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E welcome Nigerians to 2018, with all the hopes and aspirations that a new year, in its newness, can issue some balms to soothe the afflictions of the past three years. Without hope, there would be nothing to live for, without hope, people would decline to depths that translate to nothingness. THE yearning for a new year finds clear expressions in the resolutions that individuals and organisations make. For indi-

End ‘manipulated hardship’ • THE ORACLE COMMENT viduals, they could be tagged resolutions. Organisations deal more with goals and targets. In either instance, milestones are established for achieving them; otherwise, the year would pass without anything being

The VOX POPULI SACRUM

achieved, and the resources, especially time frames for attaining the marks, missed, because of the absence of the guides. IF President Muhammadu Buhari’s New Year broadcast to

Nigeria was meant to motivate Nigerians in the New Year, it missed the mark widely, by its defined refusal to acknowledge a few public truths about how the government had fared. In 2018, as it had done since 2015, the government continued its trademark blame-sharing over one of the

most depressing periods that Nigerians have ever passed through. CONTRARY to its campaign promises that the government would be in charge and that the President would take responsibility for things happening under his watch,

racle Contd on page 24

www.oraclenews.ng

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 10, 2018

Fuel scarcity stays

ISSN: 2545-5869

Today Today

VOL.3 No. 1 N200

• NNPC’s intervention fails • High debts to depot owners • High cost of product By SOPURUCHI ONWUKA, Lagos

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UEL scarcity, which appeared to ease in Lagos State in the last week of 2017, has worsened in the New Year as supply gaps in the market continue to widen. Suppressed demand has sustained pressure on retail stations across the South West region. Field survey by The Oracle Today showed that fuel queues have continued to tail into main traffic courses along major roads in Lagos, though crowd control crisis that characterise buyer desperation has reduced. The situation is contrary to claims • Quick intervention of FRSC and Anambra State Fire Service averted disaster on the Niger Bridge when two tankers carrying fuel collided on the bridge Sunday morning

Buharikillsrestructuring Contd on page 2

• Nigerians angry •Groups want autonomy •2019 politics on From THEO RAYS, Onitsha; JONATHAN AWANYAI, Asaba; CHINEDU NWAFOR, Abakaliki; CLEM ONYEMAECHI, Yenagoa; EMMANUEL OGOIGBE, Warri; BONIFACE OKORO, Umuahia

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RESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari’s new year broadcast has been condemned across the country for not relating to the challenges that the country faces. “The country is changing; the people’s expectations are changing,” said a member of the National Assembly, who did not want to be

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quoted. “It is only the President and a tiny group who have the view that the country can continue the way it. They are living within the realities of the times.” The President in the broadcast had shut down the opportunities that restructuring the country presents. He accused those agitating for restructuring of impatience. “In respect of political developments, I have kept a close watch on the on-going debate about “Restructuring”. No human law or edifice is perfect. Whatever structure we develop must periodically be

perfected according to changing circumstances and the country’s socio-economic developments. We Nigerians can be very impatient and want to improve our conditions faster than may be possible considering our resources and capabilities,” he said in the broadcast that provided no assurances as people had expected. He underlined his determination to kick out restructuring thus, “When all the aggregates of nationwide opinions are considered, my firm view is that our problems are more to do with process than struc-

ture. We tried the parliamentary system: we jettisoned it. Now there are shrill cries for a return to the parliamentary structure. In older democracies these systems took centuries to evolve so we cannot expect a copied system to fit neatly our purposes. We must give a long period of trial and improvement before the system we have adopted is anywhere near fit for purpose,” in his final objection to the demands by many parts of the country for re-alignment of the Constitution to Contd on page 2

Full 2018 Father Mbaka’s predictions

Innoson slams N200b suit on EFCC Page 2


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The Oracle Today Wednesday December 20, 2017

NEWS Fuel scarcity Continued from Pg 1 by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, that it has sufficiently addressed fuel supply deficits in Lagos and Abuja where long fuel queues sparked a spate of public outcry in the weeks before and during the Christmas and New Year periods. Group Managing Director of NNPC on December 30 claimed the corporation had successfully cleared fuel queues in Abuja and Lagos, adding that there was plan to increase supplies to other states of the country. “As far as truck out is concerned, we have more than doubled the number of trucks that are going out into the country. Yesterday, we loaded and distributed products from coastal and strategic inland depots like Jos. We loaded I, 733 trucks yesterday and the actual normal number of trucks we required to keep the country wet is about 700 but we have been doing 800 to 850 trucks before the petrol scarcity. We have stepped up the number of truck-outs to 1,733 as a minimum and we have sustained this for a week and there will be more than enough products for motorists in the weeks ahead,” Dr. Baru revealed. Dr. Baru accused fraudulent players in the market of inflicting the scarcity on the country by in engaging sharp practices like hoarding and diversion of the products. “We have maintained our position that this scarcity is self-inflicted by marketers. The NNPC has more than 30 day sufficiency of supply of petroleum products, especially PMS and at the current consumption rate of about 27 to 28million litres per day, we should be very comfortable until the end of January 2018 even if we don’t import a drop of petrol into this

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To be serialised in The Oracle Today soon

Read about the great Rangers story from next edition

Buhari kills restructuring Innoson Continued from Pg 1

reflect the desires of different parts of Nigeria. The President said the restructuring he supports is one that would result cuts in costs of running governments. “However, there is a strong case for a closer look at the cost of government and for the public services long used to extravagance, waste and corruption to change for the better,” the President said. Wide condemnations have trailed the broadcast across the country. Some of them follow:

the country. “We summit, that the time has come for fundamental restructuring of the Nigeria State to into a system that provides optimal governance that meets the needs of the populace and more importantly allow each region develop at its pace,” the group said. “We note that the fundamentals of restructuring suffer no conflicts as all proponents virtually agree that more control/autonomy in all facets should be given to the States and or regions as the case may be, that governance system should be modified and streamlined for more effective governance, that there should be rotation of power for purposes of nation- building, that corruption should be eliminated, that security should be enhanced and that development and welfare of the citizenry should be the clear and unambiguous goal of governance at all levels.” In his words the National President of Imeobi Igbo Forum Dr. Mike Onugha called on President to listen to the people who elected him and give positive answers to their yearning and aspirations, noting that the President has the responsibility to give the people who elected him what they want. “It is not acceptable for Mr. President to throw the issue of restructuring to the waste basket because that is basically what the people who elected him are demanding from him and he has to make it possible for them. The major sign of good leadership is to give people what they want and at the right time,” he said.

ONITSHA TWO Igbo groups, Igbo Ekunie Initiative led by Chief Tochukwu Ezeoke and Imeobi Igbo Forum led by Dr Mike Onugha have disagreed with President Muhammadu on the issue of restructuring saying that the call to restructure Nigeria could not be wished away. The Igbo groups in separate reactions urged Mr. President to consider the fact that the call for restructuring is a democratic issue that the people who gave him mandate to lead them are yearning for, thus it has to be considered in the interest of the people. In a statement issued by Igbo Ekunie Initiative and signed by the international President Tochukwu Ezeoke, made available to The Oracle Today, said owing to Nigeria’s perpetual crisis of nationhood and the increasing proliferation of self-determination groups, the call for restructuring has continued to grow louder, adding that attempts to wish away restructuring constitute a set-back to the progress of YENEGOA

“IT IS quite true that as a President you should address the people you are superintending, and it was good he addressed the people. The area of my concern is answers to the issues of restructuring. And we know quite well that even his political party has set up a committee that toured the country to get the opinion of the people,” Dr Tari Dadiowei, environmental activist and lecturer at Isaac Adaka Boro College of Education, Sagbama, Bayelsa State, said. “I don’t know whether what he said was the report presented to him or his own mind because he made it clear that when all the aggregates of nationwide opinion are considered, it is his firm belief that our problems have more to do with the process than structure. But, I don’t want to buy that one because Nigeria cannot be peaceful and productive if we base our decision on the current Constitution,” he noted. “Without restructuring, Nigeria can never be united. We must try as much as we can to balance the limping tripod of the South South, which is missing from the tripod. And you know, if you look at the Constitution too, there are about 58 items on the Exclusive List of the government. And such things cannot lead us to peaceful coexistence because these are issues you cannot put your head on because they know that they involve natural resources. “The Niger Delta people, if you look at them, must be given their resources to manage. How can somebody else dictate for them how to manage these resources,

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NE more suit has joined the rashes of lawsuits that have been filed over Innocent Chukwuma, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), of Innoson Nigeria Limited, and his business transaction with Guaranty Trust Bank that has sourced relations between the parties. Innoson, in the latest suit, is asking an Enugu High Court to make the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) pay him N200b. The grounds for the suit are defamation, malicious falsehood and unlawful imprisonment. When the capital market and insurance fraud unit of the EFCC on December 19, arrested Innoson, it claimed that the businessman resisted arrest and used forged documents to get tax waivers. Innoson said he did not get any invitation from EFCC neither did he jump an administrative bail granted by the EFCC, as the Commission claimed. “Innoson is a public figure and a well-known industrialist of international repute. There is no way he would be invited by the EFCC and he would ignore or refuse to honour it,” Cornel Osigwe said in a statement. “The last issue Innoson had with EFCC was an invitation extended to him in 2012 based on a complaint against him by Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB). Innoson honoured this invitation and subsequently EFCC filed a charge against him at the Lagos High court. The charge was subsequently struck out,” he said. “However, Innocent Chukwuma and Innoson Nigeria Ltd appealed against the order striking out the case on the basis that it ought to be dismissal and not striking out. The appeal, appeal no: CA/ I/1330Cm/2017 is till date pending at the Court of Appeal Lagos. Since then EFCC has never invited him.” He said the claims that Chief Chukwuma and Innoson Nigeria Limited were making against EFCC were • N30 billion exemplary damages • N30 billion for assault and battery • N30 billion for false imprisonment • N40 billion for injury to feelings - mental pains and anxiety arising from malicious falsehood and or defamatory publications of the defendants against the plaintiffs • N50 billion for injury to plaintiff’s reputation arising from the said publications • N20 billion for general damages. Another relief Innoson and his company sought was, “An order that the published words complained of be retracted by the defendants and such retraction be published in two national newspapers,” according to the statement. EFCC pressed a four-count charge of stealing and forgery on the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Innoson Nigeria Ltd., Dr. Innocent Chukwuma, and two others at a Lagos High Court in Ikeja. Those joined, as co-defendants in the suit by the EFCC, are Innoson Nigeria Ltd and one Charles Chukwuma. The charges are• Chukwuma and co-accused fraudulently stolen containers of motorcycle spare parts, moulds of plastic parts, steel structures and raw materials called Polyvinyl chlo-

Cont’d on page 46


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The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10, 2018

NEWS ACROSS THE NATION

Critical projects will be delivered in 2018 -- Ambode assures

From VICTOR NZE

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overnor Akinwunmi Ambode has assured that Lagos State will record landmark achievements in major sectors of the economy in the New Year, even as he expressed optimism that 2018 holds great promises for both the state and its residents. Ambode, in his New Year message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Habib Aruna, noted further that while the outgoing year witnessed a massive leap in terms of infrastructural development in the State, some of the reforms in key sectors of the economy will take full flight from the beginning of 2018. ‘We have good reason to be very optimistic about what 2018 holds in stock for our State and every Lagosian. The commencement and realisation of some of our reform programmes especially in the Public Transport, Environment, Tourism and Health sectors will transform the landscape of the State and improve the quality of lives of all Lagosians,” he said. Governor Ambode said his administration will not rest on its oars, but will continue to up the ante on infrastructural renewal, noting that the 2018 budget of N1.046trillion which is currently at the House of Assembly for approval will be dedicated majorly to completing some critical projects currently ongoing as well as commence some new ones. Some of the key projects, the Governor listed includes the Oshodi Transport Interchange, reconstruction of the Oshodi International Airport Road, Pen Cinema Flyover, 181 Local Government Roads and

other network of roads. “Given the fact that 2018 will be last full fiscal year of this administration’s four year tenure, our major focus will be the completion of most of the ongoing projects. We will also pursue the objective of strengthening the financial base of our State through various measures aimed at boosting the States Internally Generated Revenue. We believe very strongly that this is achievable without necessarily in-

creasing taxes but by widening the tax base and ensuring that all revenues due to the State are collected through technologically driven tax collection and management system,” the Governor said. Ambode urged residents to continue to support his administration’s quest to transform the nook and crannies of the State for good by voluntarily paying their taxes as and when due. “The dream of a new Lagos which

we all desire is unfolding and we all have a role to play in this project. Our government is open to new ideas and partnerships, and we will welcome suggestions for better ways to do things and improve on service delivery to the people. We will continue to provide responsible and responsive leadership which is the hallmark of sustainable development in modern, functional and liveable cosmopolitan city like Lagos,” the Governor said.

Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode (3rd right), with Afro-pop musician, Humblesmith (left); Special Adviser to the Governor on Tourism, Arts & Culture, Mrs. Aramide Giwason (2nd right) and member, Lagos State House of Assembly, Epe Constituency II, Hon. Segun Olulade (right) at the Epe zone of the One Lagos Fiesta (OLF)

I will announce my successor soon – Aregbesola

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sun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola has declared that his administration will not leave ‘government in a vacuum‘ at the end of his tenure on November 26. Aregbesola made the remarks during a New Year message broadcast to the people of the state on Monday. “This is an election year in which our tenure will end and a successor must emerge. It is my solemn promise that we will not leave in a vacuum,” he said. The governor said he was making consultation with leaders and members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on how to carefully select a person of integrity that would succeed him. “In consultation with our leaders and the member of our great party, we will careful select and present to you a successor that belongs to our political tradition of progressive people oriented leadership, a person of integrity. “Who shares our aspirations and will take governance to the next level from where we stopped.” He thanked the people of the state for their support and sacrifices for his administration in the past seven years. Aregbesola also commended workers in the state, especially those who he said have had to en-

dure 75 per cent and 50 per cent salary regime since July 2015. On the 2018 budget, the governor said he intended to implement it in full. He, however, appealed to the people of the state to support government by paying their tax.

“All the things we desire like good roads, functional education, recreational facilities, security of lives and property and a conducive environment for the pursuit of happiness and so on can best be provided by the government. “No individual or private organi-

sation can provide them to the satisfaction of all the people. This is why we all need to support the government by fulfilling our financial obligations to it in order for it to be able to carry out all its projects satisfactorily too,” the governor said.

JAMB to conduct mock exams in January T he Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), is to conduct its optional mock examination in January, preparatory to a better examination later in the year. The board which made this disclosure in a statement signed by its Head of Media, Mr Fabian Benjamin weekend, in Abuja, also reiterated the need for candidates to register on time and ensure that they follow due process in order to avoid avoidable challenges. “As we prepare for the 2018 examinations, beginning with the optional mock, we urge candidates to register on time, make clear their choices of institutions, disciplines and examination centres in the process. “Candidates must note that their first choice can be a College of Education, a university, an Innovation Enterprise Institution, a polytechnic or a monotechnic. Others include;

the Nigerian Defence Academy or the Police Academy. “We will conduct a better examination, ensure more transparent admission and make more remittances to the government,” stated the statement. The board, which described 2017 as year of transformation to success with the support of stakeholders, added that 2017 was its most eventful year so far. “In 2017, the board conducted one of the most transparent, inclusive and acceptable examinations with the least incidence of malpractices. We invested significantly in the development of intellectual structures, examination infrastructure and human human resources. “This will propel more development in 2018 and put the board in the position to compete favourably with any public institution; globally, be it an examination body or serv-

ice agency. The board also noted that while it had opened its “entire functionality to public participation and scrutiny”, it had been able to adopt some of the suggestions made by the public, which it said, had helped “to build the new JAMB”. It promised to sustain and make better the entire process in 2018, noting that the success of its Central Admission Processing System (CAPS) portal helped to achieve success. “Candidates were exposed to the new admission software to check admission excesses and our aim is to ensure that no candidate is unjustly treated. The only way to achieve this was to open the process up for everybody to see who is admitted, with what aggregate score, and who is not and why is he or she was not admitted.

NAPTIP secures 7 convictions in Benin zone

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he Benin Zonal Command of the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons (NAPTIP) says it secured seven convictions of human traffickers in 2017. Zonal Commander of the zone that comprises Edo and Delta, Mr Nduka Nwanwenne, who disclosed this in Benin, Monday, said that the convictions ranged from five to 14 years in prison. He also said that no fewer than 75 suspected traffickers were arrested within the period, while about 3,000 victims were rehabilitated, adding further that no fewer than 500 victims were rescued within the period. The zonal commander also said that about 30 Cases were still pending in court, with 40 cases still under investigation. He said the major Challenges facing the zone include: denial of cases of human Trafficking, family pressure on victims to go abroad as well as failure of victims to appear in Court to testify. Nwanwenne said that empowerment of rescued and rehabilitated victims was capital intensive and solicited for assistance from wellmeaning Nigerians and corporate organisations. He, however, said that the command remained highly focused and dedicated to the vision of the Director-General of the agency, Julie Okah-Donli’s great passion to end human trafficking in the country.

Muslim women call for youth empowerment

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he Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN) has urged government at all levels and other stakeholders to empower more youths in 2018 to eradicate crime and other vices. A leader of the group in Plateau, Mrs Mairo Sani, said, Monday, in Jos, Plateau State, that the government should establish more industries and skills acquisition centres to engage the youths. Sani said that when youths were engaged, the challenge of insurgency and social vices would be reduced and the country would record accelerated development. “I urge the government to create enabling environment for both local and international investors to establish industries, especially in agro and allied ventures. This will provide more employment for the youths and source of livelihood. Moreover, for the skilled persons, they will be engaged in different crafts. “These industries will also provide infrastructure such as health centers, schools and roads, especially for their host communities, and this will reduce the over-dependence on government for such issues,“ she said. The FOMWAN official reiterated that peace was a criterion for development, saying “no investor wants to establish a business in a society where there is no peace”.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10, 2018

NEWS ACROSS THE NATION

Adamawa, Ondo govs pardon 49 prisoners From VICTOR NZE

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overnor Muhammadu Bindow of Adamawa has

pardoned 37 prisoners serving various jail terms in the state, to mark the New Year celebration. This is also his Ondo State counterpart, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu extended the same gesture to 12 prisoners. A statement issued on Monday in Yola by the Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Ahmad Sajoh, said the governor also

commuted the death sentences of two other prisoners to life imprisonment. “As part of the New Year celebration for 2018, His Excellency has invoked the powers conferred on him under the prerogative of mercy, acting on the advice of the Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy, headed by the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, decided to pardon the convicts…’’ The governor, who is wishing the people of Adamawa a prosperous New Year, urged them to

reflect on the preceding year and try to see areas that needed sustenance and improvement. He also called on all eligible persons in the state to ensure that they obtained their voters cards, in order to fully participate in the democratic process that would commence during the year and to remain vigilant, to ensure peace and prosperity in throughout state. Meanwhile, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has approved the pardon of 12 prisoners.

State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Yemi Olowolabi, who disclosed this in a statement made available in Akure on Monday, explained that the gesture was in exercise of the power conferred on the Governor by Paragraph (d) of sub section (1) of Section 212 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999. According to him, the pardon was approved by the governor following the recommendation by the Ondo State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy.

“In his letter, dated 27th December, 2017, and addressed to the Comptroller of Prisons, Governor Akeredolu advised that the affected prisoners be released. All the prisoners have served portions of their various sentences. “The governor advised the affected prisoners to make use of the opportunity of their release to turn a new leaf and engage in legal and positive activities that will contribute to the development of the country,” the commissioner added.

FRSC issues 5, 420 driver’s licences in Katsina

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he Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), said it had issued no fewer than 5, 420 driver’s licenses to motorists in Katsina State in 2017. The FRSC Sector Commander in the state, Mr Godwin Ngueku, who disclosed this in Katsina, said of the total number, 3, 581 licenses were distributed by the FRSC Katsina unit, while 1, 354 were issued in Funtua, 262 in Daura, and 223 in Dutsin-ma. Ngueku explained that fresh applicants for drivers’ license would first go to driving school for lessons on driving for some weeks before getting the document. He further said that after the lessons, they would be issued with a certificate before an examination by the Vehicle Inspector Officer (VIO), make payments, after which, the applicants would be given a temporary license. Ngueku said that the temporary license expires within two months before a person is issued with a permanent one. He said drivers with expired licenses or those without it would have their vehicles impounded by the FRSC and be asked to pay a fine of N10, 000. ‘’Vehicles of such drivers will remained with the FRSC until they settle the payment and register with any of the driving schools in the state as first step for acquiring the license,’’ he said. Ngueku, therefore, advised motorists to always ensure that they drive with license, number plate and other required documents to avoid embarrassment.

•President Muhammadu Buhari receiving in audience a delegation of the Governance Support Group, led by Hon Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, at the State House, Abuja, last week

P/H-Maiduguri rail line negotiations to be P finalised H1, 2018 -- FG resident Muhammadu Buhari has disclosed that contract negotiations for the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri railway line will be concluded by the first half of the year. President Buhari who said this during his New Year broadcast, Monday, also said the newly-commissioned Abuja – Kaduna railway service will be boosted with additional rolling stock by Thursday and will be able to handle one mil-

lion commuters annually. The Port Harcourt to Maiduguri railway line covers Aba, Owerri, Umuahia, Enugu, Awka, Abakaliki, Makurdi, Lafia, Jos, Bauchi, Gombe, Yola and Damaturu. The President who disclosed that the proposed Abuja to Itakpe railway line would go through Baro and terminate in Warri with

Omoku New Year Killings: We have clues, Police From NATH OMAME, Port Harcourt

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he Rivers State Police Command says it has begun a manhunt for the unknown gunmen who ambushed and murdered innocent people who had gone to their various churches on New Year Eve, on December 31 and were on their way home in the early hours of New Year, January 1, 2018, at two different communities, Aligwu and Omoku, both in Ogba/Egbema/ Ndoni Local Government Area. Spokesman of the command, DSP Nnamdi Omoni, stated that the Police already have clues on

the identity of the known gunmen that carried out the attack and that men of the command were following the leads and were closing in on the attackers. “We already have clues as to the identity of the perpetrators of the bloody attack at Aligwu and Omoku on New Year Eve. We are on their trail and the Police are closing in on them. I cannot say much on our clues so that it does not jeopardize the effort of the Police and other security agencies,” he “The Police have confirmed the death of 16 people from the gun attack. The Police command is taking this incident as an un-

provoked attack on innocent people. We are currently trailing these vicious criminals. Normalcy has been restored to the affected communities. Let me assure the public that the Police and other security agencies will not disappoint them. We will arrest these criminals.” Peace Advocate, Mr. Napoleon Adah has vehemently condemned the attack. “We have all prayed and worked hard for peace to return to ONELGA only for some criminal elements to attack innocent people on New Year Day. This criminal action is condemn this wicked act.”

construction of a new seaport at Warri, said negotiations are also advanced for the construction of other railway lines, “first from Kano to Maradi in Niger Republic, passing through Kazaure, Daura, Katsina, Jibia to Maradi. “Secondly, Lagos to Calabar the “Coastal Rail” through Ore, Benin, Agbor, Asaba, Onitsha, Sapele, Ughelli, Warri, Yenagoa, Otuoke, Port Harcourt, Aba, Uyo and Calabar. In the next few years, all these Nigerian cities will be linked by functional modern rail systems, giving enormous boost to the social and economic life of our people,’’ he added. With respect to the Abuja Capital Light Rail, the president revealed that progress had reached 98 per cent completion, as at 64 per cent completion when he assumed office. He stated that only test runs remained before start of operations, and expressed hope that the train service would stimulate economic activities in the federal capital and provide residents with an efficient and safe transportation system. He said the 12 railway sub-sta-

tions around the capital over a 45.2 kilometre route would serve as a catalyst and a pull factor to the economy of the area. President Buhari expressed optimism that the light rail system would reduce traffic congestion and carbon emission in line with the administration’s policy on climate change. On road reconstruction and rehabilitation, the president stated that the Management of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) had been reconstituted and charged with a 12-week rapid intervention in road repairs to cover all the geo-political zones. According to him, each geopolitical zone will benefit by an equal amount of N16.67 billion. “The following major highways are to receive special attention: Oyo – Ogbomosho; Ofusu – Ore – Ajebandele – Shagamu; Yenagoa Road Junction – Kolo Otuoke – Bayelsa Palm and Enugu – Port Harcourt Dual Carriage Way. “Others are Onitsha – Enugu Expressway Kaduna Eastern Bypass; Dualization of Kano – Maiduguri Road; Dualization of Abuja – Lokoja – Benin Road and the Dualization of Suleja – Minna Road.’’


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The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10, 2018

ANNIVERSARY

Barr. Igwe lights up Isuochi Barrister Philip Okey Igwe, Chairman of Umunneochi LGA marked the first anniversary of his tenure by breaking the age-long jinx of Isuochi not having electricity. Deputy Governor of Abia State Ude Oko Chukwu (in white) commissioned the electricity project. Other projects included the empowerment of various groups.

• Deputy Governor of Abia State Ude Oko Chukwu commissioning the electricity project

• Time to break Kola-nut

• Barr Igwe Chairman Umunneochi LGA

• Various groups gathered for the event

• Sir Ude Oko Chukwu addressing the gathering

• Various empowerment items given out at the event


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The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10, 2018

NEWS ACROSS THE NATION

Ekweremmadu to Chinze:

You give us hope

•Assures amazing artist of support From CHUKS EZE, Enugu

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Senator Ekweremadu added. The DSP who also praised the theme of Mrs Ojobo’s works, which, he said, centred on real lifestyles of the people, also thanked her for bringing her experience home. “I have seen that most of the works here are within the theme

of unity, women empowerment, youth empowerment; the idea of excelling through hard work and all that. These are stories of our people and we are happy that you have been able to tell our story in art form. Let me assure you that we would do everything we can to

encourage you. So, do not let this be a one-off thing. And I encourage others to bring their talents home so that our people can see what they can do, and get encouraged,” the Deputy President of the Senate said. He urged the government to consider making the event an annual exercise, where other artistes would be incorporated, “so that

HE Deputy President of the Senate (DSP), Ike Ekweremmadu has hailed multi-talented artist, Mrs Chinze Ojobo, for a successful 10-day special art exhibition in Enugu, describing her works as world class. The exhibition held at Pollo Park Mall, in Enugu, from December 20 to 30 last year. Ekweremmadu, who made the remarks when he visited the gallery, also noted that Chinze’s exhibition was no less classy, in any manner, than several other international art exhibitions he had attended across the world. He said: “I am inspired and pleased that we have someone from our area, who is interested in art to this extent of showcasing this kind of exhibition in Enugu. I have attended several exhibitions in Europe, America, Dubai and the rest, and I must say that this is the same standard of exhibitions that we see over there. So, I am happy that this is happening right here, in Enugu. With this, you have proven to the world that we are not left out.” “The impact of this is that most of our younger artists would get inspired and know that they can do it as well, and not when they watch art exhibitions on the television and see it happening in Asia, Europe and America, they think it is out of this world. It has been brought home by our own sister, Chinze,” • Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu being conducted round the exhibition by the artist, Chinze Ojobo

Ihiala National USA honors Igbo corporate leaders, development agents

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As part of activities to mark its 6th Biennial Convention and the first in Ihiala town since its inception in 2009, Ihiala National USA (INUSA) has given awards of plaques to distinguished sons and daughters of Igbo land and Ihiala indigenes who have distinguished themselves in Corporate leadership and community service. The non-profit organization comprising members of Ihiala Diaspora across the United States, in keeping with its annual community development initiatives, also used the event to launch funds for its health facility proposed for Ihiala town. Ihiala National USA’s community development programmes are in education, healthcare and security. Since its inception in the United States, the organization has donated over N15 million worth of medical, security patrol truck and educational facilities to the community. About N4.85 million of the fund was allocated to providing free health care and about N2.91 million to security and surveillance equipment for the Ihiala Vigilante Security Services. The medical mission programmes include medical screening for all kinds of health issues, distribution of prescription drugs to patients diagnosed with malaria, high blood

pressure, cholesterol and diabetes. Others include distribution of multi-vitamins, pain relievers, antiitching, fungi reducing and antibiotic medicines. More than 30 medical personnel including doctors, pharmacists, nurses and volunteers will be participating in the

health care mission expected at two centers in the town. Among those who received the award at the event held on Dec. 29, last year at the Eagle Destiny Hotel Ihiala was the Corporate Manager and Acting Controller of Department of Petroleum Resources,

Chief Mrs. Carol Igboaka-Bello. Igboaka-Bello was, a few years ago, awarded a chieftaincy title, the Ada Eji Ejemba 1 of Ndigbo in Port Harcourt for her commitment to promotion of Igbo culture, leadership and philanthropy.

Louis Carter Scholarship Foundation celebrates First Class graduate •Onwugbenu vows to enrol more beneficiaries From CHUKS COLLINS, Awka

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NEWI-BASED Louis Carter Scholarship Foundation has recorded its first First Class graduate beneficiary, Mr Ike Chukwuemeka, who graduated in French/German from the University of Nigeria Nsukka. The Foundation was established in 2013 to encourage and sponsor indigent but bright students to achieve their academic dreams. In his address, the benefactor and sponsor of the Foundation, Chief Louis Onwugbenu (Okpata Ozu’ Ora) said: “I give the Almighty God the glory for sustaining the Founda-

tion as it grows from strength to strength )as the years go by)… “The Foundation took off with about 30 students but today, like a mustard seed, it has more than 500 students enrolled in various disciplines in higher institutions of learning across the country. This number will continue to grow annually. “I am encouraged because the beneficiaries’ performances have been spectacular in their academic pursuit thereby justifying the aims and objectives of setting up the Foundation. “Today the Louis Carter Scholarship Foundation can proudly boast of a first class graduate- Ike Chuk-

wuemwka of UNN and other students who recorded distinctions from their various disciplines and courses of study.” Onwugbenu thanked his wife, Lady Patricia and his children for their continued support, noting that members of the Board have also been exemplary in managing the Foundation to achieve its objective. In the homily, preceding the celebration, the officiating priest, Rev Fr. Afam Ike, while commending the public spirit of Onwugbenu, urged other rich and affluent in the society to emulate his example, to the glory of God Almighty.

at times like this, when our brothers and sisters return from Europe, America and other parts of the world, on vacation, they would look forward to the exhibition in Enugu, where they would appreciate arts, ask questions and be able to relate them with the life story of our people. That way, it will form part of our tourism potentials in this state.” On her part, Chinze, who was pleased with Ekweremmadu’s visit and kind words, appreciated the lawmaker for his visit. She described the exhibition as a huge success, adding that she had been greatly inspired by various encouraging words and goodwill she received from people during the exercise. The Exhibition attracted several dignitaries including The Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Oracle Today newspaper, Ikedi Isiguzo as well as the title’s Editor, Felix Oguejiofor Abugu. Others were, Major Gen Godwin Ugwuoke (Rtd); former Chief Economic Adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Prof. Osita Ogbu; consummate politician, Chief Maxi Okuta; Founder of NESH, Emeka Ugwu-Oju; DirectorGeneral of South East Governor’s Forum, Prof Simon Ortuanya, among others. Some of the captions of the art works include Alone With God, Nwanne Di Na Mba, Nwunye Dim and Turning Point among others.

Soldiers smash armed robbery syndicate, rescue victims From INIABASI UMO, Uyo

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OLDIERS from 2 Brigade, Akwa Ibom State have smashed an alleged armed robbery syndicate and rescued two of their victims. The troops also rescued some policemen who were under attack from armed robbers terrorising the Nke-Ukanafun-Abak Road. According to a release made available to our correspondent on Tuesday by the Assistant Director of Public Relations, 2 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Major Umar Shuaib, the soldiers recovered a locally fabricated pistol and cartridge from the robbers. They also recovered some stolen properties and returned them to their rightful owners. The release read: “The galant troops of 2 Brigade Nigerian Army had on Monday 1 January, 2018 successfully shot one armed bandit robbing passengers at Otoro village in Etim Ekpo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. “The troops had earlier received a distress call that police personnel on duty along Nkek - Ukanafun - Abak were under attack by armed hoodlums. “The troops swiftly moved and repelled the attack. It was on their way back to the base that they encountered armed bandits and successfully shot one of them after an exchange of gunfire.


7

The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10, 2018

CHERRYWOOD COURTS IBEJU LEKKI Cherrywood courts is an exceptional water front estate located in the alluring neighborhood of the Lekki free trade zone, Dangote refinery which is the new Lagos state money bag. LOCATION: Oshoroko, 7 minutes drives from the LFTZ/ Dangote’s Refinery Ibeju Lekki TITLE: Global C of O SIZE: 600sqm PRICE: NGN5,000,000 ESTATE FEATURES • Good road network • Street light • Gated & Secured environment • Sports Corridors - Landscaping • Shopping centers. WHY YOU MUST BUY INTO CHERRYWOOD COURTS • The estate is strategically located 7 minutes drives from the Dangote Refinery • This estate will appreciate very fast * Excellent prime location • Excellent facilities • Good title (C of O) • Free from any known Government acquisition. NEIGHBOURHOOD: • Lekki Free Trade Zone • Dangote Refinery • Lekki Deep Sea Port • New International Airport • Golf Course • 4th Mainland bridge • And many others

For more details please contact PREMIUM PARTNERS +234 (803) 887 2988, +234 (803) 300 7069 25 Remi Fani Kayode Street G.R.A Ikeja, Lagos State


8

The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10, 2018

For the Records

2018 pivotal to quest for change – Buhari • President Buhari’s 2018 new year broadcast

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join my fellow citizens this morning to welcome and celebrate the New Year 2018. This year promises to be pivotal in our quest for CHANGE. Unfortunately, I am saddened to acknowledge that for many, this Christmas and New Year holidays have been anything but merry and happy. Instead of showing love, companionship and charity, some of our compatriots chose this period to inflict severe hardship on us all by creating unnecessary fuel scarcity across the country. The consequence was that not many could travel and the few who did had to pay exorbitant transport fares. This is unacceptable given that NNPC had taken measures to ensure availability at all depots. I am determined to get to the root of this collective blackmail of all Nigerians and ensure that whichever groups are behind this manipulated hardship will be prevented from doing so again. Such unpatriotism will not divert the Administration from the course we have set ourselves. Our government’s watch word and policy thrust is CHANGE. We must change our way of doing things or we will stagnate and be left behind in the race to lift our people out of poverty and into prosperity. My address to fellow Nigerians this morning is devoted mainly to informing you about the intense efforts this Administration is putting to address our country’s huge infrastructural deficit. We are going to make significant in-roads in advancing road, rail and power projects across the country. The Ministry of Power, Works and Housing is one of the drivers of this Government’s commitment to renew and increase Nigeria’s stock of infrastructure in order to achieve global economic competitiveness as targeted under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. With regards to Railways, we have set ourselves ambitious targets. Already in construction stage is the Lagos-Kano Standard Gauge Railway. The line should reach Ibadan from Lagos by the end of 2019 and will carry two million passengers per year and five million tons of cargo will be transported every year giving a substantial boost to the country’s economy. Construction of the Kano – Kaduna segment is expected to commence this year and reach Kaduna by the end of 2019. By the end of 2021 the two ends will be joined so that we will have standard gauge railway across the main North-South trading route. The Abuja – Kaduna route will be boosted by additional rolling stock next Thursday and will be able to handle one million commuters annually. At the same time I have approved and negotiations will be concluded in the first part of this year for the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri line covering Aba, Owerri, Umuahia, Enugu, Awka, Abakaliki, Makurdi, Lafia, Jos, Bauchi, Gombe, Yola and Damaturu. The Abuja to Itakpe line will go through Baro and terminate in Warri with construction of a new seaport at Warri. Negotiations are also advanced for the construction of other railway lines, firstly from Kano to Maradi in Niger Republic passing through Kazaure, Daura, Katsina, Jibia to Maradi. Secondly, Lagos to Calabar the “Coastal Rail” through Ore, Benin, Agbor, Asaba, Onitsha, Sapele, Ughelli, Warri, Yenagoa, Otuoke, Port Harcourt, Aba, Uyo and Calabar. In the next few years, all these Nigerian cities will be linked by functional modern rail systems, giving enormous boost to the social and economic life of our people. With respect to the Abuja Capital Light Rail, progress has reached 98% completion, as at 64% completion when we assumed office. Only test runs remain before start of operations. This train service will stimulate economic activities in the Federal Capital and provide residents with an efficient and safe transportation system. Twelve railway sub-stations around the capital over a 45.2 kilometre route

will serve as a catalyst and a pull factor to the economy of the area. The Light Rail System will reduce traffic congestion and carbon emission in line with the Administration’s policy on climate change. Management of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) has been reconstituted and has been charged with a 12-week rapid intervention in road repairs to cover all the geo-political zones. Government is undertaking repairs and maintenance of 44 roads within the six geo-political zones. Twenty-five major highways will be funded under the N100b SUKUK facility. Each geo-political zone will benefit by an equal amount of N16.67b. The following major highways are to receive special attention: a. Oyo – Ogbomosho, b. Ofusu – Ore – Ajebandele – Shagamu, c. Yenagoa Road Junction – Kolo Otuoke – Bayelsa Palm, d. Enugu – Port Harcourt Dual Carriage Way, e. Onitsha – Enugu Expressway, f. Kaduna Eastern Bypass, g. Dualisation of Kano – Maiduguri Road, h. Dualisation of Abuja – Lokoja – Benin Road, i. Dualisation of Suleja – Minna Road. In addition, Government has approved work to start on the re-construction of Abuja – Kaduna – Zaria – Kano road which is in a state of disrepair. Work will soon start and is expected to be completed in 2019. More Nigerians across the country are experiencing improved power supply to their homes and businesses. However, power remains a concern to this government because too many people still do not have regular and reliable supply. The Payment Assurance Guarantee Scheme, which started in January 2016, has enabled the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader to raise so far N701 billion to assure Generation Companies of at least 80% payment for any power delivered to the national grid. Consequently, generation has now reached

7,000MW. On December 8, 2017 the country achieved 5,155MW of power delivered to consumers, the highest level ever recorded. Several moribund projects have been revived. Repairs of Afam Power Station added 110MW in 2017 and another 240MW will be added this year through a private investment partnership. Katsina Power Project is now being tested and producing 10MW of power from wind for the first time in Nigeria. It should be fully operational this year. The Zungeru 700MW Hydroelectric Power Project, stalled by court cases is due for completion in 2019. The transmission and other requirements to operate the 30MW Gurara Phase 1 Hydroelectric Plant, the 40MW Kashimbilla Hydroelectric Plant and the 215 MW Kaduna Gas/LPG/Diesel Power Plant will also be completed this year. A landmark project, Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Project is at last taking off. This project has been on the drawing Board for 40 years, but now the engineering, procurement and construction contract for the 3,050MW project has been agreed with a Chinese joint venture Company with a financing commitment from the government of China. Completion is targeted for 2023. As I mentioned earlier, the Transmission Company of Nigeria can now distribute all the 7,000MW that can be generated. TCN and the Niger Delta Holding Company have added 1,950MVA of 330 down to 132KV transformer capacity of 10 transmission stations and 2,930MVA of 132 down to 33KV transformer capacity of 42 sub-stations including Ikot Ekpene, Aba, Alagbon, Ajah, Ejigbo, Funtua and Zaria. This Administration is working with the privatised distribution Companies to overcome the continuing challenges of distribution. These massive public works should spearhead the recovery and lead millions back to employment. You will recall that it was not until last year that we got out of the economic recession into which the country had fallen as a consequence of past unsustainable economic policies, which projected short-term illusory growth. The government is slowly stabilizing the economy. It was in order to change the steady and steep decline that we adopted the more sustainable policies and programmes captured in the Economic Recovery Plan. Diversification

efforts have resulted in improved output particularly in agriculture and solid minerals sectors. The relative exchange rate stability has improved manufacturing sector performance. We have got to get used to discipline and direction in economic management. The days of business as usual are numbered. Two years ago I appealed to people to go back to the land. I am highly gratified that agriculture has picked up, contributing to the government’s effort to re-structure the economy. Rice imports will stop this year. Local rice, fresher and more nutritious will be on our dishes from now on. By the same token, I am today appealing to enterprising Nigerians with ideas and unemployed graduates and other able-bodied and literate men and women with ideas not to just sit and wait for employment from the government or the Organized Private Sector. Great nations are built by enterprising people who turn their hands to anything that circumstances dictate. In respect of political developments, I have kept a close watch on the on-going debate about “Restructuring”. No human law or edifice is perfect. Whatever structure we develop must periodically be perfected according to changing circumstances and the country’s socio-economic developments. We Nigerians can be very impatient and want to improve our conditions faster than may be possible considering our resources and capabilities. When all the aggregates of nationwide opinions are considered, my firm view is that our problems are more to do with process than structure. We tried the Parliamentary system: we jettisoned it. Now there are shrill cries for a return to the Parliamentary structure. In older democracies these systems took centuries to evolve so we cannot expect a copied system to fit neatly our purposes. We must give a long period of trial and improvement before the system we have adopted is anywhere near fit for purpose. However, there is a strong case for a closer look at the cost of government and for the public services long used to extravagance, waste and corruption to change for the better. I assure you that government is ever receptive to ideas, which will improve governance and contribute to the country’s peace and stability. As the electioneering season approaches Cont’d on page 47


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The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10, 2018

POLITICS

IYC will work with other ‘Emma Okocha is a ethnic groups to achieve true writer of conscience’ federalism - Pereotubo Pg 16

Pg 10

2017 IN RETROSPECT:

Buhari’s health, pro-Biafra agitations, restructuring shaped last year

• Buhari

• Osinbajo

• Umahi

• Nwodo

THEO RAYS, in Onitsha, writes that three major issues dominated all of last year in Nigeria: the health challenges of President Muhammadu Buhari, pro-Biafra agitations mounted by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Uchenna Madu-led Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), and vociferous calls for restructuring, which came as a spin-off of the pro-Biafra agitations.

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he year 2017 at the outset was a bad for President Muhammadu Buhari in particular following health challenges that took him away from Nigeria for medical treatment in the United Kingdom. Buhari in a letter dated January 19, 2017 addressed to the Senate requested for a 10-day leave to enable him travel to London for medical purposes. The 10-day proposed trip turned to a long journey that lasted about 60 days. Buhari returned from London in March, clear three months later. As Buhari left for London, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo took over as the Acting President. A few days after Buhari left for London, news broke on social media that he had died. For weeks, all social media platforms were taken over by the news of the “death” of Nigeria’s no 1 citizen with photo-shopped pictures of conjured dead body and condolence messages from world leaders all to prove that Buhari had taken the journey to the land of no return but eventually everything tuned out to be rumour and conjectures as Buhari returned alive. On the other hand, the year started with hope for Nigerians, most especially for those who were comfortable with the victory of Donald Trump to become the President of United States of America, namely members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). Trump who was elected the 45th President of the United States was sworn in on January 20, 2017. To show their comfort with Trump, IPOB organized a rally on his swearing-in day in Port

Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, South South Nigeria. The pro-Trump rally turned soar as IPOB members clashed with Nigeria security agencies leaving some IPOB members dead. While Buhari was away on medical trip, the Federal Government announced the suspension of flight operations at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja for about 6 months to carry out some works at the Airport. This caused travellers to use Kaduna Airport as an alternative route. Buhari on his return from London in March landed in Kaduna following the suspension of operations at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport. While Buhari was in London, Acting President made frantic efforts to deal with teething national challenges most especially hostilities

in Niger Delta region orchestrated by a militant group called Niger Delta Avengers who were destroying oil facilities in the region. The Acting President visited Delta State, Bayelsa State, Rivers State and Ondo States respectively. Observers say Osinbajo’s tour of oil producing States was immensely fruitful. An observer and the convener of the Niger Delta Peoples Congress, (NDPC), High Chief Mike Loyibo while speaking to journalists on Osinbajo’s tour declared permanent peace in the region following the tour of Acting President to the areas, expressing the optimism that the ceasefire agreement secured with the militants who had carried out a series of bombings and destructions on oil assets would remain unbroken. Militants have kept the ceasefire agreement with Osinbajo ever since

Kanu’s release boosted the sit-at-home campaign and the sit at home campaign eventually paid off as the entire southeast was paralyzed on May 30 with absolute no movement all round the region.

’’

as no case of bombing of oil facilities has been reported since then. While the issue of Niger militants apparently downsized and cooled off, the issue of the agitation for the restoration of Biafra by IPOB continued to make headlines with continued detention of the leader of IPOB Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. Upon the protest over the continued detention of Kanu, the Nigeria military introduced a special security measure in the southeast region called Operation Python Dance. The military had earlier introduced Operation Lafiya Dole against Boko Haram in the Northeast and Operation Crocodile Smile against militants in the Niger Delta. While the country was battling with a series of security challenges caused by Boko Haram, suicide bombing et al, President Buhari went back to London for medical treatment. Again he handed over to Osinbajo to work as Acting President. This time the President’s medical trip lasted longer as he stayed up to August before coming back home. There were also rumours of his death on the second medical trip. President’s health challenge was among the major issues the dominated the Nigerian scene in 2017. While in detention, Kanu made two declarations. First was sit at home in the southeast region on May 30, 2017 in remembrance of Biafra Day and to honour Biafra’s fallen heroes and two, that there would be no election in the Cont’d on page 12


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The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10 2018

BOLD & BLUNT

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had the good fortune to meet Hon. Emma Okocha when he came to Christ the King College (CKC), Onitsha, after the Biafran Civil War. He made appearances in the school football team and the news spread that he had come from Edo College, Benin. We would call him Edo College when he fought for the ball in the field of play. His feline nature belied his strength both inside and outside the soccer pitch. It came to be that our meeting was not going to be a fleeting one. Beneath his (obvious) restlessness, you could not miss his bundle of talent in many areas. You could discern loyalty, dedication, hard work, zeal, the “far from the madding crowd” type of baptism. This last bit allowed you to sing as you like--à la Fela; play as you like, like Pele and write as you like, like Emma Okocha! It could be the gunshots he heard on the killing fields of Asaba, which have left him with the staccato approach to his writing. Even at that, his fecundity and clarity of message are unmistaken. The end point is that everyone is at home with his story, its plot, its message and the passages which are left unsaid but which could be deduced in the fullness of time. What about the telling information he drops here and there to assist you to give meaning to the jigsaw of events and understand the background to the revisionist stand-ups? As a legal practitioner in those days, I had been his lawyer when he had arranged to bring tennis to the East as in Ogbe Hard Court Benin, under the brand name of Gomslam. He had invited some persons to assist him but instead, they wanted to nudge Emma Okocha away from the klieg lights and position themselves, so we headed to the courtroom. It also required us to speak out against the injustice, so I found myself beside him at the famous Press Centre in Enugu, next to Hotel Presidential, where we set out our own side of the story against the powerful who did not want to give Emma Okocha his due. Enter his elder brother, Dr. Augustine Okocha. When he heard I was the one to lead the legal team for his shortchanged younger brother, he was happy. The Okocha’s have the bonding that is the desire of many. He was in the Physical Education Department of UNN at the time we met. He would not tire to narrate how the other senior lecturers in the department grabbed the then popular sports of Athletics, Football, Basketball etc., and after the scramble he was pushed to Handball, which was making its debut at the 1976 NUGA games at the University of Ibadan. Lo and behold, Dr. Augustine Okocha, Coach of the UNN Handball Team was bedecked with a gold medal, thanks to the exploits of the UNN handball team, which beat all comers. Dr. Augustine Okocha would enthuse to his brother that he could not lose with me. I was the spearhead of that gold winning team. Previously in the 197, All Nigerian Sports Festival, I had played for the East Central State team and won a silver medal in a pulsating match against Bendel State. I was selected for the National side to travel to Ghana for the West African Games, which unfortunately Ghana declined to host citing poor finances. Those who edged out my coach came back without medals of any metal. In his Preface and Acknowledgment to his magnum opus, Blood on the Niger, Emma Okocha stated that, like Parley said in his own Preface to his celebrated Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy, when a writer offers a book upon a subject on which the public are already in possession of many versions, he is bound by literary justice to inform his readers specifically on what he professes or what else he expects to improve. Okocha in that revealing and earthshaking Blood on the Niger went further than improving on the existing narrative. At page 240 of my book The Day The Eagle Emerged, The legal works of Hon. Justice Peter N. C. Umeadi, selected Rulings, Judgment and Reviews, Onitsha, 2015, I stated thus: “On a trip to Lagos, I bought his book Blood on the Niger; an untold story of the Nigerian Civil War” from Glendora Shop at Falomo Shop-

‘Emma Okocha is a writer of conscience’

HON. JUSTICE PETER NNANNA CHUKWUDI UMEADI, Chief Judge of Anambra State and President, World Association of Judges under the auspices of the World Jurists Association (WJA), in this keynote address delivered to the University of Nigeria (UNN) Alumni, Asaba, and the Editors on the Niger, opens up on Emma Okocha, author of the ground-breaking Blood on the Niger, a gripping story of the massacre of innocent men and male children by troops of the Nigerian during the bestial Biafra-Nigeria Civil War, and other books.

• Okocha ping Centre, Lagos, on 15/6/2000.” I had in mind to have Emma Okocha autograph it for me when we meet. On another occasion I was invited to an event at the Palace of Obi of Onitsha where Chief Jerome Udoji was expected. I was nearly late as I went to fetch his seminal book Under Three Masters. It was a great joy when he graciously autographed it for me in public glare. A Professor of English at Florida University, United States of America, the celebrated Obi Nwakanma, provided us some guidelines to understanding Emma Okocha as a writer of conscience, human rights crusader and anti-genocide campaigner. Professor Nwakanma of whom I referred to as a refreshing/laureate in my book, (above) asserted that “Okocha’s pursuit of exposing the Asaba genocide, reopening the case of the mass killings, compelling the official acknowledgment of war crimes by the Nigerian government, and erecting a visible war memorial in honour of the Asaba dead of October 1967, continue to attract unprecedented world attention. For the first time, Asaba is the news that can no longer

be under the carpet.” Professor Nwakanma continued: “Happily, Emma Okocha’s work is drawing attention to one of modern Africa’s darkest war crimes. He had convened the Asaba Memorial Symposium to reopen the issue, and unveil the long-buried tragedy, led by the anthropologist Elizabeth Bird, Erin Kimmerle and Fraser Ottanelli, Chairman of the Department of History, in collaboration with the USF Libraries Holocaust and Genocide Studies Centre.” In collaboration with Emma Okocha, the University recruited a Tampa homicide detective, Charles Massucci to gather documents, record oral histories and to examine mass graves and recover evidence of the Asaba genocide. More than any other individual, Nwakanma testified, Okocha has pursued the Asaba story with the temerity of a survivor and the hardnosed instincts of a well-trained journalist. Asaba has become Okocha’s life work, an obsession and, according to him, all the struggle is to give final rest and honour to those who perished in that day of infamy in Asaba, October 7,

1967. Elsewhere, another celebrated American writer of the Newsweek magazine Shana Alexander, had described Emma Okocha’s experiences as those that would shatter most people, adding that Emma in all his writings could express himself with so much eloquence. In his own definition of Emma Okocha and his struggles, your own Sunday Pointer, that is the Delta State Newspaper, March 20, 2011, in an article by the Editor-in-Chief, Monday Uwagwu, stated that “Emma Okocha is an exemplary journalist, the conscience of history.” And in the Champion of Tuesday, August 23, 2011, the Deputy News Editor, Charles Oko described Okocha as “the leader of the Asaba October 7 group, who have persevered to put the perpetrators of the Asaba genocide to justice.” “Emma Okocha’s efforts continue to put focus on the urgent need to uplift humanity from totalitarianism, tyranny, and democide, just as notable writers of conscience across the globe…. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Reinhold Niebuhr, Wole Soyinka, and Chinua Achebe, have done,” he wrote. With the poetic rhymes, what the Prophet Jeremiah had said came to pass… a sound is heard in Ramah, another is heard in Asaba, Rachel is crying for her children, Onishe, the goddess of the Niger seething in revulsion over the rape of her virgin daughters and the massacre of her children. She refuses to be comforted. What the Prophet Jeremiah said had come to pass. Solzhenitsyn, in his Open Letter to the Fourth Soviet Writers’ Congress, 16 May 1967, stated that, “Literature that is not the breath of contemporary society, that dares not transmit the pains and fears of that society, that does not warn in time against threatening moral and social dangers — such literature does not deserve the name of literature; it is only a façade. Such literature loses the confidence of its own people, and its published works are used as wastepaper instead of being read.” I am happy for Hon. Emma Okocha and I see that at this stage, what holds us together is the mutual love of the arts. I hold the Plague of Honour as the Patron of the Anambra Book and Creativity Network. I would leave it to the author of Blood on the Niger to decide if he joins those who have forgiven the acts recorded in his book. The example of President Nelson Mandela is available. The mantra of “Never Again” of the Israelis comes to the fore. We already know that the African Elephant forgives but never forgets. Emma Okocha has exposed the hideous act, the calamity touched the heart of the whole world and the grief, revulsion and repulsion are global. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, Nigeria’s latest world writer of conscience, Emma Okocha, award winning author of Blood on the Niger, Last Dance on the Niger, Jews of Africa, Rangers International FC… History of a People, Okechukwu Ikejiani, My Journey Across the four Continents, Onyeamuma Ndigbo, Akpala Niger, Ogbueshi Attah Ni Igalla!!!


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The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10, 2018

Features

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n a determined bid by the Nigerian government to stem the resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta Region that threatened oil production, Vice President Yemi Osibanjo, visited Oporoza, headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom, home of Chief Government Ekpemupolo a.k.a Tompolo in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State on a fact-finding mission. Professor Osibanjo, who was accompanied on the visit by Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, governor of Delta State, and Dr. Ibe Emmanuel Kachikwu, Minister of State (Petroleum), said people of the Niger Delta region have a genuine need as special economic zone that needs special development attention. The Vice President disclosed that the issue of development of the Niger Delta Region was not a responsibility that only the federal government could tackle, noting that other stakeholders like the State Government, intervention agencies like the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), oil companies, local government among others must partner with government to solve the region’s question. May 2017: Delta State House Of Assembly Speaker, Monday Igbuya, impeached Delta State House of Assembly Speaker, Mr. Monday Igbuya was impeached during a session of the State House of Assembly session. Mr. Igbuya was immediately replaced with the lawmaker representing Okpe constituency, Sheriff Oborevwori as the new Speaker. Twenty-two out of the 29 members of the state’s House of Assembly signed Igbuya’s impeachment. October 1 threats: Niger Delta Avengers threatened to resume fresh attacks on oil facilities in Nigeria and also accused the federal government of being insincere despite the commitment by the leaders of the region to broker peace, saying that the government was only interested in the oil being derived from the Niger Delta. The group had announced an immediate end to its ceasefire with the federal government in a statement posted on its website on Friday. In the statement signed by the group’s spokesman, Murdoch Agbinibo, NDA said Operation Red Economy, which it had declared following the intervention of the Chief Edwin Clark-led Pan Niger Delta Forum, was officially over. October 13: Operation Crocodile Smile The Nigerian Army deployed troops for the commencement of “Operation Crocodile Smile” in the six Niger Delta states. Enobong Udoh, a Major General and the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, said the operation was confidence building patrol rather than a show of force as widely reported. “Operation Crocodile Smile is not a show of force but a confidence-building patrol that seeks to reassure the people of Rivers state and the Niger Delta that the army is ready to work. “We are ready to work in close synergy and collaboration with other security services and agencies of government to ensure that there is

2017 in retrospective: Delta State perspective From Asaba, JONATHAN AWANYI writes on the issues that mattered most in Delta State and the Niger Delta as a whole in 2017.

• One of the numerous road projects in Delta State going Operation Crocodile Smile II in the Niger Delta. November 2017: FG approves N5 billion take-off grant for Maritime University: The federal government approved an increase of N5 billion as take-off grant for the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, from N2 billion earlier announced. Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, made this disclosure in a statement in Abuja. Usani said the presidential approval for the N5b budget allocation was based on the recommendation of a committee in the Ministry of Education tasked with the activation of the university. The Minister disclosed that President Mu-

hammadu Buhari had also approved an immediate release of N1 billion to the university to support essential infrastructure works and staff recruitment. The minister said the new vision for the Niger Delta, followed the President’s meeting with the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) leaders in Nov. 2016. He said Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), was delegated to undertake a tour of the oil producing communities and the issue of the take-off of the Maritime University was one of the major requests tabled before the Federal Government. The university commenced full academic activities in Sept, last year.

CHIMA CHRISTIAN, a political commentator writes on what he calls Gestapo-like arrest of the Online Publisher...

weren’t left to continue guessing what the issue was. Thanks to one of the operatives who quipped that they had been arrested on the order of the IG because of a “malicious” item they published against him on their blog - www.elombah.com/ Until I hear the official position of the Police, I’ll not discuss further on the motivation of their arrest. That notwithstanding, the non-dignifying treatment again shows that Nigerian law enforcement authorities can sometimes be uncouth, unruly and unprofessional. In so doing, they bungle their cases, lose admissibility of their evidence in court and lose public support - all essential to the work they do. I encourage them to learn from history and adjust their modus operandi. If not, the anger is boiling and can only be a little while more before it reaches tipping point. I see a lot of lawsuits and corresponding court judgments flying in from left, right and centre. I see a lot of men and women who will neither “leave it to God” nor be intimidated or begged into abandoning their lawsuits. Until law enforcement agents start paying heavy penalties for their actions, civility will remain a thing they love to loathe. Happy New Year. Chima, a good governance advocate and a public policy analyst, writes from Nnewi, Anambra state. He can be contacted via chimachris2@gmail.com or on Twitter via @ChimaCChristian.

peace and security for the people. “Our operation aims to reassure the public that we are ready to fight crimes like cultism, militancy, and kidnapping so that people can go about their business without fear,” he said. The division carried out the exercise in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers States while another formation would cover other states in the Niger Delta. However, there was a melodramatic twist of events following widespread rumour alleging invasion of schools by men dressed in military uniform and allegedly injecting pupils and students to death with an unknown vaccine linked to monkey pox. Parents and guardians in the region stormed schools to withdraw their children following rumours that the Nigerian Army was conducting immunisation as part of its on-

Elombahs’ arrest: Authorities hardly learn from history

I

• Elombah

have refrained from commenting publicly on the ignoble arrest of Daniel Elombah until preliminary findings are enough to make an informed opinion. In the course of being an ordinary Nigerian, I’ve personally witnessed two armed robbery incidents, heard live testimonies of several victims, and read numerous media reports of same. So, I appreciate the men of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) - men whose assigned duty, I understand, is to keep the nation safe from armed robbers. If not for anything, I respect this unit for the enormous sacrifice they make in trying to achieve that mandate. In the course of being an active citizen, I’ve come across the Elombahs. First in their publications, and more personally with Tim Elombah in a project I worked with him on. You can’t help but like and respect him - he’s that good. I’ve also heard good things about his other sibling - Daniel. To wake up on the first day of the year to hear the news of the “arrest” of these respected men and their other brother is troubling but hardly shocking, given the nation’s history. Testimonies of family members and associates

who witnessed the “arrest” paint a horrible picture Nigerians are now all familiar with. Around 4am on a New Year day, the Elombahs were jolted by the sudden realization that they had an armed company. The guess was over in the early stages - they were not kidnappers or armed robbers. They were SARS operatives. That realization didn’t make much difference though. Both state and non-state armed groups can be similar in the magnitude of horror they leave behind. No such thing as arrest or search warrant was presented by the gun-wielding men numbering about 10 before they ransacked (in the literal sense of the word) their family house. Nobody was spared of the horror. Not even innocent young children. Not their elderly relatives! The frenetic search was over. They found highly incriminating pieces of evidence - two laptop computers and some mobile phones! The items were swiftly taken away, along with their owners, to Nnewi SARS office, Awkuzu SARS office and then Abuja. The men and their immediate family members


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The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10 2018

POLITICS

• Obiano

• El-Rufai

• Kanu

• Shetima

Buhari’s health, pro-Biafra agitations, restructuring shaped last year Cont’d on page 12

southeast region until the Federal Government fixes date for referendum on Biafra. IPOB started acting on Kanu order and ignited a sit-home campaign and no governorship election in Anambra State in November 2017 until a date for referendum on Biafra was fixed. While the campaign was on the air, Kanu was released on bail by the trial Judge at the Federal High Court in Abuja, Justice Binta Nyako on health purposes. His release boosted the sit-at-home campaign and the sit at home campaign eventually paid off as the entire southeast was paralyzed on May 30 with absolute no movement all round the region. The success of the sit at home in the southeast however infuriated youth in the North and on June 6, 2017 a coalition of Northern Youth led by one Shettima Yerrima issued a 3-month quit order to Igbo people living in northern Nigeria. According to Yerrima and Co., the Igbo in the north had up till October 1, 2017, to park their bags and baggage and leave the north. The quit notice divided northern leaders as some led by Professor Ango Abdullahi supported the move by the youth to sack Ndigbo from the North while others led by Governor Nasir El-Ruffai of Kaduna States opposed it. But following the notice, Acting President Osinbajo had separate meetings with both Northern leaders and Igbo leaders to address it. The Federal Government also took a bold step to checkmate the excesses of hate speeches and declared that hate speeches henceforth is a punishable offense in the county. While the quit notice lingered, Kanu and IPOB members took advantage of the success of the sit at home exercise to intensify campaign of no-election in Anambra State on November 18, 2017 believing that people in Anambra would obey the order just like they did the May 30, 2017 sit-at-home order. At one point, Kanu boasted that the Anambra election would not hold because he controlled the people 100%. While the campaign against Anambra election was on-going, Kanu announced the

birth of a pro-Biafra security outfit called Biafra Security Service (BSS) Both no election campaign and introduction of BSS attracted the attention of southeast leaders such as the States governors, Ohaneze Ndigbo, members of the National Assembly and Alaigbo Development Foundation ADF led by Professor Uzodimma Nwala. Kanu was invited for meetings with the governors, Ohaneze and ADF, which he attended. While a series of meetings were on the card on how to address the issues raised by Kanu, Kanu raised alarm that some soldiers had been mandated to ambush and kill him, thus he declined to attend a meeting with governors in Enugu. While the issues surrounding Biafra agitation lingered, President Buhari returned home from his second medical trip to London and resumed work as President and Commander-in-Chief. Following his return, the military launched what it called Operation (Egwu Eke) Python Dance 2. The Military, acting on Operation Egwu Eke, attacked Kanu’s home at Afara Ukwu in Umuahia, the capital of Abia State with weapons of war. Since then, thereabouts of Kanu, his parents and other members of his family are yet to be established. It is not even clear whether they are alive or dead. Indeed, the question of where Nnamdi Kanu and his parents are remains unanswered. Buhari on his return also sacked the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Mr David Bubachir Lawal and Director General of Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NIA) Amb. Ayo Oke following the report of a threeman panel led by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo that investigated them over corrupt related offenses. The sacking of Lawal from SGF seat raised hope among Ndigbo that Buhari would replace him with an Igbo but that was not to be as Buhari immediately appointed Boss Mustapha, a Northerner and allegedly a cousin of the sacked Babachir, to occupy the SGF seat. The choice of another Northerner as SGF angered Ndigbo, prompting the President General of Ohaneze Chief Nnia Nwodo to tell Buhari that he has deepened the marginaliza-

tion of Igbo in his administration, insisting that the President’s action had further denied the people of the region a strong voice in the executive arm of the Buhari administration. Nwodo expressed regret that the President by his action failed to seize the opportunity of running an inclusive government and assuaging the feelings of Ndigbo by side-tracking them again in the appointment of the SGF. Buhari on his return also struggled to present the 2018 appropriation bill to the National Assembly. Members of the National Assembly bill have largely criticized the budget thereby dashing the hope of many that the budget, having been presented fairly early, would be passed as early as possible this year. Recall that President Buhari had, on November 7th last year, presented the N8.612tr 2018 budget to a joint session of the National Assembly in Abuja. Amid all these happenings, major stakeholders rekindled the clamour for restructuring of the country. Call for restructuring of the country was a major issue in 2017. Last year was, indeed, a bad year for Ndigbo and Kanu. But unlike Ndigbo and Kanu, people like Walter Onnoghen and Uche Secodus had it good as they made it through as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and National Chairman of the main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) respectively. The victory of the Ahmed Makarfi-led PDP over a faction led by Ali Modu Sheriff at the Supreme Court and the subsequent national convention of the PDP that produced Secondus as the National Chairman of the opposition no doubt came as good news in 2017 to a large number of Nigerians. Don’t forget that PDP had earlier proved pundits wrong by winning a senatorial seat in a bye-election in Osun State. In addition to this, former Vice President Atiku Abubukar also returned to the PDP thereby enhancing the strength of the party ahead of 2019 general election. Kudos to PDP. Kudos should also go to All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for retaining the governorship seat of Anambra State following

• Odumakin the victory of the incumbent Governor Willie Obiano in the November 18, 2017 governorship election in the State. The Super Eagles also made Nigerian proud by earning the ticket to feature at the World Cup in Russia 2018. But, the country had bad news following the passing on of former Vice President, Dr Alex Ekwueme who died in a London hospital after a brief illness. The worst news of the year was fuel scarcity that darkened Christmas and New Year celebrations in the country. Another bad news at the tail end of the year was the news of bike accident of President Buhari’s only son Yusuf. In the final analysis, the year 2017 witnessed so many events that were contrary to the expectations of Nigerians from Buhari administration. This—the apparent failure of the Buhari Administration to meet expectations— partly explains the reason behind the current clamour for restructuring of the country. The clamour has continued to make news headlines as notable stakeholders like Ohaneze Ndigbo, Afenifere, elder statesmen and other prominent personalities and groups ceaselessly raise their voices in favour of restructuring the clamour for which reached feverish pitch most of last year.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10, 2018

POLITICS

Make autonomous communities fourth-tier govt – Eze Ogbonnaya •As South East National Assembly Caucus to represent South East Development Commission Bill His Royal Highness, Eze Elder (Dr) Uwadiegwu Ogbonnaya, a veteran journalist, in this interview with BONIFACE OKORO, makes a case for the creation of a fourth- tier government, a return to parliamentary democracy and re-presentation of the South East Development Commission bill in the National Assembly. He also relives his civil war experiences-- how he ran away from the war front, for instance-- describing it as a wise decision that preserved his life. Excerpts: What are the milestones in your life, which you would like to share with us? I was born October 30, 1951 in what is today Umuanyi Autonomous Community, Uturu. I was barely four and half years when my father died. But, by the grace of my late mother and two elder brothers, I started my primary school in 1957 at Holy Cross, Uturu, run and managed by the Catholics. In fact, we were the first beneficiaries of the universal primary education in the Old Eastern Region. I had my First School Leaving Certificate in 1964. In 1965, I entered Acquinas Secondary School, Orsu Mbano but by 1967, my two elder brothers insisted I must come down to Port Harcourt. So, I was enrolled in Niger Grammar School, Port Harcourt, run by the then Biafran Provincial Administrator, Yenagoa Province, King Frank Opigo, the Amanana Owei of Ngiama in today’s Bayelsa State. I was in Class Three when the Nigeria-Biafra civil war started and I enlisted in the Biafran Army on February 12, 1968. I fought both as an Infantry and as an Intelligence personnel. I also fought as a Ranger in the Gorilla wing. In fact, there were three Gorilla groups in Biafra: the Rangers Movement, commanded by Major Nwadiegwu; the Biafran Leopard Group Fighters (BLGF) founded and commanded by the late JSCPC Nwokolo (Pascal and Jakes) and the Biafran Organisation of Freedom Fighters (BOFF). During the war too, we were at Acha in Isuikwuato, fighting around Uturu Airport, which was captured in 1969 by Captain Ibrahim Babangida of the First Division of the Nigerian Army. By the grace of God, we survived the one month cut off, from March 26, 1969, when the Nigeria troops started moving to Umuahia, until April 28, when Biafra asked us to pull out. But, a remarkable thing in my life was that on October 30, 1969, being my 18th birthday, Biafra was planning a divisional attack at Okigwe and I was in the Company selected to go on this attack. But, I must confess that for the first time, I ran away from the war front because I couldn’t imagine myself going to die on my 18th birthday, and that was two months to the end of the war. That move I made by then, in fact, saved my life. Then I had to trek from Okigwe sector to Mbano where I met my elder brother in Biafran Army Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. After the war, our whole compound was in ruins. So, we started life afresh. Then, the Ukpabi Asika government announced the reopening of schools and there were only five secondary schools in the then Okigwe Division. So, because there was no school around, except Boys Secondary school, Ihube which served as the Bifran Garrison during the war and destroyed by Nigerian troops, I had to trek to Annunciation Secondary School, Isuikwuato where I sat for my school certificate in 1971. In 1972, I went to St. Augustine’s Grammar School, Nkwere where I did my Higher School Certificate course. I taught as HSC teacher for a year and six months; first in Kogi State before I came back to East Central State. I got admission into the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1975 and studied Mass Communication and graduated in 1978. I did my NYSC with the Ondo Radio where I had the privilege of interviewing Michael Ajasin, when he was coming for the governorship in Ondo State. I worked with NTA, Aba in 1979 after my youth service. But six months after, Chief Moshood Abiola attracted us, so I was a foundation staff member of Concord newspapers where we had Dele Giwa, Shina Adedipe and Mike Awonyifa, among others. We made Concord what it was. In fact, it was my story from Ndiegoro in 1980 that made Chief Sam Mbakwe get the nameWeeping Governor, when he went to see the flood disaster at Ndiegoro. I was with Concord for 10 years before I came home in 1990 to be the Daily Editor of Arthur Nzeribe’s Spectator newspaper. The paper collapsed, I joined Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu’s Champion newspapers in 1996; then in 2000, I left. We floated the Announcer Express in Owerri where I was the Deputy Editor-In-Chief. It was while I was I was with The Announcer Express that my people, in 2001, called me home to come and be the traditional ruler of the newly created Umuanyi Autonomous Community. While on the throne, I did my Masters Degree in Mass Communication in Imo State University and I was given an Honorary Doctorate Degree, Doctor of Literature, by the Ashinal University Ohio in 2009. I am married to an educationist who retired in 2016 as a school principal. I have been on the throne for the past 16 years and it

into a Confederation, the civil war wouldn’t have been there and Nigeria would have continued to march on. In fact, the economy of the old Eastern region, under Dr Michael Okpara was said to be the fastest growing economy in the developing world. It was unfortunate the other day when there was this story that Nigeria brought people from Malaysia to come and advise us on our economy, whereas Malaysia came here and borrowed palm nuts, went home and developed it and today, they are the largest producer of palm oil in the world. A country that we were at par with is now coming to advise us; it is most unfortunate. Then after the war in 1970, with all the devastations, Gowon announced the three Rs of reconstruction, reintegration and rehabilitation. It was not implemented. If it had been implemented, Nigeria would have been better by today. Look at what happened the other day when the Senate passed the North East Development Commission Bill to reconstruct North East, which is a self-inflicted tragedy on Nigerians. I am even using this opportunity now to call on the federal government to establish the South East Development Commission. Even though we have recovered through self-help and all that, the federal government needs to do a lot to give the South East that sense of belonging. The killing of the South East Development Commission in the House of Representatives shouldn’t have been. They are already reconstructing the North East even when the Boko Haram war has not ended. But if you go to Umuahia, Mission Hill, to be precise, you will still see the scars of the war where there is a particular building that has not been reconstructed since the end of the war. Look at the state of our roads. It is only that South East Development Commission that will give us a sense of belonging. The South East Development Commission bill should be represented by our representatives in the National Assembly to see if it can sail through.

•Eze Ogbonnaya has been an experience. How did you ascend the throne? The constitution of Umuanyi Autonomous Community was explicit: the position is not rotatory, not hereditary or by seniority. Rather, those who drafted the constitution made it that at any point in time there is vacancy for Eze, beginning with the creation of autonomy, that persons seen to be capable of carrying the community’s flag become the Eze, either through election or selection. But in my own case, I contested with even a cousin of mine and the votes were cast, the difference was clear and that was how I emerged. And my opponent, when I defeated him, accepted it and since then, we have been working. Is there any clear-cut line of communication between the autonomous communities and the local and state governments? Right now, there is the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs that handles issues concerning chieftaincy, so that certain things that come up, the ministry looks into them. The autonomous communities are at the grassroots. In fact, after the war, Ukpabi Asika had what was called the Divisional Administration Department (DAD) where they had community councils, though they were much larger by then. The autonomous communities should constitute the fourth-tier of government. These days, you have two or three autonomous communities in one electoral ward, which have always had their representatives at the local government legislature. Then Supervisory Councillors could still be appointed from there. As traditional rulers, our main job as chief security officers is to make sure that there is peace and development at the autonomous community levels. Let me use this opportunity to call on the state government to make autonomous communities the fourth tier of government whereby they could be recognized as community governments with either elected or appointed chairmen with an administrative setup. I remember in the days of DAD during the Ukpabi Asika era, the Uturu Community Council had an office and local government staff/civil servants were posted to man those community councils and, in fact, it was the com-

munity councils, immediately after the war, that were in the forefront of reconstruction in most of the communities and they were relating to their Divisional headquarters. But now that there are local governments, I call on the government to create the autonomous communities as the fourth tier of government so that there could be direct line of communication with the state government. Whatever is due to the local governments should be given to them and they will use that mainly for development. With your age, experience and professional background, have your expectations of Nigeria materialised? I was a boy of nine years in 1960 when Nigeria won its independence. We were given a flag and a plastic cup made by Metroplastical Nigeria Ltd., a company owned by a Lebanese. I know the way we looked at Nigeria and the good things we were expecting. But unfortunately, with the exit of the British, there was this scramble among the North, East and West for domination at the federal level. Unfortunately, the figure of the 1963 census was bloated, giving the North the present advantage it is still enjoying over the rest of the country. So, from there, 1964 federal elections came and it was as controversial as any other and Zik, even as the President of Nigeria, had to reappoint Tafawa Balewa the Prime Minister of Nigeria. So, these were things we saw. In 1965 came the Western Nigeria election crises, which the federal government couldn’t handle. Before then, the 1964 Action Group crises had taken place and Dr Majekodumi was appointed the Administrator of Western Region and eventually, S.L.Akintola formed his own political party -Nigeria National Democratic Party (NNDP) and then became the regional governor. So, Nigeria has been moving from one problem to the other. The climax was the 1966 January 15 coup, whose intentions--whatever may have been the good intentions of Nzeogwu and his group—were unfortunately misinterpreted. Unfortunately, it was from that very moment that the knife was put into what was holding us together as Nigerians. The counter coup of 1966 was very bloody. More than 200 army officers of Eastern region, mainly Igbos, were killed. If the Aburi Accord of 1967 January had been implemented, it would have turned Nigeria

Corruption has been a major factor militating against the growth of the country and it seems as if politicians are encouraging it. How do we get out of this conundrum? What I am saying is that we should go back to parliamentary democracy. In the First Republic, we had teachers who were members of the House and they were only going to Enugu when they had sittings. This presidential system is too expensive and it is what is bringing this corruption. If we go back to parliamentary system where somebody has to have something he is doing and only receives allowances, there will be no question of somebody going to make millions every month. Politics is not a profession, it is supposed to be a hobby. But in Nigeria, it has been turned to a profession; you see everybody aiming at going there. You have executive governor, you have executive local government chairman, you have executive president. Why should that be? If we go back to parliamentary system of government where we have the ceremonial president and a prime minister, the prime minister has to win election in his constituency. Anyone that has to be appointed a minister has to win election. Not where you are somewhere as a university lecturer or a private businessman or something like that, then all of a sudden the President appoints you a minister and you have never tested your popularity through winning elections. But in those days, Dr Okpara had to win election in his home before getting to Enugu. And in fact, in those days, someone told me that Okpara at a point, had to reach a compromise with Sam Okwulehie who would have rocked the boat for him, for him to allow Okpara to go; and in return, Okpara approved his Crusader Secondary School, Isingwu which was not government approved before then. Not now where somebody would take all the billions and go away. If the 2014 Conference report is implemented, we go back to regions where the present states should become provinces. Every region has to develop at its own pace. It is this struggle to control government at the federal level that is creating all these problems, so that the winner takes all.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10, 2018

FESTIVAL

R

evelers and fun-seekers in Calabar and its environs welcomed the 2018 New Year’s Day with the annual Tinkoriko procession, which has become an annual tradition in the city. The Tinkoriko procession, which is a favourite play among the indigenous people in the city of Calabar is usually a joyous occasion where people from all walks of life play various traditional songs with masked artefacts and move around the streets across the city. The procession which is for fun and played by mostly youths from the city is an unusual occasion in the city where youths from all walks of life irrespective of political affiliations come together to play and proceed along the streets of the city to express peace and comradeship. This year’s occasion was no different as the residents trooped out in thousands and defied the bleak economic prospects that await them this year to celebrate the annual Tinkoriko procession. Speaking to The Oracle Today on this year’s event, the Chairman of the State Sports Commission, Hon. Orok Otu Duke, who is also the brain behind the annual Tinkoriko procession disclosed that the procession is a viable avenue whereby youths from the nook and cranny of the state are brought together to reduce tension in the city and foster communality and comradeship. Hon. Duke who is also a former Deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly disclosed that, “Tinkoriko is a tradition we have cultivated for over 24 years now on the first of the new year that is new years day. “It is something we have created to bring as many youths and community of youths together for a common cause. My own idea of communalism is that as far as you stay together and have something you share together and participate together, there will be that comradeship which will to an extent drastically reduce friction, quarrel and other vices within our community. “When it started, it was just Calabar south but now we have groups from Calabar Municipality, Akpabuyo and Odukpani and on the first of January, we bring them together and let them see themselves. “There is no way you will let them see themselves, knowing that there is something they share that they will go back and perpetuate violence against one another. All we require is just t-shirts, canvas shoes jeans interwoven with sports. We just exercise, entertain ourselves and go home hoping that the memory and the relationship will sustain us and keep us from hurting one another. There is no way you will see someone here and then go back and kill him”, he explained. Also speaking on the Tinkoriko celebrations, one of the participants, Ekeng Archibong explained that the Tinkoriko appeals to the people and it is very difficult not to be drawn to it. “It gives us the opportunity to play among ourselves and just catch fun with each other. As you can see, we all come together and play with each other and the occasion is very unique and poignant for us because apart from the opportunity it affords us to get in touch with one another, we are also reminded of our heritage,” he said. Ekanem Asuquo on her part stated that she is happy the heritage of Tinkoriko has been sustained over the years because right from when we were young, we cherished the Tinkoriko play. According to her, “it used to be associated with children because when children play the Tinkoriko, it showed friendship because we all knew who was playing it and this ststained the spirit of friendship.nso as adults, we are happy to be playing it today because it reminds us of the spirit of friendship with one another and also keeps us in touch with our heritage. On her part, Ededem Nyong disclosed that “they do not have the opportunity to participate in the carnival and usually watch it as onlookers. “This is the only play where we can participate with only a white shirt and a jeans and it appeals to us as a people because it gives us the opportunity to express ourselves in our own way and also express pride in our heritage,” he disclosed joyously. This year’s procession, which began along Egerton Street moved through Calabar road, Mary Slessor, Marian Road, Barracks Road before going back through Calabar Road and

Revellers in Calabar welcome 2018 with annual Tinkoriko procession From Calabar, ANIEKAN ANIEKAN writes on an old tradition in the Canaan City that has become an annual festival of fun and revelry

• The jammed streets of Calabar as the carnival holds back to Egerton Street. Speaking to The Oracle Today on how the play has been on for over two decades now, Hon. Duke disclosed that the play has been sustained basically because it fosters friendship among the various youth groups across the city and also it is devoid of political under-

tones. “A number of people have played Tinkoriko including Prince Otu, Gershom Bassey and many others. Right now the Special Adviser to the Governor, Austin Ibok is here with me along with the former chairman of Calabar South. Professor Eyo Etim Nyong is also here

today playing the Tinkoriko. What we have insisted on is that no one manipulates Tinkoriko to go one direction. We are at liberty individually to support whoever we want to support. You will never find a situation where we say Tinkoriko is supporting A or B. We will not condescend to that.”


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The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10, 2018

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The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10, 2018

INTERVIEW Who is really the President of IYC--between Eric Omare and Pereotubo Oweilaemi? By the Special grace of God, I am the current President of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide. I do not say this to gain cheap recognition neither do I say it to spite anybody. My confirmation as the 7th President of the Council is a product of resolution by Ijaw leaders who had taken pains to investigate the leadership quagmire that had enveloped the Council sometime this year. How did you emerge as president of the council? My emergence as the President of the IYC is the handiwork of God Almighty. When the tenure of the last President, Mr. Udengs Eradiri was about to expire in March this year, we all started to campaign for the various offices. Mr. Udengs, without following the due process, fixed the council election in January this year at a convention slated to hold in Burutu Township on the 10th of January 2017. Majority of the aspirants, some members of his Executive Council and myself inclusive, protested against the Convention. Against all wise counselling, he allowed the convention to hold in Burutu on the stated date. However, all the presidential aspirants, excluding Eric Omare, boycotted the convention, which nevertheless produced Eric Omare as the winner of the presidential election. Udengs’ Executive Council members became divided. Nine of them protested against the election. Only Eric Omare and Udengs were in the Exco that convened the convention. The aggrieved Exco members convened another convention at Toru-Ebeni Town in Bayelsa State in that same January, this year. Indeed, the crisis in the Council has attracted the attention of the Ijaw Youth leadership led by HRM Ateke Tom, Alhaji Asari-Dokubo, Dr. Chris Ekiyor, Hon. Felix Tuodolo, Elder T. K. Ogoriba, Chief Dan Ekpebide and a host of others. A leadership/Stakeholders meeting was held at Patani in Delta State wherein the leaders proposed that another enlarged convention be held at Okirika in Rivers State to conduct another fresh election. All but Udengs and Omare agreed to the resolutions. In pursuance of the foregoing, election was fixed with electoral body set up to midwife the process. Due to Omare’s indifference to the new arrangement, the deputy governor of Delta State, His Excellency, DCN Kingsley Burutu Otuaro intervened by calling another stakeholders’ meeting in Asaba to broker peace. The deputy governor at the meeting prevailed on Omare to participate in the new election. Omare agreed to Otuaro’s plea. He confirmed his acceptance to participate in the election vide a newspaper publication in the Vanguard Newspaper. Two days after the publication, he reneged on his acceptance and went to court in Yenagoa to stop the election. The election, which was slated on the 9th of April this year, was successfully held at Ibaka town, Okirika in Rivers State and I became the winner of the presidential office in a keenly contested election. We became two Presidents in the Council, Omare and I. The Bayelsa State governor, His Excellency, Rt Hon Henry Seriake Dickson having been concerned about the division in the IYC, constituted a high-powered fact-finding Committee of eminent personalities, headed by Chief Joshua Fomudoh as Chairman and Amb. Boladei Igali as Secretary, with a mandate to find out who, between the two of us, is the authentic President. Both factions willingly appeared to present memoranda with our sureties to testify for us. The Committee submitted its findings to the Bayelsa State governor in May this year. On May 31 this year, Governor Dickson took the Committee’s report to Abuja to see Chief Edwin Clark who unveiled the report in the presence of prominent Ijaw leaders, including Omare and myself and our supporters. The Committee looked at the two conventions and concluded that the convention at Okirika, which produced me as the President, was the authentic one since it involved all the various factions and substantially complied with the IYC Constitution. It was the verdict of Ijaw leaders following their painstaking efforts to unearth the root causes of the crisis that engulfed the IYC and how I eventually emerged as President of the Council. Do you enjoy the support of a cross-section of Ijaw youth and leaders? Who are these persons? The answer is Capital YES. The Ijaw nation is behind me. All the three zones together with the Lagos and Abuja Chapters have duly recognised me as the President of the Council. The Ijaw leaders are also behind me. I am in control of the Council Secretariat in Yenagoa, which is the seat

‘IYC will work with other ethnic groups to achieve true federalism’ Pereotubo Oweilaemi Roland is the 7th President of The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide. He is also the President General of the Ethnic Nationalities in the Niger Delta. In this interview he tells OBI OTESIRI the genesis of the leadership crisis in the IYC even as he speaks on other topical issues relating to his office. Excerpts:

• Pereotubo Oweilaemi Roland

of power of the IYC or the symbol of authority. Even as I am speaking with you, I am returning from my office in Yenagoa. That shows that the Ijaw nation is behind me. I don’t need to mention names but I can assure you that the Ijaw nation is behind me.

victory and unity and we are moving together.

Was there any court legal obstacle/injunction that debarred your election? No. There were pending matters in courts during the election but the courts refused to restrain the election. The matter is still in the courts in Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers States. All the Courts have not given verdicts yet. We know there are cases in court regarding the IYC president; what is the situation legally regarding your election as at today? Like as I said before, the court actions did not restrain me from contesting the election. If there were any restraining order, the whole world would have seen it. We can’t flout court order. Since there was no legal impediment to the conduct of the election, I can safely say that I am legally holding onto the mantle of leadership in the IYC.

What are your agenda for the organisation and for Ijaw people? I want to make sure that the Council continues ro propagate the dreams of the founding fathers, uphold the vision and aspirations of Ijaw youth as encapsulated in the historic Kaiama Declaration, which is the grundnorm of the IYC. To the Ijaw nation, my office is dedicated to the service of Ijaw man’s interest in the Nigerian federation. The IYC under my tenure will work in synergy with other regional organisations across the country to champion the cause of restructuring and true fiscal federalism, which is the demand of every Ijaw man. The issues of de-balkanisation and political autonomy for the Ijaw people will be aggressively pursued in my government because the balkanised Ijaw people in Ondo, Edo and AkwaIbom States always dream to join their kith and kin in the core Ijaw States. To this end, we will recharge our causes to the demands for state creation, which will serve the Ijaw interest better in this country.

How would you describe your emergence as the IYC president? My emergence as the 7th IYC President, Worldwide is just the handiwork of God. It was a pyrrhic victory though worth celebrating. I congratulate every person that contested the office with me-those who supported me and those who were in my rivals’ camps. They all contributed to making it a success. In all, I give glory to God Almighty for He alone made it possible for me. To me, there is no winner or loser in the election that produced me as the 7th IYC President. All persons who contested the election with me won. We won the election, the Ijaw nation won

How would you ensure that there is a harmonious relationship between the IYC and other ethnic groups in the Niger Delta for the growth of the region? Well, there is already a harmonious relationship between the IYC and other sister organisations in the Niger Delta. As the President-General of ethnic nationalities in the Niger Delta region, the task before me is how to maintain the existing peace between the various groups in order to achieve our common goal. As far as I am concerned, all the ethnic organisations in the region are working on a united front and the unity of purpose has being helping us in our collective struggle for the

emancipation of Niger Delta people from internal colonialism. The achievements so far on our historic demands for a better environment are as a result of our new-found unity. My government will follow the same path of honour to continue from where my predecessors stopped. We will continue to leverage on our unity to achieve our desired ends. What are your dreams for Ijaw people and by extension the Niger Delta region? The dream I have for the Ijaw nation and by extension the entire Niger Delta region is to cross the Rubicon. That is, to cross the forbidden limit, which is the Maj. Isaac Adaka Boro’s promised “one more river to cross”. That is only when the spirit of Boro and all our fallen heroes in the struggle will rest in peace. To this end, I will pursue vigorously the demands for resource control, true federalism, political autonomy and self-determination in addition to other pressing issues confronting the region. As part of my dreams, the Council under my stewardship is working as a team with other ethnic groups in the region to build a strong regional force for the pursuit of our dream. We are also working in consonance with other regional groups across the country for the achievement of the popular demands for restructuring and true federalism. To my primary constituency, which is the Ijaw nation, my government is working out modalities on how the army of our unemployed youths can be gainfully employed. To achieve this height, we have set up an Employment and Empowerment Committee, comprising eminent Ijaw youth across the length and breadth of the Ijaw nation. The terms of reference for the committee among other things are to work out a policy framework in partnership with corporate bodies in the region and governments’ parastatals/ agencies to generate employment opportunities for our teaming youth. The committee is also to work out a self-employed scheme for our youths. Already, we have reached out to development partners in the region for the achievement of this objective. Various skills acquisition/empowerment schemes are already in the pipeline, which will be unleashed anytime soon. How would you end this interview? I will end the interview by calling on my Ijaw brothers and sisters to support us. We cannot achieve all that we mapped out without their tacit support. This government is on a call to duty and we are here to serve everybody’s interest. I also call on them to be law-abiding, while the constituted authorities tackle the issues of our common concerns. As part of our vision to engender a conducive living environment for the Niger Delta people, especially to make us exercise some level of control over our resources, we are working in partnership with the federal government to secure licenses for the artisanal local refinery operators. We are not going to rest on our oars until the local refinery operators are lawfully engaged by the federal government in its modular refinery operations. Lastly, we have been making inroads into some international bodies to externalise the environmental struggle by partnering with those international organisations to mount pressure on the federal government to stop outright gas flaring in the region through legislative processes. We are also tackling the government and the oil companies to accept responsibility for the reckless and negligent spilling of crude oil in our environment, which has hitherto destroyed our biodiversity. The Ogoni clean-up exercise and all other outstanding claims of spillages across the region are our priority and we are pursuing them vigorously.


The Oracle Today

17

Wednesday January 10, 2018

BU$IN£SS •Energy •Finance

•Stock

T

he 2017 business year amplified the traditional challenges in the energy sector where programmes evolved in the pursuit of strings of policy objectives were shaped by the prevailing realities in the operating environment, commodity market and multilateral decisions that guide internal strategies. Both the petroleum and power sectors displayed huge potentials for growth within the year following relative stability in the Niger Delta where measured vibrancy returned as oil and gas companies resumed operations and reactivated shut in production. The oilfield activity upside triggered instant improvement in gas supply to the power sector, and spurred enhanced generation availability. However, fluctuation remained a constant feature across full performance metrics as destabilising factors in the domestic environment affected investments, operations and production; market forces swayed price movements; multilateral cooperation among members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other 10 producer nations imposed production caps; and global drive for cleaner energy cast gloomy long term investment outlook for fossil fuel industry. Within the year, the regulatory environment in the petroleum and electricity sectors displayed the culture of weakness, leading to crises in both industries as commercial relays among players along the full business loop and interface with government agencies suffered serious frictions that translated to wide supply gaps in the domestic electricity and fuel markets. In the upstream Petroleum industry, the year saw significant improvement in activities for exploration and production companies most of who returned to production sites from where staff was earlier evacuated on account of safety concerns in the social environment. Nigeria’s oil production had largely experienced severe disruptions from the activities of militants in the Niger Delta. Starting from February 2016, outputs from the country’s oil fields diminished to all-time low of about a million barrels per day. Thus, concerns also sustain on the dreaded key political burst factors that spur militant insurgency in host communities. On the boom side, most companies that returned to site pumped output at full capacity as the prices of crude oil and natural gas regained strength in the international commodity market. Simultaneous production upside and price recovery signed off 2017 as

Energy

Kachikwu’s refinery policy mirage

Total Monthly Crude Oil & Condensate Production (Million Barrels)

P20

e-Platform Nigerian ICT in 2017: Tough, shaky yet exciting

Central (NGN) Selling(NGN)

US DOLLAR 305.05 Pounds Sterling 409.8347 EURO 364.1382 SWISS FRANC 311.3073 YEN 2.7024 CFA 0.5342 WAUA 431.9005 YUAN/RENMINBI 46.6528 RIYAL 81.3423 S/ AFRICAN RAND 24.7174 DANISH KRONA 48.9011 SDR 432.5304

305.55 306.05 410.5064 411.1782 364.735 365.3319 311.8175 312.3278 2.7069 2.7113 0.5442 0.5542 432.6084 433.3163 46.7297 46.8067 81.4757 81.609 24.7579 24.7984 48.9813 49.0614 433.2393 433.9483

P22

TRAVEL

2017: Year Lagos dared Calabar in carnival P26 •Minister of State on Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu

line conduit availability in the period, though full industry performance is not available from the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to capture performance of companies not in production agreement with NNPC. Thus, gas availability for electricity generation grew from 387 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd) in January through a peak of 730 mmscfd in June to 625 mmscfd in September. According to NNPC, “Crude Oil pro-

duction in Nigeria averaged 1.99mb/d in August, 2017, which represents a slight decrease compared to July 2017 production but up by 30.81% relative to August 2016 performance.” The corporation explains that “The stability in production is connected to semblance of normalcy in the volatile Niger-Delta region underpinned by sustained engagement with the various stakeholders and the resump-

Cont’d on Page 20

profit year for producing companies. Thus, financial result of mainly indigenous companies which grappled with issues associated with negative balance sheet for previous two years marked a positive turn expected to calm shareholders’ nerves. According to industry statistics published by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) which partners nearly all of the companies in the industry, total crude oil and condensate export and utilization volumes rose from 53.4 million barrels of crude in January to 60.5 million barrels by August 2017. Year on year, oil output increased by 30.81% while natural gas output for September 2017 was 20.30% higher than the corresponding supply recorded in September 2016.. According to the report, the financial value of crude oil and condensate export and utilization volumes also rose from $2.955 billion in January to $3.15 billion in August. Whereas multinational oil companies like Addax, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell and Total maintained their positions in the production lead table, there are strong indications of output growth by independent and marginal field producers in the industry. According to the report which is the latest from NNPC, total gas production by players also rose proportionately following sustained pipe-

CBN EXCHANGE RATES DEC. 29, 2017 Buying(NGN)

•Aviation

2017: Policy blisters, bursts rule oil sector

Sopuruchi Onwuka

Currency

•Insurance

Stock Market Highlights As At 29 December, 2017

Summary

ASI 38,243.19 DEALS 2,722.00 VOLUME 561,273,352.00 VALUE N6,893,539,956.79 EQUITY CAP N13,609,474,245,109.49 Most Traded S/N Coy (By Volume) Volume

Value(N)

5 Top Gainers Company NESTLE SEPLAT MOBIL UNILEVER INTBREW

Last Close Current Change N1485 N1555.99 70.99 N596.4 N626.22 29.82 N186.95 N194.6 7.65 N40.22 N41 0.78 N54 N54.5 0.5

Top Losers Company Last Close Current Change 1. AIICO 210,894,818 N109,683,435.77 GUINNESS N96 N94 -2 2. TRANSCORP 99,061,524 N145,449,590.78 ETERNA N4.49 N4.06 -0.43 3. CUSTODIAN 58,318,483 N218,704,715.04 NASCON N18.87 N18.5 -0.37 4. FIDELITYBK 38,851,460 N95,833,854.95 NB N135.2 N134.9 -0.3 5. MOBIL 24,517,991 N4,169,076,336.10 FBNH N8.99 N8.8 -0.19


The Oracle Today

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Wednesday January 10, 2018

BUSINESS

NSE-30 Indices replaces Oando, UACN By SAMSON AKINTARO

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HE Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has reviewed the composition of its NSE-30, and the seven sectoral indices of the Exchange, which saw Dangote Flour Mill Plc, Diamond Bank Plc and NASCON Plc replacing Oando Plc, 7UP Bottling Plc and UACN Plc in the NSE-30 Index. Other indices reviewed are NSE Consumer Goods, NSE Banking, NSE Insurance, NSE Industrial, NSE Oil & Gas, NSE Pen-

Nigeria makes World Bank 2017 PPP ranking By VICTOR NZE

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igeria is one of the top four leading voices in Public Private Partnerships (PPP) in the 2017 ranking of the World Bank Group (WBG). Communications Officer for Infrastructure, PPPs and Guarantees Group of the WBG, Ms Yelena Osipova-Stocker, who disclosed this in a statement, weekend, noted that 2017 was a busy year in the world of infrastructure and public-private partnerships at the World Bank Group: Yelena while announcing that Nigeria’s Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) came top four in the Leading voices in the field category said Nigeria was recognised for being the first country to launch the PPP Contracts Disclosure Web Portal. Reacting to the development, the Acting Director-General, ICRC, Mr Chidi Izuwah, said that the portal had improved investor confidence in the country, adding that within the first 100 days of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, he had earlier stressed his commitment to attracting the private capital and expertise needed to address Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit. He said that the president’s commitment led to a renewed engagement between the World Bank Group and Nigeria to enhance the attractiveness of PPP in the country. “One major PPP transparency initiative is the study conducted by the World Bank Group’s PPP team between September 2016 and April 2017, using the Framework for Disclosure in PPPs. The team came up with a PPP Disclosure Diagnostic Report for Nigeria that examined the political, legal and institutional environment for disclosure of PPPs,” he said. Izuwah said that the report made specific recommendations to improve disclosure in Nigeria by creating an enhanced framework for the scheme, applicable to all Federal Government PPP contracts.

sion and the NSE Lotus Islamic Indices. While there were no changes in the NSE Banking and NSE Industrial indices, Equity Assurance Plc and Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc replaced Regency Alliance Insurance Plc and Universal Insurance Plc in the NSE Insurance index. Eterna Plc also edged out Oando Plc in the NSE Oil & Gas index. The composition of these indices takes effect from January 1, 2018 after the completion of the

year-end review and index rebalancing exercise which saw the entry of some major companies and the exit of others from the various indices. The indices, which were developed using the market capitalization methodology, are rebalanced on a biannual basis -on the first business day in January and in July. According to the Exchange, the Stocks are selected based on market capitalization and liquidity. “The liquidity is based on the number of days the stock is traded

during the preceding two quarters. To be included in the index, the stock must have traded for at least 70 percent of the number of trading days in the preceding two quarters” the NSE explained. The Nigerian bourse began publishing the NSE 30 Index in February 2009 with index values available from January 1, 2007. On July 1, 2008, The NSE developed four sectoral indices and one index in 2013, with a base value of 1,000 points, designed to provide in-

vestable benchmarks to capture the performance of specific sectors. The Insurance and Consumer Goods sector index comprises the 15 most capitalized and liquid companies; Banking and Industrial Goods sector index, comprises 10 most capitalized and liquid companies, while the Oil & Gas sector index, comprises the seven most capitalized and liquid companies.

Union Bank changes directors By VICTOR NZE nion Bank of Nigeria Plc has announced changes U to membership of its Board of Directors with the retirement of an Executive Director, Mr. Ibrahim Kwargana and the resignations of Non-Exec-

utive Directors, Engr. Mansur Ahmed, Chief Dr. (Mrs.) Onikepo Akande and Mrs. Arina McDonald in October 2017. Kwargana’s retirement comes after 33 years in the banking sector. He was appointed as an Executive Director in 2009 by the Central Bank

of Nigeria (CBN), and until his retirement, was responsible for the Bank’s Public Sector business as well as commercial business development for the northern region. Ahmed, Akande and McDonald resigned following the successful completion of their

•Economic Commission for Africa’s Executive Secretary, Ms Vera Songwe (right) and Ms Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund at an event hosted by the ECA where Lagarde delivered an address, ‘The Foundations of Technological Transformation in Africa.’

tenures on the Board of the Bank or the core investor represented. Union Bank has also announced the appointments of Mr. Taimoor Labib as NonExecutive Director as well as Mrs. Obafunke Alade-Adeyefa and Mrs. Furera Isma Jumare as Independent Non-Executive Directors. All the appointments have been approved by the CBN. “I am grateful to our outgoing Directors for their immense contributions during a critical time, and I am proud of the accomplishments we achieved together as we worked to transform the Bank. On behalf of the Board, I thank them for their service and wish them much success in their future endeavors. “I am also pleased to welcome Mr. Taimoor Labib, Mrs. Obafunke Alade-Adeyefa and Mrs. Furera Isma Jumare who bring dynamic experience to the Board which will be valuable as we work to continue to move the bank forward,” said Mr. Cyril Odu, Chairman of the Board of Directors, on the development. Also commenting, Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Emeka Emuwa said: “The contributions of our outgoing Directors were key to the success of our transformation programme. As we embark on a new phase of growth, we welcome our new Directors who will bring fresh perspectives to our Board deliberations.”

Liberian senate approves Dangote’s $41m cement investment

angote Cement has received legislative approval from D the Senate inn Liberia for the

production of cement in the West African country. The approval followed the passing of the Investment Incentive Agreement between the country and Dangote Cement Liberia Limited with a value of $41 million. The agreement which followed the Senate approval requires the money to be invested over a 10 year period. Specifically, it states: “The investor shall make a total investment of US$41 million during the first 10 years following the effective date, and shall in his best effort assist the government in the maintenance of roads leading to its port terminal; while within

the first five years following the start of commercial operations, the investor shall conduct an assessment for the establishment of cutlets in other counties across Liberia”. A clause in the agreement relating to labour matters specifies that the Dangote’s employment practices shall conform to applicable Liberian laws, “and in no case shall the investor hire non-Liberian nationals for unskilled labour positions, employ any minor as defined by law for any purpose in accordance with law and the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child”. Dangote Cement is also expected to give preference for employment at all levels of financial, accounting, technical,

administrative, supervisory and senior management positions and other skilled positions to qualified Liberian nationals as and when they become available, “it being the objective of the parties that the operations and activities of investor under this agreement”. In a statement by the Liberia Senate Committees on Concessions and Investment, Judiciary, Human Rights, Claims and Petitions, following several consultations with stakeholders, meetings in committee rooms and a public hearing, it noted that: “The Senate Joint Committee is of the opinion that the Dangote Cement Liberia Limited is able to perform in good faith the terms and conditions of the agreement to es-

tablish a cement facility which will stabilize and provide affordable prices, access of cement on the local market and create employment opportunities for Liberians.” Continuing, the senate statement said: “In consideration of the importance of the proposed incentives to the success of the project as enshrined in the Investment Incentive Agreement between Liberia and the Dangote Cement-Liberia, the joint committee hereby recommends to the plenary of the Senate to approve the ratification of said agreement with the provisions that the agreement will be subject to review every five years as of the effective date.”


The Oracle Today

19

Wednesday January 10, 2018

BUSINESS

CAC commits to FG’s Open Government Partnership initiative By VICTOR NZE

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he Acting Registrar-General of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) Lady Azuka Azinge has pledged commitment to the Open Government Partnership (OGP) initiative of the federal government in furtherance to the reforms recently adopted in the Commission. She made the pledge when the Director General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) Dr Garba Abari led some stakeholders including the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD) to the Commission

in line with the principles of citizen engagement and participation in governance processes. She requested for the support of stakeholders to its proposal to review two aspects of the Companies and Allied Matters Act especially those relating to annual returns form to ensure that owners of up to five percent share are fully disclosed in the returns form; and that beneficial ownership is incorporated in its publications. The NOA is Co-Chair of the Citizens Engagement Working Group (CEWG) of the OGP National Ac-

tion Plan (NAP) of Nigeria as well the lead agency for commitment 12 with the mandate to develop a Permanent Dialogue Mechanism (PDM) on transparency, accountability and good governance between citizens and government to facilitate a culture of openness. He requested for the setting up of the OGP desk to enable other stakeholders to interact with the Commission with regard to its work and mandate as set out in the fourteen commitments signed by President Muhammadu Buhari. On his part, the Programmes Co-

ordinator of the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD) Mr. Uchenna Arisukwu told the gathering that the centre as the Co-Chair of CEWG and Lead CSO for Commitments 13 of the OGP NAP, has commissioned a research into the extant laws of agencies implementing the OGP commitments which CAC is among. According to him, the report of the research has since been validated by a Government-CSOs round table convened by the centre and the reports are being published into a book.

Dry ports: ICRC, Shippers’ Council to collaborate

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he Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) has said it will collaborate with the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) to make Inland Dry Ports (IDPs) bankable and be attractive to more concessionaires. The Acting Director-General of ICRC, Mr Chidi Izuwah, said this in a publication of the Council entitled “The Shipper’’, made available in Lagos on Monday. There are six (6) approved locations for the Inland Container Depots (ICDs) / Container Freight Stations (CFSs), which had been concessioned to private sector operators by the Federal Ministry of Transportation. They include: Isiala Ngwa in Aba, Erunmu Ibadan, Heipang in Jos, Zawachiki in Kano, Zamfarawa, in Funtua and Jauri in Maiduguri. Izuwah said that if the IDP was bankable, it would attract the right level of financing from lenders and make them viable. He said that both the council and the Federal Ministry of Transportation were determined to make the IDP project successful. According to him, IDPs are included in the National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan because the fastest way to increase such capacity in any country is to build dry ports. “The IDPs will build industries around them because it is about transport and those area they are located will develop and grow our Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The government is working very hard. We have to face the reality, building a rail is expensive and takes time. “The existing narrow gauge lines transverse our country very well and government is in the process of concessioning that narrow gauge lines to General Electric to provide freight services.,’’ he said. According to him, for one to have a dry port, one needs to have good connectivity between the ports and the IDPs. “In Malaysia and in the Far East, they use IDPs in a standard process. The only thing they do at the ports is vessel handling. They do not clear goods at the ports, the container will just leave the vessel on the land and the vessel will go away and they move the containers to the IDPs.

•Mr Jimmy Eichelgruen, Director – Sales, Africa, Middle East & India (left) presents Delta Airlines Certificate of Recognition to Olufemi Adefope, Managing Director, Skylogistics (Delta GSA in Nigeria) with Shane Spyak, Staff Vice President, Sales, Europe, Middle East, Africa & India all of Delta Airlines during the Delta Airlines 10th year anniversary service to Nigeria.

9mobile wins record 13 Awards at LAIF 2017 By SAMSON AKINTARO

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elecommunications firm, 9mobile, closed the year 2017 on a very high note as it ranked prominently on the list of highest award winners at the 12th Annual Lagos Advertising and Ideas Festival (LAIF) Awards. The company won 13 awards, a record feat. The awards presented in several top categories comprised seven gold, three silver and three bronze. The awards included Gold in Radio - Corporate Image, for the jingle that heralded the launch of 9mobile’s new brand identity unveil in July; and Gold in Radio Craft - Best Use of Music, also in acknowledgement of the successful new brand identity launch. 9mobile also won Gold in Digital Craft, for its Cloud 9 Independence Day campaign, and Gold for Easyblaze Hand press campaign. The telco’s flagship pan-African literary prize, 9mobile Prize for Literature clinched the remaining three gold awards for the short film, “CLOSED”. The awards com-

prised Gold in Film Craft - Best Production and Art Direction; Gold in Film - Corporate Image; and Gold in Film - Promotions Editing. 9mobile’s impressive outing at LAIF Awards was further buoyed by Silver wins in Best Use of Photo Manipulation for Easyblaze Hand; Best Film Editing for the celebrated youth-centric Easycliq Breakfree campaign; and Best Outdoor for the flagship U-15 School Cup. Additional recognition for 9mobile consisted of Bronze in Outdoor for the new brand identity unveil; Bronze in Press for the 9mobile Hulk campaign; and Bronze in Film Craft Best Film Editing for the 9mobile Prize for Literature’s short film, “CLOSED”. Speaking on the awards, Director, Brands and Experience, 9mobile, Elvis Ogiemwanye, said management and staff of 9mobile were delighted at the number and quality of the awards won. He said LAIF Awards is a prestigious major industry awards, recognized across all sectors of the economy. “This year 2017 has

been very significant for us. It’s our ninth year of doing business in Nigeria; and the same year we unveiled a new brand identity as 9mobile. Therefore, closing the year with this great harvest of 13 new awards added to our medals’ rack makes us very glad”, he enthused. Ogiemwanye added: “The LAIF Awards are a significant milestone for us and recognition of our resilience, tenacity and the creativity of our brand, our team as well as our partners. So, being highly recognised at LAIF Awards means that our commitment and passion for excellence is noticed across all relevant quarters.” LAIF Awards is an initiative of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) that seeks to recognise creative excellence, improve the quality of creative craft, and promote the spirit of healthy competition, applying global best practices. The initiative is accorded international acclaim and it has grown to become the epicenter of Nigeria’s creative industry.

CIS inducts Onyema By SAMSON AKINTARO

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he Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr. Oscar N. Onyema,has been inducted as an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) of Nigeria at a ceremony held at the Stock Exchange House, Lagos. With this, Onyema has become the first CEO of the Exchange to be inducted as an associate member after passing the requisite examination of the institute. CIS is the body statutorily empowered to train and certify professionals in the Nigerian capital market. It is the only professional body in Nigeria authorized to carry out qualifying examinations into the stockbroking profession. The Institute controls the activities of its members and matters associated with it. In his opening remarks, the President of CIS, Mr. Oluwaseyi Abe, stated that “we are witnessing a rare manifestation of humility and leadership by example, as the CEO of the Exchange, Onyema, is formally inducted as an associate member of the institution. Today’s induction ceremony is unique because Mr. Onyema, despite his qualifications and experience as a wellgrounded investment and securities expert qualified to practice in the United States and Nigeria, voluntarily enrolled as a member of CIS, sat and passed the institution’s examination”. He went further to state that “we are not just witnessing an induction ceremony, we are showcasing exemplary leadership, a demonstration to the commitment to the rule of law and processes, uncommon dedication and patriotism of the highest order”. Mr. Abe congratulated Mr. Onyema and urged him to maintain the good name and reputation of the institute as he continues to contribute positively to growth of the institution and indeed the Nigerian economy. “Your induction as an associate of this noble profession, is a landmark event that confers on you a new level of respect and honour. It is a mark of character, capacity and competence”, he noted. Expressing his delight after receiving his certificate as an associate member of CIS, Mr. Onyema said: “I am very humbled by your recognition of my modest contributions to our market. I believe that my writing the CIS examination was a matter of cause and a continuous quest for knowledge and high performance. I commit to project the best image of the institution by ensuring adherence to the code of ethics of the profession. And I look forward to working with you all to improve the state of our market and the Nigerian economy at large”.


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Cont’d from Page 17 tion of export activities at the Forcados Terminal after many months of non–operational activities. Some of the major negative impact on production includes 195,000bopd shut in at Qua Iboe Terminal, other production shut-in are in Bonga and Bonny Terminals amongst others.” It added that “National Gas production for September 2017 stood at 222.92 billion standard cubic feet (BCF) translating to an average daily production of 7,431.06 mmscfd. This represents 6.74% decrease slightly relative to the previous month due to leaks on Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) and Trans Forcados Pipeline (TFP). The Daily Average Natural gas supply to Gas power plants amounted to 624.58 mmscfd (or equivalent to power generation of 2,465 MW) and is 0.55% lower relative to August but 20.30% higher than the corresponding supply recorded in September 2016.” The production figures from NNPC show reassuring trend in output recovery campaign by the industry which is smarting from protracted militancy compelled site vacations. Under the different production agreements, according to the report, Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) account for 47.9 percent of production, Joint Venture agreements are responsible for 30.7 percent, Alternative Funding govern 12.3 percent of production, NNPC’s NPDC produced 3.0 percent of the total while independent and marginal field operators account for 6.0 percent of total output. The Oracle Today reports that that the categories of players that hold the production arrangements are entwined. Some indigenous independent companies also form part of the factors that form Joint Ventures and Alternative Funding while NPDC is also part of indigenous production pool. There was no major new production development in the year but the 200,000 barrel per day Egina deepwater field development reached 80 percent completion with all onsite production development facilities await arrival of the floating production vessel for tie in. The Egina FPSO sails home from South Korea to Nigeria where it is scheduled to set an industry record of being the first ever production vessel for local topside integration in Africa. Also, significant investment decision progress was made by Shell and Eni in the year on the Zabazaba deepwater development project. The billion barrel Zabazaba field is hosted in the controversial Oil Prospecting Lease (OPL) 245 which the two European companies bought off indigenous Malabu Oil and Gas Limited in a transaction stained with allegation of backstage deals and bribery. On the burst side, many deepwater development plans that dropped off the table earlier remained off the burner over issues associated with emerging outlook in the fiscal environment. Also, besides routine reserves maintenance and appraisal drilling operations at producing fields INVESTNMENT APATHY continues to suppress exploration for new reserves. Apart from significant Etisong and Owowo discoveries made by Total and ExxonMobil respectively within the decade, exploration had stalled. And increased production at a time of exploration downtime inevitably translates to reserves depletion and scuttle of national industry aspiration for 40 billion barrels. According to the Nigerian Asso-

Kachikwu’s refinery policy mirage Refineries Capacity Utilisation

ciation of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), Nigeria’s crude oil and natural gas reserves dropped to 28.2 billion barrels and 186 trillion cubic feet respectively, a situation that triggered alarms over the country’s medium to long term economic future. Erstwhile President of the Nigerian Chapter of Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), Mr. Emeka Ene, decried low exploration activities in the country, and tasked government to advance policy incentives to spur commercial investors into new exploration. Last year also proved very challenging for players in the SERVICE SECTOR. Mr. Emeka Ene who was also the Chairman of Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) pointed out that cost crisis that beset the industry during the low oil price cycle took the service companies to slaughter as both government and producing companies insisted on reduction in the cost of services. High cost environment, according to him, has remained in the industry because the wrong cost templates were pruned. He pointed out that high systematic cost remains the greatest monster in the upstream petroleum industry, adding that the prevailing situation has squeezed many oil service firms out of existence while many competent other relocated from the country. The mass mortality of indigenous oil firms and filling of the space by mushroom firms that front for foreign service firms have delivered the service sector back to the hands of entrenched multinational majors that built enclaves in the industry. He pointed at acute shortage of industry service equipment in the country, warning that low patronage and the prevailing climate of call off contracts have eroded bankability of projects and equipment mobilization. Mr Ene stated that high cost of business in a low price environment means that commerciality of operations would be low. The situation, he pointed out, would continue to put pressure on the system to roll back non-revenue economic benefits associated with in-country job execution. In the MIDSTREAM, the industry recorded total programme implementation failure in the year as ac-

The midstream tragedy comes in sharp contrast to relentless declarations by the Minster of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, that government was committed to revamping, refurbishing and upgrading the nation’s three refineries.

tivity lull characterised public sector enterprises in petroleum refining and petrochemicals. Apart from the Indorama Eleme Petrochemical Company Limited, Port Harcourt, the domestic market for products depended on importation throughout the year. According to NNPC reports, monthly refinery performance declined from 36.73 percent in January to 6.14 percent in September, translating to total dependence on importation to fuel the economy. Even in their abysmal performance scale, the Port Harcourt Refinery remained most available while Kaduna refinery was least available. The refineries’ performance figures when put on a commercial scale infers massive financial losses. “The Corporation has been adopting a Merchant Plant Refineries Business Model since January 2017. The model takes cognizance of the Products Worth and Crude Costs. The combined value of output by the three refineries (at import parity price) for the month of September 2017 amounted to N18.41billion while the associated Crude plus freight costs and operational expenses were N13.31billion and N8.62billion respectively. This resulted to an operating deficit of N3.52billion by the refineries. “Also, during the period under review, refineries combined capacity utilization was 6.14% with only PHRC which operated at capacity utilization of 13 percent,” the corporation stated. There were little or no status report on the few private refineries expected to come online soon. Apart from the massively publicised Dangote Refinery project in Lagos State, private investors in the Amakpe Refinery in Akwa Ibom state, Orient Re-

finery in Anambra State, and another refinery by Integrated Oil and Gas Limited have kept developments in the wraps. Apart from the topping plat for extraction of diesel from crude oil at the Ogbele marginal field operated by Niger Delta Petroleum Resources (NDPR), no domestic crude oil processing facility approximated nameplate capacity optimization in 2017. Nonetheless, many gas processing plants kept faith with operators’ sales and purchase agreements with domestic offtakers in the year, except the N-Gas consortium which has traditionally breached supply contracts to international clients along the West African region. The midstream tragedy comes in sharp contrast to relentless declarations by the Minster of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, that government was committed to revamping, refurbishing and upgrading the nation’s three refineries. The rehabilitation refrain followed his earlier failed mandate on the management of the refineries to either optimize or face privatization. He had set December 2015 as deadline for full functioning of the refineries which belong to Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Recently, Dr. Kachilwu has been singing about the Dangote Refinery at international industry conferences where he endeavours to deliver presentations on his ministry’s elusive big wins. But it very uncertain that government has any financial interest in the Dangote Refinery neither has the Dangote Group committed to domestic supply of products when the refinery comes onstream. Meanwhile the refinery is located in a free

trade zone where commercial operations dynamics are shielded from vagaries of in-country regimes. Thus, the midstream industry suffered significant activity loss due to low facility uptime, a situation that transferred cost pressure on the import dependent downstream segment of the petroleum industry. Rising cost, debt overhang, acute foreign exchange deficits and wide supply gaps combined to define crisis in the DOWNSTREAM PETROLEUM INDUSTRY in 2017. Debt disputes between government and its private partners in the domestic fuel market sparked with accounting disagreement between Capital Oil and Gas Industries (Capoil) and NNPC. Whereas NNPC claimed that Capoil expropriated its fuel stock in the company’s storage facility, the company declared that it place lien on the products as last resort to recover part of N16 billion debt from the corporation. The dispute which defied arbitration and judicial intervention sought by Capoil led to protracted downtime in the company which leads storage and terminaling capacity in the nation’s downstream sector. With the shutdown of Capoil’s facilities, a move that sent alarm signals into the market, private investments in deals with government reportedly slowed down while debt issues popped to front burner. Trade of debt allegations between different marketing groups and government agencies in the domestic fuel market had put several hundreds of billion Naira at stake and created trust issues that currently affect market supply. Fuel supply from NNPC under the DSDP programme, according to the corporation’s latest operations report consistently fell from a peak of 1,491,209,498.71 in March to 886,458,452.46 in September. Worsening supply gaps which indicated in October, rapidly translated to full scarcity as the yuletide season brought down demand pressure on the market which was filled with uncertainty. The situation which has sustained till New Year has not only put claims of sufficiency by NNPC to test, it has also put government’s downstream policies on appraisal. FUNDING for joint venture operations in the upstream petroleum


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Industry awaits passage of PIB fiscals

industry gained substantial improvement in the year with signing of key alternative funding agreements. NNPC signed two sets of alternative financing agreements with NNPC/Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) JV and NNPC/Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) JV on Joint Venture (JV) projects to grow reserves and production in line with government’s aspiration, the corporation reported. NNPC stated that the two projects are expected to generate incremental revenues of about $16 billion within the assets’ life cycle and generate exploratory activities in the industry, boost gas supply to power and rejuvenate Nigeria’s industrial capacity utilization. The agreement with Chevron would see the development of the NNPC/CNL JV Sonam project. The reserves maintenance project which involved intensive drilling programme is aimed to increase proven and probable reserves of 211million barrels and 1.9 trillion cubic feet of gas within Oil Mining Licences (OMLs) 90 and 91. Revenue target from the project is estimated at $7.3 billion government’s take over the project’s life. The agreement with SPDC is to finance 156 development activities across 12 lease acreages including OMLs 11, 17, 23, 25, 27, 28, 32, 35, 43, 45, 46 and 79; and 30 different fields operated by Shell under the NNPC/ SPDC/Total/Eni JV in the Niger Delta. The project target is to improve reserves to about 202.9 million barrels of oil and 161.8 billion cubic feet of gas. The project is expected to generate about $9 billion and a Net Profit Value (NPV) of $5.2billion over the loan life at 8 per cent discount rate. The agreements are seen in the industry as solid step towards dismantling funding impediments that hamper delivery of work programmes in the JV operations. Also, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDBMB) declared in the last quarter that it has opened additional windows to provide funding access to indigenous oil service companies that form key engines for delivery of national aspirations for improved local content. Executive Secretary, Mr. Simbi Wabote, stated that more banks have been conscripted into an enhanced disbursement process that would see eligible participants in the scheme access low single digit interest credit facilities from the billion dollar Nigerian Content Fund. The fund is expected to address high interests that weigh on short to medium term loans from traditional money market. Meanwhile, independent exploration and production companies that acquired divested brownfield assets from the Shell JV in the past years continue to beat down high interest loans after low price cycle burst hopes of fast defrayment. On the flip side, the industry suffered production losses, facility failures and sabotage with the year. The incidents formed the key INHIBITING FACTORS that dragged the industry performance. The NIGERIAN CONTENT policy ranked up in the year despite panindustry oilfield activity lull, thanks to the Egina deepwater field development project driven by Total. The project set new standards and compliance records for local content in the African petroleum industry, putting indigenous technical competence and capacity to test and raising Nigerian content ratio to lofty 77 percent. Key local technology companies including Dorman Long, NigerDock, GIL Automations, Aveon, EWT, FMC,

Recent NNPC 3rd Party Loan Agreements

PCNL, Ponticelli, and SCNL as well as SHI-MCI all took key roles in delivering modules fabrication for the Egina production vessel. For the first time in the Nigerian upstream petroleum industry, six topside modules for the floating production, storage and offtake (FPSO) vessel were fabricated in-country. Also, the first ever large scale production manifold was fabricated incountry while the first ever buoy hull for turret system was also fabricated in Nigeria. The project became the reason for the keen competition that forced two Korean marine facility fabrication firms- Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) and Daewoo Heavy Industriesto seek local partnerships for development of complex facilities in the country. The outcome of the race is the establishment of Africa’s first every topside integration yard by SHI in Lagos, a facility that confers Nigeria with the status of technical hub for the petroleum industry in Africa. Sequel to the scheduled Egina FPSO topside integration in Lagos, Nigeria recorded the milestone of hosting the first local FPSO project management team in-country. Total and its contractors located their integrated project management offices in Nigeria, the first of such complex technical cooperation in the industry. According to Total, Egina project comes with 560,000 man hours of human capacity development training across all project contracts. It also boasts of 60, 000 tons of equipment fabricated in Nigeria; and 24,000 man hours or 77 percent of total workload equivalent to a workforce of 3,000 per day for five years. However, the story of Nigerian Content profile of Total’s $16 billion Egina project runs on the flip side of the overhyped $6 billion Dangote refinery project which is harshly criticized by the industry players as a brazen defiance to the government’s local content policy. The refinery complex located in free zone facility in Lagos is connected to gas and oil production sources in the Niger Delta through a submarine conduit that would supply feedstock from facilities such as the one being developed by Total. Unfortunately, the Dangote project drivers face allegations of brazen breach of local content requirements in consumption of products and services in the development of the oil and gas processing plants. Such allegations informed the visit of the facility by Mr. Wabote with a mission to nudge the company into compliance. But members of Pe-

•Senate President, Bukola Saraki troleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) insist that the ES’s visit failed to alter the configuration of material and labour import by the Dangote Refinery. Apart from Dangote, other indigenous oil producers also face the allegation of opting for foreign oil service firms through local fronts masquerading as indigenous firms. According to Mr. Emeka Ene, the advent of Alternative Funding and cost cutting paroles in the industry have worsened the Nigerian Content policy violations. Mr. Ene who was PETAN’s Chairman for nearly a decade decried that government may have failed the indigenous companies that staked huge funds in building capacity to take industry challenges. He pointed out that over 90 percent of industry components is still imported. Of course, observers in the industry are still tinkering with analysis of the executive brawl between the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, and the Group Managing Director of NNPC over allegation. Although Dr. Kachikwu’s letter to President Muhammadu Buhari smacks of a loser’s blackmail, it has been latched upon by political musketeers to stoke ethnic and religious sentiments in social commentaries. In the industry, waves of opinion and support move against the minister on a number of points. A professional leader in the industry lampooned the minister for working against pan-industry campaign for relieving the corporation of undue political influence and lucre intrigues. He argued that the minister

missed direction by trying to usurp the role of the GMD for internal staff positioning. He also pointed out that the minister also displayed poor calculation in summing up crude lifting contract values and projecting same to the public as expendable cash commitment to contractors. He said the obvious loss of cooperation between the minister and the GMD posts a horrible signal for investors in the industry. A labour leader in the industry laughed the question off with a slur that both were fighting for perks associated with approval rights. Such scramble for perks, he said, also informed the internal staff shuffling by the GMD to, according to him, position his loyal team members for perk trapping. “Kachikwu forget that he was the first to fire all the people he met on ground and populated the whole place with a crowd of greenhorns that he imported from the private sector. Now most of those chaps are still learning the ropes and the GMD might need to position tested hands to meet his targets,” our source stated. Chairman of House Comiitee on Nigerian Content Development, Hon. Emmanuel Ekon, told The Oracle Today, that the relationship collapse between the two industry leaders is embarrassing to the country and scary to investors. On the LEGAL FRAMEWORKS that govern commercial investments in the industry, The Oracle Today reports that players smarting from the prevailing low price cycle appear to wait for the government to clear

fiscal uncertainties in the domestic environment as crash in the crude oil prices appear to have resolved the heated dispute over fiscal sides of the lingering Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). Already, the new government, saddled with more complex challenge of keeping the country intact, has adopted a new strategy of resolving vehement disputes and investment apathy that greeted introduction of Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). The administration of the government controlled by left wing All Progressive Congress (APC) is unbundling the nebulous framework into four separate bills to allow progress in the reform process conceived by previous Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the oil and gas industry. Already, the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) has been passed by the National Assembly, while the industry still waits the Petroleum Host Community Bill 2017, Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill 2017 and the Petroleum Industry Administration Bill, 2017. Actually, deep pocket investors that comprise multinational behemoths like Shell, ExxonMobil, Total and Eni keenly monitor legislative progress on the Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill which hosts the most contentious proposals the resolution of which might shape the future of the industry. Since 2005, the PIB had been the subject of fiscal debates between government and commercial investors over the implication of the changes in the content of laws governing extant commercial arrangements and current operations licenses that define terms of business agreement. The bill carries the fate of broad national development aspirations that are conceived to be driven by the huge petroleum industry budget through a string of well structured policy programmes that target to stimulate rapid domestic industrial growth. It also prescribes comprehensive industry reforms which, apart from altering fiscal terms, also entail restructuring and strengthening of government’s institutions for increased efficiency and commercial competitiveness. Also the contentious NLNG Act amendment also saw resolution in the NDDC Act amendment, resting festring rows between the investment community and legislators of threats of establishing a legislative precedent stripping big ticket investments of guarantees that provide them with cradle shields against volatile fiscal environment. The NDDC Act amendment, according to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, would upon concurrence with House of Representatives rest all issues arising from the NLNG Act amendment. Apart from the Act amendment, NLNG has also been in the news in 2017 for other positive reasons. The company shattered industry corporate social responsibility record by dropping a heavy cheque for princely N60 billion towards activation of the N120 billion BONNY-BODO LINK ROAD IN RIVERS STATE. The road would provide the first ever vehicular transportation between the oil rich Bonny Island and the rest of the country. Until the project awarded to Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, people of the oil rich kingdom have to contend with sea waves and turbulent flights to connect the rest of the world. Meanwhile the Finima Airstrip is also built and operated by NLNG Limited access its operational base in the area. On the whole, the 2017 business proved most unpredictable to investments analysts and very challenging to players following uncertainty in the policy environment, fiscal regime and commodity price cycle. Traditional security concerns are reduced as corporate citizens drive exemplary goodwill projects that redefine host community relationships.


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Wednesday January 10, 2018

e-Platform

• Shittu

Y

ear 2017 was definitely not the best of years for the Nigerian Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector and neither can it be described as the worst despite some moments of hiccups and upheavals. Expectedly, as the nation’s economy was still trying to get out of recession, the business landscape in general was tough, which saw many businesses closed shop in the year. In the ICT sector, the story was not different, many players, especially, the small ones closed shops, while the big operators trudged on, although one was almost swallowed save for regulatory interventions. Etisalat loan Obviously, one major event that shook Nigerian telecom sector in 2017 was the Etisalat loan saga, which almost consumed the 4th mobile operator in the country. Etisalat, which later in the year became 9Mobile, following the takeover by banks and the exit of UAE based Etisalat investors, had obtained $1.2 billion syndicated loan from 13 local and foreign banks in 2013. However, its inability to service the loan as required prompted the banks to make a forceful takeover attempt in March 2017 But with the intervention of the Nigerian Communications Communication the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), it was put on hold for dialogue. The few months of dialogue between the parties however failed to yield positive results and that eventually saw the majority shareholders of the telecom outfit namely Etisalat International and Mubadala of UAE abandoned exited the company. With that, the regulators had to appoint an interim board and management for the company with a new brand name known as 9Mobile. Saved from forceful takeover, 9Mobile, as at the time of filling this report is being put up for sale and the NCC had vowed that a new owner must emerge by 31st December 2017. Reports had it that from about 10 initial bidders competing for the license of 9Mobile, the Financial Adviser, Barclays Africa, a South African firm, had been able to prune down to five. These five include, Bharti Airtel,

•Broadband image Globacom, Helios, Smile Communications, and Teleology Holdings Limited. Telecoms challenges persist Like in the previous years, telecom operators continued to lament about myriads of challenges confronting their operations, chief among which are the issues of Right of Way and Multiple Taxation. Despite the efforts of an industry working group set up by the telecom regulator to address the problem of multiple taxation by reaching out to concerned agencies, the year 2017 saw introduction of various forms of taxes and levies by state governments, most of which were directed at telecom operations. But that was not all as far as challenges confronting the telecom operators are concerned. In the course of the year, the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) had to come out plainly to declare that there might not be any improvement in quality of services being by its members. According to ALTON Chairman, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, that was because the telcos had been unable to import equipment for the expansion of their networks due to forex scarcity. Speaking on behalf of all the telecom operators at a meeting with technology reporters, Engr. Adebayosaid the tecos were finding it difficult to settle many obligations due to high rate of forex. “We are in a country where every component of our operation is imported, even from the SIM cards and even when you make an international call, we pay our part of the termination rate in dollar to the networks abroad. All these require forex, yet are not considered on the priority list of government for easy access to dollar. Many of our members are forced to source for forex at the black market and at the end of the day, operating costs becomes very high” he lamented. Adebayo noted that with the forex challenge, operators have been unable to purchase new equipment to optimize their networks. “With the present situation, it would be difficult for any operator to optimize network. We must note that

ICT in 2017:

Tough, shaky yet exciting Like every other sector of the economy, the Nigerian ICT sector witnessed a mix of ups and downs in the year 2017 in a spiral of events that may shape the New Year 2018 and the years to come. SAMSON AKINTARO reports. no industry is immune to failure and this is why we are telling the government that they should not allow telecoms to go the way of textile and tyre industries” he said. The ALTON Chairman said while the government was giving priority to the manufacturing sector, it forgot that the telecom sector is like the backbone for every other sector of the economy. “Telecom is regarded as infrastructure of infrastructure and this is because telecom propels productivity in other sectors of the economy. Take for instance, the banking industry, most of their services today are riding on telecom infrastructure and that cuts across all sectors. We should be treated like the manufacturers”. Aborted ICT University This, perhaps, was to be one of the landmark ICT projects of the Federal Government in 2017 going by the preparations, the publicity and the hype given to the project by the Honourable Minster of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, even before the beginning of year. Since 2016, the Minister had made it clear that top on his agenda was to deliver an ICT University. He

went on to give a timeline of first quarter 2017 for the university to begin operation, but the date was later shifted to September. And despite opposition to the project by some stakeholders, who were of the view that the country had enough universities that require ICT upgrading rather than diverting the government’s attention in the name of ICT University project, the M inister had carried on. The Minister forged ahead with the project to the point where an implementation committee was inaugurated to bring the project to life. While inaugurating the committee Shittu said the ICT University, which would be private-sector driven would attract support from both within and outside the government. He cited some international and local ICT firms including Facebook, Apple, Samsung, Cisco, Ericsson, MTN, Globacom, Huawei, D-Links, Lenovo, Samsung, Apple, SiemensNortel, Intel, Motorola, Ericsson, Dell, He, ZTE and IBM and others to have endorsed the university, and also declared interest to support the project. With such level of “supports” as claimed by the Minister, the project was as good as successful, but

that was not to be as the Federal Executive Council (FEC), early October, rejected the memo seeking to establish the University. While details of why the project was rejected was sketchy, the Minister in his explanation to the media , said although the President, Muhammadu Buhari was “full of commendations on the initiative”, the position of the government was hinged on the enormous fiscal demands it would place on government at a time such as now, when existing higher institutions are experiencing paucity of fund. According to Shittu, the Federal Executive Council believed that the proposed partnership funding by the private sector and other international donors should be more evident before any government commitment can be asserted. “For me, maybe the Federal Government did not see what I saw but since we are in a democracy, I cannot force my ideas on the majority because it is a game of minority have their say but majority have their way,” he declared. Shittu, however, said he was not relenting on the ICT University initiative, as there were plans to continue to explore the good will within the ICT sector in


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Wednesday January 10, 2018

e-Platform

•Olusanya-CEO-9mobile

•Gbenga-Adebayo-ALTON-Chairman

•Group-CEO-Etisalat-Ahmad-Abdulkarim-Julfar order to rally more private sector to buy into the vision. Year of the Telecom Consumer Year 2017 would go down in history as the year that the Nigerian telecom regulator named after the consumer and followed suit with programmes and policies to enhance the consumer experience in the telecom sector, which eventually brought some measure of excitements into the gloomy telecoms market. Anchored on the implementation of Do Not Disturb (DND) an initiative giving the telecom consumers the power to stop unsolicited text messages and calls, NCC took its Year of Telecom Campaigns across the country, sensitizing and educating the consumers about their rights amidst entertainment and funfare. According to the NCC, it decided to celebrate the consumers in 2017 because they are the pillars upon which the sector has grown strongly over the years, and this, it said, necessitated the declaration of this year as the Year of the Consumer. Speaking at the launch of the ‘Year of the

Consumer’ campaign in Lagos, the EVC of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the Commission’s campaigns and regulatory efforts for the year was focused on two key areas of improving the quality of services and protecting and educating the consumers. “In our determination to ensure that the consumer experiences improved service this year and beyond, the Commission is implementing measures to ensure Drop Call Rate reduces and meets its industry benchmark of less than one percent target. The Commission is closely monitoring, tracking and reviewing the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of operators by the Network Integrity and Technical Standards Department” the EVC said, adding that “greater efforts was also put in place for compliance monitoring and enforcement of set standards”. Danbatta said the pro-consumer stance of the Commission was part of 8-point agenda, which it unveiled in 2016. According to him, items number two and six of the agenda are to improve quality of service and to protect/empower the consumer. “These two items

•Prof.-Danbatta-NCC-EVC have been the core drivers of our Year of Consumer initiative” he said. Compulsory Corporate Governance While telecom operators in Nigeria had for some years operated under a voluntary corporate governance regime, the situation changed in 2017 as the regulator mandated all players in the sector comply with the sector-specific code of corporate governance which was launched in 2014. This, the regulator said, would help to safeguard the over $70 billion investments in the Nigerian telecom sector and to attract more, noting that no foreign investor would invest in a market where there is no good corporate governance compliance. Aside that, the Commission said the move to enforce corporate governance compliance was also in the interest of the telecom consumers, who would suffer most if any telecom company folded up suddenly. The code, which dated back to 2012 when NCC instituted a Corporate Governance Working Group (CGWG), was formally launched in

2014 but then the operators were given the choice of complying voluntarily. By 2016, the regulator announced a period of mandatory compliance, but with no enforcement, the Commission described operators’ compliance as ‘passive’, adding that active compliance is now mandatory with full enforcement. One of the key items in the Code is that the offices of Chairman and that of the CEO shall not be occupied by one person concurrently in any telecom company in Nigeria. In addition, no one can serve as a director in any telecom company for more than 15 years. Reacting to complaints that the NCC might be dabbling into affairs of private companies through the code, Executive Commissioner Stakeholder Management, NCC, Mr. Sunday Dare, said those complaining about the move have failed to realize that the telecom operators, though they are not banks, are holding people’s money, hence, customers are bound to lose money if they fail. “These are special companies with high public interest; as such regulators are to ensure they are well run so they

do not crash. These companies have gone beyond the threshold of private companies because of the quantum of public funds they hold without interest. We are also doing this because of the inflow of Foreign Direct Investment. It is very important and rapidly taking the place of crude oil, hence we are ensuring companies are well run to let investors know their money and investments are safe. If you buy a recharge card it is an investment in a telco and we are to ensure services are delivered equitably without exploitation, hence the code” he said. “We are guarding against the Too Big to Fail syndrome, if the dictates of the code are adhered to the letter, we can guard against failure. This is not a silver bullet but it puts the trigger in the hands of the regulator to ensure only the best happens in the companies; practices, quality of staff and services, all because we seek to guard investors and FDI. The code, amongst other things, stipulates that the director of a telco cannot serve for more than 15 years. No other code gives that latitude. It also states sanctions for issues of delayed text message delivery, call masking, drop calls, forced subscriptions, bogus promises and breached agreements, to mention a few. It is all in the interest of the subscriber. The success of telcos has come largely from NCC ensuring there is a level of corporate discipline and sanctions. We do not make noise about it,” he added. Increased contribution to economy Against all odds, the Nigerian telecoms sector in 2017 still showed huge prospects, as it contributed N1.54 trillion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2017, according to NCC. NCC’s Executive ViceChairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, who disclosed said the figure, as contained in economy report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that the telecommunications sector contributed 9.5 per cent to the GDP in the second quarter of the year. According to him, the figure represents a 6.68 per cent increase from the first quarter’s contribution of N1.45 trillion. “We are very proud of the remarkable contributions the sector is making. “Even in the recent times when the whole economy was facing challenges, the sector has remained resilient and stable,” the NCC boss said. The telecom sector continued to grow, attracting over $70 billion (N21.4 trillion) investments as at the third quarter of the year, up from $68 billion in 2016. Will 2018 be the year of broadband? Until the end of 2017, Nigeria’s broadband penetration was put at 21 per cent. Going by the National Broadband Plan which implementation started in 2013, Nigeria has a target of achieving 30 per cent penetration by this year 2018. This means that more efforts are required this year to drive the country to this level. The Nigerian Communications Commission is expected to license additional five infrastructure companies this year in addition to two others earlier licensed to deploy broadband infrastructure across the country. All eyes will be on the regulator to see this to fruition while looking forward to a review of the plan for subsequent years.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10, 2018

ISSN: 2545-5869

VOX POPULI SACRUM

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EDITORIAL

End manipulated hardship Contd from page 1

the practice has been to deny the occurrence, then pin the responsibility on others, usually some invisible parties opposed to the government. The matter would be resolved in that mishmash. THE President is the Minister of Petroleum Resources. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation that has been the sole importer of fuel for awhile, reports directly to the President. Why has there been fuel scarcity in the past three weeks without any redeeming action from the President? WHY would the President speak about the hardship that the scarcity has imposed on Nigerians and not accept his Ministry’s role, and his personal involvement as President, in it? IS the President saying all he knows about the fuel scarcity or playing the ostrich with a matter that has a centrality to the economy? “Unfortunately, I am saddened to acknowledge that for many, this Christmas and New Year holidays have been anything but merry and happy. Instead of showing love, companionship and charity, some of our compatriots chose this period to inflict severe hardship on us all by creating unnecessary fuel scarcity across the country,” he said in the January 1 broadcast. “The consequence was that not many could travel and the few who did had to

pay exorbitant transport fares.” WAS limiting the impact of the scarcity to inconveniences of travellers an admission of the President’s scope of understanding of how fuel scarcity affects the economy? Was it part of the denial that the scarcity hit the people and the economy in the past three weeks with a devastation that could take money to repair? IN the established litany of challenges, of which electricity is prominent, most Nigerians depend on fuel to generate their own electricity, whether for commercial or industrial uses. Once there are supply challenges, as have been the case for weeks, prices spiral and hug inflation. The current scarcity was exceptional because it came at a time of the year, when various demands were being made on earnings. MOST of those earnings have been expended on the purchase of fuel at outrageous prices that went over N500 per litre in some places. What did the President think the scarcity did to the economy under his watch? Did he recognise the pains that awaited Nigeria in the New Year with the deficits that high fuel costs had imposed on them? The pains have not passed, as the President would seem to suggest. WHO are the President’s compatriots who inflicted the pains on Nigerians? Since the President is alleging the sabotage, he must know them, and their operations. Is that really the situation, or another presidential befuddlement over fuel scarcity? THE President would punish them as a deterrent. “This is unacceptable given that NNPC had taken measures to ensure availability at all depots. I am determined to get to the root of this collective blackmail of all Nigerians and ensure that whichever groups are behind this manipulated hardship will be prevented from doing so again,” the President underlined his seriousness about dealing with those who delight in hurting our people? WHO would the President punish? Is the depot owners or the independent marketers who had told the public that NNPC did not supply them products? Is it NNPC that has been importing the fuel at N171 per litre and selling at the approved price range of N143-N145 per litre? Is the government that said it had abolished subsidy but has been subsidising the product, without an approved budget for subsidy? IS it possible that the consumers could be among the suspect? They have been using the product beyond the government’s capacity to meet demands? Would the search extend

to those who have not repaired the refineries that were supposed to supply some of the demands, while imports would be to supplement short falls in local refining of products? Who are the guilty ones who await the presidential anger? There is no one in sight. THE danger in the presidential New Year broadcast is that in failing to acknowledge there was a challenge in managing the supply of fuel, he was saying he was unwilling to do anything about it, which means that product scarcity, if it eases, would return soon. PRESIDENTIAL predilections would not improve the exchange rates, they would not lower crude prices which is a double-edged sword for Nigeria (we sell our crude at high prices, guarantees that we would buy refined products at high prices), they would not repair refineries and would not in any way improve the fidelity of fuel supplies. IF the President opts to search for those involved “root of this collective blackmail of all Nigerians” instead of proactive and constructive engagements on resolving the challenges, “given that NNPC had taken measures to ensure availability at all depots,” and the measures have failed, he would be glorifying the blackmailers and wasting the time “of all Nigerians”. The President calling the scarcity “this manipulated hardship,” does not in any way ameliorate the pain. ALL Nigerians can recognise the emptiness of these determined motions. They have not served us. They would not save us from fuel scarcity, which after almost one month, the Minister of Petroleum, our President, has refused to admit exists.

Our Vision TO BE among the top five newspapers in Nigeria and, in due course, the Numero Uno; to be a newspaper of records that effectively caters to the information needs of all segments and sections of the Nigerian society as well as all social classes and cultures. Essentially, we want to be a responsible corporate citizen, a commercially viable, properly organised media business, which meets its obligations to society, government and the workforce.

Mission WE INTEND to contribute to the development of an inclusive Nigerian society, with a view to getting rid of the dark sides of our national life (slothfulness, greed, corruption, nepotism, totalitarianism, etc); to continually engender and sustain national debates that would ultimately lead to the enthronement of healthy national values--hard-work, justice, equity and fairplay, transparency, good governance, resulting, in themselves, the egalitarian Nigerian society of our dream. We will give voice to the voiceless and at all times, strive to be balanced, objective, honest, truthful and fair to all sides; so that through The Oracle Today, our people, the Nigerian people can see a bright light at the end of what has been a very dark tunnel. And we shall do all this in absolute trust in God who blesses good intentions.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10, 2018

OPINION

ISIS by the numbers in 2017 (1) By PAUL SHINKMAN

While the Trump administration says victory against the Islamic State group is all but secured in Iraq and Syria, the terror network has found successes elsewhere this year.

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resident Donald Trump and his top advisers have said in recent weeks that the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria has been all but defeated, following through on a campaign promise that he would significantly escalate the U.S.-led war against the extremist group. “Thanks to the leadership of this commander in chief and the courage of our armed forces, ISIS is on the run, their capital has fallen, and their so-called caliphate has crumbled across Syria and Iraq,” Vice President Mike Pence said Dec. 20 during a ceremony marking the passage of a tax reform bill through Congress, using an alternative name for the extremist group. The war against the terror network, however, is far from over, even in Iraq and Syria, where it first declared its so-called caliphate and from where its fighters and leaders are now spreading to other faraway regions of the globe, from Southeast Asia to Africa to not far from U.S. shores. _______________________________ Brett McGurk, the special envoy to the coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, told reporters at the State Department just before Christmas that the U.S.

had made significant progress against the extremist network in 2017, but there is still work to do. “Nobody who works on these problems would tell you we’re popping champagne corks or anything,” said McGurk, who began his position during the Obama administration and has continued under Trump. “This is not over, there is a long way to go.” Defeating the Islamic State group in Syria will require months more of fighting, McGurk says. As defense and intelligence officials continue to find and kill members of the extremist network and combat its success in remotely attracting followers worldwide, here are some numbers on where the Islamic State group still operates and maintains power. Iraq and Syria For the campaign to defeat the Islamic State group Trump inherited a U.S.-led coalition that had already begun clearing out Mosul in Iraq and was beginning to surround Raqqa in Syria – both key cities in the extremist group’s messaging. In January, about 35,000 Islamic State group fighters were in Iraq and Syria controlling more than 17,000 square miles – an area roughly the size of Pennsylvania. Now, between 1,000 and 3,000 extremists are occupying less than 2,000 square miles, according to officials at the U.S. military headquarters in Baghdad overseeing the war. Most of the remaining fighters are in the rural desert areas around Dayr Az Zawr in Syria to the southeast of Raqqa, and Iraq’s Anbar province, officials say.

Almost 8 million people lived under Islamic State group rule during its height. Five million have been liberated in the past year with 2.7 million Iraqis returning to their homes, McGurk said Thursday. The air coalition, comprised largely of U.S. bombers, fighter jets, helicopters and drones and supported by artillery on the ground, conducted 11,400 airstrikes since Jan. 1. That conflict has not been without its costs. The Associated Press reported this week that as many as 11,000 civilians died in the campaign to retake Mosul, roughly 10 times higher than previous assessments. Yemen The Islamic State group presence in the war-torn Arabian Peninsula nation, while small, has doubled in size this year, part of a larger trend of fighters and leaders fleeing the onslaught in Iraq and Syria. “As ISIS is getting handed a defeat in other areas, they tend to try to push into areas of ungoverned spaces,” says Army Lt. Col. Earl Brown, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command. “Those areas in the Arabian Peninsula, most notably in Yemen, have been some of those spots.” There are between 300 and 500 Islamic State group fighters in the area, mostly in Yemen but not limited to there. They’re exploiting areas that are traditionally ungoverned or where governance has collapsed as a result of the ongoing war between Houthi rebels backed by Iran and forces loyal to the government currently in exile in Saudi Arabia. The Islamic State group has also success-

fully recruited fighters formally loyal to alQaida in the Arabian Peninsula who have grown disaffected with a group that, while still among the most dangerous in the world, has suffered intense losses in leadership amid an ongoing U.S.-led commando and air campaign. Three AQAP leaders were killed in airstrikes on Nov. 2 and Nov. 20, according to Central Command, which oversees operations in the region. Defense officials say the quiet U.S. mission to root out Islamic State group and al-Qaida fighters in Yemen exists in coordination with the exiled government. Africa The death of four American soldiers on a special operations patrol in Niger in October drew widespread attention to the intensifying covert war against extremists throughout the African continent, almost four times larger than the continental U.S. The Islamic State group first expand its presence into Africa in Somalia in 2015 and conducted its first suicide attack in Bosasso in May. U.S. Africa Command estimates there are fewer than 250 fighters there, though they are able to conduct small-scale operations in the northern reaches of the country. A shadowy American targeting cell exists in Somalia to help coordinate counterterror operations outside of the capital, Mogadishu. PAUL SHINKMAN is Senior National Security Writer for United States News (USN). •PAUL SHINKMAN is Senior National Security Writer for United States News (USN).

Buhari: Time to self-humanise publicly By Ehichioya Ezomon

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he other day, the President’s men and women broadcast a documentary ostensibly aimed at publicly humanizing Muhammadu Buhari, a former military General still seen and perceived as stiff as they come, even when he has virtually turned 360 degrees a civilian democrat. In attempts to present their principal as genial, the aides portrayed Buhari as a splitpersonality: The stern, no nonsense former Military Governor, Military Head of State, and now President of the Federal Republic and Commander-in-Chief; and the other a jovial, sociable, likable, jolly good fellow. Many Nigerians complained about the timing of the documentary, aired in the midst of a crunching fuel scarcity at Christmastide - occurrences many thought were over since the hike in fuel price from N86.5 to N145 in early 2016 that, mercifully, ensured availability of petrol for the year-end celebrations. Of course, whether the film was aired in good moments, many would still query and criticize it for varying reasons, not the least the dislike (hatred) they harbour for Buhari and anything to do with his All Progressives Congress-led administration. The fuel hassles were foreshadowed by an economic recession that berthed in the first quarter of 2016, only to abate technically, according to the government, in the third quarter of 2017. Still, prices of goods and services are at the rooftop, without any indications when they would come down, courtesy of the machinations of cartels in the oil industry. Nonetheless, the cabinet aides failed to realize that no other person can humanize Buhari but, or than himself. Nigerians have seen snippets of the president in bouts of guffaw in photographs, especially the ones published

to debunk rumours of his being vegetative or dead during his ill-health in London in 2017. But they haven’t seen Buhari, in flesh and blood, in that form or shape, not at any occasions, such as political rallies that are jamborees. The mental picture they have, and seldom see of him is a man that gives smirky smiles and a reluctant wave of the hand(s). Not for him the buzz of the Nigerian social life that makes people to loosen up. Yet, it’s what the Buhari people wanted to disprove with the documentary: that the president is good-humoured, as most Nigerians. According to Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State, a time was, particularly during the build-up to the 2015 general elections, when they, together with Buhari, would roll on the carpet with laughter in Buhari’s home in Kaduna - owing to the moonlight tales told by the president. However, one striking feature of the aides’ narratives is that Buhari only let his guards down in the circles of his family members, friends and associates, including cabinet members. When he’s outside of these groups, he maintains his mien. But must we all be his acquaintances before we can experience the avuncular disposition he displays in private? When the people were voting in 2015, they never distinguished between a public and private Buhari; they cast their ballots for an individual that would give them the dividend of democracy: Feed them when they are hungry; give them water when thirsty; shelter them from the elements; protect them from marauders; and provide them with the necessities for modern living: travelable roads, constant power, available and affordable energy, potable water, and good and qualitative education and healthcare. No doubt, President Buhari has exhibited

humaneness, such as in the home-grown feeding programme for thousands of school children; stipends paid to vulnerable elderly people; and the various bailout funds the Federal Government has given the states to offset backlog of salaries and pensions to workers and retirees. He has repeatedly expressed empathy for these people. But how many times has the president made a detour to greet, and exchange pleasantries with members of the audience in an auditorium? How often, if any, has he been on the streets of his immediate constituency of Abuja, to ask after the wellbeing of, and share a joke or two with the common man he professes to represent? How would the people appreciate his difficulties in governance, such as tackling the current fuel shortages in the country, if they don’t know him through personal contacts, or talk to and exchange ideas with him via the telephone, radio and television? The people don’t need third parties to tell them about his geniality. They want that familiarity first hand. So, it’s time for President Buhari to relax a bit. For instance, there’s nothing more humanizing than he digressing from the introductory protocols, to intimately greet an audience at a ceremony, say at the International Conference Centre in Abuja. On mounting the podium, he could start by: “Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. How’s your day? How was your night? Did you sleep well in this very hot weather? Was there electricity supply to power your fans or air conditioners? Oh yes, how did you make it to this place: in your private vehicles or by public transport? How did you get the fuel, and for how much (if by private vehicle)? How much did you pay as fare (if by public transport)?” Imagine how the audience would respond to

these anecdotal queries to warm and lively up the gathering for the session! And when he’s about to leave the venue, let the president veer off the security-detailed path, go down to the floor and shake hands with as many of the attendees as possible, and wave enthusiastically to the rest he’s unable to reach. This is how Buhari can accessibly humanize himself before “ordinary” Nigerians.

•Ezomon, journalist and media consultant, writes from Lagos.

THE GROUP Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief Ikeddy Isiguzo Editor Felix Oguejiofor Abugu Deputy Editor/Head, Lagos Bureau Sopuruchi Onwuka Abuja Bureau Chief Tony Ailemen Head, Graphics & Designs Nnamdi Alex Chukwu Advert Manager Andrew Udeh Circulation Manager Felix Oti


The Oracle Today

Travel & Hospitality Stories by VICTOR NZE

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Wednesday January 10, 2018

ssues relating to advocacy for a separate ministry for tourism, the disquiet in the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) as well as the conspiracy theories weaved around the shocking destruction of the iconic Abuja Art and Crafts Village tended to becloud the seeming gains recorded by the Nigerian tourism industry in 2017. The year witnessed a spike in the country’s room capacity, with international brands raising their portfolios in the industry, as well as the emergence of a new competition for the Calabar Carnival in the form of Lagos State which raised the bar in the carnival entertainment, that was seeing a decline with the disappearance of top destinations like Abuja, Akwa Ibom and Rivers states from the procession. With an increase recorded in the country’s room capacity courtesy of the emergence of the United States-based hospitality giants, Marriott International, via its acquisition of an existing player, Starwood Hotels, in September 2016, increased its portfolios in the country by well over 1000 room keys, therefore giving it the single biggest stake in the industry. The official signing of an agreement with the Landmark Africa Group for a 216-room hotel plus the 44-room executive apartments, in Victoria Island, Lagos, saw Marriott International add a total of 983 room keys to the Lagos hotel capacity alone by 2020. Marriott Group also owns the Renaissance branded hotel in the Ikeja area of Lagos with 155 guestrooms including 17 contemporary suites which was the first of the hotel chain’s brands in the country, last December. This in addition to the new 90room Protea Hotel earlier opened in Owerri, the Imo State capital. 2017 was also the year that the Lagos State Government midwifed an open tourism and entertainment product that may well rival the Calabar Carnival after the seeming demise of the iconic Abuja Carnival which for inexplicable reasons by the Federal Government through its Ministry of Culture and Information failed to hold for the first time in about a decade. Tagged the One Lagos Fiesta (OLF), the Lagos flagship yuletide revue held from December 24 till January 1, 2018, and followed the earlier Street carnival that took place also in December. Over 100 artistes drawn from the contemporary to the old genre of the Nigerian music industry featured at the 2017 edition spanning eight days of non-stop Fiesta, in five different designated centres in Lagos simultaneously and drew an unprecedented crowd of music lovers and carnival enthusiasts, in a year the rival Calabar Carnival in Cross River State had trimmed its own repertoire from the original 31 days of musical stage performances to just two days of carnival and vehicular parades. The Lagos event held across Ikeja (Agege Stadium), Badagry (Badagry Grammar School), Ikorodu (Ikorodu Town Hall), Lagos Island (Bar Beach) and Epe (EpeMarina Beachfront), while the cross over night of December 31st into the New Year held at the Eko Atlantic City.

2017: Year Lagos dared Calabar in carnival

•Guests from Italy celebrating the Christmas at Le Meridien Ogeyi Place Hotel, Port Harcourt

Le Meridien Ogeyi Place launches wine collection

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e Meridien Ogeyi Place has launched a new French wine, branded; ‘Beaujolais.’ The event which took place at the poolside of the hotel located in Port Harcourt was part of efforts to bring the ‘French feel’ to international guests of the hotel. “As part of our brand initiative, Beaujolais offers the opportunity to unveil our Le Meridien brand Summer Soiree culture. This program

brings to our international guests the feel of French Beaujolais tradition, which is a truly home away from home experience in Nigeria,” said General Manager of the Hotel, Mr. Fabian Martinez. Continuing, Martinez said: “In addition, our Hotel Executive Sous Chef, Innocent Anaemeje brings a very pleasant experience and opportunity to present French traditional delicacies with assorted

French cold cuts” to further inspire the dining experience of our patrons. “We have curated our campaign in a way that delivers to our guests yet another way to unlock their destination through French traditional celebration and a modern perspective on this quintessential theme night campaign. Le Meridien cuisine will enable us offer unique and memorable dining experiences.”

The OLF was specially designed to turn the five divisions of Lagos into a tourist destination for 8 days non-stop showcasing not less than 40 concerts all together across the city of Lagos while developing the local economy of these areas thereby making it self-sustaining during the festive period and after. However, the year also saw a growing concern among stakeholders for a separate Ministry to be created by the Federal Government for the tourism industry, which had been under the Culture and Information ministry headed by Alhaji Lai Mohammed. Stakeholder bodies such as the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA) and the Nigeria Association of Tour Operators (NATOP) stepped up their calls for better attention for the industry which opined a separate ministry would guarantee if created. While commemorating the past 2017 International Tourism Day, NANTA President, Bernard Bankole said that a separate ministry would fast-track the development of the sector. “Federal Government should create a stand-alone ministry for tourism so that all attentions and efforts will be concentrated on how to build tourism to generate revenue for the government and employment for Nigerians. “Putting tourism alongside with others like information and Nation-

al Orientation is going to frustrate the growth of tourism. “Everywhere in the world, tourism is a big portfolio that even people struggle to get appointment as Minister of Tourism because they know the value of the sector,” he said. On his part, Mr. Nkereuwem Onung, President of NATOP called for the restoration of the Ministry of Tourism, to enable the tourism sector contribute effectively to the economic development of the country. Onung said that the amalgam of the Ministry of Tourism with Information led to tourism becoming a department in the ministry noting that `this has not augur well with the growth of the sector’. “So we are calling on the Federal Government to give us a separate ministry so that we can articulate issues of tourism very well. Nigeria now needs to get back to tourism in view of the global fall in crude oil price. He explained that if the ministry of tourism is restored, it would assist in boosting the revenue of the country also fast track tourism development in Nigeria, adding further that this would also attract more foreign exchange to the country as well as create employment opportunities for the nation’s teeming unemployed youths. “Tourism runs through channels with statistics, it is not based on putting the right structures in place

for tourism. We have the statistics; it is not about people coming to your country, it is about doing things that will appeal to people to come into your country,’’ he said. With the rise in earning by the government and increased spending on capital projects and other infrastructure, Nigeria is projected to recapture its position as a preferred destination from 2018 with arrivals set to see an increase, according to projections by major tourism and hospitality bodies. Another downside to the outgone year was the fire incident that razed the iconic Abuja Art and Crafts Village last December, resulting in losses put at N400 million worth of precious artworks and textiles by the traders and craftsmen. The decision by the managers of the complex, the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) to bar shop keepers and craftsmen from the keeping late at the village now remains at the centre of the controversy which has pitched the keepers and the NCAC, whose Director General, Otunba Segun Runsewe is accused of failing to explore amicable grounds for resolving the lingering impasse between the parties before now. The Abuja Arts and Crafts Village is located at the Central Business District in Abuja, behind the Silverbird Cinema. The village has three distinct craft sections: arts and

crafts, painting, and textile. “This place is a national monument. Our mandate is to protect, showcase, and enrich Nigeria’s cultural heritage,” Mr. Kennedy quickly adds with a winning smile,” captures Eguakun Kennedy, who serves as the Public Relations Officer of the African Arts and Cultural Heritage Association in the Arts and Crafts Village, Abuja. According to eyewitnesses, the fire started late Friday night. Many posit that Runsewe had not handled the resident craftsmen/NCAC relationship rather diplomatically in view of how previous DGs had found a way of navigating through the delicate waters of managing the craftsmen in the village, even as others have accused him of highhandedness in finding a common ground of co-existence between both parties. “If he (Runsewe) had allowed us to continue sleeping inside the village with our artworks, perhaps that fire would not have gotten out of hand, because I recall that there have been similar incidents inside this village of electrical sparks resulting in fires which were effectively controlled due to the presence of craftsmen on site. But now because we are no longer there, this has happened. This is our anger,” Ifeanyi Obi, a crafts dealer lamented. A security guard at the gate, who pleaded anonymity, said that the fire service was contacted immediately the fire started. “Some people attempted to come in, but we were afraid of hooligans using the situation to loot and steal items from the shops. However, some of us attempted to control the fire, but it got out of our control because the shops’ roof was made of dried grass,” he said. The Abuja Art and Crafts Village which was previously a property of the Federal Capital Territory in care of the Social Development Secretariat (SDS) was transferred to the NCAC which now reportedly owns the Certificate of Occupancy on the property that is decades old and houses artisans and craftsmen who have long existed and did businesses there. Also in the year, the exit door loomed for Mr Folusho FolarinCoker as the Director-General of the NTDC, as he may well have survived the coup staged by his staff who openly demonstrated against him over allegations bothering on mismanagement and misappropriation, last November. While some observers believe the protests were stage-managed by outside forces bent on removing him from the position, others posit that the embattled Coker is the architect of his own problems having earlier falling out with many stakeholder associations who in turn accused him of reneging on agreements reached with them, as well as encroaching on private sector operations instead of creating an enabling environment for a level laying field for all operators and also improving on the shortcomings in the industry.


The Oracle Today

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Wednesday January 10, 2018

AVIATION

2017: Aviation slowing recovering By VICTOR NZE

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he country’s aviation sector beyond the ever recurring labour crises, flight delays, shortcomings in infrastructure, and government’s ill-advised decisions, appeared to have taken a back seat in the year 2017 as appreciable improvements were recorded both by the government and the airline operators. The face-off between labour unions and the federal government over the concession agreement for the four viable airports in the country, namely; the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, the Port Harcourt International Airport Omagba, and the Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, continued into the year as protests dominated discourse all through the year pitching the various labour bodies in the country with the Minister of State for Aviation,

Senator Hadi Sirika. The controversial concession plans has dogged the tenure of Hadi Sirika since his appointment two years as Minister of State for Aviation, when the arrangement was first announced to stakeholders, as well as the plethora of meetings which followed aimed at wooing the various parties. Originally listed for concessions were the country’s high revenue yielding airports in Port Harcourt, Kano, Lagos and Abuja, which committees including; a Project Steering Committee, and a Project Delivery Committee, have already been inaugurated with a directive to commence implementation of the process. However, despite the outcome of previous meetings and negotiations yet unresolved, the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in 2017 moved ahead to announce that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the concession of both the MMIA and NAIA airports to ‘im-

prove their efficiency and service delivery.’ “We are working hard to make the airports more passenger friendly, but then we have several issues. Infrastructure is in a terrible state and we know that public sector has a poor record on maintenance of facilities. “Partnership with the private sector is not only a policy, it is the most sensible thing to do and our approach is to engage, work collaboratively to take criticisms and suggestions seriously and to respond,” Osinbajo said. Commenting, Comrade Ahmed Danjuma, Chairman Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) said concession was not the way out of the present challenges facing the agency. Ahmed said misplacement of priority and politicians’ intervention in the running of the system by flooding the agencies especial-

•Med-View’s Executive Director, Business Development and Commercials, Mr. Isiaq Na’Allah (right) and Fatima Bukar, a Senior Legal Officer to National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) during the signing of an agreement at NEMA’s headquarters in Abuja.

Air Peace plans route, fleet expansions

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ir Peace has pledged to end the air travel woes of most underserved destinations in Nigeria and the West Coast of Africa and offer the flying public a preferred alternative on some key international routes in 2018. Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, Mr. Allen Onyema gave the assurance at the airline’s end-of-year management session held on December 27 in Lagos to review the airline’s flight operations in 2017. Commenting on the carrier’s operations in 2017, Onyema insisted that the airline deserved commendations for rescuing the Nigerian aviation industry and giving air travellers hope in the period under review. He said he was quite satisfied that Air Peace was able to expand its fleet to 24 aircraft despite the

economic downturn the country and its aviation sector experienced in 2017. He attributed the airline’s success in the three years of its existence to the unflinching support of the flying public and the quality leadership of its management team. The Air Peace boss said the airline would remain grateful to its customers for their patronage over the years, urging the flying public to continue to trust the carrier’s services. Air Peace, he assured, would continue to strive to sustain its uncompromising approach to safety, prioritisation of the comfort of its customers and job creation. The airline, Onyema however said, still had a lot of grounds to cover in its vision to transform air travel experience in Nigeria, the West Coast of Africa and the Dubai, Guangzhou-China, London, Houston, Mumbai and Johannesburg

routes. He charged the carrier’s management to brace up for the challenge of implementing the airline’s plan to deepen air connectivity on many routes in the North of Nigeria, including Kano and Yola, and other domestic routes. He regretted that industrial unrest by Air Traffic Control in Senegal compelled Air Peace to suspend the launch of its Freetown, Banjul and Dakar routes planned for December 15, 2017. Onyema, however, assured that the carrier would soon announce a new date for the launch of the three suspended West Coast routes. He said the airline, which commenced flight operations to AccraGhana on February 16, 2017, was determined to expand to about nine destinations on the West Coast of Africa.

ly FAAN with workers employed without consulting the management of the organisations. The union leader explained that most of the airports were built for political reasons without considering the economic benefits to the nation adding that most of these airports depended largely on the viable airports to survive. According to Ahmed, airports in other countries survive because they are maintained with the revenue generated by the same airport saying that reverse remained the case in Nigeria. “Airports across the globe survive because they sustain the airport with generated revenue by those airports but in Nigeria, we use the generated revenue from international Airport Lagos, to maintain others.” Also, Secretary General Association of the Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP), Comrade Abdulrasaq Saidu, pointed out that the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Airspace Management Authority (NAMA), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (Nimet) resolved at their Zonal Council meeting Tuesday, to oppose any form of concession in view of past and present corrupt tendencies being applied to favour few individuals “We say no to it and shall fight it with the last blood of our Union, we wrote to PMB (President Muhammadu Buhari) of the danger to security of Nigeria. We asked questions unanswered which must be given full details,” Saidu said. Stressing that almost all the revenue points at the airports have been concessioned, Saidu raised the alarm that that nothing was left. However, Chairman of Air Peace , Mr Allen Onyema, backed the Federal Government move, saying that the decision was a step in the right direction on the grounds that the ‘Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 that is being run privately, is the best airport in Nigeria.’ “Government has no business in doing business and that is the truth: If the Federal Government now decides to concession the airports, that is the right thing to do. Look at the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 that is being run privately, it is the best airport in Nigeria,” Onyema said. Onyema noted that the only fear was that some of the workers might lose their jobs due to the fact that the investors would streamline operations to cut cost. For, Chairman of Century Security, Group Capt John Ojukutu (rtd), however, there was no clear terms as to what the government want to concession, even as he called on the government to declare the areas it wants to concession, warning that the airside was a no-go area for them to concession. The former Airport Commandant urged the government to invite the corporate sector players in the country to take over the management of the airport terminal buildings, even as he urged that anyone taking over the Lagos Airport and Abuja airports must also take responsibility of smaller airports under these two airports.

He queried the rationale behind the concession of only two airports out of the over 22 airports across the country, calling for the concession of all the airports in the country, noting that Federal Government was not concentrating on the real issues in the aviation sector. However, the bright side remains the announcement by the Nigerian Civil aviation Authority (NCAA), through its spokesperson, Mr Sam Adurogboye, in January that Nigeria had climbed to Level 3 State Safety Programme (SSP) Implementation Process, joining countries like the U.S. and the United Kingdom in this echelon. This in addition to the certification of the MMIA in Lagos and NAIA in Abuja by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) through the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), as well as the runway rehabilitation of the NAIA, and the commencement of the runway project of the long-maligned Akanu Ibiam Airport in Enugu which commenced in December by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN). Perhaps, one of the biggest fallouts of the airport runway rehabilitation was the diversion of flights to the under-utilized Kaduna airport that has now seen the facility continue to attract the patronage of airline including the Ethiopian Airlines, which assured its commitment to remain on the route. In addition, the United Statesbased carrier, Delta Air Lines, announced its readiness to open a new Lagos-New York route to complement the existing LagosAtlanta route, which it said was in fulfillment of its target to expand the Nigeria-United States market. However, issues revolving around airport security and baggage handling blighted the year’s achievement for the industry in the face of luggage thefts that rented the media space in December following latest complaints by top music acts in the country who raised the alarm over loss of their personal effects to which the FAAN unprofessionally labeled as ‘baseless.’ While the FAAN may have come under heavy stick for its shocking reaction to the incident, complaints over lost luggage at the nation’s airports have become a recurring one which the recent directive by Vice President Osinbajo’s on Ease on Doing Business at the airports should expectedly have addressed in the year. For some indigenous carriers, 2017 was a positive one as though the recurring complaints of overtaxation remained, they also found time to celebrate industry achievements. Dana received its long-expected Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) Certification of the International Air Transport Association (IATA); as well as new entrants, Air Peace, all in 2017. This is also as another indigenous carrier, Med-View, commenced international flight operations to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, with plans to head to Europe. Air Peace also expanded operations across the West African sub-region with commencement of the Freetown-Banjul-Dakar flights.


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Wednesday January 10, 2018

INSURANCE & PENSION 577 firms bid for NNPC insurance renewal programme

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he Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) consolidated on its tradition of openness and on Tuesday with the public harvesting and opening of 577 bids submitted by firms seeking to secure the insurance renewal contract for the Corporation’s oil and nonoil assets. Speaking at the event, NNPC Group General Manager, Risk Management and Insurance, Mr. Modupe Bameke stated that apart from being a requirement of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), the public opening of bids has become part of the Corporation’s tradition aimed at promoting transparency. “The essence of this public bid opening is to ensure that the Corporation complies strictly with the provisions of the Bureau of Public Procurement Act (BPP). All the bids will be opened in the presence of everybody to ensure that all entries are properly captured in line with the transparency principle of the NNPC,” Mr. Bameke said. Shedding more light on the process, the Group General Manager, Supply Chain Management, Mr. Shehu Liman, informed that the public opening bids measure was aimed at providing a level playing field for all bidding companies. “The idea is to select broking and insurance companies that are credible and capable with track records of performance. What this means is that we are going to eliminate all those transactions that are not necessary,” Mr. Liman stated. The breakdown of bidders shows that 245 brokers tendered for oil assets, 251 brokers tendered for non-oil assets while 37 insurance companies tendered for oil assets and 44 tendered for non-oil assets. Representatives of the companies which tendered bids for the NNPC Insurance renewal programme in whose presence the bids were opened applauded NNPC for sustaining the culture of transparency and accountability through the exercise. The bid opening event had in attendance officials of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP); Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI); Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB); and National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) as well as members of the civil society who served as independent assessors.

Ambode welcomes prompt payment of retirement benefits

Stories by VICTOR NZE

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ife of the Lagos State Governor, Bolanle Ambode, has commended the State government for making the payment of retirement benefits a priority, just as she applauded the regular payment of workers’ salaries. Mrs Ambode who gave the commendation at the 46th retirement benefit bond certificate presentation to 286 retirees in Alausa, Ikeja, recently, further noted that it took a focused and

purpose-driven administration to prioritise the entitlements of workers, who spent the better parts of their lives in the service of the State government. “With gratitude and immense appreciation, I commend the efforts of the Lagos State Government for rising to this important occasion of fixing the entitlements of these great citizens, who had spent the better parts of their lives in the service of the State,” she said. Mrs. Ambode recalled that the 18th edition of the programme

took place shortly after the inauguration of the current administration, noting that several bond certificate presentations had taken place since then, bringing the latest edition to the 46th. She condoled with the families of retirees who had transited and urged the beneficiaries to pay good attention to their health and avoid frivolous spending. In his address, the State Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pensions, Dr. Akintola Benson Oke, disclosed that in less than three years of the

current administration, not less than N33 billion had been paid to more than 8,000 retirees as accrued pension rights. Speaking earlier, the DirectorGeneral of the State Pension Commission, LASPEC, Mrs. Folashade Onanuga, noted that the Ambode’s administration gave first line charge treatment to pension contributions, adding that both employer and employee contributions were remitted into the retirement savings accounts of beneficiaries.

Kano Zakkat Commission disburses N20m to needy in 2017

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•Pensioners at the just concluded North Central Zone verification exercise of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD)in Abuja

PTAD concludes verification of civil servants in FCT T

he Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) has concluded the verification of civil service pensioners in the North Central Zone at three centres in Abuja. Executive Secretary of PTAD, Mrs Sharon Ikeazor, described the exercise, which is the final for civil service pensioners, as seamless. “This will be last and final verification, bearing in mind that we inherited payroll and data from the office of the Head of Civil Service. We started verification of civil service pensioners in 2015, with the six geopolitical zones, North Central is the last zone, so, FCT, Nasarawa and Niger states are the final we are doing. With this, we have concluded verification for civil service pensioners,“ said Ikeazor. The PTAD boss who explained that the essence of the verification was for PTAD

to develop credible data base and eradicate the matters on pensioners embarking on incessant verification, said PTAD was verifying maximum of 500 pensioners daily in the FCT centres. “Every day in each centre, we can handle 500 pensioners in one day; if you notice our processes, there is a lot of data entry. When the staff is overworked and overwhelmed, they tend to make mistakes. “And we can’t afford to make mistake, that is why we have three centres; one in Maitama, one in Gwarimpa and here in Area 11. We have made buses available for pensioners to choose any centre of their choice; we can’t take more than 500 for each day so that the data we are computing is accurate.“ On findings from the recent verification, she said “some of my findings is that there are

few pensioners who were taken off the payroll. “With the exercise, genuine pensioners are now being restored on the payroll; we also discovered pensioners who were taken off the payroll due to lack of BVN on their account in 2016.They are now presenting their BVN and we are placing them back on the payroll.“ She also said that pensioners who had been verified and pay-rolled would receive their December payment before 25, adding that those who just got verified would have to wait in three months’ time to receive their payment. “Those we have just verified, who have never been on payroll, will have to wait because after the field exercise, their papers will go through computation, the auditors will have to pass them, so we are talking in another three to four months.

he Kano State Zakkat and Endowment Commission has disbursed N20 million as alms to the needy from January to date. The Director General of the commission, Alhaji Safiyanu Gwagwarwa revealed in Kano on Friday that the money which was collected from the wealthy Muslims in the state, was disbursed to over 250 lessprivileged persons across the state. “We were able to collect N20 million and same was disbursed to the poorest of the poor in the state. “The aim of Zakkat is to support the less-privileged in the society to reduce poverty among them and discourage them from begging,” Gwagwarwa said. He said the commission had also distributed 300 bags of maize 100 bags of Sorghum and 50 bags of millet within the period under review. He said the commission had received donation of food items from wealthy Muslims and traders including rice, spaghetti, macaroni, Maize and millet which were also distributed to the needy in the state. According to him, the commission also awarded scholarship to some indigent students in addition to offsetting medical bills of a number of patients who had no means of paying the bills. He enjoined well-to-do Muslims in the state to ensure prompt payment of their zakkat to enable the commission distribute it to the needy to alleviate their sufferings. The director-general commended the state government for its continued support to the commission.


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Wednesday January 10, 2018

INSURANCE & PENSION

est local reinsurer, and continues to expand its Pan-African business. However, its core markets are small by international standards, and business growth is largely dependent on local regulators’ initiatives to promote insurance penetration and the utilisation of local reinsurance capacity. Business is concentrated by product and geography, although approximately one-third of its gross written premiums were derived from African markets outside of Ghana in 2016. Ghana Re has a high risk profile driven by its exposure to political,

economic and financial system risk in the countries in which it operates (mainly Ghana, Kenya, Zambia and Morocco). Risk management capabilities are weak, albeit improving, when compared with the company’s risk profile. Meanwhile, A.M. Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of B (Fair) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “bb+” of East Africa Reinsurance Company Limited Kenya. The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) remains stable. The ratings reflect EARe’s balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorises as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, limited business profile, and marginal enterprise risk management. EARe has generated robust and relatively stable overall earnings over recent years, reporting a five-year average return on equity of 15% (2012-2016). With support from its shareholders, EARe has retained the majority of these profits to support the growth of its operations. EARe’s non-life underwriting result was marginal in 2016 due to its exposure to a number of moderately large losses; however, the company’s overall earnings benefited from its strongly performing life reinsurance business and stable investment results. A.M. Best expects EARe to report robust results for 2017, and to maintain risk-adjusted capitalisation supportive of A.M. Best’s strongest assessment via the retention of earnings and strengthening of its retrocession protection against catastrophe losses. An offsetting rating factor is EARe’s modest competitive position within its regional reinsurance market. The company has a relatively small market share, follows on the majority of its reinsurance treaties, and competes against reinsurers that are typically larger and that often command mandatory reinsurance cessions. At the same time, political and economic conditions in Kenya continue to be offsetting rating factors.

on industrial relations practices. The approach by the State Government is not a ruse or gimmick. Rather, it is well-engrained in the fabric of the industrial relations policies of the government. There is a number of industrial relations platforms such as the JNC. I am delighted to note that the existence of the JNC and the modalities for its functioning continue to constitute a unique model for attaining and maintaining industrial peace

and harmony in Lagos State. “We must also bear in mind that the delivery of value to citizens is the fundamental objective of any democratically-elected government. In today’s world, however, the delivered value must be delivered per excellence. This is chiefly because citizens have become sophisticated and exposed to the standards of governance in other climes such that their expectations have been conditioned to demand and insist on compliance with global best practices at all levels of governance. Meeting these expectations is the central challenge for governments in the developing world. “Governor Ambode’s administration has boldly embraced this challenge in Lagos State and is executing a reasoned-out plan to transform governance and its processes in such a way that the ever-changing and complex expectations of citizens can be admirably met. The administration is poised to examine those areas, processes and institutions and practices that need to be overhauled or remodeled in order to achieve this end. The Public Service must, therefore, commit to aligning with global best practices”, he added.

•Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions, Dr. Akintola Benson-Oke (middle); receiving the CIPM-HR BEST PRACTICE AWARD (Public Sector), on behalf of Lagos State Government, with the Lagos State Head of Service, Mrs. Folasade Adesoye, Acting Chairman, House Committee on Establishments, Training and Public Service, Hon. Adedayo Famakinwa, the Director General, Office of Transformation, Creativity and Innovation, Mr. Toba Otusanya; Permanent Secretary, Civil Service Pensions Office, Mr. Senayon Adeola Hundeyin; Director General, PSSDC, Mr.Senukon Olufunmi Ajose-Harrison, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Establishments, Training and Pensions, Mrs. Clara Omotilewa Ibirogba; and Director General, Lagos State Pension Commission, Mrs. Folashade Onanuga at the 2017 CIPM Awards Night

A.M. Best affirms credit ratings of Ghana, Kenya Reinsurance firms Stories by VICTOR NZE

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.M. Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of B (Fair) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “bb” of Ghana Reinsurance Company Limited (Ghana Re). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable. The ratings reflect Ghana Re’s balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorises as very strong, as well as its neutral operating performance, limited business profile and weak enterprise risk management.

Ghana Re’s very strong balance sheet is underpinned by risk-adjusted capitalisation, which, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), is at the strongest level. Prospective capital requirements are driven by the company’s aggressive growth strategy and a high level of asset risk due to the concentration of its investments in Ghana. Ghana Re has a track record of positive operating results, which are considered adequate when the high level of inflation in its key markets is taken into account. Under-

writing results have been volatile, principally due to weather-related losses. In 2016, the company reported a return on equity of 11.8%, underpinned by a high investment return, foreign exchange gains and a small underwriting profit (combined ratio of 97%). A.M. Best expects prospective performance to benefit from double-digit investment returns, principally derived from the company’s fixed income portfolio and short term deposits. Ghana Re has a good competitive position in Ghana as the larg-

Union leaders commend Lagos for improved workers’ welfare T

rade Union leaders in Lagos State have hailed the State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode for improved welfare of workers. Chairman, Lagos State Public Service Joint Negotiating Council (NJC), Comrade Obafemi Oyenubi who spoke at the Retreat organised by the State Ministry of Establishments, Training, And Pensions for Trade Union Leaders in Lagos State at Epe, Lagos said the state has continued to lead other States in the country by showing how workers should be treated. He said although there are issues that still need to be resolve, the State remains the best labour friendly state in Nigeria. He said: “We appreciate our governor for changing Lagos from mega city to smart city. Truly Lagos is positively moving. It is gratifying to note that our state is rated the best labour friendly state in Nigeria. There is mutual understanding and relationship for peaceful coexistence that exist between the unions and the state government. Though, there are issues to that still need to be addressed, as far as we are and Nigeria are concerned, Lagos remains the best labour friendly state. “Our government through the

governor’s efforts ensures that staff welfare is a priority and this is the joy of those of us that are labour leaders in the state. Governor Ambode takes salary payment seriously but welfare is even more paramount to him. There is a lot of difference between salary and welfare. It is not only salaries that workers need to check. There are a lot of other things that are beneficiary to us than even giving us N60,000 minimum wage and the governor has created through his infrastructural development an enabling environment for us to work.” Commissioner for the Ministry, Dr. Akintola Benson while speaking on “Industrial Harmony and Sustainable Productivity in Lagos State” at the event called on the Union and other stakeholders in the human resource and industrial relations arm of the state to be proactive and not rest on their oars. “We all can agree that human resources are rightly regarded as the bedrock of an organization since organizations are overwhelmingly dependent on human capacity for the supply of physical labour, technical and professional skills, which are germane for effective and

•Governor Ambode efficient planning and implementation of development policies, programmes, projects, and daily activities. “We all can also agree that industrial harmony refers to a friendly and cooperative agreement on working relationships between employers and employees for their mutual benefit. “In Lagos State, we are proud to note that there is in place, a well thought-out and sequential model


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The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10, 2018

Crime

Wanted robber killed in in-law’s house on Xmas day T

he escaped member of armed robbery gang who shot and injured the former DPO ogbere Mr Adeyinka Akingbade has been shot dead during an encounter with police operatives at Ijebu Ife Ogun state. The suspect who escaped arrest and fled to Delta state after shooting the DPO had been on the police wanted list and the command has been on his trail since then. Luck however ran against him on Christmas day when police operatives received information that he was sighted in a beer parlour at Itawade area of Ijebu ife. Upon the information, the policemen we gathered swiftly moved to the place, but before getting there, he had left the place. He was however traced to his in law’s house where the police operatives caught up with him. Having realized that the game is up, he brought out a pistol and started firing at the policemen. The operatives were left with no other alternative than to fire back consequence upon which he fell to the superior fire power of the police. Recovered from him are a locally made pistol, a matchet, assorted charms and a Toyota Highlander with two different registration numbers. It will be recalled that the former DPO Ogbere was shot and seriously injured by the gang during one of their robbery operation at Itele Ijebu where the DPO has gone to engage them in a gun battle. The injured officer is still recuperating in the hospital till date. Meanwhile, the commissioner of police CP Ahmed Iiyasu has commended the resilience of his men in making sure that the last member of the gang was finally brought down. He therefore noted that this is a warning signal to any would be criminal that no crime committed in Ogun state will go undetected. Police rescues passengers from highway robbers at Odogbulu A distress call by members of the public saved passengers who travelled for the yuletide from being robbed by armed robbers who blocked the Sagamu / Ijebu-ode expressway. Already four member of the deadly armed robbery gang have been arrested by men of Ogun State Police Command at Odogbolu junction along Sagamu / Ijebu-ode expressway at about 11.30pm of December 9,2017. According to the police Ogun state command the arrest of the robbery suspects followed a distress call by members of the public that the hoodlums have blocked the highway and dispossessing people of their belongings. The robbers have succeeded in snatching a Lexus RX 330 jeep with Reg.No KSF 509 CV from one of their victims. It was gathered that, upon the distress call, the Commissioner of Police CP Ahmed Iliyasu ordered the Officer in-Charge of •Continued on Page 32

Father kills daughter over wife’s alleged infidelity Stories by XAVIER NDAH

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middle-aged man has been arrested for allegedly killing his six-month old baby over suspicion that the wife was having secret affairs with her ex-husband. The Oracle gathered that the baby’s mother, Omowunmi Teleda, had, on Christmas eve, December 24, 2017, sought permission from the husband, Andrew Koku, to visit her sick first child from her previous marriage, leaving the tot, Precious Koku, in the care of the father. It was gathered that barely an hour later, the woman got back to their Ayedere residence in Obada area of Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital where she found her baby stone dead. Stunned at the development, she was said to have screamed and accused her husband of deliberately killing the baby out of jealousy that she went to her former husband’s house. It was gathered that she conse-

quently lodged a complaint at Adigbe Divisional Headquarters of the police, following which, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), CSP Sunday Oladipo, detailed some detectives to the scene and arrested the suspect. Confirming the incident, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Abimbola Oyeyemi, stated that “On interrogation, the suspect confessed to the crime but claimed to have suspected the wife of planning to dump him for her exhusband”. Koku was said to have further argued that, he decided to eliminate the baby for fear of his presumed inability to cope with her in the event that his wife abandoned her for him. Meanwhile Oyeyemi confirmed that the state Commissioner of Police, CP Ahmed Iliyasu, had given directives that the case be transferred to the Homicide Section of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID, for proper investigation and prosecution of the suspect.

•Suspect

Police rescue passengers at Odogbulu

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distress call by members of the public saved passengers who travelled for the yuletide from being robbed by armed robbers who blocked the Sagamu / Ijebu-ode expressway. Already four member of the deadly armed robbery gang have been arrested by men of Ogun State Police Command at Odogbolu junction along Sagamu / Ijebuode expressway at about 11.30pm of December 9,2017. According to the police Ogun state command the arrest of the robbery suspects followed a distress call by members of the public that the hoodlums have blocked the highway and dispossessing people of their belongings. The robbers have succeeded in snatching a Lexus RX 330 jeep with Reg.No KSF 509 CV from one of their victims. It was gathered that, upon the distress call, the Commissioner of Police CP Ahmed Iliyasu ordered the Officer in-Charge of FSARS DSP Uba Adams to go after the hoodlums and bring them to justice. Police Public Relations Officer Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Abimbola Oyeyemi said “In compliance with the CP’s order, the FSARS Operatives moved swiftly to the scene, but on sighting the Policemen, the robbers opened fire on them while the Operatives also engaged them in a gun duel. “At the end of the encounter, four members of the gang namely; Israel Adams, Opeyemi Okegbenro, Ali Chibike, Patrick

•Suspects Nwandagba, were arrested while others escaped through the nearby bush. “The same gang had earlier on the same day attacked and shot one Policeman Oluwatobi Iwata attached to PMF17 in Ondo State and one Samuel Olatunji who later died on the way to the hospital”.

Oyeyemi said items recovered from them include one Pump Action Gun, Two Locally made Double barreled Pistol, Four Live Cartridges, the Snatched Lexus RX330 Jeep with Reg.No KSF 509 CV. According to him, efforts are on to apprehend the fleeing members of the gang.

Man killed for allegedly stealing mobile telephone A 21-year-old man Isreal Oluranti is now under interrogation for allegedly killing a 18-year old man to death over a missing mobile telephone. Police source said the incident occurred at Ope-Ilu area of Agbado in Ifo Local Government area of Ogun State on a Christmas day when Oloranti could not find his telephone set. It was gathered that the suspect had accused the deceased Farooq Olusegun of stealing the

telephone and the incident which started mildly with an argument between the duo snowballed into a fight. The suspect was said to have ferociously raved around in search of a bottle reached for an empty beer bottle, broke it and thereafter pierced the victim on the chest. It was gathered that the hapless Farooq, slumped and died on the spot, after losing much blood as those

who were at the scene deserted for fear of being arrested by the police for questioning. Our source said after a long delay efforts by some who were enlightened to save the life of the victim, failed as attempt to rush him to a nearby hospital, yielded no result, as he gave up the ghost before getting to the hospital. The late Farooq’s father, Kolawole Abiola, had to lodge the complaint at Agbado Divisional Headquarters of the

police following which the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), CSP Omonijo Sunday, detailed some of his detectives to the scene, where the suspect was promptly arrested. The Oracle further gathered that, the state Commissioner of Police, CP Ahmed Iliyasu, has ordered that the case be transferred immediately to the Homicide Section of State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, for discreet investigation


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The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10, 2018

Crime

Man, 42, arrested with dead baby in sack Stories by XAVIER NDAH

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middle-aged man has been arrested by the Police in Ogun State, for being in possession of a lifeless body of a baby concealed in a sack. The suspect, Ajiboye Emmanuel, currently held at Isara Police Division, was nabbed at Sapade Motor Park near Sagamu on Friday, December 22, 2017, while trying to board a bus to Lagos. Ogun state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Abimbola Oyeyemi,said the nauseating odour oozing out of the polythene bag the suspect was carrying aroused the suspicion of people around the motor park who quickly alerted the police. “Upon the information, The Divisional Police Officer, (DPO) of Isara, CSP Yusuf Taiwo, promptly led policemen to the scene where the suspect was arrested. Police said “On searching the bag, detectives discovered alifeless body of a baby”, the PPRO said, adding that the suspect could not offer any useful information as to how he came about the corpse other than that he was on transit from Offa in Kwara state to Lagos for the purported burial of the corpse. Meanwhile, the commissioner of police CP Ahmed Iliyasu has ordered the immediate transfer of the suspect to homicide section of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department for

proper investigation. Police rescues passengers from highway robbers at Odogbulu A distress call by members of the public saved passengers who travelled for the yuletide from being robbed by armed robbers who blocked the Sagamu / Ijebu-ode expressway. Already four member of the deadly armed robbery gang have been arrested by men of Ogun State Police Command at Odogbolu junction along Sagamu / Ijebuode expressway at about 11.30pm of December 9,2017. According to the police Ogun state command the arrest of the robbery suspects followed a distress call by members of the public that the hoodlums have blocked the highway and dispossessing people of their belongings. The robbers have succeeded in snatching a Lexus RX 330 jeep with Reg. No KSF 509 CV from one of their victims. It was gathered that, upon the distress call, the Commissioner of Police CP Ahmed Iliyasu ordered the Officer in-Charge of FSARS DSP Uba Adams to go after the hoodlums and bring them to justice. Police Public Relations Officer Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Abimbola Oyeyemi said “In compliance with the CP’s order, the FSARS Operatives moved swiftly to the scene, but on sighting the Policemen, the robbers opened fire on them while the Operatives also engaged them in a gun duel. “At the end of the encounter,

...killed in in-law’s house on Xmas day •Continues from Page 31 FSARS DSP Uba Adams to go after the hoodlums and bring them to justice. Police Public Relations Officer Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Abimbola Oyeyemi said “In compliance with the CP’s order, the FSARS Operatives moved swiftly to the scene, but on sighting the Policemen, the robbers opened fire on them while the Operatives also engaged them in a gun duel. “At the end of the encounter, four members of the gang namely; Israel Adams, Opeyemi Okegbenro, Ali Chibike, Patrick Nwandagba, were arrested while others escaped through the nearby bush. “The same gang had earlier on the same day attacked and shot one Policeman Oluwatobi Iwata attached to PMF17 in Ondo State and one Samuel Olatunji who later died on the way to the hospital”. Oyeyemi said items recovered from them include one Pump Action Gun, Two Locally made Double barreled Pistol, Four Live Cartridges, the Snatched Lexus RX330 Jeep with Reg.No KSF 509 CV. According to him, efforts are on to apprehend the fleeing members of the gang.

four members of the gang namely; Israel Adams, Opeyemi Okegbenro, Ali Chibike, Patrick Nwandagba, were arrested while others escaped through the nearby bush. “The same gang had earlier on the same day attacked and shot one Policeman Oluwatobi Iwata attached to PMF17 in Ondo State and one Samuel Olatunji who later died

on the way to the hospital”. Oyeyemi said items recovered from them include one Pump Action Gun, Two Locally made Double barreled Pistol, Four Live Cartridges, the Snatched Lexus RX330 Jeep with Reg.No KSF 509 CV. According to him, efforts are on to apprehend the fleeing members of the gang.

Last minute rush lands drug traffickers in NDLEA cells

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he National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Command has intercepted seven drug traffickers in their bid to make-it-quick, ostensibly for the Yuletide celebrations. The suspects were caught up with the dragnet of the agency with various types of illicit drugs within the days preceding Christmas, as they attempted to smuggle varying prohibited drugs into the country. Making this known was the Principal Staff Officer, Public Affairs Unit of the agency, Jonah Achema, who gave names of the arrested suspects as Toriola Latifu Ayodele, Aniemeka Victor, Mpecheni Abel Kabelo, Aneakee Valentine Chukwubuikem, Ugochukwu Anthony, Okeke Chikelue and Okeke Onyeka Henry. According to him one of the suspect, Ayodele was arrested with 6.620 kilograms of Ephedrine concealed in the false bottoms of two suitcases on Ethiopian Airline to South Africa. In a contrast, Arinzechukwu was arrested with 8. 200 kilograms of

The suspects and their exhibits Cocaine on the South African Airways from Johannesburg into Nigeria. The illicit substance was concealed in the false bottoms of two suitcases. Kabelo, a South African was ar-

rested with 2.400 kilograms of Heroin concealed in the false bottom of both Dove soap packs and suit cases aboard South African Airline from Johannesbourg. Chukwubuikem originated his own jour-

ney from São Paulo, Brazil en route Johannesburg but was arrested upon landing in Lagos with1.980 kilograms of Cocaine concealed inside cosmetic products. Ugochukwu Anthony was ar-

rested with 5.520 kilograms of Heroin on Ethiopian Airline from Sudan -Jubbah through Addis Ababa. The drug was concealed in the false bottom of suitcases. Chukwulue was arrested with 4.120 kilograms of Heroin from Johannesburg while Onyeka Henry was intercepted with 1.520 kilograms of Methamphetamine on his way to Indonesia. He concealed the illicit substance in a Jerri can custard container. Achema said penalty for drug trafficking in Indonesia is death. Commenting on the arrests, Ahmed Garba, NDLEA/MMIA Commander noted that the stories of the drug traffickers have not changed. “Their story is either that they do not have a job, their friend who gave the packages did not tell them the content, or that the devil pushed them into it. But the truth is that there is greed and deliberate intention to commit the crime because of the money involved. I wish to urge Nigerians not to risk their lives since there are other legitimate businesses that are more rewarding than drugs”, Garba maintained.


33

The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10, 2018

Love and Living

...With Ireto Temofeh

MODEL OF THE WEEK

LOVE NEWS

Meghan wraps herself in a £1,000 Sentaler coat for her first Royal Christmas

• Pregnant Kate shines in £3,000 Miu Miu coat

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eghan Markle shined in a £1,000 camel coat, as she made her Sandringham debut on fiance Prince Harry’s arm for the Royal Christmas service, while Kate matched her in the fashion stakes with a £3,000 tartan Miu Miu coat. The Suits actress stepped out in the wide collar camel wrap coat, made by Canadian luxury brand Sentaler, which tapered in around the waist and flared out at the hem, for the St Mary Magdalene Church Christmas service. Matching her camel coat with a chestnut-brown felt hat, Meghan wore a pair of coordinating £630 Stuart Weitzman’s Hiline high-heeled suede boots. Walking hand-in-hand with her betrothed, Meghan joined Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince William as they greeted Christmas well

wishers waiting outside. She completed her look with a £900 round handbag in brown leather and caramel suede with a gold coloured handle made by Chloe, while a pair of Maison Birk diamond earrings added a touch of sparkle to Ms Markle’s classy ensemble. They are the same £3,500 Snowflake design earrings she wore to her Buckingham Palace dinner last week. It is thought her brown hat may be a Jane Taylor piece, a milliner popular with Kate. Meghan was also seen giving pictured giving her first curtsy to the Queen after the service today. Prince Harry sported an understated ensemble in a grey, slimline Hugo Boss pea coat. The younger of Prince Charles’s sons opted to leave his facial hair longer for the service.

Name: Eve Tel: 08089728173 • If you want to be our next ORACLE GIRL, e-mail or forward your photos/data to ireto007@yahoo.com. Call 07031028714.

ODD NEWS

Overeaten? The 7 ways to ease painful, trapped wind according to gastroenterologists

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rom turkey with all the trimmings to mince pies and rich Christmaspudding, we all know how easy it is to overdo it at Christmas. A splurge is fun and games until the painful, trapped wind wind kicks in, contributing to a bloated, uncomfortable tummy. And while there’s over-the-counter remedies you can take, you’ll be keen to do all you can to get some relief. SELF spoke to gastroenterologists Dr Jamile Wakim-Fleming from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and Dr Kyle Staller from Massachusetts General Hospital to ask their top tips to help you overcome the dreaded flatulence this festive season. WHAT CAUSES TRAPPED WIND? Wind often happens as a normal part of your digestive process. Excess flatulence occurs when food fails to breakdown properly in the stomach and small intestine and ends up undigested in the bowels. Bacteria in the bowel process these undigested sugars, producing gasses – namely hydrogen sulphide

which is smelly. Certain foods, like cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, are more likely to cause gas than others. However, everyone has their own triggers. Food intolerance can lead to bloating and the main offenders are wheat or gluten and dairy products.

take big gulps o at a time, warns Dr Wakim-Fleming. Avoid using straws, drinking fizzy beveragesand chewing gum. Don’t talk and eat at the same time, sit down to eat (sitting upright and not slumped over), and chew with your mouth closed so that you’re not taking in excess air.

1. Sip water slowly If your mother swears by a glass of warm water to ease trapped wind then she knew what she was talking about. According to Dr Wakim-Fleming, this does two things. Firstly it can help to get any undigested foods to get moving through your digestive system. The walls of the intestines are lined with layers of muscle that contract as they move food through your digestive tract. So secondly, sipping water prevents them from contracting too quickly and strongly, creating painful spasms.

3. Get up and walk around It might feel like that last thing you want to do when you’re in agony, but some gentle exercise can help clear up painful gas and bloating. A quick walk or other gentle movement can work wonders. Try doing toe touch stretches to let gravity work to get the gas out of your body. Twisting exercises can help push air out of digestive system, this can be done in a chair or on the ground. Sit with your feet facing forward then rotate your torso to the right and reach around to hold back of the chair, then repeat other direction.

2. Reduce the amount of air you swallow Drinking water helps but don’t

4. Cut down on diary if you think it is the culprit One of the main symptoms of

lactose intolerance is bloating. But even if you aren’t intolerant, dairy is well known for causing indigestion and it’s possible you’ve overindulged on the cheeseboard and creamy Bailey’s. According to Dr Staller, many people in their twenties and thirties have symptoms and don’t suspect that it’s the dairy products. So if you suspect dairy is contributing to your painful wind, try cutting

it out for a few weeks – or at the very least, the rest of the day. 5. Drink peppermint tea Peppermint is said to relieve bloating by relaxing your muscles and allowing you to release any pent up gas or flatulence, says Dr Staller. It has a spasmolytic affect, meaning it can help your intestines from cramping – which is what increases wind.

Romantic Joke STUPID

A man comes home, finds his wife in bed with another man, and asks, “What is this?!?” The wife turns to her lover and says, “See, I told you he was stupid!”


34

The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10, 2018

The Law and You

With Barr. Ken Akpom 08162016410

Critical review of some sections of the Police Act II

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ome to think of it, do the IGP SARS really needs retraining as was the order of the IGP in his restructuring policy when the Police Act as well as the Administration of Criminal Justice Act are in place and handy for the Police to adhere to? To my opinion, I see that the misbehavior of this outfit. IGPSARS is based on the excessive powers given to it by the authorities that be. The impression built up in this outfit that they are above the Police authority/the Law of the land in their formation contributes greatly to the public outcry against it. They exhibit arrogances in their indiscriminate exhibition of arms and ammunitions even in the public. Even the way and manners of dressing and appearances of this outfit make one even ask the question what is the difference between the members of these outfit and the criminals they even go after. SARS personnel will be wearing ear-rings and exhibiting the attitudes of criminals. They may claim that to be one of their tactics of mixing up to obtain information about those criminals, but must somebody dress and behave like a mad man to curb and catch a mad person? The soldiers in their gallantries are known to be orderly in appearance and dressing even when going to war. It is my humble view that “discipline” is one of the major problems of the Police and SARS in particular and not training and re-training. I still repeat that it is very different and disastrous to try to straighten a dry crayfish. The only result is its cracking and piecing irreparably. Unbiased investigation into every allegation against any erring police personnel and especially the generally condemned SARS and the implementations of the appropriate sanctions as is already in the Police Act is what is needed. There are many unemployed graduates who are well groomed in both characters and in learning that are ready to do police proud if they are given employment opportunities by the authorizes. Why not give them the chance by removing the bad eggs in the system. A situation where only very few policemen and probably those who have no internal/external connections are sanctioned does not tell well of our police. Some of these policemen even abuse the rules in the statue books by allowing their personal selfish acts to mar their oath of offices. Some of the policemen, as we read and heard, are most often used by private individuals to commit crimes. This aspect of the behaviors of these policemen is not in training but their orientations and family backgrounds. Some of them do not have personal integrities and respects and even do not mind how/what the general public perceives of their persons and the large image of the Police Force that they belong to. If it is possible and which I think is except the national ideology of old experience in the field, those indicted bad ones either by any panel or court should be shown the way out, monitored closely so that they do not corrupt the society they are going into and if possible prosecuted for the crimes they committed. They should be made to pay individually and collectively any penalties or damages from courts or any administrative panels of inquires as a deterrent to others and bring about the required re-training. Those extracts of the police Act/Rules as I had earlier and now highlighted will be of great guide. Please, continue to enjoy your reading and I wish you merry Christmas and a more reformed and prosperous 2018 in advance. Part XIV, Section 309; DUTIES OF THE INSPECTOR-GENERAL (1) THE Inspector-General shall be charged with the supreme command of the Force and with the maintenance of public safety and public order. (2) The Inspector-General shall keep the President fully informed on the state of public security in the Federation. Section 314; GENERAL DUTIES OF OFFICER CONTROLLING DEPARTMENT The general duties of officers controlling Force Headquarters Departments are – (a) The direction, supervision and co-ordination of the work of the branches of their respective Departments (b) The standardization throughout the Force of the procedures relating to their respectively Departments; (c) The methodical review of all Standing Orders, Force Orders and other Force Instruction relative to the work of their respective Departments, and the submission to the Inspector-General for approval of such addition or amendments to such orders as they may from time to time consider necessary. Section 316; DUTIES OF COMMISSIONER OF POLICE FOR A STATE COMMAND (1) The Commissioner of Police for a police State command, subject to the control of the Inspector-General, shall be charged with the command and administrative of the State command to which he is appointed, and with the maintenance of force discipline in the area command.

The Commissioner of police shall be directly respon(2) sible to the Inspector-General for the preservation of the peace, the prevention and detection of crime, the prosecution of offenders, and for law enforcement generally in the area of responsibility of the police State command. (3) The commissioner of Police shall be responsible for ensuring that the Inspector-General is immediately informed of the commission of any serious offence within the police State command, and of apprehension of, or the occurrence of, any major disturbance of the peace within the State Command. (4) The general duties of the Commissioner include – (i) The co-ordination of the police work of the province or police division of the State command; (ii) The ensuring that the laws and the orders and instructions governing the force are properly observed in all the formation of the State command; (iii) The ensuring that Force returns and statistical reports called for by the officer of the Inspector-General are submitted punctually and in the correct form. (iv) The control and supervision of the supernumerary constables employed in the state Command, and subject to any necessary delegation of powers by the Nigeria Police Command, the enlistment of such supernumerary constables. (v) The control of the area command special constabulary detachments; (vi) Subject to any necessary delegations of power by the Nigeria Police Council, the appointment of the special constabulary superior police officers and inspectors for service in the State command. (vii) The regular inspection at six-months intervals of each Police Headquarters formation in the State Command, and the visiting at least once in every twelve months every police station and police post in the state command; (viii) The preparation and the forwarding to the Inspector-General on the due date, of confidential reports on the work and conduct of the superior police officers and inspectors under his command;

“Some of the policemen, as we read and heard, are most often used by private individuals to commit crimes. This aspect of the behaviors of these policemen is not in training but their orientations and family backgrounds.”

The recommending, to the Inspector-General, in rec(ix) ognition of outstanding services, of area command personnel for the award of medals, decorations, commendations and monetary awards, and the awarding to personnel of Commissioner’s commendations; (x) The re-engagement and the approving of the continued service of member of the rank and file serving under his command; (xi) Subject to any necessary delegation of powers by the Nigeria Police Council, the maintenance of the State command establishments of non-commissioned officers at the approved level by promotions from within the rank of the members of the rank and file serving in the police area command; (xii) Subject to the instructions of the Inspector-General, the direction of the posting and transfers within the area command of the superior police officers and inspectors under his command; (xiii) The postings and transfers within the area command of members of the rank and file serving in the State Command; (xiv) Subject to any necessary delegation of powers by the Nigeria Police council, and acting in accordance with the powers conferred upon him by any such delegation, adjudication of disciplinary offences, and of appeals against disciplinary convictions and punishments, and the review of disciplinary convictions and punishments; (xv) The scrutiny and annotation of all petitions addressed through him to the Inspector-General; (xvi) The approval, subject to the exigencies of the service, of leave applications submitted by superior officers and inspectors of the State command, and the maintaining of records of leave granted; (xvii) The forwarding to the Inspector-General, for the computation gratuities and of pensions of the relevant documents in all cases of discharged from the Force of members of the rank and file serving in the area command; (xviii) The supervision of the Police State Command Refresher Course School, and the selection of personnel for attendance at the promotional and refresher courses held at the school, and the supervision of the drawing up of the training syllabuses for such promotional and refresher courses; (xix) The systematic instruction of the junior officers under his command in their professional duties, and ensuring that facilities are granted to such officers to prepare for the prescribed examinations. CODE OF CONDUCT AND PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS FOR POLICE OFFICERS To achieve the Mission and Vision as well as imbibe the values illustrated above, it is expedient to formulate a Code of Conduct for all Police Officers employed into the service of the Nigeria Police force. The Code will be regarded as an accountability manual that apply to all Officers (irrespective of rank) and will reflect International Convention for Law Enforcement Agents, the provisions of sections 353-368 of Part XV of the Police Act (cap 359) and other relevant force Orders as well as Public Service Rules The purpose of having a Code of conduct is to provide all members of the Nigeria Police Force with a set of guiding prin-

Contd on page: 38

• Do you have questions or seek legal clarification on issues concerning your marriage, probate, property, etc? Call or send a text message to Barr. Ken: 08162016410, 08075763840. Email: kenakpom@yahoo.com


35

The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10, 2018

Relationships and Love Advice

‘We have sex but he doesn’t love me’

Love Search Women seeking relationship/ marriage Ijeoma, 39, graduate, HIV positive, seeks a hardworking and God fearing man for a life partner. Age 40-50 years. 07089059144. Joyce, 26, in Lagos, romantic, wants a caring sugar daddy who can also help her get a job. 08050572880. Sarah from Jos needs a HIV positive man of 35-40 years for marriage. 08090925014. Victoria, 30, from Akwa-Ibom, in Lagos, tall, big, single mother, wants a tall, responsible, working or business man for marriage.08153598363. Busola, 43, tall, chocolate, with big breasts, living in Lagos, wants a mature-minded man for a relationship with benefits. 09090517882. Comfort, tall, dark, big, with a heavy backside and good in bed, living in Lagos, wants a man that can take good care of her. 08062720819.

Dear Love Doctor, I’m presently in a relationship with a guy who has been a good friend to me from my secondary school days. We have sex but the problem is that I love him but he doesn’t love me. He always says that he likes me as a friend but that he isn’t in love with me. I’ve tried to use sex to make him love me but it isn’t working. What do I do? Thanks, From Grace.

Dear Grace,

harmless fun. But for him, it is harmless fun. And that’s why you feel so disheartened. So I would advise you to forget him and move on. You can stay just friends with him if you like, but stop having sex with him for your own good. Remember that you have control over your future and present. So please, for the sake of your self respect and dignity move on and learn from your mistake. You are worthy of love, respect and affection. Don’t be an object for anyone to satisfy their physical needs. Please be careful with that guy.. I believes that guy is treating you as an entertaining object in the name of friendship. Don’t run after people who are not worthy in your life. There are lot more people available in this world. Learn to love those who love you a lot, understands you a lot and care about you a lot. Love people who are also there with you in any situation. Don’t overthink and don’t think about your past. Think in a way that

Monica Ono, 35, beautiful, single mother of one, needs a handsome man of 38-41 years for marriage. 08036844539. Call Love Doctor: 07031028714, 08131161840, 08077821830 for Counseling, infertility & Direct Hookup.

Love Doctor’s Advice: He isn’t lying to you. That’s a good thing. He doesn’t love you and he isn’t telling you he does to get what he wants from you. He also likely isn’t going to fall in love with you. Ever. It’s always better for you to hear the truth. I’m not going to say that he’s using you because I think he may truly see you as a friend, otherwise he would be telling you what you want to hear to get what he wants out of you. Remember, what you are doing with him, you are doing of your own free will. So you are also to blame. But if you think having sex with him will make him love you. It won’t. My suggestion is that you stop having sex with him. You are hurting yourself unnecessarily by having sex with your friend who you are in love with. Move on. Sex is great fun. It feels good. And it is possible to have sex with your friends without it meaning anything other than both of you wanted to have fun with each other. However for you, this isn’t just

Faith, 35, works and lives in Port Harcourt, needs a decent guy of 36-40 years. 09037846643.

from now onwards there will be a new beginning in your life. In so doing, you will leave that guy and be happy. And then you will get a good guy who understands, cares and loves you. God bless you.

Re: “I find it hard to trust my boyfriend”

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t is never an easy walk but it is a neccesity.when you hold on to the past you won’t know when the right future will walk pass.we learn from the past and visit the past when needful and to get the best out of the future you have to learn to trust and let off your fear for the uncertainties of relationship. From Ihemere Chinemerem 08104657329.

Do you have advice on this problem? Please share your thoughts. Call 07031028714 or 08131161840. Email: ireto007@yahoo.com Do you have a marriage/wedding, birthday, anniversary or club or town meeting announcement to make? Call 07031028714 now! Note: If you have fertility problems like childlessness, inability to conceive or get pregnant, miscarriages, fibroid, low sperm count, STDs, or need a male child or female? Call 07031028714, 08131161840.. Love Doctor can help you succeed in your marriage/ relationship.

Men seeking relationship/ marriage Sam, a senior citizen, needs a lady from Ebira land, Kogi State. Tall, not fat, busty. Age: 45 years and above. Should be comfortable financially. 07066070500. An educated, God fearing young man wants an educated, God fearing, tall, very fair, working class lady with a B.Sc. or M.Sc. for marriage. 09021839161. Víctor, 37, engineer, from Delta, businessman, wants a responsible lady from 25-35 years for marriage. 07060456276, 08122424703. Ephraim, a pastor, not buoyant, needs a buoyant girl of 20-30 years with big hips and big bust for marriage. Email: ugochukwuodor@yahoo.com David wants a beautiful, mature, working class lady for friendship. 07038485483, 08094063208. Kenneth, 40, wants a responsible woman for marriage. 08143002139.


36

The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10, 2018

It happened to me:

“My husband’s bed was not for me”

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’m straight, attractive and never thought it would happen to me. My new husband was gay. I should have known by his first kiss. After six years of living as a single woman, I finally felt I was healed of my last heartbreak and ready to date again. I carefully went through the best dating sites, finally landing on one that seemed classy and befitting of my working class status. After looking through several photos, I decided to leave the selection to chance, allowing the men to come to me. I weeded out the ones that seemed too weird after a few e-mails and found a nice man named Lawrence. His photo told me he was hiding something. His face was hidden by his hat and the photo was taken way too far away. Lawrence lived in the North, hours away from where I was. I was concerned that we would not get to see each other enough if we hit it off. He assured me that distance would not be an issue. He would rather see me in person than talk on the phone. I was flattered that he drove down to see me. He seemed mesmerized by me. I liked him, he seemed polite and respectful. We arranged forba second meeting. My daughter met him briefly after our second date and instantly disliked him. But he had a good job and before long was talking about moving to Lagos so we could spend more time together. I felt it was way too early. I felt rushed. I told him I was not ready to have sex. He was a gentleman and said he would wait until I was ready. When we made out he told me he felt so close to me already, it felt like being home. I knew he had become vulnerable with me. His words seemed sincere. It just seemed too soon. He had been married for 25 years to the same woman who had cheated on him. He told me she had numerous affairs. He talked about catching her in bed with a guy. I felt for him. But I knew that a woman does not have an affair without a reason. He explained it away by saying she drank. Alcholism and affairs often accompany one another. It all made perfect sense. I began to allow myself to be vulnerable also. I became totally invested in a relationship for the first time in my life. I was very attracted to him and he was to me. I felt like the first time in my life I had a partner that had my back. He was not afraid of my ex and he loved me. Three months later after being swept off my feet he asked me to marry him. It felt too soon, so I post-poned a decision till we visited my big aunt. He and my big aunt instantly liked each other and my aunt told me not to let this one get away. I knew it was fast, but it felt so right. So I told him I was ready to marry him. During the preparations for our wedding, Lawrence became tense and stressed. He began to drink more beer as the time for our wedding neared. His best friend asked him, “Are you sure you want to do this?” Our wedding was lovely. My mother even loved Lawrence. She remarked she had never seen such a perfectly matched pair. We had a really beautiful and intimate wedding. We did not take a honeymoon because we could not afford one.

Immediately after our wedding everything changed. Lawrence became aloof. He started spending less and less time at home with me. Whenever I brought up any relationship issues he got angry immediately. I knew this was a passive aggressive way to avoid dealing with problems. Six months after our wedding, something happened that changed the course of our marriage. Lawrence stopped having sex with me. He said it was because my daughter’s room was so close to ours. I was crushed. I began to put on weight because of his rejection of me. I blamed myself. I felt in my gut something was not right. Later, he said he was going to travel the following week. He would not hug or make love to me before he left. When he returned he felt limp, not even putting his arms around me in bed anymore. I knew he had had an affair.

Our relationship went from bad to worse. He denied having an affair outside, but continued to avoid me, going to bed alone every night. I was devastated. He wanted nothing to do with romance or intimacy. No amount of broaching the subject would get him to budge. He simply refused to talk about it. By May I demanded that something change. Although he would not make a decision, he continued to refuse sex unless it was me giving oral sex to him. With that he would never open his eyes and look at me. I began to put it all together. The trips, the weekends, the movement with the guys I had seen with him before and after our wedding and throughout our marriage. His wife’s affairs. He was attempting to desperately cling to a heterosexual lifestyle for the image only. He was gay.

He had not come out yet and did not want to. My anger surfaced one day while we were having supper. I cried and told him that I knew he was gay. Lawrence’s father and uncle later confessed to me that it was true that my husband was gay. I needed no further evidence and we divorced after being married for only 14 months. There was nothing left after my husband made his own personal confession. The rejection and betrayal I felt was profound. I could not compete in my husband’s bed with another man. It was clear that my husband’s bed was not for me. It took me months of crying to overcome my sadness. *Do you have a story or comment about this confession? Call 07031028714.


37

The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10, 2018

Predictions

Buhari doesn’t know how his govt works – Mbaka

I

had wanted to just prayer for you, do healing, bless you and go. I didn’t want anybody’s trouble – I do not want the Catholic Bishops to summon me anywhere or politicians to attack me. But God forced me, saying ‘you must deliver the message’, and that was why my voice got cracked. We had celebrated the Holy Mass here, earlier in the morning and there was nothing wrong with my voice; my voice had been ok until the message started coming in. When a particular one came in, it hit my throat. 2017 was one of the horrible years in this country, and that is the message. The Message: The Lord says, captive Nigerians, you will be speedily recued! Things are very, very difficult and tough for you, but your hardships are not from God. They are manmade. The wicked cabals and satanic agents in this country have wickedly kidnapped the goodwill and good intentions of Mr President, Muhammadu Buhari. President Buhari must wake up and sit up immediately, or… Heaven demands him, heaven demands Buhari, our President to change all those who are holding and caging him in captivity. And if he does not change them, he would be changed! Mr President, wake up, sit up. God says you are toying with the privilege He has given to you, and there is no time. Nigerians are dying I your hand. People are not happy with your system. Change or you would be changed! God said that Buhari is in trouble, hypnotised. The President is in a horrible bondage. His mantra has been cabalised. Unless Mr President positions strategically, the right people and change the one that he had earlier inaugurated, the wind of change, which he has been promoting would blow him away, shamefully. The wind would be too strong such that it would blow out both the President and the cabals out of office shamefully. The wind would be irresistible for it will come like hurricane. He said that the President could tackle the problem by doing the following: That if Buhari is not careful, another person would take over his office. And that if the President fails to move Nigeria forward, God says that He himself will plan a strategy of moving Nigeria forward. Mr President’s pattern of embattling corruption is not just archaic, barbaric but also witchhunting and terribly selective. Buhari as the President, why should you be picking and choosing those that you and your so-called EFCC Chairman would want to arrest, so that your party becomes a hideout for criminals, so that any person who does not want to be arrested would become an APC member? Is that corruption on itself? Change or you would be changed after all you are the one who introduced change as your mantra. The Nigerian economy is in shambles and Nigerians are in sorrow. Nigeria is not just passing through an economic depression but also a period of economic repression and compression. Very soon, Nigerians will know that the country is in terrible mess. The cabals have messed up the President and confused him. So, Mr. President, you are to be blamed, not your cabals. You have your brooms, but the cabals have their bags; either you sweep them away or they throw you into the bag. Heaven cried that your methodology is not just archaic but too sluggish. The situation in Nigeria needs speed but you are too dull. Questionable Change mantra Your change mantra is questionable; you are to change your change or you will be disgraced out of office. Your agriculture scheme has an antiagenda that is cancerous. Why should you be talking about agriculture and you leave the Fulani herdsmen? Farmers do not have any hope; do you not hear what is happening in the country? Why can you not use your presidential mandate and help the less privileged? The spirit of God says that Mr. President is just president in the mouth; he is not the real president, per say. He is a pseudo-president, people are running the government the way they like, and giving Buhari articles to append his signature. Mr. President does not know what is happening in his government; what a pity! But no matter what is happening, God assured us that Nigeria and Nigerians are not just in His hand, but in his heart and his eyes,

•2018 Fr. Mbaka’s predictions as well. War against insurgency: Mr President tried his best to wage war against insurgency, he tried to stop excessive spending, life of opulence; he is an expert in stopping opulent life and swindling of government property, but he is too slow about it. God loves him, gave him the mandate and he wanted to fight corruption, but corruption is fighting him back so that anyone who wants to perform corruption in a very smart way, he would run into APC. So, Mr President, wake up, save your destiny and save your integrity. God said that the sitting President is not the one Nigerians had trusted. Wake up! There are areas where the President started doing well before he became sick. Anybody can become sick, do not rejoice because Mr. President is sick. We prayed and God granted him healing. But you know that age is not on his side. Even if you are healthy but you are not strong, there will be problem. So, Mr. President, as I was waiting on the Lord, I was asked to advise you not to come out for second tenure. After your current tenure, retire, peacefully. Mr. President, you are the cause of your own problem. God had given you an adviser, a wonderful mentor, a visionist, a matriarch, in the person of your wife, Aisha, but you refuse to listen to her. That woman is heart-broken because she understood that you are not yourself. Come back to yourself or you will cry by the time you would be sent out of office. So, those who are encouraging you to come out and run again, they want to disgrace you shamefully and publicly. We keep on praying for your quick recovery but you know when the President is sick and age is not on his side, the message said, that is why government schools are sick, government hospitals are sick, government roads are sick; the power sector is sick, the economy is sick, and unemployment becomes the order of the day. Our graduates, our youths are living in abject poverty and hopelessness, the countrymen are sick, hunger is ravaging the people of God and investors have no more confidence in Nigeria. The agro-vision has become a mere illusion; even to take loan for farming has become the favour of the rich, such that as you keep on fighting corruption, many who are around you as well continue incubating and fertilizing corruption. Business men are confused; because they do not know what to do as a result of the unstable economy. Some of us may begin to ask: But why did God

choose Buhari at all? God has His reasons. When He chose Saul, He had His reasons, but at a time he rejected Saul. That is God for you. Jesus chose Judas, in His divinity he chose Judas as an Apostle, the same Judas betrayed Him and Judas’ office another took. You can see that the message is not sweet. The same God had chosen Goodluck Jonathan, during the oil boom, had Jonathan invested well, then Nigerians would not have been suffering what we are suffering now. Even in his hometown, Otuoke, go to Niger Delta, there is no impact of governance, nothing. That was why God pushed him out. Mr. President, if you do not want to be pushed out, you have to wake up. So, it was for a purpose that God chose Buhari. At a particular time in the life of Jonah, the whale swallowed him; at a time, Jonah could not prophesy, he could not do his prophetic duty again. That is how Buhari’s vision was swallowed. What should be done: God does not make mistake. When God said that Buhari would become the President, he became the President; when God decided to put Adam and Eve in paradise, He loved them, but at a time, the same God chased them out. So, cabal or not; Mr. President, Nigerians are getting disappointed in you. I was thinking of the kind of prayer we would share, because I suppose that this year is a year of primary elections for all the political parties. I am not talking about PDP or APC, I am praying God to give us a man after His heart. It is the turn of the North, the North would complete their eight years. So, if President Buhari would not continue, if you go to Gombe State… it was a rural state, but the present governor of the state, Ibrahim Hassan, has almost turned it into an ultra-modern city; and that man was a former accountant general of this country. Possible messiah? If you go to Gombe, you would not recognise the state again. Why can’t such individual volunteer himself. I do not know the party that he belongs to; and he is still a young man, in his early 50s. Whether he is in PDP or APC, I do not know, but whoever that is doing that kind of magic in Gombe, can handle Nigeria. He holds PhD in accountancy – chartered in marketing, chartered in accountancy, among others. He is a guru! We need somebody with such aura! And the Gombe people attest that he does not discriminate between Muslims and Christians. He is said to be even shielding Christians

there, and donate parcels of land to pastors to build churches. I am not campaigning for him, but I am talking about somebody who can move our country forward, someone with vision; with agenda. To change Nigeria is not difficult; wherever such a person is, let his party make him available and Nigerians would see what I am talking about. It is not yet the turn of the Igbo; it is not yet our turn, it will soon be our turn. When it gets to our turn, all of us would talk about it. Therefore my people, we are talking about value chain economy; healthy economy; security in the country, employment, functional educational system, and functional health sector. Then, God disclosed a time when most of our run-away Nigerians would begin to come home. A time shall come when Nigeria would become a country worthy for investment, and investors would come from the North, South and East; from foreign countries to invest in Nigeria. When that time comes, Nigerians would realise that the country’s problem is with the government of Nigeria and pattern of governance. God has given Nigerians everything and He says, Nigerians, be patient with me. It will not be long before I begin to deal wickedly with those who are dealing wickedly with you. Those who are punishing you, I will punish. In Nigeria today, there is looming secret tribal religious and interdenominational wars in the country today, but God has promised that He will send a credible President that would handle the unity of the country well, not by shooting anybody, but by preventing such occurrence; even if the person does not belong to any political party. And whether the person is in PDP or not, PDP is not bad; it is the same people that would move to APC, drop their umbrella and pick up broom. But rather than using the broom to sweep away corruption, they use it to sweep money into their pockets. Those who love Mr President should not be angry. It is from this same pulpit that his dynasty was prophesied. The wind is blowing again. When God says, ‘His office let another take, then Nigeria will move forward, and corruption will be adequately embattled in the proper sense, then he economy will improve and Nigerians would rejoice. Many families would be visited by the spirit of death this year, so the people of God are encouraged to soak themselves in the blood of Jesus Christ. The secret of victory over this spirit of death is continuous indwelling in the blood of the lamb.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10, 2018

True Confession

I married my husband to spite my mother M y name is Joke. My father is from Ogun state while my mother is from Oyo. My father died about five years ago while I was still in junior secondary school. At the time of my father’s departure, my mother was only a housewife. As a result of her status as a housewife, she found it very difficult to cope after the death of my father. For that reason, my mother wanted me to get married early, as soon as I finished secondary school so that the burden she was carrying could reduce. When I finished secondary school, my mother brought home a man she said she wanted me to marry. According to her, the man was from a very responsible home family and would take good care of me. But the problem was that I wasn’t in love with the man and I found it difficult to fall in love with him because he is too fat and I dislike fat. But my mother refused to listen to my objections. My mother put me under so much pressure to marry the man of her choice although she knew that I wasn’t in love with him. In fact, I hated the man’s guts and I was desperate to do anything in order not to marry him. My friend advised me to quickly accept another man’s proposal and marry him so that I could tell my mum that I was already married.

And there was this 45 year old man who had been trying to befriend me for some time. So I quickly rushed into marriage with him in order to spite my mother and teach her a lesson. I wasn’t in love with the man I married, however, but I felt that at least marrying him would give me a breathing space from my mother, which I needed. I didn’t realize that marriage was a lifetime after. However, within months of getting married to the 40 year old man I call my husband, he began to show his true colors as a drunk and wife beater. He would go straight to the beer parlour after work and drink himself to stupor. Then he would return home late in the night only to turn me into a punching bag. I now realized the problem I had gotten myself into. I realized that I got married to him just to escape from my mother. My case is a case of jumping from frying pan to fire. And I advise girls to look before they leap. Getting married in order to escape from family pressure is not the ideal thing to do. I ought to have taken a different and positive approach to dealing with pressure from my mother instead of rushing into the arms of a man who is even worse than the man my mother wanted me to marry.

Critical review of some sections of the Police Act... Contd from page: 34 ciples and standards of behavior while on or off-day. It is intended to be used by Police Officer in determining what is right and proper in all their actions. The Code shall set out an outline which every member of the force can easily understand. It will enable Policemen to know what type of conduct by a Police Officer is right and what is wrong. The Code will encompass the following –

and dignity. Officer will never allow personal feelings, animosities or friendships to influence official’ conduct; Laws will be enforced appropriately and courteously and in carrying out their responsibilities Officers will strive to obtain maximum co-operation from the public. They will conduct themselves both in appearance and composure, in such a manner as to inspire confidence and respect for the position of public trust they hold.

PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES OF A POLICE OFFICER A Police Officer acts as an official representative of Government who is required and trusted to work within the law. The Officer’s powers and duties are conferred by statute. The fundamental duties of a Police Officer include serving the community, safeguarding lives and property, protection the innocent, keeping the peace and ensuring the rights of all to liberty, equity and justice

USES OF FORCE A Police Officer will never employ unnecessary force or violence and will use only such force in discharge of duty, as is reasonable in all circumstance. The use of force should be used only after discussion, negotiation and persuasion having been found to be inappropriate or ineffective. While the use of force is occasionally unavoidable, every Police Officer will refrain from unnecessary infliction of pain or suffering and will never engage in cruel, degrading or inhuman treatment of any person.

PERFORMANCE OF DUTIES AS A POLICE OFFICER A Police Officer shall perform all duties impartially, without favour of affection or ill will and without regard to status, sex, race, religion, political belief or aspiration; all citizens will be treated equally with courtesy, consideration

INTEGRITY A Police Officer will not engage in acts of corruption or bribery nor will an Officer condone such acts by other Police Officers. The public demands that the integrity of Police Officers be above reproach. Police Officers must therefore, avoid any conduct that might com-

promise integrity and that undercut the confidence reposed by the public, in the Police Officers will refuse to accept any gifts, presents, subscriptions, favors, gratuities or promises that could be interpreted as seeking to cause the Officer to refrain from performing official responsibilities honestly and within the law. Police Officers must not receive Private or special advantage from their official status. Respect from the public cannot be bought; it can only be earned and cultivated. PRIVATE LIFE Police Officers will behave in a manner that does not bring discredit to the Force themselves. A Police Officer’s character and conduct while off duty must always be exemplary, thus maintaining a position of respect in the community which he or she lives and serves. The Officer’s personal behavior must be beyond reproach. OFFICER REQUIREMENT UNDER THE CODE PRINCIPLE ONE Police Officer shall conduct themselves, whether on or off duty, min accordance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and all applicable laws, ordinances and rules enacted or established pursuant to legal authority.

RULES • Police Officer shall not knowingly exceed their authority in the enforcement of the law; • Police Officer shall not knowingly disobey the law or rules of criminal procedure in such areas as interrogation, arrest, detention, searches, seizures, use of informants and preservation of evidence; • Police Officer shall not knowingly restrict the freedom of individuals, whether by arrest or detention, in violation of the Constitution and laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. PRINCIPLE EIGHT Police Officers shall observe the confidentially of information available to them due to their status as Police Officers. RULES • POLICE Officer shall not knowingly violate any legal restriction for the release’ or dissemination of information; • Police Officers shall not, except in the course of official duties or as required by law, publicly disclose information likely to endanger or embarrass victims, witnesses or complainants. The extract of the Police Act/Rules highlights more…….Enjoy your reading


39

The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10, 2018

ENTERTAINMENT

With Douglas Omoyooma

How my girlfriend led me to Christ – Adekunle Gold

You came on the scene a couple of years ago, and now, you are everywhere. How are you coping with the fame, especially the females? It’s interesting because me I have my eyes on the prize. I didn’t suffer that many years to come and let frivolity take my glory. So yes, I get advances from women and that feels good, to be honest; because I remember when I was chasing them as well. I’m friends with them. There’s no pressure. When I want to say yes, I say yes.

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he year 2014 will remain a milestone for urban highlife creator, Adekunle Gold. It was the year he made his mark on the Nigerian music scene, with his hit single, Sade. In this chat with The Oracle Today, the singer opens up on growing up, career, romance and why he dumped a thriving career to follow his dreams.

Did you believe that you were going to be this big when you started out? At the risk of sounding cocky, I knew I was going to be great, I just didn’t know when.

Will today’s Adekunle Gold make that same move? I still make a lot of decisions like that. How much influence did YBNL have on your sound? YBNL moved me. I had Sade before YBNL and it was already getting popular. When I got signed to the label, we shot the video and it became like a sensation everywhere. Getting signed to YBNL took me to London for the first time. That was in 2015. So YBNL changed everything for me. What is the secret to your success? First God; and then hard work. And it’s not just enough to be hard working. You need to want it. I’m fearless. I just said I quit my job because I wanted to do music. How bad do you want it? That’s the question you should ask yourself. And whatever I want, I go for it.

Where there hard times you had to surmount? I grew up in a not so well to do family. We were not poor, but we were comfortable. I was the eldest son. There was the dad and mum drama and I just had to be there for my sisters. I lost my youngest sister at a point in my life. That was in 2011.

Are you working on a sophomore album? Yes, I am. It’s titled About 30. It will be dropping in the first quarter of next year. I have more than one feature this time.

How did you deal with the loss of a sister? My world crumbled that day because she is my feminine version.

Are you closer to getting married or is that still far away? I don’t even know. I’m just focusing on music.

What are you working on presently? I’m having the last leg of my concert series, One Night Stand. I started early in June. We held it in London, and Dublin and we are doing it in Lagos now on the 26th of December. It is called One Night Stand, Adekunle Gold And The 79th Elements. That’s my band.

How would you describe your sound? My sound is urban highlife. It is a fusion of pop and highlife. Do you think it will catch on? Well, when people mention my name, they talk about urban highlife. So people are beginning to understand it. They are loving the sound and it resonates with people. Eventually it will be a celebrated sound.

Why the name, One Night Stand? I want it to be an intimate moment with my fans where we can talk and sing our hearts out. It is going to be an amazing night. It was fantastic in London. It was amazing in Dublin. Lagos is on. And it’s a larger crowd. There’s going to be lots of music. There will be surprises and the stage, everything will be electrifying. Who else will be performing aside yourself? • Adekunle Gold Simi will be performing, as well as other artistes. Hopefully, there will be a surprise artiste. She’ll be there because we have a song Bruno Mars. I was always trying to sound like him. But people didn’t pay us any attention. I together. will write songs and put all the English in the world. Imagine writing a song that is titled Do you feel threatened by other artistes? I’m not threatened that someone new will Last Dose of Sadness. But people just didn’t come. I’ll be lying if I say that it’s not attrac- notice us. I guess people like what they like. tive outside, especially the new sound that So I told my friend that he should focus on everybody is jumping on. I’d be lying if I say music production, let me sing. Let’s try with that sometimes I don’t think about doing just one song. If it doesn’t work, then we can stuff like that. But when I remember my goal, focus on other things. It was not easy to have that conversation, but I’m glad we had it. which is to be timeless, it keeps me going. That was when I released a song called Let It Stop, and that song changed everything for What was it like working with Simi? It was amazing. She has an excellence spirit me. When I released the song, it was Dotun and that’s my vibe. We had issues on some of Cool FM who supported me all the way. songs that I thought was fine already, but That is why I will forever be loyal to him. He she’ll make me do it again. We recorded played the song every day for one month. Nurse Alabere three times. And that was Simi And people started listening to it, people trying to be perfect. Even me that I have an started loving the sound. excellence spirit; I lost it because I felt it was You once trended for posing with female fine already. stars using Photoshop? How naughty can Was there any point you felt like quitting you be? It wasn’t Photoshop. I took pictures with music? I thought about quitting when I was still in them (laughs). That was just fun. I was bored a band called the bridge. It was me and my one Saturday, then I saw a picture of Tiwa friend, Seyi Keys who’s is my producer now. Savage and I felt I would love to take a picture with her someday. And it occurred to We weren’t getting any attention. me that I can. So I did the magic with Photoshop and posted it. I saw that people started What genre were you singing? We sang everything. At one point, I felt I was liking it and I felt it would be a thing. That was

to do my thing.

how I started doing it. Would you marry a celebrity who is as big as you are? Yes, I can. Someone like Demi Lovato or Taylor Swift (laughs). What is the greatest decision you ever took? There are lots of them, but the one I can remember now is quitting my job in 2014. I was working with a social media brand activation company. And I was the Brand Manager. I was earning very good money; good enough that if you earn that kind of money now, you are still big. I wasn’t getting shows then but I knew that my music was suffering and I wanted to do something about it. So I just woke up and resigned. How did your family react? They thought I was crazy. Everybody thought I was crazy because I didn’t have any back-up plan. Where you not scared of failure? Then, I was very fearless. Who wakes up in the morning, from earning good pay and just decides to quit? There was no back up plan, it’s not like I had saved money somewhere. I just felt I was helping someone else build their dreams and mine was lacking. I wanted

What was growing up like? It was fun, it was interesting and it was challenging at the same time. My aunt who used to live with us would take us outside to sing, teach us how to sing certain harmonies, alto and all that. That was when I discovered that I have a knack for singing. And then I joined the church choir. I was always trying to be the lead singer, but it never happened all through my years in that church. My parents are Muslims so I grew up in an Islamic home. But my dad allowed us to go to church because he thinks religion is education as well, so it’s ok to learn from any religion. But when we grew a little older, he stopped us, so we started learning the Quran. How then did you end up a Christian? When I went to school, that was when I met a girl and she invited me to church. So I said ‘sure, sebi it’s to go to church? Let’s go na.’ Then I went to the church and I discovered God differently. And that’s why I’m a Christian now. How did the relationship play out? It was good. We dated for a number of years and I became a better person because I met her parents and they are like my parents now. So is she the chosen one? She’s not the one. We broke up, but we are good. We are still family. Is there a possibility of a comeback? With her? No! But with another person? Sure.


40

The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10, 2018

Entertainment

Celebrity scandals that rocked 2017

• Mercy Aigbe

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• Burna Boy

fessed to having been paid N100,000 to carry out the attack, Burna Boy was declared wanted. However, it took over a month before Burna Boy eventually turned himself in after which he was arrested, charged to court where he pleadBetween Burna Boy and armed robbers ed not guilty and was eventually granted It was with shock that music buffs re- bail. ceived news that Mr.2kay was robbed during a concert at Eko Hotels & Suites, Dammy Krane in credit card fraud mess Victoria Island, Lagos. It was with even This was one of the biggest stories of greater shock that the news that singer, 2017. Dammy Krane’s arrest for credit Burna Boy was implicated was received. card fraud and identity theft in the US Investigations culminated in the arrest went viral rocked the entertainment inof four suspects who later confessed to dustry in 2017. committing the crime and alleged that When mug shots of him were released Burna Boy was the sponsor. Investiga- by the police it looked like the career of tions further revealed that Burna Boy had the music star was coming to a halt. Howearlier threatened to deal with Mr. 2Kay ever he was later released and he made after he had called him out for speaking it clear to everyone that he wasn’t guilty rudely about pastors. The robbers con- of any of the charges held against him ndeed, 2017 will go down as an eventful year as it had its own fair share of breakthroughs, juicy gist and of course, scandals. Today, Oracle Today brings you the top four scandals that rocked 2017

• Dammy Krane rather, he wasn’t aware that he had been booked on a flight with a stolen credit card.

Slkay drops Fabu

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frocentric hip hop act, Lawal Bolaji, aka Slkay, is leaving no stone unturned in stamping his name on the industry as he has released yet another single, Fabu, which was produced and mixed-mastered by Dre-sticks. “I am excited that at last, Fabu is out. It is available on all music sites for free download. I want to thamk my new label for the support so far,” SIkay said. According to a statement from his management, Fabu is all about street story-telling, and will definitely be a sharp departure from other un-researched songs that are replete in the industry today. The Afrocentric hip-hop act has performed on the same stage with the likes of Danny Young, Clever Jay, Terry G, Konga and Sean Tero just to mention a few. According to SIkay, he is inspired by the likes of American R & B artistes, Boyz 2 Men, Tuface and Tiwa Savage. A graduate of Computer Science from Ajayi Crowther University; he started his musical career professionally in 2007 and later signed under a record label in 2011 which he left in 2014 for a sojourn in South Africa, where he signed on to another before he came back to Nigeria in 2017 to resume fully his career as a signed act at Sound So Simple Entertainment. His musical career has taken him to South Africa, Swaziland and Ghana, which also served as an opportunity for him to meet different kinds of music promoters, artists’ managers and fellow musicians. Speaking on his dreams, the act said: “ I want to ultimately serve as a role model for other upcoming artistes, through hard work, persistence and an eager determination to set up a music institution for upcoming artistes who have a genuine passion for music.”

Mercy Aigbe’s domestic abuse pictures While it was known for a while that actress, Mercy Aigbe was a victim of domestic violence, the actress had continued to deny it. However, April, 2017 marked the beginning of one of the biggest ssandals of last year. Mercy Aigbe had announced that she had left her husband’s house over alleged claims of domestic violence and she followed her statement by releasing photos of her brutally bruised face stating that it was the handiwork of her husband, LAnre Gentry. So scandalous was the scandal the Lagos State government had waded into the crisis and there was talk of charging the case to court.

Is Lanre Gentry extending olive branch to Mercy Aigbe?

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ill Mercy Aigber and estranged husband, Lanre gentry get backtogether anytime soon? That is the question on every one’s lips following a heartfelt message gentry sent Mercy Aigbe as she clocked 40 recently. Said a close source: “Though Mercy Aigbe and her husband, Lanre Gentry may be separated but it is obvious that

he still has a soft spot for her. Recently, he took time out to celebrate her as she turned 40 thus spurring rumours that the couple might be planning to get back together.” In the instagram post, Gentry revealed that he still respects the Nollywood actress as his wife and the mother of his kids and shared a photo of Mercy, Ever since the split and all the subse-

quent drama that followed, it has since been speculated that the actress may be considering going back to her husband. Meanwhile, Mercy Aigbe filed a restraining order suit on April 25, 2017, against her husband which was finally granted on April 28, 2017. The restraining order against her husband covers a one-mile radius.

It was love at first sight – Olu Jacobs

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lu Jacobs is thrilling us with some Brother Jero”. We were having the probackstory on how he wooed his duction when the door opened and this lovely wife, Joke Silva, 40 years lady walked in. I said excuse me, ladies ago. and gentlemen, this is the lady I am goThe veteran Nollywood actor re- ing to marry. vealed that it had been love at first sight “You know bodies can attract and for him seeing as he fell in love with her bodies can repel. I saw her and I was that very day. attracted. I am not an impulsive person. He said this during a recent interview, I did not just say come. I had to strugaddressing allegations that he had sto- gle to get her. She was stunned even len his wife from another man, Jacobs though she gave me up and down.” revealed that the allegations were false Speaking on the secret of marriage, although he admitted to the fact that he Jacobs said that the major key to any had fought hard for her attention until marriage is patience and above all, behe walked down the aisle. ing friends. He said: “I was invited to come and He said: “It is the grace of God. And do a play by the national theatre. I was you must learn to be patient and above living in England at the time. I was to all, learn to be friends. She is your friend, play lead in Wole Soyinka’s “The trials of your lover; she is not your slave. You

don’t do that to a woman. You don’t intimidate her. If she is your friend, you will be tender. When a friend is involved you are tender.” On celebrity marriage hitting the rocks and making a good home against all odds, Olu Jacobs disclosed that: “It is virtually in all professions, in all offices where ever you have women and men together. Even if you don’t hear it, we have a lot of divorces in all other sectors. For the fact that you don’t hear it in other sectors like banking or in the oil sector, as oily as it is, does not mean it is not happening. It is in all offices where we have men and women.” Olu Jacobs and Joke Silva have come to be the leading example of a working celebrity marriage in Nigeria.

• Slkay

Ultimate Vacation Contest winners jet out for Dubai tour

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right Chikere and Oluwatobi Ayenuro, winners of the Ultimate Vacation contest, an online video competition conducted by Gulder to reward consumers have left for Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, for a weeklong memorable vacation, which is sponsored by Gulder. The Portfolio Manager (National Premium), Nigerian Breweries Plc, Tokunbo Adodo said the winners were selected on the strength of the creativity and originality of their entries. He added that it was “crafted to celebrate consumers every step of the way to achieve success.” During their stay, the winners will visit some of the most fascinating tourist attractions in Dubai while engaging in mind-blowing adventures. A tour of Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital, is among the programmes that make the Ultimate Vacation an experience to look forward to. The Ultimate Vacation is the second activation of Gulder leveraging ‘Guy Code’, a television series that targets male viewers. In the first activation tagged the “Ultimate Party,” the premium brand rewarded Adedamola Awoniyi, a fashion designer, with a weeklong thrilling experience that ended with a house party.


41

The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10, 2018

Love & Living

Love, and then blackmail

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NE of the stories that engaged the social media over the past week was about a certain pretty lady, Olivia Okibe, who not only shared pictures of her marriage introduction to one Malaysia based hustler simple known as E-money. Olivia used the pictures to caution young ladies to at least date a man for a day or two before accepting marriage proposals in order to avoid a sad ending like hers. A day or two? Well, we will take that up some other time. On his part, the man in question (E-money) has since come out with his position and accused the lady of promiscuity. But amidst the brazen show, the stench of love gone sour and bitter now venting and seeking dirty revenge through blackmail is unmistakable. “No secrets in love! Love is selfless and at best open.” Now that’s what the books and norms say but we know better. A look around suggests that full disclosures seem to introduce an unwanted twist to love stories. Especially these days that relationships and marriages are breaking up in their numbers and secrets that were shared during loved up moment come awash, all stinking and dark.

That’s why some decide to play safe by not disclosing details of their sordid pasts and having no intention whatsoever to do so. But does this work? We usually rate the seriousness of a relationship on how much we know about our partners. Hence, the more you know about someone, the more power you have over them. This should be a good thing as it tells you exactly what you are in for. But here’s what’s disturbing, when things go sour, even the meekest minds are seen to actively consider, process and unleash all kinds of blackmail based on information received when the going was good. How concerned should you be about this? Well, no one wants to be discussed in public for the wrong reasons. And in cases of bitter love induced blackmail, lots of exaggerations come into play in order to paint the other in the darkest shade of black and reduce them to nothingness before the world. If you haven’t seen it first hand, I have. Deliberate distortion of facts just to make you look bad, hyper sensationalisation of matters that you just mentioned as frivolities, wrong representations of your personality and all kinds of wrongs ascribed to your person. And truth

Ify ARONU ifyaronu@gmail.com

be told, you may have to live with those wrong perceptions of you, as you may never get the chance to fair hearing. And then there’s no denying the fact that you were in a relationship with the person in question so if they suddenly decide to reveal your darkest secrets, it is believable. Now, that’s why you should be concerned. It is best to approach all kinds of love relationships optimistically and hopefully there may never be any cause for public disgrace of one or both parties. But how about a tiny hint of pessimism, to understand that you still reserve the right to a couple of personal secrets even though no constitution lists that. To understand that one plus one may not be one after all, or even two,

you may be shocked that it could in fact be 11 or 200! So, no matter the level of the relationship, you are still different individuals with differing inclinations and proclivities. It’s important to note that the secrets we burden others with may not be needful so why mention it? I maintain that its best to limit disclosures to matters that have consequence on your present relationship, anything extra is needless and must be avoided. And even when there are relevant issues to be shared, never do so prematurely. All at the best time. •Please send your comments, observations to ifyaronu@gmail.com

Rewriting Niger Delta narrative I

N the cardinal directions, we have the East, West, North, South. Nigeria is divided into six geopolitical zones, North Central, North East, North West, South South, South East, and the South West. According to Wikipedia, ”The Niger Delta is the delta of the Niger River sitting directly on the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic Ocean in Nigeria. It is typically considered to be located within nine coastal southern Nigerian states, which include: all six states from the South South geopolitical zone, one state (Ondo) from South West geopolitical zone and two States (Abia and Imo) from South East geopolitical zone. Of all the States that the region covers, only Cross River is not an oil-producing State, after boundary adjustments that cost it wells. Niger Delta is a very densely populated region sometimes called the Oil Rivers because it was once a major producer of palm oil. The area was the British Oil Rivers Protectorate from 1885 until 1893, when it was expanded and became the Niger Coast Protectorate. The delta is a petroleum-rich region, and has been the centre of international controversy over pollution, corruption (notably by the Abacha regime), and human rights violations.” A couple of days ago, I was on Google carrying out some search on Niger Delta, and one of the searches involved a fisherman at sea with his nets and his catch, but I was stunned at the discovery I made and became heavily burdened with it. All I saw were images of militants, oil spillage, riots, and various forms of youth restiveness and killings of various levels and this is worrisome. Of every 10 images shown 9 were not telling good stories of the Niger Delta

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e& ore

Maureen Alikor maureenalikor@gmail.com

Niger Delta is a very densely populated region sometimes called the Oil Rivers because it was once a major producer of palm oil. The area was the British Oil Rivers Protectorate from 1885 until 1893, when it was expanded and became the Niger Coast Protectorate. The delta is a petroleum-rich region, and has been the centre of international controversy over pollution, corruption, and human rights violations.

and this is alarming and hugely embarrassing, since I am of the Niger Delta Region and I happen to know quite a number of persons who are of the same region as I, who are making positive impact in the Niger Delta. I also know that there are talents and creatives who are not miscreants and wayward as the Internet seems to portray us, and it is sad enough that we are all lumped into the crop of unproductive indigenes and residents of the Niger Delta region.

People always flinch twice when you introduce yourself as a Niger Deltan and often times they go as far as calling you a ”militant”, though they painstakingly infuse laughter into the sentence to make it end on a lighter note, but deep down somewhere in the inner crevice of their minds, they already have a preconceived conclusion or idea of you and they do business with you with less trust and unhealthy suspicions. I am an indigene of Rivers State and I know how sad I become when I intro-

duce myself to be a resident of Port Harcourt and silly remarks with an undertone of prostitution and laziness would be made, thereby making me wonder how that impression came to be. I believe this is one of the problems of the single story and gruesome generalization, and I can say it is a huge problem which should begin to receive attention in a bid to debunk, rewrite this story or in majority of the cases, bring the true story or narrative to light - to the view of our neighbouring communities and the world at large using the medium available to us, the world wide web. On rewriting the Niger Delta narrative, all hands has to be on deck, we have to wipe off the bad image we have as a region on the internet if we are to attract investors and more business oriented individuals and organizations. Truth be told, if we do not tell our own stories, those who do would not always tell good stories of and for us as we have seen. The Internet is a very vital tool and whatever is been said of someone or something or a group of persons on the Internet is widely believed, true or not. And this has left a mark, which could take so much effort to erase. We all should contribute towards rewriting the Niger delta. Assuage your curiosity; take a trip to Google, key in on the Google search space “Niger Delta”. I belong to the Niger Delta Region by social or national stratification, I am a thinker, I am a creative and I am not lazy, I get offended when I hear the direct opposite being said about us. •Please send your comments to maureenalikor@gmail.com


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The Oracle Today Wednesday December 27, 2017

Personal Encounter

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S I sat across Kevin Ejiofor, 80, last August, I was lost in wonderment about his agility. He rattled me back to life with the question people ask startlingly, “So you live in Onitsha?” My standard response is “Onitsha Amaka,” an affirmation that I not only live there, but enjoy the town’s enigmatic flavours. “That’s interesting,” he said in a way only he could. Usually, it meant that there was a story to the subject that he had rated “interesting”. I was in Enugu, December 20 to see Chinze’s Art, the exhibition of international artist Mrs. Chinze Ojobo at Polo Park, a recreational spot in my days in Enugu, now a shopping mall. As I turned one of the corners, in the hall bustling with guests, before me was a ‘young’ man in t-shirt, mixing in the gathering without any of the airs one would expect of an 80-year-old. Mr. Ejiofor, I exclaimed. He has a thing about voices; he manages to pick them out, in the same way that he would if you added the offensive “l” to his English name, Kevin. You would deservedly get a lesson on the importance of names, and how annoying he found the addition of “l” to his name. We embraced like long-lost friends, which we were. The age difference doesn’t often matter, until he starts telling you stories about the 5os and 60s, without pausing to recollect dates or the events. He brings them to life like they happened yesterday. The same question popped up--“what are you doing in Enugu?”-- as if the town belonged exclusively to each of us. I came for the exhibition, and I now live in Onitsha, I explained. Mr. Ejiofor lives in Enugu, I didn’t know. He had come for the exhibition too. He has sustained his interest in the arts, in their various expanses from dances, masquerades, through drama to fine art. It was not surprising to see him there, except that I knew he was in Enugu. An appointment for the next day failed. “Why didn’t you call me?” he asked. I didn’t want to put him under pressure. I knew he would call if his schedule permitted. “You were right, I worked until after midnight,” he confessed. He was already tackling a tight schedule. When we met later that day, it was the first time in almost 34 years that we would be sharing a moment, alone, just talking. It would not last, I knew. On an assignment in Lome, Togo, in 1983, I had such a moment with Mr. Ejiofor. Rangers played against a Togolese side. He was on commentaries for Radio Nigeria, I was reporting for The Guardian. Away from the cubicles that separated the commentary suites (we called them boxes) at the National Stadium, Lagos, I was able to meet Mr. Ejiofor, on the touchline from where he operated with Richard Makinde, his much younger colleague. Mr. Ejiofor was passionate about things Nigerian, and the improvement of human conditions therein. I left after the match by Nigeria Airways, to Lagos. Our national airline still worked then, taking us to almost anywhere in the world or ensuring so through inter-line agreements with other airlines. Mr. Ejiofor, a broadcaster, sports broadcaster, has been many things in his 80 years. I knew him on radio before I met him in sports journalism. They were on radio, casting sports – Ishola Folorunsho, aka, It’s a Goooal; Tolu Fatoyinbo, Earnest Okonkwo; and Bisi Lawrence, who had left to manage Radio Lagos, Dele Adetiba, proceeded to advertising at Lintas. They were so good that people used to mute the commentaries on television, watched the television and listened to the radio. “So you live in Onitsha?” Mr. Ejiofor returned to the “interesting” matter. “Let me tell you my Onitsha story. It must be 1952, I was passing on my way to Government College, Ughelli, where I was in form two or three. There was no bridge (the bridge came in 1965, 13 years later). We used pontoons to cross to either side. “I bought pomade in Onitsha. Back in school, I used it a little only to discover that the rest was palm kernel oil. That is my Onitsha story,” he rounded off, expecting a response from me. “Onitsha has changed,” I ventured. “The challenge is that most people who have not

‘So you live in Onitsha?’ For ace broadcaster Kevin Ejiofor @ 80, age is truly just a number. To his utmost delight, IKEDDY ISIGUZO found this out about the former Director General of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), in a recent encounter…

•Tony Ojobo (left) Director of Public Affairs, NCC, Felix Oguejiofor Abugu, Editor, The Oracle Today and Mr. Kevin Ejoifor at Chinze’s Arts exhibition in Enugu been to Onitsha in years have their own stories about a town that many of them depend on hearsay to make their judgment. I was busy apologising for the 65-year-old misdemeanour that I forgot to tell him that palm kernel oil is so expensive now that nobody would use it that cheaply. Mr. Ejiofor is not slowing down at all. The former State Chief Information Officer for Anambra State, worked at the National Archives, then Cadbury. He retired from Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, as Director General. He was not wearing glasses on the two occasions that we met. His teeth are complete, and he munched his lunch without any cares about straining a tooth. His health consciousness shows in his choice of meals, lots of vegetables, and chicken, water and fruit juices made on demand, no additive. Our rendezvous overlooked the Okpara Square, one of Enugu’s most sedate settings, except in the mornings and weekends, when hundreds of the city’s dwellers take over the entire surroundings of the Square for their weekly keep-fit exercises. Enugu State Commissioner for Information, Bob Ogbuagu Anikwe joined us later. We made a fitful attempt at discussing whether it made more sense for “good men and women” to influence governments from outside or inside. There was no consensus. The ability of the individual to take the pressure of politics in the recesses of government was denoted an important factor for success. Over lunch, he reviewed the rest of his day – a meeting, another meeting, a production for a radio station, and hopefully he would make home earlier than the previous night. He promised he would pass by my hotel later. I had no objections; I only wondered how he kept up that pace at 80. “I exercise most mornings,” he mentioned, when the issue of missing some early radio news came up. “The broadcast could be

• Ikeddy Isiguzo, Editor-in-Chief The Oracle Today, Mr. Ejiofor and Bob Anikwe Ogbuagu (right), Enugu State Commissioner for Information during that period.” He said he was not doing anything special to keep trim, attributing his fitness to the Almighty. Enugu was a better choice for him than staying in Lagos, which outside Abuja, I thought was the abode choice of those who had achieved. He could have none of that. “There is a lot of space here. The traffic is good. I get around places easily,” he said at the parking lot, where we prattled. Where was his driver? “Which driver?” he retorted. Obviously, he loved driving himself. There are some things not worth handing over to others; one could be one’s life, at that age. I was just finding some justifications for him

being behind the wheels at 80. “Where would I get the money to pay a driver?” he asked, as he started the car. I accused him of causing unemployment by his decision, he waved at me – there was no time to debate his personal role in the economy, with the specifics I was imposing. He repeated his promise to see me later. When the phone rang in the evening, a voice, tiredness fully implicated, called off the meeting. “I am tired,” he said. “I need to rest.” It was reassuring to know that Mr. Ejiofor was human, after all, and more importantly, that he listens to his voice, when it tells him, ‘young man, you need to rest’.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10, 2018

NEWS

Age Grade system, bedrock of Igbere – Udeogu

From BONIFACE OKORO, Umuahia

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FORMER Commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning in Abia State, Ezeogo Jones Udeogu, has identified the age grade system as the bedrock of self-help development of Igbere clan in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State. Udeogu noted that the age grades have served as the catalyst for development as each age grade is mandated to build and donate at least one project, a method that has boosted infrastructural development of the clan. “It is through the age grades that we advise and encourage each other. So, this age grade system is a veritable means of development because before any age grade retires from active participation in community service, it must have executed and donated, at least, a project to the community,” Udeogu said during an interview with The Oracle Today. “The age grade system has actually aided development of Igbere because all the all old bridges in Igbere were built by the age grades, so also our first market, health centre, library, Igbere secondary school. We built Igbere secondary school by asking age grades to build a classroom or hall. That was how the school was set up before it

was handed over to government in 1975,” he added. The retired Permanent Secretary from Abia State civil service who was the chairman of the 2017 Ezumezu Igbere festival opening ceremony, used the occasion to charge the people to reinvigorate the age grade system in the clan since it has been the vehicle for building social cohesion, bond of unity and enhancing the development of Igbere. He urged the people of Igbere to continue to be their brother’s keepers and promote peaceful coexistence. Ezumezu Igbere is a triennial cultural festival. It provides a congenial atmosphere for the people to come together to improve and promote the welfare of the people, among other things. The 2017 edition, the 26th in the series, saw the retirement of Oganihu Age Grade, which built a standard doctors quarters in Igbere Health Centre Complex. President of Igbere Welfare Union, Elder Uwakwe Okoronkwo, advised the people “to move with love, unity, maturity and commitment” that would give hope to the younger generation. Eminent sons of Igbere were honoured with awards for their patriotic services to the clan.

• The Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province, Most Rev Dr Valeran Okeke (2nd right) and others during his Christmas celebration with immates of Onitsha Prisons. Photo : Modestus Igudobi

Groups urge FG to revoke EEDC licence for poor performance A From OGE ONYEANUSI, Nnewi

coalition of human rights groups in the southeast, under the aegis of South East Based Coalition of Human Rights and Good Governance Organisations, SBCHROs has called for the outright revocation of the licence of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) “for poor performance”. The coalition, which consists of 13 rights groups in a follow-up letter to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola cited poor performance as its reason for the call. The letter to the minister read in part: “We are strongly calling on the Federal Government of Nigeria and its Ministry of Power, manned by Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN to revoke the operating license granted to the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) for failing woefully to improve and revolutionalize power distribution in Southeast Nigeria.” The coalition said the call became necessary following “mindboggling atrocious conducts of the company, especially its field personnel, fully condoned by the company in its 18 Business Districts of the Southeast Zone.” It said the conducts of the company’s staff have “shackled and manacled” the people of the Southeast Nigeria and forced them into chronic bondage and industrial and developmental retardation.” The coalition said the call became pertinent, following rampant cases of illegal disconnections, crazy billing systems and operating with thugs among others around Ogbaru business district and the entire southeast. “We are also strongly calling for immediate investigation and dis-

missal of present Ogbaru, Onitsha and Ogidi Network Managers of the EEDC and their subordinate senior managers for marketing, billing, operations, network expansion or distribution. “Owing to reckless issuance of outrageous estimated bills by EEDC especially to single-phase residential consumers, billions, if not tens of billions worth of accumulated bills abound in the

Southeast. In many, if not most single-phase residences and their residents, EEDC’s monthly estimated bills have become much higher than monthly house rents. “The rest of EEDC monumental failures, requiring thorough investigation and appropriate sanctions are: failure to effect adequate provision and installation of distribution transformers, specifically for consumers who

are in need and generally for the purpose of ensuring distribution expansion and efficiency. Others are non-provision of power distribution network accessories including transformer accessories and feeder lines’ spares, failure to ensure round-the-clock maintenance of distribution transformers and distribution feeder lines, and failure to disallow consumers bear the brunt or cost of procur-

ing, installing and maintaining distribution transformers.” The groups include Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety), Civil Liberties Organization (Southeast Zone) and International Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights Initiative (ISPHRI). Others are Foundation for Environmental Rights and Advocacy & Development (FENRAD-Nigeria), among others.

Railway: FG may increase Abuja-Kaduna fares – Minister

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he Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi has said the federal government may increase the transport fares of the rail services on the Abuja-Kaduna route following the inauguration of 10 new luxury coaches. Ameachi announced this when he fielded questions from State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, during the week. According to him, already, commuters have agreed that the cost of transportation to Kaduna via the rail service is a bit too cheap. The Minister, who said he discussed the inauguration of the 10 new coaches and two locomotives with the President, revealed that the new coaches would be inaugurated on Thursday. “The president is pleased with the arrangement because basically we will then be able to discharge the passengers pressure that we have had; that is why you have ticket racketeering. “When demand outstrips supply then you see all sorts of attempts to cheat the passengers. “There are two things I know the president likes. I have mentioned one, the second one, is after com-

missioning even the passengers agree that the cost of transportation to Kaduna via the railway is a bit too cheap. “So there will be a need to increase the price and then there will be more comfort. “More comfort in the sense that when you have excess seats multiplied by the number of passengers that will come, then anybody that wants to racketeer will have to eat the tickets himself,’’ he added. He stated that the new coaches, when inaugurated, would bring the total number of coaches to 14 on the Kaduna-Abuja route. According to the minister, one of the locomotives will be dedicated to direct trip from Kaduna to Abuja non-stop (that should be doing 1hr:15 or 1hr:20 minutes nonstop). He said this would enable those “living in Kaduna and working in Abuja to actually come to work on time. If you leave at 6.00a.m by 7:15a.m, 7:20a.m you should be in Abuja.’’ On the reported killing of 21 residents of Rivers on the eve of New Year, Amaechi stressed the need for the state government to take security of life and property of its citizens more seriously. He said: “I think the governor

needs to get a bit more serious, he should stop encouraging the militant groups in the name of politics and election. “You heard about 21 only in Omoku, what about in Akutoru where two persons were killed, what about other local government areas. “I think there should be much more than age to qualify to be a governor because it takes much 37-year-old British Namore than age. tional was found dead “I was governor of Rivers State, I in a suburban area of did not play PDP/APC politics; life is life, it has no symbol. Nobody has Colombo on Tuesday, accordAPC life or PDP life. British national ing to local police. found dead in Colombo’s suburban The police found his body with injuries on his face in an area

British national found dead in Colombo’s suburban area

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A 37-year-old British National was found dead in a suburban area of Colombo on Tuesday, according to local police. The police found his body with injuries on his face in an area called Maligawatte in Colombo. According to his passport, he had arrived in Sri Lanka on Dec. 25 2017 on a one-month visa. An investigation has been launched to determine whether this is a murder or not. The police said the body had been brought to the Colombo National Hospital. Tourism Promotion Minister John

area called Maligawatte in Colombo. According to his passport, he had arrived in Sri Lanka on Dec. 25 2017 on a one-month visa. An investigation has been launched to determine whether this is a murder or not. The police said the body had been brought to the Colombo National Hospital. Tourism Promotion Minister John Amaratunga told Xinhua that he was waiting for the police report on the death of the British national.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10, 2018

NEWS Harmattan: Dealers of second-hand clothes record boom

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ealers in warm second hand clothing in Jos are making brisk business as the harmattan cold bites harder, the News of the News Agency of Nigeria has reported. A NAN correspondent who went round markets in Jos and its environs on Tuesday, reports that there has been rush for second hand warm clothes, blankets, caps and head warmers in the last few days due to the intense cold weather. Some of the dealers interviewed expressed happiness over the development. Mr Godswill Nnaji, who sells second hand children cardigans, panty hose, head warmers and trousers in Kabong market said the surge for the items started even before the Christmas. He said: “the high demand for the items has made business very lucrative even before the Yuletide. Infact, customers plead with me to call them whenever I want to open new bales of clothes so that they would be the first to pick.” Mr Amos Madu, who sells second hand winter jackets, hand gloves and head warmers at the MiangoJunction corroborated the claim, adding that he started witnessing high patronage from customers from the second week of December. He said: “With the increased harmattan cold since the second week of December the patronage has doubled. “I enjoyed high patronage with the onset of the harmattan, business has been very good, in fact I open two bales of clothing daily.’’ Mr Shehu Bello, who sells second hand ladies panty hose, Turtlenecks, trousers and blankets, said business had picked up seriously and the demand for items was very high. Mr James Destiny, one of the customers at Kabong market, however, lamented high price of the second hand clothing. He said “the weather is very cold, so I don’t want to jeopardise my health and that of my family, that’s why I am here to get these clothes, you dare not use any type of jacket for this weather, it has to be very thick.” Similarly, Mrs Peace Bature, a mother and a civil servant, said she was in the market to purchase warm clothes for her kids but added that sellers were taking advantage of the high demand to hike their price.

Normal activities gradually resume at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport

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ormal activities are gradually returning to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja after days of low activities due to the Christmas and New Year festivities. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Federal Government declared Monday, Dec. 25, Tuesday, Dec. 26 and Monday, Jan. 1 as public holidays for the Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year celebrations. Flight activities were at low ebb at the weekend thereby forcing many airlines to either cancel or delay flights because of dearth of passengers. According to Agency reports, flight announcements were made while a few passengers could be seen at the arrival and departure sections. An official of the Airport who pleaded anonymity said the situation was more pronounced on Saturday, Sun-

day and Monday, adding that there was no 7 a.m. flight on Monday. He said that the situation had yet improved as the traffic of passengers was still below average. According to him, even though there was a 7 a.m. flight on Tuesday, many flights had few passengers between 20 and 30 onboard which is not a good deal for airlines. “Arik and Air Peace are the airlines that landed and taken off with reasonable number of passengers but the rest of the airlines are struggling to have enough to board. “It will normalise from today because the holiday is over and everybody is expected to their work and businesses,” he said. Mr Abdulahi Saroke, Station Manager, Azman Air, said that traffic had yet to pick up since many people were yet to resume from Christmas and New Year holidays. Saroke said the situation was also

compounded by the prevailing bad weather conditions especially in the northern axis. He said that flights to Maiduguri, Yola and Kano could not operate on Monday because of bad weather, adding that only Kano weather had improved as at Tuesday morning. “As I speak with you, we can’t still process Yola, Maiduguri and Kaduna flights because the weather there is still bad. “Apart from this, activities are still very low because I have not seen much of arrival from other places like Lagos, Port Harcourt and Enugu today. “But I believe that things would get better later in the day because we expect many people to start moving massively from today,” he said. A passenger, Mr Samuel Fanochi, said he arrived from Lagos where went to attend a wedding on Saturday, adding that he planned to

return on Monday but his flight was cancelled for operational reasons. Fanochi, a businessman, said he expected a prosperous and less turbulent 2018 while praying to God blessing upon Nigeria. He called on leaders at all levels to think more about the masses in the New Year in order to eliminate hardship from the land. “Like Mr President promised in his New Year broadcast yesterday, I urge him to walk his talk and ensure that every minister work hard to realise the plans. “All governors should also stop playing politics with the lives of the citizens and assist the Federal Government in delivering those promises. “It is my prayer that God should intervene in our political system and disgrace the enemies of Nigeria in 2018,” he said.

Anambra workers resume

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• Picture from Left to Right Chairman of Ihiala National U.S.A Ichie Dr. Larry Udorji handing over Award for Outstanding Leadership, Community Service and Contribution to Ihiala Community, Ndi Igbo and Nigeria to Chief Mrs. CarolMma IgboakaBello. On the side is the Chairman of the 6th Ihiala National U.S.A. Convention, Ichie Frank Oti at the event held on Dec. 29, 2017 at Eagle Destiny Hotel Ihiala.

Okoye calls for improved power supply for manufacturing From CHUKS EZE, Enugu

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HAIRMAN Board of Fellows/College of Fellows, the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Engr. Chris Okoye has stressed the need to improve the power sector as a stimulus to manufacturing, which itself would stimulate further demand for power and subsequent improvement in power infrastructure. In a welcome address at the Nigerian Society of Engineers Fellowship Conferment Lecture and Fellowship Conferment Ceremony, held at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Conference Centre, Abuja, recently, Sir Okoye noted that, “the poor investment inflows (into the power sector) reflected in weak infrastructure and low entrepreneurial activism in the sector as an ecosystem.” Arguing that “there is no way you can create power without a necessary demand pull for it and to have a demand pull, you need a manufacturing sector that is vibrant,” Okoye, Chairman of South East Nigeria Economic development Commission (SENEC) pointed out that to a ‘vibrant’ manufacturing sector, “you need a serious input of local content; which now brings us to theme of this evening’s lecture, aptly titled: Nigerian Content Oil and Gas Act: Extending the Act to Cover Other Sectors of the Economy.”

Okoye further argued: “Whether we believe and accept it or not, for now the Nigerian economy is oil and gas-driven. Therefore, the 6th lecture titled Nigerian Content Oil and Gas Act: Extending the Act to Cover Other Sectors of the Economy is an apt end to the engineering input to our national development, more so with the recent emergence of the Nigerian economy from recession.” “However, while not pre-empting what we expect to be a most incisive lecture, let me make bold to state that for the Nigerian Content Oil and Gas Act to make the needed impact in its immediate and other sectors of our economy, the focus on jumbo contract awards must necessarily shift to local capacity building, and local capacity utilization,” he stressed, noting that “local content and capacity providers must have access and be able to leverage upon available local and foreign without too much bottlenecks.” Okoye recalled the philosophy that gave rise to the Fellowship Lecture Series, pointing out that it was informed by the “need to ensure that the outcomes of these lectures are taken to implementable levels as against the culture of generating communiques for the archives – as we have witnessed too often in our clime.” Consequently, he said, the board and

the college thought it was necessary to engage all stakeholders that appreciate the relevance of the Fellowship Conferment Lecture series – from the legislative, executive, judicial arm of government to the private sector, the community, local NGOs and or international agencies. “We are compelled to interface with everyone for the good of our dear country,” he declared. “Indeed, that these lectures do not end up being just another collection of communiques is a task that must be done!” Okoye pointed out that the goal of the Lecture Series, in the end, “has been to initiate the processes through which we could put in place the institutional and legal framework for the growth of the engineering family in Nigeria.” Altogether, the NSE has held five In his speech, NSE, Engr. Otis Anyaeji emphasized that “the newly institutionalized fellowship lecture series and the conferment ceremony are used primarily as a platform to focus on major growth and development issues that will crystallize the competitiveness of the Nigerian economy.” He commended the Okoye-led Board of Fellows for always “painstakingly going through the diligent process of selecting the calibre of Engineers to be conferred with fellowships.”

ederal and State offices in Awka opened for business on Tuesday after the Yuletide and New Year holidays. Some of the workers told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that they were thankful to God for making them to come this far. Others said they were hopeful that government would listen to them on their plight by increasing their salaries. Jerry Obodo, the Personal Assistant to the Chairman of Anambra Christians Pilgrims Board, said that it was a thing of joy to be back to work, while calling on fellow workers to be productive. “It is a welcome development and thanks to God that we are back in our respective places of work. “Workers should adopt punctuality, increase in productivity by being efficient and effective in service delivery to the general public. “Workers should be properly remunerated by their employers for embezzlement, looting and lukewarm attitude to work to be a thing of the past,” he said. Mrs Nkoli Okoye, a civil servant, said that workers were happy with the performance of the governor for keeping to his words to give a bag of rice to workers after paying their salaries. “Gov. Willie Obiano gave us (workers) a bag of rice each to celebrate the Yuletide as promised, while promising to look into our salaries as soon as the state internally generated revenue improves. “Based on these, we workers have no option than to put in our best in supporting the government to make the economy of the state grow,” she said. Mr Emma Ibe, a civil servant, called on workers in the state to work hard and pray for their colleagues in other states who were owed salaries. “We are lucky here that our governor has managed our resources efficiently that our salaries are paid as at when due. “But in some states, It is not the same for workers there are not finding it easy all I am asking fellow workers to pray for them so that God will touch the heart of their governors to pay them,” he said.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10, 2018

NEWS IPMAN urges FG to invest in modular refineries

T

he Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) on Tuesday, urged the Federal Government to invest more in modular refineries as a way to end fuel scarcity. Alhaji Debo Ahmed, the Chairman, South West zone of IPMAN, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo only two days ago in Lagos, confirmed that 10 modular refineries were at advanced stages of development in the Niger Delta. The 10 modular refineries are located in five out of the nine states in the Niger Delta region. The states include Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Delta, Edo and Imo states. Osinbajo said two of the refineries, Amakpe Refinery (Akwa Ibom), and OPAC Refinery (Delta State), have had their mini-refinery modules already fabricated, assembled and containerized overseas and ready for shipment to Nigeria for installation. The total proposed refining capacities of the 10 licensed refineries

stand at 300,000 barrels. Ahmed said that the modular refineries could help address any shortfall in fuel supply pending when additional refineries would be built. “It will also boost the country’s revenue generation and address frequent fuel capacity experienced during the yuletide seasons. “Our expectation in 2018 is for the government to invest more on modular refineries to be able to have more petrol locally to address scarcity,’’ he said. Ahmed said that government had performed credibility well in the downstream sector in 2017, adding that it should crown it by building more modular refineries. According to him, a modular refinery is cheaper to build and it can move from one place to another. “A modular refinery is capable of refining between 10,000 and 35,000 barrels of crude oil per day,’’he said. He also urged the government to provide incentives that would attract investors to the oil and gas sector.

Umahi condemns Rivers terror attack From CHINEDU NWAFOR, Abakaliki Ebonyi State governor, David Umahi has condemned the New Year killings in Omoku, the headquarters of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, describing it as height of insanity and barbarism. Governor Umahi in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Uzor described the killing of innocent worshippers who went for Cross Over Night special prayer as national tragedy and condoled with the families of those who lost their loved ones. The governor further commiserated with the government and people of Rivers State over the calamity and described the act as the height of insanity and degeneration of humanity to evil. Governor Umahi in the statement

said: “We are here again faced with one of the greatest carnages and man’s inhumanity to man. To think that a man with blood running in his vein would open fire on innocent fellow citizens is so horrible and devastating. It is with great shock that I received the news and on behalf of my family and the patriotic citizens of Ebonyi State, I commiserate with my brother and friend, Governor Nyesom Wike, the people of Rivers State and the families of the deceased. Such inhuman act further puts question to our existence as sane and salubrious, conscious beings.” He called on security agencies to intensify investigations into the massacre with a view to arresting the masterminds of the killing while praying God to grant the souls of the deceased eternal rest.

Rebrand Police, Tambuwal tasks officers

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ov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State has tasked police officers to rebrand the force. Tambuwal made the call while receiving newly commissioned Police officers who are indigenes of the State in Sokoto. He asked the 36 officers, made up of 17 Assistant Superintendents of Police (ASPs) and 19 Inspectors, to be good ambassadors. While commending the officers for accepting to serve as law enforcement agents, Tambuwal also enjoined them to play their part in changing the negative impression created about the police. “By agreeing to dedicate your lives to protect us, you have continued in the tradition of your forefathers from this state who have served this nation diligently. “I urge you to refuse to be infected by anything denting the image of the Police.

“The entire Police structure is undergoing re-branding as such, I want you to play your part well in enhancing the image,” he charged. The governor assured all the officers that the state government would continue to cater for their interests even after their passing out from training colleges. Speaking on behalf of their colleagues, ASP Abubakar Shehu and Insp. Yusuf Adam commended Tambuwal for his care and concern throughout their training period at the Police Colleges. “You visited us while in training in Jos and kept regular contact with others who trained elsewhere. We thank you for your efforts, and assure you that as we start life in the Force, we will continue to make Sokoto state and our families proud,” they said.

• Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Mr Garba Baba Umar addressing officers and men of Nigerian Police Force during his tour at Central Police Station Onitsha. Photo : Modestus Igudobi

Insurgency: Maku appeals for calm

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former Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, on Tuesday appealed to insurgents to sheath their swords and embrace peace in order to fast track the socio-economic development of the country. Maku, also a 2015 gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in NAsarawa State, spoke with newsmen in Wakama, Akun Local Council Development Area of the state. Maku, the National Secretary of APGA, said that activities of the insurgents and other security challenges bedeviling the country had affected the lives of many Nigerians and the socio-economic development of the country negatively. He said: “As a former minister of Information and a one- time Supervising Minister of Defence, I know how much government had spent in ending the activities of Boko Haram in the North East and other

security challenges in the country. “Also recently, President Muhammadu Buhari made a submission for $1billion to be spent in combating insurgency in the North East and other parts of the country. “If we change that to our currency, it will be N360 billion, that is the exchange rate as at today. “With N360 billion, you can imagine the number of schools, boreholes, factories, youths, women and farmers’ empowerment that the government would have provided to communities across Nigeria.’’ He said that insurgency and other security challenges had affected the nation’s development following the losses the country had been experiencing over the years. Maku advised Nigerians to pray for peace for the country. “ I wish my country peace and I urge government at all levels, security agencies, traditional rulers and

other stakeholders to work in harmony for the promotion of peace and unity. “As we enter the new year, we must continue to extend the hands of love, humility and generosity towards one another and live as one big family irrespective of our background, and trust God for a better tomorrow and a greater country,’’ he said. He advised Nigerians to shun violence, no matter the level of provocation but must unite in the interest of peace and national development. He advised the residents of Nasarawa state and Nigerians to shun divide and rule principle but be united in electing credible leaders for good governance. According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the former minister also advised Nigerians to be hard working for greater Nigeria.

Invest in waste-to-wealth in 2018, Expert urges govts

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waste management expert, Prof. Oladele Osibanjo has advised all tiers of government to invest in the waste-to-wealth programme in 2018. Osibanjo, the President, Waste Management Society of Nigeria (WAMSON), gave the advice on Tuesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos. He also urged them to provide the enabling environment for investors to turn all types of waste to valuable raw materials. ‘‘For now, the Federal, State and Local Governments are treating waste

with levity and things cannot continue like this. “There should be a positive change; so I am looking forward to the three tiers of governments, being committed to taking waste to the next level in 2018. ‘‘I expect them to embrace wasteto-wealth, waste-to-energy, and know that global warming is real and that waste also contribute to global warming,” he said. Osibanjo pleaded with the Federal Government to ensure the passage of waste bill in the National Assembly and sign it into law to kick-start the integrated management of waste in the

country. He said that with a law in place, companies and individuals would use different methodologies to develop the nation’s waste to create jobs for the citizens. Osibanjo expressed hope that this would reduce the numerous complaints by citizens and environment lovers of refuse littering their areas, including water bodies and drainage channels. The WAMSON president also appealed to people to develop waste materials and unlock the potential in them.

Umar Shuaib, the soldiers recovered a locally fabricated pistol and cartridge from the robbers. They also recovered some stolen properties and returned them to their rightful owners. The release read: “The galant troops of 2 Brigade Nigerian Army had on Monday 1 January, 2018 successfully shot one armed bandit robbing passengers at Otoro village in Etim Ekpo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. “The troops had earlier received a

distress call that police personnel on duty along Nkek - Ukanafun - Abak were under attack by armed hoodlums. “The troops swiftly moved and repelled the attack. It was on their way back to the base that they encountered armed bandits and successfully shot one of them after an exchange of gunfire. “A locally fabricated pistol and one expended cartridge were recovered and all the properties of the robbery victims were returned to them.”

Soldiers smash armed robbery syndicate, rescue victims From INIABASI UMO, Uyo

S

OLDIERS from 2 Brigade, Akwa Ibom State have smashed an alleged armed robbery syndicate and rescued two of their victims. The troops also rescued some policemen who were under attack from armed robbers terrorising the NkeUkanafun-Abak Road. According to a release made available to our correspondent on Tuesday by the Assistant Director of Public Relations, 2 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Major


46

The Oracle Today Wednesday January 10, 2018

NEWS

Buhari kills restructuring Continued from Pg 2

this is how much we can give you, what happens to the impact on their environment? The impact is left to them. There was a professor in 2001 that made it clear and urged the Federal Government to go into serious exploitation of minerals in the Niger Delta, because oil resources sooner or later will be exhausted. Then we asked a question, who bears the ecological debt when the resources are no more there? “So those things are more of structural issues than process. We must focus on structural issues. So for me restructuring is the solution to Nigeria’s problems. It’s really the solution to Nigeria’s problems because if you look at the current oil production, which is about 2.2 million barrels per day, how much of it is used to develop the Niger Delta? Look at the issue of PANDEF, which came on board when the Avengers were trying to strike. And they got a respite because the Vice President visited the Niger Delta communities. At the end, 16 ideas were mooted. “What happens to those ideas now? Ideas that can bring about unity, ideas that can bring about development in the Niger Delta what is happening to them now. They

have been thrown into the dustbin. Nobody hears anything from them. “Everybody is crying for justice in Nigeria, because restructuring should be our goal for now. If you look at the triangle, there are three sides. One side is the attitude that is the feelings of the people, and another side is the behaviour that is actions the people will take as a result of not meeting their desires. The third side is the context that is the environment in which we are. If the context is the issues bringing about grievances in the country are not looked into, then how can we get a country that is said will depend on the process and not on structure. Restructuring of the country is very, very essential for us to address some of these issues. The process cannot work without the structure and that is the problem of Nigeria.” WARRI Special Assistant to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State on non-Indigene Affairs Nze Francis Onuorah in his reaction accused Mr. President of his divide and rule antics, insisting that Nigeria needs to be restructured to give opportunity to the voiceless to air their views on the state of the nation.

Nze Onuorah who is also an Igbo opinion leader said Buhari has not proved to be the President of the country, by neglecting the Igbos and rating them as second-class citizens. According to him, Buhari should focus his attention on the second Niger Bridge, saying he is playing politics with the all-important issue that is very dear to the Igbos and Nigerians at large. On security, the Igbo opinion leader gave pass mark to Mr. President for his effort at reducing insecurity to the barest minimum and advised him to do more.

For his part, President Ijaw Youths Council (IYC), Comrade Eric Omare said that Mr. President’s broadcast was not in tune with what is happening in the country. He noted that restructuring is necessary for the country to make progress. On security, Omare advised Mr. President to do more, citing the killings of Christians who were coming from church on Sunday by gunmen at Omoku. But the APC Women Leader in the Dr. (Mrs.) Janet Oyubu added that Nigerians should be grateful to God for giving Muhammadu Buhari as President.

• FRSC removing one of the tankers from the bridge

Innoson slams N200b suit on EFCC Continued from Pg 2 ride, property of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), being the consignee of the said goods • Obtained by false pretence, containers of motorcycle spare parts and raw materials from Mitsui O. S. K. Lines Limited, Apapa, Lagos, property of GTB • The trio were also alleged to have, between 2009 and July 2011, fraudulently induced the staff of Mitsui O. S. K. Lines Limited, Apapa, Lagos and Maersk Line Limited to deliver containers of motorcycle spare parts, moulds of plastic parts, steel structures and raw materials, property of GTB, imported into Nigeria from China through the bank under false pretence that they were

authorised to clear the goods and take delivery of same. • Chukwuma and his co-accused were alleged to have, sometimes in 2009 and July 2011, with intent to defraud and obtain the said goods by false pretence, forged a bill of lading No. 598286020 of Maersk Line Limited and No. Molu 11007950841 of Mitsui O. S. K. Lines Limited, by knowingly putting a false stamp signature of a staff of GTB on it. The offences were said to be contrary to Section 8(a) 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act, 2006 and Section 388 and 309(9) of the Criminal Code, Cap C17, Vol. 11, Laws of Lagos State, 2003. EFCC had, on December 19, arrested the Innoson boss in Enugu

residence over alleged refusal to honour the commission’s invitation. He was later released on administrative bail by the commission. The commission, in a statement, said the businessman was arrested over allegations on N1, 478,366, 859.66 fraud and forgery. “Chief Chukwuma and his brother, Charles Chukwuma (who is still at large), are being investigated by the Insurance and Capital Market Fraud Section of the Commission’s office in Lagos over matters bordering on N1, 478,366,859.66 fraud and forgery”, the statement said. Another allegation against Innoson were that he used forged documents to secure tax waivers,” the EFCC alleged.

According to her, Mr. President had been able to fight both corruption and insecurity successfully, adding “we should continue to support him in all fronts in order to make Nigeria a crime free country”. Paul Njoku, a human rights activist, dismissed President Buhari’s New Year broadcast as holding no hopes for Nigerians. He maintained that by his stand on restructuring, the President has denounced restructuring as promised by APC during its campaigns. Njoku recalled that the first item on the APC manifesto is its promise to “initiate action to amend our constitution with a view to devolving powers, duties and responsibilities to States and local governments in order to entrench true federalism and true federal spirit.” He added that “as Buhari denounces item one on APC manifesto, it is clear Nigerians were scammed.” According to him, from the speech, “It is clear enough that Buhari’s plan, vision and framework for developing Nigeria are vague and opaque, but he is quite loquacious about his resistance to restructuring.” He said since the “abduction” of the Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the clamour for restructuring has waned and Buhari has come out boldly to say no to restructuring. “Buhari has flattened the cabinet, reducing ministerial positions; he froze governance by putting 209 Boards on hold for three years; he telescoped the budget of three years into the implementation of one budget (2016) which was funded only up to 30% at best. “They removed the oil subsidy feeding bottle from Nigerians, force-feeding us on an international fuel price diet. He pursued a oneeyed, jaundiced anti-corruption war that kept Dasuki in detention despite court orders and made the Army Chief of Procurement under Dasuki Chief of Army Staff but gave Timipre Sylva his 48 houses back. “He mopped up funds from commercial banking, sequestered it in Treasury Single Account but made secret exemptions for NNPC. He has done his mélange of social experimentation, which led to recession, mass unemployment. Yet he is convinced it is a process problem not structural,” Njoku submitted He added: “This new year address from Mr. President is full of shark-infested waters of repeated mantra of President Buhari’s campaign garbage and therefore should be disregarded,” he said. He speculated that Buhari’s hard stance on restructuring is being influenced by his desire to protect the interest of his political group in the APC coagulation. “What is playing out is that the different elements and tendencies that gave birth to APC are gradually taking their positions as prelude to 2019. Buhari and his CPC will never support restructuring while Tinubu’s ACN can never disown restructuring for fear of losing relevance in South West. “The APC manifesto was only a fraudulent concoction to hoodwink gullible Nigerian voters in 2015. It is

obvious 2019 will be a different ball game,” Njoku said. Njoku said he was appalled by security measures of the Federal Government, pointing out that since the alleged attack on Christians in Kaduna State where 21 persons were killed, the President has said nothing about the bizarre Christmas Eve incident. UMUAHIA MR. Maduka Okoro, a political scientist, said Buhari’s New Year message holds bright prospects for Nigerians. According to him, restructuring should avert Nigerians from new ways of doing things and doing away with corruption. However, he stressed the need for the Federal Government to discuss with those clamouring for restructuring. Okoro said groups like IPOB and in the Niger Delta should be invited for dialogue and their grievances addressed. “When you do so, it does not mean that Biafra or Ijaw nation has been created,” he said. In the area of security, he applauded measures outlined by Mr. President to contain insecurity, adding that more funds were needed to fight off the Boko Haram and appealed to Western nations, especially, the United States of America, to assist Nigeria in this regard. He urged the federal government to find a lasting solution to the herdsmen menace across the country. He enjoined Nigerians to support President Buhari in his efforts to build a viable Nigeria and do away with ethnic sentiments, which breed division and hatred among Nigerians. ASABA A LEGAL practitioner Rowland Nikoro has described President Muhammadu Buhari’s new year broadcast as hopeless. Nikoro in a chat with The Oracle Today stated that he was not happy that Buhari completely failed to address the widespread calls for restructuring of the nation particularly in relation to devolution of powers to the federating units and the correction of the perceived structural imbalance confronting the nation and for which Nigerians earnestly expected answers from government. “His address completely failed to address issues of restructuring. The debate about restructuring was a major issue throughout the previous year. Some aggrieved persons even agitated for a breakaway and formed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and it was very important for the president to react to such issues of national importance,” he said He regretted that the speech also failed to address the plights of Nigerians as regards the worsening economic recession ravaging families under this regime. He further opined that Nigerians deserve a detailed explanation on the $1 billion for insurgency, adding that the President should convince Nigerians that the confidence reposed in him to salvage the country is not a mirage.


47

The Oracle Today Wednesday January, 10 2018

Fuel scarcity stays Continued from Pg 2

host their storage facilities in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Calabar but NNPC focused its supplies to only Lagos and Abuja. We also discovered that the bulk of supply interventions by NNPC were channeled into the market mainly through the major marketers that maintain strong facility presence in Lagos. NNPC also supplies from its own depots across the country. A source at one of the depots operated by a major marketer stated that the intervention by NNPC would remain a temporary measure unless the debt crisis in the supply chain is resolved to empower all marketers to import independently. He said the current market reliance on supplies from NNPC was sustainable, adding that crude for products swap arrangement between NNPC and offshore suppliers might suffer a glitch that could plunge the entire country into deep fuel crisis. A source at Nipco Plc confirmed that all petrol supplies to the market except few private imports currently come from NNPC, admitting that the situation was not sustainable and might prolong the prevailing supply crisis as, according to him, no one company can satisfy the fuel need of the big nation like Nigeria. A confidential not dispatched to some of the major marketers receiving petrol supplies from NNPC carried strict instruction that the products were designated for distribution in Lagos State alone. But companies bridging supplies for marketing compa-

nies have different mandates as truck drivers had instructions to deliver products to retail stations outside the State. The situation has redefined products diversion under the prevailing scarcity. “Our company has several retail outlets across the country. We know where we have the greatest pressure. So how can you now tell me which of my stations to give fuel and which one to leave dry after you have collected my money?” a retail manager in a marketing company explained in a telephone chat. “It is part of our function to balance distribution across our demand centers, and there is not clear boundary for marketing company to sell to customer x” he said. An official of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) stated that field intelligence report available to the groups showed that there was no cross border diversion, insisting that fuel scarcity still plagues the country. ‘I am in Owerri, Imo State now on my way to Orlu, fuel sells at N240 per liter here. That is incentive for marketers to diver6t internally,” he explained. At a depot in Apapa, senior NUPENG official, said in a telephone chat, that marketers offered as much as N180 per litre ex-depot for quick service against the official N133 per litre. That means, according to him, that they sell beyond N200 per litre at wherever to which they take the product. He made it clear that NNPC

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country,” he declared in a statement. Managing Director of PPMC, Mr. Umar Ajiya, said the NNPC took delivery of two cargoes with 50 million litres of petrol. He added that the corporation was expected to take delivery of a minimum of one cargo per day going forward. NNPC stated that it has programmed to supply 1.2 billion litres of the white product in January 2018, translating to about 40 million litres of the PMS supply per day. The Oracle Today reports that while NNPC was counting supply figures, the market continued to suffer acute fuel supply gaps despite expected demand reduction as many motorists traveled out of Lagos for Christmas holidays. Besides, marketing groups including Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, DAPPMA, declared that the supplies claimed by NNPC were not efficiently spread. DAPPMA spokesman, Mr. Olufemi Adewole, stated that despite advance payment of N90 billion by members of the group, NNPC failed to meet timely delivery of the products for nationwide distribution. The statement by DAPPMA sparked trade of debt allegations between NNPC and marketers, resulting in revelations that the debt overhang awaiting resolution between government and private investors that play in the domestic fuel market was over N800 billion. Our checks showed that whereas DAPPMA members

• Igwe Sir Leonard Eze of Abba and his Wife, Ebele flanked by members of his cabinet cut the cake to mark his 40th year on the throne during his Ofala festival Photo : Modestus Igudobi through either pipeline or trucking. Reports from other parts of the country indicate that NNPC could have underestimated the gaps that the scarcity created in demands in the past few weeks. “Even if we have double our regular supply,” one filling station manager said in Enugu, “it would take at least a week of steady supplies to stabilise supplies. People have not been using their cars and generators because they could not go through the troubles of getting fuel. “Once they are sure fuel is available, they start buying.

There is a lot of suppressed demand in the market,” he said. Another indication that the challenge may take longer to address is that President Muhammadu Buhari in his New Year message, made no reference to the high landing cost of the product, as a factor in its scarcity. He also ignored the debt owed depot owners and marketers; rather he blamed the scarcity on people who he said wanted to inflict pains on Nigerians, in what he called, “manipulated hardship”. The President has promised to deal with those causing the sufferings, but proffered no solutions to the fuel scarcity.

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I formerly known as ANTHONY AMOBI OFONEDU now wish to be known as MR ANTHONY AMOBI ODOEMENAM. All former documents remain valid. First Bank plc, Access Bank and general public take note

This is to confirm that my name was wrongly written in my Account as PAUL O. OKONKWOR T.A. NWANNE Insisted of PAUL OSITA EZEOKONKWO. Now wish to be known and addressed as PAUL OSITA EZEOKONKWO. All former documents remain valid. Banks and General public take note.

This is to confirm that my name was wrongly written in my BVN as LEVI-EZE EMMANUEL Instead of LEVI-EZE EMMANUEL OLUNNAMAKA. Now wish to be known and addressed as LEVI-EZE EMMANUEL OLUNNAMAKA. All former documents remain valid. Banks And General public take note.

This is to confirm that CHUKWUNAZA EKPERE UDOCHUKWU is same person as CHRISTOPHER FRANK CHINAZA now wish to be known as ONYEDIBE CHRISTOPHER CHINAZA. All former documents remain valid. Banks and general public take note

I formerly known as UME NONSO FRANCIS now wish to be known as EZEANOKWASA FRANCIS CHUKWUDI. All former documents remain valid. Banks and general public take note

I formerly known as OKOYE IFEOMA IMMACULATE now wish to be known as CHIGBATA IFEOMA IMMACULATE. All former documents remain valid. Banks and general public take note

could not clear fuel queues in Lagos and Abuja when scarcity was acute in other parts of the country. A source at one of the depots in Apapa disclosed that supply situation in the market had been very precarious some past few months. He explained that storage facilities in Lagos, which catered for supplies to South West and part of the North, had been grappling with low stock. The Oracle Today reports that prevailing bridging arrangement requires storage facilities in Lagos and other South West States to supply fuel to Northern States

CHANGE OF NAME

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WEDNESDAY January 10, 2018

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READ the dead. People who presented no issues while they were alive could become national matters. There are suggestions that the appointment of the dead to federal agencies should motivate those who have lost hope about their chances in Nigeria. If there is hope for the dead, it should be more so for the living. Some are seeing more competition for rare national opportunities that federal agencies present, being shared among the living and the dead. Their fears are real. So far, these eminent Nigerians have been identified on the list: • Senator Francis Okpozo, who died in December last year: Chairman, Nigerian Press Council • Donald Ugbaja, a Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIGP), who died in in November this year: member of the Consumer Protection Council • Rev. Chris Utov, founder, Fidei Polytechnic, Gboko, who died in March this year: member of Nigeria Institute of Social and Economic Research • Alhaji Umar Dange, the late APC leader in Sokoto State: member, Federal Medical Centre, Ebute Metta • Kabir Umar, former Emir of Katagum in Bauchi State, who died on December 9, this year: member, Federal Medical Centre, Azare, Bauchi • Ahmed Bunza, died at Usman Danfodio University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, buried May 22 this year. A stout defence came from the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, who had this to say: “This is a historical list. It dates back to 2015. The President asked all State chapters of the APC to forward 50 names for appointments to the SGF through the national headquarters of the party. “The then SGF, Babachir Lawal, presented the report in October 2016. State governors, who said they were not carried along or the list was not representative enough, disputed the report. So, the President constituted a new panel chaired by the Vice President. The panel has some governors and some leaders of the party as members. They were asked to go and review the list. The panel did its work and turned in its report early in 2017. The President had his health challenges during that period. “Now, that he is back and strong, he asked the SGF to go and release the list. So, the new SGF did what he was asked to do. There is nothing scandalous or extraordinary about what has happened.” If you are not applauding so far, it is obvious where you belong. From the President to party officials, the Vice President to the new Secretary to the Government of the Federation, nobody remembered it was “a historical list”. “If a list was compiled about two years ago, obviously some people would have died. Nobody can stop that from happening,” Mallam Shehu continued his lecture, swinging from history to the mortality of

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VOX POPULI SACRUM

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Dead diligence, due diligence

We owe respect to the living. To the dead we owe only truth. – François-Marie d’Arouet (1694–1778), better known by his pen name Voltaire, French writer and public activist who played a defining role in the 18th Century movement called the Enlightenment mortals, in one of the most morbid defences of the actions of a government notorious for providing large latitudes for its mistakes. “Whoever is dead will be replaced. There is nothing extraordinary about it,” he concluded. He did not tell us, whether other dead people could not make their way to the list. Others have attacked the list for duplication of names, and the government’s poor understanding of how its agencies work. A good case is the Nigeria Football Federation. Its membership is through election, yet our government did not know the NFF was elected in September 2014, and there were no provisions for appointments to the board. The list that mixed the living with the dead appointed four people to the NFF board and asked them to elect their Chairman. Mallam Shehu did not discuss their situation. Many Nigerians do not have the insights of Mallam Shehu. “The constitution of the boards has been long overdue. The discovery shows that the list was compiled a long time ago and due diligence was not done before it was released. It is unfortunate that the President delayed in doing most of the things he was supposed to do; and those

things have come to haunt him. It is obvious that the dead people were appointed after they died. It does not speak well of any serious government that dead people are appointed into public offices,” Yusuf Ali, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said. “The list confirms a trend that has been the hallmark of this government since it took power in 2015. It shows how unprepared the President and the cabal in the Presidency are for the serious work of governance. “To have one dead person on the appointment list is scandalous, but to have many shows lack of thoroughness, no attention to detail. And, if this is the way our lives are being run, it is very shameful that the government at the highest level cannot sort the living from the dead.” National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kola Ologbodiyan, said the APC “administration is completely confused, disorganised and grossly incompetent. When we say that this government is completely inept, some Nigerians did not know to which level, but now they do”. Typically, APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi reminded anyone in doubt that APC is the government in power, on his way to dismissing the error as insignificant. “It is pathetic that the

PDP has yet to overcome its loss of the 2015 elections. They should get used to the fact that we are in government and in power. It is becoming laughable that even if a NIPOST member of staff fails to deliver a letter they claim it is evidence of APC’s unpreparedness. “How can they say a secretarial error involving five names out of over 300 is a sign of failure? This administration is focused and will not be distracted,” he said, as if we were discussing margin of error in a statistical presentation. His obtuse perspectives to the issue threatened more scandalous performances, if just to justify his posturing. Alhaji Abdullahi is wrong on several counts. The number of the dead keeps rising, and it is not a “secretarial error” unless the offices, through which it passed, Vice President’s and that of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, have such insignificance in the estimation of Alhaji Abdullahi. “I am not taking offence at all because, as a President, he cannot know everything about everybody in the whole country. Maybe he had delegated the selection to some people to do and they did not consult but just published it (list),” Mrs. Anna Okpozo, the Senator’s widow, said in statement absolving the President of the blames. “But I commend him for remembering my son.” Harrison, the Senator’s son was appointed a board member, National Commission for Museums and Monuments. Of Rev Father Utov, Bunde Upurugh, his nephew said: “The sad thing is that the appointment came many months after he died.” “Dange died early this year (2017). This (the appointment) is a clear demonstration that President Buhari is not in control of his administration,” Alhaji Hassan Umar, a relation of Dange, said. Fear the Almighty and fear those who dread not the dead. The dismissive manner of addressing how a government of the living seeks to patronise the dead, is essential to understanding how APC works – and mostly does not work. Short on time to propagate its arrogant messages of ‘only APC can save’, we should not be surprised if in 2019, we are reminded that one of the major achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government was that the compromised living, even with his pristine APC, exhausted him, and he opted to deal with the dead. If we are to patronise Voltaire, do we respect the living whom we have upset with the reminders? What truth are we telling the dead; that we are so mindless of their departure that the platitudes we delivered as condolences confirm our duplicity? No matter how you try to understand the incident, remember, “there is nothing scandalous or extraordinary about what has happened.” Mallam said so; he does not seem to be alone in this thinking, which tends to suggest that 2018 would be better.

The Oracle Today is published by The Oracle Newspapers Limited. Head Office: 116 Awka Road, Onitsha. Lagos Office: 25 Remi Fani-Kayode Street, GRA Ikeja. Abuja Office: 1st Floor, Plateau House, Central Business District, Abuja, FCT. ISSN: 2545-5869 Email: oracletoday2016@yahoo.com, Twitter: @oraclenews.ng Facebook: oraclenews.ng@facebook.com Website: www.oraclenews.ng Advert hot lines: 09078310060, 09061836916. Editor: FELIX OGUEJIOFOR ABUGU.

Wednesday January 10, 2018 Edition  
Wednesday January 10, 2018 Edition  

Buhari Kills restructuring

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