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Ace economist, Pr of Aluk o dies Prof Aluko dies,, Abdulkadir Danta ta, Danta ta & Sa woe Chair Dantata, Dantata Saw Chair,, too


Vol. 7 No. 69

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Rabiul Awwal 16, 1433 AH


I N S I D E Reps to probe Kabiru Sokoto’s escape

Alleged N75bn fraud: Hassan Lawal loses bid to stop trial

The House of Reps yesterday opened investigations into the circumstances that led to the escape of the Boko Haram kingpin, Kabiru Sokoto from Police custody – Page 3

Former minister of works, Dr. Hassan Lawal yesterday lost his bid to quash the 37-count charge preferred against him by EFCC before a federal high court in Abuja – Page 4

Customs seizes N2bn contrabands The Federal Operations Unit Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service has said that a total of 3,071 assorted contraband goods with a duty paid value of N2,654,847,564 were seized by the Unit in 2011 – Page 19

Why we struck military bases – Boko Haram Scores feared killed Sect ‘members’ say, we’re ready for dialogue By Emmanuel Irioghe, Abuja, Agaju Madugba, Lawal Sadiq Sanusi, Kaduna, Mustapha Isa Kwaru, Maiduguri & Bala Nasir, Kano


ama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal Jihad, popularly known as Boko Haram, has explained its decision to launch multiple bomb attacks targeted at military formations in Kaduna, including the 1st Mechanized Division, Nigerian Army, the Nigerian AirContd on Page 2

Ribadu heads Jonathan’s oil revenue task force By Ali Alkali


ormer presidential candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Malam Nuhu Ribadu is to head a

21-man special task force set up by the Petroleum Resources Ministry to monitor revenues accruing to the Federal Government from petroleum Contd on Page 2

One of the commercial buses hit by the explosion during the attack by Boko Haram at the over-head bridge in Kawo, Kaduna, yesterday. Photo: Agaju Madugba





Why we struck military bases – Boko Haram Contd from Page 1

























Al-Mustapha’s death sentence was miscarriage of justice – Fasehun, Page 38

International 31-34 Strange World 35 Digest








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Force Base as well as the Kawo Bridge in the city. A purported spokesman for the group told newsmen in a joint telephone press conference in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital yesterday, said the multiple bomb attacks targeted at the military formations was its response to the recent arrest of its members in the state by security operatives. A key member of the sect was arrested by operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) last week in Kaduna, but to date, there is confusion over the true identity of the captured suspect. While SSS sources said the real person nabbed was Abul Qaqa, the purported Boko Haram spokesman, a person who spoke to newsmen a day after and claimed to be Qaqa said the agents nabbed Abu Dardaa, purported Head of Public Enlightenment of the dreaded group. Speaking to newsmen on phone in Maiduguri, yesterday, a sect’s member who insisted he was Qaqa, said the coordinated attacks on Kaduna also followed the Federal Government’s alleged “insincerity” over its proposed dialogue deal with the sect. These incidents and revelations happened just as two masked men who claimed to be members of Boko Haram were shown on the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) Network News yesterday, purporting to be

willing to dialogue with the Nigerian government as a way out of the lingering insecurity across the country, especially in the North. According to an eyewitness in yesterday’s incidents in Kaduna, a suspected suicide bomber at the 1 Mechanized Div. rammed his Toyota Sienna Space Bus into the second gate after beating the security at the first gate. Soldiers at the gate were said to have fired into the car after which it exploded. An unspecified number of injured persons were rushed to the 44 Army Reference Hospital where the security denied newsmen access to the injured. Security personnel at the three bomb sites were hostile to journalists, manhandling and seizing newsmen’s video and still cameras. Military spokespersons said only the suicide bomber died in the incident, but eyewitnesses said scores were killed in the different incidents. Contrary to speculations that the Kaduna state government imposed a curfew on the state, the Governor’s Special Adviser (Media), Reuben Buhari, said there was nothing like that as he advised residents to go about their lawful duties. But according to the purported Boko Haram member who spoke to newsmen in Maiduguri on the blasts, the group resolved to unleash bloodshed on Kaduna after the

authorities allegedly betrayed it over the much pronounced peace pact, which he said was evident when “the person we mandated to go to Kaduna and get in touch with some government officials was deceived and apprehended”. He added: “Some warriors were carefully selected and mandated to carry out these attacks to express displeasure over the arrest of our top member who was sent to dialogue with the government officials. “This served as a lesson to the authorities that they cannot outsmart us and that by the grace of Almighty God, more attacks are underway if all our members being detained in various prisons across the North are not freed”, the purported spokesman added. The spokesman said further that, “it was quite unfortunate that eminent Nigerians have been advising the authorities on the need to reach a peace accord with us and on the other hand the same people pleaded with us to accept government peace offer. We did so by delegating a prominent member to meet government officials on the issue thinking that all will be well but instead, the man was deceived”. The purported Qaqa also said the group was behind Monday’s attack on a police station in Kano and denied claims by security operatives that several of the sect’s

members were killed and arrested during a gun duel with soldiers in Mariri ward of Kano metropolis. “Let me confirm to you that all our operations in recent times in various parts of the North were successful; none of our member was either killed or nabbed, all what the security agents were saying was mere propaganda and lies to attract public confidence.” He added: “We were amazed to watch two men blindfolded on NTA, claiming to be our members who were arrested and even went ahead to say lies against us”. The group also denied that it was responsible for Tuesday evening’s multiple bomb blasts that gutted Gamborou market in Maiduguri, alleging that security personnel were responsible for the inferno. “What actually happened was that we targeted some soldiers and shot them to death but few minutes later their colleagues arrived the scene and set the commercial centre on fire, perhaps to visit their anger on innocent civilians,” he alleged. On the possibility of the group dialoguing with the government, he said: “Well, I cannot rule out that possibility but on one condition: that all our members must be released and that security agents must stop hunting others”. Meanwhile, the Nigerian Contd on Page 4

Ribadu heads Jonathan’s oil revenue task force Contd from Page 1 resources. A letter signed by Permanent Secretary of the petroleum ministry, Goni M. Sheikh, said the appointment of the 21-man special revenue task force, under the leadership of Ribadu, was “Consistent with the policies and promises of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s administration, and underpinned by the yearnings of the people of Nigeria for transparency in the Petroleum Industry.” The task force is primarily expected to check corruption and enhance probity and accountability in the oil industry. Many Nigerians were however, surprised that Ribadu accepted such an appointment in the same government he had written off during the 2011 electioneering campaign as corrupt and incompetent. A youth leader in the rested Ribadu Presidential Campaign Organization who pleaded anonymity told our reporter yesterday that many Nigerian masses “will feel betrayed if Ribadu accepts the appointment. “The simple fact that Malam Ribadu contested the Presidency with Jonathan was enough to convince the masses that he was

with them. He vigorously campaigned against PDP and Jonathan, to the extent that he refused to step down for Gen. Buhari. We all believed him. “I am afraid that this may give credence to the notion, during the campaign, that right from the beginning, Ribadu was a PDP mole implanted to split Buhari’s votes,” the hugely disappointed Ribadu campaigner. A few other personalities who spoke to our reporter yesterday but also preferred not to be named said Ribadu’s appointment in Jonathan’s government should not surprise Nigerians because even when he was in office as EFCC boss, he was often accused of being a political pawn, “only chasing enemies of former President Obasanjo”, quipped one of the persons. Another theory advanced yesterday was that the appointment might be part of a deal sealed between President Jonathan and Ribadu’s party, ACN, before last year’s presidential election. For, it was widely reported that few days to the election, Jonathan flew into Lagos and met with ACN chieftain, Bola Tinubu, with a plan to scuttle any possible alliance between the party and

Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). The Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force set up yesterday, according to the statement, was “designed to enhance probity and accountability in operations of the Petroleum Industry”. It was also mandated to “work with consultants and experts to determine and verify all petroleum upstream and downstream revenues (taxes, royalties, etc.) due and payable to the Federal Government of Nigeria,” as first of its six-point terms of reference. Other tasks of the team include taking “all necessary steps to collect all debts due and owing; to obtain agreements and enforce payment terms by all oil industry operators; to design a cross debt matrix between all agencies and parastatals of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources; and develop an automated platform to enable effective tracking, monitoring, and online validation of income and debt drivers of all parastatals and agencies in the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources.” The task force will also work with “world-class consultants to integrate systems and technology

across the production chain to determine and monitor crude oil production and exports, ensuring at all times, the integrity of payments to the Federal Government of Nigeria”, the statement said. Ribadu will be assisted by former Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mr. Steve Oronsaye as Deputy Chairman. Other members of the task force are: former Managing Director of United Bank for Africa (UBA), Malam Abba Kyari, Ms. Benedicta Molokwu, Mr. Supo Sasore, SAN, Mr. Tony Idigbe, SAN, Mr. Anthony George-Ikoli, SAN, Dr. (Mrs.) Omolara Akanji, former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Olisa Agbakoba, Mr. Ituah Ighodalo, Mr. Bon Otti, Prof. Olusegun Okunnu, Malam Samaila Zubairu, Mr.Ignatius Adegunle, and Mr. Gerald Ilukwe. Others are: Rep. of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), ex-Officio; Rep. of Federal Ministry of Finance Incorporated-ex-Officio; Rep. of Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justiceex-Officio; Rep. of OAGF -ex-Officio; Rep. of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), -ex-Officio and Rep. of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), ex-Officio.



Reps probe Kabiru Sokoto’s escape By Lawrence Olaoye


he House of Representatives yesterday opened investigations into the circumstances that led to the escape of the Boko Haram kingpin, Kabiru Sokoto from Police custody. The House in a bid to unravel the circumstances around the alleged brain behind the Christmas Day bombing of St. Theresa Catholic Church, Madalla, Niger

state that left over 40 worshippers dead, has mandated its Committees on National Security and Public Safety, Army and Police Affairs to immediately commence the probe with a view to reporting to the House within three weeks. The House resolution was sequel to a motion moved by Rep Bitrus Kaze and nine others, entitled, "need to investigate recurrent escape of terror crime

suspects from the custody of some security agencies". The House at the plenary presided over by Speaker, Hon Aminu Tambuwal also mandated the Committees on National Security and Public Safety and Army to conduct thorough investigations of circumstances leading to the escape of two terror suspects at the 33 Artillery Brigade Bauchi. Also to be investigated are the circumstances surrounding the

escape of 26 armed mercenaries who were arrested in Jos but escaped from Police custody at the Force Headquarters, Abuja and the surreptitious escape of an alleged terror kingpin, one Mallam Aliyu Tishau. Leading debate on the motion, Kaze said, "after being trailed, arrested and detained, certain terror suspects have escaped from the custody of some security agencies in very questionable circumstances

which completely ridiculed our national security endeavour." The lawmaker added that "bungling of such high profile security matters is now becoming a pattern which has giving rise to public anxiety over the potential danger posed by the disappearance of suspected masterminds of terror acts and who could return with greater fury as was reported to be the case in the August 2011 United Nations House bombing.”

VP Sambo saved PDP from defeat in Adamawa, says Baraje By Lawrence Olaoye


L-R: Central Bank Governor, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Vice-President Mohammed Namadi Sambo, and Kano state Governor, Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwanso, during the 6th Annual Micro Finance Conference and Entrepreneurship Awards in Abuja, yesterday. Photo: Mahmud Isa

National dialogue: Organisers New cement factory will save Nigeria $2bn, says Dangote queried over N25m funding percent. So the local materials are From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


elegates present at the second day of the national dialogue organised by Prof. Pat Utomi led National Summit Group have queried the source of funding of meeting, describing it as political. A delegate from Osun state Prof. Remi Sonaiya raised the suspicion that the meeting which was aimed at moving the nation forward would be credible if the source of funding the project is openly made known. Prof Sonaiya who walked out of the conference after enquiring about who is funding the project, told newsmen outside the auditorium that “we need to know those behind this,

why should we be asked if our hotel bill should be underwritten, if I have to sleep under the bridge to attend this conference we should, this our own Nigeria, we must be willing to pay the price to move this nation forward. “We should own this thing by putting in our resources; this kind of initiative should not be government sponsored, this not how to share the national cake, I don’t want my potion like this.” However Tony Uranta in his reaction said the project is total sponsored by private individual with support from Lagos state. “We did not take any money from the Federal Government, we are doing this because it is necessary and it is for Nigeria”.

By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


he Chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has said the new cement factory in Ibese, Ogun state will not only make cement available to Nigerians but will also reduce the price in the market. He also said that the factory, which has six million tonnes capacity and is the biggest in subSaharan Africa, will save Nigeria $2 billion from the importation of cement. Fielding questions from State House correspondents after the first Economic Management team meeting in 2012, Dangote disclosed that the factory had started production in the last one month. “The only thing we import is Gypsine which is three and a half

there and once we have stability of gas going forward, prices of cement will crash. Right now, we have bought 5,000 trucks to reduce price in terms of transportation. Cement is supposed to be a very cheap product but the transportation cost is quite a lot. If you take cement from Lagos to Maiduguri, you will pay half the price of the cement in transport," he said. Dangote stated that a billion dollars had been invested in the factory. “We are also recommissioning Obajana which would now be 10.2 million tonnes capacity which is about a truck a minute. As I am talking, we have commissioned the factory and are waiting for gas to be installed. Going forward, I am sure we will start exporting cement in the next one month," he enthused.

Alleged N894m scam: Counsels’ absence stalls Bankole’s trial By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


he absence of counsels yesterday stalled the trial of the alleged N894 million contract inflation instituted against former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). When the matter came up for

hearing, the Federal High Court sitting before Justice Donatus Okorowa, was told that both the prosecution and the defence counsels, wrote to the court of their inability to appear for the trial yesterday. They both gave ‘private engagements abroad’ as excuse for their in-ability to be in court. The court consequently slated February 22, 2012 for hearing in the matter.

It would be recalled that the embattled former Speaker who was recently set free alongside with his deputy, Alhaji Usman Nafada by an Abuja High where they were charged on a 17-count charge bordering on alleged N40billion loan scam preferred against them by the EFCC, is standing trial on a 16-count charge before Justice Donatus Okorowo. Bankole, who was arraigned

on June 8, 2011 had lost bid to stop his trial and to disqualify a Lagos based lawyer, Mr. Festus Keyamo from prosecuting him in the matter as the trial judge held that Keyamo is qualified to prosecute the matter on behalf of the EFCC and that there is sufficient evidence linking him to the charges preferred against him. He had pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

cting National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Abubakar Baraje, yesterday disclosed that the party had almost lost the hope of winning the last weekend governorship election in Adamawa state but for the timely intervention of the Vice President, Arc. Namadi Sambo. According to him, 36 hours before Adamawa governorship election, the party almost gave up the hope of winning the state. Baraje disclosed this at the inauguration of the Sokoto governorship election campaign committee. The PDP chairman added that the last minute infusion of strategies and encouragement by the Vice President gave the party the required direction that eventually made the PDP to win the state. While inaugurating the Sokoto state campaign Committee headed by the Vice President, Baraje charged the committee not to take anything for granted, but ensure that the campaign spreads through the nooks and crannies of the local governments in Sokoto state and also to carry everybody along. He further charged the committee, which consisted of PDP stakeholders including the Senate President, David Mark, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, Olusegun Obasanjo, Bello Mohammed, Chubuike Amaechi, Tony Anenih among others to ensure that every black spots, which otherwise would have constituted impediment to the party in the forthcoming election in Sokoto state, are wiped out. Baraje said: “Today the Vice President is chairing another committee, he has already invested his luck so well and we are going to Sokoto to win. Sambo does not do things half way, he demolish his oppositions. 36 hours before the election in Adamawa when everybody was shaking including the President, the Vice President was not, and through his encouragement we won Adamawa. The same thing we shall do in Sokoto state. We are going to Sokoto hoping to hear in Sokoto as you (VP) said in Bayelsa that Bayelsa is PDP state.”



Why we struck military bases – Boko Haram Contd from Page 2 Army headquarters said soldiers stationed at the gate of the 1 Division Brigade Headquarters in Kaduna killed the suspected suicide bomber. Briefing Defence correspondents in Abuja yesterday, the Director, Army Public Relations (DAPR), Maj. Gen. Raphael Isa said, soldiers at the division repelled the attack and possible suicide bombing. According to the Army General, after firing the suicide bomber who tried to force his way into the army headquarters, the bomb exploded and shattered the glasses that adorn the frontage of the division, and only that the bomber died. The Nigerian Army equally called on the civil populace to remain calm while thanking them for cooperating with security agencies so far in the fight against the Boko Haram sect. Also, in a statement released by the Director, Public Relations and Information (DOPRI), Air Commodore Yusuf Anas, the Nigerian Air Force said the bomb blast occurred about 500 meters from the Air Force Base outer perimeter fence along Mando Road, Kaduna and that no casualty was recorded in the incident. In the meantime, in Kano, at least eight people lost their lives and unspecified arms and ammunition were uncovered in a house at Mariri quarters in Kumbotso local government area in Kano on Monday when soldiers attacked a house shortly after members of Boko Haram had raided a police post and escaped. The shootings, which followed an earlier attack on a Police Station at Sharada quarters began at about 5.30pm and lasted for more than eight hours. Meanwhile, security in the area has been intensified as the check-points mounted by the combined team of police and military personnel became very strict on motorists and other road users plying Maiduguri Road and other link roads. However, yesterday, some purported Boko Haram members said the group was considering the invitation to dialogue with the Federal Government and named some Northern leaders to negotiate with the government on their behalf. The video clip aired on the NTA, showed two masked purported sect members speaking on the willingness of the sect to negotiate. Although the veracity of the video was not confirmed by security agencies, the speakers named Sheik Abubakar Gero, Dr. Shettima Ali Monguno, Alh Bukar Abba Ibrahim, and Bar. Aisha Alkali as persons to be negotiated with

on behalf of the sect. According to the spokesperson who was unidentified, the group trusts the named leaders and said “the decision taken by these people can actually change the whole situation”. However, Boko Haram leaders have disowned the list of negotiators and that the said video did not originate from its organisation. The tape which NTA claimed was delivered by an unidentified source featured two figures, fully masked in black. Only the voice of one was heard, while the other was silent. “We hereby confirm and accept the reported initiative of the President for a dialogue as a welcome development”, the speaker who did not identify himself said.

L-R: Chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chairman Fort Oil, Chief Femi Otedola , and Anambra state Governor, Mr Peter Obi, during the Economic Team’s meeting, at the State House in Abuja, yesterday. Photo: Joe Oroye

Apo 6 killings: Prisons fail to produce accused persons in court


he failure of the Nigerian Prisons Service to produce four of the six persons standing trial over the killing of six Apo traders in 2005 stalled the accelerated hearing of the case on Tuesday. The four policemen are Nicholas Zacharia, Emmanuel Baba, Sadiq Salami and Emmanuel Acheneje. The other two policemen are DCP Danjuma Ibrahim, who is on bail and Othman Abdulsalami, is at large. The six policemen are alleged to have killed Ifeanyi Ozo, Chinedu Menriu, Isaac Ekene, Paulinus Ogbonna, Anthony Nwokike and Tina Arebun while they were returning home from a night-out. The deceased were aged between 21 and 25.

Justice Ishaq Bello, who adjourned the matter to Feb. 8, said the accused must be produced in court on the adjourned date Bello, who had earlier stood down the matter from 9.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m., for the prison authorities in Kuje to bring the accused to court, did not hide his anger for the non appearance of the accused. The prosecution counsel, Mr Mammam Usman (SAN), told the court that when he contacted the prison authorities earlier, he was told that the “Black Maria’’ conveying the four accused persons left Kuje about two hours before the court started sitting. “We are surprised ourselves that up till now, they have not reached the court premises from the Kuje Area Council.

“I have been trying the line of the officer in charge but there seems to be no reply again.’’ He said the prosecution was ready to continue with its case but prayed for the case to be stood down. The judge warned the prosecution to ensure that the accused were brought to court unfailingly on February 8. “I am disgusted at this attitude. I cleared my court list for accelerated hearing of this matter, and here we are again the matter cannot continue. “It is the duty of the prosecution to ensure that any accused person is promptly brought to court whenever a matter is to go on. “I am giving an order that the prosecution and the Nigerian Prison Service must unfailingly produce the accused persons on

Alleged N75.5bn fraud: Ex-minister loses bid to stop trial By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


ormer minister of works, Dr. Hassan Lawal yesterday lost his bid to quash the 37count charge preferred against him and 13 others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before a federal high court in Abuja. The former minister is standing trial along with others for allegedly laundering the sum of N75.5 billion during his tenure as minister. In his ruling on the application to quash the charges against Dr. Hassan Lawal and others, the trial Judge, Justice Adamu Bello said the accused persons have not adduced enough evidence to warrant the quashing of the charges against them. According to Justice Adamu, the accused persons could be tried

under the money laundering and prohibition Act, under which they were charged before the court, adding that the Act was not limited to narcotics alone. The court held that the money laundering and prohibition Act is an existing law and that the prosecution cannot be shut out from pleading evidence to prove his case. “It will be a good opportunity for the accused persons to prove their innocence instead of quashing the charges preferred against them”. However, the court struck out the charges against four of the accused persons, following an oral application for the withdrawal of the charges against them by the prosecution counsel, Wahab Shittu. The four accused persons,

numbers 9, 10, 11 and 13NAIRDA limited, Engr. George Elzoghabi, Engr. Abbey Ayodele and SIRAJ Nigeria Limited respectively. The court also ordered that the international passport of Engr. Abbey Ayodele, in the custody of the court be released to him immediately and adjourned the matter till March 27, 2012 for mention since the prosecution applied to amend the charges to reflect the names of those standing trial. In a related development, the court also refused to grant the application seeking for the quashing of charges against Lawal and one Adesanya Adewole both of whom were separately charged with laundering a separate sum of N45.5 million. The court held that the decision of the court in the sister case applies and adjourned till April 2, 2012 for trial.

Wednesday, February 8, at 9 a.m.,’’ he said. NAN recalls that this is the second time in less than eight days the trial of the six policemen accused of the killings of the Apo six will suffer a setback. On Feb. 1, at the resumed hearing of the case before Justice Bello, prosecution counsel, Mr Kanayo Okafor, had told the court that Ibrahim’s counsel, Mr Rickey Tarfa (SAN), had written a letter asking for an adjournment. Okafor had said that Ibrahim and his counsel were stalling the proceedings by their constant application for adjournment. The judge granted the application for adjournment, and said then, that it would be the last to be granted. (NAN)

Man, 32, remanded for kidnapping


32-year-old man, Remi Oyehan, has been remanded in prison custody for allegedly kidnapping a mentally challenged pupil of the School of the Handicapped in Ikirun, Ifelodun Local Government Area of Osun. The Police Prosecutor, Cpl. Elisha Olusegun, had told an Osogbo Chief Magistrate Court yesterday that the accused on January 29 at about 8.30 pm kidnapped the boy in the school. Olusegun said the offence was punishable under section 364(2) of the Criminal Code Cap 34 Vol 11 Laws of Osun state. The accused, who had no legal representation, pleaded not guilty to the charge. Chief Magistrate Adewumi Makanjuola, however, ordered that the accused be remanded in prison custody pending the hearing of the case at Ikirun Magistrate Court on February12. (NAN)



Bayelsa guber: When the going was good... S/Court dashes Sylva’s hope of participation By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


he Supreme Court yesterday dashed the hope of the ousted Bayelsa state governor, Timpriye Sylva, from participating in next Saturday’s governorship election in the state. The apex court slated judgement of his appeal seeking to validate his victory in the primary election of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held in January, 2011 to April 20, 2012. When the matter came up yesterday, counsel to the PDP, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) objected to the application to be heard by the court saying that the issue in question was basically an internal affair of the party. He further argued that the central question which he court should consider in the determination of the embattled former governor's case was whether the court could interfere in a pre-primary election affairs of a political party. Oyetibo further submitted that the party had not reached the stage of nomination of a candidate for the election before the former governor rushed to court and insisted that the power to allow and disallow persons from participating in a political party's primary election is entirely within the exclusive preserve of the party. On his part, counsel to the former governor, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) argued that the second primary which the party conducted in the state which led to the emergence of Seriake Dickson was conducted while the case was already pending and posited that when the jurisdiction of the court was being challenged, as in the instant case, it is the statement of claims that would determine whether a court has jurisdiction or not. He contended that the suit they filed before the Federal High Court was a narrow one which contemplates whether the party can conduct another primary election in the state taking the provisions of section 33 and 35 of the Electoral Act where the prescriptions for the conduct of primary election was provided. Fagbemi further argued that section 87(9) of the Electoral Act empowers the court to look into the complaints of an aspirant who complained of non compliance with the provisions of the Act and urged the court to assume jurisdiction and determine the matter expeditiously taking into consideration that the governorship election is scheduled to take place on Saturday, 11th February, 2012.

R-L: President Gooodluck Jonathan, and former Bayelsa state Governor, Mr Timipre Sylva, both on their knees receiving blessing from clergymen when the going was good, in Yenagoa.

CBN paid additional N28bn as subsidy in December, 2011 — Sanusi By Lawrence Olaoye


he Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, yesterday told the House of Representatives that the amount paid for subsidy in 2011 has yet to be determined as he disclosed that the apex bank paid additional N28 billion to major marketers for December oil imports.

Sanusi, who was represented at the ongoing subsidy regime probe chaired by Rep Farouk Lawan, by his Deputy on operations, Tunde Lemo, said the total subsidy paid to marketers in 2011 stood at over N1.73 trillion even as he cautioned that the figure could be more. The CBN governor said there were outstanding Sovereign Debt Notes from 18 marketers to be

Kano govt closes Challawa bridge From Bala Nasir, Kano


ano state government has officially closed the Challawa Bridge due to what it called the dilapidation of the pillars on which the bridge is built. Announcing the closure of the bridge yesterday in Kano, the state’s Commissioner for Works, Engr. Shehu Ahmed said it was no longer safe for people to continue using the bridge as all its pillars had cracked. The bridge is lying on the famous Challawa River in Kano which is the major water source

for the most part of the state capital. This, according to the commissioner was enough reason for the state government to close the bridge from use by motorists to forestall possible disaster. He warned truck drivers who use the bridge to carry sand into the town, to desist from doing so. He further urged people of the state to exercise patience as the state government was considering the construction of a diversion for them. The bridge is a major link between the central senatorial area of the state and other parts of Kano.

settled for December, 2011 oil imports. According to him, the amount did not include direct deductions by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). He said: "We state that the primary responsibility of the CBN in the petroleum subsidy regime is limited to the confirmation of exchange rates and payments in respect of instruments received

from the Debt Management Office (DMO) subject to adequate funding of the domestic excess crude account (naira) by the Office of the Accountant General, as well as the formulation of foreign exchange policies, including those related to petroleum product imports. For the avoidance of doubt, the CBN is not a party to the determination of which oil marketer qualifies for subsidy or not.”

NDE denies report of contract inflation By Abdullahi Yunusa


he leadership of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) has denied report in the media which accused the organisation of inflating contract sum for the construction of its dual skills acquisition centre located in Kuduru, a settlement in the Bwari Area Council, Abuja. The report had alleged that N665 million was the amount approved for the project as against the N195 million made public by officials of the agency. Briefing newsmen at the construction site of the skills acquisition centre yesterday in Bwari, Director-General of the NDE, Malam Abubakar

Mohammed, represented by the Director in charge of Small Scale Enterprises Department, Mr. Kunle Obayan listed lack of adequate funds as a major factor hindering the completion of the project. He said the project which began in 2008 would have been completed if funds requested by the agency were made available. On reports that funds approved for the project were inflated, the NDE boss noted that, “it is on record that funds meant for the project were never inflated by anyone. It’s sad to hear people say funds approved for the project were inflated from the sum of N195 million to N665 million by officials of the agency.”

Reps lambast BPRS over bogus budget proposal By Lawrence Olaoye


he House of Representatives yesterday knocked the management of the Bureau for Public Service Reforms (BPSR) for lacking transparency and accountability in the utilisation of its 2011 budget. Speaking during a budget defence by the BPSR, a member of

the committee, Hon Linus Okorie challenged the Permanent Secretary of the Bureau, Mrs Nkechi Ejele to explain what her agency did with the N11.8 million released to it last year for the purchase of vehicles. She was also asked to defend the N4.7m released annually to the agency for office partitioning. The lawmaker

observed that the agency had no reason to partition its office since there was no record of increase in its staff strength. Rep Friday Itulah, also a member of the committee, tasked Ejele on the observed inconsistencies in the Bureau’s 2012 budget proposal. He asked the Permanent Secretary to explain what the agency did with the

N11.8 million released to it to procure new vehicles since there was no record that it actually bought those vehicles. Ejele who was obviously rattled by the pungent comments and questions from the lawmakers sought intervention from her director of finance to address some of the questions. The director however made

incoherent submissions as he failed to explain the allocation made for the purchase of vehicles last year. Due to the Bureau’s failure to adequately defend its budget, the Committee Chairman, Rep Matthew Omegara, ruled that the officials should go back and do its home work well to accommodate issues raised by his colleagues.




Ace economist, Prof. Aluko dies at 83 From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


enowned economist, Professor Samuel Aluko, is dead. Aluko, 83, died yesterday at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, United Kingdom after a brief illness. Aluko was one of Nigeria’s greatest scholars, critics and economists. He was a member of

the economic think tank of the Action Group between 1962 and 1966 and contributed immensely to the growth and development of the Western Region during which great monuments like the Western Nigeria Television, Liberty Stadium, Cocoa House, housing estates and durable roads were built. He also served the General Sani

Abacha regime as chairman of the National Economic Intelligence Committee with direct responsibility for monitoring of federal governments’s capital budgets. Out of government, the economist was a vocal critic of government’s economic policies and their implementation. A self-made achiever, Aluko studied privately to obtain a

Second Class honours degree in Economics from the University of London. He later went on to obtain a doctorate degree from the London School of Economics. Born on 18 August 1929, he attended St. Mary’s School in his home-town, Ode-Ekiti before proceeding to Christ’s School, AdoEkiti. He started his working life as a secondary school teacher and was

Principal of Zik’s College of Commerce , Sapele, and VicePrincipal, Lagos City College , Lagos. He was lecturer, University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University ), where he was the first dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and the University of Nigeria , Nsukka. He was at various times economic adviser to many governments.

Jonathan commiserates with Aluko family By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


resident Goodluck Jonathan has expressed sadness over the death of frontline economist, Professor Sam Aluko who passed away yesterday in London at the age of 83. A statement signed by the Presidential Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati said: “The President received with immense sadness and a feeling of great national loss news of the

passing away of Nigeria’s veteran economist par excellence, Prof. Samuel Aluko. “On behalf of himself, his family, the Federal Government and the people of Nigeria, the President extends sincere and heartfelt condolences to Prof. Aluko’s family.” President Jonathan urged his family, friends, associates and admirers to be comforted by the knowledge that the renowned economist lived a life full of many

indelible achievements and notable contributions to national development. “The President believes that Prof. Aluko will always be remembered as a visionary and a universally acclaimed pacesetter who delivered positive results in all the public assignments he undertook,” the President said. Jonathan also prayed God to comfort Prof. Aluko’s family and grant his soul eternal rest.

Abdulkadir Dantata is dead


he Chairman of Dantata & Sawoe Construction Company and ASADA Group Ltd, Alhaji Abdulkadir Sanusi Dantata is dead. The accomplished businessman who died in a German hospital yesterday after a brief illness, was born on September 1, 1945, at Sarari Dantata Quarters of Kano Mucipality. He is the eldest son of Alhaji Sanusi Dantata and Hajia Mairo Dantata a renowned business family of West Africa based in Nigeria. Young Abdulkadir started his Islamic education from the age of five in 1950. In 1956 he proceeded to Sudan and later to Kumasi in Ghana for advanced Islamic studies. In 1960, he returned to Nigeria to complete his primary education at Kuka Primary School Fagge, Kano. In 1964, he got admission into Kano Advance Teacher's College (ATC) and obtained Grade II Teachers Certificate in 1968. He then joined the family business of cotton, groundnut, other agricultural products and logistics. Within a short time of going step by step through his family’s businesses, he excelled to the position of Managing Director of

Sanusi Dantata & Sons Ltd. In 1970, Alhaji Dantata established his company, Dantata Land and Sea involved in transportation, civil engineering, construction, and farming among others. The company undertook and completed road construction projects in Northern Nigerian states and some Nigerian bordering countries. In 1974, he founded Nigeria Industrial Group Ltd which produced and marketed nails, Chain link fencing, B.R.C. Wire, barbed wire, all for the construction industry.In 1975, he established with German partners, the joint venture company-Dantata & Sawoe Construction Company (Nigeria) Limited. In 1976, Alhaji Dantata was appointed Chairman of Kano Textile Company. He was also on the Board of many companies including Cotton Ginning Co. Ltd., Niger Farms and Foods Ltd. He was also the Chairman of many companies such as, Brunelli Construction Co. Ltd, Asada Granite & Marble, W.J Syndicate, Goguwasia Trading Company Beijing China. He is one of prominent members of committee forming the Kano State University which is now located at Wudil. He

Late Alhaji Abdulkadir Sanusi Dantata

is also the Chairman of a joint venture company with Chinese in manufacturing Artiquick medicine for eradication of malaria in West Africa. He was recently involved heavily in farming, including the renewable energy of Bio-fuel plantation for clean environment under Asada farms. He is also in the primary stage of developing the mining sector in Nigeria which will assist in diverting Nigeria's focus from oil concentration to other sectors that are readily available. He sponsored students from different tribes and actively involved in building schools such as Girls Secondary School Dakata. Alhaji Abdulkadir Dantata is a humble, sincere and well focused businessman, a philanthropist who belongs to many charity organizations and earned the title Member of Federal Republic ,mfr, and Doctor of Science from University of Benue Makurdi, among others.

Late Prof. Samuel Aluko

Mbu, Aluko were pioneering legends - Atiku


ormer Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has said that the death of Ambassador Mathew Tawo Mbu and foremost Economist, Professor Sam Aluko are great losses to Nigeria. The former vice-president in a statement by his Media Office in Abuja yesterday said that while Chief Mbu was a fine gentleman who left a pioneering imprint in every national assignment he undertook be it as a member of the parliament or in his long years in the Foreign Service; Aluko, on the other hand, espoused a model of pro-people Economist in every public position he took.

Mark, CPC, mourn Aluko By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


resident of the Senate, Senator David Mark, has described the death of the Professor Sam Aluko as colossal loss. According to a press release signed by Kola Ologbondiyan Special Adviser, Media & Publicity to the President of the Senate,Mark, expressed shock on hearing the news of the death of the renowned economist, describing Aluko was a man of many parts-a teacher, politician, principled scholar and patriot. “Professor Aluko would be remembered for his constructive criticisms of government fiscal policies as well as his fearless standpoint on economic issues.” Senator Mark further said. Mark, however condoled with

the family of Professor Aluko as well as the government of Ekiti State. In a related development, Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) has expressed shock over t5he death of Sam Aluko, saying he was a consummate Academic, indefatigable patriot and courageous commentator on National issues. While recalling the roles played by the late Aluko in the Nigerian financial sector, CPC said, “As one of the vestiges of Titans in our contemporary history, Professor Aluko played notable role in fashioning out the process for developing sanity in the financial sector of the Nigerian economy,” adding that his sagacity, candor and inimitable courage would be missed.

Atiku recalled that Mbu’s tenure as the Federal Minister of Labour remains a reference point of Labour/Government relations in the country. He said that of his 82 years on earth, he gave 50 years in service to his country and mankind. He said it is not in doubt that the late Mbu lived a life worthy of emulation by every young Nigerian, giving himself to serving the country at the youthful age of 22, as member of the parliament from 1952 to 1955, and also as the youngest cabinet member in the government of late Sir Tafawa Balewa. According to the former vicepresident, Chief Mbu was among few Nigerians whose faces have become synonymous with Nigeria’s foreign policy, when he served the country first as High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Representative to Washington DC , and later as the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1993. Also, Atiku paid tribute to late Professor Aluko noting that throughout his years of service both in the executive and legislative arms of government, the Nigerian masses remained the center-piece of his public policy positions. The former Vice President expressed his condolences to the people and governments of Cross Rivers and Ekiti states respectively even as he joined millions of other Nigerians in bidding farewell to these two illustrious leaders who gave their best in service to the fatherland.



State of public toilets worry Lagos lawmakers From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


embers of the Lagos state House of Assembly yesterday at their plenary session lamented the poor state of public toilets in the state. To this end, the House has directed its House Committee on Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation to study the rules guiding public toilets in the state


he Akwa Ibom state Governorship Election Tribunal sitting in Uyo, the state capital, in a matter between Governor Akpabio and Senator John Udoedehe of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) yesterday dismissed the application brought before it by the PDP Counsel Bayo Ojo (SAN) represented by Duro Adeyele (SAN). The counsel was urging the tribunal to strike out the Action Congress of Nigeria ACN petition praying the tribunal to hear its matter brought before it on merit as ordered by the Supreme Court. The three-man tribunal headed by Justice Ayuba Kwajafa, while giving its ruling yesterday, affirmed that “when a court is faced with two conflicting judgment of the Supreme Court. It is at liberty to make a choice between the two and it is always for the lower court to follow the latest of the conflicting judgment of the Supreme Court. Such a court will not be accused at being partial to a party”. The PDP counsel had prayed the court to dismiss the petition on the grounds that the 180 days within which the judgment must

and investigate the management of the toilets. This followed a motion on the appalling state of public toilets in the state moved by the member representing Alimosho Constituency 1, Omotayo Oduntan, seconded by the Deputy Whip of the House, Rotimi Abiru. Oduntan, the mover of the motion, observed that public toilets in the state are usually left

unkempt, which she said poses health hazards. In her contribution, the Deputy Majority Leader of the House, Lola Akande said that the issue has to do with the orientation of members of the public. She submitted that many people are careless when using public facilities, which is why the toilets are left dirty. Also, Omowunmi Olatunji-

Edet representing Oshodi/Isolo Constituency 2, observed that the government should embrace impact assessment of public facilities. “Most times, we do not do impact assessment of public facilities. We only build them and hand them over to operators, the government should ensure proper construction of the facilities and ensure they are maintained,” Olatunji-Edet said.

Akwa Ibom: Tribunal dismisses PDP petition be delivered have lapsed on 12/11/ 2011. He said the petitioner petition had suffered a natural death and that the tribunal ceases to have jurisdiction to continue to hear and determined the petition. The counsel cited section 285 (6) of the 1999 constitution which prescribe 180 days within which a tribunal must conclude a matter. Disagreeing with the PDP counsel, the tribunal said it will toe the line of the petitioner of the Appeal Court in Calabar to come to a decision in a point of order of Supreme Court judgment delivered on 14th December 2011. The tribunal said the Supreme Court had delivered a judgment in a case brought before it by Akunyili against Ngige to which a matter was struck out by the lower court citing the 180 days as having elapsed. The Supreme Court, it said, ordered the matter back to the lower court to be heard on merit. Citing the Supreme Court ruling, the tribunal said it will hear the matter brought before it as if

the 180 days had not yet commenced. It said to do otherwise, was to make mockery of the Supreme Court and constitutional

provision. The tribunal then adjourned its sitting to Thursday February 9 for pre hearing on the matter.

JISIEC to recruit 10,000 ad-hoc The chairman said the staff for LG polls training workshop was organised From Ahmed Abubakar, Dutse


he Jigawa State Independent Electoral Commission (JISIEC) will recruit about 10, 000 adhoc staff to conduct the forthcoming local government council’s election scheduled to hold on the 18th of this month. This was disclosed by the chairman of the JISIEC, Alhaji Muhammed Sani Ahmed, while declaring open a three-day capacity building workshop for the officials of JISIEC, organised by the commission in collaboration with International Federation for Elections System (I.F.E.S), to provide a sound training programme and to conduct a transparent and credible election.

with a view to enhancing the professional aptitude and capacity building of the staff of the commission, local government electoral officers and their deputies and the returning officers of the 27 local government councils in the state for effective and efficient service delivery. Ahmed further explained that the training workshop was conducted by the International Federation for Elections System (I.F.E.S) whose vision and mission is to ensure that elections are conducted in such manner to be considered as acceptable. He expressed the commission’s appreciation to IFES and the resource persons for making the programme a reality and called on

Mark calls on Nigerians to support Jonathan’s transformation agenda By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


enate President, David Mark, has called on Nigerians, irrespective of tribe, religion, or political affiliation, to support the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan, to build a unifying and progressive nation. Addressing participants at the maiden edition of Pa Aikwuta Mark memorial Proam Golf Tournament in Otukpo, Benue state, he reiterated the support of the National Assembly for the President, maintaining that the mandate of subsidy reinvestment programme was to specifically improve the standard of living among Nigerians, in line with the transformation agenda. He urged Nigerians to join hands, saying that Jonathan’s administration was determined to ensure that every Nigerian is carried along in the transformation agenda. Speaking on the tournament held in memory of his late father, he noted that he was an embodiment of humility and discipline and that the memorial tournament was the best way to honour and immortalise him.

Protest trails demolition of mosque in Rivers varsity By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


n what looked like the continuation of anti-Islamic sentiments in the Niger Delta region, The Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), has ordered the arrest of two Muslim students for daring to capture on camera the demolition of the only mosque on the campus, which the school authority sanctioned. A statement issued yesterday by the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), said that the school authority, had without providing any justification, ordered the demolition of the improvised and only mosque building in the school on January 25, 2012. According to the statement “some students captured the pulling down of the mosque on their phones and cameras which earned two of them police arrest and incarceration. “The brazen violation of the religious rights and freedom of the Muslim students is indeed gigantic and the heinous pulling down of the mosque is not an isolated case. It has been preceded by a plethora of discriminatory show of prejudice and repulsive intolerance for the Muslim students all of which combine to make an era of ‘neo-servitude’ spanning through 12 long and

dark years”. Peoples Daily recall that the Vice-President of the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN), RSUST chapter, in a December 8, 2011, The Nation

newspaper, alleged that: “For the past 11 years, the Muslim community has been writing frequently to the school authority to have a permanent site for worship (mosque) but their

efforts were fruitless. No audience was given except on two separate occasions where threat letters were sent for the suspension of executive members of the society.

It would also be recalled that similar attacks on Islamic schools and mosques had been reported in Sapele, Delta state and other parts of the South-south region in recent times.

The authorities of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) on January 25, 2012 demolished the improvised - and only - mosque in the school. These two pictures show the old mosque before demolition and the parcel of land where the mosque was after demolition.



Cleric dismisses predictions on Nigeria disintegration From Nankpah Bwakan, Jos


ational Leader of the Jama’atul Izalatul Bid’a Wa Ikamatus Sunnah (JIBWIS), Sheikh Muhammad Sani Yahya Jingir, has flayed comments made by some western countries predicting that Nigeria will disintegrate in the nearest future. Jingir who dismissed the prediction while reacting to comments made by Senate President, David Mark and former Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida, that despite the security threat

confronting the country there was a need for the country to remain united as one entity. According to him, “their comments only show that they want our unity and progress, Nigerians should therefore

continue to pray so that lasting peace will return to the country which is a requisite for national development”. JIBWIS national leader reiterated the need for unity of the country describing Mark

and Babangida as patriotic and worthy of commendation stressing that anyone that has a contrary view to their stand is nothing but an enemy of Nigeria. He further commended

ECOWAS Court hears case against FG today

NANS calls on FG to increase education funding

By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


he National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has urged the Federal Government to tackle the dwindling educational standards in the country by allocating 26% of the national budget to the funding of education in line with the UNESCO recommendation. NANS National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Gideon Obande, who stressed this at a recent Town Hall Meeting on ‘Youth Advocacy for the removal of Fuel subsidy’ maintained that the persistent disregard for the UNESCO recommendations has accounted for the poor state of the country’s educational sector. Obande noted that it is only by giving better and qualitative education to Nigerian youths that the fight against violent crime can be won. He also advised the federal government to show greater commitment to the fight against corruption in the country, to justify the deregulation of oil sector, adding “the policy would not yield desired results if the proceeds accruable to government only end up in the private pockets of few individuals”. In his remarks, the coordinator of the meeting, a former federal legislator, Samuel Obande, assured the youth groups of the determination of President Goodluck Jonathan to keep to his promises to Nigerians by ensuring strict implementation of all policies and programmes that would positively impact on the lives of the people. Obande argued that with the deregulation policy, the pump price of fuel would eventual crash, especially with the expected influx of investors in the sector as in the case of the telecommunications industry.

some section of the Christian Association Nigeria (CAN) who came out to speak against the comment made by some leaders of the CAN over the recent appointment of the Inspector General of Police, saying one of the ways through which Nigeria can progress is when people don’t put sentiments on issues and speak only the truth.

L-R: Adamawa state Governor-elect, Admiral Murtala Nyako, receiving the certificate of return from INEC National Commissioner, Dr. Nuru Yakubu, at the INEC headquarters, in Abuja, yesterday. Photo: Mahmud Isa

2011 Muslim pilgrims’ luggage arrive Nigeria By Maryam Garba Hassan


uslim pilgrims to Saudia Arabia for the 2011 Hajj exercise, which ended three months ago, are expected to get their assumed missing luggage this week via Saudi Air Cargo. A statement by Malam Aminu Hamza, Public Relations Officer of Kabo Airline, one of the four designated airlines for last year’s Hajj exercise confirmed this to Peoples Daily in a telephone interview, yesterday in Abuja. Reacting to a report in Peoples Daily, on the threat by last year’s Bauchi state pilgrims to sue the airline and the state Pilgrims’ Welfare Board over non receipt of their luggage, and what the spokespersons of the pilgrims described as lack of commitment from the board’s officials to the plight of the affected pilgrims, Hamza said the luggage which belong to some of the pilgrims from all the states allocated to it, would be arriving the country yesterday, at 4pm local time via Kano, from where they would be distributed to the states. According to him, part of the delay in the transportation of the goods was lack of waiver for bulky luggage to be taken into the King AbdulAziz International Airport,

Jeddah, which he said is provided to the airlines by the government. Hamza further explained that the situation compelled the airline to convey some of the luggage to Nigeria from Jeddah, through 6 passenger flights which still did not cover the number of luggage turned in by pilgrims. According to the statement, “We had to reduce more luggage from the 6 flights that conveyed some of the luggage to Nigeria, which was transported through passenger aircraft, as our priority was to make sure that pilgrims arrive Nigeria safely and within the deadline given to the airlines operators by the National HAJJ Commission of Nigeria”. He said that the airline have been talking with the government on how the four designated airline carriers for last year’s Hajj can come together and workout modalities on how the luggage left in Jedda can be transported to Nigeria. He pointed out that the idea did not work, resulting in chartering a Saudi Air Cargo to transport the luggage back to Nigeria by Kabo Air. However, contrary to Kabo airline spokesman ‘s statement that the luggage would be arriving the country, yesterday, Media head, National Hajj

Commission Of Nigeria (NAHCON), Malam Uba Mana, who declined comment on the issue, saying the Commission yesterday issue a statement to that effect, explaining that the luggage had already arrived Nigeria.

he ECOWAS Court of Justice sitting in Abuja will today hear a case against the Federal Government and the Rivers State government, over the alleged shooting of peaceful demonstrators in Port Harcourt. Slum dwellers who are among the plaintiffs in the case, are expected to give evidence before the court during today’s hearing in the matter. At least one person died and 12 were injured when armed security forces allegedly opened fire on people protesting the proposed demolition of their homes in Bundu community, in October 2009. The case is being brought by ten residents of the Bundu waterfront and surrounding communities and the SocioEconomic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP). Amnesty International has submitted Amicus Curiae to the court detailing the international and national standards on the use of force and firearms

Sokoto polls: Wamakko pledges N2bn projects to 3 councils with highest votes From Muhammad Abdullah, Sokoto


ormer Sokoto state governor, Aliyu Wamakko, has promised to execute projects worth N2 billion in three local government councils that would record the highest number of votes in the forthcoming governorship election in the state. Wamakko made the pledge while addressing supporters in Binji local government council of Sokoto, on Tuesday. According to him, the council that got the highest number of votes will get N1 billion worth of project executed in their area.

He explained that the council that comes second and third in the number of votes recorded will get N600 million and N400 million worth of projects respectively, adding that his administration, will place more emphasis on women empowerment programmes in the next four years, if re-elected. He said that such schemes when implemented will go a long way in tackling the problem of poverty in the state, urging supporters of the party to refrain from carrying weapons during electioneering campaigns. Speaking further, he pointed out that violence and rancour will only impede the progress of the state.



NDA shifts Sokoto entrance exam centre to Birnin Kebbi

Insecurity: Qur’an memorisers organise special prayer From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, Katsina


n association of Katsina indigenes Qur’an memorizers based in Kano, has organised a special prayer session for the security and peace of Katsina state and the country at large. Speaking with our correspondent yesterday in Katsina, the leader of the association, Ustaz Tukur Ladan Charanci noted that they organised the prayer to seek for God’s intervention in the myriad of security challenges facing the nation. He said that the group has aresolved to hold the prayer session considering the fact that the recent bomb blast was recorded in Kano neighbouring Katsina state. “We have no option now other than to embark on prayer for the protection of Katsina state. Even after this special session we will continue with the prayers” he added. Similarly, Charanci called on government to find ways of initiating dialogue with the Boko Haram sect so as to stop the

Maternal mortality rate; FG needs MERCK intervention By A’isha Biola Raji


he federal government of Nigeria through the ministry of health has been urged to take advantage of MERCK intervention in the issue of maternal mortality rate in the country. The resource person Dr Jafaru Jega stated this yesterday in Abuja at the meeting of stakeholders on maternal mortality review. According to him, MERCK, the 9th leading Pharmaceutical Industry in the world based in the United States made a pledge at a UN assembly in September 2011 to donate 500million US dollars for a period of 10 years with an annual share of 50million US dollars every year amongst under-developed and developing countries facing the challenges of maternal mortality problem. He said Nigeria, being one of the countries tipped to benefit from this intervention has not done so due to lack of statistics and data. The data he said will amount for prevalence in different states of the federation so as to facilitate the disbursement of fund. Jega said “MERCK is only waiting for ministry of health to make an official request by providing statistics.” He however urged federal government to provide the needed statistics so that mothers and children can benefit from the money. He stretched that the money, if acquired will go a long way in solving the problem of high maternal mortality rate.


L-R: Former Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Professor Eto Ancyeazi, current DG of the agency, Mr. Mike Omeri, and Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mr. Edem Duke, during a one-day retreat organised by NOA, in Abuja, yesterday. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Reps carpet NCC over phony budget proposal By Lawrence Olaoye


he House of Representatives yesterday came hard on the management of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for bringing bogus appropriation before it for consideration and approval. At the budget defense of the agency before the House Committee on communication chaired by Rep Oyetunde Ojo, NCC's Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Eugene Juwah, was queried for proposing N75 million for replacement of toilet doors, locks, repainting of fading external walls and provision of directional signs to its Waiting Room area and

Canteen. The lawmakers also raised the alarm over the agency's proposal of N25 million as legal fees for a lawyer purportedly drafting a bill, which he said was already before the House and sponsored by a member. The Chairman however warned the team that, "Seventh Session of the National Assembly is different previous sessions". Other items on the commission's budget considered objectionable by the committee include the N30 million budgeted for replacement of old furniture, despite an allocation of N25 million for same purpose in 2011 fiscal year and the N10 million proposal for replacement of air conditioners despite an allocation of N10

million in year 2011 for same item. The committee equally questioned why the commission would propose N89 million for project vehicles and also budget N72 million for Quality of Service monitoring vehicles. Speaking earlier, the NCC CEO had informed the committee that the agency was projecting revenue of N48.8 billion for 2012 out of which N13.9 billion was earmarked for recurrent expenditure and N6.5 billion for capital expenditure. The sum of N11.4 billion would be expended on Special Projects and the sum of N10. 6 billion is proposed to be transferred to the Universal Service Provision Fund with N6.3 billion remitted into government coffers.

he Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) has yesterday shifted its entrance examination centre in Sokoto to Birnin Kebbi, following the governorship election slated to place on Saturday, February 18th, 2012 in the state. The entrance examination is scheduled to hold in 36 centres simultaneously across the country on February 18th. However, following the Supreme Court’s ruling on Jan. 30, that ended the tenure of some state governors, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced its decision to conduct fresh elections in four states, including Sokoto. In a statement issued in Kaduna the NDA said “The governorship election for Sokoto was, thus scheduled for Saturday, February. 18th, the same date as the NDA entrance examination. Thus, holding the examination in Sokoto is no longer feasible.” “It is impracticable to conduct the examination on a separate date for candidates of Sokoto centre. It has therefore become inevitable to shift the examination centre from Army Day Secondary School, Sokoto to another venue.” According to the statement signed by the Academy Registrar, Mr. Ayamasaowei, the examination would be conducted at the Government Day Secondary School, Birnin Kebbi on the same date, in place of the Sokoto centre. “All candidates who chose Sokoto as their examination centre will now take their examination at Birnin Kebbi.’’ It urged the candidates to report promptly to the centres at 7 a.m. for screening and make arrangement for the commencement of the examination by 10 a.m. The candidates,according to the statement, should also come along with their writing materials, acknowledgement forms and two passport photographs.

Court fixes March 12 for hearing of SNG suit against FG


Federal High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, yesterday fixed March 12 for hearing of a suit filed by the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) against the Federal Government. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the SNG had filed a N100 million suit against the FG for deploying soldiers to Gani Fawehimi Park in Lagos. The soldiers were deployed to the park on Jan. 16, during the protest organised by the SNG against the removal of fuel subsidy. When the matter came up for mention on Tuesday, SNG’s lawyer, Miss F. Ogbitebo, told

the court presided over by Justice Steven Adah, that the respondents were yet to be served with the processes. She, therefore, asked for a short adjournment date to enable the applicant to serve them. The respondents in the suit are the President, the National Security Adviser, Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Inspector General of Police and the AttorneyGeneral of the Federation. The suit was accompanied by a 28-paragraph affidavit deposed to by a member of the SNG, Mr Oluyinka Odumakin. The SNG is asking the court for a declaration that the

deployment of soldiers to the park is unconstitutional and a violation of the rights of the protesters. The group argued that the deployment constituted gross violations of their fundamental rights to freedom of expression including the freedom to hold opinions, freedom of movement, personal dignity and peaceful assembly. According to the group, the rights are guaranteed by the extant provisions of Sections 34, 35(1), 39(1), 40, 41(1) and 46(1) of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). The applicants also asked for an order of perpetual

injunction restraining the respondents and their agents from further acts that will constitute intimidation and restrictions of the movement of its members. They further asked the court to order the respondents to tender a public apology to the SNG for the indignity and breach of their fundamental rights which must be published in three national newspapers. The SNG asked for N100 million being general, special and exemplary damages against the respondents jointly and severally for the unlawful, arbitrary and illegal violation of the applicant’s fundamental rights.



Lagos MPs demand dialogue with Boko Haram S

ome Lagos state House of Assembly legislators yesterday threw their support behind calls for dialogue with the Boko Haram sect. In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, the lawmakers said if dialogue would ensure security of the country, the approach should be employed.

Chairman, Committee on Information, Mr. Segun Olulade, said if dialoguing with the sect would bring peace to the nation, Nigerians should not hesitate to do so for the sake of innocent people being murdered daily. “This issue of Boko-Haram is beyond political or religious crises, it is a global challenge we have to

come together to put an end to”, he said. The lawmaker said it was a collective responsibility of everyone to play a vital role in resolving the security problem of the country. He added that if the condition and the option given for the dialogue with the members of the Boko-Haram sect would be

comfortable to Nigerians, it would be a welcome idea. “We must make an approach to solve the problem and I think this is one of them, to bring a solution to the menace of the BokoHaram sect,’’ he said. In his comments, Assemblyman Abiodun Tobun, said it would not be out of the way to convene a Sovereign National Conference at this point that the country was facing security challenges. Tobun said that for a nation to

continue to exist as a crime-free country, people must agree on how to live together. “For us to continue existing as a crime-free nation, we have to agree on how to work and live together, because some people feel they were being marginalised”, he said. The lawmaker urged the new Inspector General of Police (IG), to use his professionalism to fish out members of sect attacking innocent citizens in parts of the country. (NAN)

National social welfare policy underway By Maryam Garba Hassan


R-L: Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Ado Jimada Muhammad, Director, Primary System Development (PHCSD), Dr. Mohammed J. Abdullahi and Programme Manager of Pathfinder International, Dr. Farouk Muhammad Jega, during a national stakeholders meeting and training of the trainers for the maternal death review under the Midwives Service Scheme in Abuja, yesterday. Photo: Mahmud Isa

US pursues end to female genital mutilation


he United States has reaffirmed its commitment to ending the painful process of female genital mutilation that has been widely considered as an affront to women's equality, rights and dignity. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the pledge during the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting which was

observed globally on Monday. “As we commemorate International Day of Zero Tolerance and remember those who have been harmed, we reaffirm our commitment to overturning deeply entrenched social norms and abolishing this practice,'' a State Department release quoted Clinton as saying. “All women and girls, no matter where they are born or

what culture they are raised in, deserve the opportunity to realise their potential,'' she said. It is estimated that 100 million to 140 million women around the world have undergone this brutal procedure and three million girls are at risk every year, Clinton said. “No religion mandates the procedure, though it occurs across cultures, religions, and continents, including Africa’’.

n all-inclusive National Social Welfare Policy that will ensure the welfare and development of Persons with Disability(PWDs), orphans and vulnerable children, the elderly and other vulnerable Nigerians, is to be developed for the country. A statement issued yesterday in Abuja, by the Assistant Director of Press, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Saghir el Mohammed, said the new policy is expected to provide a comprehensive social welfare package that will address the growing menace of street begging in the country by destitute and Almajirai. It further said that the policy would curb the alarming rate of street children and hawking by teenagers, check the excesses of Area Boys and Yandaba activities, the plight of aging population and other vulnerable groups. According to the statement, this was part of the resolutions of the 14th Regular Meeting of the National Council on Women Affairs and Social Development (NCWS) held in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, recently. The meeting was held to track progress, resolve grey areas and take decisions on issues and concerns emanating from the sector by way of executing

meaningful programmes, policies and projects aimed at improving the lives of women, children, disabled persons and other marginalised groups in the Nigeria, the statement added. The Ekiti Council meeting which was chaired by the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zainab Maina and declared opened by Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state, urged the 36 states and the FCT to fast track the domestication of UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities to reduce poverty and improve their standards of living. The women affairs ministry was mandated to develop guidelines to facilitate networking, settlement and repatriation of street beggars and destitute and enjoined State governments to properly fund their various rehabilitation centres and activities of PWDs. The forum also called on the ministry to resuscitate the promotion and exhibition of products made by PWDs and provide guidelines for the operations of Day Care Centres for the elderly. It further advised the 22 States that passed the Child Rights Law to develop mechanism for effective implementation of the legislation.

Maternal mortality: NPHCDA Cleric asks FG to strengthen border security From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan entering the country without conflict was necessity for existence to analyse every death approval saying this gave birth to and a fact of life saying unless we By A’isha Biola Raji


he National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), has resolved to analyse each death occurring in each of its facility. The agency’s Executive Director, Dr Ado Muhammad made this known in Abuja yesterday at the review meeting on (MDR) Maternal Death Review in the country. Ado, in an opening address said, it is necessary to know the cause of each death in order to avoid recurrence. “Every death that occurs in each MSS

(Midwives Service Scheme) facility must be analyzed so as to serve as guide against recurrence”,he said. He said the analysed data gathered would be used under MSS as intervention measures in preventing avoidable deaths in mothers and children. According to him, preventing maternal deaths involve antenatal care, skilled attendance at birth, access to emergency obstetric care when necessary, adequate nutrition, post partum care, early newborn care and good hygiene. These, he said, would henceforth be provided for.


renowned Islamic preacher, Alhaji Femi Abass has advised the Federal Government to strengthen boarder security against influx of illegal immigrants that threatens the security of the nation. The scholar gave this charge while delivering a lecture titled: Conflict Resolution, Islamic Perspective to mark year 2012 Maolud-Nabiy celebration organized by the University of Ibadan Muslim Graduate’s Association (UIMGA), at the U.I. Central Mosque. He expressed concern over the increase of illegal immigrants

groups threatening the peace and co-existence of Nigerians. The cleric revealed that some Nigerians engaged in human trafficking from neighbouring countries to be used as house helps, thereby paving way for terrorists. Speaking on the theme of the lecture, the erudite columnist hinted that both Muslims and Christians were created by God for a purpose and were mandated to interact adding that economic advancement and greed often caused conflicts. Earlier, in his welcome address, the acting chairman of UIMGA, Dr. Saka Adewunmi said

eradicate injustice, oppression, capricious ambitions and arbitrary claims, conflict would continue to thrive among humans. He noted that conflict was not part of Islam but only a last resort under the most extraordinary circumstance when all other measures failed saying it should not be abused as some groups now do. He identified unemployment as major factor militating against the future of this country and called on the Federal Government to fashion out more ways of creating lucrative jobs for the teeming unemployed youth.


Shettima appeals to Borno residents on security


ov. Kashim Shettima of Borno state has appealed to residents to be security conscious. Shettima made the appeal in an Eid-el-Maulud message to the state. In a statement signed by Malam Usman Chiroma, the Director of Press at the Government House, Maiduguri, the governor urged members of the public to provide useful information to security agencies on strange movements in their locality. “Gov. Shettima wishes to felicitate will all Muslims on the Eid-el-Maulud celebrations, with the hope that lessons learnt from the event will serve as a catalyst towards peaceful co-existence among all groups”. He pledged to enhance the quality of life of the people by executing developmental programmes. The statement further said that the state government would continue to execute people-oriented programmes, including the provision of potable water, health care, housing and rural electrification projects, among others. (NAN)


Hell conscious Benin high priest to conduct own funeral From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


ne of the foremost traditionalists in Benin Kingdom, High Priest Osemwegie Ebohon, has said that he has concluded plans to preside over his funeral at a date yet to be announced to the public. Ebohon, who claimed that he is doomed for hell, told

correspondents in an interview that the seven-day burial rites will be done in his ancestral room at his palatial cultural centre established in 1965 and is expected to attract people from all walks of life including his children. “I’ll preside over my obituary; I’ll lie on the bed and ask a medical doctor to pronounce me clinically dead. The ceremony is going to be

very inexhaustible and inexpensive; I’ll bury myself because you can never trust man. I do not want to go to heaven but hell. “We do not kill Satan in traditional religion, we appeal to him not to bring problems or scatter our heads”, he said. Despite his overwhelming influence as a traditional medicine practitioner and a

psychotherapist, he claimed he had been asked to bear witness in secular and traditional courts. Ebohon whose biological children do not share the same values of life with him, said: “Well, like every other human being, I have problem as far as that is concerned. I over educated my children beyond the supposed limit”.

Kano bomb blast: Residents thank NEMA By Emmanuel Iriogbe


ano residents are still singing the praises of the Federal Government and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for donating drugs worth millions of naira to cushion the effect of the multiple bomb blast that hit the city recently. Speaking on the relief materials, some of the victims who benefited from the gesture were full of praises for NEMA and the federal government. A traditional ruler in Talwudu, Alhaji Muhammad Ahmad who was at the Murtala Mohammed Specialist Hospital to condole with some of his family members still in the hospital praised the effort of the federal government and asked for prayers for those that died. Malam Wada Ibrahim who was recently discharged from the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, commended NEMA for their thoughtfulness and kindness. According to him; “I am grateful to God for people who have reached out to us at this time of need. I specially want to thank the federal government, because it was the drugs donated by NEMA that made things easier, since hospitals were beginning to run short of drugs when I was on admission there.” It would be recalled that Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency, Alhaji Muhammad Sani Sidi donated drugs worth millions of naira to various hospitals in Kano in other to support the efforts of the hospitals treating victims of the bomb blast.

Traffic risk: A commercial motorcyclist and his passenger carrying plastic cans in Yola, Adamawa state, on Monday.

Tourism corporation to roll out festival calendar from 2012 From Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji, Abeokuta


igerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) said it has concluded arrangements to evolve a Festival Calendar as well as working on the possibility of harmonizing some of the festive periods. Otunba Segun Runsewe, Director-General of the corporation, made the plans known in Abeokuta, Ogun state capital while delivering a lecture titled, ‘The Prospects of Making Nigeria a Tourist Destination’ at the Zonal Workshop on Economic Diversification and Enhanced Revenue Generation. According to him, “The Corporation has also evolved a Nigeria Festival Calendar and is working on the possibility of harmonizing some of the festive periods in such a way that international tourists could watch two or more in succession during one holiday”. Further speaking at June 12

Cultural Centre, venue of the workshop, Runsewe explained that the idea became important , as it would made it possible that international tourists could watch two or more in succession during one holiday. The Director-General equally added that the corporation was determined to use cultural festivals as veritable machinery to fast track development. He said: “Nigeria earns approximately N80billion annually from tourism. Not less than 22 International airlines fly into Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos alone. Tourism is not only the highest employer of labour in the world; it is also one of the highest revenue earners”. He noted that since his assumption of office he has been in the forefront of the campaign to diversify Nigeria’s economy and free it from the over-independence on crude oil exportation as a major source of foreign exchange earnings.

Photo: NAN

Elechi to spend N36bn on water projects By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


bonyi state governor, Mr. Martin Elechi, has disclosed his administration’s plan to spend about N36 billion to complete the Ofrekpe and Ukawu Water Schemes, describing lack of adequate potable water as the greatest challenge facing the state. Speaking during an interactive session with members of Ebonyi Professionals Forum in Abuja, Elechi said the projects when completed would provide 200,000 liters of water daily to residents of the state. He explained that laying pipes across the length and breadth of the state will cover 590 kilometers, while each of the water schemes has a daily capacity of producing 100,000 liters of water. He noted that the project design was done in a way that even if any of the water schemes undergoes repairs, water would still be reticulated to all parts of the state. The governor stressed that

effort is being made to complete the first phase of the project which would supply water to Abakaliki, the state capital. This he explained will entail pipe laying coverage of 56 kilometers. He attributed the shortage in water supply to the state capital from the recently rehabilitated Ezillo Water Scheme to leakages due to obsolete pipes in Abakaliki. Elechi said “We are passionate about this project because it will provide water to all the communities in the state. Our challenge is that completing these two gigantic projects will cost the state government about N36 billion. And you all know that the global economic meltdown really affected our monthly allocation from the federation account. “This has affected the pace of the projects. You also know that we went to the capital market to source funds to complete some of these laudable projects that will benefit our people”.





ASUU: Happy ending to a wasteful strike

niversity lecturers in the country, last week, decided to end their six-week long strike and return immediately to the classroom. They called it a suspension, meaning if there was a need to return to the trenches they would not hesitate to do so. Suspension or whatever, ending the industrial face-off with the Federal Government has come as a huge relief to particularly parents, and students who now have to spend more time on campus. Professor Ukachukwu Awuzie, ASUU president, announced an end to the strike, started on December 4, last year, after a National Executive Council meeting at the University of Abuja. He asked lecturers to return to their duty posts in the universities with effect from February 2. According to him, the change of mind by ASUU was “in the interest of students”. The grouse of the lecturers, who are members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has been the failure of the Federal Government, owner of 36 of the nation’s 119 odd universities, to honour an agreement that was ratified since 2009. The fine points of the pact are: funding for federal universities; Federal Government assistance to state universities; progressive increase in the annual budgetary allocation to education to 26 per cent between 2009 and 2020; payment of lecturers’ earned allowances; and amendment of the pension/retirement age of academics in the professorial cadre from 65 years to 70.

Others are the appointment of a pension fund administrator; reinstatement of prematurely dissolved governing councils of universities (university autonomy); transfer of Federal Government landed property to universities and setting up of research and development units by companies operating in Nigeria as well as the provision of teaching and research equipment in laboratories and classrooms. Of those demands, the

All the same, we commend the government’s courage by finally conceding some ground in this matter. This thing is not about ego but the future of the country’s university system, in particular and the education sector, in general government has met the one about raising the bar on the retirement age of professors to 70. And just last week, the National Assembly passed a Constitution amendment bill effecting the change. The government has also promised yearly funding of universities in line with the UNESCO benchmark of 26 percent with an immediate release of N100 billion. This would build up to

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N400 billion yearly in the next three years. Peoples Daily calls the strike wasteful because it could have been avoided if the government had shown as much a willingness to negotiate genuinely as had the ASUU. If we accept that governance is continuous, there was no reason why the Jonathan Administration was reluctant to honour the 2009 agreement with the lecturers only because it preceded his first full term as President. Moreover, as Vice-President at the time, he was very much a part of the government that initiate the agreement that year. ASUU, therefore, embarked on the strike as a last resort, understandably so, having been pushed to the wall. This and the fact that the body demonstrated it has come of age by not emphasizing the personal comfort of its members in the dispute with government earned it much respect and public sympathy. The strike option was chosen because the government has created the unfortunate impression that the only language it understood, and still does, is one of strike actions. All the same, we commend the government’s courage by finally conceding some ground in this matter. This thing is not about ego but the future of the country’s university system, in particular and the education sector, in general. We also want to advise the government to always respect all agreements – legal or gentleman’s – it enters into. We advise this for the sake of its credibility.








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By Femi Fani-Kayode


hen I heard, last week, that Major Hamza AlMustapha had been convicted of murder and sentenced to hanging by a Lagos High Court, I was utterly shocked, saddened and disgusted. And let me tell you why. I was one of those that opposed the late General Sani Abacha’s government and fought against Al-Mustapha and co. with every fibre of my being during the NADECO days. Given that, if anything, I should have been rejoicing with the many other NADECO leaders, supporters and stalwarts who honestly believe that Al-Mustapha actually ordered the killing of our wonderful heroine Alhaja Kudirat Abiola and who believe that he deserves to die as a consequence of it. However, I am not rejoicing with them simply because as far as I am concerned, based on the evidence that was adduced in court, this man had absolutely nothing to do with the killing of Kudirat Abiola. I believe that whatever we do we must always operate within the law and there is no place for the expression of unfettered emotions, vendetta or jungle justice in a civilised country when it comes to the administration of justice. I have been following this case closely for the last four years and I have publically called for the release of Al Mustapha on a number of occasions simply because I found it shameful and unjust that the state could lock up a man in a dungeon for 13 years without being able to prove a case against him. By doing that they have already almost ruined his life yet there is a presumption of innocence in our law. Now the state has gone even a step further in this whole unsavoury and


Al-Mustapha’s ‘conviction’ - God is not asleep disgraceful episode and they have convicted a man to hang for something that he knew nothing about simply because they want to silence him and stop him from exposing the truth about the roles that many of the high and mighty played in the death of Abacha, MKO Abiola and many others. They want to jail and kill Mustapha just as they have jailed and killed so many other innocent men that came before him. Let me make this clear- I hold no brief and I have no sympathy whatsoever for the Abacha government that Al-Mustapha served and neither do I seek to defend their actions whilst in office. The truth is that they committed many atrocities and till today many find it hard to forgive them for those atrocities. Many of our people in the southwest were killed, locked up and driven into exile by that government as was the late General Shehu Musa Yar’adua and many others from other parts of Nigeria. I myself had to leave the country and go into exile in Ghana in 1996 because of them and I never thought that I would ever return to Nigeria again. Yet despite all that I cannot allow my bitterness and anger with the Abacha regime so becloud my reasoning and sense of justice that I would support or applaud a case of what would essentially be judicial murder. Yes, Abacha’s government and even Mustapha himself, as a consequence of his unflinching loyalty to his boss, committed atrocities and violated the rights

of many but does that mean that we should do the same to them? Do two wrongs make a right? Are we all to descend into the pit of slaying the innocent and punishing their families simply because we must have our pound of flesh and even where there is no tangible evidence to justify such a course of action? I challenge those that doubt me to look at the evidence and to study the judgement closely as I have done. It is wickedness and it is a travesty of justice. Worse still it sends the wrong signal to an already tense nation that is fraught with regional, north/ south and Christian/Muslim tensions. This absurd judgement could not have come at a worse time and I have little doubt that the Boko Haramites amongst us (whether it be the overt or covert ones) will make quite a song and dance of it. Thankfully, Al -Mustapha has the right to appeal but the implication of that is that this man’s enemies have virtually destroyed his life already and left him with no hope because, unless he is granted bail pending that appeal, he will be struggling with it from the dingy dungeons of Kirikiri prison all the way to the Supreme Court for the next ten years. That is the Nigerian state and ‘’system’’ for you. When you are loyal to your leader, when you speak out in his defence, when you defend him with your life and when you tell the world the truth they come at you with everything that they have got and seek to jail or kill you for it once that leader is no longer in

power or is no longer alive. One thing is clear though- those that seek to hang Al Mustapha and silence him forever have forgotten the God factor. They have forgotten that there is a God of justice and mercy who still rules in the affairs of men and who forges the destiny of nations. For my old adversary and new friend, Al-Mustapha, I will not beg of any mortal for mercy and neither will I plead for him. I will only pray to the Living God that if truly this man is innocent, as I earnestly and honestly believe he is, then he should be eventually freed and completely vindicated. This is especially so because something tells me that our country will still need him. God’s ways are not ours and only He sees and knows the hidden things that lie ahead. It is not Al Mustapha that we should weep for, it is Nigeria. Finally let me restate my position clearly for all to see and for posterity to take note of. I believe that Hamza Al Mustapha is innocent of this crime. As far as I am aware there is absolutely no evidence against him and the only person that said that he ordered him to go and kill the late Kudirat Abiola (Sergeant Barnabas Jabilla) has long since recanted and said that he was induced and compelled to give that false evidence by the authorities. In any civilised country that would have been the end of it but not in Nigeria. In Nigeria it is a case of ‘’we must get him at all costs’’ even if it means bending the law and influencing the courts. One has

to ask whether, as a people, we have any fear of God? Is there any justice in Nigeria? Is there any fairness? Can we ever rely on the courts to do the right thing when the state determines to punish an innocent man for his perceived sins against the powers that be? I am fed up and disgusted with the sort of thing that goes on in this country when it comes to such matters and I just cannot understand how Nigerians are so comfortable with such injustice and wickedness being meted out to their compatriots. Do they not know that tomorrow it could be them or a member of their family? On this matter I stand by Al Mustapha shoulder to shoulder just as I do with every other innocent person that has been unfairly charged to court for political reasons and who has suffered persecution at the hands of a relentless and vicious state that have no fear of God. This country just has to change. God’s wrath is stirred up by such wickedness and insensitivity. You lock up an innocent man for 13 years in the most horrific conditions for something that he did not do, you delay his trial, you wrongly convict him where there is clearly no evidence to justify it and now you want to hang him? God is not asleep Nigeria. Unless God wills it Hamza Al Mustapha will not hang and ultimately he will be vindicated. My prayers are for him and for his family at this difficult time. God bless Nigeria. Femi Fani-Kayode is a former Aviation Minister.

Is Suntai setting stage for unrest in Taraba? By Musa Agyo


araba state is, unarguably, one of the most peaceful states in the country and possibly the most peaceful in the entire northern zone. This is a state that is regarded as home to all irrespective of ethnic, religious and political affiliations. Some Nigerians tend to believe that the state is populated by people of the same tribe and religion like Bayelsa state and that is the reason for the peace that reigns in the state. The truth, though, is that various tribes make up the state while the majority of the indigenes subscribe to Islam and Christianity. The peace in Taraba is achieved by the mutual conscious efforts of the people to co-exist as one people in an atmosphere where everyone respects the other and gives them whatever is due to them. Unfortunately, recent developments in the state have given the peace-loving people of Taraba cause for concern. This is not unconnected with the glaring lopsidedness is major

appointments made by Governor Baba Suntai since May 2011. The fear in some quarters is that the relative peace in the state may be in jeopardy unless this imbalance in appointments is addressed immediately. The founding fathers of Nigeria appreciated that the country is a pluralistic society and made equitable distribution of public offices based on quota a constitutional matter. The 1999 Constitution, faulty as it may be, made it mandatory that every segment of the population is taken care of in the sharing of public offices. Governor Suntai, is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and in the preamble to the PDP constitution says that the party was formed “To create socialpolitical conditions conducive to national peace and unity by ensuring fair and equitable distribution of resources and opportunities, to conform with the principles of power shift and power sharing by rotating key political offices amongst the diverse peoples of our country and

devolving powers equitably between the Federal, State, and Local Governments in the spirit of federalism”. From the appointments made by Suntai since he came to office, it is obvious that he is either ignorant of the constitutional provisions or he has a hidden agenda that may one day lead to civil strife in Taraba state. According to the 1991 population census, Muslims constitute a significant community in the state but the governor has largely neglected this critical mass in the appointments he has made so far. Suntai won the PDP primaries because of the huge support the Muslim delegates gave him. Out of the 694 delegates that participated in the governorship primary election last year, 492 were Muslims while 202 were Christians. If the Muslim delegates had ganged up against Suntai there would have been no way he would have secured the PDP ticket. A look at the statistics on Taraba government appointments, nominations and influenced positions under

Governor Suntai shows clearly that the governor is sowing seeds of discord in the state. His cabinet has 13 Commissioners and out of this number only three are Muslims. All the choice ministries like Works, Finance, Agriculture, Education and Water Resources are manned by Christians. Suntai has 22 special advisers (15 Christians, 7 Muslims), and 13 special assistants (9 Christians and 4 Muslims). Under the Suntai administration, the sensitive positions of Secretary to the State Government (SSG); the Head of Service; Chief of Staff; Accountant General and Attorney General all have gone to Christians. On the say-so of Suntai, the Speaker of the Taraba state House of Assembly; the Deputy Speaker and the Majority Leader are all Christians. When Suntai made nominations for federal appointments the same relegation of the Muslim population was manifest. The Minister representing Taraba state in the Federal Executive Council; the two ambassadors;

representatives to the Niger Delta Commission, National Population Commission and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are all Christians. The only slot Suntai gave to the Muslim population is the representative to FERMA. If Governor Suntai is not aware, maybe it is time to use the public media to inform him that there is growing discontent in Taraba state over the marginalization of a large section of the population. The only good thing is that the discontent is not only among the Muslims. The Christians who have over the decades lived in harmony with their Muslim brothers are equally not happy with Suntai because they fear that the governor is setting the stage for conflict in the state. They are worried that Suntai will not occupy the Government House forever and one day the Christians may be at the receiving end. Governor Suntai, the time to redress this imbalance is now before the bubble bursts. Musa Agyo is reachable at



Save West Africa from the drugs barons By Kofi Annan


ver the last decade, West Africa has made encouraging progress. Violent conflicts that had blighted the region for many years have been ended. There have been real advances in development, health and education. Economic growth is accelerating. Democratic practice, although still not the norm everywhere in the region, is taking root. But this progress is increasingly at risk from the threat posed by international drug trafficking and the criminal networks behind the trade. The smuggling of illegal drugs through West Africa, notably cocaine and heroin, has increased dramatically. A decade ago, the total seizures of cocaine in the region were less than 100 kilos. By 2009, this had increased to nearly 6,500 kilos. The World Bank estimated that cocaine with a street value of $6.8bn was trafficked through the region the previous year. This is not restricted to West Africa. Across the globe, drug trafficking and the organised crime

By Chris Ngwodo


o bad idea is repeated as constantly as the notion that the solution to chronic violence in Nigeria is for her to “break up.” The case for Nigeria’s disintegration surfaces routinely after tragic episodes of violence and has emerged following the recent increase in sectarian terrorism. Some perspective is necessary. Since the days before the Civil War, beating the drums of separatism has become a sort of pre-programmed response to national calamity. Rumours of our impending divorce attended the 1964 elections, the June 12, 1993 crisis, the death of Moshood Abiola in 1998 and the Sharia controversy in 2001. In 1990, a gang of over-ambitious soldiers attempting to oust the Babangida regime even purported to evict five Northern states from the federation. Thus, current debates about the durability of Nigeria are nothing new. It is intellectually lazy and astonishingly parlous thinking to suggest that the solution to our national crisis is disintegration. It is true that much life has been expended on the Nigeria project to no apparent redemptive effect but what we owe the dead and the unborn as well as ourselves is clearminded thinking on the fate of our union rather than just emotive polemics. The usual suggestion is that Nigeria be divided between a “Muslim North” and “Christian South” or among its so-called big three – the Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo. Beyond these imprecise propositions, there is little specificity as to what shape post-Nigerian nations would look like except perhaps for the preposterous suggestion that every ethnic group should become a nation. These arguments are fallacious. Nigeria is not and has never been a country of monolithic religious halves. Christians and Muslims are scattered in substantial proportions and ethnic variety across the country. There are Fulani

behind it are placing increasing trying to infiltrate and destabilize Europe and shipped via West Africa was consumed locally. pressures on all legal and democratic the region. Finally, there is the harmful Organisations such as the United systems. But countries emerging from conflict or violence are impact on the health and social Nations and the Economic particularly susceptible to organised cohesion of local communities Community of West African States by growing drug have already sounded the alarm crime. Law enforcement can be caused about the weak, while growing scale widespread poverty of the threat makes it easier for and the criminal networks dangers it to penetrate and Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text poses to pervert the often messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written governance, fragile institutions contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 security and of democratic states. words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and democracy. West Africa and a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed Governments other regions in to: in the region Africa are not are taking immune from these The Editor, action to stem pressures. Indeed, and disrupt they face three Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, the flow of inter-related 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. drugs. But dangers from illegal Email: let there remains drug trafficking. SMS: 07037756364 an urgent First, there is the need to threat from drugfunded corruption, which can consumption by people within the accelerate and ensure a coherent corrode fledgling state institutions region. Evidence of this disturbing response at the national, regional and and undermine good governance trend is already apparent. international levels. We need to take action now before and the rule of law. Second, there is According to a recent report from the risk that drug traffickers link up the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime, the grip of the criminal networks with other criminal elements or, in 2009 around a third of the South linked to the trafficking of illicit drugs worse, terrorist groups that may be American cocaine destined for tightens into a stranglehold on West


African political and economic development. That can only achieved through a strong, well-coordinated and integrated effort led by West African states with the strong backing of the international community. In particular, the region needs more help from those countries that are producing and consuming these drugs. To help provide new impetus and solutions to this threat, a meeting of independent experts from within the region and the wider international community will be convened later this year. The aim is to assess the dangers that drug trafficking poses to governance, security and democracy in West Africa and to propose concrete measures to combat this insidious menace. We have already seen, in other parts of the world, the devastation the trade in drugs can cause. It would be a tragedy if drugs were again to plunge West Africa into conflict and destroy the progress and hard-won democratic gains of recent years. We must all come together to prevent such a disaster. Kofi Annan is a former UN Secretary General.

Why Nigeria can’t break up Christians and Igbo Muslims. Millions of Yoruba families contain adherents of both faiths. Nigeria is far more complex and diverse than the Hausa-Yoruba-Igbo tripod. Making each ethnic group a nation throws up problems. What would we make of Ijaw communities who hug the coastline stretching from the south to the south west? The sheer diversity and interlocking spread of hundreds of ethnic nationalities makes tidy disintegration a virtually impossible proposition. A popular fallacy is that prior to the advent of the colonialists, Nigeria’s ethnic groups existed in self-contained cocoons of utopian bliss unburdened by the necessity of interaction with others. But many of the ethnic and regional identities which are now presumed “sacred” are in fact colonial creations. For instance, it was only after colonization, that the term “Yorubaland” began to be applied to the realms of all rulers who claim descent from Oduduwa, instead of only to the Oyo Kingdom. Before the British came, the Egba, Ijebu, Ekiti, Ijesha and Ilorin peoples fought costly interstate wars among themselves. The longest pre-colonial civil war was the sixteen year Kiriji war which was fought between Yoruba city states. Yoruba nationalism was forged by Obafemi Awolowo who rallied the descendants of Oduduwa as a political force in the new nation. Similarly, Igbos were organized into separate and autonomous republics. Many of them had scant contact with each other with some entirely oblivious of others before the advent of colonialism. Consequently, Igbos fought no wars as a collective. Igbo national consciousness was largely the handiwork of Nnamdi Azikiwe who at one point preached the manifest destiny of the Igbo in Africa. Hausa city-states co-existed through times of war and peace. Even when

Uthman Dan Fodio’s jihad established the Sokoto Caliphate, the new emirates were never synonymous with “the North” which was a later British invention and was fortified as a political identity by Ahmadu Bello. Significantly, pre-colonial societies were not based on ethnic units but rather on age groups, occupations, residence and settlements. Instead of monolithic tribal blocs competing for a share of the national cake, city-states, inclusive kingdoms and republics for the most part made up the area that was eventually christened Nigeria and experienced centurieslong commercial links and cultural cross-pollination. Dissolving the Nigerian federation will not resolve the violence that bedevils places like Jos, the conflicts between the Ife and Modakeke in Osun, the Aguleri and Umuleri in Anambra or the Ezza and the Ezillo in Ebonyi, the Jukun and the Tiv or the Itsekiri and the Urhobo. Nor will it end conflicts between nomadic Fulani pastoralists and agrarian communities stretching from the north to the south. These are essentially either local or intra-ethnic conflicts. Ethnic homogeneity cannot indemnify society against conflict. Somalia, the world’s poster child of failed statehood, has only one ethnic group, the Somali, only one language and is one hundred percent Islamic. South Sudan which only recently celebrated its divorce from Sudan is now embroiled in interethnic conflict within its borders. Back home, we need only look at Bayelsa State and other ethnically homogeneous states to establish conclusively that ethnic homogeneity is not a predictor of peace, social justice or smart governance. While prodigal political elites practise divisive politics, the

Nigerian people themselves live in a socio-economic reality of interdependence and integration. The use of oil wealth from the Niger Delta in sustaining state bureaucracies all over the country may be the most obvious example of this. Less remarked is the dependence of southern urbanites on northern produce for food. The Fulanis are the main custodians of Nigeria’s livestock population, holding over ten million cattle, twenty million goats and millions of sheep. Their industry significantly accounts for protein consumption in the south. The north remains Nigeria’s food basket. We are so captivated by the witchcraft of separatism that we fail to appreciate the fortuitous or providential alignments of ecological, geographical, cultural and economic factors that have fostered interdependence and integration. For example, if violence in the north was simply about antiIgbo hatred then it would be saner for Igbos to stay home in the east. But the east is disadvantaged by its erosion-prone poor soil which cannot sustain the population density of the area and which accounts for the comparatively high level of migration of Igbos to other parts of Nigeria. Despite everything, Igbos (and other Nigerians) continue to migrate and mingle because human coexistence dictates it. No man is an Island. Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man is from Kano but has most of his investments in the south and employs more southerners than northerners. Millions of Nigerians have become socio-cultural hybrids through intermarriage, cultural adoption and transplantation. Nigeria’s problem is not her diversity but the failure of the state to affirm Nigerian citizenship as the ultimate identity superseding all other allegiances. It is our failure as

citizens, intellectuals and politicians to articulate an all-embracing Nigerian ethos. Rather we waste valuable time and energy rebooting hackneyed definitions of Nigeria as an artificial creation or a mere geographical expression. Yet all nations, possibly except Australia, being creations of human political will, are artificial and begin as geographical novelties; they are not received from heaven. It falls on succeeding generations to transform them from mere geographies into socio-political moralities; to create transcendent solidarities where none existed before. This is what nation-building is about and this is what we have failed so spectacularly to do. Sectarian politics thrives largely because of the dazzling scale of ignorance that Nigerians demonstrate about their history, geography and each other. It is foolhardy to believe that the failure to treat ourselves as citizens rather than as ethnic and religious partisans will disappear if we dissolve Nigeria. If we cannot treat each other humanely now that we are compatriots, how on earth are we going to do better if we become foreigners? Last year, the Abia state government fired several “nonindigenes,” many of whom were Igbo-speaking, from its employment to make room for equally Igbo “indigenes.” Significantly, most conflicts in Nigeria are between so-called “indigenes” and “settlers,” a dichotomy that at times seems to defy ethnic or religious solidarity. These petty bigotries and manifestations of apartheid will not disappear with the Nigerian union. The challenge of civic security is inescapable for there is no possible post-Nigerian construct that would not contain either religious or ethnic minorities. It is worth noting that Biafra, the most serious Continued on page 15



Nigeria’s road block democracy By Abubakar A. Fari


n Sunday, January 15, my wife and I left Kaduna for Katsina to visit our folks there. For the first time, we noticed more than the normal road blocks that police mount to check overspeeding by reckless drivers. Overnight, the North-West and North-East geo-political zones have been transformed into Iraq and Afghanistan. This is the handiwork of the PDP as the ruling party at the centre and in control in most of the states. In the name of Boko Haram, a vindictive cabal controlling the Army, SSS, NSA and Aso Rock, is bent on unleashing the security apparatus on the people of the two zones to reduce them to beggars. It had never been the case when the North, Muslims in particular, were in power. The never contrived evil against people from the South-south or South-east or South-west. Today, when one reads southern newspapers, the thinking of their people is all too obvious. The body language of President Goodluck

Jonathan and his close aides is all about how to marginalize Muslims, in particular, those from the Northwest and the North-east. The scheme is to live and let die and expect peace to reign and Nigeria to develop. A former United States ambassador to Nigeria said immediately after the swearing-in of GEJ that the process of the marginalization of the Muslim North had begun. As expected, the government denied what he said and even refused him an entry visa. The number of registered voters in the North-west zone stands at 19.8 million. The South-south has 9.4 million and the South-East, 7.5 million give them a total of 16.4 million. Obviously with 19.8 million North-West has 3.4 million more voters than the South-south and the South-east combined. The North-east has 10.7 million voters, with Borno, Bauchi, Adamawa, Gombe and Yobe providing 9.4 million voters while Taraba has 1.3 million. All the five governors in the North-east are Muslims except Taraba and three PDP Muslims in control of three states and all the six

in the North-east zone but one. North -west zone has PDP governors are in control, except Zamfara, wrested away from it, and they are Muslims apart from Kaduna. Yarima is more PDP than PDP. Even in Kaduna, the truth is that the votes of the Muslim majority were stolen by Muslim PDP do-ordie politicians and greedy shortsighted village politicians, looking for high profile public offices to corruptly enrich themselves. They do not care if their people eat from dustbins and the minority elements with pathological hate for Islam and Muslims commit the type of Zangon Kataf and Zango massacres and genocides against their unfortunate kith and kin. Why the Zazzau Emirate Council and the JNI do not support their people as does CAN is strange. Records reveal that CAN and minority Christians cry wolf while there is none to cover what the Christian police and army commit in extra-judicial killings of poor and forgotten Muslims in Plateau, Kaduna, Bauchi, Taraba and even in the south whose media twists or

stays mute. An examination of the voter register indicates that in the Northwest, North-east, North-central and South-west zones Muslims are in the majority. It is instructive that the game of numbers did upset the PDP jungle mindset. When the will of the majority clashed with that of minorities the, the North West zone last year produced Aminu Tambuwal as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, GEJ and OBJ and all the jokers in the PDP notwithstanding. This is a clear manifestation of their voting power in Nigeria which they should use to revisit anti- Islam bills like the antiterrorism bill and Child Rights Act to reflect the interests of their people. Why should they take money and go home while their constituents are humiliated by people with clannish and narrow-minded world views? The government of GEJ is responsible for making sure that justice and rule of law prevail. But the opposite is the case. Similarly, as responsible Nigerians, it is expected those at the helm of security do the

same. Unfortunately, the composition and character of the security team clearly and openly is biased against a certain section of the population. Islam and Muslims have a legacy of reinventing themselves and the more the enemies scheme the more they waste resources and in the final analysis fail. Despite the criminal insider job by the Bush administration on 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers and the terror campaign he started, his party lost the next presidential election and the American economy was left floundering. The positive result is that more Americans and Europeans are abandoning Christianity for Islam and the growth is geometric. Let reason and commonsense bear on the policy and top officials of GEJ and not road block democracy where a minority is hell-bent on upstaging the majority in Nigeria. Democracy must be allowed to work. Abubakar A. Fari can be reached at

What is the IMF role in subsidy removal? By Emeka Chia kwelu


o matter how the Nigerian economic team chooses to shade, equivocate or obfuscate it, International Monetary Fund (IMF) played a significant role, if not a commanding one, in the removal of fuel subsidy by the government of poverty stricken Nigeria. It is no longer news, neither is it a surprise that the IMF has been interested in the removal of fuel subsidy since 2009. The evidence has been in the public domain for some time. The BBC says that “The IMF has long urged Nigeria’s government to remove the subsidy, which costs a reported $8bn (£5.2bn) a year.” The IMF has never stopped to meddle in the financial and economic affairs of the country in spite of the impression and doubletalk it has been making lately. Nigeria’s economic team’s effort to obfuscate the matter is no longer functional. America’s flagship newspaper, the “New York Times” wrote recently: “In a 2009 report, the International Monetary Fund called the removal of the fuel subsidy “an important first step.” But in a place where experts estimate that $50 billion to $100 billion in oil revenues has been lost through fraud and that 80 percent Continued from page 14

separatist effort in our history was undermined both by the superior power of the federal forces and the reluctance of ethnic minorities who feared for their own prospects as citizens of Biafra. The problem remains creating a just, fair and equal citizenship that shelters all of us regardless of creed, ethnicity, class or gender. Nothing suggests that new ethnic republics would in any way be more peaceful, stable or more prosperous than the current Nigerian reality. In short, it would require less effort to renew the Nigerian enterprise than to construct afresh new polities.

of the economic benefit from oil has flowed to 1 percent of the population, the fund’s approval of a step that hits ordinary people much harder hard looks provocative. Its endorsement of the abrupt fuel subsidy removal without adequate palliative measures suggested that IMF is indifferent about level of poverty and depravity in Nigeria. In the rush to appease the masterly IMF the Nigerian leaders failed to make a solid plan; which is to absolutely convince the poor masses before the subsidy removal with realistic and implementable palliative measures. The global news network CNN crisply described the removal of subsidy, “It is the abrupt removal of the fuel subsidy, in what has been described as a callous New Year’s Day “gift” that proved unacceptable for many Nigerians. There has been intense speculation in the country that the decision came suddenly because of pressure from the International Monetary Fund. The announcement coincided with a visit to the country by IMF’s head Christine Lagarde weeks earlier.” The economic team of the President Goodluck Jonathan administration led by Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala went before federal legislators, after IMF’s Christine Lagarde’s visit, to reassure them

that Nigeria would not implement IMF’s neo-liberal policies. But on the first day of January, the removal of subsidy came - suddenly. Nigerians protested not necessarily because they disliked the administration but for the rejection of the policy. The poor masses could not accept the jumped in price of a gallon of petrol from less than $1 to almost $4 in a country that seventy percent survived with less than $2 a day. The decision for the removal is not logical knowing quite well that the masses are already deprived and barely surviving. It is beginning to look that IMF does not have compassion for the poor struggling masses of Nigeria. IMF history with Nigeria has been a historical annals filled with thorns of suffering and misery. When IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde came to Nigeria, instead of Nigerian leaders and intellectuals to ask her to apologize to Nigerians for the austerity measures of 1980s and the destabilization of our economy as a result, they were busy praising her. She was also given credit for the socalled 18% write-off of our Paris Club debt. The credit should go to poor Nigerians on whose back the payment was made to rich syndicates of Paris Club in which the mountainous payment made

was based on high interest rate and arrears accumulated by the outstanding debt. The provision of water, electricity, healthcare and roads were abandon in order to make the payment to Paris Club. The credit and heaping of praises should go to Nigerians not to IMF’s head whose highest priority is not on women and children who went to bed hungry. No one is suggesting that a nation should abandon its financial obligations and deleveraging of its debt. But at same time a logical approach must be taken which is to put people’s welfare on account and not relegated it to the nadir level. Nigerian people should not be thrown aside to satiate international wealthy syndicates. After all, charity should start from home. The implementation of IMF’s Structural Adjustment Program with its austerity measures in Nigeria’s 80s and early 1990s comes with naira devaluation, importation restrictions and slash of social spending, that was too traumatic to be easily forgotten. The negative adjustment in the economic outlook and wellbeing of Nigeria was expressed by Gideon Nylan, a writer on the political economies of developing nations at Afripol: “The Nigerian middle class has yet to recover from the IMF

Why Nigeria can’t break up Having said all this, nations are not eternal but finite, expiring when they have outlived their usefulness to history and humanity. Nigeria is no different. Nigeria does not currently face immediate disintegration but a slow and steady erosion of federal authority by sundry paramilitaries, warlords and terrorist gangs, until the nation slips inexorably into failed statehood. Already we see signs of this in the brazen terrorism of

pseudo-religious extremists who seek to establish alternate governments as well as the rise of oil-bunkering pirate gangs in our southern coastal waters. It would be a pity if we were to let Nigeria fail. No one who has studied her history, encountered her acute humanity, sampled her cultural riches and researched the dreams of her founding fathers can fail to sense her ordination for higher purposes. For us to abort this purpose would be nothing short of cosmic

treason. As Eme Awa once remarked, “If we were to dissolve the federation, a future generation of people will pass the verdict that the Nigerian elites committed suicide while of unsound mind.” Nigeria has not been tried and found wanting. We simply have not invested enough of our intellectual and moral energies into actualizing her promise. Chris Nawodo is a partner at Selem Consulting, a training and coaching firm.

devaluation of 1986. Suddenly, teachers, lawyers, doctors, and civil servants saw their life savings disappear. In order to support their families ... they left the country for greener pastures in other countries.” Nigerians have not wholly recovered from the aftermath of the implementation of the neo-liberal policies that separated families, worsened the wellbeing of the country and totally destroyed the educational sector that was starved of funds. The manufacturing sector that relied on the importation of raw materials closed down due to lack of import licences and foreign exchange. The IMF’s austerity measures induced a higher unemployment rate and together with surging inflation made life unbearable for the majority of Nigerians. Are so Nigerians quick to forget? Probably, the temporary amnesia has made them to be praising the visiting IMF’s chief instead of asking IMF for reparation and apology. A Nigerian government official suggested that the removal of subsidy was necessary to save Nigeria from not ending up like bankrupt Greece. Nigerians should be envious of Greece because in spite of its so-called huge debt burden, the lifestyles of Greeks have not worsened. The last time we checked, water taps were still running, electricity supply was 24 hours and the roads were still paved. Many Nigerians may be willing to trade places with the Greece if asked. Nigeria should work with IMF when she deems it necessary and there is no reason to be genuflecting and kowtowing. Nigeria has produced capable men and women that have the ability, intellect and potential to salvage the sinking country. IMF should not be adding sand to the garri of a nation struggling to determine her destiny. Emeka Chiakwelu , the Principal Policy Strategist at Afripol Organization, is reachable at



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Minister gives matching order to security agencies over okada riders By Josephine Ella


An accident scene involved boxer car along Kwali/Abaji, road, Abuja, yesterday.

Photo: Mahmud Isa

EFCC prays court to dismiss no case submission by 3 FCDA staff


he Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday urged an Abuja High Court to dismiss the ``no case submission'' application filed by three former staff of Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) for fraud. The three suspects, Sani Shaidu, Salihu Usman and Hamza Nasir were in 2004 arraigned for conspiracy and stealing a First Bank draft for N7.5 million on Feb. 13, 2003.

At the resumed hearing of the suit, EFCC Counsel Nkem Orji prayed the court to hold that Shaidu, Usman and Nasir were guilty of the four-count charge of conspiracy and stealing. The prosecution also urged the court to hold that the three fraudulently used as genuine, a forged FCDA Revenue Collector's Receipt No. 636498 and Aso Savings and Loans Ltd. teller. In his contribution, Counsel to the first accused (Shaidu) and

second accused (Usman), Mr Emeke Ibeh, urged the judge to hold that his clients had no case to answer. He urged the court to further hold that the accused persons were not guilty of the crimes they were alleged to have committed. Also, Mr John Abu, counsel to the third accused (Nasir), urged the court to dismiss the charges and hold that the prosecution had not produced

sufficient evidence to support the charges. Abu urged the court to hold that since EFCC did not succeed in proving its case after the closure of its case, his client had no case to answer. He, therefore, urged the court to end the trial and release the accused persons. Justice Abubakar Umar fixed March 29 for ruling on the ``no case submission'' application by the accused persons. (NAN)

Bus conductors arraigned for alleged robbery


wo conductors have appeared before an Abuja Senior Magistrate’s Court for alleged conspiracy and theft. The accused, Joseph Makwin, 20, of Nyanya Tipper Garage and Micheal John of Area I, Garki, Abuja, were alleged to have forcefully stolen N50, 000

from one Mr. Yunusa Sule. Police Prosecutor, Jerry Tangshak, said Sule, who lives at New Nyanya, Nasarawa state, had reported that on January 28, 2012 the suspects and three others now at large, had forcefully collected the money from him at Nyanya overhead bridge.

The court was told that the complainant had gone to Nyanya and collected the sum of N50, 000 from one Enejo, his brother, and had stopped at the overhead bridge to meet one Ade, when the suspects pounced on him. Tangshak said the offence contravenes Sections 79 and 287 of the Penal Code.

The accused persons pleaded not guilty and were granted bail by Senior Magistrate Asmau Akanbi in the sum of N100, 000 each with two sureties in like sum, who must reside within the court’s jurisdiction. The case was adjourned till February 20, 2012 for hearing. (NAN)

Okada rider bags one month jail for violating traffic laws


n Abuja Upper Area Court in Gwagwalada has sentenced a 33-year old motorcyclist, Chinarena Ibegu, to one month imprisonment for breaking traffic

laws. The Police Prosecutor, Inspector Modupe Musa, told the court that Ibegu, a resident of Dagiri, operated his motorcycle without side mirrors, crash

helmet and particulars of the motorcycle. She said the convict was arrested on Market Road, Gwagwalada, riding his motorcycle with registration number QT 780 UWN.

The convict pleaded guilty to the charge. The Judge, Mr Babaginda Hassan, sentenced him to one month imprisonment with an option of N1,000 fine. (NAN)

he Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed has directed security agencies in the Territory to arrest and prosecute persons found to be operating Okada business within the metropolis. He warned that the use of commercial Okada(motorcycle) is still in force in the Federal Capital City. The minister further warned that the ban on the use of tricycle (Keke NAPEP) across the unauthorised areas of the Abuja city is also in force. Senator Mohammed advised the tricycle drivers who are currently operating across the unauthorised areas of the Federal Capital City to desist forthwith in their own interest and restrict their operations within the satellite towns and designated districts within the Federal Capital Territory. This was as he directed the security agents in the Federal Capital Territory to “as a matter of utmost priority arrest and prosecute defaulters”. He reiterated the commitment of his administration to rid the Abuja city of all these categories of banned vehicles; adding that these measures have become necessary to ensure security of lives and property within the Territory. While emphasizing that Okada is only permitted to be used in the satellite towns, he said that Keke NAPEP is restricted to the following areas: Gwarinpa within the estate, Life Camp within the estate, Karmo within the estate, Kado Kuchi in Jabi. Others areas are Kado estate in Jabi, Gishiri, Wuye junction, Garki, kabusa and environment, Durumi, new Garki settlement, satellite towns and the rest of the area councils in the FCT.

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Cost of living increases traffic on Mararaba-Nyanya route FEATURE Residents of satellite towns around the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are often at the mercy of commercial drivers and traffic jams while in the frenzied rush to meet official resumption time at work. Morufat Ojulari writes on the plight of residents who have to come to the city centre from the Mararaba-Nyanya axis of the FCT.


he conventional time to resume work in Abuja can be said to be different from many other states. Close observation reveals that apart from those who work in banks, other critical private and public offices where resumption schedules are enforced, most workers in the FCT don’t make it to their offices before the regular 8.00 am resumption time. Many factors are said to responsible for this. Two major factors identified however, include the cost of accommodation within the city and the volume of traffic

Traffic jam along along Nyanya-Mararaba commuting between the city and its outskirts. The cost of living and accommodation in the central areas is high and this has made the average or middle-income earner to flee to outskirts like Mararaba, Nyanya, Gwagwalada, Madalla, Lugbe, Zuba, etc where there are cheaper rates for rents and commodities. However, residents of these areas face a lot of

Stranded passengers waiting for vehicles at the Nyanya Maraba road.

problems when coming to the central area for their daily activities. They wake up on time in other to catch up with the conventional time to work but end up by the roadside waiting for commercial buses heading towards their destination. After waiting for hours and eventually boarding a vehicle, they might have to pay a double fold of the usual fare. This is because unscrupulous drivers exploit

Photo: Mahmud Isa

the desperation of the passengers – both to get a vehicle and to get to work, to hike fares. Private car owners are not left out of this problem of traffic; some cars breakdown due to overheating, others run out of fuel in the middle of the road, yet some even run into each other thus causing more chaos. An interviewee, Tunji, who also takes the MararabaNyanya route to Wuse where he works, describes his ordeal when heading to work every day. He said the official hour to resume office is 8am but he finds himself in the traffic and ends up getting to work late because the cost of housing in the central area he works is high. He said: “I even have to tell someone to cover up for me right now. You just have to compel and get to work early by leaving the house very early in other to avoid a query”. He also said he has no choice than to board a bus in other to get to work on time even if the fare is being doubled. He however said on weekends, the situation is different, as there is less traffic on the roads. Another commuter (anonymous) relates the reason behind the traffic to the cost of housing in the central areas. He said, “houses are very

expensive in town; you can afford a 3-bedroom apartment here in Mararaba for the same rate of a single room in town where you even have to share a bathroom and toilet”. A conductor who simply gave his name as Abu, when questioned on the rise in transportation fare at the early hours and closing hours of the day claimed that they spend more time than usual on their way to town because of the traffic so they tend to make passengers pay more for the time delayed as it is assumed that they would have gone for more than a trip. This doesn’t seem to end on your way to work alone, it also happens during closing hours which could also be referred to as “rush-hour” and this will continue like that till amendments are made. The problem of traffic has its own advantage on the passengers who board these commercial vehicles too because they tend to continue their sleep even on their way to and back from the office. Are you one of these people who leave the comfort of their home for short naps on your way to work all in the name of ‘I have to get to work early’ and still get arrested by the traffic or have a rethink of striving to get a room in one of these central areas in town where one will not be able to make ends meet?



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Lagos moves towards evolving a functional ....

Customs seizes over N2 billion contraband in 2011 From Bimbo Ogunnaike, Lagos


he Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone “A” of the Nigeria Customs Service has said that a total of 3,071 assorted contraband goods with a duty paid value of N2,654,847,564 were seized by the Unit in 2011. The figure, according to the command is 60 percent higher than the seizure made in 2010, which was 2,612, with a duty paid value of N 1,942,885,096. In its annual report obtained by Peoples Daily, the Comptroller, Mr. Victor Dimka attributed the tremendous success to the painstakingly implementation of the vision and mission of the Comptroller-General of Customs, Alhaji Abdullahi Inde Dikko by the

command as articulated in his six point agenda. According to him, the command since his assumption of office as Comptroller in 2010, has embarked on a very aggressive patrol of all the areas under its coverage and effected spectacular achievements. “Since my assumption of office in December 2010, I have painstakingly ensured the full implementation of the aforementioned mandates and that has accounted for the tremendous achievements, which we have recorded during the year under review”, the Comptroller stated. Dimka stressed that the feat was achieved through the inspiration and support of the

Controller General of Customs and his management team who gave the command the necessary tools of work through staff remuneration, provision of functional operational vehicles and capacity building. The Comptroller also commended the supportive and collaborative effort of some security agencies and major

stakeholders in the maritime industry in the task of ridding the ports of miscreants and unpatriotic elements, whose activities he said posed a lot of challenges. Dimka, who also applauded the constructive criticisms of the media, said it has kept the unit on its toes and added that the it will continue to synergise with all relevant institutions in ensuring

that all revenues accruable to the Federal Government is adequately protected. Stating that the unit’s effort in this regard has resulted in high level of compliance in duty payment, Dimka assured that it will continue to put in its best as it expects an improved performance in year 2012.

NSE indices dip by 0.41%


he Equity Market took a negative turn to open the first trading day after the Muslims celebrated Eid Maulud. The downward trend yesterday was as a result of profit taking in the Food & Beverage, Financial Services and Maritime sectors. At market close, the benchmark All Share Index

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

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

DANA AIRLINES (MON - SUN) LOS-ABJ: 07.02, 08.10, 12.06, 15.30, 17.10 ABJ-LOS: 07.20, 09.36, 13.05, 14.40 ABJ-LOS (SAT/SUN): 13.05, 18.00 LOS-KANO : 08.10 KANO-LOS: 11.25 KANO -ABUJA: 11.25 ABUJA-KANO : 10.08


(ASI) had lost 85pts, to end the day at 20,792.75pts (implying a 0.41% loss). In the same vein, market capitalization depreciated by N26.75billion to close at NGN6.55trillion as against an appreciation of N17.53billion recorded in the previous trading session. Also, transaction volume on the exchange declined by 207.34miliion units to close at 218.04million units exchanged in 3,796deals. This represents a drop by 48.74% as against an upbeat of +32.88% recorded in the last trading session. Similarly, the value of trades declined by NGN193.18million to close at NGN2.27billion, representing a drop by 7.82%. Oando Plc led the gainers table, appreciating by 4.97% while Ikeja Hotel Plc declined by 4.93% to lead the losers table. First Bank of Nig. Plc led the trade volume table, trading a total of 2.025m. United Bank for Africa Plc was the next with 22.62m, followed by Access Bank Plc with 17.37m. Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc traded a total of 14.43m and Zenith Bank Plc traded a total of 14.37m. Meanwhile, moderate buying activities was witnessed in the Oil & Gas, Agriculture sectors and other sectors closed flat.(Source: Standard & Alliance Capital Research) EXCHANGE RATES


LOS -ABJ: 9.45, 11.45, 2.45

LOS-KANO: 6.15 LOS-KANO (SAT/SUN): 16.30 KANO-LOS: 07.30 KANO-LOS (SUN/SUN): 10.30

• £ RIYAL $

CBN unveils financial package to aid women empowerment By Abdulwahab Isa


he Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has unveiled special financial package meant to provide credit facility to women at single digit interest rate. Besides, the Bankers’ committee desirous of empowering women to have access to credit has set up a subcommittee on women’s empowerment chaired by Chief Executive of Standard Chartered Bank while certain numbers of seats on the board and management positions in banks are to be reserved for women. CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi stated this yesterday in Abuja, at the 6th edition of the annual microfinance conference and entrepreneurship awards. “As a growth strategy for MFBs and MSMEs, mentoring is being

BUYING 215 260 40 160

SELLING 217 262 42 162

introduced at the Conference. Therefore, to share experiences, knowledge and network we have invited a successful business mogul and the promoter of a leading microfinance institution to mentor the participants” Sanusi told conference participants in his opening remarks. Speaking on the theme: Refocusing Microfinance for Entrepreneurship Development in Nigeria”, the CBN Governor noted that repositioning of the microfinance sector to play a major role in entrepreneurship development in Nigeria has been hampered by a number of challenges, among which is the inadequate financial infrastructure leading to low banking penetration. According to him, “As at December, 2011 there were 24 deposit money banks with 5,789

branches and 816 microfinance banks, bringing the total bank branches to 6,605. The ratio of bank branch to total population is 24,224 persons which indicates a level of high level financial exclusion. This is further corroborated by Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA)’s 2010 survey, which observed that 46.3 per cent of Nigeria’s population is still financially excluded compared to South Africa, Kenya, Botswana with 26.0 per cent, 32.7 per cent and 33.0 per cent, respectively”, he said. The apex bank boss announced that that the CBN had approved the establishment of three additional Entrepreneurship Development Centres (EDCs) in North-Central, North-East and South-South zones of the country to provide entrepreneurship training for school leavers, university and polytechnic graduates to enable them be employers of labour.

Management Tip of the Day

3rd Feb, 2012 BUYING SELLING 0.2918 0.3118 204.8856 206.2015 246.4887 248.0718 41.5156 41.7822 155.7 156.7


ABJ-LOS: 11.30, 3.45, 4.45

L-R: Executive Secretary, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, Director, Large Tax Department, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Ajayi Bamidele, and Assistant Director, Oil and Gas, Office of the Secretary to the Govt of the Federation, Mr Abdulkarim Ibrahim, during a presentation on result-based monitoring and evaluation/reporting framework for NEITI remediation programme, in Abuja, yesterday. Photo: NAN


Get to know your boss’s boss

pending time with the leader two levels above you can give you a broader perspective on your job and advance your career. But not everyone has access to their boss’s boss. Here are three things you can do to catch this manager’s attention: Take advantage of every

opportunity to touch base. Send a note of congratulations when she gets a promotion or honor. Forward a relevant article. Ask a question only she’ll know the answer to. Increase your exposure. Volunteer for a cross-functional team. Send periodic updates on your work to your manager, and ask him

to forward them to his boss. Produce results. Impress customers—internal and external— and send your manager any compliments you receive. He will undoubtedly send it on since your success reflects positively on him. Source: Harvard Business Review




Govt expects additional 40MW of electricity from new dam


ith a projected completion date of April 2014, the Kashimbilla/ Gamovo multipurpose dam when completed, will add 40 megawatts (MW) of electricity to the National grid, the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe, has said.

Nigeria to partner Thailand on cassava business


he Federal Government has unfolded plans to collaborate with Thai Tapioca Development Institute of Thailand (TTDI), in cassava production and marketing.

Lagos moves towards evolving a functional contributory pension scheme From Bimbo Ogunnaike, Lagos


he regime of Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos state has always emphasised adequate welfare programme and quality delivery of work in the civil service as well as secured future of workers. One of such steps is the commitment of the present administration in ensuring that retirees who dedicated their youthful life towards active service of the state received their entitlement as at when due after they retired from service. Last Thursday, Lagos state Pension Commission (LASPEC), organised a seminar in conjunction with stakeholders in the Contributory Pension and Insurance sectors to sensitise workers who are retiring between January and June, 2012 from

the core civil service, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Parastatals and Local Government Service. Addressing over 1,000 registered participants at the seminar, LASPEC DirectorGeneral, Mr. Adekunle Hussain said the training was important as it will teach workers to come to terms with life in retirement. Hussain noted that in spite of the awareness and enlightenment programmes, workers were still not conversant with the operation of the Contributory Pension Scheme despite several awareness and enlightenment programmes. He said: “The pre-retirement seminar has been designed to help workers prepare for their physical, emotional and financial well-being in

retirement. Planning for retirement enables you to be in a better position and frame of mind to build a vibrant and rewarding life in retirement”. He said research revealed that workers who attend preretirement seminars are more prepared for the change from routine work life and are happier in retirement than their colleagues who do not have the opportunity to attend such programmes. “The Lagos state government has operated within the framework of the Pension Reform 2007, by ensuring that immediately salaries are paid, both the seven and half percent contributions by the state government and the seven and half percent deduction from the employees’ salaries are forwarded to the Retirement

Future of Nigeria is in manufacturing, not banking – Dangote

FG ban on mining has robbed Plateau of revenue Commissioner


angote Group has explained that it has discovered that the future of the Nigerian economy is not in banking but in manufacturing, indicating why it offloaded its investment in banking to go into manufacturing.


AshakaCem to boost production to 1.3m tonnes this year


shaka Cement, a subsidiary of Lafarge WAPCO Plc, one of Nigeria’s foremost cement manufacturing firms, has disclosed that it will add over 300,000 metric tons of cement to its current 1 million metric tons per annum, before the end of this year.

Etihad Airways launches flights to Lagos


tihad Airways, the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates, has announced the launch of direct flights to Lagos.

Google launches annual ‘Google science fair’ competition


oogle has launched the second annual Google Science Fair. The fair is an international competition which encourages students between the ages of 13 and 18, from any part of the world, to be curious, ask questions, and perform science experiments to answer those questions.

Savings Account of the employee with the PFA of their choice.” The DG stated that the main objective of the scheme was to ensure that every employee receives his/her retirement benefits as and when due and also assist employees to save towards a better rewarding future. “The commitment to full funding of the contributory pension scheme is its major edge over the defined benefit scheme otherwise known as Pay as You Go Scheme.” He informed that the government has been the only state in the country to have shown the greatest commitment to the scheme, adding that it was on record that the state has so far redeemed retirement bond worth N5,824,325,892.42 into the retirement savings accounts of 1,121 retirees.

L-R: Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Corporation, Mr Adeseyi Sijuwade, with Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, during the unveiling of 20 pressurised light oil wagons at the quay side, Apapa ports, in Lagos, yesterday. Photo: NAN

Years of subsidy crippled country’s economy, says Gov. Suntai youth restiveness and their Earlier, the Chairman From Yusha’u Alhassan, Jalingo


arabans have been charged to join force with the Federal Government to correct the imbalance of the nation’s economy through the deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil industry. Governor Danbaba Suntai made this known in a speech delivered at a town hall meeting organised by Committee of Nigerian Youths for advocacy on deregulation of downstream sector of the oil industry held at the Taraba Motel Jalingo. Represented by the Chief of Staff, Government House, Garvey Yaweh, the Governor said over the years the crippling economy of the country has compounded the problems of the masses, mostly youths. He stated that government was aware of the challenges facing the youths especially in the area of unemployment, which had led to

involvement in various anti social behaviors such as thuggery, drug abuse, internet crime, militancy, kidnapping and robbery. He further stated that youths, who were the future of the country needed to be well-equipped and empowered so that Nigeria could realize its dream of a strong and developed nation. Governor Danbaba Suntai said Taraba was totally in support of the introduced reinvestment and empowerment programme by the Federal Government and declared his support for oil subsidy removal. He also stated that with the introduction of some measures Nigerians would benefit from the removal of the oil subsidy considering the fact that fuel subsidy in the first place did not reach the intended beneficiaries as it only serviced the rich. In his speech, Sa’ad Abubakar encouraged youths not to be used as tools in the hands of mischief makers for their selfish interest.

presidential fuel subsidy removal monitoring committee, Ambassador Godwin Akpenlamen Dabo Adzuani said the issue of petroleum subsidy removal was not new as all past governments had tinkered with the idea but abandoned the attempt due to lack of consultation and transparency in its implementation. He said anytime removal of subsidy was effected there had always been public outcry indicating that a greater percentage of Nigerians did not understand the benefits, which was the reason of the committee’s undertaking series of town hall meetings nationwide to explain the positive aspects of deregulation. He called on indigenes of Taraba to support the deregulation of the downstream sector to enable the Federal, state and local government to channel the money realized from subsidy to areas such as education, health, agriculture and public transportation.

he Plateau state government says the Federal Government’s ban on major investors’ activities in the state’s mining fields in 2011 has impacted badly on its revenue earnings. The Commissioner of Mineral Development and Environment, Mr Adubak Sanizandi disclosed this to members of the Plateau House of Assembly recently in Jos. He was reacting to the ministry’s low revenue yields, expected to be N31 million this fiscal year. The Commissioner said the proposed revenue earning of N7.5 million for 2011 fiscal year was not realised. “We could not even meet last year’s target because the state government did not release fund to the ministry due to the ban on the minefields by the Federal Government.’’ He further explained that the proposed earning was tied to the purchase of certain equipment. On the cause of the Federal Government’s ban, he said it resulted from a tussle between two core investors and explained that the matter was still under litigation. The Commissioner said, however, that the ministry was devising alternatives to fund the 2012 budget, which included a resort to collecting all revenues owed it by mining companies. “Such collections will include three years arrears of ground rent by the various mining companies as well as unexecuted levies on leases and other activities on mining fields.’’ Sanizandi said that ministry officials had already commenced discussions with quarry sites and tipper owners to open new avenues of revenues to the state. (NAN)



Reps read Riot Act to service providers over contract breach From Dimeji KayodeAdedeji, Abeokuta


he House of Representatives Committee on Customs has vowed to deal with service providers for the alleged contractual agreement failure of the service providers and trade facilitation for the installation of scanning equipment to facilitate works of the Nigeria Customs Service at the borders. The plan towards the measure was made known at the weekend by Chairman, House of Representatives ad-hoc Committee on Customs, Honourable Sabo M o h a m m e d Nakudo while addressing officers of the Customs Service during the committee’s visit to Idiroko border in Ogun state, who promised to bring to justice any one of them found culpable. Speaking further, the committee boss noted that SGS was the Customs Service provider that ought to have completed the installations of their scanning equipment that would have aided in the clearing efforts of the Customs but failed to do so with less than one year to end of the contract signed with the federal government In view of this, Nakudo declared that it became imperative to make working conditions conducive for the officers considering the security role it is playing particularly at this period when the country is faced with lots of security challenges. “We are also conscious that you are a security organisation; we have a lot of security challenges in this country. We will do our best in conjunction with the management of the Nigeria Customs Services to see the areas where we can provide the needed assistance and the needed platform for you to be able to overcome these challenges”. Also noting that Customs service remains the largest revenue generation agency for the federal government aside from the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the committee boss, disclosed that NASS has approved sizeable amount of money in the year 2012 budget for the construction of

officers’ quarters in Ogun command. “I am not happy at all with the service provider in this area. We have been to other places; we have seen the level of compliance especially as it relates to the issue of contractual obligations. SGS is a foreign company that has been contracted to provide these services’ he stated. ‘Unfortunately, the contract is expiring at the end of this year and up till now they have not been able to put a permanent structure where they supposed to do it,” the committee chairman emphasised. He added: “We are going to take it up seriously with them and if there is need for peanalty, we’ll surely recommend for imposition of penalty in this case because we are really taken aback. “I would have expected somebody who was given a contract for

seven years and towards the end of the terms of the contract nothing was done. They should have been preparing now to hand over everything in one piece, but up till now, they have not been able to set up a structure”. He expressed optimism that the command would surpass its monthly revenue target of N800 Million in the subsequent months, just as the committee also assured that it would not hesitate to give the needed supports to men and officers of the Customs Services towards making them give in their best in the discharge of their duties Earlier in his welcome address, the Customs Area Comptroller, Ogun Area Command, Akande Bamidele enumerated some of the challenges militating against his command towards achieving its set goal which he said include lack of habitable

barracks, lack of respect for the contractual agreement on the part of the service providers among many others. The Command’s Comptroller disclosed that with barely a year

to the expiration of the contract signed between customs’ service provider, SGS and the Federal Government, the company was yet to erect a permanent structure which could have gone a long way to facilitate the operations of the Command.

Subsidy removal: Comparative prices of goods/Services’ changes Below are the price changes that have taken place on consumer goods and items since the fuel price increase from N65 to N97.

Vision 2020: Embrace international best practice, says Chairman, Clearing House Cmmttee From Iliya Garba, Minna


he Chairman, Minna Bankers Clearing House Committee in Niger state, Mohammad Dangusau has advised the country to move away from the traditional system and embrace international best practices if the Vision 2020, which the financial system is the major driver, is to be achieved. He made this known on Monday during an award night ceremony of the committee in Minna, the state capital, saying the country must move away from the traditional system of financial operation. “If Nigeria is to achieve Vision 2020, it must embrace international best practices of which the financial system is the major driver and banks as the lending agents in providing relevant payment infrastructure as well as risk-free operation guides”. Dangusau said statistics indicated that only 917 farmers accessed bank facilities under the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund

(ACGSF), valued at N 57 million from three out of 19 commercial banks as well as only five out 31 micro-finance banks that participated in granting loan, valued at N 30 million to 854 applications in the state. He regretted that the poor participation in agricultural sector by banking industry was contrary to agricultural development considering the crucial role agriculture plays in the state. The Chairman also said that there was an increase of 23. 58 percent in volume and 20.31 percent in value in the year under review for those that accessed facilities under the scheme, compared with 2010 where the figure of those that accessed the loan stood at 724 with a value of N 47 million. Dangusau stressed that in Minna clearing zone, a total of 117, 903 financial instruments valued at N 49, 056, 633, 486. 29 were cleared between January to December 2011 as against 106, 825 instrument valued at N 51, 573, 359, 973. 35 in 2010.

Bamidele maintained that the service providers are very crucial to the operations of the Nigeria Customs in its bid to transform to an organisation that conforms to international best practice in the discharge of its statutory functions.

Source: Proshare Nigeria



Islamic banking set to serve the interest of Nigeria- MD, Takaful Nigeria Since about four years ago, the issue of Islamic banking and other finances has been subjected to controversies and misconceptions, including stakeholders in the nation’s financial institution. The Managing Director, Halal Takaful Nigeria, an Islamic insurance outlet, which is a division of Cornerstone Insurance Plc., Hajia Thaibat Adeniran, in this interview with Aminu Imam intimate all Nigerians to embrace the idea as an extended development to the financial institutions in the country. Nevertheless, Islamic banking is spreading and gaining acceptance in both Muslim and nonMuslim countries. Countries operating Islamic banking have put in place the basic regulatory and legal framework to facilitate successful operation of Islamic banking activities within their individual countries.


ow that Islamic banking has takenoff in Nigeria, what is the expected role of customers towards strengthening Islamic banks and financial institutions? It is a long awaited need for the Muslims and Nigerians as whole. Since Islamic Banking has now seen the light of the day and taken-off in Nigeria is really a welcome development. Being an “Islamic Bank” does not mean a bank that is meant for Muslims only but it means a bank that is meant to serve the interest of Nigerians as a whole. Since Islamic banks has been set-up to serve the interest if Nigerians, therefore, the role of customers towards strengthening these financial institutions is to ensure that they patronise them by opening various accounts with them and ensure they equally transact and benefit from their various products with all sincerity and fairness. Many jurisdictions, including most Muslim countries do not have the requisite, let alone a basic regulatory and legal infrastructure, for facilitating Islamic banking and finance. Does Nigeria have a program to create

regulator awareness in this respect? Islamic banking is not a new phenomenon in most developed countries. Islamic banks operate in over sixty countries, though mostly concentrated in the Middle East and Asia. In most of these countries, the banking system is dominated by conventional banking institutions with Islamic banks operating alongside. In these three countries, however - Iran, Pakistan, and Sudan -the entire banking system has been converted to Islamic banking.

In the Nigeria context, the onus is on the regulatory authorities to put in place basic regulatory and legal to ensure an adequate structure for Islamic banking and finance in the country. As part of the regulatory authorities effort to ensure a successful take-off of Islamic banks in the country they are equally building up their officials of the challenges by sending them to attend series of training programs to acquire the necessary exposure on Islamic banking and finance. All these will go a long way to support the standard of Islamic banks to be set-up. Industry observers have called for the establishment

In the Nigeria context, the onus is on the regulatory authorities to put in place basic regulatory and legal to ensure an adequate structure for Islamic banking and finance in the country.

Managing Director of Halal Takaful, Nigeria, Hajia Thaibat Adeniran of independent Shari’ah bodies to monitor and approve the activities of Islamic banks in Nigeria. Is there is any universal model for Islamic banks generally? Shari’ah Advisory Council (SAC) is an independent body set-up and given authority for the ascertainment of Islamic law for the purposes of setting up Islamic banking business. Takaful and deposit insurance are two major challenges; Only two countries currently have Shariah-compliant deposit insurance schemes Malaysia and Turkey. Now that Islamic banking has taken-off in Nigeria, do you see the country fully adopting this scheme going forward?

Although there are differences between Islamic banking and “conventional” banking, there are some fundamental principles that apply equally to both. In particular, rigorous risk management and sound corporate governance help to ensure the safety and soundness of the international banking system. In the light of the growing importance of Islamic banks and Shari’ahcompliant financial innovation, the increasing integration of Islamic financial services into global financial markets serves to strengthen this point.

Islamic banking in Nigeria are very fortunate because presently, there is availability of a Takaful Operator to provide the necessary required cover for their businesses. Also, it will give Deposit Insurance an opportunity to start building her officials up for the challenges ahead.

The guidance provided by the IFSB in these areas helps to ensure that there are resilient financial market infrastructures and robust core financial institutions operating according to safe and sound risk management practices. It is important that the same degree of supervisory oversight is applied to Islamic financial institutions, to ensure the continuing acceptance of their instruments and services in international markets and conventional banking systems.

How does the International Financial Standards Board (IFSB) get governments, who are policy makers and thus the political masters of the central banks and regulators, to adopt its standards. Do we really need another organisation to regulate Islamic banking in Nigeria

In addition, the guiding principles and standards developed by the IFSB are assisting supervisors globally to better understand and supervise institutions providing Islamic financial services. The regulatory authority need to study and put in place measures on the best guideline to adopt for proper monitoring of Islamic banks in Nigeria.



Reviewing Stakeholders at War in Nigeria: From Lord Lugard to President Goodluck Jonathan BOOK REVIEW Title of Book: Stakeholders at War in Nigeria: From Lord Lugard to President Goodluck Jonathan (Volumes 1 and 2) Author: Professor Tekena N. Tamuno Publisher: Stirling-Horden Publishers (Nig) Ltd, Ibadan, Nigeria Year of Publication: 2012 Number of pages: 508+xx Reviewer: Professor Isaac Olawale Albert, Peace and Conflict Studies Programme, Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, Nigeria


n his widely cited 1991 publication Peace and Violence in Nigeria, Professor Tekena Tamuno promised to publish another volume that would update his assessment of the security challenges confronting Nigeria. That promise has now been more than fulfilled in the volumes we are presenting to the public today. The 1991 publication is a one-volume book; what Baba Tamuno is presenting to us today is a two-volume book of 508 pages and the title, indeed, speaks volumes: Stakeholders at War in Nigeria: From Lord Lugard to President Goodluck Jonathan. Nigeria is at war and we can all feel it throughout the length and breadth of our country. What Professor Tamuno does in this book is to provide a dissection of this war or, rather, this multiplicity of wars and explain to us in socio-historical perspective the trajectory of their escalation. Tamuno’s new book has to do with how Nigeria, a country that has all it takes to be amongst the best and greatest in the world, has always found itself on the verge of disintegration. Its plight is such that most of those born immediately after independence in 1960 do not know what it means to live in an orderly society. The book paints a diachronic picture of how different stakeholders contest the ownership of the Nigerian state by beating on ethnic and religious war drums. And as with all such enactments, the number of people who dance to the beat of these drums is often much larger than the number of the drums. Tamuno reflects on the Nigeria-Biafran civil war, incidents of ethnic and religious conflicts, the military intrusion into Nigerian politics, elite fragmentation, political brinksmanship and security racketeering in Nigerian society. The author identifies as the foundation to all these problems the quackery of the 1914 amalgamation of the North and South by Lord Lugard. Since then, the Nigerian project has been one traumatic work in progress. The future is dark if not bleak. The first volume of the

publication comprises eight sections while the second is made up of four sections bringing everything to twelve sections. In the first section, the term “stakeholder” is defined as “a supporter, defender or protector with a stake”. But do stakeholders need to destroy what they claim to own? This question leads Tamuno into differentiating between fake and genuine stakeholders. He argues that the term “stakeholder” is today misrepresented in Nigerian society and this is the epicentre of our problems (p. 5). Tamuno delves into where and how Nigeria actually missed the opportunity for sustainable nation building. According to him, Nigerians oftentimes behave as though they reject God’s own plan and blueprint, which is, in the biblical phrase, to make Nigeria a land flowing with milk and honey. Many so-called stakeholders in Nigeria even go as far as invoking false oaths in the name of God, not to mention the Constitution, only to keep themselves busy in activities that turn the “Nigerian project” into a veritable nightmare in which ordinary citizens are caught up in the deadly crossfire of real and surreal missiles being continually hurled by the elite class who are fragmented along egoistic lines. Tamuno laments Nigerians’ big appetite for criminality and the egregious failure in law enforcement in the country. He deplores a situation in which secret societies are gaining more clout in Nigerian society, shrinking the space for people to live a civic existence in “open society”. He takes a critical look at the sociology of violent cultism in the country. With focus on the Okija shrine reports in 2004, Tamuno wonders why Nigerian society seems helpless about dealing with the dangers posed by cultism. Part of the problem, according to him, is the fact that the courts of law still find it difficult to convict several of the people tried for cultism. Hence, most of those arrested at Okija in 2004 and 2005 never got convicted on the grounds that “Ogwugwu shrine is not a secret cult under the Nigerian law” (p.346). The Okija shrine is licensed by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). Taking a critical look at the events in Nigeria since independence, Tamuno argues that the 1960, 1963, 1979, and 1999 constitutions seemed to have done nothing but provide official sanctions for the blind to be led by the blind and for criminals to be granted official protection. This led to the secessionist threats of the 1950s; the political crisis of 1966; the Nigerian civil war; and the insurgency of the likes of the OPC, MASSOB, Egbesu Boys, MEND and now the Boko Haram. So real is the problem for us that we cannot even take solace in the demise of that doomsayer, Muammar Gaddafi, who in 2010 made the suggestion that Nigeria break into two along religious lines as though there were a clear-cut North-South

Emeritus Professor Tekena Tamuno, the author dichotomy in the country in relation to the location of religious adherents of whatever faiths. There is no such dichotomy and Gaddafi is dead, but our problems persist. Our history in relation to these problems, Tamuno reminds us, is that Nigeria learns no lessons from any of its past mistakes and it seems every new regime in the country works towards surpassing its predecessor in creating new problems for the nation. In the contest to monopolize power and the benefits that accrue from it, Nigerian politics has been reduced to mafia gangsterism, with the various security agencies in the country either looking the other way or putting up a theatrical performance in the form of legal prosecution of the destroyers of our commonwealth. Under the present situation, Tamuno says that only a few Nigerians and Nigerian leaders and “elder statesmen” opt to be on the path of righteousness. Yet, Nigeria aspires to be one of the best twenty economies in the world by the year 2020. He argues that the Biblical manna stopped falling from heaven long before the Nigerian state was created; development does not come out of the blues, it has to be worked for. Nigeria does not strike him as a country that takes sustainable development seriously. Tamuno tracks down the relationship between the Nigerian civil war and the emergence of nonstate armed groups in recent times. The historical connections that may have been lost on many of us are made to command central attention in order to drive home the thesis, to paraphrase Chinua

Achebe, that the rain started to beat us a long time ago. In every decade since the 1950s, Tamuno’s account shows that Nigeria has faced major crises one after the other. We may want to think to ourselves that it has survived these numerous crises and has thus grown stronger. But the opposite seems to be the case. What may have been occurring are periodic lulls only for the problems to rear their heads once more in more frightening intensity each time. The recurrence and worsening of our many crises only cast Nigeria in the mould of a failed state that cannot take care of itself. Among other things, Tamuno is particularly worried about the present marginalization of the Igbo in Nigerian politics and argues that the much awaited light at the end of the dark tunnel might not come now as the Igbo are never united even on how to improve their condition. They act individually rather than corporately. This, according to him, would continue to fuel MASSOB’s secessionist threats and heighten the security situation in the Southeast. However, he argues that almost all Nigerian groups today allege marginalization or “internal colonialism”. The “colonialists” in this case are regional groups or ethnic neighbours. Nigeria lacks the peace architecture that can address the issues raised by these different groups or prevent future confrontations among them. This is why stakeholders prefer to settle their differences through war. The Nigerian state, which is supposed to be the umpire that can call these groups to order and bring them to agree on a settlement, seems now

to have become overwhelmed. As President Goodluck Jonathan runs from pillar to pole to deal with the highly challenging security environment, those eyeing the position of the President of Nigeria are indirectly warned to think twice as the job is becoming more nightmarish. Tamuno takes stock of how Nigeria responds to all these challenges of nation building, particularly calling our attention to the use of force in dealing with youth militancy in the Niger Delta as well as the insurgencies of the OPC, Bakassi boys, MASSOB, and the Jos and Boko Haram crises. He argues that these management strategies create more fears in the society and raise questions as to the health of the nation. He gives quality attention to the discussion of the goals, insurgency tactics and the impact of the ongoing Boko Haram crisis and blames the situation on politicians’ penchants for empowering non-state armed groups as well as the poor capacity of law enforcement agencies to manage such groups. To properly balance the equation, he assesses the capacity of all the law enforcement institutions in Nigeria to actionably deal with the security challenges besetting Nigeria with particular focus on the police, civil defence, ICPC, EFCC and the judiciary. He concludes that a great deal is yet to be done by these organizations in terms of interagency collaboration, training and readiness to abide by the rule of law. Among recent political actors at the national helm of affairs, Tamuno takes a critical look at Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as a problem solver. He combines exceptional military talents with questioned statecraft. His alleged “third term ambition” tainted his image. Of Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua, Tamuno says he did not have enough time to provide leadership but his successor, Goodluck Jonathan, now bears the burden of the uncompleted works of Obasanjo and the politics of Yar’Adua’s exit from office. In the last section of this great publication, Tamuno reflects on whether Nigeria has made any progress since 50 years of independence or not. He starts his analysis with the speech delivered by Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Nigeria’s Prime Minister on October 1, 1960 when Nigeria gained independence. It was a speech of hope and great expectations. He argues that this hope was dimmed shortly after the country’s independence to the extent that successive celebrations of Nigeria’s independence have only been a sheer waste of resources as Nigeria, self-acclaimed ‘Giant of Africa’, is now widely written off as a “crippled giant”. It is a country of many military coups, a country that finds it difficult to hold free and violence-free elections; a country where ethnic and religious groups fly flags of secession. It is a country where ordinary citizens Continued on page 30



Every day is for the thief (II) BOOK REVIEW By Tolulope Ogunlesi


t is as though the narrator realized, whilst telling his story, that attempting to capture the ‘idea’ of Lagos would be like trying to use the bare hands to demonstrate to an audience the kind of fireworks display that accompanied the recent Beijing Olympics. Imagine the sense of crushing inadequacy that would accompany such an attempt. Cole is therefore one of the more honest chroniclers of Lagos; the inclusion of the photos is an admission - even if merely symbolic - of the fact that words are pitifully inadequate in capturing a happening city like Lagos. Perhaps one day we would find even more honest persons who’d be willing to accompany their verbal offerings with DVDs tucked into a flap on the inside back covers of their books. The journey begins in New York, at the Nigerian Embassy in that city, where we quickly - and agonizingly - realize that the famed ‘Nigerian mentality’, like the Nigerian citizen, also possesses a ‘passport’ that allows it to travel abroad and exhibit itself. So that it would be seen at work the way a band of Nigerians would, for example, be seen - or heard unashamedly conversing in loud voices in their native language in the cramped aisles of a suburban American grocery store. America and its arrogant ideals of justice and equality halt at the door of the Embassy, and Nigeria (re)asserts itself - extorted cash becomes the final arbiter on rendered service, just as it would be back home - as the embassy officials take bribes to ‘expedite’ passport processing. It is from New York therefore that the ‘descent’ begins; the descent of the plane onto the tarmac in Lagos is an indication not of a commencement but merely an attainment of another ‘degree’ of descent. The narrator is a meticulous recorder, and one can almost hear the grinding of machinery behind

The book cover his eyeballs as he faithfully assimilates, onto hard drive sections of the brain specially conscripted for this purpose, details of what his eyes see and his ears ear. And like all obsessed with detail, he is eager to induct us into this elite club of the observant. Take for example his mention of the fact that the Lagos airport “is named for a dead general.” Why, you wonder, do we need to know that the general is dead, when we all know that many of the world’s greatest airports are (similarly) named after dead statesmen? But no, the ‘dead’ is there for a purpose, to qualify not so much the General but the comatose spirit and air of the place, the obsoleteness of the architecture, the formaldehydetainted process of “disembarkation, passport control and baggage

claim.” This is not the sort of novel that Nigerians are used to. There is a palpable ‘distance’ between what happens in Every Day is for The Thief and what we are made to see. Because everything that happens in this novel is filtered to us through the perspective of a seemingly aloof, unNigerian-inthinking, and sometimes condescending narrator, that sharp edge of drama and melodrama - Africa Magic-type drama - that many have come to associate with Nigeria is absent. We see a widow, but only years after she became a widow, and our participation is limited only to hearing about how she became a widow. We are told the how, but we do not see those gun-totting robbers pumping their bullets at

Reviewing Stakeholders at War in Nigeria... Contd. from page 29 express their daily fear, anger and wrath at the expense of one another. It is a country where the love of money has killed all the hormones of patriotism. It is a country in which leaders, or rather entrepreneurs of violence, aggravate the anguish of the maddening crowd they claim to be leading for the purpose of reaping dubious political dividends. To summarize the many biblical references in this book, Tamuno presents Nigeria as a country that needs to turn to God and the path of righteousness to avoid becoming a mere footnote in world history. This publication speaks

volumes about Professor Tamuno’s unusual energy at age 80; it speaks of his academic profundity and, above all, of his excellent ability to combine historical, philosophical, and social science analytical tools in presenting to his reader the objective realities of Nigeria since 1914. This is the real story of Nigeria. In the foreword to the book, Professor Eghosa Osagie, the former Director of Research, National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Jos, pays glowing tribute to Professor Tamuno’s scholarship in this respect. He describes Tamuno as a “disciplined historian” who “exhibits a contemplative and

philosophical approach to his subject matter”. The vastness of the issues covered in this book and the lucid way in which they are presented demonstrate why Professor Tamuno remains among the best historians that the modern world, and not just Africa or Nigeria, has ever produced. Professor Tamuno’s Stakeholders at War in Nigeria is a must-read for all those who seek to be properly educated on how Nigeria came to its present sorry state. I welcome the reader to delve into and dwell on what he has to say in these two volumes. They provide a picture that does not deceive. (end of the 1st review) To be continued

her husband, we do not see her hands flailing in the air and her bum thumping the ground at the moment she realizes that she has been rendered husband-less, we do not see the endless trail of professional mourners whose expertly worn mien will wear down the most stoical of resolves, and we do not see those wicked inlaws waiting for wives to become widows so they can get a chance to exercise their evil characters. Instead, when we see her years later, even the narrator has to confess that she is a woman “in whose radiance he can see nothing that looks like grief.” Another interesting thing is that in its slide-show of iconic Nigerian image after image, Every Day is for The Thief draws from the same ‘pool’ that Nollywood draws from, and follows the same mode of sequence - a flow or juxtaposition of ‘wholly Nigerian’ images that combine to attempt to tell a story. We have heard of the word made flesh, Every Day is the film made word (text). The difference that in the case of Cole’s novel, between the time it draws from that pool and presents it to us, something has happened to it, stripped it of banality and melodrama, and given it the kind of ponderous sheen that a novel deserves. It is Mrs. Adelaja, the triumphant widow, and the other subversions like her in the story, that thus set it apart. So much for thieves then, the mind soon seeks to know who the “owner” is. And not only do you want to know this owner, you want to know if s/he or they will be getting the promised day in the sun soon. Eventually you are forced to assume that the owner is none other than the narrator himself. He it is who is set apart from the thieves; who expresses shock, disgust, alarm, disappointment and sometimes amusement - at their antics. Alas, after the thieves have had their fill in the spotlights, their fifteen hours of fame, there is no karmic justice to swing down and shame them. The owner sees them, watches them at ‘work’, shakes his head at their impudence, and then returns home - to New York. Every Day is for The Thief is a physical, as well as a psychic journey, bringing the narrator face to face with a past that he left behind, frozen in time in Nigeria when he left. It is evidently a past he did not take along to New York, so that now that he is back he has to face it, stand up to it and reclaim it. This is not an easy task; “the past continues to gather around like floodwater,” he tells us. At one point he informs us of his decision not to look up old friends, only to later speak of “various reunions with friends and family”. The struggle between memory and forgetting doesn’t let up easily. It is the story of this struggle, part narration, part meditation, that Cole tells us in prose that is at once precise and haunting, even long after the final word. Source: Concluded

83-year-old novelist urges Nigerians to preserve nation’s unity


r. Onuora Nzekwe, the 83year-old author of the popular novel—“Eze goes to school”—on Monday urged Nigerians strive to preserve the unity of the country, in spite of its current challenges. Nzekwu, also the pioneer general manager of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said he witnessed the Nigerian civil war first-hand as a civilian official in the then Eastern Nigeria, and cautioned Nigerians on the dangers of such conflicts. He appealed for tolerance among the various ethnic groups of the country, in order not to rubbish the 1914 amalgamation of Nigeria. Cue-in Nzekwu edited audio 1 “We are all heading in one direction but whether we would achieve our objective, that which is uppermost in our minds, then, we must not run, we must not run, step by step, step by step, even when we run, it is one step after another, we cannot carry the two legs at the same time. “Even so, our wish is that the amalgamation of 1914 should become stronger, much stronger come 2014 and become strongest come 2114. So, the important thing is that, as much as possible we must try and remain together”. Cue-out Nzekwu edited audio 1 The octogenarian who is one of Nigeria’s master story tellers, warned that the current trend of events in the nation was a replica of what led to the 1967 to 1970 civil war, which must never be allowed to repeat itself in Nigeria. He said that his latest book: “Troubled Dust”, which captured the events that led to the 1967 civil war, was a warning to those beating war drums in the country. Cue-in- Nzekwu audited audio 2 “This kind of thing has happened before if we let it happen again, hmm, but if we can do well to prevent it from happening again, the world would be a better place for us. My people say, young men clamouring for war ‘let us go, let us let us fight, let us, we can do this, we can do that’, hem, them no know say na death na him dem dey find. So, we might say that this book, from the point of view of war, this book is a warning, it highlights in-depth the war and the dangers of a war”. Cue-out Nzekwu edited audio 2 He said that the main characters in the book were a husband and a wife and their friends who were from different regions of the country. He stressed the need for tolerance among Nigerians, adding that human beings could never behave the same way due to the different ways of upbringing, and cultural diversity. He said that although the book was written over 15 years ago, it could not be published due to some constraints, but noted that the lessons were still relevant for the nation. He said that the publication of the book has met several coincidences which included the death and burial of late Chief Odumegu Ojukwu. Nzekwu said that the book had presented all the possible dangers of war at the disposal of Nigerians and urged members of the violent sect— Boko Haram— to tow the path of peace and caution.(NAN)



Race relations in Britain: How far have we really come?(II) ANALYSIS


onvicted blacks and Asians are more likely to be imprisoned than white people - around 27 per cent of all prisoners in Britain are nonwhite. Black people are also 27 times more likely to be stopped and searched by police under laws designed to tackle gun, drug and gang crime. This is an ugly reality that 19-year-old student Marc faces every day. The Computer Science undergraduate, from Brixton in south London, said the police often follow him. "I would become a lawyer, but the police? You can't the trust the police - especially when you are black - for the same reason, they always target you," he said. "It's not just the police, it's everyone. If I'm standing at a bus stop, there will be an older woman and she will have a bag on the floor. She will see me and grab her bag. They either move away, or take their bag and hold it very tightly. They think you're a thief." None of this helps to instil a greater sense of trust in the police, courts or judicial system in the minds of many young black and Asian people, making it increasingly difficult for police forces to recruit officers from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Though the discrepancy in sentencing rates between ethnic groups may the result of a variety of factors, it is hard to see how discrimination does not play a significant role. Brian Paddick, former MPS Deputy Assistant Commissioner, said: "You are more likely to be stopped and searched if you are black. You are more likely to be sent to court, rather than cautioned, if you are black. You are more likely to be given a custodial sentence if you are black … Nobody has been able to provide me with a convincing alternative explanation [of why this is other than] that these sections, the police, racially stereotype black people as criminals and that prejudice exists at every level of the criminal justice system." Robin Richardson, former director of the race equality think-tank the Runnymede Trust, goes further. He said: "I think certain elements of British society, the criminal justice system, the judiciary, are institutionally racist, in the technical sense of the term - the institution produces racist effects and racist inequalities." Politicians and government departments deny these allegations but have vowed to do more. Prime Minister David Cameron, in a recent TV interview, said he believed the UK is "a less racist country" than it was in 1993, but admitted "there's still a lot more to be done". The Home Office is soon due to publish its new Hate

Stephen Lawrence’s racially motivated murden dispelled the illusionthat recism no longer existed in the UK (EPA) Crime strategy. But whether the political will exists to traverse the thorny issue of racism in ways that lead to effective changes on the ground still remains to be seen. On January 13, the MPS also announced it would reform part of its stop and search policy. But this change took place only after it became clear that the courts might rule that the police's use of the power was unlawful. Officers will now carry out fewer stop and search operations, and the threshold for evidence needed to authorise these procedures will be raised. But this is a collective issue, not one where we can apportion blame on the police, judges, lawyers and politicians from the safety of the sidelines. Juries and police forces are made up of ordinary people, and politicians listen to the demands of the electorate that votes them into power. For British society to tackle ignorance and prejudice, we must grasp how complex racism is. We must also recognise how racial hatred has diversified to find new groups of people to demonise. You don't have to look

too far back in Britain's history to see instances of open antiSemitism. From the 1940s, growing immigration to the UK of people from the former British colonies of the Caribbean, south Asia and Africa meant these communities became the targets of racism at both the institutional and street levels. Open racism predominantly against young Africans and Afro-Caribbeans followed. Now, after 9/11 and the 7/7 London bombings, people who may be Muslim - and often look or are south Asian or Arab - are also targeted disproportionately by police. Almost 20 per cent of those stopped and searched by police under anti-terror laws in Britain in 2010 and 2011 were Asian. But overt forms of racism are not always by white people against ethnic minorities vitriol about people of different ethnicities and faiths comes also from Asians and blacks. And it is not solely the institutional racism that reports such as Macpherson unveiled, or the undisguised bigotry shamelessly celebrated by men like Norris

and Dobson, which we must face head on. When you speak to police officers, lawyers and ordinary people, most would say they are not racist. And most probably they aren't - at least not consciously. But what about the subtler undercurrents of prejudice that fester unchecked on our streets and in our homes, which are harder to expose and fight? What about the fact that we may cross the street to avoid a group of black teenagers, eye with a suspicion a young Asian man with a beard carrying a rucksack on the Underground system, or fear a young white man with tattoos and a shaved head? These are mental calculations that take place all the time; they are an important part of the collective debate on race in Britain. Although this prejudice is markedly different from the "institutional racism" the MPS was charged with, the two are linked: Overt, violent racism and institutional racism can only thrive in a broader framework of covert forms of discrimination that are often overlooked. What next?

For British society to tackle ignorance and prejudice, we must grasp how complex racism is. We must also recognise how racial hatred has diversified to find new groups of people to demonise.

None of us are naïve enough to think racism will ever disappear. Yet as migration and globalisation grow and Britain becomes increasingly diverse, these are challenges we will be forced to face as we continue to question ourselves, others, and society. If we fail to do so, public confidence in our institutions will be further undermined. Blacks, Asians and people of mixed backgrounds will continue to be jailed, attacked and killed because of their faith or ethnicity. The colour of Stephen Lawrence's skin cost him his life. His family's relentless pursuit of the men responsible is a testament to their strength and conviction that Britain can surmount racism. But this is not a time for us to rest easy. Some of the men who murdered Stephen remain free and racially motivated crimes still blight our society. Almost 40,000 hate crimes were reported in the country in 2010. In December, Indian student Anuj Bidve was murdered in what appears to be a racially motivated attack in Salford. These are the benchmarks we must judge ourselves against in a country that has, in many ways, nurtured a strong tradition of diversity. Perhaps, then, the final words here should be those of Stephen's mother, Doreen Lawrence, who, after this month's convictions, said: "The fact is that racism and racist attacks are still happening in this country and the police should not use my son's name to say we can move on." Concluded Source:



Malian refugees in Niger await food and water S.Africa mines minister targets CEOs on fatalities


outh Africa's mines minister said yesterday that industry chief executives should be held liable for avoidable fatalities, also raising the possibility of court action. Targeting chief executives would take her safety drive to new levels as the government tries to stem the death toll in the country's mines, the world's deepest and among the most dangerous. "Fatalities which could have been avoided, we feel that CEOs must be held liable for those accidents, because they are responsible for the operations. As they show interest in how they grow the profits they must also show interest in safety," Susan Shabangu told Reuters in an interview. Asked if this meant possible court action, she said: "These are some of the issues that we must look at. For me the courts are the last option. But legislation provides for us to go to courts." Earlier she told the annual African mining conference in Cape Town that the platinum industry's contribution to fatalities in the mining sector remained a "serious concern" and defended safety stoppages which she said had contributed to a drop in accident rates.

Egypt officials see end to US NGO stand-off


gypt's government will back down in a stand-off with Washington over U.S. funding for civil society groups because allowing the dispute to drag on could jeopardise aid worth billions of dollars, two Egyptian officials said. Nineteen Americans are among 40 foreign and local activists banned from leaving Egypt and referred to a criminal court, accused of managing unlicensed nongovernmental organisations and receiving foreign funds without official approval. Some of the U.S. citizens, belonging to the U.S.-funded National Democratic Institute (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI), sought refuge in the American Embassy. Washington has asked Egypt to drop the travel bans and allow the groups targeted in the investigation to resume their work. Both Congress and the White House have warned that the crackdown could threaten its yearly $1.3 billion U.S. military support.

Ripple effects from Libya's conflict have caused many to flee and swelled rebel ranks in Mali [EPA]


housands of people in western Niger who fled a rebellion in Mali are suffering from a severe shortage of food and water, local officials and aid providers have said.

"We must fear a humanitarian catastrophe, if nothing is done," said Boureima Issaka of the Niger-based aid group Timidria. Issak spoke from Chinegodar, a small

village that has seen an influx of some 6,000 refugees in less than a month. The UN Refugee Agency said yesterday that an estimated 22,000 people have fled from

Mali to neighbouring countries to escape fighting between government troops and armed rebels that has caused dozens of casualties on either side. The combat began on January 17, when the Azawad National Liberation Movement (MNLA) launched an attack in northern Mali - the largest offensive by Tuareg rebels since 2009 - sparking clashes with the army. Many Tuareg fighters were employed by Muammer Gaddafi's regime in Libya, and his fall is believed to have led them to return to the fighting in their homelands. Most of the 10,000 refugees who have arrived in Niger are sleeping in the open with little access to shelter, clean water, food or medicine, while a further 9,000 have arrived in Mauritania and 3,000 have fled to Burkina Faso, the UN said. Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba, a spokewoman at UNCHR, told Al Jazeera that people fled from the violence, as well in anticipation of more possible violence between security forces and rebel fighters.

Zambia to audit miners, believes up to $1 bln owed


op African copper producer Zambia plans to audit all its mining houses in a bid to dig for back taxes of up to $1 billion it estimates it is owed, its mines minister said yesterday. Such a policy by the government of populist president Michael Sata would widen an initiative launched by the previous administration and comes against the backdrop of a surge of resource nationalism across Africa and Zambia's own doubling of copper royalties to six percent. "We need to look at what the

mining industry has been giving. What we have been told by the World Bank and others is that we did not collect adequate tax," Wylbur Simuusa told Reuters on the sidelines of an industry conference in Cape Town. Asked what he believed was owed, he said: "By our calculations it might be between $500 million and $1 billion." Simuusa said the government planned to start with the big mining houses and said one audit was imminent but he declined to

name the company. "So we are now actively pursuing this. We intend to audit all the mining houses but we'll audit the big ones first," Simuusa said. According to UK charity Christian Aid, more than half of the copper Zambia exported in 2008 was destined for Switzerland, but according to Swiss import data almost none of this arrived and Simuusa said this trend continued. This raises a number of transparency issues and activists say copper exported to Switzerland on paper often

fetches a lower price than it would if it was exported elsewhere. "Once it leaves, where does it go? We don't have a clue," he said. Copper producers operating in the country include Canada's First Quantum Minerals, London-listed Vedanta Resources and Glencore International AG. Miners in Zambia have themselves said they want independent international auditors to verify they are paying all the taxes that they should.

Gunmen kill seven at Libyan refugee camp


unmen have killed seven Libyan refugees at a camp in a Tripoli suburb, residents and hospital sources said. The attackers came to the gate of the makeshift settlement in a disused naval academy in Janzour on Monday saying they wanted to arrest young men, and opened fire as people

gathered to protest. "Men from Misrata came to the camp at 10 o'clock. We knew they were from Misrata because it was written all over their cars," camp resident Huda BelEid said at Tripoli Medical Hospital. "Around 15 of them started shooting us. All the women escaped but the young men

stayed. My brother was there and I went to help him because he was shot in the head and neck, then they shot me (in the leg)," she added. Officials from Misrata military council denied involvement. Residents of the camp, black Libyans originally from the town of Tawergha, said they are being persecuted over accusations they

Jonathan receives 3 new envoys


onathan receives 3 new envoys Three new ambassadors to Nigeria yesterday presented their letters of credence to President Goodluck Jonathan at State House, Abuja. The ambassadors are Mr. Jacques Champagne (France ), Mr Montaser Abuzaid (Palestine) and Mr Mostafa Bouh (Morocco). The President expressed Nigeria's

appreciation to the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, for his friendship and commitment to a robust relationship and support. He noted that there were many areas of cooperation between Nigeria and France. Jonathan said that Nigeria desired stronger economic cooperation with Palestine and Morocco, to build on the long-

standing mutually beneficial relations, assuring the three new ambassadors of his government's support throughout their tenure. The new ambassadors in their separate responses, thanked Jonathan for receiving their letters of credence. They also pledged to work hard to strengthen the relations between their countries and Nigeria.

collaborated with slain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi during the country's revolution. Many say they are also regularly mistaken for subSaharan African mercenaries who revolutionary fighters said fought for Gaddafi. Abdelhafid Suleiman, head of the military council of Janzour, told Reuters news agency that a group from the Tawergha camp later took to the streets to protest against the deaths. He said more violence erupted when Janzour fighters, who were on the streets to maintain security, tried to take knives and sticks off the Tawergha refugees. Gaddafi's forces used Tawergha as a base to besiege and shell the coastal city of Misrata during last year's civil war. Its residents say they were held hostage by Gaddafi's men and did not collaborate.



Russia’s Lavrov holds talks with Assad R ussian Foreign Minister held talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad, shortly after he arrived in Damascus and received by thousands of regime supporters. Russia's foreign minister has declared in Damascus that the Syrian government is committed to ending the country's violence. Sergei Lavrov made the remark after holding talks in the Syrian capital yesterday with President Bashar al-Assad. However, in a sign that other countries were not so confident, Gulf Arab states joined France and Italy in withdrawing their ambassadors from Damascus. And in the central Syrian city of Homs, the military continued its assault on opposition fighters. Witnesses said tanks and snipers began

Sergei Lavrov after hold talks in the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Greek workers strike over public job cuts


orkers in Greece are staging a 24-hour general strike in protest over new government austerity measures which would see 15,000 civil service employees lose their jobs this year. Yesterday's strike comes with Greece under mounting pressure to agree to a package of tough economic reforms that would give it access to a $170bn bailout payment to avoid a March default on its bond repayments. Party leaders within Greece's coalition government are due to meet on Tuesday to discuss the proposed measures, demanded by its financial backers - the so-called 'troika' of the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank - after talks continued into the early hours.

R-L: President Goodluck Jonathan receiving the letter of credence from Palestine Ambassador to Nigeria, Montasan F.A.Abuzaid, during the presentation ceremony, at the State House, in Abuja, yesterday. Photo: Joe Oroye

The 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck on Monday, triggering landslides and hundreds of aftershocks [Reuters]

firing on residential areas from dawn for a fifth straight day. Dozens of people have been killed in the ongoing military assault, according to activists. Opposition groups say at least 6,000 people have died since the anti-Assad uprising began 11 months ago. Lavrov's visit to Damascus comes three days after Russia and China vetoed any UNbacked measures against the Assad government over its crackdown on protesters. After holding what he called a "very useful meeting", Lavrov described Assad as "fully committed" to ending the bloodshed. "We [Russia] confirmed our readiness to act for a rapid solution to the crisis based on the plan put forward by the Arab League," Lavrov said.

"The negotiations with the troika are ongoing for the new loan programme. It is clear that there is a lot of pressure being put on the country. A lot of pressure is being placed on the Greek people," Evangelos Venizelo, the finance minister, said during a break in the talks. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the leaders of the euro zone's two largest economies, are pressing Athens to act fast amid fears a Greek default would jeopardise the economic health of the entire single currency bloc. Monday's proposed public sector job cuts signalled a major shift in government policy, as state jobs have so far been protected during the country's two-year financial crisis.

Dozens feared dead in Philippines quake


escue workers in the Philippines are searching for dozens of people feared killed by a powerful earthquake that triggered landslides and toppled buildings on the heavily populated islands of Negros and Cebu. Officials in Manila yesterday put the death toll from the 6.7-magnitude quake at 15, but rescue co-ordinators and local officials put the figure much higher and said the number was expected to rise. Local military chiefs said 43 people were confirmed killed, but officials warned dozens of others were believed to be injured or missing in remote mountainous areas. "Heavy equipment we've requested from the provincial government has not arrived yet, because the roads and bridges are impassable," said Alvin Futalan, the police chief of Guihulngan town on Negros, which was heavily damaged. "We are using our hands and shovels to search in the rubble," he told the AFP news agency. Thirty-nine people were reported killed in Guihulngan, a coastal city of 100,000 people flanked by mountains

that was close to the quake's epicentre. Many buildings in the centre of the city had collapsed, while landslides had buried some homes completely, according to Fatulan. He said the city's 42-man police rescue squad had been joined by hundreds of army troops and volunteers in clearing debris as they raced to find people still believed to be missing. "The army (troops) had to walk about 50km (30 miles) from the last stop reachable by vehicle to reach us," Fatulan said. Guihulngan is about 90km to the north of Dumaguete, the capital of Negros Oriental province that covers the southeastern edge of Negros where the worst effects of the quake were felt. Seismologists said more than 700 aftershocks battered Negros during the 20 hours following the initial quake, which struck at about midday local time on Monday. With rescuers still to reach remote hinterland communities, Negros Oriental governor Roel Degamo said he feared there could be more unreported casualties.



Italy plans emergency talks as cold snap hits I

taly is set to hold emergency talks aimed at maximising gas supplies to vulnerable households as a cold snap tightened its grip on the country and the death toll rose to 26. The scheduled talks yesterday come a day after the economic development ministry activated a plan to reduce gas supplies to industrial clients and switch from gas to oil-fired power stations amid fears of another cold wave in

Russia, which could limit supplies to Italy. "The situation is certainly critical because the flows from Russia and France have diminished but the situation is being monitored," Corrado Passera, economic development minister, told reporters. A total of 389 people are now known to have died from the cold weather in Europe since the cold snap began 11 days ago. Forecasters say there will be no early let-up to some of the lowest

temperatures seen in decades. Alberto Clo', an Italian energy policy expert and former minister, however told Il Mattino newspaper that there was no

need to panic. "Italy will not run out of gas," he said. "After a mild winter and with industry running at low capaci ty, we haven't drawn

very much yet from our reserves," he added. Other areas across Europe are, however, struggling with the effects of the weather conditions.

US hits Iran with new sanctions


S President Barack Obama has tightened sanctions on Iran, including its central bank, seeking to increase pressure on the country's economy as a nuclear showdown intensifies. Obama signed an executive order on Sunday that implements parts of a new sanctions regime passed by Congress late last year, allowing US institutions to freeze all property and interests of the Iranian government. Obama's decision comes amid high tensions with Iran, which has threatened to close the crucial Strait of Hormuz, a crucial oil and natural gas shipping lane from the Gulf.

Israel has also suggested it may attack Iran's nuclear sites soon, insisting that the government in Tehran is close to being able to build a nuclear weapon. A spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry said yesterday the measures would have no effect on the country because the central bank had no transactions with the US. "Many of these (U.S.) activities are in the sphere of psychological war and propaganda, and they cannot affect our work," said Ramin Mehmanparast. "When they impose sanctions on our central bank even though we have no transactions with them, it shows ... they think

they are able to put pressure on our people, create concerns and social discontent." The executive order allows US institutions to freeze all property and interests of the Iranian government, the central bank of Iran and all Iranian financial institutions that come within US jurisdiction. Previously, US banks were required to reject and send back, rather than block and freeze, Iranian transactions. In a letter to Congress, Obama said more sanctions were warranted, "particularly in light of the deceptive practices of the Central Bank of Iran and other Iranian banks".

Indian regional polls to test public mood


At least 389 people are known to have died from the cold weather since the cold snap began 11 days ago [Reuters]

illions of people will head to the polls in India's most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, to vote for provincial representatives today.


Pakistan building collapse

The elections are seen as an indicator of public sentiment about the government, but many voters, especially those known as the Dalits or "untouchables", do not have

much trust in government to better their living conditions. Those voters are unhappy about the prospects for receiving benefits they had been promised in previous elections.

Standoff continues over Dozens trapped in Brazil police strike he confrontation between security forces and striking policemen occupying the state legislature in the Brazilian city of Salvador can be resolved through negotiations, according to the governor of Bahia state. The policemen inside the state legislature, where food and water are running low, are at present surrounded by more than 1,000 soldiers and police. "We are heading toward a negotiated way out [of the crisis]," Jaques Wagner told Globo News television yesterday. His remarks came as families of the strikers with children emerged from the legislature and other supporters camped

out in the gardens overnight. The strikers, demanding higher pay, better working conditions and an amnesty, have pledged to resist if troops tried to flush them out of the building. Officials say a third of the state's 31,000 police have joined the strike. "We are fighting for our rights. If they want war, they will have war. Our fight is against the government," Eduardo Nascimento, a 56-yearold military policeman, said. The state government says it cannot afford the pay raise. "When you negotiate for so long, it means you are heading in the right direction," Wagner, the governor, said.

Maldives president quits after protests


he president of the Maldives has resigned, after clashes in the capital, Male, between soldiers and police who sided with antigovernment protesters. Mohamed Nasheed confirmed his resignation yesterday in a nationwide broadcast after police defied orders to break up demonstrations and seized control of the state television station. "I believe if I continue as the President of the Maldives, the people of the country would suffer more. I therefore have resigned as the President of Maldives," Nasheed said. "I wish the Maldives would have a consolidated

democracy. I wish for justice to be established. My wish is for the progress and prosperity of the people," he said. Mohamed Waheed, Nasheed's vice president, was sworn in as the country's interim leader soon after. A statement issued by the president's office earlier yesterday called for people to remain calm. "The government of Maldives together with all state institutions will work to ensure peace and stability in Male," it said. "Government of Maldives calls to people to remain calm and support to stabilise the situation."

The collapsed building


t least 19 people have been killed and dozens are feared trapped after a factory collapsed in Pakistan's secondlargest city of Lahore, an emergency official has said. Records indicate there were 62 people, including women and children, inside the factory when it collapsed, Ahad Cheema, deputy commissioner of Lahore, said on Monday. Fourteen people have been pulled out so far and rescue workers are trying to reach more than 40 others who are still trapped, he said.

Two adjacent houses to the factory, which was used to manufacture veterinary injections, also collapsed following the explosion. Rescue officials said that narrow streets were preventing heavy rescue machinery from reaching the area. Emergency workers and residents were shifting rubble by hand as authorities struggled to move a large crane to the site. "I was inside the building when the blast happened," said Asad, an eight-year-old who was a labourer

in the factory. "Two other boys were with me and they started running. I don't know where they went and if they are alive." Al Jazeera's Imtiaz Tyab, reporting from Islamabad, said that the three-storey building was located in a residential locality. "We have also been hearing eyewitness accounts saying that they had complained about this factory in the past, as a factory that was involved in such industrial scale production should not have been in this residential neighbourhood," Tyab said.



Father delivered first baby (with help of 999 operator) after midwife got trapped in snow

Cute-as-a-button: Little Megan and Sarah were eventually taken to Basildon Hospital where they were checked out and both deemed to be fit and healthy

Snow baby: Sarah Alder and Steve Watson, pictured with baby Megan, had spent months planning for a home birth in Basildon. But hadn't planned for four inches of snowfall


arah Alder spent months planning for her home birth. But what she hadn't planned for was four inches of snowfall just as she went into labour - making it impossible for her midwife to reach her in time. First-time-dad, Steve Watson, called the midwife when his wife went into labour early on Sunday morning just when the snow in Basildon, Essex, was at its thickest.

But when she explained that she would not be able to dig her car out in time, Steve stood in instead - with instructions over the phone from a 999 operator. The 34-year-old teacher grabbed a few towels from the airing cupboard and delivered his 8lb 6oz daughter Megan on his own in the couple's upstairs bedroom. Steve said: 'Sarah got out of bed as she was feeling a bit uncomfortable. Pretty quickly

she realised she was in labour. 'We were due to have a home birth anyway but we were going to have a midwife there for support. 'But then we both looked out of the window and said "oh oh!" 'We called the midwife but because of the snow she couldn't get her car out. I dialled for an ambulance but it was quite clear at that point that the baby wasn't going to wait. 'The 999 operator told me to look at where the baby was. She told me, "get yourself down there and see what you can do!" Steve, who is a step-father to Sarah's six-year-old daughter Abi, but a first-time dad himself, added: 'It was so

surreal but breathtaking. I can't put it into words. It all happened so quickly. 'It was like "oh my God I can see the head" then "oh my God I can see her eyes!" 'Sarah was so brave, she is an amazing woman. She didn't scream once she just got on with it.' Paramedics also got stuck in the snow flurry as they rushed to the scene and had to be dug out by two hero neighbours. When they did arrive at the house they let Steve cut the umbilical cord himself. Steve said: 'I think they thought I'd started the job so they'd let me finish!' Megan and Sarah were

eventually taken to Basildon Hospital where they were checked out and both deemed to be fit and healthy. Steve, who teaches a public services pathway course at South Essex College, added: 'It all went so well. The ironic thing was I'd told Sarah beforehand there was no way I was going to watch the birth. 'I had planned to hold her hand and stroke her hair and stay "upside" of things. 'But now I think it was a wonderful gift to be able to bring my own daughter into the world.' Sarah added: 'Although it was a bit of a drama it was wonderful that Steve got to deliver Megan. It will be a lovely story to tell her one day.'

Home sweet home: When the midwife could not dig her car out in time, Steve ended up delivering Megan - with some help from a 999 operator

Pictured: Anders Breivik looking calm and relaxed in fake police uniform just minutes after killing 77 in Norwegian massacre


hese dramatic pictures show mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik in the aftermath of his killing spree on a Norwegian island. A handcuffed Breivik, sitting on a cushioned wooden chair, looks relaxed as he smirks to himself in the minutes following his surrender to police. He had just massacred 77 people - by setting off a bomb

Cuffed: The 32-year-old raises his arms to a guard as he arrived at the court, which was filled with around 100 survivors and family members of the massacre he carried out in July last year

Detained: Anders Behring Breivik, sitting on a cushioned wooden chair, looks relaxed as he smirks to himself in the minutes following his surrender to police

outside the government headquarters in Oslo and then opening fire at a Labour Party youth camp on Utoya island. Wearing what appears to be a police uniform, which he wore to dupe security staff in letting him board a boat to cross over to Utoya, he clasps his hands together in joy. His black boots are muddy, from stalking terrified children through the island's undergrowth, and an 'identification card' hangs from his neck.

Police badges, which look to have been crudely stitched onto his wetsuit-type shirt, appear on each of his upper arms. Emergence of the photographs come the day after the right-wing extremist, who has admitted to the murders, told a court that he deserved a medal of honour for the bloodshed. He also demanded to be set free. Breivik smirked and gave a salute as he was led in to the Oslo district court,

handcuffed and dressed in a dark suit, for his last detention hearing before his trial starts on April 16. He stretched out his arms in what his lawyer, Geir Lippestad, said was 'some kind of Right-wing extremist greeting.' The 32-year-old told the court that Norway's most deadly peacetime attack was a strike against 'traitors' he said are embracing immigration to promote 'an Islamic colonisation of Norway'. He said: 'I am a militant nationalist. I represent the Norwegian indigenous peoples. We in the Norwegian resistance movement are not going to sit still and see that we are turned into a minority in our own country.' About 100 survivors and relatives of victims watched in disbelief as Breivik asked to be released, and told the judge he should be awarded Norway's highest military medal for the July 22 massacre. There was hollow laughter from the public gallery as he made his remarks.

He denied criminal responsibility for his actions in July 2011, and rejected the authority of the court. Judge Wenche Fliflet Gjelsten ruled that he should stay in custody. Shock: Floral tributes and candles outside Oslo Cathedral after the massacre last year. Source:

Plot: Breivik poses in a wet suit carrying a gun. He detonated a fertiliser bomb on July 22 last year, killing eight people in Oslo, before travelling to Utoya island and shooting another 69 dead



Obesity could be infectious W

e all know of couples who piled on the pounds once they married and fat friends who seem to encourage each others bad eating habits. But scientists have now

claimed that chubbiness could be catching. A study from Yale University found that both obesity and liver disease can be triggered by a family of proteins called

Can obesity be passed on? Scientists found the condition was effectively infection in mice (posed picture) inflammasomes that alter the balance of microbes in the stomach. Amazingly, this altered intestinal environment can be passed on - making obesity an infectious condition. The finding came to light during a study on stomach bacteria in mice. The Yale team found that a deficiency in components of two particular inflammasomes in mice resulted in the development of an altered microbial community associated with increased bacteria. This determined the severity of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and obesity in

Unhealthy living may not be the only cause of obesity, say Yale University scientists

Playing in the sun ‘reduces risk of eczema and food allergies in children’


laying in the sunshine reduces the risk of children developing eczema and food allergies, researchers claim. Those living in areas with lower levels of sunlight are at greater risk of developing food allergies and the skin condition, compared to those in areas with higher UV. Scientists used data from analysis of Australian children and how rates of food allergies, eczema and asthma varied throughout the country. On average children in the south of the country were twice as likely to develop eczema as those in the north. There was also a link between latitude and allergies to peanuts and eggs. Sunlight is important because it provides the fuel to create vitamin D in the skin. Australia is a particularly

good place for this type of study as it spans nearly 3,000 miles from north to south, with a large variation in climate, day length and sun strength. Dr Nick Osborne, who led the researchers at the European Centre for Environment and Human Health, a joint initiative between Plymouth and Exeter universities, warned: ‘This investigation has further underlined the association between food allergies, eczema and where you live. ‘We’re now hoping to study these effects at a much finer scale and examine which factors such as temperature, infectious disease or vitamin D are the main drivers of this relationship. ‘As always, care has to be taken we are not exposed to too much sunlight, increasing the risk of skin cancer.’ Source:

the mice. Senior study author Professor Richard Flavell,said: ‘When healthy mice were co-housed with mice that had altered gut microbes, the healthy mice also developed a susceptibility for development of liver disease and obesity.’ NAFLD is the result of metabolic syndrome, a collection of disorders that includes obesity and diabetes, and is the leading cause of chronic liver disease in the western world. It is estimated that up to 30 million people suffer from NAFLD in the United States alone. Professor Flavell said the next step will be to extend the

research to see if the same effect can be seen in humans. ‘We found, in mice, that targeted antibiotic treatment brought the microbial composition back to normal, and thus eased the liver disease. Our hope is that our findings may eventually lead to a treatment for humans.’ The findings expand on earlier Yale research that showed how similar microbial imbalances caused by the same family of proteins increases the risk of intestinal diseases such as colitis. The study has been published in the online version of Nature. Source:

A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down


y surgery is full of coughs and colds and parents asking about over-the-counter children’s medicines. The differences are mainly in taste and price, as the essential ingredients are fairly standard. Here are the questions I’m most commonly asked. Why are children’s medicines so sugary? The simple answer is so that the children will take them. I see a problem with many of the liquid antibiotics which do not taste sweet. Parents struggle to give them to their children, which is obviously a huge disadvantage. The small quantity of sugar in the medicine does not do any harm, especially when children are ill and likely to be eating less, but it is important to brush teeth after using children’s medicine. Do not give more than the dose on the bottle or use when they are not ill. I struggle to give my child medicine when he is hot.

Try all the different oral preparations of ibuprofen and paracetamol – there is a huge range and the flavours vary

A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down

enormously. Using a syringe instead of spoon may help. Once children are eight, they may prefer to swallow a tablet. One 200mg tablet of nurofen is an appropriate dose for an eightyear-old. Your GP can prescribe paracetamol suppositories for children who refuse medicine or who are vomiting. What is available for children under six? Since 2009, cough medicine cannot be sold to this age group. The only things for this age are soothing medicines such as glycerol or syrup which temporarily relieve a dry cough. Does cough medicine work in older children? In clinical trials, it does little but some patients find it useful for older children. It usually contains an antihistamine or a cough suppressant such as dextromethorphan. These have the side effect of drowsiness, which can help a child who is sleepdeprived from coughing all night. Source:



Reconciliation, internal democracy take centre stage as PDP shops for new chairman ANALYSIS As the race to lead the Wadata House, headquarters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), intensifies ahead of the party’s national congress scheduled to hold in March, certain individuals seem to have taken the lead in the quest to become the National Chairman of the party. Lawrence Olaoye writes.


lthough the Peoples Democratic Party’s National Executive Council (NEC) is yet to ratify the provisional zoning arrangement earlier made known to the public, there are indications that the North-East zone, which is considered disadvantaged in the prevailing political arrangement, may have been given the privilege of producing the PDP National Chairman. Quite a lot of the aspirants have begun consultations with critical stakeholders across the country soliciting for supports. But, the party’s stakeholders who believe so much in consensus in this kind of contest may have begun to work in support of the one they could trust. Nevertheless, all the PDP National Chairmanship hopefuls have opened up their campaigns with true reconciliation and internal democracy forming the fulcrum of their campaigns. Regardless of the avalanche of campaign promises made by the aspirants, one sure thing is that many critical stakeholders including President Goodluck Jonathan, state governors under the umbrella of the ruling party as well as those party stalwarts from the North East zone are all interested in who becomes the party’s helmsman for the next four years. This is more so when the political destinies of most of the political gladiators at the state and federal levels would be determined by whoever emerges the party’s National Chairman. To this extent, there has been interplay of forces at the highest level as to who among the aspirants, who are all people of enviable records, would have the most capacity to hold the party together and lead it to victory at all levels in the 2015 general elections. At the zonal level, there have been series of meetings among the PDP governors including those of Taraba, Adamawa, Gombe and Bauchi. One important factor that would

determine the eventual winner of the contest would be the ability of the aspirant to balance the delicate interests of the governors from the North East zone with that of the Presidency. Whichever of the aspirants that could build the trust and the required synergy among the interests would eventually carry the day. Those currently contesting the number one PDP slot include the former Special Adviser to President President Goodluck Jonathan on National Assembly Matters, Senator Mohammed Abba Aji, former governor of old Gongola State and Chairman of African Business Roundtable, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur; former governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Adamu Muazu; former FCT Minister, Arch. Ibrahim Bunu and the former National Chairman of Grassroot Democratic Movement, Alhaji Gambo Lawan. Others who had also declared their interest are former Minister of Petroleum under the Ibrahim Babangida military regime, Senator Jubril Aminu and former Defence Minister, Alhaji

Senator Abba Aji the country under the umbrella of the PDP. As a Senator, he prides himself with having sponsored the highest bills and motions from the North East zone. He is a close ally to President Goodluck Jonathan having served his administration in the capacity of a Special Adviser on National Assembly Matters. Abba-Aji equally coordinated Jonathan’s Presidential campaigns during the April 2011 Presidential election and eventually delivered the Presidency for the party. His indication of interest in the PDP National

One important factor that would determine the eventual winner of the contest would be the ability of the aspirant to balance the delicate interests of the governors from the North-East zone with that of the Presidency. Whichever of the aspirants that could build the trust and the required synergy among the interests would eventually carry the day Shetimma Mustapha. Abba-Aji considers himself the most suitable for the position just as he had begun to criss-cross the country wooing critical stakeholders for the support for the exalted office. He is a former Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who had the opportunity of rubbing shoulders with his colleagues from other parts of

Chairmanship position has set the tongue wrangling on whether the President had endorsed his candidacy ahead of the contest. His promoters from all over the country are equally close allies to the President, giving credence to the speculations of his endorsement by the powers that be. Political watchers are also of the opinion that the Borno state politician

would not have any visible opposition from the state, save from his co-contestants, because the state is under the control of the opposition party, All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). Abba Aji, in his campaigns, has consistently maintained that the set rules binding the party must be obeyed at all times even as he stressed that his administration, when elected the PDP national chairman, would restore internal democracy in the party. He said “You cannot please everybody but you can enact rules and laws that you apply uniformly. That’s the only way you can come near satisfying everybody. If you enact rules and laws and you require compliance, then you will provide a fair playing field. So that’s the only way that you can come near to pleasing everybody.” Commenting on party discipline, Abba-Aji said “I think we have a good measure of discipline in PDP. In addition to party Standing Committees on Discipline, we also have at all levels and Chapters of the party, very senior and experienced persons that promptly check indiscipline. Although we will design measure to curb indiscipline, particularly during election campaigns, I will enjoin my colleagues in all other political parties to do the same.” Although Abba-Aji is a strong politician with the capacity to take the party to another level, he would have to consult widely in the South East in order to defray the bad blood

his former utterance that the Igbos cannot become President in 2015 has generated. Even though the politician was merely stating the obvious considering the political reality on ground, many stakeholders from the zone were enraged at the statement. He however has since denied the utterance but he had to work on the South –East caucus, notwithstanding, for him to get their votes at the National Convention should the party fail to resolve the matter through consensus. Critics believed that Senator Abba-Aji is an experienced politician; a public administrator who has attained unassailable academic feat. He is imbued with the physical and intellectual capacity to steer the ship of the self acclaimed biggest party in Africa. His supporters say he is a team player who believes that power flows from God with the support of the people. Asked whether he could adjudge himself the best candidate in a recent interview, the former Special Adviser to President Jonathan merely replied ‘’The issue of who is the best candidate for the PDP national chairmanship position can best be objectively judged by PDP members and stakeholders. On my part, I am offering myself for scrutiny in a process that is entirely the prerogative of PDP members and stakeholders. “I am however, humbly presenting to them my nearly forty years of public service at state and federal levels, out of which I have served for twenty-one years in top positions (as Executive Secretary of Health Management Board, Director of Finance and Supplies of Governor’s Office, Director General (permanent Secretary) at the state level; and Managing Director of Nigeria Social Insurance Trusts Fund, Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and until last June, Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters; at the federal level. “In the course of these, I have also served as member of the Borno state PDP Executive Committee, member of Borno state PDP Caucus, and member of the PDP National Caucus for many years. I have also successfully carried out party assignments. As Chairman of the 2008 PDP North Central Zonal Congress, I conducted the Congress which produced the National Secretary who is the current Acting Chairman of our great party,” he submitted.



Al-Mustapha’s death sentence was miscarriage of justice- Fasehun INTERVIEW


hat grouse do you have with the death sentence on Al-Mustapha and Shofolahan? I don’t think Nigeria subscribes to capital punishment now; and this is happening all over the world. The right to life is the right of everyone. Al-Mustapha has been incarcerated for about 14 years. Is Nigerian Judiciary explaining to the world that they kept somebody awaiting trial for 14 years? And after trying him, they sentenced him to death? So, I don’t think it is fair; it is not fair. I’m sure the sentence will be re-visited in the Appeal Court; and that is my own hope and also my own prayer. Regardless of crimes committed, a very popular political philosopher once said, “An eye for an eye will leave the world blind.” So, If you take life for life, what happens to life generally? I’m one of those who suffered from the position of Al-Mustapha, but as a Christian, I have forgiven him. Should I indulge him for this number of years, should I begrudge Sani Abacha for this number of years? Al-Mustapha was given a duty to do; to procure security of the Head of State. If he was not given a prescription, that ‘don’t go beyond this, don’t do this and don’t do that.’ If he did that work, the way he knew best, do you think it is right to sentence him to death? About the death of Kudirat Abiola, Al Mustapha did not shoot Alhaja Kudirat Abiola; somebody said he was sent to carry out that shooting. Where is that somebody? What sentence have we given to the man who held the gun and the man who said he held the gun. He broke his silence in the open court and said he was induced to tell that lie. Are we going to be the devil’s advocate? That prosecution witness was concurred. He confessed that he did it, but he had to tell a lie against Al-Mustapha because the state induced him to tell that lie. I understand in Criminal Cases, when there is an element of doubt, you resolve the matter in favour of the suspect. So these are some of the reasons I thought that judgement was too harsh, very unfair and I will call it “The miscarriage of justice.” Another prosecution witness, who said he drove the gunmen to the site of the murder, said, while that murder was going on there, on

Dr. Fredrick Fasehun is the founder of Odua Peoples’ Congress (OPC) in Nigeria. In this interview he opposes the death sentence handed down by Justice Mojisola Dada against Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, the former Chief Security Officer to Gen. Sani Abacha and Lateef Shofolahan, aide to late Kudirat Abiola. He also speaks on insecurity and incessant bomb attacks by Boko Haram among other issues.

Dr. Fredrick Fasehun

the 4th of June, he was getting married in Kazaure in Kano state. He got married at 11’o clock, they said Kudirat was shot around 10’0 clock and the man who was involved in the shooting was getting married in Kazaure, Kano state, an hour later. How possible is that even if he had his personal jet that will lift him from the sight of the murder. Well, pure judgement is not found on earth, pure judgement rests with God. Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, somebody we all admired for her courage, for her steadfastness, died many years ago. What we should be doing is celebrating her memory, not sentencing another person to death on her behalf. But as a Yoruba leader, don’t you think your position runs against the position of majority of Yoruba people who believe that real justice has been done to the memory of one of their own who was killed in such a brutal manner? I’m not apportioning or allotting blame. I’m saying

that we should view the situation with humanity. There is no way somebody as prominent among the Yoruba people as Alhaja Kudira was, would die under nasty circumstances and would not divide Yoruba people. Someone who admire her like me, would say, no, let’s go all out to right the wrong but some would be there to say don’t let us cause national crisis, that’s my own position, that, time usually a healer has healed that wound. But the memory remained with us because she is our daughter, she is a Yoruba citizen and she played the part

Yoruba people wanted her to play. She played that part well. Whether she died as a heroine like she did or as a villain; time will heal that wound and that is why I said, at my age I have no reason to start flexing muscles and causing crises among my people but I’m saying, let us view the whole thing with humanity. That was why I started with Mahatma Gandhi’s quotation that says: “An eye for an eye will leave the world blind.” So, I’m not taking a position opposite to my people but I am assuaging my people that the

Are we going to be the devil’s advocate? That prosecution witness was concurred. He confessed that he did it, but he had to tell a lie against AlMustapha because the state induced him to tell that lie

characteristics, the cultural Yoruba of fairness and sense of justice should be called into play. You were reported to have travelled to the North several times over AlMustapha’s case trying to rally support for him. What really did you achieve in that regards? That is a lie. I never travelled to the North to rally support for him. What for? With what intent? The matter was in court, if I started rallying support for him when he was still in detention and nobody knew the way the wind will blow, it is not true. I didn’t go to Kano on behalf of Al-Mustapha. Some people felt you were betraying the Yoruba cause with your hobnobbing with the Northern elements to get personal advantages. How do you react to that? Personal advantages at Seventy-seven (77)? When would I use those personal advantages, and have I taken any advantage of any situation all my life? Go and find out if I had taken advantages of any situation, I would have become a millionaire. The former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, left here just 10 minutes before you came in, to thank me on the position I took on his matter. You can ask him if he gave me a kobo. I’m a crusader for social justice, I do not earn a kobo for my crusade; and you can find out from any of the governors whom virtually all of them are my friends. Find out from them if any of them buys me coke. Go and find out, it’s not my way of life. I allow you to go and investigate. Somebody came to visit me from the East and he came to my office, he said ‘is this your office?’ I said Yes! This is my office. He said, you are joking; then I said is there no table and seat? How do you expect me to live in a sumptuous place, that is, which I cannot afford. I don’t take money from anybody. Go and find out from Continued on page 39



Al-Mustapha’s death sentence was miscarriage of justice- Fasehun

Major Hamza Al-Mustapha

Continued from page 38

your colleagues. What do I need it for? I’m going to be Seventyseven (77) in September, how am I even sure that I will even clock 77, except by the grace of God. Is the entire Odua People’s Congress (OPC) in agreement on this opposition to the judgement or this is your personal position? OPC never sat anywhere to discuss about Al-Mustapha. So it is my personal position but the organisation has also not sat me down to castigate me for my position. So you can work out the question. Is Gani Adams in agreement with your position? I don’t know, it’s up to him. If he shares the sentiment with me to fight for social justice, then he will agree with me; but I don’t know his position. What is your view about the removal of fuel subsidy removal by the President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan? My position which I made very clear is that removal of fuel subsidy is ill-timed. It came just as people were preparing for expenditure spree that happened at Xmas and New Year. Preparing to pay school fees and some preparing to pay house rent and government stepped in and slammed oil tax on the people. I thought it is unfair, undemocratic. That was inflicting pain on the general citizenry. And as it is, the cost of virtually everything has gone up, who suffers more? Is it those in government or the common man? The masses will suffer!

Every government in any civilised community exists for the comfort and convenience of the people governed, not the other way. Although, in our country, those who are being governed exist for the convenience for the comfort and convenience of those in government, that is not democratic. So, if the vast majority of the citizenry said don’t inflict petrol tax on us, the government should have listened and avoided such infliction of pains because my own definition of democracy is; ‘the wish of the majority of people’. If we said no, don’t inflict pain on us and the government goes ahead to inflict that pain, that government is not democratic. Not only that, I will want a situation where the sincerity of the government is assured. If you told us that you will inflict oil tax by March or April and the people are anxiously waiting, and you now came like a dove from the blue and you inflicted that pain three months earlier without warning, without preparation, is that fair to the people? No! Not only that, subsequent government had removed subsidy, they have inflicted fuel tax which they called subsidy and such removal had happened at least 20 times in our recent political history. Where is the cumulative fund? On what are we spending such funds? Not promising us that if we removed this, we will use it on infrastructures, on health, on education, on this and that. What about the previous ones? On what have you spent it? When SAP was introduced,

Babaginda made sure that that matter was discussed exhaustively. We discussed it in schools, colleges, students’ organisation, factories, nongovernmental organisations, and so on and so forth. And the people said they did not want SAP and IBB reconsidered his decision. This oil tax is more directly inflicting pains on the people. Why didn’t government subject it to national discourse? It would have been better if the government has subjected it to national discourse and majority have said let us comply. That is democracy. So, a seemingly democratic government came in and started ruling like a dictatorship. What can you proffer as lasting solution concerning

when he’s now waiting for the country to acknowledge to his anticipated contribution and the country is failing him. So, what does he do? He joins bad gang. He wants to feed and when he doesn’t find it easy to feed, he takes up arms against his country and the country becomes insecure. Now, graduate unemployment pushes you to either become an undesirable element in the community or if you are a girl, you end up in prostitution, either of which is undesirable. What steps have we taken to ensure that this social injustice is not promoted? Government also has committed a lot of atrocities in the past against the citizenry. Take the South-South for instance. You have oil under their soil in the South-South

I understand in Criminal Cases, when there is an element of doubt, you resolve the matter in favour of the suspect. So these are some of the reasons I thought that judgement was too harsh, very unfair and I will call it “The miscarriage of justice the insecurity in the country? Well, insecurity is the bane of Nigeria’s social life. It is so permissive that nobody thinks safe everywhere, at home, in the office, in school, in church, in the mosque, on the road, anywhere. No Nigerian feel safe. Maybe Nigeria has been so careless to allow insecurity to grow from being a minischool to a monster. What government should do is to ensure that there is social justice. When injustice is permissive, the necessary consequence is insecurity. The Nigerian young person who goes to school from nursery school, primary school, University or College of Education and Polytechnic and comes out unemployed, hungry for years, obviously becomes angry. A hungry man is an angry man. He has prepared himself to a point

and you come in as the Federal Government and you started exploring for oil. In the process of exploring, you have destroyed the fiona, the environment and the treasures you got from underground, you moved elsewhere and the goose that laid the golden egg is unfed. The people of the South-South didn’t kick until they saw Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Enugu and say for God sake, see what our money has paid for. In the meantime, the environment has been destroyed, the water polluted, the air polluted, their health going down, hunger pervasive and their environment nothing to talk about. Their health destroyed, children running about with different forms of rashes. On top of it, they remained uneducated, they remained unemployed, they remained hungry and therefore angry.

They spoke to the government. Ken Saro Wiwa was for years speaking to the government about the picture I have painted and the government would not listen. Ken Saro Wiwa was a pacifist, and unfortunately he was speaking to a deaf government; and when you speak to the deaf, he doesn’t understand what you are saying. That’s why people in the Niger-Delta flexed muscles. When you are talking to the deaf and he doesn’t understand what you are saying, you show, you gesticulate to convince him that you are speaking, and that’s what happened in the South-South. You talked about Boko Haram, thousands and thousands and thousands of children who have no opportunity to go to school see criminal wealth being flaunted in their presence. So Boko Haram is not a religious affair, it is a class war. That’s what many of us don’t understand; and when two people are simultaneously aggrieved and they clashed, the result is usually a flash. And government should not allow that situation to develop, they should find Nigerians, trusted by both sidesGovernment and Boko Haram, to mediate the crisis. Even when two countries sit down to declare a war, after fighting the war, they still come to table to discuss peace. So why must you go to war before you discuss peace? That’s what government should do and some of us have been agitating for a sovereign national conference for years, saying let us re-order this nation, let us restructure and redesign this nation so that unity may be forged and Nigeria will move forward like a powerful nation; and the people have been saying ‘No’. So that’s why the ethnic nationality of whatever ill are aggrieved and this is the time now for us to sit down, table our problems and proffer solutions and I hope the government will accede to that. But in the meantime, let the government look for honest, decent, uncommitted Nigerians to mediate the situation. Culled from Nigeria Politics Online



Jang, PDP inflict injuries on Plateau electorate From Nankpah Bwakan, Jos


he leadership of the Labour Party (LP) in Plateau state has accused Governor Jonah Jang and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state of inflicting injuries on the electorate and ridiculing the state beyond redemption. Speaking at an expanded stakeholders’ meeting of the party, the State Publicity Secretary Hon. Selvanus Namang described as “shameful” a situation whereby Jang received 10 times what former governor Draiye was receiving between 1999 and 2007, yet Jang is not able to develop the state; and civil servants are not paid their entitlements. He condemned the constitution of the management committee chairmenby the governor, instead of democratically elected chairmen, which the constitution does not allow. He said Labour Party is fully prepared to give Jang and PDP tough fight at the forthcoming local government elections because the party’s structure received a further boost by the constant defection of members from PDP to LP. According to him, “It is well known that any election that is conducted in the state now, particularly the forth coming local government election, the Labour Party is the party to beat.

This is because the PDP has inflicted injuries on the people of the state. The PDP has disappointed the people and it has ridiculed the state beyond redemption.” Debunking the rumour making the round that Senator Joshua Dariye representing the northern senatorial zone has defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Namang said, ”mere representation of the Senate President David Mark at a

particular event does not means that Dariye has defected to PDP. As any Senator could have represented Mark regardless of party difference.” Namang, who was legislative assistant of the former Deputy Senate President Alhaji Ibrahim Mantu, added that on so many occasions Mantu had sent Senators from various parties to represent him, saying LP had adopted a resolution that none of its members should defect to any political party, particularly

Dariye. “By the amended constitution he cannot defect before 2015. “We are very much aware that Governor Jang don’t want to conduct local government election because he is afraid of the Labour Party. He believes that we are going to get support from the grass roots, following the injuries and pain that he has inflicted on the people of the state. So we called on him to organize the said election, so that we can teach him a lesson,” he stated.

R-L: Former Kaduna state Governor, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, former Education Minister, Professor Ben Nwabueze, Chief Edwin Clark, and former Finance Minister, Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu, singing National Anthem, during National Summit Group’s meeting, in Lagos, on Monday.

Subsidy investigation a useless venture, says Hanga By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he protem Chairman of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Senator Rufai Hanga, has stated that the noise about the investigation in the National Assembly over the subsidy regime, would vanish with the wind. Hanga, who stated this in an interview with Peoples Daily, maintained that the corruption in the oil sector is one major problem which nothing could be done about it. He recalled that similar furor over same issue was raised in the recent past, which necessitated the investigation by the National

Assembly; emphasizing that at the end nothing came out of the investigation. Further speaking, he suggested that the only solution to the corruption in the sector was for government, through the Ministry of Petroleum, to devise an efficient, effective and transparent management system which would not be beaten by the alleged cabal in the sector. While expressing fear over the competence of the federal government to tackle the corruption in the sector, he adjoined that the N97 which the federal government claimed to have reduced the pump price of

fuel was a trick. He explained that government had earlier planned to peg the price at N97, but deliberately jerked it up to N141, so that the people will complain and eventually accept the N97 plot. Hanga equally blamed the organized labour for giving in to the government pressures, saying they ought to have insisted on getting the pump price back to N65. Speaking on the claims at some quarters that Boko Haram is being sponsored by those that want power returned to the North by all means, Hanga stated that such claim has no basis, saying it

is inconsequential if two or three persons have such believe. According to him, “it was the Northerners that voted for Jonathan … so all these insinuations are unfortunate. They are people who are all out to argue blindly, if one or two people want power to go back to the North, they are inconsequential to represent the North.” Meanwhile, he admitted that the Boko Haram crisis has a political connotation, but said that the interest was far from getting power back to the North, urging the federal government to dialogue with the group to prevent further loss of lives.

ACN calls for census of septuagenarians in Rivers


he Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has called on the Rivers Government to conduct a census of its elderly citizens to ensure that they are covered by the government’s healthcare scheme. Mr Joseph Sodienye, the ACN South-South Geo-Political Zonal Liaison Officer, made the

call in a statement on Tuesday in Port Harcourt. Sodienye said that the elders to be enumerated should be from 70 years and above, adding that their vulnerability, psychology and material status should be stated in the exercise. He said that the census would assist the free healthcare

policy of the Amaechi-led administration to determine the specific ailments of the elderly to enable government meet their health needs adequately. Sodienye said that some elders had been abandoned over the years, while others were “alive, but they are not living”. “It is only when the government moves close to

them, that they will know those who are sick, those who are agile and those who can be supported to do small businesses,” he said. Sodienye, however, urged the state and local governments to do everything within their means to integrate the senior citizens fully into the society to ease their sufferings. (NAN)

Oyo ACN predicts doom for PDP reconciliation From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan


ction Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Oyo state chapter, has predicted doom for what it called “the pseudo-reconciliation” move in the states Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), stating that come 2015, the ruling party in the state would finally ram home the nail in the conservative party’s coffin as the PDP is “an assemblage of failed politicians, most of whom, in 2011, could not win their wards”. ACN made this known in a release signed by its Publicity Secretary, Hon. Dauda Kolawole, reacting to apparent boasts by chieftains of PDP after its reconciliation meeting recently. ACN said it was not moved by what it called “the pseudo reconciliation,” stating that when it is time, the people of Oyo state would show the PDP that they had not forgotten “the most recent predatory history” of PDP rule in the state. “We wish them well in this pseudo-reconciliation. The people of Oyo state are waiting for them. They apparently think we have forgotten so soon how they arrested the development of Oyo state for more than four years of their being in power. Our people know that the PDP is an assemblage of scorpions, leeches and caterpillars who are coming together for the benefit of their stomachs. Soon, what united them will scatter them”. “Our people have not forgotten how they turned Oyo state into a battlefield, killing one another and spilling the blood of our people. Check all of them – they are all failed politicians who failed woefully at the polls in 2011. In the last few months that the ACN has been in power, it has been total tranquility. We will ask our people whether they want the state returned to the era of Eleweomo and Tokyo and how the PDP and its runners were implicated in the killing of our people,” ACN said. The party alleged that, unknown to those being reconciled, they are being profiled for the gubernatorial ambition of Chief Jumoke Akinjide whom it alleged was rail-roading the state PDP into her ambition. While reminding the people of Oyo state that it was the same Jumoke Akinjide who admitted instigating the deployment of over 1,500 soldiers for a re-run election in the state recently, the ACN said that the Minister of State for FCT was merely acting true to her political dynasty and pedigree, stating that the 12 2/3 of the Second Republic in which her father played prominent role led to the jackboots politics that the Nigerian nation was embroiled in for decades. “Check out all those who gathered at the so-called reconciliation meeting. They are PDP in the morning and ACN at night, having their siblings and children in our government. They are failed politicians who cannot thrive in an atmosphere of peace, except brigandage. When the time comes, our people would remind them that they are not fools,” ACN said.



NFF official for beach soccer refereeing course in SA



igeria Football Federation’s Coordinator for Futsal and Beach Soccer football, Mr. Sunday Okayi has been appointed by world footballgoverning body, FIFA to conduct a refereeing course in Beach Soccer in South Africa later this month. In a letter from the world body, dated 30 January and signed by Marco Schuepp, FIFA’s Coordinator for Beach Soccer and Futsal, Okayi will join Brazilian Marcelo Mendes, who will

No more Eurotrials for Eagles, says Keshi S

ubtle ban on Super Eagles who have been shuttling Europe for trials with all manner of club sides was issued yesterday by team boss, Stephen Keshi, who said the development is disrupting the building of a strong home-based national team. Addressing the players at lunch time, Keshi said he has been frustrated by players strolling in and out of camp all in the name of trials in Europe and other parts of the world. He therefore asked those who have trials to make between now and 60 days time to indicate and leave camp, so that he can invite replacements for them. “I have a programme to build a good team at home here that can compete with any national team in the world but I’m been distracted every time players walk up to me to ask for permission to travel, that has to stop from now on. Those who want to travel can come and I will pray for them, it’s no quarrel but we are at a crucial bend now and I can no longer tolerate it”, e said. Keshi further told the players that apart from the fact that Europe is too cold at the moment for any meaningful trials, he feels insulted that Nigerian national team players go on trials with clubs in unknown leagues in the world and most times return without success and still hope to be recalled to the national team. “If we train players here and they make the team, such players don’t need trials in Europe to be engaged by top clubs, so why are we in a hurry.” He told the players the story of Ghanaian legend Abedi Pele, who went to trials in France and was unsuccessful, but was trailed back to Ghana by another club that saw him play in a trial game. The rest, he said is history. “If you are good enough, clubs in Europe will come down here to sign you, instead of you exposing yourself to unnecessary health risk over there. I can beat my chest to say I know what the standards are in Europe because I have played there and if I tell any manager that a particular player is good, such a player will be signed on because they know my pedigree. Eagles Media Officer, Ben Alaiya, recalls that in the last camping session players like Chibuzor Okonkwo, Jude Aneke, Obinna Nwachukwu and Kalu Uche all went for unsuccessful trials in Keshi Europe.

handle the Coaching aspect of the conduct. The courses will run for February 19 to 24. This latest appointment adds to Okayi’s rising profile in Beach Soccer refereeing, in which he is a respected instructor. The former Head of NFF’s Referees Unit was also Uganda to conduct a Beach Soccer refereeing course last yaer. He was also in

Zimbabwe to conduct another Beach Soccer refereeing course January this year. Nigeria is a rising power in the game of beach soccer in the world. At the last FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup finals in Ravenna, Italy, the Supersand Eagles were eliminated by four-time world champions Brazil in the quarter finals, only after extra time. But the

Nigeria team was awarded the FIFA FairPlay Trophy of that championship. In December last year, the Supersand Eagles swept away all before them, including Brazil, England and South Africa, to win the inaugural edition of the COPA Lagos Invitational Tournament, which took place at the Eko Atlantic Beach, Lagos.

Bennett to oversee Rwanda, Nigeria match


outh African referee, Daniel Bennett, no stranger to Nigerian ball fans, will be at the centre when the Super Eagles confront the Wasps of Rwanda in a crucial 2013 African Cup of Nations qualifier at the Amahoro Stadium in Kigali at the end of this month. Bennett, who was born Daniel Frazer Bennett in 1976, became an international referee in 2003, and has handled a number of memorable international matches involving the Super Eagles in the past fewyears. The South African was at the centre when the Super Eagles drew 1-1 with the Palancas Negras of Angola in a 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying match in Kano in June 2005, and also refereed a couple of matches involving the Eagles in the qualifying race for the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals and the 2012 African Cup of Nations. Bennett is one of South Africa’s five FIFA-badged referees, and will be assisted by fellow South Africans Zakhele Thusi Siwela (1st Assistant), Luyanda Somi (2nd Assistant) and Tinyiko Victor Hlungani (Reserve Referee). The Match Commissioner is Hassan Waberi Suleiman, from Djibouti. Hlungani is one of South Africa’s five FIFA referees, and was born in 1976, same as Bennett. He became an international referee only last year. Siwela was born in

Daniel Bennett 1982 and became an international in 2010 while Somi was born in 1975 and became an international in 2008. On Tuesday, at the National Stadium, Abuja, the Super Eagles intensified their training programme ahead of the international friendly against Liberia in Monrovia on February 15 and the Cup of Nations qualifier against Rwanda in Kigali two weeks later. All the 30 players invited by Head Coach, Stephen Keshi were in camp yesterday, but former U20 team central defender Gbenga Arokoyo was granted permission to travel to Sweden for ‘trial’ yesterday afternoon.

Liberia, Rwanda must fall as 29 Eagles train in Abuja


battle cry was issued yesterday to national team players to take the games against Liberia on January 15 and Rwanda on January 29, as potential cup finals and ensure victory. Head Coach Stephen Keshi, while addressing the players asked them to forget the plaudits they received after the friendly against the Angola national team which ended goalless. “That is the trash can of history, we need to focus on the future and you people must prove to me while I should not invite more than three of four foreign based and that is why we must go and beat Liberia and go to Rwanda and win”. He said he has seen enough talents in

the team that he feels if they give their 100 per cent concentration, they can beat any team in the world. “But you need good mentality and to always concentrate” he explained. Twenty nine players sweated it out at the FIFA Goal Project inside the premises of the National Institute for Sports. Keshi was assisted by Dan Amokachi, Sylvanus Okpala, Coach Valere and goalkeeper’s trainer, Ike Shorunmi. The team will continue training today at the same venue as preparation reach fever pitch for the two games ahead. There are already indications that the team may play a friendly against an Abuja based side by Friday as tune up for the Liberia friendly.



‘Match-fixing’ ruling out in ten days


he Organising and Disciplinary Committee of the troubled Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has declared that the verdict of its investigation into alleged match-fixing in the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) last season will be known in ten days or less. Chairman of the committee and an executive committee member of the disputed NFF, Leye Adepoju said that the investigation into the alleged match-fixing has been affected by “certain circumstances.” But he revealed that the committee will take a decision inside ten days. “By now we should have concluded our investigation into the allegation of match-fixing but due to certain circumstances beyond our power the issue has been lying pending. But I can assure that we should have a verdict ready by eight days or at worst ten days from now,” Adepoju said. The match-fixing allegation was instituted by Lobi Stars’ vice chairman, Dominic Iorfa last year after a rescheduled Premier League game between Lobi Stars and Sunshine Stars ended 1 – 1 on September 1, 2011. Iorfa had claimed that he saw the match officials for the game travelling to Bauchi (the match venue) in a car with an Ondo State registration, which he believes belong to a top official of Sunshine Stars. The Lobi Stars’ chief was said to have tendered pictures of the match officials inside the alleged car belonging to Sunshine Stars before the panel as evidence. However, during the hearing before the NFF organising and disciplinary

committee in Abuja last September, the matter took a new twist when one of the referees, Chrisantus Okoro, involved in the alleged match-fixing pointed fingers at Dolphins’ manager, Stanley Eguma. Since the hearing in September 2011, the NFF committee is yet to make any pronouncement on the matter. The inquest into the allegation of match-fixing started on September 21,

2011 in which principal officers of Lobi Stars and Sunshine Stars as well as the match officials and the referees’ appointment committee were invited to speak on their various positions. Any club found guilty of the allegation stands the risk of being demoted to the lower league or face deduction of points while officials could be handed lengthy suspension.

Keshi charges Falconets


uper Eagles Chief Coach, Stephen Keshi has charged the U-20 Women national team to remain level-headed in their quest to qualify for the 2012 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in Japan. Keshi nicknamed the “The Big Boss” in his playing days gave the advice yesterday morning after the team’s morning session at the FIFA Goal Project Centre inside the Abuja National Stadium. “You have to obey your officials, coaches and his assistants. That is the one way you can win your matches and ultimately qualify for the championship to make the country and the millions of people that are looking up to you proud,” he told the players. “Remember nobody in this world is perfect except the Almighty. Therefore you have to humble yourself and submit to those that are over you in order to be a better player,” he added. Keshi and his players were at the stadium for their first work-out ahead of their international friendly game against the Lone Stars of Liberia this month. The U-20 team otherwise known as the Super Falconets have been in camp since January 16 and were expected to confront Sierra Leone on February 18 in the firts leg,first round of the qualifying series. Unfortunately Sierra Leone withdrew to pave way for Nigeria’s qualification to the second round. The Falconets handled by Edwin Okon would now face the winner of the Zimbabwe/ Mozambique match in the last weekend of March.

Don’t expect much from Keshi, says Owolabi


Police arrest T NPL accountant T

he Police have reportedly arrested the accountant of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL), Joe Ogbowie, over the missing N12 million (about $75,000).

Chief Baribote

Acting Executive Secretary of the NPL, Tunji Babalola confirmed that Ogbowie was apprehended by two of the police anti-robbery squad yesterday morning over the alleged missing money from the coffers of the Premier League. “Yes I can confirm to you that he has been arrested this (Tuesday) morning by the police, he said. The NPL official further explained that the police had to be invited into the matter after the accountant admitted in a written note to pay back the N12 million allegedly missing from the league body’s bank account. The undertaking of the NPL accountant has been handed over to the police to continue investigation into the alleged missing N12 million. “He wrote an undertaking that he will pay back the money, but since the money is not my personal money or even the board, we had to bring in the police to do proper investigation which has led to his arrest. “The matter is now with the police and I am sure

that after they question him, we will get to the root of the matter, as we are still shocked how he got the signatures of the signatories to the account of the NPL,” said Babalola. The NPL scribe had earlier informed this week that the league arbiter will commence investigation into the missing money and explained that the invitation of the police is one of the ways to carry inquest into the matter.


he Former Green Eagles player, Felix Owolabi, says the country should not expect too much from coach of the Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi. Owolabi said that the ‘Big Boss’, as Keshi is popularly called by his fans during his playing days, is not a miracle worker. Speaking to newsmen, Owolabi said that what the team need is total support from all Nigerians as the Eagles intensify preparations for their first major competitive match against Rwanda. “I’m glad that they have started very well by playing friendly games. We must commend the initiative of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF for this. We don’t need to put pressure on the coach for now. What Keshi needs is support from everyone to make the Eagles strong again,” the former 3SC of Ibadan player said. Meanwhile the home-based players have resumed camping for the international friendly tie against the Lone Star of Liberia on 15 February.





Man U Academy to conduct clinic in Nairobi


he football academy of English Premier League (EPL) champions Manchester United will conduct a coaching clinic for football coaches of secondary schools. The clinic which is being sponsored by Aon Insurance is targeting 48 coaches in conjunction with the Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA) as one of the activities in the run up to the firm’s 25th anniversary celebrations to be held in London in June. Aon sub Saharan Chief Executive Officer (Ceo) Joe Onsando said for the country to be successful in football talent has to be nurtured when its still raw hence the need of building the capacity of coaches who handle juniors. “We expect that the training and skills imparted will be taken back and implemented at the schools by the coaches,” said

Mali battle ‘Brazil of Africa, says Les Aigles’ coach

Gabon President Ali Bongo

Gabon president comforts the Panthers

Coach Francois Zahoui

Cote d’Ivoire coach warns players


lear favorites for their semifinal against Mali, Cote d’Ivoire have been asked to keep their feet firmly on the ground by Coach Francois Zahoui. Despite their four impressive victories, with eight goals scored and none conceded, Cote d’Ivoire refuse to let their success go to their heads and are intent on concentrating on their crucial Africa Nations Cup semifinal against Mali on Wednesday. “Do not yield to the praise and flattery. We will get our victory on the field,” warned Zahoui. And to be sure that the

message was understood, the coach took the liberty of opening up some old but still painful wounds. “He who has already been burned knows the score. You had the same experience in 2006, 2008 and 2010,” he reminded his troops. So it will be with a sense of humility and deep concentration that Didier Drogba and his gang prepare themselves from their base at the Hotel Agondjé 1. Unaffected by the label of tournament favourites, the Elephants are aiming to do their talking on the field in Libreville tomorrow.


es Aigles’ coach Alain Giresse called the Ivorian side “the Brazil of Africa” and heaped praise on the depth of quality players in their squad. “It is a game that we have to approach with some circumspection but we see it as a challenge. We will take it slowly and look to match them in all departments,” he told reporters after his side squeezed through to the last four by beating Gabon on post-match penalties in Sunday’s quarterfinal in Libreville. Mali will look to the talisman Seydou Keita to lead their lead and probably reinstall Cheick Tidiane Diabate in attack after leaving him on the bench for the start of the Gabon game. He came on to score. The Ivorians have the advantage of having rested key players in their last group game a week ago and then also having played a routine 90 minutes on Saturday when they disposed of Equatorial Guinea. Mali, in contrast, had the energy-sapping experience of going through two hours of football plus a penalty shootout before advancing to the final four for the first time since 2004. Cote d’Ivoire is now just two games away from fulfilling their potential, again insisting they are taking slowly their quest to win the African Nations Cup. Didier Drogba and his teammates start as runaway favorites for the semifinal against Mali today but have not let the prognostics go to their head. A cautious approach to all their games reflects the safety first policy adopted by coach Francois Zahoui, desperate to ensure the Ivorians first make sure they keep a clean sheet before they worry about scoring goals. To date they have yet to let in a goal in the tournament in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.


abon president Ali Bongo has sent a message of comfort to the national team following their exit from the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday in a jumpy quarterfinal clash against Mali. The capital of the co-host nation Libreville and the rest of the country were plunged into total gloom after the defeat, with beer parlours and roadside shops quickly shutting up and night goers deserting the streets. “Throughout this competition, your performance has been honourable and you offered to all Gabonese moments of joy and strong emotions,” President Ali told the players in a message. “Although we had wished to applaud and accompany you to the final of February 12, 2012, quitting the competition at this level cannot be seen as a failure on your part. You have attracted the sympathy and the spotlight of the world. Many readers and viewers have been attracted to your individual and collective talents but also and especially, on our efforts in changing our country,” he said. The Eagles knocked out the Panthers in a penalty shootout, decisively sealed for Mali by Barcelona’s midfielder Seydou Keita’s final kick, with Gabon’s Pierre Emerick Aubameyang fluffing one to sink his side.

Onsando. The clinic will also offer 192 children from diverse backgrounds an opportunity to develop their raw skills under the Manchester United Soccer Schools curriculum which intends to produce well balanced soccer players in the skills and drills program. The training to be hosted at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies (KSMS) on Saturday will be conducted by Peter Nichols, Billy Miller and Kevin O’Conell who are coaches from the Manchester United Soccer Schools. Last year the best three players selected during the Copa Coca Cola under 17 tournaments were afforded an opportunity of training at Chelsea FC’s state of the art training facility, meet members of the team, watch a match and tour the stadium as well as various popular tourist spots around London.

Dede Ayew praises team spirit


hana midfielder Andre Ayew has hailed Ghana combative spirit and the assertive display of his younger brother Jordan gave in their 2-1 win quarterfinal win over Tunisia. Jordan Ayew came off the bench to replace Sulley Muntari on 64 minutes and

hugely impressed in a tense Africa Nations Cup tie, which Ghana won in extra time. A rookie at the tournament, Jordan brought stability to the left side of attack and caused havoc for the Carthage Eagles. Andre, who ended up as Ghana’s fourth captain of the

game and grabbed the vital winner in the 101st minute, says his roommate Jordan impressed him. “It is great for a player at 20 to play such a game. I am very happy for him and I hope he keeps up that performance,” Andre said in a post match interview.

Coach Alain Giresse



Buck confident of qualification at Olympics trials

N Mark Cavendish

Mark claims first win at tour of Qatar


ritain’s world road race champion Mark Cavendish recorded his first victory as a Team Sky rider on stage three of the Tour of Qatar. Cavendish, making his Team Sky debut, out sprinted Belgian race leader Tom Boonen at the end of the 146.5km stage from Dukhan to Al Gharafa Stadium. The 26-year-old, who was taken ill before the Tour, admitted: “I’m not 100% fit but we wanted to ride well. Cavendish was in a lead group of around 30 riders when crosswinds split the peloton into three groups 30km from the finish. But he was helped in the leading bunch by team-mates Bernhard Eisel and Juan Antonio Flecha before timing his finish to perfection. “I was well looked after by Bernie and Flecha, keeping me in position,” said Cavendish. “I wanted to come off Boonen’s wheel but then [Aidis] Kruopis from GreenEDGE came over on the right and boxed me in. I had to swing out and I wanted to wait for the headwind finish so left it late and came past Boonen.” Cavendish’s victory has moved him up to third in the overall standings, eight seconds behind leader Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider Boonen, who won the opening stage, and two seconds behind Garmin’s Tyler Farrar. Wednesday’s fourth stage will cover 144km from Al Thakira to Madinat Al Shamal in the north of the country

orth Yorkshire athlete Richard Buck believes he will achieve the 400m Olympics qualifying time at the UK trials in Sheffield next weekend. Buck’s time of 46.95 seconds at Birmingham on Saturday was just over a second outside the time he needs. He said “It was a little bit less than what I wanted but it was enough to make me happy.

“I’m just a little bit off the qualifying time but I should hopefully be going in there as favourite.” He added: “It’s very important. It’s only the first place athlete at the trials that guarantees their place in the team. “Regardless, the Olympics are coming and I’m just getting on with it” Richard Buck Athlete

Buck, who is now based in Loughborough after starting his career at the City of York Athletics Club, is still working part time in a supermarket to help meet his training costs after having his UK Athletics funding withdrawn last year. “The hardest thing we find is recovering from sessions because it takes so much out of you then I have to go and work evening shifts as well,” he said.

Anne beats Dominika in Pattaya Open A

nne Keothavong has beaten the world number 16 Dominika Cibulkova in the first round of the Pattaya Open. Britain's number two Keothavong, ranked 88 in the world, won 6-4 6-1 in an hour and 22 minutes against the tournament's number two seed. She will now play either Sania Mirza or Japan's Ayumi Morita in the next round. Fellow Brits Heather Watson and Laura Robson both went out in the first round of the outdoor hard court tournament in Thailand on Tuesday. Guernsey teenager Watson lost 6-4 6-2 against America's world number 59 Vania King , whilst Laura Robson retired 5-2 down against Uzbekistan's Akgul Amanmuradova with an apparent back strain. Watson also suffered firstround defeats at Hobart and the Australian Open as she searches for a first WTA Tour win this year. A solitary break gave King the first set and two more in the second set saw her win in one hour and 30 minutes. Robson retired in the first set against Amanmuradova. The disappointment for Watson and Robson comes after Britain beat Austria 2-0 on Saturday to secure a World Group II play-off in April

Anne Keothavong

Lee Westwood

Westwood rebukes his mum after swearing on TV


ee Westwood has revealed his mother told him to apologise for swearing on live television at the Qatar Masters. The 38-year-old world number three’s outburst came on the 16th tee during Sunday’s final round. “My mum was the first person on the phone and she said you might want to apologise,” Westwood said ahead of this week’s Dubai Desert Classic. “I didn’t think that down at four-under I would be on TV. It’s amazing how sensitive these microphones are.” The tournament was reduced to 54 holes and Englishman Westwood closed with a threeunder-par 69 to finish in a tie for 12th behind tournament winner Paul Lawrie of Scotland. Westwood, who finished in a tie for 17th in Abu Dhabi two weeks ago, also said he had mixed feelings about his early-season form. “I’ve hit it a lot better than I normally do,” he stated. “My putts are quite nice, I’m starting to roll a few longer ones in, but it’s just been early-season sloppiness really, making too many bogeys and not making a birdie when I should.

London 2012: LeBron James and Kobe Bryant in US Olympics squad


BA superstars LeBron James and Kobe Bryant have been named in the United States' initial 20-man squad for the London Olympics. The US has picked eight players who won gold in Beijing in 2008 - their 13th men's Olympic title. Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Deron Williams also return having played in the 2008 squad. The roster will be trimmed to 12 players in time for the Games. The rest of the squad includes LaMarcus Aldridge, Chauncey Billups, Tyson Chandler, Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Love, Lamar Odom, Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook.

The United States are due to play a number of warm-up games ahead of the Olympics, including a friendly against Great Britain in Manchester in July. Anthony, James, Odom and Wade also played at the Athens Olympics in 2004, where the American team had to settle for the bronze medal . Ten of the players in the 2012 squad were on the team that won gold at the 2010 Fiba World Championship . "I feel like we have an outstanding blend of talents from the 2008 Olympic and 2010 World Championship teams that won gold," said USA manager director Jerry Colangelo. "Reducing to the official roster limit of 12 players will be an even tougher decision,

but we'll evaluate how guys play during the 2011-12 NBA season and, as we've done with our teams in the past, we'll attempt to select the very best team we can." The United States will be favourites for gold in London having finished among the medals in all 16 Games in which they have competed. They won the first seven Olympic men's titles, only succumbing to the Soviet Union three seconds from the end, 5150, in the dramatic Munich final in 1972. The Americans have won gold in every Game, except 2004, since 1992's 'Dream Team', the first time NBA players were able to take part. Great Britain has one player in its ranks who plays for an NBA side, Luol Deng of Chicago

Bulls. United States initial 20man squad: LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland), Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks), Chauncey Billups (Los Angeles Clippers), Chris Bosh (Miami), Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers), Tyson Chandler (New York Knicks), Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City), Rudy Gay (Memphis), Eric Gordon (New Orleans), Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers), Dwight Howard (Orlando), Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia), LeBron James (Miami), Kevin Love (Minnesota), Lamar Odom (Dallas), Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers), Derrick Rose (Chicago), Dwyane Wade (Miami), Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City), Deron Williams (New Jersey).

Kobe Bryant



England team director Andy Flower warns his batsmen that selection is "not a closed shop" following the series whitewash by Pakistan.

Lyon manager Remi Garde believes his former boss Arsene Wenger would be the perfect man to replace Laurent Blanc as France coach after Euro 2012.

Anne Keothavong defeats second seed and world number 16 Dominika Cibulkova in the first round of the Pattaya Open.

Lee Westwood reveals his mother told him to apologise for swearing on live television on the 16th tee during Sunday's final round at the Qatar Masters.

World road race champion Mark Cavendish records his first victory as a Team Sky rider on stage three of the Tour of Qatar.

Wales lock Bradley Davies is cited for the tip tackle that saw him sin-binned in Sunday’s win over Ireland.


John Terry still wants to play for England despite being stripped of the captaincy for the second time.



Cup of Nations a family affair, says FIFA

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he world Football Governing Body (FIFA) has described the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations as a family affair where two brothers represent nations for the tournament. Football brothers have long been a feature in international football, and in 1930, when 13 countries assembled in Uruguay to contest the first-ever FIFA World Cup™, three of the teams had brothers, with Mexico claiming a pair of sets on their own. This tradition has continued throughout the years and there have been FIFA World Cupwinning brothers like Fritz and Ottmar Walter, who won with Germany in 1954, or the Charlton brothers Jack and Bobby, who picked up a winners’ medal 12 years later with England. There have been several sets of twins, with the best known probably being the Van der Kerkhof brothers, Rene and Willy of the Netherlands, who twice ended up on the losing side in the FIFA World Cup Finals of 1974 and 1978. The 28th CAF Africa Cup of Nations, which is being co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, is adding its own mark to the tradition with four sets of brothers taking part in the competition, and several other father and son combinations grabbing their share of the headlines. Toure’s set the pace


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One of the tournament favourites, Côte d’Ivoire, have the Toure brothers, who are considered among the best brother pairings currently in football. Both Kolo and his younger brother Yaya play their club football for Manchester City in England’s Premier League and are now looking towards bringing success to the west African country, who face Mali in the semi-final on Wednesday. They won the Ivorian league title as teenagers together, but nothing yet at Manchester City or at international level, as Kolo was serving a six-month suspension when the Blues won the FA Cup. “It would be great to lift the trophy at the end of the tournament, for me and Yaya to win the African Nations together,” Kolo said. The defender said he enjoyed being on the pitch with his midfield-playing frere. “It’s great to be playing in the same teams as my brother. It is also great to be part of the whole team, and I hope we win,” he said before the start of the tournament. Kolo admitted that even though he is the older one, he often receives tips from his brother, who at the end of last year was crowned African Footballer of the Year. “I try to help him, but there’s not a lot I can do he helps me because he has more football experience. He won the Champions League and played with the best team in the world at Barcelona. I am having a great career and am happy for what has happened to me, but I look at my brother, and what he does in the football world at the moment is so great.” Like father, like son The Ayew brothers in the Ghana squad, Andre

and Jordan, are attempting to follow in some very big footsteps. Their father, Abedi Pele, won the competition with Ghana in 1982 and has a second-place medal from 1992. Both brothers play for one of their pere’s previous clubs, Olympique Marseille, with 20-year-old Jordan a striker, while Andre, 22, is a midfielder. They also have an older brother Abdul, who was in the Ghana squad at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations two years ago and at South Africa 2010, but failed to make Goran Stevanovic’s squad this time around. Andre, who scored the matchwinning goal against Tunisia that took the Black Stars to the semi-finals, said that he enjoyed playing with his brother. “It’s always a special feeling to play alongside Jordan,” he said. He added that he was disappointed that Abdul, who is just a year older, did not make the squad. “He is also a very good player, and I am sure he will be back.” It would be great to lift the trophy at the end of the tournament, for me and Yaya to win the African Nations together. The Ayew family is not the only father-and-son combination at the tournament. After Gabonese forward Pierre-Emmerick Aubameyang was the only player to miss a penalty in the quarter-final shoot-out against Mali, the distraught rising star was helped off the field by Pierre Aubameyang, who is a former Panthers captain and was in the 1994 and 1996 Gabon squad at the Africa Cup of Nations. Three sets remain, one at home ambian captain Christopher Katongo plays alongside his younger brother Felix in the Chipolopolo side. The Chinese-based Christopher plays in attack and has scored three goals already in the course of the tournament, while Felix, who is at domestic side Green Buffaloes, is a midfielder. The Zambians will go head-to-head squared with the Ayews in the other semi-final, which means three sets of brothers are alive at the Cup of Nations, but one the Traore brothers of Burkina Faso are watching the last four from home. Sixteen-year-old Bertrand Traore, who enjoyed a lengthy trial with Chelsea’s youth team last year, became the third-youngest player in the history of the competition to play at the finals when he was brought on in the Stallions’ final group game. Like his older brother Alain, who plays for Auxerre, Bertrand is a midfielder. For him, being at the Nations Cup is all about learning. “I’m still learning a lot of things to improve on my game. Being part of the final squad was a great opportunity and to play my first game is another step for my career.”


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FIFA committed to fight racism


would like to make it very clear, I am committed to the fight against racism and any type of discrimination in football and in society. I have been personally leading this battle against racism in football, which FIFA has been fighting against throughout the past years through campaigns in all of our competitions such as the “Say no to racism” campaign. I also know that racism unfortunately continues to exist in football, and I have never denied this. I know that it is a big problem in society, and that it also affects sport. I strongly believe that we should continue to fight all together against racism on and off the field of play, in order to eradicate this plague, said Sttep Blatter FIFA president.

Ferguson: We must be firm on racism


ir Alex Ferguson has called for the authorities to crack down hard on any new incident of racism in football. The Manchester United boss has been close to the centre of one such controversy - his defender Patrice Evra was racially abused by Liverpool's Luis Suarez, who has just completed the eight-match suspension imposed by the FA as punishment. Ferguson has been shocked by the re-emergence of the problem and said a tough line is needed. He told CNN: "I don't understand at all where it's coming from. This is a moment where we have to take stock and we should do something about it if it's surfacing again, and be really hard and firm on any form or shape of racism. "There have been a couple of examples recently which is not good. In 2012, you can't believe it. It was obvious maybe 20 years ago and the improvements have been for everyone to see. "I have had some fantastic black players, absolutely magnificent black players, and with every one of them I have enjoyed my working relationship with them."


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Can northern leaders sway Boko Haram?


espite the trial of the police officers that shot and killed their founder, Mohammed Yusuf, in 2009, the Boko Haram militants appear ever determined to continue their campaign of terror. In fact, even the N100 million compensation paid from their violent and indiscriminate attacks on intended and unintended targets. The worst single case of human casualty was the Friday January 20 suicide bomb and gun attacks on police headquarters and other security posts in Kano, which claimed almost 200 lives, including innocent passers-by and others caught up in the disaster. Kano state harbours the largest Muslim population in the North and is traditionally the centre of commerce. Yet this fact didn’t stop the Boko Haram sect from carrying out their threats to attack Kano. The attacks dealt a blow on the theory that only Christians are targets of Boko Haram. In fact, the Emir of Kano openly shed tears while receiving President Goodluck Jonathan who paid a condolence visit to Kano. With the deadly attacks on Kano on a Friday by the renegade Islamic sect, it is curious why anyone should blame Northern leaders for their alleged inability to halt the Boko Haram terror campaigns. Despite the open condemnations of Boko Haram activities by two former Heads of State - Generals Babangida and Buhari as well as former VicePresident Atiku Abubakar, Southern leaders, particularly the Ijaw leaders, President Goodluck Jonathan’s tribesmen, have continued to blame Northern political leaders for their reluctance to persuade Boko Haram to disarm. General Babangida openly said that no force could break up Nigeria, a reference to those who alleged that Boko Haram is a prelude to Nigeria’s disintegration in 2015. He was also responding to the Ijaw Youth Council which said that if President Jonathan is the last President of a united Nigeria, they didn’t bother! Also, in his forceful response to the Boko Haram attacks on Kano, former VicePresident Atiku said the destruction of life under any guise was unacceptable and that any efforts to ruin Nigeria’s unity should be condemned by all. The Boko Haram Muslim extremists are driven by the stubborn sentiment of

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Mohammed Yusuf, Boko Haram leader killed in 2009 martyrdom. How do you deal with anyone who is ready to die, someone who can deliberately ram a bomb-laden car into a target with the full knowledge that he will be destroyed along with his targets? Martyrdom expels fear because death is never a deterrent to those driven by their convictions. That is why the violent Boko Haram campaign is more complex than the insurrection in the Niger Delta. Boko Haram uses suicide bombers and snipers, making their methods of attacks relatively unknown in Nigeria. Despite the government’s attempt to infiltrate the sect and cause a split, with a view to weakening its structure and viability as a security challenge, the Boko Haram remains a potent and stubborn enemy of the state. Is it fair to blame Northern leaders for their “failure” to disarm this shadowy or invisible enemy of the state? With Atiku Abubakar, Babangida, General Buhari, General Gowon, Senate President David Mark and Speaker Aminu Tambuwal openly condemning the Boko Haram violence, how much more efforts can any fairminded Nigerian expect from this totally embarrassed Northern leaders? The Sultan of Sokoto, the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs

and the Jama’atul Nasril Islam have also condemned the Boko Haram activities in the strongest language. Yet, the Southern leaders assume that the Northern leaders have a quick-fix to the Boko Haram security challenge. In fact, Northern leaders are even more courageous in taking a stand against the Boko Haram than the Southern leaders’ half-hearted and timid position against the OPC, Niger Delta and MASSOB militants. Despite the campaign of economic sabotage and kidnapping for ransom as well the recent campaign for secession by the former Niger Delta militants, political leaders in the South timidly distanced themselves for criticizing them. In fact, at one point in their violent campaign, the former Niger Delta militants massacred 14 military personnel during security operation. Despite the fact that kidnapping was outside the objectives of the struggle for resource control, the political leaders in the area openly identified with the “freedom fighters.” We are not aware of any sincere and open criticism against the ethnic cleansing atrocities of the OPC by any notable SouthWest political figure. Let us remind ourselves. The former Spokesman of President Olusegun Obasanjo, a week ago launched a blistering attack on Northern leaders accusing them of complicity in Boko Haram killings. Is there any record of Okupe at any time condemning the genocidal killing of Northerners by the OPC? It is also noteworthy that no Igbo leader of note was ever on record condemning the open campaign by MASSOB to breakup Nigeria. Can anyone specifically remind us of any such words that have ever been spoken by the respectable diplomat, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, who recently turned the heat on Northern political leaders over the Boko Haram? It is the height of hypocrisy, therefore, to hold Northern leaders

accountable for the deadly activities of Boko Haram. How would any reasonable Northern leader support the breakup of Nigeria? How can they protect their interests in a divided Nigeria? Boko Haram does not respect social or political institutions of control. If they do, it would have become easier to start the process of dialogue and disarmament. The Northern political leaders are not even trusted by the group because the sect perceives them as part of a decadent society. What the Niger Delta and other Southern leaders are expecting from their counterparts from the North is a tall order. Pronouncing Northern leaders guilty for not containing Boko Haram is ridiculous. If the Southern leaders were in the shoes of Northern leaders, they would have sung a different tune. They would have discovered that the idea of a quick-fix to the security challenge is a mirage. The message I want Nigerians to hear this week is that they have a President and Commander-inChief who has at his disposal the armed forces of the federation and all of the intelligence they can muster. It is this man’s constitutional duty to protect life and property and if that man thinks the heat is too much in the kitchen, he can get out. Those who say Northern leaders are responsible for ending this unwanted situation are just begging the issue. In reality, they are just making excuses for the government’s failure. While the OPC, MASSOB and Niger Delta insurgents enjoy the support of their political leaders, the Northern political establishment is never in sympathy with the Boko Haram agenda, which includes strict imposition of Shariah on a multi-religious country like Nigeria. They are aware of the impracticality of such an ambition by the sect and would not have endorsed anything that can threaten the country’s unity. In contrast, the Niger Delta, SouthWest and South-East own and identify with the sectional agitations in their regions. Northern political leaders, on the other hand, don't own the Boko Haram. Given the sophistication of their warfare and propaganda, Boko Haram may be a phantom of a major, major international conspiracy against the corporate entity, the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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Peoples Daily Newspaper, February 8, 2012  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Wednessday, February 8, 2012 Edition

Peoples Daily Newspaper, February 8, 2012  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Wednessday, February 8, 2012 Edition