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Vol. 10 No. 89

Thursday, May 2, 2013

. . . putting the people first

Mutallab: Hallmark of hardwork, professionalism >> 21

Jimadal Akhir 22, 1434 AH


Etsu Nupe denies kidnapping girl >> 6

Baga: 183 killed, 200 homes burnt – Report Alleges military cover-up

By Agaju Madugba


report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) said yesterday that satellite

images reveal massive destruction of civilian property from a military raid on April 16 and 17, 2013, at Baga town, Borno state.

This is contrary to the position of the Nigerian military authorities who claim that only about 30 houses were destroyed during the operation allegedly

involving members of the Boko Haram insurgents and operatives of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF). Presenting a preliminary

report on the incident to President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja on Tuesday, the Army insisted that 30 terrorists were killed in action Contd on Page 2

R-L: Borno state Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, displaying a cheque of N20 million presented to him by Kano state Governor, Engr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, for relief to victims of Baga crisis, during Kwankwaso's sympathy visit yesterday in Maiduguri.

2015: I’ll declare my presidential ambition soon – Kwankwaso Donates N20m to Borno >> 2

JTF arrest 7 suspected insurgents in Kano


























2015: I’ll declare my presidential ambition soon – Kwankwaso From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri


ano state Governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, yesterday in Maiduguri, Borno state, cleared the air over his alleged presidential ambition in 2015, telling journalists that he would declare his interest “at the right time.” He spoke against the backdrop of insinuations that he intends to contest the presidency as he is not eligible to re-contest as Kano governor in 2015 having earlier ruled the state between 1999 and 2003. Kwankwaso was at the Borno Government House where he presented a N20 million cheque

as part of his government’s support to the Borno state government over the recent killings at Baga. Kwankwaso who handed over a cheque of the donation to Governor Kashim Shettima, said he was in the state to commiserate with the government and people over the recent violence at Baga. Kano state government was ready to partner with the Borno government towards the restoration of peace to the area noting that Kano is also facing similar insecurity challenges, he said. Shettima, showered encomiums on Kwankwaso whom he described as the most

versatile politician with robust experience in all spheres of governance in Nigeria. Shettima said he was emotionally moved by his colleague’s assistance adding that the Kano Governor remains the most versatile Nigerian politician having served as a federal lawmaker, a presidential adviser on crisis-ridden Darfur region, a Minister of Defence and a governor with uncommon spirit of sportsmanship who conceded defeat to an opposition candidate (in 2003) without going to court. On the speculations that he has his eyes on the presidency in 2015, Kwankwaso said that, “for

now, we are working around the clock to ensure peace and stability in our state and security in the entire region. “But I want to assure Nigerians that as a team player, when the time comes, I will make my intentions known. “I am not the kind of person who goes about blowing his trumpet anyhow. “My brother the Borno state Governor has showered so much praises on my humble self to the extent that I wanted to stop him. “But probably that is what a true friend and brother should do to a friend, telling the world that this is the quality that makes one thick.”

Senate quizzes NIMASA DG over recruitment irregularities By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


Deepening democracy in Nigeria: Implications for Africa (II), Page 39

Feature Int’l

30 31-34

Strange World 35 Digest










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he Senate has quizzed the Director General of Nigeria Maritime Security Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Ziakede Akpobolokemi, for disregarding Federal Character principles in the recently concluded recruitment of the agency. Speaking during the public hearing, Chairman of the committee directed by the Senate to investigation the alleged recruitment scandal, Senator Awaisu Kuta, described as partial the last recruitment exercise conducted by the

agency. He regretted that while Bayelsa state got 25 people employed, its neighbouring Rivers state had only three people recruited. He directed the Chairman of the Federal Character Commission, Abdulraham Oba, to present to the committee the names of the right and genuine candidates that would fill the posts being vacated by some people. This list, according to him, will help them to find out the level of violation of the Federal character principle by the agency. A member of the Senate

committee, Senator Ali Ndume, said the so-called golden handshake to four of the staff of the agency who were going into retirement, four years before their due date, was an arm-twisting plot aimed at creating space for some younger persons from a particular zone of the country. In his response, the Director General of NIMASA denied the allegation, saying that he never forced any body from a particular geo-political zone of the country to retire from the service. He also admitted that the agency is not up to 80 per cent compliant to Federal Character,

but said they are doing everything possible to ensure that its comply with Federal Character in its recruitments. On the compulsory retirement, he explained to the committee that there is never being a time that the agency forced anybody out of service, adding that those people left the agency did that on their personal decision. He said there was no mistake in the area of the golden handshake as the four staff who left, would also be sponsored to the United Kingdom for pre-retirement training at the expense of the agency.

Baga: 183 killed, 200 homes burnt – Report Contd from Page 1 while six bodies were recovered in Lake Chad, about three kilometers from the action spot. But according to its own report released yesterday, Baga residents told HRW that soldiers ransacked the town after the Boko Haram militant Islamist group attacked a military patrol, killing a soldier. The report quoted community leaders as saying that immediately after the attack, they counted 2,000 burned homes and 183 bodies. Satellite images of the town which HRW analysed corroborate these accounts as the report identified 2,275 destroyed buildings, the vast majority likely residences, with an additional number of 125 houses severely damaged. “The Nigerian military has a duty to protect itself and the population from Boko Haram attacks but the evidence indicates that it engaged more in destruction than in protection,” said Daniel Bekele, HRW Africa Director. According to him, “the glaring discrepancies between the facts on the ground and statements by senior military officials raise concerns that they tried to cover

up military abuses.” The report said that HRW interviewed seven residents of Baga who fled the town on the night of the devastation as many survivors spent several nights hiding in the bush and expressed fear in describing what they saw, fearing military retaliation. Residents recalled hearing some explosions as well as gunfire on the night of the attack. And that they saw soldiers in uniform kill residents and burn houses. A 27-year-old woman, who stayed in her house after the gunfire erupted, described to HRW how soldiers went door-todoor looking for any men that remained in her neighborhood. The report quoted her as saying that, “I saw the soldiers drag a man out of another house. “They started beating him with their guns. They were beating him severely and he was crying. “The man then ran, and I saw the soldiers shoot him. I heard the gunshots and saw him fall. On the other side of the road the soldiers were beating other people.” Another resident, a 32-yearold fisherman, believes soldiers killed his uncle, whose bad leg kept him from fleeing. He discovered

his uncle’s badly beaten body after the attack. “We had heard the soldiers say before the attack that since you people are not cooperating with us and are hiding your brothers, we will treat you as one of them,” the fisherman told HRW. There are conflicting accounts as to how many people were killed in the attack. A community leader who participated in the burial of victims told HRW that 183 people were buried on April 18 in individual graves within two cemeteries. Other victims were also later buried, he said. Senator Maina Lawan, representing Baga, said after a two-day visit to his constituency that 220 people in three cemeteries on April 25 while six others had been buried in separate locations. None of the residents interviewed by HRW saw how the fires were started on the night of April 16 but they all described seeing parts of the town alight. Two residents who returned to the town the following morning, April 17, said they saw soldiers in military vehicles setting fire to houses. “The destruction and killings by soldiers in Baga are serious

human rights violations,” Bekele said adding that “government needs to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators, regardless of rank.” Community leaders, including a senior politician allege that the military is trying to cover up evidence of what happened. However, in its report to Jonathan, the Defence headquarters said that MNJTF’s initial mandate was to conduct military operations in the Lake Chad region and to facilitate free movement of the member states of the Lake Chad Basin Commission across their common border. The mandate was expanded in April 2012 to include the fight against terrorists, describing their activities legal and “needs to be sustained.” According to the report, the 185 deaths being speculated in the media cannot be substantiated. “The NEMA team visited the two graveyards in the town and could only identify in both places, a total of 32 fresh graves. “A number of buildings and business premises were destroyed in the affected area but the total number of houses in the town is far less than 1,000.” See pictures on page 8



Ibori’s jail term appeal for hearing today A

n appeal filed by the imprisoned former governor of Delta state, James Onanefe Ibori, to have his prison term slashed, has been listed for hearing today at the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand in London. The case will be heard by Lord Justice Treacy and Mr. Justice Edwards-Stuart, Recorder Of Leeds sitting as a judge of the Court Of Appeal criminal division. Last year, Mr. Ibori was sentenced to 14 years in jail by a Southwark

Crown Court judge after he pleaded guilty to stealing about $250 million which he laundered through banks in the United Kingdom. The monies, which were stolen from the coffers of Delta State while he was governor there, were lavished on a Bombardier jet, luxury cars, expensive homes in London, and jewelry. The assets he purchased with the laundered funds are currently the subject of a court-ordered forfeiture around the globe including the US, South Africa and Dubai.

After he fled Nigeria, Mr. Ibori was arrested in May 2010 in Dubai on an international warrant of arrest, and later extradited to the United Kingdom to face trial the money laundering charges. Before his conviction and imprisonment, Mr. Ibori’s sister, Christine Ibie-Ibori; his wife, Theresa Ibori; and his mistress, Udoamaka Okoronkwo-Onuigbo, were also convicted. They were each jailed for five years for acting as accomplices in the extensive money laundering operations of

the former governor. Also jailed was Ibori’s lawyer, Bhadresh Gohil. Other jailed accomplices include Daniel McCann, and Lambertus De Boer. In a prior trial in Nigeria that was manipulated by the government of Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan, Ibori was acquitted of all of the 170 charges he faced that were basically the same as the one the former governor faced in England. “As things stand, Ibori was only to spend seven years in jail in

England,” an analyst pointed out in New York today. “If through some well-paid and clever lawyering that sentence happens to be reduced by a couple of years, Ibori would in the end only have missed a few PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) lunches. As Dipreye Alamieyeseigha has proved, Mr. Jonathan will grant him state pardon and give him the GCFR. He will run for the Senate and just like old times, rejoin his criminal old band!” (Sahara Reporters)

Workers are soldiers for socio-economic transformation, says Kwara gov From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


Securitymen and photojournalists at the centenary May Day celebration, yesterday in Abuja.

Photo: NAN

May Day: Jonathan challenges Labour to weed out corrupt elements within


resident Goodluck Jonathan has challenged the organised Labour in the country to put its house in order by purging its rank of members who, according to the President, are involved in shady deals bordering on corrupt practices. Apparently reacting to allegations of corruption against the government by leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Jonathan spoke yesterday at the at the centenary May Day celebration at the Eagle Square. Jonathan assured that government’s transformation agenda is on course, “geared towards placing the country on the path of sustainable progress where everyone can better achieve his or her dream.” The President noted that some of those alleged to have dipped their hands in the till of the pension fund, engaged in petroleum subsidy scam and other similar acts of corruption are are members of the organised Labour. According to him, “given that some of these perpetrators are senior and junior members of labour unions, greater attention to peer review action on the part of

Labour will be much more appreciated. “Labour has been in the forefront for the demand of good governance and increase action against corruption and these issues are being vigorously tackled from various fronts. “Prosecutions are being pursued in matters arising from petroleum subsidy fraud, embezzlement of pension fund and other serious long-standing malpractices demystified by this administration. “As a result of our economic policies, there has been significant improvement in our economic fundamentals. “Our economy grew by about 6.6 per cent last year and it is set

to grow at a similar pace this year,” he explained citing that: “the projected growth of 6.6 per cent is quite significant leading up to a reduction of fiscal deficit in the 2012 budget to 1.8 per cent of GDP. “We are however not unmindful of the fact that the ultimate benefit of this current result must reflect in the lives of the citizens. “I agree totally that until we create jobs, until Nigerians can wake up and find food to eat, until Nigerians sick can walk to the hospitals and get treatment, the economic indices may not mean much to us,” he said. “We are also focused on economic

inclusion with articulated strategy targeting the disadvantaged and unemployed in our society with economic opportunities in agriculture, entrepreneurial support, graduate employment and unskilled job programmes. “We are also building robust safety nets programmes targeting pregnant mothers and children in the health sector through You-Win programme,” he added. “We are supporting talented young men and women to set up their business so that they will be able to employ others. “We want to create our future billionaires, our industrial giants through that programme.”

overnor of Kwara state, Dr. Abdulfatah Ahmed, has described Nigerian workers as the veritable soldiers for the socio-economic transformation of Nigeria. Ahmed in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Alhaji Abdulwahab Oba, on the occasion of the 2013 Workers’ Day noted that no society desirous of economic development can toy with its labour force. “Historically, the Nigerian worker has over the years of our national history experienced a lot of travails but patriotically and largely remained committed and vital to national economic development, he said. He urged the stakeholders in Labour to use the occasion of the Labour Day to reflect critically on the Nigerian workers’ travails. The governor who reiterated his administration’s commitment to the promotion of workers welfare, said their salaries would be paid before the end of every month stressing that promotion are always effected when due while training and retraining of workers are carried out regularly. He explained the decision of his administration to implement small and medium scale entrepreneurship loan scheme in order to widen the net of employment generation opportunities in the state. He noted that the development was in fulfillment of his administrations cardinal principle of shared prosperity which place emphasis on capacity building of the people of the State.

May Day: NOA boss congratulates workers for patriotism By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


irector General of National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr. Mike Omeri has commended Nigerian workers for their unfailing commitment and patriotism which he said has resulted in the gradual realization of the transformation agenda.

This is contained in a goodwill message to workers on the occasion of this year's May Day celebration. Omeri stressed the importance of a committed workforce to the growth of any economy, noting that, “the collective desire of Nigerians to be among the twenty leading world economies by 2020 is realizable if we sustain the combination of competence and

commitment on the part of all Nigerian workers”. Omeri who noted that the “Do the Right Thing” campaign of the NOA is beginning to yield noticeable results in positively transforming the attitude to work of the average Nigerian worker however noted that it was not time to relent. According to him, “we are

happy with the positive impact our ‘Do the Right Thing ‘campaign is having on Nigerian workers’ attitude to duty but there is still much work to be done. “Those of us who have caught the message of ‘Do the Right Thing’ and are living by it should pass it on to others. Let us not relent but keep at it and Nigeria will be the better for it.”


As amnesty gathers steam…

President Goodluck Jonathan inaugurated the Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North, in Abuja recently By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


resident Goodluck Jonathan recently succumbed to pressures from several quarters, including Northern religious and political leaders, to grant amnesty to the radical Islamic sect, Boko Haram. This move has attracted sundry reactions from sundry other interest groups across the land. While those who criticize the amnesty want the sect to be crushed for what they perceive as Boko Haram’s sin against humanity, those calling for amnesty want to put an end to the carnage being perpetrated against law abiding citizens. It is on this note that the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Alfred Adele Martins, called on President Jonathan to urgently initiate a broadbased dialogue with all ethnic nationalities in the country to engender lasting peace in the nation, The Catholic Archbishop, in a statement signed by the Director of Social Communications, Very Rev. Msgr. Gabriel Osu, said that the best option left for the President in salvaging what is left of the fragile unity of Nigeria, was to initiate a national dialogue where the different ethnic nationalities can table their grievance with the aim of resolving them amicably. According to Martins, except the President considers this option, any

attempt to shortcut a holistic approach to resolving the insecurity in the land by offering unconditional amnesty to the rampaging sect, would only infuriate other sections of the country and serve as a springboard for the emergence of fresh wave of terrorism across the length and breadth of the country. "President Goodluck Jonathan must be more pragmatic in his approach to solving the security challenges in the country. He needs to be seen as finding a holistic solution to the lingering insecurity in the country. Insecurity is not limited to the north alone; there are frequent incidences of kidnapping in the South East while MEND has renewed hostilities in the SouthSouth”. Worried by these instances and a host of others, the United State said the country has failed woefully in solving terrorist related activities in the country, and should therefore, be named 'country of concern'. This was the view of the U.S Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). That designation by the United States Secretary of State (under authority delegated by the president) of a nation guilty of particularly severe violation of religious freedom under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998 (H.R. 2431) and its amendment of 1999 (Public Law 10655), was not quite unexpected.

In a statement issued in Washington D.C, USCIR said the Jonathan-led government deserves that designation giving its failure to hold accountable, perpetrators of religiously-related violence. "The Nigerian government's failure to prosecute penetrators of religiouslyviolence only encourages reprisals and intensifies local tensions and mistrust. Boko Haram uses the impunity as recruitment tool and to justify its attacks on Christians," said USCIR chair, Katrina Lantos Swett. She added that "since 1999 more than 14,000 persons, both Muslims and Christians, have been killed, US IRF has been able to document that only 1% of the perpetrators have been prosecuted". The commission said its tally showed that the ongoing attacks and retaliation by Muslim and Christians in Nigeria's religiously and ethnically mixed Middle Belt had left more than 100 dead and dozens of properties destroyed since March of this year. Considering such confusion and the inability of our security to apprehend the situation, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Dioces, Mathew Hassan Kukah noted that "Right now, I feel that perhaps like the friends of Job (Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar), who came to visit their sick friend and found the burden beyond comprehension, we find ourselves in the same situation. For, as we know, when they came and found Job in his condition, they spent seven days and

seven nights, and uttered not a word (Job 2:13). "Right now, no one can claim a full understanding of the state we are in. However, even if we cannot understand the issues of the moment, our faith compels us to understand that God's hand is in all this. The challenge is for us to have the patience to let His will be done". Therefore, observers believe that the time has come for those saddled with positions of leadership act and stop playing politics with the lives of people. The various regions and and religious groups must condemn attack on both Muslim and Christians not only when it affects their religion. At this delicate time, government must work to claim the knowledge of the situation and not to be clueless. Even the recent rejection of a Bill that was meant to bring soccour to the legion of unemployed graduates in the country is a pointer to another problem which if not properly handled, the country will have a rude awakening of another set of soldiers of discontent. In fact, it is believed that lack of comprehension of the situation will not solve but fan the flames of terrorism in the country. If it is all Nigerians that need amnesty, let them be given. And not only those who carry arms to register their grievances. John Fitzgerald Kennedy captures it when he said, "If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich".



Insecurity: NLC cancels rally in Kano From Edwin Olofu, Kano


ano state council of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday cancelled the Workers’ Day rally over the security challenges confronting the state. The NLC state Chairman, Comrade Isa Yunusa Danguguwa, said that, “we are celebrating in a low profile with a limited number of workers representations, without match pass parade as it was normally done in the previous years. “The decision is not unconnected with security challenges in our dear state which we are all aware of, hence we decided to narrow our celebration this year and we can only visit hospitals to pray, greet patients and children’s homes as the only activity earmarked for the celebration. “I call on the workers in the state to continue be dedicated to their duties and responsibilities at all times and be ready to encourage and promote the ideals of good governance, promote and maintain peace in the state.”

“Workers’ Day is not only an opportunity for us to gather and part empty handed. “It is always an avenue we use to present some of our request to the government for possible consideration.” The Chairman requested the state government to consider promotion of staff in the civil service as well as local and primary schools teachers while calling for the revival of textile and other industries in Kano. He also decried the delay in prompt payment of workers salary in Kano, despite government’s directive that workers salary should be paid on or before the 25th of every month and threatened to mobilize against banks found to be sabotaging this directive. “The state NLC would shut down any bank which failed to comply with government’s directive to pay workers salary on 25th of every month and threatened to sanction private companies standing against formation of labour union in their respective organizations,” he said.

JTF arrest 7 extremists in Kano From Edwin Olofu, Kano


peratives of the joint military Task Force (JTF) in Kano, in an early morning operation, said it apprehended seven suspected extremists in two separate operations. Spokesman of JTF, Captain Ikedichi Iweha, who disclosed this to our correspondent on phone said the raid was carried out following a tip off. Iweha added that the operation that was carried out in Farawa Hotoro area in the

metropolis led to the arrest of a wanted extremist in a house in the Sheka area close to Zoo road. He said that no lives were lost during the raid. He listed items recovered to include one Ak47 riffle, 46 IEDs, two laptops, 32 Motorola Wakie Talkie and 52 batteries of the walkie talkie. Iweha stated that two houses where the suspects were arrested in Farawa were demolished, warning property owners in the state to desist from giving out their houses to people they don’t know

Nasarawa trains youth in skills acquisition From Ali Abare Abubakar, Lafia


n a bid to curb youth restiveness as well as alleviate the plight of the unemployed, the Nasarawa state government, in line with its policy on skills acquisition, has expressed its determination to open up more opportunities for the youth to get training in various fields and trades. Governor Umaru Tanko Almakura stated this yesterday, in a speech he delivered on the occasion of the commemoration of this year’s Workers’ Day at the Old Parade Ground in Lafia. He said that he was conscious of the imperatives to create employment and that government has sponsored 10 trainees from the state to Singapore to acquire skills. He noted that despite some obvious disadvantages, his administration has done much

in the areas of infrastructure, qualitative education, effective healthcare service, urban renewal and rural roads construction among others. On his part, Comrade Asoloko Maku, state chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), described this year’s May Day celebration as unique as the commemoration coincides with the centenary anniversary of the country. According to him, “we say that the organised labour is more organised than ever to ensure quality life for every Nigerian worker.” He congratulated Almakura over his development strides but called on the Governor to have a rethink over the sacking of workers at the state owned transport company, as well as the Nasarawa Publishing Company.

L-R: Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Abdulwahed Omar, President Goodluck Jonathan, and President, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Peter Esele, cutting centenary May Day celebration anniversary cake, yesterday at Eagles Square, in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Constitution review: Tambuwal cautions committee against bias By Umar Muhammad Puma


peaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, yesterday called on the members of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on the review of the 1999 Constitution not to inject their personal biases into the final report to be submitted to the House. Speaking at the opening of the committee’s retreat in Abuja, Tambuwal advised members to allow only the views and opinions expressed by Nigerians during the public sessions conducted last year to count in their deliberations. According to him, the current challenges facing the country would be adequately addressed in the amended constitution and assured

Nigerians of a better workable constitution. “I cannot over-emphasise the critical nature of this constitutional review or how important it is to the progress of this country. As we celebrate 100 years of existence as a united entity next year, the ability of this Assembly to provide Nigerians with a constitution that can satisfy their yearning and aspirations, will no doubt help set the tone for the next hundred years. “So far, you have all shown remarkable patriotism but I must again emphasise the need for your work to be free of all personal bias. You must work only on data provided by the nationwide public hearing and your conclusion should reflect the aggregate opinion of fellow Nigerians,”

“As you well know, our country today faces many challenges and some of our people have been asking questions about the very nature of our union. We hope eventually to provide Nigerians with a Constitution that will answer some of these questions and further cement our hard fought unity,” he said. On his part, the Deputy Speaker who is also Chairman of the committee, Emeka Ihedioha, assured that the committee would do a thorough job and sought for the cooperation of all. “There are no short-cuts. This retreat will give members of the Committee acting on behalf of the entire House the opportunity to brainstorm on the language of the amendments where consensus has been reached,” he said.

Boko Haram: Peace Corps boss hails position on amnesty By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


ational Commandant of the Peace Corps of Nigeria, Dickson Akoh, has said that the amnesty programme proposed by President Goodluck Jonathan is the best way of resolving the security challenges posed by the Boko Haram Islamic sect. Akoh pleaded with religious, political and traditional rulers to give the proposed amnesty programme a chance to achieve the desired goal of restoring a stable security for the nation. Addressing a press conference

on the state of the nation in Abuja yesterday, Akoh said that Nigerians should embrace the proposed amnesty programme to resolve the security challenges in the north. According to him, the safe conduct of the 2015 general election, especially in the north can only be guaranteed if the Boko Haram insurgency is amicably resolved. The Peace Corps of Nigeria boss admonished Boko Haram members to take advantage of the proposed amnesty to embrace diaolgue as the only of resolving whatever grievances

against the country. He dismissed insinuation that Boko Haram is a faceless group and appealed that all members of the sect in various detention should be given temporal release and then use them to reach out to others and get them to round table for a meaningful dialogue. Akoh said the Peace Corps of Nigeria was no longer comfortable with the incessant killings of Nigerian youths and called on security agencies to soften the ground in the bid to check mate the activities of the Boko Haram sect.



Security beefed up in Kaduna as workers celebrate From Muhammad Ibrahim & Femi Oyelola, Kaduna


orkers' Day in Kaduna was celebrated amidst tight security as stern looking security personnel manned roads leading to the Kaduna Township Stadium, venue of the ceremony. About 500 security personnel drawn from the Nigeria Army the police, Nigeria Civil Defence Corps and the State Security Service (SSS) were deployed to the venue. Other paramilitary agencies such as Road Safety Corp and Vigilante groups were also on duty. Chairman of the Kaduna state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Adamu Ango, commended Kaduna state government for maintaining cordial relationship with the Labour especially in the area of capacity building through training and provision of essential working tools such as laptops. "It is equally important to know that the state government not long ago reinstated some workers who were disengaged from the service. "Their entitlement have been paid and they are about to be placed on pension. "The state governor successfully marked his first 100 days in office with the launching of packages for the youth and support to the transport sector of the community. "This is a remarkable achievement and we urge him to remain focus in other to achieve more progress," Comrade Adamu said. In his remarks, Kaduna State Governor, Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, said his administration was making efforts at reviving some of the moribund companies owned by the state. He added that he is aware of past efforts of privatizing such companies, like Ikara Tomatoes, Makarfi Sugar, Kachia Ginger and Zaria Pharmaceutical. According to the gGovernor, "the privatisation could not yield the desired result because the companies were not in operation at that time. "We have resolved to revive the companies through public private partnership.

L-R: Wife of the Senator representing FCT, Mrs. Hauwa Aduda, presenting items to Mrs. Hajaratu Mohammed, and Mrs. Aishat Suleiman, during the flag-off of women empowerment programme by Mrs. Aduda, yesterday at Alu- Mamagi village in Abaji Area Council of Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

Workers Day: Oshiomhole recalls 41 teachers By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


n the spirit of the Workers' Day celebrations, the Edo state government yesterday recalled 41 public school teachers who were sacked in October last year over absenteeism. The teachers were sacked by Edo state governor, Adams Oshiomhole, who had gone on unscheduled visit to public schools in the state capital. Speaking at a ceremony to mark the Workers' at Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, Oshiomhole pleaded with civil servants to contribute their quota in building the state. According to him, "in the spirit of our 101 years of organised Labour, in the spirit of our movement, in the spirit of our labour ancestors and in

FCTA orders suspension of 15 district heads in Abaji By Adeola Tukuru, with agency reports


he Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has ordered the suspension of 15 district heads in the Abaji Area Council. The order is contained in a statement signed by the Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Oluyinka Akintunde, to the Minister of State for FCT, Ms Olajumoke Akinjide. The statement alleged that the district heads were created without the approval of the administration. Akinjide, in a letter addressed to the Chairman, Abaji council, Mr. Yahaya Mohammed, directed that the district heads be suspended until further notice. "The FCT Administration has

equally recognised the separation of functions between the area councils and the state ( FCT Administration) on the creation of district heads and community leaders. "In all matters of appointment of district/community heads, the FCT Administration's approval must be sought before such appointments are announced by any area council. "Consequently, based on this breach of procedure on the appointments by the Abaji council, the appointment of the 15 district heads is hereby suspended henceforth. "This is until proper procedure and methods of appointment of the District Heads are thoroughly scrutinised in compliance with the laid down procedures, rules and administrative processes," the Minister said.

the spirit of today, I will order the Commissioner to recall all the teachers and they will resume by next week. "I should be worried about the children of Edo people just as I should be worried about my children. "In my second term, we are going to rebuild more schools, recruit more teachers so that for every subject in our schools, we must have qualified teachers." "I will never use my skills to manipulate Labour, I can make honest

mistakes but I will never use my skill to manipulate Labour. "I will not take a deliberate action that will weaken the foundation of organised labour because without labour, I will not be here, remove Labour from me and nothing will be left but that does not mean I will just sit down and shout freedom because I have a responsibility to keep Edo working". On complaints that Edo workers earn the least in south-south the Governor charged Labour to do a comparative study of the salary

structure of all the states. "Since 1999, at least we now have civil rule but the fight to transform the civil rule to democratic rule is still on-going and nobody is better prepared for this struggle than the workers. "We must defend democracy, we must deepen it and chase away political rascals who think they can truncate the electoral process because the fighting spirit of organised Labour can never be extinguished," the Governor said.

Etsu Nupe denies kidnapping girl

By Adeola Tukuru, with agency reports


he Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, has denied kidnapping any girl contrary to the claims by Pastor Raymond Uzoechina who spoke on an Abuja FM station that the royal father kidnapped his daughter. According to a statement issued by the palace, one Aisha Uzorechina had approached the royal father for protection over plans to ditch Christianity for Islam, a plan opposed by her father. The royal father then requested that the father of the girl be invited for talks with the hope of reconciling them, "The Etsu Nupe asked the girl to go back home with her father to resolve the matter. It said the girl refused to go home with the father instead approach the court to seek legal backing and protection over her change of faith , a prayer which the court granted including the protection by the Etsu Nupe. The statement stressed that the father had also sought the intervention of the Christian Association of Nigeria in an attempt to deal with the situation but the girl

stood her ground and refused the plea. Aisha had on February 15, 2013 converted from Christianity to Islam on her free choice and sought refuge at the Estu Nupe's palace over threats from her father who opposed her intention. The statement said the father had equally petitioned the Department of State Security but felt frustrated that all his efforts were not yielding the desired result and therefore the FM station to spread falsehood. "It is nothing but cheap propaganda and falsehood intended to smear the good name and reputation of the royal father as the royal father has always acted in good faith and in the larger interest of citizens irrespective of their religious or tribal leanings. "On the 2nd of March, 2013, her father came to the palace and was taken before His Royal Highness. "After welcoming him, His Royal asked him whether he knew young the lady sitting next to him and he replied that she is his daughter. "His Royal Highness further asked to know whether she had any mental problem known to the family. "Pastor Raymond answered in the

affirmative. It was then the news of her daughter's withdrawal the Polytechnic and conversion to Muslim was broken to him by His Royal Highness. "Before breaking the news the father was also asked whether he had placed his daughter in anybody's care and he said, no. On the issue of her withdrawal from school, His Royal Highness offered to investigate and therefore requested the father to give him a week within which he will investigate the circumstances that led to her withdrawal from school but for conversion, he should discuss with her. "It was the father requested for some privacy to talk to his daughter. "He was given an office to do so to ensure adequate privacy. On his to His Royal Highness, a problem ensued. "Aisha out rightly mentioned that she was not following the father despite the insistence of His Royal Highness, the Etsu Nupe. Her reason was that her father insulted her and she is scared that he may harm her because of his utterances during their short meeting.



BRIEF NEWS Hajj 2013: Civil society groups collaborate to monitor operations Niger NLC decries workers’ hardship


hairman of the Niger state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Yahaya Idris Ndako, yesterday lamented what he described as thehardship facing workers in the area. Ndako stated this in Minna at the 2013 workers’ day rally held at 1-2-3 parade ground. According to him, “Niger state Labour believes in dialogue as the only means of resolving industrial disputes with government or employers of labour. “In recent years, the NLC has become less confrontational with authorities because it has grown to understand that we are all stakeholders in Nigeria project and that strikes do not measure the quality of its success but the number if battles won through dialogue, diplomacy and application of principles of collective bargaining.”


ivil society organisations said yesterday that they were collaborating with the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) to ensure hitch-free hajj operations this year. A statement by the Independent Hajj Reporters said they were in partnership with Hujjaj Rights Monitoring Foundation with a view to working together to assist

NAHCON and relevant stakeholders in the conduct of 2013 hajj exercise. The statement jointly signed Alhaji Ibrahim Muhammad and chairman of Hujjaj Rights Monitoring Foundation, Barrister Umar Babangida said that, “Independent Hajj Reporters has agreed to go into partnership with Hujjaj Rights Monitoring Foundation to

monitor the 2013 hajj exercise and assist in enlightening intending pilgrims and the general public on hajj operations in the country. “Independent Hajj Reporters is a registered umbrella of Muslim journalists with members drawn from the electronic, print, online media while Hujjaj Rights Monitoring Foundation, on the other hand, is a pilgrims’ rights-based

advocacy group. “We have agreed to work together with a view to implementing our shared objectives of evaluating and reporting the level of services provided by hajj services providers to Nigerian pilgrims and also assist victims of violation in getting remedy through the instrumentality of the law and report same to public.”

From IIlya Garba, Minna

Group challenges NLC on casualisation


eadership of Society of Women in Taxation has advised labour leaders to the issue of casualisation of employees instead of opposing government policies. According to the National Chairperson of the association, Mrs. Justina Okoro, “Labour is not efficient and effective in casualisation policy. “Casualisation policy is still very rampant in banks and oil and gas sector. “Casualisation has permeated many industries yet Labour does not seem to see reason to challenge this trend.” By Abdulwahab Isa

Kebbi NLC hails Dakingari over minimum wage


he Kebbi State Chapter of Nigerian Labour Congress ( NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) have have commended Governor Dakingari over his approval of new minimum wage of N18, 000 for civil servants. The NLC Chairman, Comrade Sadiq Kaoje, however to stop the monthly National Housing Fund deductions from the salary of workers. According to him, "we are calling on government to direct the immediate stoppage of the NHF deductions and refund the money so far deducted because of our belief that the programme has lost its credibility and purpose for which it was designed.'' From Ahmed Idris, Birnin Kebbi

L-R: Assistant Director, National Malaria Control Programme, Mr Ordu Donald; representative of Oyo state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Olabode Ladipo; and Director, President Malaria Initiative, Dr. Adebola Karim-Mohammed; during the media roundtable on Malaria Action Programme Control, yesterday in Ibadan. Photo: NAN By Abdulwahab Isa


or Nigeria to get over its current travails of i n f r a s t r u c t u r a l development, it must commit investment in the region of $350 billion for a period of 10 years starting from 2011 to 2020, according to a report by Africa Development Bank (AfDB) tagged “An Infrastructure action plan for Nigeria: Closing the infrastructure gap and accelerating economic transformation. The report comes a week after the Minister for National Planning, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, warned that Nigerians may not be able to achieve the targets of the Vision 20-20 programme. According to a consultant to AFDB, Dr. Russell Cheetham, in the report, Nigeria must invest $15 billion in capacity building and technical studies and $285 billion in capital expenditures for the rehabilitation of existing infrastructure and construction of new facilities to meet the existing and future demands. According to him, similarly, about $50 billion will be required for investments in the transport sector including aircrafts, tankers for transport of LNG, locomotives and rolling stock for the railway. “The development cost of the Infrastructure Action Plan is larger than any previously published estimates for overcoming the infrastructure

Nigeria needs $350bn to bridge infrastructural gap – Report gap in Nigeria,” the report said. In the report, the Federal Government is expected to mobilise about 58 per cent of the total cost requirement which is $204 billion, through the Sovereign Wealth Fund, domestic and foreign borrowing

while the private sector should provide $130 billion. It is also expected that local communities would contribute about $8.8 billion mainly in the form of payments for electricity, water and sewage connections.

The AfDB consultant said that for these investments to make meaning, they must be maintained that because “if it they not well maintained, the quality of the assets deteriorates to where it was in the last 30 years.”

Aregbesola decries neglect of engineers in nation building By Miriam Humbe


overnor of Osun state, Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola, has decried what he described as the neglect of Nigerian engineers in charting formidable pathways towards the rapid development of the country. According to him, practitioners of the engineering profession are critically relevant to the development of any country in all ramifications through the provision of “critical infrastructure” ranging from food security to electricity, water and housing. Aregbesola said this in Osogbo, the where he was conferred with the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) Special Presidential Merit Award. He urged the Federal Government to declare a decade

of emergency in all the critical sectors of the economy so that there will be jobs for all categories of engineers and

other employable persons. Aregbesola said, “Vision 20:20:20 begins and ends with engineering.

Abuse of office: Tribunal halts trial of NCTM boss By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


he Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) sitting in Abuja on Tuesday stayed proceedings in the trial of the Director-General of the National Centre for Technology Management (NCTM), Dr. Willie O. Siyanbola, for allegedly recruiting over 60 per cent of the staff of the organisation from a particular section of the country. When the matter came up, Dr. Sinyabola’s counsel, Mr. Adamson Adeboro, moved the application for stay of proceedings pending the outcome of the appeal challenging the decision of the Tribunal

assuming jurisdiction over an offence allegedly committed in violation of the Federal Character policy. Adeboro, in the notice of appeal filed at the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal held that the Tribunal erred in law by assuming jurisdiction to hear the matter. He also held that the judges of the Tribunal erred in law when they held that Section 18 of the Federal Character Commission Act which vests jurisdiction in respect of offences bordering on Federal Character policy and principle on the Federal High Court is in conflict with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.




PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT As part of Kano State Government’sefforts under the leadership of Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso to provide more employment/empowerment opportunities both at State and Federal levels to qualified State indigenes as well as to enable them to further their studies within the Country and abroad, Office of the Secretary to the State Government is hereby inviting the underlisted applicants who have indicated their interest through the State Electronic Data System to report on Friday, 3rd May, 2013 by 9.00am at No 1, Sabo Bakin Zuwo Road, Kano. The List;

Gov Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso S/N 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97






S/N 98 99 100 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194




All applicants are also requested to come along with their original credentials including Local Government and State Indigene Certificates for verification. Announcer: Office of the Secretary to the State Government, Kano State.





BRIEF NEWS Vietnam to invest in Kogi agric sector

People living with disability, during the Centenary May Day celebration, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


ietnam has expressed its readiness to invest in agriculture and other sectors of the economy in Kogi state. This followed the bilateral agreement reached when that country's Ambassador to Nigeria, Hoang Gor Ho, during a special meeting with the Kogi state government and Kogi State Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KOCCIMA) at the Government House in Lokoja.

Dankwambo commends NLC From David Hassan,Gombe


ombe state Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, has commended the leadership and members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) describing them as law abiding citizens. The Governor made this known yesterday during the 2013 May Day celebrations at the Pantami Stadium in Gombe. He noted that in line with the national minimum wage and other emoluments, his government has provided motor-vehicle loans to civil servants adding that government has equally set up a committee to encourage high productivity of civil servants in the state.

‘Sokoto IPP project on course’ By Mahmoud Muhammad, Sokoto


he Sokoto state government has received the last consignment of equipment for the establishment of its Independent Power Plant (IPP) project. The IPP project, according to the government, will enhance electric power generation and encourage businessmen to invest in the state. The equipment procured at the cost of about N3.8b was received on Tuesday through the Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano. IPP project is aimed at providing succor to the perennial power outage in the area. According to the Commissioner for Local Governments, Farouk Malami Yabo, described the IPP project as "a giant stride and another milestone achievement by the Governor Aliyu Magatarkada Wamakko."

Stakeholders link under-development to poor quality higher education From Yusha'u Alhassan Jalingo.


arious speakers at the closing ceremony of the Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program (IFP) in Nigeria, which held in Abuja on Tuesday, linked a number of socioeconomic problems plaguing the country to what they described as poor quality higher education arising from poor funding of the nation's tertiary institutions. According to them, quality higher education has a tremendous influence in promoting social development in any country, arguing that education in general remains an integral part of societal transformation. In his keynote paper tagged "Linking higher education to social change," the ActionAid International Country Director, Dr. Husssaini Abdu, identified the perception that some courses are higher than others and drive for quick returns on investments in education as two key problems rocking the sector. According to him, "the argument has been that our higher education system has played a very important role in the transformation the country had gone through its history. "The democracy we have today is actually a function of some of the debates in the universities and what some of the people who have passed through the system were able to do. "It is because there is an increasing interest on marketoriented kind of courses, courses that would make quick dividends. "We have abandoned some of those basic things that contribute to social change and this means the government needs to do more to reverse the

trend." On her part, a lecturer at the University of Maiduguri, Dr. Alice Musa, said that apart from challenges of insecurity, various universities have become breeding grounds for development of socially immoral and irresponsible leaders and followers alike who instead of providing solution to the many social problems facing

the nation, end up compounding them. "If higher education must serve its critical role as a social change agent, the relevant authorities in the system must endeavour to persistently and constructively influence policy makers in formulating the correct direction and focus for the system. "We cannot continue with

the current culture of underfunding the education sectors," she said. Earlier, in his remarks, the Pathfinder International, Country Representative, Dr. Farouk Jega, disclosed that a number of Nigerians who benefit from its fellowship programmes ordinarily cannot afford higher education for themselves.

Kaduna re-affirms determination to eradicate polio By Agaju Madugba


aduna state government has reaffirmed its commitment towards the eradication of polio. Executive Secretary of the Kaduna State Primary Health Care Agency, Dr. Mu,awiyya Sufayan Baballe, said: "Kaduna state government has passionately taken the issue of polio and other related children diseases with keen interest and that is why the last segment of the polio route immunisation the was a huge success."

Speaking shortly after he received the award of excellence from the Zone A of the National Association of the Nigerian Students (NANS), Baballe noted that the Agency would ensure accountability in the deployment o9f resources for the fight aginst polio. Earlier in his remarks, Chairman of NANS Award Committee, Comrade Abdulsalam Kazzem, said that the association would expose act sof corruption at all levels of governance. According to him, "we have

followed with keen interest the activities of the Kaduna Primary Health Care Agency we agreed that Dr. Sufyan deserves to be awarded with excellent service award in order to serve as motivation and source of encouragement for others." He called on the Agency to continue with the good work of the fight against polio as the state has not recorded any fresh cases of polio since the begging of the year, "which is a clear demonstration that the Agency has performed its duty well."

Workers' Day: Youth council demands resuscitation of industries


he National Youth Council of Nigeria has urged states and the federal governments to resuscitate ailing industries in country in order to boost employment opportunities for the teeming population of unemployed youth in the country. According to the Chairman of the Kwara state chapter of the council, Comrade Kazeem Adekanye, commended the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC)

for its approach to agitation for workers entitlements in the state. Adekanye saidin a statement yesterday that, "the style has yielded a lot of fruits without resort to violence. "We have observed that while the NLC in other states are at logger-heads with their state governments over salaries and allowances amidst violence, the Kwara state chapter adopts dialogue and negotiation to press home their demands.

"We salute the Labour and Kwara state government over the resolution on minimum wage. "We also salute the vibrant working force constituted largely by the youth and we hope that state and the federal governments will continue to look into their welfare. "We pray that governments will resuscitate all ailing industries and establish new ones to boost employment opportunities for the youth."



Things you can look forward to when you have money


ou work hard to make money, create multiple income streams, and live below your means, which allows you to diligently save every month. At a certain point, you will accumulate enough money to be financially free. But then what? What really happens when you finally reach a goal that you've worked years, perhaps even decades for? For those of you close to your goal, or on track enough to start thinking about this, here's what you can look forward to. You can ignore individual costs as long as you focus on the big picture Finally, you can breathe a little easier, because even if you don't plan to start reducing your nest egg by withdrawing from it, you can at least start using some of your surplus every month. As a fellow frugal person, I know all too well the difficulty in picking the more luxurious option when you believe that the lowest cost version will do. A trick you can try is to start ignoring the price (yes, this is not a typo!) and actually buying the option

that you want once in a while. Don't do this for everything, of course. In order to still be responsible, you should set a monthly limit on these "lifestyle expenses" and remember that as long as you don't go over the set budget every month, it's perfectly okay to live a little. You can take less risk

Once you feel financially secure, it isn't a bad idea to be more conservative with your investments than most people recommend. Many high-networth individuals simply wouldn't put a huge amount of their wealth in the stock market even if they were decades away from retirement because they just don't need the extra

performance. If you can live off the interest from a high-yield online savings account, why would you want to risk your capital and try to get 8% in the long term, but potentially suffer 50% losses? Sure, you can feel even wealthier, but is the stress really necessary? You can look long-term The more money you have, the more you can take advantage of what's best for you long-term. Paying cash (or financing at an extremely low interest rate) can be financially more responsible than leasing a car for instance, but you need to have the cash on hand first. Investing in the stock market is theoretically more advantageous in the long-run, but you better have the luxury of not needing that money in the short-term. And quitting your job to further your education so you can make even more money in the future? That's simply an opportunity only people with the financial means can make, which is now you. You can work less

There is a sizable portion of our population who simply love what they do, but let's face it: the majority of us work simply because we need that paycheck. And even if we love our work, we can probably find enjoyment by working fewer hours every week. When you have the means, you can start planning your way to a much more enjoyable work environment. You can be more generous to those around you When you are generous, you will truly start seeing your quality of life. You can start tipping more at restaurants, be more generous with gifts for your loved ones, and even help your relatives start a business. Even the most ungrateful person will appreciate your generosity to a degree, and if anything, they will be nicer to you too! You can donate to charity And you can extend this generosity to people you don't directly interact with by giving some money away to charity as well. When you donate, you feel great too. The power of giving is almost magical, but the best way to understand the feeling is to try it yourself.

Money Tip: Strive to discover that critical aspect in your expense budget Get a look from the outside


cBean recommends meeting with your accountant, attorney and other key advisors. Sure, they provide vital services like keeping your finances straight and your business on the right side of the law, but the real reason for a friendly chat over lunch is to get a broader and fresh perspective on market forces that impact your business. Becoming an expert in your field can oftentimes narrow your view. Recounting his time selling cars, it was easy to view his business through a single lens, said McBean. "All I really knew was my car market," he lamented. It dawned on him that there were other professionals whose insights on the economy could help him move more cars off his lot. "I talked to my banker, I wanted him to tell me what else is going on in my market," he said. Sure enough, his banker's knowledge of how money was moving in the local economy helped McBean better tailor his practices for his market. Likewise, a sit-down with your accountant can help you map out money-saving tax strategies. A chat with your attorney can give you a glimpse at the legal landscape before you embark on a new venture or pursue new ventures.

Quote As a bull market continues, almost anything you buy goes up. It makes you feel that investing in stocks is a very easy and safe and that you're a financial genius. -Ron Chernow


ne important reasons home budgets fail is because individual users fail to take their time to determine critical parts of the budget. This step is critical in developing a practical budget, and when ignored, can ruin your financial planning. I will discuss how to assess your expenses and prioritize them so you can ensure you are never spending more money than you are bringing in and are spending that money on what matters. Always determine what your expenses are. There are several different types of expenses, as listed below. The Unexpected - Bills relating to medical issues, prescriptions, home repair,

and car maintenance are all examples of unexpected expenses. These expenses occur when you least expect them, and are often costly and devastating to your budget if you are not prepared for them. Annual and Semi-Annual Expenses - There are certain expenses you have to pay every single year, or sometimes two or three times per year, that must be calculated into your budget. These expenses can include your home, life; health, and auto insurance, land used charge, homeowner's association fees and license renewals Monthly Expenses - The payments you make each month are generally the easiest to plan for, because you

expect them and paying them becomes habitual after a while. Just in case you aren't aware, however, these payments include mortgage payments, rent, telephone, internet, credit card payments, child support, car payments, and utilities. Weekly ExpensesGroceries, child care, personal care, and transportation expenses all occur on a weekly basis and are essential parts to any budget. Discretionary Expenses Discretionary expenses are those items or services you typically buy each day or every week that you could really live without. However, living without them is something that probably won't

happen, so they must be included in your budget as well to ensure they do not corrupt your budget and take the place of more important financial priorities. The Essentials Come First When you look at the many different types of expenses listed above, it can be overwhelming to think about which ones should come first in your budget and which ones should wait at the back of the line. I have made it easy for you, however, with a few simple suggestions. Your top priorities should always be expenses that relate to food and shelter. This can include your groceries, rent or mortgage payment, taxes, and home owner's association fees. Second on the list should always be your utilities, like electricity, heat, and water. These most important items are essential to a healthy life. If you use a vehicle to get to work, making your car payment and car insurance payment each month should be next on your most important item budget list. Remember, if you can't get to work, you can't earn a paycheck. Your next priority should be other insurances, like life, home, and medical. Your child care payments should also be a part of this category, as they are essential to your child's safety and well-being when you are not around. Finally, your credit card payments, unsecured loans, and discretionary expenses should be listed last on your budget. These should be provided for, but other expenses take priority.

Share your Money Tip: do you have a business/money idea, and you want to share it with our dear readers? Then, send it to: or (text it to 08091904890)





Why Jonathan should probe Obasanjo

ust when it seemed the rift between President Goodluck Jonathan and former President Olusegun Obasanjo was about to be closed after the reconciliatory visit of top members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to Abeokuta few weeks ago, the former president has increased the heat to a boiling point. Obasanjo, on Sunday, came out with guns blazing and his target was none other than the president whose administration he again accused of aiding and abetting corruption. In his characteristic blunt manner, he described the recent announcement by the government of a commission to check pipeline vandalism as another avenue for 'chop chop'. He went on to challenge the Jonathan administration to institute a probe of his government instead of witch hunting those who served under him in apparent reference to the ongoing brick bat between ex ministers Oby Ezekwesili and Femi Fani-Kayode, on one hand, and the presidency, on the other, over the state of the nation' economy. To say that Obasanjo has been behaving like a wounded lion on a mission would be an understatement. In the past one year, he seemed to have taken it upon himself to embark on a lone crusade against the Jonathan administration. He never misses an opportunity to put in the boot to embarrass Jonathan and his government. A few months back he blasted the government for wasting the nation's foreign reserves when he said:"We left what we call excess crude, up to $35bn, for the rainy day;

within three years, the $35bn disappeared. Whether the money disappeared or it was shared, the fact remains that $35bn disappeared from the foreign reserves I left behind in office. When we left that money, we thought we were leaving it for the rainy day". In a recent interview with CNN, Obasanjo also criticised Jonathan's

we urge Jonathan to take up the challenge that Obasanjo has thrown by probing him handling of the Boko Haram crisis: "To deal with a group like that, you need a carrot and stick. The carrot is finding out how to reach out to them. When you try to reach out to them and they are not amenable to being reached out to, you have to use the stick". Obasanjo has persistently described the president as a weak leader and even publicly blamed him for the rising unemployment rate in the country, warning that a revolution is imminent as a result. It was evidently in an effort to rein him in, considering the damage he is doing to both the president and the party, that Chief Tony Anenih, the

OUR MISSION “To be the market place of ideas and the leading player in the industry by putting the people first, upholding the truth, maintaining the highest professional and ethical standards while delivering value to our stakeholders”

party's BoT chairman, led elders of the party on that fence mending mission that can now effectively be described as a failure. Despite his posturing, Nigerians are not fooled by Obasanjo's holier than thou crusade. Being manipulative and one who always wants to have his way, the conclusion they may have reached is that Obasanjo has found Jonathan not to be the lackey he thought he would be, hence his open criticism of him. His failure to get his men to become chairmen of the BoT and party and the manner he lost control of the party at the state level are still bitter pills for a man who is used to winning every battle to swallow. Clearly, he is losing out in the power struggle; after all, the seeds of some of the problems he is pointing to now were sown during his eight-year reign. To be sure, President Jonathan has not acquitted himself of the thorny issues Obasanjo has been raising. We think he should if he expects to leave a positive legacy of his tenure - and his inept leadership exposes his raw side. He has it in his hands to define his presidency for good or for worse. However, we are of the firm belief that Obasanjo himself is not above board as far as his rule is concerned. Some of the mess that the privatisation exercise has created has been traced to the former president's doorstep. Therefore, we urge Jonathan to take up the challenge that Obasanjo has thrown by probing him. He should prove to Obasanjo and the nation that he is not a weak leader and no one is above the law.









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Wanted: A leader for Just a time as this By Bayo Oluwasanmi


hen it comes to responding to political crises, there are three "temperatures" of a leader: hot (responsive), cold (rebellious), and lukewarm (indifferent). People love the hot leader, reach out to the cold, but reject the lukewarm. The calm that puts us to sleep may be more deadly than the storm that keeps us wide awake. The world is looking for scientists. The church is looking for theologians. And Nigeria is looking for men and women of vision. Nigeria's leadership position is vacant. Africa in general and Nigeria in particular, have been ruled by blind men who do not see ahead with clarity. They only think of the moment and hardly anticipate possible consequences of their choices. For too long and too wrong, Nigerians have suffered needlessly and endlessly from rulers that have been inebriated with corruption. Thus, Nigeria has become a classical example of withered hopes for the multitude of its poor. The events of late in Nigeria should keep those of us who genuinely love our country awake at night when others are snoring hard. The stories coming out of Nigeria everyday make us wonder who is really in charge of the country - President Jonathan or the Boko Haram terrorists. In addition to the slaughter of thousands of innocent Nigerians by the Boko Haram, the riotous By Bobby Udoh


ur government at all levels makes promises upon promises but little or no action is taken. Is it only government? No, we, the people, complain all day and night about the sad situation in our country and yet, we will do nothing about it. It is said that at any gathering of Nigerians at home or aboard, the sorry state of our nation will dominate the discussions and each person will participate passionately in the discussion. The objective of this article is not to talk about what is common and clear to us all but to recommend what we must do to move from talk to action. But before that, we must understand why we Nigerians are so angry and talk or complain so much as a result. Without our proper assessment of this, we wouldn't come to terms with the need to move to the place of action. Most citizens go through several difficulties on daily basis in their attempt to live and provide for their loved ones. To add to the difficulties is the unpredictability of our society. All manner of problems can arise without any warning because of our high level of instability in our politics and economy. Avoidable deaths and accidents: A simple trip to the office can end in an avoidable accident that will cost the death of the driver & passengers or deform them for life. Most times, the accident is caused by poor roads, lack of proper road signage & lighting, poor emergency services, lack of proper hospitals and of course, bad driving. Every day, we hear of petrol tankers that fell and kills people in their teens. Visible Sign of Looting without Repercussions:

living followed by destitution experienced by our people further alienates them from the human race. Corruption - the dreaded word - is Nigeria's number one enemy and killer. The leadership is deeply embroiled in it and unwilling to extricate itself from the evil. Corruption and cluelessness have become the Siamese twins of the Jonathan administration. Nigeria is a country where truth is more terrifying than fiction. The other day, Mr. Jonathan confessed to a "small corruption" in the land. Mr. President, small corruption? With all these frightening problems, the president wears a happy face with his disarming signature smile and custom made fedora hat. He looks unruffled, unworried, and unscathed. I don't know how Mr.

Jonathan can go to bed peacefully at night. It's not enough to govern a country by wearing fedora hat and smiles. Government is a serious business. Nigeria is witnessing unprecedented rampage and carnage and it appears the worst is yet to come. President Jonathan has remained aloof and literally asleep at the wheel. The hues and cries of distraught Nigerians are all but fallen on deaf ears. The tale of intrigue and bloodshed overruns the land. The recent clashes between troops and the Boko Haram Islamist militants in Baga, Borno State, with 187 dead and hundreds with life threatening injuries left the Jonathan administration with no excuse or explanation. President Jonathan has proved time after time that he's a leader


We need a leader who must put the cause of Nigerians above his instinct for selfpreservation - and not only live, but enable many others to live as well. When to lead is as important as what to do and where to go. Nigeria needs a leader who must overcome whatever keeps him from moving forward. We need a leader who will see his fate like that of the rest of Nigerians

out of control. Here is how: i) He misunderstood the times. (ii) He lost joy over little problems. (iii) He needed friends to build his selfimage. (iv) His ambition makes him unhappy. (v) He listens to the wrong people. (vi) He thinks too highly of himself. (vii) He sets himself up for failure. (viii) He's reaping what he sowed. At a time like this in Nigeria, we need a leader who will make the needs of Nigerians his personal burden. The individual who will embrace the burden and feel morally compelled to act on it. We need a leader who practices the Law of Sacrifice: a leader must be willing to give up to go up. The vision becomes his or her possession. And most importantly, the person will call others to join the cause, often at great personal risk. Examples of such leaders abound in history at different times and age. President Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu saved South Africans from Apartheid. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks delivered African Americans from Jim Crow. Mahatma Gandhi delivered the Indians from unjust rule of the Brits. The list goes on and on. These leaders were able to achieve their goals only when their cause becomes more important than their lives. Those who saved their lives would lose it, and vice versa. We need a leader who must put the cause of Nigerians above his instinct for self-preservation and not only live, but enable many others to live as well.

So so talk but no action Nothing hurts Nigerians like reading in the papers details of how people in position of authority (government or private sector) loot our commonwealth with such impunity. Worse off, they get away with no punishment and in the few cases where they were punishment, it was more like a slap on their wrist. Our future is unsecure: For young and old adults, the uncertainty of our future and that of our children is so depressing. We worry about our pensions in old age, the education of our children, the home we will retire to, the weight of our extended family challenges on us, the future of our businesses, workplace and investments into property, business and the financial market, etc. Much potential but little wealth: Everytime we think of the abundant natural resources we have and the can-do spirit in many of our citizens, we get pained about our continuous underdevelopment. Of course, there are several other reasons why we get angry and talk so much & so passionately about our problem. But it is hoped that the listing of some of the points above will propel us to say enough is enough. But beyond saying enough is enough, we must move further to say we will no longer be victims but solvers of the problems. This really is the only way forward. But what is the mindset required to enable move forward and solve many of our problems? I believe many Nigerians know our problems

and to various degrees, they know the power to change things belong to the people (you and I). So, the problem and the initiate responsibility are acknowledged. I believe what is lacking to translate anger & complains into positive action is the sacrifice mindset. Why the sacrifice mindset? The change needed within us, our families and our communities requires total commitment, and it can't happen unless we are ready to make sacrifices. It is a deep commitment that will lead to the dedication of time & resources to the solution on the short, medium and long term.The commitment to study what solution we can generate and implement; to put into practice

new values and our well defined actions; and to teach others about change through our words and mainly by what we model, is all gained through a sacrificial mindset. Without a radical change in our lifestyle, we wouldn't have the ability to sustain our commitment. A sacrifice mindset will enable us to give up most of our comforts, our personal goals & glories, some key friendship and family, some possessions, etc., to give us room to focus on delivering the change we seek. This mindset produces citizens who have simplified their lives in order to ensure that life most precious gift - Time, is preserved for only those things that deliver change. Such citizens are said to be radical in


Our future is unsecure: For young and old adults, the uncertainty of our future and that of our children is so depressing. We worry about our pensions in old age, the education of our children, the home we will retire to, the weight of our extended family challenges on us, the future of our businesses, workplace and investments into property, business and the financial market, etc.

When to lead is as important as what to do and where to go. Nigeria needs a leader who must overcome whatever keeps him from moving forward. We need a leader who will see his fate like that of the rest of Nigerians. If we don't take risks, we can never expect to rise to the occasion. The leader will fare no better than the rest of Nigeria if he didn't take risk and act. A leader could lose more than an opportunity if he refused to take action. Of course, doing the right thing at the right time can seem risky. In the long run, a leader incurs a greater risk by not taking action. For failing to take action, a leader could miss out on his mission in life. A leader will never accomplish his mission by remaining idle. What paralyzes a leader from acting? Fear? Image? Whatever keeps a leader from pursuing an opportunity, he'll succeed only by making one timely decision after another. The call for men of vision by the 18th century American novelist and poet, Josiah Gilbert Holland, whose pseudonym was Timothy Titcomb reverberates truly and loudly today. Titcomb probably had Nigeria in mind when he wrote his poem "God, give us Men!"The president's first name - Goodluck - might have served him well. In real life, luck is a combination of preparedness and opportunity. He has the latter in excess, but the former is refreshingly absent. Bayo Oluwasanmi is on LinkedIn. their thoughts, words and actions. But through this lifestyle, they have gained long term approach to issues and a life dedicated to serving others in order for future generations to have a better society than the current one. Interestingly, there are some citizens who are passionate about change and are taking some positive actions but give up after facing hostility. It is obvious that they are yet to attain the sacrifice mindset because the only thing that will stop citizens with this mindset is death or the attainment of the goal. No opposition, man-made or otherwise, would withstand the work of a Nigerian with total commitment and a transformed lifestyle. We all complain so much because we desire change but to build the developed Nigeria of our dreams, we must recognise that it is a long and hard process with very strong opposition. But with the sacrifice mindset, we will attain our objective through much work and less talk. The question each of us must then ask ourselves is, considering all our problems, am I willing to pay the price to build a developed Nigeria? If yes is your answer, join us at the Nation-building Regional Series beginning with the South West Regional Symposium on 29th & 30th May 2013, Welcome Centre Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos. This is an event raising and equipping nation-builders, and providing a community & working groups for these builders. To register or find out about your regional event, visit Bobby Udoh can be visited at www.thecascade



Bamigbetan: Nigeria's boiling cauldron By Dele Agekameh


hen the unfortunate news of his kidnap broke recently, not a few of us who are close to him felt it must have been an error of judgement on the part of his captors. This was because Kehinde Bamigbetan, the second-term chairman of Ejigbo Local Council Development Area (ELCDA) in Lagos state has built a reputation over the years of activism, honesty and simplicity. So, to have picked on such a person appeared to be a grave mistake.It is not that it is right for kidnappers to pick on anybody at all for that matter. Far from it. But it is widely expected that such an individual should have been spared the ordeal he went through. Anyway, by the second day, his house in an innocuous part of Ejigbo town had become a Mecca for all manners of people relatives, friends, politicians, journalists, et al. That day, when I got there in the company of Bisi, my darling wife, we ran into a frenetic prayer session being conducted impromptu by Lady Abimbola Fashola, wife of the Lagos State governor. When the prayer session was over, we all sat down quietly, all motionless except for some little hisses here and there. There was this aura of humility that played around Mrs. Fashola as she sat quietly but occasionally whispering to Fatimah, Bamigbetan's wife's ears. She was damn too simple no earrings, no 'mascaras' painting, no make-up, no flamboyance of any nature. As she prayed earlier, I noticed the constant refrain, "May God banish those evil deeds from this our state!" to which the 'congregation' chorused a loud "Amen!" all the time. Right there,

By Ogaga Ifowodo


hat do the Nigerian people have to do to be heard by their government? As you read this, President Jonathan is busy trying to impose amnesty on a bloodthirsty group that feels insulted by the idea. For all we know, the recent bloodbath in Baga - bodies and still counting may be partly Boko Haram's way of avenging the slur! But the more frenzied the holy warriors' killing and maiming spree in the name of a merciful Allah, the stronger the commitment to dialogue with them. Admittedly, the precedent was set by Jonathan's deceased boss, Umaru Yar'adua, with his programme of amnesty for militants of the Niger Delta who had taken to arms, kidnapping and sabotage to press home their demands for fiscal federalism, also known by the misleading shorthand "resource control." Still, it is clear that the aims of one militant struggle, its excesses notwithstanding, can be met by constitutional means, and those of the other only by scripture. So the answer to the question that begins this essay is obvious: the people must take up arms, form themselves into militias, and wage murderous campaigns that lay waste to entire neighbourhoods, towns and

the journalist the news. I in me silently immediately took over. I dashed down. started The family wondering why was in a joyous Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text God should mood in messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written single out Lagos contrast to contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 State for all evil what it was four words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and cleansing and days earlier not the whole when I first a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed country. But visited there. to: not until the Bamigbetan's prayers were narration was The Editor, over, even then heart Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, I could not rendering. His easily place the bloodshot eyes 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. face until she and bruises on Email: made to leave. his face, nose SMS: 08134607052 It was then I and all that confirmed what underscored the had rung through my mind as I sat gazing all that - it was as if some of the intense torture and inhuman at her direction. While her journalists were working for the treatment meted out to him by entourage sat on the modest sofas kidnappers. Many reported that his captors. He was brutalised, in the room, she sat on a plastic he had been released when he starved and denied all access to chair brought in as was still under torture. It was comfort. Thrown on a stack 'reinforcement' or attachment to then I realized the magnitude of carpet on the night he was accommodate the crowd of professional misjudgement and captured, the bare carpet was to people. Such was her simplicity. miscarriage of news going on in be his bed, his sitting position all In a sober gathering like that, our much-cherished profession. through his ordeal. His hands all kinds of sad reminders usually That is a matter for another day. were tied, so also were his legs. come up. So many past cases of On Sunday morning, six days His captors spoke impeccable kidnapping were raised. Some after he was abducted, English. Some of them claimed were mere newspapers' rehash newspapers carried the news they were Engineering while others never got mentioned that he might have regained his graduates from Nigerian at all in the press even for once. freedom. Earlier the previous universities - I do not know Some were solved through divine night, I had seen the news scroll whether kidnapping was part of intervention while others paid on AIT. I called Fatimah, who their Engineering courses while ransom. It was generally put in said the rumour had been on at school. They also claimed that prayers that God shall manifest since Friday. I remember early they had paced the streets for his handwork in Bamigbetan's on Friday morning, when more than six years until case. And He did. Musibau Sulaiman, sent me a somebody introduced them to The prayers went on non-stop text message from his house in the lucrative but risky business for the six days he was in Mushin 'congratulating' me for of kidnapping for survival; That captivity. Journalists and their the news of Bamgbetan's release, their parents and guardians various news medium did not which he claimed he picked on suffered untold hardships to train help matters. Some wrote out of "Koko Inu Iwe Iroyin", a news them, but here they are, they context. It was lazy and headlines programme in Yoruba, could not even lift a finger to pedestrian journalism at work. on a particular radio station. So reciprocate the good gesture. Many of the stories were never that Sunday morning, I called How will they be able to set up cross-checked before hitting the his wife's phone but she did not their own families and train headlines. Many were abstract; pick it. Then I asked my wife to their children when the society many obvious fabrications. call Idowu, Bamigbetan's has no plans for them? They Many assumptions, innuendos, younger sister, who was my could not understand why one rumour mongering, fallacies and wife's kid mate, who confirmed person could be richer than the


whole country when there are many people who cannot get even a single meal a day. One of them claimed he had gone to Cambodia, one of the poorest Asian countries in the past. That as poor as the people were, their international airport was marvelous unlike the poultry called international airports in Nigeria. That there, the standard of living was better but he fell on the wrong side of the law and was deported. I quickly told myself that that chap is still on the wrong side of life and might be consumed by the law in no distant time. By the time they knew that Bamigbetan was a local government chairman, they accused him of being part of the rotten system that has pauperized everybody. He defended himself. Trust Korky, as he is fondly called, gave a good lecture to them on his student union days, his social activism, the achievements of his administration as chairman scholarships, free meals to school pupils etc. Surprisingly, while he was in their dungeon, some of them came to do espionage on the LCDA Secretariat, asked a few questions about him and so on. Everybody they spoke to had one or two good comments about his character and humane nature. That, perhaps, was his saving grace. And of course, there was real divine intervention. God manifested Himself and secured his freedom. The lesson here is that Nigeria is sitting on a boiling cauldron which might turn over at anytime. And it is not if, but when it turns over, nobody will be spared. Those who have ears let them hear this now and start doing something positive to douse the gathering tempest! Dele Agekameh wrote in from Lagos

Is this President hard of hearing? regions. Only bloody violence, for Nigerian governments do not hesitate to crush peaceful protests with tanks and bullets. For merely singing and drinking "pure water" in the streets, Jonathan rolled out the tanks to quell the January 2012 petroleum subsidy scam protests. If "we, the people" are to be heard, we must speak with guns and bombs and oceans of blood in our hands. Even better if we can block the flow of petro-dollars to the treasury or render an entire region of the creaky republic ungovernable. hile Jonathan bends over backwards to placate Boko Haram, he is vigorously prosecuting MASSOB's leader, Ralph Uwazurike, together with six of his comrades, for treason. So amnesty for Niger Delta militants and Boko Haram but death for MASSOB because ‌ weWll, MASSOB is not shutting down oil wells nor trying to establish with bombs, bullets and tears the New Jerusalem east of the Niger. What, then, is Jonathan telling law-abiding citizens if not that they must first become bloodthirsty militants before he listens to them? Otherwise, why has he been so eager to set up advisory panels on every

imaginable problem but the most important: that of making a genuine nation out of the mere "geographical expression" or "mistake of 1914" called Nigeria? In just three years, Jonathan has set up so many committees it is hard to keep count. A partial list: the General Danjuma presidential advisory council on ways of cutting the behemoth federal government to size; the Justice Belgore committee on review of outstanding constitutional issues; the Adamu Fika committee on review of the reform processes in the Nigerian public service; the Lateef Adegbite committee on public awareness on (sic) security and civic responsibilities; the Steve Oronsaye committee on rationalization and restructuring of federal government parastatals, commissions and agencies, essentially a replication of the Danjuma committee; the Sheikh Ahmed Lemu panel on the civil disturbances that trailed the 2011 general elections; the panel of governors of the Niger Delta to strengthen the Niger Delta Development Commission and make it accountable; the Nuhu Ribadu special task force

on petroleum resources, as well as several ministerial and legislative committees. On 4 April, Jonathan set up a committee to advise him on "the feasibility or otherwise" of granting amnesty to Boko Haram. Twenty days later, he constituted the Turaki implementation committee in the hope of restoring peace to the northern region. But Boko Haram's goal of an Islamic republic amounts to a total renunciation of the constitution, of the basic governing principles of the federation. Their jihadist cause is certainly not a matter for dialogue among a few handpicked individuals reporting to the president. It is, rather, part of the National Question, different aspects of which have every corner of the country seething with barely containable fury. If Jonathan could think and act for a moment like a bold statesman, rather than as a squeamish politician, he would seek nominations directly from the public and set up forthwith a preparatory committee for a Sovereign National Conference. Its terms of reference, loosely stated, would be to consider the

feasibility or otherwise of convening a Sovereign National Conference wherein Nigerians, as citizens, would for the first time decide on the terms of peaceful co-existence; agree on the structure and fundamental objectives of the state, and devolution of power from the centre to the federating units; collate opinions from different ethnic, socio-cultural and professional groups on the modality of the conference, including a specific time frame for its activities culminating in a people's Constitution subject only to ratification by plebiscite; the manner of ensuring stability of government during the period of the SNC until the elections to usher in the new republic. But, of course, Jonathan will not do the most needful thing in our country today, so I will remind him of those prescient words of John F. Kennedy: "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent change inevitable." Professor Ifowodo, a poet and lawyer, currently teaches literature in the United State s of America. He can be reached via



Boko Haram: A case for amnesty, justice for the aggrieved By Sanusi Muhammad


irst, let us take the issue of amnesty for the Boko Haram sect and the perception of the Goodluck Jonathan administration of the idea. Amnesty at this time is not the issue as it is not yet ripe to be granted to an aggrieved group that has neither requested nor is eager for it. The group has severally called for justice against the killers of their leader and their members including demolishing of their places of worship and houses which ignited the insurgency. Since the Federal Government seems to be under pressure to grant amnesty, why should the government not conduct a thorough investigation before any issue of amnesty can bear fruits? Let Nigerians put it at the back of their minds that Boko Haram is yet to renounce violence or show any interest in the proposed amnesty. It has not indicated any interest to reach out to government for dialogue and once amnesty is granted without proper ground work, the sect may eventually relocate to prepare its ground to enjoy the amnesty while still in possession of its deadly weapons for another day. From general assessment, the sect does not appear keen for the amnesty neither is it prepared for now to renounce violence on a platter of gold. It looks at the proposed amnesty as one of those gimmicks and tricks

dished out by government in past interactions. Amnesty may not be the immediate solution for now until other necessary structures are put on the ground. In a conventional setting, government should first convince the sect of its sincerity to hold genuine dialogue than extending a haphazard amnesty that may be offered through passionate appeals and persistent calls. Prior to the escalation of violent attacks in different parts of the prone areas including Abuja, Kogi, Niger and Lagos, several suggestions were offered from in-depth investigations to government for subsequent application including that from a renowned Islamic scholar, Dr. Datti Ahmed. Instead of government to listen, sieve and implement parts of those reports, it was wrongly advised to declare a war on the insurgents as an option which has not paid and may not pay because it has not paid anywhere. Those who suggested the use of force against the insurgents should be held responsible for the present disgrace and mistrust Nigeria is passing through. The declaration of war against the sect not only catapulted the problem to greater heights but afforded the insurgents an opportunity to strategize and woe like minds to launch series of attacks in 'defence' to remain afloat. As the use of force was declared, groups in other climes sharing similar feelings and ideology with the

sect were hurriedly offered support while intensive training and recruitment were intensified including steady supply of sophisticated weapons and funding. Today, Boko Haram claims to be better armed than Nigeria's security agencies claiming that they cannot be easily defeated in a guerilla war fare the the type Nigeria is witnessing. True to their claim, so far, Nigeria's security agencies perhaps excluding few, have recorded heavy casualties, lost of arms and ammunition and public property. As a way to end the insurgency, amnesty should be the last lap of the exercise if genuine reconciliation and peace is the goal to be achieved including cutting the wings of splinter groups especially the dreaded Ansarul Musulmina fi biladissudan (JAMBS). I suggest that the committee appointed by the federal government to look into the possibility of amnesty, should suggest to government the need to first reach out to the sect leadership in confidence to convince it to agree to dialogue. Once dialoguing is holding, violent attacks should be suspended while government should relax its man haunt for its members. As progress is made, there should be demobilization and disarmament. It is after the disarmament, amnesty should then be given to those screened as genuine members of the sect. Government should not be in a haste to declare a blanket amnesty that may cover armed

robbers, bandits and other miscreants who operated under the guise of the sect. The other point is if amnesty is to be offered, it should be accompanied with certain economic empowerment tantalizers to engage the 'repented terrorists' from going back to the desert for business as usual. Security agencies, particularly the Police should be reorganized and rebranded to meet international standard of policing. Part of the grievances of the insurgents and indeed many Nigerians is bordered on police incompetence, greed, corrupt practices and brutality. Nigeria Police from general perspective needs total overhaul for effective policing than what is presently obtained. The police and other security agencies should be repositioned to respect the rights of other Nigerians as equal stakeholders and players rather than see them as common criminals that can be threatened, maimed, brutalized, extorted and killed. The level of corruption in the police including extra-judicial killings in police formations have reached such an unprecedented level that only a reorganization exercise can restore its lost glory. Apart from extortion, the police involves, its self even in pure civil cases such as debt collection to 'clients' through threats and intimidation including detention without trial etc. When the splinter group of Boko Haram, Ansaru invaded Abuja SARS office in 2012 to free their

members from the dungeon, a cross section of Nigerians even jubilated and commended the courage of the terrorists. The reason for their jubilation was that SARS is seen as an extortion and torture machine. While the possibility of amnesty is being discussed, the Federal Government should start the process of reorganizing the police if lawlessness is to be checked and cases of insurgency controlled. The Amnesty Committee appointed should not consider the assignment easy, for it is risky and slippery based on my interactions with Boko Haram members and their Shura Council. Let those with an inkling of the modus operandi of the sect be reached to build confidence and prepare the sect for dialogue. Past experience with Boko Haram shows that it respects only few Northern elders, leaders including religious leaders that should not be ignored. That is the bitter truth for consideration. Those respected leaders should be patriotic enough to answer the call to service and save Nigeria from further bloodshed, destruction of properties, uncertainty and possible disintegration of the 1914 amalgamation. The amnesty committee should have not included politicians or those self appointed community leaders seen by the sect as part of the problem. Sanusi Muhammad is reachable on

Renewing the driver's licence the hard way By Nwachukwu Egbunike


s a suffering and smiling Nigerian, I am indebted to the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) for their innovation in creating the charming application process for the national driver's license. The journey to renew my driver's license has made me appreciate the ingenuity of the FRSC: whose sole obsession is to make driving a memorable experience. It's excruciatingly memorable as they have captured the essence of all things Nigerian: "why make it easy when it can be difficult?" I am certain it's not FRSC's doing that my driver's license decided on its own freewill to expire in March. How can I blame them? It was not meant to last forever. Besides, the road savers have done me a great favour by volunteering to provide a replacement. The state governments cannot be trusted with such a sensitive national assignment. And fiam, the FRSC came to my rescue! The process to renew my license was as (un)easy as A, B, C! Having substituted the manual for the digital application, who dares complain? This is the 21st century, things have moved 'online' and who cares if many Nigerian drivers are digital illiterates. But I am not complaining, I can move the mouse. Those who can't should jump into Ogunpa River! And having finally succeeded in filling up my details - with the connivance of my internet

providers and the FRSC efficient website - I was able to print out the forms on the fifth attempt. I soon realized that despite the "orisi risi" banks that were advertised on the road safety website only two were collecting payments in Ibadan. Don't ask me why? One of the banks sent me to another branch where I was informed that "their server was down" - this amorphous phrase that covers all sins! I had to look for another bank where I eventually paid N6,350 [N6,000 - application charges; N250 - transaction charges and N100 - service charges]. How can I complain, this process only cost me two days; it's not FRSC's fault and I dare not challenge the litany of fees. I hobbled into the FRSC office in Onireke Ibadan, with the air of "do you know who I am" only to be flattened out. The road savers safely served me the humble pie as I was directed to the Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO). Before that I had to pay N100 for a similar form I had already downloaded from the road safety website. I took a look at sea of humanity present in that office and ran for my dear life. I returned two weeks after, when I had built up enough courage. This was 9.30 am and I was number 110 on the list. I perched on a table - actually only half of my butt got a leaning space - for two hours before I was called in to join the queue. It was an L-shaped, faceme I-face-you sitting and moving motion. The office was hot and humid, no fans and the decibel of noise was impressive.

Since the road opposite the waiting-room was under construction and we had a generous donation of dust. And the aroma of hot amala and ila nicely arrayed in a tray - swept past us into the office. I only salivated: it's nobody's fault that I'm such a long throat! "Shift, shift‌" went the chorus for the next three hours before I was ushered into the palace of the VIO commander! I put on my smiling "dog" face only to be rattled by madam, who insisted that I was the one who made "trouble" in her office last week. I swore on my grandmother's grave, denying the accusation yet careful not to raise my voice, lest madam got angry. I think that what saved me was my Igbo name: the

guilty dude must have sprayed the madam a pump-action of verbal lashing in Yoruba. Afterwards, I was presented with an epic documentary encrusted in a CD and entitled: "VIO Road Sense: The Art of Driving". In exchange, I paid N500 only in appreciation for the work of the script writer, producer and director for this block-buster. After the "punchy" viva voce examination, shivering like a Christmas goat, I was dismissed to the next table. There I was asked which type of vehicle I can operate. I answered subserviently because the oga most likely had difficulty reading my form which states class E Driver's License. Then the photocopies - a lady hustler had planted herself at the


You see why I am very grateful to the FRSC. Their innovation has ignited the transformation of a once archaic process to a tech savvy ambience. They have spiced up the once monotonous life of the Nigerian driver into a momentous experience. Besides, the FRSC and their twin brothers, the VIO, have given me practical lessons in patience, humility, courage and fortitude. And I dare not complain! In fact, I banish any such critical frames from my dreams

entrance of our waiting Gaul. And as soon as I was released from interrogation, sister hustler snatched my forms from me and offered to "help" me run the photocopies. Armed with four sets of documents, I went back to the VIO "interrogation" room to have them stamped: they did keep two sets and gave me two. I then defended the stairs to another office to have them registered, there they kept one copy. After that, the "registrar" declared that I should return in three weeks time for the "capture". I don't blame her as well: am I not a "road traffic offender" whose face must "captured in a computer" for daring to replace my driver's license? You see why I am very grateful to the FRSC. Their innovation has ignited the transformation of a once archaic process to a tech savvy ambience. They have spiced up the once monotonous life of the Nigerian driver into a momentous experience. Besides, the FRSC and their twin brothers, the VIO, have given me practical lessons in patience, humility, courage and fortitude. And I dare not complain! In fact, I banish any such critical frames from my dreams. For the time being, I'll enjoy my "conditional" freedom for three weeks before I am definitively "captured" by the almighty FRSC computer. And no worries, I am optimistic that I will get the driver's license before the year runs out. Nwachukwu Egbunike @feathersproject



Traffic logjam on Abuja-Zuba outer northern expressway due to diversion by the road construction company, on Monday.

Photo: NAN

Rehabilitation of vulnerable: SAP-CLN task stakeholders on partnership By Adeola Tukuru


he Coordinator of the Society Against Prostitution and Child Labour in Nigeria (SAP-CLN) , Grace Adogo, has tasked major stakeholders and private bodies in the country on partnership in the rehabilitation of the vulnerable in the society. She made the appeal when the leadership of Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Abuja Chapter took a facility tour to the FCT Vocational Center for the Physically Challenged, Bwari , SAP-CLN training center Jabi and rehabilitation center, Aco, Airport road. According to her all major multinational organizations who believe in the Nigerian youths should come to the centre and

make donations in the various areas of needs as a measure to sustain the optimism shared by the beneficiaries. Also the Principal, FCT Vocational Center for the Physically Challenged, Bwari , Comrade Bala Tsoho, said, that the 3 million subvention the minister of FCT promised has not been fulfilled. Tsoho recalled the Minister’s pledge to center elicited a lot of joy amongst the phycsically challenged community especially the centre as the funds would have turned made great impact on the lives of the people to be trained but was shortlived when the fund was not forth coming. He pleaded with the minister ot redirect his attention to the centre and fulfill the promise he made before the community.

“My appeal to him is that the N3million subvention he promised to the centre should be approved and made accessible by the centre to support some our operations. I will like him to pay more attention to this centre especially as we are going to have more children found on the streets. Some were hired form villages and sent to the city here to sell groundnut, beg or do other demeaning things. We are witnessing an increase of this trend,” Tsoho stated. Lending his voice to the call for support for the development to the vulnearable in the society, chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Abuja Council, Comrade Chuks Ehrim called on the corporate organizations with business presence in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja have been

enjoined to contribute to the human capita development of vulnerable members of the Territory. Comrade Chuks Ehirim who was on a visitation tour of the rehabilitation centres with Exco members of the NUJ Abuja chapter and other journalists to the centres at Lugbe and Kochiko both in Bwari and Abuja Municipal Area Council respectively in the Federal Capital Territory commended SAPCLN. The chairman said the venture undertaken by SAPCLN to remold the minds of young Nigerians who have been forced to embrace unethical conducts and lifestyle on the streets as well as trade themselves to survive called for the support of all and sundry. “There are Nigerian and corporate bodies who have so much money and seek ways to support

the vulnerable, we call on this people to come and support this project in their own ways they can make their choices of areas of intervention that falls within their mandate, he stated. He said the challenge of rescuing the children street hawkers and the commercial sex workers from the streets and training them to become responsible members of society was for the good of all Nigerians as their obedience to civility would further engender a better society. He noted that the corporate bodies in the Territory must as a matter of urgency expand their corporate social responsibility to these aspects of our national life to make meaningful contribution to the development of the young girls and children camped at Lugbe and Bwari rehabilitation centres respectively.

Bwari chair seeks special allocation for area councils By Adeola Tukuru


he Chairman of the Bwari Area Council, Hon Peter Yohanna has called for two percent special allocation from the consolidated account for the six Area Councils in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Yohanna made the appeal while receiving participants of the executive course batch 35 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, (NIPSS) Kuru, Plateau state, who were on study tour to FCT. He also made similar request for the FCT Administration, adding

that such special allocations will enable FCTA and the Area Councils to meet up with the infrastructural challenges facing the territory, which he said, was as a result of daily influx of people to the territory. In his words: “Let me tell you what many don’t know, FCT area councils are at present receiving the same allocation with their counterparts across the country but we pay our staff the same amount with those in the Federal Civil Service and that is not the practice with staff of local councils in the states,” he said. He said as a result of that, FCT Area councils are finding it difficult to meet up with some of the

challenges facing the residents especially at satellite towns as well as local communities. “Such special allocation can be kept some where not necessary at the councils’ account but should be targeted at financing critical projects at the satellite towns in order to meet up with people’s needs in those areas and as well decongest the city centre,” he said. He however told the visiting group that the FCT minister, Senator Bala Mohammed does not tamper with the councils’ funds as being practised in some states. The council chairman said his administration has put smiles in the

faces of his people in the past three years in the areas of rural health, education, water, rural electrification, road and security. Earlier, the leader of the delegation and a management staff at the Institute, Professor Ibrahim Jumare had informed the chairman that the participants, which were drawn from both public and private sectors were on study tour of the territory to ascertain how government policies are affecting ordinary people at grassroots. He said the theme of their course is ‘Strengthening institutional framework and transformation agenda in Nigeria.’

Professor Ibrahim said government’s transformation agenda could only be said to be working if people at the grassroots are feeling the impact of government positively, and expressed satisfaction with the council chairman for his effort to transform his communities. The chairman also led the group to the palaces of Sarkin Bwari, Alhaji Musa Ijakoro and Esu Bwari, Chief Ibrahim Yaro as well as to the ancient Ushafa Pottery centre, where the group called for the upgrade of the centre to a tourism centre in order to attract both local and foreign investors.



INSIDE FCT COURTS Boy bags 3 months imprisonment for stealing blackberry phone


n Abuja Grade 2 Area Court in Kado has sentenced one Sani Ibrahim, 18, to three m o n t h s imprisonment for joint act and theft. The police prosecutor, Sgt. Simon Ibrahim, told the court that on April 24, Joseph Adda o f M a s a k a , Nasarawa, reported the matter at the Utako Police Station. Ibrahim said the complainant had a l l e g e d t h a t

the convict of Garki, Lagos street, Abuja, with two others now at large, formed common intention and criminally stole his blackberry phone. He added that the convict was caught at the scene with the stolen item. The convict pleaded guilty to the charges and pleaded for leniency. The prosecutor said the charges contravened section 79 and 287 of the Penal Code.

NAN reports that the offence carries a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment or with fine, or both. Presiding Judge, Mr A h m e d A d o , therefore sentenced Ibrahim on a two count charge. The first count charge carries two months imprisonment or a fine of N1,000 for joint act and the second three months imprisonment or a fine of N3,000 for theft. (NAN)

Man, 35, bags 1 month imprisonment for theft


n Abuja Grade 2 Area Court in Kado has sentenced Kabiru Hudu, 35, to one month in jail for stealing. The Police Prosecutor, Mr Christopher Roko, told the court that, on April 29, Okon James, of Kubwa village, Abuja came to the Utako Police station and reported the matter. Roko said the

complainant reported that Hudu, of Jabi motor park, Abuja, with three others, now at-large, with criminal intention and dishonesty stole one iron pole valued at N100,000. Roko said the accused admitted to committing the offence during police investigation. The convict pleaded guilty to the charge but


said he did not steal anything rather it was his friends who stole. The prosecutor said the offence contravened Section 288 of the Penal Code. Presiding Judge Ahmed Ado sentenced Hudu to one month imprisonment with an option of N1,000 fine. (NAN)

People crossing the outer Northern Expressway instead of using the pedestrian bridge, on Monday at Dei-Dei, in Abuja. Photo: NAN

Court remands man in prison for alleged incest A Karu Upper Area Court has remanded Rufua Alabi, 42, in prison custody after the police arraigned him for impregnating his 16year-old daughter . The presiding judge, Alhaji Umar Kagarko, ordered that Alabi’s bail application come in form of a motion and adjourned the case to July 3,2013 for hearing. The prosecutor, Cpl Pascal Njoku, told the court on Tuesday that Alabi of Kurudu Village, Abuja, committed the offence sometimes last year, following which the daughter was carrying a six months old pregnancy.

He said that the victim’s mother, Bose, reported the matter at the Jikwoyi Police Station, after she found out that her daughter was pregnant. Njoku said Bose took her daughter to the hospital and the medical doctor she consulted confirmed that the victim was pregnant. He said the victim confessed to her mother and the elder brother that her father was responsible for her pregnancy. “My father on many occasions had sexual intercourse with me when nobody was at home and warned me

never to tell anybody about the affair,’’ the prosecution said. When the First Information Report was read out, the accused pleaded not guilty to the one- count charge of putting his daughter, a minor in the family way . Njoku said the offence was contrary to the Penal Code No counsel represented the suspect in court when the case was mentioned. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Reports that the victim, said to be an SS2 student and the second child in a family of six was present in court. (NAN)

Man bags 3 years imprisonment for stealing goods worth N166,000


n Abuja Magistrates Court has sentenced Shaibu Ibrahim, 19, of Karmo village, Abuja, to three years imprisonment without an option of fine for stealing goods worth N166,000. Ibrahim was convicted on a threecount charge of joint act, burglary and theft by Magistrate Abdullateef Abolaji after he pleaded guilty to the charge. The convict said “I committed the offence because I have no job.’’ However, the magistrate said “joblessness is not a reason to commit an

offence, as you can engage yourself in doing even menial jobs to earn a living. “The act of theft has become very rampant in the Federal Capital Territory and as such I h e r e b y sentenced Ibrahim to 12 months imprisonment on each count charge which will run consecutively.’’ He added that the punishment would serve as deterrent to others who might want to commit same offence. Earlier, the Prosecutor, Mr Salisu Mohammed, had told the court that Philip Azike, of 3 rd Avenue, Gwarinpa, Abuja, reported the case

to the Gwarinpa police station, Abuja, on April 17. Mohammed said that on same date, the convict and two others, Rabiu Umar and Makana Umar, both at-large, conspired and broke into the complainant’s shop at 3rd Avenue, Gwarinpa, Abuja. He said that the convict and his accomplices stole three chairs, one lamp, one Binatone fan, eight standing fans and two cartons of energy drinks. Other items stolen include one bulb, one orbit ceiling fan and four wall lights, all valued at N166,000. (NAN)


First Lady, Mrs. Patience Goodluck Jonathan (middle), Controller-General of Prisons, Mr. Zakari Ibrahim (right), and his wife, Mrs. Ruth Ibrahim (2nd right), wife of Senate Deputy President, Mrs. Nwanneka Ekweremadu (2nd left), and Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro (left), during the commissioning of the Prison Staff School by the First Lady, recently in Abuja.


Nasarawa state Governor, Alhaji Tanko Al-Makura (right), addressing workers during the centenary May Day celebration, yesterday in Lafia

Workers at the Eagle Square, during the Centenary May Day celebration, yesterday in Abuja.

Members of Association of Nigerian Railway Workers displaying a railway prototype, during the Centenary May Day celebration, yesterday at the Eagles Square, in Abuja

L-R: Club Chief Silver Knights of Ibadan, Mr Ladi Salako, his wife, Mrs Kemi Salako and Chairman, Nigeria Economic Summit Group, Mr. Folusho Philips, during a May Day lecture, yesterday in Ibadan. Photos: Joe Oroye, Mahmud Isa & NAN




Mob: 08033644990



- Pg 20

SMEDAN, NPC holds workshop on SMEs challenges

Pipeline Protection Agency: waste of resources, manpower- NUPENG From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan


he Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has said that the proposed Pipeline Protection Agency is another waste of scarce resource and manpower instead urged the Federal Government to empower security outfits to curb activities of the vandals. The National Vice Chairman of Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) branch of NUPENG, Otunba Salimonu Oladiti stated this during a chat with newsmen shortly after he delivered a lecture commemorating 2013 Workers Day organized by Nigeria Union Journalists (NUJ) Oyo state Council, held in Ibadan. Oladiti, who is also the chairman of PDT Ibadan depot, accused the federal government of insincerity in handling the issues relating to pipeline vandalisation. In his words: “What is the duty of existing security outfits who are been paid by the tax payer? “It was when international community accuses Nigeria on loose of 160, 000 barrels of crude

oil daily, then the federal government thought of Pipeline Protection Agency, assuming nobody issued any accusation possibly the trend will continue. “Our union does not against


on vandalism disclosed the union has its own watchdog that monitors its members’ activities. He joined millions of workers and civil society to mark 2013

Workers Day adding that the day worth celebration if employer could sit with employee to examine activities of the last year in order to have mutual working relationship. L-R: Nigeria High Commissioner to Canada, Chief Ojo Madueke, Nigerian Defence Attache' to Canada, Group Captain Aliyu Bello, Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, VicePresident Mohammed Namadi sambo, and his wife, Hajiya Amina Sambo, during Vice-President arrival to Toronto Canada for Canada Nigeria Investment Conference on Monday.

FBN Holdings triples income, posts N92.7bn profit BN Holdings Plc on Tuesday announced a Profit Before Tax of N92.7 billion for the financial year ended Dec.31, 2012. In a press statement issued in Lagos, the company said the profit before tax represented a growth of 158.5 per cent compared to the N35.8 billion declared in the corresponding period of 2011. It said profit after tax grew by 306 per cent to N75.7 billion against N18.6 billion recorded in the preceding year. The statement said the Board of Directors of the company was proposing a dividend payment of N1 per share to all shareholders. It said Gross Earnings increased by 31.4 per cent to N359.8 billion against the N273.8 billion posted in 2011. The company’s operating income increased by 25.8 per cent to N298.3 billion, in contrast with N237 billion in the previous year, while customer deposits stood at N 2.4 trillion against N2 trillion announced in 2011. Also, its total assets grew by 11.4 per cent from N2.9 trillion in 2011 to N3.2 trillion during

it but it is of no use when police and civil defence corps can be empowered to do the job perfectly if well mobilized.” Oladiti reiterated union’s commitment to zero tolerance

the period under review. Commenting on the results, the Chief Executive Officer, FBN Holdings, Malam Bello Maccido said that the focus was on consolidating the group’s leadership position in Nigeria. Maccido said that the company would continue to grow its different business lines and ensure provision of financial solutions to its customers across the entire value chain. “We are intensifying efforts to facilitate the realisation of these synergies, crystallise cross selling opportunities and deepen the relationship with our customers,” he said. (NAN)

PENGASSAN urges FG to stipulate PHCF disbursement mode in PIB


he Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN) has called on Federal Government to ensure that the structure and mode of disbursement of the Petroleum Host Community Fund (PHCF) were stipulated in the Petroleum Industrial Bill (PIB) National Industrial Relations officer of PENGASSAN, Mr. Chika Onuegbu, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday that the call was being jointly made with the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers (NUPENG). Onuegbu said that the mode

and structure of the fund disbursement to host communities were not detailed in the PIB as well as the functions and objectives. “There must be clear provisions on the administration of the fund including such provisions, allowing the communities to decide for and by themselves the value-adding projects required by the respective communities. “We believe that the PHCF should include not just oil producing communities, but all communities hosting oil and gas resources and assets including

Management Tip of the Day


Prepare stories for your job interview

on't show up for a job interview without a stockpile of good stories. These narratives should be parables with a moral at the end, showcasing the skills that are relevant to the position you're applying for. Make your stories do double duty: They should illustrate the good job you'll be able to do for

the company. And they should show that you're loyal, trustworthy, or hard-working some personal quality you need to get across. Be sure to have a failure story at the ready. Don't cheat and talk about your tendency to "work too hard." Pick something real that you were able to learn from. This will magnify you in the

interviewer's mind, not diminish you. There's a good chance the interviewer will ask you to talk about a weakness or a failure, anyway - it's better to be prepared than to come up with a unpolished response off the cuff. Source: Harvard Business Review

downstream infrastructure. “This is because the entire value chain of the oil and gas industry has peculiar health, safety, environmental and community related problems. “A mechanism can then be developed to determine each asset’s criticality with the producing communities obviously being the most critical,“ he said. Onuegbu said with that no part of the country hosting any oil and gas resources, assets or facilities, would feel short-changed as it would derive socio-economic benefits from being a host. He said that the PIB was ambiguous on whether contributions by companies along oil and gas value chain to the PHCF would constitute immediate credit to total fiscal rent obligations. Onuegbu said that the PIB should be clear on such issues, adding that the fund’s provision in the PIB was polarised along political, regional and ethnic interests. NAN reports that PHCF laws propose that oil producing companies pay 10 per cent of their profits to the PHCF to provide socioeconomic infrastructure in the host communities. (NAN)



Ayodele Samuel <> 0806 372 7788




pple has raised $17bn (N 2.72 trillion) via a bond sale, the biggest ever by a non-banking company, to help fund its plan for extra payouts to shareholders. Last week, it said it will buy back $60bn in shares, and raise its dividend to shareholders by 15%. Apple’s bond sale, its first in nearly two decades, comes despite the firm having cash reserves of $145bn.

Notore Power Ltd


otore Power Limited, an indigenous independent power producer (IPP), has just signed a Joint Development Agreement with ContourGlobal to develop, construct, finance and operate a gas-fired power station with an available capacity of 500 MW at its existing facility at the Notore Industrial Complex in Onne, Rivers state. The signing took place on Monday 22nd April 2013 at the Presidential Power Reform Transactions Signing Ceremony hosted by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. The plan is to sell the electricity generated by the plant to the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading PLC.

Toyota/ Microsoft


oyota is teaming up with Microsoft for an Internet service that links cars, home computers and smartphones so users can find nearby tourist spots, connect on social networks and learn about new models. The beefed up version of Toyota’s Internet site, starts May 30 in Japan, and will be based on “Cloud” computing from Microsoft Corp. called Windows Azure. Overseas plans are still undecided. According to the US software giant, it is the first time the technology, which also uses Sharepoint software, is being used for a company site.

SMEDAN, NASENI to support women entrepreneurs Stories by Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) have expressed its readiness to partner with women entrepreneurs in the country. They made this known at the 20th anniversary of Nigerian Association of Women Entrepreneurs (NAWE) in Abuja recently. NASENI Acting DirectorGeneral, Dr. M.S. Haruna said, “Women have proven impact in all capacities to create huge positive impact in all fields of human endeavour. From Engineering, Science, Banking, Aviation, Accounting to the Military, women-folk, the world over, have proven innate abilities to excel even in areas

hitherto considered exclusive to men”. Haruna said NASENI would collaborate with NAWE in the fabrication and production of simple implements to heavy machines and technologies required to run more sophisticated industries. In his address, SMEDAN Director-General, Muhammad Nadada Umar said the world has come to realize and accept the indispensable role of women and their potentials in evolving a new socio-economic order in accelerating the pace of economic development, social awareness and political emancipation. Umar said SMEDAN partners with business development service providers to reach out to women, adding that its programme includes training in entrepreneurship and business management, including business planning and

business plan preparation, marketing, finance, personal/ business visioning, ICT, accounting, operation/ production management and human resources management. He said if women were not engendered they would be endangered, stressing that Nigerian women now face “glass walls” that kept them from emerging as big time entrepreneurs. A former National Deputy President of the association, Senator Nkechi Nwaogu said the key to economic progress anywhere in the world lies in unleashing women’s potential. She enjoined the Federal Government to give women access to capital to enable them turn their ideas into the small and medium enterprises that are the source of so much growth and job creation in Nigerian economy. In her welcome speech,

BOI, Gombe disburses N3bn to SMEs


he Bank of Industry and Gombe state government are set to disburse N3 billion to Small and Mediumscale Enterprises (SMEs) under the second phase of trade intervention aimed at providing more funds for entrepreneurs in the state. Flagging off the scheme, Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo said the fund is to be disbursed as soft and affordable loans to SMEs in the state, to invest in value addition activities in the agroallied and mineral sectors of the state economy. He recalled that the state government had two years ago signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bank of Industry (BOI), in order to reposition the economic fortunes of the state. This, according to him, led to the creation of a “Matching Fund” of N1 billion through a joint contribution of N500 million each by the State government and BOI to SMEs engaged in value addition activities in fertilizer blending, groundnut oil processing rice processing, poultry feeds processing, fish feeds

Gombe state Governor, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo processing and tomato processing. Others are cosmetic processing, aluminium longspan roofing sheet manufacturing, poultry

farming, printing, metal fabrication, block/interlocking molding, carpentry and furniture making. Dankwambo also disclosed that a site has been provided for Industrial Cluster/ Enterprise Zone for groundnut oil millers and rice processors who were before now scattered in different places within the state. “We have directed the Ministries of Works, Water Resources, Trade and Rural Development to provide access roads, water mains, fencing and electricity to this cluster,” he said. The governor said the scheme has generated hundreds of jobs through cooperative societies and the SMEs. “About 1,380 jobs have been created by 39 cooperative societies while it is envisaged that by the time all the 133 cooperative societies are visited, more than 3,000 new jobs would have been created. And another 6,000 indirect jobs created as well, through the forward and backward linkages of the production processes of the 133 cooperative societies and SMEs,” he stated.

SMEDAN, NPC holds workshop on SMEs challenges


he Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) is to partner the National Productivity Centre (NPC) to enhance small and medium scale enterprises’ (SMEs) output. SMEDAN, in a statement signed by its Assistant Chief Information Officer, Ibrahim Mohammed, said the collaboration was borne out of an urgent need to develop strategies to ensure that

problems associated with productivity potential of (SMEs) were addressed. In this regard,SMEDAN and the NPC will be organising a two-day National Workshop tagged: “Work Place Challenge in the Nigerian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector”. The workshop, according to the statement, is slated for May 8 and 9, 2013 at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry Conference and

Exhibition Centre in Ikeja. The objectives of the two-day workshop include identifying workplace transformation challenges, identifying appropriate productivity improvement tools and techniques for workplace transformation. The seminar is also to develop Best Operating Practices (BOP) for Nigerian SMEs and train participants to become workplace environment managers.

National President of the Association, Chief (Mrs) Adaeze Ozongwu said the group would brainstorm on its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges in its quest to be better drivers of economic development. Chief Ozongwu said NAWE was borne out of the need to enhance the promotion of economic activities of women, with a view to harnessing and channeling their full potentials towards national development. She stated that the association envisaged capacity building, networking, mentoring, advocacy and economic empowerment of women. Ozongwu said NAWE would empower 100 women with one million naira each by the end of 2014 and demanded a new affirmative action of 50:50 by 2020.

‘We are winning war against substandard’ - SON DG


gainst the backdrop of increasing fake and counterfeits product across Nigeria’s market, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON claimed to be winning the anti substandard way by reducing, by half, the level of fake and substandard products in the country. SON, Director-General, Dr Joseph Odumodu, in a brief chat with newsmen said that SON had tackled the problem of substandard products through a series of strategies deployed to address the challenge. Odumodu said the organisation would rid the nation of unwholesome products, adding that there was still much work to be done to achieve zero tolerant targets on substandard products in the country. He said that a mechanism had been put in place to build an effective organisation in the bid to improve the living standard of Nigerians through the fight against fake and sub-standard products. Odumodu called on regional and state coordinators to redouble their efforts to achieve the zero tolerant targets. He also urged them to cultivate the habit of choosing a major market at a particular time to rid it of fake and sub-standard products.

SON, Director-General, Dr Joseph Odumodu



Umaru Mutallab: Hallmark of hardwork and professionalism By Bashir Ibrahim Hassan


ork is the life blood of Alhaji Umaru Mutallab. He retired some 25 years ago at the pinnacle of his banking career as the Managing Director and CEO of United Bank of Africa (UBA); But he is still as agile as ever. These days, he's overseeing his private businesses and helping upcoming businesses and young entrepreneurs find their feet with professional counselling. He remains a vastly influential muscle in the Nigeria's organised private sector. Despite being around for a long time, Mutallab always knew at any particular moment when to quit. He left the enviable position of the bank MD after eight years on the saddle, two years short of what the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has now made the mandatory period for bank MDs. By the dint of hard work and professionalism, two hallmarks of his lifestyle, he was able to leave behind impeccable records and indelible marks in the banking sector of Nigeria. No history of Nigerian banking industry will be complete without the opulent mention of the Funtua, Katsina state-born banker. No doubt, the younger generation of Nigerians have in their midst an accomplished achiever of Mutallab's status for inspiration and professional guidance. In fact, in these days of economic challenges and uncertainties which we are passing through as a nation, even those in the corridors of power too often seek his wise counsel and gain some useful ideas and direction. Although he has both the benefits of working for the public as well as the private sector, Alhaji Mutallab is more famous for his contributions to the growth and development of the Nigerian banking industry. From 1975 to 1978 he was a Federal Minister, first of Economic Development, and then that of Cooperative and Supplies, but he voluntarily resigned to join United Bank of Africa (UBA) as Executive ViceChairman. Two years later, not surprisingly, he assumed the position of its Managing Director/CEO in 1980 and remained in that position for eight good years before he retired. His years at UBA were the golden period of the then largest bank in West Africa. The phenomenal growth of the bank under the tutelage of

Alhaji Umaru A. Mutallab Mutallab earned him respect in the financial world. He is a Fellow of the Institute of the International Bankers Association of the United States (FIBA) and Fellow Institute of Bankers (FIB). On the national scene, he chaired the Business Support Group (BSG) arm of the Vision 20: 2020, which is one of the cornerstones of the economic policies of the Federal Government of Nigeria. He contributed in shaping the Northern Nigerian Development Company limited (NNDC), one of the long lasting legacies from the era of the late Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, first as its financial controller; then deputy general manager and finally as General Manager in the 70s. Other national financial institutions and businesses he has offered selfless leadership to, as board chairman or member, include: First Bank of Nigeria Plc, National Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), the Okigbo Panel on the CBN, and the defunct Bank of the North Limited, to mention a

few. The bespectacled banking icon is now 73, but looks much younger, his light complexion unfazed by the tropical sun of the Sahel in which his home state of Katsina is located. Retired but not tired, he is continuously be-sought by many blue chip companies to chair their boards. At the last count, he was the chair of no less than seven such companies, including Ja'iz Bank, the pioneering Islamic Bank in Nigeria, Impresit Bakolori Plc, Incar Nigeria Plc, and Spring Water Nigeria Limited. Behind the successes he recorded was the privilege education he received mostly abroad. He attended the famous Barewa College, said to be the breeding ground of the Northern elite's class who grew and fought for Nigeria's independence and later occupied positions of leadership in post-independence Nigeria in economic and political spheres. His short course at Achimota College of Management, in Ghana, set the path for what Mutallab was

to become in life-a consummate accountant. From Accra to London went Mutallab in search of deeper knowledge in his quest to equip himself with modern skills. He joined the South-West London College, famous in the 60s for award of degrees and diploma in accountancy and management. Thereafter, he kick-started his career working for three years after his college studies as Management Accountant with Fuller Jenks Beecroft & Co. Chartered Accountants of Moorgate, London. Always clad in his spotless Babbar-riga with a matching traditional cap, one would imagine that with the many achievements, wealth and indeed influential position within the Nigeria's organised private sector would create in him a sense of entitlement and self-importance. However, it is quite the opposite -- Mutallab is exceptionally modest and inspiringly humble. But he is passionate about the things which he holds dear. A Chartered Accountant and proud of it, he nowadays preoccupies himself more with

nursing of up-coming businesses and young bankers. One needed to see how those young Turks of our financial institutions swarmed around him at the recent ASO Savings & Loans Housing Exhibition and Conference in Abuja. His other passion is philanthropy hardly surprising for one who grew up under the shade of Islamic culture and upbringing. He is a trustee of Katsina Foundation and a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, a multipurpose Foundation founded by former US president Bill Clinton and working in parts of the world, including Africa, in such areas as global health, economic inequality, childhood obesity, climate change and health and wellness. Life is not always bed of roses, as the saying goes; If Mutallab was the one writing the script of his destiny, the discomforting part he would leave out would probably be the involvement of his son in a plot to blow US-bound plane a few years ago. It was an incidence that tormented the quite, happy retirement life of the Mutallabs, but one in which he displayed remarkable composure and unparalleled submission to the will of the Almighty Allah. In the end, he overcame the withered storm. Nigeria stands to gain a lot from the wisdom and wealth of experiences of this most widelytravelled colossus. Here is a man who adopts integrity as his hallmark and hard work, the stallion he rides and gallops across the vast wilderness of life, confronting its many vicissitudes. Indeed, he is well recognized in the world and respected by the governments of Nigeria, past and present. From abroad, he received the Italian National Honour (Commander of the Order of Merit) as far back as 1982, for example. In Nigeria, he has received one of the highest awards in the land -- Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON). However, one would like to see that this man, of no mean regional and international connections, is closely consulted on matters of national economic policy and development; of national dialogue and security, as our country struggles with itself on the intricate path of nation building. In the final analysis, Mutallab has proven, beyond any doubt, that the many successes he recorded in his career are due to good education, professionalism and hard work in the right mix.



Rice smugglers defy Customs as smuggling booms


ocal growers of rice and importers of the commodity have cried out for government help against smugglers who they allege have overrun the customs at the boarder entry points. A new group of local growers and importers of the commodity calling themselves the ‘Patriotic Rice Association of Nigeria’ (PRAN) said in Abuja on Monday that “massive and incessant smuggling of Nigeria had thrown the rice industry into a turmoil with severe consequences for government revenues, the economy and future plans for rice self-sufficiency”. The statement, jointly signed by its Chairman, Alhaji Habibu Maishinkafa and Secretary, Mr. Martins Okereke said given the free reign enjoyed by rice smugglers, “a bleak future lies ahead of local rice growers and traders legitimately involved in rice trade.” Tracing the origin of this sorry state of affairs in the country, the association said, “the Nigerian rice industry seems to have been thrown into a turmoil since the import tariffs were increased exponentially, effective January 2013. Matters have got complicated further with the reported inability of Nigerian Customs to control smuggling of rice across the country’s borders with Benin”.

In their view, the higher tariff and consequent high market prices have enthused smugglers to push large volumes of rice into Nigeria with zero duty, thereby unsettling FG’s efforts to make Nigeria self-sufficient in rice production by 2015. They decried the situation in which “large-scale investments made into the farming and milling industries by private businesses are also in jeopardy, following Customs’ inability to protect the industry from the vagaries of smugglers. PRAN quoted reports that suggest that more than 400,000 metric tonnes of rice from various origins are estimated to enter the country illegally, dealing a major financial blow to legitimate importers and rice millers.” “Needless to add, these illegal imports result in substantial loss of revenue for the Government, estimated to be in the range of N 27 billion by industry observers”, they asserted. “The Nigerian rice consumers are in the process short-changed,” they went on, “with inferior brands being smuggled and then rebagged into quality brands and sold at higher prices”. They further alleged that several vessels with cargoes totaling to more than 220,000 metric tonnes from Indian and Thai origins have flooded the

ports of Benin and Cameroun, in order to eventually find their way to Nigeria through the borders. “More than 8 million bags of rice have flooded all markets including Alaba, Daleko, Ideo, Singer and other prominent nationwide markets”, their statement added.

They also noted that smugglers have reportedly used sophisticated weapons attacking and killing Customs staff, inflicting fears in the ranks across the borders. PRAN said they were joining the prominent rice associations in the country to urge that the

Nigerian Customs, notwithstanding assurances to the contrary, on the need to act swiftly and totally clamp down on such illegal imports to be able to contain any further damage. ( S o u r c e


Austrian seeks partnership with KADCCIMA to boost business activities From Mohammad Ibrahim, Kaduna


he Commercial Counselor, Austrian Embassy in Nigeria, Nella Hengstler, on Tuesday said it seeks to partner the Kaduna Chamber of Commerce Industry Mines and Agriculture (KADCCIMA) in the area of business, so as to boost business activities between the two countries. Speaking when she paid a familiarisation tour to KADCCIMA office in Kaduna, she said there are so many business

areas her country and KADCCIMA can engage in. According to her, Austria is a very small but a very rich country located in central Europe, with a population of about nine million people. She said that Austria has a very long-standing relationship with Nigeria "but unfortunately, we don't have very much investment in Nigeria; this is why we are very much looking forward to establish this partnership with your Chamber, so as to exchange information with other companies here. I think our

main focus is how we can work together. "We are known for our high quality machineries for energy, Austrian recycling machines, construction machines and we can engage with the private sector on commercial business activities. We also have the Know-how on renew energy and the rest," she said. Nella noted it was not easy convincing Austrian investors to Nigeria but said the moment electricity stabilizes in Nigeria a lot of businesses will take up in the country. On the situation in North, she

NERFUND to partner with ABUCCIMA to boost SMEs


he Chief Executive Officer, National Economic Reconstruction Fund (NERFUND), Mr. Maina Gimba has said that plans are on to assist Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with collateral-free loans to grow their businesses. Gimba made this known in Abuja on Tuesday when members of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ABUCCIMA) visited him to seek areas of partnership. According to him, the loan will range between N1 million and N4.5 million. “This anticipated collaboration is most welcomed by NERFUND, we will formalise it by executing a Memorandum of Understanding between our organisations.As soon as we are

able to sign this Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), then we would be expecting you to forward your request to NERFUND for action,’’ Maina said. According to him, the collaboration is necessary because NERFUND and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which is a contributor, have made membership of a trade group a prerequisite for sourcing the loans. Earlier, the President of ABUCCIMA, Mr. Solomon Nyagba commended NERFUND for its role in economic reconstruction and sought NERFUND’s collaboration in the area of funding. Nyagba said that many members of the Chamber fell within the group of SMEs and required low interest loans to

CEO, NERFUND, Mr. Maina Gimba

boost their businesses. He said that since its establishment in 1986 and a membership of 2000, ABUCCIMA had been facing the challenge of low infrastructure, importation, high tariffs and double taxation, hence the high cost of production. (NAN)

said, "We, in Lagos, used to hear negative stories about Kaduna state and North, but with what I saw for myself I think all those things are not true. In fact, it is safe to drive down to North. This is my first time in Kaduna and I think am impressed with what I saw," she added.

Earlier, the President of KADCCIMA, Dr Abdul Alimi Bello assured the visitor of KADCCIMA's readiness to go into business partnership with Austria. He assured her of good business cooperation and support in the state.

Ogun to build shopping malls for displaced traders


he Ogun state government has assured traders whose shops were demolished in the course of the on-going road construction across the state that modern shopping malls will be built for them. The Governor, Ibikunle Amosun gave the assurance during a meeting with representatives of traders and house owners in Abeokuta whose buildings and premises were affected by the demolition exercise. He said the malls that would be constructed by the government will be allocated to those whose shops were demolished first before being offered to other prospective allotees. “We are going to build modern shopping malls with full complements of modern facilities that will befit the Ogun state of our dream”, the governor said, assuring the traders that all the shopping malls will be ready before the Sallah and Christmas

festivals. He equally promised that compensation will be paid to affected traders, promising that all payments will be made in due course. He also assured that those that will be allocated the shops will be allowed to occupy them free of charge for the first six months, saying, “We will give you six months free usage in the first instance and later, we will negotiate with you on how you are going to start paying”. While soliciting the cooperation of all, he asked for patience and understanding in the quest by his government to fulfill its promises to the people of the state and deliver its five cardinal programmes. During a question and answer session, Mr. Amosun explained that private developers are welcome to build new shops; but that they must get government’s approval and ensure that the buildings are in accordance with government’s specifications. (NAN)



Report as at Tuesday, April 30, 2013




Nigeria: Battling malaria without drugs or knowledge Ogechi Ekeanyanwu


he statistics are shocking. Over 300,000 Nigerians die from malaria each year – more than in any other country. An estimated 250,000 are children younger than five. When the disease strikes, most Nigerians visit patent medicine vendors (PMVs) like Bisi (not her real name) for relief. “You will take chloroquine; four today, four tomorrow and two afterwards”, says Bisi to a customer, prescribing treatment for a bout of malaria. Bisi operates a small pharmacy in a poor area of Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. Many of her patrons buy medicine for their children’s malaria, which causes twenty per cent of all deaths of children under five in the country. According to her neighbours, and by her own account, Bisi is a “trained nurse”. She administers drugs to the residents of Lugbe, a slum of about 50, 000 people among a metropolitan population thought to number well over three million. “You will take the chloroquine with Panadol”, a popular brand of analgesic in Nigeria), Bisi tells her client. The only test Bisi conducts is to ask, “How are you feeling, are you feeling cold, headache?” As soon as she gets an answer in the affirmative, she administers chloroquine and piriton, an anti-allergy drug. Chloroquine was once the most effective treatment for malaria. As early as 2005, however, Nigerian health officials advised against using the drug, because the malaria parasite had become resistant to it. But Bisi is oblivious to that problem. She administers chloroquine in the confidence that her client will be cured of her ailment.

The baby killer he death of a child is a sensitive issue to discuss, especially with immediate relatives of the deceased. As reporting for this article unfolded over three weeks, two child deaths from malaria were encountered in one neighborhood. Although traumatised parents refused to speak about it, a relative agreed to talk. “My uncle’s daughter was poorly treated for malaria,” the source, who wants to remain anonymous, told PREMIUM TIMES. “She was


Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu

Mosquito complaining, they gave her medicine, and then she died. It was the only girl. It is too sad.” The child was about four years old. “My neighbour’s child”a boy between five and six – “went to the pharmacy,” the source continued. “But they gave him adult dosage.” He, too, died. The 2010 Malaria Indicator Survey showed that only 11 per cent of Nigerian children treated for malaria were given ACTs. Most took chloroquine. Ineffective but popular r. Oladimeji Oladepo, a medical school professor at the


Minister of state Health, Muhammed Ali Pate University of Ibaden, is working with PMV associations in a program aimed at providing more effective treatments. The Institute of Development Studies has been a partner in the research. Oladepo’s unit in the Department of Health Promotion and Education, found that people buy chloroquine, “because it is almost 15-fold cheaper than the ACT” – the ‘artemisinin combined therapy’ drug cocktail that is effective against most malaria cases. “In fact, 70 per cent of people who have fevers, symptomatic of malaria, will visit the patent medicine

vendor first, and they would want to buy chloroquine, the cheapest drug, to treat their malaria,” he said. A walk into a pharmacy – perhaps better to call it a shop where drugs are sold – reflects chloroquine’s continuing dominance. In the Agboju area of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial center and largest city, medicine vendors stock chloroquine because it remains the drug that is most in demand, especially among the older generation. “We sell it because people still buy it, especially the old school people,” one of the vendors said. Emmanuel Otolorin, the

Country Director of JHPIEGO, a non-profit affiliate of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, spoke with PREMIUM TIMES on the efficacy of chloroquine. “The malaria parasite became so clever that it started looking for survival,” Otolorin said. The spread of chloroquine resistance, first in Latin America and Asia and then across Africa, prompted the development of ACTs. A looming challenge is that resistance to these latest drugs has already been found in four south-east Asian countries. Know your enemy – and how to fight it

In addition to treatment with ACTs, the World Health Organisation(WHO) recommends a four-point strategy to combat malaria, Otolorin said. The first is education. “Everyone should know how malaria is transmitted” – by mosquitoes – and “how it breeds in stagnant water,” Otolorin said. Armed with that information, communities can reduce the places the insects can breed. A second element of the strategy is sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net. When a mosquito touches it,” Otolorin said, “ it dies”. But even when bed nets are available, they aren’t always

used. Nneka Okechukwu knows that sleeping under a net can help protect her. The problem is that the net’s small holes, designed to restrict penetration by mosquitoes, also reduce air flow. “The weather is hot,” she says, “and there is never light to use the air conditioner or fans at night, so it uncomfortable to use these nets.” Nigeria has an erratic supply of electricity, insufficient to power even the homes of the minority of Nigerians who can afford it. South Africa, by comparison, a country of 50 million people, has 10 times

the electrical production capacity of Nigeria, with a population of 180 million. “You either die of heat or of malaria,” Okechukwu says. “Because malaria is not immediate, I usually consider the heat, so I sleep without the net.” Nnenna Ibeh, a journalist, tolerates the nets because she knows they work. “I would sleep under the mosquito nets and when I wake up, I would see dead insects surrounding the nets” she said. “This way I feel safe.” Early detection and treatment with effective medicines is the third step in malaria control. A rapid diagnostic test (RTD) to

confirm or rule out a malaria infection – is an important step. Limiting treatment to people who have an acute infection is a precaution against the spread of ACTresistant malaria. The fourth recommended approach is giving malariaprevention drugs to all pregnant women at least twice in their pregnancies – after the first trimester and at 16 weeks – a practice called intermittent preventive therapy. WHO’s 2012 World Malaria Report, released in December, says 10,000 thousand women and 200,000 babies die annually from malaria in expectant mothers.

“Pregnancy lowers their immunity; it lowers their ability to fight malaria parasites,” Otolorin explains. “The baby will get less oxygen and food during pregnancy; as a result, the baby becomes malnourished inside the womb.” Malaria in pregnant women should be treated at any gestational stage, he says, because it is so deadly. A flawed policy espite the human and economic costs of malaria, most Nigerians remain uninformed about both prevention and treatment. Oladepo says there is a need to


translate the government’s policy on malaria into the three major Nigerian languages, so that people can understand it. An attempt to speak about government policy to the national coordinator of the Nigerian Malaria Control Programme (NMCP), a division of the Public Health department of the Federal Ministry of Health, is stalled by bureaucracy. “Madam is busy; come back later,” a reporter is told. “Madam cannot talk to you just like that. You will have to fill a form; then she will respond to you later,” the coordinator’s secretary said, in response to a request for an appointment. However, a staff of the NMCP, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because his superiors had not authorised him to speak, acknowledged that there has been no major reduction in malaria deaths. But he insisted that the health ministry is fully involved in campaigns at the grass root level. “Definitely information gets to the rural areas,: he said. “There is a cascade effect from the top to the bottom. ..The national programme coordinates everything about malaria. We also have state offices that coordinate down to the local government level. “Right now as we speak, insecticidal nets are being distributed in the states. This evolves down to the lowest wards in the state,” the source said. “There are some gains that have been made. It may not have been exactly drastic as everybody would have been expecting. But we are on the right path,” he continued. Asked about the continued popularity of chloroquine, the NMCP source defended health officials. . “It is not something we have full control of,” he said. “There are no government hospitals where you see chloroquine”. But a policy that focuses mainly on hospitals seems flawed, in a country where most people buy medicines from venders in the private market. The PMVs serve rural people and those who have little money – and about 60 per cent of Nigerian live below the poverty line. Venders like Bisi are offered little support to provide effective drugs and no official instruction to help her help her customers. On a recent day, she was sternly warning a pregnant women not to take malaria drugs”. “You cannot take malaria medicine for now,” she said, offering, instead a mild painkiller and a nutritional supplement. “Take it all this morning”, she advised. Source: Premium Times



Lead poisoning: Ministry completes formalisation of illegal miners in Zamfara By Mohammed Kandi


ollowing the incident of illegal mining and inappropriate mineral ore processing methods by miners in parts of Zamfara State, killing hundreds mostly children in year 2010, the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has completed the formalization of informal miners into organised cooperatives. The effort, according to a statement issued by the ministry's Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations, Marshall H. Gundu, was necessitated to identify the mining artisans, organise them into mining cooperatives to meet all the requirements prescribed in the mining law and regulations. "Formalization is a crucial process which enables the Ministry to obtain vital information and data about the miners, their mine areas and modes of operation. It allows ease of administration, monitoring and evaluation as well as supervision," he said. "In February 2013, funds were made available to the Ministry to execute the Safer Mining Programme in Zamfara State. The programme is crucial in ensuring that lead poisoning does not occur again in the state whilst the mining communities are assured of sustainable livelihood through safe mining operations.

"However, since the release of the funds, the Ministry has commenced series of coordinated activities that will ultimately institutionalize safer mining procedures," he explained. "The Ministry has commenced the construction of Extension Services outposts in designated areas in Anka and

Bukkuyum Local Government Areas. The facilities will each be provided with functional water boreholes. The construction of the boreholes is ongoing at the outposts. The outposts will be fitted with all equipment necessary for on-the-site training of the local miners," Gundu disclosed.


communities. It would be recalled that illegal mining and inappropriate mineral ore processing methods was adopted by local miners in Abare, Dareta, Unguwar Yargalma, Bagega and some other villages in Zamfara State, resulting in lead poisoning emergency in the State.

When floods took over the Abuja-Lokoja road in 2012

â&#x20AC;Śthreatens licence revocation in FCT he Federal Government has threatened revocation of licence as well as shut down some of quarrying operations at some companies within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to guarantee strict adherence to the constituted laws guiding the country's minerals and metals sector. Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Musa Mohammed Sada, who gave the warning during his working visit to some selected quarry sites in Abuja, a statement from the ministry stated, ordered the closure of all operations in non compliant quarries within the FCT in particular and the nation at large. Sada explained that the visit was to obtain firsthand information on mining operators at the mines sites, as well as to assess the level of compliance of mining operators with the stipulated laws and rules guiding mining operations in the country. He noted that the present administration had done a lot to set up relevant legal and institutional frameworks towards the growth of the minerals and metals sector, stressing government's

On public enlightenments, Gundu informed that the Ministry had embarked on vigorous sensitization campaign in the State, using the media to educate especially the rural people on the inherent dangers associated with inappropriate mineral processing and illegal mining in the affected

determination to ensure the implementation of the frameworks. Sada also expressed disappointment with the poor level of compliance to the rules guiding mining operations at the Perfect Stone Limited which was his first port of call. He decried a situation where only one Nigerian personnel was responsible for the managing of both quarry face and the explosives magazine which was not in tandem with the extant rules guiding quarry operations in the country. The Minister explained that in accordance with the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act of 2007, all professional jobs in any quarry site most be manned by Nigerians who are registered members of the Nigerian Council for Mining Engineers and Geoscientists (COMEG) . His words, "The issue of explosives in premises is not good enough. The Nigerian Professionals is managing the quarry face, managing the explosives; probably he is the only Nigerian working in the quarry. This is not acceptable". He explained that, "those quarry operators that are moving close to residential

areas as a result of their quarry activities would be issued a notice to find an alternative or be advised to increase the value chain of their operations, for instance, production of concrete slabs from the already blasted stones which would definitely reduce the hazard associated with quarry operations." Sada therefore assured that the working visit to mine sites would be a continuous exercise and would cover all the states of the federation in order to ensure a double check on mining operations in the country. The quarry sites visited by the Minister and his team included Perfect Stone Limited, Hongyum Limited, Arab contractors Limited, Setraco (Nig) Limited, Julius Berger Limited and Leen Ford Quarries Limited which are all situated at Mpape area of the Federal Capital Territory In his remarks, Chairman of Leenford Quarries Limited, Senator Effiong Bob, said one of the challenges being faced by quarry operators in the country was the invasion of the mining operations by foreigners who are not ready to comply with the rules and regulations guiding the minerals and metals sector of the Nigerian economy.

Group decries Gov't. attitude to flood victims' plight in Kogi By Mohammed Kandi


he Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), a nongovernmental organisation has accused the Federal and State Governments of not making adequate provisions to assuage the suffering of victims of 2012 floods across Nigeria. The Rights' group also condemn the poor distribution of relief materials to victims by governments at all levels and called for "transparent, fair and accountable in their encounter with flood victims." In a statement jointly endorsed by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Director of Media Affairs, Zainab Yusuf, the association slams the N3, 000 offered to flood victims by Kogi State Government. "Many of the Kogi victims rejected the money, while victims in other states like Taraba and Plateau have also cried of abandonment," the

statement stated. The group said the amount was condemnable considering "the several billions of naira raised by both the Aliko Dangote-led flood victim's rehabilitation presidential panel and the funds disbursed from the presidency by President Goodluck Jonathan last year." HURIWA therefore called on the Economic and financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe the groundswell of allegations that the fund for the flood victims are being systematically stolen and/or mismanaged by state government officials. The group suggested that "community-based, faith-based organisations and credible civil society organisations in the affected states be constituted into independent monitoring groups to ensure the transparent disbursement of these huge public fund to the right victims of last year's floods."



The monumental fraud that's cactus programme


he last has not been heard yet about the prevailing issue of Cactus Opuntia plantation being established in some northern states to fight desertification. As an environmental writer, my little knowledge of forestry sciences has been challenged over my several articles on the issue that has become an all time fraud. What I thought was just one of those frauds over the unexecuted contract to establish cactus Opuntia plantations in some northern states, it appears to be more gargantuan than I ever imagined. Comments have not stopped trickling in since my articles on the issue. The more recent that took my interest is the comment from some notable foresters who gave me what I would call a tutorial on the issue of Cactus Opuntia as a species to check desert encroachment. After the tutorial, I became very convinced that the proponents of what I would now call obnoxious program might not have had the benefit of taking a basic eco-silvicultural course in forestry sciences. If they do, they simply choose to ignore the voice of reason; against the advice of experts and foresters and went ahead with the program, obviously for pecuniary reasons. From all available information, all the Directors of Forestry and Environment in the affected Northern states overtly opposed to this program from the beginning. Their grouse was that when an exotic species is being introduced into a nonindigenous environment, there are ecological procedure that the plant must go through before a plantation of such is established, amongst which are the provenance and species trials. They argued that Gmelina arborea, Tectona grandis, obeche and Azadiratchta indica (dongoyaro) went through these processes before large scale plantations of these species were established. And the Cactus program has not gone through the scientific due process and exposed us to grave risk of importing invasive species like the water hyacinth into our environment. This shows that the present Cactus program is a blunder and a monumental fraud concocted to swindle government of large sums of tax payers' money with a visible connivance with some MDAs. It has also been revealed that the cactus program did not receive the expert blessing from one of the principal relevant Departments in the Ministry of Environment. Despite the clear objection to the program, a sister department with incompetent disciplinary backgrounds went

ENVIR ONMENT ENVIRONMENT WATCH By Ambrose Inusa Sule, mnes 0703-441-4410 (sms only)

the Sudan savannah regions of Nigeria are characterized by a hostile environment of erratic rainfall, high temperatures, low humidity, abnormally low precipitation, all culminating into a poor and degraded environment devoid of productive forests. This situation is aggravated by the North-east dry wind which blows from the Sahara desert, laden with dust

vulnerable. The plant species in question, Cactus opuntia does not meet this natural silvicultural requirement. The second requirement is that the species should possess the natural attributes of allowing undergrowth vegetation imperative for checking both water and wind erosion. Scientific research on Cactus opuntia reveals that the species is negatively

particles that settle on the northern fringes of Nigeria causing aridity. But the fact is that there is yet no desert environment in Nigeria which must be made undoubtedly clear. The Sahel and the Sudan regions of the eleven northern states are threatened with desert encroachment, but are certainly no decertified. A scientific investigation of the case of the Cactus opuntia as a species to check desert encroachment is imperative. Silviculturally, for a species to be qualified or considered for checking desert encroachment, the said species must have three basic attributes. First, the species must have dense foliage to act as wind break thereby protecting the arable lands. The foliage does not only protect the top soil from the North-east hostile wind, but also ensures that the heavily force of rain drops are physically broken prior to hitting the soil. This cushioning effect of rain drops protects the soil against water erosion to which arid lands are very

allelopathic, secreting poisonous exudates that discourage the growth of lower vegetations around the plant. This unwanted attribute definitely disqualifies Cactus Opuntia as a choice species for checking desert encroachment. The third attribute to be scientifically and silviculturally considered here is the root structure of a species for obstructing desertification. The tap root must be deeply rooted at least one-half the height of the tree to resist high wind velocity and also to tap water from lower aquifers. The horizontal spread of the root must also be considered, this attractive necessary to hold the soil texture firmly for the protection of the soil against erosion of all types. This cactus opuntia is totally devoid of this natural and important attribute for checking desert environment. It is quite obvious that officials of the Ministry of Environment and the Ecological Fund Office are aware of these claims, but choose to look the other way.

Cactus plantation ahead deceiving the then Minister of Environment, the Federal Executive Council and the Presidency. The above assertion is substantiated by official comments, professional and expert advice in a memo to the Permanent Secretary by the then Director of Forestry. Their postulation is that the weakness in the use of cacti for desertification control is that they do not produce thick canopies that can effectively withstand and break windstorms. In the Nigeria context, a Green Belt should also be able to serve as a source offuel-wood, fodder good and stabilize the soil; and that Cacti do not generally produce these services. Their argument also is that the success in the use of cacti in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, which was being touted by the proponents of the program, should know that the semi-arid condition which prevails in Nigeria is not the same with those countries. It was on this note that the Federal Government was

seriously advised that the proponents of a cactus program should provide some propagates of cacti species for field trials by Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria to establish the economic advantages, adaptability and environmental friendliness of the plant to the arid zones of Nigeria. It is unfortunate that this professional advice was never taken, simply because some people are using this unviable program to steal billions from government, money that would have been enough for other viable projects in the economy. It could be recalled that the establishment of the Cactus Opuntia plantations in the eighteen northern states was part of the National Afforestation Programme of the late President Umaru Musa Yar'adua, designed to roll back the expanding Sahara Desert and generally put in place mitigation measures to combat the imminent effect of climate change. Agreed that the Sahel and




Agency trains Journalists on disaster reporting Stories by Mohammed Kandi


n an effort to mainstream the media into disaster management activities, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) North Central Zone, has organised a one-day training workshop for the media titled "the Role of Media in Disaster Management". A lecturer at the Department of Mass Communication, University of Jos, Mr. Taye Obateru, in the lead paper titled "the role of the news media in disaster management" described the media as an integral part of disaster management team. Obateru urged the media to evolve their social responsibility role to work for society's wellbeing beyond education, information, entertainment functions. Speaking on the agenda setting theory of the media, he stressed the need for the media to treat disaster management reporting as part of national development agenda, especially in their daily news coverage. Earlier in his welcome address, the Ag. Zonal Coordinator of NEMA North Central, Mr. M. B Abdulsalam said that reporters, commentators, editors, broadcasters and all members of the media could do more than just inform and raise awareness about disasters. He urged the media to always explore the root causes of

disasters from authentic sources and their social dimension. The media can help communities and countries understand what makes them vulnerable and what they can do to increase their capacities to cope with disasters. Also speaking, Chairman of National Association of Women

Journalists (NAWOJ), Plateau State chapter, Mrs. Tongnaan D. Bawa, in her paper titled "the mass media and national interest" stressed the need for journalists to make patriotism the central theme in their news reports. She lamented the current polarisation of the mass media along regional lines as virtually

no news media stands out to report issues on ground when the cheeps are down. Participants at the workshop expressed gratitude to NEMA for availing them the opportunity to attend the workshop, which they described as worthwhile. However, they both described the forum as a platform where

exchange of ideas has increased their professional skills. Highlights of the workshop were the decoration of ten (10) participants as "Executive Emergency Volunteers" and presentation of First Aid Boxes to the Chairmen of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in each state of the North Central Zone.

Some displaced women and children being organized by officials to benefit from the relief items donated by the NEMA

â&#x20AC;ŚDistributes relief items to displaced herders, flood victims


he National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has delivered relief materials to the over 300 herders that were displaced

from the recent sectarian violence in Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau State and victims of 2012 flooding in Sabon Gari Local

Government Area of Kaduna State. The herders, who relocated to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Tafa,

NEMA officials counting some of the relief items delivered to Baga and other communities in Borno State

Kagarko Local Government Area of Kaduna state, received relief materials worth millions of Naira. While delivering the items, NEMA North-West Zonal Coordinator, Alhaji Musa Ilallah observed that "the victims at the IDPs camp in Tafa, Kagarko LGA are from neighbouring Bokkos LGA in Plateau State who were displaced during the crisis, where about 30 people lost their lives, 25 still missing, hundreds rendered homeless and hundreds of cows still missing". He urged the victims to live in peace with their host communities and to be God fearing, adding that "no religion teaches such barbaric acts". According to him, people should know that every soul must account for its deed adding "violence has been the challenging factor and bane of our development." Meanwhile NEMA has delivered massive emergency relief materials to residents of

Baga in Borno State where a clash between members of the Joint Task Force (JTF) and Boko Haram insurgents recently led to some humanitarian crisis. The NEMA team was led by its Director of Search and Rescue, Air Commodore Charles Otegbade and was mandated to stay in the town and ensure that relief was delivered to residents. The team delivered items like food, medical supplies, mattresses, blankets, buckets, mats, soaps, tents, sanitary wares and others. According to Manzo Ezekiel, an Information officer with NEMA, the items were being distributed to the citizens who are taking refuge in displaced persons camps (IDPs). Ezekiel said the distribution of emergency relief materials was sequel to a directive by President Goodluck Jonathan to the NEMA Director General, Muhammad Sani-Sidi to urgently provide immediate succor to the people. The team worked jointly with the Borno State Government.




BAGA: NEMA debunks alleged non-access to IDPs Camp By Mohammed Kandi


he National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has said about 642 Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) have been sheltered in various camps following their return from the bush after being displaced by the recent crisis in Baga, Kukawa local Government Area of Borno State. The Agency's North-East Zone Coordinator, Mohammed Kanar, who disclosed the figure, however, debunked allegations that NEMA officials were denied access to the area by the military. Kanar, who made the clarification, said the agency had already mobilized relief interventions to Baga town and has since commenced the distribution of aids to the affected persons along with other humanitarian organizations and officials of the Borno State Government. He said the rapid relief intervention of the Agency which delivered the much needed succor to the people was made possible with the support and cooperation of the stakeholders including the military. The Zonal Coordinator said "officials were never denied access to the troubled area at anytime just as it never said that the displaced persons are still

hiding in the bush." He explained that the displaced persons who had fled the area initially have all returned as confirmed by the community leaders.

NEMA officials, according to a statement issued by the Agency's Press officer, Manzo Ezekiel, are still on ground in the area and have continued with their humanitarian activities.


NEMA DG, Muhammad Sani-Sidi

Agency (NERA) to National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) was enormous because many people were not in support of the change and the situation at the time of military regime was tasking. She added that the present Director-General is on course because the concept of the obligations of NEMA is that it is continuous due to dynamic nature of disasters in the world. The former Director-General then challenged the staff to be dedicated and ready to build their own capacity as step in moving the agency forward and the nation at large. In her words "the present set of Nigerian youths are lazy and do not have the habit of reading widely with the aim of getting themselves equipped against the challenges of the contemporary

society and it is only when you are ready to build your own capacity that you and the Agency can enjoy your service and you will be useful yourself in and out of service. "The Director General is a gentleman who is focused, humane and committed to the progress of NEMA and I urge you all, to fully support him in moving the Agency forward". Also speaking at the occasion, pioneer Director, Planning, Research and Forecasting, Mr. Ayo Ajayi praised the current Director-General on his successful management of 2012 flood disaster, which was a rare occurrence but that the focused personality of Alhaji Sani Sidi made it possible to mobilize all stakeholders for the successful management of the emergencies easy for the nation.

NEMA organises refresher course for staff


orth-West Zone of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has conducted a refresher training programme for the NEMA/NYSC Emergency Management Vanguards (EMVs) in Sokoto and Kebbi states to equip them on prompt response to likely floods in these states as predicted by NIMET for this year's rainfall. The Zonal Coordinator, Musa

By Abubakar Jimoh

Climate Change: Africa runs faster than the global average


Olowu tasks emergency staff on diligent service he Pioneer DirectorGeneral of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Chief (Mrs) Oluremi Olowu, has called on staff to show diligent commitment to national service in the cause of comprehensive disaster management. Olowu, who stated this at the South-West Zonal Office in Lagos during the Agency's Pensioners' Verification Exercise, commended the current leadership of the NEMA saying that "the challenges of managing disasters are enormous which require selfless, dedicated, diligence and commitment of all staff for the benefit of the Agency." In a statement by press officer, Ann Inobi Agbo, Olowu recalled that the transformation of the National Emergency Relief


Ilallah, who stated this at the workshop, urged all disaster managers in the states to provide effective mechanisms that would aid stakeholders at all levels in mitigating and responding to the anticipated 2013 floods whenever the needs arises. "The agency hereby reiterates its commitment to building a culture of preparedness, prevention,

response and community resilience to disasters in Nigeria and the minds of the populace", Illallah said. He added that the agency will continue to unite, work together, protect and improve the lives of vulnerable citizens as well as enhance the resilience of the communities by mobilising and sensitising all segments of the society to checkmate disasters.

nlike other continents of the world, Africa seems to have experienced more than any global community the dreadful impacts of especially the humaninduced climate change. Recently, in a research conducted by the Director, Centre for Disaster Risks Management and Developmental Studies, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Prof. Edwin Iguisi, revealed that decadal increased in temperature of between 0.1 and 0.3 0C have been across the continent, indicating that Africa is warming faster than the global average. He argued that the observable changes suggested that rainfall patterns are becoming more variable across the continent, reflecting the influence of factors such as the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). According to Prof. Iguisi, West Africa has seen substantial reductions in rainfall during the latter half of 20th Century, including prolonged droughts in the 1970s and 1980s, and greater rainfall variability. The finding of Global Circulation Models Project disclosed that current trends of rising temperatures and altered rainfall will continue during the remainder of this Century. "At a continental level, temperatures are projected to rise by between 3.2 0C and 3.6 0C by the period 2080-2099. Precipitation patterns will also continue to change-very likely decrease along the Mediterranean Cost, Northern Saharan and West Coast to 15 0N, while increasing in tropical and eastern Africa," he reported. While observing the trend in Nigeria-"African largest nation", Youths Against Disaster Initiative (YADI) discovered that at the last Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projections, the country will fit into the such categories of extreme events as warmer and more frequent hot days and nights over most land areas, frequent heat waves, heavy precipitation events, and increased in areas affected by droughts with a large proportion of northern Nigeria increasingly prone to intensified desertification. Also, in a recent investigation by YADI, desertification and drought have continuous to sabotage Nigeria's socio-economic, food security and employment opportunities. For instance, about 35 million people in northern part of the country are reportedly suffering from the dangers of desertification. While not less than 50,000 farmers in about 100 villages in Yobe state have been affected by sand dunes. Recalled in a book titled "Disaster Management is Everyone's Business" written by the Director-General of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Alhaji Muhammad SaniSidi, it was noted that the Sahelian states are highly vulnerable to climate change due their geographical location in the southern edge of the Sahara desert coupled with the strong dependence of the population on rain-fed and livestock as a means of livelihood. Meanwhile, Prof. Iguisi further maintained that with Average Sea Level Rise (ASLR) of about 0.5m, about 35% of the delta could be lost, while ASLR will result to 75% loss of the delta. Capital values could

be as high as $1.75 billion. A document containing Post Disaster Assessment of 2012 flood disasters present to YADI by NEMA stated that the magnitude of the 2012 flooding altered the year's GDP growth by 1.4%, reduced the balance of payment surplus from 1.2% to 0.6%. An estimated 48 million working days were reportedly lost in the agriculture, commerce and manufacturing sectors. Similarly, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has also warned that climate change may negatively impact traditional coping strategies, eroding people's ability to recover. The Organisation predicted the greater need for adaptive social protective measures as climate change increases the frequency of disasters. According to FAO, the predicted variations in global temperature, rainfall and sea levels may lead to increased water scarcity, more frequent and more extreme droughts and floods, shorter cropgrowing seasons, loss of crucial habitat and the arrival of new pests. Also, it was estimated that over 55 million people have been seriously affected in Borno, Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi states; and approximately 350,999 hectares of land is lost to desertification annually. In recent times, landslides remain one of the major threats to human life, property and constructed facilities, infrastructure and natural environment in most parts of Nigeria. Hitherto, the various incidences of landslides in the country have resulted to the rapid movement of large amount of soil mass over extensive areas, causing major damage to people, their environment, agricultural farms, houses, and roads. They also cut off water and power, block road, or create other undesirable conditions. For instance, in December 2005, the dreadful landslides at Umuchiani community of Anambra state uninhabited about 250 families; while no fewer than 20 communities in Awgu and OjiRiver Local Government Areas of Enugu State were thrown into serious difficulties by landslides, which cut off a portion of federal road linking the community in October 2011. Moreover, in the last four years, the intensifying rate of flooding in parts of Nigeria has posed another terrible damage to lives, property, houses, industries, public utilities, including safety and socioeconomic well-beings of the people. Floods have been described as the most common and widespread of all natural disasters throughout Nigeria. A document presented to YADI by NEMA shows that in 2010, 2011 and 2012, no fewer than 23, 11 and 33 states were respectively affected by floods. According to NEMA, a total of 108 Local Government Areas were submerged by October 2012. In the 2013 flood prediction by the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET), the key locations that might witness excessive rainfall include the catchment of River Niger, and some of the flood affected states in the year 2012.



Examining post-bomb explosion situation in Madalla

By Folasade Folarin


rom all indications, Madalla, a town in Niger State, has yet to recover fully from the Dec. 25, 2011 bombing at St. Theresa Catholic Church, in which about 43 persons were killed. The ever-busy Madalla Market is now a ghost of its former self, with several stalls empty, while the few traders there often complain of low sales. Apparently, the traders are now always on edge, wary of a possible attack by members of the Boko Haram sect who perpetrated the Christmas Day bombing. Although security has been beefed up in the area, most residents still live and move about in fear, while many people have relocated from the neighbourhood. Miss Medinat Yakubu, an electronics dealer, says that Madalla was very conducive for business before the Dec. 25 terrorist act. ``Doing business in Madalla had been profitable until the bomb explosion which scared many people away from the town; resulting in the relocation of many residents and even businesses to safer settlements. ``Before the explosion, our daily sales were in the region of N1.3 million but shortly after the explosion, there was a lull in the market. Nowadays, we hardly record more than N150, 000 daily,'' she adds. Mrs Chinedum Igwe, a fish seller who has been living in Madalla for over 10 years, complains that ``even when we are at the market, we are always afraid because we have been attacked there before. ``In fact, there was a time when some people came to the market and started shooting sporadically; so, once it is 5 p.m., traders start packing their wares, unlike before when we often stayed in the market for longer periods. ``Even when it rains in the evening,

people leave immediately after the rains because we don't know what may happen after the rains,'' she says. Besides, Rev. Fr. Linsmary Daniel, an assistant priest at St Theresa Catholic Church, says that the population of worshippers at church has decreased by about 60 per cent after the Dec.25, 2011 episode. ``Many of our parishioners left; in fact, there was someone who was running a printing press here but he left because of Boko Haram. ``His workers are now jobless; one of them, who incidentally is my friend, has gone back to his village to begin from the scratch. ``I know of someone else who relocated to Abuja for fear of losing his business to the Boko Haram insurgents. So, you can imagine if the economy of Madalla is slowly dwindling, what will happen in a place like Maiduguri that happens to be the hub of the Boko Haram insurgency,'' he asks. Buttressing Daniel's viewpoint, Mr Nelson Nwosu, an economic and political analyst, says the current security challenges facing Nigeria have had grave socio-economic, political and geographical impact on the nation. He says that geographically, the problem has led to a sustained migration of the people which, in turn, brings about overcrowding of some areas. ``People tend to leave the places of

conflict to go to places where there is relative peace; this leads to overcrowding because people will desert a particular area and move to places where they feel there is relative peace. ``And one of the effects of overcrowding is that there will be a rise in vices such as prostitution, drug abuse, armed robbery, among others, in the overcrowded places,'' he says. Besides, Nwosu stresses that politically, the government would not be able to focus its attention on some development areas, as appreciable resources would be deployed to solving the country's security problems. Economically, he says that productivity will be low in areas facing serious security challenges. ``Unemployment in places like Yobe is rife because banks have to wind up and many workers in such places are now jobless. Apart from that, lives and property that have been destroyed in these places are not quantifiable,'' he adds. Nwosu explains that the crisis has even taken its toll on the existing infrastructure, adding that putting up new structures later may not be feasible. ``Banks, police stations, schools, markets and telecommunication masts have been burnt down,'' he notes. He laments that most of the infrastructure in use today were provided over 10 years ago, stressing that it would be extremely difficult to replace the ones


Unemployment in places like Yobe is rife because banks have to wind up and many workers in such places are now jobless. Apart from that, lives and property that have been destroyed in these places are not quantifiable

that have been destroyed. Nwosu moans that the current security challenges in the northern part of the country and the wanton destruction of property there will further impoverish the region. He argues that while the South would be striving to forge ahead, the North would be busy rebuilding the destroyed infrastructure. Dr Dominic Ogbeche, a psychiatrist at the National Hospital, Abuja, says that incidents like the Dec. 25, 2011 Madalla bombing could induce psychological trauma, otherwise known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), among the people. He expatiates that PTSD is a traumatic condition that can crop up after a person has undergone a harrowing experience caused by physical, sexual or psychological injury or death. ``People respond to such stressful situations differently; some respond to the situations with symptoms of depression and anxiety, including fear, worry, irritability, poor concentration and poor sleep. ``After that, such people try to avoid thoughts, feelings, conversations, activities, places or people that remind them of the trauma,'' Ogbeche says. Concerned citizens have repeatedly expressed concern that the economic activities of many towns in the northern part of the country have been crippled due to the Boko Haram insurgency. However, the Federal Government has been making designed efforts to tackle the crisis by setting up a committee to dialogue with members of the Boko Haram sect. Observers, nonetheless, insist that the committee needs the support of every Nigerian for it to succeed in its assignment. Source: NAN



May Day: Reflecting on Bangladesh factory disaster and corporate terror ANALYSIS By Paula Chakravartty and Stephanie Luce


ow is it that we label some acts of violence with the brush of global terrorism while others are relegated to the more mundane category of everyday violence? Tsarnaev brothers were instantly characterised as terrorists, and Muslim terrorists at that, with a national and social media frenzy dissecting their crimes boosted by the live spectacle of the "manhunt" in Boston. Yet in the same week, an explosion in a fertiliser factory killed 14 people and caused enormous damage to a small town in West Texas - with little media attention. The Boston Bombings were deliberate acts of terror committed by villains targeting the innocent; the Texas explosion while tragic, was seen as accidental- as opposed to the outcome of the deregulation of industry and safety standards - and therefore easily forgotten. The horrific factory fire on April 24 outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh, that killed more than 400 people, mostly young Muslim women, and injured at least 1,000 more might conceivably also be understood as an example of globally networked violence. The eight-storeyed Rana Plaza complex, where the fire broke out, housed a variety of businesses, including a bank and five garment factories that employed 3,122 garment workers. Workers noticed a large crack in the building on April 23 and the building collapsed the next day. Police ordered it to be evacuated, and the bank on the second floor told its workers not to come in the next day. However, the garment factories decided to stay open for business, and the result was senseless and preventable tragedy. This was only the latest in a series of factory fires and collapsed buildings in Bangladesh that have killed over 900 workers since 2005 and injured thousands more. Big retailers in the US and Europe have pointed fingers at local sub-contractors in Bangladesh as the guilty party behind these "tragic accidents". But there is nothing accidental in these too common acts of terror against workers and companies like Walmart, The Gap, H&M and hundreds of others, who have refused to address basic demands for safety by workers in the Bangladeshi garment industry. The fire at Rana Plaza brought thousands of workers, their families and supporters to the streets demanding justice. A coalition of NGOs and workers organisations has been calling for

While garment manufacturing has led to impressive growth in Bangladesh's overall GDP, profits from the industry go primarily to garment retailers and brands in Europe and the US [AP] multinationals to join a programme that would establish independent monitoring, workplace safety committees and address some of the basic fire prevention strategies. So far, only two companies (Phillips van Heusen which represents brands such as Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger; and German-based Tchibo) have signed it, while the majority refused. Companies like Walmart are defiant against any attempt by workers to have a voice in ensuring their safety in the workplace in Bangladesh, deflecting criticism by promising self-regulation and investing in public relations-driven charity. Bangladesh is the second largest producer of garments in a trillion-dollar global industry, squeezing profits from workers assembling to the dictates of fast fashion under perilous conditions and at mind-boggling speeds. One report found that workers had to sew one pair of Walmart "Faded Glory" jeans every six minutes, sometimes up to 12 hours a day. Powerful multinational retailers and brands arrive in Bangladesh demanding the lowest possible price forcing local producers to cut costs in building

maintenance, safety and wages. What about the opportunities and benefits of globalisation for workers who are very much at the bottom of the pyramid? In the 1980s, the Bangladeshi government was pushed to focus on exports - promoting its abundance in cheap labour as its "comparative advantage" both at home in the textile industry and abroad from remittances by workers living abroad. The textile industry has long been a prominent part of the economy in much of South Asia, and with independence from Pakistan in 1972, Bangladesh nationalised its large textile mills. The privatisation of the industry began in the 1980s and was accelerated after 1986 once the government signed on to the IMF's structural adjustment policies. Despite its pursuit of "free markets", structural adjustment of Bangladesh's economy meant a heavy hand of the state in promoting and supporting the readymade garment (RMG) industry alongside harsh interventions against unionisation attempts by workers. The last three decades has seen an explosion in the growth of the


RMG industry which today accounts foralmost 80 percent of the nation's overall exports. As such, wages in this notoriously low-wage industry have remained virtually stagnant, making Bangladesh "competitive" against China, India, Cambodia, ElSalvador and virtually all other garment exporters that have seen average garment wages rise. This manifestation of the race to the bottom contributes directly to increasing rates of inequality in Bangladeshi society and the growing numbers of the working poor. In other words, while garment manufacturing has led to impressive growth in the country's overall GDP, profits from the industry go primarily to garment retailers and brands in Europe and the US, and to a lesser degree to Bangladeshi middlemen and factory owners. The government has little incentive to disrupt this cozy relationship as the industry accounts for so much of its economy. Most of the production takes place in export processing zones where companies are exempt from many basic laws - and pay little in taxes. With a small tax base, the government has few resources to build up its department of labour

This manifestation of the race to the bottom contributes directly to increasing rates of inequality in Bangladeshi society and the growing numbers of the working poor.

or other enforcement mechanisms. Some in the US have called for boycotts or bans of Bangladesh garments, but this would only exacerbate the problem and hurt workers. This May Day, we might want to return to the similarities between the acts of violence outside of Dhaka and in Boston, both events resulted in senseless bloodshed of innocent victims. While we might debate how to prevent tragedies like the Boston marathon bombings, it is abundantly clear that enforcement of safety standards and basic regulations would help prevent the sheer scale of terror and violence from being unleashed yet again in Bangladesh. The International Labor Rights Forum, (ILRF) the Workers Rights Consortium (WRC) and the Asia Floor Wage campaign are making efforts to demand accountability in Bangladesh. It would cost only a small fraction of the profits that this global industry aggressively extracts. Walmart, for example, would have to pay $500,000 a year for two years to fund the ILRF programme - or about 2 percent of their CEO salary in 2012. The WRC estimates that the ILRF safety programme would cost only about 10 cents per garment if spread out over all the country's exports - a small sum for corporations or even western consumers, who benefit from the violence that comes from an economic model that promotes profits over human life. Source: Al Jazeera



Somali militants threaten to avenge Puntland killings Guinea on brink of chaos over longdelayed poll


ailure by Guinea's politicians to reach agreement for a longdelayed legislative poll is stirring up tribal violence, jeopardizing economic gains and raising fears that the military could once again step in. The election, first scheduled for 2011, is meant to complete a transition to civilian rule after a military coup in 2008, but has been postponed several times as government and opposition parties remain at loggerheads over the organization of the vote. At least 12 people have been killed and over 300 wounded between February and April during several days of violent clashes between opposition supporters, government loyalists and security forces in the seaside capital Conakry. The government and its opponents have traded accusations of stirring hatred between the largely pro-opposition Peul, who account for around 40 percent of the population, and the smaller Malinke tribe loyal to President Alpha Conde. "The risks for Guinea are enormous," said Christopher Fomunyoh, Africa regional director for Washington-based think tank National Democratic Institute (NDI). "The ethnic undertones to the political debate in Guinea are growing increasingly polarizing." For some, like 24-year-old car mechanic AbdoulayeJibril Sow, the risks are already reality. In early March he arrived at his home in Bambeto, an opposition stronghold, when a bullet ricocheted off a wall, sliced through his neck and exited through his left shoulder blade. Sow did not see who fired the shot, which paralyzed his arm, nor who shot dead a 16-year-old neighbor the same night during an attack on the poor Peulneighborhood by Malinke tribesmen. "All I am asking for is that the opposition and those in power reach an agreement so that the youth of this country should not continue to pay the price of this violence," Sow said, wincing as he tried to sit up. The international community is working hard to bring the parties to the negotiating table, worried that Guinea's collapse could suck in neighbors Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Mali, themselves struggling to recover after civil conflicts. Hopes of a compromise waned when the government said this month it would press ahead with the elections on June 30, disregarding opposition objections.


omali militants who have dug into parts of the northern Puntland province pledged vengeance after authorities in the autonomous region executed 13 suspected Islamist rebels. Puntland long avoided being caught up in successive Islamist insurgencies that have shattered Somalia but has slowly been infiltrated by al Shabaab rebels squeezed out of former south-central urban redoubts in the Horn of Africa state. Puntland officials say many of the insurgents have taken up positions in the mountains west of the port city of Bosasso.

"Puntland massacred innocent Muslims," al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage said in an audio recording posted late on Tuesday on, a website linked to the rebel group. "We shall avenge them. All those who spied, bore false witness, judged, and shot them will face a tough punishment." Wary of a reprisal attack, Puntland security forces later deployed heavily in Bosasso's dusty streets. The suspected insurgents were shot dead early on Tuesday outside Bosasso. A military court official in Puntland said they had confessed to

being militants. Al Shabaab denied that any of its fighters were in detention in Puntland. Rage said the deaths resembled a string of apparent extrajudicial killings in Mogadishu in March, when residents said government security forces had killed at least 10 pardoned al Shabaab fighters and dumped their bodies in the streets. The Mogadishu government has promised to investigate those killings. They followed the murder of two senior security officials, for which al Shabaab claimed responsibility. Somalia is trying to emerge from two decades of civil war that has left it without an effective central

administration. Security has improved in Mogadishu and the government sees bolstering the rule of law and reforming the judiciary as crucial to restoring normality. African Union military intervention has done much to dislodge al Shabaab from its southern and central strongholds, setting back their bid to impose their strict brand of sharia (Islamic law) on Somalia. But an attack on Mogadishu's law courts in April that killed 30 people showed al Shabaab can still launch strikes in government-held areas despite its decline as a fighting force.

Charities criticise UK for ending South African aid


harities have criticised the UK after the government announced it would stop direct aid to South Africa in 2015.UK ministers said their relationship with South Africa should now be based on trade and not development. But international charity Action Aid said it was the "wrong decision at the wrong time".South Africa's government warned that ending the aid programme, currently worth ÂŁ19m a year, would have "far-reaching implications". It said it had not been properly consulted or informed about the move. Action Aid accused the government of "running away from middle-income countries" and drew parallels with the UK's decision last year to withdraw aid from India. "It seems to imply a more general UK policy of withdrawing aid from middle income countries abruptly and without the progressive phasing that would help communities adjust to new realities," spokeswoman Melanie Ward said. Oxfam called on ministers to ensure the decision to end direct aid would not cost lives. "Whilst South Africa should be in a position to fund its own development, there remains

International Development Secretary Justine Greening widespread poverty and inequality, so UK aid is still a lifeline for poor people," said Emma Seery, head of development finance and public services at the charity. International Development Secretary Justine Greening made the announcement to end the aid programme at a conference of African ministers and business leaders in London on Tuesday. She described South Africa as "the region's economic powerhouse and Britain's biggest trading

partner in Africa". "I have agreed with my South African counterparts that South Africa is now in a position to fund its own development," she said. "It is right that our relationship changes to one of mutual co-operation and trade, one that is focused on delivering benefits for the people of Britain and South Africa as well as for Africa as a whole." But South Africa said there had been no "proper consultations" about the move.

"This is such a major decision with far-reaching implications... and it is tantamount to redefining our relationship," the Department of International Relations and Cooperation said in a statement. "The UK government should have informed the government of South Africa through official diplomatic channels of their intentions." In response, UK officials said they had had "months of discussions" and "many meetings" with their South African

French rebel captured 'after fighting' in Mali

French Defense Minister JeanYves Le Drian


French rebel who threatened his home country has been captured in northern Mali, allegedly after fighting on the

militants' side. French troops captured Gilles Le Guen, who now goes by the name Abdel Jelil, on Sunday night north of Timbuktu, the army said. Mr Le Guen, 58, is believed to have been living in Timbuktu. France's Defence Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said he appeared to have fought alongside Islamist militants. Some reports suggest he joined the al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) group, which the French army is fighting in the area, but the same group held him prisoner for a few days in November.

A month earlier, he had appeared in an Islamist video, his face uncovered and a gun by his side, to warn France, the US and the UN against intervening in Mali. Shortly before France deployed troops to fight Islamists in the West African state in January, he told French news magazine L'Express by phone: "I am following the road traced by Osama bin Laden." Since the intervention began, six French soldiers have been killed. Mr Le Drian told Europe 1 radio Mr Le Guen had "evidently already fought in jihadist groups". He was

captured by French troops on patrol, he said. The detainee would, he said, be handed over to the Malian authorities and "probably expelled to France". No charges had been drawn up but an investigation was under way, Mr Le Drian added. Describing the detainee as a "loser who became a terrorist", the defence minister said the number of French citizens joining the ranks of the Islamists in the Sahel region could be counted "on the fingers of one hand". Mr Le Guen, a former merchant seaman, is originally from the city of Nantes in western France.



Asia and Koreas 'closer' to deal for return of workers Middle East


outh Korea has said it was edging towards a deal with North Korea to ensure the return of the remaining workers at a joint industrial zone that has been shut down amid military tensions. The Kaesong industrial

complex, built 10km north of the tense border in 2004, was once a rare symbol of inter-Korean cooperation but now faces the possibility of permanent closure. South Korea had been due to pull out its remaining workers on Monday but seven remained to settle unresolved issues such as unpaid taxes and wages for North Korean workers, believed

to amount to millions of dollars. "Differences are being narrowed even if the pace is slower than we expected," a spokesman for the South's Unification Ministry told reporters on Wednesday. He said the South Koreans had remained at the Kaesong industrial complex "voluntarily" to resolve the issues at the North's

request, downplaying fears they might be held hostage. Seoul last week ordered all remaining South Koreans to leave after Pyongyang banned entry by southerners, pulled out all its own 53,000 workers and rejected the South's call for talks on the impasse. Tension has been high since the North, angered by fresh UN

sanctions sparked by its nuclear test in February and South Korea-US military drills, issued a series of apocalyptic threats of a nuclear war against Seoul and Washington. Seoul's top nuclear envoy headed for Beijing on Wednesday for talks with Chinese officials on the stand-off on the Korean Peninsula.

May Day marked by global protests


emonstrations are taking place across the world as protesters gather to mark May Day, the traditional date for demanding better workers' rights. Protests first began in Asia, with tens of thousands of workers in Jakarta calling for improved conditions and mobilising against government plans to cut fuel subsidies. Al Jazeera's Step Vaessen, reporting from Jarakata, said: "Everywhere I look I see demonstrating workers; this is the biggest rally I've seen here. "The president [SusiloBambangYudhoyono], announced yesterday that the fuel price will go up as it is heavily subsidesed. "A recent increase in the minimum wage would simply disappear with the fuel price increase." Vaessen estimated that 150,000 people could flood the capital by the day's end. The president has said the fuel price measures will not be implemented until parliament approves compensation for those likely

to be affected. With 80 countries around the world marking May 1 as a public holiday, Istanbul's Taksim Square was in lockdown on Wednesday, after the Turkish government banned May Day protests there. The square is the site of a 1977 May Day massacre in which dozens of people died under disputed circumstances. Al Jazeera's HashemAhelbarra, reporting from Istanbul, said: "There have been scuffles, particularly in areas that lead to Taksim Square, which has been sealed off. "Protesters say they should be given access to celebrate May 1 in a place of symbolic importance; they want to honour the memory of those who were killed here. There is a tug of war under way between the government and people." Earlier images showed police spraying water at protesters who threw objects at their vehicles. In Phnom Pehn, the Cambodian capital, garment factory workers demanded higher wages and better working conditions.

In the Philippines, thousands of contract workers banned from forming unions marched through Manila [EPA]

Bangladesh building collapse: Death toll passes 400


he number of people killed in the collapse of a factory building on the outskirts of the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, has passed 400, officials say. A senior army official also said that a list of 149 people still missing had been compiled from relatives. Thousands marched in May Day parades in Dhaka on Wednesday, demanding the death penalty for the building's owner. The Rana Plaza, which housed five factories, collapsed last Wednesday - the nation's worst industrial disaster. Police officials confirmed that 399 bodies had been pulled from the wreckage, while another three people had died in hospital. The army general said the list of the missing had been drawn up by local officials and was confirmed by Dhaka district administrator ZillurRahmanChowdhury. Earlier estimates had put the figure far higher but this may have been as a result of duplications. Some 2,500 people were injured. The building was turned into 600 tons of rubble in the disaster, about 350 tons of which has now been cleared. The number of people at the main Dhaka protest was put at about 20,000, with other demonstrations in separate parts of the capital and in other cities.

Thousands marched in May Day parades in Dhaka demanding the death penalty for the Rana Plaza's owner

Pakistan military angered by treatment of Musharraf


akistan's powerful army chief has suggested the military is unhappy with how authorities have treated former army chief and President Pervez Musharraf since his return from exile. A Pakistani court on Tuesday imposed a lifetime ban on Musharraf from contesting elections, undermining his efforts to regain influence by winning a seat in parliament. The former army chief returned in March after nearly four years of self-imposed exile to contest a May 11 general election, but election

officers disqualified him because of court cases pending against him. In what newspapers described as a veiled reference to Musharraf's legal troubles, Army Chief General AshfaqKayani said: "In my opinion, it is not merely retribution, but awareness and participation of the masses that can truly end this game of hide and seek between democracy and dictatorship." Kayani, arguably the most powerful figure in Pakistan, was delivering a Martyrs' Day speech at army headquarters. Newspapers carried his comments on front pages.

Then Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf (c) inspects a guard of honour.



Europe and Americas Italy's Letta faces early squeeze over antiausterity drive

Greeks stage 24-hour antiausterity general strike

including transport and hospitals. The organisers are demanding an end to spending cuts and tax rises. The government says the measures are badly needed to lead Greece out of a deep financial crisis and six straight years of recession.

The cabinet of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras says the policies are part of continuing moves to ensure more bailout money from international creditors. The 24-hour strike officially began at midnight. Trains and

ferries are at a standstill, other public transport is disrupted and hospitals are working with reduced staff. However, many shops will stay open as the labour day public holiday has been moved to next Tuesday after Orthodox Easter. In Athens, hundreds of people rallied outside parliament in Syntagma Square, waving flags and banners. Pensioner AntonisMosiadis said politicians should listen to the people. "The fight continues and it will continue. They have gone deaf over there [in parliament] and if we do not continue this fight, soon they will destroy us," he said. The BBC's Mark Lowen in Athens says it remains to be seen how big Tuesday's rallies will be, as there have been far fewer strikes and protests this year, and there is a feeling the civil unrest is beginning to die down. N e v e r t h e l e s s , demonstrations are planned across the country, with police on alert for a repeat of past violence. The two largest unions - GSEE and ADEDY - have said that the action will focus on demands to end austerity. They say that government measures have led to the country's record unemployment rate of 27%, including almost 60% among young people.

Putin has made no secret of his attempt to appeal to the conservative values and patriotism of the working class, his main power base, and counter the threat of the mainly middle-class demonstrators who led protests against him last year. "The Hero of Labour title is ... a step towards resuming the continuity of traditions, tighter ties between eras and generations," Putin told a ceremony on May Day, the traditional workers' holiday and an important date in the Soviet calendar. "We need to cherish our historical memory, keep in our hearts our pride for the people that built a great country." The medal, a golden fivepointed star bearing the Russian two-headed eagle, hanging from

a white, blue and red ribbon, bears a striking resemblance to the Stalin-era award, except that this had a red ribbon and a hammer and sickle on the star. The winners included a coal miner, a lathe operator, a brain surgeon, an agronomist and the star conductor Valery Gergiev. The Hero of Socialist Labour award was won by more than 20,000 people and was a huge honor, intended to encourage industrialization and glorify Soviet achievements. Famous recipients included the composer Dmitry Shostakovich and the rifle maker Mikhail Kalashnikov. Putin has already brought back the Soviet national anthem and Soviet-style military parades, and

critics accuse him of using Soviet tactics to stifle dissent, although he denies this. "Stalinism is linked to the cult of personality, massive legal violations, repressions and labour camps," he told his annual question-and-answer session, broadcast live last week across the country of about 142 million. "There is nothing like that in Russia and I hope there never will be again," he said. "But this does not mean that we should not have order and discipline." Putin has long spoken ambiguously about Stalin, admiring the strides the Soviet Union took to industrialize during his three-decade rule until his death in 1953, but condemning the methods he used, including repression that killed millions of people.


taly's new Prime Minister, Enrico Letta, is preaching an end to austerity while pledging to meet European Union debt targets and his fledgling coalition is already at odds over how to pay for cuts to an unpopular housing tax. Letta, who took his message to Berlin on Tuesday, is due to meet French President Francois Hollande later on Wednesday where he can expect a favorable hearing for his calls for Europe to start focusing on economic growth as well as budget rigor. German Chancellor Angela Merkel struck a conciliatory tone in Berlin but gave no sign that she was willing to change her government's tough approach to the heavilyindebted countries of southern Europe, insisting there was no contradiction between growth and fiscal consolidation. Letta has held back from calling publicly for a relaxation of deficit targetsItaly has vowed to meet this year although several ministers and prominent politicians including his coalition partner Silvio Berlusconi are pushing him to do so. The gap between his antiausterity rhetoric and the hard choices his potentially unstable leftright coalition faces have already become apparent in a battle over the hated IMU housing tax introduced by former prime minister Mario Monti. The tax, one of the most unpopular measures Monti took last year to calm market panic over Rome's towering public debt, has become a symbol of what many in Italy see as austerity imposed by Brussels after the fall of Berlusconi's last government in 2011. Berlusconi, who could bring down Letta's coalition of the main center-right and center-left parties at any time, repeated on Tuesday that abolishing the tax and repaying contributions paid in 2012 was a condition for his continued support. Letta has so far promised to suspend contributions due in June, pending a wider review of property taxes but he has held back from meeting Berlusconi's demands, which would cost an estimated 8 billion euros. Even so, he has not explained where he will find around 2 billion euros to cover freezing the tax in June, with local governments, the main beneficiaries of the levy, waiting anxiously to see whether they have to seek savings elsewhere.

Enrico Letta

Protesters on the streets of Rio-antorio.


general strike against tough austerity measures is under way in Greece, with trade unions calling for "mass mobilisation" of protesters. The 24-hour action is expected to severely disrupt public services,

Russia's Putin restores Stalin-era labour award


resident Vladimir Putin likes to deny that he is taking Russia back to the USSR, but on Wednesday he dusted off another communist relic by restoring a labor medal introduced under Josef Stalin. A week after telling the nation there was nothing in Russia that smacked of the late Soviet dictator, Putin pinned the Hero of Labour award on five recipients in St Petersburg, the cradle of the 1917 revolution that swept communists to power. The name has changed slightly from Stalin's Hero of Socialist Labour, which rewarded outstanding work for the Soviet nation. But the award is clearly back, more than two decades after it seemed to have died with the Soviet Union.

Punch-up in Venezuelan parliament


istfights have broken out in Venezuela's parliament, injuring a number of legislators during an angry session linked to the South American nation's bitter election dispute. The opposition said seven of its parliamentarians were attacked and hurt on Tuesday when protesting a measure to block them from speaking in the National Assembly over their refusal to recognise President Nicolas Maduro's April 14 vote victory. Government legislators blamed their "fascist" rivals for starting the violence, which illustrated the volatile state of politics in the OPEC nation after the death of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez last month. "We knew the opposition came to provoke violence," Maduro said

of the incident. "This must not be repeated." The 50-year-old Maduro, who was Chavez's chosen successor, defeated opposition candidate Henrique Capriles by 1.5 percentage points. Capriles, 40, has refused to recognise his victory, alleging that thousands of irregularities occurred and the vote "stolen." The vote exposed a nation evenly divided after 14 years of Chavez's rule. The fracas came after the government-controlled assembly passed a measure denying opposition members the right to speak in the chamber until they recognised Maduro as president. "Until they recognise the authorities, the institutions of the republic, the sovereign will of our people, the opposition deputies will have to go and speak

One of the injured Parliamentarians. (to the private media) but not here in this National Assembly," said Diosdado Cabello, the head of parliament.

Both sides accused each other of starting the incident, which took place behind closed doors without media present.



Meet eight-years-sick mother who only feels well when on a plane A

mother-of-two has been battling a constant feeling of travel sickness since taking a flight eight years ago. Catharine Bell, 46, was left struggling to balance, nauseous and feeling permanently dizzy after she disembarked the flight in Marmaris, Turkey, in 2005. Ms Bell, from Bellingham, Northumberland, thought the feeling would pass but was horrified when her symptoms worsened throughout the holiday until she could no longer walk down the hotel corridor without holding onto the wall. Even after arriving back in the UK following the two week holiday with her daughters, Jessica and Annie, now aged 18 and 13, Ms Bell's symptoms failed to subside. She was eventually diagnosed with Mal de Debarquement Syndrome (MdDS) and has suffered from incurable, and sometimes debilitating, attacks ever since. Ms Bell said: 'I got on the plane and I was perfectly healthy, it was a perfectly normal flight. And then when the plane landed I stood up to get my bag and I felt a bit weird. 'As soon as we landed and I stepped off the plane I felt seriously odd. The whole world had transformed into bouncy castle land and I felt as if I was walking on a giant marshmallow. 'Throughout the holiday that feeling never went away, it was like being on the Pirate Ship at the fairground my world was moving up and down and from side to side constantly. 'I felt sick, had a headache and felt decidedly unwell. I presumed I had an ear infection and thought I would wait it out, go home, and see the doctor.' However, when the family's flight home took off all of Ms Bell's symptoms disappeared and she thought she was better. Unfortunately, the respite was short lived and the symptoms returned as soon as she stepped off the plane. Ms Bell said: 'And so started a terrible few months of doctor visits, travel sickness pills, ear syringing, lying on the floor crying, hanging onto the bed, throwing up, and nobody finding anything wrong with me.

Catharine Bell, 46 'I felt like my world was constantly moving, I felt nauseous all the time, I couldn't sleep because when I lay still everything would keep moving up and down, back and forth. 'After five to six weeks I was tired, I couldn't sleep, I couldn't read because the words would jump out of the page, and I couldn't sit still because the more still I was, the worse it was. And then one day I woke up and it was gone. I was so relieved I thought I was cured, I really thought it was an imbalance in my ear and it had settled down.' However, when Ms Bell went to Turkey with her daughters again the following year, her symptoms returned and this time they were worse. When she returned she was left unable to sleep, read or walk in a straight line. At one point she could not stand up and was left clinging to the carpet in her living room as her world spun around her. Despite several visits to her GP, doctors were baffled by her condition.

Desperate for a diagnosis, Ms Bell turned to the internet and came across Mal de Debarquement Syndrome (MdDS). This is a neurological disorder triggered by travel, such as boat or plane journeys. The symptoms last long after the journey has finished. This feeling can last for months, or even years, and the only time this feeling subsides is when they are in motion again. When Ms Bell read about MdDs on the internet, she took the information into her doctor who confirmed this was what she had. However, the doctor informed her that there is no cure and so she has been forced to live with the condition ever since. She said: 'When I got home from holiday I staggered to the doctors and I actually lay down on the floor in the doctors' surgery and gripped onto the carpet, I felt so ill. 'The doctor and another patient had to practically carry me into the surgery and onto the couch. I had to

hold onto the wall because I was convinced I was going to fall off the couch. 'None of the conventional vertigo tablets made any difference so I started to research and found MdDS online. I knew instantly this was what I had, I showed the research to my doctor and he confirmed it. Ms has now had the symptoms every day for the last four years. She no longer drinks alcohol as it is difficult enough to maintain her balance without a drink, she cannot dance and she finds it difficult to read. She also cannot sit still for longer than an hour at a time. But despite her condition, Ms Bell leads a normal life - she has two jobs as a school caretaker and a play leader, continues to go on holiday every year, and does everything she can to prevent the condition ruining her life. She said: 'I've never had it as bad as the first two episodes but I've now had it constantly for almost four years. 'I take precautions to avoid my symptoms worsening. I don't drink, I eat well, I exercise a lot, I avoid any

kind of boat journey, if I fly I walk on the plane and I try not to sit still for too long. 'At the moment I live in a wibbly wobbly world, if I stand still or sit down I can see the world swaying slightly. It makes it hard to read or watch TV and I have a constant headache and feel sick. 'If I'm tired or I've been on a long journey, I am worse but it's usually at its worst when I'm still. 'Walking on a treadmill is really hard, I fall over, standing still with my eyes shut is impossible, I find myself falling backwards, almost like I'm being pushed. 'Dancing is almost impossible, anything where I have to be spun around or do a quick turn is a big no no. 'In between work I go to the gym for up to two hours a day, and walk my dog five times a day, anything to keep me moving. 'MdDS is usually triggered by long-haul air and/or sea travel but there have been cases where symptoms began after engaging in motion-based games and fun fair rides. 'Additional symptoms can include nausea, headaches, fatigue and sensitivity to light. 'Our research within the Chronic Illness Team at the University of East London has shown that these symptoms can last for years and impact significantly on individuals' lives, disrupting work, relational and recreational activities, which in turn can lead to depression and anxiety. 'This is an invisible illness, the person may not look unwell, and we have found that there is the additional problem of stigma and lack of social support. 'It can also be very difficult to gain a diagnosis as there is still much uncertainty surrounding MdDS; we do not know the cause of the illness at present and it is currently a very under-researched condition. 'There is no 'cure' for MdDS at this time although interestingly, those with the condition often find symptoms temporarily diminish during motion, for instance car travel, which differentiates MdDS from conditions concerning the inner ear.' Source:

The Unkai terrace of Tomamu - a magical place above the clouds


ocated in Japan's Tomamu Resort, on the island of Hokkaido, the Unkai Terrace is a unique scenic spot perched high atop a mountain peak that is often above the clouds, offering tourists breathtaking views of the white, fluffy sea beneath them. The "unkai" (sea of clouds) phenomenon has been attracting tourists to the resort town on Tomamu for years. The natural hot springs in the area and the differences in temperature during the few hours when night turns into day determine the formation of an immaculate white blanket of clouds over the mountainous region, but only a few people had

Photo: Snow Tomamu

the chance to see the unique effect from above, until a gondola system was put in place. It takes early-bird tourists up the mountain to the Unkai Terrace, right above the sea of clouds, where they can watch the sunrise, take photos of the Hidaka and Tokachi mountain peaks as they pierce the fluffy fog and enjoy a refreshing cup of coffee or a bowl of soup. Although the gondola fare is pretty expensive (around $20), the view from Unkai Terrace is definitely worth every yen. The terrace is open for tourists during the summer months until late September, but even during this short season the sea of clouds can only

be observed about 40 percent of the time. On cloudy days, the entire scenic spot is engulfed by thick fog, but you can still have a fun time trekking the winding mountain slopes, and gondola operators are kind enough to give tourists a postcard of what the view from Unkai Terrace would be like if weather conditions were appropriate. And even on clear days, you have to get up pretty early in the morning to catch the clouds in action. The gondola starts transporting visitors at 4 in the morning until just 8.30 am, so if you plan on going above the clouds, make sure to set your alarm clock.



Why sit-ups can be bad for your body By Peta Bee


he area of the body that gets most attention at gyms is the 'core'. Workouts promising to hone your midsection so it not only looks good but supports your back and posture have become the norm. There is also a never-ending range of 'core' equipment, from core boards to semi-sphere balance trainers. But some experts now suggest so-called core-training classes and equipment are largely a waste of time and an unnecessary fad. 'There's a lot of nonsense out there,' says Professor Stuart McGill, director of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo in Canada. Many experts believe that the principles of core fitness have been taken out of context by an industry intent on making millions. In one study, on rowers who followed an eight-week coretraining gym programme in addition to their normal training, there was no improvement in a rowingmachine time trial at the end of the study. It is something of a nebulous term, but the 'core' is generally acknowledged to be the complex corset of muscles and connective tissue that encircle the spine to hold it in place. There is no doubt that strong core muscles are crucial - they help to stabilise the trunk, enabling your legs to transfer power to your upper body so you can do everything from running and weight training to carrying shopping. By protecting the spine, they also help to prevent injury. Crucially, it's not just the abdominal muscles that create the sought-after 'six-pack' and midsection strength - all the muscles that girdle the spine need to be worked if improvements are to be noticed. 'Training the core is essential to carry heavy loads, run fast and change direction quickly,' says Professor McGill. 'It determines the rate of speed for movement of the arms and legs. And a stable core is needed even for that most essential of human movements, the ability to walk.' What irks him and others is that the concept has become so over-complicated and prone to inaccuracy, and is used to market useless equipment. 'I don't even use the word "core" any more, as what we are really referring to is the "trunk" area,' says strength and conditioning expert Richard Kingston, a member of the British Association of Sports and Exercise Sciences. 'It got horribly misconstrued by the gym industry in the last decade. Furthermore, exercises on a wobbly ball and similar devices won't target the right range of muscles effectively.' Recent research suggests that many devices that claim to work your core muscles fall well short of their promise. In one recent

Many experts believe that the principles of core fitness have been taken out of context by the industry study, at the Liberty University in Virginia, researchers measured the degree to which core muscles were activated using a variety of equipment. The results showed that some, including sliding 'core boards' (which slide from side to side or back and forth, supposedly to target the midriff) offered no greater benefit than traditional crunches and sit-ups. Thomas Nesser, a professor of physical education at Indiana State University, says 'you don't need to be half-hanging off a bench and twisting dumb-bells' to strengthen your core muscles. Some common core exercises, even those not involving equipment, are downright risky, says Richard Kingston. 'Instructors who tell people to "engage their core" before they perform an exercise are asking for trouble. 'There was this theory that by "engaging" or drawing in the By Emma Innes


rinking two cups of coffee a day could stop breast cancer recurring in recovering patients, new research has revealed. Combined with the anti-cancer drug tamoxifen, coffee could halve the rate of recurrence of breast cancer, scientists have discovered. Researchers at Lund University in Sweden believe that coffee actually boosts the effect of the drug. They looked at 600 breast cancer patients from southern Sweden over a

core you would target the deeply embedded transversus abdominus muscle, a thin band that holds the guts in. We now know that the practice leads to people squeezing their abdominal muscles, leaving the back unstable. It's completely wrong and the reason so many people get hurt when they exercise.' And old-fashioned crunches and sit-ups, still the most popular core exercises, are also not the recommended route to a stronger middle. If these are all you do, the results are not only likely to be superficial but can overload the spine in a dangerous way, says Professor McGill. His own studies have demonstrated that repeated bending of the spine, as happens when we do crunches, can damage spinal discs over time. In one trial, several spines of pigs were placed in machines

that bent and flexed them hundreds of times to replicate situps. The spinal discs were almost completely ruptured by the end of the experiments. There is a safe variation, though, says Professor McGill. Called the curl-up, it involves keeping your back slightly

arched on the floor with your hands (palms down) under the small of your back to lessen the pressure on the spine. Bend your knees and lift your head and shoulders very slightly. 'You don't need to crunch up much to get the desired response from your entire abdominal muscle complex,' he says. Some experts go even further, suggesting that core training can be ditched altogether. Professor Nesser says: 'Train for a sport and core strength will develop in the right way for that sport.' Richard Kingston says a strong midriff does mean a strong body, but that the best trunk-strengthening moves are performed standing up with little or no equipment. Using your own bodyweight to twist, rotate and lean the trunk in a variety of ways gives the best results, he says. 'You can also get a great response with an old-fashioned medicine ball [a ball slightly larger than a football, weighted with sand] as you get stronger, but you don't need any other equipment.' Source:

Exercises on a wobbly ball won't target the right range of muscles effectively, one expert claims

Two cups of coffee a day halves the risk of breast cancer returning five year period. About 300 of them took tamoxifen - a drug commonly prescribed after breast cancer surgery. Tamoxifen is an anti-oestrogen drug that is widely used to treat breast cancer. Many breast cancers rely on the female sex hormone oestrogen to grow. Hormone-positive breast cancer

Drinking two cups of coffee a day could stop breast cancer recurring in recovering patients

cells have proteins which oestrogen attaches too. When it comes into contact with these proteins it fits into them and stimulates the cancer cells to divide so that the tumour grows. Tamoxifen works by fitting into the oestrogen receptors and blocking the hormone from reaching the cancer cells. This means the tumour either grows more slowly or stops growing altogether. Maria Simonsson, a doctoral student in Oncology at Lund University said: 'Patients who took the pill, along with two or more cups of coffee daily, reported less than half the rate of cancer recurrence, compared with their noncoffee drinking, tamoxifen-taking counterparts. 'How coffee interacts with the treatment, however, isn't immediately known. 'One theory we are working with is that coffee "activates" tamoxifen and makes it more efficient.' The Lund University researchers

have previously linked coffee consumption to a decreased risk of developing certain types of breast cancer. Caffeine has also been shown to hamper the growth of cancer cells. The latest observational study involving coffee's role in cancer prevention and treatment underlines the need for more research, according to the team. Helena Jernstrvm, Associate Professor of Experimental Oncology at Lund University added: 'We would like to know more about how lifestyle can interact with breast cancer treatment.' This is not the first study to link coffee consumption with improved cancer prognosis. Scientists at Harvard Medical School have found that women who drink three or more cups of coffee a day have a 20 per cent lower risk of developing the most common form of skin cancer compared to those who had less than one cup per month. Source:



Adamawa PDP reconciled, says NWC By Lawrence Olaoye


he leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday debunked speculations that the party’s structure in Adamawa state has been balkanized along interest lines as a fallout of the recommendations of the Governor Sule Lamido-led ad hoc Committee on Adamawa Crisis and Reconciliation. PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa , in a statement yesterday said the Adamawa state chapter of the

party is united under one umbrella adding that all members of the PDP in the state are now working together in line with the recommendations of the ad hoc committee. The party also explained that the report of the ad hoc committee was not exclusively received by the National Working Committee (NWC) but by the entire leadership of the party comprising the President, the Vice President; Chairman, PDP Board of Trustees, the leadership of the National Assembly, including the Senate President, Speaker

of the House of Representatives and the Deputy Senate President; Chairman and members of PDP Governors’ Forum, other Principal Officers of the National Assembly, among other leaders of the party. “The leadership of the PDP in Adamawa is united. There is no division as speculated in some quarters. The party executive has not been shared between the National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and Governor Murtala Nyako as reported in some sections of the media. There is no group for the governor and

another group for the National Chairman. What we have in Adamawa is one PDP in line with the recommendations of the PDP ad hoc Committee on Adamawa Crisis and Reconciliation. “Also we wish to state that the report of the Governor Lamido-led ad hoc committee was not exclusively received by the National Working Committee (NWC). “For the avoidance of doubt, the report was received by the entire leaders of the party comprising the President, the Vice President; Chairman, PDP Board of Trustees, the

Lagos Assembly appeals to political office holders over unpaid severance allowance

Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole (left), briefing journalists on the just concluded local government election in his state, after meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan, on Tuesday at the State House Abuja.


Photo: Joe Oroye

Oshiomhole begged to join PDP, says Metuh By Lawrence Olaoye


he Peoples Democratic Party has urged the Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshimole, to be bold enough to tell Nigerians how many times he begged to join the PDP but was turned down. According to the PDP National Publicity secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh,” same PDP which Adams went on all fours, begging to join on several occasions has suddenly become the’ party of rogues’ because of his desperation to justify the massive rigging and democratic aberration that was local government elections in Edo state. In 2007, Adams begged to be given an opportunity under the

leadership of the National Assembly, including the Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Deputy Senate President; Chairman and members of PDP Governors’ Forum, other Principal Officers of the National Assembly, among other leaders of the party”, the statement said. The PDP leadership also reechoed its call to all members of the party to support the PDP candidate in the rescheduled Adamawa State Assembly election so as to ensure that the party retains its pre-eminent position in the state.

Umbrella but we considered his governorship aspiration an assault on the existing zoning formula in the state and quietly turned him down. Again in 2012, Adams once more came cap in hand and our great Party again rejected him,” said a statement from the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh. “ Is Adams just realizing how bad our party is and was all the while begging for membership,” the statement asked. The statement also said it is Oshimole’s Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) that is the real brood of rogues as their actions in the conduct of local government elections in Lagos, Ogun and now Edo clearly manifest. “ First is that Oshimole is

governor primarily because of the unflinching commitment of the PDP to the rule of law and credible elections. No amount of falsehood by the ACN can obliterate this . Governor Oshimole therefore carries a huge moral burden when as the largest beneficiary of these democratic values guaranteed by the PDP led Federal Government, he went ahead without scruples to deny his people the opportunity to elect the leaders of their choice.” “And when Oshimole referred to the PDP as corrupt,” the statement continued, “it is very needful to remind him that corruption is home to the states under the ACN.” “ Without guessing the disquieting cases of corruption in Edo State, we wish to ask Governor

Oshimole to explain how less than a 7kilometer Benin Airport road fraudulently awarded at six billion naira is yet to be completed after four years and how six hundred million naira was used to change the roof and repaint the walls of Idia College in Benin.” The statement further said it was nothing but corruption that could cause the buildings at the central hospital Benin to collapse under construction after the project was awarded at the whooping sum of two billion Naira. The PDP also challenged the Edo Governor to unmask the face of the printer behind the substandard ballots used for the local government polls for which hundreds of millions of tax payers money was spent on.”

embers of the Lagos State House of Assembly has appealed to the political office holders who were yet to receive their severance allowance to exercise some patience. Mr Moshhod Osun (ACNLagos Mainland II), Chairman House Committee on Local Government Administration, made the appeal while addressing protestants that besieged the House at Ikeja. “I am appealing to you to give us time as the report of the committee is ready and I promise you that it would be presented to the committee of the whole House this week, “ Osun said. Osun said that the committee had finalised its investigation, adding that the report would be presented to the House on Tuesday April 30. “During our investigation, there were different petitions sent by different people requesting for different things. “Some of you are requesting for severance package, some request for furniture, while others request for other allowances”. He promised that the House would not do anything that would not be beneficial to the people, especially those who had served the state in any capacity. Mr Dayo Adefuye, spokesman of the protestants, had earlier said that out of 1006 who served the state from 2007 to 2011, 13 of them had died while 13 were hospitalised. Adefuye said that the reason for these calamities was to nonpayment of their severance allowances. He urged the House to find a solution to their plight before it was too late. (NAN)



ACN, CPC allege plans to rig council polls in Kogi


L-R: Former Taraba Governor, Reverend Jolly Nyame, Senator Aisha Al-Hassan and Senator Nenadi Usman, during the inauguration of a computer training centre donated by senator Al-Hassan for youths, yesterday in Jalingo. Photo: NAN

CPC accuses own candidate of working for PDP in Adamawa T

he Adamawa chapter of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) has withdrawn its candidate for the May 11 by-election for Nasarawa/ Binyeri state constituency of the state. The party explained that the action was taken in the spirit of ongoing merger talks between it and other parties, adding that the candidate, Ibrahim Umar, was allegedly fielded by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party in the state. But Mr. Umar in a swift reaction insisted that he was a CPC member

and was still in the race. Addressing newsmen in Yola, the state chairman of the CPC Publicity Sub-committee on the merger, Musa Kamale, said the party decided to withdraw its candidate in the election and support the ACN candidate. Mr. Kamale said apart from that, the party had, after a meeting of stakeholders, discovered that Mr. Umar was a PDP member sponsored with the connivance of some CPC officials to emerge as candidate of the party. He said that the development had been communicated to the national

secretariat of the party, which had endorsed the withdrawal of the candidate. Mr. Kamale tendered a letter to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, signed by the National Chairman of CPC, Tony Momoh, dated April 24, withdrawing the party candidate. Mr. Umar, however, insisted that he was a bonafide CPC member and would not withdraw from the race. He said that he followed due process to emerge as the CPC candidate and would not withdraw as he was not even aware of any such letter from the national headquarters

announcing his withdrawal. “Those calling for my withdrawal are the ones working for the PDP,” Mr. Umar said. Meanwhile, INEC has published the names of five candidates cleared to contest the by-election. The candidates are Messrs Mathias Yohanna (ACN), Gershon Kasuwa (APGA), Ibrahim Umar (CPC), Umar Kaigama (KOWA) and Umar Abdulkarim (PDP). The Nasarawo/Binyeri byelection arose because of the death of the member representing the constituency, Ahmad Gangwaso, in January. (NAN)

May Day: Ajimobi pledges more buses as Aregbesola tasks workers


biola Ajimobi of Oyo State yesterday pledged to provide low-cost houses and more buses for workers in the state Ajimobi, who made the pledge at the Workers Day celebration in Ibadan, said the provision of more houses and buses would ease the challenges facing workers. “It takes a lot of courage for government to attend the workers day celebration knowing fully that they were not compensated adequately for their works. “We can stand here today because we have implemented some worker-friendly policies which we will continue to do with their support,’’ he said. The governor said that his administration would not relent in the implementation of policies that would benefit workers in the state Ajimobi, however, appealed to workers to support the government in the transformation, repositioning and upliftment of the state. He said his administration had entrenched into the system several programmes for the benefit of workers such as regular payment of salaries and allowances as well as

promotion and life insurance policy. Ajimobi said government also organised training and capacity building seminars for the over 13,000 workers in the state as well as 100 percent review of housing loans. He added that teachers, whose promotion was pegged at level 14, would now advance to higher levels through competency test. The governor reiterated his administration’s commitment to demolition of shanties and illegal structures, adding that deserving property owners would be compensated. Earlier in his address, Mr Bashir Olanrewaju , the Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress in Oyo State, said the role of organised labour could not be overemphasised. Olanrewaju urged government to demonstrate absolute commitment to the fight against corruption. He pledged the unalloyed support of workers for the Ajimobiled administration in the state. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the celebration

was attended by the Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Alhaja Monsurat Sunmonu, and the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Badejoko Adeniji. Also in attendance were the Secretary to the Oyo State Government, Alhaji Waheed Olajide, Head of Service, Alhaji Tajudeen Aremu, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Dr Adeolu Akande, and members of the State Assembly. Meanwhile, Gov. Rauf Aregbesola of Osun has urged workers to improve on their productivity in order to make the Workers’ Day a meaningful one. Aregbesola gave the charge while addressing members of the Trade Union Congress and the Nigeria Labour Congress at the Workers’ Day celebration. “Workers are stakeholders and joint owners of any enterprise. “ Without workers, there can be no government and therefore it is inconceivable that any government can succeed without them,” he said. The governor described the workforce as an indispensable tool for the execution of government’s policies and programmes.

He said productivity had always been crucial to the civil service, recalling that the Workers’ Day was set aside to celebrate the dignity of human labour. Aregbesola explained that in order to create a conducive atmosphere for workers to work, his administration had been committed to the modernisation and transformation of the civil service. The governor vowed to boost the morale of workers through training and promotion in order to make life more abundant for them. He disclosed that more than N59 billion had been spent on workers’ salaries since he assumed duty as governor in November 2010. In his remarks, the state NLC chairman, Mr Saka Adesiyan, lauded government for meeting up with the aspirations of workers by fulfilling the agreement on workers’ welfare. “ Aregbesola’s government has brought relief and succour to workers and youths which enable them to enjoin the dividends of democracy in the state,” he said.

he leaderships of ACN and CPC, say they have uncovered alleged plans by Kogi Independent Electoral Commission (KOSIEC) to disenfranchise electorates in eight local government areas in the May 4 council elections. Addressing a joint news conference in Lokoja recently, ACN chieftain and former Gov. Abubakar Audu, alleged that the commission had concluded plans to rig the elections. Audu alleged there was a reliable information from security reports that KOSIEC planned to provide inadequate electoral materials in the councils. According to him, the local government areas are Ofu, Olamaboro, Dekina, Ijumu, KogiKK, Lokoja, Idah and Adavi. The former governor said the council areas were the strongholds of the two political parties because they had overwhelming followership there. ``The state government should call the commission to order; If this plan is nurtured to maturation, it is capable of undermining the election process. "There is no citizen of this state that will like to be disenfranchised or be robbed of his civil rights. ``I want you to inform the government that it will not be in the best interest of the state and its citizenry to embark on such illegality. "We don't lend credence to speculations but when there is an iota of truth in it as in this case, we cannot treat it with levity." The ACN Chairman in the state, Mr Haddy Ametuo, said the two political parties had lost confidence in the state electoral body due to alleged double standards. He said the commission had turned its electoral guidelines upside down. He urged the commission to withdraw its announcement that the election results would not be announced at polling units and collation centres but at their headquarters in Lokoja. The Chairman of CPC in the state, Mr Mohammed MaboKassim, said he expected the commission to work within the ambit of the local government electoral law of 2004. ``I am surprised to find out that the electoral commission is working at variance with the law, '' he said. Reacting to the allegations, the state Electoral Commissioner in charge of Information and Public Affairs, Mr Adejoh Idachaba, denied any plot to disenfranchise the electorate in any local government. The commissioner, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), urged the two political parties to go back to the drawing board and work hard to win their elections. He said that the commission was determined to conduct free and fair elections. ``We will not short-change anybody," he said. (NAN)



Adamawa by-election: CPC withdraws candidate


L-R: Speaker House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Deputy Speaker, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, Hon. Abdulrahman Kawu Sumaila, and Hon. Datti Ahmed, during a retreat for the members of House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee on Review of 1999 Constitution, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Orubebeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s declaration for Delta guber ignites controversy O ver the weekend, Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Godsday Orubebe, brushed aside a series of corruption allegations dangling around his neck and publicly declared his intention and preparedness to run for the office of the Delta State governor in the 2015 election. The embattled minister made his intentions known during his condolence visit to the family of the late Alam Barovbe in Ovu Inland, Ethiope East local government area of Delta State. He made it clear that ethnicity would be given priority in determining the state's next governor. "It is the turn of the Ijaw people to produce the next governor of Delta State," Mr. Orubebe stated. The minister boasted that God had made him the unanimous choice for the post of state chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, added that he expected to be unanimously elected as governor in 2015. Contacted late last night, a source at the Presidency told SaharaReporters that President Goodluck Jonathan was backing Mr. Orubebe's gubernatorial ambition. "The fact that Chief Orubebe is so confident of becoming the governor come 2015 is because Mr. President is

solidly behind him," the source stated. In his statement over the weekend, the minister stressed that the Ijaws must produce the next governor of Delta State irrespective of the next governor's senatorial district. He stated that the Urhobo and Itsekiri ethnic groups had produced governors, but that the Isoko and Ndokwa have yet to produce one. He therefore insisted it is now the turn of the Ijaw, adding that the various ethnic groups within the state must have "a taste" of the governorship. "I must say categorically that all the ethnic nationalities of this state must have a taste of the governorship of this state," Mr. Orubebe said. "Urhobo people have gotten it, Itsekiri have gotten it, Ndokwa has not gotten it, Ijaw has not gotten it, Isoko has not gotten it. And so we are appealing to others that, this is the turn of the Ijaw people. We are appealing that it is the turn of the Ijaw people now because all the ethnic groups must have a taste." In 2012, a group known as the Anti-Corruption Network had petitioned the chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), accusing Mr. Orubebe of extensive acts of corruption and abuse of office. The complaint, which was dated

November 19, 2012, was signed by the network's executive secretary, Dino Melaye, a former member of the House of Representatives. The petition accused Mr. Orubebe of accepting the gratification a huge mansion on a parcel of land allocated to him in Abuja, Nigeria's capital, adding that the minister's acceptance of the real estate gift violated the country's anti-corruption laws. To add to Mr. Orubebe's troubles, Edwin Clark, a major Ijaw political figure last December demanded that Nigeria's antigraft agencies investigate Mr. Orubebe on corruption. Late last year, ex-militant Asari Dokubo criticized Mr. Orubebe for enriching himself whilst doing nothing for the Niger Delta area. In a widely circulated statement, Mr. Dokubo recalled that Mr. Orubebe used to be economically wretched before he was appointed into Mr. Jonathan's cabinet. The ex-militant leader particularly assailed the minister for failing to work on the dilapidated East-West Road, the main highway artery into and from Nigeria's oil-producing Niger Delta. A close source to the minister told SaharaReporters that Mr. Orubebe had no fears that his image as one of the most corrupt cabinet members would

jeopardize his governorship aspirations. "So far as Chief [Orubebe] has the full support of the president, nobody can stop him," the source said. He added that President Jonathan would not fire the controversial minister despite the series of corruption allegations swirling around Mr. Orubebe. "Mr. President has an interest in making him the next governor of Delta State. How then can Mr. President sack him?" the source said. However, several political figures from the Niger Delta confided in SaharaReporters that a coalition of forces was emerging within the state to frustrate Mr. Orubebe's governorship ambition. One source told our correspondent that prominent Ijaw leaders were part of the coalition. "We are prepared to use the last drop of our blood when the time comes in 2015 to stop Chief Orubebe," said one source. Another added that the minister "will never have a single vote" if the PDP's primaries are free-andfair. He said, "We all know that corruption runs in his veins. He is a well known monumental failure." Then he challenged Mr. Jonathan "to wake up from his slumber and pilot the affairs of the nation and refrain from coming to create problems for Deltans."

Speaker says govt places priority on workers' welfare


do state House of Assembly recently assured workers of its willingness to partner with the state government to champion their welfare. The Speaker of the house , Mr Uyigue Igbe, said this in Benin during a plenary session marking the Workers' Day, usually observed

on May 1. Igbe said the welfare of civil servants in the state was paramount to the scale of priorities of Gov. Oshiomhole's administration. He stressed the need for the workers to redouble their efforts at advancing the state to the next

level. Meanwhile, a bill amending the law on the registration, formation and regulation of abattoir and butcher's associations has been read for the first time on the floor of the house. The house also received a report of its Committee on

Security and Lands, Survey and Housing on the communal clash in Ogheghe community in Uhunmwode Local Government Area. The Chairman of the committee, Mr Monday Ehighalua, presented the report to the house. NAN)

he Adamawa chapter of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) recently withdrew its candidate for the May 11 by-election for Nasarawo/Binyeri state constituency of the state. The party explained that the action was taken in the spirit of on-going merger talks between it and other parties, adding that the candidate, Malam Ibrahim Umar, was allegedly fielded by the ruling PDP. But Umar in a swift reaction insisted that he was a CPC member and was still in the race. Addressing newsmen in Yola, the state Chairman of the CPC Publicity Subcommittee on the merger, Alhaji Musa Kamale, said the party decided to withdrew its candidate in the election and support the ACN candidate. Kamale said apart from that, the party had after a meeting of stakeholders, discovered that Umar was a PDP member sponsored with the connivance of some CPC officials to emerged as candidate of the party. He said that the development had been communicated to the national secretariat of the party, which had endorsed the withdrawal of the candidate. Kamale tendered a letter to INEC signed by the National Chairman of CPC, Prince Tony Momoh, dated April 24, withdrawing the party candidate. Umar, however, insisted that he was a bonafide CPC member and would not withdraw from the race. He said that he followed due process to emerge as the CPC candidate and would not withdraw as he was not even aware of any such letter from the national headquarters announcing his withdrawal. ``Those calling for my withdrawal are the ones working for the PDP," Umar said. Meanwhile, INEC has published the names of five candidates cleared to contest the by-election. The candidates are Messrs Mathias Yohanna (ACN), Gershon Kasuwa (APGA), Ibrahim Umar (CPC), Umar Kaigama (KOWA) and Umar Abdulkarim (PDP). The Nasarawo/Binyeri byelection arose because of the death of the member representing the constituency, Alhaji Ahmad Gangwaso, in January. (NAN)



Deepening democracy in Nigeria: Implications for Africa (II) Being a speech delivered at the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Geneva, Switzerland, by the former Vice-President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar


espite these democratic failings, there were significant gains on the economic front arising from the transition to civilian democratic rule. These include the stability of the exchange and interest rates, reduction in the rate of inflation, reduction in public debt, increases in foreign reserves, privatization of inefficient and costly state enterprises and an overall improvement in the business environment, which enhanced the potential for rewards for investors. However, we were unable to significantly translate these macro-economic gains into major micro-economic improvements, largely because the politics of constitutional amendments and the accompanying rising level of corruption distracted our government from its economic goals. In a lurid kind of way, the two became intertwined. Desperation to cling to power led to massive corruption, the proceeds of which were freely deployed in an attempt to compromise state institutions such as the legislature, the judiciary and other critical sectors of society. That is, the attempt to amend the Nigerian Constitution to extend the tenure of the sitting president and the struggles against it became a major distraction and undermined our efforts to significantly improve the wellbeing of the mass of the people, especially through infrastructure provisioning, employment generation, and improvements in education, health and other social services. So by 2010, 70% of Nigerians lived below the poverty line. With a maternal mortality rate of 840 deaths per 100,000 live births, Nigeria ranked the 9th worst in the world in 2008 and the 10th worst in 2010. We also have over 74 deaths per 1,000 live births, a figure which ranks Nigeria as the 16th worst in the world in infant mortality. Life expectancy at birth is 50 years, compared to 82 years for Switzerland. In addition, such preventable diseases as polio and measles continue to spread in the country to our utter embarrassment. For a country with huge oil revenues, this is completely unconscionable, unjustifiable and unacceptable. The weakening of democratic institutions has led to further deterioration of governance and rule of law, worsening of corruption, and rising unemployment and

insecurity. Official figures show that Nigeria’s economy is growing by about 6.5% per annum. But the rate of growth is nowhere near what is required to quickly lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty once and for all. In a way, Nigeria’s story is Africa’s story: post-colonial Africa has been characterized by military rule and conflicts, corruption, disease, illiteracy, insecurity, famine, and insignificant contribution to world trade. Africa is currently experiencing economic growth – a welcome departure from the recent past- but that growth is not fast enough to lift enough Africans out of poverty and place the continent on the path of sustainable growth to join the ranks of developed regions of the world. This must change for Africa to change and Nigeria can and should lead this change. Opportunities for Change Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, these development challenges facing my country also provide opportunities for change. Nigerians are hardworking, creative and resourceful. And, in spite of the well-publicized unlawful activities of a few, we are largely an honest and law-abiding people. With a median age of 18 years, Nigeria’s population is really young and potentially among the most productive on the planet. But our people have been failed far too many times by the poor quality of leadership that has presided over their affairs. A committed, visionary leadership, working in concert with a mobilized citizenry, and with assistance from friends of Nigeria, can change the way issues are handled and turn Nigeria around. We need strong institutions, stable and predictable policy environment, rule of law and the enabling environment for sustainable economic growth. This will bring the country out of its self-inflicted inertia and enable it to occupy its rightful place in Africa, as the harbinger of democracy and economic growth on the continent. How the International Community can Help Nigeria Nigeria has enormous promise, and I acknowledge that it is Nigerians who have to develop Nigeria. It is Nigerians who have to grow Nigeria’s economy, make the necessary investments in infrastructure, education, health, and other

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar social services, and secure lives and property. But Nigeria needs help. Nigeria needs foreign direct investments, and it also needs political help to move along the democratic path and to protect the path of freedom and fair elections. Investments will help to provide employment, enhance people’s incomes and thereby reduce the army of unemployed youth from which criminals and terrorists recruit. Switzerland can certainly do more to help Nigeria. The volume of Nigeria’s bilateral trade with Switzerland was $500 million as at 2012, up from 250 million in 2010. Nigeria and Switzerland need to grow that trade volume. Fifty Swiss companies operate in Nigeria, making Switzerland the 11th highest foreign investor in Nigeria. The stock of Nestle, the giant Swiss conglomerate, is about the highest priced stock at the Nigerian Stock Exchange. We need more direct investment by Swiss companies. Huge opportunities exist in infrastructure, manufacturing, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, housing, food and beverages, and the financial services sectors. We also need more of your assistance in fighting corruption in Nigeria by, for instance, stopping money laundering by Nigerian officials and in helping to return funds already laundered. Nigerians are obviously grateful to the government and people of Switzerland for returning funds laundered in Swiss banks by the former Nigerian military ruler, Sani Abacha. Equally as important, Nigeria can learn useful lessons from Switzerland, including the

transfer of advanced skills and managerial expertise. Excellence in any endeavor helps workforces understand the value of performance and productivity. We certainly can use the precision in your watches, the delicacy in your chocolates, and the prudence of your financial institutions. But the international assistance that Nigeria needs goes beyond the economic. Perhaps more important is political assistance. Nigeria needs help in deepening its democracy, improving governance and ensuring accountability and transparency. Switzerland and other friends of Nigeria in the international community can help to persuade and pressure the current Nigerian regime to further open up the political space. They can help the development of Nigerian democracy by helping to monitor the entire democratic process in Nigeria in general, as opposed to simply monitoring the vote on one day. We must all appreciate that elections involve more than casting of ballots, counting of votes and collating of results. Elections include all the processes leading up to the casting of those votes and thereafter, such as the enacting of relevant legislation, party primaries, equality of access to state media, use of state resources for partisan purposes by incumbents, the independence and neutrality of security agencies and the election management agency, among other things. These processes will need to be constantly and

consistently monitored in emerging democracies such as Nigeria. Switzerland and international friends of Nigeria can deepen their assistance to Nigeria’s election management agency, the Independent National Electoral Commission, and help pressure the government to ensure that the agency is truly independent. In addition our partners can help by enhancing their support to prodemocracy civil society organizations as they engage in the difficult, and sometimes hazardous, task of helping to deepen Nigeria’s democracy and holding leaders to account. I strongly believe that as Nigeria changes for the better, so Africa will. Given Nigeria’s population and the size of its economy, it can help lift Africa economically if it lifts itself economically. And it can become a beacon of democracy, good governance, accountability and transparency for other African countries if it can practice those at home. It would be an example for the rest of Africa, stand on firm moral grounds to diplomatically nudge other African countries down the same road of democratization. Conversely, a collapsed Nigeria will be a threat to peace and stability in all of Africa. Nigeria’s descent into increased instability and insecurity would send a flood of refugees that would not only overwhelm Nigeria’s neighbours but also land on European shores. This bleak future can only be vanquished with the determined collaboration between Nigeria and the international friends of Nigeria who work relentlessly to sow the seeds of democracy, good governance, accountability, and transparency. Nigeria can change, with a committed, visionary leadership that is accountable to its people, with increased investment in infrastructure, education and healthcare, with strong institutions to support democracy & protect our teeming population. And with the cooperation of friends such as Switzerland, Nigeria can fulfill its enormous promise. I leave you today with this reminder from history, to the history yet to be written. To paraphrase Sir Edmund Burke, all that is necessary for evil to triumph is that enough good people do nothing. I and many like-minded Nigerians are prepared to do something about this. Are you prepared to join us in this quest? Once more, I sincerely thank President Murphy and this great institution for the opportunity to share these thoughts with you. Thank you for your kind attention. Concluded


Gov Akpabio Saga: Senator Etok faces recall as deadline expires today From Mike Etim, Uyo


rocess aimed at recalling Senator Aloysius Etok, who has been embroiled in face off with Governor Godswill Akpabio over the Senate seat in 2015 in the District, gathered momentum yesterday when stakeholders under the aegis of a leading socio-cultural group in the District "Ita Afe Annang" organized a Town Hall meeting to facilitate his recall. The meeting which was held in Ikot Ekpene old council hall, attracted all the serving commissioners of the Senatorial District in the Akpabio Administration, the ten Local Government Chairmen from the District, all House of Assembly members representing the ten Local Governments making up the District, some members of the National Assembly, past Commissioners, Traditional Rulers, youth groups, women groups and major stake holders in the Senatorial District. Addressing the mammoth crowd who had filled the council chamber, the leader of the Ita Afe Annang" Okuku Pius Eside said the meeting became necessary because of the recent remarks credited to senator Etok who is theSenator representing the Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District in most media alleging that the Senatorial seat for 2015 in the area was not vacant and also alleging that Governor Akpabio was after his life. The Royal Father said he deemed the statement as unfortunate considering the fact that it was Governor Akpabio who pleaded with the Senatorial District to make way for Senator Etok to represent the Senatorial District in the National Assembly. He stressed that, having served two terms as a Senator from 2007, Senator Etok, who hails from minority constituency in a largely Annag minority should have treaded cautiously in his statement by respecting the person of Governor Akpabio who was his benefactor to the position. He however said, the 7 days deadline given to Senator Etok to apologize to he governor by the ten Local Government Chairmen that represents the district and other groups still stands. The monarch maintained that at the expiration of the deadline, yesterday, the Senatorial District will resolve to begin the recalling process. A former Speaker of the State House of Assembly representing Senator Etok's constituency (Ini and Ikono) Chief Ukata Akpan called on the people of the Senatorial District to tread with caution of over the hasty recall process of Senator Etok. He asked for more time to be given to the Senator, while negotiations are going on to settle the matter.


Group condemns prolong investigation of former Ogun Gov From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he Yoruba for Democratic Values (YDV), has express discontent over what it termed, renewed aggressive investigation tactics by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on some political associates, staff and aides of former Governor of Ogun state Otunba Gbenga Daniel (OGD),

despite ongoing trial. The group in a statement signed by the group’s secretary, Kola Are, described the interrogation of a number of OGD’s political associates, staff and aides as deliberate attempt to harrass, intimidate and coerce innocent citizens into submission and possibly cripple political and business activities of the former governor at all cost.

“YDV notes specifically that OGD is unarguably the most investigated political office holder in Nigeria in recent time inspite of the fact that affairs of his government had been subject of monitoring and surveillance by the antigraft agency since 2006 at the heels of his election for second term in office. “It is therefore curious the EFCC was yet to conclude

L-R: INEC Chairman, Professor Atahiru Jega, INEC National Commissioer, Dr. Nura Yakub, and Minister of State for Finance, Dr. Yarima Ngama, after their meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday at the State House, Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

investigations into OGD’s political and business activities which commenced vigorously almost two years ago at the expiration of his 8 years tenure as governor and over a year after his rearraigment for the ongoing trial.” The group said further: “It is also important to alert the public of renewed efforts by political opponents of the former governor to mislead the public regarding a supposed N58billion corruption charges against OGD. The so called N58billion corruption charges only existed in the imagination of detractors whose agenda is to mobilise negative public opinions and anger against the former governor. “Whereas media reports regarding N58billion naira charges against the former governor had been denounced by the EFCC through its counsel at a court hearing in Abeokuta, political opponents of OGD has continued to peddle misinformation regarding the details of the charges involved in the ongoing trial for inordinate political reasons.” The group averred further that certain powerful interest are bent on continuous harrassment of associates of the former governor through aggressive investigations which seem unending and whose intent and purposes are to give credence to falsehood regarding OGD’s personality and businesses. The anti-graft agency is currently prosecuting the f o r m e r governor overalleged N58billion corruption charges at an Abeokuta High Court of Ogun state.

Probe Obasanjo now, CACOL tells FG From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) has called on the Federal Government to expedite action at prosecuting former President Olusegun Obasanjo for the financial malpractices he perpetuated during his eight year tenure. This call followed the statement credited to the former president asking the FG to prosecute him for all wrongs done in his administration rather than prosecuting his aides. Obasanjo allegedly made this statement at the 50th Birthday Anniversary of the former Minister of Education, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili. Reacting to the news, the Coalition’s Executive Chairman, Debo Adeniran averred that it is high time the former president is brought to book for the atrocities perpetrated in his regime. “The ex-President is right after all. He should be held

liable for every financial malpractices perpetrated in his regime. CACOL has in many petitions and reminders provided the anti-graft agencies, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC, with all evidences required to investigate the allegations and prosecute the cases against former President Olusegun Obasanjo for corrupt practices committed during his eight years in power. Our Coalition provided them with enough leads that they ought to have worked with since six years ago, it is baffling that the former president has not been docked now. Now that he has volunteered to face trial, the FG should not hesitate to grant the old man’s request. It is clear fact that the old soldier presided over scandals of international dimension. It has been revealed that 60 per cent of the Halliburton bribe money

was collected during Obasanjo’s regime; the Wilbross Scandal is there, the Siemens Scandal, and even the Pentascope, which was said to have been registered on a Sunday and incurred more debt that the NITEL it came to rescue. The Ndudi Elumelu’s Power Probe Report should also be revisited where the former president allegedly expended N16bn on Rural Electrification Scheme Project without any positive result to show for it. The pogrom he committed in Odi, Zaki-Biam and the killings of the O’odua Peoples’ Congress members in the South West should be investigated. His door-die politics, which led to thousands of lives wasted should be probed; the land grabbing allegations against the old man, and using his office to garner donations for his presidential library,” Adeniran submitted. Speaking further, the anticorruption crusader disclosed that the former president

should also face trial for the illegal excess crude account opened by his administration. “It is worthy of note that the so-called Excess Crude Account created by Obasanjo is illegal. He must tell the whole world why he created the account in the first place and what he used the money for. Why must his administration stack some much money in the account while many sectors of the country were in comatose. The roads were bad, the hospitals were nothing to write home about, and even the prices of petroleum products were jacked up making life unbearable for the masses. The ex-President must also tell Nigerians where monies recovered from Abacha and other looters went to. Plunderers of our collective patrimony and national heritage must be brought to book. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo must be adequately punished for his financial malpractices during his tenure as the president.



Stakeholders endorse AFN’s programmes, back Golden League


thletics club owners have resolved to support the Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN)’s performancebased standards set for athletes. It was resolved that the Golden League would remain and that AFN standards should be upheld to encourage improved By Patrick Andrew with agency report


dministrative talks of an agreement between the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) clubs and the League Management Company (LMC) are expected to continue. Representatives of the clubs and the LMC met for several hours on Tuesday following a a mediation meeting called by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). Though some agreements were reached, it was not far reaching enough to warrant seizure of hostilities. Specifically, agreements were

performance of athletes. A communiqué released at the end of a joint meeting of AFN and club owners in Abuja on Tuesday also resolved that henceforth, only state athletics associations, clubs, military and para military should register their athletes afresh for the 2013


national record performance should attract additional financial rewards. The club owners noted the AFN’s technical strategic plan was good and gave their full support to it, including the strategic plan of making the Golden League performance-

NFF reschedules LMC/ Club Owners talks

reached on administration of the league, staff welfare, but the core area of shares of the LMC was not quite definitive and would therefore require further discussions. This though will not hinder the 2012/13 season that is already in progress. “We have agreed on some areas but few are yet unresolved. But the

Mba in Rangers squad as team depart for Libolo today unday Mba is in the Enugu Rangers squad to face Angolan club, Recreativo do Libolo in this weekend’s second leg, second round fixture in Cuanza Sul, Angola. This was confirmed by the Media officer of Rangers, Forster Chime, who disclosed that the attacking midfielder has since teamed up with the rest of the squad in Abuja. “Yes, Mba has joined the squad in Abuja and I can confirm that he will play against the Angolans if he is selected by the coach. We will leave for Angola on Thursday (today),” Chime said. Mba has yet to play competitively in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) this season following a long drawn dispute over his ownership between two top flight clubs, Warri Wolves and Enugu Rangers but Chime is optimistic the player will be cleared in time for this weekend’s game. “Representatives of both clubs have been speaking in recent days and we are confident a deal will be reached before the end of (Thursday, May 2),” he said.

athletics season. It also resolved that henceforth all athletes interested in competing in the Golden League must register and compete under state clubs, military or para military bodies. It, however, requested that points gained in achieving the

Mba has also been speaking about the impasse between the two clubs which has left him frozen out of competitive action on the domestic front. “For me, I just want to play. The last time I played a competitive game, (for Nigeria against Kenya in a 2014 FIFA world cup qualifier), everyone could see I did not perform up to my usual standards but that was mainly because I had not been playing competitively prior to that game so I am quite pleased to return action,” he said to The 24-year-old further acknowledged that talent alone would not see him achieve his full potentials in the game citing the example of Argentine superstar, Lionel Messi in a recent UEFA Champions League game for FC Barcelona against German club, FC Bayern Munich. After a goalless first leg in Enugu, a loss by any margin will mean Rangers, Nigeria’s sole surviving club in continental competition this season, crash out at the Estadio Municipal de Calulo, Angola.

NFF played a fatherly role. There is relative peace now. “Consultation on grey areas continues. Like I said, we are happy with the meeting and the role of the NFF but we continue to look at the areas of disagreement but the league continues. “The LMC agreed they won’t stay one hour more at the end of the 2012/13 season. The grey areas remain and until it is done we can’t say something on them,” spokesman for the clubs, Alloy Chukwuemeka confirmed. A member of the LMC, Mike Enahoro, also confirmed to that talks will continue with the clubs. “We will continue to meet with the clubs. But we will continue to do our duties as requested by the football federation and make sure

we put proper structures in place to make the league a brand that will be sought after in commercial terms,” said Enahoro. “Reform is always difficult to entrench in a system. Like I said, we will continue to do our duties through models that will work for the league to become a reputable brand that will attract interests from different sectors.”

Aminu Maigari, NFF president

Chelsea, Benfica target Europa redemption


helsea’s relentless march towards either more European glory or an heroic, battle-weary failure, continues today when they face FC Basle with the final of the Europa League beckoning. The Londoners, like Benfica who face Fenerbahce in the other semifinal, were eliminated from the Champions League after the group stage, but both dropouts could yet meet in the final at the Amsterdam Arena on May 15. Chelsea are well-placed after a 2-1 victory in Switzerland but Benfica trail their Turkish opponents 1-0. Victory in the Europa League would not have been either

club’s target at the start of the season but it now offers redemption at the end of long and punishing road. Chelsea, the outgoing European Champions, will be playing their 11th match in 33 days against the Swiss champions at Stamford Bridge. Basle have already enjoyed success against a London side though this season having knocked Tottenham Hotspur out of the competition on penalties in the quarterfinals after drawing 2-2 in London and 2-2 at home. Today’s match will be their 20th in Europe this season, a run which started in the second qualifying round of the

Aminu Kurfi promises radical changes in tennis federation


he Nigeria Tennis Federation will experience a radical administrative restructuring with the ultimate aim of regeneration of talents that would see the nation

Aminu Kurfi

returning to global reckoning within the next few years, according to newly elected North West representative in the forthcoming board of the NTF, Alhaji Aminu Kurfi. Besides, tennis federation in the next dispensation will be financially independent, private sector-driven with focus on international exposure for players, improved training for coaches and high rating at the ATP for Nigerian players. Alhaji Kurfi, a sports philanthropist, who defeated Honourable Shehu Liman in the election conducted yesterday in Kano, further promised to create an atmosphere conducive for realistic grassroots interest with a view to boosting the interest and participation of younger talents in the game.

based. It said that unattached athletes should no longer be entertained in all AFN-organised events, except during the All Nigeria Championships, where the foreign-based athletes were usually invited as unattached. Every state association, clubs, military and para-military should be given time to avail their athletes of the full contents of the AFN Code of Conduct. It noted that, thereafter, athletes should be expected to sign the attestation form attached to the Code of Conduct, which would be returned to AFN. The Technical Committee, at the beginning of the year, made changes in the rules guiding the Golden League and included among others the new standards, with the first leg of the Golden League in Shagamu, which was held in March. However an undisciplined behaviour, led by some athletes, frustrated the staging of the 2nd leg of the league in Benin from April 26 to 27. Subsequently, three athletes alleged to have instigated a boycott of the Benin event were then suspended for three years by AFN. The three are Saheed Osanyande, Lekan Soetan and Afeez Imama. Twelve clubs were represented at the joint meeting in Abuja.

“We intend to give tennis fresh breathe in administration and sponsorship by restructuring and relying less on government appropriation for the game as we will aim at sourcing funds largely from our pockets to drive the desired processes for development. “We also want to take the game to schools by providing needed resources for training of the grassroots talents discovered, endeavour to expose coaches to better training facilities and work hard to eliminate conflict areas between administrators and the supervisory organ,” he said after his opponent who was overwhelmed by his vast contributions to the game before now stepped down for him. Peoples Daily Sports recalls

that Aminu Kurfi had sponsored a national player to the USA where he is currently undergoing training, sponsored some national players to the All Africa Games, then sent some to Togo for a West African tournament, assisted some coaches to Ghana for refresher courses as well as refurbished the dilapidated Kaduna tennis courts, among other contributions. The proprietor of Future Africa Football Academy assured that as an elected representative of the North West he would traverse oceans to rekindle the interest of the game in the zone adding that he has clear projection of what he intends to achieve especially he is neither an anointed nor accidental leader.

Champions League away to Flora Tallinn in July. Benfica are still widely regarded as one of Europe’s top clubs but it is 51 years since they last won a European trophy, lifting the second of their successive European Cups in 1962. Their coach Jorge Jesus is likely to opt for the in-form Argentine duo of Enzo Perez and Nicolas Gaitan in midfield to help break down Fenerbahce after a surprising punt on rarely picked 33-year-old playmaker Pablo Aimar and teenager Andre Gomes did not pay off in the first leg. Fenerbahce, bidding to become the second Turkish side to win a European trophy after their arch-rivals Galatasaray lifted the Uefa Cup in 2000, will be without suspended midfielder Mehmet Topal, suspended striker Pierre Webo and exChelsea midfielder Raul Meireles, who is injured.

Victor Moses



The talented Loic Remy was considered something of an enigma by the time he made the move from Marseille to Queens Park Rangers over the winter. His record of one goal in 12 matches in Ligue 1 in the first half of the season had raised question marks as to his ability to perform consistently at the highest level, though the France international, who has made 18 appearances and scored four goals for his country, could point to a series of injuries as mitigation. His decision to leave a club fighting for the French title for another marooned at the bottom of the English Premier League raised a few eyebrows on both sides of the Channel. Within a few weeks, however, Remy had dispelled any doubts as to the wisdom of the move. While his haul of five goals in 11 matches were ultimately not enough to save QPR from relegation, a fate that was confirmed by their goalless draw with Reading on Sunday, his performances in West London earned him a recall to the France team in March. Speaking before QPR’s relegation was sealed last Sunday, the striker of Martinique descent gave an exclusive interview to and discussed his long-awaited return to the France side, his experiences in Ligue 1 and his new life in the Premier League. Did you have regrets leaving title aspirants Marseille for an English relegation battling QPR? ’m pleased to see Marseille doing well. I’m really thrilled to see my former teammates up there in the leading positions. They’re right on course for the Champions League. To be honest, given the quality there is in the team I’m not surprised to see them playing the way they are. As for me personally, I left because I wanted a different challenge, one that was tricky right from the start. I joined QPR to give my all though, and my goal at the end of the season was not to have any regrets. I don’t have any regrets about leaving and I’m happy here in England. I’m playing in a league where I’ve always wanted to play, and I don’t regret it. What do you think about QPR’s performances since your arrival, and your contributions to the team? We’ve had our ups and downs. There have been a few situations we could and should have handled better. We’ve had some games in the palm of our hand only to let them slip. Those are the games that make me a bit angry because I know we’ve got a lot of quality in the team. We had the resources to do really well.


Lens five years ago. The situation was exactly the same. I left one club, Lyon, that was fighting it out at the top of Ligue 1, for another, Lens, that was struggling. Out of the four clubs I’ve played for it’s those two that have made the biggest impression on me. Your medical at Marseille revealed a heart problem that could have spelled the end of your career. What thoughts went through your head at the time? Looking back I was pretty relaxed about it all. I was in permanent contact with the doctors and I just look on it as a false alarm. The story got plenty of coverage in the media and there was a lot of talk about my case. I knew that my heart was a little bit bigger than average and I was aware of the problem I had. It was hardly breaking news, though. A lot of players have the same problem. People really went over the top about it on. Contrary to what’s been said, though, it isn’t something that’s held me back or discouraged me. When you hear that a decision’s going to be made in 48 hours, it’s only natural that you should have a few doubts, but once it was sorted I stopped thinking about it altogether. What are the biggest differences between the Premier League and Ligue 1? They’re very different leagues. There’s less contact in France. There is some contact, but it’s a lot less rough than in England. There are no half measures here. It’s very different. Ligue 1 teams tend to be more structured too, better organised, whereas in England there’s more risk taking. You tend to take more gambles and that’s what creates more space. That’s why you also see more goals in England. Were you honestly France side, over a in the squad? I wouldn’t say I was happy, that’s for or less settled and together over head, though, I national side. to achieve that my own merits. I was already best form. I didn’t Marseille, but playing again, importantly of wants in-form think I

surprise by your recent recall to the year after your last appearance surprised. It always makes you sure. I knew the team was more that the squad had been coming the last few months. In my wanted to be back in the And I gave myself the chance objective, and I got back in on on the way to rediscovering my get a lot of playing time at here I’ve had the chance to start get back in the groove and, most all, get in among the goals. The coach players in each position and I fulfil that requirement.

Do you think the Premier League is the place for a player like you? You get less time to read the game in this league. There’s more pressure and there’s more contact, though there is more space too. It’s great for a player like me. They play deep here and I like that. It feels like the perfect league for me. QPR’s current squad is filled with big names like Julio Cesar, Christopher Samba, Shaun Wright Phillips and you. Why do you think this season has been such a struggle for them? It’s difficult to put your finger on it. The club was already in trouble when I arrived, though there are a lot of different reasons for a situation like that. I can’t analyse

There’s less contact in France. There is some contact, but it’s a lot less rough than in England. There are no half measures here. It’s very different. Ligue 1 teams tend to be more structured too, better organised, whereas in England there’s more risk taking.

them. I don’t know what went on before, especially under the previous coach. I don’t know what the mindset of the players was or if the mood in the team was good. What has to be said, though, is that when you look at the quality of the squad it’s hard to understand the club’s current position. There are a lot of great players here who’ve played for some big clubs and taken part in major European competitions. After playing for Lyon, Lens, Nice and Marseille, can you tell us which one of the four is closest to your heart? I grew up in Lyon, I trained there, all my family live there and I signed my first professional contract there. I miss Lyon. But I miss Lens too, even though I only spent six months with them. I’ve got great memories of the place. My move to QPR is very similar to the one I made to

You get less time to read the game in this league. There’s more pressure and there’s more contact, though there is more space too. Loic Remy




Hamstring forces Bolt out of Jamaica meet


hamstring strain suffered during training last weekend has forced Usain Bolt to withdraw from Saturday’s Jamaica International Invitational meet, the superstar sprinter’s manager said midweek. Bolt, a double world-record

holder and two-time defending 100- and 200metres Olympic champion, won the 100 at the meet last year and was to run the 200 this time before what manager Ricky Simms called “a mild setback in training.” “I am disappointed to miss

Usain Bolt

the Kingston meet as I love running in front of my home crowd in Jamaica,” Bolt said. “I’m told it is only a Grade 1 strain so hopefully I will be OK soon.” Simms said Bolt hopes to recover in time to race in the Cayman Invitational on May 8 but will make a final decision closer to the time depending on how he feels in training. The decision not to run in Kingston was taken after talks between Bolt, trainers and Bolt’s coach, Glen Mills. “The 26-year-old felt tightness in training over the weekend and in consultation with his coach Glen Mills decided not to risk anything at this early stage of the season,” Simms said. Bolt will join training partner and reigning world 100 metres champion Yohan Blake on the sidelines after Blake suffered a slight strain in his right hamstring two weeks ago while running his first 100 race of the year at the UTech Classic. Meet official Donald Quarrie said he hopes the injury is nothing serious and that both Bolt and Blake recover in time to compete at the world championships in August at Moscow.

Aminu Kurfi promises radical changes in tennis federation


he Nigeria Tennis Federation will experience a radical a d m i n i s t r a t i v e restructuring with the ultimate aim of regeneration of talents that would see the nation returning to global reckoning within the next few years, according to newly elected North West representative in the forthcoming board of the NTF, Alhaji Aminu Kurfi. Besides, tennis federation in the next dispensation will be financially independent, private sector-driven with focus on international exposure for players, improved training for coaches and high rating at the ATP for Nigerian players. Alhaji Kurfi, a sports philanthropist, who defeated Honourable Shehu Liman in the election conducted yesterday in Kano, further promised to create an atmosphere conducive for realistic grassroots interest with a view to boosting the interest and participation of younger talents in the game. “We intend to give tennis fresh breathe in administration and sponsorship by restructuring and relying less on government appropriation for the game as we will aim at sourcing funds largely from our pockets to drive the desired processes for development. “We also want to take the game to schools by providing needed resources for training of the grassroots talents discovered, endeavour to

expose coaches to better training facilities and work hard to eliminate conflict areas between administrators and the supervisory organ,” he said after his opponent who was overwhelmed by his vast contributions to the game before now stepped down for him. Peoples Daily Sports recalls that Aminu Kurfi had sponsored a national player to the USA where he is currently undergoing training, sponsored some national players to the All Africa Games, then sent some to Togo for a West

African tournament, assisted some coaches to Ghana for refresher courses as well as refurbished the dilapidated Kaduna tennis courts, among other contributions. The proprietor of Future Africa Football Academy assured that as an elected representative of the North West he would traverse oceans to rekindle the interest of the game in the zone adding that he has clear projection of what he intends to achieve especially he is neither an anointed nor accidental leader.

CBN Tennis: Wheelchair tennis coach optimistic of players’ performance


rank Tarmena, the Head Coach, Wheelchair Tennis, has expressed optimism that his players would perform well at the ongoing Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Senior Open Tennis championships in Lagos. The wheelchair tennis which is newly-introduced into the annual tournament, served off yesterday even as Tarmena said that the event, for male and female, would further prepare the wheelchair players for another competition scheduled for this month. “I am indeed glad that wheelchair tennis is now part of the competition. The competition will afford the Nigeria Tennis Federation to select players for an international competition in May.

“We have been on this issue for long and we are happy about the development. I hope that the wheelchair players will play their game with confidence based on all what they have learnt over the years. “I also hope that they will entertain the crowd who will come to watch them because many people are really anxious to see them play. “Overall, this competition will serve as a stepping ground for them, as I will keep tabs on them on where they need to ensure more concentration,” he said. Tarmena assured that the subsequent editions of the competition would produce more players. “I can assure you that in the coming edition we will have expanded in terms of more players who will participate in the competition,’ he said.



‘Don’t write Nadal off no.1 spot’, warns Agassi’s coach, Gilbert


or Rafael Nadal to bridge a 7 000-point gap with Novak Djokovic in the ATP rankings looks like a tall order, even for a player of his qualities, yet he could still threaten the Serb’s hopes of ending 2013 as world No 1. Brad Gilbert, the coach of former World No1 Andre Agassi warned while assessing the current rankings and the prospects of the top players. With the French Open looming large on the horizon, Nadal is back in the claycourt groove as he continues his comeback from a knee injury that sidelined him for seven months. The Spaniard has won four titles in six tournaments since returning in Chile in February, finishing runner-up in the other two, yet remains in unfamiliar territory

Rafael Nadal

Mourinho hints exit, says he prefers where he is loved J

ose Mourinho has dropped the strongest hint yet that he may leave Real Madrid at the end of the season following their UEFA Champions League semi-final defeat against Borussia Dortmund. The former FC Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan manager bluntly told reporters on Tuesday night that he would prefer to be where he is loved. “May be not. “I don’t know but I want to be where people love me to be,” he told ITV1 when asked if he would remain in the Spanish capital for next season. Portuguese coach has consistently skirted the question regarding his future, which has been the subject of much speculation after a difficult La Liga campaign that sees Madrid lie 11 points behind arch rivals Barcelona with five games remaining. The 50-year-old left west London in a c r i m o n i o u s circumstances after a

falling out with owner Roman Abramovich although Mourinho remains Chelsea’s most successful manager with two Premier League titles and three domestic cup wins. Mourinho admitted in his post-match press conference: “I know in England I’m loved. I’m loved by the fans, I’m loved by the media that treats me in a fair way, criticising me but giving me credit when I deserve it. “I know I’m loved by some clubs, especially one, and in Spain, the situation is a bit different because some people hate me. Many of you are in this room.” Mourinho, who has also managed at Porto and Inter Milan, added he will discuss his future at the end of the current campaign. Madrid take on city rivals Atletico in the Copa del Rey final next month and Mourinho is focusing on closing the season on a high. “I didn’t make a decision because I have a

contract. But more than a c o n t r a c t , because in football contracts you break it when people want to break, is the respect I have for the club and the respect I have for the president,” he said. “That’s why I want to play the final, I want to finish the season, I want to try to win the final, I want to try to f i n i s h second and at the end of the season I want to sit in front of Florentino Perez - my president, my friend and decide the best for me. I like the club, I like the president, I need to be honest and fair and at the end of the season I speak.”

outside the world’s top four. Starting in Madrid next week, however, where he suffered a surprise thirdround exit last year to compatriot Fernando Verdasco, fifth-ranked Nadal can start making inroads. While the Mallorcan must defend 3 000 points at the Rome Masters and then at Roland Garros, where he will be chasing an eighth French Open title, the second half of the year looks like being a winwin situation for the 11times grand slam champion. A stunning secondround defeat by Czech Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon last year proved to be his final match of 2012, meaning the Spaniard will have six months to harvest ranking points and close the gap on those above him. Djokovic is hoping to

Jose Mourinho

finish a third successive season as world No 1 but Brad Gilbert, former world No 4 and coach to Andre Agassi, believes Nadal has will be breathing down the Serb’s neck later this year. “To me this is the meatiest part of the season,” Gilbert told “You’ve got two Masters 1000s back-to-back and then the French and Wimbledon. That’s 6 000 points up for grabs over a short stretch, and what happens during this time will set the tone as to who has a shot of finishing No 1. “Djokovic is in good position now but it still could be a very tight race.” Djokovic, world No 2 Roger Federer and No 3 Andy Murray will all be defending sackloads of points after the French Open, and providing Nadal suffers no injury setbacks he will be relishing a pressure-free

second half of the year. Gilbert said Nadal’s decision to delay his comeback until after the Australian Open and then skip the Miami Masters was paying dividends. “What a tremendous effort to be in the final every week he’s played. I love the way he goes about his business,” Gilbert said. “He didn’t rush back until he was close to 100 percent, and the results back up that he made the right decision.”

AFN to build on Okpekpe gains for long distance runners


thletes to represent the country at the maiden Okpekpe 10kilometre race to be held on May 4, will be further trained after the race, an official of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, has said. Navy Commodore Omatseye Nesiama, the Technical Director, AFN, disclosed yesterday in Lagos that the the AFN would build the capacity of the long distance runners from the Okpekpe tournament for subsequent exposure. He explained that the decision to further tutor the athletes was because Nigeria had yet to master the skills of the long distance racing, noting that the long distance athletes can improve with adequate training and competitions. “Some other countries are already moving into our area of strength the sprints. We also want to improve our skills in the long distance races and see how it goes. “The long distance runners that will represent the country at the Okpekpe race have been in camp at Afuze Games Village. “They are mainly the ones discovered at the 18th National Sports Festival held in Lagos. We will continue to train them depending on how they perform at the Okpekpe race,’’ the technical director said. Nesiama noted that the athletes would participate in the Golden Leagues, to prepare them ahead of continental events like the Obudu Mountain race. The maiden Okpekpe 10 km Race, will hold at Okpekpe, near Auchi in Edo.


Barca earn dubious champions League record


ayern Munich cruised into a first all-German Champions League final when they routed Barcelona at the Nou Camp on Wednesday to secure a crushing 7-0 aggregate success. The newly-crowned Bundesliga champions, who will play Borussia Dortmund in the May 25 final in London, had effectively killed off the tie with last week's 4-0 victory and there was no way back for Barca when Arjen Robben blasted the ball past Victor Valdes in the 49th minute. Barca's humiliation was completed late in the game when Gerard Pique skewed the ball into his own net and Thomas Mueller, who scored twice in last week's first leg, nodded a third for Bayern who are seeking a fifth European crown. The Spaniards, last defeated in both legs of a European knockout tie in 1987, were deprived of the talents of Lionel Messi, who is coming back from a hamstring injury and was left on the bench. Without the talismanic World Player of the Year they barely threatened. Cesc Fabregas was initially deployed in Messi's roving forward role in a three-pronged attack with Spain teammates Pedro and David Villa. Bayern will be appearing in the final for the third time in four seasons after defeats to Inter Milan in 2010 and Chelsea last season and are on course for a treble of Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup. Their success at the Nou Camp may help them banish the painful memory of losing a dramatic Champions League final there against Manchester United in 1999, when the English Premier struck twice late on for a 2-1 comeback triumph. Barca should wrap up the La Liga title in the next couple of weeks but a domestic league title is scant reward for a team which has set a new standard for European club football in recent years.


0803 0805 0803 0805 0803

The word rigging is synonymous with PDP, which is why they predicted they would rig (elections) for the next 60 years. — Gov. Adams Oshiomhole of Edo state

. . . putting the people first



May Day exercises in futility A

storied garment factory in Bangladesh collapses. Latest figures are 460 dead, mostly women. They are (were) a part of the millions toiling in East and Southern Asian manufacturing and industry sweat-shops where tonnes of consumer goods are made for export. Nearly all of the discount bargain clothing that fills American and European supermarkets like Wallmart and Primark come from factories like this one that collapsed. The pay is meagre, pushed down by western consumers' appetite for discount and their relentless materialism. A farmer in India commits suicide. Unable to pay back a staggering $5000 debt, he hangs himself from the tree in his own backyard. He borrowed the money just to provide his daughter with a dowry at her marriage. The problem is a drought that has made it impossible for him to grow anything this year. It is said to be the worst drought in 40 years. A retired superintendent of the Nigeria Police Force confesses to a Radio France International's Hausa correspondent that he daily endures the shame of not having a house. His pension is pitiful. He can afford only to buy one bag of rice to feed his wife and 11 children, let alone pay the rent. He worked for 35 years as a policeman. Another set of retired policemen in Kaduna, Nigeria resolve to go to court over pensions savings denied them. One retiree has been told that the balance of his pension's savings can only be paid out … after he has died! Meanwhile, public officials in charge of pensions including police pensions, have been allowed to pay fines of N750,000 only out of billions of Naira stolen and used to buy mansions, to invest in stocks and businesses. In the same country, Nigeria. Meanwhile, in cash strapped Europe and recovering America, home of the Walmarts and Primarks earlier mentioned, welfare statistics can make or break a government. Yesterday, Greece was once again brought to a standstill as unions marked International Labour Day with peaceful protests against the austerity medicine that has pushed millions out of jobs. Latest jobless figures show a European average of 12% with Spain's 27% at one end and Germany at the other with 5%.

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CAR TEL OPIA CARTEL TELOPIA With Aisha Yolah 08086296783 (text only please)

NLC President, Abdulwaheed Omar Nigeria's officially is around 26% but it is probably about 50% according to Issa Aremu, Vice President of the Nigeria Labour Congress. The government sees itself as doing well. A so -called Gang of eight (bipartisan) United States senators is set to work on new immigration legislation to see how best to 'manage' the influx of foreigners and keep out 'terrorists'. The belief is that there is some enduring, shining set of values -freedoms, happiness - the American Dream ? - that keeps attracting all these millions of immigrants. From my perspective as we celebrate May Day I think it's actually far simpler than that. Most immigrants who seek the shores of America or Europe or Canada are just looking to live a

decent life free from that most basic of indignities - the ability to live free from want. The developed world and many emerging economies are able to provide such a life because governments are accountable to their people. Spain's highest ever rate of joblessness has not prevented the country from paying out the usual out-of-work benefits. The idea is that so long as there is a government - it must provide for the basic needs of every citizen. Often even non-citizens, immigrants, and jobless residents get some kind of help - so no-one starves or is forced to commit suicide because of a daughter's wedding expenses. These are the real values that make life in the developed West so appealing. Every life is precious (at least

within the border), government must provide a basic minimum of social infrastructure to justify its existence. Everyday life in a country such as Nigeria or Bangladesh or India tells us something different. The life of the poor man is not that important. He can be killed, raped or left to starve and it is not necessarily a problem. On balance though, it would seem that the governments of India and Bangladesh are doing far better than ours. That Bangladesh factory had been inspected the day before it collapsed and told not to open. The owner and management in less than a week have been arrested or are on the run. India's law enforcement has proven to be capable of investigation and arrest of rape and murder suspects, also within weeks. I do not recall any major cases of company executives being prosecuted for their treatment or rather mal-treatment of workers in Nigeria. I do recall that our Nigeria Labour Congress has repeatedly simply complained about the 'casualisation' of workers. The minimum wage of N18,000 they say they have fought for is, in the face of colossal disparities in public officers' salaries, a huge joke. In the final analysis certain values such as the dignity of human life or the criminality of theft cannot be taught or conjured up where they do not exist. Certainly it is not the place of a Labour Union to point out that you cannot force a pensioner to starve just because you have stolen or 'kept' his pension. As for the right to life - it is on record that President Goodluck Jonathan has usually done his best to excuse the killing of civilians for whom he has no iota of empathy or sympathy. We should all get on boats and planes really, and leave for more civilised pastures.

A retired superintendent of the Nigeria Police Force confesses to a Radio France International's Hausa correspondent that he daily endures the shame of not having a house. His pension is pitiful. He can afford only to buy one bag of rice to feed his wife and 11 children, let alone pay the rent. He worked for 35 years as a policeman

Published by Peoples Media Limited, 35, Ajose Adeogun Street, 1st Floor Peace Park Plaza, Utako, Abuja. Kano office: Plot 3, Zaria Road, Opposite Kano State House of Assembly. Lagos Office: No.8 Oliyide Street, off Unity Road, Ikeja, Lagos. Tel: +234-09-8734478. Cell: +234 803 7007 759. e-mail:; ISSN: 2141– 6141

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Thursday 02, May, 2013  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Thursday 02, May, 2013 Edition