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Mali junta surrenders to pressure as Jonathan initiates ECOWAS consultation


Vol. 8 No. 9

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Jimadal Ula 13, 1433 AH



Obj quits BoT chair, leaves PDP in dilemma

Rep’s father: Kidnappers demand N100m

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Fulani not attacking us, says Tiv community

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Randy cop held for defiling 3 kids

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Church: ACN seeks Jonathan’s impeachment >>PAGE 38

Unpaid salary

Teacher slumps, dies From Iliya Garba, Minna


he failure of the Niger state government and the 25 administrative councils in the state to pay salaries of workers for more than three months has claimed its first casualty on Monday as a senior

teacher in one of the primary schools in Minna, the state capital slumped and died on official duty. Mallam Habibu Imam, a senior teacher at the IBB Primary School slumped and died instantly while conducting regular school assembly for the pupils on Contd on Page 2

Pension probe: Fresh N3bn scam uncovered Panel summons 7 bank MDs Kigo, 5 others get bail By Ali Alkali & Sunday Ejike Benjamin


s the Senator Aloysius Etok-led Senate Committee probing pension scam was getting ready to round off its public hearing, another three billion naira fraud was uncovered with the money lodged in a United Bank for Africa (UBA) account bearing Contd on Page 2

L-R: Mohammed Tukur, Babatunde Abisuga, and Mohammed Ndakupe, all staff of the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over a 12- count charge bordering on fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, forgery and fraudulent conversion of funds of the Commission to the tune of over N109 million, at a High Court, yesterday in Abuja.




























Lulu kicks, accuses ‘Authority’ of misrepresenting facts, Page 41

International 31-34 Strange World 35 Digest








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Adamawa receives 2,401 Hajj seats for 2012


damawa Muslim Pilgrim’s Welfare Board has re ceived an initial allocation of 2,401 seats from the National Hajj Commission for the 2012 Hajj.

Malam Musa Lamurde, the Administrative Secretary of the board, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yola on Tuesd ay .

Musa explained that the seats had been distributed to the 21 local government areas of the state. He said a committee had been set up to train and enlighten the in-

tending pilgrims on how to perform the Hajj. Lamurde called on the Hajj commission to allow state pilgrims boards to feed their respective pilgrims during the Hajj in Saudi Arabia. (NAN)

Unpaid salary: Teacher slumps, dies Contd from Page 1 Monday morning, investigation by our Niger state correspondent revealed yesterday. This development, which shocked teachers and pupils in the school, came barely a week after the Niger state House of Assembly constituted a committee to probe the cause of the withholding of local government workers salaries. Imam, who died at the age of 47 years, was said to have requested the pupils to pray for their teachers so that government would pay the three month outstanding salaries they were being owed. Our correspondent learnt that shortly after the pupils commenced the prayers, the teacher slumped in their midst and died. Imam was reported to have told the pupils earlier that the lack of salaries for the past three months had adversely affected him and his colleagues, thereby impacting negatively on their performances as they could no longer give their best to the pupils. The deceased also reportedly

appealed to the pupils to understand the predicaments of the teachers, explaining that it was not the intention of the teachers to deprive them of sound knowledge. One his colleagues who spoke to our correspondent yesterday said that the teachers were living at the mercy of God and the goodwill of friends. The teacher who pleaded anonymity for obvious reasons, described the deceased as “a hard working staff”, adding that nothing was wrong with him when he went to school that Monday morning. “He was not having any sign of ailment and he was in high spirit before he started conducting the assembly. We were surprised to see him slump and die”, the teacher said. It will be recalled that the Niger Assembly last week waded into the matter by setting up a committee under the chairmanship of Honourable Jibrin Akwanu, representing Agaie constituency, to investigate the circumstances that led to the non-payment of workers’ salaries, and the unsafe situation in which civil servants

that have worked for over 30 years in local government councils in the state were regarded as ghost workers. Announcing members the committee, the Speaker of the Assembly, Honourable Mohammed Gamunu, clarified that it was the responsibility of the lawmakers to respond immediately to the dilemma of the people, adding that the people had cried out to them in that regard. “I urge and encourage my colleagues to always pay adequate attention to issues that disturb the general public with a view to resolving them”, he said. According to the Speaker, the committee was mandated to summon the state commissioners for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Alhaji Yusuf Tagwai, the state Head of Service, Mohammed Matene, the Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), and the Commissioner for Basic Education, Dr. Peter Sarki, for explanation. The committee was constituted following the adoption

of a motion on matters of urgent public interest moved by Honourable Mohammed Bala Farouk, representing Bida II constituency, in which he drew the attention of members to the predicament of local government workers in the state. He said majority of workers have been denied salaries for up to six months on account of a screening exercise, which he said, was replete with controversies. Honourable Farouk decried that the entire 70 staff of the state College of Advanced Islamic Studies and its Principal were declared as ghost workers because their names were not captured in the machine used in the screening exercise, whereas some of them have worked for over 30 years. Lawmakers who contributed to the motion stood firm against the branding of real workers as ghost workers by the consultants employed by government to carry out the screening exercise. Some families, according to the lawmakers, have been subjected to avoidable hardship as a result of the non-payment of salaries.

Pension probe: Fresh N3bn scam uncovered Contd from Page 1

two different names. According to the panel’s chairman, the account was opened at the UBA without due authorisation from the Accountant-General of the Federation, and that at the time of the discovery the money had been withdrawn in instalments. To explain this new development, the Senate Committee has summoned the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde and Group Managing Director of United Bank for Africa. Others summoned to appear before the Senate Committee at its next sitting on 16th April, 2012, to explain their involvement in various pension scams were managing directors of Guarantee Trust Bank, Skye Bank, First Bank, Fidelity Bank, Zenith Bank, Diamond Bank and Union Bank Plc. The committee also warned EFCC to stop preventing or harassing witnesses from appearing before it to testify, as that would mean hindering the work of the Senate of the Federal Republic. The warning came after former director in charge of pension in the Office of the Head

of Service of the Federation, Dr. Shu’aibu Sani, had narrated how he sneaked into the National Assembly to avoid being arrested by the EFCC which, according to him, had been hunting him to seize the documents he intended to submit to the committee. He decried what he described as “an orchestrated media campaign against my person by the EFCC and the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT) who are working in tandem to frustrate the truth from coming out.” According to him, he had recovered a whopping N38 billion pension fraud from private accounts and remitted same to the Federal Government accordingly, adding that he was in possession of the payment data. Dr. Sani promised to make startling revelations at the next sitting of the committee, when two former HOS, the PRTT, the EFCC and the bank chief executives would be in attendance. He lampooned the PRTT for claiming to have recovered stolen pension funds amounting to billions of naira without evidence of lodgements of the money into government accounts, and challenged the

task force team to come along with concrete evidence to compare with his. Chairman of the committee, Senator Aloysius Etok told EFCC that, “Until we complete this investigation, EFCC should leave Shu’aibu alone,” adding, “Don’t be on collision course with the Senate. I think once a suspect has been charged to court, he should be allowed to defend himself. He should be spared further harassment”. Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Pension Office and former director in the Police Pension Commission, Atiku Abubakar Kigo and five others arraigned last week by the EFCC on a 16-count charge were yesterday admitted to bail by an Abuja High Court. Those arraigned alongside Kigo were Esai Dangabar, Ahmed Inuwa Wada, John Yakubu Yusuf, Mrs. Veronica Ulonma Onyegbula and Sani Habila Zira. The accused persons were accused of embezzling N32.8 billion police pension funds. According to the charge, the entire accused persons allegedly embezzled the various sums while discharging their duties as officials of police pension commission. The trial Judge, Justice

Talba, had earlier ordered the remand of the accused persons in prison custody after they all pleaded not guilty to all the charges preferred against them by the anti-graft agency. When the matter came for hearing yesterday, counsel to the accused persons, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) urged the court to grant his clients bail on the grounds that they have been enjoying administrative bail before they were brought to court, saying also that the accused persons will not jump bail as they have always honoured the invitation of the EFCC. But EFCC’s Counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, in his objection to the bail application by the accused persons, said that their counsel failed to place enough material before the court to enable the court exercise its discretion in their favour. The trial judge, in his ruling on the motion for bail, granted the accused persons bail in the sum of N10 million each and that the accused persons should produce two sureties each, one of whom must be a Grade-Level 14 civil servant. The case was adjourned till May 28 and June 4, 2012 for trial of the accused persons.



Kaduna Refinery hits 2.5m litres petrol production per day – MD By Lawrence Olaoye

From Agaju Madugba, Kaduna, with agency report


L-R: Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Ms. Bolanle Onagoruwa, Chairman, Technical Committee, National Council of Privatisation (NCP), Chief Atedo Peterside, and Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, during the opening of financial bid by Manitoba Hydro International of Canada for the management contract of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

ana ging Director, Kaduna Refining and Petrochemicals Company Ltd, Mr. Bolanle Ayodele, says the moribund refinery now produces more than 2.5 million litres of petrol per day. Ayodele disclosed this yesterday in Kaduna when Mr. Philip Chukwu, Group Executive Director (GED), NNPC, led a delegation on a facility tour of the refinery. “It is worthy of note that this is the first time in the history of the three refineries that the combined feed/effluent heat exchangers have been re-tube in-situ. “With the two units in operation, our Gasoline production has improved from 1.5 ML/B to above 2.5 million litres per day”, Ayodele said. He said the feat was achieved

PDP in dilemma as Obasanjo resigns BoT chairmanship T

he resignation of former President Olusegun Obasanjo as the chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT), of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, has thrown the party into a dilemma as to who will take over the position. This has become evident as the PDP constitution prescribes that only a former elected President of the country on the platform of the party is qualified to ascend to the position of the party’s BoT. Obasanjo’s exit has created a vacuum that could only be filled by the former President himself because none of the party members have the exclusive qualifications

to vie for the position. A source close to the former President disclosed that Obasanjo though resigned because his tenure has expired may consider re-election into the position if the party so wishes. The party is currently in tight corner as it may have to approach the former President to continue in office since the only alternative available to the PDP is to amend its constitution to allow other members of the party to be able to vie for the position. The process of amending the constitution, however, may be cumbersome and unrealistic considering the exigencies at hand. Commenting on his resignation, Obasanjo said “I have formally sent

in my letter of resignation as the Chairman of BOT of PDP to the National Chairman of the party as prescribed in the party’s constitution.’’ He added: “I have formally requested the President to allow my bowing out and to issue a short statement to that effect. “By relieving myself of the responsibility for chairmanship of BOT of PDP, I will have a bit more time to devote to the international demand on me”. He further stated that the resignation would give him time “to give some attention to mentoring across the board nationally and internationally in those areas that I have acquired some experience, expertise and in

which I have something to share”. According to him, his exit would afford him more time to develop his Presidential Library and to mobilise and encourage investment in Nigeria and Africa.’ He noted that before the last general elections, he believed that if PDP produced the President, it would be time for him to reduce his partisan political activities. The former President recalled that he was actively involved in bringing forth ‘my successor President from PDP in 2007’. Efforts to reach the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, to volunteer comments on Obasanjo’s resignation could not yield any result as his phones were switched off.

Kidnappers demand N100m bounty on abducted Reps Minority Whip’s father From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


nkow n gunmen who reportedly abducted the father of House of Representatives Minority Leader’s father, Pa. Samson Imariagbe on Monday, are demanding the sum

of N100 million as ransom from his family to secure his release. The victim was kidnapped at his private residence at UrhuokoOsa, near Ehor, the administrative headquarters of Uhunmwonde local government council of Edo state after a sporadic shoot-out by

the hoodlums who took him away in their operational van. The Minority Leader, Hon. Samson Osagie, who confirmed this in a telephone interview yesterday, disclosed that the kidnappers have opened a line of negotiation but expressed concern over the

deteriorating health of his 75-yearold father just when he is gradually recovering from a road accident. The Police Public Relations Officer, Edo state command, Mr. Etim Bassey when contacted, said the police was yet to be brief on the matter.

due to the ongoing maintenance work at the refinery which was being handled by a Nigerian company, Messrs Suparsteel Ltd., and the commitment of staff of the refinery. Ayodele expressed optimism that the refinery would soon begin full operations after a comprehensive Turn Around Maintenance (TAM). He, however, decried the lack of imported paraffin crude for the lubes plant which was required as feed stock for a section of the refinery. Ayodele said the management of the refinery was already working with NNPC and Chevron to ensure the repairs of its facility at Escravos and fast track the importation of the foreign crude to operate its lubes unit. Responding, Chukwu reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to rehabilitating the traditional refineries to ensure full production. He decried the activities of pipeline vandals especially along the Kaduna refinery route, saying that the NNPC was collaborating with security agencies to curb the menace. (NAN)

Akinniranye takes over at TCN By Isa Abdulwahab


ngr. Shola Akinniranye has been appointed to head the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), following Monday’s sacking of three chiefs of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria over the epileptic power supply being witnessed across the country. It would recalled that the Managing Director of TCN, Engr. Akinwunmi Bada was on Monday retired from his position by the Federal Government including two others in the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). Power Minister, Prof. Barth Nnaji made the announcement at an extra-ordinary meeting with CEOs of major agencies under the ministry in Abuja, a statement issued by the ministry’s spokesman, Mr. Greyne Anosike said. The other officers retired include the Market Operator Engr. Uzoma Achinaya and the Executive Director, Human Resources of the PHCN Mr. Olushoga Muyiwa.

Mass failure: FG may ban private exam questions printers By Jamila Nuhu Musa


he Federal Ministry of Education is considering placing a ban all past questions and answers, as instead of enhancing students’ performance, they have only succeeded in increasing failure in exams. Minister for Education, Prof. Rukkaiyat Rufa’i, gave the indication during an interactive session with journalists in Abuja yesterday. She emphasised that the ministry needed to develop a

strategy to ban all private past questions and answers, going by the recent mass failure recorded again by the National Examination Council (NECO). The minister, who was accompanied by key officials in the sector, observed that in developed nations, after examinations, once you saw your scores you could access the result on the internet to see where you went wrong but in Nigeria it is a different case. Rufa’i observed further that one major thing that is also not helping the system, is “the private

people that have developed WAEC questions and answers, one company that is involved, have answered all WAEC questions, to be candid my own son is sitting for the exam this year. Going through one of these examinations, I think it was in Physics, out of the 50 questions, 17 answers were wrong”. She therefore, noted, if students have to study such questions and answer sheets and could fail about 17 questions out of 50 even before they wrote the exams, then something was definitely wrong with the process of preparing for

examinations because this is what these students use to get ready for their exams. She enjoined WAEC to develop their own questions and answers so that students could study and pass because “if in one subject a student fails 17 questions out of 50 you cannot talk of any success. This is a recently discovered challenge that we have to deal with. There are many cases that we have to tackle though”. Also answering questions on the education sector, the Registrar of JAMB, Dibu Ojerinde, spoke about the ‘magical sandal” seized during

the exams. He said the sandals were specially made, affixed with handsets to aid exam malpractice but the students were caught through a body scanner and handed over to the police. On the issue of the 181 prisoners who wrote JAMB, he said they were from different prisons in the country but wrote the exam in two centres, namely Ikoyi and Kaduna saying some of them had even finished their terms but they took the forms while in prison. “I know one ex convict who took the exam last year and is now in the university”.



Again, Ogun police uncover ritualists shrine From Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji, Abeokuta


arely a week after the discovery of ritualists hideout and shrine in Ogijo town of Ogun State, the police command again discovered another shrine around at Sefiu Eleledu village located along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. The Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi who

disclosed this to journalists in Abeokuta, said a suspect identified as Paul Akinola was arrested, while other members of the gang are still on the run He explained that the discovery and arrest came from a tip-off as the Ibafo Division of the command stormed Sefiu Eleledu village off Lagos/Ibadan Expressway and raided the shrine used by fraudsters to dupe innocent members of the public under false pretences.

6 Kogi pensioners die in car crash From Sam Egwu,lokoja


ix pensioners yesterday morning lost their lives along Okene- Lokoja road. According to an eye witness account, the accident occurred at about 11 am when an articulated truck belonging to Dangote Group with no registration number heading to Obajana left it’s lane and ran into a private vehicle, a TYT Sienna bus with registration number AH 710KNE that was coming from the opposite direction. The sources added that all the

six occupants in the private vehicle died on the spot before help could come. It was gathered that the six occupants of the Siena bus were executive members of the National Union of Pensioners. The sources said they were on their way from Okene to Lokoja to attend a meeting when the accident occured. The Kogi state Sector Commander of the FRSC, Mr. Mikel Olapade confirmed the accident saying his men moved the corpses from the scene to the Specialist Hospital Lokoja.

3 top civil servants docked over N109m scam By Lambert Tyem


he Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday, arraigned three senior staff of the Federal Civil Service Commission before Justice Maryann Anennih of the Federal Capital Territory High Court on a 12 count charge bordering on fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, forgery and fraudulent conversion of funds of the Commission to the tune of over N109 million. The accused persons: Hassan Mohammed Tukur, Babatunde Abisuga and Mohammed Ndakupe (all Account staff of the Federal Civil Service Commission) pleaded not guilty to all the 12 charges preferred against them by the EFCC. Prosecution counsel, Sylvannus Tahir, then asked

the court for a date for the commencement of trial while urging the court to remand the accused persons in prison as EFCC detention facilities were no longer available. According to Wilson Uwujaren Ag. Head, Media & Publicity “Counsel to the accused persons, M.A. Ebuka prayed the court to grant the accused persons bail on lenient terms as they have been on EFCC’s administrative bail and that bail was discretionary. In her ruling, Justice Anennih directed that the bail application for the accused persons be heard on Thursday April 5, 2012; and remanded them in Kuje Prison. Count One of the 12 count charge reads: “That you Hassan Mohammed Tukur, Babatunde Abisuga and Mohammed

Ndakupe, being officials of the Accounts Department of the Federal Civil Service Commission, sometime between October and November 2010 at Abuja in the Abuja Judicial Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, did conspire amongst yourselves to do an illegal act, to wit: conspired to take dishonestly the sum of N109,952,171.61 (One Hundred and Nine Million, Nine Hundred and Fifty Two Thousand, One Hundred and Seventy One Naira and Sixty One Kobo) only from First Bank of Nigeria Plc Account No. 4062040010584, property of the Federal Civil Service Commission without its consent and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 97 of the Penal Code Cap 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (Abuja) 1990".

‘Why Jonathan is yet to sign 2012 budget’ By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


inister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala yesterday explained the delay in the take-off of the 2012 budget, saying that the Federal Government economic team is still considering the details in view of changes made to it by the National Assembly. She revealed to State House correspondents after a National Economic Management Team meeting in the State House that the Executive would meet with the leadership of the National Assembly tomorrow to fine-tune the grey areas and find a common ground in areas where there are differences. On the specific areas of differences, the minister cited the crude oil benchmark eventually adopted by the National Assembly

as an example. “Obviously, the first one is the benchmark price that went from $70 to $72 which we have looked at the analysis that it was used for, part of it to reduce deficit, part of it for additional spending and we think this thing is okay.” She continued: “We are still ending up with fiscal deficit that is reasonable and under three per cent and reduced debt, that is okay. But now, the details; most of the specific (Ministries, Department and Agencies) MDAs and how the budget may have changed, that is the step we are looking at now and that takes a little bit of time but we must do it because we want to make sure we have an implementable budget.” “We are trying to speed up the work so that we will meet with the leadership of the National Assembly on Thursday,” the Minister added.

FG wants 180bn SURE fund separated from 2012 budget By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


he Federal Government is set to request the National Assembly to separate the N180 billion expected revenue from the partial removal of fuel subsidy which the lawmakers included in the 2012 budget. The Director of Budget, Dr. Bright Okogu, who disclosed this to State House correspondents in Abuja yesterday believed that if it stands separately, it would make it easier for projects under it to be implemented while also enabling proper monitoring by the Dr. Christopher Kolade-led Subsidy ReInvestment (SURE) Committee According to him, “what they did was to initially integrate it with the rest of the traditional budget. There is nothing wrong with that because it is in line with what we submitted for them to pass into law. “But we will like them to

separate it properly. The SURE programme should be on its own fully so that it is easier to implement and monitor.” He said that government would therefore enter into discussions with the National Assembly over the budget already passed before going forward with the process. The Director explained that the change from $70 per barrel of crude oil benchmark which President Goodluck Jonathan had originally based the 2012 estimates to $72 yielded about N98.4 billion for the Federal Government. He added that “they (National Assembly) took N50 billion out of that to help to reduce the deficit, which we are very pleased about, because it is good to reduce the deficit and therefore the borrowing. “The balance of about N48.5Billion they have used to do certain other projects meant to help the nation which of course, we are very happy about.”

R-L: Yobe state governor, Malam Ibrahim Gaidam, with National Chairman of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, during a meeting at the ANPP National Secretariat, yesterday in Abuja.

Nembe youths hold Shell workers hostage H

undreds of protesters yesterday blocked waterways in the Niger Delta to prevent Shell workers from reaching oil rigs. One protester said they wanted to remind Shell of its responsibilities to the Nembe Island community, which needs electricity and other amenities. Later in the afternoon, a local chief ordered the protest to end and the release of some workers on board three Shell boats blocked by the protesters. The oil giant has denied to the BBC that anyone was kidnapped. Shell has four flow stations and two oil rigs in Nembe Island

- one of the largest communities in the oil-producing zones of Bayelsa state where about one million people live, our reporter says. Youth leader Jonathan Omongu told the BBC Tuesday's action was organised as a warning to Shell. Nengi James, a Nembe chief and chairman of the area's oil and gas committee, told the BBC that the protest followed a meeting on Monday between the community and Shell that ended in deadlock. He said that, despite the area's oil wealth, the community has little to show for it and the residents want Shell to provide electricity, water and schools.

Later on in the day, the chief told the BBC he had ordered the protesters to free the Shell workers on board the boats blocked by the protesters in the morning. According to the Reuters news agency, 14 members of Shell staff were on the boats earlier in the day. "No production was affected. No-one was kidnapped or seized," a Shell spokesman told the BBC. In a statement, Shell said it would continue to work to help improve the lives of the Nembe community which had already "resulted in the implementation of many projects in the area". (Source: BBC)



How we aborted Boko Haram onslaught on Kaduna, by GOC From Agaju Madugba, Kaduna


he General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Mechanized Division of the Nigerian Army Kaduna, MajorGen. Garba Wahab, said yesterday that soldiers averted what he described a major attack by Boko Haram in Kaduna, by the arrest of 33 members of the Muslim sect. Contrary to the position of the Kaduna state government that the suspects are not members of Boko Haram, Wahab insisted at an interactive session with reporters in his office that the suspects among who are Nigerien nationals had

plotted to unleash mayhem on Kaduna. As the GOC put it, “the suspects were prepared to strike the following day if they were not arrested and you can be sure that the army will never arrest anybody for no reason. We acted on intelligence reports at our disposal. “We want to assure everybody that, the troops deployed were deployed to do what they ought to have done and the arrests were made after 10 pm that day. “13 of the arrested persons are non-indigenes from Niger Republic. We will not pick people and detain them if we did not have

facts to back our findings because in order to effect the arrest of people, we have to be sure of our facts and it took us three weeks of surveillance before we picked those people. “Information we gathered revealed that the arrested suspects were hiding weapons in an unknown destination which prompted their arrest but we want to assure residents of Kaduna that the army will not go out of its way to pick up innocent persons. “What we are doing is for the safety of the people in the state and not to gain favours from anybody. On the day of the raid, we arrested

100 people, but after thorough interrogation, 67 of them were released because investigations proved that they were innocent, but the 33 are still in our custody out of which 13 are Nigeriens.” Wahab noted that the foreigners among the suspects will be handed over to the Nigerian Immigration Service, as they were not in possession of legal documents to ascertain their residence in Nigeria. He said that seven other suspects would be released based on statements and good character attributed to them by the District Head of Barnawa, Alhaji Kabiru Zubairu.

Ogun police arrest robbers who raped travelling female students From Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji, Abeokuta


gun state Police Command yesterday arrested five suspected armed robbers who allegedly raped female students travelling to Lagos from Enugu in a luxury bus, at Ogbere along Benin-Ore Expressway last weekend. The Command in a press release issued by the Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, said the arrest of the bus driver led to subsequent arrest of the bandits whose names were given as Oni Olopari, Innocent Omule, Gbenga Adebayo and Samuel Luca. He said the driver identified one of the suspects, Samuel Lucas who was a member of the robbery gang, adding that the suspects were arrested Ijebu-Ife/Mushin in Ogun state, where some items were recovered including the chairs contained in a broken-down vehicle. It would be recalled that the robbers had on the fateful day allegedly barricaded the highway at about 11.30p.m. and had carnal knowledge of the schools girls who were on their way to their parents in Lagos for the Easter holiday.

R-L: President Goodluck Jonathan, with Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Ogiadomhe, during the Economic Management Team meeting at the State House, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Okogie in estate tussle, begs court for time From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


he Catholic Archbishop of Lagos State, Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, has applied for extension of time to enable him comply with the judgment of a Lagos High Court which ordered him and two others to surrender the entire estate of late Olusola Afolabi to his widow, Mrs.

World Bank Presidency: OkonjoIweala, others face panel next week By Aminu Imam, with agency report


inance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who is vying for the World Bank Presidency is slated to be interviewed first next Monday. According to informed World Bank and Nigerian government sources in the United States, interview dates for the selection of the next World Bank President have been fixed for next week. Other candidates for the office, Colombia’s Jose Antonio Ocampo and America’s Jim Yong Kim

would also be interviewed next Tuesday and Wednesday respectively after which a final choice would be released and a formal announcement expected almost immediately, according to an inside source at the Bank. What is not clear now is whether the Bank would be able to make its determination by consensus now considering the unexpected challenge against the American candidate, which is happening for the first time since the history of selecting the bank’s president.

Claudia Afolabi and her children within 90 days from the date of the judgment. In a Motion on Notice brought pursuant to Order 44 Rule 4, 39, Rule1 (1) (2) of the high court of Lagos (Civil Procedure) Rules 2004 filed by his lawyer, Mrs. Priscilla Kuye, Okogie sought for more time within which to prepare and file statement of account of its stewardship as administrator of the Olusola Afolabi Estate from June 12, 1987 to March 2009. In an 8-pragraph affidavit in support of the Motion, Okogie stated that the delay was due to inability of the banks to give comprehensive statement of account of the estate as requested. Justice Latifat Oluyemi had on October 13, 2011 ordered Cardinal Okogie, Oluyomi Afolabi and Olasoji Peter to within 90 days surrender the entire estate of late Olusola Afolabi to his widow, Mrs. Claudia Afolabi and her children. The claimants, Olufunmilayo Florence Afolabi, Olutoyin Catherine Afolabi, Olubunmi Elizabeth Afolabi, suing as beneficiaries of the estate of late

Chief Olusola Afolabi (deceased) had asked the court to remove the defendants namely Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, Oluyomi Afolabi, Olasoji Peter and the Probate Registrar, High Court of Lagos state as administrators of the estate. They also sought for an order of court appointing them as CoAdministrators of the Estate of the late father in conjunction with their mother, Taiwo Claudia Afolabi. Delivering judgment in the suit, Justice Oluyemi agreed with the position of the probate registrar of the Lagos High Court (4th defendant) that the claimants are direct beneficiaries of the estate and are of ripe age and therefore qualify to be appointed as administrators. The court further gave Cardinal Okogie and others 90 days from the date of the judgment to prepare a statement of account of their stewardship as administrators of the estate of the late Afolabi from June 12, 1987 to March 2009 and that the account should be verified by a chartered account.

Robbers cart away school properties in Kogi From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


ifte en dare-devil armed robbers stormed Government Secondary School Aloji, Ofu local government of Kogi state yesterday and carted away school properties, including a 250kv generating set. This comes amidst efforts by the community to raise funds to replace the already vandalised properties of the school early this year by a gang being investigated by the police. The community leader, Malam Noah Odoma told journalists in Lokoja, yesterday that items carted away included laboratory equipment, a generator set, library books and computer sets. He said “armed gang had early this year removed some vital parts of the school generator rendering it useless and had finally come to remove it when it had been coupled by the efforts of the community”. According to the community leader, the robbers stormed the school premises around 2am shooting sporadically into the air before gaining entrance into the compound. Confirming the incident to our correspondent in Lokja, yesteday, the police spokesman Mr. Ajayi Okansami said that investigation into the matter had commenced.

Court grants Nnamani leave to seek overseas medical checkup From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, presided over by Justice Charles Archibong, yesterday granted leave to the former governor of Enugu state, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani, to travel abroad for medical treatment of an undisclosed ailment. The former governor, who looked pale at the hearing of his motion on notice filed by his counsel, Rickey Tarfa (SAN), had urged the court for a leave to travel overseas for what his doctor described as long over due medical treatment. Nnamani, who was also a former senator was last year, rearraigned alongside his former commissioners and some of his companies on a 124-count charge of alleged money laundering and economic crimes to the tune of about N5 billion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). In his ruling on the application, Justice Archibong overruled the objection of the prosecution and granted Nnamani leave to travel abroad and come back on the next adjourned date, July 24, 2012.


Rainstorm wreaks havoc in Kogi From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


midnight rainstorm in Awo community, of Ankpa local government, Kogi state has rendered over 200 people homeless by blowing off roofs and destroying properties. The Director of Local Government Administration, DLG, Ankpa LG, Alhaji Abdulahi Ibrahim who made the disclosure, appealed to the Federal and state governments to come to the aid of the community, saying the damage was beyond the purse of

the council. The DLG who took newsmen round the devastated areas in the community, noted that there was urgent need to aid the people before more rains set in. Speaking on behalf of the community in Lokoja yesterday at the office of State Emergency Management Authority, SEMA, the Awo community leader,Mr. Robert Agagu urged the state government to speed up action in ameliorating the plight of the community.

‘No polio in Gombe in two years’ From Auwal Ahmad, Gombe


he Gombe state Immunisation Officer, Mr. Usman Bako Alex has said that in the past two years, no wild polio virus case recorded in Gombe state even though it shares borders with has been high risk states. Alex who disclosed this while speaking with our correspondent in Gombe during the exercise, said over 700, 000 children from birth to five years old were targeted for the ongoing immunisation campaign in the state. He added that children from birth to five years old are most susceptible to polio, malaria and measles, adding that as the state has not recorded any confirmed case of polio from 2009 to date, speaking volume of the sustained effort of all those in the preventive health sector. The Immunisation Officer appealed to the religious and

community leaders as well as parents not to relent in the effort to stamp out the menace permanently and to avail children to the vaccinators for immunization against all preventable disease . Mr. Bako Alex further commended the state governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo for directing all the local government chairmen and their councilors to partake in the conduct of the exercise and brief him on its progress. Investigation by our correspondent revealed that involvement of traditional and religious leaders has improved the quality of the campaign by resolving non-compliances. Our correspondent reports that in three days of the exercise in Gombe local government, about 113,287 children were immunised out of 139,098 target population representing 81.4 percent.


We want access to our leader in Katsina prison, King’s supporters plead From Lawal Sa'idu Funtua, Katsina


ollowers of the embattled clergy, Reverend King, have appealed to prison officials to allow them to exercise their constitutional rights in having access to t heir leader wh o i s i n d e t e n t i o n a t t h e Ka tsi na Ce ntr al Pr iso n. Speaking on behalf of the grou p, a p romine nt mem ber of t he Ch ris tia n Pra yi ng

A s s e m b l y , La g o s b r a n c h , Mr s . G l o r i a K i n g s a i d t h e entire members of the group were in a stat e of fea r and f ru s t ra t i on o ve r th e re f u sa l of th e pri son of fic ia ls to a l lo w th e m a c c e ss to t he i r le ade r. According to her, this was th e s ec ond ti me in a ye ar t h a t t he y w e r e denied access to him after travelling from long distances to Katsina to see him.

"We are worried over his condition in the prison. We also believe that we are deliberately subjected to untold hardship over something that is our right. The Federal Government should intervene and allow us to see him" she added. King said that no matter the intimidation, hardship and frustration, they would continue trooping to Katsina in the attempt to see their leader.

MD’s appointment: Edo hospital workers threaten to release mentally ill By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


empers have begun to flare among the various unions and health personnel of Federal Psychiatric Hospital, Uselu, Benin, following the appointment of Dr. Sunday Osasu Olotu as substantive Medical Director of the hospital by the Federal Government. The workers on the platform of Joint Action Committee, JAC, in obedience to the order of the embattled Acting Medical Director, Dr Charles Ikeji, yesterday withdrew their Services in protest thereby denying healthcare seekers, including mental disorder patients, of medical Assistance. The aggrieved workers have also threatened to release mental ill patients in their custody if the industrial unrest was not resolved immediately. As at press time, the administrative complex was under lock and key as workers were seen milling around. Some of the inmates brought into

the hospital were abandoned at the hospital car park, creating tension among Staff. Nobody however, volunteered further explanation on the issue. But at the various wards, medical personnel were making frantic effort to manage the crises from deteriorating.

R-L: Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Delta state chapter, Mr. Norbert Chiazor, VicePresident, NUJ Zone D, Mrs. Joyce Bur-Akuraga, National President of NAWOJ, Asabe Baba Nahaya, Vice-President of NUJ, North-East Zone, Alhaji Gidado Mukhtar, all presenting a nomination form to the incumbent President of NUJ, Malam Mohammed Garba for his re-election by the group of Mohammed Garba political associates, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Bankole was not signatory to accounts used in cheques clearing, says witness By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


prosecution witness, Ibrahim Ahmed told a Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday that former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, was not a signatory to the suspicious accounts of Multigates Resources Limited used to clear some cheques for the controversial contracts. Ahmed, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) attached to the anti-graft agency made the revelation at the ongoing

trial of Bankole, who was alleged by the economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of awarding contracts to companies without traceable addresses, while in office. Bankole is facing a 16-count charge of contract inflation and awards without due process slammed against him by the EFCC. The contracts include 400 units of 40-inch Samsung TV sets supplied at N525, 000 each instead of N295, 000, 800 units of HP Compaq Desktop Computers at N330, 000 each instead of N160, 000, 100 units of Sharp Digital Copier 5316 at

N270, 000 each instead of N160,000 and 400 units of HP LaserJet at N150,000 instead of N60,000. The alleged contract scam also include two units of Range Rover Bullet Proof vehicle, two units of Range Rover vehicles without bullet proof, three units of Mercedes Benz S-600 cars and 400 units of DSTV Systems all purchased without due process. Under cross-examination yesterday by the accused counsel, Wale Akoni (SAN), Ahmed said when he asked the secretary to the

Randy cop held for defiling 3 kids A From Blessing Tunoh, Yola

male police corporal in Adamawa state (names withheld) is being remanded over allegations of sexual abuse of underage children. Luck ran out of the pervert cop who police sources said, was arrested along a river bank in the

state capital on suspicion of having sexual contact with three children. "The 32-year-old officer allegedly engaged in sex acts with two eight-year-olds just as he stalked another 11 year old school boy for sex", a police source claimed. Father of one of the assaulted boy, a newspaper vendor confided to Peoples Daily that their

statements were recorded at Jimeta Division police station and that the matter would be transferred to the state police command. "All the three victims told us that the uniformed officer raped them at the river bank under the pretence of giving them a ride home, so we will not take it kindly and we are insisting that

he must be punished for the crime", the father who preferred anonymity stated. But when contacted on phone, the Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Nemuel Yoila said he was yet to be briefed over the matter but assured that it would thoroughly be investigated.

Tender Board how award letters were dispatched to the companies, "He told me that he was acting on the instruction of the Chairman". He told the court that when he confronted the accused with this information, he refused to respond. The Prosecution counsel, Oghenevo Otemu, however asked for adjournment due to the absence of other six Prosecution Witnesses. Opposing, Akoni urged the court to avoid trial in installment which he lamented is infringing on the liberty of the accused. Justice Okorowo advised the Prosecution to meet the Complainant (EFCC) and present his challenges in line with the needs of the court for smooth trial, adding that adjournment cannot be granted perpetually. Emphasizing that the attitude negates the maxim which says, "Justice delayed is Justice denied", Justice Okorowo said, "I shall not tolerate incessant adjournment in this trial". The matter has been adjourned till May 21 and 22, as well as June 11 and 12 for trial.



Polio: Gombe councils solve resistance problem


ealth officials in Gombe and Akko local government councils in Gombe state yesterday said that they have solved the problem of resistance to application of polio vaccines in six wards of the councils. In Gombe council, the immunisation officer, Malam Abdulraham Mohammed, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe that areas with high resistance cases such as Shamaki, Bolari West, Nasarawa and Pantami had been successfully settled. Mohammed said no single case of non compliance was recorded in the areas due to the intervention of the ward committees, comprising traditional and religious leaders, who prevailed on parents to allow their children to be immunised. "For example, in Shamaki ward, L-R: Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Deputy Governor, Dr. Kingsley Moghalu, CBN Governor, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, and Minister of State for FCT, Ms Olajumoke Akinjide, during the Economic Management Team’s meeting, at the State House, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

First Lady to partner NGOs in providing succour for Autistic children By Etuka Sunday


he wife of the President, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, has said her office will partner with the Federal Ministries of Health, Women Affairs, Education, NGOs and other stakeholders in providing the necessary assistance for people living with Autism in Nigeria. In a speech delivered on her behalf by the Special Adviser to the President on Gender Issues, Dr. Aisha Abdulkadir, on the 2012 World Autism Awareness Day held at the Ladi Kwali Hall, Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Abuja, Mrs. Jonathan said there is no better time for awareness creation on Autism than now when the political will is geared towards the attainment of the Millennium and Development Goals (MDGs) especially in the area of primary health care. She thanked the ministries of Health, Education, Women Affairs and Social Development respectively for their effort so far, and appealed to NGOs and other relevant stakeholders to join forces in providing support to those living with Autism in Nige ria. In a keynote address, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, said awareness creation, early diagnosis and timely application of intervention are key to the successful management of Autism. He said the effect of Autism on the children and families is of utmost concern since affected children cannot fend for themselves but are totally dependent on others for routine daily living. He gave ignorance and misconceptions among the

populace, paucity of facilities and services, and poor awareness among health care providers as reasons for the delay in diagnosis and loss of the window of opportunity to change the situation earlier. He advised that Autism and other developmental disorders should be taught in medical schools in Nigeria while appealing to the media to also join in awareness creation. "We are partners in progress" he said.

In a speech, the minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajia Zainab Maina, and that of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufa'i said there was need to draw attention to awareness creation thereby helping to permanently discard the superstition that hinders the social development of persons with disabilities in Nigeria especially at the grassroots level where ignorance and superstition are always rife.

Auchi Poly expels 59 students for exam malpractice, certificate forgery


uchi Polytechnic in Edo state has expelled 59 students for examination malpractice and certificate forgery, its Rector, Dr. Phillipa Idogho has said. Idogho told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the exercise was on-going and the institution was on course to stamp out all forms of malpractice. "This exercise is not only a onestop thing, that is why we always ensure that students are adequately prepared for their examinations and in return, we expect that they conduct themselves by not engaging in examination malpractice. "We are also looking out for those who used forged certificates in gaining admission into the institution. "We will continue to carry out certificate verification and like we have always done, anyone caught will be shown the way out and probably get prosecuted for forgery". The rector also said that any member of staff who made

"certain demands" to grade students, would be sanctioned. "The Polytechnic frowns and takes serious exception to this development and will take prompt and decisive action against employees who make such demands on students". The rector urged the students to be courageous to report cases of harassment. (NAN)

Rich Nigerians urged to contribute to educational development From Iliya Garba, Minna


ealthy individuals in the country have been charged to contribute positively to the development of education in their various states in view of the fact that government cannot shoulder the responsibility alone. Permanent Secretary in the office of the Head of Civil Service, Niger state, Malam Garba D. Abubakar, made this known yesterday while commissioning a conference hall at the School of Special


iger state government in its effort to boost transportation in the state, has promised to provide tricycles that would be shared among the registered members of the amalgamated motorcyclist popularly known as kabu-kabu. The Commissioner for Transport, Alhaji Saidu Ndako Idris, made this known yesterday in Minna while speaking on a radio phone-in programme.

Education, Minna. Malam Abubakar said as the demand of education grows higher, government alone cannot shoulder the responsibility, hence the appeal to individuals and corporate organisations to contribute. The chairman, Parents Teachers Association (PTA) of the school, Alhaji Mohammed Sagir, appealed to parents to continue to support their wards by providing them with basic learning materials to enable them to compete favourably with children from other states.

Many countries have endorsed OkonjoIweala’s WB bid, says foreign minister By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


inister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Viola Onwuliri, yesterday, disclosed that many countries of the world have endorsed the candidature of the Nigeria's Minister for Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, for the post of the president of the World Bank. Briefing journalists on Monday shortly after a closeddoor meeting with members of the diplomatic corps, the minister said the essence of the meeting was to convince the remaining few countries to encourage their home countries towards accepting Okonjo-Iwala as a candidate for the World Bank top

Niger govt to provide tricycles for motorcyclists union From Iliya Garba, Minna

the District Head, Alhaji Usman Mohammed, marked the houses that resisted the immunisation and they were revisited immediately and they complied", he said. The official said out of 139,098 children targeted for immunisation, more than 113,287 children, representing 81.4 percent, had received the vaccine since the exercise commenced on Saturday. Similarly, Miss Lois Lakurbe, Primary Health Care Coordinator of Akko local council, confirmed that the level of resistance to the application of the vaccines had dropped significantly. She said people in high resistant areas, including Kumo East and Tabra ward had been persuaded by the ward committees to accept the vaccines, adding that the response had been very positive. (NAN)

He confirmed that the law regulating the movement of kabu-kabu in the state capital is still in force, adding that it is designed at checking the present security challenges in the state. Alhaji Idris said the tricycles would soon be provided by the government to sort-out transportation problems in the state. He however advised the kabukabu members to continue to support the administration in its quest to improve their conditions.

job. Onwuliri further pointed out that though the United States President, Barak Obama, has nominated another candidate, the job is about competence and experience, emphasising that democratically, Okonjo-Iweala, whom she said had emerged Africa's sole candidate, would defeat Obama's candidate. She further stated that the Nigerian government and its allies have reached out to other emerging economies outside the African continents, on the strategy to ensure that Okonjo-Iweala emerges victorious in the contest, adding that America and the world at large should endevour to shun sentiments and give the emerging economies a chance for greater impact in the World Bank. While arguing that the Nigerian candidate is good for the world, Onwuliri said Okonjo-Iweala has credibility, exposure and qualification for the job, having served as the managing director which is the number two position in the bank. "Okonjo-Iweala combines her extensive work on Africa with experience of handling emerging economies, middle income country issues across the globe, having had deep involvement with World Bank's work programme and other initiatives in East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, Middle East and North Africa", she stated.



Sambo charges Nigerians in Sudan to be good ambassadors By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem

V L-R: Osun state Commissioner for Regional Integration and Special Duties, Barrister Ajibola Bashiru, former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, and Osun state Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, during a one-day regional summit for local government functionaries in the South- West and Mid- West states, yesterday in Ibadan.

Benue frowns at diversion of funds by council chairmen From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


enue state government has frowned at the diversion of funds meant for salaries of local government workers, warning that it will sanction council chairmen who delight in doing so. The Special Adviser on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Solomon Wombo, who handed this warning during his monthly briefing with journalists yesterday, reminded the chairmen that salaries of local government workers should always take top priority.

Mr. Wombo also decried the attitude of some chairmen who are distracted with campaigns for the upcoming local government elections and abandoned development matters, urging those who intend to contest to resign forthwith. He also observed the poor treatment meted out to security agencies in the third tier of government and called on the chairmen to properly attend to them for the sake of peace in their areas. While intimating that local governments collected N2.2 billion from the Federation

Why FG decentralised agric ministry


he Federal Government said its decision to decentralise the activities of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development was informed by the need to make its operations cost effective and efficient. The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Ezekiel Oyemomi, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja yesterday. Oyemomi said that the move was to ensure a close working relationship with states in the implementation of the agriculture value chain projects and ensure timely delivery of services to farmers. He said offices had been established to carry out monitoring and mobilisation functions as well as coordinate policy implementation at the state level. Oyemomi said that due to poor funding, such offices could not perform the functions they were currently saddled with and so, there was general idleness of staff,

inadequate office equipment, with the buildings becoming dilapidated and the transportation facilities collapsing. “If the Federal Government is intervening in an area like agriculture certainly it cannot do it elsewhere other than at the state level, and all we have been doing is intervening from here moving from Abuja to the state which is not cost effective and is not efficient. “So what we’ve done is that we have decentralised to the states whereby we are going to have what we called Green House offices to be managed and superintended by a director to be supported by all the staff. “So this is the essence of this; whatever is envisioned and is agreed to between the Federal Government, states and other stakeholders would be implemented, coordinated, monitored, valuated and reviewed through this system I will call the decentralised system of agriculture intervention.”

Account, Wombo noted that there was a marked reduction from what they got in previous allocation, adding that they had N800 million differentials and another N1.8 billion expended on minimum wage. On the ongoing teachers verification exercise, he disclosed that over 400 ghost teachers have been discovered and two Education Secretaries of Ogbadigbo and Vandeikya LGAs dismissed for defrauding their local governments. Furthermore, he frowned at the attitude of NULGE officials of Gwer LGA who locked out their

chairman for refusal to pay salaries, leave and deaths benefit. “I did not even know that NULGE in the area had such problem. They failed to exhaust every avenue before taking such action. They were being political. I think there should be a law in the State that any union that goes on strike without properly exhausting all avenues should be sanctioned. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid. If I had my ways, I would not have paid teachers for sitting at home. Absenteeism and abscondment are punishable with dismissal”, he said.

ice-President Mohammed Namadi Sambo has urged members of the Nigerian community in Sudan to be good ambassadors of their country. The vice-president made this call yesterday, when he met with the members of the Nigerian community in Khartoum. Sambo commended the cordial relationship existing between the Nigerian community and their host country and called on them to maintain the tempo. The vice-president, who is in Khartoum to attend the launching of the Special Fund for Development of Africa (SPDA) by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), thanked the ambassador for organising the meeting. In his remark, the Nigerian Ambassador to Sudan, Haruna Ginsau said the occasion was unprecedented, being the first time in decades that Nigerians in Sudan and Sudanese-Nigerians are coming very close to their number two citizen. The ambassador, who stated that between nine to ten million Sudanese were of Nigerian origin, affirmed that the Nigerian citizens in Sudan had encouraging record of good behavior.

Absenteeism: Delta stops salaries of 44 IDB approves N60.9bn for devt teachers elta government says it has in member countries, Muslim stopped the salaries of 44 secondary school teachers grants up to $867 million (about communities N134.3 billion) for educational in the state for absenteeism. The


By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


he Board of Executive Directors of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) yesterday approved about N60.9billion of new financing for development initiatives in member countries and Muslim communities in different parts of the world. The approval came at the 282nd meeting of the Board which took place as part of the 37th Annual Meeting of the IDB presently taking place in Khartoum, Sudan. Vice President Namadi Sambo, accompanied by his wife, Hajiya Amina Sambo, is leading Nigeria’s delegation to the meeting. The new dealcovers different infrastructure projects in SubSaharan Africa, Sudan, Lebanon, Uganda, Bahrain, Uzbekistan, Mauritania and Iran. Chaired by the President of IDB Group, Dr. Ahmad Mohammed Ali, the Board similarly approved

and health projects for Muslim communities in the United States of America, Denmark, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe. Speaking at the opening ceremony, Vice President Sambo, expressed Nigeria’s close identification with the primary aims and objectives of the IDB Group. He observed that “no endeavour is more worthwhile than the development of human capital, investing in poverty alleviation, advancing the frontiers of Science and Technology, improving our individual economy and economies of member countries and by extension the global economy.” “It is in this vein that I thank you for the support you have always given to development initiatives in Africa and to therefore solicit your continuous support for the implementation of the Special Programme for the Development of Africa (SPDA II),” he said.

teachers were alleged to have abandoned their posts for over three months without permission. A statement by Mr. Abraham Fabau,, an official of state’s Post Primary Education Board, in Asaba on Monday, said that the sanction was in line with government's policy that “no any form of emolument was paid to staff who abandoned their duties.” The statement indicated that the sanction was the first step in the disciplinary measure to be applied on the affected teachers, who included principals and vice principals. It said the Accountant General of the state had been directed on March 16, 2012 to quickly implement the order, adding that the order would subsist till further notice. Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Prof. Patrick Muoboghare, warned teachers, including those in primary schools, to desist from acts of indolence and indiscipline or face severe sanctions from the government. (NAN)



Terrorism: NAHCO commissions N68m cargo scanning machine From Suleiman Idris, Lagos


he Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO aviance) has installed its new cargo screening system consisting of cargo screening machine and antibomb equipment at the Export Cargo section of its warehouse. The Director-General of Nigerian Civil Aviation

Authority (NCAA), Dr. Harold Demuren who commissioned the equipment worth N68 million at the weekend, said the new equipment was a giant leap in the fight against trans-border terrorism. “With equipment like this, we are safer, the traveling public and businesses can have some peace of mind,” he said at the event also attended by officers of airport

security agencies. Demuren said the company’s investment in security has buoyed the government’s efforts at operating 24-hour secure airport operations, attracting foreign investment and making Nigeria the regional hub for Africa. He said: “We want to open up Nigeria. We operate 24 hours passenger terminal, but on the

cargo side, cargo aircraft operate mainly at night. I have discussed with my friends (in FAAN, Immigration, Customs, NAHCO and SAHCOL) to see how we can expand and make Nigeriathe hub… “Now that we have this (screening machines), we are safe and it is better for all of us. With effective screening system like this, terrorists have no place.”

Speaking at the occasion, the Managing Director of Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc, Mr. Kayode Oluwasegun-Ojo said that the company is committed to safety of its operations and it would spare no effort to ensure the safety and security of its activities. He further said that all stations where NAHCO aviance operates will also benefit from the gesture.

Northern LGs say ALGON election illegal From Agaju Madugba, Kaduna


hai rmen of local governments in the 19 states in the north have disassociated themselves from the recent general elections and inauguration of the national executive committee of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, (ALGON). The chairmen, at the end of their meeting in Kaduna on Monday, described the said inauguration as illegal and unconstitutional. Sokoto state ALGON chairman, Idris Gobir, and his Kwara state counterpart, Abubakar Sadiq Ahmed, signed the communiqué at the end of the meeting which they read at a press conference. The communiqué said: “Members resolved that the purported notice of general elections said to have been announced on March 23, 2012 and purportedly inaugurated is unconstitutional, illegal and therefore the 19 states of ALGON disassociate themselves from this illegality and rejects all the purported actions. “For an election into the national body to be held, 2/3 of the members must be present as required by the constitution... “That the Interim Management Committee (IMC) put in place by an order of a Federal High Court an FCT High Court is hereby recognized, pending when proper and legitimate election is conducted…”

Mutawalli of Borno, Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim Iman (left) presenting a N200 million cheque for the completion of Maiduguri Central Mosque to Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Garbai el-Kanemi (2nd left), and Borno state Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima (2nd right), recently in Maiduguri. With them is the state Deputy Governor, Alhaji Zanna Mustapha (right).

NTDC endorses Aagboko Day Festival, promises support By Miriam Humbe


s a means of expanding the frontiers of tourism promotion in Nigeria, the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), has endorsed the Aagboko Day Festival expected to hold on 7th and 8th April, 2012 in Otukpo, Benue state to be hosted by the Senate President, Senator David

Mark. The Director-General of the NTDC, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe made the announcement during a courtesy call on him at the Tourism Village by a team from Aagboko Community Development Association led by its president-general, Chief Jonathan A. Ocheibi. Chief Ocheibi informed Otunba Runsewe that the courtesy

call was in response to the community’s quest to invite the NTDC to the 2012 edition of the festival with the theme, “Celebration of Outstanding Performance”. Speaking further, the president-general said the primary aim of the visit was predicated on dual functions, first to invite the NTDC boss to the festival and secondly to solicit the

corporation’s support of this year’s edition especially in areas of publicity, cultural troupes, security, entertainment amongst others. Otunba Runsewe responded by appreciating the delegation for coming and promised them NTDC’s total support towards a successful hosting of the 2012 edition of Aagboko Day Festival.

NBA backs FG, Aviation Ministry on foreign airlines fare disparity From Suleiman Idris, Lagos


he Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has thrown its weight behind the Federal Government and the Ministry of Aviation over the 30-day ultimatum issued to all foreign airlines to dismantle the regional fare imbalance within the West African sub-region or face a total ban from operating in Nigeria. National president of the NBA, Joseph Abodunrin Dauda who led the members of the executive on a solidarity visit to Aviation

Minister, Princess Stella Oduah in her office on Monday, said the action of government to protect Nigerian passengers from undue exploitation by the British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and all other foreign airlines as well as the ultimatum has the full support of the Bar. Dauda said the disparity in the fares charged passengers travelling from Nigeria to the UK and those travelling from Accra, Ghana are very obvious and unjustifiable, and commended the

courage of the Oduah to rise up to the challenge of halting this unfair treatment of Nigerians by foreign companies. "The disparity is very obvious and unjustifiable. These foreign airlines think they have friends in high places and can therefore afford to do as they like, but we are here to assure you of our full support. Now the ultimatum has been issued and we know that violations come with remedies; they should not think we are without remedies.” In her response, Oduah

expressed appreciation for the solidarity and offer of partnership from the NBA in the battle to restore parity in the regional fare regime, stressing that she is motivated by the desire to do what is right for the people and government of Nigeria. The minister stated that the fare imbalance is a measure of the disrespect British Airways and other foreign carriers hold Nigerians, stressing that "as long as I am here, it is my responsibility to protect Nigerian passengers".

She said the government will not succumb to the blackmail of threats of breakdown in bilateral relations between Nigeria and the UK, insisting that any investor who is not ready to treat Nigerians with respect and dignity will be shown the way out. "If what they are doing is right why are they not doing it elsewhere, why are they doing it in Nigeria alone", she queried, even as she expressed satisfaction that Nigerians are beginning to say "we are on the right track".




Of plagiarism, forgery and the path of honour


he craving for paper qualification would seem to have overtaken the better judgement of people in high places so much that some even go to the unethical and dangerous extent of plagirising materials for their thesis, or even outrightly faking their alleged qualifications to give them an intimidating appearance. And it is a virus which appears to afflict leaders all over the world, from so-called backward nations like our dear Nigeria, to the most economically advanced climes like Germany. Last Monday, the Hungarian president, Pal Schmitt, was forced to resign from office following allegation that he had plagiarised materials for his PhD thesis, which resulted in the university stripping him of his sports doctorate degree. Budapest's Semmelweis University revoked Schmitt's doctorate last week, after its inquiry found that his 1992, 215-page thesis, "An analysis of the programme of Modern Olympic Games", is shorn of ethical and scientific standards. Although he vehemently denied the allegation, he nevertheless threw in the towel so that he could face the challenge of redeeming his image without the encumbrances of his office. On March 2, 2011, then German Defence Minister, Karl-Theodor zu

Guttenberg, had to resign from his position over a PhD thesis plagiarism scandal. The then 39-old KarlTheodor zu Guttenberg, who has an aristocratic background and huge media support, had the sky as his limit, but because in those climes nation came before self, he chose the path of honour by resigning. Here in Nigeria, where the crime

We at Peoples Daily view this attitude with scorn, and call on our leaders, whose educational qualifications are subject of intense public doubt, to step down until all such doubt is cleared of plagiarism and use of fake certificate is just as common among those in high places as it is among the lesser mortals in the society, the attitude among the offenders is almost always that of self first, and nation last. This is why, except for the lone occasion when a former ranking officer of the National

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Assembly was forced to resign for using false educational certificates to contest elections, people in high places with questionable educational qualifications sit tight regardless of the gravity of the allegation and the intensity of the public outrage against the offence. Two cases in point are those of a serving governor and the head of a very prominent Federal Government agency, which are now subject of drawn out litigation in the courts because of their refusal to take the path of honour by resigning as is done in saner societies where the interest of the individual, no matter how highly placed, always comes a distant second to that of the nation. The unfortunate thing about this sit-tightism by our leaders in the face of clear case of criminality is that, while they remain in office as the cases continue in court, it is the tax payer who foots the bill even as the integrity of the service and the image of the nation suffer irreparable damage. We at Peoples Daily view this attitude with scorn, and call on our leaders, whose educational qualifications are subject of intense public doubt, to step down until all such doubt is cleared. That way, the image of the nation and the integrity of the officials involved would be the better for it.








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By Abdul-Azeez Suleiman “For every good that you wish to preserve, you will have to sacrifice your comfort and your ease. There is nothing for nothing any longer.”


hen one begins to consider the various flip flops by the leadership of the Arewa Consultative Forum under the stewardship of General Jeremiah Useni, what would most readily come to mind would perhaps be a symbolism of a group guided by the direct opposite of lessons sought to be impacted by the above quote from the speeches of one of America’s great leaders. That leader made the above observation in an address delivered solely to inspire the youth of his country to rise and take up the challenge of resurrecting what he considered the crumbled values of the American people at that time. The parallelism to be drawn between that American leader’s wisdom in reposing hope in the youth and the cynicism of the people that now run the ACF – an otherwise invaluable regional cultural group – is quite obvious. The ACF leaders do not yet see the need of taking a little time out once in a while to examine the relevance of the youthful energy and dynamism of the upcoming generation. In an apparent contrast to the leadership of competing regional organizations of the East and the West, Useni’s executive in the ACF tend to be totally unnerved by doubts and uncertainty of purpose and confusion of values, which in itself is utterly disappointing. Here, Useni arrogates to his ACF executive, and in some cases even acting alone, the sole prerogative to determine matters that affect the region while shutting out all contrary suggestions no matter how reasonable and no matter who made them; worse, they maintain


ACF: Useni’s cynicism and the Northern question this stand even while the region is threatened with destruction. Sad still, these people happen to be those who came into a great heritage made by the insight and the sweat and the blood of inspired and devoted and courageous men who founded and nurtured the region through consultations with and concessions to wide variety of thoughts and opinions by the young and old. Overtime, leaders infested with a chronic cynicism, most of who now hold sensitive offices in the ACF, have recklessly and in utmost self-indulgence all but squandered this rich inheritance of consultation with and concession to the young. Thus whenever the youths either in groups or individually move to resurrect this squandered inheritance, Useni’s leadership of the ACF quickly takes offence by making discouraging remarks. The most recent and also most irritating example is when the ACF appear no to welcome the efforts made by various concerned groups and individuals towards confronting the current myriad disabling problems confronting the north and its people. This it did without minding the public feeling that since the inception of its current leadership under General Useni, the ACF had shown a dangerous penchant for always preferring to take the easy way around issues affecting the region which is part of the reasons why the unity of the region crumbled further, its past stands betrayed today, its future made meaningless, chaotic and low. The current leadership of the ACF, as far as the northern public is concerned has always retained

the road of the least effort and the method of the cheapest approach and of the greatest self-indulgence to issues. Suffice it to cite the example of its uninspiring role during the zoning debate that characterized the electioneering that led to the most divisive round of national elections in Nigeria’s democratic history; one that by and large brought the north into the present quagmire. Back then, despite the apparent political humiliation believed to be facing the northern establishment, the ACF leaders had to be literally cajoled as widely reported, by a youth organization going by the name Arewa Citizens Action for Change into endorsing the zoning principle upon which the region’s fate virtually hung. More demoralizing was that while the ACF succumbing to that pressure from the youths, made a public statement in support of zoning on the 11th of August 2010, its leader, Jerry Useni rushed to Abuja barely four days afterwards, precisely on the 17th of August where he said the ACF never discussed the issue of zoning. What made the rest of the members of the ACF leadership as morally liable as their leader Useni in that August betrayal is that none of them came out to dissociate himself from his claim. If there are factors that were downright responsible for the diminished the credibility of the ACF as a group and Useni as a leader of any sort, that flip flop on zoning must top on the list. And just while the entire region was settling to the reality that the ACF was literally dead and

buried and seeking for alternative ways out of the present harsh realities facing it, Useni last week made an attempt to reassert his and the group’s relevance in the region’s present calculations. He, purportedly on behalf of the ACF made public statements that tended to describe what he referred to as the present proliferation of civil society organizations in the north as unhealthy. As if that was not offensive enough, Useni singled out particularly the same Arewa Citizens Action for Change initiative that brought almost all the scattered remains of the northern political, cultural and religious leadership under the same room to discuss the region’ problems. Instead of commending that move which in itself signified a remarkable success, Useni and his co-travelers in the ACF rather settled for the option of predicting failure for the initiative. One may not or should not be surprised because that, in any lingua franca, describes the typical characteristic of cynicism which this people amply personify. The ACF top men and in particularly the senior driver have always appear as people who have received too heavy doses of concentrated self-doubt and too many repetitive injuries to their collective and individual self confidence as to have fallen into a mire of cynicism so that they now question the ability of any human community to live up to the task of salvaging the society within which it lives. This cynicism has led the ACF’ actions under Useni now to symbolize nothing short of

secession from the society it claims to represent as well as a dissolution of the trust between it and the communities by becoming indifferent to the fate of anything or anyone beyond the self-interest of its leaders. In a general term, cynics almost all the time see themselves as merely being weary. There is no new thing under the sun, the cynics say. They have not only seen everything; they have seen through everything. They claim that their weariness is wisdom. For the cynic, hope for society as a whole is considered an affront to rationality and the notion that the individual old and young has a responsibility for the community is considered a dangerous radicalism. Ultimately therefore, the life of a cynic becomes lonely and selfdestructive because he ends up going to war with himself. By this definition, the current cynicism rearing in the ACF could prove deadly to both its leaders and the people of the northern region particularly the youth. For as Former United States Vice President Albert Gore once observed, this type of cynicism “bites everything it can reach — like a dog with a foot caught in a trap and then it devours itself.” It follows therefore that if allowed to spread beyond the present level this symptom of cynicism manifesting in Useni and his men could totally drain the north of its renewed will to improve, diminish its youth’s spirit, sap their inventiveness and in the end, wither their souls. Suleiman wrote from Abuja and could be reached on

The shameless sex-for-grade lecturers of Sokoto state Polytechnic By Amiru Adamu


igher institutions of learning exist to further transform its students and make them model members of the society. Students are a trust given to their teachers by parents and God almighty. It is unfortunate,that some group of lecturers of the Sokoto State Polytechnic have deciced to throw away all ethics and pride associated with the teaching profession by inventing a new educational policy of ‘sex-forgrades’ in the institution. This group of lecturers go about threatening, intimidating and blackmailing female students of the polytechnic into having forced intimate affairs with them or risk failing woefully regardless of whether the students pass legitimately or not. Though this behaviour is not peculiar to the school alone, the rate at which

the act is being perpetrated in the school, under the very nose of the school authorities, is alarming. There are numerous uninvestigated cases of missing scripts, carryovers and spillovers that were as a result of the female students choosing the paths of honour and refusing to give in to the demands of the grade-for-sex lecturers in the institution. The story of Halima (not real name) best describes what has become a daily occurence between female sudents and sexfor-grade lecturers in Sokoto poly. Halima, who was admitted into the school last year, was asked out by a lecturer. When halima refused, the lecturer threatened her and promised to deal with her for having the audacity to refuse him. Halima forgot all about the incident and went on with her studies. She sat for exams and went home for holidays only to return and find

“ABSENT” written all over her result sheet. Halima went and complained to the officer incharge of examinations, who happens to be the same fellow whose advances she rejected. The lecturer told her the reason her result indicates absent, though she had written the exams, was because she refused him. He went further to advise her to pack her bags and leave the school because according to him, “she would never graduate if she doesn’t give in to his demands”. When I asked halima if she had reported the case? She answered yes, and said the first question the head of department asked is if the lecturer in question had ever shown interest in her. This shows that the school authority is fully aware of the activities of the lecturers, but decided to keep silent for reasons best known to them. Another related story

happened to a close relative of mine. The female relative had to leave the school and seek admission elsewhere because of the harrasment of one of such rapists in educational gowns. Some may ask why the girls shy away from reporting such harrasment? The answer is simple. They try to avoid the stigma attached to being raped and also have no confidence whatsoever in the authorities concerned. Another reason is the fact that the group is organised like the crime syndicate that it is, a victim might end up reporting to a member of the group unknowingly. It must be stated however that female students themselves are not without blemish as some of them try to entice lecturers for easy grades. Nevertheless I am of the opinion that any lecturer worth his salt will not give in to such temptations considering the fact that the students are a trust

in his care. These activities going on in Sokoto Polytechnic shows the failure of the school management. This indicates the lack of leadership and gross incompetence of the people at the helms of affairs in the school. They have aided and abated rape, blackmail and intimidation in the institution that was once a role model for discipline and scholarship. I am using this medium to call on His excellency, the executive governor of Sokoto State, to, as a matter of urgency, look into the activities of the sexfor-grade lecturers and prosecute the culprits. I will also like to call on women activists to put pressure and compel those in authority to look into the situation before things further get out of hand. Amiru Adamu is the publisher of Northern Wind magazine


By Modu Alh. Bukar


n the year 2000, 189 countries cutting across the entire continents of the world met and agreed on the script for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which reads: “a world where people are less poor. A place where women have the same opportunities as men. Somewhere, where everyone can get a good education and healthcare. A planet and a people which has a sustainable future. Three years to the deadline for the attainment of the eight goals spell out in the MDGs, Borno State, a major city in Nigeria may not realize the second goal which is to “achieve Universal Primary Education” if urgent steps are not taken to curtail the activities of the Boko Haram Sect. No one took the threat of the sect serious not long ago that it would attack schools. As usual the sect has made real to its threat by burning down some schools within Maiduguri Metropolis. For instance, on March 2, 2012, the sect burnt down some different schools in a calculated onslaught early in the morning before students of these schools


Burning of schools: MDGs suffer setback in Borno turned up. Among the schools about 35 million children are not acknowledged by the Senior razed down included Sunshine in school in Sub-Saharan Africa Special Assistant to the President Private School, Success alone. Over the years, Nigeria on MDGs, Mrs. Amina Azzubair. Secondary School, The report Gwange 1 Primary indicated School, Gwange that nearly Junior Secondary nine out of Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text School, among t e n others. Reporting messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written children, this ugly 88.8 per contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 development, a cent, are words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and national daily puts n o w a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed it thus: “Schools enrolled in to: across Maiduguri s c h o o l . M e t r o p o l i s Though, The Editor, witnessed low regional Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, attendance as many differ ences 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. pupils shun schools are still Email: let for fear of the obvious as unknown. Some SMS: 07037756364 the north parent refused to remains allow their children backward in to go to school for fear of attack.” has initiated a major step the attainment of this goal. The This disturbing development forward to achieve Universal report recommends that “in will no doubt affect Borno State Primary Education as clearly particular, progress needs to be adversely. It is estimated that shown in the MDGs report 2010 accelerated in the northern part


of the country, if the target is to be met.” Meanwhile, not meeting this target in a state like Borno State simply means depriving young people of opportunities of better life. To crown it up, it is harder for countries to tackle poverty and disease if this goal is not met. A Season Communication Scholar and current Head of Department, Mass Communication, the University of Maiduguri, Professor Umaru Pate. Conceives poverty as “the lack of access to basic needs or impaired access to productive resources including education ....” Pate further note that the consequences of poverty due to the lack of access to education are “glaring” in Borno State. Modu Alh. Bukar, Mass Communication Department, University of Maiduguri 08033647400.

Ghanaian pastors are proving worse than Nigeria’s By Michael Egbejumi-david


used to think that American pastors were fakes of the fakes until I happen on Nigerians with the explosion of their ‘prosperity’ churches which are driven by hunger, hopelessness, superstition, 419, and sheer idiocy. But we would have to hold our collective applause and invite their Ghanaian counterparts to step up to the stage and take a bow.

I was minding my business on a pleasantly sunny London Saturday afternoon, drinking Pimm’s and catching up on my emails, when I came across a news report of a Ghanaian male pastor who took it upon himself to give a married church member a bath. To be specific, it was a ‘spiritual’ bath complete with anointing oil. Now, I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that the church member was a woman. And I

know you certainly don’t need me to confirm for you that the woman was very busty and was similarly very well proportioned in all the right places. Praise the lord. I read that story twice and chuckled. I couldn’t swear before a jury of my peers whether that story was accurate or not, but the story made me recall a similar bathing account by another Ghanaian pastor in the USA that I knew was true. A couple had

separated after a few years of holy matrimony. Their pastor, in his effort to effect reconciliation suggested a spiritual bath of total nudity for the estranged husband solely performed by him the pastor. The man politely declined. He decided all that wasn’t worth getting back with his estranged wife. Consequently, he married another woman and closed his church membership account. In London, there was Pastor

Kwaku Antwi-Kusi Jnr. Not too long ago, he had a music CD released titled ‘Bless The Lord.’ It was fine music. Well, it turned out Kwaku was also blessing some church members. This past December, Kwaku was nabbed for impregnating not one, but three of his female church members and all at the same time. Praise the lord. Thing is, Kwaku is already a Contd. on page 15

Re: Ikemba goes home (III) By Ola Balogun


he propaganda of the victorious side in the Second World War has consistently depicted Adolf Hitler as some kind of mad man, but mad man or not, Hitler defied his opponents by arranging to take his own life before they could reach him. In the Nigerian context, it is highly likely that Ojukwu would NOT have been harmed if he had stayed behind to personally participate with his federalist counterparts in the ceremonies to end the Nigerian civil war. Arguably, that would have been the mark of a true leader! Since no harm befell the high ranking representatives of Biafra when they were flown to the federal capital to sign documents marking the end of the war, should Ojukwu not have been with them? EVEN AT THE RISK OF HIS OWN LIFE, SHOULD EMEKA ODUMEGWU-OJUKWU NOT HAVE CHOSEN TO STAY BEHIND IN BIAFRA TO SHARE THE FATE OF THE IGBO MEN WOMEN AND CHILDREN WHOM HE LED IN THE UNSUCCESSFUL ATTEMPT TO CONCRETIZE A BIAFRAN

NATION? Strangely enough however, the vast majority of Ndigbo have never seen fit to criticize the leader of Biafra for flying off with his family at the time of Biafra’s final collapse to attend what appears to be a non-existent peace conference in Cote d’Ivoire... Be that as it may, there is much food for thought in the fact that the heroes Nigeria seems to have fabricated in the post-colonial era tend to be heroes whose aura is mostly limited to a sectional and tribal context. Contrary to the situation in South Africa for instance (where Nelson Mandela is revered as a hero by virtually ALL the people of South Africa rather than by only the Xhosa tribe), what we have in Nigeria is a situation where Alhaji Ahmadu Bello is considred a hero in Northern Nigeria, while Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s status as a heroic leader is mostly limited to Yorubaland. Thus, even if we accept that Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu genuinely deserves to be considered a hero, is he actually a hero for ALL of Nigeria? That is the vital question!” I rest my case.

Undoubtedly, part of the tragedy of present day Nigeria is the speed with which history is being re-written, even during the lifetime of those who actually witnessed certain events... Thus Ibrahim Babaginda now boldly claims to be untainted by aany of the scandals connected with his inglorious reign, which virtually plunged Nigeria into a grave before he and his accomplices went to work sealing

our coffin. We are also hearing shameless claims that Sani Abacha was the “best ruler” Nigeria ever had, while the coldblooded killer Al Mustapha has had the effontry to claim that his actual mission was to save Abiola’s life! Not be outdone, Baba Olusegun Obasanjo now claims that the Third Term agenda was a matter that he knew absolutely nothing about! All this is possible of course,

In the Nigerian context, it is highly likely that Ojukwu would NOT have been harmed if he had stayed behind to personally participate with his federalist counterparts in the ceremonies to end the Nigerian civil war

given the fact that Ngozi OkonjoIweala’s predecessor as Nigeria’s Federal Minister of Finance went to Washington DC during his inglorious tenure and boldly stated during a press conference chaperoned by the usual slave masters from the World Bank and IMF that Nigeria “has the THIRD fastest growing economy in the world”, only slightly behind China and India! Can you beat that? And this gentleman has now resurfaced as one of Goodluck Jonathan’s Ministers, a hardly surprising feature in a cabinet that features another brilliant gentleman who, in his official capacity as Nigeria’s Minister of Youth Affairs granted audience to last year’s slightly deranged winner of the nonsensical competition known as “Big brother” and declared that she was a wonderful example to all of Africa! Obviously, wonders shall never end in present day Nigeria, and we will all have wonderful tales to tell each other when we eventually meet in the hottest part of hell, where Abacha is already waiting to host fools like me... Concluded



Nasarawa: Governor Al-Makura in the eyes of time and history By Mallam Abdulkarim Mohammad Abdullahi


et me begin this piece with a philosophical verdict about power; the power of God; “Nothing surpasses the power of God”; or as the Hausas would even put it more romantically, “Ikon Allah SaiKallo”. Today, we are on a voyage of discovery, to inform, enrich and tell the world about the untold political secrets in Nasarawa State, on the wings of history and time. This is a history in motion gravitated by time. This history is about the fate of my poor but corruption-ravaged State, resulting from bad leadership, excercebated by a chronic culture of silence, indolence and passivity in the society. To start with, what is history? History is an account of actions and events, nay, a chronicle, presented by self or others. History has several other features and attributes: History is about the lives of people, as heroes or villains; history is a pageless diary that records and documents the sequence of lives of people, as well as their activities and events, in victories or the human society. It is the seductive mirror with timeless reflections, that radiate and illuminate the past, for posterity to behold as its living legacies. History is a beautiful bride that begs for newal but fades into an aged widow, with passage of time. Alas, how time flies on the wings of history!

Now in our memory bank, it just looks like only yesterday, when ex-Governor Doma was the tower of power, in charge of power distributions in Nasarawa State, conducting and confusing affairs, in the darkroom of corruption and manipulations. As a follow-up prologue, at about this time in 2011, Almakura was a business tycoon and a struggling candidate for Governor in PDP, the ruling party in Nigeria, as well as Nasarawa State. He had then become a recognized victim of State power and a target of constant and arbitrary harassments – always on the list of government security agencies, to be locked and rearrested at will. His only crime for all these human right abuses, was his unyielding resistance to abandon his passion and quest, to contest for the exalted office of the Chief Executive Officer and Governor of Nasarawa State, against the wishes of the anointed incumbent Governor, who already regarded himself as the choice for the influential power blocks and the relevant masterminds of electoral rigging, impunity and impositions; the untouchable enemies of the people – the elites. Failing to assuage Almakura’s passion by force, the ex-Governor had made a decree that “there was no vacancy in Government House Lafia”- the seat of power and authority; after he had secured by fiat and default a contrived mandate, as well as a controversial endorsements from virtually all the political elites,

traditional worshippers and rulers, plus all the merchants of political debauchery in Nasarawa State, to run for his second term bid unopposed; as a flagrant caveat, unilaterally instituted and adopted by the ruling Party’s EXCO, whose members were all the handpicked and sponsored lackeys of the exruler. Not yet done and unable to tame Almakura’s rebellion, the exGovernor about the same time in 2011, decided to ban,prevent and restrict all members of the political class in Nasarawa State from vying for positions without his blessings and compelled many to go on premature retirements, including some of the boastful politicians now stalking the corridor of power. Until Almakura unleashed his chariot of fire, against the arbitrary rule and unlocked the chains and freedNasarawa State and its people from the yolk of primitive dictatorship. There is no better way for me, to highlight and preserve the lessons of history of misuse of political power in Nasarawa State, at least for our purpose here, than this unique experience provided by Governor Almakura’s victory and almost magical rise to his new exalted position, which, given his titanic encounters with men of power and authority, with all their supporting arsenals of coercive forces at their disposal, lends itself as a good case study with an instructional lesson for people in search of power, not as a service to

humanity but as a means to an end and a golden, chanced opportunity, to service self and a small clique of predatory elites, which has always been the perpetual run of the mill syndromethat breeds corruption, promotes prebandalism and nepotism against our ‘peoples interest and development. Against this inherited bleak past, we have to then contextualize Governor Almakura;s agenda for solving or addressing these social menace in our State, knowing fully well that, the crime agents and beneficiaries of ex-Doma’s criminal syndicate, are still in full force, entrenched as it were, in the system. These money guzzlers hinder the needed pragmatic approach to enhance service delivery and social recovery in the State. The basic truth is that, unless our people come to terms with our reality and actively participate in governance by serving as the living soul of democracy and adjudicate with their voting rights, the agents of exploitation and corruption will never allow the society to develop, regardless of the party or government in power – of course, Almakura has been grappling with many challenges; both external and internal but all the political forces have the same goal and message:they see government and governance not as a community-driven entity but as an avenue for their personal selfish assignment and pursuit of corrupt interest.

My fellow compatriots! Let us all unite to protect the hunter with one bullet, left alone in the evil jungle, surrounded by herds of voracious beasts. Did you hear me? Finally and very soon; to be exact, on May 29, 2011, the sonorous tune-song of change will fill the air, to usher in, the one year anniversary of our people’s power government. But let me ask for answers: “where are all the uncommitted yesterday’snoisemakers and fake heroes of change, notorious in the political cycle for their pretentions and shameless serial defections and blackmail? In the same vein and without an answer, “where are all those trusted and familiar company and company and companions of old, or the rural masses, urban poor and youths – the real Mackoys and the unyielding spirits and foot soldiers in our radar of “Positive Change Project”,now dislodged and foreclosed by despicable undertakers, ex-foes and disloyal strangers, now pausing as the new brainbox and power custodians of change”? I’m anxious, worried but excited, ready to search for new clues, but never to give up on our project, my Governor and dear brother! Adieu, until we meet at the anniversary in May, to be united by our common bond and goal for renewal, to part no more. But remember, in Nigeria, ‘POLITICS: THY NAME IS GREED, DECEIT AND BETRAYAL.” Mallam Abdulkarim Mohammad Abdullahi, G.R.A. Keffi, Nasarawa state

Ghanaian pastors are proving worse than Nigeria’s Contd. from page 14 father of two with yet another church member. To his credit, Kwaku did not deny having sex with nearly all female members of his church. I am sad to report that his church has been closed down and that Kwaku has voted with his feet. He did a runner and left all the pregnant women behind to fend for themselves. A Gospel musician, Christiana, recently accused her husband of nine years, the aptly named Pastor Love of the Life Power Miracle Church, of raping her younger sister in their home. The pastor was also accused of repeatedly sleeping with the housemaid. Pastor Love’s response? He said that two years into his marriage, he was ready for another wife but his parents and a lady Bishop from another church won’t let him. Another pastor, Nana Kofi Yirenkyi – known to his followers as ‘Jesus One Touch,’ was handed a 10 year jail sentence for persistently touching and raping his own daughter. His routine was to have sex with his young daughter just before the start of

church services. This was usually three times a week. The same handkerchief he used to wipe himself after the act, he would pull out during his sermons and use to mop his sweaty brow. Yet another pastor, Rev Paul Nkansah was arrested for allegedly raping 5 sisters. I guess he is determined to go through that whole family like a recessive gene. The good Rev did not deny the charges. He explained that he did it all on the orders of some celestial power. And in the town of Abesim, one lonely evening, an Evangelist, Gordon Yeboah of the Holy Spirit Ministry Fellowship, was caught having sex with a sheep that had been tied to a tree. The loud, painful bleating of the sheep alerted residents who thought someone was trying to steal the sheep. But as they approached, they noticed that Yeboah’s trousers were down by his ankles, his eyes were closed, and he had raised the animal’s two hind legs to his waist level for easy access. Two men tapped him on the shoulder and it was only then that the Evangelist descended from his rapture. The men promptly

alerted the Police and Yeboah was arrested. To make matters worse for him, Yeboah was handcuffed to the poor sheep as he was paraded before local pressmen. When asked why he did what he had done, the Evangelist said that on seeing the sheep, he experienced an unusual feeling within him. Last summer, Apostle Richard Kwesi Dwumfuor, Head Pastor of the Conquerors Redemption International Church and one of his Reverends, Isaac Agyeman

were arraigned in court for printing counterfeit money. And yes, the money was hidden within the church premises. Now, please, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that some Nigerian pastors don’t have their own macabre side; they do: Before he got caught out, Pastor TB Joshua was smiling to the bank with his crazy claim of a cure for HIV/AIDS. The pugilist, Oyedepo, who loves nothing better than to slap little confused girls, should give the 2012 Olympic boxing

Last summer, Apostle Richard Kwesi Dwumfuor, Head Pastor of the Conquerors Redemption International Church and one of his Reverends, Isaac Agyeman were arraigned in court for printing counterfeit money. And yes, the money was hidden within the church premises

programme another consideration. Pastor Kris Okotie and his high fashion assemblage are only missing a catwalk in his church. And heavens only know what the less famous ones get up to in their spare time. I recall seeing on AIT about 5 years or so back a Pastor in Lagos who had buried a ram’s horn and other charms under his pulpit. When he was busted and dragged outside for a beat-down by irate members and uninvited passersby, he claimed with utter equanimity that the people and spirits he goes into battle with everyday comes to that battle armed with charms so he meets them headlong with his own set of charms garnished with the name of Jesus. Praise the lord. But even with all their theatrics and shenanigans, Nigerian pastors try to be sophisticated about their thing. It would appear our Ghanaian brothers are less so. I mean, would a Nigerian pastor be careless enough to be caught giving a married woman a bath – spiritual or otherwise? I doubt it o…


473 ex-prostitutes, vulnerable women graduate from Lugbe rehab centre

•••get  N4.7m take-off grant By Josephine Ella


o fewer than 473 vulnerable women, out of which  137  are  repentant commercial sex workers in Abuja, yesterday, graduated from the Lugbe Rehabilitation Centre, having completed their   vocational  training. The graduands, trained in different vocations, and each went home with a starters pack and take-off grants of N100,000, donated by the Federal Capital Territory administration. Following the ban on prostitution in the FCT, the administration had embarked on rebabilitation of repentant prostitutes to empower them economically.  Speaking at  the occassion,  the Secretary, FCT Social Development Secretariat, Mrs Blessing Onuh said that the gesture was part of the commitment of the administration to ensure that the beneficiaries were able to establish a business based on the skills they acquired in the course of the training programme.    According to  her, “the  success recorded in the first batch of the rehabilitation exercise in 2011, encouraged other unemployed ladies who availed themselves of the opportunity and that is why today we are graduating an impressive number of 473 ladies as against 39 ladies in the 1st batch”. She, therefore solicited the support of other agencies, international organisations and NGOs for assistance in the areas of training, provision of equipment and financial donations for the project.  In a  remark, the  Coordinator, Society Against Prostitution, Child Labour in Nigeria, Mrs Grace Adogo said that the graduands included widows, divorced women and other unemployed women who are vulnerable.  The  coordinator  of  the  nongovernmental organisation which is collaborating with the FCT administration in the arrest of street hawkers, traders, beggars, prostitutes and their rehabilitation said some of the women are those displaced from different parts of the country due to the security problems. Adogo said that they were trained in fashion designing, hair dressing, tie and dye, catering, hat and beads making, cake production, soap and cream production among other vocations. She encouraged the beneficiaries to make good use of the money and equipment donated to them as she urged other recalcitrant prostitutes to quit the risky business and instead embrace the rehabilitation initiative of the FCT administration.


Abuja indigenes call for state status for FCT A

group representing all the indigenous people of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, ‘The Original Inhabitants Development Association of Abuja (OIDA), has added its voice to the on-going debate for a revision of revenue allocation formula and the status of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT among others. The coalition in a release made available to Peoples Daily asserted that in future constitutional reviews, Abuja must be seen to belong to the nine tribes of the

original inhabitants which make up the FCT, lived there before the federal capital territory was created. This they said is in tandem with the position of the Coalition of Concerned Northern Leaders who posited that “the North will demand that the future status of Abuja must be at the heart of that discussion” “As a people let down by the Nigerian federation with our basic c o n s t i tu t i o n a l /f u n da m e n t a l rights to citizenship of a state and ownership of land usurped, we are

grateful that other Nigerians are beginning to see the light that Late General Murtala Mohammed was sold a big lie and misled by the Justice Akinnola Aguda Panel that the entire 8,000 square kilometres landmass known as the FCT was “Virgin” with no indigenous people. “We beg to ask that if the FCT did not have indigenous persons as the constitution may want Nigerians to believe, then why was there a resettlement policy

A man finds his way through the fence into Wuse Market in Abuja, yesterday.

Photo: Miriam Humbe

which the Federal Government has consistently remained inconsistent in its implementation thereby leading to the policy being discarded and replaced with an integration policy”? They also maintained that contrary to speculations making the round, over 90% of the indigenous people have not been compensated by government. ”Contrary  to  speculation  in the media, mischief making by some politicians and arm-chair critics; the Federal Government of Nigeria is yet to fully compensate over ninety (90) per cent of the original inhabitants whose lands were forcefully taken for the establishment of the Federal Capital Territory. We stand to be corrected by any documentary evidence either by the government or any group. “The Federal Government cannot claim ownership of lands in the FCT which have not been duly compensated to the original inhabitants in line with the customary title deeds of land ownership,” The group therefore put the federal government on thus; “That while we shall still concede the 1,600 square kilometres of the Federal Capital City as drawn out in the Abuja Masterplan to Nigeria as the capital city of the nation, we are asking for the remaining 6,400 square kilometres of the larger Federal Capital Territory to be declared a state status for the original inhabitants of the territory.

Building collapse: Four FCTA officials, project supervisors face sanction By Josephine Ella


our senior officials of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) administration are to face sanction over their complicity in previous building collapses within the city centre. The FCT Executive Committee, which made the resolution on Monday during the committee’s meeting at Life Camp in Gwarimpa District, Abuja said  that three  of the affected  staff  are from the FCT Development Control Department and one staff from the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA). While deliberating on the

White Paper on the Reports of the Committees on Comprehensive Audit of Collapsed and Abandoned Buildings in the FCT and the Restructuring of the Department of Development Control, the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed revealed that he has officially withdrawn titles to all the collapsed buildings and also blacklisted the companies that handled such structures. He further disclosed that some external engineers and architects that handled such unfortunate projects will be referred to COREN and ARCON for appropriate sanction and handed over to the police for prosecution.

Among those to be handed over to the Police for prosecution for unprofessional acts and quackery are from a Construction Company that coordinated the building that collapsed on Plot 1007 Garki II District as well as its developer. He added that some of them will be reported to COREN for onward prosecution for quackery and for not being registered as engineers. Meanwhile the developer who handled the structure on Plot 528, Durumi District, which collapsed partially, will pay appropriate penalty before demolishing the entire structure and would have to obtain a new building plan approval from the development

control. According to the minister, the report showed that “someone who handled the project is not qualified nor registered but portrayed himself as an Architect and therefore will be referred to ARCON for appropriate sanction for quackery”. He said that henceforth, due to technical and administrative consideration, all building plans approval or disapproval must be completed within ninety (90) days, as he added that timeline would be set for the completion of all abandoned buildings in the territory, which passes integrity test conducted on them.

Rainstorm destroys properties, churches in Gwagwalada By Adeola Tukuru


esidents of Gwagwalada area council in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are  now  counting  their losses as rain destroyed properties running into millions of naira.  The  first  rain  which  lasted

about 45 minutes on Sunday April 1 st was accompanied by strong wind that brought down houses and shops in the area. Three churches that were affected include Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), land of solution, Old Kutunku and CAC church at Agwandodo as well as a branch of Mountain of Fire Ministry

(MFM) behind Labour house along Kuje road. The affected areas include: Agwandodo, Kuje road, and Secretariat road where bill boards were destroyed, others are: Dagiri, Old Kutunku and Abattoir area where Five shops in the front Abattoir along the Federal Radio Cooperation of

Nigeria (FRCN) road were also destroyed by the rain as the drainages were completely blocked with refuse bins . Some of the victims in the area called on the Chairman of Gwagwalada Area Council, Hon Zakari Angolu and other concerned authorities to help them recover their losses.




FAAC allocation for the month of March 2012 S/N




FG (52.68%) States ( 26 .7 2% ) L/govt Councils (2 0.72 %) Derivation (13% of Mineral revenue-oil/gas) Value Added Tax (VAT) & Transfers

620.7 billion

Crude oil steadies above $125 on US data, North Sea supply


rent crude oil was steady above 125 dollars a barrel yesterday, supported by fresh signs of a sustained recovery in top oil consumer, the United States. Hopes for firmer oil demand rose after a key gauge of U.S. manufacturing activity beat expectations in March, a day after data showed a similarly strong performance by China's factories last month. The upbeat data offset disappointing economic numbers from Europe. However, trading is likely to stay range-bound ahead of the long Good Friday weekend and as the market watches for key jobs data from the United States due on Friday. "The mood has changed a bit with the good PMI numbers from China and the U.S., although the risks in the euro zone remain,"

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

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


said Victor Said, Informa Global Markets in Singapore analyst. "The market is taking a breather today, and is likely to be subdued for the rest of the week. ``No one wants to be caught out during the long weekend, especially if there's a surprise from the U.S. non-farm payrolls report." U.S. crude futures lost 35 cents to 104.88 dollars, after rising by more than two dollars in the previous session. The threat of further supply disruptions also supported prices, as British oil major BP said on Monday it had shut the Valhall platform in the North Sea last week. Traders said the shutdown led to loading delays of one of the four crude oil streams used for the global Brent price benchmark. Ahead of weekly reports on U.S. oil inventories, crude stocks were expected to have risen last week, according to a media survey of analysts on Monday. However, upbeat sentiment was dampened by ongoing concerns of slowing oil demand in major consumers Europe and Japan. The euro zone's manufacturing sector shrank for an eighth month and at a faster pace in March, according to Markit's Eurozone Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index. There was also uncertainty surrounding Japan's oil demand, after a top government spokesman said that a ministerial-level meeting on Tuesday would not yield a decision on the restart of two nuclear reactors. All but one of Japan's 54 commercial nuclear reactors are now shut after going offline for routine maintenance, unable to restart due to local communities' concerns over nuclear power safety. (Reuters/NAN)

LOS-ABJ: 07.02, 08.10, 12.06, 15.30, 17.10 ABJ-L OS: 07.20, 09.36, 13.05, 14.40



ABJ-LOS (SAT /SUN): 13.05, 18.00 LOS -KANO: 08.10 KANO-L OS: 11.25 KANO-ABUJA: 11.25 ABUJA-KANO: 10.08



SELLING 0.314 208.1528 249.0249 41.6116 156.06


LOS-ABJ: 9.45, 11.45, 2.45 ABJ-L OS : 11.30, 3.45, 4.45 LOS-KANO: 6.15 LOS-KANO (S AT /SUN): 16.30 KANO-L OS: 07.30 KANO-LOS (S UN /SUN): 10.30

27th Mar, 2012 BUYING 0.294 206.819 247.4292 41.3449 155.06

€ £ RIYAL $

BUYING 210 255 40 158

SELLING 212 257 42 159


- Pg 20

Abuja airport gets ring road, new car park

Mob: 08033644990

FG awards N3.6bn power transmission job to Canadian firm By Abdulwahab Isa


orty eight hours after the Federal Government relieved key officers of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) of their appointments, the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) yesterdayawarded a $23.715 million ( about N3.6billion) contract to a Canadian company. Manitoba Hydro International, to manage the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN). Manitoba Hydro, which is the electric power and natural gas utility in the province of Manitoba, Canada won the contract when it presented financial bid of $23,715,744 million. The selection of Manitoba as management contractor for TCN was ratified at a financial bid opening ceremony by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) which had in attendance, the representatives of the firm, Minister of Power, Professor Barth Nnaji, Chairman, Technical

Committee of Privatisation Mr. Atedo Peterside and the relevant committee members of the two chambers of the National Assembly. "The result of the evaluation of the technical proposals after the deadline for submission of the technical bid and financial proposals on Feb 29, 2012, two bids were opened showed that only Manitoba met the benchmark, which led to its being appointed as the management contractor for TCN", Peterside, who briefed newsmen said. According to a statement from the Head of Media Relations in the BPE, Mr. Chukwuma Nwokoh, the management contract is designed to achieve the reduction of electricity losses during transmission, and provide for the achievement of certain predetermined targets that would improve grid security and general performance. He added, "The contract also has reward and penalty clauses as incentives for success while providing efficient management of government investments.

It ensures adequate and equitable generation dispatch according to a fair merit order based on sound regulatory principles, ensure fair market settlements between electricity traders; and provide for skills and expertise transfer to Nigerian counterparts who will serve in deputy and other positions on the management staff of the Management Contractor." It would be recalled that the NCP, at its third meeting for 2010 which was held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, had invited Grid of India, ESB International of Ireland and Manitoba Hydro of Canada to resubmit technical and financial proposals in line with current system and industry information for the management contract for Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN.) TCN is one of the eighteen successor companies carved out of PHCN. It combines the functions of a transmission services provider, a system operator and a market operator, all of which are central to the sustainability and development of the electricity sector.

L-R: President, Mortgage Banking Association of Nigeria (MBAN), Mr Abimbola Olayinka, Executive Director, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Mr Bolaji Ogunshola, Head, Trade and Investment section, Nigerian High Commission to UK, Mr Cyril Anozie, and Chief Executive, Global Homes, UK, Mrs Roni Akins, during the Nigerian Housing and Finance Conference/Exhibition, on Sunday in London. Photo: NAN

Diamond Bank seeks merger talks, bond issue


iamond Bank Plc yesterday said it will ask shareholders for their approval to enter into merger talks with other banks and to raise $200 million in bonds. The mid-tier lender has been trying to expand after the Asset

Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) said it will privatise three nationalised banks within 18 to 24 months. It didn't provide details on timing for the debt issue but said it will target strategic investors including the World Bank's private sector lender,

the International Finance Corp . It plans to seek approvals at the next meeting of shareholders on April 30. Shares in Diamond Bank soared 4.62 percent to N2.49, recouping losses sustained after the bank on Monday posted pre-tax losses of N16.3 billion. (Reuters)

Management Tip of the Day Mentees, make listening your first priority


t might be tempting to use your mentoring sessions to impress your mentor-someone who can potentially advance your career. But, most mentors are put off by protégés who do more selfpromoting than learning.

Listen to your mentor, show humility, and make it clear that you take the counsel seriously. When you get feedback, don't respond with, "Yes, I already knew that." Restate the advice in your own words to make sure you've

got it right, and ask questions to clarify. Mentors will often test you by gauging how you respond to feedback; and the better you are at receiving it, the more of it you will get.



COMPANY NEWS Agency unfolds initiative for Vision 20:2020


he National Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has unfolded its "ICT for Development (ICT4D) initiative", to boost the Federal Government's Vision 20: 2020 economic agenda.

Mandela’s wife wants improved funding for women in business


he wife of the former South African President, Mrs. Gracia MachelMandela, has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to provide a platform that would fast track easy access of finance to women.

Abuja airport gets ring road, new car park A ring road is being constructed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, while an additional car park will be built to ease traffic congestion at the airport. Disclosing this in Lagos over the weekend, the Regional General Manager North Central of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Mr. Chris Bature said, excavation work at the new car park was already in progress. This is sequel to the remodeling work on the local terminal of the airport which has moved all flights operations to the international wing.

According to Mr. Bature, the construction of ring was also being carried out, adding that at the end of the exercise the current traffic congestion will be a thing of the past. He lamented the recklessness of some drivers who park indiscriminately to pick and drop passengers at the airport without considering other users, adding that very soon, sanctions will be applied. Mr. Bature explained that a special unit of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) will soon be drafted to the airport to help contain excesses of drivers and restore sanity. "We want to ensure that

discipline is brought to bear on operations in the airport because part of the problem is inpatience, indiscipline; People park where they should not park and the big-man syndrome mentality. They come to the airport with 10 cars and would not want to park at the designated area". He noted that the remodeling of airport will create opportunity for revenue generation from nonaeronautical sources due to expansion and creation of more offices for business which will help reduce the burden on airlines. The Regional General

Manager disclosed that all the power systems at the airport were being worked on for the first time since it was commissioned, adding that much has been achieved. "It became imperative that for us to have the maximum benefit we have to make a sacrifice and we chose the window that was going to benefit everybody and within this window much has been achieved". According to Mr. Bature, all necessary measures that were aimed at enhancing safety at the airport have been carried out. On the level of work at the airport, Mr. Bature expressed delight over the impressive level of work in Kaduna, Jos and Abuja airport terminals, adding that the good thing about the remodeling was that passengers will not regret the sacrifice they have made while the construction lasted.

Huawei to leverage on Nigeria for its African market expansion


ack-end solutions provider, Huawei, has said that it will leverage on the boom in the Nigeria's telecommunications sector to advance its market and growth in Africa.

Reps wade into FAAN, Maevis concessioning feud


he House of Representatives has waded into the termination of the concession agreement of Maevis Limited by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

Oil prices fall on Europe’s growth contraction


rude oil prices declined to near its lowest in six weeks in New York as economic contraction in Europe countered signs of growth in the U.S. and China, the world's largest consumers of crude.

Foreign investors stake interest in Nigeria’s insurance business


otwithstanding the harsh investment climate in the country, foreign investors are showing keen interest in the investment potentials of Nigeria's insurance industry.

Manufacturers task govt on local vehicle production


ith current gradual re-opening of vehicle assembly plants in the country, sector operators have canvassed supportive policy measures that would sustain the growth and development of the industry.

L-R: Director General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr. Harold Demuren, NCAA Legal Adviser, Mr. Babatunde Irukera, and Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Engineer Nnamdi Udoh, during an investigative hearing on high international air fares by the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, at the National Assembly, on Monday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Emirates supports child development


mirates Airline has solidified its commitment to child development and support for education in Nigeria with their participation in the 2012 Biannual International Community Day Celebration of Queensland Academy Okota in Lagos recently. The airline Manager in

Nigeria, Paulos Legesse said the participation demonstrates the carrier's core va l u e to improve the quality of life for c hi l dr e n w h er e ve r it opera tes. "W e ap pr ec iat e th e va lu es Queensland provides for the children, which stands out during this event," said Paulos Legesse, Emirates Manager in

Nigeria. Our participation in th e B i-an nua l Inte rnat ion al Com muni ty D ay demonstrates the core values of Emi rat es t o im pro ve t he quality of life for children." Principal of the school, Mr. On i Ka yod e, comm end ed Emirates for their support and explained that the mission of Qu een slan d A cad emy is to

produce citizens of the world through the vehicle of world cl ass edu cati on a nd extr acu rric ula r ac tivitie s. "We appreciate Emirates support at our 2nd Bi-annual Int erna tion al C ommunity Day Celebration and we encourage other corporate organisations to emulate them," he said.

Kenya Airways plans Mideast expansion


enya Airways is planning to boost its schedule to Dubai and other routes, as part of its expansion across the Middle East. "The growth potential is very strong and I believe that Kenya Airways has an exciting year ahead in this region, as our

Dubai service will become double daily and more frequency will be added to the Jeddah service as well," the airline's regional manager Abraham Joseph said in an online blog. According to him, "the opportunities are being explored in new markets across the Middle

East…. There are plans to commence a Beirut service by the middle of 2012. , while flights to Karachi in Pakistan are also being considered, which will be served via Dubai. Last year, the African carrier announced a new ten-year growth plan and, as part of the

strategy, its fleet will triple in size to 100 aircraft. "Kenya Airways has placed an order for nine Boeing 787 Dreamliners, the delivery of which has unfortunately been delayed and will now start from late 2013 or early 2014," he added.


Utako ultramodern terminus to gulp N19.2 bn By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


he Executive Secretary of Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Engr. Mustapha Bello has disclosed plans by his commission to, in partnership with a Turkish consortium, invest 120 million dollars (about N19.2 billion)in constructing a world class terminus in Utako area of Abuja, in the Federal Capital Territory. Speaking through a Deputy Director in his office, Aminu Suleiman Takuma at the first biannual training workshop organised by Ministry of Trade and Investment for commerce correspondents in Abuja at the weekend, the NIPC boss lamented the fact there was no single worldclass terminus in any part of Nigeria. According to Bello, "This is a massive investment drive for the country and it is going to be a longterm project with a lot revenue generation potentials. We have already begun talks with the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) to realise the project," he said.


Sambo challenges development partners on meeting MDGs target


he Vice-President, Arc Mohammed Namadi Sambo, has charged the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), African Development Bank (AfDB) and other multilateral agencies to be more innovative in their interventions toward attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by African countries. According to a press statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media & Publicity, Arc Sambo gave this charge while delivering a keynote address at the 37th Annual Meeting of the IsDB Group holding in Khartoum, Sudan.

In his address titled: "African Development Experience-What Successful Experiences To Be Replicated And Scale Up", which was held at a special session of the African Governors' Forum of the Bank, Sambo stated that the African continent, despite been relegated economically for many decades, has recorded appreciable growth in real GDP in the past few years, with some countries exceeding even the average growth rate, yet the challenges of eradicating poverty, provision of better quality of lives and opportunities for Africans were still far from being attained. Arc Sambo called on other

development partners to assist African countries as they cannot do all these things alone. He charged the development agencies to be more creative in their interventions toward ensuring that the continent is put back on track to achieving the MDGs. "African countries cannot do all these things alone; they need help and assistance from development partners. The prospect of this veritable source of support is fast becoming less reliable, no thanks to the failure so far, to comprehensively resolve the high incidence of debts and deficits in Japan, United State of America and

Kaduna refinery hit 2.5m litres of petrol production per day – MD From Agaju Madugba, Kaduna with agency report


he Managing Director, Kaduna Refining and Petrochemicals Company Ltd, Mr Bolanle Ayodele has said the moribund refinery now produces more than 2.5 million litres of petrol per day. Ayodele disclosed this yersterday in Kaduna when, Group Executive Director (GED), Nigerian National petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Philip Chukwu led a delegation on a facility tour of the refinery. ``It is worthy of note that this is the first time in the history of the three refineries that the combined feed/ effluent heat exchangers have been re-tube in-situ. ``With the two units in operation, our Gasoline production has improved from 1.5 ML/B to above 2.5 million litres per day,'' Ayodele said. He said the feat was achieved due to the ongoing maintenance work at the refinery which was being handled by a Nigerian company, Messrs Suparsteel Ltd., and the commitment of staff of the refinery. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the refinery was producing 1.5 million litres per day before the re-streaming and re-tubing of units. Ayodele expressed optimism that the refinery would soon begin full operations after a comprehensive Turn Around Maintenance (TAM). He, however, decried the lack of imported paraffin crude for the lubes plant which was required as feed stock for a section of the refinery.

Some of the participants at the 37th meeting of the Islamic Development Bank, on Monday in Khartoum, Sudan. Photo: NAN

some European Union member countries." said Sambo. The Vice-President thanked the IsDB for aligning its threeyear work programme with Nigeria's Transformation Agenda and also congratulated the banks success in its Special Programme for the Development of Africa 1 (SPDA1), where the bank has so far committed the sum of $8 billion under the programme and called on the bank to build on the successes recorded in developing the second phase of the programme, which was the Special Programme for the Development of Africa II (SPDAII) that was to span for another five years (2013-2017). Arc. Sambo recommended that the IDB GROUP should dedicate at least 40% of its operational budget for the special intervention under the SPDA II, due to the peculiar needs of the African countries. Earlier in his welcome address, the president of the IsDB Group, Dr Ahmed Mohammed Ali thanked governors and other members of delegation for honouring such an invitation which according to him is aimed at the strengthening of development links of cooperation between the IsDB Group and African member countries. Specifically, he thanked the Nigerian government delegation and the Vice President for the attention it paid to the developmental needs of its people. The president promised continued cooperation with African countries in their match towards development. "The IDB will continue to act as a catalyst to guarantee their development and help them benefit from their material resources" he said.

Stakeholders lament irregularities from audits reports By Muhammad Nasir


takeholders has lamented the irregularities arising from the audited reports of the extractive sector of the nation's economy. The stakeholders urged the National Assembly to expedite action on the proposed legislation, which they said would instill financial accountability.

This lamentation was made on Monday during the presentation of the 2006 to 2008 audit reports in Enugu by the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Mrs. Zainab Ahmed. She stated that the inability to institute acceptable ways of transaction had slowed down the process of accountability in the

sector. Meanwhile, Mrs. Ahmed has called for the speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), saying that it's the only way to end the confusion associated with auditing the oil and gas sector. Ahmed said that they are looking forward to a PIB that would ensure fiscal regimes and guaranteed higher revenues for

government as well as reasonable profits for the oil companies. Ahmed, however, noted that the PIB should include a clear requirement for operators in the sector, to conform to the tenets of transparency, accountability, good governance and due process as enshrined in the organisation's Ac t.

FG laments inadequate training of ex-militants by oil, gas coys By Muhammad Nasir


he Federal Government has expressed it disappointment with the inability of the oil and gas companies located in the Niger Delta to train 3,000 exmilitants. This was disclosed by the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta matters, Mr. Kingsley Kuku at an investiture ceremony at the weekend, where he was honoured as the Maritime Man of the Year 2011, The Special Adviser noted

that the companies were given insufficient training to a paltry 1,200 youths in areas that were not relevant to the oil sector. Kuku noted that the amnesty programme has successfully placed a total of 10,395 former militants in skills acquisition and training centers as well as formal education within the country and that all the beneficiaries are in 26 local training centers in 12 states of the federation, while the exagitators are placed in off-shore educational and skills acquisition centers in the

United States, Italy, Russia, South Africa, Malaysia, United Kingdom, Israel and others. Kuku revealed that the target of the Amnesty programme in 2012 was to train over 8,400 ex-militants in many areas, such that people of the region could get job placement in the oil and gas sector where expatriates are holding the nation's economy to ransom. He express displeasure that the oil and gas multi-national companies are not offering quality training to the Niger

Delta youths, while they pledged to offer assistance to over 3,000 youths from the region out of the 26,358 ex-militants, but that so far, over 1,000 that are presently in the training session is grossly inadequate for the needs of the industry. He reiterated that there is no going back on the training of exmilitants in marine-related areas, as government's target was to ensure that in the next few years, youths from the region would have the skills and competence to handle oil and gas related jobs.




just thought it would be an interesting opportunity for us to (do) a review of the nature of the politics we play now,especially party politics in Nigeria with PDP as  an example, being the leading party now? I have no comment to make(A little pause)The general political situation is very confusing and the parties are not well organized.The organized party is the PDP but even the PDP, generally people don’t believe it is doing well.So Nigerians in my view want better organized parties, that are accountable for what they do and are intended to assist the country move forw ard. I thought that ,sir,It is very important to get your view to help us draw the country back on track because you and a few other v ery experienced men came together to help structure a party that was very formidable.But in my view, the party system has lost its focus ,it is an aggregation of different interests that hav e hijacked the party, that is the worry .What exactly is going wrong? People should be made to know how to practice party politics with the best of ideals especially within the PDP. A:I have been involved in NPN and now in PDP. All that we wanted to do is to set up (a) party that will appreciate the problems of the ordinary people in this country and to form government that will deal with these problems. But the people involved in politics keep   on  changing  and  the changes are not always for better. But they are changes all the same and if you are of my age, you cannot always predict that things will happen according to how you look at things. Younger people have different ways of looking at things. So you ask them not me . We have seen governance progressively deteriorate, the quality of governance I mean. What can be done to arrest this because what we are facing now is a product of a general decay? It is for Nigerians to elect people  who  they  think can do the job. If they elect people who can do the job, then at the next election they should choose those people who can do it. You have to keep on doing it until you get it right. That is what democracy means. Only recently, you suggested that ,especially giv en the crisis in the North, the probability of another Usman Dan Fodio emerging to help sanitize the system. Some people were worried that if Mallam Ciroma can be too


Boko Haram: Jonathan’s govt must learn how to listen to people – Adamu Ciroma Mallam Adamu Ciroma, leader of Northern Political Leaders’ Forum ,NPLF served as minister of finance under President Olusegun Obasanjo.He was among the top politicians who challenged the military junta of late General Sani Abacha by insisting on the rule of law.He was among the G18 members that wrote  the famous letter to Abacha calling for return to democracy,a movement that eventually transformed into the Peoples Democratic Party PDP.Even before then, he had been Presidential aspirant of defunct NRC;former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria ,CBN,former editor and erstwhile managing director of New Nigerian Newspapers. decided to go searching for him for an interview as a matter of priority and the effort culminated in this interview conducted Monday April 2,2012 after several failed attempts to reach him.In fact, on Sunday after the publisher arrived at his residence in Abuja, he sent a reply to a an sms saying it was too late . Therefore he rescheduled the meeting for 10.00am Monday. The drama was however not yet over.”Go straight into what brought you here, he said after the initial greetings as soon as the publisher arrived.And Even Before the interview proper,he made it clear that he was not looking for publicity.He also insisted he would not speak on issues that would not advance the wellbeing of the nation.He would answer questions that will provide insight to issues and that was exactly what he did.He bluntly refused to speak on former President Olusegun Obasanjo whom he recently accused of goading President Goodluck Jonathan towards a third term agenda. Asked whether Jonathan should contemplate elongating is tenure beyond 2015 , he said “It is not my business” . But Ciroma’s further insight into his wish for another Usman Dan Fodio to save the North ,his views on the Boko Haram crisis,the trial of senator Ndume are quite revealing.Also, for the records, Newsdiaryonline got him to explain why he quit as Chairman Governing Council of Ahmadu Bello University, ABU in the middle of the process of selecting a new Vice Chancellor.He spoke at his residence in an interview conducted by Danlami Nmodu, publisher/editor-in-chief, . Excerpts: frustrated to say this kind of thing, what else is there for the younger ones to hope for? I mean it was such an alarming prognosis First of all, the situation is worrying at the moment and how do you solve it? If you use the materials which you have now, it is difficult to see men who can actually solve this problem. If they are alive, they should come forward and  offer  themselves and do the right thing. For people like me, I have to look back at history to what happened before and I have to try to look ahead to what is likely to happen. And I always give my views about how to solve problems. And it is my view with regard to what we have now. How people behave now and the lack of moral foundation for what we do that made me make my statement. You said if there are people   who think  they  can solv e this problem they should come out now, but there is a fundamental problem with the kind of politics we are having, you will realise with due respect that the PDP apparently wants to control not just its own affairs but also from all indications, try to manipulate the opposition into submission so that PDP can have its way. So if we hav e this kind of politics, how can we have an alternative leader? The PDP is there to gain power, it has gained power. It is trying to retain its power. There is nothing abnormal about that. It is for other people who do not agree with what PDP is doing or how PDP is doing it , it is for them to make their effort in order to

succeed   where  they  failed and PDP succeeded which is to have the chance to exercise power, we hope this will be for the interest of the ordinary people. Let’smove to your argument that Obasanjo is goading Goodluck Jonathan into this Third term project..But there are those who feel the crisis in the North is a northern thing not Obasanjo? I don’t want to talk about Obasanjo. Ok may be this is an opportunity for you to give us an insight into how we can get out of the security challenges we are having in the north particularly and the country as a whole especially given the problem of Boko Haram … Security matters and security issues are always a problem which government has  got to deal  with. The Boko Haram and the spread of this insecurity in my view originated from how parts of this country were mismanaged. The mismanagement I  believe has spread and the resultant insecurity has also spread. So it is for government to find solution for dealing with this insecurity. When the issues began to be serious in Borno the elders and leaders of Borno advised the government that they should talk to these  people,  that  they  should withdraw the troops from the streets and that they should find a solution to ameliorate the complaints of the Boko Haram elements. A spokesman of the government of Nigeria dismissed their recommendation .Since then, similar recommendations have been made in Kano and elsewhere and they have

Mallam Adamu Ciroma been equally dismissed. The meaning of this is that the government has stuck to its position in spite of the advice being given from various parts by citizens who want to see peace and security. So the government has to learn how to listen to people, because the insecurity is a problem which government has to deal with but it affects people in their normal day to day life. So the number one issue is for government to listen to what people are saying, because their present policy so far has not succeeded. Two, the Boko Haram issue has been related to poverty and other things which affect the well being of the ordinary people. This

issue of poverty has been repeated several times in official circles. Government has got to deal with that. Three, the state governments ,they are always having ceremonies and talking about issues but they have not dealt with the problems of education of health, of agriculture and other things which affect the ordinary man actively on a daily basis. The state governments have got to deal with this matter in a way which everybody can see that some results are being achieved. Every time people compare, what is happening today they compare with yesteryears what they are saying is that

yesteryears with less resources than we have no were better managed than the present. The government has got to think very hard about it and to do what is right in order to eliminate the problems which people are talking about. But we have also heard some people say that there is also the need apart from government for stakeholders in some of these states to come together and help intervene to talks to the Boko Haram militants, a two way thing , government doing its own and the stake holders do their own The problem with security

matter is that you as an ordinary man if you start intervening, the government people will accuse you of creating the problem. Look at a senator who was part of the Borno Elders who was handling the matter. Now, he is being charged to court for involvement in Boko Haram. So that is why individuals have got to be careful what they do because government can accuse the m. But it appears they are saying that he was actually inv olv ed by interacting with Boko Haram people, that is why they charged him to

court? A:Well he is only being charged, you cannot say that he is guilty and for somebody who is a member of the senate, even if he is talking to someone, he is a member of the senate, he must use always, his contacts and information for the benefit of society. If you arrest him, other lesser people must be more careful. There is this worry by some people that probably especially in the North that the kind of deep division, conflagration over little things that are happening is  a  product  of  the  kind  of politicking such that religion and ethnicity have become deep seated so much so that different sides-the Muslims and the Christians are feeling increasingly alienated over appointments. What is your take, is it just mere perception or reality in the north that the kind of unifying tendencies we used to see do not exist anymore? Once you have a situation where   there  are disagreements everything will contribute to that problem. At a very serious meeting which I attended, Christians refer to the breakdown of confidence between Muslims and Christians. There is lack of trust between them and everybody agreed that something has gone wrong there and there is need to restore that confidence. The relationship is such that Muslims must know that there are Christians and nonMuslims. And the Christians must know there are going to be Muslims and non Christians till the end of time. If you cannot change me, I will not

be able to change you. So we have to live and survive in the same environment. Even if I want all of you to become Muslims, that will be an unrealistic position. If CAN wants all of us to become Christians, that will be an unrealistic position. So, for example, there will be appointments, ministers, governors whatever, there will always be Christians and there will always be governors. So, anytime they appoint a Muslim or maybe a Christian, if somebody complains, he is just being unrealistic because all of us, Muslims and Christians ,if we are qualified and we are fit for a position, we are entitled to achieve that position. So we must accept that living together means you are going to see people involved at various levels of government, at various positions in government of people who are from different religion. And we must accept the most fundamental thing for anybody holding public position   is  to  be  fair,  honest and just. Justice has no religious colour. Honesty has no religious difference. So if you are doing the right thing, people will know. Maybe I should use this opportunity to put this on record. I have heard few comments, ev en in this article someone wrote on your recent comment he referred to something..He made mention of the fact that when we had a crisis similar to what you said especially during the VC tussle at ABU, you, that was in a better position to help resolve that matter,  withdrew from the council. Tussle where When there was this tussle ov er the

appointment of Vice Chancellor of ABU, Professor Nok and somebody. You were in a better position to resolve it and that your decision to withdraw from that decision making process helped to compound the problem. Were you misunderstood? What exactly happened? I was appointed chairman of ABU. The thing is, I started dealing with ABU in the office of the premier of Northern Nigeria from 1961 before ABU (came into existence).And I helped to set it up. By the time I left the premier’s office, ABU was already set up with Professor Alexander was Vice Chancellor and everything was  running properly. In 2001, I was appointed chairman of ABU.I went to help them to improve things for them. That was my reason for accepting that position. I don’t need it. And I went into this job with the best of intention. I discovered that the Professors and other university staff were being less than straight forward. In fact, some of them were being dishonest. Some of them were very deeply religious about what they were doing. And this cuts across the two religions? Yeah. We were going through the process of appointing a VC and we asked a committee to go and do the job. I didn’t find it necessary to go and do it myself. They brought us a result which raised some problems. So we asked them, as the university committee that  deals with  all these issues to follow the law and produce people who are going to serve in that committee. The university people said they were not going to do it.

What did they want in the alternative? I don’t know. But they said they were not going to do it. And as far as I was concerned that was the end of law. You, senior people, professors and so on, you are told according to law to do something and you said you are not going to do it. If we are not going to obey the law, how do you deal with each other? Since they said they were not going to obey the law, I have no business staying there. I resigned… We are mov ing into a new phase in our politics .From acting president to president. Now we are hearing rumours that the president is plotting to elongate his tenure, probably having another single term of 7 years from 2015…And people say it is the turn of the north, or at least that is the perception. And obviously, the polity may be heated up. Is this an advisable move? I am not going to answer this question. I am not interested. But this is a country you have helped to midwife? I am not interested Given the kind of, let me say, bickering over whether Jonathan should contest in the last election,have you reconciled fully with him? What is your business if I reconcile with him. But it should be of concern to us? What is your concern? Does he interact (or relate) with you regularly? Why should he interact with me? But you are a senior citizen sir? Does he inter whatever you call it with every senior citizen? But he should be seeking advice from people like you No, no, no. Why should he want the opinion of everybody? You know how many millions there are in this country? If you take the matter of seniority… But there is only one Mallam Adamu Ciroma in this country There are better people than myself. If you don’t believe it, I believe it…Is he talking to them? There are certain things which you expect which are not reasonable. Sir, should Jonathan elongate his tenure beyond 2015? It is not my business. Source: News diaryonline .com



By Nuel Shepherd

Mercedes-Benz C-Class: Setting a new benchmark


he Mercedes-Benz C-Class is the highest-selling model series for Mercedes-Benz. The current series has found well over one million buyers worldwide since its launch in March 2007. Since the introduction of the first MercedesBenz C-Class in 1982 (then known as the model 190), Mercedes-Benz has sold more than 8.5 million vehicles in total in this segment. In 2010 too, the C-Class has repeatedly won top places in the registration statistics. Many changes are in evidence with the 2012 Mercedes-Benz CClass. For the first time ever, a new coupe model debuts and is offered in the same configurations as the sedan. The C-Class is also more powerful and fuel-efficient this year, as the C350's V6 gets a big bump in horsepower, while a new turbocharged four-cylinder model debuts in a new trim, the C250. The C300's engine remains the same, but is now only available with all-wheel drive. The seven-speed automatic transmission has been altered for improved fuel efficiency, while the C63 gets the automated manual found in most other AMG models. Other changes include additional standard equipment, new front-end styling and a revised interior that does away with the old pop-up LCD infotainment screen. While other luxury sedans chase down the BMW 3 Series with talk of increased sportiness and improved lap times around some racetrack in a German forest, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is very much its own car. Oh, it can still be plenty sporty, but not at the expense of ride comfort or the general dynamic qualities indicative of its brand. The most obvious addition for 2012 is the new C-Class coupe, which gives Mercedes a more affordable entry in the two-door segment than the old CLK. Shared between both coupe and sedan is revised styling, with more curvaceous headlamps and better integrated LED running lights. The interior also has been reworked with higher-quality materials, a more visually interesting design and a fixed display screen in lieu of the old pop-up unit. The engine lineup has been diversified for 2012. Is fuel economy a priority? The new C250 model has an efficient yet reasonably punchy turbocharged four-cylinder. Live in a frosty clime? The C300 4Matic comes standard with all-wheel drive. Should you want classcompetitive power, the C350 now provides it with 302 horsepower (last year's C350 made 268 hp). And finally, there's the C63 AMG, which is essentially a German muscle car cranking out 451 tire-smoking horses. In total, the 2012 MercedesBenz C-Class now offers more choice while adding to its already impressive array of talents. Of course, it still resides in a segment with quality picks such as the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Infiniti G and Volvo S60. We recommend them all, but there's only one car in the class that provides the honest, unapologetic and meticulously engineered goodness of a genuine Mercedes-Benz. Body Styles, Trim Levels,

and Options The 2012 Mercedes-Benz CClass is available in sedan and coupe body styles, both of which are available in C250, C350 and C63 AMG trim levels. The sedan is furthermore available as a C300 4Matic, while the coupe gets an added C63 AMG Black Series. The C250 and C300 trims all come standard with 17-inch wheels, automatic headlights, LED running lights, automatic wipers, a sunroof, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats (with adjustable lumbar), MB-Tex vinyl upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, auto-dimming interior and driver-side mirrors, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a sound system with a CD player, auxiliary audio jack, a USB audio jack and HD radio. The C300 4Matic adds all-wheel drive and a V6 engine. In sedan form, the C250 and C300 are further differentiated into Luxury and Sport sub-trims. These differ in wheel design, suspension tuning, styling details, steering wheel design and interior trim type. When equipped with 4Matic allwheel drive, the Luxury also includes a comfort-tuned suspension. The Premium 1 package adds on four-way adjustable lumbar support for the front seats, heated front seats, driver memory functions, a power-adjustable steering wheel, split-folding rear seats and a Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system with satellite radio and an iPod interface (optional separately as well). In coupe form, the C250 gets a panoramic sunroof, split-folding rear seats, additional driver seat adjustments, driver memory functions and a power tilt-andtelescoping steering wheel. The coupe's Premium 1 package adds the

heated seats and the Harman Kardon system with satellite radio and an iPod interface. The C350 sedan comes only in Sport guise, with a bigger V6 engine and the Premium 1 package standard; the C350 coupe adds a panoramic sunroof. The C63 AMG is equipped similarly in terms of comfort and convenience features, but gets 18-inch wheels, highperformance tires, an adaptive sporttuned suspension, upgraded brakes, sport seats, more aggressive styling and different interior trim. There are a multitude of options available for the 2012 C-Class. The COMAND package adds a larger central infotainment screen, a navigation system, real-time traffic, voice controls, digital music storage and a single-CD player. A six-CD changer can also be added. The Lighting package adds adaptive bixenon headlights with washers and automatic high beams. The Lane Tracking package adds a blind-spot warning system and a lane-departure warning system. Stand-alone options include a rearview camera, Mercedes-Benz embrace emergency telematics, a panoramic sunroof (on the sedan), a power rear sunshade, keyless ignition/entry and the Parktronic advanced parking sensor system. All but the C63 can be equipped with the Full Leather Seating package, which includes extended leather trim, additional passenger seat adjustments and passenger seat memory functions. The C63 can be equipped with the AMG Development package, which adds 30 extra horsepower, a higher top speed, red brake calipers and a carbon-fiber trunk lid spoiler. A limited-slip differential is offered. Available only as a coupe, the C63 AMG Black Series brings even more performance. It gets more power, an adjustable coil-over sport

suspension, high-performance composite brakes, extra engine cooling, a rear axle differential lock, a wider track, aerodynamic body modifications, special 19-inch wheels, a rear diffuser, a two-seat interior, sport seats, microfiber upholstery and steering wheel trim, and special interior design elements. The AMG Track package adds ultra-high-performance tires and an active cooling unit for the rear axle. The AMG Aerodynamics package includes added exterior winglets and an adjustable carbon-fiber rear spoiler. Powertrains and Performance The 2012 Mercedes-Benz C250 is powered by a turbocharged 1.8litre four-cylinder that produces 201 hp and 229 pound-feet of torque. Rear-wheel drive and a seven-speed automatic are standard. In Edmunds performance testing, a C250 Sport sedan went from zero to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds - about a second slower than the four-cylinder-powered Audi A4. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 21 mpg city/31 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined, which is very good for the segment. The Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic is powered by a 3.0-liter V6 that produces 228 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque, and it's the only C-Class that gets all-wheel drive. According to Mercedes, it should match the acceleration of the lighter C250. Fuel economy stands at 18/25/20. Under the hood of the MercedesBenz C350 is a 3.5-litre V6 good for 302 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. In Edmunds testing, it went from zero to 60 in 5.6 seconds - a number on par with the quicker members of its class. Fuel economy is an excellent 20/ 29/23. With the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, you get a 6.2-liter V8 that cranks out 451 hp and 443 lb-ft of

torque; add the AMG Development package and horsepower gets bumped up to 481. A seven-speed automated manual transmission is standard. In Edmunds performance testing, a C63 Coupe with the AMG Development package went from zero to 60 mph in an incredible 4.2 seconds. Fuel economy is 13/19/15. The C63 AMG Black Series gets a more powerful version of the 6.2litre V8 good for 510 hp and 457 lbft of torque. That should obviously make it quicker than the regular model. Safety Every 2012 Mercedes-Benz CClass comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock brakes, a driver knee airbag, front side thorax airbags, front side pelvic airbags and full-length curtain airbags. Also standard is Mercedes Attention Assist, which monitors the driver for signs of drowsiness and inattention. Rear side thorax airbags are standard on the coupe and optional on the sedan. Other safety-oriented options include the Lane Tracking package -- which adds a blind-spot warning system and a lanedeparture warning system -- and Mercedes-Benz embrace emergency telematics. In Edmunds brake testing, a C350 Sport came to a stop from 60 mph in 108 feet. The C250 Sport and C63 came within 5 feet of matching that outstanding distance. In government crash testing, the C-Class sedan received an overall crash rating of four out of five stars, with three stars overall in a frontal crash and five stars overall in a side crash. In testing done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the C-Class sedan received top marks, including a "Good" rating for frontal-offset, side impact and roof-strength tests.



Two cups of tea a day boost your chances of having a baby... but steer clear of fizzy drinks


wo cups of tea a day may help boost a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant, according to a study. It found women were 27 per cent more likely to become pregnant if they regularly drank tea compared with those who did not. However, the same research found consuming two cola-style fizzy drinks daily seems to reduce a woman’s prospects of conceiving – and it makes no difference if the cola is a diet or sugary version. Women who drank these soft drinks at least twice a day reduced their chances of becoming pregnant by 20 per cent. There was no effect on the chances of pregnancy for women who preferred to drink coffee. The findings were based on a group of 3,600 women who were actively trying to have a baby. The study’s author, Professor Elizabeth Hatch, of Boston University in the United States, wanted   to  determine  if  caffeine intake had any effect on women trying for a baby. While there have been other studies on the subject, their results have not been conclusive. They have also used methods which are thought to be unreliable, based on interviews with pregnant women who were asked to remember the amounts of tea, coffee and soft drinks they consumed before they conceived. Instead, Prof Hatch monitored each of the volunteers for a year. Danish women were chosen for the research because every Danish citizen is given a civil registration number at birth, allowing health officials to recruit and then screen individuals through the internet. The women, with an average age of 28, formed the largest group

ever studied to evaluate a link between caffeine consumption and pregnancy. Prof Hatch said: ‘We found that women who drank tea two or three times a day did have a 27 per cent increased chance of becoming pregnant. We don’t know how they took the tea or if they added milk or lemon, but they had this increased chance of getting pregnant over women who did not drink tea at all. ‘It may be linked to caffeine but clearly there may be other factors linked with the women’s lifestyle or there may be beneficial properties in tea itself.’ She added: ‘I think drinking two or three cups of tea a day for anyone wishing to get pregnant will be fine. I would love to say tea is a miracle

Green tea, such as that being picked in this field in Japan, was not found to increase a woman's chances of getting pregnant

One bump or two? Scientists think the antioxidants in tea may aid fertility

cure to get pregnant but that is not realistic. There may be other factors. The tea drinkers tended to be older women and there may be something else in their diet or lifestyle that helped.’ Green tea has previously been linked with increasing women’s chances of becoming pregnant. However, in this study women were asked to record their consumption of green or herbal tea in the same section and no link with increased chance of pregnancy was found.

Further research will seek to identify whether drinking green tea helps women became pregnant. Follow-up work will establish more about the health and size of the babies born to the tea-drinking mums and if the women endured shorter or longer pregnancies or suffered miscarriages. Maha Ragunath, consultant in reproductive medicine at the Care Fertility Centre in Nottingham, said special properties in tea aided fertility.

She added: ‘Tea contains a lot of antioxidants which are very good for male and female fertility. ‘But I don’t think women trying for a baby should now drink lots of tea – it’s everything in moderation.’ Laurence Shaw, associate director at the Bridge Fertility Centre in London, said: ‘I would say to any woman over 35 trying to become pregnant to get proper advice and don’t start drinking ten cups of tea a day.’ Source:

Mouth tingler implanted in gum to beat the pain of migraines


painkilling device implanted in the gum could be a radical new way to beat migraine

pain. The implant, which is about the size of an almond, is connected to nerves in the face that transmit pain signals during an attack. When the patient feels a migraine coming on, they hold a remote control handset against their cheek. Pressing a button then activates the implant, triggering a mild electric current to stimulate the nerves and interrupt the flow of pain signals to the brain. The gadget is currently undergoing trials at several hospitals around Europe. It’s being tested on patients who suffer at least four migraine attacks a month, experience migraine pain on eight days in the month, and who don’t get relief from drug treatments. Migraine affects around one in ten of the UK population — with women affected more than men. The symptoms include a severe throbbing headache, usually on one side of the head, which can be

accompanied by nausea, and visual disturbances such as flashing lights, zig-zags and blind spots. Over-the-counter painkilling tablets such as paracetamol and ibuprofen can help mild attacks. More severe cases are treated with triptans, drugs that are available on prescription or, in some cases, over the counter. But in some people these drugs can become less effective over time if used too frequently, and can also actually trigger migraines themselves, called ‘rebound’ headaches. In recent years, scientists have been looking for drug-free ways to switch off migraine pain using devices that stimulate nerves. Nerve cells are responsible for processing pain signals and despatching them to the brain. If this process can be blocked, it is possible to stop the signals reaching the brain. In one development, several patients in Britain have been fitted with an occipital nerve stimulator, a tiny battery pack implanted near the collar bone with electrodes wired up to nerves in the back of the neck

which connect to the brain. The latest device, developed by California-based firm Autonomic Technologies Inc., is even more discreet, as it can be hidden inside the mouth and works on a different set of nerves called the sphenopalatine ganglion nerve bundle. These are deep inside the face, on either side of the nose.

The implant, which is about the size of an almond, is connected to nerves in the face that transmit pain signals during an attack

For years, doctors have known that injecting drugs into these nerves can ‘block’ pain signals. But the nerves are difficult to reach and injections can be painful. The new implant is put in place with the patient under a general anaesthetic. Then a small incision is made in the gum over the second molar — the  second  tooth from  the back  at the top of the mouth. The implant is then screwed into the jawbone to keep it in place, with wires connected up to the nerve bundle. The procedure takes about an hour — the patient will need drugs to dull the pain and keep infection at bay for a few days afterwards. Earlier trials using the gum implant for cluster headache — an excruciating pain that often strikes behind one eye — showed it halved pain in two-thirds of patients. Patients can activate the implant when they start to experience   the  pain,  and  the electrical shocks act to block the transmission of pain signals. Furthermore, the frequency of the headaches in this patient group

was halved. The trial was carried out at the University of Liege, in Belgium, and presented at the Congress of the International Headache Society in Berlin. The device is undergoing trials on 30 migraine patients at clinics in Denmark, Belgium, Spain, France and Germany, but is unlikely to be available in the UK for two to three years. Dr Fayyaz Ahmed, from the Migraine Trust, says research is moving away from medications for migraine and towards ways of blocking the pain in the first place. ‘Medications are not suitable for everyone and are often associated with unpleasant and intolerable side-effects,’ says Dr Ahmed. ‘The focus in future is to develop small and smarter devices with a long battery life and an effective and manageable remote to control the pain as and when needed. ‘This device is a clear example of how scientists are focusing on delivering new modes of treatment.’ Source:



Galaxy Backbone should take over Nitel, says Rep INTERVIEW Rep Tajudeen Yusuf is a member of the House of Representatives representing the Kabba/Bunu/ Ijumu Federal Constituence. In this interaction with newsmen, Yusuf argued that the sale of Nitel at a meager sum should be discontinued as the Galaxy Backbone, a government owned ICT company should be made to take over its facilities. He also spoke on the need to address the nation’s fiscal regime and the achievement recorded by the House so far while pointing out certain constitutional lacuna that must be addressed. Lawrence Olaoye was there. Excerpts: What is your assessment of the House so far? will rate the House 70-75 percent based on the agenda we set for ourselves and based on the expectations of Nigerians, the House has been very proactive and has been people oriented , in fact the House has done pretty well. In what areas? Let me give you statistics, the data are there you can check, in the first six months we have over 280 bills. It has never happened; but in the first six months they confessed in the House committee on Rules and Business that they have never had it this tough. That means almost everybody came in with a mindset to come and deliver the deliverables.   Private members  bills that used to be scanty in the first year is not replicated in this Seventh Assembly of the House of Representatives, because in the past most bills in the first year are always executive bills. By implication the depth that most people brought in here is amazing and if we continue like this, Nigeria will be better for it. Also, the present House have had course to save the country from obvious crisis. I remember the first week we came in was when we averted the National wide strike action the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, was planning to embark on. You can imagine if they have gone on strike what would have happened to the country’s economy; the same thing with House intervention on subsidy removal and other interventions of the House; the records are there for anybody to see. There are other critical bills that the House is giving attention to now. One of those bills is the NigComSat bill. Because NigComSat has been in existence for almost ten years now with no bill establishing it. This House under four to five months has commenced work on the bill and now the bill is in Third Reading. Even the budget, we make sure that the budget was passed on time


unlike what used to happen to budget passage in the past. So, in essence, what I am saying is that the Seventh Assembly of the House of Representatives has shown commitment and zeal to move this nation forward positively and in the right direction. Recently, you raised an alarm on the sale of government properties, specifically NITEL/ MTEL, what brought about that? It is still in the spirit of this Seventh Assembly of the House of Representatives to make sure that it is not business as usual and don’t forget that those who postulated democracy said that government of the people, by the people and for the people and in Nigeria we have three arms of government to give checks and balance and as part of its function to check the executive arm, the House is of the opinion that if NITEL/ MTEL will be liquidated, it should be sold at the appropriate value. Now let me take you back, you know the cost of a GSM license is very expensive. Like Etisalat which bought its license about two years ago for $380 million, that is just for a license. Now, how will Bureau of Public Enterprise, BPE, now place N143 billion price tag on NITEL/ MTEL, that is too ridiculous. And again, we are saying that must BPE sell NITEL/ MTEL when there are other government agencies that can utilize some of the equipment of the once government communication giant

Rep Tajudeen Yusuf company, like Galaxy backbone? It’s a government agency, they need optic fibre and they are asking for about N390 billion to buy it; and NITEL has it. So why will NITEL go to someone else and Galaxy Backbone will now go and be looking for an optic fibre? So why can’t Galaxy Backbone take over NITEL in order for us not to continue wasting tax payers money? You are from the North Central geo-political zone and only recently the Northern Governors claimed that the country’s revenue sharing formula is skewed against the North, do you also share this position? One thing is that politics is about interest and you have cleavages and what have you. I am from Kogi State and I am from the North; so if the Northern governors want more revenue, the Southern governors also want more revenue, so all of them must be planning to get what they want. So, to say if I share the Northern governors’ position, it

And again, we are saying that must BPE sell NITEL/ MTEL when there are other government agencies that can utilize some of the equipment of the once government communication giant company, like Galaxy backbone? It’s a government agency, they need optic fibre and they are asking for about N390 billion to buy it; and NITEL has it. So why will NITEL go to someone else and Galaxy Backbone will now go and be looking for an optic fibre

requires me to have empirical data and I cannot just sit here and either condemn or support their agitation. The truth is that what I don’t have fact on it will be wrong of me to comment on that, and don’t forget the governors are the Chief Executives of their respective states and they have the figures so I believe they know what they are asking for. Now, will you say the governors have justified what they have been collecting as allocation beforeasking for more? I will say yes and no. Why? I will say yes, because if you call them they will give you report on how they have been spending the money and now it is left for you to agree with them or disagree. I will say no, because I have not seen physical development to justify all those revenues and three, I will add something new to it, I am not in away in support of sitting down every month and sharing allocation, I have not come across any nation in the world that the practice is that states sit down every month and they share allocations. To me it makes the governors lazy and it makes the state lazy, because almost every plan, every projection is on this sharing, so, nobody is looking inward again. I have not heard anywhere that the Americans have Joint Federation Account anywhere, where governors of every state of America sit down and share money. I will have proposed an idea of using our commonwealth to develop infrastructures; each state should generate its revenue and pay tax according to what it generates. The constitution review exercise has commenced, what

are those areas that you feel are critical and should be reviewed? What  I just  mentioned now  is critical and should be seriously looked into. And there are certain lacuna in the constitution. For example, there are certain decrees that have become the Act of the National Assembly and I am working with some of my friends to look at these decrees that do not in any way conform to our democratic practice. Another thing that should be addressed in the constitution review is the political parties recognition. Political party should be a natural process, if you have a party that just want to contest for the election of councillor, it should be left to operate for councillorship. It must not be a national party, it should be a matter of policy rather than constitution before you give recognition to political parties. Also the idea of state and local government creation will be less cumbersome if the issue of revenue is addressed, because those agitating for states and local government creation believe that such move will give them access to federation wealth. These are the salient areas in the constitution that I feel we need to address. Speaking on state creation now, there is this clamour for the creation of Okun state, do you share this idea?  Kabba remained one of the few provinces in Nigeria, I can remember Kabba province, Otukpo and Ogoja that have not become state capital in Nigeria. Kabba Province covers from Ikare, Ayimgba, Lokoja, Idah, Owo and so on. The 1966 Military Coup carried out by late Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu proposed 12 states; Kabba state was in the proposal. So if in 2012 we are still talking of Okun state, to me its late, it has been unduly delayed because I believe if the colonial master as at then can identify Kabba and give it administrative power as of then. So, I don’t see any reason why Kabba can’t become a state capital. Now I believe if we are creating any state, Okun State should be one of the few that will be created. In fact, Nigeria state has not been fair to us, in terms of infrastructure and what have you. For example, College of Agriculture, Kabba remained one of the Colleges of Agriculture that was set up by Ahmadu Bello University, ABU in 1962 that is not yet a full fledge university. University of Jos was university of Ibadan, Jos campus; University of Agriculture, Markurdi was University of Jos, Markurdi campus; Usman Danfodio University was ABU Sokoto campus, Bayero University Kano, BUK, was ABU Kano campus, but that of Kabba still remains till today as a College of Agriculture .



Bribery allegation: ACN urges NASS to impeach Jonathan By Lawrence Olaoye


he Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has urged the National Assembly to immediately commence impeachment proceedings against President Goodluck Jonathan, having admitted openly that he solicited a bribe from a foreign construction company, in violation of the Constitution that he swore to uphold. In a statement issued in Abuja yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said commencing the impeachment proceedings will enable the National Assembly to investigate the matter and also reach the appropriate conclusions, since the President, by his own admission and without any prompting, has thumbed his nose at the Constitution. The statement stated ''To know the gravity of the President's self admission of soliciting the church 'gift' from the Managing Director of Gitto Construzioni Generali Nigeria Limited (GCG), one needs to understand Section 6 of the Code of Conduct for Public officers embodied in the First Schedule of the 1999 Constitution and the Code of Conduct and Tribunal Act (CAP C15) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. ''The Act states: 'A public officer shall not ask for or accept any property or benefits of any kind for himself or any other person on account of anything done or omitted to be done by him in the discharge of his duties. For

Preisdent Goodluck Jonathan the purposes of subsection (1) of this subsection, the receipt by a public officer of any gifts or benefits from commercial firms, business enterprises or persons who have contracts with the Government shall be presumed to have been received in contravention‌unless the contrary is proved'," it said. ACN said the President's action has undermined the country's fight against corruption and has put Nigeria's democracy in jeopardy and

therefore must not be allowed to get away with such act. ''Gitto has obtained billions of naira contracts from the Nigerian government, amid reported allegations in the media that it has not executed such contracts well. How can the federal government hold the company to account, when it (firm) has obtained an ''insurance cover'' by bribing the President? Is this not why the country's anticorruption efforts have not

achieved anything? Can the EFCC and the ICPC honestly and boldly fight corruption when the President is knee-deep in the mud of corruption?'' it queried. The party said by openly and gleefully saying, at the inauguration of the church at his Otuoke hometown, that ''the Managing Director of Gitto made him a promise to build and donate the church to Otuoke community after he (the president) had complained of the aging structure of his church,'' the President has demonstrated that he is either not conversant with the Constitution he swore to uphold or thinks very little of the laws of the land. ''Either way, he should be held accountable for his deeds,'' it said. ACN said it would amount to wishful thinking to expect the country's anti-corruption agencies to probe President Jonathan's admission of soliciting and receiving bribery, hence the call on the National Assembly to handle the issue. The party warned that ongoing attempts to twist the facts and make it seem as if the President did not solicit the bribe will not work, as Nigerians are too smart to be hoodwinked. ''If the President and his supporters deny that he indeed solicited the bribe - as he admitted at the inauguration of the church - we challenge the Presidency to play - on national radio and television - the unedited audio and video recording of his speech at the occasion for all Nigerians to hear and see. Experts must also be called in to verify that the tape has not been tampered with in any way,'' the party said.

Kogi guber: Appeal Court hears Wada’s appeal today By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


he Court of Appeal in Abuja yesterday adjourned hearing till today in the appeal filed by the governor of Kogi state, Capt Idris Wada, against the decision of a Federal High Court to consolidate the separate suits filed by the winner of the January 2011 governorship primary election conducted by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Jibril Isah and another governorship aspirant in the party, Oyebode Makinde seeking to unseat him. Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa-led three man panel adjourned commencement in hearing the appeal till today on the grounds that the applicant, the Kogi state governor, Capt. Idris Wada was not represented in court. The court was also informed that Wada's lawyer, Chris Uche (SAN) had written a letter asking the court to adjourn hearing in the matter till today or another day possible as the court may deem fit. Wada is challenging the decision of Justice Donatus Okorowo of the Abuja Federal High Court which consolidated two suits against him. The winner of the January 2011

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries, Jibrin Isah and a governorship aspirant, Oyebode Makinde, are asking the Court to quash the swearing-in of Wada as governor. When the case was called yesterday, only Isah and Makinde were in court and also represented by their legal team. Mrs. Victoria Awomolo also appeared for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Instead, the Appellant's counsel

who did not send any lawyer from his chamber sent a letter to the court presided over by Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa asking for adjournment. Expressing surprise, Isah's counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) bemoaned the attitude of the Appellant. "My lord, this is their case and they have been served the hearing notice. This country is getting to a stage where cases will no longer proceed to trial stage".

Olanipekun who recalled that adjournments at the trial court were at the instance of the Appellant, prayed the panel to adjourn till today for quick disposal of the matter. Ruling, Justice Bulkachuwa granted the adjournment as prayed till today. She directed that fresh hearing notice be served on only the and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed B. Adoke (SAN) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who are parties in the appeal.

Group tasks state governors on referendum


pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Atayese, yesterday urged the state governors to each organize referendum in their respective states and ethnic nationalities to determine what the people wanted. At a news conference in Lagos, the Chairman of the group, Chief Tokunbo Ajasin, said it was the people's desires that should be reflected in the presentations at the national conference Nigerians were clamouring for. "The agitations for a sovereign national conference are okay but it

must be preceded by a referendum. "The people of each ethnic nationality must be allowed to decide on issues that they want to bring to a national discourse," he said. Ajasin suggested that the referenda should not be delayed to avoid more tension in the polity. He said that Nigeria needed fiscal federalism to reduce the dependence of the state governments on the federal government. Ajasin urged recognition of the 18 groups which the Pro-National

Conference identified as representing the ethnic nationalities in the country. "The six zones formally operated are not enough to guarantee adequate representation of the ethnic nationalities in Nigeria," he said. Ajasin faulted the 1999 Constitution, saying that there was the need for a constitution which all the ethnic nationalities agreed to. "We want a constitution that will emanate from a referendum," he said.

Reconciliation, internal democracy will be my priority, says Akobundu By Umar Mohammed Puma


he National Vice Chairman, South East of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Col. Austin Akobundu (rtd.) has said reconciliation of aggrieved members, grassroots mobilization and promotion of internal democracy in time for 2015 elections will dominate the activities of the new Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)'s SouthEast zonal secretariat. Setting out his vision on assumption of office at the party's zonal secretariat's office in Enugu yesterday, Akobundu said he was ready to lead PDP to battle just as he sought the support of the members in the drive to reposition the party. Addressing newsmen after the interactive meeting with members of the zonal working committee, Akobundu announced plans for a retreat workshop at which all officials would contribute ideaswith a view to appreciating the direction the new national leadership is charting for the party and the part they have to play in its implementation. "There will be changes to reflect the high expectations of our people who invested enormous confidence in our ability to give them a new beginning through a freely given mandate. We shall work as a team and synergize, leading the party from strength to strength. "We seek partnership with stakeholders and the press to scale up the quality of services we render to our people who have lots of expectations from us. We shall rebuild the foundation laid by our predecessors through reconciliation and re-engineering our internal democracy processes, especially in ensuring credible primary elections. There are respected and respectable party men and women who contested party offices and may have felt embittered they did not make it. As a responsible party leadership in the zone, my colleagues and I will reach out to them individually and collectively, to bring them on board because the PDP umbrella is large enough to cover everyone", he told journalists. "I am ready for the Anambra challenge. I do not see crisis there, I see only opportunities. We shall undertake a thorough diagnostic review of all the issues and elements involved. We shall approach it with an open mind and selflessness. When we finally bring all members of the Anambra family on board, it will give PDP in the South-East the impetus to reassert itself as the dominant party in the South East", he said. The National Vice Chairman commended his predecessor, Chief Olisa Metuh for giving the party his best shot despite the plethora of problems he confronted. He also thanked the former zonal officials for their dedication to duty and wished them good luck in their future endeavours, promising to organize a befitting send-forth for Chief Metu, who has since assumed a new position as National Publicity Secretary and member of the party's National Working Committee.


Adamawa Assembly moves to ban workers from embarking on strike


damawa House of Assembly on Tuesday began consideration of a bill seeking to ban ``essential service workers'' in the state and local government services from participating in strikes. The bill, sponsored by Alhaji Hassan Kaigama, representing Maiha constituency, had passed the first reading on the floor of the House. Tagged `Adamawa State Strike Prohibition Law 2012', when passed into law, would totally ban traffic warders, health workers, staff of Internal Revenue service and fire service workers from organising or participating in any strike. Co-sponsored by Alhaji Abubakar Umar (PDP-Girei), Alhaji Abbuzarri Suleiman (PDPYola South) and Alhaji Aminu IyaAbbas (PDP-Uba/Gaya), the bill prescribed six months imprisonment or N250,000 fine or both for any employee who takes part in or organises a strike. According to the bill, it is unlawful for the listed employees to engage, organise, take part in any strike or lockout prior to the decision of the National Industrial Court. It stipulates procedures the employers and the employees must take in resolving disputes. This includes forwarding any complaint to the Head of Service of the state, who was mandated to within 30 days, to set up a committee to negotiate settlement between the parties. The bill gave any of the parties in the dispute the mandate to proceed to the National Industrial Court for adjudication, if the committee set up by the Head of Service fails to within 14 days resolve the matter. The bill gives the state Governor the power to proscribe any trade union or association of workers that engages in ``acts calculated to disrupt the economy or obstruct the smooth running of any essential service'' in the state. It also empowers the governor to ban any union or association that fails to comply with the procedures specified in the law for settlement of disputes. Meanwhile, a cross section of civil servants, who reacted to the bill, cautioned the House against passing it without conducting a public hearing to gauge its acceptability by the public. (NAN)


Own up to your leadership failure, ACN tells Suswam By Lawrence Olaoye


he Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Benue state, has called on Governor Gabriel Suswam to stop blaming the party for the mayhem caused by the students of the Benue State University and own up to his leadership failure. Responding to allegations made by the state Commissioner for Information and other Sundry Affairs, Conrade Wergba, that the ACN fuelled the students crisis, the party Chairman (Benue Chapter), Comrade Abah Yaro, in a statement made available to newsmen stated that neither the ACN nor the Senate Minority Leader, Senator George Akume, encouraged the student

protest. Yaro stated “While the ACN as the major opposition party in Nigeria and Benue state in particular deeply sympathizes with the parents and management of Benue State University, Makurdi over the 4 lives, lost in the unfortunate hit and run incidence, and any other person or groups who have in one way or the other suffered from the incidence, it is imperative to state categorically that, ACN and Senator Dr. George Akume, Senate Minority Leader did not in any way participate or encourage the students protest. If Benue state University students are predominately ACN sympathizers as alleged, it is because their parents, the good people of Benue state are

overwhelmingly members of the ACN. But it must be noted that when Benue State University students took to the streets to protest the tragic death of a fellow student (s) in a motor accident it is purely and distinctively a student’s affair and NOT ACN as a political party. “Conrade Wergba’s illogical attempt to link ACN or the opposition with every incidence in Benue State including the violent student’s protest, therefore trivializes the spate of violence and insecurity that has enveloped Benue state under Governor Gabriel Suswam. ACN totally condemns this brazen show of incompetence and wishes to advise Governor Gabriel Suswam and his cohorts to humbly owe up to their leadership failure and stop

politicizing their inaptitude.” The ACN urged the Suswam’s government to respond to the complaints of the students calling for the payments of their bursary awards just as he urged the governor to clear his name on the certificate forgery saga. Yaro said “Conrade Wergba and Co. carefully avoided these tall issues in their consideration of the students protest and chose to drag the name of ACN and its national leaders into a purely students matter. ACN is not surprised, when lunacy is on parade, simple reasoning takes flight.” He added that the residence of the Senate Minority Leader was not within the immediate vicinity of Benue state University.

Edo state Peoples Democratic Party ( P D P ) governorship candidate, General Charles Ehigie Airhiavbere (rtd) on his knees (middle) being prayed for by the Esan Council of Traditional Rulers (Enijies), at the weekend in the palace of the Ojuromiof Uromi, HRH Anselm Zaiki Aidonijie 11 after the rulers (in Edo Central) endorsed his candidature for the forth coming governorship election in the state.

Benue Assembly passes bill for amendment of 2007 local govt. law


enue state House of Assembly has passed the bill seeking to amend the 2007 Local Government Law . The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that with the passage of the bill, the tenure of elected local government councils in the state would be slashed for three to two years. The bill was passed on Tuesday by the legislature during its plenary session through a voice vote conducted by Speaker David

Iorhemba. Iorhemba said that local council caretaker committees would be appointed to oversee the affairs of the councils for six months. He said the committees would comprise seven members chairman, vice chairman and five supervisory councillors. He further said that the committees would be dissolved after inauguration of elected councils. He advised the state

government to dissolve the current committees as soon as the amended law was signed, stressing, that they had overstayed the period provided by the law. The lawmaker urged government to inaugurate new councils in line with the requirements of the amended local government law. Earlier, Mr Benjamin Adanyi, ACN-Makurdi South state, opposed the constitution of committees to run the councils, saying there was

no provision for caretaker committee in the constitution. He said the constitution recognised elected councils only. In his contribution, Mr Adugu Gbileve, the Minority Leader, who represents Buruku constituency, said he was in support of the abolition of caretaker committees. NANreports that the debate for the tenure of local governments generated heated argument as many legislators supported the three-year tenure.

Court orders EFCC to serve summons on Sylva by substituted means


he Federal High Court in Abuja has directed the EFCC to serve former Gov. Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa with summons by substituted means. The court gave the order in Abuja on Monday following the EFCC's request. EFCChad on Feb. 24, dragged Sylva to court on alleged misappropriation of N6.46 billion state funds. Justice Adamu Bello gave the

order in a ruling on an exparte motion filed by Mr Festus Keyamo, counsel to the prosecutor. ``The application is granted. ``So, the prosecutor is now authorised to either serve the accused person by pasting the service on the gate of his house at No 3 River Niger Street, Maitama, Abuja or through publication in not less than two national dailies.'' The prosecutor had sought the order of the court to allow it to serve

Sylva the summons by substituted means ``in view of his evasive nature.'' The anti-graft agency, in suit number FHC/ABJ/CR/23/2012, claimed that Sylva and others now at large, committed the offence between October 2009 and February 2010. The former governor and others now at large, were accused of fraudulently obtaining N4 billion loans from the Union Bank.

The loans were allegedly obtained under the guise of using it to augment workers' salaries. The EFCC also alleged that the accused had in the same period, converted properties and resources of the Bayelsa Government amounting to N2 billion to personal use. They were also alleged to have on Jan. 22, 2010, converted N380 million worth of government property through a Fin Bank account

No. 221433478108 belonging to one Habibu Sani Maigida, a Bureau De Change Operator. The EFCC further said that Sylva and his accomplices, had on Feb. 5, 2010, converted N50 million of the state's funds through a First Bank Account No. 6152030001946 of Enson Benmer Limited. The anti-graft agency had said the offences contravened the provisions of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act) 2004.



PDP joins anti-corruption fray By Lawrence Olaoye


he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday declared its readiness to join the anti- corruption crusade of the Federal Government. The party in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, said it took the decision based on the declaration of its National Chairman, Dr. Bamanga Turkur in his acceptance speech that the PDP shall combat the pervasive culture of corruption in the country, it will soon undertake a multi dimensional engagement

with the Federal Government with a view to broadening the dragnet of anti-corruption crusade. According to the PDP, "the Bamanga Turkur leadership of our party has taken a holistic reflection on the cankerworm of corruption and is resolved on a multi dimensional engagement with the Federal Government to fight corruption and stop this deadly moth from eating out the soul of our dear nation." The Party regretted that in a nation richly blessed by destiny, a huge chunk of the population daily go to bed hungry not because government is not committed to

citizenry welfare but for reasons of greedy few who battle on all fronts to undermine good governance. "Our vision for greatness cannot be transformed into reality in the horizon of corruption. Corruption has eventuated a severe disjuncture between the promises of greatness and the virtual lots of the mass of our people. As part of our rebirth agenda, which is in line with the transformation programme of the PDP led Federal Government therefore, the PDP is ready to orchestrate a change in the tapestry and tenor of the war on corruption ". The Party also said it will liaise

with the National Assembly to strengthen the legislations on corruption so as to block all lapses in bringing corrupt persons to book. In this vein, the National Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Bamanga Turkur has commended the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) for its positive roles in bringing the suspects of the pension scam to account for their roles. "The sleazy tales of national shame oozing out of the Pension probe is an undisguised heinous crime, an inhumanity to mankind. To deny at sunset, the

Former Speaker, House of R e p re s e n ta tiv e s , Hon Dimeji Bankole (middle) arraigned for alleged corruption by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), at the Federal High Court, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

UPGA denies plot to destabilise APGA By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


hairman of the newly formed United Peoples Grand Alliance (UPGA) Chekwas Okorie, has refuted the statement by the National Chairman of All Peoples Grand Alliance (APGA), Victor Umeh, that UPGA was formed to confuse and destabilize APGA supporters during elections. Okorie equally emphasized that the essence of floating the party was to chart a new political course, in addition to severing all links with All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). In a statement issued yesterday

by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Ogbuehi Dike, the party lamented that the National Chairman of APGA was urging the Independent National Commission (INEC) to deny the registration of UPGA on the grounds that both are similar in acronym. UPGA argued against the claim by APGA that the electorates would be confused by the acronyms, saying that INEC arranges party acronyms along with their symbols in alphabetical order on the ballot sheet. It further cited ANPP and UNPP, CPP and CPC, PDP and DPP, ADC and ACD, as some of the already

registered parties with similar acronyms, but which never created problems for the electorates or INEC during elections. The party therefore challenged the APGA chairman to showcase his ability at political party management, rather than engaging in absurd bickering and rabble rousing. According to the statement, “There is nobody who is literate up to the primary school level that will be confused in locating either UPGA or APGA on a ballot sheet arranged alphabetically. “In the same vein an illiterate who relies only on the party symbol

to vote for the party of his choice will not be confused about the clear difference between the Rising Sun which is the symbol that will be published with UPGA and the cock which is the symbol of APGA, except if the person is mentally deranged.” UPGA also emphasized that promoters of UPGA had done their preliminary studies thoroughly before applying to the commission for the registration of the party, pointing out that due diligence was applied in complying with the guidelines issued to it by INEC.

Don’t play politics with security, NBA tells PDP From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


he Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Benin Branch, has cautioned the leadership of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo state to stop playing politics with security of lives and property in the state. Chairman of the Association, Barr Rasaq Isenalumhe, who stated this yesterday during a courtesy visit on the state governor, Comrade Adams Osiomole, said crime rate has in the state has greatly reduced in

the last six months. ”We  have the  statistics and  we believe when the Special Courts resume, this will be better. It is clear from all indications that government is doing its best to reduce the crime rate in Edo state. We commend you most sincerely for the efforts and your monumental transformation of the state”.  Reacting, the  governor said  the state has done its best to complement the efforts of the Federal Government in the area of security. “When I read the papers and

people talk about security and they blame the governor. The fact is we must continue to complement the Federal Government in the area of security. Now I have a new Commissioner of Police, but I was not consulted before he was deployed nor was I consulted before the other one was removed. It is like a lawyer without law books or a judge without courtrooms. We don’t have the power to punish or remove any security personnel found to be corrupt and compromised. But we will not surrender to criminals. We have

procured almost 45vehicles to hand over to the police so they can increase their motorized patrol of the state. He noted that everything considered “It is an open secret that there are national security challenges. But here in Edo state we are doing everything possible to make Edo as safe as possible”. “Everything considered, Edo is still safer than our neighbouring PDP states; We will leave the state better than we met it. We what we have done is to show that Edo state can work again”.

wages of men and women, compatriots whose morning and afternoon were engaged in toils for fatherland is the most wicked toga and colour of corruption," the party stated. The statement further urged the EFCC to spread its search to other ministries and agencies. " We urge the EFCC to sustain this momentum and spread its investigations into every ministry and agency of government so as to expose and bring to book, this tiny percent of over 170 million Nigerians obsessed with attrition against good governance.

NASS assures of strict budget implementation By Lawrence Olaoye


eputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha has said that the National Assembly would ensure strict implementation of the budget when eventually signed into law. The Deputy Speaker said this has become necessary so that the amount of work and tireless efforts put into the processing of the 2012 budget proposal by the legislature do not amount to nought. Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary (CPS) Okey Epia, Ihedioha said the National Assembly made concessions and met the executive arm of government half-way to ensure a smooth passage of the 2012 budget in the overall interest of the nation. He said part of the measures being put in place include streamlining and strengthening of the oversight function of the legislature to make implementing departments and agencies more accountable, transparent and adherent to the provisions of the appropriation law. The Deputy Speaker also said that in line with the theme of the ongoing IPU, the National Assembly will increase and strengthen its reach-out programmes and mechanisms in order to give Nigerians better understanding and greater sense of belonging in the work of the legislature. Some of these, according to him, include convening of townhall meetings which he said, will begin soon across different zones of the country in line with the legislative agenda of the House of Representatives as unveiled by Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal in the beginning of the seventh assembly. He  advised  members  of  the public to offer constructive criticisms to their lawmakers and take full advantage of opportunities provided to interface with the public including making appropriate responses to calls for memoranda and submitting petitions on issues of personal and communal concerns to the parliament as the need arises.



Ogunjobi lambasts Onigbinde over Saintfiet’s NFF appointment


hief Taiwo Ogunjobi, a f o r m e r Chairman of the NFF technical subcommittee has lambasted the duo of Chief Adegboye Onigbinde and Christian Chukwu for the committee’s failure to appoint an indigenous coach as Technical Director. Instead, a Belgian and former Namibian and Ethiopian senior national teams coach Tom Saintfiet got the job and Ogunjobi believes that had the duo been sincere and committed to the good of the local coaches no foreigner would have been appointed in the face of several qualified indigenous coaches. Wondering why a Nigerian would be appointed Saintfiet’s deputy when ideally he should be the other way round, Ogunjobi accused Onigbinde and Chukwu- the two p r o m i n e n t indigenous coaches and former Super Eagles managers in the committee- of conspiring with other members to rob Nigeria of that position. “It’s their fault,

they should have taken the message to the Nigerian Coaches Association (NCA) to let them be in the picture, but they did not. They did not do anything until the appointment of the Belgian. “Now, people are crying wolf. Were they not part of the committee that appointed Saintfiet? If he was not good they should have told us from the beginning,” he said. He added that as members of the NFF t e c h n i c a l committee, they ought to have alerted their colleagues to also apply for the job, this in apparent corroboration of the chairman of the committee, Chris Green’s allegation that Onigbinde did not help matters. Ogunjobi, who is also chairman of the Osun State Football Association (OFA), added that a Nigerian coach, who had a better understanding of the country’s football terrain and culture, was best suited for the job. He described the t e c h n i c a l department of the

Tom Saintfiet

Taiwo Ogunjobi

NFF, as the nerve centre of the country’s football, solely responsible for the intellectual growth of football. “I am surprised and pained that a Nigerian coach, who should have a better understanding of our football culture, was not given the opportunity to apply for the job,” he said. But Onigbinde, reacting to the allegation, dismissed the claim by Ogunjobi that he was not at fault on the appointment of the Belgian as technical director, stressing that since the NFF already had in mind what it intended to do about the appointment, those who were not privy to it should be mindful of what they say on the issue. “Am not interested in all this childish nonsense; what are we going to alert the coaching association about? A position we already know what they intended to do, I don’t have time for such opinions that’s why Ogunjobi should be reserved in his comment,” the twotime coach of the national team said. Speaking further on the appointment of the Belgian, Onigbinde said that Saintfiet was not qualified for the job because of his age and experience. He claimed that he was privy to the Belgian’s pedigree and what led to his exit as coach of the Ethiopian national team. “He is 38 years old, which automatically rules him out of the job. The job requires an experienced, knowledgeable and a high level of intelligence which he couldn’t have acquired. I know what drove him out of Ethiopia because I have his data,” Onigbinde said.

Sani Lulu

Bolaji Abdullahi

Lulu kicks, accuses ‘Authority’ of misrepresenting facts Says NSC held back N350m W/C fund $5.5m Nigeria ’09 fund lodged with LOC’s First Bank account Stories by Patrick Andrew


mbattled former president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Alhaji Sani Lulu Abdullahi, yesterday accused the ‘Powers of Authority’ of Nigeria sports of misrepresenting facts in the alleged misappropriation of the 2010 World Cup funds and other Federal Government releases just to dent the reputation of certain individuals. Lulu, who was impeached by his colleagues on the board few weeks after Nigeria’s inglorious exit from the mundial hosted by South Africa in 2010, debunked sundry allegations that his board misappropriated N1.25 billion released for the prosecution of both the qualifiers and the World Cup finals proper. Instead, he accused the National Sports Commission (NSC) of withholding N350m of the said amount adding that at the time of being impeached they left in the federation’s account N356m from the N900m World Cup funds released to them. Further, he said another $540,000 of the same money was left in various accounts meaning that they did not misappropriate the various releases made by the government for the World Cup finals. Lulu, who was impeached along with Amanze Uchegbulam and Taiwo Ogunjobi, accused the commission of constantly being economical with facts and the truth. “Although N1.25 billion was approved and released by the Federal Government for the 2010 World Cup, only the sum of N900m was remitted to NFF’s account from NSC. “This implies that the balance of N350 Million

was in the custody of NSC. However, at our impeachment N326 million and $540,000 were left in the various accounts as residues from the N900 million released to NFF,” he said in a release issued by his Personal Assistant, Yusuf Suleiman yesterday. Further, Lulu said though the Nigeria 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup fund released to the Local Organising Committee of Nigeria ’09 was through the NFF, but revealed that it was never in the custody of his board , and that not a dime was withdrawn from the amount under his leadership. “The sum of $5.5 Million was remitted by FIFA to FIFA U-17 World Cup-Nigeria 2009 LOC through NFF. This sum of money was lodged in LOC account with First Bank PLC, Abuja. No amount was withdrawn from this account, under my leadership. Records are available in the Bank for clarification,” he said. Still insisting on his innocence, Lulu, who is facing an 8-count corruption charge before the Federal High Court, said on the alleged misappropriation of the 2010 World Cup participation fund amounting to $8m that the money was not remitted to the NFF before his impeachment. “Up to the time of our impeachment on July 3, 2010, this sum of $8 Million being the balance of Nigeria’s participation fee in the world cup had not been remitted to NFF account directly,” he said stressing that the records were there for verification of his claims. Lulu and his fellow alleged culprits were recently granted stay of proceedings from the Federal High Court so that their appeal to the superior court would be entertained.

Police investigate Nigeria match-fixing case


he last has not been heard about the match -fixing saga between Sunshine Stars and Dolphins. Both were accused of fixing matches last season and the case was handled by the NFF Disciplinary and Organising Committee after which the matter was brought before the Appeal Committee. Now, the high profile allegation is before the Nigeria Police for further and thorough investigation, according to an official of the NFF. “The NFF should as a matter

of urgency, national importance and international practices, refer the matter to the law enforcement agencies for full and indepth investigation,” read an official statement in part. The statement signed by secretary, Okey Obi, the appeals committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) therefore set aside the decisions of the organising and disciplinary committee which fined Dolphin and Sunshine and banned coach Stanley Eguma. The appeals committee said it could not uphold the

disciplinary committee’s decisions as record of proceedings; findings and application of the rules do not tally and were inconclusive. The committee announced that this was the final decision on the matter and that any other challenges would only be entertained by the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS). Last season, champions Dolphin and Sunshine were mentioned in a case to compromise match officials for matches leading to the final weeks of the campaign.



Y Every year, Liverpool FC hold a memorial service at the club’s ground, Anfield, to remember the 96 people who lost their lives at the Hillsborough disaster in 1989. Obliged to attend during his time as manager between 2004 and 2010, Rafael Benitez returned of his own accord to pay his respects in 2011. When those in attendance began to chant the 51year-old’s name, in recognition of his achievements including a UEFA Champions League triumph in his maiden season during his six years on Merseyside, Benitez had tears in his eyes. The moment was a perfect example of the relationship the Spaniard enjoyed, and still enjoys, with the club’s loyal supporters. Benitez spoke with FIFA.Com

We were trying to teach our players in a way that they would be learning forever, not just that they would follow the gameplan and that’s it. No, we tried to teach them forever and then you could see that the team was growing and progressing.

ou have often been misunderstood in England. Do you think you were treated unfairly at Liverpool? I think the good thing about me is that when you leave you can see a lot of players later on say ‘Listen, I was learning something’. Imagine (Jamie) Carragher, he was playing as a left full-back when we came, then he became one of the best centrebacks. Why? Because we were trying to coach him in a different way. (Steven) Gerrard was scoring about ten goals then we played him right-wing or as a second striker and he was scoring more than 20 goals every year. We were trying to adapt our tactics also to the Premier League, to the English style. People were saying “He was great in the Champions League but not in the Premier League” 82 points and 86 points was twice the record in the history of the club. So we were doing well with the resources that we had. The problem was that you had to sell some players to buy players if you wanted to progress because we didn’t have a big budget. We were trying to teach our players in a way that they would be learning forever, not just that they would follow the game-plan and that’s it. No, we tried to teach them forever and then you could see that the team was growing and progressing. Rafael Benitez Do you think managers are going to get time anymore to mould a team? You had six years at Liverpool but as soon as you had one poor season you were out. To be fair, at Liverpool we were unlucky with the owners. It was a difficult time. You can ask (Roy) Hodgson because for six months he was with them, we were with them for three years. It was a very difficult time because they didn’t understand football, it was just a business. It’s true that you have more people investing money in football and they want results right now and that means that they put more pressure on the manager. Does that frustrate you, when you know what your plan is and everybody is thinking in the short-term? No, at the same time we have experience. I went to Extremadura and we were promoted in the first year. Tenerife, we were promoted in the first year. At Valencia we won the league title after 31 years, and Liverpool won the Champions League after 21 years. And then we went to Inter and won two trophies in six months. So we don’t have any problem managing short-term projects. But, ideally, we believe that longterm projects are much better for the stability of the club and at the same time we have the expertise to do it because we have been at different clubs at different levels. Also my staff are good so I think that we have enough experience and knowledge to manage and try to find this club. You obviously cared a lot about Liverpool as a club. How much did it hurt you when you left? It was really difficult but I could see that it was impossible to continue with the people in charge. I could see that they didn’t want to follow my ideas, they were just thinking about business. We were there for six years and we were improving the team and the squad and a lot of things, but one bad season and we had a lot of criticism. I could see that we would not be progressing, because we didn’t have the support or the money to change things. The most difficult thing is the last step. We were improving everything; we were in the Champions League every year, which is where you receive the big money. But for the last step, to challenge every year, you have to spend money on the squad and we were not spending the money. If you see the figures, we were spending less money every year.

Fernando Torres

exactly what we needed and we had localised players like (Mikel) San Jose and (Emiliano) Insua, who are now playing in Europe. They were localised because they were here for three years. We had these players and we didn’t need to spend too much because these players were coming from the system to be in the squad, so we just had to find the right players. Everything changed when we left the club, Hodgson was in charge and they decided to sign a different kind of player then six months or a year later they had to sign new players again because something was wrong. How pleased are you for Kenny Dalglish that he is back in charge, particularly as it was you who originally brought him back to the club? At that time we wanted to bring in someone who could understand the history of the club and what the club means to the fans, because we didn’t have it from the owners. Bringing Kenny back was a good option for us to be stronger as a club and a unit. I had to go, but I think it was fine because when they had some problems, Kenny could improve the things that they were doing. Do you think that he can achieve the kind of things that you did? It depends if he has the support of the owners. They have spent a lot of money but can they continue spending big money? I don’t know. But if you want to challenge against United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham, you have to have a very good plan and keep spending some money wisely. What is it like to watch Fernando Torres as an outsider now, considering that you signed him and helped to make him such a great striker? Fernando is a great lad. It was a pity he had to go because the club was going in the wrong direction when he left. Now he has to score goals but he has the potential. You don’t score 50 goals quicker than anyone in the Premier League and then say he’s not good enough. He’s a great player and he needs his confidence back. Scoring goals is key for a striker so I think that he will be fine. It’s a question of time, if they (Chelsea) can find a way that he will be consistent and scoring goals every week.

Could you sense it was slipping away, that your time was coming to an end? Yes. I had a conversation with the people in charge and I could see that they didn’t understand. We had an offer from Inter Milan, a great offer, after we had a problem because they promised me things that they didn’t do. Football is a very complicated business. Do you regret that you left Liverpool just before the new owners arrived? Do you think you could have pushed on with their investment? Yes, obviously with the money they have spent and the squad that we had, we could have been even better. Because we knew

Stephen Gerrard

Kenny Dalglish


Age grade competitions are purely developmental, says Erico

WAUG: ABU leads in judo with 2 gold from 3 events



hmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, with two gold and one bronze, is leading in the judo event at the 13th West Africa University Games (WAUG) holding in Ilorin. ABU’s Emmanuel Sanni won the -66kg men’s title, leaving Kone Issa of the University of Senegal (UCAD), Dakar, with the silver. Abdul Ilboudo of the University of Ouagadougou (UO), Burkina Faso, and Williams Olaina of the University of Lagos, won the event’s two bronze medals. In the women’s -63 kg, Maria Musa of ABU also won the gold medal, while A.O. Adeniyi of the Adekunle Ajasin University (AAUA), Akungba, won the silver. Sadia Zoungrana of the University of Kondougou (UK), Burkina Faso, and Adepoju Kafayat of the University of Lagos won the bronze medals. Earlier, Fidelis Awusa of the University of Port Harcourt had won the gold in the +100kg men’s event, while Niang Cheikh of the University of Senegal (UCAD), Dakar, won the silver, while ABU’s Saidu Sallau won the bronze medal. Judokas are competing in seven men’s events and eight women’s events at the Games holding at the University of Ilorin Sports centre. Events were held in the men’s 90kg and -60kg events, and the women’s -57kg event, yesterday. The competition, which started on Sunday, will end on April 5.

Dolphins, Tornadoes tie called off again


he Nigeria Premier League has again postponed the rescheduled week 12 match between champions, Dolphins and Niger Tornadoes. The match, which was supposed to be played today at the Liberation Stadium in Port Harcourt, has now been postponed because of Dolphins’ CAF Champions League tie against 11-time Cameroonian champions, Cotonsport Garoua. Dolphins will be departing for Cameroon today ahead of the tie against Cotonsport and the NPL has now postponed the tie to a later date. “Yes the game has been postponed because we will be travelling to Cameroon on Wednesday (today). We don’t know have the new date (when the game will be replayed) yet but we know the game has now been postponed,” Dolphins secretary, Ahmed Abdulrahman said. The Dolphins contingent, which includes 20 players and eight officials, is expected to arrive in Cameroon tomorrow. Dolphins won the first leg of their CAF Champions League game against Cotonsport 2-1 in Port Harcourt.


Francisca Ordega

Esther Sunday of Falconets

oe Erico, a former Assistant Coach of the Super Eagles, has urged the handlers of the country’s cadet teams to focus more on developing grassroots football than winning FIFA competitions. Erico argued that failure to appreciate the concept has led to misplaced priority with the resultant resort to the use of agecheats to win competitions instead of dedicating energies to the grassroots to discover and develop talents for subsequent deployment. “The Nigeria I know would want to win FIFA age grade competitions at all costs. We always want to win by all means, which is wrong; losing can also be a blessing in disguise, because it helps teams improve on their style of play. “Basically age-grade competitions are geared mainly towards the development of the foundational aspects of the game and nothing more,”he said stressing that grassroots football development was a continuous process that should be sustained with the patience it required. “It is mainly for development, we cannot get it right overnight;

Principal decries lack of sports equipment in primary, secondary schools


he Principal of Community Secondary School, Pabod, Port Harcourt, Mrs Elizabeth Benstowe, says the lack of sports equipment in primary and secondary schools has hampered the country’s growth in sports. Further, Benstowe said the poor number of students participating in sports has made it difficult for Nigeria to produce quality athletes. According to her, one way of ensuring that athletes who would represent the nation in international meets were groomed was through the provision of equipment and infrastructure in primary and secondary schools. “To actualise this dream, the

schools need to have their own facilities to develop future leaders in the sports sector,” the principal said. Benstowe urged individuals, parents, community leaders and lovers of sports to donate equipment and trophies to promote competition in schools noting that talent hunt should begin at the primary school level. “I appeal to philanthropists and corporate bodies to provide sports equipment and sponsor games that will keep the students busy and also serve as athletes grooming ground,” Benstowe said. On her school, Benstowe said that their challenges included inadequate classrooms and the lack of laboratories to enhance the practical teaching of science subjects. She also said that the

it’s a gradual process, which will aid the support structure of the game,” he said. Assessing the Nigeria Premier League (NPL), Erico said that the bickering and litigations besetting the league were regrettable but expressed optimism that things would get better.

Erico, a former goalkeeper of the Green Eagles in the 1970s, said that there was the need for a seamless operation in the NPL to create an enabling environment to encourage investors. “There is always light at the end of the tunnel; we are in the tunnel at the moment but I am optimistic that we will make a headway,”Erico said.

Allah-Dey urges SWAN to promote local leagues


former legislator and Chairman, Kogi Committee on Football Administration, Alhaji Mustafa Allah-Dey, has called on the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) to promotion the local league through adequate media coverage. Allah-Dey made the call when the newly-inaugurated executive members of the state chapter SWAN paid him a courtesy visit on Monday in Lokoja. He said such coverage would encourage players and management of teams to put in their best and make talent hunt school had no library to encourage reading among the students. The principal noted that competing in sports constituted an essential aspect of the school’s curriculum to ensure what she described as the legitimate development of children. “The measurable attributes, when developed in our children can lay the foundation for professionalism; moreover, the gains of competitive spirit which is implanted in them can be far reaching,” she added.

Chief Patrick Ekeji, DG, NSC

easier for football growth. According to Allah-Dey, the state government is ready to collaborate with management of local sports clubs in the state to boost sports development, but regretted that the efforts of the government in sports development were being under reported. The chairman urged SWAN to partner with the state government in boosting sports development. He assured athletes that with the completion of a 25,000-seat capacity FIFA standard stadium in Lokoja, the state government would soon start hosting big tournaments. The Chairman enjoined SWAN to assert its authority in the coverage of events at the stadium. Responding, the Chairman of SWAN, Mr Paul Omale, promised that the association would not falter in discharging its responsibilities to sports loving Nigerians. Omale, however, solicited for the partnership of the stakeholders for effective coverage of sports. Earlier during a visit to FRCN Prime FM Lokoja, its General Manager, Mr Kola Olumolu, called for a virile sports institution to resuscitate the sector. Olumolu said sport was a unifying factor in the country, adding that it should be given priority in the scheme of things. “Except in sports, it is difficult to meet at any point and agree easily. We need to resuscitate sports in Kogi.” The Manager commended the revival of SWAN in the state and charged it to promote sports in all ramifications. Olumolu said that plans had reached advanced stage for a sports programme on the station.

Egypt cancel Eagles Abu Dhabi clash


ue to a sponsorship glitch forcing them to fold their UAE camp Egypt will no longer be able to face Nigeria in their scheduled Abu Dhabi thriller. Coach Diaa Al Sayed revealed to SuperSport that they had recieved the letter yesterday from the UAE Football federation advising them of the development and were now scambling to secure another sponsor. Diaa also further informed that” Since we dont know if the new camp will be in the UAE or not , we certainly can not etch any games especially that against the Super Eagles in stone and have to cancel.” The Coach also relayed that Egypt would try and reschedule the game as they really looked forward to playing Keshis new look Eagles whom they now ranked among Africa’s most improved teams. “We like Nigeria because they are local “ added the Coach. Next Egypt had hoped to face Angola but that Coach Stephen Keshi in training with the Super Eagles in Abuja too may now be in jeopardy.



Patrick Andrew with Agency Report


thiopian running legend Kenenisa Bekele will start his campaign for a fourth Olympic gold this summer by running the 3 000m at the opening Diamond League meet of the season on May 11 in Doha. The defending 5 000m and 10 000m Olympic champion, and world record-holder in both events, has spent almost two years on the sidelines due to a string of injuries, making his comeback last September when he won the 10 000m in Brussels. Bekele has so far amassed 16 World titles on the track and in Cross Country and is the reigning Olympic champion at both distances. Kenya’s Cheruiyot is the reigning female World 5000m and 10,000m champion following a stellar 2011 season in which she also become World Cross Country champion. In his first ever outing in Doha, the Ethiopian will race the 3000m an event he has not competed in since his triumph at the World Athletics Final in Thessaloniki in September 2009. “The presence of Kenenisa Bekele is officially confirmed. The outdoor season will once again start from Doha and this year the challenge looks bigger, as 2012 is an Olympic year,” the meeting director Abdulla al-Zaini announced on Monday. Apart from Bekele, the meeting director also announced that Vivian Cheruiyot, Genzebe Dibaba and Pamela Jelimo will be among the headline acts when the 2012 Samsung Diamond League season of 14 meetings blasts off in Doha, Qatar. Cheruiyot, the reigning world champion in both the 5 000m and 10 000m, will feature in the women’s 3 000m and will be joined by teammate Pamela Jelimo, the Olympic 800m champion and recently-crowned world indoor champion. Genzebe Dibaba, the world 1 500m indoor champion, has equally confirmed participation. After her junior career World championship victories on the track and cross country, took her first senior World title over 1500m at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul last month to cap a superb indoor season. Also confirmed today were Sudan’s two-time World Indoor 800m champion Abubaker Kaki who was a silver medallist last month in Doha, who will battle against Kenyan Alfred Kirwa Yego, 2007 World champion and Moroccan record holder Amine Laalou. In the women’s 800m, 22-year-old Indian record holder (1:59.17) and Daegu semi-finalist Luca Tintu will take on Jelimo Dibaba, the 2008 Olympic 800m champion, signalled a full comeback from injury this past indoor season which also culminated with her triumph in Istanbul. Other big names on show wiill be Doha-based Sudanese Abubaker Kaki, world silver medallist and 2010 world indoor champion in the men’s 800m, who will race the 1500m as he targets double Olympic gold in London. Kaki will face stiff Kenyan opposition from current Olympic and world champion Asbel Kiprop, 2011 world silver medallist Silas Kiplagat and world indoor silver medallist Augustine Choge. Three initially non-scheduled events, the men’s 100m, 800m and 3 000m, were added to the programme as organisers sought to better fill the stadium of the Qatar Sports Club. “Our biggest challenge is to attract more spectators for this meeting,” said Sandro Giovanelli, athletes’ consultant for the meet. This year we are willing to present the best ever event to the public. We are confident that we will have more star athletes than last year.” Last year’s Diamond League meeting featured no US or Jamaican sprinters of note because it clashed with the Jamaica International Invitational meeting in Kingston, which has been upgraded from ‘continental’ to an IAAF World Challenge Meeting. As a result, the best sprinters from Jamaica and the United States opted to stay closer to home. This year, the calendar has been reshuffled and the Jamaica International Invitational will now be held on May 5, potentially opening up the way for Jamaican sprinters to compete in Doha.

Jelimo Dibaba

Kenenisa Bekele

Bekele to begin fourth Olympic gold medal chase in Doha

Asbel Kiprop

Samsung Diamond League - 2012 Calendar Doha, QAT - 11 May Shanghai, CHN - 19 May Rome, ITA - 31 May Eugene, USA - 2 June Oslo, NOR - 7 June New York, USA - 9 June Paris, FRA - 6 July London, GBR - 13 / 14 July Monaco, MON - 20 July Stockholm, SWE - 17 August Lausanne, SUI - 23 August Birmingham, GBR - 26 August Zurich, SUI - 30 August Brussels, BEL - 7 September

Vivian Cheruiyot

Abubakar Kaki

Gay focusing on 100m in Olympic season


fter being hampered by strings of injuries, US sprinter Tyson Gay, says he has fully recuperated and has begun vigorous preparations to compete against the likes of Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell. Gay hopes to put gthe woes of the previous seasons behind him and turn his focus on the summer 2012 London Olympic season especially the 100m where Bolt is the current depending champion. The Jamaican snatched the record in Beijing where he clocked 9.58 seconds. Gay reasoned over the weekend that his postinjury training allows him to attempt a sprint double. “I’ve had some minor setbacks with nagging injuries. I’ve been taking it slower, and I don’t have the same quality I wanted to do the double,” he said. Gay’s 2011 season ended in July when he had arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn labrum muscle in his hip. He says the injury is healed but adductor muscle strains and inflammation around his pubic bone have cost him training time since Novem ber. He has been training on grass rather than on the track in an effort to putt less wear on his body, and doesn’t even know when or if he’ll race before the US Olympic trials at Eugene, Oregon, in June.

“Maybe I want to pick a race before trials, or maybe just run at trials and see how it goes,” Gay said. “I’m just not going to have the opportunity to have a lot of races like I normally do.” Gay has endured a frustrating few years, including a hamstring injury in a 200m heat at the 2008 Olympic trials. In 2009 he had a groin injury, followed by last year’s hip injury. However, he’ll give it all he’s got to defend his 100m title at the US trials a cut-throat competition that for many US athletes is more stressful than the Games themselves. “The trials are tough,” Gay said. “I know all these guys are going to be gunning for me, gunning for that spot, gunning for glory. I want to defend my championship and get to London.” There he would like to take on the world’s best expected to be led by Jamaican Usain Bolt and fill a gap in his resume with an Olympic medal, preferably gold. “I put some pressure on myself because I want to get it accomplished,” said the 29year-old, who won the 100m and 200m at the 2007 world championships. “That’s my goal. I want an Olympic medal to come home with it. “I’m never going to be satisfied, but I would be satisfied in that area with a me dal .”



QUOTABLE QUOTE Take chances, make mistakes. That's how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave — Mary Tyler Moore



Eto'o drops €3m lawsuit against Barca


arc elon a says their former striker Samuel Eto'o has withdrawn a lawsuit claiming €3 million in unpaid dues from his 2010 transfer to Inter Milan. The European and Spanish champions said in a statement Tuesday that it had received the news from a letter issued by Catalunya's Superior Court. Eto'o had also been demanding an undisclosed amount of interest from the move. Barcelona paid Inter $66 million for striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic in a deal that included Eto'o going the other wa y. The Cameroon striker was one of Barcelona's most successful players, scoring 152 goals and helping the club to two Champions League and three Spanish league titles. Eto'o moved from Inter to Russian club Anzhi Makhackala last year.

NFF sweats on Saintfiet’s work permit


he Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is in the process of securing a work permit for the newlycontracted Technical Director, Tom Saintfiet. NFF officials are already in touch with the Nigeria Immigration Services to procure the work permit for the Belgian coach who is expected to arrive in Nigeria next week to sign his contract papers with the NFF. Deputy Director, Technical of the NFF, Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme, revealed that the former Ethiopia coach will resume duty in April after signing his contract papers with the federation. He also disclosed that before Saintfiet’s resumption, his official car and accommodation would have been made available. “Tom Saintfeit will also be here next week to sign his contract papers. So far, we have been doing the paper documentation with the Immigration Services with a view to securing his work permit,” Ikpeme said.


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Squirrel, viper and the secretive parliament T

he viper is a deadly snake. But it is also calm and calculating. One day, it lied in a cool shade obviously enjoying a good rest. The squirrel climbed the three and as usual began its loud wise “kwa, kwa, kwa!” The viper warned the squirrel to keep quiet. “In your own interest and the well being of branch of this tree you perched on and my own, remain quiet.” The squirrel was adamant. His “Kwa, kwa, kwa!” drew the attention of the hunter, who fired his gun, “Gba!” and down came the dead squirrel. With it came the shattered tree branch. The squirrel and broken tree branch crashed on the viper. When the hunter came forward to pick his game, he was confronted by a sitting viper. He did not hesitate to fire a shot to kill the snake. For the simple reason of the refusal of the squirrel to keep quiet, the rodent lost its life. The tree was broken and the viper shattered to smithereens. The parable of the viper is the story of Hon. Herman Hembe, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market. It is not in doubt that Arunma Oteh, the DirectorGeneral of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is not altogether clean. She is not deserving of the exalted office she occupies. But like the viper, she was calm and calculating. Hon. Hembe ignited the confidence in her when he went very, very personal and at a given point, he asked her this question: “what is your qualification? Where is your CV? Bring you credentials.” They say that when the eagles are silent, the parrots jabber. Oteh, for all her faults, did obtain a first class at the UNN and rose to become the Vice-President of the African Development Bank (ADB) and could not understand how her tormentors should attempt to score a political point by subjecting her to public humiliation. Her point to her tormentors was simple: if you come to equity, you must come with clean hands. In other words, those with glass moral jaws should not throw punches. If Hembe had ever thought the SEC DG was a doormat or a sitting duck, the woman proved him wrong during her appearance before the Capital Market Committee the next day. If Hembe had ever doubted her academic and professional pedigree, the

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Speaker Aminu Tambuwal woman, like a determined fighter, reeled out her credentials. It was obvious she was determined to reclaim her reputation, which was threatened by questions over her qualification. Once done with the aspects dealing with her qualifications, Arunma Oteh finally went for Hembe’s jugular. In his book, 48 Laws of Power, Robert Green advises that you always go after your opponent’s weaknesses to humble him. And Oteh effectively did just that. She frontally attacked the moral qualification

of Herman Hembe to question her conduct. She wondered how a lawmaker who collected estacode and other expenses from SEC to attend a capacity building conference abroad but never did should have the audacity to question the integrity of others. She said Hembe never returned the hard currencies, despite not attending the workshop in the Dominican Republic. But the bigger shock was her allegation that Hembe had demanded N5 million cash a day before the hearing out of N39 million the Committee allegedly demanded to help it facilitate the task. Suddenly, public scrutiny shifted to Hembe and other members of the Committee on Capital Market. Both Hembe and his deputy had told the EFCC investigators that, indeed, they collected the estacode and sundry expenses for a foreign conference they never attended and which they also never refunded. Scandalized by this incident, the House leadership forced Hembe to stand aside along with other members of the Committee while the House Ethics Committee was saddled with the task of

Why are our lawmakers afraid of open scrutiny? Are they scared that their double standard may be exposed? If they have nothing to hide, why must they have anything to fear about live TV coverage of public hearings? Open government is the essence of the democratic system. If the House leadership is contemplating this TV ban on public hearings to protect themselves, then what becomes of the public interest, which they swore to protect?

continuing with the SEC investigation and the conduct of Capital Market Committee members. This incident is a moral blow to the collective image of the National Assembly. The primary focus of this column today however is not only about the bad image of the lawmakers but also about the rumours going round that the House leadership is contemplating a ban on live TV coverage of public hearings, especially on “sensitive” issues. In the course of doing damage control, the House leadership must avoid the temptation of undermining the essence of democracy – openness and public scrutiny. This incident, no matter how bad its resonating moral consequences, should not justify the move to institute secret trials. Every afternoon, the Sky Television network transmits the British Parliament live, where the Prime Minister and government ministers face a grilling from fellow MPs on public issues and policies. No issue is considered too sensitive not to be discussed openly. Despite its perceived security implications, the March 2003 US/British invasion of Iraq was openly debated to establish the veracity of claims that the late Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Why are our lawmakers afraid of open scrutiny? Are they scared that their double standard may be exposed? If they have nothing to hide, why must they have anything to fear about live TV coverage of public hearings? Open government is the essence of the democratic system. If the House leadership is contemplating this TV ban on public hearings to protect themselves, then what becomes of the public interest, which they swore to protect? The move is counterproductive because it may lead to a perception that the lawmakers are desperate to cover up their tracks to avoid future scandals. What is needed is not a ban on live TV coverage but a demonstration of sincerity, patriotism, integrity and selflessness by our lawmakers. How would our lawmakers earn respect when they demand money from ministries and departments of government during budget defence, oversight assignments and public hearings? This is unheard of in modern democracies.

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Peoples Daily Newspaper, Wednesday, April 04, 2012  
Peoples Daily Newspaper, Wednesday, April 04, 2012  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Wednesday, April 04, 2012 Edition