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Vol. 13 No. 35 Tuesday, April 8, 2014

. . . putting the people first

Jimadal-Thani 9, 1435 AH



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Apo 8:

Rights commission indicts Army, SSS  Asks govt to pay victims N135m compensation 

Oronsaye Report: FG refuses to merge EFCC with ICPC By Etuka Sunday


he federal government has refused to merge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) as recommended in the report of the Steve Oronsaye Committee on Restructuring and Rationalization of federal government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies. It however merged aviation agencies and also scrapped the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) as well as the National Salaries, Wages and Incomes Commission. The government also accepted that the trio of Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), the Nigerian Contd on Page 2

Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (left), inaugurating the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Training Centre, yesterday in Abuja. With her is the Acting Executive Chairman of FIRS, Alhaji Kabir Mashi (right). Photo: NAN

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Stockwatch S/Report

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Linking military with Boko Haram unfair, says Governor Shettima – Page 5







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Apo 8: Rights commission indicts Army, SSS By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


he National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) yesterday indicted security agencies for the September killing of eight youths, who were squatters in an uncompleted building in Gudu/Apo District of Abuja, the Federal Capital city. In indicting the government agencies, the NHRC specifically said that the Nigerian Army, the Directorate of State Services, otherwise known as SSS and the Attorney General of the Federation had no credible evidence to tag the victims as agents of Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna lid Da'awati wal Jihad, otherwise known as Boko Haram. The commission, in an 83page report of a panel of inquiry into the gruesome murder, said: "There is no credible evidence to suggest or show that the victims in this case were members of Boko Haram or involved in direct participation in hostilities". It therefore described the killings as unlawful violations of right to life of the deceased. "The self-defence asserted by the DSS and the Army is not supported by the facts or evidence. Taking account of all the circumstances in this case, the killings of the eight deceased persons as well as the injuries to the eleven survivors were unlawful", the

Chairman of the Governing Council of the NHRC, Professor Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, said while presenting the report in Abuja. The five-member investigative panel includes the Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Professor Bem Angwe and Hajiya Saudatu Mahdi, who is also a member of the commission's governing council. The NHRC further said that the security agencies did not only violate the right to life of the victims but that the survivors suffered non-lethal violations of right to life, physical integrity and livelihood. It would be recalled that on September 20, 2013, a detachment of the Army and DSS stormed an uncompleted building in the Apo/Gudu District of Abuja for a presumed operation to flush out Boko Haram suspects. The security agencies claimed at the time that over 100 Boko Haram fighters led by one Suleiman were hiding and coordinating an attack on Abuja from the building, and had buried arms at the nearby Gudu cemetery. After the military operation at the building, seven of the inmates were killed, one later died in the hospital, while four were arrested and later detained. Some of the occupants escaped during the operation while some of the arrested occupants were asked never to re-

turn to Abuja. In its report, the NHRC said it investigated the contending claims and based its resolutions on whether the security agencies applied proportionate force to the alleged threat and whether those killed were lawfully denied their lives. The commission slammed the security agencies for their argument that the victims were Boko Haram combatants. It said there was "no credible evidence" to reach such a conclusion and for that reason, the victims remained, in the face of the law, "protected civilians" under the Geneva Convention that governs the rule of law. The NHRC also rebuked the security forces for being trigger happy, saying their testimonies of "self-defence were inconsistent and could not be accepted." As a result of the damages suffered by the victims and survivors in the unfortunate incident, the NHRC awarded: "The sum of N10 million as compensation for each of the deceased to be paid by the government of the federation. To each of the injured survivors, the sum of N5 million to be paid by the government of the federation within thirty days of the present decision". Regarding the order to banish some of the youth from Abuja, the

NHRC said the security forces had no legal backing to exclude or internally banish citizens and gave two months to the three agencies to review and harmonise rules of engagement governing the operations of security agencies and bring them into compliance with international standards governing armed conflict. The Army, while testifying before the investigative panel set up by the governing council of the commission, through the then Commander, Brigade of Guards, Nigeria Army, Major-Gen. Emmanuel Atewe, said the soldiers acted in self-defence after they were shot at. He said: "Between September 18 and 19, two persons were arrested in Abuja and they made useful confessions that there were arms hidden at Apo Cemetery to be used in a planned attack." "As troops were deployed to cordon the building, the fire came; first it was a single shot, then rapid fire followed. The troops returned fire in self-defence", he claimed. Atewe, who represented the then Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, told the investigative panel, presided over by the NHRC chairman, that the DSS got cogent information on a planned attack, saying the raid on the uncompleted building was necessary to avert the plan.

Zamfara attack: IGP orders massive deployment of special forces By Joy Baba


s part of wider strategies towards tackling the recurrent attacks on some Zamfara communities, the Inspector-General of Police, (IGP) Mohammed Abubakar has ordered the immediate massive deployment of Special Forces, which comprises ten (10) units of Police Mobile Force (PMF), three

(3) units of conventional policemen, a unit of counter-terrorism personnel, Border Patrol Teams and Force Intelligence personnel, drawn from various squadrons and Commands, to reinforce the operation of the existing Force in the affected areas. This was contained in statement signed by the Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Frank Mba yesterday, in Abuja.

The statement said the Air Wing of the Nigeria Police will also commence aerial patrol and surveillance, in order to efficiently and effectively monitor the situation. These directives, which the IGP issued, according to the statement, is in response to the security assessment report of the affected areas, further order extensive covert operations from the Force Intelligence Bureau while

the Border Patrol Teams are to maintain adequate surveillance of all border areas around Zamfara to forestall further infiltration and escape of Marauders through the borders. The IGP urged citizens to cooperate with the Force in its effort at restoring peace and security in the area and advised them to be law-abiding as they go about their lawful businesses.

ple were scared and took to their heels shouting: 'Bomb! Bomb!! Bomb!!!' after which members of the Niger state police command were immediately contacted. The anti-bomb squad, led by an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr. Emmanuel Olokor, was dispatched to the scene to detonate the object only to discover that it was not a bomb as feared.

The police boss later held the object up and threw away the contents after which he assured the on-lookers that the object was not a bomb as earlier suspected. Olokor thereafter advised residents to go about their lawful duties without any fear just as he described the development as a mere hoax.

Bomb scare rocks Niger state secretariat From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna


andemonium broke out yesterday at the new Niger state Secretariat called Abdulkareem Lafene Secretariat, opposite the Niger state House of Assembly, as the state's civil servants, visitors and others ran for safety following the discovery of an object suspected to be an Impro-

vised Explosive Device (IED). Findings revealed that the object, a container filled with dirty materials, was said to have been placed upside down on the way leading to the block occupied by the state’s Head of Service (HoS) among other top government offices. Our correspondent gathered that upon sighting the object, peo-

Oronsaye Report: FG refuses to merge EFCC with ICPC Contd from Frontpage Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency be merged into a new body to be known as the Federal Civil Aviation Authority (FCAA) and their respective enabling laws be amended accordingly to reflect the merger. In the White Paper on the report of the Presidential committee which was released yesterday, the federal government also

accepted the recommendation for the scrapping of the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP). It also accepted agreed that the National Agricultural Insurance Corporation be fully commercialized, while accepting to partially commercialize NIPOST. Government further accepted to sell off its shares in Nigeria Communication Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) and directed that government will retain minority in

the firm. It also accepted that the functions of NIGCOMSAT that relate to space development be reverted to that of the National Space Development Agency. Government further accepted all offices of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies outside Lagos and Abuja be closed down immediately to ensure judicious use of available resources in line with government policy. FG accepted that the National Council of Arts and Culture be

merged with the National Troupe and the National Theatre into one agency called National Council of Arts and Culture. FG accepted that the Nigerian Financial Reporting Council ceases to be funded by government from 2015 and accepted that the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) be self-funding from 2014. Read further details of a summarized version of the 105-page report on page 20.




Confab delegates want State/ Joint LG Account scrapped By Patrick Andrew


elegates at the National Conference yesterday overwhelmingly called for the abrogation of the states and local government’s Joint Account because of what they termed excessive abuse by state governments. Accordingly to the delegates, the local government council is the cradle of development because the administration at that level is not closer to the people but should have a direct bearing to the people and ensures grassroots governance. The delegates, who cut across the different political callings, argued that because of excessive abuses by respective state governments, local governments have

been subsumed, thereby rendering them mere appendages and ineffectual. Former Governor Adamu Aliero said he was uncomfortable in 2004 when the Federal Government introduced the joint account policy, noting that it gave birth to the prevailing situation today where funds meant for the local councils are siphoned by the states with impunity. “It was okay when we started in 1999, because then the local government drew funds directly from the federal account. It meant funds went directly to the local councils for them to carry out development projects. “But the moment the joint account was introduced things went asunder. I was uncomfortable

because I knew that some governors would abuse the provisions and I have been proved right,” he said noting that the joint account has simply been used to fleece the councils of needed funds for development. Another delegate, a former deputy governor of Benue state in Second Republic, Alhaji Iyaji Sule, said local government autonomy is inevitable if the governance must be brought closer to the grassroots and indeed access to the essential developmental projects given to the people. “Yes, autonomy to the local council can’t be toyed with. It must be a constitutional matter. We must stop the present abuse of the local government councils by state governments which through

the joint account have diverted funds meant for the councils to purposes far removed from the objectives that the funds in the first instance were provided,” he said noting though that the quality of personnel at the local councils may also have constituted a problem. A delegate, retired Gen. A.B. Mamman, had, during his contribution to the President’s inaugural speech, said one of the greatest hindrances to development in the country is the abuse of the local government autonomy and therefore, called on the conference to make recommendation that will strengthen the local government’s legal authority and control of their allotted funds.

L-R: Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal , Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa'ad Abubakar, during the turbaning of 21 new district heads by the Sultan, yesterday in Sokoto. Photo: NAN

Fulani/ farmers clash: IG reconciles parties From Femi Oyelola, & Muhammad Ibrahim, Kaduna


orried by the incessant clashes which resulted to killings of both herdsmen and farmers, the Deputy Inspector-General (DIG) in-charge of Operations, Force Headquarters, Michael Zuokumor yesterday held a reconciliation meeting with the warring parties in Southern Kaduna, with the aim of proffering solution to the crisis. The DIG, who was accompanied by commissioner of Police in the state, Shehu Umar, during a closed door meeting, said the essence of the meeting was to reconcile the herdsmen and farmers who have been at logger-heads for some time now, and to set up a committee among the people, especially the youth of the area. He said, "The farmers and their representatives and the herdsmen met to resolve their differences but were quickly reconciled; because they have been looking for the opportunity to reconcile with one another. "We want to tell the whole world that these people have agreed to put an end to their differences. We also set up peace committee comprised of the DIG, Assistant DIG, and Commissioner of police and leaders of the parties involved. "We are also going to set up another committee among the youth of the Kaura community on how to see one another as brothers." The state governor, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero also urged the Police Committee on Peace, Security and Reconciliation of Farmers and Herdsmen, being chaired by the DIG to actively engage locals in carrying out their assignment. Speaking when the committee paid him a courtesy call, Governor Yero said it is only through active interaction with those directly affected that the panel can identify the true causes as well as solutions to the crises.

Zamfara, Keana massacres designed to reduce Muslim population - JNI From Muhammad Ibrahim, Kaduna


ama'atul Nasril Islam (JNI) has condemned what it described as the extra-judicial killing of 15 Fulani Muslims in Keana, the killing in Zamfara and all the human rights abuses on innocent Muslims in Maiduguri, describing them as a grand agenda to destabilise the Muslim Ummah in Nigeria. According to JNI, the various attacks on the Muslims in the country were targeted at reducing their rising human capital. A statement signed by the Secretary-General of the Islamic body, Sheikh Khalid Abubakar Aliyu said the dimension of extra-judicial killing of Muslims by the military on a mere whim of unsubstantiated suspicion leaves much to be desired.

He said that the killing clearly depicts that Muslims have become an endangered species and were murdered and maimed indiscriminately in the guise of fighting terrorism. "The sad incident of Keana 15 is another scenario where the settlements of innocent Muslims were mercilessly massacred. These are people who have been exonerated by the State Governor as being peace loving people and law abiding. "It is questionable, that an operation of this magnitude would be carried-out without the knowledge of the Chief Security Officer of the state, nor other relevant security bodies. JNI is concerned that the perpetrators of these genocidal acts against Muslims may go scot-free as was the case with Apo Killings and other similar heinous acts.

"The Benue state governor and his deputy have recently exonerated the Fulani of Benue for the long outstanding relationship and social cohesion between them. The social joke between them has been on for almost a century. How can all these suddenly change and the next-door neighbour is now accused because of his simplicity and unsophistication? "The various reports of human rights abuses and massacre of hundreds of Muslims in Maiduguri by the military, as reported by human rights groups is painful and unacceptable. Criminals, on one hand and the supposed protectors of the innocent on the other; in front is a lion and behind are wolves. "We have found the usage of the term Fulani herdsmen, hiding their religious identity in an attempt to wipe out Muslims in

the guise of fighting terrorism, as it suits the situation and using Muslim terrorist as it suits the other situation as absurd. Why is it when a Christian commits a crime it is not called a Christian crime or terrorism? The fact remains, crime is crime, it is colourless, tribe less and religious less. "We can say without any fear of contradiction that there is a grand agenda to destabilize the Muslim Ummah in Nigeria. If any Nigerian is in doubt regarding the hidden grand agenda to destabilizes Muslims in Nigeria, and cautiously reduce their rising human capital, then the Zamfara incidence should have removed this doubt. "An event where the vigilante personnel working to restore peace would be the subject of a grand massacre, tells much about the chaos and insecurity some enemies want to push our states into. We call on all our Governors,

politicians and indeed every wellmeaning citizen to do something before it gets out of hand. "The military should know that it is extremely dangerous to polarize security agencies along religious line. It will have farreaching negative effect in the country, especially at this material time, where the efforts of all are required to cushion the effect of the pains we are passing through. "JNI unequivocally condemns the extra-judicial killing of 15 Fulani Muslims in Keana, the raping and subsequent killing of Binta Usman, the milk maid and all the human rights abuses on innocent Muslims in Maiduguri", the statement read. It however called on the government to ensure that the perpetrators of transgression against innocent citizens who have the right to practice the religion they choose are brought to justice.



From Umar Dankano, Yola


resident Goodluck Jonathan has been called upon not to extend the State of Emergency declared in three states in the north-eastern part of Nigeria, but rather focus on permanent and long-term solution. The call was made by a Human Rights Group, Rights Monitoring Group (RMG), which is a coalition of 45 Civil Society Organisations stressing that, the Boko Haram Sect has increasingly carried out terrorist acts in the three states resulting to the killing of hundreds of residents, including college students. Reports say no fewer than 1,500 people were killed in March alone. The group also objected to any plan by the Federal Government to extend the emergency rule in the states, namely Borno, Yobe and Adamawa by the time it expires on April 19, explaining that the emergency rule slammed on the three states was not necessary. Speaking in Yola, during a fact-

Leadership crisis: IPMAN faction urges Gov. Yero to intervene From Muhammad Ibrahim, Kaduna


faction of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) Kaduna state chapter, yesterday expressed worry over the crisis rocking the association and called for the intervention of the State Governor, Muktar Ramalan Yero before it degenerate to an all-out war between the two factions. Peoples Daily gathered that a faction of the group held an election on 22nd March 2014 which produced Alhaji Rabiu Mohammed Yola as the Chairman of IPMAN in the state. But a faction of the association rejected in totality the election calling on other members to disregards the election. Speaking to newsmen in Kaduna, a staunch member of the faction and Managing Director of Yussufa Petroleum, Alhaji Abdulfatah Murtala said they rejected the election that produced Alhaji Rabiu Mohammed Yola as Chairman. “They nominated themselves and assigned position within themselves in an indoor meeting and tagged it: IPMAN election. No election forms was sold; it amazed every member that the election was held at Command Guest House, Kanta road, on March 22, 2014. “ We will never recognize this confusion and self-imposed leaders in the name of IPMAN executives, Kaduna State chapter because even in a state of anarchy there should be conscience,” he said and called on all members of IPMAN, Kaduna state chapter to disregard the confusion being perpetrated by some disgruntled few members and reject in totality any attempt to cause disrepute and sow a seed of discord among the rank and file of IPMAN members in Kaduna state .


‘Don’t extend emergency rule’, Jonathan urged finding visit yesterday, the national coordinator of the group, Mr. Olufemi Aduwo regretted that with the death of over 1,200 Nigerians, from January to March 2014, as a result of insurgency and counter-insurgency measures by the military, Nigeria now ranks high among the countries with high rates of deaths

from insurgency in the world. This, he said, is a pointer that the emergency rule imposed has failed to achieve the desired result. ‘’ The spate of gruesome killings and the destruction of lives and property in the north-eastern part of the country brought us to make these findings. “It is obvious that the declara-

tion of the State of Emergency in the North-East has failed to improve the security situation in the region,’’ the coordinator has said. While opposing extension of the emergency rule, the group appealed for new strategies that would address issues of insecurity in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states.

Senate receives Immigration tragedy report today By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


enate will today receive the report of its Committee on Interior, which had probed the immediate and remote circumstances which led to the killing of 17 applicants for the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) jobs at the various recruitment centres in the country. Following the recruitment tragedy and the motion to that effect, which was raised by the Chairman of Senate Committee on Interior, Atiku Abubakar Ba-

gudu, the Senate mandated the committee to probe the incident, with a view to unravel what happened. To this end, the Committee summoned the key players in the tragedy, including the Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), David Parradang. Others summoned by the Senate Committee wee the Deputy Comptrollers of the various states where the stampede happened, the Civil Defence, Fire,

Immigration, Customs and Prisons Board (CDFICPB). It could be recalled that in his ruling after debate on the motion that day, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over plenary, ruled that the committee should invite the key players with a view to unravel what happened so as to prevent future occurrence. He also mandated committee to submit its report in one week time, after it has conducted a public hearing on the incident, which has exhausted.

It further regretted that there were security reports on the impending attacks, but that the reports were either ignored or not promptly responded to by the security agents. “Are the authorities unaware of helicopters dropping arms and ammunition, food and medical supplies to areas well known to be strong holds of the insurgents?” they asked. “How were the insurgents able to attack the Maiduguri Air-Force Base and demobilize as well as burn planes and other military installations, despite existing state of emergency and curfew in the town? How could 20 to 30 Toyota Hi-lux vehicles move in a convoy freely with a subsisting curfew and still go undetected? “How did a little band of rag-tag misguided youths metamorphose into a well-kitted, well-armed killing machine, moving freely in convoy of vehicles and supported by helicopters? How did the Shilka armoured tank, a multi-purpose self-propelled anti-aircraft artillery weapon positioned to secure Giwa Barracks fail to function resulting in heavy loss of lives both civilian and military as widely reported in the media? Are we dealing with fifth columnists in this crisis?” The group warned the Federal Government against extending the emergency rule in the three states, saying it had failed to achieve the purpose for which it was imposed in April last year.

Zamfara killings: Vigilante group distances self From Ibrahim Sidi Muh’d, Gusau

Z Alleged political thugs protesting over rerun of local government elections, yesterday in Akwanga, Nasarawa state. Photo: NAN

N1bn subsidy fraud: Court orders EFCC to produce defendant’s statement From Matthew Irinoye, Lagos


ustice Lateefat Okunnu of a Lagos High Court, sitting in Ikeja, yesterday ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to produce adopted statements of Opeyemi Ajudua, the first defendant in an alleged N1billion fuel subsidy fraud. The order followed an application by the counsel to the defendant, Olanrewaju Ajanaku, brought before the court requesting for the statement made by the defendant during interrogation, which according the anti-graft agency has

refused to produce since the matter began in 2012. It would be recalled that Ajuwah, along her company, Majope Investment Limited Abdullahi Alao, son of the Ibadan Islamic cleric, Arisekola Alao, Axenergy Limited and Olanrewaju Olalusi were dragged before the court for alleged N1.2bilion subsidy fraud. Prosecution witness, Effong Okim yesterday, under crossexamination by counsel to the 3rd and 4th defendant, Aderemi Oguntoye, told the court that during investigation, the anti-graft agency discovered that out of the 15, 000 metric tonnes of fuel im-

ported into the country by AXENERGY, in conjunction with Majope Investment and Sterling Bank as the financed bank, only 4, 200 metric tonnes were allegedly discharged. “Oando Plc paid for 4, 200 metric tonnes out of the 15, 000 metric tonnes and the money was deposited with Sterling Bank, which is the receiving bank in the transaction. Investigation revealed that the remaining tonnes were not discharged but left in the ship. Money for the remaining tonnes did not reflect in the Statements of Accounts at Sterling Bank,” he told the court.

amfara state Vigilante group of Nigeria has distanced self from the controversial meeting alleged to have caused the merciless killings by gunmen in Unguwar Galadima last weekend. The state Chairman, Bashir Nafi’u Gadabiyu said in a statement that, he already wrote to the state Commissioner of Police notifying him that the controversial meeting may resulted into crisis and that not a single member of the group would honour the invitation. Gadabiyu disclosed that, the organizers of the meeting who, according to their source was identified as Kurma ‘Yargaladima, has never been a member of the group at a local and state governments level, and described him as the devil that wanted to smear the good image of the group. He said the group did not hesitate to inform all security agencies in the state of the nasty plan to conduct a meeting in a disguised identity of the group, earlier before the damage was done. The statement said, the deadly meeting was organised by the association of hunters which was mistaken for the vigilante group.




Linking military with Boko Haram unfair, says Gov Shettima From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri


orno state Governor, Kashim Shettima yesterday described linking the Nigerian Armed Forces with support for Boko Haram insurgents as unfair. Governor Shettima was reacting to series of media reports which began last week, quoting an unknown soldier, alleging that top military officials were working in tandem with Boko

Haram elements. Shettima, in a statement he personally signed and issued, said the allegation was most unhealthy and unhelpful in the on-going counter-insurgency operations and dangerous to the survival of the nation. “Of all theories being alleged in connection with the Boko Haram, the most dangerous as far as I’m concerned is to raise such grievous suspicion around our security forces. “When citizens grow such

suspicion and believe in it, I am afraid, Boko Haram can light fireworks to celebrate a grand victory of setting up citizens against the security agencies”, he declared. “Since last week, I have listened and read these media reports with the hope that the issue will not be getting out of hand, but it appears the matter is growing and I find it very disturbing. “I do not want to bother about the credibility or otherwise of the

soldier in question. I’m sure the security forces take this allegation seriously and they are investigating it as they should. “I’m not holding brief for the armed forces, but as Governor of Borno State, whose area is unfortunately the worst hit, who has been closely working with security agencies, I would rather encourage confidence building between the citizens and the armed forces so that intelligence sharing can rise continually”, Shettima further added.

President Goodluck Jonathan (4th right) from left in group photograph with members of Stakeholders Forum on Electoral Reform led by Chairman, Ken Nnamani Centre for Leadership and Development and former Senate President Ken Nnamani (4th left), during their visit to the president, yesterday at the State House, in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Conflict: Miyetti Allah hails IGP’s peace initiative By Stanley Onyekwere


he national President of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, a Fulani socio-cultural organisation, Alhaji Bello Abdullahi Bodejo, at the weekend said that the peace and security committee on Fulani herdsmen/ farmers crisis, initiated by the Inspector-General of Police, M.D. Abubakar, is a good idea that have started yielding result. The committee was established to curb the crisis in Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau, Taraba, Katsi-

na, Kaduna, Kwara and Zamfara, including Delta and Edo states. Bodejo said he have observed that the dividend among the Tiv, Fulani and Agatu in Benue state, as those victims who left their various communities have started returning back to re-unit with their families and friends. According to him, the Fulani/ farmers in the communities have declared that they have no problems between themselves; rather, it was some groups who were benefiting from the crisis, especially those that come out in the

media to condemn the existence of the committee. He called on the security agencies to investigate and put their surveillance on ground to arrest such groups. “When the committee started, as a member, I was the only person that came out physically to meet with the Fulani and other ethnic groups in Benue state and they embraced the truths from us. The Fulani/ Tiv and Agatu youths were happy with the committee and they dined and wine together. “I later understood that some

of those fueling the crisis were those calling themselves Fulani leaders, whereas they are not recognized as any leader among the Fulani,” Bodejo added. He called on the state governors of the affected crisis to stand behind the committee to enable them achieve their aim of bringing peace among the various ethnic groups in those states, commending the chairman of the committee, DIG Operation, Micheal E.O Zuokumor, for his leadership style and promised to work with him without fair or favour.

N11bn Enugu airport ready by September 2015 -Minister From Suleiman Idris, Lagos


upervising Minister of Aviation Dr. Samuel Ortom yesterday disclosed the international wing of the Akanu Ibiam Airport in Enugu currently under construction will be completed by September 2015. The Minister was on an inspection tour of the N11.6 billion project, initiated by his predecessor, Ms. Stella Oduah in the eastern state. He expressed satisfaction

with the level of work on the site while he was assured of the completion date by the firm handling the project, the contractors, China Civil Engineering Company. The airport is one of the five model terminals earmarked for construction under the aviation transformation agenda of the present administration. He inspected the re-modelled old terminal, the pilgrim’s terminal, the pilots lodge and the general aviation building within the airport.

“I want to say that I am impressed with what I have seen. This is the whole essence of coming here since I resumed office. I have looked at what I have seen today on paper, but had to come to see things for myself so as to talk as an authority.” “You can see that the old terminal has been completed and commissioned. The new terminal building, which is going to cost the Federal Government N11.6 billion; the work is progressively going on. I want say here that local content of this

project is unimaginable. Over 400 Nigerians have been given jobs for this terminal project alone”, he told journalists. He explained that “On the quality of work done, I am also impressed. My engineer on site has confirmed that they have no issues with the Chinese company handling the project; so I am equally impressed. I have gotten the assurance from the company that this project will be delivered to the Federal Government and to Nigerians by September, next year.”

Atiku cautions on Ebola disease in his blog By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


ormer vice-president Atiku Abubakar has cautioned against Ebola disease and called on government to establish a localised protocol to guard against possible infection. Ebola disease was reported in Guinea last two weeks and has killed about 86 persons. Atiku, who posted the warning on his blog, said there was need for appropriate agencies of government to take proactive measures against the disease. “As part of the protocol, I encourage the government to follow suit with Morocco and Saudi Arabia, by instituting extra health screening at entry points to the country. “To the citizens of Nigeria, I encourage both your awareness and calm cooperation with health experts as they employ international best practices to prevent EVD. If you or a loved one is exhibiting signs and symptoms of EVD, please contact your local health officials immediately”, Atiku said.

Clark’s son of orchestrated own kidnap - MEND


he Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has accused the son of Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, Mr. Ebikeme Clark, of orchestrating his own kidnapping in order to defraud the state government. According to the group, in a statement signed by its spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, it “was actually a clever orchestrated fraud masterminded by Ebikeme who stage-managed his own abduction.” It said that “the ransom of N500 million was paid by the Delta state government from its security vote and was shared amongst all those involved in this scam. It could be recalled that Mr. Ebikeme Clark was abducted last Wednesday, on the site of Edwin Clark University of Technology in Kiagbodo, Burutu Local Government Area of Delta state and was released after spending five days in the kidnappers den. According to family sources, no ransom was paid to the abductors. The Public Relations Office of the Delta command of the Police, Celestina Kalu, however, confirmed the release on Sunday and denied any ransom was paid.




SURE-P maternal, child healthcare synergises with LGs in Niger

L-R: Executive Secretary, National Human Right Commission (NHRC), Professor Bem Angwe, NHRC Chairman, Professor Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, and member of the Commission, Hajiya Saudatu Mahdi, during the presentation of the commission’s final position on last year’s Apo 8 killing, yesterday in Abuja.

From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna


Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

Nigeria accounts for over 25% Africa’s vector-borne disease burden – WHO By Abbas Aminu Bamalli


he World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that Nigeria alone bears over 25% of Africa’s vector borne disease burden. Dr. Rui Gama Vaz, WHO’s Country Representative for Nigeria who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja during a Ministerial briefing to commemorate 2014 World Health Day, with the theme, “Vector borne diseases: small bite, big threat”, however said it is encouraging to note that progress is being made to tackle these diseases. According to him, malaria is on

the downward trend and that river blindness is no longer a public health problem as the intervention drugs for Onchocerciasis, Schistosomiasis and Lymphatis filariasis are more or less secured and that, “Government has evolved a clear integrated vector management strategy.” “These are demonstrations of Nigeria’s commendable commitment for tackling vector borne diseases in the country, and WHO is a proud partner in these great achievements”, he said. Dr. Vaz said, in the Africa Region, the social and economic impact of vector-borne diseases is very high and the poorest people are most

affected as in 2012 alone, there were an estimated 564, 000 deaths caused by malaria and 36,500 associated with sleeping sickness. He added that, more than 45 million people are at risk of elephantiasis, and river blindness is still prevalent in 20 countries where 15.7 million people are infected by it and 500, 000 are visually impaired as a result of this infection. Stressing further, Vaz however said although the sustained scaling-up of proven cost-effective interventions has led to significant reduction of vector-borne diseases, and that, much more needs to be done in the area of preventive measures for

keeping the environment clean and less conducive to vector breeding and survival. In his remark, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu said, Guinea worm Disease, a vectorborne disease has been eradicated from Nigeria, adding that, “Vectorborne diseases are preventable, yet they exert the biggest impact on our population, impoverishing, disabling and even killing people”. According to Chukwu, renewed efforts by governments at all levels, development partners and other stakeholders have led to the reduction in morbidity and mortality of some of these vector-borne diseases.

LG election: KANSIEC extends deadline From Edwin Olofu, Kano


ano State Independent Electoral Commission (KANSIEC) has given political parties a three-day deadline for the purchase and submission of forms for the conduct of the May 17 local government election. Speaking to reporters in Kano

yesterday, KANSIEC Chairman, Dr Sani Lawal Malumfashi,said he confirmed that he Commission has extended the period of purchase and submission of the forms for three days, from April 8, 2014 to April 10, 2014, insisting that there would be no more extension. According to him, only five candidates have submitted their

forms, which informed the decision of the decision of the Commission to extend the date for submission. ‘’Let me categorically state here that this is the third and last time that the Commission will extend the time for the purchase and submission of the forms to KANSIEC and has also directed receiving banks

to extend the period to enable candidates pay and purchase the forms,” he said. However, he assured that the KANSIEC is prepared to conduct a free and fair Local Government election against insinuations that the Commission is planning to manipulate the guidelines and time table for the LG polls in favour of a particular party.

ocal governments in Niger state has been urged to access the health facilities provided for them through the SURE-P Maternal and Child Healthcare (MCH) funds. Head of Advocacy and Communication under SURE-P, Hajiya Amina Sa’idu said this in Minna, during the stakeholders’ interactive forum on advocacy for SURE-P MCH project of NorthCentral zone, that the death rate of women and children under the age of five was no longer acceptable as more enlightenment is needed especially at various community levels to reduce the menace of Maternal and Child mortality problems in Nigeria. Amina called for synergy between the Local governments and the agency to achieve success while urging them to channel their SURE-P funds in to MCH. Director of Primary Health Care Development Agency (PHCDA), Alhaji Yusuf Adamu assured the pregnant women and children under the age of five of adequate protection of lives as the most vulnerable in such regard. Niger state Commissioner for Women and gender Affairs, Hajiya Hassana Adamu said, SURE-P has been able to provide employment and engages youths, women and disable people in the state. Adamu disclosed that in the past, women and children die of poverty and long distance of health and called for more enlightenment of women on the importance of MCH in their domains. The Rijau local government chairman, Alhaji Bawa Shambo, who spoke on behalf of the chairmen, assured of his maximum support even as he said 90 percent of health issues should be handled by the local councils as he insisted on bottom- top approach instead of the present top - bottom approach system of operation that could not yield results.

FRSC, Shell to train 540 volunteers on road crashes From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna


he Federal Road Safety Corps (RFSC), in collaboration with Shell Petroleum Development Company will train 540 volunteers to assist victims of road traffic crash in the 27 crash corridors identified across the nation. Chief executive, FRSC, CorpsMarshal Osita Chidoka made this known yesterday, while inaugurating two-day training organised for 40 volunteers, drawn

from Niger state for the first phase of the pilot project. “It will interest you to know that you are among the 540 volunteers chosen to pioneer the project in 12 states”, he said. Chidoka noted that 27 identified crash corridors in the country include Anambra, Imo, Delta, Rivers, Enugu, Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Niger, Kaduna and Gombe states respectively but did not mention the number of volunteers drawn from each state aside Niger. He stated that the training was

designed by the corps to increase the involvement of communities along the highways where crash usually occur to help victims of road misshape. Chidoka, who was represented by his Sector Commander in the state, Mr. David Usman, said after the training, the volunteers would be able to administer first aid treatment to road crash victims. Other assistance expected of the volunteers includes reaching out to emergency agencies such as FRSC, Nigeria Security and

Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Police and Fire Service as second respondents. The Corps Marshal said the volunteers would keep crash sites safe, collect and report road traffic crash data using approved format and forward same to the appropriate authority. He said the volunteers after the workshop would be able to use improvised manual extrication machine to remove trapped crash victims. Chidoka said the volunteers were drawn from the accident prone

areas of the 12 states. Responding, one of the participants, Mr. Yusuf Abdullahi from Paiko local government area of the state said with the training, they would adequately assist road traffic crash victims with the right first aid. Abdullahi said road accident had claimed so many lives and properties along Paiko-Suleja road. He commended the FRSC and Shell Petroleum Development Company for collaborating to train them to assist road traffic crash victims.




Police beat up Okada rider, injure passenger in Gombe From David Hassan, Gombe


rmed mobile policemen, numbering eight, in Gombe yesterday, pounced on an Okada rider and his passenger when the Okada rider violated a trafficlight located at a junction closed to Government House in Gombe. Our correspondent, who was at the scene of the incident reports that trouble started when an Okada rider violated a

traffic rule and was stopped by the traffic warden. Following the arrest, ateam of armed mobile policemen who were on patrol stormed the area andstarted beating the Okada rider and his passenger without seekingrelevant information from the traffic wardens. According to an eyewitness account who spoke to our correspondent, said thatimmediately the armed policemen stormed the area

they started beatingthe Okada rider and the passenger without obtaining any useful informationconcerning the incident. The passenger, whose name was given as Mohammed Bello, was said to have suffered in the hands of the armedpolicemen which they said they use tea-gas on his eyes. Speaking on condition of anonymity, another eye witness said the armed policemen did

Forensic experts gathering materials at the kidnappers den, Soka forest, yesterday in Ibadan.

not only beat the man but they used tea-gas on his eyes,which he described as inhuman. He said it took a long time before the man could open his eyes,stressing that there is an urgent need for state government to intervenein the issue before the police finish citizens in the state. According to him, the responsibility of the police was to ensure thatlives and property of the citizens is protected and not to cause havoc to the society.

Photo: NAN

Man hits 4-year old Nigerian to death in Abidjan


four-year old Nigerian, Kennedy Nwariwe, has been hit to death by a man suspected to be insane in Portbouet, a sub-urban settlement of Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire’s economic capital. The victim’s father, Mr. Andrew Nwariwe, said the incident happened in a church premise, after the boy left the auditorium to play with other kids outside.

“I did not know that he has left the church hall, it was when we heard noise outside that I saw it was my child. “With the assistance of some persons, we immediately rushed him to the hospital where he was confirmed dead,’’ he said. According to eyewitnesses, the man, who attacked the children, grabbed late Nwariwe’s two legs

and hit his head severally on a wall. They said it took the intervention of some daring youths to get the little boy off the man’s grip. According to them, Nwariwe became instantly lifeless while his head got seriously swollen due to the attack. Reacting on the incident, the President of the Nigerian Community in Cote d’Ivoire, Mr.

Karrem Nasiru, described it as unfortunate. He urged Nigerians in the country to be mindful of the movement of their children and wards in public places. “We are in a foreign land; we need to be careful, we need to avoid putting our children and wards into unnecessary dangers,’’ he said. (NAN)

2 cleaners face N800,000 theft charge


wo cleaners were yesterday docked at an Igbosere Magistrates’ Court, Lagos, over alleged theft of an industrial cleaning machine valued at N800,000. The accused – Michael Momodu, 33, is a resident of No. 29, Temidire St., Alagbado, Lagos, while Daniel Benson, 23, lives at Block M14, Abesan

Estate, Ipaja, also in Lagos. The duo is facing a two-count charge of conspiracy and theft. According to the prosecutor, Sgt. Edet Akadu, the accused committed the offences on March 18 at Unity Street, Jakande, Lekki. He alleged that the cleaners stole the industrial cleaning machine belonging to their employer – Grace First Properties.

``When the accused interrogated, they claimed that the machine had been sold as scrap to an undisclosed buyer for N2, 500 only”, he stated. According to Akadu, the offences contravene Sections 285 (7) and 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011. Section 285 (7) prescribes seven years imprisonment for

stealing, while Section 409 provides a two-year jail term for conspiracy. The accused, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge. The Magistrate, Mrs. Joy Ugbomoiko, granted the accused bail in the sum of N200, 000 each with two sureties each in like sum and adjourned the case to May 15 for trial. (NAN)

39 illegal extramural centres shut down in Kwara


he Commissioner for Education and Human Capital Development in Kwara, Alhaji Saka Onimago, yesterday said the state government had recently closed down 39 extramural centres for operating illegally. Onimago told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ilorin that the centres, which included “coaching centres’’ and evening classes, were shut down by a Task

Force. He said the Task Force was made up of officials of the ministry and the Agency for Mass Education. “All the centres shut down are privately-owned and have not been approved by the state government, and they are operating in Ilorin,’’ the commissioner said. He said the Task Force would soon move to other parts of the

state, explaining that the exercise was to rid the state of substandard learning centres. Onimago also said the closure of the centres was to ensure sanity in the operations of such “schools’’ in the state. “In addition, this will also serve as a deterrent to people planning to set up such centres,’’ he said. The commissioner said every extramural centre or

evening class in the state must be approved by the Ministry of Education. “Also, sanctions will be imposed on any of the centres earlier shut down but which reopens without formalising its registration with the state’s Mass Literacy Agency,’’ he said. Onimago said the Task Force had been split into three teams to enable it effectively cover the state within a reasonable period.(NAN)

Law School student, 30, commits suicide


30-year old student of the Nigerian Law School, Abuja, Auwal Haruna, allegedly committed suicide yesterday by hanging himself on the ceiling fan in his hotel room in Takum. The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Joseph Kwaji, confirmed the incident to newsmen in Jalingo, saying the matter was under investigation. According to him, the body of the deceased was found dangling from a ceiling fan at Mairiga Guest Inn, Takum. He said the deceased, until his death, was a suspect in a case of murder involving his younger brother, Ahmed, who allegedly connived with their mother, Aisha, to murder their father, Haruna Mohammed. He said that the deceased’s brother (Ahmed), 27, was being detained for abducting and hanging his father to death in the suburb of Gembu over his father’s alleged marriage of a second wife against the wishes of his wife. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that there is an upsurge in suicide cases in Taraba. Kwaji attributed the increase in cases of suicide to drug abuse and frustration. “Most of these young men commit suicide as a result of drug abuse and frustration in life. “Suicide is not the solution to our problems. Killing oneself is not only contrary to the laws of the land, but also against our religions,’’ Kwaji said. NAN recalls that two incidents of suicide were recorded in Jalingo in February. One involved a 400 Level student of the Taraba University, Friday Samson, 32, who poisoned himself to death over lack of funds to pay his school fees. The other incident involved a watchman, Sa’idu Babura, 45, who hung himself on a tree at Hassan Primary School, Jalingo, after an alleged battle against drug abuse. In January, 21 year-old Mansur Tanko burnt himself to death in Jalingo because his father, Tanko Mijinyawa, allegedly refused to approve of his plan to marry. (NAN)



No, don’t castrate them By Patrick Andrew and Hassan Ginsau


he had begun by speaking about breaking down the walls that delegates have built around themselves by virtue of their tribal tendencies. “We are building walls not bridges. We came with a mindset. And we have left planning instead have concentrated, on sharing resources.” Well, it was Wosilat Mcarthy that won the attention of the delegates that comparison. “Religion, tribalism, ethnicity, are the artificial walls that some delegates built around themselves. No, we should build bridges of understanding.” Well reacting to a comment made earlier, Musikat added for effect. “As for the comment made by a delegate, l share has shared her feelings. But as for the men no, don’t castrate them. But as the instrument they are using, well God will help them,” she said. That sent the hall into delirious laughter. That’s simple. The instrument is a coded word. The earlier comment had been that some

irresponsible men were going about raping child and women in such a manner that beats imagination. Now, you understand what

the ‘instrument’ is. Yes, that evil rod that some have taken delight in abusing to a terrible degree. Did l hear you say everyone enjoyed a bit the

lewd but brutal yoke? But who won’t give in to such carefully coded but clearly understood word: “Instrument”? It was

intoxicated and not a few became intoxicated perhaps for the first time in their life only that it had nothing to do with liquor and alcohol at that.

L-R: Emir of Dutse, Dr. Nuhu Mohammed Sanusi, His Royal Majesty, Oba Adedapo Aderemi, and Oba Michael Gbadebo, at the National Conference, yesterday in Abuja.

Empty seats and angry delegate M

L-R: Colonel Bala Mande, Hamisu Yusuf Abubakar, and Ambassador Abubakar M. Abdulmumuni, at the conference.

iss Ankio Briggs was angry, and rightly so. She had sat quietly all through the debates yesterday. But not so for a few others. That meant obvious empty seats. The empty seats did not go down well with Miss Briggs who felt impelled to raise order 3 (3) which in summary said no delegate would absent himself or herself from the conference without prior permission from the chairman. “I don’t believe that every empty seat have taken prior permission to absent at the conference. I believe people have deliberately absented themselves. We all have serious things to attend to but because we consider this as a national assignment of very serious dimension we are willing to sacrifice. “No, when people continue to act this way they are no longer distinguish and honourable. If they don’t want to serve they should simply let go,” she said evidently fuming. Many were her sympathizers, ironically.



By Patrick Andrew and Hassan Ginsau


en. Rasheedi Ladoja was former governor of Oyo state. Yes, he is one of several ex-governors who have severally been berated for their part in Nigeria’s draw back. Well, he seems very honourable and let none in doubt about. That’s because he introduced himself with all the effrontery that he could muster and to drive it home he added all the national honours in his chest back home. First, he launched into the agitations by the youth and women who have expressed declared that they want liberation from oppressive men. “I have heard youth agitation. I have also heard here repeatedly, women agitation. They have spoken as if we men are not their fathers and husbands. They want their rights. If we pursue rights we will not benefit from the experience of the older ones-their fathers and husbands.” “Then, let me talk about the constitution

Constitution my foot and because I have seen a president of Nigeria say “constitution my foot”. The implication was obvious

and clearly driven home. It was an emphatic recap of the impunity of the rulers and their disdain for the

constitution. Yes, the constitution they swore to uphold and use to conduct the affairs of

the nation. Of course, since we know under whose era Ladoja was governor, we know who held the

constitution in dishonour and yet is one of our elder statesmen, who words is law.

L-R: Ambassador Mai-Sule Ibrahim, Mr. Anthony Sani, and Justice Mamman Nasir, at the conference.


As campaigns begin soon for the 2015 general elections, Peoples Daily throws the spotlight on distinguished members of the House of Representatives who have excelled in providing qualitative representation for their constituents. L-R: Senator Ibrahim Ida, and Dr. Abubakar S. Mohammed, at the conference

In a special publication, your widely read newspaper, Peoples Daily, offers a unique opportunity for members to showcase their achievements for posterity. It promises to be a publication no member can afford to be left out of. For further information and bookings, please, contact:

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This house is adjourned


rofessor Bolaji Akinyemi, the Vice Chairman of the National C0onference is a very learned and intelligent man. And he is also very humble if sometimes mischievous. The professor, the chairman whose laughter has become infectious, takes every opportunity

to exhibit his wit and sharp mind. He does that effortlessly sometimes to just arrest attention and at other times to stamp authority masterly but without being masterfully. So it was yesterday when it became evident that delegates were edgy and wanted to go home

for the day. So he said, “this house is adjourned till tomorrow.” But then came shout of no, motion for adjournment. And he responded. “Oh, l am sorry, please forgive me, all this why laughing and there and then a motion for adjournment was raised.”




2015: Residents set condition for Gov Yero’s 2nd term bid From Muhammad Ibrahim, Kaduna


esidents of Sabon-Gari, in Kaduna-South local government area of Kaduna state, have called on the state governor, Muktar Ramalan Yero to rehabilitate Charanchi Road as a condition for their support for his second-term bid in case he decides to contest his position come 2015. The residents, represented by a youth group, named Izharul Haq Honesty Group, also lamented that

…says ‘repair our road or…’

the road was not included among the major roads under construction by the state government, saying they want the governor to know of their plight and hope he will listen to their complain. According to them, if the government failed to repair the road, which according to them has been in bad state for many years, the residents would think twice before casting their votes for his party.

It was gathered that the road was built in the 80s under Alhaji Balarabe Musa as Governor of old Kaduna state. In a statement signed by the group, located in Sabon-Gari new extension, its Chairman, Ustaz Muhammad Abubakar Danmama and Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Muhammad Yaba, urged the governor to come to the aid of the people of the area.

The group believed the governor should approve the reconstruction of the road, which started from Ibrahim Taiwo road, KasuwanBarchi market and linked to Nnamdi Azikiwe expressway. “Charanchi road has been in a bad state for many years. The road, we understand, was built since Alhaji Balarabe was the governor of the state, which was in 80s. So we are appealing to the state governor,

Kwara NBA seeks financial autonomy for Judiciary From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


he Kwara state chapter of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) has called for the financial autonomy for Nigeria Judiciary. The state Chairman of the bar, Barrister Mobolaji Ojibara, who stated this at a media briefing to mark NBA’s ‘Law Week’, said only Nasarawa and Bayelsa stated have freedom on finance. “It is not in Kwara state; it is virtually all the states except

Nasarawa and Bayelsa states. The Constitution is very clear on what is required for the independence of each and every arm of the Government. It is not appropriate that any arm of the Government will be going cap in hand in order to survive. “I think the survival or existence of an arm of government, particularly the Judiciary, must not be dependent on the existence of good relationship with any other arm, particularly the Executive, for it to survive.

“The Constitution is very clear. It requires articulating the full accounting status for the Judiciary. The government only needs to look into the Constitution and apply the portion of the Constitution. “It is not only Kwara state government. Kwara state is not financially independent. Virtually all the states in the federation except Bayelsa and Nasarawa states are not financially independent.” On the corruption, Ojibara said, “I do not think that it is

right to say that the Judiciary can be gotten rid of corruption. The Judiciary, headed by the present Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), is making a lot of efforts to sanitise Judiciary. At the end of the day, they would have achieved a lot of results. “So we should support the effort in our own way. Let us eradicate corruption even in our little corners and from wherever we belong to. At the appropriate time, our efforts will bring the appropriate result to the system”.

Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi (right), presenting an award to Kaduna state Governor, Dr. Mukhtar Ramalan Yero (middle), during the 50th anniversary celebration of Fityanul Islam of Nigeria, on Sunday in Kaduna.With them is the National President, Fityanul Islam, Sheikh Muhammad Arabi ibn Sheikh Adul Fathi (left).

NIS tragedy: Counsel said Moro did not apologise to real victims

By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


ounsel of the victims of the Immigration recruitment exercise, Emeka Ugwuonye, has said that the Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro did not apologise to the real victims. It could be recalled that Moro, at the weekend, apologised to

Nigerians over the tragedy during a chat with news men in Abuja. The counsel, in a statement issued via LEADERSHIP newspaper on-line, said “Moro never apologised to the real victims and they do not know the people he apologised to. “It is clear from the so-called apology that Moro did not mean to

apologise to anybody. Instead, he is interested in ingratiating himself and trying to look good despite all that happened”. The statement said that the minister should accept responsibility and resign instead of justifying his stay in office. “Whether my clients would accept Mr. Moro’s apology depends

on whether there is an apology to accept. As at this moment, Mr. Moro has not issued an apology to them and there is thus nothing for them to accept. We have a case that is pending in court. Moro has received notice to appear in court and he understands that he should be in court on April 22, 2014 to explain himself”.

FG expends N480bn to tertiary institutions through TETFUND From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


he supervising Minister of education, Chief Barrister Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, has said that about N480 billion has so far been released to Federal Universities, Polytechnics, and Colleges of Education among others institutions since 2010-2013, through the Tertiary Education trust Fund (TETFUND). The Minister made the statement

yesterday in Bauchi, during a stakeholders’ town hall meeting on TETFUND’s interventions in tertiary institutions in the North-East geopolitical zone. The Minister added that the meeting is an opportunity to meet with heads of federal institutions, not only in the North-East zone to showcase their achievements through the TETFUND intervention. The Minister noted that the

ministry of education organize the meeting to restore the confidence in education sector towards better and solid foundation for quality education in the country. Wike stressed that TETFUND as an organ of federal government has also release the whooping sum of N437 billion to states Universal Basic Education from 2010-2013, to improve the standard of education from the grassroots. Wike commended heads of

federal institutions in the NorthEast for executing various structures through the utilization of TETFUND in line with the financial regulation council and procurement act to ensure accountability and judicious use of funds. Earlier speaking, the Chairman TETFUND Board of Trustees, Dr. Musa Babayo had said, TETFUND is mandated by law to response to the decay state of education through various intervention.

Muktar Ramalan Yero, to please come to our aid to repair the road for the benefit of the people in the area,” they said. The youth further commended Governor Yero’s administration for its efforts towards rehabilitating major roads within the state metropolis and environs and also called on the people of the state to support the governor, by living in peace with one another so as to move the state forward.

NASS won’t shortchange Nigeria’s unity – Mark ...As Jonathan commends his commitment to peace By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


enate President, David Mark, has assured that National Assembly will not shortchange Nigeria’s unity and peaceful coexistence, even as President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday commended him for his patriotic commitment to peace, progress and unity of Nigeria. In a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Paul Mumeh, Mark said the lawmakers would stand and defend those things that would engender peace and unity of Nigeria. He also stated that the legislature has no conflicting roles with the executive arm of government, even as he added that dividends of democracy would be faster delivered if the legislature and the executive arms of government work in harmony. According to the statement, Mark said this while speaking at the Senator Nurudeen AbatemiUsman Initiative empowerment programme in Okene Kogi state yesterday. He stressed the need to abhor friction between and among government functionaries, so that the electorates could benefit from government programmes and policies. Mark pleaded for peaceful coexistence between and among Nigerians saying” there has to be peace for us to talk about development at any given point. Government alone cannot guarantee peace, it is the cooperation of all us irrespective of political parties that can bring peaceful coexistence.” In a related development, President Goodluck Jonathan has commended David Mark, for his patriotic commitment to peace, progress and unity of Nigeria. In a letter he wrote to Mark, to congratulate him on his 66th birthday, Jonathan said, “As you mark your 66th birthday anniversary, I extend very warm felicitations to you on behalf of my family, the Government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”. President Jonathan also expressed his appreciation of the Senate President’s unflinching support and contributions towards the successful implementation of the Federal Government’s Agenda for National Transformation.



Money Sense

7 Signs you’re living beyond your means W hether you consider yourself to be financially responsible, or you always seem to come up short on cash, there are a few key indicators that may indicate you are living beyond your means, and being aware of them can save you loads of money woes in times of a cash emergency. You couldn’t live without your job’s income for at least six months Need some motivation to start saving? Sit down and add up how much money you make each month. Then, multiply that amount by six. Assuming you have a stable job, that’s the minimum balance you should have stashed away in an interest bearing, insured deposit account that is earmarked solely for emergency needs, according to Henk Peters, Certified Financial Planner and president of Investus Financial Planning. “Clients frequently underestimate life’s uncertainties and discount the need to have cash available for unexpected events like unemployment, illness, disabilities, and family emergencies,” he says. If you have a less-than-stable career or you’re self-employed, he recommends saving as much as 12 months worth of income. If you don’t have anything near that amount saved, and worse, you’re in debt, you’re living beyond your means. You go on vacation on credit You work hard and you’ve earned that vacation, right? Consider this financial rule of thumb when it comes to credit purchases: If it takes you longer to pay for the purchase than the actual “life span” of the item, you can’t really afford it. Start a plan to save money for vacations well in advance of the time you’ll need to book tickets or make reservations, even if you intend

Money Tip: Energy star appliances


f your appliances are older models, then you should retire them and purchase new ones as soon as you can. An Energy Star refrigerator can save money since this one appliance contributes nearly 15 to 20 percent of your energy consumption. A new washer and dryer, not only will save on electricity requirements, but also save on clothes. A partially filled freezer requires more electricity to keep the food frozen than a full freezer



he way I look at it, everything is a trade. You acquire some money, so then you’ve got no financial burdens, but everyone wants your money and so who can you trust? Or you’ve got no money and you can trust anyone, but then you’ve got the worry to pay bills. Which is worse? Matt LeBlan

to charge your trip for purchase protection reasons. Make sure you pay the balance down before you’re charged a dime of interest and be realistic about all the “extras” that can add to the cost of a trip, like tips, parking, and baggage fees. You only consider monthly payments when buying a car Aside from a home, a car is one of the most expensive items you’ll purchase in your life. While it’s understandable to focus on monthly payment amounts when determining how much car you can buy, your ability to afford a monthly auto loan payment doesn’t mean you can afford the car. If you’re in doubt, consider the duration of the loan: If it’s longer than three years, and doesn’t result in owning the vehicle outright at the conclusion of the loan, you’re shopping out of your true budget.

The same premise holds true for auto loan refinancing: If you’re refinancing because interest rates have dropped considerably since you initiated the loan, which may be a money-smart move. If you are refinancing only to lower your monthly payments, and refinancing means that you are extending the life of the loan, you’re not actually saving money, you’re just stretching out the payments. You’ve arrived at the home you can afford based on a 30-year fixed mortgage If you’ve calculated the amount of home you can afford based only a 30-year fixed mortgage scenario, you may be taking on more than you can really afford. Instead of strapping yourself to a 30-year fixed mortgage payment, consider how much more affordable less house with a shorter loan term is, despite the higher monthly payment.

By opting for a four percent, 15year fixed mortgage on a $250,000 home loan over a comparable 30year fixed loan, a homeowner could save $97,020 in interest over the life of the loan. Further, he owns the home in less than two decades. You’ve paid an overdraft fee in the last 12 months If money is so tight that you have to rely on overdraft protection in order to float your lifestyle, you’re living beyond what you can afford, period. You’ve exceeded your credit limit Exceeding your credit limit doesn’t just cost you in over-limit fees. Because your credit score is based largely on your debt-to-utilization ratio, which is the difference of the amount of available credit you have to what you’ve used, your credit score is lowered when your credit balances are high and it signals to

lenders that you’re in over your head. If you are approved for new lines of credit—including a home mortgage—your future interest rates will be sky high. You’re in debt but you pay someone to do a job you could do yourself Are you too busy to clean your house, walk your dog, mow your lawn, or manicure your nails? While some expenses, like childcare and vehicle maintenance are unavoidable, a person who is in debt can’t afford frivolous luxuries that (while unpleasant) could technically be handled “in house.” Instead of paying someone else for skills you possess, do the task yourself and put the savings toward paying down debt, building your emergency savings accounts and funding your retirement.

…and 3 ways your cost of living could drop in retirement


hether retirement is a distant dream or fast approaching, planning now can help. One of the first steps in planning is thinking about what kind of retirement you desire. Do you anticipate taking on a second career or pursuing part-time work? Do you hope to travel extensively or start expensive hobbies? Will you downsize your home, move to another state or even another country? These answers will ultimately help you decide how much income you need in retirement and thus, how much you need to save. Will your income needs stay the same, decrease or increase in retirement? The answer will be different for everyone but here are

three ways your cost of living may decrease in retirement. Mortgage If you make it a goal to pay off your mortgage prior to retirement, you can cut the cost of your mortgage from your monthly budget. This can free up cash that you can put toward other things or just reduce how much you need to pull from your savings. This can also lower your costs in other areas. Without a mortgage to cover, you may be able to reduce your insurance coverage. One of the main factors to consider in purchasing life insurance is to help cover your debts upon your death. But if you have removed this monthly payment, your spouse or significant other may

not need as much to cover costs. It’s a good idea to re-asses how much life insurance you need after big life events like starting a family, buying a house or retirement. Work bills Having a job means you earn money, but it can also cost money to work. When you retire, you no longer have to worry about commuting costs, work clothes and other expenses. If you used your car for getting to and from work, you may now pay less on gas, maintenance and car insurance. In addition, many people dine out a lot while they are in the working world. Sometimes this is to grab lunch or because you are

too exhausted to cook dinner. Now you may be able to reduce your food bills by cooking your own food and eating more often at home. You’re already there The nice thing about making it to retirement is you can stop preparing for it! So while a large part of your budget during your working years likely went to building up a retirement nest egg, once you retire, you can stop building. If you have been maxing out contributions to your retirement accounts in recent years, removing retirement savings from your budget can greatly decrease your cost of living.




Euro-Africa summit: A meeting of unequal partners “The EU will continue with its Common Security and Defence Policy missions and operations such as those in Central African Republic, CongoKinshasa, Mali, Niger and Somalia. The new African initiatives are to


uropean Union Commission president, Jose Manuel Barroso, described EuropeAfrica relations as “a partnership of equals” and his African Union counterpart, Nkosazana DlaminiZuma, spoke of “complementary comparative advantages” that will keep Africa and Europe locked together for decades to come. Both spoke at the 4th European UnionAfrica summit that took place on April 2-3 in Brussels, Belgium. However, the pretension of equality sent many, particularly the African delegates sniggering. It certainly wasn’t a meeting of equals. Nevertheless, the summit did produce a result that confounded earlier low expectations. A 63-clause declaration outlined agreements on “security, migration, trade and development”.The specifics include a 28 billion euros pledge by the European Union for project finance in Africa in the period 2014-20. Tagged “strategic intelligence”, the fund is meant to “win private finance for big and sustainable projects” in Africa. The significance of this suggestion is better appreciated in the context of “troubled economic times” in some member states of the EU. On security, the Europeans backed and even gave money to get the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises going this year and for the much bigger and longer term African Standby Force. Germany, for one, is financing a Continental Early Warning System at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia.

As impressive as the turn-out was, the summit was not without controversy. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe did not attend because his wife, Grace did not get an invitation. replace such missions, with bigger countries such as Nigeria and South Africa taking the lead”. A new EU intervention force, Eurofor RCA, to be headed by a French army general, will be deployed in crisis-torn Central African Republic whose transitional president Catherine Samba-Panza was at the summit. The summit also agreed on a “workable ban” on conflict minerals though African delegates would have preferred that foreign companies set up processing and manufacturing operations on the continent which

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”

would have been the surest way to stop minerals from being taken out of African countries experiencing crises. This concern was expressed by Ms Dlamini-Zuma when the summiteers were discussing how to boost Africa’s agriculture. “Let the processing not happen elsewhere”, she said. The high note of the summit was sounded by the AU Commission Chair, Ms Dlamini-Zuma, who advocated the “skilling-up” of Africa’s youth. “Africa could be the only continent with a young labour force by 2050”, she said. “If we concentrate on skilling up our people, they will not have to come [into Europe] through Lampedusa or the desert… and [more will stay at home, where they] will drive development in Africa.” This is food for thought for Europe and its governments. As impressive as the turnout was, the summit was not without controversy. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe did not attend because his wife, Grace did not get an invitation. Protest demonstrations greeted Rwanda’s Paul Kagame as he arrived for the summit. His country is this week marking the 20th anniversary of the genocide that wiped out 20 percent of its population in 1994. It has been dubbed the world’s “swiftest genocide” ever. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy Breyrefused to break bread with Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo even though the two sat at the same Lusophone table.











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Opinion Nigeria’s rise to the bottom By Toyin Dawodu


saw a headline one night on one of my favourite business websites, It read “Nigeria Rising: The Woman behind the Nation’s Economic Turnaround.”Nigeria rising. Is it? Perhaps Steve Forbes got this one wrong. From where I and millions of other Nigerians sit, the disintegration of Nigeria rages on as its leaders continue to sweet talk, double-talk and bamboozle its citizens. I have been a reader of Forbes since my college days and I still consider Forbes a trusted source of global business information. I always found time to pick through the various opinions and insights of the late Malcolm Forbes before his death in 1990. Later, I reserved the same level of attention and journalistic reverence for his son, Steve Forbes, the magazine’s current Editor-inChief. These days, I don’t seek out his opinion like I did in years past, but I still read Forbes. So when I found Steve Forbes’ interview with Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi OkonjoIweala, I was interested. The interview was disguised as an op-ed. In the article, Forbes referred to the minister’s work as an “economic miracle.” Even the World Bank will beg to differ. What economic miracle is this? Is it the 170 million Nigerians that live in darkness? Is it the 50% unemployment rate amongst Nigeria’s 40 million youth? Coincidentally, a remnant of youths are now earning their living by kidnapping members from well-off families and holding

them for ransom. Is that fact included as part of this economic miracle? Maybe it’s the unverified 8% inflation rate which the average citizen knows is more like 15%? Is it the fact that the world’s 8th largest exporter of oil has its own citizens lining up for days just to fill their tanks because they live in a country where there is a constant shortage of petrol? There isn’t even enough gas for the country to generate its own electricity. And has anyone located the missing $20 billion in oil revenue that even the woman behind the so-called economic miracle can’t seem to find? Is it the fact that there is no running water in Nigeria, and only a handful of paved roads where traffic officers double as unauthorized toll collectors and freely shake down poor citizens? Is it the fact that a country that had no debt just a few years ago now has a growing domestic debt at oppressive interest rates? And who is looking into these claims that the same banks being used to warehouse the government’s money turn around and charge 12-14% interest when it’s time for the government to borrow money? Tell me again, Mr. Forbes, what is Madam Minister’s claim to fame besides wrecking the Nigerian economy and spilling propaganda from her lips? Nigerian citizens, civil society groups in Nigeria and the National Assembly of Nigeria have all come forward to challenge Nigeria’s economic minister, demanding she provide proof of all the jobs she claimed to have created since she became minister. So far, the only proof offered by the

minister is the propagation of words across the globe of 27,000 jobs created by doling out money to a few lucky winners of a business competition? Is this how jobs are created in advanced economies? Wonder of wonders, how do you create sustainable jobs in a country where businesses barely get two hours of electricity a day. Most businesses spend, on average, 20% of their revenue generating power and producing their own water. I am curious to know how much research Mr. Forbes actually conducted on the Honorable Minister before Okaying this headline for publication. For the sake of argument, let’s say Nigeria is rising. The question now becomes: For whom? Is Nigeria rising for foreign investors who make a killing on Nigerian’s sovereign bonds? These same investors reap huge financial benefit by investing in Nigeria’s stock market, the same stock market led by the banks that warehouse the government’s money then lend it back to them at phenomenally high interest rates. In Nigeria, banks bask in the richness of their profits, yet refuse to lend to business in the private sector, leaving Nigerian companies to languish and toil for years without ever having the opportunity to positively impact the economy by creating real jobs. Nigeria’s Minister of Finance is an underperformer. Yet Mr. Forbes has found some virtue and value in her work. He is clearly not Nigerian. Here are some real facts about the Nigerian economy since Okonjo-Iweala took over the management of Nigeria’s economy in 2010: 1. Unemployment

has increased year over year, and currently at stands at 23%. 2. Interest rate for business loans has remained at 20-35% for the last four years. 3. Nigeria’s electricity supply has decreased from 4,000 megawatts to about 2,800, in a country of 170 million. To put this in perspective, Los Angeles has a population of about 4 million people and generates over 7,000 megawatts. Nigeria has spent more than $9 billion to generate electricity and for what? Two hours of power a day? 4. According to the recently suspended central bank governor, between $10 billion, or is it $20 billion went missing from the treasury on Madam Minister’s watch. We don’t know how much is missing, but there are billions missing for sure. How do you siphon $10 billion from a pocketbook and your head of finance cannot say where it went? 5. Nigeria’s debt service has risen to 20% since the Honorable Minister took over the management and co-ordination of Nigeria’s economy. 6. Nigeria’s domestic debt has risen from $35 billion to $44.3 billion since the honorable minister came into office. 7. Over $12 billion was expended for fuel subsidy under the watchful eyes of Madam Minister, yet Nigerians can’t seem to get their hands on petrol for their automobiles or kerosene to cook their food. 8. Nigeria is ranked 120th out of 148 countries in Global competitiveness index. 9. According to the World Bank, over 100 million Nigerians are living in absolute destitution. 10. According to the Nigerian Custom’s Director General, Nigeria lost over $9 billion to fraudulent import waivers granted by the honorable minister between 2011

and 2013. These are waivers granted by Madam Minister to cronies. Nigeria’s economic saboteurs disguise themselves as industrialists and rake in big bucks, while exploiting the people. Even the casual observer can catalog a few of Nigeria’s news headlines and see that despite the massive amounts of money being generated in Nigeria due to its oil fortunes, the economy is crumbling. Nigerians are struggling. It seems to me the true beneficiaries of these huge markets are foreign exploiters and a handful of well-protected Nigerian cohorts who do not could care whether or not their investments created any real jobs, stability, infrastructure or long term growth. As long as they are able to fatten their bank accounts or repatriate 20% return to their foreign private equity partners, damn everyone else! So, Forbes, the jury is still out on whether the minister is doing the right thing. But if you want a quick verdict, just go to the streets of any Nigerian city and poll the views of people lined up for hours daily to buy overpriced kerosene with which they can cook dinner for their families. Just ask the average business owner to tell you the last time he got a loan from a bank and the interest rate. You will find a much different truth that Nigerians live every day. The familiar motto of Forbes magazine rings in my head: “With all thy getting, get understanding.” Maybe Steve Forbes should do just that. Toyin Dawodu wrote in from Lagos

The sedition charge against Wabara By Michael Jegede


n Friday, March 28, I was taken aback when I first read about the arrest of Mr. Ebere Wabara, a veteran journalist and associate editor with the Sun Newspaper on the Facebook wall of a Port-Harcourt based media consultant and writer, Odimegwu Onwumere, in a Gestapo-like manner that easily reminds one of the military era. According to Onwumere, who spoke with the wife of the senior editor and language expert, police officers from the Abia State Police Command stormed the Lagos residence of Wabara in the early hours of the day, and arrested him supposedly on the orders of Abia State Governor, Theodore Orji, without due recourse to the canons of democracy. Wabara was said to have been first taken to Sholoki Police Station in Aguda, Surulere, then later to Oyingbo Police Station, both in Lagos, before he was eventually whisked away to Umuahia in Abia State, where he was detained. He was however released late Saturday night on bail, after the intervention of the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, and told to report to the office of the Abia State Commissioner of Police the following Monday at 10 a.m. The release of Wabara did not come without serious bashing and condemnation of the action of the police officers from individuals and different groups in the country. The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE) were quick to decry the molestation of one of their own and asked for his

immediate and unconditional release. The likes of Femi Falana, the human rights lawyer, Richard Akinola, a lawyer and journalist, Igho Akeregha, acting president of Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO and Hon. Victor Afam Ogene, Deputy Chairman, House of Reps Committee on Media and Publicity, all added their voices in knocking the action of the policemen, describing it as undemocratic, unlawful and appalling. They all wondered why Wabara, a responsible media expert should be so bundled all the way from Lagos to Umuahia in handcuffs like a common criminal. They noted that there was need for the Nigerian Police and indeed other security agencies to carry out their operations in a more civilized manner, at least, to give a clear indication that we are truly in a democracy. Akinola particularly liken the case of Wabara to his own abduction in 1996. According to him, “Wabara’s abduction reminds me of October 13, 1996, when I was similarly abducted by Abacha’s men. It is despicable that this is happening under a democratic government. There is no rationale for the abduction.” Upon his release, the Sun associate editor who also doubles as the media adviser to former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, reportedly took ill and was hospitalized as a result of the dehumanizing treatment said to have been meted out to him by the police during the period of 36 hours he was held hostage. For this reason, he could not report in the office of the Abia State Police Commissioner on Monday as directed while he was being granted bail. Notwithstanding

his health condition, Wabara was arraigned in absentia by the Abia State Police Command and slammed with a 10-count charge bordering on seditious publications against Abia State Governor at an Umuahia Magistrate’s court. Speaking with newsmen after the court proceedings, Governor Orji’s counsel, Chukwunyere Nwabuko, said: “Freedom of expression is not a licence to disparage a sitting governor. That is not our law. It is very terrible thing when people throw caution to the wind in the name of journalism.” However, some legal pundits have argued that the Law of sedition is a relic of imperial rule that died with colonialism and was buried with it thereafter. Commenting on the status of the law of sedition in Nigeria, foremost constitutional lawyer, Professor Itse Sagay (SAN), said the Court of Appeal repealed the law over two decades ago. His words: “Sedition is a colonial law, which went away with colonialism. It was a law meant to protect the government from being brought into disrepute. Now we have a constitution, which guarantees the right to freedom of expression. As such, the law of sedition can’t co-exist with the provisions of the constitution on freedom of speech and expression. The Court of Appeal declared over 20 years ago that sedition has ceased to exist and that is the way it must be.” Human rights lawyers, Fred Agbaje and Festus Keyamo, in their separate submissions agree with Professor Sagay. Agbaje said, “The law of sedition, which is grounded in Section 61 of the Criminal Code, is one of the colonial heritage

Nigeria has inherited. Under the law, any publication that brings the government into disrepute is actionable. But in the State vs. Nwankwo in 1983, the Court of Appeal in Enugu declared the law as not only contrary to the constitution of Nigeria, particularly the provisions on freedom of expression, but also one law that can no longer stand the test of modern jurisprudence. “The court was vehement in its assertion that Nigeria is no longer the slave-yard that colonialists thought it was. The Court of Appeal has placed a nail on the coffin of the law. Where a writer exceeds his bounds, there should be a resort to the law of libel. Criticism is an indispensable right in a democracy.” In 2006, a similar incident had occurred where two journalists, Gbenga Aruleba of African Independent Television (AIT) and Rotimi Durojaiye of Daily Independent were charged for sedition over a presidential jet story during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration. Durojaiye had published a piece on June 12, 2006 with the caption: “Controversy over age, cost of presidential jet.” Durojaiye who is now the Daily Editor of the newspaper said research by Daily Independent showed that the government had bought a five-year-old aircraft from the German carrier Lufthansa and not a new jet directly from Boeing, as it claimed. Aruleba was joined in the sedition charge for making the Daily Independent article the subject of discussion the following day in his national talk show programme on AIT. In a publication “Who is afraid

of sedition?” written to condemn the action of Obasanjo’s regime then, Reuben Abati, a highly respected journalist and popular critic of government activities at that time (now on the side of government) said: “Sedition, the law under which two journalists and two media houses, Gbenga Aruleba with the African Independent Television and Rotimi Durojaiye of the Daily Independent Newspapers are currently being tried at an Abuja Federal High Court is a relic of colonial rule, a tool of tyranny, and a dead law, duly pronounced so by the courts, whose reinvention is a comment not on the practice of responsible journalism but on the growing resort of the Obasanjo administration and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party to a culture of intolerance that is completely antithetical to democratic norms...” It is important for those in charge of governments at all levels in the country to know that we are now in an era where citizens are very much free to exercise their fundamental human rights as enshrined in the constitution. As noted by Lagos lawyer and Alternative Dispute Resolution Practitioner, Valentino Buoro, “if the government feels so much injured in its reputation, it should file a libel suit against the journalist and his publishers and allow an independent court to adjudicate on the matter. Battering, starvation and dehumanization in any form do no good to the democratic credentials of an elected government.” Michael Jegede, a journalist and public affairs analyst, resides in Abuja



Opinion Promoting political tolerance in Yobe By Muhammad Al-Ameen


he cosmopolitan composition of Yobe south senatorial district and the crucial roles played by ethno- cultural and geopolitical differences have made developmental politics quite challenging and difficult. Yobe south senatorial district otherwise known as Zone ‘B’, is undoubtedly Yobe state’s political hotbed. The zone proudly parades seasoned administrators, retired civil servants, technocrats and politicians, the likes of Alhaji Adamu Ciroma, Engineer Abubakar D. Aliyu the state deputy governor, Alhaji Adamu Fika, Alhaji Adamu Maina Waziri, Senator Alkali Abdulkadir Jajere, Sen. Adamu Talba, Hon. Ismaila Yerima Gudi, Dr. Ali Adamu, Alhaji Ibrahim Talba, etc. There are also cultural and opinion leaders like Alhaji Musa Lawan and Alhaji Muhammadu Guza, who wield a lot of influence on their ethnic nationalities. The diversity had not only created distrust and intolerance but supressed socio-political development inspite of the advantages of population and economy enjoyed by the zone. Ordinarily, the zone would have surpassed what is achieved now if there is strong unity in diversity, trust and

tolerance. The intolerance also gave room to fear and suspicion such that the best could not be explored and exploited for the good of the zone. This has became a source of concern to some political and opinion leaders and, the

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followers alike. However, while some of these political leaders see the differences as irreconcilable and irresolvable, others had vision of hope for a new trust and tolerance for the zone. The later group believed the zone can build a society based on new relationships, confidence and tolerance. Senator Jajere, who represents the zone in the Senate, is one of those optimists who believe in some existing windows of opportunities to promote tolerance and prosperity in the zone. Unlike many politicians who take advantage of a divided people to have their ways to power, Jajere believes in using his office to initiate, invest and promote love and unity

amongst the diverse groups. The legislator’s consistent promotion of collectivism against individualism has made the people to appreciate one another, institute trust and tolerance among themselves irrespective of the sentimental differences. The principle of transparency operated in Jajer’s senatorial office in treating problems of the different communities in the last four years had eroded the fear of marginalization and suspicion of one another. Senator Jajere has through his various senatorial programmes encouraged open participation, giving the people a voice to deliberate on issues affecting them directly, exemplary of good governance and true democracy.

This practice gave the various nationalities a fair sense of belonging with renewed trust and tolerance. Little wonder why in 2012, when the famous Potiskum international cattle market was attacked by gunmen

in which over 50 people were killed, with hundreds of livestocks and vehicles lost, the people rallied round Senator Jajere to seek for solution and intervention at the federal level. Jajere lobbied his colleagues in the Senate to mount pressure on the federal government to assist victims of the carnage. His personal support and, employment enerating opportunities to youth and the business community irrespective of their differences endeared him more to the people especially those who did not vote for him in 2011. With enormous energy, courage and dynamism, the senator sees rebranding of

Yobe Zone ‘B’ as a challenging yet achievable task. It is indeed the first bold step into forging unity and tolerance for development in the zone. This agenda has provided hope and politically, attracted many politicians into his camp. To many people, Jajere deserves another term of office to sustain and fully actualize the aspirations of the people, having launched the foundation for prosperity of Yobe Zone B’. As the common man appreciates the need to accommodate each other, the elites have a great role to play in supporting Jajere to sustain this developmental agenda. It is a collective responsibility to build a legacy of unity and development for the zone so that every actor will be remembered on the good side of history. For commited leaders with the love of their people, it is immaterial who takes the credit so long as the programme will impact positively on the lives of the people. After all, the great leaders and politicians believe that they are into politics and government to seek for improved lives to their people. For zone ‘B’, this is yet another opportunity. Al-Ameen can be reached on

That kite flown about APC: Say it ain’t so By Ose Oyamendan-Eimakhu


he social media was abuzz late last week by some emerging news from Nigeria. Normally, when the social media goes off like that it’s always because somebody is showing her tits or some scandal is afoot. But, no – this was all politics. According to the rumour mill, the two lords of the APC have decided to run on a presidential ticket next year. Yup, that’s right – Muhammadu Buhari and Bola Tinubu are, according to the tales, seriously considering running on a ticket against President Goodluck Jonathan. You know it’s gotta have some strands of truth because Alhaji Lai Mohammed has run out of ink. That sound of jubilation you hear is of the camp of President Jonathan celebrating. A BuhariTinubu ticket just says to the nation that what had brought these two unlikely partners together is a hunger for power. And, you gotta be worried about men who do things just for the sake of power. I was one of those who were very optimistic about the prospect of APC becoming a giant counterforce to PDP in the Nigerian political space. I’m not a card-carrying member of

either party, I don’t even know what they stand for. But, I do know that two strong parties will keep each party on their feet. And, when that happens, Nigerians are the likely winners. But, the future of APC is not the Buharis and Tinubus or the Atikus for that matter. The future of the party is in the hands of the young Turks who have distinguished themselves in public and private service and yearn to contribute to the future of their country. There is this small disguised fact that both Buhari and Tinubu have an uneasy alliance. If they find themselves in Aso Villa, their fallout will make the Obasanjo-Atiku fallout a

child’s play. Tinubu – a man who has overseen the political reengineering of the South-west and Edo state. He has done what the venerable Chief Obafemi Awolowo sought to do in his lifetime – build a truly national opposition. This is the time for him to sit back, play the game of political power chess and ensure his party gets into power at the national level. If he is true to himself, he would also know that the Fasholas; Oshiomoles, Amaechis and the others are the future of the party. They can connect with the streets because they speak their language and they are not much older that the teeming youth out there. Between

them, even with doctored birth certificates, Buhari and Tinubu are closer to 150 than 100. What’s the plan? Set up an adult day care center in the presidency when they get there? I laugh when folks compare Buhari and Tinubu to Abiola who ran and won overwhelmingly on a Moslem-Moslem ticket. Like the late Texan Senator, Lloyd Bentsen, would have told the APC dream-ticket if he’s met them in an alley or on a plane, “gentlemen, I know Bashorun MKO Abiola. You are no Moshood Abiola”. It was easy for Abiola to run on a Moslem-Moslem ticket because for much of his life, he contributed to Moslem causes

I was one of those who were very optimistic about the prospect of APC becoming a giant counterforce to PDP in the Nigerian political space. I’m not a card-carrying member of either party, I don’t even know what they stand for. But, I do know that two strong parties will keep each party on their feet. And, when that happens, Nigerians are the likely winners. But, the future of APC is not the Buharis and Tinubus or the Atikus for that matter. The future of the party is in the hands of the young Turks who have distinguished themselves in public and private service and yearn to contribute to the future of their country.

as he contributed to Christian causes. He knew Christian prayers as he knew Moslem prayers. Some of his best friends were Christian leaders. He was not a philanthropist with a plan, he was a man in a hurry to change his country. You cannot say that for Buhari who seems bent on living in Aso Villa because he was denied when he was head of state. And, you can’t say that for Tinubu who has succeeded in turning his party into some sort of family business. I still think this is just a ruse, a leak to test the mood of the country. I do not know the General but I know Tinubu is one of the sharpest political minds you will ever find. He lives, sleeps and eats politics. And, surely he must know right know that there is a mini-insurrection waiting at his doorstep if he goes on this journey with the General. I had a talk with an APC lord in Abuja a month ago. He’s one of the new apostles of APC and he’s in it for the top prize. I asked him what would happen if the landlords of APC deny him the ticket. Without flinching, he replied, “they didn’t drive us from PDP now”. God save Nigeria. Ose Oyamendan-Eimakhu is a California-based Nigerian filmmaker




Corruption, death penalty and new constitution By Ibanga Isine


ast week at the National Conference was the best since President Goodluck Jonathan inaugurated it on March 17. Debates on the floor were smooth, well-coordinated, devoid of rancour and full of positive energy. Although the conference is clearly behind its work plan, at least significant progress was made. One issue that nearly messed up and rendered the conference stillbirth was the dispute over the voting procedure to be used in reaching major decisions. By insisting that major decisions be taken based on a consensus or at least 75 percent of delegates, President Goodluck Jonathan drafted had unwittingly sown a seed of discord among representatives of the North and their counterparts from the South. Afraid of being run-over by southern delegates who are in the majority, northern delegates swore never to give in and clutched to the 75 percent voting system. The southern delegates on their part ranted and screamed that two-third majority is used in reaching democratic decisions all over the world. None was willing to inch towards a settlement. Tension was high, emotions

went wild and elders acted like children. Calmed and calculated, Conference Chairman, Idris Kutigi acted like an experienced headmaster. He took the decision away from the warring delegates, called out names of 50 delegates he believed are reasonable and invited them to series of meetings where their sense of discipline and patriotism were put to test. While Kutigi was going about resolving the impasse, the media went on a speculation spree. But we got it right. We got it on good authority that the “50 Wise Men” had adopted a 70 percent voting procedure but we didn’t believe the decision would be swallowed the hook, the line and the sinker. After a former Senate President, Iyorchia Ayu, moved that the decision of the Consensus Group be adopted and was supported by Victor Attah, a former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, the chamber went into a frenzied applause. Bravo, the first landmine against the conference has been detonated. There was clearly no victor and no vanquished. Everybody went home happy. Done with the voting procedure, delegates started debating Mr. Jonathan’s inaugural address. The debates were dramatic, funny, soul-searching, sometimes confrontational and obtuse. One

thing stood out. Nigerians want a change from the status quo. The problem, however, is the extent to which those who hold the rein will allow. Almost every delegate agreed that corruption is the mother of all the problems confronting Nigeria. It was funny and equally heart-breaking to see delegates who had opportunities to make a difference while in public office but did not; talked like saints and agents of change that the country so desperately needs. They blamed so many things for the nation’s woes except themselves. But scores of delegates and former public office holders were able to lay the blame exactly where it belonged – they blamed themselves and others within and outside the conference chambers for messing up Nigeria. But by far, one very important aspect of the debate was the call by delegates for the introduction of death penalty for corruption offences. Delegates in one voice agreed that Nigeria cannot make any significant progress unless corruption was tackled with a sledge-hammer. I wonder how many of the delegates will keep their necks if such law were to be passed and implemented retroactively. The conference would have been dull and uninteresting without reporters and camera

men who capture every moment of what happens within and outside the hallowed chamber. While a great number of our colleagues are doing a great job, many have been working overtime, bringing shame on the profession. I was particularly ashamed when an operative of the Department of State Services, complained that journalists are harassing delegates. “If we try to stop them, they will claim we are not allowing the press to do their jobs here,” one of the operatives argued. “Look at how they are following that elderly man like flies,” another said, pointing to a group of reporters following a delegate. I was angry at the comment and stopped to caution them from painting every journalist with the same brush. A great number of journalists at the conference are responsible and dedicated Nigerians. They are not involved in whatever a few bad people are doing at conference and should be respected. Outside the conference, Mr. Jonathan has been busy trying to prove that he has good intentions for the country. He sent a bill to the National Assembly seeking powers to initiate a move for the country to get a brand new Constitution that Nigerians can truly say, “We the people of Nigeria…”

I learnt the National Assembly did not receive the bill with two hands. When the letter conveying the bill was read on the floor of the Senate, it was reported that even senators from the ruling party kicked. I don’t think the lawmakers have the right under the law to kick. Maybe, they have forgotten that they should have consulted with those on whose mandate they are earning fat perks in Abuja before thinking of thrashing Mr. Jonathan’s bill. Before Nigerians move in their millions and sack them from the Three-Arms Zone, those who know members of the Senate and House of Representatives should advise them to sit up and do what is needful to keep the country in a piece. This week promises to be very interesting. The debate on the presidential address will likely be completed on Wednesday and the 20 standing committees will be constituted and the Conference will suspend plenary. Action will shift to the committees, some of which will be having their meetings outside the NJI premises. PREMIUM TIMES will keep you abreast of every event at the conference and more. Follow us on our conference dedicated page and on Facebook and Twitter. Ibanga Isine is on www.

Leadership and collective responsibility By Taiwo Odukoya


he 2013 report of the annual rural economic development conference in Peoria, Illinois threw up some interesting facts. A typical city council meeting in a city of about 115,000 people had been attended by only 30 people. “Besides a surveyor, representing a sub divider, I was the only citizen in attendance at a planning commission meeting,” a citizen lamented. Further statistics revealed that in a village of 3,500 adults, only 3 to 7 turn up for a typical village board meeting. In a city of 5,000, only 5 to 7 turn up for a city council meeting. The results are equally dismal for school board meetings or constitutional hearings. The question is: why do people show so little interest in such weighty matters? A few answers might suffice: Apathy – who cares? My opinion doesn’t matter. Lethargy – I can’t be bothered. The government will do what it wants anyway. Indifference – one crook is as good as another. Complacency – why rock the boat? The truth is, the welfare of the generality of the people in any given geographical space is tied to how effective those who have been elected to govern perform. This is a generally

accepted principle. But also more important is the fact that the effectiveness of those who govern is directly determined by the willingness and ability of the people to hold them accountable. The willingness to be involved by actively participating, directly or indirectly, in governance is at the very heart of citizenship. It was the American politician and one time Governor of Illinois, Alder Stevenson who said, “As citizens of this democracy, you are the rulers and the ruled, the law-givers and the law-abiding, the beginning and the end.” George Nathan put it this way: “Bad officials are elected when good citizens do not vote.” Every way you look at it, citizen participation, at every level, is a critical component of nationbuilding. But it is important to note how much of a decline there has been in citizen participation, particularly in this part of the world. A comparative global report by IDEA on voter turnout in parliamentary elections across the world showed Nigeria scoring 50.3%, placing her as 157 out of 169 countries. Decades of military dictatorship which usurped the basic rights of citizens, and recent democratic experiments that have not lived up to the expectations of the

people, have created inequalities, depleted trust and resulted in a decline in civic engagement. In his phenomenal 1963 Letter from Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King Jr. describes two opposing forces that seemed at play in keeping the Negroes in America subservient to the Caucasians in his era. And King’s theory very well describes the current situation in Nigeria. On the one hand is complacency, resulting from many years of oppression which has succeeded in draining the self-respect of the generality of the people and forced them to become passive on-lookers in the decisions that determine the outcome of their lives. This is aided and abetted by the complacency of an uppermiddle class “who, because of a degree of academic and economic security and because in some ways they profit by segregation, have become insensitive to the problems of the masses.” On the other hand is bitterness and hatred for the political class, brought upon by the growing disillusion with government. One way this bitterness and hatred expresses itself is through violence, as seen in widespread cases of kidnappings and partly responsible for the ongoing war of terror in Northern Nigeria. The only way out of the current

fix is not more passivity, but active engagement. Nigerians, at all levels, must rise up and take responsibility for the direction of the nation. We can no longer afford to just sit back idly and point fingers at our various governments. We must get involved by holding government, at every level, accountable for its actions and inactions; we must also get involved at the level of actively participating in the local, state and federal government parliamentary and presidential elections. Informed citizens in the media and elsewhere must take up the challenge of shaping the discussion, educating the electorate on their civic duties and rights, determining what the key issues are and critically examining the men and women who put themselves up for election. It was Alexis de Tocqueville, that extraordinary 19th century thinker who said, “… the concentration of power and the subjection of individuals will increase amongst democratic nations in the same proportion as their ignorance.” We must also get involved at the level of demonstrating personal leadership everywhere we find ourselves. Part of the problem is that we have completely circumscribed leadership to political office. But we are all leaders – we are

leaders in our homes; leaders in our offices; leaders of religious and community groups and we must demonstrate the same level of leadership we expect from government at every level. Taking Nigeria back and lifting it up to the level we desire will demand we each promote and defend a principle of egalitarianism everywhere we find ourselves, ensuring we give everyone his or her due based on character and performance and not on ethnicity, religion or gender. It will demand that we resist the temptation to pervert the course of justice or subvert due process by paying instead of earning our way through. It is our firm belief that Nigeria will be great, but it will take personal and collective leadership. It will require active and involved citizens refusing to elect and tolerate nothing but the best men and women to represent their affairs in government. The months leading to the next general elections will be a great test not only of leadership, but also of citizenship. We cannot afford to go to sleep now, only to wake up in 2016 to complain about the sort of leadership we have allowed into office. We must remain vigilant. Pastor Taiwo Odukoya can be reached at



Aduda wants youth to embrace sports for development By Stanley Onyekwere


enator representing the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in the National Assembly, Philip Aduda, has advised young people in the Territory to engage in various sporting activities as a means to contributing their quota to the development of their immediate environment. Speaking yesterday at the opening of the ongoing football

competition he organised, at the Area 3 playing ground, the senator said the competition was aimed at meaningfully engaging the attention of the young people in the FCT “These young ones can be meaningfully engaged by involving them in various sporting activities instead of using them for political thuggery during political activities. “But with this competition, their attention will be shifted

from any sort of evil acts and they will be thinking of how to contribute their quota to the development of their immediate environment”, Aduda said. According to him, the winning team at the grand finale will have the opportunity to travel outside the country to play with foreign teams, apart from the monetary gains attached to the competition. Our reporter said a total of 62 teams from all the 62 political

wards in the FCT will participate in the preliminary to enable each of the six area councils produce three teams each to form the 18 teams that will participate in the tournament proper. The opening ceremony, which was monitored by a FIFA accredited referee and Chairman of the FCT Referees Association, Zakowi Abraham, also featured distribution of sporting materials to all the area councils.

Police arraign ex Transcorp Hilton chef for stealing


he police yesterday arraigned a former Chef of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja. Wenike Wisdom, 26, in a Senior Magistrates’ Court in Wuse Zone 2, for stealing seven packets of milk. He is also being tried for allegedly stealing oil and some eggs. Wisdom is charged with three counts of criminal trespass, impersonation and theft. The prosecutor, Cpl. Emmanuel Adikwu, told the court that Mr Daniel Mensuk of Transcorp Hilton, Maitama, Abuja, lodged a report at the Maitama Police Station. He said that when Mensuk and his team were on patrol in the hotel, they caught the accused trespassing into the Night Club, wearing an apron, pretending to be members of staff. Adikwe alleged that the accused entered the ``Fulani bar’’ and stole seven packets of milk, three Tuna Chucks, three Kiwi fruits, an undisclosed quantity of ostrich oil and some eggs. He said the accused ran away immediately they sighted those on patrol but he was later arrested by the police. The prosecutor said the offence contravened sections 348, 132 and 287 of the Penal Code. If convicted, the accused is liable to five years in prison or a fine. The accused pleaded not guilty while the Magistrate, Mr Aminu Eri, admitted him to bail for N50, 000 with two sureties. He ordered that one of the sureties must be a civil servant on Grade Level 12 or above. Eri ordered that the second surety must have a means of livelihood and be resident within the court’s jurisdiction. He adjourned the case until April 29 for further hearing. The accused is standing trial on similar offence which he allegedly committed in Transcorp Hilton on March 26. (NAN)

Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Senator Phillip Aduda (middle), being introduce to players by the Captain of Kuje Area Council team, during the kick- off the maiden edition of Senator Aduda’s 2014 FCT Youth Football Competition, on Sunday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo


appeals to AMAC for water

By Usman Shuaibu


he chief of Gofindna community in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Mr Ismaila Tukura, has appealed to the chairman of the area council, Micah Yohanna Jiba to drill boreholes for the people in order to boost potable drinking water in the council. He admonished the chairman, to connect the community to the national grid to arrest the problem

of electricity supply in the village. Tukura, made this call in an interview Peoples Daily pointed out that Gofidna community had been neglected in the area of social amenities for a long period of time. He added that the chairman to repair the dilapidated roads to fast track development in the area. He requested the chairman to establish a pooling unit in the community to enable the people from other neighbouring villages to come to the area during elections to exercise their right and vote for

the candidate of their choice. He also pleaded with the AMAC to provide fertilizer and tractors to farmers on time to enable them carry out their farming activities on time during cropping season. The Monarch used the opportunity to call on the chairman to upgrade him to the status of the village to enable him benefit from the council. He urged the people of the community to continue to support the government of AMAC at all times for the overall development of the area.

Man, 42, in court for attempting to steal items


42-year-old man, Kelly Jasse, yesterday appeared in a Senior Magistrates’ Court in Wuse Zone 2, Abuja, for attempt to commit theft. The prosecutor, Cpl. Monday Akor, told the court that Mrs Joy Okunnu of No 55, Nelson Mandela, Asokoro, Abuja, reported the case at the Maitama

Police Station. Ankor alleged that the accused deceived the complainant’s house help into bringing the room key with intention to open the room and steal her gold trinkets, dollars and valuable items. Ankor said during investigation, he confessed to committing the crime. The prosecutor said that the

offence contravened the Penal Code. The magistrate, Mr Aliyu Shafa, admitted the accused to bail for N100, 000 with a surety. He ordered that the surety must have a means of livelihood and be resident within the court’s jurisdiction. He adjourned the case until April 30, for further hearing. (NAN)

FCTA to transform department of development control to agency


he FCT Administration says it has embarked on measures to transformation the Department of Development Control to an agency. The Director of the department, Mr. Yahaya Yusuf, announced this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja. Yusuf said the transformation of the department, now under the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC), would provide the needed capacity for the growth of the territory. ``If transformed into an agency, it will become more efficient and it will apply the measured speed in its operations to remove any bottlenecks in its operations. ``The FCTA is fast tracking the process and in the shortest possible time, the objective would be realised,’’ he said. The Director also said that the FCTA had already set up an agency to re-certify land allocations that were duly approved by the six area councils, to legalise them. ``For a resident to have an approved plan there has to be a genuine title and the only acceptable title is the Certificate of Occupancy signed by the FCT Minister, Sen. Bala Mohammed. ``The administration has, however, set up the Area Councils Title Renewal and Recertification System (ACTRIS). ``The ACTRIS has the mandate of reconciling titles that were given by the area councils while granting re-certification to those that are genuine,’’ he said. He advised Abuja residents to continue to cooperate with the department in its task of maintaining the city’s master plan. ``The FCT is growing fast and if development is not effectively regulated, you will see slums developing everywhere. ``People should take cognizance of the fact that there is a master plan which has to be maintained in the interest of all residents. ``We are a development assisting department and if residents cooperate with us, there will be minimal complains about demolition or removal of structures,’’ he said. (NAN)




Fulani herdsmen taking sachet water along Kubwa Road, in Abuja., recently

A person living with disability preaching the message of peace, recently at Area 1, in Abuja.

Gbagi man carrying goods on his back, at Garki village, in Abuja.

Unity Cultural troupe entertaining guest, during the Petroleum Tankers drivers delegate conference, recently in Abuja.

Television camera men and women, on duty, during the Petroleum Tankers Drivers Association (PTDA) national delegates’ conference, recently in Abuja. Photos: Justin Imo-Owo



Court to sentence man, 30, for illegally burying late girlfriend


n Abuja Senior Magistrates’ Court in Karu yesterday fixed May 19 for sentencing of one Joey Ikwen who pleaded guilty to burying his late girlfriend without informing her family or the police. The presiding Senior Magistrate, Anna Akobi, who said the adjournment, was to give the court time to determine the appropriate sanctions for the offence, ordered Ikwen’s remand in Keffi Prison. Ikwen was arraigned on Friday on a one-count charge of negligent conduct.The prosecutor, Asp Peter Adams, said the deceased, Theresa Benandart, was living with the accused in his residence at Asokoro Extention, Abuja, until she took ill and died on Feb. 8. Adams said the deceased’s uncle, Francis Benandart, reported the case at the Asokoro Police Station from where it was later transferred to the FCT Police Command, Abuja. ``Theresa died on Feb. 8 after a brief illness and her body was deposited at the General Hospital in Asokoro, Abuja. ``The accused later collected her corpse and buried her without informing her parents or the police,’’ he said. According to the prosecutor, the offence contravenes Section 196 of the Penal Code. The accused, who appeared remorseful, narrated how he met the deceased and the efforts he made to contact her family after her death.``I met Theresa barely a month before her death, and my intention was to marry her. I was even planning to travel to Cross Rivers to see her parents but she told me they died long ago.``I insisted she took me to her grandparents living in Masaka, Nasarawa, but she refused, saying she left them over five years ago because they were maltreating her. ``When she died, there was no means of contacting her relations because the incident happened barely a month after we started dating.``In order not to abandon the corpse at the mortuary and due to the love I have for her, I had to claim it and take it for burial thinking I was doing the right thing,” he said. His counsel, Ayim Okpoga, pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy, saying the deceased’s friend that could have assisted him to locate her family fled on hearing about her death. ``My client was obviously in shock, and wasn’t thinking straight, having lost a loved one. This can happen to anybody.``I plead with this court to consider his age as a young man full of ambition in delivering its judgment.’’ (NAN)


Court orders defendant to get legal representation


ustice Valentine Ashi of the FCT High Court yesterday threatened to deliver judgment against a defendant, Prezzo Shed Investment Ltd., Abuja for failure to provide legal representation. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Pearl and Diamond Properties Ltd., had in November, 2013 dragged Prezzo Shed Investment Ltd. to court over the issue of rent. The matter

has to do with the renewal of rent for a two-bedroom flat apartment used for its office in Jabi, Abuja. The judge, who said that the defendant was not represented by a counsel at the resumption of cross-examination, ordered them to file their defense document within seven days. The judge said that if the defendant failed to meet up with the seven days grace, they should be ready for ruling in the next hearing.

According to Ashi, the defendant is not showing much interest in the case as it has refused to present any legal representation since the beginning of the matter. He adjourned the matter to May 20 for continuation of hearing. Earlier, Counsel to the plaintiff, Mr Egbo Ezikie, told the court that the defendant had not packed out of the building and had refused to renew their

Mobile hawkers of assorted items, on Sunday in Abuja.

rent since it expiration in June 2013. According to the counsel, the monthly payment of the apartment is N300, 000 and that the defendant owes the plaintiff the sum of N3.5 million for overstaying. Ezekiel said they were in court to recover the apartment and the rent. NAN reports that the defendant rented the apartment in June 2012. (NAN)

Photo: NAN

Accident: Court sentences businessman to 3 months jail term


Chief Magistrates Court in Abuja yesterday sentenced a businessman, Obuah Obiajulie, to three months in prison for causing a motor accident by driving dangerously. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Obiajulie was charged on two counts of dangerous driving and causing an accident. The Chief Magistrate, Mrs. Idayat Akanni, convicted Obiajulie, 26, of National War College Quarters at Gwarinpa in

Abuja, after he pleaded guilty.She, however, gave him an option of paying a N2, 000 fine. Delivering judgment, the magistrate said: ``Obuah Obiajulie is hereby sentenced to three months in prison with an option of N2, 000 fine. ``The convict is equally to repair the vehicle of the complainant, Mr. Abubakar Aliyu, or pay a compensation of N500, 000.``If the convict is unable to pay, he will serve an additional one

year in prison without an option of a fine.’’ Earlier, the prosecutor, Insp. Philips Apollos, had told the court that the complainant, Aliyu of Life Camp in Abuja, had lodged a report against the convict. He said the report was lodged at the Life Camp Police Station on Sept. 26, 2012. ``The accused, who was driving a Honda Accord with registration number CZ 523 BBC, had on the same date at about 5.53 p.m. driven

on a highway in an uncontrolled manner,’’ Apollos said. He said the accused drove dangerously on the Kado Estate Express Road, Abuja and crashed into a stationary vehicle with registration number FS 619 ABJ. The prosecutor said the crushed vehicle, a Honda Accord which belongs to the complainant, was badly damaged.The prosecutor said that the offence contravened Section 28 of the Road Traffic Act. (NAN)

Carpenter in court for alleged joint act, causing grievous hurt


25-year-old carpenter, Daniel Agudu, of Sahara Estate, Galadimawa, Abuja, has appeared in a Wuse Zone 2, Senior Magistrates’ Court charged with joint act and causing grievous hurt. The police prosecutor, Cpl. Anigbo Paul, told the court that Mr Abdullahi Onana of Galadimawa village, Abuja,

reported the case at Lugbe Police Station. Paul said that after the complainant had eaten at a restaurant, the accused and two others now at large jointly followed him home and beat him up. He said that the accused stabbed the complainant with horn and also hit him with

plank, thereby sustaining serious injuries. He said that the accused confessed to the crime during interrogation. The prosecutor said that the offence contravened the Penal Code. The Magistrate, Mrs Grace Adebayo-Esape, admitted him to bail for N100, 000 with two sureties. She ordered that the

sureties must be businessmen in any AMAC shopping complex and show a means of identification. Adebayo-Esape added that the sureties must swear to an affidavit, submit a passport photograph each and must be resident within the court’s jurisdiction. She adjourned the case to May 5 for further hearing. (NAN)



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Benue plans To raise bond again -Pg 22

R-L: Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, and President & CEO, General Electric (GE) Power & Water, Mr. Stephen Bolze, during the minister’s meeting with General Electric president, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

N11bn Enugu Airport ready by September 2015–Minister From Suleiman Idris, Lagos


he Supervising Minister of Aviation, Dr. Samuel Ortom yesterday disclosed that the international wing of the Akanu Ibiam Airport in Enugu currently under construction will be completed by September 2015. The Minister was on an inspection tour of the N11.6 billion project, initiated by his predecessor Ms Stella Oduah in the eastern state. He expressed satisfaction with

the level of work on the site while he was assured of the completion date by the firm handling the project, the contractors, China Civil Engineering Company. The airport is one of the five model terminal earmark for construction under the aviation transformation agenda of the present administration. He inspected the remodelled old terminal, the pilgrims’ terminal, the pilots lodge and the general aviation building within the airport. “I want to say that I am

impressed with what I have seen. This is the whole essence of coming here since I resumed office. I have looked at what I have seen today on paper but had to come to see things for myself so as to talk as an authority.” “You can see that the old terminal has been completed and commissioned. The new terminal building which is going to cost the Federal Government N11.6 billion the work is progressively going on. I want say here that local content

of this project is unimaginable. Over 400 Nigerians have been given jobs for this terminal project alone.” He told journalists. He explained that “On the quality of work done, I am also impressed. My engineer on site has confirmed that they have no issues with the Chinese company handling the project. So I am equally impressed. I have gotten the assurance from the company that this project will be delivered to the Federal Government and to Nigerians by September next year.”

Jonathan shakes NNPC again, appoints new company secretary

By Etuka Sunday


resident Goodluck Ebele Jonathan yesterday approved the appointment of Mr. Ikechukwu Oguine as the Coordinator, Legal Services and Company Secretary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Mr. Oguine who has over 29 years of legal experience and hails from Anambra State, was previously the General Counsel of Chevron Nigeria Limited and has been a partner in Advisory Legal Consultants, a Law Firm specializing in oil, gas, power and mining.

A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, Reuben Abati, said Mr. Oguine replaces Mr. Anthony Chukwuma Madichie, also from Anambra State, who has served as the NNPC Legal Adviser and Secretary to the Corporation since February 2011. Recall, President Goodluck Jonathan recently appointed new Group Executive Directors for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to fill critical vacancies which currently exist in the Corporation. The new appointees includes

Mr. Ian Gregory Udoh, who is now the Group Executive Director, Refining and Petrochemicals; Dr. Dan Iwoene Efebo resumes as the Group Executive Director, Corporate Services; Ms. Aisha Mata Abdurrahman takes over as Group Executive Director, Business Development. Others are Mr. Adebayo Ibikunle Ibirogba, who is now the Group Executive Director, Engineering and Technical; Dr. Joseph Thlama Dawha resumes as the Acting Group Executive Director, Exploration and Production .

Nigeria among Ericsson semifinalists for applications awards -Pg 21 Exchange Rates CBN as at 7th APRIL, 2014 Buying



















MANAGEMENT TIP OF THE DAY Banish bland language from strategic plans


trategic plans are often filled with empty phrases like “Leverage Our World Class Operating Capabilities” or head-scratching aspirations like “Reshape Our Pricing and Trade Strategy to Effectively Drive Demand While Maintaining Market Access.” Language like this can signal that a team doesn’t have a clear idea of what they need to succeed. To

counter this dynamic, the CEO of a large financial services firm banned her organization from using a list of words and phrases such as “leverage,” “synergy,” “disintermediation,” and “robust.” With the right leadership, a good strategic plan will deliver meaningful substance that can be translated into action. Source: Harvard Business Review



Business Oronsaye report: Jonathan merges NCAA, NAMA,NIMET


ederal Government rejected the recommendation for an amendment in name and status of the Federal Civil Service Commission to the Federal Public Service Commission, it however accepted the recommendation that a single term of five years for the Chairman and members of the commission. G accepted recommendation for the scrapping of Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) and directs AGF to initiate necessary action for the abolition Government further directed that the revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission should perform the function of Fiscal Responsibility Commission Government accepted the recommendation that the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission’s enabling law be repealed and the functions of the commission be subsumed under Revenue Mobilsation And Fiscal Commission That RMAFC enabling laws be amended to accommodate the functions of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission and the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission. ederal Government rejected the recommendation of the merger of EFCC, ICPC, CCB and also rejected the renaming of Code of Conduct Tribunal to Anti-Corruption Tribunal. FG rejected the recommendation that Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission be subsumed under the Bureau of Public Enterprises for greater synergy REJECTED Government rejected the recommendation of the merger of NTA, FRCN and VON into one body to be known as Federal Corporation Broadcasting of Nigeria (FCBN). G directs that NTA be fully commercialised by 2013 They rejected the recommendation that the abolition of Federal Character Commission but rather the commission be strengthened to perform its constitutional role and functions. ederal Government rejected the recommendation for an amendment in name and status of the Federal Civil Service Commission to the Federal Public Service Commission, it however accepted the recommendation that a single term of five years for the Chairman and members of the commission. hat the Nigerian Atomic Energy commission be located as a parastatal in the Ministry of Power That the Public Complaints Commission (PCC) be abolished FG rejected the recommendation that the law establishing the Border Communities Development Agency be repealed and its functions reverted to the National Boundary Commission FG rejected the recommendation that government should disengage from funding current expenditure of National Institute on Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) from the 2015 fiscal year and limit itself to certain essential capital requirement of the institute. G rejected the merger of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the National Refugees Commission into one agency to be known as the National Emergency Management and Refugees Commission FG rejected the recommendation for the Debt Management Office to become an extra ministerial department in the Federal Ministry of Finance and be delisted from the office of the Vice President FG rejected the recommendation that the Act setting up FRSC be repealed and also recited that road Safety of the FRSC be reverted to the Highways Department of the Federal Ministry of Works FG rejected the recommendation that the enabling law of the National Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS be repealed FG rejected that the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria and the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission be abolished and their functions transferred to a department under Ministry of Foreign Affairs FG rejected the recommendation that government stops sponsoring pilgrims and pilgrimages with effect from 2012 Fiscal year Government rejected the privatization of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigerian (FAAN ) in view of the security situation of the country. overnment rejects that the Nigerian Communications commission (NCC), Nigerian Broadcasting

...Throws out proposal on merger of NDE with SMEDAN




Mr. Stephen Oronsaye

commission ( NBC ) and the regulatory functions of Nigerian Postal Service ( NIPOST)) be brought together under a unified management structure to be known as the cOmmunications Regulatory Authority of Nigeria. overnment rejects the recommendation that the Act establishing the National Examinations Council be repealed and Council ‘s activities be returned to the WAEC, but directed the Minister of Education to streamline the two bodies to ensure standards and integrity. overnment also rejects that the Act of the National Business and technical Examinations Board be repealed and the Boards activities be returned to WAEC. overnment rejected the re-introduction of tuition in its universities. Government rejects the abolition of the Nigerian educational research and development council (NEDRC). G rejected that NDE and Small Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) be merged to form a single agency for wealth creation FG rejected that the Ministry of Police Affairs be scrapped FG rejected the scrapping of Raw Materials Research and Development Council FG rejected the scrapping of Energy Commission of Nigeria FG rejected that the National Sports Commission revert to the proposed Ministry of Youth and Sports Development as an agency ACCEPTED RECOMMENDATIONS FG accepted that the practice whereby certain categories of retirees are opting out of contributory pension scheme be stopped Nd directed that only the military may withdraw from the scheme FG accepted the recommendation scrapping the National Poverty Eradication Programme NAPEP FG accepted the recommendation that the Bill seeking for the establishment of NEPAD as an agency of the Federal Government be withdrawn from the National Assembly as there are already laws relating to most of their activities being performed by NEPAD FG accepted that the Utilities Charges Commission be abolished and it’s enabling law repealed and directs that the process of repealing the enabling law be initiated by office of the SGF FG accepted the recommendation that the National Agricultural Insurance Corporation be fully commercialised FG accepted that the passed bill on the Nigeria Agriculture Quarantine Service should not be assented to by the President FG accepted that the Veterinary Research Council of Nigeria should as a professional body be self funding and that further budgetary allocation of the council should cease forthwith FG accepted that the trio of Nigerian Airspace Management








Agency NAMA, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency be merged into a new body to be known as the Federal Civil Aviation Authority FCAA and their respective enablinglaws be amended accordingly to reflect the merger. Government also accepts that the enabling law of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology be amended and the college restructured, Government accepts partial commercialization of NIPOST. Government accepts to sell off its shares in NIGCOMSAT) and directs that government will retain minority shares. It also accepts that the functions of NIGCOMSAT that relates to space development be reverted that the National Space Development Agency. overnments accepts that JAMB should continue to exists as the central examination body for admissions into Nigerian universities and directs that it must play its regulatory role to ensure that all students for undergraduate admissions into Nigerian universities must pass through JAMB including direct entries. Governments accepts that the function of the Nigerian institute for Education Planners and Administrators ( NIEPA) be merged those of the National Teachers Institute. overnment accepts that the funding of the computer professionals registration council of Nigeria. FG accepted that the Nigerian Film Corporation be commercialised from 2013 fiscal year but with government seed funding FG accepted that all offices of the Nigerian Institute of advanced Legal Studies outside Lagos and Abuja be closed down immediately to ensure judicious use of available resources in line with government policy FG accepted that National Council of Arts and Culture be merged with the National Troupe and the National Theatre into one agency called National Council of Arts and Culture FG accepted that the Nigerian Financial Reporting Council ceases to be funded by government from 2015 FG accepted that the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) be self-funding from 2014 FG accepted that the allegation made by the National Boundaries Commission against the office of the Surveyor General of the Federation over the funding of two non-existent boundary demarcation be properly investigated FG accepted the management audit of the National Institute for Sports.



Excepts for the white paper on the report of the presidential committee on restructuring and rationalization of federal government




Nigeria among Ericsson semifinalists for applications awards

Stories by Chris Alu

United States, Macedonia and United Kingdom. “New behaviours and emerging technologies are changing how the workplace is organized. Young professionals have high expectations to stay connected at work and have different expectations on communication tools and work life in general. “These teams have developed applications that have the potential to define our next generation of working life, we wish them all the best” said Shiletsi Makhofane, head of

Marketing and Strategy Ericsson Sub-Saharan Africa. The purpose of this year’s theme “Working Life” is to promote innovations that will change how businesses are organized, as well as how we organize work, collaborate and share. The semi-finalist apps will be reviewed by representatives from three to four countries globally and resulting in the selection of the top two finalist teams in each category. The winning teams will be selected by an international external jury, winning teams; in each category will receive EURO 25,000 in prize money in each category. Ericsson is the driving force behind the Networked Society, a world leader in communications technology and services.

ricsson yesterday announced the semifinalists for the annual Ericsson Application Awards with Team SOP from Nigeria and Team WorkMode from South Africa named as semi-finalists in the company category and the student category respectively. Team SOP developed an application that allows users to receive push notifications on availability and analytics on electricity in their area. This is a first for Africa and

will harness the power of big data to make people’s lives easier. Team WorkMode developed an application that empowers workers of tomorrow to manage their time effectively while in and out of the office. The idea behind WorkMode is to allow employees see a quick glance of the real-time work context of other employees, their tasks, and in which context these tasks can be completed. The two teams from Africa are competing for the first place spot with teams from Germany, India, Bangladesh, Finland, Poland,


ISPON gets new president


he Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), has elected Pius Okigbo, Jr. (FNCS), as its president with a new National Executive Council (NEC) to run the affairs of the organisation for the next two years. Okigbo shortly after his election as ISPON President stated that the new members configured of like minds will be a reflects of the eclectic mix industrial leaders in software that will start-ups to mature champions in the IT Industry. He declared that in furtherance of the goals of ISPON, the next two years would focus on an aggressive push for Software Nigeria emphasizing a software-centric local content agenda underpinned by a nation-wide software capacity-building initiative to establish the industry as the engine of Nigeria’s New Economy. A founding member of ISPON, he has been a relentless champion of indigenous intellectual property development and associated rights, with a passion for unleashing the talent of Nigeria’s youth through careers and entrepreneurship in the software industry. The new ISPON president pledged to build on the incredible achievements of the ISPON leadership to date and to continue the partnership and collaboration with the Ministry of Communication

Technology, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), and other MDAs, the private sector as well as the Nigeria Computer Society and other professional bodies in pursuit of jobs, wealth creation and the overall development of a more prosperous Nigeria for all. ISPON has been consistent in stating that the hope for national development lies first

in engaging the challenges posed by the emerging new economy of the knowledge society. ISPON asserts that software technology and the internet, with characteristically low physical entry barriers and high local value-added, offer Nigeria and newly industrializing countries a chance to quantum leapfrog. Recognizing software development as a new productive knowledge frontier and potential instrument for economic

empowerment and creation of wealth, ISPON’s mission is to improve capacity of the country to create, deploy and innovate for a more prosperous and dynamic Nigeria through the promotion and widespread the use of “Nigerian Developed” software applications and services in governance, education, health, business and industry, agriculture, transportation, public administration and national security.

G-TiDE Android products

ITU to strengthen cyber security worldwide


TU has presented the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI), a unique initiative launched by ITU and ABI Research to measure the levels of cybersecurity in countries, at a forum held in Dubai . It underlies ITU’s commitment to strengthening cybersecurity and plugging the gaps worldwide while building capacity at the national level, particularly in developing countries. The long term aim is to drive further efforts in the adoption and integration of cybersecurity on a global scale. A comparison of national cybersecurity strategies

will reveal those countries with high rankings in specific areas, and consequently highlight lesser known - yet successful cybersecurity strategies. Based on questionnaire responses received by ITU Member States, a first analysis of cybersecurity development in the Arab region was compiled and one for the Africa region is under way. The objective is to release a global status of cybersecurity for 2014. “Greater connectivity also brings with it greater risk. As our physical and cyber worlds overlap, there is an increased need to

address the related challenges of ensuring security, human rights, rule of law, good governance and economic development,” said Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary-General. “In embracing technological progress, cybersecurity must form an integral and invisible part of that process,” said Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau addressing the forum. “Unfortunately, cybersecurity is not yet at the core of many national and industrial technology strategies.” The goal of the GCI is to

help foster a global culture of cybersecurity and its integration at the core of information and communication technologies. “Countries need to be aware of their current capability level in cybersecurity and, at the same time, identify areas where cybersecurity needs to be enhanced,” Sanou stressed. The forum on Measuring Countries’ Readiness and Build Capacity on Cybersecurity was held at ITU’s World Telecommunication Development Conference that opened in Dubai on 30 March and will be in session until 10 April.

G-TiDE phone to launch 5 Android products into Nigerian market


-TiDE, one of the leading mobile phone manufacturers, has announced plans to introduce five new Android devices in Nigeria market in order to advance its mission to deliver user-friendly, high quality and competitivelypriced communications tools to end users. “G-TiDE have been operating in the Nigerian market for the past six year with cutting edge feature phones that have been highly accepted by the market because of its strong quality, battery strength, very attractive designs and good multimedia features” said Pan Duliang, country sales director for Nigeria at G-TiDE, while adding that the new products will compete in feature richness, pricing and durability. The launch of the new Android phones into Nigeria, which will be available from leading retail stores and dealers network, will further consolidate the position of G-TiDE as a mobile phone integrator and supplier of mobile devices of choice for end users in the country and across the West African market. According to Duliang, “G-TIDE is poised to deepen its commitment to its Nigeria market with the launch of the new Android phones will further position the brand among the teeming phone users not just as a communication tool but a gaming device as well.” According to the Country Sales Director of G-TiDE, “In Africa and Middle East, our brand, G-TiDE has been among the Top 3 brands in this field and gained a high reputation and popularity.” The company has further undertaken initiatives to advance and deepen its partnerships across key stakeholders in Nigeria including the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), the Phones and Allied Products Dealers Association (PAPDAN) and its partners. He added that, “the inspection of our factory and production lines received a satisfactory nod by the group.” GTIDE remains one of the key brands that have obtained CE Certificate which underscores the acceptance of its products in the EU market, he added. “We have also met the SON Product Certification requirements and e-product registration as G-TiDE is a service-oriented brand because we provide a top class after sales service in their various Service Centres to respond to customers after sales needs’’, Duliang added.




Nigerians spend N9bn on foreign artisans From Muhammad Ibrahim, Kaduna

N9 billion is paid for those people who are non-Nigerians, who come from neighbouring countries because they are the ones taking up the jobs of the artisans. “Apart from the up skilling aspect, we find a situation in which there will be employment opportunities for this people. We the builders are the ones empowered to supervise the activities of the site. That is why we are the right personnel and institute to train them in this respect,” he said.

He explained that some of the artisans know their jobs but don’t know the rudiment aspects of the job. On the issues of collapsed building the president said “There is the menace of collapsed building. And it occurs not as a result of only low quality of materials but that of the personnels. When you have people who are not properly trained they go on the site to construct and at the end of the day the building will collapse because they don’t know what they are

NSE shares volume dip by 40.29%

each, to close at N21 and N3.67 per share respectively. Livestock lost 15k to close at N3.23, while UBCAP went down by 12k to close at N2.57 per share. NAN reports that UACProperty recorded the highest gain for the day, appreciating by N1.16, to close at N24 per share. Lafarge Cement trailed with a gain of N1.07 to close at N107.93, while Stanbic IBTC appreciated by 63k to close at N19.40 per share. Dangote Sugar gained 57k to close at N9.03, while Flour Mill grew by 50k to close at N70 per share. (NAN)


ational President Nigerian Institute of Building, Builder Tunde Lasabi yesterday said Nigerians spend 9 billion naira annually on foreign builders and artisans in the country. According to him, their group would make sure that the amount of money that is being spent outside this country is spent within, particularly on local artisans. The president disclosed


ctivities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) opened for the week on Monday on a downward trend, with the volume of shares traded dropping by 40.29 per cent. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that investors staked N6.07 billion on 344.796 million shares in 4,127 deals. This was against a turnover of 577.438 million shares worth N3.82 billion exchanged by investors in 4,533 deals on Friday.

this at an event to train some artisan builders under SURE-P programme in the state. He said the event was a collaborative effort between the Nigerian Institute of Building and the Ministry of Labour and Productivity as well as the Sure-P programme. The National president further added that the aim of the training wasto ensure that most of the Artisans and craft men are train professionally. “There was a report that about

Zenith Bank was the toast of investors, accounting for 68.14 million shares valued at N1.43 billion. GT Bank came second on the activity chart with 62.33 million shares worth N1.67 billion, while UBA sold 47.36 million shares valued at N341.00 million. The market indices declined by 0.22 per cent as a result of losses posted by some highly capitalised stocks. NAN reports that the market

capitalisation lost N27 billion or 0.22 per cent, to close lower at N12.407 trillion, against the N12.434 trillion recorded on Friday. The NSE All-Share Index lost 86.65 points or 0.22 per cent to close at 38,626.11, compared with 38,712.76 achieved on Friday. Nigerian Breweries led the losers’ chart, dropping N1.94 to close at N152 per share. It was followed by Zenith Bank and Honeyflour with a loss of 17k

L-R: Deputy General Manager Distribution, Sahara Oil, Engineer Ade Aiyeleka, and Managing Director, Sahara Oil, Mr. Kola Adesina, during their meeting with Vice-President Mohammed Namadi Sambo on power sector, recently at the State House, in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Cracked windshield force Overland commuter aircraft to make detour From Suleiman Idris, Lagos


domestic commuter flight 1170 enroute Abuja from Ibadan with 48 persons on board return ed to Lagos yesterday when the pilot was said to have noticed a crack on the wind shield of the plane. The ATR-42 aircraft operated by Overland Airways diverted from Ibadan to Lagos

having left the Ikeja airport earlier. Report indicates a crack in the window of something like a passenger airliner would not rupture fast enough that would cause the aircraft to decompress and suck the pilot out. As such, smaller aircraft such as ATR-42 do not fly at great altitudes so there is not that much difference in pressure

that would cause someone to get sucked out. A statement signed by Mr. Supo Atobatele, General Manager, Public Affairs of NAMA said the pilot while airborne noticed some cracks on the wind shield and subsequently requested to divert the aircraft to Lagos (being the base of the airline) to allow for change of plane for the passengers.

The statement said “The plane was airborne around 7.42 a.m. changed course before landing in Lagos at 9.43 a.m.” Forty two passengers and six crew were on-board the aircraft as at the time of the incident. Supo said there is no cause for alarm as the diversion was precautionary and this conforms to the basic safety norms of the industry.

doing. “A builder is a manager of the production process who understands many languages; that of the architects, structural engineer and quantity surveyors. But then these artisans are the people who work with us on the site. And if you don’t have the right personnel, artisan and craft men doing the job for you, as far as I’m concerned there would be poor performance in the job. So this is the essence of this training and also to create job employments for the young Nigerians. About 1000 youths will be trained nationwide and I think an average of 30 from each states including FCT.

Benue plans to raise bond again From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


enue State government has planned to raise a bond from the capital market to complete some ongoing projects before the end of Governor Gabriel Suswam’s administration. It could be recalled that at the inception of Suswam’s government, a N13 billion bond was raised from the capital market and the utilization of the fund was shrouded in a lot of controversies. The State Commissioner for Finance Mr. Omadachi Oklobia who disclosed this at the weekend in Makurdi during the breakdown of the 2014 budget, adamantly refused to mention the amount but intimated that another bond would be assessed and utilized for reticulation of water, teaching hospital project and urban infrastructure especially on sanitation issues. Mr. Oklobia said the total amount budgeted for 2014 is over N108 billion with N59 billion for capital expenditure while N45 is for recurrent expenditure. He added that over N98 billion is expected from tax and VAT and the sum of over N21 billion which could fluctuate at intervals is expected from SURE-P. On revenue expectation from the Federal Accounts, the Finance Commissioner said though the sum of N136 billion is expected, there was however, a shortfall owing to some challenges, intimating too that, the Internally Generated Revenue has shot up from N4 billion in 2012 to N9 billion in 2013. He also explained that poor computation is responsible for non-remittance of tax by the Benue State University and Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, maintaining that the issue has since been resolved. “We will not burden ourselves with project execution but try hard to complete projects we started. We will not deviate from the approved budget. The budget is alive and well”, he said emphatically.


Stock Watch

Report as at Monday, April 7, 2014





Special Report

Boko Haram, security agents and violation of humanitarian law (IV) INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL LAW ndividuals, whether civilians or military, who commit certain violations of international humanitarian law and grave abuses of human rights can be held criminally responsible for these actions under international criminal law. All states have an obligation to investigate and, where enough admissible evidence is gathered, prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, as well as other crimes under international law such as torture, extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances. Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol I and most other serious violations of international humanitarian law are war crimes. Definitions of these crimes are included in the Rome Statute. The list of war crimes in Article 8 of


President Goodluck Jonathan

the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court basically reflected customary international law at the time of its adoption, although they are not complete and a number of important war crimes are not included. According to the Rome Statute, certain acts, if

Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Adesola Amosu

directed against a civilian population as part of a widespread or systematic attack, and as part of a state or organizational policy, amount to crimes against humanity. Such acts include, among others, murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation or forcible transfer of population, imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law, torture, persecution, rape and other sexual crimes, and enforced disappearances. RECOMMENDATIONS Given the serious and credible allegations that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed and Nigeria’s apparent unwillingness and inability to ensure justice and reparation for victims of crimes under international law, it is vital that the regional and international human rights bodies step up in ensuring that thorough,

independent, impartial and transparent investigations are conducted. Nigeria should seek international assistance and advice in the conduct of these investigations and any subsequent prosecutions. In particular, Amnesty International has the following recommendations: TO THE AUTHORITIES OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA: • Take immediate and effective measures to guarantee the safety, security and protection of civilians and their properties in the affected communities and States, and in the entire country at large, and increase efforts to secure the lives and integrity of the persons of the civilian population in accordance with its regional and international human rights obligations. • Ensure that its security forces and members of the “civilian JTF” adhere

Potiskum, October 2013, people allegedlly killed by the security forces in a military operation in Yobe state.

All states have an obligation to investigate and, where enough admissible evidence is gathered, prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, as well as other crimes under international law such as torture, extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances

strictly to their obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law, in particular, ensure that detainees are protected from extrajudicial executions, torture and other illtreatment and are treated humanely at all times. • Provide unhindered access to the National Human Rights Commission and other human rights monitors to visit places of detention run by the military in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states. • I n i t i a t e independent, impartial, and thorough investigations into allegations of unlawful killings and extrajudicial execution of former detainees from Giwa barracks following the 14 March 2014 attack and seek the assistance of international experts in conducting these investigations; all the dead bodies in the mass graves in Dunomari should be exhumed with a view to conducting an independent autopsy by recognised Nigerian and international forensic pathologists to determine cause and circumstances of death. • Invite and ensure unhindered and secure access, as a matter of urgency, to human rights monitors from the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the UN to investigate violations and

Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh

abuses committed by all parties to the armed conflict. • Ensure immediate, unhindered and secure access for humanitarian agencies to the displaced and other civilians in need of assistance. TO BOKO HARAM: • Immediately end deliberate attacks against civilians, schools and other civilian objects, and indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks. • Publicly condemn, from the highest level of leadership, all unlawful killings and other human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law committed by their forces. • Instruct their forces that such abuses will not be tolerated under any circumstances. • Remove from the ranks anyone suspected of responsibility for ordering or committing serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses. • Cooperate with independent and impartial investigations into violations. TO THE AFRICAN UNION (AU), THE ECONOMIC COMMUNITY OF WEST AFRICAN STATES (ECOWAS) AND THE AU PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL • Urgently assess the

conflict situation in northeastern Nigeria and provide full and effective support to the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in its efforts to end these acts of violence against civilians, war crimes and crimes against humanity and closely monitor the human rights situation in the country. • Strongly and publicly condemn the ongoing war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by all parties to the conflict in north-eastern Nigeria and draw the situation to the attention of the AU assembly with recommendations to end the on-going crimes under international law by all parties to the conflict. • Publicly encourage the Government of Nigeria to initiate urgently thorough, independent, impartial and transparent investigations as well as seek regional and international assistance and advice in the conduct of these investigations and any subsequent prosecutions. TO THE AFRICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES’ RIGHTS • Further to its resolution passed on the 5th Extra- Ordinary Session 14 March 2014, publicly condemn the on-going war crimes and crimes against humanity in north-eastern Nigeria and draw the attention of the matter to the Chairperson of the AU

Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen, Kenneth Minimah

Assembly and the AU Peace and Security Council in accordance with Article 58(3) of the African Charter. • Urgently assess the situation in northeastern Nigeria and initiate immediate protection measures, including carrying out a fact-finding mission to Nigeria to investigate allegations serious violations of human rights. TO THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL • Convene as a matter of urgency, a special session on Nigeria, to explore immediate options of sending international human rights monitors to the affected areas in collaboration with the Nigerian government, the African Union and other relevant stakeholders to the conflict. TO THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT PROSECUTOR: • Consider these latest allegations of crimes, especially the killings on Friday 14 March 2014, in its on-going preliminary examination of the situation in north- eastern Nigeria. ENDNOTES 1. The names this report are not names 2. The names this report are not

used in the real used in the real

names 3. The UN Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-

legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions (Principle 9) 4. Not her real name 5. See http:// r e l i e f w e b . i n t / f i l e s / r e s o u r c e s / NigeriaSituationOverviewRegional_February_2014. pdf accessed on 27 March 2014 6. Implemented in domestic law in 1983 in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ratification and enforcement) Act Cap 10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 7. International Court of Justice, Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, 9 July 2004, paragraph 104; Human Rights Committee, General Comment no 31, paragraph 11. 8. Red Cross study, Customary International Humanitarian Law: Volume 1: Rules, J-M Henckaerts and L Doswald-Beck, eds, 2005 (“ICRC Customary IHL Study”) 9. ICRC Customary IHL Study, Rule 1; see also Protocol I, article 48 and Protocol II, article 12(2). 10. ICRC Customary IHL Study, Rule 5; see also Protocol

I, article 50. 11. ICRC Customary IHL Study, Rule 6; see also Protocol I, article 51(3); Protocol II, article 13(3). 12. ICRC Customary IHL Study, Rules 8 and 9; Protocol I, article 52. 13. ICRC Customary IHL Study, Rule 10. 14. Protocol I article 52(3). See also ICRC Customary IHL Study, pages 34-36. 15. ICRC Customary IHL Study, Rule 156, pages 591,593,595-598. See also Rome Statute of the ICC, articles 8(2)(b)(i) and (ii) and 8(2)(e)(i)(ii)(iv) and (xii) [see also discussion in ICRC Customary IHL Study, page 27] 16. ICRC Customary IHL Study, Rule 2; see also Protocol I, article 51(2) and Protocol II articles 12(2). 17. ICRC Customary IHL Study, Rule 11; Protocol I, article 51(4). 18. ICRC Customary IHL Study, Rule 12; Protocol I, article 51(4)(a). 19. ICRC Customary IHL Study, Rule 14; Protocol I, articles 51(5)(b) and 57. 20. ICRC Customary IHL Study, Rule 156, pages 599601. Concluded This is part of Amnesty International’s latest report of the insurgency in North-east Nigeria.




Celebrating Nigeria’s civil service at 60 By Uche Bibilari


he Federal Civil Service Commission recently marked its 60th anniversary with the theme: ``Civil Service Core Values: The Sine Qua Non for National Development.’’ The Federal Civil Service Commission, the `entry into’ and `exit out’ of the service came into existence on April 1, 1954 under the provisions of Section 174 of the Nigeria Order-inCouncil of 1954. It has the mandate to employ, promote and discipline civil servants. President Jonathan, who spoke at the celebration, called on public servants to rededicate themselves to the service of the nation by becoming agents of President Goodluck Jonathan Head of Service of the Federation, Alhaji BukarAji change and models of unity. He said that public servants favourable in this global age, should uphold love for humanity we need to revive, reorient and in the discharge of their duties. adjust our public service; more ``We must ensure that the importantly, to have it protected civil service goes beyond its from political influence and traditional roles and optimally interference.’’ becomes active agent of change According to him, there is need and good governance,” he said. for attitudinal change in the Jonathan said that over the running of the country’s public years, the commission had affairs. assisted in policy formulation, ``In order for us to begin the supported implementation of process of change, the future of policies, provided continuity this nation must be entrusted, as in government and also served it was in the past, into the hands as model of unity, integrity and of selfless people-politicians and patriotism. civil servants. ``The commission is a large ``Those who will lead by instrument in furthering merit example in word and deed and and due process in the nation’s through self-sacrifice; those who public personnel management. will always exhibit leadership ``Whenever our country is qualities in the discharge of moving in the right direction, public responsibilities and the role of the civil service must purely for public good,’’ he said. be acknowledged, if things are However, notwithstanding Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, Ministry of Defence Lagos/Outstations Unit not working as expected, the all the reforms in the service, service must look inward on how civil servants still lament over best to step out,” Jonathan said. soon be retired from the service. reorientation of workers and be politically neutral and this poor housing, salary and lack of On his part, Vice President ``Through the IPPIS, we are strict adherence to rules and encourages impartiality in the uniformity in the service. Namadi Sambo called on public able to screen those who are regulations. Mr. Peter Adebayo, a civil service,” Ayo said. servants to be focused and supposed to have retired long ``We want to ensure efficient Malam Adamu Fika, former servant, complained of disparity responsible in the discharge of time ago and they will leave the civil servants that are patriotic, Head of Civil Service of the in the salary structure in the civil their duties. service soon,’’ he said. highly cultured and committed Federation, said there was need service. According to him, civil ``There is a big disparity in Mrs. Joan Ayo, the Chairman to the sustainable development to reposition the public service servants should be able to carry of the Federal Civil Service of Nigeria.’’ to conform to the norms and salary structure of civil servants, out their duties effectively in Commission, who spoke said She said that `meritocracy’ ethics of the founding fathers of for instance our colleagues the area of policy formation that the commission employed was the key factor in recruiting the country. in NNPC, CBN and other and implementation, and 8,541 persons from 2011 to date. workers into the service, adding Fika said that the repositioning organisations get more than us also advise the government The chairman explained that that the commission did not could only be achieved by in some MDAs,” he said. on budget preparation and the civil service had contributed tolerate any form of political restoring a merit based civil Adebayo said that civil implementation. have contributed a lot to the growth and unity of interference or interest. service devoid of corruption, servants Alhaji Bukar Aji, the Head the country. ``We ensure that only the patronage, inefficiency and immensely to the growth and of the Civil Service of the development of the country, but ``If not for the public service, best from every state is chosen impartiality. Federation (HOCSF), said that Nigeria would have broken up and we also consider gender ``It has been observed that many have nothing to show for as part of the reforms going on in many years back; it was the balance; the commission does the absolute dearth of merit their hard work, patriotism and the service, 1,050 civil servants public officers that held Nigeria not create vacancies, rather and independence in the public commitment. that are in the service illegally together at a time when we did we fill vacancies declared by service are the catalysts of the Stakeholders say that the have been identified. not anticipate the civil war,” she Ministries, Departments and collapse of national institutions Federal Civil Service has come He said that they were said. of age, but want the government Agencies through the Head of at all levels. identified through the screening Ayo said that the commission Service. ``Therefore, for Nigeria to take to institute an equitable and non done by Integrated Payroll and had remained consistent in its ``Anybody who has a job its rightful place in the comity discriminatory salary regime. Personnel Information System activities; focused attention on with the public service must of nations and to compete (NAN) (IPPIS), adding that they would



Nasarawa: Tiv/Fulani Feud And The PDP Conspiracy By Bala Dan-Alkali


hile addressing a Press Conference in Abuja on Friday 28, February, 2014 The Northern Elders Forum had cause to decry the rising wave of clashes between Fulani herdsmen and the Tiv farmers in Nasarawa state and blamed unnamed top Federal government officials for the mayhem. Dr. Paul Onongo a prominent elder of Tiv nation and Deputy leader of Northern Elders Forum, who addresses the Press at the briefings noted that the violence between Tiv and Fulani was premeditated solely to create tension in Nasarawa state so as to pave the way for Presidency to unseat Governor Tanko Al-makura through the declaration of state of emergency in the state. Though, this Press Conference received little or no attention from the general public, the unfolding events in Nasarawa state following the deployment of Presidential military task force and their subsequent action in a Fulani settlement in Keana Local Government Area last Wednesday left no one in doubt about the truth of the postulation of Northern Elders Forum as expressed by Dr. Paul Onongo. Indeed, since the taking over of mantle of leadership of Nasarawa state by Governor Al-makura in 2011, the PDP-led Federal Government has been on the throat of the state, as if the election of Al-makura was a crime. We all know that Democracy is about, freedom of choice. Therefore, why punish the people of Nasarawa state for electing a person of their choice as their governor? It would be noted that, most often, in some states other than those of PDP, crisis that could ordinarily be resolved through concerted efforts of security operatives were always allowed to degenerate, just to cause unnecessary tension and create a bad impression in the minds of the people. The Boko Haram phenomenon in North- east is a clear case in point. The case of Ombatse militia in Nasarawa state is another classic example. This is a a violent ethnic militia, whose activities forced the state government to outlaw it when it visited mayhem on the people. But there was no concrete effort to enforce the ban on this ethnic militia by the security operatives, even when it killed 60 of its personnel in Alakyo. The only thing that the families of those killed heard was that the killers were forgiven, as announced by the DG of State Security Services. Also, even after a white paper was released by the state government on Justice Gbadenyi Commission of Inquiry, there was nothing visible by the federal government to reassure the people of Nasarawa state that it could do something positive on the issue of killing of its security operatives in Alakyo. The reluctance of the federal government to do something about Ombatse militia was simply because, it is now obvious, as it seems, Nasarawa state is not controlled by the PDP and Jonathan and co want to cash on the situation to reclaim the state in 2015. While we are not in anyway challenging the constitutionality or otherwise of sending Presidential military task force to

Nasarawa state following clash between Fulani herdsmen and Tiv farmers, we are however worried about the speed with which the special military taskforce was constituted just 2 days after Governor Suswan along with some elders of PDP visited Presidential Villa and talked tough on danger of PDP losing North-central if action was not taken about Fulani herdsmen. Our worry stemmed from the fact that for close to 2 years now, the Ombatse militia have terrorized, killed and destroyed properties of the people of South -West senatorial district of Nasarawa state leading to the killing of security operatives, yet nothing has been said or done by the federal government, which now finds it expedient to act fast when it affects the PDP-controlled state of Benue. It is now clear that Jonathan and co will do anything not to lose the votes of North- Central. As things stand today, and from what transpired during the visit of Governor Suswan to the Villa, nothing is more important and dearer in the heart of Jonathan and his handlers than realising his 2015 ambition. Not even the lives of thousands of innocent souls is more valuable than this ambition. If not because of the threat of losing North-Central votes, we wonder whether the federal government would have acted as fast as it did in meeting the demands of Jonathan’s visitors to Villa? Recall that at the zonal rally of the PDP in Minna last month, President Jonathan aptly demonstrated this when he said the violence in Nasarawa state will end when PDP recaptured power there. Of-course while this writer and many of like minds, welcome every move necessary through civilized means to bring the lingering crisis between Tiv farmers and Fulani herdsmen to an end, we however reject in totality the classification of the Fulani herdsmen killed by soldiers in Keana as insurgents. For, in Nasarawa we don’t have insurgent and neither do we harbors or condone insurgents, except, of -course, if, as some political observers are saying, the Tiv/Fulani feud in Nasarawa state was designed to unseat Al-makura through declaration of state of emergency. It was in the light of this that while on condolence visit on the palace of Paramount Ruler of Keana, Osana of Keana Mr Emmanuel Elayo, over the killings of Herdsmen on Friday, Governor Al-Makura said the ‘casualties are herdsmen resident in Keana not insurgents,’ and suggested that the military operation should focus on tracking the real insurgents traversing the borders of Benue, Nasarawa, Adamawa, Plateau, Taraba and Kogi states. Of-course, as suggested by Governor Al-Makura, the military operation in the state ought to be review to avoid civilian casualties, and it is only a review of this operation that could reassure the people of Nasarawa state that the military operation in the state was purely for the purpose of bringing an end to Fulani/ Tiv lingering crisis, not to create more tension to achieve sinister motives as insinuated by the Northern Elders Forum. Dan- Alkali writes from Awe, Nasarawa state.



Agriculture FG receives reports of Gurara, Kafin Zaki Dam projects V

ice President Namadi Sambo on Friday received the progress reports on the Gurara Phase I and Kafin Zaki Dam Project from the Ministries of Power and Water Resources. This was contained in a statement issued by Malam Umar Sani, the Vice President’s Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicit, in Abuja.

It stated that the vice president expressed satisfaction with the progress of work, and urged for speedy completion of the projects. ``At the briefing session the Project Officer in the Ministry of Water Resources informed the vice president that a total of 309 transmission towers were being constructed and then they are at various stages of completion.

``He stated that the road from the Dam to Kaftari will be completed this year, while the bridge currently under construction will cut across the Gurara River to avoid unnecessary access to the dam,’’ the statement said. On irrigation, the statement said Sambo was informed that they were employing five types

of irrigation methods that included irrigation by gravity, irrigation with fixed sprinklers, drip irrigation, mobile irrigation with sprinkler and pivot irrigation system. It stated that the projects were categorised in lots A & B and that both lots were at 97 per cent and 98 per cent completion stage, and promised that the project

would be completed soon. On the graduate farmers’ irrigation school scheme, he said that substantial progress had been attained in that regard. The statement said those at the meeting, included the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, God knows Igali, and other top government officials. (NAN)

B4FA begins training for African media fellows in Cambridge From Mohammed Kandi in Cambridge


frican journalists and broadcasters were yesterday urged to continue to inform and educate the farmers on the importance of agricultural biotechnology so as to boost food production, as well as eradicate hunger in the subregion. Biosciences for Farming in Africa (B4FA) Project Leader, Prof. Brian Heap, made the call yesterday in his welcome address at Churchill College, University of Cambridge, in the UK. Prof. Heap, who reiterated that the knowledge of genetics was new innovation, advised the media fellows to intensify effort on the need to get farmers to embrace agricultural biotech and facilitate the continent’s drive towards self-sufficiency in food production. In his presentation on Innovative farm research to B4FA Fellows, Tinashe Chiurugwi of National Institute for Agricultural botany (NIAB) said that agricultural biotechnology was necessary in providing for African farmers quality and disease-free seeds. According to Chiurugwi, “There is a problem of seed movement within African sub-region.” He also advocated for innovation farms to be set-up in Africa saying “better seed begets better yield.”

A group of African and International Journalists and Scientists during a Fellowship training at Churchill College, University of Cambridge on Biotechnology in Agriculture, yesterday. Photo by Mohammed Kandi

Nyako endorses FG’s proposal on more grazing reserves


ov. Murtala Nyako of Adamawa on Saturday said that the Federal Government’s proposal to create additional grazing reserves would reduce the clash between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria. Nyako told newsmen in Yola that grazing reserves and ranching

were in line with standard best practice that ensured maximum benefit to nomads. ``Moving around with cattle in search of pasture is old fashion. You have to fence your cattle for security and better returns as obtained in developed countries. ``In USA for instance, this

policy was introduced since 1872,’’ Nyako said. Nyako urged state governments to ensure the protection of existing grazing reserves in the states against encroachment by fencing them and providing dams or boreholes and other facilities.

He stressed the need for dialogue in resolving problem between herdsmen and farmers. Nyako said when a herd destroys crops; the owner of the herd should pay for the crops destroyed after evaluation by relevant authorities instead of resorting to violence. (NAN)

Borno farmers’ union signs MoU on purchase of tricycles


he Borno Cassava Farmers’ Cooperative Union, on Sunday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), with the National Agricultural Cooperative Organisation (NACO) for the sales of tricycles to its members. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the union’s Chairman,

Alhaji Al Amin Umara signed on behalf of the union, while NACO Borno Zonal Director, Malam Baba Kagu signed on behalf of the organisation. Speaking at the ceremony, Umara said that farmers would pay instalmentally, adding that the objective was to make it easier for farmers to own

tricycles for evacuation of farm produce. “A tricycle will be sold at a cost of N400, 000 to farmers under the agreement. “The money will be paid in two years after an initial payment of 10 per cent of the total cost by the beneficiaries,” Umara said. He said that about 300 tricycles were expected to be

sold to the farmers under the agreement. Kagu said that the MoU was part of the organisation’s efforts towards assisting farmers in the state. He restated the commitment of the organisation to support any programme that would boost food production in Borno. (NAN)


Agriculture People eat food, not GDP growth M alnutrition, especially lack of essential minerals and vitamins pose major challenges in African countries. It is estimated that twelve Africans die every minute as a result of hunger and malnutrition. Almost 240 million people in sub-Saharan Africa do not eat well enough for their health and well-being. Africa has the highest prevalence of undernourishment in the world afflicting almost one in four people. Eighty percent of the world’s stunted children live in just 14 countries, of which eight are here in Africa. There is a disconnect between the nature of growth and the swelling number of poor people. ForAfrica to succeed in lifting millions out of poverty, and create a model of shared prosperity, it must focus on transforming its rural economies. And the way to do this is to transform agriculture. In other words, we must make the rural economy the new wealth economy. Poverty is not an industry and we must

A farmer appreciates his maize

not grow it. Poverty must not become the comparative advantage of Africa. A major reason for high rural poverty and malnutrition in Africa is the poor performance of agriculture - the main source

of livelihoods for majority of the poor. For way too long, agriculture has been treated as a development sector, as a way to manage, not eliminate poverty. To turn things around, we must end treating agriculture as a

development program, and start seeing agriculture as a business. This is especially needed, since 65% of all the arable land in the world is on the continent. Over fifteen years ago, Howarth Bouis and other


scientists thought why don’t we simply develop crops that have micronutrients, to make them easily accessible? That work, spearheaded by HarvestPlus, has shown great opportunities, which are now beginning to get reaped across developing countries. Since four years ago at the first global conference on biofortification, high iron pearl millet has been released in India, pro-vitamin A cassava and maize have been released in Nigeria and Zambia. Orange flesh sweet potato continues to make significant progress in several countries, including Rwanda, Mozambique, Kenya and Nigeria. High iron beans are being cultivated by over 600,000 farmers in Rwanda. Africa is leading the world in the cultivation of bio fortified crops. Of the 1.5 million farming households now growing bio-fortified food crops, 1.4 million are in Africa. Another 1 million African farming households will be added this year. Source: HarvestPlus

Harnessing the potential of farmers in Oke-Ogun By Ibrahim Abdulazeez


ocated in the Guinea Savannah of the northern part of Oyo State, Oke-Ogun is fondly referred to as the ``food basket’’ of the South-West. The area, with annual rainfall of between 700-1,100 millimetres, shares borders with Ogun, Osun, Kwara, Niger and the Republic of Benin. Because of sustainable annual rainfall, the major economic activities are farming, hunting, fishing, and food processing, among others. The area produces virtually all farm produce such as yam, cassava, cocoyam, plantain, palm fruits, among others. Interestingly, the Federal Government has acknowledged the importance of the area in food production by citing a multi-million naira one-stop-shop agro-input centre in the area. Mr. Olanrewaju Adeyinka, a worker in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the centre located at Otiri on Iseyin-Ipako road, would boost economic activities in the area. ``Having realised the potential of farmers in this part of the country, the Federal Government took the initiatives to establish this

centre to serve many purposes. ``Not just tractors; modern farm tools are also rented out to ease the problem of farming; and we give them various seeds and grains at affordable prices. ``There is no crop that we don’t have here because we know what farmers here need, and we have the mandate of the Federal Government to do just that. ``We are solving problems relating to farm tools and equipment, and we make the farmers happy by making available the necessary crops for them at a give-away amount,’’ he said. Beside the centre, the Federal Government has also established farm settlements of about 36, 000 hectares located in Iseyin, Itesiwaju and Iwajowa local government areas. One of the farmers at the settlement, Mr Johnson Adeoluwa, a retiree, said about five acres was allocated to each beneficiary after the payment of N5, 000. Adeoluwa described the N5, 000 yearly payment as cheap,``considering its fertility and accessibility of the settlement to the farmers.’’ He said that the incentive encouraged many retirees to engage in active farming. Adeoluwa appealed to state governments to take a cue from this initiative by providing necessary

tools and enabling environment for farmers in their respective states. Similarly, Mr Jonhson Adeoti, Chairman, Fadama Users Group in Iseyin, said farmers in the area, had started making use of the multipurpose storage centre built in the area by the Federal Government. According to 70-year-old Adeoti, who retired from Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the centre stores more than 30, 000 tonnes of cassava and other related agricultural produce. ``Most of the problems we are facing here are being looked into already; am not sure that I have seen any government that is this committed to improving the nation’s agriculture sector as this present administration. ``I spent 35 years in that ministry and I know what I am talking about, I have been a farmer all my live, and I am still one. ``Now, one of the major impediments to farmers maximising their profits is lack of storage facilitates, and as you can see, that has been tackled with the construction of this centre. ``You may be forced to sell at a much reduced rate if you have no storage, but this facility has corrected all of that,’’ he said. Mr Abiodun Ige, Director of Agriculture, Iseyin Local Government Area, said no fewer

Good harvest, good money, for farmers than 3, 000 farmers had benefitted from the various agricultural interventions of the government, including Fadama programmes. He said items such as generators, grinding machines, wheel barrows, fridges, maize chillers, cassava graters and storage tanks, among others, were made available to farmers, under various programmes. Stakeholders in agriculture, say that the development in Oke-Ogun is a clear indication that the Federal Government is committed in its agro-business programme.

They however want the government to repair the collapsed Diekola Bridge, which connects Oke-Ogun, Abeokuta to Lagos. Some farmers in Iseyin said the bridge collapsed in October 2013, making it difficult for them to transport goods and agricultural produce to destinations outside the area. Nonetheless, farmers in the area want the government to sustain financeing agricultural projects and programmes in rural areas, in order to boost transformation of rural areas and check rural-urban drift.



Feature In search of peaceful Niger Delta through East/West Road By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


iger Delta region is no doubt the golden goose that lays the golden egg in Nigeria. Oil exploration in this zone ultimately sustains Nigeria’s economy. To this end, there is no gain emphasising how significant peace and security in this area is for Nigeria’s economic and political development. However, due to obvious neglect and infrastructural decay in the area, the youths resorted to violence and destruction of key government interests in the area, especially oil pipelines. The revolt by the youths who were commonly referred to as Niger Delta militants; at a stage reduced the daily oil production capacity of Nigeria from 2.6 million barrels per day to 700,000 barrels per day. Then, these Niger Delta fighters resorted to abducting and killing expatriates, who worked in the various oil fields in the region. Bombing of oil installations, among others, were means adopted by these youths to register their grievances. Sequel to this, most international oil companies like Total Nigeria Limited, Agip, Shell Nigeria, Sheveron, among others, fled the country due to inability of government to adequately secure their staff. All efforts by the military to quell the general insecurity in the zone, such as to revamp exploration activities in the region failed. While the soldiers were killed during shootouts with the militants, expatriates were continuously kidnapped and killed same way. General sense of insecurity and destruction became characteristic of the region by 2008; hence government was forced to embark on a wide range of programmes aimed at bringing about stable peace and development in the oil rich region. One of the cardinal demands by the militants then was that government should massively construct roads across the various oil communities, in addition to providing other infrastructural facilities. It was on this platform that East/ West Road was conceived as a child of necessity for peace to rein in the zone. Thus; contract for the construction of the road project was awarded in 2006 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo. However, because the road was hastily awarded, apparently to save Nigeria’s economy from further degeneration, there were grave faulty designs in its engineering and architectural layout. When late President Musa Yaradua was elected alongside Goodluck Jonathan, he re-awarded it, through the federal ministry of works, to road construction giants in Nigeria, including Gitto Construction, Setraco Nigeria, Renold Construction Company and Julius Berger Nigeria, at an approximate cost of N350 billion. The bid to correct the faulty designs therefore triggered off another round of delay in the construction, as the road

The youth on a protest for peace in the state had to wait for another twelve months for a proper engineering design, before construction works could commence. As a manifestation of his sincerity, and in line with the principles of the peace deal between the militants and government, late Yaradua created the Niger Delta Affairs Ministry in 2008. This ministry was given a marshal order to conceive and pursue key and urgent development agenda for the region, with particular emphasis on the East/West Road. East/West Road, on completion would link the various oil producing communities of the Niger Delta region. It has a stretch of 338km dual carriage, in addition to about 756 culverts and 42 bridges. To fast track the construction of the project and delivery to the people of the region, it was divided and proportioned

into sections and sub-sections. Section (1) of the road, which is 87.4 kilometres, stretches from Warri in Delta State through Kaiama in Bayelsa State. It has a capacity of nine 11m wide bridges across Rivers and the length of each bridge ranges between 30m and 850m. Section (2) of the road, which has a stretch of 101 kilometres, spans from Kaiama in Bayelsa to Ahoada in Port Harcourt. Section (3) of the road stretches from Port Harcourt to Eket in Akwa Ibom, and it has a length of 99 kilometres. The last section of the road, which is 51 kilometres, stretches from Eket in Akwa Ibom to Oron, Also in Akwa Ibom. Meanwhile, out of the nineteen bridges in the Warri- Kaiama stretch of the road, 18 has been completed, while 75 percent of the Patani Bridge have been

completed. Unfortunately, since this project was awarded in 2006, it has experienced financial challenges, which has delayed its completion date, despite being a flagship project of the ministry of Niger Delta Affairs. For instance, it was initially scheduled for completion in December 2010, but due to paucity of funds and whether challenges, it was rescheduled for December 2014. The same lack of funds which made the December 2010 date unrealistic, has also truncated the December 2014, hence the Ministry has unveiled first quarter of 2015 as the new completion date. Observers believe that given the strategic position which the road occupies in the quest for peace in Niger Delta, there is need for government to

There is no doubt about the symbolic peace which the East/West Road represents in the region; for this fact, the ministry has made an effort to deliver the project to the people. Even though appreciable success has been recorded in this very important project, stakeholders must put all hands on deck to ensure its timely delivery to the people.

ensure timely completion of the project and its delivery to the people. This will boost confidence of the Niger Delta people in government, in addition to promoting continued peaceful coexistence between the international oil companies and their respective host communities. There is no doubt about the symbolic peace which the East/West Road represents in the region; for this fact, the ministry has made a robust effort to deliver the project to the people. Even though appreciable success has been recorded in this very important project, stakeholders must put all hands on deck to ensure its timely delivery to the people. According to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Darius Ishaku, who briefed journalists recently in Abuja about the road, since the ministry took over the project in 2010 with only 10 percent work done; the progress level is already above 70 percent. He however called for more funds to enable the ministry complete the project and hand it over to the people. This, he said would make the people of the area confident about government and its promises. The onus therefore lies on government and strategic partners to recognise the importance of this road to the oil producing communities. Through this, the road would be given the deserved attention, by allocating adequate funds that would be able to complete it by the first quarter of 2015, to avoid another shift in completion date. When this is done; sincerely speaking, peace would have been found in the Niger Delta region through the East/West Road.




The mystery of CNN 2014 ANALYSIS


NN took off with the Malaysian airliner’s disappearance, and still hasn’t landed. It has been flying high in the ratings for its unrelenting coverage of the mystery of “Malaysia Airlines Flight 370”. Even when it became known that the plane wasn’t lost, hijacked, let alone snatched by extra terrestrial powers - but that unfortunately, it had crashed into the sea - CNN continued to lead with the search for the plane’s debris and inquiries into the causes of the crash. It has been the top story day in and day out. When it became known that all 239 passengers are believed dead, CNN didn’t lower the flag and didn’t lower its guard. Its top guns continued to lead, soliciting experts’ opinions, conducting flight simulations, deciphering satellite imagery - anything to keep its viewers glued to their TV sets. And it has been widely ridiculed for it. But before you laugh, it’s worth considering if CNN is onto something here. At least commercially. According to the rating group Nielsen, CNN’s viewership in the weeks after the plane went missing was up 84 percent. (During that same period, Fox News has seen an uptick of only two percent, while MSNBC is down 11 percent.) So what is the vanguard of cable news up to? Is this a watershed moment in its short history similar to the iconic live coverage of the US bombings at the break of the first Iraq in 1991, with Peter Arnett reporting: “The skies over Baghdad have been illuminated”? Is it a coverage by default or by design? The culmination of calculated strategy to steer the network away from hard news? Many questions beg for answers. Reporting fact-based fiction This is not the first time a news network takes ownership of a story that’s not hard (political) news. The OJ Simpson murder trial became an obsession for many outlets, just as the recent South Africa murder trial was gathering steam before the airliner disappeared. But unlike these other mysteries that involved covering real trials featuring forensic evidence, witnesses etc, the airliner coverage has been primarily based on speculations, guessing and outright fiction rather than actual or real news. And when facts were reported, all too often they had very little to do with the actual

CNN’s coverage of the missing aircraft has propelled ratings upward

resolution of the mystery - the whereabouts of the airliner. In short, once the main event was established - ie, the airliner’s disappearance from the radar - countless irrelevant facts were presented to support fictional scenarios. Anything goes, from the airliner’s size to the ocean’s size were made available. So for example, the network reported satellite finding of objects floating in the ocean - 122 to be precise - but had absolutely no way of knowing whether these were indeed from the airliner. They staged their own flight simulation of the flight, to no avail. But 25 days later, there was nothing new to report other than the airliner most likely crashed. Meanwhile, the coverage was interwoven with dramatic stories of the passengers and the tragedies that have befallen their families to keep the story real… and interesting!

The mystery continued with new emphasis on causes, responsibilities, etc. Genius or ingenious The man behind the bold and strategic decision to embrace the airliner’s story and go all out, full wall-to-wall coverage, is CNN president Jeff Zucker. He’s been all-smiles since the release of the new ratings showing “a record-setting month for CNN’s digital platforms, including record-high page views, video streams and mobile traffic”. Under Zucker, the digital part of the CNN operation has expanded like no other in 2013, the best year in its history. Its website “commands more traffic than almost any other legacy media organisation”, like NBC, Fox or The New York Times. “It had an average of 2.4 billion total global page views per month and more than 150 million monthly video starts,” according to Politico. Zucker was brought in to turn

CNN around after its ratings hit a 20-year low. He’s been recognised as the TV executive who succeeded in introducing “infotainment” - information fused with entertainment - through the “Today” show, making it the most watched morning-infotainment series and, wildly profitable for NBC. And he wasn’t going to disappoint. As soon as Zucker stepped in to lead at the end of 2012, he pledged to “remain true to the journalistic values that have always been the hallmark of CNN, and continue to broaden the definition of what news is”. He later added: “We live in a world where nonfiction programming comes in many forms... News is not just about politics and war and I think that’s something you’ll see us think a lot about as well.” Clearly, they have thought about it. Embraced it. And executed it. Media vs journalism

Perhaps the most intriguing, not to say annoying thing about the whole affair, is what appears to be CNN journalists’ acquiescence to the new marching orders.

In a world swamped with new and social media, where people have instant access to news, hard and soft, the “airliner mystery” coverage demonstrates how CNN under Zucker’s leadership is trying to survive the “cable news” era that it once spearheaded, through a combination of information and drama, or “infodrama”, in addition to its infotainment. And it’s working. It’s wreaking havoc in the ratings, attracting advertisers and dollars. But how does this new media strategy by Zucker & Co affect journalism? It’s one thing to expand the definition of news; but it’s another thing to transform (deform?) journalism. Perhaps the most intriguing, not to say annoying thing about the whole affair, is what appears to be CNN journalists’ acquiescence to the new marching orders. I mean, it’s not like they all wake up every morning thinking: I must cover the Malaysia Airlines story today any which way and try my best to ignore the rest of the world. These seasoned journalists know all too well, that “Malaysia, Truly Asia” is only a slogan used by Malaysia Tourism. They know that there’s a whole world beyond Malaysia, a world full of tragedies and mysteries to report. PS, I/we are indebted to those in CNN and other networks who’ve taken the time to show solidarity with our imprisoned colleagues in Egypt. Courtesy:Aljazeera



International Nigeria, Pakistan hold talks to evaluate economic ties By Ocheiga Enoch Oloche with agency report

Libyan rebels agree to end oil terminal siege


ebels in Libya have agreed to re-open two of the four oil terminals they have blockaded since July, according to the country’s official news agency, LANA. The deal between the government and rebels over the Zueitina and Hariga oil ports was announced on Sunday. Both sides have set a target of two to four weeks for the re-opening of two larger blockaded terminals at Ras Lanouf and Sidra, but full details of the deal are not yet known. “The ports Zueitina and Hariga will be handed over to the state with the signature of this agreement,” said Salah al-Marghani, Libya’s justice minister. “The protesters are banned from returning or obstructing work at the ports.” Rebels have blocked the terminals for the past eight months in an attempt to gain greater autonomy from Tripoli and a larger share of the country’s oil wealth. The federalist rebels entered into talks with the government after an attempt last month to load crude onto a tanker at one port and force it out to sea failed. US commandos boarded the vessel in international waters and returned it to Libya in a major blow to the rebels’ plan to to sell the oil independently on the global market. The restarting of Libya’s eastern oil ports could increase the country’s output to around 150,000 barrels per day. But this would still be far less than the 1.4 million barrels per day it produced before last summer, when Ibrahim Jathran, a former antiGaddafi fighter, seized three key ports. It could also boost Libya’s government, which has struggled to control the country since the removal and death of Muammar Gaddafi three nearly years ago. The eastern oil terminals were a key battleground in the NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed the veteran dictator in 2011. Tripoli’s authorities denied that there had been any direct talks with the rebels, insisting that negotiations had been conducted through intermediaries from the region’s powerful tribes. It also said the blockade of the export terminals has cost Libya more than $14bn in lost oil revenues. Negotiations will continue for the reopening of the larger Ras Lanouf and Sidra oil ports.


igeria/Pakistan began dialogues in Abuja on Monday aimed at refining economic and trade relations among them. Prof Viola Onwuliri, the Minister of State 1, Foreign Affairs, , said at the opening of the Second Joint Ministerial meeting of Nigeria Pakistan Joint Commission (NPJC), expressed gratification with the state of bilateral relations between both countries. She, however, noted their low level of economic relations and jagged out that the last Ministerial meeting of the commission held 22 years ago in Islamabad.``It is the hope of this second session that all bilateral issues between our two countries would be discussed and necessary bilateral agreements/

MOUs reactivated to further foster the economic bond between our businesses and institutions,’’ she said. The minister said experts from both countries would in the next two days explore and negotiate some ``cluster issues’’ to boost economic, trade and investment relationships. She identified areas of negotiations for cooperation between the countries to include petroleum resources, health, defence, higher education and technical training. According to her “cooperation in agriculture and agro-allied matters and consular issues would also be discussed during the two-day meeting”. Onwuliri told the Pakistani delegation that Nigeria was the number one investment destination in Africa and had overtaken South Africa as the continent biggest economy. Her

remarks came a day after Nigeria’s GDP was rebased and valued at over 500 billion Dollars, making it the 26th largest economy in the world. Shahid Abbasid, the leader of the Pakistan delegation, Petroleum Minister, expressed delight that the commission’s meeting would herald the historic visit of Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain, to Abuja later in the month. ``That visit will improve the already fraternal relations between both countries,’’ he said. Abbasid said the volume of bilateral annual trade between both countries was less than 100 million Dollars but noted that there are ``huge potential to enhance trade volumes between both countries’’.``It is vital to engage the private sector in the cooperation between the chambers of commerce and

industries in both countries to realise our objectives of trade promotion.``The two sides also need to look into the possibility of moving toward preferential trade agreements or free trade agreements to enhance trade,’’ he said. Abbasid invited Nigerian oil companies to participate in the next round of bidding for acquiring concession blocs independently or in joint venture with the stateowned exploration company in Pakistan. He noted that Nigeria and Pakistan shared common issues, including ``large populations, unacceptable poverty level, increasing debt burden and high unemployment among our youth. ``These are challenges for both economies and we can share experiences to devise strategies to solve these problems.’’

Pistorius apologises for killing girlfriend


outh African Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius has taken the witness stand in his own defence at his murder trial, saying the shooting of his girlfriend had left him sleepless, terrified and plagued by nightmares. At the trial on Monday, he also apologised to the mother of Reeva Steenkamp in the public gallery, saying he fired four shots through a toilet door in the early hours of Valentine’s Day last year in the belief that he was defending her from an intruder, Reuters news agency reported. “I was simply trying to protect Reeva,” he told the court, his weeping voice quavering with emotion. Pistorius, 27, faces a life sentence in prison if convicted for killing his girlfriend. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and three firearms-related offences. He said he is taking anti-depressants and sleeping pills. Prosecutors say Pistorius killed Reeva following an argument, a charge that he denies.

Pistorius has pleaded not guilty

Rwanda bars France from genocide ceremony


he French ambassador to Rwanda has been barred from attending events marking the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, amid a major diplomatic row surrounding France’s controversial role in the events of 1994. “Yesterday night the Rwandan foreign ministry telephoned to inform me that I was no longer accredited for the ceremonies,” the French ambassador, Michel Flesch, said on Monday. The French government initially announced that it was pulling out of the events after President Paul Kagame again accused France, an ally of the Hutu nationalist government prior to the 1994 killings, of aiding

the murder of 800,000 ethnic Tutsis. People everywhere should place themselves in the shoes of the vulnerable, and ask themselves what more they can do to build a world of human rights and dignity for all. At the ceremony on Monday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon joined Kagame in lighting a torch at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in memory of those killed. In his speech, Kagame said that 20 years after the genocide, Rwanda continues “to seek the most complete explanation” of the atrocities. Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the United Nations, attended and said genocide is a “devastating reminder that

nightmares seemingly beyond imagination can in fact take place.” The torch will burn for 100 days, the length of time that the killings lasted. Ceremonies will continue at Kigali’s main sports stadium, where thousands will participate in an evening candlelight ceremony. But the diplomatic row ignited by Kagame’s statement also cast a shadow on the commemoration. Speaking to the weekly Jeune Afrique, Kagame denounced the “direct role of Belgium and France in the political preparation for the genocide”, and said French soldiers were both accomplices and “actors” in the bloodbath.

Paris has repeatedly denied the accusations and insisted that French forces had striven to protect civilians. Instead of sending a top level delegation to attend the ceremonies, it announced on the weekend it would send Flesch. Former colonial power Belgium, which unlike France has apologised to Rwanda for failing to prevent the genocide, has sent a senior delegation for the commemorations. Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo also told France that it had to face up to the “difficult truth” over its involvement in the genocide two decades ago. Custodians of the genocide memorial said it contained the bones of a quarter of a million of the victims,




Indian drug giant buys struggling rival


ndian drug giant Sun Pharmaceutical said it had agreed to buy its troubled rival Ranbaxy for $4bn in stock, ending its six-year control by Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo. The deal, which was announced on Monday, will create India’s biggest drugs manufacturer by far and leave Daiichi Sankyo with a significant stake in the combined entity, according to the Reuters news agency. It is the biggest pharmaceutical sector deal in the Asia-Pacific region this year, and will create the world’s fifth-largest maker of generic drugs. For Daiichi Sankyo, Japan’s fourth-biggest drugmaker by revenue, the deal marks a significant retreat and highlights the lingering quality problems facing India’s drug industry. The value of the Japanese firm’s investments in the country has been halved since it bought control of Ranbaxy in 2008. The United States, one of Ranbaxy Laboratories’ biggest markets, has slapped import bans on its manufacturing plants for

failing to meet “good manufacturing practices”. US regulators also banned some products by Sun Pharmaceuticals last month as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) scaled up scrutiny of India’s $14-bn-a-year

pharmaceutical sector amid worries about safety. Sun Pharmaceuticals said they intended to work hard to get the banned facilities re-certified. “First focus will be on compliance,” managing director

Dilip Shanghvi said in a conference call, referring to demands from the FDA. “Because only when the facilities are okayed by the FDA can new product applications be thought about,” he said.

Daiichi Sankyo

India begins six-week general election


oting is under way in India’s northeastern states of Assam and Tripura which are the first two states to go to polls in a staggered election that would

decide the fate of over 1.2 billion people. People on Monday queued up to cast their votes in the world’s biggest elections which will be

India will hold national elections from April 7 to May 12, a process that will take six weeks

held in nine phases, with results expected to be announced on May 16. About 25 percent of the electorate in Assam had voted in the first three hours, while polling for the lone seat in Tripura was more than 40 percent till noon, according to the Times of India newspaper. India’s ruling Congress party, which has held power for a decade, is expected to lose after the country’s 814-million-strong electorate finishes voting on May 12. Opponents of Congress are angry about low growth, rampant corruption and religious unrest under the current government. According to opinion polls, main opposition Bharatiya Janata

Party’s (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is seen as the front-runner in the race with his promise of economic rejuvenation and jobs creation. In Assam, a Congress party stronghold, some voters told the AFP news agency that they had been swayed by opposition leader Narendra Modi’s promises of better infrastructure, strong leadership, jobs and a clean administration. “My wife is a graduate, she is sitting at home without a job,” Nirmal Pal, a 42-year-old car repair shop worker, told the AFP news agency in Dibrugarh. “The Congress has given us no benefit.” Rumi Nath, a 36-year-old housewife said: “I’ve made it a point to vote this time because we want change.”

the race had to be cancelled. Unrest in the run-up to the race, staged about 30km south of Manama at the Sakhir desert circuit, was markedly lower than in the past two years, apparently due to a more effective security clampdown on Shia villages. Many Bahraini Shia complain of discrimination, especially in employment and housing, a charge that the Sunni government denies. Political reconciliation

talks between the government and opposition have made little progress. Earlier on Sunday, a small crowd of youths in the Shia village of al-Eker, south of Manama, burned tyres and threw stones at police who responded by firing tear gas, according to Reuters news agency. The youths quickly dispersed. On Friday, tens of thousands of mainly Shia protesters marched for democratic reforms.

Blast rocks Bahrain during Grand Prix


ecurity forces in Bahrain are investigating an explosion that rocked the kingdom on the last day of the Formula One motor racing Grand Prix. On Sunday, three witnesses reported hearing a blast in the bustling Aliya district of the capital Manama, where many foreigners live. The Interior Ministry on Monday confirmed the blast, saying on its official Twitter account that it was

investigating the incident. There were no reports of casualties. Police blocked the road where the incident took place near a government security building. Though caught up in political turmoil, the authorities in Bahrain see the Grand Prix as a way to raise the kingdom’s international profile and attract tourists and foreign investment. In 2011, when the unrest first broke out as part of the Arab Spring,

Asia & Middle East

Row in Lebanese Palestinian camp turns deadly


t least eight people have been killed in fighting between Palestinian factions in a refugee camp near Lebanon’s southern city of Sidon, sources from the military told Al Jazeera. The sources said the fighting broke out on Monday between fighters from a group orginally linked to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah group and a rival organisation. Al Jazeera’s Rula Amin, reporting from Beirut, said among those killed was Ahman Rashid, a leader of a new armed group Al Awda Brigade in the camp. Also killed as Rashid’s brother Rashid Rashid and a bodyguard. Sources said the clashes was triggered by factional rivalries in the Palestinian camp. At least 11 people were wounded. The camp remains cordoned off by the Lebanese military. Fatah and a range of other factions compete for influence in Mieh Mieh and the nearby Ain alHilweh, two of the 12 Palestinian camps in Lebanon that are home to more than 200,000 registered refugees. Tensions in the camps and in Lebanon as a whole have been been exacerbated by the conflict in neighbouring Syria. More than a million Syrian refugees have poured into Lebanon along with many Palestinians, displaced by three years of war.

Afghan civilians killed in roadside blast


roadside bomb has killed 15 civilians travelling in a pick-up truck in a volatile district of southern Afghanistan, officials said, in the first major incident since elections two days ago. “A civilian vehicle hit a roadside bomb on the outskirts of Maiwand district,” Ghorzang Afridi, Kandahar provincial police spokesman told the AFP news agency. “As a result of the blast, 13 civilians were killed, all men.”



International Europe and Americas

Ukraine activists declare Donetsk sovereignty


kraine’s authorities have accused Russia of fomenting the unrest Pro-Russian activists who seized the main administration building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk have proclaimed the creation of a sovereign “people’s republic” independent of Kiev rule. A spokesman for the protesters who came from the occupied building announced the decision to reporters on Monday. Footage posted on YouTube showed one Russian speaker telling the packed assembly from a podium: “I proclaim the creation of the sovereign state of the People’s Republic of Donetsk.” The protesters had broken into the building of the industrial city near the Russian border a day earlier. Elsewhere in Ukraine, other pro-Russian activists broke into the state security headquarters in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk and raided its arsenal, prompting Ukrainian police to close down all roads leading to the city. “Unknown people who are in the building have broken into the building’s arsenal and have seized weapons,” police said in a statement on Monday, adding that they had been put on alert and had blocked all entrances to the city. Luhansk, which lies around 25km west of Russia, is a city where secessionist sentiment has sparked frequent protests since the country’s Russia-friendly president was ousted in February. A crowd of pro-Russian activists had stormed the security services building in Luhansk on Sunday. Local media reported that demonstrators pelted the building with eggs, stones, a smoke grenade and finally a firebomb. Separately, Arsen Avakov, the Ukrainian interior minister, said on his Facebook page that the regional administrative building in another eastern city, Kharkiv, had been cleared of “separatist” protesters. “Thanks to all those who offered their help,” he wrote, without specifying how the protesters were removed from the building. Ukraine’s authorities have accused Russia of fomenting the unrest. The unrest took place as a Russian soldier shot dead a Ukrainian naval officer in the town of Novofyodorovka in the east of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula, according to the Ukrainian Defence Ministry. Few details were released on the shooting, on Sunday.

Spain arrests four over Iran ‘missile parts’


panish police say they have arrested four people who allegedly planned to send industrial machinery that could be used to make missiles to Iran. A Civil Guard statement on Monday said officers seized two Leifeld metalworking machines that had been imported illegally from Britain last year. The statement said the machines were classified as “dual use” - meaning they could be used in both civilian and military industry - and their shipping to Iran would violate UN sanctions. It said three Spaniards and one Iranian were arrested in the cities of Barcelona, Tarragona and Palma de Mallorca. They were charged with being members of a criminal gang, trafficking dual-use goods and money laundering. The statement said police also confiscated 10,000 euros ($13,700) and documents on exporting dual-use technology. In January, the European Union and the United States suspended a range of sanctions against Iran after Tehran began implementing a deal to curb its nuclear programme.

Iran struck an historic deal last year with world powers that suspended some sanctions on the country

The West alleges that Iran is covertly using its nuclear programme to build a nuclear bomb. Tehran insists the programme is solely for peaceful purposes. Under the Geneva deal reached in November of 2013, Iran agreed to halt

its 20 percent enrichment programme but to continue enrichment up to 5 percent. It also agreed to convert half of its stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium to oxide and dilute the remaining half to 5 percent over a

period of six months. In addition to the enrichment measures, the six-month interim deal also commits Iran to opening its nuclear programme to greater UN inspections and providing more details on its nuclear activities and facilities.

Italian envoy arrested for child trafficking


olice in the Philippines have filed a complaint for child trafficking and child abuse against a holidaying Italian diplomat arrested at a resort south of the capital Manila in the company of three boys. Senior Supterintendent Romulo Sapitula of the Philippine National Police told the Associated Press on Monday that Daniele Bosio was arrested on Saturday at a resort in Laguna province. The arrest came after members of the child rights group Bahay Tuluyan alerted the police. The 46-year-old Bosio is the Italian ambassador to Turkmenistan. Bosio is accused of violating child trafficking and child abuse laws

Catherine Scerri, saw Bosio at the resort with the three children, and reported him to the police on Saturday evening.

in the Philippines, Lily Flordelis, executive director of Bahay Tuluyan Foundation, told Al Jazeera. Flordelis and her deputy,

Members of a local child rights group alerted authorities leading to the detention of Daniele Bosio.

Solis wins Costa Rica presidential run-off


olitical centrist Luis Guillermo Solis has easily won the presidential runoff in Costa Rica, an expected result given that his only rival had stopped campaigning a month earlier because he was so far behind in the polls. A solid voter turnout in the election on Sunday was a further victory for Solis, as experts had warned that a low turnout would undermine the legitimacy of his government. “I will not let you down. The people have spoken,” Solis said at the end of the long day of voting, according to AFP news agency. In the run-up to the vote, he had appealed to Costa Ricans to cast ballots

“We were concerned, because it was obvious that he was not related to the children,” Flordelis said. “We only found out later that he is a diplomat.” The arrest was confirmed by the Italian foreign ministry, according to the Agence France Presse news agency. According to Flordelis, Bosio denied abusing the children. She quoted him as saying that “the children are just having fun” at the resort, and he only wanted to help them. Bosio allegedly picked up the three children aged 9, 10 and 12, from the streets of Metro Manila and brought them to the place where he was temporarily staying. and set a goal of getting more than 1 million votes. Late on Sunday, Costa Rica’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal announced that with 93 percent of voting stations reporting Solis had 1,258,715 votes, or 77.9 percent support, Solis easily trounced ruling party candidate Johnny Araya at 22.1 percent. Araya remained on the ballot even though he suspended his campaign because the country’s constitution does not allow for a candidate to drop out. I receive these results with serenity, with maturity, and I will start by recognising them with humility and respect, and by congratulating President-elect Luis Guillermo Solis.



Strange World French artist to live inside grizzly bear carcass for 13 days


braham Poincheval, a performance artist from France, specializes in confining himself to the smallest possible spaces for long periods of time. A couple of years ago, he spent a whole week buried in a tiny underground hole in a bookstore, with just a pile of books for company. Now he has fashioned a new task for himself – he’s spending nearly a fortnight

Abraham Poincheval

(1 to 13 April) crammed inside the carcass of a grizzly bear, in a space measuring only half a square meter. He won’t be coming out at all, not even to eat, drink, sleep or relieve himself. Two cameras will be on him at all times, recording the whole experience. The bear itself was excavated by Abraham and has been partly reconstructed to support the project, using plywood, plaster, foam and polystyrene tubes. The

bizarre installation is completely covered with the bear’s original skin and fur. When empty, the entire structure weighs 1 1 5 pounds. Inside it is a semiupright chair on which the 42-year-old artist will be spending all his time. Rubber exercise bands will help him get some movement and he has some room by his feet for a stretch. There’s also a kettle and an odd assortment

of foods that only a bear could appreciate – frozen dried fruits, insects and worms. Too bad the bear isn’t Winnie the Pooh, or Abraham could have had some honey as well. The project is a visual performance called ‘Dans La Peau de l’Ours’, which means ‘Inside the Skin of a Bear’. It is currently taking place at the Hunting and Wildlife Museum in Paris, where visitors will be compelled to think about ‘rebirth and the rite of passage’. I can’t help saying this – the only thing I’m compelled to think about is where all his waste is going. In case you’re also wondering about that, it’s supposed to go out through two of the bear’s legs. The other two legs are filled with sufficient water to see Abraham through the 13-day ordeal. No one seems to be more delighted about the whole affair than the director of the museum, Claude D’Anphenaise. “It is very interesting and our visitors are very excited,” he said. “He had to work for a long time perfecting his menu to work out what could be kept in there, and working out a way he can get some exercise. He has to live in total isolation and be totally selfsufficient in a space not dissimilar

from what an astronaut would experience in a rocket. It will be very difficult for him.” Claude also said that the museum helped Abraham to come up with a few book titles that could keep him company during his isolation. “Inside he has some more light-hearted books, a bit of escapism. On a table outside, we have a set of books relating to his experience, like Walden by Thoreau. Visitors can hold it up to the eyes and he can read it from inside. They could even choose to read the books to Abraham.” According to Abraham, this new experience draws its inspiration from shamanism. “For the performer, it is to access a meditative state to experience the lives of animals and their perception of the world,” he said. The crazy artist got into the bear at exactly 11 am on April Fool’s day. At first I thought it might have been a prank, but from the looks of it, Abraham’s cozied up in his bear, all right. I watched a bit of the live stream from the cameras on the museum website – I felt suffocated just looking at Abraham all cooped up like that. It has been two days so far, and we’ll have to just wait to see how long he can make it. But Claude is pretty confident of Abraham’s abilities, as a man who is ‘familiar with extreme situations’. “He has already attracted a crowd of people. Everyone wants to go near a big grizzly anyway, and this is even more intriguing for them.”

8-year-old Brazilian miracle worker allegedly cures cancer and HIV


-year-old Alani Santos is a special little girl – she claims that she can channel the power of Jesus Christ to cure people of various illnesses. Hundreds gather at the San Gonzalo church just to get a glimpse of the miracle child and be healed by her touch. Incidentally, Alani’s father is a pastor at the same church. Pastor Aduato Santos, a reformed car thief, has fondly given his daughter the name ‘missionarinha’ or ‘little missionary’. Some of Alani’s healing sessions have been taped and uploaded on YouTube. One of the videos shows her healing a man who had been

suffering from HIV for seven years. As the man stands with his head bowed, the pastor tells him: “You’re next. When the little missionary touches you, something will happen. You will be cured. You will feel the warmth.” As soon Alani puts her hand on the man’s head, he collapses on to the floor. The healing is then complete. The clips show several others bursting into tears after Alani touches them. Like this one old woman with crutches. Pastor Santos takes her up to the front of the hall, where Alani repeatedly touches her legs. After a while, the woman is in tears of joy as she slowly walks around the room

Alani Santos without the crutches. Alani has been curing people in this manner for the past two years. She enjoys making people better, and wants to become a doctor when she’s older. “To see God working though people and their lives, that is very pleasing,” she said. “A lot of the time I touch people, sometimes I just pray and worship and the person is cured. I pray and

God performs miracles. My dad interviews people and they say they’ve been cured.” When asked about the most emotional part of the service at her father’s church, Alani said: “It’s the part when I pray and God performs miracles.” Thanks to the growing popularity of Pentecostalism in Brazil, exorcisms and healings have become a common practice. Twice

a week, the sick and vulnerable from around the country travel to San Gonzalo to meet with Alani and be touched by her. At the end of the service, a collection bowl is handed out and people are asked to fill it with whatever they can. Pastor Santos also sells T-shirts, DVDs and posters and allows people to access Alani’s healing services via Skype as well.




Could watermelon cure high blood pressure?


atermelon reduces high blood pressure in overweight people and could slash the risk of a heart attack, new research shows. Scientists found that the fruit significantly reduces blood pressure in overweight people, even when they are exposed to cold weather. More people die of heart attacks in cold conditions because the stress put on the body by trying to keep warm causes blood pressure to

increase. This forces the heart to work harder, meaning people face a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes. The study, published in the American Journal of Hypertension, revealed that eating watermelon is good for heart health and can reduce the risk of heart problems in cold conditions. Professor Arturo Figueroa, from Florida State University, said: ‘The pressure on the aorta and on the heart decreased after consuming watermelon

extract.’ Scientists looked at 13 middle-aged obese men and women who suffered from high blood pressure over a 12 week period. Test participants’ hands were dipped into cold water to simulate cold weather conditions, while scientists took their blood pressure. Then, every day half of the participants took watermelon extracts - four grams of amino acid L-citrulline and two grams of L-arginine per day. The other half were given

Watermelon reduces blood pressure even in people who are cold - blood pressure usually increases when people get cold because the heart has to work harder to warm them up

Eating watermelon reduces high blood pressure in overweight people and slashes their risk of heart attacks

a placebo, and after six weeks tthe participants switched roles. It was revealed that watermelon lowered blood p pressure and reduced cardiac sstress, even in cold conditions. ‘That means less overload tto the heart, so the heart is g going to work easily during a stressful situation such as ccold exposure,’ said Professor F Figueroa. L-citrulline and L-arginine ssupplements are available from ssome health food shops but w would have to be taken in high doses to reduce blood pressure.

The news comes just after it was revealed that working out in warm water can reduce blood pressure. Researchers at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, found aquarobics in warm water can lower blood pressure even in people for whom medication has not worked. It’s not clear why warm water has this effect. One theory is that heat dilates blood vessels, improving the flow of blood through the body. Source:

Chocolate could prevent obesity – scientists


t has long been maligned as a source of weight gain. But chocolate could help prevent obesity and Type 2 diabetes, new research suggests. Scientists found that an antioxidant in cocoa can prevent weight gain and help lower blood sugar levels.

Dark chocolate can help prevent obesity and Type 2 diabetes, new research shows

The researchers say there is also evidence to suggest eating dark chocolate can improve thinking, decrease appetite and lower blood pressure. The latest study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, revealed that an antioxidant in cocoa can prevent mice from gaining weight and that it also lowered their blood sugar levels. Dr Andrew Neilson and his colleagues explained this is because cocoa, the basic ingredient of chocolate, is one of the most flavanol-rich foods available. This is good because antioxidants – of which flavanols are one type - have been shown to help fight weight gain and Type 2 diabetes. However, not all flavanols are equally beneficial and cocoa contains many different ones. So, the research team decided to try and establish the individual health benefits of the different flavanols.

The scientists fed groups of mice different diets, including high-fat and low-fat diets, and high-fat diets supplemented with different kinds of flavanols. They found that adding one particular set of these compounds, known as oligomeric procyanidins (PCs), to the food made the biggest difference in keeping the mice’s weight down if they were on highfat diets. They also improved glucose tolerance, which could potentially help prevent Type 2 diabetes. ‘Oligomeric PCs appear to possess the greatest anti-obesity and anti-diabetic bioactivities of the flavanols in cocoa, particularly at the low doses employed for the present study,’ the researchers say. The news comes just after scientists at Louisiana State University released finding which show dark chocolate can reduce blood pressure and improve heart health. The researchers say dark

Chocolate contains flavanols - a type of antioxidant - that help to lower blood sugar levels. They also help fight weight gain. Previous studies have shown dark chocolate can lower blood pressure and improve heart health

chocolate is beneficial because of the way our guts ferment the fibre in cocoa beans. Researcher Maria Moore said: ‘We found that there are two kinds of microbes in the gut: the “good” ones and the “bad” ones. ‘The good microbes, such as Bifidobacterium and lactic acid bacteria, feast on chocolate.

‘When you eat dark chocolate, they grow and ferment it, producing compounds that are anti-inflammatory.’ This naturally forming anti-inflammatory enters the bloodstream and helps protest the heart and arteries from damage. Source:



INEC working on new salary structure for staff– Jega


he Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, yesterday in Abuja said the commission was working on new salary structure for its members of staff. Jega, who made this disclosure during an interactive session with editors and news directors, said that this would go a long way to enhance their performances. He said that the commission had screened its personnel to determine those who would be

eligible to be part of the 2015 general elections. According to him, the screening was necessary to enable the commission conduct a free, fair and credible elections. He said the commission had committed members of staff who were determined to conduct of credible elections. The INEC chairman explained that the commission had commenced training and retraining of staff through bridge workshops.

He said that the commission had also been restructured to eliminate the duplication and overlapping of roles. Earlier, Dr Mourtada Deme, Director of Project, UNDP Democratic Governance for Democracy ( DGD), said that the project was designed to strengthen the accountability and responsiveness of social institutions. According to Deme, knowing the critical role of the media, the project had priortised media

engagement as a primary focus under component four of its programme. “The media play a crucial role in keeping citizens engaged in the business of governance, because healthy political process require pluralism and open communication,” he said. Deme said that the media could be a champion for the promotion of a well-informed citizenry through clear public communication and provision of information on policies and processes. (NAN)

Kwara PDP records large turnout at congress From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


ards Congress held by Kwara state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) recorded large turn out of party members who trooped out to elect their war executives. This reporter who monitored the Congress within Ilorin observed that majority of the participants were women and youths and each centre was secured by heavy security men including State Security Officers (SSS). At Ajikobi Ward, hundreds of PDP members were seen being screened before they could be allowed to enter the Congress premises, Ansaru Islam Primary school, Okekere at about 10am while party cards were adopted as a ticket for entrance. Similarly, at Okelele area, many PDP members were seen waiting for the commencement of the Congress which was believed to be done through election. While speaking with Journalists, the Acting Chairman of Ajikobi Ward, Alhaji Soliu Adebayo Ahmed, described the large turn out of the PDP members as a testimony that the party was fully on ground. He noted that though the area is the home base of Late Dr Olusola Saraki, and Professor Shuiab Oba Abdulraheem,Chairman Federal Character Commission, he insisted that the people of the area would vote for PDP in the forthcoming general elections. The PDP Chieftain added that the party had decided to go through election instead of consensus noting that democracy could only survive if leaders were elected by the people and not through dictatorship.

Ward “F” All Progressives Congress (APC) members queuing, during APC congress, on Saturday at Government Technical College, Awolowo Road, Ikorodu, in Lagos. Photo: NAN

NASIEC holds LG re-run election amidst PDP’s protests From Ali Abare Abubakar, Lafia


he Nasarawa State Independent Electoral Commission (NASIEC) conducted the rerun election in the disputed Akwanga local governments in the state even as members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the area protested the development. Irate supporters of the PDP, mostly youths in Akwanga early yesterday barricaded the busy Akwanga-Keffi expressway, burning tires and disrupting the free flow of traffic along the route, just by the congested Akwanga market located along Keffi road. It took the intervention of armed security men dispatched to disperse the rampaging youths, who took to their heels after policemen fired canisters of tear gas at them. Meanwhile, the PDP said it will boycott the scheduled re-run election which took place yesterday across 10 local government areas

of the state, with the chairmanship election taking place in Akwanga, Obi and Nasarawa. State Public Relation Officer (PRO) of the party, Mark Neto, told our reporter at the premises of the Akwanga Divisional Police office, where electoral materials are being distributed, that his party will not participate in the re-run election. “We have asked our supporters not to participate in the re-run. As far as we are concerned, NASIEC has already issued to our candidate certificate of return, so which re-run are they talking about?” he asked. He stated that the PDP expected that aggrieved parties should have gone to the tribunal, claiming that since the PDP chairmanship candidate in Akwanga already won the election, it was needless for the NASIEC to conduct a re-run election. Reacting over the issue however, Arc Stanley Buba, interim state chairman of the APC, condemned the action of the opposition party,

accusing the PDP in the state and the PDP dominated state Assembly of continued disregard for the rule of law as well as the doctrine of the separation of powers”. In a statement issued to journalists yesterday, the APC described the conduct of the PDP members as an aberration, adding that the stance taken by the Assembly on its resolution seeking for the sack of the NASIEC officials, smacked of lack of understanding of the constitution, which vested such powers on the executive. “Is it not double standards for the PDP to allow its elected chairmen to be inaugurated while refusing to swear-in APC councilors, like it happened in Kokona LGA?” Stanley queried. As at the time of filing in this report, the re-run local government election was ongoing across those areas earlier declared inconclusive, even as security has been beefed up with stern looking soldiers patrolling the affected areas.

Osun PDP primary: APC sponsored Adeleke to create stalemate-Police Affairs Minister By Lawrence Olaoye


inister for Police Affairs, Alhaji Abdul-jelil Oyewale has said that the former Osun state governor, Alhaji Isiaka Adeleke, was sponsored by the the incumebent governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, to create stalemate at the recently concluded Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primary won by Senator Iyiola Omisore in the state. The Minister in a statement released by his Special Assistant,Dr. Tokunbo Owoeye, debunked he claims made by a group, Oodua Self Determination Group, alleging that the Police Affairs Minister used policemen to attack Adeleke and hereby constituted dangers to the pace and unity of the South West region. Oyewale’s aide in a statement said “since assuming office, the minister has conducted himself in line with the law and responsibilities of his office and at no time has the minister abused his office or deploy state resources outside the limit of his office. “It should be put on records that the group, Coalition of Oodua Self Determination Group, which issued the statement, was formed and financed by Governor Rauf Aregbesola and this was confirmed by the use of state of Osun in the statement. The unfounded allegation is thus APC’s way of lamenting the failure of its plot to derail Osun PDP congress through their surrogate, Alhaji Isiaka Adeleke. “We are not unaware of that APC sponsored Mr. Adeleke to create stalemate at the PDP congress, hence his storming of the hotel housing the electoral team with fully armed thugs who were apprehended by security operatives. “We repeat here that the former governor is the aggressor, and not the minister who was a victim of the organized assault by Adeleke. First, security reports confirmed that the exgovernor stormed the hotel with thugs armed to teeth. Two, he confessed that he freed political thugs arrested by operatives of Department of State Security on the ground that they are his men. Three, he confessed that he went to where the minister and others were sitting to confront them over the arrest of political thugs. “We call on Nigerians to ignore the APC’s sponsored group as it was only playing the script of its sponsors who are nursing the wound of their failure to disrupt the state congress of the PDP. The allegation is a mere tissue of lies which emanates from a party feeling the heat from people’s revolt.




Voter registration timetable out soon – Jega ...prosecutes 200 electoral offenders

By Ikechukwu Okaforadi with agency reports


Sokoto state Governor, Alhaji Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko (middle), with some All Progressives Congress (APC) officials, during APC congress, on Saturday in Wamakko town, Sokoto state.

PDP knocks APC over conduct of congress

...offers technical assistance By Lawrence Olaoye


he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday berated opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) over its inability to conduct its comgress successfully across the country. The party in a statement by is National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, noted that “it is an irony that a party that daily claims it is on a mission to rescue Nigeria could not even conduct its own congress.” The ruling party criticized the opposition for the mind-boggling tales of imposition, cronyism, thuggery and general disdain for the elementary principles of democracy witnessed at the congress. The PDP said “the savagery witnessed in the exercise which came eight months after the registration of the party, offers a glimpse into the confusion and brutality that will be the order of the day if the APC is allowed to hold power in 2015. “A passerby would have thought the so called APC congress was a meeting of thugs as detailed hooligans took over the process on the directives of their party overlords and dealt harshly with members who dared to contest for positions already appropriated to hand picked stooges of the owners of the party. From Lagos to Borno, Rivers to Zamfara, the story is consistently the same; a tale of cronyism, thuggery, violence and general disregard for the principles of democracy”, the

statement said. The PDP said the congress have not only exposed the APC as a disorganized party but also a “camp replete with political vampires ready to devour even their own.” The party said it was now very clear to other members of the so called ‘Legacy Parties’ that ganged up with the now defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN to form the APC that ‘all animals are equal but some are more equal than others’. “Not only did those from the old ACN emasculate their so-called partners, but also they did so in the most uncivilized and barbaric manner, deploying thugs, and using official state apparatus to ensure that they had their way. “In states where the owners of the party felt they could not have their way, the process was manipulated to create confusion resulting in the shelving of the exercise. For instance, while the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed was announcing that the congress would go on nationwide as planned, the APC chairmen in Rivers, Plateau, Bauchi and the FCT announced the postponement of the exercise in their states. According to the PDP, the situation was so bad that the congress was cancelled in Adamawa and Katsina while in Kano and Sokoto, there was no voting as both states chose their ward officials via a strange ‘consensus’ option. “These are the ‘progressives’ and ‘democrats’ that want to rescue Nigeria,” the

PDP enthused. Stating that the APC has no business in a democracy, the PDP said the opposition party should be honourable enough to commence the process of its own disbandment. “This is the same party that called the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) names and asked for the resignation of its board over the conduct of the Anambra elections due to slight hitches experienced in that exercise. Will the APC now be honourable enough to call for its own disbandment seeing as they have experienced not slight, but massive hitches in their own congress? If the APC cannot manage its own internal affairs, how can it manage a country as complex as Nigeria?” the PDP queried. The statement recalled that the PDP has held successful congresses and national conventions where party members were allowed level play ground to pursue their ambitions irrespective of sectional, religious and ethnic affiliations.

hairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, on Monday said the timetable for Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) would be released soon. This is coming as the Commission has said about 200 electoral offenders had been prosecuted by the commission. Jega announced this at an interactive session with Editors and News Directors organised by INEC in collaboration with UNDP’s Democratic Governance for Democracy (DGD) project in Abuja. Jega said the commission was working to improve on the integrity of voter register before the 2015 general elections. He added that the register in Ekiti and Osun had been updated ahead of the governorship elections and assured that CVR would be completed in all the states by September. He identified lack of ICT as one of the challenges facing the conduct of the registration. Jega said the commission would ensure extensive and comprehensive voter education before 2015 elections and enjoined the media to show its social responsibility in educating voters. The chairman also said the commission was ready to conduct elections in spite of the security challenges, adding, ``we are ready to conduct elections in a any situation we find ourselves.’’ He, however, said it was important to conduct elections under a conducive atmosphere to ensure credible polls, stressing that INEC was mindful of the security challenges confronting the nation.

Bauchi APC holds congress tomorrow From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


ll Progressives Congress (APC), Bauchi state chapter, is set to hold its Ward Congress tomorrow (Wednesday) in order to meet the criteria set by the party’s national leadership. A stakeholder of the party told newsmen at the end of their meeting in Bauchi that the decision to shift the congress was

Katsina PDP conducts congress in 361 wards From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, Katsina


he chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ward Congress committee in Katsina State, Alhaji Bello Dantata, has disclosed that the party had successfully conducted ward congress in 361 wards across the state. Briefing newsmen shortly after the conduct of the exercise yesterday, the committee chairman further disclosed that the party guidelines

On those being prosecuted b INEC, Jega said that the offenders were prosecuted from 2011to date, adding that many suspects of electoral offences were awaiting trial. He said prosecuting the suspects had been difficult and timeconsuming for the commission, adding that INEC had proposed the establishment of an electoral tribunal to reduce the burden. “We have made a request to the National Assembly for the creation of an electoral tribunal to unbundle the commission,” he said. Jega said that the “win-at-allcost” attitude of politicians was a huge challenge to the electoral process in the country. He accused political parties of breaching the provisions of party guidelines in conducting primary elections and alleged that there had also been breaches of the Electoral Act in respect of campaign by political parties. “There have been breaches in terms of campaign in accordance with the guidelines but we will see how we can persecute them,” he said. He announced that the commission would soon come up with new guidelines on campaign, saying that there was need to finetune the guidelines. He said that INEC had always engaged 300,000 corps members as ad hoc staff during elections adding that using corps members at elections had minimised electoral fraud in the country. “We have reduced fraud significantly by using ad hoc staff as against the use of primary school teachers in the past,” he said, adding that some corps members had been jailed for electoral fraud.

were strictly adhered to during the exercise. He noted that all interested members of the party were given equal opportunity to contests adding that the election was done through open ballot system which, according to him, was transparent. Dantata added that for the proper conduct of the exercise, his five man committee divided itself into three where he said each group monitored the exercise in each of the three senatorial zones of the state.

informed by the late arrival of materials for the conduct of the event. He said “It was not possible to conduct the congress on Saturday as earlier planned because of logistics problems encountered not only in Bauchi State but in many states across the country,’’ He said the committee to oversee the Congress had held a stakeholders meeting with all relevant party stake holders to ensure the success of the exercise. A source from the committee said all required materials for the congress had arrived in the state and sale of nomination forms for various positions had commenced. He said “anybody wishing to contest the election should purchase the forms at designated banks and all completed forms must be returned to the committee on Monday in order to conduct the congress onWednesday; we have commenced distributions of the forms to all who brought their banks’ teller around 1pm Sunday.”



News Extra

Yuguda distributes 10,000 bags of food items to disabled persons From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


overnor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi state has distributed over 10,000 bags of assorted food items to disabled persons across the 20 local government areas (LGAs) in the state. An aide to the governor, Alhaji Salisu Garba Maisuga

made the distribution on behalf of the Governor at the weekend in Bauchi, saying the assorted food items would go a long way in alleviating the suffering disabled persons in the state. He said the items was meant to be distribute to blind persons, Lepers, Cripple, and deaf and dumb in the society with the view to alleviating their sufferings and discouraged street begging in the

state. According to him, the governor, out of sympathy, had made it mandatory after every six months to help the disabled and needy people with food items. The food items distributed included 5,000 bags of maize, 3,000 bags of Sorghum and sugar, and over 2,000 bags of rice.

While receiving the items, the Sarkin Makafin Bauchi, Alhaji Abdullahi Jibrin said the foods items would be distributed accordingly, saying, “As you can see, representatives of each group from the 20 LGAs in the state are here to collect the items for their people for onward distribution to persons concerned in their locality. The leader assured that no

Niger expends N1bn on capital projects in LGAs – Legislator

Mrs. Yuguda bags award from traditional medicine association

From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna

From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


iger state government has expended N1 billion towards the execution of capital projects aimed at improving the living standard of rural people last year, the member representing Kontagora I at the state House of Assembly, Honourable Mohammed Nurudeen Umar, has disclosed. The legislator, who made this known at the weekend, while speaking to newsmen in Minna, said each of the 25 local governments of the state got N40 million each during the 2013 fiscal year. “Last year, N40 million was given to each local government council for carrying out capital projects. N15 million from the state government and N25 million from Sure-P,” he added. He stated that situation in local governments was pathetic, as noticed by the House Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, of which he is a member, when they paid an oversight function visit to the councils. He noted that Kontagora local council had completed its 10-kilometer road project while three other councils have reached 90 percent completion and stressed the need for other councils to expedite action on the projects. The lawmaker argued for the abolition of the states and local governments’ joint account system adding that with what I saw, governors are suppressing local government councils.

beneficiary would be left out of the kind gesture of the state government. He said that the gesture will reduce street begging in the state and would bring respect, mutual understanding and a sense of belonging to disabled persons in the state. Jibrin commended the governor for making it a duty to supply food items to the disabled persons in the state.

T L-R: AUN President, Margee Ensign, Emir of Mubi, Alhaji Abubakar Isa Ahmadu, Secretary General, Adamawa Muslim Council, Imam Dauda Bello, Coordinator of Centre for Women and Adolescent Empowerment, Mrs. Turai Kadir, and others, during a sympathy visit to the Emir by members of the Adamawa Peacemakers’ Initiative (API), to condole and distribute relief materials to internally displaced persons, recently in Mubi.

Islamic Brotherhood society elects national officials … Promises harmonious working relationship


he Islamic Brotherhood of Nigeria (ISBON) has elected members of its Board of Trustees and Executive Council members to pilot the affairs of the society for the next three years. Notice of the election is contained in a statement issued by the Publicity Secretary of the society, Alhaji Muhammad Rufa’i, at the weekend in Abuja. The Board of Trustee members include Alhaji Mansur Abdulhameed as Chairman, Alhaji Taoheed Akiwande as member and Alhaji AbdulGaniyu Abayomi, also a member. Others are Alhaji Salihu

AbdulRaheem, member; Alhaji Uthman Aliyu, member; Hajiya Hafsat Belgore as Legal Adviser and Alhaji Musa Abdul as Secretary. The National Executive Council members are Alhaji Ishaq Odewale, Chairman; Alhaji Abdulqahar Adama, Vice Chairman; Alhaji AbdulRazaq Lawal, General Secretary and Hajiya Silifat Ahmadu Amira (Women Leader). The society urged the new officials to be dedicated and strive harder to uplift the society to new heights. It also urged the out-going executive council members to give all necessary support to the new officials

in the discharge of their duties. The new Board of Trustees Chairman, Alhaji Mansur AbdulHameed, promised to do his best to get new plot of land for the society at the Central Business District of Abuja. He urged members of the society to work together as one family in order to move the group forward. During the election, the National Vice-chairman of the society Alhaji AbdulQahar Adama, launched the newly-amended constitution of the society. He advised members of the society to be dedicated and work harder for the progress of the association. (NAN)

he wife of the Bauchi state governor, Hajiya Hauwa Abiodun Yuguda has been bestowed an award, tagged: “Distinguished Supporter”, by the Bauchi state chapter of National Association of Nigerian Traditional Medical Practitioners (BUNANTMP). Hajiya Abiodun Yuguda, who is the founder of Challenge Your Disability Initiative in Bauchi state was conferred with the prestigious award for her numerous contributions to the growth and development of the association and Nigeria at large. According to Dr. Gambo Bababa, the state Chairman of the association, Hajiya Hauwa Abiodun Yuguda merited such a great honour from the association as she did not only partner with them, but gave them national recognition that boosted the confidence of the association. Speaking with journalists shortly after the award ceremony, which took place at the CYDI office in Bauchi, Bababa recalled some of the positive impacts made by the wife of the state Governor towards the promotion of the activities of the association state by giving them land to cultivate their medicinal herbs. He said Hajiya Hauwa is the first beneficiary of the award since the inception of the association. In her remarks, Hajiya Yuguda said her NGO will continue to assist the association in order to reduce poverty in the state as, according to her, they have a lot to contribute to humanity.

Muslims, Christians meet to strengthen mutual confidence in Yelwa From Ado Abubakar Musa, Jos


ollowing the upheaval that led to the recent killing and burning of houses around the region of Yelwa, in Shendam local government area of Plateau state, the Muslims and Christians in the area have at the weekend met to strengthen mutual understanding and confidence among them.

The meeting, which has in attendance the followers of both Muslim and Christian faithful from Yelwa and other surrounding villages held at the premises of Saint Stephen’s Catholic Church, in Yelwa. Speaking at the meeting, the Rev. Father Mike Kelong, who is the chairman of the Yelwa Peace Committee, called on the people to live in peace and harmony among

them irrespective of their religious or tribal affiliation, adding that people should try at all times to fish out any suspicious person among them, as this, according to him, would help to sanitise the area. He said, “For there to be development, peace and harmony must always be in place, hence we must embrace one another for development of our community. I

am calling on all and sundry to be watching around and report any suspicious action to the nearest security in the area”. Also at the peace meeting, the deputy chairman of the Yelwa Peace Committee, Malam Kabiru, said” peace can only prevail when leaders tell their followers the truth; because without telling the truth, we are just wasting our time. Therefore, we

have to be fair to everyone, because we are accounting our actions in the hereafter. In his words, the councillor representing Yelwa-East, Hon. Adamu Muhammad Adamu, called on both Christians and Muslims of Yelwa and its surrounding villages to preach peace and love among the, saying that they are the ingredients of development.


Photo Splash


Traffic gridlock at Maryland on Ikorodu Road, yesterday in Lagos.

Participants during the World Health Day anniversary, yesterday in Dutse, Jigawa state.

Minister of Culture and Toursim, Chief Edem Duke (2nd right), Chairman, World Fashion Week, Mr. Paco De James (right), President, Branzuk Gold Limited, Dr. Merit Gordon Obua (2nd left), Co-founder, Branzuk Gold Limited, Mr. Lexy MojoEyes (left), during the meeting between the board members of the World Fashion Week and the minister on the preparations for the forthcoming African Fashion Week to be hosted by Nigeria, yesterday in Abuja.

Olomu of Omu-Aran, Oba Charles Ibitoye (left), handing over keys of two vans to Special Adviser to the Kwara state Governor on Security Matters, Alhaji Musa Bello (2nd right), on behalf of Omu-Aran community to Kwara Police Command, yesterday in Omu-Aran. With them are President, Omu-Aran Development Association, Chief Peter Oyinloye (2nd left), and Kwara Commissioner OF Police, Mr. Ambrose Aisabor (right)

Students of Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi, protesting during stakeholders’ town hall meeting on TETFUND intervention in tertiary institutions in the North-East zone, yesterday in Bauchi. Photos: Joe Oroye and NAN



SMS- 08036258222,


he Super Eagles deputy skipper, Vincent Enyeama, has sensationally declared that most players of all qualified nations for the Brazil 2014 World Cup are not thinking of the championship at the moment but the fate of their various clubsides across the globe. “We are talking of top professionals who are heavily rewarded for what their clubs get during the season, some are fighting for a place in the Champions League, like my club, Lille Metropol, others are fighting to get Europa league positions and some very good players are even fighting against

Vincent Enyeama

relegations for their clubs.” Enyeama, who has been the regular skipper of the national team in the absence of Joseph Yobo, also called on football authorities to refocus and let sleeping dogs lie for the good of the game in the country. “We read a lot about happenings in Nigeria, which most times are not palatable but we are the African Champions and we must let ourselves enjoy the moment while it lasts so that we can take a very determined spirit to the World Cup and I trust the NFF people will listen and help concentrate on better preparation for the World Cup.

Flamingoes stars get Falconets call-up T he Falconets Head Coach, Peter Dedevbo has assured Flamingoes’ trio of immediate inclusion in his preliminary 35-man list for the 2014 Fifa Women’s World Cup in Canada. The former Flamingoes coach was specific to hand the side’s captain, Chinwendu Ihezuo an invitation if she excelled at the just concluded Fifa Under-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica together with other outstanding teammates. However, Dedevbo said the only Flamingoes guaranteed of invitation to his side is the side’s vice captain and winger, Uchenna Kanu and two undisclosed ones. Nigeria will campaign against England, Mexico and Korea Republic for the Group C tickets at the 16team biennial global football showpiece which runs from August 05-24 in Edmonton, Moncton, Montreal and Toronto. Falconets first game will be against Mexico on August 06 while Korea Republic and England will queue up on August 09 and 13 respectively, the best two progress to the last eight.

Uchenna Kanu

NFF outlines duties for Falcons’, Eaglets’ crew By Albert Akota


he Nigeria Football Federation yesterday clearly spelt out for the respective crews of the Senior Women National Team (Super Falcons) and U-17 National Team (Golden Eaglets) their duties and responsibilities as both teams seek to build new, solid squads. In a parley at the Confer-

ence Room of the NFF Secretariat, Abuja, NFF’s Director of Competitions, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi warned of the dangers of persons taking over the duties of others in crews of the National Teams. “I have been mandated by the NFF President and the Chairman of Technical Committee to fully brief you all on the importance of sticking to your respective duties and carrying

out your responsibilities well. “You must know the responsibilities that go with each role and the need to also tolerate and respect other persons and their roles, because you all come from different backgrounds to carry out a national assignment. We want the crews of all National Teams to be abreast of their duties and to do those duties to the best of their abilities. “For example, the Head

Coach is the leader of the team at all times, while the Team Administrator is the head of administration, who handles all administrative and logistics matters,” Dr. Sanusi said. The Super Falcons are preparing for their 2014 African Women Championship final round qualifying fixture against the She-Amavubi of Rwanda, with the first leg coming up next month, while reigning world

champions Eaglets have a 2015 African U-17 Championship qualifying fixture against either DR Congo or Burundi in July. While the Eaglets are billed to participate in the WAFU B Tournament taking place in Togo later this month, the NFF has secured an international friendly for the Falcons against the Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon, to be played in Abuja on April 15.




Kano Pillars reduce high-rating Abia Warriors


efending champions Kano Pillars survived at giant killers Abia Warriors in Umuahia as the game ended goalless on Sunday. Kano Pillars now have five points from four matches, while Abia Warriors have six points from four games. Abia Warriors still basking in the euphoria of their 1-0 win at Enyimba could not break the Kano pillars wall of the defence marshaled by Kingsley Udoh and Umar Zango, with Theophilus Afelokhai making some big saves. Pillars striker Kabiru Umar told that it was

a tough match and he was happy for the point away from home. “It was a tough match; we battled against all odds to get the one point. I am happy we didn’t lose. We will build on that,” Umar promised. In Ibadan, Crown FC defeated Gombe United in another Week 5 game 1-0. Francis Nnedum scored the lone goal in the 36th minute with a free header off Bode Daniel’s inviting cross. The game was interesting. The goal scorer was adjudged to have handled the ball in the 18-yard box and the resulting

penalty taken by Suleiman Usman was blazed over the goal post. Onyekachi Okafor and Frank Ikechukwujewu were denied goals by the brilliant Super Eagles goalkeeper Chigozie Agbim of Gombe United. According to Crown media officer Oyekunle Oyeleye, the centre referee Bethel Nnwaneri from Imo state almost put the game in disrepute with his funny and frivolous calls but all thanks to the maturity of the home fans even in the presence of the League Management Company Official.

Taiwo ponders Eagles call-up

B Pillars striker Kabiru Umar against Chibuzor

ursaspor defender Taye Taiwo has revealed that he not considering Eagles call-up but he will be surprised if he gets an invite from the Super Eagles coach ahead of the 2014 World Cup. Taiwo last played for the country in a goalless draw against the Amavubi of Rwanda in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match in February

2012. With Stephen Keshi expected to announce his provisional squad next week, the former AC Milan player is not optimistic about his chances to feature in his second World Cup. I played at the last World Cup, but this one will be very difficult to be a part of,” Taiwo said.

Why I took NFF to CAS – Okpala F ormer Super Eagles Assistant Coach Sylvanus Okpala has given his reasons for taking the Nigeria Football Federation to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS). Okpala, a member of the Super Eagles’ technical crew to the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations was relieved of his job few weeks after leading the nation to conquer Africa. In his views, the former Nigeria international said he took the step after failing to settle with his employers amicably. “In April (2013) when I was sacked, I wrote a letter through the Senate President to the Chairman Senate Committee on Sports. I attached all the necessary details in the letter but I never received a reply,” Okpala said. “I also wrote through the Deputy Speaker House of Representatives, to the Chairman House Committee on

Sylvanus Okpala

Sports. He got my letter but he never called me. He only came out to say NFF shouldn’t have sacked anybody. “The former minister (of sports) knew what was happening. He was told that my allowances were going to be slashed but he did nothing. I was in the minister’s office for five hours but he refused

FIFA MA course begins in Abuja By Albert Akota


his year’s FIFA Member Associations course for elite referees, technical instructors, referee assessors and physical fitness instructors will begin in Abuja today. Organised by the Nigeria Football Federation with the assistance of world football-

governing body, FIFA, the five-day course will take place at the Velodrome of the National Stadium Complex, Abuja and will be declared open by NFF President, Alhaji Aminu Maigari. FIFA is sending a powerful team of experts in the field, led by Referees Development Officer Carlos Henrique from Gabon, and including renowned former

FIFA referee Lee Kim Chong from Mauritius and Boubakar Hannachi from Tunisia. Former Nigerian FIFA referee Sani Zubairu is Coordinator of the programme which will have seven technical instructors, 37 referee assessors, 14 physical fitness instructors and 30 elite referees in attendance as participants.

to see me. That was why I went to CAS,” he continued. He also revealed how officials of the federation caused various problems for the national team at the 2013 AFCON which forced Keshi to resign after their second group game. “Our opponents on the pitch were not our real opponents. Our real opponents were our own people. There was so much pressure right from the first match and Keshi resigned twice in South Africa. “After the first match, they wanted to remove us but it was Amanze Ucheagbulam, who told them that it was not right. But they didn’t heed his advice. “So, when they came to our camp after the second match, Keshi said he was leaving. (Aminu) Maigari (NFF president) came to insult us and at a point, Keshi couldn’t resist it and he said, “Give me my ticket let me go back to Nigeria.” This was after we drew 1-1 with Zambia. He came with other board members Emeka Inyama, Mike Umeh and Felix Anyansi-Agwu. “It was Umeh and AnyansiAgwu, who calmed Keshi down and told him to continue with his job. Keshi accepted and we went on to win the cup.” “Maigari should show Nigerians the minutes of the meeting where it was agreed that my match bonuses should be slashed.

“I’ve been out of the setup for over two years so I am rather pessimistic than optimistic this time around. “Without me playing a part, Nigeria won the Africa Cup of Nations and qualified for the World Cup, so realistically my chances of making it are very slim.” He however corrected the notion that he has retired from international football insisting that he is always available to play for the country. “I’ve not retired from the national team, so I will always make myself available for selection. “The selection is done by the coach and it is his sole responsibility to decide who is good enough to make the squad. “The key to the future is to keep doing well with my club and hope for better days. “As a young player I was given my debut, so I can’t completely rule out a happy ending to my international career,” he concluded. Taye Taiwo boasts of 55 appearances for Nigeria with five goals to his credit since making his debut in 2004.

Taye Taiwo




Eagles coordinator blames Okpala By Albert Akota


he Super Eagles Coordinator for nearly a decade now, Emmanuel Danjuma Attah, has described as worrisome and unbelievable claims by former Assistant Coach of the team, Sylvanus Okpala that Nigeria Football Federation officials shared from gifts given to the team by individuals and

state governments. Speaking in Abuja on the matter, Attah said Okpala’s claim smacks of either lack of information or mischief and he should be called to order, especially as he has already gone to court over his dismissal by the NFF. “Those of us who are insiders of the team know how we handle our affairs when it comes to gifts

to the team. Decisions are normally taken by the team’s skipper in conjunction with the team administrator and at the end of the day all of those concerned are briefed. The NFF never even have ideas of how we share our money or who gets what and Okpala knows this. It’s surprising that he can come out to say monies were

shared with NFF officials, its share desperation and it won’t help his case”. Team’s Media Officer, Ben Alaiya, quotes Attah, as saying that what the team needs at the moment if full concentration for the World Cup in Brazil not distraction from those who are supposed to be patriots whether they are with the team or not. “Time on our hands is

rather short and all we need now is to focus on the World Cup where we think we can make an impact not debating whether monies were shared, which has never happened before. Otherwise the players should have been the first to react to any deduction no matter how rich Nigerians think they are.”

Bayern switch focus to Manchester United

B Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola

Dortmund need miracle to beat Real Madrid


orussia Dortmund will need to produce something special in hope of overturning Real Madrid when they meet in the reverse leg at the BVB Stadion. Real Madrid lost twice at Borussia Dortmund last season in the knockout stages of the competition and will make a quick return to Germany looking to extract a double dose of revenge en-route to the quarterfinals. It will be a highly remarkable turnaround should the Germans be able to extract a win worthy of sending the game into extra time. The nine-time European champions won 3-0 in the first leg at the Santiago Bernabéu, meaning they could even afford a repeat of last year’s 4-1 defeat at Dortmund and still progress. Cristiano Ronaldo’s first-leg goal took his personal tally to 14, matching the record for a European Cup season jointly held by José Altafini (1962/63) and Lionel Messi (2011/12), and he will be out to go beyond the already impressive tally. Last year’s emphatic result at home will certainly buoy Dortmund to come out with their Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos and Borussia Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski (left)

guns firing and winger, Marco Reus, insists his side have not given up hope. “We have not given up (against Real),” said Reus. “If we play like we did (against Wolfsburg) in the first half, then it will be very difficult. “If we play as well as we did in the second, we honestly have a chance. It will be damn hard, but we’ll give it everything.” Things in the Madrid camp are going exceptionally well as the Galacticos responded to Atletico de Madrid and Barcelona’s victories by dismantling Real Sociedad with a 4-0 win. Goals from Asier Illarramendi, Gareth Bale, Pepe and Alvaro Morata contributed to the win as head coach Carlo Ancelotti admitted his joy in his team’s response. We played very well, intelligently. We started at a very high pace and had more intensity in the second half. Everyone had a good game and I’m pleased because it wasn’t easy,” he said. “I’m very proud to manage this team. I have players who like to fight and we’re going to fight until the last match.”

ayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola says his side have to put Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Augsburg behind them ahead tomorrow’s Champions League clash against Manchester United. The Bavarians suffered what was their first Bundesliga defeat of the season but Guardiola does not believe it

will affect their momentum going forward. “We battled away and tried everything we could, but that’s football, that’s sport. You can’t always only win,” he told reporters. “Augsburg was better on Saturday; they were clever. We accept that and now need to prepare for Manchester United

as quickly as possible. “It’s a final, a life or death match. They’ll be looking to hit us on the break and at set plays.” Bayern have a slight edge over United after the first leg at Old Trafford ended 1-1 with Bastian Schweinsteiger cancelling Nemanja Vidic’s opener.

Chelsea eye comeback against PSG Chelsea’s Eden Hazard


helsea will look to score at least two goals when they host Paris Saint-Germain in the second leg of their Champions league quarterfinal at Stamford Bridge tonight. The Blues went down 3-1 in Paris last week with Eden Hazard scoring the crucial away goal but still have a lot of work to do as they look to overturn the two-goal deficit. The London side came back from a similar situation on their way to winning the title in 2012 as they lost 3-1 to Napoli away from home before winning 4-1 in the return leg to go through to the next round. Jose Mourinho is aware of

the pressure that his side will be under and is hopeful that they will be able to score the goals they need to turn the tie on its head. “I want to enjoy that game. I enjoy the difficulty,” he told reporters. “Now we know that we need to win 2-0, 3-1, 4-1, 5-2. We know that we need a crazy result against Paris. “We must be ready to go without fear, go at them, and see what happens. “If we have to lose after a magnificent night of football, a magnificent night of emotion, we have to lose.” The Blues will be without

Brazilian midfielder Ramires, who is serving suspension, while Cameroon international Samuel Eto’o is still doubtful after spending time on the sidelines with a hamstring injury. PSG will also be without injured star Zlatan Ibrahimovic and will be looking at the likes of Edinson Cavani, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Thiago Motta to provide some firepower upfront. Both sides will go into this game having registered comfortable victories in their respective domestic league with Chelsea beating Stoke City 3-0, while PSG triumphed over Reims by the same margin.



Sports Shell Houston Open: Matt Jones wins to reach Masters Place

Matt Jones


ustralian Matt Jones booked his first trip to the Masters with a suddendeath play-off victory over Matt Kuchar at the Shell Houston

Open. The 33-year-old, who started six shots behind the American overnight leader, chipped in from 42 yards to seal a maiden

PGA win at the first extra hole. Jones’s final-round 66 also included a 46-yard putt on the 18th. Kuchar bogeyed two of the final three holes as he let victory slip in the final tournament before Augusta. Jones, ranked 88th before this tournament, will make his debut at Augusta National on Thursday after picking up more than $1m (£600,000) prize money in Houston. Spain’s Sergio Garcia finished third, two shots behind the leaders, while Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy moved 30 places up the leader board with a final round of 65 that left him tied in seventh. England’s Lee Westwood finished tied for 17th and Luke Donald tied for 24th. McIlroy, who had started the day well out of contention after a 74 on Saturday, gave himself something to build on heading into the year’s first major with a seven-under final round.

Britain may not rely on Murray after defeat at Davis Cup

Boxer sentenced for actress attack

Joe Selkirk’s lawyer told magistrates the boxer “deeply regretted” the assault


champion boxer who assaulted his Bollywood star girlfriend has been given a 12-month community supervision order. Joe Selkirk, 28, from Bootle, admitted pushing Amy Jackson, 23, after winning his WBO European light middleweight title in Liverpool in December. The case was brought even though the actress, a former Miss Liverpool, refused to make an official complaint. His lawyer told Liverpool magistrates Selkirk “deeply regretted” the assault. Selkirk’s lawyer Chris McMaster told magistrates he “went too far”. Mr McMaster also told the court Ms Jackson wants to resume the relationship with Selkirk. Ms Jackson launched her career in Bollywood after she was spotted by Indian film producers in a beauty contest. She has appeared in Madras Town, Ekk Deewana Tha and Thaandavam. Selkirk, who is unbeaten as a professional, is promoted by Frank Warren. The British Boxing Board of Control is yet to comment on Selkirk’s sentencing.

Pryce on Okagbare medal challenge at Glasgow

Jamaican sprint star Shelly


here was a sense of optimism within the British team ahead of the final day of the Davis Cup quarter-final against Italy, and despite the end result, it was not misplaced. Andy Murray had led the team home in identical circumstances in both September’s World Group play-off against Croatia and February’s first-round tie in the United States, but in Naples, Fabio Fognini was simply too good. Friday: Fognini beats Ward 6-4 2-6 6-4 6-1 Saturday: Murray beats Seppi 6-4 7-5 6-3; Murray/Fleming bt Fognini/Bolelli 6-4 6-2 3-6 7-5 Sunday: Fognini beats Murray 6-3 6-3 6-4, Seppi beats Ward 6-4 6-3 6-4 Combining excellence and consistency, in a way that often escapes him, Fognini outplayed the Wimbledon champion. His world ranking of 13

does not accurately reflect his pedigree on clay, even if he has often stumbled against a player of Murray’s calibre in the past. Murray admits he needs to spend more time on the surface to become more fluent in the tricks of the trade. An honest assessment is that defeat by such a seasoned clay-court practitioner would also not have been a huge surprise on the clay of the ATP tour. There remains, though, a huge sense of disappointment, and of an opportunity lost - not least of all for a semi-final with Switzerland on Wimbledon’s Centre Court, which would have been a wonderful shop window for the sport. Such has been GB’s success over the past 12 months that about 700 fans travelled to Naples more in expectation than in hope.

amaican sprint star Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce believes African athletes will provide her biggest challenge at the Commonwealth Games. The Olympic (100m) and World (100m and 200m) champion has yet to decide which events she will take on in Glasgow. “It will be hard,” she said. “You have the African nations Blessing Okagbare. “There are a lot of athletes that are doing tremendously well that will be at the Commonwealth Games.” Nigeria’s Okagbare an Olympic bronze medallist in the long jump - finished third in the 200m and sixth in the 100m at last year’s World Championships. “That definitely shows that training has been in full swing and is going very well. I’m looking forward to it.” As well as multiple successes in the 100m and 200m, FraserPryce has also medalled with Jamaica in the 4x100m relay in the past. The 27-year-old was talking about her prospects for the Games while taking part in celebrations to mark the Queen’s Baton Relay in her homeland. The baton, which contains a message from Queen Elizabeth, is currently travelling around the Commonwealth and will play a key role in the opening ceremony of the Games.




P-i-c-t-o-r-i-a-l 1. After a good week, Manchester United must continue to impress against toplevel opposition. 2. FIFA rounds up the action from a weekend in women’s football that brought joy for the likes of Germany, England, France and Scotland, and ended with the dismissal of USA coach Tom Sermanni. 3. Ulster captain Johann Muller says the controversial Heineken Cup quarter-final defeat by Saracens will “haunt” his side for the rest of their lives. 4. Enzo Maccarinelli wants a rematch with WBA lightheavyweight champion Jurgen Brahmer after losing to the German.


5. Chaotic scenes surrounded Sheffield’s Half Marathon after organisers cancelled the event due to a lack of water for runners.







Sports No countries have upper hand in Brazil including Samba, says Almeida


he World Cup in Brazil gets underway in three months’ time. Are you excited? Of course! But there is still a long way to go. We still have plenty to do in the league, but the excitement levels are going up day by day. You have already been to one World Cup. What’s it like to play at such a tournament? It’s completely different to what you usually experience [as a player]. You play against the best national teams in the world not only from Europe, but also

from other continents. That’s an incredible experience! What was your reaction to the draw? Only quality teams have qualified, so our group is naturally very difficult. We’ll have to see what we can achieve. As well as USA and Ghana, you’re also up against Germany again… Our record against them in recent tournaments is not that great. I hope we’ll do better this time. It’s definitely an

advantage that we’re playing Germany in our first game. If you have to play such a strong opponent at the end of the group stage, it’s much more difficult. For me, it’s special to be playing against Germany, because I still have many friends in Bremen who I haven’t seen for a long time and might be seeing in Brazil. But there are no friends during the game, of course. We have to fight and give everything in order to get our first points on the board. Speaking of Bremen, your former club is having a few problems at the moment and is fighting relegation… I’ve been following everything and I’m disappointed with Werder’s development in recent years. When I was there, Bremen were fighting for the title. That’s changed now and it makes me sad, but I hope things will start to improve. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for Werder. You’ve been at Besiktas since 2011. What does the future hold for you? We’re currently challenging near the top and are continuing to fight for the title, or a place amongst the top teams in the division. My contract runs out in December and I haven’t made any further plans for next year. You never know what might happen. Back to the World Cup, who would you say are favourites for the tournament? I wouldn’t say there is one. If I had to name one team, it would be Portugal of course. The teams who have won the World Cup in the past will certainly be trying to do so again Brazil as hosts, Spain as defending champions. Germany has also come close in recent years and you mustn’t forget Italy.


I love it when I score,

Hugo Almeida because the goal is for the entire country.

Tre Konor. What’s Ronaldo like as a person?

Are Portugal capable of winning the World Cup?

Ronaldo’s a great guy and a very good friend of mine in the national team. We’re always together. He’s a very likeable chap. He’s always asking everyone if everything’s all right. He’s first on the scene if anyone needs help. You and Helder Postiga are the national team’s most prolific goalscorers behind Ronaldo. How do you see your role in the side?

First of all, we want to get through the group stage. Anything can happen in the knockout rounds. We’re certainly not one of the favourites, but we’re not underdogs either. We have a good team, but we have to prove that on the pitch. After finishing second behind Russia in the qualifying group, Portugal had to face Sweden in the play-offs. How did the team deal with that disappointment? Games like that are always difficult. It was disappointing for us because we had a good team, but we made several mistakes during our qualifying campaign. We were punished and had to settle for the play-offs, but against Sweden we showed our true class and played good football. Cristiano Ronaldo almost single-handedly clinched Portugal’s place in Brazil, with four goals against the

[Laughs] That’s a question for the coach. For me, it’s important to be in the squad and to play for my country. I love it when I score, because the goal is for the entire country. Your former national coach Luiz Felipe Scolari (2003 to 2008) is now coaching Brazil. What did you make of Scolari? He’s a very good coach who pushes the team on. He likes to have a bit of banter with the team, but he works incredibly hard and leaves nothing to chance. He is definitely capable of leading Brazil to the title.




Some Interesting Facts


otal civilian rule, Parliamentary and Presidential, Nigeria has had 12 years Northern and 11+ years Southern rule. • 6 coups is the highest number of any nation in Africa. Nigeria along with Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Uganda and Mauritania are the nations with 6 coups. • The Biafra war included a ‘Mid West invasion.’ The Midwest was either a battle field or in Biafra’s sights—Dr. Nowamagbe A. Omoigui relays. • The Biafra 12th battalion headed by Lt Col Victor Adebukunola Banjo captured Benin and set out to capture Ibadan and Lagos. • The Biafra 13th battalion, led by Ivenso entered Kwara, now Kogi and captured Okene, Atanai and Iloshi. • Cameroon was an administrative part of Nigeria in 1945, hence the NCNC party (National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons). Towards independence the UN mandated British held former German territory, south Cameroon opted to join French Cameroon and not Nigeria. • J.C. Vaughn, Ernest Ikoli, H.O. Davies, Obafemi Awolowo and Samuel Akinsanya founded the Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM) in 1934 to promote national unity particularly between Yoruba and Igbo. • Azikiwe left Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM) because he claimed the organization had been seized by Yoruba’s and it discriminated against Igbo’s including himself. • Oyo defeats Ashanti: In 1764 the Ashanti army marched on Dahomey, Togo. At Atakpamé, the Ashanti army was ambushed and sacked by Dahomean infantry and female elite soldiers allied with forces from the Oyo Empire. Ashanti King Kusi Obodum was destooled

after the defeat. • Most American car horns honk in the key of F. • The name Wendy was made up for the book “Peter Pan.” • Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts. • Every time you lick a stamp, you consume 1/10 of a calorie. • The average person falls asleep in seven minutes. • Studies show that if a cat falls off the seventh floor of a building it has about thirty percent less chance of surviving than a cat that falls off the twentieth floor. It supposedly takes about eight floors for the cat to realize what is occurring, relax and correct itself. • Your stomach has to produce

a new layer of mucus every two weeks otherwise it will digest itself. • The citrus soda 7-UP was created in 1929; ‘7’ was selected after the original 7-ounce containers and ‘UP’ for the direction of the bubbles. • 101 Dalmatians, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, and Mulan are the only Disney cartoons where both parents are present and don’t die throughout the movie. . • A pig’s orgasm lasts for 30 minutes. • ‘Stewardesses’ is the longest word that is typed with only the left hand. • To escape the grip of a crocodile’s jaws, push your thumbs into its eyeballs - it will let you go instantly. • Reindeer like to eat bananas. • No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver and purple. • The word “samba” means “to rub navels together.” • Mel Blanc (the voice of Bugs Bunny) was allergic to carrots. • The electric chair was invented by a dentist. • The very first bomb dropped by the Allies on Berlin during World War II Killed the only elephant in the Berlin Zoo. • More people are killed annually by donkeys than airplane crashes.

Say what?



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Manchester City is under pressure, say Liverpool


iverpool boss Brendan Rodgers thinks there is more pressure on Manchester City as the two Premier League title rivals prepare to meet next weekend. Rodgers’ side are two points clear of Chelsea at the top after Sunday’s 2-1 victory at West Ham. City, who beat Southampton on Saturday, are four points behind Liverpool in third, with two games in hand. “They have invested to win the Premier League and the Champions League,” Rodgers said. “They will be looking to get a result next Sunday. For us, we are just going to enjoy it. Liverpool secured a ninth successive Premier League victory as they won at Upton Park. And they are closing in on a club record of 12 straight league wins, set between April and October 1990. Rodgers’ side are the only top-flight team yet to lose a league match in 2014, putting together an unbeaten run of 14 games. City captain Vincent Kompany said on Saturday’s edition of Match of the Day that Liverpool were the best team he had faced this season. Rodgers has yet to beat City since taking charge at Anfield in June 2012, with both of last season’s league meetings ending 2-2 before Liverpool were beaten 2-1 at Etihad Stadium on Boxing Day this term. The Liverpool manager said: “It was interesting to hear what Vincent Kompany said. We should have won there earlier this season, we should have won there last season and we should have beaten them at Anfield last season too. Next Sunday’s meeting between the sides will be a key fixture in the race to win the Premier League race, but Rodgers played down the idea of it being a title decider. The City game - and all of next weekend’s fixtures - will kick-off seven minutes late in tribute to the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.


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. . . putting the people first

QUOTABLE QUOTE By taking into account other industries that previously were not being recorded – such as music, film production, telecoms and information technology – Nigeria has now taken over South Africa as the continent’s economic leader. –City Index

On new GDP numbers


inally, we are a bigger economy than South Africa. Indeed, at US$509 billion (estimates for last year), we now are the continent’s biggest economy — in 2012, the World Bank had put South Africa’s GDP at US$384bn and Nigeria’s at US$263bn. At about 2.00pm yesterday, at a press conference at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja, the StatisticianGeneral of the National Bureau of Statistics released new output numbers for the economy, which put gross domestic product numbers at N80.3tn (based on new measures of 2010 output), from N42.3tn previously. But, bragging rights over South Africa (now the second biggest economy on the continent) aside, what does this really mean? Technically, we ought to have done this re-basing at least twice since we last did it (1990). Following the slew of reforms to the economy in 2003, which, besides bumping up the trend growth rate of the economy from the previously phlegmatic 3 – 4% per annum to the current 6 – 7% annually, also freed up new sectors (telecommunications and the wholesale and retail trade sectors, for one) to new investments (especially foreign), the old GDP measure clearly was undercounting production

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Tuesday Column Ifeanyi Uddin

CME, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

patterns in certain sectors of the economy. According to the Statistician-General, “In 2010, the rebased nominal GDP represented an increase of 59.5% over the nominal GDP using the old base year, 69.10% in 2011, 75.58% in 2012, and 89.22% in 2013 (forecast)”. Consequently, whereas real GDP growth was estimated at 5% in 2010/11, postrebasing, the new counts now stand at 5.09% in 2011, 6.66% in 2012 and is forecast at 7.41% in 2013. The old GDP measure

overestimated patterns in other sectors, apparently. According to the new numbers, agriculture, which accounted for 30.3% of the 1990 nominal series, is now only 23.96% of domestic output using 2010 as base year. In its place, services have grown, to a little over half of gross output numbers. Not much to cavil at here. There was always something the matter with (rain-fed, subsistence) agriculture accounting for that much of GDP under the old measure. And with the significant advances made in the telecommunications, and wholesale and retail trade sectors, services’ 50% share of domestic output is not out of place. I am not too sure what to make of the fact that industry’s share (declining to 25.8% from 46.1% in the 1990 nominal series) is down. This again is not much of a surprise. It would have been a surprise if our run down infrastructure, obese bureaucracy, and light-fingered criminal justice system (including an antediluvian judicial system) supported more industry than this. Yet, I think there is a worry

Now, there is a paradox of some sorts here. How poor are we? If the National Bureau of Statistics is (2012) to be believed, four years ago, 61% of our compatriots subsisted on a little under US$1/day. 170m people spending a dollar a day is a lot of spend indeed. But since we are in the business of comparing with South Africa, it helps to remember that at US$2,994, our GDP per head is still lower than that of our southern neighbour’s — the World Bank estimated South Africa’s GDP per capita at U$11,255 in 2012.

element in our transition from an agriculture-based society to a service-based one — completely skipping the industrial stage. A 59.5% jump in the size of any economy is not something to be trifled with. True, despite the increase in GDP per head that a bigger numerator for this measure implies, we are no richer this morning than we were at 1.00pm yesterday. However, these new statistics make it easier to deal with the domestic economy, whether it is planners in government or investors (domestic or foreign). Obviously, the inroads into the supermalls was an informed one, as indeed would be any investment in the economy that seeks to leverage consumer spend. Now, there is a paradox of some sorts here. How poor are we? If the National Bureau of Statistics is (2012) to be believed, four years ago, 61% of our compatriots subsisted on a little under US$1/day. 170m people spending a dollar a day is a lot of spend indeed. But since we are in the business of comparing with South Africa, it helps to remember that at US$2,994, our GDP per head is still lower than that of our southern neighbour’s — the World Bank estimated South Africa’s GDP per capita at U$11,255 in 2012. Evidently, despite the new ginormous size of our economy, there is an equally humongous opportunity for improvement. We could glory in the many upsides of the new numbers: a lower debt-to-GDP ratio (down from 19% to 11%), lower budget deficit to GDP ratio, etc. Or we could undertake the reforms truly needed to put us at per with the standards down south: improve domestic competition across sectors of the economy; upgrade our criminal justice system; put a gastric band on the bureaucracy, etc.Truth is, despite the nice news, we still have a long way to go. Ifeanyi Uddin is on linkedIn

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Tuesday, April 8th, 2014. Edition  
Tuesday, April 8th, 2014. Edition