kebbi states government in 2016 went into partnership in producing local rice branded as ‘Lake Rice.’ The Lagos state government last week commenced sales of Lake Rice at the headquarters of the 57 Local Council Development Areas, LCDA, at the price of N13, 000. The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe, recently in his office told journalists that, “We haven’t really banned anything yet, not even rice; you can bring in rice as long as it passed through the ports and you pay the tax and levies. It’s the smuggling of rice that we don’t want.” Confirming the minister’s position, the Comptroller General, of Customs, Col. Hamid Ali, stressed that the “importation of rice into Nigeria is not banned. What we have is restriction on the point of entry to our sea ports only”.

December 18 - 24, 2017


NEWS ANC gathers to choose leader to replace Jacob Zuma


outh Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) is preparing to choose a new party leader to succeed President Jacob Zuma. The main candidates are the current deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, and former cabinet minister Nkosazana DlaminiZuma, President Zuma’s ex-wife. Whoever wins is likely to succeed Mr Zuma as South African president. But their bitter leadership battle has raised fears that the ANC could split before national elections in 2019. President Zuma can remain head of state until those elections. He has been in office since 2009 and South Africa limits the presidency to two five-year terms. As delegates gathered for the four-day conference in Johannesburg, Mr Zuma, who faces multiple corruption allegations, has urged the party to unite behind the eventual winner.

North Korea missile not capable of striking U.S –Mattis


ecretary of Defense James Mattis has said he does not believe that North Korea’s current intercontinental ballistic missiles are capable of hitting the continental US. North Korea’s November ICBM “has not yet shown to be a capable threat against us right now,” Mattis said during an off-camera briefing with reporters at the Pentagon on Friday. He added that the United States is still assessing the situation. “We are still examining the forensics, we’re still doing the forensics analysis, it takes a while,” he said. Pyongyang tested a new missile on November 28 that flew higher and farther than any previous launch, and bragged afterward that its new Hwasong-15 could deliver nuclear warheads anywhere in the US.

Sokoto state governor, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, middle, flanked by the Governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, right, and other Delta State officials, addressing news men after inspecting projects in Asaba last week

World Bank, governors, hail Delta’s job creation scheme By Ambrose Imobhio, ASABA


t was a celebration of sorts last Wednesday when the beneficiaries of the Delta State Government’s job creation scheme showcased their products and services at a products exhibition and business fair at the Cenotaph in Asaba. Delta state governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa was the chief host. Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal who toured the exhibition stands with Dr. Okowa, expressed delight at the creativity and industry of the young exhibitors, just as the World Bank pledged funding support for the state’s job creation programmes. According to Tambuwwal, Sokoto State has a lot of things to learn from Delta State, especially regarding the youth entrepreneurial and agricultural empowerment programme of the

Okowa administration, adding that he was exploring avenues of partnering with Delta State in the area of youth empowerment and job creation. Meanwhile, the World Bank has validated the STEP and YAGEP programmes for funding support because “Delta State is the only state that has demonstrated its commitment to skills development in practical terms.” Speaking through Dr Tunde Adekola, a Senior Education Specialist in the bank, it observed that “the World Bank will continue to support the Delta State Government in the areas of skills and technical development and will work with the job creation office of the state government to strengthen the labour market observatory system in order to make Governor Okowa’s dream of re-creating the middle class a reality.” Governor Okowa in his welcome address stated that his administration has so

far trained and established 2, 324 previously unemployed youths in enterprises of their choice under the Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme, STEP, and Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme, YAGEP. The beneficiaries, branded as STEPreneurs and YAGEPreneurs, were trained and established in various enterprises including but not limited to ICT, hair dressing and makeover, catering and confectionary, cosmetology, craft/ home care products, decoration and event management, electrical installation and repairs, fashion design and tailoring, shoe making, upholstery, welding and fabrication and automechanic. The agricultural enterprises covered include aquaculture, poultry, crop production, agroprocessing and piggery. According to the governor, “at least 450 of these small business owners have come here

to show Nigeria and the world what they have been able to do with their hands since they were set up by the state government. For many of them, their journey began less than 15 months ago when they completed their training programme and were handed their starter packs. Some of them commenced their businesses for as short as six or nine months ago. Indeed, theirs is a remarkable story of industry, diligence and determination to succeed. While expressing optimism that the job creation programmes of his administration would ensure diversification of the state’s economy, Okowa credited the success of the scheme to “rigorous planning, discipline, focus, painstaking selection process, stringent guidelines, prudent management and commitment to set goals.” According to him, “we had to brave the odds and refused to accept the notion that the average youth in

Delta was not ready to jettison the rent-seeking mentality and the prevalent culture of entitlement.” Earlier in the day, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State commissioned the multi-million naira Cable Point Dual Carriage way in Asaba. Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, Wike congratulated Okowa for keeping his promise to the people of Delta State. “Money or no money, it is good when you make a promise, fulfil your promise,” Wike declared. “During his governorship campaign, he (Okowa) promised the Asagbain-Council when they requested for the construction of the road that he will do it. Today, he has done it. I thank you my dear brother and I will continue to identify with you. Today I commission this Cable Point Dualcarriage Way for the people of Asaba and Delta State.”


December 18 - 24, 2017



Low liquidity: fear grips investors over trapped funds Stories by Sarah NEGEDU


he current e c o n o m i c condition in Nigeria characterised by inflation and low liquidity, could be sending negative signals to foreign investors, as a number of them are skeptical about being able to retrieve their funds whenever they decide to pull out their investments. The International Monetary Fund, IMF, last week said though a number of investors have indicated interest in the country, they still nurse fear that they may not be able to retrieve their funds anytime they decide to exit. IMF’s Senior Financial Sector Expert, Debt and Capital Market Instruments Division, Monetary and Capital Markets Department, Miriam Tamene, said this in a statement issued by the Securities and Exchange Commissions, SEC, in Abuja. She said the Fund was pleasantly surprised by the numerous indication of interest it has received from investors eager to do business in Nigeria, stressing that a conducive business environment would further drive investors interest in the country. Tamene who stated this when she led a team on a visit to the SEC headquarters, urged monetary and regulatory authorities in Nigeria to roll out policies that would bring down the inflation rate in the country as well as increase access to domestic funds. This, she noted, would ensure that the economy attained further growth in 2018. “At the annual meetings of IMF, we were pleasantly surprised when we saw many investors interested in the Securities Market in Nigeria.

Illegal fishing impedes devt of aquaculture in Africa


L-R: Divisional Manager, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Mr. Abel Guido, an award recipient of the company, Mr. Moses Anite and Executive Director, Administration, Alhaji Zubairu Bayi, during the company's award ceremony in Abuja. Photo: Wale Elekolusi.

“A lot of people thought that Nigeria is still investors destination, the main concerns most of them had was the fear that they may not be able to take out their money anytime they want to hence they are being very watchful. “Investors are interested in Nigeria, but with difficulties they had in getting their money

out recently, that confidence is not there yet. “It has improved though, but they are still watching. It is still so much fragile and not what they can take for granted just yet,” she added. The statement also quoted the Acting Director-General of SEC, Dr. Abdul Zubair,

as saying “the future outlook appeared good as several initiatives had been rolled out by the SEC to help grow the capital market.” Zubair said the initiatives would increase investors’ confidence and more initiatives would be rolled out subsequently to ensure the Nigerian capital market

remained one of the best in the world. The IMF team was in Nigeria for consultations to get update on developments covering all financial transactions as well as key sectors of the Nigerian economy. The report of their consultations is expected to be presented to the IMF Board in Feb. 2018.

Nigeria’s export value rose by 13% in Q3 –FG


igeria’s total export value rose by 13.19 percent in the third quarter of 2017, to stand at $10million which is equivalent to N3.57billion. The National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, in its Foreign Trade Statistics for the third quarter 2017, said the figure represented an increase of 35 percent over the amount recorded in the same period in 2016. The statistics posted on the NBS website, stated that raw material exports value increased by 16.88 percent in third quarter of 2017 against

the level in the second quarter of 2017 and 70.42 percent higher than the third quarter of 2016. The report indicated that solid minerals exports value increased by 85.3percent in third quarter of 2017 compared to the second quarter of 2017 and was 78.72 percent higher than was recorded in the same period in 2016. On the other hand, total imports value dropped to N2, 348. 6 billion in the third quarter of 2017 which was 10.51 percent lower than the second quarter of 2017 and 4.68 percent lower than third quarter

2016. However, the value of imported agricultural goods were 0.05 percent higher than the value recorded in the second quarter of 2017 and 16.91 per cent higher than the third quarter of 2016. The report stated that the value of raw material imports was 4.77 percent lower than the second quarter, 2017 and 2.80 per cent lower than the value in the third quarter, 2016. It further stated that solid minerals imports in the third quarter 2017 decreased by 1,220.48 per cent compared to second quarter but was 8.69 per

cent higher than third quarter 2016. The report further shows that energy goods imports in the third quarter were 92.17 percent lower than the second quarter and compared to third quarter 2016 when no energy goods imports were recorded. It stated that manufactured goods imports value was 4.08 per cent higher in the third quarter than the level in the second quarter and 2.79 per cent lower than third 2016. In addition, it stated that Continued on page 19

he federal government has said the challenges of illegal fishing and low investment in fisheries and aquaculture is threatening the huge potential abound in the fisheries subsector in Africa. According to Nigeria’s ministry of agriculture, the lack of update data related to the status of resources and production, as well as the weak human capacity to deeply manage the sector, are other challenges hindering the development of the sector. The permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Bukar Hassan, stated this at the 10 th annual Ministerial Conference of the Fisheries Committee of the West Central Gulf of Guinea held in Abuja. Hassan said harnessing the huge potentials in fisheries and aquaculture will no doubt give an added impetus to the realization of the shared objectives of wealth creation, food and nutritional security on the continent. He said this year’s annual conference is unique because it marks the beginning of another milestone in the history of the FCWC as it celebrates the 10th anniversary of existence and excellent performance in fisheries management, promotion of fish trade, fight against illegal unregulated and unreported fishing and regional cooperation among member states. He assured the participants of the ministry’s support on the objectives of the committee especially in ensuring that the Continued on page 19

December 18 - 24, 2017



Bidders test financial strength of 9mobile Stories by Sarah NEGEDU


he five companies in the running for possible take-over of 9mobile are currently conducting due diligence on the company to ascertain its financial health before bidding, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has said. Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, Prof. Umar Danbattaa, said the bidders have been directed to proceed to data room stage, where they are allowed access to financial documents of the company. Danbatta, who disclosed this during the 82nd edition of the Nigerian Telecom Consumer parliament in Abuja, said the next stage of the sale process after due diligence would be for the firms evidence of strong financial and technical capacity to run 9mobile. He said the NCC is supervising the takeover process alongside the Central Bank of Nigeria, stressing that Nigerian authorities would not just handover 9mobile to any company, but to a very “technically and financially capable company.” In his words, “Five bidders have emerged for 9mobile. They have been allowed to assess the data room of 9mobile in order to enable them to assess the financial status of the company and subsequently make bids for its takeover. But the takeover must be in a regulated manner. “The CBN and the NCC are supervising what is going on through an interim board jointly appointed by the NCC and the CBN. We are going to do due diligence on the financial capacity of any potential bidder as well as the technical capacity. “In the final analysis, we will like to see a 9Mobile taken over by a bidder who has the financial and technical capacity to improve on the operations of the telco and add value in delivery of qualitative telecoms services in the country.” Speaking on the deadline for the handover of 9mobile to the

successful bidder, the NCC boss said the December 31 scheduled date remains sacrosanct. 9mobile, formerly Etisalat Nigeria, rebranded in July this year, after its owners failed to negotiate with its lenders over a missed payment of the $1.2billion loan taken from 13 Nigerian banks in 2013. Meanwhile on value

added services, Danbatta said there is the need to balance the value the services would bring to consumer experience, with expectation of less intrusive service. According to him, “Value Added Service is an important service necessary for optimising the benefits of telecoms services to the consumers. It enables in a very special

way social media and ecommerce activities that might be useful to the consumer while offering a veritable tool for entrepreneurs and businesses in this modern and mobile age of the Internet of Things.” The five companies bidding for ownership of the fourth largest telecommunication company in Nigeria

include, Globacom Limited, Bharti Airtel, Smile Telecoms Holdings, Helios Investment Partners LLP and Teleology Holdings Limited. The companies were selected through a process conducted by Barclays Bank, the financial adviser to the creditor banks, on December 4.

L-R: Clerk, House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market, Mr. Young Woko, chairman of the committee, Hon. Tajudeen Yusuf and Acting Director General, Securities and Exchange Commission, Dr. Abdul Zubair during an oversight function by the committee to the SEC in Abuja, recently. Photo: Wale Elekolusi.

Illegal fishing impedes devt of aquaculture in Africa Continued from page 18 fisheries resources of the sub-sector is sustainably exploited and managed for the present and future generation of the member states. Hassan noted that the theme of the conference “Investment for Growth and Sustainability in Fisheries in West Africa” is apt and very timely in consonance with existing realities. In his opening statement, the Secretary General of the Fisheries Committee for Central West of Guinea, FCWC, Mr. Jeraphin Dedi, commended the Nigerian government for having accepted to host the 10th session of the Conference of Ministers and providing all necessary facilities for the conference to succeed. Dedi said, three days is been allocated for the experts to review activities of the committee in the year 2017, proposed key areas of work improve with recommendations for sustainable management of our fisheries resources.

Consumer abuse complaints rise by 30% T

he Consumer Protection Council, CPC, said it recorded tremendous increase in the rate of consumer abuse complaints from Nigerians. The Director-General of the Council, Mr. Babatunde Irukera, said consumer complaint rose by 30percent in the last eight months mostly due to increased awareness of the people, to their rights as consumers. Speaking at a roundtable workshop organised by the CPC for non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations and community based organisations in Abuja, Irukera said the rise in consumer abuse complaints seen by the council has been as a result of the use of multiple sources in harvesting the

complaints. He said in addition to the multiple sources the council deploy to harvest the complaints, he also received many complaints from his personal twitter handle and directed the complainants to send in formal letters of

complaints for investigation to proceed. Irukera, who was appointed CPC boss in April 2017, said the rise was recorded under his watch as the head of the council. “In the period that I’ve been here as the DG, we’ve seen the level of complaints go up by

30 per cent and as a matter of fact, we are receiving a lot of complaints now because we are harvesting complaints from multiple sources and the inspirational work that we have been doing at the CPC has led to the resolution of some of

Nigeria’s export value rose by 13% in Q3 –FG Continued from page 18 other oil products imports value were 17.54 per cent lower than in second quarter and 28.81 per cent higher than third quarter 2016. Meanwhile, the Banking Sector Data Report realised by the bureau shows that the banking sector provided a total credit of N15.83trillion to finance the activities of the private sector in the third quarter of the year.

The banking report stated that the oil and gas sector got the highest amount of loans from banks in the quarter, receiving the sum of N3.54trillion, representing 22.36 percent of the total credit to the private sector. The report shows that the manufacturing sector followed with N2.27trillion. Credit to this sector accounted for 14.34 percent of the entire credit to the private sector. On the

other hand, the mining and quarrying sector got the lowest credit to the private sector, receiving the sum of N11.76bn or 0.07 per cent of the total. According to the report, the agricultural sector received N491.49billion, power and energy, N459.24billion, construction received N653.6billion, while trade and general commerce got N954.23bn.

those complaints.” He said the commission would continue to play its role in protecting the rights of consumers, adding that the forum was vital to strengthen the level of partnership with civil society groups. He said given the important role played by civil society in making the government more accountable to the people, no modern society could flourish without their contributions. ‘’For credible, transparent and honest leadership to thrive in any nation, civil society must be engaged positively by the government because an engagement with the civil society is an engagement with the entire society, and this is my priority,” he added.


December 18 - 24, 2017

NEWS XTRA Yuletide: FRSC sets-up mobile court in Suleja

CSOs march against NGO Bill A T By Chuks NZEH

coalition of civil s o c i e t y organisations, CSOs, have marched from the National Human Rights Commission to the National Assembly to protest the controversial NGO Bill, aimed at regulating the activities of NGOs. In a statement by the group read by the Country Director, Global Rights, Abiodun Bayewu-Teru, said there was nothing new in the Bill that was not already regulated by existing laws. “The bill has gone through 1st and 2nd, readings and is presently at the committee phase at the House of Representatives. This m e m o r a n d u m addresses the essential features and possible consequences of the bill.

“A key issue that the bill seeks to introduce is a new form of registration where the board will have powers

to license all NGOs. Without the license of the board, no NGO can operate. This is proposed by the Bill,

notwithstanding extant laws regulating all aspects of the operations of voluntary organisations.”

By Ateed YUSUF he Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, Suleja unit

DRTS move to tackle one-chance, kidnapping in city centres By Ateed YUSUF


he Directorate of Road Traffic Services, DRTS, popularly known as VIO, has put in place strong measures to tackle the

menace of one-chance, kidnapping and robbery incidences in Wuye and its environs. The area commanderin-charge of Wuye taskforce command, Awwal Jakata, told our

correspondent stressed the commitment of the command to impound unpainted commercial vehicles being used by criminals to perpetrate crime in the city centre. He remarked that the

iHelp foundation tasks youth on drug abuse, crime By Chuks NZEH


non-governme-ntal organisation, iHelp Global Foundation, has called on young people to avoid drugs and crimes so as to be productive and not be left out of the governing process in the country. President/founder,

Clemency Zere Ishaya, who spoke in Abuja last week, noted that “the challenges facing young Nigerians are obvious, and I think it should not make anybody do drugs and crime because these attitudes often lead to disabilities and they reduce the productivity of the youth

thereby causing serious damages to their future and underdevelopment of the society. “It is very important for government, corporate organisations and successful individuals to have strategic plans to prevent accessibility to these illicit substances.

taskforce is committed in ensuring that motorists conform to traffic rules and regulations, warning that the command would continue to arrest erring commercial motorcyclists as well as eliminate illegal mechanic workshops and wrong parking in the area. Jakata implored members of the public to visit any VIO office in the six area councils to renew their vehicle particulars as at when due and charged them to go to computerised centre for proper check-up of their vehicles.

command, has given indication that it would set up a mobile court to prosecute traffic offenders during the yuletide festivities. The officer-incharge of Suleja local government in Niger state, Olayinka Akande, who made the disclosure to The Abuja Inquirer in his office, commented on the measures taking by the command to ensure free flow of traffic. He noted that the command would deploy patrol officers to man traffic at flash points and this includes; Emir ’s roundabout, Dikko junction and Madalla market, among others. He said that the command had earlier embarked on aggressive public enlightenment campaign to educate the motoring public to abide by traffic and regulations.







December 18 - 24, 2017 Jeremiah 1:4-14 “Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Then said I, Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord . Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant. Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree. Then said the Lord unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it. And the word of the Lord came unto me the second time, saying, what seest thou? And I said, I see a seething pot; and the face thereof is toward the north. Then the Lord said unto me, Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land.” Destiny is your potential and capacity endowed on you before you are conceived. Destiny is predestinated by God, we must therefore endeavour to fulfil purpose,

Reigning by Revelation for Dominion so that destinies linked to us will not suffer. Your destiny is not a product of your background or your family history: Jesus was born in a manger but he is the un-dethronable Manager of all facets of life, through God, the father. Irrespective of the present happenings around the word, do not use your present situation to determine your future. You are destined to reign, therefore things can change in seconds with God. God is a God that holds the integrity of his word, hence, always bring him to every tempestuous challenge. Colossians 1:16-18 “For by him were all things





created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” The ship on the high sea do not drown, because water does not get in to but as soon as water starts getting into the ship, the ship starts drowning. We must not allow the happenings around us to determine our mood. Our life is not in the hands

of earthly rulers but in the hands of the impeachable God. You are a dam not a river: the dam gives out for multi-purpose but the river is always a collector of all good things. The value placed on your Priest or pastor, determines the rewards and profits that will be accrued to you. What you honour and appreciate is what blesses you. God qualifies you not your circumstances. The pastor is an angel used by God to bring an end to all of our challenges and situations. God will only work, when we see and seize, all that he is communicating to you. Until you see, God is not obligated to perform. Divine acceleration is the capacity to see and seize what God is saying according to his word. Jeremiah 1:12 “Then said the Lord unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it.” Life is a journey of processes with a lot of challenges; this challenges generate pressures that should drive and drag us to God. When juice is to be gotten, it requires squeezing, but when the squeezing is completed, the juice is exceptional. The squeeze of life is bringing out the goodness of God for his glory and power. Conclusively, harvest is a conduit of seed. Seed works with time but harvest works with season. You are in a process, the process is not without potholes, like rejection, abandonment, failure, etc. But be sure that God will bring you to your place of fame, success, harvest and testimonies.





December 18 - 24, 2017


Experts call on govt to step-up cancer funding Stories by Williams ABAH


s part of efforts to tackle the scourge of cancer in the country, experts have advocated for adequate funding of cancer centers and treatment. Senior Health Specialist, International Finance Corporation, IFC, of the World Bank Group, Dr. Olumide Okunola, in his presentation in Abuja titled, ‘’ Funding Cancer in Nigeria: The Way Forward’’, advocated that government should redouble its efforts in looking for special fund for oncology which constitutes highest causes of medical tourism. “We need to recognize and emphasize on public financing, Nigeria is spending the lowest in public health financing, per capital expenditure, and we need to upscale it’, he advocated. He, however, expressed worry that the consequences of cancer affliction in Nigeria was worse among poor rural dwellers, adding that government should take more pragmatic approach towards stemming the tides of cancer scourge in the country. Okunola called on the government to dedicate funds accruing from federation account, tax on alcohol and tobacco, lifestyle taxes, and seized loots, towards funding catastrophic health challenges in Nigeria. While suggesting other options for financing cancer infrastructure in Nigeria to include public financing, blended financing and commercial financing, he called for the implementation of the National Health Act. In his remarks, Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole,

expressed the commitment and determination of government to mitigate the incidence of cancer in the country, adding that in the next 6 months government would deploy 8 to 12 new machines for oncology. He stressed that radiotherapy was not the only way of treating cancer, adding that there was need for nationwide awareness campaign and screening exercise for cancer. The minister further noted that with increased awareness, cancer cases would be

reduced by 40 percent and another 40 percent of early diagnosis would reduce prevalence of cancer cases in Nigeria. Adewole revealed that late diagnosis and treatment of cancer cases was responsible for the high mortality rate, disclosing that government was working on 8 designated cancer treatment centers nationwide while focusing on 2 centers before the end of this year. The centers according to him include Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, and

the National Hospital Abuja. Also speaking, the wife of the Vice President, Dr. Dolapo Osinbajo, noted that though government had made some remarkable progress in the war against cancer, more hands needed to be on deck to tackle the issue headlong; stressing that treatment and care for cancer patients was critical. She advocated for more staff in the medical field, adding that the number of health personnel in the medical profession particularly in the area of cancer treatment

and care was inadequate, while calling for training of more doctors and nurses to handle cancer cases. Earlier in his welcome address, the President of Cancer Education and Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria, CEAFON, Prof. Francis Duronsimi, said that efforts have been intensified in making history in cancer education and advocacy in Nigeria by successfully producing and launching the first cancer treatment guidelines series in Nigeria.

FG spends over N4bn on humanitarian projects in North East By Williams ABAH


he Federal Government through the Ministry of Health has spent over N4 billion in the ongoing humanitarian services in the North-East. Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, disclosed this during the commemoration of the 2017 World Humanitarian Day in Abuja, last week. Adewole noted that the sum was used in purchasing relief materials including drugs and medical consumables, hospital equipment, capacity building and deployment of volunteer health workers, adding that a suitable approach was adopted solely to provide basic medical services to the affected population and strengthen the pillars of the health system. He affirmed that the ministry has responded to the humanitarian situation within Nigeria by strengthening the special project department and

appointing a substantive director to coordinate health related response to the ongoing humanitarian service within the country. He pointed out that the ongoing humanitarian crisis was unprecedented and protracted with Borno State as the epic centre, adding that a broad North – East Health Sector Humanitarian Crisis Response Strategic Plan was developed with the primary objective of

repositioning the health system within the region. The minister revealed that there was a Rapid Response Team tasked with the responsibility to develop a six months health and nutritional plan in Borno State to address the rapid decline in health and nutritional indices being experienced, adding that the plan was developed, approved, implemented and now been extended by another six months

due to the giant strides achieved. He enumerated the achievements of the project which included Diagnosis and treatment of about 15,000 cases of malaria in host communities and IDP camps, provided about 4,000 women with family planning commodities in host communities and IDP camps, provided quality antenatal care to 14,355 women and delivering 1,100 babies through skilled birth attendants.

Adewole advocates synergy among health regulatory bodies


inister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has urged leaders of health professional bodies to ensure harmonious working relationship among their members. He made the call when members of the Committee of Registrars of Health Professions, CRHP, made an advocacy visit to his office recently, in Abuja. Adewole, who commended the committee for their visit, said there was need for more networking and consultative meetings in the health sector, stressing that all health practitioners are essentially related. He further stressed that more regular meetings between various health associations and the ministry would help the sector nib brewing challenges and end the use of strikes to settle grievances. Speaking earlier, leader of the delegation, Alhaji Mohammed Mami, said that the visit was to improve their working relationship with the ministry and appealed to the minister to look into the speedy reconstitution of boards of management for the various health professional bodies. Mami also appealed for more funds to be allocated to the body to enable it carry out its constitutional responsibility of field visitation to the 35,000 health facilities and regulatory bodies under its purview.

FG to accelerate universal health coverage


s Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the World Universal Health Coverage Day, the federal government has advocated for speedy universal health coverage in the country. Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, made this known in Abuja at a press briefing to mark the World Universal Health Coverage Day. Adewole stated that universal health coverage is enshrined in the constitution, noting

that the statutory role of government is to ensure that all citizens, irrespective of the geographical divide have access to affordable and needed health services in an equitable manner without falling into financial difficulties. He added that in 2005, the World Health Assembly Resolution 58:33, urged countries to develop strategies that will ensure all people have access to needed healthcare services

without the risk of financial ruin at the point of accessing care or after accessing care. Adewole also said that Nigeria is committed to achieving UHC following a presidential declaration on UHC in 2014, just as he urged all the major stakeholders in the health sector to exhibit their talent especially as the current out of pocket expenditure has risen to as high as 73.6 percent. The minister further stated that consultation is ongoing to ensure

consensus, and strictly adhere to the National Health Act, as was signed into law. According to the minister, “the National Health Act 2014 (NHAct 2014) remains a source of great encouragement for the Health Sector. “The National Health Act has legitimized a number of systems and mechanisms that have been operating and has mainstreamed others that required legislation for greater effectiveness”.

December 18 - 24, 2017


December 18 - 24, 2017

The Nigerian Bar Association, leadership, values and the future By Chidi Anselm ODINKALU


he question of how the legal profession in Nigeria deals with the challenges of renewing its values and preparing for the challenges of a difficult future for the Bar is likely to be at the heart of the contest for a new leadership of the NBA to be elected in 2018. Despite its best efforts – or may be because of them – the present leadership of the NBA appears to have purchased for itself an early onset to the contest. There will be a season to choose from among the auditioning aspirants. That season is not yet immediately upon us. It appears presently, that there could be up to five aspirants for the position of President of the NBA. However, the issue of the standards and values that should govern choice between the aspirants who evolve into candidates in the contest has now, however, become a major subject in the campaign. Those issues bear upon the kind of Bar we wish to build and will have consequences for Nigeria’s legal profession beyond our borders. The Judge Who Enjoys Gifts From Litigants In July 2017, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned James Agbadu-Fishim, a serving judge of the National Industrial Court, before the High Court of Lagos State in Ikeja, on multiple counts of unlawful enrichment. The Commission charged the judge with receiving different sums totalling 4.4 million Naira from nine lawyers, including seven SANs over two years from 2013 to 2015. Among the SANs named in the EFCC documents as having been involved in this enterprise were Felix Fagbohungbe, Paul Usoro, Uche Obi, Muiz Banire, Adeniyi Akintola, Gani Adetola Kazeem and Joseph Nwobike. The trial remains on going and no inferences as to the guilt or innocence of the judge or named persons are warranted at this time. One of the named facilitators in these charges, Paul Usoro, SAN, admitted indeed giving the judge N450,000 in two instalments of N250,000 and N200,000 respectively. One payment, according to him, was to contribute to the judge’s vacation costs. The other was a contribution towards the burial costs of a member of the judge’s family, whose identity, however, Mr. Usoro cannot remember. Mr. Usoro is the principal and name partner in the law firm of Paul Usoro and Company, which, it should be clarified, is not a limited liability company. As

such, there is no question here of separate personality of the firm from its constituent partners. Even if there were, this would be a justifiable case for lifting the corporate veil. The firm has a very active portfolio of cases in the National Industrial Court. At the time of these payments, it had about 36 cases before the court. When Mr. Usoro made the first payment to the judge, his firm did not have any case before James AgbaduFishim. By the date of the second payment, however, the firm was acting on behalf of Access Bank PLC in a case before the judge. At no point were the lawyers on the other side informed. Mr. Usoro conscientiously points out that he did not personally act in any of these cases. The payments were acknowledged in digital messages exchanged between Mr. Usoro and the judge who was presiding over a case being conducted by his juniors. None of these were brought to the attention of the lawyers on the other side. An Ambition that Will Not Suffer Abeyance I have gone on record to say in the face of these facts, the prudent thing is for Mr. Usoro to put his ambitions to lead the Bar in abeyance while he either clears his name or awaits the outcome of the prosecution of James Agbadu-Fishim. In his defence, Mr. Usoro cites Rule F(2)(i) of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers in the Federal Republic of Nigeria which permits a judicial office to accept “personal gifts or benefits from relatives or personal friends to such extent and on such occasions as are recognised by custom.” The defence would have been laughable if it did not come from a senior lawyer. But it does and I will address it. Three things may be said about this defence. First, it is strange at best to suggest that it is customary for lawyers of any age at the Bar to pay for or contribute to the vacation costs of judges. That is plainly not safe territory to thread. Lawyers have no business with that. Second, it is not up to a lawyer to plead in defence of his conduct the Code of Conduct applicable to judges. The rules applicable to lawyers are found in the Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC), 2007. Rule 34 of the RPC provides: “[a] lawyer shall not do anything or conduct himself in such a way as to give the impression or allow the impression to be created, that his act or conduct is calculated to gain, or has the appearance of gaining, special personal consideration or favour from the judge.”

The objective of this rule is clear – to preserve the reputation of the judicial system for fairness. When lawyers give undisclosed payments to judges, it is difficult to see beyond Rule 34. Even then, judges know that seeking or receiving gifts from litigants or their counsel, actual or potential, comes with consequences. In a ruling delivered on 20 May 2014 in the case of Sigismund Williams v. MTN Nigeria Communications Ltd. this same judge, Agbadu-Fishim, of the National Industrial Court, recused himself from hearing a case in the following terms: The defendant’s counsel in this case had informed my colleague, Hon. Justice O.A. Obaseki-Osaghae, that I had sent a text message to him asking him for money in February this year due to the fact that I was bereaved. The said text message was forwarded by my Learned Brother to me and the Presiding Judge of Lagos Division. The defendant’s counsel also said as a result of this his client MTN Nig. Comm. Ltd. has lost confidence in me and would want me to disqualify myself from handling this case. After reviewing the allegation and the need to preserve the parties’ confidence on the court, I hereby disqualify myself from further hearing of this matter. This case file is hereby returned to the Hon. President of this court for re-assignment to another Judge. Why the same judge did not consider this wise option in the case involving the juniors and employees of one of his recent benefactors will remain a mystery. Third, in one of his famous letters to Harold Laski, Oliver Wendell Holmes “wished that people could be persuaded to realise that judges are human beings.” This point does not need belabouring. Even if it is true that the Judicial Code of Conduct allows judges to accept gifts under certain

circumstances, it does not imply or suggest that such gifts should come from lawyers or partners in firms that have pending cases before such judges. Such exchange of value from lawyer to judge breaches the general duty of lawyers to preserve the reputation of the judicial process as a system “which ensures a fair process and just outcomes.” A Bar Led by Impunity is Not Sustainable We must admit that sustaining or growing traditions of excellence at the Bar is not easy at this time. Many factors account for this. Some are exogenous to the Bar and others less so. Three are most relevant for our present conversation. First, Peter Drucker famously distinguished between management and leadership as the difference between doing things right and doing the right things. In both the country and at our Bar – for the most part – there is a tendency to do neither leadership nor management in this sense. The system of rewards in public and professional spaces in Nigeria is determined for the most part by perverse incentives. This is also true for the Nigerian Bar. Second, demographic growth at the Bar is putting considerable pressure on the livelihoods of new intake, creating the impression that values are somewhat expendable in the pursuit of daily subsistence. Third, the landscape of the world of work is being rapidly transformed by new technologies in a manner that is bewildering for both the young lawyer in Nigeria and the leadership that should prepare her to meet this new world. Odinkalu is interim chair of the Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL), at the NBA. He writes in his personal capacity.

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

Edition 23  
Edition 23