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Vol. 10 No. 5

Friday, January 4, 2013

. . . putting the people first

Safar 21, 1434 AH


Jonathan poster ploy to rig 2015 polls — CPC By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem and Ikechukwu Okaforadi


s the tension generated by the appearance of President Goodluck Jonathan’s 2015 campaign poster builds up, opposition Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) has raised an alarm that the timing of the poster is an attempt to rig

…As president fails to order probe the 2015 presidential election way ahead of time. This is coming on the heels of the failure of President Jonathan to order an outright investigation into the appearance of the poster, which he has admitted is aimed

at distracting his administration and does not mean well for the polity. Instead, while denying having a hand in the printing and pasting of the poster, Jonathan had on Wednesday said there was

nothing he could do to stop the campaigners since they have remained faceless. However, yesterday he challenged security agencies, to on their own, determine whether the appearance of the poster

announcing there is no vacancy in Aso Rock constituted a security breech. But the CPC, which has maintained that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Contd on Page 2

Scavengers searching for valuables in a refuse dump, yesterday at Orile-Iganmu area in Lagos.

Photo: NAN

Dana resumes flights today, seven months after crash By Ibrahim Kabiru Sule


even months after an aircraft in its fleet crashed into a suburb of Lagos,last June, killing some 163 people, Dana Air will return to business

today with a flight from Lagos to Abuja, following an approval obtained from the aviation minister on Monday. The letter personally signed by the minister, Ms. Stella Oduah, was addressed to the Director-

Cop killed in Kogi Speaker’s convoy crash >> PAGE 3

General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr. Harold Demuren, on December 31, 2012 with reference number FMA/ ATMD/502/S.835/11/56. It was entitled “Re: Release of Dana Airline to return to flight

Nyako floored in Adamawa PDP congresses >> PAGE 3

operations”. While the airline was ordered to abide by the safety regulations of NCAA, the letter asked it to complete payment of all insurance obligations and claims within two months to the

dependants of the crash victims. Dana Air, it is recalled, had its operating license suspended by the federal government immediately after the June 3 crash of its AbujaLagos flight. Contd on Page 2

N6.5bn fraud: EFCC seizes Sylva’s property >> PAGE 4




2013 budget: Presidency, NASS rift unsolved


By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem














S/Exchange S/Report Islam Int’l

23 24-25 26 27-30


espite receiving speedy attention in the National Assembly, the 2013 budget may not take off in January 2013 following the usual disagreement between the executive and legislature over what was sent to the Legislature by the Executive and what the lawmakers passed. Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly matters, Senator Joy Emordi , who confirmed this to State House correspondents yesterday after a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan, noted that there were indeed areas of disagreement


he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South-west has urged leaders of the party across the nation to honour the zone with the vacant position of the party's Board of Trustees (BoT) chairman. Rising from the joint meeting of the BoT members from the South-west and the Zonal Working Committee members held in Abeokuta, Ogun state capital on Wednesday, the party also urged that the BOT chairman be elected by consensus.

Strange World 31 Revue












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bills and implement resolutions passed by them, Emordi replied that though those issues existed, the underlying reason was to “promote what is best in the interest of the nation.” “There is no problem between the executive and the legislature, they are all working for the people of Nigeria. So let us forget about the hypes. There must be issues, but the most important thing is that they are working for the common interest of Nigerians. On the resolutions, yes, there might be issues but at the end of the day those issues were also resolved or are in the process of being resolved,” she said. On when the budget will be

signed, she simply said “very soon; I assure you that it will be signed soon.” “Just the details remain. You know, details of the budget are usually very bulky. We need to get the details; when the details are sent to Mr. President, he will have to study them first as nobody will just expect him to sign. They are just binding it (budget document).” Emordi noted that the early passage of the 2013 budget was a clear indication that future relationships between the legislature and the executive will be better, adding that “this harmonious relationship between the executive and legislature will be sustained in 2013.”

South-west PDP wants BoT chairmanship From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan

Constitution amendment: Between politics and public interest, Page 37

between the two arms of government. However, she said there was no cause for alarm. "But you know that even husband and wife do have disagreements. There is no way that you cannot expect the two arms of government to disagree, but the most important thing is how they deal with the issues at the end of the day. “And you can see that in most of the issues, even after the disagreements, they always resort to dialogue and come to one position that will be acceptable to all in the interest of the nation.” Speaking on the allegation by the federal lawmakers that the President had refused to assent to

In a release issued by the Zonal Publicity Secretary, Hon. Kayode Babade, the party resolved that even though by the PDP constitution, the BoT chairman is required to be elected, "The leadership of the party should be encouraged to elect the chairman of the BoT by consensus in the interest of peace, harmony and cohesion of our great party at the highest level". While throwing its weight behind the emergence of a candidate from the zone as the new BoT chairman, the meeting resolved that: "As a deserving zone, the South-west would be highly

honoured if it is considered in filling the vacant exalted office of the BOT chairman of our great party, the PDP". Apart from members of the Zonal Working Committee led by the national vice-chairman (South-west), Chief Segun Oni, other BOT members from the zone who attended the meeting included Chief Richard Akinjide, Senator C.K. Awoyelu, Alhaji Shuaib Oyedokun and Chief Tunde Osunrinde. Those who could not attend but sent apologies included Alhaji Yekini Adeojo, Rt. Hon Patricia

Etteh, Senator Bode Olajumoke and Chief (Mrs.) Aduke Maina. The PDP BoT chairmanship seat became vacant when former President Olusegun Obasanjo resigned from the position on April 3, 2012. The new BOT chairman is expected to emerge after an election scheduled for January 8, 2013. The BOT of the PDP, according to the constitution comprises of men and women of integrity that have contributed critically to the party, and who act as the conscience of the party.

Jonathan poster ploy to rig 2015 polls — CPC Contd from Page 1 is behind the poster said the ruling party aims to use it to overheat the polity and the exploit the situation to “unleash a very capricious onslaught on the opposition” in a desperate bid to hold onto power. The opposition party in a statement entitled “Jonathan: Gradual unveiling of untrammeled ruthlessness”, which was signed by its National Publicity Secretary Rotimi Fashakin, said the declaration in the poster that there was no vacancy in Aso Rock in 2015 was a signal that the outcome of the 2015 presidential election has already been predetermined by the PDP and kept in wraps for a “formal” announcement. “It is no longer news that the posters of Dr Goodluck Jonathan’s intention to stay put on the ‘throne’ – irrespective of his waning popularity- are already showing ubiquitous adornment of the spaces in and around the Federal Capital Territory (FCT),” CPC stated. While arguing that the language of the poster negates

democratic principles, CPC expressed worry that Jonathan may ‘shed off civility and put on the garb of African leaders …that have shown desperation in their final descent from power. The party said the poster was an indication that the PDP is afraid of the merger plan by opposition parties but stated that no amount of threat by the PDP will impede the merger plans aimed at forming a mega party that will eject PDP out of government come 2015. Following the public outrage that has continued to trail the appearance of the posters, Jonathan yesterday reiterated that the people behind his 2015 presidential campaign posters do not mean well for him and the polity. The President who was reacting to the development for the second time, stated that he was not aware of the posters and never sent anyone to paste them on his behalf. Speaking through his spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati in an interaction with State House correspondents, Jonathan said

that he expected the necessary security agencies to step into the matter if they think the action amounted to any kind of security breach. “Our position remains that President Jonathan has not launched any campaign for reelection in 2015. He has not asked anybody to go and paste posters around Abuja. Whoever those people are, they are acting on their own. They are not President Jonathan's agent. They are on to their own mischief. “The second leg is that the President has been consistent with the issue of 2015. In the last Presidential media chat, he said he was not talking about 2015 as at this moment. He had been given an assignment by the Nigerian people which is to see through the transformation agenda, to ensure the different changes he has promised in life and society are actualised. That is what he remains committed to. Those who are bent to distract this government has brought out the posters.” Abati continued: “I repeat that President Jonathan know nothing about it. The President of

Nigeria has an office that is so important that he cannot behave in a cowardly manner. This is a man who is honest and have reputation of being honest. “The security agencies have their jobs cut out for them. If they feel there is anything that is likely to disturb the polity, that is likely to affect the integrity of the state or they feel something has happened and they need information, that needs to be investigated, then of course they will do their job. “They don't even need to wait for Presidential directive. It is part of their normal duty to find out what is happening in the environment particularly if what has happened is a matter of public interest. “The President does not need to give any other. People whose job is it to ensure that nothing goes wrong within the Nigerian state will do their job. They will make their own assessment; they will do their own investigations. If they feel that there is any threat whatsoever to public peace, to rule of law and order, they will make sure that is not allowed,” he said.

Dana resumes flights today, seven months after crash Contd from Page 1 The aviation minister, however, stated, a few months later, that Dana’s license was suspended in error, signaling the airline would be able to commence operations again. However, the inability of the airline to finish payment of compensations to the victims

meant it was unable to commence flying sooner than now as an existing clause said payments must be finished before the airline could restart flights. The NCAA made it very clear Dana must meet that requirement before contemplating an early return to the air. It did so a fortnight ago

when it made the last payment of $70, 000 to crash victims’ families. The airline, it was gathered, would have resumed flight operations two weeks ago but had to postpone it due to its inability to get approval from the Ministry of Aviation despite getting the nod of the NCAA.

Head, Corporate Communication of Dana, Mr. Tony Usidamen, who confirmed the development on Wednesday, said, “Our inaugural flight is 9:45am on Friday. Several dignitaries from aviation agencies and our brand ambassadors will be on board the flight.”



Three killed, 12 injured in LagosIbadan auto crash From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan


Emir of Bauchi, Alhaji Rilwanu Adamu (middle), and members of Bauchi state Independent Electoral Commission, during their visit to the emir yesterday in Bauchi. Photo: NAN

Nyako floored in Adamawa PDP congresses T

he original foundation members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, made a clean sweep of the local government area congresses which were successfully held throughout Adamawa state yesterday.

A most revealing aspect of the congresses, besides the very large turn-out recorded all over the state, is the overwhelming defeat of the candidates from Governor Murtala Nyako's camp who originally came into the PDP from the All Nigeria People's Party

(ANPP). The party had suffered a series of crises following the alienation of the original PDP members from the party’s platform by the actions of the governor who showed preference for his fellow travellers from the ANPP.

The first-ever congresses attracted a massive and enthusiastic following as party members who have clamored for this opportunity to choose their leaders. The local government congresses were monitored by the party headquarters and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in fulfillment of statutory requirements.

Cop killed in Kogi Speaker’s convoy crash From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


arely 48 hours after the discharge of Kogi state governor, Idris Wada from an Abuja hospital after he narrowly escaped death in an auto crash which killed his Aide

de Camp, the convoy of Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon Momoh Jimoh Lawal, was on Tuesday involved in another crash which claimed the life of a police man on the Speaker’s entourage. The crash occurred along the

Okene-Lokoja Road. According to sources, the Speaker was returning from Okene when the police escort vehicle, a Toyota Hilux van, in which the Police Constable, Akeem Lamidi and others were travelling collided with a truck. It was gathered that Lamidi,

who hails from Erin Ile in Oyun local government area was rushed to the Federal Medical Centre in Lokoja for treatment, where he died on Wednesday morning. The Speaker was however unhurt in the incident.

o fewer than three persons died in a fatal accident yesterday morning along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway while 12 others were seriously injured. About 15 persons were involved, three men died instantly while 12 others sustained life threatening injuries. The crash which occurred at Km 19 on Ibadan-Lagos Expressway, involved a Toyota Hiace bus with registration number YB 65 MUS traveling from Osogbo to Lagos. An eyewitness told our reporter that the crash was as a result of over-speeding by the driver of the vehicle. He said the commercial vehicle somersaulted several times before it finally crashed. Another witness who joined another vehicle from Osogbo revealed that most of the victims were returning to Lagos after the New Year celebration. Our correspondent gathered that both the injured and dead victims have been taken to Adeoyo Hospital and University College Hospital, Ibadan. The rescue teams which included the police and FRSC officials have recorvered a total of N360, 275:00 cash belonging to the victims. Also, over 25 mobile phones gathered from the scene of the accident have been taken to the hospital.

FG flouts port concession contract, by stakeholders By Aminu Imam and Abdulwahab Isa


takeholders operating at ports have lent their voices against the six-month extension granted concessionaires by the federal government. The seven- year contract the government it signed with the three destination inspection service providers was extended by six months last Monday, beginning this month. The three are Cotecna, SGS and Global Scan System Ltd by another six months beginning from this January. They were contracted in 2006 to carry out inspection of imports to determine duty payable and prevent prohibited goods from coming into the country. A statement said to have emanated from the Federal Ministry of Finance, conveyed the extension to all service providers, saying it had been approved by

President Goodluck Jonathan. The statement dated 30th December, 2012 was claimed to have been signed by the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Danladi Kifasi. However, Peoples Daily learnt the contract ought to have been terminated by the end of December 2012 and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) was expected to have taken over the work of the inspectors. According to concerned industry stakeholders, the extension violates the initial terms of agreement. Article 3 (3) clearly specifies that "This Agreement may be extended by a signed agreement reached by the parties at least ninety (90) days before the expiration of this Agreement". They refer to the federal government's latest action as a "political gesture" that negates the overall economic interest of Nigeria.

A government source was quoted recently as saying that the extension was inevitable as the NCS seemed unprepared to over all the inspection infrastructure put in place by the contractors. It was reported that the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Global Scan System, Mr. Fred Udechukwu, called for an extension of the contract on the grounds that the NCS was not equipped to operate and maintain the complex scanners. But the NCS has allayed fears concerning its competency and expertise to undertake destination inspection in the New Year. It has, for instance, abolished the Risk Assessment Report (RAR) associated with destination inspection under the contractors for Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR). Under the new assessment method, the NCS is expected to set

up a Nigerian Trade Data Bank (NTDB) for reliable trade statistics to be readily available for international investors, with the contractors expected to be on the sidelines and to supervise activities within the six-month transition period. Decrying the latest federal government's move, the President of Nigeria Customs License Clearing Agents, Prince Olayiwola Shittu, in a phone conversation with our correspondent yesterday, said the service providers have not added any value to port operations and he wondered why government should play up political consideration above merit by granting them a six month extension. Reacting Shittu said, "The extension is uncalled for. We are in a country where what concerns majority is of no significant interest to the authority. These concessionaires signed up for seven

years contract and they were paid close to $50 million for services they are not rendering." When Peoples Daily sought the reaction of officials of the Finance Ministry, the Senior Special Assistant (Media) to the Economy's Coordinating Minister/ Finance, Mr. Paul Nwabuiku, told our reporter on phone Thursday that the extension was a presidential directive, not the minister's. He said the six months extension was to enable detailed stocktaking and evaluation of what the service providers had done and also afford the NCS an ample opportunity to prepare if it must succeed in taking over . Also, when our reporter contacted the officials of one of the three destination inspection service providers, Cotecna, he was advised to contact its Abuja office, which was unreachable all of yesterday.



Anenih knocks critics over appointment as NPA chair By Richard Ihediwa


ormer chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Tony Anenih, has urged Nigerians to ignore criticism in the media against his recent appointment as chairman of the Board of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). Anenih, in a statement signed by his Personal Assistant, Mr. Peter Abulu, said the same attitude should be shown towards similar media publications in respect of efforts by the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to fill the vacant position of chairman of its Boards of Trustees. He reminded his critics that his appointment as chairman of NPA Board was the absolute discretion of the President and should not be a matter for media propaganda. In the same vein, he said the filling of the vacant position of the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PDP is the absolute discretion of the party leadership and BoT members.

Nigeria spends N1bn annually on foreign students – Director


igeria spends about N1 billion annually on scholarship for foreign students studying in the country, the Director, Federal Scholarship Board, Hindatu Abdullahi, has said. Ms. Abdullahi said in Abuja on Thursday that government spends the amount on the programme as “reciprocal scholarship” for the students concerned. She said the scholarship is part of the Bilateral Education Agreements, BEA, programme between Nigeria and some other countries. The director said that as part of the agreement, Nigeria bears the cost of tuition, accommodation and a little supplementation for the students. The countries, Ms. Abdullahi said, are India, Turkey, Russia, Cuba, China, Japan, Algeria, Ukraine, Romania, Syria, Czech Republic and Egypt. She said that many Nigerians are also studying in those countries. “Their host countries are also expected to pay for accommodation, tuition and allowances. “The country is also expected to provide for their warm clothing allowance, 500 dollars monthly allowance and 1,000 dollars as research allowance for final year students,” Ms. Abdullahi said. She also said that when admitted to institutions in those countries, Nigeria caters for their travel expenses, all administrative works and health insurance.

N6.5 bn fraud: EFCC seizes Sylva’s property By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


he Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday confiscated 48 choice property belonging to Mr. Timpre Sylva, former governor of Bayelsa state, who is facing prosecution at a Federal High Court in Abuja for alleged misappropriation of N6.46 billion state funds when he was governor of the state. The interim forfeiture of the property followed an order by the Justice A. R Mohammed of the Federal High Court Abuja

obtained on December 28, 2012. Assets belonging to the former governor against which a forfeiture order was obtained by the EFCC are: a mansion at 3 River Niger Street, Plot 3192 Cadastral Zone AO, Maitama District Abuja; nine units (comprising six one-bedroom and three two-bedroom apartments) at 8 Sefadu Street Wuse Zone 2, Plot 262 Cadastral Zone AO2, Wuse Abuja; and two units duplexes at five Oguta Street, Plot 906 Cadastral Zone Wuse 2 Abuja. Others are: a duplex at Plot 1271 Nike Street Cadastral zone

AO5, Maitama District Abuja; a duplex at Phase 1 Unit No. 1 (Villa 1) Palm Springs Gold Estate, Cachez Turkey Projects Limited, Mpape, Abuja; 10 units of oneroom apartments at 8 Mistrata Street Plot 232 Cadastral Zone Wuse 2 Abuja; five units duplexes at Plot No 1070 Dakibiyu District Cadastral Zone B10, Abuja; 16 units service apartments at Plot 1181 Thaba Tseka Crescent, Off IBB Way, Wuse 2, Abuja and three units of three- bedroom flats at No. 1 Mubi Close, Plot 766. Cadastral Zone A01, Garki, Abuja. Sylva was first arraigned on

Tuesday June 5, 2012. One of the six-count charge against him reads: “That you, Timipre Sylva, as Governor of Bayelsa state, with others now at large, sometime between October, 2009 and February, 2010, at various places in Nigeria, including Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court did conspire to commit a crime to wit: conversion of properties and resources amounting to N2 billion belonging to Bayelsa state government and derived from an illegal act, with the aim of concealing the illicit origin of the said amount and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 17(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act), 2004 and punishable under Section 14(1) of the same Act. The substantive suit has been adjourned to 10th January, 2013, for trial.

L-R: Secretary, Area Council Services Secretariat, Alhaji Yahaya Alhassan Gwagwa, Minister of State for FCT, Oloye Olajimoke Akinjide, Chairman of FCT 2012 Amirul Hajj Team, General Abdullahi Bagudu Mamman (rtd), and member of the team, Alhaji Atiku B. Kurawa, during the presentation of Hajj report by the FCT 2012 Amirul Hajj Team, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Two JTF operatives, five insurgents killed in Borno From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri


wo operatives of the Joint Military Task Force, (JTF) and five insurgents, were killed on Wednesday in a gun battle when unknown gunmen attacked the 21 Brigade of the task force in Marte local government area of Borno state. This came barely 24 hours after a similar incident in which JTF troops engaged suspected insurgents in a gun duel, killing 13 of them, while a soldier was killed, with two others wounded. Spokesman of the JTF, Lt. Col.

Sagir Musa, in a statement emailed to newsmen yesterday, said the incident occurred at about 2pm, when some gunmen attacked security forces attached to the 21 Brigade in Marte town, headquarters of the local government council. “At about 2pm, troops of the Joint Task Force (JTF) had an encounter with gunmen in Marte town of Borno state. During the encounter, the JTF lost two personnel, a soldier and policeman, while five of the attackers were killed. No civilian casualty was recorded in the incident”, the statement further added.

According to the task force, items recovered from the insurgents comprised of two AK 47 rifles, one locally made double

Two kids burnt beyond recognition in Ogun tanker accident


he Ogun Command of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), has said two children and an adult were burnt beyond recognition in an accident involving a petrol tanker around Idi Iroko area of the state yesterday. The Idi Iroko Unit

Akunyili denies governorship ambition


rof. Dora Akunyili, Former Minister of Information, and one-time DirectorGeneral of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has denied nursing a governorship ambition in Anambra state. She, however, said she might consider contesting the senatorial seat of Anambra Central senatorial zone.

Akunyili had been rumoured to be eyeing the governorship seat of the state on the platform of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). The election is due in November this year. Addressing reporters in Awka, Akunyili said the rumour of her gubernatorial ambition was a big distraction as her interest was the senatorial seat for Anambra

barrel rifle, three magazines loaded with 33 rounds of assorted ammunition. Others were one dane gun and four machetes.

Central. She said: “I must not run for every office. When the time comes, I will consider running for the senate again and this time, I will safeguard my votes properly”. Akunyili contested the senatorial election on the platform of APGA in 2011 against the incumbent senator, Dr. Chris Ngige, of Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN).

Commander of the FRSC, Mr. Irunoje David, in Abeokuta said the accident involving 18 people occurred at about 1 am at Aseko Agosasa road in Idi Iroko. He said a fuel-laden articulated vehicle marked Lagos AAA 36 XA lost control and rammed into two other tankers before it caught fire. “I think there was a spark from the tanker and then it caught fire; the two children and the other person were burnt beyond recognition. “Their bodies had been deposited at the General Hospital, Ipokia, while others in critical conditions are still receiving treatment”, he said. The unit commander urged drivers to observe the rules and regulations on safe driving. (NAN)



Cop, soldier, two civilians killed as gunmen strike in Adamawa From Umar Dankano, Yola


arely a week ‘after a deadly attack by gunmen in Maiha local government area of Adamawa state, another attack was launched yesterday night (1:30am) in Song local government area by unknown gunmen

in their dozens killing an 80-year-old woman (Dada Audu Garaya) and her grandson of about 13 years old. An eye witness told our correspondent in Yola in a telephone interview that the gunmen launched in a commando-style

onslaught by splitting into two groups, one of the gang heavily armed went to the police station situated at the heart of the town shooting sporadically and ransacked the station before burning it down. Continuing, the witness said the other gang headed for their next

Customs destroys 60 cartons of turkey meat From Nasir Muazu Isa


en of the Nigeria Customs Service, F e d e r a l Operations Unit, Zone B Headquarters, Kaduna have destroyed 60 cartons of turkey illegally imported into the country. The decomposing contraband was yesterday set ablaze before newsmen at Kaduna state approved dump site along KadunaBirnin Gwari road by officials of the unit yesterday. Speaking with newsmen shortly after the destruction exercise, the

Public Relations Officer of Customs Service, Zone B, Ado Idris, said cartons of the product were impounded along Kwara state axis of the zone. “Turkey is one of the items the Federal Government has banned its importation into the country, so our men were able to impound them in Ilorin area of Kwara state axis”, Idris said. “There is nothing that could be done to the seized packaged turkey than to destroy them by setting fire to them, and that is what we did in order to serve as deterrent to other

people who may have the urge to go into such illegal business”. “We estimated the worth of the impounded turkey at N250, 000, and even at that the turkey in 60 cartons were already decomposing at the time of arrest.” Idris said. The PRO added that the zone had in 2012 made seizures worth over N300 million, stressing that the use of intelligence and informants have been beefed up for effective coverage of the zone by officers in charge of various teams in the area.

target, the local government secretariat, ransacked it before setting it ablaze and some houses neighboring the building were also burnt down. Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer of the state command, DSP Mohammed Ibrahim told our correspondent on telephone, that there was an attack on some government formations and we are on our way with the commissioner of

police to the scene of the crime. He also confirmed the killing of a soldier attached to patrol team Operation Tsaro who was hit by a bullet from the attackers and a policeman. Ibrahim said the gunmen, who used machine guns and explosives, burnt the Song Divisional Police Station and the Local Government Secretariat. In Maiha, two people

lost their lives in the attack that affected the police station, prison, area court, local education authority, customs post and district head’s office. In Hong, where police repelled the attackers from burning the Divisional Police Station, two people sustained bullet injuries, including the newly elected Hong local government chairman, Alhaji Ahmed Yerima, who was hit by a stray bullet.

Four die in Jigawa boat mishap From AhmedAbubakar, Jigawa


our persons died yesterday when their canoe capsized in Shuwarma village in Kirkasama local government of Jigawa state. Police Public Relations Officer in the state, ASP Abdul Jinjiri who confirmed the incident, said the victims were from

Machina in Yobe state. “We have received a report that nine persons from Machina in Yobe state boarded a canoe from Shuwurma village in Kirkasama local government on their way to Gubusum village. The canoe later capsized and the villagers were able to rescue five people while four died. Those that died included two men, a

woman and her child”. He said the police confirmed that there is no foul play and the corpses have been released to their families for burial. An eye witness, Malam Iliyasu told our correspondent that the canoe was on its way to Gubusum village when the accident occurred.



Al-makura flays Nasarawa PDP leadership From Ali Abare Abubakar, Lafia


overnor Umaru Tanko Al-makura of Nasarawa state, has taken a swipe at the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), describing the chairman of the party in the state, Chief Yunana Iliya, as a major beneficiary of huge financial wastage that took place during the past 12 years the party held swaruled the state. Al-makura, who just returned from a medical trip to the United Kingdom, told members of the state Correspondents' Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) who visited him at his residence in Lafia, said Chief Iliya should be the last person to sermonise on accountability, as according to the governor, he is part of those who squandered the resources of the state while the PDP was in power. He disclosed that it is on record that the PDP chairman received huge amounts of money to handle some projects including the school of nursing that has been abandoned for more than 10

years, as well as being a beneficiary of monies "thrown away" in the 500 housing project presently lying comatose". The governor warned that at the appropriate time, people like Yunana will be called to account for their deeds, stressing that the PDP chairman "is not the right person to sermonise on how to be accountable in government". Al-makura described as pedestrian the call by the PDP leadership for him to resign because of his hearing impairment, adding that for the chairman of a party claiming to be the biggest in Africa to resort to attacking physically challenged persons, then it goes a long way to how heartless and purposeless such a party can be. He warned the people of the state to be wary of plans hatched by the PDP to scuttle the CPC administration by doing everything to kill the desire of his administration to access loans that will be directed towards education, health and youth empowerment.

New Grand Khadi appointed in Yobe By Uche Uche Damaturu


new Grand Khadi of the Yobe State Sharia Court of Appeal, Hon. Kadi Shuaibu Talba, has been sworn-in. The swearing-in ceremony which took place at the WAWA Hall, Yobe state Government House, was performed by the state governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam and witnesses by dignitaries from within and outside the state. Speaking during the occasion, Governor Gaidam said the

appointed became necessary following the demise of the previous holder of the office, late Kadi Ibrahim Ahmed who lost his life some months ago in a ghastly motor accident, which then left the exalted office vacant. Until his appointment, Talba, who has attended various professional courses and conferences in the course of his judicial career, started as a court registrar back in 1985 and thereafter rose through the ranks serving as a one-time Grand Kadi in 2010.

Momoh restates need to shun corruption, kidnapping


he national chairman, Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Prince Tony Momoh, yesterday in Abuja, advised Nigerians eschew corruption, kidnapping and other social vices. Momoh, who gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said it is necessary to enable the rebranding of Nigeria to be a success story. According to him, the role of culture cannot be over-emphasised in the concerted efforts to rebrand Nigeria. "We have undermined culture. Culture is the way the people manifest their life in the environment they live. We don't value our culture. Public officers are stealing, that is not the culture of

man. The culture of man is not stealing", he said. Momoh, a former Minister of Information and Culture, maintained that the Creator had given the people rules which they ought to genuinely obey to sustain the growth of the country. According to him, people without a culture are dead. He urged Nigerians to improve on self-discipline for the collective fight against corruption, a development he said, had hindered the development of the country. He stressed the need for the political class to make democracy work in Nigeria, saying: "we have chosen democracy and social justice; we should be able to work to ensure that democracy grows Nigeria". (NAN)

General Manager, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Mr. Femi OkeOsanyintolu, explaining a point to newsmen at an explosion site on Ojogiwa Street in Jankara Market, Lagos Island, yesterday. Photo: NAN

Governors not behind Adamawa PDP crisis, Lamido replies Jibril Aminu From Ahmed Abubakar, Dutse


igawa state governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido has, refuted an allegation made by Senator Jibril Aminu that the formation of a reconciliation committee on the crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Adamawa state is a creation of the Nigerian Governors' Forum. This was contained in a statement signed by the

Director Press and Public Relations, Umar Kyari Jitau in Dutse, yesterday. It would be recalled that Senator Jubril Aminu had described the Nigerian Governors Forum as a strange instrument used for oppressing the Federal Government and the people. Aminu had protested against the purported intervention of the Governor Sule Lamido committee on the crises in Adamawa PDP and

Edo NIPOST pensioners on hunger strike over entitlements From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


ggrieved members of Nigeria Union of Postal Services (NIPOST) pensioners in Edo state, have embarked on indefinite hunger strike to prevail on the Federal Government to sack the Post Master General, Alhaji MoriBaba who is being accused of 'complicity'. This followed the expiration of a 14-day ultimatum handed down to the authorities to resolve the issues responsible for the

alleged delay and irregular payment of the arrears of pensions running into billions of naira since 2005. Edo state chairman of the Nigeria Union of NIPOST Pensioners, Comrade Clement Ojo, who briefed newsmen, said the aggrieved penioners had chased NIPOST workers across the state away; and sought the intervention of the Federal Government, while warning that the pensioners will occupy the premises of NIPOST until their demands are met.

815 illegal immigrants deported, says NIS From Iliya Garba, Minna


he Niger state command of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), has said 815 illegal immigrants were deported from the state last year. The State Comptroller, Alhaji Aminu Abdulkarim, dropped the

hint yesterday in an interview with news men in Minna. Abdulkarim said "99 percent of the illegal immigrants were Nigeriens while Ghanaians and Beninoise made up the remaining one percent". He said those deported were arrested within the state when they could not produce valid immigration

said he had no confidence in the choice of Lamido because of his relationship with Adamawa state governor, Admiral Murtala Nyako (rtd). He had in a press conference declared that: "I don't know how the forum (Governors' Forum) came about and if it is not checked, it will put the country in serious trouble as the state chief executives unite to challenge the Federal Government", he had alleged.

documents. He said that in the year under review 908 Nigeriens, 192 Beninoise and 162 Ghanaians that could not produce valid travelling documents were denied entry into the country at Babana border town in the state. In the same year under review 2, 060 Nigerians, 1, 719 Nigeriens,

368 Beninoise and 253 Ghanaians departed the country through the said border. The Comptroller also confirmed that 1, 469 Nigerians, 1, 111 Nigeriens, 280 Beninoise and 140 Ghanaians arrived the country through the same border in the same year.

"The protest continues until we get bank alert; we are not going anywhere, If all of us will die in this NIPOST Office, we will die here…we are dying… we're ready. We are not leaving here…we are law abiding citizens of Nigeria, we follow due process by been peaceful", he wept. The spokesman who led over 100 pensioners armed with placards of various inscriptions such as "President Goodluck Jonathan save our soul"; "Post Master General pay us our six years entitlements"; "We have lost over 100 souls nationwide"; particularly paid tribute to the former Post Master General, Alhaji Musa Argungu who died in Belview air crash years ago as a true Nigerian. He alleged that: "Last year March, the Senate gave the Federal Government seven days ultimatum to pay up us all our arrears but it fell on deaf ears".



NIPR urges govs to adopt Aliyu’s security strategy By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


iger State Chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) has urged governors and leaders at all levels to emulate and adopt the security strategy of the Niger state governor, Muazu Babangida Aliyu. In a statement signed by its state chairman, Musa Ladan, the institute noted that it was only by being more proactive and sensitive to security matters that peace, harmony and development in the country could be engendered.

It congratulated Nigerians in general and Nigerlites in particular for witnessing the New Year peacefully, noting with delights the sense of responsibility demonstrated by the governor on security within the festive season. While observing that the effort by the governor made Niger state to witness a comparative peace in the outgoing year more than other states of the federation, the state NIPR also commended the security agencies in the state for being alive to their responsibilities by complementing the governors efforts.

Jigawa expends N118m on road maintenance From Ahmed Abubakar, Dutse


igawa state Road Maintenance Agency JIRMA said it expended over N118 million on execution of projects in the 2012. The Managing Director of the Agency, Alhaji Gambo Yahaya stated this while narrating the Agency’s achievements last year. He said some of the projects executed by the agency last year included the renovation of GwaramBasirka road, Gwaram- Fagam road, MediDanzomo road, construction of sub base level road undertaken of Gwarta erosion control and

filling of gullies at Kazaure – Kanti bridge. Alhaji Gambo Yahaya said the agency had also patched potholes and ramp construction in Sabon Garin Yaya, KarnayaChaichai road, Chai-chai road, Ringim-Gidan lage road, SaraGantsa, Gwaram-Basirka, Tasheguwa-Guri as well as at Roni and Dansure, Galamawa, Kofar Fada – Kofar Fada Hadejia and Guri road respectively. He said some of the projects were completed while some are at advanced stages and commended the state government for its financial support to the agency.

•••to spend N2bn on streetlighting From Ahmed Abubakar, Dutse


igawa state government would provide street lights in fourteen local government headquarters at the cost of N2.3 billion naira. The Director, Mechanical in the Ministry of Works and Transport, Engineer Garba Isah made this known while speaking to the press on the achievements of the Ministry in the out gone year. He said the projects awarded in 2012 include that of Birniwa, Gagarawa, Gantsa, Guri, Gwiwa, Jahun, Miga, Taura Sule Tankarkar and the phase two projects of Gumel, Hadejia , Ringim,

Kazaure and Birnin Kudu. Engineer Garba Isah said the ongoing projects when completed, would beautify the local government’s headquarters and improve their security. In 2011, the state government awarded and executed similar contract at the sum of N1.2 billion for the provision of street lights in seven local government headquarters which had been completed. Engineer Garba Isah stated that the benefitting headquarters were Babura, Gwaram, Kafin hausa, kaugama, Kiyawa, Roni and Maigatari.

597 traffic violators prosecuted in Jigawa From Ahmed Abubakar, Dutse


igawa state Department of Road Traffic said it has apprehended 597 vehicles for violation of traffic laws in 2012. The Director, Alhaji Yunusa Abubakar Umar made this known while narrating the 2012 departmental achievements. He said N3.4 million was collected as various court fines against traffic violators in the period under review. Alhaji Yunusa Abubakar

stated that the department has recorded 74 deaths, 139 injuries out of 105 accidents in the 2012. He said 3,413 were inspected in which 2,360 were passed, while 105 owners were asked to repair their vehicles. The Director stated that the state government provided three patrol vehicles to the department in addition to re-activation of the state driving school, procurement of three new practical vehicles and 20 expandable barricades and twenty tyre rippers.

L-R: Anambra state Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, handing over the keys of 3 armoured personnel carriers and 50 patrol vehicles to Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar, on Wednesday in Awka. Photo: NAN

AFAN demands compensation for farmers who lost crops to cattle


ll Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Abia chapter, has called for the payment of compensation to farmers in the state whose farms were razed by cattle. Chairman of the association, Chief Dunlop Okoro, made the call yesterday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Umuahia. NAN reports that Okoro’s demand followed the destruction of farms in some parts of Abia by cattle. He said that the call became necessary due to the extent of the destruction, which, he said, had brought untold hardship to victims who were basically rural dwellers. Okoro identified the affected communities as those in Arochukwu, Isiukwato, Ohafia and Bende local government areas. He said that such incidents had become endemic and “I

think every effort by the state government in handling the situation has not yielded any result”. The chairman said that he feared possible outbreak of epidemic in the rural communities affected by the menace. According to him, cattle swim in and mess up the streams that serve as sources of drinking water to the people. ”And when they now start moving out, they can pull down so many things in the farm. “You need to go to a farm where these cattle passed through and find out that it’s just like where a bulldozer passed.” Okoro said that all efforts to get the herdsmen to conduct their activities in a way that would ensure peaceful coexistence with their host communities had failed. The AFAN chairman recalled that the state Ministry

of Agriculture sometime ago commenced negotiation between farmers and herdsmen with their principals who came from all corners of the country”. Okoro said such negotiations had yet to produce any meaningful result. He said that the affected farmers had been left to rue their plight without any form of assistance from any quarters. “We have been doing our best pleading with them not to take laws into their hands and I don’t know how long we shall continue to do that,” he said. Okoro appealed to the state government fast track the delineation of grazing reserves and stock routes in the state to put an end to the menace. NAN recalls that AFAN had during the 2011 farming season, raised similar concern over the destruction of crops worth millions of naira. (NAN)

Return journalists’ equipment, CPJ tells SSS By Etuka Sunday


ollowing the release of the two Al-Mizan Journalists that were arrested and detained for more than a week without charge and their equipment, the Committee to Protect Journalists yesterday called on Nigeria’s State Security Service (SSS) to return laptops and cell phones confiscated from the two them. It was reported that the Editor, Musa Muhammad Awwal and reporter Aliyu Saleh of Hausa-language weekly newspaper “Al-Mizan” were released from the custody of SSS in Abuja at the early hour of Tuesday without their equipment.

“Throughout our detention we were not told our offense, but they still have our mobile phones and laptops, which they said would be returned to us as soon as they are done with their investigation.” The defense lawyer Sadiq Marafa told CPJ that “Soldiers arrested the journalists and searched their homes and office in the northern state of Kaduna without warrants on December 24. Their wives were also detained briefly. They were held incommunicado and were not taken to court despite a legal limit of 48 hours of detention without a court appearance,” he said. Their release came after Marafa threatened to sue the

government over illegal arrest and detention if the journalists were not let go within 24 hours. According to CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita, Musa Muhammad Awwal and Aliyu Saleh were subjected to unlawful detention at the hands of state security forces after alleging that the government was engaging in widespread extrajudicial imprisonment. Keita said “while we welcome the release of the journalists, we call on Nigerian authorities to immediately return all confiscated equipment and to ensure that all journalists are able to report on matters of public security without intimidation.”



Members of Bauchi emirate council praying for the repose of Hajiya Aisha Bello, the first wife of Wazirin Bauchi, Alhaji Bello Kirfi, during her burial, yesterday in Bauchi.

L-R: Registrar, Educational Advancement Centre (EAC), Mrs Bukolami Aleshinloye, Principal/Coordinator, Mr Maliki Kayode, and director, Pastor Muyiwa Bamgbose, during a briefing on School on Air Programme for senior secondary school students, yesterday in Ibadan.

Sokoto state Governor, Alhaji Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko (2nd left), cutting the tape to inaugurate the Zabira plaza, on Wednesday in Sokoto.

A nurse examining a patient during an annual health screening, yesterday at Achina community in Aguata local government area of Anambra state.

L-R: Chairman, Governor Council, Friends of Hospital Association Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Alhaji Habibu Gwarzo, handing over to Jigawa state Governor, Alhaji sule Lamido, yesterday in Dutse. Photo: NAN



Journalists asked to work according to constitution From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


L-R: Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, discussing with Emir of Yauri in kebbi state, Dr. Mohammed Zayyanu Abdullahi , during the speaker's condolence visit the emir on the death of the husband of former member, Hon. Halima Tukur Hassan representing Yauri / Ngaska, on Tuesday in of Birnin kebbi.

NSCDC personnel tasked on commitment By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


he Commandant General of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Dr. Ade Abolurin, has called on the personnel of the corps to remain commitment to the service. Abolurin, in a statement issued yesterday by the Corps Public Relations Officer (CPRO), Emmanuel Okeh, reminded the officers and men of the NSCDC of their professional calling, urging them to remain resolute,

dedicated, proactive, industrious, diligent and committed to the service of the nation more than ever before. He re-emphasised the Corps watchword of “Humility and integrity in service delivery”, hence, the need to carry out their duties without compromise and by working hand in hand with other security agencies in order to encourage, promote and sustain the existing relationship and partnership in crime fighting to curb the level of insecurity in the

society. The statement also said synergy would restore the confidence of the populace on security agencies for effective protection of the environment, the human elements, the critical infrastructure of government and other national assets. It stressed that the Corps in 2012 made substantial arrests and prosecutions especially in the areas of vandalism, bunkering and other related offences.

‘Vaccination best in stopping animal virus’


r. Gani Enahoro, the President, Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association (NMVA), said vaccination is the best method to protect animals from contracting viruses. “Diseases of viral origin have no specific treatment; vaccination is the best method to protect animals against the viruses”. Enahoro who said this in Abuja yesterday, stressed the need to ensure proper healthcare for animals, especially pets, to protect them against diseases of viral origin. Enahoro urged animal owners to ensure they carried out regular vaccination of their animals, to curb the spread of diseases from animals to humans. “The cost of vaccination of animals is very low and the benefits are numerous. “The unquantifiable aspect

of animal vaccination is in the areas of public health; when diseases that could otherwise have been transferred to man from animals (like rabies) are prevented. According to him, public education is the only weapon the association could use to ensure continuous vaccination of animals. On vaccination cost for livestock, Enahoro said charges depended on many factors as large animals that could not be brought to veterinary clinics or hospitals, had to be treated or vaccinated in the field. On whether cattle herders had been vaccinating their cows, Enahoro said that most of them often made attempts but, unfortunately, fell into the hands of fake veterinarians before they found genuine ones. “The cattle rearers are still bedeviled by the nomadic culture that has pitched them against crop farmers many

times in the recent past.They operate without boundaries; as a result, we do not have organised cattle farms in most parts of the country. Whenever they reach any location, they usually identify the nearest market around the neighbourhood and through enquiries, would be introduced to sources of veterinary services.Many times they fall prey to several quacks before eventually meeting the trained veterinarians”. He called on various Agricultural Extension Services Departments in the states to take up the responsibility of ensuring that animal farmers were properly enlightened. The president also called on the Federal Government to promulgate laws against irresponsible ownership of animals and decried brutality against animals in the name of entertainment. (NAN)

ational President, of Nigerian Union of Journalists, Comrade Mohammed Garba has enjoined media practitioners to discharge their duties according to the provisions of the constitution as well as to the expectation of the people. Garba gave the charge while speaking with newsmen in Bauchi after he paid a condolence visit to Isa Suleiman, former NUJ Chairman of the Bauchi councils who lost his wife. He said some journalists were smearing the good image of the profession with their unprofessional conducts According to him “We should try as much as possible to practice according to the ethics of the profession because there are quite a number of cases of professional misconducts and abuse of privileges on the side of the media”, he said Garba noted that professionalism should be the watchword of every qualified journalist and stressed the importance of developmental and investigative journalism. He assured that his leadership would continue to do everything possible to enhance professionalism

and the welfare of journalists in the country by achieving what they have started in the past. “The issue of salary structure and condition of service for media workers in Nigeria is one issue we have promised and this is one issue we are determined to carry out. “By the special grace of God by the end of 2013, our prayer and hope is that with the support of our colleagues in the media, other stakeholders in the media industrythe guide of editors, NBA and other stakeholders will able to organise stakeholders meeting where issues that have to do with the welfare of journalists will be addressed, he said” On the issue of quacks in the profession, the president expressed optimism that fake journalists would be flushed completely from the system to enhance professionalism. “We started in 2012 by directing all councils to ensure that they have a committee that will be able to flush fake and quack journalists ... For instance I am aware that in Abuja, quite a number of efforts were made and arrests were made by the security agencies… people who have no medium of communication should not be part of us”, he said.

Kwara NUJ frowns at fuel pump price hike From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin igeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kwara state council, has frowned at the hike of pump price of petrol by independent marketers across the federation. The union noted that the product now sold at N120, N130 across the states except Lagos which retains the official price of N97 per litre. The union, in a communiqué issued and signed by its General Secretary, Bisi Adedayo and Chairman Communiqué Committee, Alhaji Abdulhakeem Garuba also wants the federal government to rehabilitate the Offa-Erin Ile and Omu-AranKabba federal highways.


The council noted that many lives have been lost along the roads stressing that “these death of so many of our compatriots are serious negative indices on the image and investment attraction capacity of our country”. On the violence in some parts of Nigeria, the council said peace and order was paramount to national development adding that the federal government need to ensure stable electricity in the country for employment generation. The union also commended the Kwara state governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed for releasing fund for the completion of ultra modern NUJ secretariat and insurance scheme for working journalists in the state.

Kogi on threshold of transformation – deputy gov From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


ogi State is on the threshold of a new renaissance, aimed at unfolding the transformation agenda of Capt. Idris Wada. The State’s Deputy Governor, Yomi Awoniyi, stated this when Management of the Nigeria Television Authority, Lokoja, paid him sympathy and condolence visit over the recent auto crash involving the State Governor, Capt. Idris Wada which claimed the life of his ADC, Mohammed Idris. Awoniyi expressed joy over the speedy recovery rate of Capt. Idris Wada and praised God for the governor’s simple disposition to life.

Kogi People, Awoniyi explained, are eager to have the governor back, to continue his transformation agenda, while he praised professionalism displayed by the Nigerian medical doctors in ensuring that the State governor recovers speedily. Awoniyi promised the State government’s support to the family of the late ADC, assuring that he will not be forgotten. He thanked the NTA for its adequate coverage of Capt. Idris Wada’s administration and solicited same in the new year. Earlier in his speech, General Manager, Nigeria Television Authority, NTA Lokoja, Abubakar Kaoje said the visit was to associate with the State government in its moments of grief.



NLC urges workers to be dedicated, committed From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


Official of Ogun Traffic Compliance Enforcement Agency (TRACE) arguing with occupants of a vehicle over a traffic offence, yesterday at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta. Photo: NAN

Gaidam lauds JTF for restoring peace in Yobe From Uche Uche, Damaturu


obe State Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam has commended the effort of the JTF and other security operatives for the restoration of peace in the state. He made the commendation while delivering a speech during the presentation of the 2013 budget before the House of Assembly in Damaturu. “We are glad to have witnessed, in the last two months, a significant improvement in the security situation in the state… the result of unprecedented successful assaults against the militants and other criminals by the collective efforts of the security operatives, particularly the JTF,” he said. “Peace and normalcy have been restored in Damaturu and other parts of the state, people who fled at the peak of the crisis have returned, schools have resumed and the hustle and bustle of socioeconomic activities are back again”, he added. This is coming against the backdrop of the recent cordon and search operations adopted by men of the JTF, resulting in the recovery of several arms and ammunition from the hideouts of militants especially in Damaturu, Potiskum and Gujba. The governor assured all citizens that the state government would continue to protect the lives and properties of the citizens during the current fiscal year and beyond through the provision of logistics and financial supports to the security operatives to ensure the sustenance of the peace . He however appealed to the people to give the law enforcement agencies useful information on the hideouts and movement of insurgents, which would be treated with utmost confidentiality.

Kidnapped Gombe lawmaker released


he member representing Gombe North constituency in the Gombe State House of Assembly, Alhaji Jalo Ganga, who was kidnapped on Sunday, has been released. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ganga was released on Wednesday night by his captors, and was reunited with his family at about 10.30 p.m. Speaking to newsmen in the house of the lawmaker yesterday, the legislator’s younger brother, Malam Abdulkadir Mohammed-Yelwa, said his brother arrived home on a motorcycle at about 10 p.m.

on Wednesday. He said that members of his family, friends and relations were happy to receive the legislator, adding that God had answered their prayers. “We are very happy seeing our brother. He has returned and met with his family; but right now he is not home. “He came back and told people not to worry that he had arrived safely. May be later in the day or tomorrow, you will see him and talk with him. We thank everybody who helped us in prayers,” he said. Mohammed-Yelwa said that

his brother went to the Government House shortly after he met with his family. Speaking to NAN, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr Fwaje Atajiri, said the lawmaker was released unconditionally, adding that he had gone to Government House. NAN recalls that Ganga was kidnapped at about 5.00 a.m. on Sunday while returning from his morning prayers by unknown gunmen who came on a motorcycle. He was immediately forced into a waiting vehicle and taken to an unknown destination. (NAN)

ogi state council of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has charged workers in the state to be committed and rededicated to service for enhanced productivity in the new year. Chairman of the council, Mr. James Odaudu gave the charge in a statement made available to Peoples Daily yesterday in Lokoja. Odaudu noted that dedication to duty among civil servants would not only strengthen workers/government relationship but enhance productivity and internal revenue- base of the state. He noted that the economic growth and development of the state was hinged on the civil servants adding that with visible commitment, government would be encouraged to motivate them. Odaudu commended the state government over the sustained payment of minimum wage and other entitlements like leave bonuses as well as promotion to civil servants. He assured the state governor, Capt. Idris Wada of the workers' loyalty to his administration promising to remain dedicated to work for enhance productivity. The chairman however described as unfortunate, the recent auto-crash which injured the governor and claimed the life of his ADC, Idris Mohammed (ASP). Odaudu prayed for the governor's quick recovery, condoling him over the death of his ADC and prayed God to grant the family, the fortitude to bear the "irreparable loss."

Yobe budget passes Assembly’s second reading From Uche Uche, Damaturu


or the first time in the history of budget presentation in Yobe State, and perhaps in the history of any budget in Nigeria, the Yobe state House of Assembly yesterday ensured that the 2013 fiscal year budget presented before it by the state Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam passed the second reading immediately after its presentation at the chambers of the House. Earlier in his budget speech, the Governor expressed optimism that

the House would give the budget a meticulous scrutiny, objective assessment, fair deliberation with a view to smooth and quick passage to ensure speedy execution of goals. It was a surprise to all present at the House chamber when the Speaker, Hon. Adamu Dala Dogo announced that the budget had passed a second reading before the House. This followed a motion moved by the House Leader, Hon. Usman Adamu and seconded by the Chief Whip, Hon. Musa Gamcho Tella, which when put to vote, was

supported by all the other members of the House. Those in attendance saw this as a proof of the cordial working relationship between the executive and the legislative arm of the state government which works towards charting a course for the transformation of the socio-economic sectors of the state economy. This cordial relationship was also seen in the speech of the Speaker who lauded the achievements of the governor especially in his effort at arresting violence, restiveness and restoring

relative peace in the state. He commended him for embarking on youth empowerment programme in the state by engaging over 10,000 youths recently. The Speaker urged the House Standing committee on finance and appropriation to scrutinize the budget and submit its report to the House within one week so that the House would speed its passage to ensure speedy execution of the policies and programme of the government for the benefit of the people.

Residents laud Kwankwaso’s adult literary programme


ome Kano residents on Wednesday in Kano commended Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso’s administration for initiating adult literacy classes in the state. Some of the prospective students of the classes, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), expressed optimism that

the initiative would give them a new lease of life. “I was encouraged by my children to enroll into the classes to be formally educated,’’ Malam Sanda Uwaisu said. Uwaisu said he wished that someday he would be able to read newspapers written in Hausa as he had always relied on his children

to read and then tell him the news. Malam Yahuza Saminu, a resident of Dala area of Kano, said he did not have the opportunity to have formal education as his father was against it. “I look forward to learning to read and write. I know it will help me in my daily affairs although I’m a bit old now,” Saminu said.

Malama Sadiya Ahmed, a resident of Zawachiki, said she always felt sad when her neighbours had to assist her kids with their home works. “I wish to assist, even, my grandchildren with their home work because I always envied women who helped their children with their homework.” (NAN)



What happens when you can't pay your medical bills? I

t's no secret that health care costs have been spiralling out of control for years. To fight back, your best bet is to be a wellinformed consumer: Know the true costs of medical procedures, supplies and medications so you can bargain effectively; carefully anticipate and track medical expenses; and stay on top of your bills. But sometimes, even when you follow the rules you still can get burned. I've heard many appalling stories about people even those with comprehensive insurance who have been denied benefits, over-charged, sent to collections or even forced to file for bankruptcy because they couldn't pay their medical bills. Here are a few coping strategies: Carefully review each doctor, lab or hospital bill and match it against the Explanation of Benefits statement that shows how much they were reimbursed by the insurance company. Also, watch for items that may have been charged to you by mistake such as: *Medications, supplies, treatments or meals you didn't receive while hospitalised or getting an outpatient procedure. *Duplicate charges for a single procedure (such as x-rays, MRIs and lab work), including those that had to be redone due to a technician's error. *Charges for a full day's hospitalisation when you checked out early; or private room rates when you shared a suite. The summary hospital bill you were sent probably doesn't contain many details, so ask for an itemised bill along with a copy of your medical chart and a pharmacy ledger showing which drugs you were given during your stay. If you are having difficulty

paying a medical bill, don't simply ignore it. Like any creditor, doctors and hospitals often turn unpaid bills over to collection agencies, which will wreak havoc with your credit score. Contact creditors as soon as possible, explain your situation and ask them to set up an instalment payment plan or work out a reduced rate. Many people with no insurance discover that they are often charged much higher rates than those negotiated by insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid. Don't be afraid to ask for those lower rates and to work out a repayment plan - just be sure to get the agreement in writing. Most doctors and hospitals would rather

accept reduced payments than have to deal with collection agencies and possibly no reimbursement at all. Ask the hospital's patient liaison to review your case and see whether you qualify for financial assistance from the government, a charitable organisation or the hospital itself. Most will forgive some or all bills for people whose income falls below certain amounts tied to federal poverty levels. Also pursue this avenue with your doctor or other provider ideally before they've begun collections. A few additional costsavings tips: *Ask whether your employer offers flexible spending accounts,

which let you pay for eligible outof-pocket health care and/or dependent care expenses on a pretax basis. *Use online price-comparison services like Healthcare Blue Book and to research going rates for a variety of medical services. *Unless it's a true emergency, try to avoid emergency rooms and use an urgent care network facility affiliated with your insurance company or ask your doctor for recommendations. Bottom line: Know the cost of health services and don't be afraid to negotiate. You will haggle over the price of a car why not your health?

Save money on beauty products W

omen in particular purchase a seemingly endless supply of beauty products. Some who are generally pretty good about such things, have two or more types of shampoo, various facial products and different deodorants. Some people's bathrooms can be filled to the rafters with product after product they bought and didn't finish. Let's fix all that, and look at some ways to save money. Limit your purchases Even if you find that a top of the line product works best for you, you don't have to purchase several

Quote It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. — Charles Darwin

of them. One container, the largest available for savings, is all you need. Three different exfoliating products make no sense, as they all do the same thing. One shampoo, one conditioner, one soap, etc. While it is certainly fun to try out new products, it is also wasteful. Stick to something that works and avoid being tempted. If you have multiple containers of a product and won't use it before the expiration date, donate it. Women's shelters really appreciate the donation and it will provide a tax credit as well. Don’t be a brand whore Barring skin allergies, most people can use just about any product. If you fall into that category, start looking for coupons, online or in the paper, as you get to the end of a product you use. New products often come with some terrific coupons, allowing you to try something out for a few dollars. Believe me when I tell you that your legs will be just as smooth

with one razor as another will. Focus on function, not fashion. Dive into Naira stores There is no question that purchasing basics like soap, shampoo and lotion at the naira store is a great way to save money. If you have a sensitive face then stick to what you know works, but other areas are rarely so delicate and can tolerate generic brands. Even better, as a product goes out of production it often ends up on the dollar store shelves where you can pick up a supply for very little money. Purchase during promotions Every cosmetic brand runs promotions throughout the year. Even if you have to spend full price for your needed product, you will get a bag full of goodies to go with it. This is your opportunity to get those coveted travel size containers and to try out new things without committing much money to do so. Look online for good deals Many companies offer

discounts and coupons on their websites. There are also a number of reliable "superstores" where you can get favoured products for less than you would at the store. eBay is another good place to find products cheaply, but you have to know the regular price and calculate in shipping, so beware. Make it yourself If you are willing to put in the time, you can generally make most creams, scrubs and lotions at home for pennies on the naira. The best thing is that you get to scent them yourself and can come up with something truly unique. It takes only a few minutes to make a good lotion and even less time to mix up an exfoliating scrub. In the end it isn't about getting some chi-chi product on your body, but rather about taking good care of your skin and hair. Saving money while doing so is a wonderful bonus, but only if do so whenever it make sense.

Why financial literacy is important for women


or women, planning and saving for retirement seems not important, perhaps because they feel they can rely on their husband's pension or their children can take care of them when they are old. Experts advise that women should not rely on someone else, like a husband or boyfriend, for their financial security. Rather they should try to educate themselves about planning and saving for retirement, money management, investing and other financial services that can improve their lives. There are reasons why women are indifferent to planning for retirement. For instance, more women today are leaving the work force, because of layoffs, poor job prospects, or to spend more time with their families. It has been discovered that women on the average are out of the work force for ten years or more, while men, on average, take just one year out of the work force. According to the World Bank in its 'Gender In Nigeria Report 2012: Improving The Lives Of Girls And Women In Nigeria', nearly six million women and men enter the labour market each year but only 10 percent are able to secure a job in the formal sector, and just one third of these are women. However, there are some things that women can do to build themselves a secure retirement. One is important factor to consider is for women to give retirement plans a priority when they get into employment. They can work as long as they can at the highest salary they can earn. Women need to consider sacrificing some monthly salary in return for a good retirement plan, and seek out employers who will match part or all of their savings in a contributory plan. The longer they work, the more they can sock away for retirement. And the older they are when they retire, the fewer years of retirement they will have to fund. Experts say they need to put money away for retirement on a regular basis. They say women should identify their financial assets and debts, and begin to save for their future by paying down debt and budgeting. According to them, women need to collaborate with their husband to understand what they own and what they owe, and use insurance to plan for the possibility of death or disability. The World Bank report says banks should make their services more accessible to women by designing products and services to meet the needs of women from different regions and wealth groups. Source: www.moneyning. com





Police/Defence Corps rivalry

ver the years, personnel of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) have watched with trepidation as its sphere of influence shrank. The first sign of trouble was the upgrading of the highway patrol department of the NPF to an autonomous Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) by the Babangida regime in the 1980s. The police authorities did not like it and fought hard and long to kill the FRSC. But they failed. The second 'threat' was the creation of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to complement the work of the police. The last straw came on June 13, last year, when the federal government allowed personnel of the NSCDC to bear arms for the first time. Again, the police authorities fought against that, arguing that the corps' officers were not properly trained in arms handling. Again they lost. But then a tinder box had been created, and it was only a matter of time before a major confrontation would occur. It did happen on December 18, last year, in Abuja. That day there was a brawl involving police officers and NSCDC officials at the Julius Berger roundabout; apparently, the corps officials attempted to eject taxi-cab drivers who had converted that intersection to an official park where they dropped off and pick up passengers, thereby disrupting the free flow of traffic. But the police considered the action of the corps men an interference with their work. Ten policemen from the FCT Police

Command, armed with guns and horsewhips, pulled up at the Berger Junction. Guns pointing and whips flailing, they descended on three NSCDC men. This was how an eyewitness described what took place: "I saw an officer use a whip on a civil defence guy while another pointed a gun at him." It was utter confusion, as bystanders ran helter-skelter at the sight and sound of guns firing. The usual gridlock at that point at rush hours grew worse that day. Contacted, the spokeswoman of the

A healthy rivalry we encourage but not one that is inimical to public safety and law and order FCT Police Command, Doris England, feigned ignorance, promising curious journalists that she would investigate the matter and get back to them but that she never did. We can only assume that she recognized the inappropriateness of what the policemen did but didn't have the courage to so admit publicly. We at Peoples Daily condemn what happened that day between the personnel of two sister security agencies set up by the federal government and funded from the public purse. A healthy rivalry we

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

encourage but not one that is inimical to public safety and law and order. Everybody knows that the motorists at Berger Junction are there illegally and their presence has resulted in accidents, some fatal, not once, not twice. The right thing to do is to get them out of the way, and that appeared to have been the intention of the three NSCDC officials. The opposition from the police can mean only one thing: somebody is reaping from this illegality. Which is very unfortunate. That said, we also see the incident as a part of a larger problem, arising from a multiplicity of government agencies with conflicting or ill defined mandates. This is the case, unfortunately, in particularly the security apparatuses. The problem is not so much competition for excellence as that of envy that one is doing better than the other. Rather than complement each other the security agencies are engaged in dangerous infighting. And this has dire implications for the nation's overall security as we already are seeing in the inept handling of the Boko Haram insurgency and the rise in criminality. The only way we see the situation changing for the better is for the government to rethink the nation's security architecture, streamline the security agencies to avoid duplication of mandate and train their personnel to appreciate the value of working together rather than unhealthy rivalry.









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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 “re-election”. I argued then that President Goodluck Jonathan could not have been seeking re-election 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”, in ThisDay of 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 reelection 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 reelection 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 re-election 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-too-distant future. The PDP is in for a major crisis but can the so-called 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 preoccupied 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 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.

why corruption has been initiated, perpetrated and perpetuated for decades in our polity. Unfortunately, we as a people have become accustomed to mediocrity and peddlers of lies. We accommodate in positions of authority the mortgagers of our collective future, killers of dreams and marauders of aspirations. Those in power know this fact and continue to take us for a ride; else the populace should have revolted. But not all of us have amnesia and not all of us can be fooled; Nigeria has been synonymous with corruption from yore and it predates the current regime. Corruption has become so endemic to the extent of being considered part of our ethos. The whole world knows it is our problem and constantly chide us to confront corruption head on. According to Transparency International, Nigeria is ranked the 35th most corrupt nation in the world. The 2012 Corruption Perception Index revealed Nigeria scored 27 out of a maximum 100 marks to land the 139th position out of the 176 countries and territories surveyed in the report, based on perceived levels of public sector corruption. Nigeria was ranked alongside Azerbaijan, Kenya, Nepal and Pakistan. According to a report by Sahara Reporters New York, June 7th 2012: “The United States has again dismissed Nigeria’s anticorruption efforts as mere talk, describing the Goodluck Jonathan era as one in which the government is not implementing the law, and officials engage in corrupt practices with impunity.” Also, during the visit of the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Nigeria, she blamed failings by Nigerian leaders for the country’s woes and emphasized the

prevalence of “unbelievable corruption.” We recently read reports of how about $400 billion has been lost by our successive regimes over time and how most of that money ended up overseas. Even the nation’s anti-corruption agency, The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, blamed infrastructural decay in Nigeria on corruption. In view of these publicly known facts, I wonder why the President would make such a boorish statement as corruption not being the cause of our problems in Nigeria. Paradoxically, some have argued that a credible head does not necessarily translate to an effective overhaul of a corrupt system. But we should also consider the countries that scored better on the Corruption Perception Index must have had issues of corruption, with adequate steps taken to mitigate the situation. So we can’t continue to allow the deterioration of our society based on these excuses. Drastic and effective measures must be taken to combat the menace. For example, in 2009 there was an Expenses Scandal that rocked the United Kingdom Parliament; though the figures the Members of Parliament were accused of is a modicum compared to the whopping amounts our public servants embezzle, the United Kingdom didn’t treat the matter with levity.

The accused members of Parliament faced criminal charges that lead to many resignations, suspensions, arrests and prosecution with sentences varying between 9 – 18 months imprisonment. In Nigeria, it’s our hope to see a replica of such virtuous actions. We genuinely accept the process of eradicating corruption would be gradual, as the deterioration to our current state of socio-economic inertia too was gradual. Sadly, corruption and kleptomania is as rife as it is alarming, some have termed it ‘LOOTING’ for unborn generations, and the figures emanating from fraud investigations are as staggering as they are depressing. The President must realise Nigerians can’t be hoodwinked any longer. The public hearing about a scandal being unearthed isn’t enough; we want to see arrests leading to actual indictments and prosecutions. I was once quizzed by a friend, who sarcastically asked, how many key government officials or top politicians have you seen arrested and jailed and how much has been refunded into the nations treasury? This was a critical question that made me ruminate on all the publicity stunts machinated by the government, aimed at not only boosting the President’s image but also massaging his ego; witchhunting opposition and critics or the settling of political scores

against perceived adversaries isn’t fighting corruption. Charity begins at home, so the attitudinal change must start from the Presidency. Budgeting obscene amounts of money for executive frivolities and unwarranted expenses isn’t fighting corruption. There are many aspects of the budget that are simply wasteful. Just because previous regimes embarked on such squandering doesn’t make it right; why not set a precedence of curbing expenditure? Borrowing recklessly and not investing in infrastructural development or capital projects aimed at boosting economic growth isn’t fighting corruption. It is according to the CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi “accumulating debts for future generations.” For the President to be taken seriously, he must use his executive powers to ensure the arrests of culprits and that priority is given to such cases within the Judicial process to expedite prosecution. The President must enforce the forfeiture of assets from those indicted and the reimbursements of retrieved funds to the nation’s coffers. Surely with purposeful leadership change can be effected, else the change of a purposeless leadership would be initiated. Change must start from the Presidency! His offices’ ineffective reputation can only be ameliorated by effective and sincere actions aimed at tackling corruption. The concomitant melancholy this administration exudes and forlorn felt by majority of the populace can only be changed with drastic implementation of progressive mass oriented policies.

Akinola, a political writer based in Oxford, UK, wrote in via

A President and the corruption conundrum By M.B.O Owolowo


he corruption conundrum continues as some incredulous statements were recently attributed to President Jonathan during the burial service of the late General Andrew Azazi. He was responding to a factual and frank homily by Bishop Hyacinth Ogbebor, blaming corruption for the helicopter crash, among other issues in the country. The President said, “Corruption is not the cause of our problems. Nigeria has more institutions that fight corruption. Most of the issues we talk about are not corruption. If we do things properly, if we change our attitude of doing things, most of the things we think are caused by corruption are not. If Nigerians would change their attitude, you will realise that most of these issues being attributed to corruption are not caused by corruption. If we change our attitude to life, if all Nigerians do what is right, Nigeria will change”. Pondering over these statements, the president should be reminded that he too is part of the “all Nigerians” he has referred and his “attitude” must change as well. His attitude towards corruption must be taken into cognisance; he says “Corruption is not the cause of our problems”. Considering he previously made a statement rating Nigeria’s commitment to fighting corruption as secondary to only that of the United States, one might be excused for wondering if he is inhaling air and operating from the stratosphere above the public’s atmospheric level. I have always believed a people that tolerate drivel will accept gibberish; with these sorts of statements it becomes apparent

With purposeful leadership change can be effected, else the change of a purposeless leadership would be initiated. Change must start from the Presidency!

M.B.O Owolowo is on facebook



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


ut 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 The ‘they’ David Mark wants to development to God who will Nigerians has ensured they’ve stop corruption in the oil sector pour money from heaven for the never made any efforts to verify must be my father in the grave, building of roads. the exact quantity of fuel we the struggling mother preparing It is easier to jet out to her garri in Ijebu Ode or the Germany for medical treatment consume. And then in his regular Fulani herdsman grazing the than to build good hospitals in moment of Nigeria. It is sermonizing, easier to fly in David Mark Naval choppers charged “the than to bother n a t i o n ” ourselves with Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text (whoever he is fixing of roads. messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written referring to) to It is easier to contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 take a decision have 40 SAs, words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and on fuel subsidy. SSAs, PAs and a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed He said, “If they other whatever to: c a n n o t A-s who’ll hail eliminate or you, ‘His stop the Excellency’ The Editor, corruption in three times a Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, the industry, day, than to 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. then, the other make conscious Email: let alternative will efforts to create SMS: 07037756364 be to stop the jobs for millions whole exercise of of Nigerians. subsidy and we will take the one plateau for his cattle. Mr Mark In a similar manner, it is doesn’t know who should stop the much easier to yank off subsidy that is easier…” In the league of falsehood corruption, that’s why he wants than to sack Diezani Madueke, where David Mark plays, it is ‘they’ to do so. prosecute her, get her But if ‘they cannot’ eliminate accomplices always convenient to say “they”. arrested and By deceitfully refusing to name the corruption in the industry, Mr prosecuted. It is also easier for those who should be named for Mark will want to opt for the one David Mark to croon “they” when promoting criminality in the that is easier. That has been the he should call the corruptionland, David Mark is smartly Nigerian case: we tend to do the breeding president Jonathan to etching a space for himself in one that is easier. order, and possibly deploy the For instance, it is easier for one powers of the legislature to cause Jonathan’s good books to be considered for a higher political man in government to go home him to seat up. A responsible office, which is, by our culture, a with N600m in one year as salary, Senate president would have near proximity to the CBN vault. and then hand over our 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 as “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. Concluded Follow @ekekeee on Twitter

Governor Aliyu: Beyond the wedding billboard By Yushe’u Uba


igerians are really impossible people. Just when you think you can count on their good sense of judgment they disappointingly become sloppy, uncharitable, and parochial. Often, they tend to pay too much attention to inconsequential things that they end up being incapable of comprehending the broader and more significant issues. This slovenly attitude is expressed in the metaphor of the National team, the Super Eagles, which disappoint when there is high expectation for them to achieve success. This tendency again comes into play in the side commentaries that trailed the just concluded successful wedding of the two daughters of the Chief Servant of Niger state, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, in Minna. Some nit-wits have used the erection of two billboards around the vicinity of the governor’s family compound to vilify the Chief Servant’s personality through the corridors of the social media. They have made uncomplimentary remarks which did not acknowledge the fact that the two billboards may have been erected by his political aids and wellwishers, and that it may have been done without his consent. They similarly failed to take into account the fact that, a governor of his stature could not have organized such an occasion without drawing unsolicited goodwill from far and near. And

so because of their narrow mindset, they also failed to see the broader and more significant political implications of such a gathering for national unity and integration. Really, like the bonding which football engenders amongst Nigerians, marriage ceremonies are increasingly gaining currency as a social platform for political rapprochement and social cohesion. Granted, this has always been the narrative function of the institution of marriage. Nonetheless, in this period of socio-political distress in the life of this country, the capacity of an individual like Dr. Aliyu to attract goodwill and bring together people from diverse socio-political persuasions should not be lost to well-meaning Nigerians. The singular fact that Governor Aliyu always manages to attract goodwill across ethnoregional and political frontiers is a proof of his impeccable profile as a bridge –builder, non- tribal and a true nationalist. Despite the current climate of fear that governs our national life, the caliber of people who graced the occasion is not only unprecedented, it is also a true reflection of the Chief Servant’s popularity, human relation, and political relevance. Indeed, it takes more than mere occupation of public office as well as perks of such an office to be able to organize that kind of event successfully without an incidence. Amongst the array of dignitaries who graced the occasion where the former president Alhaji Shehu Shagari and Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi

Babangida, the head of state, Gen. Abdulsalami A. Abubakar, the vice president Alhaji Namadi Sambo; the senate president and speaker House of Representatives; the Governors of Imo, Rivers, Gombe, Kastina, Sokoto, Kaduna, Benue, Ekiti, etc; senators and members of the House of representatives ; Emirs of Daura, Yola, Zaria, Obas and Ezes and chiefs; foreign Diplomats, bureaucrats and captains of industries; ministers; and numerous federal public servants. In fact, the list of guests is long and diverse. This is not the first time the chief servant will bring together political gladiators from diverse hues. One of such memorable occasion was in July 2010 when the book, PRAXIS: Of political Concepts and Clichés in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic (Essays in honor of Dr. M.B. Aliyu), was launched in Abuja. During that occasion, Governor Aliyu beat all popular expectation to bring together strange political bedfellows, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, Muhammadu Buhari, and

Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida along with several other political hawks. This singular gesture of political rapprochement was hailed then as a veritable means of creating political understanding, national unity, and Political stability. At that time, such report was direly needed to rescue Nigeria from the cliff-hanger of political instability and disingenuousness, it became even more reassuring then to have those political gladiators come together in public than the resultant behind the scene trade-offs .Therefore, those families with the Taoist Principles of Sun Tzu’s Art of War will understand that the best possible means of conflict resolution is to have a foreknowledge (insight) of its occurrence before it happens. This is to suggest that as a political strategist, Governor Aliyu is always quick to see what others do not see and know what others do not know.

Beyond the wedding billboards, the occasion of the wedding of Dr. M.B. Aliyu’s daughters must be seen for what it is: a veritable platform for him to not only showcase his popularity, impeccable human relation, and political relevance

This is a trait he inherited from his forebears who were known to be warm, accommodating, tolerant, chivalrous, and charitable. He once acknowledged that “since I grew up, I have never seen the door of house closed. People were always coming in going out, either traditional rulers or local malams. That has a way of inspiring people as you notice people who come in and go out”. Thus, it may be said that a chameleon imitates only what it sees. This means that Governor Aliyu’s open handedness, his impeccable human relation, his rapturous political consummation drive largely from his inherent persona-social heritage. It is therefore unhelpful to limit the rounded political significance of the occasion of the marriage of his daughters to just the erection of only two billboards as if the entire state was awash with the billboards. Above all, no matter his love for his daughters he will not decorate their bedrooms with the streetlights or pave their living room with asphalt. Thus, beyond the wedding billboards, the occasion of the wedding of Dr. M.B. Aliyu’s daughters must be seen for what it is: a veritable platform for him to not only showcase his popularity, impeccable human relation, and political relevance but also an avenue for political rapprochement for national unity and integration. Uba wrote in from N.E 65 Nasarawa C,Unguwar Daji Minna


Our young voice for this Friday is not that young - Ayo Oyalowo (@Ayourb on Twitter) is in his late 30s, so part of the demographic group that accounts for nearly 80% of our country's population. Ayo's experience has been in financial services and today is one of the most vocal and emerging voices on social media particularly on Twitter. Ayo's New Year

message is about the distortion of our incentive structure in Nigeria which has reached stratospheric levels under the Jonathan administration - the rewarding of laziness, crime and bigotry while punishing hard work, righteousness and social inclusion amongst our people. Our leadership has failed massively in 2012. Ayo and the rest of


YOUNG VOICES introduced by

NASIR EL-R UF AI EL-RUF UFAI ON FRID AY FRIDA us hope that they will listen to the voices of the

majority and do better in 2013.

It is my singular honour and privilege to present Mr. AyobamiOyalowo and his contribution to improving our nation, in the footsteps of young patriots like ChineduEkeke, Elnathan John, AuwalSani Anwar, JaphetOmojuwa, ZainabUsman, Jude Egbas and OgunyemiBukola.Happy New Year. Nasir El-Rufai

Crime: Nigeria’s only thriving industry? By Ayobami Oyalowo


he rising wave of crime is disheartening to most Nigerians. On Sunday, November 28, 2012, Nigerians were greeted by a hitherto unimaginable event: the bombing of a church in Jaji (near Kaduna, North-Central Nigeria), one of the “most-secure” military facilities in Nigeria. Hardly had the news sunk in thannews of another attack on the office complex of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad(SARS) in Abuja greeted the airwaves.Thencamethe news about a heavy bombardment of banks, a police station and some military facilities in Auchi(Edo State, South-South Nigeria). All theseincidents happened within a 24-hour interval,leaving in its wake a huge number of casualties. The reality of today is that life has little value in the Jonathan-ruled Nigeria. But,how did we get here? Gradually.Because, while the rot did not start with the present government, it is clear to any discerning mind that the highly unfocused posture of this government has given criminals and militants the boldness to take on the state without fear of retribution. No society is totally crimefree.However, in egalitarian societies, where equality is a norm and justice is guaranteed should there be a breach, crime rates are generally at the barest minimum. In present day Nigeria, though, this is not the case. No thanks to the high unemployment statistics - swelled even more by the huge number of graduates and other school-leavers churned out annually, add to that the large number of underemployed and frustrated citizens - Nigeria is in a highly volatile state, armed with willing youthsneeding economic emancipation. And since our society does not frown anymore at sudden wealth or a display of opulence, we are surely ripe for the picking. Throw in an inept, rudderless government, and you have the complete recipe for disaster. A cursory look at the proposed budget of Nigeria in 2013, tells a sad tale to any discerning mind. The health of a corporation, state or nation, can easily be ascertained by looking at the quality of the budget; and a look at next year’s

budget, as proposed by the “most brilliant” Coordinating Minister of the Economy, NgoziOkonjo-Iweala, shows a nation bereft of developmental ideas and a leadership lacking in sincerity and focus. With the sum of N2.6 billion budgeted for the president’s numerous, but mostly avoidable, international junketing termed ‘foreign trips’, and another N1.3 billion budgeted for feeding and snacks for the office of the President and his vice, one wonders at the focus and priority of these “leaders”. How do you allocate N60.1billion to education, N55.8billionto healthand N31.8billionto Science & Technology, then N23.6billion to only 30,000 ex-militants? Why shouldn’t the 70% of the population under the age of 35years join these militants?Because, if youtake up arms against the state, create as much tension,shed as much blood as possible, and then negotiate with the government,you will go scotfree,get juicy contracts and enjoy federal patronage, as well. In August, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) broke some disturbing news about Nigeria. It was reported that someexmilitants in the Niger Delta had been paid about N6.32billion within the past one year by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Yes, for the ‘noble’ service of providing security against vandals for the Corporation’s oil pipeline network.Imagine!The breakdown, as outlined by WSJ, is this: Chief Government Ekpumopolo (alias Tompolo), AlhajiMujahidAsari-Dokubo, ‘General’ Ebikabowei Victor Ben (Boyloaf) and ‘General’ Ateke Tom were respectively paid N5.1billion, N1.44billion, N608million and N608million yearly by the stateowned NNPC, as ‘protection money’to guard the pipelines they once attacked. As if that was not enough an insult on the collective intelligence of Nigerians, earlier in the year the Federal Government awarded a contract worth $103.4million (over N15billion)to the Global West Vessel Specialist Limited (GWVSL)a firm widely believed to be owned by Tompolo to supply 20 vessels for the use of the nation’s military authorities to secure the waterways. Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration

Ayobami Oyalowo and Safety Agency (NIMASA), ZiadekeAkpobolokemi, had last year sent a memo titled, “Award of Contract for the Strategic Concessioning Partnership with NIMASA to Provide Platforms for Tracking Ships and Cargoes, Enforce Regulatory Compliance and Surveillance Of The Entire Nigerian Maritime Domain,” to President Goodluck Jonathan. In considering the memo, President Goodluck Jonathan and Akpobolokemi chose GWVSL as the preferred company for the 10-year concession agreement, renewable for two terms of five years each. Jonathan, in a memo dated 9th November, 2011, with reference number PRES/99/MT/61, approved Akpobolokemi’s memo, which the Federal Executive Council rubber-stamped on 5th January, 2012. According to Akpobolokemi, GWVSL “will provide platforms for effective policing of Nigeria’s maritime domain and ensure compliance with international maritime conventions on vessels and ships voyaging the country’s waters”. NIMASA maintains that the concessionaire would help the Federal Government to enforce the sabotage law and collect levies on its behalf. This, in a country that still maintains a statutory Naval force, and without a track record for GWVSL? When you consider the reckless budget, and the pampering of criminals nicknamed militants by the government as led by Jonathan, the conclusion is very grim. Now, the government plans to negotiate with the Boko Haram terrorists group. This is a clear indication of the failure, nay, surrender, of government. It points

to just one thing: this government lacks balls!Harass and intimidate it and you are assured of juicy returns after negotiation. The Basque Separatists Movement in Spain,which has been on a collision course with the Spanish authorities since 1959, hasa casualty figure of 800 in their 53 years of existence.Boko Haram, which came alive just about 3years ago,the figure is in thousands. Indeed, the lives of ordinary Nigerians mean little or nothing to those in government. Afterall, the government itself routinely murders citizens extra-judicially through its security personnel at check points. The case of Lucy of Apo in Abuja and the 5-day old groom in Lagos readily spring to mind, amongst countless others. The total annual emolument of a senator as recommended by Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) stands at N12.766million per annum(about N1.063million per month), with slightly less figures for members of the House of Representatives, amounting to N5.6billion for the 469 members of the National Assembly. The 2013 budget, however, makes a provision of N150billion for the National Assembly, so members earn in a month more than they are entitled to in a year(based on the RMAFC recommendation). Indeed, the recklessness is not limited to the executive; it is a total package of bare-faced fiscal irresponsibility, by all arms of government. Though the above paint a grim picture, the entire story is yet to be told:MallamNasir El-rufai had earlier stated that, to clear the backlog of jobless youths, Nigeria will need to create about 3 million jobs annually for 5years.Add to this the number of NYSC members that get discharged annually, plusthe number of those recently laid off by banks and the picture gets bleaker.And why won’t it, if over 60% of the budget is either lost or unaccounted for and only 30% annual budget performance? In all these, though, I dare say that the case of Nigeria is not a hopeless one.Yes, Nigeria’s foreign debt profile currently stands at about $7billion. But, then, Nigeria’s problem is largely a man-made problem. Greed, avarice, selfishness and corruption in high places are our bane. Hence, our government officials only need to stop stealing or, at least, reduce what they

regularly steal. The government cannot continue to preach sacrifice to the suffering Nigerian masses while its executives live in opulence. The governor of Kano state recently bought 3 bullet-proof SUVs valued at N156million, while the governors of Rivers and AkwaIbom states also acquired Bombardier jets, each valued at about $45million. Government at all levels must cut down on avoidable expenses.No nation can develop with a 70:30 recurrent to capital expenditure ratio. We must wake up and realize that developing Nigeria is an assignment for us all.We don’t determine the price of theoil which provides the bulk of our national revenue.Again, it is a volatile product, whose terminal date is about 39years away. A sensible government, therefore,should begin to plan for that time. Again,more countries are discovering oil, as well as alternative sources of energy.This means that soon, our oil will no longer be as important andlucrative as it is today. Furthermore, the discarded probe reports and endless committees/panels have revealed that the government lacks the will to fight corruption.Then, with KPMG declaring Nigeria the most corrupt country in their half-term report of 2012andthe Gallup poll showing the Nigeria government to be the second most corrupt in the world, the government must work at improving the statistics. Finally, like I earlier averred, the case of Nigeria is not a totally hopeless one, but the government must be sincere and be truly ready to fight corruption and nepotism. Until corruption is killed, Nigerians will continue to die cheap deaths, while criminals will continually have a free reign in the land. Awarding contracts to kingpins in the guise of amnesty is not only travesty, butan open invitation to anarchy, as well. Accountability and probity are nonnegotiable in our march to greatness. The government either exterminates corruption or by consequence of inaction, will continuallycontribute to dividing, impoverishing and punishing Nigerians. As a wise man once said, “You can deceive some of the people some of the time, or even all the people some of the time, but not all the people all the time.” I am @Ayourb on Twitter.


By Josephine Ella Ejeh


he Amirul Hajj for the 2012 Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Muslim pilgrimage operations, Retired General Abdullahi Bagudu Mamman has lamented the maltreatment of pilgrims by airline operators during the last Hajj operation. Gen. Mamman, who condemned the suffering airlines contracted for the airlifting subjected pilgrims to, called for an urgent action against the airlines in question to call them to order in subsequent operations. He made the call while presenting the 2012 hajj report by the Amirul Hajj Team to the Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory(FCT), Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide in her office at Area 11, Garki, Abuja. “I have stomach this over the years, I cannot hold it anymore. The situation where an air carrier decided to treat us with


FCT Amirul Hajj decries maltreatment of pilgrims by Max Airline, others reckless abandon should not be tolerated. There is nothing sacrosanct about any particular air carrier. Its either he can do it for the sake of Allah or he can’t. “Where you dump pilgrims at the camp or subject them to suffering at the airport, divert your plane to another place, sometimes to other countries, leaving pilgrims to suffer for more than 24 hours at the airport is unacceptable. We therefore, say enough is enough. Nobody is untouchable,” he said. The Amirul Hajj, who became specific at a point of his remarks, insisted that “Max airline in particular, must be directed to treat us like human beings. A situation where they

are allowed to treat pilgrims any how should no longer be tolerated. They should be made to understand that they have a contractual agreement with the FCTA to airlift pilgrims”. He regretted the failure of the contractor handling the construction of the FCT Hajj Camp to complete the project, saying the project should as a matter of urgency be completed before the next Hajj operations commences to reduce the encumbrances and save cost. He also appealed to the FCT administration to make case for upward review of the Hajj seat allocated for Muslim pilgrims. Responding while receiving the report, the Minister of State thanked

the team for accepting to carry out the task of ensuring a successful 2012 Hajj operations and coming out with the report. According to her, ”2012 was successful because you have given is the roadmap to move forward”. She promised that it would be studied and implemented as she also assured of the commitment of the administration towards ensuring a hitch free Hajj operation. On the maltreatment of pilgrims by airlines, the minister attributed this to the limited options of airlines approved for airlifting of pilgrims by the National Hajj Commission(NAHCOM). Akinjide, who said the few

approved airlines were obviously capitalising on the monopoly they had over others, would not have towed such path if there were into stiff competition with a larger number of airlines. She however, said it was unacceptable for them to violate the contract they had with the FCT administration.

Community head appeals to FCTA over exorbitant school fee By Usman Shuaibu parent of 18 children in Gwagwalada Area Council of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Saleh Lawal, who is also the community leader of Angwan Hajara in the area, has appealed to the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to come to the aid of less privileged parents who could not send their children to school due to high school fees in the territory. Lawal, who made the appeal in an interview with Peoples Daily in Gwagwalada, complained that all his 18 children had completed their primary school education, but it is only two of them that got the admission to further their secondary education and that he has no money to send the rest of the children to secondary schools due to the exorbitant tuition fees. He expressed displeasure that despite the Federal Government’s introduction of free Universal Basic Education (UBE) in both primary and junior secondary schools some principals and headmasters were still charging high amount of school fees. He called on the FCT Education Secretariat to deem it necessary to checkmate school principals and headmasters who are in the habit of charging illegal school fees in the FCT. He noted that the introduction of free Universal Basic Education by the government was to ensure that Nigerian children are educated, and therefore called on the Minister of the FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed to look into the abuses bedevilling the education sector in the territory. He also urged the Federal Ministry of Education to redouble its efforts to rest some pending issues affecting education sector in Nigeria. In the same vein, he appealed to the elected politicians as well as the high-ranking government functionaries to implement policies that would have direct bearing on the masses.


Young men hawking wears, in a traffic hold-up, yesterday in Nyanya.

Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

82 sub-standard Abuja medical facilities shut down in 2012 By Josephine Ella Ejeh


ighty two 82 sub-standard medical facilities in and around Abuja were shut down by the Federal Capital Territory(FCT) last year. This was disclosed by the FCT Minister, Senator Mohammed after looking into the activities of the FCT Health & Human Services Secretariat in retrospect yesterday in his office at Area 11, Garki I District, Abuja. However, he said some of them have been re-opened after

the conditions for which they were closed down were met and payment of penalty fine as a result of the offences. According to him, 12 nonmedical quacks were also apprehended and handed over to the Police at various Police Stations such as Bwari, Jikwoyi, Garki, Federal Secretariat and the FCT Police Command. He said three of such cases have already been charged to Karu Magistrate Court for prosecution to serve as deterrent.

While lamenting that the activities of medical quacks have been on the rise due to the everincreasing influx of people into the Federal Capital Territory, he assured that his administration is on top of the situation. Senator Mohammed further revealed that his administration has empowered the Health & Human Services Secretariat to deal with such ugly situation through the activities of the Private Health Establishments Registration and Monitoring Committee

(PHERMC). This was as he further assured that his administration would not relent in fighting quackery in the Federal Capital Territory as their activities impinge on the lives of the residents. He urged the general public to be cautious of such outfits as they pose a great health danger to the public, enjoining the residents to as a matter of urgency raise the alarm when such outfits are suspected to be operating.



Inmates of Mother Theresa Children’s Home, Gwarimpa, Abuja, being presented with school uniforms during a party in the home recently.

A young man patronising a traditional medicine trader recently in Gwagwa, Abuja

Kongobouku villagers doing laundry in a stream

Storing farm produce in Kongobouku village

Gbegyi traditional drummers at New Garki Fish Market in Abuja, recently.



Kpeyegi residents cry out for potable water of getting water is from the borehole. A lot of people go as far as river to get water, so if government can think about it and provide us with boreholes I think it will save and lot of life," he said. Another resident, Mrs. Joy Aaron, a trader was worried about the health implication the sources of water in the area to residents relying on the sources. Her words: "The source of water in this Area is well water and rivers that emanated from the rock. It is bad because people wash, bathe and also drink from the same water. Some people also use dirty fetchers or container to fetch from the well water. "This well water also smells a lot. Our lives are in danger because these sources of water can cause water borne diseases such as typhoid. Also, some boreholes are bad therefore are not

By Beauty Amaike


he importance of water in sustaining life cannot be over emphasized. Just as the saying goes, water is life. It is also an essential factor in human life. The supply of water to the body helps it to perform its duties perfectly, maintaining good health and prolong life. There is no harm to the body if we skip food once in a day. The food stored in the body comes handy when we skip food. However, if we do not drink water for some time or for a whole day, it triggers serious trouble in the body. It is wrong to think that if we drink water once it will be stored for a long time and meets the needs of the body. Water is beneficial only when we take it whenever the body needs it. As food is emptied from the stomach, water is also emptied from the body from time to time. If the body has to get full benefit of the food we eat, it is possible only through water. The benefit to the body from the higher quantity and expensive food we eat is possible if the water we take is adequate. Perhaps we need to understand the work of water in the body, the form it takes, what it does, the difficulty the body faces when water level comes down, how much water is spent in the body, the likely symptoms when water level is reduced, the relation between kidneys and water, the relation of water to salt etc. Disease-causing germs and chemicals can find their way into water supplies. When this happens the water becomes polluted or contaminated and

Sunday Abah

FCT Minister Bala Mohammed when people drink it or come in contact with it in other ways they can become very sick. Water that is not safe to drink is said to be non-potable. Throughout history there have been many occasions when hundreds of thousands of people have died because diseasecausing germs have been spread through a community by a polluted water supply. T his is the case in Kpeyegi, a small settlement situated along Karshi-Orozo road because they do not enjoy portable or safe water. Due to the absence of pipe

borne water in the area, residents are forced to drink from well which is unhealthy to their lives. Our reporter, who visited the community during the weekend, gathered that the major sources of water supply in the area is well, river and water vendors who fetch water from only God knows sources only to sell to residents at exorbitant rates. Lamenting their ordeal, one of the residents, Joseph Abah, an Admin\ Accounting Officer in Vestergaard Frandsen Nigeria Limited said, "the water situation in this area is extremely bad. In this community the only source of water is well water or privately individuals that own boreholes. We do buy water from the water vendors (mai ruwas) and a rubber cost N 20, by the time you calculated 5 rubbers you're spending N100 which you can use to do some other things that are very necessary and I don't think most people can afford it". Continuing, he emphasised: "The problem of water in this community is a serious one that we need the ministry of water resources to come to our aid. Sometimes people fetch water from the well to cook and I would not guarantee that is hygienic or safe water for one to use in cooking or to drink, even in bathing. He suggested that in order to ameliorate the sufferings of residents the government should provide boreholes in each location in the community. The available sources though have been the options for residents for now but usually, residents get little or no succour from these sources. "We are really passing time in this community especially in this harmattan season, the well gets dry up and the only means

Joy Aaron

Thompson Ngene

drinkable. If you boil the water the particles that will come out of the water will not allow someone to use or drink it". She also appealed to the government to come to their aid by providing portable and safe water for them. Speaking in the same vein, Thompson Ngene a student said: "In this area we are lacking good drinkable water because the well water which is the source of water here is very dirty. The well water smells a lot and after using it to wash; it makes my cloths to smell". "Everybody cannot afford to buy water from the private owned bore holes. Therefore, I beg the government to provide portable water for us because we are suffering a lot especially the less privilege among us. Some drink from this well ignorantly inviting sicknesses," he added.





igeria was the third most rewarding stock market globally in 2012 behind Egypt and Kenya, as investors harvested 35.45 percent yield to- date return on investment from the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). According to a study by Meristem Research, the bulk of the returns came from NSE 30 selected stocks with 44.61 percent YtD return, Food and Beverages, 42.27 percent and banking, 23.91 percent. The companies that offered the returns, according to the study, included the Paints & Coatings


Manufacturers Nigeria (PCMN), with 276.92 returns to close at N1.9 per share, Presco with YtD of 96.08 percent to finish at 17.00 , Airline Services Limited, with 92.63 returns and closing price of N4.18 per share, Zenith Bank 60.02 return and price of N19.49 and UTC, which rewarded investors with 50 percent at the price of N0.75 per share. The Nigerian Stock Exchange All Share Index (ASI) finished the year at 28,078.80 with market capitalisation of N8.974 trillion. The Egyptian stock market was the most profitable, with YtD of 49.56 percent, Kenya, second with 39.32 percent return to investors. YtD from the Ghana Stock Exchange was 35.45

percent, while South Africa returned 23.81 percent to investors. The return profile shows that African markets were most attractive by return standard,followed by markets in the Asia/ Pacific regions. It shows that returns in matured markets of Europe and America are thinning out , a situation that leaves African and other emerging markets as viable alternative markets. Analysts say if the trend continues in the New Year, increased migration of investors to emerging and frontier markets like Nigeria, other African countries and the Asia markets will be witnessed.

- Pg 21

Ecologist seeks UNEP’s intervention on oil spills

Mob: 08033644990

Nigeria emerges as 3rd most profitable stock market in the world By Aminu Imam with agency report


FG to buy 30 new planes to ease high air fares From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


he Federal Government says it would soon acquire 30 aircrafts to boost domestic airlines in Nigeria and to also cushion the high cost of air fares in airline business in Nigeria. Manager, Corporate Communications, of the Ministry of Aviation, Yakubu Dati stated this in Benin City shortly after a tour to check the extent of remodelling and reconstruction work at the Airport in Benin city. Answering questions on the safety of airplanes in Nigeria, Mr. Dati said concerns in this area has led to removal of tariffs on aviation spare parts and that plans to purchase airplanes for the operators. He said the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) was bent on removing abandoned aircrafts across the country as it does not fit into the aviation Master Plan. Explaining how the fund

needed for the new aircraft would be sourced, Mr Dati said the federal government would purchase the airplanes through the aviation fund being managed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bank of Industry (BoI) as direct disbursement of funds was being abused “This is to help domestic airlines operate profitably and make it attractive for investors because spare parts are a major cost component in the aviation industry.” He reiterated government’s commitment to making the country’s aviation industry a hub in the African continent. On abandoned planes across airports in the country, he said: “We have given the ultimatum for the owners of abandoned aircraft to remove them because they constitute menace to our airspace and airports. ”But definitely, when the period we give elapses, FAAN will take action to ensure that we clear our spaces of abandoned aircraft because it does not fit into the aviation master-plan.”

SEC may shelve nationwide awareness campaign - Official

T Traders waiting for shoppers, recently at Utako market in Abuja.

NEITI engages firm to carry out extractive industry audit By Abdulwahab Isa


he Nigeria’s Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), is set to engage services of audit firm (identities not reveal) to handle Physical Allocations and Statutory Disbursement Audit of the extractive industry. The audit exercise will cover 2007 to 2011 and is in line with the decision of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at its November 28, meeting. A member of the NEITI’s National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG), Mrs. Faith Ossai Nwadishi who confirmed this position said the agreement is to ensure that the nine-month timeline set by the Federal Government for the completion of the audit is met and assured NEITI’s full

support for the proposed exercise. “Like we have indicated earlier, we are prepared for the audit which is part of our statutory mandates in the extractive industry. In line with the FEC decision, we are going to meet the auditors that won the contract early in January to sign the agreement. It is an exercise we are committed to and everything is being done to

Photo: NAN ensure its success”. The purpose of the audit, which is expected to be completed within nine months, which is in accordance with provisions of Section 2 of NEITI Act 2007, is to determine how the Oil revenues are applied to covered entities such as NDDC, PTDF, CBN including the 13 per cent derivation revenue allocated to some oil producing states and how other monetary and fiscal transactions in the sectors have been conducted or utilised during the period covered by the contract between 2007 and 2011.

he Chairman, Securities and Exchange (SEC) Committee on Dematerialisation, Mr Emeka Madubuike says the commission may shelve the nationwide dematerialisation awareness campaigns scheduled to start on Jan. 31. Madubuike told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos yesterday that the postponement was due to the zero allocation to SEC in 2013 federal budget by the National Assembly. Dematerialisation is the process of replacing paper share certificates with electronic records at the Central Securities Clearing System. He said that the campaign would not be feasible because SEC needed funds to carry out the elaborate campaigns. Madubuike, who is also the President Association of Stockbroking Houses of Nigeria

Management Tip of the Day


Know the impression your body language makes

estures, posture, and facial expressions all convey powerful messages to the people you interact with. Yet far too many people are unaware of the messages their body language sends. Next time you’re in an important meeting, ask yourself these two questions:·

Am I fidgeting? If you’re sitting still and listening, then all is probably well. But if you’re shifting about in your chair, drumming your fingers, or worst of all, looking at your phone, then you can be sure that the person talking feels like you’re not interested in what they have to

say.·Am I interrupting? In any healthy debate people will occasionally interrupt. But if you do it a lot, or are leaning in to make your point, people may feel that you’re not open to what they are saying. Source: Harvard Business Review

(ASHON), said that the zero allocation would affect other initiatives to revamp the capital market in 2013. According to him, SEC cannot approve the committee’s report for the Jan. 31, 2013 date because of the House of the Representatives’ stance that the commission’s director-general must be removed. Madubuike, however, called for quick resolution of the impasse by the Presidency in the interest of the capital market and the total economy. It could be recalled that the House of Representatives directed the withholding of SEC’s allocation in the 2013 Appropriation Bill it passed on Dec.20. This followed the lower legislative chamber’s decision not to have anything to do with SEC until Ms Arunma Oteh is removed as the Director-General. The commission had proposed to spend about N93 million to execute the dematerialisation policy. Oteh had said at the 2nd Annual Capital Market Committee Retreat in Warri, Delta, in December, that some shareholders were resisting dematerialisation policy due to lack of knowledge of its benefits. Oteh reiterated that asset transfer from one investor to the other would be much easier in a dematerialised market. The Director-General said that road shows and enlightenment campaign were imperative to sensitise Nigerians on its benefits to avoid resistance. (NAN)




Sharp Corp


truggling Japanese TV maker Sharp Corp is considering raising more than 100 billion yen ($1.2 billion) to bolster its capital base. According to a report by Reuters, the debt-laden company, whose displays are used in Apple Inc’s, iPads and iPhones, was compelled to seek a bailout from banks in September and has forecast a loss of 155 billion yen for the fiscal year to March 2013, hit by rising costs from a strong yen and tough competition from its South Korean rivals. Sharp will announce plans for a capital increase in February and hopes to use the proceeds to strengthen its capital base and its main liquid crystal display (LCD) panel business, according to Reuters.

Telecom operators use only 5% of infrasructure – Opeke By Chris Alu


he Chief Executive Officer, Main One Cable Company, one of the deployers of undersea cable for broadband infrastructure, Ms. Funke Opeke has said that only 5 percent of the infrastructure was used by telecom operators for their services last year2012, which brought about poor quality of services. She said that out of the 100 per cent bandwidth capacity available for used, the company sold 5 percent to operators and was left with 95 per cent of the capacity redundant, though available

for use. Opeke said that if Nigeria is to fully enjoy the benefits of the $250million, 14,000km fibre cable, which landed in the country three years ago, regulatory and legislative interventions were required in tackling challenges to last-mile connectivity in the country. She said, “Lack of use of infrastructure in Nigeria is a major setback for broadband penetration. There is need for more infrastructure sharing. The cost of transporting capacity from Lagos to Abuja is more than Lagos to London and there is no cost basis for this. “We believe that there need

to be an infrastructure sharing framework or policy that will ensure that available infrastructure is available on commercial basis. It is a policy that can be set up in 60 days without having to do any serious studying.” Opeke said Opeke, who also lamented the problems facing the company in getting Right of Way (RoW) approval on time for the deployment of Main One cable across the country, however, said the RoW issue was being worked on by the ministries of Communications Technology and Works, to work on modalities to resolving the RoW issue amicably.

Egina oil field


ndications have emerged that Egina oil field, located 150 kilometres off the coast of Nigeria, operated by Total, has been awarded to Samsung, the Korean engineering, procurement and construction company. A source close to the deal said that Samsung has been endorsed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC), for execution of the Egina Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading, (FPSO) facility. Egina oil field is a $15 billion project, being promoted by Total, the French oil giant in partnership with the NNPC, on behalf of the Nigerian government. The source added that the final approval was still being awaited from the NNPC board.



igeria’s naira snapped two days of declines against the dollar as Barclays Plc said it will add the nation’s debt to its emerging-market localcurrency government bond index from March 2013. The currency gained 0.2 percent to N157.05 a dollar last Thursday. The naira has increased 3.3 percent this year, the second-best performer in Africa. Barclays follows JPMorgan Chase & Co., which added the West African nation’s bonds to its benchmark indexes last month. Barclays made the decision after reviewing changes in the market and polling investors on governance and market accessibility. The Londonbased bank’s EM LocalCurrency Index includes securities from 20 eligible countries with a market value of $1.62 trillion.

People patronising street hawkers, on Wednesday at Wuse Abuja.

Photo: NAN

Increased infrastructure devt. critical for national growth - Expert


he Managing Director of United Bank for Africa (UBA) Capital, Mr. Wale Shonibare has urged government to increase infrastructure development to enhance the achievement of the Vision 20:20:20. Shonibare made the call recently in Abuja at a one-day workshop organised by the Council for the Regulation of Engineering (COREN), with the theme: “ Financing Infrastructure in Nigeria’’. He said that government should be looking at increased infrastructure development as its critical tool in driving economic growth in the country. He called for the establishment of a national development plan project, which should have long term projects involved for better results and development in the

country. The managing director said, “Government should constitute a National Infrastructure Development Plan to ensure that projects are fully implemented. “If we can get a holistic approach and look at an infrastructure plan that supports our industrial policy as a nation then I think we can make much more rapid progress.’’ He also said that “the funding of infrastructure goes hand in hand with having a stable macro-economic environment, but in order to attract long term capital, the country needs a stable currency. “We need low income rates and attract sources of long capital so that when government borrows money, such funds should be for

investment and not for consumption.’’ Earlier in his remarks, the President of the council, Mr. Ibikunle Ogunbayo stressed the need for stakeholders in the building environment to pay attention to infrastructure development in the country. “More than 80 per cent of the required infrastructure for development are engineering and engineering personnel, who must strive to play a welldeserved role in the conceptualisation, financing, design, construction and maintenance of infrastructure.’’ He said COREN had great concern for the nation’s infrastructure, as there was the urgent need to address the various problems militating against sustainable development of the country’s facilities. (NAN)

Industrialists urge FG to implement reforms in power, oil sectors ByMuhammadNasir, withagencyreport


embers of the National Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI) yesterday urged the Federal Government to ensure the effective implementation of the oil and gas sector reforms in the New Year. This was contained in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos and called on President Goodluck Jonathan to expedite action toward finding lasting solution to problems of the oil and gas sector. The Managing Director, Limmy Cosmetics Ltd, Mrs. Lydia Amos, , urged Jonathan to urgently address the epileptic power supply problem and implement the oil and gas sector reforms agenda. Amos called on the president to create an enabling environment for socio-economic development. “Privatization of the country’s refineries is the only option towards an effective oil and gas industry, adding that most small scale businesses have closed shop due to the epileptic power supply in the country which can be tackled. She said that government’s priorities for now should be on the power sector because no country triumphs in socioeconomic development without effective and efficient power supply”.

Ecologist seeks UNEP intervention on oil spills


n ecological economist, Mr. Friday Udoh, on Tuesday 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. (NAN)



The role of ICT in emerging tax administration


nformation and communication technology (ICT) has for a long time been the way of life in many developed countries of the world. It has spread its tentacles to many human processes and functions. ICT has aided the manner of doing things in virtually all human endeavour, e.g., health provision(hospital information systems);manufacturing and engineering(modeling, computer aided design);finance, budgeting, auditing and banking(Peachtree, Sage, DACasy, sun, Orchard, futureBank, Globus,etc); financial/business analysis, forecasting, education and training(digital library, computer aided instruction, presentations);administration and personnel(human r e s o u r c e ) c h a n g e management(contact centre management);aviation and space engineering(real time seat reservation systems, airspace control systems, satellite networks)just to mention a few, the list is as long as the many areas of human endeavour. ICT has made life easier for everybody including the housewife. A simple domestic software will manage the kitchen for her, reminding her of re-order times of cooking stuff like seasoning, cooking oil, eggs etc, whenever it has been fed with the correct data. One important feature of ICT implementation is it accuracy. Computerisation of ICT development must provide accurate and consistent results at all levels. This is dependent on the kind/quality of data fed into it otherwise known as Garbage in Garbage out (GIGO). Other brilliant features/ benefits of deploying ICT solutions in processes are the speed of processing, ability to store large volume of data and information for a very long period of time (almost permanently),versatility being able to multi-task in the face of complex business processes and functions. The bedrock of any ICT solution is the ability of the system to collect quality data in a well structured database. There cannot be a good business without quality data and information about business and the environment in which it operates. All business strategies thrive on the availability of reliable data and information. Tax administration cannot be an exception. The introduction of iCT in governance such as tax administration is to make life easy for both the taxpayer and the tax administrator. Taxpayers will be better informed on their true obligations to government and vice-versa. Through an efficient ICT deployment, the processes and procedures in tax administration, viz-a-viz policies, assessments, collections, enforcements, efficient and reliable.

For an efficient system of tax administration to evolve, a tax authority must have enough data and information about the taxable profile/database, either manual or automated, no tax administrator/authority can succeed in its duties. A robust taxpayer profile/ database is all a tax authority requires to carry out its statutory functions on Personal Income taxes, property Taxes, Road Taxes, Value added Tax, will assist the revenue authorities in forecasting the annual collectible revenue (either in taxes alone or global revenue) from year to year thereby helping to plan the economy based on these facts. It is in the spirit of creating a robust taxpayer record that the Unique Taxpayer Identification (UTIN) Project of the Joint Tax board (JTB) was initiated and is currently being implemented. The project is to plan, design and implement a system to uniquely identify all entities in Nigeria by assigning a number called UTIN to corporate organisations and individuals. TIN will be issued to everyone all whether or not they are currently eligible to pay tax. The UTIN will become a prerequisite to do a lot of things in the economy, particularly business transactions. There will be a good relationship between JTB and other external stakeholders such as the Corporate Affairs Commission, Nigeria customs Service, Nigeria Immigration Service, National population Commission, Federal Road Safety Commission, financial institutions and other corporate organisations. These stakeholders are expected to key into the UTIN system in order to share data on the economy, for proper government planning and taxpayer identification. It would get to a level when you may not be able to bury your dead relations if both the dead and the living do not have their UTIN. It is simply for the overall benefit of all to move our nation forward. The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has been laying a very good platform in this regard and a lot has been achieved in its ICT blueprint. Very few states in Nigeria are following this trend. Even though operating on a smaller scale compared FIRS, there are few, if any states that have truly implemented a good system for integrated tax administration. They are either stalled midway due to inadequate funding, lack of focus/proper planning or the systems have been completed but without any meaningful impact on the sates economy (revenue).Other revenue authorities in Nigeria should take a cue from the JTB and FIRS initiatives, particularly the State Boards of Internal Revenue (SBIRs). Among cases where ICT deployment (careful and well thought-out deployment) has had significant impact on government revenue and consequently the economy is (see

FIRS boss, Alhaji Kabiru Mashi the table below).In some of these projects, guides and policy frameworks were provided by the IMF and/or the World Bank to ensure that an efficient system was achieved. In order to implement an automated system of tax administration, the following is required: Customized software since administration of taxes varies from border to border; Robust network and operating systems; Server computers, workstations/clients (desktops and laptops); Network equipment, etc. The number and sophistication of these equipments depends on the scope of the project. The skills set is also very important, the software and hardware cannot completely drive themselves without human intervention for best practices in maintaining, monitoring and controlling activities in order to ensure accuracy, consistency and reliability of results. The ICT personnel, in addition, must also ensure that the system is running at an optimal c a p a c i t y ( i n s t a l l e d capacity).Skill sets such as network administrators, database administrators, systems administrators, data entry officers, etc are indispensible .However, the remuneration package in almost all the revenue authorities, particularly that of the SBIRs cannot compare with the average package in the ICT industry. This is the reason why most of the tax authorities do not have the basic ICT department and where it exists at all, about 75% of the staff are without the appropriate skills. It is high time revenue authorities begin to see ICT as a veritable tool for revenue

administration due to its benefits: Among the many benefits are: Transparent transactions, blocked loopholes, easy transactions/simplified tax filing, collection made easy, effective means of communication between the taxpayers and tax administrators, speedy generation of necessary management reports for decision making, data mining, revenue/ target budget planning, and increased revenue. ICT departments in revenue authorities are seen to be support services units, whereas there is supposed to be a serious marriage between tax personnel and ICT personnel or better still, between tax skills and ICT skills. This is part of the reasons why the JTB will only train staff from the SBIR,FIRS and JTB on computer appreciation courses.JTB has never trained computer personnel from tax authorities on their own standard curricular as regards the ICT schedules and role of database administrators, n e t w o r k administrators, s y s t e m administrators, application developers, data entry staff, web development and management, etc.

Recommendations: All revenue authorities should setup IT or ICT departments (at least with a minimum/basic IT structure).Competent staff with the required skills should be recruited. Revenue authorities should find a way to work out modalities to improve the reward package of IT staff. JTB should include ICT syllabi in its periodic training to cater for the upgrade/development of the ICT professionals as against the current practice where only tax administration skills are run. On-IT staff that indicates interest in such can be selected to attend. The ICT knowledge areas are so dynamic that without continuous training, the personnel may lose touch with current trends in the industry. JTB should set up an IT department to conform to modern organizational setup requirements and international best practices. This department should actually be saddled with the responsibility of establishing and monitoring ICT standards (framework) and policies for JTB, particularly those of the SBIRs; it will set the standards for all that matters in the marriage of tax administration and ICT. The department would midwife all ICT solution designs and implementation in the tax authorities and also monitors compliance on a regular basis. The existence of such a standard will ensure easy data and information sharing amongst all revenue authorities. When these agencies share data and information, it will be for the overall benefit of all. It is in line with the transformation agenda of the President Goodluck Jonathan, when he told the security agencies that data and information concerning security should be shared among all of them instead of the independent efforts that yield little or no results. Let the same be done in revenue administration to achieve overall government goals and objectives in r e v e n u e generation and consequently i m p a c t positively on the living standard of Nigerians.



Top five new cars of 2012 Porsche Boxster S We didn’t expect to be smitten with the Boxster. It’s small, it’s globular, and it’s Porsche’s entry-level model, a category we intrinsically abhor. But we found its charms myriad and irresistible. It is as lithe and precise as an Olympic hurdler. It is both impossibly cozy and improbably roomy (its mid-engine layout allows for generous trunks, front and rear). And its dolphin-esque styling came to represent, for us, its dolphin-like intelligence, integrity, and intuitiveness. And only a total bitch can resist a dolphin. Base price: $61,850.(N9.896 million) Jaguar XF Supercharged Despite our feline allergies, we have long mewled before the altar of the big cat. This is because Jaguar, alone among masspirational luxury brands,

embodies our ideal combination of effortless performance, creamy ride, creamier interiors, exquisite (and not over-adorned) exteriors, and a desirably recherché exclusivity. This supercharged V8powered XF may lack the strakes and spoilers of its more formidable siblings, but we love it all the more for its potent reservation. One drive, and you'll forget that the BMW 550i, Audi S6, and Mercedes E550 exist. Base price: $68,100. (N10.986 million)

Herewith, in no particular order, are Stick Shift’s top five picks of vehicles released this calendar year, as well as a bonus selection of five outrageous cars it didn’t feel fair incorporating into the main list but couldn’t resist including. Tesla Model S When we first drove the Tesla Model S (for 30 minutes, in New Jersey), we cheekily asked if it was "the most important car of the 21st century." After four days throttling the range-topping Performance model silently around Palm Springs-our nation's most optimistic and wellpreserved bygone vision of the future-we can answer that question with a resounding "yes!" Properly luxurious, laden with eye-popping and usable tech, astoundingly fast, commodious, fun to drive, stylish, exclusive, and covetously desirable, it is not just an amazing electric car but an amazing car, period. The history of the hereafter is littered with ideas that, in retrospect, look idiotic. This is not one of them. Base price: $84,900. (N13,584,000)

Jaguar XF Supercharged Subaru BRZ It is somewhat antithetical for us to include a $25,000 Japanese car-and a Subaru at that-on this list. But as much as we privilege rigidity, we also relish irreverence, and this sporty sprite succeeds on both of these counts, with a chassis that is as dependably stiff as your teenage self, and a delightful impudence-in the form of light weight, moderate

power, and exquisite balancethat bursts accepted vehicular paradigms. Ours included. Base price: $25,495. (N4,079,200) Tesla Model S

Subaru BRZ

Cadillac ATS We root for the underdog. And if we were to list the luxury brands that have most successfully barked from below in recent years, Cadillac would get our vote for top pooch.

Cadillac ATS Witness its new ATS. It is the first convincing domestic competitor to the Germans' ubiquitous reign in the entrylevel sports-sedan category; it's

styled as a fashion-forward, and audaciously American, exemplar of speed, power, and refinement; and its interior (save the lumpy CUE

infotainment interface) will forever erase your baroque Caddy memories. But will the upscaling masses take it seriously? We do. So if you're cross-shopping the 3-Series/CClass/A4 triumvirate, we insist you give it a turn. Base price: $33,095. (N5, 295,200)


Report as at Friday, January 3, 2013




Local government autonomy: To be or not to be? Alhaji Ahmed Gulak, his Special Adviser on Political Affairs, Jonathan also expressed his opposition to the state/local government joint account. Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and former Senate President Ken Nnamani also endorsed the abortion of state/local government joint account. They argued that the ongoing efforts to review the constitution should guarantee the autonomy of the country’s 774 local government councils. Echoes from the public hearing on the review of the 1999 Constitution across the country also indicate that most Nigerians want

By Obike Ukoh


he election that ushered in democratically elected chairmen and councillors into 774 local government councils across the country in 1999 was conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). That council election was the last to be conducted by INEC. However, the electoral body did not then specify the tenure of the elected council officers. The reason for INEC conducting the council polls at that time was quite obvious even though under the 1999 Constitution it did not have the powers to do so. Under the constitution, it is the sole responsibility of State Independent Electoral Commissions (SEICs) to conduct council elections in their respective states. Observers, however, note that the conduct of council polls across the country by INEC in 1999 was quite understandable, as SEICs were not yet in place at that point in time. However, Section 7 of the 1999 Constitution provides inter alia: “The system of local government by democratically elected council is under this constitution guaranteed and accordingly, the government of every state shall, subject to this section of the Constitution, ensure their existence under a law which provides for the establishment, structure, composition, finance and function of such councils. “ It shall be the duty of a local government council within the state to participate in economic planning and development of the area referred to in subsection 2 of this section and to this end, an economic planning board shall be established by a law

the autonomy of local governments guaranteed by the constitution. For instance, the participants of the stakeholders’ meeting for Akure South/North Federal Constituency in Ondo state called for the autonomy of


local government councils. They said that some governors were guilty of mismanaging council funds as a result of the operation of the joint account. They, therefore, insisted on a constitutional amendment that would ensure that funds allocated to local government councils were paid directly into the councils’ accounts. In spite of the widespread call for the financial autonomy of local governments, some people still drum support for the retention of state/local government joint account. At the South-South stakeholders’ meeting on the constitution review in Calabar, for instance, Gov. Liyel Imoke of Cross River argued that there was nothing wrong with

They argued that the ongoing efforts to review the constitution should guarantee the autonomy of the country’s 774 local government councils Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River state – anti-local govt autonomy

President Goodluck Jonathan – pro-local govt autonomy

enacted by the State House of Assembly.’’ All the same, rifts in councils across the country emerged shortly after the inauguration of the various state houses of assembly. The first problem cropped up when some state legislatures fixed the tenure of the council chairmen and councillors at three years, instead of the four years applicable to other elected officers at state and national levels. The second rift occurred when the states

started implementing the state/local government joint account. Some council chairmen initially resisted the operation of the joint account but the opposition thawed when it became crystal clear that the arrangement was constitutional. Nevertheless, analysts, who note that the 1999 Constitution does not adequately provide for the autonomy of the third tier of government, call for the autonomy of local

governments so as to boost development at the grassroots. Key political public office holders, including President Goodluck Jonathan, also want the autonomy of local governments guaranteed in the amended constitution. The president, who spoke at the recent conference organised by Association of Local Governmentsof Nigeria (ALGON) in Enugu, declared his support for local government autonomy. Represented by

ALGON President, Ozor Nwabueze Okafor

running of state state/local government joint account. The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Mr Ejiok Cobham, stressed that the operation of the joint account was necessary to ensure speedy development. “The joint account will check duplication of projects because the state is in a position to regulate development at both the grassroots and state levels,’’ Imoke said. Mr Emma Ezeagu, the General Secretary, Alliance for Credible Elections (ACE), however, bemoaned a situation in which several SEICs were not conducting council elections as at when due, while council funds were being allocated to local government caretaker committees. He stressed that the allocation of funds to local government caretaker committees was absolutely wrong, as the constitution did not specify that funds should be allocated to unelected councils. Besides, an opinion poll recently conducted by a national newspaper indicated that the majority of Nigerians would like the autonomy of local government councils strengthened. Over 70 per cent of the survey’s 470 respondents endorsed increased autonomy for local governments. One of

the respondents, Olukayode Adedeji, said: “Local governments should be federating units. Local government elections should be included in our general elections and it is not even out of place to have more local governments.’’ Another respondent, Ademola Adesoji, said: “ The local governments should operate as federating units, while the chairmen and councillors should have four years’ tenure. “The issue of holding positions in the interim for local government chairmen should be discouraged. It is high time local governments made their own decisions. “In Anambra, they have not conducted local government elections since 1999 and this should not be. The local government ought to have its autonomy,’’ he added. Sharing similar sentiments,

Alhaji Ibrahim Khalil, the National President of Nigeria Union of Local Employees (NULGE), stressed that Nigeria had a lot to gain if the autonomy of local governments was guaranteed. He said that the state/local government joint account policy “had killed the local government system’’. Khalil emphasised that councils were created by law “under democratic tenets and values that needed to be entrenched but the dominance of state governors on local g o v e r n m e n t administration had crippled the system.’’ Sen. Smart Adeyemi echoed Khalil’s viewpoint, alleging that some state governors of working against local government autonomy for selfish reasons. The lawmaker noted that the governors were demanding extra powers from the Federal

Government, while they were trying to frustrate the campaign for the autonomy of the third tier of government. He also said that “sitting on the resources meant for local governments’’ was unconstitutional. Adeyemi, who is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on FCT, alleged that some governors had siphoned council funds to such an extent that the local government councils in their domain could not even pay staff salaries or construct mere culverts. The people have spoken and their calls for local governments’ autonomy have been lucid and logical. Observers, nonetheless, insist that what now remains is for the elected representatives and other stakeholders to ensure that the people’s wishes are reflected in the revised constitution. (NAN)

Sen. Smart Adeyemi echoed Khalil’s viewpoint, alleging that some state governors of working against local government autonomy for selfish reasons. The lawmaker noted that the governors were demanding extra powers from the Federal Government, while they were trying to frustrate the campaign for the autonomy of the third tier of government



Some women you must not marry (II) A

llah says: “And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell In tranquillity with them, and He has put love and Mercy between your (hearts): Verily In that are Signs for those who reflect.” [ar-Rum: 21] In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. All Praise is due to Allah! We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our evils and bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Allah, is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and final messenger to mankind. May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon His last and final Apostle, his Household, his companions and all his followers until the end of time. Let me remind you of the verse in discussion, Allah says: Last week I promised to elucidate further on the categories of women we can never married no matter the circumstances. These groups of women are either by blood relations, marital or fostered ties. “Prohibited to you (for marriage) are:- your mothers, daughters, sisters; father's sisters, Mother's sisters; brother's daughters, sister's daughters; foster-mothers (Who gave you suck), foster-sisters; your wives' mothers; your stepdaughters under your guardianship, born of your wives to whom ye have gone in,- no prohibition if ye have not gone in;- (Those who have been) wives of your sons proceeding from your loins; and two sisters In wedlock at one and the same time, except for what is past; for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” [anNisa'i: 23]

The group o those permanently regardless of how far; the father's proscribed due to blood tie, are as wife, grandfather's wife, etc follows: 2. Wives of descendants, 1. Descendants due to a regardless of the distance. relationship with a woman, 3. Ascendants of wives (such as regardless of how far; a man's daughter, granddaughter, etc. 2. Ascendants of women, regardless of how By Husain Zakariyya far; mother, Yawale maternal and paternal grandmother, etc. +234-8052952900 (sms only) 3. dants from a man's parents, regardless of how the mother-in-law). far; sisters, half sisters, sister's 4. Descendants of wives (stepchildren, etc. daughters and their children), but 4. Siblings of male and female in this case only if consummation ascendants, regardless of how far; has been fulfilled, and this ruling paternal and maternal aunts, includes the step-daughter was great aunts, etc. ever under one's care or not, Even though grandmother according the judgment of the was not explicitly mentioned in the majority of scholars. Qur'anic verse above, in Arabic The second group include the language the term 'mother' is following cases and classification: sufficient to include the Khul (divorce by redemption). grandmother and all her It is a situation whereby approval ascendants. Thus, one's from the husband is necessary and grandmother and her ancestors the wife is required to pay a certain fall into the aforementioned amount of money to the husband category. for the claim. The next category are those Allah confirms: “A divorce is prohibited from the parental side only permissible twice: after that, the due to marital relationships. While parties should either hold together some of them are forbidden on equitable terms, or separate with conditionally or temporarily, kindness. it is not lawful for you, others are permanently barred. (Men), to take back any of your gifts The ones who are eternally (from your wives), except when both proscribed are: Allah says: parties fear that They would be “And marry not women whom unable to keep the limits ordained by your fathers married,- except what Allah. if ye (judges) do indeed fear is past: it was shameful and odious,- that They would be unable to keep an abominable custom indeed.” [an- the limits ordained by Allah, there is Nisa'i: 22] no blame on either of them if she give From this short verse, the something for Her freedom. these Shari'ah derived the followings are the limits ordained by Allah. so banned from marriage as a result do not transgress them if any do of mere marital contracts with and transgress the limits ordained by without consummation Allah, such persons wrong 1. Wives of ascendants, (Themselves As well As others).” [al-


Baqarah: 229] Li'an (divorce by mutual condemnation). It is a situation where a person accuses his wife of insincerity. The Shari'ah in this case intervenes and settles the matter with m i n i m u m damages by eternal dissolution of the marriage between the two. The Qur'an, in pictorial ruling, have this to asserts: “And for those who launch a charge against their spouses, and have (in support) no evidence but their own,- their solitary evidence (can be received) if They bear witness four times (with an oath) by Allah that They are solemnly telling the truth; And the fifth (oath) (Should be) that They solemnly invoke the curse of Allah on themselves if They Tell a lie. But it would avert the punishment from the wife, if she bears witness four times (with an oath) by Allah, that (her husband) is telling a lie; And the fifth (oath) should be that she solemnly invokes the wrath of Allah on herself if (her accuser) is telling the Truth.” [an-Nur: 6-9] Thus, where Li'an oath was publically perfected, Tahrim aiTa'abeed that is everlasting outlawing becomes instituted. The third group are those that are temporarily or conditionally barred due to single or multiple reasons. The women and men who are so banned to re-unite after lawful conjugal relationship, may take each other into husbands and wives again, if the conditionality are fulfilled in accordance with the Shari'ah. These group consist of the followings: 1. Fasakh is where the wife applies for divorce through the

Shari'ah court for marriage dissolution on the grounds set by Islamic law that her husband behaved unreasonably and failed to fulfil his obligations to her. However, in this type of marriage, can re-marry if mutually consent within or after waiting period; Iddah. The divorce can be Ba’in (irrevocable) or Raj’i (revocable). 2. Ila’i (divorce by abstention). This is where one has decide for reasons best known to him to either swear not to have another round of conjugal relation with his wife or simple absconds by distancing himself from his wife for a given period. In the pre-Islamic tradition, ila'i was for 12 months! But, in Islam, it is reduced to only four months within which one decides to return, or stays put till the end for the marriage to be considered dissolved. Allah says: “For those who take an oath for abstention from their wives, a waiting for four months is ordained; if then They return, Allah is Oftforgiving, Most Merciful.” [aBaqarah: 226] Thus, if the husband return within four months, the marriage continues. But, if he abstains till the end, the divorce becomes authentic. However, the relationship can be sermonized again if mutually agreed, after fulfilling all the demands of the Shari'ah. 3. Zihar: This is a situation where the husband compares his wife with another woman within the eternally proscribed groups of women. In the Jahilyyah period this type of divorce was final and irrevocable. But, with the advent of Islam, a succour was found to maintaining the relationship after fulfilling the set obligations. The Qur'an states thus in following words: “Allah has indeed heard (and accepted) the statement of the woman who pleads with Thee concerning Her husband and carries Her complaint (in prayer) to Allah. and Allah (always) hears the arguments between both sides among you: for Allah hears and sees (All things). If any men among you divorce their wives by Zihar (calling them mothers), They cannot be their mothers: none can be their mothers except those who gave them birth. and In fact They use words (Both) iniquitous and false: but truly Allah is one that blots out (sins), and forgives (again and again). But those who divorce their wives by Zihar, then wish to go back on the words They uttered,- (it is ordained that such a one) should free a slave before They touch Each other: Thus are ye admonished to perform: and Allah is well-acquainted with (all) that ye do. And if any has not (the wherewithal), He should fast for two months consecutively before They touch Each other. but if any is unable to do so, He should feed sixty indigent ones, this, that ye may Show your Faith In Allah and His Messenger. those are limits (set by) Allah. for those who reject (Him), there is a grievous penalty.” [al-Mujadilah: 1-4] Here, I will stop, but to continue next Friday, if Allah wills!



Africa: From Doha to Dakar, food insecurity is the norm ANALYSIS By Mantoe Phakathi


atar may be one of the richest countries in th e wo r ld , b ut i t h a s something in common with its African counterparts food insecurity. This Middle-Eastern oilproducing nation imports 90 percent of its food because it is a dryland country. "Food is very expensive here," an immigrant Ghanaian taxi driver who opted to remain anonymous told IPS. "Here, a litre of petrol is cheaper than water," said the driver who spent the last week transporting the delegates at the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP 18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to their venue. While Qatar's issues of food insecurity stem from its terrain, African countries are struggling with food insecurity because of poverty and erratic weather patterns that have dramatically reduced agricultural production over the years, Emmanuel Seck, programme manager at the Dakar-based Environment and Development Action in the Third World, told IPS. As African countries struggle to make use of their vast land resources to improve food production because of climate change, Qatar, like other Gulf States and emerging economies such as China, is leasing and buying land in Africa, said Seck. According to a 2012 report by the Oakland Institute, investors in the United States and Europe are the leaders in foreign land acquisition. But developing countries such as Swaziland are already aligning their policies towards producing and supplying food for Qatar, and the two monarchies have established diplomatic relations. "We have vast virgin land in our country and we can use it to produce food for Qatar to drive our economy," head of Swaziland's COP 18 technical mission, Mbuso Dlamini, told IPS. Swaziland, however, is not producing enough staple

Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani

President Macky Sall

food for its citizens, importing most of it from neighbouring South Africa. Swaziland's largest foreign exchange earner is sugar. According to the latest report from Worldwatch Institute, of the 70.2 million hectares of land leased or bought all over the world in the last decade, 34.3 percent is in Africa. Qatar and other Gulf States have acquired a combined 6.4 million hectares of land in developing countries. Bruce Campbell, programme director at the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centres (CGIAR) Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), said that a balance needed to be struck in order to ensure that poor communities that are dependent on

from the University of Dar es Salaam Emma Limenga warned African governments against leasing out land for long periods. Normally, land lease agreements last for 99 years, which Limenga said could jeopardise the food security of future generations. "Remember, future generations are not responsible for the decisions that we make now," Limenga said in an interview with IPS. "A 10- to 20-year lease agreement is reasonable." She said that leasing land and justifying the practice by saying that it would create jobs was neither right nor wrong. She pointed out that while poor communities may have access to land, they might not be able to buy food because of unemployment. "Some communities are

subsistence farming are not kicked off their land to make way for agricultural developments by foreign governments and multinational companies. "Countries need to put in place mechanisms that will ensure that the leasing of land does not disenfranchise communities," Campbell told IPS. He said that leasing land might not necessarily be a bad idea as some people are moving away from subsistence farming to finding jobs. Campbell said that the guidelines on the Responsible Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of Food Security spearheaded by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation would help countries strike that balance. Tanzanian researcher


He said that leasing land might not necessarily be a bad idea as some people are moving away from subsistence farming to finding jobs. Campbell said that the guidelines on the Responsible Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of Food Security spearheaded by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation would help countries strike that balance.

not even cultivating the land because of the erratic weather patterns ... Access to jobs helps people to be able to buy food," said Limenga. Burger Patrice, the executive director of the NGO Centre d'Actions et de R e a l i s a t i o n s Internationales, told IPS that Africa's poverty should not be an excuse for "land grabbing". Patrice explained that the rehabilitation of dryland was the solution to land grabbing and food insecurity. "Drylands are a result of climate variations over many years," he said. "It is cheaper to rehabilitate the land through the use of fertiliser and ecological agriculture than to let it continue to deteriorate." "It is in the interest of c o u n t r i e s l i ke Qatar to start producing their own food because at some point they will run out of oil and will not afford the high costs of importing this basic need," said Patrice. He said that although land has experienced the greatest impact of climate change, the negotiations in the Qatari capital of Doha have overlooked that aspect. And he maintained that the U.N. Convent i o n to Combat Desertification was a poor cousin in the U.N. system because land was not given the prominence it deserved. Source:



Jordanian peacekeepers released in Sudan Irish climber killed on Mount Kilimanjaro


n Irish mountaineer and charity fundraiser has died while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Ian McKeever, who was 42 and from Lough Dan in Wicklow, was leading a group of climbers when they were struck by lightning. Mr McKeever was a leading member of the Kilimanjaro Achievers Team, a group of veteran climbers which led groups to the top of the mountain. In 2007, the adventurer had scaled Mount Everest. He is also the former holder of the record for completing the seven highest peaks in the world in the fastest time - 32 days fewer than the previous record. In 2009, he was part of a team that attempted to row the South Atlantic Ocean in under 30 days, but the boat lost its rudder and they were forced to postpone the attempt. More recently he had been attempting, along with African climbing guide friend Samuel Kinsonga, to break the record for the fastest ascent of Kilimanjaro, as part of their anti-racism Black and White Makes Sense Campaign. Mr McKeever was the author of two books - Give Me Shelter and Give Me Heroes - and was working on a third book Give Me 28 Days. On his Facebook page on Wednesday night, a statement said: "It is with deep regret, that we, Ian's family, fiancee Anna and friends, advise of his sudden death on Kilimanjaro, today, doing what he loved best." Mr McKeever had been posting messages on the site during the ascent of the mountain. His last post, on Tuesday, said: "Shira 2, 4,000m. Torrential rain all day. Spirits remain good even if drying clothes is proving impossible! We pray for dryer weather tomorrow - the big day. It's the Lava Tower." It is understood none of the other climbers suffered serious injuries.

Mount Kilimanjaro

Hassan Mazawdeh (L) and Qasem Sarhan (R)


wo Jordanian peacekeepers have arrived in the Sudanese capital after their release following 136 days of captivity in Sudan's troubled Darfur region. Hassan Mazawdeh and Qasem Sarhan appeared to be in good condition but made no comment on Wednesday as they stood with an official from the Jordanian embassy and a senior member of the African UnionUN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), which employs them. Aicha Elbasri, a UNAMID spokeswoman, told the AFP news

agency that they had been held longer than anyone else during the five-year-old UNAMID mission, the world's largest peacekeeping operation. Elbasri said the men flew to Khartoum after their release earlier on Wednesday in Zalingei, capital of the recentlycreated Central Darfur state, and would be returning home to Jordan. The men were to be checked into hospital after their release by "outlaws", a Sudanese intelligence officer said. The Jordanians went

missing on August 20 in Kebkabiya town, about 140km west of El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state, where the UN has warned in recent months of rising insecurity. "Police corporals Hassan Mazawdeh and Qasem Sarhan are now at the Jordanian mission, enjoying good health," the kingdom's Public Security Directorate said in a statement in Amman. "We thank the Sudanese government and the United Nations for their help, support and co-ordination."

At the time of their disappearance, Jordan's police directorate said the pair were among a group of peacekeepers buying supplies in a market but had failed to show up at a prearranged meeting point at the end of the trip. On Wednesday, the Jordanian charge d'affaires said a Sudanese negotiation team in Darfur "facilitated their release", working with a UN team and members of the Jordanian security service. An analyst told AFP that it is often known very quickly who the kidnappers are, but negotiations take time. Chances that the suspects will face trial are slim because "there are too many links between the government people, [and] the tribes," said the analyst who declined to be named. "I'm calling for the Sudan government to investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice," Mohammed Yonis, a deputy chief of UNAMID, said at the Khartoum airport. Recent years have seen a wave of kidnappings for ransom in Darfur, where ethnic rebels a decade ago began an uprising against the Arab-dominated Khartoum government. Although violence is down from its peak, the razing of villages, fighting between rebels and the government, banditry, inter-Arab and tribal disputes continue to afflict the region, in Sudan's far west. Last May, unknown captors released a British employee of the UN's World Food Programme who had been held for nearly three months in Darfur.

Libyan gunmen kidnap top investigator in Benghazi


unmen have kidnapped the acting head of the criminal investigation department in Libya's second city, Benghazi, officials have said. Abdelsalam al-Mahdawi was abducted at traffic lights on his way to work. It is not known who was behind the attack. Interior Minister Ashour Shwayel promised to find the

officer and the perpetrators, news agency AFP reported. Libyan authorities have been struggling to provide security since the Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011. Last November, Benghazi's police chief was assassinated in a drive-by shooting. More than a dozen other security officers were killed last

year in Benghazi, the city where the uprising began. A security official was quoted by AFP saying that the investigator "had many enemies". "He had files on everyone Gaddafi loyalists, hard-line Islamists and common criminals," said the unnamed official. There has been a series of

attacks against diplomatic missions and aid agencies. They included a deadly assault on the US embassy in Benghazi in September last year. There have also been attacks against Sufi shrines and mosques. Witnesses say the attacks were carried out by militant Islamists.

Congo: Parliamentarian joins M23 rebels


oger Lumbala, an o p p o s i t i o n parliamentarian who was elected on the ticket of the Congolese Rally for National Democracy (DR Congo/ National), has joined the March 23 (M23) movement, a rebel movement operating in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), M23 officials said yesterday. "Comrade Lumbala is now a member of M23, he is here with us. Lumbala understands that the revolution being launched by M23 is identical to his revolution that he has been engaged in against the regime of President Joseph Kabila since the rigged elections of Nov. 28,

2011," said Amani Kabasha, M23's deputy communication officer. He noted that Lumbala had not abandoned his parliamentary privileges to go to M23 for positions. Kabasha announced that in the coming days, five other senior Congolese politicians living in Europe and the US. will be joining M23. "If I am here, it's first because I am persuaded and convinced that it's my brothers who are fighting for among other things, the re-establishment of the truth from ballot box, something that Etienne Tshisekedi has been fighting for as the elected president of DR Congo," Lumbala said when he spoke to Xinhua on

phone. Investigations by the Congolese interior ministry indicate that Lumbala, an opposition member of parliament

who supports the opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, was involved in a plot to overthrow the government in Kinshasa.

Opposition politician, Roger Lumbala


Asia and Middle East


rowth in China's increasingly important services sector accelerated in December at its fastest pace in four months, adding to signs of a modest year-end revival in the world's second-largest economy. China's official purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the nonmanufacturing sector rose to 56.1 in December from 55.6 in


China services growth raises revival hopes November, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Thursday. Two PMIs on the manufacturing sector earlier this week also suggested China's economic growth was picking up late in 2012, although signs persist it depends primarily on state-led

investment. Data so far suggests only a muted revival in economic growth, rather than a return to the doubledigit pace seen in China over the past three decades, Hong Kongbased economist Dariusz Kowalczyk said.

"Absolute levels of both December manufacturing and non-manufacturing PMIs remain relatively low by historical standards and consistent with only modest rebound in economic activity," Kowalczyk, Credit Agricole's senior economist for Asia except Japan, said. He said economic growth picked up in the fourth quarter of 2012 after sliding for seven straight

quarters, but in sharp contrast to China's previous, more pronounced bull runs, it could fade after the first quarter of 2013. The greatest driver in the pick up in the non-manufacturing sector in December was a jump in construction services to 61.9 from 61.3 in November. Industries including transport slumped, the NBS said in an accompanying statement.

Malala's father gets Birmingham consulate job


he father of a Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot by a Taliban gunman has been given a job in Birmingham. Ziaududdin Yousafzai has been appointed education attachĂŠ at the Consulate of Pakistan in the city, the Pakistan government has announced. His daughter Malala, 15, was treated in Birmingham after being shot in the head in the Swat Valley on 9 October 2012. The Taliban said it shot Malala, a campaigner for girls' education, for "promoting secularism". Doctors said the bullet grazed the teenager's brain when it struck her just above her left eye. The president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, visited Malala at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital on 8 December. The teenager was flown to the hospital to receive specialist treatment. The Pakistan government said Mr Ali Zardari had also met Mr Yousufzai and assured him his government would meet all the expenses of Malala's treatment and the needs of the family while they were in the UK. Mr Yousufzai will be the head of the education section under the Head of Mission. He has been given the position for three years, which may be extended for a further two years. Tens of thousands of people have since signed a petition calling for Malala to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

Employees work at a shoe factory in Dongkou county, Hunan province.

Japan's finance minister in Myanmar with development pledges


yanmar has implemented rapid economic and political reforms since President Thein Sein's quasi-civilian government took over from a long-ruling military junta in March 2011 and Japan has moved quickly to cement business ties. Aso, also deputy prime minister, had already arranged the visit, prior to his ministerial appointment after an election last month, in his capacity as a senior member of the Japan-Myanmar Association, a lobby group set up to advance Japanese business interests in the Southeast Asian country. "Following the change of government in Japan, just like the

previous government, we want to maintain a good relationship with Myanmar," Aso told reporters after meeting the president at his palace in the new capital, Naypyitaw. Senior members of the association with established ties to the former junta have been central to securing a debt waiver and fresh loans for the Thilawa industrial zone. Thein Sein told Aso his government was delighted a "long-standing and sincere friend of Myanmar" has taken key posts in the cabinet. Aso reaffirmed Japan's intention to waive part of the 500 billion yen ($5.74 billion) Myanmar owes it in debt.

Malala Yousafzai

UN says Syria death toll has passed 60,000


ore than 60,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's regime erupted in March 2011, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has said. Navi Pillay said that an exhaustive analysis carried out by data specialists showed that 59,648 people had died through to the end of November. "The number of casualties is much higher than we expected, and is truly shocking," she said. The majority of those killed were males, Pillay added. Speaking to Al Jazeera, Rupert

Colville, spokesman for Pillay, said the death toll could be much higher. "What we have done is take the statistical analysis of seven of the lists of casualties that exist, analyse them all and remove all the double counting," he said. "But the criteria are quite strict. There has to be a set amount of information and there may well be people who have been killed who aren't included as a result of that." Colville said the 60,000 figure "should be treated as an indicative number and not a real number". "It is probably the minimum," he said.

Japan's Deputy Prime Miister Taro Aso (R) shakes hands with Myannmar's President Thein Sein (L)in the capital Naypyitaw.



Europe and Americas Brazil proposes looser fiscal rules to spur growth


razil's government has proposed changes to a fiscal responsibility law that set the foundation for a decade of economic prosperity in Latin America's largest economy, two local newspapers said on Saturday. The changes would make it easier for the government to cut Brazil's high tax burden and enact other stimulus measures after two years of slow economic growth, but they could also rattle investors who fear President Dilma Rousseff has been too quick to modify bedrock economic principles. Changing part of the law enacted in 2000 would remove "the shackles of economic policy," an unnamed source from the finance ministry told Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper. A finance ministry spokesman did not respond to an emailed request for comment. Rousseff's economic team included the proposed changes in a bill aimed at fiscal reform at the state level on Friday, the newspapers said. That day, the government also posted a deficit of 5.5 billion reais ($2.7 billion) for November, jeopardizing its ability to meet a closely watched annual fiscal target. The government needs to post a primary surplus of 31.5 billion reais in December to meet the target, and on Friday passed a decree that would allow it to dip into its sovereign wealth fund if tax income is lower than expected this month. Rousseff has dished out tax breaks and intervened in state-run companies to cut electricity costs as she tries to boost growth, but the measures have dragged down government revenues. The fiscal responsibility law put an end to a series of financial crises that rocked Brazil in the 1980s and 1990s. Brazil's finances are much more solid now, but any change to the text could unsettle investors. At the same time her commitment to fiscal responsibility is being questioned, Rousseff has been under pressure to make even deeper structural reforms since economic growth slowed to a mere 0.6 percent in the third quarter of 2012. Those efforts have drawn criticism from the TCU, a government agency that audits public spending, according to stories in Folha de Sao Paulo and Estado de Sao Paulo newspapers on Saturday.

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff

Russia poised for largest naval exercise for decades R

ussian warships have embarked on a long voyage to the Black and Mediterranean seas to take part in what the Defence Ministry said would be the largest naval exercise in decades. It said on Wednesday that ships from its Northern, Baltic, Black Sea and Pacific fleets would stage the exercise at the end of the month to test their ability to act together outside Russian waters. Its website said the training exercise would also include antiterrorism and anti-piracy drills. "A Navy exercise on such a scale is being staged for the first time in recent decades," the ministry said, without giving other details such as how many ships would take part. Russia regularly stages naval war games involving different fleets, and in August sent ships to the Mediterranean for a combined training exercise. State-owned RIA Novosti news agency said that that exercise had involved three large amphibious assault ships, two frigates, a destroyer and two support ships. Moscow has been trying to strengthen its military presence in the Mediterranean region. President Vladimir Putin, a former operative for the Soviet

Union's KGB national security agency, says Russia needs a stronger army to protect it from foreign attempts to stoke conflicts around its borders. Russia plans to spend 23 trillion roubles ($753 billion) over a decade to modernize the former superpower's armed forces, which underwent a decade of spending cuts after


Organ donor scandal hits Germany

rosecutors are investigating an organ donor scandal in the east German city of Leipzig in which doctors allegedly manipulated an organ waiting list. Three doctors have been suspended at the Leipzig University Clinic's organ transplant centre. German media report that 38 patients with liver problems were falsely listed as dialysis cases in order to shorten their wait for a transplant. Competition between transplant centres may be to blame, experts say. There is a worldwide shortage of organ donors - a factor that may have exacerbated competition.

the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The Defence Ministry did not say if the coming deployment was connected to the conflict in Syria. Moscow has been a staunch supporter of President Bashar al-Assad and his largest arms supplier. Last month, a naval source told Interfax news agency that

Russia was sending warships to the Mediterranean in case it needed to evacuate citizens trapped by the civil war in Syria. Also in December, Itar-Tass and Interfax cited military sources as saying two landing craft had left a Black Sea port and would call at Russia's naval supply and maintenance facility in the Syrian port of Tartous.

Two Russian Navy Bar Class 971 submarines.

The board director at the Leipzig clinic, Wolfgang Fleig, said he could not rule out that money may have changed hands in the Leipzig scandal. All the cases in the scandal concern liver patients, and all but one of the alleged manipulations took place in 2010 and 2011. According to Frank Ulrich Montgomery, head of the German Medical Association, the irregularities are now "history" because supervision has been tightened. "Never has transplant medicine been as secure as it is today," he told the daily

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. But he also said any previous malpractice should be cleared up. The German Medical Association is the main federal body representing medical practitioners. Germany's MDR radio says the scandal is particularly bad news for Saxony, the state where Leipzig is located, because it has many patients urgently in need of transplants. The head of Germany's Foundation for Patient Protection, Eugen Brysch, was quoted as saying half of the country's transplant centres should be shut

to end damaging competition between them. Successful organ transplant programmes boost the prestige of clinics. The German broadcaster ARD says there are 47 such centres in Germany, but last August they were all brought under a single supervisory body. The health ministry says 10 centres have been checked so far and three other cases of irregularities were found. It is not clear if there is any link between the Leipzig scandal and manipulations uncovered previously in Munich, Regensburg and Goettingen.

Former army chief detained over 1997 coup in Turkey


former Turkish army chief, Gen Ismail Hakki Karadayi, has been detained over a military intervention that ousted a pro-Islamist government in 1997. Gen Karadayi was detained at his home in Istanbul and taken to the capital, Ankara, for questioning. He is suspected of helping what became known as the post-modern coup, as no soldiers were involved. Former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan was forced to resign in 1997, being replaced by a civilian government. In May, another six retired generals linked with Mr

Erbakan's removal from power were charged. Separately, investigations are continuing into allegations of attempted coups by the military. Turkey's military has l o n g seen itself as the guarantor of the country's secular constitution, analysts say. It staged three coups between 1960 and 1980 and has a history of tension with the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A Turkish court sentenced three former army generals to 20 years in jail each in September for plotting another coup. Nearly 330 officers were convicted of

involvement in the plot. They were accused of plotting to bomb mosques and trying to trigger a war with

Greece in order to justify a military coup against the elected government of Mr Erdogan in 2003.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party has a history of friction with Turkey's military chiefs.



Zamacona accuses ghost of stealing her $5,000 resume

A ghost


hat's more unlikely? Telling police that a ghost stole your resume -or valuing that resume at $5,000? Debbie Michelle Zamacona, a 40year-old woman from Winder, Ga., recently made the shocking allegation that an apparition swiped her curriculum vitae -- which she valued at a whopping $5,000. During the Dec. 22, a thieving spook also stole a paper documenting her criminal history (including her

terminated parole) and a black and blue blouse, according to a police report filed by the Barrow County Sheriff's Department. When deputies asked her if she had any idea who might have taken the missing items, she explained she suspected the thief was one of two ghosts, the Augusta Chronicle reported. The responding officer noted in the police report that there was no method of entry to the house, but he

'Zombie fish' Flippin' scary!


he sea is the source of all life -- has it now spawned the LIVING DEAD as well? Probably not, though one viral YouTube video has some people worried, the London Evening Standard reports. The video, posted Friday by user AmmarZed, shows the lifeless body of a decapitated, gutted fish resting on ice. After a few seconds, the fish appears to come back to life, twitching and moving despite its lack of a head. Several commenters have pointed out that the movement has almost certainly been artificially induced, either by a hand holding

Decapitated fish resting on ice

the fish's tail off-camera, or through a trick that utilizes table salt. "You can actually fake this effect with a lot of different types of fish and cuts," user mcopleyumd wrote. "Basically as long as it has not been fully filleted all you have to do is apply some salt to the meat. The salt acts to refuel the sodium channels in the fish's muscle and allows it to spasm like that." The user added that this method can be used as a "judge of freshness," since it usually only works about a week after the fish's demise, assuming the fish is "kept in good condition."

had a little problem getting the estimated value of the items from Zamacona. "Mrs. Zamacona stated she was unsure how much the resume was worth because she was not good at math," the report stated. "I told Mrs. Zamacona that I needed a value for the report and that it just needed to be an approximation. Mrs. Zamacona stated that she did not understand what I was asking.

"At that point, I noticed a flat screen television mounted on the wall of her bedroom. I explaimed to Mrs. Zamacona that the value of the resume was like me asking her how much she would sell her television for. Mrs. Zamacona stated that she did not know how much she would sell the television for because she does not like television." What kind of ghost would do such a thing? Well, Zamacona told the officer that she didn't

want the officer to think she was crazy, but explained that the ghost of her dead mother often visits her. Zamacona told the officer she didn't think her mom's ghost stole her resume, and instead placed the blame on "black spirits" that follow her from time-to-time. The officer didn't get her to pinpoint whether those "black spirits" were dark, malevolent entities or AfricanAmerican ghosts.

School named after outlaw


ome schools are named after presidents, some schools are named after astronauts. Some students have no idea who their school is named for, but when it opens, students at Tiburcio Vasquez Elementary in Salinas will attend classes in hallways named for an outlaw and bandido. Tiburcio Vasquez was hanged for murder in the 19th century, according to the Associated Press,so there are some who feel naming Salinas's newest school after him "glorifies crime." There are

others who see him as a MexicanAmerican and Latino icon, and in a city that is two-thirds Latino, he is a source of cultural pride and "opposition to discrimination," the local school superintendent says. The school is in Alisal, Salinas's poorest neighborhood, where most residents are farm workers who pick the lettuce, spinach and other crops in the "Salad Bowl Of the World," the news agency reported. They are almost all of Mexican descent. The school named after Vasquez is

Tiburcio Vasquez Elementary school bus

to be completed in June, and will be a magnet school where each student will receive a tablet computer. So it'll be good for the students when they're inside. Vasquez is considered a hero or freedom fighter by some despite his death by hanging in San Jose in 1875. He was from a prominent Californio family, one of the Mexican nationals who lived in the area before it became part of the United States and a target for economic opportunity worldwide during the Gold Rush.


PEOPLES DAILY, FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013 With Tobias Lengnan Dapam 07036990957

‘The Expendables 2’: What makes it different T

HR's Justin Lowe praised the Sylvester Stallone toplined action flick for giving the film's "major players and cameo actors their own often quite -humorous character traits and dialogue." Expendables 2 is being billed as the perfect blend of big muscles and bigger explosions. With a solid A- CinemaScore, moviegoers seem to think it delivers on that promise. The followup to Sylvester Stallone's 2010 testosterone-filled blockbuster sees action icons Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, and Randy Couture team up to stop Jean-Claude Van Damme's villain from acquiring nuclear material. Also featuring Bruce Willis, Liam Hemsworth and Chuck

Norris, the Lionsgate film is on its way to a No. 1 opening weekend, with a projected $27 million to $28 million haul. Despite the achievement of the movie and its 66 percent Rotten Tomatoes score (the original scored 41 percent), most critics agree the sequel is an improvement. The Hollywood Reporter's Justin Lowe praised Stallone and his co-screenwriter Richard Wenk for wrangling the expansive cast: "[The screenwriters] have generously given both major players and cameo actors their own often quite -humorous character traits and dialogue. When Schwarzenegger is onscreen, much of the banter is at the former, California governor's expense -though, much as ever, he gets some memorable lines himself

Lowe wrote that director Simon West, who took over helming duties from Stallone, deftly managed "the complexity of stunts, aircraft and vehicle pileups and frequent shootouts." New York Times critic Neil had little good to say about the film, save for the cameo by Norris. "Mr. Norris arrives just as the blood baths and leaden dialogue are beginning to grow tedious, and his deadpan self-parody is pretty darn funny." Genzlinger wrote. "More important, it gives you permission to laugh at the rest of this mindless movie, which is the only way to choke it down." L.A. Times critic Betsy Sharkey wrote that "somehow all that testosterone-infused blow-'-em-up craziness turns out to be kind of a

kick." She added "what gives 'Expendables 2' its charm is the film's unabashed nostalgia for the genre's best B-movie moments. As Statham's character puts it so well while slipping on a pair of brass knuckles, never count out the classics." However, USA based writer, Claudia Puig, mused the sequel succeeded in playing off the audience's fond memories of movies past. "These movies are not meant to be anything more than silly fun, with an all-star cast of mature hunks engaging in shameless action flick clichés and capitalizing on audience

nostalgia," she wrote. New York Post critic Lou Lumenick praised the film's wonderfully cheesy action oneliners. "It's hard not to like a movie in which Bruce Willis' toupee-less CIA agent accuses Stallone's ragtag band of mercenaries of engaging in "male pattern badness," he wrote. "Willis actually picks up a weapon or two this time around, and hilariously shares a tiny mini-car with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who fires off a nonstop series of 'Terminator'-themed quips when he isn't plowing tractors through mountainsides."


Academy members sound off on Oscar voting values


s Academy members select the nominees for the 85th Oscars -- phase one voting began Dec. 17 and will close Jan. 4 -- they are feeling the impact of two major changes to the voting process that were implemented by the Board of Governors, Hollywood reporter has said. It added that nomination ballots will be cast online, but the deadline to submit them has been moved up nine days. "These may not sound like earth-shattering developments, but they have significantly altered the balloting experience of the Academy's roughly 5,700 voting members, and might also impact the sorts of nominees

Face of Oscar award

those members select", it said. The Hollywood Reporter first reported on this situation last week after reaching out to a considerable number of voters, and reached out to a whole new crop for this follow-up story which was not publicly discussed e-voting before. All members who opted to forsake a paper ballot in favor of an e-vote had "great majority," according to an Academy spokesperson -- were asked to create a special password for the voting site that met highly specific criteria. When they went to log-in to the site, though, many said their passwords were rejected, even though they made sure to enter them correctly. After three tries, they say, the site locked them out and they were forced to call a helpline set up by the Academy to assist people experiencing problems. Some were then given another password but told they had to wait 24 hours before attempting to log-in again; others were told they had to wait to receive a new password via snail-mail. "We have to balance the opposing needs of convenience and security," an Academy spokesperson told THR, adding that most issues stemmed from members "forgetting or misusing passwords," and that intricate passwords are a necessary evil of evoting.


Suffocation as P-Square perform in Accra T

hat it happens with international super star like the late Wacko Jacko doesn't mean it can't happen here too. Recently, the duo of Paul and Peter Okoye, popularly called P Square are doing a great job for


-town based artist, Emmanuella Ma’andik, yesterday took a stock of the Nigeria music over the recent years, saying most of the music lack societal lyrics. Speaking from her based in Jos, the Plateau state capital, Em

Em, J-town artist

said contemporary Nigeria music loses the essence of revamping societal woes, adding that it concentrates on lyrics that makes no meaning and gives more value to rhythm. She recalled that musical icons like; Fela, Sunny Ade and others were the major drivers of Nigerian musical flavour which portrayed the society in a better light. "In the 80s and 90s, we had better home grown music that touches on the people and revealed certain issues that the people are aware. But recent music development has deviated completely from its essence. That is why today we have a lot of naked screen girls dancing only for rhythm and not lyrics", she said. On how to rebrand the statusquo, Em called for a total commitment to he African roots, so as to give the people a touch of their own culture and their problems.

It added however that the excitement of seeing the duo also created chaos in the huge crowd as fans started pushing and jostling each other. Out of the exhaustion and suffocation, a few female fans passed out and had to be pulled out from the crowd for resuscitation.


Jackie Chan’s ‘Chinese Zodiac’ to hit U.S. screens by summer 2013

Nigeria music lack J societal lyrics-Em By Tobias Lengnan Dapam

Nigeria, Africa as a whole. revealed that the dancers created excitement for fans at the 'Top of the World Celebration' concert in Accra. P-Square thrilled fans with back to back hits and the screaming fans wanted more.

ackie Chan's Chinese Zodiac will unspool in "a few hundred screens" in the U.S. upon its release in North America in either spring or summer next year, said Ramy Choi, director of distribution and acquisition of the Hong Kong actor's company, Jackie & JJ International Limited. The heist caper, revolving around a Chan-led team hunting down Chinese national treasures auctioned off to international speculators, will also be released in Europe at the same time, Choi said. The film, which also stars Korean actor Kwon Sang-woo and young Chinese actors Zhang Lanxin and Liao Fan as the relic-hunters and Oliver Platt as a villainous tycoon, took its bow in Chinese-speaking territories and also major Southeast Asian markets on Dec. 20. Choi declined to reveal the identity of the film's U.S. distributors, with whom she is finalizing details of a deal, but she confirmed partners for other markets include Splendid Film (Germany and Benelux), International Movies Distribution (Russia), Italia Film International SAL (Greece, Cyprus and the Middle East) and IFI Dagitim (Turkey). Choi said Chinese Zodiac topped boxoffice listings on mainland China (where the film's co-producers, Huayi Brothers, are distributing the film) on

its opening day with earnings of 43.5 million yuan (US$7 million). She said the film's first-day gross also topped charts in Singapore (handled by Clover Films and Golden Village), Malaysia (Golden Screen Cinemas) and Thailand (Sahamongkolfilm International).

Jackie Chan’s

The one territory which Chinese Zodiac failed to come out on top is Chan's hometown: in Hong Kong, the film only secured HK$0.5 million (US$64,516), trailing behind both The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part Two (HK$2.2 million; US$283,870) and Wreck-itRalph (HKS1.7 million; US$219,355).


By Augusta Uchediunor


he resumption of direct train service between Lagos and Kano by the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) has been postponed several times in the past. The delay in the resumption of the service, however, ended on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, when a 20-coach passenger train left the Iddo Railway Terminus in Lagos for Kano. Observers recall with nostalgia that the last time a direct train journey between Lagos and Kano took place was over 10 years ago. The rail line from Lagos to Kano, also known as the Western Line, covers a distance of 1,126 km and traverses Abeokuta, Ibadan, Ilorin, Jebba, Minna and Kaduna, before terminating in the ancient city of Kano. The Port Harcourt– Maiduguri route, known as the Eastern Line, passes through Aba, Umuahia, Enugu, Markurdi, Lafia, Kanfachan, Bauchi, Gombe and Potiskum, before ending in Maiduguri. The line, which is currently undergoing rehabilitation, may be inaugurated this year. Similarly, direct train service from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri has also been in limbo just like the Western Line. Observers attribute the development to the utter neglect of the transportation sector by successive governments, which had also affected shipping, aviation and other services in the sector. Therefore, it was a thrilling moment for the NRC on Dec. 21, when it simultaneously commenced the haulage of petroleum products from Lagos to Kaduna. The corporation had earlier acquired pressurised tank wagons for the purpose and it moved 30 tankers of diesel from Ebute-Metta in Lagos to Kaduna. Earlier, in 2011 to be precise, the NRC reintroduced the Lagos-Ilorin passenger services. This was in addition to the introduction of a 30km mass transit service between Lagos and Ijoko (Ogun) and the service has become quite popular among workers and traders, as it moves more than 12,000 persons on daily basis. At the launch of the resuscitated Lagos-Kano train service, the Minister of Transport, Alhaji Idris Umar, said that the revival of the service reflected the commitment President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to revamping the run-down facilities of the transport sector, particularly the railways. Umar, who launched the service and undertook a ride with passengers from Iddo to Ikeja, stressed that the government was making tangible efforts to reestablish a vibrant railway system in Nigeria because of its importance to the country’s economic growth. Although efforts to resuscitate railway transportation began before the inception of the current federal administration, one of its programmes — the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) – has committed about N1 billion to the project in recent times. Dr Christopher Kolade, the Chairman of SURE-P, who spoke at the launch of the Lagos-Kano train service on Dec. 21, said that the intervention was a confirmation of the determination of the Jonathanadministration to revive railway


At last, NRC resuscitates Lagos-Kano train service

transportation to enable it to contribute to the country’s economic growth. Kolade, who was represented by Mr Chike Okogwu, a member of SURE-P committee, said that the intervention was a potent avenue of investing the Federal Government’s savings from the partial removal of the subsidy on petroleum products and providing vocational training in rail tracks’ maintenance. He stressed that the successful inauguration of regular rail services between Lagos and Kano also vindicated President Jonathan’s establishment of the innovative socio-economic intervention programme. Kolade pledged that the fruits of SURE-P’s intervention in critical sectors of the economy would become visible to Nigerians in the years ahead. In his remark, Mr Adeseyi Sijuwade, the Managing Director of the NRC, said that the successful re-introduction of the Lagos-Kano train service was a promise made and kept by the Federal Government. Although Sijuwade had earlier assured the nation that the train service would commence in July, its five-month delay was attributed to the heavy flooding across the country, which adversely affected rail tracks and washed off a bridge on the 1,126kmrail line earlier in the year. He also said that N67 billion had been set aside for the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt-Markudi-Maiduguri rail line, adding that its inauguration would soon come up and be celebrated as that of the

Lagos-Kano line. “Already, we move about 12,000 commuters daily within Lagos and about 4,000 from Lagos to Ilorin on Tuesdays and Fridays. The IlorinLagos train trip is on Wednesdays and Sundays,” Sijuwade said shortly before the launch of the Lagos-Kano service. Observers note that the revival of train services on the Western Line is expected to reduce the heavy presence of haulage trucks on some major highways, particularly the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, where articulated vehicles had continued to be a major cause of accidents. The reduction of heavy-duty and overloaded trucks on the highways will also prolong the life-span of the roads, they add. The observers stress that the railways will, once again, be used to move export-bound goods to the ports of Lagos — Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports — as well as distribute imports from the ports to the hinterland. Sharing similar sentiments, Sijuade said: “Apart from moving passengers, the Western Line will also move cement from Dangote and Lafarge works to different parts of the country. “Also, the haulage business will receive a big boost because the railways can move big freight from one part of the country to the other,” he added. However, NRC records indicate that railway transportation began in Nigeria in 1898 with the construction of a 32-km line of the 1067mm gauge from Iddo (Lagos) to Otta (Ogun). This was further extended to Ibadan, covering a total of 193km in 1901. Rail

lines’ construction in the country continued in a systematic manner: the 295-km Ibadan-Jebba line (1907-1911), the 562-km KanoBorno line (1909-1915), the 252-km Jebba-Minna line (1922-1927) and the 179-km Kafanchan-Jos line. The statistics on passengers and freight traffic show that the NRC in 1964 moved 11,288,000 passengers and 2,960,000 tonnes of freight but the figures had dropped to 4,342,000 passengers and 1,098,000 tonnes of freight by 1974. Thereafter, passenger traffic gradually rose to 6.7 million in 1978 and reached a peak of 15.5 million in 1984. However, this declined again to three million in 1991 and 1.6 million in 2003. The decline in service delivery is also reflected in freight traffic fluctuations; from three million tonnes in the 1960s and 1970s to less than 100,000 tonnes in recent times. As a large employer of labour, the NRC had about 45,000 workers between 1954 and 1975 but currently, the corporation has only 5,000 people in its employ. The NRC once had as many as 200 locomotives, about 54 shunters, 480 passenger coaches and over 4,900 freight wagons. The protracted neglect of the railway sector by successive governments led to a situation in which some of the wagons were more than 50 years old as at 1993. In the same vein, the track conditions have limited trains to a speed of 35km per hour, although a source said that the trains could make up to 70km per hour.

However, Sijuwade stressed that all these would soon change. He gave the assurance that under the new arrangement, the Nigerian Railways would become more efficient and well-managed. Besides, the NRC chief said that after the rehabilitation and effective running of the old narrow gauge tracks, the introduction of the standard gauge rail system would begin. Observers note that the introduction of the standard rail track system would revolutionise rail transportation in the country, as the system could accommodate bullet trains that could make up to 300km per hour. This, in essence, means that a trip from Lagos to Kano will be accomplished in less than 12 hours, unlike what happened on Dec. 21 when the train, which left Lagos around 11 a.m. got to Kano at 9:00 p.m. the next day — 34 hours! Observers are, however, happy to note that the historic Lagos-Kano train journey was given adequate security cover because of the growing menace of suspected terrorists, particularly in the Kano axis. In the meantime, Sijuwade has repeatedly assured Nigerians of the determination of the NRC to provide affordable, safe and reliable train services. This is not a mere ego massage; as the ticket for a trip from Lagos to Kano costs N1,500 for the economy class, while for each of the passengers in the first class compartment, which has superb facilities, the journey costs N6,000. Source: NAN



Securing a polio-free world for every child

An official of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), administering oral vaccine to a child, during the last year December 2012 National Immunization Plus Days, at Jibiya local government area of Katsina state. Photo: Mahmud Isa By Olayemi Okeniyi


ittle Amina, cannot sleep as she tosses around in her hospital bed. The source of her discomfort is a white cast on the entire length of her left leg which she awkwardly tries to prevent from resting in the bed. Standing at her bedside, her father tries to comfort her by fanning her with an old piece of cloth. Sometimes he uses soothing tones to placate her; he then switches to admonishes her in a more stern voice for crying like a baby. Through all this, he smiles almost affectionately at her cast which, in spite of causing his daughter pain, is the sign that her surgery was a success. When she was a baby, Amina contracted poliomyelitis, a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease more commonly referred to as polio. Amina survived but in the process, her nerves were damaged to the point where her father feared she would never be able to walk. With the efforts of the IndiaNigeria Rotary Polio Corrective Surgery Medical Mission, which just completed 10 days of surgery at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, Amina, now five years old, and several others have a chance to walk again.

The team from India; 12 orthopaedic surgeons, five anaesthesiologists, one general surgeon, one pathologist and six non medical volunteers including two past presidents of Rotary International, worked in collaboration with the Nigerian surgeons. These experts performed 780 surgeries on 353 polio patients. Rotary International is a worldwide organisation of more than 1.2 million people, whose members provide humanitarian services worldwide. One of their commitments is securing a polio-free world for every child. Indian orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Deepak Purohit who participated in some of the surgeries, explained that he and his team would work to restore a patient’s ability to walk upright. He says that after the polio affliction, the child’s limbs disintegrate, forcing him or her to crawl and lose his or her dignity. “So we are trying to bring the dignity of the child back; that is what this polio project is all about.’’ According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), polio has been eradicated from most countries in the world, with the exception of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. Polio mainly affects children under five years of age, but can have lifelong consequences.

WHO report also states that: “One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis; those paralysed, five to 10 per cent, die when their breathing muscles become immobilised. “There is no cure for polio, it can only be prevented if a child is given the relevant series of polio vaccines.” It warns that as long as a single child remains infected, children in all countries are at risk of contracting polio. “Failure to eradicate polio from these last remaining strongholds could result in as many as 200,000 new cases every year, within 10 years, all over the world,’’ it states. With this report, the Minister of State for Health, Dr Muhammad Pate says the Federal Government is determined to reach every child with polio immunisation. He says the government will partner with every relevant stakeholder including traditional rulers and philanthropists in the exercise. “There has never been this commitment by the government to eradicate polio in the country until now as President Goodluck Jonathan sees polio eradication as key to improving health. “The most important thing is that effort is being made to reach every child and I have seen a tremendous process in polio eradication this year,’’ he assures.

He says one of the key components of the Federal Government’s initiative; “Saving one million lives by 2015’’ is the eradication of polio. Mr Felix Obada, the Rotary Club District Governor of District 9125, says the free surgeries that were just concluded in Abuja, will approach polio eradication from a proactive angle. According to him, the organisation is trying to repeat one of the methods used in India. He says that apart from helping people disabled by polio, the secondary purpose of the surgeries is to gain the confidence of communities afflicted, noting that the prevalence of polio in some of Nigeria’s northern states is due largely to rejection of the Oral Polio Vaccines. Stakeholders, however, attribute this to illiteracy, misconceptions and lack of faith in government healthcare system, he notes. “In working with the Nigerian orthopaedic surgeons, we hope to extend training and share experience such that at the completion of this exercise, these surgeries can be sustained locally. “The treated and cured children shall encourage more patients to come to local hospitals for treatment, thus promoting awareness about the incidence of polio and immunisation,’’ he says. Mr. Saliu Ahmed, the immediate past Governor of Rotary Foundation, Nigeria,

however, holds a different view, saying that the public sees the exercise as a ploy to control birth rate. Obada disagrees. He says the era of people imagining that polio immunisation is an attempt to control the national child birth rate is over because of the awareness campaign on it, and the partnership of the organisation with the government. He decries the low turn-out of patients, noting that the team from India had been prepared to perform surgeries on 500 people but only managed to reach 353 patients. The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, an orthopaedic surgeon, says he appreciates the difficulties faced by polio victims. The minister and Indian doctors operated on an eight-year-old boy; Sammitu Adamu. Assessing the exercise, Chukwu says with the help of the present administration, the country will be able to stop further transmission of polio virus in the country soon. There is no doubt that the global concerted efforts are bringing an end in sight to polio affliction, but observers believe that the end may come sooner than later if all work for its success and jettison age-long perception and myths about polio. Source: NAN



The real reason you eat too much W

aistband feeling a bit tighter, or buttons straining after Christmas? While it’s easy to blame your appalling willpower or TV-inspired lethargy, according to a respected U.S. obesity expert, weight gain might not be your fault at all. In a fascinating new book, Robert Lustig, a professor of clinical paediatrics at the University of California, expounds a whole new scientific theory. He argues that the urge to overeat and lounge around doing nothing is not a sign of weakness. It is, he says, a hormonal issue, triggered by eating too much sugar. He points the finger of blame at the hormone leptin, which acts like an appetite thermostat. As one of two ‘hunger hormones’ in the body, leptin works to decrease the appetite (its partner, ghrelin, increases appetite). When you have had enough to eat, your fat cells release leptin, which effectively dulls the appetite by instructing the brain that it’s time to stop eating. But Professor Lustig warns that our sweet tooth is sending this process haywire. SUGAR TRICKS YOUR BRAIN For many years scientists thought obesity could be caused by a shortage of leptin — thinking that without adequate levels, overweight people simply never received the message that they were full. But more recent studies have shown that obese people have plenty of leptin (in fact, the fatter you are, the more of it you appear to have), but are more likely to be ‘leptin-resistant’. This means the cells in the brain that should register leptin no longer ‘read’ the signals saying the body is full, but instead assume it is starving — no matter how much food you continue to eat. In panic, the brain pumps out instructions to increase energy storage — instigating powerful cravings for high-fat, high-sugar foods because these are the easiest and most immediate forms of energy — and conserve energy usage, by dampening any urge to get up off the sofa and go for a run. The food cravings are made even more intense — and impossible to resist — because leptin is supposed to dampen the feeling of pleasure and enjoyment you get from food by suppressing the release of the brain chemical dopamine, helping to decrease appetite. But if you are leptin-resistant, food never stops tasting delicious, no matter how much of it you eat. This, says Professor Lustig, is why many overweight people find it so hard to stop eating, and why diets so often fail. THE HUNGER HORMONE Scientists have been struggling to work out what causes leptin resistance. But now Professor Lustig and his team have been able to show —

rise ever higher, creating a vicious cycle. Lustig believes that our high sugar diets cause continually stimulated insulin production. He says the insidious creep of insulin resistance means that our bodies now produce double the insulin for every teaspoon of sugar consumed compared to 30 years ago. He says insulin resistance is now so widespread, it affects the majority of overweight people and even as many as 40 per cent of those who are normal weight (if they eat too much sugar and refined carbohydrates like white flour, bread, pasta and rice). And leptin resistance becomes more of a problem with increasing body size: ‘Plump people might have a little leptin resistance, but the morbidly obese will have a lot,’ he says.

A high sugar diet can trigger leptin resistance even if you are just slightly overweight. This is because sugar triggers a spike in insulin in repeated studies on humans — that too much sugar in the diet is to blame. High sugar diets lead to spikes in the hormone. This is needed to clear sugar out of the blood and into storage as fat. But repeated insulin spikes, due to a high sugar diet, can lead to a condition called ‘insulin resistance’ (when the cells have been so bombarded by insulin they no longer respond to it). Professor Lustig believes insulin resistance triggers leptin resistance, and, crucially, he has discovered that by reducing insulin levels it is possible to improve ‘leptin signalling’ (the brain’s ability to read leptin), stop cravings, put the brakes on food consumption — and trigger weight loss. In his new book Fat Chance, Professor Lustig explains that leptin resistance — and sugar — is at the root of the obesity epidemic. He believes 1.5 billion overweight or obese people in the world suffer from this condition — and is convinced that the problem can be tackled by targeting insulin. In his studies, many participants took insulin-lowering drugs, but the professor says similar results can be achieved by a few small lifestyle changes — notably reducing sugar in your diet. The professor has a heavyweight background in endocrinology (the study of hormones), as both a medical doctor and academic. He used organised trials to study the role the brain plays in governing appetite and activity levels and found that patients who had damage to the hypothalamus (the area of the brain that controls energy levels) could not lose weight, but somehow gained weight even when restricted to a near-starving 500 calories a day.

Lustig realised that a similar process could be happening with obese adults and set out to investigate a potential solution. His studies revealed that the roles of leptin and insulin are intertwined, and bind to cells in the same area of the brain — the hypothalamus.

WHY ONE CHOCOLATE IS NEVER ENOUGH The sweet, processed food that makes up so much of the modern diet (much of it disguised as ‘low fat’ and therefore healthy) has addictive qualities — particularly for those caught up with leptin resistance. When we eat food, the brain chemical dopamine is released, creating a feeling of pleasure and reward, explains Professor Lustig. Then leptin kicks in to suppress the release of dopamine, so that we get less reward, and therefore we stop eating. But, he adds, if you’re leptinresistant, the dopamine won’t be suppressed properly, and it remains at high levels in the brain, and ‘floods’ the brain cells. After many meals (over a period of about three weeks) brain cells may start to become ‘tolerant’ to these persistently high levels of dopamine. They build up resistance, meaning that higher and higher amounts of dopamine are needed to trigger a reward signal.

SWEET FOOD LEAVES YOU WANTING MORE A high sugar diet can trigger leptin resistance even if you are just slightly overweight. This is because sugar triggers a spike in insulin. While leptin activates biochemical reactions that send ‘satiety signals’ to the brain, insulin can very effectively block these signals, resulting in no satiety, no sense of fullness, and uncontrolled eating of high fat, high sugar foods. This is leptin resistance, and leaves the brain ‘blind’ to leptin signals, so it still thinks we’re hungry. Even worse, in healthy people, one of the things leptin should do is to tell the brain to reduce insulin production. It does this by dulling appetite and thus reducing food intake (so cutting the body’s need to produce yet more insulin to deal with the food). But if you have too much insulin and you are leptinresistant this doesn’t happen, Professor Lustig explains that leptin resistance and insulin levels and sugar - is at the root of the obesity epidemic

As a result, you may feel compelled to eat greater quantities to achieve the same sense of satisfaction. This can swiftly turn into sugar addiction. Insulin also works to clear dopamine from the brain, gradually blunting the reward felt for further food. But if you’re insulin-resistant too, the brakes won’t work, and the reward impetus continues unabated. This, Professor Lustig believes, explains why many people can want, and apparently enjoy, never-ending quantities of food even when energy stores were long ago full — for example over the Christmas period. He fears insulin resistance (and therefore leptin resistance) may also start in the womb, and that exposure to high sugar diets — via the mother — may trigger genetic changes that increase a baby’s risk of insulin and leptin resistance in later life. But he adds: ‘At the end of the day, it is what you eat (and of course, how much of it) that puts the final nail in the coffin.’ A BIG FAT LIE Conventional wisdom and government policy still blame dietary fat for our ever-rising obesity levels (and horrific heart disease statistics). However, Professor Lustig is part of the band of obesity specialists who question the validity of the hugely influential research conducted in the Fifties, which identified dietary fat as the trigger for weight gain and heart disease. The seminal ‘Seven Countries’ study by U.S. epidemiologist Ancel Keys in the Eighties demonised fat, triggering a massive change in food manufacture. In an effort to make low fat food more palatable, many manufacturers raised the carbohydrate level, adding quantities of sugar to almost everything (both sweet and savoury). For instance, a small pot of low fat yoghurt can contain as much as four teaspoons of sugar, and even wholemeal bread hides two teaspoons per loaf. Gradually tastes and eating habits have changed, Lustig says, resulting in growing populations worldwide inadvertently hooked on easyto-eat high sugar foods. As he puts it: ‘The obesity epidemic was born in the aftermath of this seemingly logical and well-meaning, yet tragically flawed understanding of our biochemistry.’ Mercifully, it is not all doom and gloom. ‘Obesity is a hormonal problem and hormones are alterable,’ says Professor Lustig. He recommends simple steps, detailed below, that can lower your leptin levels. These include reducing sugar in every recipe by a third, increasing your fibre intake, and taking just 15 minutes of activity every day. Source:



Constitution amendment: Between politics and public interest FEATURE


he Nigerian Constitution as it is, was a military creation handed down to the civilian administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999, to mark a celebrated return to civil rule. Understandably, this document has not been able to meet the democratic and developmental parameters as expected in civilian government. This is predominantly because the document was crafted with both military spirit and undertone, which of course, has hampered its ability to meet the aspirations of the citizenry. To this extent, various efforts were made previously by lawmakers to amend some sections of the constitution, especially the areas that are not in consonance with development and democratic tenets. Though some results were achieved, but there remain some shortfalls. Constitutional lawyers had argued that it is on this premise that majority of Nigerians from various geo-political and ethnic divides, had clamoured for a Sovereigns National Conference (SNC). Those promoting this demand argued that this conference will create a forum in which the various ethnic nationalities of Nigerian can vent their demands and grievances, in addition to suggesting a more acceptable ways of co-existence among the various entities. Political observers has equally agreed that this SNC is a veritable tool which is capable of refocusing Nigeria on the right track; especially as it has become apparent that the country is politically and economically adrift despite efforts by successive governments pedal it on cause. However, due to the phobia with which elected representatives, including those at the executive arm, view this SNC; particularly in cognizance of its volatility and tendency to engender anarchy, convening the conference has remained a mirage. While hope dimmed over this conference, the National Assembly provided a leeway which is the new efforts at reviewing and amending the 1999 Constitution. The renewed vigor to amend the constitution is currently being coordinated by the duo of Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekwerenmadu, who is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Amendment of the 1999 Constitution and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, who is also the Chairman of the House or Representatives Committee on the Amendment of the 1999 constitution. Expectedly, the exercise was kickstarted with a grand publicity in the media, thus giving the impression to

The ongoing constitution amendment, despite being a popular adventure, has suffered some hiccups. Ikechukwu Okaforadi examines the political huddles standing in the way and forces that have created them.

Senate president, David Mark both the local and international communities that Nigeria is set to correct the anomalies engendered by the military while writing the original constitution. First, it started by calling for memoranda from various interest groups; Civil Society Orgnisation, Civil Liberty Organisation, political stakeholders, labour unions, business and other interest groups. After assembling these memoranda, the committee further organised a public hearing, which was held at the International Conference Center (ICC), Abuja. The high attendance recorded at this hearing proved right the argument that majority of Nigerians are no longer comfortable with the constitution, that is to say, there are some additions and subtractions they want in the constitution to address their demands. In their wisdom, members of this committee further devolved these public hearing to the grassroots, bearing in mind that Abuja alone is not capable of harmonizing the true desires and yearnings of Nigerians, especially those at the local governments. During the public hearing held at the geo-political zones, various interesting facts and issues emerged. While there were sundry demands by various people, some salient issues remained prominent at every given level of the hearing and presentation by interest groups. Some of these are financial autonomy for local governments and

Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal state assemblies, state creation, devolution of powers of the Federal Government to give more powers to the states and local governments, removal of immunity clause for elected executives, among others. It would be recalled that before now, the state governors had financially emasculated both the state assemblies and local governments. Reacting to this, commentators had submitted that this practice does not augur well with the nation's emerging democracy and development at grassroots. This development has worsened to the extent that local government chairmen go cap in hand begging their respective governors for funds to pay salaries of their workers, even though the funds are constitutionally meant for local government administration. Political pundits have, against this background, argued that the practice negates the principle on which the state and local government Joint Account was provided for in the constitution. The dream was for state governors to supervise the expenditure pattern of the local government chairmen to forestall frivolities and embezzlement, rather than to starve them of their constitutional funds, and then, siphon it to private accounts. In addition, the NULGE whose members of staff are the worst hit by this development has joined forces with local government chairmen to campaign financial autonomy for local governments. However, it is rife in the public domain that state governors are

deploying machineries to frustrate the success of this constitutional amendment exercise. In some states, the governors' thugs were deployed to disrupt the exercise, while in other states; the governors maneuvered their ways to discourage stakeholders from participation. Before the amendment could advance to an appreciable level, the state governors have pointedly made their stands known. They kicked against financial autonomy for both the state assemblies and local government chairmen. This is despite demand by majority of Nigerians that LGs and state assemblies should become independent, financially and politically. They have also kicked against the majority demand for the scrapping of the immunity clause, which hitherto, shield them from various atrocities, embezzlement, and other forms of misrule, while in office. Political observers have hinged this unwholesome disposition of governors to these noble ideas on their desperate desires to sustain their vice grips on the people whom they govern. Many have also explained that governors are challenging the removal of the immunity clause, in other that their atrocities in office will not be revealed. Explaining to journalists why the governors are out to frustrate the Constitution amendment exercise, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory, Smart Adeyemi, had said that they are opposed to state creation because they believe it will reduce their empires.

"They are against the removal of immunity clause because they don't want their atrocities exposed while in office and they are against the autonomy of the state assemblies because they want to enslave them. If we have governors who are progressives, the constitution amendment would be successful. They will not allow the constitution amendment to be successful," stated. It is a common sense that if the state assemblies are not autonomous, if it remains subservient, including the local government chairmen, to the state governors, there will be no development at the grassroots and the standard of living of the people will be static. In addition to the kicks by the governors, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) recently started criticizing the exercise for not being a true reflection of the peoples' choice. They called on the lawmakers to apply referendum in arriving to the final conclusion in the amendment exercise. Though the lawmakers have vehemently refused this suggestion, emphasizing that the National Assembly will never be stampeded to actions that are extra-constitution, there are speculations that the NBA is acting under the sponsorship of the governors and other vested interests that are bent at bringing to futility the efforts of the constitution amendment. These speculations appear to hold waters appreciating that the NBA had been part and parcel of exercise since it started, yet it did not raise the issue of referendum. How come it becomes desperate to back-out at this critical stage raises more questions than answers. At several fora, the Nigeria Governors' Forum (NGF) had accused the Federal Government of wielding more powers, in fact, some of them advocated for devolution of powers at the center to make for more concurrent list than exclusive. One question that keeps begging for an answer is why the governors are demanding more powers for the states from the federal government, while they are against freedom for the local government which is the traditional third tier of government. Why do they insist on pocketing the state legislature which is supposed to be an equal entity in the three arm of government? Be that as it may, the crux of the matter is that Nigerians are not ignorant of the nobility of this effort by lawmakers, despite pre-meditated and determined efforts by the governors to frustrate it. It is even more important that Nigerians can now grasp fully who are opposed to their wellbeing. The onus greatly lies on the lawmakers to defy all odds to ensure that the goals of the constitution amendment are attained in the mist of opposition by vested interests. The lawmakers should rather than submit to the governors, carry the people along the more for more legitimacy.



You’re sowing seeds of bitterness, hatred, PDP accuses ACN By Lawrence Olaoye


he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday accused the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and other opposition parties in the country of sowing seeds of bitterness and hatred among the public. The party in a statement released by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, said that Nigerians cannot entrust leadership of the nation to the Action Congress of Nigeria

(ACN) or any other political party associated with it, because of the politics of bitterness, insult and frustration which they propagate that engenders division among the electorates. Reacting to the ACN statement that PDP is preaching ethnic sentiments when the party condemned the campaign of calumny and hatred by the ACN against President Goodluck Jonathan, the PDP stated, "this is why Nigerians cannot trust the ACN or any other party that associates with it with leadership

of Nigeria. "How can a political party aspiring to the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria be so consumed with the preaching and sowing the seeds of bitterness and hatred in the minds of the people they want to lead? "Nigerians are no fools, they are watching with keen interest the seeds of bitterness and hate that the ACN and other political parties are sowing among the populace. No right thinking Nigerian will cast his or her

votes for such a party that propagates schisms, bitterness among us. "What we need at this moment of nationhood is unity and brotherliness and not the politics of hated and bitterness", Metuh said. He explained that the PDP, as the only national party, represents the dreams and aspirations of all Nigerians, advising that they should be wary of political parties that thrive on the gospels of envy, frustration and bitterness, as they have nothing to show or deliver as dividends of democracy to the electorates. The PDP spokesman said that

Kebbi Justice Ministry dispenses with 234 criminal cases


he Kebbi State Ministry of Justice has dispensed a total of 234 criminal cases in the past one year, the Director of Public Prosecution, Mr Sanusi Katune, has said. Katune told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Birnin Kebbi that the cases included culpable homicide, armed robbery, illegal possession of firearms and rape. He said that one of the cases had reached the Supreme Court, while 10 others were pending at the Court of Appeal. “We recorded drastic reduction in cases in 2011 as 256 were handled,'' he said. Katune said that criminal cases were within the jurisdiction of High Court and were not part of criminal cases at the Magistrates' or Sharia and Upper Sharia Courts. Katune said that the zonal assistant directors of public prosecution had helped to ensure speedy dispensation of cases in the state. “The zonal assistant directors are expected to maintain vigilance to avoid prison congestion and ensure that accused persons were not detained in the absence of prosecution. ` `This is part of efforts by the ministry to be among the states in the country with the lowest awaiting trial cases. ``The ministry would maintain a standard that requires not more than 200 inmates in the prison to avoid congestion,'' he said.

L-R: Former Ekiti state Governor, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Chairman, Planning Committee 2012 Merit Award, Dr. Wole Olugboji, Ekiti state Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, and his wife, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, during the awards ceremony, recently in Ado-Ekiti.

Plateau Speaker calls for peaceful coexistence in 2013


he Speaker of Plateau House of Assembly, Mr John Dabwan, has called for peaceful coexistence in 2013 among the various tribes in the state. Dabwan told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Jos that people should work together for peace to return and for tourism to flourish once again in the state. He also called on the people to support government efforts to

develop the state. Expressing gratitude to God for keeping the nation together in spite of numerous security challenges faced in 2012, the speaker urged Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of love and peaceful coexistence. Dabwan also appealed to the political class to imbibe the spirit of forgiveness in the New Year in order to stem the tide of violence that marked 2012. ``Where we have erred and

where we have wronged each other, we should make amends and try and forgive one another and forge ahead. ``We have to work together because we don't have any other country apart from Nigeria," he said. According to him, it is the duty of the citizenry to support and pray for the government in power so that at the end of the day God will be glorified in the affairs of the nation. (NAN)

Yobe governor urges insurgents to embrace peace


obe Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam, on Wednesday urged insurgents in the state and other parts of the country to repent and embrace peace. Gaidam made the call in Damaturu, while presenting the 2013 appropriation bill to the state House of Assembly. He said the security challenges that bedevilled the state had retarded development and service delivery. "The unprecedented acts of vandalism perpetrated by the insurgents have resulted in loss of lives and destruction of property worth millions of naira. "These incidents and the subsequent measures taken to contain them have brought about untold hardships to the people, in addition to loss of lives," he said. The governor said his administration remained focused and considered the challenges as a ``trial out of which we will emerge better and stronger". Gaidam commended the people of the state for their faith in government and prayers for divine intervention. "With the unrelenting prayers for divine intervention by the people, gallant efforts and professional commitment of the Joint security operatives supported by government, peace and normalcy is being restored in Damaturu. He said the residents who fled their homes at the peak of the crisis had returned. ``Schools have resumed and the usual hustle and bustle of socio-economic activities are back. "Our people at home and in the Diaspora should seek forgiveness and pray for peace so that we shall have a peaceful and prosperous year in Yobe and Nigeria," he said. The governor said the government would rebuild public structures destroyed by the insurgents for the benefit of the people.

Leaders must be accountable, says Anambra SSG


he Secretary to the Anambra Government, Mr Oseloka Obaze, has said that leaders in the country should make good use of their offices in order to be on the right side of history. Obaze gave the advice in a chart with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka on Thursday. He said the leaders should use the lessons learnt from the yuletide to see the power they hold as a privilege by God and exercise it for the common good of the people in the new year. "People who use the peoples' trust well

triumph while those who abuse it face the inevitable challenges, they must not abuse the mercy of God which is the trust given to them. "The consequences may not be now but it comes on their children. ``It is poetic justice that any body who is at the realm of power must fear God or face the wrath and people, should see it that way." The secretary, however, noted that the previous year was a fruitful one in the state in spite of the numerous challenges it faced, including flood and security. Obaze said the state was able to

manage the crisis most effectively. He urged Nigerians to embrace peace for sustainable development in the country, saying that the unity of the country was sacrosanct. He also said that there were no individuals or groups whose interest would be allowed to derail the country. "Year 2012 was a fruitful and productive year in spite of the challenges of flood in Anambra, the overall assessment is that Anambra among all other flood affected states is the most proactive. The state was quite peaceful during

Christmas, we tried to provide the best of security and made sure people enjoyed their holiday. "We are mindful that in the midst of plenty there are people who suffer deprivation, we pray for them and hope to make them fare better. "We are striving to have a peaceful country where there is equality, but there is no individual or group of individual whose interest can be greater than that of the nation. "There is no aspiration which they have that is capable of dismembering the nation that will be allowed to

prevail. "If they have issues they should put them on the table for dialogue, the resort to violence and killing of innocent people is not acceptable," Obaze said. He recalled the memory of some prominent Nigerians who died in 2012 and prayed God to avert a recurrence of such tragedies in the history of the country. "We also remember all those who have died, like the Governor of Kaduna state, Patrick Yakowa, and Gen Azazi, ``but above all, we have to be thankful to God for all that happened during the year."



2013: Bauchi Assembly promises more legislation peaker of Bauchi State House of Assembly, Alhaji Yahya Miya, has assured of more people-oriented legislations that would have impact positively on the lives of the citizens in the state.

Miya who stated this in a New Year message through the Assembly's director of Information and Publication, Malam Lamara Chinade, in Bauchi yesterday said the lawmakers would be more proactive in their responsibilities in the New Year. He said ''We had good

ov. Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa on Wednesday in Yenagoa swore in two new permanent secretaries. They are Mr Suru Oyarede and Mr Preye Agedah. Speaking at the ceremony, Dickson said Oyarede would serve as permanent secretary for local government, while Agedah would serve as Permanent Secretary and Solicitor-General in the Ministry of Justice. He said Oyarede's appointment was the first time an official from the Local Government system would be appointed permanent secretary without formal transfer of service to public

service. The governor said the appointment was to make officials in the local government system have a sense of belonging. He charged the new permanent secretaries to show commitment to their jobs, and gave the assurance that worthy workers who showed commitment and dedication to work would be rewarded accordingly. The governor, who said the major challenge of the Ministry of Justice was the sloppy manner government cases were handled, called on Agedah to address the problem. (NAN)

From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


Dickson swears in 2 Perm Secs G

relationship with the executive last year which allowed us to pass various bills on critical sectors like health, education, youths empowerment and job creation.'' The Speaker revealed that the last year, the House passed 34 bills, made 74 resolutions and attended to 9 petitions. He called on the people to imbibe the culture of sponsoring private bills that would assist the legislatures in their quest towards meeting the yearnings and aspirations of the people adding "This year we will ensure that both the law makers and their

constituencies are at par with the policies and programmes put in place by the government and which will be of utmost importance to the generality of the state. "As representatives of the people, we are aware of the enormous responsibilities ahead of us and will do everything to modestly satisfy the yearnings and aspiration of our people," he said. According to him, 2012 witnessed successive political and security challenges just as he expressed optimism that 2013

would usher in renewed commitment and determination to overcome most of these problems. He urged the people of the state to continue to support their elected representatives in order to gain the much needed democracy dividends, adding that members would maintain an open door policy for their constituets. Miya commended the efforts of members of the Assembly in 2012 noting that members made significant contributions to the development of the state.

Ekiti politicians urged to shun causing disaffection, restoring relative peace to the violence state, adding that a repeat of the


oliticians in Ekiti State have been urged to shun activities capable of causing disaffection among the people ahead of next year's governorship election. The Chief Missioner of Ansar -Ur- Deen in the State, Sheik Ameen Adebayo, made the call on Wednesday at an interdenominational prayer session organised by the state government for a crisis-free new year. He urged politicians in the state to shun violence and watch their utterances as they prepare for the 2014 governorship election in the state. The cleric said politicians needed to exercise caution in the New Year to avoid actions capable of subverting the peace and tranquility in the state. The cleric observed that the government had succeeded in

state of emergency declared in the state in 2006 should be avoided. ``We should all try to learn from history and work towards avoiding such as state of emergency as it is tantamount to slowing down the pace of development of any state where it is declared,'' he said. Adebayo warned politicians to avoid acts capable of pitching the people against the government. Rev. Kunle Salami of the Chapel of Glory, Rev. Keji Bolarinwa of the Baptist Church and Chief Imam, Ekiti State, Alhaji Jamiu Bello are among the clerics that administered at the service. The New Year thanksgiving, an annual event in the state, was attended by community leaders, government functionaries, state commissioners and representatives of the Council of Traditional Rulers. (NAN)

Mubi North council boss swears in supervisory councillors, special advisers


lhaji Sahabo Jauro, the newly elected Chairman of Mubi North Local Government of Adamawa, has inaugurated five supervisory councillors and four special advisers. At the inauguration on Wednesday, Jauro directed the appointees to submit their blueprints for improving the local government area as their performance would be assessed after nine months. ``After nine months we will assess your performance and see whether

to allow you to continue or to replace you,'' Sahabo said. The chairman urged them to work hand-in-hand with elected councillors to ensure harmony. Responding, Alhaji Hamisu Ali, a supervisory councillor, assured the chairman that they would work hard to justify the confidence reposed in them by the council. Ali appealed for support and cooperation of the people to enable them to contribute their quota to the development of the area.

L-R: Gombe state Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, presenting N107.8bn 2013 budget proposal to the Speaker of House of Assembly, Hon. Inuwa Garba, on Friday, in Gombe.

Adamawa APGA expresses confidence in Umeh's leardership From Umar Dankano, Yola


he Adamawa state chapter of All Progressives Grand Alliance Party (APGA) has expressed satisfaction with the performance of the national leadership of the party under Chief Victor C Umeh, National Chairman, and Alhaji Sani Abdullahi Shinkafi (National Secretary). The state chairman of the party, Alhaji Aminu Hammanjoda Furo, made this

disclosure in a press statement issued yesterday after a stakeholders' meeting of the party in Yola maintaining that the national leadership of their party is a unifying factor to reckon with at all levels. Furo stated further that the good leadership style and effort of restructuring the party to a better level by the Chief Victor Umeh's led administration were some of the commendable qualities that attract the stakeholders to pass a vote of

confidence to the national leadership. "APGA Adamawa passes vote of confidence on national chairman, and national Secretary; Chief Victor C. Umeh and Alhaji Sani Abdullahi Shinkafi respectively" the statement emphasized. He however called on all the party's members as well as all and sundry to rally round and continue to support Umeh's leadership so as to re-build the party to a highest and amiable level.

Gombe physically challenged persons want say in policy decisions


lhaji Ali Goro, the Chairman, Joint Association of Physically Challenged Persons in Gombe, has called on the state government to involve members in employments concerning them. Goro said involving members in policies and programmes involving them was necessary to avoid 'diversion of slots' meant for them. The chairman was reacting to the 2013 budget proposal presented to the House of Assembly by Gov. Ibrahim Dankwambo last week which made provision for the creation of jobs and

skill acquisitions for the handicapped. The chairman said there were several attempts by the previous administration to employ the learned among them but the slots were diverted. ``Based on that reason, we want the state government to notify us before giving the slots because the previous slots were diverted. ``There was no physically challenged person that was employed as planned by the then government,'' he said. According to him, half of the 80,000 physically challenged persons in the state are learned and

are currently idling away because of lack of jobs. ``Most of us have talents and so, involving us in decision-making will make us to contribute to the development of the state,'' he said. When Gombe was carved out of the defunct Bauchi state in 1996, there were 48 physically challenged persons in the civil service but with time, some retired and others died, leaving only seven in the service, he said. Goro commended the governor for including physically challenged persons in his 2013 budget, saying it would give them a sense of belonging. (NAN)



By Pumza Fihlani


outh Africa is marketed to the world as Mandela’s rainbow nation, where everyone is proud of their race and heritage. But for some black South Africans there is such a thing as being too black. A recent study by the University of Cape Town suggests that one woman in three in South Africa bleaches her skin. The reasons for this are as varied as the cultures in this country but most people say they use skinlighteners because they want “white skin”. Local musician Nomasonto “Mshoza” Mnisi, now several shades lighter, says her new skin makes her feel more beautiful and confident. She has been widely criticised in the local media and social networking sites for her appearance but the 30-year-old says skin-bleaching is a personal choice, no different from breast implants or a having nose job. Nomasonto Mnisi: Before & After “I’ve been black and darkskinned for many years, I wanted to see the other side. I wanted to see what it would be like to be white and I’m happy,” she says candidly. Over the past couple of years Ms Mnisi has had several treatments. Each session can cost around 5,000 rand (£360; $590), she tells the BBC. Unlike many in the country, she uses high-end products which are believed to be safer than the creams sold on the black market but they are by no means risk-free, doctors say. Costly beauty Ms Mnisi says she does not understand the criticism about her new appearance. “Yes, part of it is a self-esteem issue and I have addressed that and I am happy now. I’m not white inside, I’m not really fluent in English, I have black kids. I’m a township girl, I’ve just changed the way I look on the outside,” she says. The dangers associated with the use of some of these creams include blood cancers such as leukaemia and cancers of the liver and kidneys, as well as a severe skin condition called ochronosis, a form of hyperpigmentation which causes the skin to turn a dark purple shade, according to senior researcher at the University of Cape Town, Dr Lester Davids. “Very few people in South Africa and Africa know the concentration of the toxic compounds that are contained in the products on the black market and that is concerning. We need to do more to educate people about these dangerous products,” says Dr Davids. He says over the past six years there has been a significant increase in the number of skin lighteners flooding local markets, some of them legal and some illegal. This is what prompted their research. Local dermatologists say they are seeing more and more patients whose skin has been damaged by years of bleaching - most of the time irreversibly. “I’m getting patients from all

Africa: Where black is not really beautiful

Obudu Cattle Ranch

Nomasonto Mnisi says her skin colour is "a self-esteem issue" over Africa needing help with treating their ochronosis. There is very little we can do to reverse the damage and yet people are still in denial about the side-effects of these products,” says Dr Noora Moti-Joosub. In many parts of Africa and Asia, lighter-skinned woman are considered more beautiful, are believed to be more successful and more likely to find marriage. The origin of this belief in Africa is not clear, but researchers have linked it to Africa’s colonial history where white skin was the epitome of beauty. Some have also suggested that people from “brown nations” around the world tended to look down upon dark-skinned people.

Nomasonto Mnisi: Before & After

‘I don’t like black skin’ The World Health Organization has reported that Nigerians are the highest users of such products: 77% of Nigerian women use the products on a regular basis. They are followed by Togo with 59%; South Africa with 35%; and Mali at 25%. South Africa banned products containing more than 2% of hydroquinone - the most common active ingredient in in the 1980s. But it is easy to see creams and lotions containing the chemical on the stalls here. Some creams contain harmful steroids and others mercury. While skin-lightening creams have been used by some South Africans for many years, they have

become more common recently with the influx of people from countries such as Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo, where they are even more widespread. In a bustling African market in the centre of Yeoville in Johannesburg, it is skin lighteners galore. Walking through this community is like walking through a mini-Africa: you can find someone from any part of the continent here. I notice that many of the women have uncharacteristically light skin faces while the rest of their bodies are darker. Some even have scabby burns on their cheeks from the harmful

chemicals used to strip the skin of pigmentation. They don’t want to speak openly about why they bleach their skin, or even have their pictures taken. Psychologists say there are also underlying reasons why people bleach their skin - but low self-esteem and, to some degree self-hate, are a common thread. But skin-lightening is not just a fascination and obsession of women. Congolese hair stylist Jackson Marcelle says he has been using special injections to bleach his skin for the past 10 years. Each injection lasts for six months. “I pray every day and I ask God, ‘God why did you make me black?’ I don’t like being black. I don’t like black skin,” he tells me. Mr Marcelle - known in this busy community as Africa’s Michael Jackson - says his mother used to apply creams on him when he was young in order to make him appear “less black”. “I like white people. Black people are seen as dangerous; that’s why I don’t like being black. People treat me better now because I look like I’m white,” he adds. Entrenched in the minds of many Africans from a young age is the adage “if it’s white, it’s all right”, a belief that has chipped away at the self-esteem of millions. Until this changes, no amount of official bans or public information campaigns will stop people risking serious damage to their health in the pursuit of what they think is beauty. Source:



How Eagles claimed Catalonia Cup F

or the thousands of people crowded Cornellà-El Prat stadium in the Catalonia, the friendly international between Nigeria’s Super Eagles and Catalonia Selected was much more than just a football game, it was a further expression of the peoples’ desire for selfdetermination. Thousands of proindependence flags and banners shown by Catalan supporters asking that Catalonia becomes “Europe’s next state” were on display. The President of the Catalan Government, Mr. Artur Mas, and the leader of the first opposition party, Mr. Oriol Junqueras, attended the match in the state box, supporting the Catalan team. The match eventually ended in a draw (1-1). The first goal arrived very early. Sergio González (the most capped Catalonia player opened the score with a penalty kick in the 2nd minute of the game, and the Catalan team had many scoring chances before the half time. But in the 10th minute of the resumption, Dike Bright finished a brilliant play initiated by Ogenyi Onazi on the break and scored the equalizer. After the game the glittering trophy for the commemorative encounter was handed over to the Nigerian captain, Chigozie Agbim, amidst a carnival like atmosphere. “Nigeria won the trophy

because they were the away team and the goal they scored here counts double”, explained Hugo Alvares one of the organizers of the encounter. It has been more than just a football match, and it has proved that a huge number of Catalan people wish that Catalan teams can play in official and international major competitions, an achievement that will just be possible with Catalonia’s independence. This is the reason why proindependence flags have been all around the stadium. As it happened in many other sports events in the last few months, on 17 minutes and 14 seconds time the supporters made more noise, remembering 1714, the year when Catalan people lost its national freedom. One of the most emotive moments has been the unfolding of a huge banner with the sentence “Catalonia, Europe’s next state”, a clear message to international media that expresses the will of Catalan people. In the pre-game events, there were also some musical and popular culture actuations, and during the match some music groups created the perfect atmosphere. Since on September 11th more than 1.5 million people went out to the streets of Barcelona to claim Catalonia’s independence, there have been many acts to ask for Catalan

Eagles players and officials pose with the Catalan Cup.

freedom. On October 7th, the Camp Nou was full of pro-independence

flags in the match between Barcelona and Real Madrid. The same situation was lived in other

stadiums and events, as a popular concert in Palau de la Música, on December 26th.

... sign of good things for Eagles – NFF


he President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Alhaji Aminu Maigari said that winning a trophy in far away Barcelona in only the second day of the year was a sign of good things to come in 2013. Maiagari is scheduled to return with the trophy to Abuja, early Friday morning. He urged the players not to relent in their quest for the Afcon title in South Africa, arguing that President Goodluck Jonathan has assured that all necessary support will be provided for an excellent outing for the team. “The President even watched the game against Catalonia selected and he was very proud of you. We also on the part of the federation will ensure that adequate provision is made for you to conquer in South Africa. Head Coach Stephen Keshi said he was happy at the display of the national team but was not totally done yet with building a strong team.

“In the next two weeks we should have a stronger and more

reliable team to defend our colours come SA 2013” he said.

Eagles Coach Stephen Keshi, NFF President Aminu Maiagaru (m) and Barr. Chris Green Pose with the Catalan Cup

B’Faso, Zambia spy on Eagles in Barcelona Stories by Albert Akota


roup opponents of Nigeria in the Afcon 2013 tourney, Burkina Faso and Zambia sent spies to monitor the Nigerian versus Catalonia selected game in Barcelona on Wednesday and they were pleasantly surprised at the quality on display. According to Assistant Coach Gydounou Valere, the new faces in the Nigerian set up, was a surprise to many. “Some of the coaches and journalists who came to spy the team had to approach me, saying where are the big names that we are taking to the Nations Cup and I told them that they are seeing them right there on the pitch”, he said. The former Assistant Coach of Togo and Mali says Nigeria is on the way to causing many surprises at the AFCON tournament and urged for total backing from all and sundry. Eagles will next take on Cape Verde Island next week in another warm up game in Portugal. Meanwhile goal hero, Bright Dike, has attributed the goal he scored against Catalonia to the wonderful support he has been receiving from his teammates in the national team and said he was overjoyed to have scored a first goal for his fatherland. The MLS star said: “Onazi was running so fast with the ball and I was within reach, he decided to give me a good pass and I was too happy to finish it up, that is what we call

team work and the coach has been telling us to always play with ourselves and it showed in this game”, the bulky striker declared, He further said he would be too

delighted to be part of the final 23 players that will be selected for the Nations Cup in South Africa and promised to do his best at the championship for the Eagles.

Keshi can win AFCON, says Onigbinde


ormer Super Eagles Head Coach, Adegboye Onigbinde, said yesterday that Stephen Keshi had enough experience to prepare the Super Eagles well ahead of the 2013 African Cup of Nations in South Africa. Onigbinde said that it would be unethical for him to give unsolicited advice to Keshi. The former head coach, who is a renowned CAF and FIFA instructor, also urged the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to focus attention on the development of grassroots football. “I don’t know what Keshi has in his programme, soncompetitions. It will be unethical and unprofessional for m e to begin to tell him what to do. “Apart from that, am not his technical assistant; I am not his technical adviser; and no authority has assigned me with that responsibility; and I don’t want to become an irresponsible elder. “Keshi knows my number; if he needs any advice, he knows he is free to call me anytime. But we have always been getting our football administration wrong because the emphasis has always been on

competition. “If we have had effective developmental programme, qualifying for any competition or even winning the cup at any competition would have become virtually a matter of course. “An undergraduate who concentrates on sitting an exam without reading, without studying for the exam is deceiving himself and that is what we are doing with our football and sports in general.

Eagles boss, Stephen Keshi with the Catalonia trophy







Broke Zimbabwe may quit World Cup


imbabwe may be forced to withdraw from the 2014 World Cup qualifying competition as the national football association has no money for a fixture in Egypt during March, a senior official said yesterday. “There is no money to pay for travel expenses and other incidentals,” said Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) vice-

several years and has been running on handouts from its president, Cuthbert Dube, and diamond firm Mbada Diamonds. FIFA development officer for southern Africa Ashford Mamelodi, of Botswana, and a financial consultant met Zifa officials and deplored the state of the association’s coffers. After losing at home to Guinea and drawing in Mozambique, Zimbabwe is

due to play Egypt late March in the third series of World Cup qualifiers. Zimbabwean football has been tainted for several years by a matchfixing scandal in which former chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya sent the national team to play unsanctioned friendlies in Thailand and Malaysia and an Asian betting syndicate allegedly fixed the results.

FA chairman laud Tafawa Balewa Stadium


auchi State Football Association Chairman, Alhaji Tanimu Saidu, said on Thursday that the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium (ATBS), Bauchi has all the facilities required to host national and international competitions. Saidu said that that the stadium was Lobi Stars FC of Makurdi’s first choice venue for its CAF confederation’s Cup matches. He said the stadium was of CAF standard and was optimistic that it would pass the inspection carried out by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and a subsequent one by the Africa Football Confederation (CAF). “The ATBS is of CAF standard as it has all the necessary

facilities to host national and international competitions,” he said. It was gathered that NFF inspected the stadium on Monday, ahead of the visit by CAF officials scheduled for Jan. 20. The NFF delegation was led by Mr Lawrence Keitens, who represented his Head of Department (HOD), Dr Sanusi Mohammed. In the report, it was concluded that some of the facilities inspected needed to be ‘brushed up’. Areas inspected by the delegation included the FIFA Turf, Changing Rooms, Media unit, VIP section, the seating pavilions, the Medical Centre and the Police Post.

Cruyff, Nkono salute Eagles





president Ndumiso Gumede. “We have decided not to engage in any international matches unless the government chips in with financial assistance.” The football association is saddled with a $4 million (three million euro) debt in unpaid a c c o m m o d a t i o n , transport and other bills that accumulated over

Johan Cruyff

utch legend, Johan Cruyff is full of praise for the Super Eagles’ display against Catalonia in the friendly on the home ground of La Liga side, Espanyol. Also former Indomitable Lions of Cameroon goalkeeper, Thomas Nkono said the rebirth of African football has started with what he saw the Eagles put up against the Catalonia selected in Barcelona. Cruyff, who handled the Catalonian selected side for the last time, said he told


his players that the Nigerian side was very strong, physical and tactical and he was not disappointed with what he saw against his side. “It was a good game but the Nigerians are preparing for a major tournament and it showed that they are preparing well and will go very far in the tournament,” he said. Nkono, who congratulated the Nigeria manager, Stephen Keshi, for raising a solid team wished him well at

AFCON. An excited former Espanyol first-choice goalkeeper said he was fascinated by the display of the Africans in the exhibition game against the Catalans. Keshi said he was happy with his side’s performance but added he was not totally done with building a strong team. “In the next two weeks we should have a stronger and more reliable team to defend our colours come South Africa 2013,” he said.
















Murray reaches round three in Brisbane International


ndy Murray fought back from the loss of the second set against qualifier John Millman to reach the third round of the Brisbane International. The top seed beat the 23-year-old Australian 6-1 5-7 6-3 as he warms up for the Australian Open, which begins on 14 January. Murray, the US Open champion, took more than two hours to overcome the world 199 after receiving a bye in round one. World number three Murray wasted little time in the first set at Pat Rafter Arena, but his percentage of points won on first serve dropped considerably in the second set, from 75% to 57%, as Millman gained a foothold, breaking twice.

Andy Murray

McIlroy ponders Rio 2016 Olympics


orld number one golfer Rory McIlroy has revealed that he may not play in the next Olympics. The 23-year-old from Holywood would be eligible for selection by either Great Britain or Ireland at the 2016 Games in Rio. He said he was considering the options of playing for Britain or Ireland or not playing at

all. ”I feel Northern Irish and obviously being from Northern Ireland you have a connection to Ireland and a connection to the UK. At the moment he has not made a definite decision but has admitted he regrets the Olympic furore of last year when a newspaper claimed he would prefer to play for Team GB in Brazil.

The programme, which includes contributions from Tiger Woods, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell, charts a remarkable 2012 for McIlroy during which he became world number one, claimed a second Major Championship - the USPGA - and went on to top the money list on both sides of the Atlantic. McIlroy also explains the Ryder Cup drama when he almost missed his tee time for the match with America’s Keegan Bradley.

However, 25-year-old Murray regrouped in the final set and dominated on first serve to keep his title defence on track. “For a first match of the year, that was a perfect match in many ways to go through some tough moments, a lot of long rallies, close games, and important points,” Murray said. Istomin, the world number 43, won 7-5 7-5 against 31-year-old Australian Hewitt, the former Wimbledon and US Open champion. Second seed Milos Raonic of Canada failed to reach the quarter-finals after a 6-3 6-4 defeat by Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov.

Serena face Azarenka in Brisbane semis


Sale Sharks signs Braid as Fourie retires


ale’s former England flanker Hendre Fourie has retired because of a shoulder injury, but the Sharks have strengthened their pack by signing New Zealand open-side Daniel Braid. Fourie, who won eight England caps, made only three appearances for Sale, and the 33-year-old has been advised to quit on medical advice. All Black flanker Braid, 31, joins Sale, currently bottom of the Premiership

table, from Auckland Blues until the end of the season.

Hendre Fourie

Sale had hoped Fourie would make a full recovery from his shoulder injury, but news of his retirement was confirmed on Thursday morning. Director of rugby Steve Diamond said: “As a club, we have backed Hendre 100% in his battle to get fit. Unfortunately, his shoulder has not recovered. South Africa-born Fourie joined Sale from Leeds in 2011, having also previously played for Rotherham.

Serena Williams

Kallis reaches 13,000 Test runs


eteran South Africa all-rounder Jacques Kallis has become the fourth batsman to pass 13,000 Test runs.

Australian Open: Watson misses warm-up tournament


eather Watson has withdrawn from the Moorilla Hobart International, just over a week before the Australian Open. The British number one suffered an elbow problem in Wednesday’s defeat by

Heather Watson

Kiki Bertens in the second round of the ASB Classic in Auckland. Watson, 20, tweeted: ”I injured my elbow in my singles match; I have to withdraw from Hobart. Doing everything I can to get healthy.

The Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year, begins on 14 January. Watson went down 6-4 3-6 6-3 to the Netherlands’ Bertens, who is ranked 14 places below her at 63rd in the world. The Briton played doubles in Auckland on Wednesday after her singles defeat but was beaten by Zimbabwe’s Cara Black and Australia’s Anastasia Rodionova alongside New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic. The Guernsey-born player became the first British woman to win a WTA singles title in 25 years when she won the Japan Open in October.

erena Williams defeated American teenager Sloane Stephens to set up a Brisbane International semi-final with world number one Victoria Azarenka. Williams, the reigning Wimbledon, Olympic and US Open champion, converted both of her break points in each set to beat the 19-year-old 6-4 6-3. Azarenka beat Kazakh qualifier Ksenia Pervak 6-1 6-0 to reach the semi-finals. World number three Williams, 31, won all five matches against the 23-year-old Azarenka in 2012 and beat her in the US Open final in October. Stephens is the highest placed teenager in the world’s top 100, with a current ranking of 38. Britain’s Laura Robson, 18, is ranked 53rd.

Jacques Kallis

The 37-year-old reached the mark with a four through third man off seamer Doug Bracewell after tea in the first Test

against New Zealand at Cape Town. He joins India’s Sachin Tendulkar and Raul Dravid, and ex-Australia captain Ricky Ponting in passing the figure. Kallis achieved the milestone having played the fewest Tests of the four (159). Cape Town-born Kallis, who celebrated the milestone on his home ground at Newlands, has also taken 282 Test wickets in a 17-year Test career. Having needed to score 20 to reach the 13,000 figure, he completed his 57th Test fifty in 68 balls, before departing for 60 when he edged seamer Trent Boult to keeper BJ Watling. Kallis, now on 13,040 runs, may struggle to overtake Tendulkar at the top of the list but, with no thoughts of retiring from Tests, should pass the retired Ponting (13,378) and Dravid (13,288). Earlier in the day, New Zealand were bowled out for 45 - their third lowest all-time Test score - in only 68 balls, while the Proteas finished day one on 2523, with Alviro Petersen 103 not out.



2013 Nations Cup finals

Adebayor keeps Togo waiting


ogo star Emmanuel Adebayor has less than a week to decide whether he will play at the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa as the January 9 deadline for naming final squads looms. The gangling 28-year-old Tottenham Hotspur striker apparently retired after scoring the

only goal of a friendly win over fellow qualifiers Morocco in Casablanca two months ago. Initial reports suggested Adebayor had quit the “Sparrowhawks” because of the perennial complaint among Togolese footballers of unpaid bonuses but the national team captain stressed his decision was

Ghana confirms AFCON budget cut


he Minister of Youth and Sport has explained the rationale behind his outfits decision to cut down on the funding for the Ghana national team as they get ready for the African Nations Cup. Mr. Clement Kofi Humado, MP, says key to the reasons why $8 million the Ghana FA wanted was not given was the timing of the 2013 African Cup. “Usually, the African Cup of Nations is held every two years but this time we are having one back to

back, which is putting tremendous strain on the government,” he said. Report had it that $4 million, representing half of the Ghana FA’s proposed amount, has been given for the campaign. The minister further went on to ask for understanding from all stakeholders. “You know we have only just finished an election too. At this juncture we will ask for the national team and players and everyone to sacrifice a bit for Ghana,” he said.

He was speaking at the seat of government on T h u r s d a y morning when the national team met the President of Ghana to formally bid him farewell before leaving for Abu Asamon Gyan Dhabi.

security related. He survived an attack on the Togo squad ahead of the 2010 Cup of Nations in Angola in which a footballer and an official were killed by separatists seeking independence for the oil-rich Cabinda enclave. Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas told Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper that Adebayor had not decided whether to accept an invite from Togo coach Didier Six to join the squad for a tough Group D schedule against Ivory Coast, Algeria and Tunisia. Any hope that the tiny west African nation, which is ranked 16 in Africa and 71 in the world by Fifa, have of causing an upset against seemingly much stronger rivals probably hinges on the presence of talismanic Adebayor. Although he has found goals hard to come by for Tottenham this season —his midweek strike against Reading was only his second —

Football pundits praise Eagles performance


Christian Chukwu

ormer Nigeria National Coaches, Adegboye Onigbinde and Christian Chukwu have praised the Super Eagles following their 1-1 draw against Catalunya in an exhibition game. The game was part of Nigeria’s preparations for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa. Sergio Gonzalez gave the Catalans the lead through an expertly dispatched penalty inside the opening three minutes but Nigeria were level shortly

I’m fit for AFCON, says Mikel


helsea midfielder Mikel Obi has declared he is fit for the AFCON in South Africa after a slight knee

complaint. Mikel was pulled off late in the second half of an EPL game against Norwich City

Mikel Obi

after the break as Bright Dike finished brilliantly in his first ever start for the Super Eagles. Chukwu was the first to voice his sentiments on the result and he had words of praise for the players. “The boys did well as they bounced back after conceding so early. It is a big morale boost as they did it against some of the best footballers in the world. However, the coaches must not relax as there is still a lot of work to be done in that team,” Chukwu said. after he suffered a knock on his knee. He said that he is as fit as fiddle and ready for action to pour cold water over speculations regarding his availability for this month’s AFCON. “I am going to be at Nations Cup as there is nothing to worry about concerning the injury, it is over,” Mikel said “I am okay and fit for action. I am already looking forward to play in the FA Cup game against Southampton. I was advised by the doctor to rest it for the QPR game; otherwise I was ready to play.” Injury ruled out the Chelsea star from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa at the last minute and he will be at the Eagles training camp in Faro, Portugal, on Saturday. Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez said before the QPR game that Mikel’s knee problem was not serious.

Onigbinde, the only Nigeriaborn coach to manage the Super Eagles at a Fifa World Cup, also had words of encouragement for the players. “They performed very well but football is not mathematics. That a team did well today does not mean the team will do well tomorrow. They have to keep working hard,” he said. Nigeria is in Group C of the 2013 AFCON alongside Ethiopia, Burkina Faso and the reigning champions, Zambia.

Adebayor is a consistent scorer for his country. The star netted in both legs of a qualifier against Gabon that earned Togo a place at the 2013 Cup of Nations and then snatched the goal that brought a shock win over former African champions Morocco. Togo have named 20 of the 23 players permitted for the tournament and hope Adebayor and goalkeeper Kossi Agassa and midfielder Alaixys Romao, who have shunned call-ups in support of the stance taken by the skipper, will play. Mali are the only country among the 16 qualifiers still to show their hand with coach Patrice Carteron telling reporters in Bamako he will release a 27-strong provisional squad Saturday. Cape Verde Islands, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast and South Africa have named final squads, an injury to midfielder Djamel Abdoun has trimmed the Algeria list to 23, and the other 11 coaches have until midnight GMT on January 9 to decide.

Emmanuel Adebayor

Zambia snub Swaziland for Angola T

Christopher Katongo

he Football Association of Zambia communications officer Erick Mwanza said that the friendly will be played at Dobsonville Stadium on Saturday. “Swaziland earlier said they were not available when we wanted to play them saying they couldn’t raise a team,” Mwanza said. “Then they are suddenly saying they are ready to play us. ”But we are playing Angola and not Swaziland anymore. The game will be at Dobsonville Stadium. Swaziland had in December initially indicated that they could not play Zambia because of operational reasons as coach Valerie Billen was away on Christmas holiday in his naive Belgium.

Adomah to join Ghana’s AFCON squad in Abu Dhabi


lbert Adomah will fly out from his base in England to join Ghana’s Africa Cup of Nations squad training camp in Abu Dhabi. The winger played his last match for the Npower Championship side Bristol City on Tuesday in the 2-1 defeat to

Millwall. Adomah is a member of Ghana’s provisional 26-man squad that will be training in the Gulf between January 617. If he makes the final 23-man squad for the tournament, it will mean Bristol City will be

without Adomah for six competitive matches potentially more with further cup fixtures or rearranged games. City manager Derek McInnes is lamenting the departure of their precious winger. “He’s such an important

player for us as everyone knows, so to have him missing for a few games will be a real shame,” McInnes told the club’s website. “But we’re delighted for Albert and it’s a great opportunity for him to showcase his talents. “I remember at a similar time

last year we were pleased that he wasn’t involved from a selfish point of view, but it’s obviously a major event and for him to experience that can only be good for his development. Adomah has scored five goals from 26 appearances for Bristol City in the second-tier league.




1] Australian women's football is about to embark on a new chapter having enjoyed a fruitful decadelong period of growth under newly-appointed USA coach Tom Sermanni. 2] Sale's exEngland flanker Hendre Fourie retires with a shoulder injury, as the Sharks sign All Black Daniel Braid.





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3] Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole is reportedly undergoing a medical at West Ham, who has confirmed Yossi Benayoun has returned to his parent club Chelsea. 4] Andy Murray fights back from the loss of the second set against John Millman to reach the third round of the Brisbane International. 5] World number one golfer Rory McIlroy reveals that he may not play in the next Olympics. 6] Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli appears to have been involved in a training ground bust-up with manager Roberto Mancini.




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But it's not the only machine that's been badly "barked" - a tree in Thailand has apparently devoured a motorcycle. Source:

. . . putting the people first



Balotelli clash with Mancini in training ground row


ario Balotelli's future at Manchester City was cast into doubt once again yesterday after photographs emerged showing him in an apparent trainingground bust-up with manager Roberto Mancini. Media reports claimed that Mancini lost his temper with his Italian compatriot after Balotelli made a reckless challenge on team-mate Scott Sinclair at the club's Carrington training base on the edge of Manchester. The pictures, published widely in the British media, show Mancini gripping Balotelli's orange bib in an apparent rage, before the two men are separated by members of City's coaching staff. An eye-witness, quoted in local newspaper the Manchester Evening News, said: “Mancini ran at him -- he was furious. He grabbed hold of him and appeared to try and throw him on the floor. “It looked like Mario was too strong and he couldn't get him down. Then all the coaches ran in to separate them but Mancini was having none of it. He kept trying to break free and have a go at him again. The Italy striker, 22, has been a recurrent source of controversy ever since arriving in Manchester from Inter Milan in 2010. He has twice been dropped from City's match-day squad this season and Mancini has repeatedly warned him that he is in danger of wasting his talent. In December, Balotelli dropped legal action against City after taking them to a Premier League tribunal in an attempt to overturn a fine of two weeks' wages over his poor disciplinary record last season. Mancini also chastised him after a sloppy performance in City's 3-2 loss to Manchester United in last month's Manchester derby, in which he was substituted in the 52nd minute. Balotelli is yet to play since that game, with a virus having ruled him out of City's festive fixtures, but he could feature in Saturday's FA Cup third-round tie against second-tier Watford.


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QUO TABLE Q UO TE UOT QUO UOTE 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. — Most Rev. Hassan Kukah to prison inmates

Governor Suntai and traumatic brain injury I

do not know Governor Danbaba Suntai, I do not know Taraba state, and have no stake in the state. However, I am fiercely Nigerian. I also recognize trauma and traumatic brain injury when I see one. I saw the photograph of the governor and his family last night, the first since his air crash and I just felt, and to my horror too, that we are going down the same irresponsible path which we walked during the Yar’adua saga. Just as I did then, I am going to write my medical opinion on this man and I hope those who want to kill the messenger will be more responsible. We woke up to the news of this man's survival from a helicopter crash sometime late last year. Reports had it that he was initially thought to have died, but some pastoralists saw him at the scene of the accident and alerted the authorities that he still had some life in him. Whatever the truth may be, one thing is constant; the man was in an air accident. Of course, he no doubt suffered traumatic brain injury secondary to blunt force trauma as a result of the chopper accident. Please note that I did not say anyone hit him on the head. The brain weighs about 3-4 pounds under normal circumstance. It is encased in the cranium aka skull and floats in fluids. It comprises extremely delicate tissues and neurons. It has three layers of membrane which cover and protect the brain. Because the brain tissue is soft, it is therefore susceptible to pulling, stretching and compression in TBI. Thus, in the event of an accident such as air crash, the brain will jerk around violently inside the skull resulting in injury. Governor Suntai may have suffered a closed head injury since there was no report of any open gash on his head nor a penetrating injury to the head. closed head injury occurs as a result of sudden stop following a high speed movement as in an air craft or chopper crash. In the instance when that chopper crashed, the brain will move back and forth, left and right, colliding with the bony cranium. Of course, the result will be bruising of the brain tissues, damage to the neurons in the brain, and or torn blood vessels. Injury may be specific and localized or diffuse axonal injury. I suspect the governor suffered DAI looking at the pictures posted

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GUEST COLUMNIST Stella Oritsejemite

Gov. Danbaba Suntai on Sahara Reporters. My conclusion is that he suffered TBI based on the news report of: 1. Documented loss of consciousness at the crash site. 2. Amnesia post trauma on account of his inability to recognize visitors. 3. Secondary injury as a result of anoxia. 4. Consistent low blood pressure. 5 intra cranial pressures secondary to brain tissue swelling. Since this man did not receive immediate medical help from any first res-ponders and was also air lifted to an ill

prepared hospital in Yola I believe, that he lost too much time and must have also suffered many tissue and neuron deaths in the brain. In that case, Glasgow Score may not be reliable if it was taken at all. We are not sure if he was able to spontaneously open his eyes at the scene of the accident (reported to be unresponsive several days post accident) reported to be in coma even at the National Hospital in Abuja which means only one thing, he was unable to coordinate his fine motor and verbal skills. It is not impossible for the verbal assessment to be impossible, because I expect that he must have been intubated for perfusion and in that case verbalizing anything will be next to impossible. But he should have been able to spontaneously been able to open his eyes, and follow simple commands. Reports in the news papers indicated he was not able to do any of those. Then he had severe TBI. . His Glasgow Score was definitely not 15, whichis the highest score a human being can have. To estimate the severity of his brain injury, we want to rely on his reported post traumatic amnesia. He was reportedly unable to recognize his visitors. Whao! That is a red flag there no doubt. Any time there is a major blow to the head such as in an air

It may take months or even years for full recovery to take place. Therefore, we should avoid this silliness of doctrine of necessity (whatever that means) and all the voodoo interpretation of the Constitution by the political elite

crash, the following will happen almost all of the time: 1. Patient will not remember the incident. 2. Patient will not remember the injury and related events for sometime (read Suntai) 3. Short term memory loss is a major issue. For example, they tend to repeat what was already said over and over again. This is a period of post traumatic amnesia. The danger in this period is that the longer the duration of the amnesia, the more severe the brain injury. Because of the delicate chemistry of the brain, neuro malfunction takes place. This affects the thinking and behavioral process of the patients. Therefore, it is nothing strange that Mr. Suntai was seen starring into space in the picture posted on SR, and no one should be perplexed that he was reported to be staring at his visitors without showing any sign of recognition. It may take weeks, months or even years for this man to come back to his pre accident state. It may take quite long for the brain to resolve its chemical imbalance as a result of the TBI. The good news however, is that as the chemistry of the brain improves, so can the ability of the patient to function independently. Because the brain is a dynamic organ with incredible ability to adapt and change with time, the brain is able to set up new connections between the nerves. Plasticity of the brain occurs all through a life cycle. Therefore, it is still possible for it to have an occurrence of a neural system stimulation. Such can and should be encouraged in an atmosphere, which the man is familiar with and with family. Long term rehabilitation will be better in a home environment and not in the cold walls of a hospital. It may take months or even years for full recovery to take place. Therefore, we should avoid this silliness of doctrine of necessity (whatever that means) and all the voodoo interpretation of the Constitution by the political elite. I am not advocating for the man to be removed from office since I am not a Taraba person, but I do know he is not going to be able to function effectively as a governor anytime soon as a result of his TBI. Stella is a USA based Certified Advanced Trauma specialist.

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