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Vol. 8 No. 28

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Jimadal Akhir 11, 1433 AH

N150

The Guardian, Daily Trust, The Nation, LEADERSHIP, others on Boko Haram’s hit list By Abubakar Ibrahim & Lambert Tyem with Agency Report

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ama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad, also called Boko Haram,

yesterday named more print and electronic media houses and staff on its latest hit list. In an 18-minute video, the group placed the Voice of America (Hausa), The Guardian

Newspapers, The Punch, National Accord, The Nation and The Tribune on top of the pack. LEADERSHIP, Daily Trust, Peoples Daily are next in that order.

NewYork based online site Sahara Reporters was singled out by the sect over what it called the use of its website for denigrating comments on Islam. The group also gave reasons

for bombing ThisDay offices in Abuja and Kaduna as well as other media premises last Thursday. One of them, according to a voice on the video clip which was Contd on Page 2

The alleged mastermind of the BUK attacks killed by police in yesterday’s raid.

Improvised explosive devices recovered by the JTF during a raid on suspected Boko Haram members' hideout, yesterday in Kano.

A Camerounian woman with her children and a househelp arrested, yesterday in Kano. Photo: Edwin Olofu

Nigeria is close to breakup, warns TY Danjuma . . . Says Borno, Jigawa, Kano are failed states already By Lawrence Olaoye & Umar Mohammed

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ormer Minister for Defence, General T.Y. Danjuma (rtd.) yesterday in Abuja raised an alarm that the nation is close to a break-up with the highly volatile security situation brought about

by the Boko Haram insurgency in the northern part of the country. Danjuma, also a former Chief of Army Staff (COAS), in his remarks at the 50th birthday anniversary of the publisher of LEADERSHIP Newspapers, Sam Nda-Isaiah, said the North in particular “is on fire.”

BUK killings: Mastermind killed in dawn raid >> PAGE 2

He said: “Our house is on fire; Nigeria is fast becoming like Somalia; the Somaliasation of Nigeria is going on right now; we have to sit down and tell ourselves the truth”, he warned. “The responsibility is on us, northerners. Our house is on fire; let us not deceive ourselves.”

Confusion over Jalingo bomber’s identity >> PAGE 3

He said the responsibility of maintaining security rests with state governors, going by the Constitution, but “the governors are not only ill-equipped to face the security challenges, but are not innovative enough to protect life and property in their respective states”.

Eagles coach, players others trapped in Mali

The former Defence Minister lamented that several of the states in the federation, including some in the North, are not viable and as such could not discharge their basic responsibilities. He said: “Borno state today is a failed state; Jigawa is almost a Contd on Page 2

Robbers set banks ablaze, kill 5 in Ondo

>> PAGE 3

>> PAGE 4

www.peoplesdaily-online.com


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PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

CONTENTS News

2-11

Editorial

12

Op.Ed

13

Letters

14

Opinion

15

Metro

16-17

Business

19-22

S/Exchange

23

S/Report

24

Motoring

26

Discourse

27

Arts

29

BUK shootings: Mastermind killed in dawn raid, weapons seized, police say From Edwin Olofu, Kano

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ecurity forces early yesterday raided the hideout of Islamist militants in Kano, killing the suspected mastermind of attacks on Christian worshippers on the campus of Bayero University on Sunday, in a gun battle that lasted several hours. The raid followed a spate of attacks in the past days, believed to be by Islamist sect Boko Haram, which killed 30 people and dampened hopes that tighter security in the north had drastically reduced the sect’s capability. Residents of the Bubugaje slum area of Kano awoke to several loud explosions and the sound of gunfire. “It is really terrifying ... everyone is indoors,” said Anthonia Okafor, a student at the university. “Our men just raided one of the hideouts of the elements ... where we discovered explosives and weapons,” said Lieutenant Iweha Ikedichi, a spokesman for the

Joint Task Force (JTF) in Kan. “The main suspect has been killed,” he added, referring to the suspected mastermind of the attack on Sunday, when gunmen sprayed bullets in a lecture theatre being used for Christian worship. That attack and another one on Sunday against a church in northeast Maiduguri, Boko Haram’s spiritual headquarters, killed 19 people between them. Security forces took journalists to the scene of the battle, a hot, dusty slum at the edge of a rusting industrial estate. They brought out three women and two children they said had been rescued from the house, which was partly demolished by fighting. The front wall was blasted off; the iron roof, collapsed. “The most difficult task we face with these terrorists is they know us but we don’t know them. They’re not rooted in a particular place,” Commander, 3 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Kano, Brigadier General Ilyasu Abbah said, facing the house pocked with

bullet and bomb craters. He described the building, as spare as it was, as a virtual bomb factory. Abbah, flanked by the state Commissioner of Police and the State Director of the Kano State Security Service (SSS), assured that his men were on top of the situation, even as he admitted that the battle against the sect was a difficult one. “We have rooted them out of here today, (but) tomorrow they could be somewhere else.” According to him, one suspect was arrested but two had escaped through the back door. In the three hour raid, security operatives also uncovered another bomb factory in which weapons and bomb making materials were seized. They included one Ak47 Riffle, 35 knifes, 6 high calibre remote control IEDs, laptops, 458 rounds of live ammunitions; a bank deposit slip and a leaflet were also found. During the raid which was carried out in Bubugaje Sharada phase 3 in a remote part of the

Kano metropolis two housewives including a nursing mother and children were evacuated from the building which was then demolished by the JTF. Police Commissioner for Kano state, Ibrahim Idris, said: “Based on intelligence reports received about the suspects’ hideout, a joint team comprising soldiers, police and the State Security Service personnel commenced an operation this morning.” Boko Haram’s attacks have replaced militancy in the oil producing Niger Delta as the main security threat to the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, and it has gained momentum since his election victory a year ago. A bomb blast struck a police chief’s convoy in previously peaceful Taraba state on Monday, killing 11 people. Suicide car bombers targeted the offices of This Day newspaper in Abuja and in Kaduna last week, killing at least four people and demonstrating the sect’s continued ability to carry out coordinated strikes.

Nigeria is close to break-up, warns TY Danjuma

Revelations at the subsidy probe a national shame, says Yuguda’s ex-aide, Page 37

International 31-34 Strange World 35 Digest

36

Politics

37-40

Sports

41-47

Columnist

48

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU The Peoples Daily wants to hear from you with any news and pictures you think we should publish. You can send your news and pictures to: letters@peoplesdaily-online.com pictures@peoplesdaily-online.com contact@peoplesdaily-online.com

Phones for News: 070-37756364 09-8734478

Contd from Page 2 failed state; Kano is moving towards becoming a failed state. “We have billions of naira to erect the fences of Government Houses, what about the people? We must take stock and take responsibility,” he charged. He added that the Federal Government under President Goodluck Jonathan has failed to address the security situation in the country even as he charged the government to take decisive action towards dealing with the Boko Haram insurgency once and for all. Professor Ango Abdullahi, former Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, who was the Guest Speaker, while delivering his speech titled “Nigeria, 1914 to date: The chequered journey so far”, said so far Nigeria has had 14 heads of state out of which only 5 were elected and only two came to power in free and fair elections over

a period of 52 years. He attributed the nation’s problems to lack of political consistency. “It is like a building; anyone who came would say he wanted to build his ,hereby undermining the already existing ones which, as a result, we found ourselves back instead of us to progress.” He said that the structural adjustment programme (SAP) introduced by former President Ibrahim Babangida, which devalued the nation’s currency, brought untold hardship on the majority of Nigerians. He added that the nation is yet to recover from the effect of “a policy that introduced corruption, poverty and general insecurity into the nation’s body politic.” Equally commenting on the state of the nation, former Lagos state governor and national leader of the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu said the PDP

leadership was incapable of addressing the security challenges facing the nation even as he charged political leaders in to come together to proffer a lasting solution to the Boko Haram menace. Tinubu noted that even though a deceased president acknowledged that the election that produced him was flawed and set up an electoral reform Commission under the chairmanship of Justice Mohammed Lawal Uwais, the report of that panel has yet to be implemented by the government. While calling on the PDP administration to quit and allow the opposition which has the wherewithal to address the nation’s challenges to take over, Tinubu called on all stakeholders to come together to force the government to implement the report of the House of Representatives probe into the subsidy regime. Former Senate President, Chief

Ken Nnamani, premised the nation’s problems on the loss of the “concept of shame” by the country’s leaders. He, however, pointed out that no party was better than the PDP as they all engage in similar practices. He added that a culture of impunity and corruption runs through all the nation’s political parties and the leadership in general as he stated that Nigerians are waiting with bated breath for the outcome of the House subsidy probe report as well as that of the pension scam investigation by the Senate. Dignitaries at the public function included Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, former Head of State, Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule, the Danmasanin Kano, Mallam Adamu Ciroma, Amb. Shehu Malami, Sen. Muhammad Danjuma Goje, Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi while HRH Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, the Etsu Nupe, served as the royal father of the day.

The Guardian, Daily Trust, The Nation, LEADERSHIP, others on Boko Haram’s hit list Contd from Page 2

in Hausa, was the publication of what it called outright lies over the supposed capture of Abu Qaqa, its spokesman despite repeated denials by the sect. It recalled a blasphemous publication by a columnist, Ifeoma Daniel, about Prophet Mohammed in 2002 ahead of the Miss World Pageant which sparked a controversy leading to its abortion and eventual relocation to London. “This is a message from Jamaatu Ahlis Sunnah Lil Daawati Wal Jihad, and we wish to inform Nigerians (about) our

reasons for attacking some media houses,” the group said. The video also shows that the radical group carried out live coverage of the bombing in Abuja and filmed the explosion at Thisday. The group created the new YouTube video under the name Alhaji Mani. The new video by Boko Haram has given the first vivid image of how a jeep drove in and bombed Thisday newpapers in Abuja. In the YouTube video, Boko Haram warned of further attacks on educational institutions like it did at the Gombe state University, Gombe and Bayero University,

Kano if the government continues to demolish its members’ homes or other property. It cited what it called the arrest and detention of wives and children of the sect’s members for sins they did not commit and warned the government of consequences. Reacting to the threats, Police authorities yesterday in Abuja said they were not deterred by the sect’s latest threats. Acting Inspector General of Police Mohammed Abubakar said the Force was aware of the threats and that he had directed Commissioners of Police across the country to beef up security at all

media houses. He advised media houses to contact Commissioners of Police in the states where they operate if they feel vulnerable. The IGP who stated that the police and other security agencies are working hard to overcome the present security challenges, however, blamed the underperformance of the security agencies on underfunding, lack of training and equipment. When contacted, spokesperson of State Security Service, Marilyn Ogar, said the service was yet to get the threat but promised that it would rise to the occasion as the situation requires.


PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

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FG confirms 9,000 PHCN causal workers – Union

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L-R: Chairman, Editor-in-Chief, Leadership Newspapers Group, Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah, General T.Y. Danjuma, former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, and Emir of Kazaure, Alhaji Najib Adamu, during Nda-Isaiah’s 50th birthday celebration, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Confusion over Jalingo bomber’s identity From Ayodele Samuel & Yusha’u Alhassan, Jalingo

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he Taraba state government and the police command yesterday disagreed over the identity of the suicide bomber who left three people dead and scores of others injured on Monday when the convoy of the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mamman Sule, was attacked. The police had identified the bomber as a staff of the Taraba state Ministry of Finance, but the state government denied it, saying the man was just a victim of the explosion.

Meanwhile, three persons have been arrested for interrogation by the police over the incident, top police sources in the state told our correspondent last night. The state police command spokesperson, ASP Ibiam Mbaseki, told our reporters that one of the suicide bombers was a staff of the state Ministry of Finance. “We were made to understand that one of the suicide bombers was a staff of the ministry of finance,” he said. However state government officials said the alleged bomber was just a victim of the attack, as investigation by the state government is ongoing.

Up to press time, no group had claimed responsibility for the attack; security sources in the state said the attack might have no link with the Boko Haram sect. A security source however told our correspondents that the wife of the suspected bomber and two others have been arrested for investigation. “Arrest has been made, we went to the house of the suicide bomber, we searched the house and arrested his wife and two others for interrogation I can authoritatively tell you the suspected bomber worked in the Ministry of Finance”. However, the police

Eagles coach, 10 players, others trapped in Mali By Patrick Andrew

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uper Eagles Assistant Coach Houandinou Valere Revelino and 10 Sunshine Stars players among others are trapped in Bamako, the capital of Mali following renewed fighting between armed rivals in major streets in the town, which has led to the closure of the international airport. It would be recalled that the northern part of Mali and Bamako in particular had come under rebels' attacks since the government of President Ahmoudu Toumani Toure was toppled by a military junta in February. Though the junta later agreed to surrender power to an interim Prime Minister following the intervention of ECOWAS leaders, armed rebels have subjected most

part of the land-locked country to sporadic attacks. Sunshine Stars, Nigeria's CAF Champions League representatives, had on Sunday played the first leg of the second round game in the continental fiesta in Bamako where they were held to 1-1 draw by the hosts Djoliba. However, whereas the first batch of players and officials on Monday departed Bamako, the second, which was scheduled to return yesterday, could not because the major exit route in Bamako, the international airport, had been closed. The Nigeria team though is not the only victim of the closure. Sixtime CAF Champions League champions, Al Ahly of Egypt who were also in Bamako for a continental engagement are also involved. Ahly lost by a lone goal to Stade Malien in

the same competition. Also two Malian clubs that had gone for the same continental clubs' championship assignments are unable to return home. The referees who officiated the games have similarly been trapped. Confirming the development yesterday, the General Secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation, Barrister Musa Amadu, said the federation had contacted the Nigeria Embassy stressing that diplomatic efforts were in top gear to facilitate the immediate reopening of the airport to allow the players to leave. Further, Musa disclosed that apart from the players and the Eagles assistant coach trapped in Bamako, two sports journalists, Tunde Shamsudeen and Samuel Odeyemi, that had accompanied the team, the Ondo State Football Agency Chairman Segun Adagunodo, among others were also being forcefully confined in Bamako.

spokesman confirmed Peoples Daily account of the blast, saying “I want to confirm that only persons including the suicide bomber died from the blast; at the instance, other hospitalised victims are responding to treatment”. On the security situation in the state, he said residents have been going about their lawful businesses. “Everywhere is calm, we are not taking anything for granted, we have beefed up vulnerable points , we have intensified our check points, the state government has banned some road from general use and we are getting results.” He also confirm that the commissioner’s outrider who was the only police officer injured in the blast is still alive and responding to treatment at the Federal Medical Centre.

he Federal Government has confirmed that 9,000 out of 11,000 causal workers in PHCN across the country, a union leader said. The Chairman of National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), FCT branch, Mr. Wisdom Nwachukwu, made the confirmation while addressing newsmen in Abuja yesterday. He explained that the workers concerned had received their letters of appointment and gave an assurance that the remaining workers would be confirmed soon. Nwachukwu said that government had also agreed to pay the 50 percent increment in leave grants to PHCN staff. He said that the arrears of 2012 of such entitlement had been finalised and sent to the banks for payment. He said two months arrears of the 50 percent in respect of November 2011 and March 2012 salary owed the workers “have been paid to the bank”. He commended the Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, for making the payment a reality. Nwachukwu called on the government to follow the Hassan Sumonu-led committee recommendations on the settlement of the benefits of the workers before winding down PHCN. The Sumonu-led committee had suggested that all arrears of entitlements of the workers should be paid before the winding down of the company. In his speech, the National President of NUEE, Mr. Mansur Musa, condemned the high level of corruption in the country. Musa commended the National Assembly for its efforts e to expose corruption, especially in the oil and gas sector. (NAN)

May Day: Workers demand full implementation of subsidy workers displayed placards probe report demanding for the full By Muhammad Sada

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abour unions yesterday demanded for the full implementation of subsidy probe report as well as other issues relating to the welfare of the citizens of the country. This demand was made during the Workers’ Day celebration held at the Eagle Square, Abuja. The celebration which attracted union workers both from within and outside the FCT was coordinated by the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress. It had in attendance, the labour minister, Chief Ayogu, NLC president, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, his TUC counterpart, Comrade Peter Esele among other union leaders, stakeholders and dignitaries. At the event yesterday, the

implementation of the report of the subsidy probe conducted by the House of Representatives as well as prosecution and punishment of those implicated and indicted. They also called for resignation or sack of the supervising ministers in the affected ministries for the roles they have played. Some of the unions also demanded for the development and implementation of a 24 month strategic intervention plan to achieve self sufficiency in domestic refining capacity for petroleum products. The labour leaders urged the leadership of the country to try and live in the footsteps of patriotic Nigerians by putting their total commitment to the development of the country as well as ensuring the security and welfare of the citizens.


PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

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Robbers set banks Muslim forum ablaze, kill 5 in Ondo condemns attack on BUK

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rmed robbers besieged the sleepy town of Ikare-Akoko in Ondo state on Monday night and used dynamites to blow open the security gates of three banks. According to the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr. Adeniran Aremu, who confirmed the incident, the affected banks are the Ecobank Plc, Wema Bank Plc and the First Bank Plc. Fear gripped the residents who scampered out to establish what had gone amiss as the robbers followed each dynamite explosion with sporadic gun fires. In the melee, five persons were killed by stray bullets but the police authorities in the state confirmed the death of only two persons. Those who died were a pastor, two commercial motorcyclists, a security guard and a teenager

simply identified as Oniwu. Investigations showed that the robbers on their arrival in the town went straight to the police station and dislodged the security personnel by shooting sporadically at them. The station was immediately deserted as the policemen on duty took to their heels following their inability to confront the superior fire power of the rampaging robbers. NAN further learnt that the officers fled to request for reinforcement at Owo, also in Ondo state and Akure, a distance of about 50 kilometers and 100 kilometers from Ikare, respectively. The robbers had moved to the premises of the affected banks before the arrival of more security personnel and they blew-up the security gates. (NAN)

By Ikechukwu Okaforadi

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he Muslim Forum of Bayero University, Kano, has condemned the recent bomb attack on the university which killed many people among them two professors, and leaving many injured. In a condolence message to the Vice Chancellor of the school which was signed by the secretary of the forum, Usman Shuaib, it said, “We are warned by the Qur’an to consider that

any person who, unjustly or without following due process laid down by the Shariah, takes the life of another is deemed to have killed the entire mankind and whoever nurtures and protects a single human life is deemed to have nurtured and sustained mankind.” It added that as fellow believers, they are guided by Qur’anic injunctions and inspired by the Sunnah, which is the exemplary practice of Prophet Muhammed, to hold in

high reverence and sacredness all places of worship and strongly disapprove of their desecration. It therefore said that similarly, the forum value the sanctity of human life and totally disapprove of the unjustified taking of any human life. While praying God to grant the affected families the succor fortitude to bear the loss, the forum prayed God to protect the university from such experience in the future.

Tambuwal pledges to ensure job security By Ikechukwu Okaforadi

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peaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has said the National Assembly would continue to enact laws that will ensure security of employment, health and welfare of all working people in the country. In a message to commemorate this year’s Workers’ Day issued in Abuja yesterday and signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Malam Imam Imam, Tambuwal said as partners in progress, the lawmakers and labour unions have shared goals and responsibilities whose ultimate aim is to see to the development of the country. He said the House of Representatives is not oblivious

of the challenges confronting labour in all parts of the globe, but said the legislators would not rest on their oars until such challenges are surmounted. While urging the workers to take stock of the progress made in the country since independence, Tambuwal urged Nigerian workers not to despair and continue to look to the future with hope and optimism. He said the various security challenges facing the country would soon be history, adding that to succeed in the onerous task of building a peaceful and stable nation, all Nigerians, workers and leaders alike, must continue to make sacrifices. He also appealed to all those responsible for multiple bomb blasts in the country to desist from such acts and embrace the path of peace and dialogue.

L-R: Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade (rtd), President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Chukwuemeka Wogu, President-General, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Peter Esele, and Minister of State for FCT, Chief Olajumoke Akinjide, during the 2012 May Day celebrations, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Court dismisses Okorie’s N500m Plateau discovers ghost libel suit against Umeh, others commissioner on payroll

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he Plateau state government has expressed frustration that its efforts to curb corruption in its public service are being thwarted by workers in the state. The Commissioner for Information, Mr. Abraham Yiljap, said among the corrupt practices found in the system was the discovery of a fake commissioner in the state civil service. Yiljap said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos yesterday, that the alleged fake commissioner had been earning the salary and allowances attached to the office. He described the level of corruption in the state service as “nauseating”. “There is a fake commissioner on the payroll of Plateau state government. I mean somebody appointed himself as commissioner and has been receiving salaries and other perks of office as one. “We have a lot of bad things. Some people are on grade level 8

but receive salaries meant for level 16 officers. Others have primary school certificates and are retiring on grade level 14. “In another instance, some of the workers connived and stole N66 million scholarship funds. “There are many other people, who are taking money that they should not be taking. Some are no longer in the service but they are maintained in service. People are maintaining fictitious names and drawing salaries,” the commissioner said. The commissioner said it was sad that workers had continued to thwart the government’s efforts to cleanse the system. He said the workers engaged in all forms of corrupt practices, particularly through the falsification of names in salary vouchers. Yiljap said the state had a monthly wage bill of N1.7 billion and described the sum as “simply incredulous and unacceptable. (NAN)

By Sunday Ejike Benjamin

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n Abuja High Court has dismissed a N500 million libel suit brought before it by the former chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (AGPA), against national chairman of the party, Chief Victor Umeh and seven others. The court sitting before Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi held that the libel suit lacked merit and that the defendants’ defence of fair comments was upheld, saying that, the subject matter of the case concerns a political party (APGA), which is a matter of general interest. “Having looked at the earlier judgments of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory delivered on April 16th 2008 which upheld the expulsion of the plaintiff (Okorie) from APGA, a judgment also upheld by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, this court finds no merit in the case and it is accordingly dismissed”, the

court held. It would be recalled that Okorie had on June 6th 2005 dragged Umeh, APGA’s National Secretary, Alhaji Sani Shinkafi, Dr. Innocent Ekwu, Dr. Mic Adams, Alhaji Sadiq Masalla, Chief Chris Ndigwe, Mrs. Ella Nwabueze and Alhaji Habib Gajo all former members of the National Working Committee of the party to court for allegedly libeling and defaming him. In the suit which he filed through his counsel, Chief Uche (SAN), he averred that the defendants had with the intent to defame and injure his political career, private and business life falsely and maliciously caused to be published of, and concerning him on pages 42 and 43 of the Vanguard newspapers of Monday December 20th 2004, Vanguard of December 21st 2004, Daily Independent of January 20th 2005 , Champion of February 27th 2005 and Champion of March 20th 2005 all national newspapers that

had wide circulation in Nigeria including the Federal Capital Territory inter alia the following words: “Why Chekwas Okorie was suspended, an address by Chief sir Victor C. Umeh [KSJ] Acting National Chairman All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, today 15th day of December 2004”. The statement had accused Okorie of the following: “That Chief Chekwas Okorie, the former National Chairman received from the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] the sum of N3 million, N6 million and two million seven hundred and three naira, eight hundred and sixty-three kobo being various statutory allocation to APGA from the Federal government and lodged the various sums of money into unknown accounts and withdrew them without the signature of the National Secretary and the National Treasurer of the party.


PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

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Hajj: Kaduna pilgrims board to partner with private firm on cashless service

Police smash cross border robbery gang, kill one

From Mohammed Adamu, Kaduna

From Sadeeq Aliyu, Sokoto

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he Kaduna State Pilgrims Welfare Board has planned to partner with Microcred Bank to introduce a cashless transaction for 2012 Hajj pilgrims, the Executive Secretary of the Board, Ambassador Sule Buba has said. The executive secretary who spoke when he received the management team of Microcred Microfinance Bank yesterday in his office in Kaduna, further stated that, the state stands to gain a lot from the partnership that would help to reduce the risk of carrying cash by pilgrims during hajj operations. He stated that it is going to involve a lot of monetary transactions which will be very helpful particularly now that we are experiencing monetary transformation. Earlier, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Microcred Microfinance Bank, Olugbolahan Mark-George, in his remarks, affirmed that, the bank will provide services that will be used locally and also while performing the hajj operations in Saudi Arabia. The CEO, also expressed the bank’s readiness to identify with the pilgrims board to provide targeted products that will lead to subsequent successful hajj operations. He said: “As an international bank, we will give the pilgrims products that will work for them anywhere and for ease of transactions without necessarily carrying cash. “It is going to involve a lot of money, but the pilgrims are going to have access to the largest international microfinance bank in Nigeria, when they travel they will have insurance on themselves. “Our coming into the banking is the beginning of a life time relationship, with over 35, 000 active accounts today working with us and about N1.2 billion active engagement with communities.” He added that “Our coverage for now is Kaduna state but we are going national in the next few months, we are northern focused and it has been so in the last past three years since this operation began”.

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eavy exchange of fire between police and an eight-man armed robbery gang from Niger Republic led to the killing of one Halilu Mamman, a notorious cross border robbery suspect from Niger yesterday. Deputy Commissioner of police Kudu Nma, who briefed newsmen shortly after the gun duel, said the incident took place in Gundumi forest around Isa-Goronyo road when a councilor from the area was

robbed by the gang and he reported the matter to a nearby DPO. According to Nma, when police arrived the scene, they started sporadic shooting in the bush and the robbers returned fire and in the ensueing fire exchange, one of the robbers identified as Halilu Mamman from Niger Republic was arrested as a result of crippling wound he sustained and could not escape along with others who fled. Nma said the suspect was discovered in the bush with AK 47

any time to rob people and sometimes kill or maim their victims. He explained that for the last two months there were complaints of rampant incursion of robbery suspects from Niger Republic attacking people along the forest which stretches from Niger Republic through Goronyo and Isa local governments up to Niger state. He said very soon the 1,000 motorcycles given to police by the Sokoto state government would be used during patrol at the area.

L-R: Yobe state Governor, Malam Ibrahim Gaidam, with Commissioner for Finance, Alhaji Kaigama Umar, when he visited the latter, yesterday in Yunusari town to condole with him over the death of his father, Alhaji Maigari Damau.

Epileptic power derails economy, says NLC From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi

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igeria Labour Congress (NLC), Bauchi state chapter, has described the constant epileptic power supply experienced in the country as a bane that is derailing Nigeria’s economy. The Chairman NLC Bauchi, Comrade Hashimu Gital, stated this during this year’s May Day celebrations held at the Abubakar

Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi, yesterday. Comrade Gital stated that almost all the industries in the country and other economic sectors heavily depended on power supply which is not forth coming and has contributed greatly to the backwardness of Nigeria’s economy, adding that power supply in the country has now turned to be the HIV of our economy.

Police, ‘Ali Kwara’ kill 2 robbers in Katsina From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, Katsina

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rifle and several rounds of live ammunition and was carried by police to whom he gave useful information that would lead to the arrest of others adding that he was later taken to Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital where he died from the injuries he sustained. The DC said investigations showed that five of the bandits were from Maradi in Niger Republic while three are Nigerians and that Gundumi forest is a killer zone where robbers can emerge at

combined team of Inspector-General of Police and that of Katsina Police Command’s anti-robbery unit led by a popular thief hunter, Ali Kwara, has killed two armed robbery suspects along KatsinaKano road. A statement by the Katsina police command spokesman, ASP Shehu Koko Muhammad, disclosed that the robbers were killed in the early hours of yesterday during a shot out with the team. According to him, during the operation the team was able to recover 3 AK 47 rifles with 324 live ammunition.

He added that other items recovered from the robbers include, one pump action with 41 live ammunition, four locally made revolver pistol, seven empty magazines of AK 47, N108, 710 cash and a Mercedes Benz car. ASP Muhammad noted that the killed robbers were suspected to be the ones terrorising the residents of Katsina, Dutsinma, Sabuwa and Dandume local governments in the state. While thanking the citizens in the state for divulging information to the police, Muhammad said the state police commissioner, Alhaji Abdullahi Magaji, has urged people in the state to be wary of persons with suspicious character.

In his speech, Governor Isa Yuguda, who was represented by his deputy, Alhaji Sagir Aminu Saleh, said pioneer labour leaders in the country have contributed immensely towards the development of the nation especially in actualising freedom from colonial masters. He said labour leaders in the past promoted industrial harmony as their primary objective without making emphasis on check-off

dues, adding that disagreements are normally resolved through dialogue not confrontation. Saleh stated that the state government has offered about 40 different interventions to the state civil servants and called on labour leaders to always reason with the state government on making demands as their allocation is too meager, saying that 80% of the state allocation goes to the state civil servants alone.

One killed, houses burnt in Plateau From Nankpah Bwakan, Jos

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nknown gunmen yesterday invaded Gwam Rim village of Riyom local government area of Plateau state and killed one person and set four houses ablaze. Peoples Daily gathered that the gunmen stormed the village at the early hours and started shooting sporadically. Coordinator of Christian nongovernmental organisation in Jos (STEFANOS) foundation, Mr. Mark Lidpo, confirmed the incident and gave the name of the deceased as David Mamai. Our correspondent report that last week Tuesday two families were attacked in the

same village and five persons were killed while two members of one the families were hospitalised. However, member Representing Riyom Constituency in the State House of Assembly Hon. Daniel Dem decried the re-occurrence of the killings of his constituents and called on security agencies in the state to provide adequate security to all and sundry in the state. According to him, one person has been shot died and four houses razed by the assailants “I want to appeal to my people to remain calm and not to take laws in to their hands as appropriate measures are been put in place to curtail the re-occurrence of the attacks in the area".


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PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

WORKERS DAY NEWS Boko Haram: Shettima urges Borno NLC to pray for peace From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri

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overnor Kashim Shettima of Borno state yesterday urged the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC) to dedicate part of its activities marking the 2012 Workers' Day celebration to pray for the return of peace scuttled by the Boko Haram insurgency. Governor Shettima, who spoke at the 2012 Workers' Day celebration held in Maiduguri, explained that the present security challenges confronting the state, needs divine intervention. The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Zanna Umar Mustapha, observed that NLC was a stakeholder in all aspects of human endeavour, hence it would not be excluded in the struggle to ensure the return of normalcy to the state. "I appeal to NLC and the public to continue praying to bring this problem to an end, while members of the Boko Haram sect should adopt path of dialogue for amicable resolution of their grievances for the development of the state", he appealed. He further reaffirmed government readiness to partner with the union in improving workers welfare and enhancing productivity. According to him, the implementation of the N18, 000 minimum wage, coupled with various incentives, have demonstrated government willingness for the general revamp of the workers' morale. In his remarks, the state chairman of the union, Comrade Titus Abana, acknowledged the cordial relations between government and labour but said something else needed to be done to settle the union's pending request. Comrade Abana stated that some of the demands yet to be settled by the government comprised of non payment of two months arrears of the minimum wage, non payment of two months arrears of the newly recruited secondary school teachers and arrears of 2011 and 2012 annual increment and promotion benefits of primary school teachers, among others.

Niger NLC urges govt to address erratic power supply From Iliya Garba, Minna

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iger state council of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has advised government to pay attention to the nation's erratic power supply to ensure the revival of dead industries in our country. Among the areas government should pay attention include, provision of fertilisers and other agricultural inputs such as tractors and improved seedlings to enable farmers boost food

production and reduce the country's over-dependence on oil revenue. The state NLC chairman, Comrade Yahaya Idris Ndako made this known yesterday in Minna at the Workers Day celebration, saying if people in the rural areas were adequately mobilised and engaged in all year farming, it would reduce ruralurban migration. The chairman also recommended government to overhaul education, health and

security with a view to making them efficient and functional for the benefit of this generation and those yet unborn. "Today's labour is less confrontational with authorities because it has grown to understand that strikes do not measure the quality of its success but the number of battles won through dialogue, diplomacy and application of the principles of collective bargaining". Comrade Ndako however commended the administration of Governor Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu

for upholding its policy on capacity building for workers in the state. Labour appealed to the state government to fully implement the new minimum wage ofN18,000 to workers as agreed between the government and labour early last year. "It is based on this anxiety and fear of what has happened to their contributions that the congress in the state is calling on the government to critically look into the matter with a view to addressing the problem".

Low turnout in Kano as Kwankwaso seeks prayers From Bala Nasir, Kano

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nsecurity in Kano state has apparently scared members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) from turning out enmasse to celebrate this year's Workers' Day. As a result, yesterday's event which featured a press conference at the secretariat of the state's council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) was the main event carried out by the two unions to mark the day this year. Labour which tagged the event 'Mourning May Day' also promised to hold a symposium and visit Torrey Home as part of the activities to mark the day. Chairman of NLC in the state, Comrade Isa Yunusa Danguguwa who addressed the press on behalf of the two unions described the Day as a special one because it was the second time in the history of labour movement in Kano that May Day was celebrated low key since it began in 1981. Attributing this to the security situation in the state, Danguguwa, commiserated with the people of Kano state over the bombing incidents in some parts of Kano. He urged members of trade unions as well as other well meaning Nigerians to always pray for peace and tranquillity in Kano and everywhere in Nigeria. He however, appealed to Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso to approve the reintroduction of the cooperative societies with active participation of the trade unions in Kano. While demanding for trade unions in private companies in the state, the Kano Council Chairman wants the state government to summon private sector employers of labour with a view to addressing the problem of casualisation. Meanwhile,the Kano state government has directed the 44 local governments in the state to use the Democracy Day in praying for peace and tranquility in the state.

Members of the Medical Health Workers Union of Nigeria, marching during the 2012 May Day celebration, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

True federalism is panacea for insecurity, says el-Rufai From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan

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he former minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Nasir elRufai yesterday called for restoration of true federalism embedded in 1963 Republican Constitution as the only way out of insurgency, terrorism and corruption in the country. Malam el-Rufai said this while delivering the 2012 May Day lecture titled: "Between Terrorism and Corruption Implications for Nigeria"

organised by Silver Knights Club, held at the conference hall, Lead City University Ibadan. In his words: "We must work to restore our federalism to the broad outlines embedded in the 1963 Republican Constitution, devolving more powers and responsibilities to the states and making the Federal Government less of a busy body". He said, the return of true federalism would make states learn to live within their

means and seek to actively develop their comparative endowments adding that, states would have greater say over their policing and security, natural resources royalties and taxation rather than relying on monthly handouts from Abuja. The former minister said, the insurgency of Boko haram escalated not because Jonathan became president but government did not care to address it early enough before things spiraled out of control.

Gov Ahmed urges workers to pray for Nigeria From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin

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he Kwara state governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed has called on Nigerian workers to pray for the nation as it goes through trying times. The governor in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Alhaji Abdulwahab Oba, stated that "even though the current administration in the country has made appreciable progress on the economy, the nation

needs our collective will and wisdom to successfully meander through the uncommon security challenge". The governor called for a renewed commitment to value addition and matters of security. Governor Ahmed who commended workers in Kwara state for their contributions to sustenance of the state's economy and assured them

that his administration remained committed to the provision of conducive work environment in line with the performance contract initiated by his administration. "As part of our shared prosperity agenda, advancement in the civil service will henceforth be premised on optimum level of performance rather than business as usual," the governor said.


PEOPLES DAILY, WENESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

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WORKERS’ DAY NEWS NLC, TUC urge striking Lagos doctors to embrace dialogue From Ayodele Samuel and Ojebola Matthew, Lagos

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Aggrieved staff of MTN Call Centre protesting over poor remunerations and plans to down-size the work force, yesterday in Jos, Plateau state capital.

NLC shuts down MTN call centre From Nankpah Bwakan, Jos.

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he Nigeria Labour Congress yesterday picketed the Jos MTN call centre for the second time over alleged disparity in workers salary, poor conditions of service and arrest of the interim executive of the National Union of Telecommunications Employees. Peoples Daily recalls that NLC picketed the centre on March 14, 2012 upon receipt of complains from the staff of MTN centre for being shortchanged by CNSSL. Communication Network Support Services (CNSSL) which

employed and ran the centre on behalf of MTN since two years ago, was alleged to have been paying staff of the Jos centre less than their counterparts in other states employed the same time. Staff of other states are allegedly paid between N100,000 to N120, 000 while their Jos centre counterparts are paid N35, 000. Apparently, dissatisfied with the wage gap, the Jos staff had in February last year protested what they tagged “injustice” and petitioned the NLC which subsequently picketed the centre and opened discussions with the management of the

CNSSL. Peoples Daily gathered that NLC and CNSSL reached an agreement on the salary dispute and other areas with effect from April this year but the management of CNSSL allegedly breached the terms of agreement billed for implementation in March. However, in the early hours of yesterday, the aggrieved staff of the centre barricaded the road leading to Rayfield, Government House where the centre is situated to express t h e i r grievances. Prior to the protest,

management of CNSSL shut down the office claiming insecurity in the state until it improves. One of the aggrieved workers told Peoples Daily that three months ago, bombs were detonated within the centre and yet the management did not find it wise to shut down the centre until they heard of workers’ plans to stage protest against CNSSL. However, the state NLC chairman, Comrade Jibrin Kamga Bancir described the treatment meted on the staff as an extension of slavery which must stop.

May Day: Low turnout in Kebbi as govt pledges to pay N18,000 wage From Ahmed Idris, Brinin Kebbi espite the low turnout of workers at the annual May Day celebration in Kebbi state, the deputy governor, Alhaji Ibrahim K. Aliyu has assured the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Kebbi that the N18,000 minimum wage salary withdrawn recently by Governor Usman Dakingari as a result of irregularities discovered in the Ministry of Finance will soon be implemented. He gave this assurance yesterday at the celebration of workers’ day at the Haliru Haudu Stadium, Birnin Kebbi, adding that all the approvals made by the government would be fully implemented. He said leaders of the NLC were involved in the “two committees set by the state government on the minimum

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wage”. Peoples Daily re-calls that in March, the Acting Governor approved the minimum wage, but was reversed by the present Governor Usman Dakingari saying that he could not implement the new minimum wage until the federal allocation improved. The Deputy Governor explained that the National Housing Fund (NHF) would also be considered as the Government had directed the state Ministry of Finance to allign with the Federal Mortgage Bank in updating the records and allowing workers access to their individual accounts. Speaking earlier, the State’s of NLC chairman, Comrade Sadiq Sambo Kaoje said the theme of this year workers day celebration ‘’Right to Food, Work and

Education panacea to insecurity’’, reflects the current challenges faced by Nigeria in many aspects of the economy and “in particular the state of insecurity which can be attributed to massive unemployment among our teeming youth’’.

He said that the aim of the celebration is to come together, share ideas, reflect the past, review present and plan for future struggles particularly in the trying period when the poverty situation in the country has attained a dangerous dimension.

he Nigerians Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have urged the striking doctors in Lagos state to embrace dialogue with the state government in order to save lives of the dying patients. The state NLC chairman, Comrade Idowu Adelakun said, “the lingering industrial crisis between the state government and doctors in the public hospitals is unhealthy to the good people of Lagos and also thwarting the good health policy of your administration”. Adelakun recalled that the doctors have earlier embarked on several months of industrial action in protest over nonimplementation of the federal government’s uniform salary structure (CONMESS) for all doctors across the federation, appealing to the state government to reverse the use of threat to solving the problem. He went on: “it is important for government to employ every peaceful mechanism to resolve the issues for the sake of Lagosians as we are beginning to witness quite numbers of death in public hospitals”. On his part, the TUC chairman, Akeem Kazeem added that the doctors should embrace dialogue with Governor Babatunde Fashola as a matter of urgency. Meanwhile, the duo, while commending Governor Fashola on the implementation of minimum wage, lamented that the policy was yet to be fully implemented. “We appeal to you to ensure the payment of the balance of N10, 800 per annum being the additional approval by the Federal Government. Continuing, he said,”we also want the full implementation of 27.5 per cent teachers job related specific allowance and related specific Allowances (TSA) and 7.5 per cent, Non-Academic allowance and the prompt remittance of reductions from salaries, cooperative, contributory pensions and bank loans.

Electricity workers booed at May Day rally in Lafia From Ali Abare Abubakar, Lafia

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esidents of Lafia, the Nasarawa state capital, yesterday, found an expression for their frustration over the apparent inability of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to provide electricity for consumers across the state, when spectators at the May Day rally, jeered and booed members of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) while on a march past at the old parade ground. Members of the union, who

like others, turned up for the worker’s day celebration, where however booed as they marched round the ground, with residents pouring invectives on them. Our reporter, who spoke with some of the residents on the matter, gathered that their reaction may not be unconnected with the low power supply currently being experienced in the city, with some alleging that, the only time electricity flows, is at the end of the month, when PHCN officials are sure to turn up

with light bills. Mohammed Kabir, a resident of Ungwan Madami, expressed his joy at the way the electricity workers were booed, as according to him, “they hardly give us light and when they do, it is just for a short while.” On his part, Andrew Titus, from Giza development area, hailed the action of the crowd, hoping that the treatment could draw the prompt attention of PHCN officials, with a view to improving power supply in the state.


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PEOPLES DAILY, THURSDAY, APRIL 26, 2012

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L-R: Osun state Deputy Governor , Mrs. Titi Laoye-Tomori, the state Governor, Mr Rauf Aregbsola, and state Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Saka Adesiyan, during May Day celebration, yesterday at Government Technical College, Osogbo, Osun state capital.

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Members of the Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ) marching during the 2012 May Day Celebration, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

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L-R: Lagos state Head of Service, Mr. Adesegun Ogunlewe, Director, Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Mrs Nofisat Abiola, Vice-Chairman, Senate Committee on Labour and Productivity, Senator Oluremitinubu, the state governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, Chairman, NLC, Lagos state council, Comrade Idowu Adelakun, and Commissioner for establishment and training, Mrs Florence Oguntuwashe, cutting the anniversary cake during workers’ day celebration, yesterday in Lagos. Photo: NAN

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Members of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) marching during May Day celebrations, yesterday in Bauchi. Photo: NAN

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PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

World Bank expands Nigeria’s mineral, metal sectors By Mohammed Kandi

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he Federal Government has said that some of the activities of the sustainable management of the mineral resources project (SMMRP) of the World Bank has opened up the development of the minerals and metal sectors of the country. Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Musa Mohammed Sada, in a statement issued by the ministry’s Deputy

Director (Press), Marshall H. Gundu, disclosed this during a meeting with officials of the World Bank led by the Task Team Leader, Ekaterina Mikhaylova yesterday in Abuja. The minister lauded various SMMRP project, noting that, “the project has done quite a lot, all we tried to do is to build on it, some of the activities of the project have shown us how we can move forward”. Sada further disclosed that

government was ready to approve the constitution of the board for the establishment of the solid minerals development fund as part of the initiatives to sustain the development of the nation’s minerals and metal sector. The minister further noted that “Unless government is ready to realize its existence and make concrete efforts to sustain this initiative of the World Bank, then we might lose some of the drive

that started and some of the achievements we need to build on”. He pointed out that Nigeria with about 70-80% population living in rural areas where most of these mineral resources are deposited would benefit immensely in term of job creation from the mineral projects. Earlier in his address, the World Bank Task Team Leader (SMMRP) and leader of the

delegation, Ekaterina Mikhaylova expressed satisfaction with the management of the $120 million grant. She said all the principal objectives of the SMMRP have been achieved, adding that, her team is in the country to evaluate the performance of the project and to meet with beneficiaries of the $10 million grants to the artisanal and small scale miners to assess how much the project has impacted on their livelihood.

Suswam’s wife donates church complex as birthday present From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi

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Nasarawa state Governor, Alhaji Umaru Tanko Al-Makura (middle), commissioning earth moving equipment recently in Lafia.

Suswam’s convoy confronts protesters, denies senatorial ambition From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi

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overnor Gabriel Suswam’s convoy yesterday ran into a protest in Abinsi, Guma local government area of Benue state. The governor’s entourage was returning from his country home, Anyiin, Logo local government area where he had gone to celebrate his wife Dooshima Suswam’s 45th birthday. The youths of Abinsi who were protesting the illegal imposition of one Chief Isah Achido as second class chief of the area, had made a bonfire on the highway preventing vehicles from plying

the highway until Suswam’s convoy with his security men arrived and deployed men of the State Police Command Special Rapid Squad to disperse the crowd with tear gas canisters. Speaking with journalists on the issue, Chief Daniel Joseph Ataki, explained that the paramount ruler of the Tiv nation, Tor Tiv Ochivirgh Alfred Akawe Torkula, preferred Chief Achido whom is not liked by the people. “The people’s choice is one Dr. Emmanuel Sabo and when this man was imposed on them; they decided to take the law. Since our last traditional ruler Rtd Capt. Clement Abayilo died about three

years ago, we have been trying to elect a new one but all in vain. The matter would be taken to court”, Chief Ataki said. Reacting to the action of the community, Governor Suswam said his government was unaware of any chieftaincy dispute in the area, maintaining that there had been no complaints or petition to that effect. He wondered why the people decided to take the law into their hands by blocking a federal highway when they should follow a proper procedure in resolving the matter. In another vein, the governor dispersed rumours making the

rounds that he would be running for senatorial seat at the end his tenure in 2015, describing as ‘baseless’ rumors of a strained relationship with the Senate President Sen. David Mark over the likelihood of his Presidency ambition. “I do not have any intention to contest senate or the presidency in 2015. I have three years to complete my tenure and may be after then we can talk of contesting for any position. Those who peddle such rumors do not like the harmonious relationship existing between Senator Mark and I. I respect him a lot and he also accords me same respect” he said.

We have what it takes to develop Niger Delta, says minister By Tobias Lengnan Dapam

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he Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, has revealed that his ministry has put in place considerable initiatives to address the developmental needs of the Niger Delta region in line with Vision 20:2020. Orubebe, made this revelation at a plenary session of the 2nd South-South Economic Summit in

Asaba, Delta state. He told the participants that “the ministry’s package include comprehensive and coherent programme of investment in the social and public sectors of the various communities of the Niger Delta region. “The programme called the Niger Delta Collaborative Development Programme is designed to articulate and spell out the future intervention measures

for the Niger Delta region in consonance with the Niger Delta Master Plan and Nigeria’s Vision 20:2020”. A statement issued yesterday in Abuja by the Deputy Director, Press in the ministry, Fidelis Osammor, further said that the programme is being developed by the Ministry’s staff and representatives of development partners such as UNDP, World Bank, USAID, EU and DFID and the

Embassy of the Netherlands under the coordination of UNDP. It added that the ministry was also embarking on the establishment of industrial clusters in Niger Delta region as an idea replicated from the Turkey industrial clusters model, which consists of 5,000 small and medium enterprises that manufacture and produce goods and services in over 100 different sectors/areas of the economy.

ife of Benue state governor and chairperson of Northern First Ladies, Mrs. Dooshima Suswam, yesterday donated a Church complex to Redeemed Church of God in Anyiin, Logo LGA of the state. Mrs. Suswam who clocked 45 years explained to newsmen that the donation was a fulfillment of her covenant adding that the gesture was her modest effort in the propagation of the word in the area. Governor Gabriel Suswam who unveiled the church, urged the people of the area to avail themselves of the church to spread the gospel and the social development of the state. He congratulated his wife on her 45th birthday and acknowledged the complementary role she has played to the success of his administration and thanked God for keeping them together in spite of tribal and cultural differences and urged the clergy to always pray for those in authority.

FCT CJ to open arbitration centre From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos

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hief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory, Justice L.H. Gummi, will on Tuesday, May 8, 2012, declare open the new International Centre for Arbitration & Mediation in Abuja. The ICAMA Centre with first class facilities and located in a prime location in the heart of Abuja boasts of a 60-seat theatre setting, hearing and retiring rooms with multi-media, flip chart board, video conferencing and internet services for the use of clients. Speaking with newsmen, former Attorney-General of the Federation and Justice Minister, Chief Bayo Ojo, SAN and proprietor of the centre said, `At the ICAMA Centre, arbitrators and their clients will have at their disposal exquisite and elegant facilities, impeccable services, reasonable cost and best quality value-added professionalism. He further said the Centre can boast of a unique niche in its alluring setting, stylish and luxuriously crafted furnishings and the serenity and ambience of its congenial environment which makes it the ideal place for firstclass functions.


PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

PAGE 12

EDIT ORIAL EDITORIAL

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No to secret prison

n April 19, 2012, Nigerians awoke to news that a secret prison has been established in Lagos. The prison, according to the Associated Press, which broke the story, was established specifically for the purpose of housing captured Boko Haram leaders while they undergo interrogation. The establishment of the secret prison, according to a security official quoted by AP, was informed by the need to harmonise the efforts of the various security and intelligence agencies involved in the fight against terror in the country. According to the unnamed official, institutional rivalries and lack of coordination between the various agencies have been hampering the work of the agencies and are at the root of the constant failure of intelligence that has been making difficult early detection and prevention of planned attacks by violent groups. We find as most welcome the plan to harmonise the efforts of the various security agencies. In fact, we find it difficult to understand why the idea of a centrally co-ordinated interrogation centre has not occurred to the authorities long before now. The problem caused by, and the huge cost to the nation in terms of lives lost and properties destroyed, occasioned by inter-agency rivalries and lack of co-ordination of efforts, have been so obvious all along that the authorities cannot absolve themselves from blame for the escalation of the insecurity situation in the country. The question, and our worry, though, is whether the central interrogation command has to operate only from a secret prison. Why not an open prison where the activities of the security operatives will be open to public scrutiny? No one questions the legal right of the government to establish prisons anywhere

in the country. And we grant that a certain level of security is necessary in the handling of the sensitive work of intelligence gathering and interrogation of suspects. But the idea of a secret prison conjures up images of windowless underground cells and dungeons, torture of suspects, violation of suspects' rights, denial of the means of legal representation, long detentions without trial and, not unusual in Nigeria, summary execution of the suspects. Such transgressions and violations are daily occurrences in secret detention facilities, whether it is in the notorious Guantanamo

We will go along with the government in its effort to co-ordinate and harmonise the efforts of its agencies. But we neither subscribe to nor support the idea of a secret prison Bay prison in south-eastern Cuba, established in 2002 by the United States or in any of the about 100 secret prisons run by the US, scattered in countries around the world, including Western Europe where shouts about human rights are loudest. We know of no laws in our statutes that allow violation of people’s human rights and unlawful termination of their lives. Yet, these things are a problem here even without a secret prison. Nigerian security forces, in fact, have a

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reputation for extra-judicially murdering those in their custody and thinking nothing of it. The Nigeria Police alone, according to some estimates, summarily execute about 2,500 suspects yearly. And now, JTF personnel operating in many of the Northern states and cities perhaps kill as many, or even more, in a year. Captured Boko Haram members in particular are often summarily executed. The establishment of a secret prison here is bound to make things worse. The agencies will see it as a license to abuse and violate the rights of the suspects and, at the end of it all, kill them on the excuse that they are terrorists. And since the secret facility will be in Lagos, the security operatives will find it that much easier to kill the suspects and toss their dead bodies into the lagoon or ocean, without suspicion being raised or questions being asked. Another cause of our worry is what happens to the prison after, we hope, the Boko Haram insurgency will have been crushed. A prison is so-called because it holds inmates. After Boko Haram who will populate it? We fear that government will be tempted to populate the detention facility with its opponents. It is because of the real fear of such things happening that Amnesty International, an organization not usually given to hyperbole, raised an early alarm. We share its concerns and fears. We will go along with the government in its effort to co-ordinate and harmonise the efforts of its agencies. But we neither subscribe to nor support the idea of a secret prison. Every Nigerian, whether in or out of prison, is deserving of the highest degree of respect. And every life, whether of a free citizen or a prisoner, is a precious gift from God that should not be wasted unlawfully or frivolously.

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PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

By Salihu Moh. Lukman

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he ANPP was formed as All Peoples Party (APP) in 1998. It contested the 1999 elections as APP but changed its name to ANPP afterward. During the 1999 elections, the party had a joint presidential candidate with the Alliance for Democracy (AD). The AD producing the presidential candidate, Chief Olu Falae and the APP produced the running mate, Alh. Umaru Shinkafi. The APP lost the presidential elections in 1999 to President Olusegun Obasanjo of the PDP but was able to win 9 states, all Northern states and the AD won all the 6 South West states. With the 1999 elections results, the regional orientation of the new parties was formed, with the APP mainly Northern and the AD South West. The ANPP that sprang from the APP inherited this orientation but its control of state governments was reduced to 7 having lost three states (Kogi, Kwara and Gombe) and won one state (Kano) in the 2003 elections. By 2007, the number of states under the control of the ANPP was reduced to 4 and shortly after the elections reduced to 2 (Yobe and Borno) with the decamping of Bauchi and Zamfara State Governors to PDP. In 2011, with Zamfara back on its (ANPP) fold, it now has three states (Yobe,

PAGE 13

2015 manifesto of Nigerian opposition politics (III) Borno and Zamfara), all in the North. The ANPP had three of its former governors defecting to other parties after serving two terms of 8 years as ANPP Governors in 2007. The Governors that defected were Alh. Adamu Aliero, Alh. Saminu Turaki and Alh. Attahiru Bafarawa respectively for Kebbi, Jigawa and Sokoto States. Alh. Aliero and Alh. Turaki moved to the ruling PDP while Bafarawa formed the DPP. Alh. Turaki contested for Senate under the ACN during the 2011 elections. Other former governors of the party (ANPP) that did not defect can be argued to have cordial relations with the PDP. In many respects therefore, the ANPP can be classified as more of an ally of the ruling PDP than a party in opposition. In fact in 2007, it (ANPP) officially joined the PDP federal government to form a unity government under the late President Shehu Musa Yar’Adua. There is also the Labour Party whose formation was sponsored by the Nigeria Labour Congress

(NLC) under the leadership of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, as President of the NLC in 2002. The party failed to register any electoral victory in the 2003 elections. Interestingly, on account of weak organization, Comrade Oshiomhole contested the 2007 gubernatorial election of Edo State on the platform of the AC. Initially, it was supposed to be based on alliance between the AC and Labour Party but gradually, references to the alliance disappeared. Remarkably, following the refusal of the PDP to allow Chief Olusegun Mimiko to contest for the Ondo State gubernatorial elections in 2007, Chief Mimiko contested the elections on the platform of the Labour Party. Although initially declared by INEC as having lost the election, Chief Mimiko was to emerge the winner of the election through the verdict of the electoral tribunal. Ondo state is the only state governed by the Labour Party. Not even the national spread of the NLC was to confer electoral advantage and enable the party achieve any electoral

victory outside Ondo State. So far, the party is no more than an electoral platform for all aspiring candidates who can negotiate their entry into the party. Another party is the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), which emerged around 2002. The party was formed by politicians mainly from the South East and based on the officially declared INEC results for the 2003 elections, the party (APGA) did not win any state but through the electoral tribunal was able to win Anambra State. Imo state was to be added to the party’s hold after the 2011 elections. The party is therefore mainly a South East party. In addition to APGA in the South East, there is also the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) formed by Chief Orji Uzo Kalu, former Governor of Abia state. The party was formed in 2007 in pursuit of Chief Orji Kalu’s presidential ambition. Arising from the 2007 elections, the party was able to win two states, Abia and Imo. Shortly after the elections, Imo state

Governor decamped to PDP. Chief Kalu was to also later go back to the PDP. In terms of contestation with the PDP, it could be argued that out of all the opposition parties cited above, (ANPP, ACN, CPC, Labour Party, APGA and PPA), ACN and CPC are prominent in terms of projecting an image of opposition to PDP. It can be further argued that the engagements of these two parties (ACN and CPC) are more reactive than a systematic agendasetting strategy. At that level, the ACN can be argued to be in the lead with more organized public propaganda efficiency that should be expected from a typical opposition party. If leadership of opposition is to be determined based on election results, two situations would emerge. First, on account of the 2011 presidential elections, CPC is ahead of the ACN. Secondly, based on the control of state governments and number of representatives in national and state assemblies, Continued on page 14

Azazi’s bombshell and other issues W

By Na-Allah Mohammed Zagga

hether by a Freudian slip or by design, General Andrew Oweye Azazi, the National Security Adviser has thrust a rapier through the heart of PDP’s moral pretence, forcing the party leaders reacting nervously to his allegations that the zoning policy and the undemocratic culture of the party are partly responsible for the security crises in the country. Although President Goodluck Jonathan has challenged journalists to ask the NSA what he meant by those weighty allegations, discerning Nigerians have no difficulty understanding what the top security chief was driving at. To most Nigerians, the NSA was preaching to the converted. The man has let the cat out of the bag by getting a nagging issue off his chest. However, rather than behaving like a cat on hot bricks, Azazi’s allegations should humble the PDP leaders into reflection or soul-searching. They should focus on the message rather than crucifying the messenger. You don’t have to shoot the artist because you don’t like the ugly picture of truth he painted. “Tell me the truth even if it might cost you your job,” so said the English Statesman, Samuel Goldwyn. Apparently, however, the PDP leaders appear allergic or hostile to the truth. Gen. Azazi’s observations are a reflection of the damning reality of the culture of imposition and impunity in the PDP. Do you need to be a rocket scientist to know this ugly fact? If

the PDP leaders have short memories, let us recall or examine a few features of their culture of impunity and erosion of the freedom of choice, which is the soul of democracy. Let us start with the recent events in the party. While acknowledging that Alhaji Bamanga Tukur is a gentleman, the process that made him the PDP national chairman is shrouded in controversy because of its undemocratic nature. At the North-East PDP Congress, Musa Babayo flatly defeated Bamanga Tukur, winning 14 votes against the two votes President’s favoured candidate obtained. Curiously, Babayo was forced to step down or withdraw so that the President’s candidate could emerge by the socalled consensus arrangement. Could there have been a consensus when a man withdrew from a race against his will or because of inexorable pressure? This causes silent acrimony. The funny thing is that the PDP leaders refused to recognize the outcome of the North-East Congress where the President’s candidate was defeated decisively but it respected the results of other zonal congresses across the country. Do you call this affair democratic? Former Bayelsa State Governor Mr. Sylva was also denied the right to even participate in the primaries because nobody could dare go against the President’s desire for vengeance. This was the same Obasanjo style playing out. The President’s ego must be gratified even if it means bending the rules or hurting the democratic rights

of others. Contrary to Azazi’s contention, however, the zoning policy is not bad per se; zoning doesn’t pose a threat to security, what does is the impunity of breaching agreements meant to promote unity and equity. As a former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. John Campbell honestly argued, zoning though informal, had worked wonderfully for Nigeria’s unity. How can an innocuous internal arrangement that promotes unity and removes the fear of domination harm the constitution of Nigeria? Former President Obasanjo and other latter-day opponents of zoning argued to the effect that the power sharing system of the PDP sacrifices merit. Ironically, it was the same arrangement that made Obasanjo President for eight years (1999-2007). President Jonathan himself was its beneficiary when he became a Vice President to the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. Killing a principle for the sake of expediency or short-term gain always produces embarrassing consequences. Is it normal in a complex country like Nigeria to have the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives both from the North? Or is it not unusual to have the Deputy Senate President and Deputy Speaker both from the South-East? Ordinarily, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal would have hesitated to aspire for the office of Speaker. But the repudiation of zoning in the PDP by Obasanjo and other selfish elements made it possible for Tambuwal to emerge Speaker.

The PDP shamelessly attempted to share offices at the National Assembly on the basis of zoning, the same principle they opportunistically rejected as being inconsistent with merit. What a hypocrisy? General Azazi’s assumption, however, that the Boko Haram insurgency has a direct link to the PDP zoning policy and the outcome of the 2011 presidential election stretches the credulity of even the dumbest political observer. His theory that poverty is another contributing factor to Boko Haram violence is also contestable because poverty also exists in other parts of Nigeria. Linking the violence to aggrieved politicians from the North is the laziest attempt to locate the source of a complex problem. Times without number, we have been told that Boko Haram members are being bankrolled by these aggrieved politicians. Yet nobody has been decisively identified with Boko Haram and arrested for sponsoring them. If the Northern politicians had the kind of influence and access to Boko Haram members as did Niger Delta politicians with the Niger Delta militants, the process of dialogue with the Islamic militant group would have been a lot easier. Which Northern politician would derive benefits from the destruction of Northern economy, disruption of social life, attacks on churches, markets and schools? It is doubtful if Northern politicians could claim any influence over Boko Haram. The post-election violence of 2011 was characterized by young men

armed with sticks, machetes and other dangerous objects. That wasn’t the hallmark of Boko Haram style because they operate professionally. Poverty may be part of the picture but the issue is bigger than it appears. Boko Haram has been officially linked with AlQaeda. Are Al-Qaeda leaders and followers motivated by poverty, ideology or religion? Let us not forget that the late Osama Bin Laden was born into a rich family in Saudi Arabia; his deputy, Alzawahiri is a medical doctor from Egypt. Some of them are professionals that gave up worldly comfort for their cause. Umar Mutallab, the December 2009 Christmas underwear bomber, was born into a rich family. Did he join Al-Qaeda because of poverty or ideological and religious motivations? Blaming politicians from the North is a simplistic approach to dealing with a complex security challenge. After deploying its military might against the Taliban in Afghanistan without success, the U.S. government has finally acknowledged the inevitability of dialogue with the Taliban militants, who threaten the stability of American – backed government of Hamid Karzai. Is there a military solution in dealing with someone who is ready to die for his cause? Is dialogue an option worth trying? Let us be realistic on this issue; playing the ostrich doesn’t help us. Na – Allah Mohammed Zagga is a journalist based in Abuja Email: muhazagga@yahoo.com


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PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

Now that Azazi has spoken By Maiwada Danmallam

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pparently not many people, including President Goodluck Jonathan, grasp the essence of Gen. Azazi’s recent comment on PDP’s crooked system of imposition as a party policy, which in a way is becoming national policy. To say the least, Azazi was misunderstood. Like most Nigerians, who heard a second hand version of the confession, I was initially elated at the prospect of our leaders taking a leaf from the normal tradition of pretence by making appropriate diplomatic noises about NSA Azazi’s comment. However, when the dust created by the comment enveloped the political atmosphere in the country, ruffling the feathers of the biggest birds of the political elite, and going by the cozy relationship that exists between

the retired General and in the foot. His comment, if for whatever reason, it is President Goodluck Jonathan, I anything only confirms the certainly a cause for concern. went back to the interview to hopelessness of the Nigerian Anybody who heard Azazi’s have a firsthand feel of the situation. statement verbatim cannot fail interview. to notice the Sure enough, innuendos and the version I soft steering of was fed was blame towards a muddled up particular section Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text by the chain of the country. It messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written of narrators, was amazing contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 mostly too how the flavour traumatised was lost to many words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and by recent that the a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed events to comment was an to: even think early 2015 rationally, Presidential The Editor, before it c a m p a i g n Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, trickled unleashed on the 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. down to me. polity by Azazi, Email: let ters@peoplesdaily-online.com Hence, I even if dressed in SMS: 07037756364 missed the a garb of social flavour and and security spices Gen. hopelessness. The Azazi laced his statement with. When a National Security statement was an attack on In what was an obvious Adviser of country in turmoil, as those who insisted the zoning attempt to bolster President Nigeria is at the moment, starts arrangement that saw the duo Goodluck’s political standing, using a destructive national of Yar’adua/Goodluck flying the Azazi ended up shooting himself crisis to achieve a hidden agenda ticket of PDP during the

WRITE TO US

Presidential election should be adhered to. One may ask, who are those who says “ Mr A cannot rule, only Mr B can rule” beside those who insisted the North should have its deserved two full terms after Obasanjo’s eight years of misadventure as agreed by the party at the peak of its desperation to load Obasanjo over the country. It was a long deployed gimmick designed to portray the North in bad light that the expression of anger by the spontaneous eruption of violence in most Northern cities was a reaction to General Buhari’s loss in a fair contest rather than a reaction to the generally crooked manner the elections were conducted. Azazi says: “was it possible that someone is thinking that only Mr. A should win and if he did not win there would be problem in the society.” Nobody needs a microscope to understand Azazi was only short Continued on page 15

2015 manifesto of Nigerian opposition politics (III) Continued from page 13

the ACN is the leading opposition party controlling 6 state governments and 90 members of the two chambers of National Assembly – Senate and House of Representatives. Opposition parties and prospects for change We do therefore have opposition parties led by the ACN and CPC. To the extent of existing as political parties that are distinct from the ruling PDP, ANPP, Labour Party, APGA and PPA can also be regarded as opposition parties. Are these parties capable of taking initiatives that would change the reality of our politics? The realities being individual aspiration, vote buying, use of thugs for political campaigns, ballot box snatching and rigging during elections; and regular governance policy engagement through the promotion of alternative policy choices. Discussion of capability would naturally lead to the realm of evaluating the administrative competence of our opposition parties, in particular ACN and CPC. To be diplomatic is to argue that all of them have weak and perhaps ineffective administrative systems. With reference to activities of the parties at other lower layers of government, states and local governments, to the extent of lack of coordination, synergy and competent drivers, it can be argued that there is a lack of capacity. The reality is that it is capacity at this level that is needed to raise the hope of citizens and make politics attractive. Partly because of the lack of capacity at this level and the limited conduct of leadership of

opposition parties with respect to the challenge of capacity development for functionaries at states and local government levels, there is complete absence of policy engagement and to that extent, no political choices for citizens. This only serves to reinforce individual aspirations of political office holders – governors and local government chairmen – with the attendant consequences of resorting to vote buying during elections, use of thugs for political campaigns, ballot box snatching and rigging to achieve their aspirations. Is there anything that can be done to change this reality? This situation cannot be changed based on individual aspirations. Unfortunately, all our parties are founded and configured around individual aspirations. Individual aspirations here qualified to mean aspiration to hold key public offices. If these individual aspirations are expressed based on interest to control political parties and in the process enforce the regulation of activities of states and local governments managed by the parties, individual aspirations could lead to a new governance framework directly centered around the control of governmental machineries and resources at their disposal – local governments, states and federal government. The inability of individual aspirations to center around the control of political parties has resulted in a situation where there is little or no direct correlation between process of managing governmental activities and political party administration. Instead of parties to regulate the conduct of functionaries of government, functionaries of government regulate the conduct of parties

including determining their leadership. Today, on account of this distortion, heads of governments are the leaders of political parties. A major factor that limits the attraction to positions in political parties is the fact that resources at the disposal of political parties are meager and determined by contributions of governments produced by the parties. This is often decided by the government office bearers – local government chairmen, governors and president, as the case may be. The outcome therefore is a situation where these governments’ functionaries, dictate who emerges as leaders of political parties. In turn, the leaders of the parties limit their focus to only the activities of these functionaries, in most cases only performing public relations functions. On account of this reality, only the ACN and CPC can be regarded as national opposition parties. ANPP, Labour Party, APGA and PPA are mostly conspicuous in states where they produced governors. They sparingly contest positions in the federal government, except where there is conflict between the state governments controlled by these parties and federal government. In which case, party officials naturally take position in favour of the state governments. Today, the CPC is very active and makes regular criticisms of the federal government. Similarly, the ACN makes regular criticisms of the federal government. And given the regional orientation of these parties, the CPC is more visible in the Northern parts of the country, while the ACN is more visible in the South West and Edo where it is in control of the state governments.

This is what needs to change fundamentally. Changing this will require that the governance framework for our opposition parties are altered such that the direction of control shifts from government office bearers to party office bearers. Based on the new framework, the parties can then regulate the conduct of people they sponsor into government and where necessary lead the recall of government office holders. The existing anomaly accounts for the instability in party membership with party leaders and members constantly decamping once the party loses election. It is constantly a case of decamping from the defeated to the victorious party. Change will be impossible given a situation whereby party office bearers are professional politicians whose source of livelihood is mainly government patronage on account of their membership of the ruling party and the privileged position they occupy as leaders of the party. To change the direction and make parties command the power and authority to regulate the conduct of public office holders requires a situation where parties are managed by personalities that have independent means of livelihood and therefore free from control of government office bearers. Being independent will enable the party office bearers’ to wield far greater influence and authority than the governments controlled by these parties. Which means that rather than have our contemporary professional politicians with weak or limited means of livelihood, we have personalities with accomplished career records and good economic base who are not in

politics exclusively in search of income and other material benefits. Leadership Influence Wielding greater influence and authority should translate into developing an efficient and effective party administrative system with increased coordination and synergy of activities of all structures leading to proactive and agenda setting governance policy engagement. This would require that our opposition parties must have their own policy commitments that is clearly understood and shared by all members of the party, especially their functionaries. Policy commitments would then be the reference point and the basis for contestation. Since all our parties are expected to have programmes and manifestos as requirement for registration by INEC, it can be conveniently argued that all our parties have policies. What is lacking is the awareness on the part of members and leaders of the parties about the contents of these policies and how to use them to engage governments, whether as ruling party or in opposition. The question, therefore, would be: do we have people that can wield the influence and authority needed to reposition the parties? Across all the parties, these people don’t exist at local and state levels. At the national level, it could be argued that ACN and CPC have some endowments which are more reflected in two personalities that are the shining lights of the two parties. These are Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Gen. Muhammadu Buhari. Salihu Moh. Lukman can be reached through slukman45@gmail.com


PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

PAGE 15

Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty at the heart of global nuclear debate By Mr Alistair Burt

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he word “nuclear” is often on the front pages of the press, whether you’re in Tehran, Tokyo or Tunis. In the last few weeks alone, we’ve seen international talks about Iran’s nuclear programme and united international concern that it is developing a nuclear weapon. We have also seen the DPRK rocket launch – ostensibly a failed satellite launch, but widely suspected to be part of a nuclear weapons programme. Yet at the same time we’ve seen unprecedented agreement by world leaders at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul to work together to tackle the threat of nuclear terrorism. The issue of nuclear safety was thrust onto the front pages last year during the massive emergency response to the accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant, following the tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Given our expectation that world-wide energy demand is set to double by 2050, and the stark reality that we must reduce global greenhouse gas emissions if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change, then it is clear that the debate about the peaceful uses of nuclear power and the risks of the spread of nuclear weapons is set to continue. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

is at the heart of our approach to this debate. The Treaty, borne out of fear that the Cold War era would lead to a nuclear arms race, has in many ways surpassed expectations in terms of longevity, participation and meeting its counter proliferation objectives. Today, with 189 States Parties to the Treaty, it has more signatories than any other treaty of its kind. The three non-signatories – India, Israel, and Pakistan – are the only additional states believed to have gained possession of nuclear weapons since the Treaty’s inception in 1968. We have left the Cold War era long behind us, and while the Treaty continues to be a considerable deterrent to the spread of nuclear weapons, we must all work to ensure that it evolves and adapts to counter current and future threats to international peace and security. We took a big step towards achieving this in 2010. As my first overseas duty as a UK Foreign Office Minister I attended the NPT Review Conference at the UN in New York. The outcome was a significant boost to multilateralism. All States Parties agreed to support the Treaty to meet new and existing threats. A five year action plan

was agreed by consensus, spanning the three so-called “pillars” of the NPT – progress toward disarmament by existing nuclear weapon states, measures to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons to others and, a crucial part of the bargain struck in 1968, supporting the peaceful use of nuclear energy for those that want it. Agreement to the action plan represented the start of a process. The real test will be through delivery of the action plan to meet our commitments by the next Review Conference in 2015. The 2012 NPT Preparatory Committee starting [this week] in Vienna (30 April – 11 May) will be the first meeting of States Parties to assess our progress and build on the success of 2010. I hope that all states will come ready to discuss the progress they have made and plans for implementation of the NPT action plan. I am pleased that the UK will have an excellent story to tell. Since 2010 the UK has set out our plans for the reduction of our nuclear warheads, missiles and overall nuclear weapons stockpile. Amongst the nuclear weapons states (China, France, Russia, the UK and the US), all members of the NPT, stockpiles already stand at their lowest since the Cold War, and we meet regularly to discuss how we will

work together to make further progress towards our long-term goal of a world without nuclear weapons. The UK has also been conducting groundbreaking work with Norway on the verification of nuclear warhead dismantlement, a crucial aspect of any future disarmament regime, and [this month] hosted the first ever meeting of the five nuclear weapon states on this issue. We have also taken important steps towards preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons. We continue to support a universal, strengthened system of safeguards to verify that States comply with their international obligations to uphold the non-proliferation regime. The regime is also strengthened by Nuclear Weapons Free Zones which enhance regional and international security. In support of this, the UK, together with the other nuclear weapons states recognised under the NPT, reached an agreement with the Association of South East Asian Nations, underscoring that we will not to use, or threaten to use, nuclear weapons against the 10 states party to the South East Asia Nuclear Weapons Free Zone. Credible, internationally binding commitments are vital to building the climate of trust

between nuclear and nonnuclear weapons states. With this latest addition, such arrangements now cover almost 100 countries. Furthermore, since 2010 the UK has worked to support the safe expansion of civil-nuclear energy –and has recently completed agreements to share nuclear energy knowledge and capabilities with the UAE and Kuwait. Following the tragic events at Fukushima, the UK undertook comprehensive nuclear safety checks and reviewed our own nuclear energy future, including identifying eight potential sites for new nuclear power stations. At the Review Conference in 2010 I was struck by the positive approach of all towards strengthening the NPT. This reflects the widespread belief that the NPT offers the best chance we have of getting the balance right on nuclear issues: with progress towards the long term goal of a world free of the threat of nuclear weapons, while allowing the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. It is a goal to which I am personally committed. If we fail, we risk the uncontrolled spread of nuclear weapons to rogue states and terrorist groups. It is a shared responsibility of us all to ensure we do not fail. Mr Alistair Burt Foreign and Commonwealth Minister

Now that Azazi has spoken Continued from page 14

of filling the gaps in this orchestrated tradition of mischief. It was an accusation made in unequivocal terms during and after the last Presidential election to consolidate an already flawed mandate. It was the conception period of a widely propagated idea that the North would have nothing but a Northern President. Pedestrian as it may sound, it was an idea held so dear among both elite and other classes in the Southern region of Nigeria. Azazi clearly stated that the extent of violence in Nigeria did not escalate until President Goodluck Jonathan declared he was going to contest for the Presidency. By default or deceit, it was lost to Azazi that Jonathan inherited a nation already at war with itself. Unless he chooses to forget, or they meant nothing to him to deserve being classified as a security aberration, the thousands of lives lost in Maiduguri during the dying days of late Yar’adua’s regime. Or if he chooses to ignore that already the Federal Government in which President Goodluck serve as No.2 has been

blackmailed by the Niger Delta militants into succumbing to dialogue with people that should ordinarily be regarded as criminals in a desperate attempt to steady the ship and douse the rate of violence that was threatening, or even on the verge of consuming the nation. Perhaps, professional incompetence, pressure of the moment or a cocktail of both has infected the NSA with a new syndrome of selective amnesia that he has completely forgotten about the first major bombing incident that was planned and executed by MEND, a South South pressure group at the 50th Independence anniversary right in the heart of the nation’s capital which, to many discerning minds, was the lowest point of our post independence security challenge as a nation.These regimes failed to be sincere enough to accept such problems existed, rather exploiting them to their advantage. It is apparent by the outburst of the NSA that we are yet to learn anything from playing the blame game instead of putting heads together to find a solution to a common problem. Even at that, I would credit General Azazi with more intelligence to

assume he wants the world to believe his silent insinuation of Northern conspiracy claim in our national security debacle. I do not suppose the NSA meant the street urchins that constituted the mob army that burnt and looted anything with the remotest elite connection during the period he referred to were the so called conspirators. Unless so, I don’t think the conspiracy theory holds water. Almost every emir, including those revered and was almost deitified, escaped the anger of these urchins by whiskers. Anybody of the northern origin with remotest link with the Federal Government was a victim of this assault, either by physical or psychological harassment. Houses and businesses of northern elites were razed to the ground for the roles the played in ensuring the return of President Goodluck Jonathan in their localities. General Buhari could hardly score votes that would reflect the obvious popularity he enjoyed during the campaign period. Unless somebody is telling us the figures generated by President Goodluck were cooked up, then we have to agree GEJ have enough support base in the north to discredit any

conspiracy theory. Be that as it may, it was amazing that not only was General Azazi’s vituperation completely misunderstood, he was unnecessarily being crucified for saying what he thought would endear him to the PDP, the South and the Presidency. Many people, including those operating on the same political frequency with Azazi missed the point he tried to project, easy as it was. The hypothetical scenario which he intended to exploit to generate more political sympathy for President Goodluck to boost his support base in the face of apparent imminent challenge the North is poised to pose on his second, (or is it third) term was; The North wanted the Presidency, the South got the Presidency. The north reacted by choosing to rock the boat by creating phantom security challenges to President Goodluck Jonathan’s regime. This, in essence, was Azazi’s message. Any interpretation short of this is way off the mark. In the final analysis, I find it easy to agree with President Jonathan that attributed the interpretation being given to the NSA’s position to a possible

breakdown in communication. Nothing could describe it more succinctly. There is a serious gap in the thought processes of the general public and our leaders. While the public suffers the terror, that is becoming more or a less a way of life to an average Nigerian, the leaders enjoy an uncoordinated response to their glaring ineptitude. All these at a time when our leaders seem confused as to the origin or solution of the problem. When a government seems hopelessly inadequate to protect its citizens, it should be expected the people would resort to their own devices for protection and retribution. Without a doubt, history has proven no nation ever moved an inch forward on these terms. We cannot claim to be living in the 21st century when every other index is proving we are sliding back into the medieval period. Simple expression of view has been reduced to a conclusive proof of guilt by association, hence everybody has adopted a sit down look attitude, which in turn is translated as a conspiratorial silence. How do we imagine breaking this circle of violence with an attitude like this? Maiwada Danmallam wrote from Katsina


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PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 3, 2012

May Day: Workers demand law to curb high rents in Abuja

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he Trade Union Congress (TUC) has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to urgently forward an executive bill to the National Assembly to curb the rising cost of rent in Abuja. Mr Aliyu Hakeem, the FCT Council Chairman of TUC, made the call yesterday in Abuja in a speech at the 2012 Workers’ Day Celebration. He urged the Federal Government and the FCT Administration to check the excesses of Abuja landlords whom he identified as “retired military officers, retired permanent secretaries and politicians’’. Hakeem promised that organised labour would support the bill that seeks to sanction property owners in Abuja who demand a two-year advance payment for rent. He said the high cost of owning and renting a house in Abuja had fuelled corruption in the public service. “Our members believe that corruption and can be eliminated by up to 80 per cent. “This will be if civil servants in the FCT are not made to live and exist as settlers and secondclass citizens, while the ruling class lord it over them as indigenes and shylock landlords. “The inability of our members to meet up with these extremely high cost of rent has made many of them to be living outside the FCT, thereby commuting several kilometres to work,’’ the TUC official said. Hakeem expressed regret that this development had led

to workers’ reporting late for work, with a significant loss of man hours on a daily basis. The union leader also appealed to the FCT administration to construct more access roads to ease transportation and traffic congestion. He said the administration should consider the construction of Orozo-Apo-Abaji bypass to ease congestion along the

Gwagwalada-Abaji road. “This will be in addition to the new Karimo-Gwagwa-Deidei road which will help to ease traffic on the Kubwa expressway,’’ Hakeem said. On insecurity in the country, the union leader noted the rise in the cases of armed robbery and car thefts in the FCT. He then called on the territory’s administration to

A motorcyclist picking up passengers at roadside

hasten to complete the installation of CCTV in the city. “It is a useful tool in monitoring, implementing and securing the safety of lives and property within the FCT,’’ Hakeem said. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a minute’s silence was observed at the Workers’ Day Celebration for residents of FCT who died in recent bomb attacks.(NAN)

Photo: Joe Oroye

FCT minister bags City People’s excellence award By Josephine Ella

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he Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Sen. Bala Mohammed has received the Public Service Excellence Award for his contribution to the development of the FCT. Receiving the award conferred on him by the management of City People, a Lagos based social magazine, the minister commended the Nigerian media for its role in

fostering unity and understanding among Nigerians. Senator Mohammed, who was represented at the ceremony by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Nosike Ogbuenyi, urged media practitioners not to be daunted by the current security challenges which he described as “unfortunate”. The award was presented to the minister by the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of

City People Magazine, Mr. Seye Kehinde, assisted by Miss FCT, Hauwa Alabra and veteran broadcaster, Mr. Bisi Olatilo. Kehinde, who highlighted some of the achievements of the minister which includes, reorganization, repositioning and digitalization of FCT Land Administration and attraction of direct foreign and local investments amounting to trillions of Naira, said his efforts are commendable.

According to him, the 37storey World Trade Centre built at the former Bakassi Market under a PublicPrivate-Partnership arrangement between Senator Mohammed’s FCTA and the Church gate Group, the Abuja Film Village International which is being executed via a PPP initiative with COHART Group, among other notable projects initiated by the minister are worthy of recognition.

Police avert land clash at Utako By Tobias Lengnan Dapam

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and, which serves as a burial ground for the residents of Utako, a suburb in the FCT, would have been the cause of confrontation yesterday between a site- engineer and the Gbagyi community, if not for the intervention of security operatives. At the scene of the incident, Peoples Daily observed that the community came out en-masse, with some vicious youths attacking the engineer, who was protected by policemen. However, the youths were calmed when the chief of the community addressed them, promising that the issue would be taken care of by the appropriate authorities. Sources at the scene told Peoples Daily that the trouble started when a site-engineer brought a caterpillar to clear the land which has been serving as a burial ground for the people of the community. The development which they said picked the Gbagyi indigenes to rise up to the defence of the land. Amos Adamu, a settler in the community said that the engineer and the owner of the land did not follow the normal procedure in addressing the land issue, saying that the chief of the community was not informed by anybody that a caterpillar would clear the land. Also, Sunny Ife, claimed that there was an agreement which allows the people to use the land pending when they will leave the village. “The agreement said that as long as there are people in the village, the land will not be developed, so why is an engineer coming now to develop the land when people are still living there. “Our people are very angry, not only because of the land but for the fact that we respect the dead. The engineer should just allow the dead to rest in peace. That is all we are asking for.

Abuja drivers urge FCTA to redeploy Police, VIO to Galadima junction By Adeola Tukuru

A

buja drivers under the umbrella of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), in Galadimawa, of the FCT, has called on the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Sen. Bala Mohammed

to redeploy the men of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), the Vehicle Inspection Officer (VIO) among other safety agents to Galadimawa junction, to assist them avert touts and miscreants in the area. The chairman of the union, Ajibola Asimolowo, lamented the harassment usually

perpetrated in the area by some area boys whom he said his union has been fighting gallantly in order to restore sanity in the area. Ajibola maintained that his union decided to established their office at the junction in order for them to control as well as maintained sanity at the junction, adding

that the negative image that was initially created due to the illegal activities of the area-boys and the one-chance drivers . He further explained that development made them to swing into action to correct negative image such activities could fetch the country. The chairman denied the

union’s involvement in most of the anti-social activities going on in the area, adding that they already talked tough with the authority in charge to ensure that most problems of the area was settled by relocating all the keke-NAPEP operators and other commercial drivers back to the park .


PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 3, 2012

PAGE 17

Another way of loading vehicle along Yar’adua road, Abuja.

A young lady reparing the abacha (local Nigerian dish) at Gudu mechanic village in Abuja. Motor mechanics doing what they know best at Gudu mechanic village in Abuja, yesterday.

Hawking mango fruits at Gudu market in Abuja, yesterday.

Vulcanizer on duty at Aco Housing Estate, Abuja.

Photos: Joe Oroye


PAGE 18

Kuje residents bemoan lack of basic amenities By Adeola Tukuru

PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 3, 2012

Corps member takes HIV/AIDS campaign to Wuse motor park

R

esidents of Gbamfa community in Kuje Area Council of the FCT have lamented the absence of basic amenities in the area, saying the community has been neglected by government. The leader of the community, M. Alkali Shezi, expressed concern over the attitude of politicians whom he said only remembers the community during political campaigns. Some of the residents in Gbamfa, who spoke to Peoples Daily appealed for immediate government intervention in the provision of accessible road, school, health centre and potable water. ”The community lost several lives because of the absence of health centre and the bad state of the only road linking the community to other areas. We are passing through a lot of anguish in this community because we do not have any basic amenity of life, especially in the areas of health, education and road. “We are predominantly farmers and we need good roads to transport our goods from the farms to the markets. Our women usually carry our produce on their heads and shoulders to neighboring Rubochi community market.’’ Another resident, Mr. Dauda Ishayi, also expressed concern over “the stress of trekking over 10 kilometres every morning by children” attending schools in neighbouring communities.

Man in court for buying stolen property

T

he police yesterday, arraigned one Niyi Emmanuel of Lugbe, Abuja, for allegedly buying a stolen car stereo. Police prosecutor Paul Anigbo told the court that Iyiola Adisa, Ezema Ekwutos and Chinomso Amuchie, all of Sauka-Kahuta village, Lugbe, reported the case against one Timothy John of Pantaker, Lugbe, Abuja, on April 23. The prosecutor said John was known to have specialised in breaking into people’s cars and stealing their car stereos and batteries, adding that on April 23, he stole a car stereo from a parked car and sold it Emmanuel, a mechanic at Lugbe. Anigbo said John was unable to defend himself and had been remanded in Keffi Prison. He said buying of the stolen property by Emmanuel contravened section 317 of the Penal Code. In his ruling, Chief Magistrate Oyeyipo Ademuyiwa, granted the accused bail in the sum of N100, 000 with a surety with a good means of livelihood. He said the surety must also provide two recent passports photographs. The case was adjourned to May 24. (NAN)

The initiator of the programme Idowu Adejoke, attending to a participant at the HIV testing section of the programme at Wuse Zone 5 motor park, recently. By Josephine Ella

A

batch ‘B’corps member, serving with the Institute of Human Virology in Abuja, Idowu Adejoke, yesterday, provided free HIV/AIDS counselling and testing for commercial drivers at the Wuse Motor Park in Zone 5. The programme tagged, ‘Gono-something’ was organised by the corps member with the support of the Federal Ministry of Health, Institute of Human Virology, Association for Reproductive and Family Health, among others. Our correspondent, who covered the event, observed that, although commercial drivers were the major target, commuters and other residents engaging in petty trading at the motor park seized the opportunity to ascertain their HIV status. Also, participants were given a comprehensive lecture on Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI), like Gonoreah, Herpes,

Syphilis, HIV/AIDS and other sexual transmitted diseases. Speaking in an interview after the event, Adejoke, a graduate nurse, explained to journalists that the major focus of the programme was on sexual and reproductive health especially along HIV prevention and sexual transmitted infections prevention. “The programme today is targeted towards commercial drivers and it is on sexually transmitted diseases, specifically HIV but, we are talking about all the sexually transmitted infections which are common to the commercial drivers,” she said. On the motivation behind the initiative, she said it was an idea she had nursed during her university days where “I used to do campaigns in markets, motor parks and I try to empower people with knowledge so that they can make well informed decisions”. “But I found that when I came to Abuja last year July,

commercial drivers were coming to me because they know my profession and asked me questions about sexually transmitted infections, so I felt within my capacity as a registered nurse I could actually impact on them by going to them to counsel them on what they need to know. “Once they have the knowledge about the types of STIs and their symptoms, then they can seek for treatment. I decided to start with Wuse garage because it is a focal point to them then I can later extend it to other motor parks,” she added. High point of the event was the distribution of condoms to participants, while those who tested positive to HIV, were referred to the appropriate places to access the Anti Retroviral Drugs (ART). In his remark, a representative of the Federal Ministry of Health, HIV/AIDS Division of the Public Health department, Mr. Ombugadu Obadiah, described the

programme as a very good initiative. “It is a good programme and we encourage this kind of programme. The counselling and testing is one of our focuses that we get as many Nigerians as possible to know their HIV/AIDS status. And as you know, the counselling and testing is as a window used to accessing treatment because once you know your status, you are either positive or negative, if you are positive, you can begin to get interventions, drugs to live your normal alive”, he said. Participants, equally commended the initiative as one of them, a commercial driver, Joseph Steven said it afforded him the opportunity of knowing his HIV status and some facts about STIs and their prevention. The initiator of the programme Idowu Adejoke, attending to a participant at the HIV testing section of the programme at Wuse Zone 5 Motor Park, recently.

Tight security at Eagle Square as workers celebrate May Day

S

ecurity was considerably increased in the vicinity of the Eagle Square in Abuja on Tuesday as Nigerian workers gathered to mark this year’s May Day. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that there was however a massive turnout by workers for the event, in spite of the heavy security presence at the rally venue. Several police and military personnel, as well as officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil

Defence Corps, the Fire Service and the FRSC, were on hand to provide security. They took positions round the square, which is the rally’s traditional venue, with many police dogs on hand to assist them in handling crowd control. Their presence was supported with the availability of Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), ambulances and towing trucks. NAN reports that the gates into the square, located on the

Shehu Shagari Way in the city’s Central Business District, were still under lock and key to the public as at 9.45 a.m. Hundreds of workers, clad in different uniforms, were seen along the surrounding streets waiting for the gates to be opened for the rally. But at about 10 a.m when a gate was opened, a long queue of up to 500 metres quickly formed, with those going into the venue expected to join in a single file. Later on, workers trooping

into the venue were subjected to thorough screening by the police anti-bomb squad through a metal detector door before being allowed into the square. Some of the workers who spoke to NAN said they were satisfied with the screening as it was meant to ensure their safety in view of the current security challenges in the country. The rally usually features March pasts, as well as speeches from top government officials and labour leaders. (NAN)


BUSINESS

PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

Email: amunuimam@yahoo.co.uk

FAAC allocation for the month of March 2012 S/N

BENEFICIARIES

SUB-TOTAL (N)

1

FG (52.68%) States (26.72%) L/govt Councils (20.72%) Derivation (13% of Mineral revenue-oil/gas) Value Added Tax (VAT) & Transfers

Workers’ Day : Traders cash in to make brisk sales

T

raders within the FCT on Tuesday in Abuja made brisk business in selling their wares at the Eagle Square, venue of the 2012 May Day Celebration. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the traders had a field day with the presence of workers who were in their thousands at the venue. A cross-section of the traders, who spoke with NAN, said most of them stormed the venue from the suburbs of the city as early as 6.30 a.m to display their wares. Mrs Grace Oghenevero, who deals in ladies’ clothes, said traders had cashed in on the usual large crowd at the occasion to sell their wares over the years. “I have already sold wares worth N20,000 today. This is above what I make in the ordinary market in Nyanya in a week. I am so happy,’’ she said.

Flight schedule AIR NIGERIA (MONDAY - SUNDAY) LOS-A BJ: 07.15, 11.40, 14.00, 16.30, 17.00, 17.20, 18.30 ABJ-LOS: 07.00, 09.30, 10.30, 11.15, 16.15, 19.15, 19.35 ABJ-KANO: 18.40 KANO-ABJ: 08.35 ABJ -SOK (MON): 09.35 ABJ-SOK (FRI): 10.10 ABJ-SOK (WED/SUN): 11.20 SOK-ABJ (MON): 11.35 SOK-ABJ (FRI): 12.00 SOK-ABJ (WED/SUN): 13.20

AEROCONTRACTORS (MON - SUN) LOS-ABJ: 06.50, 13.30, 19.45 LOS-ABJ (SUN): 12.30 LOS-ABJ (SAT): 16.45 ABU-L OS: 07.30, 13.00, 14.00, 19.00 ABU-LOS (SUN): 10.30, 14.30, 19.30 ABU-LOS (SAT): 18.30

DANA AIRLINES (MON - SUN) LOS-ABJ: 07.02, 08.10, 12.06, 15.30, 17.10 ABJ-LOS: 07.20, 09.36, 13.05, 14.40 ABJ-LOS (SAT/SUN): 13.05, 18.00 LOS-KANO : 08.10 KANO-LOS: 11.25 KANO -ABUJA: 11.25 ABUJA-KANO : 10.08

IRS AIRLINES

Another trader, Madam Ejura Obeche said she made good sales within three hours, in spite of the intermittent disruption of their trading at the location by security operatives. She explained that the mammoth crowd had always triggered demands, adding ``those of us who sell water have also made so much sales’’. Mr Mohammed Audu, a meat seller, stated that he had sold dry meat, popularly known as “kilishi’’, worth N32,000. He said he would continue to remember and relish the Workers’ Day for good. “I am so happy today. The workers have been able to show to us that unity in diversity can make us all rich,’’ Audu said. (NAN)

- Pg 20

Emirates continues in-flight product innovation

Oil and gas sector critical in anti-graft war – EFCC boss

he Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde has described the oil and gas industry as critical to the nation’s fight against economic and financial crimes. Lamorde said this while receiving the management of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), who paid him a courtesy visit at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja on Monday. While congratulating the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of NLNG, Mr. Babs Omotowa on his recent appointment, the EFCC boss noted the strategic position of the oil and gas sector as the nation’s chief revenue earner and submits that the sector is critical to the success of the fight against economic crimes and corruption. “NLNG is an important player in the Nigerian economy and in fact, gas is gradually gaining prominence over oil, which makes it imperative that your organisation should live above board and be seen to be

actually so”, Lamorde said. He stressed that because of the country’s image and other stakeholders in the NLNG comprising mostly of foreign organisations, there is need to maintain a high level of integrity and corporate governance in its operations. He commended Omotowa and his team for all the anticorruption efforts so far put in place at the NLNG, which he said would help in checkmating occurrences of financial misconducts. “The steps you have put in place like the whistle-blowing mechanism is in line with what we do here and we are ready to support you in that regards.” Lamorde promised. Earlier in his speech, the NLNG Chief Executive Officer said they were at the Commission to congratulate Lamorde on his appointment and to seek the Commission’s assistance in its bid to fight internal corruption. “We are here because we are

committed to high principle of ethical values and have in place an anti-bribery and anticorruption policy. It is in recognition of the expertise and knowledge of EFCC in this area that we have come to solicit for support and cooperation”. Omotowa, who assured the EFCC of a corrupt-free NLNG said: “In this vein, we have established an internal anti-bribery and corruption policy with a zerotolerance for such. We also have a whistle-blowing scheme which helps in internal reportage of corrupt incidences and are seeking for the full support of EFCC while assuring of our support.” Omotowa was accompanied on the visit by Alhaji Bashir Koko, Deputy Managing Director; Ms. Sienne AllwellBrown, General Manager, External Relations, Dr. Audu Eresiake, Manager, Government Relations, Manager, Corporate Security service, Chief Charles Okon and Security Advisor, Kabir Aminu.

Foreign reserves rise to $36.52bn

N

igeria's foreign exchange reserves rose by 2.96 percent on the month to $36.52 billion on April 27, the highest level in more than one year, data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) released on Monday showed. The country's forex reserves stood at $35.42 billion a month earlier and were at $33.09 billion a year ago. Currency traders said rising dollar flows from offshore investors buying local debt and large dollar sales by local units of multinational oil companies had washed onto the market in the past few weeks. That has taken pressure off the official supply window for the dollar by the central bank, allowing reserves to recover in Africa's second biggest economy. Analysts say $36 billion is roughly enough to cover import bills for six months. (Reuters)

Some participants at the 33rd Kaduna International Trade Fair seminar, on Monday in Kaduna. Photo: NAN

Management Tip of the Day

EXCHANGE RATES

CBN CFA • £ RIYAL $

LOS -ABJ: 9.45, 11.45, 2.45

30th Apr, 2012 BUYING 0.2926 204.5134 251.4958 41.2478 154.7

SELLING 0.3126 205.8354 253.1215 41.5145 155.7

PARALLEL RATES

ABJ-LOS: 11.30, 3.45, 4.45 LOS-KANO: 6.15 LOS-KANO (SAT/SUN): 16.30 KANO-LOS: 07.30 KANO-LOS (SUN/SUN): 10.30

INSIDE

Mob: 08033644990

T

613.7 billion

PAGE 19

• £ RIYAL $

BUYING 210 254 40 157

SELLING 212 256 42 158

Turn your employees into company advocates

L

oyal, passionate employees benefit a company as much as dedicated customers. They stay longer, work more creatively, and go the extra mile. So how do you turn employees into advocates for your company and its work? Throw out the annual employee survey. They're

unwieldy and unreliable. Survey employees often, but just ask a few simple questions. Try: How likely would you be to recommend this company to a friend as a place to work? How likely would you be to recommend the company's products or services to a potential customer? Give employees

unfiltered customer feedback. When frontline employees hear directly from customers they respond. Positive feedback inspires them to keep up the good work. Criticism often motivates them to improve their performance. Source: Harvard Business Review


PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

PAGE 21

Niger - Benue confluence: Magnificent marriage of nature

A bird’s eye-view of the Rivers Benue and Niger confluence By Miriam Humbe with agency report

I

f you have never been to Kogi state in the NorthCentral zone of Nigeria, then it is time to pay a visit. Kogi is popularly called the confluence state because of the magnificent marriage of nature in the confluence of Rivers Niger and Benue which occurs there. Its capital is Lokoja. The people of Kogi state are hard working and friendly. The weather conditions are warm and conducive for sightseeing. There are three main ethnic groups in Kogi: Igala, Ebira, and Okun; other minor groups include - Bassa Komo, Bassa Nge, Kakanda, Kupa, Ogori-Magongo, Nupe, Oworo, Gwari etc.with the Igalas being the largest ethnic group in the state by virtue of population. There are many mineral resources in the state which include iron, petroleum and tin. Centrally located in the heart of Nigeria, Kogi comprises of the Igala, Ebira, Kabba, Yoruba and Kogi divisions of the former Kabba province. It shares common boundaries with Niger, Kwara, Nassarawa and The Federal Capital Territory to the north. To the east, the state is bounded by Benue and Enugu states, to the south by Enugu and Anambra states and to the west by Ondo, Ekiti and Edo states. Lokoja, the Niger-Benue confluence town is the state capital, with Yoruba, Nupe and Bassa making up the

main ethnic groups. The Niger-Benue confluence forms a beautiful scenery visible either from a boat travelling southward on the river or from the top of Mount Patti.

It is the confluence of conflicting interests, right at the heart of the River Niger. The River Benue meets it in a contentious partnership. It is commonly said by tourist

Another viewof the confluence of the Benue and Niger rivers

guides that one of them (a part of the river) has a darker shade of brown water, and that they never agree. But then, it's a sight any day, especially if you take a boat ride right into the meeting point. More than 200 ethnicities from 13 states make the people on the border of the Niger Benue confluence. They are Kwara, Niger, Kogi, Ekiti, Ondo, Edo, Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Delta, Enugu, Anambra and Imo. Located in the NorthCentral geopolitical zone (also called middle-belt region) of Nigeria, Kogi state was created out of the former Kwara and Benue states in 1991 and covers the area of the former Kabba Province of Northern Nigeria. The state is popularly called the confluence state because the confluence of Rivers Niger and Benue is at its capital Lokoja, which is the first administrative capital of modern-day Nigeria. It was in Lokoja that the name Nigeria was coined by Flora Shaw - later addressed as Flora Lugard after she married Lord Lugard who was a British colonial administrator - while gazing out at the river that stretched before her in the late 19th century. Crops produced in the state in commercial quantities include cassava, yam, rice,

maize, guinea corn, beans, soya beans, asha and millet. The state is blessed with precious mineral resources like columbite, coal and aquamarine. It lies on latitude 7.49oN and longitude 6.45oE with a geological feature depicting young sedimentary rocks and alluvium along the riverbeds, which promotes agricultural activities. The state features ferrasols soil type and famous hills like Ososo hills, which spread from Edo State to the western part of Kogi State and Aporo hill on the eastern part. Another famous mountain is Mount Patti, which lies in Lokoja and stands at about 750 metres above sea level. Notable hospitality centres in Lokoja await tourists and they include; Confluence Beach Hotel, Kogi Hotels, Nataco Hotel, Liberty Hotel, Pacific Hotel, Confluence Motel all in Lokoja and Anyigba Motel in Dekina LGA to mention a few. These hotels serve both local and continental dishes. First time visitors to Lokoja can drive from other parts of the north and Abuja through Gwagwalada-Abaji road. From the southern part of the country, visitors can locate Lokoja town from the Lagos axis can pass through Ekiti and Kwara states.


PAGE 22

PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

Experts, operators seek bailout for trawling business Against the background of high costs, pirates' attacks and suffocating competition, the Nigerian Trawlers Owners Association (NTOA) calls for government support to save the sector, and help, Ayodele Samuel writes.

I

n the midst of challenges facing the Nigerian economy, one area which experts have usually believed offers the country immense potentials and hope is the agriculture and food sector. Nigeria is endowed with arable land, a big population and good climate that allows to all year cropping. In addition to this is an aquatic sector that it yet to be fully developed and which potential are yet to be fully tapped. In fact, it is believed in many quarters that once Nigeria's food challenge is effectively tackled, it would then be in good stead to pursue its other development aspirations. And that one way of tackling such a challenge is by developing those allied sectors which are instrumental to employment generation, revenue earning and development of small and medium scale entrepreneurship. The industrial fisheries sector, with particular reference to shrimps, effectively fits into the picture; rather than actively playing its part in these aforementioned areas, it is rather plagued by a number of problems currently. The Nigerian Trawlers Owners Association (NTOA), which is the apex body for operators has enumerated those problems, urging the federal government to come to its aid. According to the association, the problems confronting the sector include the high cost of diesel, which constitutes about 80% of its operational costs; sea piracy, the absence of a centralised fishing terminal, the value of the Export Expansion Grant (EEG), which is supposed to be an incentive to operators. Mr. John Overo, who led other members of the NTOA executive during an interactive session with journalists in Lagos said that these problems are not new, but that they are taking a dimension that if not addressed may grievously harm operations in the sector. On diesel for example, he submitted that the sharp increase in price of the cost of operating a trawler in the last two years has posed a major threat to the viability of the sector. He said AGO accounts for 80% of production costs and that what the members need to stay in

business is for the federal government to implement its directive urging the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to allow a direct AGO allocation to the industry, in line with practices in other fishing climes. He explained that due to non-

where salaries and incomes have not increased commensurately, this has created friction in a umber of households. Beyond the pressure on households, there is also concern over the impact of such price increases in the larger economy, especially given foodstuffs including, fish and shrimps are critical elements in home management. According to NTOA, the problem is much more than the government and other Nigerians seem to acknowledge. The association, armed with details of the operations of the sector in other climes as well as what the sector is likely to contribute to the economy when adequately positioned, urge the federal

government to rise up to it now. Mr. Overo laments the fact that there are no centralised fishing terminals saying that this is advantageous for the industry due to its cost effectiveness particularly against the background of poor infrastructural development. He said with central fishing terminals for example, all facilities would be provided or made available making fishery activities to be well coordinated. "the advantages of a centralised fishery terminal are many. It means that facilities like dry[docking, cold stores and workshops are available and at cheaper rates. AGO supply would be carried out in orderly manner and effectively monitored.

Fishing boats trawling in shallow waters

affordability of AGO, the number of fishing companies has reduced drastically from 44 seven years ago to a mere 7 currently. According to him: "This is the only industry that is mainly dependent on AGO, unlike other industries and hence the federal government should come to its aid. A lot of companies have tied down their vessels due to the high cost and can no longer afford sending the vessels on fishing voyages" Enunciating on the problem of pirate attacks, he said it has contributed immensely to the huge financial losses, even as competent hands are moving to other sectors where they are safe. "Piracy attack is one of the banes of the fishing industry. It has many adverse effects including loss of lives and property, huge compensation to the families of the affected sailors, reduction in fishing grounds, irreplaceable damage to sea borne assets". In the recent, there has been concern over a general increase in the cost of living. In a situation

“

He explained that due to nonaffordability of AGO, the number of fishing companies has reduced drastically from 44 seven years ago to a mere 7 currently.

Operators have the advantage of standard cold room facilities, and access to new ideas, and techniques. On the other hand, the absence of the above, he said, has given rise to proliferation of private jetties, scattered within Kirikiri Light Terminal 1 and Kirikiri Light Terminal 2 (KLT)". The NTOA president drew attention to what is currently happening at the KLT 2, saying that some of the companies whose jetties are located there are being forced by oil companies planning to establish tank farms there. Besides, "recently, the Nigerian Ports Authority came up with a new tariff which is a 100% increase. We in the fishing industry cannot afford to pay such rent where we are doing business. We are not that buoyant as the oil or shipping companies with which the NPA appear to be comparing us". For the members of NTOA, what is expected is for the government through the relevant ministries and departments to explore ways of

helping the sector to maximise its potentials. One such are, for which it has also made a lot of case is in the area of the Export Expansion Grant (EEG), issued in form of a Negotiable Duty Credit Certificate (NDCC), and sold as a discounted instrument to importer who then use it to pay their import duties. Though the scheme is processed in Nigeria Export Promoting Council (NEPC), there is an implementation committee set up by the government to see to its effectiveness. The initiative aims at encouraging exporters especially those that add value to their products, and ranges from 5-30% of the FOB value of the item exported, and this depends on the degree of processing the item went through in Nigeria before exportation. NTOA members describe it as a good initiative, which has largely sustained the industry, listing its advantage of helping in cushioning the price differentials in products from other countries. Shrimp companies from Nigerian compete with large exporting firms from other parts of the world. Those ones enjoy leverages because their operations are subsidised by their home governments, which makes their shrimps comparatively cheaper. "We know that the President Goodluck Jonathan's government is serious and committed to improving the economic sector, going by the men and policies he has enunciated we want it factored that this EEG would help the course of industrial fishing in our country. It would enable our members to make sustainable margins, keep employees and contribute to the economy. What we are asking for is prompt release of the grant and also an upward review from the current 30%, given the realities in the economy for now", he said. "In 2004, Nigeria was contributing 1% of the world total supply of seafood, but presently, this has dropped to below 0.5% and if the non-payment of EEG is allowed to linger on, not only will our market share be eroded, but it would be lost completely", he said. Overo added that they are requesting that the Negotiable Duty Credit Certificate (NDDC) be accepted for payments due to the federal government in addition to import duties, Value Added Tax (VAT), withholding tax and income tax. "Unless the federal government takes urgent steps to address these issues, the resultant effect of this on the industry will be unimaginable which means fisheries industry will be nonexistent in Nigeria".


PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

PAGE 23

Report as at Monday, April 30, 2012 Security

Price

Change

Price Open High Low Trades

Volume

Value

Security

Price

Close

Change

Price Open High Low Trades

Volume

Value

1

800.00

400.00

4

313,000.00

291,090.00

Close

7UP

41.75

41.75 +

15

22,508.00

ABCTRANS

0.50

0.50

0.50

0.50

0.50

+

6

ACCESS

5.83

5.85

5.90

5.80

5.87

+

AGLEVENT

1.23

1.23

+

AIICO

0.50

0.48

-

AIRSERVICE

1.75

1.75

+

ASHAKACEM

10.21

9.75

10.15

9.75

10.01

-

BAGCO

1.72

1.71

1.77

1.71

1.71

-

BERGER

8.06

8.06

BOCGAS

6.18

6.18

CADBURY

14.40

CAP

23.40

CCNN

892,892.36

0.50

+

0.93

-

2.80

2.80

+

2

15,500.00

41,230.00

MANDRID

5.66

5.66

+

2

6,200.00

33,356.00

11,467,971.00 5,725,845.50

MAYBAKER

1.99

1.99

+

4

46,030.00

87,999.70

1

20,000.00

35,000.00

MOBIL

145.60

145.60 +

68

101,732.00

14,462,444.20

0.20

49

904,980.00

8,980,938.45

MRS

35.00

35.00 +

18

35,205.00

1,175,405.75

0.01

41

776,100.00

1,344,391.00

NAHCO

8.00

8.00

8.00

7.99

7.99

-

0.01

46

490,052.00

3,912,169.43

+

9

100,065.00

819,287.90

NASCON

5.68

5.53

5.75

5.40

5.60

-

0.08

85

8,934,173.00 49,171,277.70

+

1

25.00

154.50

NB

110.10

110.00

110.10 110.00 110.10 +

169

13,572,650.00 1,493,342,092.17

165

3,892,597.00 57,565,022.97

NCR

15.28

15.28

15.28

15.28

15.28 +

4

63,000.00

962,640.00

23.40 +

23

107,389.00

2,486,349.78

NEIMETH

0.75

0.74

0.78

0.74

0.78

+

13

386,994.00

298,404.32

5.05

5.05

+

11

123,786.00

619,111.08

NEM

0.50

0.50

0.52

0.50

0.50

+

23

3,052,635.00 1,548,596.50

CHAMPION

3.29

3.29

+

1

500.00

1,565.00

NESTLE

419.00

419.00

419.00 419.00 419.00 +

85

312,688.00

131,612,724.29

CILEASING

0.50

0.50

+

33

97,523,677.00 48,761,838.50

NIGERINS

0.50

2

10,400.00

5,200.00

CONOIL

25.46

25.46 +

26

12,839.00

332,744.80

OANDO

16.99

16.66

16.66

16.20

16.20 -

0.79

166

2,474,558.00 40,957,471.53

CONTINSURE

0.76

0.75

0.75

0.75

0.75

-

0.01

6

300,000.00

227,800.00

OKOMUOIL

33.00

34.50

34.50

34.50

34.50 +

1.50

22

229,874.00

7,905,123.75

CUSTODYINS

1.55

1.50

1.62

1.50

1.62

+

0.07

17

1,110,491.00

1,726,148.12

PREMPAINTS

10.93

1

875.00

9,091.25

CUTIX

1.52

1.45

1.45

1.45

1.45

-

0.07

3

51,000.00

73,950.00

PRESCO

11.50

11

196,280.00

2,251,680.00

DAARCOMM

0.50

0.50

+

3

6,000.00

3,000.00

PRESTIGE

0.50

0.50

1

10,000.00

5,000.00

DANGCEM

122.02

122.00

122.00 122.00 122.00 -

0.02

19

155,202.00

18,843,731.54

PZ

22.07

22.07 +

61

347,324.00

7,557,895.09

DANGFLOUR

4.35

4.25

4.28

4.25

4.28

-

0.07

42

1,172,052.00

5,007,618.33

REDSTAREX

2.58

2.58

+

6

85,490.00

210,858.20

DANGSUGAR

3.64

3.64

3.65

3.50

3.51

-

0.13

113

9,376,508.00 33,651,517.71

RESORTSAL

0.50

0.50

0.50

0.50

0.50

+

1

100,000.00

50,000.00

DIAMONDBNK

2.45

2.36

2.50

2.34

2.50

+

0.05

66

10,966,946.00 26,126,500.07

RTBRISCOE

1.38

1.44

1.44

1.44

1.44

+

46

2,415,081.00 3,476,526.64

DNMEYER

0.77

0.77

+

8

135,405.00

102,129.69

SCOA

5.52

5.52

+

1

300.00

EKOCORP

5.05

5.05

+

1

200.00

960.00

SKYEBANK

3.90

3.96

+

83

2,598,089.00 10,104,153.22

ETERNAOIL

3.42

3.42

+

9

72,890.00

249,901.20

STACO

0.50

0.50

+

2

1,600.00

800.00

ETI

11.80

11.70

-

103

43,994,741.00 514,599,051.29

STDINSURE

0.50

0.50

+

4

46,000.00

23,000.00

EVANSMED

0.50

0.50

+

8

15,746.00

STERLNBANK

1.10

1.10

+

14

579,501.00

637,451.10

FCMB

5.23

5.00

5.49

5.00

5.49

+

0.26

229 168,057,392.00 892,201,568.50

TANTALIZER

0.50

0.50

+

2

600.00

300.00

FIDELITYBK

1.36

1.31

1.36

1.31

1.34

-

0.02

73

6,411,277.00

8,631,151.73

TOTAL

138.95

138.95 +

12

7,734.00

1,050,639.04

FIDSON

0.93

0.93

0.95

0.93

0.95

+

0.02

10

364,950.00

341,684.00

TOURIST

4.32

4.32

+

1

1,000.00

4,110.00

FIRSTBANK

9.98

9.98

9.98

9.98

9.98

+

261

6,651,785.00 66,384,814.30

TRANSCORP

0.51

0.52

+

71

16,845,778.00 8,535,591.38

FLOURMILL

59.00

59.00

59.00

58.98

58.98 -

37

1,097,399.00 64,734,072.65

TRANSEXPR

3.45

3.45

+

2

1,750.00

FO

10.50

11

31,515.00

335,339.98

UAC-PROP

10.28

10.71

+

14

15,223,000.00 154,491,700.00

GLAXOSMITH

19.30

14

139,673.00

2,774,129.15

UACN

32.75

29

114,685.00

GNI

0.50

1

100.00

50.00

UBA

3.57

3.74

3.74

3.72

3.74

+

0.17

247

32,477,960.00 121,417,901.10

GTASSURE

1.55

1.60

1.60

327,333.00

522,378.15

UBN

4.05

3.94

4.00

3.94

3.95

-

0.10

71

658,685.00

2,614,769.77

GUARANTY

15.97

16.00

16.10

UNIC

0.50

0.50

+

1

400.00

200.00

GUINNESS

237.03

UNILEVER

29.51

29.51 +

41

126,807.00

3,742,107.52

HONYFLOUR

2.14

2.10

2.10

2.10

2.10

-

UNITYBNK

0.50

0.50

0.50

0.50

0.50

+

8

545,901.00

272,950.50

IBTC

7.15

6.92

7.00

6.92

6.92

-

0.50

0.50

0.50

0.50

+

2

186,180.00

93,090.00

IKEJAHOTEL

1.18

1.20

1.20

1.18

1.18

3.50

+

6

27,789.00

95,360.90

INTBREW

5.98

0.50

+

8

287,588.00

143,794.00

IPWA

0.83

JAPAULOIL

0.54

JBERGER

30.99

JOSBREW LAWUNION

0.50

14.50

0.50

11.99

0.50

15.12

0.50

11.99

0.48

13.87

0.50

11.57

15.12 +

0.04 0.02

0.72

0.10

0.02

10.50 + 20.00

20.00

20.00 20.00 +

0.70

LINKASSURE

0.50

1,245,000.00 622,500.00

LIVESTOCK

0.97

195

43,316,280.00 253,189,906.88

LONGMAN

2

5,673.00

47

6,977.79

7,888.30

0.50

+

1.60

1.60

+

0.05

5

15.98

16.02 +

0.05

406 67,963,666.00 1,089,886,011.49

237.03 +

0.93

0.93

0.93

0.50

0.04

0.03

+

10.93 + 11.85

3.89

1.10

0.52 10.14

11.85

3.96

1.10

0.52 10.71

11.85

3.84

1.10

0.50 10.14

11.85 +

0.35

+

0.06 0.06

0.01 0.43

32.75 +

1,575.00

5,740.00 3,679,514.11

139

349,275.00

83,798,060.71

0.04

9

122,580.00

258,109.20

0.23

20

20,326,318.00 142,262,700.24

UNIVINSURE

0.50

+

10

540,700.00

640,096.00

UPL

3.50

5.98

+

11

123,000.00

711,926.70

UTC

0.50

0.83

+

1

30,000.00

23,700.00

VITAFOAM

3.39

3.39

+

6

81,300.00

274,602.00

0.56

+

52

2,220,732.00 1,212,825.34

WAPCO

40.90

40.90 +

12

106,000.00

4,235,890.00

30.99 +

5

4,706.00

141,333.50

WAPIC

0.54

0.52

0.54

0.52

0.54

+

8

381,208.00

202,652.16

1.86

1.86

+

1

500.00

885.00

WEMABANK

0.50

0.50

0.50

0.50

0.50

+

30

1,009,351.00 504,675.50

0.50

0.50

+

1

1,000.00

500.00

ZENITHBANK

14.13

14.23

14.40

14.15

14.16 +

307

63,215,597.00 895,936,376.70

0.54

0.56

0.54

0.02

0.50

0.50

0.50

0.03


PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

PAGE 24

PAGE 25

PHCN Kaduna: How it ruins small-scale businesses By Yusuf Nagi Ahmad

Years since the creation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) after the unbundling of its precursor National Electric Power Authority, NEPA, Nigerians have hoped that by now, there would have been a new lease of life of regular, if not constant, power supply in the nation. And truly indeed, in some towns such as Abuja and Kaduna, which have military and/or political establishments of national strategic significance, the power supply situation has tremendously improved. This contrasts sharply with the cities of Kano and Gusau, for example, which are only of commercial significance, and whose power supply has not experienced the same quantum of improvement. Even within Kaduna metropolis, the power supply situation is much more favorable to Kaduna North, which provides the actual locale of some of the nation’s strategic military establishments, as against what obtains in say Kaduna South, or the Igabi LGA sector of the metropolis. And in Kaduna North, Kawo and Hayin Banki, in which are located the Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA, the headquarters of the strategic 1Division of the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Air Force Base, enjoy a near constant power supply which does not really tally with the lowly position of their residents, but for the ennobling presence of these military establishments in their neighbourhood. Therefore, with the near constant power supply, the residents of these areas would ordinarily be expected to enjoy a boom in small scale economic activities such as grains milling, tailoring, internet cafes, welding, printing and so on – at least more than the rest of the Kaduna metropolis, and indeed far ahead of all other cities of the north, except Abuja. But the reality on the ground is that Kawo and Hayin Banki, rather than being havens of booming economic activities of small scale businesses, are two areas which have proven to be a sure graveyard of same. This is not as a result of lack of power supply. Indeed the supply of power to the two areas is near constant as already

L-R: Wife of Vice-President, Hajiya Amina Namadi Sambo, a member, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Mrs. Awotu Iyasere, wife of Kaduna state Governor, Mrs. Amina Yakowa, the state Governor, Mr. Patrick Yakowa, and Chairman, Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mine and Agriculture (KCCIMA), Malam Umar Yahaya, during the opening last Saturday ceremony of 33rd Kaduna International Trade Fair. Photo: NAN

mentioned. Rather, this is very much as a direct result of the callous, crooked and corrupt character of the PHCN staff and their management in the Kaduna-Kawo district. They manipulate the supply of power, including tempering with transformer installations to deliberately sabotage the supply on some particular phases, to ‘oversupply’ and ‘short-circuit’ machinery for small businesses such as the coils of grinding and sewing machines or the computers, stabilizers and/or UPS installations in an internet café. Or they may deliberately ‘undersupply’ a particular phase by creating a ‘halfcurrent’ situation, thus disabling most appliances that require full current. All these are done just to underscore the point that unless an operator ‘plays ball’ and abide by the Kaduna-Kawo PHCN staff’s extortionate demands, the operator’s business will surely be run down and crippled sooner rather than later by the regular and sudden electrical surges which are regularly contrived.

It is not at all unusual in the Kawo district to see electric power fully available in all places but for a small indistinguishable enclave. Were you to probe just a little further, you were bound to discover small businesses in the enclave – may be a ‘pure water’ distiller, tailors’ shop(s), welders’, business center or internet cafe etc which are the actual target of some PHCN manager’s malevolent desire to extort money from the operators through artificially contrived sudden power surges whose intent is to deliberatly cause maximum damage to a business’ electrical installations and equipment. And then there is also a regular going around small businesses for contributions – ranging from N500= to any higher amount one can afford to part with, depending on the urgency with which one’s business is in need of the power – ‘to buy one or more parts for the transformer to be rehabilitated’ after it obviously would have been deliberately vandalized by no less than the actual staff of the PHCN, acting for and on behalf of the management of the district, into whose

pockets such contributions actually end up. A particular staff who is said to be the favorite of the PHCN management in the district, has the unenviable epithet of ‘Sa su a duhu!’ (Hausa for Put them in darkness!) because he so callously and with abundant gusto plunges everyone in darkness just to extort as much as he could for his masters at the district management level of the PHCN from desperate operators of small scale businesses in the Kawo and Hayin Banki areas. Indeed, in these two areas, it is always much safer not to own a metering device of any type, pre- or post-paid. This is because owning a metering device would automatically mean that you intend to opt out, and stop paying ‘your dues’ to the management and staff, in lieu of your supply being cut on the flimsiest of excuses. Crazy meter readings are used as the baits for blackmail: an ordinary household can have a meter reading of hundreds of thousands in unpaid debts without computer printouts of the actual dates of the consumption. Failure to give

the required cash down ‘payment in lieu’ of the ‘crazy bill’ will automatically result in a validation of the figures contained therein as a legitimate long-time debt owed to PHCN. Most terrifying of all is when the haughty manager of the district decides ‘to take the bull by the horns’ and write bills there and then (with a borrowed pen as it were - borrowed that is, from one of his staff that follow him on the rounds the same way a gang of area-boys follow their drunken ‘bosses’!!!), which he then directs to be issued under his watchful eyes to the alleged consumer by a lowly PHCN staff. Not ‘playing ball’ by paying cash in lieu of settling this kind of phony, crazy bill, can mean staying without power for God-knows-howlong. For there and then, a disconnection order will then be handwritten and executed by the manager himself. What follows is a validation of the figures contained therein as a legitimate longtime debt owed to PHCN - the kind of debt that is added up to sum up huge debts owed by the PHCN, while the actual payments of cash are

then cornered into private pockets without trace!!!. Even pre-paid meters which were proposed by some as a possible safety net against the ravages of the Kawo district PHCN management staff have proven to be no panacea at all. The latest shenanigan that prompted this piece was the spectacle of the manager of the district, single-handedly spearheading the disconnection of a business premise which has installed a pre-paid metering device. The first issue raised directly by the manager himself, was that the meter must have been by-passed with illegal connections! On physically checking and confirming that nothing of the sort had happened, there followed a demand to be shown the latest credit purchase on the pre-paid meter. On being shown a credit of N3, 000= (Three Thousand Naira Only) for a twobedroom flat with a single occupant only and bought less than a fortnight before (and other credits before then to wit), he then said the metering device must have been illegally obtained – otherwise, where was the

receipt issued for it? Then the biggest bombshell of all: the Kawo PHCN manager took a final look at the pre-paid meter and then said before it was obtained, the premises must have been ‘hugely indebted’ and without settling the debts, the premises had to be disconnected there then. Otherwise all the former post-paid bills should be produced to prove him wrong. And so the house was disconnected!!! This was in spite of the fact that part of the requirements of obtaining the pre-paid metering device, was the then latest post-paid bills’ original print-outs to provide the basis of programming the device, even if such bills might have been the crazy types that are the wont of the Kawo district office of the PHCN. Indeed it never occurred to this manager that the pre-paid meter couldn’t have possibly been fraudulently obtained, using a genuine name and a genuine address and correctly entered into the data base of the PHCN which can be accessed from any PHCN point-of-sale. Computing, it seems, compounds the corrupt even in their attempt to void or avoid it.

The reality however is that most of the premises in Kawo are ‘dedicated cash cows’ for the district management of the PHCN. That is why they would never be expected and/or allowed to own a metering device of any kind pre- or post-paid. Therefore unless one is able to post a profit by making use of generators endlessly, just as is done in areas where the power supply is much poorer than Kawo and Hayin Banki, one can forget being in business in these areas, regardless of the near regularity of the power supply, simply due to the inordinate corruption of the PHCN management and staff in these areas. No wonder then for example that there is not a single going internet café business in the whole of the Kawo and Hayin Banki districts of PHCN. It is indeed common knowledge among highly placed persons in Kaduna that the PHCN in the KawoKaduna axis is indeed neck deep into politics. Thus, the staff are routinely sent out on sabotage errands to deliberately undo and disparage all the efforts being assiduously put in support of President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda in this most

It is not at all unusual in the Kawo district to see electric power fully available in all places but for a small indistinguishable enclave. Were you to probe just a little further, you were bound to discover small businesses in the enclave – may be a ‘pure water’ distiller, tailors’ shop(s), welders’, business center or internet cafe etc - which are the actual target of some PHCN manager’s malevolent desire to extort money from the operators through artificially contrived sudden power surges whose intent is to deliberatly cause maximum damage to a business’ electrical installations and equipment significant sector of all, namely, the power sector. Other people however contend that the real and main target of the PHCN management in the Kawo district is the Vice President Namadi Sambo and his reported desire to contest the Presidency in 2015 - Kawo and Hayin Banki being the core of the Vice President’s Kaduna North constituency. Howsoever the truth turns out to be, the fact is that disrupting the economic activities of individual voters in these areas and

This imposing high rise building represents the power that PHCN wields over Nigerians

pauperizing them through a federal utility such as electricity, is the surest path to instilling political hatred for both President Goodluck Jonathan and the Vice President Namadi Sambo in a constituency that is very vital to the legitimacy of their civilian, democratic government. Eroding that legitimacy has always been the dream of those that seek to subvert democracy. Lawyers in Kaduna contend that the PHCN is not really a responsible

corporate organization in law in Nigeria, and therefore it cannot be dragged before the courts to claim damages. This is quite an irony in a supposedly constitutional republic which Nigeria is, governed by the rule of law. But as if to confirm further that the PHCN is really a bastard organization, it is also NOT KNOWN to have any operational and enforceable code of ethics to which its honor as a corporate entity and the honor of its staff and management are bound. No wonder the organization and its staff conduct themselves with such lawless abandon and impunity, and lately have become a bastion of subversion of Nigeria’s seemingly successful experiment with democratic governance. Thus, in spite of the constant power supplies presently enjoyed in the Kawo and Hayin Banki areas of the Kaduna metropolis far ahead of any city in the north, apart from Abuja, the two areas constitute a grave-yard of small-scale businesses quite against the grain of policies of the federal government. Yusuf N. Ahmad is a journalist based in Kaduna.


PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

PAGE 27

The fate of NSA, Owoye Azazi By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde

T

he indictment of the ruling party in Nigeria, PDP, by the National Security Adviser (NSA), General Andrew O. Azazi, was the misfortune President Jonathan least expected when he woke up from his bed last Friday, 27 April 2012. The statement must be causing the him enormous pain. It jas placed him in a predicament, with the party on one hand requesting for the head of Azazi and his kinsmen on the other hand asking for his pardon. To understand the predicament of the president, we need to recast how the two once stood together as comrades in their lifelong ambition of emancipating the Niger Delta. A Nigeria Army Intelligence Corps (NAIC) inquiry into the gunrunning activities of Sunny Okah at the Kaduna and Jaji military depots when Azazi was the GOC 1 DIV led to the sacking of the latter as Chief of Defence Staff and his premature retirement from the army in 2009. Azazi, as the Chief of Defence Staff, in collaboration with Lt. Col. LKK Are (then and now DG, SSS) and Maj. General Adekhegba (then DMI), did all he could to cover up the theft and protect its perpetrators, particularly Sunny Okah. The sacking of Azazi was definitely part of “punitive measures …. against prominent figures involved in the theft” which the NAIC report recommended. To be more specific, the report advised “government to sanction Gen Azazi appropriately.” (Full text of the NAIC report can be accessed at http://saharareporters.com/sites/ default/files/uploads/Azazi.pdf. For my full commentary on the report, read http:// fridaydiscourse.blogspot.com/ 2010/11/discourse-310-nigeriacannot-trust.html) If Azazi was punitively punished for his failure to stop the theft from the depots under his control, the people who the report referred to as “senior politicians in this issue” escaped because investigation into their involvement was overtaken by events. But who were these “senior politicians”, anyway? The committee found out that Governors James Ibori and Dipriye Alamiyeseigha were purchasing weapons stolen from I DIV and handing them over to Niger Delta militants. Jonathan, which the report shied away from mentioning because he was already the vicepresident by the time it was submitted, cannot escape implication since the theft and purchases continued during his tenure as the Governor of Bayelsa state. Also, when the report was submitted, we must remember, James Ibori was the most powerful adviser to late President Yar’adua. Which politician could have been more senior? Now, we need to know why the NAIC report found it imperative to recommend the investigation of these politicians. Come with me: “At least the names of two senior politicians… have been mentioned in this investigation. There may be many more. These two politicians are mentioned as the financiers for

the arms acquisition project. Certainly, they would not have provided large sums of money without knowing the source of the weapons. Simply put, a serious breach of security of this magnitude deliberately masterminded by the state governors. This gives a serious political dimension to the case. It is therefore important that care is taken identifying all possible political linkages to this case with a view to uncovering all the politicians behind this project. Politicians can aspire to any position in Nigeria. One wonders what would happen if Nigeria ends up with a president who does not believe in the entity of the Nigerian nation, and a record of involvement in cases like this. Identifying politicians with complicity in this or similar case will help in ensuring that they are blacklisted and prevented from vying for or taking higher offices because of the implications that could arise.” Too late. One of the biggest misfortunes of Nigeria today is that the above warning from the NAIC was not heeded to or “Baba go slow” could not act fast enough. One of those senior politicians, Jonathan, became the acting president barely two years after the report was submitted. What he did after assuming office speaks volumes of his complicity. Who did Jonathan pick as National Security Adviser after General Aliyu Gusau has resigned in 2010? He returned General Andrew O. Azazi! Who did Jonathan and Azazi found most befitting to run the SSS? They retirned Col. LKK Are! Where is Sunny Okah, the chief gunrunner? He is in the villa assisting the President, especially in the prosecution of his brother who mastermined the Oct. 1 bombings in Abuja. To whom has Jonathan and Azazi contracted the security of our maritme domain? Niger Delat militant Tampolo. From the above, it could easily be discerned that the relationship between the President and his chief security adviser is long standing and strong. How then could the adviser turn around now and blame the ruling party and the President for escalating violence in the country? Let us try and understand what Azazi said. His arrow was direct in its target: “The issue of violence did not

National Security Adviser, General Owoye Azazi increase in Nigeria until when there was a declaration by the current president that he was going to contest. PDP got it wrong from the beginning. The party started by saying Mr. A can rule, and Mr. B cannot rule, according to PDP conventions, rules and regulations and not according to the constitution. Is it possible that somebody was thinking only Mr. A could win, and if he did not win, he could cause a problem in the society?” In the above statements, which I quoted from nationalmirroronline.net, there is sufficient understanding on the motives of the security chief: Zoning is the culprit. Power was expected to reside in the North for two terms. But Jonathan, coming from the south, jettisoned that rule and declared his intention to contest. This, according to Azazi, is what increased violence to its present

If the President would look at the strategic role of NSA Azazi in the Niger Delta Republic project or his importance to Jonathan 2015 presidency, he will be more inclined to pardon the NSA than to “Ring” him. This option has a good probability

state in Nigeria. Again, Azazi was not expecting the Northerners that lost to Jonathan – namely, Atiku Abubakar, Generals Ibrahim Babangida and Aliyu Mohammed Gusau – to let the contravention go Scot free. They must cause “problems”. Three things can be gathered from this: One, had PDP not adopted zoning as a power-sharing principle, according to Azazi, the level of violence would not have reached this unmanageable level. Two, had the President restrained himself from vying from contesting in 2011, the increase in violence would have been averted, still. Or had Buhari – the northern candidate – won, that too would have silenced the guns of the northerners. Finally, “the (security) problem in the society”, according to Azazi, is caused by northerners who lost to Jonathan in the PDP, or put in another way, in reaction to Jonathan’s intransigence, Atiku, IBB and Gusau, in reaction, are using Boko Haram to get at Jonathan. Mhm. Nigerians are divided on the Azazi’s statement and person. The PDP and its supporters have made statements that portray the security chief as an ingrate, or one that bites the finger that fed him. PDP, they argue, rehabilitated him when it provided the platform on which he is currently serving as the NSA. The opposition, this time, is raising its thumb for Azazi. He provided it with a powerful ballistic for deployment against the ruling party. And attacking they did, from

all fronts. The ACN, CNPP, CPC, etc., are all over the waves enjoying their vindication. The president must have felt embarrassed by Azazi’s statement though he tried typically to cover him initially by finding excuses in semantics. Azazi, claimed the President, might have had an idea but which he could not express clearly. He referred journalist to Azazi for clarification. That clarification, however, is not forthcoming, so far. But honestly, could Azazi absolve himself of Jonathan’s violation of the PDP zoning principle? Not at all, in my opinion. He was in the best position, as the NSA, to advise the president on the security implication of his contest, if that is what he believed then. As far as I can recall, nobody then reported that he did so. Neither did he follow his conviction and supported any northern candidate. But granted that he advised the President accordingly, why did he continue as the NSA and even travel to Washington to lure the Americans into believing that Nigeria is under a serious terrorist siege beyond its capacity to contain? Happily, the Americans did not buy the dummy. They said, “Mumu. It is not terrorism. It is poverty. Simple.” The fate of Azazi is on the balance. The ruling PDP is turning the heat on the president to do something with the NSA. It wants him dismissed. Of course, does the president have a third option, apart from sacking him or keeping him? The choice would not be as easy as Ringim’s. In this situation, the President will be torn among three things: fear, parochial strategy, and his not so much celebrated nerves. If the President would listen to Niger Delta elders and militants whom he dreads so much, who have turned him into a hostage and who are milking the Nigerian cow dry with the support of Azazi, then he will move to protect the NSA and absolve him of any blame. Let PDP go to hell, he will say. This one has the strongest possibility. Again, if the President would look at the strategic role of NSA Azazi in the Niger Delta Republic project or his importance to Jonathan 2015 presidency, he will be more inclined to pardon the NSA than to “Ring” him. This option has a good probability. If, however, he has the mental capacity to understand that the statement is the gross contempt for the President and the ruling party ever uttered by a beneficiary of PDP, then his nerves, if he has any, are likely to persuade him to bid his old comrade farewell. In that case, the Boko Haram missile that hit Ringim would have returned to hit Azazi. The security chief would have nobody to blame but his tongue, which betrayed him under the intense heat of Boko Haram. This one has a weak likelihood. So, the chances, in my assessment, are strong two against a weak one. Whichever choice the president takes, Nigeria will remain the same - corrupt and insecure. Aliyu U. Tilde is a renowned columnist based in Jos.


PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

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A

N office worker in India is spat at in the street every day – because of the huge birthmark on his face. Mohammad Hussain was born with a wine-coloured birthmark that has steadily grown to take over the right side of his face and chest. He dreams of living a normal life, marrying, having children and eating in restaurants – but his facial disfigurement, which is operable, has left him an outcast in his hometown of Srinagar, India. The 44-year-old has never married, and even when he has tried to find a wife no woman will look at him. He faces constant ridicule from the general public, with some locals running away from him or even covering their face because they fear his condition is contagious. He said: “I never realised how bad I looked when I was younger. My family and close friends never made me feel different. “It was only when I started working and going out in the world that I began to feel really bad about the way I looked.” Mohammad’s family was too poor to see a doctor or get treatment for him as a child – but he was determined that when he grew up he’d earn the money to get help. As soon as he was old enough, he knocked on doors until finally someone gave him a chance – and he now works in a PR office. When Mohammad had saved enough money he met with a doctor at SKIMS hospital, and was told he suffered from haemangioma, a benign tumour filled with abnormal blood vessels. He said: “At first I was told my

Huge birthmark makes me an outcast

condition was operable, the doctor gave me hope”. “But at the last hour they decided against it because they worried they couldn’t control the bleeding from the blood vessels. Their equipment wasn’t advanced enough.” Mohammad went home forced to accept that his disfigurement was here to stay. He explains: “I used to cry a lot but I’ve got used to this life now so I try not to let it get me down. “I try to be strong but sometimes it’s hard, especially when some people spit or hide their faces when they see me.” Of finding love, he says: “I tried to find a wife but the women took one look at me and I didn’t hear from them again. “It seems marriage is just not for me. People in my town care what people look like.” Mohammad now lives with the only two women in his life, his mother, Zoona, 55, and sister Muzamil Hamid, 21. His father died in 2008. No one else in Mohammad’s family suffers the same condition. He has to clean his tumour with antibacterial wipes twice a day and is prone to infection, especially in the winter when his skin is dry. His only hope now is to find someone who could treat his condition.

Unconditional love ... Mohammad lives with his mother Zoona, 55, and sister Muzamil Hamid, 21

Torment ... Mohammad finds life as an outcast hard

“If surgery is possible I can look forward to a fabulous future, and the possibility of normality with maybe a wife and children.” Dr Milton Waner, a plastic surgeon and director of Vascular Birthmark Institute, in New York, disagrees with Mohammad’s earlier diagnosis. He said: “His condition is quite remediable - it is however not a haemangioma. “The correct term is portwine stain with soft tissue hypertophy. Left untreated, his condition will get worse. “Mohammad would need multiple surgeries but should seek treatment soon before it continues to get bigger. “There are many people who know how to treat portwine stains,” he added. “But very few who know how best to treat the soft tissue hypertrophy, but it’s doable.” Mohammad added: “I often look at websites for people like me, I see so many people treated successfully. It give me hope I might be one of them.” Source: TheSun.co.uk

Pariah ... Mohammad is met with contempt and fear in the streets


PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

PAGE 29

Burma boys and strange wars

FR OM THE FROM LIVE ST AGE STA

BOOK REVIEW By Ikhide R. Ikheloa (Nnamdi) “No European writer could have written Things Fall Apart”, says Ernest Emenyonu, who chairs the department of Africana studies at the University of Michigan at Flint. It was “a new kind of writing,” for two reasons: the first was the way Achebe made the colonizer’s language his own. By incorporating Igbo speech patterns, proverbs, folk tales and beliefs, he invented an English that could “articulate African aesthetics and African poetics.” The second was that he “explored the psychology of imperial conquest” and challenged Eurocentric views. In other words: Part of what Africans suffered at European hands was the loss of control over their own narrative. Achebe took back that narrative. Bob Thompson, Things Fall Into Place, The Washington Post, March 9, 2008 have just finished reading Biyi Bandele’s latest novel, Burma Boy. Major kudos to Farafina, the publishers of this book. Farafina has come a long way since I last read their production of Tanure Ojaide’s The Activist. Burma Boy is a beautiful production, carefully laid out with a nice cover, bereft of typographical errors and significant editing issues. It is remarkably easy on the eyes. I salute Farafina for a job well done. In terms of the contents of the book itself, have you ever read a book that you could never put down because you feel this weird obligation to finish it? To relive that experience, buy Biyi Bandele’s book Burma Boy and try to read it. You will never put it down. Spurred on by Bandele’s boundless enthusiasm for the story and his reverence for his father’s noble contributions to the war effort, I so badly wanted to love this feisty book. Unfortunately, I had trouble reading it to the end. I got lost in the middle but I re-booted my motivation and started over. And I slugged through the book again. And again. The exercise was tedious; not painful, but tedious. This book is an ambitious project but I am not quite sure Bandele pulled this one off. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved the dialogue in Burma Boy – Bandele’s skills as a really good playwright are evident and enviable. I loved the galloping intensity of the first chapter of the book as hearty chunky sentences raced me through the colorful streets of Cairo and the demented tortured soul of the book’s first character, Major Wingate. Unfortunately, the transition from a playwright to a novelist is bumpy at best. For example, a play can happily absorb umpteen characters; you know, market women, street urchins, hangerson in the king’s palace, etc, etc, but a novel does not have that much staying power. There are all these characters, inchoate, rambling on and on with malarial delirium. Also, caricatures have their place in plays; properly deployed they can be delightful exaggerations of

with Patrick-Jude Oteh 0803 700 0496, 0805 953 5215 (SMS only)

Accra is a beautiful sweet city!

T

I

The book cover the human condition, witness the riotous and manic delights of the characters in Wole Soyinka’s Jero plays. Burma Boy struggles with an identity problem, a play wishing to be a novel. What is Burma Boy all about? It is about a certain war takes place in Burma but I shall return to that question later. The book’s one major failing is that it fails to anchor the story in its proper context. The reader is initially left hanging, wondering why this book is talking about a certain war. You would almost have to read about what Burma Boy is trying to deliver in order to have a fair shot at enjoying it. The alert reader quickly learns that it is about a certain war, some of which took place in Burma and boatloads of Nigerians fought in this war, and it was a war that they didn’t have a dog in but one they fought in like dogs. But what was the war all about? Those who truly want to understand what Bandele is trying to say should first read the books he recommends in his helpful “Author’s Notes” at the back of the book. I especially recommend James Shaw’s A March Out. Then they should read Burma Boy. In this respect, the book fails to deliver what would appear to be an enchanting story. Anchored to a succinct context, the story would have been a crowd pleaser. Bereft of an enabling context, the reader keeps asking the irritating question: Where are we? The book lurches drunkenly from obese sentence to obese sentence, egged on by legions of tragic-comical characters. So what is this book really all about? The near-context for all this penkelemesi is buried in one

sentence one-thirds into the book: “The story of the day is that Kingi Joji, monarch of Ingila is fighting a war in a land called Boma and he wants our help.” (p 42) As seen through the eyes of Private Ali Banana, the main character, it is about the heroic exploits of West African soldiers who were part of the Chindits, forces that fought gallantly during World War II. The Chindits, under the fearless and lunatic leadership of a British officer named Orde Wingate were a part of the allied Special Forces of the 2nd World War. As Chapter 1 of Bandele’s book shows Wingate was easily one of the most charismatic, if not lunatic military chiefs of World War II. The Chindits were highly effective against the Japanese. They destroyed bridges and railroads, attacked logistics units and disrupted vital supply lines, all while staying largely embedded inside enemy territory. These West African soldiers or “Burma Boys” were a critical part of these operations; however most of the stories in print tend to glorify only the white combatants. The most charitable of the stories involve condescending, patronizing, and mostly racist commentaries about these soldiers. Their white counterparts certainly found them fascinating, if not exotic and tended to write about them as if they were sub-humans. Books like Shaw’s The March Out that Bandele praises effusively are written in this vein. Bandele set out on a noble quest - to write a story from the West African soldiers’ perspective. Unfortunately, he takes the ball from the white writers, and mostly runs fast in the wrong direction. To be continued Source: African wtriter.com

he travel advisory was all wrong. I was told to beware of the taxi driver and even the hotel maid. I was told that my luggage could be snatched at the airport if I was not careful. I was told not to go out at night as I might fall prey to armed robbers posing as taxi drivers. I was told to beware of the mosquito and the timbhu fly that leaves its larvae in the skin. I was told all the negatives but the advisory never said anything about a beautifu, quiet and well adjusted people. I was not told of a people who had taken their destiny in their own hands. The journey started on a very wrong note. I was routed through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport in Abuja and my flight to Lagos was billed for 5.40pm. I was to connect the Accra flight in Lagos from the Murtala Mohammed International airport. I got to the Abuja airport at 3.00pm. By the time I got to ticket confirmation. I was told that the next Air Nigeria flight to Lagos would be at 6.20pm making it impossible for me to make the Accra flight. I was given a refund by Air Nigeria and told to take any other flight to make Lagos for 7pm. I did and that was how I made my flight to Accra. The reception in Accra was good enough and very civil. The air conditioners were working and though there was a slight delay in getting the hotel shuttle, it gave Fidelis Duker of the Abuja International Film Festival and myself time to get acquainted. We were joined by Tolu Ogunlesi of the British Council, Lagos who later left as he was billed to stay in another hotel. We were in Accra for the inaugural meeting of the African Festivals Network (AFRIFESTNET). The meeting was called at the instance of the Arterial Network and the idea which was two years old was initially birthed at the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) in 2010. The funds to organise a larger meeting did not materialize until the British Council came to the aid of the Network. The idea behind AFRIFESTNET is the basic fact that in the next couple of years, those of us who organize festivals might no longer have access to individual funding. Most of the funding will be channelled through networks. Also, in this era of globalization, festivals apart from sharing resources should also get more organized as there was more sense in many festivals operating as a network sharing resources and most importantly sharing information. There were forty three (43) festivals in Accra with representatives from seventeen (17) countries spread across Africa

with representations from the British Council, European Festivals Network (EFA) and the Arterial Network. In the area of organizations running festivals, there were a lot of festivals which had gone ahead of what we are doing in Nigeria. There are some that have government support and incentives but most were practically surviving on their own whims. Most were been run by men and women who are very highly driven. Women and men who work round the clock to ensure that people use the avenues of festivals to enjoy the best of their humanity. It was a very exciting gathering. There were elections to run the continental network for the next two years – Kwesi Owusu (GHANA – PRESIDENT), Fidelis Duker ( NIGERIA – Vice President) and Tony Lancaster (SOUTH AFRICA – Treasurer). It was a good gathering. The new executives promised to drive the network towards the ideals of most of us working together especially festivals in the same genre. In the area of organization, funding and management of festivals, it quickly became very obvious that the South Africans and North Africans were way ahead of most of East, Central and West Africa. There was so much to learn from the South Africans especially. For instance there is the Cape Town International Jazz Festival which was represented by Rashid Lombard, the CEO who has an annual budget of R38m and a festival attendance of 35,000 with his festival not being able to meet up to the demand of 10,000 more people who are all requesting for tickets of $35 – N5,600 for ten performances spread into two days and which same festival is being replicated in Angola at ticket cost of $150 – N24,000. Most of the festivals in the Southern part of the continent are being replicated across other nations in the region and they all share costs as well as benefits. They have been able to create formidable and vibrant organizations that can stand the test of time. In the area of government support for some of these festivals, they have created avenues through which these festivals will thrive and receive support from the private sector which is encouraging and in some the government has merely provided the enabling environment to allow them to thrive. Definitely there are some very interesting models that we as a country need to look into in our organization, management and funding of festivals.


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PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

Reading The Tale of the Harmattan from Cape Town BOOK REVIEW By Dike Okoro

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bsorbing, startling and uncannily pitched to public and private issues that penetrate the social climate and upheaval of present-day Nigeria and Africa might be the best way to describe prolific Nigerian scholar-poet, Tanure Ojaide’s new poetry collection, The Tale of the Harmattan. Published in South Africa by the prestigious Kwela Books of Cape Town, which parades a coterie of some of Africa’s already established poets/fiction writers such as Eskia Mphalele, Nuruddin Farah, Maxine Case, Keorapetse Kgositsile, and Gabeba Baderoon, in conjunction with another notable publisher, Snail Press, the book is divided into three sections and has a glossary that spares the reader unfamiliar with the terrain of Nigeria’s landscape, politics, and Urhobo folklore the headache of leafing through such a fine collection without knowledge of the references made to mythical and historical figures. The Tale of the Harmattanis Ojaide’s fifteenth poetry publication. Part one of the book, much like Ojaide’s previous poetry collections, narrates and reflects on local issues with global implications. We are introduced to the disturbing tale of the oil saga that continues to plague Nigeria’s national conscience. Ojaide references an array of struggles for a clean environment, multinational sensitivity to local people in their business dealings, minority rights, rights of people to be treated as humans, and the legacy of grandmothers. But what makes this section of the book fulfilling is not the attention given to issues overlapping politics but the poet’s wellcrafted and memorable lines. The poem “The goat song,” according to Ojaide’s explanation in the glossary section, “represents a song of anguish and complaint.” Indeed that statement is true when we examine the way he weaves sarcasm into each couplet that reflects and philosophizes the reality of living in Nigeria’s Nigerdelta region. The opening couplet reads, “I sing the community’s goat song/Folks wear gold over tumours of hope.” These lines are premeditated because they set the tone for the last two couplets of the first section of this poem as the reader becomes aware of what drives Ojaide’s anguish and complaint when his speaker bemoans, “And who cares if foreigners found deep/under their bare feet divine gifts of pools/and started to tap the earth’s underbelly/for fuel to blaze brushes of progress?” (9). Other poems that stand out in part one are “Priests, converts,

The book cover and gods,” “Womb-wrapped,” “Lessons from Grandma’s nighttime school,” “Tale of the harmattan,” and “Oil remedies”. Part two presents the poet as a public voice. The themes covered are both dynamic and very much in touch with events in present-day Nigeria. Yet the pleasure of reading Ojaide’s poems comes through as with any good poet’s work. With the poems in this section one can easily identify with the speaker’s thirst for human freedom, his passion for his subject matter, his reflection on the injustices carried out against the Nigerdelta people, their land, and their natural resources. In short, the tragedy experienced in the destruction of wildlife and natural habitat are clearly examined with the skillful touch of a seasoned craftsman in this section, which clearly gives each of the poems the universal appeal and attention reminiscent of any other ethnic group or culture whose natural habitat is threatened by oil pollution and incompetence in the corridors of power. The poem “At the Kaiama Bridge” immediately jumps at the reader with a tone and subtlety buried in the direct appeal for the protection of natural resources when the speaker cries in stanza four, We have organized a

resistance army, declared sovereignty over our resources; but have not pushed back the poachers. Outside forces pillage the inheritance. (33) In the poem “For the Egbesu Boys” the poet’s solidarity with the fight for the oppressed and dispossessed is clearly established in the lines, “For the same reason I sang praises of the Ogoni youths, I praise you Egbesu Boys in song—you cannot be/shackled from enjoying your own land’s blessing;/you do the honorable duty of brave sons—fight on”(41). Here we can see clearly the ambivalence in Ojaide’s lines while also noting his ingenious use of diction that is both exalting and gravitating. The clear message here is the poet’s support for the pitiful plight of the Nigerdelta region whose exploitation of its natural resources the Egbesu boys are fighting against. Other poems in this section also reminiscent of the anguish and complaint that sustain the intensity of the entire collection are “Dialogue,” “Transplants,” “Without trees,” and “Swimming in a waterhole”. Part three of this book is sentimental, euphonious, and forewarning. Here Ojaide’s speaker navigates issues fueled by private and public concerns. The themes covered are thought-

provoking, emotional, and foreshadowing. The brilliance of this section can be seen in Ojaide’s mastery at blending oral tradition with western poetic forms. The songs are free, yet there is a seriousness of purpose that sustains their intensity, making each poem memorable for the reader. In the fiery and angry “To the Janjaweed,” we notice and feel the poet’s empathy for the victims and his resentment for the oppressors. Written in a tradition of abuse poetry, the poet chides and derides the notorious killing gang responsible for much of the deaths in Sudan’s Dafur region. Each couplet in this poem is rich with memorable images and utterances as Ojaide laments: May the fire you spread gleefully this way scorch you and your family at the other end may your patrons in government corridors become dead vultures to the entire world may the horses you ride to sack villages throw you into vainglorious days… (58) The same emotional intensity Ojaide exhibits in this poem is sustained in the other poems in this section. The only difference is in the shift from the public to the private voice. For example, the poem “Remembering,” a tribute to a dead friend, clearly shows the dexterity and virtuoso of a poet. The images are very striking, and the last line gives the poem a memorable closing punch as Ojaide avers, the day all alarms refused to go off the day the clear-eyed guide lost his vision the day the boneless beast opened its mouth to swallow an entire man like sautéed crayfish that was the day of the summer solstice when in Jerusalem my best friend died in Sapele. (57) By the end of this book it becomes clear to us what Ojaide had set out to achieve with it. His move from personal and local concerns to national, universal, and human issues shows how grounded he is with historical memory. Readers will enjoy this book for all it is worth. The language, though highly sophisticated, is simple and reminiscent of the poet’s opus. With a poem that addresses human issues such as “To the Janjaweed” already nominated for a Pushcart Prize in the US, this collection is bound to win many laurels. With the publication of The Tale of the Harmattan, Ojaide has become part of Kwela Books’ coterie of major authors singing Africa’s song from the local to the global. Source: African wtriter.com

PEOPLES POEM OF THE WEEK Title: Echoes of blood By Adeola Ikuomola From the kneecap of the crawling sea To the foreskin of the drumming clouds The keen echoes of the innocent blood Flow from the late hearts to the early hands.

The innocent blood is a fair butterfly On the glowing flowers freshly spread On the dew-encapsulated eastern fields Beneath the young and virile sunrays.

The rib cages and chunks of fresh skulls In the forest of the bristle of butterflies And the gales of laughing bald vultures Echo the innocently spilled blood.

From the blubbering eastern cemeteries Groaning beneath withered wreaths The thunderous echoes of fresh blood I hear saying man is better than lions.

QUO TE UOTE “Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” –– William Shakespeare.


PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

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What Obama knows Reflections

By Comrade Fidel Castro

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he most demolishing article I have seen nowadays about Latin America was written by Renán Vega Cantor, full professor at the National Pedagogical University of Bogotá, which was published three days ago by the website 'Rebelión' under the title "Ecos de la Cumbre de las Américas" (Echoes of the Summit of the Americas). It is a brief article and I should make no versions. Those who specialize on the subject can look it up at the aforementioned website. I have referred more than once to the infamous agreement that the United States imposed on Latin American and Caribbean countries when the OAS was founded at the foreign ministers meeting held in the city of Bogotá on April, 1948. Just by sheer coincidence, I happened to be there on that date, helping to organize the celebration of a Latin American students' congress whose main goal was to struggle against the European colonies and the bloody tyrannies imposed by the United States in this hemisphere. One of the most brilliant political leaders in Colombia, Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, who had managed to unite, with ever growing strength, the most progressive sectors in Colombia that opposed the Yankees' miscreation, had offered his support to the celebration of the students' congress. No one doubted he would win during the upcoming elections, but he was treacherously murdered. His death led to a rebellion that has kept alive for more than half a century. Social struggles have been taking place throughout millennia, since human beings, by resorting to wars, were able to take hold of a surplus production to satisfy the essential needs of life. As is known, the years of physical slavery, the most brutal form of exploitation, went on in some countries until a little more than a century ago, as it happened in our own homeland during the final stages of the Spanish colonial domination. Even in the United States, the enslavement of African descendants continued until the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. That brutal form of slavery was abolished there hardly thirty years before it was abolished in Cuba. Martin Luther King dreamed about the equality of black Americans until almost 44 years ago, when he was vilely murdered on April, 1968. The accelerated

Fidel Castro Ruz development of science and technology has been a sign of our times. Whether we are aware of it or not, this is what will mark the future of humanity. This is an entirely new era. What prevails in every corner of this globalized world is the real struggle of our species for its own survival. As for now, all Latin American nations, particularly our own, will be affected by the process that is taking place in Venezuela, the home country of the Liberator of the Americas. I barely need to reiterate what you already know: the close links that exist between our people and the people of Venezuela and Hugo Chávez, the promoter of the Bolivarian Revolution and the United Socialist Party he founded. One of the first actions promoted by the Bolivarian Revolution was the medical cooperation with Cuba. This is an area where our country has achieved a special prestige, which has been recognized nowadays by the international public opinion. Thousands of health centers equipped with state-of-the-art technology

Barack Obama manufactured by the world's specialized industry have been founded by the Bolivarian government to provide medical assistance to its people. Chávez, on his part, did not choose to go to expensive private clinics to care for his own health. He trusted it to the same medical services he was offering to his people. Besides, our doctors have devoted part of their time to the training of Venezuelan doctors in classrooms that have been properly equipped by the Venezuelan government. The people of Venezuela, regardless of their personal incomes, began to receive the specialized services offered by our doctors. It is now among the ones with the best medical care in the world and their health standards have obviously begun to improve. President Obama knows this only too well and has talked about it with some of his visitors. He candidly told one of them: "The problem is that the United States sends soldiers while Cuba, however, sends doctors". Chávez, a leader who has not

had a minute of rest in the last twelve years and enjoyed an iron constitution, was, however, affected by an unexpected illness that was discovered and treated by the same specialized staff that usually assisted him. It was not easy to persuade him of the need to pay maximum attention to his own health. Since that moment, with an exemplary behavior, he has rigorously followed the treatment prescribed without neglecting his duties as Head of State and leader of his country. I would dare to describe his attitude as heroic and disciplined. Not even for a single minute does he forget about his obligations; at times he does that to the point of exhaustion. I can attest to that because I have not ceased to be in touch and exchange with him. He has not stopped to devote his fertile intelligence to the study and analysis of the problems of his country. He finds the vile remarks and slanders of the spokespersons of the oligarchy and the empire to be amusing. I never heard him utter any insult or vile remarks when

Besides, to insist on a slanderous campaign stating that among the top leadership of the Bolivarian government there is a desperate quarrel to assume command of the revolutionary government if the President is not able to overcome his illness, is tantamount to building a gross lie.

referring to his enemies. That is not his kind of language. The enemy knows the features of his character and is multiplying its efforts with the purpose of slandering and attacking President Chávez. I, for one, do not hesitate in stating my modest opinion -which emanates from more than half a century of struggles- that the oligarchy will never again be able to govern that country. That is the reason why the US government's decision to promote the overthrow of the Bolivarian government under such circumstances becomes a source of concern. Besides, to insist on a slanderous campaign stating that among the top leadership of the Bolivarian government there is a desperate quarrel to assume command of the revolutionary government if the President is not able to overcome his illness, is tantamount to building a gross lie. Quite on the contrary, I have been able to see the closest unity among the leaders of the Bolivarian Revolution. Under such circumstances, any mistake made by Obama could provoke rivers of blood in Venezuela. The Venezuelan blood is also Ecuadorian, Brazilian, Argentinean, Bolivian, Chilean, Uruguayan, Central American, Dominican and Cuban blood. It is necessary to bear in mind this reality when analyzing the political situation in Venezuela. Is it now understood why the workers' anthem is a call to change the world by doing away with the bourgeois empire?


PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

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South Sudan accuses Sudan of attacking oil region S

outh Sudan accused Sudan of launching a ground attack in an oil region of the newly independent state yesterday and said it was preparing to strike back, in rising tension that shows no sign of abating. The scale of the fighting was not immediately clear. Weeks of border clashes have raised concerns that South Sudan and its northern neighbor could return to all-out war after failing to resolve wrangles over oil revenues, border demarcation and other issues since the south seceded last year. The conflict has halted nearly all oil production in the region, strangling both countries' oil dependent economies. Philip Aguer, spokesman for South Sudan's army, the SPLA, said Sudanese forces, militias and mercenaries attacked their positions in Hofra in the oil region of Unity state, where there have been a number of strikes in the past week. "The SPLA is pursuing them and has repulsed the attackers. They have also captured three trucks," Aguer said. He also said the SPLA would counter what he said was a planned attack by Sudanese army forces on the disputed border towns of Jau and Paryang. The Sudanese army spokesman was not immediately available for comment. South Sudan has blamed

Suicide bomber kills MPs in central Somalia

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South Sudan's army, or the SPLA, soldiers walk past a fox hole on the frontline in Panakuach, Unity state, April 24, 2012. Sudan's warplanes of bombing the oil region of Unity state over the past week. Sudan has denied those attacks, but said it reserves its right to use air strikes to defend its territory. The renewed fighting and hostile rhetoric between the former civil war foes have prompted the United Nations to take up the crisis at the Security Council. However, China and Russia,

traditionally among Sudanese President Omar Hassan alBashir's main backers, are resisting a Western push for the council to threaten both sides with sanctions if they fail to halt the conflict. Beijing, which has close trade relations with Khartoum and Juba, has traditionally acted as Sudan's protector on the council and for years has shielded it from U.S. and European calls for

sanctions over its handling of conflicts in its western Darfur region and elsewhere in the country. Russia is supporting China's push to water down the resolution. Pagan Amum, South Sudan's chief oil negotiator criticized China, which is also the biggest investor in Juba's oilfields, for failing to take a stern position in the dispute.

Arab League backs Libya trial for Gaddafi son

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Saif al-Islam has been in custody since his capture on November 19, 2011

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ali's ruling military leaders have said in a message aired over state television said that they are in control of the state broadcaster building, the airport, and the military base in Kati near the capital Bamako after a counter-coup attempt. "Elements from abroad, supported by some obscure forces within the country, carried out these attacks. Some of them have been arrested," a military officer said in a television message yesterday. Earlier, the military issued a scrolling message over state television pictures saying it remained in control of key sites

he Arab League has said it supports Libya in its desire to try Saif al-Islam, son of killed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, on its territory. "The Arab League supports the Libyan position to hold the trial of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi in front of a Libyan justice," tribunal, the panArab organisation said in a statement yesterday. "The Libyan government has repeatedly assured that all conditions ... would be met to organise a fair and impartial trial on its territory."

Saif was arrested in November in southern Libya and is now held in the town of Zintan, 180km southwest of Tripoli, the capital, by former rebels who fought his father's forces during last year's conflict. On April 6, Libya filed an appeal against the request of the International Criminal Court for the immediate transfer of Saif, wanted for crimes against humanity by the court. The ICC, located in The Hague, in the Netherlands, has rejected the Libyan appeal.

Mali’s military leaders ‘repel counter coup’

in Bamako. Bakary Doucoure, who was near the broadcaster's main offices, told the Reuters news agency that gun and heavy weapons fire continued near the building and ambulances were at the scene. It has been just over a month since a group of soldiers toppled Mali's democratically elected president. Three people have been killed since fighting broke out in Mali's capital on Monday, with troops who took part in the March coup and the presidential guards of the former president

exchanging shots, witnesses said. Captain Amadou Sanago, the leader of the initial coup, signed a deal with ECOWAS to return the country to constitutional rule. The deal gave the junta a supervisory role in the transition. The state broadcaster has been in the hands of the junta ever since the March 21 coup. Yaya Konate, the head of the broadcast station, said that troops arrived at the station at around 6.30pm on Monday, firing in the air and telling all personnel working there to

leave. He said the soldiers who took charge of the building were from the presidential guard. Speaking to Al Jazeera from Bamako, journalist Martin Vogl said that he was in the centre of town when gunfire was heard. "Around 5pm or 6pm, local time ... we started to hear quite heavy gunfire, automatic weapon fire, coming from a couple of places in the centre of town," he said. "People got very tense and tried to get out of the centre of town as soon as the fighting started."

suicide bomber killed three Somali lawmakers yesterday at a hotel in the central town of Dusamareb, where legislators visiting from the capital were meeting, local authorities said. Al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab rebels claimed responsibility for the attack, and also for a car bomb in the heart of the capital Mogadishu on Tuesday that killed one man. While suicide bombers sent by al Shabaab militants have struck government targets and African Union troops in the capital Mogadishu often in recent years, such attacks are rare in central Galgadud region. The delegation of lawmakers was in Dusamareb to discuss how to form local administrations in the central region of Galgadud, as part of political reforms meant to bring a string of transition governments to an end with elections in August. Member of parliament Dahir Amin Gesow told Reuters he was in the hotel cafe when the bomber walked in blew himself up. He said several people were killed, including some lawmakers. The spokesman for the progovernment militia which controls Dusamareb, the capital of Galgadud, said the total death toll from the blast was four. "The bomber killed four people, including three legislators and one of our soldiers," Sheikh Abdullahi Sheikh Abu Yusuf, spokesman for the Sufi militia Ahlu Sunna Waljamaca, told Reuters. Dusamareb, 560 km (350 miles) north of Mogadishu, has been under the control of the Ahlu Sunna militia group for years, although al Shabaab fighters have seized the town briefly on several occasions, including in March this year. Al Shabaab's spokesman for military operations, Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, told Reuters one of their bombers was behind the attack and that Ahlu Sunna officials, Ethiopian officials and legislators had been killed. Ethiopia has long backed Ahlu Sunna in its fight against al Shabaab, providing training and weapons. Ethiopian also sent its own troops into Somalia last year to take on the Islamist rebels, mainly to areas where Ahlu Sunna has a presence. In Mogadishu, a bomb planted inside a car killed a man near the busy Kilometer 4 junction. Al Shabaab said it had killed him because he worked for the government.


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UN chief holds talks with Suu Kyi in Myanmar

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N secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has met with Myanmar prodemocracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi for talks about the country's political future after a surprise climb down by the Nobel laureate in her boycott of parliament. The discussions at the opposition leader's lakeside mansion in Yangon yesterday, where she was locked up by the former military junta for much of the past two decades, came a day after Ban became the first visiting foreign dignitary to address Myanmar's legislature. It is the first meeting between Suu Kyi and Ban, who left frustrated after a previous visit in 2009 when the generals who ruled the nation for decades refused to allow him to see the veteran activist while in detention. On Monday, Suu Kyi decided that she and other politicians in her National League for

Democracy (NLD) party would attend the country's parliament on Wednesday for the first time to take the oath of office. NLD politicians had refused to pledge to "safeguard" the constitution, stating they wanted that word replaced with "respect," a change made in other Myanmar laws. "We have decided to comply at this juncture, because we do not want a political problem or tension," Suu Kyi said, ending the first rift with the government since she won a parliamentary seat in historic April 1 by-elections. "The reason we accept it, firstly is the desire of the people," she said. "Our voters voted for us because they want to see us in parliament." Ban welcomed Suu Kyi's announcement and told reporters he respected her decision. "She is a strong and

dedicated leader of this country," he said, standing by Suu Kyi's side at a newsconference after their meeting. "I'm sure that she'll play a very constructive and active role as a parliamentarian." The UN chief said he had invited Suu Kyi to visit the UN headquarters in New York. Suu Kyi has said one of her priorities as a politician is to push for an amendment of the 2008 constitution, under which one quarter of the seats in parliament are reserved for unelected military officials. On Monday, following talks with President Thein Sein, the UN chief had paid tribute to Suu Kyi and the NLD for participating in the recent byelections during a landmark speech to parliament. "For many years you displayed resilience and fortitude that for generations have distinguished the Myanmar people," he said.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, left, met with Myanmar president Thein Sein yesterday

Anti-Syrian regime mourners shout slogans and carry the body of activist Nour al-Zahraa, 23, who was shot by Syrian security forces on Sunday, during his funeral procession, in the Kfar Suseh area, in Damascus, Syria, on Monday.

Ban also hailed the "vision, leadership and courage" of Thein Sein, who has ushered in a slew of reforms in the last year including welcoming Suu Kyi's party into the mainstream and freeing political prisoners. Ban is the latest in a string of top foreign visitors to Myanmar amid a thaw in the army-dominated nation's relations with the West. The UN chief welcomed moves by the international community to reward sweeping changes in the country since the end of direct army rule last year, and called for the West to go further in

easing or lifting sanctions. Last week, the European Union responded to what it said were "historic changes" by suspending for one year a wide range of trade, economic and individual sanctions, although it left intact an arms embargo. Canada and Australia have also recently eased punitive measures and Japan waived $3.7bn of Myanmar's debt. But the US last week ruled out an immediate end to its main sanctions on Myanmar, saying it wanted to preserve leverage to push the leadership on an end to ethnic violence, which has marred the country's reform image.

Syria violence kills 23 despite UN-monitored truce

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iolence erupted in two Syrian provinces on Tuesday, with a rights group reporting 10 civilians dead in an army mortar attack and 12 soldiers killed in a firefight with rebel gunmen as UN monitors sought to shore up a shaky cease-fire. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks the 13month-old uprising against President Bashar Assad, said nine members of one family died in mortar bomb blasts in a village in the northern province of Idlib. An activist on the Turkish border, Tareq Abdelhaq, said 35 people had been wounded and that some were being carried 25 km (15 miles) along mountain tracks to receive emergency treatment in refugee camps dotted along the frontier. "Some are being smuggled over the border to Turkey. They had to carry the wounded and go through the mountains to avoid checkpoints on the road," Abdelhaq said. "One guy died on the way. He was 19 years old and had very bad injuries." In the eastern Deir Al-Zor province, troops hit back with mortar and heavy machine gun fire after losing a dozen of their own to insurgents, killing at least one villager and destroying a school, the antiAssad Observatory added. The United Nations says Syrian forces have killed more than 9,000 people since the uprising began in March 2011. Its special envoy for children in war zones said more than 34 children were believed to have been killed since the UN-backed cease-fire nominally came into force on April 12. Like other Arab revolts against autocratic rulers, Syria's uprising began with peaceful protests but a violent government response has spawned an increasingly bloody insurgency.

Damascus says rebels have killed more than 2,600 soldiers and police, and the speaker of Syria's parliament, Mahmoud Al-Abrach, said outside states backing the insurgency bore responsibility for the bloodshed. "The escalation is continuing and it must be stopped from the outside - I mean those who are providing those groups with weapons and money," told Reuters Television in Damascus. "They need to stop this." The cease-fire brokered by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan briefly calmed but failed to halt the conflict. Rebels low on funds and ammunition seem to be stepping up a bombing campaign. Explosions blew the fronts off buildings in the northwestern city of Idlib on Monday, killing nine people and wounding 100, including security personnel, according to state television, which blamed the blasts on "terrorist" suicide bombers. Damascus has accused the United Nations of turning a blind eye to rebel cease-fire violations, although SecretaryGeneral Ban Ki-Moon condemned the Idlib blasts and a rocket attack on the central bank in the capital as "terrorist bomb attacks." The United Nations now has 30 truce monitors in Syria, a nation of 23 million people, and expects to have 20 more of the planned 300-strong mission on the ground by the end of the week. Their commander, Norway's Major General Robert Mood, has acknowledged his mission could not solve Syria's fundamental problems, but said the security crisis was not insoluble. "We have seen this in many crises before that if you simply keep adding to the violence with more bombs and weapons and more violence, it becomes a circle that is almost impossible to break," he told BBC radio. "We are not in that situation."


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US judge rules Strauss- US defends drone use Kahn case may proceed for targeted killing

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New York judge has said a hotel maid's lawsuit claiming that former International Monetary Fund chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted her can move forward to a trial. Douglas McKeon, Bronx Supreme Court Justice, yesterday rejected Strauss-Kahn's argument that he enjoyed diplomatic immunity at the time of the May 14 encounter with Nafissatou Diallo. Strauss-Kahn's argues lawyers argued he should be immune from the civil lawsuit, which was filed about three months later. That "may seem like an unfair result to some, but it's the result the law compels", Strauss-Kahn

attorney lawyer Amit P Mehta said at a hearing in March. They pointed to a 1947 United Nations agreement that afforded the privilege to heads of "specialised agencies", including the IMF. Although the United States didn't sign that agreement, Strauss-Kahn's attorneys said it has gained such broad acceptance elsewhere that it has become what's known as "customary international law". Diallo accused him of forcing her to perform oral sex, while Strauss Kahn has said the incident was consensual. The scandal, which made headlines around the world, scuttled Strauss Kahn's expected bid for the French presidency.

Prosecutors dropped related criminal charges last year, saying they were no longer convinced of Diallo's credibility after she made several changes in her account of what she did in the moments following the incident. One of Diallo's lawyers, Douglas Wigdor, said in a statement hat they were "extremely pleased" with the ruling. "We have said all along that Strauss Kahn's desperate plea for immunity was a tactic designed to delay these proceedings and we now look forward to holding him accountable for the brutal sexual assault that he committed," he said.

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top US official has defended as legal and ethical its use of drone strikes to target terrorism suspects. The official's comments yesterday by White House counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan was the most direct acknowledgement yet of the clandestine programme. "In full accordance with the law ... the US government conducts targeted strikes against specific al-Qaeda terrorists, sometimes using remotely piloted aircraft" "Yes, in full accordance with the law - and in order to prevent terrorist attacks on the United States and to save American lives - the United States government conducts targeted strikes against specific al-Qaeda terrorists, sometimes using remotely piloted aircraft, often referred to publicly as drones," John Brennan said in a speech at the Woodrow Wilson Centre in Washington. Brennan said President

Barack Obama had asked the administration to be more open about the drone programme. He defended the attacks as legal and noted broad discussion about the use of the strikes. "We discuss. We debate. We disagree," he said. "We consider the advantages and disadvantages of taking action. We also carefully consider the costs of inaction and whether a decision not to carry out a strike could allow a terrorist attack to proceed and potentially kill scores of innocents." Brennan's remarks were interrupted when a member of the anti-war group, Code Pink, criticised the use of drone strikes. The female protester was removed from the room by a police officer. The American Civil Liberties Union, a longstanding critic of the tactic, welcomed the acknowledgement of the programme, but said Brennan did not provide sufficient legal justification.

Workers around the world mark May Day

Dominique Strauss-Kahn faces preliminary charges for being involved in a prostitution ring in France

France’s Le Pen refuses to endorse Sarkozy

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rench far-right leader Marine Le Pen has delivered a further blow to President Nicolas Sarkozy's hopes of re-election by refusing to endorse him and telling her six million supporters to make their own choice at Sunday's ballot. "I will not grant my trust, or a mandate, to these two candidates," she told supporters on Tuesday at an annual commemoration of Joan of Arc, the national saint her group favours to the May Day celebrations held by international labour and leftist parties. Sarkozy, who faces off against Socialist Francois Hollande on May 6, needs many of the 17.9 per cent of voters who chose National Front leader Le Pen last week to switch to backing him in the runoff if he is to overcome first-round winner Hollande. But Le Pen, who came third on April 22, told a rally in Paris on Tuesday that she personally would spoil her ballot paper in the second round by choosing to vote for neither of the two remaining contenders. Le Pen did not further twist the knife for the conservative

incumbent by urging her 6.4 million voters to do likewise. But in leaving them to make their own minds up she left it unclear how many will stay at home or even vote for Hollande, who is running a six- to 10-percentage point lead in opinion polls. "I have made my choice," she said. "Each of you will make yours." Sarkozy's right-wing supporters were to gather at the Place du Trocadero in Paris's posh

16th arrondissement to hear their champion give his last major speech in the capital before the vote. Al Jazeera's Simon McGregor-Wood, reporting from Paris, said Sarkozy is entering a crucial 48 hours and is "possibly facing the end game" of his political career. "[Sarkozy] desperately needs most of the votes that went Le pen's way. It's his only chance of succes," our

Marine Le Pen, eliminated in the first round, told supporters she would be voting blank for the second round

Maoist supporters rally to commemorate Labour Day in Kathmandu, Nepal's capital

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ens of thousands of people have descended on streets across the world to mark International Workers' Day. Colourful protests organised by trades unions and left-wing parties across Asia shared the theme of better pay and conditions, and denunciations of government policy, as living costs increase in fast-growing economies. Marchers in Europe used May 1, a national holiday in more than 80 countries around the world, to protest against government-imposed austerity measures. Thousands of May Day protesters in Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Taiwan demanded raises in pay that they say has not kept up with rising consumer prices, while also calling for lower school fees and expressing a variety of other grievances. Indonesian workers held Asia's biggest rally, watched warily by a heavy police and army presence.

Carrying banners saying "raise our salaries" and "stop outsourcing contracts", more than 9,000 workers gathered at Jakarta's main roundabout before marching to the state palace. About 16,000 police and soldiers were deployed to guard the protest, Rikwanto, Jakarta police spokesman, said. "Living costs have gone up but our salaries remain unchanged," Muhamad Rusdi, a protest leader, told the AFP news agency. "We only make enough to eat but there is no money in the bank, no money for our children's education." In the Philippine capital, Manila, about 8,000 members of a huge labour alliance, many clad in red shirts and waving red streamers, marched towards the presidential palace, Alex Gutierrez, Manila police chief, said. Benigno Aquino III, the Philippine president, rejected their calls for a pay rise, which he said could worsen inflation, result in layoffs and turn away foreign investors.


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Court clerk watched hardcore porn as sex attack victim gave evidence during trial because he was ‘bored’

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'bored' court clerk who was caught watching porn by a judge during a rape trial has been spared jail. Debasish Majumder, 54, sat casually viewing explicit online material while a sex attack victim gave evidence at Inner London Crown Court. Majumder, from Harringay, north London, who had been working for the courts service for 27 years, confessed to routinely watching internet porn when he

was bored. 'I only looked at porn because the case was boring and did so once or twice a week since December 2009,' he said in his police interview. He was spotted by Judge Nigel Seed QC, viewing the footage, and subsequently reported the incident. Detectives then found indecent pseudo images of children and extreme porn on his home computer.

Kingston Crown Court heard the married father-of-one made a series of porn searches during the rape trial in early December 2010. He also looked at non-sexual material with no relevance to his work. Sentencing Majumder to seven months in prison, suspended for two years, Judge Nicholas Price QC said: 'I'm told by your counsel that you didn't think anyone could see what

Majunder was caught watching porn during a rape trial at Inner London Court

‘He should have been the one helping me, but he was the one abusing me’: Girl, 15, raped by father who forced her to ‘play wife’ reveals how decade of abuse tore her apart

Jailed: Clerk Debabish Majumber, pictured outside Kingston Crown Court where he received a suspended jail sentence for looking at porn during a rape case

‘You have brought shame upon yourself, your wholly innocent wife and your son’

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Tragic: Emma Frost was subjected to a decade of sexual abuse at the hands of her father, who forced her to live with him as a 'wife', raping her regularly and making her serve him

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errified Emma Frost, from Clacton, Essex, never informed on her father. 'I thought no one would believe me' she says Emma, now 22, is speaking out to help other victims of sexual abuse A daughter forced to act as her father's 'wife' has waived her right to anonymity to help other abuse victims. Emma Frost, 22, was left devastated after suffering a decade of sexual abuse at the hands of her father. Now, after seeing him jailed for life, she is taking the brave step of sharing her story in the hopes she can help others who have suffered a similar plight.

Now a proud parent herself, Emma says she was relieved her father was jailed, but she will 'have the memories forever'. 'I suffered in silence for too long and I want to help other young women,' she says

rosecutor Annabel Darlow told the court how Judge Seed noticed 'cartoon-like' images on his clerk's computer but was unable to ascertain whether they were sexual. 'I think it was farm yard animals but if it was pornographic I couldn't tell,' the judge said in a statement. 'Later I could see he was looking at a list of pornographic websites and I was shocked.' The judge also said he saw an image of a woman with blonde hair performing a sex act on a man. 'I watched him on Friday to

Emma, from Clacton, Essex, says: 'I stayed silent for years because I thought nobody would believe me. 'Your parent is the person you are supposed to turn to for help, but he was the one abusing me. I felt trapped and it tore me apart.' Christopher Frost, 45, began abusing his daughter when she was nine years old. 'I remember the first time I was watching TV in the lounge when he came in and sat next to me for a cuddle. But he had a towel in his hand and draped it across our laps. Afterwards her dad told her that was a 'special cuddle' something that would go on to happen more and more frequently over the next few years.

Every few months her father would take her into town and tried to win her trust back by buying her cigarettes and alcohol. When Emma turned 15, her father came to visit with the news that her mother had left him and asked Emma if she would like to leave the children's home and come to live with him. 'Naively I thought anything was better than the children's home. I also hoped he had changed as it had been more than three years since he had touched me,' she says now. In December 2004 Emma moved in to her father's home. At first, Frost did not touch his young daughter. Instead, he insisted the teenager was to be responsible for all the housework.

'I knew it was wrong and I hated it, but I didn't feel able to tell anyone so instead I started releasing my anger by playing up at school.' Eventually unable to cope with her worsening behaviour, her mum put her into care in 2001 weeks before she turned 12. 'They didn't understand what was wrong with me so my family just thought I was out of control and a nightmare. They couldn't cope so I had to go.' Life in the children's home was tough and Emma had no visitors apart from her father. More... 'People can't understand why I let him visit me, but without him I had nobody. I was just a frightened little girl.'

see if I was mistaken. I looked down at his computer screen and again saw a list of websites. 'I decided that was enough, I was not mistaken.' Defending, Susannah Stephens said: 'These are images that people view perfectly lawfully in a number of different environments and it's right to say that Mr Majumder was of the belief that no one else would be able to see what he doing. 'He had no knowledge the judge would be able to see, he thought in light of where he was sitting that he would block the judge's view of the screen and what he was looking at would be too small for the judge to see. 'He accepts fully that what he did amounts to misconduct. 'Prior to this, there wasn't a single blemish on his record.' Majumder, admitted a single count of misconduct in public office, seven counts of possessing indecent pseudo images of children and an additional count of possessing extreme pornography. He will now be supervised for 18 months and must sign the Sex Offenders' Register for 10 years. His computer usage will also be monitored and he will be subject to a sex offender's prevention order for five years.


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Why should we eat five a day and will an apple keep the doctor away? D

eciding what to eat is no longer a simple matter of instinct or appetite. Every choice we make about food is complicated. Is meat good or bad for us? Why is five a day recommended for fruit and vegetables? And can diet really cause cancer – or prevent it? As a food writer, I am often asked these questions, and in an effort to answer them I have looked at the latest scientific research, hopefully exposing some of the myths and providing a practical guide to the things we eat. ARE APPLES REALLY THAT GOOD FOR ME? The phrase ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ was originally a marketing slogan dreamt up by American apple growers at the start of the 20th Century. Their fruit had been made into cider, but after the drink was banned during Prohibition they tried to promote apples as being good to eat instead. So how true is that old adage? Apples have taken a bashing lately for being full of sugar, which dentists warn causes tooth decay, but advising against them is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Apples are a good source of fibre. There are two types – the first is insoluble, also referred to as roughage, which increases the bulk of stools, and in turn stimulates gut contractions and keeps the bowels moving regularly. The second type, soluble fibre – which apples contain – dissolves in the stomach, forming a viscous gel. It helps food move along the gut too by adding bulk, but it also lowers cholesterol by binding to it in the gut. This gel slows down the rate at which sugar enters the bloodstream, keeping energy levels steady. The Department of Health

recommends that adults consume 18g of fibre per day, and a medium apple provides about 3g – similar to a bowl of brown rice. Several studies into the cholesterol-lowering properties of apples recommend eating two a day to get a beneficial dose. By hitting the daily recommended fibre intake, we may be lowering our risk of colorectal cancer. While diets containing more than 80g of meat per day have been linked to a higher incidence of these tumours, a fibre-rich diet seems to cancel out this effect. The peel, which contains insoluble fibre, has the highest concentration of disease-fighting flavonoids and polyphenols, although this research is based on concentrated extracts rather than the whole fruit. As for vitamins, variety matters. A single old-fashioned Ribston Pippin has more Vitamin C than a whole pound of Golden Delicious. You can drink some of the goodness in an apple as well as eating it. Juicing doesn’t alter the vitamin content dramatically, although you do lose a lot of the fibre. Cider vinegar has long been used as a folk-medicine tonic. Science has shown that it can lower blood-sugar levels and that it helps with weight loss, probably by suppressing appetite. A 2009 Japanese study showed drinking a 500ml drink with a tablespoonful or halftablespoon of cider vinegar led to greater weight loss, because people ate less, and lower blood cholesterol than drinking water. Mix a splash with honey and oil to make a healthy salad dressing. WHAT IS THE BEST BREAKFAST? Packaged cereals shout about nutritional goodness. But a recent survey by the consumer organisation Which? showed 32 out of 50 types were shockingly high in sugar. This is the type of refined sugar dentists are right to be concerned about. And, it can be argued, these cereals won’t keep us full until lunch. S u g a r y breakfast cereals have a high glycaemic index (GI) score – a measure of the effects of carbohydrates in food on blood-sugar levels. It estimates how much each gram of digestible carbohydrate in a food raises blood glucose following consumption, relative to consumption of glucose. GI scores are calculated in relation to glucose, Cider vinegar is an important part of our diet

which has the highest score of 100. The higher a GI reading, the faster the food is digested and the quicker we are hungry again. Conversely, the lower the GI, the longer we feel full and the fewer calories we consume. This is the reason why a low GI diet is associated with healthy weight, and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, according to the University of Sydney’s International GI Group. Cornflakes, which are some of the least sugary cereals, have a GI score of more than 80, which is similar to white bread. Low-GI breakfast foods include muesli (avoid added-sugar varieties) and porridge. ‘Go to work on an egg’ – another old marketing phrase – is good advice. Eggs contain protein which makes you feel fuller for longer. A poached egg on wholegrain toast is a great choice. A full English fried breakfast contains protein and fat as well as carbohydrate – and will keep you full for a long time. However, the calories can be alarmingly high, so a regular fried breakfast will only make you put on weight. As

for bread, sourdough has a higher acidity than others due to the addition of lactbacillus, which produces lactic acid, giving it a distinctive tangy taste. There is ongoing research into how this element aids absorption of nutrients such as calcium, zinc and iron better than standard bread. A glass of freshly squeezed juice is a refreshing shot of vitamins. The British Dietetic Association recommends a small (150ml) glass. Best of all, have the fruit whole or eat some chopped up with live natural yogurt. CAN I EAT TO AVOID HEART DISEASE AND CANCER? No one food will kill or cure. But the good news is that a balanced, varied diet has room for fats and carbs – just choose the right kind in the right amounts. Fats help build our cells and are part of good health, but they are high in calories. Eating too many calories can lead to you becoming overweight, which raises risks of heart disease and cancer. Butter has been demonised in the past, but like other fats it delivers and contains fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D

Fruit and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, pytochemicals and fibres and are low in calories

and E. Wholegrains are another key food. ‘They provide fibre and micronutrients such as folic acid, magnesium and Vitamin E,’ says Professor Walter Willett of Harvard Medical School, where researchers have shown how a diet rich in grains is associated with lower rates of cancer and heart disease. Oatcakes, porridge, wholegrain couscous, brown rice and quinoa are good options. The World Cancer Research Fund recommends having no more than 500g of cooked red meat in a week due to the risk of colon cancer. A slice of roast beef is 45g, a thick piece of lamb 90g and a small steak is 100g. Moderate wine-drinking is championed by Professor Roger Corder, at Barts and the London School of Medicine. In his book The Wine Diet, he recommends traditionally made red wines, which are high in polyphenols, especially one type, procyanadins. These seem to be particularly good for cardiovascular health by protecting against the damage to your blood vessels that causes disease. Such wines range from those from Madiran in south-west France (look for the Tannat grape) to the Douro in Portugal. The word ‘superfood’ refers to those that are rich in phytochemicals, the micronutrients in food other than vitamins and minerals that protect your body against disease. Tomatoes, onions, garlic, cabbage and green tea are also rich in these compounds and are affordable. HOW SHOULD I EAT MY FIVE A DAY? Fruit and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fibre and they are low in calories. But only a third of adults eat their five a day, according to the Government. Five turns out to be a number created by the State Nutritionist for California in 1998. She looked at the average figure of what people ate and doubled it. A 2011 study in the European Heart Journal showed that people who ate eight a day were 22 per cent less at risk of dying of heart disease than those who ate three a day. It’s good to eat vegetables in abundance because they are very high in micronutrients and have less sugar than fruit. Eat as many different kinds as possible and try to ‘eat a rainbow’, as the pigments are linked to different phytochemicals. A number of micronutrients, including Vitamin C, are best consumed raw or steamed, rather than boiled, in order to not destroy the more fragile types and lose water-soluble vitamins in cooking water. But fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K can be more useful when cooked in a little fat. The antioxidant lypocene in tomatoes is better absorbed this way. Source: Dailymail.co.uk


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Revelations at the subsidy probe a national shame, says Yuguda’s ex-aide INTERVIEW Alhaji Shehu Musa Gabam is the former Chief of Staff to the Bauchi state Governor, Alhaji Isa Yuguda. He is also the former Director of Special Duties of the National Democratic Organization, an IBB campaign organization. In this interview with our reporter, Umar Mohammed, he spoke on the revelations from the House of Representatives subsidy probe just as he cleared the air on the circumstances that led to his resignation as Yuguda’s Chief of Staff. Excerpts:

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he subsidy report revealed shady deals in the oil sector, as a member of the ruling PDP, what is your view on the entire report? I’m going to react as a Nigerian. It is quite disturbing; the revelation is shocking and unbelievable. These are some of the issues that create instability in the country. It is unfortunate that a smalll group of people is holding the entire country to ransom by siphoning its resources for their own individual benefits, thereby undermining the economic prosperity and viability of Nigeria and, of course, destroying the future of the upcoming generation. It is sad at this stage of our development that things of this nature are coming up; I think I will have to commend the leadership of the Assembly and the entire members especially the Farouk Lawan committee for its courage, despite all odds, to came with the report .I t is a national shame given our history right from independent that we cannot put our house in. As a member of the PDP, our National Chairman has reacted and I have to commend him for his statesmanship. The party is in tune with the position of the parliament and in tune with the position of President Goodluck Jonathan to fight this monster called corruption and restructure the petroleum sector and engage competent hands to manage the sector; I’m totally in support of the House and Mr. President, this what we need at this critical time. Coming down to your state Bauchi, recently there was an advertorial in one of the daily newspaper sighting incompetence as the reason why you were sacked as a Chief of Staff to Governor Yuguda, what is your take on that? This is very funny to me because it clearly defined that those allegation were coming from people who are suffering from

personal complexes. What they are saying is absolutely wrong; it shows that they are completely ignorant of what actually transpired. Their brains are either weakened by alcohol or drug; you know I have fought this kind of people before when they started bankrolling their machineries on me. This is not the first time; I think this is the third time they are making this allegations. When anything came up and they lacked anything to say they always crack something against me so that perhaps they may get sympathy or listening ear out of it. Let me be very clear about this, I’m a very disciplined person from a disciplined background and I went through a very disciplined process politically, that took me to where I am today. Go and check it out, those that I worked with are very disciplined people, eloquent in dealings with issues. Secondly, I have never been associated with alcohol or drugs or inhalation of anything alcoholic. I am mentally intact, so whatever I’m saying, I’m saying it with absolute facts and I’m sensitive to whatever I said and I have no apology over it. The Governor knows what happened, I clearly told him and even begged him to let me go. If he doesn’t tell it publicly between him and his God, he knows that I have told him that I was leaving

Alhaji Shehu Musa Gabam and I told him that for two reasons. One, I don’t want the relationship between me and him to be damage. It is better for me to be outside the government so that we will continue to cement our relationship; at that time we had a very mutual discussion with him and he personally told me that there were people who were creating mischief and will end of being shamed and that we cannot afford to see ourselves quarreling over small matter and those that are creating this confusion will continue to do that. The next thing they say was that it was a minor cabinet reshuffle and I was deployed to another place which I was giving a letter of appointment. It is clear there is no mix-up in this; so the idea of whether I am competence or not, the Governor will be the one to say that. If they are talking about credentials, didn’t he know that when we were campaigning? was I daft or the people that led the campaign, who he also had problems with apart from me? We have never been daft, he met us

It is normal in Nigeria that once your political profile is rising you will go through things of this nature. If it is accusation of murder the writer should go and find out who was accused of murder during our campaign; so it is baseless, mischievous and nonsensical and has no basis

with our own God given talent, our connections politically; and our experience; I have never been his boy politically we had a very good relationship and we respected each other’s status and he knows my national status when we meet. He didn’t meet me in the street begging or looking for a job; he met me with my national connections which that I injected into the entire campaign structure and at no time have I made any attempt to scandalize him; the problem with some people is superiority complex.Simply because Nasir El-rufai wrote his weekly column in your paper and mentioned my name and the former Governor Muazu, they started making irresponsible allegations. I resigned because I discovered clearly and with a total conviction on my mind that I cannot work with him; he is too pettish, too rumor driven person, he doesn’t investigate fact. I don’t want to work with someone that when you come and tell him something he ride on it, I was trained as a refined person that is why my carrier keep growing in politics. It has never diminished even for a day, they have done enough to tarnish my image but with God on my side I continue to grow and still relevant in the national politics You were alleged to have connived with El-rufai to write that column on your behalf, what can you say about that? Laughing … that is too funny and that they are totally ignorant of El-rufai. In the first place I never had a single idea

that Nasiru El- rufai was going to write that column. Any way, it is his weekly column. What about the one that he wrote about Lagos state? Did I also connive with him to do that? El- Rufai is one of the best brains we have in this country. He is a national figure he writes every week and on every issues both national and state level; he has never discussed it with me, it is his own believe and opinion, he never consulted me neither did he consult Muazu. Every intelligent person in this country knows that El-Rufai has been writing his article about so many things, if you are not guilty of anything he wrote and if there are issues you want to respond then respond to them why are you bringing personality attack and if you want to respond to it, then respond to it point by point, I have never said he has not performed or has failed woefully I always said that time will tell, I don’t need anybody to speak on my behalf I have a mind of my own to fight anyone. Whoever wrote that is a hypocrite and seeking rehabilitation because he cannot write his name. Part of the advertorial accused you for attempting to murder the son of a General Unfortunately when that thing happened I was the Director of Special Duties of the National Democratic Organization, the campaign organization of IBB and because of power tussle, somebody decided to make an allegation that I attempt to murder his son. I was in the office when police came and invited me that there was an allegation against me. We were three, not only me; among the three one is dead, we went to the Police Command and I was confronted with the allegation and I said this must be investigated thoroughly because I would not accept anything less. I made my own statement; clearly it is there in the police record and anytime police needed me I used to be there. The person who made the allegation has not reported back, they wrote their reports I was totally exonerated as they concluded that it was a rumor that has no proof. They concluded that it was politically motivated. Whoever is interested should go and obtain the genuine report from the police. I have no apology or remorse over it because I haven’t done anything wrong; it was politically motivated. It is normal in Nigeria that once your political profile is rising you will go through things of this nature. If it is accusation of murder the writer should go and find out who was accused of murder during our campaign; so it is baseless, mischievous and nonsensical and has no basis.


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PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

ANPP House candidate asks appeal court to re-visit judgement By Sunday Ejike Benjamin

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candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) for the Idah Federal Constituency in Kogi state in the April 2011 election, Sam Adejoh Okedi, has approached the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal asking it to revisit its earlier judgement ordering the Kogi state election petition tribunal to re-hear the petition he filed before the tribunal. Okedi had filed a petition against the victory of Hon Ismail Husseini Inah of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) before the

tribunal which confirmed the election of Hon Inah. Dissatisfied with tribunal decision, Okedi appealed against the judgement at the Court of Appeal in Abuja which ordered a re-trial by another tribunal panel. The new tribunal panel however declined jurisdiction on the grounds that the 180 days and even the 60 days for election petition appeal has expired, saying also that the decisions of the Supreme Court on such cases are enough for the tribunal to exercise restraint and decline jurisdiction.

The petitioner appealed against the re-trial tribunal panel decision at the appeal court and at the hearing stage he withdrew his appeal which was consequently struck out by the appellate court. The petitioner/appellant turned round to file another appeal before the court of appeal a day after he withdrew his appeal, this time around asking the appeal court to vary its earlier judgement when it made an order for the re-trial of his petition by the tribunal. The petitioner/appellant wants the appeal court to replace its order for re-trial with an order declaring him winner of the House of Reps

election in the April 2011 elections. In a notice of appeal filed on April 27, 2012, Okedi asked the appeal court to declare him winner of the election to the House of Representatives by majority of lawful votes cast in the Idah federal constituency of Kogi state on April 9, 2011. He also asked the court of appeal to set aside the certificate of return issued to Hon Inah by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and order INEC to issue same to him. No date has been fixed to commence the hearing of the appeal.

R-L: Abia state Governor, Chief Theodore Orji, receiving the 2012 appropriation bill from Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Udeh Oko-Chukwu for signing into law, onMonday in Umuahia.

Lawmaker tasks Katsina govt on LG workers’ salary From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, Katsina

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inority leader of Katsina State House of Assembly, Alhaji Abdullahi Mahuta, has urged the state government to urgently commence the payment of minimum wage to the state local government workers. This was contained in a statement signed by the ;lawmaker

and made available to Peoples Daily in Katsina. Similarly, he said that although the government gave the reason of staff verification as reason for the delay of the payments, it was high time the execrcise was concluded. While calling on the government to ensure the payment of all arrears to the

workers, the minority leader commended the workers for their patience. In another development, the Katsina State council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, has expressed dismay over what it called total blackout of electricity supply in the state capital and its environs. A statement by the chairman

of the council, Comrade Abdullahi Izima Yamadi, disclosed that the council has dispatched a fact finding team to investigate the cause of Katsina electricity blackout. The union also sympathised with the Katsina public over the hardship and called on relevant authority to intervene to save the state’s economic activities from total collapse.

Wada commits to separation of powers

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ov. Idris Wada of Kogi has pledge his administration' s resolve to ensure good governance by adhering to the principle of separation of powers and rule of law. Wada made the pledge on Monday at the official inauguration of the newly constructed Judicial Service Commission (JSC)Secretariat extension in Lokoja.

The governor said he would not interfere in the affairs of other arms of government as they are equal partners. "I will do my best to accord respect to the three arms. I will be a law-abiding governor." Wada commended the Chief Judge, Justice Nasiru Ajanah, for taking the state judiciary to greater heights in the administration of justice and

provision of infrastructure. He assured that things would soon change for better in all sectors of the state's economy as his administration was doing all it could to improve the financial position of the state. Speaking earlier, the Chief Judge described the JSC as the "Engine room" of the Judiciary as it is saddled with the

responsibility of appointments and recommendations for appointment of High Court Judges. Ajanah expressed the hope to expand the office complex when the financial situation of the judiciary improved. The Chief Judge emphasised the need for financial autonomy to guarantee true independence of the Judiciary.

Kwande/ Akuja faceoff: Tribunal adjourns till May 4th From Nankpah Bwakan, Jos

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he Election Petition Tribunal set up to look into Jos North\ Bassa Federal constituency re-run election has adjourned to 4th, May for commencement of prehearing. Dissatisfied with the result of the re-run that saw Suleiman Kwande of the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) having scored the majority of votes casted while Peter Akuja of the Peoples Democratic Party polled only one vote, Akuja filed a suit before the tribunal challenging the victory of Kwande. Counsel to the petitioners, Boniface Ngwe pleaded for time to enable him serve the counsels to the defendants with the corrected copies of an earlier processes served, which he observed errors in its contents. However, counsel to the 1 st a n d 2 n d d e f e n d a n t s Mr.E.R.Emekpero, objected to the relief sought by the plaintiff counsel saying that the process has already been served to him and has the intention to response to it. He however, raised the alarm to the non response to two pending applications at which instance the matter was adjourned last week to 30th April, 2012 for the process to be duly completed to enable the tribunal commence proper prehearing into the matter. The plaintiff counsel, the counsel to the 3rd and 4th respondents INEC, and Electoral Officer Mr. steve all objected to the plea by the counsel to the petitioner and further urged the tribunal to proceed with the prehearing on the matter. The counsel alleged that time was fast spent with nothing coming up on the matter. Akuja has been to the tribunal challenging INEC of alleged violations of the 2010 Electoral Act in the said election and alleged that Kwande’s School Certificates were forged. He therefore urged the tribunal to nullify his election. The Tribunal lead by Justice Justice A.A. Nwangwe cautioned that the tribunal do not have time to waste and the counsels should cooperate and allow them do their job. He further stated that witnesses of counsels should be ready by next week for a speedy proceedings.


PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

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Take responsibility for death of journalists in your convoy, PDP tells Oshiomole

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he Edo State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday alleged that Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s carelessness while driving himself accounted for the accident by his convoy in which four persons, including three journalists, died on Saturday along Auchi-Warrake road. In a response to the claim by the Edo State Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) that the PDP was responsible for the fatal crash, State Chairman of the party (PDP), Chief Dan Orbih urged Oshiomhole to stop exhibiting “the cruellest form of insensitivity by playing “politics with people’s lives.” Orbih said at a press conference at the party’s Secretariat in Benin that the governor should take responsibility for the death of the four persons, stressing, “the modest thing for Governor Oshiomhole to do is to take responsibility for the deaths and do what he needs to do to ease the pains of the families of the departed.” The fresh perspective to the accident by Orbih may have dimmed the prospects by the ACN to rope in the PDP into the sad development which has now laid the blame at the doorsteps of the governor. Orbih said that reports at the disposal of the PDP indicated that Oshiomhole was driving himself with a member of the Edo State House of Assembly, Hon. Phillip Shaibu, by his side when the accident occurred. He said Governor Oshiomhole did the right thing by, immediately after the accident, calling for a probe by the police into the cause of the accident, but wondered why the governor did not wait for the report of the investigation before concluding that the PDP was responsible for the auto mishap. According to him “A part of the job of that probe panel must include finding out why

•••alleges governor dozed off on the steering wheel

L-R: Edo state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman, Chief Dan Orbih, and the Publicity Secretary, Mr Matthew Uroghide, during a press conference on Monday in Benin to debunk Edo ACN claim that the PDP was responsible for Saturday’s accident involving Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s convoy along Auchi-Warrake Road in which four persons, including three journalists, died. Governor Oshiomhole drove himself with Hon. Philip Shaibu, a member of Edo State House of Assembly by his side when the accident occurred. “The panel should find out if he (Oshiomhole) has a valid driver’s license; (if he) fell asleep as he drove; (if he) drove under the influence of an intoxicating substance and at what speeds. The driver of the truck survived the accident and he can tell the police who rammed into whom.” Orbih stated that the ACN accusations came at a time when the blood of the dead people was still warm, adding

Governor Yuguda pledge to construct North East PDP Headquarters From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi

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he Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi state has expresses his determination to construct the North-East Zone Headquarters of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state. The chief of staff to the governor Alhaji Yusuf Musa Gumli stated this at the inauguration ceremony of the State Executives of the party, saying that the gesture was to enable the zone officials of the party to have befitting offices so that they will carry out their duties diligently. Yuguda urged all party

leaders and stalwarts to always resolve their differences and disputes amicably just as he lamented on how some members instead of tabling their grievances before the party, resort to going to the press to blackmail one another. In his remark the NorthEast Zone National Chairman of the PDP Senator Girgir Lawal who inaugurated the state executives urged them to carry everybody a long so that the party will move forward. Senator Girgir assured members of the party that leadership of the party in the zone will be fair and just to all bonafide members

that “it is absurd for anyone to even suspect that an accident like this one could be arranged.” He recalled, in part, the narrative by the Director of Media and Publicity of the Oshiomhole Camapign Organisation, Kassim Afegbua: “...tipper truck emerged from the opposite direction and rammed into the flag vehicle of the Governor before crashing into several other vehicles in the convoy leaving three people dead and several others in critical condition.” Orbih, who described Afegbua’s claim as laughable, declared that “any stage

manager of an accident like this one has to give a God-type assurance of survival to the driver of the truck to make him take up the job.” According to him, “PDP was at a rally in Ekiadolor at the time of the accident when journalists at the event received calls from their colleagues briefing them of the incident, whereupon our party called for a minute of silence and brought the rally to a sudden close. “In its humaneness and civility, our party issued a condolence message to the governor, the Edo ACN, the affected media houses, the Nigerian Union of Journalists,

Edo State Branch and families of the dead and injured as the dead journalists, at some time or another, had also been on assignments for the PDP.” Orbih, who said that the account of how the accident happened was also conflicting, explained that “whereas some of the survivors, including journalists claimed that it happened on a ‘narrow bend’ (see Sunday Mirror of April 29, 2012, page 10), Governor Oshiomhole stated, when he paid a condolence visit to the families of the African Independent Television (AIT) cameraman, that the accident occurred on a straight road.”

No alliance with ACN, says ANPP By Umar Mohammed

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he All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) yesterday dismissed report in some quarters that the party was negotiating terms of either an alliance or a merger with the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, in the forthcoming Edo State Gubernatorial Election. In a statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Hon. Emma Eneukwu, after its National Working Committee (NWC) meeting held at the party’s National Secretariat, Abuja, the party stated that it resolved, among other issues, to set up a 3 Member Committee led by the

National Secretary, Alhaji Tijjani Musa Tumsah, to examine the circumstances surrounding the suspension and subsequent resignation of its Deputy National Chairman (South), Chief John Odigie Oyegun. The Committee has one month to submit its report. The statement read “In the prevailing circumstance, the party wish to clarify that Chief Oyegun was not asked to negotiate the terms of either an alliance or a merger with the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN. And that it is important to point out that since the suspension of Chief Oyegun by the Edo State Chapter of our great Party, the National Secretariat is yet to be

formally informed of the action by the Edo State Chapter of our great Party.” The statement added “It is common knowledge that until the recent turn of events, Chief Oyegun has actively participated in virtually all decision making processes of our great Party at the relevant levels. It is therefore misleading to insinuate, as is the case in some quarters, that for some time, he has not been involved in the activities of the Party. And for purposes of putting the records straight, Chief Oyegun is not a founding member of our great Party, even though, we acknowledge his contributions to the growth of our great Party.”


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Gov. Wada set to improve workers welfare From Sam Egwu, Lokoja

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ogi state governor, Capt Idris Wada has said that he was aware of the enormous responsibility of his administration to labour saying he has no doubt in his mind of the ability of the state labour force of keying into his transformation agenda for the state.

The governor dropped this hint yesterday in Lokoja, the state capital during the celebration to mark worker's day held at the township stadium. He noted that his electioneering promises to labour would be met even as he donated a 28 seater bus to organised labour to ease transportation problems with a pledge to build a befitting

secretariat for the NLC/TUC. Wada advised that for the state to move away from its poverty level, all hands must be on deck to block leakages of waste and corruption saying that labour was so crucial in a quest to build a new Kogi. He urged workers to be patient and show understanding with government hinting that his administration is partnering

with all the security agencies in the state to avoid breach of security. While urging everybody to be security conscious in view of the present challenges, the governor advised the people to report suspicious movements in the state, stressing that strange faces within the society could be easily identified.

L: Minister of State for FCT, Chief Olajumoke Akinjide, former Oyo state Governors, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, and Senator Rashidi Ladoja, during a political meeting, recently in Ibadan. Photo: NAN

PDP government urged to stop playing politics with human life From Sam Egwu, Lokoja

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gainst the backdrop of insecurity challenges in the country, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government of President Goodluck Jonathan has been advised to stop playing politics with the lives of Nigerians. Kogi state chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Abdullahi D. Ganiyu, gave the advice yesterday in Lokoja during this year’s celebrations of Workers Day, saying that Nigerians are not

the PDP and they should stop treating security of Nigerians as a PDP affairs . Ganiyu said the government 's failure to have an alternative on how to curtail the activities of the Boko Haram Islamic sect amounts to the nation being plunged into anarchy. He lamented that despite hundreds of Nigerians being killed on a daily basis due to the activities of the terrorists, the government seemed to have lost ideas on what to do saying that the statement

credited to the National Security Adviser NSA General Owoye Azazi was very apt considering the attitude of some government officials . The labour leader condemned the argument put forward by the government on subsidy removal as a ploy to continue to rip of Nigerians stressing that the subsidy probe by House of Representatives has confirmed the fear of labour that whatever gains accrue would be consumed by corruption. According to him "President

Jonathan should be bold enough to punish all those fingered in the report irrespective of their status to serve as a deterrent to others, stressing. his action on this corruption would determine how the society will view his government " he asserted. He further stated that the government should come out with a well thought out programme that will create jobs for the teaming unemployed youths saying that a hungry man is an angry man.

Borno lawmakers seek assistance over pension system By Oyebunmi Alake

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delegation from the Borno State House of Assembly have solicited for assistance from the Lagos State House of Assembly towards the realization of a suitable and functioning pension scheme system acceptable to Borno workers. Lading the Ad-hoc Committee on contributory Pension Scheme, Honourable Ahmed Jaha said the Committee which was inaugurated after the second reading of the proposed Pension Law in the state was on fact finding mission to the State Assembly to understudy the

processes leading to the passage of the bill, as well as equip the committee with likely challenges to be faced in the implementation of the scheme when it becomes operational. Honourable Jaha said the Borno State Assembly distinguishes Lagos state as one of the succeeding state that has adopted the scheme, adding that this was achievable through the effort of the Lagos lawmakers, who painstainkingly perused and worked out an acceptable pension law which had over years stood the test of time. The Lawmaker from Borno further said that their visit was also

hinged on getting answers to some agitating questions about the scheme. Honourable Jaha said he and his team is keen to know how long it took the State Assembly to pass the law; and how long does it takes Lagos to implement the scheme after the bill was passed into law. According to him, the questions also include challenges faced from labour, since the scheme affects emoluments and implementation problems among others. In her response, Chairman House Committee on Establishment, Training, Pensions and Public Service, Honourable Omowunmi Olatunji

Edet, admonished the delegation to embark on massive sensitization and public enlightenment, as a driving force towards the acceptance of the scheme by the workers. Edet said it was highly important that stakeholders were invited to the public hearing on the bill, while urging them to consider the people while considering the bill. The Chairman said the success of any scheme or programme was based on the legal backing the Assembly provides for such law. This, she stressed makes it acceptable to the people, hence there is need to involve the people in the process of law making during public hearing.

Group condemns attack on Saraki, says it’s diversionary From Lawal Sadiq Sanusi, Kaduna

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group known as Northern Nigeria Youth Vanguard Coalition (NNYVC) has described the recent attack on the former governor of Kwara state, Senator Bukola Saraki as campaigns of calumny, diversionary and vicious. According to the group, Saraki’s ‘sin’ was that he was among the arrowheads in the National Assembly who championed the investigation of the fuel subsidy alleged scam. A statement signed by Alhaji Ibrahim Y. Marafa and Dr. Muhammed Sani Ahmed as President and Secretary General respectively of the coalition, made available to newsmen in Kaduna, said, no amount of such campaigns against the Senator will deter him from towing the path of honesty which has its root in the family. The coalition further said the attempt to smear the name of the Senator was to muscle him for initiating the fuel subsidy probe and prevent him from ensuring that the Senate produces a credible report following the report of the House of Representations. “We the Northern Youth Vanguard Coalition are determined that the vicious campaigns of calumny currently being waged against Senator Bukola Saraki bears all the hallmarks and emblems of a deliberate target in an oblique attempt to distract from the reports of the probe of full subsidy management”. “In as much as we do not advocate for Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, we stand firmly for adherence to the principles of fairness, openness and equity”. The coalition said it will not allow anyone to distract the nation from the main issue of implementing fuel subsidy report, adding that the report must see the light of the day and all found to have abused the process brought to book. The coalition maintained that the issue between the Senator and the CBN was a civil matter which none of the parties is complaining and wondered why the trajectory of articles aimed at maligning the name of the Senator and his person. “Instigating the police to invite Saraki over allegations of three years ago and resolved in the past, appears to be a clear case of intimidation, blackmail and political witchhunting,” they stated


Azubuike Egwuekwe

Papa Idris

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uper Eagles head coach, Stephen Keshi, has called up Ekigho Ehiosun, Gege Soriola and three members of the Olympics team -the U-23-in addition to 26 domestic league players to camp for the international friendly against Peru, in Lima, May 19. Keshi, who recently acknowledged that a only a few of Nigerian foreign-based players are regulars in their teams, wants Obiora Nwankwo, Nnamdi Oduamadi and Raheem Lawal to join their camp to compete for shirts with core members of the domestic league players. Among the 26 home-based players are five fresh pairs of legs who, like their foreign-based counterparts, are expected to replecate their forms in the domestic league and thus merit a place in the squad Keshi intends to prosecute the Lima battle against Peru with. The players are Shehu Maijema, Wikki Tourists, Hamza Ikenna Onwuemenyi-Akwa Utd, Obioha Marcel, Gombe Utd, Emma Nwachi of Dolphin, and Pius Samson from Ranch Bees. In all, there are three goalkeepers, nine defenders, seven midfielders and strikers apiece. Keshi, expectedly recalls the likes of Godfrey Oboabana, Chigozie Agbim, Ejike Uzoenyi, Papa Idris, Gabriel Reuben, and Azubuike Egwueke, but dropped Barthelomew Ibenegbu Ben Alaija, Eagles spokesman, said the players would be deployed against their 2014 World Cup and Nations Cup qualifiers scheduled for June. One of the qualifiers is against Rwanda and is for the 2013 African Nations Cup, while the rest two are against Namibia and Malawi and are for the 2014 World Cup. “Coach Keshi has made good his intention of using a sprinkle of foreign-based players for the May 23 friendly against Peru, by naming these five foreign-based stars for the friendly,” the team spokesman said. “Apart from this, Keshi said he called them up because he needed the players in the relevant departments. He also warned that he would not hesitate to call on other players for other friendlies and qualifiers that are due to come up for the Eagles next month,” Alaiya said. The Super Eagles Media Officer also disclosed that the list of 26 home-based players was made after due consultation between three parties. “These are coach Keshi and his assistants on one hand as a group, and then both the Technical Department and the Technical Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) as the two other groups,” he said. Meanwhile, travel arrangements have been made by the NFF, as the team is scheduled to depart May 19, four clear days before the game aboard Iberia Airline, for Lima, the Peruvian capital. Below is the full list of the 26 players expected in camp at the Bolton White Hotel, Zone 7, Abuja on Sunday, May 6. Goalkeepers: Chigozie Agbim (Warri Wolves), Daniel Akpeyi (Heartland), Okemute Odah (Sharks) Defenders: Papa Idris (Kano Pillars), Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves), Juwon Oshaniwan (Sharks), Godfrey Oboabona (Sunshine Stars), Nura Mohammed (Enyimba), Ogonna Uzochukwu (Rangers), Shehu Maijema (Wikki), Hamza Ikenna Onwuemenyi (Akwa United), Marcel Obioha (Gombe) Midfielders: Henry Uche (Enyimba), Ejike Uzoenyi (Rangers), Gabriel Reuben (Pillars), Uche Ossai (Warri Wolves), Solomon Jabason (Akwa United), Hussein Hassan (Dolphin) Strikers: Sunday Mba (Warri Wolves), Obinna Nwachukwu (Heartland), Uche Kalu (Enyimba, Izu Azuka (Sunshine Stars), Barnabas Imenger (Kwara United), Gbolahan Salami (Enyimba), Emma Nwachi (Dolphin), Samson Pius (Ranchers Bees)

Hopkins, 47, eyes another title

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By Patrick Andrew

Daniel Akpeyi

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upervising Sports Minister, Bolaji Abdulahi, says the federal government’s approval for the release of N1.9 billion for Team Nigeria will facilitate athletes’ commencement of the proposed training tours for ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games. Abdullahi, who said the preGames tours were necessary to keep the athletes in shape for the Games scheduled for July 27 to August 12 in London and the Paralympic Games from August 29 to September 9, said the NSC and the Nigeria Olympics Committee (NOC) were working in consonance for better results. “This is a development that will enable the National Sports Commission (NSC) to commence the proposed training tours for athletes which had been delayed by lack of funds,” Abdullahi said yesterday. The minister, who is also the NSC Chairman, disclosed that the government had also concluded arrangements to encourage the athletes to excel by making provisions for special incentives for them. “This, it is our hope, will ginger the athletes to put in their best for the country. This is going to be a reward that is bigger in comparison to whatever had been given in the past at any Nigerian participation in the Olympics,” he said but declined to give specific details. Besides, the minister said any medal won by any Nigerian athlete in London would attract adequate reward and assured that the commission would do everything possible to encourage the athletes to excel. The minister said the NSC would immediately commence the disbursement of funds to Nigerian athletes that were already in camp in Atlanta, U.S. “The same goes for the taekwondo team in South Korea, while we will as well begin the process of sending our boxers, who are currently in Benin, to move to Germany for full training,” he said.

Keshi calls up five foreign, 26 home-based Eagles for Peru

Stephen Keshi

London 2012: Team Nigeria to begin training tours, says Minister

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Ejike Uzoenyi

PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

ernard Hopkins has no plans to retire from boxing after losing his WBC light-heavyweight title to Chad Dawson last Saturday. Instead, the oldest champion in boxing history wants to win another title. Hopkins, who is 47 years old, dropped a 12-round majority decision to fellow American Dawson in Atlantic City last weekend. Two judges scored Dawson a 117-111 winner and the third made it a 114-114 draw. But Hopkins, who became the oldest boxer to win a major title when he defeated Canada’s Jean Pascal last year, said on Monday he intended to win a new crown to break his own age mark; one he took from legendary George Foreman. “I fought hard and I feel the fight was closer than two of the scores reflected,” Hopkins said. “Regardless of the result, I will continue my career and challenge any champion in my division. “I might be older, but I don’t feel a decline in my skills or abilities in the ring. I love to fight and am still competing at a level where boxing cannot deny me the opportunity to succeed.” With a professional record of 52-6, with 2 draws and 32 knockouts, Hopkins could look at light-heavyweight champions such as Britain’s undefeated Nathan Cleverly, the WBO champion, unbeaten American Tavoris Cloud, who holds the IBF belt and Kazakhstan’s Beibut Shumenov, the WBA champion. “He can still beat anyone else in our division,” Dawson said after taking over the WBC title.

NPL imposes hefty fines on Gombe, Wikki, Sharks for stadium violence By Albert Akota

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he Nigeria Premier League, (NPL) has imposed hefty fines on Gombe United, Wikki Tourists and Sharks of Port Harcourt following crowd troubles in

recent times. They are all to play their home matches behind closed doors until the NPL decides otherwise. The three clubs are to pay N2m each for the Gombe and Wikki while Sharks are to cough out N3m for failing to keep their supporters in check

in their botched game against Ocean Boys. Tunji Babalola, the acting Secretary of the NPL,said Gombe United had failed to provide adequate security for 3SC of Ibadan during their encounter adding that had there been security the fracas

would have contained. Three Wikki officials are to pay N200,000 each for attacking the match officials, while the club will also pay another N100,000 for the seizure of the video tapes of Rangers’ cameraman. The NPL also discerned

heavily on the Stadium Manager of Samson Siasia Stadium, Mr. Ezekiel Kankai by banning him indefinitely for allegedly fuelling crises among clubs, puncturing vehicle tires of the Match Commissioners and unduly creating fears in the minds of fans and other officials.


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Ndubuoke, Fuludu resolve to improve position in NPL

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an Ndubuoke, the General Manager of Heartland FC of Owerri, has urged his players to replicate their form in the ongoing CAF Confederation Cup Competition in the domestic league. Ndubuoke said the team must improve on their current form in the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) in order to consolidate its position in the league and aim for an outright win against AC Leopard of Brazzaville in the return leg of the Confederation Cup in Brazzaville. Heartland beat the Congolese 3-2 in the first leg of their encounter on Sunday. Ndubuoke also regrtted the lack of comprehensive information on the Congolese, Heartland could not impose themselves on them during their clash in Owerri. “Before the match we didn’t know much about the team, but going by what we know now, we intend to get the needed points when we visit their home. We are not going to lose focus on the league because of the continental engagement, we are aware of our current position in the league and we intend to improve on it,” Ndubuoke said. Heartland, who had managed to defeat their Congolese opponents with a slim 3-2 margin victory, are currently occupies the 12 th position in the NPL standings with 28 points from 20 matches played. Meanwhile, Edema Fuludu, the Director of Football of Warri Wolves FC, has praised the remarkable strides taken by his team in spite of the challenges it had had to put up with in recent times. Warri Wolves had to battle from a goal down to defeat their South African opponents 3-1. He also said Wolves would ensure that it honoured all its domestic obligations and prepare adequately for the return leg of the Confederation Cup against the Black Leopards FC of South Africa. “We are travelling tomorrow to Minna, we are happy we won even with the fatigue; we managed to get a draw from the Heartland FC to retain our position on the league. “Its important that we prepare ourselves for any weather hazard, it’s a bit cold now, we would try to get more information from the host country. “We intend to take two sets of jerseys to South Africa, the players will use a set for the first half, and another set in the second half to keep them warm,” Fuludu said. Fuludu said they would do the needful to ensure that his team secures the needed point in South-Africa. “We are preparing hard for this, because if they score two goals in their home turf that means we are out, which is unthinkable, cause we want to win,” Fuludu said. Warri Wolves currently occupies the 10th position in the NPL standings, with 30 points from 21 matches played.

PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

Ikhana commends level of discipline in Falcons camp

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adiri Ikhana, the Head Coach of the Super Falcons, has commended the level of discipline and composure displayed by the players currently in a phased camping programme in Abuja. Disclosing this yesterday, Ikhan said that the players have been going about the exercise with a high sense of professionalism and stressed that the young women were receptive to innovative ideas. “Its interesting to know that the women are displaying a high sense of discipline and they are disposed to learning and receptive to instructions. “Surprisingly, I’ve been hearing about indiscipline in the Falcon camp before but I’ve not experienced such which I think is impressive.”Ikhana said. “They have been cooperating and we’ve been getting everything we needed from them so I think we have wonderful players in camp.” He also appealed to club owners and coaches to be patient with the national team over the absence of their key players because of the team’s programme. Ikhana, a member of the Green Eagles squad that won the 1980 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations in Lagos,

emphasised the need for an extended camping period for the players. The former Bendel Insurance FC of Benin wingback and a member of the squad that won the 1978 Challenge Cup reiterated the need for a proper assessment and categorisation of the players. “They should be patient with us because we just got on board and we need to stay with these players for them to know our objectives and plan for the country.” “When we eventually raise the kind of team that we have in mind, then the camping period would be shortened to one week duration subsequently. “We will give them programmes to take to their clubs and when they fulfill our programmes, we come here and continue from where we stopped.”the chief coach said. The Falcons are billed to lock horns with their Zimbabwean counterparts, in a qualifying match for the Africa Women Championship scheduled to hold in Equatorial Guinea. Zimbabwe will host the fixture’s first leg on May 27, while the return leg will hold in Nigeria on June 16.

The Super Eagles will also play a friendly match against South Africa on June 3 in Johannesburg, on their way back from Zimbabwe. Victory against Zimbabwe will earn the six-time African champions a place at this year’s African Women Championship (AWC).

Precious Dede, goalkeeper, Super Falcons

Blatter inaugurates two Goal Projects in Morocco

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IFA President Sepp Blatter on Sunday in Morocco inaugurated two artificial pitches at the National Football Centre in Mâamora, near the country’s capital, Rabat. A statement on the CAF website said the CAF President, Issa Hayatou, and the President of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF), Ali Fihri, were also at the ceremony. It also described the event as part of the FIFA Goal Project. Blatter applauded FRMF for the remarkable job done at the pitches, saying the facilities would

enhance the development of football. “I’d like to congratulate the Royal Moroccan Football Federation for the remarkable work that has been done here. These wonderful facilities will accelerate football’s development and benefit the children of the future,” the FIFA chief said. Blatter also commended FRMF for organising a women’s football match at the inauguration of the pitches. “I am delighted that the Federation organised a women’s match on inauguration day,” he said. The statement said the FIFA delegation later visited the Mohammed VI Football

Unbeaten Dodan Warriors vow to dethrone Royal Hoopers

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odan Warriors of Lagos with a record of nine wins from nine matches since the 2011/2012 DSTV Men’s Basketball League began

Dodan Warriors basketball team in action

hope to dethrone the reigning champions, Royal Hoopers of Port Harcourt. Dodan Warriors, who have defeated

Academy, a top-notch training centre for youths aged between 13 and 18. It said Blatter would meet with the Moroccan Minister for Youth and Sport, Mohamed Ouzzine, on Monday, before holding discussions with FRMF representatives at its headquarters. According to the statement, the FIFA President will also hold a meeting with the International Olympic Committee member, Nawal El Moutawakel, later on Monday. It said Blatter’s trip to Morocco would be rounded off with a press conference. Royal Hoopers both at home and away, are hoping that the later may not recover from the loss. Coach Adeka Daudu of Dodan Warriors said after his team defeated Customs of Lagos 97-69 in a Week 9 fixture that he was excited with his team’s performance so far. Daudu said that his team was aiming to win the Atlantic Conference when the competition which began on Feb. 25 ends on June 3. “By the grace of God we are not out this season to only be a conference leader but we are gunning to dethrone the defending champions, Royal Hoopers of Port Harcourt at the Final Eight,” Dauda said. According to him, the team is not ready to take any defeat this season so as to qualify for the Africa Club Championship where they hope to make a remarkable impact. The Africa Club Championship will hold later in the year. He said the team had the full support of an insurance company, Industrial General Insurance Plc which had been helping the club to take care of its players and officials. “I want to say that to whom much is given much is expected, so we don’t have any excuse to record any loss whatsoever” Dauda said. Dodan Warriors, who were third in the Atlantic Conference last season is now leading the other seven clubs with 18 points. In the second match played on Sunday, Police Baton Basketball Club of Lagos recorded its third victory beating Chariots of Lagos 71-55.


PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

PAGE 43

Players express readiness for CBN Senior Tennis Opens

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Idoko shines at CBN tennis classic

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he Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF) having attended three mandatory international tournaments in its calendar of activities for the year, qualifying four wrestlers for the July 27 to Aug. 12 London 2012 Olympic Games. The achievement could be said to be an accomplishment of what it planned for the first quarter of the year. The federation is now looking forward to training of the wrestlers who are going to the Olympics through training tour of Bulgaria before July and other competitions in this second quarter. Although the country took wrestlers to the Beijing Games, none of them won a medal. Indeed, Nigeria secured a bronze medal in Taekwondo through Chika Chuwumerije and three bronze medals from Athletics in women’s long jump and women’s 4x100m relay as well as a silver in men’s soccer event. However, they body is still seeking visa to attend the 2nd International Qualification Tournament in Helsinki, Finland, in May. It is also of note that they failed to participate in the Ist International Qualification Tournament in China in April. But the wrestlers who have qualified, called for standard facilities and promised Nigerians a successful outing at the Games. It would be recalled that it was in one of these qualifiers, the

arely 48 hours to the serveoff of the 34th Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Senior Open Tennis Tournament, some Lagos-based players say they are prepared to excel at the event. The tournament is scheduled to hold between May 3 and May 12 at the Tennis Court of the National Stadium, Lagos. The players said yesterrday that the tournament will afford them the opportunity to showcase their potential after training hard. A former champion, Fatima

Abinu, who was the second runner-up at the 2011 edition, said that she was determined to regain the title she lost in 2010. “I am ready for the competition as I have been training hard. I have learnt from my mistakes in the last edition and I am working on it. I am ready for the title as I am fit and strong for the competition and by God’s grace I hope to win,” Abinu said. Another player, Collins Abamu, said that he had intensified training and would

use the championships to test his new technique. “I didn’t perform well in the last edition but I have improved on my game and I am sure that I’ll go a long way,” Abamu said. Similarly, his younger brother George Abamu, said that this year’s tournament will provide him an opportunity to establish himself in the game. “I was eliminated in the first round last year and I was not happy. I really hope that my presence will be felt in this year’s edition as I intend to prove my

NWF gearing for medals at Olympics Africa/Oceania, in Morocco in March that three more

wrestlers were qualified and joined Sinivie Boltic who had

earlier qualified in Istanbul Turkey.

Russian Sheikhau of Belarus (l) wrestles with Nigeria's Sinivie Boltic

HFN official blames low turnout on insecurity

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he Handball Federation Nigeria (HFN) yesterday blamed the low turnout of states at the just concluded U-18 National Championships in Sokoto on the terrorists attacks in the north. Yusuf Dauda, the HFN President,said in Lagos that most states stayed away from the event because of the fear of being attacked by the terrorists. Dauda said only eight states, consisting of seven male and three female teams, took part in the 10-day championships held in Gingiya Stadium, from April 19 to April 29. The HFN official named the

worth,” he said. Jinadu Owolabi, who was defeated by the defending champion, Onyeka Mbanu at the quarter final stage of the tournament last year, said he was ready and hoped to return the favour. “I lost the game to a younger and more determined player last year but I am now fit and ready this year. I hope to return the favour to the current champion if we meet in the early stage of the tournament,” Owolabi said.

states as Oyo, Niger, Yobe, Sokoto, Kaduna, Benue, Kano, and Plateau, adding that only Kaduna and Benue presented teams in the male and female categories. “Although we anticipated a large turn-out of participants, being a developmental programme and first youth championships in the year, the Boko-Haram issue really affected the programme. “This is because some states who indicated interest could not risk the lives of their players due to the constant bombing recorded in some northern parts of the country,” he said.

Dauda commended the Sokoto State Government for its support and adequate security provided during the championships, which he described as remarkable. The HFN chief expressed satisfaction with the performance of the young players who exhibited outstanding skills, adding, “the young players are talented and the skills are exceptional,”. Olusola Luke, the HFN secretary, said 25 males and 18 females were discovered at the championships, saying they were good enough for immediate absorption into the junior

national team. Luke said, “they are upcoming players but have proved a remarkable performance and the technical team have recommended that they should be included into the junior national teams,”. According to the HFN scribe, a training programme would be put together by the technical officials, which would serve as a follow-up, to ensure that their skills are developed in the right direction. Luke said the programme would be organised as part of their schools’ activities so that it would not affect their academic pursuits.

Others are Adibo Dick (96kg), Blessing Oborodudu (63kg) and Amarachi Obiajunwa (72kg). “We still have the challenge of inadequate standard facilities to train with which can affect us in our goal of a good outing in the Olympics,” Boltic said. NWF’s Technical adviser, Daniel Igali, said: “Well, if we do not get funds to enable the training tour in Bulgaria, we’ll make do with training in Nigeria”. Also, Igali disclosed that the NWF plan was to qualify six wrestlers for the Olympics. “ Our plan is to qualify about six wrestlers for the Olympics and we are working towards it and I have every confidence that we can do it,” he said. The NWF had four tournaments to attend in the first quarter and was able to attend three and organised a national trial. Meanwhile, a closed camp has begun for the wrestlers in Bayelsa since February pending when they depart for their training tour. Earlier in the year, the NWF had a national trial for wrestlers where those who fared well were selected to participate in the various Olympic qualifiers. From the foregoing, the federation has shown that Nigeria has the talents in wrestling as well as in other sports but would need adequate funding and standard facilities to identify and groom them to stardom. What is needed now is for the private sector and the public sector to collaborate and ensure that the Nigerian contingent to the Games is adequately prepared even though it is less than 100 days to go. Such, definitely enhance their medal prospects at the quadrennial competition and ultimately honour to the country.


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PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

Mikel says Chelsea up for top four finish, face Newcastle today

Obuh hopes AYC triumph will lift new boys

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Mikel Obi

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oach John Obuh has said he hopes Nigeria’s triumph at last year’s African Youth Championship will inspire the new team he is building. On May 1, 2011, the Flying Eagles beat their Cameroonian counterparts 3-2 to win the final of the African Youth Championship in South Africa. Incidentally, Cameroon had beaten the Nigerians in the group stage of the competition and had to fight back from being two goals down in the final before Terry Envoh grabbed the championship winner for the Junior Eagles. Coach John Obuh has again been saddled with the task of grooming another team for next year’s AYC in Algeria. “We want to again thank God for what he did for us and our country on that day and use it also as a point of contact as we prepare for a successful title defence,” Obuh said. “We remember all those players who made this victory possible, some of them have already moved overseas, while some of them are hoping they too will move abroad soon. And for the new players in the team, they have a major source of inspiration to work with.” Obuh added: “What we achieved in South Africa has challenged us to do even more in whatever competition we are entered for. We will put smiles on the faces of Nigerians with our performances and results.” Team officials will hold a special prayer session Tuesday at the team’s training camp in Abuja to commemorate the 2011 AYC triumph. Obuh’s Flying Eagles also reached the quarterfinals of the 2011 FIFA U20 World Cup in Colombia before they were eliminated by France in a pulsating encounter. The new team is scheduled to feature in an invitational tournament in Cape Town, South Africa, from May 24. Other teams listed for this tournament include world champions Brazil, Argentina, Ghana and Cameroon.

ikel Obi has said Chelsea are fired up to finish in the top four in the EPL even though they are in the final of the Champions League, even as the face Newcastle in a clash that is likely to guarantee a top position for the eventual winner. Chelsea will play in next season’s Champions League if they beat Bayern Munich on May 19 to win the competition or as one of the top four clubs in the English league this term. According to a wire service, Mikel said that the London team are still determined to secure place in the top four bracket and so will give everything to

NFF intensifies efforts to secure work permit for Saintfiet By Albert Akota

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wo months after the appointment of Tom Saintfiet, the Nigeria Football Federation, (NFF) is yet to secure the needed work permit that would enable the Belgian to resume as Technical Director of the football federation. Sources disclosed to Peoples Daily Sports that the NFF has turned to the Nigeria Embassy in Brussels, Belgium where they hoped to secure the necessary travelling documents for the former Ethiopia and Namibia head coach. Besides, the Aminu Maigariled executive committee of the NFF is said to have intensified efforts to convince officials of the Nigeria Customs and Immigration and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to get the necessary documents that would initiate the processes for the procurement of work permit for Saintfiet. The resort to Brussels may not be unconnected with the

inability of the NFF to seal a deal which would facilitate easy procurement of the travelling documents and thus enable his resumption soonest. It was also gathered that the football federation has officially sought for the permission of the National Sports Commission, (NSC) to recruit the Belgian. This may be response to the recent accusation made the Supervising Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, that the commission was yet to be briefed on his appointment. “We have sent all the

Tom Saintfiet

beat close rivals Newcastle United today. Last season’s runners-up Chelsea are in sixth place on 61 points from 35 matches, a point behind fifth-placed Newcastle and Tottenham Hotspur with three matches left of the season. ‘The Blues’ could catapult to third position with a win at Stamford Bridge. Our target is still to finish within the top four. To reach the final of the Champions League was great and we are looking forward to winning, it but we are not joking with the league either. “The last two weeks or so have been tough and important to us and so far we have able to achieve some of our objectives. “Personally, we have never finished out of top four since I came here (to Chelsea) and so we still wish to stay within that necessary letters and documents to the Nigerian embassy in Brussels and we believe that the new technical director will be arriving in the country any moment from now. “Though it was a bit difficult trying to secure an entry visa for him, we can now relax, as we have fulfilled all the necessary requirements for his visa as well as been assured at the embassy that the document would be given to him any moment from now. “For his work permit, we also know that it would take some time, but the federation has been on top of it. We are only waiting for him to enter into the country before we can commence the process of securing his permit to work in the country”, the source stated.

Aminu Maigari

Heartland Dutch coach, de Kruif, quits

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John Obuh

he Dutch coach of Nigeria Premier League club Heartland Lodewijk de Kruif has quit by a mutual agreement, the club announced yesterday. A statement by Heartland media officer Cajetan Nkwopara described the departure of de Kruif as “temporary”. Heartland have thus replaced the Dutchman with former Sharks and Plateau United coach Ndubuisi Nduka, who led non-league Mbaise

Lions to the final of this year’s Imo State Federation Cup. Kruif, who jetted out the country after last weekend’s CAF Confederation tie against Congolese side AC Leopards, has stated that he was taking a break to attend to some family problems. The coach still has a few more months left on his 18-month contract and stressed he would return in the near future. The youthful Dutch tactician led Heartland to break an 18year trophy drought when they

beat Enyimba to lift the Federation Cup. The highly knowledgeable coach has agreed personal terms, while Ramson Madu, Bob Acholonu and Christian Obi retained their positions as assistant coaches. Veteran coach Christian Chukwu stays as technical consultant. Former Golden Eaglets assistant coach Emman Osigwe has been named coach of the Heartland U20 team and Willy Udube will handle the U17 team.

placing.” He continued: “We are therefore taking the game against Newcastle very seriously. It is very crucial we win this game in our quest to finish top four. “They are ahead of us now, so we really need to win to take us closer to the top four. We will remain focused in all our remaining games.”

Futsal Eagles shape up for Gabon

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he camp of the Futsal Eagles (5-Aside team) is bubbling as the players settle down to fine tune preparations for World Cup qualifier against Gabon on Sunday. The team, who are currently camping in Lagos, is being tutored by former dependable Flying Eagles player, Oladunni Oyekale, who has laid emphasis on discipline, dedication, commitment and patriotic fervour are the key words for success. Oyekale said the response of the 26 players mainly drawn from four clubs, viz Sholly Babes FC of Lagos, Mac Jeff FC of Port Harcourt and Enugu clubs, Inter FC and Pensioners FC has been encouraging. “Futsal football has to do with not only skills but full concentration, energy and stamina. It feeds on endurance levels. I have seen the players in a number of training sessions and I believe we will get a good team to play Gabon. “The screening will be a continuous exercise since we don’t have a Futsal League and we just have to continue to try more players who show prospect. The important thing is to be able to raise a team that will do Nigeria proud”, said Oyekale after morning training session on Tuesday. The team has been training twice daily as countdown begins to the World Cup qualifier, which will come up on Sunday inside the indoor hall of the National Institute for Sports, National Stadium. A final list of 12 players will emerge on Thursday in order for Coach Oyekale and his assistant, Michael Cookey to be able to concentrate on the squad that will face the Gabonese. Thirteen African teams are taking part in the African qualifiers for the FIFA Futsal World Cup finals, with three of them proceeding to the finals in Thailand in November. Victory over two legs against Gabon will make Nigeria eligible for the final round of qualifiers, against the winner of the fixture, Tunisia Vs Egypt. Nigeria drew a bye into this stage but Gabon qualified following the withdrawal of Guinea.


PEOPLES DAILY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

PAGE 45

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i. Roy Hodgson says he wants backing from England players and fans after agreeing a fouryear deal to be the new national team manager. ii. WBO lightheavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly says a rematch against Tony Bellew is "an option".

ii

iii. Graeme McDowell withdraws from the PGA Tour Wells Fargo event at Quail Hollow after feeling under the weather last week.

iii

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iv. Mike Catt is joining England's coaching setup as Wayne Smith turns down the chance to be part of Stuart Lancaster's team. v. Norway's world swimming champion Alexander Dale Oen dies suddenly aged 26, the country's swimming federation says. vi. England bowlers Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann are poised to make their return for Nottinghamshire against Lancashire.

Pictorial

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vii. Athletics expert Steve Cram says there should be no leeway for British Olympic hopefuls who fail to meet qualification criteria.

vii


QUO TABLE Q UO TE UOT QUO UOTE As long as you derive inner help and comf or om comfor ortt fr from an ything ee p it anything ything,, k kee eep — Mahatma Gandhi

WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012

SPORTS LA TEST LATEST

Mourinho, Real on brink of Liga glory

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eal Madrid coach Jose Mourinho will be crowned champions today if they beat Athletic Bilbao tonight. Real are seven points clear of reigning champions Barcelona with three games remaining, so a win away will see them win the title for the first time since 2008. Mourinho said yesterday that he desires a sip from the La Liga trophy. "We still have to win the title, which is the hardest thing to do. But we will do it," said the Portuguese, who has won titles in his homeland with Porto, in England with Chelsea and in Italy with Inter Milan. "I am not a big man for parties and celebrations, but I have never hidden the fact that one of my objectives was to win the three most important leagues in Europe: England, Italy and Spain." Mourinho is on the brink of winning La Liga in his second season in Spain. Facing the Basque side at their San Mames home is never easy, but Mourinho is confident that his side can get the result they need. "I really like playing in Bilbao. It is a proper football stadium, where the fans get right behind their team and make it very tough for the away side. But any team, like mine, that likes football and the pressure that goes with it will enjoy themselves there." Mourinho has left most of the talking in recent times to his assistant Aitor Karanka but he took the opportunity of this rare appearance in front of the media to give his opinion on the departure of Pep Guardiola from his role as coach of Barcelona.

Jose Mourinho

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Azazi, S-S: Heal yourselves U

ntil he weighed in by way of an outburst, blaming the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, of creating the environment for terrorism to fester, many Nigerians had looked at the National Security Adviser, NSA, as contractor who was more interested in profit making from the Boko Haram insurgency. Some among Nigerians didn't give him the benefit of having the slightest idea of how to deal with the enormous challenges Providence has thrust on his large shoulders. Was he sick and tired of absorbing the attacks on his person and office that he felt it was necessary to bring the roof down on his bosses and employers? The jury is still out there whether he spoke flippantly or heroically. Notwithstanding the efforts of the armed forces of the federation to deal with the menace of insurgent Boko Haram with the attendant plethora amounts going into defence and internal security, the insecurity only seems to be getting worse by the day. The above clearly indicates that our approach to the security problem is flawed. As I watched the speech of the National Security Adviser, General Owoeye Azazi at the South – South Integration Summit on Friday, April 27, at Asaba, I got a hint of why this is so. Transfixed to my TV that Friday, the second day of the summit focusing on the issue of security, I was struck by the bizarre fact of the focus of about every speaker being the Boko Haram. In the first place, why would the Boko Haram be the dominant issue for the South – South at that forum? I understand General Azazi to be saying that security issues are interrelated and that what affects a part, affects the whole. Equally instructive is also the fact that with the enormous oil and gas resources and riches that abound in the region, the South-South is a prime terror target. But even with this, it is hard to convince anyone that terrorism, not piracy, is their most immediate problem. The summit was itself convened so that local solutions can be found to local problems. The issue of the hour in the South-South is kidnapping and piracy and for which there is the need for a concerted strategy. More than armed robbery, kidnapping has become the method of choice in the South-South and the SouthEast to extract millions in cash from state governments and business organisations. There, bandits spread across the states which makes effective

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MUSINGS By

Garba Shehu garshehu@yahoo.co.in

NSA, Gen. Owoeye Azazi coordination among governments in the region paramount. As they laboured to shove the issues of piracy and kidnapping under the carpet, the President of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers Union, NUPENG, Iwe Aghesy was, through sheer coincidence, lamenting at a different forum that trouble had made a full return to the Niger Delta. "No day," he asserted, goes without "oil workers being kidnapped or blowout of pipelines," underscoring my earlier assertion that the SouthSouth summitteers got their security bearing wrong. One of the fears many have been having about the abduction industry in that region is that the there is a great deal of ambiguity, even diffidence in dealing with the problem. As a policy, the police warn all the time victims’ families not to accede to the demand for

money. But the only way oil workers who are the most frequent objects of abduction are released, as we all know, is that oil companies and state governments pay up. As a consequence, all of us Nigerians, not just our country men and women in the SouthSouth may continue to pretend that we are modernizing but we are regressing into the Hobbesian state of nature in which life is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short." Considering the chaos and fatalities resulting from the activities of kidnappers, a matter that is the daily staple of the mass media, what the South-South needs, in my view, is a clear policy on hostage negotiations. Together with the Federal Government, they need to train these negotiators, and to raise an elite force specializing in search and rescue. If foreign missions will stop their citizens from venturing into the Niger Delta region for this summit, how can they permit the movement of investment in that direction? The ordinary citizens of this country can only pray for an atmosphere of peace, safety and relative comfort to prevail. There are many of our modern elite who will scoff at the idea of spirituality but the masses of our people largely believe that it is the only way the country can address the rot into which we are sliding. As it is, there has been too much talk and no action. The long term solution to both problems – terrorism and piracy-is a two-

pronged strategy: good governance and effective security measures. And while we are still on this, Azazi can do something about the pot-bellied security enforcement agents who rejoice at bullying civilians and often fail when they are assigned to confront the insurgents. Last week in Kano, the commander of Hisbah Islamic guards claimed at a press conference that 75 percent of civil and criminal cases have been surrendered to them by the police. The police have in effect abdicated their duty to the public as they seem to be preoccupied with measures of self-protection against Boko Haram. Is Boko Haram the only security issue to dominate the Summit? Are attacks on economic targets or oil facilities by a rump of MEND militants less significant? Is kidnapping a lesser threat to foreign investment? Lest one is misunderstood, no rational person should support terrorism in any form and in any part of Nigeria. One is however, worried by the politicization of security challenges in which we pretend that other security challenges are less significant to soothe the sentiments of a particular political environment. A PDP big gun was recently kidnapped at the party’s zonal congress and after collecting N30million from the family of the victim, the bandits released his corpse to them. As a country, we are a unity in diversity, The South-South and the other sub-regions have the right to flaunt their uniqueness. But it is good for the up and coming sub-regional structures to be jolted out of self-generated euphoria before they forget where they are coming from and they are going. A Yoruba proverb says the moment a river forgets its source, that is the beginning of its troubles. It flounders. South-South needs to be reminded to keep one foot on the ground reality by staying on the issues of piracy and kidnapping.

Considering the chaos and fatalities resulting from the activities of kidnappers, a matter that is the daily staple of the mass media, what the South-South needs, in my view, is a clear policy on hostage negotiations. Together with the Federal Government, they need to train these negotiators, and to raise an elite force specializing in search and rescue. If foreign missions will stop their citizens from venturing into the Niger Delta region for this summit, how can they permit the movement of investment in that direction?

Published by Peoples Media Limited, 35, Ajose Adeogun Street, 1st Floor Peace Park Plaza, Utako, Abuja. Lagos Office: No.8 Oliyide Street, off Unity Road, Ikeja, Lagos, Tel: +234-09-8734478. Cell: +234 803 606 3308. e-mail: contact@peoplesdaily-online.com ISSN: 2141– 6141

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Tuesday, May 02, 2012  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Tuesday, May 02, 2012 Edition

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