Page 1

Vol. 10 No. 92

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

. . . putting the people first

Jimadal Akhir 27, 1434 AH


JTF arrests Olaitan: Court suspected killers orders IGP to pay of Gen. Shuwa >> 3 N5m damages >> 3

Shettima Monguno regains freedom No ransom paid, says Gov Shettima

From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri


fter spending the fourth day in captivity, the abductors of elder statesman and Nigeria’s pioneer Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr.Shettima Ali Monguno, set him free yesterday morning. Shettima was kidnapped by unknown gunmen last Friday at about 2 pm, after performing the Juma’at prayers at the Mafoni ward of Maiduguri metropolis. Thousands of sympathizers defied the heavy security mounted within and outside Monguno’s home as they thronged the compound to catch a glimpse of the elder statesman yesterday. Borno state Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, led his cabinet members and security Contd on Page 2

Two killed in NAF plane crash By Joy Baba


Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Alpha Jet aircraft on a non-combatant mission crashed yesterday at Dargol village at about 1305hours (1.05pm), according to a statement by the Director of Defence Information (DDI), Brig-Gen Chris Olukolade. According to the statement, the jet crashed 60 kilometres West of Niamey, killing the two pilots on board. The statement also said the aircraft is one of the four based in Niamey, Niger Republic, as part Contd on Page 2

L-R: Elder statesman, Shettima Ali Monguno, Governor Kashim Shettima and his deputy, Zanna Umar Mustapha at Monguno's residence in Maiduguri, shortly after he was released by kidnappers yesterday.

Convention: CPC dissolves into APC May 11 >> 2

























Convention: CPC dissolves into APC May 11 By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he last convention that will ratify the merger of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) into All Progressives Congress (APC), has been slated for May 11 at the Old Parade Ground in Abuja. National Publicity Secretary of (CPC), Rotimi Fashakin, who disclosed this to newsmen in Abuja, also said the convention would focus on ratifying the CPC's merger with other opposition parties, including ANPP, APGA and ACN. Fashakin explained that the national convention is the highest

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30 31-34

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imperative that a political party must go to the convention to ratify it,” he said. He said that the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) had fulfilled all necessary processes as it was able to hold its national convention ahead of CPC. Fashakin, who described the ACN national convention as huge success added that their resolutions at the convention would be sent to INEC to enhance the registration of APC. He disclosed that the party has intensified its effort in encouraging peaceful coexistence and internal democracy among its members to

ensure the success of the convention. In a related development, the Chairman of CPC Merger Committee, Garba Gadi, has urged Nigerians to believe in the ideologies of APC in order to establish true participatory democracy in Nigeria. "APC government will ensure judicious use of the resources of the state for the benefit of every Nigerian", he said, expressing hope that APC will offer Nigerians good governance that would bring an end to insecurity, poverty, economic down turn, and general unpleasant situations being experienced in the country now.

JTF rescues abducted parents of Borno legislator From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri


2015 Presidency: Nudging Tambuwal on to destiny? Page 4

decision making event of the party, pointing out that there were three reasons under the Nigerian law in which the convention could be held. "A party could hold a national convention if it wants to elect national officials or to elect candidates, who fly the party’s flag for national election." According to him, the party can also hold a national convention when it wants to approve a major decision such as merging with other political parties. "Merging with another political party is a very major decision and the nation’s law has made it

he Joint Military Task Force in Borno state,(JTF) said yesterday that its operatives on a routine patrol have rescued parents of a member of the National Assembly from the state, who were allegedly kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists last Saturday. The rescue of the victims coincided with the release of the elder statesman, Dr. Shettima Ali Monguno, who spent four days in captivity after being kidnapped by another gang of unknown gunmen in Maiduguri metropolis, the capital city. Spokesman for the JTF, Lt-Col. sagir Musa, in a statement issued to newsmen said the victims were rescued from six Boko Haram members, while traveling with their victims in a car. "Based on intelligence, the Joint Task Force Operation RESTORE ORDER intercepted and rescued two kidnap victims, one Ummara Sanda Sheriff and his wife Mrs. Maryam Sanda Sheriff, parents of Honourable Mohammed Sanda, a Federal lawmaker representing Kaga- Maigumeri – Gubio federal

constituency og Borno State. "They were rescued from a sixman gang of Boko Haram terrorists kidnap gang. They were kidnapped on Sunday 5 May, 2013 at Ngamdu village at about 10:15 pm. The village is a border community between Borno and Yobe States, about 90 kilometers away from Maiduguri. The terrorists and the victims were heading towards Martai area in an old model Toyota four -wheel drive with registration number Borno XA 625 KGG when they were intercepted at Zabarmari area by

the JTF troops on speial operation about 30 kilometers from Maiduguri metropolis", the task force said in the statement. The statement further added that the couple were successfully rescued by the JTF at about 9:00 am, saying "Mr. Sanda, 85 and his wife Maryam70, seemed to be in good health". The statement listed items were recovered from the supspected kidnappers to include one AK47 rifle, a magazine with 30 rounds of 7.62 mm special ammunition, seven assorted cell

phones, six pairs of wrappers and a set of lady’s shoe. Others were seven pairs of male cloth and three MTN sim cards, among others. "The JTF wishes to once again alert the public to be wary and security conscious at all times. Members of the public are advised to avoid or be very sensitive to strangers and friends that have not been in contact for long. Similarly, the public are warned to avoid isolated areas and shun meetings or friendship organized through telephones or social media", the statement further adviced.

Nyako donates N20m for Baga victims From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri


damawa state Governor Murtala Nyako, yesterday donated the sum of N20 million to the Borno state government as his contribution to the provision of relief materials to surviving victims of the Baga killings. Governor Nyako noted that the gesture was aimed at assisting the victims to cushion their financial

and material loses. Presenting the cheque of the donation to Governor Kashim Shettima at the Government House in Maiduguri, Nyako expressed optimism that the similitude of the Baga saga would not happen again in any part of the country. He described the number of those killed and the degree of the property destroyed as outrageous and unacceptable. Governor Nyako commended Shettima for his resolute in

managing the security challenges he inherited, and prayed God to continue to guide him to overcome the situation. Responding, Governor Shettima thanked Nyako for identiying with the people of the state in their moments of grief. Shettima said he had a very strong conviction that all the troubled states in the north would someday overcome the trials and tribulations they were currently undergoing.

Two killed in NAF plane crash Contd from Page 1 of the Africa-led Support Mission in Mali. “Investigation has commenced to unravel the circumstances that led to the accident,' the statement said. Nigeria was hit by major

tragedy on September. 17, 2006 when an 18-seater Dornier 228 Air Force transport plane, carrying 15 senior army officers and three crew members crashed leaving only three survivors. The plane with registration number 228-212 crashed in

northern part of the country at Oko village in Vandeikya local government area of Benue state. The military officers were members of a committee set up by the government to reposition the Nigerian Army. And, on September 26, 1992,

a Nigerian Air Force C-130 transport plane carrying top military officers crashed in Ejigbo near Lagos, minutes after leaving the Lagos airport. All passengers onboard died in the crash, 173 bodies were found, 27 missing.

Shettima Monguno regains freedom Contd from Page 1 chiefs to Monguno's home along Government House in GRA area where he affirmed that no ransom was paid to the abductors. According to the Governor, the abductors released Monguno at Kirenowa town in Marte local government area of the state without any ransom paid. “We are all elated and overwhelmed to hear his release. “I congratulate all of us for his release, hoping that God will give him the good health and strength to continue with his

humanitarian gestures,'' the Governor said, pointing out that abductors had contacted the family of the victim, saying that they resolved to free him. As the Governor put it, “they contacted his family who pleaded with them to free him. “I think the development will also not be unconnected with the several appeals by prominent Nigerians. “They sent word that he should be picked in the morning, so we sent his personal aides with a vehicle to get him home.

“Obviously Monguno is a philanthropist who has spent all he has in the course of humanitarian services. “So, the issue of money was out of it because the family had no money to pay. “It is just that the abductors decided to release him after numerous appeals from Nigerians.” Some family members, who spoke to newsmen expressed delight over the development and thanked Almighty Allah for making it possible for Monguno to

regain his freedom. Monguno was the third person to be kidnapped and released by the yet-to-be identified gunmen. A famous businessman, Alhaji Ari Budun, regained freedom after he allegedly paid the sum of N50 million ransom to his captors. Similarly, another victim, an Assistant General Manager at the Maiduguri Flour Mills, Alhaji Muhammad Maisalati, had exchanged his freedom with the sum of N20 million.



JTF arrests suspected killers of Gen. Shuwa T he Joint Task Force (JTF) on Operation Restore Order (ORO), said yesterday that it had arrested suspected killers of war veteran, Maj-Gen. Mohammadu Shuwa, in Maiduguri. JTF Spokesman, Lt.-Col. Sagir Musa, who stated this in a statement in Maiduguri, said that the arrest followed series of investigations by the task force. “It will be recalled that an elder

statesman, retired Maj-Gen. Mohammadu Shuwa, was shot dead by gunmen in front of his house in Gwange, Maiduguri on Nov. 12, 2012. “Preliminary investigation by the JTF has identified two key suspected Boko Haram terrorists: Mohammed Ibn Saleh and Abdulkareem Ibrahim, as the masterminds of the killing,” Musa said. He added that a special

operation was carried out by the JTF to get the suspected killers. “Consequently, a special operation was conducted on Nov. 15, 2012 by the task force with a view to arresting the culprits, which led to the death of Ibn Saleh during a shootout in a house at Bulabulin Ngarnam. “Similarly, on Dec. 2, 2012 Abdulkareem was arrested with a fatal injury that resulted in his death on Dec. 6, 2012. A member

of the syndicate, one Bulama Bur died on Dec. 2, 2012 in an encounter with JTF troops.” He said that JTF also arrested four other members of the gang. “Sequel to Abdulkareem’s confession, four other members of the syndicate were identified and three of them arrested between January and March, while one of the culprits is at large. He said that one of those arrested was “actively involved in

the planning and execution of the plan that led to the killing of Shuwa, while the two others played various indirect roles". ``Both have confessed to being members of Boko Haram and equally confessed to carrying out various attacks both on military and civilian targets.'' JTF added that they allegedly extorted about N20 million from late Alhaji Ibrahim Mai Sugar, among others. (NAN)

We’ll resist Amaechi impeachment plot, says Rivers state govt


President Goodluck Lonathan (left) arriving Cape Town during his state visit to South Africa, yesterday. Photo: NAN

Olaitan: Appeal Court orders IGP to pay Ugolor N5m damages From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


he Court of Appeal in Benin City, yesterday ordered the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Muhammed Abubarkar to pay N5 million as damages to a human rights activists, Rev. David Ugolor. The three-man panel of justices headed by Justice Helen Olagumwumiju also struck out the

stay of execution filed by counsel to the IGP and Attorney General of Federation (AGF), Michael Ehunde. Counsel to Ugolor, Olayinwola Afolabi, had argued that the motion of appeal was incompetent. The ruling comes eight months after justice E.A Edigin of a Benin High Court ordered the police to pay the activists the sum as damages for his unlawful detention over the

murder of Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde, the Principal Secretary to Governor Adams Oshiomhole. Ugolor was held in custody for 41 days. According to Justice Olagunmuju, “it is hereby ordered that the judgment sum of N5 million be paid to the Deputy Chief registrar of this court within 60 days; and shall immediately deposit same in an interest yielding account.”

Yobe reviews curfew hours


obe state government has reviewed the curfew hours imposed on the state following the recent crisis in the area. A press statement by Abdullahi Bego, Special Adviser on Press Affairs and Information to Governor Ibrahim Gaidam, said that, “this is to inform members of the public that His Excellency has approved a review of the hours during which movement is restricted across the state. “Restriction of movement now

starts from 8.00 pm to 7.00 am daily from Monday 6th May 2013, throughout the state. “The decision to adjust the curfew hours was taken today (yesterday) following a meeting that His Excellency, the Governor had with heads of law enforcement agencies in the State. “His Excellency, the Governor expresses appreciation to the good people of the state for their continuing support and cooperation with security agents who are working round-the-clock

to ensure peace and security in the state. “His Excellency, Governor Gaidam reminds the general public to continue to use the telephone numbers provided by the JTF to report any suspicious movements in their neighborhoods. “The Governor also reminds the good people of the state not to relent in prayers for Almighty Allah (SWT) to restore peace and security in Yobe and the nation in general.”

he Rivers state government has vowed to defend every shred of vote cast for its embattled Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, whom the government admitted yesterday, was being targeted for impeachment apparently over his political standoff with President Goodluck Jonathan. A spokesperson for the state, Ibim Semenitari, said Amaechi remains “fully in control” of the state despite an attempt by a minority number of the state lawmakers to initiate impeachment proceedings against the governor. “Let me just say that as far back as about two weeks ago, we had heard of rumours of a few miscreants making an attempt to hoist something that is totally undemocratic on the people of Rivers State where they would take just five members of the Rivers State House of Assembly out of 33 members and attempt an impeachment of the governor of Rivers state,’’ Semenitari, the Rivers Commissioner for Information and Communication, told journalists at a media briefing yesterday. The Commissioner said the people of the state would defend every vote cast for Mr. Amaechi and that plans by “an insignificant minority in the state assembly to remove the governor will fail”. Ms. Semenitari spoke as protest erupted on Monday in the troubled Obio-Akpor local government area of the state where the tussle between the governor and his state party leadership, said to be sympathetic to the president, is apparently taking toll. The state House of Assembly, controlled by Mr. Amaechi, had suspended the chairman of the council weeks ago, drawing the wrath of the newly-installed leadership of the ruling Peoples’ Democratic party in the state. The state lawmakers accused the council chairman, Timothy Nsirim, of financial abuse, and replaced him with a caretaker committee led by Chikodi Dike. The new PDP leadership ordered that the decision be reversed immediately, resulting in a massive police action on Friday, in which the local government secretariat was shut off by dozens of armed personnel. On Monday, youth from the area staged demonstrations at the state assembly complex, complaining the about refusal of

the state authorities to reinstate the suspended chairman. Ms. Semenitari said the protest by the youth to the state’s House of Assembly complex was the handiwork of “rabble rousers and hoodlums’’. She said Chibuike Amaechi was focused and determined to take the state to greater heights. “The governor of Rivers state, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, is in full control of the state. I know that there are no matters for concern in Rivers State,” she said. “I am aware that a few hoodlums and rabble rousers are trying to cause disaffection in the state and trying to pretend that there is chaos in Rivers state. “However, we are certain that there is no chaos in Rivers State and that the government is in full control of the situation and that we are briefed as at when due.” She said investors had shown interests in the state, adding: “we have continued to talk with our business partners. Gov. Amaechi will defend the business environment of the state and we are in touch with investors.” She said the people were already aware that only a few persons were troubling the government to satisfy their selfish interests. The caretaker chairman of Obio/Akpor Council, Mr. Dike, said he has banned “unauthorized” gatherings in the area. Briefing newsmen in Port Harcourt, Mr. Dike said that Monday’s demonstration staged by some youths at the council secretariat in Rumuodomaya, was illegal. He said the ban became necessary in view of the plans by some youths to use the demonstrations to cause trouble. He said the council had informed relevant security agencies and the state government on plans by some politicians to use the youths to cause a breakdown of law and order in the area. “To avert any mayhem, we hereby warn all groups to seek clearance from the council before embarking on any gathering. “We have alerted security agencies and all the relevant authorities and hereby ban any unauthorized assembly,” he said. “We call on the good people of Obio/Akpor local government and the general public to be on the alert and to report any suspicious movement or large gathering.” (NAN)


2015 Presidency: Nudging Tambuwal on to destiny? By Lawrence Olaoye


lthough the Speaker of the House of Representatives has yet to publicly declare his intention to contest for the Presidency in 2015, indications are rife that the amiable Aminu Waziri Tambuwal may have been making subtle efforts to warm himself into the hearts of critical stakeholders who will play prominent roles in determining who occupies the Aso Rock. Tambuwal who ascended the helms of affairs of the House of Representatives has no doubt demonstrated enough leadership qualities to qualify him for the number one position in the country. His ability to steer the ship of the turbulent Green Chamber, consisting of 360 strange bedfellows and characters, without any major crisis in the last two years only attests to his managerial dexterity and his ability to balance centrifugal and centripetal political interests without qualms. These traits, no doubt must have informed his endorsement by stakeholders in the country irrespective of party affiliations. The Speaker, though a member of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP), is getting supports from the unlikeliest quarters,the opposition. Political watchers had argued that Tambuwal may be enjoying the support of the cross section of the opposition both with and outside theHouse because of his transparent style of leadership. They however raise the doubts on whether the opposition merger, All Progressives Congress (APC), the platform upon which it is variously rumored he would take a shot at the Presidency come 2015, would field him as its candidate considering the arrays of candidates lining up for the slot. Notable stakeholders including former military Head of State, Gen. Mohammadu Buhari, former Kano state governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, former Yobe state governor and a servingSenator Bukar Abba Ibrahim, former EFCC boss, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and several other interested candidates from the north, who are currently deeply involved in the merger struggle, providing virile opposition to the ruling PDP, would not give up their ambition without putting up a fight. Should the Sokoto born Speaker of the House of Representatives choose to contest on he platform of his party, other political heavy-weights with intimidating credentials are already there to dwarf him. Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who in 2011 fought the power of incumbency at he PDP primary is waiting in the wings. Except the improbable happens, Atiku may not be persuaded to step down for Tambuwal's candidature even as a northern candidate to face the fire power of President Goodluck Jonahan, who from all indications is interested in returning in 2015.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal Apart from Atiku, other equally influential candidates who have been severally rumored to be interested n the top job in the north on the platform of the ruling party include the Jigawa state governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido and his Kano state counterpart, Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso. Although the Niger state governor, who had earlier indicated interest in the plum job has severally denied having interest, there indications that when the chips are down, Dr. Babangida Aliyu may throw in his hat. The Speaker's fraternity with members of the opposition in the House, according to political watchers, informed the insinuation that he may have made up his mind to dump the ruling party to realize his ambition come 2015 on he platform of he opposition APC. There are equally

speculations that the PDP may be considering measures to call him to order for fraternizing with known figures in the opposition. Obviously, the PDP leadership is uncomfortable with the way Tambuwal is carrying on in his responsibilities without giving conscious consideration to his political background. This is even moreso when he emerged the Speaker against the wish of the party's leadership. It has been generally argued that the party leadership must take a pound flesh for those actions considered anti- party by the Speaker and it's entire leadership come 2015. Therefore, the reasoning in some political circles is that the Speaker either reconciles himself fully with the party hierarchy early enough or he forgets getting anything on its platform by 2015. This situation however has made the


Though he has not told us about this, he has displayed good leadership in the House of Representatives; it is only left for Nigerians to determine who will lead them in 2015.

invitation extended to Tambuwal to contest the Presidency on the opposition's merger platform even more alluring; but the question is: Will he get the ticket? On the platform of the mega opposition party, General Buhari has recently said that he would support any other better candidate that emerges as the APC Presidential candidate. What is not clear however is whether the General would not go to the party's primary with the 'better' candidate. Aside this, the question on the lips of he people is who is that better candidate considering Buhari's political pedigree, especially in he north? On the surface, defeating Buhari at the APC primary, should he choose to test his popularity, would of course be a Herculean task for not only Tambuwal but for some other young political Turks in the country toying with the idea of getting the Presidency on the platform of the merger party. Nonetheless, the Speaker has continued to get avalanche of endorsements from the people. The House of Representatives recently endorsed his candidature by stating that he had done more than enough to qualify to lead the country. Briefing newsmen recently, Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Victor Oghene, said Tambuwal is free to contest for the Presidency as he had proved his ability and capability going by his track record in handling affairs of the 7th House of Representatives in the last two years. According to him "Though he has not told us about this, he has displayed good leadership in the House of Representatives; it is only left for Nigerians to determine who will lead them in 2015." Reacting to the allegation that the Speaker may be sanctioned by the ruling party for alleged anti-party activities, Oghene said , "Tambuwal is not a PDP Speaker, he is the Speaker of the House of Reps. He can relate with any party in the best interest of Nigerians" Former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, had also subtly endorsed Tambuwal at the Vanguard Man of the Year Award recently when he nudged him on to seek for higher political responsibilities. According to him, the Speaker has the capacity "to sustain the labour of our heroes past. When leaders like Tambuwal delivered on their promises, we advise them to try something higher. For Tambuwal, your guess is as good as mine." In any case, whether the Speaker gets the ticket to contest for the highest position in the land or not, thing is clear that he would be called for higher service in the country. This is even more evident considering his popularity in his home state, his closeness and loyalty to the incumbent governor of the state, Alhaji Magartakada Wammakko. Pundits have argued that Tambuwal may emerge the heir to the Sokoto state Government House should the heat for the Presidency become unbearable.



PDP can still win elections in Edo, party insists By Lawrence Olaoye


he ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday insisted that it still has the capacity to win elections in Edo state contrary to comments credited to the governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole hat the party has been routed out of the state. This is even as the party has insisted that it has documentary evidence to show that the Edo governor actually begged to join the party. The party in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary urged to ” tow the path of honour and admit that on several occasions, he went on all fours to join the PDP instead of allowing his peripheral sidekicks, who know little or nothing about the issue to continue to lie to Nigerians.” The Party also described as absurd the attempt by the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN to establish the victory of Governor Oshimole at the July 12, 2012 Edo State governorship election as a foreclosure on the capacity of the PDP to win other elections in the state. According to him, the decision of its headquarters of the PDP to congratulate Governor Oshiomhole on that election, did not vitiate the heavy allegations of rigging which its Edo state chapter holds against it. The party stated “We view this step as necessary in the background of porous and laughable defence posted by both the ACN and low cadre assistants to Governor Oshiomhole. This challenge is direct to the

Tambuwal’s aide loses mum


he death has occurred of Hajiya Aisha Musa in Kazaure local government area of Jigawa state. She died on the 27th, April 2013 at her Bayangida residence in Kazaure. Aged 103, she has since been buried in accordance with Islamic rites. She is survived by many children, grand children and great grand children among who is Mallam Nuhu Musa Kazaure who is former Commissioner for Information, Jigawa state and currently Senior Special Adviser to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.

Comrade Governor. Let him prove wrong, a well documented overtures he made to join the PDP, a party he lately labeled “party of rogues.” “A word from the horse’s mouth will either settle this matter or further provide an avenue into the wicked lie that several leaders of the opposition live in our dear nation.”

On the assertion by the ACN that the PDP could not have won a seat at the controversial Edo local government election, the statement said, “What a fudgy logic the ACN is engaged in? What a way to explain out; justify the heist that characterized the recent local government elections in the state! That because Governor

Oshiomhole won the state governorship election, the ACN must win all the seats in a local election determined majorly by the weight and popularity of the individual grassroots contenders.” It further said such a scenario was an obvious remote possibility especially in Edo State where the PDP commands

credible politicians as well as wide and staunch membership. “On a scale of fairness therefore, the PDP still has the capacity to match or out match the ACN in local elections. For it to shamelessly justify hence, the massive rigging of the Edo local government elections with this sheer lack of critical thinking, is laughable.”

L-R: Medical Director, Malumfashi General Hospital, Katsina state, Dr. Ayinla Abdulrauf; director, Hinache Microfinance Bank, Alhaji Nasiru Tabako; hospital's friends committee chairman, Alhaji Shawai Alhassan and an official of the bank, Alhaji Abdulrazak Abdulwahab during the presentation of drugs worth N200,000 donated by the bank for free administration to patients in the hospital's maternity ward, yesterday in Katsina

Mali needs urgent support for economic development, says Prime Minister By Gladys Kenneth


he Republic of Mali is in need of urgent support for economic development more than any time in history, according to the Prime Minister of the country, Mr. Diango Cissoko. The Prime Minister disclosed this at the headquarters of the

Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in Jeddah while on a one-day visit, ahead of the International Conference on Mali, scheduled to take place on May 15, in Brussels. Cissoko drew attention to the current political crises in Mali which calls for strong economic intervention from international development partners. According to the Prime

Minister, ”institutions like the IDB and all development partners should come together to support Mali. “It is only when we are supported by our partners that we will be able to revive the economy of the country so that Mali will become the country we knew.” In his welcome address, the Chairman of the IDB Group, Dr.

Muslim Shiite member dies following army shooting


here was pandemonium in Suleja yesterday following the death of a member of the Shiite Islamic group, Musa Abubakar. A number of persons had trouped to the streets protesting the death which was said to be as a result of shooting from an unidentified soldier, last Sunday. Spokesman of the group, Hassan Adamu, said that Abubakar died on Sunday morning from the bullet fired by a soldier during a procession by the group to mark the birthday of its leader, Sheikh Ibrahim

Zakzaky. He said that the incident took place when an Army patrol van ran into the rally around IBB market area of the town and accused the group of unlawfully occupying the road. Adamu explained that it was at this stage that one of the soldiers dropped from the van and started shooting during which the late Abubakar was hit by a bullet. He said that the soldier jumped into the van after the shooting spree and the driver quickly drove away adding that

Abubakar was rushed to hospital where he died later. The spokesman also said the group had sought and obtained police permit to embark on the peaceful rally, adding that the group has been celebrating their leader’s birthday in this manner for the past 15 years. When contacted, the Deputy Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Richard Oguche, confirmed the incident adding that he was yet to have details of the shooting incident especially as it involved other security agents and not the police.

Ahmad Mohamed Ali, stated that his institution supports laudable efforts that will restore harmony among the Malian society. “The IDB will actively participate in the Brussels meeting and cooperate with your country and other institutions for the socio-economic development of Mali”, Ali pledged. Since its inception in 1975, the IDB Group has approved $782 million for development projects in Mali and has initiated a Member Country Partnership Strategy (MCPS) aimed at Mali’s economic development and regional integration. The MCPS is IDB’s economic plan for its member countries aimed at supporting the government and the private sector, as well as promoting regional integration. The IDB was established in 1975 to promote socio-economic development among member and non- member countries. The 56 countries of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) constitute the membership of the IDB.



UNESCO, NOKIA Nigeria launch mobile technology for teachers By Stanley Onyekwere


two-day seminar on mobile technologies and teacher development was held in Abuja on 2nd - 3rd May, 2013 in partnership with the Federal Government of Nigeria, Nokia and the British Council. Director General of the National Teachers' Institute (NTI), Dr. Aminu Ladan Sharehu, in his welcome remarks described the project as

a mobile-based teacher development service packaged for English language teachers at the primary school level, that will help improve literacy skills of the pupils. According to him, the project is one of the first attempts to use mobile technology to assist teachers in their professional classroom practices. "Only four countries in the world, Nigeria, Senegal, Pakistan and Mexico were

selected on this pilot project which has already taken off in the other three countries, Shaheru said. According to him, teachers can sign up for the free service via Nokia Life and receive educational content and pedagogical tips directly on their mobile phones. The Representative at the UNESCO Abuja office, Prof. Hassana Alidoy, explained that the partnership has the

potential to leverage the flexibility and the utility of mobile technologies to address some aspects of the challenges teachers face in Africa. She highlighted the need for the partnership for the achievement of the education for All (EFA) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). According to her, the purpose of the seminar is to bring teachers and mobile technology together to support them and

improve the teaching of English Language in schools. Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqqayatu Rufa'I, in her message said the project would integrate mobile learning to stimulate the teaching and learning processes in the nation's education system. She commended the efforts of UNESCO International, Nokia and the NTI for jointly and effectively collaborating on the delivery of the project.

Auditor-General commends NASS over legislative framework By Abdulwahab Isa


he Auditor-General of the Federation, Mr. Samuel Ukura, has commended the National Assembly for spearheading moves to change the legislative framework of his office to guarantee financial independence and expand operational boundaries Ukura gave the commendation recently while submitting 2011 audit report on the accounts of the federation to the National Assembly. According a statement by Mrs. Florence Dibiaezue-Eke, Head of Press and Public Relations at the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, also commended members of the National Assembly for carrying out an amendments on relevant sections of the 1999 Constitution, while a new Audit Bill to replace the obsolete and restrictive Audit Act of 1958 had already passed second reading. He expressed gratitude to the chairmen of the public accounts committees of both Houses for their efforts that facilitated the movement of the office to its permanent facility. The AGF described audit as constituting one of the main pillars of accountability in the public financial management framework. He said that his office recently rolled-out an "aggressive" programme for the strategic development of management capacity that will place it at par with other supreme audit institutions in Africa within the next five years. Responding, the Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Abubbar Maikasuwa, thanked the Auditor-General and promised to forward the signed copies of the report to both chambers of the National Assembly for necessary action. He applauded the National Assembly for spear-heading moves to change the legislative framework of his office to guarantee financial independence.

Suspected assassin, Adelola Tamunotonye Olaore, alias GENERAL AFRICA, who was alleged to have planned to assassinate, Senator Aloysius Etok, was paraded yesterday by the department of State Security Service in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

NYSC: FG inaugurates c'ttee for administrative restructuring By Albert Akota


he Federal Government has inaugurated a seven-man committee to review recommendations from the earlier report submitted on the administrative restructuring of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). The ministerial committee on the NYSC administrative restructuring recommended, in September 2012 a civilian as the Director General of the corps, reduction and merger of

departments, granting of at least N15 billion intervention fund to the Ministry of Youth Development, among others. Inaugurating the committee in Abuja yesterday, the Minister of Youth Development, Inuwa Abdulkadir, charged the members to carefully look into the earlier report submitted and come up with actionable recommendations for the development of the NYSC. He said the scheme was created 40 years ago and that there were a lot of issues that need to be addressed.

He warned the committee to beware of some people who in one way or the other might try to prevent them from coming up with acceptable framework, as a result of their personal interest. According to him, "your committee is to digest the report of the ministerial committee set up last year and come up with actionable recommendation for the administrative restructuring of NYSC. "You are to interact with members of management staff to have

implementable recommendations because there is nobody who has monopoly of knowledge. "Also, beware that some staff who may be jittery because of your assignment, because they are afraid of change they may approach you to distract you from coming out with acceptable report. Chairman of the committee, Mr. Umar Jakada, promised to justify the confidence reposed in them. The committee has two weeks to submit its report.

Minister laments poor performance in English, Mathematics By Maryam Garba Hassan


inister of State for Education, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, has said that the national average credit pass in English language and Mathematics by Nigerian students which vacillated between 30 and 37 per cent in the last five years was a bad omen that undermines the country's quest for producing well rounded students and leaders who can creatively and independently

contribute to national development. Wike made the assertion yesterday in Abuja at the opening ceremony of the first phase of the capacity building workshop for English and mathematics teachers of federal unity colleges. He said the essence of the capacity building training organized by the Federal Ministry of Education was to strategize processes towards assisting teachers to deepen their content knowledge of Mathematics and the English

language, to familiarize and equip them with innovative pedagogical skills suited to the specific or special needs of their students in the two subjects. Wike further explained that the workshop was also organized to rehabilitate and retool the colleges with adequate learning resources in addition to improving the capacity of the teachers to effectively teach the students. "The quality of the teachers is the most important factors that

determine students' achievements in the school system. "There is no way effective teaching and learning can take place without the teacher having deeper understanding of the subject matter, confidence, as well as the aptitude to effectively teach the subject matter to your students." "We want to see a positive reflection of the gains of the workshop in the future performance of your students in public examinations at the minimum," the Minister said.



New aviation policy signifies High Court orders Unilorin to reinstate Jonathan’s growing despotism-ACN 26 sacked teachers Briefly


Federal High Court sitting in Ilorin weekend ordered the authorities of the University of Ilorin, to reinstate all the 26 sacked teachers of the University of Ilorin Secondary School. Justice Olayinka Faji in his judgment said that their sack in August, 2007 by the Secondary School Governing Board set up by the University was illegal and a flagrant disregard to due process. The ordeal of the affected teachers started when they demanded for their unpaid entitlements and refusal to allow conditions of service different from that of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU). From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin

Senator Etok: SSS parades suspects

From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos he Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has described some of the provisions of the Jonathan Administration’s recent aviation policy as another hallmark of emerging despotism, especially the part that compels owners of private jets to take only members of their families aboard. “Aviation is global, yet nowhere in the world has this kind of policy been put in place, and it is simply impracticable’, ‘the party said in a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed. “Whoever is still in doubt about the transmogrification of the Jonathan Administration should have a second thought.


This policy could only have been designed to satisfy the yearning for absolute power by a democratically-elected President who will not hesitate to subject his compatriots to tyrannical rule,’’ it said. ACN wondered how the President’s spokesman, who as usual rushed to the blind defence of his boss over whether or not he is fast becoming an Emperor, will rationalize a policy that is unprecedented and impracticable, and could only have been formulated with some devilish intentions. “The presidential spokesman describes his boss as ‘a democratically elected leader who is running a peopleoriented, inclusive and progressive government. Under

his watch, Nigeria’s democracy has been consolidated; the scope for human freedoms has been further expanded and there is respect for due process and the rule of law’. “Words are cheap! We will like to know how the kind of controversial and oppressive aviation policy put in place by the Jonathan Administration will expand the scope of human freedoms, when in fact it has stifled such! We will also like to know how such a policy signifies respect for due process and the rule of law, when all it does is to negate the best practices in the global industry,’’ the party said. It called on aviation experts to speak out on the new policy, with a view to educating the administration and those it has


he State Security Service (SSS) yesterday paraded one Adelola Tamunotonye Olaore in connection with a phony plot to assassinate Senator Aloysius Etok. Spokesperson of the Service, Marilyn Ogar, said Olaore was arrested on April 29, 2013, following a letter titled, Report of Planned Assassination by a man who calls himself General Africa (an ex-militant) written to the Service by Senator Etok. According to her, the arrest was made possible following the cooperation of Etok who agreed to play along with the suspect. “According to Senator Etok, on 28th April, 2013, Adelola Tamunotonye Olaore telephoned and introduced himself as General Africa claiming he has been contracted by Governor Godswill Akpabio’s loyalists to assassinate him. By Lambert Tyem

Culpable homicide: Accused denies knowing deceased


n accused standing trial for culpable homicide told a Minna Magistrate court yesterday that he did not know the deceased. According to the First Information Report, “one Abdullahi Adamu of Gbaganu Kpakungu area via Bosso local government area of Niger state reported at Kpakungu police station that on the 31st March, 2013 at about 19:00 hrs, you Mathew Ayeni fought with his brother named Abdullahi now deceased over an argument and used your knife and stabbed him on his back and he was rushed to the General Hospital where he was certified dead.” The accused pleaded not guilty of the charges saying, “I did not know the deceased not to talk of killing him in the first place.”

L-R: Minister of State for Education, Barrister Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, Director Basic and Secondary Education, Ministry of Education, Barrister Chike Uwaezuoke and Chief Executive, National Mathematical Centre, Mr. Adewale Solarin, during the Capacity Building workshop for Teachers of English Language and Mathematics in Federal Unity Colleges, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

Court jails two computer operators 10 years for forging National IDs From Mohammad Ibrahim, Kaduna


he Chief Magistrates Court, Daura Road in Kaduna yesterday sentenced two private computer operators to 10 years imprisonment each for forging and printing three National Identification cards of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The accused persons are Abdulfatai Salihu and Adeniyi Mathew both of Famta Computer Business centre located at No 15 Ibadan Street, Kaduna. According to the First Information Report (FIR), the accused persons were arraigned on three counts charge of Criminal Conspiracy, Cheating and forgery. They were said to have been arrested on November 20, 2009

by the State Security Service in their office while presenting the fake identification cards to a woman who was said to have paid them N1,500 for the job. The court was told that the woman went to the office of the accused persons on November 18, 2009 and said she needed the ID cards for her children because she wanted to open bank accounts for them. The duo charged her N3000 part of which she paid them N1,500 naira in advance, and was told to return the following day to collect the cards. The SSS then swooped in and arrested them when they were giving her the forged I.D cards and handed them over to the police for prosecution. While deliveing his judgment, the chief magistrate Garba A. Abdul convicted the accused persons because they

were not authorised to print national ID cards. He said, following the confession of the accused persons to committing the offence and proofs by the prosecution counsel, “I hereby convict you as follows. For the first count charge of criminal conspiracy I sentence you to six months imprisonment with an option of N2,000 fine each ; for cheating, I sentence you to three years imprisonment with an option of N10,000 fine each while for forgery I sentence you to 7 years imprisonment with an option of N20,000 each,” he said. The magistrate added that both sentences and fines would run concurrently and whosoever is not satisfied could appeal within 30 days.

put in charge of the country’s aviation sector on the implication of such a policy, before Nigeria is made an object of ridicule in the critical global aviation sector.

8 villages sacked in Fulani/Agatu feud in Benue From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


t least eight villages in Agatu local government area of Benue State were yesterday sacked and an 11 year old boy Abdulkadir Mohammed killed following hostility between the host community and suspected Fulani cattle rearers. Peoples Daily investigation also revealed that several houses were destroyed during the crisis. The State secretary of Miyetti Allah, the umbrella group of Fulani herdsmen, Garus Gololo told our correspondent that he was duly informed that some Agatu indigenes invaded the territory of his kinsmen at 10am Sunday, killing a boy and massacred 10 out of 360 cows. “In Agatu, just after Bagaji by the river Benue, some people suspected to be Agatu invaded the herdsmen; they killed one 11- year-old boy and 10 cows out 360 were taken away. As we speak now, they herdsmen have chased them to recover their cows”, Gololo said. He added that eight villages in the local government area had already been sacked by the attackers who destroyed houses and farm produce and were advancing to other places. However, commenting on the incident, Hon. Audu Sule, a member representing Agatu in the State House of Assembly which visited the area, denied any quarrel between the Fulani herdsmen and the host community, alleging however, that the gunmen could have been hired mercenaries who invaded the area from Nassarawa state which shares boundary with Agatu Local government area. “I cannot say the gunmen are Fulani. They are hired mercenaries numbering over 1500 and they have crossed over from Nassarawa state through the river to cause mayhem. They have burnt down eight villages so far and now moving towards the local government headquarters”, Sule said. The authorities of the Agatu local government area could not be reached for comment due to poor mobile phone network in the area. When contacted, Police Public Relations’ Office, Daniel Ezeala said he was yet to be briefed on the incident and promised to give an update as soon as possible.



L-R: Minister of State for Health, Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate with Mr. Bill Gates at the Global Vaccine Summit, in Abu Dhabi, United Emirates, recently

Director General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr. Mike Omeri, (middle) flanked by Director, Civil and Military Relations, Defence Headquarters, Abuja, Major General M. B. Ibrahim (right) and the Deputy Director, Civil and Military Relations, Defence Headquarters, Air Commodore Ademole Onitiju (left) during a courtesy visit to NOA corporate headquarters, yesterday in Abuja.

L-R: Justice George Oguntade (rtd), Lagos state Governor,Babatunde Fashola and Diocesan Bishop of Lagos and Dean Emeritus, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Adebola Ademowo at the first session of the 32nd Synod of the Diocese Soccer at Government Secondary School, Garki, yesterday in Abuja

People living with disability weaving mat and carpet at Ministry of Social Welfare and Community Development Rehabilitation Centre in Bauchi

Operational gas flare ignited at a gas well in Opollo-Epie, Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa state Photos: Justin Imo-Owo & NAN





Briefly We produce quality graduates at Unilorin - VC


he Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Abdul'Ganiyu Ambali, has described graduates of the school as trained to be employable and employers of labour. Ambali stated this when he received members of the accreditation team from Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) who were on an accreditation visit to the institution's Department of Mass Communication. According to him, "the University of Ilorin is trying to ensure that our graduates meet the requirements of employers of labour and also meet all professional requirements that make them fit readily in their employment. We want to ensure that the employers are satisfied and we are keen on producing the best." From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin

Gumel old boys raise N1m


he Class 77 chapter of Gumel Teachers' College Old Boys Association at the weekend raised about N1 million at the launch of its almanac. The Chief Launcher, Alhaji Sani Muhammad Maigatari, donated N250,00, Alhaji Aliyu Hudu of NYSC Directorate, Senator Bello Hayatu and Alhaji Garba A. Manya of the CBN donated N100,000 each. Speaking at the ceremony, the President of the chapter, Alhaji Yahaya Sale Indirawa, noted that the college was founded 40 years ago and has over the years produced notable people including academics, technocrats, politicians, businessmen and military officers. He explained that the association was established to promote friendship, cooperation and providing support to the school, adding that the class of 77 was the best among the class chapters. From Ahmed Abubakar, Dutse

Free medical outreach by resident doctors at Sabon Layi village, yesterday in Gombe State

Photo: NAN

Boko Haram: Ilorin Catholic Bishop faults Oritsejafor on amnesty From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


he Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ilorin, the Most Reverend, Ayo Maria Atoyebi, has faulted the position of the of the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, over Federal Government's proposed amnesty for members of the Boo Haram group. Oritsejafor had stated recently that there was no basis

to dialogue with the Boko Haram preparatory for the amnesty. But, according to Atoyebi, it is only through dialogue with the sect that peace can reign in the country as well as reduce the spate of bombings. The Bishop spoke on Sunday when he featured as guest on a Radio Kwara Interactive programme, 'The Platform.' According to him, for Nigeria to move forward, religious

leaders must be tolerant, transparent and demonstrate the fear of God. "There is the need for religious leaders to be tolerant, transparent and demonstrate the fear of God for Nigeria to move forward as they have significant roles to play in that direction and for the country to be transformed", he said. Emphasizing on the need to hold leaders accountable for the

yearning and aspirations of the people, the cleric noted the signing of performance contract between President Goodluck Jonathan and members of his cabinet would enable them work judiciously. He also called on the Federal Government to strengthen the entrepreneurship skills of the Nigerian universities in order to bring progress through the education sector.

Doctors provide free medical service to Gombe communities

Ajimobi assures on Oyo Technical University

n demonstration of its commitment towards improving condition of health care services, the association of resident doctors in Gombe state has provided free medical drugs and services to people in communities across the three senatorial districts. President of the association, Doctor Raymond Dankoli,

yo state Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, has assured that the new Technical University, Ibadan would be the best not only in Nigeria but in Africa. He gave the assurance while receiving a delegation from Texas Technical University, USA, who paid him a visit in his office in Ibadan at the weekend. The new university is in technical partnership with Texas Technical University where students are expected to spend the last two years of their programme after the first two years in Nigeria. Ajimobi said the concept of the new university was developed by some of the best brains in Africa, with inputs from experts from Texas Technical University. From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan

disclosed this when he led a team of doctors for the group's medical outreach at Sabon layi, in Billiri local government area. According to him, the doctors in considered it, "a team of resident doctors were in Sabon Layi community to screen people for hepatitis B and other diseases. He further explained that the association's free medical outreach programme is expected

he Federal Government has approved N1 billion as agricultural loan agricultural for Bauchi state for the 2013 farming season so to boost agricultural production, according to the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture, Abdulkadir Ahmed Wafu. This is just as the chairman, Kirfi local government area of the state, Alhaji Garba Sabo Bara, announced the registration of about 30,000 farmers in the area, in tandem with the agenda of the Governor Isa Yuguda's administration to boost


FG gives Bauchi N1b agric loan


From David Hassan, Gombe


to cover the three senatorial districts in the state. Dankoli appealed to the state government to assist the association to enable them provide more drugs to people in rural areas, noting that some people in remote areas do not have access to hospitals or clinics. In a remark, the Head of Civil Service in the state, Mr. Eli Ekeme, commended the

effort of the doctors and urged them to do more as government would contribute its quota towards enhancing the free medical services. Also speaking, one of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Beatrice John, who thanked the association for the gesture, noted with the initiative most people the area would be able to know their status on hepatitis B and other diseases.

‌ As council captures 30,000 farmers for e-wallet system From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi agriculture. Briefing reporters Wafu, gave a breakdown on usage of the agricultural loan package as N600 million will be for direct purchase of fertilizers and N200 million for the purchase of ingredients to blend fertilizer by the State Fertilizer Blending Company. According to him, "some fertilizer need of the farmers for

this year's farming season are to be produced by the Bauchi Fertilizer Blending company and the efforts will be complemented by the Federal Government under its e-wallet system of fertilizer sale." Bara explained the decision to register the farmers was informed by the Federal Government's e-wallet fertilizer distribution initiative to farmers across the country.

The area according to the council boss produces 80 per cent of agricultural products consumed in the state and others exported to neighboring states. According to the Chairman, the council has constructed standard cattle markets at Lariski to boast internally generated revenue to avoid over dependence on federal government allocation hence stimulating economic growth.



Money Tip:

Try to prepare a holistic budget


udgeting is a critical process which forces you to look at what you're spending, where you're spending it, and thus be able to make informed decision on where changes can be made to meet your financial goals. Using software to track your finances and assets, you will get the added benefit of being able to tie it into budget planning. Try to switch your purchase habits to not make purchases with cash - cash spending cannot be tracked easily with budget software - paying with a bank card or credit card will help keep an accurate record of where your money is going. This one habit will not only allow you to track and trend your purchases, but also provides invaluable visibility to your purchases. For example, you may discover you spend three times as much on groceries, or twice as much eating out at restaurants than you thought.

"For example, you may discover you spend three times as much on groceries, or twice as much eating out at restaurants than you thought." After you adopt this method, track your finances for several months and then revisit your budget - look at what you are taking in and what you are spending, and compare it to your financial goals. Look for areas where your spending can be reduced and adjust your budget accordingly. At its simplest level, budgeting is easy - you look at what you make, you look at what you're spending, and you look at how much is left over to be put away for the future - if the numbers don't match, it gives you a clearer process to shuffle your income accordingly. For example, some savings you may find are spending less on entertaining, reducing the cost of ownership of a car with a bad maintenance record, or shifting your eating habits to home cooking instead of takeout.


"There is a very easy way to return from a casino with a small fortune: go there with a large one." - Jack Yelton

Some helpful money decisions to make when you get a new job


hether you are trying to change positions, find work again after a layoff, or simply start your career, it's easy to jump for joy when you get a job offer and forget all about your wealth for a while. Yet, this is a great time to think about your finances, because taking the right steps now can really accelerate your asset accumulation. Here are some seven items you should think about if you want to take your wealth to a whole new level. Negotiate your salary This can be easier said than done, I know, but consider that any amount you can get is going to compound into every future raise, and anything you get now will affect your lifetime earnings significantly. At least negotiate until the employer says something along the lines of "we can't give you what you want, and we won't budge on our previous offer." Any other response likely means that there is some more room to push, and I've yet to see anyone retract their original offer if you respectfully asked for a bit more. Get the details on company benefits Did you know that some companies will help you pay your mortgage? That's rare, but most companies have adopted government-encouraged plans, cafeteria plans, Flexible Spending Plans, and dental and

medical coverage, which can save you thousands a year. Yet, most people seldom ask about these benefits when they are comparing potential job prospects. The inclusion of these plans can make a gigantic difference between the effective pay of a job offer, so take these benefits seriously. Remember your former meager salary If you are moving from another job, remember to roll your take-home into an IRA or

at the very least, move your former salary into the salary of your current employer. Don't be tempted to take it out, or else you end up forgoing all the benefits of a tax-deferred account. Avoid lifestyle inflation If you happen to get a raise by accepting a new job, you definitely won't be alone if you increase your spending. But most people haven't saved enough for retirements either, so don't try to keep up with the Jones in that department. By

delaying lifestyle inflation even just one year, you can save much more. Pay yourself first Schedule transfers to savings to occur when your paycheck hits your account. This way you won't be able to access the extra cash, and you likely won't miss it. Shift your paycheck into a savings account When human resource department asks you which account you'd like your paycheck deposited into, provide the information for your online savings account and start collecting interest on day one. This used to work better when interest rates were much higher, but it's still better than nothing. Make sure you are withholding enough I used to say that you should never give Uncle Sam an interest-free loan by prepaying too much of your taxes, but I have come around. For one thing, you are losing just a tiny bit of interest. But more importantly, most people will take a psychological hit when they discover they have to pay additional income tax when filing their taxes, not to mention that a surprise like this could throw financial plans into disarray. That's why you should look at your W4 and make sure you are withholding enough to cover your taxes, as opposed to filling it out to get the least amount of taxes withheld.

Hold greater advantage to contain the excesses of your landlord


f you're a renter, or are planning on renting in the future, you'll need to deal with a landlord. Though there are many different types of rental situations, there a few ways to deal with landlords that'll almost always apply. Be adamant When my wife and I moved into our first place together, we

settled on a small one-bedroom apartment. The complex was a run-of-the-mill operation with cheap rent. Getting in touch with the maintenance man was fairly easy, and most problems were solved quickly. At our new townhouse, things work a bit differently. Upon arrival, we found out that the owner had accrued late

charges on past-due. In addition, the water heater needed to be cleaned and the fridge repaired. It wasn't exactly what we were expecting. The landlord was supposed to be the owner, but she thought the real estate agent would be able to take care of things. We had to be quite adamant with the agent and the landlord to ensure every problem was solved. After a while, we got everything sorted out and back to normal. When you have an issue at your rental unit, you need to pursue a solution. It's in your best interest (and is your legal right) to have problems fixed. If your landlord is being difficult, present the lease showing their responsibilities. If they fail to hold up their end of the contract, you may need to pursue legal action. Be friendly This may sound contradictory to the first point, but it's not. Being adamant doesn't have to mean being angry. Getting on the good side of your landlord will help ensure that all goes smoothly. A few friendly words can go a long way in making sure you both get what you want. My wife and I have been in

contact with our landlord often to fix all of the problems listed above. By being friendly and understanding, we've been able to get everything taken care of. If we'd been difficult, she may have responded differently and not wanted to help us out as quickly. Be legal Read your lease and understand what it says. If you don't know what some of it means, have someone with a legal background explain it to you. By understanding your lease, you'll know what your rights are. Leases usually have a section covering everything from broken appliances to breaking a lease. A lease is a legally binding contract between you and your landlord. Understand your rights and get problems taken care of soon after they arise. Be a good renter Overall, just being a good renter is essential in dealing with your landlord. Be respectful of their property and their time. By establishing a good relationship with your landlord, you'll be able to fix problems quickly and live happily in your unit.

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Dokubo's ‘no peace’ threat N igeria will know no peace if President Goodluck Jonathan is not re-elected in 2015, warts and all, warns a former Niger Delta terrorist, Mujahid Asari Dokubo. Speaking to journalists last weekend in Abuja, the former leader of Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force (NDPVF), one of several groups that made up the ragtag terror ring known as Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Dokubo said the peace prevailing in the oil rich delta region was because Jonathan is in Aso Rock. However, he warned the former militants would take up arms again and make this country ungovernable if the president is not returned to power in election year 2015. "The day Goodluck is no longer the president all of us who are on sabbatical will come back," he said. "There will be no peace not only in the Niger Delta but everywhere. If they say it's an empty boast let them wait and see." Dokubo may not today represent the potent threat to national security that he was before 2009 when he led his NDPVF to sabotage oil installations, kidnap expatriate oil workers for ransom and kill security personnel. His militancy has mellowed since he became a big beneficiary of the amnesty package of the late President Umaru Yar'adua government of which Jonathan was a part. Today Dokubo pockets close to $ 2 billion from a juicy pipeline protection contract awarded to him by his

Ijaw tribesman now in Aso Rock Villa. It has been a complete turnaround for him, from being an unpretentious critic of Jonathan up till last December when he predicted the president would not be returned to power in the next election because he surrounded himself with corrupt people. Today there is no better Jonathan puppeteer than him. The initial impulse, there, is to dismiss his words as the outbursts of a man who has lost his place in the power equation in the creeks of the

But we warn: if the North continues to burn there will be no 2015 for Jonathan or anyone else delta, having been supplanted by new warlords. We shall be wrong, however, not to take Dokubo by his own word. Is it not possible that he is a Jonathan-send? Why has the Presidency not been quick to disown him the way it did others who claimed to speak on its behalf in the recent past? In fact, Dokubo's threat has assumed added significance, coming after a similar one by Jonathan's adviser on amnesty, Mr. Kingsley Kuku in a speech he gave last week in Washington, DC, United

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States. Newspaper reports quoted him as having said: "The current peace, safety and security in the Niger Delta are tied to the continued stay in office of President Goodluck Jonathan". Again, till date nobody in the government has contradicted him. Before him, Chief Edwin Clark, an Ijaw elder and former minister had said in 2015 it would be Jonathan or nobody in Aso Rock Villa. Security operatives have not run Dokubo in. He is not one of the "ghosts" that the President insists Boko Haram insurgents are. He has a recognizable face and he issued the threat in Abuja from where Jonathan directs the affairs of state and the nation's security apparatus is located. If the presidency and the security forces maintain their silence in the coming days, that will reinforce the suspicion that, written into Jonathan's " transformation agenda" there is a grand plot to keep the North restive in order to weaken it politically ahead of the 2015 polls. Keeping the Boko Haram insurgency in the region festering is all a part of that grand plot. But is Jonathan so power hungry that he is prepared to let a part of the country burn to achieve a vaunting ambition? His halfhearted handling of the matter of amnesty for Boko Haram and his increasingly despotic rule indicate that is not beyond him. But we warn: if the North continues to burn there will be no 2015 for Jonathan or anyone else.









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Jonathan's honest May Day homily By Charles Onunaiju


n a speech to Nigerian workers on May Day, the president, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan said, "we are not unmindful of the fact that the ultimate benefit of economic growth must reflect on the lives of the citizens. I agree totally that until we create jobs; until Nigerians wake up and can find food to eat, until they can walk to hospitals and get treatment, the economic indices are meaningless to them." This presidential declaration is the crux of the matter. And if President Jonathan is in any way concerned with the issues he has pointed out, he is clearly in bad company with the most important members of his cabinet. Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former senior World Bank official who has been around managing the country's economy for nearly a decade, would hardly careless if Nigerians "could find food to eat, or walk to hospitals and get treatment".She is eternally obsessed with growth statistics, indices, graphs, and the likes. Now, almost a prime minister with her official title as the coordinating minister of the economy, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala has reduced Nigeria's economic question to classical neo-liberal fundamentals of growth without even the modest rigour of

contextualizing it in our peculiar situation. While she walks with the swagger of an economic guru, the social consequences of her economic formalism bear odious fruits in the widespread social dislocation, a soaring crime rate and the deadly Boko Haram insurgency. Co-opting a few fat cats from the so-called private-sector, who played the role of shepherding public wealth into private hands, she leads a parasitic clique whose rentier behaviour is basically to broker deals for mouth-watering commissions, as the new entrepreneur class, destined to pull the country out of the woods. Unfortunately, Dr. Okonjo Iweala's cosmopolitan background did not adequately expose her to cosmopolitan ideas, otherwise why has she remained seemingly oblivious of several economic options, especially the ones that are securing for most countries in South America, like Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador and even Bolivia, the kind of growth that is lifting a considerable number of their people out of poverty. The question is whether our coordinating minister of the economy is ideologically inoculated against other broad forms of economic policy and management, while wedded to the anti-social variant of neoliberalism, the type that made Chile, the most backward economy in South American in

the 1970s and 80s, when the economic liberal orthodoxy of Milton Friedman was ruthlessly enforced by a gang of economic hit men - the "Chicago boys". Mrs. Okonjo Iweala's economic packages in the nearly past ten years since she came to the scene were the standard economic measures that were administered in most of South America in the 1980s and 1990s, especially in its two biggest economies, Brazil and Argentina. Mexico, the poor bit of North America, also received considerable amount of the neoliberal shock therapy and in all cases, the countries in question posted impressive indices, graphs and statistics of growth but

suffered enormous social, economic and political wreckage. In the region as a whole, the neoliberal economic orthodoxy enforced through the heavyhanded western dominated financial institutions and weak national governments culminated in the re-drawing of the political map of the region. Through a fairly credible electoral process, the region's mostly fringe parties on the left benefited immensely from the political and social backlash of orthodox neo-liberalism. In Brazil, a workers' party (PT) considered electorally unviable with its perpetual candidate, Mr. Inacio Lula, who had lost previous four polls, won a


President Jonathan's honest homily represents a huge indictment of his regime for its incompetence. If he is serious about economic policy that puts food on the table of Nigerians and get them treated in hospitals then he should assess the economic performance of his regime through the socially sensitive Human Development Index (HDI) and not the dubious figures churned out by the ministry of finance and even the ludicrous figures put out by the National Bureau of Statistics under the ministry of national planning

dramatic landslide. In Venezuela, following the government's ruthless repression of the opposition, the stage was set for a landslide victory for a former army paratrooper, who had previously staged a military coup. In a presidential election dubbed a contest between the "beast and the beauty", Hugo Chavez trounced the candidate of the establishment, a former Miss World, to set off his hugely popular Bolivarian social process, already in high gear before his sudden death, two months ago. Painfully as in Nigeria and indeed, most of Africa, the people do not have the luxury of voting out unpopular governments through a credible electoral process. President Jonathan's honest homily represents a huge indictment of his regime for its incompetence. If he is serious about economic policy that puts food on the table of Nigerians and get them treated in hospitals then he should assess the economic performance of his regime through the socially sensitive Human Development Index (HDI) and not the dubious figures churned out by the ministry of finance and even the ludicrous figures put out by the National Bureau of Statistics under the ministry of national planning. Charles Onunaiju is a journalist based in Abuja

Can APC be our long awaited Messiah? I By Chukwuemerie Uduchukwu

n a bid to capture power from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), some opposition parties, namely the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, have come together and formed the All Progressives Congress, APC. This is widely seen as a welcome development because it will make our democracy stronger and perhaps, provide the nation with a vibrant opposition. Also, it will reduce the number of political parties in the country and provide a better choice to the electorate. It is expected that the merger will ginger the ruling PDP to sit up and perform better. The average Nigerian may be tempted toconclude that the APC is the Messiah our dear nation had since been expecting but the truth is that with the foundation and structure of the yet-to-be-registered APC, it cannot meet the essential needs of Nigerians. The fact remain that APC has not been founded on any ideology. The founders are yet to tell Nigerians their ideology, if there is one. Presenting a manifesto not backed by ideology does not make the proposed party an attractive brand yet. None of

the registered political parties in Nigeria was founded on the basis of ideology, instead they were driven by a hunger for political power. A political party is not just a group of people registered with the electoral commission but a group of individuals who share an ideology and who have bonded to achieve electoral victory. Also, the recently unveiled manifesto of the APC portrays the party as a group of aggrieved individuals on a revenge mission. Its anti-corruption principle, according to its manifesto, mostly centres on investigating policies and programmes of only the federal government in the fourth republic. If really the APC wants to tackle corruption, it should not focus 90% of its anti-

corruption policies on the fourth republic. Rather, it should probe the activities of all administrations in Nigeria from 1960 to date. Also, it seems not to have plans to investigate and tackle corruption at the state level. All state governors from 1960 to date should be equally probed and if APC wants to demonstrate the spirit of sincerity to Nigerians, it should begin its intended probe by investigating the various governments headed by founders of the party because charity they say begins at home. Nigerians need a party that is founded on the basis of ideology and not out of pressure to gain power, a party that will focus on sincere fight against corruption, eradicate poverty, promote


professionalism and principle of merit in governance, improve the quality of our hospitals to international standard, improve the quality of our schools and reduce unemployment to a very minimal rate. It is true that the manifesto of the APC has some encouraging provisions like improving power supply and strengthening some governmental institutions like INEC and EFCC, that can never be achieved without a common ideology and sincere fight against corruption However, looking at the founders of the APC and their positive achievements when they were in government, one doubts if the party will help Nigerians to reach the Promised Land. But here is the thing.

However, looking at the founders of the APC and their positive achievements when they were in government, one doubts if the party will help Nigerians to reach the Promised Land. But here is the thing. Although the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, seemed to have failed Nigerians, it remains the only party with a national spread and this remains the prime reason it might continue to hold power

Although the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, seemed to have failed Nigerians, it remains the only party with a national spread and this remains the prime reason it might continue to hold power. The other political parties that have merged to form the APC are mainly tribal based. The CPC is popular mainly in the North, likewise ANPP. Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, is mainly party of the West, while the faction of APGA that has endorsed the merger is East-based. This tribal loyalty of the parties will be a source of confusion as each of the merging parties will certainly be more interested in their zones. Therefore, to avoid this problem, the merging parties should first strive towards having a national outlook before coming together to be one. The APC ll Progressives should endeavor to allow the youth to oversee its affairs because Nigerians are tired of the way our old generation of politicians have, and are running the country aground. The party stands good chance of succeeding if it is able to get its act together. That will definitely make it a viable ideology-based party that will in turn be the Messiah Nigerians have been waiting for. Chukwuemerie Uduchukwu is a political science student at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka



By Pinado Abdu Waba


guess the idea of a media chat was that it would be a veritable tool in the on-going search for the most potent instrument to hold the Nigerian government accountable, but for a lot of people like me the enthusiasm to participate or even listen-in is dead! One of the reasons being that it's appropriateness in terms of providing a platform for real debate and a one on one engagement between the "Leader" and "the Led" is no longer cogent. Unable to tune into the most recent media chat with the President myself, before he headed for the D8 meeting in Pakistan, I relied on tweets on my phone to give me the background as well as the main issues the ordinary man was pursuing. There was so much talk about the failed Lagos-Ibadan Expressway contract, the effect the floods that wreaked havoc in the middle belt areas of the country might have on the availability of food as well as Mr. Presidents opinion on the outcome of the American election. But then a friend of mine put everything in focus, when he tweeted this: I always wait for the punch line and for me the punch line was "I never promised to reduce poverty, I promised to create wealth!" I will be cynical enough to point out the comedy material that this provides for, although in my defense, my statement isn't to deride Mr.

Much ado about wealth creation situation where President's as a woman I remarks in any see a fellow way, but to woman commend his Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text wearing a dress insight! messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written or a beautifully I say this contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 tailored because on material and I words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and reading my simply go to the friend's tweet, a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed same shop and three things to: buy the dress in took center my size or stage for me, The Editor, better still buy the economy, Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, my own the 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. material and "stakeholder" Email: copy the style to and the SMS: 08134607052 fit my own individual; one body shape tweet even said In as much immediately he as we view democracy as a Many consider it a borrowed made that pronunciation, he platform for political freedom as concept but systems of dashed the hope of a hundred well economic growth and government like many other million people. However, it is at prosperity, I think that certain things are adopted and adapted this stage that I would like to inevitable variables come to play to suit peculiarities I think in declare how much we overrate in each society for true simple terms I can liken it to a or misuse the idea of democracy.


We know wealth to be the abundance of valuable resources or material possessions; that everyone wishes for whether as a group or individually. In a bit of academics, Adam Smith who is often regarded as the father of Economics says it is, "the annual produce of the land and labor of the society, at its simplest, that which satisfies human needs and wants of utility"

democracy to reveal itself, and in some cases it could be as basic as the ability of a family at the very bottom of the income grid, to provide itself with three square meals. People often cringe when the media, the western media in particular, is flooded with news, views and pictures of "Poor Africa", malnourished children as well as dead pasture and in arable lands. It is in the light of such reasons, that I am assuming the promise of "Wealth Creation" might have been Mr. Presidents style of metaphorically acknowledging the country's gross misappropriation of wealth. We know wealth to be the abundance of valuable resources or material possessions; that everyone wishes for whether as a group or individually. In a bit of academics, Adam Smith who is often regarded as the father of Economics says it is, "the annual produce of the land and labor of the society, at its simplest, that which satisfies human needs and wants of utility". If we want to avoid using poverty to describe the lack of human needs and utility it is ok. But it is also important to point out that wealth was created even if poverty was not reduced. However it is important to seek it out. Hence I ask, "Wealth, where art thou?" Pinadu Abdu Waba is

Why give public land to an NGO? By Adisa Danialu


he much celebrated case of the piece of land involving former First Lady Turai Yar'adua's NGO, the Women and Youth Empowerment Foundation (WAYEF) and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) administration, has been concluded, with the court setting aside the revocation of the land by the FCT administration. Going by the Nigerian mentality, the defeat of the FCT administration in the suit instituted by Turai was a thing of joy for some people because another organ representing the government has been rubbished. The basis of this decision on revocation, to the court, appeared weak. Thus, the learned judge quashed the revocation and returned the piece of land to Turai. My problem here is this: Is it satisfactory that a case is won simply because there is no convincing argument by one making a case, even when it is glaring that an anomaly has occurred? Should we simply close our eyes to an anomaly just because a counter argument is weak? Now that judgment has been given, can we return to the basis of the case, at least for the purpose of soul searching, and to convince ourselves whether Hajia Turai was morally justified

to appropriate a piece of land acquired for a public institution. A few months before her husband's ailment deteriorated, leading to his eventual demise, Turai launched a Cancer Foundation and a hospital project worth N5billion. I attended that launch and I saw how moved Nigerians were to support what they considered a worthy cause. Now, three years after the demise of her husband and some four years or so since the cancer hospital has not been built. In the same vein, the WAYEF for which she claimed to have diverted the Peace Mission land has been in limbo. In fact, the WAYEF was functional for barely two years and it made virtually no impact considering the mass local and international appeal the NGOs of Dame Patience Jonathan, whom she abhors so passionately, has made within the last three years. Nigerians should be asking questions by now. Back to the land matter, what is the story about this land? Was Turai the original allotee? What happened along the line, and how did the land happen to bear Turai's name? Since she had been awarded the land by the court, should the matter end just like that? If judgment has been awarded, has justice been done to all the parties concerned? From the records which I have been able to study, the

African First Ladies Peace Mission was established in 1995 after the World Conference on Women held in Beinjing, China. The initiative was taken by the First Ladies of Nigeria, Gambia, Benin, Uganda, Lesotho and Burundi. The formal Declaration of the African First Ladies Peace Mission was made in Harare, Zimbabwe, during the OAU Summit in 1996. That led to the establishment of the African First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM) by the then Nigerian First Lady, Mrs. Maryam Sani Abacha. Nigeria hosted the first summit in 1997 and was elected the first President of the Mission. Apart from Mrs. Abacha who was the first President on behalf of Nigeria , other countries that have produced the president of the Mission were Congo 2000; Equatorial Guinea 2002; Burkina Faso 2004; and Congo 2006. Nigeria was elected president of the African First Ladies Peace Mission, for the second term, during the summit of the organization in Congo Brazzaville in 2008. That was during the tenure of the late President, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar'adua. Turai held the presidency of the AFLPM on behalf of Nigeria from 2008. Nigeria was given the honour of hosting the permanent secretariat of the AFLPM at the summit in Congo

Brazzaville. Based on that Turai constituted a steering committee which met on August 11, 2008 during which meeting it was informed by the then Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Dr. Modibbo Umar, that "a new site has now been secured for the building of the permanent AFLPM secretariat to replace the earlier one identified near the barracks." Other serving ministers who were part of that meeting included Chief Ojo Maduekwe, Foreign Affairs; Mr. John Odey, Information and Communications; Mr. AjaNwachukwu, Eduaction and the Secretary to the Federal Government, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, among others. We are told that the plot of land granted the African First Ladies Peace Centre (African First Ladies Peace Mission) is an institutional plot provided by the Abuja Master Plan within the Institutional enclave of the Central Business District and designated only for use by government or government agencies and could (should) not have been allocated to an individual. In pursuance of her objective of appropriating the land for personal use, in March 2010, Turai was said to have approached the FCT Ministry during the tenure of Senator

Adamu Aliero to convert the same plot for use by her nongovernmental organization, WAYEF. Thus, the ministry granted an offer of Statutory Right of Occupancy in respect of the same plot 703 now re-designed and numbered Plot 1347 while the original allocation to the African First Ladies Peace Mission was not revoked. It was reasoned that this was done based on an assumption that the land matter would not be re-visited; and no one was likely to ask question as it is our style. However, in May 2010, the tenure of Hajia Turai as President of the AFLPM ended midway following the demise of President Yar'adua in office. It, therefore, became necessary for the present First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, to complete Nigeria's tenure and to continue the task of providing the secretariat of the AFLPM. Now, this is the story. With the facts now known, can we accept the argument that Turai owned the land whereas she appropriated what was allocated to the Peace Mission? Definitely no! Judgment may have been given, but justice is not yet served. And this should not be the end of the matter. We should stop celebrating illegality. Adisa Danialu wrote from Ibadan and can be reached on 08033268060



Whose government is this? By Ifeanyi Uddin


here is a variety of Nigerian patriots for whom the mantra "my country, good or bad" is a creed. Not, though, in the manner of a selfevident truth, existing alongside other such axioms. But a fundamental dictum of conduct must be observed, as it were, in "every field of national endeavour" regardless of the specific issues involved or the circumstances associated therewith. For this class of countrymen, any narrative addressed to the shortcomings of the incumbent administration is at best "unpatriotic", and worse, could be "seditious" and inimical to the continued corporate existence of the nation. Against this perspective, I often wish I could indicate another category of my conationals, whose criticism of the current administration is apodictically "over-the-top". That is, Nigerians who cannot find anything good about anything the incumbent administration has done since assuming office. That way, between hagiographers on one hand, and gripers on the other, I could look for a "mean": a sweet spot in the grey areas in the middle of this discourse where some semblance

of the truth may lie. Try as much as I may, though, my sense is that we have too many of the "celebratory type Nigerian", and not enough of the angry ones. Consequently, we over-applaud non-events (4,000Mw of electricity generated by an economy of 160 million people; 4G data and voice transmission networks that are nothing of sort; etc.), and are indifferent to/or readily tolerate more troublous facts (apparently we have not done enough to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015; we will not generate, despite numerous iterations of promises to do so, 10,000mw of electricity by year-end; we will miss all the Vision 20:2020 goals; etc.). In the run up to a new general election cycle, what is the nature of this debate? In the "Red Corner", we have the "Messiah Complex", according to which failure to re-elect incumbents could signify the end of the world as we have come to know it. In the "Blue Corner", the fin de siècle crowd plies its trade. This bunch advertise themselves as the solution to the national problem: boot out the incumbents, and the vicious auto-generating cycle that we have been victims of since 1960 comes to a delightful end.

Despite the hubbub that has been generated by the beginning of a new election cycle, it is hard to tell what the nature of the national problem is from listening to both sides. "Corruption" is a problem we are told. But we have the one advantage that all current parties to the national discourse have/are running governments at different levels - none of which is a poster child for clean government. If corruption is then a constant, it is self-evident that this one risk will not alter much any of the contending parties' equations. Last week, in conversation

with a friend, he posed a question that I think goes to the heart of our national headache(s). "How come", he asked, "this economy has averaged GDP growth of 8% annually since 2007, and things still remain like this?" He has invited us (much later) to investigate changes to key indices in emerging market and developed economies elsewhere that grew by 8% annually over a decade to see what lessons we may learn from these countries. Until, then, though, I worry that we do not have enough educated conversation - even argument - around the economy to help shape the policies that will

In the run up to a new general election cycle, what is the nature of this debate? In the "Red Corner", we have the "Messiah Complex", according to which failure to reelect incumbents could signify the end of the world as we have come to know it. In the "Blue Corner", the fin de siècle crowd plies its trade. This bunch advertise themselves as the solution to the national problem

move this country forward. The death, recently, of Baroness Thatcher briefly forced to the forefront, debate over her policy choices in her years as prime minister of the United Kingdom. Between her Tory government, and Ronald Reagan's Republican administration in the United States, a choice was made between state intervention in the economy, through public spending designed to drive aggregate demand, and a small state relying on prudent fiscal policies to drive noninflationary growth. The world has since had to live with the consequences of these choices. What choices confront us? The Sanusi Lamido-led CBN has done a healthy job keeping inflation contained. But unemployment remains a key worry. How do we tackle this? With make work schemes, like SURE-P? Or by getting businesses to grow enough that they demand new workers? And the new workers, where will these come from? Our social infrastructure - schools, hospitals, and general welfare do not support the kind of labour force that will make this economy competitive outside of the most basic industries. At which point we return to the character of our economy. And the question: "Have our current stewards of the economy done enough to make Nigeria a good place to do business?" Ifeanyi Uddin is reachable on

Baga's message to the Nigerian state By Jibrin Ibrahim


hen a nation state s collapse it can no longer perform the functions required of it and loses the capacity to exercise sovereign authority. Here are the signposts for a failed state: First, power moves from the centre to the periphery as those in power in the centre are too busy defending themselves from attacks by their colleagues to exercise power in the countryside. Secondly, the central government loses its power base as it can no longer respond to the needs of its power base - which withdraws its support. Thirdly, the centre then retreats to an innermost trusted clique. Fourthly, government malfunction deepens as it avoids making difficult and urgent choices leading to a governing crisis. Fifthly, there is no political agenda as incumbents only practice defensive politics fending off challenges and reducing threats through repression and concessions. Fourthly, the centre loses control over its own state agents, who begin to operate on their own account - exacting payments for their own pockets. Law and order break down as police and army units turn into gangs and brigands. The present Nigerian state fits this picture perfectly. We are witnessing the transformation of our armed forces into gangs and brigands against the people. Baga is only the latest example of large scale state terrorism against a

community in the name of restoring law and order. Borno state governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Shettima said 183 people had been killed and 2,000 houses destroyed in the JTF expedition a fortnight ago. That was however denied by the JTF commander, Brig General Austin Edokpaye, who said "only 30 house" s were destroyed and Defence Headquarters said the death toll was 26, one soldier and 25 insurgents. This contrasts sharply with the report from the senator from the area, Maina Maaji, who described a horror scene of "four kilometres of continuous carnage". He estimated a death toll 228 and 4,000 houses destroyed. Thanks to Human Rights Watch, we now have detailed

images of the attack on Bama which shows an extremely high level of intense war against the people of Bama. The age in which the military can commit atrocities and deny them is gone because the whole world is today under constant surveillance. From numerous accounts, the reason for the attack was that insurgents attacked soldiers and killed one. For this act, the whole community must pay a high price. It had happened previously in Odi and in Zaki Biam. We must respond to these issues in a strategic manner. Before addressing the strategic issues however, it is important to get the reports of the investigation promised by the National Human Rights Commission so that those who

Thanks to Human Rights Watch, we now have detailed images of the attack on Bama which shows an extremely high level of intense war against the people of Bama. The age in which the military can commit atrocities and deny them is gone because the whole world is today under constant surveillance. From numerous accounts, the reason for the attack was that insurgents attacked soldiers and killed one. For this act, the whole community must pay a high price. It had happened previously in Odi and in Zaki Biam

committed atrocities against the people can be punished appropriately. Meanwhile, it is urgent that we address the specific threats to state legitimacy and authority posed by the "normalisation" of JTF interventions in different parts of the country. The military is trained for war and not for responding to internal insurgencies. Their ethos and skills are oriented towards destroying the enemy and when an armed civilian attacks and kills a soldier, the cognitive category they have been trained to know as "bloody civilians" becomes the enemy who must be destroyed. That is why Odi, Zaki Biam and Bama happened. The military are therefore doing what they have been trained to do. The original sin was of course sending them to quell violence in civilian communities. There is however a reason why the military was sent in. The capacity of the police to respond to such situations was weak and their own records in terms of respecting rules of engagement based on the principles of the rule of law was very poor. In that context, it might have been considered wiser to send in the military that are better trained and have more fire power. We all know today that it is a mistake because of their "routine" reaction to civilian attacks. The key problem with the military is that the longer they remain involved in such operations, the further they are from civilian control and they have a greater propensity to apply military

solutions to delicate political situations which require conquering hearts and minds rather than destroying communities. My second concern is the medium term impact of deploying JTF on the new ethos of the armed forces. In 1999, the Army High Command committed itself to keeping the military in the barracks, purging itself of political engagement and submitting itself to legitimate civilian authority. If we continue to use the armed forces in the manner we are doing currently, this new ethos will be corrupted. As they engage in more "wars", military culture comes back to the fore. The problem with our 30 years of military rule was that the soldiers got their hands dirty in the politics of pillaging our resources. What JTF is now exposing about the military is two sources of pillaging the nation? One is the very high budget lines that are being attributed to security logistics, feeding soldiers etc which are managed by the military high command. The second is the great temptation of racketeering the populating and already there are concordant reports about arbitrary arrests of people who are released after the payment of a specified amount of money. The danger here is that both the military high command and soldiers in the streets develop vested interests in the continuation of the conflict because of the vast fortunes they are making from it. Jibrin Ibrahim resides in Abuja



Court admits evidence against FCDA over 372 demolished houses By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


n Abuja High Court sitting before Justice Danlami Senchi, yesterday admitted in evidence Letters of Offer written to the Minanuel Estate by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA). The letters, which were admitted as evidence before the court are said to be in respect of the parcel of land where about 372 housing units were constructed, before the demolition exercise was carried out by FCT Development Control Department.

Also admitted in evidence, in respect of the matter was a document titled, Power of Attorney. The court however rejected five site documents sought to be tendered by the Plaintiff because the said documents were not certified. Arguing in support of the admissibility of the a f o r e m e n t i o n e d documents, counsel to the plaintiffs (Minanuel Estate), Chief Chris Uche (SAN), told the court that the documents were relevant to the plaintiffs’ suit, more so that they were earlier pleaded before

the court. Uche urged the court to accede to the plaintiffs’ request. In his objection, defence counsel, Chief Joe Kyari Gadzama (SAN) told the court that the documents failed the test of admissibility, owing largely to the fact that one of them was not signed. Gadzama further pointed out that the plaintiffs’ witness, who, incidentally is the manager of the estate,”is not the maker of the document”, and that there is “no attestation by the Commissioner of Oath, in accordance with the Oaths Act.”

In his ruling, justice Senchi held that the Letters of offer and Power of Attorney met the three conditions stipulated for admissibility of documents, viz: the fact of relevancy, whether same were pleaded and whether they met the provisions of Evidence Act. The same was,however,not said of the five site documents,which he maintained,were not certified,against the backdrop of the claim that they were public documents. Hearing in the matter continues today.

A woman being pacified by passers-by after falling off from a motorcycle at the Federal Housing Junction in Kubwa, Abuja recently. Photo: Miriam Humbe

Dei-Dei residents decry lack of boreholes By Usman Shuaibu


he Village head of Filindabo in Dei-Dei, under the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), FCT, Mallam Mohammd Danyibe, has raised

alarm over the lack of boreholes in area, putting a call on the second term Chairman – elect of the area council, Hon. Micah Jiba to assist them. Danyibe, who made the call in an interview with Peoples Daily in Dei-Dei,decry that the

residents has been facing the challenges of lack of water ,lamenting that the Filindabo community was neglected by the government in the area of social amenities. He pleaded with the Chairman to provide the

needed amenities in the area, and also carry the monarchs along for the betterment of the community. Danyibe called on the elected councilors to always gear towards the development of their wards.

FACA trains 190 health workers in FCT on HIV prevention


he FCT Agency for the Control of AIDS (FACA) has trained, at least, 190 health workers in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, the Project Manager, Dr Uche Okoro, said. Okoro told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the training was conducted in selected primary healthcare centres. Okoro also said that the agency was currently training some healthcare workers in HIV and

AIDS management at some primary health care facilities in the six area councils. “Last year we trained 190 health workers in primary health care centres because that was our target; you know you cannot close hospitals because you want to do training. “So, it is in phases. Currently, we are also training some health care workers on issues of HIV. “So, it is a gradual process, we cannot train everybody at the same time,” he explained.

Okoro said that the training in HIV management was necessary, to enable the agency to achieve its target of zero new infections in the FCT by 2015. “We have been able to know our epidemics and the factors that have been fuelling HIV and AIDS in the FCT. “We have also been able to come up with strategies on how to go about it in reducing HIV prevalence in the FCT. “In doing this, we have been able to decentralise HIV

counselling and testing from the urban areas to the rural areas in primary health care centres,” he said. Okoro said that the first point of HIV prevention was for one to know one’s HIV status in order to access HIV services at the government health centres. He also said the agency carried out outreach programes in some communities in the area council to create more awareness on HIV and AIDS, including discussion with community leaders. (NAN)

Route delineation to open another phase of development in FCT, says Minister By Adeola Tukuru


he Federal Capital T e r r i t o r y Administration (FCTA) has assured that the take off of route delineation in Abuja on Monday June 3 r d , 2013 will open another phase of development in the FCT and usher in new opportunities to the residents. In a Press statement by the Assistant Director /Chief Press Secretary to the Minister, Muhammad Hazat Sule said the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed gave the assurance during a meeting with some officials of the FCT Transportation Secretariat. The Minister reiterated that the takeoff will come up with more windows of opportunities where more residents, particularly those in the transportation subsector will play significant role thereby improving their lots individually and collectively. Senator Mohammed, who remarked that there was nothing new with the policy, said that it would be implemented in consonance with the Abuja Transportation Master Plan as envisaged by its founding fathers. He emphasized that Abuja remains one of the success stories of our collective unity as a nation and that the FCT Administration would not afford to fail the country. The Minister recalled that his administration as part of palliative measures, while approving the June 3, 2013 as the re-commencement date of the feeder route mini bus service would implement subsidy programme for both commuters and operators. Senator Mohammed noted the contributions of the Stakeholders Forum to his administration’s efforts to sanitize the sub-sector and phase out the mini-buses from the city centre to their assigned role of servicing the feeder routes as well as blocking the gaps in the Area Councils and Satellite towns. His words: “With the takeoff of this policy, only the licensed high capacity buses will provide mass transit services in the Federal Capital City, while the mini buses will operate at the feeder routes to feed the large capacity buses as well as in the satellite towns and other Area Councils”.



Yohanna urges FCTA to release special funds on infrastructure By Adeola Tukuru


Young girls showcasing the rich Calabar culture in a public function in Abuja.

Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

FCTA to take delivery of 300 brand new vehicles for licensed operators By Adeola Tukuru


he Federal Capital T e r r i t o r y Administration has concluded plans to take delivery of 300 brand new Taxi vehicles out of the 1000 earmarked for licensed operators in the FCT, the Chairman Feeder Route Implementation Committee, FCT and the Secretary Transportation, Engr Jonathan Ivoke has said. He said this will go a long way

to develop the mass transit subsidy for commuters and operators. Ivoke also revealed that the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed has approved and issued taxi and high capacity bus licenses to Self Employed Commercial Drivers and Association Nig Ltd and RTEIN Mass Transit ltd in fulfillment of the committee recommendation, the Chairman Feeder Route Implementation Committee,

FCT and the Secretary Transportation, Engr Jonathan Ivoke has said. He further explained that they have equally issued the recommendation to all licensed operators for infrastructure Bank to assist in acquisition of new buses and Taxis. He assured that the transport secretariat is about to conclude the biometric data capturing of all drivers belonging to licensed operator sin the FCT,adding that this is compulsory for security and

safety of commuters. "It also qualifies licensed operators to benefit from the numerous palliatives of the FCT Administration. In his words: "Installation of the operators licensed scheme control room equipments procured by the transportation secretariat has commenced .This is for a world class traffic monitoring and Management of Mass Transit in the FCT using the latest scientific and technological equipments", he said.

Depression can be hereditary, says Psychologist


Clinical psychologist at the National Hospital Abuja, Dr Ubong Etudor, has said that depressed people have a greater risk of giving birth to babies who may suffer from depression. Etudor told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday that the exact cause of depression was still not known. According to him, depression is a state of mental disorder that is characterised with feelings of sadness, loneliness, despair, loss of sleep and appetite as well as low self esteem, among others. “We are still not sure what causes depression; experts say depression is caused by a

combination of factors, such as a person’s genes. “We know that if there is depression in the family, a person’s chances of developing depression are higher, this suggests that there is a genetic link,” he said. Etudor said that stress and anxiety could contribute to depression in people, adding that some other factors could trigger it in people. He said issues such as loss of a family member, a difficult relationship or an experience of sexual abuse could lead to depression. He said that early diagnosis of depression was essential to ensure early treatment.

“When a person begins to feel sad for no just reason, loss of appetite and all sorts, an immediate examination should be carried out to know how to manage the ailment. “The sooner a person is diagnosed and treated, the more effective that treatment will be; studies have also shown that prompt treatment reduces significantly the likelihood of recurrence. “If this is not done, an extreme case could lead to severe mental disorders,’’ Etudor said. The psychologist said that some drugs could cause symptoms of depression, hence the need for physical examination and

psychological evaluation before taking drugs. He said that the most common form of treating depression was through the use of drugs and psychotherapy. “Psychotherapy has been shown to help people with many forms of depression; it is carried out by a trained psychotherapist. It helps the patient with problems of living.’’ He said anti-depressants also known as neurotransmitters helped in playing a vital role in regulating a person’s mood. Etudor added that depression could be treated even in its severe forms. (NAN)

he Chairman of the Bwari Area Council, Hon Peter Yohanna has called on the FCT Administration to release special allocations which will enable FCTA and the Area Councils to meet up with the infrastructural challenges facing the Abuja as a result of daily influx of people to the territory. The chairman made the call while receiving participants of the executive course batch 35 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Plateau state, who were on study tour to FCT. He also made similar request for the FCT Administration, adding that such special allocations will enable FCTA and the Area Councils to meet up with the infrastructural challenges facing the territory, which he said, was as a result of daily influx of people to the territory. “Let me tell you what many don’t know, FCT area councils are at present receiving the same allocation with their counterparts across the country but we pay our staff the same amount with those in the Federal Civil Service and that is not the practice with staff of local councils in the states,” he said. He said as a result of that, FCT Area councils are finding it difficult to meet up with some of the challenges facing the residents especially at satellite towns as well as local communities. “Such special allocation can be kept some where not necessary at the councils’ account but should be targeted at financing critical projects at the satellite towns in order to meet up with people’s needs in those areas and as well decongest the city centre,” he said. He however told the visiting group that the FCT minister, Senator Bala Mohammed does not tamper with the councils’ funds as being practised in some states. The council chairman said his administration has put smiles in the faces of his people in the past three years in the areas of rural health, education, water, rural electrification, road and security. Earlier, the leader of the delegation and a management staff at the Institute, Professor Ibrahim Jumare had informed the chairman that the participants, which were drawn from both public and private sectors were on study tour of the territory to ascertain how government policies are affecting ordinary people at grassroots. He said the theme of their course is ‘Strengthening institutional framework and transformation agenda in Nigeria.’ Professor Ibrahim said government’s transformation agenda could only be said to be working if people at the grassroots are feeling the impact of government positively, and expressed satisfaction with the council chairman for his effort to transform his communities.




Man docked over criminal breach of trust, theft

Security man, 26, remanded for T stealing, criminal conspiracy A n Upper Area Court in Mararaba, Nasarawa State, has ordered a security man, Isiaka Isa, 26, of Angwan Albarka, Mararaba, to be remanded in prison for alleged stealing, negligence and criminal conspiracy. Police prosecutor Samuel Okoro told the court that Michael Nweke, Isa’s employer, reported the matter at Sani Abacha Police Station on May


Okoro said Nweke employed the accused as a security man to watch over his building which is under construction. “When the complainant visited the site on April 24, he discovered that Isa had travelled but got one Ali Ibrahim to take care of the building. “Nweke discovered that 25 bundles of electric cables

valued at N300,000 had been stolen,’’ the prosecutor said. He said the complainant strongly suspected that the accused person connived with others, now at large, to steal the cables. The prosecutor urged the court not to grant the accused bail to enable the police to carry out further investigation into the matter. Okoro said the offences

contravened sections 196, 97 and 288 of the Penal Code and that Isa was charged with criminal conspiracy, theft and negligence. The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges. The presiding judge, Mr Vincent Gwahemba, ordered the accused to be remanded in prison and adjourned the case to May 13, 2013 for further hearing. (NAN)

he police on Friday arraigned a driver, Isah Musa, 42, before an Abuja Senior Magistrates’ Court for allegedly stealing the Golf car entrusted to him for commercial use. Musa, of Karu village, Abuja, is standing trial on a two-count charge of criminal breach of trust and theft before Senior Magistrate Abdullahi Illelah. The police prosecutor, Cpl. Simon Emmanuel, told the court that one Abubakar Haruna of Karu village, Abuja, reported the matter at Life Camp Police Station, Abuja. Emmanuel said the complainant entrusted his Golf car with Reg. No. KUJ 408 AM to the accused to use for commercial purpose on March 3. “The accused breached the agreement, deceived Haruna and left with the car to an unknown destination,’’ he said adding that the stolen vehicle is valued N750,000. The prosecutor said the offence contravened section 312 and 287 of the Penal Code. The accused pleaded not guilty to the two-count charge. Illelah granted bail to the accused in the sum of N2million with two reasonable and reliable sureties in like sum. He said one of the sureties must be a civil servant not below Grade level 12 and the other a businessman with a registered business name. He adjourned the matter to May 8, 2013 for hearing. (NAN)

Driver, 63, charged with alleged reckless driving

O Minister of State for FCT, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide (right) presenting a key of Federal Capital Territory to Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Roger Glifford, during his official visit to FCT, recently in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Court grants man, 30, bail over reckless driving


n Abuja Grade 2 Area Court in Kado on Friday granted bail to one Ogbu Odey, 30, of no known address, charged with reckless driving and failure to obey traffic sign. The judge, Malam Ahmed Ado, granted the accused bail in the sum of N20,000 with two sureties in like sum after pleading not guilty to the offences.

Ado ordered that the sureties must be resident within the jurisdiction of the court and adjourned the case to May 5 for further hearing. Police prosecutor, Simon Ibrahim, had told the court that Onogbufor Chibuzor of No 10, Lungi Crescent, Off Aminu Kano Crescent, Wuse 2, Abuja, reported the matter at Utako Police Station on April 19.

Ibrahim said the accused drove his car in a careless manner along Obafemi Awolowo Express Way, by Arab Junction, Utako Distict, Abuja, without regards for other road users and failed to obey police’s hand signal. The prosecutor said the offences contravened the provision of sections 12 and 28 of the Road Traffic Act. Section 12 stipulates that a

local authority or the Federal Director of Works may cause or permit traffic signs to be placed on or near any highway. Section 28 states that a person who drives a motor vehicle on a highway recklessly or negligently is guilty of an offence under this act and liable on conviction to a fine of N400 or to imprisonment for two years or to both. (NAN)

Man, 28, bags 18 months imprisonment for criminal trespass


n Abuja Senior Magistrates Court have sentenced Abubakar Dankami, 28, to 18 months in prison without an option of fine for trespassing into building and vandalising electrical cables. The accused, who resides at Galadimawa Village, Abuja, was sentenced on a three-count charge of criminal

trespass, mischief and theft. The accused had earlier pleaded guilty to the charges and begged the court for forgiveness. Senior magistrate Asma’u Akanbi, in her judgment, sentenced Dankami to three months in prison for criminal trespass, six months for mischief and nine months for theft without an option of fine.

Akanbi said the punishment on all the three-count charge would run concurrently, adding that the convict did not give any satisfactory reason for committing the offence. The police prosecutor, Cpl. Simon Emmanuel, had earlier told the court that Paul Okonkwo of Sahara Estate, Life Camp Abuja, reported the case at Life Camp Police Station on April 29.

Emmanuel said the convict trespassed into the complainant’s house at Sahara Estate, vandalised the electrical wires attached to the building and ran to an unknown destination. He said that during police investigation, Dankami was arrested and the stolen electrical wires were found in his possession. (NAN)

ne Suleiman Abubakar, a 63-year-old driver with Urban Mass Transit Company, Abuja, was arraigned in an Abuja Magistrates Court for allegedly causing accident by reckless driving. The police prosecutor, Simon Emmanuel, told the court that the accused committed the offence on April 8,2013. He said the accused drove his vehicle recklessly on Karmo road by Dape Village, Abuja, and caused an accident. Emmanuel said the accused hit and damaged a Toyota Corolla car with Reg. No. BZ 739 ABJ, driven by one Emmanuel Madudu of Angwan Shanu Karmo, Abuja, He put the cost of repairing the vehicle at N129, 000. The prosecutor said the offence contravened the provisions of Section 28 of the Road Traffic Act, which provides a fine of N400 or two years imprisonment or to both such fine and imprisonment. The accused, however, pleaded not guilty, and Magistrate Zubairu Mohammed granted him bail in the sum of N200,000 with one surety in like sum. He said the surety must live within the jurisdiction of the court in a fix and definite address, in addition to providing evidence of good means of livelihood. Mohammed adjourned the case to May 6,2013 for hearing. (NAN)




Mob: 08033644990



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NEITI Board member appointed into the EITI Global Board

NEXIM, Canada Export to deepen business relationship By Abdulwahab Isa igerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM) said it would collaborate with its Canadian counterpart- Export Development Canada (EDC) to deepen trade relationship between the two countries. NEXIM Managing Director, Roberts U. Orya said recently in Canada as a member of Nigerian delegation to Canada led by Vice President, Arc. Namadi Mohammed Sambo. Canada is Nigeria’s largest economic partner in subSaharan Africa and both countries enjoy an ongoing bilateral trade relationship worth more than $3billion in 2011. The Canada-Nigeria Investment Conference (CNIC) 2013 with the theme: ‘CanadaNigeria Synergy Vision 20:2020’ afforded Nigeria to present new opportunities for Canadian businesses to invest in a wide range of key sectors such as telecommunication, transportation, infrastructure, manufacturing, aeronautics, engineering, oil and Gas, Education, ICT, Health, Agriculture, Solid Minerals, Security and Tourism. A statement issued by NEXIM Head, Corporate Communications, Chinedu Moghalu said Orya in one of the sessions, explained the mandate and operations of the Nigerian Export-Import Bank to the EDC team, explaining that the Bank was established by Act 38 of 1991 as Nigeria’s sole Export Credit Agency with the broad mandate to promote the diversification of the Nigerian economy and deepening the external sector, particularly the non-oil, through the provision of credit facilities in both local and foreign currencies; risk-bearing facilities through export credit guarantee & export credit insurance; business development and financial advisory services, among other initiatives. Responding, Regional Manager of EDC Mrs. Diane Belliveau, noted that the modus operandi of NEXIM Bank was quite similar to that of the EDC. According to her, the EDC was established as a Crown corporation – an ECA, wholly owned by the Government of Canada with mandate to support and develop Canada’s export trade by helping Canadian companies respond to international business opportunities.


Chairman, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Otunba Funso Lawal, performing the closing bell ceremonies at the trading floor of the Stock Exchange in Lagos recently.

Sterling Bank grows by 51 %, declares 20kobo dividend From Ngozi Onyeakusi, Lagos


terling Bank Plc has recorded an impressive performance as its gross earnings improved to N68.9 billion in its financial year 2012. This represents an increase of 51 per cent when compared with the N45.7 billion recorded in 2011. This is contained in the bank’s annual report and account

unveiled at its AGM last week in Lagos. According to the report the bank also made a profit after tax of N6.95 billion in the year under review. Speaking at the meeting the chairman of the bank, Chief SA Adegunwa stated that ‘‘ Despite the relatively slow economic growth, Sterling Bank ended the year with a strong performance. This is a reflection of resilience of the banks business strategy and

the commitment of the leadership team to the vision’’, he said. The bank’s net interest income also rose by 43 per cent from N16.7 billion in 2011 to N23.9 billion in the year under review, while its non-interest income increased to N15.3 billion in 2012, as against the N13.4 billion realised the previous year. Similarly, its net operating

FG urged to settle outstanding premiums From Ngozi Onyeakusi, Lagos


n view of the insurance sector, the newly introduced policy guideline on premium payment, ‘No premium-No cover’, the President, Nigeria Council of Registered Insurance Brokers, (NCRIB), an umbrella body for practicing insurance brokers in Nigeria, Barrister Laide Osijo has called on the Federal Government to release the outstanding premium on group life owed to the insurance industry in 2012. Osijo, who made the appeal while delivering a speech during the April Edition of the NCRIB Member s’ Evening held in Lagos,

stated that presently, the Federal Government has paid only 41 per cent of the premium thus remaining 59 per cent, a situation she said has made many insurance companies to discountenance claims in the year under review. This, according to her, was to the displeasure of some beneficiaries especially those who died in an active service, adding that the impression many of them had was that the insurance industry is insensitive of their plight, a situation, she said, has created serious image smear for the industry. Osijo noted that the policy guideline, no premium, no cover

has come to stay with the unwavering support of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) and the entire industry towards it implementation, assuring that the initial apprehension about the workability of the rule has been gradually laid to rest as many practitioners in the industry could testify. Expressing appreciation to the commission for its readiness to address the various challenges faced by insurance brokers, she assured that with the level of compliance recorded by so far about the guideline, the sector would benefit significantly.

Management Tip of the Day


Know when it’s time to quit your job

uitting a job can have negative consequences on both your career and your bank account. But staying in a bad situation can be worse. Here are three tips for deciding if it’s time to go: Assess your dissatisfaction. Start by figuring out whether you lack excitement about the bigger picture or the day-to-day

activities. You may be able to change the latter but it’s hard to do anything about the former. Look at other options. Don’t leave on an emotional whim. Even if you’re unhappy, take time to see what else is out there. Compared to realistic alternatives, maybe your situation isn’t so bad after all. Test your assumptions. Run

a few experiments to assess whether your perception is reality. For example, put your hat in the ring the next time your boss has a high-profile piece of work to be done. If you’re overlooked, it may be that he doesn’t appreciate your skills and it’s time to move on. Source: Harvard Business Review

income after impairment loss rose by 51 per cent to N39.5 billion as against N26.1 billion. Adjusted for income from discontinued operations, profit before tax grew by 108 per cent to N7.5 billion in 2012 as against N3.6 billion in 2011. Sterling Bank’s total assets increased from N504 billion in 2011 to N580.2 billion in the year under review. Also, while its deposits increased by 18 per cent to N463.7 billion in 2012 as against the N392 billion in 2011, its net loans and advances grew by 42 per cent from N162.1 billion to N229.4 billion. Shareholders’ funds increased by 14 per cent to N46.6 billion compared with N41.1 billion in the previous year. Shareholders at the meeting approved a 100 per cent increase in cash dividends to shareholders who names appeared in banks register from 10 kobo paid in 2011 business year to 20 kobo in 2012. Commenting on the report, Managing Director of Sterling Bank, Mr. Yemi Adeola said the results reflected the enhanced capacity of the bank following the business combination with Equitorial Trust Bank (ETB). “Going into 2013, our goal is to reduce our cost of funds, enhance our brand presence in our target markets and improve operating efficiency,” Adeola said. He outlined that in furtherance of its medium to long term strategic growth plan, the bank plans to raise supplementary equity funds of up to N32 billion, about $200 million, through the issuance of equit instrument




NEITI Board member appointed into the EITI Global Board By Etuka Sunday

Heritage A Oil Plc


nited Kingdom-based Heritage Oil Plc, an independent upstream exploration and production company, has said a sum of $234.5 million has been generated from the recently acquired Oil Mining Lease (OML) 30. The company stated that it was looking forward to further increases in production from the field, even as it is set to make inroads into new regions of the country. The company, in its results for the twelve months ended 31 December 2012, revealed that key items of equipment have been identified and ordered to bring about the expected increase in production from the field.



aster Card the secondbiggest U.S. payments network, posted a first-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates as customer spending climbed. Net income increased 12 percent to $766 million, or $6.23 a share, from $682 million, or $5.36, a year earlier, the Purchase, New York-based company said Wednesday in a statement. The average estimate of 33 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for $6.17 a share.

KPMG Group


lobal financial auditors the KPMG group have given the Nigerian Stock Exchange a clean bill of health in its financial records at its 52nd AGM held at the exchange building in Marina,Lagos. At a very short but precise meeting, presided over by the president of the NSE, Dr Aliko Dangote, the event drew members of the council of the stock exchange, representatives of the securities exchange commission, stockbroker groups ,financial analysts of the market and capital market correspondents from the press. Highlight of the event was the election of four members into the council of the stock exchange; Mr. Aigboje AigImoukhuede (GMD Access Bank), Mrs. Yemisi Ayeni, Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud and Prof. Herbert Orji.

member of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG), Faith Nwadishi has been nominated as a full member of the International Board of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The EITI International Board, Chaired by a former Member of the British House of Commons, Clair Short is the highest policy making organ of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative operating in about forty five

countries including Nigeria. NEITI in a statement said Ms Nwadishi is to represent the Civil Society in the International Board made up of twenty members drawn from member countries across the world. Until her appointment, Faith Nwadishi is the National Coordinator of an international Civil Society Organisation known as Publish What You Pay (PWYP). Publish What You Pay (PWYP) is reputed worldwide for championing the campaign for companies to disclose publicly what they pay to government in form of royalties, levies and taxes and for governments to also declare what they receive.

The concept of public disclosure, which Faith Nwadishi and her organisation is associated with is based on the extractive industries transparency principles that availability of information and data to the citizens on extractive industries payment and receipts is fundamental to ensuring that resources from oil, gas and mining rich countries aid national development and reduce poverty through transparent and prudent management. As an engineer by profession, Faith Nwadishi is expected to bring her diverse experience in EITI process as a member of NEITI

Board to bear in supporting the current vision of the EITI globally. Faith Nwadishi’s nomination is expected to be ratified at the 6th Global Conference of the EITI holding in Sydney, Australia later this month. Congratulating Faith on her appointment, the Chairman of NEITI Board, Ledum Mittee and the Executive Secretary, Zainab Ahmed on behalf of the Board, Management and Staff expressed the hope that the appointment will further strengthen NEITI’s growing relationship with the Civil Society in the execution of its mandate at both national and international arena.

Electricity: FG releases N592bn, targets 20,000MW V

ice-President Namadi Sambo, at the weekend said efforts were being made to wheel about 20,000 megawatts of electricity for the country to improve power transmission. A statement by the vicepresident’s spokesman, Mr. Umar Sani quoted Sambo as saying this during a meeting he held with members of the Nigerian-Canadian Association in Toronto, Canada. Sambo said to achieve the feat, the government had last week approved the release of $3.7bn (N 592 bn) for the power sector. “The Federal Government last week approved the sum of $3.7bn to improve power transmission so as to wheel 20,000MW,” the statement quoted him as saying. Sambo told the gathering that the present administration was committed to the provision of necessary infrastructure. He added that efforts were being intensified in the areas of power supply, transportation, aviation, Information and

Communication Technology, agriculture and the provision of affordable healthcare services. He also said the administration was addressing educational advancement issues with the provision of good governance. He called on Nigerians in the Diaspora to come home and be part of the new development. Sambo appreciated their contributions to national development, adding that it was in recognition of the contributions that a Diaspora bond of N1bn was set up. The vice-president urged them to key into such a laudable initiative. Earlier, the association’s President, Mr. Fabian Nwoha, had expressed the desire of the body to contribute positively to the country’s development. Nwoha, however, said members were holding back due to the reported negative incidences and other vices in Nigeria. He noted that with the new development being witnessed in

Vice President Namadi Sambo the country, citizens in the Diaspora had confidence in the ability of the government to deliver on its promises. He used the occasion to remind the government of its promise to provide a consular office in Toronto to help ease

emerging diplomatic issues. The Nigerian High Commissioner to Canada, Dr. Ojo Madueke, said the association represented the future that would import their talent and know-how into the country.

GE committed to actualizing FG drive to reform energy sector - President From Suleiman Idris, Lagos


resident and Chief Executive Officer of General Electric (GE) Nigeria, Dr. Lazarus Angbazo has restated the commitment of GE to support the Federal Government in actualizing its vision of transforming Nigeria’s power sector. He made this known at the Presidential Power Reform Transactions Signing Summit between the company and the Federal Government which took place at the presidential villa in Abuja. At the event, Dr. Angbazo

highlighted the various agreements which GE had entered into earlier in the year with Nigerian companies in the areas of power generation and transportation. “We are making significant investments towards actualising the goal of sustainable power generation and this is being done in partnership with other companies through our agreements. We at GE hope to help develop ten thousand megawatts of electricity over a ten year period in addition to what the Federal Government is doing”, he said. Speaking at the event,

President Goodluck Jonathan expressed optimism for the success of the agreement affirming that “The age-long problem of inadequate supply will be brought to an end. We are dealing in a very dedicated way with much overdue infrastructural and corporate upgrades despite the challenges, and despite the challenges, we are making steady progress each day towards permanent and lasting correction. Nigerians must have electricity for domestic and industrial use and there is no turning back” He said “Today’s event signals a major step forward in

the implementation of our Power Sector Roadmap. I congratulate the signing parties for reaching this significant target in our collective efforts to revitalize this sector, which is so important to our lives and development”. The Signing Summit brought together various stakeholders in the energy sector and underscored the Federal Government’s commitment to transparency and its renewed emphasis on inclusiveness in core transactions in sustaining the current tempo of transformation in the power sector.



NIPOST spells out guidelines for operators Stories by Chris Alu


igeria Postal Service (NIPOST ) has released its updated rules that would guide companies and individuals seeking to register courier firms in the country. Under the new guidelines tagged “Courier Registration”, exclusively obtained by NIPOST through the Courier Regulatory Department (CRD) includes the new licensing and renewal fees. This means that any person or group seeking to float courier firm would henceforth forward application form to the Senior Assistant Postmaster General (CRD), with the licence fee, in bank draft of N2 million for

domestic or national operation, or N10 million for international courier operations. This goes with a non-refundable fee of N20, 000. The document added, “Note that the non-refundable licence fee should be payable to the Postmaster General”. Thereafter, the inspection team from CRD would visit at least five branches and head office of the prospective courier operator; the success of the inspection entitles the prospective operator to new courier licence. And the renewal fee is pegged at N500,000 for domestic operators while their international counterparts are to

dole out N2 million. Other information and/or evidence required from the prospective companies include, but limited to Certified True copy of Certificate of Incorporation; Memorandum/Articles of Association; Company’s Tax Clearance for the last three years (originals to be sighted). Also included are Leasehold Certificate or Tenancy Agreement in respect of the company’s registered office and Evidence or information to show capacity to operate courier service including but not limited to indemnity insurance policy of

five hundred thousand Naira, capital base of two million Naira or a bond of that value. Others are names, qualifications and addresses including telephone and/or fax numbers of all Directors of the company; Samples of waybills, labels, bags, tags envelopes, receipts registered trade mark (if any) and other documents that may be required and Partnership, merger, alliance (or such other arrangements) agreements (if any). Dr. Simeon Emeje, senior assistant postmaster general and head of CRD, said that the new

fees are in accordance with the trends of the time, adding that the department is working assiduously to ensure courier industry in Nigeria is properly regulated. According to him, with a postal commission highly expected to come on board, courier industry would heave sigh of relief soon, especially in addressing multifaceted issues confronting operators currently. “The new licencing and renewal fees reflect the current trends in the economy and NIPOST is reviewing the fees after 12 years he added.

Zinox ICT Building to be commissioned 2016


inox Computer has so far builds one of the biggest ICT product market in Africa which will be commissioned by 2016, according to the group chairman Dr. Leo Stan Ekeh. The market is designed as onestop-shop for all ICT products from consumables to software and hardware goods. Ekeh, who stated this in Abuja, said that the historic model ICT market will make Nigeria Africa’s technology landmark. According to him the ICT mall will accommodate state of the art security and internet access. With thousands of executive stalls; the ICT mall is

scientifically designed to satisfy the needs of sellers and buyers as well as leisure seekers. The mall will also lean heavily on the tradition of excellence and personal touch associated with Ekeh’s group of companies including: Zinox Technologies Limited, Zinox Telecoms, Task Systems, Technology Distributions Limited, ICT Brokers, TD Plus, ICT Connect and Buy right AFRICA Dotcom and others. Zinox Computer has some innovative features, which include - the Naira sign, and a Power Supply designed to contain the erratic nature of electric power in Nigeria.

Samsung to provide “ Accidental Damage Warranty” on Galaxy S4


amsung Electronics, has announced that it will provide its customers in Nigeria and other pan-African countries with a 24-month “Accidental Damage warranty Handling cover screens and liquid damages to its new, flagship Galaxy S4 Smartphone, at no extra charge. The warranty includes two free repairs in the event of accidental damage to the screen of the device. The Galaxy S4 is already on sale at Samsung stores and accredited dealers across Nigeria, ahead of its formal launch in Lagos on May 10. The company is currently partnering major telecommunication operators and service providers in the country via a pre-order service, in a drive to encourage consumers to be one of the first to own the sought after Smartphone. The Director, Hand Held Products, Samsung Electronics West Africa, Mr. Emmanouil Revmatas described the introduction of the warranty as a standard for the Galaxy S4, as part of Samsung’s commitment to providing its customers with innovative and impeccable after-sales services.

“At Samsung, we understand the unique needs of our customers and this is another value-added service we are introducing to provide them with comprehensive service assistance in the event of accidental handling damage to their devices. We are very excited to be the first mobile device manufacturer to come out with this level of service,” he said. He added that Samsung Electronics will continue to provide value and long-term, sustainable support and service to its customers. The ADH warranty will be incorporated into the existing 24month standard factory warranty on the Galaxy S4. Customers can register their devices through Samsung’s e-Warranty service from their phones within the first 30 days of purchase. In the event of damage, registered customers will be able to take their device to an authorized Samsung Service Centre for repairs. The Service Centre will replace the screen or board free of charge. According to Samsung, this warranty will cover only screen and liquid damages. Customers will be limited to two incidents requiring repairs within a 24-month period.

Mrs. Eke Innocentia Ifeoma jointly being decorated with Principal Asst. Airport Fire Officer rank by Director of Human Resources and Administration, FAAN, Hajia Salamatu Umar- Eluma and Regional Manager, South-West Airport, Mr Edward Olarerin during the celebration of the 1st International Fire Fighters’ Day, 2013 at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Ikeja at the weekend.

Internet Group to organise conference on broadband in May


heNigeria Internet Group , will host its 2013 annual conference and exhibition with focus on broadband development in Nigeria this month. The president of the group, Engr. Adebayo Banjo said that the event which is a two days event will start on Thursday, May 30th to Friday, May 31st, with the theme “Broadband as a Tool in Nation Building”. Guests expected to grace the Annual Conference and Exhibition include: Mrs. Omobola Johnson, Minister of Communication Technology; Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, Minister of National Planning; Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, governor, Central Bank of Nigeria and Lagos State Commissioner of Science and Technology as well as Engr. Olawale Ige, former minister of Communications, and also chairman of the NIG Board of Trustees will chair the occasion. Other dignitaries include Dr. Eugene Juwah, executive vice

chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and Prof. Cleopas Angaye, director general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) will both be presenting the Keynote address respectively. The event will open discussions on ICT with the aim of bringing a lasting solution to broadband technology and proffer possible solutions on the way forward. These and more are the issues that have ignited desire by the Nigeria Internet Group to organize this all-important conference which will offer more opportunity to examine and attempt to proffer solutions to issues as, critical success factors to the infrastructure provision in Nigeria, development or improved Broadband penetration, appropriate legal and regulatory framework and Political-will from Government to implement the right policies to achieve a resounding success

among others. The two-day event will be an interactive conference with experts from within and abroad the industry making presentations on the theme and the sub-themes. The Nigeria Internet Group, also sees the Annual Conference and Exhibition 2013 as opportunity and also a platform for all ISP’s in Nigeria as a meeting point in one location for customers to see what is available across the board and to make an informed decisions. It will also present an opportunity for a meeting of minds of Web Design Agencies showcasing their products and services as well as Domain Registrars for .ng displaying at the conference. The Conference will also offer the opportunity for corporate bodies and organisations to showcase their products and service before a very quality audience that will tour the exhibition stands and make choices.



Nigeria faces long, bumpy road to making the lights work I

n an unwanted daily routine lasting 17 years, Phillip Cleatus sits in the dark doorway of his shoe-making shop in Nigeria's northern city of Kaduna, waiting for the lights to come back on. President Goodluck Jonathan is trying to persuade Cleatus and some 170 million other Nigerians that will soon change. Yet while his plan to privatise power is creeping forward, it is likely to take decades to end the chronic electricity shortages that are among the main barriers to investment and growth in Africa's second biggest economy and top oil producer. Nigeria is in the process of breaking up the defunct state power company into 17 private generation and distribution companies and selling them for about $2.5 billion (1.6 billion pounds) in total, as part of efforts to increase electricity output tenfold over the next seven years. It might be its most advanced effort yet to end its perennial power shortfall, but progress has been so slow that Jonathan's targets look far too optimistic. Industry experts believe some improvements will be felt in 2-3 years. If Nigeria gets the lights working it would reduce business costs by up to 40 percent, add 3 percent to GDP and cut the mass unemployment that fuels unrest seen in oil theft in the south and a bloody Islamist insurgency in the north, economists say. It could also spur a boom in labour intensive areas like manufacturing, food processing, textiles and pharmaceuticals, while opening up the opportunity for new low-cost service industries like the call centres that aided India's rise. The $13 billion a year that Nigerians spend on diesel, most of which is imported, would be a bill of the past. Power from generators costs more than twice as much as from the grid. "This is killing my business, I lose 45 percent of my annual profit to poor power supply," Cleatus, 38, told Reuters. Genrators A glitzy ceremony hosted by Jonathan last week celebrated the first payment by private companies which are taking over the unbundled state electricity firm and a deal by the World Bank to give an initial $145 million risk guarantee for gas supply. A close look at the private companies which won bids shows a mix of oligarchs and influential figures connected to Nigeria's political elite, and some recognised technical partners like Siemens (SIEGn.DE) and Manila Electric (MER.PS).

A power official works on an electric pole along a street in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos October 3, 2012. This has raised some questions about the expected efficiency of the privatisation process and what it can deliver, but there are those who argue that effective business in Nigeria is impossible without political connections and patrons. "Much has been achieved, yet the race will not be over until Nigerians can take electricity supply for granted," Jonathan told dignitaries and power companies last week at his villa. Electricity capacity had been in steady decline for a decade when Jonathan launched his reform plan in 2010, pledging Nigeria would boost generation from 3,000 megawatts (MW) to 10,000 MW by the end of this year, and 40,000 MW by 2020. Generation has increased to around 4,000 MW but experts say there is zero hope of meeting government targets, while the scale of the task means power output will initially fall after the privatisation is completed at the end of this year. Despite being Africa's top oil producer and holding the world's ninth largest gas reserves, Nigeria's power output is a tenth of South Africa's for a population three times the size.

"It will probably take Nigeria another 50 years before it attains the same level of


It might be its most advanced effort yet to end its perennial power shortfall, but progress has been so slow that Jonathan's targets look far too optimistic. Industry experts believe some improvements will be felt in 23 years.

electricity consumption per capita as South Africa currently enjoys today," said David Ladipo, whose company Azura is spending $700 million to build a 450 MW plant. Ladipo thinks electricity output could grow to 6,000 MW in the next two years and to 9,000 MW by 2020, before seeing a potential boom as postprivatisation investment kicks in. One industry expert told Reuters Nigeria's potential demand is estimated to be as high as 140,000 MW and rising, so just keeping up with demand will be a huge challenge. The Turn-Around? Even Ladipo's more modest projections, which several other industry experts broadly agreed with, face hurdles. Privatisation is months behind schedule and government is struggling to get the funding it needs for crucial transmission and gas supply infrastructure. Powerful labour unions are blocking attempts to pay off 40,000 state electricity workers. Nigeria says it has found 340 billion naira ($2.1 billion) to pay off the workers, but they remain

reluctant to leave. The African Development Bank is providing $150 million to aid with transmission and some of a $1 billion debut Eurobond would help with upgrades. But in Nigeria, just making the money available doesn't always mean it will be used wisely. Some $40 billion has gone into several power reform drives in the last 20 years, industry experts say, much of it wasted. "In the past the problem has not been capacity of government to find money for the power sector: billions have been allocated - and billions have been squandered or stolen," said Antony Goldman, head of Africa-focused PM Consulting. Still, there remains optimism that wrestling power out of government hands will eventually lead to progress. "Given the scale of the challenge and the history of the sector ... reform is progressing very well," said Fola Fabule, a Lagos-based investment banker focused on infrastructure finance. "The key... will be commitment to see reforms through."(Source: Reuters)



Report as at Monday, May 6, 2013




Baga:Satelliteimages,witnessaccounts raise concerns of cover up – HRW By Human Rights Watch


atellite images reveal massive destruction of civilian property from a military raid on April 16 and 17, 2013, in the northern Nigerian town of Baga, undermining the military’s claim that only 30 houses were destroyed, Human Rights Watch said today. The Nigerian government should thoroughly and impartially investigate allegations that soldiers carried out widespread destruction and killing in the town. Baga residents told Human Rights Watch that soldiers ransacked the town after the Boko Haram militant Islamist group attacked a military patrol, killing a soldier. Community leaders said that immediately after the attack they counted 2,000 burned homes and 183 bodies. Satellite images of the town analyzed by Human Rights Watch corroborate these accounts and identify 2,275 destroyed buildings, the vast majority likely residences, with another 125 severely damaged. “The Nigerian military has a duty to protect itself and the population from Boko Haram attacks, but the evidence indicates that it engaged more in destruction than in protection,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The glaring discrepancies between the facts on the ground and statements by senior military officials raise concerns that they tried to cover up military abuses.” Since the attack, the military has restricted journalists’ access to Baga, a remote fishing community on the shores of Lake Chad, 200 kilometers northeast of the city of Maiduguri. Boko Haram has destroyed mobile telephone towers in the area, claiming that security services used mobile phones to track down its members, making communication particularly difficult for survivors of the attack. Human Rights Watch interviewed seven residents of Baga who fled the town on the night of the devastation. Many survivors spent several nights hiding in the bush and expressed fear in describing what they saw, fearing military retaliation. Military officials publicly said that on the evening of April 16, Boko Haram attacked a military patrol in Baga, killing a soldier and wounding five others. Military reinforcements responded by engaging Boko Haram militants, whom the

military said were armed with assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, and improvised explosive devices. There were running gun battles through the town, the military said. In a statement released the week following the attack, Brig. Gen. Austin Edokpaye, the commander of the troops in Baga, asserted that “[c]ontrary to media speculation that hundreds of houses were burnt down, instead, it was the explosions from Boko Haram terrorists’” weapons that “triggered fire to about 30 thatched houses.” Residents recalled hearing some explosions as well as gunfire on the night of the attack. Many fled the town. One resident, a 42year-old-fisherman, told Human Rights Watch that while he was fleeing he saw two men in civilian clothes, whom he assumed were Boko Haram members because they were not in uniform, running while firing assault rifles. Residents said that, as they were fleeing the heavy gunfire, they saw bodies in the streets and in front of houses. Some residents said that they saw soldiers in uniform kill residents and burn houses. A 27year-old woman, who stayed in her house after the gunfire erupted, described to Human Rights Watch how soldiers went door-to-door looking for any men that remained in her neighborhood. “I saw the soldiers drag a man out of another house. They started beating him with their guns. They were beating him severely and he was crying,” she said. “The man then ran, and I saw the soldiers shoot him. I heard the gunshots and saw him fall. On the other side of the road the soldiers were beating other people.” Another resident, a 32-yearold fisherman, believes soldiers killed his uncle, whose bad leg kept him from fleeing the town. He discovered his uncle’s badly beaten body after the attack. “We had heard the soldiers say before [the attack] that since you people are not cooperating with us and are hiding your brothers, we will treat you as one of them,” the fisherman told Human Rights Watch. “I heard the soldiers say this. Everyone heard them say this. They were saying this in the open.” The area where the attacks took place, Borno State, is Boko Haram’s stronghold. Military officials have accused Borno State residents of harboring Boko Haram members. Boko Haram has killed numerous Borno State

Satellite images of Baga after the Nigerian army led invasion residents, including community leaders whom it accuses of helping authorities identify group members, which has created a climate of fear in the area. There are conflicting accounts as to how many people were killed in the attack. A community leader who participated in the burial of victims told Human Rights Watch that 183 people were buried on April 18 in individual graves within two cemeteries. Other victims were also later buried, he said. The military called these figures “terribly inflated,” and in an April 22 statement, Edokpaye claimed that only 37 people were killed – 30 of them Boko Haram members. He said that only one soldier and six civilians died. Senator Maina Lawan, the federal senator representing Baga, told Human Rights Watch, based on a two-day site visit on April 25 and 26, that some 220 people had been buried in three cemeteries, while six others had been buried in separate locations.

None of the residents interviewed by Human Rights Watch saw how the fires were started on the night of April 16, but they all described seeing parts of the town alight. Two residents who returned to the town the following morning, April 17, said they saw soldiers in military vehicles setting fire to houses. “I saw a group of soldiers throw explosive devices into houses,” one of the residents, a farmer, recalled. “They would throw [the explosive] and then fire would come out of it. I saw them do this to about 10 houses.” Satellite images analyzed by Human Rights Watch indicate that damaged structures were likely caused by intense and widespread fires. Additional satellite data detected the presence of active fires in the southern part of the town on the night of April 16 and during the day of April 17, consistent with witness accounts and the location of identified building damages. Because of the number of

buildings destroyed by fire as well as their distribution across large sections of the town, Human Rights Watch believes that such fires were intentionally set and not inadvertently sparked by the detonation of rocket-propelled grenades or improvised explosive devices. Such weapons could not ignite fires on such a wide scale, nor could they set fire to nonattached structures. Small arms and light weapons do not contain the amount of explosive or incendiary material to produce such a scale of damage, Human Rights Watch said. “The destruction and killings by soldiers in Baga are serious human rights violations,” Bekele said. “The government needs to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators, regardless of rank.” As reports of the Baga attack filtered out, President Goodluck Jonathan ordered a “full-scale investigation into reports of high civilian casualties.” The Defence Headquarters in Abuja sent a military team to investigate the

incident. Brig. Gen. Chris Olukolade, the director of defence information, and a member of the military team sent to Baga to investigate, told Human Rights Watch after his visit that reports of civilian casualties and homes destroyed were “grossly exaggerated.” He said that “the atrocities, if any, were carried out by the insurgents in an attempt to cause destruction and attack people not sympathetic to their cause.” The military team said they visited two graveyards in Baga but could only identify 32 fresh graves. Community leaders, including a senior politician interviewed by Human Rights Watch, allege that the military is trying to cover up evidence of what happened. In the past, Nigerian military authorities have repeatedly denied or even covered up reports of security force abuses, Human Rights Watch said. The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, which in 2010 opened a

“preliminary examination” of the situation in Nigeria, has indicated that crimes committed by Boko Haram members might constitute crimes against humanity, and members of the Nigerian security forces might also have committed serious human rights violations in their operations against Boko Haram. This incident in Baga should be added to the prosecutor’s preliminary examination of Nigeria, Human Rights Watch said. “There’s a tragic lack of accountability for atrocities with high body counts in Nigeria,” said Bekele. “The government needs to end this murderous cycle of violence by bringing all those responsible to justice.” Witness Accounts A 27-year-old woman who lived in the “Hausa Quarters” of Baga told Human Rights Watch that on the night of April 16, soldiers dragged a man out of a

house in her neighborhood and shot him: I was in my house at night, after prayers, when we heard gunshots. Everybody was in a panic and people were running. My husband wasn’t home, so I was very disturbed. I asked my neighbors what am I going to do because my husband isn’t around? My neighbors ran, but I couldn’t carry my two children, so I stayed inside

the house. I saw soldiers come into the community. They came in military vehicles. The soldiers were shouting “Come out! Come out!” They asked me if there any men in the house. I said there were none. One of the soldiers came inside and searched the house. He then told us to go outside. When we were outside I saw the soldiers drag a man out of another house. They started beating him with their guns. They were beating him severely and he was crying. The man then ran, and I saw the soldiers shoot him. I heard the gunshots and saw him fall. On the other side of the road the soldiers were beating other people. The soldiers told me to leave the place, pushing me to go. I held one of my children in my arms and the other one I dragged. I was with two other women. We heard gunshots everywhere, so we did not know who was who. When we were running we saw dead bodies on the road and some outside houses. Some [of the bodies] were women and children, but the children were fewer. Army vehicles were passing from here to there, and we saw things with the lights of the vehicles. We were trying to run to save our lives. We went into the bush and were moving without knowing where we were going. There were a lot of people inside the bush. When we went about half a kilometer, we saw fire everywhere [back] in the town. Almost at midnight we reached one place and slept there. The following day we woke up and found our way toward [name of location withheld]. Later we heard that all the houses around where we lived were burned…. We lost two people among our family: my brother and my cousin. I was told some people saw their dead bodies in the river. Even my neighbors lost family members – both men and women. I have not gone back to Baga. A farmer described to Human Rights Watch how soldiers set fire to houses in the “Kampala Ward”

The destruction and killings by soldiers in Baga are serious human rights violations,” Bekele said. “The government needs to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators, regardless of rank

of Baga on the morning of April 17: On Tuesday [April 16] around 8 p.m. we heard gunshots in the town. I was in the house. Our house is in the northern part of Baga. I heard gunshots and explosions in the southern part of the town. I also saw fire. I stayed in our house for about two hours. The gunshots started to increase rapidly and we saw that a large part of the town was on fire. When we saw this, I ran to the bush with my family. We spent the night in the bush. The following morning, I came back to the town. I saw about six military vehicles and groups of soldiers in Kampala Ward. The soldiers were putting fire on the houses. It was about 9:30 a.m. I saw a group of soldiers throw explosive devices into houses. It was a military device which as a layman I would not know. They would throw it and then fire would come out of it. I saw them do this to about 10 houses. I was about 100 meters away. I snuck out of the place and ran back to the bush…. I [haven’t gone] back to my house, but my older brother said that that our area wasn’t affected. None of my family members were killed. A 42-year-old fisherman described how he and his family fled their home in “Kalumbu Quarters” of Baga after gunfire erupted on the evening of April 16: It was on Tuesday, around 7 p.m. we heard gunshots and all of us ran into the house. I live in Kalumbu Quarters. It is in the middle of the town. The gunshots were getting too much and were getting closer to our quarters. We came out and ran helter-skelter everywhere. I was with my family – my wife and two children – and some neighbors. We heard gunshots everywhere. We also heard a lot of explosions. Two of my friends I work with were shot. We were running together with them. They were behind us and we saw them fall. We couldn’t do anything about it. We just ran to escape the bullets. I don’t know whether it was military or Boko Haram [who shot them]. We saw two people with Kalashnikovs [AK assault rifles]. They were not wearing army uniforms. I think they were Boko Haram members. They were running and shooting. We saw some [other] dead bodies by the side of the road. A neighbor of mine and his two children were also killed in the incident. We ran together with them – they were behind us. When we looked back we didn’t see them. The other people who came from that side told us that they were killed. We ran toward [name of location withheld], because it would be safer there. After we left the town, we saw some fires in the town…. I heard that

my house has been burned and the houses of most of my neighbors were burned. We were told that 45 percent of the town has been burned. I will never go back there. What will I do there? Background Human Rights Watch has documented attacks by Boko Haram in northern and central Nigeria, as well as abuses by Nigerian state security forces in response to the violence. Boko Haram means “Western education is a sin” in the Hausa language of northern Nigeria. The group, which seeks to impose a strict form of Sharia, or Islamic law, has carried out a brutal campaign of violence across northern Nigeria. The group has primarily targeted government security agents, Christians, and other “infidels,” and Muslims critical of the group or seen as cooperating with the government. Boko Haram has also claimed responsibility for numerous attacks, including suicide bombings of police stations, the United Nations building in the capital, Abuja, and two newspaper offices; burning down dozens of schools; and bombing or smallarms attacks on more than 20 church services. As part of its operations against Boko Haram, security forces have killed hundreds of Boko Haram suspects and other members of the public with no apparent links to the group. During security raids in communities where attacks have occurred, the military has burned homes and summarily executed men in front of their families. The Nigerian authorities have also arrested thousands of people in raids across the north. Many of these people have been held incommunicado without charge or trial for months or even years. In some cases they have been detained in inhuman conditions, tortured, or killed. The Nigerian authorities have repeatedly denied allegations of security force abuses, labeling those who report such abuses as “Boko Haram sympathizers.” The International Criminal Court, which opened a preliminary examination of the situation in Nigeria, found in 2012 that there is a “reasonable basis to believe” that Boko Haram attacks, including murder and persecution, amount to crimes against humanity. Attacks by Boko Haram or splinter groups, clashes between these groups and government security forces, and extrajudicial killings by the security forces have killed more than 3,600 people since 2009.



Denmark commends Nigeria’s peace support effort Stories by Joy Baba


he Government of Denmark has commended Nigeria in her contributions to Peace Support Operations around the world, particularly in the West African Sub-region. Denmark Chief of Defence, Lt Gen Bjorn Bisserup, made the commendation recently in an address to Nigerian Peacekeepers

Nigerian Army set to hold combat sports championship

in Monrovia during a working visit to Nigerian Battalion (NIBATT) 31 to the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). General Bisserup noted with delight that Nigeria was going a great length to support ECOWAS and UN Peacekeeping forces. He further observed that the country had deployed over 5, 000 soldiers to several units of United Nations Peacekeeping Missions around the world. Bisserup maintained that Nigeria was, by such gestures, doing a great difference in making the world a better place

for all to live in. The Defence Chief also said that his visit to the NIBATT had given him a picture of a very well-trained battalion with a great level of professionalism. Earlier in his speech, the Commanding Officer, NIBATT 31, Colonel Obinna Ajunwa, briefed the Defence Chief on the tasks and deployments of his Battalion in the Mission Area. Col Ajunwa gave insight into the series of training activities that his officers and soldiers had undergone prior to their deployment, as well as similar training exercises in the mission

area. He informed his guests that most of the Nigerian troops participating today as Peacekeepers in the Battalion have a long history of active participation in Liberia dating back to the Economic Community of West Africa Monitoring Group (ECOMOG). He further pointed out that ECOMOG was spearheaded by Nigeria. Ajunwa also said the situation has equally assisted the troops to understand the terrain within which they are operating. Bisserup was also treated to a

Crowd Dispersal Demonstration by the NIBATT’s Quick Response Force (QRF) at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Stadium. The demonstration, which featured a make-up riotous squad also mounted by elements of the NIBATT, and it, showcased a professional dispersal of crowd under the UN mandate. The Defence Chief was accompanied by some of his key officers, amongst whom were the Chief of Military Operations, Commodore Jens Hansen, Col Jens Garley, Force Headquarters and Head of Section, Annah Pyndiah.


he Commander, Infantry Corps, Maj.-Gen. Kenneth Minimah, has said that the Nigerian Army is set to hold its first combat sports championship at the Nigerian Defence Academy Old Site in Kaduna. Minimah stated this while briefing newsmen on activities lined up for the events of the championship scheduled to take place later in the month. He said the championship was being organised in line with the drive of the Chief of Army Staff to uplift sports in the army. According to him, “the event would also nurture and discover talents who would represent the country at international sporting events. “Although 2013 is not a sports year in the Army Calendar of event, we still intend to conduct the first ever Army Combat Sports Championship. “This is with the objective of discovering new and young athletes in boxing, judo, taekwondo and wrestling’’. The commander also said that new talents would be nurtured to prominence to make the country proud at the next Olympic Games listing the competing formations as 1 Division Kaduna, 2 Division Ibadan, 3 Division Jos, 81 Division Lagos, 82 Division Enugu and Army Headquarters Garrison, Abuja. He further said that formations are required to produce teams for both males and females in all the four sports mentioned. Minimah added that the history of sports, especially combat sports in the country, could not be complete without mentioning the role of the Nigerian Army noting that army personnel had represented the country at different international events in the past, both as athletes and administrators.

General Bisserup admiring a souvenir presented to him by the Commanding Officer, NIBATT 31, Colonel Obinna Ajunwa

Lieutenant General Bisserup (2L), CO, NIBATT 31, Colonel Ajunwa, watching the demonstration



Nigerian contingent reaffirms commitment to Liberia capacity building Stories by Joy Baba


igerian Contingent in the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) has reaffirmed its commitment to enhanced capacity building for the Liberians in line with the mandate of UNMIL. The Commanding Officer (CO), Nigerian Battalion (NIBATT) 31, UNMIL, Colonel Obinna Ajunwa made the affirmation at Dennis Town, Louisiana, near Monrovia, Liberia, recently when he led a Medical Team of his Battalion to render free medical service to the community. Ajunwa said that Nigeria and Liberia have had long standing relationships noting

…As NIBATT 31 offers free medical service to Dennis Town the role of UNMIL in the peace building efforts in the country. He further stressed that Nigeria could not afford to leave Liberians alone at their time of need. The CO noted with delight that the aspirations of UNMIL for Liberia were at par with that of Nigeria, saying, “this has helped us to execute our programmes with ease.” Speaking earlier, the Country Superintendent, who was represented by Mr Edward Dartue, said it was most commendable that a unit of UNMIL had paid such serious attention to the health of the

people as a way of building their capacity. He noted that it was the first time the people of that community were benefiting from such programme and appealed to them to extend this gesture to other parts of the country urging them to provide a quick impact project in the area. The Chief of Dennis Town, Mr Kollie Dennis, expressed delight that his people were considered for the programme and appealed for continued

support for the community. Mr Dennis said the people were willing to cooperate with UNMIL or any other group that would come to their aid adding that the community had already made land available for any utility projects that would enhance the well-being of the people. The one-day exercise which took place at Fendell Public School also featured talks on “The Environment, Health and Hygiene,” delivered by Master Warrant Officer Lwassam

Manji; “Sexual and Gender – Based Violence,” by Mr Boima Metzger, amongst others. The Battalion Medical Officer, Captain Obinna Njoku -led Medical Team with the assistance of Lt Ishaku Sawa. Treatments were administered for pediatric, gynecological and general illnesses, while special cases were referred for further treatment. About 400 persons received treatment during the exercise.

Navy destroys 150 illegally refined diesel drums


igerian Navy’s detachment (NNS) in Delta, has said the command has destroyed 150 drums of illegally refined diesel abandoned by oil thieves following a raid on them in Udu Creek in Delta State State. The NNS Commander Commodore Mohammed Garba stated this over the weekend while displaying the impounded drums, loaded in three locally wooden boats before journalists in Warri. According to him, “the seizure was made by my men on Thursday, we acted on a tipoff, but they fled before we got there, so it was an abandoned

seizure.” He said since the Navy has zero level tolerance for oil theft, his men were instructed to set the siezed products ablaze. He further said that according to the pipeline vandalism and other criminal acts on the waterways and strategic performance mandate of the Chief of Naval Staff, the Navy in Warri would spare no effort to battle oil bunkerers and criminals on waterways. “The waterways in the state were relatively safe as sea pirates were relocating to other states because of the manhunt by security agents” Garba added.

UNMIL commander urges Nigerian troops to be of good behavior


igerian troops on Peacekeeping mission have been charged on the need to maintain a good corporate image for the country. The Commander of the Nigerian Contingent (NIGCON) and Sector Alpha of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), Brigadier General Kasimu Abdulkarim, gave the charge recently in Monrovia while addressing soldiers of Nigerian Battalion (NIBATT) 31 who were just inducted into the Mission Area. According to Abdulkarim, “Nigeria is bigger than all of us, so we must keep the flag flying. ”We must show that we are disciplined people, that have respect for Rule of Law.” He reminded the troops that they are operating in a multinational environment where there are a lot of contingents, and stressed that all eyes are on every contingent.

The Commander further advised the troops to ensure that they imbibed the rudiments of the Rules of Engagement which had been issued to them before their arrival, and apply them in the course of their operations in the mission area. Gen Abdulkarim maintained that the Nigerian Army, the United Nations as well as the host country have zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse; hence they must avoid every temptation of getting indulged in them. He also cautioned them on the use of UN vehicles, insisting that they must maintain the 60 kilometer per hour speed limit slated for driving within the city. Earlier, the Commander who was received on arrival by the Commanding Officer, NIBATT 31, Colonel Obinna Ajunwa, inspected the Quarter Guard mounted by soldiers of the NIBATT.

Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Ibrahim (l), with the leader of U.S House Armed Services Committee Congressional Delegation, Mr. Mac Thornberry during their visit to defence headquarters in Abuja recently

L-R: Chairman, Military Pension Board, Commodore Simon Audu, Perm Sec. Ministry of Defence, Aliyu Ismaila, duirng the latter’s courtesy visit.



Flood: Heed expert warnings, stop farming IFAD commits $88.5m to agric transformation on water ways, says Rima Basin MD Khaleed Yusuf is MD/CEO of the Rima Basin agenda, says Nwanze Engr Development Authority in Sokoto State. In this interview By Mohammed Kandi


he President of International Fund for A g r i c u l t u r a l Development (IFAD), Dr. Kanayo Nwanze has disclosed that his organisation has committed $88.5m into supporting Nigeria's Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA). Nwanze, according to a statement issued by Special Assistant on Media, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Olukayode Oyeleye, disclosed this at a recent meeting with the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina. The IFAD Boss, who expressed appreciation to the Federal Government of Nigeria for his re-election, said he was delighted at the assurance of progress of ATA's value chain development to which IFAD has committed the fund. He noted that IFAD would design ongoing projects in close collaboration with ATA. He assured that IFAD would remain focused on rural population in developing countries, particularly the rural agricultural population, for continued support. He

observed that, although IFAD's investment in poverty reduction is being reassessed, the organisation will, however, contribute - in the next three years - to moving 80 million people out of poverty, worldwide. Responding, the Minister, Dr. Adesina, commended Dr. Nwanze for decentralising IFAD's operations to the field. He said IFAD, as a development finance organisation, is making significant impact on smallholder farmers. He disclosed that ATA will reach 20 million farmers by 2015. He acknowledged that IFAD has supported Nigeria in community-based agricultural and rural development programme, working with seven states in the north, in which the financial support has been drawn down 100 per cent. In the south, the minister added, IFAD has supported in community-based natural resource management programme of $50 million worth. The beneficiary states, he said, will be urged to pay their own counterpart funding. According to Adesina, Dr. Nwanze was the first to be unanimously re-elected as president of IFAD, by acclamation.

Farmers shun fertilizerinduced crops


ollowing the delay in the supply of fertilisers, some farmers in Zaria, Kaduna State, have resorted to cultivating crops that do not require the application of chemical fertilisers. Some of the farmers made their position known in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Zaria recently. Malam Musa Dogara of Zaria-city, told NAN that, ``most of the farmers have shifted attention from cultivating fertiliser-inclined crops to those that require little or no fertiliser.'' He said that he did not cultivate maize in the last two years except for personal consumption due to nonavailability of fertilisers, adding that he, instead, shifted to soya-beans, groundnuts and guinea-corn. "Remember, the negative consequences of the delay would not only affect farmers,

but the entire nation. "We are into this farming business not only to feed ourselves but the country at large. However, in spite of our efforts, fertilisers are not forthcoming,'' he said. Dogara appealed to governments to endeavour to supply fertilisers before the commencement of the rainy season to enable farmers make judicious use of it for the good of the nation. Malam Mutawakkilu Rafinyashi, a peasant farmer, said the absence of the fertilisers had posed a great threat to farming as a business. "If you go round Zaria and other villages, you will see farmers busy gathering refuse and animal dung for use in their farmlands. "This is unusual, the rainy season had already commenced, therefore, we cannot afford to wait any longer," he added. (NAN)

with our correspondent, Mahmoud Muhammad, he spoke extensively on expert prediction about the 2013 flood, as well as the need for the North-West zone to heed professional warnings. Excerpts:


ima Basin D e v e l o p m e n t Authority and the ongoing level of preparation against the floods at Goronyo Dam? Basically, we have been warned several times regarding the intending flood. Although my colleague who is an expert and also versatile in terms of the integral operation of the dam, what we intend to do this year is that as sooner as we begin to perceive the symptoms or experience arriving flood, we will start releasing water gently. However, in doing that, we are appealing to all the communities residing within the downstream to desist from farming along the river valley. We must also warn that that anything that will interrupt free flow of water should be removed. While urging governments at both local and state to stop offering plots to individuals or companies along the river valley to allow for easy flow of water, any form of distractions that would hinder freeflow of water should be discouraged. The government must endeavor to at the end of raining seasons provide enough, safe and clean water for the communities around the area, as well as distribute same to various water boards within the state for consumption and irrigation purposes. Challenges encountered in the line of duty? In 2012, we have carried out enlightenment campaigns informing several communities

Engr Khaleed Yusuf that are residing along the river banks on likely floods before the flood that ravage some communities along the river valley came, but under the Sokoto Rima Basin Authority, we were able to reach out to the communities through our jungles, announcement and advertorials on both print and electronic media, and most especially through their traditional rulers among others. In fact, they listened to us whenever they may be and they responded quickly. And I assure you that perhaps today there is good working relationship between the Authority and the communities. They equally heeded our warnings.

Also, we contacted various stakeholders through other medium including the television by what we termed as a reminder for them as we do not want to experience similar situation this year. Assessment of Rima Basin Authority and the challenges facing it? We are trying our very best though we have our constraint along the line. But to say the truth yes, in fact, we were carrying out the vision which we met and today we are still putting the vision in to practice so that the dream of Rima Basin will be achieved as planned. I believe we are working towards the set goals and God willing we would get there. The economic potentials of the Sokoto Rima Basin Development Authority? Well, it might interest you to know that the Sokoto Rima Basin Development Authority has got tremendous economic potentials. A greater percentage of the people living in rural areas have benefited immensely from the establishment. However, when you look at the communities living in these areas you will realise that we have covered all the rural communities in the state and have already cross-over to the neighboring state. Traverse the rural areas within the Sokoto Rima Basin and you will find green areas with great potentials which would subsequently turn around the economic fortunes via agriculturevarious formation including livestocks, fisheries and others areas of food crops. So also the people when you go around basically their occupation today is more or less agriculture which include food production, but the youth are today not embracing farming activities and the mechanised system of farming which is today practicable everywhere around the world.

Jigawa Govt. distributes N670m loan to farmer


he Jigawa State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Alhaji Rabiu Isa, said the government has it disbursed N670 million loan to farmers in the state in the last two years. Isa, who disclosed this to the

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Dutse, the Jigawa State capital, said that, N400 million was disbursed to 3,800 smallholder farmers in the 27 local government areas of the state. He said the loan was an interest-free facility designed to

Some fertilizers to be distributed to the farmers in Jigawa State

enable farmers own assets and farming implements to encourage agricultural activity. He said the beneficiaries were provided with ox, bull carts and ploughs, adding, ``it is a soft loan facility given to the farmers and it will be repaid within 30 months. "Farmers are allowed to make choices on the type of asset they want to procure under the facility," he said. According to him, the state government has spent more than N270 million to facilitate distribution of 175 tractors to large scale farmers and farmers' associations. Isa said the tractors were also provided to the farmers under a soft loan facility with a 30month repayment period. The commissioner said the state government would, in collaboration with the Federal Government, establish a seed development centre to enhance access to hybrid seeds and other inputs by farmers. (NAN)



Adesina's Brazil visit, agricultural transformation agenda and the farmers By Mohammed Kandi


ecently, the Minister of Ag riculture and Rural Devel opment, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina led a team of agricultural experts to Brazil; seeking partnership that would consolidate Nigeria's already established plans and drive towards agriculture, as well as understanding of the techniques on how best the country could restore agriculture as the mainstay of the economy. Already, Nigeria's agricultural sector is experiencing a sweeping transformation in all the major crops which it produced, thanks to Adesina's Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA). But, observers said the entire sector required extra effort especially in providing effective, speedy and sustainable alternative means for the farmers to lift the country to a level of self-sufficiency in food production within the shortest possible time and partake greatly in quest to achieving global food security. While speaking at a conference in Brazil, Dr. Adesina was particularly impressed with the dramatic technological advancement accomplished by the country, and thus urged the Brazilian investors to partake in his regime's transformation in the sector. He noted that efforts were in top gear to change Nigeria's current status of mere subsistence farming and restore its long-lost capacity as net exporter of food. The goal of the transformation, he told the Brazilian investors in Sao Paulo, is to add 20 Million metric tons of food to the domestic food supply and create 3.5 Million jobs over a four year period, and to ensure that the goal was met, he said Nigeria has started to do agriculture differently by treating it as a business rather than a developmental project and allowing the private sector to lead the fight against hunger and poverty. Though the aggressive transformation by this regime had over past few years had inspired and restored more confidence in the farmers, analysts and agricultural experts who have examined the crux of the ATA believe that, the transformation agenda could thrive better if the country embraces biotechnology (BT) in its farming system like other countries on the continent have done. Adopting BT has not only proven most proficient for farmers across the globe, it has prompted an era of massive demand for high quality and diseaseresistant seeds, as well as, hybrid crops especially in most part of Africa. It is however imperative to note that BT is not entirely a new phenomenon as most farmers across the globe have in one way or another benefited greatly from BT driven farming systems, and it helped to develop agriculture to its current status, hence demonising it is purely mischievous. Biotechnology is simply the application of scientific techniques to modify and improve plants, animals, and microorganisms to enhance their value. Agricultural biotechnology is the area of biotechnology involving it applica-

R-L Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, (FMARD) Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, the Brazil Minister of Agriculture, Antonio Andrade and the President of Embrapa, Antonio Lopes. tions to agriculture. An example of traditional agricultural biotechnology is the development of disease-resistant wheat or maize or apple varieties by cross-breeding different types until the desired result or diseaseresistance is achieved in a resulting new variety. In the 1970s, some advances were made in the field of molecular biology by scientists with the ability to manipulate DNA-the chemical building blocks that specify the characteristics of living organisms-at the molecular level. This technology is called genetic engineering. It also allows transfer of DNA between more distantly related organisms than was possible with traditional breeding techniques. Apparently, event the Brazilian 'model' of agricultural governance that is seen to be favoured by more farmers and by several African government today owe its success to a large extent to BT, even though it might not work out perfectly for other nations for some socio-political and economic reasons. Like Nigeria, Brazil is endowed with vast agricultural resources. In Brazil, there are two distinct agricultural areas. The first, which composed of the southern one-half to two-thirds of the country, has a semi-temperate climate, higher


rainfall, more fertile soil, more advanced technology and input use, adequate infrastructure, and more experienced farmers. This region produces most of Brazil's grains and oilseeds and export crops. The other region, which located in the drought-ridden north-east in the Amazon basin, lacks well-distributed rainfall, fertile soil, adequate infrastructure, and sufficient development capital. Although mostly occupied by subsistence farmers, both regions are increasingly important as exporters of forest products, cocoa, and tropical fruits. Central Brazil contains substantial areas of grassland with only scattered trees. The Brazilian grasslands are far less fertile than those of North America, and are generally more suited for grazing. Brazilian agriculture is well diversified, and the country is largely self-sufficient in food production. Its agriculture accounts for 8% of the country's GDP, and employs about one-quarter of the labour force in more than 6 million agricultural enterprises. Brazil is the world's largest producer of sugarcane and coffee, and a net exporter of cocoa, soybeans, orange juice, tobacco, forest products, and other tropical fruits and nuts. Incidentally, it took Brazil several years of hard work, persever-

Although there is nothing wrong with adopting modernism of any sort in expedition for achieving development, the structure must be seen to be people-friendly and acceptable;

ance, consistent policies and firm adherence to principles of political will to reach that status, and any country that intends to adopt similar system must possess same qualities or tour the same path to achieve all that Brazil had accomplished in its agriculture. Although the Brazilian model has no doubt proven promising for other nation as though to Brazil itself, the question here is how African agriculture can best benefit from these models? Or will the policy annulled visions of development that has given rise to inconsistencies in the practices that can compromise the outcomes of Brazilian development interventions? It has been observed that Brazil has suddenly found a goldmine in some part of Africa and that with the emphasis of Brazilian agricultural development cooperation in Africa, currently placed so strappingly on productivity and technological modernisation, alternative framings from within Brazil's own agrarian and social policy debates have been left behind as the country makes its leap into Africa. This however implies that the incursion of Brazilian cooperation on the scene may not reinforce the narratives of propoor development and bottom-up participation that have dominated western development discourse, despite these narratives' affinities with other strands of Brazilian policy and practice. Ultimately, the outcomes of Brazil's emergence as a major force in African agriculture will be shaped not only by the contestations among Brazilian actors over which agricultural develop-

ment model to privilege, but above all by the ways in which African governments, farmers, entrepreneurs and civil society activists absorb and shape the application of the models on offer. However, Dr. Adesina's acquiescence was largely in search for a common good for the farmer, nothing more, even as he hinted that part of the nittygritty of the partnership with Brazil is to utilise the size of Nigeria's agriculture that has the potentials of generating as much as $99Billion a year. "We want to grow that to about $256Billion annually, but we should not wait till 10 years or 20 years before seeking credible partnership with those whose history is in sync with Nigeria's," he expressed, believing that Nigeria has a lot to learn from Brazil experience in order to achieve the purpose of ATA. Adesina listed the key areas in which he believed Nigeria and Brazil could work together for the country to reach the zenith, including horticulture, beef, mechanisation, soybean, cassava, maize and ethanol. Although there is nothing wrong with adopting modernism of any sort in expedition for achieving development, the structure must be seen to be people-friendly and acceptable; it must rhyme with their development patterns and translate into appreciable progress for the people (farmers) who should really benefit from those compositions.



Infertility and use of laptops: Any medical perspective?

flooding victims By Ifeanyi Nwoko


n the modern world, one of the most important gadgets is the laptop computer, as the portable computer plays a vital role in people's daily interactions nowadays. Historical records have it that one of the first commercially viable laptop computers was invented by Adam Osborne in 1981; it was then called the Osborne I and it cost 1,795 U.S. dollars. Nevertheless, Osborne I, which had a lot programs, also had a tiny computer screen built into it was not really a laptop in the modern sense, as it weighed 23.5lb (about 10.6 kg). In recent times, laptop computers now weigh as low as 3.1lb (about 1.5kg) and they come in different shapes and sizes. Laptops are now very popular among the youth and even the elderly, as it is now becoming trendy to carry laptops. However, concerned analysts continue to wonder if there are any health or environmental implications that could crop up from the use of this innovative gadget. Dr Kayode Oladeji, a Consultant Gynaecologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), insists that the placement of laptops on laps could cause infertility in men. He says that the practice tends to explain the rising wave of infertility among men nowadays, as a result of laptop use. Laptop computers are usually placed on the people's laps when in use and this trend worries Oladeji most, as he claims that the heat from laptops tend to affect men's scrotum. He claims that the prolonged placement of a laptop on a man's laps will trigger an increase in the temperature of his nether region (the area between a humans legs), stressing that this will consequently affect the quality of his sperm. The heat emitted from laptops could increase the temperature in the scrotal area and affect the sperm; it could damage the male reproductive organ. When you place your laptop on your lap; there is a huge heat emanating from it. Within 10 or 15 minutes, the scrotal temperature can be above the level we consider safe because of the heat. ``Under normal circumstances, the position of the testicles outside the body is cooler than inside the body and this is necessary for sperm production. ``If you want to keep things cool below

the waist, you better start placing your laptop on the table instead of your lap,'' Oladeji says. Sharing similar sentiments, Dr George Mark, a radiologist at the Living Spring Hospital, Lagos, says that placing laptops on the laps can be injurious to a man's reproductive health. He stresses that the heat which laptops generate can hinder sperm production and development, thereby making it difficult for a man's sperm to fertilise a woman's egg during copulation. Mark stresses that that laptops should always be placed on the desk to prevent any form of harm to a person's body. ``While the laptop may be making us more efficient in the workplace, when it comes to expanding the family unit, laptops may make us inefficient by reducing our sperm count. ``In the meantime, it may be worth placing your laptop on a table or moving it far away from your testicles so as to increase your chances of having children," he says. Explaining the heat generation process in laptops, Mr Ahmed Omowale, a software and hardware engineer, insists that any device that uses energy of whatever form must definitely produce heat. Omowale says that in the case of the computer, the central processing unit (CPU), the graphic card, the motherboard, hard drives and the power supply are the main sources of the greatest heat. ``The average laptop produces about 65 degrees Celsius of heat while in use but this figure varies, as some laptops can produce as much as 90 to 100 degrees Celsius. ``I don't know the effects of this on the human genitals but I can assure that any heat above 60 degrees Celsius is not safe

for the computer's CPU; it burns out the CPU if not controlled. ``Your computer should register around 60 degrees Celsius. If it generates around 80 to 100 degrees Celsius, you need to have your laptop checked," he says. One then tends to wonder what the normal body temperature should be and what body temperature is required for sperm production. Dr Mathew Akagu of the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, explains that there is no specific body temperature that is considered absolutely normal. He expatiates that the body temperature varies with respect to different areas of the body, the time of day and the previous activity of a person before the temperature check. ``Different parts of the body have different temperatures; rectal and vaginal measurements or measurements taken inside the body cavity are usually slightly higher than oral measurements. ``Oral measurements are somewhat higher than skin temperature but the average body temperature taken within the body is 37 degrees Celsius. ``Oral measurements are usually cooler at about 36.8 degrees Celsius with a variation of plus or minus 0.4 degrees Celsius. ``In healthy adults, body temperature fluctuates at about 0.5 degree Celsius throughout the day, with lower temperatures in the morning and higher temperatures in the late afternoon and evening," he says. As a result, Dr Jawa Muhammad, a Consultant in Nuclear Medicine and Radiology, also underscores the need to exercise caution while placing laptops on the laps. Muhammed says that this is because the normal temperature required for


Exposure of pregnant women to laptop heat could also cause some congenital problems for the unborn child; such problems include absence of fingers, eyes or deformity in some parts of the body

sperm production should be one degree less than the body temperature. ``Therefore, the body structure ensures the suspension of the testis outside the body so that the testis temperature will always be one degree less than the body temperature. ``When you place your laptop regularly your lap, there is huge heat emanating from the laptop, and this can adversely affect the male testes and scrotum, thereby leading to infertility.' ``The optimum temperature that is suitable for production of sperm cells should always be one degree less than the body temperature,'' he says. Muhammed notes that testicles are in a flexible skin tissue, adding that whenever the temperature is extremely high, the skin of the scrotum becomes loose, thus allowing heat to damage the sperm. The consultant also says that the health risks are not limited to men alone, as the female ovaries are also very sensitive to heat. He emphasises that intense temperature could affect the development of eggs, as the process requires low temperatures. ``Heat damages the eggs, causes deformity to the ovary and hinders fertility in women. ``Exposure of pregnant women to laptop heat could also cause some congenital problems for the unborn child; such problems include absence of fingers, eyes or deformity in some parts of the body," he says. Muhammad insists that the best way to ensure safety is to put the laptop about 50cm to 100cm away from the genital area of men. He also warns people against the habit of spending too much of time on any electronic device because of the health implications. Also speaking on the potential harm which the heat from laptops could cause, Dr Chris Agboghoroma, a Consultant Obstetrician and Gyneacologis, says that the heat could damage a man's testes. He, nonetheless, underscores the need for young men to undergo routine testicular check-ups, adding that such checks should entail physical examination of the groin and genital organs -- the penis, scrotum and testicles. ``These checks would help to detect the presence of lumps and swellings, as well as shrinking of the testicles, among others. ``It could also help in the detection of testicular cancer in its early stages," he says. Agboghoroma recommends that men should conduct self-examination of their groin during or after a bath, particularly when the skin of the scrotum is relaxed. He says that during such examinations, the testicles should be checked one at a time, by holding the testis with both hands and rolling it gently between the fingers. Dr Esele Samuel, a medical practitioner at the National Hospital, Abuja also warns men to desist from placing laptops on their laps because of the dangers inherent in such practice. He, however, insists that apart from the laptop heat, the wearing of tight underwear also heightens heat around the scrotal area and hampers production of sperm. While Dr Habeeb Tijani, a Consultant Urologist at LUTH, notes that cases of infertility is now on the increase, Dr Adeniji Adewunmi, a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, attributes 40 per cent of infertility cases to men. In a nutshell, such claims tend to reinforce the need for people to refrain from placing laptops on their laps. Observers, nonetheless, stress the need for increased sensitisation of the people to the potential health risks of placing laptops on the lap. Source: NAN



Governments can no longer shirk human rights responsibility ANALYSIS By SalilShetty


he idea is simple: all people are born free and equal in dignity and rights. No exceptions. Yet, in the 65 years since the modern human rights movement was born from the ashes of World War II, some rights have been seen as more crucial than others. Civil and political rights have been prioritised over economic, social and cultural rights. Governments have ignored their obligations to promote the right to education, health, housing, food and a living wage. Numerous promises of overseas direct aid have been broken. Governments claim lack of resources and argue they are not responsible. They have allowed responsibility for helping those living in poverty to fall on charitable organisations, while continuing to invest in military assistance. There is nothing inevitable about poverty, and income disparity is not just a matter of numbers. They are a consequence of laws, policies and practices of governments; an indicator of whether a state is committed to promoting equality. Those that reject the principle of equality do so knowing that they are placing individual lives at risk. Vast numbers of people globally are denied their rights to adequate housing, food, water, sanitation, health, work and education due to lack of political will rather than lack of resources. Every 90 seconds, a woman or girl dies over pregnancy related complications complications that can be treated. Lack of investment in health care services and entrenched discriminatory attitudes towards women mean that countless women die - women who could have easily been saved. Each day, thousands of people move to slums because they have no other options. In some cases they were forcibly evicted from their land. In other cases, the failure of the government to address environmental degradation means that they had to move to survive. On current trends, 1.4 billion people will live in slums by 2020.

This tapestry replica of Picasso's 'Guernica' was formerly displayed in the United Nations' New York headquarters. Cultural rights will now be treated by the UN with the same importance as political rights [GALLO/GETTY] It is impossible for people who are poor to be treated equally before the law and difficult for those who are ill and without access to healthcare to participate actively in society. And yet, despite their neglect, these rights are enshrined in the United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; a treaty that has been ratified by 160 states and has the same status under international law as other human rights - such as the right to a fair trial and the right to free speech. Amnesty International can point to many examples

where governments routinely flout international law protecting these rights, such as in Nigeria, where the local government in Port Harcourt on August 28, 2009, ignored a court order and demolished a waterfront settlement, leaving more than 13,000 people homeless; or in Slovenia, where many Roma families living in informal settlements are denied access to water and sanitation. From segregated education of schoolchildren in Europe to the lack of access to reproductive health care for women in Africa and the Americas, the list goes on. Access to justice and an


effective remedy is essential for victims of all human rights violations and a new hope is on offer to victims of these violations. On May 5, the Optional Protocol to the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights came into force. Ten countries - from Ecuador and Argentina to Spain and Portugal - have accepted the new mechanism, enabling individuals and groups to seek justice from the United Nations should their economic, social or cultural rights be violated and an effective remedy in their own country be unavailable.

Despite this significant step, not a single African country is currently party to the protocol, while Mongolia is the only Asian country to ratify it. Worldwide, just ten of the 160 countries that are in a position to ratify the protocol have done so.

Almost 40 years after the equivalent protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights came into force we have finally achieved parity between the two treaties and given true meaning to the principle of indivisibility and interrelatedness of all rights that found expression in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Despite this significant step, not a single African country is currently party to the protocol, while Mongolia is the only Asian country to ratify it. Worldwide, just ten of the 160 countries that are in a position to ratify the protocol have done so. I congratulate the first ten countries that have ratified the protocol, but all other states must follow. For human rights to be truly achieved, everyone whose rights are violated, whether civil and political or economic, social or cultural, must have an effective remedy. The legacy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights demands no less. Source: Al Jazeera



Third ECOWAS Parliament has shown uncommon energy, vision - Ekwerenmadu Libya bans exGaddafi officials from office


ibya's parliament has voted to ban anyone who held a senior position during Muammar Gaddafi's 42-year rule from government, a move which could unseat the prime minister and other top officials regardless of their part in toppling the dictator. Politicians debated the draft law for months, but the issue came to a head this week when heavily armed groups took control of two ministries and stormed other institutions including the state broadcaster. The decision to hold the vote under duress could embolden the armed groups to use force again to assert their will over parliament. Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, a diplomat under Gaddafi who defected to the exiled opposition in 1980, could be among those barred from office, although this remained unclear and a parliament spokesman said it would be decided by a committee charged with implementing the law. "Being unjust to a few is better than defeating the whole objective of the law," said one of the hundreds who filled Tripoli's main square to celebrating the passage of the law, many of them shooting guns into the air. Nearly two years after Gaddafi was overthrown, the fighters who fought to end his 42-year dictatorship are refusing to lay down their arms and go back to civilian life - militia members are more visible than Libyan state forces in the capital. The cabinet and Libya's official armed forces are so weak that swathes of the oil-producing desert country remain outside central government control. A spokesman for parliament admitted it was unclear whether the vote would be enough to dislodge the armed men from their positions outside the government buildings. "We hope the siege of the ministries will stop now, but it is not in our hands," Omar Hmaiden, General National Congress spokesman, said after the vote. More than a dozen vehicles mounted with anti-aircraft weapons and machine guns remained parked outside the justice ministry, and the foreign ministry has been similarly encircled for a week. One of the men stationed by a machine gun in front of the justice ministry said the group came from different areas close to the capital Tripoli, and ahead of the vote vowed they would stay until the prime minister had been forced from office. "We have been asking them to deal with Gaddafi's friends for a year," he said.

By Abdulkadir Isa


peaker of ECOWAS Parliament and Nigeria's deputy senate president, Senator Ike Ekwerenmadu has expressed satisfaction at the level of vision and energy demonstrated by the third parliament in achieving a united sub-region. Ekwerenmadu stated this yesterday while delivering his welcome address to the representatives of the Parliament during the first ordinary session held at the Commissions' secretariat, Abuja. He said the enhancement of powers of the community parliament which the present legislature is seeking, was not meant to diminish the relevance of the community, but to further emerge as a more "responsible community". The Ecowas Speaker then noted the support the parliament has been receiving stressing that, "one of the demonstrations of this support and solidarity was the setting up of the Multidisciplinary Expert Meeting of ECOWAS member states on the enhancement of powers of the ECOWAS Parliament". While expressing optimism that "the powers of the community parliament will be enhanced in the lifetime of this third legislature" Ekwerenmadu

however reminded the gathering that "we must neither despair nor slumber until we achieve our goal. "Every member of parliament should continue to see him or herself as an ambassador of this project. We must deploy all individual and institutional resources available to us, including parliamentary diplomacy, towards the actualisation of the project".

Also speaking at the event, executive secretary of the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) Dr, FrannieLeautier, disclosed that the legislative body would be in sync with best practice in the evolution of regional legislative bodies, adding that the "effort being made by the leadership of the ECOWAS Parliament to transform this important institution from advisory body

to and effective legislative body" is commendable. Leautier, furthermore showed appreciation to the leadership of the parliament over the on-going direct universal suffrage for election to the parliament as it will ensure active citizens' involvement in the work of the parliament. He therefore reiterated the commitment of his foundation towards the continued support to the parliament with a view to enhance the capacity of parliamentarians.

Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Ike Ekwerenmadu

Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta to meet UK's David Cameron


enya's President and ICC indicteeUhuru Kenyatta will meet UK Prime Minister David Cameron during a three-day visit to London, his office says. A Kenyan rights group has condemned the visit - his first to a Western nation since his election in March. The UK had said it would maintain only essential contact with Mr Kenyatta, but has invited him to London to

attend a conference on the Somalia conflict. He denies International Criminal Court charges of crimes against humanity. The charges relate to Mr Kenyatta's alleged role in violence that killed about 1,000 people after the disputed 2007 election. He is due to appear at the ICC for his trial in The Hague in July. Mr Kenyatta beat then-

Mr Kenyatta is charged with crimes against humanity

Prime Minister RailaOdinga by 50.07% to 43.28% in the March election. In a statement, Mr Kenyatta's office said he had arrived in London on Monday morning. "During the visit, President Kenyatta will attend the London conference on Somalia and also hold bilateral meetings with UK Prime Minister David Cameron and other UK government officials," it added. The executive director of Kenya's International Center for Policy and Conflict lobby group, Ndung'uWainaina, said the invitation to Mr Kenyatta "betrays the agenda" of the S o m a l i a conference, which is to root out impunity and insecurity. The BBC's Karen Allen says the UK had been agonising about how to invite Mr Kenyatta without losing face after warning before the election that it would have only

"essential contact" with him if he was voted into power. UK officials note that Mr Kenyatta is co-operating with the court - unlike Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir. A UK foreign office spokesman said it was "right" that Kenya should be represented at the conference and that this did constitute "essential contact". Kenya provides nearly 5,000 troops to an African Union (AU) force in Somalia and is the UK's most important ally in East Africa, our correspondent says. Delegates from more than 50 countries and international organisations are expected to attend the conference on Tuesday. It follows a similar conference hosted by Mr Cameron last year to help Somalia rebuild itself. The al-Qaeda-linked militant group al-Shabab lost control of Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, to AU and Somali government forces in 2011. However, it still controls many rural areas and has carried out a series of bombings in Mogadishu. Piracy is also a major problem off Somalia's coast.



Blast at election rally kills 15 in Pakistan

Asia and Middle East

JamiatUlema-eIslam religious party wounded 40 people, said the officials. Since April, the Pakistani Taliban have killed more than 70 people in attacks targeting three major political parties, preventing many of their most prominent candidates from openly campaigning.

But the militant group has targeted moderate parties in their bid to undermine the May 11 general election, not religious ones like the JamiatUlema-e- Islam. One official said a suicide bomber blew himself at the gathering. There was no claim of responsibility.

making use of sarin gas". She acknowledged there was "still not irrefutable proof, [but] very strong suspicions, concrete suspicions that sarin gas has been used... by opponents, by rebels, not by government authorities." Her comments come amid growing Western suspicions that President Bashar al-Assad's regime has used chemical weapons and follow Israeli raids on military sites near Damascus over the weekend. The Free Syrian Army (FSA) swiftly denied the claim that rebel forces had used chemical arms. Speaking to Al Jazeera, SaleemEdris, FSA chief of staff, said he considered the remarks a "huge injustice" and "provocation" to the Syrian people. The Syrian regime and rebels

have both accused each other of using chemical weapons, which are banned under international law. A US official said on Monday that the US has no information that rebels have the capability or intent to use sarin. Del Ponte, a former Swiss attorney-general who also served as prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, gave no details as to when or where sarin may have been used. Set up two years ago at the behest of the UN Human Rights Council, the commission has so far been unable to gain access to Syria as Damascus has ignored repeated requests for entry. Instead, it has interviewed more than 1,500 refugees and exiles as a basis for its reports and


blast at an election rally organized by a religious party in Pakistan killed 15 people on Monday, officials said. The attack at a gathering of members of the

The polls mark the first time that an election is being held to decide on a transition between civilian governments. The military has ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 66-year history, either through coups or from behind the scenes. But the Taliban violence

has marred the election, with some candidates afraid to campaign. The attack in the Kurram region, an ethnic Pashtun area near the Afghan border, will raise questions about whether the Taliban have expanded their campaign beyond moderate parties.

No clear proof of Syria chemical arms use- UN


UN team of investigators into rights abuses in Syria has stressed there is no conclusive proof of either side in the conflict using chemical weapons, despite a team member's claims to the contrary. "The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic wishes to clarify that it has not reached conclusive findings as to the use of chemical weapons in Syria by any parties to the conflict," the commission said in a statement on Monday. Earlier, Carla del Ponte, a former war crimes prosecutor and a member of the commission, had told Swiss public broadcaster RSI that "according to the testimonies we have gathered, the rebels have used chemical weapons,

Russia, China express alarm after Israel hits Syria Israeli soldiers walk near tanks close to the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria on the Israeli occupied Golan Heights. Credit: Reuters/Baz Ratner


ussia and China expressed alarm on Monday over the regional repercussions of two Israeli air raids on Syria, while Israel played down strikes which its officials said targeted Iranian missiles bound for Lebanese Hezbollah militants. Oil prices spiked above $105 a barrel, their highest in nearly a month, on Monday morning as the air strikes on Friday and Sunday prompted fears of a wider spillover of Syria's two-year-old civil war that could affect Middle East oil exports. Israel, who's prime minister visited China on Monday in a sign of business-as-usual, sought to persuade Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday that the air strikes did not aim to weaken him and dismissed the prospects of an escalation. "There are no winds of war," Yair

Prosecutor, Carla del Ponte its charges that both the government forces and their allies and opposition forces have carried out war crimes in Syria,

Netanyahu and Abbas in separate China visits


Golan, the general commanding Israeli forces on the Syrian and Lebanese fronts, told reporters while out jogging with troops. "Do you see tension? There is no tension. Do I look tense to you?" he said, according to the Maariv NRG news website. The attacks hit targets manned by Assad's elite troops in the Barada River valley and Qasioun Mountain, residents, activists and opposition military sources said. They included a compound linked to Syria's chemical weapons program, air defenses and Republican Guards' facilities, the sources said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 42 soldiers were killed and 100 more were missing, while other opposition sources put the death toll at 300

soldiers. Russia said it was concerned the chances of foreign military intervention in Syria were growing, suggesting its worry stemmed in part from media reports about the alleged use of chemical weapons in the conflict that has killed 70,000 people. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said the reported air strikes "caused particular alarm". "The further escalation of armed confrontation sharply increases the risk of creating new areas of tension, in addition to Syria, in Lebanon, and the destabilization of the so-far relatively calm atmosphere on the Lebanese-Israeli border."

where the UN says more than 70,000 people have been killed since the uprising began in March 2011.

ahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, and Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, are both visiting China and will separately hold talks with senior government officials. Abbas, who arrived on Sunday, met his host President Xi Jinping on Monday during a welcome ceremony in Beijing. The two presidents inspected the guard of honour on the Tiananmen Square before a meeting in the Great Hall of the People. Abbas, whose trip will last three days, later met with Li Keqiang, the Chinese prime minister. Netanyahu arrived on Monday in the commercial capital of Shanghai, where he will meet business leaders, and fly to Beijing later for talks with Chinese

leaders. It is not clear whether Netanyahu will meet Abbas. Xi praised Abbas for his role in leading the Palestinian people to important achievements and vowed to have a thorough exchange of views with his counterpart. Abbas told Xi that bilateral relations have continued to develop since China became the first country to set up an office on the Palestinian territory in the 1960s. The two leaders witnessed the signing of a framework for economic cooperation and an agreement for cultural exchanges between the two governments from 2013 to 2016. China has traditionally had a low profile in Middle East diplomacy, but is keen to assert its role as a key player in international politics.

President Mahmoud Abbas met Prime Minister Li Keqiang, right, after holding talks with President Xi Jinping [AFP]



Europe and Americas Hungary PM vows to fight anti-Semitism


ungary's prime minister told an international assembly of Jews that his government has declared "zero tolerance" on anti-Semitism, but those gathered said he has failed to confront the country's largest far-right party. Addressing the opening session of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), on Sunday, Prime Minister Viktor Orban acknowledged that antiSemitism was on the rise both in Europe and Hungary, attributing it partly to the economic crisis affecting the region. "Anti-Semitism is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated," Orban told about 600 delegates at the meeting, adding that it was his government's "moral duty to declare zero tolerance on anti-Semitism." While attendees applauded some parts of Orban's speech on Sunday, the WJC also expressed its disappointment that he had not specifically talked about the country's third biggest political force, the farright Jobbik party. "The prime minister did not confront the true nature of the problem, the threat posed by the antiSemites in general and by the extreme-right Jobbik party in particular," the WJC said in a statement. "We regret that Mr Orban did not address any recent anti-Semitic or racist incidents in the country, nor did he provide sufficient reassurance that a clear line has been drawn between his government and the farright fringe." Leaders of the far-right Hungarian party accused Israelis of plotting to buy up the country amid protests by several hundred nationalists on the eve of the meeting in Budapest. Senior figures from the opposition Jobbik party, which has 43 seats in the 386-member parliament, said that Israeli President Shimon Peres had praised Jews for buying property in Hungary. They said the WJC had decided to hold its four-yearly gathering in Budapest to shame the Hungarian people. The WJC, which normally holds its worldwide assembly in Jerusalem, said it chose Hungary this time to highlight the rise of far-right groups and anti-Semitism in Europe. More than half a million Hungarian Jews were killed in the Holocaust. "The Israeli conquerors, these investors, should look for another country in the world for themselves because Hungary is not for sale," Gabor Vona, Jobbik chairman, told the rally near the neo-Gothic parliament along the Danube River. MartonGyongyosi, a Jobbik member of parliament, told the crowd: "Our country has become subjugated to Zionism, it has become a target of colonisation while we, the indigenous people, can play only the role of extras." Michael Thaidigsmann, WJC spokesman, said the public nature of the protest was troubling.

Neo-Nazi trial opens in Germany


n alleged member of a German neo-Nazi cell has gone on trial in Munich in connection with a series of racially motivated murders. BeateZschaepe, 38, is accused of being part of the National Socialist Underground (NSU), which killed 10 people, mostly of Turkish background. She denies the murder charges. After entering court, she stood with folded arms and turned her back on the camera. The case sparked controversy as police wrongly blamed the Turkish mafia. The head of Germany's domestic intelligence service was eventually forced to resign over the scandal. It also emerged that intelligence files on far-right extremists were destroyed after the cell's activities came to light. Four male defendants are also on trial with Ms Zschaepe, facing lesser charges of having helped the NSU. She faces life in prison if convicted. Critics have accused authorities of turning a blind eye to the crimes of right-wing extremists, the BBC'S Steve Evans reports from Munich. Officials deny this, saying mistakes occurred because the

murders were spread across different regions, each with different police and security agencies. The killings took place over a seven-year period, and none of the victims or locations was high-profile. Ethnic Turkish community groups and anti-racism campaigners demonstrated outside the courthouse on Monday

demanding justice. Some suspect the police of institutional racism, which may have helped the neoNazis to act with impunity, our correspondent says. Before the trial got under way a large crowd of journalists had gathered outside, along with dozens of people hoping to get seats in the court. About 500 police officers were deployed and nearby streets

BeateZschaepe(M) appears in court amid tight security.

Uribe 'to take Maduro to court'

Colombia. Mr Maduro also implied Mr Uribe could have been involved in the killing of a Venezuelan journalist. Mr Uribe's lawyer (M) wants Venezuela's Maduro investigated for libel if he enters Colombia


ormer Colombian president Alvaro Uribe says he will take Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to the InterAmerican Commission for Human Rights.

were cordoned off. Ms Zschaepe is charged with complicity in the murders of eight ethnic Turks, a Greek immigrant and a German policewoman between 2000 and 2007, as a founding member of the NSU. She is also accused of involvement in 15 armed robberies, of arson, and of attempted murder via two bomb attacks.

Mr Maduro's accusation that Mr Uribe had plotted to assassinate him had put the Colombian's life at risk, his lawyer said. Mr Uribe's lawyer said he also wanted a libel investigation in

The Venezuelan leader said on Friday he had evidence that rightwing Venezuelan politicians were involved in a plot masterminded by Mr Uribe. But Mr Uribe - a fierce critic of the late President Hugo Chavez dismissed Mr Maduro's accusation as "immature". On Sunday, Mr Uribe's lawyer issued a statement saying the former president's "life and bodily integrity" had been put at risk. "In the next few hours I will appeal to the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights to ask for precautionary measures in favour of the former President Alvaro Uribe every time Mr Maduro's actions put his life and bodily integrity at risk," wrote the lawyer, Jaime Granados Pena. He said he would also ask Colombia's Attorney General's office

for a special petition to investigate Mr Maduro for libel if he enters the country. The statement also said the accusations were the acts of "a desperate person who holds power illegitimately" and wanted to "divert the attention from the corruption and illegality sponsored by the dictatorship he runs." For its part, the Venezuelan government also accused an American national, Timothy Tracy, of funding opposition protests to "destabilise the country with the goal of starting a civil war". US President Barack Obama dismissed the accusations as "ridiculous", while Mr Maduro hit back calling him the "grand chief of devils". Since taking over from the late President Hugo Chavez as acting president and even after winning disputed elections last month, Mr Maduro denounced a string of alleged conspiracies in Venezuela.

Moscow anti-Putin rally draws thousands


housands of people have gathered for a rally in Moscow to mark the anniversary of a confrontation between opposition activists and police. Opposition leaders put the number of people in Bolotnaya Square at up to 50,000, though police said the figure was about a tenth of that. Last year's clashes erupted in the square before President Vladimir Putin's swearing-in. Of those allegedly involved, 28 have been charged and two so far convicted. Preparations for the anniversary rally were marred by the death of a man who was crushed by sound equipment. The man was helping to build a stage when the heavy equipment fell on top of him.

"The whole square is full. There are tens of thousands of us," prominent opposition figure Boris Nemtsov told people crammed into the square. A correspondent for the Echo Moscow radio station made an early estimate of 16,000-17,000 people. Police were quoted as estimating the attendance at between 5,000 and 7,000. An opposition banner was unfurled at the top of an apartment block in New Arbatstreet, a major avenue in central Moscow. It read: "Freedom for the 6 May prisoners." Two activists - Maxim Luzyanin and Konstantin Lebedev - were jailed for deliberately plotting to foment unrest at the Bolotnaya clash a year ago. Others are still awaiting trial. Opposition leaders dismiss the

notion of a plot, arguing that the authorities provoked the clash. In many ways, the events of 6 May last year set the tone for Mr Putin's

Protesters in Moscow

third presidential term, says the BBC's Steve Rosenberg in Moscow. The Russian authorities used it to crack down on political opponents.



Bamboo Keyboards and mice are the new rage in China A

pparently, one of the globe's biggest polluters has found an environment friendly alternative to plastic keyboards and mice. Bamboo keyboards and mice are not exactly new on the market, and I'm sure you've come across all sorts of wooden peripheral concepts online. Jiangxi Bamboo Technology Development Co. Ltd., the only bamboo peripherals manufacturer in China, says their products have become increasingly popular at a national level, after they've been successfully exported to markets in Europe and America. Production of bamboo keyboards and mice began in 2008, but until early 2009, they've only been shipped to foreign countries. But ever since franchised stores opened in Shanghai and Ningbo, China can't get enough of its environment-friendly

peripherals. Judging from the photos, the Chinese aren't stopping at just bamboo keyboards and mice, they're taking it a step further, with bamboo encased LCD displays.

via Gadgetonian (photos by ImagineChina)

New Sega Toyletlets you play with your pee


he SEGA Corporation has released a wacky toilet prototype, called SEGA Toylet, that lets you play video games with your urine stream. Just when you thought Japanese toilets couldn't get any weirder, right? Since the conventional gaming industry is getting pretty crowded these days, Japanese video gaming giant decided to try its luck in a whole new, untapped niche toilet gaming. It actually isn't s stupid as it sounds; whether they try to clean the toilet bowl with their stream, or aim it at a certain point, for some reason guys can't help play with their urine stream, so why not capitalize on that?

The SEGA Toylet features a pressure sensor strategically placed in the public urinal, and a small display that shows the data from the sensor in the form of video games. So far, SEGA has come up with four games for their toilet entertainment system: Graffiti eraser in which‌"gamers" have to control their urine stream to erase virtual graffiti drawings on the display;The North Wing and Her - in which your urine is displayed as a horny little wind trying to blow the dress off a girl;Milk from Nose - a multiplayer video game that compares the strength of the person's urine stream strength to that of the previous user. The animation features two guys blowing milk out of their noses trying to push each other out of a ring;MannekinPis named after the famous sculpture of a boy peeing, in Brussels, this game shows the user how much liquid he urinated. SEGA Toylets are currently available at select locations across Japan, until January 31st. The Japanese developer stated it has no concrete plans to mass produce these funny toilets, but it's Japan, so you never know.

Scooter-riding dog becomes internet sensation


orman, a 20-months-old Briard, has become quite the online star, after his owners posted videos of him riding a scooter. The incredible canine who lives with the Cobb family, in Canton, Georgia, started playing with a razor scooter in the backyard, when he was a pup. Karen Cobb says they saw him playing around with it and decided to give him a ride on it. He seemed to like it, so they tried to teach him to push

it on his own. Now, Norman loves riding his favorite toy as often as he can. Norman is a very clever dog; he got his Companion Dog Title when he was just 15 months old, and is a regular at canine obedience competitions. In fact, the French Briard breed is known for talents like search and rescue, police work, guarding and herding. Throughout history, they've been loyal companions to important figures like

Napoleon Bonaparte or Thomas Jefferson. After the Cobbs posted videos of him riding around on a scooter, Norman quickly became an Internet sensation and is now one of the most popular friends on Facebook and has made an appearance on Stupid Pet Tricks on The Late Show with David Letterman. S o u r c





Children who play outside have better eyesight By Rachel Reilly


hildren who spend more time playing outside are less likely to suffer from short-sightedness. Two new studies have added to the body of evidence that daylight plays an important role in preventing the condition. It is not known why daylight is important but some experts believe levels of the brain chemical dopamine play a role. High levels of dopamine in the eyeball have been associated with a lower risk of shortsightedness. Short-sightedness, or myopia, is an eye condition that causes a person to see things clearly close-up but struggle to see things when they are far away. In childhood it is correctable, but it is also linked to the development of severe forms of the eye disorder in adulthood, which increases the risks for potentially blinding diseases such as glaucoma and retinal detachment. Research on shortsightedness is intensifying as the condition nears epidemic status in Asia and other regions, primarily in developed countries.

Until recently it was thought that short-sightedness was inherited, but scientists are discovering that other factors, such as sunlight exposure, play a role Shockingly, it has increased by more than 65 per cent since 1970 in the U.S.. Although it often inherited, researchers are now assessing environmental factors to help explain why rates are rising so rapidly in some populations. The Taiwanese study observed 333 students who spent their break between lessons in the playground. These children, many of whom had formerly

Of the children who played outside, significantly fewer became short-sighted or shifted toward short-sightedness, compared with the control school

spent recess indoors, now spent a total of 80 minutes per day outdoors. A nearby school acted as the control group because children were not forced to spend their break outdoors. Students at both schools received eye examinations at the study outset and one year later. The results showed that significantly fewer children became short-sighted or shifted toward short-sightedness in the

school that required outdoor breaks, compared with the control school. The researchers recommended that primary schools should add frequent breaks and other outdoor activities to their daily schedules to help protect children's eye development and vision. 'Because children spend a lot of time in school, a school-based intervention [such as an outdoors break] is a direct and

Taiwanese scientists are suggesting enforced outdoor playtimes would help stem the growing number of children who suffer with shortsightedness. The condition has rocketed by nearly 65% since 1970 in the U.S.

practical way to tackle the increasing prevalence of myopia,' said the leader of the study, Pei-Chang Wu, of Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. A separate study on the impact of daylight exposure on eye development analysed data collected in a 2005 clinical trial that included 235 Danish school children with short-sightedness. Participants were divided into seven groups, each of which represented a different time of year. Because daylight hours fluctuate dramatically with the seasons in Denmark - from seven hours in winter to nearly 18 in summer - access to daylight was distinct for each group. Axial eye length - the distance from the front to the back of the eye - and vision were tested in each group of children at the beginning and end of their seasonal interval. Axial length is an important measurement because elongation of the eye shows that myopia is worsening. In the children with access to the fewest hours of daylight, eye growth averaged 0.19 mm; in those with access to the most daylight, eye growth was just 0.12 mm. 'Our results indicate that exposure to daylight helps protect children from myopia,' said the leader of the study, Dongmei Cui of Sun Yat-sen University, China. 'Parents should encourage [children] to spend time outdoors daily. 'When that's impractical due to weather or other factors, use of daylight-spectrum indoor lights should be considered as a way to minimize myopia.' Both studies were published in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Source:

High cholesterol increases the risk of Alzheimer's By Anna Hodgekiss


eople with raised cholesterol don't just have an increased risk of heart disease - they may be more likely to develop dementia. Researchers have found that high cholesterol levels are significantly related to brain plaques associated with Alzheimer's disease. And now, American scientists say they have found the reason why high cholesterol can damage the brain and blood vessels. Using insights gained from studying two much rarer disorders, Down Syndrome and Niemann Pick-C disease, researchers found that cholesterol wreaks havoc on the orderly process of cell division. That's because cholesterol,

particularly in the 'bad' LDL form, causes cells in both humans and mice to divide incorrectly and distribute their already-duplicated chromosomes unequally to the next generation. The result is an accumulation of defective cells with the wrong number of chromosomes and therefore the wrong number of genes. Instead of the correct two copies of each chromosome, and therefore two copies of each gene, some cells acquired three copies and some only on, the researchers at the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome and University of Colorado found. They also found that cells carrying three copies of the chromosome were associated with the damaging protein amyloid, which occurs

between nerve cells - and people with Alzheimer's have amyloid plaques in their brains. The study is published in the online journal PLOS ONE. Previous research has found that people with high cholesterol levels, defined by a reading of more than 5.8 mmol/L, had significantly more brain plaques when compared to those with normal or lower cholesterol levels. A total of 86 percent of people with high cholesterol had brain plaques, compared with only 62 percent of people with low cholesterol levels, the researchers from Japan's Kyushu University found. Using autopsies, they looked for plaques and tangles in the brain, both known to be trademark signs of Alzheimer's

disease. Plaques are an accumulation of a form of the protein amyloid, which occurs between nerve cells. Tangles are an accumulation of a different protein, called tau, which occurs inside nerve cells.

While the study found no link between high cholesterol and the tangles that develop in the brain with Alzheimer's disease, there was a definite link with plaques. Source:

High cholesterol results in defective cells with the wrong number of chromosomes - and this in turn may encourage the development of damaging plaques in the brain, say researchers


Rep. berates Omisore over attack on Aregbesola From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


member of the House of Representative, Rotimi Makinde, has chided a former member of the National Assembly, Senator Iyiola Omisore, over his recent statement that Osun state governor, Rauf Aregbesola, is instigating violence in the state, saying the comment is false and aimed at seeking public sympathy. Makinde, who represents Ife Federal Constituency at the lower chamber, described the statement as amusing, noting that Omisore and his media aides lack dignity among the Ife people especially with the barrage of controversies trailing him. Omisore had in a statement over the weekend signed by his media aide, Victor Oriola, alleged that Aregbesola is instigating violence in the state ahead of the 2014 elections, castigating Makinde for erecting a peace promotion billboard in the state. Makinde said, “For the record, I have utmost respect for the Omisore’s, but I understand a certain media aide who lacks dignity sought to ridicule and treat with disdain our revered leader and Governor of State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola by attempting to drag the good name this political colossus has built for many years in the mud, but the good news is that this vicious motive ostensibly failed. “The writer claimed to be a blind serving servant of Sen. Iyiola Omisore, and clearly seeking public sympathy and relevance for him, he chose to go on a delusional and self-serving blackmail.I expected the writer to join me in seeking for peace in Osun rather he has refused to address numerous concerns that bother on high profile killings in the state, plus the death of former AttorneyGeneral of Nigeria, Chief Bola Ige and the killings of my five kinsmen a night to the National Assembly polls in 2011.” Makinde, a lawmaker under the platform of Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, noted further that the outburst was nothing but the usual smear campaign and a crude attempt to intimidate and distract the governor. His words, “His outburst was nothing but the usual smear campaign and a crude attempt to intimidate and distract, which has been their hallmark in Ife and by extension the State of Osun which he and his master hacks, whenever they are faced with even the mildest form of criticism. I will not dignify most of the insulting and childish submissions with a response, other than to say he told a shameless and pernicious lie in a statement issued.


Why Tukur sacked aides By Lawrence Olaoye


ndications emerged that the National Chairman of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP),Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, may have sacked his aides recently because of the involvement of one of them in the Adamawa PDP controversies. The senior aide is alleged to

have been lobbied by a faction of the party in Adamawa to influence the direction of the National Working Committee, NWC, on the crisis in the state. Tukur sacked all his aides, one of who was his eldest son, Awwal, on April 26, in a move that shocked many, including the staff of the ruling party. Those sacked are the Principal Secretary, Ibrahim

Ida, a former Senator; Political Adviser, Ahmed Gusau; Special Adviser on Electoral Matters, Saidu Kumo, a former senator; Special Adviser on Media, Ujudud Sheriff; and Special Adviser, Economic Matters, O. Akindele. Others are Special Adviser Inter Party Affairs, Shittu Mohammed; Special Adviser Security Matters and former

Inspector General of Police, Mike Okiro; Special Adviser, Mobilisation, Ishola Filani; Special Adviser, Monitoring, Bennard Miko; Special Adviser Governance Osaro Onaiwo; Special Adviser, General Duties, Prince Igwe Uche; Special Adviser, National Assembly, Abdullahi Gumel; and Special Adviser on Special Duties, and Protocol Officer, Saidu Sulaima.

L-R: Member, Representing Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency, Hon. Suleiman Kwande, former Ambassador to Switzerland, Alhaji Yahaha Kwande and former Minister of Information, Ibrahim Dasuki presenting working tools to Shehu Sani, one of the beneficiaries at the graduation ceremony of 350 youths in various skills acquisition and empowerment scheme, yesterday in Jos. Photo NAN

PDP contests court’s jurisdiction in case of suspended Rivers lawmakers


he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday filed a motion challenging the jurisdiction of a Port Harcourt High Court to entertain the case between it and the suspended 27 Rivers legislators. Mr Ken Njemanze (SAN), counsel to PDP, made the argument in a Port Harcourt High court, presided over by Justice Sika Aprioku. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that 27 Rivers lawmakers, including the Speaker of Rivers Assembly, Mr Otelemaba Amachree, and his Deputy, Mr Kwanee Leyii, were suspended from the party by PDP. The lawmakers had on April 26 gone to court to challenge their

suspension from the political party. When the court resumed on Monday, Njemanze said that PDP had filed a motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court in the matter. “ This morning, we (PDP) filed a motion challenging the jurisdiction of this honourable court to entertain the matter and the parties in the case have been served. “The issue of jurisdiction is very fundamental in this and we are equally asking the court to strike out this matter for these fundamental vices. “We are equally saying that the action as it is, is incompetent and not justiceable because of the

reasons we have given, “Njemanze said. He said the writ of summons and the service were improper, null and void, adding, “these are the fundamental issues the court will trash and deal with in the next adjourned date.’’ Njemanze said that the service of writ of summons on the PDP at its headquarters in Abuja on April 30 was not in dispute, noting that PDP was one. Mr Donald Chika (SAN), counsel to the third defendant (Mr Walter Opuene), said there were lots of issues that should be trashed out. He added that there was the need to ascertain whether or not

the case had been validly filed before the court. “We think the court is not competent and I will file an application to challenge the competence of the case,’’ Chika said. He said the writ of summons served his client did not include other processes that were filed in court. Mr Emenike Ebete, counsel to the plaintiffs, said that the motion was served him about 9.30 am on Monday and asked for an adjournment to enable him to respond. The judge, Aprioku, adjourned the matter to May 23 for continuation of hearing. (NAN)



Soyinka cautions Jonathan on executive impunity in Rivers

L-R: Vice Chairman, West Africa Election Observer' Network (WAEON), Oumar Diallo, Vice Chairman, Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), Mrs. Goroso Giwa and Regional Director, National Democratic Institute, Dr. Chris Fonunyoh, at the symposium on 'the status of ratification and implementation of the African Union Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance in West African SubRegion' organized by WAEON, yesterday in Abuja.

From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

Adamawa by-election: INEC assures of free, fair polls From Umar Dankano, Yola


head of Saturday byelection for Nasarawo/ Binyeri state constituency in Adamawa, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared its readiness to conduct a free, fair and credible election. Announcing this during a stakeholders meeting in Yola, the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Barrister Kassim Gaidam, explained that the meetings will enhance channels of information and deepen the relationship between INEC and stakeholders especially political parties on ways to discharge their respective laws guiding electoral activities. “We assure all of you, especially political parties of our commitment to fairness, transparency, honesty and a demonstration of high sense of responsibility as we always do as a Commission.”

“I would like to call on all our stakeholders as our partners in the electoral process to help and support INEC in making Nasarawo/Binyeri state constituency by-election the best election ever held in the history of this country”, Kassim said. Gaidam also disclosed that the Commission’s policy of holding interactive meetings with stakeholders is to brainstorm on activities and issues in conducting a hitch free election especially during the forthcoming Nassarawo/Binyeri state constituency bye-election scheduled. Commenting on the preparedness for the bye-election, the Resident Electoral Commissioner explained that the commission has put everything in place to ensure a hitch free election as NYSC members and senior staff of the commission as well as staff from tertiary institutions will be deployed to

man the polling units during the election. He maintained that the usage of senior staff from Federal Tertiary Institutions in the state to serve as collation officers and returning officers is a policy adopted by the commission to achieve a maximum degree of neutrality and transparency in the electoral process especially in Adamawa State. While advising political parties to adhere strictly to their constitution, the Electoral Act and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he also urged them to desist from any activities that will heat up the political scenario hence the success of an election depends on how supporters and stakeholders conduct themselves. “I would like to seize this opportunity to advice political parties to adhere strictly to their party constitutions, the Electoral Act and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“As one of the major stakeholders in the electoral process we expect the best conduct from you and your supporters during rallies, campaigns, on the election day and after the election.” Gaidam assured the stakeholders that the commission in conjunction with security agencies is determined to provide all necessary security. Even with the current security challenges within the North-Eastern subregion, Adamawa is relatively peaceful compared to other states within the region because of the collective efforts of both the security agencies and the citizens, he acknowledged. He maintained that Nassarawo/Binyeri constituency comprises of 7 wards with a total of 92 polling units and 47,343 registered voters with only 5 political parties which include ACN, APGA, CPC, KOWA and PDP have fielded candidates to contest the bye-election.

INEC pledges transparency, impartiality in constituency delimitation


he INEC has assured Nigerians that the current delimitation of constituencies would be transparent, impartial and nonpartisan. In a communiqué issued in Enugu yesterday at the end of its national retreat on delimitation, the commission said its members would be non-partisan and selfless and would resist political pressure. The communiqué, signed by the INEC Chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega, and some other stakeholders, said it was clear that once the criteria for the delimitation were fair and

transparent, it would be difficult to impute politics or ulterior motives into it. It said that even though the delimitation exercise was daunting, the commission must give its best shot by refusing adamantly to be hostage to its fears or playing the ostrich. “Even though the aspects of the 2006 census have been contested, it remains the most credible source of data to carry out the exercise; the commission should predicate on it,’’ it said. The communiqué observed that the current delimitation

structure was a product of the defunct National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (NECON) in 1996 under a military context. It explained that the structure had been severely criticised for manifesting features which were at variance with international best practices including “malapportionments” and other inequalities that challenged the principle of equal representation. The communiqué explained that delimitation was meant to engender equality in electoral constituencies and not to create additional seats at the national level.

The commission pledged to collaborate with other stakeholders to ensure the success of the exercise. Accordingly, the commission would collaborate with the Office of the Surveyor-General of the Federation, NIPOST, and the National Population Commission to formulate, articulate and aggregate administrative units ahead of the exercise. The retreat was attended by the INEC chairman, representatives of the Senate president and the speaker of the House of Representatives, as well as civil society organisations. (NAN)

obel laureate, Wole Soyinka, has said mounting impunity is sliding the country in the direction of danger and called for an urgent halt before matters get out of hand. Without pointedly mentioning names, Mr. Soyinka identified three institutions for these gathering dark clouds: federal might, the executive, and the police, a polite way of pushing the blames to the Presidency. Soyinka, in a statement recently blamed the connivance of federal might, and the abandonment of all moral scruples in executive disposition for this darkening national mood, urging: “responsible governance must accept that it is an urgent duty to diminish, not increase them.” As was the case in Anambra State under the Obasanjo administration, and the case in Ogun State under the administration of Governor Gbenga Daniel, Soyinka said, those “hideous travesty” were enabled “by the abusive use of the police.” “The Anambra crisis during the tenure of President Olusegun Obasanjo saw the abduction of the then Anambra State Governor, Chris Ngige, by police officers led by an Assistant Inspector General of Police,” he said. According to him, with the tacit connivance of the presidency, an alleged godfather of Anambra politics, Chris Uba, a brother to present Senator Andy Uba, ran the state aground making it almost ungovernable for Mr. Ngige. President Obasanjo had, in a letter written to the then Peoples Democratic Party National Chairman, Audu Ogbeh, said that both men confessed to him privately that Mr. Uba helped Mr. Ngige rig the Anambra governorship election. The crisis was one of the reasons late literary giant, Chinua Achebe, who is from Anambra State, rejected a national honour, citing the illegality and impropriety of the presidency’s actions. Soyinka seems to be issuing a similar warning. “Before the irretrievable point of escalation is reached, we have a duty to sound a collective alarm, even without the lessons of past violations of constitutional rights and apportionments of elected representatives of the people, and their consequences. “ He said if democracy will survive in the country, the Jonathan administration should look in the direction of the current escalation in federally inspired attack in Rivers State to calm the nerves of the police. He added “There is an opportunity in Rivers state to break this spiraling culture of executive impunity-manifested in both subtle and crude ways – that is fast becoming the norm in a postmilitary dispensation that fitfully aspires to be called a democracy.”


North-East youth group declares support for Amaechi


Defection: Stop your dance of shame, Belgore tells Kwara PDP From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin

From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


ollowing threats to impeach the Rivers state governor, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, by the River State House of Assembly, the NorthEast Youth Progressive Forum(NEYPF) has declared its support and solidarity for the embattled governor. The National Coordinator of the Forum Comrade Aliyu Ladan stated this in press conference he addressed at Zaranda Hotel, Bauchi yesterday. He lamented the lack of internal democracy in the Alhaji Bamanga Tukur’s leadership of the People Democratic Party (PDP) According to him,, “the hallmark of our struggles is for the agitation of true democracy in Nigeria. Governor Rotimi Chibuike should not be intimidated for his refusal to support the endorsement of President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term bid. The move made by some unscrupulous and disgruntled elements to sack the genuine party executives in Rivers state is a clea- cut intimidation on the personality of Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, which should stop”. “Therefore the forum decried the deteriorating security of lives and properties in the country, particularly the North-East region, saying that the PDP should first focus on redeeming the country from its present predicaments, instead of harassing innocent individuals.” Ladan stated “The recent confiscation and banning of Amaechi’s Aeroplane from operating on the Nigerian airspace as a result of his refusal to indentify himself with President Jonathan second term bid is highly unfortunate. It is a well known fact that all these intimidation on the person of Amaechi is also on his refusal to shift grounds on the earlier agreement in 2011 that the President will only serve for a single term and should forget about re-election for a second term in 2015,” he alleged.


he Kwara Action Congress Nigeria(AC N)'s Chieftain, Mohammed Dele Belgore, SAN, has described as a show of shame and admission of failure claims by PDP and its government that 2,500 of his party members defected because 'Belgore failed to give them employment.' Belgore, who denied the defection story, asked whether it was the duty of the opposition to provide job opportunities for the people or the government which controls the machinery of the state and is charged with welfare of the citizens. The Acn's governorship flagbearer in the state in the 2011 governorship election said in a statement by his media aide, Rafiu Ajakaye,that: "Our initial reaction is that nothing, however shameful and debasing, is beyond a government now notorious for its lies and chicanery and whose every claim now faces integrity test even from little kids.

"The whole celebrations of the alleged defection raise questions about the seriousness, competence and thought process of the initiators of such self-defeating claim. We have been watching with amusement how the Kwara State Government, which claims to be performing and is popular, is wasting public funds in celebrating in the newspapers and on television the sponsored and contrived defection of some fictitious members of the opposition party. "They even went to the ridiculous extent of sponsoring a statement that Mohammed Dele Belgore SAN promised the defectors employment, but he has reneged on that promise and that was the reason for their defection. Indeed, the celebration of so-called defection is a pitiable show by the PDP-led government and it raises a number of questions: If the so-called decampees' grouse is that they remain unemployed contrary to a promise that had been made to them, how and from where do such

unemployed people get funds to sponsor the so-called defection ceremony and the various television and newspaper coverage it has received? "Does this not suggest that they were sponsored? Certainly the sponsorship would not have come from the party that they were defecting from. Whose responsibility is it - government or the opposition - to create jobs? "Is it not only a shameless government that would be celebrating its own failure by saying someone else should have done what it is constitutionally charged to do? "If the opposition does not exist in Kwara, as the government has repeatedly stated over the years, where did the so-called defectors numbering 2,500 from one single local council come from? Assuming even that there was in fact a real decampment, now that unemployment has been cited as the reason for it, what is the government doing to address that? Is the government going to create or offer jobs to the alleged 2,500 unemployed decampees or improve

their lot in any meaningful and sustainable way beyond the handouts it has given to them to create the false media show of the decampment? "The truth of the matter is that the PDP-led government in Kwara State has failed miserably and it continues to exhibit its failure and incompetence in embrassing ways and this is one of such ways. The ruling party, in a statement by State Secretary,Yemi Afolayan said the AC N gubernatorial candidate was may frustrated by the depletion of his camp at a time he is battling to take over his party's machinery. "By the defectors' confession, Belgore must have, in his desperation to rule the state, a factor that is also today at the root of the crises in his party, deliberately deceived them with employment he knew he could not offer. "The PDP refuses to join issues any longer with Belgore on this matter because we have the pictures of the defectors as well as their ACN cards and party register from their ward", he said.

L-R: Olofa of Offa, Oba Muftau Gbadamosi, exchanging pleasantries with Olusin of Isanlu-Isin, Oba Solomon Oloyede, at the 50th birthday of Olusin in Isanlu-Isin, Kwara, on Sunday.

Political parties need alliance, not merger — National Chairman of Accord Party


he National Chairman of Accord, Alhaji Mohammed Nalado, has said that alliances between or among political parties in Nigeria would be better than mergers. He made the position known in Abuja yesterday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). “I always solicit for alliance because of its advantages. In an alliance, people of like minds sit down to work together, whenever one party is aggrieved, it can easily pull out.

“Merger is a situation where two or more parties entered into an agreement permanently. I don’t subscribe to a merger,” he said. According to the national chairman, all political parties don’t have the same political strength and as such one party may try to use its strength to dominate others. He said, “This could result to the violation of the original agreement and there could be no room for the aggrieved party to pull out. “But if it is an alliance, whenever your views are not respected, then you can decide to

pull out. An alliance is the best option for people to come together and fight for a common force. “Merger has never worked anywhere, I have never heard of a merger that worked in any country successfully and I am not seeing any possibility of it working in Nigeria. “It is not good for me to join any association that I know at the end of the day may be a failure, so that is why the Accord Party has not rushed into joining any merger. “I don’t think there is going to be a two party system in Nigeria with

the current development in the political scene.” According to Nalado, since democracy started in1999, we have been having two major political parties. “With the emergence of APC, we are going to have two strong political parties, others will still remain. “So, I don’t think forming a merger will kill other political parties to make Nigeria a two party state,” he said. Nalado said that the party was established in 2006; the party

contested election in 2007 and won some seats in the National Assembly across the states. “We had one senator and three houses of assembly members; in 2011 we could not win any senatorial seat. However, the party won five House of Representatives seats and one seat in the state assembly,” he said. He, however, said that the party would put in place some strategies towards the 2015 general elections in order to have a national spread. (NAN)


Call for Fashola’s probe ridiculous, says ACN


he Lagos State chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria, has described as ridiculous the Peoples Democratic Party’s demand on the EFCC to probe Gov. Babatunde Fashola’s administration. This is contained in a statement signed by Lagos state ACN Publicity Secretary, Mr Joe Igbokwe in Lagos yesterday. Igbokwe said that the allegations by PDP to support its call for the probe were false. “The PDP is raising wild hoaxes since it found out that it has no electoral value in Lagos,” he said. ACN also debunked the allegation of insecurity in Lagos leveled against it by PDP, saying that Lagos remained the oasis of safety to Nigeria. The party said that the Fashola-led administration had always stood out for competence and probity. ACN stressed that Lagos State government ran its affairs in the most transparent manner as obtainable in Nigeria. “The state projects pass through the most detailed scrutiny and the outcome is so transparent and has become a reference point,’’ Igbokwe said. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Lagos State Chairman of PDP, Chief Tunji Shelle on May 5 alleged that there was massive corruption in the Fashola-led government. He called for the probe of the state government and also demanded that the government made public all its transactions. (NAN)


Protesters call for removal of Oyo LG boss M

ore than 60 protesters from Shaki West Local Government Area of Oyo State yesterday stormed the Government Secretariat in Ibadan calling for the sack of the Caretaker Chairman, Mr Dapo Popoola. The protesters carried placards with various inscriptions calling on Gov. Abiola Ajimobi to remove the council boss.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the six-month tenure of caretaker chairmen in the state would expire on Wednesday. The spokesman of the protesters, Mr Johnson Adeniran, alleged that the chairman was engaging in anti-party activities by flirting with opposition members in the area. He also alleged that Popoola awarded contracts to his company

and his friends without carrying ACN members along in the administration of the council. “Party leaders in the area supported the call for the removal of the chairman because they were tired of his style of administration," he said. But reacting to the protest in a telephone interview with NAN in Ibadan, Popoola dismissed the allegations, claiming the protest was sponsored by his detractors.

Popoola said all the leaders of the ACN in the council were united behind him, adding that he had never been found wanting. He said that his achievements in the last 15 months in office included the construction of nine roads, three maternity centres and 12 blocks of classrooms. The council boss also alleged that one of those who sponsored the protest was eyeing the chairmanship position. (NAN)

L-R: Gov. Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa; South African Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs, Prof. Hlengiwe Mkhize and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi OkonjoIweala at the inauguration of Bayelsa Development and Investment Corporation Regional Office in Johannesburg, South Africa on Sunday. Photo: NAN

Aregbesola’s second term stickers flood Osun Assembly


arious car stickers with messages rallying support for Gov. Rauf Aregbesola’s second term bid yesterday adorned most vehicles at the Osun Assembly Complex. A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the Assembly Complex in Osogbo

reports that virtually all official and private vehicles belonging to the lawmakers had the stickers. The stickers carried different messages urging the governor to run for a second term. The Speaker, Mr Najeem Salaam, in an interview with

NAN, said the leadership of the House did not mandate that all cars should carry the stickers. “ My colleagues have decided to show solidarity with Mr Governor based on personal conviction and they are proud to be associated with him,’’ Salaam said.

The Speaker added that members of the House were happy with the performance of Aregbesola and would be ready to throw their weight behind his second term bid. “This does not mean that we are losing sight of our watchdog position,’’ he added. (NAN)

Nwodo harps on harmonious working relationship between the executive, legislative arms


he former National Chairman of the defunct Progressive Action Congress (PAC), Chief Charles Nwodo, has urged the executive arm and the legislature to work in harmony at all times. Nwodo made the call in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja. According to him, the cordial working relationship between government and the lawmakers is always in the overall national interest. He said that checks and balances for the sake of ensuring good governance would usually generate friction between the two arms where

and when they must deliver on their separate mandates. He said conflicts therefrom needed to be resolved amicably for the nation to move forward. Nwodo said the executive and legislature should collaborate and cooperate in formulating and implementing government policies and programmes aimed at improving the people. He said that good relationship should be built among the components arms of the government, especially the legislatures and the executives because the legislature was the temple of democracy. He explained that the

presidential system stressed separation of powers between the two arms, while in the parliamentary system there was fusion of power, with the prime minister serving as the bridge. Nwodo said that the absence of a bridge in Nigeria’s presidential system of government made it difficult to avert conflicts in the way and manner the executive and the legislature discharged their responsibilities. He said that the relation between these two arms of government would go a long way in determining the level of development and progress in any part of the world. “Sometimes, there are bound to

be conflict between the legislature and the executive, while the latter is performing its oversight functions. “It is also the responsibilities of the legislative and the executive arms to resolve amicably whatever the nature of the conflict may be for better results,” he said He said that the executive hardly resisted the temptation to overstep its bound in the discharge of its constitutional duties by disregarding resolutions of the lawmakers even when these resolutions were in the national interest. “The issue is that good relationship should exist among the various arms

of government because they are complementary in a democracy that works for development. “If there are conflicts between the two arms, the judiciary is there for interpretation and proffer lasting solutions to the conflict,” Nwodo said. He attributed the success of the executives to the fact that the legislatures were always making sure that the executives performed through the latter’s oversight functions. Nwodo also called for the establishment of constitutional courts to speed up delivery of judgments on matters needful of judicial opinion rather than the existing conventional courts. (NAN)



Kurfi plans to revolutionalise tennis in North-West


awn tennis in North West Nigeria will under radical development according to a representative of the zone in the coming board of the Nigeria Tennis Federation, Alhaji Aminu Babale Kurfi. Among the things the newly elected representative plans to do to give a new lease of life to the game in the seven states that constitute the zone are the introduction of different cadres of cadet competitions, recruitment of a foreign technical personnel, and refresher courses for coaches with focus on grassroots developments. Revealing this yesterday, Kurfi, who was elected last week in Kano, said he plans to inject a new vision into the management of tennis and thus

ginger interest for the game among the citizens of North West and added that within two years the zone should produce likely regional and continental champions. However, he said his vision would not be confines to the zone alone as he intends to work hard his colleagues on the board to rejig the management of the game through private sector sponsorship of its programmes. “The first thing I would like to do is to create competitions for Under 12, 14 and 16 boys and girls so that we can discover young players and then get sound technical personnel to mentor and groom them with a view to making international stars of those so trained. “The competitions will go national, but I will first start

Plateau Govt defends artificial turfs at Jos Stadium

T Aminu Kurfi from the zone I represent, with two players in each category from each of the states that make up the zone, and then one player for the open category. “I have contacts from Croatia and the US where I intend to get the best hands to train our players and coaches,” Kurfi said.

he Plateau Government on Monday said it installed artificial turfs at the Jos multi-billion naira stadium because FIFA still uses it for international football competitions. The Commissioner for Sports, Mr Yakubu James, gave the explanation yesterday in Jos stressing that the state government was aware of doubts expressed by critics over the artificial turf of the new stadium. “It has got to the government criticisms that the new stadium will be a waste when completed because of the artificial turf at the main bowl. It has also been heard that that FIFA no more uses such pitches for international tournaments. “Those criticisms are baseless because FIFA Quality Concept for Football Turf shows that the use of artificial turf began in July 2004 with the 2-Star Standard recommended as the quality. “Even the Regulations for the 2014 World Cup scheduled for Brazil stipulates that all matches shall be played on both

Natural Grass and 2-Star Standard Artificial Turfs,’’ he said. James further said that the FIFA Law 1 insists on a green colour pitch which was what the State Government demanded from the Contractor, BCC Tropical Nigeria Ltd., building the stadium. He said that last month, FIFA declared fit the artificial turf of the stadium and awarded Plateau with a 2 Star Standard Certificate. He advised critics to give due credit Gov. Jonah Jang’s administration for taking the project that was abandoned for about 30 years and completing it. The project is estimated to gulf over N7 billion. Mr Moroizke Heinz, the FIFA Representative, was in Jos and presented the certificate to Jang, who was on an inspection tour of the stadium. Heinz had said: ‘‘FIFA is issuing this certificate to Plateau State after inspecting the turf of this stadium and is certifying it fit for international football competitions’’.

All set for Eagles, Mexico duel as team get US, German visas

T L-R: Senate President, Senator David Mark with his wife, Helen receiving the trophy of the Inter Club match between IBB International Golf Club and Otukpo Golf Club, from the team Captain, Ogwiji Inalegwu, after the Otukpo Lions won the maiden competition on Sunday in Benue.

Otukpo Club humbles IBB Club in historic matchplay Stories by Patrick Andrew


he Lions of Otukpo Golf and Country Club defeated the IBB International Golf and Country Club, Abuja over the weekend to throw Otukpo the home town of Senate President David Mark into a festive mood. Otukpo Club, led by Ogwiji Inalegwu, won the historic matchplay 49-25 by beating the Abuja team that had Chris Shaiyen as its leader. And it was fun as the host club secured Saturday’s double matches 15-9 and wrapped up victory in the singles matches on Sunday by 34- 16 to give the Otukpo residents, and golf enthusiasts something to cheer. The landmark matchplay was historic because it was the first time that the Otukpo would play host to an interclub competition especially with the prestigious IBB Club of Abuja and it was even more

remarkable that they emerged winners. The matches, which were played over the Otukpo Golf and Country Club, St Mark Akpegede, attracted eminent citizens led by the Senate President, Mark, former Governor of Osun State Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and former Minister of Communications Gen IBM Haruna (rtd), among others. Peoples Daily Sports learnt that the organisers of the tournament had meant to use it to promote friendliness and integration between the members of the clubs as well as create ambience for the development of the game in Nigeria. Accordingly, Otukpo Club which boasts of considerably presence of golf talents that have been encouraged and nurtured through the efforts of Senator Mark to whom man power development through golf is

synonymous took advantage to showcase their skills to the delight of the senate president. Speaking afterward, the Senate President expressed his fulfillment with the victory and attributed the success to a deliberate and sustained youth development policy. He said that the club was designed to offer exposure to the younger players of Otukpo some of whom are attending his golf academy so that they could have a better understanding of the rules and ethics of golf. ‘’The lesson we can derive from this victory is that our catch them young policy is working. Once you give the youth the challenge and opportunity they will live to expectation’’, Mark said. Presents and gifts were given by the hosts to the visiting team. IBB Club is expected to announce the next date the reverse matches would hold in Abuja.

he Super Eagles took a step further in the preparations for the hectic engagements lined up for them ahead of the international friendly duel, 2014 World Cup qualifiers and the FIFA Confederation Cup matches this month and the next. Already, the Eagles have processed their travelling documents for the friendly against Mexico to be played in the United States of America and the camping for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Namibia and Kenya in the first and second weeks of June. A released signed by Demola Olajire yesterday indicated the confirmation of the NFF General Secretary, Barrister Musa Amadu of the collection of the travelling documents from both countries. “The Super Eagles have received their entry visas into Germany for the training camp, and have also been issued entry visas into the United States for the prestigious friendly with Mexico at the end of this month.” The delegation of home-based professionals and officials will depart Nigeria on the night of 16th May for a two-week training camp in Nuremberg, Germany, and will fly into Texas, USA on 29th May for the friendly against CONCACAF champions Mexico at the Reliant

Stadium, Houston on May 31. The Eagles will then return to Germany on June 1, from where they will fly to Nairobi a day before the match against Kenya on June 5 at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani. The Stephen Keshi tutored side will travel for to Windhoek, Namibia two days after the match for the June 12 FIFA 2014 World Cup qualifier and then connect Johannesburg from Windhoek to Sao Paulo in Brazil for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup.

Coach Stephen Keshi



Junior handball teams have potential to reclaim lost glory, says Samora


amuel Samora, a senior national handball player, said yesterday that the calibre of players in the junior national teams were capable of restoring

George Ashiru

Nigeria’s glory in the sport. Samora, in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said that the teams, male and female, have recorded tremendous achievements in their various continental competitions in the past two years. “We have vibrant players in the junior national teams, which give me the confidence that the future is bright; the records are there for proof. “The teams had set the standard both at Africa and international scenes. All what they need is the encouragement that will further improve their

winning spirit in any competition,’’ he said. He then urged the technical officials of the Handball Federation of Nigeria (HFN) to engage the players in regular training programmes to sustain the tempo. “The federation’s technical crew must wake up to their responsibility of maintaining the good standard of the junior national teams, by ensuring that they are in combat ready forms. The senior player also urged HFN to expose the teams to regular friendly matches as a way of appraising their level of compliance to the training activities.

DSTV Basketball League

Markmentors hang Yelwa Hawks


arkmentors men’s basketball team of Abuja on Sunday thrashed Yelwa Hawks of Bauchi 98-38 in one of the Week Two matches at the ongoing DSTV men’s basketball league. M a r k m e n t o r s dominated the match, played at the Indoor Sports Hall of the Abuja National Stadium from the first quarter which ended 273. The Bauchi State team upped its game in the second quarter but was not a match for its opponent who won 47-16. The Abuja-based side continued the dominance in the third quarter which ended 61-29 while the

Bauchi side could only score nine points in the last quarter to end the game at 98-38. Coach Joe Toumou of Markmentors said that the team still had a lot of work to do in spite of the wide margin of win. “I am satisfied with the performance put up by the players but that does not mean we have arrived yet. The league has just started and we still have a long way to go, so we still have a lot of work to do because our goal is to improve with every match. “They performed well but I believe they can still do better; so we will work towards that in our next game against Niger Potters

Niger Potters vs Bauchi Nets

in Minna,’’ Toumou said. In his remarks, Coach Assembe Wilfred of Yelwa Hawks said the match was just a preparatory one to get the team together. “I am new with the team as a coach because I got there three days ago, so for me, it is the first game and my first experience with these players. “We are still trying to stir up the team itself because most of the players are also new, so we are just practicing. I have discovered now that a lot of work needs to be done and we will set out as soon as possible before our next game with Bauchi Nets.”

According to him, regular friendly matches will assist the teams to be in competition mood, instead of embarking on

fire brigade approach in preparing for its competition. Samora urged corporate organisations, especially

telecommunication outfits and lovers of the sport, to support HFN to restore the lost glory of handball in Nigeria.

Ashiru plans full scale development of taekwondo G eorge Ashiru, the South-West newlyelected zonal representative for taekwondo, yesterday promised to ‘leave no stone unturned’ in promoting the sport in the country. making the pledge in Lagos after the elections, he promised to bring his expertise and experience into developing the game adding that he aims at attaining international standards. “Taekwondo is poised for a good time now that it has me, an expert in place, among the board

members representing the south-west zone,” he said. Ashiru, who is also the president of the Nigeria Taekwondo Black Belt College, said that he would ensure that innovations in the sport are extended to other states within the zone. “Competitions, seminars and workshops will also be frequently organised in other states of the zone, just as it is done in Lagos. We will also ensure that the game of taekwondo is well recognised and developed in other states of the

federation,” he said. According to the president, officials, coaches and players of the sport would enjoy the next four years in the game. “We will ensure adequate and regular seminars and workshop for coaches and officiating officials, while players will be busy with regular competitions as well,” he said. He assured that he would work hard to ensure the development of taekwondo not only in his zone but nationwide and also to the international level.

Ex-Man Utd players in friendly duel against Myanmar


ormer Manchester United players will play a friendly match against a Myanmar team in a charity event at Thuwunna Stadium in Myanmar’s Yangon next month, according to local media reported yesterday. The charity event, which is hosted by Ayeyarwady Foundation, CEA Myanmar and Park Royal hotel, is slated for June 9 at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon, said the Myanmar Times News. The former Manchester United players are: Denis Irwin, Andy Cole, Clayton Blackmore and Lee Sharpe. The Myanmar team will include Myanmar internationals and foreign players from the Myanmar National League (MNL). The donations received from the match will go to monastic education, local hospitals and HIV rehabilitation efforts. “Hopefully, we can raise a lot of money for the charities and everyone is going to come out and support all of the events and we are going to have a great time,’’ the report quoted former Manchester player Clayton Blackmore as saying. Blackmore appeared in 251 matches for the club

and won 39 caps for Welsh. Blackmore and Denis Irwin visited Thuwunna Stadium on April 26 to inspect the grounds, which

Andy Cole

they found to be up to international standards. Irwin, a former fullback, spent 12 successful seasons at Old Trafford.



NFF seeks to cultivate beach soccer interest in Secondary Schools


he Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) yesterday took beach soccer to some selected secondary schools in Abuja to create awareness about the game. The football federation also presented playing kits, including balls, teaching aids and laws of the game to the schools.

Adamu calls up 18 for African Beach Soccer Championship


ead Coach of the Beach Soccer National Team, also known as Supersand Eagles, Audu Ejo Adamu has invited 18 players to camp ahead of this month’s African Beach Soccer Championship in Morocco. The African Beach Soccer Championship, which also serves as the qualifying tournament for this year’s FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, will take place in El Jadida, Morocco between 20th – 26th May, 2013. Invited are old reliables like Isiaka Olawale, Abdul Isah, Bartholomew Ibenegbu, Ogbonnaya Okemiri and Victor Tale, and new faces like Danladi Isah, Jerome Parara and Adufu Abutu. Heartland FC of Owerri’s freescoring forward Isah Akor is also called. The team will camp in Badagry, Lagos, with Coach Adamu to pick only 12 for the African championship. The List Abdul Isah (Kaduna United); Oladipo Olalekan (Owibeseb FC, Lagos); Isiaka Olawale (Dolphins FC); Abuh Azeez (Kwara United FC); Emeka Ogbonna (Owibeseb FC, Lagos); Abdul Haruna (Heartland FC); Isah Akor (Heartland FC); Shehu Maijama’a (Wikki Tourists FC); Ogbonnaya Okemiri (Kwara United FC); Bartholomew Ibenegbu (Heartland FC); Victor Tale (Bassa United, Kogi); Adufu Abutu (NYSC FC, Kogi); Babatunde Badmus (Owibeseb FC, Lagos); Danladi Isah (Sharks FC); Emmanuel Owhoferia (Owibeseb FC, Lagos); Jerome Parara (Igala United, Kogi); Taiwo Adams (Owibeseb FC, Lagos); Emmanuel Zabi (Adamawa United).

Flying Eagles off to Germany May 11


embers of the Flying Eagles are expected to jet out of the country to Germany on May 11 to resume full scale training ahead of next month’s FIFA U-20 World Youth Championship in Turkey. This was contained in a release yesterday by the Nigeria Football Federation which indicated that the players would travel to Germany where the Head Coach John Obuh is undergoing some refresher courses to beef up his technical expertise. The coach had been criticised for drop in technical and tactical depth after he failed to lead the junior Eagles to retain the African Youth Championship trophy in Algeria. The team won bronze while Egypt won the trophy. It was also confirmed that members of the team will remain in the camp in Germany on until 27th May when it flies out to France for the Toulon Invitational Youth Tournament on June 8. The Flying Eagles will return to the camp in Germany, and be there until June 17, when they are due t fly to Turkey for John Obuh, Flying the FIFA U-20 World Cup Eagles coach finals.

The schools are Government Secondary School (GSS), Wuse Zone III and GSS, Area 10 Garki. The NFF recently approved the commencement of Beach Soccer League in the country and is is currently holding a week Beach Soccer Course with support from FIFA for coaches and referees which started on May 4. The visit to the schools is part of the activities lined up for the course as part of the development programmes. NFF’s Referees’ Consultant, Linus Mba said that the initiative was in a bid to develop the game from the grassroots. “All games start by development at the grassroots level, if you want a particular game to last, that is, to be sustained, you have to start from the scratch. So, as they are growing, they will grow with it and you will discover that in about three or four year’s time, you will be producing quality players. “If you start well, from the schools as we are doing now, though all of them may not turn out to be stars, it will do a lot of help. Out of 20 students, we may get six or seven good

Okpekpe race: Athlete found dead along river bank

By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


middle-aged man, identified as Victor Adepoju,40, who participated in 10 kilometres at Okpekpe Race in Etsako East local government council area of Edo State at the weekend, was found dead in a river. The disease was said to have participated in the race with jersey No. 505. organised by the Edo State government in conjunction with the Athletes Federation of Nigeria (AFN) in conjunction with

Hoeness can continue as club president


ayern Munich will allow Uli Hoeness, who is under investigation for suspected tax evasion, to continue as club president but the situation will remain under observation, the German Bundesliga champions said in a statement on their website yesterday. “In the interest of Bayern Munich......... the board of directors has, after an intensive discussion, unanimously decided that Uli Hoeness should continue to carry out his role as the Bayern Munich club president,” the club said.

ones to represent the country, so we have to start from somewhere and that is the secondary schools,’’ he said. Eddie Loewen, FIFA’s Coaching Instructor from the U.S. lauded the initiative, saying that “no game will develop without a foundation. “The youths are the foundation of the future and to develop the game we must have a base. So, coming to the schools which is the grassroots is a welcome development because that is where you need to start. “It is good that the students as well as their teachers get involved to develop the game with huge potential in the country’’. The national beach soccer team has shown potential in the game since its first participation at the African Beach Soccer Championship in South Africa in 2006. The Supersand Eagles have played at four World Cup finals, reaching the quarter finals at the last tournament in Ravenna, Italy in September 2011. They have also won the two editions of COPA Lagos Invitational Tournaments held in 2011 and 2012.

Okpekpe race runners

the State government. A close source and family member, who pleaded anonymity, said the victim had informed them of his desire to compete in the 10km road race and was last seen on at the Okpekpe venue of multi-race tournament. He never returned home but his corpse was discovered yesterday morning at the river bank where he may have collapsed and died, perhaps from exhaustion. The source, who disclosed that the deceased was until his death a staff of the Edo

State Ministry of Budget, explained that the remains of the victim has been deposited at the Lazarus Hospital in fugar, Etsako central local council, a few kilometers from the river bank. The sad incidence is coming shortly after the Edo state governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, had announced plans to make the Okpekpe road race an annual event. State Police Spokesman, Moses Eguaveon, regretted that such incident happened.

He confirmed that the deceased was a contestant in the road race whose recovered from the water and his identify was equally confirmed by his parents. Though the police are asking for affidavit before the corpse would be buried, the relations have declined investigations. Peoples Daily Sports learnt that they are not suspecting any foul play, but the police have requested for court affidavit to show that they are not interested in the investigation.



Coach urges AFN to improve athletes’ welfare


ead Coach of Godswill Athletics Club, Dennis Joseph, said yesterday in Lagos that the welfare of Nigerian athletes needed to be improved by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) to ginger meaningful interest and the development of the game. Accordingly, Joseph said that the AFN needs to pay attention to the reward system for athletes stressing that unless that was done interest and development of the discovered talents would be slow, if any. The coach spoke against the backdrop of a recent boycott of the 2nd leg of the Golden League Athletics meet in Benin by some athletes. The meet was scheduled for Benin from April 26 to April 27. Three of the athletes who were seen as the leaders of the boycott were eventually banned for three years by AFN. The coach, however, said the athletes had a right to express their grievances. “The Federal Government needs to sit down and think of the athletes’ welfare. The athletes are the people suffering. “They want to make Nigeria proud; they are the ones that disappoint Nigeria; so if Nigerians don’t want athletes to disappoint them, they have to think of athletes’ welfare. “What happened in Benin was that the athletes were fighting for their rights. “The people running AFN today, during their days - our days - when you go to a competition you have accommodation, feeding, transport allowances and winning prizes.’’ Joseph said it was unfortunate that athletes had to borrow money to be able to participate in competitions when there was no guarantee that they would be paid even after winning medals. He urged AFN to set the right conditions that would enable the athletes to perform to the best of their abilities, stressing that it would be wrong to introduce world championship standards at the local level.

Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, the male and female ATP top ranked players

Djokovic stays clear at top of ATP rankings


erbian Novak Djokovic continues to hold a comfortable lead at the top of the men’s tennis rankings going into the Madrid Masters. Djokovic has 12,900 points, well ahead of Switzerland’s Roger Federer (8,670) and Andy Murray of Britain (8,570) in the ATP rankings released yesterday. Spain’s Rafael Nadal goes into his home tournament still in fifth spot, behind compatriot David Ferrer. Federer, the tournament’s defending champion, is meanwhile playing for the first time since mid-March after taking a pre-planned training and rest break. ATP top 10 as of May 6

(previous ranking in parenthesis): 1. (1) Novak Djokovic, Serbia, 12,900 points 2. (2) Roger Federer , Switzerland, 8,670 3. (3) Andy Murray, Britain, 8,570 4. (4) David Ferrer, Spain, 6,920 5. (5) Rafael Nadal, Spain, 5,985 6. (6) Tomas Berdych, Czech Republic, 4,760 7. (7) Juan Martin del Potro , Argentina, 4,680 8. (8) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, France, 3,875 9. (9) Richard Gasquet, France, 3,260; 10. (10) Janko Tipsarevic, Serbia, 3,000 Meanwhile, Serena Williams of the U. S. stayed top of the women’s tennis rankings issued on Monday by the Women Tennis Association (WTA).

Williams leads an unchanged top 10 with 11,115 points ahead of Russia’s Maria Sharapova (10,240) and Victoria Azarenka of Belarus (9,130). WTA top 10 as of May 6 (previous ranking in parenthesis): (1) Serena Williams, United States, 11,115 points 2. (2) Maria Sharapova, Russia, 10,240 3. (3) Victoria Azarenka, Belarus, 9,130 4. (4) Agnieszka Radwanska, Poland, 6,845 5. (5) Li Na, China, 6,000 6. (6) Angelique Kerber, Germany, 5,420 7. (7) Sara Errani, Italy, 5,270 8. (8) Petra Kvitova, Czech Republic, 5,225 9. (9) Samantha Stosur, Australia, 3,790 10. (10) Caroline Wozniacki, Denmark, 3,760.

Venus, Roddick join WTT ownership group


enus Williams and Andy Roddick are joining the business side of World Team Tennis. WTT announced yesterday that Williams and Roddick will become part owners of Billie Jean King’s summer league for male and female players. She has run the WTT since the 1970s. The former top-ranked

players will help identify new markets and reach out to potential owners, sponsors, fans and players. King says it’s “important to have the younger generation involved in our strategic planning.” Roddick hopes to start a team in his current home of Austin, Texas. They’ll both keep playing for

their WTT teams. Williams leads the two-time defending champion Washington Kastles, and Roddick will compete with the Lasers of Springfield, Missouri. The summer league runs from July 7 to 28 and features professional players in eight cities. The league aims to expand to 16 teams by 2018.

Japan teenage sprinter, Kiryu, targets 9.96 seconds


Veronica Kasie Ugah won the javelin and tripple jump in Warri

apanese teenage sprint sensation, Yoshihide Kiryu, who is the joint junior 100m world record holder, has revealed that his target time for the season is 9.96 seconds after writing the figure on a school blackboard. The 17-year-old said he wrote goal on the athletics facility board at his high school after clocking the record equalling time of 10.01 seconds in a domestic race last Monday. “I’ve written it off the top of my head,” Kiryu told reporters after finishing third in at the Seiko Golden Grand Prix, the third leg of the 15-round IAAF World Challenge series, in Tokyo on Sunday. “Often times, I surpass my targets after writing them without thinking much,” he further said after writing on the

board the athletics team usually used at Rakunan High School in the ancient city of Kyoto to declare their aims. If Kiryu were to run that fast, he would break Japan’s national record of 10.00 seconds, and become the first native Asian to dip under the 10-second barrier. Kiryu said he wrote 10.30 on the board before setting a new under-18 world record of 10.21 in October last year, which he lowered to 10.19 a month later. A headwind of 1.2 metres per second spoiled his bid to break 10 seconds on Sunday in his international debut. He clocked 10.40 with American Mike Rodgers first in 10.19 and the Bahama’s Derrick Atkins second in 10.24. Both 2009 US champion Rodgers and 2007 world silver

medallist Atkins have personal bests under 10 seconds. “The season has just begun. I want to work hard and run under 10 seconds by the second half of the season,” Kiryu said. After battling for the lead in the first 50 metres he said he started to look at the other runners and could not focus on his lane. “This is an issue I have to solve hereafter,” he said. Japan’s national record was set by Koji Ito in 1998. Ito’s time was the Asian record until 2007 when Nigerian-born Qatari Samuel Francis streaked over the line in 9.99. The 10-second barrier has been broken by only about 80 male runners, nearly all of them of West African descent, since American Jim Hines clocked 9.95 at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.



pictorial 1] Maria Sharapova survived a sticky start to move into the second round of the WTA Madrid Open yesterday with a 75, 6-2 win over Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania. The Russian, who won the French Open on clay last year, brought a 16-match winning streak on the surface into Madrid. 2] Austria's Bernd Wiesberger snatched a dramatic win at the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters with a five-under-par 67, defeating Ernie Els of South Africa by one shot to win his second title in Asia after totalling a 15-underpar 273 at the $750 000 Asian Tour event.


3] Luca Paolini won the third stage of the Giro d'Italia to take the overall leader's pink jersey following the 222km ride from Sorrento to Marina di Ascea yesterday. 4] Injured Emmanuel Emenike has revealed that he has been lifted by the visits of Africa superstar Samuel Eto'o and compatriot Joel Obi. AFCON Goal King Emenike, who underwent operation on his knee in Italy, will be sidelined for several weeks just after he has recovered from a longterm hamstring injury. 5] Norway's two-time Olympic Javelin champion Andreas Thorkildsen showing off on top of his steed yesterday at Al Shaqab ahead of the 2013 IAAF Diamond League in Doha.







NSF 2014: Lagos v’ball team dreams title defence in Calabar


he Lagos State V o l l e y b a l l Association on Monday said it was determined to defend its title in the male event of the game at the 2014 National Sports Festival in Calabar. The association’s Technical Director, Taiwo Oladipupo,said in Lagos that the state’s team was in open camp, already preparing to actualise its goal. Team Lagos won the gold medal in the male and bronze in the female categories of the event during the 18 th edition of the tournament hosted by Lagos State in 2012. Oladipupo said the association would soon commence serious training

and move into closed camp for the 19th edition of the biennial tournament whenever the government allowed them. “We are currently in open camp at the Teslim Balogun Stadium and will soon move into closed camp to prepare adequately for the tournament when the government so directs. “Although we know that other states will strive to snatch the gold medal from us, we are determined to defend the title and claim gold in the female event, as well. “We want to show them that we can win gold both at home and away, and that the gold medal we won at Eko 2012 was not manipulated,’’ he said.

According to him, the association will organise championships to put the athletes in good shape and also expose them. The director added that the association had equipment for training to achieve its aim. “Another thing that will put us at advantage over other teams is the availability of facilities that the state government provided for at the last festival,’’ he said. Oladipupo said the state would also use its coastal potential to win the two gold medals at stake in both male and female events in beach volleyball at the festival. “The state has the best team for beach volleyball

Former World No 1, Stosur joins top list Madrid casualty


Babatunde Fashola, Gov Lagos state and will defeat any other state that dares to compete with us at the festival. “We have everything needed to be the champions of beach volleyball; we live in a coastal region and we have numerous beach volleyball competitions,’’ he added.

Pillars Basketball Club sign seven new players


ano Pillars basketball club have demonstrated its intention to compete favourably with its peers in the DSTV league by completing the signing processes of seven new players. The Secretary of the club, Alhaji Bashir Bello, who disclosed this yesterday in Kano said the club’s

determination to improve its performances as well as achieve its objective were the reason for opting to strengthen its fold. According to him, the players that have signed the dotted lines for them are: Sadik Adedeji from Kada Stars; Hafizu Musa Yelwa (Hawks), and Nasiru Mohammed from the Nigeria Immigration

Service. Others include: Ayebe Udoh (Royal Hoopers); Adulwahab Yaqub Yelwa (Hawks); Ahmed Dauda (Nigeria Immigration Service) and Abubakar Yusuf, also from Royal Hoopers. “By securing the services of these experienced and talented stars, the club will win trophies by the grace of

God. “I have no doubt that we recruited good players for the club and we are ready to go for everything, this season. We believe that the players are capable of achieving great success with the club, this season. The secretary urged the players to be committed in the new season by winning more laurels for the club.

Onyedinma calls for equality for male, female footballers T he Nigeria Women Professional League (NWPL), yesterday urged the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to stop the unnecessary inequality between male and female footballers in the country. D i l i c h u k w u Onyedinma, Chairperson of the league, in a

Francisca Ordega

telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said that the inequality had hindered the growth of female football in the country. The chairperson also urged the media to educate Nigerians on the need to accord equal rights to both the male and

female footballers in the country, saying that they were all in a profession. According to her, the media has a big role to play in attracting corporate bodies to the sponsorship and growth of female football in the country. Onyedinma noted that the creation of unnecessary disparities between male and female football only existed in Nigeria, stressing that elsewhere, female footballers were equally treated as their male counterparts. “For instance, female players in the various national teams do not get equal pay as their male counterparts and this is because of the disparity. “This disparity, I must tell you, dampens the female players’ spirit because they are seen as women and not as professionals in their chosen careers. It is assumed that they are women and do not need much money, like their male counterparts. “Both players are as responsible as others, in fact, the female players need more money that the males. Elsewhere, female players are even most

pampered and encouraged to do more, but it is otherwise in Nigeria,’’ Onyedinma said. The chairperson added that the inequality had also spread to the publicity given to male football, to the detriment of female football, saying that the discrimination had affected the female players’ professional status. According to her, most of the female national players have remained home-based, even after participation in several i n t e r n a t i o n a l competitions, because they are hardly popular due to poor publicity. “For instance in the Falconets, there are just three professional players; the rest are home-based. She added that female players also do not enjoy regular exposure like their male counterparts, leaving many of them to remain home-based, until their retirement. The chairperson, however, urged the NFF, the media, corporate bodies and Nigerians, in general, to respect the female football profession as that of their male counterparts.

ustralia’s Samantha Stosur crashed out of the WTA Madrid Open in the first round yesterday after losing 7-6 (9/7), 6-2 to Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro. The former top spot player thus became one of the three major casualties in the tournament. Seeded ninth, the 2011 US Open champion held her own in the first set against a player who lost in the final of the Oeiras tournament on Saturday, but her game unravelled after she lost the tie-break. Stosur joined fifth seeded Li Na of China and 10th seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark on the sidelines. Top seed Serena Williams moved smoothly into the second round on Sunday with a 7-6 (7/5) 6-1 win over Kazakh qualifier Yulia Putintseva.

Cordinator says all set for Kisira softball tourney


he coordinator, Felicia Kisira Super Five Softball championship, Femi Abolarin, has assured that the Kwara government has provided adequate security for the maiden competition scheduled to begin next week. Abolarin assured that the championship would be held from May 13 to May 18 in Ilorin and added that the open championship was being sponsored by the wife of the deputy governor, Felicia Kisira. According to Abolarin, players and officials at the tournament would be provided feeding and accommodation for the one-week competition. “The state is fully prepared to host the Super Five Softball championship. The sponsor, Felicia Kisira, the wife of the deputy governor of Kwara, has assured of adequate logistics,’’ he said. The coordinator added that the organisers had also concluded arrangement with the Nigeria Baseball and Softball Federation to ensure success of the competition. Abolarin urged players to comply with the rules and regulations governing the games, saying they would have no cause to regret their participation in the competition. NBSF secretary, Kehinde Laniyan, confirmed that five states Delta, Niger, Rivers, Kwara and Lagos had registered for the championship. Laniyan said outstanding players would be invited to the senior national team to represent the country at international tournaments, and commended Kisira for sponsoring the competition. He urged Kisira’s counterparts in other states to emulate her by sponsoring competitions.





Some Interesting Facts •Breaking new ground only takes a small amount more effort than you're used to giving. •Life is a solo trip, but you'll have lots of visitors. Some of them are long-term, most aren't. •One of the best things you can do for your kids is take them on road trips. I'm not a parent, but I was a kid once. •The fewer possessions you have, the more they do for you. •Einstein was wiser than he was intelligent, and he was a genius. •When you're sick of your own life, that's a good time to pick up a book. •Wishing things were different is a great way to torture yourself. •The ability to be happy is nothing other than the ability to come to terms with how things change. •Killing time is an atrocity. It's priceless, and it never grows back. •Even though the male Lion is considered the King of the Jungle, the female lion does 90 percent of all the hunting. (We know who wears the pants in that family!) •If you're into eating bugs, some people report beetles having an apple like taste. (Protein and fruit in one bite baby!) •A crocodile can actually digest pieces of steel.


•A giraffe's tongue is so long it can actually clean it's own ears! (Mmmmm....earwax)

that the average adult produces a quarter of a gallon of flatulence a day.

•Got a black light? Go check out some cat pee, it actually glows.

•It's recommended that you keep your toothbrush at least 6 feet away from the toilet to avoid anything hitting it when you flush the toilet.

•A hummingbird weighs less than a coin in your pocket.

•Baby Orajel can cause infants to stop breathing and turn blue.

•It's really too bad if a rat or a horse eats something poisonous, they're incapable of vomiting.

•If you're a fan of muffins with poppy seeds, you might not want to eat one before your next drug test for a job position. The seeds can make it show up positive.

•A female praying mantis, while mating, will bite off the head of the male. •If you love listening to music on your iPhone, iPod, whatever....listen up! Wearing headphones for even an hour can increase the germs and bacteria in your ears by almost 700 times. (Use disinfectant wipes man, just saying.)

•Feel like you have indigestion? Some heart attack symptoms have been mistaken for this.

•Have a cut? Clean the wound first, then use black pepper to stop the bleeding, it's a natural remedy. •Speaking of open wounds, use honey to disinfect it. Studies show that honey kills almost every strain of bacteria found in open wounds. •Want to lose weight? Recent studies have shown that taking two spoonfuls a day of coconut oil helps to burn fat off. •You know every time you breathe, your ribs move. They actually do this about 5 million times a year! •About 1 in every 2000 babies are born with a tooth.

Say what?

•For all of you wearing thick glasses, bad eyesight is normally associated with having a higher IQ! (I have contacts and glasses, so this one made me feel pretty darn special.) •Farting a lot? It's normal according to a study showing



Last edition’s solution

Hey! Gemunu pushes over the driver of a car as he scours the interior of the vehicle for any Source: snacks its passengers might be hiding, in Yala National Park, Sri Lanka.

. . . putting the people first

TUESDAY, MAY 7, 2013


NPFL lands N1.8bn title sponsorship


he Nigeria Professional League has secured a sponsorship deal with a telecommunications company worth N1,896, 730,000 (around $12 million). The League Management Company (LMC) Limited entered into a three-year title partnership with Globacom Nigeria Limited that will run till 2015. The deal was finalised yesterday with the title sponsor, Globacom. The title sponsor will pay the N1.8 billion by three instalments in three years starting with the current season. "The deal is worth N1.8 billion and payment will be spread over a three-year period which covers three season. The first payment is for the ongoing season," was informed by an official of the league management body, Shehu Dikko. "There are incremental payments structure basically to cover for inflation and the expectation that the league shall also be growing and progressing with." The first payment of N550 million is expected to be made available for the ongoing season with 10, 20 percent increments subsequently. The development brings to an end a three-year wait for a title sponsorship in the elite division in Nigeria.

Dortmund get 500 000 ticket requests


orussia Dortmund have received more than 500,000 ticket applications for the Champions League final against Bayern Munich, the Bundesliga club said yesterday. Borussia, who have an average home attendance of around 80 000, said 502 567 fans had applied for tickets online before Sunday's deadline. The two finalists have been allocated 50 000 tickets for the final at London's Wembley Stadium, even though the total capacity will be 86 000. Prices start at 60 pounds ($93) per ticket and go up to 330 pounds for the top category, a shock for German fans used to much lower prices for Bundesliga matches. Borussia reached their only previous final in 1997 when they beat Juventus 3-1.


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QUO TABLE Q UO TE UOT QUO UOTE Why is it that a democratically elected president cannot be challenged by anyone, whether or not he is a member of his party? — Alhaji Lai Mohammed, ACN National Publicity Secretary, on President Goodluck Jonathan 's increasing despotism

Prelude to Baga massacre, the silence and cover-up I will not tolerate the killing of a single soldier again - President Goodluck Jonathan


his quote is a summary of the threat issued by President Goodluck Jonathan during his score-settling visit to Borno in early March, this year. The hurriedly packed visit was a face-saving one to counter opposition governors who were in the state two weeks earlier to empathize with the people of the region over the Boko Haram insurgency. Jonathan as president for almost three years did not see it fit to pay a visit until the governors visited. One of the aftermaths of the presidential visit is the Baga massacre perpetrated by the joint task force (JTF), ostensibly put in that region to secure life and property. Anyone who describes what happened in Baga as being less than genocide is a criminal. The JTF provides everything such as fear, killings, arson, infanticide, intimidation but security. One may want to ask how the Jonathan's visit was a precursor to the genocide in Baga town of Borno. The prelude to the Baga genocide is this: "I cannot preside over this country as a president and security officers are killed. These people leave their families, stay on the road and the bush so that we will sleep and I will not want to hear that one of them is killed", Jonathan said while visiting Maiduguri. One does not see what their presence on the road has offered us except long traffic jam, harassment, accidents and even deaths. With all the numerous check-points set up by the JTF, ammunition still escapes their eyes into town to cause havoc. Without JTF, people sleep with more caution and are relatively secure. From the first line, the president made it clear that we should not expect his soldiers to kill only a soul in retaliation for a soldier or policeman killed. The life of a soldier or policeman would cost us more, as we have seen in the Baga annihilation. The caveat that he had admonished soldier not to kill innocent civilians was windowdressing. Instructively, just after the president's visit, the spate of extrajudicial killing of innocent souls by JTF in the Borno-Yobe axis rose so high that it made the secretary of the Borno Elders Forum, Dr. Bulama Gubio to cry out that Jonathan's visit only worsened insecurity. Anyone who could read between the lines should see a correlation between 'I will not tolerate the death of a single soldier again', the death of a single soldier in the hand of Boko Haram and

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GUEST COLUMNIST A.S.M. Jimoh the subsequent Baga mass killing. It came to pass that a soldier was killed and Baga is no more. It is the analogy of a witch who promised to kill a pregnant woman the previous night and the next morning a pregnant woman was dead. Make your conclusion. The president was once again selective in carrying out his threat. Thirteen policemen were killed in Bayelsa state before the death of a soldier in Baga, but as you read this piece soldiers have not moved in to Bayelsa state to annihilate it. The silence from the presidency for forty-eight hours after the Baga genocide added weight to thought that the JTF were doing the command of the president. And when the president decided to speak, he said the figures were 'exaggerated'. It is rather ironic that a president who rushed to condemn the killings of three people in Boston did not see any reason to censure mass killing in his own territory. Even going by only-six-civilians-were-killed nonsense from the military should attract more criticism from the president than the Boston three. Six is still greater than three regardless of quality. The lies being spread by the military's propaganda machine led by Col. Sagir Musa are just that, lies. Lately, the Nigerian military suddenly realized the effectiveness of the media in manipulating information. Therefore, it put up a media front to misinform public on JTF atrocities against the Nigerian people. Alas, it arrived

the scene too late. With access to internet and a stroke of the keyboard nowadays, one can reach a whole lot of information. While the military propaganda machine continues to change figures on the number of people that died in the Baga massacre and its sustenance by the silence of the conventional media, the social media is awash with facts and figures. The largescale arson, infanticide, and all the extrajudicial killings committed by the JTF in Baga are already documented on google imagery. As for our electronic and print media, it is appalling that they have maintained a silence in the conspiracy to bury the Baga genocide. All they are reporting is superficial and it is more of a story from JTF. None has done a systematic investigation into the matter to tell us what we already know. Whatever the restriction imposed by the JTF, foreign-based Al-jazeera network has penetrated the besieged town to report what the local media has refused to do. Our media are rather obsessed with the Jonathan-Amaechi power play, Tukur-governors faceoff or the Jonathan-Obasanjo muscle-flexing. In this season building up to of 2015, an election year, any other matter is unimportant. Killing, kidnapping and raping do not worth investigation by our journalists any longer. Recently in 2012 in same Kogi state, a gun-fire exchange occurred between armed robbers and the JTF on Obehira-Lagos road. The

Fact is that our security kills innocent people to justify the heavy spending on them. They never confront the real terrorist. When the bellies of the top military commanders of an army suddenly begin to protrude, such an army cannot do better than a vigilante group in challenging terrorism

JTF returned with more men and heavy armoury including a military helicopter to lay siege to the town of Obehira. People sleeping in their homes were dragged from their beds, shot dead and labeled Boko Haram. Fact is that our security kills innocent people to justify the heavy spending on them. They never confront the real terrorist. When the bellies of the top military commanders of an army suddenly begin to protrude, such an army cannot do better than a vigilante group in challenging terrorism. When you can no longer say who is carrying a pregnancy between an army officer and his pregnant wife, pray that no serious insurgency rise against such an army. Such an army will only be at best brutalizing its own people; such an army prays that there is always internal crisis that will increase security vote. While serving in the Northwestern state of Zamfara as youth corps member, I noticed a particular house in which various brands of cars were packed, covered with tarpaulin. When I inquired about the ownership of the compound, I was told a member of the task force, then in the restive Niger Delta, owned it. Another brigadier who was struggling to pay his children's school fees then was posted to the restive region as a commander; by the time he finished his tenure, he had become a billionaire. Yes, a billionaire. In nutshell, the inability of our security to quell a major security challenge is deliberate. Insecurity is now a mean for them for quick but bloody enrichment. But for how long will our security continue to brutalize the same people they are paid to protect? How long will our military continue to enrich themselves with blood money? When would Nigeria have a government that considers all part of the country as its territory? When will this presidency started to treat Borno and Yobe as not an alien land? When will this presidency threw away the ill advice that the north east crisis was to spite his presidency? When will our media begin to give equal publication to issue of human lives regardless of who killed who? Who will heal the wound inflicted by the JTF on the people of Baga? The atrocity in Baga should not be allowed to go unpunished. History should be documenting all these atrocities so that one day we would bring to account all those that have perpetrated crime against defenseless citizens whether in Baga or elsewhere. A.S.M. Jimoh is on twitter @anehi2008

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

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Tuesday 07, May, 2013  
Peoples Daily Newspaper, Tuesday 07, May, 2013  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Tuesday 07, May, 2013 Edition