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. . . putting the people first

Vol. 8 No. 33

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Jimadal Akhir 18, 1433 AH


Police foil another BUK tragedy, detonate 3 powerful bombs From Edwin Olofu, Kano


he anti-bomb squad of the Kano state Police Command yesterday detonated three high caliber time bombs on the old campus of Bayero University,

Kano. The explosives were planted around the Faculties of Science and Law as well as the Sports Complex. The anti-bomb squad, backed by armed personnel, cordoned off the old site and evacuated

residents to safety before swinging into action in an institution located in the densely populated ghettoes of Kabuga, Dorayi and Rijiyar Zaki. Bayero University, witnessed devastating attacks by gunmen penultimate week that killed some

20 Christian worshippers, including two professors. Police Public Relation Officer, ASP Magaji Musa Majia, yesterday said the police were alerted by the university authorities. “We are in the university at

the invitation of the BUK authorities to diffuse some strange objects established to be high calibre improvised explosive devices planted by unknown persons.” Contd on Page 2

Okereke-Onyiuke to Oteh

You can’t query NSE expenditures Reps threaten Oteh’s arrest if . . .

Sokoto state Governor, Alhaji Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko (middle), commissioning 500 housing units for state civil servants, yesterday at Mana. With him are his Deputy, Alhaji Mukthar Shagari (left), and Commissioner for Land and Housing, Barrister Nasiru Aliyu Danstoho (right).

Mark returns, urges EFCC sacks ACP, 6 dialogue with Boko Haram CSPs, 26 others >> PAGE 2

>> PAGE 3

Insecurity: Farmers warn of food shortage >> PAGE 19

By Lawrence Olaoye

Contd on Page 2

US oil major to sell assets in Nigeria >> PAGE 19




Mark returns, urges dialogue with Boko Haram


By Richard Ihediwa with agency report

























resident of the Senate, David Mark, yesterday presided over the business of the upper chamber of the National Assembly for the first time in weeks during which time he was receiving treatment for an undisclosed ailment in an Israeli hospital. According to Premium Times which covered the Senate sitting yesterday, Mark, who returned to the country last week, spent over a week convalescing in his Apo mansion where friends and wellwishers trooped to wish him quick recovery. “I am happy to be back,” he said as he took his seat at the high table in the Senate chamber. The Senate president used the opportunity to address the Presidency, his colleagues in the Senate and the entire nation. “The current level of insecurity in the country is unacceptable and something

must be done to improve it and very quickly too,” the Senate president said, apparently referring to the Executive arm of government, whose response to the security crisis has been by most Nigerians to be unsatisfactory. “Clearly, the terrorists have declared war on Nigeria and Nigerians,” the Senate president said. From his viewpoint, the escalating acts of terror threaten Nigeria’s unity and challenge the very human values Nigerians believe in. “This is the time for concerted action by all Nigerians,” Mark said. “The primary responsibility of tackling this challenge lies with the government but that notwithstanding, we all have roles to play,” Mark said, specifically suggesting that government dialogue with the sect. “These misguided groups are

our brothers and sisters,” he said. “Government must therefore explore all avenues to discuss with them. “On the other hand, those who are aggrieved must find a better way to expressed their grievances.” Since August 2009 when the Boko Haram terrorist sect first launched attacks on the Nigerian state, over 1,000 Nigerians have been killed. Recently, however, the sect has added media houses and tertiary institutions to its list of targets. The government and its security agencies have in most cases appeared to be steps behind the attackers. “Let me also say without mincing words that the security agencies must intensify their preoperational responsibilities, roles and actions and improve their operational capabilities,” the Senate president said. “Their major task must be to

thwart and prevent these bombings.” Mark blamed his colleagues for helping fuel the corruption which is ruining Nigeria’s economy and international reputation. He said his colleagues have allowed the system to go corrupt because of their laziness in playing their oversight role over the government. “Let me use this opportunity to state unequivocally that we must improve on our oversight functions,” he said. “The inefficiency and corruption in the system, which the various investigation Committees have uncovered, could have been reasonably abated if we had carried out our oversight functions exhaustively and effectively,” he added. He said if his colleagues carried out their constitutional oversight functions effectively, some of the incidents of corruption in Nigeria could have either been stopped or reduced to the barest minimum.

Okereke-Onyiuke to Oteh: You can’t query NSE expenditures Contd from Page 1

Salami: Court hears PDP, Oyinlola suit against MTN tomorrow, Page 3

International 31-34 Strange World 35 Digest








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Police foil another BUK tragedy, detonate 3 powerful bombs Contd from Page 1 He added that “our men have professionally and successfully detonated the three bombs and I am glad to inform you that no one was hurt in the process.” Loud explosions were heard in and around BUK when the bombs were being detonated, causing understandable panic in a

university community yet to recover from the penultimate weekend’s killings. Yesterday’s incident prompted the beefing up of security in Kano city to forestall possible breakdown of law and order just as military aircraft hovered over fear-stricken Kano. The discovery of time bombs on

the old campus came barely two weeks after an IED was found concealed at the Sociology Department on the new Campus located on the Kano-Gwarzo federal highway. The institution’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Mustapha Zaharadeen said, “yes, we found strange and suspicious objects on

our old campus and had gleefully invited the police to establish the facts of the matter”. Zaharadeen added that the university authorities were holding “a crucial meeting”, stating that the official position of the university would be make known to the public in due course”.



EFCC sacks ACP, 6 CSPs, 26 others By Lambert Tyem


he Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday, sacked 33 of its officers for alleged corruption. According to a source at the agency, there is also “massive redeployment” as several officers are being re-deployed to the Nigerian Police Force. The source said the

commission confirmed that as a way of repositioning the anti-graft agency and ridding it of ineffective operatives, 33 EFCC officers, who were seconded from the police, have been sent away from the commission. He said the redeployment affected two Assistant Commissioners of Police (ACP), six Chief Superintendents of Police (CSP), five Superintendents of

Police (SP), 10 Deputy Superintendents of Police (DSPs), nine Assistant Superintendents of Police (ASPs), and one police inspector. The source added that some of the officers being redeployed either have disciplinary issues or have been inept in the discharge of their duties. “The officers affected are those with questionable records,

those machines, but they are yet to arrive,” said Wilson Uwujaren, the spokesman for the EFCC who declined to comment on the official reasons for the re-deployment of the operatives. While sending the 33 officers away, the EFCC chairman also requested the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, to redeploy new officers to the commission.

Borno guber: Supreme Court throws out Goni’s motion

Pension probe: Senate indicts Maina

By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


By Richard Ihediwa


he Senate panel investigating the alleged looting of pension fund has indicted the embattled chairman of Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina and other members of the team. This is just as the panel chairman, Senator Aloysuis Etok said he was ready to be executed if found guilty of allegations of bribery leveled against him and the committee members by the task force. Etok, at a news conference yesterday in Abuja accused Maina and some officials of the task force of “outright stealing” of pension fund and desperate attempt to bribe the probe panel. Etok, ahead of the presentation of its report to the Senate next week accused Miana of “embezzlement, fraud and misappropriation of pension fund”. The lawmaker, who was reacting to the reported N2bilion bribe allegedly demanded by his committee from the task force team, said he would be ready to die if the allegation against him was proven. “I have never seen N2billion before in my life and if I see it I will collapse. Furthermore, I once again call on the Nigeria Police, ICPC and other law enforcement agencies to commence investigation into this allegation. If proved to be true, I shall offer myself to be tied to the stake and be shot as an additional antidote for graft and corruption in our system”. Insisting that the bribery allegation was part of Maina’s plot to divert the attention of Nigerians, Etok accused the task force team of frustrating all efforts of the committee to unravel mismanagement of pension fund in the country.

and those with pending disciplinary problems,” our source said. The commission’s chairman, Mr. Lamorde had during his confirmation by the Senate alleged that some EFCC operatives were corrupt. He said that his commission planned to purchase a lie detector machine to be used on all EFCC staff. “Orders have been placed for

Former Director-General, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Prof. Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke, responding to allegation of mismanagement during a public hearing by the House ad-hoc committee investigating the Capital Market collapse, yesterday at the National Assembly, Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Salami: Court hears PDP, Oyinlola suit against MTN


Federal High Court in Abuja will tomorrow commence hearing in the suit filed by former Osun state Governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against a telecommunication giant, MTN Nigeria. The duo accused the MTN of not releasing the full Call Data Records (CDRs) of the suspended President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami to the National Judicial Council (NJC). It would be recalled that, Justice Peter Affen of an Abuja High Court recently dismissed a suit filed by Oni against Justice Salami for not disclosing reasonable cause of action. But MTN in its statement of defence to the present suit claimed it does not have the storage capacity to store and release CDRs beyond three months. A witness statement on oath filed in court by MTN's Senior Manager, Commercial Legal, Mr.

Rotimi Odusola, averred that, "I know as a fact due to capacity and storage constraint, the 1st defendant (MTN) can only release CDRs for periods not exceeding three (3) months from the date of receipt of a legitimate request for the release for the CDRs. "I know as a fact the 1st defendant's standard requirement with respect to its post-paid subscription is consequent on its policy upon which it has absolute prerogative. "I know that the 1st defendant released Adeolu Oyinlola's CDR to him in compliance with its obligations to its subscribers." Responding to paragraphs 2223 of the statement of claims, the MTN stated that it always cooperates with Security agencies and accedes to their legitimate requests while adhering to its rigid procedures to ensure its customer’s confidentiality regime is not compromised or prejudiced and also within the confines of its capacity and storage constraints.

he Supreme Court yesterday threw out a motion to set aside its own judgment which was brought before it by the Borno state governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Mohammed Goni. Goni is challenging the validity of the election of Governor Kashim Shettima of Bornu state during the April 2011 governorship election. The presiding Justice Francis Fededo Tabai, who led Justices Muntaka Coomasie, Mary Peter Odili, Chukwuma Enne and Olukayode Ariwoola on the panel, held that the motion was an abuse of court process. Mohammed Goni’s lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, urged the apex court to set aside its own judgment delivered on February 17, 2012. Falana said that since the case was a constitutional matter, the Supreme Court panel of seven justices ought to have been empanelled instead of the five justices that heard the appeal. He argued further that some of the justices that sat in the earlier judgment were not supposed to be

there. The apex court had on February 17, 2012 delivered judgment in favour of Governor Kashim Shettima in the consolidated appeals instituted by the governor and his party, All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) challenging the decision of the Court of Appeal which upturned their victory before the state’s Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that dismissed the petition filed by the PDP and its candidate, Alhaji Mohammed Goni during the last April, 2011 governorship election. The Court of Appeal had, last December, ordered for a fresh hearing of the PDP’s petition by another panel on the grounds that the decision of the Borno State Election Petition Tribunal was wrong in holding that the PDP and its candidate in the election fell short in complying with the provision of Paragraph 18 (1)(2) of the First Schedule of the Constitution which provides for a period of sevens days after pleadings for a petitioner to formerly apply for the commencement of hearing of his or her petition.

NDLEA impounds 176 bags of cannabis


he National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) said the agency has impounded 179 bags of dried “cannabis sativa’’ valued at N10 million. The Deputy Commander of Narcotics, Mr. Obiefule Chidi who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja at a news briefing, said that the dried weeds weighed 1.660kg. Chidi said that the drugs were seized from a 1517 Mercedes Benz Truck with Registration Number, Lagos XN 531 KSF, traveling from Edo state to Abuja. He said the suspects had partitioned the truck with a pan, packing the cannabis in the inner chamber and left the outer part empty in a camouflage. According to him, the command has recorded some level of success in the area of seizure and prosecution of drug traffickers. “The command has arrested a total of 87 suspects from January to date and have seized a total of 1798.96kg (1.799 tonnes) of Cannabis sativa, 1.27kg of cocaine

and 5.20kg of psychotropic substances. “Worthy of mention is the seizure of 1.10 kilogrammes of powdery substance suspected to be cocaine imported from Trinidad and Tobago in March”, Chidi said. The deputy commander said that the command had convicted 27 drug traffickers and rehabilitated 15 drug dependents from January to date. Chidi urged members of the public and government to assist the command with useful information to ensure that the society was drug-free. He also called for support to enable the agency acquire some drug detective machines as well as an helicopter to survey riversides where dealers grew the cannabis plants. Responding, the suspect who gave his name as Endurance Isibor denied knowledge of the drugs in the truck. The agency also paraded one Mr. Abubakar Umar, 31, for possession of two boxes of cannabis sativa. (NAN)



Alison-Madueke absent at ministerial briefing By Muhammad Nasir


he Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezeni AlisonMadueke, was yesterday conspicuously absent at the ongoing Ministerial Platform designed to commemorate the National Democracy Day 2012 and first Anniversary of the Goodluck Jonathan administration. The forum is coordinated by the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, to give all ministers the opportunity of direct interface

with the public as they present their achievements, accomplishments, challenges and policy direction of their respective ministries and parastatals. Also, the briefing is aimed at providing media practitioners opportunity for on-the-spot assessments of key Federal Government projects under the Transformation Agenda the of administration. However, no reasons were given for the Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s absence at the public briefing.

Aliyu calls for mechanised agriculture From Iliya Garba, Minna


he governor of Niger state, Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, yesterday in Minna said that Nigeria has the prospect to feed the world if more emphasis is placed on mechanised agriculture. He also said that a serious focus on agricultural mechanisation will eradicate the Almajiri and street begging in the country. At the official transplanting of the first seedlings under the Israeli Agriculture Humanitarian project, Aliyu said the vast land available in the country is suitable for the cultivation of all cash and food crops and therefore put Nigeria in a position to deliver more agricultural produce to the world. He applauded the initiative of the Israeli government for setting up the irrigation farm at Lapai-

Gwari town, stressing that irrigation farming will put more Nigerians and especially the youths in employment all the year round. The governor therefore directed the Ministry of Agriculture to acquire additional 100 hectares of land to be added to the ones available to the project so that the scheme will be more viable and commercial oriented. The Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Moshe Ram, advised Nigeria to allow agriculture to take a principal place in the country and advised Nigeria to stop depending on oil which he said will ‘dry up’ whereas agriculture will last forever. Mr. Moshe Ram expressed grief that young Nigerians are leaving agriculture for other jobs, a situation he explained was not in the interest of the country.

PTDF commissions N1 billion energy centre P From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, Katsina

etroleum Technology Development fund, (PTDF) has commissioned a N1 billion centre for renewable energy at the Umaru Musa ‘Yar’Adua University (UMYU), Katsina state. Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, yesterday in Katsina, the executive secretary of PTDF, Engineer Muttaqa Rabe Darma, noted that the centre which was named after the state governor, Ibrahim Shehu Shema Centre for renewable energy research was conceived to conduct research on all form of alternative energy sources. He said “the centre would conduct research in bio-fuel, micro and hydro wind energy

sources. We want to make it as one of the best centre for alternative energy research in the world”. According to him, the Katsina university energy centre was among the 10 centres selected among the Nigerian universities under the third phase of the funds energy programme, adding that of all the centres Katsina was the first to be commissioned due to the commitment of the state government. Similarly, the PTDF boss disclosed that the centre was fully equipped with modern equipments that include an auditorium, lecture theatre, classrooms, workshop, laboratories, borehole, water treatment plant, professor’s offices and other academic staff offices. In a remark, the vice-

chancellor of Umaru Musa ‘Yar’adua University, Katsina, Professor Muuta Ibrahim, noted that the establishment of the centre was the fruit of the university’s effort to reach out to stakeholders in finding alternative energy sources. He stated that the university which is currently conducting two research and development projects in biofuel has according to him reached out to other research centres in Nigeria and neigbouring Niger Republic for joint efforts in energy research. Also speaking, Governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema of Katsina State, commended the PTDF for its vision and commitment in supporting the alternative energy research and development projects in Nigerian universities.

Nasarawa FRSC denies killing youth From Ali Abare Abubakar, Lafia


ontrary to news reports yesterday that officials of the Federal Roads Safety Corps (FRSC), on a routine check along Jos road, Lafia, Nasarawa state, were responsible for the death of one Saleh Audu Wambai, following which irate youths trailed and burnt down a patrol van of the corps, Tuma Dalok, FRSC sector commander, has denied the report, saying that the deceased died when he slipped off the moving patrol van and hit his head on the tarmac. Dalok who spoke with our reporter yesterday in his office, explained that following the seizure of car particulars together with driving license of an unidentified lady carrying the deceased person and others, for failing to put on their seat belt, a commotion ensued with

Wambai attempting to forcefully retrieve the driving license from the team. According to the sector commander, the commotion, which occurred in front of the College of Agriculture, Lafia, instantly drew the attention of people, mostly commercial motor-bike riders, forcing the officials to hastily leave the area, with one official who was left behind saved from being lynched by the angry mob by an armed mobile police who fired into the air to disperse the youths. He explained that it was while the patrol van was moving when Wambai, who had already snatched the car particulars from the hands of the lady leading the team, attempted to board the moving vehicle in his bid to retrieve the driving license but slipped in the process and hit his head on the tarmac.

L-R: Chairman/Managing Director, Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc, Mr. Tunji Oyebanji, Executive Director, Operations of Mobil, Mr. Henry Obih, and Supply Manager of the company, Nnamdi Obiagwu, taking oath, before the House Committee Ad-Committee on investigation of the Capital Market collapse, at the National Assembly, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Doctors’s strike: We are open to dialogue, Lagos govt From Bimbo Ogunnaike, Lagos


day after the striking doctors in Lagos owned hospitals were sacked, the state government yesterday said the decision to dismiss the striking doctors is painful but has to be taken to enable emergency service and hospital services that have been grounded for almost two weeks across the state continue effectively. The government also disclosed

that it has deployed the newly recruited 373 doctors to beef up the number of the doctors available at the state owned hospitals to a total of 1059. While adding that more new doctors would be recruited as the need arises, the lots of doctors have shown interest to take up employment in the state civil service since advertisement to this effect has been placed in some national dailies. The Commissioner for Health,

Robbers cart away millions in Oando From Yusha’u Alhassan Jalingo


ndisclosed amount of money was carted away by unknown gunmen at the Oando filling station opposite Jalingo main motor park at the weekend. Investigation by our reporter

revealed that rovers numbering six arrived at the filling station on three Bajaj Motorcycles and held the manager and the pump attendants hostage and demanded for money. The robbers started shooting in the air to scare the staff of the station and passersby when the

manager started showing some resistance. An eyewitness told Peoples Daily that the robbers who were all in masks and had sophisticated guns operated for over 30 minutes unchallenged. A trader near the filling station said the police and army who were

stationed at the roundabout near the station came to their duty post after the robbers completed their operation. When contacted, the Police Public Relation Officer, Ibiam Mbaseki who confirmed the incident however said that none of the armed robbers was arrested.

Dr. Jide Idris who made this disclosure at a press briefing at the state secretariat yesterday, said the state government was at the meeting called by the State House of Assembly last Saturday to resolve the friction between the two parties in the conflict but expressed disappointment that the representatives of the striking doctors at the meeting threw caution to the winds and insulted all the government officials present. According to the commissioner, the bone of contention between the government and the sacked doctors is their demand for teaching allowance for nonteaching doctors and their insistence that a new Consultant must start on Grade Level 15 adding: “We said we cannot pay teaching allowance to a learning doctor neither can we start with Grade level 15 for a new consultant.”


By Lawrence Olaoye he former Group Managing Director of Afribank, Sebastian Adigwe, yesterday alleged that the Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms. Arunma Oteh, and the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Kingsley Moghalu, lied under Oath. Adigwe, in his presentation before the House of



Capital Market: CBN, SEC lied, says former Afribank GMD Representatives ad-hoc committee investigating the near collapse of the capital market, denied the allegation that Afribank gave money to three firms to buy its own shares

Gov. Aliyu orders probe of N42m fraud From Iliya Garba, Minna orried by the fraud in the state Board of Internal Revenue, the governor of Niger state, Dr. Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu has ordered the investigation of N42million fraud alleged to have been committed by the staff of the Board in collaboration with a bank operating in the state. The Commissioner for Finance, Alhaji Mu'azu Bawa made this known yesterday in a chat with journalists in Minna, saying three staff of the board have been suspended to pave way for commencement of investigation in the alleged fraud. He said that the governor had directed the Head of Service


to constitute a committee that would investigate the matter and whoever was found guilty, would face the wrath of the law. Alhaji Bawa also said that the fraud was committed in collaboration with one of the branches of Intercontinental Bank in the state, saying his signature, as the commissioner of finance and that of the Accountant General of the state were forged with the help of some of the staff of bank to open a fake account through which the deception was perpetrated. He assured that the state government would not lose a penny from the money withdrawn from the fake account, as the erring bank would mandatorily reimburse the state government.

during its 2007 public offers. Adigwe said that at no time did Afribank give money to any company namely, Falcon Securities Ltd, Fidelity Finance Company Limited and Spring Capital Markets Ltd. to buy its own shares in the public offer. He said contrary to the assertions, the companies mention sourced the funds through loans secured from Union Bank Plc. The Deputy Governor of the

Central Bank, Kingsley Moghalu had made the allegation in his presentation before the committee last week while Oteh corroborated the submission on Monday. Oteh had accused Afribank, Afribank Trustees, Afribank Registrars and their Directors, of committing various grave market infractions in share buyback schemes and of making misrepresentations in the returns to the SEC to prevent

detection. She claimed that the bank funded its public offer, violating Section 106 (4), and Section 110 of the ISA 2007 as well as Rule 109B of SEC Rules. Oteh alleged that shares owned by 1,258 entities (some of which she said were fictitious) and individuals were merged into fourteen accounts of nine companies some of which were allegedly owned by Afribank and its Directors.

FG immunises children in 4,000 displaced Benue communities By A'isha Biola Raji


he Federal Government in its bid to protect children against vaccine preventable diseases, has immunised 3000 displaced communities in Benue state affected by a clash in a border town between Benue and Nasarawa states and over 1000 Fulani population who are victims of conflict from Cross River state. The Executive Director, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Ado Muhammad disclosed this during the vaccination of over 4000 displaced Nigerians both in Katsina Ala and Guma local government areas of Benue state. This was contained in a press

statement signed by Saadu Salahu, Head, Public Relations Unit of the agency. According to the statement, the Executive Director, who was represented by North Central Zonal Co-coordinator of the Agency, Dr. Wugin Hussein, advised them to make their children available for immunisation. Dr. Ado called on pregnant women among them to also avail themselves of antenatal services and routine immunisation at nearest hospital facilities. He assured that the Federal Government would continue to provide quality health services to all Nigerians no matter where they lived or worked.

NOA charges Nigerians on discipline, patriotism By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


he Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mike Omeri, has charged Nigerians to be disciplined and patriotic, so as to transform the country into a greater nation. Omeri, who gave this charge in Abuja, during the launch of the "Do the right thing" campaign, added that the myriad of wrongdoings in the country was occasioned by the lack of patriotism and zeal for the service to the country. He said there was urgent need to engage all Nigerians, from the

Federal Government to the grassroots, to participate in the transformation agenda of the present administration, which he said, was focused on changing the country for the better. On what "Do the right thing" would achieve the NOA boss said, "the transformation is all inclusive, all areas where there is wrongdoing, from the authority to the local man in the street. We have all failed as a people in trying to uplift our country for the better. It is not only the responsibility of the government but the responsibility of all Nigerians to join hands with the government and do the right thing".

L-R: Distinguished Scientist, Dr. Peter Lamptey, United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Terrence McCulley, representative of Minister of Health, Dr. Mansur Kabir, and Director General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Professor John Idoko, during the launch of Strengthening Integrated Delivery of HIV/AIDS Service Project, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Insurgency: Wazirin Katsina advocates dialogue

By A'isha Biola Raji


he Waziri of Katsina, Dr. Sani Abubakar Lugga has called on all concerned parties to apply dialogue as best remedy to the various insurgencies in the country. In a statement he made available to Peoples Daily, he said Nigeria has faced several crisis similar to the current "Boko Haram" which also sprang up from agitations. He said, "the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) sprang up in the Niger Delta and on May 21st, 1994, a

bloody fight ensued between its rival factions where four Ogoni traditional chiefs were murdered." He further stated that, "MEND and Boko Haram sprang up in identical fashions and their activities escalated after the "murder" of their leaders and the arrest of their members. Both are claiming to be fighting against injustice being perpetrated on their communities by the government and its agencies." "The group, Jama'atu Ahlis Sunnah Lidda'awati wal Jihad, known as Boko Haram came into limelight as a result of the arrest

and "extra-judicial murder" of its head, Malam Mohammed Yusuf along with other leaders of the Group while in the custody of the Borno State Police Command on 30th July, 2009", he narrated. Dr. Lugga, therefore recommended that government should mull over MEND and Boko Haram backgrounds alongside the honest and down-to-earth recommendations of Sheik Ahmed Lemu commission which stated that, "poverty alleviation measures, justice and fairness and eradication of corruption should be the guiding principles of governance."

'It is very important for people in the society to embrace humanitarian services by contributing their quota to alleviate the human suffering," he said. According to him, the day marks the birthday of the founder of the Red Cross Society, Mr Henry Dunant. "So, the day is very important to us because, it really informs us that human beings are still

existing and need our services. That is why we are out for the services. "We, the youth of Gombe State branch, saw that it is very important to come out and inform the people that Red Cross in the state is still existing and we have a lot of things to do," he said. Members of the Society visited Gombe Motor Park and assisted people by coordinating the movement of vehicles. (NAN)

Red Cross urges more humanitarian services


he acting Deputy Youth Coordinator of the Nigeria Red Cross, North East Zone, Mr. Uba Ayuba, has called on the public to render humanitarian services in the society to alleviate human suffering. Uba made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe yesterday at a celebration to mark the founder's day of the society.



Reps want FAAN sanctioned over Abuja Airport blackout By Lawrence Olaoye


he House of Representatives has recommended that the officials of the Federal Airports Authority of

Nigeria (FAAN), and Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), who were on duty when a British Airways plane landed in darkness at the Nnamdi

Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja recently be sanctioned. Specifically, the lawmakers affirmed that “The officials of FAAN and NAMA responsible for light

at the time of the incidence should be identified and sanctioned for negligence of duty.” The parliament had yesterday while considering the report of

Kukah commiserates with Oshiomhole over slain aide From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin he Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Hassan Kukah, has commiserated with Edo state governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, over the murder of his Principal Private Secretary, Mr.


Olaitan Oyerinde who was killed by unknown gunmen in his home in Benin City, last weekend. In a condolence letter sent to the governor, Kukah who also commiserated with Oshiomhole over the recent convoy crash on Warrake-Auchi road in which three journalists

were killed said he should not despair as “God often tries those He wishes to use in the furnace”. “I have just read the tragic news of the brutal killing of our friend and brother, Comrade Olaitan on the internet. I had tried to reach you early in the week but you did not pick the phone. I had called in

respect to the news about your accident and the loss of your staff”. On the late Olaitan, Kukah said, “I really feel even more about Olaitan because he is a man I had grown to love and respect. I know he was such an efficient gentleman, loved and believed in you and your work…”

…As NUJ backs widows of slain journalists


he president of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr. Mohammed Garba, on Monday called on the Edo state government to employ widows of slain journalists to enable them cope with the dire economic situation. Garba stated this in

Government House, Benin City, when he paid a condolence visit to the state deputy governor, Dr. Pius Odubu, on behalf of the late journalists, Mr. Olatunji Jacobs, George Okosun, Fidelis Okhani and Mr. Chuks Ogu who died in Governor Adams

Oshiomhole’s convoy on April 29th 2012 in a road mishap; and the principal private secretary to the governor, Mr. Oyerinde Olaitan who was murdered by gunmen recently. He however, commended the

governor for the financial and moral support rendered to the bereaved family.

Fashola tasks youth on climate change From Bimbo Ogunnaike, Lagos


agos state governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has advised youths, especially school children to join hands with stakeholders in the efforts to confront serious threats posed by climate change. The governor who gave the advice yesterday while speaking on the occasion of the 4th anniversary of the Lagos State Schools Climate Change Club in Ikeja, described children as protagonists of change, saying they could promote environmentfriendly behaviour that could significantly mitigate the impact of the environmental problem. His words: “As a result of the challenges presented by the scourge of global warming, the time has come for you as leaders of tomorrow to reason together and join hands with government to confront this monster. “We must strive together to confront the problem, particularly as you are the young population who are the hope of our future, and now daily come under severe threat of climate change and its attendant threats…”

its Committee on Aviation and Power on the urgent need to investigate the circumstances leading to the anomaly which took place on 9 February, 2012, also directed the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), FAAN and NAMA to ensure constant and stability of

power in all the airports in the country. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives yesterday directed its standing Committee on Communications to investigate the SIM card registration regime and report back to it within 30 days.

Second round of subsidy probe begins By Umar Mohammed Puma


he Ad-hoc committee of the House of Representatives probing the subsidy regime, yesterday, commence its second round of it investigation into the allege petroleum subsidy scam. The chairman of the committee, Hon. Farouk Lawan, said the aim is to do a thorough exercise and to give an opportunity to the oil companies who didn’t appear before it at the first round of the probe and who were given second chance by the House to appear and make their own presentations before the committee and clarify certain issues relating to the

earlier report that indicted the oil companies. Lawan k added that the committee has so far attended to nine different oil companies and are expected to finish the exercise by tomorrow and subsequently tender the report before the House by the end of the week. He blame the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), for disregarding its own guideline and procedures in issues relating to companies which lack the requirement to participate in the scheme being allowed to participate and collect huge amounts of money for subsidy in collusion with officials of the PPPRA and other.

Borno moves to overhaul motherless babies’ homes From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri


orno state Commissioner for Women Affairs, Hajiya Inna Galadima, yesterday, said government has unveiled concrete mechanisms to improve the standard of motherless babies’ homes across the state, in order to ensure the welfare of the less privileged. Hajiya Inna who spoke to newsmen, noted that the Governor Kashim Shettimaled administration has accorded much priority to the welfare of the less privileged by increasing the

feeding and equipping the motherless babies’ homes with health facilities. She explained that her ministry is living to its expectations in taking proper care of the children in the Fatima Ali Sheriff Motherless’ Home and several others. While highlighting some of the achievements the ministry had recorded in less than a year, the commissioner said the ministry came out with a programme on girl-child mentoring, where 50 successful women in the state have made themselves available to mentor 100 girls.

Nnaji describes 11 percent electricity tariff hike as ‘low’ By Muhammad Sada


he new hike in electricity tariff will be as low as 11 percent so that the common Nigerian can afford it without much impact on the limited income he has access to and in consideration of his other numerous needs’. This was disclosed by the Minister of Power, Professor Barth Nnaji, at a briefing at the Radio House Abuja, yesterday. He assured that the hike will be on different categories which will enable the

common Nigerian to afford electricity for his needs regardless of what he earns. According to the minister, “The new tariff is expected to go into effect on the 1st of June, 2012 and it will enhance further incentive performance of all elements of the power value chain” as all the necessary steps have been put in place to ensure effective and upgraded power supply in the Country as well as transforming the electricity sector into the major driver of Nigeria’s economic development process.




L-R: Chairman, IBTC Bank, Chief Atedo Peterside, Adamawa state Governor, Admiral Murtala Nyako, Anambra state Governor, Mr Peter Obi, Chairman Forte Oil, Chief Femi Otedola, and Chairman, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangoe, discussing during the Economic Management Team meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday at the State House, in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye


Callisthenics display by pupils of Queens College during the 4thAnniversaryof the Climate Change Club for Schools, yesterday in Lagos.


Section of Peoples Hotel destroyed by bomb blast on Monday night in Bauchi. Photo: NAN




FRSC van set ablaze by angry youth, on Monday in Lafia, Nasarawa state. Photo: NAN





Yobe LG plans new projects From Auwal Ahmad, Gombe


L-R: Representative of Director-General, Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), Prof. Kunle Odumosu, chairman of the occasion, Prof. Abdul-Ganiyu Garba, and a guest lecturer, Prof. Adeola Adenikinju, during NISER’s monthly seminar series, yesterday in Ibadan. Photo: NAN

Falana, JAF fault sack of striking Lagos doctors From Ayodele Samuel and Ojebola Matthew, Lagos


agos based human rights lawyer, Femi Falana and the Joint Action Front have faulted the sacking of 788 doctors by the Lagos state government for going on strike. Falana said in a statement yesterday that the action of the government came as a surprise to many at a time the trade dispute was being resolved. Falana said under the Trade Dispute Act, an employer has no powers to sack workers who embark on strike. According him, “when there was a strike by doctors working in the Lagos state public service the last time, I led a team of civil society

leaders to meet with both sides which contributed to the resolution of the crisis. “Once again, we met on Sunday, 6 May and constituted a team to meet with officials of the government and the striking doctors on Wednesday 9 May, 2012. But to our utter chagrin, the doctors were dismissed from service yesterday. In view of the farreaching implication of this action, we urge Governor Babatunde Fashola, to reverse the decision and file a complaint before the National Industrial Court for urgent determination of the industrial dispute.” He added: “Under the Trade Dispute Act, an employer has no powers to sack workers who embark on strike. In military

governor of Lagos state vs Ojukwu and Attorney General of Lagos vs Attorney General of the Federation, the Supreme Court held that the government which operates under the rule of law should desist from resorting to selfhelp in settling disputes. “Therefore, Governor Fashola should recall the dismissed doctors and direct the State Attorney General to file a suit at the National Industrial Court without any delay”. On its part, the Joint Action Front (JAF) yesterday condemned the “unlawful” sacking of doctors by Lagos state governor, and urged him to “unconditionally” recall them as well as meet the demands for which they went on strike. JAF, in a press statement

yesterday described the action of the state government as “a grave violation of labour laws and international conventions on the freedom of association. The sack of doctors clearly contravenes the decisions and principle of freedom of association committee of the governing body of the international Labour Organization (ILO)”. The dismissal of workers because of a strike, it said, constituted discrimination in employment on grounds of legitimate trade union activities contrary to Convention 98 of ILO laws. The group said, the Lagos state government should be held responsible for the death of Lagosians arising from its refusal to meet the demands of doctors.

Unilorin: Appeal Court sets aside High Court ruling From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


he Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division presided over by Justice Abdullahi Tijjani, has set aside the ruling of the Ilorin Federal High Court which had refused the University of Ilorin authority to tender some documents as exhibits in a case filed against it by 26 sacked teachers of the institution’s secondary school. Twenty-six teachers of the University of Ilorin secondary school were relieved of their appointments in August 2007 and they instituted a suit

against the institution for “wrongful termination of appointment”. The sacked teachers also dragged the institution before the Federal High Court, seeking for their reinstatement and payment of all salaries and allowances from 2007 to date. They also claimed that the procedure for terminating their appointments which is regulated by University of Ilorin Act and other conditions of service was wrong and unconstitutional The Federal High Court in its ruling held that the documents

sought to be tendered by the University of Ilorin were not pleaded in its motion and also not relevant to the case before it. The appellant filed an interlocutory appeal against the ruling of the lower court for refusing to admit the documents. The documents which were refused by the Federal High Court includes the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) conditions of service, letter from the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) and the agreement reached between the ASUU and the Federal

Government in 1992. Justice Tijjani while leading others judges, in their judgment agreed with the respondents that the appellants did not plead the documents in their motion and resolved it in favour of the respondents. He ruled in favour of the appellants that the letter and the agreement between ASUU and Federal Government were germane to the case. The appellate court said that the NUC through its secretary gave official position and had no pecuniary or material interest in the matter.

Verification: Zamfara saved N120m in 3 months, says commissioner From Salisu Zakari Madradun, Gusau


ver N115 million would have gone to the pockets of 600 ghost workers in Zamfara, but for the intervention of the verification committee set

up by the state government. The state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Alhaji Muttaka Rini, made the disclosure while speaking to our reporter in his office. The commissioner said for over a year, the state government had

been losing huge amounts of money to the ghost workers until now. According to Rini, who was speaking on the activities of his ministry, the state government under Abdulaziz Yari, decided to constitute a verification committee aimed at fishing out the ghost

workers who for long, have been collecting money illegally. Said he, “we were able to save N50 milion the first month the committee swung into action, and during the second exercise, the figure even raised to N70 million, which will give you N120 million just within two months”.

akusko local government council of Yobe state has announced plans to improve the people oriented projects in its communities. The chairman, Alhaji Yau Usman Dachia who disclosed this yesterday in Jakusko, the council headquarters, said the council was working hard to overcome all water problems in communities. According to him, a committee headed by him, would assess and repair faulty boreholes in the council area, adding that the council had embarked on numerous projects which were marked with others to be commissioned in few weeks time by the state governor. Yau Dachia, said the projects cut across all aspect of human life such as health, electricity, water, good roads, renovation of the local government secretariat etc.

5,500 pregnant women die annually, says commissioner From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


wara state Commissioner for Health, Alhaji Kayode Abdul has disclosed that 5,500 women die every year from pregnancy complications because of inadequate family planning information across the world with over 99 percent of the number occurring in developing countries. Abdul, who was represented by a Director, Medical Service and Training, Dr. Isaac Oludipe, stated this in Ilorin yesterday during the official opening ceremony of Family Planning Week in conjunction with Nigeria Urban Reproductive Health Initiatives(NURHI), noted that the goals of preventing the death of women during childbirth need urgent attention in most affected countries. He said further that, “family Planning is also key in the achievement of MDGs 4,5 and 6 which help in the reduction of high mortality rate of mother and child. Family Planning improves maternal Health and as well combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases with the contraceptive prevalence rate of 24.6%, unmet need 30% and intension to use 27%, there is need to expand the services in all the LGAs of the state and build up the capacity of health workers”. He added that NURHI in Kwara state has made tremendous progress in the area of providing quality service and affordable healthcare services to the people of the state while new doctors and nurses have been recruited into the health sector among others. The state coordinator of NURHI, Alhaji Abubakar Sidiq, in his remarks disclosed that the challenges the organization faced in the implementation of the programme included nonchalant attitude of men towards the acceptability of the programme by their wives.



SNC timely, desirable, says don From Lawal Sadiq Sanusi, Kaduna


lecturer in the Department of Political Science, University of Abuja, Dr. Kabir Mato has described the current agitation for tahe sovereign national conference by some section of Nigerians as not only desirable but also timely. MAto who is the Director, Institute for Anti Corruption Studies

of the University of Abuja and public commentator, stated this last weekend in Kaduna during public presentation of NextVoice Magazine held at Arewa House, Kaduna. Dr. Mato, who was the guest speaker at the occasion, pointed out that the North stands to lose nothing from breaking away from the current federalism as it has already been marginalised by its southern counterparts. “Those noise makers from the

south are of the belief that the North does not want Nigeria to break. They are making the greatest mistake of their lives. According to him the North was not on the same page with the south and as such Nigeria may not know the colors of stability in the foreseeable future adding, “One of the options open is the so called Sovereign National Conference if possible so that we may all go our ways”.

He said it was estimated that out of every N10 that is spent by government at the centre, N8 goes to southerners, and only N1 and little was in the hands of the northerners which translation was seen in form of poverty and want. The don said “as a Nigerian of Northern extraction, I am a victim of the federation called Nigeria and not among its major beneficiaries. My section of the country is larger in space and population and yet

the economy is massively in the hands of the minority south”. Dr. Mato, who dismissed the possibility of convening sovereign national conference despite its desirability and timeliness due to the current arrangements of the constitution in the country, warned that if there was any way Nigerians would be given the choice as to whether the country should remain one or not, the North’s yes would be amazing.

Kano govt to boost water supply From Bala Nasir, Kano


he Kano state Commissioner of Water Resources, Alhaji Bala Mohammed Gwagwarwa has said with the level of commitment to the rehabilitation currently being carried out by the state government, water scarcity in the state will soon be a thing of the past. Gwagwarwa stated this during a press conference in his office. He said at the inception of the administration, only one out of the six water intakes at the Challawa Treatment Plant was working and even at this it was not working properly. He said the 150 million litre Tamburawa Water Works has no generating plant at all its stations as it was depending on PHCN for power which is not totally guaranteed. He said the state government therefore, found it pertinent to rehabilitate the water intake pump at Challawa as well as providing a generating set to the Tamburawa Water Works for it to be able to supply the city. All these have been successfully carried out as the No. 6 water intake at Challawa has been rehabilitated while a 4 number 1.65MVA capacity generating sets and auxiliaries have been installed at the Tamburawa Water Treatment Plant and have already been commissioned. According to the commissioner, 600mm diameter pipes for Watari to Mil Tara has been procured at the cost of over N2 billion laying of which will start as soon as they arrive the state from the Apapa Port in Lagos. He urged the people of the state to be patient, as the state government is working to remedy their water problems which have been there for many years.

Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr. Mike Omeri (left), addressing participants during a roadwalk to sensitise Nigerians on the new slogan of NOA “Do the Right Thing, Transform Nigeria,” yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

Yekini was a patriot — NOA boss By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


he Director-General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr. Mike Omeri, has expressed shock at the death of the former Super Eagles striker, Rashidi Yekini, describing him as a patriot who made Nigeria proud in the field of soccer. Omeri, who recalled the footballer's appearance at the 1994 World Cup where he scored the first goal for Nigeria at that year’s tournament, said Yekini exemplified the determination of the Nigerian spirit, which he said is needed to transform the nation. A statement issued yesterday, by the Chief Press Secretary in the agency, Paul Odenyi, condoled with the family of the late striker,

…says Oyerinde killing barbaric, inhuman and urged Nigerians to emulate the noble examples of the late footballer, who shunned controversy in and outside the turf, and mentored a whole generation of young men to take up soccer as a career. In his words: “Yekini was a good example of a good Nigerian. He exemplified our spirit and exhibited the core values of determination, hard work and humility. He was somebody you could say represented the Do-theRight-Thing charge. In a similar vein, the NOA boss has condemned the murder of Mr. Olaitan Oyerinde, the Principal Private Secretary to the Edo state governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomole, describing it as

barbaric and inhuman. Reacting to the incident which happened in Benin, the Edo state capital, Omeri, said the rise in politically motivated violence in the state is a clear negation of the progress made by both the Independent National Electoral Commission and the security agencies towards the conduct of peaceful elections especially the 2011 polls. A statement issued yesterday, by a Chief Press Secretary, in the agency, Paul Odenyi, described Oyerinde as a brilliant man who made his mark in the trade union movement before taking up position as an official of the Edo state government. It called on security agencies

especially the police to see the new surge in violence in the state as a challenge which they must tackle urgently. Omeri said the call for the transformation of the nation must include a change of attitude by all Nigerians especially the political class who as leaders must exemplify the true values of the country. While condoling with the governor and the government of Edo state, the Director-General urged him to rise up to the occasion by involving all stakeholders to find solution to the current problem. He also pleaded with political elements not to unduly politicise the situation and allow security agencies investigate the matter properly.

NSCDC seizes 143,000 litres of diesel in Delta


he Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Delta state, has seized 143, 935 litres of diesel in four months, the state Commandant, Mr. Amos Andekin, has said. Andekin disclosed this in an

interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Asaba yesterday. He said 34,410 litres of the product were seized in January while 99,000 and 10,525 litres were seized in February and April respectively, adding that no

seizure was made in March. Andekin said 19 persons were arrested in connection with the seizure, explaining that six suspects were arrested in January while 13 persons were arrested in February and April, respectively. The commandant said the

suspects were already being prosecuted and would soon appear in court. Andekin, who recently undertook a sensitisation tour of some local governments in the state, said he would address the reported misconducts among the

volunteer corps personnel. “Because of the similarity in the uniform of the regular NSCDC staff and the volunteers, the public most often mistake the volunteers for the regulars when the former commit any offence or misbehave”, he said.



N25b scam: EFCC accuses Goje of delaying trial, as thugs attack journalists By Lambert Tyem, Abuja & Auwal Ahmad, Gombe


he Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday accused former governor of Gombe state, Danjuma Goje and four others standing trial on an 18-count charge bordering on conspiracy and money laundering amounting to N25billion, of deliberately delaying their trial

at the Federal High Court sitting in Gombe, Gombe state. The other four accused persons are Aliyu El-Nafaty, Sambo Tumu, S.M. Dakoro and S.M. Dakoro Gombe (a company). They were first arraigned on Monday, October 17th, 2011. According to Wilson Uwujaren Ag. Head, Media and Publicity of the Commission said at the resumed hearing of the

case before Hon Justice Babatunde Quadri, defence counsel, Adeniyi Akintola (SAN) opposed an attempt by prosecution counsel, Wahab Shittu, to proceed on trial by calling his witnesses for cross examination. Adeniyi according to EFCC had urged the court to request Wahab Shittu to show to his clients and the court, an evidence of prosecutorial

authority from the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice before the commencement of trial. "He buttressed his position with references to related matters that have been settled at the High Courts, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Courts in this regard. Citing the 1999 Constitution, Akintola said it is only the AGF and Minister of Justice that can prosecute a criminal case on behalf of the state or do so through the instrumentality of a fiat. He finally submitted that the only locus the prosecutor can have is to produce a fiat, duly signed by the AGF before the court, the absence of which implies an absence of authority to proceed in the trial thereby denying the accused persons and the court the right to know. Akintola opted for the court in the present circumstance to dismiss the charge against the accused persons. But in his response, Shittu urged the court to take judicial

notice that the prosecution is ready to proceed with the trial by calling witnesses already in court. He contended that the objection was only raised in the court orally, without a prejudicial notice. He accused the defence of ploy to deliberately delay proceedings. Shittu also wondered why the defence did not query his authority in earlier appearances; as according to him, “I see this as an attempt to stall the case, even for the third time.” He told the court that he could not have proceeded with the brief in the first instance, if he did not have such authority. But in order not to waste the time of the court in ruling on arguments and proof of evidence, he prayed the court for an adjournment to produce the authority. Honourable Justice Quadri obliged him and adjourned to July 3, 4, 5, and 6, 2012, for definite hearing of prosecution witnesses and accelerated trial. Meanwhile, a mild drama played out outside the courtroom as suspected thugs attacked photo journalists who attempted to take pictures of Senator Goje coming out of court.

Potter laments neglect of arts From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


L-R: Minister of Power, Professor Bath Nnaji, Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Deziani Alison-Madueke ,and Group Managing Director of NNPC, Engineer Austin Oniwon, briefing journalists of the outcome of Presidential Workshop on Power, on Monday at the State House, in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye.

Kogi HOS sues for industrial harmony From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


he Head of Service in Kogi state, Dr. Moses Atakpa, has appealed to labour in the state to sustain the prevailing harmonious relationship with the present government to enhance productivity and development of the state. Speaking at a reception organised in his honour by the NLC in Lokoja, Atakpa prescribed industrial harmony rather than confrontation, as panacea for speedy development. He urged the workers to exploit avenues that could engender development saying

Kogi is one of the states in the North-central zone that witnesses industrial harmony. He stressed that the sustenance of a healthy relationship between government and labour would not only increase output but spur government to improve the welfare of the civil servants. Atakpa commended the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) for always taking the dialogue option, describing it as a potent weapon to achieve desired objectives, saying that their labour would not be in vain. Earlier, the state chairman of NLC, Mr. James Odaudu, reiterated commitment of the organised labour to the welfare

of civil servants as he maintained that standard would not be compromised.

world acclaimed ceramist and proprietor of Dajo Pottery in Benue state, Mr. Levi Bem Yakobu has decried the neglect of arts by government. Mr. Yakobu who spoke with journalists yesterday in his residence in Makurdi, maintained that ceramic crafts is capable of generating a lot of foreign exchange to the country more than oil. He contended that Nigeria particularly Benue state, has abundant clay deposits, the best in the world to take the leading

Benin Monarch warns politicians against using his name From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


enin Monarch, Oba Erediauwa has warned politicians, political parties and individuals who use the name, picture, imprimatur and effigy of the monarch as signs for campaign ahead of the next governorship election billed for July 14th 2012.

A statement signed by the secretary to the Benin Traditional Council, Frank Irabor, reiterated the Oba’s desire and prayers as father to all individuals or parties committed to the continued unity of the people of the state. It however said that “It is unacceptable for political parties or any group of persons to be ascribed to the Oba of Benin”.

role in ceramic works from China that is adjudged the best in ceramic across the globe. He however lamented at the lukewarm attitude of federal and state governments over art works, urging that emphasis should not be placed so much on oil as ceramics is capable of providing mass employment and generating wealth for the country and state. “Studies have shown that kaolin is found in large quantities in Nigeria, especially Benue state. I have made personal effort to give requisite attention to ceramic work but all my sacrifices have not been adequately rewarded. I am the only black man to win three ceramic grand prix in China, the home of ceramics that cumulated into Nigeria signing the International Declaration on Ceramics Acts by the Minster of State for Trade and Investment Dr. Samuel Ortom. Now Nigeria, particularly Benue state, is engraved on the world map of ceramics”, Mr. Yakobu intimated. He therefore advised FG to inject adequate capital into the sector, provide power as well as ensure decisive patronage of ceramics.

Hippopotamus threatens fishing community in Gombe


ishermen in Malleri community in Kwami local government area of Gombe state yesterday appealed to the state government to save them from possible attacks from hippopotamus. Malam Abdullahi Bako, a fisherman in the community, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Malleri that

hippopotamus, in large numbers, had invaded the river in which they fished. According to Bako, the hippopotamus are now threatening their lives as well as destroying their fishing tools adding that he had been fishing in the river in the last 27 years and that the fishermen used local fishing equipment that are easy for the hippopotamus to

destroy. “We are appealing to government to come to our aid and give us soft loans to enable us buy modern fishing equipment which will be difficult for the hippopotamus to destroy,” he said. He said that he was making daily catch of 8 to 10 basins, with each basin selling between N4, 000 and N15, 0000,

depending on the size of the catch. “With the coming of hippopotamus that are destroying our equipment, we hardly get three basins a day, which is a setback to our business,” he said. Ahmadu Abdullahi, a 13year-old fisher who told NAN that he started fishing when he was seven years, also appealed

to the government to give them soft loans to purchase modern fishing equipment as he was using the proceeds to pay his school fees and take care of his needs. However, Adamu Aliyu, another fisherman, said they pay revenue to the Upper Benue River Development Authority every year and urged the authority to assist them. (NAN)





Prosecute fuel subsidy scammers now

he report submitted by the ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives that probed the fuel subsidy regime has afforded the Jonathan presidency whose anticorruption effort has been lacklustre so far, an opportunity to redeem itself in that direction. It has given the government of the day a rare chance to walk its talk about the fight against all manner of graft and corruption. We are, however, sceptical of the current regime’s anti –corruption stand on account of the footdragging by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Bello Adoke. Speaking last week, the Minister dampened the enthusiasm of a majority of Nigerians who had hoped for a possible prosecution of the culprits by saying that the federal government has no plans to do what they yearn for concerning the probe report. Adoke’s disposition though did not altogether come as a surprise considering that President Goodluck Jonathan’s Political Adviser, Ahmed Gulak, had earlier dismissed the report as “shallow”, thereby preparing the grounds for possibly “sweeping under the carpet” recommendations of the

report. Our position is buttressed by allegations that most of the beneficiaries of the massive scam that is the fuel subsidy regime are companies that contributed significantly to the presidential electioneering campaign of the current occupant of Aso Rock.

On this matter, the president cannot afford to quibble such as he has been doing on the question whether or not he will stand for reelection in 2015. Unfortunately for him, on the anti-graft war effort he has more than Nigerians to bother about. The international community, too, is watching The Save Nigeria Group (SNG) alleged in a widely circulated statement last Sunday that the individuals and corporate bodies indicted by the report are big donors to Jonathan’s campaign. Since that charge was made, the Presidency has kept a deafening silence, fuelling and lending credence to the

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”

allegations. While the probe lasted, in full public glare, having been captured and brought to most homes by television cameras, Nigerians were treated to a sickening tale of sleaze and outright theft of the common patrimony. It was revealed in graphic detail that several companies, some of them unregistered, had benefitted from subsidy advanced for fuel imports not delivered. Notwithstanding the body language of the two presidential aides, we hold the President by his word that no culprit in the fuel subsidy fraud will go unpunished. Cynics are wont to dismiss the presidential assertion as unconvincing, given similar vows in the past that disappeared as quickly as they came. However, we at Peoples Daily believe that the President can walk his talk and rise to the occasion of battling graft and corruption. History beckons. On this matter, the president cannot afford to quibble such as he has been doing on the question whether or not he will stand for reelection in 2015. Unfortunately for him, on the anti-graft war effort he has more than Nigerians to bother about. The international community, too, is watching.








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Beyond Boko Haram: Working for a more tolerant North By Elnathan John


he heat of the Sunday sun is sweltering. I have wound down all four of my glasses but I feel trapped in this boiling box that is my car. I am driving slowly between Makera and Kakuri in Kaduna looking for a cybercafé to send an email to a friend. As I move from the point where Makera becomes Kakuri, I can literally see the street change from shirts trousers and skirts to caftans and hijabs. I know that this is the case in much of Kaduna, but to see the difference in so short a distance is disconcerting. I was born in the capital of the North. The state that once represented everything positive: developed, cosmopolitan, progressive. Today, having returned to live in Kaduna after a few years away, I have become a witness to the shameful dying spectacle that the North has become. In some sort of self-inflicted religious apartheid, our cities, notably Jos and Kaduna- once quiet and integrated- are now religiously-exclusive, passiveaggressive (sometimes openly aggressive), mutuallysuspicious contiguous communities. True some might argue that this quiet separation that has created Muslim and Christian communities has its positive effects, but it is not without obvious dangers. Sadly because of the increasingly

By Aliyu Musa


t the point where Nigeria is today it is totally vain to go on deluding ourselves with the wrong diagnosis of our problems. The issue of insecurity cannot be treated in isolation of other happenings in the environment. The American government recently made public its opinion on the problem, agreeing that it has more to do with economic disempowerment than politics and/or religion. Truth is, extremism of the sorts we are witnessing only thrives where there is acute poverty. While economic progress is increasingly seen in the south, especially the south-west, the north’s case is a total trail. Poverty is rampant in the north-east where the rate is more than 70 per cent. While this might not be an excuse for taking to violence it creates a large room for vulnerability in the face of manipulative antics. And the fact that many people have long lost any hope for a future adds to their willingness to be recruited and used in terror campaigns as is the case today. President Jonathan’s

widespread attacks of Boko Haram, no one is talking about the issues germane to the North, pre-Boko Haram. In fact some have cynically implied that the Boko Haram attacks (that affect everyone) have reduced the perennial MuslimChristian crises. We must however look at the problems we have, beyond Boko Haram. What separation has caused is a heightened othernessconvenient for trading blame and the spread of dangerous rumours and propaganda. One of the things I am grateful for is that I grew up not in a homogenous community but with Christian, Muslim, Hausa, Yoruba, Nupe, Igbo, Ibibio, Edo, Ebira, Urhobo, Tiv, Idoma, Igala and Fulani neighbours (in addition to the large numbers of people from the indigenous tribes of Kaduna). I did not grow up wondering if Muslims were good or bad people, if Southerners were good or bad people, because they were all around me and I did not suffer from the suspicion that is the product of ignorance. As a result it is hard for me to contribute or even listen to talk about how Muslims or Southerners are ‘our’ problem. The violence that has forced people to live separately is capable of creating even more deeply rooted violence. Children in Kaduna and Jos now grow up in exclusively Christian or Muslim communities where it

is easy to speak disparagingly of people of another religion or culture; where it easy to blame them for the problems that is common to everyone; where the only debate is ‘Us vs Them’. The violence which living separately is quietly breeding is further worsened by the irresponsibility of leaders from the North. Leaders who have benefitted from the perpetration of poverty and dependence and the divisions that have prevented Northern Nigerians from demanding good and responsible governance from their leaders. The problem with poverty, which in my opinion is more acute in the North than in the South, is that it looks for enemies to blame and lash out at. That is why poorer communities generally have higher crime rates, more domestic abuse, more rape, and more senseless rumors that lead to violence. There can be no quick fixes to decades-old problems and because change can be painful and demanding, the few but immensely powerful persons whose power derives from this current unacceptable situation, will fight any move to fix the North and liberate its people mentally and economically. We must expect this while we chart a course for the reduction of poverty and the empowerment of women and young people in our communities.

What we must begin to do is to invest in the North and insist that those who seek our support for votes equally invest in the North. When we have industries, and businesses- real investment as opposed to the embarrassing poverty eradication schemes which governors in the North now bandy about like Keke Napep and motorcycles- then there is a possibility that people will be able to empower themselves and have a stake in developed, stable North, so much that they will be able to fight from within the forces militating against peace and stability. While the current situation of separate religious communities is unfortunate, there is no quick fix for that either. The mistrust and mutual suspicion is deep and can only change over time and years of education and re education. We can achieve this if we start now teaching the next generation that the other is not the enemy. That the enemy is poverty and bad wicked leadership. That we cannot all be Muslim or Christian. That no one is evil simply because of his/her religion. That every human being deserves to be treated justly and with dignity. That violence and oppression only begets more violence and oppression. That respect begets respect. That the construct of superiority of tribe and/or religion is only useful to those

who seek to perpetuate themselves in power to the detriment of ordinary people. I believe that real economic empowerment and reeducation will make our cities have more tolerant, more cosmopolitan and more secure communities. The fact is that we are weaker, easier to exploit and attack, when we are hungry and dependent. In the end we have more in common than divide us, more common enemies to fight than differences. We must as individual Northerners must look inward. Agriculture must be supported, not on small subsistence scale but on a scale that is capable to empowering poor farmers, their families and employees. Northern politicians and self-styled philanthropists should be judged based on how much concrete, sustainable development they have brought to the North. We must begin the critique from within. I want to be able to drive through the Muslim Tudun Wada and Rigasa in Kaduna and not feel afraid. I want to be able to invite my Muslim friend who lives in Badiko to the nonMuslim Sabo where I live and not be scared that if a crisis breaks out, I alone may not be able to save him. Today I cannot. Tomorrow can be better. Elnathan John is a public affairs analyst

Azazi and security challenges in northern Nigeria (II) incompetence in handling the matter is usually reflected in every of his utterances and those of the principal officers of his government. On a number of occasions they claimed to be winning the battle when the reality points to the contrary. Their statements always smack of contempt for the people of Nigeria who directly bear the brunt the violence. The president once said suicide bombing was a phenomenon Nigerians must learn to live with. On another occasion his chief of defence staff, Air Marshall Oluseyi Petinrin said the bombings will fizzle out whenever Boko Haram runs short of suicide bombers. And very recently Labaran Maku, Jonathan’s information minister, bizarrely canvassed media blackout for anything linked to the sect, including their atrocious acts I suppose, as a way of rendering them irrelevant. Maku needs to be reminded that in the scenario

he is trying to construct it is the ordinary Nigerian that will get hurt most if attacks like those we see each day go unreported. As a student of conflict resolution I strongly subscribe to Azar’s suggestion that: ‘In resolving protracted conflict, a collaborative problem solving process can be utilised to overcome deep seated mistrusts and hatred. A problem solving approach conveys a view that conflict has to be treated as something to be resolved, not to be won through an adversarial process.’ Without any doubt Boko Haram’s ability to inflict maximum havoc is not withering away. Any bid for negotiation should take this into consideration and, against this backdrop, a space must be created for concession. Among the issues that must be addressed immediately is the empowerment of people. Some glimmer of hope, at least, needs

to be given in the form of grassroots regeneration, targeting youths particularly. Ignorance, which creates a lush terrain for manipulation, must be fought headlong. But most importantly justice must be allowed to flourish, as a right and not some privilege that could be withdrawn at will. Postscript: Hobbes’ state of nature The news of Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde’s murder over the weekend at his residence in Benin City, came to me as a rude shock, although there has been no shortage of reports of similar gory happenings over the past few months. He was until his death the Principal Private Secretary to Edo state Governor Adams Oshiomhole. Truth be told, Nigeria is fast becoming a failed state and it remains to be seen whether any attempt will be made to halt the drift. I won’t be in any hurry to forget our trip to Sudan in early

2004, how the slain comrade and I missed our return flight to Lagos and ended up spending the next 24 hours at the Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi. There was no dull moment in that long wait as we discussed Nigeria’s evolving crisis of democracy. Not a moment did I think that today I will wake up to the dreadful news of his brutal assassination at a time Nigeria is clearly in tatters. Add this to the recent suicide bomb attack on THISDAY newspaper and the threat issued on other newspapers, as well as the massacre of cattle herders in a market in Potiskum, Yobe state to mention a few, you get a depressing picture of what Thomas Hobbes referred to as a State of Nature, where wars were waged by all against all. That is how low Nigeria has sunk. Concluded Aliyu Musa wrote in from Liverpool Hope University, Hope Park, Liverpool, UK


By Justine John Dyikuk


s a concerned Nigerian, public affairs analyst and cleric, I write this rejoinder concerning the above subject matter which I regard not only as a war of words, attack on a revered ecclesiastical personage and deception but an outright play on the intelligence of Nigerians. It is important to get things right. In the Catholic Church, an Archbishop is addressed as, Your Grace and not My Lord and Abuja is not just a diocese but an Archdiocese. What seems unclear to many like me is who, between one Pius Adesanmi, whose name appears at the beginning of the text, and the presidential spokesperson, Dr. Reuben Abati, whose name is appended at the end of the writeup, is the real author of the piece in question. Since the latter’s name was affixed underside the bit and he is the presidential ‘town-crier,’ one would say, Abati we know but Adesanmi, we don’t! Meaning, we know where it is coming from; because the writer equally inferred that the Archbishop Onaiyekan was referring to Mr. President! I would just pick some sensitive points made therein which sound philosophically illogical and irrational as well as practically confusing and contradictory. You said, “President Jonathan was quick to recognize that terrorism has been a global threat since September 11, 2011 and had the presence of mind and sense of judgment to realize that it is now Nigeria’s turn to be attacked by terrorists.” I dare to put it to you that experience and common sense tell us that recognizing danger is not the same thing as taking decisive steps to nip the situation in the bud. To say it is our turn to be attacked


Re-Letter to Archbishop Onaiyekan by terrorists is the unkindest cut of Do these words sound like being subsidy is now shamefully the millennium to the Nigerian on top of the situation? On the proclaimed from the rooftop as an populace. Are you saying that contrary, these words are achievement. One wonders why what we are now facing is our own proactive, assertive, alive and Abati, who had written articles share of the ‘international cake’ of active. One is surprised at the against the removal of fuel terror? phrase, being on top of the subsidies, one of which, in 2009, he titled: “We In your Shall Start frantic defense of Stoning the the status quo, Economists in you said, “As Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text the Official soon as he (the Corridors,” is president messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written now an apostle addition, mine) contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 of this had that words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and quagmire. Is epiphany, he a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed this the case of took a bold step to: his sipping the that no world irresistible juice leader has ever The Editor, of power or it is taken on terror; Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, just the case of he reassured the 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. the undoing of Nigerian people Email: let professionalism? that Boko The conclusion Haram and SMS: 07037756364 is, he has joined o t h e r the cabal, the manifestations of terror would end in Nigeria by situation, often used by Mr. kitchen cabinet – in fact, a June 2012.” Knowledge of logic President. Taken literary, it means compromising yes-Lieutenant to reveals this as a fallacy of hasty our leaders are on top, enjoying the a do-it-General What is more worrisome is the conclusion. What bold steps has ivory palace of comfort while the government taken about the war masses are below, feeling the heat. remark that, “He struck a deadly on terror? Is it the partial state of I challenge anyone from the south blow against corruption and freed emergency in some volatile states? to take a vacation to the North-East up subsidy money for investment infrastructure…” What Is it the check-point approach to and you will know what being on in infrastructure is the Dr. talking security measures? How many top of the situation breeds! surveillance helicopters do we see I make bold to opine that giving about? Is it the epileptic power moribund railway flying about to say the least of an expiry date to the war on terror supply, community-policing? is treating the matter with kid system, insecurity of lives and poverty and Your assumptions and gloves. This is far from an property, conclusions are far-fetched. To achievement save only being unemployment? The call on foreign investors refresh your memory, President failure to read the handwriting on Barack Obama in his inaugural the wall. The Scripture is clear on “…to ignore the threat of Boko speech said concerning terrorists: this when it says, “Just when Haram and go about their business “we will defeat you…” His people are saying: Now peace and peacefully in Nigeria” is an predecessor, George Bush declaring security are ours, suddenly ruin invitation to play in the lion’s den. the war on terror on September 20, will come upon them” (1 Thess. ‘Ignore’ is not synonymous with 2001 said, “Our grief has turned 5:3). What do we make of the recent taking ‘measures (security)’ and to anger and anger to resolution. attacks in Bayero University, Kano harkening to this unpopular and illusory creed is attempting to stop Whether we bring our enemies and Jalingo - Taraba States? to justice or bring justice to our One is shocked that the the thunder with one’s head. Having tasted power, Abati enemies, justice will be done.” controversial removal of fuel


now boldly eulogises his boss by reminding Nigerians of the latter’s famous feat namely being on the list of one hundred most influential people in Times Magazine. If one may ask, how many of such people so- recognized, are talking about it or consider it a-noise-makingventure? If the likes of Bill Gates would prefer a low profile what are we talking about? We must note that Nigeria is the most populous nation in Black Africa. Endowed with human and natural resources, she has paid her dues in the areas of music, movies, sports, the academia to mention just a few. As such, any president coming from a country like this cannot but be a celebrity in the eyes of the world. Suffice it to point here that, the Archbishop, like any other concerned, sensible and sensitive Nigerian, has the right to air his opinion. Secondly, he, like other clerics of his right, has the prophetic mandate of sticking to consciousness. Truth is like hot tea, whether you serve it hot or cold depends on you. Telling the ecclesiastic to upgrade his knowledge of the Nigerian realities before granting an interview is daring the intelligence of a man of many distinctions and standing in the way of God’s anointed to proclaim the truth. To Adesanmi, I say, is this the prize of majoring in English and African Studies? To Abati, some words are more powerful than others – measure yours on the DIVINE WORD and the POSTERITY of this great nation. I rest my case! Fr. Justine John Dyikuk, a Catholic Priest and a Public Affairs Commentator, writes from Bauchi.

Restoring the integrity of our public examinations By Simeon Nwakaudu


he loss of integrity of our public examinations occasioned by the variants of examination malpractice engaged by students and their teachers during public examinations across the country has generally been a source of national embarrassment. Critics of the way the public examinations were hitherto run have had a field day tearing the public examination structure of the nation. Every possible angle on why the nation’s public examinations structure lagged behind international standard had been x-rayed and in many instances, the public examination bodies operating in the country scored below average in the rating of these ‘examiners’. In the last 10months, however, most people, especially critics of the public examination structure have not been in the media discussing the lapses of these agencies with the intensity that they did in the past. Even though some harsh criticisms are still out in the public space, they are far and in between, with some of them based mainly on data that are no longer operational. In the last 10months, the Minister of State for Education,

Barr. Ezenwo Nyesom Wike with supervisory responsibility on the two examination bodies in the country, the West African Examination Council, WAEC and the National Examination Council, NECO, has been able to instill a renewed process that has reduced the cases of examination malpractices in the examinations conducted by these two agencies. To begin with, the two agencies have conducted three senior secondary certificate examinations between July (2011) and now. One common fact that is similar for the three examinations is that non of the question papers leaked. This is a rare feat in view of where the nation is coming from as regards the conduct of public examinations in recent past. During a press conference to mark WAEC 60th Anniversary in Lagos, a journalist had sought to know what measures were taken to ensure that question papers used during the last November/ December WAEC Private Senior Secondary Examinations did not leak to students. Minister of State for Education, Barr. Wike embargoed this question declaring that though it was a compliment, it negatively affected the operations of the council. Wike working with other

stakeholders to fight examination malpractice visited the headquarters of NECO in Minna where he alongside the management of the council strengthened the quality assurance process of the agency. The positive results of these steps are now manifesting. In March, under the supervision of the Minister of State for Education, NECO management engaged the generation and development of quality test items to improve the standard of its examination in line with international standards. For NECO, other critical success points since July 2011 have been the early release of results for students to make optimal use of them, accreditation and reaccreditation of schools for participation in public examinations and the development of new syllabi in September 2011 with a focus to improving the entrepreneurial skills of Nigerian children. With the approval of the Minister of State for Education, Barr. Wike, NECO undertook the sponsorship of staff to attend seminars, workshops and conferences with a view to enhancing their competences in the conduct of examinations. Protecting the integrity of the

examinations conducted by NECO in the last 10months have been given the priority that it deserves, with operatives of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps directly involved in examination security. Lecturers of tertiary institutions have also been used to fight against the examination malpractices with their participation in recent examinations by NECO. This strategy had actually reduced, to a reasonable extent, the significant incidences of examination malpractice thereby enhancing the quality of NECO certificates as well as providing a more valid picture of students’ performance at the secondary education level. This is a major area that the Council had contributed immensely towards the Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government considering that such valid descriptions of students’ performance had provoked discourse for urgent reforms in the education sector. For Wike, the restoration of the integrity of the certificates awarded to Nigerian students upon the completion of their public examinations is paramount. In the course of this period for instance, there has been greater voluntary

acceptance of the certificates awarded by NECO, the more recent of the two examination bodies under his supervision. Moving forward, Wike believes that further steps should be taken by the government to discourage examination malpractice and develop a future generation of Nigerians who would not seek corrupt means to attain educational qualification. He is in concert with the managements of WAEC and NECO working out strategies and methods to consolidate on the successes that have been recorded by the two agencies in the coming years. Fundamentally, Nigerians must understand that these public examination bodies are meant for quality assurance. They are not expected to groom the students, but to provide generally acceptable tests for them at the end of their studies on the basis of existing syllabi made known to the students. This understanding will guide whatever comments people make about the operations of these agencies. Clearly, there has been a departure from the gloomy past and this should be appreciated. Simeon Nwakaudu is the Special Assistant (Media) to Minister of State for Education.



Katsina state on the tracks of change By Mohammed Aliyu Maska


ueller and Dweck (1998) gave 400 children a test and then told each that they had got 80% right. They then told half that this must be because they were intelligent and the other half it must be because they worked hard. They then offered them all a choice of an easy task or a hard task. 65% of those told they were clever chose the easy task, which was chosen by only 45% of those who were praised for effort. In other words, those who had been praised for being clever subsequently avoided difficult tasks that might make them appear less intelligent. Interestingly also, more of those who had been praised for effort chose the harder task as they now saw hard work as gaining desirable praise. Further tests found that those praised for effort worked harder whilst those praised for intelligence worked less. If you tell a person they already have the ability do so something, you are also telling them that they do not need to work. The bottomline is that praise is not a magic pill. If you praise anyone for anything, then the praise is meaningless. If you make them look good they may

want to stay looking good and so become risk-averse. For praise to be motivating it has to be sincere, specific and deserved. To be sincere, you have to believe the praise that you are giving. For this, you need to make some kind of judgement that determines the person as good in some way, in comparison with some standard or mark. One way of doing this is noting that the person is doing things better or achieving some goal. Another way is comparing them with others, showing they are the best at something or better than another person. The former method is often the better approach as social comparison can also bring social anxieties with it. I am thus opting for that approach in my assessment of the strides made by the Katsina state Governor, Ibrahim Shehu Shema in the five years of his stewardship of the state. I would also avoid praising the Governor for being clever so that he will not subsequently avoid difficult tasks that might make him appear less intelligent. I therefore only praise Shema’s effort so he may choose to continue confronting harder tasks like those in the second group in Mueller and Dweck’s

test who saw hard work as gaining desirable praise. In this regard, one needs to share with the world the giant achievements of Shema’s administration in the execution of the Millennium Development Goals projects in Katsina state. That Katsina State has benefitted from all the four grants given to states so far because of good performance is no exaggeration. Having completed all the projects started and with no case of abandoned project or revoked contract, Shema’s administration certainly has a story to tell.

Specifically, Shema has from 2007 thus far, executed six semi-urban water schemes in communities around the state with each supplying clean water to over 5,000 people. This is aside from over 192 solar-powered boreholes constructed, 850 hand-pumped boreholes, construction and equipping of 39 maternal and child clinics, and 19 maternal and children wards in rural areas. The administration also has to its credit the construction and equipping of 18 wards across the state’s general hospitals, construction 240 VIP latrines,

This is aside from over 192 solar-powered boreholes constructed, 850 hand-pumped boreholes, construction and equipping of 39 maternal and child clinics, and 19 maternal and children wards in rural areas

training of 100 VVF patients, distribution of 33,300 mosquito nets and the purchased 2 new ambulances and two new generators for VVF Hospital Babbar Ruga. It is well known that to carry the local governments along in the implementation of the MDGs, three local governments were selected in each state in Nigeria. For Katsina State, Mashi, Kaita and Musawa were selected. Already the state government has released N300million to local governments MDGs account, and we have also received N300Million from the federal government for the projects. All is set for the local governments to award the contracts after due process. Now the people can understand why the Emir of Daura conferred the title of Sarkin Yakin Hausa on Governor Shema. There is only one explanation to the success of our story of Shema’s administration in this respect- willingness to dedicate himself, will to succeed, inherent desire to achieve, sensitivity to the needs of people, perseverance and sheer hard work, and the courage to keep going. Maska contributed this piece from Funtua local government, Katsina state

Suswam: Harbinger of a new Benue generation R Philip Agbese

t. Hon Gabriel Suswam is one young gentleman whose exemplary leadership qualities will continue to speak for the new generation of leaders in Benue State as far as effective service delivery to the people is concerned. With a Spartan commitment to duty, very dynamic Gabriel Suswam has proven to the whole world that the rigors of the exalted office of the Executive Governor of a state demands more than experience or ethnic affiliation. Many who sought to govern the state with him at the 2011 general elections came with very impressive past records of achievements in their chosen endeavours, Suswam who was well armed with his belief in what development should be all about in a 21 st century Benue State, approached the people with a single message, ‘I am young, not tired and still ready to serve you better. According to the popular saying, the devil you know is better than the angel you do not see. In fact as for us and Gabriel Suswam, it was a covenant of visible massive infrastructural development rather than the numerous bridges across the dry lands of Gboko, Otukpo, Otukpa and other places promised by opposition flag-bearers. The results of the wishes of the people as genuinely expressed through the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the attendant legal tussle which

followed and its corresponding landmark verdicts at various levels are serious signs that no individual or group of persons can ever fool the people again. Despite these persons’ undemocratic posture or lack of proper understanding of legal terminologies as quoted by our learned jurists to resolve all issues articulated by learned counsels or a combination of both, Gabriel Suswam has continued to pilot the ship of state affairs like a locomotive train without breaks while in motion. He has remained unstoppable in his covenant with the peace loving people of Benue State who voted him into power. Suswam has once again set an unbeatable legal record that legitimate house owners can not be vacated on the strength of propaganda or procured sympathy. Who and what Gabriel Suswam represents in building the new foundation of a Greater Benue has continued to remain a source of academic discourse to many students of government and history. By mere ideological reasoning one may be tempted to say Suswam is a Marxist considering his prudence with state funds and equitable distribution of resources to all and sundry and a particular eye on the grassroots. Many of his followers have systematically argued that he is an apostle of Socrates in a modern democracy considering the fact that he carries the trouble of the poor population in terms of food, shelter, clothing and other basic

necessities on his head even as a Chief Executive Officer, a larger population of the youths have come to collectively agree that Suswam is the torch-bearer, the pride and the Ambassador of the new generation in the business of politics. Here is another practical revolutionary who bears no arms but continue to dominate the emerging world of democracy with a clear vision centered on accountability to public good and single minded belief in service to fatherland. Over the years, the people’s Governor as he is fondly referred to as has proven a singular point on behalf of the youths of this country that our young men and women are capable of competing with their counterparts anywhere in the world by administering a complex community like Benue State and delivering on a larger percentage of the people’s expectations. He has indeed opened a new vista in our day to day discussion that young people should be given a place to test their intellectual capacity while the elders play advisory roles to make sure that things work well. In Borno State we hear about honorary special adviser like the one given to Chief Audu Ogbeh and others. Experience from developed climes also show that nobody in past government becomes useless after leaving office due to the fact that they are always given roles to play to ensure that the dreams and the vision of the founding fathers are harnessed for the benefit of the people.

Of a truth I would not demand that the likes of Unongo, Waku, Ayu and their contemporaries in the struggle retire to bed as there is no rest time for the brain as far as the head continues to work but they must appreciate the post independent builder of a new Benue State, Mr. Infrastructure to return the land back to its lost glory. Deep within the minds of these leaders there should be cause for celebration for being privileged to witness the rebuilding and reconstruction of our beloved state by a gentleman who joined politics under their able supervision. From the long array of young men and women occupying very sensitive offices in the present administration such as the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Commissioners, Secretary to the State Government, Caretaker Chairmen and heads of agencies, one may me tempted to agree that the new order has taken over in Benue State. In reality Gov. Suswam has not relegated the elders to a mere backseat position in the affairs of governance but strategically helped to position the youths as the engine room to effectively deliver the dividends of democracy to the largest population of our people. These honourable young elements are on daily basis displaying their true worth in every assignment given to them. Few examples are Greater Makurdi and Otobi Water Projects achieved under the supervision of Mr. John Ngbede, a revived local

government system where primary education and primary health care services have taken a positive turn under Prince Solomon Wombo and others which will go a long way to show the legacy the man at the centre intends to leave behind at the end of his 8 years in office. To whom much is given so also much is demanded. Mr. Infrastructure has given more than many CEOs that have governed the state in the past considering the resources received from Abuja under these periods in view. We will be mincing no words to write his name in gold in the areas of security of lives and properties which is the priority of any government with a human face. In every ramification Suswam has left indelible footprints that make it impossible for his traducers to triumph and making it possible for those seeking to govern in the future to align their quest with the inspiration driving Mr. Security, “I am young, I am not tired, I want to serve my people, if Suswam can do it, I can also do it for my people too.” Benue sons and daughters are now speaking like the Americans always making references to speeches and achievements of the people’s Governor in every gathering including religious places of worship. Tell me we now have a Marthin Luther King Jnr in Benue State that Nigerians truly need to know. Philip Agbese wrote in from Abuja.



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Abaji inaugurates committee on indiscriminate refuse disposal By Adeola Tukuru

A middle-age woman DJ job at a social function in Bwari, Abuja.

Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

Court to determine 23-yearold’s bail application May 30 J ustice Hussein Baba-Yusuf of Abuja High Court yesterday, fixed May 30 for ruling in a bail application filed by a 23-year-old woman, Jennifer Alumona. Alumona was 19 in 2009 when she and three men were arraigned before the court on a five-count charge of conspiracy, assault and armed robbery. The men are Idris Olayemi, 25; Abdullahi Ibrahim, 25, and Yusuf Mohammed, 28. They were charged with conspiracy, robbery and being in possession of a locally-made double-barrel gun with two live cartridges.

They were also charged with causing voluntary hurt and abetting. Police prosecutor Daniel Oguadinma, told the court that Alumona had on April 28, 2009 led the other suspects to the home of her boyfriend, one Chief Chijioke Ogbeta, and robbed him of his Toyota Corolla car. Oguadinma also told the court that the suspects stole N600,000 from their victim before fleeing. At the resumed sitting on Tuesday, counsel to Alumona, Mr Ijeh Ezekwe, filed an application for bail on the grounds that his client was not

linked to the offence. The counsel argued that bail was based on the presumption of innocence and a conditional right as guaranteed by Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He further argued that mere allegation of abatement would not automatically suspend the provisions of Chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution on the right to bail of an accused. Ezekwe urged the court to release the accused from Suleja Prison custody, pending the determination of the case against her.

But the police prosecutor opposed the application, saying “what the accused was being charged with was a serious offence which is not bailable.” He said that it would not be in the public interest to grant bail to a person charged with armed robbery. Oguadinma argued that the court could only grant bail where there was no sufficient evidence against the accused. He told the court that the prosecution had “hard” evidence to prove that the accused was a member of an armed gang that robbed Ogbeta and prayed the court to dismiss the application. (NAN)

Driver, conductor bag one week in prison for snatching handbag


n Abuja Senior Magistrates’ Court has sentenced a bus driver, Ikechukwu Nzeh, 26, and his conductor James Dike, 20 to one week in prison each for snatching a lady’s handbag. Police prosecutor Amidu Monday, told the court that on May 5, one Promise Joseph of Karamaji Village, Abuja reported to the police that the

two accused persons snatched her handbag. Monday said the handbag contained a long-sleeve shirt, a pair of trainer shoes, Nokia charger, make-up items and N3,000 cash, adding that they also forcibly stole her two Nokia GSM phones. The prosecutor said that the total cost of the items in the handbag was N36,000,

adding that during police investigation all the stolen items were recovered. He said the offence was that of a joint act and theft, contrary to section 79 and 288 of the Penal Code. Senior Magistrate Katsina Alu said that ‘’since the two accused persons have no previous conviction or criminal records, the court

will tamper justice with mercy’’. Alu, however, said that the court would not allow them to go unpunished to deter others of similar minds. He sentenced the accused persons to one week in prison each and ordered that they pay a compensation of N15, 000 to the complainant. (NAN)


s parts of its effort toward maintaining cleanliness in Abaji Area Council of the FCT, the administration of Abaji, has constituted a committee on environmental sanitation, to penalize defaulters, who indiscriminately dump refuse around the council area and the community at large. The Chairman Hon. Yahaya Musa Muhammad, who constituted the committee, headed by Chief Magistrate, Lamino Kabir, told newsmen that his administration is committed to the total environmental cleanliness in collaboration with Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), to prosecute defaulters. According to him, the environmental sanitation committee and the administration will no longer tolerate indecency and unhealthy environment. He tasked the committee to sensitize the residence on the importance of sanitation, to monitor the house hold and ensure proper sanitary of their environment, to inspect Schools, Business Premises Restaurant and Hotels, to ensure compliance with environmental laws and serve as a mobile court in collaboration with Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB). On his part, the chairman of the committee Chief Magistrate Lamino Kabir, thanked the council chairman for giving them the opportunity to serve the council and the community, assuring that the committee will work within the laid down rules without compromise.

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Don’t increase Hajj form rate, pilgrims board warns staff By Adeola Tukuru


he Director, FCT Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Alhaji Ado Faskari has warned its staffs and individuals who transfer their hajj form to people in exchange

of higher amount other than the official rate by the government. The Director in an interview warned that anybody caught in the act will face the wrath of the law, while appealing to the people to be

patient with the available slots. He further enjoined every intending pilgrim to be law abiding and be a good ambassador of Nigeria, and to seek for basic knowledge of hajj rites before paying the money

to the board. Alhaji Faskari explained that the board has modalities on payment as no cash will be received from anybody except bank draft, payable to FCT Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board.

Soft drinks hawker, waiting for customers, yesterday, in Maitama, Abuja.

Man charged with criminal breach of trust


car dealer, Frank Nworah, 28, of Gwarimpa Model City, Abuja, yesterday appeared before an Abuja Senior

Magistrates’ Court on three counts of joint act, criminal breach of trust and cheating. Police prosecutor Salisu

Mohammed told the court that the case was reported at Gwarimpa Police Station, Abuja, by Mr Supreme Ekpo of House 75, First Avenue,

A truck overloaded with passengers along Suleja-Kaduna road recently.

Photos: Mahmud Isa

Gwarimpa, Abuja, on March 28. Mohammed said the complainant reported that the accused and two others, Nelson Nworah and Helen Nworah, now at large, conspired and collected N2 million to buy a car for him. The prosecutor said that after receiving the money, the accused failed to produce a car and converted the money to his personal use He added that the offence was contrary to sections 79, 312, and 322 of the Penal Code. The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges. Senior Magistrate Abdullahi Ilelah granted the accused bail in the sum of N1 million with three sureties in like sum. One of the sureties must be a civil servant on GL 12 and above, he said. Abdullahi said that the sureties must be living in a known and defined address within the jurisdiction of the court. He adjourned the case to May 16. (NAN)

Uniabuja: Group blames staff for instability By Adeola Tukuru


he Coalition of Civil Society for Transparency in Governance (CCSTOG) has attributed the continuous instability at University of Abuja to selfishness and greed on the part of some staff, plotting to remove the Vice Chancellor, Professor James Adelabu. National President of the group, Comrade Ibrahim Alih, told newsmen in Abuja that the continuous instability caused by some students on the campus was championed by lecturers of the institution who were desirous of achieving selfish goals. He challenged the brains behind the crisis to sheathe their words and embrace peaceful dialogue and resolution mechanisms put in place to move the University forward, instead of constituting nuisance, which he said was capable of diminishing the image of the school in public light. The group also called on the students to concentrate on their educational pursuit, instead delving in to issues that that does not affect their education.

Man in court for impregnating another person’s wife


he Police yesterday arraigned one Mr Abdulrasheed Musa, aged 19, of Kabusa Village for impregnating the wife of Mr. YuShehu Mohammed of Karmajiji Village, Abuja. Police Prosecutor Paul Anigbo told the Magistrates' Court that the case was reported at the Lugbe Police station on May 5, by Mohammed. Anigbo said that Musa was caught having a relationship with Zaliha Usman, the wife of Mohammed without the husband's consent. The prosecutor stated that the relationship led to pregnancy, adding that the woman had delivered a child for the accused person. Anigbo said that the accused person was unable to give a satisfactory account of himself when questioned by the police, and that the case contravened section 389 of the Penal Code. The accused person denied the allegation. In her ruling, Magistrate Omolola Akindele granted the accused bail in the sum of N50,000 and two sureties who must reside within the jurisdiction of the court. Akindele said the sureties must also possess a good means of livelihood, and adjourned the case




FAAC allocation for the month of March 2012 S/N




FG (52.68%) States (26.72%) L/govt Councils (20.72%) Derivation (13% of Mineral revenue-oil/gas) Value Added Tax (VAT) & Transfers

613.7 billion

Insecurity: Farmers warn of food shortage from poor harvest


he All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) yesterday in Abuja said that the level of insecurity in the country might affect crop production this year. The Financial Secretary of the association, Dr Tunde Arosanyin, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that a lot of farmers had their morale dampened by the level of insecurity in the country. Arosanyin said that some farmers in the North-East zone had migrated to the southern parts of the country, where it would appear was relatively peaceful, to engage in farming activities. He also said that while some of these farmers had moved to

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

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

DANA AIRLINES (MON - SUN) LOS-ABJ: 07.02, 08.10, 12.06, 15.30, 17.10

US oil major to sell Nigerian assets - Sources


.S. oil major, Conocophillips is selling all of its Nigerian assets including on-shore and off-shore oil and gas fields and a stake in its LNG Brass facility, sources familiar with the situation told Reuters. The assets are expected to attract interest from Nigerian and Asian players and could be sold individually, the sources said, and could help Conocophillips raise several billions of dollars. ConocoPhillips recently completed the spin-off of its downstream activities into Phillips 66, a newly-created independent U.S. refiner. (Reuters)



LOS -ABJ: 9.45, 11.45, 2.45

mirates clinches cargo airline of the year award

Mob: 08033644990


oyal Dutch Shell said it found two fresh on-shore oil pipeline leaks in Nigeria’s Delta region on Monday, three days after the company declared force majeure on exports of the high grade Bonny Light crude due to outages caused by oil theft. “Two new leaks were reported on May 7 on the trans-Niger pipeline at Akpajo and K-Dere in

Ogoniland after a similar number of leaks caused by hacksaw cuts were repaired at the weekend,” Shell spokesman Precious Okolo said yesterday. “A joint investigation team will determine the cause and extent of the leaks preparatory to repair work.” Shell no longer operates in Ogoniland after lengthy disputes with local Nigerians about

pollution. It still has pipelines and other infrastructure there and says it is committed to clearing up spills, whatever the cause. A United Nations report in August last year criticised Shell and the Nigerian government for contributing to 50 years of pollution in Ogoniland, which it says needs the world’s largest ever oil clean-up that could take up to 30 years. (Reuters)

L-R: Assistant General Manager, Edward Property Company, Mr.Olanipekun Taiwo, Osun state Commissioner for Rural Integration and Special Duties, Barrister Ajbola Bashiru, and Secretary to the state government, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti, during the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Ayegbaju ultral modern market, yesterday at the Governor's office, in Osogbo, the state capital.

NIPC partners DICON to boost country’s investment profile By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


he Executive Secretary of Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Engr Mustafa Bello has promised to work with the Defence Industry Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) to enhance the economic development of the country through the promotion of both local and Foreign Direct Investment (FDIs). Engr Bello said this yesterday while declaring open a training programme for some DICON staff members organised by the commission in Abuja.

SELLING 0.3084 203.0357 251.7232 41.5289 155.75

• £ RIYAL $

BUYING 210 250 40 156

SELLING 212 252 42 158

Bello explained that the purpose of the training “is to sell our ideas to your corporation and the service chiefs in general, in order to use them to enhance our economic development.” The NIPC boss, who noted that several countries had used their military might to attract foreign investments, called for the transformation of DICON into a regulator for more effective and efficient services. According to him, the corporation, with the support of the military authorities can produce and customise the equipment needed in the armed

forces to suit the Nigerian environment. Bello also pointed out that in the area of medicine, the military has used its expertise to solve a lot of human problems as well as utilising useful information about the space, agriculture, environment and others in advancing development of the country. In his remarks, the DirectorGeneral of DICON, Major-General Suleiman Usman Labaran stressed the readiness of the corporation to explore new frontiers in the area of capacity building for its staff to run commercial businesses.

Management Tip of the Day

5th May, 2012 BUYING 0.2884 201.7321 250.107 41.2623 154.75


ABJ-LOS: 11.30, 3.45, 4.45 LOS-KANO: 6.15 LOS-KANO (SAT/SUN): 16.30 KANO-LOS: 07.30 KANO-LOS (SUN/SUN): 10.30

- Pg 20

Shell finds two oil leaks in Ogoniland


LOS-KANO : 08.10 KANO-LOS: 11.25 KANO -ABUJA: 11.25 ABUJA-KANO : 10.08


areas where there were dams and reservoirs, some had moved to states that were involved in the lower NigerRiver Basin project. “Some of them have moved to Kogi, where we have the Lower Niger River Basin. Some have gone to Oyo state, and parts of Osun to engage in the farming activities,” Arosanyin, however said that the association had communicated to its members the efforts made by the Federal Government to address the issue of insecurity in the country. The AFAN official said that most of the farmers had their morale dampened because the cost of production was high and the market prices of some their products were not encouraging. (NAN)

ABJ-LOS: 07.20, 09.36, 13.05, 14.40 ABJ-LOS (SAT/SUN): 13.05, 18.00



Know when to give up on your goals

etting goals and sticking to them is important. But you should also occasionally reevaluate your goals. Quitting isn't fun, but sometimes it's necessary. Here are two warning signs that it might be time to abandon your goal: Your goals have adverse

consequences. If you've committed to going to the gym every morning but find that you're too tired to be productive the rest of the day, something needs to give. In these cases, adjust the goal itself or at least how you go about achieving it. Your goals impede other

objectives. Most people have several goals - getting healthy, spending time with family, making more sales calls, etc. If one of your goals is preventing you from reaching another one, decide which is more important. Source: Harvard Business Review




Enterprise Bank chairman reassures customers of improved services


hairman of Enterprise Bank Limited (EBL), Emeka Onwuka, has reassured customers of the bank all over the country that the mandate of the current board and management is to continually deliver quality service to all stakeholders.

Asaba airport to become economic hub of South - south, says Uduaghan


he Delta state governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has disclosed how the state, one of the major oil producing areas in Nigeria is planning to the make the Asaba airport, located at the state capital, the economic hub of the South-South states of Nigeria. The governor told journalists that, aside making the airport a

major economic hub, it would be the ideal model of how a modern airport should look like. Uduaghan said, “We are looking at this airport as the airport of the future in Nigeria. There are many airports across the world that does not have the kind of facilities we have here in Asaba Airport”. Speaking further, he said due

to the slow pace of the airport project since it was awarded to the contractor in 2011, the job has now been split into three and given to three contractors to fasttrack its completion without variation on actual total cost. “I am under pressure from our sister states in the South East Anambra, Abia and Enugu - to get the airport running.”

According to him, despite the unfriendly terrain of the location of the airport due to the nature of the terrain, the government was doing everything possible to level the hill close to the runway, so as to have a runway that would be able not only to take small aircraft but also a wide-body ones such as the Airbus A380 in the near future.

Forte Oil adopts SAP, set to improve operational efficiency


orte Oil Plc (Formerly African Petroleum Plc) has announced the adoption of world-class Enterprise Business solutionSAP across its Business.

Cost optimisation process buoys Transcorp earnings by 19%


he Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) Plc at the weekend announced a 19 percent increase in its revenue from N2.38 billion in 2011from N2.83 billion recorded the previous year in spite of what it described as a “harsh operating environment”.

FMBN clears N364m pension arrears


he Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) is set to pay up the pension arrears of its pensioners totalling N363,585,854.28.

MasterCard profit rises 21 percent on increased spending, beats estimates


he world’s second-largest credit and debit card network, MasterCard Inc. reported a 21 percent rise in quarterly profit as consumers spent more with their cards and revenue rose faster than expenses.

Cabin crew of Aero Conctrators in new outfits

Aero Contractors cabin crew adopts new look


omestic carrier, Aero Contractors has adopted a fresh look for its cabin crew, which the company said is in line with its renaissance and demonstration of innovativeness as one of its core

values. The new wears design launched to mark the airline’s 53rd anniversary introduced a new colour scheme with a variety for both male and female crew, in line with the

Delta Airlines acquires refinery for N24bn


elta Airlines has acquired an oil refinery from ConocoPhillips for $180million (about N24 billion), and expects to recover the investment in its first year ofoperations by saving on fuel costs, the airline said. The acquisition is expected to be completed in the first half of 2012 with jet fuel production beginning in the third quarter. According to statement by the United State carrier, it expects the move to save it $300m a year in fuel costs, which hit almost $12 billion in 2011. The refinery will be tweaked to maximise jet fuel production while production at the refinery will be combined with multiyear agreements to exchange gasoline, diesel, and other refined products for jet fuel will provide 80% of Delta’s jet fuel needs in the

United States. While speaking on the swap agreements with BP and Phillips 66, Richard Anderson, Delta’s CEO noted that: “This modest investment, the equivalent of the list price of a new widebody aircraft, will allow Delta to reduce its fuel expense by $300 million annually and ensure jet fuel availability in the North-East. This strategy is aligned with the moves we have made to build a stronger airline for our shareholders, employees and customers.” Anderson enthused that, “This is a novel deal and the entire industry will be watching with great interest; If it works as planned, expect more deals like this. The high cost of fuel is making every airline look at ways to soften the shocks to their cash flow”.

airline’s corporate brand colours of navy blue, oranage and white. Commenting on the milestone, the Managing director, Captain Akinlawon George said, “This is one of several innovations targeted at re-positioning Aero as the airline of choice. We know we are the market leader and we intend to look the part. The design scheme introduces an assortment, which is also in line with the variety and uniqueness of our product

offering. This is the theme of this effort: Variety and Uniqueness”. George also noted that the airline was witnessing a rebirth, with strong performances over the past two months in on-timeperformance. “On-time performance has become a shared value in our company, and is guarded by all of us. Over the last couple of months our on-time departure has improved to 87%, a remarkable achievement we intend to improve upon within the next few months”, he told journalists.

…As Emirates clinches cargo airline of the year award


t appears a clear coast again for United Arab Emirates Dubia based Emirates Airlines, as its cargo wing, SkyCargo was voted Cargo Airline of the Year for the 24th consecutive year as well the Best Middle-East Cargo Airline. The carrier, which was also named ‘Best African Cargo Airline’, received the accolades at the prestigious Cargo Airline of the Year 2012 awards which held at London’s Lancaster Hotel. Speaking on the award, Emirates’ Divisional Senior

Vice-President Cargo, Ram Menen told the gathering that “these awards are voted for by our industry, and their recognition of the continued success of Emirates SkyCargo is a great honour.” The Cargo Airline of the Year 2012 awards are organised by trade magazine, Air Cargo News and attract votes from freight forwarders around the world. The awards are the only event where the British International Freight Association audits and approves the votes cast.



The score card: achievements of an icon By Miriam Humbe


t is not common place these days to find people exhibit the kind of exceptional steadfastness and patriotism in public office in the same manner Otunba Olusegun Runsewe has shown over the past five years as the Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Corporation, (NTDC). Runsewe has been resilient in executing his assigned task of placing Nigeria on the world map as a tourist destination of choice in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. While exuding confidence all the way as he carries out his constitutional chores, Otunba Runsewe has never failed to boast to all, including foreigners that Nigeria's tourism industry will in no distant future, take over from the oil and gas sector as the highest revenue earner for the country. One is tempted to believe him indisputably as efforts in that regard appear to be yielding results. Although it may not be possible to effectively capture all the achievements in this piece, a few of them are worthy of mention. It is the belief of the NTDC under Runsewe's leadership, that while oil is exhaustible, tourism is sustainable. So the corporation has been giving domestic tourism priority attention, while also marketing the country's image abroad. When he assumed office, Segun Runsewe, set targets for himself which he intended to achieve. Looking at the achievements of NTDC within this time, it will not be out of place to say he has surmounted them all. Some of his achievements includes; changing the Nigeria's tourism slogan from "Practical Tourism" at the inception of his administration to the more befitting, ''Tourism is Life,'

Otunba Olusegun Runsewe attractions to the general public. Apart from these, the NTDC has also concluded the production of a comprehensive Abuja Map and that of the entire country, some of which will be erected throughout the city, building a fish village at Argungu in Kebbi State and there is also plan to build a yam house in Anambra State, where yam festivities is revered. He also promised to build on the achievements of the country's participation at international travel fairs; such as the World Travel Market (WTM) London, FITUR in Madrid, Spain and the prestigious ITB-Berlin in Germany, a feat he has alredy

international rating company to help in the grading and classification of hotels across the country and that it would soon be compulsory for all hotels in the country to install CCTV to enhance security of their guests and staff. Presently, the NTDC has acquired a bio-data machine which captures the data of staff and guests in hotels nationwide to ensure security of lives and property. Collaborations aimed at making Nigeria's hospitality industry world-class reached fever peaks when in conjunction with the Nigerian Television Authority, the NTDC procured

The DG receiving one of numerous awards bestowed o him for his outstanding achievement

establishment of Care Centre that has taken off in the local and international wings of Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja. These centres provide free travel information for all categories of travellers free of charge. Others include signage erected in strategic locations in Abuja, introduction of emergency calls centre for distress travellers, branding of Abuja Metro Buses as a way of showing in picture Nigeria's major tourist

achieved. Also recently concluded are, a new NTDC premises wearing a new look and dotted with beautifully erected boards of major tourist attractions and activities, with restaurants which serve assorted African dishes and also serves as a research centre. Runsewe also hinted that the NTDC has concluded arrangement with AA, UK, an

thousands of the Startimes decoders for on-ward distribution to all Nigerian-based hospitality outfits like Hotels, Eateries, Parks, Travel Agencies, with 6 months subscription package, all for free. According to the NTDC chief, the aim was to sell out our tourism potentials by persuading visitors to Nigeria to embrace and appreciate our local content especially in the area of entertainment while

complementing the transformation agenda in the areas of employment generation and job creation via tourism development. The Journalist-turned tourism developer on March 7, this year, took Nigeria to ITB Berlin, a world gathering which has been on for 46 years. It is a meeting point for serious minded countries that earnestly desire to accelerate and put their economies at the front burner of contemporary global growth, development and trend. It was with this spirit of winning glory for Nigeria and getting the best from 2012 ITB Berlin that Nigeria's delegates conducted and approached business throughout in Berlin leading to many opportunities. The 2012 ITB Berlin was one of the golden moments of Nigeria's tourism incursion into the international market. Chief Runsewe, who was on ground to monitor and direct the conduct of business, had ample opportunity of spreading the gospel according to Nigeria's tourism, emphasising the theme of this year's goal - mobilisation tourism. Chief Runsewe pointed out that President Jonathan had been doing everything humanly possible to make sure that the world understood the true situation of things in Nigeria as against the orchestrated negative media report on the country. Chief Runsewe also revealed that the Mobilisation Tourism Initiative, which had gained world recognition would be lauched in major cities of the world saying "we are staging road show to sensitise and drum support for the Team Nigeria and Nigeria tourism." Making the 2012 ITB Berlin worthwhile was the Memorandum-of-Understanding which the NTDC signed with an American tour broker company, The NTDC has also given support to domestic carnivals and other tourism activities. The annual Calabar Festival, Lagos and Abuja festivals are examples of the manynachievements of the NTDC so far. Indeed, the Osun Osogbo, Argungu and Nwoyo fishing festivals, Ojude Oba, Kano Durbar, New Yam festivals, among others, have been receiving huge support from the NTDC which also freely gives branded promotional materials. Similarly, the corporation has thrown its weight behind the annual Ovia Osese Cultural Festival which holds in Ogori, Kogi State. Otunba Runsewe who described the festival as revered and preserving the Nigerian culture and values assured of the NTDC's support to the annual event both materially and technically. In Kebbi state, the Argungu fishing festival has also been enjoying enormous support and promotion from the NTDC, among which is the construction of a house in fish shape, popularly called The Fish House. The building currently serves as the secretariat for the festival and


It was with this spirit of winning glory for Nigeria and getting the best from 2012 ITB Berlin that Nigeria's delegates conducted and approached business throughout in Berlin leading to many opportunities. venue for committee meetings. Like the Argungu, the Nwoyo fishing festival in Taraba State has also been given a boost, made famous and promoted to an international event since the NTDC decided to throw its weight behind it. Currently, it is ranked among the leading festivals in the country. Durbars in Kano, Katsina and other northern states, as well as the new yam festivals in the South-East, have all also received huge priority attention from the NTDC. The corporation built a Yam House in Igbo Ukwu in Aguata LGA of Anambra State to raise the profile of the event to attract both local and international recognition. The new yam festival has gone through series of transformation, with new events added to it to make it a worthwhile celebration capable of attracting local and foreign tourists. It also believed that the involvement of NTDC in the Osun Osogbo festival has also raised its standard, with local and foreign tourists trooping in every year. The heavy traffic to the festival prompted a need for high sanitary measures, which the corporation responded to by providing mobile toilets. At the recent African Tourism Market, Akwaaba, the NTDC, led by its DG, unveiled the new tourism promotion tripod--food, sports and culture-brilliantly showcased at the exhibition hall. It began with an overwhelming mini-carnival train where special dishes from the 36 states of Nigeria were served to give both local and foreign exhibitors as well as visitors the culinary delight of the country. These achievements have not been unrewarded. On Thursday 22 March this year Tribune Newspapers conferred an award of excellence on Runsewe. Other awards include Chieftaincy titles from the Yoruba community in Abuja, among others.



Tiger Brands in talks with Dangote over flour unit


L-R: President /CEO, Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) Plc, Mr. Obinna Ufudo, Chairman, Transcorp Plc, Mr. Tony Elumelu, Company Secretary, Christopher Ezeafulukwe, and Director, Mrs Angela Nwabuoku, during the 6th Annual General Meeting of the company, recently in Abuja.

200 foreign firms for 2nd Nigeria Investment forum By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


bout 200 foreign companies and 100 local business outfits are expected to send representatives to Abuja next month for the 2nd Nigeria International Investment Forum being organised by the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) in conjunction with Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) and Image Affairs Nigeria Ltd. Briefing newsmen on the preparations for the forum yesterday in Abuja, Executive Secretary of NIPC, Engr Mustapha Bello said the aim of the forum was to lead a global campaign for the untapped investment opportunities in the country, showcase the country’s abundant natural resources to a worldwide audience and stimulate the growth of both local and foreign investments into Nigeria. He added that the forum would give an opportunity for potential investors from around the world to appreciate the investment climate Nigeria has

to offer and to have an interaction with stakeholders on how put together profitable businesses in the country. Engr Bello said the forum would focus the discussions on the infrastructure available for investors to take advantage of as well as exhibition of trade items by the Nigerian private sector. Representative of the CBC,

Mr Greger Mckinon who also spoke at the briefing noted that the first edition of the forum was responsible for the inflow of investments into power sector from both local and foreign sources in the last one year. “The last forum was also able to mobilise investments into Nigeria’s agricultural sector,” he added. He said further that this

Shippers happy over Mile 2Apapa expressway clean-up


he Shippers’ Association of Lagos State yesterday commended the state government for ridding the Mile2/Apapa expressway of the menace of grounded articulated vehicles. The secretary of the association, Mr. Jonathan Nicol, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that clearing the vehicles would enhance free movement of cargoes from the Lagos ports. He said that the exercise of freeing the roads leading to the major seaports was long overdue. The state government on Monday claimed that it had

impounded 60 trucks for allegedly obstructing flow of traffic along the expressway. Nicol said that many broken down trucks had been removed along the Mile 2-Tin-Can port Road, Creek Road and Warehouse Road. “When you have grounded vehicles on the sideways and there are other articulated trucks entering the ports, it automatically narrows the way,’’ he said. The association scribe commended the state government for clearing the expressway. (NAN)

year’s event would seek to encourage investors to put their monies in other vibrant sectors of the country’s economy especially in areas where Nigeria has comparative advantage. The 2nd edition of the Nigeria International Investment Forum is scheduled to hold between 27th and 29thof June, 2012 in Abuja.

outh Africa’s biggest consumer foods maker, Tiger Brands said on Monday it was in talks with Dangote Industries over the Nigerian conglomerate’s stake in its flour milling unit. The talks come amid reports that Tiger Brands is bidding for an 80 percent stake in Dangote Flour Mills, which makes pasta and flour in the country. Shares in Dangote Flour Mill jumped 4.64 percent to N4.96 on Monday, their highest level in more than six weeks. Tiger Brands was little changed at 288.21 rand. Johannesburg-based Tiger Brands did not give further details, saying developments would be reported to shareholders. Buying all or part of Dangote Flour Mills would give the maker of bread, breakfast cereal and energy drinks a substantial presence in the Nigerian food market. Dangote has the milling capacity of 4,800 metric tons per day, producing wheat flour, confectionary flour, bread flour and pasta semolina Banking and company sources told Reuters that Tiger Brands has already done a due diligence and FirstRand’s investment arm, Rand Merchant Bank is its advisor.

Adaptation fund to enhance nations’ climate change- Don


climate change consultant, Prof. Emmanuel Oladipo has said yesterday in Abuja that the Kyoto Protocol Adaptation Fund was put in place in order to help Nigeria and other developing nations cope with climate change. Oladipo said that the initiative was set up so that every developing country would have an opportunity to make proposals that could be funded by the Kyoto Protocol Adaptation fund. He added that this would help the nation to cope with problems associated with climate changes such as flooding,

drought, erosion, and desertification. Oladipo said Nigeria would come up with one or two proposals that would be submitted to the fund in few months to for funding. He said the Kyoto protocol was a serious attempt to make developed nations that are responsible for the largest contribution of the green house gas emission into the atmosphere to reduce their emission rate. He stated that the meeting on adaptation of the protocol was now in a negotiation phase for another five years, which would determine whether it continues or not. (NAN)

Jonathan vows to deal with manipulators of power privatisation programme By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


resident Goodluck Jonathan on Monday threatened to deal with individuals or groups who attempt to manipulate the ongoing privatisation of the power sector. He gave the warning at the end of a one-day Presidential Workshop on power, with the theme, “Dismantling Barriers to achieving our Power Sector Vision”, which took place at the

Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The President noted that everything concerning the privatisation progamme must follow due process in accordance with global best practices as the programme did not just involve Nigerians but also global players in the industry. According to him, “The Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) must follow up on the privatisation issue strictly. We do

not want to hear any story again. They must follow issues to the letter and strictly with the dates. That we must do with dates on the Power Reform Road Map. ”We agreed that it is only through privatisation that we would get to where we want to go and in doing that, let me use this opportunity to warn that I do not want to hear that they have been influenced by any politician. “At least I am the number one politician. Whether the person is

my mother or my uncle, I do not want to hear that somebody is from the President or VicePresident or that; If you make mistakes, you are on your own and we will deal with you decisively”, he declared. On the new electricity tariffs which were scheduled to take effect from February last year, President Jonathan observed that there had not been enough enlightenment to prepare Nigerians for the new prices and

therefore ordered increased advocacy, in order to avoid a repeat of the fuel subsidy upheaval. While noting that he was made to bear the brunt of the fuel subsidy saga because state governors who initially backed the initiative appeared to withdraw under pressure, he added that Nigerians must be adequately educated on the new tariff structure before the June 1 commencement date.




Lake Chad: Once the source livelihood of some 30 million people spread across four countries, this lake is fast vanishing Action is needed to counter an "ecological catastrophe", writes Ahmad Salkida


s you approach the Lake Chad basin from Maiduguri, in northeastern Nigeria, the atmosphere of despair is telling. The air is dusty, the wind is fierce and

unrelenting, the plants are wilting and the earth is turning into sand dunes. The sparse vegetation is occasionally broken by withered trees and shrubs. The lives of herders,

Nigeria’s Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Reng Ochekpe

fisherfolk and farmers are teetering on the edge as the lake dries up before their eyes. Vegetation and water, the traditional staples of livelihood for the Lake Chad community dwellers, are vanishing. Vultures feast on dead cows as drought and desertification take their toll. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has called the

situation an “ecological catastrophe,” predicting that the lake could disappear this century. According to FAO Director of Land and Water, Parviz Koohafkan, the Lake Chad basin is one of the most important agricultural heritage sites in the world, providing a lifeline to nearly 30 million people in four countries — Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Lake Chad is located in the far west of Chad and the northeast of Nigeria. Parts of the lake also extend to Niger and Cameroon. It is fed mainly by the Chari River through the Lagone tributary, which used to provide 90 per cent of its water. It was once Africa’s largest water reservoir in the Sahel region, covering an area of about 26,000 square kilometres, about the size of the US state of Maryland and bigger than Israel or Kuwait. By 2001 the lake covered less than one-fifth of that area. “It may even be worse now,” says Abbas Mohammed, a climatologist at the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria. Dams and irrigation The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), a regional body that regulates the use of the basin’s water and other natural resources, maintain that inefficient damming and irrigation methods on the part of the countries bordering the lake are partly responsible for its shrinkage. Emmanuel Asuquo-Obot of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), an organization devoted to wildlife conservation, points to the diversion of water from the Chari River to irrigation projects and dams along the Jama’are and Hadejia Rivers in northeastern Nigeria. As parts of the lake dry up, most farmers and cattle herders have moved towards greener areas, where they compete for land resources with host

Passengers in Nigeria taking ferries to cross Lake Chad whose shoreline is receding because the lake is drying up.

communities. Others have gone to Kano, Abuja, Lagos and other big cities for menial jobs or to roam the streets as beggars. Those who remain in Lake Chad shoreline communities such as Doron Baga are haunted by the speed with which the lake is vanishing. The Doron Baga settlement, which used to be by the lakeside, is now 20 kilometers from its edge. Alhaji Baba Garba, a 78year-old fisherman who has spent his life on the banks of the lake, says that much

of the village used to be alongside it. Pointing at one of his children in his mid30s, Garba adds, “even before that boy, Suleiman, was born.” Another villager, Salisu Zuru, laments the death of livestock. The once busy Baga market in Maiduguri, where truckloads of fish from the lake used to be processed and then transported daily to other parts of the country, is now quiet. The villagers must now travel by canoe and on foot for days from Doron Baga to Daban Masara, then to Darak in search of

As parts of the lake dry up, most farmers and cattle herders have moved towards greener areas, where they compete for land resources with host communities

food. Darak is an affluent fishing community to the east of Cameroon’s border with Nigeria. Tensions rise The impact of the drying lake is causing tensions among communities around Lake Chad. There are repeated conflicts among nationals of different countries over control of the remaining water. Cameroonians and Nigerians in Darak village, for example, constantly fight over the water. Nigerians claim to be the first settlers in the village, while Cameroonians invoke nationalistic sentiments, since the village is within Cameroonian territory. Fishermen also want farmers and herdsmen to cease diverting lake water to their farmlands and livestock. The LCBC — established by the leaders of Chad, Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger in 1964 and later joined by the Central Africa Republic in 1994 — and its partners continue to make efforts to save the lake or at least mitigate the impact of its shrinkage on people’s

lives. In his book An Inconvenient Truth, former US Vice-President Al Gore shows several images of the lake shrinking from 25,000 square kilometres in 1963 to

just 1,500 square km in 2001. However, a 2007 satellite image shows improvements from previous years. Recent drought may

again have worsened the situation, says Professor Mohammed of the University of Maiduguri. He urges the LCBC and its partners to tackle the

Lake Chad goes dry: Once one of the largest water masses in the world

impact of climate change, as well as to control damming and irrigation by the LCBC countries. Replenishment plans The commission’s member countries have plans to replenish the lake by building a dam and 60 miles of canals to pump water uphill from the Congo River to the Chari River and then on to Lake Chad. The replenishment project “will be the first of its kind in Africa,” says Martin Gbafolo, the LCBC’s director of water resources and environment. The commission has raised more than $5 million for a feasibility study. Although the total cost of the project will not be known until the study is completed, experts like Professor Mohammed expect it will take a huge injection of funds to save the lake. Already the World Bank is providing $10.6 million for a project to reverse land and water degradation in parts of the lake. In addition, the LCBC is educating livestock herders on gaining access to grazing and watering areas. Water users are taught efficient water-utilization methods and fishermen more appropriate techniques for catching fish. At the opening of the African World Forum on Sustainable Development in N’Djamena, Chad, in October 2010, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan stressed the collective determination of leaders of the LCBC member countries to salvage the lake. But among the 30 million people who depend on it, there is uncertainty as to how much longer the lake will remain and when they will be able to get a relief. (Pambazuka News)



Hyundai Azera: Unrivalled safety, unsurpassed performance


t makes sense that likely premium car buyers have extremely high expectations. They've got a lot riding on their decision. The 2012 Azera was designed to offer a complete classleading power, ride and handling that particular drivers value most. A good measure of Azera's innovative thinking starts under the hood. The 3.3L V6 engine creates an effortless flow of power and surprising fuel efficiency using advancements that include Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) and Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (D-CVVT). Getting the optimal mix of fuel and air into the combustion chamber is the holy grail of engine tuning. It's a simple goal that can get very complicated. But Hyundai takes advantage of Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) to inject the fuel directly into the combustion chamber. The result: high levels of both power and MPG. The Azera's 6-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC makes skillful use of all the power its V6 engine generates and efficiently applying it to the road, as the driver requires. The Azera is one premium sedan that knows what to do with all of that fluid power when the road turns, or turns rough. Equipped with SACHS ASD suspension, it delivers a sophisticated, smooth ride over road surfaces that aren't smooth at all. Don't let their beautiful design and impeccable finish fool you. These wheels give a big boost to Azera's composed and confident stance on the road. Both the standard 18-inch or available 19inch Hyper Silver alloy wheels enhance the Azera's appearance and handling. With nine airbags standard, knees finally get the respect they deserve. Adding a driver's knee airbag is just part of Azera's safety story.

Truth is, with all of the innovative safety features that are standard on every Azera, the feeling of security is all-encompassing. Its extensive passive safety technology adds to the secure feeling that comes with driving the Azera. For protection in a collision, Azera's nine-airbag safety system includes front airbags (2), front and rear sideimpact airbags (4), side-curtain airbags (2), and even a driver's knee airbag (1). The front seats in the Azera provide the comfort and support one expects, but buried deep within their design is the increased ability to absorb impact in the event of a rear-end collision. This type of structural reinforcement has been shown to reduce neck and head injuries by 17%. At the center of Azera's active safety technology is its Vehicle Stability Management system

(VSM). To help you avoid a collision, stay on course or drive safely in bad weather, VSM automatically manages several important safety features including: Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TCS), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA). According to national insurance claims, over 25% of accidents happen while in reverse. When reverse gear is engaged, the rearview image with parking guides is displayed on the Azera's 7-inch navigation touchscreen to increase your vision and awareness. For challenging maneuvers in tight parking lots or while parallel parking, these sensors provide an audible warning signal when nearby obstacles are detected. Imagine, a sculpted body with impeccable tone and definition.

Hyundai's Fluidic Sculpture design philosophy has quickly won many admirers, accolades and owners around the world. The all-new Azera is the latest interpretation of this dramatic design language that creates a sense of speed and movement. With their jewel-like facets, the Azera's LED front accent lights and HID headlights flank an elegantly curved grille, helping the driver see and be seen. In addition, highefficiency LED lighting minimizes energy consumption and maximizes Azera's sense of style. The panoramic tilt-and-slide sunroof opens up the Azera's spacious interior to a world of natural light and expansive views. Its design makes the most of a satisfying driving experience and puts you closer to the environment. Lovely to look at and a delight to the ears, the exhaust system is beautifully integrated into the rear bumper. It's also tuned to

complement a powertrain designed for power and efficiency. More front leg room and head room than any other vehicle in its class. The world is a beautiful place from the vantage point of Azera's 12-way adjustable power driver seat. With heated and ventilated front seats, premium audio systems and power rear sunshade, the Azera provides plenty of entertainment and luxury options for everyone. The driver and passengers can enjoy an array of available seating options that include: front and rear heated seats, ventilated front seats, and power front seats with an adjustable driver seat cushion extension. The driver seat also features an optional Integrated Memory System with two memory settings for the seat, steering wheel and side mirrors. Rear-seat passengers have access to a slate of added comfort features including an innovative power rear sunshade, manual rear side-window sunshades and second-row air vents. At the touch of a button, the power rear sunshade deploys to block out the sun, keeping the interior cool even in summer. When reverse is selected, it retracts to provide a clear view behind the vehicle. When the sun drops below the horizon, the mood in Azera's cabin changes. Its distinctive interior lighting system adds soft, ambient light and a sculptural quality. This innovative technology makes driving safer, easier and more fun. By keeping your car connected at all times, Blue Link can help you find a gas station or a shortcut, learn about mechanical issues, get regular maintenance alerts, call for help and much more. The Azera can help you recharge or reach out. Its standard Dimension 450-watt audio system includes a subwoofer and external amplifier. It also offers HD Radio technology with multicasting. Plus, the iPod/USB port and auxiliary input jacks make for great connections as does the Bluetooth hands-free phone system. Select the available Infinity 550-watt Logic 7 audio system for even more power, speakers and features. Command all that you convey. The Azera's power tilt-andtelescopic steering wheel features cruise, audio and phone controls. The instrument cluster provides driver information including fuel economy and advanced vehicle settings. The Azera's sophisticated navigation system delivers added convenience, safety and capability. Its centerpiece is the 7-inch, highresolution touchscreen display. Using voice command recognition or prompts via the touchscreen, you can access images from the rearview camera or get information on traffic, weather, sports and stocks from your 90day trial of Sirius XM Satellite Radio. Approach the vehicle with the Proximity Key, push one button on the door and the Azera recognizes you and then unlocks the door.



Burma boys and strange wars


BOOK REVIEW By Ikhide R. Ikheloa (Nnamdi)

with Patrick-Jude Oteh 0803 700 0496, 0805 953 5215 (SMS only)

Continued from last Wednesday


here is plenty to frustrate the reader in this book. Bandele obviously read a lot of books about the Burma experience and it shows. It is not a pretty sight however. Numerous scenes are lovingly slapped together and they hang together, tough but separate, hardly ever jelling in this unlikely stew of a story – like the unhappy ingredients of a pot of okro soup put together by a hungry and impatient cook. Every ingredient stands alone refusing to play Bandele’s dream symphony. The okro soup’s richness is rendered destitute by the narcissism of its feuding ingredients. For example, in design and execution, chapter 1 is easily the best part of the book, but what is the point of this chapter other than to introduce a perversely eccentric character – Major Wingate? Also characters are born and rapidly killed off – there is no staying power. A painful riot of too many minor characters ensures that the reader stays distracted from the message. The book is a caricaturist’s delight. Stereotypes, mostly ethnic fall upon stereotypes and jostle gamely for space in the reader’s limited span of attention. Here, in this book, exaggerations are an inappropriate tool for scoring points. Also since the war theatre remains oblique to the reader, let me suggest that a map of the war theatre in that region (Burma, India, etc) would have been useful. Overweight sentences puff and huff their way through a maze of a story. The very first sentence in the book screams, “I need to go on a diet!” I am not exaggerating; two mere sentences go on for three quarters of a page. Awkward sentences, fat, with muscles in the wrong places and fat everywhere else. Exhibit one: “Godiwillin Nnamdi, a schoolteacher’s son from Onitsha who had joined the army to spite his father for some slight he could no longer remember, ominously announced that only last week two Indian nationalists, who wanted neither the British in their country, nor the Japs, but would prefer the Japs if they had to make a choice, had been caught trying to poison the base’s water supply.” (p 56) There are all these long sentences thrown into a room and thy loll about like grenades that won’t go off. Exhibit 2: “A wandering bomb soared beyond the trucks and disintegrated into several smaller bombs as it struck a tree like an axe with a thousand blades, carving the thick stem into several pieces and flinging the disembodied upper trunk with its crown of shattered branches into the solid undergrowth behind.” (p 114) The attempts at humor only register and arrest the beginnings of a smile on the reader’s face like the beginnings of great sex arrested at half climax.

LAUNDRY am still at a loss why the once revered Chief Ibori allowed this kind of calamity to befall him. What went wrong? On top of my table, I have a picture of him in London after the sentencing with a cardboard hanging on his neck like a common criminal though the prosecutor called him a ‘common thief’. He looked very contrite and very sober and I think very tired too. He must have wanted to put all this behind him and get on with his sentence. Why am I at a loss? Because there are some of us who have been jobless for quite some time who would have willingly consented to be used as a professional laundry and those funds would never have been traced to him. For instance if Ibori had contracted me to be his laundry, for that amount of money I would have gladly gone to jail many times over and his money will still be intact! And I will be the one who will wear that cardboard and very happily too. I am using this medium to appeal to our clueless men and women who cannot seem to get their hands off the till that I am available to launder! I will do a thorough professional laundry job for you that the money will never be traced to you. If I am caught, well I am just an ordinary artist. I will laugh all the way to jail. Let them make 100 cardboards, I will wear it all. Did you read the cardboard? – JAMES IBORI 011ID/ 11091 15/04/2011. Yeepa!! Why not use professionals like us? Like one of our characters in our new play rightly asked – must you wash all your clothes yourself?


The book cover Frustrating. There are good moments. Hear Private Ali Banana, the main character: “...I pay homage to the scorpion for, as the saying goes, he who spurns that which is short, hasn’t stepped on a scorpion. Am I being spurned because I’m short? It surely cannot be because I don’t speak your language. I’ve tried learning it, your eminence, God is my witness. But every time I start from a to z, I get lost somewhere between â and ð, and my head hurts and I have to lie down to recover. May you live long kyaftin sir.’” (p 40) ‘Mules?’ Ali gasped as if stung by a driver ant. ‘Do you know who I am? I’m the son of Dawa the king of well-diggers whose blessed nose could sniff out water in Sokoto while he’s standing in Saminaka. I’m the son of Hauwa whose mother was Talatu whose mother was Fatimatu queen of the moist kulikuli cake, the memory of whose kulilkuli still makes old men water at the mouth till this day. Our people say that distance is an illness; only travel can cure it. Do you think that Ali Banana, son of Dawa, greatgrandson of Fatima, has crossed the great sea and travelled this far, rifle strapped to his shoulder, to look after mules?’ (p 38) Beautiful. And then we find out miles of pages later that this fabulous oratory is delivered by a man who turns out in fact, to be a boy-soldier. Incredulous, such precociousness especially when one realizes that the same child had uttered ‘I here for to killi di Jampani.’ (p 33) It is impossible to see the child in Ali Banana even as the book assures that Ali Banana indeed started out as a thirteen year old soldier. This reader is unconvinced. It stretches credulity.

In Burma Boy, a tedious tale unfolds through the eyes of a writer unfamiliar with the terrain of Burmaand India, the war theatre. It is one thing to be born after an event; it is another thing to have never been at the scene of the crime. The book answers the question each time, with a forlorn “No, I was not there and I have never been there.” Bandele’s knowledge of the geography is not intimate enough and comes across as contrived – as if the writer read about several places and sprinkled the resulting knowledge on several pages of the book. Burmais still a distant, remote land. It is not enough to litter the book with exotic flora and fauna. The landscape is not watered enough, not nurtured enough to keep it alive. Every battle is fought in the same leafy hills, sunken valleys and paddy fields. The book suffers from the rich monotony of a stunted imagination. Then there is this abiding disconnectedness. For example, Chapter 4 seems to start exactly where Chapter 3 did not end and this reader is not sure why. Weak synaptic connections try gamely to string the chapters together. Most times the ends don’t touch and the result is jarring. One just feels lost in this vast jungle that the writer doesn’t seem to conquer. And the reader feels like a hapless soldier, captured and frogmarched through a jungle to nowhere. Once the reader recovers from the climactic end to chapter 1, the book never really builds up again; there is nothing to look forward to. To be continued Source: African

ARTS FUND We are looking for arts minded individuals and people to invest just 1% of the billions floating around in our country in the arts. Just 1%. This is not too much to ask for the arts and the betterment of the society. Can you imagine just 1% of the entire Ibori loot designated as a fund for the arts? Apart from the jubilation in the arts circuit, there will be creativity unprecedented all over the nation. However, I suspect that this will never happen as the people who will give just the 1% do not take artistes and the craft as serious minded people. In their opinion, we will fritter away all the money along with the associated goodwill. IN OUR LIVES Two weeks ago during the trip to Ghana, we were told of organizations in Nigeria folding up and moving to safer climes. This

is being done quietly and it will take us all a long time to note that these organizations are gone. Those who have noticed are only those who need the immediate services of these organizations. Barely a few years ago, one of the places you could catch a good performance and a good dose of elite gossip along with excellent dining and a rooftop bar/restaurant was at the British Council, Abuja. This is no more. The last time I went there, I was denied access to park. There are so many of such places either closed or folding up. The venue of our discussion was the British Council, Accra during break at the AFRIFESTNET launch. The restaurant and the little garden converted to a meeting place was always full during lunch hours. I felt very sad at the things we are losing and the ones we have lost. Pathetic and sad! THE AIR FARES COMEDY After all the noise and grandstanding in respect of BA and VN evading taxes and a demand that they pay some fines and the threat by the aviation minister to ban them from Nigeria if they refuse to play ball or reduce their fares to what obtains even in Ghana, the one month ultimatum given to them to comply or else......all seems to be quiet! The new word from the authorities is that ‘we will need time to study the report and see what exactly is wrong’! Ha HA ha ha ha.......... What exactly do we stand for in this country? THE $200M ARTS INTERVENTION FUND We are still asking and looking for anyone who has accessed this fund. Or what has happened to this fund. I was told in Ghana that it was a political statement! Someone else said it was not our money! That it belonged to the World Bank! Another said, even if it was our money it has been diverted somewhere else! I said I still have a lot of faith in my country that the money is there and that it is we artistes that are refusing to access the fund....... I am of the opinion that the CBN is in custody of the funds. And guarding it jealously for artistes. I want to appeal .....our organization needs money and very urgently too. We have plenty of collateral – costumes, drums, keyboards, human capital....we need the money urgently. Our 2012 program is already running late. How can we access it?



Hearing the voice of the voiceless at Betty Abah’s Abuja reading The April edition of the Abuja Writers’ Forum’s Guest Writer Session had a poet whose work captured, not just personal, but some of the far-reaching effects, on ordinary people, of the challenges that confront the nation, TUNJI AJIBADE writes. “I planned to read the poem, and I had thought that maybe it would make some in the audience cry.” That was what Betty Abah said as an introduction to one of the poems she read at the International Institute of Journalism where she was the Guest Writer of Abuja Writers’ Forum, AWF. She didn’t need to say it loud on that occasion. And that is because anyone who reads the volumes of work of this welltravelled, and highly decorated journalist who was formerly on the stables of Newswatch and TELL magazines would not but feel what she meant, and shed tears for the downtrodden, the voiceless that were majorly the focus of her poems. But then the emphasis once again was more on how effectively she had utilized her genre to convey to the society many an inhuman condition. She used literature to serve a useful and known purpose on that score, and of some of her works, a participant had said, “You score a big blow for women.” That was just one subject in Abah’s work that could make a reader shed tears for the human condition especially in Nigeria. It is because she wrote what she feels, and captured how others feel too. The various subjects in her three volumes of poetry collection resonate with her readers, and one reason is because there is this delicious, down-to-earth touch to her writing. It made some in her audience ask why she writes the way she does, and if she has preference for any specific style of poetry writing. “I don’t have any particular style. I write the way I am inspired,” she said. And she got inspired by the things she sees and what she dreams. Incomprehensible God! is one outcome of such. And there is Peace. Both are in the collection titled, Sound of Broken Chain. That title, also the title of one the poems in the same book cannot be detached from her strong belief in the possibility of a man undergoing profound changes. “When a man who drinks too much alcohol, or that is mad is changed, chain is broken.” One could see the change that he is no longer mad; “it is like a proof, the sound of a broken chain,” she explained. That turn around in the life of any human being she believes so much in. Such is

Betty Abah enough to make anyone cry because of the relief inherent in the experience, and her religious background is one reason. “My writing is my expression of my being, so you cannot remove religion from me,” she stated while responding to a question on why she takes on her kind of subjects. One of her other poetry collection is Pending Thoughts. And there is her third collection, Go Tell The King. Some of the poems she read from this are When I Die; Surviving Nigeria; Crude Women; Dem Go Say I Be Women, and A Certain Day. The last was what the poet specifically thought might make anyone cry, and no less so the other titles, too. A Certain Day was about one of the plane crashes in the country. The author covered the event as a journalist. And there was a man whose body would not be found; relatives of other victims collected bodies from the site of the crash, and carried out burial ceremonies, but not his. His people came and collect soil. They wanted something to bury. The journalist saw this and thought of the child of the deceased. What thought would a child have of a father that was dead but whose body never confirmed it? So she wrote. And what she penned was less about the effect of the ineptitude displayed in high places in this clime that led to loss of lives in plane crashes, than the thoughts in the head of a child about his late father: “…I dreamt that last night/playing tennis with good, laughing Daddy/ I had grown a big, big boy/ and Dad was in shorts and all/ I said Daddy, are you home at last? He smiled and then ran as fast and fast away/ I ran after, calling Daddy come back!..” Women are not left out of Abah’s writing, as well as the issue of environmental degradation. How she conveyed the condition of women in her poems would draw sympathy, and the devastation in the Niger Delta region of the

country would draw tears. As for the environmentalist part of her, the author had even boasted to an associate of hers when she was on her way to the reading in Abuja that she would use the occasion to carry on the struggle against the degradation of the earth. And that some of her poems did do. Some call her a feminist because of the course she had deployed her genre to pursue. “But you don’t need to be a feminist to know there is so much oppression going on.” She recalled how women in some parts of SouthSouth would hold umbrella and stand outside the Town Hall during a general town meeting, while what men and youth discuss within the hall is passed to them from mouth to mount. They stay outside because women cannot be part of the decision making, and they need umbrella to shield off the element. Youth means young males, and never females, so when oil companies ‘settle’ communities, women are treated as if they don’t exist, Abah informed her audience. J.P Clark is the author’s favourite poet, and she reads Maya Angelou’s work a lot. And Abah is so passionate about her writing that she writes only what she feels strongly about. Someone once asked her to write poems on some specific issues for a pay, but

she declined because it is not her mode of putting pen to paper. It must be a sign of how serious she takes her work, how passionate she feels about the subjects she takes on. In all, she fights for a cause with her writing. It’s one other thing, as expected of literature, that Abah’s writing does so well in her three collections. Several other artists expressed themselves under the watchful direction of the Master of Ceremony, Seun Badejo. Their presentations were a part of extra treats of the day. Kamal Balogun, a member of AWF, performed a poem in Igala language to everyone’s delight. What his watchers missed in language they got in the actions that conveyed the message. Tokunbo Edwards played on his guitar music that some said “tended towards ‘rock,’” and to satisfactory applause from the audience. And Chime Emembo showed paintings that he themed, Christian religious art. He developed the theme based on his religious conviction, and a particular painting in his collection that had Jesus drawing a man out of water was titled, The Saviour. Lami Yakubu’s short story, The Stillborn, was received with enthusiasm and her crisp sentences were commended by the 2008 NLNG Literature Prize nominee, Ozioma Izuora, as something that she, as a lawyer, particularly liked. Chido Onumah, a banker, read two poems with the titles: The Almanjiri, and Epitaph on the Plateau, which reflected the ongoing violence in that part of the country. The Special Guest at the event was Alhaji Bilya Bala, a Director at People’ Media Limited, publishers of People’s Daily newspaper, who in his speech enjoined writers not to relent in carrying the flag of their art forward. Other notable personalities at the even include Chinyere Obi-Obasi, 2011 NLNG Literature Prize nominee; Oke Ikeogu, a published poet and many others. The next AWF’s Guest Writer Session takes place on May 26. Ajibade wrote from Abuja.

PEOPLES POEM OF THE WEEK Title: Looking for the ticket By Adeola Ikuomola They turned the nation upside down looking for the ticket They found it and turned the nation to a very thick thicket They tied our necks to their horses and turned them loose They celebrated their gains and the liberty we had to lose They turned the treasury upside down looking for raw gold They found it and turned the treasury to a planet born cold They tied our appetite to the scarce crumbs in their old bins They documented our losses with lunch full of sandy beans They plucked our promising children from our maternal arms They overfed them with strange breast milk served with arms They let them loose like hungry wolves to uproot our dreams They came and transplanted our homes into the cold streams They came amidst trumpets and drums for a golden carnival They exhibited the razorsharp dentition of a furious cannibal They turned the nation upside down looking for our high hope They found, desecrated and tied it to their fragile political rope Our daughters are their cargoes and our fathers their wagons They spit fire and speak in strange tongues laced with jargons We look up to the hill from where comes the old time prophet That he might speak for us like an ordained heavenly trumpet


Cross section of participants

“A religion that takes no account of practical affairs and does not help to solve them is no religion.” –– Mohandas Gandhi.




ondon, United Kingdom A new wave of antiMuslim intolerance and antagonism is sweeping Europe. The far right political gains seen in some parts of the continent are alarming. Antiimmigrant, anti-Muslim and extreme right parties seem to be cashing in on economic hardship and austerity measures. In a blinkered world of "us" and "them" they have found in Europe's Muslim citizens the "others". In this fevered atmosphere of rising nationalism Islam, the religion of its mostimpoverished people, is taking over the continent. Never mind the agonies such sentiments caused when acted upon by the Norway killer, Anders Breivik last year. "Racism is the lowest form of stupidity; Islamophobia is the height of common sense!" said one group in 2008. To any person with a modicum of common sense such attitudes are absurd and bordering on a mythical view of reality. We must check their rise. In a powerful indictment, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, posted a blog about how European Muslims are stigmatised by populist rhetoric (October 2010). "European countries appear to face another crisis beyond budget deficits the disintegration of human value. One symptom is the increasing expression of intolerance towards Muslims. Opinion polls in several European countries reflect fear, suspicion and negative opinions of Muslims and Islamic culture," he wrote. He was not alone in giving Europeans this warning; many people across British politics and media have shared similar sentiments for some time. Amnesty International has shared this concern. In its April 2012 report "Choice and prejudice: discrimination against Muslims in Europe", Amnesty exposes the impact of discrimination on Muslims. Marco Perolini, Amnesty's expert on discrimination, says: "Muslim women are being denied jobs and girls prevented from attending regular classes just because they wear traditional forms of dress, such as the headscarf. Men can be dismissed for wearing beards associated with Islam... Rather than countering these prejudices, political parties and public officials are all too often pandering to them in their quest for votes." Amnesty International has accused France, Belgium and the Netherlands of failing to implement proper laws banning discrimination in employment. It is disheartening that a continent that had learnt many lessons in such a hard


Islamophobia: Europe’s new political disease

Europe has been recently undergoing a wave of Islamophobic hysteria the past few years [AFP] way, after the devastation of the two World Wars, and which prides itself in equality and human rights, is allowing itself to be influenced by the forces of intolerance and hate. It is now open season to malign Muslims because of their religious and cultural practices. Yet Muslim immigrants arriving after the war joined in the effort to rebuild the economies of wartorn Europe in the 1950s. In almost every field of life, Muslims have been an integral part of the European tapestry. Muslims are today at home in Europe, have been contributors to its past and are stakeholders in its future. Yet the language and rhetoric used by the Far Right and the level of political expediency in mainstream European politics is mind boggling. The hate mongers are apparently succeeding in

swapping a racist agenda for an Islamophobic one. The lacklustre response from European leaders has paved the way for anti-Muslim bigotry to move closer to the mainstream. It took a cold-blooded massacre of 77 Norwegian youths by a far-right "Christian" extremist, Anders Behring Breivik last summer, to shake the conscience of Europe's political class. It was a horrendous wake-up call to home-grown far-right violence and ideology, inspired by the rhetoric of vote-chasing politicians, pseudo academics, media analysts and hate groups like the English Defence League (EDL) in Britain. Breivik, in his recent trial, has made vitriolic attack on European leaders for their "impotence" to stand up against Muslim "conquest" of Europe. In this, he is propounding the


"Eurabia" fantasy that is central to the so-called "counter jihadist" movement propelled by ideologues in the USA. Elsewhere, in France, the shockwave of the far-right National Front polling nearly one fifth of French voters in the first round of the presidential elections is still reverberating. Both the socialist candidate and the incumbent president are now wooing the supporters of Marine le Pen. In Britain the recent news that the EDL has joined hands with the British Freedom Party (BFP) is going to have political implications. The BFP was formed in 2010 by disaffected members of the BNP and whatever its stated objectives, its main target is the Muslim community. It wants to ban the niqab, stop the building of new mosques and Islamic schools and outlaw Sharia (as if it runs Britain!) including Islamic

Elsewhere, in France, the shockwave of the farright National Front polling nearly one fifth of French voters in the first round of the presidential elections is still reverberating. Both the socialist candidate and the incumbent president are now wooing the supporters of Marine le Pen.

finance. The news that EDL head Tommy Robinson is to be appointed Deputy Leader of the British Freedom Party has alarmed anti-racist groups like HOPE Not Hate, and others. The alliance of EDL and BFP would be more dangerous than the BNP: the current EDL head "Tommy Robinson" (real name: Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, a tanning salon manager from Luton) has a better media presence than the Holocaustdenying Nick Griffin. In focusing on Islam and the threat of "Islamist extremists" they can have a bigger appeal than the simple racist agenda of the BNP. With political trust at an all-time low, this far right alliance may take advantage of voter apathy in national and local politics to advance their cause. Be that as it may, we must stand firm and not let our country and continent slip into the intolerant past. We must join hands to slay the dragon of Islamophobia and help build Europe again with everyone's help, Muslim and non-Muslim, alike. It is time we listen to the voices of sanity, not hate. Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari is a parenting consultant. He is a founding member of The East London Communities Organisation (TELCO), Chairman of the East London Mosque Trust, and former Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain (2006-10).




alawi has devalued its currency, kwacha, by a third, and it will no longer be pegged to the US dollar. With Tuesday's decision, the African nation has met an important demand of the International Monetary Fund to fix its troubled economy. "Following this devaluation, the kwacha is now fully liberalised," the Reserve Bank of Malawi said in a statement. The central bank's notice of official exchange rates put one dollar at 250 kwacha, compared to 166 kwacha on Friday, a 33.598 per cent value drop. On the black market, the US dollar has sold at more than 300 kwacha, a disparity that drove foreign currency out of the banking system and into the hands of informal dealers. The Reserve Bank said it did not expect the currency reform to increase inflation, because most commodities were already being traded at the unofficial exchange rate. People lined up for days for a few litres of petrol, and goods for the domestic market were sold over the border to earn foreign currency. Dollars earned through tobacco sales, which usually account for 60 per cent of Malawi's foreign currency revenue, can now go through commercial banks instead of through the central bank. The IMF has for months

Malawi devalues currency by a third South Africa court orders Zimbabwe torture investigation

Shortage of foreign currency has left Malawi unable to import enough fuel to keep the nation running [Reuters] make a major devaluation, called for a devaluation to end a exchange shortages. Several key donors - which he argued would hurt the shortage of foreign currency that has left Malawi unable to including former colonial poor. After Mutharika's sudden import enough fuel to keep the power Britain - also suspended aid to Malawi. death last month, the new nation running. The late president, Bingu president, Joyce Banda, has It suspended its programme with Malawi last year, for a wa Mutharika, had fixed the moved quickly to restore credit of nearly $80m that exchange rate in 2005, and relations with international should have cushioned foreign- had steadfastly refused to lenders and donors.

Fighters attack Libyan government HQ


ormer Libyan fighters demanding unpaid stipends have attacked and surrounded the

headquarters of the interim government, witnesses say. The attack on Tuesday left three dead and several others

The former rebels are angry at the decision by the government to stop stipends over corruption and fraud [AFP]

wounded, according to an interior ministry official. A defence ministry spokesperson confirmed there were dead and injured, but he did not know casualty numbers. "Many men encircled the building and opened fire against it with weapons including antiaircraft cannons," a government employee present during the attack told the AFP news agency. Several lorries mounted with anti-aircraft guns surrounded the building in central Tripoli, blocking traffic, the witnesses said. Al Jazeera's Omar al Saleh, reporting from Tripoli, said the rebels came from the Nafusa mountains and that they were still surrounding the building. He said the decision by the

interim government to halt stipends, citing "mass corruption and fraud", angered the former fighters. "I did speak to the son of the Libyan finance minister who said his father was at the building at the time of the attack," our correspondent said. "He said there was heavy ammunition being fired. He said at least three people were killed. "[He also said that] when the news spread, other [militia] brigades came to protect the government. The fighting lasted between one hour and two hours." The headquarters has previously been attacked, but our correspondent said that one of the fighters he spoke to described Tuesday's attack as the most serious.

Egypt judges send scores to trial for unrest


nvestigating judges sent 293 Egyptians to trial on charges of resisting authorities, damaging public property and carrying knives and fire bombs during an anti-government protest last year. A three-week sit-in in December outside the Cabinet building turned violent when troops badly beat a protester. In four days of clashes that followed, 14 people were killed and hundreds injured. The defendants, including 24 minors, are also accused of burning a research center housing old manuscripts, attempting to storm the Interior Ministry and

The generals drew criticism for their crackdown on the December protest, including beating women [Reuters]

practicing medicine without a permit - a reference to the protesters setting up field hospitals to treat hundreds of wounded. They will be tried in a civilian criminal court. Egypt's official news agency said on Monday the minors will be tried in a juvenile court. No date has been set for the trial. This is one in a series of mass trials following violent clashes between protesters and security forces over the past year. The generaals drew international criticism for their crackdown on the December protest, including beating women and pursuing journalists.

A 29-year-old Zimbabwean refugee lives with her baby in dire poverty and torture.


outh Africa must investigate Zimbabwean officials over allegations they tortured opposition figures in 2007, a Pretoria high court has ruled. Under international law, South Africa has a duty to investigate crimes against humanity, the judge said. Prosecutors had previously refused to investigate the officials, who had travelled to South Africa. South Africa was the first African country to recognise the International Criminal Court (ICC). The case was brought by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), along with the Zimbabwean Exiles Forum (ZEF), many of whose members fled to South Africa saying they had been tortured by Zimbabwean security agents. They argued that because it recognises the ICC, it is obliged to act on allegations of human rights abuses. This judgment will send a shiver down the spines of Zimbabwean officials who believed that they would never be held to account for their crimes "It centres on an incident in 2007, when supporters of the then-opposition Movement for Democratic Change say they were tortured after a raid on their party headquarters. They have named 17 Zimbabwean officials and want them arrested and prosecuted. South African Judge Hans Fabricius ruled that police and prosecutors had acted "unconstitutionally and unlawfully" - and ordered them to conduct an investigation.



Al Jazeera English forced out of China


he channel expressed its disappointment at the situation and said it would continue to request a presence in China. It has been requesting additional visas for correspondents for some time through the normal procedures but these have not been issued. Melissa Chan, who has been Al Jazeera English's China correspondent since 2007, has filed nearly 400 reports during her five years in the country. She has covered stories about the economy, domestic politics, foreign policy, the environment, social justice, labour rights and human rights. Salah Negm, director of news at Al Jazeera English said: "We've been doing a first class job at covering all stories in China. "Our editorial DNA includes covering all stories from all sides. We constantly cover the voice of the voiceless and sometimes that calls for tough news coverage from anywhere in world. "We hope China appreciates the integrity of our news coverage and our journalism. We value this journalist integrity in our coverage of all countries in the world. "We are committed to our

coverage of China. Just as China news services cover the world freely we would expect that same freedom in China for any Al Jazeera journalist. "Al Jazeera Media Network

will continue to work with the Chinese authorities in order to reopen our Beijing bureau." Bob Dietz of the New Yorkbased Committee to Protect Journalists said Chan's case, the

first expulsion of a journalist since 1998, "marks a real deterioration in China's media environment and sends a message that international coverage is unwanted".

Al Jazeera English has closed its bureau in Beijing after the Chinese authorities refused to renew its correspondent's press credentials and visa, or allow a replacement journalist.

Socialists key to future Serbian government


he Serbian party founded by Slobodan Milosevic, the former president, has emerged as potential kingmakers after general elections in which neither the liberal nor nationalist camps clinched clear victory. Socialist Ivica Dacic's party doubled its tally in Sunday's ballot from the last elections, achieving its best result since Milosevic was ousted from power in a pro-democracy uprising in 2000. The opposition right-wing populist Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) took 73 seats in the 250-member assembly, ahead of the Democrat Party (DS), which took 67 seats. Neither party has enough to govern on its own. Dacic's Socialists won 44 seats. "We have risen from the ashes," a triumphant Dacic said. Dacci said he would seek to be prime minister in any future government, and left the door open for negotiations with both the DS and SNS. "If we still don't know who will be Serbia's next president, I think we know who will be the prime minister," he declared confidently at a celebration late on Sunday. In presidential elections, also held on Sunday, a near-complete official vote count released on Monday confirmed that a runoff will be held on May 20 between the DS's Boris Tadic, who won 25.3 per cent of the vote, and the SNS's Tomislav Nikolic, who had 24.9 per cent.

Greeks may have to go back to the ballot box after failed initial efforts to form a coalition government [Reuters]

Tomislav Nikolic's, right, Serbian Progressive Party won the most seats in parliament with 73 [Reuters]

Greek leftists in bid to form coalition


reece's radical leftist Syriza party is to start trying to build an antiausterity cabinet and prevent fresh elections, a day after the conservatives failed to form a coalition government. Alexis Tsipras, Syriza's leader, is holding talks with President Carolos Papoulias on Tuesday and will be given three days to form a government. The meeting comes as debt-laden Greece faces stern warnings from Germany and the EU to stick to its bailout deal. "We will exhaust all possibilities to reach an understanding, primarily with the forces of the left," Tsipras said ahead of the meeting. The conservative New Democracy party's failure to form a government underscored Greece's precarious situation, with the country needing bailout funds to stay afloat, but where painful austerity measures have given rise to widespread voter anger. The euro and world stock markets sank on Monday after voters kicked out the Greek government in weekend elections and voted in a Socialist president of France in a backlash against austerity, but Asian markets rebounded Tuesday. Al Jazeera's John Psaropoulos, reporting from Athens, said: "There are fewer chances today, I think, of forming consensual government than we had yesterday when the largest party, the Conservatives, was trying its hands at it." "Today it's the radical left, Syriza, who really want a sort of leftist coalition of the communists and other left parties. "There is a great deal of digesting to be done of the results here. The idea that Greece doesn't have a stable government is still sinking in." The political developments in France and Greece had stoked anxiety about the fate of the EU's tough fiscal pact adopted in March to try to end the eurozone's crippling debt crisis. New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras said on Monday his efforts to form a "national salvation" administration had failed, meaning that Syriza, as the runner-up in Sunday's election, would now be tasked with forming a government. "I did whatever I could to secure a result but it was impossible," Samaras said in a televised address after a day of separate meetings with fellow leaders. Samaras, 60, was rebuffed by Syriza and the small Democratic Left group, while the nationalist Independent Greeks and the Communist party refused to even meet with him. Third-placed socialist party PASOK, which was formerly in a coalition with New Democracy, agreed to co-operate but only if the leftists also joined. The snub to Samaras suggests that Greece's political parties are paying more attention to the punishing message sent by voters fed up with austerity measures than to worries about the future of the euro or warnings from Berlin and Brussels.



Interpol issues warrant for Iraqi VP I

nterpol has issued an international 'Red Notice' alert for Iraq's fugitive Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi on suspicion of "guiding and financing terrorist attacks". Hashemi, who is being tried in absentia in Baghdad after being accused of running a death squad, insisted in a statement on Tuesday that he was not above the law and was ready to appear in court if his security, and a fair trial, could be guaranteed. "The Red Notice for al-Hashemi represents a regional and international alert to all of Interpol's 190 member countries to seek their help in locating and arresting him," the Lyon-based international police agency said. Interpol said the notice, its highest possible alert, was issued following an Iraqi warrant made "as part of an investigation in which security forces seized bombing materials and arrested individuals". Hashemi - last known to be in Istanbul, after receiving medical treatment for respiratory complications in the Turkish capital, Ankara - along with his bodyguards faces about 150 charges, including the alleged killing of six judges and other senior officials, according to an Iraqi judicial spokesman. He has challenged the legitimacy of the trial and said his life is at risk in Baghdad. The decision to charge the key Sunni Arab leader sparked a political crisis that saw the vice president's bloc boycott cabinet and parliament over accusations Nuri al-Maliki, Iraq's Shia prime minister, was monopolising power. Hashemi said in a statement posted on his website early on Tuesday that he was awaiting a "political solution" to the standoff. "I respect the [Iraqi] judiciary and I am not above the law," he said. "If a fair trial is possible, not politicised, and there are security guarantees and guarantees of my constitutional rights, I will stand before any court, even if it is in Baghdad because I am sure of my innocence." Ghassan al-Attiya, a Baghdadbased analyst said the accusations lodged against the vice president are indeed political in nature. Attiya says in the period between February 2006 and May 2008, all of the local "militias were attacking each other. I would not presume any of them to be innocent". Attiya says Iraqi government claims that evidence against Hashemi dates back three years raises further questions, "why didn't they raise the issue before ... probably there is a political motive" to the charges. Saad al-Mutalabi, senior adviser to prime minister Maliki, said accusations that the prime minister is furthering ethnic and sectarian divides in the country "is just political talk". Mutalabi, in a phone interview with Al Jazeera says it is politicians, not lawyers lodging the complaints against the prime minister. As proof against charges that the prime minister is stoking sectarian rifts within the nation,

Mutalabi points to Maliki's trip to the province of Kirkuk, where he is holding a cabinet meeting in support of Arab Sunnis in the northern province. Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf, reporting from the Jordanian capital, Amman, said that though Hashemi maintains his own innocence, it may be possible that members of his entourage may have been involved in attacks during the civil war. "It could be possible that some of his guards were implicated but he didn't know about it", our correspondent says of the vice president's take on the 150 charges lodged against him. Hashemi said he was planning to return to Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, on Tuesday but decided to delay his trip after appeals by unnamed political leaders. Attiya says if Hasemi does indeed to face trial in Iraq he would be taking a major step towards turning the political tables in Iraq. Hasemi "will really be a hero of the people and expose the polticisation of the government", if he stands trial

said Attiya. Interpol secretary general Ronald Noble said in a statement that the Red Notice would "significantly restrict" Hashemi's ability to travel and cross international borders. "This case also clearly demonstrates the commitment of Iraqi authorities to work with the world police community via Interpol to apprehend individuals facing serious charges," he said. A Red Notice is not an internationally binding arrest warrant but many of Interpol's members consider it a valid request, especially if they have an extradition treaty with the requesting country. Selcuk Unal, a Turkish government spokesperson has told Al Jazeera that the Red Notice is "just disseminating information about a person" and that Hashemi, still considered Iraq's current vice president, will return to Iraq after receiving medical treatment in Istanbul.


Pakistan almost a year ago, White House spokesman Jay Carney said. Carney said on Monday that the administration of Barack Obama,

Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi

US refuses to talk with al-Qaeda over hostage ashington will not negotiate with al-Qaeda over the release of a 70-yearold US citizen who was kidnapped in

Weinstein was abducted in August in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore after attackers broke into his home [AP]

the US president, was concerned about the well-being of Warren Weinstein and would continue to make efforts to have him freed. The statement came after alQaeda released a video on Sunday showing Weinstein imploring Obama to accept the group's demands or else he would be killed. "My life is in your hands, Mr. President," Weinstein said in the new video. "If you accept the demands, I live; if you don't accept the demands, then I die." But Carney also said he did not believe the president had seen the video. The video posted online on Sunday followed one issued in December in which Ayman alZawahri, al-Qaida's leader, said Weinstein would be released if the US stopped airstrikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.

He also demanded the release of all al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects around the world. Weinstein was abducted in August in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore after attackers broke into his home. He was the country director in Pakistan for JE Austin Associates, a US-based firm that advises a range of Pakistani business and government sectors. "It's important you accept the demands and act quickly and don't delay,'' Weinstein said in the video, addressing Obama. "There'll be no benefit in delaying. It will just make things more difficult for me." He appealed to Obama as a father. If the president responds to the alQaeda's' demands, Weinstein said, "then I will live and hopefully rejoin my family and also enjoy my children, my two daughters, like you enjoy your two daughters".

‘US foils al-Qaeda plot’ to bomb airliner


he US has thwarted a plot by al-Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen to bomb an airliner around the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, the country's National Security Council has confirmed to Al Jazeera. US media reports on Monday said the plot involved an upgrade of the underwear bomb that failed to detonate aboard a jetliner over Detroit, Michigan, on December 25, 2009. President Barack Obama "was assured that the device did not pose a threat to the public," Caitlin Hayden, National Security Council deputy spokeswoman, said. Obama, who had been informed of the plot in April, had however directed agencies "to take whatever steps necessary to guard against this type of attack" and had been regularly briefed by his national security team. Separately, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said there was no active plot against the US at this time. "We have no specific, credible information regarding an active

terrorist plot against the US at this time," DHS spokesman Matt Chandler said. This new bomb was also designed to be used in a passenger's underwear, but this time al-Qaeda developed a more refined detonation system, US officials said on Monday. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is examining

the latest bomb to see whether it could have passed through airport security and brought down an airplane, officials said. They said the device did not contain metal, meaning it probably could have passed through an airport metal detector. But it was not clear whether new body scanners used in many airports would have detected it.

Looking at the life and death of the al-Qaeda mastermind

The would-be suicide bomber, based in Yemen, had not yet picked a target or bought his plane tickets when the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) stepped in and seized the bomb, officials said. It is not immediately clear what happened to the alleged bomber. "As a result of close co-operation with our security and intelligence partners overseas, an improvised explosive device (IED) designed to carry out a terrorist attack has been seized abroad," the FBI said in a statement. "Initial exploitation indicates that the device is very similar to IEDs that have been used previously by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in attempted terrorist attacks, including against aircraft and for targeted assassinations," it added. The AP news agency learned about the thwarted plot last week, but agreed to White House and CIA requests not to publish it immediately because the sensitive intelligence operation was still under way.



Drugs made from dead babies seized in South Korea Thousands of pills filled with powdered human baby flesh discovered by customs officials in South Korea


ore than 17,000 pills smuggled into country have been intercepted since last August Pills viewed as a 'miracle cure' for all ailments but unsurprisingly they are harmful Thousands of pills filled with powdered human flesh have been discovered by customs officials in South Korea, it was revealed today. The capsules are in demand because they are viewed as being a medicinal 'cure-all'. The grim trade is being run from China where corrupt medical staff are said to be tipping off medical companies when babies are aborted or delivered still-born. The tiny corpses are then bought, stored in household refrigerators in homes of those involved in the trade before they are removed and taken to clinics where they are placed in medical drying microwaves. Once the skin is tinder dry, it is pummelled into powder and then processed into capsules along with herbs to disguise the true ingredients from health investigators and customs officers. The discoveries since last August has shocked even hardened customs agents who have pledged to strengthen inspections. Many of the remedies are more than 2,000 years old - and claim to be alternative methods for curing disease. The use of rhino horns in Chinese medicines has been widely criticised. Despite the claims the 'cures' can treat everything from broken bones to headaches, there is limited proof they actually work. A team of Australian scientists discovered that some of the medicines contained traces of black bears and antelope. The Murdoch University team used DNA sequencing to work out what the plants and animal ingredients are. Chinese officials are understood to have been aware of the trade and have tried to stop the capsules being exported but thousands of packets of them have been smuggled through to South Korea. There is a huge demand for alternative Chinese remedies -

Sick capsules like the ones seized in South Korea which include ground up rhino horns. The Chinese have

historically consumed human placentas to improve blood supply and circulation.

Smuggling: More than 17,000 capsules disguised as 'stamina boosters' have been intercepted as they were smuggled into South Korea last year (file photo of Seoul airport)

Dead baby pills: This is ground baby powder which tests discovered is 99.7 per cent human last year. South Korean officials have stopped 17,000 dead baby pills being imported since last August

Endangered species in chinese medicines

Chinese alternative medicines contain traces of endangered species, a study has found.

Turtle with boy’s initials carved on its shell found by his father 47 years later in same backyard


n 1965 The Beatles played Shea Stadium, Malcolm X was assassinated and Goldfinger had just hit screens across the country. It was also the year when 13-year-old Jeff Cokeley discovered an eastern box turtle

Visible on the underside of the turtle's shell are Jeff Cokeley's 'J.C' initials and 1965, the year when he found it

in his backyard, carved his initials and the year onto its shell and then let the creature go. Flash forward 47 years and the boy's 85-year-old father, who still lives on the property, finds a box turtle in his backyard, turns it over and discovers it is the exact same one from all those years ago. 'I picked it up and I thought, 'Oh geez, this is Jeff's turtle!' said Holland Cokeley, who lives in South Strabane, Pennslyvania, according to the 'It's been here for 47 years and it still has the same markings on it!' Written on the pastron, or the underside of its shell, was 'JC' and '1965', exactly the same as Jeff had done almost 50 years before, said CBS Pittsburgh. The engraving made by the teenage boy would not have hurt the turtle as its shell is so thick.

Discovering the long-lost turtle after taking a walk with the neighbour's dog, Jeff brought it back to his house, took some pictures and then sent them to his son. 'I saw my initials and date on the bottom of the turtle and I started laughing,' said Jeff, who now lives in Rochester, New York and works for Kodak. 'I pulled the pictures up on

Holland Cokeley stands in front of the wooded area where the long-lost turtle was found

The unnamed turtle was brought back by 85-year-old Holland Cokeley to the front porch of the house where he photographed it

the computer. As soon as I saw it, I just started laughing.' 'I just had to show my wife.' Thanking serendipity for bringing him the turtle, Holland also thanked the neighbour's dog whose furious barking led the elderly man to the reunion. After bringing the turtle home, Holland returned the turtle to the woods.



Mixing herbal remedies with conventional GP drugs ‘could put lives at risk’


erbal and complementary treatments may put lives at risk when they are mixed with conventional medicines, an expert has warned. Research shows that unwanted side effects and health problems can be triggered by combining natural supplements with widely used drugs. An estimated ten million Britons regularly take herbal remedies, vitamins and minerals. But popular supplements such as garlic, ginger, St John’s Wort and even green tea can all have hazardous impacts on the effect of prescription or over-thecounter medicines. Dr Catherine Ulbricht, an American pharmacist and author on herbal medicines, suggests that the danger from mixing is greatest in younger and older people and those with multiple health conditions who take numerous pills. Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers could also be at risk. Dr Ulbricht said doctors need to tell patients about any potential risks to avoid any harmful or life-threatening effects of taking natural supplements. Writing for the magazine Alternative and Complementary Therapies, Dr

Ulbricht said: ‘Natural does not equal safe. If something has a therapeutic action in a human body, this substance can also cause a reaction or an interaction.’ Her research found that there are serious risks when popular natural products such as feverfew, ginger, and ginkgo, which all contain nutrients that lower blood pressure or thin the blood, interact with aspirin and warfarin, which are taken by millions to ward off heart attacks. Even mixing energy drinks or nutritional bars with medication can cause dangerous side effects. Dr Ulbricht also warned that

Findings: Dr Catherine Ulbricht

Gentle jogging once a week ‘can add six years to your life’


ogging for just an hour a week can increase your life expectancy by around six years, reveal scientists. Even better news is that a gentle jog is better for you than any sort of extreme workout, the study concludes. Researchers found that jogging at a slow or average pace for one or two hours per week can increase the life expectancy of men by 6.2 years and women by 5.6 years, reducing the risk of death by 44 per cent. The results challenge previous studies into jogging which questioned whether it is healthy or hazardous, with the debate kicking off in the 70s when middle aged men began taking an interest in the exercise. However, following the death of a few men who died while out on a run, the media suggested jogging might be too strenuous for middle aged people, casting doubts over the past-time. As part of the Copenhagen City Heart study, a cardiovascular study of around 20,000 men and women aged 20 to 93, researchers set about quashing previous suggestions that jogging is bad for people’s health. The study has so far resulted in over 750 papers, and has previously explored associations for longevity with different forms of exercise and other factors. Researchers believe jogging delivers multiple health benefits, improving oxygen uptake, lowering blood pressure, preventing

obesity, improving cardiac function and improving psychological function, as well as many more benefits. Dr Peter Schnohr, from the Bispebjerg University Hospital, said: ‘The improved psychological wellbeing may be down to fact that people have more social interactions when they’re out jogging.’ Source:

Get those feet moving: Jogging for an hour a week from the age of 20 to 70 takes 108 days but adds more than five years to your life

Ginger is one of the highlighted remedies

garlic supplements, which are taken to reduce blood pressure, can interfere with anti-clotting medications and the immunosuppressant drug cyclosporine which prevents transplant rejection. She also highlighted the interaction of grapefruit juice with medicines, which suggests that it may block enzymes that normally break them down in the intestines. One glass of grapefruit juice could persist for longer than 24 hours, meaning many people are advised not to drink it at all while also taking certain drugs, including statins, antihypertensives, psychiatric drugs and Viagra. Dr Ulbricht adds that the sedative valerian, used as a natural alternative to sleeping pills, can intensify the effect of anaesthetics, while St John’s Wort, a herbal treatment for depression, can interact with immunosuppressive drugs and potentially lead to the rejection of transplants. Surgeons advise that most surgery-related side effects can be avoided by not taking herbal products at least one or two weeks prior to surgery and during the postoperative period while prescription medications such as blood thinners are prescribed. Source:

Eating fish may reduce risk of Alzheimer’s by lowering levels of protein linked to the disease


ating fish and other foods containing omega-3 fatty acids may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, new research suggests. The oily compounds, which combat inflammation, appear to lower blood levels of a protein linked to Alzheimer’s, scientists have found. Researchers in the US studied 1,219 people over the age of 65 who were free of dementia. Participants were asked questions about their diet, and had their blood tested for beta-amyloid. The protein clumps together in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s and is one of the key hallmarks of the disease. Blood beta-amyloid levels were found to lower with greater consumption of omega-3 fatty acid. A daily intake of one gram of omega-3 above the average amount consumed by the study participants was associated with a 20% to 30% reduction in betaamyloid. Levels of the protein in the blood are believed to reflect those found in the brain, indicating a protective effect from consuming omega-3 rich foods. Lead researcher Dr Nikolaos Scarmeas, from Columbia University Medical Centre in New York, said: ‘While it’s not easy to measure the level of beta-amyloid deposits in the brain in this type of study, it is relatively easy to

measure the levels of beta-amyloid in the blood, which, to a certain degree, relates to the level in the brain. ‘Determining through further research whether omega-3 fatty acids or other nutrients relate to spinal fluid or brain beta-amyloid levels, or levels of other Alzheimer’s disease-related proteins, can strengthen our confidence on beneficial effects of parts of our diet in preventing dementia.’ The scientists, whose findings are reported in the journal Neurology, looked at 10 nutrients including saturated fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, mono-unsaturated fatty acid, vitamins E, C, B12 and D, folate

and beta-carotene. Other nutrients besides omega3 fatty acids were not associated with different blood levels of betaamyloid. The link between omega-3 and blood beta-amyloid remained the same after adjusting for a range of potential influences, including possession of a version of the APOE known to increase Alzheimer’s risk. Omega-3 fatty acids are mostly found in oily fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel. Lower amounts can also be found in nuts, some vegetables including Brussels sprouts, kale and spinach, and vegetable oils. Source:

Another reason to eat fish: Scientists have found that omega 3 contained in fish, such as sardines, lower a protein that is linked to Alzheimer's disease



Chief Ropo Adesanya

Lagos lawmakers divided over doctors’ sack

Kebbi INEC organizes workshop, promises free and fair elections

From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos

From Ahmed Idris, Birnin Kebbi


embers of the Lagos state House of Assembly yesterday disagreed over the sack of the striking medical doctors whose issues are still being sorted out by the Assembly. Speaker of the Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforijui, who raised the matter said he had yet to confirm the story and find out why they were actually sacked. While some of the members felt slighted by the executive arm in taking the decision, a majority of the members felt the doctors had become gods in the state and that their excesses needed to be curbed. Bayo Oshinowo, took a swipe at his colleagues and accused them of trying to support the executive arm of the State Government in rubbishing the Assembly and its efforts to mediate in the crisis. His grouse was that the executive arm did not allow the lawmakers effectively resolve the issues with the doctors before issuing them sack letters. Most of the other lawmakers did not support his line of argument as, according to them, the executive arm

Gov Fashola Babatunde must have taken so many things into consideration before embarking on the action. Deputy Speaker of the House, Taiwo Kolawole, who headed the Committee set up to mediate in the crisis, said

that it took them several hours to pacify the doctors at the weekend even though according to him, most of their demands were not enough to embark on strike. He said the doctors failed to recognise that they were

employees of the state government and were not to dictate the terms and conditions for work to their employer. He added that throughout the period the deliberation lasted between the Committee, the doctors and the government delegation, the doctors exuded disrespect in their speech and behaviour. He said the Committee was able to secure a promise from the State Government that once the doctors agreed to resume work, they would not be reprimanded, punished or even victimised for going on strike and that the government side agreed. “This was part of the conditions given by the doctors, but after the executive agreed, the doctors refused to give us a promise that they would return to work,” Kolawole said. He said the Committee found out that the State Government had started implementing the agreement reached with the doctors before now. He alleged that there was a communication gap between the parties and that the Medical Guild had taken the issue to the Arbitration Court. He said the Committee tried to no avail to convince the doctors to sign a tripatite agreement so that they could go back to work even though most of their demands were sorted out.

Ekiti group blasts PDP chieftains over 2014 guber comment From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


mbassador-designate from Ekiti state, Princess Jolaade Onipede and immediate past Zonal Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Ropo Adesanya are

Gov Segun Oni

bunch of ingrates, whose rantings should be ignored, the Ekiti Justice Group (EJG) has said. EJG, which was reacting to comments credited to the duo of Onipede and Adesanya in some newspapers today that “Oni was a dividing factor in the PDP in Ekiti

state” said; “no one should be surprised that such comments could come from Onipede about Oni because she (Onipede) has history of treachery, which she demonstrated by betraying Otunba Niyi Adebayo under whom she served as commissioner for four years.” In a statement signed by its Coordinator, Dr. Tunji Oluwasanmi, EJG said; “Segun Oni is a great son and leader of Ekiti and we as a group will not take kindly to anyone disrespecting him for whatever reason. “Today, the likes of Hon. Sola Omolayo, who worked assiduously for Oni’s victory in the 2007 and 2009 elections in Onipede’s ward have left PDP out of annoyance that Oni appointed Onipede, who did little or nothing during the elections as Special Adviser instead of one of them. “And Onipede should even tell the public at what point Oni became a dividing factor in the PDP because we are aware that after Oni left government, she deserted him, but started coming to his house the moment the case challenging Oni’s removal was filed. “In the case of Chief Ropo Adesanya, it is on record that he

did not play any role in Oni’s victory in the 2007 election because he was sick during the election. “When Prince Dayo Adeyeye was sponsored for ministerial post, it was this same people that masterminded series of petitions against Adeyeye, including the one claiming that he was a psychiatric patient. “That notwithstanding, it was Oni that nominated Adesanya for ministerial appointment when Adeyeye was rejected. But Adesanya could not appear before the Senate because wife of late Dr. Ayo Daramola had mobilised women in the senate and circulated petition against him (Adesanya) alleging his involvement in the murder of her husband. It is on record that Oni was the one, who saved him (Adesanya) from the embarrassment he would have suffered then by preventing his appearance before the Senate. “It was after this that Oni asked Adesanya what he wanted and in accordance with his request, he (Adesanya) was made Zonal Secretary of the PDP, without him lifting a finger and he was also appointed Chairman, Governing Council of the Federal Polytechnic, Ede.


ollowing the efforts of the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] chairman Prof. Attahiru Mohammed Jega toward conducting free, fair and credible elections in 2015, the Kebbi state Residential Electoral Commissioner, Alhaji Mikail Abdulahi yesterday organized a one day workshop for Principals of secondary school across the state on voter education. He added that the Commission was working towards making 2015 general elections not only the best in Nigeria’s political history, but also the most acceptable to Nigerians and the entire world’. Addressing the participants at the workshop yesterday at the Na’amo Conference Hall, Federal Polytechnic Brinin Kebbi, the Resident Commissioner said that it was part of the Commission’s quest for effective means of engaging the electorate that informed the decision to adopt the strategy. According to him, the workshop was to positively change the trend by entrenching voter education. We are all witnesses to the anti-democratic practices such as voter apathy, election violence, political intolerance among others. The negative consequences of all these on the electoral process are quite obvious’’ he said. Mikail further explained that the target of the voters’ education project was the students in primary and secondary schools. ‘’We all owe these younger generations a duty to help shape their destinies by giving them the right orientation and civic education which make them responsible citizens in future. In other words we must adopt the philosophy of ‘’catch them young’’ and allow them to become veritable tools to carry voter education propaganda to the electorates.’Electoral Coordinator for North-West Zone, Prof. Shehu Dalhatu, in his comments, pointed out that including election education in the minds of the teenagers will immensely help them to grow up and know that there should be no apathy, no violence during and after an election.



Falana PDP, Accord Party urges FG to lawmakers defect to Oyo ACN reorganise EFCC T A From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan

wo members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Accord Party (AP) in the Oyo State House of Assembly yesterday defected to the ruling party Action Congress of Nigeria(ACN) The two lawmakers, Hon. Mathew Abioye representing Ogo Oluwa/Surulere Constituency from PDP and Hon. Temitope Olatoye (aka Sugar) from Lagelu Constituency from Accord party announced their decampment at the floor of the House on yesterday. While Abioye is a two-term member of the House, Olatoye was voted to the House in 2011. With the development, membership of ACN, which used to be 15, has now increased to 17, with the PDP and AP having 10 and six members respectively, thus giving ACN the total control of the House. The lawmakers, who were followed by hundreds of their supporters who waved brooms, the insignia of the ACN, after their declaration for the ruling party at the House of Assembly, thereafter trooped to the Governor’s office to declare their loyalty to Governor Abiola Ajimobi. Wearing uniform Ankara that had been specifically chosen for the day, the whole of the Governor’s office was electrified by their different songs which they sang welcoming the two decampees “to where they naturally belong.” The governor, while receiving them in his office, expressed happiness that the lawmakers had thought it wise and expedient to join ACN, a development which he said had put the ruling party in a vantage position in the House. “It’s a very happy thing for us to

have very notable members from PDP and Accord joining ACN in the House of Assembly. What does this mean? One, we are now in the majority in the House of Assembly. Two, these are foundation and senior members of the House. “For them to have joined us is a reflection of their own wisdom and foresight, and it is a confirmation of the fact that ACN as a party is now doing well in Oyo state. No other party, no matter their machinations, will change the progress that we have already started in Oyo state,’’ the governor said.

The Speaker of the House, Mrs. Monsurat Sunmonu, while describing the decampment as a welcome development, expressed the optimism that more of the lawmakers in the opposition parties would still join ACN. Abioye hinged his decision to leave his former party on the fact that PDP had become a divided house, adding that the party produced parallel executives from two different congresses. “PDP is a divided house. I have decided to leave the divided house to join a united house, which is the progressive party, ACN,’’ the

lawmaker said. He also said that he took the decision to complement the efforts of Gov. Ajimobi “who has been doing very well through massive infrastructural development to change the face of Oyo State’’. Also commenting, Hon. Olatoye said that he decided to join the ruling party in the interest of his people, majority of whom he said had embraced ACN. He added that, his defection based on personal differences with former party and not under pressure as been insinuated by some people in the state.

L-R: Edo Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship running mate, Barrister Johnson Abulagba, Edo PDP governorship flag bearer, General Charles Airhiavbere, former Edo state Governor, Professor Oserhiemen Osunbor, PDP state Chairman, Chief Dan Orbih, and Director General, General Charles Airhiavbere Campaign Committee, Senator Odion Ogbesia, in a group photograph shortly after a visit by leadership of the party to Professor Osunbor's residence, recently in Iruekpen, Edo state.

Rep lauds the ouster of French President, Sarkozy By Lawrence Olaoye


ep Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, Chairman, House of Representatives committee on Foreign Affairs has described the French presidential election which led to the ouster of the incumbent President Nicholas Sarkozy as “issues-based’’. Socialist Presidential candidate, Mr. Francois Hollande won the French Presidential

election on Sunday defeating the incumbent President Nicholas Sarkozy with 52 per cent as against Sarkozy 48 per cent. Ukeje told newsmen in Abuja yesterday that it was easy for Hollande to defeat the incumbent President because the campaigns were issues based and the electorate were well informed. According to her issues like migration, taxation,

employment and foreign relations took the centre stage unlike in Nigeria where issues relating to infrastructural development on roads, water, electricity, health care delivery, education dominated the issues. Ukeje (PDP-Abia) congratulated the newly elected French President and expressed hope that he would deliver on his electoral promises to the people of France. She said Nigeria politicians

have a lot to learn in the general and peaceful conduct of France election in such a way that would have positive impact in the polity. Sarkozy was the first incumbent French president in 30 years to lose an election without securing a second term. Hollande on the other hand was the Socialist French President to have won Presidential election in the country in the last 20 years.

Constitution amendment: Lawyers back removal of immunity clause


ome lawyers in Lagos yesterday backed the National Assembly’s bid to remove the immunity clause in the proposed amendment of the 1999 Constitution. The lawyers, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews, said its removal would be a landmark in the fight against corruption and impunity in Nigeria. Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution at present confers immunity on the president, vice-

president, state governors and their deputies. According to the clause, no civil or criminal proceedings shall be instituted or continued against such persons while in office. One of the recommendations before the Sen. Ike Ekweremaduled Constitution Review Committee is that the immunity clause should be amended in a way in which it will apply only to civil matters. A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Philip Jimoh-Lasisi, told NAN

in Lagos that its removal would put the president and state governors on their toes at all times. He said: “There should be no immunity for any person, irrespective of his position, who is involved in crime. “The law should be allowed to take its course and this will put every public officer in check”. According to him, if there will be immunity for the affected public officers, it should only affect civil matters. Mr Leonard Dibia, Director,

Access to Justice, a human rights group, said that the removal was a prerequisite to solving the corruption pandemic in Nigeria. Dibia said: “It is a very welcome development because there is a pandemic in Nigeria now and which is corruption. “Drastic situations require drastic solutions and we may find ourselves departing from the paradigm that exists in constitutional democracy of protecting an incumbent from prosecution.

lawyer and Human Rights Activist, Mr. Femi Falana, has called on the Federal Government to reorganise the legal department of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC). Falana made call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday. “We are calling on the Federal Government to reposition the legal department of EFCC to be more active in fighting corruption in the country. “ He stressed that repositioning the E F C C l e g a l department would ensure that corrupt public holders were diligently prosecuted. According to him, only patriotic lawyers should serve anti-corruption agencies as the well being of the country is paramount in prosecuting corrupt cases. Falana said that government should muster stronger political will to fight corruption, noting that anti graft agencies had not been hamstrung in the discharge of their responsibilities. T h e r i g h t s activist argued that the antigraft agencies would not need a special court to be able to ensure speedy trial of corrupt cases. “EFCC doesn’t need a special court to prosecute corrupt officials, it will be managed and administered by the same judges. “ Falana advised the media to lead the fight against corruption, describing it “ as a monster that hinder growth and development of the country in all ramifications”. He recalled that prior to the establishment of the anti graft agencies, the media were fighting corrupt leaders and corruption with vigour. “The media must lead the fight against corruption, even before the establishments of anti corruption agencies; the media were fighting corruption and corrupt leaders. “ Falana expressed regret over increasing rate of corruption, citing the recent reports of Transparency International (TI) on the manner in which corruption has eaten deep into the fabrics of the society. “I am confident that it is possible to wake up now. With the support and commitment of the political class and civil society groups, the nation can get out of the situation.”



Legislation to be more effective soon, says NILS DG By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he Director General of the National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS), Ladi Hamalai, has declared that the institute would strengthen the legislative process of the National Assembly. Speaking during the opening ceremony of orientation course for the new staff of the institute held yesterday in Abuja, Hamalai said the ceremony marked the official take-off of the institute, calling on the staff to see each other as belonging to the same family which requires collaboration. She disclosed that the institute would in a short while meet with the state legislative houses to fashion out areas of collaboration for a more robust law making business. Also speaking, the Chairman of the occasion, Chudi Uwazuruike, said the institute would engender a knowledge based legislature, which will in turn create a formidable democracy that will yield dividends to the people. Delivering a paper titled,

“ O r g a n i s a t i o n a l Development and Employee productivity, a professional perspective”, the immediate past Director General of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru, said the success of the institute is dependent on the ability of the staff to understand and key into the vision and mission of the organisation. She advised them not to see themselves as opportunists in the institute, but as a call for commitment and patriotism, adding that similar institute should be set up for the executive arm of the government. While pointing out that poor legislative system in the country has frustrated many law makers who are determined to make genuine impact, Ifueko called on NILS to x-ray how constitutional amendment is done by other parliaments. She moreover highlighted the importance of measurement of set targets to determine the level of success recorded, adding that for the institute to survive and succeed, standard and rules should never be compromised.

CPC accuses Mustapha of fraud, anti-party activity From Yusha'u Alhassan, Jalingo


he National secretariat of Congress for progressive change, CPC, has accused a gubernatorial aspirant of the party in the Taraba state during last general election, Muhammed Bello Mustapha, of fraud and anti-party activity. The accusation was contained in a query issued to Muhammed Bello Mustapha from the party's national Secretariat Abuja, on 12th April 2012. Bello popularly known as M.B Mustapha was accused of opening a secretariat of the party in the Taraba state without permission. The query signed by the National secretary of the party Buba Galadima accused M.B Mstapha of printing and selling fake nomination forms for chairmanship and councillorship to unsuspecting members of the CPC in Taraba state. The party also accused Mustapha of conducting fake primary election for chairmanship and councillorship candidates to the Taraba State Independent Electoral Commission TSIEC for screening. He was also indicated of harassing and intimidating

innocent executive members of the recognized faction of the CPC in the state. The National secretariat of the party directed M.B Mustapha to defend himself within three days or failure to do so would compel the National Secretariat of the party to report the security and financial aspects of the accusations to the police and EFCC for necessary action. According to the query, the party was also prepared to take necessary action against Mustapha if he fails to defend himself on other aspects of the accusations properly. When contacted MB Mustapha who confirmed receiving the query however said he regretted even reading it. He said Buba Galadima the National secretary of the party who signed the query had no moral justification to query him because he was not law abiding. Mustapha maintained that Buba Galadima was only perpetrating his personal agenda in the CPC trying to pocket all members of the party. He said that he could not be intimidated by any individual or group in the CPC just because he refused to dance to their tunes, describing the query given to him as child's play.

L-R: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, Niger state Governor, Dr Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu, and state chairman of the party, Alhaji Abdullrahaman Enagi, during the governor's visit to the National Chairman at the national headquarters of the party, on Monday in Abuja.

PDP summons members as impeachment looms in Niger Assembly From Iliya Garba, Minna


eoples Democratic Party (PDP) members of Niger state House of Assembly yesterday in Minna summon its members to resolve its leadership crisis as fear of impeachment of the leadership of the House. Peoples Daily gathered that the meeting of the 24 PDP members out of the 27 members of the Assembly was held at the party secretariat in Minna. The state working committee of the party that coordinated the meeting pleaded with members not to initiate impeachment of the leadership of the House after a serious deliberation that lasted for hours.

Leadership of the House were said to have blamed their inability to call for sitting of theAssembly since April, 17, 2012 for fear that they may be impeached. Our correspondent learnt that the Assembly may face constitutional lacuna over lack of the required number of sittings as contained in 1999 constitution for a legislative year as the House continued to adjourn over alleged threat of impeachment of its leadership. It was also revealed that some of the lawmakers were concerned that the Assembly would not meet up the required181 sittings for a legislative year as contained in section 104 of the Constitution.

A lawmaker told Peoples Daily “our last sitting was on April 17, 2012 and there has not been sitting since then because the leadership of the house felt there was plan to impeach them even when we have not met the number of sittings”. He stated that it was this anxiety that necessitated the PDP to summon a meeting on the matter. The meeting was however adjourned for a courtesy visit at the National Secretariat of the party in Abuja. It was however not clear whether the members have agreed to the conditions of the party as the state Publicity Secretary of the party, Hassan Saba could, not be reached on his phone.

Oguta Seat: INEC delays re-run election despite court order


he Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has yet to conduct a re-run election to fill the vacant seat of the Oguta State Constituency as ordered by the Federal High Court Owerri, Imo state. Justice F.A Onabanjo had on Dec 12, 2011 ordered the commission to hold a re-run election to fill the vacant seat without further delay. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Mr. Eugene Dibiagwu, candidate of the PDP for the seat at April 26, 2011 election approached the Court to compel INEC to issue him the certificate of return. He had further sought an order of the court to be sworn in as winner of the election based on the already declared result in which he scored the highest. He had prayed the court to stop INEC from conducting fresh election in Oguta state constituency, saying that the seven wards results that had

already been declared by the Commission should be affirmed. The plaintiff (Dibiagwu) had claimed among other things: a declaration that the Defendant (INEC) lacked the powers to conduct fresh election for the Imo State House of Assembly in the Oguta state constituency in seven wards of Oguta ward A and ward B. He had mentioned the other wards to be Egwe/Egbuoma ward, Oru ward, Ossemotor/Enigbo ward, Awa ward and Izombe ward. Dibiagwu also sought declaration that the defendant (INEC) lacked the powers to disregard the results of the Imo State House of Assembly elections compiled and announced in the seven wards in Oguta local government He had stated that INEC further lacked the powers to disregard the results from Oguta local government collation centre as results of the Imo State House of Assembly elections for Oguta state constituency held on April 26,

2011. In dismissing the suit filed by Dibiagwu, the PDP candidate, Onabanjo had held among others that,“we therefore hold that the petitioner has not proved its allegation that election took place in Oguta Local government Area on the 26th of April 2011, except in the 40 listed polling Units’’. While the case was on, the APGA candidate for the same election, Chief Walter Uzonwanne and Ugboma Onyebuchi of All Nigeria Congress of Nigeria (ANCN) applied to join in the case. NAN reports that the court had refused their motion and thereafter dismissed it. According to her, the suit can be effectively determined and disposed of in the absence of the parties seeking to be joined. Not satisfied with the ruling, the APGA candidate, Uzonwanne approached the Federal High Court in Abuja and asked for order of Mandamus in suit No FHC/ABJ/ CS/811/201.



All hands on deck to resolve Ogun PDP crisis — Martins Kuye


he former Minister for Commerce and Industry, Sen. Jubril Marthins-Kuye, said on Tuesday that every effort was being made to resolve the crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun state.

Awujale urges FG to address national security

Marthins-Kuye made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun. He said the party had now realised that there was need for all the members to be united. It would be recalled that the National Working Committee of the party had on April 18 dissolved the Ogun state PDP Executive and directed the SouthWest National Vice Chairman of

the Party, Mr Segun On,i to take over the party structure. Martins-Kuye said that though the crisis has yet to be resolved, all hands were on deck to put the party together for a strong electoral fight against the ACN. “Every effort is being made to resolve the crisis in the party in the state. I will not say that the crisis has been resolved but I think all hands are on deck.

“Most of us now appreciate sincerely that in unity we achieve success and in disunity we achieve failure. We are trying our best to put PDP together in the state so that we can give a good electoral fight to the ACN“. Marthins-Kuye, a one-time Minister of State for Finance and a Third Republic Senator, is one of the prominent leaders of the party in the state.


wujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, has appealed to the Federal Government to pay more attention to the security situation in the country. Adetona made the appeal in Ijebu-Ode on Monday when Gov. Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun paid him a courtesy visit in his palace. He decried the level of insecurity in the country and urged the Federal Government to do everything within its powers to secure the lives and property of the people. “I want to implore the Federal Government to pay more attention to the issue of security in the country. “If we build schools, roads and hospitals and there is no adequate security, who will then enjoy the facilities? “The Federal Government should therefore do all it can to provide adequate security, even if it means spending all the revenue on it,“ Adetona said. He expressed appreciation to the governor for the developmental projects which he sited in Ijebuland and urged him not to relent in his efforts to take the state to an enviable position.

L-R: Deputy Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, Hon. Betty Apiafi, President Nigerian Community in Ireland, Mr. Emeka Ikebuasi, Chairman House Committee on Diaspora , Hon. Abike Dabiri Erewa , and Hon. Joseph Akinlaja , during the meeting with Nigerian community in Ireland, at the National Assembly, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Plateau election tribunal rejects Akujah’s application to amend reply


he Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Jos yesterday dismissed Peter Akujah’s application to amend his reply to the reply to his petition filed by Suleiman Kwande (DPP). Akujah of the PDP, had through his counsel, Mr Sunday Obende, filed an application in which he prayed the tribunal to allow him to amend his reply to Kwande’s response to his original petition before the tribunal. “We wish to amend our reply by substituting the first with another one and hope that our prayer will be granted in the

interest of justice,’’ Obende pleaded. But Kwande, through his counsel, Mr Robert Emukpoerue, opposed the application, and alleged that it was not only a ploy to introduce new issues, but against the Electoral Act 2010 as amended. “My Lords, the petitioner failed to seek the consent of the tribunal and even filed the application outside the five days provision as is the rule. “I hereby pray the court to dismiss this application as it is aimed at surreptitiously introducing new issues to the

petitioner’s reply to our reply to his petition,’’ Emukpoerue argued. The counsel argued that the tribunal had no such power to entertain or allow such an application since it was against the Electoral Act 2010 as amended. In its ruling, the tribunal, chaired by Justice A. A. Nwaigwe, declared that “the application is considered as an effort to get extension of time surreptitiously, and we so hold. “The petitioner had five days within which to raise new issues from the date of submission but he did not, more so that it is

contrary to the electoral act to do so after the five days expiration. “Therefore, the defects noticed makes it convincing that the application is a new process, which can not be allowed and it is hereby dismissed.’’ Nwaigwe also dismissed another application by Akujah seeking to oppose the joint replies made by the respondents to his petition. Dismissing the application, the tribunal said “we can’t severe the replies because they either rose together or fall together and therefore, so the petitioner’s motion has failed’’.

CPC stops Bauchi govt from spending local councils’ funds


he Bauchi state chapter of the CPC has obtained an interim order restraining the Bauchi state government and two others from spending the local councils’ funds apart from payments of salaries. The order, signed by Justice Ibrahim Zango, Chief Judge of Bauchi state, was made available to newsmen yesterday in Bauchi.

The order listed the state government, the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs and the Accountant-General as respondents. It restrained them from releasing, approving or in any manner allowing the 20 caretaker chairmen and their councillors from spending any fund belonging to the local councils.

It also restrained the respondents from tampering with the funds whether in joint account with the first respondent or any other account and in whatever manner pending the hearing and determination of the original summons. S i m i l a r l y , the order restrained the respondents from awarding

any contract or executing any project or programme using the funds of the councils in whatever manner possible. The CPC has gone to court praying for an interim injunction to stop the government and the other respondents from using the councils funds. The case was adjourned to May 17, for mention.

PDP youth leader donates houses to violence victims in Ebonyi


r. Chinedu Ogah, the Ebonyi Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Youth Leader, on Monday fulfilled his pledge to erect houses for electoral violence victims in Ikwo Local Government Area. Ogah, while inaugurating four of such three-room bungalows in different communities in the area, said he had built 13 such houses for violence victims and widows. “The projects were undertaken by my organization; the Chiboy Foundations and the cost is incorporated inside the N5.6 million budget of the foundation for developmental projects this year,” Ogah said. He said that the gesture was a way of appreciating the sacrifices made by the beneficiaries in ensuring that the PDP emerged victorious in the 2011 general elections. ”The victims had their houses burnt by the political thugs of opposing political parties in the area during the campaigns of 2011 elections. ”We have to reinforce their belief in the party and make them realise that their sacrifices were not in vain,” he said. Ogah, the Chief Executive Officer of Chiboy Foundation, said that in addition to the houses, the organisation had built six boreholes in the area. ”We have also inaugurated several electricity projects, mini bridges and culverts across the area to complement the government’s efforts at infrastructure development of the state,” Ogah said. He said his actions were not politically motivated but in the spirit of giving back to the society what he gained from it. ”I am not contesting for any elective position, as there are several avenues where one can excel in life other than politics,” he said. The beneficiaries include Mrs Ngozi Ezaga and Mr. Nwante Mpkuru, who are supporters of the party in the area. Ezaga thanked Ogah for the gesture, saying she had been squatting in the house of neighbours since her house was burnt. ”I thank God for giving him the grace to assist me in this form and pray that he continues to render such gestures for the benefit of the society. In his remark Eze Dominic Aloh, Traditional Ruler of Ndufu Amagu Autonomous Community in Ikwo, where Ogah hails from, thanked him for the gesture and called on other wealthy individuals to emulate him. ”The task of developing the state, especially the rural area, does not lie with the government alone, as Ogah has shown,’’ Aloh said.



Olympic flame for London 2012 to be lit May 10

Agbim, Mba, 3 other Eagles not in camp, as 18 train in Abuja


Stories by Patrick Andrew


kipper of home-based Super Eagles, Chigozie Agbim and two of Warri Wolves teammate Sunday Mba and reliable defender Azubuike Egwueke were conspicuously missing in the squad of 18 players that trained yesterday at the practice pitch of the National Stadium Abuja. Also missing were the duo of Obinna Nwachukwu and goalkeeper Dan Akpeyi all of Heartland FC. The five players though were excused by Head Coach Stephen Keshi, because of their clubs CAF Confederation Cup away engagements this weekend. In contrast though, CAF Champions League flag bearer Sunshine Stars duo of Godfrey Oboabana and Izu Azuka trained with the team. Sunshine Stars are hosts of Djoliba FC of Mali this weekend in Ijebu-Ode. Okemute Odah, Hamza Ikenna Onwuemenyi, Juwon Oshaniwa, Nura Mohammed, Gbolahan Salami, Kalu Uche, Henry Uche, Samson Pius were in full swing during training exercise. Also, Marcel Obioha, Hassan Hussein, Emma Nwachi, Ugonna Ozochukwu, Papa Idris, Gabriel Reuben and electric winger Ejike Uzoenyi. But Barnabas Imenger, who has a slight knock on his knee was exempted from the morning training. Meanwhile, Keshi has challenged the newly invited members of the team to prove their mettles for places in the Lima-bound squad to confront Peru. “Prove yourself on the pitch and you will be on the plane to Peru”, he said.

Izu Azuka, Sunday Mba, Dan Akpeyi, are all excused from the Eagles camp because of clubs’ continental engagements

Africa has potentials to win World Cup, say FIFA instructor


frica with her array of stars has the potentials to produce a World Cup winning country and should do so soonest, according to Jan Poulsen, a coaching instructor with world football governing body FIFA. The Dane, who is in Abuja for a five-day coaching course under the FIFA “Win In Africa With Africa” (WIAWA) coaching course, disclosed yesterday that FIFA hopes soon an African country would join the elite class of FIFA senior World Cup winners. “FIFA organised the course most importantly to have coaches who can teach players to play more tactics and organising games. The body hopes that sooner or later, we will have a World Cup champion from Africa because you have the players. “We have been saying this for many years and we know it is attainable but it has not been achieved so far,” he said at the maiden edition of the WIAWA coaching course that began yesterday and would on May 12. Poulsen said the course, which is being attended by 30 participants- coaches with Nigerian Premier

London 2012: Wrestlers to tour Germany ahead of Olympics, says NWF President


igerian wrestlers that have sealed their places for the London Olympics Games are to undergo training tour of Germany where they would further sharpen their reflexes for the Games. Austin Edeze, the President, Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF), disclosed yesterday

Keshi men to face Obuh’s on Friday


League clubs and the national teams- was imperative following an observation from FIFA technical study group that African countries had not passed the quarter-final stage of the FIFA World Cup finals not for want of quality but managerial inadequacies. “ It was only in 1990 that Cameroon reached the quarter-finals stage against England, and so far African countries have not passed that stage. But FIFA knows that we can have a champion from Africa sooner or later and that is why we have to improve football in Africa because Africa has the capacity,” the instructor said. He said the choice of Nigeria for the course out of many other African countries was borne out of the desire of the country’s football body to improve the abilities of its coaches. “ It is the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) that requested that it wants to improve the coaches in the country. So, the association applied and asked FIFA if it is possible to have the course in Nigeria, and it was approved,” Poulsen said.

he Super Eagles and the Flying Eagles are to trade tackles in a mouth watering friendly encounter on Friday at the Practice Pitch of the National Stadium in Abuja. Stephen Keshi, head coach of the senior team said he would expect 100 per cent dominance from the senior national team, even as he also advised the players to take it easy on the day. Meanwhile, Flying Eagles Media Officer, Samm Audu, boasted that, “it’s on record, that the Flying Eagles have never lost to the Super Eagles in any friendly and I hope we continue to keep that record on Friday,” he said even as his counter in Eagles Ben Alaiya simply retorted: “we shall see when Friday comes.” Okemute Okah will be the only goalkeeper for the senior team following Agbim and Akpeyi’s continental assignments.

stressing that the four wrestlers that have qualified for the Olympic Games would be given necessary support to stay fit for the Summer Games. The information alters the NWF’s proposed a training tour of Bulgaria a venue Nigerian wrestlers always go to to tune up for major championships. Those that are to benefit are Sinivie Boltic (90kg) who qualified in February at the Senior World Wrestling Championship in Istanbul, Turkey. Others are Adibo Dick (96kg), Amarachi Obiajunwan (72kg) and Blessing Oborududu (63kg) who qualified at the Africa/Oceania qualifiers in March. Edeze said the federation’s focus now was on the four wrestlers who have qualified. “Our focus now is on intensive training programmes for the four qualified wrestlers because we cannot rest

on our oars, no stone will be left unturned,” he said. The president said that from the training so far, he was confident of a good outing at the London 2012 Olympics from July 27 to August 12. “We are definitely going to make Nigeria proud,” he said. “Wrestling is a good means of developing the minds of youths while engaging them meaningfully; it has employed a lot of people. And it is one sport government should look closely into because it is cheap to maintain,” he said. Edeze regretted that the federation was unable to participate in the other two Olympic qualifiers in China in April and Finland in May. “We are not happy that we were not able to participate in the two other qualifiers because it would have provided opportunities for us to qualify at least a wrestler more,” he said.

he flame for the London 2012 Olympic Games will be lit on May 10 with every solemnity in the traditional way, according to a press release of the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC). The statement said that the ceremony would be attended by the President of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge and the President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee Spyros Capralos. Others were the President of the Organising Committee of Olympic Games London 2012, Sebastian Coe, members of the International Olympic Committee, Greek and British officials. It added that members of the Plenary Session of the Hellenic Olympic Committee and representatives of sports federations would also attend the ceremony. The High Priestess, Ino Menegaki, according to the statement, would light the Olympic Flame directly from the sun rays and then, after the ritual prepared by the Choreographer Artemis Ignatiou. It added that the sacred flame would later be handed over to the first torchbearer, world swimming champion, Spyros Gianniotis. According to the statement, an eight-day torch relay around Greece would follow, ending on May 17 with the arrival of the flame at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens. It would be handed over to the delegation of the United Kingdom to continue its journey for the Olympic city of London. The last torchbearers in Greece would be the Olympic champions Pyrros Dimas and Li Ning. Overall, the torch relay would cover 2,900 km in Greece, in the hands of 490 torchbearers. It would cross 26 provinces, 38 municipalities and 40 cities, visiting five archaeological sites, while 34 altar lighting ceremonies would be held in specific cities along the way.

It was only in 1990 that Cameroon reached the quarter-finals stage against England, and so far African countries have not passed that stage. But FIFA knows that we can have a champion from Africa sooner or later and that is why we have to improve football in Africa because Africa has the capacity.


Eagles recall Austin Ejide I

srael-based goalkeeper Austin Ejide will be recalled to the Super Eagles for next month’s World and Nations Cups qualifiers after over five months in international wilderness. Ejide was last in action for the Eagles in coach Samson Siasia’s last game in charge, a friendly against Ghana in London, which ended in a goalless. He was also in the post when the Eagles were forced to 2-2 draw by Guinea a result that ensured that Nigeria was edged out of the 2012 Nations Cup that was jointly hosted by Gabon and Equitorial Guinea. His club Maccabi Petah Tikva were relegated this season after they finished 14th in the 16-team Israeli championship. Confirming this to a wire service, Super Eagles goalkeepers’ trainer, Ike Shorumu, said the technical crew have resolved to call up three goal keepers who will be named for the June qualifiers against Namibia, Malawi and Rwanda. “You know my department is very sensitive. I have settled for three goal keepers for the June games: two foreign- based and one home-based. Vincent Enyeama, Austin Ejide and Chigozie Agbim,” he specially disclosed. “The idea is to have Agbim learn from the two foreign-based like I did during my days with Peter Rufai and Wilfred (Agbonavbare).” Shorunmu, who played professionally in Switzerland for several seasons, further said that he is not disturbed that Eagles first-choice Enyeama has yet to establish himself at French club Lille. “For him to be on the bench week in, week out and travel with the team means he is in top shape, so it will be wrong to say he is not fit,” defended Shorunmu.

Austin Ejide

EPL RESULT Liverpool 4 Chelsea 1


Madrid Masters: Sharapova, Azarenka crush opponents to march on


op seeds Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova made serene progress past Czech opponents into the third round of the Madrid Open tennis yesterday. Azarenka dispatched Andrea Hlavackova 6-3 7-6 and Sharapova saw off Klara Zakopalova 6-4 6-3. Sharapova, who beat world No 1 Azarenka in the Stuttgart final last month, was first up on the unfamiliar blue clay of the Manolo Santana show court, a controversial

innovation at this year’s edition of the event that has prompted mixed reactions from players. With the sliding roof closed to keep off the morning drizzle, the Russian soon found her range and broke Zakopalova’s serve in the opening game. The three-times grand-slam singles champion wobbled when serving for the match at 5-2 in the second set but broke again in the next game for a comfortable win that set up a

meeting with another Czech, unseeded Lucie Safarova, or Spanish wildcard Carla Suarez Navarro. Sharapova said the blue clay was a little more slippery than its red counterpart but that she generally approved of the decision to switch colours, which organisers argue makes it easier to follow the yellow balls on television. Belarussian Azarenka had newlyappointed adviser Amelie Mauresmo watching from her box alongside coach Sam Sumyk and made short work of Hlavackova, who needed treatment on a problematic left

NPL shifts ground for Sharks, Wikki, Gombe over fine

Kwara launches N1.5m endowment fund for Yekini


he Kwara state government said yesterday that it has launched a N1.5 million endowment fund to cater for the children of late Super Eagles player, Rashidi Yekini. The endowment fund will cover Yekini’s children’s education to the university level. The state government also pledged to immortalise the 1993 African Footballer of the Year by naming a public facility in the state after him. Mr Tunji Moronfoye, the state Commissioner for Communications and Information, who disclosed these to newsmen in Ilorin, said the government would also bear the cost of the fidau prayer for the late footballer. The fidau prayer is to hold on May 12 in his hometown, Ira, in Oyun Local Government Area of the state. The commissioner, who claimed to be a closed associate of the soccer star, said that the deceased would forever be remembered for his commitment and dedication to African football. He said that though the footballer spent his life in Ibadan, he was a pride to the people of Kwara, based on the feat he achieved in African football. “Yekini’s death was a great loss and still lingering in the minds of the people of Kwara. Yekini was a great soccer star. A gentle and easygoing footballer; it was painful that he died so young,” Moronfoye said. The late Super Eagles striker, who scored Nigeria’s first World Cup goal in U.S.A ‘94, who also scored 37 goals in 58 cap for the country, died on May 4, aged 48. Married with three wives and three children, Yekini was buried on May 5 in his home town, Ira.

By Albert Akota


Rashidi Yekini

Haye, Chisora to fight at Upton Park


avid Haye and Dereck Chisora are to face each other in a fight sanctioned by the Luxembourg Boxing Federation on July 14 at Upton Park. The two fighters were involved in a brawl following Chisora’s defeat by Vitali Klitschko in Munich in February. The British Boxing Board of Control will not sanction the fight because neither man holds a British licence. But the European Union freedom of trade laws permit the fight to be held in the United Kingdom and they have been given licences by the Luxembourg Boxing Federation. Speaking at the conference, where the two fighters were separated by a steel fence, Haye said: “He is the ideal opponent for me. I am so glad he has got a good chin because if he didn’t have a good chin he would be blasted out in first round. “I tried to knock him out in Munich and this is the opportunity to shut him up.” Chisora, who was surrounded by eight security guards, responded: “I don’t like him. “Talk is cheap now. That was a lucky shot he hit me with in Munich. Your talk is cheap. You always talk but you don’t deliver in the ring.” The two men, whose newsconference clash three months ago is still being investigated by

Munich police, revealed they had seen each other in London recently, with Chisora accusing Haye of having “pulled a knife”. Haye responded: “I was eating a steak. It was in a restaurant.” Chisora had his licence withdrawn after a number of controversial incidents before and after the Klitschko fight - but he

has appealed against the decision. Among the controversies, the 28-year-old slapped Klitschko at the weigh-in and spat water at the Ukrainian’s brother Wladimir before the contest. Haye relinquished his licence when he retired in October last year, three months after losing his WBA title to Wladimir in Hamburg.

He is the ideal opponent for me. I am so glad he has got a good chin because if he didn’t have a good chin he would be blasted out in first round. I tried to knock him out in Munich and this is the opportunity to shut him up.

David Haye vs Dereck Chisora

thigh midway through the second set. Like Sharapova, Azarenka missed a chance to serve out the match in the second set but went on to take the tiebreak 7-2 and will next play Russian Nadia Petrova or Ana Ivanovic of Serbia, a former world No 1 who is seeded 13. Serena Williams, seeded nine and making her first European appearance of the season, plays unseeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova later, a day after her sister Venus was knocked out by Germany’s Angelique Kerber.

ontrary to its earlier grandstanding on the fines imposed on three clubs, the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Primer League (NPL), Tunji Babalola, has revealed that the league body will allow them to participate in today’s midweek game. The NPL had insisted that the clubs must pay imposed fines of N3m, N2m for Sharks, Gombe and Wikki Tourists respectively before they would be allowed to play their next league games. But yesterday, Babalola said the three clubs will not be prevented or punished should they play the midweek matches because the rules allow a maximum grace period of two weeks foolowing which they could be punished if they failed to pay their fines. The clubs had been fined for incidences of violence at their home grounds and would have to play behind closed doors. “No payment has made to the NPL so far. However, I cannot say the clubs will not play their midweek matches because I have not receive any directive from the Organising and Disciplinary Committee in that respect. You they have appealed and until the appeal is determined they may be guilty. “The decision was taken last Friday and the clubs have 14 days within which to pay the money. I can confirm that the secretariat has not receive anything from the clubs, but they can still play their matches that fall within the 14 days. We will act after then,” he said. Further, Tunji reaffirmed that Mr. Ezekiel Kankai the Stadium Manager of Samson Siasia Stadium, Yenegoa, remains banned in definitely from all NPL activities for fuelling crises among clubs, puncturing vehicle tires of the match commissioner during the botched Sharks versus Ocean Boys match as well as creating unnecessary fears in the minds of football fans in the stadium.



Federer fresh for clay swing as Madrid Masters begins I

Roger Federer

Novak Djokovic

win a grand slam. It’s hard, it’s always been hard. “It’s still far away for me and my focus is on my next match here on Wednesday. “But it is a dream for me this year try to achieve that again. I’ll try to chase that as hard as I can and see if it’s possible. If not it’s no problem and I’ll just try to win tournaments which is a thrill in itself.” Federer, who has a bye into the second round, begins his Madrid Open campaign today against the winner of the firstround match between fast-rising Canadian Milos Raonic and former world No 3 David Nalbandian of Argentina.

Rafael Nadal


ary top seed Novak Djokovic hopes avoid injury as plays on the untried blue clay laid down for the Madrid Masters as the controversial surface gets a test under battle conditions beginning from today. The world No 1 also fired a shot across the bow of the ATP, which agreed to the one-year experiment without informing players, a coup quietly pushed through without executive oversight by former boss Adam Helfant, who left at the end of 2011. “The hope of all players is that we won’t have injuries and have a decent week of tennis,” said Djokovic, who skipped the ATP event in Belgrade last week after the death of his grandfather during the Monte Carlo Masters.

n fine fettle after a month-long rest, Roger Federer is ready to get his clay season on the swing today and hopes to continue his bid to recapture the world No 1 ranking from Novak Djokovic. The 30-year-old Swiss maestro has not played since losing to Andy Roddick at the Sony Ericsson Open at the end of March. He said he needed some time away from tennis to recharge his batteries and rid himself of one or two niggling injuries. Federer has played some of his best tennis in years in winning three titles this year, including the Indian Wells Masters event, but knows that challenging Rafa Nadal on the Spaniard’s favoured clay and stealing his French Open crown in Paris starting at the end of this month will be a tall order. “I feel good about my chances of playing well in the next few months,” the world No 3 told a news conference at the Madrid Open on Sunday. “But then again I am coming back on clay and Rafa has been so dominant on this surface for so many years so I know the task ahead of me,” added the 16-times grand slam singles champion. Federer said he had needed time out after an intense start to the year when he played 23 matches and lost just three, reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open before falling to Nadal. He won events in Rotterdam andDubai to add to his success in Indian Wells. He also had a busy end to 2011, triumphing at the World Tour finals in London in November after victories at theParis Masters and his home event in Basle. The rest was vital, said Federer. “I needed it because I did play so, so much and this break was also looking ahead to what’s to come and there’s a lot on my plate and want to be fresh in my mind and fit in my body for those big goals ahead,” he added. “It was more about relaxing my body because I had been playing with some niggling injuries over a few weeks, or a few months almost, and I am happy they went away. “It was just to get away from tennis for a while really, get away from the craziness that surrounds it, the matches and the press and all that stuff. “So that was nice to just recharge the batteries, that was the key during this break.” If Federer can leapfrog No 2 Nadal and topple Djokovic he would equal Pete Sampras’s record of 286 weeks at the top of the rankings and the Swiss said he was in a “pretty good position” to do it over the coming months. “All of a sudden if you do win a grand slam again you have a shot and if I do I’ll probably be extremely close to world No 1,” he said. “Then again easier said than done. I know what it takes to

Djokovic hopes to avoid injury blues Serb Djokovic played through his emotional pain and reached the Monte Carlo final, where he was crushed by Rafael Nadal. “The blue clay surface makes this year different,” said the 2011 Madrid champion. “It is the first time in history. It will be interesting for everyone to see what happens.

“There is a certain difference compared to red clay, but we have it (blue) in front of us. I tried to prepare for it as well as I could. But it’s the same for everyone.” Djokovic joined with Nadal in criticising ATP executives who didn’t bother to consult with at least their top-shelf players. “The only disappointing thing from a

It was just to get away from tennis for a while really, get away from the craziness that surrounds it, the matches and the press and all that stuff player standpoint is that it was decided without players agreeing to it,” said the Serb. “Players should be agreeing to the change there should be some value in what they say. “I’m not blaming the tournament, it is fighting for its own interests. But the ATP should have done a better job on player rights in protecting what the players want.” The proposal from larger-than-life billionaire Madrid impresario Ion Tiriac is on a one-year trial, with the event saying its purpose is to help spectators see the yellow ball more clearly on the blue surface. In men’s play, Russian Mikhail Youzhny defeated local wild card Javier Marti 6-3, 6-2 and Serb Viktor Troicki beat American Donald Young 6-1, 4-6, 6-1.



Algeria want World Cup qualifier moved


IFA says Algeria has asked for the World Cup qualifier next month in Mali to be moved to a neutral venue because of instability in the West African country. The world soccer also says it is “monitoring the situation” in Mali and will jointly decide with the Confederation of African Football on the request “in due course.” Mali has been troubled since soldiers toppled the

Keshi expresses concern over Eagles home ground

president in March. Last week, club teams from Nigeria and Egypt were stranded in the capital, Bamako, after an attempted countercoup. Nigeria’s Sunshine Stars claimed to have been harassed by soldiers at their hotel, while Al Ahly returned home on an Egyptian military plane after also being unable to leave for days. Mali are due to host Algeria on June 8.


igeria head coach, Stephen Keshi has expressed concern over the lack of a stable home ground for his team, describing lack of a particular ground as “worrisome.” He blamed the situation on the growing trend of artificial pitches being built in most of the stadia across the country and astro turf was not quite conducive for players. “It is a worrisome case that the national team no longer has a home ground of its own. Most of the stadia in the country have artificial turfs, which is not decent for the players. In my days, the National Stadium in Lagos was usually our home and we settled in there very well for our matches. “Last time before the team went for the friendly against Egypt in Dubai, they trained on artificial pitch. But in Dubai, the pitch is natural grass and the players just had to adapt to it. “If countries with harsher climates still keep natural grasses for their pitches I don’t see why most of the stadia here (in Nigeria) have artificial pitches,” he lamented. The Super Eagles are billed to play one 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier and a 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Nigeria but the country’s football federation is yet to name a venue for the games. “I hope we get to know the venue where we will play these games soon so that we can just move there and start preparing and get used to the place,” he remarked. The Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna had been picked to play host to the matches but security concerns knocked off the facility in the northern city. The Nigeria F o o t b a l l Federation (NFF) has carried out checks on three stadia with natural grass but has delayed its decision on picking one of them. The UJ Esuene Stadium in Calabar, was only yesterday unofficially named Eagles next venue for next month’s World Cup qualifier and Rwanda. Joseph Yobo, skipper, Super Eagles

Kanu wants school sports resuscitated F

ormer Super Eagles skipper, Nwankwo Kanu, has appealed to the National Sports Commission (NSC) and the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to as a matter of urgency revive school sports to ginger grassroots sports development. Kanu, a product of grassroots sports programme-YSFONmade the call at the launching of the one-week Greenspring School/Kanu Football Camp in Lekki, Lagos State. The football camp, which is intended to give teenage players opportunity to come under a close watch of sound technical persons, will open from July 1 to July 7 in the school premises. The camp would be open to students in Lagos State. The registration fee with accommodation and feeding would cost N60, 000. Kanu said that his journey as a professional footballer commenced from the school sports where he was discovered. “I participated actively in school sports tournaments and it was through that means I came into professional football,” he said. Thomas Olaiya, the President of West Africa School Sport Union (WASSU), said that the camping initiative would aid the discovery of talents that would replace the ageing players. “With more of this kind of initiatives, we will be able to discover talents that will replace the ageing ones, thus it should be encouraged. And should the talents identified be monitored and nurtured, then we can also use them to curb the age cheat challenge,” Olaiya said. Mrs Lai koiki, the Director of Greenspring School, said the program would be an annual one and was brought up to engage the students positively. “It is our way of continuing the school’s effort of shaping the character of our wards through sports. “And this is because we recognise the fact that sport is a good means to educate youths on discipline, comradeship and fair play,” she said. The director said that the school believed in the fact that the future of football laid in the development of the game among youths. Tade Azeez, the Vice-Chairman Lagos State Football Association (FA), who represented the Lagos State Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Social Development, applauded the initiative and called on more schools to emulate it. “The school is only making the job of the FA easy by providing the football camp and we will support the project with the needed assistance,” he said.

Patrick Ekeji, DG, NSC

I participated actively in school sports tournaments and it was through that means I came into professional football

Nwankwo Kanu

Birnin Kudu sports

... As director demands return of basic sports in committee to organise football competition secondary schools


n official of the Benue State Sports Council, Mr David Orngu , has called for the re-introduction of basic sports like sack, needle and bottle races in primary and post primary institutions in the country. Orngu, an Assistant Director of Sports, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Makurdi and insisted that without the re-introduction of such basic sports interest would remain wane. “Such sports boost self-coordination and confidence early in the lives of athletes and prepares them for the challenges ahead. Apart from that, they provide real entertainment; imagine the young lads doing the sack race, it provides discipline for them and self control. “We need to bring them back into our school curriculum for the cognitive development of the young ones.” According to him, the sports also provide physical and mental coordination of athletes, adding that sport managers in the schools must emphasise this. He said athletes who started through that process, had better control of their emotions and were not usually no involved in drug addiction.


he Birnin Kudu Zonal Sports Committee of Jigawa State on Monday said that it had completed arrangement for a football competition among the local governments within the zone. The Chairman of the committee, Alhaji Ado Ahmed, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Birnin Kudu that the competition would start in two weeks time. “The aim is to fish out talents among the clubs in the area that will represent the zone in national and international tournaments,” Ahmed said.

He said that the local governments in the zone were the Birnin Kudu, Gwaram and Buji local governments. The chairman said that the committee would visit the three local governments to seek for financial assistance from the council chairmen for the successful conduct of the competition. He called on referees to be fair to all during the proposed competition. According to the chairman, football, like any other sporting activity, is to entertain as well as to strengthen relationship among people.







B A. B. C. D. E. F. G.


Carles Puyol is set to miss Euro 2012 as he is to undergo knee surgery that will rule him out for six weeks, the reigning European champions' first game is against Italy on June. England batsman Jonathan Trott backs his skipper Andrew Strauss to come good this summer despite his extended run of poor form. Rickie Fowler (r) and Rory McIlroy, playoff combatants at Quail Hollow, represent golf's changing of the guard. David Haye and Dereck Chisora will fight at Upton Park on 14 July in a bout sanctioned by the Luxembourg Boxing Federation. Great Britain's men will face defending champions Hungary, while the women face Australia at the London 2012 Olympics. Britain's Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling medal hope Myroslav Dykun fails a doping test. F1 writer Andrew Benson and commentary legend Murray Walker look back on the career of Nelson Piquet.



. . . putting the people first



LA TEST LATEST WBA title: Peterson fails drugs test to put fight with Khan in doubt


mir Khan's rematch with Lamont Peterson is in doubt after the American champion failed a drugs test, yesterday. Both fighters agreed to random testing before their light-welterweight bout in Las Vegas on 19 May and Peterson tested positive for synthetic testosterone. "Lamont has never had a positive test either before or after this isolated occurrence. We plan to submit medical findings by Tuesday reflecting the facts in support of Lamont's good faith intentions," said a Peterson statement. The fighters are due to meet for a second time on May 19 after the World Boxing Association ordered a rematch following Peterson' controversial victory over Khan last December. The WBA claimed there were "multiple irregularities" in the first fight after Khan appealed against the points defeat which took place in Peterson's home town, Washington D.C. The statement added: "We have tremendous respect for the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association [Vada] and its mission. Lamont, [his manager] Barry [Hunter] and the entire team emphatically support random drug testing in the most comprehensive manner possible. "We are working expeditiously with a team of pathologists and other medical specialists to confirm the origin of the test result and in full compliance with the rules of the Nevada State Athletic Commission." Peterson improved his record to 30-1 with one draw and 15 knockouts. Khan, 25, a British fighter, dropped to 26-2 with and 18 knockouts. He complained afterward about the referee's decision to deduct two points from him for pushing. He also complained about an unauthorized man seen distracting a ringside official.


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QUO TABLE Q UO TE UOT QUO UOTE Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody's going to know whether you did it or not ey — Opr ah W infr Oprah infre

Time to end the butchering


he resolution taken on Thursday, last week by the House of Representatives in Abuja to investigate the killing of 60 traders at the cattle market in Potiskum, Yobe state is politically important. I do not suggest that the outcome of the investigation will lead to action by way of arrests and prosecution of individuals. But it will serve a historical purpose. The sceptic will say to you that about three years ago, the legislature investigated the scam in the electric power sector and came to a conclusion that a whopping $16 billion had been stolen by identified actors. Nothing has happened to them. In fact, the lead character in that scandal, who once said he had no sense of shame, has become a regular face at anti-corruption lecture circuits at home and abroad; he has been playing the ostrich and pontificating against corruption, so called. Nigerians must also be feeling a lot of frustration about the discovery by the current parliament that money in excess of N151 billion had been stolen from pension funds. This happened at a time when old and tired pensioners collapsed and died in queues in front of banks, waiting to obtain the ever-elusive monthly stipends. While this has been playing out without any definite indication that just one person will receive punishment beyond their week-long pre-trial detentions, the mother of all scams broke out. This is talking about the petrol subsidy scandal in which a massive sum of N1.07 trillion was stolen and shared between officials of government and importers of petroleum products. So far, the body language of the government and that of the Attorney-General of the Federation convey a sense that this too will go the way of those past scandals. What I find beneficial in these discoveries is that they add to our statistics. The PDP and the current rulers will not be in power for ever. There must be a day, in our lifetime or that of our children, or that of their children, when someone will dig up the records and say, “hey, what happened here? Who did what? Where is the money?” It is something that has happened in other jurisdictions. Ghana, our neighbour dealt with this situation in a way many didn’t like. For, on that day, the streets of Accra overflowed with the blood of rulers, past and present.

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Garba Shehu

Speaker Aminu Tambuwal The role of our parliament as a forum for public hearing and the documentation of records of fraud and theft therefore is a significant one in our given circumstances and must never be taken for granted. Honourable Aliyu Yakubu, the fellow who tabled the motion for the probe of those deaths in Potiskum, which was subsequently adopted, told fellow parliamentarians: “All the security measures of the government are not yielding the desired results. There may be a few benefits, but compared to harm and ill-effect the security operations are having, the efforts of the security services come to nothing. I don’t see any purpose their deployment is serving. On this particular mass killing of the innocent traders at the cattle market, the shooting spree went on for three to four hours. Security checkpoints were within two to three kilometres of this market. They (security) pretended as if they heard no evil, saw no evil”. In agreeing with him, the House mandated the Committee on National Security, Intelligence and Public Safety to call the Service Chiefs and the National Security Adviser, NSA, to a hearing to explain how and why there happened this wastage of large number of lives and of unquantifiable property. This hearing, if it holds in public, must enrich our record of mismanagement and impunity even if it leads to no action by the government. The generations of future Nigerians

must find a record of how the rulers of this country abandoned the people to live like animals in their savagery and depravity. It is also possible that shocking records may emerge as to who are the sponsors of this violence. Are they politicians from the North of the country, thereby confirming the innuendoes of President Goodluck Jonathan and his inner circle? Or could it be that it is the government, as is being speculated, that is muzzling the public? Is the Nigerian government at a war with Nigerian citizens? This public hearing must also ignore the dismissive statements of the Jonathan Government to find a way to see and listen to the 127-page deposition of Henry Okah, the repentant Niger Delta militant who is standing trial in South Africa. Are there geo-political reasons from the violence on the North or in the North? Did the President order the two bombings in Warri and Abuja in 2010 to black-paint his opponents? This investigation may also bring focus to bear on the famous remarks the NSA, General Azazi, made at Asaba. Is PDP responsible for the violence and terrorism in the country? Yoruba people say that the man they are suspecting of being a thief must not be toying with his neighbour’s goat. What is the evidence with the NSA? This public hearing may also help to examine the conduct of the police and the army in dealing with the civilian population. Are the police and the army a state within the state that nobody can call them to order? In the course of the same sitting, the House stopped barely short of calling the emergency rule instituted by the President on a selected number of local council areas a stupid enterprise that had achieved nothing. The only noticeable effect is by way of the seizure of their monthly allocations and the House is right to ask that all such money be released.

Worse still, the militarization of cities and towns, has adversely affected the economic life of the people in such areas like Kano, Kaduna, Maiduguri, Yobe and Suleja. With curfews in force, traders and others, struggling commercially for a living have to operate for only few hours and start rushing back home. Even banks in these Boko Haram infested areas now operate fewer hours than normal because of the curfews. The ordeal of the people in these areas is too unspeakable. It is a double whammy for the citizens of these areas: they are not safer because of these security operations and at the same time, their means of livelihood is declining day after day. The head of the army, General Azubuike Ihejirika told army commanders in Kaduna at a get-together last month that the army was in a state of war but they don’t seem to be deploying accordingly. The January 20th invasion of Kano by the insurgents remains the deadliest in the country. The city has two army formations, an Air Force station and a robust police presence that includes a command, a training school and a police university, a 30 minutes drive from the city centre. If January 20th happened to Kano as an accident or a surprise, why is there no pursuit, no rapid response to the daily attacks that have featured in the city? In addition to the perilous security situation in most parts of the country, many of the affected state governors appear to be unconcerned about what is going on in their states. They appear to be acquiescent or under some sort of a spell. Under our Constitution, the security services are all under political control and the leading authority in each state is unquestionably the governor. When you look at all these things, knowing that this is a country in which the culture of impunity is well entrenched, a consolation may be in the House of Representatives’ talk shop. These big men may be asked questions. That may be the only way to call them to account. Records will be obtained and kept. A future government may one day come and issue a whitepaper on all the whitepapers, not a whitewash we get from this government. Under our Constitution, the government may be angry but it can’t dissolve the parliament. Let the House fear no one.

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

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Wednesday, May 08, 2012  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Wednesday, May 08, 2012 Edition

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