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Ajaokuta Steel w or ker s pr otest, wor ork ers protest, bloc k Ab uja-SouthEast highw ay lock Abuja-SouthEast highwa

Vol. 7 No. 90

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Rabiul Thani 15, 1433 AH




Jonathan in a fix over govs, lawmakers’ feud NASS members demand 84 slots FG issues white paper on Boko Haram

By Richard Ihediwa, Ali Alkali & Lawrence Olaoye


here are strong indications that President Goodluck Jonathan is currently in a fix as the battle for supremacy between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members in the National Assembly and governors of the 26 PDPcontrolled states over membership of the party’s NEC rages. Following the recommendations that the National Executive Council (NEC) of the party should be expanded to accommodate more members of the National Assembly, the lawmakers have renewed their bid to ensure that the recommendation was upheld by the special committee constituted to ratify the draft amendment to the PDP Constitution. The special committee mandated by the PDP NEC has President Goodluck Jonathan as chairman, with Vice-President Mohammed Namadi Sambo, among others as members. It is expected to ratify the Contd on Page 2

By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


R-L: Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, with Senate Leader, Senator Victor NdomaEgba, exchanging views during the meeting of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the Senate, at the National Assembly, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

he report of the Presidential Committee set up by President Goodluck Jonathan to investigate the remote and immediate causes of the Boko Haram crisis in the NorthEast dominated discussions during yesterday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting as the Federal Government issued a white paper on it. The Council resolved to pass the report to the Federal Ministry of Justice for gazetting. The report of the Presidential Committee led by Ambassador Contd on Page 2


9 die in Yobe auto crash >>PAGE 2

32 officials cart away N18bn pension funds

North’s govs insist on revenue formula review

>>PAGE 3

Gunmen attack banks, police posts in Borno, Gombe

>>PAGE 3


>>PAGES 4 & 5

Subsidy probe: Reps deny bribery allegation >>PAGE 6























Hajj: Sultan advocates 70% seats to first timers, Page 6

International 31-34 Strange World 35 Digest








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Jonathan in a fix over govs, lawmakers’ feud Contd from Page 1 amendment by a committee chaired by PDP’s National Legal Adviser, Chief Olusola Oke. The PDP governors, who are aversed to the enlargement of the NEC membership, have held several meetings with the President to prevail on him not to retain the clause. There were feelers that the governors had even threatened to quit the party should the Jonathan-led committee go ahead to retain the NEC enlargement clause since passing it would whittle down their enormous influence in the party, and by extension the polity. But the lawmakers who lost the opportunity to insert the enlargement of parties’ NEC to include members of the National Assembly during the debate on the amendment of the Electoral Act in 2010, found another opportunity to clip the wings of the governors in the PDP. Making members of the National Assembly the majority in party’s NEC as recommended by the amendment would translate to transfer of the enormous influence of governors to the lawmakers. This power, the lawmakers are pushing to get at the oncoming National Congress where new members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party would be elected. The move to dislodge the governors came to the fore yesterday at the National Assembly when the PDP caucus rose from a meeting to demand

for the amendment despite reported threats by the governors to quit the party. The lawmakers at the meeting were unanimous in asking that each chamber of the National Assembly produce a delegate from each of the 36 states and Abuja, in addition to Principal Officers of the two houses, who were already members of the party’s NEC. This will bring the NASS members of PDP NEC to 84 as against 26 for the party’s governors. Senate Majority Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, who briefed newsmen after the meeting said the caucus, was making efforts to ensure that the amendment is achieved before the end of next week. The caucus, he said, would meet again next Wednesday to review its demand for more delegates. According to him, “We met to review the current situation in the party, especially with regards to the National Convention which is on the way, so this was the issue that was discussed during our caucus meeting today, because the issue of National Assembly representation in NEC has been an issue that is as old as this democracy. “The matter came up in the last National Executive Committee meeting, we could not resolve at that level. The President set up a smaller committee, discussions are still ongoing and we are hoping that we meet again next Wednesday.

“I want to believe that by that time, we would have reached an understanding amongst ourselves and the deadlock will be removed. We believe that every state should have at least one Senator and one House of Representatives member in the NEC. So, all of these discussions are to enable us effect amendment to increase the representation of the National Assembly in the national executive of the party”, he said. Although the Senate Leader said the National Assembly was not at war with the PDP governors, the renewed demand for more NEC membership is seen as a calculated attempt to strip the governors of their enormous powers. According to Ndoma-Egba, “we do not see the issues as National Assembly against the governors. We see ourselves as

all members of the same party. We want to ensure that every stakeholder, every section of the PDP feels its representatives in its respective organs. It is not a contest between the National Assembly and governors. “I have been in this Senate since 2003. When I came to the Senate in 2003, there were no governors in the Senate. By 2007, you have a number of them; by 2011, their population in the Senate had increased. The Senate is beginning to look like a destination for past governors and if that is so, it means that there is very little difference between us and them”, he said. Membership of the special committee being headed by Jonathan was to comprise six governors, six National Assembly members, three former chairmen of the party, former chairmen of the party’s Board of Trustees, and six members of the NWC.

9 die in Yobe auto crash


ine persons, three of them children, yester day lost their lives in a ghastly automobile accident near Ngelzarma, 42 kilometers from Damaturu in Yobe. Mr Haliru Baba, Yobe Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps, who confirmed the incident, told newsmen that “over-speeding and road obstruction” caused the tragedy.

“A trailer and a golf saloon car had a head-on collision, killing five males, one female and three children, while one injured person had been hospitalized”, he said. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalled that only last month, 32 persons lost their lives in the state in a motor accident involving two buses in the fleet of ‘Yobe Line’, the state owned mass transport company. (NAN)

FG issues white paper on Boko Haram Contd from Page 1 Usman Gaji Galtimari, which was set up in August last year, was submitted to the President in September 2011. In it, the committee asked the Federal Government to consider the option of dialogue once the Boko Haram sect renounced all forms of violence. The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku joined by Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, however told State House correspondents at a briefing after the meeting that the content of the White Paper would not be disclosed until it has been gazetted by the Justice Ministry. He pointed out that the White Paper covered most of the areas the committee had touched in the report and most of its recommendations had been accepted by government. “The Federal Government should create an informal forum at the highest level, where Mr. President will discuss national security issues with governors and other stakeholders from time to time. Again, there is an urgent need for arranging an informal forum where Mr. President will grant audience to each state governor on one-to-one basis where issues on security could be

addressed. The report continued: “The Federal Government should diversify and strengthen its means of creating avenues for international intelligence sharing and inter-agency cooperation through diplomatic channels/ pacts. “The Federal Government and Borno state government should ensure that human and organizational victims, most especially, churches and mosques including schools, which were destroyed during the religious crisis in the past and even in the recent past, should be compensated. Survivors of the deceased victims should be compensated appropriately.” “Therefore government may consider constituting another committee with wider power and with an increased membership to handle the assignment within a reasonable timeframe but not weeks as was given to this committee. “The committee’s power should include dialogue and negotiation with the Ja’amatu Ahlis Sunnah Lid Daawati Wal Jihad (Boko Haram) who have to our understanding, indicated their desire to have the Sultan of Sokoto or his

representatives as well as the Emir of Bauchi and Sheikh Abubakar Gero Argungu as part of any such new committee,” the committee stated. The committee had also recommended that government at all levels, should initiate and design appropriate programmes to address unemployment in the zone, saying that it was of the view that the ongoing trial of police officers linked to the murder of Mohammed Yusuf, the sect leader and some of his followers should be expedited and publicized to convince the public of government’s sincerity on the matter. Maku stated that President Jonathan attached strong importance to the need for peace not only in the North-East but indeed in other parts of the federation. According to him, “suffice it to say at this point that government has discussed all the recommendations of the Galtimari report and we have come up with government positions on those recommendations on the white paper. “The report is extensive. It covers the remote causes of the crisis in the North-East and other parts

of the North. It also covers various levels of responsibilities from community to local government to state and to Federal Government in tackling the menace of violence and terror in the North-East and other parts of the federation. “The report also covers the responsibilities and operations of security agencies in bringing this about as well as the political aspects of the report which we believe must be addressed pari pasu with the security measures that the Federal Government has taken to bring this crisis under control and eventually bring it to an end. In his contribution, Moro said: “For instance, on the issue of indigeneship and settlership the recommendation of the committee was to the effect that government should emulate the situation in Sokoto state where there is no discrimination in terms of education and employment.” Meanwhile, FEC has directed the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to prepare projects under them that are viable and could be executed under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) following a presentation made to the Council by the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC).



Pension probe: 32 officials carted away N18bn By Ali Alkali


s the Senate Committee on Public Service and Establishment continues its public hearing and investigation into the administration of pension funds and payment of pensioners in the country, startling revelations continue to surface as the committee was told that 32 staff of the Office of the former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mr. Steve Oronsaye, were alleged to have defrauded the country to the tune of N12 billion. Recently, as further investigation

continued, additional N6 billion embezzlement was discovered bringing the total to N18 billion. Addressing the Sen. Aloysius Etuk-led Senate Joint Committee on Establishment, states and Local Governments, which is probing pension management in the country, Chairman of Pension Review Task Team (PRTT), Mr. Maina Abdulrasheed, disclosed that the PRTT discovered and reported to the EFCC colossal loss of pension funds by the former management and staff of the OHCSF pension where N24 billion and Landed properties carted away

were recovered; and that the case is currently in the Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja. The Senate committee was treated to a tantalizing tale on how officials of the pension office used falsified documents to withdraw N24 billion from the Budget office for the payment of pension that required only N3.5 billion. Abdulrasheed told the committee that the team discovered two major accounts in Lagos where pension fund for the police was lodged, revealing that one account had N21 billion, while the other had N24 billion.

He said the team so far recovered N21 billion of the money lodged in First bank. He further disclosed that as at December 2011 a total of 49,395 pensioners, including those who retired as far back as 1968 who had never been enrolled, have now been verified and their biometrics captured, bringing the total number of pensioners on the payroll to 120,733. The committee, after listening to the submission of Abdulrasheed directed that he make available all relevant documents relating to all transactions including bank statements, cheque books and other documents that would assist the committee in arriving at a decision and writing its report.

Adamawa police nab Boko Haram kingpin, recover murdered officers' pistol


olice in Adamawa state on Tuesday nabbed a member of the Boko Haram sect in Mubi, recovering a police pistol belonging to policemen slain by the sect at the Kaduna police command. The gun, a Baretta pistol loaded with 16 rounds of ammunition, was recovered from one Fulani man, who the Adamawa police said was caught after he was overpowered by the owner of the bike he tried to rob at a suburb of Mubi town. According to the Adamawa state police commissioner, Adenrele Shinaba, the motorcyclist stabbed his assailant with a knife, leaving him to writhe in pain as blood gushed out of his body. His cries attracted nearby villagers who thronged to the scene. The police were alerted of the incident and they rushed to the scene to arrest the gunman. Mr. Adenrele, who brandished the recovered Baretta pistol before journalists, said his command's preliminary findings showed the recovered gun was the police gun in the possession of two slain policemen attached to the Kaduna state police command who were attacked by unknown gunmen. The two policemen were reportedly killed in the attacks and the guns in their possession taken away. The arrest of the Fulani man seems an important lead for the police, which have battled hard to fend off attacks from insurgents with virtually not a single day passing without an incidence of attack either targeted at police formations or on hapless individuals at their places of business. Until Tuesday, no major arrest was reported in the incidents. Meanwhile, the Adamawa state police command has promised armed insurgents a bloody confrontation, vowing to give members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect a "bloodied nose".

L-R: Senator Mohammed Sani, Senator Matthew Nwagwu, Chairman Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Abubakar Bagudu, and Senator James Manager, during the committee’s interactive meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs over Nigeria and South Africa diplomatic face-off, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Revenue formula: Northern govs insist on review From Lawal Saddiq Sanusi, Kaduna


he demand by Northern governors for higher revenue allocation to the region has continued as the Chairman of Northern Governors Forum and Niger state governor, Alhaji Babangida Aliyu, yesterday said the North will continue to reiterate the lopsided nature of the existing sharing formula of the country until when it is rectified. The governor made the remarks at the Annual National Conference of the Society for Peace Studies and Practice held at the Nigerian Army Peacekeeping Centre, Jaji in Kaduna. “If you hear us cry for the improvement of revenue formula it is because we believe that we are being shortchanged.” The governor first made the call last week in Abuja, at the

inauguration of a 12-member Advisory Council of the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation. He said revenues from continental shelf oil which ought to be for the entire country were being treated as coming from littoral states, thereby entitling those states to royalties and derivation. “The Constitution said that the revenue formula should be looked at every ten years and in some countries, five years. It is now over twenty years that our revenue formula was looked at, and we made that statement, and believe me, since we made that statement people have decided to misread it because they are looking for things to do, and even in the editorials where people will be able to understand, we do not attack derivation”, he stated yesterday in Jaji. He said: “We have made it abundantly clear that there was principle of derivation but till

tomorrow, I will continue to talk about the oil wells situated 200 kilometres away in the ocean. It does not belong to any state. There is the Supreme Court judgment but we cannot understand why the National Assembly passed it into law. The president during the time, President Obasanjo refused to signed that law and they overrode him. Governor Aliyu blamed bad publicity the region is getting because of its stand on the issue. “Every newspaper you pick today, every column writer today, is giving it a wrong interpretation; but believe me, shall not be intimidated, because we know without equity there will be no peace, and as the Fellow of the Society for Peace, I will not succumb to such pressure. He said, “We need to create the necessary ingredients for peace, which is not only the absence of violence but also the presence of equity and justice in our community and environment.”

Kano Hisbah Command invites applicants to marry 100 divorcees, widows


ano state Hisbah Command says it is set to marry off the first set of widows and divorcees numbering about 100. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quotes the board as saying that the exercise was aimed at reducing the hardship of women and divorce rates in the state. The Commander of the Hisbah, Malam Aminu Daurawa, had earlier announced in a broadcast that interested men and women must obtain application forms from the command. The Command's Public Relations Officer, Malam Yahaya Tanko told NAN yesterday, that the marriage rites would take place in batches. He said about 20 of them had already been married off while over 1, 000 applications were being processed by the command. Tanko said the next batch of 100 widows and widowers would soon be married. He also said that a workshop would be organised for the men and women to brief them on the need to stay in matrimony based on Islamic guidance. Tanko said that Hisbah was determined to wipe out all societal ills from Kano, adding that the planned marriages was one of the ways of achieving its aim. (NAN)

Reps, Senate disagree over suspension order against presidential pension task team By Lawrence Olaoye


he House of Representatives Committee on Pension yesterday kicked against the suspension order placed on the presidential task team on pension, saying that the force should be allowed to carry out its assignment with a view to resolving the problem of pension in the country. The Deputy Chairman of the committee, Hon. Okwu Samson, who spoke on behalf of the Chairman, Hon Ibrahim Kamba, who was away to Saudi Arabia after an interaction with members of the task force at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja, said the House would come out with its decision after a public hearing slated for next week. He stated that the House committee on pension was opposed to such an order claiming that the House committee was not consulted before such a weighty order was made. Hon. Samson went further to say that the senate committee suspension order was in breach of the clear principle of bicameralism, which stipulated a concurrence resolution for such an order to carry the force of law.



Gunmen attack police station, banks at Ashaka cement coy From Auwal Ahmad, Gombe.


nknown gunmen have attacked a police station and Banks at Ashaka Cement Company in Funakaye local government area of Gombe state. Though details were sketchy as at the time of filing this report, an eye witness, Musa Garba who spoke to our Correspondent on telephone, said he escaped the attack by God’s miracle and survived the tragedy, He added that, “I was observing my 7 pm prayer when gunmen started the attack at the Police station and some Banks”. Confirming the incident on telephone, the state Commissioner of Police Mr. Orubebe Ebikeme said he was yet to receive details of the attack from his men.

37 police recruits remanded in prison custody From Iliya Garba, Minna


Chief Magistrate Court in Minna, Niger state has remanded 37 police recruits in prison custody for purportedly presenting fake certificates to enroll in the police force. Chief Magistrate Mohammed

Gimba Gabi who presided over the case deprived the accused persons oral bail application but instructed that they be remanded in prison custody until March 19 when the case would come up for hearing. The accused persons comprising thirty three males and four females asllegedly

presented fake WAEC/NECO and NCE results to enable them enlist into the Nigeria Police Force in February, 2012 but the monitoring team of Inspector General of Police (IGP) fished them out when they could not express themselves in English. They were arrested and charged to court after

Ajaokuta workers shutdown Kogi higway, invites EFCC

Checkpoints remain banned, says IG By Lambert Tyem

From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


orkers of the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited yesterday barricaded all access roads leading to the company site thus impeding the flow of vehicles from and into Lokoja, especially from the eastern flank of the state and the country. Travellers from Kogi east, Southsouth and South east could not pass through the steel city and ditto for those from Lokoja and Abuja heading towards the east. The workers who were demanding for full implementation of the approved Salaries, Consolidated Research and Allied Institute Salary Structure, (CONRAIS), alleged irregularity in the payment of their salaries by the management of the company. According to the zonal Secretary of the Steel and Engineering workers Union of Nigeria, (SEWUN), in charge of kogi and Kwara states, Comrade Emmanuel Ojo,disclosed that what the management pay as salary was not what they collect from the government. The union boss stated that they have written a letter to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (ÉFCC), to beam its searchlight on the company. Speaking also, the Deputy National President of SEWUN, Alhaji Momoh Jimoh Salami, said the workers are not asking for any pay increase as being speculated in some quarters, but the implementation of the already approved salary structure. When contacted, the Chairman of the Interim Management Committee, Engineer Philip Umunnakwe, said the management has no power to implement the said salary structure. adding that the salaries and wages commission has to give approval before the management could implement the new wage.

investigation on a count charge of forgery against section 368 of the penal code. Police prosecutor, Mr. Berth Ahmeh had earlier told the court that the 37 accused persons presented results from WAEC, NECO and NCE results for enrollment into the police. Counsels to the accused, Barristers Abubakar El-suruk and Paul Baruwa made concerted efforts to secure bail for the suspects who pleaded not guilty to the charges. The Prosecutor said he opposed granting the accused bail because the offence for which the suspects were charged was grievous and not bailable.. However, the Chief Magistrate, after considering the argument ruled that the defense counsels should forward a motion on notice of their bail application instead of their oral request and adjourned the case to March 19,2012.

A Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal (middle), House members, Hon. Pat Asadu (left), and Hon. Joseph Kigbo (right), during the flag-off of free medical outreach, yesterday at Tambuwal General Hospital, in Sokoto state. The programme was organised by Hon. Aminu Tambuwal.

Marabouts docked for defrauding senatorial aspirant From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, Katsina


hree marabouts yesterday appeared before chief magistrate court 111 sitting in Katsina for allegedly defrauding a senatorial candidate from Kebbi Central in Kebbi State, Alhaji Bala Labbo Gwandu. The prosecuting police officer, Sergent Okolo Usman told the court that the three marabouts, Malam Junaidu Muhammad who was in court and Malam Usman and Malam Haruna who are at large conspired to defraud the senatorial candidate of the sum of $1000

American dollar and N198,000. The prosecutor noted that the marabouts were reported to the Katsina Police, CIB unit by the aggrieved senatorial candidate that they swindled him the large sum under the pretext of organizing a powerful prayer that would guarantee his success in the election. He added that when the election was over and the senatorial candidate did not succeed, it dawn on him that the three marabouts were fake and they only connived to swindle him of his money. Okolo disclosed that the accused

were charged to court for criminal conspiracy and cheating which he said was contrary to section 97 and 322 of the penal code law. Okolo demanded that the only accused person arrested should be returned to police custody for further investigation. The presiding magistrate, Nuruddeen Abdulmumini Jikamshi told the accused that he was only brought to the court for mention of the case as the court has no jurisdiction to entertain it. He therefore ordered the accused to be remanded in police custody until the March15, 2012.

4 in prison custody for tresspassing From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


he Bauchi Chief Magistrate Court Eight (8) has remanded four suspects charged with criminal conspiracy and tresspass in a place of worship. The Police Prosecutor, Sergeant T Mohammed told the court that “Aliyu Bala, Suleyman Musa, Babangida Mohammed and Nura Yusuf were suspects, because a case of criminal conspiracy was transferred from GRA Police station to the State Criminal Investigation

Department SCID, against them He stated that “the suspects went to Evangelical Church of West Africa(ECWA) 1 church, Bauchi on the pretext that they wanted to obtain the phone number of Reverend Adamu Garba of Jos in order to inform him that they are Muslims and wanted to convert to Christians” Mohammed said ‘when they were asked about their residents, they could not give satisfactory account of themselves, and were suspected of criminal trespass into

the premises of a church contrary to section 96, 213,306,416 of the penal code. The Police Prosecutor Mohammed then asked the court to adjourn the suit to enable the police complete their investigation. The presiding Isah Mohammed asked the suspects if they understood the charges against them, they answered in the affirmative. He remanded them in prison custody and adjourned the case to March19, 2012 for further mention.

cting Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar yesterday said his directive on the removal of road-blocks on the nation’s highways cannot be changed for any reason. Therefore, the IGP said, he will hold State Commissioners of Police (CPs) responsible for any crime committed within their jurisdiction, on the excuse that lack of road-blocks on the highways were responsible. The Police boss said this while decorating two newly promoted Assistant Inspectors General of Police (AIGs) and a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) with their new ranks in his Office. While urging the newly promoted Officers AIGs Dan’azumi Job Doma, Muktari Ibrahim and DCP Wilson Inalegu to brace up for the challenges of their new positions, he said the new police leadership has the mandate of restoring back lost police glory of policing the nation effectively and fighting crimes to a standstill. Abubakar vowed that his regime would be result oriented and therefore must work with top police officers who must be result conscious. Responding on behalf of the newly promoted officers, DCP Wilson Inalegu thanked God and government for giving them the opportunity to serve their father land in a higher capacity adding that “we are aware of the task ahead in our new portfolio. We must try our best to give the best to our nation”, he noted. It would be recalled that the Ag. IGP had last week decorated seven newly promoted DIGs and 14 AIGs. The two new AIGs now brings to a total,16 AIGs promoted within a week.



Concerned Northerners empanel strategic c’ttees on national issues By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he Coalition of Concerned Northerners (CCN) has resolved to support calls for the restructuring of the federation in order to address the lopsidedness in the structure of the nation’s politics and economy. To this end, 11 committees comprising: Coordinating; Interfaith Dialogue and Intercommunity Harmony; Security; Education; Media; Economy; Policy Frameworks; Strategic Investments & Infrastructure; Agriculture; Water Resources &

Senate wants more High Court judges By Ali Alkali


he Senate yesterday unanimously called for the increase in the number of judges of the Federal High Court from 70 to 100. After debating a bill which seeks an Act to amend the Federal High Court Act 2005 to make provision for the increase, the lawmakers agreed that the current number of high court judges in the country cannot cope with the overwhelming demands in their courts. Leading the debate, the sponsor of the bill, Senator Ike Ekweremadu (PDP Enugu West), said since the Federal High Court (Amendment) Act 2005 which pegged the number High Court judges at 70, “Over time, this number of judges has become grossly inadequate in view of the extensive expansion of the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court. With a very wide jurisdiction including government revenue and taxation, companies and allied matters, admiralty, intellectual property legislation, immigration and emigration, drugs and poisons, pre-election, constitutional and criminal matters, to mention but a few, the workload of the judges who are spread thinly across the divisions of the court is fast assuming unbearable proportions.” While agreeing with the general principle of the bill, some senators, however, expressed concern over pegging the number of the judges to 100.

Mineral Investments; Constitutional Amendments; Revenue & Fiscal Systems; Structure of Nigeria Federalism; Youth Strategy & Contacts; and Borno Dialogue were inaugurated to address the various challenges facing the north. Also, the group called on the Northern Governors’ Forum (NGF) to liaise with other stakeholders in the region such as the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Northern Union (NU), Jama’atul Nasirl Islam (JNI), Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), women, youth and student bodies and other groups to join hands to tackle the identified threats confronting the region. They also highlighted the threats posed by the resurgent activities of Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), other Niger Delta militant groups, Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), in addition to the threats and recent calls by groups for a sovereign national conference.

L-R: Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa'i, Minister of Agriculture, Prof. Akinwunmi Adesina, and Minister of Environment, Hajiya Hadiza Ibrahim Mailafiya, during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the State House, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

HRW: Boko Haram attacks on schools undermine education

By Etuka Sunday


he Human Right Watch (HRW) has condemned the various attacks on schools in Borno by the Boko Haram, saying it has undermined the right to education of children. A press release by HRW yesterday, stated that ‘since the beginning of 2012, suspected Boko Haram members have attacked, damaged, and, in a few cases, destroyed at least 12 schools in and around Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, temporarily leaving several thousands children

without access to education. The release also has it that around February 20, the first three schools–Kulagumma Primary School, Abbaganaram School, and Budum Primary School – were set on fire. Between February 26 and 29, at least four schools were burned, and on March 1, five schools were set ablaze in what appeared to be a coordinated attack, including Sunshine Stars Secondary School and Success Secondary School, which had an enrollment of 700. As a result of the attacks, 5,000 students are staying home from school.

Lamenting on the situation, the deputy children’s right director, Zama Coursen-Neff, said “Boko Haram’s attacks on schools represents a new and reprehensible development since the group began its campaign of violence in 2009,” and therefore appealed to the set that “Children and educational institutions should be left alone”. However, Boko Haram spokesman, Abul Qaqa, asserted that the attacks were in response to attacks against Quranic schools and the arrest of local clerics by members of the security forces

due to the believe that some Islamic teachers in the area are using their Quranic schools as recruitment and training grounds for new Boko Haram members. “We are attacking the public schools at night because we don’t want to kill innocent pupils”, he said. Meanwhile, Corinne Dufka, senior West Africa researcher at HRW said: “Besides taking measures to prevent violence, the authorities need to make every effort to keep the police and military from committing abuses and making matters worse”.

aPDP leadership: ACN accuses Jonathan of ‘one-man show’ By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has accused President Goodluck Jonathan turning the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) into a ‘one man show’. In a statement issued yesterday by the National Publicity

Secretary of ACN, Lai Mohamed, the party refuted the statement credited to President Jonathan, where he accused the leaders of opposition parties for turning their parties into one-man businesses, insisting that the President recently brushed aside his party’s constitution and single-handedly installed a governor of his choice

in his state, Bayelsa. According to ACN, ''Saying the PDP is the only truly democratic party and that other parties are one-man shows is a cruel irony, we see the comments attributed to the President, which we have waited for him to deny to no avail, as one of the many gaffes which have come to define the Jonathan

presidency, rather than a statement to be taken seriously.'' The party therefore advised the President to always show deep introspection in his public comments, saying he is not just presiding over any country, but one with the largest concentration of black people on earth, which bestows a lot of responsibility on him.

7 killed as gunmen attack police station, LG secretariat in Borno From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri


nknown gunmen on Tuesday carried out multiple attacks at four different areas of Borno state, gunning down seven persons. The first attack occurred when gunmen raided Mafoni ward of Maiduguri, the capital city, killing three people. The attackers, four in number drove into the area in tricycles, around 5.30 pm, firing several

shots in the air, before heading to the shop of their victims where they shot them dead. The second attack, took place in Konduga town, headquarters of Konduga local government council of Borno state, when gunmen launched coordinated attack, which left three people dead. It was gathered that the incidents happened at 6.30pm when a team of three different gunmen firing assault rifles invaded the divisional police office in the area, the local government

secretariat and two churches. Among those killed were three policemen and a five-year-old boy, after being hit by stray bullets behind the divisional police office. Residents of the town told newsmen that shortly after the Magrib prayer the assailants stormed the local government secretariat and started shooting sporadically into the air which made people to scamper for safety. Sources in the town said gunshots rented the air from around 7pm till 10pm when the

gunmen unleashed mayhem in the town. When the attackers struck at the police station, three of the five policemen on duty were gunned down, while others fled. Parts of the station were razed down after the gunmen detonated explosives inside. While at the council’s secretariat, the invaders set fire to several offices. Over six vehicles and office of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) inside the

secretariat complex were also gutted by fire. At the EYN Church the residential residence of the pastor and the church auditorium were razed while at the Catholic the whole building was also razed. Spokesman of the state police command, Mr. Samuel Tizhe, who confirmed the incidents, however denied that three policemen affected in the attack were killed, saying “they only sustained injuries and are responding to treatment at an undisclosed hospital”.



Subsidy probe: Reps deny bribery allegation By Lawrence Olaoye


hairman of the ad-hoc committee of the House of Representatives charged to investigate the fuel subsidy regime in the country, Rep Farouk Lawan, has described the allegations making the rounds that his committee had been compromised as false and unfounded. The lawmaker who spoke with newsmen yesterday said such allegations were calculated to blackmail the members of the committee even as he insisted that they have not been compromised in any way. He however acknowledged that the committee had been under serious pressure from the public to release the report of the committee but he said the job of collating and analyzing evidences presented at the Public Hearing was enervating and voluminous. Lawan said “the pressure from the public is enormous at the same time they have really encouraged us by giving us all the necessary moral support to deliver a good report that all Nigerians will hail.” “But they should understand that the job is voluminous and it deserves a careful analysis and proper judgment so that innocent companies will not suffer an unjust treatment as you can see the two offices we are occupying are jam packed with various files.” After the public hearing we have been working for 24 hours non-stop to ensure that we deliver a credible report that will stand the test of time.” “I can confidently tell you the quantity of fuel consumed in 2011 and the quantity of fuel that would be consumed in 2012 based on our findings from the presentations made by the fuel importers at the public hearing.” “We can also tell you precisely the amount that should be accommodated in the 2012 Appropriation Act for fuel subsidy, so there is no need to be in a hurry to submit a report that is not strong enough or a report that cannot stand the test of time this one is going to be a credible one.” “I equally want to use this

opportunity to thank millions of Nigerians who have been sending us text messages encouraging us to do a good job tell them we will not disappoint them as we are set to deliver an iron cast report made of steel.” Lawan also disclosed that the 22 companies that refused to appear before the committee to answer queries on their involvement in the fuel subsidy saga have cases to answer. The chairman said the committee had gathered enough evidences from independent sources about the companies and would analyse such information and report accordingly. According to the chairman, those companies that thought their absence would make them escape the wrath of the law must think twice because the documents made available to the committee are too useful that they cannot escape.

L-R: ASUU President, Professor Ukachukwu Awuzie, Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, and Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Julius Okojie, during a oneday interactive workshop of Committee on Needs Assessment of Nigerian Universities, on Tuesday in Abuja.

Okorocha dissolves PTAs, alleges extortion I

mo state Governor, Rochas Okorocha yesterday dissolved all Parents/ Teachers Associations (PTAs) in both primary and secondary schools in the state. Okorocha announced the dissolution in Owerri while addressing staff of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and those of the primary and secondary education management boards on the plans to restructure the school system.

…Teachers to wear uniforms He observed that some teachers and other individuals used the PTAs to extort money from students, noting that anyone caught parading himself as a PTA member would be prosecuted. The governor also temporary dissolved all zonal academic offices in the state. He said that sanity would return to schools while teachers would be made to wear uniforms

Pressure may distort probe report on oil subsidy, says NLC By Muhammad Nasir


he Nigeria Labour Congress has on Tuesday observed that pressure mounted on oil subsidy probe carried out by the National

Assembly may disrupt the report, particularly of the House of Representatives. The mother union also believes that if the report is released, it might not be implemented by the Executive.

Hajj: Sultan advocates 70% seats to first timers By Maryam Garba Hassan


he Sultan of Sokoto and the National Amirul Hajj, Sa'ad Muhammad Abubakar, yesterday called on State Pilgrims' Welfare Boards in the country to give 50 to 70% hajj seats to first timers to enable them perform the once in a life holy trip to the holy land. The Sultan who made the call yesterday in Abuja at the 2011 Hajj post mortem conference organised by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, lamented how state pilgrims' boards give preference to old timers, politicians and leaders about 6070% of seats denying first time pilgrims the chance to perform hajj. He said the commission under his chairmanship would address the issue with the seriousness it

to schools. He also said that primary schools would be made to own farms which products would be exported. Okorocha announced that some radical changes would be made in the school system, including merging of schools and explained that his administration was bent on bequeathing the state with befitting learning environments.

The governor explained that the merger was necessary because some schools had insufficient students or teachers while others were too close to each other. "Any school without up to 300 children cannot be called a school. There is need to bring the schools together to have a proper school; to have enough teachers to cater for the students. "There should be a radical change in the academic system of the state. The government has removed the burden of school fees, shoes, books and other school materials. There is need to build a collective institution that is befitting of the state," he said.

deserves to ensure that other Muslims perform Hajj. According to him, the 2011 hajj compared to the previous ones was a success even as he said it was not ultimate as stakeholders wished adding that the commission would sustain the achievements and improve

NLC President , Abdulwaheed Ibrahim Omar, said that there have been unprecedented pressures mounted on the legislature from various quarters to jettison the report especially by interest groups like oil marketers who might face

on them to achieve hitch free hajj exercises. On delays in receipt of pilgrims' luggage, he said it was a problem nagging the stakeholders and would be addressed at the conference in order to again the confidence of pilgrims on the commission.

He thanked states which ensured good accommodation and free feeding for 2011 pilgrims while in the holy land. Earlier in his welcome address, NAHCON chairman, Malam Mohammad Musa Bello, said the essence of the conference was to review the 2011 Hajj exercise, identify the challenges faced during the years' Hajj and to address them.

end of every pilgrimage and called on NAHCON and other stakeholders to ensure that such incidences were addressed squarely. ``I still do not understand why some pilgrims have not received their luggage months after Hajj. I think this is still a dark spot in our activities and we need NAHCON and other stakeholders to do more in this regard.'' He said NAHCON was working with all stakeholders to improve logistics, accommodation

arrangements and hygiene for the pilgrims during the exercise. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the two-day conference will deliberate on Pilgrims accommodation in Makkah and Madinah, feeding, luggage, Airlift operations, security as well as health, environment and Sanitation during the Hajj. The conference is being attended by NAHCON officials, State Pilgrims Welfare Boards, Air Carriers, Imams and other Hajj stakeholders. (NAN)

… tasks NAHCON on pilgrims’ luggage


he Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa'ad Abubakar, has advised the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) to evolve new strategies to ensure prompt delivery of pilgrims luggage after the Hajj. The Sultan, who was the 2011 National Amirul Hajj, gave the advice on Wednesday in Abuja at a post mortem conference on last year's Hajj. He decried the incessant late arrival of pilgrims' luggage at the

sanctions, speculators and briefcase businessmen who would lose cheap money, and government officials who have been feeding fat on contrived leakages in the oil industry. He said, the rush by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Deziani Alison-Madueke, a major player in the removal of oil subsidy, to set up committees and task forces to probe the oil industry, though laudable, was tantamount to medicine after death. "With due respect to distinguished members of those committees, it might also be a distraction and a ploy to pre-empt the report by the legislature and instigate a major cover up", he emphasized. However, Omar expressed hope in the assurance by the Chairman of the ad- hoc probe committee and Chairman of the House Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) Hon. Farouk Lawan, that the report would not only be released, but there would be no sacred cows. He said, Nigerians are still shocked at the manner the power probe was blocked despite the dreadful performance of the power sector and its significance to the economy.



CJN reassures of speedy trial for corruption cases By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


earing of cases within the shortest possible time, especially high profile ones on corruption, continues to be the subject of intense dialogue between the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Dahiru Musdapher and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practice and Other Related Offences

Commission (ICPC). A statement signed by the Media Adviser to the CJN, Mohammed Adamu, said the two anti-corruption bodies have been exploring legally permissible avenues for cooperation with the judiciary in order to fast track corruption and corruptionrelated cases. Justice Musdapher while receiving in his Chamber a team of members of the ICPC led by its Acting Chairman, Barrister

Ekpo Nta, reassured the two agencies that speedy trial of corruption cases, shall continue to be the high point of his judiciary reform initiatives. This, he said informed his immediate directive/request, on assumption of office, to the various heads of courts and to relevant prosecutorial agencies for an inventory of all such pending cases before them and why they have not been concluded.

ICPC, in response to the request, has confirmed to the CJN that 263 of such pending cases, involving 495 persons were charged between 2001 and 2011. The CJN had earlier hosted the Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Lamurde on the same mission and during which time he had pledged the creation of dedicated courts and the selection of special judges on a two-year experiment to handle only corruption and economic crimes related cases.

Wamakko signs N100.7bn 2012 budget From Muhammad Abdullah


overnor Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto state, has assented into law the 2012 budget of N100.7 billion . Speaking at Government House Sokoto, yesterday, Wamakko described the occasion of signing into law the appropriation bill as timely, as it provides resources to implement development projects that will meet the needs of the citizens. According to him, with the second mandate given to him by the electorate, he will do whatever it takes to deliver the dividends of democracy. He reaffirmed the commitment of his administration to work collectively to justify the confidence reposed on them by the electorate.

Sambo resumes as new NHIS Ag Exec Sec By Etuka Sunday


L-R: Primate of Methodist Church of Nigeria, Bishop Sunday Ola Makinde, President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, and Reverend Nicholas Okoh, during the world press briefing on the security situation in the country, on Tuesday in Abuja.

Bomb attacks: CBN governor’s donation splits Reps By Lawrence Olaoye


embers of the House of Representatives were yesterday polarized over a motion seeking sanctions against the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, over various donations he made to victims of bomb blasts across the country. Sequel to a motion entitled: “Misuse of Public Funds by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Need to Urgently Establish a Pool of Fund for Provision of Relief of Victims of Natural Disaster and some Specified Crimes” raised by Rep Uzo Azubuike (PDP Abia), the House resolved to summon the CBN governor to appear before its committee on Banking and Finance to offer explanations on the matter. The passage of the prayer led to an uproar with lawmakers from the North, particularly from Kano state, staging a walk-out of the session. The prayers called on the House “To invite the Central Bank Governor of Nigeria (CBN) to explain to the House where the Bank derived its powers and authority to make monetary donations for infrastructural projects, emergency reliefs and philanthropic gestures”. The other prayer “urged the

Federal Government to set up a pool of funds to be managed by National Emergency Management Agency of Nigeria (NEMA) or any other agency involved in disaster management for the provision of reliefs, compensation and charity to victims of natural disasters as well as some specified crimes like terrorist attacks”. Azubuike, while reading his motion that lasted for over 45 minutes, with citations from books, CBN Act and newspapers, said “the activities of the CBN as regards donations to victims of disasters and other projects have been carried out as if Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is an institution, rather than a CBN governor”. The legislator said sections 43 and 63 of the CBN Act did not permit the bank to indulge in corporate social responsibility and urged the House to rise and call the apex banker to order. The Minority Leader of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila(ACN/Lagos), also described the CBN under Sanusi as a “spendthrift” institution “bleeding the economy of the Country”. Gbajabiamila who quoted section 42 of the 1999 Constitution and other relevant statutes, condemned in strong terms, the

decision of Sanusi. In her words, a trained banker and a member of the House Committee on Banking and Currency, Hon. Betty Appiafi (PDP/ Rivers), also rebuked the CBN governor for leading the Bank in philanthropic gestures in contravention of statutes guiding the bank’s operations. Tempers however escalated when a member from Yobe State , Hon. Goni Bukar Lawan(PDP/Yobe) who spoke in support of the motion described Sanusi as a terrorist. The lawmaker reasoned that for the CBN governor to skip Yobe that suffered a major hit from Boko Haram in his donations showed that he had bad intentions. His words: “The moment I heard that the CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi went to donate N100million to victims of Boko Haram attacks in Kano state, I quickly rushed to my constitution to see if Yobe State was no longer part of Nigeria . “The attacks by Boko Haram, happened in Yobe State before Kano state , so are we not part of Nigeria? I also remembered that when the Maj. Gideon Orkar coup happened in the regime of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida(1985-1993), Orkar said in his coup speech that the entire

North-East was thereby excised from Nigeria to be joined with Niger (Republic), so I was afraid that Yobe State was actually removed. “I don’t think the CBN governor is doing a good job; this act of the CBN governor is an act of terrorism. He is a terrorist”. The position of Mr. Lawan led to a mix of anger and laughter from supporters and opponents to the motion who saw the motion and its supporters as trying to incite the public against Sanusi. Mr. Lawan’s position was met with an angry rebuttal from Hon. Bashir Babale a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member from Kano State. Babale sprang from his seat and motioned towards Lawan, pouring expletives and spoiling for a fight, before he was seized by his arm by the Chief Whip of the House, Hon. Ishaku Bawa (Taraba/PDP) and forced to take his seat. A member from Kano State, Hon. Aminu Suleiman who raised Order 47 of the House Rules to protest the exclusion of opponents to the Bill, accused the Speaker of bias, but when the Speaker countered by saying the motion was passed before the order and the House could not reverse itself, Suleiman, led his caucus members out of the chambers.

he Federal Government has approved the appointment of Dr. Abdurahman Sambo as Acting Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), following the expiration of the tenure of Dr. Waziri DogoMuhammad. Dr. Waziri in a brief handover ceremony appealed to his successor to sustain the drive towards the provision of affordable healthcare for all Nigerians. According to him, the scheme had N2 billion in investable funds when he assumed office but he was leaving behind N94 billion in the same treasury. Meanwhile, the acting Executive Secretary of the NHIS, Dr. Abdurahman Sambo assured that there will be continuity in the programmes of the scheme, noting that the spirit of brotherhood that had been established will remain the guiding work ethic.

Group urges FG to intervene in Benue killings From Lawal Sadiq Sanusi, Kaduna


group, Concerned Citizens of Benue state Forum yesterday called on President Goodluck Jonathan to set up a presidential committee on the incessant clashes between Fulani and Tivs in Benue state. At a press briefing in Kaduna, president of the forum, Mr. Sunday Oibe said urgent steps needed to be taken by Jonathan in assisting the governor of Benue state, Mr. Gabriel Suswam to avoid further bloodshed between Fulani herdsmen and Tiv communities at Benue, Nasarawa border.



Jonathan is addressing lopsided appointments, says Oyo lawmaker From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan


Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member in the Oyo State House of Assembly, Rafiu Adekunle, has described the appointment of Princess Ayo Toan as the chairman, Federal Civil Service Commission by President Goodluck Jonathan as effort to resolve lopsidedness in federal appointments. The lawmaker, in a statement by his media aide, Babalola Afobaje, and made available to newsmen in Ibadan commended the President for appointing a minority, an indigene of Oyo state from OkeOgun area. Honourable Adekunle said, the appointment showed that the Jonathan-led

administration has respect for experience and continuity in the federal civil service, describing the choice of Princess Toan as a

round peg in a round hole. He enjoined the appointee to justify the confidence reposed in her by the President and

eliminate all forms of undue bureaucracy and red-tape in the service as well as correct the imbalance in the appointment

of Oyo state indigenes into the service, adding that she should also introduce reforms in the service.

Shettima condoles family of slain Borno/Yobe customs boss From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri


orno state governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima has expressed shock over the killing of the Area Comptroller of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) in charge of Borno and Yobe states, Alhaji Adamu Ahmadu. Governor Shettima, in a statement issued to newsmen yesterday, condoled the late officer's family as well as the Nigerian Customs Service. The governor said from his brief encounter with the comptroller following his recent transfer, it was clear that the late officer was a professional and a gentleman that had a vision to transform the commands under him. He prayed the Almighty to grant his family and the NCS the fortitude to bear the loss.

L-R: President, Nigerian Institution of Surveyors, Dr. Yakubu Maikano, President, International Federation of Surveyors, Mr. CheeHai Teo, and Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, during their official visit to the National Assembly, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Workers accuse FCTA of withholding entitlements despite court order By Josephine Ella


ome staff of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), laid off unjustly in 2004, yesterday alleged that despite an Abuja High Court injunction two years ago, mandating the Federal Capital Territory Administration

.... FCTA debunks claims (FCTA), to reinstate and pay their outstanding salaries, they are yet to be paid. One of the affected staff, Engr. Audu Umar, who spoke to journalists on behalf of the affected staff, said that they are

Lafia forum raises alarm over alleged lopsided recruitment at fed varsity From Ali Abare Abubakar, Lafia


youth organisation in Nasarawa state, the Lafia Youths Consultative Forum (LYCF), has raised alarm over alleged lopsidedness in the ongoing recruitment exercise at the newly established federal university in Lafia. LYCF made its grouse known in a petition addressed to the Minister of Education, Prof. Rukkaiyatu Rufa'i, a copy of which was made available to our correspondent, signed by the chairman Mohammed Arabo Haliru and secretary, Hassan Babanrabi. The forum stated that the ongoing recruitment exercise taking place in the university, has failed to recognise the provisions of the constitution as well as the federal character principle on

recruitment which necessitated the creation of the Federal Character Commission (FCC). LYCF further alleged that over 50 staff have so far been employed by the university, most of whom were junior staff, with less than 25% of them from Nasarawa state. Majority of the employees, it alleged, came from states where the principal officers hail from. While lamenting the lopsidedness in the recruitment of key personnel at the institution, such as the Vice Chancellor, accountant, chief architect, librarian and other top ranking officers, the forum observed that the noble gesture of establishing the new nine universities, would likely fail if selfish interests are allowed to prevail rather that objectivity and fairness. The forum equally raised

alarm over the inability of several candidates from the state to take part in the just concluded post UTME screening exercise, "based on a flimsy excuse that they applied as second choice", seeking to know whether JAMB does not longer regard second choices as relevant. The forum called on the Minister to prevail on the authorities of the institution to ensure that "75% of the junior staff are from Nasarawa state, just as is obtained elsewhere, that some senior positions in both academic and non academic sections be reserved for indigenes and that candidates who applied for admission into the university should be considered irrespective of whether they chose the institution as first or second choice, especially those from the catchment area."

yet to receive their entitlements, even after the present FCT administration, under the leadership of Senator Bala Mohammed had assured them last year that their salaries were captured in the 2011 budget to the tune of N430 million. Umar also alleged that some of the staff were given retirement letters by the administration in December 2010 instead of the letters of reinstatement ordered by the court. However, in a swift reaction to this allegation, the FCTA said that it has paid half of the total entitlements, to some, out of the 75 staff of the ministry, in compliance with the court's directive. About 135 staff of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) had claimed that they were wrongfully retired on August 23, 2004 by the then administration of former FCT Minister, Mallam Nasir elRufai, however, the court ordered the reinstatement of 75 out of the total figure. According to Umar, they had tabled their grievances to the FCT minister, last year on November 24th, who had apologized over the delay and promised to effect the payment.

The minister was also said to have told them that there was budgetary provision of N430 million in the 2011 budget and that the FCT Administration will not appeal against the judgment. Umar said the group was constrained to make the request because of the prevailing harsh economic conditions their families have been facing in the past eight years as a result of the non payment. He alleged that eight of the staff have already died as a result of the hardship being faced by them, as he called on the FCT Minister to exude the fear of God and implement the high court decision for them to be reinstated and paid. Reacting to the allegation, the Chief Press Secretary to the FCT Minister, Muhammad Hazat Sule, who denied that the administration has failed to pay the staff told Peoples Daily that "the present administration has paid N215 million out of the total amount which is N430 million and will pay the remaining balance of N215 million before the end of this week". Sule also debunked allegations that the FCT administration went ahead to retire some of the staff in question instead of reinstating them as directed by the court.



Police warn pregnant women against riding on Okada

Lagos Assembly urges repair of pedestrian bridge From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos



embers of the Lagos State House of Assembly yesterday called on the commissioner for works and infrastructure to repair the dilapidated pedestrian bridge in Ketu along Ikorodu road in Lagos. Member representing Ikorodu constituency 1, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, made the request during plenary under Matters of Urgent Public Importance, noting that the reinforcement rods supporting the bridge had corroded. “This could be dangerous to members of the public that patronise this bridge everyday if the bridge caved in”, he said. In her contribution, Hon. Lola Akande representing Ikeja constituency 2, stated that the deplorable state of bridges and other public facilities showed how Nigerians lack maintenance culture in the country. She said “we did not need to wait till things get destroyed or bad before we start making changes saying we have to improve on our maintenance culture before all the things we built with tax payers money get destroyed right in front of our eyes.”

L-R: Chairman, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Managing Director, Access Bank, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imokhuede, and Chairman, Fort Oil, Chief Femi Otedola, walking into the Presidential Villa during the meeting of Economic Management Team, on Tuesday in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Apo 6: Trial of policemen suffers another setback T

he trial of six policemen accused of killing five auto spare parts dealers and their female companion in Abuja suffered another setback yesterday. Those standing trial are DCP Danjuma Ibrahim, ASP Othman Abdulsalami (still at large), Constables Nicholas Zacharia, Emmanuel Baba, Emmanuel Acheneje and Sadiq Salami. Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) is accusing the policemen of killing Ifeanyi Ozo, Chinedu Meniru, Isaac Ekene, Paulinus Ogbonna, Anthony Nwokike and Tina Arebun, while they were returning home from a night party in 2005. The deceased were aged between 21 and 25. At the resumed hearing of the

case yesterday before Justice Ishaq Bello, the prosecution counsel, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), informed the judge that counsel to the fifth accused (Acheneje), Mr Dauda Hassan, was not in court. He said that since the case was a criminal offence, it would be in the interest of justice for Acheneje's counsel to be in court. Uche also said that the prosecution could not go on with its witness testimony because the medical doctor, Dr Mathew Mogabo, summoned to testify, was no longer an employee of the Asokoro General Hospital. “We are in a predicament my Lord. “While the fifth accused counsel is not in court, the prosecution also wishes to inform

the court that our earlier summoned witness, Dr Mogaba, who certified the death of the victims at the Asokoro General Hospital, had disengaged from the services of the hospital. “We are trying to get a subpoena to call another competent medical doctor from the same hospital to present the same report which was compiled by Dr Mogabo on the autopsy conducted on the victims. “In view of this, we shall be applying for an adjournment to enable us get another doctor to present the report of the autopsy in court.” Counsel to the first accused (Danjuma), Mr Hyeladzira Nganjiwa, did not object to the application for an adjournment. Also, counsel to the third

accused (Zacharia), Mr Ibrahim Tola did not object. Mr Anthony Agbolahan, counsel to the fourth accused (Baba), who did not oppose the application for adjournment, said that granting of the same would be in the interest of justice. Also contributing, Mr Peter Agbalaka, counsel to the sixth accused (Salami), prayed the court to grant the adjournment. In a ruling, Justice Bello adjourned continuation of hearing of the case to Tuesday, April 3 and Wednesday, April 4 to enable Aceheje)'s counsel appear as well to get clearance for another medical doctor from the Asokoro General Hospital to present an autopsy report carried out by Dr. Mogabo. (NAN)

VC urges govt grants to private varsities


he Vice-Chancellor of Caleb University, Ikorodu, Lagos, Prof. Ayodeji Olukojo, yesterday in Lagos called on the Federal Government to extend grants to private universities, for greater efficiency. Olukojo told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that education was a social service that should be provided by the government free or subsidised. He said that the government was providing such grants to

mission schools in the past. “Governments, whether federal or state must realise that efforts by private proprietors are merely complementary to whatever the government is doing and, consequently, should evolve a matching grant scheme to assist them,” he said. Olukojo said private university proprietors were assisting government in the discharge of its social obligation, and, thus, deserved the financial support.

He noted that such support to mission schools enabled them to remain relevant. “Mission schools received what is called matching grants, such that if you have an operational fund of N40,000, the government might decide to subsidise with half of the amount. “Therefore, I think that government should also consider doing same for private universities. “Private universities need matching grants because

graduates of these universities are Nigerians studying in Nigeria and would definitely compete for space in the Nigerian labour market. “Whatever they have achieved by way of academic expertise, research or skill acquisition will be ploughed into the development of our economy; therefore, the funds will not be a wasted venture,” he said. He also urged government’s investment in the private universities doing well in critical areas. (NAN)

he Lagos state Police Command yesterday warned pregnant women against the use of commercial motorcycles. Spokesman of the command, Mr. Joseph Jaiyeoba, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that riding on motorcycles affect such women and their unborn babies. Jaiyeoba, who was reacting to the recklessness of commercial motorcyclists, popularly called okada, described the mode of transportation as the worst for transporting pregnant women. “It endangers their lives and their babies. That is why the Lagos state government banned motorcyclists from carrying pregnant women and babies,” he said. The police spokesman added that the law banning motorcyclists from plying highways was still in force. “We are not resting in our efforts to arrest motorcyclists breaking the law by carrying more than one person, pregnant women and children, as well as operating at night. “People should also protect their own lives by ensuring that they use crash helmet, never agree to be carried on the expressway and controlling the rider from over speeding,” Jaiyeoba said.

NUJ moves to new Abuja secretariat July From Bala Nasir, Kano


he office of the national president of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), will move to the new structure provided on the land acquired for the construction of the secretariat of the union in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja by July this year. This was made known yesterday by the NUJ President, Malam Garba Mohammed during an interactive session with members of the union at the Press Centre, Kano. Garba stated that though construction of the secretariat was not part of his campaign promises, his administration was able to acquire land for the construction of a permanent secretariat for the union. According to Garba the 8storey building would accommodate both the secretariat of the union and the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ) owned and run by the union adding that while the sum of N56 million has been earmarked for the construction of the office, only N29 million was expended thereby saving N27 million. Garba said the venue of the forthcoming NUJ election would soon be decided at their next meeting scheduled to hold in Benue state and expressed his intention to seek re-election for a second term.



Anti-graft war: EFCC, ICPC poised for greater cooperation By Lambert Tyem


he two major anti-graft agencies in Nigeria, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, (ICPC) are to close ranks in their fight against corruption.

Speaking in Abuja as special guest at a workshop on the development of an organisational strategy for the EFCC in Abuja, the ICPC chair, Mr. Ekpo Nta said his presence was to underline the new spirit of cooperation and collaboration between the agencies. According to Wilson Uwujaren, Ag. Head, Media &

Publicity of EFCC, "While congratulating the EFCC Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde on his recent confirmation by the senate, the ICPC helmsman promised a robust collaboration between the agencies. “I am happy to be associated with this synergy. The doors of ICPC are permanently open for collaboration

with our sister agencies, especially the EFCC�, he said. On his part, the EFCC Chairman, described the war on corruption as a battle that must be won, saying failure is not an option. Mr. Lamorde described the workshop as significant and timely, adding that the Commission needs a new focus.

The workshop was a joint initiative of Justice for All, J4A and the UK Department for International Development, DFID. It is aimed at fashioning out a new strategic plan for the EFCC which tallies with the vision of the new leadership of the Commission to reposition it for greater efficiency.

Kogi records 41 death in Feb, says FRSC From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


bout 41 people died in various accidents that happened across Kogi state in month of February, 2012.The Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Michael Olapade has said. The Kogi FRSC boss who disclosed this in his office while giving the monthly accident record, said the deaths were recorded from the 41 accidents which occurred across the state. He said about 231 passengers were involved in the accidents, and that 185 were injured while 41 passengers died. Olapade attributed the accidents to dangerous driving, speed limit violation, tyre burst, bad roads as well as loss of control. The sector commander further disclosed that about 1,225 motorists and cyclists were arrested for traffic violation, stating that 466 of the numbers have been given public enlightenment after paying the stipulated fine while other are still pending. He advised motorist to observe traffic rules this year in order to reduce the accident rates on the road, stressing that it would be achieved as soon as the dualisation of the Abuja-Lokoja highway is completed.

Jigawa school of nursing to be commissioned soon - Lamido From Ahmed Abubakar, Dutse


he Jigawa state School of Nursing and Midwifery constructed at the cost of N1.1 billion would soon be commissioned, according to Governor Sule Lamido. The governor had earlier directed the company handling the project to complete all the finishing touches of the school and for commissioning. The governor who gave the directive during his unscheduled visit to the site said, "the school is a world class one and would offer ample opportunities to students to acquire the basic nursing skills". Gov. Lamido said the school when commissioned is expected to take care of indigent students who usually have to go to other states for the same purpose; as well as provide an enabling environment that is conducive for studying. He expressed optimism on the project, and commended the contractors for the perfect execution of the job with minimal funds.

L-R: Anambra state Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, Special Adviser to the President on Project Monitoring, Prof. Sylvester Monye, and Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, during a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan on the state of the economy, on Tuesday at the State House, in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Director, others arrested over N88m fraud in Abeokuta From Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji, Abeokuta


he Medical Director of Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Abeokuta, Dr. Dapo Sotiloye, including other top officials of the institution have been arrested by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, (ICPC) for allegedly embezzling N88 million meant for 2010 housing allowance for staff of the centre.

Operatives of the commission had on Monday, stormed the hospital to serve the Medical Director, Head of Accounts, heads of Administration and Works departments, as well as leaders of former and current senior and junior staff unions of the hospital with summon letters to appear at the state office of State Security Service,(SSS), for interrogation. Our correspondent investigations revealed that 24 hours after the service notice, the four top officials were picked up by

the operatives said to have arrived from Abuja, and as at the time of filing this report in the evening, the arrested officials were being drilled. When contacted on phone, the Resident Media Consultant, Folu Olamiti confirmed the arrest of, Sotiloye and others over alleged fraudulent act which according to him violates the ICPC Act 2004. Hear him "It is true that our operatives are all over the states performing their normal duties in carrying out their mandate of interogation and we have our men

there, they are carrying out normal thing', adding that the commission would ensure it investigate how the money was spent. However, while reacting to the arrest, the Public Relations Officer of the Hospital, Segun Orisajo said 'when the hospital is ready we will make an official statement. Honestly, if I have anything about the matter, I will tell you, but for now, I have no comment. I promised you that, I will get across to you when I get anything".

NESREA to set up emission testing centres


he National Environmental Standards Regulation Enforcement Agency (NESREA) is to set up emission centres across the country as part of efforts to safeguard the environment. Nasarawa state co-ordinator of the agency, Alhaji Isa Abdulsalam, disclosed this yesterday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lafia. Abdulsalam said that the emission centres, to be sited in all the state capitals in the country,

would be fitted with equipment that will assess the emission level of all categories of vehicles and machines. He said that worthiness licenses would be issued to vehicles that pass the emission test, while the ones that failed would be banned from plying Nigerian roads. He said that as part of efforts to rid the atmosphere of hazardous emissions from vehicles and machines, the Federal Government had placed a ban on the importation of two-stroke

engines into the country. Two-stroke engines are engines that take a mixture of petrol and engine oil. On the indiscriminate citing of masts by mobile telecommunication operators in the country, the co-ordinator said the agency would soon commence removal of all masts sited less than 10 metres radius of residential buildings. "But, all those erected as from 2011, must abide by the provision of the regulation and carry out a proper Environmental Impact

Assessment (EIA) before mounting their mast". On the solid waste management, Abdulsalam called for collaboration between the private sector and the government, adding that so much was involved, and that government could not handle it alone. He pointed out that the enforcement of the law on solid waste disposal would only be effective where there was adequate provision for waste management equipment. (NAN)




No to new electricity tariff M inister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji uses every opportunity he has at public functions these days to drum up support for the government’s plan to hike up tariff in the industry. He says new tariffs will be enforced to revamp the nation’s power sector at the beginning of the second quarter of this year. The minister repeated this song penultimate week in Lagos at the 9th annual Aret Adams Memorial lecture series, where he was the guest speaker. According to his Special Adviser on Media Matters, Dr. Sidon Adinuba, who represented him, the new tariff became necessary so as to improve on infrastructure and capacity building in the sector. “Attracting new businesses and investments in the power sector is a desideratum. However, new investments are unlikely if there is no tariff adjustment because the current tariff is uneconomical”, the minister said. He further stated that, “The new tariff ought to have come into force on January 1, 2012, but it has been postponed to the end of May to allow for greater improvement in power supply and for authorities to have more time to explain critical issues to the public.” But not many are in support of the proposed tariff regime in the sector. In his remarks, the Chairman of the occasion, Dr. Pascal Dozie, the Chairman of MTN Nigeria, said infrastructural deficit is at the heart of the problem of the economy.

Nigeria, he stressed, suffers from “lack of adequate planning, lack of follow-through, poor co-ordination and insincerity due to self-interest.” Echoing similar views, Chief Lawrence Amuh, who could not hide his indignation, said: “It is not fair to the Nigerian tax payers. This power sector reform bill is not a perfect document and it has so many bugs that without competent people who have a sound knowledge of the industry, you will not be able to implement the reforms that you are crashing into.”

The government’s decision to ram down the throats of over taxed and impoverished Nigerians another heavy and unjustified increase in electricity tariff is not only wicked but unpatriotic We share Chief Amuh’s disgust with the relevant agencies saddled with the provision of electricity in Nigeria and their haphazard approach to the proposed price increase. Whereas the Minister, Barth Nnaji, is saying that the new tariff regime will come into effect in May, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) said it is considering the development of a new

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

electricity tariff model to help compute appropriate pricing structure for the country's power sector. The details of the new mathematical model being worked out are yet to be disclosed. The NERC Chairman, Sam Amadi, said the new arrangement would be developed in collaboration with the National Mathematical Centre (NMC) for the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI). This means details of the new pricing regime are far from being worked out. Yet the minister says we are going to have the new tariff regime in May – barely two months away. In addition, there has not been any remarkable improvement in the supply of electricity in this country to warrant a price hike. The government’s decision to ram down the throats of over taxed and impoverished Nigerians another heavy and unjustified increase in electricity tariff is not only wicked but unpatriotic. The coming of Barth Nnaji to the power sector was hailed as putting the right peg in the right hole. Given his track record in academics and the private sector, he looked the right person to solve once and for all the epileptic nature of electricity supply for which Nigeria has won global attention. From the look of things, it appears as if the optimism was misplaced. He must get his priorities right before he plunges the nation into another round of avoidable crisis as his counterpart in the Petroleum Ministry, Diezani Alison-Madueke did, not too long ago.








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Revisiting the white paper on UniAbuja By Esther Ode


ery few universities in Nigeria are blessed with vice chancellors that are committed to the development and progress of their students and staff at the expence of pecuniary interests and personal aggrandizement. While craving the indulgence of the readers to allow me skip the part of naming the names of the affected universities and their vice chancellors, suffice to say that the University of Abuja is by no means privileged to be in the category of these few unnamed universities. Well, in very recent time, you could count it among the blessed ones, but that period is gone, and students and staff look back to it with nostalgia and forlorn hopes. That period disappeared a couple of years ago, with the coming of the present vice chancellor, Professor James Adelabu. When he assumed office on July 2009 after being appointed by the Senator Iya Abubakar- led Council, which members from within blindly canvassed the use of a certain disingenuous theory of “internal candidacy,” many thought that he was not the best candidate to occupy that exalted seat. Not that there was something By Chido Onumah


n Sunday, February 19, 2012, The Guardian carried a frightening story with the headline “S’East, S’South, Middle Belt form Alliance”. It was a report of a meeting attended by youth from the three zones and led by Alhaji Mujahid Abubakr Dokubo-Asari, leader of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force (NDPVF). According to the report, “members of a coalition, comprising ethnic nationalities and groups from the North Central, South East and South South geo-political zones of the country, yesterday converged on Enugu to hold an all-night vigil and chart the way on how to retain political power even beyond 2015 ... leader of Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Asari Dokubo, led the gathering into sending a red signal to the core north, which has ruled the country for the greater part of its existence, saying the core north will no longer smell power in the capacity of a president in the nearest future”. Dokubo-Asari’s strong rhetoric, we are told, is in response to “the core northern part of the country, which believes it is born to rule the country”. According to him, “the plan of the coalition (Coalition of National and Organisations of Nigeria) is to ensure that the leadership of the country will be retained within the three zones until the core north people who think Nigeria is for them to rule perpetually would beg to leave”. With the wave of the hand,

intrinsically wrong with the choice of internal candidates (candidates that are on the payroll of the university), but there appeared to be everything wrong with this specific one. Internal candidates are expected to understand the university system having been part of it for sometime to such effect that they can run the system without recourse to any bogus manifesto, or having to spend half of their tenure assessing the system. But such candidates too can be dangerous for the system, particularly if they have come with agenda for vendetta or are simply incompetent. The dilemma of the University of Abuja is its gift of the candidate with the second idiosyncrasies. For almost three years since he became the vice chancellor, the students and staff have had course to ask themselves how else a community could be more unfortunate under any leadership. The pace of development is painstakingly low, staff welfare and development almost nil, and academic culture systematically eroded; staff emoluments and other arrears are hardly paid, or where they are paid, they are cut into some horrible and meaningless pieces; conferences which are essential part of staff

development whether at local or international level have suffered greatly; postgraduate forms have been on sale since last year, yet, admission into the programme has not started, simply because the vice chancellor wants to generate monies, and no convocation has taken place since his assumption of office. It is not that Professor Adelau’s case is completely a hapless one; at least he has tried to start up one or two projects of his own at the permanent site, but he could

do better if only he desists from unnecessary victimization and work without trying to rubbish or reverse his predecessor’s envious records. No sooner did he assume office in 2009 than Professor Adelabu tried to hang his bag of obvious nonperformance on his predecessor, Professor Nuhu O. Yaqub, blaming him for having left a “huge debt” and without a dime for him to work with. Then, those who knew dismissed his statements as flimsy and a ploy to distract people from his brazen

For almost three years since he became the vice chancellor, the students and staff have had course to ask themselves how else a community could be more unfortunate under any leadership. The pace of development is painstakingly low, staff welfare and development almost nil, and academic culture systematically eroded; staff emoluments and other arrears are hardly paid, or where they are paid, they are cut into some horrible and meaningless pieces

incompetence. That line of argument and attack has since been jettisoned by Adelabu, anyway, for its apparent unpopularity. Now, for those who blindly defend his policies, and dismiss all sincere attacks on him as coming from aggrieved staff deprived of “juicy positions” or favours in the system, perhaps the recent White Paper on the University of Abuja can help cure their shortsightedness. The paper, was entitled, “views of the Government of the federal Republic of Nigeria on the Visitation panel Report into the affairs of the University of Abuja (2004 – 2010).” The seven-man panel, led by Professor D. A Guobadia, took a candid position on the administration within this period. What appeared very significant is the heavy indictment of the present administration. To put this in proper perspective, the panel related the nature of the system which Adelabu met under his predecessor. For instance, it commended the former administration under Professor Nuhu O. Yaqub, for having vigorously pursued the development of the permanent site of the University, where Continued on page 15

Before Nigeria implodes! Dokubo and his cohorts contrived to excise sections of the country. If this is not a declaration of war, I don’t know what is. What could be driving the likes of Dokubo-Asari? Perhaps, he believes he can resolve the current crisis by replacing “Hausa-Fulani hegemony” with “Ijaw-Niger Delta hegemony”. It is the height of political naivety to think that because an Ijaw man is the president of the country, Dokubo-Asari and his group have the prerogative to determine which individuals or groups will or will not rule or should be part of Nigeria. Regrettably, there was no official response to these comments which the government would have termed treasonable if they came from some other group. In light of the tragic events of the last one year, the mayhem and mindless violence that has enveloped the country, that report was a wakeup call. We can’t afford to dismiss Dokubo-Asari. His assertion is a pointer to the danger that stares us in the face and therefore the need for true patriots to do something, and urgently too, not necessarily to keep Nigeria one (that task will depend on all Nigerians), but to prevent the impending tragedy. There is no denying the fact that Nigeria has some fundamental problems. Add to these problems, the inability of our rulers to rise to the challenge of nationhood. All these have deepened the contradictions in the country and created the need for

an alternative resolution mechanism such as the Sovereign National Conference (SNC). I believe in the need to restructure Nigeria through a Sovereign National Conference, as a minimal approach to addressing the “complaints” of the various interests groups, including ethnic nationalities, that make up Nigeria. But before we proceed, it is important that we debunk a few myths about the SNC. This has become necessary because the dominant voice for or against the SNC has been that of people who do not offer hope to the mass of our people. Myth: The clamour for a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) is a call for the disintegration of Nigeria. Fact: The clamour for SNC is a response to an immediate threat that confronts us as a country. But we can’t say for certain that at the end of the day Nigeria will remain “one indivisible” country. That decision will be taken by “we the people”. Myth: Proponents of the SNC are sour election losers who seek relevance by subterfuge. Fact: While it is true that there are those calling for SNC because of what they can “chop”, there are proponents of SNC who are genuinely interested in saving Nigeria from itself. Myth: The National Assembly can take care of all the needs of the SNC. Fact: It can’t. The National Assembly itself is subject to the SNC. Nigerians

have the right to determine, through the SNC, whether an entity which is famous for its inefficiency and profligacy is worth preserving. Myth: The SNC is about ethnic nationalities that make up Nigeria and will lead to the formation of new nations like Oodua Peoples Federation, Biafra, Arewa Republic, Lower Niger Republic, Middle Belt Federation, etc. Fact: It is not. As Edwin Madunagu has noted, “Nigeria is not, and has never been, the arithmetical sum of ethnic nationalities”. Myth: The constitution can take care of the needs of those calling for the SNC, especially now that there is an on-going constitutional review. Fact: It can’t. A nation is more than its constitution. It is only when a nation has resolved or “settled” certain fundamental issues that a constitution is put in place to take care of the details of those resolved or “settled” issues. Now that we have laid some of the myths about the SNC to rest, let us be reminded that neither threat and arrogance nor deception and denial are helpful in this debate. When I read the report of the Dokubo-Asari led meeting, I was reminded of the comments by that other exemplar of perfidy who told us not too long ago that he was not only ready to put on his military garb once more to go to war to defend “the unity of Nigeria”, but that certain fundamental issues about Nigeria were “settled” and

therefore not subject to discussion. Clearly, this is not the kind of rhetoric we need at this time. To avert the imminent chaos, we necessarily must go back to the drawing board on the Nigerian project. Space won’t permit me to detail the issues that have the potential of tearing the country apart, whether it is the division of the country into 19 northern states and 17 southern states, the clamour for “equitable” sharing of oil money, the link between poverty and the current state of terror, the quest for true federalism, and the desire to create pockets of theocracies in a section of the country. The duty of progressive elements, therefore, is not to gloss over these issues, deny people the right to raise these issues or impose their own answers to the resolution of these issues. What then should be the attitude of progressives? Their attitude should be to maintain that the SNC is not a silver bullet. But it is, short of a revolution, in the words of Madunagu “the only viable historical option” under the present circumstance. Genuine democrats can help negotiate the new Nigeria if they can stop charlatans and opportunists from “hijacking” the SNC debate. That is the least they can do to prevent the imminent implosion, unless of course they are willing to be the handmaiden of tribal warlords in the not too distant future! Chido Onuma is a popular author and writes from Abuja


By Gidado Yushau Shuaib


he popular online Wikipedia dictionary defines corruption as: "spiritual or moral impurity or deviation from an ideal." Corruption has pervaded Nigeria and stunted its development as there have been issues of official corruption in government where public officers misuse the resources or wealth of the country for their personal enrichment. Recently, former Delta state governor James Ibori had pleaded guilty to money laundering, fraud and corruption charges at the South Wark Court in London. The prosecutor of the court, called him a “thief in government house.” It is a big shame on the ex-governor for being called a thief. Ibori was accused of stealing 160 million pounds which belongs to his state during his 8-year tenure as governor. The large sums of money stolen by Ibori were used to fund

By Omoba Kenneth Aigbegbele Contd from yesterday


t became an important national administrative, commercial and tourist centre due to its natural endowment. Tin mining led to the influx of migrants who constitute more than half the population of Jos. This ‘melting pot’ of race, ethnicity and religion made Jos one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Nigeria and for this reason, Plateau state is known as the ‘Home of Peace and Tourism’. Despite this, in 2001, the city witnessed violent riots between the Muslim and Christian population in which several thousands of people died. In 2004, the former governor of the state, Joshua Dariye, was suspended for six months and in November 2008, clashes between both parties killed almost 400 and wounded many. In spite of these communal clashes, visitors are surprised at the amount of activities still going on in the state/city. To date, there is still an influx of people into the city and the cost of accommodation and land is still going up daily owing to the belief that Jos is still one of the most desirable cities in Nigeria. What can be said to be the reasons, issues and causes of these violent clashes? While some attribute and agree that it is political due to the struggle, squabbles and permutations between political gladiators to wrestle power and the commonwealth from the people, others are of the opinion that it is orchestrated by a group of disgruntled politicians who thrive mostly when there is war and clashes, while others are of the belief that the unifying factor that binds the Jos people together from time immemorial, has been tampered with and as such,


Corruption and other Iboris his lavish lifestyle at home and state that was not only restricted to ex-governors abroad. For instance it was arrested in Britain but escaped alone. Many other cases alleged that he has mansions in back to Nigeria in disguise only involving different persons are Nigeria, London and Dubai for him to be convicted and still at prosecution level from while the masses in his state jailed during Obasanjo for every part of the country. There was a were looking for case of a affordable former top accommodation p o l i c e to live in. While Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text officer who his children were was not schooling in very messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written o n l y expensive British contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 arrested but schools, his words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and a l s o governed state a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed convicted had very few to: f o r standard schools; amassing in fact some were The Editor, wealth and dilapidated Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, assets worth without even 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. billions of chairs and tables. Email: let N a i r a James Ibori is which were not the first and SMS: 07037756364 l a t e r the only confiscated. recognised There are stories of top corrupt top public officer to be massive looting of his state’s indicted or prosecuted at home treasury. Today the same ex- political office holders like or abroad. In fact the list could convict is now an honorary Ibori at federal, states and local be endless. We are living adviser to a top public governments that are nakedly involved in corrupt practices. witnesses to another former functionary in Nigeria. Massive corruption is not Some are ministers, governor of an oil producing


legislators, heads of parastatals ,commissioners, chairmen of councils, treasurers some are either under investigations or are still stealing thinking they may not be caught. But God willing the law will catch up with them. It is unfortunate that such stories of corruption at top places which tarnish the image of Nigeria continue unabated. Corruption is mostly caused by greediness and desire of the person to live ostentatious and expensive lifestyles. This ugly scenario must be stopped by ensuring that we elect or appoint honest and sincere people into public offices. We should also, as individuals or groups, be advocates in the war against corruption. Our leaders should lead by example and have political will eradicate corrupt practices. Gidado Yushau Shuaib Finace Estate, Wuye Abuja

Jos: Periscoping the ordinary must be addressed for lasting peace to return to a once peaceful and thriving city. Peace is priceless and it is an essential commodity for tranquility, progress and development of Jos and its environs and as such, government should make genuine efforts to reconcile the various stakeholders and warring parties. This approach must be genuine with a master plan and a timeframe for lasting peace to return to Jos. It is on record that the present state government has done a lot and has put much measure in place to check these various clashes but needs the determined and purposeful assistance of the federal government to nip the crisis in the bud. From the lense of the ordinary Jos man, either a settler, indigene, a businessman or tourist periscoping the history of Jos and its attendance developments including post elections victory and victors are some of the main issues that have bedeviled and aggravated the turbulent situation Jos people find themselves today. I must at this juncture, add emphatically that it is not a problem of the indigenes or settlers nor is it a problem of the Muslims against their Christian counterparts but a diabolical plot by a few elements who feel aggrieved by the pervading political scenario which includes economic, social and future empowerment that has orchestrated this ‘ill wind’ by taking into cognizance, the peculiar nature of the people, their beliefs, and system of administration. What beats the imagination of the ordinary man is how Jos, the once

peaceful state will extricate from the hands and shackles of the orchestrated few. It now brings to question, the various whitepaper commissions, plans, panel of enquiries and reports submitted over the years. What have been done and how far have the plans on paper transformed physically on ground to the various challenges and problems confronting the settlers, indigenes and religious bigots in Jos. Have the panel recommendations been fair, transmutable or realistic as regards findings? At this juncture, periscoping the lenses, one can infer, it has been one hell of ‘boys come and eat syndrome’ that pervades Nigeria till date holding us hostage. A lot of these panel reports are either not realistic, biased and not in conformity or in tandem with what’s on ground because it has become a re-occurring decimal in our national consciousness and value orientation. Has the police and soldiers sent to assist security done or fared better? Yes they have done better in terms of lives lost by these security agencies, may the souls of all those who lost their

lives rest in peace. But can a man from a section of the warring parties be partial because he or she is wearing a uniform? What we should ask ourselves or do is to bring security personnel from other parts of the country to assist in the breach rather than use officers who are seemingly from the same clime. From the pedestrian point of view, it is ironic that a peace and reconciliation committee must be put in place once and for comprising not only the stakeholders, but security personnel, individuals, market women, the aged, including youths as a step ahead of the former order. The Federal Government should holistically, in good faith, settle the grievances of all the indigenes, Muslims and Christians amicably. Agreed a lot of peace building mechanism has been put in place previously by the present government, but much still needs to be done. The youths of the state have been able to garner the support of the youths in their various social arena and musical concerts at different locations like in Kwararafa, Bukuru, Dadin

To date, there is still an influx of people into the city and the cost of accommodation and land is still going up daily owing to the belief that Jos is still one of the most desirable cities in Nigeria

Kowa, Rayfield, Riyom local government areas, Tundunwada and other areas. The Jos city is known for its pool of talents across the population in Nigeria and a lot of popular Nigerians associated their early life to Jos. The list is endless from Segun Odegbami, Mikel Obi, Obinna Nsofor, Kevin Pam, P Square, MI, Ice Prince, Jesse Jazz, Panem Percy Paul, Bongos Ikwe, Jeremiah Gyang, all grew up in Jos. These positive aspects of these great Nigerians can also be harnessed at the reconciliation committee/panel to give it a youthful look and also an all encompassing one. Like the saying goes, we have to up our game as a people, as individuals, corporations, institutions, governments and as a country. We need to make sacrifices individually so as to bring lasting peace to Jos and Nigeria as a whole. Look at the history of our nation, where would we be right now if the people before us did not have their fair chance to change the nation? Our heroes’sacrifices will and shall never be in vain. No single individual built Nigeria on its own. We collectively brought Nigeria to where it is today. So, let’s stake our today for tomorrow by sacrificing to make Jos work and Nigeria a safer place to thrive in. Returning Jos to its pride of place will require addressing discontentment and bridging the gap that will usher in new development for the common good. Let us start with a truth and reconciliation panel to get to the bottom of the crises. A stitch in time saves nine. Concluded Omoba Kenneth Aigbegbele can be reached on kenneth


By Abdul Mahmud


t was the Brazilian scholar, Donaldo Macedo, who coined the phrase ‘literacy for stupidfication’.The phrase which sadly highlights the inability of a people to interrogate issues, find truth to that which underlines the ordinary. The ignorance our people display over subjects of public discourse signifies that inability, without question. Democracy represents the collective aspirations of any people. Democratic governments, by recognising these aspirations, work them into a single charter of action. It is the recognition of these aspirations that makes any democratic government representative. This is not the case with undemocratic governments that deny the people places at the core of governance. Through pedagogies that teach the people to look at their own world through the prisms of those who govern them, the people are piggybacked into holes only fit for Tolkien’s hobbits. The journey begins with deceit and it is sustained by manipulation. Our country is no different. Just this week, one hundred and twenty-five Nigerians were deported by the South African immigration for traveling with irregular documents. The deportation saga is what I dubbed some days ago on my Facebook wall as the ‘yellow fever palaver’. The outrage caused by the action of the South African immigration is rippling through our country like Tsunami. From our melodramatic legislators to insentient market women, the rage is the same. What stands out is how our people have become beholden to rulers who have never nurtured love for the homeland. Suddenly, they have found wells of love within their hearts from which our people can lap on and find sucour. Finding the truth of what lies beyond seeing is about looking outside of


The yellow fever palaver

the ordinary itself. Looking outside suggests we unwrap the lies the government feeds into our public spaces for us to reach the core of what founds government’s new found love and uncover the truth of what actually transpired between those deported Nigerians and the South African immigration. Yes, one hundred and twenty-five Nigerians were deported. That isn’t all to it. They were simply deported because they presented dubious yellow fever vaccination cards to the South African immigration at the point of entry. Our countrymen and women merely tried out what has become a fraudulent pastime in our country and they were caught out by public servants who take the business of securing the public health of their country seriously. The biometric technology, as one example, that the FRSC clown, Chidoka, seeks to apply to our new drivers’ license highlights the problem of duplicity his men contends with on our roads. Fast forward to Alhaji Maina of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reform who is doing a good job using every available technology at his disposal to weed out thieving public servants in the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation who filch pensions of our retired senior citizens. With duplicitous stamps the originality of anything can be faked in our country. So, where are the grounds for the xenophobic claims that South Africa always sticks its fingers up our noses? Our government is angry and we are spitting venoms as if international travel is a trip to the backwaters of our dying coastal towns. International travel, like jiujutsu, is guided by the rules of self-preservation. If you don’t abide by the conditions of the visa, you get shipped. Self-

preservation, at the level of the nation-state, is about securing borders,preserving territorial integrity, protecting public health. So, why are we peeved by the action of the South African immigration? Lest we forget, it was an action taken within the bounds of international law. The histrionics of the government are perhaps directed at either masking the absurdities we live through at home or the inadequacies of the government, or both. But, why are we not asking our government why we fall into the category of persons required to present evidence of yellow fever vaccination? In a country where public institutions are in comatose, the yellow fever palaver serves our government’s best interest. By spawning anger at the South Africans, the government seeks to hide the elephant in the room. Can anyone hide the fact that we still suffer from ailments that have been banished elsewhere? Only last week, it was reported in the press that Lassa fever had spread to twenty-two states of our country. That our country

has serious public health issues whilst we sit on our hands makes the reactions of our government annoying. The action of the South African immigration points to one truth: all is not well with us. When idiots bury their heads in the sand they expose their stinking parts. Time and time again, we are scorned abroad because we tolerate an irresponsible government at home. A government that infracts on our humanity for the world to celebrate us as the planet’s happiest hobbits is today pretending to fight our cause. Being the happiest half-sized citizens anyone can find around isn’t an accolade we should be proud of, but we are. The hypocrisy of our public servants is commonplace. Was is it not in our country two years ago that Governor Fashola forcefully removed non-Lagos state citizens-who he claimed were destitute-from the streets of Lagos, only to abandon them at the city gates of state capitals across our country? Forceful removal (or call it compulsory eviction) has same effects as deportation. And no matter how

Just this week, one hundred and twenty-five Nigerians were deported by the South African immigration for traveling with irregular documents. The deportation saga is what I dubbed some days ago on my Facebook wall as the ‘yellow fever palaver’

both are construed, they possess the attribute of translocation of individuals from one point to another. The absence of consent makes both what they are: expulsion. How can one explain the tit-for-tat battle that has quietly raged on between the governors of Abia and Imo states? Was there a national outrage when the governor of Abia state sacked Imo state indigenes from his state’s civil service? And Rochas Okorocha reciprocated by imposing high fees on students of non-Imo state origin in his state tertiary institutions. Are the actions of these governors not more heinous than the action taken by South African immigration? Here, we are talking about Nigerians who are daily buffeted by their governors and governments at home. Still, they want our people to believe that the reciprocal steps taken to deport twenty-eight South African nationals who arrived at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, three days ago is enough to endeavour public officials to our mob and discerning publics. Not that our public officials are interested in being decorated with endearments, nor are they in a hurry to pull away from the verbal gymnastics. It is a game they can’t quite pull off. Literacy for stupidfication doesn’t promote the two nations of unity and purpose that Disraeli wrote about in his brilliant classic, ‘Sybil or the two nations’. If our rulers think allegiance can be secured by having our people sold on to big lies, herded as xenophobic lynch mob searching for anything and everything South Africa, they are mistaken. ‘Every day is for the monkeys; and one day shall be for the banana plantation owner’. Abdul Mahmud resides in Abuja

Revisiting the white paper on UniAbuja Continued from page 14

about four faculties are now domiciled. Specifically, it said on page 13, item B (iii) “in his bid to define the university as an academic institution, Professor Yaqub’s administration introduced national and International Conferences in the University. ‘Seed money’ in the sum of N10million was set aside in a special account to run the conferences. (iv) the administration also embarked on inaugural lectures. The panel observed that at least ten inaugural lectures were held between 2004 and 2009 as against only one previously held in 1998.” It went on in (v)a radio station named Excellence Radio” was established with a grant of $70,000 from the Open Society Initiative of West Africa(OSIWA) based in Dakar…the panel observed that the committee

system which is the backbone of university administration, was effectively used during his tenure. Then the panel faulted Yaqub’s introduction of four programmes namely: Agriculture, Engineering, Medicine and Veterinary Medicine) for what it called “attendant problems”. While it is true that the programmes were without teething problems as was characteristics of projects in their infancies, it should be noted that these programmes were still pursued with varying success until Yaqub left the university scene, and would probably have continued without hitches if the current vice chancellor had cared about sustaining them. It is interesting that the panel made a clear reference to this in another page 15 section (g),when it said that “the vice chancellor (Professor Adelabu) did not see the office of the vice chancellor as a

‘continuum’ from the past administration. For instance, he had not shown serious commitment to the take off of the four new programmes started by the previous administration and the utilization of the Radio station established by his predecessor”. It also noted that, “there was over centralization of functions and activities of the university, and management meetings had not been held regularly.” In section, (findings and observations), the panel wrote, “Since his assumption of office in July, 2009, the panel found that Ad-hoc committees had taken over the role of the statutory and other committees of the university.” The panel report was highly instructive, and it must be commended for carrying its task with all sence of seriousness and sincerity. However, there were a lot of deficiencies it didn’t care to mention. It should be stressed that

since the present vice chancellor came in, the results of many students have been stuck, while some are missing; convocation ceremonies which had stabilized at the February of every year have not held, no inaugural lectures and the entire academic culture had been systematically eroded. All these troubling lapses and indeed many more not listed here for space, had enraged the University chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), when it threatened to embark on a strike last year, until the Council waded into the matter and set up a committee to look into their grievances. Startling revelations were already been made before the council, when to the dismay of the students and staff of the university, President Goodluck Jonathan unceremoniously dissolved it last year. Not that the university community had

much regards and trust for the council members, particularly given the manner they “smuggled” in this “internal candidate” and almost always kept sealed lips in the face of clear a d m i n i s t r a t i v e wrongheadedness and insensitivity to plights of his subjects. At least for having the guts to wade into that matter did help to light up some faces. The good news is that the president has graciously allowed the panel to return. Its coming this time around should be more productive. Members need to regulate the activities of this vice chancellor and tell him how best not to run the University of Abuja like a barn. This would be one way to redeem their image which was almost battered before Goodluck sent them on sabbatical. Esther Ode is a postgraduate student of the University of Abuja. She can be reached at



Al-Makura blames Mararaba traffic gridlock on lack of planning


ov. Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State in Abuja on Tuesday blamed the traffic congestion between AYA in the FCT and Mararaba in Nasarawa State on lack of planning. He, however, said that a light rail was underway to alleviate the situation. Al-Makura spoke in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), stressed that past administrations in the state and the Federal Capital Territory Administration neglected the importance of planning for the road. He said that the initial plan of the FCT administration was to include adjoining states in development but when the actual development began, the states were abandoned. ``The problem we have with regards to traffic gridlock, especially from AYA up to

Masaka, is due to poor planning. ``When the Federal Capital Territory was created the plan was to include the peripheral states but when the development came to be implemented it was only Abuja that was the concern of the government. ``But the solution is not even the expansion of the road because there is nowhere to be expanded again but the provision of light rail which the state government is collaborating with other entrepreneurs to have, a light rail from the boundary to Keffi. ``We are also thinking of

alternative routes to decongest the main entry into the Federal Capital, already my state has constructed 35km of road from Gitata and it is terminating at Mararaba," the governor said. Al-Makura said the Federal Government would also construct a route from the middle of Mararaba to Mpape in the FCT He said that once the alternative route was completed, all commuters from Maitama, up to Kaduna and Plateau would take the other way. The governor said that part of the problem of the area was that of population explosion,

pointing out that the proximity of the state to the FCT now seemed like a curse instead of a blessing. ``I don't know whether to say our proximity to the Federal Capital is a blessing or a curse. ``Under normal circumstances our proximity is supposed to add value not only to the quality of life but to every facet of life - business, farming and what have you. ``Previous administrations from the state and the Federal Capital have overlooked this and neglected the essence of collaboration between the two areas" the governor declared.

100 peasant farmers to get two bags of fertiliser each in Kuje By Josephine Ella


20-year-old man bags 1 month for stealing


n Abuja Senior Magistrates' Court in Karu has sentenced a 20year-old man, Awal Hamisu, of Tipper Garage Gwarinpa, Abuja, to one month imprisonment for joint act and theft. The Police Prosecutor, Francis Udofia, told the court that Mr Eze Arinzechi of Karu Village Abuja, reported the matter at the Karu Police Station on March 1. Udofia said that on the same date, the convict conspired with someone now at large, to trespass into the complainant's compound and stole his Jincheng motorcycle valued at N45,000. He added that when they were both sighted by one Mr Kebbi, a mechanic at Karu Village, who alerted the complainant, they were chased and the motorcycle was recovered. According to the prosecutor, the offence contravenes Sections 79 and 288 of the Penal Code. The accused pleaded guilty to the charges, and was sentenced to one-month imprisonment by the Senior Magistrate, Mrs Nkamdimi Buba. The Senior Magistrate, however, gave the accused an option of N2,000 fine. (NAN)

Dear reader, Metro welcomes human interest stories in your neighbourhood. Please call or send SMS to 08065327178 or e-mail to inform us about happenings in your area. Share your experiences or those of your friends and neighbours with fellow readers.

Officials of the Federal Capital Development Agency demolished illegal structures at Galadimawa Village, on Tuesday in Abuja. Photo: NAN

FCT commissions S&T centre in Gwagwalada By Adeola Tukuru


he Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has commissioned its' science and technology resource centre at the Junior Secondary School, Hajj Camp in Gwagwalada. The Minister of FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed at the commissioning stated that the establishment of the comprehensive Science and Technology Education Centre became necessary if the education system is to surmount most of the challenges facing it. He also added that teacher's education and training must be

given priority. The minister, who was represented by the Secretary of Education, Mallam Kabir Usman explained that the "resource centre will henceforth serve as a science resource training centre for the FCT Universal Basic Education Board" (UBEC). The minister commended the Company that built the resource centre, Skill G Nigeria Ltd and also the FCT UBEC for the laudable collaboration, he urged the FCT UBEC to make the best use of the opportunity offered with the establishment of the centre especially with regards to the teacher training

programme. He further added that the FCT was placing a lot of emphasis on the teaching of science and technology in schools. Also, the Deputy Director UBEB, FCT, Mrs. Mercy Olisakwe explained that the board has backedup the establishment of the resource centre with the training of three science teachers each from 100 schools in the Six Area Councils of the FCT. She praised the construction firm, Skill G Nigeria Ltd for na job well done and also, the principal of Junior Secondary School, Hajj Camp location of the science and technology resource centre.

o fewer than a hundred small scale farmers in Kuje Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are to receive two bags of fertiliser each at 50 per cent subsidy of the prevailing market price in the ongoing trial of 'e-wallet' system. The farmers are also to receive 50kg of improved rice and maize through this platform, which is under the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme, presently being piloted by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture. Speaking, through a press statement issued in Abuja by her Chief Press Secretary, Secretary, FCT Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Mrs Olvadi Bema Madayi said the scheme, which commenced yesterday in Kuje is expected to end onMarch 10, 2012. She said this is the second field trial for the effective delivery of fertilisers and improved seeds to selected segment of FCT farmers under the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme which is the new method of distribution of fertilisers and seeds to farmers. "Under the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme, the government will no longer procure and distribute fertilisers. The private sector will now commercialise agricultural inputs to farmers nationwide. Seeds and fertiliser companies will be required to build their supply chains to reach the farmers in the villages and sell to them directly," she explained. The Secretary said the scheme replaces the former subsidy programme and distribution system on fertiliser "whereby only 11 per cent of farmers nationwide get the subsidised fertilisers".

FCT HOTELS GUIDE POLICE HOTLINES IN FCT Abuja Sheraton Hotel & Towers Ladi Kwali Way, Transcorp Hilton Hotel P.M.N 143, Abuja Maitama District, Tel: 09-5230225-224 P.O. Box 51, Abuja, Chelsea Hotels Plt 389, Cadastral Zone A Central Area, P.M.B 487, Garki, Abuja. Tel: 09-2349080-98

Maitama - 08038485123 Central Police Station - 08033568389 Lugbe - 08077657371; 08037882321 Wuse - 08053088102 National Assembly - 08065777706; 08045317637 Asokoro - 07028134449 Nyanya - 08046115181 Utako - 07055888119; 07038621264

Karshi Wuye Karu Gwarimpa Karmo Garki Life Camp Kubwa Gwagwa Zuba Dutse Alhaji

- 08023565354 - 08023314440 - 08036249825 - 08059113555 - 08033773129 - 08033560903 - 08058036613 - 08036134478 - 08035537989 - 08075804475 - 08053089999

Bwari Kuje Kwali Ruboci Gwagwalada

- 08075804475 - 07030800531 - 080 33062496 - 08060568342 - 08057467369

FCT HOTLINE AEPB 09 - 4603600-9





FAAC allocation for the month of January 2012 shared in February, 2012 S/N



1 2 3 4

173,447 87.974 67.825

5 6 7

FG (52.68%) States (26.72%) L/govt Councils (20.72%) Derivation (13% of Mineral revenue-oil/gas) Value Added Tax (VAT) Augmentation for the month Refund by NNPC


Grand Total


From Ngozi Onyeakusi, Lagos


n a bid to reduce food insecurity presently ravaging the country, Nigerians have been urged to promote agriculture production in order to tackle the problem. Speaking at the Commissioners of Agricultures Forum on Nigeriafocused Agribusiness conference in Washington DC, USA, the DirectorGeneral of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Frank Nweke Junior stated that there is need to focus on food production to enhance the nation’s economic growth.

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


He noted that agriculture sector which contributes up to 40 per cent as well as employs 70 per cent of the nation’s population is treated with laxity. According to him, the neglect of agriculture often lead to food insecurity adding that it has a significant role to play in realising the key objectives of the government. Nweke regretted that almost every Nigerian want to participate in oil and gas business, which in the event of any shortage, will result in economic problems. He insisted that agricultural business should be made lucrative and attractive to foreign investors who have over the years been patronising others sectors such as oil and gas leaving behind agriculture. He stated that aim of the programme is to link Nigerian agricultural sectors to foreign investors. Addressing the commissioners on the conference, which comes up next month, Nweke stated that Nigeria, which has the larger population with the biggest market has the greatest potentials for greater attraction. He urged the state to position themselves in such a way that would facilitate their linkage with foreign investors. Also speaking at the event, the Chairman, Food Security and Agriculture, Mr. Emmanuel Ijewere stated that the whole effort is to ensure that agriculture production provide job opportunities for our youths, to avoid aimless mass exit of the people. “Our interest is to keep our people in the country and create jobs for them. 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

SELLING 0.3185 207.8147 248.7073 41.5667 155.9


ABJ-LOS: 11.30, 3.45, 4.45

• £ RIYAL $

peratives of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) in the Federal Capital territory (FCT) yesterday stormed several filing stations in Mararaba- Nyanya area on the outskirts of Abuja on an enforcement exercise, which led to the sealing-off of at least four petrol filling stations over all sorts of unethical practices, ranging from under-dispensing to low quality of petroleum products. While Adehi & Co. Nig Ltd and Mobil filling stations were sealed for under- dispensing petroleum products to their customers, Wino Marketing Nig Ltd, located in New Nyanya was locked up for, not only cheating their customers in the amount of litres they dispense, but for also selling sub-standard petroleum products to them. A mild drama however occurred at the Total filling station, also in New Nyanya, when the staff of the station quickly put off their generating

BUYING 210 255 40 158

SELLING 212 257 42 159

FG moves to cut cost of doing ....

sets and stopped selling the product immediately they sighted a CPC vehicle approaching their premises, leaving several vehicle owners who were being attended to, stranded. After a hot exchange of words between the CPC officials and customers on one hand and the company staff on the other, leader of the CPC team, Engr. Sham Kolo ordered the place to be shut, insisting that there must be something fishy in their operations. A customer who spoke with reporters in visible rage, Paul Peter said he had noticed that on several occasions, he would buy fuel from the station only to suspect later that what he had paid for may be less than what he was given. At other filing stations, the CPC team measured the product being sold to consumers with a 20 litre measuring cylinder and discovered that Adehi filling station was reducing about 2.6 litres form every 20 litres of fuel sold to customers and also one litre

from every 20 litres of Kerosene sold, while Mobil filling station, located in New Nyanya was reducing 1.74 litres from every 20 litres of fuel sold to consumers. Wino filling station had the worst case scenario, as it was reducing 3.1 litres from every 20 litres of fuel sold and was even discovered to be selling substandard products, which Engr Kolo said contained water vapour which could damage vehicles’ injector and carburetor. Speaking with reporters, Engr Kolo said, “We want to enjoin consumers to insist on testing any petroleum product they buy with filter paper and check if vapour or any debris comes out of it, because it is dangerous.” He continued: ”They should also report any filling station that either sell sub-standard product or fail to cooperate with them to either CPC SON, DPR or Weight and Measures. In fact, they should stop buying from filing stations which they have discovered to be shortchanging them.”

L-R: Commissioner, Market Competition and Rates, Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Mr. Eyo O. Ekpo, Vice Chairman of NERC, Alhaji Mohammed Lawal Bello, Chairman of NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, and Commissioner, Finance and Management Service of the Commission, Mr. Patrick Umeh, during the signing of the Independent Electricity Distribution Network and Embedded Generator, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Management Tip of the Day

1st Mar, 2012 BUYING 0.2985 206.4817 247.112 41.3001 154.9

- Pg 20

CPC seals 4 FCT filling stations over malpractices


NESG set plans to boost agriculture development


Mob: 08033644990

By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem

38.940 51.111 187.090 7,617



Always use meaningful words

eaningless phrases, such as “To be honest” and “Like I said,” often creep up in meetings and presentations. Using these expressions undermines your credibility. Try replacing this filler language with meaning by doing the

following:Switch from conditional to declarative. Couching statements with phrases like “I believe” or “We think” weakens your argument. Strengthen your points by cutting to the chase. If you must use the conditional, try the stronger

“We’re confident” or “We expect.”Be positive. Negative statements sound defensive and fail to provide information. Instead of saying “What we’re not is…” tell your audience exactly what you are. Source: Harvard Business Review



COMPANY NEWS Union Bank recapitalises, gets new board


fter 32 months, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc may have finally rebounded, courtesy of a $500 million (N75 billion) capital injection from new investors.

FXTM holds first Lagos electronic traders’ conference


XTM Trading West Africa Limited, formally Alpari Trading West Africa Limited, will be hosting the first Nigeria traders’ conference in 2012 and will officially unveil the FXTM brand in Nigeria.

Global growth worries weigh on markets

FG moves to cut cost of doing business in Nigeria Stories from Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he Federal Government has assured traders and local manufacturers of the removal of bottlenecks to inter and intra state commerce and streamlining import/export documentation and procedures in order to reduce cost of doing business in Nigeria. The Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, who gave the assurance at a one-day strategic stakeholders consultative forum on Trade Facilitation in Nigeria in Lagos, noted that the forum was held to address challenges facing the free flow of goods and movement of people in Nigeria

as it affected the volume of trade. “ Nigeria is the third fastest growing economy in the world after China and India, with a growth rate of 7.2 per cent, and this could double if trade facilitation is properly implemented. The growth occurred despite the energy challenges, financial crisis and global economic melt-down as well as lack of strong contribution from non-oil export trade regime,” he said. He disclosed that Nigeria was rated 146th out of 189 countries on Trading Across Border, which remained unchanged in 2011, also adding that in 2011, Global Competitiveness Index dropped from 99th to 12th out of 155

countries in 2010. Furthermore, he said that Nigeria had a very high Corruption Index of 121st out of 180 countries in 2008 and low Global Enabling Trade Index that showed that the country had high cost of trading environment, which discouraged foreign investment, reduced trade competitiveness as well as stifled the growth of the domestic economy. “Enthronement of cost effective and efficient procedure at our ports and border corridors was said to provide a win-win situation for all, curb corruption and make the country more credible in the eyes of the world, which in turn would lead to higher


Carlos Slim beats Gates again as world’s richest man


arlos Slim, the telecommunications tycoon who controls Mexico’s America Movil SAB (AMXL), is the richest person on Earth, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the world’s 20 wealthiest individuals.


itafoam Nigeria plc has recorded about N168.55million worth of unclaimed dividends, evidenced in its 15 years dividend and unclaimed dividend record.

Carlye group pursues geographical expansion into Nigeria, others


ne of the top global private equity players, the Carlyle Group has revealed that it has concluded plans to pursue its geographical expansion into sub-Saharan Africa through the support of Africa Development Bank who will disburse a $50 million equity fund.

Afren to bring Nigeria oil find onstream soon


lobal growth concerns and uncertainty over the level of participation by private creditors in Greece’s planned bond swap sent stocks and the euro lower yesterday.

Oando bags ‘Company of the Year’ award

volumes of trade and increased revenue generation for the government as well as stimulate job creation,” he said. He however reiterated the Federal Government’s promise to implement the regional decision on reduction of checkpoints and addressing the issue of tariff and non-tariff barriers to ensure competitive trade regime.

L-R: Statistician-General of the Federation, Dr. Yemi Kale, with CBN Deputy Director, Mr. Ibrahim Adamu, during a news conference on the presentation of poverty statistics in Nigeria, recently in Abuja. Photo: NAN

FG challenges exporters to increase non-oil export by 100 per cent By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


he Federal Government has challenged Nigerian exporters to increase the export of non-oil products by 100 percent from the present 10 percent to 20 percent. The Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga said this in a meeting with exporters in Abuja on Tuesday, adding that they should move away from just exporting primary produce to value added products. Aganga also said that going forward, the government would only disburse the Export Expansion Grant (EEG) if there is commensurate growth between the exporters' claims and the country's export earnings.

He said that government had started the process of reviewing the disbursement of the EEG to make sure that as the claims go up, the export earnings of the country also increase. "We want to make sure that as the claims are going up as they have gone up in the last four five years, we are seeing the same increase in export earnings," Aganga said. He continued:"We want to make sure that it is transparent, accountable and government is getting the desired result from it, so, we are doing that to encourage you to make sure that your goods are competitive, to make sure that as you are exporting your produce, government must get something back from it and

what we expect to get from it is to see the earnings." He also urged them to diversify from exporting the traditional produce of cocoa, leather and sesame seeds to other areas like food processing, textile, solid minerals etc in other to contribute more to the GDP. He said that the Commerce 44 scheme would be revamped in such a way that targeted products will be exported to different countries. Earlier, the Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), David Adulugba said that the forum was meant to discuss and review major impediments and challenges to exports success and chart a way forward.

ritish oil firm, Afren said it hoped to bring a field discovered in Nigeria in January into production in the "near-term", after tests on the oil proved successful. The company, whose main producing assets are in Nigeria but which also has assets in Kenya and Kurdistan, said it will drill two production wells on the Okoro-East field in the second half of 2012, meaning new output could be added this year. "We will now work towards realising near-term production from Okoro-East. The tie back to existing facilities ensures a very high return on the additional wells," Afren Chief Executive, Osman Shahenshah said in a statement yesterday. Okoro-East was discovered near its Okoro field in January, allowing Afren to use existing facilities at Okoro to add new production more quickly and cheaply than is usual when a new oil field is found. Afren, which in the middle of last year cut its production target after a delay at its key Ebok field, said in the longer term it will also submit a full field development plan for Okoro-East to enable it to maximise its output. "Combined with follow-on opportunities elsewhere in the block, Okoro can continue to be a driver of exploration upside as well as production growth going forward," analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which acts as broker to the firm said. Initial production from the two wells at Okoro-East could reach 14,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd), Afren said, a significant addition to the company's year-end output rate of 55,400 bpd. Shares in Afren closed at 125.6 pence on Tuesday, valuing the firm at about $2.1 billion( about N336 billion). (Reuters)




21st century demands have rendered skills of the past obsolete – NDE boss The National Directorate of Employment (NDE) since it was set up in the mid eighties has mobilised Nigerian youths into accepting self employment as a viable tool to the problem of unemployment in the country. This is a mark of major success, according to its present Director-General, Malam Abubakar Mohammed, in this interview with Aminu Imam. Excerpts:

DG, National Directorate of Employment, Malam Abubakar Mohammed

The gravity of the issue of self-employment in Nigeria has been generating much debate; what achievements, in the area of graduate unemployment has the NDE recorded in the over twenty years it has been in existence? Let me say the problem of unemployment is such a phenomenon that you cannot with precision determine how much we have won. because in the fight against unemployment there are several factors at play. A lot of them can be attributed to the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), but we do know there are other factors that complement the affairs of the NDE. However, when the NDE came into being in the mid 80’s, problem of graduates’ unemployment was appearing in the polity, it was quite normal and was more prevalent among the younger generation especially young school leavers but the greater problem at that time was the psychological problem of the unemployed youth. Coming out of the period of colonialism and post military era, when the economy was not experiencing much stress, employment was not a problem. Therefore, the Nigerian youth were expecting automatic jobs, white-collar jobs and for graduates, that meant government jobs. However, the situation of the 80’s brought certain realities to the fore. Whitecollar jobs were no longer the vogue, which meant that self-employment must be

considered. Today, I say one of the achievements of the NDE and indeed the founding fathers including Ministers of Labour, Directors-General of the NDE and programme directors of the NDE, have all collectively mobilised Nigerians or Nigerian youths into accepting self employment as a viable alternative tool to the problem of unemployment in the country. To me that is a major success. Before the setting up of NDE, it was virtually unthinkable for a graduate to think of any other job other than white-collar jobs. So, this psychological re-orientation of the youth is considered a significant achievement. Let me once again pay tribute to the founders of NDE, they designed four programmes which, till date, are still relevant. They envisioned programs that could contain any conceivable scheme such that with the passage of time, with the changing patterns of unemployment and with the adjustment done by management, you could only design new schemes to cope with new patterns but you can always domicile them in the existing programmes because they cover several aspect of the economy. We have the vocational skills development, the small scale enterprises, the rural employment promotion and the special public ones. Going down memory lane; in the last 25 years, you will see that we started with the small scale industries and youth employment, agricultural and so many old programmes but today we

have redesigned them because the phenomenon of unemployment is dynamic. It keeps changing in pattern, volume, scope and so on, therefore, our skills must necessarily adjust to be able to tackle the problem. Between the 80’s and 90’s, probably the major change was that the volume of unemployment was increasing but now the demand of the people of the nation is such that we must adjust our programs. For example, the country has envisioned 202020; this vision is hoping to make Nigeria one of the 20 great economies by the year 2020. Now, if you ask me, this is a legitimate aspiration; it is our right to want to get to a better place than where we are today. However, getting to 2020 has many conditions which include the quality of skills. You cannot move to 2020 with traditional obsolete skills, you must be able to have skills of the 21 st century that are needed by the new emerging economies of the world and that means in place of those old skills and templates that you use to associate with NDE; auto mechanic, vulcanizer, hairdresser but today, you hear more of auto tonics, solar energy, ICT, wind energy and so on. These are new skills that are relevant to the 21 st century and are necessary for the attainment of vision 202020. This means that while government is unfolding reforms that aim to move our country forward, we on our part are preparing the core of young Nigerians that will be able to service the kind of economy that will emerge.

We have again noticed that Nigerians are complaining about the quality of artisans. In the country. Nigerians will tell you if you want good workmanship on PoP, interlocking, painting, and tiling, go and get an artisan from a neighbouring country. We cannot continue like this, Nigerians have to be able to do the work for Nigerians. In that context, what the directorate is doing, is that for the first time, we are now taking charge of our training process. What we did before was to mobilise unemployed youths, post them to master craft men and women who will train them on our behalf and we then assist them where possible to become selfemployed. But people are complaining of quality. Therefore, our response is to now take care of the training process which explains why we are establishing skill acquisition centers all over the country. As I speak to you now, we have over 70 skillsacquisition centers; vocational and agricultural skills centers. When we are able to bring the trainees into a control area, controlling the instructors, curriculum, then we will be able to give them the standard we wish as opposed to when you take them to master craftsman. Over the years, we have been adjusting, refocusing

and putting the progammes and skills of the NDE to be relevant to the developmental aspirations of our country, the needs of our people and to generate mass employment because the bottom line is that we were set-up to fight unemployment and these are the ways we have been adjusting. It is important to make it very clear that the NDE is an intervention by the federal government; we are wholly funded by the government but we have deliberately sought the collaboration of well-meaning establishments and individuals to be able to facilitate the process of young generation and to a large extent, we have succeeded, because among the other indirect successes of the NDE, is that the problem of unemployment has come to the fore of national discussion. This has made it possible for us to get more collaboration; state governments, local governments, NGOs etc. In particular, I think in the last four years one of our strongest allies have remained members of the National Assembly. Because they are politicians, they all want to do something for their constituencies. Can you give us specifics on the positive achievements you allude to?

You cannot move to 2020 with traditional obsolete skills, you must be able to have skills of the 21st century that are needed by the new emerging economies of the world

Definitely; Only recently, the National Economic Reconstruction Fund (NERFUND) brought us the list of 52 people recommended to them, giving each person a loan of N250,000 to be disbursed to them, arising from the collaborative activity between NDE and NERFUND; the cheques are here with me. There are other private outfits and other governmental organisations, like NYSC, Agric bank etc., that collaborate with us because we cannot do it alone. But let me tell you, if you want to look around and see the success of NDE; I will always say this; the best form of commendation is imitation. If you go around this country, every First Lady is carrying out functions similar to ours, that is what they call their pet projects aimed at generating employment, but we are happy about it. In our practice at the NDE, we expect communities and government to replicate what we are doing. I always give the example of when we started the scheme of the physically challenged people; we designed a scheme for 50 physically-challenged persons. We had the first group in Kaduna and the second group in Ekiti. We trained, resettled and empowered these 50 people to start their own businesses. These were people who hitherto were on the road begging. Now people will ask, If you go to Kaduna state or the North-West geo-political zone and train 50 people, it’s a mere drop in the ocean but can you also imagine if 774 local government areas all replicate with 50 each? You can imagine what that means. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria does not give the Federal Government the monopoly of cogeneration. Therefore, our experience, our expertise

confers on us the responsibility to show the way for other well meaning people. So, the directorate has been designing, implementing and encouraging other stakeholders to emulate our programmes. Recently, we revived a scheme that was established by the the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Nigeria. It is the labourbased large equipment supported method of construction and maintenance. This was pilottested in 1987 in Epe, Lagos state but since then it was abandoned. Now, we believe that labour based approaches have very high labour objective capacity and therefore decided to go back to them. We invited the ILO and all the states and when we convened the meeting, it was a meeting of Permanent Secretaries, Directors and commissioners of works and all the states showed interest in this. The main thing will be done by the state government; they have

their funds, projects, they have the unemployed people but we are facilitating mass job generation through these methods, and they are collaborating. If you sit to look at my budget and begin to compare it to my work, you will think I am performing miracle. I depend to a very large extent on collaboration with stakeholders and wellmeaning establishments or individuals. I think after 25 years of existence, the directorate has done commendably well. However, as Nigerians, we know unemployment still bedevils our country but this is not to say the NDE has not worked. From the onset, you must understand that we are an intervention agency, set up by the Federal Government. The main resolution of the unemployment programme lies with the reform programmes of government, which must put in reforms to enable the economy absorb its own labour force. I have confidence in the reform

Malam Abubakar Mohammed stressing a point

agenda of Mr. President. I am a simple man; I just simply watch and make my analysis. When Mr. President promised us electoral reforms, he delivered. When he brought Professor Jega to handle elections, I knew he was serious because if you are not serious, you don’t bring a man like that you cannot manipulate. When Mr. President was talking of his transformation agenda, I believed him, but do you know where I think the transformation starts? Let us

start by trusting our leaders. A situation where everything a leader says is suspect does not well for development. I have a very strong feeling that as soon as these two issues are settled: power and security, other things will fall into place. Talking about intervention, many Nigerians have lamented that in spite of the numerous intervention funds of the Federal Government, these funds do not get to the targeted

I think after 25 years of existence, the directorate has done commendably well. However, as Nigerians, we know unemployment still bedevils our country but this is not to say the NDE has not worked end users, they therefore think the NDE should play a more pro-active role in these interventions. What is your take on this? As earlier mentioned, NERFUND gave us 52 cheques for onward delivery to beneficiaries. For a long time we do not transact with beneficiaries in cash, we tell them to go and open an account with the agric bank. All these agencies if we understand them clearly, each has its mandate. This is entirely different from the NDE, whose job is to create employment. We have the right to go to any sector to create employment. Each agency has its mandates and activities. The establishment of skills acquisition centres is one of the avenues the NDE is using to solve the

unemployment problem. What are the criteria for locating these centres? When we started the year 2008 under the directive of the MDG office, we went to one state in each geo-political zone; that means six states. In each state, we went to each senatorial zone, which means three. And that was how we started with eighteen centers. Subsequently, we continued establishing centers through our regular budget and not the MDG again, and through interaction between the Directorate and the National Assembly, in conjunction, we try to see how we can place them equitably. We do not have enough for the whole country but we have to find an equitable means of distribution. Many Nigerians would find it difficult to reconcile the cited achievements of NDE with the recently released unemployment rate figures reeled out by the National Bureau of Statistics, which put the figure at 23.9 %; ? Let me paint the scenario here. Our diagnosis is that our youths come out of schools with no marketable skills or at best, with skills mismatch. So, our strategy is to give them marketable skills to enable them become employable or gives them assistance to start their own businesses thereby creating employment for them. Yes, the NBS can reel out their figures, but that doesn’t mean that NDE is not working. In the area of PublicPrivate-Partnership (PPP), has the NDE thought of collaborating with the private sector, like the banks and microfinance banks with a view to enabling the unemployed access cheap funds from them? We have sat down with some of the banks; however, it appears that they don’t want to transact business with small account holders; we have approached them and we know their constraints and challenges. We are making the best use of those institutions that can. Nobody is compelling them to come and work with NDE. If I announce I have billions of naira, they come rushing so that I can open an account with them, but if I ask the banks to please collaborate with us to do something for the unemployed, they turn their back on us.



EMERGENCY UPDATE Bomb Blast: NEMA advocates insurance against disasters Stories by Mohammed Kandi


ollowing the incessant natural and man-induced disaster which has crippled business activities in Nigeria, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has urged traders and farmers to embrace insurance scheme to enable them receive compensations from their losses. The call, according to a statement issued by NEMA’s head of press and public relations, Yushau A. Shuaib, followed the misconception by some individual over the agency statutory role in the provision of relief materials those in distress, saying NEMA’s mandate should include compensations to victims of disasters. Speaking at the presentation occasion of relief materials to the owners of affected building of an explosion that occurred in OriApata area of Kaduna State, the Director-General of NEMA, Muhammad Sani-Sidi, reiterated the agency’s quest in collaborating with relevant stakeholders to meet effective disaster management in the country. Represented by the Director, Relief and Rehabilitation of the agency, Mr. Edward Maigida, Sani-Sidi said: “Victims needs to realize that the agency is not a compensation institution but only gives some palliatives to cushion the effect of the disaster as interim measures. But we believe an insurance cover could go a long way to resuscitate livelihood.” The DG, therefore, urged the traders to insure their goods and property, saying the best strategy for recovery is insurance cover. He assured that, “traders

can easily get back to business when calamity strikes and it is the responsibility of a trader to get his property so that he can receive claims to restore the business structure instead of relying on government for compensations.” He suggested that traders irrespective of their business ventures take Insurance premium, “to serve as a means of cover in case they lost their properties or goods and services as a result of disaster rather than expecting largesse from the Government.” Sani-Sidi reaffirmed the agency’s commitment in coordinating effective disaster management in Nigeria, urging the populace to view the agency as an entity that provides relief assistance, not compensation to victims of disaster. He recalled that NEMA rescue team was at the scene of the twin blasts at Ori-apata and Mando respectively, to evacuate victims to hospitals and provided relief support to those bedridden at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Teaching Hospital and Barau Dikko Specialists Hospital in Kaduna State. The Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) in Kaduna, Ishaku D. Makama, commended the efforts of NEMA in timely rescue efforts and the provision of relief support to victims of disaster in the state. On his part, Alhaji Aliyu Baloni, representing the owner of shattered complex lauded the Federal Government’s gesture and promised to put the structure back in place to enable the traders who are mostly spare parts dealers to resume their businesses.

Peoples Daily reporter wins article competition


ollowing the deadline of voting by the entire contender for an article competition organised by the press and public relations division of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), a reporter with the Peoples Daily, Mohammed Kandi, has emerged winner of the competition. The results showed that Kandi’s article titled “NEMA and response to emergencies in 2011”, among two others, scored over 40 per cent of the total votes cast, putting it as the overall winner of the contest. NEMA’s head of press and public relations division, Yushau A. Shuaib, who presented to the winner a

Blackberry smart phone prize, urged the journalists to remain focused, determined and hardworking in their duties. Shuaib, who described the achievement as “deserving”, noted that, “the entire process of voting which was conducted online by the entire contestant was very transparent.” “Although the gift is not commensurate with the effort most of you had put in; it’s a way of encouraging you and many others outside journalism to remain hardworking in all their dealings,” he said. He recalled that the entire disaster reporters covering NEMA were directed to do a feature that encapsulates the agency’s year 2011 activities.

Officials of Bayelsa state of government and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) at the distribution of relief materials for victims of gas explosion in the state recently

A truckload of relief materials donated by NEMA for distribution to victims of gas explosion in Bayelsa state recently.

Sani-Sidi pledges improved work environment for staff


he Director- General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Alhaji Muhammad Sani-Sidi has assured on the management commitment to create conducive working environment and facilitate suitable welfare for the staff to encourage their greater commitment and productivity. Speaking at the inauguration of a staff canteen yesterday in Abuja, Sidi-Sidi said he was mindful of the hazards involved

in the management of disasters and therefore would ensure that the staff are provided with the necessary skills and working condition. The Director-General, who was represented by the Director, Search and Rescue, Air Commodore Alexander A. Bankole said the management had approved the newly inaugurated canteen to ameliorate the stress of the staff and reduce the loss of man hours. He said the agency would

continue to equip the staff with the right skills and facilities to optimize their potentials in office and disaster management operations. He solicited cooperation of the staff and assured continued supports for its union. Earlier, Chairman Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) NEMA chapter, Mr Joseph Ugwu thanked the DG for supports and encouragement given towards the canteen. He assured that the union would ensure its proper management for the benefits of the staff.




NEMA, women affairs ministry to partner on disaster management N

ational Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), North central zone, has said it will continue to partner with the Plateau Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development towards effective disaster management. The Zonal Coordinator, Mr Al-Hassan Aliyu, said this when he led his team on a courtesy visit to the Commissioner of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Olivia Dazyam. He said such collaboration had become imperative because women and children

were the worst hit during crises and emergency situations. “It is imperative that we work together to ensure that this vulnerable group is effectively attended to during such emergencies,” he said. He said that the agency would collaborate with the ministry in the areas of setting up temporary camp schools, giving out free trauma therapy sections to those who suffer trauma from crises, and in capacity building workshops. “It is the duty of the women and the children to discuss

with their husbands the need for a peaceful society; we must sensitise each other toward a stable society.” The commissioner, who received the team, commended them for the initiative, and expressed the willingness to collaborate with NEMA. Dazyam said that the collaboration was imperative, since both organisations handled social works. She assured NEMA of the ministry’s readiness to support its activities, pointing out that women and children were usually worst hit by the crises.

The Emir of Yauri, Alhaji Dr. Zayyanu Abdullahi and the Acting Zonal Coordinator, North West Zone, Alhaji Musa Ilallah presenting relief items to a victim at the Yauri Emirate, Kebbi State.

Plateau lawmakers to ratify SEMA By Audu Yohana


he Plateau State House of Assembly has guaranteed it would soon pass into law the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), so as to facilitate disaster prevention, mitigation and control in the state. This followed request by the Nigeria’s emergency management body, NEMA, that it became necessary for all the states of the federation establish the SEMA to enable it partner with the mother body run its operations effectively. The speaker of the Plateau

State House of Assembly, Right Hon. John D. Clerk, made this clarification when he received a delegation of officers from the North Central Zonal Office of the National Emergency Management Agency recently. In his opening remarks, the North Central Zonal Coordinator of NEMA, Aliyu Alhassan Danjuma, said the visit was meant to solicit the support of the lawmakers in insuring that enabling law for establishment of the SEMA was passed into law as contained in the Act establishing the National Emergency Management Agency.

Aliyu, therefore, regretted that the Plateau was the only state in the north central zone that is yet to have the SEMA fully backed by law, saying that, “disaster management will be easier for NEMA if the states can have State Emergency Agencies fully backed by enabling laws.” It was however learnt that some books on disaster management were donated to members of the Plateau State House of Assembly by NEMA. In his remarks, the speaker State assembly thanked NEMA for the materials given to his colleagues and the victims of various disasters in the state.


Living free from re-emergence of Lassa outbreaks


he re-emergence of the deadly epidemic called Lassa fever in Nigeria has become a subject of concern especially as the virus spreads gradually across the country. Lassa fever has been described as a highly fatal form of epidemic hemorrhagic fever caused by Lassa virus and characterized by high fever, sore throat, severe muscle aches, skin rash with haemorrhages, headache, abdominal pain, back pain, chest pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, cough, facial swelling, fever, and mucosal Bleeding. The socio-economic and health implications of Lassa fever called for immediate attention by both government and spirited organisations/individuals. For instance, the Federal Government plans to spend N500 million on the epidemic in the next three months, the statistical survey by the Federal Ministry of Health has shown that no fewer than 40 deaths has been recorded 12 states of Edo, Nasarawa, Plateau, Ebonyi, Taraba, Yobe, Ondo, Rivers, Gombe, Anambra, Delta and Lagos in the past six weeks; while over 5,000 deaths are recorded annually in west Africa from the virus. Meanwhile in a study carried out by the Federal Ministry of Health, the main cause of the Lassa virus has been traced to a rodent known as the Multimammate Rat of the genus Mastomys rodents which breed frequently, produce large numbers of children, and are generally known in the savannas and forests of West, Central, and East Africa to have colonized human homes. Lassa virus may be transmitted to humans in a number of ways; among these are human direct contact with the urine and compost from and infected Mastomys rodents; touching objects or eating contaminated food, cuts or sores through which the virus transmitted in the human body; person-to-person contact when a person comes into contact with virus in the blood, tissue, secretions, or excretions of an individual infected with the Lassa virus; and inhaling the tiny particles in the air contaminated with rodent excretions. However, in attempt to find a lasting solution to the outbreak of the deadly virus, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation (WHO) have proffered several infallible preventive measures which if dutifully observed will free not only individuals, but our entire society from the effects of Lassa fever. Early diagnosis within 6 days of infection is an effective key to combat Lassa virus. An individual with any of the symptoms identified above should without delay visit any of the nearest nine specialist centres established by the Health Ministry to obtain adequate check and medications against the virus. Isolating infected patients from

contact with unprotected persons until the disease has run its course is a very vital recommendation that must be seriously considered by relation and health workers attending to an infected patient with Lassa virus. It has been reported that health workers are at greater risk of contracting the disease mainly from exposure to infected patients; as seven medical doctors have reportedly died from the disease in the last 4 years. In this case, the health workers in the affected are advised to make constant use of safety gloves and protective vests while attending to patients. There is a need for individuals to obtain adequate education and enlightenment on the precautions against the disease, as awareness about the disease remains a crucial preventable measure. In this case, the above mentioned agencies have warned farmers and others who live in the hinterland from drying their grains on the road shoulders along the highway, because they could easily get contaminated with the urine and faeces of rodents that feast on them. At medical levels, the health worker must be fortified with sufficient instruction on the necessary procedures and measures while attending to an infected patient. This can be done by instituting mandatory Continuing Education, conferences, and workshops on epidemics outbreak for them. The following hotlines have been made available by the Ministry of Health for health workers seeking for the related expert advice on Lassa virus: 08037154575, 08023214998, 08037879701 and 08023047101. Good hygiene practices is a vital imperative in part of individuals; as putting food away in rodent-proof containers will help protecting against direct contact of rodents with food items; while keeping the home clean will also discourage rodents from entering homes. Transmission of the Lassa virus from rodent to humans can be prevented by avoiding contact with Mastomys rodents. Effort must be made to flush them out through periodic fumigation and prompt disposal of garbage which rats constantly visit for food. That is, individuals must dispose garbage far away from homes; and be careful to keep their foodstuffs out of reach of rats. Other rodent populations control measures such as complete equipment sterilization can be adopted using trapping measures in and around the home against rodents. When caring for patients with Lassa fever, further transmission of the disease through person-toperson contact can be avoided by taking preventive precautions against contact with patient secretions. Strict adherence to appropriate infection control practices to prevent unprotected exposure to blood or other body fluids is essential for the safe management of patients with possible Lassa fever and the prevention of onward transmission.



housands of people are taking to the streets in South Africa as a trade union federation called a nationwide strike to demonstrate for improved worker rights and against plans to introduce unpopular road tolls. In a statement yesterday, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), said that the country's system of casual labour, known as "labour broking" in which middlemen acted between employers and workers, amounted to "modern day slavery". COSATU is part of a tripartite alliance with the African National Congress, South Africa's ruling party, and the South Africa Communist Party. But in the statement, COSATU called for protests against the government. "We must force the government and the ruling party, the African National Congress, to scrap the exorbitant e-tolling system and ban modern day slavery (labour broking)," it said. The marches were expected to be peaceful, though there were reports early yesterday that people trying to board commuter trains to work were beaten, allegedly by protesters who wanted the demonstrations to shut down commerce. Al Jazeera's Haru Mutasa, reporting live from Johannesburg, said that a few thousand people had already turned up in the city's central business district. Our correspondent said that frustration with labour brokers had drawn many out to join the protests. "They say these labour brokers exploit the workers - they don't pay

Thousands march as South Africans strike them enough and that they work for long hours and they do not get any benefits like health insurance," Mutasa said. The e-tolling system, to come into effect in April, by whom South Africans would have to pay to use public roads, has also proved unpopular, our correspondent said, with strikers saying that scheme is too expensive and that the government should fit the bill of servicing and maintaining roads. In a speech on the eve of the


march, Zwelinzima Vavi, COSATU's leader, said the toll road debate summed up concerns about growing inequality in South Africa. South Sudan, locked in a bitter row over oil transit fees with neighbour Sudan, plans to export by road at least 10 percent of its 350,000 barrels-a-day output until pipelines are ready, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. Oil provides about 98 percent of South Sudan's income and is

vital to the impoverished country as it tries to develop infrastructure and institutions devastated by a war that killed an estimated 2 million people. The government will use trucks to carry a minimum of 35,000 barrels a day of its output to Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa and to the coast of Djibouti while pipelines in Kenya and Ethiopia are being built, the paper quoted the minister for petroleum and mining, Stephen Dhieu Dau, as saying.

Tens of thousands of South African public servants marched to government offices in Pretoria and parliament in Cape Town during nationwide marches

South Sudan to use trucks to export crude alian army units trying to resupply the remote northern garrison of Tessalit, besieged for weeks by rebels, have been beaten back after days of heavy fighting, rebel, army and local officials said on Monday. Fighting over Tessalit has been fierce as the town is close to the border with Algeria and losing it to rebels fighting for an independent north would leave Malian government forces with little presence in the remote border region. "The convoy has pulled back," said a senior member of northern Mali's Arab community, referring to three units trying to punch their way into Tessalit, where hundreds of soldiers and civilians are cut off from the rest of the country. Two Malian military sources also


confirmed the pull-back but gave no casualty toll. "We are going to have to reorganise our troops," said one of the sources, asking not to be named. The source added that the Tuareg-led MNLA fighters had received reinforcements from Chad, Algeria and Nigeria but did not give further details. The MNLA have been bolstered by heavily armed Malian Tuareg returning from fighting alongside pro-Gaddafi forces in Libya. The clashes have added a new layer of insecurity to a zone awash with smugglers and plagued by fighters linked to al Qaeda. Dozens of people have been reported killed and some 120,000 have fled their homes since the rebels launched a push south in midJanuary.

LRA launches new Congo attacks, may be “last gasp� Mission in the Democratic Republic of


he Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a cultish militia that has terrorised parts of Africa for decades, has launched a new spate of attacks in Democratic Republic of Congo this year after a lull in the second half of 2011, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said on Tuesday. One person has been killed, 17 abducted and 3,000 displaced in 20 attacks in Orientale province in northeastern Congo this year. The renewed violence was a cause of concern, UNHCR said. "In the last year the area was more secure," said Celine Schmitt, a UNHCR spokeswoman by phone from Kinshasa. But Mounoubai Madnodje, a spokesman for the UN's Stabilization

Congo (MONUSCO), said the LRA was on its last legs. "We think right now it's the last gasp of a dying organisation that's still trying to make a statement," he said. The LRA, which emerged in northern Uganda in the late 1990s, is believed to have killed, kidnapped and mutilated tens of thousands of people in a reign of terror across some of Africa's most remote and hostile terrain. It appears to have lost much of its power under mounting pressure. Its leader Joseph Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court, the African Union has designated it as a terrorist group, and in October the United States sent 100 military personnel, mainly Special Forces, to train and advise the forces fighting against the LRA.

Zimbabwe refuses to extend implats deadline take majority stakes in foreign firms,


Stephen Dhieu Dau (AFP)

imbabwe has turned down a request by Impala Platinum, the world's second-biggest producer, to extend a deadline to hand over a 29.5 percent stake in its Zimplats unit to a state-run fund, according to a letter seen by Reuters yesterday. Harare is expected to announce the fate of Implats' shareholding in Zimplats later on Wednesday after the two sides failed to agree on demands for the miner to surrender the stake, which is worth $310 million at current prices. Zimbabwe's Youth and Empowerment ministry, which is leading a push for local blacks to

told Zimplats bosses in a March 2 letter that today's deadline would not slip. "You are advised that your request for a 30-day extension has been rejected by the honourable minister and your company is expected to comply with the law as stated in our February 22 letter," the document said. Although the two-week ultimatum falls due on Wednesday, it is not clear what Harare will do if Zimplats fails to comply. Under the southern African country's 'empowerment' laws, it could cancel Zimplats' mining licence or arrest its executives.

Journalists protest insecurity, violations of rights in Somalia By Etuka Sunday with Agency Report


he National Union of Somalia Journalists (NUSOJ), is deeply worried over the level of insecurity and direct violations against the Media in Puntland, following the murder of the young radio journalist, Ali Ahmed Abdi who unidentified gunmen shot to death, and the way journalists equipments were seized, threatened, and warned against covering elections by Puntland's governor of Bari region. In a press release by African Press Organization (APO), journalists reacted against the deliberate act of violation following the seizure of the journalists equipments in a meeting held in Boosaaso and jointly called for the Puntland authorities to stop the increased violations against the journalists and the media stations in Boosaaso's Bari region including the ban on covering the election campaigns, the arbitrary arrests, equipment confiscation among others. According to the director of Radio Voice of Peace (Codka Nabadda Radio) in Boosaaso, armed policemen recently raided the premises of the station, taking equipments including two laptop computers, the mixer and locked the studio. The police later left the radio station closed down after the director was detained. Mohamed Ibrahim, the Secretary-General of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) said, "We urge the governor of Bari region to withdraw his decision to impose a ban on the journalists and media in covering the elections and call for the Puntland government to lift the media restrictions so that the journalists are allowed to report the election freely without fear and other related restrictions." "It is a frightening order which could probably put the journalists, who were already facing targeted killing, intimidations, arbitrary arrests and death threats, in difficult position." Mr. Ibrahim added. The guards of Deputy Security Minister of Puntland, Abdijamal Osman Mohamed, threatened and confiscated the equipments of the Universal TV reporter, Salman Jamal Said known as Salmaan Kaka, Reporter for the Raxanreeb Online Radio, Osman Ahmed Isse known as Osman Turaabi, and photographer for the Eastern Television Network (ETN) Abdulkadir Dahir nicknamed Daadir in the town of Boosaaso.



Romney wins in Ohio but rivals stay in race


itt Romney has emerged as the biggest winner on the busiest day yet in the race to secure the US Republican presidential nomination, but the battle to challenge Barack Obama in November looks set to rumble on. The closest contest was in Ohio, where frontrunning Romney won 38 per cent of the vote, edging out main challenger Rick Santorum by a margin of about 12,000 ballots. On a day dubbed "Super Tuesday", Romney also picked up victories in Massachusetts, Virginia, Vermont, Idaho and Alaska, while Santorum won in Tennessee, Oklahoma and North Dakota. Newt Gingrich, in third place in the race, won his home

state of Georgia. With 419 of the 1,144 delegates needed for the nomination up for grabs, Tuesday could have been a moment for Romney to cement himself as the party's strongest candidate. But Santorum's wins and the neckand-neck race in Ohio, considered a national bellwether, meant he failed to deliver a knockout punch. But Romney looked toward the general election against Obama in his victory speech. Addressing supporters in Boston, Romney said: "This president's run out of ideas. He's run out of excuses, and in 2012, we're going to get him out of the White House. This campaign is not about a name on the ballot. It's about saving the soul of America."

Al Jazeera's John Hendren, reporting from Columbus, Ohio, said the day had been a "mixed bag" for Romney. "But if there's one headline coming out of this it is that Mitt Romney won Ohio - and Ohio was the crown jewel," Hendren said. Ohio allocates 48 of its 63

delegates based on the winner in individual legislative districts, meaning Romney's overall win did not deliver him an overwhelming haul of delegates. But the state is deemed an especially important prize because it has voted for the winner in presidential elections since 1964,

when it favoured Lyndon Johnson over Barry Goldwater. "We're going to get at least a couple of gold medals and a whole passel full of silver medals," Santorum told supporters in Ohio. "We've won in the West, the Midwest, in the South and we're going to win across this country."

Thousands flee Syria violence


housands of Syrians fleeing a military crackdown by the government of Bashar al-Assad have crossed into neighbouring Lebanon, the United Nations says. The reports came as the Syrian president told state media that his government was determined to press on with a planned reform programme and to fight the "terrorists" it blames for the violence. "The Syrian people, who have in the past managed to crush foreign plots ... have again proven their capacity to defend the nation and to build a new Syria through their determination to pursue reforms

along with the fight against foreign-backed terrorism," SANA state news agency quoted Assad as saying on Tuesday. Assad has been facing increasing anger over his government's apparent refusal to allow medical aid into a devastated, largely antigovernment district in Homs, in addition to alleged rights abuses. Dozens of men, women and children returned on foot to Baba Amr, passing buildings riddled with bullet holes and other damage. The return comes days after opposition fighters pulled out of the neighbourhood following a sustained heavy military assault.

Mitt Romney emerged as the biggest winner on the busiest day yet in the race to secure the US Republican nomination with victories in the key swing state of Ohio and five other states, but the battle to challenge Barack Obama in November looked set to rumble on.

West agrees to relaunch Iran nuclear talks


ix world powers have accepted an Iranian offer for talks on its disputed nuclear programme. Catherine Ashton, the European Union's foreign policy chief, on Tuesday sent an offer to Iran proposing renewed diplomatic talks between the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) plus Germany. "On behalf of China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, I have offered to resume talks with Iran on the nuclear issue," she said in a statement. Tuesday's announcement by the EU's top diplomat came shortly after Russian calls for a resumption of face-to-face dialogue as soon as possible. A letter on February 14 demonstrated that Iran was now ready for serious negotiations, according to Russia. Ashton said the offer had been made to Iran in response to correspondence sent by Saeed Jalili, Iran's top nuclear negotiator. "Our overall goal remains a comprehensive negotiated, longterm solution which restores international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme, while

respecting Iran's right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy," Ashton said in her reply to Jalili. A time and venue now needed to be agreed, she said. The last round of negotiations between the six nations and Iran ended in failure in January 2011. William Hague, the UK foreign secretary, said in a statement that the burden would "be on Iran to convince the international community that its nuclear programme is exclusively peaceful". In a separate development, Iran has agreed to grant access to the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to visit the Parchin compound. The long-sought access to what Iran calls a military base, not a nuclear facility, came a day after the head of the UN nuclear watchdog, Yukiya Amano, said his organisation had "serious concerns" that Iran may be hiding secret atomic-weapons work. He singled out the Parchin military complex southeast of Tehran. The semi-official ISNA news agency quoted the Iranian statement as saying: "Given that Parchin is a military site, access to this facility is a time-consuming process, and it can't be visited repeatedly."

Members of a Syrian family arrive in northern Lebanon's Wadi Khaled with all the belongings they can carry.

The IAEA suspects Iran is hiding secret atomic-weapons work at sites where its inspectors have been denied access



US arrests, charges ‘Anonymous’ hackers


ix suspected leaders of the international hacking organization known as Anonymous were charged by U.S. authorities of computer crimes, dealing a major blow to the looseknit group that has wreaked havoc on the websites of government agencies and major corporations. Among those charged was Hector Xavier Monsegur, known as "Sabu," who took responsibility for attacks on the websites of eBay's PayPal, MasterCard Inc. and Visa Inc. between December 2010 and June 2011, according to federal prosecutors and the FBI. The attacks were in retaliation for the refusal of those companies to process donations to Wikileaks, the group that leaked confidential diplomatic cables in 2010. The charges against Monsegur, in a case that was opened last summer, were filed in federal court in New York via a criminal information. Such a document typically means a suspect has been co-operating with the government. "Sabu was seen as a leader . . . Now that Anonymous realises he was a snitch and was working on his own for the Fed, they must be thinking: 'If we can't trust Sabu, who can we trust?"' said Mikko Hyponnen, chief research officer at Finnish computer security company F-Secure. "It's probably not going to be the end of Anonymous, but it's going to take a while for them to recover, especially from the paranoia," Hyponnen said. Monsegur pleaded guilty last August to 12 charges, including computer hacking and conspiracy, according to documents unsealed in New York federal court on Tuesday. He is free on a $50,000 bond. The charges carry a possible maximum prison term of 10 years.

Monsegur has also identified himself as a member of hacking groups called "Internet Feds" and "LulzSec," the office of the Manhattan U.S. Attorney and the FBI said in a statement. U.S. authorities also said they had arrested Jeremy Hammond in Chicago on Monday, on charges of hacking in to Strategic Forecasting Inc., or "Stratfor," a global intelligence and research firm, in December 2011. Hammond, who was also known as "Anarchaos" and other names, identified himself as a member of "AntiSec" hacking group, authorities said. "In publicizing the Stratfor hack, members of AntiSec reaffirmed their connection to Anonymous and other related groups, including LulzSec," the statement said. It said members published a document with links to Stratfor data entitled: "Anonymous Lulzxmas rooting you proud" on a file-sharing website. About 860,000 clients and subscribers of "Stratfor" had confidential information stolen, officials said. A lawyer for Monsegur, Peggy Cross, did not immediately return a call seeking comment on the charges. Hammond's lawyer could not immediately be identified. U.S. authorities said the cyber attacks had affected more than 1 million people and the computer systems of foreign governments, such as Algeria, Yemen and Zimbabwe. Authorities said Monsegur and three of the charged men raided personal information about 70,000 potential contestants on Fox Television show "X-Factor." Anonops, which sends online messages on behalf of "Anonymous," sent a message on Twitter following the arrests. " #Anonymous Is an idea, not a group. There is no leader, there is no head. It will survive, before, during, and after this time," Anonops tweeted just after noon on Tuesday.

Hector Xavier Monsegur, known as Sabu LulzSec, an underground group also known as Lulz Security, along with parent group Anonymous have taken credit for carrying out a number of hacking actions against companies and institutions including the CIA, Britain's Serious Organized Crime Agency, Japan's Sony Corp., Mexican government websites and the national police in Ireland. A spokesman for Irish police said one of the suspects had been arrested and was being held in Terenure, a middle-class suburb of Dublin. Last summer, as part of a co-

ordinated law enforcement raid on the group, British police arrested Jake Davis, another suspected member of LulzSec who went by the nickname "Topiary." One of the charges announced on Tuesday was against Davis, a teenager accused of computer attacks on Sony, U.K. crime and health authorities, and Rupert Murdoch's U.K. newspaper arm News International. Davis is believed to have controlled the main Twitter account of Lulz Security, which the group used to publish data obtained by hacking into corporate and government

networks. LulzSec and Anonymous, loose online collectives of activists, have attracted widespread global media coverage for their stunts. LulzSec has more than 350,000 followers on Twitter. Last month, Anonymous published a recording of a confidential call on Jan. 17 between FBI agents and London detectives in which the law-enforcement agents discuss action they are taking against hacking. Authorities said they had arrested and charged Donncha O'Cearrbhail, 19, of Birr, Ireland of computer hacking conspiracy.

Top LulzSec hacker was FBI informant


Helmand province, the restive southern Afghanistan area, is where most British troops are based [GALLO/GETTY]

British troops missing after Afghan blast


ix British soldiers are believed killed by an explosion in southern Afghanistan, according to the UK's defence ministry. The six were on patrol in Helmand province on Tuesday when their armoured vehicle was caught by the blast, the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday. Mohammad Ismail Hotak, a senior Afghan police official in Helmand, said the explosion was caused by a roadside bomb. Most of the UK's 9,500 soldiers

currently serving with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) are based in Helmand. Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Mackenzie, a British army spokesman in Helmand said the soldiers were "missing, believed killed", but said details of the incident were still being confirmed. If the soldiers are confirmed dead, it would take the total number of British forces personnel who have died while serving in Afghanistan to more than 400 since the US-led invasion to topple the Taliban in October 2001.

leading hacker, whose group claimed responsibility for attacks on the CIA, law enforcement agencies in the UK and Ireland and major corporations, was an FBI informant, according to court documents. Hector Xavier Monsegur, a leader of the Anonymous-linked LulzSec hacker ring, agreed to work with the FBI after secretly pleading to 12 charges of computer hacking last August, the FBI said, as charges against five other hackers were announced on Tuesday. Monsegur, known as Sabu online, and the five others were charged in connection with last

year's infamous hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment, as well as attacks on Fox Broadcasting, the security companies HB Gary and Stratfor, and others, prosecutors said on Tuesday. More recently one of the hackers eavesdropped and recorded a telephone conference between members of the FBI and senior British police officials in an embarrassing episode for law enforcement agencies in the US and UK. "These cyber criminals affiliated themselves with Anonymous in different ways. They are not anonymous today, they have been identified and

charged," said a law enforcement official, who did not want to be identified as the investigation is continuing. The FBI was able to gain information about the hackers after identifying Monsegur, an unemployed 28-year-old father of two. Threatened with jail, he agreed last year to become a secret informant and turn in his colleagues so as to stay with his two young children. In Twitter messages, the Anonymous-affiliated account @YourAnonNews called Monsegur a "traitor" and played down the charges, claiming "We don't have a leader".

Sarkozy says ‘too many foreigners’ in France


he French president has said that there are too many immigrants in France, defending his re-election campaign promise to cut the number of new arrivals by half. "Our system of integration is working more and more badly, because we have too many foreigners on our territory and we can no longer manage to find them

accommodation, a job, a school," Nicolas Sarkozy said on Tuesday. He has been accused of taking to the right in the run up to the April 22 first round of the French presidential election in order to recruit voters tempted by antiimmigrant candidate Marine Le Pen's platform. But, in a television interview, he insisted that while immigration

could remain "a boon" for France in many areas, it must be controlled more tightly through tougher residency qualifications for newcomers. "Over the five year term I think that to restart the process of integration in good conditions, we must divide by two the number of people that we welcome, that's to say to pass from 180,000 per year to 100,000," he said.


APGA crisis ends as Okorie steps down for Umeh By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he factional Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chekwas Okorie, has returned to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the original Certificate of registration of the party, saying he, with his political associates, have willingly decided to discontinue leadership dispute and legal actions to that effect. In a letter to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, which was made available to our reporter, Okorie said he felt obliged as a responsible and law abiding Nigerian, to return the original certificate of Registration of the APGA to the Commission as the issuing authority. He said that he will, in good conscience, seek other lawful possibilities of continuing his quest to promote and contribute pragmatically to the deepening of democratic practice, principles and ethos of Nigeria. In his reaction, the National Chairman of the party, Victor Umeh, said he was yet to receive any official notification to that effect, adding that if Okorie was interested in reintegrating with the party, he should come officially to the leadership of the party and express the intention. Umeh added that Okorie had lost all his suit at every level, saying since he has decided to return the Certificate of Registration of the party to the INEC. It implied that he has come to the end of the road, saying that INEC will return the certificate to the party's leadership. It would be recalled that Umeh and Okorie have been at loggerhead over the genuine leadership of the party, during which several legal battles were initiated by the later against the former. However, with this return of APGA registration certificate to INEC and declaration of intention to stop every legal dispute with the INEC recognized APGA, led by Umeh, expectation is that the party will start to enjoy relative unity and peace.


he Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Kaduna State yesterday advised politicians against electoral violence in "desperate" attempts to win elections. Alhaji Haliru Tambuwal, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, gave the charge during a stakeholders' forum ahead of the March 10 polls for the conduct of election in 40 polling units of the Igabi East state constituency. Haliru frowned at the way some


Reps investigate British Airways plane landing in the dark By Lawrence Olaoye


he House of Representatives yesterday resolved to conduct investigations into the circumstances that led to the landing of a British Airways aircraft at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja in the dark. Following a motion moved by Rep Hassan Saleh informing his colleagues that a British Airways flight from London landed in Abuja

International Airport on February 9th in darkness as a result of power failure, the House mandated its committees on Aviation and Power to look into the matter and report back to the House within one week. Saleh, while leading the debate on the matter, pointed out that the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) has two supply lines dedicated to the Abuja Arport to ensure uninterrupted power supply

at all times. According to him, the PHCN authorities claimed there was power as at 5:55 am when the aircraft landed at the airport. But the lawmaker said the PHCN claims contradicted the report made by the spokesperson of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN)'s who declared that there was power outage at the time. Saleh pointed out that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) data have

shown that one third of aviation accidents in the past five years had been linked to runway operations. ``This unfortunate safety breach has serious implications on our national security and also capable of leaving a huge dent on our international image, especially on the aviation sector.'' The motion which was referred to the appropriate committees was adopted unanimously .

Some Senators attending Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus meeting, at the National Assembly, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

First lady tasks politicians on delivery of election promises


he First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, yesterday in Abuja called on elected leaders to deliver on their campaign promises to the electorate in order to ensure peace in the country. Jonathan said this at the launch of a ``Thank You Visit and Peace Advocacy Campaign'' held in collaboration with the FCT Administration. According to her, while seeking elective office, the politicians had promised to provide security, safety of lives and property, effective health

care and functional infrastructure but the challenges remained today. She called on politicians at the various levels of governance to remember that they were expected to deliver on their electoral promises. ``Those with the responsibility of providing security for the rest of us must rise to their feet and do so effectively. It is a collective effort of all that becomes national security. Everyone in authority at the ward, local, state and federal government levels, must deliver on

security and safety of lives and property,'' she said. Jonathan said that the time had come for women to say ``Enough is enough. We can no longer bear the agony of watching our husbands and children die before our eyes. ``We are tired of bearing the consequences of the actions of selfish people in our country,'' she warned. She advised the Governors, being the Chief Security Officers of their states, to ensure security in their domains. Earlier, Hajia Aisha Bala Mohammed, wife of the FCT

INEC counsels politicians against electoral violence desperate politicians rigged elections through organised violence, thuggery, ballot boxes and ballot papers snatchings. Other tactics adopted by the political parties, he said, include disruption of distribution of electoral materials, use of money to influence the outcome of elections and massive deployment of government machinery. The Commissioner warned that

such actions must stop forthwith for the country's democracy to flourish. While urging the stakeholders to report any erring INEC staff for disciplinary action, Tambuwal also appealed to the politicians to return the Commission's ballot papers and ballot boxes that were snatched during the March 3 polls into the three state constituencies. The electoral body had

conducted by-elections into the Giwa West, Kubau and Igabi East state constituencies on March 3 but that of Igabi East was inconclusive. ``We must do something now to make better the future of our country's democratic project.'' Tambuwal also warned that no elected or appointed public officer would be allowed to serve as a party agent or monitor the elections. (NAN)

Minister, called on mothers to ensure that peace was enjoyed and sustained in the territory. She urged them to advise their children to avoid acts capable of violating the peace and tranquility and called on chiefs and village heads to caution their wards to avoid the breakdown of law and order in the country. ``Nigeria belongs to all of us, and we must join hands to make it a violent-free nation,'' she added. Rev Fr. Tom Asen, Catholic Priest of Holy Rosary Catholic Church, urged both Muslims and Christians to disown any sect such as Boko Haram that might hide under the cover of religion to forment trouble. He suggested that anyone found guilty of hiding under the cover of religion to kill should be punished in order to serve as a deterrent to others. Alhaji Muhammad Khalid, the Imam of Apo Legislative Mosque, called on Nigerians to join hands and work for the peace in the country



Fresh leadership crisis looms Bauchi state CPC From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


resh leadership crisis looms in the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) Bauchi state chapter where a court injunction was obtained to prevent the caretaker committee chairman of the Party, Alhaji Ali Saidu, from removing the embattled chairman, Alhaji Shehu Barau Ningi from the office. The party had last week sacked Ningi for anti-party activities. The ousted Chairman has secured a Court Order restraining the party from removing him. The restraining order obtained from a Federal High Court in Bauch was signed by the presiding Judge, Justice M.T . Salihu stopped the INEC, the caretaker committee chairman

of the CPC and six others from effecting Ningi's alleged suspension as chairman. Ningi maintained that he was elected as chairman on 6th January 2011 and sworn-in along with all the state executive of the party on Friday 7th January 2011 at the Mustapha Katagum Shopping complex in Bauchi. Commenting over his suspension, Ningi said: "Letters purported to have come from headquarters of the National party. We met the person who was said to have authored the letter that is the deputy National

chairman and he swore to God that he was not aware of that letter and said we should send him a copy. The copy we saw around being circulated we sent it to him he said to us to that he had never written such a letter and all the other members of the signature of the deputy National chairman, so it is a forgery, it is 419 and if you look at the content of the letter you will see that there are so many inconsistencies and contradictions, first of all the letter said my address is Kobi street." He continued "This is if you remember the so called caretaker

committee chairman was at Kobi when we had factions so that is what is in his mind when he was writing this because I believe he is the author of this. I am at Wunti street that is the first secretariat and the only Secretariat of the CPC; that is one. Secondly, when the Board of Trustee or NEC meets and it is trying to forward its decisions to individuals or groups it normally and formally and conventionally says at its 20th meeting or 19th meeting or 18th meeting of so date. It's not there; it's not in the purported letter; so this means this is not conventional ways of writing; it's

another inconsistency; there are so many." Responding, the Caretaker Taker Chairman said: "Ningi is wasting his time because we have valid Court Orders that legalized our assumption as caretaker committee because the election that Ningi claimed to have worn has never been held. Initially, Ningi was banned from even contesting but he gathered youths and elected himself and sworn in himself, so as far as we are concerned, he is not the chairman of the party and he has been suspended by the NEC of the party"

Reps mandate NNDC to assist Irele/Okitipupa erosion victims By Lawrence Olaoye, Abuja


he House if Representatives has mandated the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC to immediately wade into the plights of residents of some communities in Ondo State now faced with serious environmental degradation occasioned by erosion. This development came after the House was informed that no fewer than five lives and twenty houses were lost due to devastating effects of erosion currently threatening to cut off parts of the communities which include Akotogbo, Aye, Ajagba, Erinje and Oloto both in Irele and Okitipupa LGA's of the state. In a motion sponsored by Rep Akintoye Albert representing the area, "some buildings have been submerged, some about to collapse and others completely wipe out due to their nearness to this gully and properties worth millions of naira have been washed away" The lawmaker who raised the alarm said that the above mentioned communities were at the verge of being further submerged even as he lamented that lives of residents are not being protected by the appropriate authorities. He also regretted that several billions of naira voted in the past as ecological fund to Ondo State went without positive results. Taking cognizance of the emergency nature of the development, the House immediately urged federal ministries of Environment and Niger/Delta to urgently carry out ecological survey of the affected areas

L-r: Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun state, Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos, chairman of the occasion, Mr Fola Adeola, ACN National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, and Governor Ibikunle Amosun of ogun, during the presentation of a book, 'development agenda for western Nigeria' (dawn, on Tuesday in Lagos. Photo: NAN

Ekiti urges PDP to define Fayose’s status in party From Adesoji Oyinlola, Lagos


he Ekiti state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the national leadership of the party to define the status of the former governor of the state, Mr. Ayo Fayose in the party. Chairman and leaders in the former governor's constituency led by the party's Chairman of Irepodun Local Government, Hon. Gbenga Adebayo, said "Fayose's violent activities in Irepodun/ Ifelodun Local Government area

of Ekiti State during and after the last Saturday Ward Congress should concern all well-meaning leaders of the PDP in Ekiti and national level." The party leaders who made this call in a statement issued in Ado-Ekiti yesterday accused the former governor of unleashing violence on PDP members of the local government "when he led over 30 thugs to the party secretariat in Ado-Ekiti on Monday." The party's stakeholdes

include Chief Femi Balogun, Evang Gbenga Adekunle, Hon Babade Ige, Hon Martins Ibikunle, Chief Taiwo Olatubosun, Hon. Ademola Salami and Hon Ganiyu Tijani. According to them, the thugs attacked and wounded former Secretary to the Local Government, Hon. Babade Ige (Afao), Sunday John (Afao), Hon. Tope Apanisile (Iworoko), Hon. Ganiyu Sunday-Tijani (Iyin), Dauda Ajayi (Awo) and Hon. Owolabi Babatunde (Igbemo). The party leaders said it was

wrong for Fayose to be taking part in the party activities, especially party congresses when he has not been fully admitted back into the party, adding that; "The NWC should come out with clear position as to the status of Fayose's membership of the PDP." "We are constrained to bring to the attention of our great party, the PDP and the entire public the activities of former governor Ayo Fayose in relation to the Ward Congress in Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government area of Ekiti State.

Senator Dariye commences appreciation tour in Plateau Central From Nankpah Bwakan, Jos


enator Joshua Dariye representing Plateau Central Senatorial District has commenced a "Thank You" tour to the five local government areas of the state that make up the zone to show appreciation the electorates for the mandate they gave him to represent them in the National Assembly. Dariye who was elected under the platform of the Labour Party (LP) was challenged by the

candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nde Dauda Gowon, before the Election Petition Tribunal and Appeal Court respectively. But the Appeal Court affirmed his victory. The Senator, while addressing the large crowd that trooped out to welcome Dariye, said he is representing all the parties and not a particular party stressing that he would not discriminate against any body or party on the grounds of

party difference but that he would strive hard to deliver to the constituents the dividends of Democracy. The lawmaker said he was at the forefront of advocating for local government autonomy in the country and that himself and few other of his colleagues are working on the bill which they have already presented on the floor of the house. He thanked those who voted for him as well as those who did not even as he stressed that the

interests of the zone and the state override individual and party's interest assuring that he would do his possible best to attract valuable projects to the zone. According to him, he has already attracted a project to Federal College of Education (FCE), Panskhin and the zonal office of the Industrial Court to the zone which he said were part of his little effort to attract dividends of democracy to his people. He said they should expect more of such.


Bauchi lawmaker’s certificate forgery matter adjourned to March 24 From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


hief Magistrate’s Court 4 sitting in Bauchi has adjourned Alhaji Yakubu Mohammed Ahmed's case of alleged certificate forgery to the 24th of this month for ruling. It could be recalled that Alhaji Ibrahim mai Angale and Alhaji Yakubu Mohammed Ahmed contested the last Bauchi Central Constituency state Assembly elections. Angale contested under CPC where he was declared winner but was later sacked by the Tribunal and the PDP candidate was declared winner in his stead. Angale later filed direct criminal complaint and accused Ahmed of using a forged Primary School Certificate while filling his particulars in the electoral body form. Ahmed however filed a preliminary objection against the criminal charges filed against him by Angale over certificate forgery before Bauchi Chief Magistrate Court number four. Counsel to the accused, Barrister Mukhtar Usman, yesterday told the court that it lacked jurisdiction to entertain the case since the magistrate court is empowered by section 15 to 18 of the criminal procedure court to try offences whose punishment does not exceed sentence to five years imprisonment, and the punishment of offences under section 368 which the accused person is charged is 14 years imprisonment. He pleaded that the court to uphold the preliminary objection. Counsel to the complainant, Barrister Babatunde Oyefeso, told the court that section 368 of the penal code states that "whoever has in his possession any forged document knowing the same to be forged and intending that the same shall fraudulently or dishonestly be used as genuine shall be punish with imprisonment for a term, which may be extend to 14 years and shall also be liable to fine" Oyofeso added that the Criminal Procedure vest jurisdiction for the magistrate court to try the offence because Chief magistrate court is the court with least powers to try the offence and asked the court to dismiss the preliminary objection. The presiding magistrate Garba Inuwa Sambo has adjourned the case to 24th march 2012 for ruling on the preliminary objection


Wada dissolves transition c’ttee, promises inclusive govt. From Sam Egwu, lokoja


ontrary to speculations making the rounds that the Kogi state governor, Capt. Idris Wada, has begun probing the past administration, he has instead described the transition committee as a fact finding mission in order to ensure solid foundation for the take off of his administration. Wada made the clarification yesterday in Lokoja when he received the final report of the transition committee set up two weeks ago to give impetus to the plans and programs of the

administration that will move the state to the next level. The governor said that the committee became imperative for his administration in order to ascertain the degree of work done by his predecessor and what to be done by his government even as he clarified that he was not out to probe any body. He noted that with the caliber of people on the committee, he had no doubt about the quality of the report assuring that the report will receive the government attention. While thanking the committee members for the assignment, the governor said, "You have served in your own way

of charting a new dawn for Kogi state; we will need you in future assignment when the need arises". He maintained that his administration was committed to the rapid transformation of the state saying that the report will give a road map to the actualisation of the objectives and dreams for the state. According to him, the government will be meticulous and systematic in studying the report with a view to extracting salient recommendations, assuring that he was ready to work with the best brains in the state. Wada hinted that the government would operate an

Edo state Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole (middle), addressing his supporters, yesterday at the Benin Airport on arrival from Abuja where he picked the nomination form of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) to contest in the forthcoming governorship in the state.

Rep challenges Northern govs on good governance By Lawrence Olaoye


he Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Rep Suleiman Abdurahman Kawu Sumaila (ANPP, Kano) has challenged the 19 northern governors to focus more on the delivery of democratic dividends rather than dwell on the struggle for improved revenue allocation. The lawmaker who made this disclosure yesterday said the governors should tackle the multifarious developmental challenges facing the region with a

view to improving the living conditions of the people. While insisting that he was not particularly against the clamour for improved funding by the governors, the lawmaker said tackling the challenge of insecurity currently staring the region in the face should be their priority. He said "No matter the amount of money they get from the federation account, it won't be useful to the region in any way if insecurity persists." "They (Northern Governors) have never taken a position that will

change the life of their people such as that of agricultural reform, which will boost agricultural production and equally improve economic activity of the region. "Besides, how many tractors and other agricultural equipments are in operation today in Northern Nigeria? The truth is Northern Governors have never considered convocation of a Northern Economic Summit that will come up with a comprehensive blue print on the development of the region and pursue its implementation religiously with all seriousness and

PDP chairmanship: Bamanga Tukur campaigns in Lafia today From Ali Abare Abubakar, Lafia


leading campaigner for the National Chairmanship position of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, is expected today (Thursday) in Lafia, the Nasarawa state capital. Alhaji Rayyanu Iliyasu, former chairman of Lafia local government area and state coordinator, Bamanga Tukur

campaign organisation, made this known yesterday in a chat with journalists. He stated that, the former governor of the defunct Gongola state and a founding member of the PDP, will be in Lafia in his continuation of tour of the north central region. Describing Tukur as a humble person, Iliyasu said that the Chairman of the Africa Business Roundtable, considering the crisis ravaging the party in some states,

is poised to build a strong and reliable party, making sure that tribalism, religion and similar divisive tendencies, never arise within the party. He said his initial reservation about Tukur's ambition to become chairman of the party, having been in the forefront of political maneuvering for so long, was however dissipated after witnessing the large crowd from across the country that turned up

to accompany the chairmanship candidate to submit his intent form at the National Secretariat of the party in Abuja. The campaign coordinator stated that Tukur, having been to all parts of the country both as a politician and a businessman, will give his best, if he becomes the chairman of the party just as he assured that he will take the PDP to its rightful place as the largest party in Africa.

Lagos Assembly calls for repair of pedestrian bridge By Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


embers of the Lagos State house of Assembly yesterday called the attention of the state's Commissioner for Works and infrastructure on the precarious condition of the pedestrian bridge in Ketu along Ikorodu road. Member representing Ikorodu constituency 1, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, who made this known during plenary under Matter of Urgent public Importance called the attention of his colleagues to the dilapidated pedestrian bridge. Agunbiade noted that the reinforcing rods that are supposed to support the bridge had corroded and "this could be dangerous to members of the public that patronizes this bridge everyday if the bridge caved in", he said. In her reaction, Hon. Lola Akande representing Ikeja constituency 2, stated that the deplorable state of bridges and other public facilities goes a long way to show how the county lacked maintenance culture. She said "We did not need to wait till thing got destroyed or bad before we started making changes; we have to improve on our maintenance culture before all the things we built with tax payers money get destroyed right in front of our eyes." The speaker Adeyemi Ikuforiji however called the attention of the of the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure to quickly dispatch its men to the site to examine the extent of damage on the bridge. goodwill." "New revenue allocation formula that will favour non oil producing states can only be realized with the help and acceptance of the other regions. Why were they quiet on subsidy removal? It's simply because they will get money to waste and northerners are the most affected by removal of oil subsidies due to the endemic poverty in the region", he said. According to him, past leaders in their wisdom created local governments to get more revenue to the people at the grass roots but the Governors connived to suffocate them of funds through the illegal joint account. "Just imagine how many people will benefit if the Governors should release LGs funds directly to the local councils and monitor its utilization effectively," he wondered. Kawu charged the Governors to be honest enough to provide an effective local government system through free, fair and credible elections. "There should equally be sustenance of past policies but for instance, even their Chairman Governor Mua'azu Babangida Aliyu abandoned his successor's policies and programmes like the housing estates in Suleja and Madalla despite being of same political party with him," he laments.



Advertorial ISSUES OVER PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN’S VISIT TO BENUE STATE The visit of Mr. President to any state should ordinarily elicit joy and excitement among the people. However, for us in Benue, while we are happy to welcome Mr. President to the state, we have a few serious concerns. One, his commissioning of projects of the Benue State Government which are inappropriate or dubious; Two, bad governance and insecurity in the state; Three, possible lobbying of Mr. President to support the continued subversion of the course of justice; and Four, controversy over chieftaincy title on Mr. President. Against the backdrop of these concerns, we expect that this visit of thePresident of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander-in-Chiefwill enable him to pay practical attention to the critical demands of good governance, development, democracy, the rule of law, and propriety and good conduct in public service. As a result, we would like to observe as follows: Mr. President will recall that the only project he commissioned during his last visit to Benue State was a primary school built in pre-colonial times, hurriedly renovated for the purpose of his visit. May we caution that the projects Mr. President is billed to commission this time around are no different: most of these projects were inherited at completion stages but are yet to be completed in spite of their huge over-inflated price tag by the SuswamGovernment. The only project initiated by Governor Suswam is the new Government House, Makurdi; a project shrouded in financial mystery. Nobody knowsits actual cost. And inan agrarian and underdeveloped state like Benue with one of the highest unemployment and poverty rates in the country, constructing a new Government House is a misplacement of priorities. This is more so because of the huge sums already spent by the Suswam Government in renovating the old Government House; whereas such funds could have been directed to good healthcare delivery, provision of quantitative and qualitative education, increased agricultural production and general development. The water works projects in different parts of the state which Mr. President is likely to commission, have not only been the biggest drain pipe under the Suswam administration, they are indeed an embarrassing scam because, to date, none of the water works have any reticulation or distribution network to supply water to consumers. What then is Mr. President commissioning? These are glorified borehole projects for which several billions have been spent without benefit to the people. TheTeaching Hospital in Makurdi which was 90 percent completed before GovernorSuswam took over. In spite of series of upward variations by the Suswam administration, even the equipment that were bought are lying waste in

warehouse in Makurdi; with Medical students of the Benue State University who completed their pre-clinical level also idling at home as no Nigerian University is willing to absorb them. Why is Governor Suswam in a hurry to commission a mere shell in the name of a teaching hospital? Also of concern is the enlisting of ‘Benfruit’ Juice Factory for commissioning by Mr. President. This Factory was not only built and fully equipped by the Akumeadministration;it was inspected by former President OlusegunObasanjo. It is adjudged to be one of the best in the Country and the only one with the capacity to manufacture juice and concentrates. The present administration has sold it out to Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp), who have since changed the name to Teragro Fruits Juice Company. Why would Governor Suswam enlist this Company for commissioning by Mr. President? From the above it is obvious that Mr. President is being lured to go and commission projects which are not ready but have been deceptively packaged purely as publicity stunt. If in four years, Governor Suswam could only lead Mr. President to commission a hurriedly renovated Primary School, then one can only imagine the desperation of the Governor to impress Mr. President the second time around! Mr. President must be careful not to be trapped into this Suswam trade mark of deception. It is common knowledge that Suswam’s ‘re-election’ is being hotly contested over electoral fraud and non-qualification because of his certificate controversy. As citizens of Benue state we feel ridiculed and diminished under the leadership of Gabriel TorwuaSuswam as Governor, because, as a public servant of his status, he has made the presentation of ordinary certificate of Education an issue.Although we have absolute faith in the Judiciary, we hasten to caution Mr. President to resist any likely attempts to pressure him to interfere with the electoral process in Benue or any other state for that matter. Mr. President needs to be reminded that many people in the opposition who refused to vote for Suswam, still voted for Mr. President. Unfortunately, Suswam has slammed the door against the opposition from being part of your state visit. A state visit by the President should be seen to be nonpartisan and affords the president the opportunity to interface across the political divide. Finally, while we have nothing against conferring a befitting chieftaincy title on Mr. President in Tiv Land, it is rather a pity that the title of ‘ZEGE IJENDE’ chosen for Mr. President has already been bestowed on Rev. Jolly Nyame, former Governor of Taraba State as ZEGE HUROR. Both titles mean Great Friend. Mr. President can see that this trade mark of deception has no limits!!! Once again, Mr. President, welcome to Benue State, ‘the food basket?’of the nation.





Cash crunch may force NFF to forgo foreign coach for Super Falcons


lans by the NFF to hire a foreign manager for the Super Falcons may have hit the rocks thus forcing a reversal to the indigenous coach option. Accordingly, the NFF technical subcommittee, which meets today to finalise on the matter of technical director for the football federation, is expected to also to narrow down on the coach of the Falcons, as it would for Flying Eagles. Stories by Patrick Andrew


igerians serving in FIFA and CAF committees have frowned at the National Sports Commission’s

Dr. Patrick Ekeji , DG NSC

Already, a former coach of the Falcons who is presently at the reins of Kwara United technical crew, Kadiri Ikhana, is being touted to assume the post as is Fatai Amoo for the junior Eagles. According to a wire service last night, the Chris Green-led technical committee had initially recommended former France and China coach Elizabeth Loisel for the Falcons top post, but has opted to back

out because of cash crunch. The French woman has been recommended to take charge of the Falcons, who are getting set to begin the defence of the African Women’s Championship soon, but her demands are well above the means of the federation. This year’s AWC will be staged in Equatorial Guinea. The outspoken former Nigeria international guided Kano


plans to seek the resolution of the name change conflict rocking Nigeria football in Zurich, Switzerland, the corporate headquarters of the world football governing body. The members rose from their meeting yesterday with the resolve that such visit would engender further conflicts rather than force them to abate in the nation’s football polity. This was contained an 8-point communique signed by Etubom Paul Bassey which reflected the consensus of the member that frequent visit to FIFA by government functionaries to resolve ‘issues’ should be

discourage since such internal mechanisms could be used to resolve same. This may have done in apparent reaction to the NASC’s plans to travel to Zurich on Match 24 to seek the position of FIFA over the change from association to federation, a development that has led to several legal battles. Instead of taking the matter to FIFA, the members canvassed as a matter of “urgency the need to conclude the process of repealing decree 101 in line with our present democratic dispensation to conform with the statutes of CAF and FIFA, thereby recognizing the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF)

said to have been seriously wounded. To restrain the fans, the police were said to have shot into the air before they could rescue the referee from the angry fans, according an eye witness account. Pillars were seeking their sixth straight home win but Heartland had their own plans and went ahead after half an hour through new signing Obinna Orji. Gambo Mohammed then drew the host team level on the hour.

The home team missed several scoring chances, while Heartland played a very tactical defensive game. Heartland suffered a similar fate at the weekend when they drew 2-2 at Gombe United And on Saturday, fans also went on rampage as Kwara were holding visiting Sunshine Stars to a 1-1 draw. The NPL have since slammed Kwara with a hefty fine and banished them to Abuja for their next two home.

7-man c’ttee to investigate Kwara Utd/Sunshine fracas


he Kwara Government yesterday vowed to punish those behind Saturday’s Premier League fracas at the Ilorin Township Stadium, between Kwara United and Akure-based Sunshine Stars. Mr Anthony Towoju, the Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development, said in statement that indicated the setting up of a seven-man Committee to investigate the matter. Towoju advised football fans in the state to remain calm, adding that the state government would put measures in place to forestall a

First Bank FC of Lagos, Enyimba and Sunshine Stars. His immediate assignment would be in July, when he battles the overall winners of the AYC match-up between Sudan and Tanzania for the right to advance in the qualifying series for the biennial competition to be staged next year in Algeria. The FIFA U20 World Cup will be hosted by Turkey from June 2013.

Don’t go to FIFA over internal wrangling, committees members urge sports commission

Violence ends Heartland, Pillars game ans went on rampage for the third recent match when they attacked Heartland after hosts Kano Pillars forced a 1-1 draw yesterday in a rescheduled NPL tie. Hell was let loose at the blow of final whistle as fans invaded the pitch to pounce on the match officials and the visiting team. Report has it that fans invaded the pitch to attack players and the referee, and in the process have injured Osas Okoro and Abdul Haruna, while coach is

Pillars to win the 2008 Nigeria Premier League crown. He quit coaching in the NPL at the end of last season. In respect of the Flying Eagles, Amoo, a former Super Eagles assistant coach is heavily favoured to take over from John Sam Obuh, who guided the team to win the 2011 African Youth Championship in South Africa. Amoo has worked at several top Nigerian clubs including

recurrence of such crisis. The week 12 encounter ended abruptly in the 81st minutes when the centre referee, Sanni Mohammed, waived what the fans thought was a penalty. Bolaji Shakin of Kwara United was brought

down in the penalty box by a Sunhine player. The statement further advised the Kwara United fans not to get easily provoked, and that the government was prepared to address security problems at the stadium.

Nigeria slump again in FIFA ranking


igeria nosedived further by a step, in both FIFA and CAF rankings released yesterday for the month of March. The country moved from its previous 56th ranking in the World in Feb. to the 57th, and from eighth place in Africa to the ninth position. Nigeria garnered a total of 557 points to occupy the 57th position in the FIFA rankings, released yesterday.

as the sole body responsible for football administration and development in this country.” Further, they cautioned litigants against resort to the civil courts to settle matters patterning to footbal, stressing that the nation is bound by law to

abide by the statutes of FIFA. “Having voluntarily agreed to affiliate to FIFA, we are bound to respect and abide by the rules and regulations of FIFA (FIFA STATUTES, ARTICLES 10, 13, 17, 62 AND 64) hence the need to commence a process of reconciling members of the football family that will lead to the withdrawal of all football matters from ordinary courts.”

7 Falconets in Flamingoes squad to Zambia


even members of the women U-20 squad, the Falconets that played in the finals of the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Germany last year have been included in the U-17 team, the Flamingoes, who departed the country last night to Lusaka, Zambia. Chief Coach of the Flamingoes, Edwin Okon, in justifying their inclusion said the players were originally meant for the U-17 but the coaches of the U-20 snatched them from the junior side. ‘The coaches of the Falconets, to the last World Cup, are responsible for the situation. The truth is the said seven players were originally in the Flamingoes team preparing for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago in 2010,” he said. The players in question are Gloria Ofoegbu, Uchechi Sunday, Ebere Orji (Rivers Angels), Amarachi Okoronkwo (Nasarawa Amazons), Esther Sunday (Sunshine Queens), Desire Oparanozie (Delta Queens) and Blessing Edoho (Pelican Stars). The coach dismissed insinuations that they may have outgrown the U-17 level stressing that by the ages in their international passports they were within the age bracket. “Their ages are there for all to see as FIFA has their documented records. I think it is wrong for anyone to question their inclusion in the team because they are all eligible to compete

at this level’ Edwin said. Saturday’s clash at the Independence Stadium, Lusaka is the first leg of the African series final qualifying fixture, following the Flamingoes’ 5-0 aggregate win over Kenya and Zambia’s 7-2 demolition of Botswana. Head Coach Peter Dedevbo led out 18 players and 10 officials aboard a South African Airways flight to Johannesburg, from where the team will connect another flight to the Zambian capital for the 2013 CAF U-17 qualifiers. The winner of the two-leg fixture will qualify to represent Africa at this year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup finals, taking place in Azerbaijan, September/October. The return leg takes place at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta on Saturday, March 24.

Desire Oparanozie



former Golden Eaglets player, Chinedu Chukwugbo, has advised coach Garba Manu, not to limit his search for a new team to the secondary schools or football academies. Manu, the coach of the national U 17 team, is currently screening prospective members of the Golden Eaglets who are to compete for the 2013 African Youth Championship and FIFA World Cup. Chukwugbo, a member of the 1995 AYC and FIFA U-17 World Cup team to Mali and Ecuador respectively, said in Abakaliki, that players within that age category abound in the country. “Players within the age bracket the requisite experience needed to compete at that level can be found across the country,” he said. According to him, the country achieved its best placing at the competition with a combination of players from clubs, academies and the grass roots. “Our predecessors - the 1993 set - won the trophy in Japan with 80 per cent of players from clubs across the country. It was the set that produced the nucleus of the team that won the first Olympic Gold medal for Nigeria and Africa in ‘Atlanta ’96, and the players included Nwankwo Kanu, Wilson Oruma, and Celestine Babayaro. “Our own set won the silver medal at the inaugural CAF U-17 Championship in Mali and reached the


Ex-Eaglet tasks Manu-led crew on raising formidable team quarter-finals of the FIFA U-17 Championship in Ecuador in 1995, with players mostly from the country’s league,” he said. Chukwugbo advised the present coaches not to be swayed by the calls from several quarters that only secondary school students and players from the grassroots should form the present team. “Successful countries in world football rely on the clubs in the league for players for the U-17 categories and this has helped improve their football. “World stars such as Lius Figo, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo represented their countries at such levels and were regulars for their respective clubs and they are still waxing strong today. “The present coaches of the Eaglets should ensure that the best players are picked for the team whether league or grass roots players,” he said. Chukwugbo contended that it had become imperative to select the best players within the age bracket to ensure victory and restore the confidence of fans in the country’s football.

Lius Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo where products of Cadet tournament

Dabo Babes, Jimeta United fined N.5m for shunning opening matches Story by Patrick Andrew


Aminu Maigari


he CAF 'B' Licence coaching course earlier scheduled to hold from March 11 through March 25 has been postponed again, but this time by one week, according to the Director of Technical, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme. Ikpeme, who had earlier gave assurances that the event would hold, said yesterday that the postponement was due to logistic reasons, even as he gave a tentative date when the course would be held. "We have indeed agreed on a shift, and I cannot say definitely now the new dates. But it is likely to be starting on March 18, which is a week later than earlier scheduled,'' he said. It as a follow-up to the CAF `C' Licence course held in October 2011 with about 80 participants in attendance. Ikpeme, while speaking on the postponement, had said it was unavoidable, as the NFF had to put in

abo Babes of Kano and Jimeta United of Yola have come under the hammer of the Nigeria NationWide League (NNWL) which yesterday imposed fines of N50,000 on each for failing to honour its dates in the opening matches of the season, last weekend. Another Kano-based club, Jarma FC also came under fire equally for failing to show up in Abuja for their Division One D match against hosts Nigeria Prisons FC. Dabo and Jimeta were to trade tackles with Lobi Junior FC of Makurdi and Supreme Court FC of Abuja respectively. The League's Secretary, Emmanuel Adesanya, said the three clubs were fined for bringing disrepute to the league as they failed to add to the colour seen throughout the various centres where matches were scheduled.

The competition, hitherto known as the National Amateur League Division One, kicked off last weekend with matches in its four groups. Eighteen matches had been scheduled, with five matches each in Divisions One B and One C, and four matches each in Divisions One A and One D, but three matches were not played. ``It is the decision of the league management that, in addition to losing the match with a 3-0 scoreline and three points awarded to their opponents, these clubs have been fined N50,000 each,'' Adesanya said. He said Dabo Babes, Jimeta United and Jarma FC were fined in accordance with Article 4.12 (1) of the competition's rules and regulations. ``They are to pay this fine within two weeks of being notified,'' the league secretary said.

He warned the clubs that they risked being prevented from playing their other matches if they failed to comply. ``Article 4.12 (2) stipulates that failure to pay the fine, and within the time given, means they will not be able to play their subsequent matches until they make the payment,'' Adesanya said. The NNWL official also warned the clubs of the grave dangers of missing more matches. ``It is there in the rules of the competition that once a club misses three matches, such a club stands automatically relegated to the lower division. ``So, the clubs have to be reminded that they cannot continue with such acts of missing their matches,'' Adesanya said. NAN reports that the league will enter its Week Two this weekend with 18 matches on the fixtures in the four groups of the competition.

NFF postpones CAF ‘B’ Licence coaching course again place ``certain things'' before the commencement of the course. ``Due to logistic reasons and in order to get things right, we have to postpone the event. This is for preparations to be rightly done, because of the importance of the course,'' he said. Further, Ikpeme disclosed that one major reason for the logistics problem was the fact that official communication had not been formalised on the programme. ``Under normal circumstances, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) needed to send one of its officials to oversee

things. ``They also need to respond officially to our letter on the dates of March 11 to March 25 which we picked. So, we are waiting for that. Aside from that, all other preparations are in place,'' he said. The two-week programme is coming about five months after the CAF ‘C’ Licence course, and will involve 80 Nigerian coaches. A total of 60 coaches, including Super Eagles coaches Stephen Keshi and Daniel Amokachi will be participating. The rest 20 coaches will partake in the one-week CAF B equivalent for senior trainers.

Issa Hayatou



Players are not always well-grounded before going abroad, says Fashanu


ohn Fashanu, a former board member of the then Nigeria Football Association (NFA), has identified poor football upbringing as the reason for the poor performance of most Nigerian players abroad. Speaking in Lagos, Fashanu said because these players are not

only lacking in proper tutoring and mental discipline for the game, but also in want of deeper understanding of the football culture of the countries of their destination, they often performed miserably when they go abroad. “We don’t have the technical know-how; our boys are not taught

anything before they go abroad; most of our boys who go abroad to be professional footballers, get there because they are athletes; when they get abroad that is when they start to learn.” The former Wimbledon FC striker urged the current crop of home-based players to take

advantage of Coach Stephen Keshi’s tutelage to build their game. “I think Stephen Keshi needs somebody who has got great experience; he is somebody who has played abroad like myself for many years; slowly, but we will start to change especially now

that we‘ve got most of the younger players, the local players who are now training with the senior players.” He pleaded with the county’s teeming football fans to exercise patience as Keshi seeks to revitalise the Eagles for better performance.

NRFF plans grassroots rugby programme in major Coaches praise FCAAN’s initiative to hold training cities Samson Siasia


he Nigeria Rugby Football Federation (NRFF) has said that it has concluded plans to embark on a grass roots programme in its bid to popularise the game in the country. Adeniyi Beyioku, NRFF secretary, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos that the board had agreed to begin the programme in April. Beyioku said that the programme would involve primary and secondary school children within the age range of six to 15 years. He added that the NRFF’s programme for the grass roots was conceptualised in 2011 in Lagos, and would be extended to other parts of the country in 2012. “We have decided to extend our aim of catching young rugby talents to other states of the federation in order to achieve a better result,” he said. According to him, the programme is being sponsored by Promasidor Group of Companies. Beyioku told NAN that the NRFF board had agreed to review and strengthen some of its sub-committees in order to realise the grass roots agenda of the federation. He also said that the NRFF had appointed Ntiense Williams as the Technical Adviser of the board. He, however, explained that the decision of appointing a technical adviser was to help the sport to an appreciable manner in the country. “We want rugby football to become a household sport in Nigeria and the only way to do this is to catch them young by attracting the interest of kids to the sport at a tender age” the NRFF secretary said.


minent Nigerian football coaches have lauded the initiative of the Football Coaches Association of Africa Nations (FCAAN) for a programme to develop the capacity of coaches in the country. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that FCAAN, an association, with headquarters in Mississippi, USA, boasts of a rich football coaching programme. Reacting to FCAAN’s proposal, Adegboye Onigbinde, FIFA and CAF Technical Instructor, said in

Adegboye Onigbinde

Lagos that the programme would enhance the capacity of Nigerian coaches and the game. “I appeal to all coaches present to key into this programme because it will aid them in improving their knowledge, skills and gain more experience in coaching,” Onigbinde said Similarly, Samson Siasia, a former Super Eagles coach, said: “ this initiative is a start for the growth of football and coaches from the grass roots should buy into it.” Siasia urged the Nigeria

Rolandson Odeh

Football Federation (NFF) to look into the welfare of coaches who are passionate about football and empower them by exposing them to coaching courses. Also, Ronaldson Odeh, a former Super Falcons coach, said that the initiative was a welcome development and advised coaches, especially those in the grass roots, to take advantage of it. “Coaches in the grass roots should embrace this opportunity and not focus on the financial aspect because no knowledge is a

waste,” he said. Odeh noted that the decline in the performance of the country in football at all levels was attributable to the quality of coaching. Another coach, Segun Philips, said that the programme was a good initiative to develop the capacity of coaches in the country. Philips, a FIFA graded coach, however, expressed fears that many coaches might not embrace the programme because of financial constraints due to poor remuneration.

Referee blames colleagues, administrators for Kebbi football woes


grade one football referee, Adamu Jega, has attributed the dearth of amateur and professional football clubs in Kebbi to poor knowledge of the rules and management of the game by referees and administrators. Jega said on Tuesday in Birnin Kebbi that because local football proprietors had failed

Ahmed Maude, NRA President

to improve their knowledge of FIFA-approved 17 rules of football, they have been unable to administer the game competently and professionally. Consequently, he said these proprietors have recruited unqualified coaches who, lacking technical depth, have failed to produce quality football teams.

Jega said these have impacted negatively on the state which has not produced any team at the professional league not to talk of premiership level. Further, he questioned the competence of local referees stressing their lack of knowledge of the rules of the game has resulted to poor application of the rules with

Sacked Kebbi state Gov. Dakingari

grave negative impact on the performances of the state amateur teams. Jega said efforts are being made first to assist referees to upgrade their knowledge of the rules of the game and enlighten them on the need to apply the rules correctly to help local to understand them and thus be in position to compete with their peers outside the state. All these, he said, had affected the clubs participating in the national league. He said that the state referees association has intensified effort in the training of 25 football referees in the state with a view to improving the standard of officiating of the game. “The categories of trainees included Referees in Training, grade one and grade two which was too low considering that physical fitness had disqualified many of them,” he said. He then called on sports administrators to support the enlightenment campaign by the Nigeria Referee Association (NRA) in the state. According to him, the campaign is with the view to improving standards and qualification of teams into the national league.



Istanbul Championships: Isinbayeva top draw at World Indoors


elena Isinbayeva, the Russian pole vaulter will be looking to add the world title to her latest world record and establish herself as one of the most bankable stars of the London Olympics, when she competes tomorrow in Istanbul. Isinbayeva saw her string of three indoor gold medals snapped two years ago, highlighting a fall from grace from which she is only emerging from this winter. After showing hesitant signs of recovery, she set a world record of 5.01 metres almost out of the blue in her last preparatory meeting in Stockholm two weeks ago. At the 7 450-capacity Atakoy Arena, she will be facing her two closest challengers this year, Jenny Suhr of the United States and Holly Bleasdale of Britain. It will be tough to bet against Isinbayeva now that she’s found her groove again. Perhaps the closest to match Isinbayeva’s form is Pearson, the reigning outdoor 100-metre hurdles champion and the IAAF’s female athlete of the year. The Australian won the national Olympic trials in 12.49 seconds on a wet and miserable weekend in Melbourne, the fastest time ever for a 100 hurdles on Australian soil. No woman has ever run a faster hurdles race this early in the year.


eigning world 100-metres champion Yohan Blake of Jamaica has revealed that winning the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, last November has opened hitherto undreamt of doors to him. Blake, who is Usain Bolt’s training partner, became the youngest 100m world champion last year after Bolt the Olympics and world record holder in the race was expelled following a false start. “His false start was a big shocker,” Blake said. “It did not change a n y t h i n g really. I was r e a l l y ready.

Yohan Blake

Yelena Isinbayeva

Kristi Castlin

Meseret Defar

Little wonder she has set her eyes on coming within a few hundreds of a second of the 4-year-old 60 hurdles world record of 7.68, held by Susanna Kallur of Sweden. But instead of facing defending champion LoLo Jones, her toughest challenger should be another American, Kristi Castlin, the season’s top performer.

Meseret Defar could write her own bit of women’s history in Istanbul, winning five golds in a row. The Ethiopian is the favourite in the 3 000 but will be facing a tough Kenyan challenge. Maria Mutola of Mozambique won seven 800 titles overall, but her streak was broken by a silver in 1999.

The men’s 3 000 could be just as exciting, with Mo Farah of Britain and Bernard Lagat of the United States going head-to-head. Their close finish in the 5 000 at the world championships in South Korea last year gave Farah victory and made him the home favourite for both long-distance titles in London.

Being world 100m champion has opened doors for me, says Blake (Winning the world title) has meant a lot to me. It has opened a lot of doors.” That included a Tuesday morning meeting with England’s Prince Harry. The 22-year-old said he’s preparing for a hectic season and has been focusing on getting a faster start in his bid to relieve compatriot and t r a i n i n g p a r t n e r Usain Bolt of h i s Olympic 100m title later this year. “Nothing r e a l l y different we do in training. O n e thing I ’ m trying to work on is m y s t a r t and the technical d e t a i l s . Basically I’ve been working on that and trying to get off to a better start for the first 30 metres.

“I want to work on the first 30m and get my start right. I can improve on my first 30m. The rest of my race is wonderful but that I need to work on for the Olympics. All of that is going to come into play for the Olympics. Blake figures the Jamaican Olympic trials 100m final in June will be a strong preparation for the Olympic sprint showdown. “A lot of the guys are running really fast. A lot of them are going to be in the Olympics 100m final,” Blake said. “Asafa Powell, me, Usain Bolt, I think it’s going to be a tough one in June. “Last year I was the one doing the chasing. You win and all these guys want a piece of you the next time. Basically it’s everybody.” Training with Jamaican’s finest runners has removed some of the nervousness and awe from sharing a starting line with them, Blake said. “I run with these guys all the time,” Blake said. “At the starting line, I know these guys are human so I don’t really feel so nervous. “Daegu gave me a lot of belief. But even before Daegu my training gave me a lot of belief to be where I am right now. I ran with these guys. I know what they can do.” That includes Bolt, who looks to defend his 100 and 200 Olympic gold medals from Beijing. “Usain Bolt pushed me a lot in training,” Blake said. “That has helped me run even faster to keep up with his speed. That helped me a lot to train for the Olympics.” Bolt even tagged Blake with a

nickname, the Beast. “I work twice as hard as anybody else. That’s why they call me the Beast,” Blake said. “When I get Christmas break I still train. Coach Mills has to call me and tell me I’m on a break and to stop working. When you guys are sleeping I’m out there working.” Blake knows his world title has raised expectations but said he can handle that. “I’m carrying a lot of weight on my shoulders,” he said. “I know what’s on my shoulders to carry. I think it’s going to be a good year I’m going to have this year.” Blake has concentrated on the 100 this year even though he considers the 200 his stronger race and said he would not mind running the 4x400 relay at London if the opportunity came his way. “This year I’m really focusing on the 100,” Blake said. “In the 200 you can make a mistake and recover. In the 100 there’s no room for mistakes. You have to have 200 percent confidence in the 100m. One mistake and you are out. “The 200 I just need to get out of the blocks much faster and keep doing what I’m doing in the straightaway. If I really push myself more at the turn, I think I could run a good time in the 200.” Bolt has joked that Blake will take the 100 and Bolt will win the 200 at the London Olympics in a repeat of their world meet runs. “I don’t want to beat Usain Bolt. I want to win the gold medal in the 100 and 200,” Blake said.





Europe calls for Blatter investigation C

ouncil of Europe committee yesterday called for the investigation of FIFA president Sepp Blatter over his uncontested victory in last year’s presidential election. A committee of the

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) says further light should be shone on Blatter’s election success, which came after his sole rival, Mohamed bin Hammam, dropped out of the race due to bribery allegations.

Olympics doping lab to hold tests for eight years

Bin Hamman was later banned from the sport for life, after being found guilty of trying to buy votes from Caribbean football officials by FIFA’s Ethics Committee. “Football’s governing body FIFA should open an internal investigation into whether the candidates in its recent election for president and particularly the successful candidate

exploited their institutional positions to obtain unfair advantages for themselves or for potential voters,” read a draft resolution released by the PACE Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media. The resolution called for FIFA to “cast full light on the facts underlying the various scandals which, in recent years, have tarnished its image and that of


he gold medal may be safely packed away in their luggage, and the drug tests may have come back clean. But any cheat clever enough to outwit the unprecedented antidoping regime put in place for the 2012 London Olympics will be spooked by the knowledge that for the next eight years they will be looking over their shoulder. In accordance with the World Anti-Doping Agency guidelines, samples taken from athletes competing in London will be stored for years afterwards to allow for anti-doping technology to catch up. This policy of retrospective testing has operated with success for several years, most notably when 2008 Olympic 1,500 metres gold medallist Rashid Ramzi of Bahrain was stripped of his title in November 2009, a year after crossing the finish line at the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing. Yet this policy has been given added potency for the London Games, where advances in technology will allow for so-called “data-mining” of test results the capture of a complete profile of an athlete’s sample. As London 2012 organiser Lord Sebastian Coe has repeatedly emphasised in the build-up to the Games: “You come to London and you try to cheat, we will get you.” The scientists tasked with ensuring that Coe’s strident warning is not empty rhetoric are already busy at work at an unprepossessing concrete building on an industrial estate just outside Harlow in Essex, northeast of London. “This is the first time at a Games where we are using a total capture of data,” said Professor David Cowan, director of the drugs control centre at King’s College London, who is heading the laboratory. “That will enable us to review the data, sometimes within a 24-hour period, where we can look for things that we have not previously encountered. “So although we’ll be looking for 200 designated substances that have been banned, our total data capture will allow us to do a ‘data-mining’ approach for otherwise unknown substances.”

Nations Cup: Mbebe to lead 2013 LOC


vuzo Mbebe is the new 2013 Africa Cup of Nations local organising committee (LOC) chief executive. He was formally introduced to sports minister Fikile Mbalula on Tuesday . Mbebe is said to have officially began his new duties on Monday. This was confirmed by SA Football Association (Safa) vicepresident Mwelo Nonkonyana yesterday. “Yes he was introduced to the sports minister and to the SA Sports Confederation committee in the meeting we had on Tuesday,” said Mwelo Nonkonyana, vice-president of the SA Football Association (SAFA). “As a matter of fact, he started his new duties on Monday.” According to SAFA chief executive Robin Peterson, the association is to send out an official release regarding the new appointment this week. Mbebe will work alongside Safa president Kirsten Nematendani, who chairs the organising committee. This week, Mbalula asked for Sascoc to work more closely with SAFA. They are looking to improve the state of football in the country, especially the struggling Bafana Bafana side. More names from the ministry and the business sector are expected to serve in some capacities in the LOC. “The minister did ask for us and Sascoc to be more interactive on key issues,” Nonkonyana said. “As part of the parcel, we have agreed to expand the compositions in the LOC. It will include key ministry people and also have a few people from business joining.” According to Nonkonyana, all the country’s cities have placed bids to host next year’s continental showpiece South Africa’s second since 1996. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) want a minimum of four hosting venues for the 16-team tournament. South Africa used nine venues for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Sepp Blatter

international football”. The committee went on to call for FIFA to “publish in full any judicial and other documents relating to the case of Swiss sports promoter ISL (International Sports and Leisure), whose collapse in 2001 gave rise to allegations of kickbacks to FIFA officials in return for television rights”. ISL acquired exclusive broadcasting rights at a succession of World Cups but in 2010 the BBC accused the company of giving payments to a number of FIFA officials, including Confederation of African Football (CAF) president Issa Hayatou. In December, Blatter had promised to publish files that named officials implicated in the ISL affair but revealed that legal measures were being taken “by one of the parties involved”. The PACE committee was meeting in Paris to approve a report entitled ‘Good governance and ethics in sport’ written by French politician Francois Rochebloine.

Drogba dusts Messi, Klose to win top scorer of the 21st century


vory Coast international Didier Drogba, 33, was on Tuesday named top scorer of the 21st century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS). With 92 goals scored in international matches and competitions, the Chelsea striker broke the standing records of German striker Miroslav Klose, 88, and the Netherlands’ Ruud van Nistelrooij, 87. According to IFFHS, which chronicles the history and records of association football,

Didier Drogba

the 2006 and 2009 African Footballer of the Year, scored 54 goals in 85 caps ahead of Argentina’s Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona) 12th and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), 13th, with 66 goals and 69 respectively. The second African to be ranked in the Top 5 is Cameroonian Samuel Eto’o with a total of 84 goals in international matches and competitions. The top scorer of the 21st century was determined by adding the annual goals in

Miroslav Klose

meetings and competitions listed since 2001, which had already been taken into account in annual rankings. The “Top 102” is composed of 55 different nationalities, with the most successful international goal scorers of the 21st Century coming from Brazil (7), Argentina (7), Germany (5), England (5), Netherlands (5) and Spain (4). The “Top 101” is made up of 50 Europeans, 20 South Americans, 14 Asians, 10 Africans and 8 Central and North Americans.

Ruud van Nistelrooij



Soccer fans appluad FIFA’s decision on hijab


occer enthusiasts yesterday in Abuja commended FIFA, the world football governing body, for approving the use of head scarves by Muslim female footballers. In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the stakeholders said the approval was a step in the right direction. Mrs Godiya Jezhi, an Abuja-based referee, said that she had always supported the wearing of scarf (Hijab) by female players. Jezhia said that women were not supposed to expose their hair or body in the public. “It is not only Muslim women; even the Christians are supposed to cover their body, as it is not meant for everybody to see. “If the Hijab is a short one, it will be comfortable for the female players, and they will play well provided it does not cover their face or impede their movement during the

games,” she said. Also speaking, Hajia Umar Sarki, a retired FCT Queens FC attacker, said the introduction of Hijab “which is long overdue, will boost the number of female players. “It is acceptable because we Muslim female players are not many in the country; in a team, you may only see a handful of players who are Muslims. “If they try the use of a scarf and it is comfortable for them, then they should go ahead and wear it,” Sarki said. Similarly, Hauwa Abdullah, a female U-17 footballer, told NAN that she was glad that FIFA had finally approved the use of scarve by female Muslim players. “For me, it is a welcome development and I like it, and am grateful to FIFA for allowing the use of scarf. “I have been training with my hair open, which is unlike me; I always cover myself from head to toe as dictated by my religion,” the U-17 female footballer said.

Muslim women in hijab

Giwa FC commiserates with COCIN over bomb blast


he management and players of Giwa Football Club of Jos on Tuesday commiserated with the president and members of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) over the Feb. 26 suicide bomb attack on the headquarters

of the church. Chris Giwa, proprietor of the club, who led members of the team to pay a visit to the leadership of the church wondered why some persons would desire to take the lives of others. Giwa urged the church members to remain

steadfast, stressing that God allows some things to happen in order to manifest his powers and urged them to be faithful and prayerful as God would grant them courage to overcome every challenge. President of the Church, Rev. Soja Bewarang, thanked members of the

football outfit for the visit and congratulated its proprietor for establishing the club. He said the club would add value to the society as a source of employment for the teaming youths and also serve a unifying force among the populace.

Beach Volleyball: NVBF confident of qualification for London Olympics


he Secretary, Nigeria Volleyball Federation,(NVBF), Patrick Abobi, says the country’s chances at picking the 2012 London Olympics ticket in the male beach volleyball are bright. Abobi told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday on telephone, that four players would represent Nigeria at the final phase of Africa Beach Volleyball Championships— where the qualifiers for the Olympics would emerge. The secretary said that he had confidence that the players would excel because they have been training hard and were also determined to qualify for the Olympics. It would be recalled that the 2012

London Olympics qualifiers, final phase, is scheduled for April 11 to April 15 in Mauritius. Abobi said that the four players would be selected from those in camp, adding that the names of the successful ones would be released in April— before they break camp. “The players have been in camp in Abuja since Feb. 11 and they would be released on April 6 before going for the qualifiers,” he said. The secretary said that the players would depart for Mauritius on April 9 where Nigeria would join eight other countries to vie for the slot in the qualifiers. The countries are Algeria, Egypt, Mauritius, Angola, Congo Brazzaville, South Africa, Cameroon.

Nigerian football supporters

Immigration denies responsibility for Eagles supporters’ Rwanda flight miss


Nigerian beach volleyball players

he Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS, has denied that it caused some Super Eagles players to miss their flight to Kigali for the Feb. 29 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Rwanda. Some of the players, officials and members of the supporters club had missed their flight for the match allegedly because NIS officials at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, had resorted to “unnecessary checks” just to delay their travel. However, NIS spokesman, Joachim Olumba, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday that the officers had a duty to check everyone travelling in or out of the country irrespective of their mission and could not have deliberately caused any delay. Olumba, an Assistant Comptroller of Immigration said, “you see, the problem is that most people want a concession when it comes to screening which is not possible.

“If you have an engagement, try to leave the previous day but you cannot just come and say because you have a match on that day and need to be somewhere immigration should not do their job.” He said the officers were on top of their beat and would not deliberately keep anyone or cause them to miss their flights if they did not have questions to answer. “I can assure you that our officers will not delay anyone unnecessarily if they have no issues. Our officers are always professional in discharging their duties. “Only recently, the Senate Committee on Federal Character, on a routine visit to our headquarters, commended NIS for the efficient way our officers carry out their jobs at the airport,” Olumba said. The spokesman expressed regret that some players missed the match but advised travellers to always be ahead of their scheduled flight time to avoid such hiccups.

QUO TABLE Q UO TE UOT QUO UOTE In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable — Dwight D. Eisenhower



LA TEST LATEST Wenger charged over ref comments


EFA has opened a disciplinary case against Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger for alleged comments about the referee after his team's Champions League elimination by AC Milan. UEFA says Wenger faces a charge of improper conduct. UEFA has not fixed a date for the hearing, though its disciplinary panel's next scheduled meeting is March 29. Wenger is facing his third touchline ban from UEFA in the past year. The French coach accused Slovenian referee Damir Skomina of awarding Milan too many free kicks in Arsenal's 30 win on Tuesday. Arsenal were eliminated after losing the first leg of the last-16 tie 4-0 in Italy. Wenger was found guilty of a similar UEFA charge after Arsenal was knocked out by Barcelona at the same stage of last year's competition. Then, he argued angrily with Swiss referee Massimo Busacca who had sent off Robin van Persie during a 3-1 defeat in Spain. Wenger served his ban during this season's playoff round first-leg match against Udinese, but incurred a further ban for breaking rules by communicating with Arsenal's coaches from his seat in the grandstand.

Rangers ruled out of Europe


risis club Rangers suffered a fresh blow yesterday when administrators said there was "no realistic prospect" of the Scottish champions being allowed to play in European competitions next season. Joint administrator Paul Clark said the way financiallystricken Rangers had been run since owner Craig Whyte purchased the club in May had left them with almost no chance of meeting UEFA's criteria for a licence before the European football governing body's deadline of March 31. "As regards the club playing in European competitions next season, there is no realistic prospect of the club being able to fulfil its obligations prior to the March 31 deadline set by UEFA," Clark said in a statement.


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Just handover, please


n the spirit of March 8th, Women's Day the time has come to state the obvious: That Her First Ladyship would make a far more effective, believable and receptive head of state than her husband. There. It is out. How many times I have longed to say this, finally. Actually, I did venture it once, about three weeks ago to the former head of a federal parastatal who happens to come from the same village as our First Lady. We were discussing some key economic talking points for the man's TV programme and ended up, as usual, analysing or rather, agonising over current trends. Deficit financing disguised as subsidy removal, elevation of corruption to unheard of levels, deliberate desertion of structural reform, a plethora of deceptive committees and taskforces, and (what bothers me most) an almost insensate, even brutal, lack of strategy towards the industrial killing and destruction now taking place in the North. In my frustration I blurted out my idea that the first lady responds far more appropriately to national issues. My comment was met by complete silence... an exchange of looks and a brusque 'next topic' dismissal. In search of character But really, my gut-instinct which has served me well, tells me she is the real leader here. I suggest she has something our people may have lost sight of, in the orgy to acquire Cartelopian net worth citizenship. She has character. Yes, character. My dictionary defines character as a set of 'qualities that make somebody or something distinctive, especially somebody's qualities of mind and feeling'. It's interesting to note that Mrs. Pertinence's husband has made a career of trying to acquire the exact opposite. Does he have any qualities of mind or feeling? His now dated garb of the unassuming, self-effacing and good-natured child of goodluck, stopped working a while back. I think he realised it around the time when he declaimed (and disclaimed) the role of 'tiger', or was it Goliath? The trouble is nothing else has replaced it... Unsavory rumours and incompetent courtiers have not helped him. The several brilliant and decent ministers in his cabinet keep being undermined by the behemoth of a security problem. As they launch, this and that, speechify and quantify, people are dying. And cities are dying, in the

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CAR TEL OPIA CARTEL TELOPIA By Aisha Yolah 08086296783 (text only please)

First Lady Patience Jonathan North. Or perhaps that is why it does not matter. Is it the plan? I am reminded of last Tuesday's pithy comment by Leadership Newspaper's intrepid Ghanamust-go muse. In reaction to the PM's reported declaration that he (the PM) is Ojukwu's adopted son. Ghana-must-go replies tersely: 'It shows'! Slaughter and no sympathy So, we contend not only with the usual systemic corruption and deliberate incompetence but with a puzzling (frankly sinister) lack of political correctness. Until the massive one-day slaughter in my home province of Kano, PM Jonah has never -in almost two years of death and destruction - thought it necessary to visit any of the many towns, villages and cities affected by explosions, deaths, and killing sprees. Is it security concerns? I suggest he draw on the same creativity(?) and strategy he used to visit Kano - to fly in unannounced - or at least hover over Maiduguri, Damaturu, Postiskum... just to sympathise, to pretend concern. He is instead satisfied with making unsubstantiated allegations in church and photoops with President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron. Good job boy they tell him, we will send you hard-core military advisers, flood your continent with weapons (sorry,

security gadgets) and he is satisfied. Motherly Dame Contrast all this with Dame Pertinence. Did you like I did note a marked reduction in the First Ladyship's public functions over the past year? As the bombs and the murdering has ratcheted up she has become considerably quieter. Mischievous critics will also note that they have had far fewer opportunities to make fun of her now iconic turns of phrase. Comical as she has sometimes sounded - and I admit laughing heartily - she has always had my respect for a refreshing and complete lack of pretention i.e. Character. She is the total antithesis of your usual social climber, opportunist. Hers is not to pretend at having newly acquired airs, to go with the newly acquired jewels. No, she remains herself- confident and real. She needs no speech writer or false persona. She says what she means and you know it comes from the heart. In fact until the Court fraudsters got round to giving her all manner of degrees (real, academic ones) complete with a lecturing and banking career, I repeatedly told people this is obviously a woman who has beaten the odds without (perhaps) even a primary school education. Another doctrine of necessity A woman of character can make all the difference in a man's life. Indeed the stories of PM Jonah's life indicate that his 'goodluck' had more to do with the sagacity and generosity of his wife than anything else. So on the strength of Women's Day, PM Jonah should just handover honourably and give us our real head of state. As to the constitutional legitimacy of such a change of baton, I suggest another doctrine of necessity can easily be found. For sure she will immediately tell the man in charge of our National Security to stop writing op-eds in foreign publications and either arrest all the men her husband has accused of sponsoring

terrorism or be sacked. Then she will embark on visiting brutalised communities and/ or have affected families flown to safety in Abuja. She will routinely caution security forces to stop beating up the people and find the terrorists. She will order that all those 'suspects' rounded up should either be properly charged and named or be allowed to go home. She will order that anyone caught redhanded with a bomb -whether na Christian O or Muslim O - he or she, should be immediately named and also charged to court. Simple. Finally she will appeal that all religious leaders who are contributing to general disorder rather than peace should keep quiet. If not they will also be charged to court like those wicked troublemakers in Rwanda.... She will then beg the terrorists to ceasefire so peace solutions can be found for all, for their families and their children. She will never tire of appealing. Like all mothers she implicitly knows force is never the only answer. First Lady with a difference It is interesting to note that I have seen at least two historical features on our First Ladies which somehow managed to skip (forget) Justice Fati Abubakar's 'Women's Rights Advancement Programme'. Justice Fati Abubakar is the most educated first lady yet. It is possible that the fairly short duration of the Abdusalami Abubakar regime (July 1998- May 1999) blunted our awareness of her project. More likely though it is the understated demeanour of its 'initiator', that never really captured the public imagination. Suffice it to say that it is she who exudes genuine intellect and integrity rather than the husband. None of the other first ladies could surely have provided any serious competition for their husbands, not even the late Maryam Babangida. Her numerous clones and imitatorinitiators at both provincial (state government) and federal levels have never really been able to match up. As I suggested, apart from Justice Fati Abubakar, no first lady could be seriously 'imagined' as a replacement for her husband. That is, until now. A woman of character, sincerity and raw grit would really make a difference today. PM Jonah should seriously consider this option: just handover to her please. Your Excellency should note: All benefits currently being enjoyed would remain without all the aggravation. Think about it.

Published by Peoples Media Limited, 35, Ajose Adeogun Street, 1st Floor Peace Park Plaza, Utako, Abuja. Lagos Office: No.8 Oliyide Street, off Unity Road, Ikeja, Lagos, Tel: +234-09-8734478. Cell: +234 803 606 3308. e-mail: ISSN: 2141– 6141

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Thursday March 8, 2012  
Peoples Daily Newspaper, Thursday March 8, 2012  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Thursday March 8, 2012 Hot Edition