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Vol. 10 No. 69

Thursday, April 4, 2013

. . . putting the people first

Jimadal Ula 24, 1434 AH

Merger: CPC inaugurates convention c'ttee

20 killed in FCT, Bauchi auto crashes

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Northern elders meet Jonathan By Lawrence Olaoye


orthern elders under the aegis of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) yesterday met with President Goodluck Jonathan to dialogue

. . . insist on amnesty for Boko Haram on how to resolve the spate of insecurity in the northern parts of the country. The elders impressed it upon him to consider amnesty for

the insurgents. It was learnt that the meeting was called by the President to aggregate the views of the stakeholders on

how best to handle the insurgents in the north who have made lives unbearable for the people in the region. Although details of the


meeting with the President was sketchy as at the time of filling this report, it was learnt that a meeting earlier held by the elders at Sheraton Hotels, Abuja, chaired by Dr. Maitama Sule, resolved to prevail on Jonathan to have a rethink of his earlier stand not to grant amnesty to a ‘faceless group’. Contd on Page 2


Board sacks Mint MD, others Top officials jittery

By Aminu Imam & Abdulwahab Isa


he Board of Directors of the Nigerian Security, Printing Minting Company Plc (NSPMC) yesterday sacked the

Mr. Ehi Okoyomon

embattled Managing Director of the company Mr. Ehi Okoyomon; the Executive Director Operations Lagos factory, Des Isibor; and Head, Security Control of the Lagos factory, Clement Evarue; over allegations of N2 billion stolen from Mint Lagos plant. A competent source who confirmed the sack of the top officials to Peoples Daily yesterday, said the committee set up by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who chairs the Mint Board, indicted them of negligence in their duties. An insider at the Mint told our correspondent in confidence that the Board took this decision to forestall the imminent sack of Okomoyon and the other board members by the Federal Government today. Contd on Page 2

L-R: Chairman, Advisory Council of Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation, Justice Mamman Nasir with Emir of Bauchi, Alhaji Rilwanu Adamu, during a peace and solidarity visit to the emir on Tuesday, in Bauchi. Photo: NAN

JTF kills six insurgents in Kano raids

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Merger: CPC inaugurates convention c’ttee By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


















n the spirit of the proposed merger of opposition parties for a formidable platform against 2015 presidential race, the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) yesterday commissioned a thirty- three-member committee charged to plan the party’s convention to endorse the proposed merger with some other political parties. Inaugurating the committee headed by Hassan

As ACN fixes convention for April 18 Muhammadu Lawal at the party's national secretariat, the CPC National Chairman, Tony Momoh, charged it to propose a date for the convention. Other members of the committee are Senators Sani Saleh, Abubakar Sadiq Yar’adua, Hadi Sirika, Solomon Ewuga, Saleh Damboyio, Ibrahim Musa and Abu Ibrahim. Others are Hon. Abdullahi

Idris Garba, Hon Garba Datti, Gen. India Garba (rtd), Chief Alex Hart, Mr Eddy Ogunbor, Barr Sharon Ikeazor, Chief Jerry Johnson, Otunba Basirat Noibi, Mr. Chris Hassan, Dr Louis Ogbuefi, Alh Munir Yakubu, Alh Suleiman Hassan, Owelle Oscar Udoji, Dr. Idika Ochaa, Dr. Marliyya Zayyan. Reacting to the development, the National Publicity

Secretary of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Alhaji Lai Mohamed, disclosed that ACN will be hold its convention on April 18. According to him, the party will renounce its identity and declare its intention to merge with other opposition political parties for the 2015 Presidential race, aimed at ousting the ruling PDP from power.

UNTH resumes open heart surgery


he University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu has resumed open heart surgery which was suspended about 10 years ago, Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, said yesterday while briefing State House correspondents after the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan. Maku explained that open heart surgery was being carried out at the UNTH but suspended following the relocation of the

hospital from its former site within the Enugu metropolis to its permanent site at ItukuOzala. According to him, with the development, Nigerians with various heart conditions may no longer the need to travel abroad for surgery which could now be performed in the country at the rate of about N500,000. Maku said that the FEC was impressed with the performance of of the Ministry of National Planning for coming up with the Performance Contract initiative which is being used to assess the

performances of various ministries and other government agencies. Ministers of National Planning and Sports, Dr. Shamsudeen Imam and Mallam Bolaji Abdulahi respectively also briefed the media on the progress reports presented to FEC. On the report presented by his ministry, Usman said that with the introduction of the Performance Contract signed between the President and the ministers in August 2012, over three quarters of the ministers have now submitted the

progress reports of their ministries. According to him, “for the first time in history, government is being accountable to the people. “We account to the President who appointed us but many are turning their reports into annual reports which are made available to the people.” According to him, with the reform system put in place, Nigeria now produces better quality statistics which have earned the commendation of the international community.

N2bn theft: Board sacks Mint MD, others As Nigerians await Jonathan's housing 'revolution,' Page 4



Strange World 35 Politics








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Contd from Page 1 However, the embattled Mint MD, Ehi denied he was sacked. He told one of our correspondents in a phone conversation yesterday that he voluntarily tendered his resignation to the board as, according to him, “I am no longer pleased with the situation of things”. Efforts to speak with the ED, Isibor were futile yesterday, as his line was not reachable. An alleged theft of N2 billion currency notes was uncovered in Lagos plant last year, prompting the CBN governor to set up an audit committee to unravel the circumstances leading to the theft. While Ehi was asked to proceed on

compulsory leave, Alhaji Nuhu Ahmed Bamalli, who hitherto was ED Corporate Services, was appointed in acting capacity as MD of the NSPMC. It was gathered that the board faulted the suspended MD for failing to disclose to it that such amounts of money had gone missing even though the company had set up an internal investigation after a mint staff was arrested in Lagos for being in possession of unnumbered bank notes. Part of the CBN audit team’s investigation was to unravel why the management of the Mint company has consistently refused to place Closed-Circuit Television

(CCTV) in its Abuja and Lagos factories, and why other security measures were deliberately set aside. The audit team had, however, established that the theft of printed bank notes could be traced to security lapses and security personnel who take custody of newly printed bank notes, and when there were shortages, they were never reprimanded. The entire security department is said to be directly under the supervision of MD. It was also learnt that this would be the second time that Okoyomon would be going on suspension as he suffered a similar experience in 2007 for three months when Charles Soludo, who

had appointed him in the first place, was CBN governor. After seven and a half years on the job, Okoyomon has been the longest serving MD of the NSPMC, with previous chief executives spending an average of five years in office. Efforts to get the CBN to comment on the development were unsuccessful. The CBN Director, Corporate Communications, Mr. Ugochukwu Okoroafor, did not respond to repeated calls put across to him. It would be recalled that the NSPMC lost its independence when Soludo, as CBN governor, became chairman of the company’s board of directors.

Northern elders meet Jonathan Contd from Page 1

It was learnt that the NEF maintained its earlier demands submitted to the President in May last year which he has yet to act upon. The elders in the address had raised the alarm over the calamitous effect of the activities of the insurgents on the economy of the north and called upon the government to urgently put in motion steps to ensure dialogue with them. One of the conveners of the meeting who spoke with this reporter on phone but would not want his name in print until the outcome of the elders’ meeting with the President is

made public, said: “Amnesty for the insurgents remains the main issue discussed at the Sheraton meeting, but we cannot say anything more than this until the final meeting with the President after which we would issue a release.” Apart from the amnesty issue, the elders had in an earlier submission made to Jonathan expressed worry about corruption in the nation’s private and public institutions, just as they urged the government to urgently address the challenge of unemployment in the country. The NEF had also urged the

government to urgently begin exploration activities of hydrocarbons in the north, even as they demanded that budgetary allocation be made available for the exploration and exploitation of the vast oil, gas and solid mineral deposits in the region. The elders, in the same address read by their Chairman, had expressed worry over the regime of impunity as the government has failed to sanction known promoters of the insurgents in the north. The NEF also counselled Jonathan to reconsider the recommendations

of the Borno Elders on how to resolve the crises and implement the Galtimari Committee Report without delay. Again, the northern elders had complained about the disparity in citing of federal projects as evidenced in the 2012 budget even as they pointed out that the present share of the North in the Federal Service stood at just 18 percent. In order to stem the menace of desert encroachment in the region, the NEF urged the government to establish Arid Zone Development Commission to tackle the challenge.



ratifies concession of JTF kill six insurgents in Kano raids FG Lagos, Abuja national stadia T T From Edwin Olofu, Kano

he Joint Military Taskforce (JTF) in Kano yesterday raided hideouts of suspected terrorist in separate operations that left not fewer than six suspected militants dead in Yankaba, Ungwar-Dabai and Gwammaja all within the municipal local councils of the state. A source who pleaded anonymity said the JTF stormed the three hideouts at about 4.00 am to effect the arrest of suspected militants believed to be hiding inside ‘a mark building’ when they came under fire and responded with superior firepower. The incident is coming barely 48 hours after unknown

gunmen shot to death three police officers at Yankaba area of Nasarawa local government area of the state in a restaurant, by 8.30 pm on Monday. The source further explained that the raid at Yankaba at the wee hours of yesterday led to the death of three suspected militants while a man believed to be the mastermind of premeditated attack on security operatives in that area was captured alive. Unconfirmed reports also had it that the suspected mastermind in a bid to evade arrest fired and killed a police officer during the raid before he was overpowered by the operatives of the JTF. At Unguwar Dabai area of Dala local government, the

combined team of the security also battled with suspected gunmen in an early morning raid at their hideout while three suspected militants died in an ensuing shootout. The dawn military campaign at the Ungwar-Dabai area involved a cordon and search operation that forced uneasy calm in the vicinity following reports of pockets of resistance that the JTF was able to contain. When contacted, JTF spokesman, Captain Ikediche Iwehja, said that, “yes, we carried out operations in three places, that is Yankaba, Ungwar-Dabai and Gwammaja areas of Kano metropolis. We killed one terrorist and arrested one at Yankaba.’

he Minister of Sports, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, said on Wednesday in Abuja that the Federal Government had approved the concession of the Lagos and Abuja national stadia to the private sector. Abdullahi said this while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan at the presidential Villa. He also said that the national stadia in Enugu, Bauchi, Kaduna and Ibadan would be handed over to the respective state governments for management. The Minister said that the decision was informed by the fact that the Federal Government could no longer afford the cost of maintaining the six stadia. According to him, “as you know, we have six federal major stadia; Enugu, Bauchi, Kaduna, Ibadan, Lagos and Abuja. “The Enugu stadium has been approved by the President for release to the Enugu State

Government. “The Bauchi state government has applied to Mr. President for us to release the Tafawa Balewa stadium to it. “So, we hope that other state governments will take on other stadia because it is no longer possible for the Federal Government to continue to maintain these facilities. We will now be left with Lagos and Abuja. “The direction we are heading for these two facilities will be concessioning to the private sector people that can operate them.’’ Abdullahi said that the concession of the Abuja and Lagos stadia was the outcome of the recommendation of the interministerial committee set-up last year by the President. According to him, the Infrastructure Concessioning and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) had listed the two stadia among the facilities for concessioning and came up with a framework on them.

Tukur urges opposition to join PDP against Boko Haram


L-R: Sokoto state Deputy Governor, Alhaji Mukhtari Shagari, Speaker, House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal; Dr. Bello Halliru Mohammed, Governor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, Chief Tony Anenih, addressing PDP supporters as part of the reconciliation effort by the party, yesterday in Sokoto

Health workers give FG Malian ultimatum on strike rebels fund, fresh he Joint Health Sector Minister of Labour Emeka Unions (JOHESU) and the Wogu. train, equip Assembly of Healthcare According to the statement, Professional Associations (AHPA) some of their grievances given the Federal include, implementation of the Boko Haram have Government fresh 21 days Justice Bello Abdullahi ultimatum to address alleged Presidential Committee report hindering the on harmony in the health - Army Chief obstacles attainment of effective health sector, promotion of health



he rising wave of terrorism in the country has been attributed to, among other factors, the affiliation of the Boko Haram sect to Mali rebels - Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Al Shabab - adding an international dimension to the insurgency. The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Azuibuke Ihejirika, made this disclosure yesterday, during an interactive session on MilitaryMedia Relations in Nigeria, held at the 81 Division Auditorium, Marina, Lagos.

service delivery in the country. The unions in a in a statement signed by the Chairperson of JOHESU, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, and that of AHPA, Comrade Godswill C. Okara, said they decided to extend the earlier ultimatum which expired yesterday due intervention by Minister of Labour Emeka Wogu. The unions had on March 13, 2013 issued a 15-day ultimatum to the Ministry of Health to implement a collective agreement signed on 10th May, 2012 but postponed it at expiration yesterday following intervention by the

professionals from CONHESS 14 to 15 in line with their respective schemes of service and the implementation of the 2008 Job Evaluation Committee report. The workers also want, “review of retirement age of healthcare professionals in teaching and research institutes to be at par with their counterparts in the university system, recomposition of the boards of management of tertiary health institutions to ensure equitable representation of health professional associations and registered trade unions.”

he People’s Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, has called on all opposition parties to join the Federal Government in the battle against insurgents in the country. Tukur stated this in London at the 2013 Nigerian Arise Award media chat organised by BEN TV. According to him, “Nigeria is under attack and these people attack churches, mosque, market places, schools, and even telecom facilities, it is not attributed to any part of the country, tribe or faith alone. “It is an evil that we must all challenge, don’t give it any other name other than evil, as a big party, I am calling on leaders of all the political parties, and this is not politics, CPC, ACN and all other political parties to come together to fight this evil,” Mr. Tukur said. He said the media had a key role to play in creating awareness to enable all Nigerians wake up to the challenge which was fast destabilising the nation. The insurgent Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for several attacks that have led to the death of hundreds of people in Northern Nigeria. They have attacked private and public buildings and property including police stations, prisons, banks, and schools. Tukur also defended President Goodluck Jonathan on the recent pardon granted to Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, the former Governor of Bayelsa state. “It is the guilty that is pardoned, not the man who did the right thing.”

“It is not the quantum of guilt, but the admittance of guilt based on self confession,” he added. He called for the understanding of Nigerians, saying the pardon was in good faith. The National Council of State headed by President Goodluck Jonathan last month granted state pardon to Alamieyeseigha and seven others, a move which has attracted controversy and criticism from Nigerians and the global community. With the state pardon, Mr. Alamieyeseigha is now free of the constitutional ban from holding public office. The PDP Chairman, who expressed the party’s commitment to resolving its internal crisis said upon assumption of office, he adopted the three “R, E and D’’ approach of reconciliation, education and dialogue among others to unite the party. He commended the “Nigeria Arise Award” initiative saying it would encourage Nigerians to strive to achieve in their various field. The Chairman of BEN TV and organiser of “Nigeria Arise”, Alistair Soyede, said the award is a project aimed “at a total reorientation of all Nigerians to aim high, rise and be worthy ambassadors of the country.” Mr. Soyede said that the 2013 award would cover 24 categories, ranging from personality, brands, governance and services. The late Literature icon, Chinua Achebe, would be honoured at this year’s ceremony which comes up in July in Abuja. (NAN)


As Nigerians await Jonathan's housing 'revolution' With the extension of the deadline for recapitalization of mortgage banks, President Goodluck Jonathan seems determined to fulfilling his promise of a housing revolution in Nigeria. And Nigerians can hardly wait for the expected mortgage loans, writes Associate Editor, Udenna Orji.


ousing sector operators and industry watchers were highly elated last week when news filtered through that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has extended the deadline for the recapitalization of Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs). The cheery news came through a circular signed by the apex bank's Director, Other Financial Institutions Supervision Department, Mr. Olufemi Fabamwo, extending the deadline for compliance with the Revised Guidelines for Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs) from April 30, 2013 to December 31, 2013. The CBN said the extension was "to afford all affected PMBs sufficient time to exercise any of the options for capital raising, business combination and downscaling. All PMBs are once again strongly advised to conduct due diligence and seek professional advice in exercising any of the options and to conclude the processes before the new deadline in order to allow sufficient time for capital verification and necessary regulatory approvals". The development which has brought joy to many stakeholders and other interested Nigerians, was least expected, taking many by surprise. It is a development that will definitely leave a lasting effect on the much sought-after development of the housing sector in Nigeria. Nigeria is facing a chronic housing shortage which has been worsened by a near-absent mortgage culture in the country. Market watchers see the extension as a concrete evidence of the commitment of President Goodluck Jonathan to fulfill his promise to usher in a housing revolution in Nigeria beginning from the second half of this year. The trio of President Jonathan; Finance Minister/ Coordinator of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; and Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Ms. Ama Pepple, have reportedly been holding regular discussions with stakeholders on how to fill the yawning housing deficit in Nigeria and use housing development to engender

employment opportunities across the land. Buttressing these facts, the President of Mortgage Bankers Association of Nigeria (MBAN), Mr. Femi Johnson said: "The shift in deadline was necessitated by the fact that the President and the Minister of Finance/CME are very passionate about building the housing and housing finance sectors in Nigeria, and thus are coming up with various initiatives to achieve this. They want to increase the number of mortgage loans from the current 20,000 loans to over 200,000 loans within the next five years. One of the new initiatives is the Nigeria Mortgage Refinancing Company (NMRC) which is being set up to be a secondary mortgage bank that will refinance mortgages originated by mortgage banks and commercial banks. The World Bank has already pledged the sum of $300 million as a 40year loan with a low interest rate to this company, and the company will be primarily owned by Mortgage Banks and Commercial banks, with a start up capital of N6 billion and it will be private sector owned and operated." Johnson explained that "the President needs all mortgage banks on hand to ensure the success of this turn around initiative, as without mortgage banks to originate these loans, there would be no loans for the NMRC to refinance when it commences operations, thus the CBN thought it wise to support this vision of the President by extending the deadline, in order to ensure that more mortgage banks are able to remain in business." Shelter is the third most important need of man, after food and clothing. Housing is so important to human existence that it is declared as one of the fundamental human rights. Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, Housing, medical care and necessary social services and the right to security in the

Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Ms. Ama Pepple

President Jonathan event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control". Every government therefore has a mandate to ensure that citizens it governs have access to and can afford the minimum standard of housing adequate for healthy living. Everywhere in Nigeria today, there is growing disenchantment among the majority, especially the medium and low income earners over the rising spate of homelessness and slums. As the world's most populous black nation, the population of Nigeria has kept increasing and the nation is touted by experts to be heading towards the 170 million mark. That ought to be an advantage considering that much of the population is made up of young people 45 years and under. Unfortunately, shortage of housing in Nigeria, estimated to be between 16 - 17 million units, is now biting not only the young population but the senior citizens as well. Home ownership in Nigeria is one of the lowest in the world. Even affordable rental housing is

scarce. According to the United Nations Habitat, in Nigeria, over 80% of the population lives in informal settlements in both the major urban areas and traditional villages. Average level of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) invested in housing declined from 3.6% in the 70s to less than 1% in 2002. Currently, it is less than 0.5% compared with 25% - 30% average in Emerging Markets and 50% in matured markets. This is despite the fact that Nigeria has an annual population growth rate of 5.9%. Consequently, slums are springing up everywhere in the country. Mortgage development has become critical in Nigeria. Mortgage is a lone given to somebody by a mortgage institution to build, buy or renovate a home in which the borrower will live or rent out while paying back the loan at an agreed interest rate periodically. The home serves as collateral until the borrower repays the loan and interest and takes full possession of the home. Mortgage allows you to live in your home or rent it out while paying gradually for it over an


Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, Housing, medical care and necessary social services and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control

agreed period of time, sometimes as long as 30 years. In a mortgage, you live in the house. It is potentially your own. You pay monthly as rent over a long time (agreed period) and once you complete payment, the papers are handed over to you and the house is fully yours. It is like paying rent over an agreed period and the house becomes yours. It is paying in installments on a home while living in it until you fully complete the payment. It is building/owning a home with ease; having your own home, living in it or renting it out and paying in installments. If you qualify for a mortgage to buy a house, you can rent it out and use the rental income to be offsetting the mortgages. Government must find the right policies to make this possible in Nigeria. The federal government should rise to the occasion now to forestall an epidemic of unmanageable proportion. Government should also start by completing its perennial review of the Land Use Act which experts have acknowledged to be the major obstacle to housing development in Nigeria. The housing sector needs to be fully activated not only because of the adequate shelter it will provide Nigerians but the developmental effect it will have on industry, job creation and economic growth. A rise in housing construction has a positive effect in virtually all sectors of the economy and indices of development. For more than a decade, we have been mouthing the review of the Land Use Act without any concrete action. The National Assembly should also expedite action on the various housing bills before it. Nigerians deserve better housing, including the good life associated with this fundamental human right.



Funding gap for education rises by $10bn in 3 years


ew calculations by UNESCO’s Education for All Global Monitoring Report reveal that the $16 billion annual external funding gap to achieve basic education in poor countries by the 2015 target date, has widened to $26 billion over the last three years. According to a statement issued by Kate Redman, Communications Specialist, Education for All Global Monitoring Report, UNESCO, this gap chiefly affects the achievement of universal primary education, the second

Workers worry over proposed merger of PCC, NHRC


orkers of some federal agencies slated for restructuring, yesterday, expressed their worry over the proposed exercise, including the merger of the Public Complaints Commission (PCC) with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). Some staff of PCC who spoke in Abuja, complained that they might lose their jobs if the commissions were merged. The Federal Government had also resolved to scrap some of its agencies in line with recommendations of the Stephen Oronsaye-led Presidential Committee on Rationalisation and Restructuring of government Commissions and Agencies. The PRO of the Public Complaints Commission, Mr. Chukwuemeka Nwosu, told NAN that he was not aware of the merger of the two commissions, adding that he only read about it in the newspapers. “We only saw in the newspapers this morning that the commission will be merged with NHRC: We are yet to be officially informed,’’ he said. Nwosu said that the commission was a constitutional creation, adding that it would be impossible for the commission to be scrapped unless the constitution was amended. He noted that the merger would cost some workers their jobs, adding that the duties of the commission were not the same with those of the NHRC. He said that the complaints commission’s activities were on administration while NHRC activities were on human activities. One of the staff of the commission, who pleaded anonymity, said that the merger would create unemployment and poverty in the country. He urged the Federal Government to create another helpful alternative that would save people’s jobs. (NAN)

Millennium Development Goal. The data is published in a policy paper released as new statistics show that development aid for 2012 is down 4%. The paper, entitled “Making Education for All Affordable by 2015 and beyond”, said that stagnating aid to basic education in low-income countries, which runs at an average of $3 billion annually, is the main reason for the $10 billion increase in the funding gap. Although domestic spending on education has increased by $3 billion annually in low-income countries in recent years, it still only amounts to half the amount required to achieve basic education for all. The study shows that filling the funding gap is possible if governments and donors prioritize education and target those most in need. “While $26 billion sounds like a large gap to fill, the analysis shows that it is possible to raise the resources needed to enroll every child in school by 2015,” said Irina Bokova, DirectorGeneral of UNESCO. “In 2000, donor governments promised that no

country would be prevented from achieving Education for All by a lack of resources. Alongside national governments, donors must now step up their efforts, to make sure finance is not the obstacle that stands in the way of helping all children go to school.” The paper presents possible solutions that would help make basic education achievable by 2015. If both governments and donors directed 20 per cent of their budgets to education and prioritized basic education, nearly $12 billion would be raised. Developing countries must also find new ways to raise additional revenue to finance basic education. Improving tax systems could reduce the gap by a further $7.3 billion. The study also recommended managing natural resources more effectively, with a proportion directed towards education. Prioritizing those most in need could, however, have a significant impact. Currently, around 25 per cent of direct aid to education is spent on students from developing countries to study in donor

countries. Some of this money could instead be spent on the development of education systems in poor countries, said the study. Fulfilling commitments already made would also make a difference. If European donors that agreed to allocate 0.7 per cent of their gross national income to aid – a long-standing United Nations target - fulfilled this commitment, a further $1.3 billion per year could be made available for education. Combined, these changes could reduce the annual gap for basic education from $26 billion to just $3.4 billion. If philanthropic organizations gave the same amount to basic education as they currently give to health, the gap could be filled, according to the study.There is widespread support in the international community for extending the education goal to include lower secondary school. The funding gap would increase from $26 billion to $38 billion each year if this more ambitious goal is endorsed. The study states that this gap could be reduced from $38 to $7.6 billion if

governments and donors were to prioritize basic and lower education in their budgets. A number of options are outlined to fill the remaining gap. Allocating five per cent of the proposed International Financial Transaction Tax to education would raise $2.4 billion. The donor base could also be widened by increasing aid contributions from the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) that currently give an estimated $163 million to basic education in low-income countries. For Pauline Rose, Director of the Education for All Global Monitoring Report, the lesson is clear: “After 2015 we cannot take it for granted that resources will be available to meet international commitments. Our key recommendation for those who are setting goals is that they must include a new, timebound, measurable financing target to hold donor and recipient governments to account for ensuring that all countries provide everyone with a good quality education.”

R-L: President goodluck Jonathan; Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim; and Head of Federal Civil Service of the Federation, Alhaji Bukar Goni Aji, during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting held at the State House, Abuja yesterday. Photo: Joe Oroye.

TCN sets up c’ttees for PHCN successor coys By Abdulwahab Isa


ransitional committees for the 15 Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) successor companies whose preferred bidders have paid 25 % of the bid value were constituted yesterday, in compliance with Share Sale Purchase Agreement (SSPA) approved by the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), The committees were inaugurated yesterday by the Chairman, Technical Committee of NCP, Mr. Atedo Peterside. Earlier, the Acting DirectorGeneral of the Bureau of Public

Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Benjamin Ezra Dikki explained that each successor company has a threemember committee, each of them from the Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE), the management of the successor companies and the preferred bidder. The BPE nominee is the chairman of each committee. According to Dikki, both BPE and the new owners have a mutual interest in ensuring that the companies operated in a way that would maintain the value of the company during the transition period. He added that the transition period could be within a month or a maximum of six months

depending on full payment. Transitional arrangements would allow a platform to ensure that both the companies and purchasers are ready for the handover process. He said that the managements and boards of the successor companies would continue to exercise their functions during the transition period without interference from the transitional committees. The terms of reference for the transition committees include facilitating the smooth transition and eventual handover of the management and operational control of the successor companies to the

purchasers; allow purchasers access to the companies in order to prepare for the implementation of their business plans laid out to the BPE. Others include providing a forum for purchasers to engage with existing management and employees to ensure a smooth transition and handover and allow BPE and the purchasers to monitor the on-going operations of the company to ensure efficiency in compliance with the terms of the SSPA. It would be recalled that Share Sale Agreements were executed between the preferred bidders and BPE on February 21, 2013.



Kano mass wedding: Screening exposes 20 HIV positive, 5 pregnant women …As Alhaji Isiyaka Rabi'u donates N2m, CBN Governor, N1m


mishmash of deliberately arranged and concocted lies, presented to the public as evidence of a document emanating from the Presidency. "This is not only dubious but raises concerns as to the length certain persons will go to perpetuate falsehood for the sake of their selfish ambitions. "Several interpretations of the purported Presidential directive appear to have been granted prominence by an alltoo-negative segment of the media, supported by partisan political jobbers all on the

premise of a suspicious-looking bromide. "The Presidency affirms that no such directive was ever conceived nor was any such directive put forth by President Goodluck Jonathan or his aides. "It is ironic that this is coming at a time when the President is actively engaged in serious discussions with various interest groups on how to further deepen the democratic experience as well as the key issue of how to build an economically viable federation.

"Nigerians should be wary of such tactic of old, one that seeks to undermine a current administration by creatively espousing imaginary fault lines, with the aid of fake documents to create doubt, fear and disbelief in the minds of citizens and true patriots. "We unequivocally state that in this case, as in others that may follow the same path, the Goodluck Jonathan administration has no desire to create any inhibitions to the expression of democratic ideas in the country.

The TCN Assistant General Manager (Public Affairs), Mr. Dave Ifabiyi, in a statement said that the 150MVA power transformer was provided by the World Bank through the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN)'s Project Monitoring Unit (PMU). According to the statement, the transformer replaces a previously failed 150MVA, 330/

132/33kV power transformer in the same transmission station. It noted further that the installation of the new 150MVA 330/132/33kV power transformer was successfully carried out by Areva Alston Engineering, in conjunction with TCN engineers, thereby increasing the wheeling capacity of the Ayede Transmission Station from 300MVA to 450MVA.

The statement said, "with the increased capacity of the Ayede Transmission Substation, it can now wheel more electricity to Ibadan Metropolis as well as the Shagamu and Ijebu Ode 132/33kV Transmission Substations. "This will translate into a more stable electricity supply for the socio-economic well-being of electricity customers in the benefiting states."

he Kano State Hisba Board has discovered 20 HIV positive and five pregnant among the 1,000 women to be married in the third batch of mass wedding on Sunday. The Commander General of the Board, Sheik Aminu Daurawa, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kano on Wednesday. He said the affected women were detected during the medical screening conducted on the prospective brides by the board across the 44 local government areas of the state. Aminu said that 20 prospective couples were also found to be HIV positive during the mandatory medical check-ups. He said that each of the 44 councils would hold the wedding prayer session for 21 couples while the session for the remaining 76 couples would be conducted in the state capital. The commander general said the board had set aside N10 million to be paid as dowries to the brides in addition to providing other essential items for the couples. Aminu said that renowned Kano-based businessman, Alhaji Isiyaka Rabi'u, and the Governor of the Central Bank (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, had donated N2 million and N1 million respectively towards the success of the programme. "A chieftain of the PDP and traditional title holder of DanSaran Kano in the state, Alhaji Gambo Danpass has also donated 200 bundles of lace to the brides'' "In addition GLO Mobile Telecommunication company has donated 2,000 SIM cards for distribution free to the couples,'' Aminu said. NAN recalls that traders at the popular Kantin Kwari Textile Market had last month donated N5 million toward the success of the mass wedding. (NAN)

sampling of the average northerner's preferred leadership qualities. According to the report signed by the coordinators, Rilwanu Charanchi and Ezekiel Edeh, explained that, "the most significant development in the northerners' perspectives on preferred leadership qualities for future politics in Nigeria, especially 2015 general elections, as revealed in the final report on the comprehensive sampling released in Katsina, headquarters of the NLTI, is that far-reaching changes such as the steady fragmentation of the region into states and the resultant erosion of the northern hegemony have triggered new trends in political

thought and attitudes which indicate support for a new generation of political leaders in the north." It listed some other considerations to include, national stature, strong professional credentials, positive track record in pragmatic service and promotion of unity in diversity in the north and building bridges of peaceful cooperation with other sections of the country. According to the report, "a tangible majority of respondents in the rural and semi-urban areas of the north where the true masses reside readily mentioned Vice President Namadi Sambo as the leading northerner in the national political arena who has

successfully blended with other strong constituencies, especially in the southsSouth, south-west and south-east, to promote the interest of northerners in the Nigerian federation." "The Vice President gained significant percentage points ahead of other northern leadership bracket principally as a result of his wellappreciated performance as Governor of Kaduna state where he entrenched effective security measures to complement his courageous campaign for peaceful co-existence thereby curbing crises and restoring peoples' confidence in government. "This was attributed by several respondents across the north for his

unopposed emergence as the best northern leader to team up with President Goodluck Jonathan who never overtly or covertly lobbied for the position in line with the tenets of true leadership for a new federal administration." Also highlighted was Sambo's "political maturity and personal human relations" as demonstrated in his crisis-free partnership with President Goodluck Jonathan and generally cordial ties with all other i personalities and leaders across the country as another common reference point in a majority of respondents' assessment of his performance at the Presidency.

L-R: Chairman, National Human Right Commission, Professor Chidi Odinkalu; Development Consultant, Mr. Brian Browne; and President, National Youth Council of Nigeria, Comrade Wale Ajani, during the Public Presentation of the Youth CSO Code of conduct and 2011 Nigerian Youth Election Report, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justtin Imo-Owo

Jonathan denies report on alleged presidential directive T

he Presidency yesterday dismissed as false, a report of "Presidential directive" on former Lagos state Governor Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, the APC and others. In a press statement, Media spokesman to President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Reuben Abati, said that the report was fictitious and designed to mislead the public, discredit the person and office of President Goodluck Jonathan and cause disaffection within the polity. According to the statement, "careful examination reveals a

TCN steps up power supply in Oyo, Ogun states

By Etuka Sunday


ransmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has wheeled more power to its customers in Oyo and Ogun states following the addition of new 150MVA, 330/ 132/33KV transformer in Ayede Transmission Station in Ibadan, Oyo state which has increased the nation's grid capacity by 150MVA (Maga Volt Amphere).

Sambo, icon of new northern leadership, says report By Agaju Madugba


esult of an opinion poll conducted by Northern Leaders Transformation Initiative (NLTI) across the 19 states in the north says Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo emerged "icon of the new leadership in the north." "Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo has been adopted as the icon of the new generation of political leaders the people of the northern states are yearning for," a report by the group said yesterday in Abuja. The report described the poll as an independent and in-depth



Child theft allegation: Irate youth kill father of six in Zonkwa From Mohammad Ibrahim, Kaduna t was pandemonium in Zankwa Zangon Kataf local government area of Kaduna state when hundreds of youth at the weekend attacked and killed a father of six, one Musa Umaru, on allegation that he stole a teenager in the area. Umaru’s family, denied the allegation saying the 13 year old boy in question, identified as Yolop, was handed over to the deceased by his (Yolop’s) grandfather to assist in rearing his cows. Peoples Daily further gathered that the deceased met his untimely death while returning from Bauchi state where he went to pick the teenager.


…As death toll rises in Kaduna attacks “He was on his way back from Bauchi on his motorcycle when he stopped at Zonkwa market to eat by the roadside and that was when the people, most of youth, surrounded and challenged him him to tell them how he got the boy. “Before he could explain to them, they started beating him,” said his elder brother, Alhaji Mu’azu Umaru. According to him, his brother was badly beaten and he later died at the St. Louis Hospital in Zonkwa where he was rushed for medical treatment. As he put it, “I was somewhere when I heard the sad news that

my younger brother was attacked by some youth who suspected him to be a child thief but that is not true because the boy was handed to him by his grandfather to help my brother rear his cows. “So all I want from the government is to intervene on the issue so that there will be justice.” Reacting to the incident, Chairman of the Zangon Kataf Maiyyiti Allah, Alhaji Shu’aibu Usman said that, “the people who killed him must pay compensation.” Also the grand- father Dauda Taru said he actually gave his grandson to the Fulani man to assist him rear his animals.

“I am based in Bauchi state and I was the one who gave the Fulani man my grandson, Yolap, to assist him with his animals because I did same in my younger age.” Meanwhile, the death toll in last weekend’s attacks on two southern Kaduna villages has risen to 28, according to the Chief of Atakad Chiefdom, Chief Tobias Nkom Wada. He spoke when he received members of the House of Representatives from southern Kaduna visited him in Tachire village where he was taking refuge. About 19 people from the area

were killed by unknown gunmen at the two villages. Wada told the legislators led by Hon. Godfrey Gaya (Jaba/ Zangon Kataf Federal Constituency) that the attackers were Fulani. According to him, “while my palace was being vandalised, the Fulani left for Ganawuri where we have villages bordering Plateau state. “There, they attacked the Atakad people, and there was a fight that lasted for three days until the Joint Task Force (JTF) stationed near there came and stopped the fight. That led to Atakad refugees coming back to my chiefdom.” Addressing the refugees at the Model Primary School in Fadan Atakad Gaya, said they came there to console with the people. “Any pain on any member of southern Kaduna is a pain on all and for you to be reduced to destitute to live in primary schools after losing your loved ones and fortunes is indeed sad, and we grief with you.”

Muslim group wants amnesty for Boko Haram


Emir of Dutse, Alhaji Nuhu Sunusi, with the vice chancellor, Federal University, Dutse, Prof. Jibrila Amin, during the monarch's visit to the institution, yesterday.

PSC dismisses ACP, four superintendents, over misconduct By Lambert Tyem ...Promotes CP To AIG, 13 CPs, others he Police Service


Commission (PSC) yesterday approved the immediate dismissal of an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), a Chief Superintendent (CSP), Superintendent of Police (SP), a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) over what the Commission described as acts of unprofessional conduct. Similarly, PSC approved the


gang of suspected Boko Haram gunmen attacked the palace of the District Head of Pulka, Ali Pulka, in Gwoza council area of Borno state and shot him dead before his wife and children during the Easter break. The incident reportedly happened at about 10.35pm on Monday. Pulka, is a border town with Cameroun, and 119 kilometres southeast of Maiduguri, the Borno state capital. A top police officer attached

elevation of a Commissioner of Police (CP) to an Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG), 13 Deputy commissioners of Police (DCPs) to commissioners of Police (CPs), 22 assistant commissioners of Police to Deputy commissioners of Police (DCPs), nine 9 CSPs to ACPs, 10 SPs to CSPs, nine DSPs to SP, 16 ASPs to DSP and 55 inspectors to ASP.

Rising from a meeting of the Commission, Chairman of PSC, Parry Osayande said that, “all the promotions are with effect from 3rd April, 2013 except for the CP to AIG which is with effect from 31st July, 2013. “Also, the Commission considered various disciplinary cases pending against some serving superior officers and awarded penalties or exculpation where necessary.

“Approval was also given for the dismissal of one ACP, one CSP, one SP, one DSP and an ASP for acts unexpected of senior police officers. “Furthermore, it also approved the reduction in rank of an SP and a DSP while severe reprimand, reprimand and letter of advice were awarded to some superior officers for acts unexpected of senior police officers.”

Gunmen kill Borno District Head to the Divisional Police Station, Gwoza, who does not want his name in print disclosed this to newsmen on Wednesday in Maiduguri. He said that the gunmen came in two Golf Volkswagen vehicles and a motorcycle, proceeded straight to the palace, shot the district head, before soldiers rushed to the scene to prevent further

attacks and killings in the town. According to the source, “our report on the assassination of the District Head of Pulka (Ali) and attacks on the palace indicated that one person was feared killed while two people were injured, including the driver of the District Head. “The gunmen did not use

Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and petrol-bombs while attacking the palace.” Speaking on the incident, the Divisional Police Officer ( DPO), Alhaji Audu Boka, said that the gunmen were the same suspected Boko Haram sect members who allegedly attacked a police station, bank and a prison, setting 170 inmates free on March 4, 2013.

he Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN) has called on the Federal Government to adopt the “carrot” option in its efforts at tackling the problem of Boko Haram terrorism in the north. Mr. Kunle Sanni, the south zonal Coordinator of the society made the call on Wednesday at a news conference in Ikeja. He said granting amnesty to the militants would put a stop to their violent activities, adding that using force would never provide an answer to the insurgency. Sanni noted that Boko Haram came about as a result of pervasive poverty, ignorance and unemployment, adding that the problem would be solved as soon as the issues were addressed. He faulted government‘s claim that members of the group were faceless and so could not be reached, saying that government had arrested some of them in the past. “Amnesty remains the answer to the problem. If it was successfully used to douse tension in the Niger/ Delta, it could also be used with Boko Haram militants. “The Federal Government should explore that option and urgently work out a plan for these people. We will achieve much by rehabilitating them.” Sanni said the MSSN was disturbed by what he called the incessant discrimination against Muslim women wearing Hijab in schools and other official places. He said the practice was an infringement on the rights of these women, pointing out that the constitution guaranteed the rights of every Nigerian to associate with his choice religion. He called on the Federal Government to take urgent actions against the practice, saying a quick intervention would go a long way in promoting peaceful co-existence of Nigerians. (NAN)



L-R: Director General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr. Mike Omeri; Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. O.A. Ihejirika; and General Manager, Daar Communication, Mr. Kenny Ogungbe at the Interactive Session on Military-Media Relations in Nigeria held at the former Command Mess, Marina, yesterday in Lagos.

Rivers state ministry of Environment removing abandoned vehicles on major roads, yesterday in Port Harcourt.

Laying of rail tracks in progress at Alafia on Lagos/Badagry express way, yesterday in Lagos.

L-R: Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Ambassador Godknows Igali with Chief Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Mr. Seki Tetsuo, at the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Advisors team Workshop for Power Development Planning, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

Photo NAN

L-R: Minister of Sports Bolaji Abdullahi, Minister of Information Labaran Maku and Minister of National Planning Dr. Shamsudeen Usman jointly briefing on Ministerial Performances held after the FEC meeting at the State House Abuja yesterday. Photo Joe Oroye.


Nondomestication of FoI Act: Accord Party chides Oyo govt From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan


ccord Party has berated the Oyo state government over its refusal to domesticate the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act to enable journalists have unfettered access to government records, especially expenditure on contracts, as stipulated in the Act. Proprietor of West Midland Communications, Chief Adebayo Akande, had expressed concern that 34 out of 36 state governors are yet to embrace accountability and transparency, as only Ekiti and Lagos states have domesticated the Act. Reacting to Akande’s concern, the Oyo state government, through its Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Bayo Ojo, said that the state was not bound to domesticate the law as it was made for the Federal Government and its agencies alone. But speaking through its media director, Prince Dotun Oyelade, in a statement, the Accord Party said Oyo state is “morally and legally bound to domesticate the Act because professional journalists and genuine lovers of democracy who fought for years for the Act to materialise did not discriminate on which section of the country the Act will apply.” According to the statement, the Federal Government had set the template for the operation of the FoI Act throughout the federation, stressing that any government that “refuses to kick-start it is haunted by the ghost of its misrule.”


20 killed, 16 injured on KwaliGwagwalada road, Bauchi accidents From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi with Agency reports he Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) has confirmed that 18 persons died in an accident which occurred along the KwaliGwagwalada road, Abuja, on Wednesday morning, just as two other were feared killed while seven others sustained various degrees of injuries in a separate road accident at a military check point at Narabi village in Toro local government area of Bauchi state on Wednesday. A statement by the Public Education Officer of the Federal Roads Safety Commission (FRSC), Mr. Jonas Agwu, said that nine other persons sustained various degrees of injuries in the


Abuja road accident. The statement said that the accident occurred at about 1.35 a.m. on Wednesday when a J5 bus with registration number XA 726 NSR lost control and rammed into a luxury bus with registration number XG 413 FGC. It said the 17 occupants of the J5 bus died instantly while one died later in the hospital adding that the dead were all males. According to the FRSC, 13 of the corpses have been deposited at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital mortuary while the other five were taken to the mortuary at Kwali General Hospital. The commission said that N217,000 was recovered from the wrecked bus, and promised

that the money would be handed over to relations of the victims. “The FRSC wishes to urge those whose relations travelled through the Kano–Lagos and Lokoja –Sokoto routes to check the Kwali General Hospital and University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, for identification and collection of the corpses. “The injured victims have been taken to the Gwagwalada Teaching Hospital for medical attention.” It said that 96 people including 70 males, 16 females and 10 children were involved in the crash. The statement appealed to motorists to avoid night journeys because of the dangers associated with such trips.

Insecurity: Interior Minister tasks paramilitary groups on vigilance From David Hassan, Gombe


Former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, signing a condolence register in honour of late Prof. Chinua Achebe at the Nigerian High Commission in London on Wednesday.

Constituency projects illegal, HURIWA berates shoddy compensation for flood victims Kwara Speaker tells NASS From Olanrewaju Lawal,Ilorin


peaker, Kwara state House of Assembly, Abdulrazak Atunwa, has described the constituency projects embarked upon by members of the National Assembly as unconstitutional. Atunwa told journalists in an interview in Ilorin that, “constituency project is an aberration because the primary function of the Legislature is to make laws and to do their over-sight functions. “It is not the job of the Legislature to ask the Executive to give them money to execute contracts or projects. “Our work is to make laws, carry out oversight functions and make adequate representation of the people.

In Bauchi, the FRSC Sector Commandant, Mr. Henry Sunday Olatunji, told reporters the accident which occurred at night involved 13 people in a truck belonging to Dangote Group of Companies. “The driver lost control at the military road block and fell down, two people died instantly and seven others sustained various degrees of injuries while the remaining four escaped unhurt,” Olatunji said. He said that men of the FRSC stationed at Toro evacuated the corpses and the injured victims to Toro General Hospital. He appealed to vehicle owners to obey traffic regulations in order to minimize the rate of accidents along the roads.

“If you want to get projects done, lobby the Executive and the relevant ministries. “There is nothing in the Constitution that talks about constituency projects. “Our democracy is evolving. At the end of military rule in 1999 we had democracy when the people came in because of the various promises they made during their electioneering campaigns, they were under pressure a legislature to deliver those promises. “So, the practice of getting the Executive to vote money for constituency projects started. “It became a norm but as we have now evolved, we have discovered it is an aberration that should not have occurred.

By Ibrahim Kabiru Sule


uman Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has asked the Federal Government to probe disbursement of funds to victims of the 2012 flooding across the country. A press statement signed by the group’s National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Director of Media Affairs, Zainab Yusuf, frowned at what it called the “ugly situation whereby most flood victims across the federation are offered a paltry N3, 000 each as total relief package from the several billions of Naira raised by both the Aliko Dangote-led flood victims rehabilitation presidential panel and the funds disbursed from the presidency by President

Goodluck Jonathan last year.” The group cited the case of Kogi state with nine local governments ravaged by flooding and the state government disbursed only N3, 000 each to the 1,500 residents rendered homeless by the floods. According to the statement, “HURIWA also wants governments at all levels to bring to book all indicted officials who have siphoned this public fund released for the purpose of providing funding support and lifelines to the actual victims of the 2012 flood disaster across the country. “The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should probe the groundswell of allegations that the fund for the flood victims is being systematically stolen or mismanaged by state government officials.”

inister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, has called for increased vigilance amongst military and paramilitary organisation in the fight against insecurity. The Minister who stated this during a familiarization visit to the Gombe state Prison Command and formations, urged the various paramilitary organisations in the state to cooperate with their host communities in order to fight jail breaks and insecurity. He said the officers as citizens were duty bound to ensure they contribute to the development of the nation especially in their capacities as security agents. He also tasked the officers on the need to initiate security enhancement ideas to curb the menace of jail breaks and terrorism. According to Moro, “there is no price for negligence, you either be ready to work or leave or be jog of wood, be combat ready, this is a moment of challenge on our internal security. “Your services and efforts are needed to combat the current insurgency threatening our nation as a result of the unpatriotic attitude of insurgents and terrorists.” The Minister also interacted with some of prison inmates and advocated improved meals for the inmates and directed the state Comptroller of Prisons to ensure that nutritious meals are given to the inmates. The Minister also settled the fines of some convicts due to their inability to pay options of fine against them. Moro called on the Judiciary in the state to expedite action on cases for quick delivery of justice.



Insecurity: Group urges FG to change tactics By Joy Baba


he Grand Alliance of Political Associations in Nigeria (GAPAN) has urged Federal Government to change its tactics and strategies towards combating terrorism in the country arguing that the situation requires what the group called drastic action. In a communiqué at the end of its meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, the state of the

nation, regretted that the poor state of internal security is already taking its toll on other sectors of the polity, including the economy. In the communiqué signed by the group's convener, Chief Sam Onimisi, GAPAN urged the federal and state governments to intensify efforts at combating corruption in all its ramifications. According to the communiqué, "the present effort at fighting financial

crime falls far below the allout battle needed to curb economic and financial crimes. "The greater plague lies in the sphere of political corruption which involve impunity, elimination by substitution and falsification of electoral results. "It is our opinion that political corruption is the mother of economic and financial crimes. "We call on all tiers of government to focus on these

areas of corruption in the interest of peace and progress of the country." "GAPAN acknowledges government's efforts in the power sector and advises that the severance benefits of the disengaged PHCN workers be paid without further delay. "This is to ensure that nonpayment does not result in disruption of smooth transfer of authority, facilities or equipment to the new companies."

Remains of Alhaji Abubakar Chika, permanent secretary, protocol to Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara who died in a motor accident on Zamfara-Sokoto road, yesterday being taken for burial

NSCDC urges public to give information on vandals By Stanley Onyekwere


ommandant of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Aminu Abdulahi Kofarsoro, has advocated greater collaboration between the corps and the general public to effectively combat the menace of vandalism. Regretting that acts of vandalisation in the FCT has taken different dimensions with the emergence of criminals

hovering around critical infrastructure, the NSCDC boss urged the public to give reliable information regarding any acts of vandalism. Parading three suspects caught vandalising electricity transformers and scooping mercury oil from the facility, in Jiwa community of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Kofarsoro said the NSCDC recovered a Volvo truck laden with about 20 gallons of the product during the operation. "We have been monitoring

and conducting s lot of surveillance around some critical infrastructure in the territory which led to arrest of several suspected vandals but what we have noticed is that with the greater collaboration of the leaders and residents in communities where these things are located, it will boost our efforts to curtail the menace," he said. The commandant who disclosed that it was in collaboration with the informal security intelligence gathering process that the corps was able

to arrest the three suspects, commended the efforst of the Chief of Jiwa, Idris Musa, during the operation. According to him, "we are calling on the public to liaise with the corps, and give us reliable information regarding any acts of vandalism on facilities like PHCH, NNPC pipe line, telecommunications, water and others. One of the suspects, Bala Abdullahi, who confessed his involvement said that they normally supply the product to tipper drivers.

Niger embarks on census of unemployed youth From Iliya Garba, Minna


iger state Governor, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, has instructed the 25 local government areas in the state to carry out a census of all unemployed youth in their areas within the next one month. He said commissioners, special advisers and local government chairmen should carry out the exercise in their

respective areas and submit a comprehensive report within the stipulated period. Aliyu's directive followed reports from the local government areas that high level of youth unemployment is becoming a threat to the peace that the government should do something about it without delay. Addressing the political appointees at a stakeholders' meeting at the Government

House on Tuesday, Aliyu said the administration already had a list of 17,000 university, College of Education and Polytechnic graduates who are being screened for engagement. The Governor explained that the census should determine the educational qualification of the youth and the areas where they fit in for those who are not educated. "The 25 local government areas of the state have about N2

billion in their SURE-P accounts part of which will be used to facilitate the employment of the youth and they should be prepared to take up any job under governments Voluntary Teaching Scheme if they are qualified to teach or in any other position," Aliyu said. According to him, embargo has been placed on all political appointments to enable the government assess the situation on the ground.

FCT, ANCOPPS partner to enhance Mathematics, English language teaching By Maryam Garba Hassan


s part of efforts at addressing deficiency in some core subjects, the FCTSecondary Education Board in conjunction with FCT chapter of the All Nigerian Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPPS) and the National Mathematical Centre, on Tuesday organised an interactive forum for teachers of Mathematics and English Language. In her address, the Board's Director, Mrs. Yelwa Baba Ari, said the essence of the forum was to demonstrate to the participants new teaching strategies for the subjects. According to her, the education sector is faced with factors that interplay in teaching and learning processes with resultant drop in the performances of the learners explain the establishment of an English and mathematics committee, to adopt strategies to be applied in a real class room situation, to enhance capacity building for teachers as well as improve the pedagogy for teaching students. She commended ANCOPPS and the National Mathematical Centre for partnering with the Board and urged the teachers to embrace the strategies to ensure the success of the forum. She said that the Board would hold similar programme at the Government Secondary School, Tudun Wada, Government Secondary School, Wuse, Government Girls' Secondary School, Dutse and Government Secondary School, Gwagwalada.

Commission frowns at contractor over abandoned road project From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


he Fiscal Responsibility Commission has expressed its disappointment over neglect of the N4.5 billion DassTafawa Balewa road project by TRIACTA Nigeria Limited. The commissioner representing north-east at the Commission, Hon. Ismail Hassan, stated this while inspecting the road project yesterday in Bauchi. According to him, the Federal Government awarded the contract in September 2010 and disbursed the required money to the contractor and lamented noncompletion of the work. "We are going to invite the contractor to come over and explain why he left the site without completing the work after all his dues have been paid. He said that the company completed only 43 kilometres of the 75 kilometre-road. According to him, government will not condone any fraudulent and irresponsible contractor who fails to meet the contractual agreement arguing that public fund is meant to be expended judiciously.




ith a sign up bonus here and a positive referral there, it can be easy to amass a small army of financial accounts. But if you start simplifying and closing the accounts you don't use often, the benefits can be substantial. Keep Better Track of Your Finances One way to start improving your finances is to look at your habits, but if you have too many accounts, it can be hard to figure out your exact situation. When you have fewer accounts, it's much easier to keep track of the history of your spending and investing habits. Have the Information Uncle Sam Asks For Sometimes, the IRS expects you to come up with ancient documents. It's best that you have the documents ready (unless you like paying for penalties you might be able to avoid otherwise), and it's easier

Money Tip: Always ensure your budget is active


ost people are aware that they need to create a budget if they are going to be financially successful. The problem is that a lot of people create a budget and then don't follow it. A big part of the reason for this is that the budget that they created was completely unrealistic. That's why it's important we have a good knowledge about "effective budgeting". Unfortunately most people grossly underestimate how much they really spend. They are pretty good when it comes to the big ticket items; keeping track of those is pretty easy. The problem is that small day to day stuff. If you are going to create a realistic budget you are going to have to get an accurate accounting of what you spend. The first step will be the big ticket items, add up the things like the car payment and all the other bills. The other thing that a lot of people fail to consider when they are creating a budget is that bills that don't get paid monthly. Things like insurance are normally paid once a year or in some cases quarterly. These are expenses that you are going to have to include in your monthly budget. If it is a bill that is paid once a year, divide it by twelve and add that amount to your monthly expenses. Again these are things that really add up if you forget to include them in your planning. The last step is to figure out all of those day to day expenses. In order to do this you are going to want to spend a month recording everything that you spend.

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

How simplifying your accounts can help improve your finances

to access them when you have fewer accounts. Minimize the Amount of Cash That's Earning Nothing You likely have a small bit of

cash in every one of your accounts. And it's likely that more accounts you have, the more cash you have earning you nothing. I know even the best

online savings accounts are earning you only 1% right now, but that certainly beats the 0% that other accounts might be giving you.

Have More Time Whether it's looking through statements, trying to remember your password for an account you haven't checked for ages, or simply keeping track of it all, money management can take time out of your precious day. That's time away from productive work, time away from family, and time away for your leisure activities. Pay Fewer Fees The fewer accounts you have, the more cash you can put towards each one. This means potentially spending less on overdraft fees. Even if you don't have more money in the accounts, just having simpler finances will reduce the chances that you'll forget about little details like moving money around to cover bills and incurring late fees. Make Planning Easier When you have more time, less stress, and more money, you will likely be more motivated to actually start planning for your financial future. Of course, it helps that you now have fewer accounts that you need to take into consideration, too, but that's just the icing on the cake.

Need for financial education: teacher or parent, whose job?


eachers have enough to do. That's what a lot of people say when it is suggested that we incorporate financial education into our school system. Let educators focus on the three Rs: leave lessons in personal finance to parents. After all, every family's values and resources are different. At first blush, this approach seems to make sense. Some researchers believe that kids who graduate from college tend to figure out personal finance anyway. Meanwhile, just one in five teachers feels qualified to teach kids about money. So let schools do what they do best: prepare students for higher education. But the very suggestion that financial education has no place in our schools rankles financial literacy advocates and elicited groans from a recent panel diving into the issue. As moderator of the panel sponsored by accounting firm PwC and online educator Knowledge Wharton High School, I was delighted to play devil's advocate-and draw out a robust defense of teaching kids about money in school. "The answer is no, this should not be left to parents," said Annamaria Lusardi, economics professor at a University. "We don't ask parents to teach math and physics and history. Why would we ask them to teach financial literacy?" Personal finance is emerging as a new core subject area for many schools. Policymakers around the world see it as a step

toward avoiding the next economic meltdown, and advocates say learning about things like budgets and credit cards is no less important than reading, writing and arithmetic. "If we leave it to the parents, we are accepting that we have an unequal society," said Lusardi, who is regarded as a global leader in the financial literacy movement. Her research has shown that familiarity with financial concepts accounts for as much as 50% of the wealth gap between affluent and low-income families. Other panelists weighed in with equal fervor. "We owe an education to our children in many different areas," said Georgette Phillips, vice dean, undergraduate division at

Wharton. "This is just one of them and we should not put it on a different standard than the other pillars of a well-rounded high school education." Financial education is a critical piece of what PwC looks for as it hires 4,000 young people each year, said Shannon Schuyler, PwC's corporate responsibility leader. "They need to have some background in this area regardless of whether they are going into accounting, finance, IT or HR. This isn't something that is just nice to have, and so we'll leave it to parents. This fundamentally affects our marketplace and our economy." But you can't leave the parents out, said panelist Brian Page, an award-winning economics teacher. "Money is personal," he said. "This can be

threatening. You have to approach parents as partners." When parents see what you are teaching they usually get on board, Page said, and by being engaged they often end up learning as much as their kids. Everyone agreed the movement to teach kids about money isn't progressing fast enough. By some measures it's even stalled. But as Lusardi said, "it's an essential topic" that should be taught in every school. I think of financial education as "Reality"-and call it the Fourth R. A growing number of educators think of it that way, too. But with only a few section of the public requiring that a course in personal finance even be offered in high school, it points a long way to go in that direction.

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Boko Haram: On amnesty we stand


or a president who has been anything but resolute in his decisions and actions so far, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s adamant opposition to amnesty for Boko Haram terrorists in the North is suspect. His excuse has been that the sect is faceless. Yet it was his government that, last year, said it was in talks with the insurgents, who have turned the North into a huge slaughter slab, through “back door channels”. If the sect or its leadership is faceless, who are those its cadres that security forces have been killing and hounding into detention all over the region? Is the President confirming the suspicions of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch that the government’s joint task force (JTF) has been killing innocent Nigerians, not Haram Boko Haram insurgents? President Jonathan should know, by now, that in his opposition to amnesty for the sect whose insurgency, for over three years, the Nigerian state has been unable to contain he stands alone in the vast North. The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar was the first to suggest the idea of amnesty. Now his suggestion has been picked up by fellow traditional rulers, the clergy - Christian and Muslim -, the academia and the political establishment in the North. In other words, support for amnesty in the region is near unanimous. This is captured by the words of John Cardinal Onaiyekan, the Catholic archbishop of Abuja: “I see the call of the Sultan as an invitation to further discussion and dialogue among Nigerians to sharpen the focus of government action in this

matter... In every conflict, a time comes when dialogue and talking must be brought into the equation, in view of a final solution. It would seem that for Boko Haram, that time has come.” The message was poignantly brought home to the president on his first visit to Maiduguri last month by a deafening silence that greeted him when, once again, he called the Boko Haram “faceless”. Jonathan cannot claim to know the problem better than those eminently qualified leaders of the North

Wednesday night meeting with Northern Elders Forum, the second in as many years, presented the president with a golden chance to tell the North something to cheer for. We hope he told the leaders that who know where the shoepinches. His discomfiture is not helped by his government’s failure to come up with a workable alternative to amnesty. As Onaiyekan has noted, the government’s force-for-force approach has not helped much; if anything, it has made the problem even bigger. “Faced with an intractable problem, we have to explore all possible avenues of solution. The

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security response in terms of arms, gadgets and trained personnel is useful and necessary, but obviously not enough on its own”. We cannot agree more. We urge the president to give the amnesty option a second thought, even if to give the region’s leaders the benefit of the doubt and out of respect for them. In all probability, Boko Haram, the mainstream cell, that is, may reject it. It has severally denied any suggestion of its readiness to dialogue with the government. However, an amnesty offer will show the government’s genuine desire for talks and give Boko Haram a long rope to hang itself, as it were. Who knows, it may hasten the demise of the sect now already splintered, if the factions decide to “seize the day”. Who says for amnesty to work, all insurgents must agree to come to repentance and lay down their arms? Again, accepting to offer the sect amnesty will throw the ball back in the court of the leaders of the North to come up with the how of making it work. Besides, the president must not, by his unreasonable recalcitrance, lend credence to the fear of the North that keeping the Boko Haram insurgency festering is his agenda to keep the region politically unstable, heading into elections in 2015, so that it cannot president a common candidate to challenge him. His scheduled Wednesday night meeting with Northern Elders Forum, the second in as many years, presented the president with a golden chance to tell the North something to cheer for. We hope he told the leaders that.









“To be a reputable, profitable, innovative and technologically reliant media company offering world class services and products”


By Ose Oyamendan


ometimes, you have to work hard at loving the old guys the men who lived in the good old days. You see, according to the laws of life, it's supposed to get better for the younger ones. The old folks are supposed to get jealous of you and I don't mean of your violent video games. But, these days when you talk to the old folks, you realize you live in an urban jungle, that your so-called life may as well be lived in an open prison. I look at my boys sometimes and I wonder if they know that life used to be dandier in my days and way better in my father's days. I remember when it was time to go to the university. I had my mind set on going to the University of Lagos to study mass communication. But, there was a little snag. I wasn't smart enough. The smart kids came from my catchment area so I had to make way for kids less smart than me because they were lucky to be born in areas considered not too smart or whatever the federal character thing is supposed to rectify. When UNILAG got too tough to get into, I had only one, second choice - the University of

By Tony Eluemunor


chebe opened our eyes to the African world. He loved to quote this passage from the Ambiguous Adventure: “Instead of picking and choosing what to accept from the West and what to reject, Africa is aquiver with courteousness, metamorphosing in a space of one generation under this new egotism which the West is scattering abroad”. To him, arts must be in the service of the society and that should continue until we could take for granted what the West now takes for granted (a push-button life of leisure); until then, “Arts for Arts Sake” would remain a “deodorized dog shit” to quote his exact words. As though Achebe was keeping his house in order before embracing more global engagements, he packed much into the 1980/81 session. Thus he organized the Okochi (dry season in Igbo language) Festival to which he invited story tellers from the villages, in an attempt to make the university recognize the real oral literature. The vernacular recitals took place at night during the full moon and in the open-air Princess Alexandra Building – its roof was destroyed by bombs during the 1967-1970 Nigerian Civil War and the university decided to keep it that way as a war relic. Achebe later told me in Upstate New York, USA, over a decade later that the final duty he did before leaving Nigeria was to organize the Association of Nigerian Authors in 1981. Emeka Atamah and I served as the only members of the conference’s secretariat. Its special guest was, yes, Ngigi. For Ngugi’s address as a Special Guest of Honour, the hall was jam-packed. I


Before we all die Maiduguri. The north had always held a fascination for me. The farther north I went while in secondary school, the more at home I felt. I was young and innocent and the old folks loved that. They will invite you into their homes and feed you. Sometimes, they couldn't even understand your language but the smile on their faces conveyed the pride that they were taking care of someone else's child and helping raise the future leaders of their dear Nigeria. Now, that same part of the country is a killing field. The same reason I loved to go up there would probably have me killed today. In a better world, that place would be Disneyland now, a place I want to go and go, again and again. But, life does not follow the normal course in Nigeria. Life moves in reverse in Nigeria. And, the sad thing is the people up there are still the same. They are loving, love life and love visitors. But, they are hostages to life - a life no one ever

dreamt possible, a life that they now seem condemned to. I have a friend who comes from those parts and her heart bleeds every time she remembers home. We had tea a few months ago in London and she shocked me with her feelings about the killing fields of her region. She believes the government has forgotten them; that it seems the government has folded its arms and allowed bullets and bombs to serve as a population control measure. Whichever way you look at it, my friend may have been exaggerating but the unnatural hand of hot pellets has truly diminished the population. And, you can blame Goodluck Jonathan all you want for not providing a security blanket over the region. But, you gotta be dumb not to take a hard look at the leaders in the region. It seems leaders of the troubled region feel the more lawless it is, the more they can present themselves as alternate rulers. You wonder if their wish is

to rule over an urban cemetery. In the past, the leaders would have gotten together and found a solution to the problem. They would have sacrificed their egos and pride so the people may live, so Nigeria will survive. But, this is today - no one that should care seems to care enough. And, it's not just the north or the Niger Delta, You try traveling to Nigeria today and people look at you like you've just signed a death wish. You tell your friends that you're going to Nigeria and they encourage you to take out a larger life insurance policy and buy some bulletproof vests. The embassy sends you e-mails that make you questions your sanity for going home. You tell everyone you're Nigerian and you're proud of it and you're proud to go home and, they call you a fatalist living in fantasyland. Then, you tell them of the Nigeria of yesterday, when the community raised the child, when it was strange to have power failure, when the road were so good you could leave

remember the last question he answered: “in what way should established writers help aspiring ones”? He said in every way possible; that he was helped too by one Nigerian who helped in getting a manuscript to his publishers. Then Ngugi looked up before announcing that the novelist was Achebe and the manuscript became “Weep Not Child”. As the clapping died down, he concluded: “So I must pay homage to my literary father”. And he went to shake Achebe’s outstretched hands. So, was Ngigi his favourite African novelist? He shook his head left and right and left again when I asked him that question in the US, where he lived and died after the 1990 car accident that rendered him wheel-chair bound. He said that if there was a book he never got tired of reading, it was Kane’s “Ambiguous Adventure”. Why? He said the book was a philosophical dialogue between Africa and the West. “Look Tony, it is there in the book that many Africans, often the brightest and the best that we send to the West to understand the Western ways and so help us in the fight for the world’s resources are often conquered by the ‘itinerary itself’. It is written there that many of such people never really return to Africa and end up “neither whites nor blacks but hybrids filled with shame”. “Tony”, he continued, “many now in the US, will never return to Africa, neither will their children. Who can quantify that lose to Africa?”. Achebe himself never returned, he died there … but did he bother about such things? On my second visit to him at Bard College, Annandale on Hudson, Upstate

New York, he told me that he was still in a hospital bed in London (after his 1990 car accident) thinking how he would have to remodel his house in Ogidi, South-East Nigeria so that he would be able to function at all there, when a visitor was ushered in. He was the President of an American College. He asked if Achebe would be ready to move in as part of the faculty once he was ready to leave the hospital. Achebe said yes for he did not want the incapacitation to end his productive life. On getting to the US, the purpose built (for him) “Achebe House” was ready, over-looking the Catskill Mountain that reminded one of the Nsukka hills, beside Achebe’s former University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He told me he could use his wheel chair to navigate all through the house and the entire campus. But would the situation be the same in Nigeria? He answered the question in an Acheberesque way: “Nigeria is a sorry story”. I did not fail to note the understatement once again. One question many have

asked is if Achebe was worried that he never won a Nobel Prize in Literature. I asked him that question and he said, understatedly once again, “I do not lose sleep over that.” For a while I feared that Achebe could actually reject the prize to poke his nose against the West as he twice rejected national awards from Nigeria –for failure of leadership. But now, such would ever remain part of the great unknowns of history; why he was not thought fit for the prize and if he would have accepted it. Yet it remains a fact that in 1986, African writers were invited for a seminar in Sweden of all places. Achebe not only turned it down, he published an article saying that the place to discuss African literature was in Africa or a foreign place where African literature was taken seriously. Chinweizu, (of the “West and the Rest of Us” book fame) the polyvalent scholar who studied Maths and Philosophy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology before taking a PhD in History and branching

Lagos at noon and tell your parents in Ibadan you'll be home in time for lunch, when there was something caked Nigeria Airways with a worthy fleet, when you could travel on the rail from Kaduna to Lagos in under twenty four hours and you'll be well fed and encounter dozens of cultures and thousands of waving strangers on the way. You tell people of the Nigeria of yesterday and they think you've invented a fantasy. Then you read the papers and you wonder if you've lost your mind. You wonder if the people whose job it is to keep Nigeria and Nigerians safe even care anymore or if they're simply waiting for us to die of bullets or hunger. And, that makes you ask before we all die: why? What exactly did Nigerians do wrong to deserve today's Nigeria? And, you try to find a place in your soul for the one question you will ask God when you meet him in the great beyond - why did you give us such a great country and great people but then you gave us a puzzle of a leadership. Ose Oyamendan is a Hollywood-based, Nigerian filmmaker (twitter at @iam_ose)

Achebe: The novelist as class teacher (II)

But, and he smiled, as you supplied the rest: we were not just savages and the white man, acting on God’s behalf, came to save us – which he had stated before as one of his reasons for writing “Things Fall Apart”. The truth must lie somewhere in between, but until the lion begins to tell its own stories, the story will always be told by the hunter.

off into American Economy and writing literary criticism books, etc, then alerted the world that Achebe had by that act written himself out of the Nobel Prize. That year, an African, a Nigerian, Wole Soyinka, became a Nobel laureate. Yes, could he have lived only on his earnings from his novels? He said an emphatic yes to that. Did critics bother him? No, he replied “they almost all say nice things about me – and then you have to realize that there are some lunatics out there. You have to learn to notice the serious, weigh what they have to say for no one is perfect. But some are just lunatics.” As Achebe’s former student, the question I have faced the most is this: “how did he teach his books?” My unvarying answer has been this: “I wish I knew”. But Achebe never taught his books. Prof. Emmanuel Obiechina taught my class “Things Fall Apart”, “Arrow of God”, etc. But sitting with Achebe years later in the US, he answered my questions easily: “Things Fall Apart” did not render an idealized picture of the Igbo of that era. You could almost say that it was a harsh, even wicked, society. But, and he smiled, as you supplied the rest: we were not just savages and the white man, acting on God’s behalf, came to save us – which he had stated before as one of his reasons for writing “Things Fall Apart”. The truth must lie somewhere in between, but until the lion begins to tell its own stories, the story will always be told by the hunter. And Achebe led a gigantic eruption of stories from the African point of view. tony.eluemunor. Concluded



ABSU: The dirty linen in a sordid tower By Poju Akinyanju


hen the Abia State University (ABSU) took out advertisements in national dailies to tell the world that it had 'cancelled and withdrawn' (tautological emphasis) the certificate of Kalu, Orji Uzor, many believed that it was the voice of Joshua but the hand of incumbent Abia State Govt Esau. However, ABSU clearly advertised why it revoked the degree. It told us that its action derived from its "onerous statutory responsibility to guard and maintain at all times the academic regulations of the university, its hard earned reputation and the credibility of the certificate it awards". I guess with this strong declaration it expected applause. However what it has gotten mostly was a lampoon with a few endorsements deriving from political consideration. We should quickly dismiss the defence that has been offered on behalf of ABSU. The two: justified precedence and legality are interrelated. It is submitted that withdrawal of certificates is a worldwide phenomenon and the action of ABSU is nothing spectacular. It is further submitted that the laws and regulations of the university permit such. Yes, the facility for

By Bayo Oluwasanmi


e are living in a fast changing world. New and strange things happen every day. For this reason, before anyone can lead they must learn something about this strange new world. Any leader who does not master this mercurial context will be mastered by it. A leader must know who he is, what his strengths and weaknesses are, and how to fully deploy his strengths and compensate for his weaknesses. A leader must also know what he wants, why he wants it, and how to communicate what he wants to others in order to gain their support and cooperation. Most importantly, a leader must know how to achieve his goals. History is full of leaders who rewrite history in delivering their nation from oppression. Similarly, we have leaders who end their life in failure and dishonour. Their great potential with equally great moral collapse mirror the condition of the nation which becomes so corrupt and degraded that even shocking brutality and immorality no longer cause the people to blush. Time flows like a river, history repeats. Many years of social, political, and economic upheavals, and in particular since Mr. Jonathan assumed the leadership of our nation, has left us with no place to hide. Most, if not all of our nation's progress and prosperity have become breakdowns instead of breakthroughs. Our freedom and democracy have become a license to practice anarchy. As a people, we're no more interested in new ideas but in recipes and slogans. We have replaced the public good as the

dominate their universities to environment, withdraw their the universities certificates is inclusive. worldwide but However in the Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text Nigeria, the circumstance of messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written domination is each is contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 for corruptive peculiar; and words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and and that is what degenerative matters. The a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed ends. The fact that you to: university seeks can remedy an to protect its untoward The Editor, relevance and situation does Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, integrity by not say you insisting on should allow it 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. autonomy in its to happen. Its Email: activities and happening and SMS: 08134607052 administration. the The way to remediation develop and are two certificate. And to also show that different matters. If a nation is ABSU is not an exception but an known as crime infested, does it defend autonomy is for the example of the deep rot in the make it less so because the State university to possess character. administration of the Nigerian posses the authority to punish Character here is defined as University system. Scratch most crime? The fact that Universities the moral strength of courage, Nigerian universities slightly have powers to withdraw degrees and you will find an ABSU. Also, honesty and fairness. Sadly, a should not give them confidence/ this article is not interested in the large number of universities in latitude to be careless about, Nigeria lack character. In dog fight between the current compromise or even connive at seeking to lead the universities, Governor of Abia State and his breaking their own regulations the office seekers become totally predecessor except to the extent in the first instance. The first act beholden to political office that the university has been creates the image; and its drawn in and has allowed itself to holders. All manner of remediation, as in the case of sentiments such as place of be abused. The university and ABSU, highlights and possibly origin, political party affiliation, political systems of any nation worsens the image. religion are mobilized such that must necessarily interact. Each The aim of this piece is to when the position is obtained, seeks to protect and advance its show that ABSU has failed and Vice-Chancellors become puppets territory while seeking to will have to do a lot more to in the hand of their political influence and control spheres defend the credibility of its masters and they take the outside to it. Politicians seek to


How to go down in history

supreme object of our republic with few elected rogues and parasites. The idea of public virtue has been overrun by personal greed and corruption. We have become a permissive culture. And the nation tethers on the brink. The elected representatives of the all powerful federal government with an overflow of resources have refused to acknowledge what is happening to our people. And the cost of the spectator leadership of President Jonathan can better be imagined than quantified. A nation without public virtue and a common vision cannot survive. Mr. Jonathan is driving the vehicle of the state with no national sense of purpose by looking in the rear view mirror. Well then, it is fair to say that President Jonathan so far is incapable of taking control of his domain Nigeria. He has no guiding principle or overarching vision for the country. One day, a man named Goodluck Ebele Jonathan sat down at his desk, pulled out a sheet of paper and

wrote across the top: "Goals for My Presidency." Then he began to compile the goals of his presidency: o To lose all sense of moral values. o To forfeit all executive authority in Nigeria. o To strip and strap the poor to the bones. o To remove the oil subsidy in order to make life more unbearable for the poor. o To create means and ways to further enrich the robber barons. o To squander the nations resources on salaries/perks of a legion of ministers and advisers. o To strangle from the judiciary any notion of fairness and justice. o To turn Nigeria into a desert of infrastructures. o To decree corruption into law by turning a blind eye to treasury looters. o To become tone-deaf to the cries and agitations of Nigerians who elected him. o To become Africa's newest emperor and Nigeria's


Mr. Jonathan's action and inaction should serve as the launch pad for us to recapture and reclaim our country and our future. We can't wait indefinitely, our patience is running low! Warning: Despots and tyrants do not easily embrace reforms or surrender to the general will of the people. It's going to be a prolonged battle. So Nigerians, brace for the worst. Be prepared to sacrifice the immediate comfort and convenience.

bully. o To exert no influence for good in the community, town, country, and the world. o To lose everyone and everything dear to Nigeria. o And to grant pardon to criminals, and thieves and other saboteurs of our economy. Ridiculous, strange, you say? Then consider this: President Jonathan accomplished everything on that list. His lack of foresight, will, passion, and incompetence left a leadership vacuum which daily increases the misery of the people. I have said it times without number in this medium and elsewhere that a leader is not a spectator. That's not just a glib maxim. Good leaders engage the world. Bad leaders entrap it, or try to. I believe you don't need to know where you're going, provided you know whom you're following. Unfortunately, in our own case it is a double whammy: we don't know where we're going; neither do we know whom we're following. Greed and violence, distrust and spiritual apathy are eating out the very heart of our nation. The democratically elected president now turned an autocratic acolyte of Abacha and Babangida is unusually getting the attention of the outside world. Previous ruthless and clueless despots and now Jonathan have taken Nigerians for granted and for a long walk. Now, we're being pushed to the wall. It's time to fight back. Deranged by the false belief that Nigerians are timid, lethargic, apathetic, and easily

university down with them. This is the context in which Orji Kalu's ABSU Administration and Theodore Orji's ABSU Administration may be understood. Orji Kalu's ABSU administration was unable to show courage and resist the unworthy application of its Visitor to become its student concurrently; nor was it able to properly scrutinize his application document, nor ensure that the regulations that govern residency, lecture attendance, examinations etc were adhered to. The sad but true situation is that this genuflecting by universities to the depravity of political power is very pervasive in the Nigerian university system. University regulations are frequently breached to accommodate illegal requests of political/traditional rulers/ religious leaders, other men of power and influence and nepotistic relations. One clear implication that should be immediately underscored is that as the universities lack character, their products, graduates and research, will also be devoid of character since you cannot give what you do not have. Prof. Poju Akinyanju is on coerced and cowered, the present administration believes it's going to be business as usual. Time will tell. It is one of the great paradoxes of our history that under a democratic system of government the citizens are being treated as sub humans. It is safe to say that we're better off in the days of our exdictators. After all, they were not elected. It is also a cutting irony that an eccentric, oddlooking president with comical decisions with all intents and purposes had successfully subverted our democracy. In running the affairs of the nation, we're now witnessing play by play comedy and tragedy to the point of sublimity. The president's twisted morality coupled with his unyielding determination to set example of how to go down in history qualifies him as a failed and dishonorable leader. We have chosen a president who chained us to his car as captives, bewildered and deceived, we're moving on in a gloomy procession toward the ditch - in which there is no hope of life, toward night to which comes no morning! Mr. Jonathan's action and inaction should serve as the launch pad for us to recapture and reclaim our country and our future. We can't wait indefinitely, our patience is running low! Warning: Despots and tyrants do not easily embrace reforms or surrender to the general will of the people. It's going to be a prolonged battle. So Nigerians, brace for the worst. Be prepared to sacrifice the immediate comfort and convenience. History is on our side! Bayo Oluwasanmi wrote in from Lagos.



Management of 'chief servants' By Peter Oshun


here's a pretty harsh parable in the Bible, but I'm glad Christ told it, at least for the instruction of our Stockholm-Syndrome government apologists in Nigeria who keep raising a round of applause for nonsense: 'But who is there among you, having a servant plowing or keeping sheep, that will say, when he comes in from the field, "Come immediately and sit down at the table," and will not rather tell him, "Prepare my supper, clothe yourself properly, and serve me, while I eat and drink. Afterward you shall eat and drink"? 'Does he thank the servant because he did the things that were commanded? I think not. Even so you also, when you have done all the things that are commanded you, say, "We are unworthy servants. We have done our duty." I was 8 years old when I first read the Bible through. Obviously I wasn't mature enough to appreciate the import of everything I read. I thought it rather unfeeling then that a poor servant who had worked so hard all day should not even have a right to expect some appreciation from his master. But there was a crucial lesson to be learned there: the difference between rights and privileges, and the obligations entailed in a contract of

By Dele Agekameh


he story goes thus: Two officials of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, were in the early hours of last Wednesday, allegedly killed by policemen over an operational disagreement in Ikorodu on the outskirts of Lagos. Five other NSCDC officials were said to have sustained various degrees of gunshot injury in the unfortunate encounter. The slain officials were on duty with their colleagues when a disagreement ensued between them and the police. The NSCDC officials were said to have successfully arrested some pipeline vandals with their exhibit. They were taking the suspects to their office, when one of the suspects made a call. Shortly after, the NSCDC officials encountered the policemen who opened fire on them. Two NSCDC operatives were instantly killed, while no fewer than five others were hit by bullets as they scampered to safety. The vandals who had earlier been apprehended were then allegedly released by the police. The incident has fuelled speculations that the policemen that killed the NSCDC officials were collaborators in pipeline vandalism. But, in denying that, the police, through Ngozi Braide, the spokesperson for the state Police Command, denied the allegation. She said: “There was a distress call from DM Security PPMC, Mosimi, that they were experiencing drop in pressure on the pipeline. The Unit Commander in charge of Konu immediately pulled out his

employment. Your rights are backed by law, and can be claimed as a matter of course. Privileges are granted at the discretion of the grantor, and can be withdrawn as he sees fit. When you begin to claim privileges as a matter of right, abuse must surely follow. Public servants in Nigeria are a creation of our law and Constitution, but the perception that we have of them is shaped by our political history. The racist assumptions of imperialism and colonialism, and the second class status conferred on we 'bloody civilians' during our nightmare of military dictatorship, have largely robbed us of the collective self-esteem which would make us recognise that we are the sovereign masters of our fate.

Oppression has blinded us to the fact that our presidents and governors, legislators and judges, only exist to carry out the will of We the People, no more, no less. .We have had our sovereignty stolen so many times and so brutally, that even now, fourteen years into the working of a democratic, constitutional republic, we are still sleepwalking in an oga-at-the-top dream-world in which we blubber with pathetic appreciation every time Oga decides to throw us a few crumbs from our collective patrimony. I am sure the evicted residents of Badia were among the chorus of 'Fashola is trying' not so long ago. Back then, if you asked any questions about how judiciously Lagos IGR was being used, they would probably be the first to

Enough of giving our leaders a free ride without asking questions. No leader deserves that, no matter how well he is doing. Leaders will come and go, but if you relax your habits of vigilance just because you have a leader in office that you like, it's only a matter of time before he is replaced by one who will take advantage of your apathy to steal your freedoms and your wealth

warn you to shut up and stop belly-aching over affairs above your station. So quickly do we forget that the surest safeguard of democracy and good governance is not the dubious saintliness of our leaders, but the vigilance and pro-active attitude of our citizenry. Questioning our leaders is no act of treason or even malice; it's our responsibility as the ultimate decision maker in a free republic. Enough of giving our leaders a free ride without asking questions. No leader deserves that, no matter how well he is doing. Leaders will come and go, but if you relax your habits of vigilance just because you have a leader in office that you like, it's only a matter of time before he is replaced by one who will take advantage of your apathy to steal your freedoms and your wealth. We have to evolve into a culture of persistent inquisitiveness until it becomes a factor in the thinking of our leadership. I look to the day when, when a governor who is being pressured by his slimy godfathers, will have to answer them:' You want to kill me? When these people find out, they will roast me alive!' So we ask again, where does the money for the First Lady's projects and trips come from, if her office is not constitutionally recognised? How much does the Lekki concessioning company rake in, and why do Lagosians

have to pay so much in tolls? Where did Gov. Donatus Akpabio's largesse to 2Face come from? Why is the same Donatus not facing impeachment for election rigging after his televised confession? How come Obasanjo has not had to explain how you can spend $16.2 million dollars on power generation and still come up with 'Up NEPA!' How come Farouk Lawan was not arrested with the marked notes in his possession when a 'sting operation was conducted on him? How come with 70% arable land we still have to import rice? How come we spend more on importing refined fuel in one year than it would cost to fix all four of our refineries? I KEEP six honest servingmen (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who. I send them over land and sea, I send them east and west; But after they have worked for me, I give them all a rest..... But different folk have different views; I know a person smallShe keeps ten million servingmen, Who get no rest at all! (Rudyard Kipling) Peter Oshun is reachable on

Inside the police, NSCDC roforofo fight men on Konu axis under Inspector Sunday Gabriel to proceed to the scene. As they were approaching, they heard sound of serious gun firing in their area of pipeline coverage and the Inspector instructed his men to proceed to that direction… Upon arrival, they saw a group of Civil Defence Corps members coming out from the direction where the shooting was earlier heard. The NSCDC men challenged the policemen who were about four in number on what their mission was in the area, saying that it was their sole responsibility (Civil Defence) to guide and protect pipelines. These two storylines suggest that we are truly in a big mess in this country. It is evident that there is deep-seated animosity between our various security agencies. This has impacted negatively on inter-agency cooperation and the overall security of the nation. Taking the two stories on their face value, one cannot but be amused and even amazed by the spirited defence put up by the police. Who will believe such a cock-and-bull story that a team of NSCDC officials ‘overpowered’ a team of well-armed policemen, handcuffed and leg-chained their leader, an inspector, and even collected his service pistol in the process? Perhaps, that story is meant to be told to the marines as the public need not go too far to know who is saying the truth between the two agencies.

The issue of incessant pipeline vandalism has become worrisome to all patriotic Nigerians in recent times. In fact, it has become a big epidemic begging for urgent solution. Not only have the activities of the vandals led to a sharp drop in revenue earning from oil, in many instances, it has also caused untold hardship to many families through uncontrolled fire outbreaks resulting in death and destruction. Usually, the picture that has been created is that of a booming illicit trade that is being aided, and or supported by unscrupulous security agents. This is so because the thriving business has gone on for several years without the security agents being able to apprehend the real perpetrators. In the latest incident, some vandals were allegedly caught in the act. Diligent investigation could have led to the arrest of the big brains behind them. But what did we find? Two government agencies traded bullets, so to say, over the arrest. Not only were the vandals freed after what seems like a conspiracy between them and one of the security agencies, some security agents met their untimely death while others were injured. This is a national shame of a scandalous proportion! The whole thing reeks of the depth of infamy into which the country has sunk because of unbridled corruption that has

become a cankerworm in our body politic. Or else how can one explain all these perennial clashes by security agencies over security issues that have telling effects on the well-being of the nation at large? Many Nigerians believe that most of the security problems we encounter on a daily basis are being instigated by unscrupulous security agents themselves. Take for instance, the issue of Boko Haram. Even Mr. President himself has cried out that Boko Haram agents have infiltrated the security agencies and the government itself. This, the President said, had hampered all efforts to find a lasting solution to the menace in the country. And from what has been going on all over the country, it is as if the security agencies as presently constituted may never find solution to the myriad of security problems confronting the nation. They seem to be more interested in the pursuit of filthy lucre with unfair and foul means. This worrying situation has prompted various security analysts to harp on the need for cooperation among the security agencies, as a way of devising a concerted template to fight crime and criminality in the country. But rather than cooperating, what you find playing out everywhere is attempt to outdo or undo one another by the plethora of security agencies in the

country. In many instances, these unhealthy rivalries have manifested in open public confrontation, resulting in loss of lives and injuries to security agents and innocent members of the public. If it is not the army versus the police, it could be the navy or air force slugging it out with the police. There has not been any love lost between the police and the State Security Service (SSS) either. If the police-SSS rivalry has not led to open confrontation involving shootings, at least, it has manifested in inter-service distrust. A case in point is the mess created by the two sister agenciesion the investigation into the murder of Olaitan Oyerinde, the former personal secretary to Adams Oshiomhole, the governor of Edo State. Up till now, that riddle has not been solved. Today, we are confronted with the bloody encounter between the NSCDC officials and the Police. Like I said earlier, this is a big shame. Fighting over whose right it is to apprehend pipeline vandals is out of the question. Any security agency or even an ordinary citizen has the right of arrest under the Constitution. Therefore, to disagree on such an issue as to who, between two sister agencies, has the right to arrest vandals smacks of a hidden agenda. Dele Agekameh is on www.



Abuja drivers task FCTA to relocate Trailers Park By Usman Shuaibu


Young men entertaining funs seekers at the Millennium Park Abuja.

Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

We will provided a world class health delivery in FCT, says Akinjide By Adeola Tukuru


he Minister of State for Federal Capital Territory, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, has assured that the Administration was committed to ensuring a world-class healthcare delivery in the territory. She gave the assurance while declaring open a free training organised for biomedical technicians and engineers by the FCT Administration in collaboration with a non-profit organisation in the United States of America, Medshare. Over 50 biomedical technicians and engineers drawn from the public, private, military, police and paramilitary are participating in the training from 2nd April to 5th April, 2013. The minister, who was represented by her Special Assistant on Social Development, Mrs. Uchenna Nwafor, said the provision of quality and affordable healthcare delivery remained a top priority of the Administration. “The FCT Administration is committed to ensuring that the residents of the territory have the best quality of healthcare at the various levels of care. The Administration is determined to achieve all of the health related

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in FCT by 2015 and the transformation agenda of Mr. President,” she stated. She explained that the training of biomedical technicians and engineers was in tandem with the A d m i n i s t r a t i o n ’ s transformation agenda of providing world-class and affordable healthcare delivery services from primary to tertiary healthcare facilities. According to her, “Effective and efficient medical practice is dependent on availability of skillful human resources, functional diagnostic medical equipment and hygienic working environment. “It is my utmosts believe that this capacity building programme will generate ripples of change among biomedical technicians and engineers in handling and maintenance of our medical equipment and ensure their optimal functionality.” The Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretariat in the FCT, Dr. Demola Onakomaiya, reiterated the commitment of the FCTA to ensuring a holistic overhaul of all the public health care facilities in the FCT. Onakomaiya, who was represented by Mr. Niyi Oduneye, said the Administration would support

the provision of relevant equipment and capacity enhancement of health workers to deliver quality and sustainable health care services. He commended the FCT Minister of State for facilitating the grant from Medshare for the training of biomedical technicians and engineers. He admonished the participants to keenly learn and make the best use of the opportunity to develop themselves and build capacity in handling of the equipment. The Director of Biomedical Training & Technical Services of Medshare, Mr. Eben Armstrong, disclosed that his organisation

would distribute medical equipment to hospitals in the FCT. Medshare, a registered as a non-profit organisation in the USA, works in the Health sector to bridge the gap between demand and surplus through the collection of surplus medical equipment and supplies from manufacturers, distributors and hospitals, and the redistribution to qualified healthcare facilities in developing countries. Since its inception in 1998, Medshare has donated over $93million worth of medical supplies and equipment in more than 700 forty-foot containers to hospitals and clinics in the economically developing world.

buja drivers under the umbrella of the Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) in Dei-Dei, Bwari Area Council ,FCT has called on the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to relocate the trailers park in the area to avoid accident along Abuja-Suleja express road. The Chairman of the association, Mallam Mohammed Awwal, said that if the trailers park in Dei-Dei was repositioned, it would reduce the risk that drivers may face when parking their vehicles on the road-side. Awwal, made the call in an interview with Peoples Daily in Dei-Dei, stated that the association was facing the problem of a permanent motor park in the area ,pleading on the FCT Transport Secretariat to do something about it. He also urged the FCT Transport Secretariat to deem it fit to bring all the users of road-side Motors Park to the main park to avoid loss of lives in the highway. According to him, his administration would continue to co-operate with the FCTA in the interest of Sanity in the transport industry in the territory. The chairman further advised the drivers operate within the association to obey the traffic rules and regulations while embarking on the journey. Lawal, however, commended the FCT minister, Senator Bala Mohammed for providing Urban Mass Transit buses for the association.

Dakwa village head decry deplorable roads •••alleged no tangible project was masterminded by the FG in the area By Usman Shuaibu


esidents of Dakwa community in Bwari area council, FCT has raised alarm over the deplorable states of roads in the area, calling on the Chairman of the area council, Hon Peter Yohanna to rehabilitate the road. They alleged that no tangible project was masterminded by the government in the area The Village head , Dr Alhassan Musa Baba Chukuri, who spoke on behalf of the

residents appealed to the secondterm chairman–elect of the Area Council, Hon. Peter Yohanna that the essence of why they voted him into power is to ensure that he provides the dividends of democracy, such as basic infrastructure and others to the masses in the grassroots.. Chukuri who made the appeal in an interview with Peoples Daily in his Palace in Dakwa, said that the people of Dakwa were being neglected in the area of social amenities. He pointed out that absence

of potable drinking water and the epileptic power supply are the major obstacles confronting the residents of the area. He urged the chairman to redouble his effort to focus on the development of Dakwa Community. The monarch solicited for combined efforts of the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed and administration of the area council to provide infrastructural facilities in Dakwa town.



Court remands 3 men in prison for alleged homosexual practices


Mararaba Upper Area Court in Nasarawa State on Tuesday ordered three accused persons to be remanded in prison for alleged unnatural offence. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the accused are Armstrong Ihua, 40, of Ikorodu, Lagos; Collins Ejike, 30, of Lugbe, Abuja, and Pius Bamayi, 25, of Masaka, Nasarawa State. They, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge. Earlier, the prosecutor, Mr Stephen Kwaza, had told the court that one Pius Bamayi

accompanied by Patrick Okorie of LUNA GUEST INN Mararaba, reported the matter at the Sani Abacha Road Police Station, Mararaba, on March 31. Kwaza said that Ihua and Ejike conspired between themselves and lured Bamayi under false pretence to Ihua’s room. He said that when Bamayi was asleep, Ihua and Ejike started having carnal knowledge of each other. According to the prosecutor, Ihua took advantage of Bamayi, who was sleeping, to remove his trouser and started sucking his

(Bamayi’s) male organ. He said the act woke Bamayi up, and he hit Ihua with his elbow. The prosecutor stressed that the acts took place as a result of the Indian hemp the accused smoked. He said the ``unnatural offence” contravened the provisions of Section 284 of the Penal Code. The prosecutor said that the accused should not be granted bail to enable him carry out further investigation into the matter. The accused’s counsel

Messrs Charles Maduewyi, Momoh Mohammed and Gabriel Okpake, prayed the court to grant their clients bail. The presiding judge, Mr Vincent Gwahemba, however, refused to grant the accused bail on the grounds that the offence was not ordinarily bailable. Gwahemba also said that the oral application for bail was not adequate, and ordered the accused to be remanded in prison. He adjourned the case to April 23,2013 for further hearing. (NAN)

A motorcyclist loading banana on his machine in Durumi, Abuja

Musician in court for attempting to snatch taxi


he police on Tuesday ar raigned a musician, Christian Daniel, 20, of Nyanyan, Abuja for alleged attempt to snatch a Nissan Sunny taxi car. Prosecutor Cpl. Eze Okwuchukwu told the court that one Bathlomew Yakubu of Old Karmo, Abuja, reported the matter at the Garki Police Station on Jan. 19. “Daniel and two others now at large, boarded Yakubu’s taxi from Mararaba in Nasarawa State as passengers. “At Area 1, Garki, they attempted to snatch the car from Yakubu. Daniel was arrested while the two others ran away,” he alleged. Okwuchukwu also told the court that the offence contravened the the Penal Code. The prosecutor objected to granting bail to the accused so as not to jeopardise police investigation still in progress. “He is likely to jump bail if

granted. The two other suspects are still at large. He may connive with them to commit more crime,” he said. The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge saying, ``I don’t know the two others. They even collected my money and cell phone before running away’’. “I am not among them. I

boarded the taxi from Mararaba while they boarded from Nyanya,” he said. His counsel, Monday Adah, applied for his bail. He cited the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the Criminal Procedure Code to support his argument. The Senior Magistrate, Mrs Ann Akobi, granted the bail in

N500,000 and a surety in like sum. “The surety must be a civil servant of any grade level and living within the FCT. “The surety must ensure that the accused comes to court to undergo trial,” she said. Akobi adjourned the case to May 7, 2013 for hearing. (NAN)

INSIDE FCT COURTS Tailor, 24, docked over possession of dangerous weapons


he police on Tuesday in Abuja arraigned a tailor, Adamu Mohammed, in court for alleged possession of dangerous weapons and acts likely to cause a breach of public peace. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mohammed, who lives at Angwan Hausa, near Central Mosque, Karu, Abuja, was arraigned in a Karu Upper Area Court. The prosecutor, Sgt. Daniel Adokpa, told the court that the accused was arrested at Old Chief's Palace Polling Unit, Karu, on March 16. Adokpa further said that Mohammed was in possession of a machete during the FCT Area Council Elections, which took place during the period. He added that the offences contravened the provisions of Section 114 of the Penal Code and Section 129 (1) of INEC Electoral Act 2011 as amended. Section 114 states that ``whoever does any act with intent to cause a breach of peace or disturb public peace shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years or be fined or both.” The Counsel to the accused, Malam Abubakar Ahmed, applied for his client’s bail, assuring that a reliable surety would be provided if the application was granted. The judge, Alhaji Umar Kagarko, granted the accused bail in the sum of N50,000 with a reliable surety who must reside within the jurisdiction of the court. He adjourned the case to May 20 for hearing. (NAN)

Court remands businessman, 32, in prison for alleged cheating


Karu Upper Area Court in Abuja on Tuesday remanded one Aliya Bashir in prison for alleged criminal breach of trust and cheating. The prosecutor, Cpl. Silas Nanpan, told the court that Sani Liman and Nasir Mode of Mararaba, Nasarawa State reported the matter at Nyanyan Police Station on March 29,2013.

Nanpan said that Bashir collected dry fish worth N67,000 and N70,000 from the complainants in December 2012. “Bashir promised to sell and remit the money to the owners, but instead, converted the total sum of N137,000 to his personal use," Nanpan said. He said the offences contravened sections 312 and

322 of the Penal Code. Section 312 stipulates that whoever commits criminal breach of trust shall be punished with imprisonment that may extend to seven years or be fined or both. Section 322 states that whoever cheats shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years or be fined or both. Nanpan urged the court

not to grant bail to the accused, and said that Bashir had earlier jumped police bail. Bashir denied committing the offences and the defence counsel, Mr Abubakar Ahmed, applied for bail for his client. The Judge, Alhaji Umar Kagarko, ordered the accused to be remanded in prison and adjourned the case to April 4 for ruling on the bail application. (NAN)



Vandalism: NSCDC calls for greater collaboration with FCT communities By Stanley Onyekwere


he Commandant, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Command, Aminu Abdulahi Kofarsoro, has advocated for greater collaboration between the corps and the general public to effectively combat the menace of vandalism, through making available reliable information regards any acts of vandalism on critical facilities in the

Work resumes fully in Abuja after Easter break

Territory. According to him, acts of vandalisation in the Territory has taken different dimensions as there is emergence of vandals specialized in hovering around critical infrastructures in the FCT, with the sole aim of abusing and sabotaging these facilities for their selfish economic gains to the detriment of the greater percentage of the populace. Kofarsoro, who made this point while parading three suspects, caught vandalizing electricity transformers and scooping mercury oil from the facility, in Jiwa community of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), said the corps recovered a Volvo truck with

Kogi state registration no: XC 182 LKJ laden with about twenty gallons of the product during the operation. In his words: “We have been monitoring and conducting lot surveillance around some critical infrastructures in the territory, which had led to several arrest of suspected vandals of these infrastructures; but what we have noticed is that with the greater collaboration of the leaders and residents in communities where these things are located, it will boost our efforts to curtail the menace effectively”, he said. The commandant who disclosed that it was in collaboration with the informal security intelligence gathering

process that the corps was able to arrest the three suspected, commended the effort of the Chief of Jiwa, Idris Musa, during the operation. “We are calling on the public to liaise with the corps, and give us very reliable information regards to any acts of vandalism on the facilities like PHCH, NNPC pipe line, telecommunications, water and others; which if reported to us with intelligence we are going to work on it and effectively fight the menace ravaging the territory”, he stressed. Also he disclosed that his command has contacted the nearest Power Holding Company of Nigeria(PHCN) officials, who moved in and

assessed the level of damage, with the bid to ratify the problem that the activities of the vandals has had on electricity supply in Jiwa, Karmo, Lifecamp Gwagwa and Deidei respectively. He however, commended the assured that the corps would ensure that due process is followed, to ensure that the suspects and others accomplices at large are prosecuted in competent courts after full investigation into the alleged crime. One of the suspects, Bala Abdullahi, who admitted guilt, saying they supply the product to Tipper drivers, however pleaded with the public to forgive him as he never knew what he was doing was wrong.


ork has fully resumed yesterday in Abuja after the two-day public holidays declared by the Federal Government to mark the Easter. A check on the Federal Secretariat on Shagari Way Abuja, indicated that many of the workers reported for duties early to carry out their normal duties. At the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HOSF), ministries of defence and justice workers were seen arriving at their offices as early as 7 a.m. At the HOSF’s office, Mrs Victoria Udoh, a civil servant, said work had to go on as government business could not be left unattended. “It was a beautiful four days break; I mean the two days public holiday and the two -weekend days. It was enough for anyone to rest. “Holiday is good. We must be ready now to face serious work,” she said. A visit to FCDA Secretariat in Area 11 also showed that many of the workers reported for duties. Mrs Bibian Ezendu, a civil servant at the FCDA, told NAN that the holiday gave her the opportunity to travel and visit her aged parents in the village. She said that she had enough time for rest and attended to some family matters, adding that she wished the holiday could continue. Another civil servant, who simply gave his name as Mr Isa, said he did not travel for the break. Isa said he rested, fully resumed and eager to begin his normal duties. “I am happy. I had enough time to rest, I am back fully to resume my normal duty as usual. “At a point I got tired of the holiday and was looking forward to coming to the office,” he said. Miss Bukola Ajayi, an NYSC corps member, newly posted to the secretariat, expressed happiness to resume in her new place of service. Mr Joe Amosu, a civil servant, said he had the time to visit old friends with his family and also took the children out for a picnic. He said the holiday was well spent, adding that he was excited to resume and meet his colleagues after being away from work. (NAN)

Workers at the Federal Secretariat in Abuja resuming back to their various offices,after the Easter break.

Photo: NAN

Child abandonment: Social worker seeks counselling, education of young parents


he Director, FCT Social D e v e l o p m e n t Secretariat, Dr Geoffrey Ogu, has called for parenting counselling and education of young parents as means to address the issue of child abandonment. According to him, child abandonment is a criminal offence that is mostly committed by young parents in the society. “The offence can be said to be committed when a parent or guardian having physical custody of a child knowingly leaves that child without supervision for a period of 24 hours or more. “There is need for urgent

steps to be taken to curb the menace, to give children the right of place that they deserve in the country,” Ogu said. He identified causes of child abandonment to include poor upbringing of young parents as also responsible for the increasing incidence of the problem in the country. He said there should be proper counselling and education of young parents on parenting to help them garner skills on ways to provide basic necessities of living for their children. “Poor upbringing of young parents, who go into early parenthood, contribute to child abandonment if not checked.

Lack of parenting upbringing occurs due to incidence of broken marriages. “It is wrong to send children away from home for being impregnated out of wedlock as practised by some parents. “It is wrong to do that; young parents require counselling on proper parenting, if the damage has been done, the damage control is necessary to avoid further harm. “There is need for us to educate young parents on ways to cater for their immediate family by offering useful advice to them, to ensure that they don’t derail,” he said. He decried failure by some

parents to give attention to their children, due to office engagement to infringe on child’s right. The director advised parents to always create more time for their children, to promote mutual relationship in the family and guard against other forms of child abuse. “No matter how busy one may be; it is necessary to devote more time for children; this can help protect them from child abuse,” he said. He, however, said that people caught violating the child’s right should be punished to serve as deterrent for guarding against child abuse. (NAN)




By Abdulwahab Isa


he Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) is putting in place a frame work for granting financial assistance to deserving primary mortgage banks (PMBs) and microfinance banks (MFBs) operating in the country. But deserving PMIS and Microfinance Banks would have stringent conditions to meet to be eligible for NDIC financial assistance. The NDIC Managing Director, Alh. Umaru Ibrahim made this remark in Abuja when the Board of Directors and Management of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) paid him a courtesy visit. He said the planned financial assistance is part of NDIC efforts at repositioning the sub-sector for greater performance of the financial services system. A statement issued by NDIC Head of Communication and Public Affairs Unit, Hadi S. Birchi quoted the MD reiterating his warning that any MFB and PMB mismanaged by their owners would not be eligible for such assistance. He said details of the novel framework would soon be made known to stakeholders once it is approved by the Board of the Corporation. While emphasizing the



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NAHCO proposes 25k dividend per share

NDIC set to unveil framework for financial bailout to PMIS/MFBs strategic role of mortgage financing in the development of the financial services sector, the MD/CE stated that the Federal Ministry of Finance (FMF), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Corporation were working on possible measures aimed at reviving the sub-sector towards achieving the transformation agenda of the Federal Government in the area of affordable housing for all taking cognizance of the huge deficit existing in the industry. He pointed out that some of the measures include amongst others, the CBN’s revised supervisory guidelines for primary mortgage banks, refinancing scheme in the mortgage sector and the proposed review of the land use act. Umaru disclosed the commencement of liquidation of seven out of the 25 PMBs recently closed by the CBN with payment of compensation to their depositors. He lamented the difficulties being encountered by the Corporation in the liquidation process as many of them merely existed as paper institutions. He

Naira advances to week high as CBN bolsters reserves he Naira climbed the most in more than a week against the dollar on speculation that the central bank will continue to support the currency by dipping into its rising foreign reserves. The currency advanced as much as 0.2 percent, before trading 0.1 percent stronger at 158.4 per dollar by 11:45 a.m. in Lagos, the commercial capital, the biggest gain on a closing basis since March 22, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Nigeria’s foreign-currency reserves have advanced 38 percent to $48.5 billion in the year through March 20. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has enough to defend the naira and “keep it where we want,” Governor Lamido Sanusi said in a March 24 interview in Lagos. “We believe the sizable arsenal of foreign-exchange reserves that the central bank has built up over the past 15 months as well as firm monetary policy will help keep the exchange rate in the target range of 150-160 per dollar in 2013,” Yvonne Mhango, a Johannesburg-based economist at Renaissance Capital, wrote in a report yesterday. Sanusi said he wants to keep the benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record high even

Mob: 08033644990


as more policy makers argue for cuts amid calls from the government and businesses to lower borrowing costs. Three Monetary Policy Committee members voted for a reduction on March 19, compared with two in January. Yields on the government’s local-currency bonds due June 2019 dropped 24 basis points, or 0.24 percentage point, to 10.96 percent, according to March 28 prices compiled by the Financial Markets Dealers Association. Borrowing costs on Nigeria’s $500 million of Eurobonds due January 2021 declined three basis points, or 0.03 percentage point, to 4.326 percent today. (Bloomberg)

said the seven were those the Corporation could identify after frantic search at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to determine the management, board, shareholders and other details of the closed PMBs.

He disclosed further that it was difficult for the Corporation to determine the PMBs’ deposit liabilities due to their failure to render statutory returns to the CBN and pay mandatory premium to the NDIC.

L-R: Chairman, Odu'a investment company limited, Mr Sarafadeen Alli; Managing Director, Mr Adebayo Jimoh, and Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, during the inauguration of Odu'a Hall of Fame and Museum, yesterday in Ibadan. Photo: NAN

AMCON says it has stopped buying bad loans


he Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) has stopped buying bad loans from the banking sector, its chief executive said on Tuesday, a move aimed at discouraging excessive risk-taking in Africa’s second biggest economy after a 2009 financial crisis. AMCON was set up in 2010 to clean up the banking system following a $4 billion rescue of nine lenders that came close to collapse, but AMCON CEO Mustapha Chike-Obi told Reuters it would no longer serve as a lifeline to banks with bad loans.

Before AMCON took on Nigeria’s bad loans, they made up about half of all loans, the central bank says, but have since fallen to within its target of 5 percent. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its latest report commended Nigeria’s success in stabilising its banking sector but recommended AMCON wind down its operations to curb “moral hazard”, whereby a party is more willing to take a risk, knowing that the potential costs of taking such a risk will be borne by others. Mustapha Chike-Obi

Management Tip of the Day

Keep your company’s secrets in the digital age


hrough social sharing technologies like Facebook and Twitter, your employees may be unwittingly exposing company secrets. Even seemingly innocuous information like travel schedules or what online groups an employee joins can give competitors inside intelligence. Here are a few ways to shield your organization from prying eyes:

He said that the decision of the Corporation’s Board to reimburse depositors of the seven identified PMBs was part of its unwavering commitment to the protection of depositors of all licenced insured institutions.

Assess and educate. Determine what’s important for your company to protect and make sure everyone understands what information might be sensitive. For example, a person’s list of LinkedIn connections can reveal her network and even potential partnerships in the works. Disable geolocation. Make sure employees turn off these features so that they don’t

inadvertently leave footprints that show where they’re visiting and who they might be meeting with. Keep it inside. Implement and promote internal social networks that are walled off from the outside world. These platforms allow employees to talk shop without risking information leakage. Source: Harvard Business Review

declined to comment on IMF’s recommendation, but he said banks now bear the full risk of loans that turn bad. They must make full provision on their balance sheets or sell bad loans to a third party, he said. “We are not buying any more non-performing loans,” ChikeObi said, adding that the bank had not done so for six months. “We have cleaned up the banking system, bad loans are under 5 percent and we want to make sure that everybody adheres to the prudential guidelines.” AMCON issued a total of 1.7 trillion naira ($10.72 billion) in bonds to buy non-performing loans which were valued at 2.2 trillion naira at the time of the 2009 bank bailout. Chike-Obi told Reuters last year that AMCON’s aim was to gradually reduce its operations and cut staff in the next five years, as a full banking recovery makes it no longer needed. In the meantime, AMCON is seeking foreign investors to help refinance its sovereignguaranteed debt to the tune of 5 trillion naira ($31.53 billion). At a non-deal roadshow last week, AMCON executives floated the idea of a dollar-denominated bond to achieve this. (Reuters)



Ayodele Samuel <> 0806 372 7788




he Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced yesterday it plans to sell N183.65 billion worth of treasury bills with maturities ranging from three months to one year at its twice-monthly auction on April 10. The bank said it will auction N20.16 billion in 91day bills, N43.49 billion in 182-day notes and N120 billion in 364-day paper, using the Dutch auction system. Yields on the shortdated debt went up in the last two auctions, as the government sought to attract more demand from investors.



hevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), operator of the NNPC/Chevron Joint Venture, has stressed its support and respect for communities in its areas of operation. The CNL General Manager, Policy Government and Public Affairs (PGPA), Mr Deji Haastrup, said: "CNL has a strong partnership with communities in the areas of its operations. We support their aspirations and respect the communities' traditions. We do not interfere in their internal processes for selecting their leaders and representatives or in their internal affairs". Haastrup explained that the EGCDC was one of eight regional community development organisations (Regional Development Committees) established under the Chevronpioneered participatory community engagement model known as the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU).



he International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called for the liquidation of the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) in order to curb moral hazard and fiscal risks. The recommendation is contained in the Bretton Woods institution’s assessment of the country, after its 2012 Article IV consultations. The directors of the Fund unanimously agreed that the continued operations of AMCON may wittingly and unwittingly increase instances of moral hazards and fuel fiscal risks.

Business operators endorse NEXIM’s West Africa Sealink Project Stories from Ayodele Samuel,Lagos


s plans to enhance transportation of persons and goods across the West and Central African region through an efficient coastal transportation system (West Africa Sealink Project) by the Nigeria Export-Import bank (NEXIM) heightens, Nigeria's Organized Private Sector (OPS)has lauded the project, describing it as a transportation solution to the congested road systems in the West and Central African link roads. At the venue, the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture ( NACCIMA) House Lagos, during a Sensitisation and Pre-Investors forum on the proposed Sealink Project for West and Central Africa, the OPS, under the auspice of NACCIMA endorsed and express its readiness to invest in the project. NACCIMA, as the apex business association in Nigeria is to champion the setting up of the company through the mobilization of business operators for the raising of start up share capital for the shipping company with a view to facilitate regional cooperation and integration. NACCIMA President, Dr. Herbert Ajayi, while commending the bank for believing in the regional sealink project and pursuing it with all necessary vigour that it requires lamented that travelling by road or connecting flights amongst

Chairman NAHCO Aviance, Suleiman Yahyah the West African states had always been a nightmare to private sector operators, considering the challenges of road blocks by security agencies and the law enforcement agencies on the road, hence, the need for the Sealink project. "The West African market is huge and have not been fully tapped as a result of challenges being faced when goods and persons are being transported and the attendant high cost due to the absence of direct shipping line on the West and Central African corridor. "In view of this, the Chambers of Commerce in the West African states, under the auspices of Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce and Industry, in a bid to overcome

these challenges, conceptualised the idea of the Sealink project, and is partnering with other investing partners to ensure its actualisation", he stated. He said the success of the company would increase intraregional trade flow from the current flow; enhance capacity building in international trade and structured trade financing; and create jobs and investment opportunities, thereby meeting the economic objectives and transformation agenda of the Federal Government. At the forum, NEXIM Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Robert Orya said that the project would tackle the challenge of road infrastructure as well as the absence of rail link within the region, coupled with the comparative low budgetary cost and short implementation timeline of the project compared with a regional road/ rail project. Orya however tasked the private sector in the county and ECOWAS to come in as equity investors in the $60 million (N9.3 billion) regional sealink project being facilitated by the bank. He explained that of this figure, US$36 million (or N5.6 billion) will be used to buy vessels, equipment, office space and other infrastructure, while US$24 million about (N3.7 billion) is projected for working capital to cover general administrative cost. He said that NEXIM is spearheading the project because Nigeria is a dominant player in the region and

NAHCO proposes 25k dividend per share


he Nigerian Aviation Handing Company (NAHCO) Aviance- has announced a dividend payout of 25kobo for every 50kobo share held by its shareholders in its 2012 financial year result. The dividend payout, contained in the company’s performance released to the Nigerian Stock Exchange yesterday, reflects a dividend yield of 4.75 per cent. According to a statement from the company, the yield, which compares favorably and above market average for publicly-listed companies which released its results recently under the new International Finance Reporting Standard (IFRS) framework adopted by all quoted companies. The company said despite the unfavorable operating environment, also jerked up its revenue base to N7.4billion, up from N7.1billion, reflecting a 6 percent increase. The company further said its growth prospect and forecast envisaged doubling of its earnings per share and dividend payout within the next

.....Ups revenue to N7.4bn

Chairman NAHCO Aviance, Suleiman Yahyah two years; which shows increased earnings from its cargo business and expansion in West Africa. NAHCO’s Chief Finance Officer, Chinwe Chiji-Nnorom said despite the difficult year occasioned by fuel subsidy strike in January 2012, a 10 percent reduction in the number of both international and local flights as well as security challenges which affected operations in Kaduna, Kano and Plateau states, the company was able to

improve its retained earnings, cash reserve ratio and efficiency generally. In 2012, NAHCO handled 27,349 flights which contrast with the 30,107 flights handled in 2011, reflecting a 10 per cent reduction.It attributed improved performance to the new cargo business and West African expansion drive. The statement said NAHCO’s 2012 Profit Before Tax of N1.003billion compared to N1.3billion in 2011 is slightly lower due to reduction in passenger flights and security challenges. It however said the company’s expansion drive, diversification into power sector and the plan to make Lagos a hub for a FreeTrade-Zone is paying off. It said the benefits of growth and expansion will begin to reflect in 2013 and the succeeding years, in line with the company’s forecast of doubling its earnings per share and dividend payout.

controlling 70 percent of the 300 million markets. Explaining how the project will benefit Nigeria, Orya, said that the Federal Government of Nigeria and the ECOWAS Commission have already endorsed the project and the funding requirement is US$60 million. Giving a breakdown of how the shipping line will operate, he said the freight and passenger project, when completed, would have the following ports of call: Freetown-ConakryBissauBanjul-Dakar; CotonouCalabar-Douala-Libreville and Libreville-Dakar route for combined freight and passenger cabotage.

ITF threatens jail term for employers over nonremittance of salaries


he Director-General Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Sambo Wapmuk has said any employer that refuses to remit one per cent of its workers’ yearly salaries risks a three-year jail term. Wapmuk, in a paper delivered at the ITF – Port stakeholders forum held in Lagos, said the penalty was prescribed by the law establishing the ITF. He said the remittance will help in providing the necessary skills for industrialisation and development, as well as reduce unemployment, youth restiveness and insecurity. Wapmuk urged employers to ensure remittance to enable ITF build at least four skills training centres yearly, providing direct employment and empower the youth with employable skills. ITF, Wapmuk said, is not resting on its oars to narrow the unemployment gap and boost industrialisation. Speaking on its National Industrial Skills Development Programme, NISDP, Wapmuk said, the agency seeks to train 1.2 million youths yearly in various trade areas, such as manufacturing, agro-allied business and construction which has taken off in 10 states under its first phase.. He said the programme is a response to the dire skills shortages identified through studies by the ITF, in conjunction with the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), in 2006, and also the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) last year.



Unmasking embattled Cyprus: Russiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Treasure Island


o sooner did Britain's Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher meet Mikhail Gorbachev in London for the first time in 1984 -- a year before he became Russia's No. 1 -- and described him as "a Russian we can business with," than the alarm bells rang among members of the Soviet Union's nomenklatura, the Soviet ruling class. A year later, when Gorbachev became top Communist in the Kremlin and anti-Soviet guerrillas in Afghanistan began shooting down Soviet helicopters in Afghanistan with U.S.supplied Stinger missiles, the alarm bells grew louder. Gorbachev decided the Soviet guerrilla war he had inherited in Afghanistan wasn't worth it and the nomenklatura realized that sooner or later international communism would take a blow from which it probably wouldn't recover. And already in 1986, three years before the Soviet army pulled out of Afghanistan, some of the wiser, aging apparatchiks of the nomenklatura decided to build secret rainy day funds abroad. They smuggled out priceless museum pieces, gold bars and diamonds. Some art objects even had official export papers provided by officials on the take. Like-minded contacts in the KGB understood how financial assets could be protected once smuggled out of the Soviet Union. They had been using sub rosa facilities for KGB activities for decades. By the time the Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989, Soviet crime gangs had moved into West Berlin and from there they created global organized crime syndicates. Cayman Islands facilities, used extensively for illegal transactions close to the United States, were too far for the new breed of Russian transnational crime bosses. They needed something closer to home and totally secure from Western snoopers. The financial and economic rape of Russia generated an estimated $220 billion. And that is how Cyprus became financial headquarters for a new class of Russian millionaires and then billionaires. Cypriot lawyers helped them establish legitimate businesses in Nicosia and the seaside resort of Limassol. Some attorneys had a dozen shiny brass name plates of Russian companies on their

Cyprus President, Nicos Anastasiades office doors. Following the end of the cold war, Russian mafia bosses in the French Riviera's most expensive hotels didn't even bother to look like prosperous businessmen. Black leather jackets, black pants, open neck white shirts with gold chains flashing sudden wealth, was the uniform of day and evening in those early days. The Hotel du Cap EdenRoc in Cap d'Antibes, the most expensive establishment on the entire coast, frequently had a majority of Russian Mafiosi in the dining room. They invariably picked the most expensive nectar on the list. In the early 1990s, a single bottle of Chateau Petrus Pomerol set you back $3,000. The islands of Cyprus and Malta joined the European Union in 2004 and Nicosia remained the favorite banking center for now respectable Russian companies and transnational corporations. That is until they were suddenly whipsawed in a Europe-wide crisis triggered by Greece's collapse inside the European Union. The Cyprus-Russia link is the dominant feature of the country's financial profile. Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has close ties with Russia. His law firm represents two Russian billionaires. Most of the private jets that fly in and out of Nicosia's Larnaca International Airport are Russian-owned or chartered. The crisis, long dormant in the wake of the better known eurozone Greek upheaval, shared the same roots. But German Chancellor Angela Merkel always thought -- and said privately -- that Cyprus was the European Union's ticking financial bomb. And Cyprus is potentially more damaging than the recent crises in Spain, Portugal or Greece. The small island's banking

collapse stemmed from the economic and financial equivalent of a one-trick pony. Banking is the mainstay of the economy. And most of the money in Cyprus's banks is -- or was -- Russian. In late 2011, Moscow authorized a $3.2 billion loan to Cyprus. This simply postponed the day of reckoning for Cyprus as a member of the European Union. More recently, the Russian finance minister was told the only way to avoid a financial disaster was for Moscow to take over the Russian-owned Laiki bank, Cyprus's second largest, where Russians do most of their foreign banking. Moscow said nyet. Backing and filling between EU headquarters in Brussels, the International Monetary Fund in Washington, and the Kremlin, while Cyprus banks remained closed, finally led to a solution that would slash the accounts of larger depositors. The bailout has a $21.8 billion price tag or a haircut of 6.75 percent on all accounts less than 100,000 euros -- $128,000 -- and 10 percent on everything more than that line. There were few tears among other Europeans who dismissed the crew cut as only hurting Russia's fast ruble crowd. No one is saying, "Let's sell Cyprus." The poor in Cyprus had no access to their bank accounts for two weeks. They always thought banks couldn't fail in Cyprus because fresh Russian money was always circling the island looking for safe haven. In 2012, an estimated $250 billion in Russian transactions went through Cyprus's banking system. A run on the banks as they reopened was blocked by limiting withdrawals to $384 per day per person and limiting transfers abroad to $6,400. Those leaving the island could only take 1,000 euros - $1,280 -- or the equivalent in foreign currency. Authorities appeased angry customers waiting in line outside banks by announcing that restrictions on transactions would be lifted in a month. Now Laiki will be absorbed by the Bank of Cyprus and some Russian deposits are expected to sail westward across the Mediterranean to Malta, another well established tax-dodging center. The bigger ones still have Monte Carlo in the independent state of Monaco on the French Riviera.



World Bank to end extreme poverty globally by 2030 By Etuka Sunday


n a bid to help the most vulnerable countries of the world, the World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim, on Tuesday outlined an agenda towards ending extreme poverty by 2030 and promoting shared prosperity to boost the incomes of the poorest 40 percent of the population in each country. World Bank in a statement quoted Kim while delivering speech at Georgetown University, saying; “We are at an auspicious moment in history when the successes of past decades and an increasingly favorable economic outlook combine to give developing countries a chance for the first time ever - to end extreme poverty within a generation.

“Our duty now must be to ensure that these favorable circumstances are matched with deliberate decisions to realize this historic opportunity,” he said. Kim observed that developing economies rebounded quickly from the crisis and are now in a fundamentally sound position, thanks to greater macroeconomic stability, a stronger rule of law, and increased investments in human capital and infrastructure. Productivity growth in the private sector, the source of 90 percent of all jobs, is high. According to him, the first Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), to reduce extreme poverty, was achieved in 2010, five years ahead of time, after developing countries spent years

investing in social safety nets and working hard to build the fiscal space and create themacroeconomic buffers to respond effectively if a crisis hit. He disclosed that the World Bank Group would help, in at least four ways. ”First, we will use these goals to help us choose among competing priorities, as we identify the projects where we can have the most transformative impact. “Second, we will closely monitor and observe progress toward these goals, and will report annually on what has been achieved and where gaps remain. These yearly reports with extensive publicly available data will provide a clear record of progress. “Third, we will use our convening and advocacy power

L-R: Managing Director, Cornerstone Insurance Plc, Mr Tokunbo Bello; Zonal Commanding Officer, Zone RS2 HQ, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Assist Corps-Marshal Kabiru Lawal and vice-chairman, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Lagos state chapter, Mr. Michael Odugunle, at a special park rally between FRSC and NURTW, at Ojota New Garage, yesterday in Lagos.

Re-modeled MAKIA terminal still not in use From Edwin Olofu, Kano


hree weeks after the muchpublicized re-modeled international wing of the Malam Aminu Kano international Airport Kano (MAKIA) was commissioned, the edifice is still under lock and key, investigation has revealed. Our correspondent, who was at the airport yesterday reports that the building has not been furnished with no visible sign, which has raised doubt among Kano residents that the much talked-about re-modeled structure will be put to use anytime soon. Some of the staff of the airport who spoke to our corespondent, but on condition of anonymity, said there are some finishing work that are yet to be carried out before the place can be fully operational. The international wing of MAKIA was commissioned on the March 15th by the Minister of Aviation , Princess Stella Oduah

and she promised during the occasion the place will become fully operational by the end of March. Kano state governor, Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso had complained, when the Aviation Minister paid him a courtesy call at the Kano state Government House, of some facilities that have been abandoned at the airport and which requires urgent attention. Kwankwaso said a quality Conveyor Belt is needed and that the minister should facilitate the functioning of the new Control Tower, whose equipment he said were brought since 2007, as well as the provision of adequate power supply to the airport, among others. Alhaji Shehu Asaad, a pharmacist an international business man based in Kano, who spoke to our reporter, was of the view that if the infrastructure at the MAKIA are in good shape airlines that have moved to other routes will be forced to come back,

because passengers from the northern part of the country will patronize the airport instead of going to either Abuja or Lagos to fly. “My honest view is that the infrastructure at the airport are in a state of disrepair and this will discourage passengers, especially international ones, to patronize the airport. But if government can put the place in order I can assure you that you will see changes”. When contacted, Alhaji Musa Hassan Shawai, who is the airport’s Information Officer could not offer explanation as to why the edifice has been closed all this while, saying that the remodeled Terminal will be open to customers for use before the week runs out. “The remodeled international wing will be open for passengers for use this week; be rest assured that by Thursday (today), if you come you see the place functional; that is all I can say for now”.

to continually remind policymakers and the international community what it will take to realize these goals. Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, we will work with our partners to share knowledge

on solutions to end poverty and promote shared prosperity.” He called on the global community to use the last 1,000 days to redouble efforts in areas where there have not been strong enough advances.

FG to export 76 crude cargoes in May


he Federal Government will increase crude oil exports to 76 cargoes in May, according to the final loading programme obtained from the shipping authorities. The figure compares with 66 shipments due to be exported this month, according to a revised plan for April. Three Bonny Light cargoes, two Lots of Brass River and one Okono consignment have been deferred to May from April. It was gathered on Tuesday that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was also working out measures to boost the exploration and export of crude, despite the massive oil theft going on in the sector. “The NNPC has been working on boosting crude export and the Group Managing Director sees this as very important,” the General Manager, Media Relations Department, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Mr. Omar Ibrahim, told our correspondent in Abuja. The final loading programme, which was obtained by Bloomberg News, indicated that the country planned to ship 11 consignments

of Qua Iboe, nine of Forcados, eight each of Bonny Light and Agbami, five each of Akpo, Bonga and Brass River, four of Erha, three each of Amenam, Escravos, Usan and Yoho, two lots of Abo, Antan and Okwori, and one each of EA Blend, Okono and Pennington in April. The May programme totals 65 million barrels, or 2.1 million barrels a day, versus 60.2 million, or two million a day scheduled for April. Royal Dutch Shell Plc lifted a two-week force majeure on Bonny Light exports on March 19. This is because the country has been hit by rising oil theft and the Nembe Creek Trunkline will close in April to clear points along the link that are vulnerable to thieves, according to Shell. Similarly, Agip Oil, on Monday, announced the suspension of its operations in Bayelsa State because of the high level crude oil theft perpetuated by vandals across its installations in the state. Loading programmes are monthly schedules of crude shipments compiled by field operators to allow buyers and sellers to plan their supply and trading activities. (Bloomberg)

Microsoft Nigeria, collaborate Nokia to launch 9j Apps contest By Chris Alu


icrosoft Nigeria in partnership with Nokia Nigeria, has formally declared open its 9jApps contest, a challenge designed to empower local developers to take advantage of Microsoft’s new tools and resources by developing locally appealing and locallyrelevant apps for the Windows platform, utilizing Visual Studio 2012 and the Windows Phone SDK, in addition to the Windows Azure SDK. The 9jApps contest is billed to run for 3 months teeing-off in the month of March and climaxing at the end of June, 2013. This contest is timed to have great impact on our next generation developer audiences by being aligned to the launch of the 4Africa Initiative PanAfrica, and this will drive innovation and grow the local software economy, which is one of the key initiatives under the innovation pillar of the Africa Plan. Through this Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative, will create a platforms for Inspiring Nigerian Developers – Students, Entrepreneurs, Independent

developers to create the next generation of amazing apps on the Windows Platform. The country manager, Microsoft Nigeria, Emmanuel Onyeje said,” Nigeria is blessed with enormous talents and Microsoft is giving our developers an opportunity to explore their potentials”. While fielding questions from journalists at the event, Shina explained, the entries criteria for the contest would be judged by competitors who meet the following conditions: Apps entries should be in the respective stores (Windows 8 or Windows Phone) by 14 June 2013. Apps published and available in store before the contest period are not eligible to participate. Prizes to be won in both categories of the contest includes: Windows 8 Apps Category as Grand Prize: 2012/ 2013 KIA Rio automobile; Second Prize: NGN750, 000 cash, while the Third Prize is a Windows 8 device each (X5). While for Windows phone Category: Grand Prize: NGN750, 000, Second Prize: NGN500, 000 and the Third Prize is a Windows Phone 8 device (X5).





Arms “armada”: Many bothered by proliferation


Hope amidst despair A

ccording to an adage, life is a market; and three categories of people can be seen there: the sellers, the buyers and those that are there to see what people are doing in the market. The question is: to which of these categories of people do you belong; are you a buyer or a seller, or are you in this life to see how buying and selling is being done? What, or rather how, have you impacted in the life of your fellow Nigerians in your neighborhood, school, family, church, mosque, office, and so on? Are you a threat to the people working under you or a threat to your generation as a whole? Are you doing things the way you want it to be done, or the way it should be done? These and related posers cry for attention in the heat of the unprecedented insecurity and diverse other crimes troubling the nation. This is even as the laudable efforts of a legion of stesmen from different backgrounds inspire hope and faith that things would get better sooner or later. Talking about criminal indulgences, consider the story of a Nigerian-born US Army deserter, Allen Williams Abiodun, who was arrested on February 20, 2013, for stabbing to death his younger brother, Merchant Navy personnel in Imude community, Oto Awori Local Government area of Lagos. He confessed that he stabbed his sibling, Olawale Ayetimi, 24, to death following continuous threat on his life. Olawale was reportedly sleeping when Williams stabbed him in the head, neck and jugular. And after that he reportedly dumped Olawale’s remains in an uncompleted building foundation behind their compound and covered it with leaves. Not satisfied with his heinous crime, Allen allegedly took his late brother’s ATM card, Merchant Navy uniform and phone. Olawole had, ironically, only returned from an official trip to Port Harcourt to settle dispute between his elder brother and their mother. Unknown to him, he would

Amidst the horrific crimes and various other dire developments across the land, the efforts of some exemplary compatriots continue to raise hope, Christiana Popoola Dayo and Zainab Yahaya Kandi report. never live to get to see his mission accomplished the next day Before retiring to the bedroom which he shared with his elder brother, Olawale was said to have instructed one of his sisters to boil water for him to bath the next morning. Agony set in the next day, after his sister went to inform him that the hot water was ready, only to discover his blood-stained clothes on the floor without any sight of him. As she was about to leave, she reportedly met Williams, who informed her that Olawale had gone to the bank. Unsure of what to do, she alerted her mother who raised alarm that created a scene in front of the building. A neighbour who claimed to have seen Williams dragging what he suspected to be Olawale’s body into the bush said: “I came out at about 1 am to ease myself, only to notice some movements. Out of curiosity, I peeped to see what it was, only to find

Chinua Achebe

Williams dragging something on the floor. “When I finished from the toilet, he was returning from where he went. I noticed his hands were stained with blood and out of curiosity, I asked where the blood came from and he said he just killed a goat. Since I did not suspect anything, I went inside to sleep. It was when I heard a shout from their compound in the morning that I was compelled to disclose what happened,” shenarrated. This revelation led to William’s arrest after which he was handed over to the police and interrogated; he simply said that the deceased was not his brother but a traitor. According to him, “He is not my brother. He is Ogunmadede’s son. What happened on that very day was that as I was in my room at midnight, somebody pointed a torch light in my face. And I said hey man; you know you have been threatening me. The next thing I did was to

reach for a cutlass. I moved over and stabbed him in the head in order to act safe. It did not look easy for me to kill him;” but still he killed him. When he was asked about his mother, he said: “I did not chase my mother away. In fact, she was in her office in Ikeja when the incident occurred”. Asked how that was possible since he said the incident occurred at midnight, he simply stared. At a point, he started

behaving funny like one who is mentally deranged, saying things that were not relevant to the issue at hand. Meanwhile, his mother and siblings are currently gripped with fear over the possibility of Williams’ release. But police operatives assured they would conduct a test on him to ascertain his mental state before charging him to court. What a wicked life! Not to be outdone in this macabre tale, a house wife reportedly poisoned her husband an hour before he took a second wife. “How can a sane human being be so heartless to the extent of killing the father of your children, a man in your life, the person you called your heartthrob, the soul mate,” lamented a

At times like theser with all the crimes, violence, terrorism and the like going on, it’s easy to give up. But with statesmen such as Buhari, Soyinka and such others, I believe we shall all overcome!

General Muhammadu Buhari

neigbour of the ill-fated couple. On the other hand, noble deeds are being done by various compatriots. Take the great literary man, late Chinua Achebe, for example. He lived a truly remarkable, enviable life, such that despite the fact that’ things have fallen apart’ for him, he can never be forgotten; he will forever be remembered for all what he has done. “Great people of a great country, it is always good to be remembered for a great thing instead of been a traitor, a deceiver, a murderer, embezzler a liar and a rebel”, remarked a bricklayer, Acheyu Roima. He listed Nigerians such as Gen. Mohammed Buhari. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Bishop Mathew Kukah, Governor Babatunde Fashola, Femi Falana (SAN), and the Sultan of Sokoto as examples of exemplary compatriots. Consider, for example, the way and manner the Sultan, Kukah, Buhari, and their ilk have been intervening in the Boko Haram “logjam” with a view to ensuring a speedy end to the whole thing. “At times like theser, with all the crimes, violence, terrorism and the like going on, it’s easy to give up,” added Hamed Sul;e, an Abuja-based charity worker. “But with statesmen such as Buhari, Soyinka and such others, I believe we shall all overcome!”

Wole Soyinka

Some criminals arrested by police

Bishop Kukah

Sultan Sa'ad Abubakar



Least developed countries agree to cut greenhouse gas emissions


DC group's move can quicken pace of UN climate change talks, but richer countries will need to make firm commitments Smoke billowing out of a coal burning power plant in Kentucky, US. Will the richer countries do their bit in cutting emissions? In what could be a farreaching move, the world's poorest countries say they are now prepared to commit themselves to binding cuts in their emissions of greenhouse gases. Until now, the 49-strong group of Least Developed Countries (LDC) has insisted the primary responsibility for tackling climate change through carbon cuts lies with industrialised nations, which emitted most of the carbon dioxide currently in the atmosphere. The LDC group's move has the potential to quicken the pace of the glacially-slow UN climate change negotiations, which have for years been trying to agree an effective way to cut emissions in order to avoid runaway global warming. The LDC group is a major negotiating bloc at the UN talks, with its member states including 12% of the world's people. Whether its willingness to accept binding cuts will in fact hasten the birth of a new and comprehensive climate agreement will now depend largely on the good faith and commitment of the richer countries. Quamrul Chowdury is a lead climate negotiator of the LDC group. He said: "Prakash Mathema, the current chair of the LDCs in the climate negotiations, has a new mantra: 'Follow us'. That means the 49 LDCs under his leadership are set to act in the process as a very pro-active group. They will lead by example - by doing. The LDCs are no longer waiting for others to act. "I think the LDCs are now for low carbon pathways for all. They are even ready to go first in helping to cut back global greenhouse gas emissions, though they are the ones least responsible for increasing those emissions." Asked whether this meant that the LDCs now accepted the need for binding emissions cuts by all countries negotiating the international climate treaty and not just by industrialised countries, Chowdury said it did. "All countries should commit [to accepting cuts], but developing countries' National

Smoke billowing out of a coal burning power plant in Kentucky, US. Will the richer countries do their bit in cutting emissions? Photograph: Rex Features

Appropriate Mitigation Actions [NAMAs] should be supported", he said. NAMAs are policies and actions which countries undertake as part of their commitment to reduce emissions. The term, developed by the UN negotiators, recognises that different

countries may act in different ways based on fairness and on their shared but differing responsibilities and abilities - in other words, the contribution they have made to climate change. NAMAs do not involve governments making the sort of binding commitments which the

LDCs say they will now accept. They do stress the importance of financial help from developed to developing countries to help them to reduce emissions. Chowdury's statement that the LDCs now accept that all countries should make binding emissions cuts is a significant

diplomatic step forward, going to the heart of one of the most divisive issues in the negotiations: who should move first by cutting emissions? A number of developed countries argue that they will make cuts only when the LDCs do so, despite the fact that it is industrialization and development that have largely caused the human contribution to climate change. It has been the developing world's refusal to accept that It is also responsible for helping to solve a problem it did not cause that has allowed some industrialised countries, notably the US and Australia, to refuse to commit themselves to internationally-agreed cuts. Chowdury added: "The LDCs are for raising ambitions over climate change mitigation, because mitigation is the ultimate adaptation. And adaptation has its limits. "The cost of adaptation is also rising every day as the most industrialised countries are not slashing their emissions, except for some of the European good boys. But that is not enough. "Major emitters need to scale up their efforts. They also need to do more to stabilise the global temperature well below 2째C," a widely accepted global threshold for dangerous climate change. Source: The Guardian

Adamawa flood victims seek probe of N500m FG relief assistance


ictims of the 2012 flood disaster in Demsa Local Government Area of Adamawa on Tuesday called on the Federal Government to investigate into the disbursement of the N500 millions flood relief assistance given to the state. A cross-section of the victims, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in the area, said that many of them had yet to receive any form of monetary assistance from the authorities while a few of them received between N200 and N240. The victims told NAN in Gindin-Kuka ward, one of the areas worst hit by the disaster, that the investigation was necessary in order to ensure accountability, justice and fairness in the management of theFederal Government intervention fund. Mr Moses Ginam, one of the victims, said he only learnt about the N500 million in the media. Gidam said he was told that N90, 000 wasallocated to

the flood victims in his area and that each victim was toreceive N250. "To be candid, I only heard that the Federal Government has releasedN500 million to Adamawa State Government on the pages of newspapers. We were told that we were given N93, 000 and when you divide the money each household will get N240. "The Federal Government should investigate this matter because the genuine victims were not the actual people benefiting from the Federal Government intervention." Another victim, Mr Francis Emmanuel, who also called for a probe, said that the affected people of his community in Mbula chiefdom had rejected the N1.5 million given to them because the amount could not go round. "I went down to the village and I was told that they only sent about N1.8 million to the entire Mbula chiefdom and the people rejected it because if you are going to share this money to

the people, each person will get just two hundred and something naira. "Imaging somebody that lost his house, farm and you are giving the person just N200 to help himself or herself. ''The affected people decided to reject the assistance because theycould not imagine what the N200 would do for them.'' Mallam Abdullahi GindinKuka, another victim, said he was asked to go and collect N240 from the ward head as assistance but he rejected the offer. Commenting on how the N500 million was disbursed, the Secretary toAdamawa Government, Mr Kobis Thimnu, said the state government used the funds to purchase 60 trucks of fertiliser and improved seeds for distribution to farmers in the state. Thimnu, who is also the chairman of Quick Response Committee in the state, said that the state government had decided to procure fertilisers and seeds with the money because most of the affected flood victims

were farmers. "You are aware that the state is an agrarian state and that is why we decided to give priority to food security by providing fertiliser andseedlings to farmers. '' He also said that cash was given to affected local governments based on the level of destruction, adding that Lamurde Local Government, being the area worst hit by the disaster, was given N29 million. Thimnu said that the state government had set up committees in each of the affected local government areas to handle the disbursement of the N500 million Federal Government's intervention fund. The committees, he said, were chaired by commissioners from the affected local government areas. NAN recalls that many lives were lost while property worth over N20billion was destroyed during the 2012 flood disaster in the state. Thedisaster has been described by experts as the worst in 40 years. (NAN)



Replanting roadside trees on Airport/ Kubwa Roads: Matters arising O

n 24th January, 2013, as the executive director of Environment Media Watch Initiative, a nongovernmental organization, I addressed a petition to the Minister of Environment, over the failure of Julius Berger, Dantata Sawoe and others to replant road-side amenity trees they destroyed during the course of their construction work on the Airport and Kubwa roads in Abuja. I also sent copies of the petition to the Chairman Senate Committee on Environment, Chairman House Committee on Environment and Ecology, FCT Minister, and Director General, Nigeria E n v i r o n m e n t a l StandardsRegulatory and Enforcement Agency, (NESREA) as stakeholders. I again followed up the issue on this column for maximum effect. I must not fail to mention that in the petition, we threatened to mobilize and embark on public protests should the minister failed to address the issue as expected. It is instructive to note that, six weeks later, the replanting has commenced on the airport road axis, expecting Kubwa road to follow. Weare still watching knowing the standards that should be observed by the replanting companies. It could be recalled that before the 2011 elections, Senator (Mrs) Grace Bent the then Lady Chairman Senate Committee on Environment inresponse to a petition on the matter, all the construction companies in question were summoned to the National Assembly for a meeting, with officials of (NESREA), Parks and Gardens Department of the FCDA in attendance. At that meeting the contractors agreed to embark on the tree planting by 2012 raining season to replace the

ENVIR ONMENT ENVIRONMENT WATCH By Ambrose Inusa Sule, mnes 0703-441-4410 (sms only) ones destroyed during the roadsconstruction work. The exit of Senator Grace Bent and the former Minister of Environment, Chief John Odeh was seen as an excuse to sweep the matterunder the

NESREA, the most vibrant and active agency of the federal ministry of environment was also completely silent on the issue, as if it sold out. So, the onus fell on us to ensure that these trees that not

windbreaks to motorists, shelter for pedestrians, microenvironment to animals and edible fruits for herdsmen and passers-by. Such were the trees these offending construction companies failed to replant when they were directed to do so. It is important that implementing agencies of government should alwaysdirect construction companies operating in this country (in plainlanguage) to operate within the limit of the law for the sustainability of the Nigerian Environment in consonance with globalstandards.

Neem forest at Arafat

carpet and permanently bury the issue. The Senate Committee on Environment failed to do anything about it, neither itscounterpart, the House Committee on Environment and Ecology. It was also disturbing that


only give aesthetic scenic view to our visitors and tourists to Abuja, but alsofor general environmental protection against flooding and erosion, were replanted. It should be noted that these trees also serve as

We must realize that people are becoming increasingly worried about the myriads of environmental problems that affect their lives and livelihood; problems that would be carried forward to future generations if discredited habit of apathy continues on matters relating to environmental sustainability and protection.

They should be told that the act of decimating our natural ecological heritage is a threat to the biodiversity and the stability of ourendowed environment. For some of us who do not know, trees help to reduce ozone levels in urban areas and also help to prevent global warming by reducing levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, and the levels of water evaporating into the atmosphere, which increases cloudiness, as clouds reflect solar radiation so that there will be less heat. The social and economic benefits of planting trees are many, which especially in urban areas have numerous social benefits. For example, trees take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in their trunks and roots. They also absorb chemicals like carbon monoxide andfilter

and catch pollutants like smoke, dust and ash. According to experts, trees absorb water which helps to prevent flooding and helps to distribute rain more evenly, and reduce the amount of topsoil that runs off into sewers and streams by retaining water. Tree leaves on the ground trap chemicals, keeping them out of lakes and rivers, and retain moisture close to the ground. This helps other plants to grow. Those are some ways trees help to control and prevent soil erosion. Also, trees can act as windbreaks for our home and help us save on heating costs. Trees serve as shade to buildings, streets, and homes. If enough trees are planted in cities, the overall microclimate improves and total energy use for heating and cooling is reduced. It is instructive to note that people in many countries round the world today, are on edge over the prevalence of environmentaldisasters that have become incessant topical issues of global dimensions. These challenges have been viewed by environmentalists and all stakeholders as disasters that are not only avoidable, but also for share environmental bad governance and corruption by implementing agencies of government. We must realize that people are becoming increasingly worried about the myriads of environmental problems that affect their lives and livelihood; problems that would be carried forward to future generations if discredited habit of apathy continues on matters relating to environmental sustainability and protection. The environment (the Air, the Land and Water bodies) is the framework upon which our very existence lies, be it in health, social and economic development. Irrespective of these, it is on record that environmental issues in Nigeria are still being treated with disdainin this 21st century by our government. The federal ministry of environment, which is the apex institution who superintend over environmental matters in the country, should wake up from its slumber to ensure that those who violate environmental laws are duly sanctioned as deterrent to others. Nigeria is our home and the environment must be sustained.




Bokkos crisis: The Fulani in exodus to Tafa, get relief from NEMA, NGO By Mohammed Kandi


he National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has assisted over 200 Fulani herders, who were attacked and resettled at a camp by an NGO, Pan African Relief Foundation (PARF) in Tafa, Kagarko local governmentin Kaduna State, with two truckloads of relief materials worth thousands of naira. Apparently, some Fulani families in Bokkos local government of Plateau State were last Wednesday attacked by unknown gunmen, killing mostly men and women including the children among them, and destroying property running into millions. Over 500 cattle were also killed in the assault. Already, the affected communities including Tashan-mai-Karfi, Fokos, Kunet, Mbar, Mongo and Butura Kampani, have relocated to various camps in Kagarko local government area of Kaduna State. There is the need for more and urgent assistance for the herdsmen as many others were discovered and rescued on daily basis. While commiserating with the victims at Unguwan Maje, one of the camps with about 163 people in Tafa, Director-General of NEMA, Muhammad SaniSidi, who described the aggression as "ill-fated", said the gesture would be extended to those residing in two other camps of Jeljela and Maganda respectively. He however expressed the agency's readiness to provide continuous support to the victims pending their final relocation to a permanent residence. Sani-Sidi, represented by the agency's North-West Zonal Director, Musa Illalah, said NEMA was not only committed to providing immediatesuccor to victims of various disasters but would unremittingly stress the need for the people to coexist in peace, even with the county's diverse socio-political and ethnic disposition. He said: "the federal government has directed the immediate release of the first phase of relief items following the pre-assessment of the situation", informing that more materials are on the way as part of aneffort to entrench a lasting peace amongst the herdsmen and farmers in the country. "NEMA has just delivered to the victim of Bokkos crisis two trailer-loads comprising 100 bags of rice, 100 bags of maize, 100 bags of guinea corn, and 100 bags of millet," he stated. Other items, the DG said include "200 blankets, 175 mattresses, 25 cartons each of washing and bathing soap, 15 cartons each of vegetableand palm oil and 300 pieces of mosquito nets." On its own part, the Pan African Relief Foundation (PARF), which was the first responder in the Bokkos crisis,

A cross section of Fulani communities who were evacuated from the crisis area of Bokkos in Plateau State recently and mobilised for the instantaneous evacuation of the victims to Tafa, where some of their kinsmen have been resident, advocated among other concerns, a permanent solution to farmer/ herders' feud, as well as the provision of stable location for the Fulani around the world. In his remarks, founder and vice-chairman of PARF, Dr Kabir Abdulkadir Yanmama, was particularly concerned about in-flux of the distressedinto the camps saying if better arrangements were not advanced the camps might become over populated,

therefore calling for hasty expansion and more assistance by individuals, government and private organisations. He urged the government to provide permanent settlement for the herders, with some sort of enclosed grazing facilities for their cattle so as put a lifelong end to such matters. "The NGO had to wed into the matter immediately we received calls which we consider an emergency and then try to evacuate the distress persons out of danger areas to save more lives and properties as we also deem it fit to network, mobilize and provide support to

thevictims in our own ways," Dr Yanmama explained. He also appealed to authorities concern to device appropriate measures against reoccurrence of farmer/ Fulani clash, describing such circumstances as "most unfortunate" even as he commends NEMA and the Kaduna state government for their apt response to the plight of the herders. Also speaking at the camp, Governor Ramala Yero, represented by Chairman, Kagarko local government, Akuso Danjuma Yusuf, expressed his for those who lost

R-L Chairman, Kagarko LG of Kaduna state in a group photograph with some NEMA officials at a resettlement camp for relief distribution in Tafa, recently

their relations in the assault and assured of the state government's support for the period they would be residing at thecamps within his domain. Akuso, who urged the expatriates to live in peace while they are at the camps, however, promise to guarantee their security in the area. He said his LG was known for "playing host for victims of various communal clashes" urging the herders to embrace peace, and noted that "we are partnering with the security agents on the need to ensure safety of your lives and property so long as you stay out of trouble." The chairman appealed to the Fulani communities to be law abiding, disclosing his peoples' readiness to always maintain peace and abide by the law and order of the country. The Ardo (leader of Fulani) in Tafa, Abdullahi Ahmed Bunkau, expressed his appreciation to all those who come to the rescue of his kinsmen that were displace as a result of the mug carried out by some "faceless" group in Bokkos in Plateau State. Bunkau recounted their travails thus: "Fulani settlements in Bokkos were attacked. Some corpses have been discovered and we have buried our dead but we never wish to experience this kind of situation, neveragain." The Ardo, who advised his kinsmen to take solace in realizing that only God can provide and take life, encourage them be ready to seek a new beginning.



EMERGENCY UPDATE NEMA wants more funding for disaster


outh-South Coordinator of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr Emenike Umesi, has solicited more funding for disaster control efforts in Cross River. Umesi, who made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar, noted that the state had some peculiardisaster-control problems among other states in the Niger Delta region, which required increased funding by the Federal Government andmajor stakeholders, including international organisations. He stressed that the N400 million grants, which the state received from the Federal Government for last year's flood disaster, wasinadequate. He said that prior to the floods, which ravaged several parts of the country, Cross River had been contending with numerous challenges brought about by natural hazards. "Cross River is a disaster-prone area. Disaster happens every day across the state and before the

flooding in October last year, thestate started spending money in September on disaster control. "So, for Cross River, I think they should begin to ask for more funds from both the Federal Government and the international community because theirs is a peculiar situation. "There is no type of natural disaster that is not present in the state; from rainstorm to windstorm, to landslide, mudslide, drought and flooding," he said. The NEMA boss, however, commended the state government for its disaster management efforts, noting that it was one of the states in the region that was doing well in that regard. He said that Cross River had a functional State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), adding that disaster management was fast becoming a great global concern. He, therefore, urged state governments in the South-South geopolitical zone to make disaster management a top priority, saying: "If you do not fund disaster

management, then, you have not really embarked on pragmatic administration. "If you have an emergency management agency that is not well-funded and backed by law, then, you are just playing with the lives of thepeople," he warned. He called on legislatures in states in the region to quicken the passage of pending bills on the establishment of State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) in their respective states. He, however, advised those states, which had yet to forward SEMA bills to their legislatures, to do so without further delay, saying thatlaws setting up emergency management agencies should be given priority attention. Umesi noted that was a paradigm shift in disaster management procedures from "reactive emergency management to proactive emergency management". "We are no longer looking at what will happen when disaster occurs but at the vulnerability of our people," he added.

L-R: Director General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Ahaji Mohammed Sani Sidi, Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduagham and Minister of Environment, Mrs. Hadiza Mailafia, during the National Consultative workshop on 2013 flood prevention/mitigation, preparedness and response, organised by NEMA, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

NEMA urges media to educate Nigerians on floods


he National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has urged the media to educate the public on the need to heed the warnings of the NigerianMeteorological Agency (NIMET) on impending heavy rains with their attendant floods and other natural disasters. The agency noted that the media wield a lot of influence in disaster alleviation and management and as such it should utilize its sway onbest possible ways of averting disasters in the country. South-west Zonal Coordinator, Mr. Iyiola Akande, spoke in Lagos at a workshop for reporters on the essence of the media in crisissituations and how to avoid aggravating such situations with news reports. Akande noted that the media, by their role to the society, enjoy public confidence.

The NEMA coordinator, therefore, urged the media, being stakeholders in emergency management, to enlighten the public on the need to vacatedisaster-prone areas to avert crises. He said the nation will not experience the magnitude of last year's floods because the disaster was caused by the opening of dams in neighbouring Cameroon without prior warning to Nigeria. Akande added: "I do not foresee the 2012 flood happening in the next 60 years. Part of the reasons for the huge floods recorded in 2012 in some parts of the country was the release of a large volume of water by Cameroon and Niger Republic without prior information." The guest lecturer and Sunday Editor of ThisDay, Mr Tunde Rahman, spoke on:

Emergencies, Humanitarian Action and the Crisis Triangle. The journalist noted that the media, humanitarian organisations, and government policymakers make up a crisis triangle. He hailed NEMA for organising the workshop, adding that the media have become a major humanitarian actor in framing how governments formulate policies and how humanitarian action is mounted. Rahman urged journalists to always ensure accuracy of their reports and avoid escalating the burdens of disaster victims by publishing obscene photographs or using terrifying descriptions. The editor advised reporters to also show human feelings towards the plight of disaster victims in the course of their duty.


Fixing the National Security (2)


ust like most parts of the world, communal crises in Nigeria are multidimensional-religious, political, economic, social and ethnolinguistic. For instance, an African economist, Gesiye Angaye observed that the divisive interplay of politics, ethnics and religion in the country has led to rising nationalism and militancy of various ethnic movements, seeking self-determination, local autonomy, separate identity and true federalism. The situation is not unconnected with the disintegration of our value system, especially among the unemployed youths who are always manipulated by warlords for selfish interests. The proliferation of small arms and light weapons, transnationalization of terrorism, globalization, and unequal distribution of resources are issues traditionally identified with conflicts. Efforts to tackle communal clashes have received series of institutional and administrative attentions in the country. Among these are 'Operation Ceto-Maza', Free-toll Call and Distress Call Centres initiated under the leadership of Director General NEMA, Alhaji Muhammad Sani Sidi. These proactive measures have turned out tohelp averting hundreds of deaths and millions of naira property that would have been lost to frequent crises in the country. In a bid to reduce rumour mongering and reckless speculations that are noted for some crises, NEMA has collaborated with relevant stakeholders to build the capacity of Nigerians in ICT and in the application of social media networking in conflict and disaster early warning response, and in confronting misinformation that exacerbates conflicts and insecurity. Strict control must be maintained against the supply and use of arms and ammunitions as inadequate measures on these have fasten the outbreak of crises in the country and empowered warlords to accelerate conflicts rather than finding peaceful resolution. More importantly, effort to resolve conflicts should give priority to the roles of traditional rulers, community/village heads, and the religious leaders who are likely to be more informed on the root causes of the clashes. They should be given chance to identify how their communities are affected by the conflict, how the obstacles to peace negotiations can be removed, and how traditional practices can offer alternative ways of ending conflict. This will help to attain post conflict reconciliation, peace building, and prevent reoccurrenceof conflicts. There is need for rethinking on policy and institutional means of dealing with security related

matters arising in the country. Over the years, the security operatives have decried the lack of clear document on national security policy which has remained one of the major problems confronting the country on how to tackle security challenges whenever it arises. Also, the security policy and institutional frameworks must bestrategically incorporated into the training courses of our militaryinstitutions such as Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA), Nigerian Military Intelligence (NMI), Police Mobile Force Training School, Police Colleges, Police Academy, and Detective Colleges. Having a practicable national security policy at these levels will help in adequate delivery and professional development of strategic leaders required to meet the global challenges of maintaining peace and security. Proper orientation and adequate training should mandated on our national political contestants at federal, state and local government levels through the establishment of programmes of cultural and political education and orientation in accordance with the basic teaching of democracy to make them imbibe principles and practices essential for democratic sustainability. Such programmes must also address and keep them aware of specific tendencies that create security breach and concerns in the country. It has been argued that the widespread insecurity in the country seemed to be defined by organised criminality and by political and sectarian insurgency. The inability of the police to provide law and order in the country and the resulting insecurity has led some individuals and communities to acquire small arms for protection. The Police can be more effective if it is better equipped, better paid, and motivated. Meanwhile, the national security vote must be judiciously utilized; as the ongoing security situation in the country has allowed for hugeallocation to the securityrelated matters. These should be skillfully manned towards the provision of adequate training and welfare service of the security operatives, and acquisition of sophisticated modern security equipment. Advanced approaches must be exploited in addressing the nationalsecurity challenges. These include adequate deployment of the modern Internet Protocol-based, Electronic Access Control System (EACS), Intruder Alarm System (IDS) and Perimeter Detection System (PIDS) which are very essential technological innovations that can help in the area of physical security and building management system.



Report as at Wednesday, April 3, 2013



The Helms Amendment is America's foreign policy skeleton in the closet

The notion of funding abortion services, whether domestically or globally, is an inordinately sticky issue in the US [AP]

ANALYSIS By Jessica Mack


few weeks ago, in what has become an arms race to limit reproductive freedom in the United States, North Dakota approved the country's most restrictive abortion ban. Days earlier, that repugnant title was held by Arkansas, and who knows what absurd restriction tomorrow will bring. What US elected officials are doing to reproductive rights in the US is outrageous, but at least we have some recourse as voters and advocates. What US elected officials are doing to the reproductive rights of women in developing countries - through foreign policy that exports our own abortion hang-ups - is reproductive colonialism. The Helms Amendment was enacted in 1973 and bars US aid recipients from using funds for abortion services, even in countries where it is legal. However, funding can support abortion referrals and even the procedure itself in cases of rape and incest. But it rarely or never does. The language of the policy is vague and confusing, prohibiting "abortion as a method of family planning" and the "motivation or coercion" of

anyone to perform the procedure. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) (and one presidential administration after the next) has continually neglected to provide sufficient guidance on how to implement the policy. This has left ample room for misinterpretation by aid recipients and USAID staff, which is further fostered by the US' long history of politicising and stigmatising abortion combined with the undue power of a wealthy donor country. The result is that Helms is being implemented as if it were a total abortion ban. Seeds of stigma and censorship have been sewn into already-struggling health systems of poor countries, hampering meagre efforts to address unwieldy maternal mortality rates. It is poor women

who suffer, unable to access the safe, legal abortion services they deserve. It may seem incredible that a hazy global policy would have such stark real-life effects. But US-based reproductive rights groups have been diligently documenting its troubling impact in both Africa and Asia for years. This evidence has helped blow the cover off one of the most pernicious and most neglected US foreign policies. Reproductive rights groups have raised the alarm, continuing to push the Obama administration to issue clarifying guidelines. Last year, 12 members of US Congress publicly called on President Obama to even reviewthe policy - the first time it would have received such close attention in decades. Most recently, the European Parliament issued an open letter to


President Obama on the negligence of Helms. Through its careless implementation (as effectively a total abortion ban), they rightly point out, the US is in direct violation of international humanitarian and rights agreements. This includes the Geneva Conventions, which ensure the right to safe abortion for women and girls raped during times of conflict, and the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, which obligates donor countries to support the priorities and strategies articulated by developing country aid recipients. For most such countries, reducing the number of women dying from pregnancy- and childbirth-related causes is a priority. Unsafe abortion persists in epidemic proportions as a leading, yet preventable, cause of maternal death. Ensuring safe access to this procedure is a critical strategy for reducing

It may seem incredible that a hazy global policy would have such stark real-life effects. But US-based reproductive rights groups have been diligently documenting its troubling impact in both Africa and Asia for years.

deaths - it is basically that simple. Ideally, the Helms Amendment should be repealed. It is archaic and over-reaching, a relic of paternalistic aid that we should have long moved beyond. It was authored by the late Republican Senator Jess Helms, a well-known racist and homophobe, and is shameful as global reproductive health legacy. But barring repeal, at the very least the policy should be implemented properly. This is not about personal opinion on the morality of abortion, but rather the principles of good, fair and effective foreign policy. Abortion counselling and referral as well as services in cases of rape and incest should be fully funded, and USAID should take active steps to ensure everyone - grantees, employees and government officials - knows this is so. For many developing country governments, abortion is not a political bugaboo so much as a public health issue requiring urgent attention. Who are we as donors to stand in their way? As human beings, women deserve the right to access health services and control their bodies and fertility. Who is anybody to stand in their way? As the Obama administration espouses such values as "reproductive rights are human rights", strives to put women at the centre of our foreign policy agenda and unveils global health initiatives aimed at funding harmonisation and developing country ownership, shouldn't they also be honest about the skeleton in our closet? If the Helms Amendment directly affected the lives of male US policymakers, we would have seen immediate action to address missteps years ago. Instead, Helms disproportionately affects the lives of impoverished women thousands of miles away. The onus has been on global reproductive rights advocates to help bring these distant realities to bear in up-close ways, and they have delivered on that. Yet there has been no official or definitive action by the Obama administration on Helms yet, nor any public indication that such action is imminent. Perhaps the wheels are in motion, but they are moving far too slowly. Each day that this policy persists misapplied is one more day that the US tacitly contributes to maternal deaths and injuries around the world. The notion of funding abortion services, whether domestically or globally, is an inordinately sticky issue in the US. Advocates appreciate that. But at a certain point, the value of the lives and rights of women around the world must trump US policymakers' squeamishness about difficult abortion discussions. In his last term, President Obama can make a crucial mark on US foreign policy history by rectifying four decades of recklessness, and acknowledging the value of women's rights worldwide. Source: Al Jazeera



Rebels should hold elections sooner in Central African Republic- AU CAR's ousted leader Bozize says Chad aided rebels


he ousted president of the Central African Republic (CAR) has accused Chad of helping the rebels that toppled him. Francois Bozize told the BBC it was "Chadian special forces" who led the final operation of last month's rebellion, including an attack on a base of South African troops. Chad, which is hosting an emergency regional summit on CAR, has not commented on the allegations. Mr Bozize said he had requested but was refused a seat at the meeting. But South Africa's President Jacob Zuma is one of those attending the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) summit. Thirteen South African soldiers were killed in the clashes in the capital, Bangui, when the Seleka rebel group seized power after a peace deal negotiated with Mr Bozize collapsed. The incident has caused controversy in South Africa. The governing ANC party has rejected accusations that the troops were there because of mining interests. South Africa's government says they were training government forces and providing security. "On Saturday March 23 we had neutralised Seleka forces but overnight into Sunday 24, we knew that there had been support from an African country, which I inevitably believe was Chad," Mr Bozize, who fled to Cameroon after the rebellion, told the BBC French Service. "We can confirm it was Chadian special forces that led the operation on the Sunday morning and attacked the barracks of the South Africans," he said. Last week, Mr Zuma said the South African troops died in a ninehour "high-tempo battle" against the "bandits" in Bangui. Mr Bozize, who seized power in a coup in 2003 and won two subsequent elections, said he was surprised by Chad's move. "To avoid a bloodshed I decided to resign after a phone call I made to the French ambassador," he said.

Francois Bozize seized power 10 years ago and won two subsequent elections.

Central African Republic's new leader Michel Djotodia greets his supporters at a rally in favor of the Seleka rebel alliance in downtown Bangui


ebels who seized power in Central African Republic should consider holding elections in one year not three to speed up the return to democratic rule, a senior official from the African Union said on Wednesday. African leaders including South African President Jacob Zuma are meeting in Chad's capital N'Djamena to hash out a regional response to the coup. Thousands of insurgent fighters, who accused the government of failing to honor past

peace agreements, stormed Central African Republic's crumbling riverside capital Bangui on March 24, ousting ex-president Francois Bozize. African and Western leaders have so far condemned the rebellion in the mineral-rich former French colony. The African Union suspended Central African Republic and imposed sanctions on rebel chief Michel Djotodia while Washington said he was not a legitimate leader. But officials at the emergency summit in Chad said heads of state

there would be deciding whether they ought to find ways to work with Djotodia, who has proclaimed himself president, or isolate him further. Djotodia has already tried to contain international condemnation by creating a transitional government headed by civilian Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye and promising elections in three years. "The best transitions are those that are short," the African Union's commissioner for peace and

security RamtaneLamamra, told Reuters ahead of the closed-door meeting. "There have been other examples in Africa where just a year was needed to return to constitutional order. We think this is possible, but it is left to the Central Africans to decide," Lamamra said. The country's opposition has rejected the new government, saying it is stacked with Djotodia allies. Tiangaye, the man just named as prime minister, is expected to attend the N'Djamena summit while Djotodia remains in Central African Republic. A spokeswoman for Djotodia said she hoped the new leadership in Bangui would get regional backing. "What we want is support from the African Union and ECCAS (the 10-nation Economic Community of Central African States) for all of our plans to restore peace in the country ... We need legitimacy," said Anne VictoireYakossobe. The summit is being held by ECCAS and includes a delegation led by South Africa's Zuma. Pretoria sent soldiers to join a regional peacekeeping force in the country as the rebellion built up and at least 13 of its soldiers were killed during the March 24 onslaught. The killings prompted questions about South African's role in the country, and how a military training mission there became entangled in an internal conflict.

South Africa says Mandela 'much better'


elson Mandela is "much better" and responding "satisfactorily" to treatment after a week in hospital for pneumonia, the South African presidency has reported. The ailing 94-year-old, who served as South Africa's first black president, was making a steady improvement and doctors were happy with

his progress, President Jacob Zuma's office said in a statement on Wednesday. "His doctors say he continues to respond satisfactorily to treatment and is much better now than he was when he was admitted to hospital on the 27th of March 2013," it said. "He has been visited by family and continues to make

steady progress." No details on a possible release were given. The global peace and antiapartheid icon was admitted to hospital shortly before midnight a week ago, his third stay since December. Doctors last week drained excess fluid that had built up on the lining of Mandela's lungs because of a recurring

infection. The procedure helped him breathe without difficulty. Last month Mandela spent a night in hospital for a scheduled checkup and in December he was admitted for 18 days for a lung infection and gallstones surgery. It was his longest admission since he walked free from jail in 1990.

Uganda suspends hunt for warlord Kony after Central African coup


ganda has suspended the hunt for fugitive warlord Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army fighters, blaming hostility towards foreign troops by Central African Republic rebels who seized power last month. Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes. He and his commanders are accused of abducting thousands of children to use as fighters in a rebel army that earned a reputation for chopping off limbs as a form of discipline. Uganda provides more than 3,000 troops of a 5,000-strong African Union force hunting Kony and his fighters, who are thought to be hiding in jungles straddling the borders of Central African Republic, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo. A separate coalition of rebels in

Central African Republic, known as Seleka, toppled President Francois Bozize last month. They swept into the capital Bangui in a lightning offensive which triggered days of looting and drew international condemnation. The Seleka rebels also killed 13 South African soldiers during their attack on Bangui. "These rebels have been openly hostile to us and following that, the president (of Uganda, YoweriMuseveni) has ordered us only to be in defensive positions," said Dick Olum, head of Ugandan troops in the force hunting Kony, and also the overall force commander. "So we've temporarily suspended offensive operations against the LRA for now until we receive further orders," he told Reuters on Wednesday. It was not immediately clear if

troops from other countries in the regional force were also giving up the search. Ugandan media reported that about 100 U.S. special forces helping with intelligence and logistical support had suspended operations.

"We have temporarily paused the operations against LRA to give us time to consult with the State Department," Crane Elise, U.S. embassy information officer in Kampala, told Uganda's Daily Monitor newspaper.

Leader of the Lord's Resistance Army Joseph Kony


Asia and Middle East


Syrian helicopter has crossed into Lebanon and fired two rockets near a town home to thousands of Syrian refugees, reports say. No casualties or damage were reported after the incident on the outskirts of Arsal, which is close to Syria.


Syrian helicopter fires rockets 'inside Lebanon'

Syrian forces have previously fired mortars across the border and crossed into Lebanon to attack rebels. Lebanon's president described an air

attack last month as an unacceptable violation of Lebanese sovereignty. The latest incident has further raised tension in an area where the divisive

effect of the Syrian conflict has already been deeply felt, the BBC's Jim Muir reports from Beirut. The UN estimates that at least

South Korea calls on North to reopen complex

Malaysia PM dissolves parliament


alaysian Prime Minister NajibRazak has dissolved parliament ahead of a general election. Najib, whose National Front (BN) coalition has been in power for 56 years, made the announcement in a televised address on Wednesday. "The king has accepted my request to dissolve parliament effective April 3," he said from the administrative capital Putrajaya, adding he hoped his coalition would win a "solid majority". Najib will face opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in what is expected to be a tightly-contested race. The election is expected to be held on April 27 following a twoweek campaign period. Najib's National Front coalition lost its two-thirds parliamentary majority for the first time in 2008 elections and faces a three-party opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat (People's Pact) led by former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim.


The Syrian Helicopter is seen firing into Lebanon.

Anti-government strike hits Bangladesh


ustralia launches child sexual abuse probe Australia has begun a national inquiry into the sexual abuse of children. A new commission investigating the allegations said on Wednesday that at least 5,000 child abuse victims will give evidence of their harrowing experiences. "The task we have is large; the issues are complex,'' said Justice Pete McClellan, the head of the government-appointed inquiry, known in Australia as a Royal Commission. "But we are now in a position to actively begin the work of gathering the stories and examining the responses of institutions." Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the commission in November in the face of a string of sexual abuse accusations against priests and claims of a Roman Catholic Church cover-up. The inquiry was unlikely to achieve its deadline set by the government of late 2015 because so many people wanted to give evidence, McClellan said. Witnesses can be compelled to testify and risk imprisonment for lying.

70,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began, just over two years ago.

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim leads a coalition of three opposition parties.

Workers are only allowed out not in,the Kaesong industrial complex

outh Korea has called on the North to open a joint industrial complex that was shut down by Pyongyang in the latest escalation of tensions between the two countries. Hundreds of workers from the South are stuck at the joint industrial complex just over the border after the North banned South Koreans to the site on Wednesday, officials said. "North Korea's measure to ban South Koreans from entering Kaesong industrial zone is causing a serious trouble in Kaesong's operation," Kim Hyung-suk, South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman, said. "To expedite the investment on North Korea which the North itself hopes for, there has to be a mutual trust between South Korea, North Korea and the international society." Wednesday's move sparked fears the North could carry out its threatened shutdown of the complex as part of a standoff with Washington and Seoul. Harry Fawcett, reporting from the South Korean capital, said that historically, "even in the most serious of crises Kaesong has remained opened and remained operational." A major "cash cow" for Pyongyang, Kaesong brings in $90m annually in wages to 53,000 North Korean workers, he said. The operating stability of the complex is seen as a bellwether of inter-Korean relations, and its closure would mark a clear escalation of tensions beyond all the military rhetoric. A shut down of the plant, said our correspondent, would mean "a real deterioration in relations between the two countries." South Korea's defence ministry said it had contingency plans, including possible military action, to ensure the safety of its citizens working in the joint industrial zone. "We have prepared a contingency plan, including possible military action, in case of a serious situation," Defence Minister Kim Kwan-Jin told ruling party MPs in a meeting. "The North this morning notified us that it will only allow returning trips from Kaesong and will ban trips to the complex," Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-suk told reporters. Kim said the North had not specified how long the ban would remain in effect.



Europe and Americas SerbiaKosovo talks end without accord


eaders from Serbia and Kosovo have failed to come to agreement on the status of Serb-dominated northern Kosovo in talks held in Brussels. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who had been mediating in the talks, said in a statement that the gap between the two sides was "very narrow, but deep." She said the 12-hour negotiating session in Brussels on Tuesday was the last time all sides would meet formally for the EUbrokered talks. Serbian Prime Minister IvicaDacic and Kosovo Prime Minister HashimThaci would return home to consult colleagues and decide on future steps, she said. Kosovo, a former Serbian province, declared independence in 2008. While many countries have recognised it as an independent country, Serbia has not. Thaci said Kosovo had put forward proposals in line with its laws and constitution - proposals that he said would have integrated all citizens, including ethnic Serbs, into the life of Kosovo. But he said the proposals were met with "hesitation" on the Serbian side. He said the Serbian officials had decided to "reflect" and he still hoped an agreement could be reached next week. Kosovo fears that a large degree of autonomy for the north runs the risk the area would eventually break away. The ethnic Serbs living in northern Kosovo, up to 50,000 people in and around the divided city of Mitrovica, have rejected the authority of the government in Pristina, the Kosovan capital. They have created so-called parallel institutions, including hospitals and schools, all financed and supported from the Serbian capital, Belgrade. However, in order for Serbia to join the EU it must normalise relations with Kosovo. That includes not only resolving issues such as trade and border control, but also resolving the status of northern Kosovo, and whether it falls under the authority of the government in Pristina.

EU foreign policy Catherine Ashton


UN adopts landmark arms treaty


he 193-nation UN General Assembly has overwhelmingly approved the first-ever treaty on global arms trade that seeks to regulate the $70bn international trade in conventional arms. The resolution adopting the landmark treaty was approved by a vote of 154 to three, with 23 abstentions. As the numbers appeared on the electronic board, loud cheers filled the assembly chamber. A group of treaty supporters sought a vote in the world body after Iran, North Korea and Syria blocked its adoption by consensus at a negotiating conference last Thursday. The three countries voted "no" on Tuesday's resolution. "Despite Iran, North Korea and Syria's deeply cynical attempt to stymie it, the overwhelming majority of the world's nations have shown resounding support for this lifesaving treaty with human rights

protection at its core," said Brian Wood, Head of Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International, at the UN conference in New York. Major arms producers China and Russia joined Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and other countries in abstaining. "Those countries that voted no are no surprise really," Al Jazeera's Cath Turner reported from the UN headquarters. "Twenty-three other countries abstained. Most abstained instead of voting against it because they did not want to be lumped in with the other three countries." The United States, the world's number one arms exporter, said last week it would vote in favour of the treaty despite opposition from the National Rifle Association, a powerful US pro-gun lobby group. The NRA opposes the treaty and has vowed to fight to prevent its ratification by the US Senate when it reaches Washington - saying it would undermine domestic gun-

ownership rights. Every country would be free to sign and ratify the treaty. It will take effect after the 50th ratification, which could take up to two years. The treaty will not control the domestic use of weapons in any country, but it will require all countries to establish national regulations to control the transfer of conventional arms, parts and components and to regulate arms brokers. The first major arms accord since the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty would cover tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large-calibre artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers, as well as small arms and light arms. States would also have to assess whether a weapon could be used for genocide, war crimes or by so-called "terrorists" or organised crime before it is sold.

For more than a decade, activists and some governments have been pushing for international rules to regulating the arms trade. Hopes of reaching agreement at a UN negotiating conference were dashed in July when the US said it needed more time to consider the proposed accord - a move quickly backed by Russia and China. In December, the UN General Assembly decided to hold a final negotiating conference to agree on a treaty and set last Thursday as the deadline. After two weeks of intensive negotiations, there was growing optimism as the deadline approached that all the member states would approve the final draft treaty by consensus - a requirement set by the United States. This time, the US was prepared to support the final draft treaty, but Iran, North Korea and Syria objected.

Putin orders officials to drop foreign assets


ussian officials have three months to get rid of financial assets abroad as part of a campaign led by President Vladimir Putin to stem corruption and capital flight. Sergei Ivanov, Putin's chief of staff, announced on Tuesday measures related a drive to "de-offshore" the Russian economy - a term used by Putin in the first state of the nation of speech of his new term last year. "If a person has foreign accounts today, we are giving him three months to get rid of these accounts," he said. He added that Putin had signed two decrees designed to accompany legislation he submitted to parliament in February, which would bar many officials and state company executives from

President Putin holding bank accounts, stocks and other financial instruments abroad. The bill initially submitted to parliament by the president

forbade officials from owning property abroad, and allowed officials to open foreign accounts through Russian banks.

Ivanov dismissed suspicion among critics who suspect the measures were aimed at boosting Putin's image by portraying him as taking tough action on Russia's ruling elite. "The fight against corruption is no public relations campaign or attempt to draw attention away from serious problems, it is a long war," Ivanov said. He said corruption "discredits the authorities", saying it is a "rust that eats away at the very foundations of statehood and public morals." Russia ranked 133rd out of 174 states in Transparency International's 2012 Corruption Perception Index. Its central bank chief said in February that almost $50 billion was sent abroad illegally last year.

UAE and Canada end row over aviation rights


he United Arab Emirates has lifted an exclusive visa requirement for Canadian citizens, ending a three-year row between the two countries over aviation rights. Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird met with his UAE counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan on Tuesday during a visit to the Middle East and agreed to restore the visa regime. The two countries, which have been at odds over landing rights in Canada for UAE-based carriers, agreed to "facilitate travel requirements to increase business, tourism and joint prosperity" for citizens of both countries. "We will be working to formalise this in the next few months and the details will follow from [Zayed Al Nahyan]'s formal announcement that we return to the previous visa regime that pre-existed the challenging time in our relationship," said Baird. Since January 2011, the UAE charged Canadians $1,000 for a six-

month multiple entrance visa, while three-month and one-month visas cost $500 and $250 respectively. Canada was forced to close a military base in Dubai, which was

part of a key supply route to Afghanistan, after refusing to grant the UAE's two national carriers, Etihad and Emirates, more landing rights. Baird was Canada's transport

minister at the time. According to the UAE, the visafee was implemented when more than 25,000 Canadians were living in the UAE and bilateral trade was valued at $1.5bn annually.

Canada's Foreign Minister John Baird met with his UAE counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan [WAM/AFP]



Chinese student holds her own funeral so she could enjoy it By Spooky


engJia, a 22-year-old student from Wuhan, China, shocked family and friends when she invited them to a rehearsal of her own funeral so she could take part in the festivities while she is still alive. The young student told members of the press that she

got the idea for the morbid event after realizing that people spend a lot of time and effort on someone when they're gone, and they never get the chance to appreciate and enjoy it. Determined not to let that happen to her, ZengJia used up all her saving to arrange an elaborate funeral service complete with a coffin,

flowers and origami birds, as well as photographers and a crowd of mourners. She then invited her family and friends to take part in the unusual festivities. Believe it or not, some of them actually attended, and got the chance to look at the young girl as she lay in her coffin, with a Hello Kitty doll on her chest. To make the whole thing look

Friends and family at the funeral

Zeng lying in state- alive.

and feel realistic, Zeng even hired makeup artists who specialize in working on dead bodies to give her that coveted past-away look. She spent an hour playing dead, as all her relatives and friends passed by her coffin to say their final goodb y e s , a f t e r which she jumped out to attend the wake and even delivered a eulogy in her honor. Zeng says she wanted to enjoy all the attention dead people get at funerals, and was curious what people would think of her in those final moments. The 22-yearold claims she has no regrets

about staging her funeral, and that experiencing death has made her appreciate life even more. And she's not the only one. This kind of practice has been used in China or Taiwan as a form of therapy. In 2010, a Taiwanese professor made headlines for having his students spend 10 minutes in an enclosed coffin to experience death and make them feel reborn after they came out. In 2012, it was discovered that a Chinese clinic has patients lying down in coffins to help treat their psychological problems and heavy stress.

yourself what a mix of all the perfumes in the world would smell like, this is your chance to find out. I for one can't even imagine the scent of a unique perfume like Everything, but the two artists were kind enough to share their opinions about the fragrance in an interview with The Huffington Post. "We think Everything smells of your average fragrance department store - that wall of smell that hits you when you enter it," Lernert and Sander said. "A friend of ours thinks it smells of Chanel #5. We think it doesn't, but love the idea

that all the fragrances of 2012 mixed together ends up to smelling like the most iconic smell in the world." Just because it's made up of 1,400 different perfumes, doesn't mean everyone will like it, as Lenert learned after his public transportation experience: "When Lernert tried it on in our studio yesterday and took the tram, the unbelievably handsome man that came to sit next to him instantly got up and found another seat after smelling Everything. But hey, Everything is not for everyone", the two concluded.

Everything - a unique fragrance that smells like all the 1,400 perfumes launched last year

Photo credit: Spooky


reated by Dutch art duo Lenert and Sander, Everything is a unique perfume made up of 1,400 samples of every new perfume launched in 2012. Can you imagine what it smells like? The perfume business is doing

better than ever, and it seems like every time you open a magazine or turn on your TV there's a new fragrance being promoted. There are literally thousands of new fragrances being launched every year, and it looks like the world can't get enough of them. Inspired by this

booming market, creative Dutch artists Lenert and Sander have spent a whole year collecting 1,400 samples of all the perfumes launched last year and mixed them all in a 1.5 liter container to create a potent combination aptly named Everything. If you've ever asked

Lenert and Sander at the presentation.



Eating protein for breakfast will keep you slim- scientists By Amanda Williams


high protein breakfast of eggs and steak could help you stay slim and stop dieters snacking at night, scientists say. Experts at the University of Missouri have found that a breakfast rich in protein significantly improves appetite control and reduces unhealthy snacking on high-fat or highsugar foods in the evening. But according to research some 60 per cent of American young people consistently skip 'the most important meal of the day.' Now, Heather Leidy, an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology says a proper breakfast could hold the key to solving the American obesity crises, which currently sees more than 25 million overweight or obese young adults in the U.S. Leidy is the first to examine the impact of breakfast consumption on daily appetite

Surprisingly, the tests found that food such as Mexican burritos (left) could be more likely to help you stay slim than breakfast cereals such as muesli (right) and evening snacking in young people who habitually skip breakfast. In her study, 20 overweight or obese adolescent females ages 18-20 either skipped breakfast, consumed a high-protein

breakfast consisting of eggs and lean beef, or ate a normal-protein breakfast of ready-to-eat cereal. Every breakfast consisted of 350 calories and was matched for dietary fat, fiber, sugar and energy density.

Experts at the University of Missouri have found that a breakfast rich in protein - such as lean beef significantly improves appetite control and reduces unhealthy snacking in the evening

The high-protein breakfast contained 35 grams of protein. Participants completed questionnaires and provided blood samples throughout the day. Prior to dinner, a brain scan using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was performed to track brain signals that control food motivation and reward-driven eating behavior. The consumption of the highprotein breakfast led to increased fullness or 'satiety' along with reductions in brain activity that is responsible for controlling food cravings. The high-protein breakfast also reduced evening snacking on high-fat and high-sugar foods compared to when breakfast was skipped or when a normal protein, ready-to-eat cereal breakfast was consumed, Leidy said. 'Eating a protein-rich breakfast impacts the drive to eat later in the day, when people are more likely to consume highfat or high-sugar snacks' Leidy said. 'These data suggest that eating a protein-rich breakfast is one potential strategy to prevent overeating and improve diet quality by replacing unhealthy snacks with high quality breakfast foods.' People who normally skip breakfast might be skeptical about consuming food in the morning, but Leidy says it only takes about three days for the body to adjust to eating early in the day. Study participants ate egg and beef-based foods such as burritos or egg-based waffles with applesauce and a beef sausage patty as part of a highprotein breakfast; Leidy also suggests eating plain Greek yogurt, cottage cheese or ground pork loin as alternatives to reach

Going to work on a high protein breakfast of eggs and steak could help you stay slim

the 35 grams of protein. Future research will examine whether regularly consuming high-protein breakfasts improves body weight management in young people. The article, 'Beneficial effects of a higher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals controlling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese, 'breakfast skipping,' late-adolescent girls,' was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology is a joint effort by MU's College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; College of Human Environmental Sciences; and School of Medicine. Funding for the research was provided by the Beef Check-off and the Egg Nutrition Center/ American Egg Board. Source:

People who suffer from cold sores could have 'impaired' memory and thinking skills By Emma Innes


old sores may increase the risk of impaired memory and thinking skills, new research suggests. The herpes simplex virus that causes cold sores is one of a number of infectious agents associated with reduced mental ability. Scientists tested the thinking and memory of 1,625 people from New York City with an average age of 69. Participants had their blood tested for five common infections oral and genital herpes, cytomegalovirus, the respiratory form of chlamydia, and the stomach bug Helicobacter pylori. They found that those with higher levels of infection in the blood were 25 per cent more likely to deliver low score results in a standard mental function test.

Repeated tests over an average of eight years showed no sign of the effect worsening with time. The findings appear in the latest issue of the journal Neurology. Study leader Dr Mira Katan, from Columbia University Medical Centre in New York, said: 'We found the link was greater among women, those with lower levels of education and Medicaid or no health insurance, and most prominently, in people who do not exercise. 'While this association needs to be further studied, the results could lead to ways to identify people at risk of cognitive impairment and eventually lower that risk. 'For example, exercise and childhood vaccinations against viruses could decrease the risk of memory problems later in life.' This research comes just after another study which suggested that undertaking physical activity four

or more times a week from childhood helps improve brainpower in later life by up to a third, and could help stave off the onset of dementia. While all adults suffer mental decline with greater age, scientists at King's College London found regular exercise, such as playing sport, j o g g i n g , attending the gym or even a brisk walk with the dog, can have a protecting effect on the brain. More than 9,000 individuals took part in a 40year study from

age of 11. Researchers quizzed them on levels of exercise at regular age intervals, and participants also undertook

tests of memory, attention and learning. Source:

Cold sores may increase the risk of impaired memory and thinking skills



Group queries S/West governors over N15bn subsidy fund From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan


Yoruba political pressure group, the South West Defenders (SWD), has queried governors in the zone over the use of the over N15 billion already received from the Subsidy Fund. The group said “Our people deserve to know what the governors have done with the fund because we are aware of what the Federal Government is doing with its own share of the Subsidy Fund.” In a statement issued by the SWD National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Lere Olayinka, the group, which accused the governors of squandering the fund, alleged that; “the Osun State governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola has already borrowed N2.5 billion and another $1.5 million from Sterling Bank with agreement to pay back with the Subsidy Fund.” “Today, we are aware that the Federal Government, through the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SUREP) has recruited no fewer than 25,000 youths in the six South-West States under the Community Services, Youths and Women Employment Scheme. Beneficiaries of this scheme are being paid N10,000 stipend per month. “We are also aware of the SURE-P Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS), under which beneficiaries are being paid N18,000 per month. “Above all, we are aware that the construction of some federal roads is now being funded with the Subsidy Fund and we wish to ask our governors in the South-West States: what they have done with the over N15 billion they have received so far? “Who are the beneficiaries of the States’ share of the Subsidy Fund, because the fund is shared among the Federal Government, States and Local Councils? “More appalling is the information available to us that Governor Aregbesola of Osun State has borrowed N5 billion (N2.5bn and $1.5m) at unprecedented 18 percent interest to finish repayment in 2016, two years after his tenure. “Payment of this loan is to be made from the Subsidy Fund accruing to Osun State, and the implication of this is that in 2013, Aregbesola is already spending funds to be received by Osun State from the Subsidy Fund in 2016! “Even though bank sources as saying there were concerns over the loan agreement because it was signed with “State of Osun” which has been declared illegal and nonexistent by a Lagos High Court, the loan is already being serviced with the Osun State share of the Subsidy Fund.

L-R: Jigawa state Deputy Governor, Alhaji Ahmad Mahmud, member, PDP Board of Trustees, Dr. Bello Halliru Mohammed, and former National Chairman of PDP, Dr. Ahmadu Ali, during PDP BoT members' visit to governor Sule Lamido, recently in Dutse. Photo: NAN

Merger controversy will make APC wax stronger – Adamu T

he All Peoples Congress (APC) merger controversy was expected and would only make the party stronger and more popular after its registration. Alhaji Yusuf Adamu, a chieftain of APC and the Political adviser to Borno Governor, said this yesterday in Abuja in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). He said that APC has come to stay because it was committed to give Nigeria the best package of good governance and true democratic dividends. “The little controversy we are experiencing today as regard the registration of APC

with the INEC is not unexpected as a matter of fact I do not see it as a setback. “The controversy is something that is even making the emerging APC wax stronger and more popular,” he said. Adamu, who was also the former state Secretary of All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP), said all the antics were anticipated and expecting more of such from the opposition. “It is so unfortunate that the opposition wanted to dominate all the time and for this boast of ruling the country for the next 60 years. “Let them realise that one party system is no longer in

vogue. It is out of place globally. “What is in fashion now is healthy political competition to grow the nation’s democracy,” Adamu said. Adamu, who was also a three-time Chairman, Biu Local Government area, said that APC was winning more converts from the opposition. The political adviser said that politicians in the state, most especially the local ones, had no problems re-adjusting to a new slogan or acronym. “Just as we didn’t have problems when we modified our name from All People’s Party (APP) to All Nigerian People’s Party (ANPP) in 2003, so are we not having difficulties with APC now.

“If you look at it, there is still a striking resemblance to the first two abbreviations, but seriously our people really don’t have problems with it as long as the philosophies and ideals of our party are not altered. Adamu said that when the issue of merger commenced, the party in its usual democratic tradition, called an all-inclusive stakeholders meeting to inform them about the merger and the benefits. He said they instructed all the 27 local government party chairmen to take the message down to all the wards and unit leaders so that the message would be clear to all. (NAN)

Lagos Assembly set to reposition local LG administration system


eputy Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly (LAHA), Mr Taiwo Kolawole, said yesterday that the Local Government Administration bill would soon be passed into law. Kolawole told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Lagos that when passed, the new law would reposition and strengthening the local government administration system. “We have not even discussed the merits and demerits of the bill. We have only done second

reading, but I know that it has merits. “We need to consolidate all the laws on local government administration and we have some that are supposed to have been dropped. “Our committee is going to work on it and make necessary adjustments where necessary“. NAN recalls that the bill was presented by Mr Moshood Oshun, Chairman, Committee on Local Government Administration and Chieftaincy Matters.

In a separate interview, Oshun (ACN-Lagos Mainland II), told NAN that the existing local government law was fashioned by the military government. He said that when passed, it would assist in repositioning the administrative system of the local government councils. “The current local government law was formed by the military government. “It is outdated to meet up with the current challenges facing the tier of government “. Also, Mrs Lola Akande (ACN-

Ikeja II), said when passed into law, the bill would reposition the councils for efficient service delivery to the masses. Akande said that it was in harmony with Section 7 of the 1999 constitution. She added that all grey areas of the bill would be amended in the course of further deliberations. Akande added that the bill would make provision for fair hearing before any impeachment could take place in the third tier of government. (NAN)



Kwara ACN crisis: Faction passes vote of confidence N on expelled Chairman

Suleja APC members have no plans to decamp to PDP, says Niger CPC Chairman From Iliya Garba, Minna

From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


faction of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Kwara state has passed a vote of confidence on its embattled state chairman, Kayode Olawepo, who was recently expelled and replaced by Secretary of caretaker committee, Toyin Ayinla. One faction led by Ayinla was believed to be loyal to Mr. Dele Belgore, the formal gubernatorial candidate of the party while another faction, led by Olawepo was also believed to be working for Lai Muhammed, National Publicity Secretary of ACN. The statement from Olawepo's faction urged the public to discard his purported removal as the party's chairman in the state. The statement signed by Alhaji Raimi Idera and Chief Ayanda Fajenyo said "the purported removal exists only in the imagination of the movers of that motion and a former gubernatorial candidate of the party who is their sole sponsor. "The desire to remove our party Chairman in Kwara state is being nursed by a former gubernatorial candidate of the party and his cronies using the media to achieve what they could not achieve in the real sense of it. "For the avoidance of doubt, the same people announced the dissolution of the party structure at a ramshackle rally on March 28, 2013 only to use the same

structure to remove a legally appointed official of the party. "There was no meeting of the state or joint meeting of the local government executive committee where it was decided to arrange for a meeting to remove the chairman. Therefore, we remain loyal to the leadership of Mr. Kayode Olawepo, JP and stand firmly by his leadership. "We are particularly piqued by one of the signatories to the

obnoxious document, Alhaji Amosa Okolo, who claimed to be representing the 16 local government caretaker committee chairmen. "His claim fell flat because the local government caretaker committee chairmen met last sometime in 2012 and since then no meeting has been held to discuss the suspension/removal of our able chairman, Gabriel Kayode Olawepo, JP".

iger state Congress for Progressive Change (CPC)’s Chairman, Umar Shuaibu, yesterday debunked the insinuations that over 2000 members of the opposition merger in Suleja Local Government are to decamp to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The CPC boss stated that PDP and its leadership are presently on a tour to prevent its imminent collapse to oblivion as a result of the ongoing merger arrangement by these opposition parties. He said everybody knows that the tour

L-R: Chairman, PDP Irepodun LGA, Elder Bisi Owolabi, Kwara Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Demola Banu and Special Assistant to the Governor on Labour Matters, Mr. Bisi Fakayode, at a PDP meeting in Omu-Aran, Kwara yesterday.

Assembly decries encroachment of public land


he Ogun House of Assembly yesterday urged relevant agencies to step up measures to halt illegal encroachment of land belonging to public schools in the state. Mr Adeyinka Mafe, Chairman, House Committee on Education, made the call in Abeokuta while speaking at an interactive session with the Commissioner for Education, Mr Segun Odubela and his

team. Mafe said members of the committee were shocked by the illegal encroachment on land belonging to government schools by speculators.across the state. He advised the ministry to collaborate with the Ministry of Physical Planning to find a solution to the practice. The committee requested the Ministry of Education to furnish it with the

comprehensive list of the affected schools for necessary action. Responding, the Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology said the ministry had received series of letters from principals and head teachers of affected schools. Odubela said relevant government agencies had been contacted to ensure that all illegal structures erected within school premises were demolished.

Mr Mufutau Ajibola, Chairman, Ogun State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), also observed that some primary and secondary schools in the state had been invaded by land speculators. Ajibola said the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) had directed that perimeter fencing of all the primary schools be carried out. (NAN)

NBA Chairman urges governments to fulfill founding fathers’ dream for Nigeria


he Chairman Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Ibadan branch, Mr Oluseun Abimbola, has called on government at all levels to fulfil the dream of the founding fathers for Nigeria. He made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Ibadan. Abimbola said that their collective dream was to make Nigeria the power house of Africa, adding that the fulfilment of that dream had become the collective

responsibility of the present generation. “Our dream is that our nation will be the light in the rich African forest and a most desirable place to live,” he said. He also expressed concern about the erosion of values among Nigerians. Abimbola said that the rate at which moral values had declined should be a source of concern to well meaning Nigerians. “From the ordinary Nigerians on the streets to highly placed ones, values hitherto

painstakingly cultivated, protected and preserved for future generations to imbibe are fast becoming alien on our shores. “One cannot but be agitated for the next generation considering the fast pace of decline in the moral standards of our leaders and people. According to him, time was in Nigeria when any person indicted for a crime could not appear in public for the shame of the indictment, even without a conviction. “Today, however, we have a nation that throws party for

returnee prisoners convicted of corruption and other crimes. Abimbola said that in time past, Nigerians saw themselves first as brothers and sisters regardless of their religious beliefs, adding the common bond holding the people together was waning fast. “Sadly, today we have a nation where men kill their brethren purportedly in God’s name. Abimbola expressed regret that the sharing of one another’s pains and celebrating successes together no longer had meaning. (NAN)

would be, both nationally and statewide, adding that it is the same party that is now fighting tooth and nail to prevent the registration of the newly merged political party that threatens its corporate existence. “With such a background, corruption and mountain loads of lack of performance, we know it can clutch to anything, no matter how minute, just to create a storm out of a tea cup to redeem its grossly dwindling relevance in Niger State and nationwide”. According to the release, it was not long ago that the PDP members themselves proved to the world in a paid advertorial that not only the three combined parties, but CPC alone garnered more than double the votes cast for the party in the 2011 general election in Niger state. “That is a proof that the PDP do not have the capacity to get 10 persons to decamp to its fold, talk less of 2000 and of all places in the opposition stronghold of Suleja, no matter the amount of carrots being dangled,” he boasted. The CPC chairman added that the PDP state chapter is exhibiting nothing but a shameless drama, and a desperate attempt to counter the withdrawal of membership of just one person out of its fold. “It can make lies elsewhere, but not in Niger State,” he said.

Jigawa governor’s aide charges youths to stop destruction of public property


he Senior Special Assistant to Jigawa Governor on Student Affairs, Alhaji Umar Danjani, has urged youths to safeguard the projects executed by the government for the common good. Danjani gave the advice during a sensitisation workshop in Babura, Jigawa, on Tuesday “All the government projects across the state are put in place to serve the people and the youths must collaborate with the government to ensure that such projects are not vandalised. “For instance, burning of tyres as of means of protest or demonstration will damage the road and the people in the area will suffer for it,” he said. The governor’s aide reiterated the government’s commitment to empower youths in order to be selfreliant. Danjani explained that the workshop was organised to educate youths on the need to protect government’s projects in their areas. He further said that the workshop would be conducted in all the three senatorial districts in the state.(NAN)



PDP chieftain tasks FG on security challenges


Deputy Governor of Katsina State, Alhaji Tukur Jikamshi (right), handing over a ram he donated to Overall Winners of Government Day Secondary School, Jikamshi, inter-house sports competition, yesterday in Katsina

Tenure elongation for LG chairmen, councilors immoral, says Falana From Matthew Irinoye, Lagos


Lagos based Layer, Femi Falana (SAN), has reiterated that tenure elongation for local government chairmen and councillors in Lagos State is illegal and immoral. Falana, in a press release stated “Our attention has been drawn to the Local Government Amendment Bill 2013, which is being debated by the members of the Lagos State House of assembly. In the main, the Bill seeks to elongate the tenure of the current chairmen and councillors from three to six years.” Falana said the proposal is illegal in every material and insisted that It should be withdrawn or struck down in the overall interests of the people of Lagos State who are due to participate in fresh local government election in October, 2013. The lawyer urged the Lagos State House of Assembly to jettison the proposed elongation of the tenure of chairmen and councilors of local government councils in the statethreatening to challenge the law if passed by the government in the state.

According to Falana, as chairmen and councilors were elected in October 2010 for a fixed period of three years, their term of office will expire in October, 2013. “Therefore, an amendment of the Lagos State Local Government Law, 2001 under which they were elected cannot extend their tenure from three to six years under any disguise. Since the proposed amendment takes effect if and when it is passed into law it cannot retrospectively extinguish vested rights and obligations of the out-going chairmen and councilors. In other words, the proposed amendment to the Lagos State Local Government Law cannot take a retrospective effect and thereby elongate the tenure of the chairmen and councillors from three to six years. “No doubt, the House of Assembly of each State is vested with the powers to make laws for the local governments in the State by virtue of Section 7 of the Constitution. But in exercise of such legislative powers the House of Assembly cannot enact laws with retrospective effect in a way that accrued rights of the people are abrogated. In this regard, the constitutional rights of the people of Lagos state to take part in

periodic elections of not more than three years to elect chairmen and councilors cannot be extinguished by the House of Assembly,” he added The Senior Advocate said if the Local Government Law is amended to provide for a 4-year tenure for chairmen and councilors, the current chairmen and councilors whose term of office is three years certain cannot benefit from the amendment. “In the circumstances, we are compelled to draw the attention of the members of the Lagos State House of Assembly to the case of Attorney-General of Abia State & 35 Ors V Attorney-General of the Federation (2001) 17 WRN 1 wherein the Supreme Court held that even though the chairmen and councilors of local government councils throughout the country were elected under Decree no 38 of 1998 which had been repealed, their 3-year tenure could not be extended or prolonged by any law enacted by the National Assembly. In the same vein, the 3-year tenure of chairmen and councilors fixed by the Lagos state LG Law, 2001 cannot be elongated by any amendment whatsoever and howsoever.

2 bills scale through second reading at Kwara Assembly


wo bills seeking an amendment to the law establishing tertiary institutions in Kwara on Tuesday in Ilorin scaled through second reading on the floor of the state House of Assembly. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the two bills had to do with the Kwara State College of Education, IIorin and the Kwara State College of Health Technology

in Ofa. The bills, presented by Gov AbdulFatah Ahmed to the House last week, were aimed at restoring sanity to the running of the institutions. The House Majority Leader, Alhaji AbdulGaniyu AbdulKareem, moved the motion for the bills’ second reading. All the members supported the passage of the bills, including two Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN)

members in the House. They noted that the bills, when passed into law, would put the colleges under the Ministry of Tertiary Education and make them more functional. The Clerk of the House, Mr. Oyetunde Oyeniyi, later read the bills for the second time. The Speaker, Hon. Rasaq Atunwa, directed the Education Committee of the House to work on the bills for a third reading and final passage.(NAN)

lhaji Muktari Mapia, Deputy Treasurer of PDP in Sokoto State, yesterday advised the Federal Government to seek divine intervention in confronting the current security problems threatening the nation. Mapia told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Sokoto that the option was for the government to commission religious leaders to pray for God’s intervention to expose those behind the insecurity situation. He expressed optimism that the security challenges facing the country would be a thing of the past if the government engaged religious leaders in the crusade. “Nothing is impossible with God, hence the need for the present administration to work out comprehensive working packages.

“This will enable the religious leaders to pray for peace, progress and political stability of the nation’s hardearned unity. “Nigeria has come to stay as one indivisible nation. All that is required is fervent prayer for God’s intervention in our nation’s affairs,” he said. Mapia also called on the Federal Government to provide working tools for the nation’s security agencies to enable them to confront any security threats. He said that the agencies at the nation’s borders should be equipped to prevent arms importation into the country. “Border communities should also be encouraged to offer intelligence reports that will lead to the arrest and prosecution of those engaged in illegal importation of arms into the country,” he added. (NAN)

NGF commends Anambra for pioneering State Peer Review Mechanism


ational Coordinator of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Dr Afeikhena Jerome, has identified State Peer Review Mechanism (SPRM) as a significant process for driving development for the benefit of the electorate. He made the remark in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) yesterday in Abuja According to him, the Governor of Anambra, Mr Peter Obi, is an ardent believer in the process and has embraced the mechanism. He said that this was because of the benefits the people of the state had derived since its inception. He said that the Obi government had not only supported the process, but was also committed financially towards promoting its application in good governance. The coordinator commended Obi’s pioneering efforts, and said that the priority accorded to the process now followed the initial move by the governor. Jerome said that the NGF SPRM process was the first of its kind and should be encouraged and applauded by all, because of the benefits it stood to bring to the people. He, therefore, called on development partners in the country to match the Anambra Government’s commitment towards driving the SPRM process. Jerome also lauded Obi for curbing the spate of kidnapping and ritual killings in Anambra since his assumption of office. “The turbulent crisis that characterised Anambra seems to have abated following the second reinstatement of Gov. Peter Obi in 2007,’’ Jerome said.

He attributed the governor’s success to his effort at creating an enabling environment for commercial and industrial activities in the state. Jerome said the right step taken by the state government attracted foreign direct investments and encouraged the indigenes to embrace more profitable ventures. He said that Anambra Integrated Development Strategy conceived by the governor had translated the state’s development agenda into a unique development approach. According to him, the programme is aimed at multisectoral and holistic development of the state and the achievement of the MDGs goals. He also said that the Anambra government was doing well in keeping its public service focused on effective service delivery in the face of challenges. “The state has adequate laws, regulation and policies to regulate employment, deployment, promotion and discipline in the state civil service.’’ Jerome said. He further said that the state government was also taking giant steps in its education, health, environment and agricultural sectors to improve the lots of the people. Jerome said that Anambra was leading other states in ICT, after the establishment of the Microsoft Academy with Internet connectivity in 100 model primary schools. “The programme also links academic learning to real world job skills and allows students to graduate with IT skills needed to advance their future career with minimal adjustment,” Jerome said. (NAN)



PDP peace moves: I'll remain in PDP, Wamakko assures Anenih

L-R: Members, House of Representatives, Hon. Bashir Baballe, Hon. Yusuf Bala, recipient of the Good Leadership Award by National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Hon. Mohammed Shasidin Abdullahi and Hon. Sani Kutigi, during the award presentation at the National Assembly, yesterday in Abuja.

By Mahmoud Muhammad, Sokoto


Photo: Mahmud Isa

Zamfara Assembly sets up committee to investigate ZSUBEB


he Zamfara State House of Assembly yesterday set up a nine-man committee to investigate the state Universal Basic Education Board’s operations and finances. This followed the motion by the chairman of the House Committee on Education, Alhaji Salisu Maru. He said the committee had received various complaints about the board’s failure to discharge its

duties, especially the payment of teachers’ salaries, their promotion and annual increments. Maru pointed out the board’s reluctance in releasing monthly cash allocation to the 14 Local Education Authorities as well as its refusal to employ new teachers. He, therefore, appealed to the assembly to constitute a special committee that would investigate the issues.

Also contributing, Dayyabu Rijiya, appealed to the assembly to support the motion and form a committee to carry out the assignment. ‘’ we have to ensure oversight function of all government ministries and agencies....” The motion was unanimously adopted. The Speaker of the House, Alhaji Sanusi Rikiji, named the members of the probe committee as follows: Malam

Aliyu Ango ( chairman), Dayyabu Rijiya, Muhammad Ahmad and Alhaji Salisu Yakubu. Others were Malam Muhammad Abubakar, Isah Abdulmumin , Ibrahim Kwatarkwashi, Rufa’i Chiroma, Abdullahi Dansadau and Mahmud Aliyu ( secretary). He gave the committee one month within which to submit its report (NAN)

Traditional ruler tasks politicians on issue-based campaign


he Otaru of Igarra in the Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo, Oba Adeche Saiki, has urged candidates participating in the state’s Local Government elections to conduct issue-based campaigns. Saiki advised that candidates parties participating in the April 20 council polls in the state should

not be involved in mudslinging and name calling, urging them to focus on issues of development. He made the call on Tuesday in his palace at a news conference to herald this year’s Ubete Festival. Ubete Festival is an annual event to mark the possession of Etuno land by Igarra people from the aborigines.

The monarch also urged politicians to emulate the performance of Gov. Adams Oshiomhole. “It is my belief that the present administration of Gov. Adams Oshiomhole has created a record that anybody who wants to come in must be able to emulate or beat. “Gov.Oshiomhole has showed us that government

can do more than what we thought they were doing before he came into power,” Saiki stated. The traditional ruler said that any elected public officer, even at the council level, must work to complement efforts so far made by the governor. “This is what campaign for the council poll should be based on and not otherwise.” (NAN)

CAN warns political office holders against isolating themselves from people


he Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) yesterday warned political office holders against isolating themseves from the people that elected them into office. Rev Lawi Pokti, Chairman, Bauchi State chapter of the association, gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Bauchi. Pokti also warned them against neglecting their home towns and villages by building mansions in Abuja.

He urged the political office holders to remember that they were in their various offices to serve the people rather than selfish interests. The cleric also urged the politicians not to isolate themselves from the people at the grassroots as politics was about service to the people. “The political leaders have forgotten that they are in office to serve us; most of our political leaders are no longer servants now; because by definition of politics, if you are there, you are not there

for yourself; you are there to represent your people. “You don’t have your own personal idea; you are there to take the idea of your people so that it will be implemented for the benefit of the citizens of this country. “My call to them (political office holders) is for them to learn a lesson from Jesus Christ who abandoned his glorious home; he came down to this earth because of us, therefore, they should abandon Abuja and come down to their people. “You can see that some of the political office holders who are

occupying sensitive positions don’t even have houses in their home towns, they feel that Abuja is everything; they think that Abuja is heaven. “But look at Jesus Christ; he left his glorious home; his majesty home; his dignity; and became man to save us; and until our leaders learn some lessons from Jesus Christ; they must come down to the grassroots to identify themselves with the people that elected them or else they are not serving the purpose of their elections.’’ (NAN)

n continuation of the reconciliation efforts by the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Chairman of the party's Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Tony Anenih, held a close door meeting with the Sokoto state governor, Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko where the governor assured that he would not dump the party for the opposition. Wamakko who briefed newsmen after the meeting with the BoT delegation said he maintained his earlier stand that he would not dump the PDP. Those with Anenih on the visit to Wamakko include the former, Kaduna state governor, Alhaji Ahmed Makarfi, now Senator; former, PDP National Chairman, Senator Barnabas Gemade; former Senate President, Senator A. Wabara and former, Acting PDP National Chairman, Bello Halliru. Briefing newsmen shortly after the meeting, Anenih said the visit was private even as he declared that none of the governors on the platform of the PDP was planning to leave the party as being variously speculated.

Suswam sends list of 12 commissioner nominees to Assembly


ov. Gabriel Suswam of Benue yesterday sent 12 names to the state House of Assembly for confirmation as commissioners. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the nominees include Alexander Atime, Comfort Ajene, Donald Ugboho, John Tondo, Egbiri Idah, Elizabeth Allagh and Anthony Onuh. Others are Elizabeth Ugo, Eugene Aliegba, Justin Amase, John Ngbede and Orduen Abunku. Suswam carried out a major cabinet reshuffle which affected 11 out of 16 commissioners on Feb. 22. Seven of the dropped commissioners were renominated for screening. A new Ministry of Environment and Urban Development has recently been created, bringing the total number in the state to 17. In a letter to the house, the governor said the State Executive Council was reshuffled to reposition the executive arm of government. “It is my desire to sustain the zeal exhibited by personalities with competence, credible and proven integrity who would assist my administration in taking the state to the next level,” he said. The governor urged the assembly to act promptly on the matter to enable him to assign them to various portfolios. (NAN)



18 Supersand Golden Eaglets return April 7, head to Morocco for two weeks training, says NFF Eagles to


he Golden Eaglets are expected back from Qatar on April 7 but would subsequently relocate to Morocco for a two-week final phase of preparations for the CAF U-17 Championship scheduled for Morocco this month. The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have assured that the team are ready to challenge for honours at the fiesta even it noted that the training tour of Qatar has being revealing and rewarding. Musa Amadu, Secretary-General of the football federation said yesterday said that the Golden Eaglets were mentally and physically being boosted for the championship, and added that the players are being exposed to standard training facilities under a serene atmospherein Qatar. The Eaglets, who are drawn in Group B alongside Congo, Cote d’Ivoire and

be processed in Abuja at the Moroccan Embassy. “The team is expected to leave for Marrakesh in Morocco, where they will start getting ready for their first game in Marrakesh against Ghana,’’ he explained. The Golden Eaglets qualified for the championship with a 100 per cent record, scoring 21 goals and conceding just one. The championship holds from April 13 through 27. Nigeria failed to qualify for the last two editions of the African U-17 Championships hosted by Algeria and Rwanda in 2009 and 2011, respectively. Success at the championship, by qualifying for the semi-finals, will give Nigeria a ticket to the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup finals scheduled for Oct. 17 to Nov. 8 in the UAE.

The statement also listed the men’s allcomers events as the 400m, 20km Race Walking and (3000m Steeplechase in Sagamu, Sapele and Warri only. On the qualification for the events, it said that “the first four in each of the above shall automatically qualify for the next leg of the Golden League. The remaining four will qualify from the allcomers’ events which shall be held in the morning of every event day’’. The statement said that in the individual events, the first position should be scored 10 points and the second position would get eight points. The third position will be awarded six points, while the fourth position will have four points, fifth two points and the sixth, one point. “Ten bonus points shall be awarded any athlete who achieves the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships ‘A’ Standard and any new national record set shall attract 20 points. “Unlike what was obtainable in the

past, athletes must achieve a minimum of 1050 points on the IAAF scoring table before qualifying for any form of financial reward. All participating athletes must compete in their state or club-approved uniform, especially in the relays,’’ it said. T h e statement a d d e d : “ T h e r e shall be r a n d o m dope tests in any of the G o l d e n L e a g u e venues, as decided by t h e Technical and AntiD o p i n g Chief Committee Solomon of the Athletics Ogba, AFN, Federation President of Nigeria.’’

udu Adamu, the Coach of Sand Eagles, said on Wednesday that 18 players had been invited to camp for the Africa regional qualifiers for the 2013 FIFA World Cup. Adamu said in Lagos that the players invited to the camp are expected to report for training that has been scheduled to begin from April 26 through April 28 in Badagry. The camping was earlier scheduled to begin on March 10, but was postponed due to the change in the date for the qualifiers from April 10 to April 14, because of logistics reasons. According to him, the Africa regional qualifiers for the Beach Soccer World Cup in Tahiti will now hold from May 29 to June 2 in Casablanca, Morocco. “We decided to change the date for the camping in preparation for the qualifiers of the Beach Soccer World Cup to April because of the competition’s new date,’’ he said. Adamu said that 12 of the 18 players invited to camp would be selected to help the country to qualify for the World Cup holding from Sept. 18 to Sept. 28. “I believe that we will be in Papeete, Tahiti, for the World Cup. I know that with hard work and dedication, we will qualify. “Already, the expectation is there, and winning Copa Lagos last year has thrown us to the limelight. In Africa, we are there, so we can’t let our teeming fans down,’’ Adamu added. The team reached the quarter-finals of the 2011 edition of the competition.

being embarrassed, he is my captain and Nigeria’s captain and I don’t think it would be proper for me to bring Yobo down here against Kenya and leave him on the bench. “I mean, whatever I am doing is to protect him, but it looks as if he doesn’t understand. This is not about being a captain, wanting to play, it’s about Nigeria, it’s about who is ready to play for Nigeria and I am not going to put sentiments in these decisions.” Keshi added: “Indeed if he is angry that I didn’t call him, I have the right to call him and I have the right not to call him. In any case as a professional, he should have called me to say coach what is going on instead of going to the media but I don’t have anything against him.” Stand-in skipper Vincent Enyeama has already warned Yobo should not be discarded by the Eagles as he still has more to give the team and how he is treated could affect the commitment of other players to the national cause.

Stephen Keshi

AFN releases events, rules for 2013 Golden League By Patrick Andrew with agency report


his year’s Golden League for men, women and all-comers will be based on performance, according to the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN). The federation said this in a statement signed by its Technical Director, Navy Commodore Omatseye Nesiama, which outlined the events and rules for the competition. The statement indicated that events for the women’s category are 100/200m, 800m, 5000, 100m Hurdles, Triple Jump, Shot Put, Discus, 4x100m Relay, 4x400m Relay and the 20km Race Walking. The all-comers events for women are the 400m, Long Jump, Javelin and (2000m Steeplechase, which will hold in Shagamu, Sapele and Warri only. The men’s events are the 100m/ 200m, 800m, 10,000m, 400m Hurdles, Long Jump, Javelin, Hammer, 4x100m Relay and 4x400m Relay.

resume camping for World Cup qualifiers

Ghana, hope to join the Flying Eagles in securing a berth at the FIFA U-17 championship later in the year. Group A of the CAF U-17 tounrnament comprise of hosts Morocco, Gabon, Tunisia and Botswana. “The Eaglets will arrive from Qatar on April 7, from where they will depart for Morocco for the two-week championship. They have been there in Qatar for three weeks. They played a number of friendly matches wthere, and one of them was with the Aspire team, which they won 7-1. “Last week, they played with Al-Sadd Sports Club and they won them 1-0. The boys have been doing very well at the Aspire Football Academy, where they have been camping,’’ he said. The NFA secretary-general said the Eaglets would train in Lagos for a couple of days, while waiting for their visas to


Keshi insists team selection always on merit


Joseph Yobo

n apparent response to skipper Joseph Yobo’s outburst for not being informed that he would be excluded from the Super Eagles squad to face the Harambee Stars of kenya, Coach Stephen Keshi has insisted that team selection would always be based on merit and not sentiment. Yobo had in a brilafm radio programme said that it smacked of lack of courtesy on the part of Keshi to have failed to let him in on his exclusion from the squad against Kenya for the 2014 World Cup qualifier in Calabar last month. But Keshi, who expressed surprise at the reaction of his captain, stated that he did not wish to embarrass the player who is the highest capped Nigeria international on 94 caps. “I did not inform him that he would not be in the game against Kenya because I knew I was not going to take him and we were in South Africa together and I explained to him so there was no point calling him,” Keshi said. “You see, am trying to protect him from



Sharks’ fans hail appointment of Ogunbote as Technical Director


ootball fans in Port Harcourt said on Wednesday that the appointment of Gbenga Ogunbote as the new Technical Adviser of Sharks FC, would move the club forward. Ogunbote had worked in an assistant’s capacity with Dolphins FC of Port Harcourt in the 2003/ 2004 Nigeria Premier League season, before he

became the technical adviser of Sunshine Stars FC of Akure, a post resigned from at the end of last season. Peter Abaje, Sharks’ Media Officer, said that the arrival of the new coach would help the club to prosecute its matches in the 2012/2013 Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) season successfully.

“The coach has been presented to the media at half-time during a local derby between Sharks and Dolphins FC in a Week Five fixture at the Sharks Stadium, Port Harcourt. “We are confident that he will do well; we may not have started well this season, but I have the hope that we are going to finish well,” Abaje said.

One of the fans, Martin Okoye, who is a student, said that Ogunbote had the potential to breed new players and take them to stardom. According to Okoye, the coach is the key to the success of any sport and I believe that new coach has the quality to deliver the best. “The coach is an old soldier in football. He has

promised to take the club to a higher pedestal; may he have the strength to carry out the task,” he said. Bernard Emeka, a businessman, expressed optimism that with the new coach, the club would get the best in the 2013 NPFL. Ogunbote said that though Sharks position in the league was not too good, he had the potential to salvage the situation. Sharks have four points from five matches it has played so far, placing 19 th of the 20 teams on the league table.

Gbenga Ogunbote, newly appointed coach of Sharks

brahim Yahuza, the Kano State Taekwondo Coach, yesterday emphasised the importance of participating regularly in i n t e r n a t i o n a l competitions, saying that they would make the athletes more proficient in the sport. Yahuza told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on telephone in Lagos that such exposure would enable the athletes to hone their skills and sharpen their competitive edges. “When athletes regularly attend i n t e r n a t i o n a l competitions, they tend to meet those that they have competed against at previous championships. This enables them to develop a strategy with which they can use to tackle more accomplished taekwondoists,’’ he said. The coach cited Usman Suleiman as a feather weight taekwondoist to watch out for at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games

because he was being carefully groomed to excel at the Games. Yahuza noted that Suleiman participated at the U.S. Taekwondo Open Championships which held in February in Las Vegas, Nevada where he lost in the quarterfinals. “Losing is not the major thing. The major achievement for him was the experience he gained, and the exposure to the fighting styles of opponents from other countries,” he said. The coach also said that Suleiman would attend a three-months training programme in the U.S., under the tutelage of Coach Juan Moreno of the Peak Performance Taekwondo Club in Miami, Florida. He said that the programme would finetune Suleiman’s techniques and also boost his chances of winning medals at major i n t e r n a t i o n a l tournaments.

Idoko set to restructure football in Ondo State, Coach harps on need for makes fresh appointments international exposure M I ike Idoko, the Coordinator, Ondo State Football Agency (ODSFA), has said that his sole objective in office was to reposition football to an enviable height in Ondo State. He made the remark at a media briefing on Wednesday in Akure. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Idoko was a Director in the Agency before he was appointed as the coordinator of ODSFA by Gov. Olusegun Mimiko in March. “Further to the reorganisation process going on in the Agency with a view to professionalising its operations, it is expedient

to carry out the following appointments/postings, with immediate effect. “All officers, coaches whose names were not included in the present postings should report to the Office of the Secretary of the Agency for further directives. “The academy is hereby disbanded with immediate effect for the purposes of an efficient and professional reconstitution,” the statement read. Therefore, Gabriel Aborowa, Sunshine Stars FC’s Team Manager, has been redeployed to Rising Stars FC, while Rasheed Balogun, Team Manager of Dolphins FC was appointed the new Team Manager of Sunshine Stars.

Former Sunshine Queens manager, Wemimo Matthew, was appointed as the Senior Coach of Sunshine Queens, while Adeyemi Kayode, who was the former coach of the academy was appointed coach for the Rising Stars. Meanwhile, Kayode Afolabi, who was the former Academy Coordinator, has been appointed Team Manager of Sunshine Queens, while Dapo Ajibade, the marketing consultant of the Agency, has replaced him as the Coordinator of the Academy Idoko had noted that Sunshine Stars Head Coach, Samuel Abimbola, had complained of his

Mike Idoko, Coordinator of ODSFA assistant, Kenneth Boboye and he has been replaced by Gabriel Napoleon. “The coach accused his assistant of anti-club activities and we had to replace him because God forbid, if any bad result should come up, we know who to hold responsible,” he said. Idoko disclosed that the Sunshine Stars had signed a new sponsorship deal that would be unveiled later in the month, adding that it will be the biggest in recent times.

Dashback says squash headed in right direction


Godfrey Oboabona of Sunshine Stars

ongdie Dashback, one of the country’s foremost female squash players, has said that the sport was heading in the right direction, development wise. Dashback said yesterday in Lagos that the junior players were currently being exposed to the right kind of tournaments that would sharpen their competitive edge. It would be recalled that the country finished in the fifth position at the just-concluded All Africa

Junior Squash Championships in Windhoek, Namibia of the 12 countries that participated. The championships which commenced on March 28 were concluded on April 2 in the Southern African country. Team Nigeria’s Victor Daniel won a silver medal in the consolatory category at the championships. “Well, I believe that the squash circuit will improve. This is the first time that the junior

players are being exposed to a continental competition. “They have gone out to see how their contemporaries are playing the game, and I believe that this will spur them to perform better. “I believe that this experience will change their views about the game and it will spur others to fight for a spot in future international competitions,’’ Dashback added. The 2014 All Africa Squash Championships will be hosted by Nigeria from May 4 to May 9.


Messi out of Mallorca clash


ionel Messi has been ruled out of Barcelona’s La Liga game at home to Real Mallorca on Saturday, but may return for their Champions League second leg against Paris SaintGermain next Wednesday. Messi suffered a thigh muscle injury while scoring Barca’s opening goal in Tuesday evening’s 2-2 first leg draw at the Parc des Princes and was replaced by substitute Cesc Fabregas at half-time in that game. The Argentine came in early to Barca’s Ciutat Esportiva yesterday morning to meet blaugrana physio Juanjo Brau and Doctor Ricard Pruna. The club released a statement yesterday lunchtime which suggested initial reports he was set for three weeks out were overblown. Barca’s return leg against PSG takes place on Wednesday April 10 at the Camp Nou. If Messi does miss that game, he could return for a potential semifinal first leg on April 23 or 24. Messi said on a short post on his official Facebook page: “I will return soon, thankfully it was not so serious. We are so sorry for Masche [team-mate Javier Mascherano], we will give our support he returns as soon as possible.” Mascherano was also injured during the game at the Parc des Princes, with the club confirming on Tuesday evening that he had torn knee ligaments and faced approximately six weeks out. Mascherano’s absence is particularly problematic as club captain Carles Puyol and utility man Adriano Correia are also currently sidelined.

Lionel Messi



anchester City’s Carlos Tevez has been ordered to carry out 250 hours of community service after driving while disqualified and without insurance. The 29-year-old of Alderley Edge, Cheshire, was also banned from driving for six months and fined £1,000. He was arrested after breaking an earlier driving ban for failing to reply to police letters about speeding. Magistrates heard Tevez does not have a UK licence because he has struggled to

Tevez admits driving while disqualified pass the theory test in English. Argentine striker Tevez was stopped by police on 7 March as he left the Mottram Hall Hotel and Golf Club in Cheshire, Macclesfield Magistrates’ Court heard. In fact Tevez did not get into the Range Rover, but left the club at about 17:00 GMT in a white Porsche Cayenne. He was stopped nearby and arrested for driving while disqualified and

having no insurance. Tevez was taken to the police station and later bailed but at a second interview made no reply to police questions. Defoe rules out of three games. Defoe has suffered a fresh injury to the leg muscle that kept him out of action throughout February, but Villas-Boas remains confident his lack of striking options will not derail his push for a topfour finish or his Europa League ambitions.

Villas-Boas has hinted that he is ready to play Gareth Bale in a central striking role in Thursday night’s Europa League quarter-final clash with Basel at White Hart Lane, with the out-of-form Emmanuel Adebayor the only established striker available to him heading towards the final month of the season. Villas-Boas went on to try and play down the lavish praise poured on Bale by Real Madrid ambassador

Real Madrid under scrutiny over land deal


panish football champions Real Madrid may be in breach of European Union anti-competition rules over an alleged land deal, a spokesman for the bloc’s executive said Wednesday, following a British media report. The Independent newspaper said that the football club had allegedly agreed a favourable deal with Madrid City Council for land around the Bernabeu stadium, which is to be redeveloped with a shopping mall and hotel complex. Land around the football stadium had increased dramatically in value as it traded hands between the city council and Real Madrid, meaning that a final

decision by the city to grant the land to the club for redevelopment could constitute illegal state aid, the newspaper wrote. The commission had received information about several football clubs across the EU, said Antoine Colombani, spokesman for the bloc’s Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia. The land development could affect Real Madrid’s ability to borrow money and its prime position in the transfer market, the Independent wrote. In the course of the development, the stadium is also due to be equipped with a roof.

Drogba eyes Mourinho reunion at Chelsea


alatasaray striker Didier Drogba has hinted he and former manager Jose Mourinho may both make a shock Chelsea comeback next season. The two former Champions League winners may be reunited at Stamford Bridge, with Drogba believing the Blues need the services of the ‘Special One’ to send them back to the top of the Premier League. Chelsea are currently 22 points behind league leaders Manchester United with poor results early in the season costing former Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo the top job. And his replacement, former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez,

has struggled to win over some sections of the Stamford Bridge faithful despite guiding the Blues to the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the Europa Cup and FA Cup respectively. “I don’t think he has got over Chelsea and they haven’t got over him. When he came he brought success; we won league titles back-to-back with some great football and the only thing he didn’t win was the Champions League. “He is a winner and is close to the players. He went to Inter and is at Real Madrid but (he) is still talking about Chelsea, so he loves this club. Before Drogba joined Galatasaray in the January transfer

window, there were rumours the Ivory Coast international would return to the Blues after

being spotted training with his former teammates in December. Drogba, along with another high-profile recruit, Dutchman Wesley Sneijder, has helped lift Galatasaray into sight of a top-four spot in Europe’s premier club competition.

Jose Mourinho







Zinedine Zidane, who hailed the Welshman as the best player in the world on Tuesday and reignited rumours that the Tottenham talisman is destined for a move to the Spanish capital this summer. Midfielder Scott Parker joined his manager in playing down suggestions that Zidane’s comments are a prelude to Bale’s summer move to Real Madrid, as he believes his team-mate’s elevated status on the world stage is justified. Villas-Boas confirmed that keeper Hugo Lloris has returned to training after he missed the win at Swansea on Saturday, but Brad Friedel is expected to continue his position as Tottenham’s first choice keeper for Europa League games.

Beckenbauer mocks pensioner Buffon


ootball legend F r a n z Beckenbauer has branded veteran Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon “a pensioner” for failing to stop an early goal in their Champions League defeat at Bayern Munich. Bayern needed just 26 seconds to take the lead after David Alaba’s leftfooted thunderbolt beat Buffon from 35 metres out and Beckenbauer, an ex-Bayern captain, coach and president, said the Italian showed his age. “It felt like Alaba fired from miles out and made Buffon look like a p e n s i o n e r , ” Beckenbauer, 67, told German Sky Sports as Bayern won the quarterfinal, first leg 20 in Munich on Tuesday. Buffon admitted he had been wrong-footed by Alaba’s shot, which took a slight deflection off Juventus’ Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal. But Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer said he has some sympathy for Buffon’s blunder. Bayern face Juventus in the return leg in Turin next Wednesday with a clear advantage after Germany’s Thomas Mueller added their second goal on 63 minutes, but midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger says it may not be enough.



Pacquiao may face Marquez in September

15 Nigeria set for Europe trial

ormer seven-weight world champion Manny Pacquiao plans to fight again in September, but not in the United States because of tax reasons. A spokesperson for the boxer said negotiations are ongoing for a rematch with Juan Manuel Marquez, who knocked out Pacquiao in December. Singapore, Macau and Dubai are possible venues for Pacquiao’s next outing. Pacquiao, 34, is running for re-election as a congressman in next month’s Philippines mid-term elections. “We will talk about the opponent and the place after the 13 May elections,” said Rose Tamayo. Last June, Pacquiao lost his WBO welterweight crown to American Timothy Bradley on a controversial decision before being knocked out in spectacular fashion by Marquez. The defeats prompted calls for him to retire, but Pacquiao has consistently signalled his intention to keep on fighting. Marquez would be the obvious opponent for his September comeback, with Pacquiao leading their four-fight series 2-1, with one fight drawn.

By Albert Akota



Manny Pacquiao

Nigeria’s referees will dominate CAF competitions by 2015, says FA chairman


he Plateau State Football Association Chairman Mr. Sunday Samson has commended the Nigeria Referees Association (NRA)

Aminu Maigari, NFF president

Watson diagnose with glandular fever


ritish number one Heather Watson has been diagnosed with glandular fever. The 20-year-old has had a string of early-round exits of late and in March announced that she would take a break from the sport, before reversing the decision 24 hours later. Blood tests have revealed traces of the virus, although doctors say she is at the tail-end of the fever. Watson, who reached the third round of the Australian Open in January, lost in the first round in Indian Wells and Miami. The Briton then pulled out of this week’s WTA tournament in Charleston, South Carolina, with a leg injury and returned home to recover. Professor Paul Farrell, who teaches tumour virology at Imperial College London, said recovery from glandular fever can varies. “If she has been clinically diagnosed with this disease she should make a proper recovery. In all likeliness she will recover and be back to perfectly normal within weeks to months.”

for moving from mediocre to excellence in matches officiating. He said that NRA deserve no condemnation following the improvement of officiating in league matches, according to him, Nigeria’s referees would dominate CAF competitions by 2015 should they continue with the tempo. “I want to say here categorically that by 2015 our referees will dominate CAF organize competitions because the way they are going with quality personnel’s and good officiating especially their young age. “The association are doing what we are been saying by bring in young people who have passion for the game, I was in Algeria for Africa Youth Championship (AYC) I saw the referees, I can tell you that our referees are qualified to officiate in that competition.

“It was unfortunate that Nigeria referees were not there, I was very surprised because we have a lot of them that can officiate in that magnitude of tournament, I want NRA to push hard for it members because they have what it take to officiate in CAF organize competitions. “I saw most of the paraded referees by CAF, Nigeria’s referees may do better, I am happy with the standard of NRA recruitment and physical fitness test they are undergoing before handling a match, they are really moving from mediocre to excellence, “ he said. Samson however, called on Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and NRA to work assiduously in order to involve in the policy of referees selection in international matches for the betterment of Nigeria’s whistle men.

5 Nigerians will be given the opportunity to go on trial at AC Milan of Italy, AS Monaco of France and sporting club Olhannense of Portugal, according to the D’Elite Sport Investment Company who signed agreement with the clubs. Making this known to newsmen in Abuja yesterday at Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) secretariat, the coordinator of the D’Elite Sport Investment Mr. Sergio Daniel said different centers in the country have been chosen for the players to showcase their skill and stand a chance of getting one of the clubs. Meanwhile the FIFA goal project in Abuja has been chosen for those in North Central starting from today 4th. The national stadium Lagos has been pinked for those in Lagos from 5 th to 7 th before the screening team leave for Imo State, Owerri from 8th to 10th at the Owerri township stadium. Those in Edo state would also have the opportunity of showcasing their skills by going to Ogbe stadium from 12 th to 14 th while Kwara state would play at Ilorin township stadium from 18 th to 20 th before proceeding to Kaduna at Ahmedu Bello stadium from 22nd to 24th. The successful players from each center would converge in Abuja on the 30th for the final screening where15 lucky Nigerians would make it to Europe for trials. D’Elite Sports Investment has also secured the exclusive mandate of young Brazilian international Diego Xavier who played for Brazil at the 8 nation’s tournament in South Africa and he is presently on trial with Tottenham Hotspurs, English.

Serena wins Charleston clay opener


erena Williams only had three days to make the transition from hard courts to clay, and it showed a few times as she won her opening match at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina. The world’s No 1 player beat Camila Giorgi 6-2, 6-3 yesterday, losing her serve in her second game and looking uncomfortable when the Italian was able to get Williams running. Williams nearly was broken again up 3-2 in the first set. She lost the first three points of the game before rallying back to

Serena Williams

win the next five. Giorgi wouldn’t get another chance to break Williams the rest of the match, and only won two points against Williams’ serve the entire second set. Williams said she figured she would start slow because she only got one day of practice on clay to adjust from the fast, hard surface at Key Biscayne where she won the title for the sixth time on Saturday to the green, slow clay in Charleston, where she is the top seed. She also was facing a 21-year-old rising star in Giorgi, who caught Williams’s eye

last year by making it to the fourth round at Wimbledon. Giorgi had only herself to blame for not taking advantage of Williams’s slow start. She had eight double-faults in the first set and 12 for the match. Williams’s broke serve in the first two games as Giorgi’s second serves went into the net each time. Williams advances to the third round and just as importantly gets a day off on Wednesday. She said she plans on hitting just a few balls, but mostly resting. And if last year is any indication, Williams should get stronger as the tournament goes on. Williams won her opener 6-3, 64 in the 2012 tournament, and then lost seven games the rest of the week. The biggest upset on Tuesday was Stefanie Voegele beating seventh-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-4. Jessica Pegula beat No 8 seed Mona Barthel 7-6, 6-1 and qualifier Vania King defeated No 14 seed Yaroslava Shvedova 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. All the other seeded players won Tuesday, including No 9 seed Jelena Jankovic who beat Melanie Oudin 6-4, 57, 6-4 in a match that took nearly three hours. It was Jankovic’s first win over Oudin in three matches. Jankovic, who won in Charleston in 2007, wasn’t the only former Family Circle Cup champion to win Tuesday. No 15 seed Sabine Lisicki, the 2009 winner, beat Anna Tatishvili 6-0, 6-0. Other seeded players to advance were No 10 Julia Goerges, No 11 seed Sorana Cirstea and No 16 seed Laura Robson. Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the US downed her compatriot Sloane Stephens 6-2, 6-0 in the late match.







PICTORIAL 1] Lionel Messi has been ruled out of Barcelona's La Liga game at home to Mallorca on Saturday, but may return for their Champions League second leg against Paris Saint-Germain next week. 2] Juventus were left for dead by a superior Bayern Munich side in the first leg of their quarter-final tie, writes Mina Rzouki. 3] Australia announce their centrally contracted players for 2013-14 - with several recent Test players omitted. 4] A poor Six Nations campaign meant Ireland coach Declan Kidney's sacking was "inevitable" says former captain Keith Wood. 5] Laura Robson eases into Family Circle Cup second round with a straight-sets win over EstrellaCabeza Candela. 6] Manny Pacquiao is in talks to fight Juan Manuel Marquez for a fifth time in September - but not in the United States.





I wish I am 20 to play 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey, says Recber Just a few months from now, the football-crazy nation of Turkey will stage the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2013, a tournament guaranteed to reflect the Turks’ boundless enthusiasm and sense of national pride. Rustu Recber knows as well as anyone about his fellow countrymen’s powerful emotions and fiery passion when it comes to the world’s favorite game. The former goalkeeper won 120 full international caps for Turkey, making him his country’s most-capped player. Over and above that, the 39-year-old Rustu is a role model and idol inTurkey, where he is always treated with the respect and admiration befitting a living legend of sorts. Among a welter of career highlights, he was a member of the teams that finished third at the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/ Japan and made the semi-finals at UEFA EURO 2008. He has four Turkish championship winner’s medals from his spell withFenerbahce and one as a Besiktas player, although his illustrious career began at his home club Antalyaspor, and he also briefly spent time withBarcelona between 2003 and ’04. The former goalkeeper, a member of the FIFA 100 roll of honour, has now hung up his gloves and can hardly wait for the start of the second most important FIFA tournament on home soil. FIFA visited Rustu in Istanbul for an exclusive interview.


ustu, you were a member of a golden generation in Turkish football. What does that mean to you in a country with as much passion for the game as Turkey? I sense huge pride. When I started out on the international stage, the Turkeynational team didn’t really have its sights set high. Before our generation came along, results were poor. We’re the group of players who changed the fate and fortune of Turkish football, and that’s a wonderful feeling.

think there are always pros and cons if you’re representing the host nation. On the one hand you have home advantage and the home crowd’s support. On the other, you have to deal with a very intense weight of expectation and pressure. If the Turkish youngsters draw enough inspiration from the pros, and can use the home fans’ passion to their advantage, I’m certain they’ll comfortably make the semi-finals. But please don’t misunderstand me here, because I don’t want to pile extra pressure on our lads!

You’re Turkey’s most-capped player. When you look back nowadays, what do you make of this remarkable treasure trove of experience? I won my first full cap back in 1995 and called time on my international career in 2010, so I can look back over 15 years in the national team. That’s a very long, long time. If I could start over with the knowledge I have now, I’d try and experience every single international match even more intensively, so I’d be consciously making the most of each and every special occasion. We’re unbelievably passionate about football. The people here love the game. They talk about hardly anything else for days on end. A new Turkish footballing generation is now aiming to amass this level of experience, starting with a FIFA World Cup in their own country. How I really, really wish I was 20 again. That would mean I’d personally play at the (FIFA) U-20 World Cup 2013 here in Turkey and feel the support of the home fans. That would be unbelievable! What does the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2013 mean for the nation? It means a huge amount to Turkey and its people. It’s the biggest tournament we’ve ever put on in Turkey, both in terms of the standard of the football and the scope of the organization. We also know it’s a very important competition to FIFA, so we’re especially proud about being the host nation. What kind of atmosphere will we see at the tournament from 21 June to 13 July, both in the seven host cities of Antalya, Bursa, Gaziantep, Istanbul, Kayseri, Rize and Trabzon, and throughout the land? As you know, we’re unbelievably passionate about football. The people here love the game. They talk about hardly anything else for days on end. We can expect warm hospitality, powerful emotions and stirring passion. I’m absolutely certain public and fan interest will be enormous. Based on your experience as a former worldclass keeper, what can a FIFA U-20 World Cup offer a young player setting out on his career? With the experience I have today and all the experience I’ve gained in the past, I can guarantee it’s a truly meaningful tournament, especially for the young players, because it’s a huge opportunity to plot a path for the future. That’s why I’m convinced the players will enjoy this World Cup. For my part, I unfortunately never took part at a junior World Cup, and I regret not gaining that experience. But that’s one of the reasons why I’m even more deeply involved in the organizational aspects of the (FIFA) U-20 World Cup in Turkey. The group stage draw has been made. Who do you regard as favorites for the trophy? Personally, I think it’s a bit of a shame that neither Brazil nor Argentina managed to qualify, and also that Germany aren’t there. That said, we’ll see 24 other very, very strong teams. If you ask me, Spain and Mexico are favourites for the trophy, but I’d also like to include our Turkish team with them. Will you be following the action and throwing your support behind Feyyaz Ucar’s team? Of course! What kind of question is that? (laughs) I

Rustu Recber



Some Interesting Facts

Say what?

•Astronauts get taller when they are in space. •There are over one hundred billion galaxies with each galaxy having billions of stars. •The surface area of the lungs is roughly the same size as a tennis court. •A dog can hear sounds that are 100 times fainter than the faintest

sounds that a person can hear. If a person can just hear a noise that is coming from 10 feet away, a dog could hear that same noise from 100 feet away. •If a sole (a type of fish) lays upon a chessboard it can change the colouring of its body to match the pattern of the chess board. The sole takes about 4

minutes to make the change. •Of all the animals on earth the mosquito has contributed to the deaths of more people than any other animal. •In the courts of the Roman Empire, instead of swearing an oath on a bible, men swore to the truth on their statements while holding their

genitals. Hence the word 'testify', from 'testicles'. •The first soap powder, produced in 1907, was made with Perborate and Silicate hence its brand name, Persil. •If we could shrink the earth's population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the

same, there would be 57 Asians, 21 Europeans, 14 from the Americas and 8 Africans. Only 1 would own a computer. •All elephants walk on tiptoe, because the back portion of their foot is made up of all fat and no bone. •Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing. •Hawaii has the only royal palace in the United States. •Chicken liver can be used to change A type blood to O type blood. •It takes only 8 minutes for sunlight to travel from the sun to the earth, which also means, if you see the sun go out, it actually went out 8 minutes ago. •The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue. •An octopus has 3 hearts. •If the population of China walked

past you in single file, the line would never end because of the rate of reproduction. •The hair on a polar bear is not white, but clear. They reflect light, so they appear white. •Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people do. •The combination "ough" can be pronounced in 9 different ways; Read this: "A rough-coated, dough-faced, thoughtful ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough; after falling into a slough, he coughed and hiccoughed." •The blue whale has a heart the size of a small car and its blood vessel is so broad, that a person could swim through it. •A left-handed person finds it easier to open a

jar than a righthanded person because they can supply a stronger anticlockwise turning force than a right-handed person. However a right-handed person will find it easier to tighten the jar up afterwards. •The orbit of the Moon about the Earth would fit easily inside the Sun. •A chameleon can move its eyes in two directions at the same time. •Typewriter is the longest word that can be made only using one row on the keyboard. •Because of the rotation of earth you can throw a ball farther to the west than to the east. •The name of all the continents ends with the same letter that they start with. •Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated. •There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar (euro, pound).


‘Dangerous driving’: Young men demonstrate the latest craze in Saudi Arabia known as ‘sidewalk skiing’


. . . putting the people first



FIFA sells 546,000 tickets for Confederations Cup in Brazil


ublic interest in the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 is proving to be unprecedented compared to previous editions, with 546,000 of the total ticketing inventory already allocated. The number is particularly impressive considering the high capacity nature of each of the six stadiums set to host the event from 15-30 June. “These figures prove that the FIFA Confederations Cup including four FIFA World Cup champions in the line-up is a highly anticipated event, especially for those fans and local residents hoping to experience the action live in one of the six FIFA World Cup stadiums. Despite the huge demand, there is still a good chance for fans to secure tickets for most of the matches before the end of the current sales phase on 28 May,” explains Thierry Weil, FIFA Marketing Director. Tickets can be booked exclusively online via With unpaid ticket orders returned in the public sale, fans still have the opportunity to snap up 246,000 tickets. The ticket section on is updated in real time so that football fans can constantly check the availability of tickets for each match and each category. Opening match Brazil v Japan in Brasilia: 58,620, Match 2 in Rio de Janeiro Mexico v Italy: 60,717, Match 3 in Recife Spain v Uruguay: 34,806, Match 4 in Belo Horizonte Tahiti v Nigeria: 11,194, Match 5 in Fortaleza Brazil v Mexico: 47,075, Match 6 in Recife Italy v Japan: 26,073, Match 7 in Rio de Janeiro Spain v Tahiti: 36, 781, Match 8 in Salvador Nigeria v Uruguay: 13,796, Match 9 in Salvador Italy v Brazil: 40,719, Match 10 in Belo Horizonte Japan v Mexico: 26, 635, Match 11 in Fortaleza Nigeria v Spain: 24,215, Match 12 in Recife Uruguay v Tahiti: 9,363, Semi-final in Belo Horizonte: 42,628, Semifinal in Fortaleza: 31,682, 3rd/4th place Match in Salvador: 23,258 and the Final in Rio de Janeiro: 58,860.

UCL Results Real Madrid 3 - Galatasary 0 Malaga 0 - B/Dortmund 0 ADVERT: BUSINESS: NEWS: LAGOS:

QUO TABLE Q UO TE UOT QUO UOTE As its Chairman, I love my party. If I'm serving PDP at my age, the reason isn't that I expect some gain. Serving the ruling party amounts to serving my nation. - Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, national Chairman, Peoples Democratic Part (PDP).

Theories of BH (5) – Impunity's ‘Unknown Gunmen’ D

espite all the Kabir Escapees and Al Qaeda look-alikes re-captured, killed and questioned, we are still as clueless as to who really is planning, funding and directing these atrocities, as we were nearly three years ago! The last edition of this column posited that it is the military-industrial-complex size pockets of an entirely irreligious group intent on maintaining access to power and wealth - as may be contained in a security budget of C950 billion, who are the power behind the 'terrorists'. Just as security spending is secret, so too are the security rigmarole, actions and processes that have never led to even a single, proper prosecution. No day in court None of the handful of suspects lucky enough to be'paraded' rather than being tortured to death, left to rot in detention or shot summarily, have ever been given a proper day in court. By a proper day in court one expects transparent and open proceedings regarding evidence and the results of investigations. Instead Cartelopians get 'parades' where suspects evidently confess and implicate themselves before the television cameras. The few who have finally been arraigned as in the recent two or three instances are actually brought before the court without defense lawyers! Some have even been locked up for a year incommunicado! Clearly something else other than the law is calling the shots. Hours after those first October 1st 2010 bombs went off, murdering 10-16 people including a whole family, PM Jonah already had all the intelligence and investigation he needed to publically announce that some 'foreign terrorists' were involved. To this day no Cartelopian has bothered to ask which foreign terrorists he was talking about. Perhaps he meant a certain Southern African Okar? Okar was sentenced to 24 years imprisonment last week. The convoluted circumstances of his arrest as well as inexplicable arrests made here at home, of a certain associate of a Northern politician, are long forgotten. The 42-page affidavit which Okar deposed accusing the same

0803 311 7458 0805 689 1765 081 784 6567 0805 327 1969 0803 454 0344

CAR TEL OPIA CARTEL TELOPIA With Aisha Yolah 08086296783 (text only please) PM Jonah of being behind the 'bombings to galvanize opposition against northern leaders'ahead of elections and 'to create an atmosphere of insecurity' so as to upstage a certain governor, are all also forgotten. Is it not tragic that this same exact motive - of using bombs to create insecurity, or smear 'opposition' - has been turned on its head by Cartelopia's government, to pin the terrorism on a whole people? But a close 'confidante' of the PM declared recently that PM Jonah will win re-election in 2015 because people in the North (read opposition) will be too scared to vote out of fear of being killed by BH. A few weeks later officialdom in the form of the electoral umpire confirmed such a scenario by saying the insecurity might prevent elections holding in the North! Talk about a multi-purpose, omnibus weapon. Theory Four and the logic of impunity Theory Four thus speaks to a murdering, traitorous alliance with rogue security professionals in charge. We see this as the most consistent explanation that fits the reality of what is actually taking place: All the 'unknown gunmen' who can disappear in front of a gauntlet of check points: The suicide bombers that seem to appear as if on cue, to frighten us out of our wits. Then there are the scores of BH members who we are told have been killed and yet have remained unidentified or unidentifiable. Men killed by security forces in the gun battles - sometimes as many as 50 or 60 in number if the police are to be believed - who are never presented to the public as human beings, with identities, lives and families that could give the rest of us some sense of who these people are and where they come from.

Not a single mug shot, name or detail of these mysterious dead gunmen are ever made public or provided to families for record purposes. This single action of our so-called security forces indicates clearly that really they are not concerned with proving or disproving anything. It's like the issuance of wanted notices filled with interesting but meaningless names without pictures, descriptions or logic. Shifting identities and motives Just as the terrorists' identities are deliberately cloaked in mystery by our own security, their methods and targets are so inconsistent that they betray a lack of genuine focus or even a real grouse. The behavior of the single most identifiable BH terrorist has wavered of late as though the script has been thrown away… Take the recent photo of this You Tube Sheikh who we are told is the 'master' of all this bloodcurdling slaughter. He has appeared regularly in videos uploaded to You Tube in his

menacing splendor, performing his role with most unusual mannerisms that give a lie to his clerical pretensions. He has never hidden his face. But in this recent photograph released to affirm that BH are brutal kidnappers who murder helpless hostages and target children and families, the Sheikh is not identifiable. His face is covered! Someone evidently went off script or perhaps is new to the business. Maintaining an illusion But the fact is that who this Sheikh really is - does not matter. It is the fear and dread that the photograph produces that matters. Terrorism is ultimately not about reality but about creating fear and sustaining it. So, the gunmen and bombers will never really be known. Similarly any attempt to hold our security forces to account either for their actions or our money, may easily get you 'implicated' by the testimony of any thug cum 'Islamic' terrorist. The majority of the hardworking and honest members of the country's security services may be more gullible than is healthy. One doubts if they will care to question why it is that terrorist mercenaries arrested this week in far away Eko were being given refuge in a house belonging to the PM's home state government. Of course if it had been a Northern state government involved that would be an entirely different matter. Concluded.

Published by Peoples Media Limited, 35, Ajose Adeogun Street, 1st Floor Peace Park Plaza, Utako, Abuja. Kano office: Plot 3, Zaria Road, Opposite Kano State House of Assembly. Lagos Office: No.8 Oliyide Street, off Unity Road, Ikeja, Lagos. Tel: +234-09-8734478. Cell: +234 803 320 6567. e-mail:; ISSN: 2141– 6141

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Thursday 04, April, 2013  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Thursday 04, April, 2013 Edition

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