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HE question is no longer what to do with our police. The more pertinent issue is what our police do. It is obvious that we cannot do without the police. The reality is that the police act as if they could do without Nigerians, at least, those they call ordinary Nigerians. CONCERNS are growing as the public watches the police. The earlier worries had been about the ability of the police to protect Nigerians. We passed that stage, long ago. We are faced with the stark reality of the police being unable to defend themselves.

What do our police do? The Oracle Today Comment

TIME was when if a policeman was killed, you could bet that the criminal would be fished out quickly. The logic was that the police would protect themselves, if they were to protect us. These days, policemen are killed, their colleagues

killed, slaughtered, slain and they just carry on with life as if nothing is amiss. NIGERIANS have not noted that how the police care for themselves projects to their care for Nigerians. Complicated factors have resulted in police that nei-

The

VOX POPULI SACRUM

ther trust themselves nor do the people trust them. MOST actions of the police are defences of their ineptitude that board on the absurd. The police react but hardly act. Our police would rather explain their failures than make an effort at re-

WEDNESDAY May 23, 2018

deeming them. EPILEPLIC reactions of the police cannot be acceptable as a strategy for attaining meaningful policing. Where crimes affect the high and mighty, or could “embarrass” the police, they move in frenzy. Otherwise, they

are mostly flighty in their operations. LAST October, within four days of two Americans, who were arriving Lagos, being robbed in traffic, police swung into action. They arrested 30 suspects, charged them to court. The police are working, aren’t they? WHEN the news of the robbery broke, the police were embarrassed that foreigners were involved. The arrests fulfilled promises to deal with the incident. Police presence increased

racle www.oraclenews.ng

ISSN: 2545-5869

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Today

VOL.3 No.20 N200

RiverNigerthreatened

From CHUKS COLLINS, Awka; COLLINS UGHALAA, Owerri; BONIFACE OKORO, Umuahia and CHUKS EZE, Enugu

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ith the River Niger silted up in some parts, drying up in some others, there are increasing fears that as the rains pour down in increased frequency, the low draft of the river may make it unable to hold much of the rain waters thereby leading to floods in most of

the communities along its routes and beyond. These fears have become even more germane against the backdrop of failure by the government over the years to dredge the river in order not only to make it navigable but also to increase its draft and, by so doing, make it able to hold more waters from both its tributaries and rainfalls. While the 2012 flood disaster in Nigeria may have been caused by heavy rain-

•Silted up in much of its length, breath •Prone to flooding as low draft can’t hold much water •No political will, no dredging •Dredging not viable SON destroys substandard LPG Cylinders in Katsina

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By EBELE NWANOLUE Standards OrganiThashesation of Nigeria (SON) carried out a public de-

•Some of the Jewish worshipers during a court hearing on Monday in Umuahia

Jewish worshippers charged as terrorists

•CAN, others demand thorough investigation From BONIFACE OKORO, Umuahia

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he arrest and arraignment of a group of persons who practise

Judaism, the Jewish religion, in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, on charges of terrorism has generated an uproar with critics describing the arrest of the Jewish

worshippers as an act of state high-handedness. The Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN), described the development as very

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struction exercise of over 749 substandard Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders in Katsina State. This comes even as the agency warned dealers of fake and substandard Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders in the country against selling the product. Director General, SON, Osita Aboloma, described the illicit trade as life endangering, stressing that it poses great danger to lives and property in Nigeria. Aboloma at the destruction exercise said the withdrawal of the cylinders from circulation during mop-up exercises in Kaduna and Kano States, was in line with the SON Act No. 14 of 2015, which gives the organisation the power to seize suspected substan-

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Page 10 Human trafficking survivors want to return to Libya


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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

NEWS SON destroys substandard LPG Cylinders in Katsina Cont’d from Pg 1 dard products for a period of 90 days in the first instance, for quality verification without recourse to judicial intervention. The Director General, who was represented by the Regional Coordinator, North West-Zone, Mr. Dauda Yakubu, disclosed that the cylinders had been subjected to laboratory tests and analyses to confirm their conformity, stressing that they failed critical safety parameters on construction, performance and marking. “Many have expired, while some supposedly new ones were badly welded, thus posing great danger to lives and property,” he said. On why the substandard cylinders were brought to Katsina for destruction, he noted that there was a mutual agreement with the owners of the Dana Steel Rolling Mill facilities to assist in that respect and recycle them for other uses to avoid environmental pollution. The Regional Coordinator admonished those dealing in the LPG Gas Cylinders and accessories to abide strictly by the safety requirements in the relevant Nigeria Industrial Standards (NIS), given the potential danger that the substandard cylinders could pose to lives and property. Yakubu then extended SON’s appreciation to the Dana Steel management for making their facility available for the destruction exercise and called on other stakeholders to collaborate with the agency in the bid to improve lives through standards and quality assurance. The destruction exercise was witnessed by the SON State Coordinators from Katsina, Kano and Kaduna along with representatives of security agencies, the management team of Dana Steel Rolling Mill and representatives of media houses. It will be recalled that the agency recently, intensified its efforts to remove uncertified LPG cylinders that find their way into the country through unapproved routes, noting that LPG cylinders not approved by the standards body are considered unsafe for both domestic and industrial use. The SON Chief Executive, explained that the move became necessary due to information gathered and its surveillance report revealing that some LPG cylinders could have been smuggled through illegal routes destroying lives and property while assuring the citizenry of the agency’s renewed vigour to stamp out the preponderance of fake and substandard goods in the country. According to the SON boss, the standards body would stop at nothing in order to ensure the lives and property of Nigerians are safe, saying that SON under new SON Act 2015 would allow only authorised dealers are allowed to import cylinders. Indeed, stakeholders have appealed to operators in the LPG sector to get proper certifications for storage tanks, warning that agency would invoke the provisions of the SON Act No. 14 of 2015 on any operator found to have circumvented the mandatory requirement of certifying LPG storage vessels.

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River Niger threatened Continued from Pg 1 falls much of that year, especially along the costal States of Delta, Bayelsa and Edo, including Kogi State —from March 7t to November 8, 2012—environmentalists believe that the adverse effects of the flooding would have been minimized if the fortunes of the River Niger had been enhanced over the years through dredging by the appropriate agencies of government. Between July and October 2012, flooding in Nigeria pushed rivers over their banks and submerged hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland. By mid-October, floods had forced 1.3 million people from their homes and claimed 431 lives, according to Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency. In 2008, a fairly typical year, both the Niger and Benue were thin rivers flowing through braided channels, with isolated water bodies dotting the floodplains. Four years later, both rivers had burst their banks, engulfing the small lakes and ponds in their paths. South of Idah, the Niger River ballooned into a sprawling temporary lake. The fortunes of the Niger, Africa’s third longest river, have dwindled over the years owing to deleterious politics over its maintenance dredging. During the botched Second Re-

public, the government of President Shehu Shagari started the Onitsha River Port as a means of enhancing water transportation between the seaports at Warri and Port Harcourt and Onitsha and the Igbo hinterland and parts of North Central Nigeria. After the overthrow of Shagari’s government, the Onitsha Port project was abandoned until efforts were made under the late General Sani Abacha using the instrumentality of the Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund in the late 1990s, to dredge the river as a means of enhancing its navigability. In 2006, the Obasanjo Administration all but awarded a contract to Westminster Dredging to dredge the lower Niger from Warri to Lokoja. Estimated at about N30b then, with about N13b reported to be ready for immediate disbursement, , the project, which was to cover 578 kilometres from Warri to Lokoja, comprised the construction of river ports at Baro (Niger), Lokoja, Onitsha, Oguta (Imo), Idah (Kogi) and Okrika in Rivers State after the first phase of the dredging. This phase was expected to ease water transportation problems and facilitate movement of goods and people between the South and the North through the waterways. But not much was heard again about the River Niger dredging and the port project until August

30, 2012, when President Goodluck Jonathan completed and commissioned the Onitsha River Port complex. Even then, the port has remained moribund because much of the length and breadth of the River Niger remains un-navigable as the river has practically silted up in most parts. Today, controversy still rages over the viability or otherwise of dredging the lower Niger. With Lagos completely choked under the armada of goods coming to Nigeria through its ports alone, calls have gone to the federal government to develop alternative ports in the country, including the Onitsha River Port, which can only function when the Niger is dredged, to take so much load off Lagos. Dredging to promote marine transportation and trade In a chat with The Oracle Today, Hon. Chuma Nzeribe, a former Member of the House of Representatives who is aspiring to go to the Senate, expressed the need for government to dredge the River Niger to, amongst others, promote river transportation and open up major marine activities along the course of the Niger. “Take where I come from, Ihiala-the Ose-Akwa in Ihiala Council Area, for example, and Ose-Moto in Odekpe in Ogbaru Council Area,

•From left : Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Baroness Patricia Scotland; Former South African President, Thabo Mbeki; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; President Muhammadu Buhari, and Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu... at the commissioning of the new EFCC Headquarters in Abuja.

Uproar over arraignment of Jewish worshipers Continued from Pg 1

disturbing and called for a thorough investigation into the Police action. Others who spoke to The Oracle Today on the issue described it as part of the alleged islamisation agenda of the federal government and an attempt to muzzle freedom of worship. Several practitioners of Judaism, last Sunday, gathered at the Afara Ukwu home of the embattled leader of Indigenous People of Bi-

afra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, to worship. Kanu is also an adherent of the Jewish religion. But the Police swooped on them and arrested many of them, alleging that they were members of the militant wing of IPOB. Though the Police said it arrested only nine worshipers, IPOB, through a statement by its Media Officer, Emma Powerful, claimed that 21 persons were nabbed by the Police. By Monday morning, the Police

arraigned the nine worshipers in their custody in Magistrate Court 7, charging them with terrorism. The one count charge read: “By your act in the course of carrying out your Terrorism Act and with intent to frighten ASP Justus Ogah of Nigeria Police and his team and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 12 (a) of the Abia State Prohibition of Terrorism, Kidnapping, Hostage Taking, Use of offensive Weapon or

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which are home to the deepest natural harbours in Nigeria, lying only 28 nautical miles to the Atlantic Ocean. Yet it is not dredged. So you need to have a vision to open up the Urashi basin and link it up to the Atlantic Ocean thereby opening up a new vista of trade and developments in the area,” he said. “You need to dredge our rivers. You need irrigation too. If you watch, River Niger is the only major river that didn’t flow directly into the Atlantic Ocean; that’s why you talk about the bifurcation of the Niger. You need to have a major opening unto the Atlantic Ocean so as to increase sea-borne activities, sea-borne maritime activities. There is a lot of money to make in sea transportation, even more than what we presently make from crude oil, which the area also harbours in commercial quantity.” Non-dredging part of marginalization of Ndigbo For Anambra-born business tycoon, Mr Tochukwu Chris Omeili, who imports office and house furniture, lack of seaport along the bank of River Niger in the South East region is one of the greatest impediments to economic growth in the region. He said the economic disadvantage is located in the harmful limitations of business expansion, prevention of commerce and industry from flourishing and the huge loss of revenue to the federal government, describing the absence of a seaport in a predominantly economic zone as a furtherance of the marginalization, which the people of the South East are subjected to. “The federal government is not treating us fairly. We (the South East) are supposed to have a seaport in Onitsha, to cushion the several ugly experiences we encounter in our importation business. “Establishing a seaport in the South East is a debt the federal government owes Ndigbo and they should expedite action on that project since it was started by the Jonathan administration,” Omeili said. According to him, a seaport in the South East would bring a new lease of life to economy of the region, even as its greater positive impact would result in development of other sectors. Dredging bedevilled by lack of political will Agreeing that there is no better way to open up a new vista of business activities in the South East and parts of South South and Northen Nigeria than by opening up the Igbo hinter land through water transportation, a water resources engineer, Dr. George Nkwoji lamented the poor handling of the River Niger dredging project. “From all indications, it’s obvious that dredging of River Niger is bedevilled by lack of political will on the part of the federal government to define its policy on Inland Waterways transport, formulation of a strategic policy to implement it, coupled with discordant politics by the locals,” he said. “The truth is that even if there was no River Niger, the federal government was expected to have exercised the political will to develop Inland Waterways to enhance transportation of goods to the hinterlands since it has been established that South East is the final destination of 40% of imported cargo. “Ordinarily, canals should have been constructed from the Atlantic Ocean crisscrossing the major

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The Oracle Today

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Wednesday May 23, 2018

NEWS ACROSS THE NATION

Nigeria’s Lassa fever outbreak contained – WHO

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ORLD Health Organization (WHO) has declared that the critical phase of Nigeria’s Lassa fever outbreak is now under control and has been contained. The declaration followed six weeks of declining numbers and only a handful of confirmed cases reported in recent weeks, even as the world body called for caution as ‘Nigeria is endemic for Lassa fever and people could be infected throughout the year, making continued efforts to control any new flare ups crucial.’ “In the last reporting week, ending on 6 May 2018, three new confirmed cases of Lassa fever were reported. This year a total of 423 confirmed cases including 106 deaths have been recorded. The national case numbers have consistently declined in the past six weeks, and have dropped below levels considered to be a national emergency when compared with data from previous outbreaks,” WHO reported. Commenting, Regional Emergencies Director for Africa at the WHO, Dr Ibrahima Socé Fall, said:

“Nigeria is to be congratulated for reaching this important milestone in the fight against Lassa fever. But we cannot let our foot off the pedal. We must use the lessons learnt to better prepare at risk countries in our region to conduct rapid detection and response.” WHO Country Representative Dr Wondimagegnehu Alemu said: “Communities are encouraged to remain vigilant and report any rumors to the nearest health facilities because early diagnosis and treatment can save lives.” The agency also assured that it will continue to support the Nigerian government to maintain an intensified response to the current Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria. This is also it confirmed that thirty-seven health workers have been infected with Lassa fever with eight fatalities. “This highlights the need for implementing standard infection prevention and control precautions with all patients – regardless of their diagnosis – in all work practices at all times. WHO continues to help states which have

reported new cases by strengthening their capacity to conduct disease surveillance, treat patients, as well as implement infection prevention and control measures, laboratory diagnostics, and engage communities. “Health care workers are urged to maintain a high index of suspicion for Lassa fever when han-

dling patients, irrespective of their health status. Lassa fever should always be considered in patients with fever, headache, sore throat and general body weakness, especially when malaria has been ruled out with a rapid diagnostic test (RDT), and when patients are not improving. Health workers should adhere to standard precautions,

and wear protective equipment like gloves, face masks, face shields and aprons when handling suspected Lassa fever patients. “WHO is monitoring and supporting Nigeria’s neighbouring countries to help improve their level of preparedness to readily respond to any potential outbreaks,” it said.

Lagos Govt steps up fight against domestic violence

• (From left to right): Former Head of State, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar; former South African President, Thabo Mbeki; Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Baroness Patricia; Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo; Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu; and former Head of State, stituted. HE Lagos State Government She gave the official phone lines Gen. Yakubu Gowon, at the 8th Commonwealth Conference of Heads of Anti-corruption Agencies in Africa, which has stepped up its fight against and areas for the Family Support held with the theme; Partnership Towards Assets Recovery and Return, in Abuja, Monday.

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incidents of Domestic, Sexual Violence and Child Abuse with the equipping of all Family Support Units within the State Police Command with gadgets including phones, laptops and printers. Coordinator of the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT), Mrs Titilayo Vivour-Adeniyi, said the new development was in furtherance of the desire of the government to ensure that reports of incidents of Domestic, Sexual Violence and Child Abuse are met with timely and holistic response. According to her, the DSVRT, under the chairmanship of the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, facilitated the equipping of the Police Command with the belief that the gadgets would go a long way to strengthen the medium through which the officers of these Units will be accessible to Survivors or Mandated Reporters of Domestic and Sexual Violence. She said the Team also partnered with the Commissioner of Police, Imohimi Edgal to design specific signage, which would be mounted on the front counter of all Police Divisions, as they are most usually the first point of call for survivors. “This will further serve to bring clarity on immediate protocol for case handling and reassurance for complainants who want to report incidents of Domestic Violence, Sexual Violence and Child Abuse,” Vivour-Adeniyi said. The DSVRT Coordinator said the phones would serve as dedicated lines through which residents can contact the officers of the nearest Family Support Units to make reports and follow up, and to ensure the sustainability of the matters in-

Units to include Adeniji Adele: 0906288-7864; Ajah: 0906-288-7849; Alakuko: 0906-288-7861; Badagry: 0906-288-7852; Festac: 0906-2887841; Gender Desk, Police Command: 0906-288-7853 and Ikeja: 0906-288-7863. Others include Ikorodu (Igbogbo): 0906-288-7858; Ikotun: 0906288-7870; Ilupeju: 0906-288-7848; Isokoko: 0906-288-7856 and Ketu: 0906-288-7860. Besides, Vivour-Adeniyi said the laptops and printers were provided to aid typing of court processes, official correspondence and to support the general administrative functions of the Units. “It is our earnest desire that the facilities made available will be put to utmost use, and Lagos State will continue to make immense progress in waging the war on acts of Sexual and Domestic Violence”.

Park at designated points to avoid fines – FAAN advises motorists

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EDERAL Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has advised motorists to always park their vehicles at designated car parks to avoid penalties. The advice by FAAN follows allegations of high-handedness, victimisation and extortion by some motorists against officials of Baskfast International Ventures Ltd, a firm that controls parking at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA),

Abuja. General Manager, Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, who gave the advice, Tuesday, in Abuja, said that the authority had ensured that adequate car parks were provided in spite of the ongoing construction work that had affected traffic flow at the airport. She explained that a lot of drivers often preferred to wait for their principals very close to the

Top dignitaries to gather for ‘Igbo Proverbs’ launch in Lagos By MADUABUCHI KALU

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OVERNORS of some South East states in the country have expressed their readiness to attend the official launch of a book that details and explains most Igbo proverbs and wise sayings. Billed for this Saturday, at the University of Lagos Auditorium, in Akoka, Yaba, the epoch-making event is expected to be graced by other top Igbo personalities, including politicians, traditional rulers, business and the academic. According to the author of the book titled; Igbo Proverbs,’ Mazi Ihediye Nonye Kevin, the literary work is his own little way of contributing to the growth and development of the Igbo language and culture amid fears that the language is

faced with extinction. “The reason I decided to go into writing the book on Igbo proverbs is because Igbo language is being threatened as most parents are lacking in their responsibility of getting their children learn their mother tongue as they communicate with them in English which puts the Igbo language in the danger of extinction,” said the author. Speaking further, Kelvin explained that his effort in putting some Igbo proverbs into a book form is to ensure that those who love the language are equipped with proverbs which help the speakers to gain wisdom, as according to him; “Ndi Igbo has a saying that ‘Proverbs are oil with which Ndi Igbo eat word.’” “It is also my own way of contributing to the development of Igbo language and culture. Language the

world over is the identity of people. With language you know where somebody comes from. So it is very important that we do not allow Igbo language to go into extinction as has been predicted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). “It is most unfortunate that in some Igbo families, parents communicate with their children and wards in English instead of their mother tongue. So, how do they want them to learn and understand Igbo? He queried. Chairman of the occasion will be His Royal Highness, Igwe Ephraim C. Nnaemeka, the Eze Ndi Igbo of Aboru Land will serve as the Royal Father of the Day, while Chief Emmanuel Jaja, Ochiagha Ndi Igbo will serve as the Chairman of the occasion.

terminal building leading to the congestion which, according to her, often hinders free flow of traffic. “The towing company that is enforcing it is working with FAAN to ensure compliance by motorists. We have been receiving complaints from many people but our findings revealed that so many of them don’t park at the designated place. “We are advising that they should park at the designated car parks while waiting for their principals so that they can be called on phone whenever their principals arrive. If they do that, nobody would disturb them not to talk of harassment and extortion,” she said. Some of the affected motorists lament that they always wait in their vehicles, alleging that as soon as they stepped out of the vehicles, the officials would rush in and clamp the wheel for consequent fines of upto N25, 000. NAIA is currently experiencing traffic congestion due to the ongoing construction work on the new terminal building leading to the relocation of some car parks and blockage of some access roads.


The Oracle Today

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Wednesday May 23, 2018

NEWS ACROSS THE NATION

Govt rallies support for ‘Noiseless Lagos’ campaign

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AGOS State Environmental Protection Agency has called for the involvement of residents of the State in the campaign to promote a noiseless and sustainable environment in Lagos. Speaking at the Third Annual Stakeholders’ Interactive Session on Noise Pollution Control in Lagos State with the theme: “Noise Pollution Abatement Evaluation in an Emerging Smart City – Two Years Retrospect”, the State Commissioner for The Environment, Mr. Babatunde Durosimi-Etti revealed that noise which was considered synonymous with modernity and dynamism has today been identified as one major threat confronting the world. “The reality today is that increase in population has promoted a proportional increase in noise gener-

ated, mostly from vehicular, industrial, commercial, nightlife activities, coupled with the proliferation of religious houses within and around residential areas,” he said. Describing the implication of noise pollution to human health, the Commissioner stated that its physical and psychological consequences can affect individuals’ mental concentration, learning and productivity. While imploring stakeholders to contribute to the summit discussions seeking ways to achieve a serene and peaceful environment, Babatunde pledged that the State government will continue to partner all relevant stakeholders to improve the citizens’ standard of living by advocating self-compliance in all facets of the environment.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Managing Director of Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), Mr. Antonio Ayodele said the interactive session with stakeholders is to promote the synergy required to mitigate noise pollution in the State. According to him, the positive attitudinal change by all and sundry is the best way to good governance which is the desired goal of the

State government that is open to positive ideas that are SMART. Speaking further, the General Manager said the Agency‘s major projection for the year 2018 is the resuscitation of the “Horn Free Day” campaign where 15th October is not only designated but sustained as the Annual Horn Free Day in Lagos State, adding that signage on horn/noise Free Zones are ready for installation at various government

hospitals, court premises, Government Reserved Areas to help citizens imbibe the culture of serene environment. The event witnessed award presentations to the Chairman, Computer And Allied Product Dealers Association, Computer Village, Lagos, Com. Ojikutu Adeniyi and Mrs. Olubukola Sewenu, a LASPARK Official for their advocacy on ‘Noiseless Lagos’.

ATMs hit N1.56b worth of transactions in Q1 – NBS

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HE National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) from selected banks across the country, recorded transactions valued at N1.568 billion in first quarter. The NBS stated this in its Selected Banking Sector Data for First quarter, 2018, posted on its website. The bureau stated that a total of 457,226,406 transactions valued at N32.48 trillion were recorded in the first quarter on Electronic Payment Channels in the Nigeria Banking Sector. It, however, stated that ATM transactions dominated the vol-

ume of businesses recorded by the banking sector which was 212,370,853 transactions. In terms of credit to private sector, the report stated that a total of N15.60 trillion credit was allocated by the banks in the quarter. It stated that the Oil and Gas and Manufacturing sectors got credit •Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun allocation of N3.42 trillion and flanked by the Chinese contractors handling the Abeokuta railway main station, under the ongoing LagosN2.07 trillion to record the highest Ibadan rail project. credit allocation within the period under review. The report also stated that the number of banks staff decreased by -0.93 per cent from 90,453 in the fourth quarter of 2017 to HE Ungwan Yelwa commu- tre was to be renovated, we re- they are using is not convenient 89,608 in the review period. nity in Chikun Local Govern- quested for three months and for healthcare services because ment of Kaduna State has they gave us free without pay- there is no privacy and all emergiven a quick notice to the Prima- ment. The three months elapsed gencies are referred to other hosry Health Care (PHC) facility in the without the PHC being com- pitals. area to vacate the premises they pleted; then we requested for “We are also not happy for the are occupying. additional three months and still skeletal services we are providThe facility has being using a elapsed. ing for the community. We have bers and improvement in healthcare facilities. town hall in the community over “I know they are very patient the desire to work but no conA NAN correspondent who vis- a year since the centre has been with us but asking us to park out venience because since we came ited the Numan General Hospital under renovation. now that we do not have any- to the hall, no birth deliveries, we reports that the main entrance Head of the facility, Mrs Rahab where to go as our PHC has not have all the manpower but the to the hospital was shut down Jacob, told the News Agency of been completed. We want to ap- environment is not conducive,’’ to prevent vehicles from gaining Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Kadu- peal that they should be patient Rahab said. entrance. na that the notice was given due with us because I know we have Some of the residents also deThe report said only medical to failure to complete the PHC distracted them from holding cried the poor state of the PHC as doctors and dentists were seen and the inconveniences caused their meetings and other social it has become a public toilet and a providing skeletal services while owners of the town hall centre to events, but they should also un- place where youths use for smokJOHESU complied with the use it. derstand with us,’’ said the official. ing and also a dump site for some. strike directive. “When the primary health cen- According to her, the hall which A mother, Mrs Mercy Musa, said women are not patronising the centre because there was no confidentiality and privacy. “Women cannot come here to obe State Governor, Ibrahim 100 per cent implementation of the institutions”. be treated because it is very open Gaidam has approved 100 per revised Consolidated Medical Salary Meanwhile, the State Govern- no privacy and very uncomfortcent implementation of the Con- Structure (CONMESS) for medical ment says it has established a dedi- able.We appeal to the State Govsolidated Health Salary Structure officers. A submission on the sala- cated account to ensure the com- ernment to assist residents and (CONHESS) for nurses, pharmacists ries of administrative staff of the pletion of the N11billion Damaturu do something fast,’’ she said. and other health professionals in Yobe State University Teaching Hos- International Cargo Airport before Reacting to the development, the state. pital (YSUTH) was also approved by the tenure expiration of the present the contractor in charge of the Gaidam also approved a similar the governor. administration. Consolidated Medical Salary Struc“The total monetary implication Gov. Gaidam made the disclosure renovation, Alhaji Bala Mohamture (CONMESS) package for medi- of the approvals, which is the dif- on Tuesday while inspecting work med, attributed the stoppage of cal personnel on the state’s payroll. ferential on the existing salaries be- on the project in Kalallawa village, work to non-release of funds. However, he assured that the Director-General, Press Affairs to ing enjoyed by the three groups of 17 kilometres from Damaturu. the governor, Mr Abdullahi Bego, beneficiaries, is N74,335,339.2 per ‘‘We have opened a dedicated ac- work would be completed as announced this in a statement is- month,’’ he said. count called the Airport Project Ac- soon as fund was made available sued on Monday in Damaturu. The statement said the Yobe gov- count, money is there waiting for to him. Meanwhile, the Chikun Local Bego said the approval was ernment has now “brought the re- payment at any time,’’ Gaidam said. showed an increase from 70 per muneration package in the state’s The governor expressed satisfac- Government Council and the state cent to 100 per cent. health sector at par with what ob- tion with the speed and quality of PHC development agency were “The governor has also approved tains in federal government health work at the airport. yet to react to the quit notice.

Kaduna community gives PHC quit notice

JOHESU strike: Consider plight of citizens – Union leader urges FG

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hairman, Medical and Health Workers Union, Numan branch, Adamawa, Mr Naboth Akuna, has called on the Federal Government to stop further loss of lives by urgently resolving the issues that led to the ongoing national strike by the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU). Akuna who made the appeal in Numan, Monday, unionist noted that government was given enough time in the past to address the areas of disagreements. He flayed the nonchalant posture of stakeholders at all levels that led to the present face off. Akuna also urged the Adamawa Government to implement the N18,000 minimum wage by 100 per cent. Besides, he called on the state government to clear the six months salaries being owed to some health workers in the state. He said that the unions were ready to resume work if efforts would be made to address some of these issues. He said that JOHSEU had achieved effective industrial action due to its commitment to fight for the welfare of its mem-

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Yobe Govt approves 100% CONMESS for health workers

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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

NEWS

Shell commissions fully-equipped science laboratory block at Arochukwu school

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hell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCO) has commissioned a science laboratory block fully furnished with modern science equipment and sufficient chemicals that would serve the school for a minimum of two years. The laboratory block at Aggrey Memorial Model College, Arochukwu is part of the company’s educational support programme to help Nigeria youth to access quality science education. Speaking during the commissioning , the Managing Director of the company, Mr Bayo Ojulari represented by the business development manager, Mr Segun Owolabi said Shell was committed to providing high quality educational facilities in public schools. Ojulari said the laboratory would provide conducive environment for teaching and learning of science as well as stimulate student interest in science subjects. He stated that Shell through their subsidiaries and co ventures like NNPC have a long history of supporting education for the county’s brighter future as 267 beneficiaries are currently enjoying various scholarship in secondary schools and 100 in universities across the country. The Managing Director urged the students in the school to make adequate use of the facility in order to explore unlimited potentials in science technology Engineering and Mathematics. Also speaking, Abia State Commissioner for Education, Prof Ikechi Mgboji represented by the Director of Scholarship in the ministry, Revd Christy Ibeji appreciated the Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited for supporting education through scholarship and other initiatives such as awarding of grants to secondary school students , university undergraduates and cradle to carer programme. In her address on behalf of the Alumni Association, Mrs Grace Chiboagui Okaro commended the company for selecting the school to benefit from the donation of a modern integrated science and solar powered water borehole. Mrs Okaro said that the gesture would serve as a positive challenged towards repositioning the school to its enviable position as one of the premier institutions and commended the state governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu’s giant strides in education. She called for the transfer of Abna Hall and the independence park where their founder, late Dr.Alvan Ikeoku and wife were buried because of the emotional and sentimental attachment of their edifices to the school and students and promised that the association would renovate them if handed over to them. Earlier, the principal of the school, Elder Peter Egbuta said the science laboratory would help improve the teaching and learning of science in the school and other neighbouring ones. Mr Egbuta called for assistant in safeguarding the complex through employment of security and guarding the fencing of the school as well as called for renovation of classroom block , Examination Hall now in dilapidated condition. Speaking on behalf Ndi Eze Aro, Mazi Barro Goodluck thanked the company for sighting the laboratory science block and solar powered borehole at Aggrey Memorial Model College and expressed the hope that the students would benefit immensely from the facility.

Rivers Govt to shut Trans-Amadi, others

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ivers State Government says it will close the Trans Amadi/ Oginigba/Zoo abattoir and market in two weeks’ time because of the vandalisation of government property around the Trans Amadi / Zoo Roundabout by hoodlums who use these places to perpetrate criminality in the area. A statement issued in Port Harcourt by the State Commissioner for Information and Communications Barr

Emma Okah said the Government can no longer tolerate the alarming degree of criminality that define lives in that axis. In addition, the place has become an environmental disaster in our State and every effort made by the Government to enthrone sanity and crime-free regime there has been stoutly resisted by these hoodlums. In some cases Govt officials have been assaulted and shot at by these crimi-

nal elements in their bid to assert supremacy. Accordingly, all those carrying on business at the slaughter as well as other traders in the slaughter market and it’s environ are hereby requested to vacate the place in two weeks’ time. “Rivers State Government will unfailingly shut down the market at the expiration of the grace period” Okah said, warning that traders who refuse

• Managing Director of the Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCO), Mr Bayo Ojulari represented by the Business Development Manager, Mr Segun Owolabi handing over the laboratory science block and solar powered borehole to the Aggrey Memorial Model College to theAbia State Commissioner for Education, Prof Ikechi Mgboji represented by the Director of Scholarship in the ministry, Revd Christy Ibeji as Principal of Aggrey Memorial Model College, Elder Peter Egbuta, and Ndi Eze Aro, Mazi Barro Goodluck watch

Mobil plans N13billion investment in A’Ibom INI BILIE, Uyo

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obil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, operator of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Joint Ventures is planning to invest N13 billion (US$43million) in three community assisted projects in Akwa Ibom State. Chairman and Managing Director of Mobil Producing Nigeria, Mr Paul McGrath, said the three projects include: a technical skills acquisition centre located in Ikot Akata, Mkpat Enin local government area, a trauma centre at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital and an Engineering complex to be established at the University of Uyo. Speaking yesterday during the ground breaking ceremony of the project in Ikot Akata, Mkpat Enin council area, McGrath said that the projects covers health, education and economic empowerment as part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility for Akwa Ibom people. “These investments amount to one of the largest community investments by any company in Nigeria. “These investments will provide long-term health, education and economic benefits to many in our communities. “We continue to work closely with the government of the Akwa Ibom State as part of our commitment to communities where we operate and helping to improve quality of life. “The technical skills centre will consist of a three-block training com-

plex for critical skills required in oil and gas careers, such as pipeline fabrication, welding, electrical works, chemical lab works, civil works and engineering design. “The center is expected to train more than one hundred students annually. The trauma centre, which is to be housed in a two-floor medical complex, will help reduce mortality rates in major medical emergencies. “The centre will include a resuscitation and burns room; a theatre suite; helipad; ambulance bay and triage area; high dependency and radiology units; mini labs; wards; pharmacy; administrative offices; library; and doctor, call and seminar rooms,” McGrath said. He said the engineering complex would be equipped with generators and independent water supply, adding that it will contain two floors of workshops, laboratories, a lecture theater, conference rooms and faculty offices. He noted that the engineering project is estimated to serve over 2,000 students, mostly from Akwa Ibom State on completion. He also said that the projects would be completed within two years. In his remarks, the NNPC Group General Manager, Public Affairs Manager, Mr Roland Ewubare, assured that funds had been earmarked for the projects to ensure its timely completion. Ewubare, who was represented by Mr Hillary Akpan, General Manager Gas Operations National Petroleum Investment Management

Services (NAPIMS). He said that the choice of these projects was the outcome of extensive engagement with with key stakeholders and in the state. “In Akwa Ibom and represent our conviction that direct benefits to citizens of the should be at the heart of every person social investment in decisions by communities who operate Nigeria soil assets. He said that NAPIMS worked extensively in the with MPN in reviewing the investment proposals put forward in for these projects. Ewubare ssaid that projects when completed would be provide significant opportunities to socioeconomic the benefits to communities in Akwa Ibom. He appealed for continued cooperation of the youths adding, “I will like to thank the people of Akwa Ibom state for the relative peace and calm that the joint venture had experienced during its operations in the state. He enjoined the cooperation of all to ensure that the projects would be delivered on schedule. In his remarks, Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom said the choice of the site of the projects were to ensure sustainability. He commended the Managing Director of Mobil Producing Nigeria and NNPC for making the ground breaking for the projects a reality. He assured the investors of adequate security during throughout the duration of the projects.

to vacate the abbatoir and the market will face the law at the appropriate time. Meanwhile, the Rivers Governor has declared that his administration is working round the clock to restore the lost glory of Port Harcourt as the nation’s Garden City. Speaking after an inspection of beautification gardens and roundabouts on Thursday night, Governor Wike said that the new Port Harcourt will promote tourism and create wealth. He said the loss of Garden City status negatively affected the Rivers State capital, hence his administration’s deliberate programme to rebuild infrastructure in Port Harcourt. “Port Harcourt is known as the Garden City of the nation, but it lost that status due to neglect in the past. What we are doing is to restore Port Harcourt to what it used to be . “We want develop the city beyond its previous position. You can see all the roundabouts , the roads, the gardens that are springing up in Port Harcourt. The aim is to develop a Port Harcourt that will attract visitors and positively impact the economy “, he said The governor commended all the contractors handling the beautification projects to revive Port Harcourt. He said Rivers people appreciate the emerging beautiful Port Harcourt. He said even at night, residents gathered at different locations to celebrate Governor Wike for the urban renewal. He was accompanied on the inspection by the Rivers State PDP Chairman, Bro Felix Obuah.

Ebonyi APC crisis: Onu’s faction boycotted LG congress - Nwobasi By CHINEDU NWAFOR

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actional chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ebonyi state, Hon. Ben Nwobasi, has accused a faction loyal to the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, of boycotting the party’s local government Congress. Nwobasi who is the chairman of a faction loyal to Senator Julius Ucha alleged that Onu’s faction of the party led by Eze Nwachukwu boycotted the Congresses as they were not seen at the council venues which they had chosen for the election. He alleged that Nwachukwu wrote to security agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), informing them of the change of party’s conventional venues of the congresses in all the council, but they eventually could not show up on the venues which they had chosen. “Conventionally, the State Organising Secretary knows all the venues for our Congresses. Out of fear, Nwachukwu wrote to INEC and changed those venues and we complained bitterly but we eventually adopted all the venues chosen by Nwachukwu. “We mobilized our members to all the various centers but they were not present at those venues they had chosen to participate in the election. They ran away when they saw their imminent defeats but the election had to go on since security agencies and INEC were on ground to monitor it and ensure hitch free election”, he said.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

NEWS

A’Ibom transport task force killed my husband – Widow INI BILLIE, Uyo

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idow of a tricycle (Keke) operator, Mrs Ekaette Akaniyene has blamed the Compliance and Monitoring team of the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Transport and Petroleum for the death of her husband, late Akaniyene Nnonno. She said the incident has left her stranded with five children and aged parents, and has truncated the future they planned for their children. Speaking Tuesday, in Uyo on the incident, the 34-year-old pregnant mother said her husband, an indigene of Ikot Edung in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area of the state was knocked down by some ticket sellers chasing an AKTC bus driver trying to escape them. “Some ticket sellers were chasing an AKTC bus driver who knocked down my husband while attempting to flee. Shortly after dropping off my daughter and some goods I asked my husband to bring to me in the market, my husband’s friend came and informed me that my husband had an accident. “We were initially informed he was taken to TOAN office, when we got there, I was handed his torn shirt and wallet, but he was not there. We were later directed to the Police Station, Itam, and when we got there, we were told that he had been taken to the hospital, and that we should wait for the DPO. “We waited till the man finally arrived hours later. He informed me that my husband was dead. I have not been allowed to see his corpse, but they told me that he was hit on the chest and forehead, and that he was taken to one mortuary along Atiku Abubakar way”. “I don’t know how to start or continue my life from here, we were struggling together to care for this children, now look at my condition, look at the hardship their reckless attitude is putting me and my children through” she lamented. Narrating how the deceased died, State Chairman, Tricycle Owners Association of Nigeria (TOAN), Mr Effiong Effiong said the deceased met his untimely death along Urua Ekpa road while bending by the side of the road to fix a fault in his keke. He explained that the Compliance and Monitoring Task Team were chasing an AKTC driver, who in an attempt to flee knocked down the innocent Tricycle rider by the side of the road. Effiong said the association has been liaising with the Ministry of Transport and Petroleum to get assistance to the bereaved family, and promised to ensure that the pregnant widow is well catered for. The TOAN chairman said the AKTC bus driver had been arrested by the polic and will be made to face the full weight of the law. Speaking on the incident, the Commissioner for Transport and Petroleum, Mr Orman Esin described the incident was an accident, stating: “What happened was an accident involving a driver, members of our team and the victim. We have met with the bereaved family and we have discussed on how to assist the family and everyone is satisfied and happy,” he said. When the Police Public Relations officer, DSP McDon Odiko was contacted, he promised to confirm any arrest in connection with the case.

Akwa Ibom to inaugurate fertilizer plant, May 29

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reenwell Fertilizer Plant, one of the public private partnership projects of Governor Udom Emmanuel administration, will be inaugurated on 29th of May. The multi-fertilizer blending plant, with an annual production capacity of N400,000 metric tons, is located in Oku Abak, Abak Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. Taking journalists on an inspection tour of the project, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Charles

Udoh, described the project as a major source of job and wealth creation. He said the plant which is made possible through public private partnership, runs with government equity share and has an added advantage of blending fertilizers for trees and vegetables, in addition to blending on demand, any kind of fertilizer with regards to soil type to suit the crop under cultivation. While imploring farmers groups to make maximum use of the opportu-

nity to enhance their productivity, Mr. Udoh said, with the plant in the State, farmers are sure of very high yields which will in turn boost the agricultural sector of the economy. He urged Akwa Ibom people in the diaspora to emulate the Managing Director of the Greenwell Fertilizer, Engr Johnny Udoe, by bringing in their skills and initiatives to support the development efforts of Governor Udom Emmanuel, whom the Commissioner described as a promise keeper.

Conducting the Information Commissioner and his team round the facility, the Managing Director of the Greenwell Fertilizer Plant, Engr. Udoe said, the plant has the distribution capacity of six truck-loads of fertilizer per day, sources its raw materials both locally and internationally with Urea one of the most important ingredients. He said the plant with the capacity of blending assorted and multi-purpose types of fertilizer is at the moment producing 3 high in demand types of fertilizer including; 20:10:10; 12:12 17 + 2mgo and 15:15:15. The Greenwell Fertilizer Plant with a staff strength of 30, all indigenes of Akwa Ibom State, gearing towards expansion to bring in animal feeds production has an economic viable valuechain opportunities for the people.

Wike wants traders off roads

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• Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike being decorated with the “Power Of Sports” Award by President of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) Mr Gianni Merlo, during the 81st AIPS Congress at the Hotel Le Plazo, Brussels, Belgium, Wednesday

Atiku eulogizes ‘broad-minded’ Ayade …As Cross River gov questions resource control

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ormer Vice President and presidential aspirant of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, has described Cross River State Governor, Prof Ben Ayade as an epitome of good governance. Atiku stated this, Monday, at the state executive council chambers, Calabar when he led his team including former governors of Ogun and Imo states, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and Chief Achike Udenwa, respectively, on a courtesy visit to Governor Ayade. This is also as the Cross River governor queried the rationale behind resource control by the government at the centre, saying that states should be given the powers to operate their own resources without need to obtain Federal Government’s permission. Atiku during the visit further commended the governor for being broad-minded in his approach to governance, which has ensured peace and tranquility in this state. “There are very few states that are actually very regular and prompt in payment of salaries like this state. Honestly, we tend to praise and commend Cross River for paying as at when due. This achievement has resonated all over the country and you are seen as an example of good governance,” Atiku said. Atiku noted that in spite of the

lean resources of the state, the governor, through application of intellect, is rapidly industrialising the state, thus creating thousands of jobs for the teeming unemployed youths. He listed industries build by the Ayade-led administration to include the Cross River Garment Factory, the Calendar Pharmaceutical company, the rice seeds and seedlings centre, the banana plantation, rice mill, and cocoa processing plant in Ikom. While describing the governor’s decision to build a superhighway and a deep seaport as remarkable, he assured of the Federal Government’s support in ensuring the state achieves its dreams. “I am not living here but we get news of all these because if you goggle Cross River and Ben Ayade, you will see all these. This is technology and it is digital. Your achievement like the rice seedling centre, which is undergoing a test run now, and is a major development in the agricultural sector and will employ a large number of unemployed youths. You are indeed a talk and do governor.” Disclosing his intention to run a lean federal government through his restructuring agenda if voted as the President, Atiku assured that, “if you give me your support you can expect more than what you have given me,” adding: “I can assure

you that because of your impact in my life you will continue to receive my priority in the sense that you will always have federal support to ensure that you continue to achieve whatever you want to achieve in this state.” Responding, Ayade maintained that the state is rich in both mineral and hydrocarbons but lamented a situation where the mineral resources cannot be explored without the approval of the federal government. “We will like to see a federal government that will respond to our yearnings and create that platform that will allow us exploit our wealth and create a new hope for our people. “To what extent would the federal government continue to hold and sequester everything that belong to the nation to herself?” On Atiku’s presidential ambition, Ayade said: “As an aspirant of the PDP and somebody who has been a Vice President, I believe that the experiential calculus shows clearly that you are capable, competent and qualified to aspire for the position of president.” Highpoint of the visit was the presentation of a book titled: “Restructuring as a pathway to unity and development in Nigeria,” by the presidential aspirant to the Governor.

ivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has appealed to street traders to desist from plying their trades on major roads. Governor Wike also described as unfortunate the attack of Government Officials restoring sanity on the roads by hoodlums at the Slaughter Market in Port Harcourt. . He gave the management of the market two days to produce the hoodlums or face sanctions. He said that nobody will be allowed to disrupt the development process of the state, under any guise. The govenor spoke with the traders during his inspection visits to project sites on Thursday after returning Brussels where he was honoured with the Power of Sports Award by the International Sports Press Association Africa. He said that apart from the fact that the traders damage portions of the roads recently constructed and deface the roads, street trading poses danger to the traders who are susceptible to accidents. He urged the traders to move into different markets across Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas constructed for business activities. He said: “Please don’t trade on the streets. What you are doing damage and deface the roads. My plea is that you go into the markets for your safety and the aesthetics of the city.” Governor Wike said that the state government will take sustained measures to check illegal street trading, hence his personal involvement with the sensitive of traders. He added that the meshed wires fences are beings installed on roads in areas prone to street trading to keep the traders off the roads. “As we are working on these roads, everyone is happy. We will not allow street traders destroy the beauty of the city”, he said. During the inspection on Thursday, Governor Wike visited National Industrial Court, Mother and Child Hospital, Restaurants and Cinema, Port Harcourt Pleasure Park, Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt, Judges Quarters, Slaughter Road, Reconstruction of Government Offices at Mile One Fly Over,Traditional Rulers Secretariat, Land Reclamation at Ogbunabali/Nkpogu, Oil Mill-ElelenwoAkpajo Road, Abacha Road, Mgboshimini Primary Health Care , Doctors Quarters among other projects. Governor Wike said that intense projects inspection will continue ahead of the third year anniversary. Majority of the projects visited by Governor Wike will be commissioned during the administration’s third year anniversary.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

NEWS

Justice Commissioner advocates entrepreneurship to check criminality By JONATHAN AWANYAI, Asaba

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elta State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Mr Peter Mrakpo, has advocated the expansion of Youth Agriculture Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP) and Skills Training Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP) as panacea to checking crime in the country. Mrakpor this known at the ongoing ministerial press briefing when he presented the activities and achievements of his ministry before journalists at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Information, Asaba. According to him, the best panacea for prison decongestion and check crime was not to build more

Conservation experts raise concerns over threat to marine life

prisons but for the State YAGEP and STEP initiative to be broaden all over the country, saying: “I think the best way to reduce prison congestion is to introduce the YAGEP and STEP measures in the country to engage people. “Crime is an option when people have nothing to do. Instead of building more prisons, government should think of meaningfully engaging more people. It will take the grace of God for people not to go back to crime if they are not engaged.” He described the rate at which youth between the age of 16 and 25 were being imprisoned daily as unpleasant and posing a challenge on societal value system.

“It is frightening to see the way people between the age of 16 and 25 go to prison everyday and this is breaking down our value system”, he said. He however called on religious leaders, parents and the media to support government in curbing crimes and break down of societal values as well as sustain the value system. In the same vein, he said that about 40 youths had been remanded in prison for cultism, adding that the state government was working hand in hand with schools in curbing cultism amongst minors, appealing to the media for support. He bemoaned the rising trend with

youth embrace cultism, saying that it was a generational problem that must be checked. “The problem is a generational thing, it starts from the homes. Parents should check themselves as some of them are also into cultism” he said adding: “We appeal to our Pastors, to help people understand the ills of cultism. Journalists should also help. As I speak, two persons died this morning due to cultism.” He also said that Delta State had the lowest rate in the ongoing Fulani inhuman activity of killing villagers on their farmlands, adding that the state government had engaged a committee of Fulani leadership at the grass roots in Delta in order to reduce cas-

By INI BILLIE, Uyo

Firms launch campaign to improve welfare of prisoners By BONIFACE OKORO, Umuahia

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onservation experts are seeking the enforcement of legislations against the killing of African manatees, noting that despite prevailing laws, the killings have continued. Speaking Tuesday, in Uyo during the first National Manatee workshop, Director of Africa Aquatic Conservation fund, Mrs. Lucy Keith Diagne said with the level of intellectual discourse by stakeholders at the workshop, the poaching and killing of African manatees was in sight. “Manatees are protected by national laws in all range countries, but the laws are seldom enforced and this is a worrisome trend. But I am happy our efforts are not in vain and that in this workshop a lot of concerns have been raised given the level of intellectuals discourse on the issue”. In his presentation on ‘Community based Manatee Conservation in Akwa Ibom state’, Mr. Ikponke Nkanta said his organization, Tropical Research and Conservation Centre was passionate about the future survival of manatees in Nigeria. “We cannot close our eyes or go to sleep when we know that our important species are becoming more threatened day by day. Our intervention efforts include advocacy , community sensitization, habitat monitoring and alternative livelihoods support among poachers. “Conservation requires collaborative effort from different stakeholders. I do strongly believe that this workshop enhance this”, Nkanta stated. Also speaking, the Coordinator, Biodiversity Preservation Centre, Dr Edem Eniang, linked the poaching of manatees to poverty condition, poor conservation awareness and erosion of traditional beliefs and recommended the need for more awareness and engagement of stakeholders over the hunting of manatees in Africa. Speaking on a paper titled, ‘Hunting Trends and Threats to Africa Manatee from South Eastern Nigeria: Implications for Conservation, Eniang said, “African Manatee are among the most misunderstood, the most feared and the most persecuted aquatic mammals in Nigeria”.

ualties to the barest minimum. “The herdsmen issue is a national challenge,” Mrakpo noted, adding: “We have one of the lowest in areas of conflicts, that is because the State Government has been proactive in the case. The herdsmen are not spirit. They came in with our people’s consent. The government has been able to engage them to reduce areas of conflicts. A bill for a law to check herdsmen activities is before the Delta State House of Assembly. The government is not docile, where necessary we have to use force like the case of Abraka and Ossissa, where mobile police are stationed to protect live.”

• Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi and wife handing over cheques for N200,000 each to the executive committee members of the Police Officers Wives Association (POWA) led by their President and wife of the Nigeria Inspector General of Police, Princess Barr. Mrs. Asmatu Ibrahim Kpotun Idris at the International Conference Center Abakaliki.

APC stakeholders declare LG congress smooth, peaceful By IBE NWACHUKWU

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takeholders in the All Progressives Congress (APC) have declared last Saturday’s Local Government congress in Anambra state smooth, peaceful and transparent. in all the 21 Local Government Areas that made up three senatorial zones in the state. The stakeholders who spoke to newsmen shortly after the congress at Otuocha in Anambra East Local Government Area of the state, said the outcome of last Saturday’s exercise was somewhat a glaring departure from what was witnessed during the last Ward congresses in the 326 electoral wards of the state, which were characterized by bickering that eventually culminated into a fight at their post congress stakeholders’ meeting in Awka. Prince Obi Ndigwe, one of the stakeholders, confirmed that the local government congresses witnessed a rancour-free exercise that was supervised and monitored by the party leaders in the state, including themselves. He therefore commended all party members for their cooperation and peaceful disposition during

the congress, adding that he was very optimistic that the same would be witnessed during the state congress and charged the party loyalists to work assiduously with full commitment to ensure the party garner more than 70% of all the votes in the forthcoming 2019 general election. Describing the Council congress as a built-up from the ward congress, Ngige and Moghalu disclosed that the 5-man delegates per ward generated from the ward congress, of which they were among, participated in the council congress where another 5-man congress were chosen from each council area. He listed outstanding projects the present President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC Federal Government had undertaken in the state, hence the need to return Buhari in a landslide come next year’s presidential poll, even as they gave the assurance that the party would vigorously contest all elective positions in the 2019 polls. At the end of the congress in Anambra East Local Government council which commenced at about 11.30 a.m., after accreditation and ended at about 6.00 p.m., a 27-man executive committee for the local government council, including a disabled was

elected to pilot the affairs of the local government chapter of the party for the next four years. APC’s congress committee chairman for Anambra East local government, Mr. Emeka Ugbo who announced the result of the congress shortly after the exercise, said based on the zonal arrangement, Ignatius Orekie from Nando emerged the chairman to take over from the outgoing chairman, Nnaemeka Obiora, while Goddy Nzegwu from Umuoba-Anam and Onochie Obiudu from Nsugbe became the vicechairman,and secretary respectively. Ugbo explained that the youth leader was zoned to Umueri, while the position of woman leader was zoned to Aguleri, adding that the zonal formula was instrumental to the peaceful nature of the exercise in the area. In his post-election speech, Orekie noted that his next agenda was to restructure the party in such a way that it would clinch victory in the forthcoming general elections in the area, irrespective of the fact that Anambra state is not only an APGA dominated state but also Governor Willie Obiano is from Anambra East local government area.

uccour came the way of prison inmates in the Federal Prions in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State as they took delivery of over 100 foams of all sizes, bed sheets, pillows, tooth brushes and tooth pastes donated by two firms. The firms are Elegant Foam and Chemical Industry Ltd and Joint Heirs Ltd, a leading financial service provider in Nigeria, as part of their corporate social responsibility. The firms declared that the donation marked the flag off of their nationwide campaign to end the predicament of prison inmates sleeping on mats or bare floors in various prisons across the country. The campaign is anchored on a special care programme tagged Prison Inmate Comfort and Support Service Initiatives (PiCSSi). According to the firms, they were moved to embark on the PiSSi mission by reports of deplorable conditions of Nigerian prisons. The firms also said that they have voted millions of naira for PiSSi which is driven by private sector organisations contributions, churches and other well-meaning Nigerians working together to ameliorate the living conditions of inmates in Nigerian prisons. It is coordinated by the Managing Director of Joint Heirs Ltd, Adanma Ogumka-Ekeji. “The programme is designed to help inmates change their perspective about life and help them look forward to joining a better society instead of becoming hardened criminals in prison,” Ogumka-Ekeji said during the donation of the items at the premises of the Umuahia prisons. “We shall continue with this mission and interventions through mobilization and partnership of all interested members of the public, private sector organisations and churches to reach out and do the needful as well as contribute for the welfare, comfort and better life for our inmates at all times within available resources, as the initiative is set to donate more materials to worth millions of naira to all other prisons in Nigeria to make life better for prison inmates in Nigeria,” she added. Also speaking, Managing Director of Elegant Foam and Chemical Industries Ltd., Mr Emeka Mmaduka, said “we decided to quickly intervene to change and improve their conditions, especially the cases of prisoners sleeping on mats and bare floors in this our weather condition.” “We considered it a wise investment to intervene and change the situation permanently. This is why we are here today, starting with Abia; we shall take it round to all the prisons in Nigeria until this matter becomes a thing of the past,” Mmaduka added.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

NEWS

I never promise to pay new minimum wage -- Umahi By CHINEDU NWAFOR

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overnor David Umahi of Ebonyi state has denied ever promising to pay the proposed new national minimum wage being demanded by Nigerian workers. Governor David had during workers’ day celebration at the Pa Ngele Oruta stadium, promised to pay the new wage when implemented by the federal government but has come up to say that he was outrightly misquoted. He made this known at a meeting with council chairmen, Coordinators of Development Centres, Technical Assistants, Senior Technical Assistants and other government officials at the Àkanu Ibiam International Conference Centre Abakaliki. Umahi said he was furious when he learnt of the purported promise circulating in the social media. He insisted that what he said was that “since all the States are involved and are suffering the same thing, that I’m sure that the National leadership will come up with common position that will enable all the States to pay whatever agreement they reached with labour”. In his rebuttal, the Governor even condemned the idea of the proposed minimum new national minimum wage, saying that the country is deceiving herself. He said even Ebonyi state’s federal allocation for three months were to be combined, it won’t be able to pay 50% of the proposed wage. His words: “All these things you people talk, minimum wage or no minimum wage. See, the country is deceiving herself. Those people who wrote in the social media that I have accepted to pay new minimum wage and think they are trying to help. I was very furious about it. “My life is not a life of deceit. If we put all the allocation we get from Abuja for three months, it cannot pay 50 percent of the new minimum wage. So, why are we deceiving ourselves. What I said is that since all states are involved and are suffering the same thing, that I’m sure that the national leadership will come up with a common position that will enable all the states to pay whatever agreement they reached with labour. That’s the statement”. “Only three states can increase the wages and salaries of workers now. You have forgotten and taken it for granted that every 15th of every month we pay workers’ salaries. Find out how many other states that are doing that”. But a comparison of his new statement and the one he made during workers day on the same subject matter which is on tape showed that Governor Umahi is lying and contradicting himself on the matter. Here is his exact word at the May Day celebration: “May I assure that Ebonyi state will adopt whatever is the outcome of the new discussion that is going on about the upliftment of workers throughout the country in the area of the new national minimum wage. When it comes to effect”.

Rural development: Register now or lose projects, Abia tells communities By BONIFACE OKORO, Umuahia

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bia State Government has warned that communities which failed to register with the Ministry of Cooperatives, Rural development and Poverty Reduction stand the risk of losing projects sited in their area under the One Ward, One Project, a rural development programme of the Dr Okezie Ikpeazu administration. Declaring open a one-day strategic meeting with PresidentsGeneral (PGs) of Town Unions in the state on the Institutionalisation of Participatory governance in Umuahia, Commissioner for Cooperative, Rural Development and Poverty Reduction, Chief Young Ahamefula Onyike, emphasised that any community which name was missing from the ministry’s database of regis-

tered communities, a project sited in such a community may get “k-leg.” The meeting organised by the Women Aid Collective (WACOL) penultimate Tuesday, was a follow-up activity with the PGs and Ministries, Departments and Agencies on participatory Budgeting in Abia State. “We are saying that if any community in the state is not registered with the Ministry of Cooperative, Rural Development and Poverty Reduction, that that may also make them not to get certain projects that need government attention before it is sited in their communities,” the Commissioner said. He enjoined the PGs to work with the Community Development Officers posted to the 17 local government areas of the state

for proper guidance on issues concerning community development. Earlier in his remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Very Rev. Ernest Onyeukwu, revealed that the ministry has conducted a survey mapping of poverty situation in the wards and communities across the state. “We have the poor, the very poor, the very very poor and the poorest,” Onyeukwu said, explaining that there were no identifiable projects done either by any level of governments or international development agencies in the poorest communities, except self-help projects. He, therefore, appealed to development agencies interested in intervening in development of rural communities in Abia to always contact the ministry for proper

guidance. Programme Officer of Women Aid Collective (WACOL), Mrs Egodi Igwe, said Participatory governance would be institutionalized when PGs, as vital drivers of community development, were involved in governance. “In today’s meeting, we want to solidify the synergy we are creating between the government and the PGs. As you can see here today, the Commissioner, the Permanent Secretary, their Community Development Officers are here. That is to show you that they are ready to make sure that government is partnering with the communities in ensuring that development get to the grassroots. “Today, the PGs have come to say we want to be involved, we want to participate, we want to be consulted to come and say our needs,” Mrs Igwe said. She hailed the One Ward, One Project initiative of Abia State government but stressed the need to make it participatory “by involving the communities in choosing those projects.”

APC LG congress: ‘Unity list’ made congress peaceful in Delta – Emerhor By JONATHAN AWANYAI, Asaba

L • From left: Former Governor of Ebonyi State Governor, Chief Sam Egwu, Governor Dave Umahi acknowledging cheers during a rally organized for him by people of Ohaukwu local government area endorsing his second term ambitions.

Worshipers escape death in Enugu Catholic Church blast BY CHUKS EZE, Enugu

E

arly worshipers at Holy Cross Catholic Parish, Iji-Nike, Enugu, escaped death by the whiskers, as an explosion, which has been described by the Police as “minor explosion” was inflicted on the church in the early hours of Sunday, May 13, 2017. According to the Parish Priest of the church, Reverend father Emmanuel Okwor, the incident occurred at about just before the first Mass of the day at 6: am. Fr. Okwor, who told The Oracle Today that he could not fathom the reason for the attack, further stressed that, “just as we were getting set for the 6: am. Mass, I heard a deafening blast, which shook the entire premises and threw everybody into immense panic. Everybody started scampering for safety, especially few early Mass attendees, who were already around the church before the explosion occurred.

“And to the glory of God, no life was lost because it miraculously, happened before the Mass commenced. It would have been a different story” the priest said. The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Enugu State Command, Ebere Amaraizu, while confirming the blast, via a telephone call, described it as “minor explosion” and urged people to be calm but vigilant as well. “Yes, such incident happened but there was no loss of life or major destruction. Citizens should remain calm but we have to be more vigilant, more security-conscious and be able to partner with security agencies to ensure that there is no repeat of such incident,” he said. The Police Spokesman also assured that the command had already commenced investigations into the incident, but the lethal episode has already thrown many residents of the state into heightened apprehension. According to them, the church

blast is coming less than three weeks after similar incident had occurred at the residence of the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo Jnr, with the Police yet to announce any headway towards apprehending the earlier perpetrators. They however, charged various security agencies in the state to roll up their sleeves and partner the Police to forestall possible future occurrence. Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Calistus Onaga has also reacted to the incident. Addressing journalists, Onaga expressed worry over, what he called unfortunate occurrence and called for the faithful and the entire public to step up vigilance across board. He further noted that, though the Police had described the explosion as minor, but that if it had occurred when worshipers had filled the church, it would have been a disastrous situation.

eader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta State, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor has said that the success recorded during the congress was as a result of the agreed ‘unity list’. Emerhor who made this known after he voted at the Ughelli North Local Government Area secretariat of the APC in Ughelli, Delta State, said the reason for the peaceful congress was because they reconciled themselves and had a unity list of party executives that covered all interest. He stated further that their coming to the secretariat was to affirm the reconciled unity list. “What we are doing here is also happening across other local government areas in the state because before today I led seven governorship aspirants to Abuja for the reconciliation of the list and they all promised to work in each of the Local Government Area so that we will not fight ourselves”, he added. Emerhor explained that congresses as long as they covers the interest of the people generates trust and peace. “Of course when you lose at the ward level you can’t proceed to the LGA. So the peaceful LGA congress was as a result of the peaceful and successful ward congress we held last week”, he said. On his part, leader of the delegation that conducted the Ughelli North Local Government Area congress, Olorogun Daniel Ekorhi in a chat, described the election as very peaceful.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

POLITICS

Human trafficking survivors shun ‘horrible’ experiences, ready to return to Libya Pg 10

Chibiko Nwosu: Why I want to be President

Pg 13

Rivers’ APC governorship contest open to all – Peterside

Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside is the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA), and the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Rivers State in the 2015 election. Peterside was interviewed on a live radio phone-in-programme on the controversy trailing the conduct of APC congresses; the face-off at the premises of the Rivers State judiciary by members of opposing factions of the APC; the injunction granted by Justice Chiwendu Nwogu of the Rivers State High Court, to the Senator Magnus Ngei Abe’s faction of the APC, restraining the APC from conducting the local government congress; the destruction of properties at the premises of the Rivers State judiciary by perceived supporters of the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, on Friday, May 11, in their bid to prevent judges, judicial workers, litigants, counsel, journalists and members of the public from accessing the court allegedly to prevent the pro-Abe faction from securing an injunction to stop the conduct of the local government congress. He also spoke on whether Amaechi is against Abe’s governorship ambition and if he Dakuku will run for governorship next year. NATH OMAME, Jr. recorded the interview for The Oracle Today. Are you aware that Senator Magnus Abe, representing Rivers South East Senatorial District in the National Assembly has “condemned the leadership of the APC for descending so low to mobilise his supporters to lock up gates leading into the Rivers State judiciary to prevent judges and judicial officials from accessing the court to prevent his group from obtaining an injunction to restrain the leadership of the party from conducting the Saturday, May 12, local government congress?” I am not aware of that statement. How can you say that you are not aware when you are one of the leaders of the APC in Rivers State? Well… Senator Abe is a member of the leadership cadre of the APC in the state. If it is true that Abe issued that statement, then, it is unfortunate. I don’t believe Senator Abe issued such a statement. If Abe issued such a statement, then, it simply means that he was part of the decision to disrupt the court process. I don’t believe that he did. But, assuming without conceding that he did, you also know that we are in politics and there are different tendencies in politics just like in other climes and democracies in the world. In America, in the United Kingdom, there are different tendencies. Of course, there are different tendencies in the Republican Party in the United State, which led to the emergence of President Donald Trump. There are also different tendencies in the Democratic Party, which led to the nomination of Mrs. Hilary Clinton. There are also different tendencies in the Conservative Party in the UK. These are interplay of political forces. Let’s assume that Abe issued that statement, what is playing out is the expression of different tendencies within the party. But I don’t believe he issued that statement because it will be highly regrettable. From the breach of public peace accompanied with the destruction of public and private property at the premises of the state judiciary, don’t you think your party should apologise to the government and the people of the state over what transpired at the premises of the court, which erupted into confusion and pandemonium and spilled over to major roads and streets leading to the state judiciary complex? I don’t think so Governor Nyesom Wike had in a state-wide broadcast condemned the recourse to violence by some members of the APC whom he described as “organised hoodlums loyal to the Minister of transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, who freely harassed innocent persons including lawyers, destroying public and private property while the siege at the Rivers State judiciary lasted.” And you insist that you do not see any reason why the APC should apologise to the people of Rivers State for a breach of public law and order,

•Dakuku Peterside

•Senator Magnus Abe

•Rotimi Amaechi

including the destruction of public property and private vehicles parked in the judiciary complex? Without a doubt, Governor Wike lacks the moral authority to comment on the internal affairs of the APC. Governor Wike spoke as the chief security officer of the state. Does that position not confer on him the authority to publicly condemn acts of violence in the state, considering the destruction of public and private property at the state judiciary complex by some members of the APC? People are being killed in the state daily and he has not raised his voice. Twenty-one people were slaughtered in Omoku on New Year day and he never raised a voice. The governor lacks the moral high pedestal to comment on the internal processes of the APC. You call what is going on in the APC an internal affair, but it led to a breach of public peace and social order in the state? How does anyone jump to the conclusion that the protesters were members of the APC? The protesters were not carrying identity cards of the APC. The protesters did not carry placards saying they were members of the APC. So, how could anyone jump to the conclusion that they were APC members? Let us even assume that they are members of the APC, why would Governor Wike meddle in the internal affairs of a political party? Wike is the governor of all those who reside

in Rivers State, including all members of the APC? It simply shows that something is going on somewhere. A few weeks ago, PDP conducted local government primary, preparatory to the conduct of an illegal local government elections. In every single LGA, there was violence; there was gunshot and people were killed. He wasn’t governor then; he wasn’t the governor of all Rivers people then? He personally supervised the processes in each of the 23 LGA’s in the state. We don’t have any record of what you are alleging? Well… I know what I am talking about How can you claim that those who were in court were not APC members when Senator Abe stated clearly on national television that aggrieved members of the APC who had paid for nomination forms for the ward and local congresses but were denied the forms they paid for, and denied their rights and privileges to participate in the elective process under the constitution of the party had gone to court to seek redress. He said they had gone to court after consultation with the state legal adviser of the party and other members of the State Executive Council (SEC), of the party. Senator Abe’s statement on national television confirms that those who were at the premises of the Rivers State judiciary, on the morning of Friday, May 11, were members of the APC. Now, you are talking of two different

things--what took place inside the court and what transpired outside the court on that day. I have confirmed report that prominent members of the PDP were captured on camera leading the protest. Former Publicity Secretary of the PDP in Rivers State and former Caretaker Committee Chairman of Ikwerre Local Government Area, Samuel Nwanosike were captured on camera physically directing the protest yesterday. There is another chap who was a former caretaker committee chairman of Akuku-Toru local government area. I have the camera recordings. I have it on good authority that one of Governor Wike’s security details, a policeman called Promise, was seen physically directing and organising people during the protest outside the court. So, no one can say with certainty that the people who were protesting yesterday were members of the APC. I have been briefed: the state legal adviser has no authority to go to court on behalf of the APC, or members of the APC or, as you would say, a faction of the APC. There is no faction in Rivers APC. All members of the APC in Rivers State subscribe to the leadership of Amaechi, including my very good friend and brother, Senator Abe. The legal adviser said he has a letter authorising him to do so. He has no such letter issued by the state chairman of the party or by the State Working Committee (SWC). He has no such

Cont’d on page 16


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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

Special Report Human trafficking survivors shun ‘horrible’ experiences, ready to return to Libya

“If you travel and you didn’t bring money, your family won’t love you anymore. I used to support my family before leaving Nigeria. But when I returned, the first thing my mother said is, you didn’t bring money, but baby, no one agreed to help me.” This is Gift Peter. She was 20 years old when she was trafficked by her uncle’s wife on February 5th, 2016. She is one of the 6,300 Nigerian migrants the International Organization for Migration (IOM) repatriated to Nigeria in the last 11 months. But life has been unpleasant for her since returning to Agbor, her hometown in Delta State. Gift returned in 2017 with a baby boy she conceived during her work as a sex slave to a Nigerian woman in Libya. After so much suffering and birthing a child alone as a prisoner in Isis’ camp and caught in the war in Sirit, Libya, her efforts to begin life afresh have been fruitless. She says her joy of returning to the country has been cut short by rejection and stigmatization from family and friends. She has been jobless since arriving in Nigeria. This too, has added to the depression she now struggles with. National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons (NAPTIP) says in Nigeria, the two most reported human trafficking cases are foreign travels, which promote prostitution and employment of children as domestic workers while inflicting grievous harm. Most of these victims are women but children and men these days constitute a larger percentage than they did 10 years ago. The anti-trafficking agency’s 2017 report states that in the country, 0.1% of trafficked victims are men while 25% are females. Globally, 51% of trafficked persons are females and 21% are males. The report indicates that traffickers are often males but women comprise a large number of convicted offenders. Majority of Nigerian migrants undertake the risky journey in search of jobs in North Africa and Europe. IOM’s Missing Migrants Project states that 2,834 migrants died at sea on the route between Libya and Italy in 2017. The Central Mediterranean Sea is one of the deadliest migration routes in the world. IOM says 315 have already perished since the beginning of this year. Travellers are sexually abused, robbed, and abducted on the Niger desert-toLibya route and while crossing the sea to Italy. Notwithstanding these hazards, European statistics indicate at least one person dies for every 35 persons arriving in Europe. It states that the number of illegal migrants from West Africa to Europe is still rising. FEBRUARY 25TH, 2016 They were three young ladies on the journey: Tunmininu, and two other dream chasers. They had travelled in a bus from Lagos, hoping to arrive in Kano State to board the plane to Libya. They were eager to get to Libya rooted by the pursuit of their dreams: earning big bucks abroad. They had thoroughly discussed and planned the journey in advance: Tunmininu, her mother and Iya Anjola- her mum’s friend. They had planned every phase of the journey: who was to be paid, how much and details of every stop. But Tunmininu hadn’t foreseen there was to be another bus ride after the first to Kano from Lagos. Lo and behold, on arriving in Kano, they boarded another bus, instead of a plane. It began to dawn on her they could be in trouble. The only problem was she didn’t know how big the trouble was. HOPE MERCHANTS AND PREPARATIONS It all began in February 2016 when Tunmininu, while doing her domestic chores, sang as always did. This time, she sang in the presence of a visitor, her mother’s friend. Moved by the young gospel singer’s voice, she urged her to up her game- from going around churches singing as a mere guest artiste to producing and launching a musical album. Armed with only a secondary school certificate, talent to write songs and sing, she hadn’t the financial muscle. And her mother’s best friend offered to help. “I went to Libya through one of my mum’s friends. She is the one that told my mum I should go there to work, look for money so I can make a musical album and better my life,” Tunmininu narrated, her voice a little above a whisper. Giving hope to the single mother and her child, Iya Anjola assured them repeatedly that N40,000 was the only sum needed for the lifechanging journey. Thirty thousand Naira out of the money was given to her while Tunmininu was to give N10,000 to Iya Anjola’s friend who would take her to Mile 12 to board the bus to

Trafficking survivors say their joy of returning to Nigeria from Libya is being cut short by rejection and stigmatization from family, friends and the society. And they are ready to leave the country at whatever cost… again. TOBORE OVUORIE reports.

Kano. Both mother and daughter had been calmed by the mirage of normalcy after being told Tunmininu should snap a passport photo with which she would board the Libya-bound aircraft immediately on arriving in Kano. “She even asked us to hold extra N5,000 to be able to use that one to eat though we would meet someone there who would give us food and other things,” Gift further narrated. PURSUIT OF REALITY BEGINS February 25th, 2016 was a warm Thursday morning. Tunmininu woke up very excited that by dawn next day, she would be entering an aircraft for the first time in all her 20 years on earth. But first, she and two other young ladies joined Iya Anjola to Oshodi in Lagos, to meet her friend who was to take them to Mile 12- a suburb of the ever-busy city, to board the bus to Kano. The friend, Mummy Seyi, light-skinned, fat and in her late forties, took them to Mile 12 to a Mallam named Abdulahi. Besides the N10,000 she was paid, Mummy Seyi collected the N5,000 Tunmininu was to use in feeding. “She said they were going to give us some food and money we would use in eating. When we get to Kano, we would see the plane we were going to enter. We were so happy that we were going to enter a plane for the first time in our lives,” Gift narrated. But, arriving in Kano, the next pusher-man put the ladies on another bus. They ended at what is commonly called Nigeria Bridge and

boarded a bike to cross to Niger. The riders swung their motorbikes as if possessed by legions of demons, while policemen were in hot pursuit releasing bullets into the air. “When we got to Niger, we started asking where is the plane? Is this where the plane is? That is when we were told that they (Iya Anjola and Mummy Seyi) were lying to us, that we were going to Libya and it is by road and we were going to follow desert. I was surprised. Why desert? We couldn’t go back again because that journey is not that easy.” Then, Tunmininu’s innocence died. Hope merchants and dream chasers, all of them, bound together by their pursuit of money, trudged along with the oneness of soldier-ants. SOLD AND BOUGHT BY NIGERIAN SLAVE DEALERS After seeing many people raped, robbed and left to die on the road, Tunmininu arrived at Sabha and spent three weeks at Ghetto- a very popular camp owned by Baba Ife, a Libya-based Nigerian slave merchant from Ekiti State. He attempted buying her for sex work from the slave dealer awaiting her in Tripoli. “While we were in Ghetto, the man tells us it’s not yet time for him to push us, in short, he even phoned the man we wanted to go and meet in Tripoli that he wanted to buy me from the man and use me in doing prostitution. “I was surprised and said I was not doing because this was not what they told me in Nigeria before coming here. Fortunately, due to the way I threatened him shouting that I was

going to burst them and they were going to pack everybody to prison. The man was pleading with me and phoned the man he wanted to buy me from and said they should be bringing me down to Tripoli.” Without food or water, she and other desperate travellers from Sabha were heaped like loaves of bread in a hilux van travelling through the desert for five days. She was received by China (pronounced Shayi-na) another Libyabased Nigerian slave merchant who had bought her. China also hails from Ekiti State. But, he felt Tunmininu stinks- of trouble, after the stunt she pulled in Ghetto. He sold her to Shina Ayo another Nigerian slave merchant who lives in Tripoli. Shina Ayo slammed a bondage fee of N500,000 on her, which must be paid within 10 months. It’s the alleged sum used in bringing her to Libya from Nigeria. Working as a maid to Nurian, a 36-year old Libyan woman, she paid him N50,000 monthly. But after the sixth month’s payment, Shina Ayo upturned the whole agreement. He wanted a year’s pay. Tunmininu was left to choose between two options: pay the bondage fee for a year or be forced into prostitution until every dime owed was paid. Hopeless, she continued working as a maid while handing all wages made to him. FREEDOM AT LAST! AND DEATH CAME KNOCKING A year later, working all seven days of the week from dawn to dusk, Tunmininu paid the last bondage fee and regained her freedom.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

Special Report

•Festus Keyamo

•Dr. Bolanle Ola

•Mrs. Opaleye

•Mrs. Ayo Lawal ing for cash. She eventually wired N30,000 raised from friends and family. But Mr. Shina and his wife spent the money. Mr. Ayo again phoned her mum. And she ran around borrowing money, which she wired, eagerly awaiting her daughter’s return. But the Shina Ayos spent the money as well. Many people touched by the mishap, which had befallen her made generous donations. But the money was kept in care of Mr. and Mrs. Shina Ayo. Tunmininu only heard about the money. Frustrated, one day, she pleaded with the slave-master’s elder brother who had just returned from Nigeria to snap her injuries and take the pictures to the Nigerian embassy in Libya. He did. “I didn’t know there was free flight to Nigeria. One of the doctors to the IOM came to check on me and treated me for like 10 days before being told I would be returning to Nigeria May 25th, 2017,” Tunmininu disclosed.

She decided to continue at the job hoping to save some money for her musical album and care for her mum. Three days after regaining her freedom, while working in another part of Nurian’s house, the Libyan woman put charcoal in an aluminum container and lit it to heat Tunmininu’s personal room. It was the cold season and Nurian had refused buying a heater to provide her warmth. She made tea and gave to the young Nigerian like she had always done in the last one year. “But the only thing I know is after drinking it this time, I was feeling sleepy and I slept off in my room and by the time I woke up, I woke up in the hospital”. Tunmininu alleges being drugged as she became drowsy immediately she drank the tea. “The fire had entered my nose and mouth and couldn’t control myself. I wanted to open the door but the door was locked at the back,” Tunmininu stated. She thinks it may not be unconnected with the argument they had three days earlier over late payment of her wages. Nurian had paid her on the eighth instead of third of the month. “We fought because of that money. I was shouting on her but we settled after that and

forgot about it,” Tunmininu stressed. “It was the woman who called the ambulance to carry me to the hospital. She phoned the wife of the man (Mrs. Shina Ayo) I was paying money to and she came to meet me at the hospital. She was crying and shouting asking where is the (Libyan) woman. She (Nurian) said she would come check on me the next day. She never came back.” AND EXPLOITATION CONTINUES… Tunmininu sustained various degrees of injuries in different parts of her body necessitating a skin grasp to cover the open bone in her hand. But after the initial operation, a huge part of the bone remained uncovered. More skin grasp was needed. But she couldn’t bear the pains anymore. Tired of being grounded in the no-fee-paying hospital, shuttled in and out of the theatre with surgeons grasping chunks of flesh from her laps to cover the deep wound in her hand, Tunmininu requested she be returned to Shina Ayo’s house. Within the first three weeks she lived with the Shina Ayo household, they phoned her mother to send money for flight ticket to return her to Nigeria. The single mother combed the city of Lagos where she lives with her daughters hunt-

HOPES DASHED. SUFFERING CONTINUES Tunmininu never paid a dime for treatment in Tripoli. Even for the surgeries. The IOM in Libya had assured her the organization would be responsible for her operation and treatment upon returning to Nigeria. But the exact opposite happened. “I was surprised that on getting to Nigeria they did nothing. I was only given a note to go to general hospital- LASUTH (Lagos State University Teaching Hospital) Ikeja. On getting there, I was billed N150,000 and we don’t have anything.” She left the hospital feeling rejected. READY TO LEAVE NIGERIA AT WHATEVER COST AGAIN Tunmininu says she has suffered so much rejection since arriving back in Nigeria. Her mother and sisters are the only persons who haven’t stigmatized her. Asked if she would be willing to embark on another trip out of Nigeria, say to the United Kingdom or United State, if assisted by this reporter; without pausing to ponder over it, she said yes. “Notwithstanding all you went through in Libya?” the reporter asked again. “Yes. Not that I want to go and do job that is not good.” She was just meeting this reporter for the first time. PARENTS: OUR CHILDREN WILL NEVER

MARRY HUMAN TRAFFICKING SURVIVORS! Rejection and stigmatization of human trafficking survivors are major reasons more illegal migrants from Nigeria would flood Europe. Survivors are not rejected and stigmatized by friends and families alone. The society, particularly parents, say they wouldn’t allow their sons marry them. Mrs. Ayo Lawal, a trader in Lagos state profiles them as unsuitable for marriage. “I will not allow my child to marry any of them because we heard it is dirty work they went to do there. Dirty work like prostitution; so many different men would have had intercourse with them. As a Christian, I can’t allow my child marry such a person,” Lawal said. Mrs. Opaleye, a trader popularly known as Iya Bukky in Akute Ogun state vehemently kicks against such union. “I won’t accept it. We heard in the news and over the TV the kind of work the Libya returnees do over there. We heard they prostitute themselves with males and females sleeping with themselves; males and males have intercourse, and females do the same thing. Even dogs sleep with them. Are those the kind of persons my son should bring home as a wife? It’s not possible. “Anyone who brings such home as a spouse should know it is a dog he/she has brought home. And they may have contracted all manner of infections before being deported to Nigeria, so, they will start spreading it all over the place. No, I can’t agree for my child to marry any of them,” she said. For Olamide Timothy, an undergraduate, residing in Ogun State, getting married to a survivor is an impossible mission. “According to what I am hearing about them, I don’t think I can marry any of them. Because some amongst them may have been infected with HIV due to the kind of work they did over there before returning to Nigeria,” he said. Asked what would happen if she only got to know after the wedding, “Haaa! If we haven’t had anything in common, I can still break up the marriage.” TRAFFICKING SURVIVORS CREDIBLE CONTRIBUTORS TO SOCIETAL DEVELOPMENT Mr. Festus Keyamo a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) says the returnees are already being profiled by the society. Anyone who has gone through such experience, he stated, is perceived to be damaged psychologically and won’t make good partners. He emphasized that survivors can still live normal lives. “We should ensure as a society we protect their identities and they are reintegrated back into the society gradually and they would become like us living normal lives,” Keyamo said. Mrs. Kehinde Akomolafe, Commander, NAPTIP Lagos, disclosed that survivors in NAPTIP’s care have been able to live normal lives, are getting married and having children for their husbands. Dr. Bolanle Ola, Head of Psychiatry, LASUTH and a Consultant Psychiatrist says human trafficking survivors are credible people who are ready to contribute to the development of the society. “If veterans of the Vietnam war could be fully rehabilitated, who says other people cannot? I mean, with full comprehensive health and policy backing, they have a very high potential to be fully rehabilitated into the community,” Ola said. He said anti-trafficking agencies should be well equipped by the Nigerian government and proper budgetary allocations be created for them. He called on the media to provide credible information to the masses so that the society wouldn’t be afraid of human trafficking survivors, but support them. “There is nothing to really fear when all these relevant things are provided. Early recognition of symptoms in returnees to access treatment will go a long way to help. There should be campaign against stigma as that is a huge challenge in people seeking mental health care. The media also should follow the WHO (world health organization) guidelines in carrying out their reports in order to ensure they too don’t stigmatize survivors of such traumatic events,” he advised. Ms. Peter, still jobless, lost her baby October 2017 while he was nine months old after a brief illness at the General Hospital, Agbor, Delta State. Devastated over the demise of her son and rejection from family, she now squats with a friend in Lagos. Tunmininu is still at home without a job or money for her surgery. She lives off others buying her medications with whatever little donations she is given. She hopes to produce a gospel album and own a supermarket someday to care for herself, mum and sisters.


12

The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

INTERVIEW

‘Govt should offer free medical services to all students’

What is your foundation all about and why did you decide to establish a foundation that focuses on the youth? Fountains of Faith is a Christian non-government, non-profit making organization established with the mission of reaching the youth, particularly primary, secondary and tertiary school students with the gospel of salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. We aim to achieve this through Bible conferences, special lecture and quiz programmes, excursions etc, wherein the youths are inspired and motivated towards knowing, loving and serving God, and the godly ways of achieving their life ambitions. We also aim at providing the forum for healthy interaction and friendship among youths of diverse ethnic and cultural divides and, importantly, seek to raise the awareness of the youths to their economic, political and social rights, and their roles and responsibility in nation-building. Besides, the Foundation also encourages individuals and corporate organizations who have significantly contributed towards the eradication of poverty, ignorance and unemployment among the youths. We not only visit and offer special prayers for such organizations, but also present them with special gifts and award certificates in appreciation of their noble deeds. Our activities are mainly focused on the youths because the youths are the joy, hope and future of every society. If we succeed in having youths that are born in Christ, and are truly regenerated in mind and in spirit and are encouraged to embrace the path of righteousness, and ideals, which are noble and excellent, then we would never anticipate a future where kidnappers, armed robbers, ritualists, prostitutes, cultists, fraudulent characters, etc; terrorize and rampage the land. And we shall not have a society where people seek victory, greatness, fame, wealth, position and power without minding if they have to sleep with a mad woman, shed innocent blood, commit adultery and fornication, loot and embezzle public funds, slaughter and bury live human beings at the altar of churches by criminals in the garb of pastors or men of God. What do you think are the major challenges facing the Nigerian youth today? How does your foundation hope to solve or address these problems or challenges? The problem and challenges facing the Nigerian youth are hydra-headed, fundamental and octopus in nature. Firstly, you have a country so blessed with abundant mineral and natural resources, capable of making it one of the most devel-

Pastor Denwosu Chibuike is the Founder/President of Fountains Of Faith Youth Foundation. Through his faith-driven youth foundation, he has been able to restore hope to the lives of many Nigerian youths who think that they don’t have a bright future or won’t be able to get a job because they don’t know anyone. In this interview with IRETO TEMOFEH, the civil servant and servant of God who is presently a Deputy Director in the Abia State civil service says that it can never be over for Nigerian youths; therefore, the youths shouldn’t give up or give in to despair even though it seems they may have found themselves in a “quagmire in the wake of the nation’s economic recession.”

•Pastor Denwosu Chibuike

How do you see the Nigerian youth of today, and how do you assess his/her situation especially in this time of economic recession? I totally disagree with President Buhari who said recently in London that Nigerian youths are lazy. On the contrary, the Nigerian youth has over time proven to be vibrant, full of enterprise, and vigorously governed by an insatiable appetite and desire for excellence, and conquest in whatever endeavour he/she engages in. This could be seen in the success and achievements recorded by Nigerian youths in the music, arts and other creative industry, sports, education, science and technology, among others. And in the context of the economic recession facing the country, it would be trite to say that the recession has had far reaching negative socio-economic and political implications on the youths. This is because everything basically revolves around the economy, and no matter how beautiful your dreams and constructive your proposals may be, if the needed funds are not available, then one cannot go far in achieving his or her goals. It needs not be over-emphasized that recession has thoroughly affected the attitudes, ambitions and attainment levels of the youths, as most cannot afford their desired educational needs, while those who are self-employed have seen their businesses collapse due to the excruciating economic situation.

“I still insist that the Nigerian youth is competent, and enamoured with skill and great talents, and can always hold his own anywhere anytime. Unfortunately, the system does not encourage growth and development, making the youths to stagnate and end up in obscurity.”

oped and prosperous nations of the world. But for lack of visionary and focused statesmen endued with exceptional leadership abilities, we are still struggling to identify, harness and manage to optimum these vast mineral, material and human resources accruable to the nation 58 years after independence. This has made Nigerian youths to be confronted with unending poverty, chronic unemployment, and a future that is blurred and laced with uncertainty. Secondly, the youths are confronted with a country lacking in well-organized systems, or structures to aid in achieving their life ambitions. I still insist that the Nigerian youth are competent and blessed with skills and great talents, and can always hold their own anywhere anytime. Unfortunately, the system does not encourage growth and

development, making the youth stagnate and end up in obscurity. To drive home my point, if sports stars like Kanu Nwankwo, Finidi George, Jay Jay Okocha, Anthony Joshua, Victor Moses etc, had not had the fortune of travelling overseas, I doubt if they would have been where they are today. And then you look at it in the context of their mates, who probably were even more skilful and talented, but because they never had the privilege of traveling overseas, their talents were never harnessed to the optimum, and they probably ended up wretched and unknown. Now, assuming you are a youth who want to go into agriculture, or desire to be self-employed, where are the structures that will enable you effortlessly acquire land and other necessary inputs, which will

enable you achieve your Eldorado in the field? There is no easy access to funds, no steady and reliable power supply, flawed and decayed educational system, no good roads, no security, no stability in government policies. And above all, government officials who preside over agencies set up to intervene and mitigate over the prevailing circumstances are riddled with unbridled corruption. And perhaps the greatest challenge facing the youths today is the unwillingness of the older generation to retire and quit the scene to enable the youths put into use the knowledge, skill and expertise they have acquired. I will not also fail to bring to focus the use and dump attitude of politicians towards the youths. During elections, politicians recruit, arm and use the unemployed and vulnerable youths as political thugs, but after elections these youths are dumped and discarded like waste only fit for disposal bins. And with no gainful employment, they resort to criminal tendencies, and what happens next? The same politician who armed them, but who is now in authority after the election, will make laws for the arrest, imprisonment or total elimination of the unfortunate youths, and myriads of other challenges facing the youths. In helping to address these challenges, we hold lecture/seminar programmes in which the youths are encouraged, inspired and motivated to build confidence in themselves and to realize that their dreams and ambitions in life are realizable with the right focus, commitment and an unshakeable faith in God. We ensure that the youths are sufficiently enlightened and sensitized to their political, economic and social privileges and obligations in nation-building, while strongly advocating good governance by our elected officials. We also assist gifted but less privileged youths realize their potentialities in their given fields of human endeavour, through scholarship schemes, sponsorship of skill acquisition courses and programmes, among others. We actualize these goals by enlisting the support and sponsorship of government, philanthropists and faith-based humanitarian organizations within and outside the country. How has the journey been so far with your foundation, and what are the major challenges you are facing in your mission of helping to secure a future for the Nigerian youth? Our foundation was registered in January 2013, and since then has been making concerted efforts towards achieving all our targeted objectives. A lot of students in both secondary and tertiary institutions have benefited from our scholarship schemes, while some indigent youths were sponsored to acquire basic skills in areas like computer repairs, fashion & designing, bead-making, catering etc. Besides, through our ‘’Gospel-4-All’’ Out-

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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

POLITICS

ished. Enough is enough. We can’t just fold our hands and do nothing. We have to help for the sake of our children and generations unborn. As I said earlier, I am not from the North. I am not from the West. I am from the Southeast and I am a true Nigerian, a “Diasporan” who wants to come back home and improve the standard of his people’s lives. And that is me, Nze Sympathy Nwosu.

Nze, can you please tell us about yourself. I am Chibiko Sympathy Nwosu. The ‘Nze’ is my title. I am from Ohaji/Egbema Local Government in Imo State. I attended primary and secondary schools in Imo State before I moved to the UK. And, here in the UK, I studied at the University of Essex in Colchester followed by a law school at the Westminster University, London. Persistently, I am the principal of Callistes Solicitors. I have been practicing for over 15 years. In my political career, I was the Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) UK Chapter from 2007-2014. Prior to that I was the Legal Adviser of the party. I am currently the Chairman, Board of Trustees. (BOT). I am a family man, happily marred and blessed with children and grandchildren, that’s whom I am and I want to serve my country if given the opportunity. Now that you have joined the 2019 presidential race in Nigeria, if you secure your party’s ticket to contest, what new thing will you bring to governance in Nigeria if you win? I am not an independent candidate. As a candidate, I am contesting under a political party that held power in Nigeria for 16 years. I may not be the only person aspiring to lead the country in the party. Our primaries will be in September this year and what motivated me to go or seek to lead let me my country is patriotism. But, pause here to thank our past and present leaders for sustaining democracy from 1999 to date. The sustenance of democracy is the key to the growth of a country. It ushers in dividends. You can see my motivation. My people have not had adequate dividends for having sustained democracy: security, electricity, good roads, affordable housing, good and quality judiciary, good quality of life, etc. These are some of the dividends of democracy. Nigerians are lacking in all of these things mentioned. To me and other Nigerians, democracy has not paid us any dividends at all. I want to improve the people’s living standard. I want to rebrand Nigeria. I want to ensure that the standard and quality of life of my people becomes like those in the western World. You have been out of the country for a long time but are now running for the presidency. Why do you think Nigerians should hand over the leadership of the country to you? I am a Nigerian sent to the UK to study, learn new things and come back home and improve my country. The past leaders have done their best but their best is not the expected best for Nigerians. There are no excuses from the past leaders as to why Nigerians should not enjoy steady electricity. There is no iota of excuse from any leader as to why we do not have a functioning refinery. We still import petrol. There is no excuse from any leader past as to why we don’t have pride, not even Nigeria Airways: Nigeria with a population of nearly 200 million people, the fifth largest producer of crude oil in the world, no single pride! I am a Nigerian. I am equal to the task. I am qualified. I will bring Nigeria back to her past glory like the days of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and others. Chief Awolowo studied in the UK. He was the one that built Cocoa House and established the first television station in Africa. I want to follow in his footsteps. I can be selfish if I want to, live in the UK comfortably, go to work, earn money, send some to my family in Nigeria and live the same till the end of my life, but no. When Jesus Christ our Lord was in heaven, He was comfortable there. There was no reason for Jesus to come here to die. He wasn’t selfish. Jesus died to save people. I am in politics to better the lives of Nigerians. Enough is Enough. Nigerians have suffered enough. You heard what is happening: you go into people’s houses in Nigeria, you find billions of naira under their beds. Now, snake swallowed N36 million. Where would you start, where would you stop? And we all are here folding our hands. I want to go and improve the lives of my people. I am not from the North, I am not from the West. We are coming home as Nigerians. So, trusting the leadership of Nigeria into my hands will be very beneficial to all Nigerians. As I said earlier, I could be selfish and remain in the UK. I am

Nigeria is said to be a rich country but a greater percentage of its population is poor... Nigeria is a rich country. But the problem we have is like you bought an Olympia typewriter in the 1970s and because you have not used it, now in 2018 you brought it out, and start typing with it forgetting that there are computers that can do the same job a million times better and faster. We have to embrace technology in this modern world. We don’t have to go back because we had these things or because they have been there before. No. We have to belong to today if we are to survive as a nation. That’s the more reason I am coming out to contest. Nigerians should entrust their country into my hands and I will serve for the benefit of everyone. I will ensure that everybody benefits from democracy under my stewardship.

•Chibiko Nwosu

Chibiko Nwosu: Why I want to be President Nze Sympathy Chibiko Nwosu is a lawyer, philanthropist and politician. He is a familiar person in the Nigerian Diaspora, particularly in the United Kingdom. He is one of the Nigerians living in the UK most people can confidently count on to positively get things done. His intention to stand in the 2019 presidential election in Nigeria has already enlivened Nigerians in the Diaspora, the African communities and those at home. In this interview with COLLINS UGHALAA from his base in the UK, Nze Sympathy Nwosu discloses why he is seeking his party, PDP’s ticket to contest next year’s presidential election. Excerpts: not going to be president to make money. I am going to ensure that my people earn money, have the benefits or dividends of democracy. Let them enjoy the dividends of democracy, which they have lacked for nearly 20 years now. If they entrust me with power, everybody will benefit because I know what it means. It’s about leadership. Nigeria is the simplest country to govern. I am not an engineer, I am not a medical doctor, I am not an architect, I am a lawyer. I will ensure that those who hold various positions in my government are qualified and supervised to do their jobs. What is lacking in Nigeria today is leadership. You can’t just sign documents you did not read because you are tired. You can’t just allow people to do whatever they want. That’s what is happening now. You have to supervise those you have given appointments to know what is happening in

the ministries, to know that those you have given jobs to do are qualified to do it. That’s how to run a country I will ensure that we give power back to the people. The local government is where I have more interest. The power must go back to the wards and the local governments. The federal government doesn’t do much. In a quality democracy like the UK, cities are built by the local government. The councillors go around the local governments to see where things are wrong and they make sure that those things are fixed. You don’t come from Abuja to fix what is happening in my village, Umuokanne. It is the job of the local government. But today power has been taken away from the LGAs, the councillors and chairmen. The governors now run the local government. That is the reason our roads are not built and people are daily impover-

You are one of the frontline campaigners for Nigerians in Diaspora to have the right to vote in elections in Nigeria. Will Nigerians in the Diaspora have the right to vote if you become the president? Yes. That will be automatic. It’s just that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and politicians unnecessarily made it difficult for the ‘Diasporans’ to vote. The Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) are given computerized. Tell me the insurmountable difficulty Nigerians will have if their brothers and sisters in the Diaspora are given the right to vote in elections in Nigeria. On the election day, you go to the embassy with your PVC and vote at the INEC machine which is anyway connected to the INEC server. So, why stop Nigerians in the Diaspora from voting? British citizens living in Nigeria vote in their elections. Americans living in Nigeria also vote during elections. In this day and age, it’s an affront to reason for anyone to deny anybody his or her civic right because they are not living inside the country. Technology has made it so simple for us to exercise that civic duty. The government working in tandem with the lawmakers should compel INEC to allow or grant those living in the Diaspora the opportunity to do the needful. The needful is their civic right to vote. And if I become the President, I will prioritise it. In my first 90 days in office, I will ensure that Nigerians in the Diaspora are given the opportunity to exercise their right to vote. What other message do you have for Nigerians? The other messages I have for my brothers and sisters in Nigeria are: I am a true Nigerian; I am coming to ensure everybody thinks Nigeria. And one of my policies will be to lower the entry level of the National Youth Service (NYSC). You don’t have to finish your university to serve. I want our children to start mixing and interacting with others when they are young. When you finish secondary school, you do six months youth service. That is when you are a youth. People aged 70 and above go to university, though when they finish they have exemption from NYSC, but they are not youth. Secondary school students are the youth; they should be allowed to do youth service. I will bring national consciousness back into Nigerians. I will ensure that when the herdsmen kill people, you don’t refer to them as Fulani herdsmen. Herdsmen are herdsmen. I will ensure that no part of Nigeria cries of marginalisation because they are Igbo, Yoruba, Ijaw, Hausa, etc. Nigeria remains one under my stewardship. I will restore the consciousness of oneness in Nigeria so that people will work for Nigeria. Right now, everybody sees Nigeria as ‘it’s not my country and to an extent I can do what I like and they steal our money’. The consciousness of being one Nigeria, I will restore.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

POLITICS

Ugwuanyi grants scholarship to 340 indigent students of Enugu State Polytechnic, Iwollo

I

n line with the Enugu State government’s policy in education and the need to discover and assist intellectuals in the rural areas, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi on Monday granted scholarship to 340 indigent students of the Enugu State Polytechnic, Iwollo, Ezeagu Local Government Area of the state. Gov. Ugwuanyi explained that 20 indigent students in each of the 17 L.G.As will benefit from the scholarship scheme, which will cover their tuition fees for four years of study at a total cost of N41.6 million. The governor spoke during the maiden engineering day commemoration at the institution, where he inaugurated the newly constructed School of Engineering Complex sponsored by Prince Arthur Eze and laid foundation for the construction of Prof. Julius Onah School of Management Technology. The event also witnessed the foundation laying ceremony of School of General Studies by the Deputy Governor, Hon. Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo and conferment of Merit Awards to notable Engineers and other dignitaries, such as the Deputy President of the Senate, Prof. Ike Ekweremadu; former President of the Senate, Senator Ken Nnamani; Member representing Udi/Ezeagu Federal Constituency, Hon. Dennis Oguerinwa Amadi; Prof. Barth Nnaji; Sir Chief Emeka Offor; HRH Igwe Augustine Otiji and Engr. Vita Abba, among others. Also speaking, Gov. Ugwuanyi disclosed that the cardinal principle of the educational policy of his administration was “the provision of access to qualitative education at all levels to all classes and strata of the society”. He stated that the event afforded his administration the opportunity to take a major step forward in the advancement of technology in the state “especially at this time when technology has not only turned the world into a global village but has become the major income earner for many nations”. The governor said that his administration in the light of the above, implemented “firm

…Inaugurates School of Engineering Complex

•Ugwuanyi measures towards repositioning and revamping this institution” to make it a prominent centre for Engineering and Agricultural studies and innovations in the country. “These measures included the revalidation of old programmes and accreditation of new ones by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) as well as the provision of critical infrastructure and necessary equipment”, the governor added. Gov. Ugwuanyi, therefore, expressed delight that the efforts of the government towards the institution have been manifesting “as the institution has developed at an amazing pace and has been attracting positive attention and reviews from regulatory authorities in the country as well as stakeholders in the nation’s education sector”.

Describing the School of Engineering Complex as “a watershed in the history of the institution” that would enhance its growth as a citadel of qualitative engineering and technological education, the governor commended Engr. Arthur Eze for “his kind sponsorship of the project”. He also appreciated the commitment and diligence of the Governing Council, the management and the staff of the institution towards the actualization of government’s vision for the school, and congratulated the award winners for the well deserved honours. “I use this opportunity also to reiterate the unflinching commitment of the State Government towards the realization of our collective aspirations for the institution and

for tertiary education in Enugu State”, the governor reassured. In his welcome address, the Chairman of the institution’s Governing Council, Hon. Chinedu Onu expressed gratitude to Gov. Ugwuanyi for effective funding of the school and increment of its monthly subventions, which he said “saw us achieving this feat in a very short while.” He added that the Enugu State Polytechnic, Iwollo desires “to become an institution of choice for Engineering and Technology development” and “to use the commemoration of Engineering Day to attract the attention of students as well as would-be students to this great field of study and practice”. The Rector of the Institution, Prof C.J.C Akubuilo in his address announced that the school in keeping with the repositioning agenda of the governor, in 2017/2018 academic year, has joined other Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria to key into the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) Central Admissions Processing System (CAPS). According to him, “we are now recognized by other national regulatory bodies and agencies such as the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). The Polytechnic has between September 2017 and March 2018, mobilized the first two sets of students for their one year National Youth Service”. Other Award recipients include: Engr. Ebele Ofunneamaka Okeke; Air Vice Marshal Cletus (AVM) Nwannebuike Udeagulu; Dr. Masa’udu Adamu Kazaure; Engr. Obiukwu Chukwuma Okeke; Engr. Anayo Onwuegbu; Engr. Prof. Emmanuel Ezugwu; Mr. Silas Ifeanyi (Baba Edem); Prof. Moses Madueze Okonkwo; Kingsley Eze and Dr. Agu Collins Agu.

Govt should offer free medical services Continued from Page 12 reach over 2000 youths have been reached with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, with over 1500 Beams King James Bibles freely distributed to encourage newly bornagain believers grow in their new found faith in Christ. Furthermore, for three seasons now our foundation has been hosting the ‘’OKEZIE IKPEAZU:THE ABIA TOWER OF HOPE LECTURE & QUIZ COMPETITION’’ among Secondary and Tertiary students within and around Abia State, with the theme, “INSPIRING THE ABIA CHILD TO BELIEVE THAT IT CAN BE DONE.” Through this programme participating schools and students not only receive cash prizes, books, school bags, and other writing materials, but are also encouraged to learn and benefit from the ideals, philosophy and leadership qualities of Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, the governor of Abia State. Our challenges, which mainly bother on funds are enormous. Our foundation is unlike others where some rich and wealthy individuals or families like Bill Gates, Dangote, the Ford Family etc, set aside a fraction of their wealth for humanitarian concerns, but where out of our poverty and faith in Christ we strive to positively impact our society. We do not believe that one must wait to become stupendously wealthy before touching lives. This has informed our resolve to fund the activities of the foundation with our meager salaries as staff of the Local Government Service. There is no doubt that the limited and periodic receipt of our salaries is greatly affecting our targeted programmes, and in that direction we are appealing to public-spirited individuals and corporate establishments to come to our aid, by supporting/sponsoring some or all of

our programmes. We are grateful to certain individuals who have identified with us, through their encouraging and hope- lifting donations to the Foundation, like Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, the governor of Abia State.

What programmes does your foundation have for the youth this year? We have a lot of interesting programmes and special excursion visits lined up for the benefit of the youths. These include: i. The Bible for all Believers programme whereby we shall freely distribute the King James Bible to encourage the youths who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ to grow in faith. ii. The third edition of OKEZIE IKPEAZU: THE ABIA TOWER OF HOPE LECTURE & QUIZ COMPETITION, whereby students are encouraged to learn from the life, faith and Victory of Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, the governor of Abia State. Hopefully, the guest speaker of this year’s programme shall be Chief John Okiyi Kalu, the Abia State Commissioner for Information and strategy, while the Abia State governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu is expected to be the special guest of honour. iii. HAVE YOU PRAYED FOR GOVERNOR OKEZIE IKPEAZU TODAY? A special prayer & fasting programme in which the youths, as well as workers and traders across the 17 Local Government Areas of Abia State shall be mobilized to offer special prayers for the State governor and the peace of the nation. iv. Jesus is the Answer Youth Conference & Bible Quiz Competition’’ with theme, ‘’Christ, Scholarship & a prosperous future for the youths’’. This is a conference in which the youths shall be encouraged to develop passion for Christ and the Word of God. Cash prizes, Christian books and other material gifts shall be presented to participants, among others.

What do you think government should do to make life better and easier for the youth? And how can government assist your organization to help the youth find meaning or purpose in life? First of all, we strongly advocate for governments at all the levels in the country to be responsive to their primary obligation and responsibilities, as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Such basic necessities like security of lives and property, good roads, adequate and uninterrupted power supply, qualitative education, prompt payment of salaries, pensions and gratuities of workers should not be seen as a favour done to the populace, but something that is incumbent upon, or the whole essence of government. The government should embark upon social security measures like free education for the youths, free medical services to all primary, secondary and tertiary school students, and payment of allowances to all unemployed youths, while creating an enabling environment for youths inclined to self-employment through unhindered access to soft and medium-term facilities. Furthermore, the federal government should take bold and courageous measures to equitably re-distribute the nation’s wealth and resources. It simply amounts to man’s inhumanity to man for a Senator or other political office holders, who probably did not see beyond the walls of a secondary school, to earn well over 13 million naira in a month, while other categories of public servants like Directors, Permanent Secretaries, Engineers, Judges, police, the military, Medical Doctors, Teachers and Lecturers etc, whose job and services are very critical to the survival, growth and development of the nation earn peanuts. The government should therefore cut

their millions, use it to build industries, develop basic infrastructures, and enhance the living standards of public servants, because they are also critical stakeholders in the affairs of the nation. The government should also scrap programmes like the feeding of school children and N-power, where token sums of money are given out in the name of alleviating poverty. Those programmes only end up enriching few individuals, and at the end will never see poverty eliminated or alleviated in any manner. The government should rather aggregate the money and establish industries that will provide concrete and durable employment opportunities for the teeming unemployed graduates. And rather than feeding school children, the government should ensure that workers and pensioners are paid as at when due, as it is the responsibility of every household to cater for its children. No parent bears children with the expectation that government would feed them for him or her. The government should rather focus on measures that would make life easy and conducive for parents and families to care for their members. “I still insist that the Nigerian youth is competent, and enamoured with skill and great talents, and can always hold his own anywhere anytime. Unfortunately, the system does not encourage growth and development, making the youths to stagnate and end up in obscurity.” “The Government should embark upon social security measures like free education for the youths, free medical services to all primary, secondary and tertiary school students, and payment of allowances to all unemployed youths, while creating an enabling environment for youths inclined to self employment through unhindered access to soft and medium term facilities.”


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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

POLITICS

Aregbesola lied: Jonathan had no hand in his failed administration By Ikechukwu Eze

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y attention has been drawn to a news item in which Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, was quoted to have blamed his underperformance in office on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. In the story published in some newspapers last Sunday, Aregbesola was said to have blamed his failure as a Governor merely on the fact that his administration coincided with that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Government at the centre, between the year 2010 and 2015, which according to him “was the most traumatised era in the history of Nigeria.” I see this as the Governor’s attempt to rewrite history by disingenuously seeking an accomplice for his dreadful failure in office. This should be prevented from entering public records, as he wished. Ordinarily, it is considered a courageous act in governance to admit utter failure, as the Governor attempted doing. Unfortunately, in this instance, Governor Aregbesola’s confession bordered on treachery, since he was neither sincere nor commonsensical. Rather than be the hero he sought to be, Aregbosola ended up as an anti-hero whose admittance of failure became mired in cowardice and deception, once he ventured lamely to seek an accomplice or a fall guy in the past PDP administration. His attempt to pass the buck failed woefully, as the public has seen it for what it is: a spineless act of dishonesty and contrived rectitude wearing a mask of false alibi and specious altruism. In the first place, Aregbesola’s premise was wrong. Didn’t he realize that as semi-autonomous sub-national entities that control own revenues, States cannot reasonably yoke their fortunes with that of the Federal Government? Aregbesola should ask himself why his performance is far below the standards set by his counterparts in such states as Gombe, Ekiti, Ebonyi and Enugu. Like Aregbesola’s Osun, they are neither oil-producing nor high revenue earning States. It would have been more honourable, and perhaps worthy of exculpation, if the Governor had been man enough to take absolute responsibility for his monumental failure, without the futile effort to clutch at straws. That Aregbesola failed as a Governor is a fact known to not only the good people of Osun State but in indeed, all Nigerians. That he is also the architect of his disappointing performance is also incontrovertible. An elected Governor who waited for over two years before appointing commissioners or aides courted nothing but failure. Rather than apply discretion in policy choices, Aregbesola choose to lavish the State’s resources on grandiose white elephant projects that at best served as avenue for personal aggrandizement, to the detriment of workers’ welfare and the good of the people. One of such extravagant project was the Opon-Imo, an e-learning ‘tablet of knowledge’ meant to ‘solve all’ secondary education needs of the state, which sadly became one of the biggest scams in the history of the state, with many close to him allegedly complicit in a con-

•Jonathan

•Aregbesola

If Aregbesola had not been clueless and bereft of productive ideas, he would have taken a cue from the Governors of other states with a similar mix in the religions of their population. Those hard working Governors knew better than waste state time and resources in enforcing a controversial dressing code for school kids.

tract scandal worth billions of Naira. It is instructive that while he was fiddling with his tacky Opon-Imo project, the state which used to lead others in learning slipped into 29th position out of 36 on the scale of educational performance in Nigeria. Another was the ill-advised school uniform policy which generated the kind of crisis that almost crippled the education system in the State. If Aregbesola had not been clueless and bereft of productive ideas, he would have taken a cue from the Governors of other states with a similar mix in the religions of their population. Those hard working Governors knew better than waste state time and resources in enforcing a controversial dressing code for school kids. Nobody was then surprised when Aregbesola failed to pay the salaries of all civil servants and public sector workers for upwards of 12 months, a development that sparked unprecedented labour protests, and strident calls for his resignation. His failure in this regard was so glaring, that the predicament of Osun workers continues to elicit empathy and concern from across the country. Their situation was so desperate that philanthropists from outside the state were sending donations to the workers. One of such was from Ben Murray-Bruce,

the Senator representing Bayelsa East Senatorial District, who offered, out of pity, to donate his N506, 600 wardrobe allowance to Osun workers. To be fair to him, Aregbesola once confessed that the state of affairs in Osun was beyond him, especially when it became obvious that he had practically brought the state on its knees, a situation that earned him the unattractive label as “Nigeria’s worst performing Governor since 1999”, according to a recent survey conducted by Daily Post news medium. It is instructive that various stakeholders, prominent individuals and organizations, have continued to call for his resignation, since 2015. One of such bodies, the Civil Societies Coalition for the Emancipation of Osun state (CSCEOS), had last year advised the state governor, to resign from office with immediate effect following his incompetence and the poor performance of students of the state public schools arising from his bad policies. The group said: “We however seized this opportunity to advise Mr Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola to honourably tender his resignation from office as governor of Osun state because the present administration has become a disaster to the good people of Osun state in all human enda-

vours which has seriously retarded the educational sector of the State. “This development has shown the world that Aregbesola lacks capability to run the state again and he should be relieved of his position in order to help the state to record the undiluted development and growth in all ramifications across the length and breadth of the State.” It is this sordid state of affairs that pushed Justice Olamide Folahanmi Oloyede then of the Osun State Judiciary to take unusual step, by moving against the Governor. Apparently unable to bear the Governor’s missteps and unending blunder any longer, Justice Oloyede had in 2015 petitioned the State House of Assembly over what she termed Aregbesola’s financial recklessness. It is therefore worrying that a man with this kind of odious public record would seek to compare himself with the administration of Goodluck Jonathan famed for its feat in reinvigorating education, reviving agriculture, strengthening democracy, and growing the economy to become not only Africa’s biggest, but the number one destination for foreign direct investment on the continent. It is shocking that leaders like Aregbesola are allowed to blow their trumpet as probable messiahs in this dispensation. Little wonder then that the administration in which he is a key player, inherited a robust economy that was rated as one of the world’s best performing in 2015, but within a year brought it to a state where it now serves as a reference point for poor performance. Ikechukwu Eze is Media Adviser to Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, President Federal Republic of Nigeria (2010-2015)


16

The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

INTERVIEW

...Contest on APC platform is open to all Cont’d from page 9 power; he has no such authority. And if you initiate a court process without having been given the authority, or when you have no authority to do so, then, the action is a nullity, null and void. I am aware that the APC was properly represented in court yesterday. So, how do you link these two inter-related things? It simply shows that we are not thinking, or we are just being sentimental or being emotional over nothing. Here is a statement made by former Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, when he declared to vie for the position of the party’s national chairman about what the APC stands for during the presentation of his manifesto. “The mission of the APC is to construct a progressive state anchored on social democracy where the welfare and security of the citizens are paramount.” Oshiomhole emphasised that it is what the APC stands for. Would you say that is what the APC in Rivers State stands for today? I can say with all sense of responsibility that the APC in Rivers State best represents progressiveness, development, growth, inclusiveness, welfare of Rivers people. Rivers APC best serves as a platform that gives voice to everybody, unlike what Wike and his government represent; APC Rivers State represents the aggregate aspirations of Rivers people. If that is the case, why are some members of the APC in Rivers State complaining that there are no congresses while another group is insisting that congresses are holding in the State? So, why is there a sharp division in the party over the practice of internal democracy within the APC in Rivers State? Well…it is expected in a big party with people of different persuasions and different tendencies. All of us can’t see things from the same perspective. In every human society, in every human organisation, all of can’t be forced to see things from the same perspective and that is why our background differs. We have different training and exposure. So, we see things from different perspectives. We have an internal mechanism of managing these disagreements. We had a ward congress and the party set up an Appeals Panel to handle complaints from members of the party. Anyone who feels shortchanged can approach the Appeals Panel of the party. The question is have they done so? Why don’t they approach the Appeals Panel to complain that they paid for forms but were not issued nomination forms thereby being denying the opportunity to participate in the party’s electoral process? Even after exhausting the avenue of the Appeals Panel, they still have the opportunity of approaching the National Working Committee (NWC), of the party. If you are not satisfied with the NWC, you can approach the National Executive Committee (NEC), comprising the president, vice president, governors on the platform of the party and other leaders of the party. There are internal channels to ventilate their grievances. Have they exhausted all the internal channels? The answer is no. The allegation is that one man has hijacked the APC in Rivers State? Is that possible? I am asking you? Is that not what has provoked wide-spread disenchantment in the APC in Rivers State? Practically speaking, it is not possible for one man to hijack the party. Is it possible for one man to hijack the leadership of the party in all the 23 local government areas? Is it possible for one man to control 27 times 319 wards? That man will control 27 times 23 local government areas? That man must be a superman, then; we all should subscribe to the man and queue behind that man. What happened at the premises of the Rivers State judiciary has been equated to a judicial coup. You have said that assuming that the protesters were members of the APC how come Governor Wike is meddling in the internal affairs of the APC? Is that why proAmaechi supporters in the APC will march to the headquarters of the Rivers State judiciary and lock up the gates with padlock? Why should party leaders encourage their members to obstruct the course of justice? Is the

•Dakuku Peterside APC in Rivers State prepared to open up opportunities for Rivers people or emasculate them from airing their grievances through legitimate means and channels? The Rivers State APC is not prepared to emasculate the people of Rivers State; the congress is a political process and not an event. I don’t understand what you mean by a judicial coup because the protest outside the court premises did not in any way interfere with the court proceedings, so, what transpired outside the court cannot be equated to a judicial coup in anyway. Rather, the attempt to use the judiciary to emasculate a political process is what Rivers people should be concerned about. Who is trying to use the judiciary to emasculate the political process? I thought we have addressed that issue You have not; because this is an issue involving two factions of your party, so, let us identify which group is trying to use the judiciary to emasculate the electoral process of the APC in Rivers State? Nobody is a baby! Going by the report that I have, the state government got someone to drive the judge to court. The state government forcefully opened the court. The state government seized the judge. The state government took actions pointing to the fact that it has more than a cursory interest in the affairs of the APC. I don’t think I want to bother myself with that. Why are you dragging the Rivers State government into the disagreement within your party? Senator Abe while speaking on network television explained what brought about the decision of some APC members in Rivers State to approach the court to seek redress: he stated that those who paid for nomination forms to enable them seek elective offices in the Saturday, May 5, ward congress in the 319 wards in the state were not given the nomination forms that they had paid for? He did not mention the state government. He accused the party leadership of denying party members who had paid for nomination forms of the rights and privileges granted by the party’s constitution to contest for the ward congress by not issuing the nomination forms thereby denying them the opportunity to contest? Nobody was denied the right to present himself to be elected. So, how does this concern the Rivers State government? At what point where those who paid for nomination forms denied the opportunity to contest in the ward congress? Going back to what happened the previous week: the party had a congress and anyone who purchased the form is entitled to get a form. And the party announced at some point, when it became a bit rowdy, that anybody who had a teller could go to his local government and present himself to contest the ward congress and he would not

be denied. And they did and that is a matter for the court to sort out. It is not for us to determine whether it happened or not. The matter is already before the court. And I don’t think that we should get involved in what is before the court. Going by the events that are currently unfolding, don’t you think that your party is heading towards anarchy in Rivers State? You have two Senators of the Rivers APC in the Senate and both of them are saying there is a problem within the party in the state… We have Senators Magnus Abe and Andrew Uchendu. I have not heard Senator Uchendu complain about our internal processes. What I hear are members of the PDP complaining about our own internal processes. Is Senator Abe a member of the PDP? I have addressed the issue of Senator Abe, over and over again. I don’t believe he issued that statement. But if he did, it is regrettable because he is a member of the leadership cadre of the APC, and he is very much aware, being a lawyer, being a long time legislator, that there are internal processes to seek redress within the party. There is the Appeals Panel; there is the National Working Committee (NWC); there is the National Executive Committee (NEC); there are leaders of the party. And if he has issues that he thinks need to be addressed, he would have exhausted all these through internal processes. So, I don’t believe he issued that statement. Are you aware that a certain leader of your party told Senator Abe that he cannot contest the governorship of Rivers State on the platform of the APC? Nobody told him so. And I can say so on good authority. Senator Abe himself said so. Senator Abe is entitled to his opinion. However, his opinion does not translate to facts. Are you saying Senator Abe is lying? I did not say so. I say he is entitled to his opinion. He has the right to express his opinion but he does have the right to create his own facts. So, what are the facts that you know that are not in the public domain? Or, cogent facts to disprove what Senator Abe had said about Amaechi telling him in his (Abe’s residence in Abuja) in the presence of his wife and elder brother that he would not support his candidature for governorship on the platform of the APC should he decide to vie for the position in the 2019 general election? I was not there when he had the conversation with the minister of transportation. But I have heard from both sides and I have my own opinion. But mine remains an opinion. Now, tell us your opinion? I would not share it in public. I have unlimited access to all of them. Are you standing on the fence in all of these

because you have an ambition to contest for the position of governor in 2019 on the platform of the APC? And do you want to contest for the governorship in 2019? It is my right to contest in 2019. And I have not told anyone that I will be contesting in 2019. When I make up my mind after seeking the face of God whether to run or not, I will make it public. I have consistently said so. Nobody can deny me that right. But I have not made up my mind. But what if you are told to go your own way if you want to contest in 2019 as transpired in a meeting between you, Abe and Amaechi sometime ago? What if you are told you cannot contest? Were you at that meeting? We read it. So, everything you read online is the truth. Was there a meeting between you, Amaechi and Abe when the governorship ticket of the APC in 2019 was discussed? Are you a member of the APC? Let us assume without conceding that such a meeting held, how does that affect the interest of the generality of Rivers people? It remains our internal affair. Who will tell me that I can contest or that I cannot contest? It is my decision. What if you are told as Senator Abe was informed earlier by Amaechi that he cannot contest, would you step down? I belong to a political party. If I make up my mind to seek the nomination of my political party to run for governorship, the party has the right to say they will vote me as its standard bearer or not. Even without giving you the opportunity to contest? Nobody will stop anybody from contesting. Nobody can stop Senator Abe from contesting for governorship of the party in 2019. It is his right to run. What is not his right is to guarantee the support of any individual in the party. Every individual is entitled to his choice. Senator Abe is entitled to his choice. We all are entitled to our choice. And no one can stop that. We make choices everyday in the things we see; in the things we believe in; in the actions we take. Nobody can interfere with those choices. It is an inalienable right given to us by God Almighty. There are crisis in Imo, Ekiti and some other APC States in the country, would you say Governor Wike is responsible for those crises too, over the on-going APC congresses? The crisis in Imo State is about the party structure in the State. And the NWC of the party has intervened. The vice president of the country as a leader of the party has intervened. These are people who understand what it means to seek proper internal channels of the party to seek solutions. They did not approach any court. In Ekiti, indeed, they had an election, which ended in a stalemate and they have also sought internal party channels to resolve their differences, they did not approach any court. In Rivers here, it is different because they have a monkey hand in the soup as they would say. And I put that in quote; that is why our case in Rivers is different. Don’t you think your case in Rivers State is different because you have not chosen to follow democratic paths? The democratic path is to seek redress within the internal channels laid down by the party. What if the democratic paths are not followed? And people are deliberately disenfranchised in the process? The party has the Appeals Panel; the NWC of the party; the NEC of the party. Has the Appeals Panel intervened in the matter? Have it come out with a verdict? If they are not satisfied, they still have the NWC; they still have the NEC of the party. Why don’t they approach these organs and institutions of the party? What we are seeing, clearly, is the voice of Jacob and the hand of Esau: and nobody is a baby. And that is what they say in Diobu: a monkey hand in the soup. And there is no doubt about that. Are you saying it is wrong to approach the court? When you have exhausted the organs of the party and all internal processes of the party, then, you can approach the court.


17

The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

BU$IN£SS •Energy •Finance

•Stock

•Insurance

•Aviation

•e-Platform

Deconstructing Nigeria’s Renminbi swap deal

By SOPURUCHI ONWUKA

T

•Emefiele, CBN Governor deed, the deal will protect Nigerian business people from the harsh effects of third currency fluctuations,” he said. The Oracle Today reports that whereas the cash swap agreement is denominated in the local currencies of the two countries, the values are still benchmarked against the prevailing exchange rate of the dollar against Naira. Exchange rate value for the transaction is Nigeria’s official exchange rate of N305 for a dollar and parallel exchange rate of over N360 for a dollar. Again, four banks operating in Nigeria comprising two indigenous banks and two foreign banks-Stanbic IBTC, Standard Chartered Bank,

CBN EXCHANGE RATES MAY 15, 2018 Currency

Buying(NGN)

Central (NGN) Selling(NGN)

304.8 US DOLLAR POUNDS STERLING 414.0403 365.3028 EURO 305.5027 SWISS FRANC YEN 2.7833 0.5353 CFA 435.3265 WAUA YUAN/RENMINBI 48.0862 RIYAL 81.2735 SOUTH AFRICAN RAND 24.8352

305.3 414.7195 365.9021 306.0038 2.7879 0.5453 436.0406 48.1655 81.4068 24.8759

305.8 415.3987 366.5013 306.505 2.7924 0.5553 436.7547 48.2449 81.5401 24.9167

Zenith Bank and Frist Bank-have been penned down to form settlement banks for transactions that would draw facilitation from the bilateral arrangement. However, the banks must meet the requirement of hosting operations in both countries to be in position to process trade arrangements based in the currency swap deal. Whereas Standard Chattered and Stanbic IBTC already met the requirement, First Bank and Zenith are said to be hurrying with arrangements to scratch up offices in China. The hyped deal does not close the value gap which leaves Nigeria pumping out princely N720 billion

HE Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, and Governor of Peoples Bank of China (PBoC), Dr Yi Gang, on April 27, finalised a $2.5billion worth of bilateral currency swap agreement between the two countries , opening an anxious trade and economic alliance hinged on China’s growing global influence. The transaction, which is valued at Renminbi (RMB) 16 billion, or the equivalent of about $2.5billion, according to CBN, is aimed at providing adequate local currency liquidity to enhance the volume and speed of transactions between Nigerian and Chinese businesses. Director of CBN Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, explained that the deal was sealed after over two years of painstaking negotiations by both apex banks primarily to among other benefits, improve the speed, convenience and volume of transactions between the two countries; assist both countries in their foreign exchange reserves management, enhance financial stability, and promote broader economic cooperation between the two countries. “With the agreement, it will be easier for most Nigerian manufacturers, especially Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and cottage industries in manufacturing and export businesses to import raw materials, spare-parts and simple machinery to undertake their businesses by taking advantage of available RMB liquidity from Nigerian banks without being exposed to the difficulties of seeking other scarce foreign currencies. “The deal, which is purely an exchange of currencies, will also make it easier for Chinese manufacturers seeking to buy raw materials from Nigeria to obtain enough Naira from banks in China to pay for their imports from Nigeria. In-

for goods and serviced priced in Chinese domestic market for RMB 16 billion. These value trade dynamics have implications on the Nigeria swap deal with China. Nigeria accounted for 8.3 per cent of the total trade volume between China and Africa and 42 per cent of the total trade volume between China and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) countries in 2015. China is a major global economic player, world’s second largest economy by size and Nigeria’s biggest trade partner. However, between the two countries, trade imbalance swings in favour of China. Business and trade relations between Nigeria and China have grown astronomically in the last decade with bilateral trade volumes rising from $2.8 billion in 2005 to $14.9 billion in 2015. Nigerian Bureau of Statistics holds Chinese exports represent some 80 per cent of the total bilateral trade volume between the two countries, worsening fears that the currency swap deal at an exchange rate favourable to the RMB could transform Nigeria into a dedicated market for Chinese finished goods. The trade imbalance could permanently stunt Nigeria’s manufacturing development as cheap Chinese goods render high cost locally manufactured goods commercially uncompetitive. Commentaries fly around promises of loan to Nigeria and probability that ban on 41 imported items, mainly from China, might be lifted under the terms of the deal. Again, by the terms of agreement reached between officials of the two sovereign treasurers, China has successfully captured Nigeria into its growing list of official users of its local currency in a campaign that sees the country wielding increasing global trade influence through its local manufacturing power.

•Tourism

Energy

Alternative Funding: Shell slashes payments to FG Aviation

P20

Six airports to get N1.365b for control tower upgrade

P28

Insurance

STI grows gross premium by 34.9% in 2017 P28

Cont’d on Page 21

Stock Market Highlights As At 15TH MAY, 2018

Summary

ASI DEALS VOLUME VALUE EQUITY CAP BOND CAP ETF CAP

S/N

40,615.42 4,090.00 203,359,534.00 N4,427,151,411.99 N14,712,124,976,940.47 N10,153,276,086,105.90 N7,662,066,289.72

Coy (By Volume) Volume

GUARANTY UBA FIDELITYBK ZENITHBANK OANDO

Value(N)

37,152,737 N1,643,054,554.60 31,459,532 N361,088,068.70 14,501,574 N33,807,163.07 11,727,720 N330,459,660.25 11,094,474 N84,734,235.60

5 Top Gainers

Symbols Last Close NESTLE N1530 NB N122 CAP N38.9 ETI N20.7 NPFMCRFBK N1.78

Five Tope Losers

Symbols ZENITHBANK FBNH OANDO GUARANTY DANGFLOUR

Current Change %Change N1573 43 2.81% N124.8 2.8 2.30% N40 1.1 2.83% N21 0.3 1.45% N1.85 0.07 3.93%

Last Close Current Change %Change N28.75 N27.6 -1.15 -4.00% N12 N11.5 -0.5 -4.17% N7.75 N7.4 -0.35 -4.52% N44.3 N44 -0.3 -0.68% N11.5 N11.25 -0.25 -2.17%


18

The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

BUSINESS

Zinox attains Intel Platinum status By VICTOR NZE

I

NDIGENOUS ICT solutions Zinox Technologies Ltd., has become the region’s first local Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to achieve the status of Platinum Technology Partner by Intel Corporation, the world’s leading makers of computer processors and technology solutions. Zinox successfully passed through all technological trainings by Intel to gain the points necessary for the highest rating awarded by the technology giants, having demonstrated technical and business leadership with strong financial capability needed to attain this position by investing in joint research and development with Intel Corporation to produce worldwide industry rated products powered by Intel’s advanced processors. By attaining the status of Platinum Technology Provider, Zinox will enjoy enhanced technical support from Intel which will further strengthen its leadership position in Sub-Saharan Africa’s ICT landscape. Furthermore, Zinox will expectedly work more closely in joint collaboration with Intel on the latest technology in line with its Future Visions mandate to anticipate the future of technology and create products for the future consumer in areas such as Internet of Things (IOTs), Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, etc. Zinox’s recognition as an Intel Platinum Technology Partner continues

a long tradition of leading the ICT industry with a series of firsts including its status as manufacturers of Nigeria’s first internationally certified computer brand, the first OEM in West Africa to receive the WHQL (Windows Hardware Quality Labs) certification and the first computer hardware manufacturing and ICT integration company in Nigeria to receive the ISO 90012000, among other certifications. This is in addition to being responsible for salvaging the 2006 voters’ registration exercise by deploying 13,000 data capture machines under four weeks, the deployment of over 84,000 Direct Data Capture (DDC) machines in 2010 to register voters and create a credible database for the Independent National •From left: Company Secretary/Legal Adviser; Mr Clifford Imade Omozeghian, Director of Finance and Accounts; Electoral Commission (INEC) which Mrs Adenike Aboderin, Chief of Staff MD office, Alhaji Mahmud Zakary, Director of Human Resources and Adminhas helped in stabilizing democ- istration; Mr Norris Anozie, Director of Security Services; Group Capt. Usman Abubakar Sadiq during a meeting racy in Nigeria – a feat it equally of Representatives of Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) with the Federal Airports Authority of achieved in another West African Nigeria (FAAN) Management team and Airport managers, towards the effective implementation of the FAAN “ country, Guinea-Bissau and its ster- One Stop Shop” Friday at the FAAN Headquarters Ikeja Lagos, Friday. ling work with the INEC in transiting the nation to electronic voting, among others. With its headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria and branches all over the country in addition to research hubs in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East; the Zinox Group ria. international trade is a sale where boasts a 360-degree spectrum By KAYODE OGUNWALE The meeting held in Lagos at- the goods are shipped and delivered orientation as an integrated ICT ERITAGE Bank Plc has hosted tracted representatives of the ICC before payment is due, which is typisolutions group with advanced the May 2018 edition of the Nigeria as well as the experts on the cally in 30, 60 or 90 days. Obviously, competencies in manufacturing, banking technique and prac- trade desks of different banks oper- this option is advantageous to the distribution, e-commerce and aftice meeting of the International ating in Nigeria and the apex bank importer in terms of cash flow and ter-sales support, among others. Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Nige- in the country, the Central Bank of cost, but it is consequently a risky Nigeria. option for an exporter. Welcoming the team, Mr. Dimitiri Responding, Chief (Dr.) Raymond Dike, Chief Risk Officer for Heritage Ihyembe, Chairman, ICC Nigeria Bank, who noted that the current Banking Commission, warned that dynamics in the trade and com- steps must be taken to tackle the merce nationally and internation- possible effects of the current policy. ally deserves urgent attention, also This, he said, becomes imperative stated that policy summersault and in view of the fact that Nigeria’s structural reform in its business of our services across additional the need for reviews of operation economy depends solely on crude model to get back into profitability platforms. For instance, we made systems has posed a lot of challeng- oil. According to him, any massive as a result of its large non-perform- additional inroads to the unbanked es that the visiting team needed to drop in the price of crude oil in the ing loan portfolio. and underbanked populations with look into and proffer appropriate global market usually affects the agCommenting on the results, Chief the support of our international solutions. gregate economy greatly. Executive Officer, Uzoma Dozie said partners. In addition, the rapid roll- Dike charged the trade experts to Ihyembe therefore said in such inDiamond Bank made good progress out of products and services for en- review the new global order of in- stances trade and commerce, which in executing its technology-led retail trepreneurs, and small and medium ternational trade that now encour- is supposed to be the safety net for banking strategy in 2017. business owners gained significant ages an open account method of the nation is again facing turbulence “We increased our market share traction and is a trend that is set to transaction in the global trade. as a result of policy change. and drove scale through a combina- continue.” An open account transaction in Corroborating the chairman’s tion of technology and expansion views, Dr. (Mrs.) Omolara Akanji, Vice Chairman, ICC Nigeria, Banking Commission, advised banks in Nigeria to always attend the global nion Bank of Nigeria Plc has remains elevated. In the financial statements, the ICC events where policies are formureleased its financial state- In the results, the bank’s non-in- Non-Performing Loan (NPL) ratio lated. She expressed concerns that ments for the year ended De- terest income went up by 31 percent increased to 19.8 percent from 6.9 Nigerian banks were not at the ICC cember 2017. to N39.3 billion from N29.9 billion in percent in 2016, representing a 12.9 Banking Commission meeting held in Miami, USA in April 2018, where In the results, the lender grew 2016, driven by a combination of im- percent rise. its gross earnings by 26 percent to proved fee and commission income, Managing Director of Union Bank, modalities of the new policy were N163.8 billion from N126.6 billion trading income and more effective Mr Emeka Emuwa, commenting on discussed. the bank’s earnings, remained that, According to her, their presence at achieved in 2016. debt recovery machine. During the period under review, In the period under review, oper- “Strengthening our capital base such occasions would have helped the profit before tax marginally ating expenses (OPEX) increased by through the Rights Issue was key to re-shape their orientation about went down to N15.5 billion from 5 percent to N65.1 billion from N62 for the Bank in 2017. Notwithstand- the kind of reviews and adjustments N15.7 billion in 2016, while the profit billion in 2016 despite a double-digit ing the challenges a tightened econ- their current structures require. after tax declined to N14.6 billion inflationary environment and the omy presented, the rights issue was Meanwhile, the bankers present were of the opinion that they were from N15.4 billion in the previous impact of devaluation on IT invest- 20% oversubscribed. year. “This overwhelming success is aware of the new policy, but their ments. However, the company’s inter- Also, the gross loans went up credited to strong shareholder and common fear is there is currently a est income rose by 25 percent to 5 percent to N560.7 billion from investor confidence in Union Bank’s gap between the apex bank and the N124.5 billion from N99.7 billion in N535.8 billion as at December 2016, immediate and longer-term plans. Nigeria Customs. They said banks 2016, driven by the impact of Naira almost entirely due to the impact With sufficient capital buffers, we relate with the documentation predevaluation on the foreign currency of Naira devaluation on the foreign are now in pole position to execute sented by exporters and importour growth agenda from 2018 on- ers, while Customs relates with the denominated loan book, govern- currency denominated loan book. goods involved. With this, they said, ment securities yields and loan book Furthermore, customer deposits wards. went up 22 percent to N802.4 billion “Notwithstanding a fiercely com- banks are incapacitated to some exre-pricing. Furthermore, the net interest from N658.4 billion as at December petitive environment and reduced tent. income increased by 3 percent to 2016, continuing its upward trajec- consumer purchasing power in the Meanwhile, to address the defiN66.7 billion from N65 billion in 2016 tory since 2016. The investments system, our new-to-bank customers ciency, the chairman suggested inwith the interest expense grow- in customer-led products and the and deepening share of wallet with auguration of a special committee ing by 67 percent to N57.9 billion bank’s alternate channels, along existing customers have driven cus- that will review the status quo and from N34.7 billion in 2016. This was with a strengthened brand, are de- tomer deposits up by 22 per cent to then come up with the treat, risks and opportunities of the current buoyed by the challenging interest livering positive outcomes. N802 billion. policy. rate environment, as the yield curve

CBN, Heritage Bank, ICC brainstorm on global trade operation systems

H

Diamond Bank loses N9b, as gross earnings hit N189.62b in 2017

D

iamond Bank Plc said it made a loss after tax of N9.085 billion for the full year period of 2017. The bank in its results released to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in Lagos showed negative period given that it reported a profit after tax of N3.471 billion in 2016. Also, the lender’s recorded loss before tax of N11.547 billion for the full year period of 2017 as against profit before tax of N3.369 billion in 2016. Diamond Bank said its gross earnings for the period rose to N189.62 billion compared to N184.05 billion reported in 2016. Its earning per share (EPS) also dipped to -56 kobo from 9 kobo it earned in 2016. Deposits from its customers dropped by N263 billion, represented 18.46 percent from N1.425 trillion recorded in 2016 to N1.162 trillion at the end of 2017 financial year. Diamond Bank total assets declined from N2.050 trillion in 2016 to N1.715 trillion at the end of 2017 financial year, while its total liabilities decrease to N1.491 trillion from N1.823 trillion reported in 2016. The bank’s net fees and commission were down by 1.3 percent year-on-year although impairment charges also trended downwards 0.3 percent year-on-year to N56.8 billion following continued efforts to improve the quality of the loan book, particularly in the Oil and Gas mid-stream sector. Operating costs of the bank rose by 6.2 percent due to foreign exchange rate impact following the devaluation of the naira during the year. Despite selling off its unit in London, the bank would require more

Union Bank grows profit by 26%, as NPL ratio hits 19.8% in 2017

U


19

The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

BUSINESS

Nigerian Banks must deploy technology to adapt By KAYODE OGUNWALE

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S ONE of the most regulated industries in the world, banks are under pressure to not only comply with constantly changing regulations but also to modernise their systems, so that they can reduce compliance costs, improve efficiency and effectiveness in risk management processes, stay competitive in the age of the FinTech, and be innovative on risk assessments during new product development, to better serve their customers. This assertion was made at the SAS Risk & Finance Analytics Roadshow in Lagos. Speaking at the event, Senior Business Solutions Manager, PreSales Risk Practice, SAS Charles Nyamuzinga noted that banks in Africa face additional challenges, including risk analytics skills shortages, data management issues and

integrating their risk management and finance processes across the enterprise. But, on the positive side, they have started considering technology as a way of eliminating these challenges and have access to new streams of data that are also helping to advance the financial inclusion mandate. SAS, a leading global analytics firm, as a technological partner for banking institutions has always played a proactive role in fostering innovation and transformation of processes and systems, from regulatory compliance to strategic decisions support, from digitisation to risk assessment in real-time and also providing analytics solutions allow banks to adapt more quickly to regulatory changes minimising costs. Recent regulatory changes in the banking industry means that banks across Africa should already be

compliant with the new IFRS 9 accounting standard, which changes the way they calculate expected credit losses. There is also need to start thinking about the new ‘Basel IV’ framework, which impacts on how banks calculate their risk weighted assets and the amount of capital they need to offset those risks. Other issues which banks are currently grappling with include incorrect modelling caused by data management and quality issues, skills shortages, drawing data from a number of disparate systems, credit loss calculations, and risk modeling amongst other issues. According to him, “with solutions like SAS’s Risk and Finance Platform, none of these challenges are major issues anymore. Bundled

with data management, risk calculations, scenario management and reporting capabilities, SAS solutions are easy to use through a simple drag-and-drop or pointand-click interface. From a single platform, Risk and Finance departments can access the same datasets, populated with data that has been scrubbed, scrutinized and validated, perform calculations and produce reports, so that executives can make confident business decisions.” Banks can trust that the information they’re using to build their risk and credit models is reliable and that the reports they generate are automatically compliant with regulatory requirements and can easily adapt to regulatory changes as and

when they happen, Charles said. He however said, banks need to modernise and integrate their risk management systems if they hope to stay relevant in a rapidly changing market. Compliance is no longer their single biggest consideration. “Banks should also take into account cost reductions as well as high performance, efficiency and governance issues in risk and compliance processes. They need to adopt advanced analytics solutions that are multi-tenancy in terms of risk management use cases and cover the entire risk management process, from data management, risk analytics and reporting, to meeting governance and controls requirements”.

More than 5m taxpayers added to tax base – Adeosun

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HE efforts of federal government to diversify its revenue base has started yielding result as over five million taxpayers added to Nigeria’s tax base. The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun disclosed this in a tweet through her official verified Twitter handle, @HMKemiAdeosun. She revealed that, more than five million new taxpayers added to Nigeria’s tax base in the last two years. She commended the revenue agencies for adding more than five million new taxpayers to the country’s tax base in the last two years saying, Nigeria and other tax authorities (at State level) are doing a great deal of work on expanding the tax base and enforcement of tax payment. Last week, the minister said the number of tax identification numbers (NIMs) issued by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) increased by almost 50 per cent within the last two years. The minister said this showed a strong social partnership government has built with the Nigerian

people. She said from about 14 million in 2016, the country’s tax base has grown to over 19 million in 2018. On the country’s debt, she said the management strategy focused on bringing down borrowing costs was working. She said during the corresponding period last year, the federal government was borrowing at an average cost of about 18 per cent, against todays borrowing rate of 13 per cent. “We will continue to work very hard on debt service cost,” the minister said. One of the initiative introduced to boost the taxpayer base in Nigeria is Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS). VAIDS is a time-limited opportunity for taxpayers to regularize their tax status relating to previous tax periods and pay any taxes due. In exchange for fully and honestly declaring previously undisclosed assets and income, tax payers will benefit from forgiveness of overdue interest and penalties, and the assurance they do not face criminal prosecution for tax offences or tax investigations.

By JEROME USHAKANG

its performance in 2017 in terms of profit surpassed that of 2016. Analysis of key financial highlights for the year ended 2017 showed that Gross Income grew from N1.09billion in 2013 to N6.94billion in 2017, representing 538 percent, thus translating to 45 percent annual growth. Also, Financing and Investment Assets increased from to N48.3billion in 2017 from N11.5 representing 320 percent while annual growth rate stood at 33 percent. Usman stated that Profit Before Tax (PBT) attained a break-even position in 2014 during its third year of operation and has constantly made profit thereafter. He told the investing publics that Jaiz Bank upgraded from a Regional Bank to a national player within five years of its operation and is the first to integrate into the Nigerian Custom Service e-auction platform among other milestones and accomplishments .

· L – R shows Tinuade Awe, Executive Director, Regulation, The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) presenting a replica of the closing gong to Scott Wilson, Chief Investment Officer (CIO), Washington University Management Co. Limited, Missouri, USA during a courtesy visit and Closing Gong Ceremony at the Exchange in Lagos.

Unilever to sell ‘Blueband’ brand for $8b By VICTOR NZE

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HE parent company of Unilever Nigeria, Unilever United Kingdom, had expressed its intention to sell its Blue Band margarine

Jaiz Bank earmarks $20b to finance SMEs

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AIZ Bank Plc, a non-interest banking organization has secured a loan of $20billion from Islamic Development Bank Jeddah to finance Small-to-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as part of its five-year strategic plan in Nigeria. This was disclosed by the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Hassan Usman during the bank’s presentation of “Facts Behind The Figures” to the capital market community at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in Lagos recently. However, the Chief Executive Officer explained that entrepreneurs need not entertain fear as the refund or repayment of the loan will not be in dollars . Usman said , “Though we are small but we are the most liquid bank in the country”. He stressed that the premier ethical bank is making huge profits, adding that

The Managing Director said, “we want to achieve our target by leveraging small scale businesses and the bank will utilize the advantage of technology by operating few branches across the country . Commercialization and viability would be the target of our locations.” He also revealed that the bank spent N2billion on charity in less than six years of its operation. Earlier in his opening remarks, the Chief Executive Officer of the NSE , Mr. Oscar Onyema commended Jaiz Bank for using the NSE platform to inform the investing publics of its investment programmes as the market is information driven. He also lauded the five-year strategic plan of the bank to offer interest free services and at the same time aiming at transforming the bank to one of the leading non-interest free bank sin sub-Saharan and in the African continent. He was represented at the event by Executive Director , Regulation, Ms Tinu Awe.

business and all assets attached or deployed in connection to the business to Sigma Bidco B.V, an entity incorporated by KKR & Co LP in a deal believed to worth about $8 billion. This is also the shareholders of the firm in Nigeria approved the payment of 50 kobo per share for the 2017 business year amounting to N2.9 billion with payment to be made on Friday, May 11, 2018. The approval for the cash dividend payment was given last Thursday at the firm’s 93rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Shell Hall of the Muson Center in Onikan, Lagos. Chairman of Unilever Nigeria, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe, said he was impressed with the performance of the company in the year under review, adding that the firm will continue to expand and penetrate more markets Expressing the optimism that the company will churn out good results in the 2018 financial year, Igwe Achebe stated that Unilever remains confident about the future of the company in the long term in Nigeria. Whie deliberating on the planned sale of the iconic Blueband margarine brand of the company, the monarch, while allaying fears of shareholders, said Unilever Nigeria has no plan to delist its shares from the trading floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). The shareholders of Unilever Ni-

geria subsequently approved the sale of the brand to KKR & Co LP. “As we continue to focus on the right initiatives to delight our consumers, drive the penetration of our brands into all market segments and build strong brand equity, we trust that these efforts will continue to yield positive results to the benefit of all stakeholders,” said Igwe Achebe. Speaking also at the meeting, shareholders of the firm commended the board and management for the 2017 results. In the 2017 financial statements of Unilever Nigeria, the firm increased its profit for the year by 143 percent, closing at N7.5 billion in 2017 versus N3.1 billion in 2016. Its profit before tax also saw a broad growth of 173 percent, finishing at N11.2 billion in the period under review compared with N4.1 billion in the corresponding period of 2016. According to the financial statements, the revenue generated by the company appreciated by 30 percent to N90.8 billion as at December 31, 2017 from N69.8 billion achieved as at December 31, 2016. The gross profit of the firm stood at N28.9 billion as at December 31, 2017 versus N20.3 billion as at December 31, 2016. In addition, its operating profit finished at N12.9 billion in the period under review compared with N5.8 billion in 2016.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

ENERGY

Alternative Funding: Shell slashes payments to FG …Leaner PSC output earns higher revenue …JV revenue flows into debt servicing

Bonga FPSO By SOPURUCHI ONWUKA

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UMULATIVE tax and royalty cash receipts from Shell operated oil and gas exploration and production joint venture with Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) fell to about $400 million in 2017, strongly indicating that the company might have axed government’s income to service debts. According to briefing notes on the company’s commercial operations in Nigeria for 2017 published on its website, Shell stated that its local unit which operates joint venture with government, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Limited produced at an average of 464,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) but paid cumulative tax and royalty of $0.4 billion to government for the whole year. On the contrary, the company’s offshore unit which operates Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) with government, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO) pumped at 167,000 boe/d but paid $40.7 billion in taxes and royalty. By the business arrangements that govern the two operating agreements, the JV in which NNPC holds overriding 55 percent stake on behalf of the government is expected yield higher income for government given that per capita production per barrel is almost half of deepwater cost of production. The Oracle Today reports that SPDC operates joint venture with government in mainly onshore

and swamp locations where cost of production is lowest. Over half of invested money is also provided by government in line with the joint operating agreement (JOA) binding the partners to funding contributions in proportion to their stakes. Besides, Shell run JV production operations in the country require no fresh investments in facility and infrastructure. Existing infrastructure capacity redundancy is so robust in the onshore production hubs in the Niger Delta that government is providing third party access to exploration and production upstarts to ease their investment burdens and facilitate early production. But Shell stated in its operations briefing notes that SNEPCO which produced at just one third of the volume pumped by SPDC paid $700 million or 175 percent of the $400 million paid government by the big producer. Shell has been the leading onshore and offshore producer for Nigeria and revenues from its operations, including taxes and royalties form critical components of the petroleum industry’s funding support to government’s annual budgets. Shell stated that it contributes to the Nigerian economy through the energy it produces and revenues it generates for the country, adding that, in 2017, “Shelloperated ventures in Nigeria produced an average of 631,000 boe/d.” It added that 464,000 boe/d of the total came from SPDC operated Joint Venture (SPDC JV) while 167,000 boe/d came from

SNEPCo operated PSC. “The Shell share of royalties and corporate taxes paid to the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2017 is approximately $1.1 billion (N333.33 billion8) (SPDC $0.4 billion; SNEPCo $0.7 billion),” the company stated. SNEPCO produces mainly from shallow water EA Field and a cluster of Bonga Main, Bonga North and Bonga Southwest/Aparo / fields. Shell did niot state whether SNEPCO’s production includes non operated equity production or whether payments to government include payments made on its stakes in non operated production. In a separate statement, the company said SNEPCO delivered a total of 763 million barrels of oil from the Bonga field between first production in 2005 and 2017. The statement cited the Bonga FPSO turnaround maintenance in March and April 2017 as critical to the company’s operations in helping to ensure safe and sustained production and reduced unscheduled production deferments. The cost of the Bonga FPSO turnaround maintenance has been guarded by Shell despite its boasts about disclosure. Mr. Bayo Ojulari is quoted as saying that “SNEPCo is also committed to further unlocking Nigeria’s deep-water resources and along with its co-venture and government partners is evaluating opportunities to further increase production of the Bonga field in an efficient and cost-effective way.” Shell did not explain the rev-

enue mismatch in its briefing notes, and its head of External Relations, Mr. Igi Weli, declined explanation when contacted through telephone short message signals. Corporate spokesman, Mr. Precious Okolobo also declined response to the same message. However an unauthorized company source who pleaded anonymity explained that Shell was withdrawing payments for alternative funding from government’s revenue takes. He said, the arrangement makes it possible for funds sourced from the money market for Joint Venture operations to be repaid according to the terms of borrowing. Shell restated in the briefing notes that it had in 2017 signed an alternative funding agreement worth $1.0 billion (N303.03 billion) on behalf of it partners NNPC to help develop two shallow water projects in the Niger Delta to drive its Short Term Oil and Gas Growth (STOGG) and Estuary of Amatu Further Oil Development (EA FOD). It said the alternative funding agreement which preempts the traditional cash call arrangement would enable the profitable harnessing of the country’s oil and gas resources that would contribute to the development of the economy. In covering the government’s revenue paradox, Shell stated that SPDC JV commenced production at the Gbaran-Ubie Phase 2 project to help boost gas supply to the domestic market and maintain supply to the export market. It added that the company’s local gas unit, Shell Nigeria Gas (SNG)

also signed an agreement with indigenous Shoreline Energy to market and distribute natural gas to wholesale and retail customers in the Lagos area. Shell did not declare any tax payment for SNG but pointed out that its stakes in Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) accounted for some N19.11 billion of the gas exporter’s total corporate social projects in Nigeria, including the NLNG’s N60 billion commitment to the construction of the Bonny-Bodo road. Shell claims in the briefing notes that its companies in the country are one of the initiators and a leading sponsor of the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) which publishes payments made to the government by extractive industries including international oil companies. However, The Oracle Today reports that whereas Shell declares some of its payments to government, the company does disclose it contract values in the country in line with requirements of industry cost efficiency. The full contract cost of its Bonga FPSO rehabilitation in March is still shrouded in secrecy amid allegations process breaches. On its gas business, Shell stated that SPDC JV is the major supplier of natural gas from its onshore and offshore fields to NLNG, adding that its 650 MW Afam VI power plant supplied about 15 percent of national grid electricity in 2017. Shell said Afam VI has delivered 25.97 million MWh of electricity into the Nigerian grid and since its commissioning in 2008.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

ENERGY

FG diversifies oil project alternative funding

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EDERAL government may have diversified the alternative funding mechanism evolved to resolve mounting cash call debts in driving upstream petroleum industry operations in Nigeria. The funding arrangements now include midstream and downstream projects for which there is no immediate budget plans. Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, stated at an industry event in the United States that a cluster of $26.9 billion project financing deals signed with private companies includes crude futures, gas pipeline projects, refinery rehabilitation and oilfield operations and deepwater production sharing contracts. He said NNPC had signed the alternative funding deals to finance major projects as the industry play-

ers sought resolution to crippling cash call delays in meeting government’s JV funding obligations. “We are also closing some financing deals on forward sales of Federation and NPDC crude oil. In the area of contractor financing, the AKK projects has also been awarded. In total, we have raised $3.6 billion (for projects Chetah, Santolina, Falcon and the Schlumberger/First E&P FSA), we are raising $5.5 billion from crude forward sales and $2.8 billion for AKK projects. Just last week, Shell announced an investment inflow of $15 billion in gas and deep offshore developments.” He said that NNPC has already signed four financing deals on upstream development in support of its cash call exit. Before the exit of JV cash call arrangement, NNPC had used modified carry arrangement (MCA) and

service contracts to drive some cash strapped projects in the industry. But the MCAs and sundry funding arrangements were tied to specific projects and did not address mounting JV cash call debts in the industry. Cash call debts on JV assets operated by international oil companies including Shell, ExxonMobil, Total, Chevron and Eni had ballooned over $6.8 billion in 2016, triggering a spate of industry uproar over stalled work programmes and growth projects. But the debt figure appeared to be part of the problems leading to debts as NNPC has repeatedly queried the amounts it actually owed the western companies. Industry analysts had advised that a closure should be worked out on existing debts while sustainable funding ar-

rangement be evolved to draw a line on cash call disputes. Eminent industry analyst and Managing Director of Seplat Petroleum, Mr. Austin Avuru, had at an industry policy debate in Houston, Texas, United States, proffered that government should activate financial autonomy for the joint ventures in line with existing joint operating agreements (JOAs) with the oil firms. The Avuru whose company was also owed joint venture cash call debts had made it clear that NNPC did not require the lingering Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to activate creative funding measures that would address debts and enhance operational efficiency. Shortly after Mr. Avuru’s proposal, Ministry of Petroleum Resources declared plans to resolve

the debt issues and replace cash call arrangement with new financing arrangements that involve the establishment of escrow account for each joint venture, from which costs can be recovered and taxes paid to the state. Under the arrangement, government resolved to defray the huge debts after a review that saw the huge bill cut by $1.7 billion from $6.8 billion to $5.1 billion. Through the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, government also forged forge new financing model for deep pocket industry projects in Nigeria. “In spite of the delay in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, there is a renewed confidence in investing in the oil and gas industry. Each time we go out to raise finance, the appetite is quite good,” Bari said.

TFP traps 5 indigenous firms, 250 kbd SOPURUCHI ONWUKA

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OME six international and indigenous companies flowing about 250, 000 barrels of their crude oil production through the highly vulnerable Trans-Forcados Pipeline (TFP) are scrambling to explore alternative routes to export terminals following outage of the pipeline. Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) whose strained relationship with host communities in the Niger Delta is behind pipeline and sundry facility attacks in the country has shut down the pipeline following an umpteenth attacks, leaving third party producers stranded in commercial loss positions. The Oracle Today reports that the TFP has remained down for full week on Tuesday after an attack associated with traditional disputes between Shell and Niger Delta youths, amplifying the company’s liability on its partners. Out of the 250, 000 barrels per day trapped in the shut down, Shell operated joint venture with government accounts for mere 50,000 barrels per day while five indigenous companies that ship their output from the country’s Forcados terminal struggle to rescue their operations. The company whose operations are affected in the attack on Shell include leading indigenous exploration and production company, Seplat Petroleum, which is now staking funds to open upo new channels for its crude oil export. Other indigenous companies affected in the outage are high producers like Shoreline and Neconde which currently rank among the biggest producing upstarts in the industry. The rest are Elcrest, Niger Delta Western, First Hydrocarbon, Pillar Oil, Energia, Platform Petroleum, and Midwestern, The companies, including Shell, do not necessarily prefer the TFP to other export channels. They are currently limited by choice as they produce from about 15 oil fields which are contiguous to the pipeline. According to operations reports available at the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and Nigerian National Petroleum Cor-

poration (NNPC), all the companies affected in the outage, apart from Shell, are indigenous companies that acquired assets in areas where Shell has lost face with host communities. Other big multinational companies that hold better host community relationship in the country, including ExxonMobil, Chevron, Eni and Total, rarely report attacks on key facilities. Thus, the indigenous firms most of which actually bought off vulnerable joint venture assets from Shell are now working to develop conduits to other export terminals to avert Shell’s community hostility liabilities. Whereas Seplat is working on multiple arrangements that include crude swap with NNPC, requiring a pipeline to some of the corporation’s refineries, the company is also investing in long term resolution of TFP issues by developing additional export pipelines.

•Members of Executive Committee of PENGASSAN, NNPC Corporate Headquarters Branch, felicitating with NNPC GMD, Dr. Maikanti Baru, on the Prudence and Integrity Award conferred on him by the union.

Deconstructing Nigeria’s Renminbi swap deal Cont’d from Pg 17

China had already captured South Africa into the global map of Renminbi exchange partners, making the deal with Nigeria a strategic foothold in the strongest economies of the continent. An economic analyst with PricewaterCoopers told The Oracle Today that the currency swap deal provides convenient trade links with Chinese exporters by strains sourcing US dollars and reducing the pressure on the importers’ foreign reserves. He pointed out that internalization of the Renminbi guarantees the growth of Chinese foreign reserves, one of the largest by any sovereign nation in the world. On the flip side, the deal provides Nigeria with the opportunity for softer route to foreign exchange value negotiation though a trade supported Chinese currency platform. As of May 15, 2015, the total value of effective currency swap agreements was RMB 2.9 trillion (US$ 468 billion). In 2014, an equivalent of RMB 1.13 trillion (US$ 182 billion) of swaps were conducted under these swap agreements, survey by The Oracle Today showed. Again, China’s currency swap

agreements have also been activated as a source of liquidity for reasons not directly linked to trade. Whereas China does not provide dollar liquidity under bilateral currency swap agreements, the country’s trade partners could bypass weak domestic currency rates and convert their RMB reserves to dollars to on the strength of Chinese exchange rate. Thus, swap agreements have made it possible for China’s counterparts to navigate troubled times on the back of China’s vast foreign exchange reserves and its strong currency. Nigeria is currently facing severe crisis in sourcing adequate foreign exchange revenue to support its huge import dependent market, purchase military hardware and import steel materials for infrastructure development. According to survey of analysts’ comments conducted by The Oracle today, the prevailing offer by China for currency swap among its trade partners comes with a tool to hedge exposure to exchange rate risk, minimize the borrowing costs, and reduce the risk and charges involved in multiple currency exchanges. According to the People’s Bank of China’s 2015 Renminbi Internationalization Report, the RMB was the

world’s fifth most used payment currency, the second most used trade finance currency, and the sixth most traded currency in 2014. The next angle is that despite the promises held by the deal, concerns are high that Nigeria might be caught in the web of the prevailing trade and diplomatic battle between the United States and China as evidenced in ongoing overtures by both countries to capture new markets for local producers. For instance, the consummation of the currency swap deal by central banks of Nigeria and China came on the heels of softer trade talks between Presidents Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and Donald Trump of United States. The US and China, the first and second biggest economies in the world respectively, are in subtle war for global dominance and the advantage of the UD dollar in international trade is under threat by China’s sprawling currency swap deals. According to Centre for Strategic International Studies (CSIS), the original purpose of currency swap agreements is to provide countries with liquidity in times of crisis. But Renminbi (RMB) internationalization, like other Chinese initiatives such as

the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the One Belt, One Road initiative, has since the 2008 global financial crisis, been on global influence trip. Beyond the moderate progress in Asian regional financial cooperation, China has signed swap agreements with approximately 30 countries between 2008 and 2015. PBOC stated that the swap agreements are intended not only to “stabilize the international financial market,” but also to “facilitate bilateral trade and investment.” An analyst at the Country Analysis Unit in the Division of Financial Institution Supervision and Credit (FISC) at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Ms. Cindy Li, writes in an article available to The Oracle Today that “The RMB still has a long journey to becoming a global reserve currency.,” adding that “still, the steady rise of the RMB appears inevitable given China’s growing economic significance. The growing US$468 billion currency swap agreements not only demonstrate the wider use of RMB, but also highlight China’s growing international responsibilities for its trade and strategic partners.” Has Nigerian just been conscripted into strategic partnership with China?


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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

e-Platform Why Nigeria 2015 Cybercrime Law is Outdated – Experts •Digital money challenges new cybercrime •Crime trails money movement By ISAIAH ONWUANUMBA

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YBER Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN) has said the cybercrime law that was passed in 2015 is outdated as the Act cannot criminalize data breach and digital currency offense. CSEAN President, Remi Afon told our Correspondent during an interview on the sideline at the CYBER SECURE NIGERIA 2018 CONFERENCE in Lagos within the week. According to him, cyber crime is dynamic and changes from time to time. “When the cyber crime law was passed a few years ago, there was no mention of cryptocurrency. A lot of cyber criminal were not in the dark web. So there is a need for cybercrime laws to keep changing to keep pace with the activities in cyberspace.” The Cybercrimes Act signed into May 15, 2015 stipulates that, any crime or injury on critical national information infrastructure, sales of pre-registered SIM cards, unlawful access to computer systems, Cyber-Terrorism, among others, would be punishable under the new law. Experts argue that the law does not take into account Data Harvesting considered the new face of cybercrime like recent breaches experienced by subscribers to social media. The president said for this reason Nigeria truly vulnerable in the cyberspace. “Yes! Nigeria is vulnerable. A lot of our information is online these days. Even the government has started connecting their system online. The only way we can tackle this problem is to have a strong legislation, which will make organizations to be compelled to make sure their assets are secured, and whenever there is a breach, there also is a notification. Many cyber crime activities are taking place in Nigeria on a daily basis, but because they are not reported, nobody notices them. “ As regards the Cyber Secure Nigeria 2018 conference, Afon said the event is the annual conference of Cyber Security Expert Association of Nigeria, adding, this is the fourth edition of the conference since inception. “This is also the first time we are holding the conference in Lagos. The theme is mitigating cyber threats in the digital age. The objective of the conference is to sensitize the masses about the dangers of cyber crime, especially in the digital age when everybody is committed to the Internet.” During his opening remarks , he raised a poser that the 2019 election may be compromised as a result of cyber threats. Afon explained that the message I was trying to pass is that in 2015, election in the country was almost compromised. “People

were influenced using the alleged Cambridge Analytical campaign, where the then All progressive Congress (APC)’s Presidential aspirant, Muhammedu Buhari’s email was said to have been hacked. A lot of fake news and malicious campaign were going on, just to discredit the President at that time. As we move to 2019, these campaigns are not going to stop. A lot of politicians will use unemployed youths to help them spread malicious information. Hacking of email and exposure of several classified information will happen. This is the new trend and it is not going to abate.” CSEAN, he said, laments the current state of things as government is doing about data protection law. “It is quite unfortunate that the government is so slow about the data protection law. They are not doing anything about it at the moment. There is a need to have a data protection law as a matter of urgency. Otherwise, it is not going to be a crime for anybody to compromise other people’s data. We have cybercrime laws, but there is a need to make sure organizations are held accountable if data in their possession are compromised. It is the responsibility of government to have the law in place. Our own responsibility is to sensitize the citizens,” he said. In the same vein, Executive Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Garba Danbatta said incomplete or deficient database of Nigerians and poor technical manpower are the major impediments to Cybersecurity in the country. Danbatta, who was represented

L-R: Major General EG Whyte, Chief of Defence Space Administration of the Federal Defence Space Administration; Engineer Austin Nwaulune, Director Spectrum Administration NCC and Reuben Muoka, Head Public Relations at NCC. by the Commission’s Zonal Controller, Mr. Henry Ojiokpota, spoke on the theme: “Mitigating Cyber Threats in the Digital Ages” at the event according to him, “absence of comprehensive and reliable demographic and biometric database . insufficient expertise in the area of Cyber and information security are the major challenges Government faces in fighting cybercrime. Other challenges, he said, are “insufficient inter-agency, regional and international collaboration. Lack of effective and functional forensic labs, techniques and manpower to match the speed, anonymity and fleeting nature of evidence in cybercrime investigation.”

The stakeholders agree that because money has moved to digital platform crime has also moved. Therefore Nigeria’s efforts to curb crime must match the pace cyber criminals. He added that the championing of the SIM card registration project, which matches each SIM card with a biometric identity, serves as a key database on which government controls crime in the society. “The dynamic nature of cyber terrorism threats demand that our capabilities be continually refined to provide the most effective containment strategy. Thus, we are implementing the National Cyber Security Strategy. We have also established a Cyber Security Inci-

dence Responses Team (CSIRT) exclusively for the telecommunications sector.” The Oracle gathered that motivated for cybercrime now varies. From monetary gain and personally identifiable information is a hot commodity in the black market because it can be used to steal identities and subsequently drain bank accounts and rack up charges on victim’s credit cards. A whole new range of motivations have emerged. Now, cybercriminals may be driven by political and religious ideals. Instead of acting alone, hackers may stage attacks as part of state-sponsored groups out to damage the infrastructures and economies of their adversaries.

was named by Time magazine in 2017 as a Next Generation Leader for his Chowberry social enterprise in providing affordable food nutrition to families and nonprofit organizations involved in hunger relief services. Ekponimo and other guests were on hand yesterday for the official opening of Gallery of Code which included Austrian Embassy Consul General Mrs. Karin Pregler; Mr. Ife Adebayo, Special Assistant to the Vice President on Innovation & Entrepreneurship as well as representatives from the Embassy of Japan; the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and Universal Service Provisioning Fund (USPF). In discussing the collaboration and mission of the lab, Ekponimo said, “Ars Electronica brings a global network of advanced scientific and tech-

nological know-how. I am confident that Gallery of Code will be the epicenter of revolutionary inventions and innovation that will solve many of Africa’s challenges.” The aim of the center is to provide space, develop ideas and conduct workshops to foster home-grown creative solutions to Africa’s challenges by supporting next generation talent across disciplines ranging from health and renewable energy to agriculture. Equipped with advanced prototyping tools and machines supplied by Ars Electronica and funding from the Austrian Government, this ‘brainbox lab’ will bring together international scientists, technologists and media artists to produce jointly developed projects, skills training and knowledge transfer with talented Nigerian students and startup entrepreneurs. An open call for submissions from the creative community was announced

at yesterday’s launch which will bring in the centre’s first cohorts. Finalists will have their works showcased later this fall at the annual Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria. In her remarks, Austrian General Counsel Mrs. Karin Pregler commented on the importance of supporting bilateral initiatives with the launch of the new research lab: “[Gallery of Code] is an initial pilot and is one of the ways the Austrian Mission facilitates exchange and cooperation between Austrian entities and countries in which they work.” Also speaking at the event was Special Assistant on Innovation and Entrepreneurship Mr. Ife Adebayo, advisor to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who discussed the current administration’s continued commitment to support startup initiatives such as Gallery of Code in fostering Nigeria’s entrepreneurial and innovation landscape.

Nigerian company, Austrian Institute launch research facility A

N Abuja-based organization has launched a new Research and Innovation facility in collaboration with Austrian Scientific and Artistic Institute. “Gallery of Code”, a new Nigerian R&D lab was co-launched within the week in partnership with Ars Electronica, an Austrian scientific and artistic institute that is experimenting with groundbreaking digital art technological innovations. The Abuja-based research and creativity lab, located in the capital’s Gudu District, will support a global network of innovation hubs, academia and industry through technical and creative skills training. The center is the brainchild of Oscar Ekponimo, the creator behind Chowberry Inc., an innovative web app that helps retailers cut food waste for disadvantaged households. Ekponimo


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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

NEWS Extra NDDC laments poor funding of public universities By ANIEKAN ANIEKAN, Calabar

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hairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Victor Ndoma Egba, SAN has decried the poor level of funding of public universities in the country stressing that this is evident in the dearth of infrastructure in them. Ndoma-Egba stated this in Calabar during the 31st Convocation Ceremony of the University of Calabar, UNICAL, where he was conferred with Doctor of Laws, (Honoris Causa). According to the NDDC Chair, “funding of universities in the country has consistently fallen short of the 26 percent of the total national budget recommended by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO. “Between 2003 and 2014, education funding had fluctuated between 8.2 percent and10 percent, which is dissatisfactory. “We must not just fund education. It must be funded adequately as it remains the bedrock of our future,” he declared. He noted that between 1980 and 2017, the number of recognised universities in the country grew from 16 to 152 and the liberalization of the sector by the federal government in the 90’s resulted in a dramatic growth in the number of universities in the country. “For the first part of the growth, the higher education capacity building was primarily in the public sector, driven by federal and state governments. By late 1990s, the Federal Government had liberalised and encouraged the setting up of private universities. “As at 2017, private universities constituted about 45 percent of all Nigerian universities, growing from three in 1999 to 68 in 2007. About two-thirds of these private universities were affiliated to religious organisations.” He stressed the need for adequate funding of tertiary institutions in the country in view of its enormous potentials in the country and promised that the commission will assist the university in completing all ongoing projects in the institution. He promised that the NDDC Hostel currently under construction in the institution will be completed as well as the Faculty of Law Complex will be completed and furnished with a state of the art E-Library. The Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Professor Zana Akpagu in his response commended the honorees as well as the graduands and charged them to always be good ambassadors of the institution. He disclosed that the Convocation ceremony will now be an annual event in line with global practices and also announced that the university has phased out pass degrees in line with federal government directives. The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council, Senator Nkechi Nwaogwu, in her remarks noted that the university was being repositioned for greater service delivery. Senator Nwaogu said that the Governing Council under her leadership would consistently pursue a deliberate policy of expanding access to qualitative and affordable university education for the creation of relevant skills for national development and global competitiveness.

Expose students to more int’l competitions – Onu tasks schools

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inister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Tuesday urged secondary and tertiary institutions in the country to expose their students to more international competitions. Onu made the call when the management of Nigerian Tulip International College (NTIC) and the winner of the World Mathematics Team Championship, Mr Oluwafemi Adedairo visited him in Abuja. NTIC won the World Mathematics Team Challenge after defeating renowned schools across the globe. Onu emphasised the need to have well trained students in science in order to convert the enormous raw materials in the country. According to him, a mixture of knowledge and development of raw materials will not only create jobs but reduce importation and advertently grow our economy. “We are determined to make sure that Nigeria does not remain where people should rely on importing everything. We need to move towards a new direction by producing and exporting. Our economy should be based on knowledge and innovation

that is what this victory represents. “We need to give young ones good education and expose them to more of such competitions,’’ Onu said. While commending the school for its quality of education and exposing the kids to international competitions, the Minister tasked the institution to sustain the feat. “The ministry is proud and will like to support the school in any way possible. I am always happy anytime a Nigerian excels in an international competition, it is a thing of joy and more importantly if it is younger ones. “It is more important when it is science or mathematics because we have the biggest economy in Africa and to make Nigeria the great nation, the younger ones must utilise mathematics and science. No nation has become truly great without emphasising scientific innovations and mathematics. “Young people must prevail themselves in that direction so that we can stop importation and create jobs. Let them become entrepreneurs by using their skills to convert

• Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu the raw materials as well as create additional wealth for the country, we are the biggest economy but we want to go beyond that,’’ Onu said. Earlier, the Deputy Managing Director of NTIC, Mr Feuzullah Filbin, said that the feat would serve as a source of inspiration to other students in the country.

The 14 year old Senior Secondary one (SSI) student said that he intends to study Petrochemical Engineering.

Okowa mourns Akumazi’s monarch By JONATHAN AWANYAI, Asaba

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• Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa (left) and Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Federal Maritime University Okerenkoko, Chief Timipre Sylva, during a courtesy call on the Governor, in Government House Asaba

Edo Govt. trains 1,500 persons on ICT-based teaching

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do Government has trained no fewer than 1,500 teachers in the public primary schools in the state on Information and Communication Technology (ICT)based teaching. Secretary, Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Edo wing, Mr Mike Itua, disclosed this in Monday in Benin, said that the trained and certified teachers had, since the resumption of the present term, been teaching online in the 300 pilot schools marked out by the state government. “Another batch of 2,000 will commence training in August as the training is in line with the Edo government’s vision and desire to digitalise education in the state. The 300 pilot schools are spread across the wards in the state as teachers’ participation in the training for now is voluntary.

“It is expected that in due course, all teachers in the state will be ICT compliant. The programme is presently for teachers handling primaries one to three classes and the essence is to regenerate the old order and turn it anew. “It is expedient that you get it right with the pupils in their formative years as that is the foundation period,’’ he said. The NUT scribe said that the programme was saving teachers lots of man-hour deployed in lesson note preparation and planning, as this had been built into the programme. He said that the trained teachers were provided with working tools like tablets and iPads. Itua explained that government was considering the provision of solar energy in the public schools.

He said that funds for the payment of promotion arrears for the primary schools teachers for 2013 to 2015 had been provided. Itua remarked that the teachers were now at par with other workers in the state civil service in that regard. The NUT secretary expressed optimism that the financial benefits of the promotion would be worked into the pay roll in June. “Pensions for the retired members of the NUT have been paid as at when due. The gratuities and the arrears will be paid from the N1.5 billion approved by Gov. Godwin Obaseki on May 1,” he said It would be recalled that early this year, Obaseki approved the ICT- based training to be done in phases.

elta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, Monday extended his condolences to the royal family and the people of Akumazi Kingdom in Ika North East Local Government Area as the Obi of Akumazi, His Royal Majesty Stephen Osagie joined his ancestors. According to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Charles Aniagwu, the Governor extolled what he described as Osagie’s extraordinary and committed leadership to his people over a period of almost seven decades; and his exceptional stewardship which saw Akumazi Kingdom emerge as one of the leading communities in Ika nation and Delta State. The Governor expressed the belief that the revered and long lasting monarch will be long remembered for his towering role and dedication to improving the lives and aspirations of the Akumazi people. He acknowledged that under the monarch’s reign, Akumazi witnessed remarkable transformation in every sphere of life, including making agriculture the bedrock of economic development in the agrarian community. The statement read, “Governor Okowa expresses the hope that Akumazi and indeed all who mourn Obi Stephen Osagie will continue to honour his legacy of selfless service and commitment to human dignity. “He prays God Almighty to grant his soul eternal rest and comfort his family, well-wishers and the Akumazi people in this period of loss and mourning.”


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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

ISSN: 2545-5869

EDITORIAL

www.oraclenews.ng

VOX POPULI SACRUM

What do our police do? Cont’d front page 1

in the area. Police absence in the area returned in a matter of days. So have the thieves, who would operate freely, until another “embarrassing” attack on important people would return the police to momentary wakefulness. TRAFFIC jams are scenes of robberies, especially in Lagos. The time of the day is not an important consideration for the robbers. Constructions slow down traffic. The robbers know this very well, and they take advantage. LATEST police “pranks” include advising people to take alternative routes to avoid crimes. What happens when attacks occur on those routes? It is as if the police have conceded those territories to crimes. The truth is that they have. If the police study crime patterns and use them in their operations, they would not be taken by surprise. COMPLAINTS are always on the increase about the under-funding of the police. Poor training, out-dated and inadequate equipment, pay, welfare and their low numbers are among the reasons given for poor policing. There also issues of the structure of the police who take orders from Abuja, and not the governor. IT would seem that crimes have outgrown the capacity, including willingness, of the police to do anything about them. Intelligence, which is key to the work of the police, is rarely mentioned when discussing the failings of the police.

HOW can police numbers be low and you have more check points on the stretch from Lagos to Onitsha, than the entire North East? How do they have enough to litter on the roads, extorting motorists and none to fight crimes? How did the police become a secondary force in combating crimes? THE Lagos State Security Trust Fund, LSSTF, annually contributes to the finding of the police. It donates boats, helicopters, vehicles and last October donated 120 generator sets to Lagos’ 107 divisions and 13 commands. Other States mimic those wastes by funding the police as if the Federal Government no longer takes the force as its responsibility. EXPENDITURE like these do not reflected in the results expected from the police. The police act only when important members of society are affected. The capacity to act for the common good has deserted the police. IN August last year, the National Bureau of Statistics, in conjunction with a UN agency conducted a poll that rated the police the most corrupt institution in Nigeria. The judiciary was second. What a combination! The police promptly denied the report, stating that the claims were not empirically proven. THE police are equally in denial of the 2016 World Internal Security and Police Index (WISPI), which ranked the police the worst of the 127 such agencies it studied. Nigeria was 127th, though the study excluded countries where there were conflicts or inadequate data. The International Police Science Association (IPSA), prepared the report. IT is not a consolation that “SubSaharan Africa is home to seven of the 10 worst performing countries, with Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, and Uganda all being ranked in the bottom five. These four countries performed poorly across all four domains”. While “Sub-Saharan African countries have police officer, armed forces, and private security rates well below the global average,” they also have “average prison occupancy rate of 166 per cent, well above the global average”. MORE condemnations of the police follow: “Nigeria was the worst performing country on the WISPI, with a score of 0.255. Nigeria scored poorly across all four domains, and had the worst score of any country in the Index on the process and outcomes domains. All of its domain scores were in the bottom ten countries. Nigeria had an average sized police force, and a relatively small military and private security sector. However, while Nigeria’s prison occupancy rate was about 100 per cent, it was still below the Index average of 133 per cent, and significantly lower than the regional average of 168 per cent.

“POLICE and judicial system effectiveness is a serious issue in Nigeria. General corruption was high, according to the Control of Corruption indicator, and 81 per cent of Nigerian respondents to the Global Corruption Barometer admitted to paying a bribe to a police officer in the last year.” IF these do not worry anyone, the waning confidence in the police should cause some worries. “Only 0.06 per cent of thefts were reported to police. Unsurprisingly, the Rule of Law index found that military and police officials are likely to use their public positions for private gain, the report said. People seem to report incident to police, where the reports were requirements to obtain other services, otherwise they would carry on with their lives. TYPICALLY, the tendency would be to treat these matters if they affect the police and not Nigerians. The police are ours. Nigerians suffer the consequences of the failure of the police, a central institution for peace, security, and creation of favourable economic climate. It is not up to the police to care themselves of their obvious inadequacies which militate against their ability to serve the public. AN over-hauling of the police to make them effective, efficient, and able to secure Nigeria, is overdue. It is no longer a matter for claims and counter claims. WITHOUT changes in structures, functions, forms of the police, every resource allocated to them would be wasted, and cannot improve their efficiency. The billions of Naira governments, organisations and individual invest in the police would remain wastes and sources of further frustrations until we restructure the police for accountability and efficiency. 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 May 23, 2018

OPINION Open letter to Hon Nick Opara-Ndudu (1)

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n Monday, May 14, 2018, I read an article by Chief Nick Opara-Ndudu. The article was his reply to earlier article by Chief CY Amako. Opara-Ndudu in his response repeated the story of how prominent sons and daughters of Owerri Zone ganged up against Dr Ikedi Ohakim and supported Governor Rochas Okorocha in 2011. You may begin to wonder why: their reason, according Chief Opara-Ndudu, was purely selfish, i.e, for the survival of their businesses or for the patronages they hoped to gain. In other words, they wanted to share Imo State amongst themselves and they saw Ohakim as the obstacle, and the only way out was to remove Ohakim and put “anyone” else as governor, even if that one was a thief or an imbecile. Having succeeded in removing Ohakim and making Okorocha Governor, Okorocha, being what he is turned around and refused to keep to agreement. In fact, he frustrated them out of his government. By ganging up against Ohakim and bringing Okorocha, Chief Opara-Ndudu and his co-travellers dealt a deadly blow to zoning and equity, and if the situation would be rectified, it would be only fitting and proper to go back to the Ohakim era and get it right there by allowing Ohakim complete his tenure. Else, no one should take Chief Opara-Ndusu serious. Nevertheless, having lost everything they are regrouping for a fight against Okorocha. For Opara-Ndudu, he has declared for the governorship of the state under APGA, so that he can now have the opportunity to pocket the whole of Imo State. It is therefore in the light of the development, especially because some people might forget quickly, I thought it was pertinent to reproduce the letter I wrote to Chief Nick Opara-Ndudu on May 30, 2017, when he authored a letter to Governor Okorocha preaching equity. Rotation/zoning in Imo State: You cannot eat your cake and have it back No doubt, this is a season of letter writing in Imo State. Since former Governor Ikedi Ohakim opened the new vista of writing letters to Governor Rochas Okorocha wherein he drew the attention of the Governor to

issues of bad governance in the state and called on him to redress his steps and turn a new leaf, other leaders in the state have taken that path. The latest letter came from you (Chief Nick Opara- Ndudu) to the Governor on the Democracy Day, when he was dancing on the podium celebrating his sixth year of clueless leadership in the state. However, something struck me so hard after I read your letter over and over again, for a record ten times, and I wondered what has come over our leaders for some years now. You used to be known as an upright and intelligent man, but your letter only convinces one that all one thought about you were just media creations after all. Nevertheless, I must thank you for coming up to admit that you and other prominent sons and daughters of Owerri Zone you listed in your letter produced Governor Okorocha. It is also heartwarming to read that you admitted that you and the people you listed truncated the zoning arrangement that was put in place by the elders of the state, just for personal reasons. And six years after, you want the same zoning arrangement back to your bosom without first of all atoning for your sins. This is why I remind you of the cliché: “You cannot eat your cake and have it back”. It is incredible how you have continued to twist the facts and play emotional games. Your claims on zoning, particularly that the debate on zoning favours Owerri Zone, where you come from, is hogwash. I need to tell you that Owerri Zone is yet to present any compelling argument on zoning, and as far as the zoning or rotation argument goes in the state, it does not favour Owerri Zone one bit. Again, before I go into the statistics you provided to hoodwink the gullible in your well crafted mind-game, let me say this: if you so much believed in zoning, as you claimed, why did you fund heavily the truncating of zoning arrangement in 2011 just because you were not offered a commissionership? Your argument that Orlu Zone had had 8 years on the zoning template through Chief Achike Udenwa should also have convinced you that Okigwe Zone should have got their own 8 years on the same template, culminating in

2015. Why then did you spend huge sums of your money alongside others from your zone and offered Orlu Zone another 8 years? Why are you complaining now? In legal parlance, Judges would say you have no locus standi, because you gave up on zoning voluntarily and selfishly, just for SSA and commissionership. Now you have had both and you think Governor Okorocha does not remember all you did for him; you now want to climb on zoning to become Governor? This is why leaders should not allow their selfish ambitions and ego becloud their good sense of judgment and fairness. If your argument on zoning should be sustained you must bring in the equity and clean hands components of zoning.

YOUR MIND GAME ON ZONING It is alarming that you are yet to come to terms with the fact that no one can travel with falsehood for a long time. This is why you are still holding on to dishing out deceptive statistics on the governorship template of Imo State as far as zoning is concerned. No doubt, Orlu Zone would have been governor for 16 cool years by 2019, but the gullible could believe you that Okigwe Zone has been governor for 8 years and three months under late Barrister Sam Mbakwe, who was Governor between October 1979 and December 1983; and Dr. Ikedi Ohakim, who was Governor for four years between May 2007 and May 2011. In your desperate bid to misinform and whip up cheat sentiment you did not reckon with the fact that between October 1979 and December 1983 when Mbakwe was Governor there was no zoning arrangement. More importantly, you ignored the fact that Mbakwe was not the Governor of Imo State as we have it today. It is safe to state that Mbakwe was not Governor of Imo State, because strictly speaking, he was Governor of both of Imo State, Ebonyi State and Abia State. Therefore, it is mere deception to force on us the sentiment that Mbakwe was Governor of the present Imo State and thus equate his tenure to the present Okigwe Zone, whereas he was not from that zone when he was Gov-

ernor. This is against the fact that the first person to become Governor of the Imo State as we have now was an Owerri man. Moreover, you did not state the obvious: that Owerri sons have been governors elsewhere. For example, Capt Onyearugbulam from Ikeduru was the Military Governor of Ondo State. Air Commodore Ochiulo from Mbaise was Military Governor of Delta State while Acholonu was Military Governor of Katsina State. If you factor this into your argument on zoning, you would see that Owerri Zone has not been marginalized at all. But you did not reckon with the fact that the zoning arrangement you are laying claims to was put in place decades after Mbakwe had ruled both present Abia, Eboni and Imo states. Can Abia people then argue that the people of Uturu had produced a governor of the state in the person of Mbakwe? Would Ngwa people in Abia State argue that Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu had been Governor of Abia State for Abia North Central Zone? Or would Ebonyi count that Dr. Onu who comes from a particular zone in that state had been Governor and thus had served their turn? And if you also factored in the fact that laws don’t take retrogressive effect, you would see the futility in dragging Mbakwe’s regime into your claims. YOU HAVE NO LOCUS STANDI If there should be anybody from Owerri Zone who should make the case for zoning on behalf of Owerri Zone, that person sure should not be you, because just like others like you in Owerri Zone you cut your nose just to spite your face in 2011. This is why you lack the legal and moral pedestal to make the case on zoning for Owerri Zone. The reason for this conclusion is simple. As you admitted, you are one of the major financiers of the Rochas campaign in 2011. This act truncated the zoning arrangement you now lay claim to. •To be continued Collins Chibueze Ughalaa. Culled from nytimes.com

APC congresses: Triumph of tenure elongation proponents By Ehichioya Ezomon

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xcept in a few states, where the rug was rudely pulled from under the feet of socalled “leaders” of the party, proponents of the aborted tenure elongation for officials of the ruling All Progressives Congress dominated the contentious May 5 (and even Saturday’s May 12) congresses held across the country. Thus, the outcome was more of sighs and hisses than smiles. Which is why there’s outpouring of calls for cancellation of the balloting in many states, especially in areas where aspirants were hoping to upstage officials that had overstayed their welcome. Recall that the tenure advocates had boasted about their grassroots’ spread and reach in the states, and that canvassing extension in office was to save the APC from implosion that acrimonious congresses and conventions often precipitate. So, the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun-headed National Working Committee, chapter chairmen and most of the state governors stressed this fear of divisiveness, to seek additional 12 months for the party officials at all levels. Although the tenure champions won the day, they had just a one-month reprieve from February 27 to March 27, 2018 - before the “superior argument” of President Muhammadu Buhari vitiated their dream of one more year to their original term due to expire next month (June). Buhari’s foreshadowing was that, apart from infringing on constitutionally-mandated periodic elections into political offices, the positions thus elongated would constitute mere “caretaker committees,” which could not legally endorse candidates for any elections, as the courts had pronounced. To avoid any legal jeopardy arising from such lacuna, the National Executive Commit-

tee of the APC voted for the congresses and a national convention, and asked interested aspirants, whether old or new members, and the current office holders, to go into the field and sell themselves to the party voters. Well, the congresses held, and the tenure prolongation partisans and their patron-governors were proved right. They did not only hold sway in the states, but the balloting was a throwback to the larger Nigerian electoral atmosphere signposted by omens of rowdiness, manipulation, and bloody skirmishes. In the midst of a dustup in Delta State, a chairmanship aspirant in Jeremi Ward 10, Ughelli South local government council, Mr. Jeremiah Oghoveta, was stabbed to death. In Bauchi State, aggrieved party supporters set ablaze the Ningi local government secretariat when results of the congresses in some wards did not favour their faction. And in Rivers State, on the eve of the exercise, dissatisfied members vandalized the APC secretariat in Port Harcourt. A High Court in the city suffered the same fate last Friday before the local government congresses. Thugs of both factions of the APC, reportedly joined by those of the external Peoples Democratic Party, vandalized the court that was considering a motion to stop the elections. Reports from other states were no less unsavory, with accusations of devious shutting out of aspirants unaligned with the power brokers - majorly current and past governors. Those sidelined were heavyweight politicians: former governors, former and serving minsters and lawmakers, and financiers, some of who had sacrificed more for the APC than the incumbents in the states. Some examples: In Kaduna State, Governor Nasir el-Rufai outsmarted his main challengers, Senators Shehu Sani and Suleiman Hunkuyi, by resorting to affirmation of candidates in all the wards, prompting the law-

makers to declare that “no congresses” ever held. The camp of the Minister of Transportation and former governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, employed the Option A4 system of voting to gain all seats in the wards in Rivers State, and thus outwitted the faction led by Senator Magnus Abe, whose governorship ambition Amaechi opposes. In Kano State, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje and his estranged political godfather and former governor, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, held parallel congresses. Also in Kogi State, the rival groups of Governor Yahaya Bello and Mohammed Audu/James Falake (Reps member) conducted parallel congresses. However, there were astounding congresses in some states. In Imo, Governor Rochas Okorocha was worsted by a combination of APC chieftains, who seized the election materials, to the exclusion of the governor’s supporters. Okorocha would hurriedly report the humiliating experience to President Buhari, who was in Daura, Katsina State, to participate in the congresses. Factional APC members in Oyo State, led by the Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, though reportedly manhandled by political thugs, celebrated their “defeat” of the camp of Governor Abiola Ajimobi at the ward congresses. In Bauchi State, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, and his supporters skipped the congresses, which Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar and his faction claimed with relish. Similarly, the APC national chair, Chief Oyegun, stayed away from the voting in his homebase, Edo State, which chapter has thrown up former Governor Adams Oshiomhole to contest for that position at the national convention in June. Oshiomhole, who formally

declared that interest in Abuja on Thursday, has the backing of President Buhari. With the results of the council congresses on Saturday equally being scandalized by the “losers,” the fissures in the APC, going into the 2019 elections, may be deepening, to the “we-said-so” amusement of the tenure elongation enthusiasts. •Mr. Ezomon, Journalist and Media Consultant, writes from Lagos, Nigeria.

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 Business Manager Kelechi Nze Circulation Manager Felix Oti


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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

AVIATION

Six airports to get N1.365b for control tower upgrade Stories by VICTOR NZE

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EDERAL Executive Council has approved a sum of N1.365 billion for the procurement of new equipment for control towers at Maiduguri, Akure, Kaduna, Ilorin, Benin and Ibadan airports. Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, who made this known while addressing State House correspondents after the cabinet meeting, Wednesday, said past administrations stopped funding the procurement of the equipment in 2011. He noted that the present administration budgeted for the

equipment in the 2017 budget. “FEC approved procurement of equipment for the completion of control towers in some airports that include Maiduguri, Akure, Benin, Ilorin, Kaduna and Ibadan. This particular procurement was done in 2011. From 2011, government stopped funding a particular procurement with all its importance. “So, we provided for it in 2017 so that we can complete it. And council has graciously approved to complete those control towers which will enhance communications and security of our airspace. The total value is N1.365, 364, 458.75,” said Sirika.

Ebola: FAAN reassures of readiness to protect gateways

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EDERAL Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has re-assured passengers and other airport users of safety across its network of airports. The assurance follows the Federal Executive Council (FEC) directive to the Ministry of Health to step up surveillance at all the nation’s entry points to prevent the spread of Ebola to the country since the fresh outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Seventeen (17) people have already succumbed to the virus in the DRC which has prompted the Minister to announce that government would be setting up an emergency operation centre as well as plans to send a delegation to help the DRC manage the outbreak. FAAN, in a statement released at its Headquarters in Lagos, noted that since the first recorded case of the virus in Nigeria,

through an American-Liberian, Patrick Sawyer, the Authority has not relaxed its surveillance at the airports to forestall any re-occurrence. The General Manager, Corporate Affairs of the Authority, Mrs Henrietta Yakubu added that all the equipment and personnel used in combating the virus in 2014 are still very much at the airports. “We have always had thermal scanners in our airports that monitor temperature of passengers and capture their pictures. We still have hand sanitizer in our restrooms too. When passengers walk pass the scanners, it registers their temperature. If yours is high, you are pulled aside for observation,” Yakubu said. The Authority noted that all relevant agencies, including the Port Health Services have been mobilized and are collaborating effectively to ensure the safety of passengers and airport users at all time.

•(From left to right): Director of Security Services, Group Capt. Usman Abubakar Sadiq (Rtd); Director Commercial and Business Development, Sadiku Abdulkadir Rafindadi; Director of Human Resource & Administrations, Norris Anozie; Director of Airport Operations, Capt. Rabiu Hamisu Yadudu; Mr. Nath McAbraham Inajo and Company Secretary/Legal Adviser, Clifford Imade Omozeghian, during Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Directorate of Airport Operations Strategic Management officers’ Retreat, which held with the Theme: “Operations Directorate Strategic Development Action Plan” in Ogun State Nigeria, Thursday.

ICAO, NEPAD sign deal on African aviation development

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NTERNATIONAL Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development Planning and Coordinating Agency (NEPAD) have signed an agreement to enhance the development of aviation in the continent. ICAO made the announcement in a statement, Thursday. ICAO Council President Bernard Aliu said the agreement would also promote related aviation infrastructure development and capacity-building in aid of sustainable air transport for Africa and Africans.

Asian firm wins IATA’s 2018 ground handling innovator competition

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he International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced that Singapore-based SATS Ltd, is the winner of the 2018 IATA Ground Handling Conference (IGHC) Innovator Competition, for the company’s use of smartwatches for Technical Ramp Operations. The award was presented on 25th April 2018 at the 31st IGHC in Doha, Qatar. The IATA Ground Handling Innovator Competition was launched in 2017 to encourage and promote innovation in the ground handling industry. SATS’s Smart Watch Resource Management Solution uses 4G data to streamline on-ground processes and enhance communication, productivity and safety. The smartwatch-enabled solution helps track and monitor performance closely. By capturing the start and completion time of each task, SATS can analyze the data to glean key performance insights to improve resource plan-

ning. “The IGHC Innovator Competition showcases the creative thinking taking place across the ground handling industry. Among many worthy candidates, we congratulate SATS Ltd for an outstanding achievement. This is the kind of innovation that will solve real problems today and prepare us for future challenges,” said Joseph Suidan, IATA Head of Ground Operations”. “We are delighted to be recognized for our innovative Smartwatch project. Smart technology has strong potential to help transform the ground handling industry through making real-time integrated operations possible. Full implementation for 130 employees has shown improvements in our ground handling, across 170 flights daily,” said Kevin Chin, SATS, Vice President Gateway Services. An independent jury which included experts from airlines, ground

handling companies and OEMs evaluated projects based on their concept, and potential to create value. In addition to SATS Ltd, iboardings.com and Assaia were also shortlisted by the jury to present their projects at IGHC, where more than 700 delegates voted for their preferred innovation project.

“Working cooperatively is, and has always been, fundamental to the aviation sector. This new framework with NEPAD will allow us to effectively address the development and modernisation of quality aviation infrastructure in Africa. “This is consistent with ICAO’s global and Africa regional planning and commensurate with the exponential traffic growth forecast here,” said ICAO Council President Bernard Aliu. According to him, the new ICAO/NEPAD Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will formalise and deepen the cooperation between the two organisations. Aliu said it would contribute to the implementation of the Declaration and Framework for a Plan of Action for Development of Aviation Infrastructure in Africa, which was adopted at the fourth ICAO World Aviation Forum (Abuja, Nigeria in November 2017). Also, NEPAD’s Chief Executive

Officer, Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, said both organisations would now be working more closely in facilitating the movement of persons and goods in Africa. Mayaki said they would be mobilising resources for aviation infrastructure development, implementing NEPAD’s “MoveAfrica” initiative for the aviation sector. According to him, it will also include developing e-commerce, and training and retaining next generation aviation professionals and promoting gender equity on the continent. He said: “This collaboration will provide added value for both organisations and improve aviation infrastructure development in Africa. “It will help strengthen NEPAD’s understanding of the aviation sector, and importantly help us to ensure the inclusion of aviation projects in the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa.”

senger growth was strongest for domestic and emerging markets. South Asia (+3.6 per cent), Africa (+3.1 per cent) and the UK (+0.8 per cent) were the best performers in April, largely due to airlines flying larger, fuller aircraft to these destinations “Cargo enjoyed its 21st consecutive record month, as trade growth at the UK’s largest port by value increased by 2.3 per cent, compared to the same time last year “The US (+4.1 per cent), India (+7.1 per cent) and China (+10.9 per cent) – the three biggest economies of the

21st century – were among the fastest growing countries for cargo It would be recalled that, last month April, Heathrow launched a pitch process to encourage potential commercial development partners to share their innovative ideas on how to deliver expansion affordably, sustainably and financeably. The airport aims to lead the aviation industry in cutting single-use plastics, the first step of which is Heathrow’s plan to recycle up to 13.5 million of the single-use coffee cups used at the airport annually

London Heathrow Airport handles 13m passengers in two months

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ondon Heathrow Airport has released a number of outlining record cargo performances at the British Airport. The airport in a report made available, Friday, said 6.6 million passengers travelled through its only hub airport in April. Combined with March’s figures, underlying passenger growth at Heathrow over the two months was 1.4 per cent. “For the first time, more than 13 million passengers travelled through Heathrow in March and April,” the report said. Continuing, the report said: “Pas-


27

The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

INSURANCE & PENSION

STI grows gross premium by 34.9% in 2017 Stories by VICTOR NZE

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OVEREIGN Trust Insurance (STI) Plc has announced a growth of N8.5billion in its Gross Premium Written for the financial year ended 31st, December 2017. Disclosing this, Wednesday, the company said its gross premium written rose by 34.9 percent from N6.3b written in 2016 to N8.5billion in 2017. The company started 2018 Financial Year on a very good note with a Gross Written Premium of N5.2billion reported in first quarter (Q1) 2018 as against the N4.1billion that was written in the same period in 2017; representing an increase in growth rate of 25.7%. The Gross Premium Income also

grew by 30% from N3.8billion that was generated in the first quarter of 2017 to N4.9b in the first quarter of 2018. Another positive highlight of the 2018 first quarter performance of the Underwriting Firm is in its underwriting profit which increased by N182m from N746m in the first quarter of 2017 to N928m in the same corresponding period giving a growth rate of 24.5 per cent. The Profit before Tax hit a 28 per cent increase as it grew from N488million in the first quarter of 2017 to N625millon in the same period of 2018 while Profit after Tax also leapt from N437million in Q1 2017 to N560million in the first quarter of 2018, representing a growth rate of 28 per cent as well.

LUR grows profit by 66.8%, declares N4.252b premium to mortgage financing

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aw Union & Rock (LUR) Insurance says its gross premium written stood at N4.252billion. Chairman of the Company, Remi Babalola, who said this during the company’s 49th Annual General Meeting, in Lagos, added that the insurer further grew profit by 66.8 per cent. According to him, the company recorded good performance in 2017 with eight per cent growth in its top line over the figure from the previous year. A significant contribution to the profit came from its investment income. The Gross Premium Written stood at N4.252billion compared to N3.936billion recorded in 2016. Profit before tax of N1.099billion was achieved compared to N659million recorded in 2016, which indicated a steady performance improvement. Total assets grew by 16.9 per cent to N10.031billion from N8.58billion posted in 2016 financial year with a 28.6 per cent growth in Shareholders’ Funds from N5.03billion to N6.47bilion. The company also recorded a giant feat in its general reserves with retained earnings of N704million

from accumulated loss of N24million recorded in 2016. In recognition of this performance, the Company declared dividend of 4Kobo per share for the financial year. Babalola said LUR is now stronger and more liquid, and would remain committed to meeting its obligations as they fall due. He also presented the new Executive Director, Technical/Operations Olasupo Sogelola, and Kunle Aluko (non-executive director) to the shareholders. Both appointments have been approved by the NAICOM. The Managing Director, LUR, Jide Orimolade, assured that the Company will not relent in delivering the best service to customers. According to him, customers’ loyalty is very instrumental to the consistent growth of the bottom line in the past few years, and enabled it eliminate accumulated losses, to post positive retained earnings in 2017. Given the good performance, the shareholders were happy to re-elect three retiring directors – Remi Babalola (Board of Directors Chairman), Obinna Onunkwo, and Funmi Ekundayo, for another three years.

•Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Lands Bureau, Mr. Olabode Agoro; Special Adviser to the Governor on Urban Development, Mrs. Yetunde Onabule; Commissioner for Information & Strategy, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information & Strategy, Mrs. Kofoworola Awobamise and Special Adviser to the Governor on Information & Strategy, Mr. Idowu Ajanaku during the 2018 ministerial press briefing of the Lagos State Lands Bureau to commemorate Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s third Year in office, which at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, the Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, on Tuesday.

Goldlink Insurance shareholders endorse N3.3b recapitalization

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HAREHOLDERS of Goldlink Insurance Plc, have approved the re-capitalisation of the firm to enable investors have better return on investment. The approval to raise N3.3billion capital through right issue was given during Goldlink’s 20th Annual General Meeting (AGM), for the financial year ended December 31, 2015, at the weekend in Lagos. This comes after about seven years of regulatory intervention in the company by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), as a result of breakdown in acceptable corporate governance practices. Goldlink is also waiting for the withdrawal of NAICOM’s intervention, to enable it begin business on a clean slate.

PenCom assures RSA holders access

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ATIONAL Pension Commission (PenCom), has disclosed that it is in the process of developing a workable guidelines to allow Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holders access part of their pension contribution for mortgage financing. Head, Corporate Communications of PenCom, Mr Peter Aghahowa, said this in Uyo on Friday, the commission was already making contacts with relevant stakeholders with a view to getting inputs before rolling out the guideline for the initiative. “Talking about the first one which is using pensions for mortgage, a guideline has been developed and in implementing the initiative, there are stakeholders that will be involved in the process. A draft guideline has been developed and we have also engaged stakeholders that will be

involved in the process. “Now, we are taking our time because we want to get it right, the process is ongoing, we intend to expose the guideline once the draft is ready, so that all stakeholders can have a look at it again and give us their feedback. “So that we can go back, find tune it and come up with a final guideline that will be implemented,’’ he said. Aghahowa said the commission had also produced guidelines for the take-off of micro pension scheme aimed at integrating informal sector operators into the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS). “For the micro-pension, it is also the same process, the guideline has been in the works and I am also happy to say that just last week, we released the draft guideline, which is on our website. Now

that it is out, it has been exposed and we are engaging stakeholders, we expect feedback from relevant stakeholders including the press so that we can come back to find tune it and have it ready for implementation,” he said. Aghahowa said that planned integration of informal sector operators into the CPS remained an initiative the commission holds so passionately, saying its successful implementation would result in further expansion of the nation’s pension system. “You are aware that this is what the commission has been very passionate about because it is going to expand our coverage because most members of the society, especially those in informal sector who are engaged in business activities will be captured,’’ he said.

Presenting the report to shareholders, the Chairman, Mohammed Bintude, recalled that members of the Interim Management Board (IMB), were not constituted during the period of this report. He said while the arrangements for the commencement of the statutory audit for 2015 were yet to be concluded, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), on February 25, 2016, reconstituted the current Board of which he became the chairman. “Broadly, our mandates include among others, to chart a way for the company’s needed recapitalisation and general repositioning for better business performance. “Year 2015 was an election year in the country which witnessed a trailblazing and successful transition from one political party to another at the federal level, in her journey of democratisation. This remarkable development was however overshadowed by other global and macro-economic developments all of which combined to make the year a tumultuous one. “The company made efforts to sustain her market share, but could not, owing to the impact of the same issues already highlighted above, and her current peculiar circumstances,” he said. On the financial position of the firm, gross premium written fell by 32 per cent from N3.7billion in 2014 to N2.5billion in the current year. The loss before tax however improved marginally from N415million to N409million, a difference of one per cent. The company gained some tax reversals, which impacted on the loss after tax, reversing the after tax loss of N529million achieved in 2014, to N350million in 2015, a dif-

ference of 33 per cent. “Over the same period, the total assets of the company fell from N2.1billion in 2014 to Nl.8billion in 2015, largely contributed by reduction in reinsurance assets and trade receivables. “As daunting as the performance appears, it is a reflection partly of the state of the uncertainty in the national economy and the peculiar circumstances of the company itself at the time. It is noteworthy however that the key to achieving a complete turnaround include the recapitalisation of the company, a process which this Board has made remarkable and tremendous progress,” he added. During a pre-AGM session with reporters, the interim Managing Director, Mrs Funke Moore, said: “It is a matter of public knowledge that the company has been under NAICOM’s regulatory intervention since the last quarter of 2012 due to the regulator’s observed breakdown of acceptable corporate governance practice(s) in the company’s management. “Upon the successful presentation of the company’s financial statements for the years 2011 to 2014 at the company’s 19th AGM in December, 2015, the first Interim Management Board constituted by the NAICOM was dissolved in February, 2016 and reconstituted as it is presently with the core mandate to; perform the normal duties of the Board and take such actions as may be considered necessary for the sound management and growth of the company within the scope of existing policies and practices; and carry out all other things that may be necessary to bring the company to sound management operation and stability.”


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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

EQUITY & Capital Market Mutual fund investors flock money market despite low returns By KAYODE OGUNWALE

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IGERIA’S mutual fund investors are becoming increasingly risk averse as they continue to embrace money market funds inspite of decreasing yield. The yield curve in Nigeria has been trending downwards since the beginning of the year with much of the decrease being at the short end of the curve. While the two year yield has lost 2.56 points year till date, the seven year yield has lost 1.06, and the 20 year yield lost 0.56 points. The two year yield is currently struggling to remain within the double-digit range at 11.79 percent, with the five year yield at 12.57 percent and 20 year yield at 12.76 percent. Even money market funds are beginning to offer lower and lower yield. The Stanbic IBTC money market fund, the largest in the

industry, now offers 13.96 percent, the lowest since September, 2016. Likewise, FBN money market fund is currently offering 14.05 percent, a far cry from the 18 percent on offer a year ago while Arm money market fund offers 14.4 percent, the lowest since October 2016, and the list goes on and on. Surprisingly, analysis of the latest available information on the SEC NAV Summary indicates that mutual fund investors have added an estimated N154.9 billion to mutual funds on a year till date basis. Out of that amount, N137.7 billion went to money market funds, with only N12.8 billion going to bond funds while equity funds received just N2.0 billion. The concerns of the investors are quite understandable since the Nigerian Equity market has not been that stellar in 2018. It is true that volatility has moderated in the face of decreasing inflation

and currency exchange rate that has relatively been stable, the All Share Index has only returned 6.79 percent year till date, much less than what is on offer by the money market funds. In addition, there is hardly any equity security in Nigeria with dividend yield that is comparable to what the money market funds are offering. As at date, in 2018, only Glaxo Smith- Kline Consumer Nigeria Plc has a dividend yield that beats money market fund yields, Glaxo Smith- Kline Consumer Nigeria Plc has a dividend yield of 23.44 percent to be precise. The trend of flocking to or hanging on to money market funds

is an indication that despite the downward trends in yields, investors’ appetite for flight to equity investments remain strong. The fear of losing their money may be the force driving investors to money market funds. Understandably though, the upcoming election in 2019 may also add to that fear and uncertainty prompting investors to prefer safety to increased performance. The flight to quality is a situation in the markets when investors become more concerned about protecting themselves from risk than they are about making gain on their investment. However, the implication is that as more and

more investors join in the flight, flight to safety investments like government treasuries and bonds will rally while yields fall, given the inverse relationship between bond prices and interest rate. It may be time to diversify into bonds because there are a number of bonds in the Nigerian market with yield to maturity (YTM) in excess of what money market funds are offering. The unfortunate thing, however, is that as yields fall, bond prices rise, so the bonds in question may be relatively more expensive to buy but having a portfolio that includes bonds with sizable yield to maturity is not a bad idea.

Union Bank, Transcorp Hotel, 11 others fail to comply with stock market free float requirement

By KAYODE OGUNWALE

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HIRTEEN out of 169 companies listed on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) have failed to comply with free float requirement of the bourse. A report by the NSE available to Oracle Today shows that, Union Bank of Nigeria with 14.94 percent, Transcorp Hotels with 6.0 percent, Champion Breweries with 17.30 percent and AG Leventis with free float of 11.64 percent are among the companies trading below the minimum volume of shares required for retail shareholdings and public trading on their shares. Others are: Capital Hotel with 2.62 percent, Great Nigerian Insurance 16.0 percent, Chellarams, 15.0 percent, Interlinked Technology, 14.50 percent, Infinity Trust Mortgage, 3.50 percent, Ekocorp 11.84 percent, Caverton Offshore Support Group 17.40 percent and Tourist Company of Nigeria Plc with 3.58 percent and E-Tranzact International Plc with 10.06 percent. The NSE noted that the companies have free float deficiencies, a major infraction that may adversely affect the liquidity of its shares. The free float, otherwise known as public float is the number of shares of a quoted company held by ordinary shareholders other than those directly or indirectly held by its parent, subsidiary or associated companies, directors of the entity and their close family members and any single individual or institutional shareholder holding a statutorily significant stake, which is five percent and above in Nigeria. Companies listed on the stock exchange are required to maintain a minimum free float for the set standards under which they are listed in order to ensure that there is an orderly and liquid market for

their securities. The NSE pegged the free float requirement for companies on the Alternative Securities Market (ASeM) Board is 15 percent of market capitalization, Main Board is 20 percent of market capitalization while companies on the Premium Board is 20 percent of market capitalization or above N40 billion on the date the exchange receives the Issuer’s application to list. The report indicated that the NSE had given the companies deadlines to restructure their issued share capital in a way to free the existing concentrated shareholdings of the core investors and allow more investments from the general investing public. Failure by the companies to restructure their share capital at the expiration of the deadline or secure extension of the deadline may lead to the delisting of their shares from the NSE.

L – R shows Akintoye Akindele, Partner, Synergy Capital Managers; Tinuade Awe, Executive Director, Regulation, The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE); Scott Wilson, Chief Investment Officer (CIO), Washington University Management Co. Limited, Missouri, USA; Wale Adeosun, Founding & Managing Partner, Kuramo Capital Management Co. Limited, USA; Christine Kapkusum Ndiwa, Investment Executive IFC; Ayo Arogbo, Partner, Synergy Capital Managers and Tony Ibeziako, Ag. Head, Listing Business Division, NSE during the Closing Gong Ceremony at the Exchange in Lagos.

Japaul shareholders suffer N376m loss to Milost failed deal in a week

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HAREHOLDERS of Japaul Oil & Maritime Services Plc have suffered N375.762 million loss to Milost Global Inc failed deal within a week. The trouble started when the company announced it decision to pull out of the equity financing facility of

$350 million with Milosz Global Inc. last week. The company share which open May 6, at N0.46 kobo per share ended the week on May 11 at N0.40 kobo, representing a loss of N0.06 kobo per share with share outstanding of 6,262,701,716.

Market cap of Africa companies on LSE hits $200bn By JEROME USHAKANG

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FRICAN companies listed or trading on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) have a total market capitalization of over $200 billion and in the last 10 years have raised more than $16 billion. Head of International Business Development, London Stock Exchange, Tom Attenborough in statement said, “The success of Vivo Energy’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) is a strong statement of international investor interest in building exposure to Africa. As a London-listed company, Vivo Energy, will gain access to the world’s most international market, as well as an unrivalled source of deep liquidity and new investors. The statement added that there are 9 African sovereign bonds listed in London, from: Gabon, Ghana,

Namibia, Nigeria and Zambia. According to him, 108 African companies is more than any other international market.“London is a strong partner to African companies seeking to attract international investment.” It stressed. Also this month, May 2018, Angola launched a $3billion Eurobond on LSE, the country’s biggest international bond and the first international issuance since 2015. In April the LSE Group, the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) and non-governmental organization FSD Africa signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the launch of LSEG’s business support and capital-raising programme, ELITE. In May, the first Kenyan company, Olsuswa Energy, joined the programme. So far 850 companies have joined the ELITE programme.

November 2017, the LSE, Casablanca Stock Exchange and the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM) signed an agreement to roll out ELITE across West African markets, in a signing ceremony presided by Amadou Gon Coulibaly, Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire. In June 2017, Nigeria raised $300m through its first Diaspora Bond on LSE, a retail bond aimed at Nigeria’s global expatriate community seeking to invest in their home country’s development. It was the first bond of its kind from sub-Saharan Africa. In March 2017, LSE published its first “Companies to Inspire Africa” report, identifying hundreds of the fastest-growing and most dynamic private businesses across Africa. Vivo Energy is the first company in that report to follow up by listing on LSE.

Japaul had in February 2018 signed an agreement with private equity firm Milost Global Inc. for $350 million in shares and loans for business expansion. The company’s Chairman, Jegede Paul in a notice to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in February said Milost will invest $250 million in equity and add another $100 million in convertible loans. The capital was expected to fix Japaul grounded vessels, finance new contracts and expand into mining. Analysts believed that Japaul share price may continue to decline as implication of failed deal which is not augur well with shareholders. In his view, Chief Executive Officer of APT Securities and Funds Limited, Mallam Kasimu Kurfi said the implications is clear that the price of Japaul will continue to fall. Milost Global, founded by Mandla J Gwandiso in 2015 is an American Private Equity firm that is headquartered in New York City, with more than $25 billion in committed capital. Milost is also a provider of alternative capital, mezzanine finance and alternative lending to a broad range of industries across the globe including Technology, Transport, Cannabis, Education, Distribution, Mining, Oil & Gas, Financial Services, Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Real Estate, Alternative Energy and Infrastructure Development.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

MONEY Market

Fidelity Bank credits customer’s account with N10m F IDELITY BANK has presented one of its customers in Aba, Abia State, Mr Ekenechukwu Bartholomew Nnalue, with the N10 million star prize won in the ‘Fidelity Get Alert in Millions Promo Reloaded.’ The presentation was made, Wednesday, in Abuja, as Nnalue, a businessman, was given his prize in the presence of key members of the bank and other lottery regulatory agencies. The promo winner, who could not hide his joy for getting a credit alert of N10 million from Fidelity Bank into his account domiciled with the lender, described the bank as the best in Nigeria. “I am highly elated also short of exact words to express my happiness. I can testify to the genuineness of Fidelity Bank promo as one of the beneficiaries. “It is real and I will implore and advise whoever that has no account with the bank to open one

without delay. Existing customers should sustain their savings,” Nnalue, who only opened his account with the bank last year, said in excitement. Aside the star prize, other lucky

winners at 6th and final presentation of awards of the promo, which commenced in October 2017, were a policewoman, Mrs Jennifer Nnanna from Abia State, who won N2 million; and a Fidel-

ity Bank customer from Gwagwalada, Abuja, Mrs Clara Okafor, who won N1 million. Speaking at the presentation, Deputy Managing Director (DMD) of Fidelity Bank, Mr Mo-

hammed Balarabe, said: “The way to go is to cultivate savings culture especially with the current pattern the economy has assumed.”

Heritage Bank reaffirms commitment to agric financing

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eritage Bank Plc has restated its commitment to the sustenance, growth and development of agricultural sector in Nigeria through the provision of funds to stakeholders in the industry. This reassurance was made in a statement issued by Heritage Bank’s Divisional Head of Corporate Communications, Mr Fela Ibidapo. Ibidapo explained that Heritage Bank, in its determination to deliver on this promise, is currently funding various agricultural projects in several states of the country, especially in Oyo, Kaduna and Zamfara states. He said Heritage Bank has entered into a partnership with the Oyo State Government to support the multi-billion Oyo State Agricultural Initiative (OYSAI), a programme designed to revive agriculture, boost agroallied businesses and empower the youth and women across the state through the creation of thousands of jobs in the sector. According to him, Heritage Bank is also supporting an agroinvestor, Triton Aqua Africa Limited (TAAL), with a N2 billion facility in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS). The facility will enable TAAL to set up a fishery production chain in Lagos, Oyo and Osun states. Ibidapo said this support to the agro-investor became imperative after research showed that Nigerians consume about 2.7 million metric tonnes of fish yearly compared to the paltry 800,000 metric tonnes of fish that is produced locally every year. Consequently, the country has had to rely on importation to augment the shortfall with an estimated cost implication of about $700 million yearly in foreign exchange.

•Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu (m) flanked by Clare Akamanzi, CEO of Rwanda Development Board (l) and Ambassador Olivier J.P Nduhungirehe, Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs when the Abia chief executive led a state delegation to the Ministry of External Affairs during the 2018 Transform Africa Summit in Kigali, the Rwandan capital.

Sterling Bank targets reduction in NPL, 15% rise in deposit

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TERLING Bank Plc has announced that the bank has adopted a strategic plan that would enable it increase customer base by 15 per cent in the next financial year from N684.8 billion achieved in 2017. Besides, the bank is also projecting a non-performing loan (NPL) of less than five per cent in the current financial year against 6.2 per cent posted in 2017. The Managing Director of the bank, Abubakar Suleiman, while addressing stockbrokers at its Facts behind the Figures, at the

Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), in Lagos, on Tuesday, said the bank had aligned its business model to offer financial and nonfinancial solutions to five key priority sectors of the economy. They include: health, education, agriculture, renewable energy and transportation. He explained that the bank’s choice of market segments was based on the understanding of emerging trends in the macroeconomic environment, and opportunities in the sectors of interest.

Suleiman said Sterling Bank would continue to mobilise private sector capital to solve some of the most pressing social and economic needs of the people, adding that its intervention in these sectors would boost its performance as well as enhance their growth and development. According to him, the bank recorded improved performance in its financials, which resulted in renewed investor’s confidence, adding added that this has seen its stock recording over 52 per cent year-to-date price gain.

By JEROME USHAKANG

impairments and sanctions from regulatory authorities such as Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) was cutting off big chunk of what supposed to be earned by investors. “AMCON is a drain pipe to companies. It should wind up after 10 years of operation,” he said. A review of the FBN Holdings results for the financial year ended December 31, 2017 showed that the Group recorded gross earnings of N595.4billin n representing a growth of 23 percent as against N581.8billion achieved in the previous year despite 4.0 percent drop in loan and advances from N2083.9billion in 2006 to N2001.2billion in 2017. Also, Profit before tax grew by 147 percent, specifically from N22.9 billion in 2016 to close at N56.8billion in 2017 while operating expenses rose by 7.7 percent lower than inflation at 15.4 percent to close the year at

N238.0billion in 2017 in contrast to N220.9 billion in 2016. Other shareholders who attended the event berated the manner of organization of the AGM as they also decried the quality of refreshement offered them despite the huge returns declared by the company. One elderly man said he has some drugs to take but could not do so on an empty stomach and wondered why they could be treated with disdain in an AGM that holds just once a year. “I am sure FBN budgeted millions of naira to be spent for this AGM”, he lamented. Matters came to a head when one of the prominent shareholders who was given an opportunity to comment on the Annual Report and Account, by the Chairman of FBN Holdings , Dr Oba Otudeko, was shouted him down with shouts of “It is only bottled, it is only bottled water, It is only bottled water.”

Mixed reactions trail FBN 6th AGM

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ixed reactions trailed the just-concluded sixth Annual General Meeting (AGM) of FBN Holdings Plc held in Lagos, Tuesday as shareholders argued over the 65 kobo dividend payout which some described as ‘poor.’ However, while some shareholders commended the Management for an impressive financial results reeled out at the event, others still bemoaned the poor treatment meted out to them by organizers of the ceremony. The AGM which held at the Eko Hotels gathered shareholders of the company who were of varied opinions over the financial statement announced by the management. A shareholder, who spoke at the AGM, Sir Sunny Nwosu commended the company for 65 kobo dividend paid stressing that

Furthermore, he explained that the bank reported a profit after tax of N8.5billion for the financial year ended December 31, 2017, against N5.2billion in 2016, representing an increase of 65 per cent in profitability. Gross earnings increased by 19.8 per cent to N133.5billion in 2017 compared to N111.4billion in 2016. Sustaining the impressive performance, Sterling Bank reported a profit growth of 65.2 per cent for the first quarter ended March 31st. Suleiman disclosed that the bank is also looking towards achieving diversified income streams with top quartile position in all its operating areas, double digit revenue growth on yearly basis, and reduce cost of funds to less than five percent. On the bank’s long-term strategy, the CEO disclosed that Sterling Bank intends to become a globally competitive financial services franchise by financial and non-financial measures; adding that it would continue to operate a fully sustainable business model with institutionalised processes that would outlive the stewardship of current owners and managers. Speaking on the bank’s strategic initiatives, the Executive Director, Operations and Services, Yemi Odubiyi, said Sterling Bank would manage risks, balance sheet and capital to deliver superior returns to shareholders; create a learning organisation to optimise productivity and operations and technology, to drive better control, manage costs, complexity, and risk.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

Crime

Police Recruitment: Candidates doubt fairness as lawmakers share recruitment slots

Stories by XAVIER NDAH

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ear and anger enveloped the police College Ikeja, Lagos venue of the police recruitment center last week as favoured candidates armed with letters allegedly from Lawmakers for compulsory recruitment filled the venue. The Oracle Today noticed that some of the candidates grudgingly condemned the process where others who thronged the recruitment ground came with letters from their lawmakers seeking for favour for recruitment in the ongoing police recruitment exercise nationwide. A letter intercepted by journalists indicates that some legislators had shared a large number of the slots amongst themselves before the real exercise. Content of the letter allegedly emanating from the House of Representatives suggests that each lawmaker was given two slots to nominate candidates for recruitment as constable in the ongoing exercise. One of the letters allegedly emanating from the Committee on Police Affairs, House of Representative, National Assembly, dated May 3, 2018, titled: “Request For Nomination into the Nigeria Police Force (Constables),” which was addressed to one Hon. Ossy Prestige and signed by the Committee’s Chairman, Hon. Halliru Dauda Jika reads:

“The committee has allocated two (2) slots of (constables) to you, for onward submission’s to the Nigeria Police Force for Recruitment. “The applicants must have duly applied online and have their reference numbers. “You are expected to collate and make your submission to the committee secretariat in Room 320 White House, House of Representatives latest Thursday, 3rd May, 2018 by 12.00pm. “For Further enquiry, please contact Mr. Abdullahi Kabir on 07032809089 “while we apologise for the urgent and short notice. Kindly accept the assurance of the committee’s highest regards.” Mr. Abdullahi Kabir, was not available as at the time of writing this report when our reporter tried to verify the genuiness of the letter through telephone. In its comment while monitoring the exercise the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Training, DIG Emmanuel Inyang, who spoke in Abuja, following the commencement of the exercise, assured that there would be transparency and proper representation from to reflect the principles of federal character. He also said over 133,000 candidates were shortlisted for the recruitment exercise across the country. The DIG, while assuring that accidental discharge would soon become a thing of the past in

the Nigerian police, said for the first time the Police authorities were involving psychiatric doctors to carry out a mental evaluation of the candidates to ensure their mental state and that they are not on drugs. “For the first time; we are going to invite a psychiatric doctor who is going to do mental evaluation to make sure they are okay mentally and to make sure that they are not on drugs, so a case of accidental discharge is going to be a thing of the past. We want to give Nigerians the best”. He said: “We are here today for the screening of the successful candidates who are willing to join the Force. One of the candidates who simply identified himself as Nurudeen condemned the process stating that some of them without letters from well-placed Nigerians have lost out automatically adding that candidates supposed to be judged based on merit “ this country is a fuck up” he said. Another candidate, Tobi explained that he had applied to the police before now and he was shocked that he was not recruited and expressing fears that now that the slots have been cornered by lawmakers the leftovers will not be much to accommodate the remaining candidates. Efforts to reach the Force Public Relations Officer Jimoh Moshood was abortive as he was not reach- •Picture of one of the letters alleged to have emanated from the House of able on the telephone. Representatives

Customs ceases unpaid duty goods worth N124m

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he Nigeria Customs Service Tincan Islan Port said it has seized items with a duty paid value worth N124 million naira within January to April of its operation this year. Making this known was the Area Controller of the Command, Comptroller Musa Abdullahi in Lagos stating that 1x40 and 1x20 containers of tramadol Hydrochloride which were declared as electrical static converters and ciprofloxacin were ceased. He said the agency is collaborating with the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to determine on the issue. According to the Comptroller 3x40 containers of E- Waste which are considered toxic to the environment/ health were cease and the agency is also collaborating with NESREA on the seizure. Abdullahi said among other seizures were 5x40 containers of second hand clothing consisting of about 1,2239 bales of clothing prohibited under the absolute import prohibition list moreso 1x40 container of used tyres as contain in import prohibition list for trade. The service disclosed that it has generated N104.5 billion revenue to the Federal Government coffers between January and April 2018. The command also disclosed that the amount was against its projection of N116 billion. It however, rated the performance to 90.09 per cent. He equally revealed that the Federal Government initiative on export, especially agricultural commodities, yielded results in the command with the exportation of 45,462 metric tons of goods with Free On Board (FOB) value of N29.146 billion.

Customers in trouble for stealing prostitutes’ phones

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•Area Controller Tincan Islan Port Nigeria Customs Service Comptroller Musa Abdullahi showing a ceased container containing tramadol

He gave the analysis of the export as 38,517 metric tons of agricultural products with FOB value of N22.435 billion, 6,945 metric tons, processed and manufactured goods export valued at N6.711 billion, adding that for the period under review, 45,462 metric tons of export valued at N29.146 billion was achieved when compared with the same period in 2017 where 8,140.6 metric tons valued at N7.246 billion was realised between January and March, 2017. The exported agricultural products include cashew nut, rubber, hibiscus flower, cocoa butter, sesame seeds, processed wood, frozen shrimps and processed leather. While the manufactured products exported within the same period include empty bottles, biscuit, cigarette, polyethylene, billets, soap, hair cream, and tissue papers. According to him, a comparative analysis of the revenue, against the collection of the previous year (2017) for the same period is the sum of

N82.154 billion, “there is an improvement in the figure of about N22.68 billion which is equivalent to an improvement of about 27.61 per cent.” The customs boss pointed out that the improved collection so far had been driven by the establishment of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), and strong revenue drive, achieved through blocking of areas of revenue leakages. The controller said the command was committed to the transformation of revenue collection and reporting system with the implementation of NICIS 2, with additional function ability which is an upgrade of NICIS 1. He, however, explained that as part of the specific gains the Command achieved as a result of the implementation, the Command now have the Biometric Access System, as well as the introduction of a ‘one stop shop’, which would enable treatment of declarations with valuables, classification and other related clearance issues/queries.

he Operatives of Rapid Response Squad of Police Lagos State Command have arrested two suspects who specialized in stealing mobile phones from prostitutes after lodging them in motels and sell to other prostitutes. The suspects, Semiu Obanla, 35, and David Edet, 32, both married, were arrested at an hotel in Abule-Egba, Lagos after a stolen phone was tracked to their hotel where they lodged. In his confession to the police, Semiu said, “David and I met at a site in Ikorodu where we both worked as labourers before extending the working relationship to friendship. Apart from working as a labourer in construction sites, I also work at the Idi-Iroko border where I assist smugglers to load and offload goods at the border posts”. He disclosed to the police that “sometime in February this year, I reconnected with David whom we had worked together at Ikorodu. I invited him to work at the border post after he had attempted to raise money through ‘Yahoo - Yahoo’ failed. “We connived to start stealing phones and valuables from our dates and prostitutes because David and I do visit the brothels for sexual pleasures after our daily work”. He explained, “That night after drinking at a bar in Atan area of Ogun State, David and I proceeded to negotiate with prostitutes in order to enjoy our night. Before approaching the prostitutes, we planned to steal their valuables. “The plan was successful. We had two unsuspecting prostitutes who believed we were good customers but didn’t know our motive. We

agreed for N5,000 for a night for each of the prostitutes. We payed N3,000 for the lodging overnight at a nearby motel which we used regularly”. “As planned, David was to sneak into my own room at around 3:00 a.m, to steal my phone and hers. In the morning we began to look for the phones, to the point that even the hotel workers joined us. “The following morning, David and I discovered her phone was an itel android phone, which we sold for N20,000 to another prostitute in Abule-Egba, Lagos, where we usually visit to have sexual pleasure. We sold the phone to one Chimedi popularly called Cyndi and shared the proceed”, he stated. “In another incident, sometime in April, I met a lady in a public transport while David and I were going from Atan to Idi-iroko. I spoke with the lady whom I later invited to our regular drinking bar. “On the fateful day, as usual, David and I planned how to steal the lady’s mobile phone and flee the scene. When the lady arrived the bar where we were waiting for her, David and I sat separately to avoid being spotted together. “I purposely used the lady’s phone till the battery went low. I offered to help her charge the phone inside the bar. She agreed and released it to me unwary of my being a stranger. “I kept the phone in my pocket and walked out to tell her I was helping her to charge it. I then pretended I was receiving calls, and I stepped outside the bar from where I fled on a motorcycle and David followed suit. “We proceeded to the Abule-Egba brothel to sell the phone as usual.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

NEWS

Community condemns Fulani herdsman over rape 14yr-old school girl By CHINEDU NWAFOR

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14 year-old girl, Favour Okugbo of the Union Secondary school in Agueke-Isu who hails from Umuifi community of Anioma-Isu in Onicha local government area of Ebonyi State, has been raped by a Fulani herdsman. A community leader in the area, Festus Nwachukwu, told journalists that the Fulani herdsman has been arrested by the police even as he described his action as an abominable act in the community. “Even though the suspect has been arrested by the police, the act that was committed by the Fulani herdsman is an abomination to our land and we are going to carrying out a cleansing ceremony on the land so that it will remain fertile”. Nwachukwu further alleged that the activities of Fulani herdsmen in Umuifi Anioma-Isu community had become a serious threat to the agricultural revolution of the state, saying that the herdsmen had been destroying their farms and threatening the peaceful coexistence of the Onicha people. “The Fulani herdsmen are destroying our farms; if you want to talk to them they will threaten you with knives; our major occupation is farming; we can no more farm because of this menace; they are fond of using their cows to destroy our farmlands and crops. “The government policies on agriculture are being threatened in Onicha LGA. I came back from church on Sunday of 9th April and learnt that this girl was raped by a Fulani man when she went to the farm to get vegetables; and that if she refuses he will kill her; he used the knives to beat her on the back and then raped her. “What has happened is an abomination in our land; the man has damaged the fertility of the land and we are going to use cows, fouls and many cartons of beers and palm wine to bless the land.” Narrating her ordeal, Favour Okugbo, who said she has been sad over the incident called on the state government to look into the activities of Fulani herdsmen in Umuifi community in order to avert any negative episode involving young girls in the near future. “I went to the farm to fetch vegetables when I was attacked by a Fulani herdsman. He came to our farm with his cows and cross the cow around; he asked me if am with water and food, I said no; he now went and got more cows to surround me; he told me that if I allow him to have sex with him, that he will give me N700. I refused and started running away. He chased me and used the back of his cutlass on my back so I fell and he raped me. “I feel sad; I want the government to come to my aid as young girls like me are no longer safe to go the farm and help our parent; government should make sure the arrested Fulani herdsmen is prosecuted according to the law. Every Fulani herdsmen with bad intention should be meant to leave our land.” Reacting, a member of the State Committee on Herdsmen, Mr. Amechi Oken, who extolled Governor David Umahi for putting machineries in place to checkmate the excesses of herdsmen in the state added that the Committee had been up and doing in visiting locations where skirmishes between herdsmen and farmers occur in order to proffer solutions.

Abia Govt signs MoU with Rwanda on mutual development

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wanda and Abia State government have agreed to work together for mutual development of both governments following an agreement reached by both parties during the just-concluded 2018 Transform Africa Summit hosted in Kigali, the Rwandan capital. The agreement was signed, Wednesday May 9, 2018 at the Ministry of External Affairs of Rwanda in Kigali by the Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu and Ambassador Olivier J.P Nduhungirehe, the Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs, who signed for his country. Remarking at the ceremony, Ikpeazu who was in Kigali for the 2018 Transform Africa Summit, said he had studied the impressive socioeconomic growth of the east African country with a view to adapting

some of the success strategies of the Paul Kagame government to ensure that Abians enjoy dividends of democracy. Giving a brief background about Abia, Ikpeazu stated that Abia is one of the most economically viable states in Nigeria, with the largest concentration MSMEs in the country, Abia is a base for massive industrial and commercial activities and can feed the entire continent with various manufactured goods from her MSME centre Aba. The Governor promised to work with the authorities in Abuja to ensure that Nigeria become part of SMART AFRICA, adding that Abia state will benefit greatly from the single market platform being canvassed by AU due to th entrepreneurial and commercial nature of

his people, the biggest assets of the state. Ikpeazu said his administration is in the process of recalibrating the economy of the state hence his desire to look for partnerships with progressive countries like Rwanda, who have advanced greatly in technology and other sectors. He said he plans to build a smart city and will leverage the opportunity of his participation during the TSA 2018 to hold discussion with investors and developers. Ambassador Nduhungirehe, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Clare Akamanzi, the CEO of Rwanda Development Board, both thanked Ikpeazu for his description of the opportunities in Abia State. Ambassador Nduhungirehe said that President Paul Kagame was

leading the move to economically integrate Africa into a single market to promote intercontinental trade which will evolve into a new Africa that is united, prosperous and ease cross border trade. He assured that Rwanda remains keen with partnering with Abia State especially in the areas of trade, commerce, ICT, agriculture even as he proposed an economic partnership that will be of mutual benefit for their citizens. The envoy said Rwandan minister stated that the country will liaise its envoy in Nigeria to schedule a visit to Abia soon.

IPOB rejects Ohaneze Summit, as face-off deepens By THEO RAYS, Onitsha

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• Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu (r) swearing-in the new Head of Service (HoS) of the state, Sir Onyi Wamah at the Executive Council Chambers in Government House Umuahia, Friday

LASG to provide viewing centres for World Cup

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agos State Government (LASG) has said it would provide viewing centres in three locations, Ajegunle, Alimosho and Mushin, for the World Cup matches during Russia 2018. Chairman, Lagos State Sports Commssion (LSSC), Kweku Tandoh, said this at the 2018 ministerial press briefing at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa, Ikeja, Tuesday. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the ministerial press briefing was in commemoration of Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode’s third year in office. Tandoh said that the state government considered providing the viewing centres due to the importance of football. Nigeria is playing alongside 31 other nations in the world tournament, taking place from June 14 to July 15 in Russia. According to Tandoh, the viewing centres will also give those

who cannot afford to own a Pay TV decoder opportunity to view the matches. “Lagos State government has concluded plans to construct viewing centres in three locations, Mushin Alimosho and Ajegunle, for the people in those areas to view the world cup. “This will give opportunity to those that cannot afford the Pay TV to watch those matches live. This will give them a chance to watch those matches via the centres government will provide. “We know the importance of football in the heart of the people, hence, the government has made the provision so that our people will enjoy the world cup,’’ he said. Tandoh said that government knew the importance of grassroots football and would also continue to provide adequate support to the school sports.

“We will continue to provide adequate support for the school sports and developmental programmes that have yielded positive results. “We have Joy Gabriel, a product of “Adopt a Talent’’ programme who has gone through and represented Lagos State at Nigeria School Sports Festival and also represented Nigeria at the just concluded Commonwealth Games. “She won a bronze medal and also got to the semifinals in the individual 100 metres women race. Precious Okoronkwo was discovered during the Eko 2012 and has been representing Lagos. “The Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC) sponsored the annual Ola-Oki Lagos Scrabble Competition last year; the objective was to improve students’ word power and intelligent quotient ,’’ he said.

he lingering face-off between Ohaneze Ndigbo and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) appears to have gone deeper as IPOB has rejected the proposed Summit on Restructuring of Nigeria being organised by Ohaneze and scheduled to hold in Awka the Anambra State Capital next week. IPOB in a statement issued by the Director of Media and Publicity Emma Powerful stated that the Awka Summit is not in the best interest of Biafrans thus, the Summit should not be allowed to hold in Biafra land. Powerful said that IPOB members are ready to stop the Summit at all cost adding that IPOB will saturate Anambra State to make sure that the Summit didn’t hold. “IPOB and its leadership worldwide wish to draw attention of all Biafrans, both home and abroad, that 21st May 2018 is the D-Day Chief John Nnia Nwodo and his Ohaneze Ndigbo group has slated to kill Biafrans once again in our land. Nnia Nwodo has managed to convince himself and some Igbo politicians beholden to Sokoto caliphate into using their Restructuring Nigeria Summit as a cover to further enslave our people for another 100 years. To make us loyal servants of Fulani caliphate and entrench irreversible Arewa Islamic hegemony in Igbo parts of Biafraland forever. “These are the same people that instigated Operation Python Dance II that led to the murder of hundreds of IPOB youths, due to their hatred for Biafra and everything Nnamdi Kanu stood for. These traitors cannot be allowed to celebrate their betrayal of our freedom using the cover of a summit. “IPOB had since warned Nnia Nwodo and his collaborators in Ohaneze not to bring their One Nigeria summit to the heartland of Biafra but they remain adamant. The only way this summit can hold is unless the heaven falls on the 21st of May. It seems Nnia Nwodo and his Ohaneze Ndigbo don’t understand the language of liberty, we shall meet them head-on in Awka on the 21st at Ekwueme Square. They better bring enough squadron of their Fulani soldier friends as always to provide them protection and kill us all because the summit will not hold. “We look forward to meeting Nnia Nwodo and his Fulani soldiers in Awka on the 21st of May 2018. They better come prepared,” the statement said.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

NEWS Obi of Onitsha calls tolerance, respect among Nigerians By IBE NWACHUKWU

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he Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe has charged Nigerians to be tolerant and have mutual respect for one another, irrespective of religious and ethnic differences. He said the major thing required by humanity, as children of God is to find out the purpose of God\s creation and why God created us in the first instance. Achebe who spoke, Tuesday, at his palace in Onitsha when a team of Pastors from the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Province of Distinction, Onitsha, led by its Provincial Pastor, Pastor Robert Joshua Igbo paid him a courtesy call, said as children of God whose all religions end up with God, we must love and respect fellow humans, whether we are blacks or whites, Christians or n on Christians. According to Achebe, “We should not fight ourselves. Christianity is derived from Christ. We should maintain peace at all times. We are all children of God and we must respect God and our fellow beings”. Earlier, Pastor Igbo who was accompanied by Pastor Emmanuel Eyiuche in-charge of Covenant Zone and other zonal pastors under the Province of Distinction, explained that they decided to pay the courtesy visit on Achebe to inform him that the Onitsha Province had just been established in his domain. Igbo who presented a gift item to Achebe, further told him that their visit was in line with the Biblical injunction which states that “we should pray for our leaders at all time so that they will be righteous an d we will rejoice”.

Give 5yr warranty for every project executed -- Delta Govt. tells contractors

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elta State Government has directed contractors handling various construction works in the state to give a five-year warranty on every contract executed. State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Peter Mrakpor, who gave the directive at a Ministerial Press Briefing in Asaba, Monday, said that the move was aimed at checking substandard projects in the state. “His Excellency, Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa had recently directed that henceforth, for any contract awarded, the contractor must as matter of principle, give the state government a five-year warranty on the job. “This position (of the state government) is aimed at checkmating the poor execution of construction projects across the state, because we have come to realise that most contractors are fond of delivering substandard jobs. “As a government that is committed and determined to give the people of the state quality infrastructure and services, we would no longer take poor execution of contracts from contractors. That is why the governor decided that we must find a way to check the sharp practices of contractors. “So, we decided to come up with this correctional measure to ensure quality for money, ” Mrakpor said. The commissioner explained that with the five-year warranty, the contractor would bear any cost of reconstruction emanating from the execution of a substandard job in the event of any development.

Hoodlums torch Imo APC secretariat T By COLLINS UGHALAA

he crisis in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) worsened on Friday when hoodlums set the party secretariat on fire. Recall that the “Allied Forces”, the opponents of the Governor in the APC led by Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, gathered at the state secretariat last Friday dancing and making merry while the ward congress was supposed to be going on across the 305 wards in the state. Though the fire did not affect the external parts of the building, the internal parts were engulfed by the blaze. When The Oracle Today visited the state secretariat located at the Imo State University (IMSU) Junction by Works Layout in Owerri in the evening amidst heavy downpour, the secretariat which was a

rented apartment was still engulfed in smoke. No staff of the party was seen at the secretariat but onlookers watched from afar as the smoke surged. It was gathered that secretarial equipment, including files and documents, were destroyed in the inferno. Firefighters were not seen on ground as of the time of the visit, neither did anybody make efforts to quench the fire. When contacted, the state party chairman, Chief Hilary Eke, confirmed the development and accused those whom he said attacked the party state office last weekend for being responsible for the arsonist’s attack on the secretariat. He said that the unidentified hoodlums attacked the secretariat “just to frustrate the Local Govern-

ment Areas congress of the party on Saturday”, vowing that the exercise must go on. He maintained that the contentious wards congress of the party was successful, and urged those “who lost during the last weekend exercise to give peace a chance.” Also confirming the development, Governor Okorocha said the party secretariat was “set ablaze by thugs obviously working for the opponents of the administration and they had hidden under the heavy rain in Owerri at that time, to carry out the disdainful act”. The Governor who was reacting through his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo also said: “It should be recalled that APC in Imo has remained a peaceful party until the entry of those known for thuggery and carrying of ballot boxes into the party.

“Their frustration must have arisen from their inability to convince leaders of APC and Nigerians in general that they didn’t steal the Sensitive materials meant for the Ward Congresses of the Party in the State last Saturday, being May 5, 2018. “Obviously their current claims have heavily contradicted their claims on video that Saturday and thereby making it difficult for them to convince their audience that they never stole Sensitive materials for the Ward Congresses in the State. “Governor Rochas Okorocha in all his political life has not been known for political thuggery or violence. And that is the reason those in the so-called Coalition are exceeding their bound even when most of them have not won their booths in any election.”

Nnewi celebrates 2018 World Communication Day By OGE ONYEANUSI

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• Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu (second left) handing over new operational vehicles to the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) (Research and Development), Mr. Valentine Ntomchukwu at the Government House Umuahia, Friday, as Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in charge of Zone 9 Umuahia, Mr. H.H Karma and the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Anthony Ogbizi watch

Onu, Elechi have no legacies -- Umahi By CHINEDU NWAFOR

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overnor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi state has challenged his predecessors, former Governor of old Abia state and current Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu and his new found friend, the immediate past Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief Martin Elechi to a ‘legacies debate.’ He said the duo had no legacies as former governors. The visibly angry Umahi said Onu and Elechi were busy plotting the downfall of his administration because they were jealous of his achievements. But he assured he would retire all his opponents in 2019 general election the way he did in 2015. He spoke while addressing party faithfuls in Ohaukwu local government area of the state at a mega rally organized in his honor. He frowned at what he termed high level of propaganda against his administration by the duo through young men they contracted to dish out falsehood on facebook. “Let me challenge Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu. When he was a governor, there was nothing Ohaozara people or old Afikpo people can show for it There is nothing Elechi can say is his legacy in this state, why don’t you leave us alone? Let me assure you

that by the powers that brought us to power, we shall retire all of them in 2019, we shall retire all of them. And let me tell them something, if they say they are leaders, I challenge them let us open a debate. Even if they want, let us go to their national party secretariat, I will meet them there. Let us debate about the future of this state and you will see they have nothing. ”When I went to Ikwo few days ago, I stood at the community of the immediate past Governor, Martin Elechi and I wept. I immediately directed the construction of one road that will pass through the front of his house. The only road that is good in Ikwo is built by me. Today, I am building four more roads that are all going on in Ikwo local government. “Let me tell you something. They are so frustrated that they went to Facebook to write falsehood about me; they have contracted young men to write falsehood against me. They are digging and burying their destinies. Criticize us objectively but not to go to Facebook and write rubbish about us. I meet will them on the face book very soon. “They said I have a pact with Senator Anyim that I will do four years and he will do four years, which kind four years? My own na complete eight years. They came again and

said I have been suspended from PDP, are you suspending a man that is Landlord? Na we own PDP”, he said. Umahi disclosed that he has contracted five Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) against the suit filed by opposition members in the state seeking to stop $150millon loan he sort from the African Development Bank and Islamic Bank. “On 21st of this month, African Development Bank is coming from Abidjan to go round the ring road and determine the date of the award of the ring road. It is a shame that it is those who are benefiting most from the ring road are the ones that went to court. But I engaged them in the court with five Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs). “From 21st of this month, we are going to empower 13,000 youths and women of this state. we are going to empower all the political parties not only the PDP, all the political parties are going to get empowerment from wards to local governments and to the state. this is the taste of empowerment because whether you are APC, PDP, Labour or whatever party, they are my subjects and I want to make them powerful so that they will be able to have transport to vote for me”, he said.

atholic Bishop of Nnewi Most Rev .Hilary Paul Odili Okeke has charged the media practitioners to avoid fake news and fight towards truth while inseminating information in the society. In his homily said by Rev .Fr Chidiebere Ughaerumba during a Holy mass to mark this year World Day Communication day, which was established by Pope Paul vi in 1957, is an annual celebration that encourage the Christians to reflect a opportunities to the modern means of social communication to reinforce the church to preach the gospel of truth. Fr. Ughaerumba who noted that the only truth can save Nigeria free form bad leadership and tasked journalists to practice without attach selfinterest the better society. Rev, Ughaerumba whose homily centered on message of Pope Francis, the truth shall set you free, fake news ans journalist for peace and called on the journalist to lay commitment of saying the truth for the society and for all times. Delivering his message, the Most Rev Hiliary Paul Odili Okeke represented by Rev, Fr. Patrick Unaegbu , the Episcopal Vicar Nnewi Region, stated that the catholic church presents social communication as an important means of carry out its obligation to spread the truth of the gospel, According to him, the church is celebrating the communication day in order to tell people both catholic and others the importance of special communication and also be conscious of misuse of social media, added that the church develop very concern about the abuse of social media by people who use them to spread false and fake news. In his address, the Directors of the Diocese Nnewi , Rev, Fr. Dr. Martin Onwumeru said that the news today is energized by the viral power of social media, includes all kinds of information deliberately to circulate, added that fake news has more peddlers than those of truth. He urged the journalists and media practitioners to be always responsibility in order to the vehicle on the proper track by feeding their audience with credible and objective information, Contributing, the Hon member representing Idemili South Constituency, at Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon. Chuka Ezenwa charged the people in leadership position especially in Nigeria, to ensure that communication strategies form the basis of cooperation, solidarity, national unity, integration and prosperity.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

Love and Living

...With Ireto Temofeh

MODEL OF THE WEEK

LOVE NEWS

Buckingham Palace reveals elaborate notice signed by Queen to give her formal consent for Prince Harry to wed Meghan

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he document signed by the Queen giving her consent for Prince Harry to marry Meghan Markle has been unveiled. The Queen signed the Instrument of Consent in March — an elaborate notice of approval, transcribed in calligraphy, and issued under the Great Seal of the Realm. The document states: ‘Now know ye that we have consented and do by these presents signify our consent to the contracting of matrimony between our most dearly beloved grandson Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales KCVO and Rachel Meghan Markle.’ The wording differs from the instrument signed to give consent to the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011 when Kate was described as ‘our trusty and well-beloved’ Catherine. Harry took Meghan to meet the Queen for afternoon tea at Buckingham Palace in October last year to introduce her to the woman he wanted to wed. Although the monarch was unlikely to have withheld her blessing, she would only have said ‘no’ on the advice of the Prime Minister, whom she will have informed. For hundreds of years, the Royal Marriages Act 1772 required descendants of George II to seek the sovereign’s consent before they wed, otherwise their marriages were deemed invalid. But this law was repealed through

the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, which came into effect in 2015 when all the Commonwealth countries, where the Queen is head of state, passed any necessary legislation. The new Act still requires the first six people in the line of succession to obtain the Queen’s permission. Harry was fifth in line when he got engaged, but is now sixth with the birth of Prince Louis. If Harry failed to get the Queen’s approval, he and his future descendants would be disqualified from succeeding to the Crown. The Act was a radical shake-up of the rules of royal succession, removing male bias. Thanks to the new law, a member of the royal family can now also marry a Roman Catholic and not lose their place in the line of succession. But a Roman Catholic royal still cannot be king or queen. King George III, George II’s grandson, ordered the now repealed 1772 Act after his younger brother - the Duke of Cumberland - secretly married Lady Anne Horton, deemed to be a highly disreputable widow of a commoner. Labour peer Lord Dubs once branded the law ‘the Dangerous Dogs Act of its day’, saying it was ‘passed in haste owing to George III’s chagrin that his relatives were getting married without consulting him’. There is no requirement that royals marry someone of royal or aristocratic blood.

Name: Chika Tel: 08123423134 • If you want to be our next ORACLE GIRL, e-mail or forward your photos/data to ireto007@yahoo.com. Call 07031028714.

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ODD NEWS

drinks industry expert has revealed how to make the perfect gin and tonic Sam Carter from Bombay Sapphire, said ginger and mint are perfect ingredients He revealed that lemon and lime soaked in water can make the G&T ‘musty’ Many of would be outraged if our G&T was served without a slice of lemon or lime. But according to a gin expert these garnishes should be avoided at costs when it comes to making the perfect gin & tonic. Sam Carter, a senior ambassador at Bombay Sapphire, told Business Insider that the citrus fruits add ‘mustiness’. The expert, who has 22 years experience in the drinks industry, said the perfect ingredients for a gin & tonic are actually ginger and mint. According to Carter, lemon and lime that has been sitting around in water

Expert says using lemon or lime can ruin your drink can ruin the taste of your drink. He said: ‘It just adds a real fusty, mustiness to it.’ Carter advises that ginger, which should be put in the glass first, and a spring of mint are the perfect addition to a G&T because they ‘pull on two of the botanicals in the gin’. He also said the perfect mixture is one part gin and two parts tonic, and the more ice the better. And your enjoyment of your G&T can also be affected by your choice of glass, with a balloon glass being the preferred choice and a burgundy red wine glass at a close second. These glasses allow the drinker to get their noses right inside them, giving them a good whiff of the drink -

part of the enjoyment of a good G&T. Carter said the choice of tonic made a huge difference, and revealed that Fever Tree and Schweppes Cucumber Tonic were his favourites. Gin lovers were sent into a frenzy recently when popular brand launched Premium Pink Distilled Gin & Tonic cans for £1.80 a tin at four major supermarkets in time for the first May bank holiday weekend. Gordon’s Pink Gin, which launched last year, is said to taste of raspberries and redcurrants with a touch of juniper. It has now been pre-mixed with Schweppes Tonic in tins, which are on sale at Asda, Morrisons, Tesco and the Co-op.

ROMANTIC JOKE ROGER!

Roger is a hard worker, and he spends most of his nights bowling or playing volleyball. One weekend, his wife decides that he needs to relax a little and take a break from sports, so she takes him to a strip club. The doorman at the club spots them and says “Hey Roger! How are you tonight?” His wife, surprised, asks her husband if he has been here before. “No, no. He’s just one of the guys I bowl with.” They are seated, and the waitress approaches, sees Roger and says “Nice to see you, Roger. A gin and tonic as usual?” His wife’s eyes widen. “You must come here a lot!” “No, no” says Roger “I just know her from volleyball.” Then a stripper walks up to the table. She throws her arms around Roger and says “Roger! A table dance as usual?” His wife, fuming, collects her things and storms out of the bar. Roger follows her and spots her getting into a cab, so he jumps into the passenger seat. His wife looks at him, seething with fury and flips out on Roger. Just then, the cabby leans over and says “Sure looks like you picked up a bitch tonight, Roger!”


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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

True Confession

I gave my boyfriend’s baby to my husband

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’m Justina. I live in Kaduna. I got married to a rich businessman 15 years ago. But sadly, we had no child for 10 years. When I went for a test, I was told there’s nothing wrong with me. My husband never wanted to go for a test. But after much pressure, he opened up and told me that he had an infection on his manhood long ago and that a doctor had told him that he might never be able to impregnate a woman. At that time, my mother-in-law was threatening to throw me out of my husband’s house on account of my ‘barreness’. She never knew her son was the cause. And my husband could not tell her. My husband begged me not to tell his mother. But as time passed, the threat to give birth or pack out became unbearable. And I told my husband that he has to find a solution quickly because I can’t continue to suffer in silence. We weighed several options. I wanted us to adopt, but my husband said adopting a child would expose him as a man unable to impregnate his wife and his mother would know. Then I told him that we could buy a baby. But my husband was afraid of the risk involved in the illegal trading of babies. Later, I was surprised when my husband said that it would be better for me to get a boyfriend to impregnate me and claim that it was my husband’s pregnancy. The idea sounded good, but I reminded my husband that we would have to pay the young man for it. But my husband said he was going to arrange everything. My husband left Kaduna the following day and travelled to Ibadan to rent a flat for me. When my husband returned from Ibadan, he ordered me to relocate to the house he had just rented at Ibadan and that after the job was done, I should return to Kaduna. So that was how I went to live in Ibadan for nine months pretending to be a spinster. I got a boyfriend from The Polytechnic and within three months of sleeping with him, I discovered I was pregnant. Quietly, I packed my bags and left Ibadan back to Kaduna state without even telling the poor boy that I was pregnant for him. My husband was pleased. The baby turned out to be a boy and my mother-inlaw no longer troubles me. I don’t regret not telling my boyfriend in Ibadan that I was pregnant for him, because if I had told him, he would have tried to blackmail me in order to extort money from me. Young men of these days like to blackmail married woman, so I think I did the best thing in the circumstances. It would be impossible for him to trace me all the way from Ibadan to Kaduna,

especially because he never even knew I got pregnant, not to mention giving birth. Besides, what purpose would it have served if I had told the poor boy that is obviously not ready to have a child at the age of 24?

A married woman that needs a boy to impregnate her should never tell him when she gets pregnant. Instead, she should quietly return to her impotent husband. After all, I’m now my husband’s next of kin since I’ve given him a male child. And

when my husband dies, me and my child will inherit his wealth without stress from his family. Do you have a story or comment about this confession? Call 07031028714.


35

The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

Relationships and Love Advice

My ex is back again with his sweet tongue

Love Search Women seeking relationship/ marriage Oluchi, 34, tall, dark, busty, single mother, in Festac Town, Lagos, needs a responsible, working Igbo man from 3845 years for marriage. 08164007657. Juli, 24, Igbo girl, pretty and very sexy, living in Okota, Lagos, wants a sugar daddy. Text 07031028714. Deborah, 35, Igbo, orphan, needs a widower from 35-45 years. He must be educated, humble, tall, educated, comfortable, for marriage. 07065658063. Nkiru, 31, from Enugu, needs a responsible young man for a serious relationship. 08063677573. Arin Ola, 42, a divorcée with a kid, wants a honest man for a relationship that can lead to marriage. 07082807656.

Dear Love Doctor, I am currently in a really loving relationship. We’ve only been together a year and a half, but it’s been a really great relationship. My boyfriend is sweet, amazing, kind, loving, and very protective. I worked really hard to be with him, and I love him more than I could ever describe. However, my ex boyfriend who maltreated me so much in the past is now coming back into my life by trying to sweet-talk me again. And I have fallen for him again and slept with him again against my will. What do I do to keep my ex out of my life? From, Tina. Lagos.

Love Doctor’s Advice: Dear Tina,

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f he truly had fixed his unacceptable behaviors you wouldn’t have ended it. Do you want a relationship in which the other person doesn’t change but bends over backwards to make you happy each time he screws up? If that didn’t work for you then, why would it work for you now? You really need to stop acting immature, grow up and let go of your ex for good, so that you can move

forward in your love life. NOTE: In order to help women seeking relationship and marriage have a fuller figure and better shapes and curves, intimate products are available for you, such as hips and breast enhancement products and products that help ladies to have bigger buttocks. Call for more details.

ROMANTIC QUESTION OF THE WEEK:

Chichi, 28, from Abia, needs a caring, God fearing, loving man for marriage. 08130775977

A girl via 07031139789, is asking all men: “Why do some men prefer to date a married woman even while she is still living with her husband?”

Call Love Doctor: 07031028714, 08131161840, 08077821830 for Counseling, infertility & Direct Hookup.

Text your romantic questions and answers to 08131161840 or 07031028714. • For questions or advice concerning this problem, call 07031028714 or 08077821830. Email: ireto007@yahoo.com. BlackBerry Pin: 7F45F77E.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Holy Family Catholic Church, FESTAC Town, Lagos, in conjunction with Singles & Married Devotional Prayer Group presents its 3rd Movie Night. Date: 21st May, 2018. Time: 7:30pm. Theme: “When your marriage vows could mean your life”

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 Ajibola, 38, in Lagos, needs a serious lady above 30 years for a genuine relationship that can lead to marriage. 08075821083. Emeka, tall, handsome, works in Lagos, wants a mature, sexy, working lady in Lagos for friendship. 08077821830. Dele, 50, a media practitioner, needs a working class career lady of 30-38 years for intimate loving relationship that could ultimately climax into decent marriage. 08030729579. Kunle, 40, widower, fair, tall, medical, wants a caring woman from 28 years and above from any tribe. 08103329049. Uche needs a tall, busty lady in Lagos between 20-40 years. 08131161840. Chigozie, 37, from Ebonyi, fair, 5.6ft, works in Lagos, needs a God-fearing, working class lady for a relationship leading to marriage. 08164630953.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

It happened to me:

I was a fool for love

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y name is Ijeoma and this is the story of how I met Azunna. I’m a radio broadcaster, so he walked into the office one day after months of interaction through the social media network. I was on duty the day he came so I didn’t really give him attention. So to make up for the “shabby” treatment I gave him, I sent him my mobile line which I don’t often do. From there we started talking and the love thing began. I was very inquisitive to know his marital status, and he said he was single, profession: Police officer. He quickly added that I shouldn’t see him as one of those “officers” that make new families in any city they were posted. He convinced me, so to say of his status as a graduate of political science from a good University. With time his younger brother started talking to me through his phone, sounding so excited speaking with this rare lady his strict brother fell in love with. My officer friend took time to explain some things to me especially his financial set back due to a project which I saw he handled. I didn’t mind so I made no single demand from him for the five months the relationship lasted, rather I spent because I felt my friend needed the

help. He asked for money to fuel the car which I did severally and he showed so much gratitude with promises to pay back when he stabilizes. He later took a loan of thirty thousand to support his red oil business he jointly does with his friend. I obliged because he promised to pay by the end of that month. One fateful day, we went to see an old friend of his who asked him about “MADAM”, actually that was the second person to ask him that aquestion. So I became curious to know who the MADAM was because I’ve repeatedly asked if he was married to the extent that his brother had to call me to say I should take his own words that his elder brother was single. That night was very ugly for us as he nearly hit an electric pole on the road out of anger in my inability to trust him. He said he had a live-in lover whom he did not marry and people seeing us together could still refer to me as his MADAM. I blamed myself for not trusting him and we moved on. He invited me to a place one day to show me his ex girlfriend who was married andexpecting her third baby, and we exchanged pleasantries. A few days later, he brought another ex of his with five children who still follows him about, though he was

assisting her with her husband’s police case. That one did not like my face and she did not hide it though they came to my house and my office on many occasions. I sought to know why he couldn’t let his ex be. He saw nothing wrong in being close to them still. I was to go for an official training that was to last ten weeks and that looked like ten years but I had to go, so for the third time in our five months, we spent the night together. I traveled two days later. When I saw three missed calls from his line, I happily called back only to hear a woman’s voice asking if I wasn’t done with her husband???? She didn’t even allow me utter a word. She called me all the names she could remember, and said I enticed her husband with my money and food. I still did not get it because the guy I was dealing with ‘proved’ that he was single, apart from his brother and those his women, he would return from weekends and say he was cleaning his house since no one was living inside. He operated from his semi urban city village while his station was in the capital where my office was. She kept calling till 10pm when she told me that my single boyfriend is a father of three!

I flashed back to the day I asked him of two little girls he used as his screen saver. He had told me that they were his nieces. However, I managed to send apologetic text messages to the woman explaining from my own angle all that happened. I fell sick, ashamed and sorry for my naivety. I felt bad when I recalled him saying, “No lady has ever been this nice to me. I won’t pay you back with a bad coin,” etc. It was hard for me because I did not tell him a single lie for the period the friendship lasted. I remembered a song by Don Williams entitled, “I’ll be faithful to you” that he always played for me whenever we were together. All the same, I switched my mind to other things and felt better. Thank God I was away from the city so I did not have to see him for ten weeks. Memories of him have now been replaced by other positive activities. Though he thinks we can still make up when I return, I do not know on what platform that will happen. I WAS A FOOL FOR LOVE. •Do you have a story or comment about this true confession? Call 07031028714.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

NEWS Mile One Market to be ready in December – Wike

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ivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has stated that the MileOne Market in Port Harcourt will be completed by December. Speaking after project inspection, Tuesday , Governor Wike said that the construction of the market is in fulfilment of his pledge to the people. “This is one of our signature projects. We are putting in place a befitting market for traders in the area. Recall that the immediate past administration promised to construct this market, but failed the people. “The contractor said that the market will be completed in September, but we are willing to allow him till December. They are delivering a quality market,” said the governor. Governor Wike visited projects that will be commissioned during the third year anniversary of the administration. He said that the commissioning of projects will begin on May 23, 2018. Projects visited include: National Industrial Court, Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board Headquarters, Woji-Akpajo Bridge and Road, Produce House, Bishop Johnson, Creek Road, Cultural Centre and Doctors Quarters. “We are going round to see how prepared we are for the third year anniversary of our administration. We are quite impressed with what we have seen. Virtually 95 percent of the projects are ready. I am happy with the quality. The contractors are now finishing the key projects ,” he said.

Treat Naira with care, CBN urges Nigerians

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he Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has once again called on Nigerians to handle the Naira with care, as it was a symbol of the nation’s identity and pride. The Deputy Governor, Corporate Services Directorate, Mr Edward Adamu, reiterated this on Tuesday in Abuja at CBN’s 2018 International Museum Day celebrations. He said the CBN housed the Currency Museum, which explained the evolution of money in Nigeria from the pre-colonial era to the con-

temporary times. He said the CBN hoped that through the activities of the Currency Museum, members of the public would be better educated on how to properly handle the naira and other related matters. “The Naira as a symbol of our national pride should not be sprayed or step on, should not be squeezed, defaced or stained. The naira should not be sold or counterfeited. Be a role model by neatly arranging the Naira in pouches, wallets or enve-

lopes, he said. Also, the Deputy Director, Currency Operations Department, Mr Vincent Wuranti, said the way and manner people handled the Naira affected its life span. He explained that a lot of effort was put into the design and production of the nation’s currency, hence the need to respect it. According to him, the different banknotes feature portraits of Nigerian heroes, agriculture, solid minerals and other things that illustrate

PENGASSAN hails Reps decision on NLNG

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C’ River inaugurates LOCs for Falcons, Flying Eagles’ matches By ANIEKAN ANIEKAN, Calabar

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he Cross River State Government has inaugurated a 21 man Local Organizing Committee to take charge of the upcoming international matches which will take place Calabar. The matches which will be played at the U. J. Esueue International Stadium are matches involving the U-20 Men’s National Team, who will take on their counterparts from Guinea Bissau on the 19th of May 2018 as well as the Super Falcons game against the Gambian Female National Team on the 12th of June, 2018. Speaking in Calabar while inaugurating the LOC in his office, the Cross River State Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Comrade Asu Okang said the state governor, Ben Ayade will foot the bill of the games hence the matches will be tollfree for soccer-loving fans in the city. “His Excellency, Senator Professor Ben Ayade has directed that the matches will be toll-free for all sports lovers. Everything about security is in place for both the national and the visiting teams. It is expected that the stadium which has 10,000 capacity be filled that day”. He said the city has been very fruitful for national teams in the country emphasizing that this will not be an exception as everything has been done to ensure that the national teams have a successful outing. He commended the governor for his interest in sports development in the state which has lead to marked improvement in the soccer fortunes of the state and also expressed appreciation to the governor for placing 100 members of the supporters club on a monthly salary. Special Adviser to the Governor on Sports, Hon. Effiom Effiwatt who spoke on behalf of members of the committee pledged the determination of his committee to ensure that the games are successful. He urged Cross Riverians to turn out en masse to support the teams irrespective of Ayade’s benevolent nature of declaring the matches toll free.

the Nigerian culture and economy. Section 21 of the CBN Act 2007 states that the abuse of Naira such as squeezing, staining, writing, spraying and illegal sales amongst others are punishable offences. The act states that the offender must pay nothing less than N50, 000 or face a jail term of six months or both. Section 20 (4) of the CBN act 2007 provides penalty of not less than five years in jail for counterfeiting the Naira with no option of fine.

• Jewish worshipers outside the court premises after the arraignment of nine of them arrested during a prayer session at Nnamdi Kanu’s home Sunday in Umuahia.

Navy acquires 173 boats to boost maritime operations – CNS Ibas

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igerian Navy (NN) acquired 173 assorted boats, including Epenal boats, Rigid Hull Inflatable boats and Hydrographic Survey boats in 2017 to boost its operations in the maritime domain, the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Adm. Ibok-Ete Ibas, said. The naval chief disclosed this at a news conference on Tuesday in Abuja as part of activities to mark Navy’s 62nd anniversary celebration taking place between May 23 and June 1. Ibas said the theme of the 2018 Navy Week celebration is “Enhancing an Integrated Maritime Strategy for Security in the Gulf of Guinea.” Represented by Rear Adm. Begroy Ibe-Enwo, the Chief of Naval Transformation, Ibas said the boats had enhanced navy’s capacity to police and carry out surveillance of Nigeria’s maritime environment. He said boosting the navy fleet had been a top priority consideration of his leadership. He added that “it is my great pleasure to inform you that NN concomitantly acquired the 173 assorted boats, including Epenal boats, Rigid Hull Inflatable boats, and Hydrographic Survey boats in the last one year. “The navy also acquired ships from some foreign countries and

complemented local construction of ships and boats. In addition, defective NN ships are being refitted at the Naval Dockyard Limited Victoria Island, Lagos and the Naval Shipyard Limited Port Harcourt to ensure availability. “The NN recently acquired six ocean fast patrol boats from France which will be inaugurated soon.” Ibas said the navy had also carried out several notable exercises and operations in 2017. He added that such operations were specifically aimed at checking crude oil theft, illegal bunkering, piracy/sea robbery and illegal fishing, among others. “Operation Tsare Teku and River Sweep are ongoing operations to address illegalities in the Blue and Brown waters respectively.” He noted that the maritime exercise had assisted the NN in reducing the menace of piracy and other criminal activities in the Gulf of Guinea since its inception in 2011. He disclosed that at least 42 vessels had been arrested so far for involving in various illegalities in Nigeria’s maritime domain and were undergoing various stages of investigations for subsequent prosecution. “Furthermore, NN personnel were involved in various internal

security operations in some states of the federation, including Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and Plateau states. He noted that the navy had been unrelenting in its operations to protect the nation’s maritime environment against all forms of threats, stressing that “in this regard, NN routinely carries out surveillance and patrol of the maritime area with available surveillance systems, ships and helicopters.” He explained that the navy also upgraded its maritime surveillance equipment, including the Regional Maritime Awareness Capability (RMAC) and the Falcon Eye systems to improve maritime domain awareness. On activities for the 2018 Navy Week celebration, Ibas said the week would commence inauguration of some projects in the commands such as the Nigerian Navy Military School, Ikot Ntuen in Akwa Ibom, to be inaugurated on May 23. He noted that special juma’at prayers for the week activities would be held in Abuja area and the commands would hold theirs on May 25. He said there would be interdenominational Church service in Abuja and same would be held simultaneously in the commands on Sunday, May 27.

etroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) said on Tuesday that the House of Representatives’ decision on Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) was in the right direction. Public Relations Officer of PENGASSAN, Mr Fortune Obi, gave the commendation while fielding questions from newsmen in Lagos on Tuesday. According to Obi, the lawmakers took the right decision by cautioning the Federal Government on the proposed sale of its shares in NLNG. He said the warning was in tandem with PENGASSAN’s position on the need for the government to retain its shares’ ownership in the company. “About 18,000 jobs in the sector will be affected if the proposed plan is carried out. Government should instead, explore other options to fund the economy rather than sell the NLNG. “Its dividends was used to start and finance the economy when Nigeria was in recession,’’ said the PENGASSAN spokesman. He said the NLNG model had been the best option so far and should be replicated in other government failed ventures such as the refineries and others. He cautioned that the losses that would accrue from the sale of the NLNG far outweighed its gains, adding that there were other options the government might/ adopt to resuscitate the economy. “NLNG has bailed out the country when it was in recession as proceeds from its dividends were used to finance the economy. “Those investors who were clamouring for the sales of Federal Government shares in NLNG should find another means of injecting their resources into the economy instead of buying a successful company,’’ Obi said. He advised those who were clamouring for the sale of the gas company to set up their own LNG project. According to him, this will go a long way to help the country in utilising its large gas reserves as well as eradicating gas flaring in the country.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

ENTERTAINMENT

With Douglas Omoyooma

I’m crushing on Eedris Elba – Chika Ike Actress, Chika Ike has carved a niche for herself in the Nigerian entertainment space no doubt. In this chat with oracle today she opens up on her reality TV show, African Diva and reveals that American actor, Eedris Elba is her crush.

What inspired African Diva? It was my desire to give young African woman a platform to be discovered basically. There was also the need to do something that will also add value to people such that even if I am not around, the show goes on. How has the response been? Initially, people were like wow! This show is different. we have not seen a show like this before where girls are not seen as beautiful only because of physical looks but by what they have inside of them. It was greatly accepted because the objective is to encourage girls to be stronger women and also to enhance our culture and tradition. I am glad that it has been embraced. Did you ever believe that African Dive could be this big? Honestly when I started, I knew that I was sowing a seed that will germinate and become a very big tree. But I also had doubts. However, I knew I had what it takes and if I kept working hard, the sky would be my limit. You seem to like Tyra Banks a lot. Do you consider her your role model? Yes for now. My role model depends on what I’m doing at a particular time so right now I’m doing this show; Tyra Banks is my major role model on this show because I like the way she has helped a lot of girls in America discover their modeling career. I want to help a lot of girls in Africa discover how strong they are as an African Woman.

I love Idris Elba. He is my latest crush. Who is Chika Ike when she is not on camera? I think I am quite reserved but my job exposes me a lot. I am laid back though and not very reserved. I am calm and not spontaneous when it comes to decision making, I am just your ordinary girl next door. How do you maintain such a perfect shape? I work out and eat right; I diet. How do you relax? When I am not working I travel. What is the craziest thing a fan has done to you? Wow! Although I don’t want it to happen again; I was coming home from church when a fan carried me off my feet and almost kissed. People can be crazy.

Could you describe the African Woman? The African Woman is strong, she is intellectually smart, a visionary someone that can multi-task. She is compassionate and someone who can make things happen in her home or her office and among people around her. She is the hero of any man’s dream. What movie are you currently shooting? Last year I released a movie entitled Miss Teacher in 2016 and it hit the cinema last year and I look forward to releasing another movie in the cinema this year. I played the role of a compassionate lovely, caring and generous lady. I love the fact that she was selfless. She is the woman I am looking forward to becoming. Which international male or female actor do you want to be on set with?

• Chika Ike


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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

Entertainment

Flexer GH out with I Go Rule

• Admonishes older musicians

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n June 24, all roads will lead to Altima Studios, Lekki, Lagos, for this year’s edition of comedy shows, Expensive Laughter with MOG. Speaking with Oracle Today, the comedian said: “we are back and better! Lover of comedy are in for a swell time as we host this year’s edition of Expensive Laughter with MOG which holds on JUne 24 and featuring some of the finest brands in the industry. “Watch out for the likes of Klint da Drunk, Gordons, helen Paul and Elder O among a host of others and the event will be anchored by Frank Edoho.

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hanaian reggae/dancehall act and Bada Movement (BM) signee, Flexer GH is out with a new single entitled I Go Rule and he boasts that he is poised to revolutionaries the music industry. Speaking, he said: “Yes we can do it. Bad Movement is here to stay. Listen to my latest single, I Go Rule and you will understand that BM is not here for jokes. I Salute all my fan and please, always remember, Bada Movement is for life. I want every upcoming artist to stay focused and never give up. Any artist who sees his today and not tomorrowis one without vision. Today, we have many studios hence we can record easily so why should we give up? When Samini, Shatta Wale and Sarkodie started way back, they never had the opportunities we have today. If you believe in yourself you will surely make it.” Calling on the older generation of musicians to beware he continued: “ I am a ‘demon’ of God and while checking out the powers within the industry spiritually, I laugh because I don’t see any spirit or power stronger than me spiritually. To those top artistes refusing to offer us advise now, never expect respect from me the Bada Movement boss when I finally boss up.” Commenting on his dreams he said: “I will one day control the industry like a toy in my hand. To every young artist out there, believe we are the real generation to make the music industry into what the seniors were not able to turn it into. We must make it in such a way that we wont be slaves to any other country’s musician union and not even America or any other industry.” According to a statement from his management: “Flexer GH is a super talented reggae and dancehall artist that’s been making music underground in Ghana for a while. His talent dedication and consistency is paying off and gradually he’s getting the attention and recognition he truly deserves.”

June 24 date for Expensive Laughter with MOG

Sex therapist, Tontoh Dike’s advice

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ctress Tonto Dikeh who has transformed into a pastor, at least, on social media is now a sex therapist and marriage counsellor. The actress who’s marriage barely lasted a year is now advising couples about how to make their union work by not starving each other of sex. Tonto Dikeh shared her thoughts on Instagram on Monday, May 9, stating: “Let me just drop this right here. Just like you improve on your social and spiritual life, so too you should improve on your sexual life. Learn new ways to please and be pleased!! Sex plays a major role in our physical life/relationship or marriage. “Never starve your partner, as a matter of fact, be always ready to impress. You wanna be a boss, be a boss all around. You love a good head? Open up to your partner. If you are not satisfying them, someone else will. Sex isn’t a Christian or Muslim thing, having a great sex life in your marriage isn’t a sin.”

• Flexer GH

Tiwa Savage, Davido at war • Tonto Dike

Mercy Johnson denies marriage break up • Set to release new movie

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• Davido

• Wizkid

t all began with a little joke but now it has metamorphosed into an all blown out war as Davido and Tiwa Savage have un-followed each other on Instagram. Trouble started on Twitter when Whisked announced his search for a sister, a line from Davido’s latest song Assurance. This had triggered a reply from Davido in which he jocularly mentioned

Tiwa’s name suggesting he was privy to the true state of Wizkid and Tiwa’s love affair which has been a hot topic on social media. Although Tiwa had responded to the tweet in a playful manner, a follow up has shown that she really didn’t find Davido’s tweet funny. And to the shock of her followers, she took it a notch higher by unfollowing Davido on social media and

shortly afterwards, Davido did the same. Said an insider: “Both artistes are not on talking terms and their relationship indeed has gone very cold. Obviously Tiwa Savage did not find Davido’s insinuations funny hence she unfollowed him and Davido did likewise as soon as he realised that Tiwa Savage did.”

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ollywood Star, Mercy Johnson is set to release her debut movie project as Senior Special Assistant on Entertainment, Arts and Culture, Kogi State entitled Honourable. Speaking at press briefing for her first movie project in Lagos, the actress said: “There were a lot of challenges whilst we were filming; like I always say that I love to appreciate people who need to be appreciated. From the chief of staff of the governor, to the governor of Kogi State; Alhaji Yahaya Bello down to the political office holders, to the sons and daughters of the land; we got a whole lot of assistance. My fans should watch out for Honourable which will hit cinemas soon.” Meanwhile, contrary to earlier reports that the actress’ marriage was in crisis after she deleted all pictures that have her husband in them on her Instagram, the actress has debunked the rumours by posting a picture of herself and her husband at their home sitting on the bed and reading a Bible with a caption stating that she wanted to make more babies.


40

The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

NEWS

Our LGA congress was a success - APC Chieftains T By COLLINS UGHALAA

he All Progressives Congress (APC) in Imo State held its local government congress earlier scheduled for last Saturday, May 12, amidst jubilations by party faithful. Governor Rochas Okorocha and his group known as “Agburu Anyi” boycotted the LGA congress, claiming it did not hold. It was also gathered that the Governor had sent the police to get some of the top players in the party arrested for “causing trouble in the state”, claiming that the congress did not hold. It was also gathered that some of the top leaders had to call the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, on

the phone in the presence of the Governor and the police CP and the National Chairman confirmed the LGA congress was not cancelled. However, Hon Casmir Ohamara, known as Digital Chairman, was returned unopposed as the APC Chairman in Oguta Local Government Area, during the peaceful congress that was held at the party’s LGA Secretariat in Ejemekwuru Autonomous Community. Speaking to The Oracle Today, Hon Ohamara who caused the current revolution in the party by mobilizing the 27 local government chairmen and 27 local government secretaries of the party to identify with Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, said he was happy with the level of con-

Lagos to complete largest rice mill in SSA by 2019

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he Lagos State Government on Wednesday said all hands are on deck to complete the largest rice mill in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) currently ongoing in Imota Local Council Development Area of the State within the first quarter of 2019. Apart from ensuring availability of rice in the market, the mill which is of 32 metric tons per hour production capacity, is projected to facilitate the creation of over 200,000 jobs across the agricultural value chain, while it will also bring about the cultivation of 32,000 hectares of farm land to produce rice paddy, equating to an estimated 130million Kg of processed rice per year (an equivalent of 2.6milion 50kg bags of rice). Speaking during an extensive inspection tour of major projects in Ikorodu, Imota and Agbowa axis by members of the Lagos State Executive Council, the State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode said the project would be completed by January 2019, while the initial production would commence by February of the year. The Governor, who was represented by Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr Adebowale Akinsanya, said the project was part of the grand policy of his administration to ensure food security, and as well give a quantum leap to economic integration of the Southwest region as the land to be cultivated and rice paddy for the mill would be supplied largely by farmers from the region. Briefing journalists alongside other Exco members after being taken round the level of work done so far by Project Engineer, Gboyega Odunlami, Governor Ambode said it was gratifying to note that the project was progressing steadily and would be delivered on schedule. “The key take away from here is that the construction of the rice mill and the industrial park among other complementing facilities are going on

as planned. The administrative building, the restaurant, fire station, power station and other facilities needed to support the park and the rice mill are all ongoing concurrently. “The mill is part of the food security strategy of this administration as well as Southwest integration efforts. It will be the largest rice mill not just in Nigeria but in Sub Saharan Africa. “Already, we have commitment from the contractors working on the project that it would be delivered by January 2019 and the rice mill that would be the food engine of the Southwest will be in production by February,” the Governor said. At the Imota Regional Food Stuff Market where the present Mile 12 Market and other markets within the axis would be relocated, the Governor said the first phase of the project which would accommodate about 1500 shops was already at 75 per cent completion stage, while the second phase, among other facilities such as concretized roads, fire stations, drainages, sewage system, power stations, sewage treatment, 1000 capacity Car Park, over 100 capacity Trailer Park, bus layby, among others would all be delivered before the end of the year. “We have seen what is going on as to our commitment to make this place a regional market. The first phase is 75 per cent completed. The major challenge has been accomplished though we still have some things to sort out but we are over the hurdle. “What remains is to keep going, speed up and with the commitment of this government, we should be able to complete this project by September and hopefully by the end of the year, all the different markets in Mile 12 will be able to move here and it will be a one shop centre for everybody,” he said.

By JONATHAN AWANYAI, Asaba

ble of delivering projects in line with job specification. “HOSTCOM is a voice to our various oil producing communities or communities that are impacted by oil, we will as a government, continue to partner with you, we hope HOSTCOM will be involved in the monitoring of our projects, we have a lot of projects across the state and I want to see my projects done rightly,” Okowa said. The Governor at the occasion emphasised that he does not interfere in the activities of the Delta State Oil Producing Area Developmental Commission (DESOPADEC), saying, “DESOPADEC has a lot of leverage to do things on their own.”

Get involved in project monitoring, Okowa urges communities

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elta State Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa has said monitoring of projects being executed by his administration should be collective as the projects should stand the test of time. The Governor dropped the hint when members of the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM) led by Engr Gabriel Isibeluo paid him a courtesy call at Government House, Asaba. Governor Okowa who stated that projects being executed by his administration are numerous, expressed confidence that the contractors handling the different projects are capa-

fidence reposed in him by the members of the party and noted that to whom much is given, much is expected. He added that they were not “worried about the activities of the people in government”, stressing that “a situation where the Governor and leader of the party would divide the party and have a group he calls “Agburu Anyi’ means that he is leading only a group”. Meanwhile, Governor Ikedi Ohakim has described Governor Okorocha as a total failure following the conduct of the wards and LGAs congresses in the state. In a statement in Owerri on Monday, the former Governor who is running for a second term in office

in 2019 said: “Governor Okorocha has confirmed that he is incapable of organizing people and resources to achieve a common goal. He has shown he is a total failure when it comes to governance. He has shown that he is not what he had claimed to be and that he became Governor by fraud. He has shown that he is only a big talker and not the political Maradona he said he was” He added that “Boycotting the Local Government Congress today (Monday) is the greatest sign of failure and defeat by Okorocha. That Okorocha who behaved as if he owned the state and party is now the person organizing protests and boycotting party congress is the conformation that he is not capable

of leading, that his becoming Governor was by accident and gang-up sustained by falsehood and fraud. “We saw all these developments coming and we had always told Imo people that Okorocha became Governor by fraud and it is obvious he has been served in his own cup. Imo people should therefore know that those who are now fighting the Governor were those who lied to them in 20011 and 2015 and put him there for selfish reasons and brought the state to this shameful state. They are part of the problems in the state because they created this monster that has become a bull in a China shop. The needful thing to do is make sure none of these people gets elected in 2019.”

• From left: Former Governor of Ebonyi State Governor, Chief Sam Egwu, Governor Dave Umahi acknowledging cheers during a rally organized for him by people of Ohaukwu local government area endorsing his second term ambitions.

Police declare 9 Jewish worshippers terrorists in Umuahia By BONIFACE OKORO, Umuahia

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ine of the Jewish worshipers arrested by the Nigeria Police at the home of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, while they were praying last Sunday and charged with terrorism have been remanded in prison till May 30, 2018. The accused were arraigned before Umuahia Magistrate Court Seven by the Police on one- count charge of terrorism. Presiding Senior Magistrate U.O Egwu issued the order when the accused persons were arraigned before him on Monday. According to the Charge sheet, the worshippers had on about 13th May, 2018 converged on Afara Ukwu under the Umuahia Judicial Jurisdiction of the State. “By your act in the course of carrying out your Terrorism Act and with intent to frighten ASP Justus Ogah of Nigeria Police and his team and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 12 (a) of the Abia State Prohibition of Terrorism, Kidnapping, Hostage Taking, Use of offensive Weapon or explosive and other threatening behavior Law 2990,” the one count charge read. When the charge was read out to the accused persons, they pleaded not guilty. Counsel for the first to the fifth accused persons, Godwin Chionye,

and Alloy Ejimakor, appearing for the sixth to the ninth accused, immediately made an oral application for the bail of the accused, the arguing that the accused persons have fundamental rights to be granted bail by the Court as they committed no criminal act as being alleged. Both defence counsel further argued that the accused were all responsible and would not jump bail and would “appear to take their trial anywhere.” Chionye, who said he also hails from Afara Ukwu, explained that the accused persons were only at Kanu’s house to pray and not to commit any act of terrorism, contrary to claims by the Police. He, therefore, pleaded with the Magistrate to grant them bail “since the offense is not capital in nature,” hence “the accused have their constitutional right to be granted bail.” Aligning himself with the submissions of his colleague, Ejimakor added that some of the accused persons were at the worship location with their children, arguing that “it is highly doubtful anywhere in the world that criminals will go to commit terrorism in the company of their children.” But in a swift counter argument, the Prosecution Counsel , asserted that the court has no right to entertain the matter but should detain them and allow the state Director of Public Prosecution ( DPP) to charge the matter to High Court.

Apparently annoyed by the argument of the prosecution, the presiding Magistrate, U. O Ugwu asked him why he brought the matter to magistrate court when he knew it lacked jurisdiction over it. Chionye, had earlier picked a hole on the charge sheet observing that the matter was not properly charged as it has no Police stamp. “I wonder why the prosecution wants the accused detained when the matter was not even properly charged,” he said. In his ruling, the Senior Magistrat ordered that the nine accused persons be reminded in Federal Prison Umuahia. “It is condemnable that police will charge a matter to a court that has no jurisdiction over it with the intension to remand the accused in custody unnecessarily,” the Senior Magistrate said. He, therefore, ordered that the accused be remanded at Afara prisons , while the case file should be transferred to the State Director of Public Prosecution for further advice on the matter as the Court has no jurisdiction to hear the matter. The matter was adjourned till May 30. He wondered why the Police choose to transfer the matter to his Court when in the actual sense it would have transferred it to the appropriate Court that has jurisdiction to hear the matter.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

NEWS 24 persons die in fire outbreaks in Delta, property worth N13.2bn lost

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t least 24 persons died while 176 were rescued in the fire outbreaks which occurred in Delta between May 2015 and April 2018. The state Commissioner in charge of Directorate of the Bureau for Special Duties, Mr Ernest Ogwezzy, who disclosed this in Asaba on Monday at an annual news conference of the bureau, said property worth N13.2 billion was also lost to fire outbreaks while the Delta Fire Service saved property worth N8.3 billion during the period. He highlighted some of the notable incidents to include that of Anioma Petrol Station, Okpanam Road, Asaba and the one that occurred at the College of Education Cooperative Filling Station, Warri. “Others are the fire at Beta Glass factory in Ughelli and the one at the Sapele Main Market which occurred on Oct. 13, 2017,’’ he said. The commissioner said “the fire statistics also showed that the state fire service attended to794 fire calls, out of which 63 were false calls.” Ogwezzy siad the bureau generated N53 million as revenue through the issuance and renewal of fire safety certificates to petrol and gas stations, industries and other business premises during the period. He said the State Government recently approved an insurance cover of N10 million yearly for all personnel of the service and N49 million for the procurement of firefighting equipment and accessories. The commissioner said that N41.1 million had been approved for the renovation of the Kwale, IsseleUku, Agbor and Ugwashi-Uku fire service stations and the contractors would soon be mobilised. Ogwezzy said that N15.3 was approved for uniform and kits for the staff while N10 6 million was also approved for the construction of water hydrant/boreholes at the event centre in Asaba. The commissioner said that this was in the event of death, temporal and permanent disabilities that might occur in the course of their duties. He also said that the bureau through its State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) inspected over 115 cases of fires, 60 cases of rainstorm and over 2,500 cases of flood disasters across the state. The commissioner also said that the bureau, through SEMA, distributed relief materials to victims of rainstorms, fire disasters and flood across the state. “The agency was able to assist a total of 94 fire disaster victims across the state with the sum of N8.1 million. “The sum of N4.2 million was given to 53 victims of rainstorm disasters in Obiaruku in Ukwuani Local Government Area of the state,’’ he said.

Worshipers escape death in Enugu Catholic Church blast BY CHUKS EZE, Enugu

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arly worshipers at Holy Cross Catholic Parish, Iji-Nike, Enugu, escaped death by the whiskers, as an explosion, which has been described by the Police as “minor explosion” was inflicted on the church in the early hours of Sunday, May 13, 2017. According to the Parish Priest of the church, Reverend father Emmanuel Okwor, the incident occurred at about just before the first Mass of the day at 6: am. Fr. Okwor, who told The Oracle Today that he could not fathom the reason for the attack, further stressed that, “just as we were get-

ting set for the 6: am. Mass, I heard a deafening blast, which shook the entire premises and threw everybody into immense panic. Everybody started scampering for safety, especially few early Mass attendees, who were already around the church before the explosion occurred. “And to the glory of God, no life was lost because it miraculously, happened before the Mass commenced. It would have been a different story” the priest said. The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Enugu State Command, Ebere Amaraizu, while confirming the blast, via a telephone call, described it as “minor explosion” and

urged people to be calm but vigilant as well. “Yes, such incident happened but there was no loss of life or major destruction. Citizens should remain calm but we have to be more vigilant, more security-conscious and be able to partner with security agencies to ensure that there is no repeat of such incident,” he said. The Police Spokesman also assured that the command had already commenced investigations into the incident, but the lethal episode has already thrown many residents of the state into heightened apprehension. According to them, the church blast is coming less than three

weeks after similar incident had occurred at the residence of the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo Jnr, with the Police yet to announce any headway towards apprehending the earlier perpetrators. They however, charged various security agencies in the state to roll up their sleeves and partner the Police to forestall possible future occurrence. Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Calistus Onaga has also reacted to the incident. Addressing journalists, Onaga expressed worry over, what he called unfortunate occurrence and called for the faithful and the entire public to step up vigilance across board. He further noted that, though the Police had described the explosion as minor, but that if it had occurred when worshipers had filled the church, it would have been a disastrous situation.

Okowa lauds commencement of academic activities at maritime university By JONATHAN AWANYAI, Asaba

D • Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Prof. Kolapo Olusola (r) receiving his Certificate of Return from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, represented by National Deputy Chairman (South), Elder Yemi Akinwonmi, at the National Secretariat of the party in Abuja, last Wednesday after winning the May 8 PDP primary poll in the state ahead of the July 14 gubernatorial election

Rising number of political parties not threat to 2019 -- INEC

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he Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says the increasing number of registered political parties is not a challenge to it or the electoral process of the country. Director, Election and Party Monitoring, INEC, Mr Aminu Idris, gave the assurance at the Debate on “Increasing number of political parties in Nigeria and access to ballot in 2019’’ on Tuesday in Abuja. The debate was jointly organised by two civil society organisations – Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) and Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA). Idris said that the parameters for registering a political party was determined by the Constitution, adding that INEC was making effort to ensure that the increasing number did not became a challenge in an election. He said that the recent election conducted by the commission had demonstrated its capacity to manage the situation. “The challenge of managing the ballot is the challenge that INEC has to face. Sometimes we addressed it by customizing the ballot papers with logo of participating parties in an election in such a way that you make the choice less cumbersome for the electorate. “For the commission, it is a mat-

ter of necessity that we must manage the ballot, given the number of political parties we have at all the times.’’ National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, who was one of the panellists, said rather than problem, increasing number of political parties would increase peoples’ participation in democracy. Abdullahi said that the challenge was weak political parties or those without grassroots base wanted to participate in every election, including presidential. “As a matter of principle, I don’t see anything wrong in registering many political parties. The question is to discipline themselves and their level of participation.’’ On his part, Mr Emmanuel Agbo, Deputy National Secretary, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) linked the increasing number of political parties to the ambition of some individuals to be parties’ national leaders. Agbo, however, said that there was need to enlighten political class that disagreement within parties should not lead to registration of new party. “The best way to defend democracy is to promote greater understanding among the political class.

“There must be ability to tolerate one another, knowing that we are coming from different economic, political, cultural and social backgrounds but amalgamated into an organization. Once these differences exist, it will be difficult for all our interests to always be one.’’ Another panellist, Chief Peter Ameh, National Chairman of the Progressives Peoples Party (PPA), said that having 68 register political parties was not a problem as Senegal had more than 300 parties and Benin Republic, had over 150. Ameh said it was important to treat the causes of problems for political parties in the country, rather than treating the symptoms. These causes, according to him, include defection of officials from smaller political parties to bigger ones and the credibility of local government elections conducted by State Independent Electoral Commissions. “The only credible local government election in Nigeria is that of the FCT, conducted by INEC. Others, if APC is not winning all the elections in Kano state, PDP is winning all in Delta state.’’ Ameh said that the more the country continued to improve its electoral system, the better it would be for the citizens.

elta State Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa has described the commencement of academic activities at the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, as a good omen that will consolidate the existing peace and sustainable development of the Niger Delta. Okowa stated this when the Governing Council of the University led by former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva who is the Chairman of the Council, paid him a courtesy call in Asaba. Okerenkoko is located in Warri South local government area of Delta State. According to the Governor, “I am glad that academic activities have commenced, we thank God for the successful start off of the Maritime University which will consolidate on the peace in the Niger Delta and attract sustainable development to the area.” “We are aware that the terrain is very difficult for the execution of projects and this is what the Governing Council will experience in defending its budget, the cost of executing projects in that area triples what it takes to execute similar projects in the upland,” he said. He continued, “as a state government, we will continue to assist the much we can within the limit of resources to develop the university.” “The Maritime University is the first of its kind in Nigeria, we hope you (the Governing Council) develop it to internationally acceptable standards,” he stated while congratulating Chief Sylva and members of the Governing Council for their appointments. Chief Sylva had told the Governor that the Governing Council was inaugurated on March 22, 2018 and commended Governor Okowa’s administration for its contributions to the development of the University, disclosing that more than 300 students are currently studying in the institution.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

NEWS Okowa to churches: Fund missionary activities through investments By JONATHAN AWANYAI, Asaba

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elta State Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa has urged Churches to have investments that will reduce financial burdens on their members and boost evangelism. The Governor made the call during the 3rd Session of the 14th Synod of Asaba Diocese of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion held at St. Philips Anglican Church, Asaba. “I am glad that some churches are looking at alternative ways of generating funds for the church; these investments would fund church activities, thereby, removing financial pressure on the members, encourage evangelism and create employment opportunities,” the Governor who was accompanied to the Church by his wife, Dame Edith, the Head of Service, Mr Reginald

Bayoko, among others, said. He urged Christians to back their prayers with actions, saying, “it is time for Christians to pray and equip themselves for the future; most times, Christians do not arm themselves for future challenges; it is good to pray but, we should ensure that we collect our permanent voters cards and also, come out and vote on election days, we have a right to determine our future through the ballot box.” Speaking on the theme for the synod which is, “The Lord Of Hosts, Mighty In Battle,” the Governor urged Christians to live a life of faith, trust, loyalty and accountability using every challenge as an opportunity to exercise their faith like the Biblical David. He observed that David was ready to sacrifice his life for a sheep in his flock, adding, “if every Christian should live the way David lived and

trusted in God, I believe, we will go a long way as Christians; at this very trying times, if God be for us, who can be against us?” “There is nothing the Lord cannot do if only we can trust him and work in his ways,” he emphasised. Bishop of Asaba Diocese of the Anglican Communion, Rt. Revd. Justus Mogekwu had in an address commended Governor Okowa’s administration for providing the enabling environment for investments to thrive while Bishop Nathaniel Inyom of Diocese of Makurdi in a sermon at the occasion, urged Christians to be vigilant, focused and utilise their numerical strength in voting for candidates that have the interest of Christians at heart. He decried the high level of internally displaced persons occasioned by attacks by Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria and charged Christians to be politically motivated.

DE-CRYSTAL BROTHERS NIGERIA CLUB NO. 13 NEW NKISI ROAD G.R.A ONITSHA ANAMBRA STATE This is to inform the general public that the above named Club has applied to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) Abuja for registration under part ‘C’ of Companies and Alliance Matters Act 1990. THE TRUSTEES ARE: 1. IGNATIUS AKUMA NJOKU 2. OMEKE JOHN-MARTIN ONYEKA 3. NNANNA EMMANUEL EJITU 4. ANAETO FELIX TOCHUKWU 5. OLISAKWE CHIDERA JOHN AIMS AND OBJECTIVES To promote the interest of the members. Any objection to the registration should be forwarded to the registrar General Corporate Affair Commission, plot 420 Tigers crescent, off Aguiyi Ironsi Street Maitama Abuja within 28 day of this publication. Signed Secretary

LIVING SAINTS IN CHRIST MINISTRY The general public is hereby notified that the above named organisation has applied to the corporate affairs commission Abuja for registration Under part C of the companies and allied matters act No. 1 of 1990. Names of Trustees: 1. Pastor Anama Idoko Raphael 2. Godwin Agbo 3.Michael Boniface Friday 4.Akor Michael Ogwuche 5. John Odeh Adikpe 6. Ijuo Okpe 7. Ogwuche Ejeh Benjamin 8. Anama Joseph Ujah 9.Ogunkalu Titilayo Grace

• From left: Former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniels, Governor of Cross River State, Prof Ben Ayade and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar at the State Executive Council Chambers, in Calabar, the state capital, when the former VP led his team including former Imo State governor, Chief Achike Udenwa on a courtesy visit to Governor Ayade.

PUBLIC NOTICE AND CHANGE OF NAME This is to confirm that the name UCHENDU CHIDIRE GLORY and UCHECHI FRANCISCA refer to one and same person. Now wish to be known and addressed as UCHENDU CHIDIRE GLORY. All former documents remain valid, Banks and general public take note.

I, formerly known as OHAEGBU CHUKWUDI DONATUS. Now wish to be known as MR IJEOMA CHUKWUDI DONATUS. All former documents remain valid, Banks and general public take note.

I formerly known as MISS AKUIKE BEATRICE NWADUCHE.Now wish to be known as MRS OBIANO BEATRICE NWADIOGO . All Former documents remain valid. ANAMBRA STATE UNIVERSAL BASIC EDUCATION,Banks and general public take note

I formally known as MR. DESMOND NEBECHI but now wish to be known as MR. DESMOND NEBEANI. That my wife was formerly known as MRS. JOSEPHINE NEBECHI now wishes to be known as MRS. JOSPHINE NEBEANI. My children are formally known as: EMMANUEL NEBECHI JOSEPH NEBECHI BLESSING NEBECHI Now wish to be known as EMMANUEL NEBEANI JOSEPH NEBEANI BLESSING NEBEANI Banks, schools and general public take note.

I formerly known as CHIKELU LOVETH IJEOMA now wish to be known as NEBEIGBO IJEOMA ROSEMARY. All former documents remain valid. Banks and General public take note.

I formerly known as OGUEJIOFOR CHINAZOR IKE now wish to be known as OGUEJIOFOR CHINAZOR IKECHUKWU. All former documents remain valid. Banks and General public take note

I formerly known as IGWENAGU VITALIS NWAFOR now wish to be known as IGWENAGU VITALIS NWACHUKWU All former documents remain valid. General public take note

I formerly known as CHIDEBE EMMANUEL CHINYEMOKEM now wish to be known as MODEBE EMMANUEL CHIJIOKE. All former documents remain valid. Banks and general public take note.

I formerly known as MEDANI EBELE PERPETUA now wish to be known as NWEKE EBELE PERPETUA. All former documents remain valid. Banks and General public take note

I formerly known as EZENWAKA EZINWANNE DORIS now wish to be known as MRS AKPUAKA EZINWANNE DORIS All former documents remain valid. Banks and general public take note.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: 1.To operate as a religious,social,charitable , educational group and for ecclesiastical purpose 2. To conduct local churches by the direction of the Lord Jesus Christ and under the perfect leadership of the holyspirit in accordance with the word of God 3. To spread the word of God through bible seminars, healing schools, outreaches, media ministry, publication of tracts, books and other forms of the literature for the spiritual socialization reorientations of the individuals and for the promotion of the objectives of the organization 4. To operate all and every of its objectives in tandem with recognized creed, doctrinal assemblage, pattern of worship of the Divine and Godly discipline of the Lord Jesus Christ Any objection should be forwarded to the Registrar- General, corporate Affairs Commission, plot 420 Tigris Crescent off Aguiyi Ironsi street Maitama Abuja within 28days from the date of this publication. Signed: Barr. Ijuo Okpe and Pastor Raphael Anama

AMAECHI BONA-MARY CARE FOUNDATION This is to inform the general public that the above named foundation has applied for registration Under part C of the companies and allied matters act of 1990. TRUSTEES ARE. 1. MRS CYNTHIA NGOZI 2. CHUKA ONWUOKWU. 3. DR. EVELYN N. OKPALA. 4. Engr. OBINNA K. OKPALA. 5. PRINCE CHRIS TOOCHUKWU AMALU. AIMS & OBJECTIVES. 1. To attain a world free from injustice,diseases,infant and maternal mortality,illiteracy for vulnerable children, youth, women and the aged in line with relevant laws and treaties. 2. Promote primary and secondary education for indigent children, youth and women. 3. Provision of legal support to the marginalized children, youth and women. 4.Provision of health services for the aged, children and women. 5. Increased access to quality and prompt care for accident victims. 6. Partner with Research institution, Faith based organizations MDAS etc. Any objection to this registration should be forwarded to the Registrar general corporate Affairs Commission Abuja within 28days of this publication Signed: Dr.Okpala Evelyn N.(Esq) Chairman.


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The Oracle Today Wednesday May 23, 2018

NEWS Ebola: NCAA urges airlines to be vigilant The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Tuesday, called for a high level vigilance by the airlines, especially those operating international and regional flights into the country. General Manager, Public Affairs, NCAA, Mr Sam Adurogboye, made the call in a statement issued in Lagos. Adurogboye said that a circular with Ref. No. NCAA/DG/AMS/ Vol.1/196, dated May 11, 2018 and signed by the agency’s Director General, Capt. Muhtar Usman, had been dispatched to all the airlines. He explained that the airlines were informed of the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), on May 8. He however said that the outbreak in DRC, had yet to be declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO), as a Public Health Event of International Concern (PHEIC). “Notwithstanding, the NCAA, Federal Ministry of Health and all other relevant agencies have been taking concerted steps to ensure the virus does not creep into Nigeria. Therefore to forestall the EVD infiltration, the regulatory authority has therefore directed all airlines to carry out these measures in the interim. “Pilots-in-Command of an aircraft are to report to Air Traffic Control (ATC) any suspected case of communicable disease onboard their flights in line with Nig. CARs 18.8.22.4,” he said. Adurogboye said that in case of any suspected case of communicable disease on board an aircraft, aircrew were to fill the General Declaration (Gen Dec) and Public Health Passenger Locator forms in line with Nig. CARs 18.8.17.4 and 18.8.22.5, respectively. He said that the Completed General Declaration and Public Health Passenger Locator forms were to be submitted to the Port Health Services (PHS) of the destination Aerodrome. Adurogboye said that airlines should ensure that they had onboard valid and appropriate number of First Aid kits, Universal Precaution kits and Emergency Medical kits in line with Nig. CARs 7.9.1.12. He said that they were to refresh the knowledge of their crew members in the handling and communicating with ATC of any suspected case of communicable disease on board. “Airlines are to contact Port Health Services for clearance before importing human remains into the country. Airlines are to report to the authority in writing of any suspected case of communicable disease in flight,” he said. He said that NCAA would continue to collaborate with all relevant agencies to ensure that the Public Health Emergency Contingency Plan (PHECP), developed for the guidance of aviation stakeholders were adhered to. He said that these steps would prevent the importation of any communicable disease into the country through Nigeria’s air borders, especially the airports.

Delta NUT pays 1,099 teachers, appeals to government to employ more T he Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Delta State Chapter, Tuesday, appealed to Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa to employ more teachers. State Chairman of the union, Mr Titus Okotie, made the appeal as the union paid 1,099 teachers their contributions from its social security and investment scheme. He said that the beneficiaries were those that retired from the state public service between July and October, 2017 and had been contributing to the scheme. Okotie told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Asaba on Tuesday that the scheme was established by the union’s founding fathers in January 1999 to assist teachers go-

ing on retirement. He said that each member was contributing N2,000 monthly to the scheme and such member would collect his or her total contributions on retirement. Okotie added that any member on retirement would also receive a 200 per cent as interest accruing from the monthly contributions. The chairman, however, expressed his displeasure at the gap the retirement would create in the system. He appealed to the state government to employ more teachers that would fill the vacuum. No `trigger-happy’ policeman will go unpunished, says Enugu Command

Commissioner of Police in Enugu State, Mr Mohammed Danmallam, on Tuesday warned that no `triggerhappy’ Policeman would go unpunished in Enugu State Police Command. Danmallam gave the warning in Enugu while reacting to an incident that occurred along Aninri axis of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway on Monday. A Police patrol team on duty, allegedly shot at a moving lorry with Registration No DNG 612 XA; which resulted to the death of one of the passengers. The commissioner said that he had ordered a full-scale investigation by the state Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Depart-

ment (CIID) into the unfortunate incident, adding that those behind the incident had been arrested. According to him, policemen are always guided by relevant orders concerning the use of firearms and as a policeman, you must be professional in your handling of firearms. Danmallam, however, regretted the inconveniences caused by the alleged incident which brought about the blocking of roads to other road users by those in sympathy with the alleged victims of the incident. “I am assuring members of the public that those behind the incident will not go unpunished, if found wanting,’’ he said.

Enugu Water Corporation decries vandalism of its facilities

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• Deputy Managing Director (DMD) of Fidelity Bank, Mr Mohammed Balarabe presenting the cheque for N10 million to a customer of the bank in Aba, Abia State, Mr Ekenechukwu Bartholomew Nnalue, as other lucky winners at the 6th and final presentation of awards of the ‘Fidelity Get Alert in Millions Promo Reloaded’ promo, which commenced in October 2017, received their payments

Again, 2 Nigerians killed in S’Africa, as death toll reaches 118

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he death toll of Nigerians killed in South Africa has continued to climb with two young Nigerians being the latest victims. The latest killing brings the number of Nigerians killed in the former apartheid enclave since February, 2016 to 118. Up to 800,000 Nigerians, mostly young people, reside in South Africa, according to unofficial estimates. Publicity Secretary of the Nigeria Union in South Africa, Mr Habib Miller, said that two additional Nigerians were killed in South Africa in the past eight days. Miller, who spoke from Pretoria, South Africa, identified the latest victims as Francis Ochuba, a native of Ngodo community in the Umnneochi Local Government Area of Abia State. He named the other victim as Chidi Ibebuike, native of Uturu in the Isuikwuato Local Government Area also in Abia. “Ochuba, a property owner, was shot dead alongside his estate agent, a female South African on May 5. They were shot dead as they visited the tenant occupying

Ochuba’s house to collect rent. “The incident occurred in Central Johannesburg, while Ibebuike was shot dead at the entrance to his house at Hazyview in Mpumalanga on May 13. “Ibebuike’s car was subsequently, snatched by yet to be identified gunmen. “The chairman of the Nigeria Union in Mpumalanga Province, Mr Amadi in company of other compatriots, have reported the incident to the South African police authorities and investigation is underway.” Miller said the latest killings came on the heels of the cold blooded murder of ThankGod Okoro, a native of Ogbaku in the Agwu Local Government Area of Enugu State on April 9 and that of Clement Nwaogu, a native of Njikoka in Anambra on April 22. He recalled that Okoro was reportedly shot dead by a member of the South African Police Flying Squad at Florida in Johannesburg while Nwaogu was burnt alive by a mob in Rustenburg in the North West Province. The spokesman said that a vio-

lent group in Rustenburg had earlier given Nigerians notice to vacate the area or get killed. He said that since the order was issued, there had been numerous cases of Nigerians being kidnapped with ransom paid to their abductors. “The incessant looting and killings in the area, prompted 14 Nigerians to protest the injustice and the lack of police protection from the South African Police. “The 14 Nigerians were attested and had been detained since January 21 in Rustenburg. “The extra-judicial killing of Nigerians in South Africa is however, a stark contrast to the general goodwill and protection South Africans and their businesses enjoy in Nigeria. “There has been no record of looting of South African businesses in Nigeria. “While South African companies transfer billions of dollars in profit made from doing business in Nigeria, Nigerians in South Africa are sending body bags of murdered bread winners back home to Nigeria to dejected families,” Miller said.

nugu State Water Corporation has decried vandalism of its facilities and appealed for residents’ collaboration in protecting them. The Corporation’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Mr Romanus Anike, made the appeal while speaking with newsmen in Enugu, Tuesday. Anike said that the rate of daily vandalism on water supply facilities was alarming in the state. He noted that the activities of vandals had denied some areas within Nsukka and Enugu and their environs access to potable water from the state’s water works. “The rate of vandalism on water supply facilities is alarming, especially on our 6 milimetre pipelines and other bigger pipes. “Some parts of Enugu and Nsukka metropolis are suffering lack of access to potable pipeborne water due to activities of unrepentant vandals. “The vandals are also creating hard times for our engineers and technicians; while the corporation is losing huge financial resources undertaking repairs each day,’’ he said. According to him, the corporation needs the assistance of the good people of the state to get involved in tracking down these unscrupulous people. “Please, if you see anybody or group tampering with water facilities in your neighbourhood, report to the nearest police station; You can also call the attention of the nearest water corporation personnel or office around you,’’ he said. Anike, however, assured citizens that the corporation was working hard to ensure it satisfied its customers as well as make water available to households in the state. The corporation had earmarked N318 million in the 2018 budget to ensure expansion as well as uninterrupted water supply in the state.


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NEWS Cont’d from Pg 2 towns so as to ease transportation of goods. This is the way it is done in societies where the governments have good plans.” Also speaking on the River Niger, a former member of the House of Representatives, Hon Mayor Eze noted that “waterways all over the world are great assets.” “Access to the sea is calculated as wealth in every indices. Our over reliance on road transport in the 21st century is primitive. It’s so sad that issues taken for granted elsewhere are still treated as rocket science here. Does it mean that critical policy makers past and present are going to be educated on the indispensable nature of water as a blessing to any Nation?” he quipped. “The River Niger is a major blessing not only to the southeast and southsouth but the entire Nation and all those that inhabit the area. “In this era of globalization, people move and live where they want, that’s the primary essence of bilateral relations, free move-

River Niger threatened ment of people and goods. I refuse to believe that some policy makers will see it from the narrow prism of River Niger being a property of the South? That’s laughable. It’s a revenue earner for the nation, providing services to the world.” However, Professor Obasi Igwe of Political science Department of the University of Nigeria is of the opinion that dredging the lower Niger is neither practicable nor viable. “The truth is that no Nigerian leader is interested in dredging the River Niger or converting Onitsha into a river port because they know that the river cannot be dredged at the present level of available technology,” he told The Oracle Today in Enugu. According to experts, with the current level of technology in this area, it would take at least 20 years to dredge the river to a maximum of 10 metres deep for it to be able

to carry big ships and cargo ships. “The river Niger is currently just about 2.5 metres deep, in Onitsha. Down to Akassa and Nembe, it is just like a small stream. At that point, the river is just a shallow, sandy and narrow place where no ship can come through, except small boats,” explained Prof Igwe. “So, the idea of dredging River Niger is a mere technical mount Kilimanjaro; it will take years to even bring it down to a level that it can carry very small ships. The promise by President Shagari and other subsequent promises afterwards, that Onitsha would be a port, were just pretences just to humour the Igbo. They had been playing on the ignorance and carelessness of Igbo political leaders, who had never even bothered to study the terrain,” Igwe contended. He added: “What Igbo leaders such as the present and former

leaders of Ohanaeze, namely Chief John Nwodo Jr, Chief Gary Igariwey, Prof. Joe Irukwu and others, should do now is to go and effectively engage the Southern Igbo leaders and make peace with them and work out ways to regain our lost ocean lines and reopen Bonny and Opobo ports were hitherto opened and used by the Igbo people. But our people need to understand that by reopening the ports, Rivers would not be subdued rather the State would prosper it more. It would prosper the Tiv and it is the shortest way to develop the Northeast. But Nigerians do not want Igbo leaders to speak about these. “Even if a new technology that can dredge it up to 10 metres and wide enough to carry big ships comes tomorrow, there would be shortage of water in the river and there would not be water to the required level that can carry ships.

Where is the water to supply the river when rivers and dams in the north are drying up? “I am saying that dredging of River Niger is not what will solve the Problem of the Igbo nation, even if new technology emerges tomorrow. If we channel all our efforts towards reconciling the Igbo nation down to the coast, through Rivers State, we would have solved most of our problems. Ndigbo should turn their attention to how to reopen the Opobo and Bonny ports, which were originally opened and used by the Igbo nation. By reopening them, Rivers would not be subdued, rather the state would prosper. It would prosper the Rivers Igbo, the Southern Igbo, the northern Igbo and the Tivs, and it is a shortest way to developing the northeast as well. “So, even if it is technically possible to dredge the river, it is not necessary because it would not be in the interest of the Igbo now. It is not economically viable to Ndigbo. It is the northerners that should even worry about that.”

Uproar over arraignment of Jewish worshipers SON Cont’d from Pg 2

explosive and other threatening behavior Law 2990.” Members of the Jewish sect, including women and children, thronged the court and staged solidarity protest, insisting that they only came to pray at the house of their member as they had been doing before now. But the arraignment of the worshipers has sparked condemnation of government across the country with many describing it as an infringement on the freedom of worship of the suspects. Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, Abia State chapter, Apostle Emmanuel Agommoh, called for a thorough investigation into the arrest and arraignment of the worshipers, to unravel if actually they were terrorists. “We are demanding thorough investigation into the arrest and arraignment of the Jewish worshippers in court. It would be totally condemnable if they came to pray and Police swooped on them and labelled them terrorists because our constitution allows freedom of worship. “Even in Umuahia here, there are people who are practicing Hinduism and no one has come to disturb them. But if they committed any acts of terrorism, as is being alleged, then they should face the law,” the Abia CAN chairman said. Agommoh’s view tallies with that of the Administrator, Madonna Catholic Hospital, Umuahia, Reverend Father Christian Anokwuru, who said there was no basis for arresting the Jewish adherents if only their mission to the IPOB leader’s home was just to pray. Said the Catholic clergy: “If they are worshipers as alleged, I don’t think that they should be arrested. But whereby they are terrorists as they are being accused, they should be arrested.” Dr Anokwuru who is also the Reverend Father in charge of Madonna Catholic Chaplaincy, raised posers which, he said, required satisfactory answers. “The fundamental question becomes who is a terrorist and who is a worshiper. Could Terrorism and worshiping go together? They are two things that cannot go together. “What activities were they doing when they were arrested? Were they terrorizing people? Were they embarrassing people who were going about their normal busi-

nesses? Were they praying? Were they performing acts of worship? “Now these people who were arrested, were they found committing acts of terrorism or is it that they were linked to Nnamdi Kanu? “If they were linked with Nnamdi Kanu, is Nnamdi Kanu a terrorist? These are fundamental questions that must have to be taken into consideration because for one to be labelled a terrorist, then that person must be associated with acts of terrorism.” He described what is playing out as childish politics, which he said Nigeria should have outgrown by now. “Our country has gone beyond this type of childish politics; things should be done the proper way. In my own understanding, I am not condemning what the government has done if actually these people were found exhibiting acts of terrorism. “But then, it is highly condemnable when they are just practicing their religion which, fundamentally, they have right to do as enshrined in the constitution,” he emphasised. Similarly, General Overseer of Unbounded Grace Tabernacle, Pastor Wilson Alamba, herding people accused of terrorism to the court when perpetrators of real terrorism were allowed to roam the streets free represents grave injustice. He said the Jewish religion is recognized in Nigeria, to the extent that a court of law allowed a Jewish Rabbi to stand surety for Kanu, adding that he does not see the wisdom in branding the adherents terrorists. Pastor Alamba maintained that the Police action could only be justified “if they (Jewish worshipers) were caught with incriminating weaponry,” adding that if the case was to the contrary, “then what is playing out is persecution.” “Even if the Police describe the Jewish praying activities as terrorism, can it be compared to grievous harm being inflicted on Nigeria by herdsmen? Those ones have not been declared terrorists. Somebody here is saying that a Jewish worshiper is a terrorist, the world will hear it,” he said. For Paul Njoku, a human rights activist and author, the Police are allegedly playing out the script to islamise Nigeria. “What is happening is nothing

Cont’d from Pg 2

•Nnamdi Kanu but hatred and intimidation of members of the society who are not terrorists and who are not associating with any terrorist organisation, a group that is not even with arms. “Let me ask: when did the Jewish worshippers become terrorist organization globally? Are they saying we should not have freedom of association, freedom of religion or worship; or that people cannot converge at a certain place to pray and worship God? “It is the measure through which the federal government wants to annihilate Christians and Christendom,” Njoku alleged. “So, this is a clarion call for the world to really realize that President Buhari is out to lead us into islamisation of the nation state called Nigeria. And this is not the way forward. “We have Fulani herdsmen whom he has been treating with kid gloves; he has never proscribed them or pronounced them as terrorists. These are people who are

carrying AK47 everywhere, killing, maiming, slaughtering, butchering Nigerian citizens for nothing sake but because of their belief in the conquest of Uthman Dan Fodio of 1804. So Buhari is there to implement that agenda and only God will fight him to a standstill. “Christians don’t carry AK47 or engage in any violent activities. So, why will Christians who are worshiping be arrested? Is it because they are in Nnamdi Kanu’s house? Is Nnamdi Kanu’s compound prohibited by any court of competent jurisdiction not for people to gather and have association or to worship? “It is absolutely bad and we cannot accept it. We will have to protest it, we will have to let the world know that this is absolutely unacceptable, that we cannot tolerate it any longer,” Njoku said. He called on President Buhari “to adhere to the advice given to him by President Donald Trump of the United States of America that he should stop killing Christians.”

Aboloma, disclosed that in a bid to address fire outbreaks caused by substandard gas cylinders, the agency acquired mobile testing equipment for the inspection, testing and certification of LPG storage tanks, pressure vessels and pipelines while urging operators in the LPG sector to voluntarily subscribe to the SON certification of their vessels in the overall interest of the nation’s economy and the safety of live. He added that due certification of LPG storage vessels, proper maintenance and handling of cylinders, safe and ethical practices are necessary steps to avoid explosions and gas accidents. While challenging SON officials to ensure that only certified LPG vessels and storage tanks are in operation across the country within the shortest possible time, adding that the certification of LPG storage vessels by authorized and competent bodies is an international practice and a mandatory requirement to assure the integrity, effectiveness and suitability of the vessels to store liquefied petroleum gas without failure. He also disclosed that LPG vessels in Nigeria are certified to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Code, Division 1, Section VIII: 2015 by SON. The certification, he stated is one of the requirements of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) for the issuance of operating license to LPG Plant Operators. Brand new vessels are certified for five years after which revalidation is carried out every three years, he said. He also explained that another set of 32 engineers were trained in Lagos to ensure that the strategically located mobile testing equipment in Lagos (for the South West Zone), Enugu (for the South East and South South Zones) and Abuja for the Northern Zone can be put to effective use across the country. He admitted that a joint committee of stakeholders in the LPG Sector was recently inaugurated by SON to work out modalities for a scheme to re-qualify LPG cylinders in the country. The scheme, according to the SON Chief Executive, would involve the withdrawal of substandard cylinders from circulation and ensure the production, importation, sale and use of only duly certified LPG cylinders in Nigeria


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SPORTS

•Gianni Infantino

Why Eagles/DR Congo match should go on – Amaju A

Wenger ‘sad, emotional’ after Arsenal era ends with win at Huddersfield

By MADUABUCHI KALU

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ESPITE the concerns raised by football stakeholders over the Super Eagles farewell friendly tie against Democratic Republic of Congo following the outbreak of the deadly Ebola disease in that country as reported by the United Nations’ World Health Oragnisation (WHO), Amaju Melvin Pinnick, the president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), has given reason why the friendly encounter must go on despite the health concerns raised by the teeming number of stakeholders. According to the NFF’s boss, the

Federation are collaborating with the Nigerian health authorities in the country (Ministry of Health) and the Congolese authorities over the matter in order to ensure that there will not be any issues as far as the dreaded Ebola issues are concerned. He explained that besides the collaborations among those concerned in making sure that Ebola is not brought to this country as a result of the international friendly tie against DR Congo, more than 90 per cent of DR Congo players are based abroad where there are no Ebola issues and that they would be flying in from abroad to Port Harcourt for the encounter.

“The issue of Ebola virus in Congo DR was discovered in a very remote village in Congo. The Ebola in DR Congo was in the very very remote part of the country and besides, 98 per cent of their players are foreign based players,” Amaju began. “And definitely they are flying in with charted flit to Port Harcourt by 6pm on the 26th of this month, three days to the match and the charter flight that brought them in will wait and take them back after the encounter. “But officially, just to be conscious, we have written to the Ministry of Health to give us cover when they arrive here by testing them when they

Russia to commence their World Cup campaign with Croatia on June 16, 2018. Speaking on the proposed fivestar treatment for the national team, former Super Eagles’ defender, Ifeanyi Udeze said that was the type of treatment that Eagles supposed to be given even as he lauded those who have made it possible for the Super Eagles to get this proposed treatment. He explained that they players are treated like kings in their various clubs in Europe and wondered why it has taken so long for the team to be treated the way they are treated in their various clubs. “I want to commend whoever that brought the idea of getting a double Decker Plane for the Super Eagles to be flown to London. They deserved to be treated like stars they are because that is the type of treatment they receive from their various clubs in Europe. “This is the type of things that we have been praying for. This is a right move in the right direction.

Whether it is the brain child of the NFF or whoever, I want to say kudos to them. “The point is that these players are treated well in their clubs and I wonder why a whole national team will not be able to give the players the type of treatment that their various club used to give them. “The players need to relax and enjoy themselves to be able to give their best to the country. It is a welcome development,” Udeze declared.

Eagles to storm England in Real Madrid plane

A

S a part of the effort to ensure that the Super Eagles are in the right frame of mind when they prosecute the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, arrangements have been concluded to ensure that the three time African champions are given the best of treatment. And as a part of the planed five star treatment worth of national team players, arrangements have been concluded to fly the team to England with in Real Madrid double Decker Plane. This is the first time any Nigerian national team will be flown to any venue of their engagement in this type of luxurious plane. The Eagles who will be playing a farewell friendly game with Congo DR in Port Harcourt on 28, prior to their departure to London where they will engage the Three Lions of England in a high profile friendly match at the magnificent Wembley Stadium before their remaining friendly game against Czech on June 6, in Austria from where they will proceed to fly to

arrive and we are working on that already, just to take extra pre caution,” Amaju explained. Meanwhile, the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) executive member has equally given reason why he wants to return to the Glasshouse as the arrow head of Nigerian Football after the 2018 FIFA World Cup when his tenure comes to an end. According to him, his sole objective of wanting to return is to ensure that he solidifies the financial base of the federation which his administration has already started with a view to ensuring that the Federation no longer rely on government finances for their activities. It is recalled that the current board of the Nigeria Football Federation led by Pinnick have attracted a lot of sponsors for their flagship brand the Super Eagles with indigenous Oil and Gas Company, AITEO leading the pack of chains of companies that have identified with the Glasshouse by way of sponsorship deals running into billions of Naira. Apart from AITEO other sponsors of the national team (the Super Eagles) include Nigeria Brewery, Zenith Bank, Nigeria Bottling Limited (Coca Cola), TGI and Payporte. Others include Cadbury (Tom Tom) and it is likely that many more other sponsor will still key in.

RSENE WENGER said he was “sad” and would find it difficult to adjust to life without Arsenal as his 1,235-game reign as manager came to an end with a victory over Huddersfield on the final day of the Premier League season. The game had little riding on it, with Huddersfield having already avoided relegation and Arsenal finishing sixth no matter what, and was played in a carnival atmosphere at John Smith’s Stadium. Wenger emerged for kick-off to a rapturous reception and went over to applaud the Arsenal fans, taking a bow. Both sets of fans gave him a standing ovation after 22 minutes to celebrate his 22 years in English football - and two planes flew over the ground in the early stages with banners celebrating the Frenchman. Plane banner This was one of two banners flown above the stadium in the first half Wenger brought three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups, including two Doubles, to Arsenal - but leaves them in the lowest position since he arrived, sixth. “Of course it is very emotional after 1,235 games for the same club,” said the 68-year-old. “To enjoy it we had to win it. Winning football games is what makes me happy and the boys did it. “Do I feel relief? Not really, I’m sad. At some stage it has to end. I wish everyone well, the fans have been great until the end and I wish the club well for the future. “It will be hard to adjust but I will have to deal with that. I will remain an Arsenal fan above everything else. “I will stay in football for sure. Whether that is managing or not... I am addicted and I don’t think that can be cured.” This win over Huddersfield was the first time in eight attempts Arsenal have picked up any points away from home in the Premier League in 2018 - making them the last professional team in England to do so. Their goal was scored by Wenger’s final signing - PierreEmerick Aubameyang - as he slid home a low cross from their longest-serving player, Aaron Ramsey. Terriers’ midfielder, Aaron Mooy almost denied Wenger his farewell win late on as his shot crashed off the crossbar.


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SPORTS

Nigeria proposes to host 2022

Iwobi confident Youth Games N ahead of World Cup .Declares Okocha ‘role model’ Stories by MADUABUCHI KALU with agency report

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ESPITE the fact that there has not been any African team that have won the World Cup, Arsenal and Nigerian striker, Alex Iwobi is not letting that to hold him back as he looks forward to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. The nephew to former Eagles’ captain, Austin Jay Jay Okocha, is anxious of playing at the biggest stage for the very first time having helped the Nigeria national team the Super Eagles, top their qualifying group for the Mundial. In his recent interview with CNN.com, Iwobi stated: “The way we qualified in the group made us very confident. “We’ve played against some big teams, some big countries, so we are very confident that we can go far.” It is noted that Iwobi was on target twice as Nigeria defeated Argentina 4-2 in a friendly last year. The two sides will meet again at the World Cup, in a group which also contains Iceland and Croatia. It is true that the Super Eagles have never progressed past the last 16, but the Arsenal striker has declared that winning the tournament is something he has discussed with his teammates. “Of course, we’ve mentioned it and talked about it so many times in training, on the coach, in the hotel room,” says Iwobi. “But we will take it step by step. Our coach always reminds us that we’re not there yet. We need to pre-

pare right. We’ve done well to get this far, so just be relaxed, be cool and wait for when the times comes. “It’s always been a dream to play in the biggest competition and there’s no bigger competition than the World Cup to me,” Iwobi said. Iwobi made his international debut with Nigeria in 2016 after representing England at youth level. He has since gone on to be a regular fixture in a young and exciting Nigeria side which includes the like of Leicester City trio of Kelechi Iheanacho, Ahmed Musa and Wilfred Ndidi. On what influenced his decision to switched allegiance to Nigeria having represented England at the youth level, Iwobi fondly remembered watching his uncle play in England. “My family used to go up to Bolton and Hull to watch some matches,” he says. “My favorite (memory) is probably just watching him (Jay Jay Okocha) in training, just watching how he is. Everyone knows what he’s like on the pitch but to actually see what he does in training when I was younger used to fascinate me ... he’s always been a role model,” Iwobi said of his Uncle Austin Jay Jay Okocha. When Okocha, part of the Nigeria side that won Olympic gold in 1996, represented his country, the family would “just scream at the TV,” Iwobi recalls. Whether the same scenario is going to play out as he joins his international teammates to fly the country’s flag in Russia, Iwobi said: “It depends where they are,” he says. “If they’re in the stadium, they’ll

be relaxed and cool. If they’re at home, they’ll be screaming and all the neighbors will hear.” On Wenger’s final day at Arsenal, Iwobi said the “Prof” as the Frenchman is popularly known deserved the recognition he should get. It is recalled that Wenger handed Iwobi his first start at the Emirates at just 18 years, and equally handed him a place in in his final game in-charge at Arsenal. The Anambra State-born striker said he would forever be indebted to the Frenchman for giving

him his big break. “I was very young, I was like a scholar,” he recalls. “He was always saying to me to enjoy your football, express yourself, and if you make a mistake, just continue and be positive. “Everyone makes mistakes, it’s how they deal with it and you just have to keep going. That’s the best advice he’s given me.” “The club without Arsene is going to be strange. “He deserves the recognition that he should get.”

igeria has officially made a proposal to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to host the 2022 Youth Olympic Games in Abuja. At a video presentation held in Abuja on Sunday, the Nigerian delegation comprising the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, the Permanent Secretary Adesola Olusade, the Nigeria Olympic Committee President, Engineer Habu Gumel, officials of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and the Federal Capital Territory, Dalung assured the visiting members of the IOC that Abuja will be ready to host the Games if Nigeria gets the nod. In his remarks, the minister commended the IOC for considering an African host for the event. “I want to commend the IOC for developing a mechanism for Africa to be taken along through the changes introduced in the organisation of the Youth Olympics. I want to assure you that the capacity of the country to deliver is not in doubt. We will ensure that we package a brand of the Youth Games which after 2022, will set an agenda for the IOC to emulate. “Abuja is ready to host because we have hosted international competitions in the past. Moreover, the IOC has emphasised that countries seeking to host the games should not build new structures but improve on their existing ones or make use of temporary facilities which will be dismantled after the games. We have the organisational capacity, the experience and the technical know-how to host. “Abuja as a city has most of the requirements as enumerated to us by the IOC in a video presentation.

Rohr unveils Super Eagles’ Joshua set to sign £100m contract I 30-man provisional list

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HE much anticipated 2018 FIFA World Cup 30-man provisional squad has finally been released by the Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr. For the keen observers, the list made available on Monday which was the final day given by the world football governing body for the release of the provisional list does not contain surprise names except for the inclusion of Kano Pillars’ goal

poacher, Junior Lokosa of Kano Pillars and Crotone of Italy striker, Simeon Nwankwo. Junior Lokosa is the leading goal scorer in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL). He has already scored 18 goals this season and is primed to score more before the end of the season. The list is made up of four goalkeepers, 10 defenders, eight midfielders and eight forwards. Leading the invitees are Cap-

tain John Obi Mikel, Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Odion Ighalo, William Ekong and Leon Balogun. Others are John Ogu, Wilfred Ndidi, Oghenekaro Etebo, Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Francis Uzoho. See full list below: Goalkeepers: Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Dele Ajiboye, Daniel Akpeyi, and Francis Uzoho Defenders: William TroostEkong, Leon Balogun, Chidozie Awaziem, Stephen Eze, Bryan Idowu, Olaoluwa Aina, Kenneth Omeruo, Elderson Echiiejile, Tyronne Ebuehi, and Abdullahi Shehu Midfielders: Mikel Obi, Ogenyi Onazi, John Ogu, Wilfred Ndidi, Joel Obi, Mikel Agu, Oghenekaro Etebo, and Uche Agbo Forwards: Odion Ighalo, Victor Moses, Alex Iwobi, Ahmed Musa, Kelechi Iheanacho, Moses Simon, Simeon Nwankwo, and Junior Lokosa.

T’S no secret that Anthony Joshua is the hottest ticket in world boxing these days. With the ability to draw sellout stadium crowds of up to 90,000 people consistently in his home country, the modern boxing landscape has never seen such a prolific ticket seller. It’s not even close. That’s why every promoter worth his bread has been watching proceedings carefully these last few months as his current contract with Matchroom Sport and Eddie Hearn runs out later this year (in November).

However, he’s not going anywhere it would appear. The UK Sun has reported that Joshua is set to sign a one-hundred million Pound £100m extension to his current arrangement with Matchroom. Likely, this is simply a year or two extensions at the very most. Joshua is currently in talks to face WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in a huge unification showdown of all the heavyweight title belts in world boxing with an agreement close to be signed it is understood.


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NEWS C’ River Govt. inaugurates health emergency response team

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he Cross River Government has inaugurated its Health Emergency Response Team to curb emerging disease outbreaks and the rising cases of drug abuse among youths in the state. Inaugurating the team on Monday in Calabar, Dr Inyang Asibong, the state Commissioner for Health, said that the initiative followed the rising cases of drug addiction among youths in the state. According to Asibong, the team will also collaborate with the Ministry of Health to clamp down on the users and purchasers of hard drugs within the state. She said that the team would also be mobilised to organise sensitisation and awareness programmes on the dangers of drug abuse. “The incessant drug abuse among our youths has become very worrisome. We are setting up this team to help these youths find their way back to society through guidance and counseling. “We have some typical areas in Calabar metropolis where drugs such as cannabis, codeine, cocaine, tramadol and others are highly consumed by our youths. As a state, we were also affected by Lassa fever, diarrhea, meningitis and other deadly diseases. “This team will also help us in quick response to some of these disease outbreaks to prevent further spread. The state government places premium on the health of her citizenry; we must do our best in sustaining government’s effort by urging our youths to steer clear hard drugs,’’ she said. State Epidemiologist, Mrs Patience Uke, said that the objective of the team was to investigate, verify and report any disease outbreak in the state. Uke said that the team would also provide technical support to all the 18 local government areas during outbreaks. According to her, the team will also propose and plan appropriate measures for containment of the epidemics to the State Disease Surveillance and Response Committee. State Coordinator of World Health Organisation, Dr Tom Igbu, said that the team was very crucial in terms of health emergencies. Igbu urged the team to work very hard by sensitising the youths on the need to shun intake of illicit drugs. Members of the committee included some officials from the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Navy, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), National Orientation Agency (NOA) and State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA).

Ijaws demand two additional states I By CLEM ONYEMAECHI, Yenagoa

jaw people have expressed regret that 50 years after the death of their hero, the Late Major Isaac Adaka Boro, his dream for the Ijaw nation is far from being achieved. Principal among the dreams not realized is the creation of additional two states for the people regarded as the fourth largest ethnic group in Nigeria. Factional President of the Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, Eric Omare made this known at Kaiama, home town of Late Major Adaka Boro in Kolokuma/Opukuma Local Government Area of Baylesa, Tuesday during the golden anniversary celebration of demise of the icon. According to Omare, 50 years af-

ter Boro died while fighting for the freedom of his people, the political fortune of the Ijaw people have not changed drastically. He noted that Ijaws are still balkanized into six different states mainly as minorities and subjected to all sorts of political suppression and oppression. Omare also bemoaned the situation where Nigeria now has thirty six states whereas the Ijaw people who are the fourth largest ethnic nationality in Nigeria have only one state. He said that the situation persisted even when the Ijaws were the first to ask for state creation through their late leader; Harold Dappa-Biriye at the London constitutional conference still has only

one homogenous state, Bayelsa. “This is oppressive and totally unacceptable to the Ijaw people especially considering the fact that majority of the resources being used to fund the thirty six states of the federation and the federal and local governments of the country are from the Ijaw territory” Omare said. On the way forward and as a key demand of the Ijaw people on the quest for the restructuring of the country, the IYC President called for the creation of two homogenous Ijaw states. He said the proposed states, Toru-Ibe State for the Ijaw people of Ondo, Edo and Delta States on the western flank. And Oil Rivers State for the Ijaw people of Akwa Ibom and Rivers.

The states will empower Ijaws to freely express their political aspirations. Omare stated that the Ijaw areas covered by the proposed Toru-Ibe and Oil Rivers State are geographical contiguous and linguistically homogenous. He said the only way restructuring can make sense to the Ijaw people is for these two states to be created and this was a key part of the struggle of the Late Isaac Adaka Boro while he was alive. “It is sad that fifty years after the demise of the late Adaka Boro, his dream of political autonomy for the Ijaw people is yet to be fulfilled. “It would be recalled that the agitations of the late Adaka Boro led to the creation of the old Rivers State in 1967,” Omare said.

Delta Govt. sets up committee to review civil service rules By JONATHAN AWANYAI, Asaba

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• Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, , played host to the Chairman /Managing Director Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN) - a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, Mr Paul MacGrawth and Group General Manager, NAPIMS under Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Mr Hilary Akpan at the Hilltop Mansion, Governor’s Lodge, Uyo.

Herdsmen/farmers clashes: Okowa makes case for ranching By JONATHAN AWANYAI, Asaba

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elta State Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa has said ranching will put to a stop to clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in the country. Governor Okowa made the suggestion at the third session of the Twelfth Synod of the Diocese of Warri, Anglican Communion, held at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Ekpan, Uvwie local government area of Delta State. According to the Governor, “herdsmen/farmers clash is a national problem, as a State, we are trying to bring the casualties to the barest minimum, as a nation, we must go into ranching of our cattle.” “It is our hope that neccessary actions will be taken for us to go into ranching, we cannot continue to allow our cattle to be roaming around,” the Governor said. The Governor who was accompanied to the service by the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Ob-

orevwori, Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Barr. Kingsley Esiso, among others, disclosed that machinery are in motion for anyone who hides under the guise of youths to extort money from property developers and law abiding citizens to be prosecuted and jailed if found guilty. “We have sent a bill to the Delta State House of Assembly which will criminalize ‘deve’ (extortion) by youths and anyone who is found guilty will go to jail,” the Governor stated, adding, “anyone who is caught causing trouble, no matter how highly placed you are or who your sponsors are, will face the wrath of the law, we like the peace we are enjoying in the state.” The Governor also called for collective efforts to ensure clean environment, observing that while it is the duty of local government councils to ensure clean council areas, it was the duty of all Deltans to dispose their refuse appropriately.

He lauded the theme for the Synod, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” stating, “our God is holy, our call is holy, it is important for us to know that it is the one who does the will of the father that will enter His kingdom, we should use our lifestyle to carry out evangelism.” Earlier, the Bishop of Warri Diocese of the Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev. Christian Ide had commended the development strides of Governor Okowa’s administration while Bishop Johnson Ekwe had in a sermon urged Christians to be prayerful not to fall into temptation. Rt. Rev. Ekwe who is the Bishop of the Diocese of Niger West, preached against gay marriage, patronage of sex dolls, asserting, “marriage is between a man and a woman and should remain so, the woman may be more endowed intellectually or financially but the Bible says she must submit to her husband, glorify God with what you have.”

hairman, Delta State Civil Service Commission, Dame Nkem Okwuofu has disclosed that a committee has been constituted to review the 1978 Civil Service Rule and Regulations so as improve service delivery. Speaking while on a monitoring visit to the Directorate of Government and Protocol with members of the Commission, Dame Okwuofu said that there was need to review the rules and regulations governing the civil service to bring it in line with today’s digital world and improve productivity. “We are reviewing the 1978 Public Service Rules and Regulations because the rules we are following today were published in 1978, and we have just set up a committee that will look into it and review it. Before this decision was made we (the commission) sent out letters to various MDAs for their contribution because in earnest they are the ones that will obey the new rules and regulations so we will be bringing it to a digital age because the old rules are obsolete,” she said. She appreciated the Permanent Secretary (PS) Government House and Protocol, Mr. Eddy Ogidi-Gbegbaje for his leadership acumen and the directorate’s contributions to the Review Committee, asserting that: “The best input we got was from this directorate, we are happy to visit government house on this our monitoring exercise because of the good leadership we have here. l urge you to see your PS as a model, we know that you will continue to impact positively on the system.” The Chairman explained that their visit was to interact with civil servants on the innovation introduced in the Commission for effective and efficient service delivery, assuring them of prompt promotion as at when due but charged them to ensure that they do the needful by regularly filling their Annual Performance Evaluation Report (APER) and other documents that would be used in accessing them for promotion. In a brief welcome address, Ogidigbegbaje, commended the commission for the monitoring exercise stating that it would help the staff to gain more ideas and knowledge on what is expected of them by the commission for greater productivity.


WEDNESDAY May 23, 2018

The

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racle Today

VOX POPULI SACRUM

ISSN: 2545-5869

Not yet PVC trumph... in South East

T

he intensity, even ferocity, with which the get-your-PVC campaign in the South East has been carried out is typically Igbo. Miffed at the low number of registered voters in the South East, as published by INEC in February this year, South East governors, council chairmen and their councilors, socio-cultural groups, traditional councils, town unions and individuals, as if possessed by the spirit of Hermes, the Greek god of speed, went all out, practically pulling out all stops and using every medium of communication at their disposal, to woo voters to get registered. And as the Igbo would often react when faced with a challenge, the people responded massively to the promptings, turning out in their numbers at designated registration centres throughout the zone to get registered. There is no doubt that when the next batch of registered voters is released, the number from the South East will be much ‘better’. But, it’s still unlikely to be better than the figures other zones will post: the odds will still be against us, as it were. Such likely underperformance will, however, not have anything to do with the people’s lack of enthusiasm for the PVC. Neither will it be indicative of the low voter population in the South East in relation to other zones. No; it will come as evidence of what many have always suspected, namely, that there may well be an orchestrated plan somewhere to disenfranchise a large segment of the voting population in Igbo land. It is such a big deal to get registered as a voter in the South East. And the question is why? INEC’s logistics for the exercise in the zone are almost always inadequate: data-capture machines are rather too few and far between--many malfunction in addition; Members of the Commission’s ad hoc staff deployed to handle the exercise are overstretched as they are also too few; little or no provision is made for the energy needs of the machines in rural communities to which, by the way, INEC officials rarely return after the first ‘data-capturing’ visit; there is no arrangement for extended hours of registration in case of an unexpected surge in the number of voters wanting to be registered,

Eastside From the

By Felix Oguejiofor Abugu

Phone: 08076290498 (SMS only)

etc. The result is that there are still a lot of eligible voters in the South East who can’t get registered. A week or two ago, I was privileged to attend, in my community, a meeting whose agenda included distribution of PVCs. Many PVCs were distributed that day and those who were lucky to get theirs were obviously happy, very happy. But there were also many others who didn’t get the VICs (Very Important Cards). And they probably have no hope of getting any because they have neither been registered nor have any hope of being registered for the PVCs. The reason is that although the exercise is supposed to be a continuous one, INEC officials have stopped visiting many rural communities in Igbo land, such as mine. Many of the un-captured voters at that meeting complained that they had made several attempts to get registered but that INEC officials, data capture machines et al have stopped coming to their areas after the Commission’s initial chaotic outing in the wake of the outcry that greeted the low number of registered voters in the South East. There is yet another concern. It is not only that INEC officials have since stopped visiting communities or electoral wards to capture potential voters, it is also that even when they ‘mandatorily’ made the first rounds of register-the-voter visits to the

…As Governor Ugwuanyi visits Igbo-Eze North O

•Professor Mahmood Yakubu

wards, they had to be cajoled, feted, fed, bribed and generally taken care before they agreed to do their work and if any ward expected to be given full attention. What that means is that electoral wards lucky to have well-to-do, politically savvy individuals willing to ‘take care of business’, are likely to have registered more voters than those communities/electoral wards that are not as lucky. I am told that what goes on now is that where there are complaints, “it can be arranged” for INEC to visit such areas to capture voters. Where there are complaints but “it can’t be arranged”, the complainants can go stuff it for all INEC cares. I restate that the ongoing permanent voter registration exercise as it affects the South East has not been a complete success--to put it mildly. My fear is that at the end of the day, a lot of people in Igbo land would have been disenfranchised and the world would, as usual, turn around to hypocritically taunt the Igbo as a people neck-deep in political insouciance. But, trust me, non-massive registration of voters in Igbo Land is apparently deliberate; it is not as a result of the unwillingness of the people to get registered. Consider this situation. Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State is a sprawling one-town, 20-ward local government area, which is arguably bigger than Ihiala and Nnewi North Local Government Are-

as, two of the biggest councils in Anambra State, put together. It comprises 33 villages some of which are as big as some towns in other parts of Igbo land. But, guess what: for the voter registration exercise in all of that huge area, INEC deployed only 7 data-capture machines! You can replicate this scenario in most parts of the South East. This was how, for another example, Madam Cecilia Nwachukwu, a woman in her late 60’s, spoke about her frustration while trying to register as a voter in the Umuahia area of Abia State in February this year: “I was here last October to submit my change of name, to enable me register in the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise. They told me to come back in December. When I came, I was told to come back early this year. Today, I am back here again, only to be told that I should go home and wait for a radio announcement. How long will I wait for the radio announcement, nobody has told me. When we did this registration in Kano, it was as easy as ABC, but here, people pass through hell,” she told The Oracle Today newspaper’s Boniface Okoro And as Okoro, the Umuahia Correspondent of the newspaper was to also report, “most of the registrants complained that they had to come to the INEC office for, at least, three days before they were able to conclude their registration process…and these are mostly civil servants, businessmen and women, as well as students…” Evidently, not much has changed between February and now. As can be clearly seen, the conduct of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise in the South East has been remarkable largely for the breach of the processes girding it. Needless to say, then, that the success rate from an exercise conducted in this way and manner can only be low, very low, indeed. Therefore, to redeem the situation by ensuring that as many people as are qualified get registered to vote in the South East, INEC must do the needful: improve on its present level of logistics put in place for the exercise so it can more efficiently deploy more men and material to continue with the exercise.

n Saturday, May 19, Enugu State governor, Rt. Honourable Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi will visit Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State as part of effort to drum support for his re-election bid. The governor will be visiting on the last leg of the local governments tour he began in March last year under the aegis of the Gburugburu Movement (GM). The visit will be a homecoming of sorts for Governor Ugwuanyi whose local government, Udenu and Igbo-Eze North form one federal constituency—the Udenu/Igbo-Eze North Federal Constituency. Ugwuanyi was a three-term Member of the House of Representatives representing this constituency. Gburugburu, a man hailed by many for his disarming humility and sense of equity, will be welcomed by probably the largest crowd ever to be gathered by any chapter of the Gburugburu Movement, as Igbo-Eze North is a very populous local government area. Besides, the people love the governor here. But, I am afraid the governor will also be hard put to explain to the people why he seems to have done very little to give a part

of his own very constituency a face-lift in the past three years of his stewardship as governor. Ifeanyi Ugwaunyi is so charming that it is often difficult to see people who are implacably angry with him. But, I am sure that the people of Igbo-Eze are not happy that in three years, Governor Ugwuanyi who, for instance, has built more roads within this period than probably any other governor in Nigeria, has only managed to build two kilometres of road in a local government he represented as a Rep for three terms and which is ranked the third largest in the state--in terms of revenue allocation, at least. They would also want to know why power supply is almost non-existent in Igbo-Eze North and why his administration has not sunk more water boreholes, among others, in the local government. All this they will ask in love. And, the governor, I am quite certain, will also answer them in love. As is the refrain here, Enugu State is in the hands of God.

•Governor ifeanyi ugwuanyi

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 May 23, 2018 Edition  

River Niger threatened

Wednesday May 23, 2018 Edition  

River Niger threatened

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