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Vol. 10 No. 4

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2015: PDP, OBJ plot Lagos takeover

. . . putting the people first

Housewife bathes mate with boiling water

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>> PAGE 3

Safar 20, 1434 AH


FoI: Sanusi gets 7-day ultimatum to declare salary >> PAGE 2

How we killed Kano MPs, by suspect …We were promised N100,000, but got only N30,000 From Edwin Olofu, Kano


oodlums who recently killed two members of the Kano state House of Assembly, Alhaji Abba Garko and Alhaji Danladi Isa Kademi, were offered N100,000 to carry out the evil deeds, a suspect arrested in connection with the crime reportedly confessed to the Police in Kano yesterday. The Police were also told that

the brain behind the assassination plot, one Alhaji Saleh Kura, who contracted the gang to eliminate the lawmakers, even prayed with Garko shortly before he was killed. While Garko, who represented Garko constituency, was killed by gunmen in November last year, Kademi who represented Gaya/ Ajingi constituency, was killed by the gang the following month. The suspect, Ibrahim Lawal,

22, told the Police that he and others still at large, were contracted to assassinate the two lawmakers at the cost of N100,000 out of which they were given an advance of N30,000. Lawal, who is cooling his feet at the headquarters of the Kano state Police command in Bompai, spoke while being paraded as the principal suspect in the crime before newsmen. Commissioner of Police,

Ibrahim Idris, said the suspect had confessed during interrogation that he participated physically in the killing of Kademi. Speaking further, he said the suspect confessed to have joined other hired killers in January 2012 and that they were sponsored by one Alhaji Saleh Kura to eliminate the two members of the state’s Assembly. Idris revealed that the suspected gang bargained to

assassinate the legislators at the cost of N100,000 out of which they were given an advance of N30,000, leaving a balance of N70,000. Stating that the gang leader and five other accomplices were still at large, the Police Commissioner, however, said that Lawal further confessed to have held several meetings on how to assassinate the legislators with Contd on Page 2

Jonathan: I can’t stop 2015 campaigners By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


resident Goodluck Jonathan has denied having a hand in the posters seen around Abuja which claim that he is keen on vying for office in 2015 even as he has said he does not have the powers to stop those behind them because they are faceless. Jonathan, who distanced himself from the posters, said those behind them were not his agents and urged Nigerians to ignore them. Presidential spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, told State House correspondents yesterday that the President was focused on delivering on his mandate for Nigerians and would not be distracted by the politics of 2015. Asked whether the President would take measures to stop those behind the posters, Abati said since the posters did not have the names of those putting them up, “there is little the President can do.” He said: "We do not know those behind the posters, so the President cannot do Contd on Page 2

R-L: Yobe state Governor, Malam Ibrahim Gaidam, in a handshake with the Speaker, Yobe House of Assembly, Hon. Adamu Dala Dogo, before the presentation of the 2013 budget proposal on the floor of the Assembly, yesterday in Damaturu.




2015: PDP, Obasanjo plot Lagos takeover


By Richard Ihediwa




















News Extra


Nigeria and its many fuel ‘filling’ stations, Page 4



Strange World 35 Digest










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head of the 2015 general elections, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has started making frantic efforts to take over Lagos state from the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Already, the leadership of the Lagos PDP has commenced talks with former President Olusegun Obasanjo, seeking his blessing to help the party capture the state come 2015.

The moves came to the fore yesterday when the party’s chieftains visited Obasanjo in his Abeokuta, Ogun state home, during which they requested him to help them win the state The partymen led by the Chairman of the Lagos PDP, Tunji Shelle, told Obasanjo that though they were in his house for a solidarity visit to sympathise with him over the fire incident that destroyed part of his house recently, they also want him to back the quest

to capture Lagos in 2015. “Our baba, our leader and our President, we are here for three reasons: to sympathize with you over the fire incident, to celebrate New Year with you, and to get your blessings for the 2015 elections,” Mr. Shelle said. Shelle said the party thanked God for sparing Mr. Obasanjo’s life. “Thank God it was curtailed, whether small or big, we don’t pray for such incident to happen again. In everything, we have to give

thanks to God,” he said. Responding, Obasanjo said the fire which gutted his house would have killed him if the incident had happened in the middle of the night. He said the damage done by the fire was enormous. The fire, which occurred inside the office of his private secretary, consumed a number of inflammable items that aided the fire, resulting in a thick smoke that found its way into his bedroom, he stated.

FoI: Sanusi get’s 7-day ultimatum to declare salary, allowances By Richard Ihediwa, with agency report


overnor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, could very well be the first to feel the bitter taste of the Freedom of Information Act (FoI) as human rights activist, Bamidele Aturu, has written the apex bank boss demanding that he declare details of his salary, allowances and other payments within seven days or face legal action under the provisions of the FoIA. Sanusi, in Aturu’s letter dated December 31, 2012, is also expected to give details of other monies he receives as CBN governors including whether or not he charges the Federal Government or the CBN any extra fee outside his monthly remuneration. He is also expected to declare his monthly imprest, how much he receives as allowance for travels within and outside the country, in addition to whether he travels on economy, business or first class. Aturu, who said he wrote the letter on behalf of his client, Anthony Itedjere, an advocate of the Supreme Court, wants Sanusi to declare whether or not he travels

on chartered flight and how much such costs the CBN in addition to declaring whether the CBN owns an aircraft and how much it takes to maintain it. The CBN governor, by the letter, is also expected to declare other personal expenses and he makes as CBN governor including how many domestic workers are attached to him as CBN governor and at what cost. This development is coming on the heels of Sanusi’s continued criticisms of the over-bloated overhead costs of government agencies and institutions especially the National Assembly, demanding a drastic cut in government recurrent expenses. Sections 1,3 and 4 of the FoI Act empowers Nigerians to seek information on activities of government agencies and spelt sanctions for refusal of any agency that fails to provide such information within a specific period. The letter, which has already been posted on the internet, reads: “Our client is interested in certain information which is in possession and or custody of the Central Bank of Nigeria (hereinafter referred to as ‘the bank’) and your office. Kindly provide the information to

the best of your knowledge in the interest of transparency and openness which you have been advertised as championing. “You are hereby specifically requested to make available to our client or grant to him access to: The Central Bank Act provides that your salary, fee, wages or other remuneration or allowances shall be stipulated from time to time by the Board subject to the approval of the President; How much is your total remuneration (that is salary plus allowances) per month? Do you charge the Bank or the Federal Government of Nigeria any fee outside your monthly remuneration? If so, state any such fee you have received since becoming the Governor of the bank. “Do you travel business class or economy within Nigeria? Do you travel first class, business class or economy when travelling out of Nigeria? Have you ever used chartered plane for any of your travels within and outside Nigeria? If your answer to the above is in the affirmative, kindly list all such instances specifying the dates, the airline(s), the cost and the duration of the charter?” he requested. The letter continued: “Does the Bank own an aircraft? If so, what is the cost of the air craft and the cost of its servicing and

maintenance? How many drivers are attached to your office by the bank? How many cleaners are attached to your office by the bank? “How many drivers are attached to your house by the bank? How many cleaners are attached to your house by the bank? How much is your monthly imprest? When you travel within Nigeria, how much is your allowance? When you travel outside Nigeria, how much is your allowance? When last did you spend your personal money on purchasing fuel since you became the Governor of the bank?” Cautioning that his client would not hesitate to take legal actions against Sanusi if he fails to comply with the demand, Aturu said; “if you think that another agency of the government has greater interest in the information requested for, you are obliged under Section 5 of the Freedom of Information Act 2011 to transfer this request to the other agency within 3 days, howbeit not later than 7 days of receiving this request. “Our client shall pay the necessary fees for the information. Be notified that if you fail to provide the above information within the period stipulated by law, we shall proceed against you in accordance with the provisions of the law.”

How we killed Kano MPs, by suspect Contd from Page 1 Sale Kura in a car park at his residence. According to him, Kura was with Abba Garko at the time of his assassination and they prayed together at Yan Awaki before he was killed by the principal suspect and his group. He said efforts were in top gear

to arrest the fleeing suspects, assuring the general public that no stone would be left unturned in the investigation. Gunmen had on December 15, 2012 killed Kademi on the grounds of his guest house in Hotoron Maradi by Ring Road in Kano metropolis. Kademi was seated outside the uncompleted

building when two gunmen on a motorcycle accosted and shot him dead, police said. Earlier in November last year, Garko was killed by gunmen who came on two motorbikes and shot the legislator in his chest, head and arm. The incident happened at Farawa Quarters where, it was

said, Garko usually had his leisure in the company of his friends. It was gathered that he had headed for the spot after observing his prayers at about 7.30 pm where he met his end at the hands of four gunmen on motorbikes who opened fire on him.

Jonathan: I can’t stop 2015 campaigners Contd from Page 1 anything. Our appeal is that those behind this should allow the President concentrate on the job at hand. The President's main preoccupation now is to continue to provide service and quality leadership.” Abati said those pasting the posters are trying to express their personal view and do not have the consent of the President who, he stated, had already told Nigerians that he would speak about the Presidency in 2014. "Those pasting the posters are trying to express their own view. The President had stated that he

will talk about the Presidency in 2014. Those doing these do not have the consent of the President. “What is most important now is for the President to deliver on his electioneering promise to Nigerians and not to embark on the pasting of posters. It has not come from the President. Nigerians should take the President for his word and ignore any other information to the contrary", he said Abati maintained that the President "has not launched any campaign” since “he believes that those doing that are playing games.”

“There is no reason for the President to engage in any form of scaremongering. He has said that by 2014 his position on the 2015 Presidential race would be made public. Nigerians should wait till then”, he said. It would be recalled that campaign posters, announcing President Goodluck Jonathan’s readiness to contest the 2015 presidential election, greeted Nigerians in Abuja, the nation’s capital on New Year day The all-glossy posters, which were strategically posted in the high brow areas of the Federal Capital Territory, did not

however indicate the source or the sponsor of the advertisement. The campaign posters were spread across the major areas of ECOWAS secretariat in Asokoro, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Secretariat in Wuse Zone 5, and the Central Business District, where major offices are situated. One of the posters, which bears President Jonathan’s portrait, reads: "2015: No vacancy in Aso Rock. Let’s do more. One good term deserves another. Support Dr. Goodluck Azikiwe Jonathan for 2015 Presidency”.



Housewife bathes mate with boiling water From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, Katsina


housewife, Binta Abu Sufyan, has been arraigned before Chief Magistrate Court 1 sitting in Katsina for allegedly bathing her mate, Hadiza Mu’azu, with boiling water.

The prosecuting police officer, Inspector Babangida Shehu, told the court that the matter was reported to the police by the husband of both Binta and Hadiza, Malam Mu’azu, alleging that one of his wives had bathed her mate with hot water. Shehu informed the court that on the fateful day, the suspect,

Binta who lives in a separate house with the victim, visited the victim’s house at Unguwar Madawaki Quarters, Katsina, where she engaged her in a fight and eventually poured hot water on her. The prosecutor disclosed that after the attack, the victim became unconscious and was rushed to a

hospital where she was revived but was still nursing the burns inflicted on her. He submitted that by this act, the suspect had committed an offence of causing grievous hurt to the victim which is contrary to section 240 of the Penal Code Law of Nigeria. However when the presiding

magistrate, Kabir Shu’aibu asked the respondent whether she understood the charges against her, she denied ever inflicting any form of injury on her mate. The magistrate therefore remanded the accused in prison custody and fixed the January 14 for the prosecution to present their witnesses before the court.

Police arrest 5 with fake $3,000


he Nasarawa state Police Command yesterday said it arrested five men with more than 3,000 fake US dollars and materials used for currency counterfeiting. This was contained in a statement signed by the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Michael Adah, in Lafia. The police detectives attached to Access Bank Plc., in Lafia on Dec. 28, arrested one Theophilus Ogu, who presented a fake 100 dollar note for exchange. Adah said following investigation, four others were

arrested with fake 3,000 dollars. He said the police also discovered from the hideout, mercury and other materials used in the production of the fake currencies. He said the suspects would be charged to court as soon as investigation is concluded. He, however, said the crime rate in the state during Christmas and New Year festivity was low, attributing the development to security measures put in place by the command. He urged members of the public to further support the police to effectively tackle criminal activities in the state. (NAN)

Shun factions, Kaduna commissioners warned From Nasir Muazu Isa, Kaduna

T Borno state governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima (2nd left), visits the 2,500 hectare of Birma farm near Biu, yesterday in Biu local government area of Borno state. Photo: NAN

Pension crisis: Maina accuses NUP leadership of demanding N7bn By Abdulwahab Isa


mbattled chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, yesterday disclosed that the crux of the hostility facing the committee lies on his refusal to remit N7 billion check-off dues to the leadership of the National Union of Pensioners (NUP). Speaking with our reporter on the issues of pension administration in the country, From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan


he premises of Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T) were yesterday barricaded by members of the Joint Action Committee of Staff Unions (JAC), protesting the non-payment of allowances. Dr. Olufunmilayo Ande, the chairperson of IAR&T Chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), told reporters in Ibadan that the workers were protesting against non-payment of approved hazard allowance arrears. According to her, the workers are also protesting the refusal of management to pay the transfer allowances of those that were

Maina stated that the leadership of NUP aligned with other vested interests to pull down his committee because they were denied access to check-off dues which had been mismanaged in the past by NUP leadership. “The National Union of Pensioners is also against PRTT because the Task Team refused to dance to their tune of authorizing the Head of Service (HoS) to release check-off dues of more than N7 billion to them. “They are calling for

disbandment of the Task Team because of their selfish interest as demonstrated by its President Alhaji Ali Abatcha,” he alleged. Though the committee has been facing a sustained face-off with the National Assembly, the chairman said his committee has restored sanity in the hitherto chaotic pension system. He said that no fewer than abandoned 52,000 retirees who were retired through HoS way back in 1970s, had been captured.

Research workers protest non-payment of allowances recently moved as well as the entitlements of those newly appointed. Ande said that the outstanding salaries were more than N177.5 million. “We do not have students here as the bulk of our work is research but most who work here are teaching staff of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, the institute’s administrative supervisory agency. “It is very saddening that since 2009, there has been no meaningful research work carried out here especially since June 11,

2012 when workers here have been on strike. “The strike action is centered around the non-payment of arrears of our hazard allowances to the tune of N177, 571, 609.50 approved by the council of the university on Dec. 13, 2010,’’ Ande said. She revealed that the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) and OAU had set up separate investigation panels over the issue since September and October, 2012. The union leader, however, said the reports were still pending.

he Kaduna state executive council, presided over by Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, yesterday called on all commissioners to cooperate with one another in ensuring good governance. The Governor also called on the commissioners not to allow themselves to be dragged into factions reminding them that they all serve the same state. The meeting which was the first for the year, also called on the public to remember that bush burning is illegal in the state. The Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Saidu Adamu Birnin Gwari, who briefed the press after the meeting, said hunters are fond of setting bush fires to aid in their hunting and run the risk of setting fires that will likely destroy peoples’ farms.

He stated that instructions have been given to security agents to ensure the law is enforced and people caught will be prosecuted. The commissioner reminded the public to be careful in view of the harmattan as the possibility for fire outbreaks is very high during this time. The commissioner also informed the press of the council's determination to enforce the ban on okada riders in Sabon Gari, Zaria, from 7pm to 6am. He reiterated that the law is still in place and defaulters will be prosecuted. He said laws are created not just to make life difficult for people but to protect the generality of the public. He also reminded the public of the security challenges where criminals use okadas to perpetrate crimes and cautioned all riders in Sabon Gari to obey the law or face prosecution.

Holidays: Refuse takes over Kaduna streets


eaps of refuse have taken over streets and markets in Kaduna due to the Christmas and New Year holidays. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that areas mostly affected include Ungwar Romi, Sabon Tasha, Television, Angwan Shanu, Barnawa and Ahmadu Bello Way. A check by NAN on Wednesday also shows that major markets, including the Central Market, Station, Barnawa and Sabon Tasha markets also had heaps of solid waste all over. A resident, Solomon Simeon, said rail tracks had been converted to refuse dumps. At the central market, meat sellers displayed their wares adjacent a mountain of waste while patrons continue

their businesses in spite of the flies and stench coming out of the dump. Simeon attributed the situation to the long holidays which prevented refuse collectors from doing their job. The State Director of Environment, Mr. Caleb Guruza acknowledged the problem and said workers had been mobilised to evacuate the waste and clean up the city. He blamed residents on their negative attitude to sanitation, saying some of their actions were sabotaging government’s effort to clean the environment. Guruza therefore urged the residents to always keep their environment clean, adding that the issue of waste management was a collective responsibility. (NAN)



he scarcity of petroleum products is artificial’ has become the standard refrain from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to explain the perennial scarcity of petroleum products in the country. But the scarcity is always more acute during festive seasons like the two Eid periods, Christmas and New year when there are mass movements of people and goods to and from one part of the country to another. Expectedly, the NNPC read the usual template to explain the scarcity prior to the Christmas and New Year, which persists to date. Addressing the media, the Acting Group General Manager of NNPC, Mr. Fidel Pepple accused the marketers of petroleum products of sharp practices. According to him, “going by the quantity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) that has been released by Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) from the Kaduna refinery for distribution to Abuja, we are not supposed to have queues at all in any filling station. NNPC acknowledged that it has been facing serious challenges in products distribution, but vehemently denied that the scarcity was in any way associated with deficits in products availability.” Arguing that NNPC is not lacking petroleum products to supply across the country, he asserted that sharp practices, such as hoarding and diversion of the products away from the designated delivery points by privates petroleum marketers were the major causes of the continued fuel crisis in the country. But the claim was swiftly refuted and countered by the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN). MOMAN’s Executive Secretary Mr. Thomas attributed the continued fuel scarcity in the country to government’s refusal to pay outstanding subsidy claims to members of the group. “We do not get our subsidy claims as regularly as we would want. Now if you do not have money, there is no way you can import fuel. If a Bank gives you money and you don’t go back to pay the principal and the interest, the bank is not going to give you more loans. That is where we are now. We have brought in the products but we have not been fully paid. The ministry of finance has paid some of our claims but we wish to appeal to her to please pay all the outstanding claims because delays will increase the interest payable.” It could be recalled that on December 11, 2012 President Goodluck Jonathan, requested for the approval of the National Assembly for additional N161.617 billion to pay for fuel subsidy to ensure availability of the products during the festive periods. And approval was speedily granted by the two legislative Chambers. In the letter to the National Assembly, President Jonathan specifically stated that the

Nigeria and its many fuel ‘filling’ stations Despite repeated claims by the NNPC that there is sufficient fuel to satisfy local demand, endemic queues have remained the feature of most filling stations across the country, writes Adamu Saleh.

Vehicles queue for fuel provision for fuel subsidy in the 2012 estimate was underestimated saying that in addition to the N880.264 billion already spent, he needed N161.617 billion to add to the remaining N7.735 billion to “maintain steady flow of petroleum products, especially in the run-up to the festive season”. The approval has been granted but suffering continued unabated. Nigerians are spending hours in some cases days in filling stations, without any remedy in sights. With all the billions approved to bring succor and relief to the suffering masses, the scarcity continued to bite harder, crippling economic activities in all parts of the country with the nation capital suffering most. Whatever is the case, the continued trading of blame by NNPC and the ministry of finance on one hand and the independent marketers on the other hand, will not yield any positive result that would bring an end to the lingering fuel scarcity Nigerians are suffering in the past months. The cardinal objective of any responsible government in any society is to see to the development of that society. It is quiet unfortunate that Nigeria has lost focus in that direction. Nigerians do not need to cry their heads over mountain to be heard of the incessant problems confronting them on every day

Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke of creation as a result of bad governance by our leaders. Development is dictated by cheap political interest, consequently there is more noise than achievements, more promises than fulfillment. At no time is the country quiet sure of what aspects of its service to humanity it should pursuecurative or preventive, basic or primary. There is no pattern or goals, no ends. Our leaders are directionless, highly corrupt, confused, extremely greedy, vicious and destructive group of individuals who do not have the interest of the country at heart.

Our democracy has produced “selected” leaders whose leadership style can best be described as autocratic, divisive and dog headed. Our leaders are also accused of not welcoming dissenting voice and opinions contrary to their own, even if such views are for the benefit of the country at large. Nigerian most challenging problem since independence has been the lack of saintly, purposeful and visionary leadership. Among the major problems we are having since the inceptions of this democratic dispensation are; corruption, weak bureaucracy, tribalism, nepotism, faulty and bastardised system which produced half educated illiterates. Thomas Arnold, sees the purpose of education as teaching “first religious and moral principles; secondly, gentlemanly conduct and thirdly intellectual ability.” Our educational system has lost focus in that regards and we have thrown away the bathwater with the baby. Looking at the way and manner this country is being governed, it becomes crystal clear that we are moving in an unsteady way to a destination which seems to have no end or a point unknown. No clear cut economic policy and where one exists, implementation is nowhere to be seen. Our president is running the affairs of this

country like a dictator and no one has the temerity to question his actions. In this life, we only get those things for which we hunt, for which we strive and for which we are willing to sacrifice. We should have courage to face and fight any opposition to what we know is right. The prophet of Islam said; there will come a time when you will have leaders who will grab and corner all your wealth. They will tell all lies and you will not be deemed loyal and patriotic until you accept these lies for truth. They will also bring about a lot of evils and corruption and you will not be deemed loyal and patriotic until you accept these as virtues. When such a time comes tell them the truth even if this will lead to fighting. The realizations of such a composite require collective awareness and will. Nigerians are in grip of an awesome and complex crisis created by our leaders; we need to focus all available efforts on the task at hand. Democracy entails not only respect and regards to constituted authorities, it also entails the accommodation of opposing view and opinions. Ours is a political and economic minefield. Without mincing words, this administration has failed in bringing an end to the lingering fuel crisis in the country.



Kwara has no plan to retrench workers – Gov Ahmed From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


wara state government has said it has no short or long-term plan to retrench its workforce; rather, it would continue to improve the conditions of service of the workers despite the lean resources of the state. Governor Ahmed spoke against the backdrop of acall by the gubernatorial candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria

(ACN), in the last general election in the state, Dele Belgore, said it is politically and morally obtuse to contemplate retrenchment in a state largely populated by civil servants. The governor, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Abdulwahab Oba, affirmed that his administration remains committed to full implementation of its Shared Prosperity Programme which places

emphasis on human capacity development. “I want to assure Kwarans that government is determined to create more youth entrepreneurs, produce high quality middle level manpower through policies such as the International Vocational Centre”... The governor assured Kwarans that prudent management of resources remains cardinal to his

administration’s policies which he said would be achieved through the promotion of transparency, openness and public accountability. He said part of his administration’s policy was to ensure that infrastructural facilities were provided to attract would-be investors and create enabling environment for the growth of the state's economy.

R-L: Nasarawa state Governor, Alhaji Umaru Tanko Al-makura, presenting a letter of appointment to the physically challenged new Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Idris-Apa, yesterday in Lafia.

Niger to engage 10,000 youths in farming From Iliya Garba, Minna


n an effort to reduce unemployment among the youth, the Niger state government has made available 6000 hectares of land to engage more than 10,000 youths who are unemployed, in farming. The Commissioner for Planning and deputy chairman of the state’s Economic Committee, Alhaji Idris Ndako, dropped the hint yesterday at Government House, Minna, while giving details of the 2013 Appropriation Act already signed by Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu. He said government will also fortify the state’s tractor hiring scheme to put it in position of serving both the

new set of farmers and other farming communities in the state. According to him, government is to clear 6000 hectares of land which will be shared to the beneficiaries of the back-to-land scheme in the 25 local government areas of the state. Ndako however submitted that the irrigation schemes at Lioji town and others around the state are to be revived to provide for all year farming. He said the government will partner with the Federal Government in the rural road construction programme and that 200 kilometres of rural roads would be constructed in the 774 wards of the state which he said will provide easy access for

movement of agricultural goods and services. The commissioner also disclosed that government has made enough provision in the budget for the counterpart funding of programmes being run by both the Universal Basic Education Commission and the Millennium Development Goals scheme which he said will speed up infrastructural development of the state when the funds are accessed. On housing, he revealed that government will complete the housing projects under construction in Bida and Kontagora before the end of June this year while the other housing schemes being undertaken through public private

Scores of passengers stranded in Gombe parks


cores of passengers returning to their homes after the New Year holiday were stranded at motor parks in Gombe yesterday, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports. NAN learnt that in some motor parks, passengers spent more than two hours without getting vehicles to travel. Malam Dantala Dauda, who

came to the Gombe Line Park early in the morning to travel to Abuja, said he had stayed in the park for more than three hours without getting a vehicle. Dauda said he was confounded by the shortage of vehicles going to Abuja. Mrs. Abigail Silas, who came to the park with members of her family on their way to Kaduna,

said they had waited for more than two hours without getting a bus. At the Bauchi Park, Gombe, there were passengers but the fares remained the same. A driver, Malam Bala Usman, said it was usual that after festivities, passengers faced such problems due to the rush to return to places of work. (NAN)

partnership will be completed before the end of the year. Recounting the N84 billion budget as ‘realistic and implementable’, Alhaji Ndako said over N54billion will be sourced from the Statutory Account while the balance will be gotten from value added tax and internally generated revenue.

Yobe partners with UNICEF on child malnutrition From Uche Uche, Damaturu


n collaboration with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), the Yobe state government has taken the lead in the establishment of more centres to cater for children affected by malnutrition. UNICEF has spearheaded the establishment of CommunityBased Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) centers in Yobe state as in other states, providing Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), specially made to provide the needed nutrients for the management and cure of acute malnourished children. According to Hajjiya Laraba Audu, Yobe State Nutrition Officer attached to the State Primary Health Care Management Board, Yobe has 67 out-patient centers of CMAM, with about three to four staff to man the facilities, describing it as the highest among other states such as Jigawa, Kano, Borno and Bauchi. She said the state government provided essential drugs needed for the take off of the CMAM OTP sites, funds for the printing of data tools, and logistic support for monitoring and transporting of RUTF from Bauchi zone to Damaturu, and at times, to the OTP sites. She however advises the government to liaise with UNICEF to start procuring the RUTF so that it will be adequate in the state to cover the 17 local government areas of the state. She said although the OTP sites of CMAM are still fewer and far away for some mothers, they recommended at the centers, the giving to mothers of the affected children, double rations to cover for two or three weeks and then ask the mothers to return the empty sachets to be sure they were used. This measure is to make up for the days the mothers would not be able to travel to the centers due to transportation cost, as some of the mothers who spoke to our reporter at the Sani Abacha Specialist Hospital, Damaturu, said they pay between N700 to N800 traveling from Gujba to access the centre at Damaturu.

...expends N1.5bn on compensation By Joy Baba


iger state government said it has expended over N1.5 billion as compensation to land owners whose properties had to give way for development and construction of some new infrastructure within Minna city centre. This was contained in a statement signed by the focal officer, Directorate of Strategies, Monitoring and Evaluation, Umar Muhammad Kwatachi. Kwatachi in the statement said over N1.5 billion have so far been paid as compensation to land owners by the administration of Governor Babangida Aliyu from 2007 to date.

The statement further said records made available to the management of the Directorate of Monitoring and Evaluation by the Ministry of Lands and Housing of the state, reveal that compensations were first made to the affected owners before the commencement of all the projects in the state. According to the statement: “At the inception of this administration, the Ministry of Lands and Housing as one of the most pro-active ministries paid over N188 million, N41 million and N12 million for the constructions of the Three Arms Zone; M.I. Wushishi Housing (500 units) Minna and the dualisation of Keteren-Gwari-Minna roads respectively”.



Released journalists’ families vow to sue SSS

Jonathan: ACN blasts PDP over sectional sentiment

From Muhammad Adamu, Kaduna

From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


ives of the two Kadunabased journalists who were released on Tuesday after spending some days in detention have vowed to seek redress in court over alleged inhuman treatment and illegal arrest and detention of their spouses. Hannat Dikko, wife of Musa Mohammed Awwal told our reporter in an interview while receiving sympathizers who thronged their residence yesterday in Kaduna, that: "We are so happy now that our husbands are released and have returned back home safely, but the memory and trauma of that day is still in me and will remain in me for the rest of my life. "One light-complexioned soldier slapped me while another one hit me very hard on my head and up till now I am feeling the pain from the beating. "Two of my children who are sicklers were also beaten despite the fact that none of us resisted or challenged them. "About eight of the other soldiers ransacked my bedroom and in the process they went away with more than N100,000 and our GSM handsets and my husbands laptop and Ipad. "We will take legal action against such inhuman treatment and claim damages because they didn't even apologize even when I complained about the beating during the process of securing my husband’s bail. “Some officers at the SSS headquarters in Abuja just told me to keep silent about that and concentrate on securing the bail of my husband. "I am calling on security agents to be civil in their approach in such kind of operation against innocent persons so that one cannot feel so much pain and inhuman treatment", she said. One of the released journalists, Musa Awwal Mohammed, told our reporter that up till now all the GSM handsets including those of his children, his laptop and I-pads where yet to be released to them. He said: "No identification, no search warrant was shown to us when they invaded my house. One of the soldiers even slapped me before their team leader warned them against such brutality. "One of my daughters was left with bruises from the beating they received from the soldiers. "Despite that, the SSS people treated us very well even while we were in detention in Kaduna for one day before our transfer to Abuja. "We were not handcuffed and not covered with hood. We had access to good toilet and good food even though seven of us were put in a cell but we are not congested and we were not molested by anybody.


he Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has described the Peoples Democratic Party's statement that President Goodluck Jonathan is being criticized by the opposition because he is from a minority geo-political zone as irresponsible cheap and inflammatory. In a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party expressed shock and disappointment that a party that has always been quick to tout its 'nationalist' credentials will stoop so low to stoke the fire of sectional politics. It said if the PDP feels that the President is being unfairly criticized over his

Administration's poor performance, it should use verifiable facts and figures, not cooked-up statistics, to counter such criticism, instead of resorting to a desperate tactics that could inflame the polity. ''President Jonathan is not an oracle or the head of an absolute monarchy who cannot be criticized. He is a democratically-elected President whose actions are subject to scrutiny by the people, irrespective of what part of the country he comes from. ''This statement credited to the PDP spokesman, Olisa Metuh, is unprecedented…can only be the product of a lazy and desperate party official, who will find the easy way out, even at the risk of setting the country on fire, just to keep his job,'' the party said.

It wondered why the PDP did not blame the scathing criticism of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the late President Umaru Musa Yar'Ardua on the fact that they are from a section of the country, considering that both former leaders were not spared by the opposition during their tenure. ''The records are there for anyone who cares to check that we never spared former Presidents Obasanjo and Yar'Adua over their actions or inaction while in office. Why, therefore, should we not criticize President Jonathan over his actions and inaction in his official capacity? Why is anyone now pandering to sectional sentiment? ''It is also on record that the ACN did more than any other party, including his own party

the PDP, to push for his assumption of office as Acting President, on the strength of the country's constitution, when his principal was sick and flown out of the country. This was at a time the PDP itself was waffling over the issue. '' We say, unequivocally, that while we have nothing but total respect for the office of the President, this will not prevent us from criticising his Administration as constructively and responsibly as we have been doing. ''We note that there is nothing that the opposition has said about the Jonathan Administration's nonperformance and cluelessness that other Nigerians, including clerics, politicians and public commentators, have not said,'' ACN said. L-R: Osun state Deputy Governor, Mrs Titi LaoyeTomori; the state Governor Chief Rauf Aregbesola; his wife, Sherifat Deputy Speaker, Osun House of Assembly, Hon. Akintunde Adegoye; and Acting Chief Judge, Justice Gloria Olagoke, during the Inter Religious Service marking the beginning of year 2013, yesterday at the Governor's Office, in Osogbo.


igawa state government has recruited 1,000 workers in the past 12 months as part of efforts to provide employment to youths in the state. This was contained in the 20013 Appropriation Bill, presented to the state House of Assembly by Governor Sule Lamido and made available to newsmen yesterday.

Jigawa recruits 1,000 workers It revealed that the workers were employed to inject fresh blood into the civil service as well as provide means of livelihood to teeming youths in the state. "More than 1,000 workers were recruited into the state's

civil service to fill vacancies in critical areas particularly education, health and agriculture so as to ensure optimal performances. "This is a direct public sector intervention in job creation complementing other

initiatives, aimed at providing sustainable livelihoods to youths and women," it disclosed. The bill added that 5, 818 youths and women were also trained under its vocational and skills acquisition programme. (NAN)

Gaidam presents N86.65bn budget for 2013 From Uche Uche, Damaturu


obe state governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam, has presented a budget of N86.65billion for the 2013 fiscal year to the state House of Assembly. This figure which is made up of the sum of N54.1billion or 62.5% for capital expenditure and the sum of

N32.51 billion or 3.5% for recurrent expenditure, is an increase of N8.1 billion or 9.4% compared to the 2012 budget of N78.550 billion. He revealed that the budget which has an opening balance of N5.7 billion would be generated from statutory allocation of N40.2 billion, and value added tax of N8.02 billion.

Other sources include excess crude fund of N9.56, and internally generated revenue of N3.3 billion, external loans of N976 million, and internal loans N11.8 billion and grants of N2.3 billion Also the sum of N2.64 billion would be generated from the subsidy re-investment programme, while another sum

of N1 billion would be generated from ecological fund and miscellaneous sum of N1.1 billion. The breakdown of the allocations to various ministries, departments and agencies showed that the ministry of works has the largest sum of N17,3 billion, followed by the ministry of education with the sum of N16.4 billion.






et me start by expressing appreciation to the Director General of NAFDAC, Dr. Paul Orhii, for coming to Kano to inaugurate the Kano state Task Force Committee on Fake, Counterfeit, Adultrated Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Food Products after which he led His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kano state, Gov. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, the state commissioner of police, Alh. Ibrahim K. Mohammed, the representative of His Highness the emir of Kano, Alh. Ado Bayero in the person of the Walin Kano, Alhaji Mahe Bashir Wali, mni, (a retired DIG), and other important stakeholders to Mariri where sub-standard, counterfeit, fake and expired drugs worth N700 million were burnt. I am also happy to note that not quite long after that the Task Force was able to discover another truck load consignment fake of drugs of about N30 million. Let me at this juncture assure the people of Kano and indeed the state government and NAFDAC that the Task Force will continue to discharge its functions to the best of its ability and in the best interest of the people of Kano state. The Task Force Committee is mindful of the report by NDLEA which puts Kano on top of its drug abuse index for five consecutive years. It is therefore a thing of joy to note that NAFDAC, Kano state government, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, the Police and other security agencies in the state are determined to reverse this unfortunate trend. In this regard the Task Force in conjunction with other stakeholders will continue to do all it takes to rid Kano of such drugs. This is a task must that must be accomplished. It is important, therefore, to appeal to stakeholders in the drug business including parents and businessmen to support the Task Force in this onerous duty of making Kano a drug-free state. The Task Force Committee is all out to protect the health of the people and anybody that is engaged in clean drug business in the state. It has, however, become imperative to call, or indeed warn, those drug barons and dealers who are illegally making billions of Naira at the expense of the health of our innocent people, regardless of their religion or tribe, think twice because Kano will no longer be a dumping ground, centre, depot or hub for such illegal and unwholesome business. The Committee will, therefore, call on those who are selling drugs in the open market, especially Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi Market, Sabon Gari,

where such drugs are sold like vegetables and provisions to ensure that they follow due process to regularise their businesses with appropriate regulatory agencies. This warning also applies to even those that are selling herbal concoctions which are also a hazardous to the health and well-being of our people. We are surprised that some people are making effort to associate certain tribes with this illegal sale of drugs in Kano. We therefore, advise them to desist, henceforth, so as not to pitch themselves against the indigenous community. Certainly, Kano will continue to maintain its tradition of welcoming people from all parts of the country and beyond and it is expected that these people will reciprocate this gesture by respecting law, order and following due process in all their engagements in the state. It must be said that under the present dispensation those that are using their ill-gotten wealth to bribe their ways through will not, and can not, succeed as it is no longer business as usual, because the people and government are wiser and they are determined to fight the enemies both within and without. The Task Force Committee, therefore, hopes the respected lawyer Barr. Festus Okoye will not allow himself to be misled into defending or protecting anything or persons whose activities in Sabon Gari market run contrary to the health and social wellbeing of young Nigerians regardless of who they are or where they come from, their religion or tribe. However, we pray to Almighty Allah that anybody who is in this business or associates with such, never succeeds, now or in future. We also want to draw the attention of Barr. Okoye that research, the world over, has shown a strong correlation between crime and drugs. Let me once again make it categorically clear that the Task Force will continue to support those who are doing their business legally in the state in accordance with the law and the laid down rules and regulations. No doubt this laudable initiative of sanitising the Kano drug business being spear headed by NAFDAC should be supported by all right-thinking and well-meaning citizens in the state and Nigerians as a whole. Signed PHARM. ALI ADAMU Chairman, Kano state Task Force Committee on Fake, Counterfeit, Adultrated Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Food Products



Wife of the Nasarawa state Governor and founder Tallafi Foundation, Hajiya Mairo Tanko Al-makura (middle) being decorated with traditional Gbagi attire, during the launching of free eye treatment by her pet project, recently at New Karu.

L-R: Director of Social Communication, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Rev. Gabriel Osu, Archbishop of Metropolitan See of Lagos State, His grace Most Rev. Alfred Ademola Martins, and Knight Commander of a Sylvester, Sir Steve Omojafor, during a press conference after World Day of Peace, on Tuesday at the Holy Cross Cathedral Church, in Lagos

Chief Medical Director, University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Dr. Peter Alabi (right), presenting a gift to Mr. and Mrs Daniel Umoru, parents of the hospital’s baby of year 2013, yesterday in abuja. with them are staff of the hospital.

L-R: Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang, being decorated with the Armed Forces Remembrance emblem by Miss Rhoda Dadon, during the 2013 Armed Forces Remembrance Day emblem and appeal fund launch, yesterday in Jos.

Borno state Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima (left), signing a warrant for the release of 30 inmates under prerogative of mercy, at the Maximum Security Prison, on Tuesday in Maiduguri. Photos: Mahmud Isa, Bolaji Olasunkanmi & NAN



Customs allays fears of traders, importers From Matthew Aramunde, Lagos


o allay the fears of traders and importers who had experienced hiccups following the termination of the services of Destination Inspection Services Providers at the ports recently by the Federal Government, the Nigeria Custom Services has assured a seamless transition. Hitherto, the service providers had been responsible for the issuance of Risk Assessment Reports (RAR) on behalf of Nigeria Customs Service, a situation that generated a lot of furore as stakeholders had expressed displeasure at the decision of the government. Speaking with our correspondent at his Ikeja office, the image maker of the Federal Operation Unit(FOU) of the Nigeria Customs Service, Uche Esejeme said that in ensuring a smooth transition and a much improved RAR service from customs, it has developed a PreArrival Assessment Report (PRAR) that is line with international

best practice stressing that this was done with the view to enhancing revenue collection, border security and trade facilitation. He said that the system would utilize pre- classification and preevaluation mechanism to facilitate the importation of goods into Nigeria and to improve the efficiency of customs clearance. It would also provide an integrated risk management platform to be shared by the regulatory agencies that includes NCS, NAFDAC, NAQS and SON, ensuring consistency and a web based system which utilises recent technologies for faster and accurate service. He enumerated the benefits and noted that with the new methods, NCS would generate PAAR not later than five working days in the case of shipment by sea and two working days for shipment by air/land after receipt of documents based on import guidelines. Esejeme stressed that the organization is working toward generating the PAAR within six hours of receipt of final document from the authorized dealer bank.

He added that Nigeria as a signatory to WCO International Convention on the harmonized system must have this underpinning the application of harmonized system that would enable PAAR to provide a standard format for classifying goods as the common external tariff concordance has been linked to the NCS PAAR for easy navigation and accurate classification. He said the concordance contains a complete list of HS code and serves an integrated search engine in order to facilitate accurate classification of goods so that the user could be guided by the system on how to classify his product as well as other relevant information especially if the item is prohibited. On the classification tool to aid traders compliance, Esejeme said that an interactive classification is already in place and could be sourced at, adding that the classification tool is the same system to be used by the NCS officers for the preclassification assessment for transparency and predictability

for compliant traders. He said that other single window features will serve as an intuitive and interactive classification tool providing importers with the ability to find the exact HS code required with the related tariffs and duties required for importation into Nigeria. The spokesman said, this was an intelligent simulation tool assisting traders with information on agencies, and cost for obtaining permit, licensing and certificates of their specified commodity and country of origin. Other benefits he said are, a

currency converter utilizing the exchange rates set by the CBN on a monthly basis, converting from all other currencies into naira and vice versa,a central information portal providing a contact directory for all relevant government agencies and trade related organization etc. It would be recalled that over the years, through contracts with the Federal government, core customs services had been outsourced to private companies which conducted Pre-Shipment Inspection (PSI)or Destination Inspection(DI) but all that came to an end on December 31, 2012.

Fulani community laments clash with Gbagyi in FCT


he displaced Fulani communities in Gwagwalada Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory have condemned the killings and loss of property during a clash with Gbagyi tribesmen. Two people were killed and many displaced on Saturday when suspected Gbagyi youths attacked various Fulani communities at Gako village after a minor dispute over crop waste. The displaced persons were camped at the University of Abuja permanent site. Malam Mohammed Lawal said the incident escalated on Sunday when some herdsmen were feeding their cattle with remnants of grains belonging to a Gbagyi farmer. Lawal noted that Fulani and Gbagyi communities had leaved in harmony for over 30 years and wondered why the

misunderstanding should erupt now. He called on government to resolve the crisis, pledging to live in peace and harmony with the Gbagyi people. Another displaced herdsman, Malam Shuaibu Adamu, said a police unit should be created in the area to avoid a repeat of the incident. Adamu commended the FCT minister for the prompt attention given to them in the camp. Alhaji Alhassan Gangari, a livestock attendant with the Veterinary Medicine Department of University of Abuja, said that government should allow those whose houses were not destroyed to return to their original abode. FCT Minister Bala Mohammed had set up a 11-man committee to look into the clash within seven days. (NAN)

Buhari condoles Fashola over fire cracker explosion From Nasir Muazu Isa

G First Lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan with the Baby of the Year ,Oluwanifemi Badejo (male), who was born at 12.01 am and weighed 4.13kg, on Tuesday at National Hospital, Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

No more short-cut to new driver’s licence, says FRSC boss


he Lagos Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission, Mr. Nseobong Akpabio on yesterday in Lagos said that there will be longer any short cut to getting new drivers licence and number plates. Akpabio said henceforth, intending applicants for the two products should go through the right channels to procure them to avoid fakes. “Gone were the

days of getting the drivers licence and number plates by proxy or through short cuts. “Our new machines nationwide do not accept passport photographs for capturing, except the physical appearance of the applicant,” Akpabio said. He advised the applicants not to patronize touts or give money to any officer to help in procuring the products as it would be fakes. He also said that any FRSC

official caught aiding such illegality would be in deep trouble. Akpabio said that applicants might fill the form online through www.nigeriadrivers or visit the nearest FRSC drivers license centre, Vehicle Inspection Office or the State Board of Internal Revenue. The FRSC boss said that old driver’s license and number plates would become invalid as from Sept.30, 2013. (NAN)

eneral Muhammadu Buhari has sent a condolence message to Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos state on the recent fire outbreak at Jankara Market, Idumota, Lagos. This was contained in a press released issued yesterday in Kaduna. Buhari stated that all patriotic

Nigerians are always hopeful that such tragedies do not occur. Last week, fire broke out in a warehouse stockpiled with fireworks. The fire caused unprecedented destruction of properties worth millions of naira. He reiterated the need to ensure that the laws regarding the importation, storage and manufacture of combustible materials are strictly adhered to.

Two die in Katsina auto crash From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, Katsina


ragedy struck in Katsina yesterday as two people died in an accident involving a Golf Car and a motorcycle. The state sector commander of Federal Road Safety Commission, (FRSC) Alhaji Abu Dauda who confirmed the incident noted that the accident occured in Dandagoro quarters, a settlement on the outskirts of the town along Kano-Katsina road. He added that the driver of the ill fated Golf car coming

from Kano, lost control and knocked down the motorcylists where one of the two persons on the motorcycle died on the spot. The sector commander added that after knocking down the motorcyclist, the car veered off the road and hit a street light which led to the death of the second person, a lady sitting in the front seat of the car. Dauda disclosed that his men rushed to the scene of the accident where they evacuated the dead while the injured were taken to Katsina General Hospital for treatment.



NSCDC arrests suspected pipeline vandals in Ogun O

gun state Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) yesterday said it had arrested two suspected pipeline vandals on Ajede road in Ijebu East Local Government Area of the state. The command’s spokesman, Kareem Olanrewaju, said in Abeokuta that the suspects were aged 35 and 55. “The suspects were operating

with guns alongside others now at large. “Our surveillance team deployed to monitor the activities of vandals around the place relayed the information but the suspects took off before the arrival of the combat team”, he said. He, however, said luck ran against one of the suspects as he was apprehended by another surveillance team on routine

patrol. “The suspects were pursued and one of them was arrested at gunpoint on Ajede road, Ogbere. “In the cause of our investigation, it was discovered that the suspects were members of a gang and he took our investigators to the Ola Oluwa camp site of the gang near a NNPC pipeline. “That was where we met and

arrested the other suspect”, he said. The spokesman said items recovered from the suspects included two dane guns and 325 litres of petrol loaded in a car. Other items, he said, were 25 empty kegs, an unmarked motorcycle, one Hyundai car with registration number Lagos AS 745 SMK and one pumping machine. (NAN)

L-R: Minister of Foreign Affairs II, Dr. Nuhudeen Mohammed, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNPF), Prof. Babatunde Oshotimehin, and Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, during the UNPF delegate's visit to President Goodluck Jonathan, recently at the State House, Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Kukah tasks prison inmates on western education


atholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev. Hassan Kukah, on Tuesday advised prison inmates to acquire Western education to enable them to contribute to national growth after their terms. Kukah gave the advice in Sokoto during a visit to the Sokoto Central Prisons where he distributed food and soft drinks to the inmates to mark the New Year. “The prison is not the end of your life, some of you can still make it in life; just be focused and seek Western education and cooperate with the prison

officials”, he advised. “You can be president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, governors and members of the National Assembly, if only you are ready to seek for knowledge to enable you to contribute positively towards the nation's political growth”, he said. He called on them to take advantage of the skill acquisition centres to learn various trades. Kukah said the era of waiting for government to do everything for citizens was over, hence the need for self reliance. (NAN)

From Ali Abare Abubakar, Lafia


overnor Umaru Tano Almakura of Nasarawa state has sworn in Justice Suleiman Umaru Dikko as the new state acting Chief Judge, pending his confirmation by the state House of assembly. The Chief Judge was yesterday sworn in alongside two new High court judges and the SolicitorGeneral and permanent secretary at the state Ministry of Justice, at a ceremony held at the conference room of the Lafia Government House. Al-makura stated that it has become necessary to appoint the acting Chief Judge who until his appointment, was the most senior

Niger SUBEB spends N1.22bn on seven almajiri schools


iger Universal Basic Education Board said on Tuesday that it spent N1.22 billion to construct seven almajiri schools across the state. The board’s chairman, Alhaji Uba Hassan, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Minna. He said the amount included the intervention fund from the Federal Government. Hassan said the Education Trust Fund (ETF) provided N395 million for the construction of two schools while the National Universal Basic Education Commission gave the balance spent on five schools. He said the ETF funded-schools included a boarding one in Kontagora, equipped at N320 million and another in Minna, at a cost N75 million. He said the UBEC-funded Almajiri schools comprised three boarding types in Pago, Bida and Gulbin Boka at N720 million as well as two others in Minna and Mokwa. Hassan said the schools had been completed except that of Mokwa, which contract was awarded late in 2012. He said when completed, the school would ensure that Almajirai were kept off the streets and given the basic formal education, in line with the Federal Government's transformation agenda. He said the N150 million grant from UBEC was used to train 2,700 teachers across the state, to enhance their capacity and improve pupils' performance at internal and external examinations. Hassan said the Millennium Development Goals and National Teachers Institute had collaborated with the board to train more than 3,000 teachers. (NAN)

Al-makura swears in acting chief Judge, three others High Court judge, to avoid vacuum in the office following the retirement of the substantive Chief Judge last month. The governor pointed out that the judiciary was critical to the development of the state, being an alloy that strengthens the relationship between all segments of government. Similarly, Al-makura disclosed that following recommendations from the National Judicial Council (NJC), two new High Court judges had to be sworn in, to fill existing vacancies and further enhance the capacity of the state judiciary

towards the quick dispensation of justice. He said that his administration was set to reposition the state judiciary by placing it on the right pedestal for discharging its responsibilities, and has fully implemented Section 121 of the 1999 Constitution by releasing 100 percent of the annual recurrent budgetary provision for the judiciary. Among those appointed were Justice Asmau Larai Yusuf, as High Court Judge and Barrister Mohammed Idris Apa, a physically challenged person, as SolicitorGeneral and PS.

Benue citizens berate Suswam for travelling out at New Year From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


ndigenes of Benue state have berated Governor Gabriel Suswam for travelling out of the country at New Year and leaving the state inactive. A social commentator, Mr. Andy Ape, expressed sadness that the governor chose to travel at this time when most governors in the country are

staying in their states to chart a new direction for their people. He also frowned on the incessant trips of the governor, noting that they have not in any way benefited the state economically or otherwise. “How can he be travelling all the time? These trips have not yielded any positive dividend for the State”, Andy said.

Another Benue indigene, Mr. Ambrose Egwu lamented the underdevelopment of the State and waste of State resources by the governor on frequent domestic and foreign trips. “The governor just derives pleasure and satisfaction in traveling abroad. These trips are for his selfish interests because it has not benefited the State in any way. He has failed

to live up to his blueprint for our Benue, our future. How has he addressed unemployment which stares the people in the face like a monster? He promised to create wealth by revamping ailing industries in the State. All these seem to be a mirage”, Egwu said. A political analyst, Mr. Gideon Okoh, noted that during the governor’s presentation of

the 2013 budget, he expressed determination to cut cost in governance and plug loopholes from tax default while scaling up the internally generated revenue of the State, but his frequent trips belie his promises. He wondered why the Benue Assembly has failed in its responsibility to caution the governor over his numerous unprofitable trips.



Save cost on your monthly data usage S

pending on data to keep your smart phones or computers internet driven can bring real huge cost on your pocket if is not well managed. Data-heavy apps and services will quickly dry up your monthly Smartphone data plan. Find out how to keep tabs on your data usage and prevent going over your limit. With data plan pricing on the rise and unlimited plans being throttled, it's increasingly important to control your data usage. As we gradually move toward a cloud-based mobile experience with services such as iCloud, Amazon Cloud, and Google Music, going over your data limits will be easy. Naturally, service providers like MTN, Airtel and Globacom don't mind - they'll gladly want you to buy more data whenever you exceed your allotted bytes. There are individuals that spend over N10, 000 monthly on data usage. Boy! That's a lot. Connecting to Wi-Fi as often as possible is critical to minimising cellular data usage, but there are a few other best practices to follow. Once you have those on lock, monitoring your usage in real time will help you avoid exceeding allocated bytes. Here's how:

First, cut back on datahogging apps Minimize use of streaming services. Apps like Pandora, Netflix will quickly eat up your data allowance. Even a low-bandwidth app like Pandora will kill as much as 30MB per hour--that's a lot of data, especially when you're on an introductory 200MB plan. Save most streaming for when you're on Wi-Fi, or check out a service like Slacker, which lets you cache music stations. Download apps on Wi-Fi While your friends may have

How to avoid payment for excess luggage


ne of the burdens of travelling by air to some people is the luggage they will have to carry on that trip. It becomes burdensome to some people not because of the weight of the baggage but the fees they will have to cough out at the airport after paying their ticket fares and others. Almost all airlines have baggage policy but the policy can be thorny to unsuspecting travellers if they are not well acquainted with the policy and what baggage allowance and fees are all about. Virtually all major airlines offer some kind of frequent flier program that includes baggage fee discounts or waivers for 'elite' or 'preferred' members. As joyous and exciting as air travel is, unfortunately, standardized baggage fees imposed by airlines have made travelling with too many packages and luggage a damper on holiday spirits and a blow to travel savings. Firstly, to avoid or get waiver on baggage fee payment, consider applying for an airline credit card because most major airlines waive checked bag fees for cardholders. For example, Delta Sky Miles cardholders can check one bag for

Quote In all realms of life it takes courage to stretch your limits, express your power, and fulfill your potential. It’s no different in the financial realm. — Suze Orman

free on Delta flights, and Continental Airlines Presidential Plus cardholders can check two bags for free. The annual fee on the Delta Sky Miles credit card is $95, therefore, getting that free checked bag won't pay off until you fly at least two round trips. A single checked bag on Delta usually costs $25 each way. Alternatively, if you travel with a friend, the card grants a free checked bag not only to you but also to your travel companions, at least up to eight of them. On some airlines like Continental airlines baggage fees can get you plenty of extra perks, such as waived foreign transaction fees and miles that never expire, but they may not be worth it if you only travel once or twice a year and that is why you need to join a frequent flyer club to enjoy advantages of baggage fees. Also, avoid bringing liquids on board. For those who are unnaturally attached to a particular face wash or conditioner, travelling with liquid items may be impossible. But even cutting down on the amount of liquid goods you bring on your trip can be one of the best ways to save money on baggage fees. And finally, you could also ship gifts ahead of time. Instead of trying to cram gifts into a checked luggage bag and risk either damage in transit or loss, ship gifts directly to your destination, if possible. During the holiday season, many retailers offer free shipping, especially into the United States.

convinced you to get the latest with Friends game, hold off on downloading it until you've connected to Wi-Fi. Some storagehungry apps (like will immediately ask you to connect to Wi-Fi upon

downloading, but you should follow this practice with all apps. Turn off needy apps Push e-mail, app notifications (especially Facebook--you probably get those frequently), and GPS services should be

disabled whenever possible. These needy services constantly communicate with the network, so you'll save a lot of data by manually enabling them. Now, monitor your data usage Android: Check out 'My Data Manager' (free).The app tracks your data usage in real time and offers you a detailed breakdown of how much data each app is hogging. This way, you can identify which apps use the most data. The best feature? Data threshold alerts. 'MyDataManager' lets you set thresholds (like 200MB, 1GB, 2GB, and so on) and get notified whenever you pass a threshold. iPhone: Users recommend 'DataMan' (free). The app tracks your data usage in real time, and while it doesn't offer details about which apps are using the data, it does let you set thresholds and receive alerts when you're close to hitting your data allowance.

Seven reasons your neighbours have more money than you


ou look out the window of your home each night after dinner, staring across the street at your neighbours. You long for the cars they drive, their weekly manicured lawns, and even the vacations they seem to take several times a year. You are not alone I often look out my window, too, staring at the gorgeous homes and cars wondering how they manage to pay for them. After all, we live in the same neighbourhood, our kids go to the same schools, and their salaries aren't that much more than ours. There are several reasons our neighbours can afford so many of the things we would love to have, but could never fathom splurging on: Perception is everything Your perception may be skewed. You see fancy cars in the driveway, and the trim lawns you can almost feel between your toes. You watch work crews going in and out of the awesome remodelling projects happening inside. Yet, none of that means your neighbours are wealthier than you are. Just because you see them as more affluent, doesn't mean they are. You are only able to see above the surface of their

spending, meaning you have no idea what's happening down below. Allocation is essential While you choose to consistently save money for your kids' education, and retirement later in life, they are spending what they believe are excess funds on their cars and homes. They might be making the shallow choice to spend their money on what people can see, while you are spending your money on the life you want to live, both today and tomorrow. You choose to pay for peace of mind. It's how your neighbours allocate their income that makes them seem richer than they are. Perks matter:While your neighbours' salaries might be slightly more than yours, it isn't enough to justify the massive leap in spending. However, fringe benefits can greatly widen the gap. Perks such as cars, phones, laptops, and more can give the recipient an amazing leg up when it comes to freeing money for other pleasures. Luxuries of the mature: As family's mature, houses get paid off and savings grow. Even if your children do go to the same school, their children are older, and they have a few years on you as well.

Those could be years spent paying on their house and putting money in the bank. Imagine how much more freedom you would have without also having to manage your monthly mortgage. Their lives might be plastic: Your neighbours might be disciples, worshiping the power of the plastic. While you are smart enough to understand the headaches of undisciplined credit, your neighbours might be living carelessly, buying short-term luxury today in exchange for a meagre tomorrow. They know where to find deals: I consider myself a connoisseur when it comes to finding great deals on groceries and kids clothing. Perhaps your neighbours also know something about finding deals on the things they need, freeing up more money for things they want. They pay for their first immediate wants: Your neighbours could also have more money than you do because they prioritize differently, and pay from their savings for projects and luxuries that they want done. While my neighbours may or may not make have more money than me, I don't let it influence the way that I live. I spend money in the way that's most important for me and my family, both for a better, more comfortable today, and for a brighter tomorrow. As "The Millionaire Next Door" and "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" point out, those that spend on things like homes, cars, and clothes are spending on material items and living on "rented" lifestyles. Instead of building assets, these people are living on liabilities and that can be a dangerous mindset. You don't have to live like a king today, if it means you're going to live like a pauper tomorrow. It doesn't matter what the Jones' are doing. Not now, or ever. Save where you can, spend where you need, and live a life you want. Source:




2013: Nigerians want action, not promises With so much to wish that it never were, and so little to cheer about, the year 2012 must go down as one of the most challenging years yet for Nigeria. And the verdict is almost unanimous that President Goodluck Jonathan and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) woefully failed Nigerians in 2012. In the opinion of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the opposition political parties, notably the Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), and not a few public commentators, the President and his party could very well have done much better last year. But if these institutions and the other nay-sayers are of a partisan bent, the same cannot be said about the National President of the Christian Association (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor and erstwhile leader of the Niger Delta militant group, MEND, Mujahid DokuboAsari. Both kinsmen and known unapologetic supporters of the President’s, the two had, in the past, made several inflammatory remarks in support of Jonathan, but that would have engendered the wrath of the state on any other persons. For instance, the CAN President had called northern leaders uncomplimentary names, accusing them of aiding and abetting the insurgency by the irredentist Boko Haram sect. As for the reformed militant, he had prior to the 2011 Presidential election, promised to go back to arms with his colleagues and declare war against the North if Jonathan was not elected. He also repeated the threat during the height of the Boko Haram insurgency. But in their verdict on the President’s performance, the two did not spare their kinsman. At the dedication of a new church building in Abuja in late November, Pastor Oritsejafor lamented the failure of

governance in Nigeria which he said had led to decay in major sectors of the economy. He asked: “How can people be stealing billions of Naira meant for pensioners? Is it they don’t have the fear God?” As for Dokubo, who was recently reported by the Wall Street Journal to have got a contract that pays him N1.42 billion annually from the Nigerian government for guarding pipelines in the Niger Delta, he expressed his disappointment with the Jonathan

The Presidency would do well to stop these sophistries and start delivering on the key promises government, asserting that it has totally failed Nigerians. Asking, “What has the Goodluck Jonathan government achieved to show that it is a departure from other governments that existed since 1956? For us, nothing has changed. It is still business as usual.” But against rhyme and reason and the overwhelming damning verdict against the Jonathan administration, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, proudly claimed that President Jonathan had fulfilled his campaign promises. We cannot remember the President telling Nigerians that 2012 would be a bad

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year for most of them; otherwise we are at pains to reconcile Okupe’s assertion that Jonathan had fulfilled campaign promises in 2012 with the reality on the ground during what was ubnrguably the country’s most trying year in recent memory. Did those campaign promises include ensuring the loss of hundreds of lives in the North through the Boko Haram insurgency, the many armed robberies and kidnappings for ransom in the South, the many avoidable road and air accidents that took the lives and limbs of both the mighty and not so mighty across the country or the nauseating corruption in high places defined by the disappearance of hundreds of billions of naira from the public till? This is not to talk about the unprecedented power outage that has become a way of life in Nigeria and the continuing deterioration of the health and education sectors. All that we can remember is the President’s innumerable recourse to divine intervention by always putting “everything in the hands of God” whenever there was a crying need for the leadership to be decisive. Nigerians yearn for and deserve real visionaries, not dreamers as leaders. Even if President Jonathan means well for the nation, intention without implementation does not in any way equate to success. After all, the road to hell, according to the old cliché, is paved with good intentions. The Presidency would do well to stop these sophistries and start delivering on the key promises. Nigerians, to be sure, need accountability, good roads, regular power supply, good educational system, an effective health delivery system and jobs, as well as a legal system that is blind to the social status of those who fall foul of the laws of the land, not polemic. Delete Reply Reply All Forward Move Spam Actions Next Previous









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Poverty alleviation and conflict resolution By Muhammad Jameel Yushau


aturday 9th Safar, 1434, equivalent to December 22nd, 2012, was an important day in the history of Nigerians living in the UK. It was the day when the Winter conference and the Annual General Meeting of the Nigeria Muslim Forum, a UK based charity with specific focus on Nigeria organized a conference with the theme of this piece as part of the contribution of Nigerians in diaspora towards addressing the social, economic and security challenges facing their country. It was unique in the senses that it brought together different people with a wealth experience that is required to move the society forward. The conference took place at the University of Leicester, United Kingdom. The speakers at the conference include the former Chief of Army staff, Lt General Abdurrahman Dambazau (rtd), currently a fellow at Harvard University, former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Dr Aliyu Moddibo, President of the Supreme Council for Shariah in Nigeria, Dr Ibrahim Datti Ahmad, Sheikh Isa Ali Pantami, a prominent Islamic Scholar in Nigeria and currently a PhD candidate in Scotland, the Chairman of the Kano State

Council of Ulama, Sheikh Ibrahim Khalil, also attending a course in Cambridge, Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Dr Mathew Hassan Kukah, and Dr Abdullahi Shehu, a neurologist based in Coventry and the new Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Nigeria Muslim Forum. The idea behind the conference came about during an Executive Committee meeting of the Nigeria Muslim Forum in Leeds earlier in 2012, when Alhaji Bashir Shuwa, an elder based in Leeds suggested the idea as a way of coming up with a practical solution to addressing the challenges facing the country especially Northern Nigeria that is gradually becoming difficult to govern due to the challenges the above conference seeks to address. Although the idea did not materialize as originally envisaged, nevertheless the conference was a step in the right direction. The first key paper was presented by Sheikh Isa Ali Pantami who paid significant attention to understanding good governance from an Islamic perspective. According to Sheikh Pantami, good leadership in Islam stems from having good leaders, because when you have good leaders, there is every likelihood the rest of the society will accept and follow their good examples. According to Sheikh Panatmi,

one of the problems we have in Nigeria is having what he calls “irreligious religious people” governing the affairs of the people, therefore misleading them and giving Islam a bad name. The paper by Sheikh Panatmi provided the overall context for the entire conference on the issue of good governance. The next presentation was by Lt General Abdurahman Dambazau (rtd), who injected a strong intellectual dose into the conference. His paper which focuses on “poverty alleviation, security and stability” was presented under the chairmanship of Professor Mashood Baderin, a Professor of Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies and a UN envoy on human rights in Darfur. The paper presented statistics and

data about the state of poverty in Nigeria with specific reference to Northern Nigeria. He paid attention to the socio-economic and cultural factors that promote poverty and bring instability. According to him, while the majority of the Nigerian population is in the north, according to the Nigerian census, the region is the hub of poverty. He cited examples of social and cultural issues that have plunged the North into widespread poverty. Noting that there is nothing wrong with polygamy, the General condemned the prevailing tendency where some men marry wives and have a lot of children, and then run away to Lagos or other places, abandoning their families. He called on northern politicians

The General condemned the prevailing tendency where some men marry wives and have a lot of children, and then run away to Lagos or other places, abandoning their families. He called on northern politicians holding political offices to come up with an economic blueprint like southern politicians holding political offices are doing

holding political offices to come up with an economic blueprint like southern politicians holding political offices are doing. Dr. Aliyu Moddibo‘s presentation was more practical when compared to other presentations. He suggested a lot of ways poverty could be tackled head on in the north. He identified areas in the region that could be developed through entrepreneurship which could in turn create employment. A key issue he addressed is remittances which Nigerians in diaspora send home. According to him in the last couple of years, Nigerians in diaspora have contributed more than $2 billion to the Nigerian economy. He suggested that with proper strategy, this money could bring a lot of change. He concluded by suggesting to Nigerians in diaspora to consider setting up micro-economic banks. The President of the Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria, Dr Ibrahim Datti Ahmad dwelt on the experience of the states that practice Shariah in Nigeria, and some of the efforts towards poverty alleviation. His paper elaborated on the issue of Zakat and its role in alleviating poverty. He equally called on Islamic scholars to live up to their responsibility rather than frequently visiting the houses of political office holders seeking favours or opportunities to attend Hajj or Umra.

2015: Between rotation and chaos By Anthony Akinola


ne concept I tried to clarify in the run-up to the presidential election of 2011 was that of “reelection”. I argued then that President Goodluck Jonathan could not have been seeking reelection because he was only a vice-presidential candidate to the one elected president in 2007. One can only be deemed to be seeking re-election to a position one had been elected to in the first place. The clarification I was attempting to make may have become clearer now that the political future of President Jonathan has been enjoying some debate in academic and political circles (see, for instance, Chidi Amuta, “Jonathan and 2015”, This Day, April 3, 2012). Amuta, in the useful article referred to above, opined that the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as the cause of democracy would be strengthened if Jonathan were not denied the constitutional right to seek re-election in 2015. He was not saying that the Peoples Democratic Party must present Jonathan as its flagbearer, even if his lacklustre performance had continued into the future. What Amuta seems to be anticipating, just like the rest of us, is the controversy the PDP “zoning” policy of

alternating the Presidency between the North and the South could engender in the very near future. There would be those reminding Jonathan that his tenure had expired, not least because the argument once conjured in favour of his candidacy was that he was continuing with the mandate he jointly held with the late President Umaru Yar’Adua. His supporters said the mandate was inseparable but would their argument still hold in 2015? Of course, President Jonathan can seek re-election in 2015 – if dictates of selfish interest prevail. The fact that he had been sworn in twice would not have meant he had served a second term in office. One recalls the case of Lyndon B. Johnson whose ascension to the American Presidency compares with Jonathan’s route to office. Johnson had succeeded the assassinated John F. Kennedy in 1963, won an election of his own in 1964 and would have sought re-election in 1968 but for the fact that he had become very unpopular because of the negative outcome of America’s conflict in Vietnam. Not constitutionally barred, he took the decent route of withdrawing from seeking his party’s nomination. Jonathan is not unaware of the possible crisis his wanting to continue in office beyond 2015 could generate. His declaration

of an intention not to seek reelection in 2015 may not be unconnected with this. However, a promise made out of desperation or expediency may not always hold, not least because what we are talking about here is power and its alluring influences. The President had warned his ministers and aides against unguarded statements about 2015; however, he could be the very one encouraging them to sing his praises and sound public opinion in the not-toodistant future. The PDP is in for a major crisis but can the socalled opposition parties benefit from this? Amuta explored this question in his excellent article. The opinion here is that the very reasons the PDP may run into crisis in 2015 also explains why the opposition parties might not be able to take advantage of their situation. The so-called “progressives” have a disappointing history as they have been unable to

progress beyond the confines of ethnic boundaries. Regional sentiments have been the dominating influence in all of this. There are all sorts of progressives in the various regions. The regional element in our democracy must be addressed in an improved constitution if we are to have a national progressive party. Being myopically pre-occupied with a political arrangement that has worked elsewhere may not have helped the cause of our democracy. I say it is futile to be preoccupied with political arrangements that have worked elsewhere because what we have not been able to photocopy are the cultural elements that sustain them in the host nations. In Britain, for instance, the institution of the Monarchy has provided stability to the parliamentary system of government which originated from that nation. What we celebrate in Nigeria is

It is futile to be preoccupied with political arrangements that have worked elsewhere because what we have not been able to photocopy are the cultural elements that sustain them in the host nations

exactly what truly – republican America rejects – privileges arising from the circumstances of birth. It is clearly stated in their constitution that “no American citizen shall bear a title of nobility”. Here in Nigeria, politicians envy traditional rulers for the unsolicited respect they command, while the latter also envy the former for the money they are able to steal! I should be suggesting to those with the powers to review or amend the national constitution that Rotational Presidency is most appropriate for Nigeria. Zoning the Presidency could be the most assured way of inducing competitive political parties and ideologies to traverse the various divides. In a society that is as divided as ours, it could also be the most assured way objectively, of fishing out our political leaders, based on merit rather than primordial affiliations. Zoning could be our own contribution to the principle of federalism which, more than anything else, emphasises equality and fairness in the relationship of participating units. Democracy itself should be about peace and stability in one’s own nation. Akinola, a political writer based in Oxford, UK, wrote in via



David Mark and his legislative style (I) By Chinedu Ekekes


hen the history of Nigeria will be written, the Jonathan presidency will take more space than, say, Ibrahim Babangida’s – the first billionaire ex-Head of State whose only multi-billion naira personal business was the vault of Nigeria’s Central Bank. Historians will find it difficult not to thoroughly highlight the peculiarity of the Jonathan government in so many fronts, chief of which are the flawed logic that led to his ascension, and the tendency of his regime to steadily surpass itself in corruption and profligacy. But that’s not all. History will also beam its light on the characters of individuals that presided over key institutions of state under President Jonathan, and the roles they played in either strengthening the health of the state or undermining its potentials. Here, the complicity of David Mark and the National Assembly he heads in the collective rape of Nigeria will become the focus. Having successfully ensured they pay themselves the highest remunerations in the world – against the dictates of common sense and reality – one would

By Dele Agekameh


uesday, January 1, 2013 marked the beginning of yet another year. This event, as usual, was heralded by pomp and ceremony all over the world. The ceremonies were rather spontaneous. This is because regardless of previous or past experiences, people are always nostalgic in welcoming a new year. And so is the joy and optimism that go with it. Let us take a look at 2012 and see whether the year justified all the ceremonies and expectations that heralded it this time last year. We might just look at the good, the bad and the ugly scenes or events that characterized 2012. As I was saying earlier, there is something so special about January 1 of every year. It is a day people give thanks to God for many things. High on the agenda is the gratitude for surviving the previous year. And it does not matter if the previous year was either good or bad. Everybody will be united in looking forward to a pleasant new year. In Nigeria, January 1, 2012 brought sorrows, tears and even blood. That was the day Nigerians woke up to the reality that the Federal Government had removed ‘subsidy’ on petroleum products. The exercise led to astronomic hike in the cost of fuel. It rose from N68 to N140. Many people who had travelled to their villages and hamlets for the New Year festivities were stranded. Tension enveloped the entire nation. What followed were mass protests all over the place. In Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, for days, protesters trooped there to register their displeasure over the sudden hike.

have thought that the avaricious mischievous Senate and the bark- Nigeria approved up to 30 fuel House of importation licenses. President legislators would pity this same and-no-bite nation they daily bleed by Representatives requesting the Goodluck Jonathan converted fuel protecting the little that is left of its extra money. importation licenses to ‘thank you’ I took on Senator Bukola Saraki recharge cards dished out to his funds for, even if infinitesimal, efforts at infrastructural on Twitter, shortly after they passed friends and cronies. Even in the the budget, on why they toed that opacity that characterizes his development. But that expectation was just path. He could not defend it. I wasn’t administration of the oil sector, out of place. The some accounts assembly of say Mr conspirators in Jonathan Abuja are way too jerked up the irresponsible to i m p o r t Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text protect the nation licenses to 66. messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written which continuous It could be contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 existence they, more. It words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and ordinarily, should w a s n ’ t owe their access to b e c a u s e a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed power, privileges Nigerian to: and sudden wealth population to. This explains suddenly took The Editor, why, two weeks a leap, neither Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, ago, this National was it because 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. A s s e m b l y Nigerians Email: let hurriedly passed a s t a r t e d SMS: 07037756364 bathing with c u r i o u s fuel instead of supplementary budget of N161b for the payment expecting him to. That action by the water, it was because our of fuel subsidy for just three weeks Senate was indefensible. It was a clear president believes access to public demonstration of mischief by those office is a means of enriching, or remaining in 2012. ‘creating wealth’ for, his friends. As usual, Mr David Mark elected to represent Nigerians. The foregoing therefore was the Now, we must be clear on this. claimed they passed the budget “to save Nigerians from suffering the First, before Mr Jonathan genesis of the bazaar we call subsidy effect of fuel scarcity during this happened, no government in this regime under Jonathan which saw festive season”. That was a country had spent as much as us over-spend our budget for blackmail expected. The president N300b in the payment of fuel subsidy payment in 2011 by well inserted that line of blackmail in subsidy. Secondly, before Jonathan over 300% even before we got to the letter he wrote to the happened, no government in September, the nineth month of a

twelve-month calendar year for which the budget was prepared. The original budget for subsidy payments for that year, based on what obtained the years before, was N240 billion only. To accommodate for Jonathan’s bazaar to those he wants to ‘create wealth’ for, this same legislature passed for 2012 a budget of N888.1b – a bit below four times that for last year – for subsidy payments. Then, while defending his budget for 2013 before this same legislature, Mr Reginald Stanley, the Executive Secretary of Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) testified that the government had already spent N679b in subsidy payments from January to October this year. Being a ten month period, it means that the government spent an average of N67.9b every month, leaving us with excess of N209.1b for the month of November and December. And at N67.9b per month, we needed just N135.8b to cover for the two months. If we subtract N135.8b from N209.1b, we will be having excess of N73.3b which the President and his subsidy team should refund to Nigerians. Follow @ekekeee on Twitter for more direct engagement

Suntai and his aides were lucky, Sir Patrick Yakowa, former governor of Kaduna State, along with Gen. Andrew Owoye Azazi, immediate past National Security Adviser, the pilots and aides, were not so lucky. Six of them perished on December 15 in a helicopter crash in the mangrove forest of Bayelsa State. Nigerians had thought that that helicopter crash would complete the unfortunate events of 2012. Another tragedy, this time, on the road, occurred when the vehicle chauffeuring Idris Wada, the governor of Kogi state, was involved in a fatal accident on Friday, December 28, 2012. The crash occurred when the governor’s Lexus Jeep suffered a tyre burst on the Ajaokuta-Lokoja Road while returning to the state capital after attending an official function. Though Wada sustained a leg fracture and other minor bruises, Idris Mohammed, his Aide De Camp, an Assistant Superintendant of Police, died in the crash. He has since been buried in Kaduna. I will not want to bother my readers with the numerous terror attacks in the northern part of the country in 2012. As it seems, that has come to be a permanent feature in that part of the country with an apparently helpless government blowing hot and cold each time the terrorists strike. It is a big relief that 2012 is gone with the loads of highs and lows that confronted the nation. If our recent experience is anything to go by, Nigerians welcome 2013 with mixed feelings. We surely need a new beginning this year.

It is obvious that issues of the economy, security, employment, fighting, corruption and official cover-ups, to name a few, will dominate 2013 in Nigeria. On the political turf, though the president has confessed that his government is “slow”, Nigerians will want to see a more invigorated government that will alleviate the sufferings of the people. The first way to ensure this is for the President to tinker with his cabinet and his aides. Some of them are dead woods who have nothing to offer than to sing praises and tell the President what will make him happy at all times. When you look at the performance indices of some of the ministers and aides, you could see that they are not worth to be councillors in their local governments. They are simply bereft of ideas and the wherewithal to move this country forward at the pace it deserves. It is obvious that many of them have become fronts for fortune seekers and profiteers. Majority of them have become too stupendously rich to continue in their present positions. It is for this reason that the president must take a second look at those around him and his cabinet. Nigerians don’t want a slow government. What is at stake in this country today cannot be handled slowly anymore. After all, the resources – human, natural and capital – are there. The president only needs to see beyond the present narrow prism and confront the challenges facing the nation headlong. To do this, he must act like a tiger, not a snail! Dele Agekameh wrote in from Lagos.


Goodbye 2012, welcome 2013 For some people, it was fun all the way as the organizers of the protests, the Save Nigeria Group, added innovations like bringing musical bands to play, and people volunteered food that was served freely. This kept the protests alive for several days. Every day, the crowd grew in number. The more the crowd grew, the more worrisome it was for the government in Abuja. For a government that had all the time stuck to its gun, by the time it was apparent that things might snowball out of control, the Federal Executive Council scrambled to the negotiating table. By this time, the whole country was in turmoil. Lives were lost. It was a fidgety President that later addressed the nation, and reduced the price of petrol as well as promised the nation a number of steps to right the wrongs in the oil sector. Had it been that there were no protests or that the protests did not assume the fearful dimension it took, I am not sure the government was prepared to look into the oil sector to actually see what was going on. Though attempts were made by the government to rubbish the protests as the handiwork of the opposition, they would go down as the first wellorganised civil disobedience in Nigeria. We are all witnesses to the subsidy probe that followed. That probe opened a can of worms in the oil sector. It was like turning up the underbelly of a bad car. A lot of earth-shaking revelations on the financial malfeasance and sleaze that have bedevilled the oil sector were unearthed. However, what is left is the will by the government

to successfully prosecute those involved in the subsidy scandal. The scandal dominated the polity in the first half of 2012. Many of the so-called ‘big boys’ driving around in posh cars were unmasked as thieves. Take, for instance, the case involving the oil magnate, Femi Otedola, and Farouk Lawan who headed the subsidy probe instituted by the House of Representatives. Otedola is known to be one of the commercial hangers–on around the president. Therefore, many people believed the bribe between him and Farouk could have been stage-managed or instigated from above to rubbish the exercise. Otedola’s company was one of the companies allegedly indicted. Till date, nothing concrete has been heard over that case. Yet, in Nigeria, it is a crime to offer or receive bribe. In that case, both the giver and the receiver are culpable. Nigerians are still waiting. In June 2012, a major diversion was the news of the crash of Dana Aircraft on a routine journey from Abuja to Lagos. All the 150 passengers, including the crew, perished. The crash threw the entire country into grief. The Aviation industry came under the binoculars as people asked questions. Anyway, that did not prevent further crashes in the sector. Danbaba Suntai, the governor of Taraba state, was involved in an air crash in October 2012 while ‘personally’ flying an aircraft from Jalingo to Yola. He, along with some of his aides, were badly injured and they are still receiving medical treatment abroad. If



Reclaiming Nigeria’s true identity By John Obiechina


ow I wish it’s possible for the Nigerian government to declare a day of reflection where every citizen of Nigeria will be given the opportunity to THINK and reflect on our history, struggles and aspirations as a people. I think we have lived our lives in total blindness and obscurity. Yet, it seems as if we’re comfortable with the status quo. Where are the Nigerians who can stand up and speak out against the prevailing and ostentatious profligacy of our leaders? Where are they? Where are those people who claim to have acquired the best of education? Are they still living in a nation bounded by incomprehensible chains of bondage created by the so-called cabals? Unscrupulous cabals occupying the territorial sovereignty of a democratic

republic. It does not give me any ‘molecule’ of joy that Nigeria, a great nation is often described as a paradox. The paradoxical narrative of a country endowed with abundant material and human resources yet submerged and plunged into the abyss of abysmal poverty and chronic hunger. How long shall we be tired of this ‘philosophy of suffering and smiling?’ When shall we cease to live in pretentiousness and set out beyond our comfort zones for a common cause of redeeming the lost glory of a defeated giant? When shall we rise up and demand for our fundamental rights of freedom from want and fear? When shall we march against the wind and echo in unison that enough of this ‘business as usual’? The situation in Nigeria weakens me every day. I feel the pain because we’ve failed to guarantee the future of our

children. Yes, we might have failed in many ways but the total negligence of our youths and children is an indication of a failed state. Any parent who cannot guarantee his child of his daily necessities has lost every responsibility that makes him or her worthy and dignified dad or mum. So, Nigeria is failing to rise up to this statist and populist role as a nation. It is very unfortunate that many Nigerians have lived with this burden. It’s very unlucky to be born and inherit the suspiciousness in the country’s nomenclature. It has become a global norm to ridicule a bona fide citizen of Nigeria just because he or she has the Nigerian identity. Many a time, a quarantine animal is far better. Yet we’re unmoved to challenge the status quo! Sometimes, it becomes so worrisome to understand the complacency of a people who live in a nation where life seems a bit

worthless. Death is so insignificant that avoidable deaths have become embarrassingly recurrent. In the same nation, over 50 million youths are unemployed yet Nigeria is the highest oil exporter in Africa. We’ve been ridiculed for too long. Can patriotic Nigerians with good heart still find pride in the ‘green-whitegreen’ flag? Can our helpless children still stand and recite the national anthem and pledge with dignity and joy. Is it still possible to have unflinching faith in ‘once in a time’ giant? Africa’s victory and success is dependent on Nigeria’s resurrection to provide succour and leadership to a failing continent. Without great Nigeria, great Africa will be an eluded dream. However, there’s hope! Hope embedded in posterity and rooted in our willingness to re-write the chequered history of our

fatherland. Yes, we can still rise from our defeated and ignoble ground of failure and march triumphantly up to the mountain of hope. We can still reclaim our heritage, global position and have not only an influential voice but a revered one if we can: Have transformational and less corrupt leaders; consolidate our unity and celebrate our diversity; and have a common dream. We may have every reason to give up on Nigeria but before we take such decision, it will also be important to reason that if 60% of Nigerians can resolve to make a difference in their individual lives, better Nigeria will be a dream come true. The important question now is: How can I be amongst the 60%? John Obiechina is a postgraduate student, Global Development, University of Leeds, UK.

This calls for genuine political will on the part of our political leaders. That will also stop the brain drain and encourage many skilled Ghanaians in the Diaspora to troop back home. In the past year, Ghana has been rocked by mighty and gargantuan political scandals, such as the judgment debts, STXgate, Woyomegate, Isofotongate, among others. These gargantuan judgment debts have been linked to political machinations and they do not augur well for the financial stability of the country. Political corruption also manifests in the tender and procurement processes involving government departments. Added to this is the single sourcing in the award of contracts, such as the South Korea STX multi-billion contract for 1.3 million housing units, which fortunately for us, floundered because the Ghana Parliament did not approve it because of its questionable origins. Government needs to monitor closely the levels of inflation so that if the cost of living is low, there will be less tendency for economic-related corruption. Perhaps, the tax base needs broadening to capture those in the informal sector so that workers can pay less tax. Government needs to automate collection of revenues at the toll gates, entry points, among others. There should be regular head count of government workers to prevent ghost workers’ names on payrolls. The staff at the Auditor and Accountant General’s office needs to be rotated often, or transferred or appraised often, in order to throw out the bad eggs who engage in corrupt practices. Currently, some senior teachers who were promoted more than four years ago have not had their salaries adjusted, for them to be put on the correct salary scales

and to collect their salary arrears. The officers at the Accountant General’s office deliberately hold on to such promotions so that they can be bribed to start effecting payments to the teachers concerned. Is this transparency? Our N in the OPENS model stands for Natural resources. One cardinal natural resource whose discovery and eventual exploitation leads to massive corruption is oil. Others might settle for diamonds, as we have had the case of blood diamonds in countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone and Angola. In Nigeria and Angola, they had brutal civil wars. We also continue to have skirmishes in the Congo DR because of the country being awash with rare earth minerals such as uranium, tantalite, and other resources such as diamonds, gold, copper, among others. The type of corruption which is associated with the possession of some natural resources is a serious one as these strategic reserves attract the attention of the MNCs, superpowers and foreign business predators. Nigerian oil production has been a curse rather than a blessing because of their leaders having a high propensity and proclivity for collusion and shady business deals, which rob their citizens of the enjoyment of proceeds from

the sale of oil. They are simply kleptomaniacs. The few ruling elite collude with foreign business tycoons to siphon oil wealth into the accounts of some selfish individuals, some of whom own private executive jets and mansions in foreign capitals. Natural resource corruption is geopolitical and has deep international linkages. This type of corruption can be fought only in cooperation with international agencies such as Interpol, WTO, Transparency International, EU, UN, among others. It also calls for patriotic leaders and citizenry. S in my OPENS model stands for Socio-cultural corruption. This is a vast and ramified area, which I cannot fully exhaust in an article like this. In a country with a large population and one which is growing rapidly, corruption is a condition sine qua non. In such a country, corruption is the order of the day and a way of life. Consider countries like India, China, Nigeria, Pakistan, among others. Social corruption also arises where men are polygamous and they have large families, including the extended family. In such collectivist societies, there is a lot of tribalism, nepotism, favoritism, among other vices. Giving of gifts is a norm.

Women in some cases are disempowered so they cannot contribute to the family income. This being the case, males are the ones who have to struggle to support large families. Men, therefore, become heavily prone to corrupt practices at work, so that they can earn extra money to meet their heavy family responsibilities. Besides, our social practices such as lavish traditional weddings, funerals and festivals mean that people have to use fair or foul means to raise enough money for such social eventualities. This is the more reason we need to emancipate and empower our women to make them economically viable citizens, by giving them access to jobs and business opportunities. The saving ethic is not well pronounced in Ghana because of low incomes. Educationally, few people even get up to high school or college or up to first degree level. Few people in Ghana and Africa are professionals. This being the case, few people are aware of high professional ethics or the need for transparency and accountability in business. Many people cannot read or write or speak English. Such high levels of illiteracy mean that only a few people are exposed to the ill effects of corruption. Someone commented on my first article in this series that corruption is in the DNA of the African. I think I disagree with him because corruption knows no racial barrier. Even in the advanced countries, there are worse cases of corruption, especially in the corporate world. I hereby propose that we can model corruption by using an exponential function, axb, where ‘a’ is a constant representing the national culture. Concluded

Overcoming corruption in Ghana (II) By Kwesi Atta Sakyi


conomic genesis of corruption results from lack of state intervention or state failure, whereby the state is supposed to support the unemployed and the vulnerable, such as widows, the disabled, dependants, students and old people. The state should create a lot of job openings for graduates, and consider providing transfer payments to students, the old and invalids. Government has to consider using revenues from taxes and exports to subsidize education, health, pensions and agriculture to help close the wide income gap and help redistribute income to ensure equity. Economic corruption arises whereby many people are unemployed, and the few employed people have to cater for large numbers of dependants at home. Furthermore, salaries and wages in Ghana are too low, such that workers become corrupt so as to top up their meager incomes. It is said that demand for higher wages should be backed by increases in productivity and profitability. Employers pay according to their ability to pay and their cost structure, as well as industry standards and government guidelines. However, employers should consider paying a living wage, and not salvation or mere subsistence wages. If they do so, they create room for workers to engage in corruption. The Ghana government has tried in the past one year to streamline salaries through the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS), but many critics and onlookers have given a lowdown of the program as an exercise in futility, and perhaps a political gimmick. It is important that our leaders look again into salary or wage structures in Ghana to bring them in line with international market standards.

I think I disagree with him because corruption knows no racial barrier. Even in the advanced countries, there are worse cases of corruption, especially in the corporate world. I hereby propose that we can model corruption by using an exponential function, axb, where ‘a’ is a constant representing the national culture


But instead of performing these minor computations, and asking for our refund from the president, the Senate (which is known for being the first of the two legislative chambers to always protect the ignoble) quickly approved the request for an extra N161b which was not needed in the first place. Which raises the question: are the senators suggesting that they lack a basic knowledge of arithmetics or did they simply choose to be mischievous as they are wont to? It is unbelievable that 109 people will lack the ability for critical thinking at the same time. Worse still, even those from opposition parties didn’t put up any fight. While responding to my questions on Twitter, Bukola Saraki claimed they didn’t know how many litres Nigerians consume in a day, a sad tale to the centre of laziness that the Nigerian Senate, nay the entire legislature, is. It is exactly one year since Nigerians almost brought down this government – an effort that David Mark’s senate effectively thwarted – because of the monumental

corruption in the oil sector, yet their clear lack of respect for Nigerians has ensured they’ve never made any efforts to verify the exact quantity of fuel we consume. And then in his regular moment of sermonizing, David Mark charged “the nation” (whoever he is referring to) to take a decision on fuel subsidy. He said, “If they cannot eliminate or stop the corruption in the industry, then, the other alternative will be to stop the whole exercise of subsidy and we will take the one that is easier…” In the league of falsehood where David Mark plays, it is always convenient to say “they”. By deceitfully refusing to name those who should be named for promoting criminality in the land, David Mark is smartly etching a space for himself in Jonathan’s good books to be considered for a higher political office, which is, by our culture, a near proximity to the CBN vault. The ‘they’ David Mark wants to stop corruption in the oil sector must be my father in the grave, the struggling mother preparing her garri in Ijebu Ode or the Fulani herdsman grazing the plateau for his cattle. Mr Mark doesn’t know who should stop the corruption, that’s why he wants ‘they’ to do so.

But if ‘they cannot’ eliminate the corruption in the industry, Mr Mark will want to opt for the one that is easier. That has been the Nigerian case: we tend to do the one that is easier. For instance, it is easier for one man in government to go home with N600m in one year as salary, and then hand over our development to God who will pour money from heaven for the building of roads. It is easier to jet out to Germany for medical treatment than to build good hospitals in Nigeria. It is easier to fly in Naval choppers than to bother ourselves with fixing of roads. It is easier to have 40 SAs, SSAs, PAs and other whatever A-s who’ll hail you, ‘His Excellency’ three times a day, than to make conscious efforts to create jobs for millions of Nigerians. In a similar manner, it is much easier to yank off subsidy than to sack Diezani Madueke, prosecute her, get her accomplices arrested and prosecuted. It is also easier for David Mark to croon “they” when he should call the corruptionbreeding president Jonathan to order, and possibly deploy the powers of the legislature to cause him to seat up. A responsible Senate president would have used the

opportunity the supplementary bill presented to cause the president to sack and prosecute the key culprits in the subsidy fraud who still work with the president. David Mark can’t do that, he can only rally his senate to give express approval for money the president never needed. Meanwhile, those David Mark referred to “they” are the same people he clicks glasses with every now and then and toast to Nigeria’s doom. He knows their names. He knows their positions. And while they claim they didn’t “want Nigerians to suffer fuel shortages”, maybe I should remind them that the queues are still here, and that nobody buys fuel for N97, the official price. “They” should wait on “they” to monitor the filling stations and force them to comply. Nnukwu Ife emee Naijiria! In Igbo land, nnukwu ife emee, means that a great calamity has struck. Nigeria, as a nation, has been struck by a great calamity. And nothing demonstrates that more than the combination of Goodluck Jonathan, David Mark and his legislature as leaders, men and women who define life only in terms of naira, pounds and dollar. Follow @ekekeee on Twitter for more direct engagement



‘80 per cent of HIV/AIDS intervention funds diverted’ By Josephine Ella Ejeh


he Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Coordinator of Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPLWHAN), Abuja chapter, Mr. John Okene has alleged that 80 per cent of funds meant for HIV/AIDS intervention are diverted by people trusted with such funds. Okene, who disclosed this while fielding questions from journalists at the Millennium Park said 35,000 persons affected by the virus are presently living in the FCT. “In fact 80 per cent of our funds have been diverted and up till now they are still diverting our funds. That is why you see that our people are dying. There is high level of poverty among people living with HIV/AIDS. Like in FCT, we have 35,000 people. “How many of them can afford one square meal in a day, so the problem we are having in this country is corruption. Our fund is been diverted our people are not been catered for,” he said. However, he said this year, the association was determined to fight the situation to ensure that members were adequately catered for. “What we planned before now was that we wanted to go on hunger strike, but it’s just that we are dialoguing gradually, so we had to shelve that for now,” he further revealed. He blamed partners for

pumping in money to government without even caring how such funds were been expended, adding, “they don’t involve us. If you are giving people money you should be able to tell them we want to see people the focal people benefiting”. This was as he appealed to

them to sit up towards ensuring that the situation changes for achievement of the overall goal of their intervention. “They cannot tell us they have spent billions of money, where our people are not been affected. You are giving us drugs and we don’t have food.

Many of our members are graduates but because of discrimination they left their jobs so now they cannot feed. Give us food, don’t use our money for programme or campaign. What we need is food because the drug is very strong,” he concluded.

A pick-up van over loaded with goods and persons, yesterday in Karu, Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

NGO urges women to lead sanitation exercise


he Chairperson, Social Welfare for Widows, the Needy and Unemployed (SOWWNU), Mrs Joy Oyedeji, has called on women to lead the environmental sanitation exercise in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, Oyedeji said good sanitation for the city and nation must begin from the home.

“Women must wake up and take up their responsibility as role models and pacesetters in sanitation. We want a changed womanhood this coming year; we want clean homes and health nation,’’ she said. Oyedeji blamed frequent illness among children in many homes on poor sanitary conditions in the neighbourhood. She also cautioned women that untidy and unkempt homes

may be a contributing factor for their spouses to “look outside” for better organised women. Also speaking with NAN, Mrs Victory Goodluck, an official of Environmental Health, Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), decried the deteriorating sanitary conditions in the city. She also said women could make a difference by paying more attention to cleanliness

around the homes. The Deputy Director, Environmental Health and Safety, Abuja Environment Protection Board (AEPB) Mr Uche Agbanusi, told NAN that many buildings in the suburbs had no toilet facilities. Agbanusi said the agency would step up its campaign to promote a clean environment in the coming year and warned that defaulters would face appropriate sanctions.

Kwali chair pledges to complete on-going projects By Usman Shuaibu


he Chairman of Kwali Area Council in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Hon. Joseph Kwali Shazin, has said that his administration would complete on-going projects in this year. Shazin, who made this known while briefing the newsmen

during the New Year celebration in Kwali, also said that his administration would continue to focus on the people’s oriented projects in the area. He said that his leadership would continue to provide dividends of democracy for the people of Kwali, as he called on the residents to be supportive to his administration.

Speaking on his achievements so far, the chairman said that his administration was able to provide potable drinking water, as well as provision of transformers for the people to boost electricity supply. On the internal generated revenue, he said despite the revenue being generated in the area council, it had not reflected

in the cash books. This, according to him, is one of the serious challenges that this present administration will tackle this year. While reacting to allegation of non-performance by his political opponents, Shazin debunked the allegation, saying it was political propaganda by the so-called politicians in the area.

Work resumes after New Year holiday


ork resumed yesterday in Abuja after the expiration of the one day public holiday declared by the Federal Government to mark the New Year. The Federal Government last week declared Tuesday, January 1, 2013 as public holiday. Correspondents of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), who visited the Federal Secretariat located on Shehu Shagari Way, Abuja, report that many of the workers reported for duty early. At the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Ministries of Trade and Investments, Interior, Environment and Defence, workers were seen arriving for work in their staff buses at 7.32 a.m. Mrs Blessing Onah, a staff of one of the ministries, told NAN that she enjoyed the holiday but wished that the Federal Government had declared Wednesday a public holiday. “I would have been happier if the holiday was for two days, as it was during the Christmas celebration. I had to wake up early today to rush to work,’’ Onah said. Onah’s colleague, Mr Joseph Ehiorobo, also said he would have loved it if Wednesday had been declared a public holiday. “I have no choice but to resume work as directed by the government. I had a wonderful time with my family,” Ehiorobo said. Mr Clement Okosun, another civil servant, said work had to go on as there was need to put in the best in the New Year. “We have celebrated New Year and work has to go on. We know that holiday is good but we need to work to ensure that in 2013, everything moves on smoothly for the nation and the people,’’ he said. A staff of the Ministry of the Environment at Mabushi, Mrs Bosede Komolafe told NAN that she could not travel during the break because the time was too short. “You know the time was very short because we had only one day to relax. With the high costs of transportation, I and family decided not to travel. At the FCDA, workers were seen at their various duty posts carrying out their work. Mrs Hafizat Rabiu told NAN that she had to resume today because only January 1, was declared a public holiday. Our correspondent who visited the Tafawa Balewa building housing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, located at the Central Business District, reports that workers could be seen in their offices. Mr Agbole Ode, the Spokesman of the ministry, told NAN that work had resumed in the ministry. “Our workers are dedicated to their duties. We do not work like the core civil servants. I can assure you that if you take a roll call, you will get a 100 per cent attendance,” he said. (NAN)



“N4,000 gain made me what I’m today” C. J .Walker says one does not have to wait for opportunities to come, but must to get up and make them adding that he made his own living and opportunities himself. This was also the position taken by Future Nwamkpa, an undergraduate student of computer science in Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa and also an Abuja based business man, who deals laptops parts and repair in spite of the harsh economic condition in the country . In this interview with Beauty Amaike, he shares his experiences on how the business is helping him to pay his bills and helping other siblings in the family.


ell us about yourself and why you chose this line of business? My name is Future Nwamkpa, an indigene of Abia state. I live in Kpeyegyi an out sketch in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja. I am still single. After I finished my secondary school in 1999, I moved to Aba in Abia state. While in Aba my plan to travel abroad was aborted so I returned to my village. I actually had a plan to travel abroad in search of greener pasture but that couldn’t get through. Then in October 1st 2002, my cousin Chinenye Ohiaogu invited me to Abuja. Then I was not having transport fare so I did some work to get the money for the transportation. When I got to Abuja I did not find it easy as well because the person called my brother drove me out of his house for a reason best known to him. Although he later called me back the day he drove me out but I refused to go back to his house. I proceeded to Navy school but when I got there, I saw that they recognized people like the doctors, engineers and especially the scientists for that reason I took the idea and it serves as an eye opener to me. So that was how I started. What requirement one needs for starting this business and the achievements you have made so far it? Nothing much, like myself, I was trained for two years before I established my own outfit. Of course you need to learn under someone for a specified period of time before you set up your own. I have recorded a lot of achievements since I started. It is this money I

apprentice, there was this experience I had; a man brought a hard disk for me to sell it for him at the rate of 2000.I sold the hard disk at the rate of 6000. That was the first experience I had in information communication technology (I C T) business. I had a lot of financial problem because a lot of money is required in this business. For example when I went to the bank for loan, the condition that was giving to me for granting a small business loan was discouraging and unfavorable to the survival of the business,

Future Nwamkpa make from this business that has been giving me a lot of achievements today. And now I am more hopeful. I have people that depend on me. I am also training my younger ones in school. By the grace of god I am no more an SSCE holder but an undergraduate in Federal Polytechnic Nasarawa in Nasarawa state. I am studying computer science and by the grace of God I will come out becoming a graduate so I thank

God for everything. What are the Challenges you face in the course of doing this business? Some of the challenges I faced is finance. I had financial problem. Before I became what I am today there was this kind of Abuja challenges or will I call it El- Rufai’s madness that came up then and my apartment was demolished that was not enough my shop was equally demolished. When I was an

I had a lot of financial problem because a lot of money is required in this business. For example when I went to the bank for loan, the condition that was giving to me for granting a small business loan was discouraging and unfavorable to the survival of the business, because they always demand for a Certificate of Occupancy (C O) for land or house property in choice places which was really a challenge

because they always demand for a Certificate of Occupancy (C O) for land or house property in choice places which was really a challenge. I had the plan to venture into other businesses but because it was capital intensive I had to drop them. Another challenge I had was that, there was a day I was going to Apo legislative quarters to do a particular work so a police man stopped me and asked me to present my I.D card. Then I was not having the I.D card with me so he slapped and handcuffed me, took me down to my street and bit me up before he finally took me to the station. That kind of treatment was devilish and inhuman. So these are some of the hazards and challenges of the business. With the increasing rate of unemployment in the country, what is your advice to the youths especially those who may want to go into this kind of business? My advice to Nigerian youths especially those who may want to venture into this kind of business is to be creative and remain focused. They may face a lot of challenges at the initial stage but that should not deter them from forging ahead. They should understand that everything depend on them. Although government has its own role to play in our individual lives but we don’t need to depend on the government totally for survival. We need to develop a profitable means of contributing our quarter to the economy- that could be achieved by doing this kind of business.

69 die, property worth N765m lost By Josephine Ella Ejeh


o fewer than 69 lives and property worth N765,700,000, were lost last year in sundry fire disasters in the Federal Capital Territory(FCT). The FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed disclosed this yesterday, after looking into the

...and 239 lives saved in 2012 activities of the FCT Urban Affairs Department in his office. On the other hand, he revealed that 239 lives were saved from fire incidences in and around the FCT in the preceding year of 2012. The Minister further disclosed that his

administration during the year was also able to save property worth N3,176,700,000 from inferno. He recalled that within the same period from January to December 2012, the FCT Fire Service received 486 fire calls as well as 103 rescue calls.

Senator Mohammed, who commended the officers and men of the FCT Fire Service for the outstanding performance during the period, assured the residents that his administration was poised to improve on this feat this year 2013 and beyond.

He therefore, charged the officials of the FCT Fire Service to redouble their efforts to surpass this achievement and by extension doing Nigeria proud. He assured that his administration would this year work assiduously on capacity building of all the staff of the FCT Administration for enhanced productivity and improved service delivery.



Abuja foodstuff traders record low patronage – Survey


Newspapers vendors resting, yesterday at the Federal Secretariat, in Abuja.

Photo NAN

NGO condemns takeover of Women Centre by Women Affairs Ministry By Josephine Ella Ejeh


n Abuja-based nong o v e r n m e n t a l organisation ( NGO), Gender Support for Women Emancipation Development Society, has appealed to the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan to correct all errors by her predecessors that hinder women development in Nigeria. The founder, Mrs Ann Frances Nosike, made the call during a chat with journalists in Abuja. According to her, Nigerian women have resolved to correct the errors of their past, and needed the active participation of the First Ladies to correct the odds.

.....Tasks First Lady on women devt She condemned the taking over of the National Centre for Women Development built by Mrs Babangida by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs which has crippled the tempo of activities in the centre. “No progress and development as the ministry used money derived from the centre for other activities that are not essential to women development. We want the centre to be transform into a commission under the presidency which will encourage the First Lady to ensure a personal supervision and get in all the state first Ladies to put on similar

projects as their legacies when they leave offices as did by Mariam Babangida”. The NGO boss further urged the wife of the Nigerian President to intensify effort in developing her pet project; under the African First Lady to avoid the fate of former first lady’s whose projects did not see the light of the tunnel after the exit of their spouses from power. Mrs Nosike, who is also social Psychologist, also advocate the naming of the sprawling Abuja Women Centre for Nigerian women Development after former First lady, Mrs Mariam

Babangida. According to her, Mariam’s idea of erecting the edifice was aimed at providing decent accommodation for women and impacting knowledge to the less privilege members of the society which in-turn has provide venue for conferences, workshops at a highly subsidised rates. “In 2013, there should be space for skill acquisition which will teach our women investment and trading skills, cultural exhibitions from the various states and the governors’ wives should have their state liaison offices here in Abuja,” she suggested.

New Year: Cleric calls for unity in Kwali By Usman Shuaibu


s residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) celebrate the New Year, people of Kwali Area Council in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have been called upon to imbibe the virtue of tolerance, peace, unity, forgiveness and brotherliness in order to forge

ahead. The pastor in charge of the First ECWA Church in Kwali, Rev. Zakaria M. Luka made the call in an interview with newsmen in Kwali. He urged both Muslims and Christians to tolerate each other irrespective of their religious differences. He also advised the

Christian faithful to always cultivate the habit of forgiving each other, saying that God is always behind the person that forgives and forgets. Rev. Luka further appealed to religious leaders across the country to preach peace for their followers for the sustainable development of our nation, saying that without

peace the country cannot move forward. Commenting on the forthcoming FCT Area Councils Chairmanship election, Luka warned the politicians across the six area councils to shun politics of bitterness and concentrate on the politics of issues during their electioneering campaign.

raders in some markets in Abuja have said they recorded low patronage during the Christmas celebration. They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) during a survey that though prices of food commodities remained stable but sales were “very low’’. At Utako market, a bag of 50kg rice was sold at between N10, 500 and N11, 000 as against N10, 000 sold in the past while the small bag of 25kg was sold at N4, 500. A bag of white garri still remained at the price of N8, 000, while a bag of yellow garri was sold at N9, 000. Mrs Juliana Sunday, a food stuff seller in Wuse market, said that a basket of pepper was sold at N500 and N600 as against its former price of N400 and N500. Juliana, who is also a yam seller, told NAN that prices of yam were sold based on the sizes. She added that five tubers of the smaller size were still sold at N1, 000, while the bigger size was sold at between N1, 500 and N2, 000. “The prices of food items are still stable as it was before the Charismas, but we are recording low patronage as a lot of people have travelled for Christmas,’’ Juliana said. Mrs Ijeoma George said that a four-litre of Turkey vegetable oil previously sold at N1, 200 had a slight increase of 10 per cent. Mr Ndubuisi Mpama, a beans seller, said that a measure (mudu) of brown beans was sold at N500 two months ago, was now N250, while white beans went for N180 as against N350. Mpama also complained of low patronage as people had gone to their villages and states of origin for Christmas celebration. He further explained that the major reasons for increase in prices of commodities were the unstable price in fuel and its scarcity. “You can imagine the present situation of scarcity of fuel at this critical time when people are celebrating Christmas. “What then is the joy of celebration when a lot of people who went home will not be able to pay their way back? ``This is the same situation we are facing in our business, including poor conditions of roads and charges by the market authorities,” Mpama said. Mpama said that no reasonable human being would deliberately increase prices of commodities intentionally. He called on the government to intervene in some of the problems affecting the poor so that they would have a sense of belonging in the polity. He, however, gave assurances that as the new farm products arrived the markets prices of food stuff would come down. (NAN)






- Pg 21

Noah’s Ark empowers students in creative photography, make-up

Mob: 08033644990

Nigeria Stock Exchange to suspend UBA shares today By Abdulwahab Isa with agency report he shares of one of Nigeria’s largest banks, United Bank for Africa, UBA, will be placed on suspension from the stock exchange from today. The bank will also be split into four entities, following its decision to restructure, leaving shareholders to decide which of the entities they wish to reinvest in. Shareholders of the bank recently approved its restructuring in compliance with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s policy on universal banking. The first is UBA Plc, which comprises of its Nigeria bank, all African banking subsidiaries (18), UBA Pension Custodians, UBA FX Mart and UBA Capital Europe. The second entity, UBA Capital Plc, is made up of UBA Asset Management, UBA Trustees, UBA Metropolitan Insurance, UBA Stockbrokers, UBA Insurance Brokers, and UBA Nominees. The third and fourth are African Prudential Registrars Plc and Afriland Properties Plc. The bank’s scheme document, dated November 15 , reveals that UBA’s shares will be placed on full suspension on January 3, while the indicative date for the listing of UBA Capital and African Prudential Registrars on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), is scheduled for January 11.


This transaction is such that the capital of each entity – second to the fourth — will be allotted to eligible shareholders of UBA proportionately, making them 100 percent owners. However, Afriland Properties will be listed at a yet-to-bedisclosed date. The bank’s shareholders have the option to sell their allotted shares to other interested shareholders within a 7-day period, according to finance experts, starting from 02 January 2013 - indicative date from Scheme document – or sell at a future date via UBA Stockbrokers, or sell when it is listed in future. Renaissance Capital, an Investment Bank said the implications for UBA bank restructures into 4 entities shareholders today is neutral. Adesoji Solanke, a Bank Analyst at Renaissance Capital, said the impact of this transaction on existing UBA shareholders is limited. “The commercial banking assets being retained under the restructured UBA Plc represent 97 per cent of equity. In FY11, cumulative profits of the UBA Capital entities was N1.6bn while that of Africa Prudential Registrars was N188mn. “Afriland Properties is a new entity, so, no operational financials for FY11. Given that these entities are relatively small, we think the focus should remain on UBA, the bank. We

still see good value in UBA at these levels and retain our BUY recommendation” he said. “The question we think, is what should shareholders do with the new entities? We are not convinced that the UBA Capital and the Registrars business should trade at the same multiple as the commercial banking asset,” he added. According to him, not only are these businesses small, “but additionally it is unclear, in our opinion, if these entities have a viable competitive advantage as stand-alone businesses”. ”Additionally, there is no

stated deadline for the listing of this entity on the NSE so a liquidity discount to the above valuation may be warranted,” Mr. Solanke said. “For shareholders reluctant to hold unlisted instruments, we would recommend taking the cash offer and reinvesting proceeds into UBA Plc, the commercial banking entity” he said. A number of banks have already divested their investments in line with the Central Bank’s directive. Diamond Bank, GTB, Skye Bank, First Bank and Stanbic IBTC made their divestments last year.

FG sets January 1, 2015 for digital broadcasting By Chris Alu


new date for the switch v e r from analogue to digital terrestrial television broadcasting has been fixed, the new date is now January 1,the time given will enable the digital team put in finishing touches on the work before the final switch over date of the transmission in Nigeria. Speaking to our correspondent shortly after the inauguration, the Chief Executive Officer, Suburban Telecomms, Mr. Bruce Ayonote stated that the digital team will do their best to ensure that they keep to the time line for the switch over date, according to him the time giving to them is enough to put all the necessary thing in order for the switch over date to digital broadcasting. He assured Nigeria that the team will work together as a family and will give in their best for the job to be done effectively. “This is the practice done everywhere and Nigeria will not be left out”, he stated. o

Recently, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) met with Editors of daily newspapers and weekly news magazines, as part of the its public awareness initiatives on its mandate and activities. Seen here are a cross-section of Editors at the forum.

Apple tests new iPhone, iOS 7


pple Inc has started testing a new iPhone and the next version of its iOS software, news website, The Next Web reported. Application developers have found in their app usage logs references to a new iPhone identifier, iPhone 6.1, running iOS 7 operating system, the

website reported. Apple’s iPhone 5 bears the identifiers “iPhone 5.1? and “iPhone 5.2? and is powered by iOS 6 operating system. Developer logs show that the app requests originate from an internet address on Apple’s Cupertino campus, suggesting that Apple engineers are testing

compatibility for some of the popular apps, the website said. “Although OS and device data can be faked, the unique IP footprint leading back to Apple’s Cupertino campus leads us to believe this is not one of those attempts,” the website said. Apple launched iPhone 5 in September and it has been reported that the new iPhone will be released in the middle of 2013.

Management Tip of the Day


Proactively manage your digital reputation

ecause potential employers can research us 24/7, we’re all in the market for a job — even when we’re not actually looking for one. Here are three ways to control how others see your digital self:· Make sure your online and offline personas match. If your passion and education are in environmental engineering, your

social media profiles should reflect that, not just your love of food or dogs.·Curate your search results. Recruiters rely chiefly on their top10 Google search results to make decisions about you. Set up your handle on Twitter, LinkedIn, and other networking sites as “firstnamelastname” (instead of, say, partyguy44).·

Establish your credibility. Participate in forums and communities that focus on your specialties. You don’t have to be the most active participant. Even smart periodic contributions help you build a reputation as a thought leader. Source: Harvard Business Review

Nigerian forex reserves up 34.4 % yr-on-yr by December 24


igeria’s foreign exchange reserves rose 34.45 percent year-on-year to $44.25 billion by December 24, latest figures from the central bank showed on Monday. The forex reserves were down from their year peak of $44.64 billion on December 7. Reserves stood at $44.03 billion a month ago and $32.91 billion the same the same time last year. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been on a drive to increase foreign exchange reserves this year in a bid to protect Africa’s biggest crude exporter from oil price shocks and to defend the naira currency. (Reuters)




Oando Plc


ando Plc has commenced its rights trading exercise which is geared to raise N54.6 billion in order to fund the company’s expansion into a much larger upstream petroleum company. The company is offering shareholders 2 ordinary shares for every one ordinary share held at close of business on October 19th. The rights issue will take place on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange as the company is listed in both countries. The issue opened on the floor of the NSE last Friday and will commence in Johannesburg on January 4th. The offer will close on February 6th, 2013.

Destination inspection


he Federal Government may have extended the seven- year contract it signed with inspection service providers: Cotecnna, SGS and Global Scan system Ltd by another six months begining from this January. They were contracted in 2006 to carry out inspection on imported items to determine duty payable and to prevent unwholesome and prohibited goods from coming into the country. The contract ought to have been terminated by the end of December 2012 and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) was expected to have commenced the provision of the much needed service for the teaming Nigerian Shippers.

Cargo tracking Note


he National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has urged the Federal Government to introduce Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) for Nigerian-bound cargoes. The association, which made the call in a statement in Lagos on Monday, said the introduction of the CTN would be for security reasons. It could be recalled that the Federal Government suspended the collection of CTN charges by the Nigerian Ports Authority in 2011. NAGAFF said that the latest technique in checking terrorism was to check and stop dangerous goods at the point of origin rather than destination. “It shall be a good policy of the government and for strategic reasons to introduce CTN for all Nigerian-bound cargoes,’’ it said.

2012: A dismal year for Nigerian manufacturing sector T

he Nigerian manufacturing sector performed 'poorly' in the out gone year, as experts say the manufacturing sector contributed only 5 per cent to the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), in its Business Environment Report 2012 disagreed with the Federal Government's claims of significant economic growth on the nation's economy, while the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) recently said no fewer than 800 companies in Nigeria closed shop between 2009 and 2011 mainly due to harsh operating business environment. NACCIMA president, Dr. Herbert Ajayi said, "More than half of the surviving firms had been classified as ailing, which poses a serious threat to the survival of the manufacturing industry in the country. Capacity utilisation in industries hovered around 30 per cent and 45 per cent on the average, with 100 per cent overhead costs. "Political and economic factors contribute greatly to the decline in the manufacturing sectors. For instance, poor infrastructure and epileptic power supply are also key impediments to the industry. The industry as a whole operates on more than 70 per cent of energy it generates, using generators and operating these generators greatly increases the cost of manufacturing goods in Nigeria", he stated. "Other factors include increase in the prices of petroleum products used by industries, multiple taxation, unabated smuggling and inadequate access to finance, both local and abroad", he added. Corroborating Ajayi's views, National President, Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI), Mr. Chuku Wachuku told Peoples Daily that many companies operated below capacity in 2012 because of unstable power supply, inadequate funds and high labour costs. This, he said, has increased businesses' expenses, reduced productivity and hampered economic growth making many firms to shut down or relocated to neighbouring countries. He said the manufacturing sector is facing challenges in the face of the economic crisis that has accentuated the loss of competitiveness against manufactured products from China. The blackouts are negatively impacting the economy, which is grappling

with a combination of slow growth, a weak currency, high inflation and the effect of flooding that is expected to drive up food prices. While the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has not released its official position for 2012, its President, Dr. Kola Jamodu, in September 2012 said there was an increased investment as well as improved turnover for the industrial sector of the economy within the last one year. His view however drawn conflicting reactions from other stakeholders. According to data obtained from the office of the DirectorGeneral, West African Institute of Financial and Economic Management, "In developed countries where the real sectors are thriving, manufacturing contribute as much as between 35 and 40 per cent to the GDP. For instance, in Malaysia, the manufacturing sector contributes about 45 per cent to the GDP. Our manufacturing sector must function optimally to generate more jobs if we are to realise the Vision 20:20:20 target. According to the data,"At present, about 30million youths are unemployed in Nigeria . The economy is growing at almost 8 per cent, but we still have rising level of poverty of about 70 per cent. The rate of unemployment stands at about 24 per cent, which is about 35 percent among the youth. Though increasing unemployment rate is a global phenomenon, we must tackle it in Nigeria". "The inflation rate is 12.8 per cent. So, what we are experiencing as economic growth rate is only marginal increase. Every year, government prepares the entire budget depending on income from crude oil. So, the economy is still heavily dependent on oil, while the manufacturing sector, which has the potentials

Ayodele Samuel reports on the misfortunes of the Nigerian manufacturing sector in year 2012

NACCIMA president, Dr. Herbert Ajayi to create jobs and generate more revenue, is not given the required attention. The rate of unemployment is growing faster than the growth of the economy. Increase in rural unemployment is also disturbing" the data stated. Small and Medium Scale enterprises (SMEs), according to experts, contribute nearly half of the nation's GDP and accounts for over 25 percent of employment in the country. Also, the recent release from the Enterprise Baseline Survey 2012 stated that there are 17 million SMEs in Nigeria , employing 32.41 million persons and making a contribution of about 46.54 per cent to the GDP. Also, the CBN has been in the forefront of building a synergy

Small and Medium Scale enterprises (SMEs), according to experts, contribute nearly half of the nation's GDP and accounts for over 25 percent of employment in the country.

between the financial and real sector of the economy, in order to enhance accessibility to capital for operators of SMEs in the country. The initiative is to ensure that the operators of SMEs have access to low cost funds to boost their operations and for startups to enhance expansion of smaller units of businesses across the country. This will bring about long-term benefit of boosting domestic production capacity for local manufacturers, such that they are able to carry out operations with reduced cost. In April 2009, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) created the N200 billion Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme Fund to stimulate growth in the SMEs sub-sector, with subsequent approval of N500 billion Intervention Fund in 2010 for the manufacturing industry. According to the LCCI report, major challenges faced by the manufacturing sector was rising cost of production due to high cost of capital and alternative source of power as well as increasing cost of labour due to scarcity of required skills and new minimum wage legislation expansion, leading to importation of technical skills required by the industries. The report however urge the Federal Government to ensure that SMEs and manufactures get loan at single digit and eliminate delays associated with loan processing, stressing the urgent need to responsibly check the influx of fake, imitation and sub-standard goods into the Nigerian market.



Ilorin teacher is Cadbury Bournvita promo’s 6th millionaire Stories from Suleiman Idris, Lagos


he sixth millionaire has emerged in the ongoing Cadbury Bournvita Yummy Life Promotion at the week 6 draw which was held last week at the company’s head office, in Lagos. Ms. Adedayo Funmilayo Hannah from Ilorin, Kwara state became the lucky winner of the grand prize through the electronic draw witnessed by the regulatory Agencies. Adedayo, a secondary school teacher at Government Day Secondary School, Tanke, who was contacted immediately could not hide her joy and excitement. When asked how she intends to spend the winning, she declared that she will pay her tithe to the church and invest the rest in profitable venture. She thanked Cadbury for changing her life for good. Ms. Adedayo joins five other winners of the ultimate prize of One Million Naira in the promotion which is the biggest by the brand in its 52-year history in Nigeria. The prior grand prize winners include Amina Ahmed, an undergraduate student of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna, Tomori Oladejo, a petty trader from Lagos, Patience Akeraqh from Enugu, Mike

Ukonu, a Businessman from Owerri and another student, Elekuro Adeyemi Oluwakemi from Ibadan. Apart from the six millionaires, the Cadbury Yummy Life Promotion has also produced six lucky winners of N250, 000.00 cash each and 46 winners of N100, 000.00 cash each while several others have won recharge cards and free products as part of the N200 million worth of prizes to be won in the on-going promotion. Marketing Manager, Food Drinks, Cadbury Nigeria Plc, Chioma Afe expressed satisfaction with the excitement that the Cadbury Bournvita Yummy Life Promotion is generating among the consumers by making life yummier, more exciting and providing a superior life with the different cash prizes, free recharge cards for their phones and 10percent extra free products on the 450g and 900g Cadbury Bournvita jar purchased. Also, Corporate Affairs Manager, Cadbury West Africa, Kufre Ekanem, Cadbury Nigeria Plc affirmed the company has once again changed the game in the food drinks category and has affirmed the leadership positioning for Cadbury Bournvita, offering non-stop vitality, excitement and delighting consumers.

Multi-Trex unveils new product, targets regional market


ulti-Trex Integrated Foods Plc, Nigeria-based cocoa processing company, has launched a new product tagged MOORE to give Nigerian consumers choices in the cocoa based segment of the market. The product is the new addition to the existing ones such Frangada. Speaking to journalists at the company’s factory at Magboro, Ogun State, where the product was unveiled, the Chief Executive Officer, Multi-Trex, Mr. Dimeji Owofemi, explained that Moor was wholly a Nigerian product by concept, origin, and production. Highlighting some of the product’s qualities, which he said, had been in the plans of the company since its inception, Owofemi said, among other things, Moor had the highest quantity of cocoa powder; 10 per cent. He added that it also contains sugar, skimmed milk powder, soy lecithin – all of which makes it very good for children. According to him, the new chocolate drink, which is mainly targeted at children

and the youth, can be consumed with hot or cold water. He said “It is a diversification of our line of business. It is also an export product possibly. It is also a value addition to the industry (Food & Beverage Industry) in which we operate.” He added that it would also create jobs for Nigerians, which in turn will boost the economy. Multi-Trex, which has been utilising the cocoa powder from its grinding plant to produce a series of cocoa-based products such as chocolate bars, had in September launched Frangada Chocolat Drink, a 100 per cent natural cocoa powder. Owofemi said he expected Moor to quickly gain wide acceptance, just like Frangada, which had witnessed rapid growth in terms of market share. This, he explained, was because not only did the company consider health benefits in designing their products, but also because health experts had continued to attest to the numerous health benefits of cocoa-based products.

Mr. Linus Eshiet, Branch Manager and Ms. Olotewo Ejiro, Admin officer both of Shoprite Ikeja presenting shopping vouchers worth thousands of naira to Mrs. Veronica Obi, Matron and pupils of the Beth Torrey Home for Mentally Challenged and Handicapped Children, Lagos being its help-change-a life initiative recently.

Noah’s Ark empowers students in creative photography, make-up


n furtherance of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative to give back to the society which it started last year, one of the leading new generation creative Advertising Agencies in Nigeria, Noah’s Ark Communications Limited has organised a three-day workshop on Creative Photography and Makeup for the students of Wasimi Community Senior School, Maryland, a neighbourhood school to the Agency’s office. This also included an introduction to Entrepreneurship session. The Corporate Social Responsibility initiative was carried out in partnership with an online group of Nigerian Makeup Artists known as Nigerian MUA’s. Some of its members were present and others made donations of makeup products & supplies to

the school; namely -Zaron Hair & Makeup Limited, Hegal & Esther as well as PortHarcourt based Gift’s Daughter. The initiative also enjoyed the support of the two major brands in the Agency’s portfolio Indomie and Mr Biggs. Speaking at the workshop, the Managing Director, Noah’s Ark Advertising Limited, Mr Lanre Adisa explained that the company decided to expand the frontiers of its CSR initiative beyond the donation of solar reading lamps which was done last year to empower the student and help them to shape their future by impacting on them skills in the areas of Photography and Makeup. “For us at Noah’s Ark as a socially responsible corporate citizen, we believe in contributing our quota to the society by giving back in our own little way, we started this last year with the donation of reading lamp to the

students and this year we are trying to impact their world by helping them take up careers in Photography and Makeup. Adisa noted that the 3-day workshop will go a long way in future career development of the benefiting student as some of them may take interest in either of the two key areas and develop to become professionals of repute in the future and to become entrepreneurs thereby creating job for others. Responding on behalf of the school, the Vice Principal, Wasimi Community Senior Secondary School, Mr. AbdulKabir Abubakar described the workshop as an opportunity of a lifetime which will go a long way in the lives of the students. He thanked the Agency for lending a hand to the Government and the school to prepare the student for the future and for choosing the school.

LG Electronics wins ‘Most Trusted Brand’ award


G Electronics, a global leader in consumer electronics and home appliances, has won the 2012 ‘Most Trusted Brand’ award as the most trusted home appliance brand in Nigeria. The award was awarded by BrandHealth in recognition of LG Electronics’ innovative products that have made quality home appliances available to Nigerians. Speaking at the event, the Chief Executive Officer of BrandHealth, Mr. Emman Udowoima, said: “Going by the research we conducted, the LG brand is undisputedly the most trusted home appliance brand in Nigeria. LG has distinguished

itself going by the array of quality products it has on offer”. Also speaking at the event, the Corporate Marketing Manager, LG Electronics, Mr Rajesh Agnihotri, said: “We are committed to providing our teeming consumers with firstrate products that meet their peculiar needs. Our responsive posture is what has endeared many to the LG brand”. The Most Trusted Brand awards is organised annually by BrandHealth, a brands research company. This year’s event was the third edition. It is an initiative developed and executed as a campaign to mobilize Nigerian consumers to ask for accountability from

organisations who offer them goods and services. In recent times, LG has introduced into the Nigerian market forward-thinking home appliances, one of which is the robot vacuum cleaner known as Hom-Bot. This stand-alone robot is capable of cleaning floors independently, allowing people to focus on things that matter most. Another is the LG Antimosquito Air Conditioner which comes with an ultrasonic device that gives off ultrasonic sound at a frequency of 30-100KHZ. This sound knocks down as well as repels mosquitoes which are the carrier of the malaria parasite.



‘No premium, no cover’: Waking insurance industry from slumber By Chidinma Agu


he lingering issue regarding the payment of insurance claims to the families of the victims of Dana Air crash, as well as outstanding premiums, debts and cancellations in 2011 financial statements was, perhaps, the major focus of the insurance industry in 2012. Experts say that these issues once again foreground the need for the industry to ensure that insurance contracts are sealed with payable premium before a policy is granted. They add that unless this is done, the ongoing public sensitisation by the industry players and the regulator -- the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) -- that from Jan. 1, 2013, the insurance business will be on a cash-and-carry basis would be a futile venture. However, Mr Sunny Adeda, the former President of Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), noted that the measure was not a new policy altogether, adding that the industry was just enforcing what had always been there on the statute book. ``It is a welcome development; actually it has been there all along. It is the enforcement that has been the problem. ``As it is now, everybody has to adjust to the realities on the ground; both insured and potential insured. We have to make sure that they make financial commitments for the risks they accept, and this is okay,” he said. Mr Lebi Omoboyowa, the President, Institute of Loss Adjusters of Nigeria (ILAN), said that the enforcement of the regulation meant that the industry was now serious in efforts to ensure that companies only collected monies on what they sold. ``The premium is just the price of the goods. You collect your money and know how much you have sold instead of selling so much, whereas what you have collected is less that 20 per cent or 30 per cent of what you have sold,” he said. However, Section 50(1) of the Insurance Act 2003 makes provision for “No Premium; No Cover’’. The Act stipulates that “the receipt of an insurance premium shall be a condition precedent to a valid contract of insurance and there shall be no cover in respect of an insurance risk unless the premium is paid in advance.’’ The Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) through its advertorials makes it clear that from Jan. 1, 2013, no policy will be granted by any insurance company without the payment of accompanying premium. Sharing similar sentiments, Mr O’tega Emerhor, the ViceChairman, Standard Alliance Plc., said, while appealing to agitated

Commissioner for Insurance, Mr. Fola Daniel shareholders who expressed concern about the provision of N2.92 billion in the company’s 2011 financial report, that: ``The provision is deliberate; from next year, insurance business will be cash and carry.” In its 2011 financial statement, Standard Alliance Plc. wrote off N3.18 billion premium debts. ``The provision of N3.18 billion made on premium debts in respect of the previous years was considered as no longer required, as management is of the opinion they are no longer collectable and consequently written off during the year,’’ a note to explain the company’s decision said. The situation is akin to what is obtainable in almost all the financial statements of insurance companies in 2011, as they prepare to meet the requirements for International Financial

Reporting Standards (IFRS). “Debts relating to insurance entail services and once the time passed, people are often reluctant to pay,” Emerhor said. NAICOM has issued guidelines on insurance premium collection and remittance, with attendant penalties for insurance companies and brokers that seal policy cover without premium, which will be effective from Jan. 1, 2013. According to the guiding principle, insurance company will pay N500,000 as penalty for each cover granted without advance payment, while brokers will pay N250,000 for failing to notify insurance companies of any premium received within 48 hours. The guidelines also state that a lead insurance firm shall remit the premium collected to other co-insurers within 30 days of receipt of such premium.

NAICOM has issued guidelines on insurance premium collection and remittance, with attendant penalties for insurance companies and brokers that seal policy cover without premium, which will be effective from Jan. 1, 2013.

The rule, however, states that the evidence of the premium’s remittance by the insurer to reinsurers, in line with the terms of the reinsurance contract, shall be a condition for determining the admissibility of reinsurance debts in the insurers’ financial statements. The guidelines also state that the premium for all local facultative placements shall be paid within 14 days of receipt of premium from brokers or insured. Insurance companies and brokers are required to carry out the reconciliation of their accounts at a date not later than March 31, 2013, while insurance companies are expected to render returns of premium received and unremitted to NAICOM on a quarterly basis. Insurance experts believe that payment of premium and its exact amount had always been a thorny issue in the industry. They say that this explains that reasons behind fake insurance certificates, particularly those involving especially motor vehicle and marine policies. It also accounts for the inability of the NIA Market Agreement to work, as fierce competition and rivalry continuously result in rates’ cutting among operators. It is also the reason for the undervaluation or overvaluation of products for insurance purposes. Premium and claim payments are also serious issues which have induced the apathy of most Nigerians toward insurance. It is also commonplace to find some policy holders who deliberately delay renewal of their insurance policies until the risk occurred, all in efforts to secure a short cut to get claims from insurance companies. Observers note most people, particularly holders of the Third Party Motor Insurance, prefer to obtain fake insurance certificates at a far cheaper price. They expatiate that government establishments are part of the major culprits, as most of their assets are not insured as and when due. The enforcement of the “No Premium, No Cover’’ policy is, therefore, considered to be a wakeup call for individuals, cooperate organisations, private entities and governments to make adequate preparations for their insurance obligations. Mr. Efekoha, the Managing Director of Consolidated Hallmark Insurance, said that claims in insurance were based on a given understanding that the premium were paid and put in a pool. ``Everybody is contributing to it; therefore, the money must be judiciously applied or used. ``It is hoped that the cash-andcarry business will resolve the

problem we have with receivables in the industry. Whether it will totally eliminate that problem or not will be a subject of discussion for stakeholders later,” he said. Nevertheless, perceptive observers insist that Nigeria’s insurance industry does not have the capacity to underwrite many insurance policies, adding that this is why 30 per cent of the policy is retained locally, while 70 per cent is ceded to firms abroad. They say that this is one of the problems stalling the payment of claims to the families of victims of the Dana Air crash which occurred on June 3. They stress that the insurance policy was not paid for, adding that in spite of NAICOM’s insistence that the claims should be paid on compassionate grounds, it is the only the 30 per cent of the claims that are retained locally that could be settled. Mr Olusola Oladipo-Ajayi, the former Chairman of NIA, stressed that the insurance industry was no longer ``Father Christmas’’ as far as claims’ payment was concerned. ``While such sentiments can be appreciated locally, overseas insurance takes such issues seriously. Once a premium is not renewed when due or remittances made appropriately, no insurance firm abroad pays claims on sentiments. ``Internationally, where the 70 per cent of insurance is ceded; once the police arrest a person, at a press of a button all the vital information regarding the person’s insurance position is disclosed. ``That is why NIA has come up with the Nigerian Insurance Industry Database (NIID), if the industry is able to upload the insurance position of policy holders to the database, problems with insurance will be significantly reduced,” he said. Dr Wole Adetimehin, the CIIN President, noted that even though the objective of ``No Premium, No Cover’’ policy was very laudable, Nigerians had their own peculiar ways of doing things. He said that in the country, there was an element of rigidity in the way of doing things, whereas globally things were changing. Adetimehin underscored the need for all stakeholders in the insurance industry to join hands in promoting the fulfilment of the policy. “Insurance companies will be better equipped if they underwrite risk, grant cover and get paid on time. “They will be able to build huge reserves from which they can pay compensations to people suffering losses, while the volume of investible funds will grow. “Besides, we will be more relevant in promoting economic development within our environment,” he said. (Source: NAN)


Report as at Wednesday, January 2, 2013





Boosting NAPTIP campaign against human trafficking By Okeoghene Oghenekaro


rom all indications, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP) has been striving to strengthen its operational strategies since a drop in Nigeria’s rating in the global anti-human trafficking campaign. The 2012 annual trafficking report, which was released in the U.S., indicated that that Nigeria dropped to the tier two ranking. Nigeria had been maintaining a tier one status since 2007. According to the U.S. Department of State, the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report is the U.S.

Government’s principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments in the global anti-human trafficking campaign. The report places each country into one of three tiers, based on the extent of their governments’ efforts to comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking, which are enshrined in Section 108 of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA). Mrs Hilary Clinton, the U.S. Secretary of State, in her statement during the release of the report, noted that as many as 27 million people around the world were victims of modern-day slavery, which `` we sometimes call trafficking in

Mrs Hilary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State

persons. ``Those victims of modern slavery are women and men, girls and boys, and their stories remind us of the kind of inhumane treatment we are capable of perpetrating as human beings,” she said. The drop in Nigeria rating in the U.S. report somewhat indicated that Nigeria had not fully complied with the minimum standards set out in the TVPA but was making significant efforts to comply with them. The Executive Secretary of NAPTIP, Mrs Beatrice Jedy-Agba, however, underscored the commitment of the agency to checking the menace of human trafficking. ``The U.S. government has adopted

the `whole of society’ approach in this assessment, which automatically removes the outcome from the reins of the agency, as the indices used are not entirely within the control of NAPTIP. ``However, it is a clarion call on all tiers of government to close ranks and step up actions to rid the country of the scourge of human trafficking,’’ she said. Jedy-Agba said that the agency was developing a five-year strategic plan to ensure effective response to emerging trends in the human trade, while strengthening the agency’s coordination capacity and functions. She said that the main thrust of the plan was to improve synergy between

all the stakeholders and partners involved in the antihuman trafficking crusade. ``The traffickers usually make false promises of a better life abroad and earning money in dollars. ``Eventually, these girls end up becoming prostitutes to pay their so-called `sponsors’ who took them there,’’ she said. The NAPTIP boss said many Nigerian girls were hoodwinked into partaking in the booming sex trade in Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso, adding that the agency would use its available resources to bring the hapless girls home for rehabilitation. Jedy-Agba said that unemployment and poverty were the major

Mrs Beatrice Jedy-Agba, Executive Secretary of NAPTIP

factors responsible for human trafficking, adding that if these factors were tackled decisively, people would no longer be deceived and ensnared in the human trafficking web. ``The three tiers of government must take a holistic and coordinated approach to address factors such as poverty, unemployment, collapse of family values and erosion of our cultural values,” she said. Mr Arinze Orakwue, the Head, Communications and Media, in NAPTIP, said that the agency would continue its advocacy with state governments on the need to fight human trafficking and implement the Child Rights Act. ``NAPTIP is fully committed to cooperating

Children, such as these, usually targeted by human traffickers with the police, the immigration service and other law enforcement agencies in the fight against human trafficking,” he said. Orakwue emphasised that a lot of public awareness was being created through radio jingles to sensitise the citizens to the evils of human trafficking. He also said that NAPTIP, in collaboration with the Wale Adenuga Productions, had started a television drama series, depicting issues of human trafficking, child abuse and other related concerns. ``The objective is to take the anti-trafficking campaign to the living rooms of Nigerians, and hopefully make them aware of this crime that shames us all,’’ he added. NAPTIP is also collaborating with the European Union Delegation, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in the anti-human trafficking crusade. For instance, its ``I Am Priceless” Campaign against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants was launched in Abuja on Oct.9, 2012. The nationwide campaign, funded by the European Union (EU), was designed to reduce irregular

migration that `` occurs through trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants.’’ Two ``National Goodwill Ambassadors’’ -- Ms Joke Silva, a renowned actress, and a ``hip-hop’ musician, Mr Jude Abaga -- were appointed to boost the public awareness campaign on human trafficking issues. Ms Angele DikongueAtangana, the Country Representative of UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), who appointed the two ``ambassadors’’, said that they would use their artistic medium – music and film -to amplify the advocacy and public sensitisation efforts. Besides, NAPTIP is aggressively pursuing the review of the law guiding its operation, so as to strengthen its capacity to tackle human trafficking. Mr Ezekiel Kaura, the Director (Investigations

and Monitoring) of NAPTIP, said at a recent public lecture that once the laws were reviewed, the agency would have more powers to fully tackle the menace of human trafficking. He stressed that the review of the NAPTIP Act would capture emerging trends in the human trade, such as the sale of babies and the oath of secrecy administered on the victims of human trafficking. ``The management is aggressively pursuing the review of the anti-human trafficking Act. This has gone far now, it has passed through many stages,’’ Kaura noted. All the same, stakeholders want NAPTIP to sustain its present tempo in efforts to regain the tier one status in the anti-human trafficking crusade, which Nigeria enjoyed prior to the 2012 ranking. (NAN)

Ms Angele Dikongue-Atangana, the Country Representative of UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

The management is aggressively pursuing the review of the antihuman trafficking Act. This has gone far now, it has passed through many stages

Hajia Amina Titi Abubakar, Championed the cause of trafficked persons




2013: How prepared is NEMA for disaster management? By Mohammed Kandi


isaster management is believed to be everyone’s business in Nigeria. The more proactive effort is directed to our response to emergencies, the more competent we can be in its mitigation and management. The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) was established via Act 12 as amended by Act 50 of 1999, to manage disasters in Nigeria. Its role includes tackling disaster related issues through the establishment of concrete structures and measures. NEMA is a coordinating agency that has the mandate to partner with respective stakeholders, gather resources towards effective and efficient disaster management. In such partnership, first responders are mobilised to be on ground at every scene of disaster whenever it occurs. Despite the agency’s quest to achieve its mandates of swift responses to disaster situations in the country, it is incapacitated by inadequate resources as well as necessary apparatus for operation. But, NEMA’s proactive approach towards disasters has always been awesome especially during Bomb blasts, floods, ethno-religious and communal crises, plane, automobile crashes and collapse of buildings, outbreak of epidemics, providing relief materials to victims of disaster. So far, under the auspices of the agency more than 5000 Nigerians were safely evacuated from troubled torn countries during the Middle-East political crises in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Ivory Coast. The agency was almost thrown into perplexity when year 2012 was greeted with manifold of emergency situations. When these disasters stroke, thousands of lives were loss, properties worth millions of naira were destroyed and many of those affected are still in need of help. On how the agency could improve on its operations in year 2013, however, many observers believe that the situation wouldn’t get any better for obvious reasons. First and foremost, the year 2013 budget did not make any provision for the acquisition of more equipment, especially those that are capital intensive like boats and helicopters, and neither did it provide for the establishment of more offices. Although NEMA has been able respond rapidly to various catastrophes using its meager resources at its disposal as well as coordination with some stakeholders in disaster management, a lot is still

required of the agency, especially in the area of expanding its operations by establishing more offices across the country. At different instances, the Abuja and Zonal offices have had to move to the scene of disaster to contain the situation. In fact, the Port Harcourt regional office

NEMA D-G, Muhammad Sani-Sidi

was responding to disasters in Edo, Bayelsa and Delta States; Kaduna regional office was responding to Jigawa, Katsina, Sokoto and Kano states; while Borno and Jos offices were taking care of Adamawa, Bauchi and Taraba States. In the mean time, NEMA has no office in Kogi, Kwara, and

Niger states and during the recent flood disaster; the agency had to deploy its officers from Abuja office to these areas. Throughout the federation, the agency has only six zonal offices and one operation office, which is the Abuja operational office. Incidentally, these zonal offices were not situated in the

areas worst hit by flood; a situation that compelled NEMA with no choice than to mobilize officers from neighboring states where its offices were located. On the actual figures of casualties in year 2012 as at November 5th, NEMA stated that about 363 people have been reported dead out of over seven million affected by floods across the country and that, “Adamawa and Kogi states recorded higher figures of casualties. But a total of 56 local government councils throughout the federation have been affected.” “363 persons died while 18, 282 people were treated for injuries sustained during the flooding. A total of 7,705, 398 persons were affected by the flood between July 1, 2012 and October 31, 2012. Out of the affected population, 2,157,419 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were registered across the affected states,” NEMA gave a breakdown in a statement. According to NEMA, “On August 30, NEMA said that 57 pregnant women were among those living at an Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Adamawa State alone.” Despite numerous challenges and obstacles resulting from the profuse emergencies in year 2012, the impact of NEMA is widely felt especially as it collaborates effectively with its relevant stakeholders in terms of disaster management locally and internationally.




Abuja clash: Group seeks end to Fulani/ farmer violence By Mohammed Kandi


Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) known as Youth Against Disaster Initiative (YADI) has called on leaders across the country to find permanent solution to the incessant clash between Fulani herdsmen and farmers. This is coming on the recent crisis which erupted between the Bgagyi farmers and Fulani herdsmen as a result of encroachment of herds of cattle into farmlands in Gwako community in Gwagwalada Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). National Coordinator of YADI, Abubakar Jimoh, said in a statement that, proper provision of grazing land should be made available for the herdsmen and their cattle, especially in the dry

NEMA flag off of 2012 Christmas/ New Year festive season Emergency Response Patrol called “Operation Eagle Eye” by the agency’s Zonal Coordinator in Port Harcourt.

NEMA’s Operation Eagle Eye in NorthWest Zone in collaboration with the FRSC Officials intercepted an overloaded commercial vehicle during their surveillance.

season period. “Stakeholders must institute alternative means of conflict resolution, especially between their farmers and herdsmen to avoid undesirable elements that could capitalize on the insecurity in the country to attack innocent citizens,” Jimoh stressed. “Traditional rulers and community heads across the country should encourage the herdsmen by making adequate provisions for their animal feeds against dry season; through massive storage of animal feedstuffs during the growing season,” he said. According to him, “All levels of Government should make good drinking water available for both man and animals in water deficit areas, through the provision of sufficient wells or boreholes in the affected communities.”

He also observer that “During the dry season, low feedstuff and low water in rivers would trigger an early movement of herds in search of pasture and water as early as December/January, thereby increasing the risk of conflicts between herdsmen and farmers.’ “Communal clash has remained a persistent phenomenon between farmers and herdsmen across the country, especially during the dry season starting from November/ December every year,” the coordinator observed. Jimoh cautioned that permanent solution be proffered to the lasting crisis between the Fulani and famers across the country, saying “various farmersherdsmen clashes in the country have resulted to serious socioeconomic losses to the innocent individuals in the country.”


Disaster mgt: Understanding the role of SEMAs, LEMAs


ecently, at Annual Media Retreat on Disaster Management held in Abuja, the Director-General of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Alhaji Muhammad SaniSidi said that in the face heightened tragedies resulting from bomb explosion and other related emergencies in the country, some state and local governments are failing in their constitutional responsibilities on disaster management despite the contingency funds placed at their disposal by the federal government. Although it is part of NEMA responsibility as the national coordinating agency to formulate policy on all activities relating to disaster management in Nigeria, organise plans and programmes for efficient and effective response to disasters in the country, the states are lagging behind in their roles of making disaster everyone’s business and the need to become first responder in the event of emergency. Furthermore, NEMA must be seen to be coordinating and promoting research activities relating to disaster management as well as monitoring the level of preparedness of all organizations or agencies that are involved in disaster management in Nigeria. Similarly, under section 8 of the amended Act 50 establishing NEMA in 2001, the agency is mandated to liaise with State Emergency Management Committees (SEMCs) to assess and monitor “where necessary”, the distribution of relief materials to disaster victims. It was in bid to achieve these objectives, access preparedness and performance, and ensure calculative and effective efforts towards disaster management at state and grassroots’ levels that called for the advocacy visits of the Director General to six geo-political zones across the country. Surprisingly, during his visitations, Sani-Sidi, observed that there was over-reliance of states and local governments on NEMA to help perform their constitutional duties, and said “this have intensified the risk of manageable hazards to disasters in some grassroots.” He therefore described nonexistence of the State and Local Emergency Management Agency (SEMAs & LEMAs) in some states and local councils as one of the major challenges facing disaster management in the country. His words: “It is regrettable that apart from Lagos state and few others, in many states SEMAs and LEMAs are not in existence. I discovered during my advocacy visits to them that they are identified only by name not by functional vehicles, offices and personnel. They are not funded. In fact, you would find out they have only have Special Advisers on Disasters with neither funds nor personnel for effective operation and preparedness against disasters. How can it work?” Besides, following the country’s devastating floods in 2010, NEMA appealed to the World Bank for support in the recovery process. The collaboration led to the agreement that the Bank would strengthen the capacities of NEMA and SEMAs in

Disaster Damage and Loss Assessment, and help the country to get a better overview of the economic impacts and disaster resilience. While on long term basis, apart from the giving the high level of independency to SEMAs in disaster management, it was expected that the World Bank, NEMA, SEMAs and other national and state agencies will strengthen their partnership in disaster response and risk reduction to reduce the vulnerability of Nigerians to natural hazards. These benefits along with the ecological funds are underutilized by these levels of government that result to transfer mere hazards to NEMA to manage. In addition, section 8(1) of the Act stated: “There is hereby established for each State of the Federation, a State Emergency Management Committee”. Sub section 2 of the Act elaborates that the State Committee shall consist of the Deputy Governor of the state who shall be the chairman; the Secretary to the State Government; one representative each from the State Ministry of Women and Social Welfare, the State Ministry of Health, the State Ministry of Works, the State Fire Service, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, the State Environmental Protection Agency, the Nigerian Police Force, the Federal Road Safety Commission, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Nigerian Red Cross Society, and National Maritime Authority in coastal States. Consequently, the Act makes it as part of the duties of SEMCs to notify the NEMA of any natural or other disasters occurring in the State; respond to any disaster within the State and may seek assistance from the Agency if it deems fit in each circumstance; carry out disaster management activities in the State as may, from time to time, be recommended by the Agency; and be accountable to the Agency for all funds accruing to it for purposes of discharging its functions under this Act. It could be recalled that in the 2011 Annual Report of NEMA, SaniSidi stated: “There is no disaster without vulnerability to a natural or human-induced hazards. Disaster only occurs when people’s vulnerability exposes them to a hazard. While nothing can be done about certain hazards such as flood, windstorm, ocean surge, earthquake and other similar natural phenomena, people and community have leverage over their vulnerability to hazards.” More importantly, the level of vulnerability of hazards at state and grassroots’ levels will determine the necessity for NEMA’s interference. For manageable hazards within the capacity of the state and local councils, the SEMAs and LEMA would have to discharge their Constitutional responsibilities on disaster management appropriately and make effective use of the ecological and other funds in their disposal. The states are expected to set a pace and ensure functional administrative capacity at grassroots level for the Local Emergency Management Committees (LEMCs) to operate.



he beginning of every year gives us the opportunity for sober reflection and stocktaking. The out gone 2012 left many people round the world worried owing largely to the many disasters that were recorded in it. Now with 2013 here with us, prayers of many this year is that God should protect us and the environment in the mix of these unrelenting disasters. Last week I discussed the issue of the prediction that the world would end on 21st December, 2012 based on what many people point to as an Ancient Mayan calendar as the source; and the unprecedented disasters round the world in recent time. But when it comes to predictions, the western world relies on scientists to foretell what the future holds in stock for their countries and their people, and not predictions of marabous, pastors and prophets. The prediction of the “End Time” for 21st December, 2012 was certainly not seen through the lenses of scientific crystal ball. So, rational thinkers would have discountenanced it. But in my local parlance, whatever is the prediction, whether it would come to pass or not, you must perform whatever the sacrifice(s) requested, in order to avert whatever would have been the consequences of disobedience. That is to say, to be forewarned is to be forearmed. Now that experts have predicted that 2013 will be disasters prone, that may likely be worst than 2010 claimed to have been the worst disasters year in the decades, with flooding identified as the most disaster to expect, what will be the “sacrifice(s)” to make in order to mitigate the expected negative effects when they occurred. Facts are that most natural disasters are global such as the Climate Change that is unarguably the most pervasive and far-reaching environmental issue ever dealt with by the international community. Experts claim that climate change has today aggravated environmental disasters globally, with the frequency and severity of flooding and erosion disasters attributed to it which has equally disrupted weather variations. It’s no gainsaying the fact, that the problems of floods and erosion have become the major environmental disaster in Nigeria in recent time. People round the world are on edge over the prevalent environmental disasters that have become a daily occurrence. People have equally become more willing to see such disasters as the result of bad environmental policies. Despite the very importance of “The Environment” to our very survival and economic progress, it has always been treated with kid globes by all tiers of governments in Nigeria. The policies of a few


Combating environmental challenges in 2013 countries may determine the fate of the rest. Not only do the intractable environmental issues increasingly tend to be international; they often involve irreversible damage. In developing countries, including Nigeria, economic growth without environmental concern has produced horrific consequences. It may not be out of place to say that our political leaders do

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

percent of our health problems have been reported to be environmentally related. Diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea, cholera, measles, typhoid fever, yellow fever among others, are all products of unsanitary environment besides the debilitating poverty occasioned by environmental decline. It’s sufficed to say that federal government should

The Lagos Island fireworks tragedy not have the idea that the environment is synonymous with our very existence and sustainability. Some past efforts to protect and develop our environment and its natural resource base to achieve sustainable development have been spasmodic. Whatever the level of achievement in the past the challenges are quite monumental. The issue of illegal mining that has claimed hundreds of lives are on the rise. One of the primary energy sources, oil, is in the headlines almost daily. One accident after another contaminates precious coastal waters with oil, and devastates marine and terrestrial ecosystems. The issue of toxic and hazardous waste dumping is another. Effort to slow deforestation should be tackled to address underlying causes such as rising demand for crops or biofuels. This has become imperative to widen the UN focus on using trees to fight

climate change. The issue of floods which has become the major environmental disaster across the country in recent time, the only known effort to combat it, is the federal government promise to establish Flood Early Warning System (FEWS) in 36 states for forecasting devastating floods in the country. Warning apart, what is on ground to mitigate the negative effects when they occur? It is a known fact that every

one of the 36 states in the country including FCT has environmental/ecological problems of one form or other. It is desert encroachment in the far northern states, gully erosion in the central states and coastal erosion in the far southern states, as well as manmade environmental problems occasioned by mining and treefelling activity. That means each state has its set of environmental problems to attend to. It is no longer news that 70

The issue of floods which has become the major environmental disaster across the country in recent time, the only known effort to combat it, is the federal government promise to establish Flood Early Warning System (FEWS) in 36 states for forecasting devastating floods in the country. Warning apart, what is on ground to mitigate the negative effects when they occur?

reposition Ecological Fund allocation to check its abuses in order to achieve its designed objectives. A lesson to our government is that disaster strikes unprepared can set country years back. Knowing the unpreparedness and the firebrigade approach to crisis and disasters management by our government we need to pray hard. The north-east dust storms from Sahara Desert that enveloped most parts of the country early in 2011 is a lesson, as there was no government agency responsible for watching over our environment that could predict it. There should be a renewal of our efforts to combat the various environmental challenges in the year ahead. There’s the need for plan action, as it is also wise to review the types of disasters that could take place and what could be done in each case. Happy New Year.



Ecologist seeks UNEP intervention on oil spills


n ecological economist, Mr Friday Udoh, has called for the intervention of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on the frequent oil spills in the Qua Iboe oil fields. The oil field is being operated by Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN). Udoh, a member of the International Society for Ecological Economics and African Society for Ecological Economics, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Eket, Akwa Ibom. He said that spills had adversely affected the economic activities of more than 60 per cent of the communities on the Akwa Ibom coastal areas. “The UNEP should compel oil companies operating in Nigeria to abide by world environment standards, as they carry out their business. They should be compelled to use modern equipment in their explorations, establish proactive maintenance schedules for ageing and corroding pipes that cause leaks. “Before drilling in an area, an exhaustive environment impact assessment should be conducted to ascertain the impact of prospecting in the area. What if scenarios must also be developed to study the impact of a spill in the area,” he said. He also urged UNEP to carry out an environment audit on Akwa Ibom coastlines to ascertain the impact of oil exploration on the ecosystem and come up with an action plan for mitigating the impact. Udoh also appealed to the Federal Government to strengthen the capacity of the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSRA) to manage risks in the oil industry to reduce frequent spills, to the barest minimum. He recalled that spill incidents had been recorded at the Mobil’s oil field on August 13th, August 24th, November 9th and December 19th. The expert added that the oil firm was yet to respond to the latest spill incident, since it was reported by the community. It would be recalled that Mobil’s, Manager of Communications, Nigel CookeyGam, confirmed that on December 19th, the oil firm received reports of fresh spills from members of its host communities in Akwa Ibom state. “Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPN), operator of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)/MPN Joint Venture, confirms that on Dec. 19, community representatives notified the company of slight oiling on short sections of the shoreline of Ibeno, Akwa Ibom. “MPN immediately deployed a team to inspect the site and take samples for analysis to help determine the source,” he said. (NAN)

Nigeria’s agony dwarfs gulf oil spill

Taraba partners with ADB on N4bn Jalingo water project By Mohammed Kandi


n a bid to end the aged-long water scarcity in Jalingo, the Taraba State capital, the state Government and the African Development Bank (ADB) have launched a N3.6 billion water project for the state. Taraba State Commissioner for Water Resources and Rural Development, Mr Rebo Usman, told newsmen yesterday in Abuja that, “acute water shortage in the city will soon be solved with the implementation

of the project.” Usman said the state was collaborating with the ADB to implement the project, adding that “We launched the project a month ago for Jalingo water project and our counterpart funding is about N500 million but the total is N3.6 billion.” “We have just completed the assessment of consultants and also done the launching of the project, in the next six months, we should be ready to award the contract. “It is a four-year project, we are going to lay 250

kilometers of pipeline in Jalingo town,” he said. According to him, the project is meant for Jalingo township and it includes a feasibility study for future surface water source for the city, saying the project would address the medium term water needs of the town. “We are going to do a feasibility study on the water supply as part of the project and this project will also include sanitation,” he said. Usman, who lamented that

the state’s capital currently had less than 10 boreholes serving the whole town, however, assured that the State Government was committed to ending the water scarcity. He said that 25 new industrial boreholes would soon be drilled while 12 boreholes would be rehabilitated as part of the government’s efforts to end water scarcity in Jalingo, adding that other water projects would also be constructed under the MDGs project to address water shortage in the state.

between policymakers, scientists and private sector investors in an effort to halt biodiversity loss, was approved by 90 governments in April. “Biodiversity and ecosystem services are essential for human wellbeing,” said Sir Robert Watson, Chief Scientific Advisor of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs of the United Kingdom. “This platform will generate the knowledge and build the capacity to protect them for this and future generations.” We were also given some insight on the department of interior’s potential Candidate Species Marketplace through the World Resources Institute’s pilot on preserving the gopher tortoise and its habitat in southern US forests. Moving into May, Ecosystem Marketplace covered several interesting stories starting with

talks on conservation and wetland mitigation banking at the National Mitigation and Banking Conference in California. Ecosystem Marketplace then followed the deliberations of a scientific working group in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) over safeguards relating to biodiversity within REDD+. Also in May, Ecosystem Marketplace covered an ambitious project in Africa that examines if payments for ecosystem services will enhance conservation of Uganda’s biodiversity in productive landscapes. With the heat of summer came some unusual discussions on businessmen and landowners aiding environmentalists in preserving habitat for Candidate Species like the Dune

Sagebrush Lizard and the Lesser Prairie Chicken in order to avoid an endangered species listing.. An official review of New South Wales’ biobanking scheme in Australia was launched this past summer two years after it was implemented. Biodiversity closed out the year with a couple of interesting prospects. The European Business and Biodiversity Campaign announced this fall their biodiversity check, which provides businesses with an assessment of their impact on biodiversity. In November, Dr. Jonah Busch of Conservation International discussed how incorporating biodiversity payments into REDD+ is a more efficient method of preserving biodiversity while providing multiple carbon benefits as well. Source: Ecosystem Marketplace

2012: The year in biodiversity B

iodiversity marked 2012 with the creation of the IPBES and discussions on candidate species as well as some new plans and tools to be used in the future. Here are some of the several noteworthy biodiversity highlights Ecosystem Marketplace covered over the last year. The early months of 2012 turned out to be busy for biodiversity. In January three new complementary standards on offsetting, sustainable landuse and managing protected areas were brought to the biodiversity sector as well as an insurance mechanism that supplies mitigation bankers with financial assurance. Activity didn’t slow any for biodiversity in the spring. The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, (IPBES) meant to create a line of communication



Countdown: Warped physics: 10 effects of faster-than-light Physics Undone Scientists officially announced Friday (Sept. 23) that subatomic particles called neutrinos may be passing the ultimate speed limit, zooming at a velocity faster than light. But according to Einstein’s special theory of relativity, nothing can cross this barrier. So either the measurements are incorrect, or physicists must revise many trusted theories. Here are 10 that would be affected. 1. Special Relativity The speed-of-light rule represents the backbone of Einstein’s 1905 special theory of relativity. This law does away with the concept of absolute velocity, and instead says that motion is relative. Except for light, that is. All observers, no matter what their own speed, will measure the speed of light at a constant 299,792,458 meters per second (about 700 million miles an hour). This speed represents the fastest that anything can travel, an absolute upper limit on motion. The new findings threaten to overturn this trusted law. “According to relativity, it takes an infinite amount of energy to make anything go faster than light,” said physicist Robert Plunkett of the Fermilab laboratory in Batavia, Ill. “If these things are [moving faster than light], then these rules would have to be rewritten.” 2. Time Travel Special relativity states that nothing can go faster than the speed of light. If something were to exceed this limit, it would move backward in time, according to the theory. The new finding raises all sorts of thorny questions. If the neutrinos really are traveling faster than light, then they should be time travelers. The particles could theoretically arrive somewhere before they departed. Physicists suggest such an ability, if it really existed, could be used to send neutrinos back in time to deliver messages. 3. Cause and Effect A fundamental law of physics, indeed of all science, is causality: that cause always precedes effect. This was accepted in classical physics, and the special theory of relativity took pains to preserve the rule, despite the relativity of an object’s motion. But if something can travel faster than light, it can travel backward in time, according to the theory. In this case, an “effect” could travel back to a point before its “cause” had occurred — for instance, a baby swinging before he gets a push. Such a result would be scientific heresy, surely requiring some hasty rewriting of laws to make sure causality is preserved. “Most of the theoretical structure that’s been erected in the 20th century has relied on this concept that things have to go slower than the speed of light,” Plunkett said. “As I understand it if you have anything traveling

The 100 year star ship symposium is investigating various means by which we can travel to the stars, hoping to find a happy medium between practical and far-fetched methods. faster than the speed of light you can have things happening before their causes.” 4. E=mc^2 Einstein’s famous equation E=mc^2 states that energy (E) and mass (m) are equivalent, and can be converted from one to the other by the ratio “c-squared,” where c represents the constant speed of light. The status of the speed of light as the ultimate cosmic speed limit is the reason for its presence in the seminal formula. But if c is not in fact the fastest possible speed in the universe, and things can go faster, this may have to be adjusted in special situations. Perhaps the special speed of neutrinos deserves to win the title of ultimate speed limit instead. 5. The Standard Model The Standard Model is the name of the reigning theory of particle physics, which describes all the known subatomic particles that make up our universe. [Countdown: The Coolest Little Particles in Nature] But if the speed of light rule, and the theory of relativity are rewritten, this model too may need adjusting. “One of the foundations of the Standard Model is special relativity,” said Stephen Parke, head of the theoretical physics department at Fermilab in Batavia, Ill. “If you start tweaking with the foundation you have to start tweaking with the house on top.” 6. String Theory String theory is the cuttingedge idea that all fundamental particles are actually tiny vibrating loops of string. This assumption turns out to have broad-ranging implications, including the possibility that our universe has more dimensions

than the known three dimensions of space and one of time. String theory is incredibly difficult to test, and there is no proof that it’s correct. But if the neutrino measurements are correct, some physicists say string theory may offer the best bet of explaining them. Perhaps, some physicists have suggested, the neutrinos are not traveling along the straight line we thought they were, but instead were hopping into one of the extra dimensions predicted by string theory, and taking a shortcut to their destination. If they traveled a shorter distance in the measured time, then their actual speed may not have been faster than light. 7. Neutrinos Perhaps the new discovery doesn’t mean that just anything can travel faster than light, but merely neutrinos. If that’s the case, then there’s definitely something

special that scientists didn’t know about these particles. Neutrinos are already understood to be oddballs. They are neutral, nearly massless particles that hardly ever interact with ordinary matter. They come in several kinds, called flavors, and they strangely seem to be able to change from one flavor to another. So it’s possible that their fasterthan-light abilities are unique features as well. (Above, a photo of the Gran Sasso Laboratory detector in Italy, the final destination of the neutrinos sent from the Swiss laboratory CERN.) 8. Tachyons In the 1960s physicists suggested that particles may exist that can travel faster than light. These particles, dubbed tachyons, have only been theorized, never detected. Because of tachyons’ troubling properties, including the possibility that they would violate the rule of causality, m a n y physicists have considered them a fringe notion. Yet if the new discovery is borne out, scientists may want to take a closer look at the theory of tachyons. 9 . Supernova 1987A One of the m o s t contradictory Space time mapped out: Teams at NASA are pieces of exploring ways to warp the universe to enable faster evidence to the than light travel. Pictured is a model of how a ship, new findings enclosed in a space-time 'doughnut', could reach comes from the stars observations of

the supernova SN1987A, which lies about 168,000 light years from Earth in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Observations of this dead star from the Kamiokande II experiment in Japan found that light and neutrinos that departed the supernova arrived at Earth within hours of each other. Over such a long distance, this means that light and neutrinos travel within 1 part in 100,000,000 of the optical speed of light. This observation was a seminal achievement in astronomy, and won physicist Masatoshi Koshiba the Nobel Prize. [Gorgeous Supernova Photos] Yet the new findings don’t agree with this result. They suggest, instead, that neutrinos actually surpass the speed of light by 60 nanoseconds over 730 kilometers, which corresponds to 2 parts in 100,000. It seems a revision of either the supernova measurement, or the neutrino findings, is in order. 10. Evolution of the Early Universe Many other aspects of astronomy could also stand to be affected if the new discovery holds. Some important ideas about the history of the universe, in fact, are based on neutrino measurements and theories. “Neutrinos are abundant in the early universe and if they behave differently, this affects calculations of the evolution of the early universe, nucleosynthesis and the seeds of structure formation,” astronomer Derek Fox of Pennsylvania State University wrote in an email to LiveScience. Furthermore, neutrinos are produced in the fusion reactions that power stars, so if these particles behave differently than thought, star models may need to be revised. Source: LiveScience



Sunset over a section of the Nile River.

Ethiopia's renaissance dam: A mega-dam with potentially mega-consequences ANALYSIS By Haydar Yousif


ithout greater oversight, Ethiopia's secretive new dam could have disastrous environmental, social and political impacts. While Egypt was undergoing dramatic political changes last year, Ethiopia was secretly moving to unveil "Project X" - a huge hydropower dam it intends to build on the Blue Nile, 40 km from the Sudanese border. Political commentators, environmental experts and hydrologists have all voiced concerns about the dam's ecological impact, the strain it might place on relations between the three eastern Nile nations, and the financial burden of this mega-dam on Ethiopian citizens. Now renamed the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the project (due for completion by 2015) is set to become the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa. The scale of the project is staggering: the plant will be capable of producing almost double the electricity of Aswan High Dam in Egypt, while its 63 billion cubic metre (bcm) reservoir is double the size of Ethiopia's largest natural lake. Crucially for Ethiopia's Nile neighbours, the filling of this huge reservoir is also likely to greatly reduce the flow of water to Egypt and Sudan for several years, and could even permanently alter the amount of water those countries are able to draw from the river. The planning and implementation of this project has all been decided behind closed doors. Its $4.8 billion contract was

awarded without competitive bidding, for example, to Salini Costruttori, an Italian firm favoured by the ruling party; Salini is also building the controversial Gibe III Dam on Ethiopia's Omo River. Furthermore, the nature of the project was kept under wraps until after site preparation had already begun, to the great surprise of regional governments, Nile planning agencies, and Ethiopia's Western donors. It was especially shocking to Norwegian agencies who were working with the Ethiopian government on a similar project for the same stretch of the Nile, now made obsolete by the Renaissance Dam. This level of official opacity has worryingly prevailed beyond the initial announcement of the project. Expert analysis that would normally accompany such a titanic project has either not been undertaken or kept characteristically secret. No environmental assessment is publicly available for the project. And no steps were taken before its launch to openly discuss the dam's impacts with downstream Nile neighbours Egypt and Sudan. The consequences for Ethiopia's downstream neighbours could potentially be catastrophic. The Renaissance Dam's reservoir will hold back nearly one and a half times the

average annual flow of the Blue Nile. Filling the reservoir - which could take 3 to 5 years - will drastically affect the downstream nations' agriculture, electricity and water supply. Evaporative losses from the dam's reservoir could be as much as 3 billion cubic metres per year. The dam will also retain silt. The Ethiopian government argues that this will be a net positive as it will increase the lifetime of other dams downstream, particularly in Sudan where, for example, the Roseires Dam has been nearly incapacitated by sedimentation. But what about the life expectancy of the Renaissance Dam itself? This is a serious issue for the dam's viability, and there are no known plans for watershed management or soil conservation to address it. In addition, the retention of silt by the dam reservoir will dramatically reduce the fertility of soils downstream. Sediment-free water released from dams also increases erosion downstream, which can lead to riverbed deepening and a reduction in groundwater recharge. Some have predicted even more calamitous consequences of the dam's construction. The Grand Renaissance Dam site is in the Great African Rift Valley near the Afar Depression, an area in


which tectonic turmoil is so great it could, according to some accounts, eventually tear the continent in two. The dam could be at risk from damage by earthquakes, yet no one knows if it has even been analysed for this risk, or the largest earthquake it is being designed to withstand. The failure of such a huge structure puts the more than 100 million people living downstream at risk. On top of that risk is that of 'reservoir induced seismicity'. A dam with a reservoir as large as this is not just vulnerable to seismic events - it can cause them. Scientists believe that there have been more than 100 instances on six continents of large reservoirs inducing earthquakes. The most serious to date was China's devastating magnitude 7.9 earthquake in 2008, which some experts believe was induced by Zipingpu Dam. However, some of the most pressing concerns regarding the dam's construction are political. Although its timing coincided with Egypt's political upheaval, the sudden unveiling of the project nevertheless resulted in an outcry. Egypt's primary fears are a reduction of its main water supply from the Nile, and diminished nutrients and sediment essential for agriculture. Towards the end of the late

This level of official opacity has worryingly prevailed beyond the initial announcement of the project

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's rule, Ethiopia adopted a more aggressive stance over the Nile, moving swiftly to build a number of large hydropower dams. However, tension in the region regarding control of the Nile waters has not all be centred on Ethiopia. In May 2010, five upstream Nile states (Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania) signed a Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) to access more water from the Nile. The move was strongly opposed by Egypt, which brandished a colonial-era treaty from 1929 asserting its exclusive rights to the Nile's water supply. With the Renaissance Dam, these tensions seemed to be coming to a head. Following its announcement in March 2011, Egyptian authorities were quick to lobby international support and strongly hinted that a military response was not deemed disproportionate to protect such a vital resource. Indeed, Wikileaks recently released documents detailing a planned Egyptian attack on the dam from Sudan. However, attitudes appear to have since softened, and dialogue was opened last month between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan. In a bid to allay Egypt's wrath, the Ethiopian government proposed an International Panel of Experts (IPoE) to review and assess the dam's impacts on downstream neighbours. The panel of ten consists of two members from each of the three countries eastern Nile countries, plus four international experts. Their names have not been released and their meetings are behind closed doors, but they are expected to announce their findings four months from now. This seems to have placated Ethiopia's neighbours for now. Egypt has toned down its opposition to the dam, while President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan has even pledged Sudanese support for the project. Yet whatever the IPoE's findings, the Ethiopian government seems adamant the dam will continue. In September 2012, the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared that Ethiopia would never halt or slow the construction of the dam due to external pressure, calling into question the significance of the panel. Needless to say, many in Sudan and Egypt still have serious concerns about the project. Whatever the outcome of political arbitration, it remains irresponsible for Ethiopia to build Africa's biggest hydropower project, on its most contentious river, with no public access to critical information about the dam's impacts - a flawed process which can hardly result in a sustainable project. If the Ethiopian government is serious about maintaining good relations with its Nile neighbours, and if it truly wishes to develop projects that will carry its people and the broader region into prosperity, it must begin by allowing some light to penetrate this secretive development scheme. Source:



Central African Republic rebels halt advance, agree to peace talks


Death toll from Angola vigil stampede rises to 16


he death toll from a New Year's Eve stampede during a religious vigil at an overcrowded stadium in the Angolan capital Luanda has risen to 16, state-owned daily newspaper Jornal de Angola said on Wednesday. State news agency Angop said on Tuesday that 10 people had been crushed to death and 120 injured at the gates of the Cidadela Desportiva stadium, where the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (IURD) organized a Pentecostal Christian vigil. The death toll has now risen to 16, including three small children, an emergency services spokeswoman told the newspaper. Angop cited Paulo de Almeida, the deputy leader of the Angolan police, as saying appropriate security measures for the vigil had been put in place but attendance exceeded estimates. He said that around 150,000 people tried to attend the event at a stadium that has capacity for 50,000. A IURD official earlier told Angop the church had expected an attendance of around 70,000. IURD was created in 1977 in Brazil, where it has over 8 million followers, according to its website. IURD says it is present in most countries of the world.

ebels in Central African Republic said they had halted their advance on the capital on Wednesday and would start peace talks, averting a clash with regionally-backed troops in the mineral-rich nation. The announcement gave only a limited reprieve for President Francois Bozize as the insurgents said they might insist on his removal in the negotiations in Gabon's capital Libreville. Seleka rebels, who accuse the president of reneging on an earlier peace deal, had advanced to within striking distance of the capital Bangui after a threeweek onslaught. "I have asked our forces not to move their positions starting today because we want to enter talks in Libreville for a political solution," Seleka spokesman Eric Massi said by telephone from Paris.

President Francois Bozize

Kenyan Airways flight makes emergency landing in Sudan


Kenyan Airways plane with 56 passengers on board made an emergency landing in the

Sudanese capital, Khartoum, after an engine caught fire, witnesses said. Nobody was hurt, but the

The Boeing 737-700

incident on Tuesday night left passengers stranded in a country difficult for travel because credit cards do not work in Sudan due to U.S. trade sanctions. Banks change dollars only at a very unfavourable exchange rate compared with the dominant black market. The Cairo-bound Boeing 737-700 took off in Khartoum after a regular stopover following a flight from Nairobi. But it had to return to the Sudanese capital after 20 minutes, three passengers on board flight C told Reuters. "An engine caught fire and the plane suddenly lost much

altitude. The pilot made a sharp turn and returned to Khartoum," said Souhair Mohamed Hawala, an Egyptian passenger. "There was panic on board. People were crying or praying." Other passengers showed what they said were pictures from the damaged wing and engine of the plane. A Kenyan Airways official said the plane had returned with an unspecified "engine problem" and needed to be repaired in Sudan. "We don't know the cause yet," he said, adding passengers would be booked on the airline's next flight out of Sudan after 24 hours.

Uganda 'drops gay play charges' againsts Cecil


court in Uganda has thrown out a case against UK theatre producer David Cecil, who was charged over a play about the condition of gay people. Mr Cecil told the BBC the case

David Cecil (middle)

was dismissed either because of a "lack of will or a lack of evidence" to try him. He was arrested in September for "disobeying lawful orders", because the play The River and the

Mountain was performed without authorisation. Homosexual acts are illegal in socially conservative Uganda. The Ugandan parliament is considering legislation aimed at

increasing penalties for homosexual acts. Mr Cecil faced up to two years in jail if convicted. He was freed on bail of 500,000 shillings ($200; ÂŁ124). Mr Cecil said he was delighted by the magistrate's decision to dismiss the case, although it could be reopened. "Today's [Wednesday's] outcome demonstrates there is a functioning judiciary in Uganda and it has restored my faith in Ugandan society," Mr Cecil said. The prosecution told the magistrate that police had not yet given them a case file, he said. "This indicates the investigation has either stalled or they don't have enough evidence," Mr Cecil added. The play, which tells the story of a gay businessman killed by his own employees, was performed at two theatres in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, in August. Uganda's Daily Monitor newspaper reported at the time that the Media Council had warned the play's backers not to perform it until it had been approved.

Mr Cecil told the BBC he would not stage the play again, because cuts ordered by the Media Council would "disembowel" the production, he said. Gay people have faced physical attacks and social rejection in Uganda. In 2011, activist David Kato was beaten to death but police denied this was related to his sexuality. Last month, Uganda's parliament debated a bill to increase sentences for people convicted of homosexuality. The original version of the bill stipulated the death penalty for some homosexual acts but this has reportedly been dropped in favour of a life sentence. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni last month said gay people should not be killed or persecuted, but he also stressed homosexuality should not be promoted either. The bill was first introduced in 2009, sparking an international outcry. US President Barack Obama described it as "odious".


Asia and Middle East


ilitary aircraft have been targeting rebel areas in Burma's northern Kachin state over the last five days, video obtained shows. The footage, shot by the humanitarian group Free Burma Rangers, shows attack helicopters firing on the ground and jets flying close to the trenches of the rebel Kachin Independence Army.


Burma military 'targeting Kachin rebels'

A government official said the army had not informed them of any air attacks. Fighting with the Kachin rebels resumed in 2011, after a 17-year truce. The presence of jets and attack

helicopters in recent days was also confirmed by witnesses in the area. It is not clear how many casualties have been caused by five days of air attacks. Many of the people who live in the conflict areas have already fled into camps, both in

Fighting rages at Syria airbase

Philippine communist rebels call off truce



ierce fighting has resumed between President Bashar alAssad's forces and opposition fighters after rebels attacked regime troops stationed around an airbase in northwestern Syria, a watchdog says. Wednesday's Clashes between rebel fighters and al-Assad's forces at airbase in Idlib province killed four armed men and an unknown number of soldiers, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The monitoring group said Syrian rebels fired machineguns and mortars at helicopters grounded at the Afis military airport near the main Aleppo-Damascus highway on Wednesday. The rebel assault came after authorities announced the temporary closure of the international airport in Aleppo province on Tuesday, after days of attacks there by the rebels who hold vast swathes of territory in northern Syria. A local resident told AFP news agency that the army was carrying out air raids around the Taftanaz base in an attempt to repel the multipronged attack. Fighting also broke out around the crucial Wadi Deif base, one of the last regime bastions in northwestern Syria, the Britain-based Observatory said, in a fresh bid to wrest control of the strategic post. Rebels captured the nearby town of Maaret al-Numan, located on the important Damascus-Aleppo highway, in October. Regime warplanes also bombed the town of Moadamiyet al-Sham, southwest of the capital, killing at least 12 members of the same family, most of them children, the watchdog said. Warplanes also attacked the towns of Shebaa to the southeast and Deir Assafir south of Damascus, where 11 children were killed in November when cluster bombs were dropped on a playground, according to Human Rights Watch. The deadly strikes came as forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad battled rebels with artillery fire in Harasta and Douma, rebel strongholds to the northeast of the capital, and in Daraya to the southwest. Army reinforcements have been massing for weeks in Daraya in a bid to drive rebel Free Syrian Army fighters from the town, the site of the bloodiest massacre of the conflict in which hundreds died in August.

Kachin and across the border in China. Asked to comment on the video, the director of the president's office, Zaw Htay, said the situation was complex, and that the military had told them they were only

using planes to re-supply its troops. "The aircraft being used are K8 training aircraft not fighter jets - that is the information I got from the military," he said. "I have no information on the use of helicopters. There is a very difficult situation in Kachin state." He added that they wanted to hold peace talks with the rebels as soon as possible.

An Apache attack helicopter shooting to the ground.

ommunist rebels in the Philippines have called off a truce with the government, almost two weeks ahead of schedule, raising concerns about the future of peace talks. The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) blamed the government for their action on Wednesday, but a spokesman for President Benigno Aquino said the CPP just wanted an excuse to cut the ceasefire short. A CPP statement said the truce, originally scheduled to run from December 20 to January 15, had ended at noon on Wednesday because it believed the government only wanted a truce to remain in place until then. "The [communist New People's Army (NPA)] and the people's militias should immediately assume an offensive posture and confront and frustrate the enemy campaigns of suppression," the statement said. However, Aquino's spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the government would observe the ceasefire until January 15. He said the rebels had found an extended ceasefire to be "detrimental" to them so they chose to cut it short and blame the government.

Thousands of women continue march in Delhi

The New People's Army (NPA) in a drill.

Rebels battling Bashar al-Assad's forces.


housands of women have taken part in a rally in the Indian capital, Delhi, to protest against the recent gang rape of a 23year-old medical student. The victim died at the weekend from severe injuries she sustained during the 16 December attack in a bus. The incident has caused a national outcry. Police are expected to charge five of six suspects with murder on Thursday. If convicted, they could face the death penalty, which is rarely carried out in India. The sixth suspect is reported to be under 18 and a juvenile. Police have ordered a bone test for him to confirm his age. Meanwhile, her family has said they would have no objection if a new anti-rape law is named after her. Earlier, India's Junior Education Minister Shashi Tharoor called on the authorities to reveal the name of the gang-rape victim so that the new anti-rape law could be named after her.



Europe and Americas

UK assumes presidency of G8 group

Portugat’s budget sent to court


he Portuguese president has said that he will send this year's controversial budget to the Constitutional Court. AnĂ­bal Cavaco Silva said the budget didn't treat citizens fairly, and hit some of them worse than others. The right-of-centre government has argued that the unprecedented tax increases the budget contains were necessary to meet the terms of the country's eurozone bailout. It is only the second time a Portuguese head of state has made such a move. For most Portuguese workers the tax rises that came into effect on January 1 are equivalent to more than a month's wages. President Cavaco Silva made the surprise announcement in his New Year's speech, the day after signing the budget into law. "On my initiative, the Constitutional Court will be called on to decide on the conformity of the 2013 state budget with the constitution of the republic," he said. In his speech he also said the country was in a vicious circle of austerity and recession and acknowledged that Portugal's foreign debt, now twice as high as Portugal's annual output, was unsustainable. The opposition Socialists had already questioned the validity of the tax hikes and had threatened to take them to the Constitutional Court if the president did not. Last year the court ruled against a pay cut for civil servants which forced the government to seek alternative sources of revenue.

President AnĂ­bal Cavaco Silva

Ireland's five-star Lough Erne golf resort, venue of the next meeting.


he UK is assuming its yearlong presidency of the G8 group of nations. The presidency - which rotates through the G8 members - means it will host the annual leaders' summit and choose the global priorities that are discussed. June's summit is to be held at Lough Erne, in County Fermanagh, while topics discussed will include tax havens. The G8 is made up countries who have, historically, been the richest in the world - France, the US, Russia, Japan, Germany,

Italy, Canada and the UK. As prime minister of the presidency holding nation, David Cameron has said he wants to focus on combating trade protectionism, cracking down on tax havens and promoting greater government transparency. These topics will be discussed in ministerial meetings ahead of the summit along with urgent issues like the crisis in Syria. Although G8 summits are renowned for fine communiques, the group increasingly suffers from a credibility problem - some

of the world's largest economies like China, India and Brazil are not members, says BBC world affairs correspondent Emily Buchanan. Our correspondent also adds that organisers will at least be hoping the June summit will be trouble-free. The last time the UK was the host in 2005, in Gleneagles, more than 200,000 people marched against world poverty. The proceedings were then overshadowed by the 7/7 bus and underground bombings in London.

Mr Cameron announced in November that the G8 summit would be held at the Lough Erne golf resort near Enniskillen. It is the first time an event of this size has been held in Northern Ireland. Speaking at the time, the prime minister said: "I want the world to see just what a fantastic place Northern Ireland is - a great place for business, a great place for investment, a place with an incredibly educated and trained workforce ready to work for international business.

enezuela's vice-president has said that President Hugo Chavez, who underwent surgery for cancer in Cuba for a fourth time, is "completely conscious of the complexity of his post-operative state". In a televised interview in Cuba, Maduro said he had met Chavez twice and that the president seemed to have "the same strength as always". Maduro's comments came amid rumours, some of which circulated online, that Chavez's health had deteriorated and that he was in coma. "All the time we've been hoping for his positive evolution. Sometimes he has had light

improvements, sometimes stationary situations," Maduro said in the prerecorded interview, which was broadcast on Tuesday night by the Caracas-based television network Telesur. "I was able to see him twice, converse with him. He's totally conscious of the complexity of his post-operative state and he expressly asked us ... to keep the nation informed always, always with the truth, as hard as it may be in certain circumstances," said Maduro who was handpicked by the president before he travelled for Cuba for his latest round of surgery. Maduro, who is returning to Venezuela on Wednesday, did not discuss the January 10

inauguration plans for the president who won re-election last October, saying only that he was hopeful Chavez would improve. The news may help dispel rumours that Maduro's visit was a sign that the former soldier was near death. Supporters and opponents of Chavez alike nervously welcomed the new year on Tuesday, left on edge by shifting signals from the government about their leader's condition three weeks after cancer surgery in Cuba. Venezuelans put on fireworks displays as they entered the new year, but some of Chavez's supporters had long faces as they gathered in Bolivar Plaza on

Monday night holding pictures of the president. A government-sponsored New Year's Eve celebration in the plaza had been called off, and instead his supporters strummed guitars and read poetry in Chavez's honour. Chavez's son-in-law, who also serves as science minister, on Monday said the president, who has never said what type of cancer he has, was in stable condition and urged Venezuelans to ignore rumours of his impending death. Chavez has not been seen or heard from since the December 11 operation, and officials have variously reported his condition as "stable" and "delicate".

unilateral truce at the start of the peace talks and urged the Colombian government to do the same. But Defence Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon called the truce "incoherent" and said there would be no let-up in operations against the Farc. Air Force officials said Monday's air strike near the town of Chigorodo had seriously weakened the 5th Division of the Farc. They said that among those injured in the attack was a rebel known as Mayerli, who is wanted on suspicion of involvement in the 2009 killing of 19 soldiers in Antioquia.

In its heyday in 2001, the Farc had some 16,000 fighters, but military operations and desertions have halved their number. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has set a deadline of November 2013 for an agreement to be reached with the rebel group. He said the peace process had to be a matter of months, not years. The last peace talks broke down in 2002 after the government accused the rebels of using a demilitarised zone they were granted as part of the negotiations to regroup and retrain.

Defence Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon

Venezuela VP says Chavez 'conscious'


Thirteen Colombian Farc rebels 'killed in air strike'


t least 13 members of Colombia's largest rebel group, the Farc, have been killed in an air strike, the Colombian military says. The air force bombarded a rebel camp in north-western Antioquia province on Monday and has since found 13 bodies. The military has been continuing its attacks on the left-wing rebels at the same time as the government is engaging them in peace talks in Cuba. The next session is scheduled in two weeks time. The Farc called a temporary



Why being overweight could be a lifesaver P eople who pile on the pounds are less likely to die early than their slender peers, the study found. Researchers said one reason could be that fatter people were more likely to visit the doctor than healthier looking individuals. However, the study, which examined the cases of around three million adults, found the beneficial effect was cancelled for people who were seriously obese. Dr Katherine Flegal, of the National Centre for Health Statistics in the United States, found that people who are

overweight had a six per cent lower risk of death than normal weight people. The risk for those with a BMI (body mass index) of between 30 and 35 fell by five per cent. But those grossly obese with a BMI above 35 were 29 per cent more likely to die than slim people of the same age. The sample size involved more than 2.88 million individuals and more than 270,000 deaths in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, China, Japan, Brazil, Israel, India and Mexico. The findings are consistent

Boy turns 12 on 12/ 12/12 at 12.12pm

with observations of lower mortality among overweight and moderately obese patients. Previous studies have shown that obese people who survive heart attacks tend to live longer than those of a normal weight. The researchers, writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, said: "Possible explanations have included earlier presentation of heavier patients, greater likelihood of receiving optimal medical treatment, cardioprotective metabolic effects of increased body fat and benefits of higher metabolic reserves." Kiam Moriya


n American boy will celebrate his 12th birthday on December 12, 2012 at 12.12pm. Kiam Moriya, from Birmingham Alabama, was born on December 12, 2000 12 minutes after midday, in Bronxville, New York. "It's like one minute out of a whole lifetime," Kiam told "You know, it's all 12s." Kiam was not due until later January or early February, but was seven weeks premature, making the birthday all the more remarkable. Statisticians from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said about four million babies were born in the US in 2000, with an average of about 11,000 per day or about eight babies every minute.

Being overweight could add years to a person's life.

Guantanamo detainee has "Gangnam style" knowledge


essages to Howard Stern, an affinity for "Gangnam Style," and telling guards to "chillax." The letters of Mohammed Rahim al-Afghani -- an Afghan man held in Camp 7 at Guantanamo Bay with prisoners the U.S. government say are dangerous Jihadists -- show a surprising pop-culture acumen for someone without Internet access and restricted contact with the outside world, according to the Associated

Press. Rahim has been in Guantanamo for five years. He is accused of helping Osama bin Laden elude capture, the news agency reported. His lawyer, Carlos Warner, has released letters from his client that revealed references to pop singer PSY, Howard Stern, and Fox News, the news agency reported. "I like this new song Gangnam Style," Rahim, who is multi-lingual,

Hamima Juma, 24, with two daughter's born 25th December.

wrote his lawyer. "I want to do the dance for you but I cannot because of my shackles." In another, he tells his lawyer to tell the prison guards to "chillax." Rahim is 47 and has never been to the United States, the AP reported. It is likely that he learned about such pop culture icons and about the Fox News' slogan "Fair and Balanced" via newspapers and magazines like Rolling Stone and The Economist, the news agency reported.

12/12/12 is seen as somewhat of a lucky date, with lots of couples planning to marry on the day. Indian couple Brandon Pereira and Emilia D'Silva will have a traditional wedding after getting engaged on 10/10/10 and registering a legal marriage on 11/ 11/11. "On 12/12/12 at 12.00 in the afternoon we will be man and wife," said Ms D'Silva. She said she had declined Pereira's offer of marriage many times before he persuaded her in their 10th of year of dating, when the first lucky date was approaching. "10/10/10 was on a weekend, and we said why not do it on that date," she explained. "We needed to announce it to the world. We were looking for a date for celebration."

Blind dog and guide cat go on walks together


blind dog can go on walks again thanks to his new seeing-eye cat. According to the Sun, Terfel, 8, spent a lot of time in his basket after he was diagnosed with cataracts. Owner Judy Godfrey-Brown, a 57-year-old retired civil servant from North Wales, said he kept bumping into things around the house. One night, Godfrey-Brown welcomed in a stray cat. She watched as the cat approached Terfel, and led him out of confinement and into the

Blind Dog and a guide Cat

garden, the Sun reported. "I've never seen anything like it -most cats and dogs hate each other," she said. The feline seemed to sense Terfel's condition, Godfrey-Brown told the paper. So she adopted the stray, and named her Pwditat. She's been keeping Terfel safe ever since, according to the Daily Mail. "She uses her paws to help guide him," she told the Sun. "They are glued to each other and even sleep together now."



Mothers are over-feeding toddlers who are already fat - sentencing them to a lifetime of obesity


eluded mothers are overfeeding their children because they are unable to tell if they are too chubby, new research suggests. A survey of nearly 300 mothers found they struggled to judge the weight of their own toddlers. Experts say this blind spot can lead to the youngsters being encouraged to overeat, predisposing them to obesity in later life. The study was carried out by dietitian Rebecca Byrne who asked 276 mothers to describe their 12 to 16 month old toddlers as either underweight, normal weight or overweight. The researchers then measured the children’s heights and weights. Ms Byrne said the mothers thought 27 of the children were too thin, but only one of these toddlers was actually underweight, with the rest a

normal size. Additionally, while 32 per cent of the toddlers in the study were actually overweight, only four per cent (12 of the 276 toddlers) were perceived as too heavy by their mothers. Ms Byrne, of the Queensland University of Technology in Australia, said: ‘Mums are often worried their babies and toddlers aren’t eating enough. ‘We put a lot of emphasis on weight gain in babies and toddlers as a measure of them doing well. ‘I think the perception in our society is that a chubby baby is a healthy baby and the chubbiness is something they’ll grow out of - but they don’t. ‘This sticks with them throughout childhood and they often end up overweight as an adult. She added: ‘Mums who are worried their child is not gaining enough weight, may pressure

Deluded mothers are overfeeding their children because they are unable to tell if they are too chubby

New research has found that parents struggle to judge the weight of their own toddlers and so frequently overlook obesity problems.

them to eat more or bribe them with dessert or treats. ‘This can teach children to ignore their own cues of hunger and fullness, inadvertently promoting overeating.’ Figures show around 27 per cent of British children are now overweight. Rapid early weight gain before two years of age is associated with a two to threefold increase in the risk of obesity

later in life. Ms Byrne said parents are not given the support they need to understand normal child growth and how to pick up weight problems in their children. She said: ‘Serious prevention efforts need to start early in life to reverse the trend of increasing childhood obesity and set kids up for life-long good health.’ This research comes just after another survey which showed

that sixty per cent of British toddlers are hooked on chocolate and sweets. It also revealed that one in three mothers admitted to dealing with fussy eaters by bribing them with a sweet treat and that 58 per cent of mothers believe that by the age of three, their child was already craving sugary snacks on a regular basis. Source:

Open with caution: How that bottle of bubbly could leave you blind


e all savour the sound of a champagne cork popping. But those of us too squeamish to open the bottle for fear of a fast-flying cork might be onto something. For the American Academy of Ophthalmology has warned that adults who incorrectly open bubbly bottles are in real danger of poking their eyes out. The pressure inside a champagne bottle can launch a cork at 50 miles per hour - fast enough to shatter glass and cause permanent vision damage. In a statement released by the academy, doctors said: ‘When a champagne cork flies, you really have no time to react and protect your delicate eyes. ‘Champagne bottles contain pressure as high as 90 pounds per square inch - more than the pressure found inside a typical car tire. ‘This pressure can launch a champagne cork at 50 miles per hour as it leaves the bottle, which is fast enough to shatter glass. ‘Unfortunately, this is also fast enough to permanently damage vision.’ Furthermore, when a champagne cork is whizzing through the air, we don’t have

time to react. And unfortunately, that span of time can cause a variety of serious eye injuries, including acute glaucoma, damage to the eye’s bone structure, dislocation of the lens, ocular bleeding, retinal detachment and the rupture of the eye wall.

Not only can these injuries can sometimes require emergency surgery, they can also lead to blindness in the affected eye. Previous research in the British Journal of Ophthalmology suggested that a 750 ml champagne bottle contains 4.125 litres of carbon dioxide with a pressure of 6.2 bar which can shoot the 30g cork up to 13 metres. It added that with the typical opening distance of 60cm, the cork needs less than 0.05 seconds to reach the eye. In the United States, most champagne bottles carry conspicuous warning labels explaining the perils to the eye and showing the correct way of bottle opening. Because of High pressure hazard: A champagne cork can the dangers, the A m e r i c a n travel up to fifty miles per hour

Academy of Ophthalmology has listed a variety of tips to help minimise the chances of an eyerelated injuries. These include placing a towel over the top of the bottle and

holding the cork through the fabric. Then pull the cork out of the bottle slowly, countering with a bit of pressure when the cork is close to the surface. Source:

Doctors have warned that champagne corks can even lead to blindness



North-East, poorest, most marginalized region-Rep Gebi INTERVIEW Hon Alyu Ibrahim Gebi, a member Representing Bauchi federal constituency in this interview with Umar Muhammad Puma, says the North-East region of the country is the most marginalized region in the country in terms of federal infrastructures even as he advocates a generational shift in the governance of the country.


s the chairman, House committee on internal security, why do you think the challenges of insecurity are yet to be surmounted? To be sincere with you, the government lacks the political will to solve this problem; that is my personal opinion. It is as if when some people or certain part of the country feels that they are insulated from these problems, it can continue for God knows when. The issues of security are very integral, what happens in Kano today, the spontaneous effect would be felt in Bayelsa, what happens in Abakaliki the reflex effect would be felt in Sokoto, we are one indivisible nation. The leadership lacks the political will to solve these problems. There is no problem that is unsolvable as long as there is sincerity of purpose, but we do not have that. We can keep changing who is at the helms of affairs till kingdom come if we don’t attack the root cause of these issues, which is social injustice and it cued in distribution in terms of infrastructural development and so on and so forth. Recently, the National Assembly passed the 2013 budget despite the alleged non implementation of the one for 2012. What assurance do you have that the 2013 budget will not go the way of 2012? I understand the trepidation that the people might have; because it’s worrisome when you have a budget that is totally mismanaged by the executive arm of government; it is not only mismanaged, but not implemented as at when due, so it is rather worrying. There was a remarkable progress that we have made. If you recall, before we went on one of our recesses, where we charged the executive to deliver certain milestone in terms of performance of the budget; that has never been done in the history of our nation. When we came back, we went for a two weeks working recess to make sure that the implementation are going on according to plan, as you are aware, we were able to make an improvement in terms of

revenue releases. Having said that, the two must be separated, just because the 2012 budget have not been implemented does not mean that we should hold the nation hostage, The business of governance must continue which is why, as part of our legislative agenda when the speaker unveiled it, we said that the budgetary process would be concluded and submitted three months before the end of the year so that we can make our inputs. We on our own part have fulfilled our obligation, it is now up to the executive to also their own part of obligation, whether they do that or not, it remains to be seen. I assure you when we came back, it is going to be business unusual not as usual, we would shout when we need to shout and we would scream when we need to scream, as far as the budget is concerned, it must be done the right way. When the House undertakes the oversight assessment, you promise within a month you would make finding known, and now is over two month now we have not had any revelations emanating from the reports, what is happening? No the reports were presented at the committee level, for example one of the committee upstream which I’m a member, we did compile and discuss our report and pass it on, I’m sure may be it is the compilation process that slows the issue down, if you recall we have everything back to back, we have the constitution review processes, the amendment, so Nigerians should be patient, there

Hon Alyu Ibrahim Gebi is no any report that is going to be sweep under the carpet under the current leadership of the House of Representatives. Including the subsidy report… On the subsidy report, we did what we are supposed to do, we presented it, nobody thought we are going to sit on that day and we sat; nobody felt that the committee would be constituted, it was constituted; nobody thought the report would come out, and it did come out. So we have fulfilled our own obligation and we passed it to the executive. No matter what any of our members has done, we as representatives of the people can only investigate and come out with recommendations; it is now left for the executive to take it from there. What do you think Nigerians should do in this regard? The same way Nigerians took to the street to protest the removal of fuel subsidy, if it means that they take to the streets to protest in order to make sure that the reports are implemented, they should do so; it

It has never been more blatant as it is now; we either work together to achieve a common goal, or we work together individually and lose again and hold our heads again. I think we have all learnt our lessons; it is in the best interest of everybody and the nation as a whole to allow the merger or alliance to work

is their right. Like the issue of Faruk Lawan, you can’t say you are holding the taker responsible, what about the giver, why is it that you the pressmen are not focusing on the giver? Is it only the allegation level against my colleagues that you are interested in? If the report has not come out, or these companies have not been indicted, then you have every right to say this and that. You were said to have appointed Abbas Faggo, the facebook writer who accuses Bauchi state governor of spending public funds on his son’s wedding, don’t you think this would amont to open confrontation with Gov. Yuguda? I’m not in confrontation with anybody. I was elected by the good people of Bauchi federal constituency in order to protect their interests and to be their voice as far as the national polity is concerned; this I would continue to do. Mallam Isa Yuguda is my governor and the chief security officer of my state, I respect him a lot; that is where it ends. He is PDP and I belong to the CPC that is a clear demarcation. As far as Faggo is concerned, this is somebody that is trying to do the right thing. It is time we start to celebrate whistle blowers in this country; if you see something wrong, say it no matter what the consequences. We as the youths of this country must do the right thing and we must learn to reward honesty, character and integrity, and we must denounce injustice no matter what size or form it may take. This is one of the beauties of democracy, where people are allowed to express their feelings on

how they are being governed. The Freedom of Information Act has provided for that; but you will be held accountable for it. I think the matter is still in court, so let him prove that in the court of law that yes this is exactly what transpired. Opposition political parties are to strategizing to form a new party ahead of 2015 election, already the ACN and ANPP have constituted committees in that regard, what is your party the CPC doing? The CPC is doing exact what it should to be doing. We are looking at it critically, objectively with the same mindset that the other political parties are looking at it. There are absolutely no questions on the importance of merger and alliance. Technically we want what is best for the nation. PDP has failed and has continued to fail, and this is thirteen to fourteen years of PDP, nothing changes. There must be an alternative and the only way we can be a credible alternative is when all the opposition work together and by the grace of God it would happen. The history of merger or alliance in the country has never been successful, what assurance do we have that this time around you would get it right? It has never been more blatant as it is now; we either work together to achieve a common goal, or we work together individually and lose again and hold our heads again. I think we have all learnt our lessons; it is in the best interest of everybody and the nation as a whole to allow the merger or alliance to work. There was an agitation by certain group that power must come back to the north, come 2015, what is a take on that? It is not an agitation; it is nonnegotiable that power must come back to the north in 2015. As representatives of my people, this is what we stand for. Whatever I do I dedicate my entire body and soul into it; if didn’t believe in the process, I would never be part of it, I believe in the emancipation of my people that I represent; I believe that the all children of the poor must have the same choices as the children of the so call elite; there must be equity and justice in this country; there should be no room for social injustice. The NJorth-eastern region, where I came from, is the poorest of the entire regions. We are the most marginalized in the whole country in terms of federal infrastructures. Why is it so? Are we not part of Nigeria? Don’t forget we produced the likes of Tafawa Balewa, Sa’adu Zungur, Atiku Abubakar, to name a few. I’m tired of seing my people bein reduced to mere beggars not by choice, but by design.



Vote out politicians who perform abysmally, Kogi NUJ urges electorates From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


National Co-ordinator, Nigerian Royalty Awards, Omoba Kenneth Aigbegbele (right), presenting the "NRA Governor of the Year South-West 2012" to Osun state Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (left), recently in Osobgo. With them is Head, Media and Publicity of NRA, Omoniyi Gbadamosi (middle).

Niger lawmaker commends Aliyu over 2012 budget success From Iliya Garba, Minna


member of the Niger State House of Assembly and chairman House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Usman Magaji, has commended the governor, Babangida Aliyu on 2012 budget implementation even as he added that there was room for improvement. The lawmaker made this known yesterday in Minna at a Press conference on the 2013 budget passed in record time by the Assembly last year

said that the budget performance for last year is ‘fairly satisfactory’. Magaji disclosed that the Assembly has already corresponded its position to the executive and admonished it on the pattern for the implementation of the 2013 budget explaining that it was in line with the agreement reached that the legislators speedily passed the 2013 appropriation law. He said “The House of Assembly is proud of the policies and programmes of the Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu led government; the government

FCT council’s election: ACN vows to defeat PDP in Abaji By Adeola Tukuru


he Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Abaji area council, FCT said the party is fully prepared to take power from the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) during the FCT council election in the area. Chairman of the party in the area, Alhaji Mohammed Angulu Bello made this note during the concluded flag-off campaign of a councillorship candidate representing Abaji central ward of the area, Isiaka Mohammed Abdullahi explained since three opposition parties, ACN, CPC and ANPP has come in alliance, no amount of intimidation from the ruling PDP will deter the electorate from guarding their votes at the polls. He said notable politicians and elders from the ruling PDP as well as two former chairmen of the council with all their supporters and loyalists have now pitched their tents with ACN to collectively work in order to ensure the victory of the party at the polls due to merger of the three opposition parties. He criticized the led PDP administration under Alhaji Musa

Yahaya Mohammed, for diverting 75 percent of meaningful projects meant for the entire people council to his Agyana community while abandoning other neighboring communities without any meaningful project to better the lives of other rural people. “Let me quickly correct the impression that the battle we are in to is not between Abaji and people of rural areas, is a battle among the three opposition parties, ACN, CPC and ANPP that across all the rural areas against the PDP” he said. Earlier, the ACN councillorship candidate representing Abaji central ward in the area, Isiaka Mohammed Abdullahi, expressed concern over infrastructural decay in the area within the last six years of the ruling PDP and called on people of the area come out en-mass to cast their votes against the PDP at the polls. Among those that spoke at the flagoff ceremony, include, former spear of the council, Mohammed Ibrahim, Abaji chapter chairmen of CPC, ACN, ANPP and their chairmen across the ten wards as well as some PDP elders in the area.

means well for the people of the state”. The lawmaker advised Commissioners and heads of agencies that are charged with the implementation of the budget to work closely with the House of Assembly for better performance in the new fiscal year saying that violation of the provisions of the budget is crime punishable under the law While saying that the Assembly will strengthen its oversight functions in the New Year, he also challenged the media to do more of investigative reporting by highlighting failures in the implementation of the budget. Defending the hiking of the budget by N300m, Magaji said the Assembly took the position in the interest of the people of the state because provision was not made for some social programmes like the fight against Polio.

ogi state council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has charged electorates to vote out their elected representatives who have performed below expectations as a way of deepening democracy. In a release jointly signed by comrade Ali Atabor and Adeiza Momoh Jimoh, Chairman and Secretary respectively, the union urged Nigerians to shun money politics. According to the release, the council wished the people of the state a blissful and prosperous new year counseling them on moderate celebration. The council added that the citizenry should use the occasion of New Year celebration for sober reflection on the past year while wishing them to contribute for the emancipation of the people from the shackles of poverty and diseases. The statement further advised all elected representatives at all levels to use their positions to improve on the welfare of their constituencies saying it will engender confidence in the electorates to support them in the future elections. The council particularly frowns at some elected representatives who have abandoned the people warning them to turn a new leaf or to be ready to face consequences of their actions. According to the release" we noticed with dismay in the out gone year the attitude of some of the elected representatives who never come back to interact with the people who voted for them on issues of development as it affects them. Most of them come home only when they have political interest to protect. We use this medium to warn them" the release stated. However the council wish to congratulate all working journalists in the state saying that despite daunting challenges they were able to remain tenaciously with the ethics of practice in their reports on corruption and other ills of the society.

Amaechi sacks commissioner, appoints 6 female Perm Secs


he Rivers Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr Emeka Wogu, has been relieved of his appointment. Gov. Chibuike Amaechi who announced this in Port Harcourt yesterday said that Wogu would be replaced by Mr Omunakwe Dickson. He said Dickson's name would be sent to the Raivers State House of Assembly for confirmation. Amaechi made the announcement while swearing in six permanent secretaries, all females, into the state's Civil Service. Those swornin are Dr Offor Nnesochi, Mrs Iragunima C. M., Clara GogoPrincewill, Mrs Amie Nemi-Iwo, Mrs Wihioka Comfort and Dr Justina Jumbo. The governor said they were appointed on merit, urging them to be fair and just while carrying out their duties. ``A civil servant is supposed to be a nonpolitician but in the Nigerian context, all Nigerians or nearly all Nigerians are politicians, nearly all and that is

because the economy is not productive. ``So, the only productive part of the economy is government and that is because government takes money from oil and everybody wants to be part of the sharing. Amaechi urged the permanent secretaries to assist government to improve the state's economy through hard work. He warned the new permanent secretaries not to be involved in any corrupt practices. ``We looked at the civil service and there were too few women that were permanent secretaries. ``We felt that we should appoint some women to balance the position and that we have done. The governor directed the Chairman of the state's Civil Service and the Head of Service to put measures in place to promote civil servants who performed well and punish those who did not do well. He said only those deserving promotion should be promoted.



Federal Appointments: Group decries marginalisation of Enugu North By Augustine Aminu


L-R: Kaduna state Deputy Governor, Ambassador Nuhu Bajoga, welcoming Vice-President Mohammed Namadi Sambo, at the Kaduna International Airport, on Saturday, in Kaduna. Photo: Joe Oroye

PDP Adamawa holds congress despite court order, security concerns By Lawrence Olaoye


ndications emerged yesterday that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Adamawa state would continue today in spite of a court order procured to stop the exercise. A Yola High Court had granted an interim injunction restraining the PDP caretaker committee in the state chaired by Amb. Umar Damagun from conducting the congress. The injunction followed a request made by Mustapha Njobdi and two others. The plaintiffs, who joined PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, and 10 others as co-defendants, challenged the party for dropping their names from the list of aspirants.

The plaintiffs, in a 45paragraph affidavit deposed by their lawyer, Mr Salihu Adamu, said they bought, filled and returned their nomination forms for the congress in Mubi South Local Government. They said that they later discovered that their names were missing. The Presiding Judge, Justice Nathan Musa, who granted the interim injunction, adjourned the case to Jan. 8, for the hearing of the substantive suit. Meanwhile, the PDP Caretaker-taker Chairman as at the time of filing this report has denied ever receiving any court order stopping the congress. The Police authorities in Yola equally denied the report that they have resolved to stop the congress explaining that

they have no such powers since the exercise is an internal affair of the ruling party. Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 3, Alhaji Tambari Yabo who made this known to newsmen in Yola said that the police only advised the party to suspend the congresses slated for Jan. 3 due to the lingering security challenges in the state. He said that within the week, some gunmen launched attacked in Maiha, Hong and Fufore Local Government Area. He said the advice became necessary so that the police could concentrate on the state security instead of trying to cope with the congresses. Yabo said he met with PDP stakeholders, including members of the state caretaker committee on the matter.

Aregbesola calls for peaceful co-existence


ov. Rauf Aregbesola of O s u n yesterday called for peaceful co-existence among residents of the state to foster good neighbourliness, religious harmony and love. The governor, who made the call at a prayer session to usher in the new year, enjoined all categories of people to live together in peace. He stressed the need for every resident to cultivate the habit of `` Omoluabi'' (the virtuous) in

order to project the good image of the state to the outside world. Aregbesola, who said government programmes could only thrive in an atmosphere of peaceful co-existence, added that there was nothing to gain in rancour and violence. He urged all stakeholders in the development project of the state to see peace as an essential ingredient. The governor explained that the ongoing demolition exercise in Osogbo metropolis was well

intended and was not aimed at unjust destruction of property as claimed by critics. He said no fewer than 1,600 affected residents had been compensated, adding that only those genuinely affected would benefit. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that representatives of religious, civil, security and para-military organisations as well as the traditional institution were present at the occasion. (NAN)

pressure group, Enugu North Patriots, has decried the marginalization of Enugu North Senatorial district of Enugu State in both federal and state appointments. The group's president, Ben Uroko, yesterday in Abuja called for a re-balancing of the political equation. Enugu North is otherwise known as Nsukka zone. He said "Since 1999 till date, Enugu East produced seven ministers and ambassadors, Enugu West produced four ministers and ambassadors while Enugu North, with 48 percent of the population and 52 percent of registered voters of the entire state, did not produce any minster, but only two ambassadors." He listed the posts and their holders: "Hon. Dubem Onyia was the state minister for foreign affairs from 1999 - 2003 and hails from Udi local government area (LGA) in Enugu West. Hon. Frank Nweke Junior, minister for special duties,

CP wants officers in Enugu to remain dedicated, professional in 2013


he Commissioner of Police in Enugu State, Mr Musa Daura, has called on officers and men of the command to remain dedicated and professional in their duty in 2013. Daura said this would enable them to consolidate on their track record in crime prevention and detection in the South East geo-political zone. A statement from the spokesman of the command, Mr Ebere Amaraizu, said in Enugu yesterday that the commissioner made the call during a New Year get-together organised by the 3 Police Mobile Force Squadron, Enugu. The commissioner described the commanding officer of the squadron as an achiever and expressed his happiness with the rate of turn-around in the


of the country in the eyes of the international community. Aturu said:"The Nigerian government needs to make it clear where it stands in the fight against corruption. "The government must show that it is willing to fight corrupt people in all spheres of our society, because it is really giving our country a very bad

name. "It is destroying the fabric of our society and the developmental processes of this country". He also called for an improvement in the country's human rights record, stressing that the culture of impunity must be eliminated in Nigeria. "There must

squadron. He also thanked unit commanders and their wives as well as others who help in the maintenance of order and discipline in the barracks. Daura also charged divisional police officers and heads of departments to emulate the good work of the commanding officer. Speaking earlier, the Commanding Officer of the squadron, Mr M.B. Giwa, pointed out that the gathering was to identify with his officers and men as well as their wives who were the source of achievements in 2012. He prayed for more achievements in the new year through the help of God and extolled the quality leadership of the commissioner of police as a motivator who did not compromise with discipline and performance.

Nassarawa governor swears in new CJ physically-challenged person.


ov. Umaru Al-Makura of Nasarawa State yesterday swore in Justice Suleiman Umaru-Dikko, as the Acting Chief Judge of the state. Umaru-Dikko replaced Justice Badamasi Maina, who retired on Dec. 31. Al-Makura also swore in Justice Samuel Ayiwulu and Justice Asmau Yusuf, as well as a Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Mr Mohammed Idris-Apa, who is

Aturu says Nigeria should intensify fight against corruption, rights abuse in 2013 human rights lawyer, Mr Bamidele Aturu, yesterday said Nigeria should intensify its fight against corruption and rights abuse in 2013. Aturu made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos. He said corruption and abuse of human rights had tainted the image

2003 - 2005, Nkanu East LGA, Enugu East; Hon. Mrs Akuabata Njeze, state minister for defence, 2007 - 2009, Udi, Enugu West; Hon. Mrs Akuabata Njeze, federal minister of aviation, 2009 - 2011, Udi, Enugu West; Prof. Barth Nnaji, minister for power, 2011 - 2012, Nkanu East, Enugu East; Amb. Goddy Agbo, Japan, 2003 - 2007, Enugu South, Enugu East; Amb. Goddy Agbo, Japan, 2007 - 2011, Enugu South, Enugu East; Amb. Kingsley Ebenyi, Spain, 2007 2011, Isi - Uzo, Enugu East; Amb. Fidel Ayogu, Uganda, 2007 - 2011, Igbo- Eze North, Enugu North; Amb. Akuabata Njeze, Switzerland, 2011 - till date, Udi, Enugu West; Amb. Goddy Agbo, Japan, 2011 till date, Enugu East." He said Amb. Emma Eze from Udenu in Enugu north who served as Nigeria's ambassador to Zambia and Tanzania was the only ambassador the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) appointed while Ambassador Fidel Ayogu was appointed on the quota of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP).

be determination on the part of the people to deepen the respect for human rights in Nigeria. "Civil society groups and other like organisations should ensure that they challenge the infractions on the rights of Nigerians by using all lawful means to redress their grievances", Aturu said. (NAN)

He said the acting Chief Judge and the other judges were appointed based on the recommendations of the National Judicial Council (NJC). "It has become necessary to swearin the most senior High Court Judge to enable him to perform the functions of the Chief Judge of Nasarawa State to avoid a vacuum," Al-Makura said. He explained the appointment of Idris-Apa, as Solicitor-General/ Permanent Secretary, was in compliance with the principle of seniority in the judiciary. He maintained that Idris-Apa was not only the most senior State Counsel, but that the significance of his elevation lied in the fact that he is physically challenged, saying: ``there is ability in disability''. As part of the efforts to transform the judiciary, Al-Makura announced that an ultra-modern High Court complex would be constructed in Lafia, before the end 2013. (NAN)



Yobe's 2013 Budget: What's in it for the Commoner By Bashar Kadir


udgets are notoriously esoteric for people outside elite circles and to people for whom numbers are a mystery. That is quite understandable. Astronomical amounts that the common man can't even fathom much less take vicarious ownership of often get thrown around during budget speeches. That is why budgets often come across as those empty, yearly rituals that people in government partake in. But this thinking is inaccurate. Budgets do matter. They matter because they provide the navigational instrument for governance. They help us calibrate our expectations from our governors. When you wade through the fog of numbers and policy pronouncements in budgets, you can often find glimmers of insight and flickers of hope for the common man. As a Yobe State indigene who is also a public policy analyst, I decided to take more than a cursory interest in my state's 2013 budget, which Governor Ibrahim Gaidam has dubbed the "Budget of Consolidating the Focused Socio-economic Transformation Programme." The choice of the name, the governor said during his speech, is a consequence of his government's resolve to sustain and deepen the tempo of transformational changes that have been recorded in the last year in the "promotion of education, enhancement of water supply, promoting health care delivery and paving the way for rural transformation through provision of rural feeder roads, electrification etc. and revitalization of agriculture as well as facilitating the establishment of AgroAllied industries," adding "In short, it is a Budget that has in stock a lot of goodies for the transformation of urban centres and for grass roots development." Behind this verbiage, what's in it for me? Why should the common man in Yobe care about this budget? What hope can it give? What's behind those humongous figures? Would 2013 fiscal year be better than 2012? Why would it? These are some of the questions that agitated my mind as I sat to read through the 50-plus-page budget speech. In this essay, I want to share the thoughts and insights I gleaned from the budget. I hope that people who have not had the time to read through the entire document will benefit a thing or two from reading this. First, the budget is anchored on eight core directional principles: securing communal peace and harmony, launching a sustained battle against illiteracy through the enhancement of the educational sector, stimulating the economy through job creation, building of road networks across the length and breadth of the state, promoting the spirit of self-help in communities, stimulating the industrial and manufacturing base of the state, incentivization of private sector growth, and increasing cooperation between the state government and local governments in service delivery to the people. Beyond these commonplaces, there are many notable signposts in this year's budget that give me cause for optimism. First, the government is going to spend significantly more money in capital and recurrent expenditures than it did last year. This year's budget of N86, 658,299,000 represents a 9.4% increase from last year's. That's remarkable. But what is even more remarkable, for me, is the budget's extraordinary emphasis on education and infrastructural development and renewal, The breakdown of the allocations to various ministries, departments and agencies to finance capital and recurrent expenditures in the 2013 fiscal year shows that the ministry of works got the lion's share of N17, 072,000,000 for capital expenditure. The Ministry of Education is a second with N9, 228,000,000 for capital projects. But in recurrent expenditure, education led with N7, 201,299,000. These figures matter because they help the people of Yobe determine some of the priorities of the government this year. What comes out in bold relief from looking at these figures is that there will be a lot of new projects this year. Many new roads will be built and many old roads will be rebuilt. In the governor's budget speech, for instance, he said he would construct new township roads at several local government headquarters. "These include the construction of Township Roads at Dapchi, Babbangida, Jaji-Maji, Jakusko and BuniYadi, while the construction of Estate Roads in the Housing Estates will also commence in the 2013 fiscal year. In order to demonstrate our commitment towards the realization of this objective, the sum of N3 billion will be expended by the State Government on the execution of these projects in the

sporting equipment, m a n p o w e r development and training for teachers as well as foodstuff for student feeding in the schools. In the same vein, we intend to c o m p l e t e rehabilitation and construction of vital structures including access roads, ICT centres and the Kanuri/French centre in the schools and ensure prompt payment of registration, examination and school fees to WAEC NECO, NABTEB, NTIC etc. Payment would also be effected for inspection, monitoring and accreditation as well as for counterpart funds to our partners like the NUBEC." I think this is the meat of the budget. The prominence it gives to education is so apparent. It was Benjamin Franklin, Gov Ibrahim Gaidam delivering his speech on the floor of the State one of America's Assembly in Damaturu yesterday Founding Fathers, who once said, "If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it away from incoming financial year," he said. Several township roads will also be constructed in Nguru, him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best while the Potiskum-Danchuwa-Garin Abba Road, Kanamma- interest." Governor Gaidam is emptying the state's purse into Kafiya Road, Gashua-Yusufari road, and the Bulafara- the heads of Yobe State indigenes in this year's budget. The Jibulwa road will be completed. Contracts for the contruction interest that the investment will yield will abide with us of Gashua-Dumburi-Dadigar road, Daya-Fadawa road and several years after he would have left office. That's a worthy Damaturu-Sasawa road will also be undertaken. Others are investment. Another striking feature of the budget is the huge emphasis Bularafa-Gulani road, Girgir-Karage-Bukarti road, Juma'aMaganna road, Fika-Maluri road, Garin Alkali-Gwio Kura- it places on capital expenditure. In spite of Yobe State's high Lafiya-Buduwa road and Karege-Dawayo spur road will be salary bill, it has devoted more than 60 percent of the 2013 awarded this year. And a road that will link Godowoli to budget to capital expenditure. Not many states in the Gadaka will be constructed. So will the Damaturu-Buni-Gari federation are able to strike such a delicate balance, that is, road, Gujba-Ngalda road and Nangere-Kayeri-Borno-Kichi regularly and unfailingly pay salaries of workers and social road. Similarly the Kaliyari Bridge will be rehabilitated. security benefits to the employed and yet be able to reserve When all this is done, it is obvious that there will be a huge more than half of the budget for capital projects. This must be boost in economic activities in these areas. The multiplier the consequence of the governor's accountancy background. It means we will see more infrastructural uplift in the state effects of such a boost can only be imagined. It is also clear that primary, secondary and tertiary this year than we did last year. We should also see more jobs educational institutions will be prioritized in ways never seen especially for the youth than we did last year, even though before. I expect more school classrooms to be built, new last year, the Gaidam administration, to its credit, recruited teachers recruited, and course offerings at Yobe's institutions over ten thousand youth across the state. We will also see a lot of humanitarian interventions. For of higher learning expanded. I expect to see not just sustenance of bursaries and scholarships for Yobe State indigenes but an instance, in the budget, a special intervention fund of N100 expansion of these privileges. In the budget speech, the million has been set aside to care for orphans, widows and the governor said "the teaching and learning condition would disabled groups. The transport sector will also receive an improvement. receive a boost through provision of classroom and office furniture, science and laboratory equipment, utility vehicles, The governor has said he would pay special attention to the construction of Damaturu International Airport and to the provision of special parking space for trailers and other heavy duty vehicles in Potiskum, "while new buses would be acquired to add to the fleet of Yobe Line Mass Transit buses to Several township roads will also be constructed in ease transportation problems for the people." Nguru, while the Potiskum-Danchuwa-Garin Abba This is, by any standard, a well-integrated, people-oriented Road, Kanamma-Kafiya Road, Gashua-Yusufari budget. Sectors such as health care delivery, agriculture, desert control, security, the civil service, housing, and several road, and the Bulafara-Jibulwa road will be critical areas that directly affect the common man got lavish completed. Contracts for the contruction of attention from this year's budget. It seems to me like the Gashua-Dumburi-Dadigar road, Daya-Fadawa road budget should have been named the "Budget for the Common and Damaturu-Sasawa road will also be undertaken. Good of All." Our responsibility as Yobe indigenes is to help in Others are Bularafa-Gulani road, Girgir-Karageany way we can to ensure that the government achieves the objectives of the budget for the overall transformation of the Bukarti road, Juma’a-Maganna road, Fika-Maluri state. road, Garin Alkali-Gwio Kura-Lafiya-Buduwa road


and Karege-Dawayo spur road will be awarded this year

Bashar Kadir, a Publi policy Analyst, writes from Sabon Pegi, Damaturu Yobe State.



Ibrahim quits Celtic

AFN assures fairness in selection of athletes for AYC


he Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN) has said it has put measures to guard against agecheats at the forthcoming Africa Athletics Youth Championships in Warri, Delta state between March 28 and 31. Commodore Omatseye Nesiama, Technical Director of the federation said that the championships will be for ages 16 and 17. “I can assure that participating athletes at the championships will win through fair means because we are not hosting purposely to win, but to show example. “We will ensure that winning is not a do or die affair. There are talks already that we must win at all costs, but I am saying it is not compulsory to win. We are not hosting to win,’’ he said. According to him, athletes’ real age at the competition will be ascertained through their birth certificates and school records. He added that screening of athletes to ascertain their actual ages would also be conducted through documentation from their parents or guardians.

“We must be able to host well without cheating. We are not going to take any athlete that has been in any athletic club for more than a year. “We are going to be serious with our screening because we need to nurture young athletes,’’ Nesiama said. Nesiama further said that the federation does not need over-aged athletes who would not be able to cope with youth programmes, as they progressed. “In fact, we are not going to allow athletes who are already running for clubs to feature because the competition is mainly to discover new and young talents. “We have different programmes for different categories and if we get it wrong now, we will continue to miss our set objectives and we will be deceiving ourselves. “If we present a team that is truly the reflection of the ages required and we do not win, I have no problem about that. “I will be happy because we would have assembled the right age of athletes that will be groomed properly for future competitions,’’ he added.


Solomon Ogba, AFN boss

Eagles are not ready for AFCON trophy – Akanni Stories by Albert Akota


ormer Nigerian winger, Waidi Akanni is worried over the Super Eagles experiment for a competition that less than 16 days to the kicks-off. The Eagles, who start their Africa Cup of Nations campaign on January 21 against West African opposition, Burkina Faso in Nelspruit, are yet to come up with their 23-man squad required for the biennial football showpiece.

Waidi Akanni

Akanni said the fact that Eagles are yet to name our 23-man final list cast serious doubt on the team’s readiness for the 2013 AFCON in South Africa. “Compare with other countries coming to the Nations Cup who have selected their 23-man squad it shows that we’re not ready for the AFCON challenge. “We’re still parading the 32-man list and not all the players have shown up. Some are being waited for and the fact that the coach is waiting to see all the players before naming his final list is cause for worry. “First, seeing a player and the player being certified fit for the challenge is another thing and the time for thorough examination appears not to be there. “I think others look way ahead prepared than us,” said the former Flash Flamingoes’ attacking winger said. Akanni expressed doubt about the capability of the Stephen Keshi’s team grabbing their third title in South Africa. “Going by the records we posted in the last few years and the fact that we were absent in the last edition our chance of winning the third title is very slim. “I think the presence of Cup holders, Zambia, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, South Africa, among others, make it tougher,”

he said. The former Flying Eagles’ winger said titleholders; Zambia will pose the toughest challenge for the Eagles in Group C. “We have the Cup holders, Zambia as the number one side to worry about that’s not taking anything away from Burkina Faso and Ethiopia. Of course, there are no minnows in football anymore. “We must find a way to get past Zambia; our toughest match will come from them. “However, I pray we survive the group hurdle, come top and keep the our original venue for the second round matches. It will be an advantage,” he said. Akanni is still worried about the Eagles’ backline insisting that their performance will be decided by the defenders. “People have expressed worries at our defence, it’s a genuine worry and it will be decisive on how far we’ll go in South Africa. “I believe Keshi is doing something in that area and will be able to come up with a perfect blend of home and foreign players that will give stability to the team as well as the midfield and attack, “said the former boss of the Lagos State Football Association.

ilmarnock has completed the signing of midfielder Rabiu Ibrahim from Celtic on a permanent basis. The 21-year-old has agreed a two-year contract with the Rugby Park club after Celtic allowed the player to move on in search of regular first-team football. Ibrahim had an offer from abroad and was also believed to be a loan target for other Scottish sides. “He’s signed a two year deal with us,” Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels told STV. “I believe it’s quite a coup for Kilmarnock and we are a good fit for him. “Rabiu had an offer from a club in Russia but he and his advisors thought it would be better for his career development to stay in Scotland and they were equally as keen as we were for the deal to go through. Ibrahim will not join up with his new teammates immediately as he is currently with the Nigerian national team ahead of their friendly with Catalonia on Wednesday night. The player, who has been capped at Under17, Under-20 and Under-23 levels by his country, has also been included in Nigeria’s preliminary squad for the Africa Cup of Nations. “He’s away with the Nigeria squad for the AFCON at the moment,” Shiels said. “I believe January 9 is the deadline for them to name their final squad. I would quite like him to be name in the squad for his confidence. “If he is named then as soon as they go out of the competition he will join up with us.

Rabiu Ibrahim

NPL lambast Baribote over sports minister T

he Club Owners Association of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) has berated former top flight board chairman, Victor Rumson Baribote for accusing the sports minister, Bolaji Abdullahi. Baribote had this week fingered Nigeria’s sports minister for his removal from office as Premier League board chairman in December 2011. Now the club owners have asked Baribote to prove his

claim that the minister influenced them to impeach him and his league board out of office during last month’s NPL congress in Abuja. According to a statement released by the spokesman of the club owners, Mike Idoko yesterday, the allegation by Baribote holds no water. The club owners further stated that the Premier League under Baribote’s leadership eroded all gains made over the years by his predecessors. The statement from

the club owners made it clear that Baribote “was never elected in the first place as no election took place. “Baribote missed the point by saying the minister

Victor Rumson Baribote

masterminded his removal. As managers of clubs we know what is good and best for us and we realised late that with the Baribote-led board, the Nigerian

(premier) league is heading to the rocks. And for him to allege that the minister masterminded his removal is to say the least insulting to the honourable minister. “The NPL under Baribote was never elected in the first place as no election took place when the court sacked (Davidson) Owumi. “The Club Owners gave him the mandate believing he will bring relief to the comatose league. Title sponsorship became a problem and the clubs

were made to bear the brunt of the lack of sponsorship,” the statement from the club owners’ spokesman read. The club owners also warned that it will pull out of the present Interim Management Committee for the NPL should it show trait of underdevelopment. “The Club Owners has never done the bidding of anybody and will never do. We were fed up with the management style of the last board. We did what was right in line

with the statutes of the NPL and the power given to clubs by Fifa. If the present board starts following in the footsteps of Baribote, we will have no choice than to pull out,” Idoko, who is a member of the interim committee, said on behalf of the club owners. However, Idoko declined comment on the purported court case instituted against him and 19 others by Baribote, saying he would talk after the case had been settled in court.



Kaduna gymnastics coach plans to discover talents


he Head Coach, Kaduna State Gymnastics Association, Sani Imam has said that two competitions had been lined up to aid the discovery talents in the state. Imam revealed that primary schools and the Local Government competitions would be used to foster the development of the sport. “We are aware that one of the biggest challenges in gymnastics has been the discovery of talents, which is why we have lined up two programmes to speed up the process. “We have the one at the primary school level which is from U-10 to U-12 and we also have another one at the local government level.

“The primary school initiative is my pet project. I intend to use my personal resources to achieve that while the local government will involve government support,” he said. He added that talents discovered from the competitions would feature in the state’s sports festival later this year. Imam said performace in the state’s sport fiesta would determine their eligibility for the 19th National Sports Festival (NSF) to be staged in Calabar. “The talents we hope to discover from these competitions will have the chance of participating during the state’s sports festival. “The state’s festival will be used to assess their performance and will determine which gymnasts will

School sports will re-create athletics, says Obajimi


Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi

Board Member of the Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Gloria Obajimi has called for the revival of school sports as a way of stimulating interest in athletics in the country. Obajimi said that the base on which to breed those to replace the elite athletes had weakened over time. “We do not have a foundation or programmes where younger athletes can be groomed to replace

the ageing elite athletes which have led to some overbearing pressure on the elite athletes. “We cannot forget the schools in the development of sports in the country, especially athletics, because many of us were discovered from the schools. “This was made possible because there were many competitions available for us to participate in as students, such as interschool competitions and

represent us at the next NSF,” Imam said. The coach, however, described the lack of sponsorship as a major problem facing the sport in the state, stressing that companies often did not sponsor because of the financial involvement. Imam also said that the lack of facilities was another problem which had stunted the development of the sport, stressing the state had equipment but lacked facilities. “Another major problem facing the sport in the state has been is a lack of sponsorship. Companies don’t like to sponsor our programmes because money is involved. “We are also battling with lack of facilities to enhance the training capacities of gymnasts. We have the equipment but unfortunately we lack facilities,” he said.

inter-house sports,” she said. Obajimi added that the focus on school sports would not only assist in identifying talents at a younger age but create avenues for coaches remain abreast with new developments in the sport. “If sports are revived in schools, it will provide opportunities for qualified coaches to be assigned or employed by such schools and in the process, facilitate the education of coaches. “Another deficiency of athletics in the country is that our coaches are not adequately educated. Many of them are not up to date,” she said.

Falcons flop at AWC is Chelsea set to sign Ba NFF’s major regrets in 2012 D T Demba Ba

he General Secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Musa Amadu has said the inability of the Super Falcons to defend the African Women Championship (AWC) was a major regret of 2012. Amadu who made this known in Abuja, described the team’s poor performance at the championship hosted by Equatorial Guinea as an embarrassment to the FA. He said the entire team would be overhauled soon following the disgrace it brought to the country’s football. “A rebuilding process has begun, we are going to

Musa Amadu

overhaul the team and we are going to overhaul the technical crew. “By the first quarter of 2013, we will see the result of the rebuilding process, this will enable us put together a good team and expose them to friendly matches before the qualifiers for the Women World Cup in Canada in 2015 begins in earnest,” Amadu said. The NFF scribe said that the inability of the FA to unite the football family was also part of their regrets for the out gone year. “I would want to say that we have not been able to really unite the football family. The process has begun and it has not been completed. “We still have some groups that are still not moving in the same direction with the FA as far as football development is concerned in Nigeria. “I will be praying that in the year 2013 onwards, the football family becomes stronger, so that we can have the same objective in this project which is to move Nigeria football forward. Peoples Daily Sports recalls that Anyim Pius Anyim, the Secretary to the Government of the

Federation and Sports Minister, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, had in 2012 brokered peace on the crisis marring Nigerian football. Some of the parties involved in the crisis, including the National Association of Nigeria Footballers (NANF), were persuaded to withdraw the court cases. Various committees had

been set up in the past to make peace in the country’s football. One of such committees’ was the Gen. Dominic Oneya’s nine-man committee; the committee was set up by the former Sports Minister, Yusuf Suleiman, in August 2011, to seek pragmatic ways of solving the incessant recurrence of crisis in Nigeria’s football.

emba Ba’s representatives are in talks with Chelsea over a January move according to Sky Sports. Ba has a £7million release clause in his contract which becomes active when the transfer window re-opens. The striker has shown some excellent form this season and already has 13 goals to his name this term. This has seen a host of clubs linked with a possible move, including

Arsenal, Tottenham, QPR and French giants Paris Saint Germain. Now Chelsea are reported to have moved into pole position after Sky Sports confirmed talks were due to take place between Ba’s representatives and the European champions on Sunday. Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez refused to be drawn on reports linking the Senegal striker, 27, with a move to west London.

Osaze to replace Ba at Newcastle


ewcastle boss Alan Pardew is reported to be interested in Nigeria international Osaze Odemwingie in case Demba Ba leaves this month. Newcastle wants Odemwingie to replace Senegal striker Ba, who has sparked off interest from a number of clubs including Chelsea. It’s not the first time Newcastle have been linked with the striker, but at 31, he’s the same age as compatriot Shola Ameobi and Peter hardly fits the profile of players Newcastle would want to sign in January. The Sun is reporting that talks are ongoing with West Brom about Osaze as it seems they may be

willing to sell the Nigeria star, who joined West Brom in 2010 from Russian club Lokomotiv Moscow, and before that he played at Lille with both Yohan Cabaye and Mathieu Debuchy. Odemwinge has a decent record at West Brom having appeared 73 times for them with 30 goals, and this season, while he’s only appeared nine times, he’s still managed to score four goals. And he’s certainly a skillful player who can play as an out and out striker or on one of the wings, so he would fit into Newcastle’s style of play fairly easily. Osaze has played for Nigeria 55 times with nine

goals, but has not been included in Nigeria’s squad for the African Cup

Osaze Odemwingie

of Nations, which will start in South Africa later this month.







Cueto eager for Premiership record


ark Cueto is keen to finally beat friend Steve Hanley and become the top try scorer in Premiership history. The Sale winger, 33, crossed for his 75th league try in the vital win over Worcester Warriors on Friday, equalling former team-mate Hanley’s mark. Cueto joked: “If you add international tries, I would have beaten him years ago,

but he won’t take that.” Cueto scored 20 tries in 55 games for England, while Hanley, who was forced to retire prematurely because of injury, scored once in his solitary appearance for England against Wales in 1999. Bottom club Sale, who saw John Mitchell leave the club for personal reasons on Saturday, won for only the second time in the Premiership this season

Saker rejects director role at Warwickshire


ngland bowling Coach David Saker says he has turned down the director of cricket role at Warwickshire. The county champions had been expected to appoint from within following Ashley Giles’s end-of-season resignation to become England’s limited-overs coach. “I had talks with Warwickshire and it was certainly an attractive offer they made. But it has come a little too early for me,” Saker told the Guardian. “I have unfinished business with the England team and I would like to take that through at least until the

end of the 2015 World Cup. However, Warwickshire chairman Norman Gascoigne dismissed 46year-old Saker’s claims that he was offered the post, telling the Daily Telegraph. “In the light of press speculation that was going around we contacted David to clarify the situation with him and ask whether he wanted to apply or not. “He came back to us and said that the timing was not right for him and that he intended to continue with England. Australian Saker, who left his role with his state side Victoria to become England



Kane Williamson






bowling coach in April 2010, is scheduled to link up with the rest of the England tour party tomorrow for the forthcoming one-day series against India, followed by the two-month tour to New Zealand. Warwickshire’s deadline for the vacancy created by Giles’s departure closed before Christmas, but they had already announced they would not make any announcement until January. The former Warwickshire, Glamorgan and Bermuda player, 42, currently teaches close to Edgbaston at Solihull School.

New Zealand score lowest test since 1974



against the Warriors. It closed the gap between themselves and secondfrom-bottom London Irish to a single point. “I’d never felt like I’d felt before that game,” added Cueto. “It sounds dramatic but you’re playing for your job. “In the back of my mind, I felt that if we lost, we would get relegated. You can’t explain how massive it was.”


ew Zealand was dismissed for 45 the lowest Test score in almost 39 years by South Africa yesterday. Kane Williamson was the only player to reach double figures in New Zealand’s first innings on day one of the first Test as Vernon Philander took 5-7 in Cape Town. The total was the third lowest ever scored by New Zealand. India was the last team to post a lower total, when they scored 42 against England at Lord’s in June 1974. Morne Morkel took three cheap wickets while Dale Steyn claimed two including his 300th Test scalp. New Zealand had won the toss and elected to bat at Newlands. South Africa made 119 for two in reply to lead by 74 runs. It is not the first time South Africa have skittled a side for less than 50 in Cape Town in recent years. In November 2011 they dismissed Australia for only 47 in their second innings in a Test they won by eight wickets. After the series in South Africa, New Zealand will host England in three T20 matches and three ODIs before three Tests, the first of which will start on 6 March.

Novak Djokovic

Djokovic loses Hopman Cup tie to Bernard


ovak Djokovic’s preparations for this month’s Australian Open suffered a setback when he lost to Bernard Tomic at the Hopman Cup team event. World number one Djokovic went down 6-4 6-4 as Australia took a 1-0 lead against Serbia in Perth. The defeat came two days after a crowd barricade fell into Djokovic’s shin while he was signing autographs. “I knew I was coming to Australia really late,” said Djokovic. “It takes time for me to get used to it. Djokovic will be anxious to return to winning ways before he launches the defence of his title at the Australian Open, which starts on 14 January. The 25-year-old has won the Australian Open for the last two years and beat Andy Murray in the 2011 final. Ana Ivanovic later defeated Australia’s Ashleigh Barty 6-2 6-3 to level the tie at 1-1.

Bertens beat Watson in ASB Classic


eather Watson suffered defeat against Holland’s Kiki Bertens in the second round of the ASB Classic in Auckland. The British number one went down 6-4 3-6 6-3 to an opponent ranked 14 places below her at 63rd in the world. Watson, 20, had overcome fifth seed Sorana Cirstea in the first round but converted five of 12 break-point chances against Bertens. The Guernsey player also struggled on second serve, winning only four points in the first and third sets combined. Watson will remain in Auckland as she and partner Marina Erakovic are into the quarter-finals of the doubles. She will then head to Hobart for her final tournament ahead of the Australian Open, which starts on 14 January. Agnieszka Radwanska, the losing Wimbledon 2012 finalist, overcame Romania’s Simona Halep 63 6-1 to reach the third round in Auckland.

Kiki Bertens



2013 Nations Cup finals

Gyan under pressure to replicate scoring form at AFCON


Morocco suffer AFCON injury blow


orocco have been handed a blow ahead of the African Cup of Nations tournament after Younes Belakhdar was ruled out due to injury and is set to be replaced by Abdelatif Noussair. The FAR Rabat defender will not join Rachid Taoussi’s squad in January after it was confirmed that he will be forced to miss out after suffering an injury. MAS player Abdelatif Noussair is said to be the player chosen as his replacement. Noussair’s arrival means that Taoussi will still have seven home-based players in the squad which will travel to South Africa for the months of January and February.

hana captain Asamoah Gyan says he is under some form of pressure to replicate his form at club level at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. Gyan scored an incredible 21 goals from 13 matches in the first round of the United Arab Emirates Etisalat Pro League. He is one short of equalling the 22 goals he scored to win the golden shoe award last season for the UAE champions. Gyan admits he will be expected to repeat his form at the tournament after a disappointing spell in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. “There might be pressure because people expect you to do more,” Gyan said. “If you don’t deliver then people might say your form is due to lack and that is the challenge. Sometimes it puts a bit of pressure on me. Ghana’s first match will be against DR Congo on 20 January in Port Elizabeth before matches against Mali and Niger in Group B.

Asamoah Gyan

Ghana face tough warm-up matches in Dubai


hana will face two tough tests against Egypt and Tunisia in preparation for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa. The Black Stars will be camping in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates in preparation for the tournament, and will take on the Pharaohs on January 10th. Tunisia are hAolding a training camp in Dubai and have three more preparatory internationals planned in the United Arab

Don’t compare me to Mourinho – Cape Verde coach


ape Verde Coach Lucio Antunes says he should not be compared to Jose Mourinho. Antunes guided the Blue Sharks to a first ever Africa Cup of Nations qualification and later this month they will

Cape Verde will shock South Africa, Angola, Morocco in AFCON, says FA president

face South Africa, Morocco and Angola in Group A of the continental tournament. The Islanders’ coach spent time with Real Madrid’s Jose Mourinho in December and has even been compared to the ‘Special One’, as well as Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari by Cape Verdean press. However, Antunes believes

C Younes Belakhdar

Ethiopia battle Togo, Tunisia in friendly matches


thiopia will host Togo and then Tunisia in preparation for their 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. According to Ethiopian media sources, the Walia Antelopes will face Niger in Addis Ababa on Sunday. They will Togo at home on January 3rd, before flying to Qatar four days later for a match against Tunisia. Ethiopia is also reported to be playing Tanzania and Morocco away from home in January, but the dates and times have not yet been confirmed. Ethiopia is in Group C for the tournament, along with Zambia, Nigeria and Burkina Faso, while Togo is in Group D with Algeria, Ivory Coast and Tunisia.

Emirates (against Gabon, Ethiopia and Ghana) before they head to South Africa where they will start their Nations Cup campaign on January 22nd against Algeria in Rustenburg. Ghana was drawn in Group B along with Mali, Niger and DR Congo, and will be based in Port Elizabeth whereas Tunisia is in Group D with Togo, Algeria and Ivory Coast, and will be based in Rustenburg.

ape Verde FA president Mario Semedo says the Blue Sharks will shocked it opponents when the Africa Cup of Nations kicks-off later in the month. The Islanders, who will make their debut in the tournament, have been drawn with hosts South Africa as well as Angola and Morocco in the first round. Semedo insists that his national team, which eliminated West African giants Cameroon from the final phase of qualifying, should be able to hold their own. “These are teams we know well,” said Semedo of Bafana Bafana, Angola and Morocco. “A team that can knock out Cameroon at the qualifying stage, can face every other opponent in Africa with a certain measure of selfconfidence,” he added.

Shola Ameobi


reach the final. Diakite’s absence will be a big blow to QPR, who are eight points adrift of safety at the bottom of the Barclays Premier League. The 23-year-old’s call-up follows better news in regards to Adel Taarabt, who has been left out of the Morocco squad for the African Nations Cup.

Cape Verde Coach, Lucio Antunes



QPR receive AFCON blow ueens Park Rangers have received a blow with news that Samba Diakite has been called up to Mali’s squad for the African Nations Cup. The defensive midfielder is expected to link up with his international team-mates on January 5 and could be out until mid-February should the Eagles

such comparisons are unnecessary. “They are two coaches who operate on quite a different level and can draw on a completely different realm of experience,” Antunes declared. “The comparison simply isn’t justified. But I would give anything to be Mourinho or Scolari,” he added.

he Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has set to overlooked Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi for their 2013 Africa Cup of Nations squad after he failed to answer their telephone calls. But it was later announced by Newcastle boss Alan Pardew that the 31year-old would not travel to South Africa. “Shola’s refusal to answer calls gave Keshi no other option than to allow him to concentrate on his club, “said Eagles media officer Ben Alaiya. “The coach and team secretary made several attempts to reach Shola but there was no answer. The coach waited to hear back from him but a call never came. Ameobi made his debut for Nigeria last November in the friendly against Venezuela and Keshi was hopeful the former England under-21 international would be part of his squad for the competition, which kicks off on 19 January. But he has now become only the second England-based player after Danny Shittu to snub the Nations Cup in order to play for his club. Millwall defender Shittu wrote to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and asked to be left out of the tournament. The NFF rejected his letter and insisted he must make himself available but coach Keshi approved Shittu’s request. The two-time champions have been drawn in Nations Cup Group C with Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and defending champions Zambia.






1 5

1] New Zealand are dismissed for 45 - the lowest Test score in almost 39 years - by South Africa as Vernon Philander takes 5-7. 2] Sir Alex Ferguson hailed striker Robin van Persie following Manchester United's 4-0 win over Wigan on New Year's Day, describing the Dutchman as "a completely rounded footballer". 3] Ireland second row Paul O'Connell hopes to return to action by April after having a successful back operation.


4] Luka Modric has admitted to finding the adaptation to life at Real Madrid "challenging" following criticism from his manager, Jose Mourinho. 5] Queens Park Rangers boss Harry Redknapp has joked that there was no way Rafa Benitez could fail at Chelsea given the quality at his disposal. 6] Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry will not be signing for the club on loan in January, manager Arsene Wenger has said.




Winner of the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 1996, 1997 and 2002, there can be few, if any, men better placed than Ronaldo Nazario de Lima to give their views on the FIFA Ballon d’Or 2012 and its impact on a player. sat down with El Fenómeno and spoke on the importance of recognition, the rich array of players challenging for the top individual honours during his era and those he thinks were unfortunate to miss out as well as his tips for this year’s awards. The upcoming edition of the prestigious ceremony, which will recognise the finest performers on Planet Football over 2012, is set to take place on 7 January 2013 at the Kongresshaus in Zurich.

Every player dreams of recognition in field of play, says Ronaldo


hen you were a player, was it this time of year, when the voting for the FIFA Ballon d’Or is taking place, that you gave most thought to these kinds of individual

awards? Every player dreams of being recognised internationally as the best player in the world. Of course only one player can win each year, but players don’t only think about it at this time of year. You think about it all the time. This is the fruit of a whole year of playing well on a regular basis, scoring goals, being important to your team and winning titles. There’s a complete set of criteria for deciding who wins the Ballon d’Or. How big an impact did winning your first FIFA World Player award have on your life? Did opponents show you more respect afterwards? Wow, that first one was so special. It was lovely. And because I wasn’t expecting it, it was wonderful. You do get more respect from opponents but, at the time, the responsibility on your shoulders and the pressure to keep up that level of performance also increases. It’s good in several ways and I always say that, for me at least, the more pressure the better. I’d turn that into energy and motivation and was able to perform even better. Do you think 1996 was the year in which your life changed the most? You started it playing for PSV Eindhoven, won a starting berth for Brazil at the Atlanta Olympics, earned a move to Barcelona and were finally chosen as the world’s best player... It was a fantastic year: I started out of favour with A Seleção Brasileira, as a back-up player, though I was getting games and being decisive for PSV. And later came that transfer to Barcelona. It was a year packed full of emotions. A year of important decisions too, because it’s not easy changing clubs and taking a step like that in your career. But I was given a very good welcome at Barcelona and I managed to stay focused on just playing football. (Paolo Maldini) was the best defender I faced over the course of my career. He definitely deserved to win the award several times over. Ronaldo on who he feels deserved to be named FIFA World Player of the Year during his career When you won the award for the third time in 2002, was that the ideal way to cap a year that featured a remarkable return from injury on the way to winning the FIFA World Cup I think that it was magnificent to cap the comeback with the World Player award, because it was a more personal achievement. It was about overcoming obstacles and was an example to everyone. I spent a year and a half battling to recover and I was rewarded by being able to play at the 2002 World Cup. I played well, was the tournament top scorer and won the World Player award. It was perhaps an even more significant win than the first because of the difficulties I’d had to overcome along the way. Was there any player you had a particular rivalry with when it came to these individual awards? Zinedine Zidane, for example, who also won the top prize three times I’d say that in my day the competition was much fiercer than it is today, without taking anything at all away from (Lionel) Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who are the two players that’ll be up there fighting it out to be the world’s best over the next few years. But in my day there was Zidane, Rivaldo won it one year, (Luis0 Figo, me, later came Ronaldinho Gaucho... The battle to be the best was very fierce among that generation of players. Back then, whoever won certainly deserved it. Zidane and I were quite dominant during those years, with him winning three times and me too. We experienced some spectacular years which were enjoyed by all those

It’s still a battle between those two Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo even though (Andres) Iniesta and Xavi will be in there too and are also incredible players.

Ronaldo Nazario de Lima

who love football. You have played alongside a host of star names, many of whom also won the coveted award. Could you pick out any player who, in your mind, deserved to win but didn’t. These individual prizes are, in a way, a form of rewarding the consistency of a given player but football isn’t an individual sport, by any means. It’s a team sport, in which the collective is very important. I always made a point of sharing the credit for those awards with all my team-mates in the sides I was playing for. There’s no doubt that, in that sense, there’s a lot of injustice, because in any given year there’ll be several players who’ve performed consistently and deserve the title. For example, I always found it very difficult when I came up against Paolo Maldini. He was the best defender I faced over the course of my career. He definitely deserved to win the award several times over, but sometimes the criteria don’t work out perfectly. That’s because he’s a defender and the public like to see goals and great pieces of skill, while defenders are there to put a stop to those moves. But Maldini was always far too talented to be playing at the back anyway. It was magnificent to cap the comeback with the World Player award, because it was a more personal achievement. It was about overcoming obstacles and was an example to everyone. Is it harder for non-European based players to gain votes? Football has been, in general terms, very well-balanced but the fact that European football is the most competitive and the best to watch isn’t going to change. It’s the benchmark for the whole world. So, it’s only natural that the continent where the best players are based is also the one that picks the winner of the award for the world’s best player. In your opinion, has Neymar done enough yet to be ranked alongside the biggest names currently in the game? Neymar is a great Brazilian talent. He’s a rare gem that we have. Some time ago I said he needed to come and play in Europe to prove how much talent he has and show the whole world. Sooner or later that’ll happen: he’ll come and play in Europe and then he’ll be in the mix for the Ballon d’Or. He’s going through something similar to your early days in A Seleção: he’s still very young but there’s huge expectation on his shoulders. How would you advise him to handle that? There’s no mystery to it, I always say the key is being focused on football. And he’s a very focused, very disciplined lad. He’s always aiming to play, score goals and win titles. So, there’s nothing special I can tell him that he isn’t already doing. I’m sure that sooner or later he’ll come to Europe and, once there, he’ll prove to the world that we Brazilians are still producing great talents. If you could vote in this year’s awards, who would you choose as the FIFA Ballon d’Or winner and why? It’s still a battle between those two Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo even though (Andres) Iniesta and Xavi will be in there too and are also incredible players. However, because they play in midfield, the public might not feel quite as passionately about them. So, Messi would get my vote because, in addition to being decisive scoring loads of goals and winning trophies he’s able to bring a special and different kind of magic to football. Cristiano Ronaldo is a very technical, very skilful and very pragmatic player, but Messi continues to produce the unexpected on a regular basis. Neymar is a great Brazilian talent. He’s a rare gem that we have. He’ll come and play in Europe and then he’ll be in the mix for the Ballon d’Or. And who’d be your choice for FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football and why? Ah, I’d give the best coach award to [Jose] Mourinho. I know the world of football well, so he’d get it for his tactical organisation, his planning, his training methods... He’s the coach I’d vote for because it’s not easy to handle 25 players so well on a daily basis. How about your prediction for the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year? My prediction is... well, I’d vote for Marta. (laughs) Being Brazilian, I’d vote for her to win again. How many does she have already? Five, isn’t it? Well I’d vote for her so she can win for a sixth time too (laughs). Turning to the FIFA/FIFPro World XI, who would be your 11 picks? Let’s see. I’d go for (Iker) Casillas, Daniel Alves, Sergio Ramos, John Terry and at left-back... Who shall I put at left-back? Roberto Carlos maybe? (laughs) And Marcelo, from Real Madrid. In midfield I’d have Xavi, Iniesta and (Frank) Lampard. Then, up front, would be Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi and Neymar.



Quick CrossWord (103)

Say what?

ACROSS 1 Clothes not suitable for evenings (7) 5 European capital city (4) 9 Constructed (7) 10 Viscous (5) 11 Quotient (5) 12 Censure (6) 14 Spills (6) 16 Promise (6) 18 Alkali used in glass-making (6) 19 Trailing behind (2,3) 22 Bridgewater, Grand Union, for example (5) 23 Seasoned soldier (7) 24 Fabricated (4) 25 Method, system (7)

SUDOKU Getting Started Each sudoku puzzle is a 9 by 9 grid of horizontal and vertical rows, evenly separated into 9 squares with 9 spaces each. Instead of word clues, each puzzle’s solution is determined by the pattern of the numbers already filled in you. You solve the puzzle by filling in the missing digits so that, when completed, each row and each square will have all the number from 1 to 9; each number will appear in exactly nine spaces within each puzzle.

DOWN 2 Heedful (5) 3 Absolutely predictably (7,4) 4 Birch-like trees (6) 6 Unpleasantly surprised (7) 7 Agate, often used in cameos (4) 8 Scared (7) 10 Lose your temper (2,9) 13 Usual alcoholic accompaniment for beef or lamb (3,4) 15 Fainted (7) 17 Young lad (6) 20 Open pastry cases with a sweet or savoury filling (5) 21 Swindle (4)

Yesterday’s answer


Yesterday’s solution

A child's rusting bicycle is stuck up in the air - after being eaten by a tree in Washington State, USA. Source:

. . . putting the people first



Liverpool signs Chelsea star


iverpool has completed the £12 million signing of striker Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea. Sturridge, 23, has signed a long-term contract and will offer an extra option for manager Brendan Rodgers in a squad that has been short of forwards this season. Luis Suarez has been Liverpool’s only fit senior striker since mid-October, when Fabio Borini picked up a foot injury. Rodgers had already been left short of firepower after allowing Andy Carroll to join West Ham on a season’s loan in August, then missing out on Fulham forward Clint Dempsey, who joined Tottenham instead. The arrival of Sturridge, whose chances at Chelsea have been limited by a hamstring problem this season, is intended to ease the attacking burden on Suarez. He has been signed too late to play for Liverpool against Sunderland in the Premier League on Wednesday night, but is likely to make his debut in Sunday’s FA Cup third-round tie at Blue Square Bet Premier side Mansfield. Sturridge, who has four England caps and played for Great Britain’s football side at last summer’s Olympics, told Liverpool’s website: “I am humbled and happy to be here. “Brendan Rodgers said he sees me here for a long time and I also see myself here for a long time. I’ve not signed here to play for a couple of years and then move on. “I’ve signed to be here for as long as possible. It’s a humongous club for me, one of the biggest in the world and to have the fans and world-class players we have here is amazing.


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QUO TABLE Q UO TE UOT QUO UOTE Nigerians cannot and will not trust an administration that promises to fight corruption but has presided over the worst cases of corruption in the history of the country. — ACN to President Jonathan

Nigerians and the culture of entitlement T

here is now a consensus that Nigeria has been run aground by bad leadership and corruption. Unlike in Asia where corruption often helps to grease the wheels of inefficient government bureaucratic machines leading to more efficient outcomes, the Nigerian case is all about crude and destructive greed where leaders simply extort and steal even when it is ruinous to the state. This kind of corruption has badly damaged institutions, led to the decay/lack of investment in infrastructure, undermined both short and long-term economic growth, increased poverty, and contributed to the country’s dependent status in the global economy. Interestingly, Nigerians have been quite vociferous in their demand for good governance and accountability. The country is reputed to be one of the countries with the most active and vocal citizenry, press, and civil society organizations. Despite all these, however, corruption and mismanagement of public funds have continued unabated. But why is it that despite the outcry and damaging publicity on social media and the threat of revolution, Nigerian leaders have largely ignored their citizens and continued with “business as usual”? Why has it been impossible as yet to make government accountable to its citizens in Nigeria like in other democratic countries? To find answers to this question, Nigerians may need to take a break from insulting and blaming their government for everything – a practice fast becoming a national sport – and look at themselves a little more than they are used to. One area to begin with is to consider the ways the government gets its revenues and whether it is possible to institutionalize accountability in a system where revenue is ‘unearned’ and is not derivable from the people. By ‘unearned’ income, I mean revenues gotten where neither the state nor its citizens were actively involved in the process of earning the income. Nigeria’s oil revenues, strictly defined, are ‘rents’ paid to it by foreign multinationals. As of today, over 80% of national

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GUEST COLUMNIST Christopher Akor

President Jonathan income and 95% of foreign exchange earnings come from the sale of crude oil. This started in the early 1970’s when, thanks to the oil boom, Nigeria suddenly became awash with petro-dollars. To find ways to spend the money, the government embarked on a reckless spending spree: establishing hundreds of State Owned Enterprises, and taking over control of universities and other utilities from state governments. Even religion was not left out as the federal government began to organize and subsidise pilgrimages. Meanwhile, the taxation system bequeathed by the colonial government was virtually dismantled. The government does not need the people’s money as it has enough coming from oil. Nigerians, on their part, developed an unhealthy feeling of entitlement and a culture of expectation from their government. They expect the government to provide jobs, roads, hospitals, education, water, electricity, etc at little or no cost. “We are an oil-rich country after-all” goes the usual cliché. Jane Guyer, aptly termed this special form of democracy in Nigeria as “representation

without taxation”. The Nigerian notion of citizenship is basically right-based – one that sees itself more as receiving from, and not giving to the state. That is not all. Citizens also make huge financial demands from their representatives. These officials have no option other than to engage in corruption. In no time, the public purse became a huge cake from which anyone with access to it is expected to cut as much as s/he could afford for him/herself and his/her local community. That is why, for instance, despite Nigerians shouting themselves hoarse, the salaries and allowances of their legislators remain the highest in the world. They need money to cater to the innumerable demands of their constituents. As is usual with countries where governments do not depend on their citizens for revenues, the governments are usually not responsible or accountable to their citizens even when they claim to be democracies. They are more accountable to their sources of revenues. Any wonder then that African governments are more accountable to IMF, World Bank and Western countries where the bulk of their revenues come from rather than their own citizens? An opportunity presented itself for Nigerians to extract some concessions from their government when the government called on the people to pay the market price for PMS because the government was getting broke and could not continue to subsidise PMS. The ensuing national strike for once shook the government and it was obvious it was prepared to make concessions to the people. Rather than bargain for government accountability, reduction in the cost of governance and a commitment

to end corruption as a precondition for accepting the price hike, Nigerians, led by labour unions, were more interested in forcing the government to maintain the subsidy even though it does not make any economic sense to do so. For instance, while about $8 billion was spent in subsidizing PMS in 2011, the budget for education for the same year was only $2.2 billion. Interestingly, after the hues and cries and the best efforts of the government, about N1.23 trillion ($8 billion) will still be spent on fuel subsidy payments by the end of the 2012 financial year. In a recent editorial that went viral, the Punch Newspaper lamented, almost in frustration, that over N5 trillion ($31 billion) has been stolen in Nigeria since May 2010. The paper compared Nigeria to Norway which produces almost the same amount of oil as Nigeria but whose prudent management of its resources has made it one of the richest countries in the world. What The Punch forgot to mention however, is that whereas Norway’s population is just below 5 million and the government could afford to take care of the entire population with the oil money without batting an eyelid, its taxes are one of the highest in the world - 36% personal income tax and 24% VAT. This means that the citizens perform their duties and do not fold their arms and depend on the government for everything like Nigerians do. In 2007, the Nigerian government attempted to raise VAT from 5% to 10%. Nigerians went on strike to force a reversal. VAT in Nigeria is still 5% while personal income tax, except for places like Lagos, and for government workers, is virtually non-existent. Perhaps what Nigerians need is a benevolent dictator like Gaddafi or the oil Sheiks of the Middle East. But they cannot have both democracy and accountability at the same time without paying the price. Perhaps, they can become the first country to achieve representation without taxation. Christopher Akor is a member of St Antony’s College, Oxford.

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: +234 805 727 9862. e-mail:; ISSN: 2141– 6141

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